28 April 2010

A human can be healthy without killing animals for food. Therefore if he eats meat he
participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. -- Leo Tolstoy.

Whenever we cause suffering or death to any other being, we cause suffering to the Great Life Force. -- Shik Po Chih. 

"I would not eat if no one kills the animal," said the meat eater. "I would not kill if no one eats the animal," said the butcher. ["I would not breed these animals for consumption if no one orders them," said the big business executive.]


26 April 2010

In two and a half hours I'll be 21. That sort of weirds me out.

Someone wished me ftxozäri aylrrtok ngaru. Can I just say this is the coolest birthday greeting ever? Better even than Klingon. Yeah, I just said it. Na'vi, I love you! It means "smiles to you on you celebration" (happy holidays, happy birthday, etc.)

Wanted: Graffiti artist to transfer their mad powers into my mind

Broken Fingaz -Graffiti Stop Motion from Broken Fingaz on Vimeo.

I will have a child like this some day:

Well, maybe not. But if I don't get around to it, it's good to see someone else did. That kid rocks!

25 April 2010

Staceyann Chin is my new Andrea Gibson

Her words:
Am I a feminist or a womanist? The student needs to know if I do men occasionally and primarily, am I a lesbian? Tongue tied up in my cheek, I attempt to respond with some honesty. Well, this business of Dykes and Dykery, I tell her, it’s often messy.  With social tensions as they are, you never quite know what you’re getting.

Girls who are only straight at night, hardcore butches be sporting dresses between 9 & 6 every day.  Sometimes she is a he, trapped by the limitations of our imaginations. Primarily, I tell her, I am concerned about young women who are raped on college campuses, in bars, after poetry readings like this one, in bars. Bruised lip and broken heart, you will forgive her if she does not come forward with the truth immediately, for when she does, it is she who will stand trial as damaged goods. Everyone will say she asked for it, dressed as she was, she must have wanted it. The words will knock about in her head: ” Harlot, slut, tease, loose woman” – some people can not handle a woman on the loose. You know those women in pinstriped shirts and silk ties, You know those women in blood-red stiletto heels and short skirts. These women make New York City the most interesting place. And while we’re on the subject of diversity, Asia is not one big race, and there’s not one big country called ‘The Islands’, and no, I am not from there.

There are a hundred ways to slip between the cracks of our not so credible cultural assumptions about race and religion. Most people are suprised that my father is Chinese. Like there’s some kind of preconditioned look for the half-Chinese, lesbian poet who used to be Catholic, but now believes in dreams.
Let’s get real sister-boy in the double-x hooded sweatshirt. That blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus in the Vatican ain’t right. That motherfucker was Jewish, not white. Christ was a middle-eastern rasta man who ate grapes in the company of prostitutes and he drank wine more than he drank water. Born of the spirit, the disciples loved him in the flesh.

But the discourse is not on those of us who identify as gay or lesbian or even straight. The state needs us to be either a clear left or right. Those in the middle get caught in the cross – fire away at the other side. If you are not for us, then you must be against us. If you are not for us, then you must be against us. People get scared enough, they pick a team. Be it for Buddha or Krishna or Christ, I believe God is that place between belief and what you name it. I believe holy is what you do when there is nothing between your actions and the truth.

The truth is I’m afraid to draw your black lines around me, I’m not always pale in the middle, I come in too many flavors for one fucking spoon. I am never one thing or the other.  At night I am everything I fear, tears and sorrows, black windows and muffled screams. In the morning, I am all I ever want to be: rain and laughter, bare footprints and invisible seams, always without breath or definition. I claim every single dawn, for yesterday is simply what I was, and tomorrow even that will be gone.

18 April 2010

Patterns of a Diamond Ceiling by Marnie Stern

I am not looking to find a pot of gold
I will paint you a picture that's inside my head
First I must carve out a place
Picture yourself carving out a place in a room
Now look up there's the diamond ceiling
Look up now, this is what it sounds like

Around you is a solitude trilogy
And glass slippers are on your feet
When I say go
You'll here the solitude trilogy come in clearly
Now look down the glass slippers are on your feet
This is what they sound like as they meet
Now walk in the self-eaters
Their sound is much clearer
So you sit down and start to think of ideas of the north
But in walk the latecomers
They back shuffle forwards
Their sound is weird

I am not looking to find a pot of gold
The picture in my head is my reward

Around you is a solitude trilogy
And glass slippers are on your feet
When I say go
You'll here the solitude trilogy come in clearly
Now look down the glass slippers are on your feet
This is what they sound like as they meet
Now walk in the self-eaters
Their sound is much clearer
So you sit down and start to think of ideas of the north
But in walk the latecomers
They back shuffle forwards
Their sound is weird

See how easy to dream a scheme of sounds in your head
We must dream on. We must dream on
You see the pieces fall away from the outer shell
We must dream on. We must dream on

So you see, I am not looking to find a pot of gold
The picture in my head is my reward
The picture in my head is my reward

17 April 2010

all things lovely

I want to try making my own fingerpaint sometime.

