Friday, October 31, 2003
Does anyone actually go trick-or-treating anymore? Here in the City, at least? Rumors - urban legends? - of gang initiations and other craziness taking place tonight have changed our plans so now we're hitting the Museum of Natural History for "loads of Halloween fun, including trick-or-treating, live performances, craft activities, roaming characters, and more!" Sounds like fun, if disturbingly suburban.
Isaac has a cool Frankenstein costume and India will be Blue (as in Blue's Clues). I wanted Isaac to be Batman but they didn't have any costumes in his size. Or so Salomé claimed. Hmm...
This is their first Halloween so it'll be interesting to see how they react to it. So many of these things end up like weddings where it's more about the parents than the kids, I hope they have a good time.
Halloween, 1989, found me in a $200 Batman costume, sweating in the heavy latex mask, at one of the lamest parties I've ever been to in my life, high school included. Friends of my father's, I was the youngest one there by at least 10 years and hadn't yet become a drinker so I was bored out of my mind.
The most fun I had with that costume was standing in my living room window in Staten Island with the lights off and spreading my cape whenever someone walked by. Dork!
Halloween, 1999, we went to a co-worker's house party, complete with rooftop barbeque. I wore a pair of my Army fatigues and crazy makeup and went as a zombie, of sorts. Salomé dressed in all-black and we called her negativity. The party was okay but kind of pointless from a costume perspective. Like with High School reunions, I think Hollywood has given me some skewed expectations of Halloween parties.
If tonight were a movie, the museum displays would come to life and we'd have to battle reanimated dinosaurs, revenge-seeking Haida and Bella Coola, and that big-ass blue whale that hangs from the ceiling. The climax would take place in the Planetarium which turns out to be a portal to the Negative Zone from which hordes of demonic gnomes resembling Dubya make a push to conquer our world. I would find my old Batman costume in a maintenance room and ultimately save the day, but only after letting the Bella Coola kill off all of the Upper Eastsiders and their spoiled kids.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over talent and craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
This is a very cool idea and may be exactly what I need to help me stop procrastinating. With November having 30 days, that would mean writing 1667 words/day. That's tough but not impossible - roughly 5-6 pages/day - especially if I approach it as free-writing and don't bog myself down in editing after every other paragraph!
Anyone else up for this challenge?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
1. Last night at Acentos was one of those rare transcendent moments that puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step. I was so jazzed, I played Jordan Knight's Give it to You all the way home, complete with in-your-seat choreography! Mahina Movement, with a new-to-me lineup, was simply amazing. A female Rage Against the Machine, they brought tight collaborations with raw verse and absolutely smoked the mic. The open preceding them was an exciting mix of old and new voices, too, with Fish filling in as host like it was second-nature. Nine months in and they are truly hitting their stride. Kudos to Oscar and Fish. And that new guy, Rich, too! They've got something special happening and I'm excited to be witnessing it from the beginning.
2. Next Tuesday, we get to vote on an important referendum (Proposal Number Three: A Question - City Elections) to eliminate partisan primaries and, like the vast majority of major American cities, change to a non-partisan process where candidates must run for office sans party label with the top two vote-getters facing off on election day. This opens the possibility of two Republicans running against each other or, the bigger concern, that someone could potentially buy their way into office. Gasp! Like that's never happened in a partisan election? Of course, the fact that two Democrats might also face off generally gets mentioned as an aside, if at all. The Op-Ed pages are full of boogeyman stories trying to scare people off the concept. Personally, I'm all for it. It forces people to look beyond a label and actually find out what each candidate stands for individually, instead of assuming their interests are covered by some cut-and-paste party platform. Those that don't bother - sadly, the majority, I'm sure - will have their vote decided for them by the media, which is generally the case in partisan primaries anyway. Howard Dean, anyone?
3. Comic book Wednesday is fun! Even if none of the titles I buy are released in a particular week, it's a creative stimulant to scan the covers and skim through random issues, looking for something new and interesting. I came across The Losers that way, now one of my regular favorites, as well as the intriguing Heaven's Devils. Gotham Central is still my overall favorite, while Teen Titans, Spectacular Spider-Man and New Mutants are my other regulars. Sadly, Micronauts was cancelled with issue 11, though Devil's Due promises they will return next year in a new series, and the new Batman story-arc looks lame. Killer Croc as a pimp?!?! Ultimate Six and 1602 are pretty good mini-series that I'm following, but I wasn't all that impressed by Supreme Power or the long-awaited JLA/Avengers crossover.
4. Three chapters in to The Glass Mountain and I'm happy to say that Rydill has deftly picked up Annat's story. Hoo-ray.
5. On a related note, the Dollar-to-Pound conversion sucks on this side of the Atlantic! Some allies THEY are. ;-)
6. The Yankees fired their hitting coach, Rick Down. (Daily News headline: One Down) Ah, scapegoats! If only Joe Torre had the self-respect to tell Steinbrenner to take his job and shove it. Of course, he's the guy that said, "If you're going to take [Steinbrenner's] money, you've got to take his guff," so there's not much hope for self-respect winning that battle.
