January 13, 2013 is when I fell in love with Writ Large Press, it was the morning after Billy Burgos’s launch party at Beyond Baroque - thank you Billy, for the introduction! Most of you know that story, if not ask me in private! I then began to love all things Writ Large. I followed them and their doings, and then we'd hang and scheme for nights at Spring Street. We laughed, loved, hated, and cried together, and we shared similar beliefs on what “books" mean to us, the people who write them, and the communities they serve (and don't serve).
Then, Writ Large invited Poesia Para La Gente to participate in LAB•FEST in 2013, and the book fests in 2013 and 2014. And then #90for90 happened and I was formally invited to join this amazingness, whom I'd already grown to love. And so it began. And it was because of Peter, Chiwan, and Judy, and our little community that I learned how to navigate and process this thing called publishing, and all that it encompasses, and all that our lives encompassed over the past three years. And these past three years have been a lot: good, great, difficult, and everything, so I’m forever grateful in finding forever friends-like-family in those three amazing people. And yeah, I’m also grateful for being able to work on books by brilliant writers who also happen to be good people, like Wendy C. Ortiz, Rachel McLeod Kaminer, Ashaki M. Jackson, Mike Sonksen, and Teka Lark. And it was through Writ Large that I met some of the folx that I'll be fortunate to call friends for the rest of my life. Plus, have I mentioned how awesome it was to be a part of all of those events we put together, on that spectrum of what we see as being literary!? It’s been a fun/wild ride for sure!
But sadly, and happily, life brings us surprises. For instance, three years ago I had no idea I’d ever be married again, (and to someone so wonderful), but more importantly seven years ago when I began this journey, I had no idea I'd find this kind of fullness in my life. But I worked hard at letting me be me. This is how I found the friends I have now, the beautiful people in my life, that I love so much. This is also how I found it in myself to return to school, to return to the work I’m most passionate about, and to allow myself to learn, fuck up, grow, and experience. And with that comes shifts, in purpose, goals, what gets us excited, and how we choose to process how we learn new things.
Sadly, I'll be stepping away from Writ Large Press as a partner, but I’m excited for what’s in store. I owe it to them to make room for someone who has the capacity for a commitment greater than mine. Soon Writ Large will be publishing a new series of chapbooks, and 90x90 is on its way, and thanks to the many supportive friends and volunteers who’ve stepped up to help make this happen! I'm looking forward to all of this!! And I'll always believe, and hold close to my heart, the mission of Writ Large Press and it's founding partners, as expression of the politics we need in the world - yesterday, right now and always!
As for me, I’ll be announcing some new projects soon, one is a small publishing project, another is an advocacy/data project. Beginning this fall I’ll be pretty busy with finishing school while working freelance putting events together, helping other folks with events, designing books, working on community projects, working with Ave 50 Studio on things, and working to fight displacement and societal injustices. I'm also working on my first book which is requiring a surprising amount of research, but feels so good to be able to actually do. But also, and more importantly, there are some pretty exciting happenings on the home-front, which of course takes the cake!
There's an endless amount of joy and experience that I can write about, but I'll stop now, too many tears for a Tuesday! I'm so grateful for everyone I've met along the WLP way, and I'm equally grateful for this literary community we call home. So much more to come...see you all on the other side! 💜
resist. disrupt. transgress.
If you're interested in helping WLP with 90x90, in production, curating, presenting, reporting, spreading the word, etc. OR if you'd like your work to be featured for an evening - please FILL OUT THIS GOOGLE FORM.
I want to eat wedding cake
pure sugar, pure lust
disguised with hearts and baby bells
one white, the other pink,
one white, the other pink.
Like learning how to stick the thread through the needle, with eyes closed. It'll be okay if the needle pricks, it'll be okay if blood drips from your finger to the needle, down the thread, and onto the paper you're sewing together. Onto the wedding cake that will last forever. The paper is just paper, not a dress you're trying to fix, or trying to wear. It's not the dress that needs to be fixed. It's the colors of the paper, one white, the other pink. Or, like learning how to light a match, because sometimes lighting the paper on fire, is easier, faster and the clever way to fixing. And it's okay that the ash and embers blow away, the wedding cake will still be there while the rest of the world catches the fire.
Notes on Mondays. (to expand on later)
Today is Monday. It's the day of the week I decide to leave my apartment, by apartment I mean the inside. I know how the clouds look; billowy and easy to associate with something else, like maybe the freeway, or my Monday destination. In other words, I don't have to look forward to the clouds anymore. I have my Mondays.
She helps me with my becoming, and going. The learning how to live again. Or for the first time. Like Mondays. The beginning of the new week.
Like learning how to stick the thread through the needle, with eyes closed. It'll be okay if the needle pricks, it'll be okay if blood drips from your finger to the needle, down the thread, and onto the paper you're sewing together. It's just paper, not a dress you're trying to fix. It's not the dress that needs to be fixed. It's the paper. Or...like learning how to light a match, because sometimes lighting the paper on fire, is easier, smarter, and a faster way to there. And it's okay that the ash blows away.
