Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

cherokee summer skin

i am of an indistinguishable race.
i don't know what i am and often
don't know what i should be.
am i white? do i look it?
i have large, almond eyes and
flat eyelids. i have black, shiny
hair and large breasts that i hide
in an otherwise uncurvy figure.
am i hispanic? only according to
certain forms.
i don't look like a white girl.
it is most common for people
to assume i am half asian and
half mexican.
of which i am niether.
people have guessed romanian,
japanese, french, brazilian,
you name it someone has
labeled me as it and rarely do
they guess what i really am.
who i really am.

i am irish.
my irish grandmother
jean aloa o'scanlon taught
me how to boil cabbage and brew
spicy mustard for saint patrick.
she taught me how to fold my
hands in prayer like a good
catholic girl.

i am spanish.
my great-grandmother bonita
of spain, a black-haired, pale faced
beauty. a tender nurse in a white
dress. her pictures say i have her
eyes and her smile and i know
our laughs sound the same.

i am cherokee.
my cousin bobby has hair to his
chest, wrinkled dark skin and shows
me the smooth and sharp edges of
arrowheads he digs up from the earth.
his arms prove of his labor in the sun.

i am them and they are me and give me
dark, shiny hair and asian-like eyes
and fair skin that turns to copper in july.

i am proud to be these things and yet
why can't anyone see them?

i am proud to be these things and yet
why do i always seem to desire to
be "more white?"

why do i want to have light brown hair
and deeper set hazel eyes? why do i
want a thinner waist, a chiseled face
and sunken in cheeks? a long neck?

all the thing i scrutinize my body for
are ways for me to look more white.
they are ways to strip myself of my
heritage and my being, my identity.

my identity which i let people take
away from me. my identity which
i cover up in hair dye and eyeliner
and eyelash curlers and face
contouring bronzer.

but when i see pictures of my mother
and grandmothers, i smile, showing my
big cherry tomato cheeks. i proudly show
off my very spanish eyes that are so unique
no other white girl has them. i radiate my
cherokee summer skin. i let my dark dark
hair blow in the wind and decide that being
mislabeled is not a crime, i am a mystery.
i will enjoy the false guesses and feel kindred
to my japanese sisters. i will only dye my hair
because it feels summery, i will curl my eyelashes
just to be flirty. i will fold my hands in prayer,
just like my grandmother taught me. i will
remember my own and embrace everyone else
and know that pretty comes in more colors than

rivers know this: there is no hurry. we shall get there someday

(i've been thinking about pooh bear lately)

maybe they're sorry now

gettin' in debates lately,
wonderin' if i'm a mean
person but then i thought,
no, jamie, whoa, jamie,
you're speakin' up, and i
patted myself on the back,
and smiled a little and
said "this is a good thing"
i was once so quiet so
non-spoken and i always
bein' told all the time
that i have powerful
words and words are
powerful. so all these years
i've been quiet, i've been
learnin' readin' learnin'
always writin' never speakin'
and now it's time to say
"hey" and i speak up
about things like
immigration and gay rights
and feminism and what is
it to be woman? and what is
it to be a man? and what
do i want? and yes, i'm
going to do what i want.
and i'm not going to do what
i don't want. i'm going to read
novels by tom robbins and
not be afraid to disagree
with people and not let people
tell me i need to calm down..
these were the same people
who told me to speak up,
maybe they're sorry now.
i will own my emotions and
validate them, let them
help me, let them help others.
trust my intuition and use my
words to educate, inform and
build up. we have so much
building up to do.

on love & other difficulties

"i tell you i have a long way to go before i am - where one begins...

you are so young, so before all beginning, and i want to beg you, as much as i can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. live the questions now. perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

resolve to be always beginning - to be a beginner!"

rainer maria rilke, rilke on love and other difficulties

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

braver than you believe

"if ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart, i'll always be with you."

-winnie the pooh

blank pages

i just bought a new journal.
there is something renewing
about beginning a new page
in a new book and placing the
old one on the shelf. it's
something of self passed away,
but not gone; and a new thing
about to happen. all those
blank pages. they look towards
the near future, where i've been
living these days. lingering thoughts
that hang above my nose of moving
to a new city, not far from where i
am now. of vocation and it's inherent
struggles and passions. of love and
it's growth. i'm trying not to think
of numbers. ages, dollars, calories,
area codes, years, friends, books, debts.
i'm trying to stay active in the
pursuits of things i want, but not
think too much. i'm trying to give and
receive on an equal playing field
and remember that worry is my worst
enemy. i'm trying to remember that
encouraging words can go a long way
and that maybe, the best recipient of
those words, is myself.

