a critique of many things

ok, so i am officially livid right now. after watching the first part of the critique of the story of stuff and reading people's comments i am absolutely shocked at how STUPID and in denial people are about the reality of the world we live in, though why i am so shocked i really can't say. accusing the story of stuff of being leftist indoctrination is totally ridiculous, our entire socialization/civilization process is almost by definition indoctrination and the educational system the most widespread and institutionalized method of disseminating ideas and culture that human beings have developed (yet, humans are ingenius at such creations and i'm sure the version for the new millenium will be rolled out soon enough). i read a comment from a "concerned parent" stating that opinions are like asses, everyones got one, but they don't have the right to put it on their kid. that parent is apparently unaware that socio-cultural norms are one specific group's opinion as to how everyone should act and that by being alive in this "civilized" age of microscopic controls and information overload other people's opinions are literally being rubbed all over their child: someone elses' opinion as to what is safe to put in lotion or shampoo, someone elses' opinion as to what should and should not be put on your television, written in newspapers, published in books, done to your food,etc.

all of my life i have been trying to figure out what is so utterly disappointing about being a human being sometimes and i finally feel like i'm making some progress: human beings love patches. a patch for the economy, a patch for our emotions, a patch to cover what we think is ugly, a patch to cover the pain, but patches are not repairs. we have spent a boobly trillion hours of thought, megatrillions of watts of energy and gagabazillions of dollars looking at ways that we can patch life to make it more wearable to our liking instead of addressing the most important issue of all: why does life fit us so damn uncomfortably in the first place? could it be our illusory perceptions of life and all of these beliefs we hold about how it SHOULD be (and the belief that it should be anything other than exactly what it is in the first place) instead of basing our perceptions on real knowledge and understanding of WHAT IT IS?

no wonder we can't get it together and accept peoples, cultures and beliefs with open hearts and minds, we can't even accept the single most basic principle of all creation: that it exists exactly as it is and no other way. we wonder what happens to people to make them go crazy, why so many people fail to grow up whole with any understanding or appreciation of this wonderful and crazy world. every single day of our lives we are brazenly lied to about the nature of this existence. every. single. day. we shield children our children, crippling them, we show them the rainbows and butterflies, but don't tell them rainbows are ephemeral and butterflies get eaten by crows. no wonder as we grow up and are confronted with realities that trump the lies ingrained in us, when we learn that rabbits don't hide eggs (that they don't even lay eggs to begin with), that the blue of the sky exists only as a conversation between our eyes and our minds, that no jolly fat man is the source of christmas presents, that this world is just as cruel as it is beautiful, we panic; we aren't raised with these realities as part of the basic information of life. i think that often adults are embarrassed because they don't really know it either, but won't look past their embarrassment to see what they can find out about it; or simply admit their ignorance. so we create patches to cover it, to hide what we don't know and instead of admitting that we don't know we perpetuate the illusion of wholeness with a patch of a lie.

we are a country plagued by personal crises, it's been documented that the united states is the most mentally unstable country on this earth: the twenty-something life crisis, the mid-life crisis, the empty nest crisis, the seniorhood crisis; there is absolutely no other place with the same widespread manifestations of mental, emotional, and spiritual disorders, why? i obviously have no absolute answer but i suspect it has something to with the fact that we are taught to view the cycle and progression of life as a negative thing, that youth is better than age, elasticity better than wrinkles. we have created whole industries out of keeping certain deceptions alive and off the disharmony that is created when the illusions clash with the truth; the models you see in magazines, even they don't actually look like that. there is nothing other than a particular perspective creating these negative relationships with the life cycle and process, it is what it is. time, life and exposure take their toll, nothing in life is free, least of all life itself. that unnerving paradox, the price we pay for being our selves is our selves.

while this may seem unrelated to where i started, i promise it's not. we are raised believing we are the coolest kids in school, that every other country is jealous of us, that by virtue of nothing more than being born in this country every single one of has can grow up and lead it, swim the english channel, find the cure for cancer; children are wiser than our culture and society gives them credit for and they know it's not true. we are not all leaders, we are not all scientists and mathematicians and we are not all athletes. half of the trauma of growing up could be eliminated by acknowledging and accepting the fact that everyone is not an alpha male (and thank life for that, imagine if everyone, not just politicians and business people, spent their lives vying for control of this handbasket). because what we learn as children forms the foundations of our world it is hard to let these ideas go as we grow. those that would accuse a 20 minute long film that is more about the way we look at and consider the material world around us rather than a subtle attempt to brainwash children into believing that we're destroying the earth, which we are by the way, are keeping these unhealthy illusory beliefs alive and thriving. lies cloud vision and make it impossible to see reality; and there is no windex to eliminate the veil leaving a streak free shine, the only treatment is complete honesty, something we are not taught to treasure because it's decidedly not easy, simple, comfortable or quick and has no monetary value (though if you observe the results of people who take this long road, success, however you measure it, is often the result). and so the world will continue to turn, and we will continue to destroy it because we lack the courage to do anything else. that's enough for the day, other than this, in my eyes our greatest crisis is the horrible friction that exists when what is real inside of us presses against what is real outside of us, and we find they are not the same. achieve a unity of interior and exterior and you achieve peace. and to those that might want to come back with snarky comments about me being a tree hugging lefty: yeah...and... what's your point? i don't write to preach, i write to teach. do what you will with it, just be well.


