May 4, 2013
Poetry is a home. It is therapy and community and love and friendship. To me, all of these things are as vital to my life as air and water and food. Poetry is something I do because I love it, not because I can make money or see my face on TV. In fact, those things rarely happen. But sometimes, when you love something so madly, you put in the work, and the universe has put you in a place to allow your shine to help others, those things do happen.
Last night I performed "Artists Don't Make Mistakes" for a live studio audience and a potential home audience of millions. MILLIONS. The largest crowd I've ever reached was somewhere in the low hundreds. The fact that my words will find their way into the homes of people who might not have otherwise experienced or even enjoyed poetry before this is an astonishing fact. I recieved a standing ovation and could barely get from one side of the room to the other post-performance without being bombarded with love and kindness. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.
I am a grocery store clerk who happens to spit poems on her days off. Yesterday I rocked a stage alongside BBD and Faith Evans. Today I rang up milk and eggs and baby diapers. I live a double life that allows me to follow my dreams, and keeps me grounded at the same time. What happened last night was pure magic, but is only a taste of the adventure to come.
Apr 22, 2013
May each day forward be as blessed
As the ones past.
May each journey reflect
May each joy be savored
And each sorrow be remembered.
May each laugh be contagious,
And each tear contain
May each heart be broken.
May each hand be put to work.
May each word written
And each lie spoken be uncovered.
May each goal be reached,
But never too easily.
May they be delayed,
But never denied.
May each child’s belly
And each child’s mind
May each sunrise
And each sunset
May each breath be inhaled
And each death
May each human be just that.
May each human remember
May each day be greeted
May each night be rewarded
May each person remember
How similar we are,
Even in our different.
May each dying thing remind us
We are not forever.
May each living thing
Apr 2, 2013
Fat Girl goes to the gym.
She wears workout clothes she
thought she looked good in
When she left the house.
Fat Girl gets on treadmill,
Doesn’t run as fast as anyone else.
But she breaks a sweat first.
Fat Girl’s face is as red
As a cherry.
Fat Girl painstakingly challenges
Every muscle group.
Fat Girl tweets about being at the gym
So people know she was at the gym.
Fat Girl looks at everyone else
Hopes they do not look at her.
Fat Girl doesn’t want to take off jacket
Even though it’s hot.
Fat Girl picks treadmill in the back corner
With her invisibilty cloak.
Fat Girl still cries while putting on
Workout clothes sometimes.
Fat Girl breaks a sweat first.
Fat Girl still fat.
Fat Girl goes anyways.
Apr 1, 2013
It is quiet now.
I have forged about a day
Inside of this silence.
Has borne its way inside of me.
They left the window open
And a breeze floats by
Every now and again.
It is the closest thing
To song I have heard
Inside this quiet.
The children carried the shoebox
Into the backyard.
The youngest thinks
Maybe it will wake up.
My rusted hinges know better
Than to creak open again.
They do not trust me anymore.
Should leave me on the street,
Wait for the garbage truck
To take me.
I do not want to stay here
Where it is quiet now.
I want my love back.
I want her wings inside of me.
I want her breath to screech aloud
While perched on my outstretched limb.
I want to remember what it feels like.
I do not want to think
Of what that stretch of blue sky
At the open window
Did to her.
She is not in a better place.
There is no such thing as a better place.
There is only here
Where nothing bad can ever happen.
Where nothing worth loving
Is ever set free.
Mar 19, 2013
She looked up at me through a tiny slit
In the veil that covered her face,
And I constructed a world
Of her oppression.
I painted her victim,
Painted her helpless
Because she did not look like me.
I did not see a doting husband or father
Standing beside her
Because I did not want to see it.
It is far easier to defend
Your own prejudice
Than to admit to it.
A woman in a hijab came to me
She told me another customer
Had told her
To remove her scarf,
“She was in America now”.
There was nothing I could do
But apologize on her behalf,
I should have apologized on my own.
Should have asked her
To tell me why she wears it,
Instead of assuming someone
Had forced her to.
I wish I could find the woman
Who told her these awful things
In the supermarket.
The woman would smile at me and ask me about the produce
Because I look like her,
Because my speech does not carry
Another world in its breath,
I would tell her she is just like me,
But there is little comfort in this.
I would tell her she is right,
We are in America now.
A place where each woman’s narrative
Is in fact, her own.
What right did I have to it?
What place did we have to tell her
That her veil is a symbol of oppression?
Did you know that the Arabic word
For mankind, “ummah”
Comes from the word “umm”, meaning “mother”?
No one told me that with a word like “mankind”,
my own language
Is the larger oppressor.
No one told me that my poem
Before this one
Was building more shackles
Than a veil ever could.
I had become reckless in my assumptions,
But I will be unbending in my atonement.
Like flowers on a grave,
A motion intended for the surviving
To comfort themselves,
I offer apologies too late.
After hating my own body for so long,
You think I’d recognize the freedom
To stand in front of a room of people
Who could only see the piece of my face
That I am most proud of.
You think I would rally behind a people
That tell their men,
“If you cannot control your hunger,
you do not deserve to look.”
And a culture of women
Who can choose exactly which man
She deems worthy of
I wondered if holding my tongue
Or choosing a different poem would have
Pools of tears gather in between
The letters on my keyboard.
As if they are ashamed for my own
Misuse of them.
My heart must be cracked,
But at least it will be open.
When I take care of her at work now,
I will smile and be sure she found
The only thing I will assume about her veil
Is that there is a smile in return
Feb 6, 2013
As you all know by now, I am a finalist in the Brenda Moossy WOWPS video slam. It is unclear what is happening with said slam, because it was slated to finish yesterday at midnight, but is still open for votes currently. If it indeed ended yesterday, I came in a very close second place. If it did not, I am currently holding on to first place.
