Monday, December 12, 2011

new beginnings

This blog is now just over three years old - I started it on Nov. 30, 2008, when I bought my one-way ticket to New York. It has been there every step of the way, documenting many of the funny, ridiculous, unbelievable, awful, painful, heartbreaking, heartwarming and otherwise necessary events that have brought me from being a 22-year-old girl to a woman of (nearly) 26. This year especially has been an incredible journey, from my discovering yoga to completing 200 hours of yoga teacher training, opening my heart and finally facing the wounds of my past while envisioning the future I want to create. I'm still very much on the path, not at all sure of where I'm heading, but very much sure that if I believe hard enough and visualize hard enough, I can co-create what I want for my life; namely, to inspire others with my journey, using whatever tools I have available to me.

A good first step, I think, is creating a space where I can express myself in a beautiful, streamlined format. So I've used Cargo Collective to set up my very own site.  This blog will remain active, but I may not update it as much. Please check out the new space and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading and hangin' tough with me. Love.

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit." -Rumi

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

with love, will oldham

The most important experiences we can have are those that take us to the very limit. That is the only way we learn, because it requires all our courage. - Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

if only we could see

We are all family.

"There’s a writer named Robert Johnson – he has no relation to the musician. His autobiography, I think it’s called Balancing Heaven and Earth. In it he describes, he had not much of a family structure growing up. And then as an adult he decided, 'Because I wasn’t given a family by birth doesn’t mean I can’t have one.' And so he began to nominally create his family and say, 'This person is my grandfather, this person is my uncle, this person is my brother,' with the idea being that these people, your family, are the unconditional ones. The ones that even when they do wrong, that’s when the rules go out the window. That’s when you embrace that person, even if that person has done what you might not accept in a friend or in a colleague. That you continue to support and, ideally, be supported by those people ... Because it does feel like when everything else falls apart that those relationships will be there and that they will stand tests of endurance that other relationships will not."

- Bonnie Prince Billy


Sunday, November 13, 2011

on patience

Stalactites hang from the ceiling. Stalagmites grow from the floor. All are fragile crystals, born from the sweat of rocks in the depth of caves etched into the mountains by water and time. Stalactites and stalagmites spend thousands of years reaching down or reaching up, drop by drop, searching for each other in the darkness. It takes some of them a million years to touch. 
They are in no hurry.

-Edwardo Galeano

Thursday, November 10, 2011

two nights, one city

Sunday night I saw Jay-Z and Kanye at the Izod Center just over the state line in New Jersey. My dear friend Susan and I were in literally the last row of the arena. We got to our seats early and were like, this is fine! There was a little platform right behind our seats and we discussed our obvious plan to spend the entire concert dancing on it instead of remaining seated. We sat down and munched on some shitty concession stand food and were talking about art and life and stuff. I saw one of the arena's employees climbing the stairs toward us and I wondered why he was up so high. He approached us and asked how many people were in our group. We both said, just the two of us. He said, here you go. He handed us two floor seat tickets and told us to take the stairs down down down. I asked him why. He said, because I'm a nice guy. Sus and I just looked at each other in disbelief, then climbed down to our new seats, about 50 feet from the main stage and 30 feet from the stage in the audience. We discussed how the universe rewards being chill - how this never would have happened if we had been somehow unsatisfied with our nosebleed seats. To me, it was more a thrilling and poignant example of how the universe rewards gratitude with abundance. It was also appropriate because I feel that Jay-Z himself is a living, breathing example of what God can do. He is so inspiring to me. From selling crack in Harlem to selling out huge arenas - because of poetry. It was a religious experience for me. Forgive the wobbliness. I was dancing my ass off.


Then, the next night, I saw Brandi Carlile at The Town Hall on 43rd street. It could not have been more opposite from the Watch The Throne show from the night before. The Town Hall is a fairly small venue, it was a solo acoustic show, just a woman with a guitar and an incredible voice. Two sisters from Muscle Shoals, Alabama opened up for her. They did a song they wrote while they were on tour in Australia when the tornadoes destroyed so many lives in our home state, in April of this year. I started crying and I'm pretty sure I didn't stop for the rest of the show. This is the second time I've seen Brandi - she likes to do this thing on one of her songs where she divides the audience into three sections and we all sing a three-part harmony along with her. It's so beautiful. I recorded some of it with my phone.

Friday, November 4, 2011

life is beautiful

Last week a good friend of mine sent me this poem, which appeared in The New Yorker in June 2009. I loved it so much that I decided to send the author, Stephen Dunn, a Pulitzer prize winner, a letter in the mail. I told him I had recently been introduced to his work and that I love his poem and told him thank you for writing it. My friend also sent a letter, separately. And today, we received his response!




Dear Chris + Meghan,
Very sweet of both of you to write to me about my work. Know that it matters to me, and that I'm grateful.

Sincerely,
Stephen Dunn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

God is Love, and Love is God

This is hard to watch. But it's beautiful and I think it is very insightful about Love - the real kind, the Divine kind, the unconditional kind. Can we learn to love each other like our dogs love us? Can we learn to accept our pasts, forgive all those versions of our Selves that betrayed us, and bathe in the light of Love?


Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.