7. Napster is back and I'm vaguely tempted. The co-branded Samsung YP-910GS looks very cool. It's on my wish list. Just sayin'...
8. Smallville tonight. Perry White shows up. I'll be there.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Danticat is talented, without a doubt, but this book is a short story clumsily stretched into novel-length, barely, full of archetypes and allegories but not nearly enough character development. In the end, you don't really know or care about anybody or anything; what should be an intense and emotionally harrowing story ends up flat and unfulfilling.
It's a Lifetime TV movie-of-the-week. With an accent. :-(
Everything is a game to Leo. However, this lighthearted attitude doesn't make you casual or careless. Instead of being driven by duty and fear, you're motivated by pride and delight. You can and therefore you will.
You feel as if you've finally become the person you always aspired to be. So now what? Enjoy this time without question. Perfection is a process rather than a fixed state.
I have been feeling rather good about life lately. I don't necessarily think I'm there yet, but I'm certainly more on track than I've ever been. :-)
Monday, October 27, 2003
After getting a bunch of Crayola art supplies, including a cool desk/easel, from us on Friday, we threw him a party at Chuck E. Cheese on Sunday with a bunch of his cousins and friends, and we...I mean HE, made out like a bandit!
He got more than 60 Hot Wheels cars with two playsets (a huge service station and "freeway chase") that are now taking up our entire living room floor. He got a ton of NakNaks, a toy/game he discovered at daycare which I still have to figure out what the hell they are. They seem a tad Pokemonish, down to the "stack 'em all" concept of the game. He got his own CD player which, as cool as it is, I suspect will become the parental headache gift of the year. We asked for it, though! He also got this cool airboat that comes with a working "power drill" that allows him to take it apart and put it together with plastic screws and all. That one, so far, seems to be his early favorite.
Of course, there was also the usual assortment of clothes, including the coolest corduroy coat, and his first designer outfit: sweatshirt, jeans and winter coat from Rocawear! I-to-tha-saaco!
MY favorite gift was the Sesame Street Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music, THREE CDs of classic Sesame Street songs. That's right, C is for Cookie, whenever I want to hear it! Going to have to burn copies for him to throw around while I hold on to the masters for safe-keeping. ;-)
Today's entry was brought you by the letter "Fuckin' A!"
The party was a fun but exhausting couple of hours of kids, pizza, kids, commotion and kids. Chuck E. puts on a good show, though, so it was worth the money and the exhaustion. Around 5:30pm, sitting around putting together the playsets (thanks, Frank!), watching the Jets make McNabb look good, and passing a still-cranky India around (it DOES take a village!), it felt like it was already midnight. I'm still tired and there just isn't enough coffee to make a difference.
In other news, the Jessica Rydill books arrived from Amazon.co.uk, so I'm looking forward to devouring The Glass Mountain once I'm done with Breath, Eyes, Memory which, while not blowing me away, is at least turning into a solid read. It's kind of like gangster movies where, after a while, the stories all seem the same. Makes me wonder what ever happened to Junot Diaz who, like Danticat, burst onto the scene with a collection of well-received short stories. I haven't read Krik? Krak! to make a proper comparison to Drown, which I did read, but I wonder if Diaz found himself slipping into the same rut Danticat choose to plow anyway and decided better of it.
Sometimes, I think it's better to step away until you have something new to say than to self-indulgently add your two cents to the overflowing jar of pennies. Of course, that's just MY two cents! ;-)
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Congratulations to the Marlins, 2003 World Series Champions. Hopefully they don't dismantle them again.
Congrats to the Yankees, too. As much I hate them, especially Posada, you have to respect their talent. Except Posada. Screw him. Chinless fuck.
Friday, October 24, 2003
The gun flack kept coming back to his main point of guns as deterrents, ie: if everyone has one, people are less likely to use them. Like Nuclear bombs, I suppose? I don't really buy into that logic as I've always figured if I had one, I'd be MORE likely to use it as they can be something of a shortcut to dealing with certain situations and there have been times in my life where I had a penchant for getting into certain situations. (Mind you, I'm not talking criminal stuff as I've never tried to play the gangsta role or give that impression. More like my tendency to not always think about the consequences of my actions would sometimes set me up for confrontations I couldn't talk my way out of. OPP and such.)
I did own a .22 for a while, purchased while I was in the Army. When I got out and moved back to NYC, I often carried it with me, especially if I was going to be out late. Had a little holster for it and carried it in the small of my back, or in my backpack which I always carried, depending on where I was going. After a year or two, it ended up in a duffel bag in the closet where it stayed until we moved to Virginia and I decided to get rid of it. I only ever pulled it out twice (once on myself) and never fired it, not even in practice, but never fully trusted myself with it either as, despite my reputation for being a relatively patient person, I do have a bad temper that, once it's set off, is tough to get back under control.
