My Halloween costume is amazing. I don't know if I can post pictures of it but I tried it on last night and it blew my mind. My chaps: rad. The gloves: rad. My tail: RAD!!!!! Last year I was quite prudish with my Virgin Mary costume, this year, I look like a stripper on safari. But whatever, I look amazing.
And then I get busy, way busy, super busy, wonderful busy and forget to blog. Or, just don't have the energy. My tweets stay strong because I am kind of addicted to twitter.
I've been translating the poetry of Nara Manur and digging it very much. I've been attempting to do one rough translation a day. I picked up her book in Cuba a couple years ago. For some reason I had it on the shelf on my bookshelf I keep for books I'm embarrassed to have read. Pretty good shit. I called my friend Laura in Cuba and she is putting me in touch with Mansur, I hope, so that I can run a few things by her.
I've been asked to read the poem I wrote for KPBS Local Hispanic Hero Awards at the Chula Vista City Council meeting next week. Pretty cool.
Working on my Halloween costume with my friend Andy's girlfriend who is a costumer. Today I should finish the zebra chaps and start designing the make-up. I don't now what we're doing yet for Halloween but I'm sure it will be brilliant. We can't drink as much this year because B has to work Sunday morning but that is probably a good thing considering the hangover last November 1. I love my costume, I love it!! I was prancing around the apartment complex last night showing it off to the neighbors. I make a damn good zebra and kind of love having a tail.
I miss La Creep and haven't seen her since the Cat Power concert almost 2 months ago. We talk daily but I miss her in my guest room and I miss her on my sofa watching bad reality dating shows on VH1, she is wonderful to feel morally superior with. She may be coming down November 8 for a reading I think I'm doing. The bookstore that scheduled it scheduled it last year and I've never heard from them again.
Last night I sat on the balcony looking to see if any meteors were straggling from the shower the night before. I've spent many important moments on that little balcony. When I first moved in to this place, my heart broken, I remember not being able to sleep. I hadn't set up my bed yet or anything that all. The entire apartment was in disarray and my heartbeat was a gong of fail, fail. I sat on the little balcony for hours, from the middle of the night until dawn, wrapped in a blanket wondering what this new home would bring me. Great things, shelter and a kind of softness.
Thinking this morning on leaps of faith and bravery. I used to be braver than I am now. I wasn't ever afraid of taking risks. I may be swinging back. I forgot the flip side of joy is terror, what makes the joy intoxicating and dangerous. Something to think about, not just on my balcony, not just waiting for things to fall out of the sky.
Bad blogger! I'm tired, very very tired and haven't yet fully recovered from my Berkeley days. I have to get to the Korean Spa in the next couple of days and sweat out the tired, naked.
Yesterday was my dad's birthday. Last night we went bowling and watched the Chargers get desroyed by the Broncos. We were at a bowling alley in Chula Vista, everyone wore Charger gear, even me. Walking into the bar/bowling alley I felt like I was back in high school and all of the Charger gear-wearing people were the people who made me feel like a total freak and weirdo. I mentioned that to Cecil and he reminded me I probably annoyed the crap out of them with my freak and weirdness, fair enough.
B and Cecil were with me, I love them and love having them as my male besties. When they get together they speak a language I really can't comprehend, the language of sports nerds. I'm still figuring out what they meant by someone having a glimmer. They talk about coaches and players as if they know them, I am fascinated. One of the few times I have nothing to say.
Bowling with the family was good. My baby sister flew in from Las Vegas to surprise my dad for his birthday and he was overjoyed to see her and have all of his "babies" together. I am the worst bowler in the world. I also yell at my bowling ball. My beautiful family has fun together. I am very, very lucky.
Some years I care about football, some years I don't. This year I don't care, although I still kind of follow along and get disappointed when the Chargers lose. This Sunday the Chargers will play the Chiefs and I'm trying to figure out a good bet for me and my friend R to have on the outcome of the game. Humiliation is key but now that the Chargers are sucking ass so brilliantly and without remorse, I fear I may be the one humiliated.
Back from my days with Geoff Bouvier in Berkely, very tired and very happy. I really do wonderful friends and my time with Geoff was wonderful. We had many many great conversations about poetry and such and also spent a great amount of time in comfortable silence together, a sign of true friendship, at least for me. Home I have a lot running through my mind and it will take a few days to decompress from the experience. But it was great. I have so much to think about.