"That guy that was in prison - it's been ten years - I don't really even know who he was. To tell you the truth, I don't even think like him. I look back and think of the guy that was - it was just some poor, pathetic guy. He wasn't even really tough or crazy, just some pathetic guy who made a lot of decisions based on fear. A whole life based on fear, and smoke and screens - it was a real dark time in my life. I wasn't taking care of myself spiritually at the time. I really couldn't, I don't think, I wasn't willing to. I don't know if I was able to. I needed to go through what I needed to go through, and [Oden] was there the whole way through me, man. From the beginning to end, completely unjudgmental. He would just lay next to me like it was another day. And he knew when I was hurtin'.

He showed me through his example how to Love, and I Loved him. I don't think I showed him how to Love, I think he showed me how to Love. It may sound crazy, but it was like some universal job; God gave him some job to do here, to take care of people.  "

birdhouse

Hush, restless heart.
Quiet down, reckless heart.
Still the flapping of your wild wings,
and rest a moment in my hand,
so I may tend your wounds with my grace and forgiveness.

For I know you have sinned,
and I know your desperation.
I know your rooms filled with longing,
and then your rooms filled with dust,
and especially I know
those brimming with Love and Sorrow.

But for now I’m interested in the rooms I don’t know at all,
those with locked doors and shuttered windows.
Invisible to everyone and to me,
they open as I sleep
and close up again when I awake.

So hush now, careless heart,
and be still -
I’m after
a lock 

that turns.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

on Love

If you want a loving relationship in your life and can't figure out why one is eluding you, remember this: you can either choose Love or choose fear. When you choose Love your options narrow because you have chosen to walk a narrower path of trusting your intuition and feelings over the five senses ... And if you have Love this means you must give it away with no expectation of return. Any expectation of return is not love, but the fear of not having love creeping back in ... Trust that you are perfect Love in this moment and only allow in a person that resonates on this vibration.

The Truth is that finding True Love is effortless for those who sit in Trust that they already have everything that could ever be sought after. This Trust will attract a person who is equally fulfilled;  

this is the only type of person capable of Love, one who has Love to give away.

- Jackson Kiddard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

well this really drives it home

I hate when people ask what a book is about. People who read for plot, people who suck out the story like the cream filling in an Oreo, should stick to comic strips and soap operas . . .  
Every book worth a damn is about emotions and love and death and pain. 
It's about words. It's about a man dealing with life. Okay?

- J.R. Moehringer

my little rainy mornin prayer

May I always believe in magic and miracles and God's grace, until my last breath. If I ever stop believing in these things in the core of my Self, may I die soon thereafter, for life will no longer be worth living. May I then be granted a fresh go at it. May I remember that I will die, and may this recollection give me Courage. May I release the physicality of things so that even when it appears that my beloveds are absent, I may know that they are on their way to me, or - when I am mindful enough to pay attention - already abiding in my heart. May I be ever compassionate and kind toward others, no matter how difficult I find it to overcome my own suffering. May I recognize that every other creature is also suffering and striving for happiness, and may I reach beyond my pain to try to help others overcome theirs. May I always live in Love and may my heart never become bitter or angry. May I always be able to laugh at myself. May I always acknowledge the universe's abundance and be grateful. May my Love always conquer my Fear. May I always keep the Faith. May I wish all of this not just for myself but for all living beings. Amen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

share this with someone you love




the laughing heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


- charles bukowski


PS this one is also incredible.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

truth + light

Too often we do not say what we are feeling in our hearts and we hold back our true words of love, courage and compassion that should be said. When you become courageous enough to express the Truth of how you are really feeling, you set yourself free and align with the vibration of your Truth. This is when miracles, synchronicities and amazing things begin to happen. 

At first it might be a little rough, because you are clearing out everything that isn't true for you. But it's my promise to you, dear friend, that once you've reached a clean slate, your Truth will set you free, your Truth will make you happy and your Truth will always provide for you. My biggest promise to you is that your Truth will deliver a life greater than you have imagined. All you have to do is let go of what is not true for you and let in what is.

-Jackson Kiddard, yogi+writer+lover


I really need to just get a tumblr. Mostly now I just re-post others' words + insights. As of late I'm struggling with organizing my own.

Monday, October 3, 2011

still amazed i didn't lose it

My eyes fell on the colorful copy of Love in the Time of Cholera as if it were the only book on the table. I was on St. Mark's and it was raining. This old man had set up his table of books under an awning. I saw the book, passed it by and made it about 10 feet before I turned around and walked back.

I picked it up and turned it over in my hands, feeling the gloss of the cover slide against my damp skin and allowing the pages to pour one by one across my fingertips. I asked the old man how much it was, and he said seven dollars. I told him I had six, and a $20 bill, hoping he would read between the lines and give me the book for $6. Instead he took my $20 and gave me $3 in return. He still owed me $10, but he only had two $20 bills left in his wallet and he said, wait here, I'll go get your change. He handed me the book and told me to stand by the table, and that if I sold anything he would take a dollar off the price of my book. As he walked away I felt a little uneasy twinge in my stomach, a pang from my past self, the fear that maybe this stranger would take my $20 and never return with my change. But as I stood there alone with my half-purchased book, I looked out over the piles of paperbacks and realized he had just left a wanderer with his entire table of wares. Trust is funny that way: it's only hard when you look at it as a one-sided thing. Which it never is.

When he returned with my money, he thanked me and called me beautiful, shook my hand and asked me my name. He said, I'm Marshall and I'm here every Saturday. I said, only Saturday? He said, Saturday's about all I can take.

He said, let me know what you think of the book, I think you'll really like it, it's wonderful.