And huaraches.

Coffee air freshener?

This is pretty.

floatfloatfloat three times out of my mind

You're so ironic that it's ironic, and I can't tell whether or not that should be the opposite of a complement. I wish dada-surrealism existed outside of literature books, I wish passion existed outside of dreams. But it's all so rather cliche, and typing those words--about lack of creativity, passion, vision, adventure (I'm sure someone would whisper metametameta)--seals the deal. Yeah Yeah Yeah's have one up from Yia Yia's, and everyone thinks they're so cool--whoever they are. And who doesn't want to be cool? Outside is so hothothot with nobody able to match the sunshine's rayrayray radiance--so we all develop body shame with fears yelling I object. object. object. objectify. Let's not care that bodies are simply soulhouses and exploit the fact that souls are simply housing insecurities. I need some insurance, but the companies have already invested in my demise. And people say that I have such pretty eyes, like it's a great accomplishment. Like it matters. Because it does. not to you. never to you. always to me, this self-self-self (and) patternpanicked brain. And I'll never make sense, because this currency is so overated-outdated. I will not bind my feet bindmymind, and by my freedom am I bound? I read and read and read about it, let's all just talk about. Let's all just do something about it. And anti-consumerism is just way too cool, and being kind to the earth is just so in--so let's not do it anymore. Counter counterculture-ism, the new fantastic. And letting it be is a great escape from hollywood...i mean, it's just too hollywood. everything is too this and too that, and I don't understand the math--what's it four? Peace is War. Nonconformity is conformity. One of these is true. One of these is fuckingimportant (to fight with education against). And who cares whatwhatwhat anybody likes and does and is high shallow or hal(low)? Youcaretheycareicare but of course we're not the same. We are never the same. Theythem us. It's not like we spin on the same blue dot or anything--it's not like we're feeling the same blue emotions or anything. clichehowironiclet'slaughatthembeingironiclet'sseehowcoolwearefornotbeingcoolandstayingmainstreamornotstayingmainstream or just another stream of thoughts that no body is thinking (it's all about the brain).

I'm sick of the world (but never, never the universe) doing to do, not doing to not do -- forgetshit. let's just see whats helpful or hurtful. trend. no trend. that's what she said took over from your mom in being the trend. let's all become sociologists let's all care about society let's all care about human beings let's all be an all.

Edit: It all just clicked. (Restorative) justice compass > everything else.

16 April 2010

Jennifer Knapp, Christian music artist, just came out as gay

In an interview with Christianity today, Knapp was asked if she was "struggling with same-sex attraction when writing [her] first three albums."

Part of her reply, which I pasted below, is beautiful. I think it really follows the experiences of a  lot of people who are gay and Christian. While a lot do struggle with traditional interpretations of text, for many others--some who've read the works by biblical scholars and theologians who've discovered a biblical affirmation for same-sex relations--it's much less about a struggle within or with their own beliefs. Instead, it's as Knapp says:

"It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a "struggle." The struggle I've had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I've been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I've always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it's difficult for me to say that I've struggled within myself, because I haven't. I've struggled with other people. I've struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself."

Haha, I also like her answer to about what the bible says about the orientation:

"The Bible has literally saved my life. I find myself between a rock and a hard place—between the conservative evangelical who uses what most people refer to as the "clobber verses" to refer to this loving relationship as an abomination, while they're eating shellfish and wearing clothes of five different fabrics, and various other Scriptures we could argue about. I'm not capable of getting into the theological argument as to whether or not we should or shouldn't allow homosexuals within our church. There's a spirit that overrides that for me, and what I've been gravitating to in Christ and why I became a Christian in the first place."

Full article here.

14 April 2010

Steven Hutchison's poem

Steven Hutchison is pretty much (a) genius. I originally met him through his girlfriend (the one and only awesomesauce Kelly!), but am taking World Lit from Fitts with him this semester. Now we sit by each other every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and talk about words and ideas. It's fun.

He was also the only other person on campus I discovered does spoken word. And damn does he do it. He made the No Coast Slam Team with me, and I'm uber glad he did. He's mother-freaking awesome. He's legit, deep, interesting, non-judgmental (at least not verbally that I've seen :-) and creates beautiful works of word art.