I think about that whenever Salomé tells me about some jackass guy making jackass guy comments on the street. I hate the way it makes her feel, but even more, I hate the fact that there's nothing I can do about it. On the rare occasion there is the opportunity to confront the person I find myself at a loss. Those kind of controntations, especially when you're outnumbered, rarely lead to anything good.
There was one time, a few years back, in a restaurant, and Salomé and a friend (Andie, I think) came back from the bathroom complaining about the guys in the kitchen harassing them. I don't know what was different about that time - perhaps the relative comfort of knowing nothing too intense could jump off in a restaurant? - but I went back to the kitchen and confronted the two guys. They played innocent, going so far as to pretend they barely understood English. If I remember correctly, we ended up leaving without eating, after loudly complaining to the host on the way out. It was a small thing but at least it felt like I had done something.
A couple of weeks ago, it happened again as Salomé came up from the garage upset after being harassed by the guys replacing the boiler in our building. Feeling utterly helpless, I caught myself wishing I still had that gun and knew if I had, I'd have probably done something we'd all end up regretting. Of course, the alternative of not doing anything at all felt equally sickening.
That feeling ate at me for the rest of the day.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Oh, wait. That WAS David Wells!
Let's go Marlins!!!!!!!!!
In other news, Bard was a bust so I'm looking for something else to read. Got about 10 pages in and just couldn't get into Llywelyn's style of writing. Too bad, as I was hoping for something along the lines of an Irish version of Aztec. Grabbed Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory off our bookshelf this morning and got through the first chapter on the train before giving in to a nap. Nothing to do with the book, I was just tired. It does start off as a rather cliched immigrant story, though, but I've been intending to read it for years so I'll push through it even if it doesn't pick up.
I'm still waiting to get my copy of The Glass Mountain, the sequel to Children of the Shaman that I had to order from the UK Amazon.com as it hasn't been published here yet. Apparently, Shaman's sales weren't impressive enough for ROC to pick up Mountain for US publication. I wonder how much marketing, or lack of, had to with that. Judging from the amount of praise the book received and the way ROC is buried in the depths of the Penguin web site, I suspect a whole lot. (For a while, I actually thought TOR was the publisher!)
As it is, I think Shaman might be a little bit too different for the general fantasy audience that it was likely marketed to. It's definitely not a hack-and-slash dungeon crawl! Judging from Mountain's cover, it looks like the UK publisher tried to force Rydill's round story into the fantasy genre's square peg. That, combined with the tagline, The Spellbinding Fantasy Novel of Empire and Enchantment would have totally turned me off and I'd have never picked it up. The first chapter she has posted on her site has me hopeful that she's retained the magic of Shaman, not giving in to whatever corporate pressure there might have been to make it more marketable. That's like faulting the hammer for not being a screwdriver!
It's things like this that make me appreciate the Soft Skulls of the world and reinforce my desire to go into publishing for myself. As the past year has found me completely reshaping my creative outlets, I'm thinking 2004 may be the year to get that particular project off the ground.
What Would Your Serial Killer Name Be?
What Would the Public Know You As?
No one would really know your name. You would be
called by what you do. For example, if you burn your
victims to death all the time, you would be known as
The Arsonist; or, if you knife them, you would be known
as The Slasher. You would be the mysterious killer who
strikes at sporadic times, and would be very difficult to
You might dress up and mask yourself when you perform
your horrible killings. Your identity would really be a
mystery. Obviously you would be wanted all over the
place, and authorities would desperately try to capture
you. Even if you were caught, you would not say much.
The public would greatly fear you because you could
just strike unexpectedly.
brought to you by Quizilla
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
An entertaining tale, creatively told, with a great premise, I felt a little underwhelmed by the end. Part of that is definitely the hype effect as I've heard so much about Neil Gaiman being this amazing writer that it was next to impossible for him to blow me away. The stakes were too high for that.
The book does suffer from a bit of self-indulgence as Gaiman throws everything he can into the 588-page...epic? Road trip? Love story? That's another part of the problem. The book is ostensibly one man's story being told against the backdrop of some rather grandiose events, but at times it feels like it's actually a patchwork of random short stories that couldn't quite stand on their own. And the ending falls somewhere between cheap bait-and-switch and outright letdown.
Getting there is fun, though, not unlike a two-week relationship full of good sex, drunken philosophizing and a clean, no-strings-attached parting of ways, self-respect still intact. I'd hesistantly recommend it for those looking for something - different? - but with a hearty caveat emptor.
I'm giving Gaiman one more shot with Endless Nights, to be followed by Morgan Llywelyn's Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish.
Monday, October 20, 2003
A - Act your age: 34 (shh!)
B - Best friend: Salomé, Eric
C - Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom
D - Dad's name: Francisco
E - Essential make-up item: Hair Gel
F - Favorite actress: Salma Hayek
G - Gold or silver: Silver
H - Hometown: Bronx, NY
I - Instruments you play: Pens, computers, heartstrings...
