Cloud Sweat

I sit and watch the clouds

merge into shapes I had no clue

existed. 

They tumble

and leap

above the others,

shape-shifting and dancing

as the earth feels

their first drop of sweat. 

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zebra kids and squirrel kids

Today I saw a board for volunteering in Africa. Together, with the photos of kids playing games, laughing, and having a grand time, were photos of zebras. Now, realize that zebras are animals, and kids in Africa, just like kids elsewhere, are human. This board had me confused. Was this trip to help kids in Africa, or save Zebras from poachers?

It annoys me that the combination of photos of people and animals are so commonly placed next to one another, as if in the same category, when referring to non-western societies. To western societies, the exotic means everything that is not western, including exotic plants, exotic food, exotic animals, and….exotic people? That doesn’t even sound okay to me.

So then I thought, what if this was a board about volunteering in a suburban area outside of, let’s say, Chicago. Along with the photos of the kids, would there be photos of suburban wildlife as well? Sure, lets lump the kids together with the squirrels, raccoons, and occasional roadkill deer. They all live in the same area don’t they?

Quit making a spectacle out of the non-western world.

I’ll Be Fine

A few days ago I was on my way to pick up my best friend from the airport, 3 hours away. For some reason, at some odd moment in the car ride, I decided to call my dad with the intention that by the time we said our good byes, he would know I liked both women and men. So I told him, with the expectation that he would be upset or annoyed or even disown me. Instead I shed tears of relief the second he said, “you know I will always love you.”

And I thought that was going to be bad. It wasn’t at all. I think it helps being 2thousand miles away, when they realize that they actually do miss me no matter who I like.

Then last night I decided to tell my mom. Thinking I had the more difficult of the two out of the way, I felt confident. “This is a lot for me to handle right now,” she said. “Take care of yourself.” I told her I don’t know what she means. “Don’t expose yourself. You know as your mom I’ll always worry about you.”

I love you, too.

I hope she comes to realize that out of everyone in my family, I am very aware of my location. It is not “liberal” west coast, it is not the best place for people like me on many levels. I am very aware of my surroundings, and even more so aware that I am not white. Overall, not that I am going to try to hide it anymore, but my sexual orientation is something that isn’t obvious. It never has been even when I was home. Little does she know that I worry more about my safety out here because I am a woman and because I am not white. After years of dealing with that, this is easy.

I’ll be fine mom.

Cigarette Lips

Cigarette lips have never tasted sweeter

Even the allergic cavities in my brain

say it’s okay since it seems to keep the blues away.

And all I want to do

is kiss those cigarette lips

until the sun rises over the rooftop where we sit. 

Cigarette lips have never felt softer.

A persistent reminder of the time you went easy,

respecting my every move.

You know, not once have I ever felt dirty with you.

Those cigarette lips have never felt cleaner,

as clean as a fresh scrubbed windshield

on the way across the country,

making just enough stops to ensure we don’t miss a turn

Going the speed limit, or slower,

to take in the beauty of all the places we go.

I miss those cigarette lips.

Breakable

I used to converse through email with a teacher of mine. I miss him dearly. People may even think I’m weird because I ask him advice still, like he’s still around. But I guess he is. He always will be. He sent me these lyrics once. I miss him. 

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?

Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts

So it’s fairly simple to cut right through the mess,

And to stop the muscle that makes us confess

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

And you fasten my seat belt because it is the law

In your two ton death trap I finally saw

A piece of love in your face that bathed me in regret

Then you drove me to places I’ll never forget

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

The coffee shop window

Sitting in this coffee shop. The warmth from within against the cold windows has frosted them over completely. And as I sit here attempting to focus on my work, I can’t stop watching this young girl drawing her imagination in the fogginess across a 6 foot long window. I can watch this forever, I swear. Handprints everywhere, along with their masterful renditions of rainbows and self portraits. This is amazing.

The coffee shop window

Sitting in this coffee shop. The warmth from within against the cold windows has frosted them over completely. And as I sit here attempting to focus on my work, I can’t stop watching this young girl drawing her imagination in the fogginess across a 6 foot long window. I can watch this forever, I swear. Handprints everywhere, along with their masterful renditions of rainbows and self portraits. This is amazing.

A Home

I’ve realized that I can’t afford to move out. I can’t afford the time, the money, or the stress. But the stress part could be a lot more short term thinking. In the long run, feeling free in my own house could outweigh the stress from having to pay higher rent. If I hadn’t already experienced feeling uncomfortable and not welcomed in my own house then I probably wouldn’t consider this viewpoint. 

So now I’ll ignore the rest of the house. I will use it for my needs and that is all. 

I’ve begun to rethink my space. My room is not a place to store my needless things. It is now a place to rest, a place to make art, a place that keeps me warm in the winter. It is not anything more than four walls, separating myself from the rest that can’t seem to understand me. 

I feel like my last statement was out of a terrible scifi movie.

Well I guess that’s what happens when people let their ignorance get the best of them. I won’t have it. I thought they knew me better. If they didn’t then, they do now. 

I want to free my space of all unnecessary items that won’t relax me, help me in my artwork, clothe me, help me sleep, or make me look less like shit in the morning after getting 2 hours of sleep. I want to be able to have my work setup at all times. I want to see it when I wake up, use it throughout the day, and see if when I fall asleep. I want my work to be a part of my everyday, like it used to be. It’s a shame the time I’ve spent away from it, hoping the spark would come back. I’ve finally realized, when I’m in an environment like the one I’m in, I have to fight to keep the flame lit. All my energy lately has been negative towards my space. I wake up asking, “Why am I here again? What was it that I was expecting out of agreeing to live with close-minded people?” I remember once convincing myself that it would be good for me. As close-minded as I perceive them to be, they probably perceive me the same way. I kind of knew something would go wrong, and hoped that it would open my eyes to the amount of ignorance in the world, thus, canceling out my own ignorance of this reality. I think it worked, but I failed to accept the possible severity of a situation. And then one arose that threw me for a loop.  

My friend told me the other day, “You have a home here as long as I’m here.” So I have to keep on keepin on. He may or may not have known how much of an inspiration he was when he said that, and how much he still inspires me. 

Home is where you’re loved. 

I went to the s…

I went to the school and put it to William, particularly, that if you find someone you love in life, you must hang onto it, and look after it, and if you were lucky enough to find someone who loved you, then you must protect it.

– Princess Diana