Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Friends Ain't Shit

My homie--who lives with a baby momma he cannot stand at all--responded to my request, asking for a ride to the airport tomorrow, like so:

Reckon i cain't seein how massa say Iysa gonna b in de hotbox all week onna counta I came in real late last nite, and imma doit again 2nite...

I just wanted y'all to know I'm not the only one in my circle that's missing a few marbles.

*smooches...appreciating my empty bed tonight*
there but for the grace of Obama go I...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lost In Translation: The Don Lemon Disaster

So as I understand it, Black Twitter has ousted CNN personality Don Lemon from The Club because of some recent comments that have deemed him an Uncle Tom (a diss I don't fully understand because I never read the book. I've currently pulled it off the shelf at work. I might read it unless one of you can give me the Cliff's Notes.). At first I cared not even one little bit. Not even a smidgen. I used to have a crush on Lemon but as soon as he came out as gay I moved on. I don't believe in fighting that fight, y'all. I know how good penis can be; there's no way to turn a man who likes penis.

But everyone and their momma kept talking about it (even created a hastag on the Twitter--Don Lemon Logic--about it) which made me finally read an article about Lemon's comments to see what was so bad about it. In a nutshell, Lemon agreed with something that Bill O'Reilly said about "...high levels of crime in 'black precincts'" and the "'disintegration of the African-American family'" and also discussed "...the 'gansta culture' pushed by the entertainment industry." Specifically, Lemon listed five ways we, as black people, could do better in life:

  • Respect our communities
  • Finish school
  • Pulling up sagging pants
  • Eliminating the n-word
  • Addressing the issue of absentee fathers [source: The Daily Caller]

Honestly, folks, this isn't a bad list. If I have to see another young man's underwear without my consent, I'm going to scream. If I have to see another couple get pregnant accidentally on purpose and not take responsibility for the life they create, I'm going to hurt someone. But these things aren't only in the black community, so maybe that's why y'all are mad at Lemon?

I mean, that list is a very good start to fixing a bunch of serious issues within many black communities. Where I think maybe Ol' Don lost y'all was in laying this out as THE plan to fix everything, without addressing certain facts of modern life that are designed to keep the same groups down in the muck so that those with power ALWAYS have power.

I don't know; I'm not seeing why his remarks lit y'all all the way up, is what I'm saying. Maybe y'all didn't understand what he meant or he didn't express it properly? There just seems to be a communication breakdown somewhere, because I can see where he's going with this and let me tell ya- it's not a bad place.

Feel free to tell me I'm wrong so I can ignore you in the comments.

*smooches...ready to beat his ass if it's warranted*
y'all know I'm all Black Panther-y now. just say the word and that jive turkey's ass is grass!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lianne & I Had A Date On Saturday In The Park

And it was everything I imagined it would be and more. She's amazing.

On July 13, I was on a bus headed home from taking K to orientation at college, and I kept Lianne in my ear on repeat. Just let her soothe me after a nice weekend of family time and introducing my child to her future. Then I received a bunch of texts about that damned verdict and my chill turned to sorrow.

I hate that Lianne is associated with that terrible day. But seeing her live...I can only imagine this is what communion is like for the faithful. She's not that verdict, after all. We shared a moment, and in that moment I was truly happy.

This concert reminded me why I write, why I create art. It takes people away from the misery and the bullshit, and instead shows them the beauty and the possibilities.

How was your weekend?

*smooches...still in a groove*
no one has moved me this much in a while

Friday, July 26, 2013

Working On My Shit

Shortly after writing a small paragraph on how writer's block is nothing more than me seeking an excuse for my procrastination, I decided to keep procrastinating. On EVERYTHING. And it made me sick to my stomach.

I've been meeting with friends recently about plans for our future, stuff we want to accomplish, and let me tell you- it's not going to happen while watching "Orange Is the New Black" on Netflix until I pass out (although that show is really good and maybe you should check it out).

But I need to take advantage of this time: K is about to be out of the house, N is super busy with sports, music and Algebra. Now is when I should be plotting the next phase of my life in preparation for her departure in five years. And there are so many awesome things on my list, whittled down from a GINORMOUS tome that used to include Become A Health & Fitness Expert/Advocate (fuck the fatties!) and Have A Baby With My JHS Crush (my uterus said NO), and it's exciting.

I'm all about that hustle & grind right now: who can I connect with to get to that next level? Where else can I get a byline? Oh look- computers are for more than just watching twerk videos at three in the morning!

I shall be the Queen of Everything Literary, and you will all bow down to my word prowess like the peons that you are.

