Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come

Living in my house, right now, is like living in a constant state of spiritual warfare. And, today, I almost lost a big battle.

I am a recovering addict. I spent several years using crystal meth fairly heavily, and I hid it quite successfully from the people that love me. I was a binge user, and I used on a clockwork schedule: every two weeks for two to three days at a time, almost always over the weekend.

After having a near complete breakdown and spending a week as a guest of the mental health ward of Fairview Riverside hospital and then spending another almost six months in various structured recovery programs at the Pride Institute in Eden Praire, MN, I was able to get to a place where I had the skills to fight back against my own biology. Addiction is a physical and mental illness and it takes physical and mental therapy to keep it in check.

I have had, what is called in 12-Step lingo, slips. But I haven't slipped for a long time now, and I am aiming to keep it that way. But, to do so, I have constantly to find ways not to internalize difficult emotions and emotional situations, I have to eat well and exercise, and I need to be engaged with a life and a world that is spiritually uplifting.

In general, my life is centered around all of those things. I have a great partner that is extremely supportive, I am a Christian that believes in the universal and healing power of love embodied through Christ (one of many Sons of God and prophets sent to teach us), I have recently begun chanting in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition (nam-myoho-renge-kyo), I use this blog as a vehicle to draw out lessons from my daily experiences that I need to learn or look at more closely, I write and perform poetry as a way to externalize my feelings, and I try to find small ways, each day, to experience God, the Divine, and love.

Unfortunately, with the love of my partner and a desire to build a home with him, has come his ex partner (of whom I have written plenty before) who lives in our living room on our couch. I am not overstating or exaggerating when I say his presence is an actively hostile and malevolent force that is actually palpable. His energy is destructive and hurtful, his words and actions are negative and damaging, and I, as the new boyfriend of his ex, am the direct and active target of his hate. When something goes wrong or amiss in the house, I am to blame. When David and I had our first threesome, which was a beautiful and spiritually uplfiting experience with an amazing human being, he didn't speak to me for almost a week yet did not treat David the same way, he stares at me with such undisguised loathing that it feels like a punch to the stomach. To be the object of revile for anyone, particularly someone with whom you live, is a constant burden and pressure.

I quite literally choose whether going to the bathroom is sometimes worth the walk to the living room, and I tell you that on more than one occassion a bottle has looked more appealing than a porcelain bowl on the other end of the house through the spectral landmine field I have to cross to get there.

The economy sucks, and David, as a freelancer, has had a great reduction in the amount of work he has been able to do. Yesterday, he left for a two day gig in the Hamptons. We can use the money, but, more importantly, David needed to work, for himself, on a fundamental level. For several days leading up to his leaving, I felt the weight of his absence. David is a buffer of sorts between the ex and me. His ex feels required to constrain himself when David is around. When David leaves, he feels no such constraint. I wrote before about the ex and the ex's current boyfriend and their ambush and attack of me. This time, there was no screaming...just a heightening of his already hateful presence. And, frankly, I reached the end of my spiritual reservoir.

Thank God that God had my back.

Quite literally, yesterday, I was on the fast track to relapse. I began looking for a connection. In this interconnected Internet ready world, finding drugs is as easy as logging into Craig's List or any number of cruising sites. I know all the code words and key phrases. Luckily, just as I was on the edge of the relapse cliff, my phone rang. I had just come home from a work event, and my best friend called. We have been trying to see each other, unsuccessfully, for weeks. The one sure way to get me out of and away from myself is for someone else in need to ask for my help. He sent a text saying that he could use some friend time. I packed a bag, jumped in a cab, and I headed to Harlem and spent the night. This morning, we got up and chanted together, which fed my spiritual well just enough to keep sober, though I didn't know I was going to need to use it so soon.

Today, the ex did one of his favorite hate tactics. He played on my fears and vulnerabilities around David. He enjoys telling me stories about the few times, over their ten year relationship, when David did not adhere to their relationship rules. And though I know in the moment that exactly what that hateful man wants is for me to start questioning David and myself, there are times when fears slip through cracks. They did, and I was again speeding down the path to relapse.

Except this time, as I started to leave the house to look for drugs, I stopped myself. I looked up at the rapidly darkening sky. The clouds were rolling in thick and black and ugly from Jersey...and I began to ask myself what the hell I was doing. I had gotten up from the computer where I was doing work for my amazing job. I was walking away from the committments I made to my partner. I was walking towards hurting myself deeply and fundamentally. So I turned around and walked home. I ordered some terrible MSG filled food from the Chinese spot downstairs, and I ate myself into a near catatonic state, all the while composing donor renewal letters for work (I may be crazy, but I am definitely productive).

I am done with letting another human being impact my life and spirit to the point that I am willing to do myself harm and, in doing so, hurt the people that love me. The ex is moving out of our home at the end of July. I am not sure if I can find enough ways to sustain myself until then, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I may have to spend many more blog entries between now and then speaking to you all about this situation.

Also, my insurance kicks in tomorrow and you best believe that me and therapy are about to get real cozy like again.

The minute that man exits the building for the last time, I am going to have a shaman, a priest, a Vooduin, a medecine man, a rabbi, and any other holy person I can find to come over and deep clean his ugliness and hurt and hate and pain and darkness out of this place. I wonder if they got some sage flavored Febreeze at the Target.

Thanks for reading ya'll.

Monday, June 29, 2009

For the Homeland (A Poem for Bagua)

This is a fierce ass poem by my friend, brother, and co-Palabristas Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria. For those of you that don't know...some deep shit went down in Peru a couple of weeks ago. Indigenous people murdered for oil and natural gas. The shit is real, and it isn't right, and as much as I love Michael Jackson and think the coup in Honduras is fucked up...neither should have overshadowed the Bagua tragedy. You can hear this poem read by clicking on the Ninja in the side bar and scrolling to For the Homeland.

For The Homeland (A Poem for Bagua)

by Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

With my hands I write these words for the homeland

Today my heart stopped
My blood spilled
On land that will be given
To oil companies that will rape it
Brand it, and sell it with my name on it

Today my body is motionless on the road
With no one to claim it
Until the bullets stop flying
Until they stop crying
Because no one asked them
if they wanted to perforate their people
asked them if they wanted to witness babies dying

The ground sobbed red tears as bodies fell
Painting a brief picture of living hell

With my hands I write these words for the homeland

Today Peru lost 2-1 and
people said they played with no heart,
I know where it lays.

In Bagua
where blood mixes with brown soil
In rivers
where brothers and sisters float boca abajo.
And mothers try to identify body parts
While I am trying to identify self worth

Remembering that the blood spilled is pumping through my veins,
that the land where I was born to the land where I stand
will always be indigenous land.
That when we left in 88 Alan Garcia was fucking up the economy
Then ran to hide in Paris
Only to come back for a reconquista
to kill people he sees as second class

Today the bullets cried
My brothers and sister died
Media blinded to the lies
That the cowards use to hide

With my hands I write these words for the homeland

Today I died in bagua
But when my funeral comes
Don’t put me in a casket
Or bury me 6 feet under

Instead baptize me in the Marañon River
So my soul flows south with the blood spilled

Bury me next to the mass graves
With my eyes wide open
So i can see
What others say is not there

Then broadcast these words over radio waves
Banned for speaking the truth

Indigenas nunca son cuidadanos de segunda clase
Indigenous people are never 2nd class citizens

This is for my people
In the homeland
Fighting in the trenches
Blocking streets, police
While we overseas fight the oasis painted by white picket fences
This is for Alfredo,Pelusa, Mariana, rodrigo, camilo y Apu
Who remind me of home and fuel the purpose of what I do
for our babies, who asked why we cry at this injustice

For jose Antonio Encinas who taught me about power
And how politicians’ abuse it, we call them cowards

This for Santiago Manuin
Because 8 bullets could not stop his heart beating
His strength
His fight for his people
Their land

This is for Pizango finding refuge in Nicaragua
While his heart and spirit stays in bagua

And for the rest of us
Who are away from home
In strange lands that we can’t call our own
Some of us facing death for the first time and
Raising fists, pens, and words in defiance
To form a global alliance with you, our people.
Because borders, time zones, years, guns and oppression
Cannot stop our love for you.
Today I died in Bagua
And was reborn to use my hands to write these words for the homeland

Rookies Versus Barbarians: East River Park

This Saturday, the ladies and I gathered for our first weekend of softball since the end of the Mesozoic era. For what feels like the last 200 years, it has rained every weekend. So, though this weekend past was Gay Christmas (aka Pride)…the Rookies sucked it up, sobered up, and showed up at the East River Park to play a double header versus the Barbarians.