Regardless of the numbers, I won. I won not because I beat anyone else. I won because I am even writing this love letter to all of you now because it is impossible to track each and every one of you down, and truly express my gratitude.
In just over a week, I managed to recieve over 1500 votes for my poem, "Artists Don't Make Mistakes" and nearly the same amount of youtube hits. I was featured TWICE on Autostraddle.com, and witnessed some of MY favorite writers and poets not only vote for me, but ACTIVELY PROMOTE ME. Each day my jaw has hit the floor in a new and different way. Whether it be the outpouring of love and support via the A-camp social group, or the fact that my favorite poet blogged about me, or the fact that numerous complete strangers have reached out and told me how my words have affected them, I have been constantly floored this week.
I am more motivated than ever to aggressively pursue my dreams and my passion for writing and sharing. Regardless of the outcome of this online slam, I WILL BE going to WOWPS. There are no guarantees yet on whether I have an official spot, or will be participating in the last chance slam, but its a risk I'm going to take. Sunday marks my 23rd birthday, and will be the launch of an indiegogo campaign to fund the publishing of my first book and a subsequent book tour.
Each and every one of you reading this has in some way contributed to this chapter of my journey. You have watched my video, shared the link, voted for my work. You have messaged me and posted on facebook, you have tweeted, texted, emailed, and expressed gratitude towards the work I have presented. The power of community astounds me. Look at what we can accomplish, how we can support one another. I cannot ever be thankful enough. Thank you.
With love and gratitude,
Feb 4, 2013
Jan 30, 2013
This is the land of milk and honey,
of promised dreams,
of a generation hell bent on
praying to their television screens
while coiffing their hair
and adjusting their makeup,
even your barista is always
Downtown LA traffic held up
by another movie production,
No one is impressed
Just irritated by the sig alert,
Accident on the 5,
Slow on the 101,
Stop and go on the 10,
and the carpool land headed south past exit 39.
But you take the side streets,
know the back roads,
makes you feel like you are on the list,
red carpet, VIP.
This place is a regurgitated glamour house,
A world of make believe
where hilltops house movie stars
and sidewalks house movie stars
and night sky houses too much smog
to see any stars.
But you are hopeful daydreamer,
artist, hipster, new-wave type.
So non-conforming that you ended up here
just ilke everybody else.
With your monologue/screenplay/headshot/resume
and a moonlight gig at the pizzeria
serving slices of vegan pepperoni
to the girls and their teacup dogs.
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole,
She must have come here,
Eat this and shrink,
Drink me and grow,
Cheshire cat smiles on every executive/agent/producer/scam artist
Ends up "acting" in the valley,
on all fours,
wide angle lense,
So this is how far the rabbit hole goes.
A city of bleeding heart liberals,
Graffitti filled train tracks,
doped up hippies lighting insence on Venice beach,
a commute longer than most statelines
and a breath of fresh air
only immediately following a rainstorm.
If you're ready for this sprawl,
this lack of public transit,
your face made up for when you make
your big break
picking up your Starbucks,
this hike to the Hollywood sign,
this fence hopping the red carpet,
this face painting clown nightmare
on a sparkly hilltop,
this hollowed out wallet and shrunken cheekbone,
this botoxed Barbie worship,
Jan 27, 2013
I am spicy herbal tea against sore throat.
I am tap dance of rain drops across tin roof,
Another angel in this city,
My father’s daughter,
Jewelery box filled with broken clasp
Bracelets and earrings with no backs.
I am the pot on the electric stove
When the power goes out,
Live cello in a dive bar,
I am all things that don’t quite make sense.
I am the right side up clauddaugh ring
On my right thumb,
Bass thumping in beach city suburb,
I am rolling down the windows
And occasionally enjoying the traffic,
Because I love this CD.
I am Christmas tree lights in the summertime,
And sandcastles at Christmastime.
I am a mermaid with purple scales
And a bottle of red wine.
I am a big sister,
I am a little sister,
I am boring day board games,
And TP-ing the neighbors,
I am waves crashing and street lamp,
I am colorful and library,
I am rolling downhill
And laughter at inappropriate times.
I am the last beer pong rebuttal
And car ride home.
I am a secret keeper
I am dirt beneath fingernails.
I am the bitter of lemon on a cut open mouth,
The metallic taste of blood and salt,
I am the purple in your bruise,
The kiss you regretted,
The engagement ring you returned,
I am the girl who may not make it home tonight,
But who will wake up in her arms
In the morning.
I am a girl who didn’t think she’d get too close,
And now doesn’t want you to leave,
I am a shelf of encyclopedias left
Obsolete by the internet,
I am a rusted chain on a Greyhound station door.
I am loud and opinionated,
Even though I am quiet and observant.
I am disobedient and heartbreak
I am disappointment and papercut.
I am flawed and human and embarrassed and insecure.
I am still learning to love myself,
Still hoping others will teach me
When I know nobody will.
I am weird and awkward and sometimes
Don’t know when to shut my mouth.
I am sometimes not counted or considered,
Passed over, looked through, torn apart.
I am praying for a miracle,
Rebel with a cause,
I am fence hopping and grocery cart riding,
I am reckless and messy and disasterous
I am lost keys and windchimes,
Lightenening and fireflies.
I am somewhat crazy and cannot possibly
In 3 minutes.
I am hurting and healing,
I am grassroots and protest
I am a friend, a neighbor, a nemesis,
I am only me.
And that is quite enough.
Jan 26, 2013