Or, you know, come visit and say hi.

Make sure you're using your time wisely, folks. Chase your dream everyday in every way. Act like the rent is due (which it is, on Thursday!) and you're still short by ALL OF IT. Light that fire under your ass and invest in yourself before you wreck yourself...

Did that make sense? Whatever, my brain is too busy planning moves. MOVES, SON!

*smooches...getting this work*
yes, I'm currently obsessed with this song. and so is N. so what!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One Angry Duck!

Donald tried to kill me!
So I had this dream this morning, during my 7AM nap, that N and I found this dying duck outside our door. But it wasn't really our door as this whole dream took place in a cross between my old apartment on Stuyvesant Ave and Halsey Street and my grandmother's old railroad apartment on Patchen Avenue in Brooklyn.

So this duck was nearly dead, y'all! Its feathers were replaced with this leathery skin and its breathing was labored, so with 15 seasons of ER under my belt, I assessed that the duck was dehydrated and needed to be put in water ASAP. We grabbed a white painter's bucket, filled it with water and yes, put a grown ass duck in the bucket. The effects were immediate. Feathers seemed to reappear and the duck was breathing better and even frolicking in the water. I felt confident enough to leave N in charge of its care while I went off to do some dream-like things.

Cut to N running into the room to inform me that the duck escaped. So I ran around the house looking for it with her, because all of a sudden it was so important we find it. And when we spotted it in the kitchen, IT ATTACKED US. As we tried to coax it back into the bucket it pecked at us and tried to bite us and was flapping its wings angrily at us. I was all, "What the fuck? I just saved your fucking life!"

But this duck would not let up, and my dream self yelled at my real self to wake the hell up; this bird was coming for blood and I wanted out! And then I woke up, relieved.

What the hell, y'all? I haven't eaten duck in nearly two years. Why was this thing trying to cut my throat up with its beak?

UPDATE: So I shared this dream with my co-worker and we decided that K is the duck. So much to think about right now...

*smooches...resolved to never eat almonds before bed again*
I mean, what else could it have been?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mari Speaks On...

...colorism and romance, without meaning to.

In all our dark-skinned glory.
 MARI: Um so this guy I am dating just told me that I am not light-skinned and am brown. He is a keeper! LMAO!

ME: O_o!! Then I'm definitely chocolate.

MARI: Right. Like he is so serious. That single comment boosted his daily ratings.

*smooches...basking in our joint delusions*
listen, I own a mirror. I know what I look like. just let me live...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tunes Always Work

In the midst of one crazy-ass emotional roller coaster, I downloaded a CD--"Ella" by Brooklyn rapper ScienZe--that featured the homie Kit Luxx, just to show my support. It's what I do for other artists, you know, because I know how hard it is to create and release it and hope people get it. I was just going to save the playlist in a file and listen to it whenever, but something told me to actually listen.

And wouldn't you know it? I loved it. Every song. There's no need to skip a track. Ever. In fact, the 20-song CD ends too soon, if you ask me.

My favorite song is "Steam Boat" but I couldn't find it anywhere to play it for you. You'll just have to download the CD and hear it for yourself. But I warn you--once you do you'll never want to listen to anything else.

It feels good to know that good music is still being made out there.

*smooches...while on an imaginary steam boat*
also, you ain't heard this from me, but old boy ScienZe? he FOINE.

Monday, July 22, 2013

United Colors Of Benetton

Whenever someone says "I could never raise kids in the City" I look at my babies and I know that those people are wrong. The City is the BEST place to raise my daughters. Not only are they surrounded by people who look like them, they're also exposed to so many other cultures. What better way to learn about life? Case in point, K and her friends:

After such an amazingly difficult and heart-wrenching week, it was pure bliss to see these kids together, laughing, talking and eating all the damn food like teenagers are wont to do having a great time together. They have the world at their feet and so much potential waiting to be tapped. I'm excited to see where they end up in life, and equally upset that world events will try to sap their greatness. But at least I have their backs. Whatever it takes and by any means necessary.

I will continue to fight for days like this, where we're surrounded by friends and family who love us and make us happy. I will continue to fight for my babies' future. Anything, just to keep these smiles shining bright.
My baby is 18, y'all!

With her Guela, sis and auntie

K has always been the oldest of the cousins!

Good times all around!

How beautiful is my family?!

What did you do with your Saturday?

*smooches...still on a party high*
it was such a perfect day...