J - Job title: Marketing Coordinator
K - Kids: Yes; Isaac & India
L - Living arrangements: My wife & kids
M - Mom's Name: Debra
N - Number of people you've slept with: More than one, less than Wilt Chamberlain
O - Overnight hospital stays: Surprisingly enough, none!
P - Phobias: Rats
Q - Quote you like: "I came to live out loud." Emile Zola
R - Religious affiliation: None
S - Siblings: Brother (Bryan, 22) & sister (Bianca, 21), from parents' second marriages
T - Time you wake up?: 6am
U - Unique habit: No idea...
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat: Beets
W - Worst habit: Overindulgence
X - X-rays you've had: Teeth, ankle, skull
Y - Yummy food you make: Salmon, pasta sauce
Z - Zodiac sign: Leo. Double Leo, actually!
It's one thing when the host snatches your bio from somewhere and decides to read the laundry list themselves but when you provide the epic bio, I'm immediately inclined to tune you out. Let your damn poetry speak for you.
A few years back, I hosted a reading of local poets during the Austin International Poetry Festival. They all were asked to provide bios for me to introduce them as I didn't know any of them. The bios ranged from the simple "John is a member of the blah-blah writer's collective and is a native of Austin, TX," to the aforementioned listing of degrees, chapbooks, publications, etc. Annoyed, and a bit hungover, I informed them all at the beginning of the show that I was throwing their bios away, as the majority of them were boring, and instead, I would introduce each poet by name and wanted them to take 15-30 seconds to say something about themselves, completely unrelated to their poetry. The names of their kids, their favorite foods, what they liked about Austin; anything that would say something interesting about themselves. Most of them were cool with it, some even thanking me for doing it. A few grumbled about it, struggling to find something interesting to say. One was completely defiant and openly annoyed, offering his official bio anyway - an unimpressive list of regional journals and the fact that he had an MFA - and, not surprisingly, turned out to be one of the lamer poets of the day, reading hollow poems about nature; solid craft, zero content.
After Friday's reading in Amherst - which had some of the longest bios ever for a group of poets with relatively limited credentials, seemingly detailing every reading they ever attended, open mic or feature - I am going to make it my official practice to provide hosts with a simple, 1-2 sentence bio:
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is from the Bronx, and has a beautiful wife and two amazing kids. He's done stuff that's gotten him to this point and still writes when the mood hits him and he has the time. Google.
Okay, three sentences. I'm so vain! ;-)
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Speaking of booing during introductions - in a funny way, though - that's exactly how I was greeted at Amherst last night after the host read the bio I provided him: "Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is from the Bronx, but he is not a Yankee fan." I didn't expect to run into so many Yankee fans in Massachussetts, especially one day after that ridiculous comeback against the Red Sox! It was cool, though, as it was good-natured and I got them back in my corner quickly, jumping into the memorized Breathless to start my set. It was about 11pm by then, I was tired and the audience was a little giddy after 3.5 hours of poetry with another hour still to go. I did Running Bases next, offering it as a partial explanation of why I'm not a Yankee fan anymore (when pinstriped dreams didn't need to be cable-ready and you played for the love of the game) and followed it with the newly-titled A Work In Progress, the poem for Isaac I wrote on Tuesday night which got the most fulfilling response. I closed with Mozer, Bethea & I, a poem I feel like I have to read at every college gig.
The reading was more fun than I expected and, though ridiculously long, it flowed pretty well despite only 5 of the 17 of us actually coming in under the adjusted 12-minute time limit. Most flagrant was Queen Sheeba, coming in at 15:39, who I single out only because she was so annoying in her inability to get over the fact that I turned her down for a feature at 13 earlier this year because I don't particularly care for her work. Don't ask if you don't really want to know!
Even though we were competing with Homecoming Weekend, they got a great turnout (close to 300 people) and, because Tyehimba Jess couldn't make it, Helen and Fish both got to perform. La Bruja, who's become something of a comedic monologist over the years, was there and we got to catch up a little bit and later, talked about my poem for Isaac and how she's not yet been able to write something for either of her kids. We agreed on it being something that had to come when it was ready, despite frequent questions (usually from the childless know-it-alls) about "why haven't you written a poem for _______ yet?" - as if a poem like that could be forced into existence the same way the topical stuff people churn out so easily.
Having only a handful of chapbooks with me, and not wanting to compete in the dating game that was the product table, I offered a free copy of Selected Squares of Concrete to anyone that bought something from any of the other poets. Figured the majority actually support themselves on poetry and are willing to do the kind of self-marketing that I abhor, so it was a win-win situation as I ended up giving away all that I had on me, incidentally, the last of the first printing.
Overall, it was a good time - including the giddy, 2am stop at Denny's - well worth the trip and the sheer exhaustion I'm now feeling from hitting the road at 6:30am on 2.5 hours of fitful sleep - Fish's snoring is second only to Omar's and Helen is a vampire! - to get Shappy to LaGuardia and me to IKEA.
