Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Favorites

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware off, no shortcut."
-- Stephen King, On Writing

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lucille Clifton Reading - November 3, 2008

One of my favorite poets, Lucille Clifton, will be reading her work in New York City at The 92nd Street Y on November 3 @ 8 PM. W.S. Merwin will also be reading his work. For ticket information, click here.

Lucille Clifton’s “poems are made with an unerring ear and a burning mind,” wrote Adrienne Rich. “There are very large psychological reaches within this taut, spare poetry.” Clifton is the author of Good Woman; Next; Blessing the Boats, winner of the National Book Award; and most recently, Voices.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cutting Greens

By Lucille Clifton

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black.
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mental Notes

They come and go
spontaneous and erratic
when I’m half asleep
driving on the freeway
pretending to be engaged
in a lackluster conversation
that point in time
when I’m trapped
between my conscious
and my subconscious
those pristine moments
when I can’t escape
so I can process
and really ignite
leaving me
frustrated and deficient
wrecking my brain
trying to remember
but it’s no use
once again
I have missed out
on what was
probably my best
gone and forgotten
like the others
but they always resurface
next time
I hope I’m ready
to capture or at the very least
revive my thoughts and
permanently engrave them
in my mind and when I’m ready
transfer them to paper.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Favorites...

I'm With You - Avril Lavigne

One of my favorite songs because Avril sings her heart out, jolting your emotions. Love the intensity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grandfather Says

By Ai

"Sit in my hand."
I'm ten.
I can't see him,
but I hear him breathing
in the dark.
It's after dinner playtime.
We're outside,
hidden by trees and shrubbery.
He calls it hide-and-seek,
but only my little sister seeks us
as we hide
and she can't find us,
as grandfather picks me up
and rubs his hands between my legs.
I only feel a vague stirring
at the edge of my consciousness.
I don't know what it is,
but I like it.
It gives me pleasure
that I can't identify.
It's not like eating candy,
but it's just as bad,
because I had to lie to grandmother
when she asked,
"What do you do out there?"
"Where?" I answered.
Then I said, "Oh, play hide-and-seek."
She looked hard at me,
then she said, "That was the last time.
I'm stopping that game."
So it ended and I forgot.
Ten years passed, thirtyfive,
when I began to reconstruct the past.
When I asked myself
why I was attracted to men who disgusted me
I traveled back through time
to the dark and heavy breathing part of my life
I thought was gone,
but it had only sunk from view
into the quicksand of my mind.
It was pulling me down
and there I found grandfather waiting,
his hand outstretched to lift me up,
naked and wet
where he rubbed me.
"I'll do anything for you," he whispered,
"but let you go."
And I cried, "Yes," then "No."
"I don't understand how you can do this to me.
I'm only ten years old,"
and he said, "That's old enough to know."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sitting on the Sun

Yet again you drove me to
that place...
that place I dread going
that place where the anger and rage marinate
that place that defies the maximum rating on my thermometer
causing sweat beads to trickle down my face
(I am scalding)
sunspots to emerge on my skin
(I am sweltering)
that place...

You are my nuclear reactor
and once again
I am on fire…
red with fury.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Favorites...

Time (Neil and Lacey) - Mia Michaels Choreography

Such amazing choreography, with such emotion it brought tears to my eyes. Love Mia Michaels!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Timeless, Raceless, Sexless…Barrierless

Regardless of our differences, we are able to connect with individuals through the gift of poetry…

Driving along a deserted path one Saturday afternoon…sun roof open. Music blared from the speakers. I soaked up the sun and absorbed the earth-shaking bass lines. Arriving at my destination, I pulled into the parking lot of a quaint, somewhat-desolate white house. Stepping over an abandoned tri-cycle, I climbed the creaky stairs. I entered the room and met the quizzical eyes of ten strangers, all about 15 years my senior. I quickly scanned the room of curious faces, and immediately wondered if I was in the right place.

After hearing a soft, gentle voice, “You must be Erika,” I realized: this is the place. Despite this realization, a wave of awkwardness enveloped me…I’m not certain whether it was the age difference, or the fact that I was the only individual with high melanin concentrations in the room. Perhaps, it was a combination of the two. Nevertheless, I found an empty seat and tried to get comfortable.

No real introductions, we delved right in. One after another, they allowed their emotions and creativity to pour out. Really good stories and poetry. How good? Well, lets just say, if my body was litmus paper, their words alerted me to the presence of arousing, poignant, and oftentimes – witty poetry and prose. I laughed, felt goose bumps, and other times... Well, I was extremely touched after being introduced to American poet Sharon Olds by someone in the group. I found myself holding back tears as she read her work. “The Last Evening” was that poignant -- touching on a subject that many can relate to -- experiencing the slow death of a loved one and desperately trying to come to grips with it.

