Once Upon A (First) Poetry Reading

I did it!

It’s officially in my past, the rear view mirror of life, back there while I’m all the way up here.

Last night at the Fox & Crow in Jersey City Heights, I read my poetry in front of a room full of strangers. And I didn’t vomit all over them.

Don’t get me wrong – I look terrified. I was terrified. And I used my hands way too much – I had NO idea I speak with my hands!! But I survived and only fucked up a few times and all in all, it was a stellar evening with friends, great words, and loads of bourbon.

And guess what? Thanks to my friend, Stephanie, it’s all on video, so part two of this endeavor is being brave enough to share my adventure and let y’all in on me popping my poetry-reading cherry.

Check it out

The hands are killing me. Just killing me. But next week when I go back, I swear those motherfuckers will be under control. Stay tuned.

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Quote Challenge – Day 3 – The Randoms

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Day 3 of the Quote Challenge is all about some of my favorite feel-good, empowering, uplifting, speak-beautiful kind of words.

I have a ton of them because I love collecting them, sharing them, referring back to them when I need a little extra bounce in my step, but keeping with the rules of this post, I’ll limit myself to three. These three are the ones that for whatever reason, spoke to me today. Catch me tomorrow, and I might hit you with totally different knowledge.

Thanks again to my friend, Kayti Nika Raet, for including me in this three-day adventure. It’s been loads of fun.

And without further ado, lemme shut up and share some quotes.

There you have it – three days of some pretty cool quotes from some pretty stellar folks. Maybe one day, someone will quote me in their own Quote Challenge…

#goals

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Quote Challenge – Day 2 – Charles Bukowski

Bukowski

Day 2 of my Quote Challenge is devoted to my beloved drunk, my favorite grump, the poet, the lover, the bastard – Charles Bukowski. A gorgeous boy introduced me to Uncle Chuck years ago – we spent a night reading his poetry, whispering, laughing, and I have devoured his words ever since.

Bukowski is not for everyone, but he sure as hell is for me. I love his grit, the raw truth of his work, the rhythm of his words, but I also love how he makes poetry feel accessible and alive and possible. He inspires me, gives me the balls to create, and the backbone to keep at it.

I know this challenge is about quotes, and I promise to share mine in a second, but it’s also about words and the power of good words and sometimes I don’t think there are any better words for writers than those Mr. Bukowski put together in his poem So You Want To Be A Writer?, so I’m going to share those first:

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.
So You Want To Be A Writer?

Good stuff, eh?

Okay, back to the challenge – here are the rules:
1. Post on 3 consecutive days
2. Pick 1 or 3 quotes per day
3. Challenge 3 different bloggers per day
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you

As before, I’m not tagging anyone but feel free to leave quotes or notes or whatever in the comments – I’m happy to get a little chatty about Bukowski.

GAH.

Love him. Such a goddamned badass.

If you haven’t read his stuff, pick up The Last Night of the Earth Poems, it’s a great intro to his magic.

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Quote Challenge – Day 1 – Zora Neale Hurston

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The other day my friend, fellow writer and Write Bitch, Kayti Nika Raet, tagged a couple of us in her Quote Challenge. The intent seemed pretty clear – get a bunch of folks together to share some great writing – and the premise was so straightforward and simple – share your favorite quotes – that I could hardly resist.

Plus, anything to get me back to posting more regularly around these parts is gladly accepted.

Here are the rules:
1. Post on 3 consecutive days
2. Pick 1 or 3 quotes per day
3. Challenge 3 different bloggers per day
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you

I’m going to state right from the get-go that I’m breaking rule 3 of the challenge because I’m not going to tag anyone – if y’all want to post your own quotes in the comments or on your own blog, by all means please do so. And in deference to rule 4: thanks Kayti – you know I love a good quote.

My inaugural post in the Quotes Challenge is dedicated to the luminous wondrous brilliant fellow Barnard woman (sorry, I couldn’t resist) – one of my favorite writers – Ms Zora Neale Hurston.

God, I love her. So much. If you haven’t read any of Ms. Hurston’s work, I am so damn sorry for you. You’ve gotta grab a copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God and fall in love with both Janie and her gifted creator. Trust me – do it. Thank me later.

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Love Letters to Rihanna

 

Rihanna's Anti World Tour is coming to Sunderland.

Dear Rihanna,

First things first, let’s get the obvious out of the way: I have a thing for you. Those who know and love me, know I love you. Madly.

But in a good way – I love your style and your gangsta is so. fucking. hot. – not the bad way – I’m a stalker and you might find me standing in your driveway at three in the morning.

