Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brandon's Facebook International Haiku Day

I have decided that today is Brandon's Day of Haiku for Friends. The following haikus were wall posts on Facebook today:

For David Berube:

Making David laugh
like a japanese school girl
today is my goal

For Christy Namee Eriksen:

Ginger cookies are
post-modern euphemisms
for some crazy shit

For Darcie Elia:

Moving to Oakland,
I got my suck or sit card
caveat emptor

For Brian Morse:

We made out one time
but once is never enough
with cutie femme boys

For Carter Klenk:

We should make babies
with giant afrotrastic hair
to rule the world.

Girl, out of control
GLSEN should have given me
a job with Carter

For Rodrigo Sanchez Chavarria:

I will train your girls
into deadly assassins
they work for me now.

When I move away
I will miss you/Nubia
come visit me soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008


MARIPOSAS: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry
978-0-9796457-9-2, $19.95 For Immediate Release


In September 2008, Floricanto Press will publish a ground-breaking poetry collection entitled, Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry edited by Emanuel Xavier. The collection will feature the work of 17 poets from across the United States and Buenos Aires including: Francisco Aragon, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, Brandon Lacy Campos, Dino Foxx, Andres “Chulisi” Rodriguez, Urayoan Noel, Yosimar Reyes, Robert Ortiz, Walter Viegas, Joe Jimenez, Will Sierra, Rane Arroyo, Pol Ajenjo, Daniel Torres, Carlos T. Mock, M.D., Xuan Carlos Espinoza-Cuellar and Emanuel Xavier. Featured poems will be published in English and Spanglish with several translated into or from Spanish.

“Just as blood curses through our queer Latino veins, so does a complex and sometimes contradictory history. The words captured in this volume of poetry perfectly capture a moment in time in which we all are in flux and yet still very much grounded in the moment. Personally, these poems speak to my being, my sexuality, my erotic desires, my future hopes and my wishes for new generations and yet they also stand for the danger that those words might also be fragile and easily forgotten. It is up to the reader to make these words count for something. And, simply said, it's just an amazing and moving collection of poems that truly represents who we are as queer Latinos at this crucial moment in time.”
-Andrés Duque, LGBT rights activist, http://blabbeando.blogspot.com

"An 800-year-old tradition of Hispanic poetry gets a substantial augmentation, and at the same time, a wondrous makeover, with the rich, varied, sensual, often bi-lingual work in this collection. It helps that the translations by Xavier are so true; and that the poets amassed from all over the Americas , are mas o menos gay in subject matter and attitude."
- Felice Picano, author

“Whether straight, bisexual, closeted or openly gay, Latino voices have made a deep mark in the poetry scene. Despite distinction in style, dialect, and customs within the Latino mosaic, our voices have been unified by a determination to be heard. Much like poetry in general, whether academic or self-taught, the need to express ourselves cannot be restricted within borders. Whatever language transferred between pen and paper, it is imperative to share our experiences with the world at large.”
-Emanuel Xavier, from the Introduction

Emanuel Xavier is author of two collections of poetry, Pier Queen and Americano, and a fiction novel, Christ Like. He also edited Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry and selected finalists for Best Gay Erotica 2008. His work has appeared in many publications including The James White Review, Genre, Long Shot, Virgins, Guerrillas & Locas, and Queer & Catholic. He is the recipient of the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award and a New York City Council citation for his many contributions to gay and Latino culture.

For an advanced review copy, please write to Emanuel Xavier at letters@emanuelxavier.com. For environmental purposes, a PDF copy of the full manuscript could be emailed to read directly from a computer. PDF copies may also be printed or mailed upon request.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Prayer for Luca Peluca Head

I have left Minneapolis exactly four times as an adult. The longest length of time that I have left and stayed away is just over two years. The shortest amount of time has been 9 months, on two separate occassions. This time, I am moving to Oakland, and I feel in my gut that this move is for real.

Actually, let me take that back. The reality that I am moving has not really set home for me. But the reality of the move, the way in which I am engaging with it, and the preparations I am making around the move all point that this is a life move and not a move just about a job.

