recaps: latinas, books, and spring love

i’ve been reading, i’ve been readin

can’t keep my eyes off these pages

weirdos i want you, nah nah nah

to write more books

we be all night AHHHHHAHHHHH

DRUNK IN WORDSSSS

hey girl, lemme read you somethin right quick

hey girl, lemme read you somethin right quick

like maybe once Beyoncé could do nerd remixes of every single one of her songs. please, just for me? but no seriously I’ve been reading a lot lately and trying to get out the house and trying to write my own shit. i’ve been a part of some cool shit, seen my people doing some cool shit, so let me share all of that here with anyone reading this.

RECAPS:

Books and Stuff

I’ve been reading three books at the same time: 1Q84 by Haruki Marukami, The End of Eve by Ariel Gore, and Brooklyn’s Daughter by Maria E. Rodriguez.

1Q84 is a mind trip and for the first 850 pages I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. But then some lame-O dude spy character got involved and was given as much page time as the main characters and my interest waned. Now I’m struggling to get through the last 50-60 pages out of 1000 something. It’s worth reading just for the ride of those first 850 pages but damn, if I’m not struggling. I’ll let the New York Times tell you more about it

High Points: Female Assassin knocking off dudes who commit acts of sexual violence against young girls, a world with Two Moons, and musings on the complexities of existing between parallel worlds.

Low Points: Lame-O dude, all of the chapters that take place in a hospice, and all the missed connections.

most wicked book cover ever

most wicked book cover ever

 

The End of Eve  

Yo Ariel Gore is one of my writing mentors. I’m just gonna put that out there. Like I’m obsessed with everything she writes (stop what you’re doing and read Atlas of the Human Heart) and so obvs I jumped at the chance to read The End of Eve before it officially came out. Straight up it’s a memoir about the time in Ariel’s life when her mom, Eve, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and invaded Ariel’s life (Ariel at the time was living with her partner and their son). Eve is one of the most complicated women I’ve ever read about and Ariel’s relationship with her mother is also unlike anything I’ve read. The crazy thing is that Ariel is able to write about all of this with a wicked and dark sense of humor that keeps a novel about someone’s last days from being unbearable. Literally, I read it in one full night so y’all should read it too. Also, when’s the last time you read a book that had a queer family in it and the queer-ness wasn’t the most OMG part of the novel? Want more? Read what LAMBDA Literary had to say about The End of Eve.

 

bksdaughter

 

Brooklyn’s Daughter  is a book of poetry by Maria E. Rodriguez.

Check out this dope interview with her on Sneakers & Ale dot com. I’m still reading this book and I like it. Rodriguez writes from this authentic place, like the corner of Latina Ave and Brooklyn St. But it’s not heavy-handed, it’s super honest and real. In this collection of poems, Rodriguez tackles issues such as: body-image struggles, the abuse of emotional power inflicted on young women by men and the world around them/us, and what it’s like to lose parents who are supposed to be our guiding lights through chaos. I’m slowly making my way through her work and every poem is a piece I’d like to hear on stage. This book is a beautiful edition to the canon of Latina literature. And lucky for us, Rodriguez is always performing her pieces on a stage somewhere in her beloved hometown: Brooklyn, NY.

 

 

 

#LATINASCHATMEDIA

So I was asked to be part of this round table discussion (but really we sat on comfy couches and love seats and there wasn’t a round table so…). Linda Nieves-Powell is a Latina writer, director, media powerhouse who is making moves and putting the issues/struggles/needs/wants of the multi-layered Latina community at the forefront of all she does. #mentorstatus

Linda asked me to be a part of a discussion about Latinas in Media and what that means for our authenticity, ethnicity, expressions of struggle, sexuality, and what kind of context we need to provide for our stories not to fall into stereotype-landia. I totally agreed and got on board and participated in this discussion with some totally awesome Latina writers and media makers: author and Ivy League Homegirl, Sofia Quintero, actress and comedian Jenny Saldaña, actress and super hero Vanessa Verduga and producer/writer Maria Nieto. So we talked for hours and Linda had it filmed and now it’s up on the internet for everyone to see.