And I'm spent. Go Marlins!
Thursday, October 16, 2003
It's a ridiculously packed lineup of 16 po...um, spoken word artist-types, including Shappy, Ed Garcia and myself, along with some poets I like (Bonafide, Dennis Kim, Tyehimba Jess, Kevin Coval), one who's work I like (Danny Solis), and mix of performers I can't bear to listen to or am not familiar with (you figure it out).
Interestingly, there's only four women on the bill, two I've never heard of. Since Helen Yum's coming up with us, I'm going to see if we can get her a couple of minutes on the stage. Fish is coming, too. Maybe one or two features won't show up...? To hope, perchance to dream.
We're each scheduled for 15 minute sets which pretty much guarantees there will be several attempts to jack the mic by the more long-winded amongst us. Shaggy claims he'll pull anyone disrespecting and going over but that's always a tough spot for a host to be in.
I haven't the slightest idea what I'll be reading. It'll depend where I am in the lineup and who I'm following. As long as I'm earlier rather than later as we have to hit the road back at the crack of dawn to get Shappy back here to the airport by 9am!
If you're in the Amherst area, come check us out. It's free and open to the public.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
350 pages into AMERICAN GODS and I'm thinking of Stephen King's NEEDFUL THINGS. As in somebody desperately needs a good editor.
The first two episodes of Smallville this season have been as good as anything on TV in the past decade.
George Clooney has Parkinson's. Look for the announcement within a year.
There's absolutely nothing sexy about Pink. And yet, there is.
Cosmetic surgery for purely cosmetic reasons annoys me. As does relaxed hair, colored contacts and liposuction.
People without kids should NEVER offer advice about how to raise them.
What kind of upstanding business can you run in 1200 square feet that can regularly bring in at least $8000/month? In the Bronx?
Something about Jack McKeon just makes you want to root for the Marlins.
Something about Joe Torre just makes you want to root for the Red Sox.
Today: Red Sox 7, Yankees 3; Marlins 3, Cubs 2.
Wrote this last night, during the show, but didn't finish it in time to drop it on the mic. It's Untitled but could just as easily be called Finally.
My son paints pictures
for my mother
wears boxes on his head
and likes the taste of medicine.
He is an unfinished poem
edited on an open mic.
In his third stanza
he repeats the words
I forget to censor
Yells out Fuck!
for the hell of it
and smirks knowingly at the response.
His current hook is
I want my mommy!
for wiping his tears from his cheeks.
I am playtime
depending on his mood
equally adept at tickle monster
and naptime dictator.
The wheels on the bus
go round and round
round and round
round and round
The wheels on the bus
go round and round
all through the town.
Hip hop has faded
my mind a jukebox
of childhood tunes
sung by furry monsters.
C is for Cookie
that's good enough for me.
That's MY favorite
randomly running through my mind
less about paying bills
than being away from him.
Isaac Daniel Gonzalez.
He loves Spongebob Squarepants
knows how to work the VCR and DVD
and randomly exclaims
EA SPORTS! It's in the game.
He is an unfinished poem
edited on an open mic.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Talking and getting your message across in the right way is of real importance this week, especially as Mercury, the planet of commerce and communication, makes some powerful aspects. At the start of the week, it trines Neptune and squares Saturn, which means you need to be extra vigilant when communicating with anyone about anything that is really important. There is a good chance that you could easily be talked into something that ties you into a long-term commitment, which is not really to your benefit. You would be losing out rather than gaining. So don't sign or agree to anything until you really know what you are letting yourself in for. If you have sensitive matters to discuss with others, don't jump to hasty conclusions, but take every care to try and see their point of view. This is very much the case whether you are dealing with business or romantic matters, so be vigilant. Mercury sextiles Pluto, so you may also find yourself involved in a matter that could change certain aspects of your experience for the better. If you can let go of the old and embrace the new, you will have much to smile about. Especially if you have not been getting along too well with a friend or partner. Be prepared to leave your pride behind, and allow a miracle to occur.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Be sure to pick up his new book, Smoking Lovely, and catch him at Acentos next month, November 11th.
for Willie Perdomo and Imani Springer
-I am you. You are me.
-I am you. You are me.
god taps me on my right shoulder
whispers in my left ear
-I am you. You are me. We the same.
his words communion wine
his voice a deep, husky red
-I am you. You are me. We the same.