And Gene Wilder died today. I'm sure it was the last scene of the film, and the idea that a grown person can learn so much from children, that children were the compass from which we measured a fit society, that helped me and so many get through the getting through as a child in a broken world. To dream of responsibility. Because to have responsibility is a privilege.
By the end of the session I took away sadness. I cried from a different place. Because as one door closes, another opens, and we have no idea the years we've hidden behind these so many doors.
I'll open a little canister of buena, pour a tablespoon or more into the container in the glass jar. Warm the water to just before boiling. And answer all of the questions I have on Mondays, by drinking a cup of our tea, by the jar.
The ability to respond. Is a privilege that can be overwhelming sometimes. But I'm tired of being sad. So I have Mondays for now, but I'm also readying to let go of even those.
This is how I welcome the July's. I was born in July and I'll be born again in the soon July. Born again because we sometimes have to relearn what it means to love. Because we forget, like walking past your neighbors aloe vera plants when you were a child. But you never knew they were there, or that they could heal what would leave a scar, did you? They were always there & reborn because when you were in the womb you didn't want to leave, you knew the world was waiting to scar you. Indefinitely. So you stayed too long, a week your mother says. Until they forced you out. But if they forced you out just six days earlier, you would be an entirely different kind of galaxy, than the one you were reborn to be & Jessica would be Julius & Julius would be Quintilis & everything could be anything, but water lilies would still be born from the garden you'll grow in eight days from today - separating the next from yesterday. The ceremonial tea is for the happiest of July's & happy July. ❤️
I miss my hometown & summer will never again meet us on neutral ground & tails are pulled like magic, from the broken bodies of lizards. No one will ever know why some things don't take their time in moving from one place to the next. It just happens. The moving too fast to allow the missing. But I miss and keep missing & all I remember is the before, but maybe that has nothing to do with now, and everything to do with home. If home is defined as a place you've built good memories in, the only home I've ever had is becoming left over sketches of a poem that may or may not make a tail of all that's broken. Someone once said that missing is a virtue. And so the missing will have to make up for the absence of normal summers. But I'd trade this poem and virtue, to stop anyone from missing what a home use to be. #HLP
I'm learning the difference between a secret and a lie, and I'm learning that secrets can destroy what it means to be human. In an effort to encourage my communication and to destroy secrets among us, I've been sharing my therapy sessions, in the way I know best, so far.
• • •
Falling in love with Mondays because she has a way of returning to me the time I've lost, in bits and pieces, and it only takes an hour each time.
I prefer to walk while retracing the hour that I gain. It's easier this way, to remember the things we wanted to say but didn't, and the things we should have said, but left them to "the next session."
The thing about getting to know therapy after thirty two years off and on, you learn to read faces, energy, secrets and lies. And therapists have secrets too.
We talked about missing things that we don't have. That we've never had, or that we very momentarily had. And how everything that makes me happy today, reminds me of those things.
Secret #1 : I wasn't suppose to forget.
We spoke about bodies in peace. A body without the deafening highs and crashing lows all at the same time, the oscillations - physical and sound, without the immediate and dramatic biochemical response of our bodies interaction with ourselves, after inappropriate amounts of sleep. We spoke about bodies without conflict.
But this is not my body. My body wants me to stop keeping secrets, my body wants me to know it by name.
Sometimes we feel everything over and over again, because that's what being alive feels like for us. We can be scared of the outside - the confrontations between two, the conversations that end with someone walking away upset. The screaming and yelling and pushing and pushing. Until someone gets hurt. It's scary, the outside. And that's not where I belong.
But I learned today that this is where I live. But it's not a place I visit, or somewhere I call home, or something I look for. There's an entire city that makes a home in my body. The environment, landscape, and culture that sleeps, wakes, and plays inside. The screaming and yelling and pushing and pushing. It's the comforting confrontations with ourselves. Over and over again. Until they become not so comforting oscillations - physical and sound. And there's always a hurt. And this kind of screaming doesn't leave room for a conversation. And I don't want to know you, if it means we'll not be able to tell each other everything in the world that might make us feel everything, over and over again. I want to know I can be sad with you. That we can be sad together.
There are places for us, the ones who since children have carried cities inside of our bodies. Places where we can find room for conversation. That friend we call home. That place we call sun. Where we sleep, or just listen to the silence outside of our city, another home. The river. And where we only think about today, and no worrying about our next hour or next Monday.
Dear fellow feminists, gentle women and men of color,
I need your help. I understand the process of voting. I understand the need for policy and structure and spending for structure and for this semblance of democracy, in order to make a more perfect union. After all, it is getting a little bit better for so many of us folks that aren't defined by the white, male, heteronormative folk who decided to re-found this place brown blood has called home for thousands of years.
I understand this process, so I will be voting this year. But not for President. But I want to vote for a President. And as a feminist, I'd love to vote for a woman. But. And there are so many but's. Help me understand why anyone can vote for someone who is willing and ready to push the big red button.