When David and I arrived in the hot June son, my eyes were greeted by two Little League teams playing on our fields. Immediately, I had a PTSD flashback to Roosevelt Island. For a moment, I saw the ghosts of angry parents, public safety officers, and drama queens overlaying the Astroturf.

As the boys began trickling in, we set up camp behind a bench full of cheering parents to smack our gums. Surrounded by children, Reggie began talking about his early morning sexual adventures.

“Girl, this morning I was surrounded by cock…”

As Reggie’s voice trailed off as he realized that he had just taught several 1st graders a new word, Joe came to his rescue with an artfully placed…”-aroaches.”

With only a slight pause between the cock and the aroaches…we all breathed a sigh of relief that we had perhaps, this time, escaped creating a mob of parents angry not only that the faggotry were taking over their fields but also teaching their little ones the finer language points of power bottoms.

much fanfare, the Little Leaguers exited the field, and we took over. Now, I am one of the team’s pitchers (take that how you will). Before each game, I pray that Reggie will name me an extra hitter or that he will put me off somewhere in right field…preferably in Brooklyn. No such luck this week. As the game started, I took the pitcher’s mound, and started off with a bang.

If by bang you were to infer that I walked several people.

After a terrible first inning (neither the pitcher nor the fielders shone during the first 10 minutes or so), we all seemed to get our stride a little bit. At the end of the first inning, we had managed to bring the 10 run lead of the Barbarians into a 2 run lead.

My first at bat, I shocked the Hell out of myself and everyone else. I hit a home run.

When I say I hit a home run, I smacked that ball to the other side of the rainbow. I was so surprised that I almost didn’t run…considering that there were two other folks on bases, that would have really sucked. But, I managed to shoot around the bases, although I almost stopped and punched the shit out of the Barbarians’ 2nd baseman who said, as I passed, “Wow. I didn’t expect that from you.”

I contemplated running past home plate, grab a bat, swing by first and take out the 2nd baseman's knees.

I ran home to the cheers of my teammates, wish I tried to return, but I couldn’t breath.
As the game progressed, not only did we catch up to the Barbarians, we overtook them. My pitching improved slightly (very slightly), but the Rookies are a shit-talkin’ but loveable bunch and they cheered me through the process.

And I have to say the team was an offensive power house…Herrick, Joe, Scott, Tom Poteat, and Vinnie were pinging balls way oh way out yonder. Scott and Vinnie also hit homeruns! Almost every person up ended up on base, and the first game ended with a win for the Rookies: 16-15.

The game also ended with some drama. The catcher from the Barbarians decided, after we took the lead, to throw his glove. The Ump tossed him from the game, and then decided to both give lip to Blue and tell his own team that they should be ashamed of themselves.

He should have been ashamed to come out of the birth canal with that face.

In the end, the drama was resolved, the Rookies won, and we moved on to Game Two. But not before I reminded myself that damn....it ain't life or death...it's just gay softball.

Game two was much less eventful…there were some great hits…and both teams were fighting their asses off…so much so that we found each other to a stand still. The second game ended with a tie (12-12), and we ended our second best weekend of softball of the season.

Thank you to my teammates for the love and support out on the mound. The pitcher stands at the loneliest place on the field…and if I had been pitching for the Barbarians…the would probably have skinned me, built a raft, and sailed my fleshy carcass across the East River.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King of Pop is Dead! There Will Be No Other King.

I am not going to tell a lie. I love Michael Jackson. I used to tell folks that I didn't care what he supposedly did...he could put out a record from prison, and I would have bought it. He was a consummate entertainer...anyone that grew up anywhere that received radio waves or a television signal tried to Moonwalk and could do at least one move from Thriller on command. There are whole lost native tribes deep in the Amazon that are doing the Moonwalk right now. I swear to God.

Since Michael falleció yesterday afternoon, the entire Milky Way has been abuzz with commentary on his life and death. Overwhelmingly people remember him fondly. Many folks have shit to say about the man and his life. Let it not be said that I do not support a critical review and recounting of a man's life. Martin Luther King was a womanizer that cheated on his wife. JFK was bangin' Marilyn Monroe in the White House, and Bill Clinton most definitely had sex with that woman. But, those things are not the sum of who they were. Michael Jackson may have touched those children inappropriately. A court said no. The court of public opinion has other ideas. But, in the end, the outpouring of love has not been about Michael Jackson the flawed and flayed man...but Michael Jackson the artist that is inimically tied to the memories of so many of us from the MTV generation and before.

The first piece of music I remember, as a child, was an 8 Track of the Jackson Five that my step-Dad would bump, high on cocaine, as we shot down Lake Street in Minneapolis at 70 to 80 miles an hour. As a child choral star, I often fancied myself as the next MJJ...though I have seven siblings...and my sister Meta and I would have come to blows over who sang lead.

Simply put, there isn't a period of my childhood that doesn't have a Jackson Five or Michael Jackson song as part of its soundtrack. In 1985, my Mom moved us to Kansas City to live with Keith, who would eventually become step-Dad II. We had a lively neighborhood with a number of kids. In the Summer, would all play together in the streets and in each others yards...roller ball...hide and go seek...double dutch...drill team. We would fight, would celebrate, and I saw my first titty when Kenya lifted up her shirt on my back porch. Running through all of that was Michael Jackson. When “We Are the World” was released, you would have thought that Michael and Stevie and Cyndy and the rest were going to swing through Africa and then stop by our neighborhood on their way back to their lives as superstars. It didn't matter what we were doing...when the opening chords of We Are The World floated out of some one's open window...we would scream for Mrs. So and So to turn it up...a hush would fall...and then the entire damn neighborhood would start to sing.

Never in my life before or since has any...and I mean...ANY singer commanded an immediate silence and homage of an entire neighborhood of 8 to 12 year olds engrossed in play time. Michael Jackson belonged to us. When he Moonwalked...all of our asses Moonwalked.

When my sister Meta got to go to the Bad concert...I wanted to kill her, bury her body, die my hair blond, bleach my skin, take her ticket, and go to the show. I thought life in prison was a fair cost for seeing Wacko Jacko live. And when Remember the Time came out...combining my favorite singer with my favorite actor, Eddie Murphy, set in my favorite time period, Ancient Egypt, I thought for sure I had died and gone to Pop Culture Heaven.

Several years ago, the old Sears building on Lake Street in Minneapolis was converted into condos and lofts, and I moved in. It had been the second largest Sears in the world, and my Mom worked there when I was a child. There was one cold, wintry night when we were in the car. Mom went in to get her paycheck, and she left the radio on. On that night, I heard a song so beautiful that I was crying as I was singing because, I too, was “Talking to the Man in the River.” Yes lawd. I thought the man was talking to the Man in the River...and instead of the line being “it couldn't have been any clearer,” I swore (and sang)...”I couldn't bend any quiver.” But damn the words...the song moved me...and to this day it is one of my top five favorite songs.

From “Off the Wall” to “History Part One,” I am a devoted Michael Jackson fan. We may never know who the father of “Billie Jean”'s baby was...but Michael Jackson was a “Thriller”...and, tonight, right now, in his honor...I am a "Dancing Machine.” Michael baby...in Heaven...ain't no such a thing as "Black or White." Say hello to Farrah for me...and Tito...and Celia....Isaac Hayes...and Marvin Gaye...when I get there...we gonna have us a concert that is going to overshadow the Second Coming.

Hey glory.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Last night, David and I wended our way down to the East Village to Nowhere Bar for Charlie Vazquez's Panic! reading series. Nowhere Bar is a great little dive, with amazing three dollar drink specials. The crowd is a mix of bears, otters, and wolves...but the East Village Indie Punk sorta furry guys as opposed to the "I Might Eat You and Masturbate with Your Juices" Bears that hang out at the Ramrod.

The crowd last night was spectacular. At the first Panic! I attended, there was a smallish crowd that filled up about a quarter of the bar. Last night, the crowd was standing room only. Double Pride Panic! was packed. The reading started off a little slowly, but there was a great mix of men and women, all of whom were people of color. Charlie was being a bit of a bugaboo by not telling us where we would be in the line up...but that added to part of the charm of the evening. Of especially fantastic interest were Vincent Bernard, Taylor Siluwe, and Rosalind Lloyd.