Can't you feel our veins
drinking the same blood?
i swallow deeply
inhale the scent
if it wasn't for her
i would be standing on the corner
thinking about the world
drinking blackberry brandy
keeping a cold hustler company
with stories from back in the days
and i know exactly what he means
if it wasn't for her
i'm not sure where i'd be now
but back then
when dreams becamse nightmares
you'd find me in a bar called botanica
borrowed pen in one hand
cold pint of stout in the other
american spirit hanging from my lip
unable to change my world
determined to change everyone else's
i wrote it all down
despair is the muse of the blocked and
i was prolific
where's he from
a nickel costs a dime
langston told him that
where i'm from
trees are few and
leaves, like dreams of escape
wither, die, fall, float
in curbside streams to the sewers below
no one told me this exactly
but i could hear it in his voice
when he tells me what his mother said,
"Bueno, mijo, eso es la vida del pobre"
(Well, son, that is the life of the poor.)
when we finally met
on the other side of
our own books of Job
he stepped down
from the pedestal i'd placed him on
shook my hand
god becoming man
to save my soul
a twelve-year old poet
why I do not write anything funny
eyes aglow with innocence and hope
i do not have the heart
to tell her that i lost my sense of humor
but my poems
have told her exactly that
she smiles at my hesitance
and i want to tell her about
every single thing
that has ever stolen my faith
wish there a way
to put it all in one poem
shove it down people's throats
make them choke on it - gag for air
beg for second chances
to do things right
but i don't
in her eyes
is the hope i'd lost
and she offers it to me
no strings attached
just a simple question
and a smile
of all the books
resting on my shelf
what i remember most are the voices
and the people they belong to
-I am you. You are me. We the same.
there is no poem
that can change
who can change
The Fifth Voyage
Last night he dictated his last testament. This morning he asked if the king's messenger had arrived. Afterward, he slept. Nonsense mutterings and groans. He still breathes, but stertorously, as if battling against the air.
At court, no one has listened to his entreaties. He returned from the third voyage in chains, and on the fourth there was no one to pay attention to his titles and dignities.
Christopher Columbus is going out knowing that there is no passion or glory that does not lead to pain. On the other hand, he does not know that within a few years the banner that he stuck for the first time into the sands of the Carribbean will be waving over the empire of the Aztecs, in lands yet unknown, and over the kingdom of the Incas, under the unknown skies of the Southern Cross. He does not know that with all his lies, promises, and ravings, he has still fallen short. The supreme admiral of the ocean sea still believes he has reached Asia from the rear.
The ocean will not be called the Sea of Columbus; nor will the new world bear his name, but that of this Florentine friend Amerigo Vespucci, navigator and pilot master. But it was Columbus who found dazzling color that didn't exist in the European rainbow. Blind, he dies without seeing it.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Saturday night was Salomé's 10 Year High School Reunion and I was fully expecting to enjoy some of the stereotypical dramatics I've seen in the movies. A redeeming fight between the jock and the geek; indiscretions in the bathroom; shocking revelations on the dance floor; long-lost love found in the parking lot. Something! Instead, it was a night of old friends and acquaintances, many of whom hadn't seen each other in a while, enjoying a rare night out together. I'm sure there were some intense moments being played out in the room but nothing that broke out into the public view.
Salomé and Andrea had a good time, while Frank and I kept the bartender busy, played photographer when needed and shook hands with people whose names I've mostly forgotten. It was a lot of fun - especially for the simple fact that it was a night out with adults, with no curfew, and the kids were safe at home with Grandpa and Abba - but it was a little anti-climactic. Damn you, John Hughes!
The night made me vaguely wistful about my own reunion. Well, maybe not wistful, as I likely wouldn't go if they had one, but it got me to wondering what happened to many of my own classmates. From both high schools. It's been 16 years (HOLY SHIT!) since I graduated from Lakeland High School - where I arrived against my will from Mt. Vernon High School in the last few months of my Junior year - and I've been in touch with all of two people in the past ten years, one from each school, maintaining the barest of contact with each. I don't have a yearbook from either school and doubt I'd even recognize anyone if I passed them on the street today. There's a handful I'd be curious about, how their lives turned out, whether or not they'd successfully pursued their teenage dreams, and in Mt. Vernon's case, whether they'd escaped being the statistics many of us were expected to be.
Thing is, I'd probably be happier just hearing about it secondhand than dealing with the awkward attempts at reconnecting to a mostly forgotten past. I'm pretty hardcore about "out of sight, out of mind" and, once enough time passes, just plain out of my life.
That's probably a bad thing but it's how it's played out every time there's a significant shift in my life. That whole "Started over more times barefoot than clothed" thing, I guess.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Earlier this week, I got one such email, a humorous query from someone looking for a certain poet that used to read at 13 a couple of years back. I say humorous because the poet in question was pretty awful (remember Fishy Smell?) but the guy that was looking for him thought he was the best thing ever. To each his own, I responded, respectfully disagreeing with his take on said poet, informing him that I no longer run the series at Bar 13 and cc:d the current curators.
One of them - who shall remain nameless, literally and figuratively, less to protect their identity than to keep myself from being anymore pissed off about the events of the past six months - responded to him directly. It wasn't until he responded to me that I saw the curator's typically curt response that included the following gem:
"Please note that while Guy Le Charles was at one time a host for our series, he's no longer, in any way, affiliated with the series or the louderARTS Project."
Revisionist history? Petty bullshit? You make the call.