the story of us

i wore nothing but myself that day;
no preconceived notions of who i was or what i was about.
clad in slim limbs and torso, waist small. ungainly.
a cardboard box could have covered me and i would have felt none the worse for it.
sunny blue skies.
for trains to arrive and trips to begin.
arrival. standing. smiling.
he is here now and i never want him gone again.


singing in silent vibration with the all mighty stars of my inner-verse.
almost a uni-brow; doesn't bother me.
almost a man now with boyhood still splaying its gangly arms about him.
for just a second.


mine? the question was already there when i asked how he was.
like a seagull: mine?
there was no question on my end.
only warmth spreading along my spinal column to lips already poised for kissing.
waiting. still.
arms untangling, first steps taken, towards a journey that would lead us else where.
unexplored unchartable realms.
who's to say?
i cannot and i was there.
music. smoke. candy.
a trilogy of greatness that would shepherd us through frustration, modulation, undulation and suffering.
don't worry. i didn't know this then.
only the pain and pleasure of wanting and not receiving,
the bounty of your smile,
getting lost in that gap and finding myself in your eyes.
passing through hillsides, lifetimes.
so secure in ignoring the present,
allowing it to slip through fingers better suited for touching.
laying heads and memories together to ride baselines of light and sound.
the future not yet come to pass.
only. now. then.
knowing what i seek lives inside the smile that not only mocks, but tantalizes me to love.
together we are.


yo from the flipside of the atlantic

hello lovers. i know i've promised a website to tell of my escapades, but all things with time. until then i'll be keeping up with myself through my blog. i know a lot of folks are still a little unclear as to exactly what i'm doing in dublin, why i have traveled for 24 hours halfway across the world, and where exactly all this is going. there are a few different ways to answer that question, one is i haven't the slightest clue. another is i'm listening to the voices in my head, and not in a schizophrenic way. the closest to any sort of universally understandable truth is that i am on my walkabout. i realized some time ago that i was beginning to cave in on myself. i have always been known for being distinctly, well...me. never the same, rarely fashionable, often obtuse and self-righteous, but always my own self. lately that hasn't been as true as i would like it to be. maybe it was coming home after being gone since i was 17, which now at 24 feels like such a long time ago though i remember it like yesterday, maybe it is simply being of the quarter life crisis age. my own belief is that i am manifesting a larger disharmony in our culture and lifestyle, a disconnectedness that slowly destroys from the inside out. i love my home and it environs more than i love most anything i know of, and yet it is so unhealthy that at times it literally brings a tear to my eye, and we all know how difficult producing tears is for me. a cultural and lifestyle perspective that says to enjoy sex, smoke weed, drink alcohol, work to live instead of live to work is bad and punishable from fines to social stigma, while to rob one's own people, to live like a robot instead of a human being, to limit ones vision and ones worth to what one can procure at a store is all rewarded. i'm not sorry to say it because it needs to be said, but that just isn't right. the favorite fallback phrase of americans is that if someone doesn't like our overbuilt, overprotective, and generally ridiculous country then they can just go back to wherever they came from. well i won't be able to return to the universe until the day i die, but i have no problems leaving for now.

now i don't know what day it was, and it doesn't matter, but one day i just got really tired. i got tired of putting in the effort of being my self, of believing that calm is strength, of always doing what i saw to be the right thing when i was so rarely rewarded for it and more often ridiculed and pestered incessantly for doing so, when it seemed like everyone else was getting along just fine going along with the world as if all was well. what i failed to perceive is that those people were not themselves, they were living someone elses vision of them, a fashionable one, an accepted one, but one imposed upon them. and i began to do the same, for no other reason than because it was easier. though a fair number of folks i know don't believe me, i am indeed human. i have the same needs to belong and be a part of something, and having always been an outsider in any group i may ever happen to be in (black at a majority white school, picking up trash in a time when to throw something away is a sign of luxury and not extreme and disgusting laziness, black at latino camp, non-religious in the south, not giving a rat's ass if someone is gay at a homophobic university, being from the only part of my family that lives in the east bay with 4 cousins in the south bay being the only other blood for approximately 300 miles, treating homeless people like they are more than a piece of the scenery anywhere, believing in magic on the north american continent, etc.), i had gotten really used to it. my comfort zone existed in otherness. and now it has disappeared, for whatever reason i find no comfort in it anymore, only in me-ness. which happens to be otherness, but hey, you can't win 'em all. i'm now being kicked out of the internet cafe, but more to come, and i promise it won't all be my minds existential wanderings. until next time, be well lovers!



