Posted in Big Ideas, family, Florida, Friendship, Identity, Orlando, Poetry, Relationships, University, Women, Writing

Releasing Orlando From My Hands—

The city will burst into the flapping of cranes and butterflies

and I will start speaking again.

There is not enough time to spend with the people you love when they are living in the same state or city as you. We’re caught up in our relationships and our jobs and activities, getting locked into a grid that keeps us from spending time with people who have seen us grow. Only when they leave does your heart start to sniff at the space they used to live in. 

There is a place I go to a lot and I am almost crying because it has been a long time since I’ve been here. Stardust Video and Coffee. I came here to write and I did that. When I was in school I had an anxiety that could grid my shoulders with pain, and this place proved comforting with its hanging paper fish, flashing colored lights, and shelves of books. 

In the middle of college, I realized we use too many words to describe things that can only be felt. In the silence, things are experienced the same. In speaking, everyone will use different words to describe the same thing and talk in endless lines away from the core experience. I am on my hiatus from speaking about anything other than the superficial topics that require my attention. Except for small spurts where I come to write and do that. 

I lost my friends so they could seek what they want out of college and their jobs. Although “lost” is not the right word, it also fits. We used to talk about our dreams and fears on docks late into the night. We used to turn to each other in our times of need. For 8 years, they provided a hand I could reach for. And when I reached one day, it was gone. I reached for them and came up with — and was always almost crying driving home from work on Colonial.

It’s hard to create those kinds of relationships after college. Lately, my priorities are reflected in the clothes I managed to wash, now spread on my bed that I cannot fold. It is not exercising and feeling not only the heaviness on my stomach, but the heaviness in my stride as Friday leans away like a shadow. 

This is a battle against remembering how sweet it can be to have those friendships. Other days, it’s a battle to remember. It is seeing the person I relied on most halfway across the country or halfway around the world.

My older cousin and his wife had a 3 year old and a baby by the time I started college at UCF. They used to guide me through Orlando and nearby areas. We went trick or treating near College Park, listened to a guitarist at Timucua (the White house), floated in the rock springs at Kelly Park, picnicked near Lake Eola. Then they moved to Chicago. Then they moved to Europe. That was a time of leaving that didn’t end in panic. I learned to exhale through their leaving, even though I still blinked and looked up a lot.

I need to see my sister-cousins this weekend. Lucky am I that I chose to live in the same city as them. Lucky I had my intelligent cousin to talk to before. Now, we don’t see each other as much. When we do, he says, “thank you for reaching out.” Lucky am I.

Lately, relationships must be puppet-stringed through phone calls and Instagram stories. A part of getting older is getting better at goodbyes. I’ll learn to exhale through unanswered texts and calls one day, too. There’s gonna be a time when I have to leave and learn to exhale through my own leaving. Instead of being the shore, I’ll be the boat docking one night to unload and leaving the next day with its new shipment of cargo. 

Advertisements
Posted in Art, Culture, Flash Fiction, Identity, Music, Women, Writing

The Room To Somewhere

Everything began to recede, taking the computer, the mouse, the gray office phone, the puke-y green walls of her cloth cubicle, all away and further away until she found herself in a white room. She stood from where her chair had been, and looked at flyers and portraits that hung on the walls. The hangings on the walls were constantly changing, from newspaper clippings of yesterday’s news to autographed celebrity stills that one would find on a restaurant’s walls. The room was cornerless and shadowless but for the slight darkness of her blue flats. There were droning voices, men’s and women’s, creating echoing tones from behind the walls, as though a collection of newscasters and phone calls were being played at once.

She walked along and found herself at a door. She opened it and entered a dank hallway, the crisp coolness of the room replaced with a humidity that settled in a light layer on her back, beneath her shirt. The muffled hum of voices changed into the sounds of guitars, the hiss of a snare and a crescendoing beating of a bass drum that cut off. As she walked, the floor became dirt, and opened into an outdoor space where beer bottles and cigarettes guided her. She looked up and into the eyes of a greasy looking guy who threw his own empty bottle on the ground, pretty close to her feet, and then walked off. A few feet behind where he just stood was a square tan building that was receiving a steady flow of people. She wandered over, and eventually found herself feeling really dreamy in the doorway as she watched a woman bathed in purple light strum her guitar.