Friday, July 19, 2013

You Get What You Need

My babycakes turns 18 tomorrow. That little bit that barely fit over my torso is now a full-grown, able to vote, adult. WOW.

Look at those cheeks!

We started her coonery lessons early.

I didn't crop this pic on purpose; K w/her Celia. They were BFFs!

Where the panda obsession began.

K the baby model. (c) 1995 Celia M.

I want to tell her that the world is hers for the taking, that nothing can stop her, and whatever she wants in life she can manifest, but this past week has made me doubt this advice is true. At the very least, I speak into the Universe that my baby get what she needs.

This advice is as much for me as it is for her. To say I was at the precipice of a downward spiral in college is an understatement. Having a kid, for real, straightened me out (a little bit). Having to be a role model and caregiver and nurturer and nurse and educator and guardian and nutritionist and enforcer got us both through these 18 years with minimal scars: only one of us had to go to therapy! (Hint: it wasn't me.)

During her college orientation. COLLEGE!!!


Partners in crime for life!
And a special shout out to everyone who helped me raise her. You guys rock my socks!

*smooches...just for my boog-schmoog*
how adorable was/is my baby???

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Laughs & Truths

So once again I want to point out that my favorite podcast, The Read, needs to be your favorite podcast, too.

This week's episode is full of the usual shenanigans, but also discusses the Zimmerman trial (and in case you're all "Ugh, I'm tired of hearing about this stupid trial!" well guess what- I'm tired of our black sons dying necessarily and the law saying it's OK. So there's that.).

And one point in particular, made by @Crissle during her read, stuck out to me the most: the idea of respectability politics, which can be defined as "a deliberate concession to mainstream societal values" in order to gain favor with the perceived "majority." I'll let you listen for yourself; start at 55:38 for Crissle's read and get your life.

I've been there, siding against my brethren regardless of the details just to keep the eyes off of me and not become a target myself. And mostly because remember, I denied my blackness for a big chunk of my life. Whenever blacks were portrayed negatively on the news or, you know, EVERYWHERE, I distinctly remember thinking "well that's not me because I went to a good school and I follow the rules and I do what I'm supposed to. Plus, I'm Dominican; I'm not even black!" Knowing damn well my black-ass was black.

So I connected to what Crissle was saying, and I understand both sides of the coin, but still, my black brothers and sisters: I urge you to wake up. Let's not turn against each other.

Amen and good day.

*smooches...growing and healing*
reflecting on my own black guilt during these hard-as-fuck times

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


behind my lids
images of dancing tree limbs
and tumbling leaves
flow through like silent films of

i watch, serenely, smelling
the breeze, feeling the scents
on my cheeks, waiting for the intermission
trying to remember
where the concessions were being sold

*smooches...just trying to make it through the week*
I figured you wouldn't rightly care if I posted a fall message in the middle of a heatwave

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The House Negro Diaries, 2013

The Blogger Formerly Known As Smarty, aka Tiffany, told me this weekend that me and my beige counterparts are always the most militant Negroes, and I agree. At least for myself. The evolution of my blackness saw me first DENY it (I'm Spanish/Hispanic/Dominican, not black!) and then slowly come to grips with it (deal with my 'fro, bitches!), culminating in this past weekend when I was ready to join the new Black Panthers or something.

Let's just say I've since been taught to find a happy medium. Whitey doesn't necessarily HAVE TO die, he just needs to be reined in a bit. Or a lot. Whatever.

Still, this happened in the midst of all that:

ME: I got an email for career day in October. Would it be wrong to title my presentation: How to Stay Under Whitey's Radar and Live to See Your Grandbabies?

TIFFANY: O_O!!! Massa might have a problem with that.

ME: Don't he always? I'm gonna pee in his sweet tea. "I got sumin sweet for ya, alright!"

TIFFANY: Lmao! Disgusting.

ME: No lie, that's the kind of house negro I would have been, putting shit all in their food because FUCK MASSA, that's why! ...and then I'd giggle my yellow ass all the way home at the end of the day.

TIFFANY: Lmao! Your ass woulda been in the hot box.

ME: How would they know? "What's in this?" "Adobo."


::opens door::

Good day, ma'am.

ME: Awww, man...!

TIFFANY: Nah, you woulda been a comfort girl 'cause you're tall. They woulda bred you with a buck to create big ol' SUPER slaves.

ME: Wait- where can I get my hands on one of those bucks though? What his mowf do?