And then it was my turn to share. I read, “Synchronized Hearts,” an original poem about connecting with someone, spirit and energy, in the midst of chaotic, arousing music. They, too, felt the presence of my poetry, offering words of praise, debating about its sensuality, and overall -- providing meaningful feedback/critique.

It was at that moment that I was reminded of something I once heard about poetry: it is truly a gift that connects people, despite their differences...timeless, raceless, sexless…barrierless.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Last Evening

By Sharon Olds

Then we raised the top portion of the bed,
and her head was like a trillium, growing
up, out of the ground, in the woods,
eyes closed, mouth open,
and we put the Battle arias on, and when I
heard the first note, that was it, for me,
I excused myself from the death-room guests,
and went to my mother, and cleared a place
on the mattress, beside her arm, lifting
the tubes, oxygen, dextrose, morphine,
dipping in under them, and letting them
rest on my hair, as if burying myself
under a topsoil of roots, I pulled
the sheet up, over my head,
and touched my forehead and nose and mouth
to her arm, and then, against the warm
solace of her skin, I sobbed full out,
unguarded, as I have not done near her;
and I could feel some barrier between us dissolving,
I could feel myself dissolving it,
moving ever-closer to her through it, till I was
all there. And in her coma nothing
drew her away from giving me the basal
kindness of her presence. When the doctor came in,
he looked at her and said, "I'd say
hours, not days." When he left, I ate
a pear with her, talking us through it,
and walnuts—and a crow, a whole bouquet
of crows came apart, outside the window.
I looked for the moon and said, I'll be right
back, and ran down the hospital hall,
and there, outside the eastern window,
was the waxing gibbous, like a swimmer's head
turned to the side half out of the water, mouth
pulled to the side and back, to take breath,
I could see my young mother, slim
and strong in her navy one-piece, and see,
in memory's dark-blue corridor,
the beauty of her crawl, the hard, graceful
overhand motion, as someone who says,
This way, to the others behind. And I went back,
and sat with her, alone, an hour,
in the quiet, and I felt, almost, not
afraid of losing her, I was so
content to have her beside me, unspeaking,
unseeing, alive.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Synchronized Hearts

It’s dark.
Most are inebriated.
I escape to the dance floor
in hopes you will find me.

Flashing strobe lights,
a crowded room,
thumping bass lines
blare from the speakers.

I close my eyes.
The music electrifies me,
leaving me no choice
but to move my body.

The music absorbs me.
I feel your energy.
I feel your stare.
It’s alluring.

your movements mirror mine.
Natural, internal vibrations.

Our eyes lock.
We touch…finally.
Our hearts beat
in harmony.

A magnetic
fire blazes.
I hear you

We transcend.
We are one
with the sound waves.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Favorites...

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

My favorite book -- a poignant, heart-wrenching story that deals with the plight of women in Afghanistan -- focusing on mothers and daughters and friendships between women. Excellent book, truly a must-read (with a box of tissues).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I fall deeper and deeper
deeper and deeper
into the darkness.
My heart bleeds
my lip trembles.

It took years,
decades even
for me to see that now...

The sky is blue.
The river flows.
The birds sing.
The light captivates me.

I never knew
there's so much
to learn, to see, to understand.

I travel with a violet rose
what a pretty color.

I can't turn back
nor would I desire to.
Once revealed
always exposed.

I am intrigued.

Monday, October 6, 2008


He loves her.
He loves her not.
And on some days,
it’s somewhere in between.

Her heart is like
the soles on her shoes:
worn and tuckered out,
past refurbishment and repair.

But, she sticks around
like a bee to a flower.
With his love as her nectar.
And her desire: his impetus, his pollination.
Together, they produce sweet honey.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Favorites...

Spin Spin Sugar - Sneaker Pimps

One of my favorite songs, for it's basslines, vocals, chaotic tunes -- you can't help but move your body -- great song.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Slanting Light

By Arthur Sze

Slanting light casts onto a stucco wall
the shadows of upwardly zigzagging plum branches.

I can see the thinning of branches to the very twig.
I have to sift what you say, what she thinks,

what he believes is genetic strength, what
they agree is inevitable. I have to sift this

quirky and lashing stillness of form to see myself,
even as I see laid out on a table for Death

an assortment of pomegranates and gourds.
And what if Death eats a few pomegranate seeds?

Does it insure a few years of pungent spring?
I see one gourd, yellow from midsection to top

and zucchini-green lower down, but
already the big orange gourd is gnawed black.

I have no idea why the one survives the killing nights.
I have to sift what you said, what I felt,

what you hoped, what I knew. I have to sift
death as the stark light sifts the branches of the plum.