As I am saying my goodbyes, this week almost every night is dedicated to dinner with a loved one in order to say my farewells, I am struck by the people to whom I will not be able to say a personal goodbye. In particular, Susan Raffo, Rocki Simoes, and Luca Raffo-Simoes. Susan, Rocki, and Luca are off in Portugal for the summer. They left about a month ago, and so it has been about a month since I have seen them. Gone are the summer days when I would run into Luca in the morning playing outside of her house or the afternoons when I would walk by Susan's and catch Rocki doing yard work while Susan was up in the loft working on a grant proposal. The Raffo-Simoes family is my mini-family in the hood. When life sends me celebrations or struggles, Susan is usually one of the first people to know about it. When I have life questions that I need help answering, Susan is usually the person that I call to help me figure it out. When I want to remind myself that life can be simple even at its most complicated, I find Luca and we have a grass fight or I douse her with the garden house or she uses me as her personal jungle gym.

One of the reasons I adore both Susan and Rocki is that they are extremely insightful. They both often are able to articulate things about me that I am not able to articulate about myself. They are family. That is why when either of them asks me for anything, I do whatever I can in order to be there for them. For Susan, it is usually a walk and a talk or a chat about this or that. With Rocki, it's helping out with the Host Home program or sitting at a table at a festival. If neither of them were able to provide even one more moment of wisdom in my life, I would still have a lifetime of repayment.

I told Susan and Rocki a year or so ago, that Luca is going to be an important person in the world. Not in that....”ohhh your daughter is lovely and is going to do something good with her life.” No, I honestly believe that something Luca is going to do when she is older is going to radically alter this world for the better. And I will count myself lucky if I get to be there to see it.
Luca and Susan and Rocki are off having great adventures in Europe. Luca is having the type of life experiences and conversations with her family that any of us would be more than blessed to have. Salaam away little Luca...you, and Susan, and Rocki are in my prayers too.

A Prayer for Luca

May God fill your days with the love of Mama and Mai,
with grassfights and sunflowers,
with Taiko drums and Powderpups

May God send you more joy than you can handle,
the gift of wisdom from both your Mothers,
the gift of cooking from Iara,
the gift of creating something new and beautiful from the old from Kelly

May God send you many challenges,
love when the challenges seem too hard
patience when things don't work out the way you planned
and strength during the times when you find out that what you planned isn't what you really wanted

May you sleep well, dream well, and continue to move through the world with a child's eyes even as you grow up...

God bless you and your family.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Retaliation: A New Fragrance Line by Brandon

So, I am thinking of starting a new body mist line called Retaliation. The brand will have numerous fragrances from you which can you choose to meet your particular needs. So far I have six items in the line, all in small convenient binaca style bottles with a nozzle that can be adjusted for mist or straight line concentrated shots. It fits conveniently in your manbag or in that cute little pocket inside the front pocket of those new diesel jeans in which your butt looks like Brad Pitt's.

The four fragrances are:

Bitch-Be-Gone: A little concentrated hydrochloric acid for those "Bitch, I know you just didn't" moments where a misting to the diva's face is better than Christmas.

Troll-Be-Gone: Just a dash of concentrated skunk musk in the eye of that big bad troll will help him learn that trolls belong under bridges.

Manstealer: A unique blend of compressed cyanide and nightshade vapors for the man-stealing-power-bottom sleeping on your side of the bed, a light sprtizing of this as you walk past him will leave him ass up forever.

Drop Dead Gorgeous: The biochemists at Vengeful Diva have come up with this delightful blend of completely organic, biodegradable fast acting anthrax that has been crossed with the Ebola virus. For those moments when you walk into a party and someone is wearing the same shirt you have on. He may look better in the shirt than you do, but now he's dead.

The Boy Is Mine: This complex construction of pheremones, exstasy, and GHB when applied correctly, will turn all his No's into Yes's.

Scene Stealer: This innocent looking body spray, in our convenient evening gown clutch size, is actually a grenade. That evil Hot Tranny Mess may have won the pageant title, but you are going to close the show out with a bang.

Look for these soon at a Target or Al-Qaeda sleeper cell near you!

Brought to you by Vengeful Diva, Inc. and it's CEO, Brandon "Precious" Lacy Campos.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I am a Surthrivor

On Friday night, I got a tremendous phone call. I was called and offered the position of Grassroots Media Policy Advocate at the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, CA. By the end of next month, I will be a resident of the Bay area. This is the change I didn't know I was waiting for.