I said, I will.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

the possible meaning of 42

Thanks, Chuck.

"There are three totally different kinds of humans on the Earth, meaning that they perceive the One reality in three different ways, interpreted differently. The first kind of human has a chromosome composition of 42+2. They comprise a unity consciousness that does not see anything outside themselves as being separate from themselves. To them, there is only one energy - one life, one beingness that moves everywhere. Anything happening anywhere is within them, as well. They are like cells in the body. They are all connected to a single consciousness that moves through all of them. These are the aboriginals in Australia. There might be a few African tribes left like this. Then, there is our level, comprising 44+2 chromosomes. We are a disharmonic level of consciousness that is used as a steppingstone from the 42+2 level to the next level, 46+2 ... These two additional chromosomes change everything... The main change will be a shift to the "unity consciousness". Every cell in your body has its own consciousness and memory. You, the higher being that occupies your body, make the millions of different consciousnesses in your body work together as one being ... Think of yourself as a cell and the grid as the higher being. We will still have individual consciousness, but will be united in the form of a higher being in order to work as one entity." - Drunvalo Melchizadek

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the number 42 is haunting me


I see it everywhere/all the time here recently. I look at the clock at exactly :42. It's (seemingly) randomly included in Facebook comments directed at me without the commenter's knowledge of my relationship with this number. It pops up on website error messages, in flight itineraries, in phone numbers. What does it mean? Also, I just learned this last week. Weird.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

fall beginnings: a mood board


I wrote this in my journal in 2009, way before I ever did yoga.
 

 
these boots are my soulmates.







I’ve learned to ask myself one question when I’m trying to decide whether or not I should take a role. Because I’ve come to learn that the decisions that I sweat over, that I labor over, and that I ask everybody’s opinions and I make lists, positive and negative - the answer in that situation should always be no. I’ve learned to make a decision by asking myself one question: What does my heart yearn for? It’s simplified my life in a way I can’t describe. I think that’s the single best piece of advice I’ve ever had in my life. Because your head can be your own worst enemy.


Monday, September 26, 2011

on yoga

The big thing with me lately is that the past is present as I'm working to manifest my future. I've always thought of the past as the past and the present as the present and the future as the future, but I'm learning that things aren't often as simple as that. This straight line of chronology through which we all think we move is not so straight at times - it bouncily doubles over on itself like a seat in a movie theater, it loops around and sometimes it pauses in a space that feels like it's outside of time altogether. I suppose I've always "known" my past experiences are part of my present, because they've led me to this moment - but never in my life has my past been such a tangible presence.  Never has my own understanding confused me so much.

It seems that my yoga studio - or, more likely, the yoga itself - is a wormhole to the past. Near the end of my training as a teacher, with my heart as wide open as it had been since before I moved to New York, I thought about A, in passing. (Remember?) It was a Saturday evening. I was walking from the studio in the East Village to meet a friend for drinks in the West Village. I thought, "I wonder what I would do if I ran into A in the city." I watched myself have the thought, wistfully interested in why I was thinking about this man who (I thought) broke my heart, and whom I had not even passively considered in more than a year's time. I also asked myself why I was thinking that thought specifically, when (at least as far as I knew) he doesn't live in New York. Piggybacking on that thought, more thoughts bubbled to the surface, and memories from the time we shared together, and then I found myself thrashing at my covers, trying to shake him out, wondering why the fuck all these images still live within me when I so unequivocally banished them.

A sort of bizarre sequence of events led to us having a conversation, A and I. He told me he had been in the city the day I thought of him. I had no way of knowing he was here that day, nor did I have a reason to think what I thought. He also told me he thought the same thing about me when he was here, what he would do if he ran into me. Synchronicity. Since that conversation there has been a revolution in my heart, a sort of open-chest surgery I'm performing on myself, blindfolded.

Then the other day, I taught class at the studio. After class a student approached me. She said I looked very familiar to her and asked me where I'm from. I told her Birmingham, Alabama. She said her too. She asked me my name. I told her, and as my name escaped my lips, I recognized in her a glimmer of a young face I once knew. I said her name as she told it to me. She went to my middle and high school. She was a grade above me,  and we were never close friends, but I remember her because she was always performing and singing at school concerts and plays. We talked for a while and she told me she moved to the city just two days after me, on Jan. 1, 2009, to pursue a career in theater. She told me she had also just done a show down in Virginia. I befriended her on the book of faces, and learned that she is friends with another actor friend of mine who I just visited in Virginia last weekend. And so the past folds in on itself, and that fold folds in on itself again, like one of those wooden Chinese toys where you hold the end of a chain of blocks that tumble over each other repeatedly in an irrational way, clink clink clink clink clink.

For the past year or so my actions have largely been fueled by the belief that a higher power is guiding me to a destiny of its design, but lately I'm considering the possibility that I was born, that we are all born, to find and courageously follow our own hearts - that our hearts are our destinies. For me, yoga is a portal to my heart. Everything that comes along with that - past, present, and future - all present themselves to me, in ways I never conceived. Yoga helps me harness the power to transform all three, however I see fit.

Today I practiced yoga and the woman next to me in class had a tattoo on her forearm that read, "You have everything you need." And I think it's true.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on my heart


The thing about the human heart is that, like the earth, it is much deeper than most of us immediately give it credit for. Sometimes we plant seeds in its soil, and the stems grow, and the flowers blossom for a time, and then the winter freeze rolls in and we know that those tender petals we once caressed to life are dead and gone. We imagine them reabsorbed into our very being to be re-distributed for another use, another season, galvanizing us against the next winter, whenever it may come. And then a strange turn of events can reveal to us, still swaying in the wind and reaching for the sun, the garden we long took for dead.