it feels like this comes on the caboose of a sporadic semi-melancholy train, but these somethings i wrote long before i considered myself anything of a writer, before blogging even existed. this is a series of vignettes written for an 8th grade assignment derived from the house on mango street, which i hated.  i remember doing the assignment and being livid at having to imitate something i found so displeasurable. vignettes are a very particular writing style, it's like describing every fifth tree in a forest as opposed to giving a description of what the experience of the forest at large is.  if you've read anything i've written you know it will be as the artist sketches, singular points that mean nothing unto themselves, but when strung together they create form and shape the curves of my minds landscapes, and it'll probably be wordy as opposed to the brevity valued in vignettes.  i found these recently cleaning out my room at my family's home in preparation for my next escapade, and was shocked at how relevant some of the feelings and perspective still are. other feelings and perspectives have been turned inside and out and every other possible way. it made me want to re-write the same vignettes an equal number of years later, and i'm sure i will, but not during this blog post.  at some level it made me sad to think that the 12 year old in me was still that alive, and apparently kicking,  but mostly it made me smile.  hopefully this snapshot of a period in space and time will do the same for you, take you back to times when... 


i remember when i was around five, my dad came home with a surprise for me.  my little white bike, complete with training wheels and a bell, was waiting for me in my driveway.  the look of joy that spread across my face must have been equivalent to one of someone who had just bought the perfect house.  happily i ran around in my footsies wanting to ride it right then at two o'clock in the morning.  the little bike with the basket.  the basket with snoopy on it.  those were all that mattered to me as i pleaded with my father, "please teach me how to ride daddy, please?" "tomorrow," he promises, "tomorrow."  


some people's eyes are clear so you can see all that goes on behind them.  some people's are dark so their true feelings never show.  like my eyes.  they are almost black.  so dark in fact that you can't see the center of them, the pupil.  the eyes as dark as the heart of the devil.  the eyes you could stare into all day and never figure out what they are saying, belong to me.  

some people's eyes, such as my brothers, you can read like a book.

eyes.  some people say they mean nothing.  they mean a lot to me.  mine have a mysterious air about them.  they can change like the seasons.  they can go from black to almost hazel to just regular brown.  when you shine light into them they actually do turn hazel.  my eyes, the ones that are silent like secrets blown to the wind, secrets no one will ever hear.  

My Name

my name is like an inside joke no one understands but me.  when most people say it, it doesn't sound like the music it's supposed to be.  j-i-h-a-n.  it sounds like a melody fading into the early morning dew.  

person of the world.  that's me, what my name means.  the secret meaning behind the obvious. the harmony the rest of the song has left behind.  when i say, it sounds beautiful, as if faeries are humming it while sailing through the sky in boats made of the wind.  

what the rest of the world hears is unimportant.  in my ears it's soft like a summer day before the storm.  

there is so much more to my name than anyone could see.  it's like a tree, simple on the outside, but on the inside rings that go deeper and deeper into a complex pattern that no one but me can see.  

 The Girl That Never Left

"that loud girl that lives across the street" who is she?  where did she go?  no one but me will know.  she is me.  she left because it wasn't where she belonged.  she was like a bird, too wild to be kept confined in her cage.  "she'll come back.  she'll never get away."  yeah, she'll return, because she never left.  she's always there.  "why is she there?" she can't leave.  she won't allow herself to.  even so, you can feel the sadness she left behind.  she's gone.  gone to never return to the cage she doesn't belong in.  

"that girl that lives across the street" who is she? where did she go?  no one but me will know.  she is me. i left because it wasn't where i belonged.  i was like a bird, too wild to be kept confined to my cage.  "she'll come back.  she'll never get away."  yeah, i'll return, because i never left.  i'm always there.  "why am i there?" i can't leave.  i won't allow myself to.  even so, you can feel the sadness i left behind.  i'm gone.  gone to never return to the cage i don't belong in.  



been gone for a minute now i'm back again
the places and spaces i've been?
as always a question more loaded than a down and out celebrity;
here there everywhere in between farther yonder near far inside over and out
losing and finding my mind along the wandering ways that i call home;
spiraling outward to sink into myself the way quicksand greedily pulls at toes,
and the people they're attached to.
mexico san diego the town davis west hollywood san leandro yo mama's house,
whatever the name of the place, if i am there, it is called home.
sometimes i leave,
convinced that its warm confines are somehow too soothing warm and restful for my soul,
so out into that wide cold world i go,
ripping and tearing at the tendons that keep me together, that keep me whole,
striving for piecefulness
the tranquility of being billions of particles to the wind,
without the unifying voice that breaks from my diaphragm 
and runs for the border of me,
up through long tunnels that continually strive to keep it down,
over bumpy and unstable landscapes prone to halitosis
past teeth that clench in vain to keep it in,
through the gaps, and out of my mouth...
only to find it's way back home again;  
ah! the circle of life!
but where are timon and pumba when the fear freezes my chest
and the weight of it presses all the air from me?
forces it to evacuate and become a refugee,
always searching and so rarely finding somewhere new to call home.
oh! but what does it matter when the world is my oyster,
full of glittering pearls of beauty wisdom friendship love and truth;
who can begrudge a journey so fantastical as to blur the lines between here
and the realms of the unreal?
not i.
so i continue upward along my spiral,
often slipping, sometimes falling,
but never ceasing to move
towards cloud nine,
which i have never really left, but somehow seems new and fresh
trapped inside the double helix.  
home again. home. again. 


philosophy 101

it is two weeks into a new semester. a man walks into a room and says:

i am god.

