Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Closed for maintenance?

Of course the time when I feel I have all these thoughts coursing through my mind so much of the time, and so much I want to write about, and when I have found myself having more and more intersting conversations about purpose, passion, politics, all the great "p's" of the human condition, of course that time would coincide with me studying to take the bar exam in a month.


So aside from the very sporadic, very short rant of a midnight i-can't-sleep-gotta-get-up-in-5 moment, I will check y'all in a month (God willing!).

Until then, I do hope you'll peruse all the ingenius content already posted on this a-here girlwomansoul's blog.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In My Father's Closet

Who knew that throwing away my dad's expired vitamins in the back of the cupboard would send me deep into contemplation?

A few weeks ago, to make room for new roommates I undertook the fantastic task of cleaning out the kitchen cabinets to clear the way for new stuff. For those who don't know, I live in my childhood house. I moved in when my dad was very ill and he shortly thereafter passed away. That was going on two years ago and I haven't moved out since, although I plan to move out in the Fall. It's weird because it's always been my house, but now it's like, my house. All that to say, because there was never any true cleaning out and filling up of the space, a lot of stuff has stayed the same since Dad passed away. So when the new roomies came there was a need to make room for the new.

So I'm cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and I find all kinds of goodies--expired prune juice, glutinous pancake mix from 2005 (seriously, that's dangerous. Google it), old vitamin supplements--stuff, stuff, stuff. And it felt so good to throw the stuff away. (It also felt quite wasteful. I took care to compost and recycle what I could. But I just couldn't help but feel a little guilty about all these products that were purchased and never used.) And because it was just food it wasn't really an emotional experience. (To contrast, I won't even begin to write about cleaning out my dad's closet. I still have half of his sweatshirts and t-shirts. I still have some of his size 10 men's shoes. Oh boy.) No, instead it was just... interesting. To think about the "stuff" stuff that we leave behind, the truly unsentimental things that nevertheless are a sign that we were once here... interesting.

But I am now inspired to minimize, minimize, minimize, so I can have plenty of room for things that matter like relationships, activities and issues that inspire me, dreaming about Possibility, refining and revising my own boundaries, etc. And that I really mean, not in a mushy fluffy way, but in the real sense that when you feel like you've got too much stuff you don't feel like you're able to get up and move to where you need to go when you need to go there. I'd be screwed if I had to move to Central America in 3 weeks (but not if I had to do it in 3 months... see above where I said I am now inspired to minimize).

Now to take it to the pie in the sky existential place I somehow always find a way to visit no matter how mundane or simple the issue. The experience of cleaning out the cabinet set me off thinking about letting go. When do you let go of things, and when do you ignore the expiration date and stretch it out? What things in our lives simply don't have an expiration date and will always be in our shelf, maybe in the shelves of our heirs after we pass away?

They better be more important than some old prune juice, I tell ya that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Speak to Me Update

The Speak to Me Event was fantastic. It was a very small, intimate group and the Gallery is a beautiful space. The poets boasted a range of styles and talents and really brought it, yours truly included, if I do say so myself.

About the Artwork
Because of permission concerns, to view the painting I suggest you just click here and you should be able to follow the link to the portfolio of Shirley Rudolph, the artist who created the painting "Temporary Fix," which inspired my poem, "A Poem for People Looking for Answers."

It's a great painting. An array of country flags set across a black background are then overshadowed by stark-red question marks splattered into the foreground. Slogans and phrases related to politics, political ideology, and political dialogue are quietly placed around the flags.

The painting was the visual representation of how I often feel about following world politics, and the following is the poetic inspiration that came from it:

"A Poem For People Who Want Answers"

An ocean of ink spills across page,
A cleansing, rewriting worries into problems solved
Painting this troubled canvas til it looks like Freedom,
Is ready to wave itself high

Fly, above war torn families who can’t stomach a Memorial Day barbecue
Above fist-pumping youth on the Gaza, now just bodies, who wanted answers and got them, wanted aid and got none

Above "Dear Leader’s" muffled masses, fearing nuclear vengeance from unexplained sunken warships

Ready to wave itself high, fly
A freed bird, unsoiled by blackened waters
Untouched by dark addictions that have long seeped into the culture of we changelings, we hopefuls who said, “Yes We Can!” but didn’t know how we would

If I could, I’d let the ink spill across every newspaper page
Paint over rage and hateful laws that tell us the solution to all of our angst is to question each other’s right to be
Right to stand on this patch of soil or that
Right to speak this colonial tongue or that
Right to write our opinions on page, paper or web, and invite others to dialogue

I’d paint mountains into those sharp lines that trace the movement of the Euro, the Dollar, the Yuan
Splash blood-red dancing question marks across each country flag, begging the question

Who are we?

Will we ever be able to gather all our politics and in one giant cipher have a moment of reckoning where we see our own political guesswork as it is, acknowledge how fragile we, and our so called solutions, really are?

Will we ever commit to discarding flimsy slogans and empty rhetoric, because deep down we all know we need more than a strong cork to plug this oil spill?

We need real, true, progress that only happens through struggle, through community, that only emerges when we refuse to act with impunity, when we accept ourselves as flawed, fumbling, bumbling things who've been looking for a temporary fix to long term problems and have only found ourselves getting dirtier and more confused in the process

If I could, I’d let ink spill across newspaper page and canvas, rely on divine inspiration to paint a clear picture of who we are and who we must become if we intend to leave this place in one piece and in working order for our children
I’d paint over this troubled canvas until it betrays a glint of hope, and I’d let the page wave high, fly, like a freedom flag we all would willingly and sincerely salute

An ocean of ink spills across page,
A cleansing, rewriting worries into problems solved
Painting this troubled canvas til it looks like Freedom,
Is ready to wave itself high

The event was inspiring, a great communion of artists. I'm glad I was a part of it!

I learned from the experience that when I pour a little into my craft, I get good results--people seemed to like the delivery of the poem. (In fact, I won $25!) More importantly, this means that if I were to pour even more into my creative interests, I just might approach the level I am aiming for.

Gotta get on it then.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Speak To Me--Tonight

So it just occurred to me that I'm excited about performing a new piece tonight! It has been such a busy time it's like I don't allow myself to get excited about the next moment until it's upon me.

What's tonight? Speak to Me: Visual Art Poetry Fusion Show at C Art Gallery. If you're in Seattle, come through!

Thursday, June 3, 2010
5:30-7:30 p.m.
C Art Gallery
855 Hiawatha Place South
Seattle, Washington 98144

The premise is pretty cool. I've been to plenty of shows where a visual artist will create a new piece as a poet spits, but this is the other way around. The poet will perform a piece inspired by a painting. The painting will be presented and the poet will perform.

For more seasoned peformers, this may sound like no big deal. But participating in this is great stretching for me and my creative work. First, I have been wanting to put myself out there a bit more lately. Second, usually I just kinda sit back and say, "What shall I write about?" Or on a whim I decide, "I'm going to go to this Slam/Open Mic, and I'm going to perform X piece." This was a different experience for me. I had no idea what the artist's piece would look like, who the artist was, whether I'd find inspiration in it, etc. And I had to put myself out there by providing prior work as a means for them to select me as one of the 6 poets.

I'll be interested to see what the artist thinks of my interpretation of her piece. Can't share it now, but I'll post an update on how the whole thing went a bit later.