The discovery can be so shocking that it casts a new light on everything that’s happened in our lives since we first thought we laid our garden to rest. Maybe everything we’ve done since that moment has led us to this singular re-discovery. Maybe all the work, all the growth, all the choices, the mistakes - maybe it was all some cosmic plan to till the soil of our hearts, to ready us for the season of harvest. It's been said that an insight the size of a mustard seed can bring down a mountain-sized illusion that's holding our lives together. It’s at this point that maybe the anger comes, the protest - we thought we knew ourselves so well. We thought we had sufficiently healed the heartbreak that came when we turned our backs on those blooms, casting them in a shadow to ensure their demise. How dare they continue to thrive in the darkness, and how dare they reveal themselves to us again, now.

It’s not like we’ve been miserable. We’ve been the opposite of miserable - we’ve discovered levels of joy and exhilaration beyond what we believed possible. We’ve gotten to know ourselves better than ever before, we’ve grown to love ourselves more than we ever considered permissible. We’ve been so happy we cried and cried so much we laughed. We’ve gotten healthier, we’ve gotten stronger, we've gained understanding. We’ve learned, we've loved. Which is why this discovery is all the more unsettling. How could we,
in our happiness, have been so unaware of the truth? Where was our secret garden this whole time?

So the problem becomes what we do with what we’ve found.
Do we simply sit and observe for a while?  Do we pick the buds and string them purposefully through our hair as it grows long? Do we water them, thereby encouraging them to grow taller? Do we one-by-one yank them out by their roots, painstakingly making room for some new breed to grow in their place? The whole venture becomes increasingly absurd and unreasonable - we begin to legitimately question our sanity, and we feel so painfully alone, as if we're sure that no one else in the history of the world has ever felt this way - it's too foreign, too strange. None of it makes any sense. We might ask ourselves, we might ask the universe, we might ask God: what is this trickery? What is going on? We feel like an old piece of rock being polished - run through a spinning buffer and then tossed around in a river with no banks in sight. But why? What is this strange alchemy?

The answer, of course, is Love. The answer is always Love. And if Love isn’t the answer, we’re probably not asking the right questions. Love isn’t black and white, it isn’t linear. It doesn’t fit inside any
chronological framework we’ve created to interpret the events of our lives. It doesn’t adhere to the rules we’ve written for ourselves, nor does it acknowledge the density of the walls we've built. It doesn’t implore us to focus on the bad times, only on the good. Or, rather, it humbly turns our attention to all times equally. Winter, spring, summer, and fall are all the same in the eyes of Love. A field of flowers is the same as a field blanketed in the thickest snow.

Someone planted in me the seeds of Love long ago, and it took learning this lesson for me to finally see them begin to mature: in loving others,
I am actually loving parts of my own heart, a perennial garden of buds only beginning to break through the ice of a long and stealthy frost. The polishing continues.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the original you and i

What June did for me was post signs along the way, lift me when I was weak, encourage me when I was discouraged, and love me when I was alone and felt unlovable. She is the greatest woman I have ever known. Nobody else, except my mother, comes close. June said she knew me – knew the kernel of me, deep inside, beneath the drugs and deceit and despair and anger and selfishness, and knew my loneliness. She said she could help me. She said we were soulmates, she and I, and that she would fight for me with all her might, however she could. She did that by being my companion, friend, and lover, and by praying for me. June is a prayer warrior like none I’ve known.

We connect somewhere between here and heaven.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

in memoriam

I walked from the East Village to Bryant Park today, where A Tribute 9/11 has been set up for the past few days. There are 2,753 empty chairs on the lawn, one to represent each person killed on 9/11. It is quite eerie and beautiful.

An interactive public art project called Collective Memory included a pool of typists set up at a table each day from 12:30 to 2:30, recording people's responses to the question, What would you like the world to remember about 9/11? I didn't get to the park until around 4 today, so I missed the typists, but there was one lone typewriter still there, and I sat down to write. Someone is collecting the writings and will eventually display some of them at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. You can also see them here.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

on 91st street

All the leaves said,
"Just wait."
I felt you push the wind 
through them 
as they trembled.

So I will wait
under their gentle cover,
allowing the sun to warm my skin
and the rain to bathe it,
 
season after season,
until the snow comes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

the calm in the storm




If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda
Read by Madonna

("implacable sweetness" is the most beautiful phrase I think I've ever heard)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

i want to love in fall

Fall is coming.


Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. It's so full of promise, encapsulating the past, present and future so well. Fall was driving over the hills of Alabama and Mississippi, listening to Iron & Wine until the CD scratched, and eating candy corn. Fall is walking around Central Park with hot hot coffee and peeking out from under your scarf to pose for a photo in front of Lady Bethesda, and college football. Fall will be when we fall in love again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

city life

On the 1st avenue M15, an old woman who spoke no English turned to me and pointed to a piece of paper that said simply, "To 59th street." She had the sweetest eyes, and they asked me silently where the bus would stop, when and how she would make it to 59th street. We were only at 23rd street. I spoke to her but she acted like she didn't understand my words. She would make murmuring sounds with her voice, but she wasn't speaking another language, so I got the impression that she just couldn't speak at all, but that maybe at one time she could. I tried to communicate to her, with my eyes and my hands and my smile, that I would let her know when we got to 59th street so she could get off the bus. Her eyes were so sweet, they smiled in return even though her mouth never really moved that much. We got to about 54th street and I tried to let her know to get off at the next stop, which was 57th street. She looked confused and pointed to the paper, handing it to me and motioning for me to write down what I was saying. So I took her pen and wrote "get off the bus and walk two blocks up to 59th street." When the bus stopped at 57th street, I escorted her off, walked back to my seat and watched through the bus window as she walked to the stop and fished her umbrella from her bag. It was raining pretty good. I motioned to her through the window which direction to walk to get to 59th, but I don't think she saw me.

I hope she made it to where she was headed. 59th street is long.

Friday, August 19, 2011

i wish i didn't have to title my blog posts

108

I just did 108 sun salutations.
I'm not the same person,
just like I was before.
          And also,
          my legs hurt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

nothing is wasted

It's been raining in New York City for three days, and it's chilly. When it feels like fall, whether it's really fall or not, I fall in love everyday with a person who's not there. I listen to a lot of Ryan Adams and I close my eyes and see the fire treetops and write so many poems in my head that never make it down to paper.

The universe is awe-some. A poet named Laura Gilpin wrote my favorite poem, and I just learned today that she died the day after Valentine's Day in 2007 in Fairhope, Alabama. She studied at Columbia University, so she lived in NYC for a while. So the circles keep opening and closing, and my life has become this beautiful work of art being created in each moment by something that is not me and I sit idly by and watch, sometimes laughing and sometimes smiling and sometimes crying, but always joyous.

life after death by Laura Gilpin

These things I know:
How the living go on living
and how the dead go on living with them
so that in a forest
even a dead tree casts a shadow
and the leaves fall one by one
and the branches break in the wind
and the bark peels off slowly
and the trunk cracks
and the rain seeps in through the cracks
and the trunk falls to the ground
and the moss covers it
and in the spring, the rabbits find it
and build their nest
inside the dead tree
so that nothing is wasted in nature
or in love.

Friday, August 5, 2011

just cuz

It's been a while since I blogged. Life has been amazingly hectic but mostly hectically amazing. I'm in training to become a yoga teacher. It's a 200-hour program stretched out over 10 weeks, six of which I have completed. I started in late June and will complete at the end of August, if all goes as planned. I'm training at Yoga to the People in the East Village. It truly has been a life-affirming, inspiring and altering experience. I feel like I am on my way to finding the truest expression of myself - which maybe sounds crazy considering that I only started practicing yoga in May - but when I found yoga it really did feel like I was coming home and unfurling at the same time, both coming back to my true self after so much searching and simultaneously branching out into the unknown parts of myself that also comprise my core. To have even an opportunity, as a future teacher, to help others also find this amazing gift - is an honor and a privilege.

Remember that short film Love Sand I wrote last summer and filmed with Zac? The leading lady, Haley Strode, just booked a film with Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling. I am so happy for her and honored to have participated in her journey - what an incredible thing. I knew when I met her last summer that she had something special and significant inside her. I wanted to re-post the film here so you can watch how wickedly talented and beautiful she is. She's gonna be huge.


Love Sand from LBO Productions on Vimeo.

Thinking about being the girl who wrote (and, at least partially, lived) the sad story of Love Sand is a weird thing. I opened this blog post hours ago and watched the cursor blink at me for a while - I felt an unexpected inauthenticity as I thought about what I would say here about my life over the past few months. So much has happened, so much has blossomed for me, and I am more my Self now than ever before. I am so happy. I experience sadness but I have finally learned that the sort of destruction I experienced before resulted from my own hand. I am coming into my power as a woman. I am teaching myself never to say I'm sorry unless I truly mean it and to love myself unconditionally. As women we are conditioned to apologize at every turn - for raising our voices, for extending our bodies in space, simply for being ourselves - and I am undoing years of that. I am not sorry. I have a voice, I have a body, I have a mind - and I have a power inside of me. As a child in Alabama, I dreamed of living in New York City, creating a space for myself and living a free life where I could dance and write and use my heart. I'm on my way to that very life - one might say I'm one foot in, or maybe just a toe or two - and what a gift. What a power lies inside me! I don't say this to selfishly lift myself up, but rather to shine a light on the Source of this power, which is something I'm only beginning to become intimate with.

I saw this written in a bathroom stall. It's important.

Because, beautiful as you are, you hide so much of what you are, which of course is part of what you are: the hidden and the hiding.

Xx

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the dance

Tomorrow, when the guests have departed,
the balloons deflated,
and the champagne de-fizzed,
you will sit alone
and contemplate how the years zipped.

But tonight, tomorrow is just a figment,
and with my hand in your sunworn hand,
we twirl round and round,
and I hope that you see:
I’m yours now more than ever,
our eyes, thunderstorm mirrors,
and your heart?

I carry it in my heart.

Friday, June 3, 2011

houdini streets

It was one of those magical nights that only happen in New York, where impossible things edify themselves right before your eyes, and you pump your fist through an open taxi window and the warm breeze electrifies you from your feet up, and you realize with no small amount of wonder that you perhaps have never felt so alive as you do right now.

