Archive | March, 2012

A Saturday Poem For Lovers

31 Mar

I say your name and it burns my tongue,
leaving a scar I cannot erase
no matter the pencil, which you prefer;
that old-fashioned writing utensil
trailing charcoal or graphite
that smudges the sentences you give me
to consume, devour, and I wonder
after all this time if things like
worn paper and love really matter
or if it is like a fire that flames up
bursts and destroys all that it had
once sparked, the dying embers and ash
yet again, a mark, a possibility of words
in dirt, in grey matter to shape, reform
to become the worlds that we can-
not construct in every house of our
being, which does not shelter our desires
does not yield to our demands nor breaks
for love; that the heart asks for.

The Rich May Be Gone But Her Words Will Always Live

30 Mar

”Now, again, poetry 
violent, arcane, common, 
hewn of the commonest living substance 
into archway, portal, frame 
I grasp for you, your bloodstained splinters, your 
ancient and stubborn poise”

Mas the earth trembles— 
burning out from the grain”

Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. poet. The Fact of a Doorframe, st. 3, The Fact of a Doorframe (1974).

A Letter I Wrote to My Grandpa – who taught me what love is

28 Mar


It’s February 9th and I’m 27 and half years old.  Today I was sitting on the bus, going down Market street like I do every day.  The bus is usually filled with vaguely disturbed people and a few normal smatterings, so daily I slink down in the seat with my headphones and avoid making eye contact with my fellow passengers.

However, today I glanced out the window at 7th and Market and was surprised by the sight of two elderly people in their 60s or 70s holding hands.  The woman’s body was fully turned toward the man and she was chattering away, probably about nothing, her whole being was lit with love.

The man’s hand in hers, and he stared at the ground with a crinkled smile, punctuating the woman’s commentary with a laugh or soft comment all the while never glancing at her, and yet that didn’t matter,  For he so clearly adored being adored, so clearly appreciated his partner’s care-taking.

I’ll never know what they were talking about, if they were married or not, their history, but I’ll always know that I’ve seen you and Grandma stand that similar way, but with less hand-holding.

I’ll always know how Grandma looked at you, how when I was 16 years old, after some chocolate liquor that she said was, “just chocolate,” she confessed how she still felt about you.

I know I’ll never know the married challenges you and grandma have gone through, nor will I know all the ways that you’ve probably hurt one another.  I’ll never know how you really feel now; that after decades of living together to watch one another’s bodies break; about the exhaustion of those decades and how like the body marriage must wear and tear the same way.

Still, I’ll always know that you love and loved one another; that you never walked away on what you created together; that an old couple standing at the bus can make my heart fill because they remind me of you.

When we chatted last week, and you shared more of your own personal story, I was struck by how much I’ll never know about you and Grandma’s lives, and I know there are some things you would never want me knowing.

However, depsite that, despite what you might view as “your mistakes”, or what we all do wrong sometimes, and trust me I’ve done plenty.  I was touched by how you have quietly taken care of those you love for your entire life and have never asked thanks for it.

You started a company and took in your brother-in-law, you took in your wife sister’s children, you took in your wife’s mother, and you told me in your letter that “love is a way of being in the world,” and I saw exactly how you’ve been that love.

There are some things you’ll never know about me.

You’ll never know all of the experiences that have shaped me these past few years, the sleepless nights, the doubt, the late evenings full of dancing and friends, the overwhelming feeling that life is so fast and I’m one step behind, the heartbreak, the beauty of waking up daily in a city full of mountains, the quiet of running along the Bay, the sailboats, the hours spent on the phone consoling others and being consoled.

The standing in a mansion in ‘the hills’ at a Moroccan-themed party, the hours wasted in parks on a blanket with people hula-hopping nearby, the burst of color called the Conservatory of Flowers, the search professionally for my place, the being wrong and right and wrong again, and the many other experiences and people that have woven my tapestry, which will one day be my shroud of memory.

However,  you will always know my heart, and my beginning, my kaleidoscope self that shift tones, making me who I am.

I’ll never know so much of the same, but I will know how you love and loved, how you evolved from a man of action to one who occasionally shares his words for feeling.

As I stride through life with all of my dreams and doubt, I will continue to keep what you lived – love as a way of being.

I love you,


A Love Story (or what I do after break-ups)

27 Mar

Thank you Tragedy

and Joy, which are bound in one being

A sinner savior who has condemned me

To death through regeneration

And I hate the way you sit there

like a cow, calmly chewing on grass

It is a pastoral affair, in a city

of mountainous grim and we were

two beings who believed in love

and were stupid enough to think

that was enough

But when is love ever enough?

In every story there is a beginning

A boy and girl meet in tremendous youth

making an infinite union that will last as

long as life

And the end never comes like a banner

streaming out behind us, and we lead

the battalion of one another; in union

with two different possibilities of person

And when you said the first no

I forgave for the beginning was still before us

but when you said no again I could not move

and I ripped the cloth into pieces, and you saw that

I never thought we could win

And we saw our own propaganda

Which was brilliant

How could we see what we swallowed?