Hmmm, not to be confused with wordart for Microsoft Word. Because that would just be gross--I think there should be a legal ban against wordart. But his words are truly artwork, and I can't wait to see what sort of fantastic things we'll come up with working together over the summer.

Oh! And Fitts wants to get us into the prison with him (he does prison ministry) to perform the "Peaceable Kin-dom" poem. We performed it for Peace Week, and Fitts really liked it. I really hope it works out, cuz I think the piece is amazingly powerful. And it would just be an incredible experience all on its own. There are so many awesome things happening in my life right now involving poetry, from the slam team to Tiny Hands, that I just don't even know what to expect next.

The latest poem by Steven Hutchison:

I wish poetry were like a dandelion.
After it’s blossomed and the pedals have all fallen out,
I wish I could blow a little breath over it
And watch as the seeds spread out like migratory birds.
Knowing that these seeds, these words, will bring change
And understanding that the source of the transformation
Is not found in me, but in that same spirit,
Ever-fleeting, creativity.

I wish poetry were an axe.
I would wield my weapon wisely
And take aim for that one in particular,
That overgrown tree of hatred.
I would swing, and I would swing, and I would swing again
Until that cursed tree, to my relief, would bear its ugly fruit no more.
And gazing upon its stump on the forest floor,
Should my hands begin to grow calloused and sore,
I would stand and hold the hand of my fellow lumberjacks.

I wish poetry were graffiti,
So that I could tag the ceilings of each greeting
With my love and feelings of joy.
I would buy cans of paint the color of my soul
And I would blot out the systems of fear and control.
I would paint over the mirrors that told you you were fat.
I would paint…
I would paint sounds of pianos and scat.

Sometimes I wish poetry were a knife
So that I could sever the ties that bind me to this world,
That I could fly.
And see from the nest of some falcon afar
The world in perspective.
Then I might see you for who you are.

But alas, poetry is but mere words.

Well damn it, I disagree and so does this here bird.
For I have painted the skies of the eyes of too many,
And I have seen seeds blossom into gold and green,
And you can bet your ass I’ve taken a few swings
At the trunk of that God-forsaken cherry tree.
So fly, cut, paint, blow, fall that tree, and for heaven’s sake,
Partake of the mystery of Poetry.

Bowing to Buddha?! What is this business?

  This piece, written by James, is taken from The Buddhist Blog. I hope someday we all wake up.


Gaze Upon the Buddha Statue and See Your True Self.

A common misconception that people have about Buddhists is that we worship the Buddha because we bow before his statue. Buddha wasn't a god but a human being just like the rest of us who found a way to transcend the suffering of this world. Initially he resisted sharing his path to others because he didn't think anyone would want to face their inner suffering as he had. However, having developed into an infinitely compassionate being he shared it with those who came to him and 2,500 years later we people are still coming to him. We are his heirs.

To be an heir of the Buddha simply means that we have seen the futility of the greed, hatred and delusion of the world and seek to awaken ourselves from the cycle of suffering as he has. So, in this regard when we bow to a Buddha statue or one another we are acknowledging the Buddha nature of ourselves and others. Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen teacher Lama Surya Das explains it this way:
As a longtime meditator and student of Buddhism, when I myself see a Buddha statue, I intuitively sense that I'm looking in a mirror at my highest, deepest, truest, and most authentic best self. It is not merely something to imitate -- in dress, shape, or hairstyle -- but something to emulate in terms of seeking what the Buddha himself sought and found, in order to find it in myself along with recognizing that in others, and then acting accordingly. The Buddha is actually an archetype representing enlightenment, an icon symbolizing inner wisdom, a pointer towards the possibility of a level of spiritual awakening embodying the fullest actualized potential of human beings.
So, we are bowing to the Buddha within us, which emphasizes that yes, we too can awaken to the same freedom that Buddha experienced. It is a act of hope that strengthens intention--intention to free ourselves once and for all from the thrashings of the mind. It reminds us of who we really are and after some time, just gazing upon his image has helped me remember that this identity I cling to isn't my true nature. So, when I'm feeling depressed and self-hatred arises I gaze upon him and contemplate that, "If I have the same potential of Buddha then I must be a good person." It doesn't always help but sometimes it's a nice swift kick to the head that jars loose the grip of my mind.