Home and happy, B picked me up last night, made me a great dinner while I did my best to meld my body into the sofa. He is coming back in a few to make me waffles. My life is pretty kick-ass. This afternoon I have my novel group and am looking forward to the minds coming together. This evening quiet time.
I hit the weather jackpot here in Berkeley. It is gorgeous out, even warm. Yesterday I spent a few hours in the sunshine with my darling-est friend Sharline. Last night my friend Geoff had a poetry salon at his borrowed house and a few people came over to discuss his manuscript of poetry and I did a whole lot of thinking.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm usually pretty chatty and have an opinion or comment about everything. Last night was very different and I spent as much time observing myself as I did the group dynamic and conversation around me. In the group discussion a very specific language was being spoken, academic and informed by years of studying the same kinds of language and how to dissect said language; and at the heart if it, poetry. I don't speak that language of criticism or academics. That isn't to say that I don't have critical thoughts or opinions but because of how I live and how I have lived the years when I could have been in school, my relationship to poetry and the language surrounding it is very much my own.
Last night after the group left I mentioned to Geoff how I felt about being a kind of outsider. He was of the opinion that if I go back to school now I'll be able to adopt that language but keep what makes me Lizz. I don't know. I don't know if I want it. I love my life and my experiences, how they've shaped me. Maybe a part of me is a little scared of school but I'm not completely sure. I really am at peace and enjoy the physicality of my work. Working with my body satisfies me. Climbing ladders and scaffolding makes me happy. At the end of each work day I have product, you can see what I've done, the progress and transformation. I don't know that I'm ready to give that up.
I've thought about going back to school lately, especially with there being so little work. I have all these weird conflicting thoughts about it. Something I'm going to have to think about for a long time. I've been out of school for a decade. I could use the money I would spend on school traveling. I don't want to be in debt. Maybe these are all lame excuses.
I was having another conversation with a poet recently about physical work. I mentioned my little philosophy of how for centuries we as humans have had very physical relationships with living; how life had in it very physical acts just so as a species we could survive the elements and ourselves. More recently in history physical labor and work haven't been as necessary; we drive, pick our fruit at markets, live in homes already built, travel sitting down. A restlessness has also risen in humans; distractions abound, extreme distraction, extreme dissatisfaction. I think humans miss work but most aren't aware of it yet. Biologically, we are made for work and few of us satisfy that biological need. I satisfy that need in me almost daily. But my mind often goes hungry.
Getting back to language. I thought for a long time last night before I finally fell into a weird sleep and strange dreams. Do I want the language spoken around me last night? Not really. I'd maybe like to understand it better but I don't really want to be fluent in it. The languages I'm fluent in are enough for me, at this point. I'm intimate with the language of self and desire. I'm pretty damn fluent in joy, if that makes any sense. Rhythm and a type of meter are in my blood, gifted through the songs my parents sang to us growing up. And Spanish of course, the language my emotions are in.
Also, freaking small world. Last night I sat next to a man at the salon who smelled like someone I used to love which was distracting as hell. Chatting afterwards it turns out he knows two people I know and love. Yes universe, you have my attention and thank you for the details.
I am so damn happy. Not jumping up and down happy or even happy-dance happy but a bone-deep happy that comes with a great peace. I've been on the verge of this for some time I think. Berkeley makes it sing it me. Last night after a quiet evening of food and conversation I was sitting outside under some trees looking at the sky and I realized how much I love my life and how much I love the people in it. This is where I want to be in my life, this happy place of appreciation. May it last.
I'm off to Berkeley this morning, full of anti-inflammatory meds. I've chosen not to take anti-biotics because I think when I went to the doctor yesterday it was a little late in the game. I don't need those harsh drugs in my body.
Looking forward to my trip to Berkeley to visit Geoff Bouvier, I've been looking forward to it for weeks. I met Geoff a few years ago at the awards ceremony for a poetry contest he was judging; I was the winner. We hit it off immediately and dove into a dynamic friendship of poetry, philosophy, food and hilarity. Geoff is one of those people I can call after not having spoken to for months and we will start off where we left off and it feels like no time has passed.
And lucky me! It turns out one of my best friends, Sharline Chiang, a Pan Dulce writer, will be in the Bay this week too! The last time I saw Sharline it was about 2am in the morning, we were exchanging funeral stories about our grandparents and laughing our asses off. It sounds bad but we were both part of cultural traditions we didn't really feel comfortable in and our observations were killer. It was probably one of the best laughs of my life.