23 pairs of eyes stare at him incredulously, flashing neon signs of anger, offense, discontent and fear while 23 mouths flap open to voice objection.
2 pairs of eyes look befuddled and a little sick while 2 mouths beneath them are screwed tight.
1 pair of eyes blinks while 1 mouth opens to say: ok, i can see that.

a particularly righteous voice rides above the rabble, rabble, rabble of indignation to say: no you're not.

22 pairs of eyes flicker to the speaker while their head-roosts nod in agreement.
2 pairs of eyes continue to look anywhere but here.
1 pair of eyes scan the room, eyebrows raised.

the man asks: how many of you are christians? 24 hands are raised.
muslims? 1 more ascends.
there is a hand unaccounted for that remains unbidden.

if we are made in the image of god, an omnipotent one, and if all things come from and are made of this god, i say again: i am god. can you prove me wrong?

25 pairs of eyes glaze over and 25 mouths are closed while 25 minds struggle to reconcile lifetimes of dogma and mental conditioning with the geometric logic they have just encountered.

one pair of eyes glows like dawn and dances like spring while one mouth opens wide in a smile.

can you find me?
do you see me?
care to feel me?

you fail.


you can call it a haiku if you want, i do

self containing arrogance.
humility born on the highest of horses.
distorted beauty.
tranquil confusion.
illusion, contemplation, meditation,
clarity, ignorance, disharmony.
indecisive rock.
never changing sea.
all of this and more is less than what i be.


a meditation for willie roberson sr

why so sad? all you faces turned to me in sorrow
i am well, knowing that for me there is no tomorrow;
countless sunrises and sunsets i've seen
until now they all blend together in a dream.
it is called life.

and i have seen mine all the way through
laughed, cried, loved and paid every penny of my dues.
no more struggles with seemingly insurmountable odds,
no more scraping and striving, for i've done all my jobs.

funny that for this you shed so many tears,
recalling the triumphs and failures of my years,
when my sympathies lie with you,
for you still have so much more living left to do.

for you, there is still pain and disappointment,
wounds to be inflicted that have no soothing ointment,
many rolls of the dice left to be cast,
but for me this is all in the past.

not that that's all there is to life at all,
there are also still many tears of joy and happiness left to fall,
but i've grown tired of this roller coaster and its unpredictable ways
and chosen to move on to more tranquil paths for the rest of my days.

so feel your pain, it is a gift given only to the living.
and of your love and compassion never stop giving,
but to those still with you, don't waste them on me.
i've got what i need and am where i'm meant to be.


based on a true story

the lights played on the slick street stones, cavorting this way and that in their festive yellows, oranges, and reds. the walker pushed a damp lock back from his temple, his bright intelligent eyes searching the darkness. the pupils stopped their dancing to rest in the hollow of a neck. it belonged to a woman who milled about with the other inhabitants of this late hour. clad in a transparent robe with a gold braid tracing the diagonal of her torso, and delicate, if not dirty and well worn sandals; she would not have caught his eye if not for the lightness in his stomach when his eyes found that hollow. still unaware of the gaze of the now watcher paused under the drooping canvas over a junk sellers wares, she placed a hand on her hip and began turning this way and that. it was clear she was looking, whether is was to notice something or to be noticed herself it was unclear. there was a hitch in the grace of her movements are she became aware that she was being watched. her eyes took in his long hair which hung in damp ropes about his face and spilled down his back, the torn muddy hem of his robes, and the dry cracked feet strapped in sandals so threadbare and worn they hardly deserved the title. she stopped looking. with a light playing in her eyes that bore no similarity to those of the street, she sauntered over to him and spoke. "hola papi, where are you from? you look like you speak french: voulez vouscoucher avec moi c'est soi? my name is maria magdalena and i promise you won't forget it in the morning." at her words his pupils moved themselves away from that hollow and proceeded to trace the outline of her face. a sardonic smile played over the face of the watcher, and the man finally spoke. "my name is jesus of nazareth, but you can call me mo' bitches. i do speak french and would surely like to sleep with you tonight. i've been wandering in the desert for some time now, so i don't have much money, but i am the only begotten son of god, is there a savior's discount? i promise to make up for what i lack in money in other ways. i may even turn some water into wine if you play nice." she wasn't quite sure how to respond to this, but it was a recession and she needed the money, so she quickly came up with a figure, which he accepted, and they moved off down the street towards one of the doorways festooned with swinging red lanterns. little did they know they'd be main characters in the best selling book in human history. the end.


