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News of the Word.

31 May

I’ve decided to move to New York come October. I’m feeling the same pull towards the city as I did towards Chicago more than two years ago. I’m sad to be leaving Chicago, and taking much of the summer to say a proper goodbye to all the beautiful places and people I know. I’m also applying for p/t jobs and fellowships in New York.

If you have any must-sees or must-dos for me in the Chi, let me know. And if you have any leads for jobs or decent housing in New York, please hit me up as well. This is a big leap for me, and I could use your help. ❤

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Mistakes Were Made.

14 Jul

Oh my sweethearts, I just NOW realized that my old blog hasn’t been redirecting readers to my new site! Dear ones, I sincerely apologize, I am not the champion of the digital age. My new blog is on my in-progress website. Catch up on your reading HERE. Thank you my loves, and again, all apologies!

Ardor and Flight.

31 May

I dreamed last night that I was a pilot practicing using alien technology while on an interplanetary layover in Brooklyn. A side plot involved stealing a bowling shirt from the patriarch who lived in a brownstone around the corner.

My real life is also interesting.

I spent the last two weeks at a workshop at Texas A&M. The workshop’s called Callaloo, and the participants and instructors are simply among the best. The instructors, Vievee Francis and Greg Pardlo, broke me in the best way. I feel new. I can’t wait to work on poems. I was going to do a whole huge summation of my time there, but if you want to know, you’re going to have to ask me in person.

Sad news for the poetry family recently, though. We lost two important poets this week. The first, Gil Scott-Heron, was one of the most influential spoken word artists of all time. He shaped the art long before a lot of us poets even knew about it, and his work is still among the most innovative you can find.

The second poet, Will Da Real One, was an outspoken advocate for peace in his home state of Florida, and in the black community as a whole. He was a mentor and a friend to many, and an inspiration all of us should strive to emulate.

I’m grateful for the work and lives of both these poets. I hope their families are proud of these men, and I wish them peace.

Let’s remember that life’s too short for fear. Live with love today and every day, as best you can. ❤

Pointless = Dull?

11 May

Okay, I find it fascinating that no one warned me that quitting smoking actually makes you really sick. I guess no one thought it was important to mention that I’d be spending the spring coughing my lungs and throat out. Well, it’s not like knowing that would have changed anything, I suppose. I’m just lucky I don’t have a day job and I spend most of my time alone, so I can largely keep my suffering to myself. 😛

I have a lot on my mind right now. I’m cooking sausages, for one, and I really don’t want them to be pink in the middle. My book release is this Friday (7:30 PM at the Silver Room, come through!), so I’m thinking hard about my set list, folks I invited to perform, and dj issues. I’m thinking about how freaking hot it is in Chicago all of a sudden, and how I ought to buy a sex toy to replace the one I forgot in a hotel room last summer (so I enjoy my own company even more). I’m thinking about an online argument I’m having with some folks about Odd Future‘s artistic intentions. I’m thinking about how it feels like no one ever calls or writes me both because I’m constantly plugged in, and because I ignore it when people actually do call and write. I’m thinking about how nervous I am to go to this writer’s workshop on Sunday. I’m thinking of the blog post I’m supposed to be writing right now.

I miss my grandma, which is stupid because I only ever saw her like twice a year, and she asked me about school and I told her I graduated a long time ago and that was about it.

Eh, I am failing at living a grandiose life right now. After I eat a sausage, I think I’ll watch some more Battlestar Galactica and practice poems for Saturday. You be good and get some exercise for me, okay? ❤

Creeps the Ground & Leaps & Bounds.

26 Apr

The last week or so, I’ve watched the minute hand making its course, trying to take the changes in my body in stride, writing poems and wasting away online, not quite able to tackle business with much gusto at all. That definitely changed a moment ago.

I just found out my press has nominated me for next year’s National Book Award. I’m stunned, and very happy.

I’m not, however, under any illusion that I will win. I’m not being self-deprecating, I promise. If you look at the list of poets who’ve won in past years, they tend to be writers in the middle of their careers (or later), who’ve already published many books (hence all the “new & selected” or “collected” titles), published poems in many journals, and spent a lot of time in the academy.

No illusions: me winning this particular award would be akin to Harold Bloom winning a national poetry slam (only I’m not as much of a hater).

I’m happy, though, because Write Bloody has that kind of faith in me, that they believe in my writing enough that they’d submit me for such an amazing prize. And you know what? It motivated me to get back to work: if they’re doing everything they can to help me to make a living as an artist, I need to be doing even more. And maybe one day I will be good enough for that li’l ole prize. 😉

Dirty Thirty.

25 Apr

Long time no talk, folks. Some of you may know I turned thirty on Wednesday, and I decided to let it all hang out. According to the Roger Bonair-Agard school of partying, the thirtieth birthday girl gets two weeks to celebrate herself (weeks stack as decades do), so I took him at his word. My folks came into town and I cooked them dinner, I bought myself my second-favorite video game and played a lot of it, I wrote poems and listened to Kanye, I had friends come over and read their poems, I co-hosted a very strong Real Talk Live, I got a million love notes, went out a lot, drank a lot, and engaged in general mischief.