Let me tell you, Rosalind read a story about a hot tranny, and the story was so damn steamy that my ass got moist. Yes lord.

I took the stage last to the cheers of new and old friends: Reggie and Steve Herrick from the Rookies, Shelly from Camp Heartland, my new fave person Allison, my old school gal pal/soul sister/co-fried chicken fiend Shante "Paradigm" Smalls, the delicious and sweet Karlo Karlo, and, of course, my love David "Good Booty" Berube.

By the time I got up in front of the crowd, folks were feeling good...the drinks had been flowin' for about an hour...and at $3 a pop...the crowd was fairly lit up and jolly. I started off by reading my poem inspired by the struggles of Chief Joseph. My set started comically as I went to flip the page to finish the first poem, and the pages stuck together. I didn't realize it and thought I had just lost a damn page...I stared blankly for a second...and then said, "Huh...I seem to have lost my poem." It was then that David started yellin' from the crowd..."The pages are stuck together."

I checked it out, and sure enough, there was the missing page. Thanks David!

I was feeling pretty jolly myself by the time I took the stage, so I was cracking jokes in between poems and tellin' bawdy stories about butts and dicks and the like. You know, the usual. I followed Chief Joseph with my ode to Nicole..."Love Poem" then I swung on through to "Christmas Eve Eve Morning," which is a poem I wrote about just how good my baby is in the sack...and, of course, I ended with "Mixed Emotions." (You can listen to Mixed Emotions by clicking on the Ninja in the side bar of my blog).

The crowd went crazy. For a minute, I thought somebody behind me was showin' their titties or doing live porn. When I realized they were clapping and whistling for me, I did my usual: I bolted from the stage. Afterwards, folks said very nice things about my reading...including several people that said that I was a "comedian," and I needed to do stand up.

Too bad when I try to be funny I turn into Fozzie Bear. Wakka wakka bitches.

The highlight of the reading was when the publisher and founder of Velvet Mafia, a press that focuses on queer erotica, approached me and said that he wanted to talk business. How about that?

After the show ended, David and I hung out with my new pal Karlo. Karlo is a super sweet human being that has a very gentle spirit. I met him at the Sol Awards of the Hispanic AIDS Forum a couple of weeks ago. We rode the train home together, where I regaled him and Titi Carlos with stories of Hot Daddy.

David and I ended the night with a special house guest, but David gets mad if I kiss and blog...so I shan't put the delicious, sweet, and fun details on here...as I would like to actually have sex with my boyfriend again before the Second Coming. Coming. Get it? Wakka wakka...

Thank you to all you lovin' and awesome folks that came out last night and showed all the artists in the show some love. A special thank you to Mr. Charlie Vazquez for having the reading series and lettin' a little old Midwestern gal such as myself up in the mix.

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Ed McMahon

They are all dead. What the fuck? It's a bad day to be a super star.

Rest in peace ya'll.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Want to Punch Perez Hilton In The Face Too!

Every day you have to take the good with the ugly. Sometimes there is a dash of the down right ridiculous in the mix that makes you step back, have a shot of something to blind your sperm, and start again.

Today was one of those days. I am going to alternate the good, the ugly, and the ridiculous.

Let's start with the good.

This afternoon I was communicating with an acquaintance of mine, Sñr. Noris Chavarria, when he told me that he had just been looking at my blog. Now, I just met Noris week before last at the Sol Awards Gala at the Battery Park Cafe. I was impressed that he had come across my blog, so I asked him where he had encountered it. He told me that he had come across it on another blog, MiApogeo.com. Curious, I tuned my browser to MiApogeo.com, which is an amazing pan-Latino news source on the web, only to find a listing of the top seven LGBT Latin@ bloggers to watch. I was listed as #2 right after my friend and compay Andrés Duque. I almost shit myself in surprise. I was listed with other blogosphere luminaries as Charlie Vázquez of Spittles the Clown fame, and Gloria Nieto, who I met when I was barely 21 years old and had fallen in dire love with Lonnie Tapia, one of Gloria's protégés in New Mexico.

That was definitely a highlight of the day. But, hand in hand with a taste of glory comes a little reality to keep you grounded.

This weekend past, I received my benefits package from Bard College. Now, one of my regular bitching moments is about David and the fact that he hasn't had health care since leeching was a popular practice. In order to add David to my health care plan,we had to sign a statement assuring Blue Cross Blue Shield that we are, indeed, domestic partners. It was necessary for us to take said form to a notary public and sign it in front of said notary. We can't get married but we have to jump through hoops and rope cattle to get a decent dental plan. Anywho, during our first trip to Chase this morning to do our due diligence, I had forgotten my ID, and so it was a no go. Mission aborted. Fall back, regroup and plan a new route of attack.

Basically, we decided to come back after nap time.

So, after David had lapsed into unconsciousness after a particularly grueling hell day at the gym, we ventured back to Chase. I had my ID, we signed the form, said “I do,” and badda bing badda boom...we were an official couple in the eyes of God and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Amen.

David was so tickled that he loosened his death grip on the debit card and suggested we amplify my summer wardrobe beyond the two pair of shorts I had that I purchased two summers ago. We swung through Daffy's, which owes me new retinas from the assault on my eyes from the ultraviolet and ultra ugly clothing they had on the rack. We decided to try our luck at Old Slavy, excuse me, Old Navy instead. Now, we had carried our precious declaration of domestic partnership form in a manila envelope, which also held extra copies of a document I had created for a work meeting last evening. I was holding the envelope, wondering why I was carrying around said extra documents, when I suggested to David that we just chuck the thing. He said that he would carry it as he didn't want to waste paper. I poo-pooed him and dropped the envelope in a trash receptacle at the NQRW stop at 57th and 7th.

We got to 14th Street and Union Square when we realized that our notarized love declaration was inside the abandoned envelope.

Talk about STOOOOOPID.

We hopped the train, retrieved the document, and decided that God didn't want me to have new shorts if he was willing to let me do something as dumbass as all that business.

We headed home, and I finished up my work day. It was then that I was told the second best news of the day:

This weekend, Perez Hilton was punched dead in his eye by Will.I.Am and his bodyguard for talking smack about the latest Black Eyed Peas CD.

From deep inside me welled up a great feeling of diabolical joy....from my toes to my cockles to my cock, I was rigid with delight. I was immediately filled with a joyous jealousy...joyous that he had gotten his fat ass ugly bitchtastic face smacked...jealous because I wanted to smack the hell out of him too.

A girl can dream. But...the joy could only last for a short time.

My best friend and I have been like two ships passing in the night or two trains on a Metro rail line in DC. I haven't decided which one yet.

I had plans tonight to meet RJ at five til seven at Sokka Gokkai International in the village for gongyo (chanting). RJ and I have been trying to see each other, without success, for several weeks now. RJ and Noel have been dealing with some difficult family stuff lately, so I left home early, stopped at the Trader Joe's Wine Shop and picked up a gift bottle of wine for RJ. I arrived at SGI five minutes earlier than I was expected. 6:55 came and went. At 6:57 I sent RJ a text asking him where he was. At 7:05 I went upstairs, late, for the service. I sat in the back, so I could scan the crowd and keep an eye on the door in case he came in. The service ended, and I left. I sent RJ a text saying that I hoped he was OK, but I was on my way home.

He finally responded, once I was on the train, saying that he had been at gongyo. I told him that I had waited for 15 minutes for him before going in, and he let me know that he had gone in early and had been chanting. DOH! I didn't see him inside, and we missed each other...again. I am going to go and sit outside of his damn house and wait for him to come out because, at this point, this is ridiculous.

Anywho. I came home, made a delectable din din, poured a glass of wine, and wrote this blog.

I still want to punch Perez Hilton in the face.

PS I forgot to mention that there was a hot Latino Daddy at the gym today that had an ass I would have happily pounded so hard he would have had to order a new assring when I was finished with him...that is until, in the locker room, I saw him checking out David's ass...and when he saw me see him checking out David's most definitely eye candy worthy ass...Mr. Hot Latin Daddy lost his damn mind and rolled his eyes at me. Cabron puto hijo de una maldita chingada!

I would still fuck him, but I would have to beat his ass afterwards. Some gays have no damn common sense.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Didn't Kill Anyone Today

Sometimes you just got to let other people have their shit. There are times when even your best intentions not only pave the road to hell, they build a train, lay the tracks, hire a conductor, and give your ass a free ticket for the ride down.

