auset: (time)
2010-08-27 10:27 am

TIME

there were the pretty lesbians
who would not confess
to their boyfriends
that it was good
like that in jail at night

sex
drugs
something
something hungry
for something full

the t.v., always on
was drowned out by living
in realtime
and no one could change the
channel unless they were
tired of living

and the waiting was palpable,
sounded like steel chains,
it could cut you worse
than the junky in the next bunk
who thought you stole her can
of tuna

but pretty girls did pretty time
and made the chains seem fashionable,
wore their steel anklets just so…
had choices
made commitments
hell
to Marsha or Tawana
and flaunted that shit,
strutted it on the roof
at gym,
matted down at night in
front of the tube

and when the food had been
more than edible
and the shower fit just right
and the nights were molasses
and women bedded down
in clouds of powder


when there had been
a candy bar or a joint
and someone tickled you in
that place where no man ever was

when time was something you
stopped thinking about in
the middle of something so
good it made you forget,
so good that it made you
remember, too

when there was that
or even just a little bit of that
it made the night free
and morning possible

but they couldn’t tell their boyfriends,
the pink and bronze and ebony
ladies of the evening showers,
they couldn’t tell the boyfriends
who sent the money
for the lotion that made them soft
as a kitten on the prowl
or the powder that disguised the pain

who sent the money to buy the candy
or the “hook up” stew of
impossible ingredients
only shared with the chosen

pretty girls do pretty time,
don’t let them fool you,
and slip away from the hardness
for just a little while
auset: (Default)
2010-08-26 11:50 am

At the heart of every present is the past.

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men" Zora Neale Hurston,(opening paragraph), Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Yesterday I was on fire for inspiration and rushed to Barnes and Noble to get the Hurston. On the way home I stopped at my local pub which has European style outside tables and chat, and met up with Manuel who teaches at Johns Hopkins University, but is from Spain. He is a writer and I had shared the first page of my novel with him. We had long talk about writing and life mixed with my chopped up Spanish and love rant about Zora Neale. There was a Jewish guy who spent many years in Mexico also speaking Spanish. He, too, was a writer. He schooled me on a few Spanish words and helped me patch together my broken sentences. When we embarked in English on our roots, we found our kindred souls at the bottom of our histories. Our roots, "raizes". Indeed, at the heart of every present is the past.

I had The Book with me and we all read the first paragraph and sighed our applause. I told Manuel that I had discovered a better opening for my novel, the all-important first sentence. It Just fell out of the night, late, but right on time -- free, no charge. Aaaah, this fickle muse.

Zora, here I come.
auset: (Default)
2010-08-25 11:25 am

Gospel and Zora Neale

I just found a contest in Poets and Writers journal for book excerpts. Perfect. Only 5,000 words, so I went frantic patching together my most coherent excerpts for review. And editing: Slash, burn, rewrite, second-guessing and doubts. Shoring up the holes in the novel where mediocrity set in. But I am excited. Looking forward to more editing. Tightening. Making it sing.

I want to get a copy of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God for inspiration, but I am afraid that if I reread it I will never write another word again. Her writing ,aaaah, so sublime, fresh, outside the box. It is poetry and dance without the missteps.

Sorting out clothes today to give away in preparation for the move. Waiting for Salvation Army to call me back to schedule a pick up. I didn't know they could do that. Just not answer and say, I'll get back to you. Are people donating so much that you have to wait in line? Maybe with the recession people are downsizing, or even just getting put out.

Also, I must say, gospel music. Yes, gospel music is what I need right now. I am not religious at all, but the timber and tone of this music heals and strengthens. It just does. If I can get my mind off the notion of a lone Father creating the world without the Mother, (not to mention all the killing), and not get too cerebral on it, it touches me in that abandoned place. It awakens love without the hurt.

Onward.
auset: (Default)
2010-08-24 09:36 am
Entry tags:

Work-in-Progress

Randy Mack lived on a cliff that overhung the lip of Pine Street where ol’ Spivey’s Barber Shop used to be. He lived on a dream at the corner of Pine and the local fish fry where Arney, the town crazy, stood with a sign “Walk, don’t walk. It’s up to you.“ The carpet beneath Randy Mack’s feet were the impossible words that he lived by, his self-delusions, and he was headed for a fall.