show it, flow it, long as god can grow it

for 22 out of of 24 years i have worn my hair naturally. to those of you that aren't black this might seem a given, to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head, but not with black people in the united states. for reasons that i would never stop expounding upon if i started, black hair is an issue open to much debate. it can decide if someone is date worthy, whether or not they get the job they want, how accepted they are by others in their community, with the biggest divide existing between those that love the natural and those that flaunt the perm. there is a stigma in the black community of this country around having natural hair, it is often seen as uncouth, unpolished and unsophisticated. this is by no means a blanket statement, but for better or worse, people react to black hair. it interests them at a level the hair of other peoples just doesn't seem to.

by the time i cared about what the mass of tightly wound curls that springs from my scalp looked like i was in jr. high school, one of a handful of black students at a predominantly white small, private school. until this point, approximately three people had any interest in what my hair looked like: 1)my mother, 2)the woman who'd been braiding my hair since i had enough
to braid, 3) and least of all, me. in this environment my hair was suddenly the center of seemingly unending inquiry. at the time i wore extension braids (an effort to grow my hair back after my mother had finally entrusted me to care for it myself and i had mismanaged it to a dry, broken-off ruin) and to the white students unfamiliar with such stylings they were the source of the most infuriating, ignorant and invasive questions: is that your real hair? how do you get your hair to do that? how do you wash it? how long does it take? without asking, people would grab my hair as if i were some walking multicultural display sent for their own edification. even at the time i appreciated that their insensitivity to my personal space was not truly through fault of their own, they had been taught no better and the structure of our society and culture gave them no concept of their rudeness (though i hope later generations of white children (and adults for that matter) will learn (and that later generations of pigmentally unchallenged children will grow up without ever having to combat this socially accepted intrusiveness: people of other ethnic origins are not here to satisfy your curiosities about them); to them it was true that i had some responsibility to answer their questions, to explain my way of being in a way they were never asked to explain their own. it only served to make me more upset because i felt trapped, i couldn't win: to answer their questions with patience and understanding meant validating their preconceived notion that they deserved anything other than a punch in the face from me for having put their hands on me in an unsolicited manner, to tell them to fuck off was to reinforce the stereotype that blacks are an angry, unfriendly people and discourage them from asking more meaningful questions and letting go of larger prejudices and bridging the gaps between worlds; either way i had to compromise myself, something that i believed in; at the age of 12 my hair had already become something that despite its aesthetic and textural qualities, held resentment, anger, frustration, sadness and confusion for me.

i did what i could, answering questions after making it very clear that if another one of their fingers landed on me without my permission, they would be getting many a ringed knuckle to the dome. i don't know that i succeeded in my compromise on either front, while eventually my hair was left in peace, for the next six years (i attended the same school for high school) i was still pestered with questions, particularly if i changed anything about my hair. the length of my braids, if they were curly or straight, when i took them out, the brief stint i straightened my hair, when i twisted my hair, all of this was discussed, documented and dissected with whats, hows and whys. the most frustrating thing of all was that i knew it didn't matter. i could answer the same or different questions a million times over and they would never understand, the hours spent in front of tv screens with my neck twisted uncomfortably so that those awkward sections of hair could be caught up and braided into design; the hours, sometimes days, spent in front of tv screens or scrunched over books taking out those same braids and dismantling design, often calling on a friend to help; the satisfaction of having soft, tight curls transformed into silky, straight strands. i recall a specific incident in pe class one day in eigth grade. i had just gotten my hair straightened, not permed but hot combed, and because of this i refused to participate in the swimming that day. my pe teacher, a stocky white woman, looked at me incredulously as i explained to her why i would be sitting out. when i finished she asked what was supposed to be a rhetorical question meant to illustrate how silly i was being, you're going to miss a day of class and have your grade lowered because you don't want to get your hair wet? she raised an eyebrow and waited for me to see the triviality of my position. instead i raised my own eyebrow and said, yes, you obviously don't know black hair and have no idea how much time and effort this took. now not only incredulous, but embarrassed and angry she sent me to sit on a bench. just a cultural fyi but, aside from what i believe to be a fear left over from the middle passage, hair is one of the major reasons black people in this country don't know how to swim: most black women in this country, and many men, have had their hair chemically or heat treated to make it straight and water is like kryptonite to freshly straightened hair. it is these little nuances of the black experience that rarely make it out of the community, and if they do they are underestimated and unheeded by the outside world. the relationship black people have with their hair is one of incredible depth, complexity and beauty that no amount of scientific inquiry or observation could accurately surmise or breakdown into politically correct flavored nuggets of multiculturalism.

it may seem like this post comes out of nowhere, but trust, it doesn't. it comes from kansas city, where this woman made me rethink my position in the battle between natural and processed hair. uncontainable mirth, a small shiver of embarrassment, the desire to hang your head and sigh, regardless of what, this video will make you feel something.

the end of part 1 (i told you, i could talk about this for a looong time...)