We also bow to show respect for the path he laid out for us to follow. Buddha's path is like bread crumbs left in a deep, dark, frightening forest to help find our way out and into an open field of awareness that shows us where the stumbling blocks lie. In the dark fog of delusion our mind makes up all sorts of things and we can't see where we are going and before we know it we're deep down in a hole of immense and crippling suffering. Haven't you suffered enough? Wake up and embrace your Buddha nature.

13 April 2010

Alex knows what's up

The line that divides the world does not run between communism and capitalism, or along the boundaries between nations, races, social classes, or genders. The line that splits the world apart runs straight through the middle of each human heart.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

11 April 2010

Summer plans, apartment adventures

This past Thursday night I competed in a poetry slam that was a little more special than the usual sha-bang. In the words of Sam (and her facebook event invite) it was a "poetic showdown to decide who will represent Lincoln, NE this year at the National Poetry Slam in Minnesota!"

A team of four plus one alternate was formed from the slam winners (with the over all winner becoming the Slam Master) to become this year's No Coast Slam Team. And I'm on it (and so is my friend Steven)! I'm so stoked :-) The first week of August I get to travel with the team to compete against (and hang out with) poets from all over the country. It's going to be incredibly rad.

However, making the team put a bit of a dent in my summer plans. More like detour than dent I suppose. I had been planning on WWOOFing (volunteering on an organic farm) the first half the summer, then returning to Lincoln for the second half. I guess hardcore/scheduled practices will fill up the summer, and I can't really be gone and stay on the team.

While I could be disappointed, I'm not. I can WWOOF any other summer (especially as I'll be in school longer since I'm transferring to UNL and changing my major to Sociology with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies). When is the next time I'll qualify/make the team to attend nationals? I CAN'T WAIT! The part I'm most excited about is just meeting all of the other poets. I bet rad people there will be plenty.

Since my plans have changed and I'll be here for the entire summer, I needed to find housing ASAP. Although I'd already been looking up some places, I kinda got into "auuugh" mode and started looking a lot harder. I didn't want to end up without a place lined up when finals week rolled around. I realize that's like three weeks away--but that's only three weeks!

I found a couple of places that looked promising, then found a lovely advertisement with pictures of a colorful studio with a tiny loft. I went and check it out, and BA BAM! I signed my 12-month lease this morning and will get the keys May 1.

It's a beautiful place with TONS of charm and character. I wish the pictures (below) would do it better justice. It's part of a big, old house that was renovated into separate apartments. I'm on the second floor. There are three other tenants, two on the second floor and one on the first. The first floor tenant is a (great)grandma who looks super sweet. I'd love to make friends with her and bake cookies or something.

There is a wrap around porch out front, and the property manager said I could plant flowers around it. He also said I could plant a small vegetable garden if I could find the room, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to. The front lawn is teeny tiny.

The current owners just bought the house last month and are in the middle of some renovations and maintenance. When I saw my unit it hadn't been thoroughly cleaned yet and they were in the middle of fixing some cupboard doors and stuff. It will all be ship-shape by May 1st though.

I love the giant windows and beautifully fun-colored walls. I also love how much bigger it is than the pictures indicate (not that it's huge, but I wasn't expecting much from something advertised as a studio). The bathroom is huge long! My friend Scheffler came with me so I wouldn't be alone, but he also asked a bunch of questions that were probably good to ask. I kind of forget the important stuff sometimes. And he brought his camera so we took lots of pictures! He reminds me a lot of my friend Tyler in the way they see the world and treat people. I wish they'd gotten to know each other before Tyler left for Washington. I also wish Tyler was still here :-( But anyways--happy thoughts! Like these pictures :-D The last one of the kitchen area is dark and makes the area look dingy. It's actually pretty happy colorful, that was just a bad picture and lighting. The property manager said that because these units are all colorful and artsy, I'm allowed to make tenant modifications. YAY :-) Maybe painting adventures are in the future? Who knows.

10 April 2010


08 April 2010

07 April 2010

03 April 2010

I can't get enough of this.

Sometimes I lay under the moon
And I thank God I'm breathin'
Then I pray don't take me soon
'Cause I am here for a reason

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know someday it'll all turn around because

All my life I been waitin' for
I been prayin' for, for the people to say
That we don't want to fight no more
They'll be no more wars
And our children will play, one day

It's not about win or lose 'cause we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent blood
Drenched pavement keep on movin'
Though the waters stay ragin'

And in this life you may lose your way
It might drive you crazy
But don't let it phase you, no way

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know someday it'll all turn around because

All my life I been waitin' for
I been prayin' for, for the people to say
That we don't want to fight no more
They'll be no more wars
And our children will play, one day

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence down with the hate
One day we'll all be free and proud
To be under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like