 

img_2075.jpg

Posted in Culture, Flash Fiction, Writing

A walk in the park

Thunder rumbled as Bethany pushed Robby’s stroller through Central Park.

“We gotta get home before it starts to pour. Sing ‘rain, rain, go away’,” Bethany said. Robby hummed the tune as he kicked his legs against his stroller. Although it was the middle of the day, the gray clouds made it feel like it was much later.

“Rain, rain…” Bethany began again.

Go away!” a man’s voice answered, followed by a loud CRACK!

Bethany yelped in surprise. Had the lunatic in the red and black diamond-patterned clown suit with the jester’s cap not suddenly filled her view, she would have seen the gray clouds clear away to reveal a sky so blue it seemed fake. The bells on the jester’s cap rang lightly as he brandished what appeared to be a cricket bat. He smiled suggestively at Bethany, who had really had enough of guys, especially if they were from Times Square, interrupting her walks in the park with Robby.

“Nice outfit, why don’t you take it back to the other costumed freaks?” she said once the roar of the adrenaline left her ears.

“I am here to win your heart, my queen!” he sang loudly.

She narrowed her eyes. “’My queen’? What girl would fall for that line?”

“The Fates have ordained this meeting—that I would come along to grant your every

wish, starting with banishing the rain!”

“The Fates.” Bethany blinked. “Right. I am seriously not the girl you’re looking for. I don’t even believe in horoscopes.”

“Oh, but you are the woman I seek! My lovely, lovely Colombina! I was made for you and you for me.” He danced around, holding out an entreating hand.

“Colo-what? What are you on? I’m just trying to take a walk with my kid, can you let us have some peace?”
“In my kingdom you would have pure happiness. Love would reign supreme, and you would be queen!”

Bethany had begun pushing the stroller as soon as the creep had appeared, heading for the park exit. She tried to get around him, first one side, then the other, but he nimbly leaped in front of the stroller every time. She glared at him, and he continued flashing her that seemingly sincere smile that tricksters have.

Robby had pulled out his toy cell phone while Bethany had been distracted. “Dah dah…go AWAY!” he sang.

Surprise filled the jester’s face as he poofed! into a cloud of smoke.

Bethany stared forward, looking back and forth between Robby’s smiling face, and the space where the crazy man had just been. She could hear the birds chirping again. The chatter of other families floated on the warm air. She smooched him on the cheek, and rolled him out of the park under the blue, blue sky.

harlequin

Posted in Big Ideas, Culture, Identity, Poetry, University, Writing

I don’t get…

I don’t get all this poetry business that I’m trying to pull off and I don’t get trying to be a university student, and what’s more an “honors” student, and still be trying to pull off this poetry business. When people talk to me, I feel like they’re not talking to me. They’re talking to my sisters. Focus here, on the rarity.

blue-screen.jpg

I often ask myself how my conception of time is doing. It’s shot through. Used to be some impressive material made of titanium, embossed in gold and shit. Now it’s scrap metal on the floor, an ineffective shield that I step over in the morning and have to go without in a bullet-ridden, anxious world.

I often ask myself whether I’d like to be alone or whether I’d like to be with someone else, and the answer is I always want to be with someone else, whether it’s family or friend or just out in the world where there are other people.

I don’t get a lot of the mumbo jumbo they feed you in high school. Or the mumbo jumbo they feed us from the second we’re born, what with the social conditioning. Lately, I’ve started playing this game where I’ll imagine conversations between myself and a higher up, and how he (read: it’s always a he) will say something like “It’s not possible”, but then I, the agitator, the rogue, will say, “We just did it.”

How’s your conception of time doing?
My advice is: you gotta aim straight over all the traffic.
You gotta remember that the fog of authority is all up in your shit. You gotta be the agitator, cut through it with your bs binoculars.