*smooches...wondering what to do with this new rebellious soul*
I just want to break every rule and put my middle finger in everyone's face. but you know, I like having a job so I won't. I'll just find someplace to volunteer instead.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Obviously We Don't Matter

I'm writing this with fresh tears in my eyes for a black boy who was denied justice. Even if someone goes vigilante on George Zimmerman, it's not justice, because what I want is for THE LAW to recognize what Zimmerman did was wrong. I want THE LAW to affirm what's in my heart. And you can be mad at everyone for saying Zimmerman should have gotten off but please realize, THE LAW was on his side, and that's where our rage should be focused. We have to change THE LAW that allowed this to happen in the supposed land of the free.

I'm also writing this with a searing hatred in my heart that I'm working to quell. I can't explain it exactly, but it's like feeling an anxious indigestion in your lungs. Almost hard to breathe because of all the rage. I have this nervous energy that wants me to do bad things. I have a brand new headache that won't go away. I have a brand new Voice informing me that me and my babies and my family and my people aren't worth shit. We aren't worth tears or fairness or sympathy or even the benefit of the doubt. I can collect all the degrees I want and send my babies to all the best schools and bust my ass to make my own way in this world and never, ever have a scuffle with the law and still, I'm nothing. I don't even matter.

That's what this trial made me feel like: I don't matter. And that's bullshit, because I follow all of your motherfucking rules, AMERICA! I have a social security number; I pay taxes; I immunized my kids; I send them to school and keep them off the streets; I pay my own rent and utilities; I keep a job "on the books" and still, I don't matter. Well FUCK YOU, then. AMERICA.

And while we're on the subject, I need to address something real quick. All my white homies, pay attention and pass it on to the people you love.

When I'm visiting with either Cathi or Celia, dear, dear friends from college (more like family!!!!) who happen to be white and who live in areas where black folks are an anomaly, despite the fact that I know these women are my friends and love me and much as I love them, it doesn't diminish my hyper-awareness of, most times, being the only person of color in the room. It's something instinctual, like checking to see where all the exits are when you enter a room or making sure you're not alone with some dude on a subway car during that long ass ride from 59th Street to 125th Street on the A-Train. Just another safety precaution. I also listen intently for anything remotely racist said around me when I'm in said scenarios. Again, I can't turn it off, it just is.

This has always been my life. This is how I've learned to co-exist in a world that would rather I just go away and stop pestering it with desires of fairness and justice and liberty to pursue my happiness. I had to learn to adjust ME so as not to upset "the white folks" and I'm not kidding; this is how I grew up. "Don't be loud; don't make a scene; obey the cops" and so on, because I am the wrong shade of human to be afforded the luxury of being loud, causing a scene or disobeying the cops. It's exhausting to know I don't matter!

I'm not looking for pity or special treatment here, just understanding. We are systematically oppressed every day of our lives, on a small scale AND on a large scale. Everyday and all the time. This is why shit like this Zimmerman verdict has me flipping out and yelling RACISM. Because it is.

AND ANOTHER THING (to add to this unorganized rant). Just because you are the only white person in your group, neighborhood, city, state, dorm or WHATEVER, doesn't make you a minority in the same respect that non-whites are considered minorities, OK? The system is still on your side. You're not being ignored by your elected representatives (any more than usual). The cops aren't going to target or profile you. You can buy a house anywhere you want and no one will question WHY you got into a good school or got a great promotion.

So no, JAMES MCLELLAN, being the only white person in your county is not the same thing as being non-white in America. Shut the fuck up and enjoy your white privilege, idiot!

*no smooches today; I'm mourning my basic human right to exist in peace*
how was your weekend?

Friday, July 05, 2013

Take This Music And Use It

A while ago I read Dr. Weill's Eight Weeks to Optimal Health and in it the doctor suggests that we distance ourselves from newspapers and the 11 o'clock news, because it poisons us. And I've tried to do that since I read that, but this George Zimmerman trial has taken over my soul.

I'm not going to tell you what to think or do or anything else with regard to this trial. In fact, I'm disabling comments because I don't want anyone to act ignorant on my blog. I'm not trying to be the next person in an orange jumpsuit.

But I am accepting that the outcome of this trial is not within my control. I'm not on the jury. I'm not the judge and I'm not on the prosecution's team. I'm releasing the anxiety I feel in my soul over this whole case. I'm going to go home and hug my babies and be thankful that they're okay. And be hopeful that justice will prevail in Florida.

Take a moment and think of everything that is stressing you out right now. Is it worth a heart attack? Is it worth your tears? Will your bad feelings or bad health, in any way, change the source of your stress? Be hopeful. Let go of the badness.