I'm loving reading about my friend James Bowden and his adventures in Patagonia studying & tracking pumas. It makes me want to be a cowgirl. Also on my reading list, still, is Cecil's bicycle adventure including a recent run-in with a drunk driver. All of this writing about travel and moving has me itching for adventure. Soon, soon.
I discovered this artist, Gentleman, in Switzerland my season there years ago. I saw him in concert about this time of year. Thinking of my Swiss adventures, in language, food, culture and isolation, love. I had some beautiful moments out there. And I learned I like German reggae.
I need to go dancing soon. Dancing around my apartment is fine but I want to shake it on a dance floor.
Interesting how illness moves through the body. Last night on the sofa I thought of the journey of this crap infection and how it started as an itch in my nose, moved to my throat and sat in my sinuses for a couple of days. It then transformed into an itch in my throat and now it is a burning in my lungs. My sinuses are better, my throat fine but my breathing hurts. I know this is the last stage and it somehow is the hardest. I remembered something my acupuncturist said to me about lungs being the organs of grief and it makes sense to me, especially when my lungs are aching.
In late June at VONA I met a vibrant woman and had lunch with her a few times. She looked me straight in the eye when we spoke, never faltering, I loved it. We chatted for hours about travel and writing, swapping funny stories and giving each other advice on where to go. She convinced me I need to visit the Middle East and told me wonderful stories about the markets in Syria and how I would be enchanted. We told funny stories about our fathers. It was an easy and quick camaraderie, rare. She was completely present in every moment. She passed away last week after a battle with breast cancer. My heart and thoughts go out to the family of Leila Abu Sala. She was beautiful, she made me laugh.
And I rest, without choice. I have my first and hope only cold of the season. In bed last night by 8, slept on and off through the night, with a sore throat and sneezes and the sinus thing. Yech. At one point I think I may have had a fever and in my delirious sate thought I was composing some really interesting lines. I started at the laptop in bed beside me and wished I had the energy to write them down. I didn't and of course, this morning they are gone.
So I am sofa sitting all day, wrapped in a thick Mexican blanket, a pot of ginger-lemon tea and herbal remedies. My mom is bringing by chicken soup later. I have books to read, hours to sleep, phone calls not answer, emails not to write. Rest says my body, I obey.
Bendita is a term I've heard my entire life. It means little blessed one, or blessing. If something unfortunate happened my grandmother would say Ay, pobre bendita, poor blessed one. I've had a poem circulating in the veins for a a few weeks with the word. It may come out soon, or not.
This week has been a lesson on how things can change in an instant. The whole last month has. I've somehow kept smiling, maybe this shi-eating grin is the way I keep sane.
Last night in my dreams I was swimming at dusk in my favorite lake, a place I don't recognize from this world but I go there every once in a while in my dreams. I swam underwater with my eyes open. I was glad in my heart to be there.
I woke up before the alarm this morning, excited. The day feels full of wonderful things already. I had a night full of intense dreams, revisiting a place I love to visit. I fell asleep with a belly full of incredible food cooked with lerve by B. I am re-reading one of my favorite trilogies and am on the book that will make me cry. I'm also going through the poetry manuscript of a friend and coming to that process with joy as well.
I wish I could take a picture of the morning light in my neighborhood but I doubt any film would do it justice. This time of year, at the shoulder, the light softens and bends its way around everything it touches, especially at dawn and dusk. Even the birds are subdued, they sing but without the fervor of summer or spring.
Listening to lots of Tammi Terrel & Marvin Gaye these days. What a duo! What voices. They say after she died he wouldn't sing for two years.
My dead grandfather was in my dreams this morning, he was my favorite person in the world. In the dream I called him on whatever island death had taken him to, maybe Puerto Rico, where he was from, but in the dream I imagined a much older place. Since he died seven years ago, my grandfather has come to me in many dreams, sometimes asking me to deliver messages to my mother or grandmother which makes always make me uncomfortable, my subconscious asking me to play messenger to the dead. But somehow the "messages" I deliver always make sense to my grandmother and mother. On one occasion my dead grandfather asked me to tell my grandmother he had written her a letter but couldn't deliver it, he wanted me to tell her he loved her. I relayed the message to my grandmother who burst into tears. It was their anniversary and unbeknownst to me, he always wrote her a love letter on their anniversary.
Loving my good friend Cecil's blogging about his cycling journey.