I no longer believe that war, in the way it's defined by our administration, is necessary or even helpful in promoting peace. Who's kidding, I never believed in war for anything. There is no other righteous excuse for war other than the purpose of promoting peace or exterminating evil. And even those excuses have been proven to no longer exist as excuses to spend 3.9% of our GDP on defense. That's $596 billion, which is triple the second highest nation in the world (quadruple if you go by the other report), a part of which is used to murder [innocent] civilians, usually brown civilians, and a part of which is used to create policy that destroys lives across the world. Interventionist policies that have shown to nurture femicide and rape culture - across the world.
And the candidate who is least quick on the trigger is, as an alternate or second to war, very much an advocate of sanctions, which has sometimes been known to do more long-term harm than war.
And to be okay with war
is to be okay with military
is to be okay with a police state
is to be okay with collateral damage
is to be okay with the
[fill in the blank] industrial complexities that make this country "great again"
Why and how is there a politician worthy of making this okay for anyone, how do our feminist-blooded brown bodies, histories, hearts and minds make this all okay, under the theory of democracy. How is any of this okay, to vote for? I want to know what good justifies the illusion of democracy , when history (and future) knows we can exist without being oppressed, without being owned, and without the need for voting for a President.
They were conversations on motherhood. It was Mother's Day. And also, these conversations happen when you're preparing your emotions for the soon-to-be-wedding. We were talking about mothering, motherness, motherlessness, and the future, and in her own way - because everything she does is in her own way - she reminded me that even in the absence of motherhood we are allowed to see a future - as opposed to what society would like us to think. And society is always trying to have a conversation with us, in the throes of womaness, womanhood, violent conversations. Mother's Day can be a bitch sometimes. And this is where baptism uncovers its rewards. The crying turns to thought, turns to laughter, turns to, "Thank you Mom. I love you." And then conversations of fatherhood, from this view atop Mother and Daughter Mountain. It's a beautiful thing what's happening in this uncertain generation. Men are being brought up to believe in women, to maybe think that the man alone might be more than just the mighty protector, or hunter. Because to be equal, is to be nobler than just a hunter alone. To look straight forward, into eyes, and to listen, is a better kind of protecting than what came before. This generation of this countries men are beginning to see women for who they are. And who they are is more than whats on paper, and women are more than women, and paper can burn, and women carry the matches. In other words, the thought is no more than what ends up counting. So when the generation of men that came before this generation decides to fuck up, the fuck up is greater than usual. There's an apology that sits higher than the bar that sat before. And now our boys, young men, are lost in not knowing how to solve the problems men before them created for those he loved, and who loved him. All that's left are a few unopened letters and broken pieces of man waiting for forgiveness. And I hope Father's Day can offer conversation between Man and Son, to make a mountain.
(how the heart wanders while researching the health profile of Morocco)
I cut some things shaving today. The parts of me I want naked. The parts of me I want to burn, from the inside, so that the healing can happen without anybody knowing, that I'm trying. The way the still-warm sun tea wants to try to escape from the glass, because the ice and the cracking becomes crowded, and...the glass drops from my weak hands, and barely breaks.
There was no blood when I cut myself. Kind of like the time you scraped your knee when you were seven, and only the white just below the surface of the skin showed. It only hurt when you wiped it with your dirty finger, dirty from it being in your mouth the second before.
The mouth wasn't dirty, it was just your thoughts. Not at seven, but when you wiped your cuts at 17, 24, and yesterday.
To be this ready for a band-aid. And butane. Is probably what the sand feels like when it becomes cobalt glass, with rounded edges. There's never a reason for the glass to return to sand. There's a million possibilities for what becomes of glass, in the hands of what we become when we stand naked, in a crowded room.
(The night went like this: Working on paper. Racist Facebook comment. Reacting. Responding. Returned comment. Possible anger building. Frustration. Text. Love of my life listens. Is it listening if it’s not talking. Yes. Oxytocin. I dunno. Better. Feelings. Reminders. This world. But Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay.)
A lovely house will welcome me sometime, when there is no winter. And where there are no coffee grounds in the empty cup of coffee, which I’ll never drink. Because I only prefer summer. But summers don’t exist anymore. And lovely houses can exist without quilted blankets.
I pick up the phone to text the only person that will care to listen. But is it still listening, if I can’t hear you breathe.
My phone says, “no service.” Anxiety has become my best friend.
A lovely house with doors wide open. Hibiscus on the stove. An almost empty jar where the sugar is supposed to go. But I don’t eat sugar. And now I’m feeling sleepy. The hibiscus is boiling.
I’m beginning to think that sugar kept the old me from erasing the ones who say the things that hurt the most. But is it hurt if after I read the last line I’m not crying, I’m just sitting here contemplating the what ifs and when or how these words today will affect our family tomorrow. The echo of it all makes erasing a harsh word to follow. And the hibiscus is still boiling.
And a better bed is one that mimics the cards as they turn, hoping it’ll make the more appealing hand. So we sleep, and somehow forget all about the wanting and the erasing. This moon turns to make a temporary summer of the sun, and the summer becomes morning, and the morning becomes this lovely house where there is “no service” and only listening. I can hear you breathe in this lovely house. And I can hear the almost empty jar emptying itself into the grounds of coffee piling up into the coffee cup. This is what feeling everything feels like. Even on the inside of the loveliest houses.