a verse in the key of adams point

mememememeeeeeeeee, lalalalalaaaaaaaaa

bippety boppety loop de loop
a crackhead stops to sit on a stoop

sippety soppety har de har
wearing headset stolen from my roomates car


just a silly facebook note idea i liked

Using only song titles from one artist, cleverly answer these questions

Pick a band/artist: jamiroquai

1. Are you male or female: cosmic girl

2. Describe yourself: if i like it, do it

3. How do you feel about yourself: electric mistress

4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: mr. moon

5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: canned heat

6. Describe your current location: planet home

7. Describe where you want to be: traveling without moving

8. Your best friend is: soul education

9. Your favorite color is: hot tequila brown

10. You know that: you give me something

11. What’s the weather like: feels just like it should

12. If your life was a television show, it would be called: just another story

13. What is life to you: whatever it is, i just can't stop

14. What is the best advice you have to give: blow your mind

15. If you could change your name what would you change it to: talullah


a heart demands of a head

why can't you make my dreams come true, isn't the construction of reality your field of business?

what do you want from me, the head complains pleadingly, why can't you just leave me alone?!

the heart chuckles gently and allows itself a little shudder of amusement, you already know why: if i did that we'd be trapped inside a schizophrenic hermit and that would never do.

the head sighs knowing the truth of what the heart speaks, always you are asking me these questions, the whys and the whats of the world; i seek only to ponder my own mysteries, i have no answers for you.

oh when will you learn you silly head! i expect no answers from you, only the pleasure of discourse between equals.

so you say, so you say, the head replies dubiously, still skeptical of the hearts true motives and intentions, so riddle me this: why ask questions you expect no answers to?

well that's simple enough, answers the heart, the knowledge lies not in the end, which is the answer, but in the means we take to reach that end, the roads we reach to get there, we discover nothing unless we take the journey. i am looking for something and the only way to begin my search, my journey, is to ask the questions. i know i can be confusing because i don't always know the right questions to ask, but they are a beginning, the first steps along the way. and we must go. it is time to go. why do you fear my questions, why do you fear this beginning?

it is because you show me what i do not know, rub my ignorance in my face with your never ending questions that burn like sea water on freshly shaved legs. i feel my purpose to be unfulfilled if i cannot supply the information you seek and it hurts my pride to find myself unknowing.

the heart listens quietly and begins to pitter-patter with mirth, oh you silly, silly thing! how can you feel ashamed when i admit my own ignorance by asking the questions? come let us put and end to our bickering and lonely paths and tie our fortunes together in search of the answers.

the head sits back for a moment thunderstruck by the implications of what it has heard, too dazed to respond. it eventually finds it's voice and speaks, you are right. there is no reason to do this alone, no need to accept the solitude and shame of ignorance, no need to fear that someone will discover we are so for it is there for the world to see. yes, i do believe you are right, the time is now. let us go and seek our answers. who knows what we may find: ends, beginnings, perhaps nothing more than fond memories to carry along the way.


sphincter says what?

it has never been a mystery to me why people don't like the police. simply put: they're assholes. and that's not a judgement on every single individual cop in the world, it is simply a reality about the nature of what they do and how they do it.

on friday afternoon i was in alameda "teaching" a classroom of preschoolers, which really meant playing outside all day and wiping a lot of runny noses. at some point while on a boat trip to chuck e. cheese, my fellow travelers pointed into the sky and started jabbering about the airplanes. i corrected them, for they weren't airplanes but helicopters, and specifically the ones they bring out when shit is going down in oakland. although my curiosity was peaked there was no way i could figure out what that shit was at the moment so i turned my attention back to steering our boat towards pizza and games. my curiosity was later satiated when on my way home i drove right into a police barricade at the intersection of 15th and harrison. there were crowds of cops and as i waited for the cars in front of me to make their u-turns, i saw an oakland police department tank sidle through. now, much shit has hit the fan in oakland, but never have i seen a legit tank pulled out to deal with it. now knowing that all my shit/fan instincts were correct i pulled into a conveniently adjacent open parking space and got out to see what the commotion was. my mother happened to call me approximately 30 seconds before this decision and upon hearing it began to yell frantically for me to go home; i ignored her rational motherly pleas, told her i'd call her when i got back and hung up the phone. all around me were television crews, obviously disgruntled pedestrians and bikers, and of course, cops. i walked over to a group of people to ask what the deal was. it turned out that oscar grant's killer had been released on bail that day, and righteously so, oakland was pissed.