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Being the dancing girl that I am, your music is all over my iTunes, I overlisten your Pandora station, and when your songs come on during my workout, well shit, I kind of forget how painful those weights are, the burn in my legs from all those lunges, the sting in my triceps from countless push ups.

Simply put, you make everything better.

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But even I, the girl who thinks you can do no wrong and are all kinds of magic, didn’t expect you to pull me out of my writing funk, the shitty place I’ve been living these past few months, producing all kinds of poetry, but not so much in the form of prose. And definitely not so much when it comes to JUMA.

Oh yeah…JUMA…book II in The Keeper Series…that book I’ve got all mapped out and analyzed and character-studied, but that I can’t seem to find a flow, rekindle my writing rhythm, bathe in my (usual) good writing juju…yeah…JUMA.

MOTHERFUCKING JUMA.

The book that should have been finished by now, but isn’t because life has a funny way of throwing you all kinds of curve balls when you least expect them, some in the form of writer’s block, others in the form of general fuckery and bad shit. The book that is going to be so damn good, mostly because Juma and Dutch are so damn good and so damn sexy and good fucking lord! I love them. And oh yeah – JUMA – the book that is finally getting written thanks to some help from you, Ms. Fenty.

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You heard me right. You.

See, your album Anti, well it’s kind of the shit. Actually, it’s totally The Shit. And yes, it’s kind of Dutch, here and there I feel him, but holy fucking hell, it is all Juma.

All. Juma.

It’s as if you wrote the album for Juma and JUMA and if I loved you in the bad way discussed above – the scary stalker way – I would whole-heartedly believe you wrote it for me and my writing and especially my writing of JUMA, that’s how on point it is.

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There’s the obvious Sex With Me and your confident, ballsy statement “sex with me, so amazing” but there are also subtle moments, quieter pronouncements and admissions, full of longing and vulnerability and a hint of grief and holy shit, that’s Juma. It is so JUMA.

That line in Close to You – I know you don’t need my protection, but I’m in love, can’t blame me for checking – seriously woman? The scene I wrote months ago in the apartment lobby – this is wrapped all around it.

Love on the Brain could easily be D+J’s theme song:
Must be love on the brain
That’s got me feeling this way
It beats me black and blue but it fucks me so good
And I can’t get enough
Must be love on the brain
And it keeps cursing my name (cursing my name)
No matter what I do
I’m no good without you
And I can’t get enough
Must be love on the brain

Then there’s the sexy, seductive, badass thump-thump of Desperado, that’s got Juma’s name written all over it – up, down, sideways, backwards, forwards. Any way you parse it, Desperado is Juma. I can see her grooving to it real slow, eyes closed, hips swaying: I’m not trying to go against you/I can be a lone wolf with ya/Gotta get up out of here/And you ain’t leaving me behind/I know you won’t, cause we share common interests/You need me, there ain’t no leaving me behind/Never, no, no, both want out of here/Yeah, once we’re gone, ain’t no going back

I could keep going but then I start looking like scary stalker girl and like I said, that’s a road I’m hardly interested in traversing.

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Anyway, you get it. I love you and I especially love this album and the fact it did what so many other people, places, things could not – it helped me start writing again. It brought the magic.

GAH.

Thank you, RiRi.

So much.

Love,
Me
(the happy girl, sitting in the corner, writing)

#Poesia – SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE Y

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SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE Y

swish glide swoon
move with the freedom
of weightlessness
escape the limits
of skin bone muscle
swim little boy swim


The #Poesia pieces on this blog and Write Bitches are works of fiction, erupting from my incredibly over-active imagination. This one’s genesis is as literal as it sounds – from spending my recent Saturday mornings at the Y. These works are slightly edited, totally unscripted, spontaneous, super loose, and probably some of my favorite works. They are perfect in their imperfections and I hope you enjoy.

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Just A Taste, A Tease: JUMA

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The last month has been one big battle of the bug around these parts – first The Kid got some random, high fevers that had the school nurse calling me in the middle of the day to come pick him up, which is not the easiest feat to accomplish when my butt is in New York City and his in the ‘burbs. Then his nastiness decided I tasted better and feasted on me for two days while he ran around wild and happy. Only to turn around a day later with another fever, this time raging, and a case of strep throat, landing us at the pharmacy laden with a prescription for antibiotics, ready to fend off those streptococcal pharyngitis motherfuckers.