 

Spring Love

So I’m happy and life is as good as it can. Went on a date last night with the boo. Ate arepas in BK and then watched Sister Spit at Littlefield’s. Neither one of us had ever been to a Sister Spit show and it was pretty good. Some performers were un-remarkable but the ones that stood out were SO DAMN GOOD.  Chinaka Hodge spit Biggie Smalls haikus. Beth Lisick told hilarious stories in a banging, super-tight gold dress. And if you haven’t heard of Virgie Tovar, y’all need to get up on that gravy train because she’s a badass, giggling, hella smart, fat activist, brown girl powerhouse and I think me and my girl fell in love with her at last night’s show. Buy her book Hot and Heavy: Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion. And go see Sister Spit on Tour because supporting them means more than going to see Noah or Spider Man 9000 Revenge of the Spidey Suit or some other bullshit. Sister Spit will be in Toronto tonight! Go see weirdos and women and everyone living on the fabulous fringes of society doing things, please. I’ll go with you. We can take all our boos, cats, and brujas on a communal date.

like how could you not immediately fall in love with this human?

Virgie Tovar. like how could you not immediately fall in love with this human?

 

 

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YO I THINK I GOT PROFILED IN A STORE

this past weekend it was beautiful, like fall on your knees in a field of daisies and daydream beautiful. that stupid day where you and your person think walking to your destination is the only way to get there. because hand holding and people watching and because of cabin fever and fresh love. best idea. let’s just go. so it’s the thing that happens.

all of this is true. no exaggerations. almost spring-time sets off bursts of feelings, i think that’s why there are so many birthdays around christmas. we just had to touch. life is good when i’m with you.

so on that day, this past weekend, we were off. holding hands in the heights. jackets open, big smiles, off to Fairway. i need new clothes. i’ve got a job. let’s window shop on the way. oh wait i like that, let’s go inside.

all this to say: YO I THINK I GOT PROFILED IN A STORE.

listen, i don’t claim injustices that aren’t put on me. but i went into this one store and every person that worked up in that bitch followed me around, literally followed me to every aisle, rack, display. they came up in my face, staring, breathing mad hard, checking their watches, asking “do you need help? are you buying something today?” and then just staring at me. i know the difference between helpful and suspicious btw. when i got to the rack near the door, three employees legit surrounded me.

so i didn’t buy anything and i left feeling mad fucking weird. was i profiled? and if so, FOR WHAT? it was a men’s clothing store, and every worker in there was a man. so was it because i’m a dyke? was it because i look like a latino boi and they thought i was going to rob them? were they all on coke? like whetttt mannn?

this isn’t anything new. it’s weird talking about things because sometimes the things that are random in your life are EVERYDAY shit to so many other people. then you’re that asshole that just realized that something so common like misogyny or racism was actually real and so what the hell do you do with that? you know, besides look like an asshole?

but i’ve only experienced racial profiling bullshit in white neighborhoods or high end stores. i’ve always had uppity white ladies follow me around a Lord & Taylors but how the fuck did I get profiled in the hood?

or am I just being overdramatic? who the hell knows? i don’t. all i know is that i didn’t like how those men treated me or the way that they followed me and my lady around the store. i don’t like how they ganged up on me near the only exit, blocking my path. and i don’t like how i just walked away.

bye. one step after the other. quiet. no eye contact. exit the store and take a deep breath of fresh air that comes free of judgement. one focus. normally i’m on seventeen different thoughts every 30 seconds but right now i can only leave. why can’t i question? stomp? scream? where does that go?

it goes. i walk.

there is always some shit to wonder about when it comes to the way people treat me/us.

but all i ever want or need is sunshine. so when shit gets weird, i’m out the door. into the light. head in the clouds. fight for what? i fight to keep my sanity. i won’t go into that store again. i’ll keep my money in my pocket. my heart inside my chest, strong rib cage, steady beats. by all means necessary.

we hold hands in the spring time. take those long walks.

i don’t run. i choose.

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life stuff: a list (pt.1a)

– built a desk from Ikea. unfolded mint blue aluminum chairs. added a desk lamp. incense holder. photo of my patron saint. realized that i built an altar instead of a desk

– washed overflowing dishes, soaked front of sweatshirt, and didn’t put anything away. moved dirty things from one round space and put them into a square space to dry.

– dodged bullets hurled through iPhones. missed calls or butt dials? curiosity won’t kill me.

– mistook april for march. lost a vacation.

– we are dust specks on the verge of boiling.

– ate one s’more ice cream cookie from Trader’s Joe’s. tried not to buy it. walked right by it. walked by it again and then swiped it into the cart. tonite there is no guilt.

– rolled up sleeves, rolled up art piece. stuffed elbows into thicks hips and pushed canvas behind couch. there is a place for everything to hide.

– thought about how my mother is the only one who makes sure i’m alive and living right.

– sent gift through the mail expecting it to carry my sense of humor and joy. gift brought resentment instead. no more sending gifts. not for awhile. at least.

– broke down barriers of communication at work with fists banging on tables, tears dropping like whatttt, and a whole lot of we will not go gently into that good night.

– promised to add more words to the internet. kept my word. even exchange.

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