over the span of maybe 180 seconds that i stood and chatted with my fellow outraged citizens, that intersection was transformed. the next thing i knew the cops had aggressively started yelling at everyone to get out of the street; granted there were only about 6 people not on the sidewalk that weren't police, but that didn't seem to be reason enough for the cops to simply walk up to those people and ask them to move. so me along with everyone else began looking around to figure out exactly what they were so upset about. as we did, we saw a teenage black boy sauntering back to the sidewalk when he was tackled by 4 fully loaded policemen and arrested. a cry of outrage went up from the bystanders, and like reasonable people we began asking the cops what the fuck they thought they were doing. people with cameras, mostly middle aged white men, were not arrested or yelled like the young people of of color, they were asked, not yelled at, to step back onto the sidewalk. those of us with a little more melanin were rudely shouted at and approached with a totally unnecessary level of aggression. once they felt like they had arrested enough young yellow, brown and black people they began pressing onto the sidewalk and ordering us to move back. being in the front row, i asked the cop directly in front of me why we were being moved back. his response: because it's an order. now being the supra-rational person that i am, i swallowed the rage and my urge to mollywhop him and rip his face off and calmly asked what the purpose of that order was. his response: because i said so.

any rational human being knows that that is simply not the way you deal with someone if you are trying to not start shit with them; that sort of juvenile authoritative response is exactly what ignites the sparks of anger, hatred and rage that is directed at the police forces that are supposedly in place for our well being. and that response definitely blew my fuse, from that point on, until i left, my middle fingers were at constant attention and in the face of every police officer on my side of the street accompanied by a stream of logical deductions from observation about the effectiveness, purpose, intelligence (or lack of all of the above) of the police tactics, along with very detailed explanations of why everyone hates cops and a fine smattering of expletives. it it wasn't for candy (the love of my life, a 95 corrolla), i would probably be in jail right now. if i had walked into that situation i would have stayed, but not wanting candy to get caught up in the bullshit and attacked as an innocent bystander, i made my way back to her and took her out of the melee. even on the way out cops were yelling at me to get out of the street, as if i could reach my car and leave the situation through any other means, and once in my car they continued to yell at me to move my car faster as if my toyota corolla was going to pummel the escalade in front of me into letting me drive through it. that cop received a highly directed and focused finger and a series of well chosen expletives specially created for his particular brand of stupidity and assholeness.

while this is not the first time i've been part of cop/public horribleness, it was very much a reality check; mixed president or not, those of us with a little color are still under attack from this system and it will not stop because we have changed the color of our elected leader. the fear, the anger, the misunderstandings, the frustrations and the pain are all still here and aren't going anywhere until people are simply taught better. it is common knowledge that the police force attracts napoleonic characters and this truth combined with the aggressive and authoritative pedagogy perpetuated by the institution are fine kindling for confrontation. oh people, will we ever learn? cynicist that i am i can't say i believe we will, but regardless of what i think, it remains to be seen.


a frame from a movie not yet made

a girl alone in her kitchen. one wall of the kitchen is mostly windows that look onto the side of another apartment building. she is fixing dinner. she glances over to see a familiar face in the window facing hers. it is an old friend from college in town to see a friend from high school who has relocated. they stare in shock and amazement then rush to windows to begin screaming at each other over the gap. they had not left on the best of terms.


the joys of gainful unemployment

there are so many reasons to be pleased about being jobless: waking up late, spending entire days in pyjamas, partying in the middle of the week with no worries about being hungover and grumpy at work, discovering my catlike reflexes (most often utilized to catch the fruit flies in our apartment, think an old asian man with chopsticks and you've got the right idea); but the true joy lies in simply having time. when we are caught up in the rat race we often forget to take time for the things we really value, diverting vast amounts of energy to supporting the system rather than our own lives. my values in life have always been simple: eating well, sleeping well and doing what makes me happy. no more and no less. granted these are all much easier said than done with artificial food somehow being cheaper than real food, anxiety and stress causing many of us to toss and turn all night long and so many conflicting messages about the things we should be doing with our lives. when we are caught up in the system, pumping away from 9-5 with barely enough time, or energy, to accomplish those 3 simple goals we have a tendency to forget ourselves, we just forget to take the time to nurture ourselves.

while being unemployed causes it's own stress and anxiety, particularly with our fabulous current economic situation (which i will complain about in about in a future post), it is of a very different sort, and in a way i can't quite peg down it is real to me in a way that job stress simply isn't. my challenges are now more than making it to BART on time, disguising hangovers and annoyances behind tight smiles and assurances that i am fine, making the same phone call trillions of times to accomplish a simple task and feigning productivity on days i would rather be just about anywhere else. now my challenges really have to do with me and the ways i
choose to spend my time, not the ways i have to spend it.