Let me preach to you for a minute.

So I made a lovely dinner tonight. After working until almost 7pm, I came home and made a delectable, light, and nutritious shrimp and pasta dish. It was so good that I thought about filling a bathtub with it and doing various pages of the kama sutra to it while, simultaneously, eating my way to an orgasm.

Back to the drama. So I come home after a day that had some ups and downs. The ups were that my current boss, unlike some of my previous employers, made it clear that he trusts me to do my work, is about as far from a demonic control freak as one could possibly get, and he values my opinion, the quality of my work, and trusts me to get the job done.

Three weeks in I believe I can say with confidence that I have delivered more than expected, and I will continue to do so. When you are given respect and not patronized, when you are given trust and not controlled, when you do your job and let others do theirs (with input and feedback), then I am willing to walk on fire for you. Show your ass, and I will show mine.

But I digress.

I have, in the last couple of days, had to deal with folks that are obviously stuck up in their own stuff. And, as I have done and many people do, they project their shit out on to others.

The trick, when others project their shit on to you and go crazy, is to not claw out their eyeballs and serve them in a nice white bean soup.

Instead cook a delicious dinner, as I did tonight. I made up a simple and healthy recipe of basil and garlic shrimp fettuccine served with French cut green beans (so cut by my loving man) and red bell pepper. It was divine.

Using food as a way to not kill people is a good coping skill. Ocular nerves and fettuccine do not go well together.

People are going to be in their shit now and again. You may have the best of the best of intentions when you reach out to someone…and it may get thrown back in your face. Actually, it may get poured over your face like you are an Arab in Guantanamo, But, never, fear Allah is with you.

Just don’t kill anybody.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yellowfin Tuna Steak

Hello chilluns:

So, I have had another recipe request, and I thought I would post it here for your consumption.


2 Eight oz Yellowfin Tuna Steaks
1 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 garlic cloves
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary

In a flat pan or large bowl mix the soy sauce, oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder together. Dip your steaks in the sauce on both sides. Marinate the steaks for 30 minutes to two hours. If you are going to marinate the steaks for more than 30 minutes, cover and sit in the refrigerator. If for 30 minutes, then leave them out at room temperature.

In a large frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil over a high flame. Mince your ginger and fresh garlic and add to the hot oil. Stir the oil, ginger, and garlic together until the garlic begins to brown. This is to infuse the ginger and garlic into the oil. Remove the steaks from the marinade. Add the steaks to the skillet, and then pour the remaining marinade on top of the steaks. Sear the steaks on each side for approximately two and a half minutes. Add fresh rosemary to the steaks, and then remove from heat. This will cook the steaks roughly half way through and leave a rare center.

Take my advice...while you can cook the steaks the entire way through, tuna is an exceedingly dry fish...and the flavor will be so much better if you leave a rare core to the steaks.

Serve the steaks over brown rice with steamed broccoli and enjoy!

Minnesota Part Four: My Ancestors Are Way Cooler Than Yours

The earliest branch of my family on my Mother's side immigrated to the United States, then the British Colonies, aboard the Mayflower. The gentleman that was to spawn my great-great-great Grandmother was a coopersmith from Britain. For those of you that are not in the know, a coopersmith fashioned the hoops that held barrels together. Now, one may think that sort of thing wouldn't be very impressive...but only if one fails to recall that until the late 19th century, almost all cargo in the world was transported in barrels held together by those hoops. Thus, a coopersmith was often a self-made man. This ancestor of mine...had bank.

Too bad someone along the line spent it, cuz I ain't seen nary a damn nickel of it.

My most direct branch of family emigrated from Ireland in 1822, well before the Potato Famine. This relative-o'mine, by the surname Carey, first name Richard, left Ireland, and moved to Newfoundland. Later, he realized that Canadia isn't a real country, just a bunch of Minnesotans that lost their way, and moved to Maine. There he married and had a son by the name of John. This man, John Richard Carey, got hitched and moved to Superior, WI. At the time, Superior was King over the Arrowhead region of the Minnesota Territory. But, my ambitious forebear banded together with seven other families, crossed the bay, and founded the city of Duluth, which was named after a 17th century French knight that explored the area. John R. Carey would later become the first postmaster, first Probate Judge, founder of the Democratic Party, and founder of the Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Minnesota...Minnesota's third largest city.

Somehow, his children managed to squander his political connections, convert to Lutheranism, and move to the country and take up construction work. I could choke all of them.

Actually, I love my family. It is amazing to have been born in a city of nearly 100,000 people that your very own family co-founded. When I was a kid, I visited the Depot Museum in Duluth, and I saw an exhibit about John Richard Carey. I remember telling my classmates that the old ass man in the painting had the same last name as my Mom. I had no idea, at the time, that I was staring in the face of my Great-Great-Great Grandfather...a politician, family man, city founder, and racist.

Indeed, the man wrote a book called the History of Duluth and Northern Minnesota, which can be found in the Minnesota Historical Society's archives, where he speaks of the glories of the north lands, and advocates for the removal or murder of the native populations.

I think it is hilarious that his grandson married a native woman.

When David and I arrived in Duluth, I was expecting two and half days of calm and relaxation. My Mom lives on Schultz Lake. A private lake that is only accessible if you own property on it. I had phoned ahead and told my Mother that after several days of nonstop motion, David and I were tired and did not want to have to do a bunch of family visitations. I thought she understand that we would spend time with some family, but, in general, we wanted to just relax.

I should have been much more clear in my instructions.

I should have known something was up when, after realizing I didn't quite remember the way to the lake house, I called my Mom's house and my Grandma answered the phone. My family is quite like cockroaches...for everyone you see...there are a hundred more lurking nearby. When we reached my Mom's house, David smiled at the beauty of the home and the lake, and then we both gasped, as we saw through the window of the house below us, about a dozen of my family members.

I could have killed my Mother.

We walked into the house to three of my aunts, my grandmother, my uncle, a great aunt, a great uncle, my Mom, her husband, the boyfriend of an aunt, and one of my little cousins. This was the first time I had ever brought home a boyfriend to meet my extended family, and shortly after our arrival, two more aunts showed up. Sweet Jesus, David looked as if he were going to run crying back to New York, and I buried my face in the giant roasting pan of barbecued meat that my Mother had prepared.

If you think I am sassy, you should meet my relatives. Smart assery is a gene in my family, and it is also a point of familial pride. I hadn't been in the house for five minutes when the snarky comments and the fun poking began. To escape, David and I went fishing on the lake with my great-uncle (a retired military lifer), and my uncle (a recently reformed Bible beater). That should give you a clue as to the choices we faced.

It actually turned out to be a lot of fun. In the end, with my family, the bottom line is that family is family, and if you are thinking about joining up with our outfit...you have to pass muster. And, though I am the brown queer mega-liberal grandchild/nephew...I am also a family favorite. My aunties were sizing David up, and my great-uncle was eyeballing David like he eyeballed the North Koreans during the war.

They loved him.

After a few hours of covert evaluation of David by my fam, they all trickled out...and by trickled I mean they almost all left at the exact same time. So obvious.

David and I spent the rest of our time visiting with my Mother, fishing on Schultz Lake, and joking about my poor Aunt Mike (real name Chioko) who, in her mid-80s, is still a gorgeous Japanese survivor of World War II...and crazy as hell.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Friendships end.

That is a reality in life.

Some friendships end because of time and distance. Some end because of a conflict. Some folks just drift away from one another until the friendships, organically, dissolves. Other friendships are ended by conscious decision, while others simply fade away and bosom buddies, when next they meet, are near strangers.

In my life, I have rarely had a friendship end. That is, until the last couple of years.

One person, important to me, ended our friendship because of simply too much history. We saw each other through deaths, rehab, relationships, murders, work crises, HIV, and sexual assaults.

Another friendship was the victim of post-pardum depression. That loss was bitter and unexpected and an unfortunate side affect of a beautiful pregnancy. This was another person with whom I had shared much, in fact, we met when we were 13, and our friendship remained vibrant for almost 17 years.

The third friendship I lost because I didn't have the space to let this person into some of my life difficulties, and that created a situation where this individual felt that I had slammed the door in his face when he tried to reach out to me. I heartily disagree with this assessment, yet, that is the reason I was given, so it is the reason I accept.