Fall is here, no hinting around anymore. The nights and mornings are cool, I should go buy socks.
Cool, bright mornings like this remind me of living in Mexico. I spoke to a good friend of mine in Mexico a couple of days ago. This is the time of year for fireworks all night, parties in the streets, the weather is cool, mornings perfect for going to the hot springs. Mornings like this I remember going to the little coffee shop I'd go to every morning, having a coffee and egg while an old famous poet nearby grumbled and sometimes said hello. I'd journal. After breakfast I'd walk across town over the cobblestones with street dogs following me, to the house of the painting master I studied with. I'd get there usually before he was even out of bed. I'd make coffee, start the fire in the art studio and warm-up sketching. I loved the smell of oil paints. Fanny, the resident dog, would lean against my legs as I stood at the easel. I didn't care that I was a lousy painter. I loved my life. I miss Mexico.
We let the boy cousins work the grill my dad made out of an oil drum.
I love love love my family. What a crazy group of people. Everyone laughs with , argues with talks shit about, forgives, teases, supports, and adores each other. There were so many people at the party that I kept sneaking away to my old bedroom to sit with Shadow the Beast of a dog and relax away from the noise and crowd.
I've finally given enough family members the death eye that they don't ask anymore why I'm not married, dating or knocked up. They ask polite questions about my writing (even thought no one has ever asked to see anything I've written), and they ask about my travels, always assuming I'm off on adventures. Sometimes they ask about old flames of mine saying things like He was so nice, then ask how old I am and raise their eyebrows. Oh culture.
Good things are happening. Is it the famed Saturn return my dolphin-worshipping friends speak so highly of?
B and Cecil have both been out of town and yesterday my car broke down and I realized I had no one to come rescue me. Lesson learned, I now own my own jumper cables.
I really do exhaust myself at times. Last night my plan was to go to the City College Book Fair, see Ana Castillo read, say hello to her, get home and to bed early with a book. I don't regret what really happened and my sleepy head this morning wonders when I will learn to shut off the ringer on my phone since my dad loves to assume I've died of an aneurysm if I don't call him by 9am and is sure to call, worried.
Last night I went for Sushi with Elena Velasquez, a member of my So Cal Writing group, I don't know how we managed to get any food in our mouths we were so excited talking about what's going on in our writing practices. We went to see Ana read and ran into New York poet Willie Perdomo and chatted for a while. After the reading I ended up going to the Whistle with Willie for a couple of beers and after he left I ended up in a very intense conversation with the editor of a literary magazine that has accepted my work. It was actually pretty fun to have a debate with someone who was willing to go to bat for their beliefs. I didn't make it home before midnight, sleepy and had no energy for the book on my nightstand.
Heading to the City College Book Fair later this morning and then to my parent's house to paint their fence in preparation for a huge party they're having tomorrow.
I have so many things I want to write and work on but life, man, life just takes over sometimes. I love my life, my family and friends but need some ass-kicking to get into the writing sometimes.
Lovely writing and photographs on my friend Cecil's site. I hope he continues writing about his journey from Oregon to San Diego on bicycle.
In my odd dreams I had a baby I called Plum, she was tiny, clung to me sweetly and for some reason a secret. It was really strange but kind of beautiful.
I am not your carpet ride. No, you're not, but you would be lovely if you were. . .
Or so said my dear friend at the bar last night. I am happy happy for this friend, we met a year ago at the Whistle, we were both un-sober, ended up exchanging information and have become very good friends. He is in love, I somehow played a small hand in it. It is beautiful to see someone transform under the influence of another person who enhances their life. My friend glows.
Love, more love and luck to my good friend Cecil who is on a long bike journey from Ashland, Oregon to San Diego. He has been planning this trip for a while, it is his first long bike journey. I look forward to hearing about his adventures.
I finally had a chance to do some reading last night and then slept dreaming of the book I read. Having a little space is lovely. Going to bed early is wonderful.
This is me, in hair and make-up last night for the Hispanic Heritage Awards. I must say it went swimmingly! I had a great time. My poem was well-received, I met many interesting people at the reception after, including a woman who wants to interview me for her radio show. The recipients were gracious, the master of ceremonies entertaining and it will air October 11. I really am completely comfortable on stage.
Hello October, I love you and all you will bring. You arrived with a stunning sunrise, thank you.
The days will be less busy with outside obligations but the personal ones, to myself, family and writing are still looming.