Several months ago I wrote a piece, for myself, about home. In it I acknowledged that the place where you grew, unless you can keep your life dynamic, fresh, and full of new learning opportunities, can become a place of stasis. It becomes a place where your default mode is coast. It is place where people love you and want to take care of you because it's home, and they are family, and family takes care of family. At a certain stage in a person's life, when an individual has centered himself, has learned life's major lessons, and has learned how to truly live, that is ok. As a matter of fact, that is welcome. When a person still has growing too do. When a person needs to learn how to not only stand up but also to stand tall, then home is a only a refuge for the afraid and will, in time, become a jail cell with velvet bars. Minneapolis has become that place for me.

There are some realities that I have to own. Because of the life I was dealt as a child and because of choices I made as an adult, I only know how to survive. I only know how to live from paycheck to paycheck. I thrive in crisis and create crisis when I should enjoy peace. My work life, which has had rough spots overall is the only place where I am able to not only survive but to thrive. But that ends now. With this move to Oakland, I am done with survival. I have a plan for surthrival. These are things I plan on accomplishing in my first 60 days in the Bay.

Brandon's Surthrival Plan
  1. Find a CMA Meeting in the East Bay. Attend Weekly.
  2. Take a budgeting and financial planning course.
  3. Attend weekly services at Glide Memorial Methodist Church
  4. Audition for the Glide choir
  5. Take a yoga class at least once a week and work out at least four days a week.
  6. Take a meditation class to learn how to self-center.
  7. Make an appointment with a Bay area ASO and join a Poz social/support group.
  8. Finish at least two more chapters in my book.
  9. Meet at least ten people that are not related to my job.
  10. Make three friends that are not folks from work.
  11. Do something at least once a day to actively love myself.
  12. Find a therapist that is going to kick my mental ass.

From now on I pledge to do the things that I have been afraid to do. I will live with fear but I will live fearlessly.
From now until I die, I will live with addiction but I will not be an addict.
I will accept that the man I see in the mirror is me and that I am not the man I see in my head.
I will accept love where it is given, honor that gift, and give it in return, starting with myself.
I will be accountable to my friends, my family, and my community, and I will require accountability in return.
I will survive only when survival is necessary. At all other times I will live and celebrate living.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hip Hop or Fuck You White Lady

There are two parts to this posting. The first part is an email you will read that was posted to the Minneapolis Issues List. The Minneapolis Issues List is a list that deals with political, social, community issues in the city. Every elected official from the city of Minneapolis either actively watches and posts to the list or has staff that watches the list for him/her. Anyone who is a player in Minneapolis political circles also is enaged with or at least knows about the list. More than once I have been at a mixer or a political event and someone has read my name tag and mentioned that he or she has heard of me through the Issues Forum. Most of the time the list is peppy and engaging with some heated exchanges. In the last couple of days, there have been a series of crazy postings by white folks living in north Minneapolis (heart of the black community). One of the latest posts by a white man who also happens to be an idiot, basically showed his racism by pigeonholing all folks wearing hip hop style dress as drug dealers, gang bangers, and theives. Me being me I called him on his shit.

The first email you are going to read is a response to my email to Jim Graham by a woman name Megan Goodmundson. The only good thing about her is that I have never met her and I hope to never meet her. My response to her follows her email:

Let's just cut the ultra-liberal hug-a-thug b.s. that contributes to the dysfunction of our inner cities across America. Jim Graham's categorization of dress or demeanor is not racism - it's behaviorism - behavior is not a 'protected class' but rather a main tool in our society for expressing and communicating one's own character out loud to fellow human beings, and for other's to receive that communication and presentation of the type of character and human being one is professing to the world. Jim should be in no way shape or form, shamed for being brave enough to make an outloud reality based statement, and the shaming that is taking place is part of the ultra-politically-correct environment that allows criminals to be shielded from society's policing of norm's and value's that shape appropriate behavior and discourage harmful, inappropriate and dangerous behavior. If Jim was 'racist' I highly doubt he is going to choose to live in a highly diversified neighborhood, as i t would just eat away at his soul.Let it be very clear - the over sized white tee shirt phenomenon is another one of those hip-hop glorification of gangster life style. The white tee shirt was embraced by street thugs that wanted to be non-descript to law enforcement. It was/is the street thugs choice of clothing because when a large majority of men wearing over sized white tee's are walking the streets of a neighborhood and one of them is engaging in criminal activity - there is very little to describe that person to authorities and distinguish them from every one else. Just sort of their own little way of getting a jab in at law enforcement. Sort of a ha-ha whatcha-gonna do now type statement. Some where along the line, like hip hop culture often does, a criminal life style element is embraced by non-criminals and glorified, for whatever reason. There are many styles within a hip hop culture and each and every person should know that if you choose to look, act, dress and behave like a street thug, you are going to be treated like a street thug. It's your choice to do so, so be fully aware that you will be judged on your dress, style and demeanor so don't complain about it later. I could go on and on about the destruction of hip hop culture on the young demographics - the degradation of women, the glorification of criminal life style - the music videos with guns, drugs etc, the celebration of a promiscuous life style. Or the video I saw with the lyrics and action shots that were all about 'we don't sell drugs, we just rob the drug dealers at gun point and that's how we make our hustle'. It should not be celebrated, glorified or promoted and the continuation to do so is probablly the most destructive thing working against the youth of our urban neighborhoods. Neighbors like Jim G. who encounter people walking by or driving by will often sense some sort of energy or vibe of what that person is eminating off in to the universe, and a gut-feeling helps us sense that this is an OK person, this is a suspicious person, etc. That is our in-born instinct to help us survive. To all the hip-hop lovers that are going to be offended - Don't waste energy for calling out someone who speaks out of reality, put that energy into developing young hip-hop lovers into the styles of hip-hop that do not glorify and celebrate the criminal element. And warn them that certain outward appearances and practices are going to work against them and be extremely hard to overcome and that is the hard reality of our world today, so don't burden yourself with more obstacles to overcome, but rather engage in the types of dress and demeanor that are going to scream out loud "I am an upstanding character".

-Megan G.
-Jordan Neighborhood

And now for my response, fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlepeeps:


You haven't even the remotely slightest clue as to what you are speaking about. I mean not even the teeniest little margin or concept of even a relational truth to hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture does NOT equal gangster culture. While there are interactions between the two because of the very real various survival expressions that exist at the street level, to equate one with the other is to equate....beets and cranberries...they may look the same on the Thanksgiving table but the style, substance, and flavor are completely different.

Your statements again are a majoritarian racist conception of a liberation theology that you just don't understand.You want to know real hip hop and how real hip hop is changing lives....check out Toki Wright and YO! The Movement right here in Minneapolis. You want to talk about real hip hop. Check out local queer hip hop artist Tori Fixx who is nationally known and his hip hop challenges misogyny, heterosexisms, homophobia...you want to talk about real hip hop, let's talk about old school Queen Latifah singing about UNITY, lets't talk about RUN DMC and Jam Master Jay, let's talk about local artists Dessa Darling and DOOMTREE, you want to talk about real hip hop, LEARN THE HISTORY OF HIP HOP on the streets of the Bronx and Brooklyn rappers and artists talking about liberation, talking about getting out of the hood and making something of themselves or staying in the hood and making the hood a place to live. You want to talk about real hip hop talk about B-Girl B at Intermedia Arts that celebrates the influence of women in hip hop and the way it shapes, reshapes and celebrates women's lives. Let's talk about the Hip Hop Congress a national political organization aimed at radically reshaping the politics of this country by enganging young people.

You haven't the slightest awareness or clue one about what you are talking about. But you are showing a woeful committment to ignorance that borderlines on a willfully chosen racist dullness that is shameful.

In the late 80s and early 90s when commercialism and CAPITALISM decided they could make a dollar off of bastardizing hip hop, gangsta rap emerged. That was never about a people's movement or hip hop that was about making a dollar for largely white owned West coast music labels. And even with that, there were still hip hop resisters like TuPac Shakur that talked cogently about his life growing up on the streets, the reality of his mother who was a crackhead, and how even in the heart of all that pain, subjugation, degredation, and oppression there could still be beauty. Let me be clear, attempting to talk about, pigeonhole, and add behavioral judgements based on superficial outward appearances that are linked ro race (whether you want to believe in race or not) is a key element of racism. If you are white, which adds power to the equation of race prejiduce, then, for sheezy, racism is showing its ugly face.