And this last, is one that I conceptually, and fundamentally don't understand.

I decided to check in with a man that I believed was my friend regarding the state of our friendship. This person happens to be the partner of the third friend that chose to end our friendship. This is man that I, quite literally, love and respect and is, I believe, a model for how one can live ones life with honesty and integrity. So, when he told me that he didn't think we were friends because “we don't see each other and we don't share anything...at least recently”, I took what he said at face value.

But I don't understand it.

For me, friendship is,plainly put, a state of being when one person cares deeply for another, their well being, and, if called, shows up in a number of ways to support and build community with another person. Sometimes showing up means physically being present. Sometimes it means being an ear on the other end of a phone call. Sometimes it means responding to an email. And sometimes it means showing up spiritually, carrying a desire and prayer for peace and joy in an other's life, even when distance keeps you from showing that love and respect in person.

There are people in my life, that are not just friends, but family, that I have not seen in years. My best friend, and older brother, Jerry Jones, is someone that I haven't seen, physically, since January 2005. Time and economics haven't been on our side in terms of seeing one another. But, whenever I have picked up the phone, he has answered. We share a love for one another. And, if that is present, then there is friendship.

Over the years, I have added friends to my community that I hold dear. Having left Minneapolis, physically, I still carry with me the friendships of so many. Many of those folks were with me at a barbecue last week. I listened to their stories, and, though I am not with them on a regular basis, if any of them called and had a need, I would do what I could from where I am to fill it. That is friendship.

My truth is that should any of the four individuals in my life that have stepped away from the friendship that we have had, have a need, I would be there to fill it if I could. I have seen too much anger, abandonment, frustration, hurt, and pain in the world. I know how those things can intercept, interrupt, and intervene in love freely given. I have, indeed, let all of those things limit or eliminate my ability to be present for those for whom I care. I respect the choice of anyone to define the limits of their relationship with another, up to and including severing that relationship. But, that does not mean that I have to cauterize my feelings or no longer appreciate the friendship we have had and the memories we made together, whether they were last week or a decade ago.

Friendship should never be ephemeral, easily given, or readily taken away. It is too valuable. And in a time of great spiritual recession, those things of lasting value are that much more precious.

Minnesota Part Three: Scooby Doo Where Are You?

Saturday dawned with a glorious fury matched only by Bebe Benet in her Lion King wig. To say that it was a perfect day would diminish a temperature that felt as if you were immersed in a warm bath, cooled to the universal ideal behind the idea of the most gently caressing breeze. Mercurial gold slicked cat's eye green oak leaves, tossing stately broken shadows across uniform grass blades marching in military precise waves across the open field, as I arrived, late to my own damn barbecue in Powderhorn Park.

The third day of our trip was the time I had scheduled to see the bulk of the people I adore that live in Minneapolis. Since my Mother moved north to Duluth in early spring, I could no longer slip into the city and make excuses for not visiting the extended family. So, in a five and a half day trip to Minnesota, I had to squeeze in three cities roughly 500 round trip miles from each other. Thus, there was no way in hell that I was going to be able to spend quality one-on-one time with the people I love. As a matter of fact, only Susan and Rocki, Taylour, and Pookie and Wifey were able to get some sit down time...much of that having to do with luck and flexible schedules.

So, before heading to Minnesota I sent out an invitation to my friends asking them to join me for a four hour cook out in the best damn park in the world: Powderhorn. Powderhorn is a mecca in Minneapolis. As a child, I lived a block from the park. It figures in to many of my best childhood memories. As an adult, following college, almost organically, most of my close friends from undergrad moved into the neighborhood. In the late 90s, Powderhorn was undergoing a Renaissance that only marginally relied on gentrification. Long term residents began taking back control of the neighborhood from working poor folks that had turned to drugs and prostitution to make ends meet. A vibrant arts community began flourishing. Progressive folks and like minded queer women expanded their hold on the area. The neighborhood participated in a queer invasion of City Hall by elected one of three queer council members (of 13 total) to the City Council in the early 2000s. And, by a margin of less than 100 votes, narrowly missed putting a third Green party member on the Minneapolis City Council.

The park, roughly a mile in circumference, sits hidden in the middle of the neighborhood, with a natural lake sitting smack dab in the middle. This park, incidentally, is also home to the May Day Parade...a celebration of labor and the return of Spring that draws more than 50,000 people to the 'hood each May.

This particular June day, about 30 of my close friends showed up to cook and eat and eat and cook. Children abounded including Giselle and Isa, my two nieces...daughters of my fam Rodrigo and Nubia. The kids lovingly refer to me as Tia (Aunty) Brandon. Of course, Isa runs up and gives me a hug. From behind her back she pulls a delightfully colorful art piece and announces, “Tia Brandon...this is for David.”

I almost dropped her. She hadn't even MET David yet. And here he is, movin' in on the love and devotion reserved to Tia Brandon.

Actually, David spent most of the day playing with the girls, and they absolutely loved him and he them. It made me smile broadly to see it.

By 1pm, we had three grills going with kabobs, veggie burgers, corn on the cob, wieners, and Hmong sausages going. To date, I have never ever eaten anything in the sausage family that tastes like Hmong sausage. Find the nearest Hmong person you can...and beg them to make or direct you to where you can find these sausages. Trade one of your children for them if you have to. I promise. It's worth it.

At the fiesta were my unfailing group of friends: The Scoobies. The Scooby Gang aka Team Superflick aka The Ultramoviastic Squad is comprised of Peter, Debbie, Hayley, Dawn, Cathy, David, Kristina, myself and Jesus with adjunct members Ruben, Anna Mikelson, Erik Streed, Eric Hardisty and, now, David. We have also added two junior members, Lucia and Gabriel, with the newest and most junior member, Samuel, still in vitiro. Most of the group went to high school together (Kristina and I were the odd balls out), and all of us have known each other since at least high school...with the exception of David and Ruben (they married into the family). But, through rehab and funerals, birthdays and births, we have been there for each other for a long, long, time. I expect that I will be at the funerals of these people (or they at mine) depending on which of us kills the other first...probably over a game of Phase 10 gone horribly horribly wrong.

With only a small fire, started by Boa who threw still smouldering coals into the metal garbage can, to mar the day...it was with great sadness that I wished all the amazing friends/family that came out to say hello, a loving farewell.

David and I loaded the leftover Cheez-Its into the rental, and made our way two hours North by Northwest to Brainerd to visit family.

Now, my family history is a bit complicated. My Mother has been married four times, my Father has been married twice, I was raised by my first step-father until I was 13, and through him I came to have another step-Mother named Melanie, who had a daughter from a previous relationship. My birth father was remarried to my step-Mom Becky, from whom he is now divorced, and they had four children together, one of whom died as a child. Are you confused yet? Lost? No worries...I had to draw David a map.

From these various family mixings I have five biological siblings: Jason, Julius, Jasmine, Shannon and Kinchee (who died when he was an infant). I also have three additional siblings, two of whom that are related to my brother Jason by blood, Ella and Clinton, and one sibling that is not related by blood to either me or my brother but is the half sister of Ella and Clinton.

If some Baginses are Boffins and some Boffins are Boyles, who won Britain's Got Talent?

In the end, as I told David, it doesn't matter the blood status...I have eight siblings: Jason, Jasmine, Shannon, Julius, Clinton, Ella, Kinchee and Meta. I am the oldest of the bunch. I have “known” all of them since birth except for Meta, who I met the day before her 6th birthday, and I love each of them fiercely.

And, Melanie, who has never been legally a Mother to me, was most definitely a Mother to me...including the year that I lived with her in the 7th grade. Family is family...and only antiquated Euro-centric systems of family value blood quantum over emotional attachment, love, and support.

Our Saturday was filled with family, memories, and a whole mess of Mayflies that had hatched and carpeted the walls and tables of the lakeside restaurant where we had dinner that night. But no infestation of mayflies could dim the joy of spending a glorious day, surrounded by family and friends, and reveling in the love with which the world has blessed me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forget 40 Acres and a Mule...Write Me A Check!

(I am taking a short break from my multi-part Minnesota story to share with you my thoughts on today's vote by the Senate regarding slavery)

Today the United States Senate, on the eve of Juneteenth, passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans and descendants of slaves for slavery and Jim Crow segregation. The resolution now moves to the House, where it is likely to pass.

I think I am going to pass on this apology too.