You ponder what it is that's making you feel this way. What it is floating amongst all the concrete and lights that could possibly bring so much animation to your soul. You're running late and the cabbie tells you how pretty you look, you smile and thank him, you think of those blue eyes that wait for you at the end of your journey tonight. The bluest eyes you've ever seen, the ones you saw only twice a year ago and not since, but that have somehow been emblazoned on the backs of your eyelids for 365 days and counting. Your lids flutter, and you realize you've stopped breathing. You instruct yourself to push all the air from your lungs and then to take a deep, passionate breath in. 
 
Breathe like he kissed you, you tell yourself. Slow, and with purpose.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Schiße

Oh yeah, mein blog! Just a small post to update y'all on some shit I've been doing that has been exciting!

Number one, I interviewed Lady Gaga's  musical director Fernando Garibay. I KNOW. I basically shit my pants. He was so sweet and humble and told me so much about how BORN THIS WAY was produced. It was recorded on the road all over the world while Gaga was on tour.  My favorite quote from him: “Picture this,” he begins. “Gaga’s walking off stage—she’s pumped full of adrenaline—she comes in, and we start. I play her these chords, and immediately she’s like, ‘Put up the mic!’ And off the cuff, from her head, she recites this whole song.” 

I've started writing for Thought Catalog. I've written a few pieces. It's fun.

There's a new East Village-based lit journal called The Vein and they published a couple of my poems.

The most surreal thing ever, my piece "2011: Gagalations" will be studied as a part of Dr. Victor P. Corona's Sociology of Culture course at Columbia University this summer. My weird nerdy high school brain teachers would be so proud of me.

I've started practicing yoga and in just a few weeks it has changed my life.
Gaga sings about St. Jerome's in HEAVY METAL LOVER. Bestill my heart.
I will be in attendance at Gags' GMA performance in Central Park this Friday.
I'm a warrior queen.
New York is not just a tan that you'll never lose.
Fleet Week begins Wednesday.
<3

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

subway kids rejoice

In January, I turned 25. For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me The Alchemist. On the title page, he wrote a note: "MCB, I found this one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. I hope it resonates as much with you." It took me a few weeks to finish the book. As I was reading, I knew something important was happening. The book served to reflect aspects of my spirituality that I had learned over the past six months or so. I put the book on a shelf, feeling cemented in my beliefs, but also feeling like I had missed something, that some of the metaphors were lost on me.

I pulled the book from the shelf yesterday, to share it with a man I've been seeing. I put it in my room to remind myself to give it to him, but decided not to take it with me yesterday. It sat on my dresser all day. This morning before leaving for work, I decided instead to re-read it myself, and I put it in my bag. I pulled it out on the train at 86th street and started reading. I stood from 86th street to 14th street reading, then some people got up to exit so I took a seat. I was sitting there reading, and the man sitting next to me looked over and said, "Your first time reading that book?" I said, "No, my second." He said, "Ah. It helps just to re-read it every now and then."

I agreed with him and pretended to keep reading, but there was an incessant pounding on the inside of my chest, demanding that I keep talking with this person. He was older a bit, probably in his 30s, and he seemed really nice and I liked his vibe. I ignored the pounding for as long as possible until I couldn't ignore it anymore.

"How many times would you say you've read it?" I asked him.
"Ummm, about three."
"Yeah."
"Why are you re-reading it now?"
"Um, well.  I just read it for the first time a few months ago."
"Oh really? That's pretty soon to be re-reading it already."
"Well, I feel like I missed some of the metaphors so I want to go back through and get a better understanding."
"I see. Are you in the middle of a big life change?"
In my heart: yes.
Out loud: "Um, well, I really want a new job."
"Ah. What line of work are you in?"
"Well, right now I work in magazines."
"And what do you want to be doing? Healing?" He laughed.
"Well, I write magazine articles, but I really want to be doing something more creative. Like writing books or screenplays." Mind you, this is a complete stranger and I've never even told some of my closest friends that I want to write screenplays.
"Have you thought about  taking a loan out to pursue higher education?"
In my head: Um, wow. Damn. Straight to the point.
Out loud: "I've thought about grad school but haven't done any in-depth research on it."
"Well," he said, "I'm throwing caution to the wind and taking out a $100,000 loan to go to school for psychotherapy. I feel like it's my calling."
"Holy shit. That's a lot of money."
"There's this school out in Boulder, Colorado called Naropa. Have you ever heard of it?"
"No."
"It's a Buddhist-founded university with graduate programs in writing. They focus on contemplative learning, meditation and stuff like that. It's really cool, you should look into it."
"All right, sounds awesome." Or something equally inane.
"Have you ever heard of Allen Ginsberg?"
In my heart: fucking Christ.
Out loud: "Yes."
"The library there is named after him. He was involved with the writing school somehow."

My stop came. I thanked him and told him to have a great day.
I got off.
I walked upstairs.
The sun hit my face. It was warm.
I went to get an iced coffee but I didn't really need it.
I held back tears as I walked to my office.

Synchronicity.

Friday, April 22, 2011

midsummer dream's night

All I want from life right now is a warm night. Just one.

Where I can wear a dress with my thighs exposed, maybe a jean jacket, maybe be warm enough to take it off and drape it over my slingbag. Where I welcome the wind to my face with my eyes closed, cheeks pointing to the sky like bobbing baby fists. Where I can walk through Harlem, maybe over to the East River, and the wind there will be cooler, but not by much, and I can sit on a bench and feel the chills climb my spine as it tousles the strands of my scalp. Maybe it's about 7:38pm, and the sun is just about down, but not quite, and I can still make out Queens in a purple haze. Perhaps I imagine little Italian families preparing dinner in their heirloom apartments across the river, and then I wish I had a big plate of spaghetti.