Confused, mami? Don’t be confused.
Stressed, mami? Don’t be stressed.

Like I said, I don’t get all this poetry business that I’m trying to pull off. I used to be a lot more lenient with the categories that I would give to people, saying at one point that the things we do (fixing our hair, running for the elevator, taking a bite to eat, washing our hands, talking to others, driving home from work in our cars in rush hour traffic…) was poetic. And that everyone had a poem to them, even though they didn’t know it. Now, I see faces, but I also don’t see them? You know, it’s getting harder for me to categorize and deal with the silt and the petty fodder of every day. I used to be better at that. Before the clock stopped and I could hear the clicking of its broken gears.

I used to be a lot better of a Word-Handler. I used to know my own mind more. I barely recognize it these days.

I don’t get…how change is the only permanent thing, and that applies to identity, too–           There was a time they were beating me over the head with this identity business.                                           Another time it was the idea, ‘death’, they beat me with. –And I don’t get how like just when you get used to someone that you really need in your life, they disappear from you.

I don’t get this whole malware, technology thing we’ve got going on? Safesearch. I accidentally downloaded that shit today. I’m pretty sure I managed to get it all off. But seriously, my Mac is my most prized possession. That and my prescription acne gel. One’s to continue this journey of life long learning, the search for wisdom, and the other, vanity.

I do understand the yin yang symbol, at least I think I do. That’s what’s going to help me do this. That’s what’s going to make me better. I like to think that within the wisdom, there is vanity, and within the vanity, there wisdom is.

Posted in Big Ideas, Culture

Big Idea Sites/ Blogs

Here are a few of my favorite sources to visit to learn some stuff about big ideas. Points for hilarity in some, conciseness in others.

-http://waitbutwhy.com/

*highlights: instant gratification monkey, Tim’s excellent stick figure drawings, hilarious turns of phrase

-http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

*Allie Brosh sets out the different types of Alots in the world

-https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

*^^School of Life: We think we’re running the show, but really? It’s psychology.

-https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDEducation

*^^TedEd: It’s like going to school and learning but these videos only take 5 minutes.

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts brought on by “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Diaz

“after he’d gotten somewhat used to the surreal whirligig that was life in La Capital–the guaguas, the cops, the mind-boggling poverty, the Dunkin’ Donuts, the beggars, the Haitians selling roasted peanuts at the intersections, the mind-boggling poverty, the asshole tourists hogging up all the beaches…the afternoon walks on the Conde, the mind-boggling poverty, the snarl of streets and rusting zinc shacks that were the barrios populares, the masses of niggers he waded through every day who ran him over if he stood still, the skinny watchmen standing in front of stores with their brokedown shotguns, the music, the raunchy jokes heard on the streets, the mind-boggling poverty, being piledrived into the corner of a concho by the combined weight of four other customers, the music, the new tunnels driving down into the bauxite earth…” (Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Diaz)

*

The intersection of San Vincente de Paul St. and Mella Highway in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a busy area for street kids who work as window washers. In this interesection, nearly two dozen street kids, ranging in age from 6 to 25, roam the streets each day.
(http://brandonquester.com/photos/palomos/)

*

“Back in the Dominican Republic, people kill other people because they’re hungry. Here in America, they kill because they’re crazy.”

*

As I walked the streets of New York, I wondered to myself: I wonder what it’d be like to be poor in this city? I wonder what it’d be like to be poor in any city?

*

Art becomes superfluous–your body supersedes your spirit, and it tells you: “Feed me. Whatever it takes. I’m hungry.”

*

“I want to see what it’s like to be poor–but that minimalist lifestyle also turns into a sort of expensive, effort-heavy task where you’re always trying to get rid of your stuff.”

*

We are our grandparents and our grandchildren…our money is family money, just like our blood is family blood.

*

There is enough food on this Earth to feed everyone.

*

Any and all crime was born of Desperation’s chaos–a desperate individual, part of a desperate community.That insidious fluttering of words with feathers of chains and locks: This is the way it will always be.