Juneteenth, the largely invisible holiday celebrated by few outside of the black community, is a celebration of the actual end of slavery. Slavery ended in the United States on 19 June 1865 when the last blacks held in bondage, in Galveston, Texas, received word that they were free. On that day no man could call another man property. Unfortunately, abject poverty, degradation, wage slavery, and violent subjugation were to continue, with state sanction and complicity, for another century. And anyone that has been pulled over for driving while black, been called a nigger, or been denied employment or housing because of their race, knows that while physical lynchings may be over, spiritual lynchings continue without regard to who may be sleeping in the White House.

Though this resolution, passed 143 years and 364 days after the actual end of slavery, is long overdue, the rider on the resolution clearly stating that it does not in any way support or condone or authorize reparation payments to the descendants of slaves invalidates the sentiment and marks the difference between an apology and an amends. I am not interested in apologies. An apology acknowledges action without the assumption of responsibility or obligation to repair what was broken. An amends is the assumption of responsibility for the results of ones actions and doing the work necessary to repair what was done.

The words of a body that once stood firm against human rights for black folks and continues to stand in the way of the liberation of queer folks is worth about as much as my total worth. Roughly -$46,000 or so…depending on the current amount of interest I owe on my student loans.

It is beyond time for apologies. In 1988, Congress voted to pay the 60,000 survivors of Japanese internment camps $20,000 each to help ameliorate their pain and suffering. That, my friends, is an amends.

I am no fool. There is a very real reason why the Japanese received remuneration for four horrible years in concentration camps while black folks received nothing for 400 years of free labor and horrific abuse. The 1980s saw a meteoric rise in Japanese international cache. Japan was an economic powerhouse and American business wanted to do it doggie style with Japanese businesses, and $1.2 billion dollars was a small price to pay for the return on their investments.

Most people of African descent have no idea from whence they were stolen. And, even if we did know, there is no African economic powerhouse that American businesses want to exploit. The natural resources of Africa are in the hands and control of Western business interests. The only reason to pay substantial reparations to U.S. descendants of slaves would be justice. The business of the U.S. government is business and investing in justice, though it pays great moral dividends, rarely creates capital gains.

So, I say, respectfully, keep your apology. It is meaningless. The wealth of this nation does not exist separate from the hundreds of years of free labor that created it. For some, this is an abstract concept, for me it is a reality. The family that owned mine was the Nickels family of Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

My family still lives in the town where we were slaves. My Father went to school and grew up with the descendants of the family that owned us. The economic privileges of that family, a century after my great-great grandfather was freed, were still apparent.

Our family records date back to 1709, for more than a century the Nickels and others before them earned wealth on my grandparent’s backs. No apology will free their spirits. No apology will remove the wealth from those that exploited them and put it in their hands or in the hands of their descendants.

In America, we value the ability to pass on wealth from one generation to the next. Parents pass as much wealth to their children as possible in order that their children will need to work less than, perhaps, they did. My ancestors did not have that option. Their wealth, the fruit of their hands, and their labor was compelled from them and their products taken from them to benefit those that did nothing to earn it except be born with white skin.

Keep your apology. I don’t want it. But I will take a check, and one for my brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents, and every other descendant of slaves in this nation, children of those that built this nation. It is our due. You have been drawing from our spiritual and labor account for too long. I am marking your apology NSF: Insufficient funds. You will be charged a penalty.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh Suki Suki Grilled Shrimp Kabobs

Since posting my collard greens recipe many moons ago, I have had many more requests for recipes. So here is one that I made when David and I were in Bristol. Let me tell you...this won over David's Dad completely.

Brandon's Suki Suki Now Grilled Shrimp Kabobs


One pound fresh shrimp
Two red bell peppers
One package mushrooms
One red onion
Two large green peppers
Two cups soy sauce
Half cup honey
One table spoon crushed red pepper flakes
One teaspoon garlic powder
One orange
Six to Ten metal skewers

First you want to pour the honey into a microwave safe bowl. Add the soy sauce. Microwave the soy sauce and honey for 30 seconds on high. Pull out the mixture and stir thoroughly. Microwaving the honey makes it liquid and easy to mix. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic powder. Cut orange in half and squeeze both halves into the honey and soy sauce marinade. Stir again. Then add the shrimp to the mixture, cover, and let sit for four hours. You can marinate the shrimp for a shorter period of time, but the longer you let them soak the better they will taste.

Chop your bell peppers, mushrooms and onions into roastable sizes. Then, create your skewers by adding a shrimp followed by one of each vegetable including the onion, followed by shrimp and repeat until skewer is full.

Roast the skewers over a charcoal grill until the shrimp turn bright orange. Salt. Serve. Enjoy.

I am telling you...these grilled skewers will make your loved one take off their panties and win the hearts of your inlaws.

Minnesota Part Two: Mosquito Attack!

Minnesota is L’Etoile du Nord, the land of 10,000 lakes, and a giant breeding ground for hawk sized mosquitos that pull kamikaze dive runs on exposed skin and suck you dry. God forbid you miss a spot during your daily bath of Off bug spray, because those vampiric bitches will find whatever spot you missed and siphon off enough effluvia to start their own blood bank. I have mosquito bites on my toe nails for Christ sakes.

Sorry…got distracted by a hottie wearing a black zippy with his chest amply visible from my third floor apartment window. Back to mosquitos.

Frack mosquitos! (Tiffany told me I curse too much in my blog posts, so I have decided to say frack today instead of the other f-word….blame Calamari for that one).

So, Friday night last week, David and I got back to Aaron Keith’s condo to prepare for the wedding of Denise and Mike. Around 5:00pm, my phone rang, and Little Chicken aka Tay Tay Begay aka Taylour Johnson was downstairs. Taylour drove five hours from Madison to Minneapolis to hang out with me for 24 hours before returning to Wisconsin. That’s love people. Take notes.

Shortly after Tay Tay’s arrival, David, Taylour, and I set out for the nuptials. With confidence, we set out on foot for St. Paul College…less than a mile walk from AK’s pad in downtown St. Paul. I thought that the choice of the college was an excellent one. It was perched on Cathedral Hill directly across from the gothic St. Paul’s Cathedral. The view from the hill top took in all of St. Paul, the state capitol, and the Mississippi River. In my mind, I was silently acknowledging the wedding location. After trekking upwards for about a mile, we finally wove our way around several interstate interchanges and found ourselves standing outside of St. Paul College.

The college was under construction, the parking lot empty, and caterers were setting up down the block for a wedding…for the next day.

After twenty minutes of milling around, I finally was able to summon the actual address of the wedding from Taylour’s iPhone. The event was at the St. Paul College Club….not St. Paul College.

An hour later, on foot, we reached the wedding…just as it ended.


As we entered into the posh St. Paul COLLEGE Club and found the guests sipping wine and the wedding party taking pictures. We stood on the back porch, and my eyes immediately filled with tears. Denisse was absolutely stunning. Ms. Velez now Mrs. McHugh is a radiant human being. Her spirit shines brightly within her, and it is obvious that she is a woman of poise, intelligence, and integrity. I fell in love with her the moment I met her, and I felt as if I had found a sibling that had somehow gotten lost in my hodgepodge familial mix.

Her man is hot as hell, and I have already laid claims to him should he ever swing even remotely bisexual.

After a few moments Denisse looked up and saw us standing against the club’s back door. She smiled broadly and waved and mouthed “I love you.” I smiled and said, “I love you back…” and then the three of us, Taylour, David, and myself, went back inside to take advantage of the free beer and wine. As dinner began, and the toasts were made, I looked up to find Denisse beckoning to me. I moved through the crowd and hugged that adorable vision of perfection. Denisse and I met on the Latino Advisory Committee to the Mayor and City Council of Minneapolis. She is as brilliant as she is beautiful.

The rest of the night passed quickly. The highlight of which was getting to dance merengue with Denisse in her wedding gown, and oogling the hot Espanola working a bright orange dress with mango juicy breasts. After Denise and I danced, her mother leaned over and said, “You are an amazing dancer.” That night, I was inspired.

By half past ten, we were all exhausted. We hopped a cab and shot back downtown. The cost of the cab from where we were to where we were staying was about ten percent of what it would have cost to go the same distance in NYC. Damn I miss the Midwest.

Later that night, Tay and I decided to go out for a drink at the gay bar down the street. Now, when I moved to Oakland, the Innuendo was the new hip gay bar. I even did a lube wrestling fundraiser for my former softball team there.