Once on the 6 train between 33rd and 42nd streets, I peeked up from my book and saw, sitting across from me, a young timid Asian woman asking an old white man for directions to Penn Station. He told her we had just passed the stop she needed to get over there, to the West side. She had missed her chance. She looked confused and just kept repeating, "Trehn. Trehn." The man just kept shrugging and looking around helplessly. She said, "I'll just wait. I'll just stay on the trehn."

I caught the glance of a beautiful young black woman sitting next to them, with a buzzed head and a black RUN DMC t-shirt. She was  eavesdropping too. She rolled her eyes and smiled and I smiled back and we both turned our attention back to the Asian woman. The man didn't know what else to say to her. He looked defeated. Then the black woman reached over the man, tapped the Asian woman on the shoulder, and said, "Just get off here at Grand Central, take the shuttle to Times Square, then take the 1 or 2 train down to Penn. You need to get to the West side." The Asian woman looked like she understood, smiled, and thanked her, clutching her little red backpack. She got off when the train stopped. The black woman looked at the silent white woman across from her and smiled. I smiled back.

Point is, I felt the warm night I wanted inside that subway car, and I carried it upstream all the way home. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hustle mean hard work: The arrival of Emcee B.

So, I'm entering a rap competition. Yeah I know, it's whatever. I wrote the verse and made the video all by myself, and I'm pretty excited about the result! It was really fun and my new favorite thing is downloading beats and writing verses on the 6 train in the mornings. You can watch the video below, and (if you likey) I implore you to go to the YouTube page and vote for me by clicking the thumbs up sign below the video! Duhhhhhh. Thanks y'all :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

beautiful no-sun



I wish it were
r
a
i
n
i
n
g
and that I could burrow
where you couldn’t see me
and I couldn’t see you
until my heart stopped beating
and my stomach collapsed
and my brainstorm short/circuited
like number five

(but)

i am alive
i am alive
i am alive
and the sun will rise and i
e
s
i
r
with it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

88 days/89 nights


I had this awful dream last night, or this morning, that you told me you didn't love me, you loved someone else. You were my lover and my trainer; you were training me to be a gymnast. You were trying to get me to do a release move, something very high in the air, and I was just swinging so high in the air above water, and I couldn't let go. You got angry. I told you I was too scared, it was too high, I couldn't let go. You disappeared into the bowels of the ship and when you came back you said so many mean things to me, that I was weak and you had never loved me and what we had together was fleeting and meaningless. You said that you had found a woman who was brave and real to love. She was there too, and though I don't remember what she looked like, I remember her cruelty. It felt like when I was a child and people used to make fun of me for being a little bit chubby, or wearing pants that didn't flare quite enough at the ankles, or having bangs that stairstepped down my little forehead.

I wake up crying and the sun hits my face and I slowly realize it was only a dream. I think of my high school philosophy teacher, who said dreams were more a reality than our waking hours. Dreams, like all the times I built you in my bed, bringing a pillow close to my face and remembering when your blue eyes glowed back at me as we fucked. I try my hardest to remember, to re-create their explosive sheen from so, so long ago; I graze my lips across the surface of the pillow and remember how you kissed me, the breath that lingered between our mouths. I think that’s when it happened, when we exchanged those pieces of ourselves, whatever this thing is that makes me invent you time and time again, that haunts and thrills me. My gymnastics coach once took my 10-year-old pointed foot in his hand and looked at me and told me I would be in the Olympics some day. He was wrong; I never made it to the Olympics. Instead I got real sick and spent a summer in the hospital and missed a vacation with roller coasters and, much later,  thanked God for keeping me alive.

I close my eyes and pull the pillow even tighter to me. I don't mourn the back handsprings or cartwheel beams or my Olympic dreams, but I do still thank God for life. I have no reason to love you, except that I have every reason not to, and of all the dreams I've had of you, this was but one. The open road reveals itself to me, and I drive on.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011: Gagalations

After I noticed some striking (read: obvious) similarities between Gaga's Grammy performance and Alvin Ailey's modern ballet Revelations, the lovely ladies over at Gaga Stigmata agreed to let me write a piece for them comparing the two works and their meanings in the contexts of their debuts. You can check it out here. I worked a lot on it and am really excited to share it!


I also recently interviewed legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon. There's a documentary about his life out right now in NYC and L.A., and I saw a screener. It's so amazing, and he is an inspiration for anyone who has ever wanted to make art or do anything completely different and revolutionary. He also once cut Grace Coddington's hair - and we all know she is the only remaining badass at American Vogue  - so that, added to the fact that in a period of 15 minutes he legitimately referenced Bauhaus, Camus and Sartre, confirms him as a visionary and, possibly, my soulmate.


I leave for a week-long tryst in Spain in about two weeks! If anyone has any advice about what to do in BARTHELONA, let me know. xoxo

Monday, February 21, 2011

enter the void

Dear Kanye: Thanks for taking my favorite song on the album and making a video that directly copies a really bizarre art film about being in love with your sister in Tokyo.