Which we did with gusto, managing a whole six or seven illness-free days around Chez Blaylock, to the point we started strutting around, feeling all big and shit, healthy and fit. Little did we know, the joke was on us.

This past Sunday at 3 in the morning, I heard it. And I must digress here for a second to expound upon the amazing seventh sense us moms have, the one no one talks about: the ability to sleep through world war III, but hear the slightest, and I mean slightest sound of distress from your kid. That was me. Up late writing, dead to the world, and then BAM! Wide awake as a motherfucker with that first gag…

and then the barf gates opened. I walked into The Kid’s bedroom to find him on his side, vomiting up his guts. I helped him through it, without gagging myself – another mom superpower that kicks in when necessary, because anyone else vomits in front of me, and all I want to do is heave. And that was us for the next twelve hours. Followed up by twelve hours of fever, and finally after another twelve hours of solid rest, he walked down the steps Wednesday afternoon with a grin on his face, ready to watch TV and eat some real food. And just like that, my entire body was suddenly achy and cold.

So began my two days of 102 fevers.

And the craziest. sex. dreams. ever.

EVER.

This is all a very long way of saying I cannot wait for spring and some warmer weather and the dismissal of all of this funk and gunk and nastiness that has attacked us the last several weeks.

And for those of y’all who don’t know – it’s tough to write when you’re sick or dealing with someone small and sick. But here and there, I managed to produced some good stuff. In between the doctor visits and medicines and baths, I wrote some kick ass poetry and I broke through my first ever writing block (with loads of help from my good friends and fellow Write Bitches Kayti and Laura).

So far JUMA has been an exercise of writing in fits and starts, something I never do, and something I’ve been having trouble wrapping my head around, figuring out a way to conquer. But amidst the sickness, I did it and hot damn, it feels good. JUMA feels good. And to celebrate, here’s an eensy-teensy-weensy little taste:

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Hope you like.

Now it’s back to writing…and ingesting more vitamin C than I ever imagined possible.

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Random Thoughts

1. You might be buying Preparation H for the bags under your eyes, but the cute guy at the cash register doesn’t know that…

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2. This taste of spring is delicious

3. All the fish in The Kid’s tank died the other day. Every single one. As if they had a conference, agreed they wanted to make me feel like a huge piece of shit, and drank the kool-aid…that “special” kool-aid. Needless to say, three years later, I am throwing in the towel and admitting defeat. My fish experiment is done – no more dead fish for me. Going back to what I know – rodents. Just added a hamster named Shema to our crew. She’s so much cuter than those damn fish.

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4. That said, I’m so goddamned pissed about the fish. I hate failing.

5. The Kid has spent the last two days, sick as a dog. It started out as projectile vomiting at 3am, evolved into a high fever, and now although he’s feeling better, he’s totally weak. We spent all day yesterday in bed together, him trying to recover, me doing some lawyering, and in between it all, at the most random moments, he would reach out to hold my hand. MEEP. He just turned 8, so I know these moments are about to come to an abrupt end, but for now, I’m going to savor them and all of their sweetness.

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6. I’m going to do my first spoken word gig next week at a bar in my old neighborhood. I’m nervous, scared, terrified, but that’s even more reason to show up and read. Not sure which makes my stomach turn more, sharing my work or having to stand up in front of a crowd.

7. Once upon a time, I had some hair

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8. That Chili Peppers song Road Trippin’ – since the first time I heard it, the lyrics “let’s go get lost” have stayed with me, finding a dark little corner of my soul to make themselves at home. The idea of escaping with girlfriends or a lover or The Kid is so appealing – it doesn’t have to be forever, even just a few moments of disappearing from it all, losing myself in someone else – friends, lovers, family – it stirs me. So much that I got it tattooed on my clavicle (thank you, Jason Barletta and Rising Dragon Tattoo) and wrote this poem – hope you enjoy

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And on that note, I think y’all have heard enough from me – I’m out of here.

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#Poesia – WANDERLUST

Wanderlust

WANDERLUST

 She contained miles of stars
stunning waterways
jaw-dropping mountains
meandering paths
all waiting to be discovered

He grabbed a map
bought a new compass
rolled up his sleeping bag
and set out on the
adventure of a lifetime


The #Poesia pieces on this blog and Write Bitches are works of fiction, erupting from my incredibly over-active imagination. This one came from my love of the word “meandering” and just flowed and I freaking love it. I think it might be one of my favorites, if not my favorite. These works are slightly edited, totally unscripted, spontaneous, super loose, and probably some of my favorite works. They are perfect in their imperfections and I hope you enjoy.

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