Times had changed.

We walked into a full on bear bar. And not the hot daddy kind of bears. Oh no…these were the ginormous bear eating bears voguing and quaffing buckets of Long Islands.

We left quickly.

Our second day in Minnesota was amazing (except for the hour and a half walk to the wedding). Seeing Denise and Mike happily married was enough to make me start planning my own wedding. And, seeing my Little Chicken, who drove all the way from Madtown to see me, was a super awesome treat. Family and friends are amazing…especially when they are hot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Minnesota Part One: Isn't It Romantic?

So a lot of life has happened since last I wrote. Iran had an election, and, in keeping with recent U.S. tradition, we still don’t know which candidate is president. The New York State Senate is still in a deadlock with a locked chamber and a bunch of lunk heads screaming at each other on NPR. Obama caved on the Defense of Marriage Act but signed an executive order extending benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees, and Chastity Bono is a big old tranny named Chaz (I called that one ages ago).

As The World Turns…

Last week, David and I began a whirlwind tour through the great state of Minnesota. Speaking of not knowing election outcomes, Al Franken has not yet been declared the winner of my home state’s Senate seat, but Norm Coleman has been ordered to pay roughly $100,000 in Franken’s court fees since Coleman lost several appeals already. Teeeheee.

David and I hit the tarmac running…shortly after arriving, we found ourselves surrounded by bright sunshine and a rental car. We cruised down 35E to St. Paul, with a quick stop for some Taco Hell. And by Hell I mean that once that grade D beef hit my lower intestines, the gates to Hell opened in my anus and let forth a stench like the Devil’s breath after rimmin’ a dirty hole with a yeast infection. It was just that nasty.

We got to downtown St. Paul, and we met up with my old friend Aaron Keith. A big old delicious hunk of a mocha man with vocal chords that could melt butter. AK was a dear heart and volunteered to loan us his condo while we were in town. He went off to stay with his boyfriend Jerry (we’ll talk about her in a minute), and he gave us the keys to the condo. It was spectacular. After a quick shower and change, David and I headed off to have dinner.

We shot down 35W and headed to Powderhorn Park. The best damn neighborhood in Minneapolis. There, tucked onto a street just across from the park, is the Purple House…home of Susan and Rocki and Luca and Flo and Kelly Brazil. At any given time, I have known Susan and Rocki to have anywhere from two to six roommates in addition to their daughter Luca, cat Patzo, and a couple different canine inhabitants. Also a gecko…we can’t forget the gecko. We were met on the sidewalk by a jump ropin’ Luca Peluca head. I scooped her up and gave her a bear hug. She jumped down and darted into the house…and out came Mrs. Raffo-Simoes…who gave me one of those love hugs that reaches right inside of you and makes everything absolutely ok. I introduced her to David, and it was love at first site between him and her. That made me happier than a clam in the ocean with plenty-o-plankton to eat.

Susan made up a lesbo-licious batch of goodness…some roots and berries and the like. Rocki came home, and I about did a high kick….and we all sat and visited and caught up. Just being near Susan and Rocki changes my whole outlook on life…I can be the saddest most forlorn creature…a spittin’ image of Gollum and those two, without coddling or condescending, turn me right back into a jolly furry footed hobbit. And I got the hairy toes to prove it.
We left Susan and Rocki’s well fed and wishing Susan well as she was leaving on the MS 150 bike ride from Minneapolis to Duluth the next afternoon. After some sidewalk chalk time with Luca and a surprise visit from Nicole and Alejandra, we headed back to St. Paul.

Aaron Keith is an amazing jazz singer, and it just so happened that he had a gig directly across the street from the condo. Now, by the time we arrived, David and I were about to fall over from exhaustion. Jet lag between the East Coast and the Midwest is a bitch

The bar where AK was performing looked like a cross between a Hooters and an old Prohibition speak easy. I was waiting for Dillinger and a go go dancer to walk in at any moment. Instead we walked in to find Aaron Keith croonin’ and Jerry, his boyfriend, channelin’ his inner Negro.

About seven or eight years ago, I was dating a guy named Rich. On Valentine’s Day, Rich and I went to see Aaron Keith perform at Jazzmine’s in downtown Minneapolis. At the time, AK sang “Isn’t It Romantic,” to us. I have been hooked ever since. I love that song, and I love his arrangement of the song. Moments after walking in, AK said to the audience that he had a friend in from New York City (doing his best Pace Picante Sauce voice)…and then broke into the song. At the end he looked out and said that I must have an old soul to love that song. Later that night, while having dinner at Mickey’s Diner, I was singing another old song from the juke box, and an elder woman came over and asked me how I knew the words to that song…saying, “That song is from when I was a girl.” I may have been born in the 70’s but my soul was manufactured around 1935.

But back to Aaron Keith…or more specifically…his boyfriend Jerry. Jerry was a trip. The man is one of those white guys that loves black men and, after a couple of drinks, turns as black on the outside as they feel on the inside. Jerry tried to get really ghetto on me, and I had to ignite my inner negro and shut him down. Which I did. Rather quickly. You may feel black on the inside. And lord knows you have had enough black inside of you…but I am black…step biyotch. Jerry was fun. A little over the top (which is about the only thing about him that is a top)…but he was fun. And…I can see why AK tears that booty up.

After returning to the apartment and discovering that somehow in the preceding hour our key had ceased to function, we returned to the bar, got AK, and got our asses into the apartment and into sweet oblivion. I am exhausted just remembering it, and that was just day one of our Minnesota super tour. Rah rah for Ski-u-Mah!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hello my lovely readers. I am heading out on vacation for a few days. I may post a blog or two if I have the time (or the gumption)...but never fear...I shall return with more stories for your consumption.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fuck Sarah Palin!

Sarah Palin can suck my dick.

Actually, she can’t. The Vampire Witch of the Utter North would most likely drain the blood out of it and all my ancestors to boot.

I saw her on TV this evening, and she had the giant cojones to actually say that she is disappointed in Barack Obama and how “little” he has accomplished in “so many” months in office. I’ve made a list of items that I would like her to take away from this blog post should it happen to get accidentally mailed directly to her house.

1) Bitch please! Bush had eight years to fuck up the U.S. and most of the world along with it, and Obama is supposed to right all those wrongs plus the historic wrongs in the U.S. in six months? Come down out of the tundra, the cold weather has obviously frozen what’s left of your brain.

2) You’ve presided over a massive downturn in Alaska’s economy and pretty much were the Seal of Doom over the candidacy of John McCain. One would think that much evil would satisfy Satan’s Mother…but I tip my hat to you Mrs. Lucifer…your son has nothing on you.

3) In case you haven’t noticed…the only reason you are famous is that the entire world was laughing at you…including Tina Fey.

4) Your TEENAGE daughter was getting porked by a hot ass stud in your own house, and she obviously inherited your idiocy as she forgot to use a condom. Why are you still speaking in public? You should be hiding in shame somewhere.


Sarah Palin irks the living hell out of me. I mean, she is the first candidate to get her ass handed to her in a massive landslide victory and somehow miss the fact that she lost. She comes from an inconsequential state (if it weren’t for its natural resources and proximity to Asia, the U.S. would probably have let the Inuit keep it or sold it to back to the Russians for a bottle of vodka and a lap dance). The woman failed out of about half a dozen colleges before someone took pity on her and gave her a diploma for making an effort. But, right here in America, it goes to show you that if you have a great set of tits and are white, you can shoot for the stars or keep shooting off your mouth way after it’s been categorically proven that there are slime molds with higher IQ’s than you.

I take back that comment about the tits. I know many brilliant white women with amazing breasts that are monkey stomped into the ground by sexism. This just goes to prove my point that Sarah Palin has made blood sacrifices to the Infernal Powers in order to get ahead. She probably has to peel off her face at night and bathe in the blood of bunnies and lambs to maintain her Hell powers.

In conclusion, I would like to say….Sarah Palin can suck it.

So can Bristol’s ex-boyfriend. Literally. WOOT WOOT!

National Transgender Day of Action

Endorse Trans Day of Action 2009!

On June 26, 2009, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color and allies will take to the streets of NYC once again and demand justice to let the world know, that on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice, raising our voices until we are heard. We call on all activist and organizers for justice, both local and organizations around the country and world to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together. Below and attached are the points of unity which hold together the purpose of this march.