I mean damn, you could have at least cited Gaspar Noé. Extra bright, indeed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Born This Way: It's for 2011, not 1990

My review of Gaga's single Born This Way, which dropped this morning around 5 a.m. (yes, I did set an alarm and arise), is up on Sound System NYC. I want to post it below in full as well, but be sure to check it out over on the actual site! xo


“Born This Way” was not love at first listen for me: I found the opening lines banal and drab, the melody weak and the song as a whole monotonous and sort of, well, boring. Compared with “Bad Romance,” the debut single off her second album The Fame Monster, with its epic climbs and falls, its oh-u-oh-u-ohs, its screeching profession of love, “BTW” seemed lackluster. But I listened to it again, trying not to make it into something it’s not – that’s right, it’s about to get real meta in here – and I liked it more.

I played it again and liked it a bit more. I played it again and liked it even more. By the fifth listen I was dancing in my bed – where I was sitting after waking up at 5 a.m. to hear the song – and picturing a sunny, warm New York afternoon, walking around the city in shades and jamming out to this track. It reminded me of her summery tracks circa The Fame, with the same upbeat lyrics and happy-go-lucky “I love life” attitude.

In fairness, the track wasn’t particularly surprising. Lady Gaga has been saying for months that it would be the gay anthem of our generation (even Elton John vouched for this), and she’s been saying since the beginning of her time in the spotlight that the key to a happy life is loving yourself and having self-confidence. With the release of the lyrics via her Twitter account – a bizarre move that made me wonder why an artist would want to release a piece of work chunk by chunk – we got the message loud and clear.

It’s a gay anthem all right, in the most in-your-face way possible. With the release of the song in its full form –with melodies, bass and tempo – the literal nature of the lyrics made more sense. It seems the whole Internet is up in arms because, they argue, the song sounds identical to Madonna’s 1989 freedom anthem “Express Yourself,” but aside from a similar melody and chord changes (newsflash: all pop and rock music operates on about four chord progressions) I don’t think it’s identical at all. In fact, I saw more similarities to Madonna’s anthem from the following year, the epic “Vogue” – which, if we’re being honest, also sounds a lot like “Express Yourself.”

“Vogue” was a gay anthem for the 1990s, taking its inspiration from the underground New York gay clubs chronicled in Paris is Burning, where voguing was a dance form and a lifestyle. BTW’s lyrics mirror those in “Vogue” much more directly than anything in “Express Yourself”: “All you need is your own imagination/So use it, that’s what it’s for/Go inside for your finest inspiration/ Your dreams will open the door; It makes no difference if you’re black or white/If you’re a boy or a girl/If the music’s pumping it will give you new life/You’re a superstar, yes, that’s what you are, you know it” mirrors Lady Gaga’s verse: “No matter gay, straight, or bi/Lesbian transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive; No matter black, white or beige/Chola or Orient made/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to be brave.”

“Vogue” and “BTW” are the same – they have the “same DNA,” if you will – in that both Madonna and Gaga aimed to produce pop songs that would speak to the masses while representing a culture they wished to pay homage to. The difference is this: in 1990, Madonna had to be subversive in her lyrics, because homosexuality was more of a fringe-society experience than it is now; in 2011, Gaga doesn’t have to, so she simply doesn’t. Perhaps the literalism of her lyrics is just her attempt to capture the zeitgeist for a generation not prone to holding much back re: expressing ourselves. We curse, we talk dirty, we promote weirdness and, yes, we love the gays. Gaga has said she wrote the song in just 10 minutes, which has pros and cons. But maybe if she really aimed to write the anthem of her and our generation, all she had to do was sit down and let the words flow. It seems that’s what she did – how successfully she’s done it will be determined over the course of the next 20 years. For now, beauty’s where you find it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patti Smith at St. Mark's Church

Last night I had the most incredible Patti experience thus far, the amazing opportunity to see her read poetry with Lenny Kaye on the 40th anniversary of their very first performance in the same church where it all started. I wrote a review of it for Sound System NYC, and took some shoddy video on my iPhone. This woman is truly inspiring in every way: universally talented, rousing, kind, warm, gentle, humble. She is everything I aim to be in my life. She is a true artist.

I've seen Patti three times over the past year, but this time was different because I had never seen her read poetry before. I recorded her reading "Ballad of a Bad Boy," a poem she wrote about Sam Shepard and his car, over the grisly hum of Lenny Kaye's electric guitar. It was the definition of badass. Turn your volume way up.

monday at midnight
tuesday at two
drunk on tequila
thinkin' of you ma
I drove my car on ma
wreckin' cars was my art

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

published in amphibi.us

I went to the NYC Department of Housing and Community Renewal today to ask them a question about my apartment building. I walked in and I was convinced it was the bleakest office in New York. It was fluorescent, not just the lights but everything, and there were no books or magazines. You had to talk to the government through a large Plexiglas sheet, and there was a sign on it that said NO EATING, like a zoo. The office is on Beaver Street, so animals were a theme.


After waiting for about 15 minutes a woman waved me in and talked to me for another 20 in fragmented sentences. She curtly asked me to quit clicking my pen. She asked me for a different phone number than the cell I offered her because, she said, the city of New York cannot make long-distance phone calls. I could see the sky through a window, it was very gray outside but the snow had stopped. She went to make a photocopy and I absent-mindedly checked my e-mail and I had an acceptance from Amphibi.us, an online poetry journal. I walked in me and walked out me, but a different me, a published poet me. The fluorescent cooked me like plaster, in the most brilliant, beautiful, living art I have yet experienced.