what is gainful unemployment you might ask. gainful unemployment is a glorious state of living that involves being without steady work and yet somehow being mysteriously productive.
i've spent an absurd number of days staring at computer screens daydreaming of how much i could get done if i just didn't have to be at work! jackets would be mended, walks taken, new food eaten, napping , movies watched, stories shared, new places discovered, in short: everything. so i quit, all three of my jobs and took my gainfully unemployed ass on the road. i traveled for 5 weeks across the u.s., making layovers in dc, new york, kansas, denver, rocky mountain national park, and boulder. once i got back i was faced with the decision of how to make money: do i jump back into working the 9-5 and hope my vacation was enough to hold me over for a while, do i say screw "respectable" work and become a drug dealer or a prostitute, or do i tell the entire monetary system to shove it and become a hobo? after toying with all aforementioned ideas (and many more believe you me) i chose the middle ground and settled on substitute teaching. and i love it.being a substitute teacher i consider myself among the connoisseurs of gainful unemployment. getting requested mostly for elementary schools and after school programs, i basically get paid to go and play all day, with the cherry on top being that i choose when i work. granted there's some disciplining and many an adolescent ego to be checked, not to mention financial incentives to work as often as possible, but for a meaningful not highly demanding job you couldn't ask for much more. in this indian sumter (a new word i just created combining summer and winter) i've been going to the beach after class, spending long afternoons basking in the sun, cooking/baking and started a garden, not to mention beginning and finishing many a backlogged creative endeavor. why have i been so personally productive? because i've had the time!

outside of the joy and hilarity of working with young people, there is a lifestyle that comes with this kind of work that simply suits me. i am a hard worker, but only if i feel it's really worth my time. i'm not one of those that can work for profit alone, i need purpose behind my efforts not just incentive, and having the freedom to decide that today i will be more productive outside of work is mindblowingly beautiful. that sensible old black lady inside has always advised me of the value of slow movements, and for a while i ignored the wisdom in her words, not just out of choice but necessity. the way my life was structured, survival meant being on my toes always. and now that i have the time to move slowly again i am taking full advantage of it. long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, listening to old favorites and discovering new ones, so basically i've developed habits that make me prime dating service material. any takers?

word to your mother

well said (click me i'm a link!)


an ammendment to the beginning

as i told it in my first post, the "point" of all this is to tell stories. and while that is true it is only a partial truth, mostly it is about space. space is a precious commodity in these days with the most abundant resources of it being on this interweb thingy. so i am claiming a small piece of this virtual insanity and declaring ownership of it in the name of jihan the unabridged. i will fill it with stories, pictures, fables, mental meandering, jackassery, crotchetyness, non-sequiturs, humbugs, and anything else i can think of that just might make you smile, think, wonder, dream or laugh; they may also have other side effects, but i'm taking no responsibility for those.

i am an incessant thinker, and i call the train of my thoughts the spiral. it's so named because although there is definite progression to it, it is certainly not linear; kind of like a slinky stretched on end. any new piece of information gets dragged about on the spiral as i look for different perspectives on it, what looks good at one turn of the spiral might not look so good after the next bend in the track. there's simply not enough space in my brain to contain the girth of my spiral and so i am taking it outside of my cranium and into this space. welcome.


so this is the new year

and i have no resolutions. actually, i do have one:stop the bullshit. really, that's it. very simple and straight to the point. of course the ways i'm going to accomplish this exceedingly simple objective are varied and convoluted, but the point still stands: the era of bullshit is over.

one day, i suppose it was a couple of years ago now, i sat down to think about life. i have always been an old woman, and not just an old woman, but a sensible old woman, it just comes naturally to me. even as a child i would spew grandmotherly advice and expertly administer tough love; and my greatest wish in life, which it still is, was to be old; to be past having to care about what anyone thought of me. my official i'm old and free outfit has been planned for over a decade: a jogging suit that makes the little rustling noise when you walk, preferably in a lurid purple and pink floral print, a pair of sunglasses with a gold chain and metallic gold keds, all topped gloriously with a visor perched on completely grey hair {i can feel the breeze against my face as i step out onto the street in it now}. in many ways i already was that old lady, i took the liberty of the old, saying whatever i felt and allowing no bullshit. at this point in my life this truth somewhat concerned me, i didn't want to find myself old never having been young.
so i began to allow bullshit in my life. i became like alice, giving myself very good advice that i very seldom took.

although my sanity has been questioned many, many (many) times i have always possessed this absurdly sound logic that is very out of place for someone of my age. it's apparently hard for people to place my age (i have been carded while buying a lighter), but when people actually have a conversation with me they usually think i'm someone's mother. an extreme example of this being: a few months ago while discussing god with my grandfather, he stopped, took a good long look at me and said, you sound like you've been on this earth a hundred years (considering that he was 85 and a solid 60 years closer to this age than i, i trusted his perception). it never surprised me that my peers thought of me in an elderly a way, my parents are both older, my only sibling is older, and i was a year ahead in school so i was always around people much older than myself, but to have an elderly person say i sounded older than they, that was something to take note of.

2008 was really the summation of all the bullshit i had sown in those couple years, and i think i can say without fear of exaggeration that i have quite the green thumb. and while bullshitting has it's allure, the long lazy days, the drama that results from not letting that sensible old black lady have her say, this young black lady is tired of it and retirement is sounding pretty nice. and i have made steps toward it, i now own a fanny pack and ridiculous sun glasses (no gold chain, i still don't think i'm ready for that yet), pulled out my broom, declared shenanigans and begun to sweep like hell.

to celebrate my re-entry into agedness, i am enjoying a heaping serving of applesauce, listening to records, and painting my nails the color of a lurid jogging suit i hope to own. happy 2009.