Thursday, October 9, 2003
Rivera is like the Yoda of poetry. Tiny old guy, his eyes practically drip wisdom, history clinging to his brown skin - he's the closest thing to an actual griot I've ever met. He even carries a crooked staff!
We each read a couple of poems, talked about Acentos, hinted at the coming of the LWA (aka, Latino/a Writers Alliance) and joked off-mike about how we were like the new Menudo. Or New Kids on el Bloque. Or, my favorite, En Cinco. Rich claimed Joey Fatone and I think Ed's the most likely Justin Timberlake (it's all about the hair). I'll have to claim JC Chasez as I refuse to be Lance or Chris!
Later, I'm meeting up with Daphne Gottlieb for a drink before her feature at Urbana - Acentos is considering bumrushing the slam! - and then hope to find an anti-Yankee bar to catch the end of game 2, hoping it's more Return of the Jedi than Empire Strikes Back.
NOTE: If you're wondering why you didn't know about the WBAI gig ahead of time, you must not be on my mailing list, and you're certainly not on the list! ;-)
Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Say it out loud a couple of times so you understand that it really happened.
Let it sink in.
Note the feeling, if any, in the pit of your stomach while you consider the potential ramifications of a political neophyte governing the largest state in the country, in charge of one of the largest economies in the world.
Identify the feeling you get from knowing such responsibility has been entrusted to someone whose positions on most issues are vague at best, and whose platform was that he'd go to Sacramento to "knock heads together" and "kick some serious butt."
Now, ask yourself how much attention you've paid to the nine Democrats lined up for the blessing to take on President George W. Bush a year from now.
How much, if anything, do you know about each of them and how much of that knowledge came from your own research? Can you name them all? Do you know what they stand for, what they're advocating and how their past records jibe or conflict with what they're saying now? Did you know that one of them, Bob Graham, an early "top-tier" candidate, has already thrown in the towel thanks to lack of momentum in his campaign?
With that in mind, there was a great op-ed in last week's Cambridge Chronicle:
Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, who is a more progressive choice than [Howard] Dean, has received very little recognition in the media. Why? It knows he's running. It should tell us who he is and what he stands for, and let us decide if we want to support him or not. It should tell us that Kucinich has been even more unwavering in his opposition to the Iraq war than has Dean, the supposed "anti-war" candidate. It should tell us that Kucinich proposes a plan for universal health care that would cover everyone, while Dean proposes a piecemeal plan that would still leave many Americans uninsured. It should tell us that Kucinich supports the environmental Kyoto treaty, while Dean opposes the treaty subject to stronger calls for emission reductions by developing nations (this even though the U.S. is by far the greatest contributor to, and developing nations largely victims of, such emissions). Instead, all we're really told about Kucinich is that he can't win. Some democracy we're in when the media decides for us who can or can't become our President!
The same media that gave Schwarzenegger an unprecedented amount of NATIONAL coverage and, the LA Times' last-ditch efforts notwithstanding, a relatively free ride that rivaled Bush's heyday in the weeks after 9/11.
Of course, this rant assumes that anyone reading it a) thinks things need to change, and b) believes things can change.
PS: Look for my mayoral campaign to kick off sometime next summer. I'm going down to City Hall to kick some serious metaphors and knock some allegories around. Cowboy up!
Tuesday, October 7, 2003
I'm not a Yankee fan and love few things more than to root against them. It has less to do with their payroll (the Mets are just as guilty of throwing money around and gouging their fans, only for them it's usually towards a losing effort) than the simple fact that I love the underdog. I grew up a Yankee fan in the 70's - Graig Nettles was my hero! - but by the early 80's, when all my favorite players were gone, I became a Mets fan, remaining loyal to my native NY and suffering through the final years of George Foster and Dave Kingman before the great payoff of 1986!
This year's playoffs find me cheering for the team they beat that year, the Red Sox, hoping they stick it to the Yankees so bad, George Steinbrenner goes into permanent exile and that smug, overrated jerkoff, Joe Torre retires. I'm also rooting for a full seven games from the Cubs and Marlins because two great underdogs deserve no less. The Marlins practically raised their manager (and their season) from near-death and the Cubs...well the Cubs are the Cubs. Period.
Rooting for a team is something you either get or don't and I'm not really sure what the dividing line is. Some people dig competition, some don't, I guess. For me, there's few things as electric as sitting in a bar surrounded by friends and complete strangers, cheering on your favorite team. Or against your least favorite. And, of course, talking shit to rival fans, real or imagined. There's no intrusive thoughts about the fatal flaws of our capitalistic system - unless you're hating on the Yankees free-spending ways - just the pure and simple enjoyment of a game played at the highest level. It's the collective unconcious in it's most powerful form.
There's the human element, too. These are real people playing their hearts out and, especially in the playoffs, the best ones leave everything out on the field. Anyone that watched the Jackson-Damon collision last night and didn't feel it in the pit of their stomach is a heartless bastard. Two guys, playing their hearts out with no regard for their bodies, laying everything on the line. That's what it's all about.
"Cowboy up!" Go Red Sox!