Turning twenty was the first time I really considered what being a woman meant to me. What kind of person I was interested in becoming, essentially. Thirty has brought its own introspection, and I’m excited about some of the changes I’m making. My primary goal is to take better care of my health.

About a month ago, I was freaking out because of health concerns, and I called Sonya Renee. Recently, Sonya founded the very cool FB group, The Body Is Not An Apology, and she’s been an outspoken advocate for sexual and emotional health. She is also an amazing friend, and I knew I could talk to her honestly about my worries without judgment. She calmed me down, and helped me to think carefully and specifically about some of the choices I’ve been making, and ways I might modify my behaviors. Here are a few, amigos.

Getting Tested. This was the first thing I did. If you’ve recently changed partners or had unprotected sex, you should, too.

Quit Smoking. This is huge, obviously. I’d been planning to quit on my thirtieth birthday for years now. My dad did it, so that helped me to remind myself that it’s possible. Living up to this promise I’d made myself was very important to me, and so far it’s okay. It’s been five days now. There have been some surprisingly crazy moments emotionally, like sobbing hard after finishing my last cigarette, and my mind sometimes doing its damndest to justify having a drag, but I’m finally beginning to cough things up, which means my cilia have begun working again.

Distance Drinking. Given my almost compulsive excess in this area, taking a very solid break is crucial to my health – especially to my emotional stability. I’ve had my birthday fun for now, so I’ve decided to stop drinking until our house birthday celebration (also known as Running of the Bulls) on May 7th.

Cleansing. I spoke to Patrick about this one, because he’s subjected his body to a lot of extremes, healthwise, and he knows a lot about different fasts’ effects on the body. For the next week, I’m doing a pretty basic cleanse to encourage the toxins to move out of my body. I’m cutting out wheat and sugar for the week after.

Exercise. The main thing, for now, is using my ab wheel. I have chronic back issues, so fixing my core up is necessary. If I can begin to do this regularly, I’ll build from there.

Sleep. I started taking melatonin at night to help with my insomnia. I took to drinking heavily partly as a form of self-medicating this problem (ironically, because alcohol disrupts sleep cycles, and can even permanently damage a person’s ability to obtain restful sleep). Melatonin’s one of the only supplements that’s reliably helped me in the past.

Misc. Chas helped me to think about this one. He said I should consider calculating the amount of money I spend on viceful things (cigarettes and booze, namely), and spend that chunk of money on things that are actually good for me. Right now the system is pretty haphazard (I want to see how I feel about drinking after May 7th), but I like the idea of spending some of that money on a martial arts class.

That’s about it. Beyond that, I’m trying to pay more attention, in general, to what my body wants. I’m trying to be better at listening to my heart and being honest. And I’m committed to being gentle with myself. I’m pretty awesome, after all.

Gender Bender

16 Mar

Before I dive into what I want to talk about, I gotta share some good news: I’ve been accepted to the 2011 Callaloo Workshop. It’s an opportunity to talk poetry with some of the premiere writers in the nation. Plus I get to go to Texas. I guess…people…from Texas…like Texas… 😛

I gotta apologize beforehand for the awkwardness of the following paragraph. I’m doing my best to be objective and to protect folks’ anonymity, which fucks with the flow of the tale a little. Greater good n shit, blah blah blah. I also apologize for the overall quality of my prose in this post, because I’m not trying very hard.

Okay, okay. A poet who was competing at the Women of the World Poetry Slam this past weekend posted about feeling disrespected by another member of the community. The former was wearing a low-cut dress – not her usual attire – and already feeling uncomfortable about the kind of attention she was receiving. She was talking to some friends about this, and another (woman) poet, a colleague and an acquaintance, approached and commented that the poet with noticeable cleavage had no right to feel offended because, wearing that dress, she was “asking for it”. She who was theoretically “asking for it” felt pretty terrible, and that’s why she publicly wrote about what happened.

Okay, okay. I know both the poets in question at least a bit, and before I make my oh-so-important point, I just want to say that the woman who overstepped has a trangressive sense of humor and a very dry delivery. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure this is a case of an attempt at a joke gone really wrong.

What most interests me about this situation is folks’ reaction to the post. There’s this undercurrent of shock in the responses I’ve read, as though it’s inconceivable that a woman could speak to another woman in such a way, especially at a women’s event.

What, exactly, is so shocking about this?

Fucking up is not a male province. Telling a bad joke is not something that only a man can do. More importantly, if you read the situation this way: being aggressive, chauvanistic, or disrespectful has less to do with maleness than it has to do with capitalism, or Americanism. Whatever it is we are as a culture, we still carry a big stick, we swagger, and we know a lot about fucking with other people’s boundaries, and sometimes acting ignorant as hell. I’ve been an asshole to many a person in my day, and I don’t want surprise or absolution just because of my body parts, clothes, and sexual preferences. This ain’t the 50s, my loves.

Just to say. Talk whatever shit you like about testosterone or estrogen, but as long as we perpetuate the notion that women are somehow sanctified, that we’re all on some Virgin Mary shit, incapable of fucking up, we’re perpetuating sexism. Equality means: if we’re just as strong and capable as men, we get to be as stupid and offensive and abusive as men can be. Amen and hallelujah, every gender fucks up.