He was cool as a lick of ice and rattled like a viper. His wily words drove the women wild. Free from the encumbrances of employment, he lived on the weakness of women who depended on men for their beauty.
auset: (Default)
2010-08-24 08:44 am

Frogs and Moonlight

So it's all about moving, but not really. I just have to move me and my clothes and tag some stuff for the Salvation Army. Not so bad. (I'm subletting my place, hoping to return.) It's just that the little oomph it takes to actually pick up that size 10 pair of jeans that you haven't worn in three years and toss it, is missing. I mean that little starch it takes to stand up, move away from the living room couch and the laptop, detach from the cell phone, and DO IT Nike, ain't there. Can I say it's the impotence of the male member syndrome that comes to mind. I am limp and possibly a noodle, but the words still leap. They're all crowded in my head for the children's stories and the poetry and the novel that has taken a backseat for a poetry submission.

I need long green lawns of time to luxuriate in the novel. I need uninterrupted spaces to imagine, giggle, smirk, smile, and write the thing that now eludes me. My characters have very unceremoniously taken a trip on the Appalachian trail and are nowhere to be found. Either that or they are conjuring the next spell to put upon me, frogs and moonlight are involved.

Btw, just so you know, I just found out from a friend that the diabolical Monsanto seeds that are genetically engineered, are crossed with the dna of a frog. Why? Because plants die in winter cold. The frogs can survive cold conditions. So the plants crossed with frogs can withstand cold temperatures that can kill a crop. They just can't reproduce, of course. So you are dependent on Monsanto like a koala bear addicted to that sap. Looks good, but very suspect.

My dad is 93 and I will be moving in with him in Delaware from Baltimore in a just-in-case scenario. He is fiercely independent with caregivers and friends at his beck and call. According to him I can just come there and focus on writing full-time. It's a great gift that he offers, but really, he needs some watching. He and my mother were nothing less than the Community Chest. I guess that dates me, but it means they were treasured in their community. My mother just died in April. My father has all his faculties...just slower. He can regal you for hours with tales from his life, or engage in a hot political down-with-the-robber-barons-debate, And he's on Facebook! There, I think that says it.

Peeling myself from this couch to make my bed...unless I get rerouted.
auset: (Default)
2010-08-23 11:28 am

Scalding -- Hey, It's Hot

summer was unrelenting,
wanted to be seen;
a cruel season jealous of
spring with its pastels
and anemic flowers,
hated fall for the colors,
despised winter’s frozen lace

the heat was physical
sun punishing
sky boiling up
scorching breeze
people wilting on the street
looking for puddles of shade,
children splashing in hydrant
cool

it was 3-digit heat,
straw hat women wore sundresses
that went limp and
men didn’t even notice them –
it was too hot

people gasped for air
and prayed for rain
that had proven fickle

finally it was an August day
with summer green
crisping around the edges,
street urchins stupid and still
and temperature tipping the scales,
the clouds began to pout
the rain complained
the moon scolded the sun
and Mother Earth listened

when the storm came
lightning cut a hole in the sky,
rain poured and the
streets steamed;
children and grown-ups
fell from their air conditioned
bumkers looking for relief;
the air loosened up
flowers wept
and the wind caught its breath

fall stood on the horizon,
paint brush in hand,
waiting for summer’s
tantrum to subside

the moon forgave the sun
so full of itself;
as day eased into night

summer stuttered
and caught a bug in her
throat,
beat upon her chest
and cursed the Mother Herself;
the season collapsed
and the vultures circled round

she died a harlot’s death,
frightened and alone,
only to find out that
fall was a mirror of herself

the angels eased her brow
and anointed her Autumn;
the copper-red-bronzing
of the leaves was by her own hand
and all the while
she had merely been
jealous of herself
auset: (Default)
2010-08-23 10:52 am

Warts and Wings

Ok, another day. Pregnant with possibilities, I must remind myself of that first thing in the morning. With the coffee and the itchy remnants of the nighttime dream and half naked in the heat, I sit to do this journal thing in spite of the packing I need to do.

The words always comfort and packing to move risks tampering with a very delicate balance these days. Between thirst and quenching, I reside in a half moon state. But that's only because it is morning.

As I write, the edges smooth and the day looks as shiny as a newborn. And let's face it, the coffee kicks in.

Over the last few months my life has been a giant pinata taking licks from all sides. Now it is breaking wide open and I am amazed to find the answers that had alluded me until now. I am sky, wide open.

This is what I learned in this process and would like to share. Self-renewal is the only true path to freedom. Think about it. How lush and plump with Beauty are we when we embrace our warts with our wings. Without permission from anyone, we accept who we are and fly.