Monday, October 6, 2003
This is my brain after leaving too much work for the last minute and not having anything to eat all day: _________________
Admit it, you love the visuals. ;-)
I'd wonder why I leave these financial advertorials I have to write every month to the last minute but I already know why. My name is Guy LeProscratinator Gonzalez. That's why.
My level of proscratination fluctuates more than the stock market, though, and is just as arbitrary and subject to outside forces. When it comes to work - aka the employment that allows me to pay bills and buy comic books - it is greatly influenced by how much I like my job at any given moment.
Lately, I've been procrastinating a lot more than usual which isn't a good sign. To continue the analogy, it's kind of like the unemployment figures. From analogy to segue, I have no desire to undertake another job search and realize that much of my current discontent comes from the still-glitchy transition we recently had. The new boss is slowly finding her footing so hopefully things will improve.
Until then, things like the poetry_slam list remain tempting diversions, not unlike the pack of cigarettes still under the bed even though you've quit, which explains my earlier post.
Funniest moment in a long, tiring but fun weekend: My father telling my sister, without any apparent irony, "Oh, I didn't get the invitation," when she tells him she's at India's birthday party Saturday night. Not funny ha-ha, funny sad. [7:14pm: Not funny sad/boo-hoo, funny sad/it's a shame what people do to avoid accepting their age and/or responsibilities.]
Every person has free choice. Free to obey or disobey the Natural Laws. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.
Alfred A. Montapert
PSI Venue Certification: $45
PSI Poet Gallery Feature: $100 (Associate member, $35, or higher only)
iWPS Registration Fee: $100
NPS Registration Fee: $350
Buddy Wakefield questioning someone's contributions to PSI: PRICELESS!!!
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Judge overturns ruling on Redskins nickname
"There is no evidence in the record that addresses whether the use of the term 'redskin(s)' in the context of a football team and related entertainment services would be viewed by a substantial composite of Native Americans, in the relevant time frame, as disparaging," she wrote.
[U.S. District Judge Colleen] Kollar-Kotelly also found that the activists waited too long to make their claims -- 25 years after the Redskins first registered their trademarks.
"In 1967, the NFL was still a nascent industry," she wrote. "Had this suit been brought at that point, Pro-Football [Inc., the company that owns the Redskins,] may have acquiesced and changed the name. The 25-year delay, where Pro-Football has invested so heavily in the marks, has clearly resulted in economic prejudice."
First of all, this assumes that Native Americans had the kind of political leverage 25 years ago that they do today.
And economic prejudice? She places the almighty dollar ahead of common sense and decency, saying that there's too much money at stake at this point to justify making them change their clearly offensive name, and has the nerve to refer to it as economic prejudice!?!? That's like Big Poppa E's laughable claim that wussy boys are like minorities fighting for their civil rights!
What the hell is wrong with this country?!?!
The Enneagram is a system which divides all human behavior into nine personality divisions. Your main type is whichever of those nine behaviors you use most, in your case Type 7. Your mean type, Type 6w7, is who you are on average, based on the sum influence of all nine behaviors.
Take Free Enneagram Test
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
I wasn't going to comment on this at all but after seeing the above headline, I just couldn't resist. Talk about some old-school, pandering bullshit!
First of all, I saw Limbaugh's comment live and in context and felt there was absolutely nothing racist about it, then or now. The guy's a victim of his reputation on this one - he's not Jimmy the Greek, not Sid Rosenberg, not even Howard Cosell (Remember "Look at that little monkey go?"). He simply contrasted the reality of McNabb's career-to-date (stellar at times, average to horrid many others) against the media's perception of him.
McNabb's arguably the third best black quarterback, behind McNair and Culpepper (fourth, if you believe Vick is the real deal), and yet he's the one the media dotes on the most, assigning him much of the credit for the Eagles' success over the past few years. Interestingly, no one's seen fit to point out how spectacularly well the Eagles played last year with their 2nd & 3rd-string quarterbacks, WHITE quarterbacks, while McNabb was injured. Never mind that pretty good defense they had, ranked 5th in the league!
That's all debatable and beside the point, though.
What really pisses me off is Dean and Clark's cynical opportunism, using this non-event to spout off, presumably showing how concerned and committed they are to...black issues, I guess? Come on now! I guess when you have no actual record to stand on, you grasp at whatever straws you can and spew trite rhetoric.
If either of these posers gets the Democratic nomination - or god forbid, end up running together! - it just might officially push me over the edge and into a third party. Some extreme shit, too, like the Socialist Workers Party.
(Meme: copy somebody else's list, delete the authors that aren't on your shelf, and add some authors you have - keeping the number at ten.)
Dawn Saylor's List:
Philip K. Dick
My List, in no particular order:
Not a single bit of overlap! Unless you count comic books, in which case I can claim Gaiman via 1602. And I think Salomé has some Cisneros. And I used to have all four of Adams' Hitchhiker's Trilogy. Yeah, count 'em.