Before you attempt to post anything else to this list or speak anywhere else, make sure you know what you are talking about. It sucks to learn the hard way that you are talking out of the side of your neck. Or maybe, just maybe, you are having Janus moment, and one of your other faces decided to show itself.

-Brandon Lacy Campos

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Life According to Grey's Anatomy

I have been sick for the last three days, so it is only fitting that I spend my time watching Grey's Anatomy. Why is it fitting you ask? Because I plan on getting better by visual osmosis. I have a plan.

There was a moment in the first episode of season three when a patient discovers that his wife is dead. He asks Miranda if she believes in an afterlife. She tells the guy that in the line of work she does she must believe in a beautiful place, free of suffering that you go to after you leave this world.

I so fundamentally agree with that statement that it transcends faith into truth. Perhaps because I have escaped into fantastic worlds of my own creation as a means to escape some of the harsh realities of this world. Perhaps because I have seen amazing acts of charity and kindness done by everyday people. Perhaps because I have experienced moments when the only explanation for a particular life moment is so much more than a conincidence. Perhaps because I have been surrounded by people of faith that live their lives as they see fit, they do not buy into the proseltyzing hype of the church but they have a firm faith that everything, in the end, is for a greater reason. Who knows. But I do know that I have never doubted the exists of a the next life or of God.

I have no idea what that next world is. I have no idea what God is. I have no idea of what happens next, but I believe that there is something next, just as I believe that the world is changing for the better even while it struggles with its own darkness. The world is us, the struggle is us, and I believe we have as much time to deal with our own inner darkness as we need until we are ready for that next place. Does that mean I believe in reincarnation. Maybe. But it is more likely that if we do not learn what we need to learn in this life, we go to another place—not Hell or Purgatory---but another life where the rules are different and perhaps will be ones that will helps us come to a better understanding of the higher purpose for which we were meant.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cousin Jimmy II

I decided today that I am just going to stop answering the phone when my Mother calls. In general, when I call her everything is fine. But when she calls, she never has a damn good thing to report.

Today she called to tell me that the round of chemo that Jimmy just went through didn't work.
I was sitting in the office fighting like hell not to cry. And since, when I try to avoid my emotions they instantly morph into a hideous rage, I found myself wanting to smash my cell phone into the desk top until LG was permanently imprinted into the fromica. Fuck cell phones, fuck bad news, and fuck leukemia. I left the office a little while ago, because I knew I had to get somewhere where I could reset.

On the bus ride to Juscha's pad, the only outlet I had to engage emotionally was through music, ironically the same LG phone that I had wanted to utterly destroy earlier in the day. As I sat listening to I Drove All Night (both the Celine and Cyndi Lauper versions), I again found myself about to cry. I live with a disease that could eventually kill me. I also know that if I had to I could run a marathon and that I have had no discernable change in physical health even with a compromised immune system thanks to HIV. My cousin, who until several months ago was fit as a horse, finds it hard to get up the energy to get the fuck out of bed. What. The. Fuck.

In my world things don't happen this way. Bad things that happen to good people blow my fucking mind. I made stupid ass choices and because of my stupid ass choices, I ended up with a disease. Yes indeed, I had the shit beaten out of me growing up and because of my childhood I ended up with a whole mess of mental health issues that helped me fast and quick down the road to those bad choices---but in the end I still made them.

Jimmy is suffering from some shit that he in no way earned or played a part in getting. Again. What. The. Fuck.

I am going to have a God damn anuerism right here on this futon...and I hope I do. Cuz I am hitting the other side kicking ass and calling names. St. Peter...fuck you bitch...KAPOW! Archangel Michael...suck my dick...BAM! St. Francis...you bitch ass pansy....CRACK! I am taking out every saint, cherub, seraphim, and archangel I can find. And then I'm heading up to the Big House to have some words with JC and his pops.

Basically. I'm pissed. And I am going to take nap. Pray for Jimmy ya'll. He needs it. And my prayers are to full of other words right now for God to hear me.