We did not know our own lies for we

loved each other; the mists of feeling

that engulfed us because what else is youth

but a belief in manufactured perception

What else is loss but love?

Dancing On My Star

27 Mar

It has come to my attention that most people who take Zumba or UJam Fitness secretly hate me.  I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because I stand in the middle of the room and when the music starts a spotlight hits me.  The gym becomes a stage, and I’m the Star.

There’s almost nothing else on this earth that makes me as happy as dancing.  I have loved it since my downtown friends kindly told me that I was doing the Tootsie Roll wrong – somehow rolling my legs together instead of apart.  I definitely didn’t get that song.

After hours of practicing in my room, and a few sessions of MTV Jams, I developed my own rhythm.  Yes, my Mom may come up to me at relative’s weddings and hiss, “This is not YOUR wedding,” as I get down with a couple of 50 year old ladies, but I do not care.

Hate on haters because really you’re just jealous you don’t love it as much.  You’re just jealous that you didn’t have years of being a minority in your mainly Asian/Indian/Latin/ African-American school and no one taught your white booty to dance.

And maybe in a past life I was a pop star, dancing to manufactured beats and sneaking cocaine before my shows – you can’t prove it otherwise.

So yes, I may get dirty looks after class, but I will stand smack dab in the middle and bow to the imaginary applause.

I will still take over any dance floor and challenge the break dancers because they take themselves too seriously.   I will one day be that 50 year old lady, embarrassing my children because they’ll have to drag me off the floor.

It’s this love, this aliveness, this rush of adrenaline that makes it worth getting up each day – no matter what you’re facing.  So do what you love, let people hate you and learn how to shake your god-given ass.

Now for some inspiration:

Arguing with Engineers….

24 Mar

I got in an intense conversation with two boys who were of the start-up engineer nature.  I was sharing some of my concerns for the younger generation, or Generation iY (and their children), which are that we’re fostering a culture that does not celebrate humanism; that now our Culture is lowercase; that these children don’t know how to spell and have the attention span of fleas.

Their response was, “why do they need to?  Their brains are completely different than ours and their world is different.”  I agreed, though not entirely.  While I didn’t need to be so cynical, they didn’t need to be so hopeful.  There is a middle ground.

I think a meeting of the two is necessary because a world of constant innovation without a look backward is dangerous.  Our identity is not just who we are but what came before us and the society we live in today – which is also impacted by what is has previously looked like.

I believe our current age, the information age, is beautiful because it took the spark that was ignited in the twentieth century, which was “the way it’s always been done doesn’t seem right.”  Nuclear families weren’t happy, material things didn’t fix anything and meanwhile the nation is at war with another, drafting boys to be killed for what purpose?

Society began to recognize they were being sold a prettily packaged 50s dream, began to see the deep untruths that ran through it, began to see all the varying shades it excluded.

Now, what does this new information age have to do with all this twentieth-century societal upheaval?

I believe it was born from the same impulse – “the way it’s always been done doesn’t seem right”, there can be a better way.

Instead of standing in the streets with flowers in their hair, the young have become entrepreneurs of innovation.  Children as young as ten are starting companies for social good, thinking of services to makes us more communal, and taking long-standing industries such as Publishing and turning them upside down.

The Arab Spring spread through Facebook; no one really gets lost in their cars anymore; small businesses in Africa can be funded through services like Kiva; people like Roger Ebert, who’s a voiceless critic, can still express himself through Twitter.

How can all this be bad?

A secondary world has been created.  It’s a world that exists in a cloud crafted by codes that allows people to have Avatars to live life for them.  It’s a world where you can easily conduct simultaneously relationships through the many existing devices, a place that reduces words to letters; where even laughing can have no sound.

While the academics view humanism as a literary theory, in this context, humanism has the qualities and characteristics of being a human being.  Human beings are complex, physical animals that are born to a physical world.  Humans need real-world relationships, in-person communities; humans need to use their hands beyond the keyboard to get that deep sense of fulfillment.

That’s why it’s important to acknowledge this secondary world dilutes our primary one, and still further, it dilutes and reduces our language; thus limiting our thought, which is shaped by our words.

There is no stopping the age that has been set in motion, and I’m not a pundit on a stand shouting to everyone, warning that our children are doomed.

I’m just a girl, at her computer, acknowledging what has and will be lost if we don’t continue to nourish our primary, physical world; of what will be lost if we lose our rich language of face to face communication; for you can’t see the body that way.

We need to teach our children both worlds.   Tell them that, “the words might never be enough, might never ring exactly true,” but that at the very least we’re going to give them as many as possible; that we will give them all we know – not less.


From the Lips of Lady Bryon…

22 Mar

“The most dreadful men to live with are those who thus alternate between angel and devil,” Lady Byron