To endorse TDOA 2009, send an email to endorsetdoa@alp.org

For more info contact - info4tdoa@alp.org or Mya at 718-596-0342 x 23.

SAVE THE DATE – Trans Day of Action – June 26, 2009 – Starting Rally 3PM


The 5th Annual NYC Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice


Initiated by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color Center for Community Organizing.

June 26, 2009

call on Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) communities and our allies from many movements to join us for the 5th Annual Trans Day of Action (TDOA) for Social and Economic Justice. As TGNC People of Color (POC) we recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to build the world we want to see. Much has changed since last year’s TDOA, the election of a new US President has brought hope to many of our communities, however we still live in a time when people of color, immigrants, youth, elders, rural communities, people living with disabilities and poor people are disproportionately underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. In fact, due to the growing financial crisis conditions have worsened. As a result, it is even more critical that we unite and work together towards ending the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia within our movements for justice. We call for an end to the continued single issue platform of gay marriage over TGNC justice by our movements. Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC justice will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced! These are the points of unity, which hold together the purpose of this march:

• We demand that all people receiving public assistance (welfare) including TGNC People of Color, be treated with respect and dignity. We are in solidarity with all people living on public assistance. TGNC POC face transphobic harassment and discrimination when applying for and seeking to access public assistance/welfare. For over three years TGNC communities in NYC have called on the Human Resources Administration (HRA), the NYC agency responsible for public assistance, to address these systemic problems. After initially ignoring requests for a meeting, due to community pressure raised by TDOA, last year HRA agreed to meet. As a result, this past year TransJustice and a committee of organizations and community members including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Housing Works, Queers for Economic Justice, and others have worked with HRA to develop a new HRA procedure to prevent transphobic discrimination including TGNC cultural competency training. To date we are currently awaiting HRA’s final approval of the procedure and anticipate a response by Trans Day of Action.

• We demand an end to the profiling, discrimination, harassment, brutality and murders that occur at the hands of the Police. Communities of color continue to face rampant police harassment and brutality. Last month two lesbians of color were brutally beaten by police officers in front of a club in Brooklyn, NY. In 2006 a Transgender woman of color was assaulted and harassed by an employee at a McDonald’s, when the police arrived they arrested and abused her. We are in solidarity with all people impacted by police violence including supporters of Iman Morales, the family of Sean Bell and the Jersey 4. Like other oppressed communities, TGNC people are targeted, profiled and brutalized by the police daily. We demand an end to the brutality and harassment and call for Justice for all people impacted by police violence. We call for an independent prosecutor for all cases of police violence (www.peoplesjustice.org). To improve TGNC people’s safety in interactions with the police we demand that Commissioner Ray Kelly implement changes in NYPD policies and adopt the “Proposed Policy for the Treatment of Transgender People in NYPD Custody” and the associated changes to the NYPD patrol guide, submitted to the NYPD in April 2009. (www.ipetitions.com/petition/NYPDTransPolicy/)

• We demand an end to the violence and harassment faced by women and LGBTSTGNC communities in the NYC public transportation system (MTA). Women and LGBTSTGNC communities face rampant violence and harassment in the NYC public transportation system. In 2005, a woman was sexually assaulted in a subway station in full view of a train conductor and a station agent. In 2006, a transgender woman was harassed by an MTA worker using anti-transgender slurs - bystanders joined in the harassment. We call on the MTA to be accountable and work proactively to end the violence and harassment that occurs in their transit system and to comply with Local Law 3 which prohibits gender identity/expression discrimination. (nyersforsafetransit.wordpress.com & newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2008/02/brooklyn-court.html)

• We demand the full legalization of all immigrants. In the last year, violence towards immigrants has increased. We oppose all forms of enforcement, which target people trying to survive a deepening global economic crisis, and are in solidarity with migrant rights organizations around the world. We oppose any immigration reform proposal that includes a registration process, more militarization at the border and further criminalization of undocumented people. TGNC people deserve the right to access competent and respectful immigration services. We demand that the consulates of all countries respect and honor our identities and issue passports and other documentation that accurately reflects who we are.

• We are in solidarity with all prisoners, especially the many TGNC people behind the walls who are often invisible to our movements. We call attention to the under-reported accounts of severe violence and rape that our community faces at the hands of correction officers and other prisoners. We demand an end to the torture and discrimination TGNC prisoners face. We demand that all TGNC prisoners receive competent and respectful healthcare. We oppose the continued growth of the prison industrial complex that targets our communities, yet we recognize that TGNC people need access to services and facilities that lessen our vulnerability to violence within the present jails and prisons. We call attention to the criminal injustice system that increasingly puts POC, immigrants, TGNC and poor people behind bars - further criminalizing our communities and our lives.

• We demand that TGNC people have access to respectful and safe living spaces. Many TGNC people face discrimination from landlords and housing administrators displacing us from our homes due to gender identity or expression. A disproportionate number of TGNC people have been or are currently homeless and face discrimination when trying to access shelters and other assisted living programs. NYC law and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) state that people will be placed in shelters according to gender identity and that discrimination based on gender identity will not be tolerated. We demand that all DHS shelter administrators continue to provide adequate Trans sensitivity trainings for all personnel and enforce clear non-discrimination policies that respect all homeless people.

• We demand that TGNC people have equal access to employment and education opportunities. We are outraged by increasing unemployment facing all communities, particularly TGNC POC. TGNC people continue to face blatant discrimination and harassment from employers due to systemic transphobia. Few TGNC people have access to opportunities for learning in a safe school environment. We demand that employers and educational institutions implement non-discrimination policies and comply with Local Law 3.

• We demand that all people, including TGNC people, have access to essential health and human services. We are in a period of ongoing budget cuts to critical services such as HIV/AIDS, youth, LGBT, etc. We call on Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg to stop the budget cuts to essential health and human services and restore funding. The Piers have been a safe space for our community, particularly LGBTSTGNC youth of color for years. In solidarity with FIERCE, we demand the establishment of a 24hour LGBT youth center at the Piers. (www.fiercenyc.org)

• We demand that children and youth under jurisdiction of the Administration of Children Services (ACS) and Private Foster Care Agencies, have the right to freedom of gender expression/identity. In 2002 it was established that NYC’s foster care system cannot discriminate against TGNC children and youth nor force them to only wear clothing associated with birth gender. ACS and private foster care agencies must be accountable for the health of people under their care including TGNC people. After organized community pressure ACS established an anti-discrimination policy for TGNC people. We demand that ACS fully implement this policy.

• We oppose all the public and hidden wars of the U.S. the continued occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the expansion of U.S. militarization. We are appalled by the ongoing attacks on the people of Palestine through the denial of equal rights inside Israel, division through the wall, economic isolation, blockades of supplies and imports, escalating militarization throughout the occupied territories, and the continued refusal of Palestinian refugees’ right of return. We support organizations intensifying efforts through boycott, divestment, and sanction strategies. We oppose escalating military activities everywhere. We demand the immediate removal of all U.S. troops from all countries under occupation and demand an end of use of U.S. dollars to cultivate and sponsor wars against people in the U.S. and abroad.

• We demand justice for the many TGNC people who have been beaten, assaulted, raped, and murdered. These incidents continue to be silenced, misclassified or blamed on TNGC people. The police and media continue to criminalize us even when we try to defend ourselves. An increase in hate crime laws will not solve the problem but will give increased power to the state to put more people in jail. Instead we call for a unified effort for all of us to address the root causes of why these incidents happen. As a society that seeks social justice we seek to find ways of preventing attacks on TGNC people by building strong and knowledgeable communities and using transformative justice to hold people accountable.

We commemorate Amanda Milan, Sakia Gunn, Ruby Ordeñana, Gwen Araujo, Erika Keels, Victoria Arellano, Lawrence King, Saneesha Stewart, Duanna Johnson, Angie Zapata, Teish Cannon, Taysia Elzy and the many others we have lost, who struggled and lived fearlessly, being true to who they were. They keep the fire of struggle burning within all of us.

On June 26, 2009, TGNC POC and allies will take to the streets of NYC once again and demand justice to let the world know, that on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice, raising our voices until we are heard. We call on all activist and organizers for justice, both local and organizations around the country to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together. To endorse TDOA 2009, send an email to endorsetdoa@alp.org, for more info contact - info4tdoa@alp.org or Mya at 718-596-0342 x 23.