Monday, March 15, 2010


a blog i recommend.
barbie town.

street and hum

the crickets are out humming and
burning the question of spring.
drive by noises, cars and the rattle
of the man hole cover; mariachi
porch light, urban renewal.
i'm looking at the crimson undersides
of rose bush leaves, the dead spider
underneath. i think - 'this is los
angeles' and los angeles i will come
to be and come to know. in my red
ink journal and christmas light
pillars, hanging paper butterflies and
wicker chairs, lampposts and shady
neighbors. i'm wearin' a flowery
dress i've worn for three days straight
and hair hittin' my neck flipping out
awkwardly and pinned back bangs.
three bracelets, one exuding pride
and one with my namesake. the
tequila of the evening hurts my
tummy, heals my head, i breathe in
calmly and deeply the night air of
march fifteenth. purse my lips,
crinkle my nose, waiting for those
to come home. stare at the brass '32'
nailed on the apartment door across
the street and hum.
make smacking sounds with tongue
and my teeth and once again, breathe.
believe that one love will bring us
back together again. and maybe in
heaven and maybe now. the dirt
underneath my fingernails. and nothing
worthy of redeeming me except the life
i lead and the wonderful, brave idea of
choice, oh of choice..and the wispy curl
by her eye makes me realize, yes yes.
yes, i do, yes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


there is nowhere to sit in borders and my bum hurts on this stool. i look at shelves and shelves of books and i'm jealous these people found the time to write and one day met an agent and then a publisher and they met someone who said "yes." and i hope these authors are taking care of their families with their book. if they are an honest and vibrant and worthy author. not russell brand, who has one called booky wook. i would like to like my job. i'm always unhappy. i would like some flexibility and holidays and benefits and joy. i would like my mfa please. i want to learn, teach, grow, create. i want european sabbaticals and book writing. i want a hot sub-saharan summer. i want a home in portugal and flights to new york for music and taking the kids to shows and shopping and central park and serendipity. a little girl with a french accent tellin' me stories. visiting spain and practicing spanish with friends. people like sabrina make me sad and hopeful and melancholy and brave. shawn says things are looking up. i hope they are. i hope they are.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

spilling open

"today we were sitting watching a video on mtv and he said she is all woman. my whole body was overcome with the ache of inadequacy. i kept thinking silently i'm not this tall, breathy, curvy, breasty, singer, woman, beauty. i shouldn't do this to myself. i don't have time in this life. i should not be filled with this type of judging of my body. this is the only body i have and it takes me on amazing adventures and i can't leave it. i can't abandon the only thing i can truly take care of."

-sabrina ward harrison

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

new contributions

i am now a contributor to the feminist blog Lipstick & Ovaries. please have a look! it should be a great place for discussion and great articles both scholarly and empowering. enjoy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010


i refuse to believe that because i didn't get a business, a graphic design or an accounting degree that i am a failure. i refuse to believe that wanting to be an actor or a writer or a teacher or an illustrator is irresponsible. i refuse to be working in customer service for the rest of my life. i refuse to only be judged by my looks because i am a woman. i refuse to believe that education is powerless, that career is everything, that monthly payments and credit are the sole items for my character to be criticized against. i refuse to believe that there isn't power in words, that america is the only good country. i refuse to believe that travel is frivolous and unnecessary and impossible. i refuse to take on the psychological problems of my family, i will break free of them. i refuse to believe that gay is a sin. i refuse to give into the confines of our patriarchal society and our dysfunctional nuclear families. i refuse to believe that more is more, unless it means how many people live in your house. i refuse to believe that i have not accomplished much, that i am small or that i don't know what it is to be an adult. i refuse to believe that growing up is the only way forward. i refuse to have my checking account statement be the only subject upon which my mother and i converse. i refuse to let my father's name be forgotten. i refuse to let my brother feel unwanted or incapable or the un-favorite. i refuse to believe that community homes can't happen, that hospitality can't be practiced without fear of theft, that small steps don't mean big things in the life of a poor kid. i refuse to believe that the things you want can't be earned, that life is always hard. i refuse to not be in solidarity with my sisters. i categorically refuse.

because i am strong and brave and gentle and i will not have a mere stick where my backbone should be, i will not be easily influenced by the foolish mouths of others. i will not let the people closest to me be the ones who claw and feast upon my crumbling ambitions. obstacles make you more of a success, trials straighten your backbone and love, love i swear, will conquer all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

mary ellen

the shape of
the golden gate
the shape
her hips
and round
the shape of
his face
full of life
the shape
things to come
and things
the shape of
my hair
the shape
my sort-of
almond eyes
and trying
to try to be more
the shape of
the white girl's
arm and
my scanlon body
all warm and
for your shape
the shape
of things