*smooches...practicing my yogic breath*
this trial, though, is getting on my LAST motherfucking nerve. LAST. ONE.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Only Dominicans Will Get This

Mari told me this joke years ago. It STILL cracks me up.

What's the smelliest holiday?

Fo-fo July.

*smooches...enjoying a quiet day*
who's bringing me some BBQ?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Lyrics to Love: Native New Yorker By Odyssey

Runnin' pretty, New York City girl
Twenty-five, thirty-five
Hello, baby, New York City girl

You grew up ridin' the subways, running with people
Up in Harlem, down on Broadway
You're no tramp, but you're no lady, talkin' that street talk
You're the heart and soul of New York City

And love, love is just a passing word
It's the thought that you had in a taxi cab that got left on the curb
When he dropped you off at east 83rd

Oh, oh, oh [Oh, oh, oh]
You're a native New Yorker
You should know the score by now [You should know by now]
You're a native New Yorker

New York girl, ooh, ooh, ooh

Music plays, everyone's dancin' closer and closer
Makin' friends and findin' lovers
There you are lost in the shadows, searchin' for someone [Searchin' for
To set you free from New York City

And, whoa, where did all those yesterdays go
When you still believed love could really be like a Broadway show
You were the star, when did it close?

Oh, oh, oh [Oh, oh, oh]
You're a native New Yorker
No one opens the door
For a native New Yorker

[Runnin' pretty, New York City girl]
Native, native, native New Yorker

Where did all those yesterdays go
When you still believed love could really be like a Broadway show
You are the star

You're a native New Yorker
You should know the score by now
You're a native New Yorker

You should know the score, you should know the score by now
You're a native New Yorker, oh, oh, oh
[Native, native, native new Yorker]
You're a native New Yorker

Whoa, oh, ho, ho, you're a native New Yorker
You should know the score
[Native, native, native new Yorker]
You're a native New Yorker

What you waitin' for, no one opens the door
[You're a native New Yorker]
For a native, for a native New Yorker


What else can I say? It's my theme song. I'm the native New Yorker being dropped off on East 83rd, talking street talk, makin' friends and findin' lovers. Every time I hear that song I'm transported to my grandmother's apartment on Patchen Avenue, me and Minerva listening to LP's, singing along like our lives depended on it. See we weren't allowed to play outside, and whenever there was nothing good on TV, we would throw on the records and let our imaginations take over. I still do it today.

It's the only way I know how to write.

*smooches...turning the speakers way up*
tell me this ain't the jam and I'll call you a DAMN liar.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Random Tuesday Shit

Here's what I'm thinking:

If I have the cake, why can't I eat it? It's my cake, right? Or am I holding it for someone? I need answers.

Why do we need to include sex in relationships? Whatever happened to watching the TV w/some ice cream and popcorn? Where are those guys?

The more annoyed I am with someone, the more my speech pattern turns southern. Maybe I was a house negro from Alabama in a past life.

Don't ask me for any more nutrition or fitness advice. I've grown to care very little about helping you get healthy.

Why do y'all wear heels you can't walk in and dresses you can't sit in? Me, my maxi dress and comfy sandals are all laughing at you.

*smooches...clearing my head real quick*
leave your random thoughts if you'd like

Monday, July 01, 2013

So, This Happened.

You must know by now that when I'm gone for a bit it means I have more pressing things going on than updated this outdated website. Yes, outdated. Everyone is on Instagram or Tumblr; blogs like this are getting left behind like printed periodicals.

But whatever, I was busy living life and doing things. Like curating an event for Lit Crawl NYC this fall. And planning my next reading at La Casa Azul Bookstore on the 21st. And just working on my various writing and personal and home projects. Plus we fit in some fun stuff. Like so:

I went to the Sesame Flyers mas band launch. Because I'm playing mas this fall along the Parkway. I'm thinking of maybe one of these two costumes:

This costume allows me to still eat junk food.

This one...not so much...

K graduated from my alma mater, Brooklyn Technical High School. MY BABY!

BTHS Alum, 20yrs apart!

Soon this will be a pic of THREE BTHS alum

Straight out of a scene from "Mad Men"

And then, just last weekend, I took N to her first fete--Kes the Band LIVE at B.B. Kings Times Square. AND WE MET KEES DIEFFENTHALLER (the lead singer).

We were the last group allowed to take a pic!

Oh, and DJ Robbie Styles and I are getting married. Allegedly. In my dreams.

Can you just picture our babies?!

What have you all been up to?

*smooches...still on cloud nine*
let's see if I can go the whole month without disappearing...