Wednesday, May 30, 2012


When you are a person like me (perpetual motion machine) you must constantly purge your belongings to insure your movements are as swift as possible.  This morning I chose to tackle my "personal" box - full of letters, artwork, zines and photos from family and friends.  I usually avoid going through this box and clearing it out because a) I will cry at some point and b) it seems odd to sit down and determine what memories you want to hold onto and which ones to risk possibly eliminating entirely.  But alas I did- went through each one, supportive letters from family and friends through celebrations and tragedy and did my best to get rid of the fluff.  Found one lone map that ended up being of Mexico/ Central America which I took as a nod from the cosmos.  Here is a small sample of the saved, that I kept to make it easier for historians when they have to chronicle my life in the future. 

A natural progression: First Communion, punk high school graduate, hitchhiker.

"Letters are testaments of friendship" - AE 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Warm 2012

View of the Williamsburg Bridge at twilight, beers on a Brooklyn roof top. 

Me: "Basically I am just trying to recreate my life from the ages of 22-25 within the next few months.  Just a summer of complete wild-assery"

D: "I want in on that."


This is not exactly true.  Because I am older, wiser, experienced-I couldn't recreate my mindset from that part of my life if I tried and there are certainly parts of my mindset from that time that I am glad to be without.  I am one of those people whose lives are full of a multitude of blessings, not really sure as to why and am often waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I am now in another wave of forward-upward trajectory, I can feel it when I wake up in the morning the universe pushing me forward as I am in the midst of planning a four month pseudo sabbatical get away from the city.  I like to think much how Che Guevara's motorcycle trip ended with him becoming one of the most influential revolutionaries in history, that I too will end all my silliness and adventure seeking providing something to this world.  For now, in the spirit of my early adulthood I will be happy making sure I feel joy each day, letting every being I come across know that I love them, drinking and gaining unnecessary amounts of sun exposure.

Between coordinating with friends my sabbatical and general warm summer fun time I also think about Syria specifically this week with the Houla Massacre.  What madness is this?  How can one man's mind make logic out of being so cruel to another?  It seems so illogical, with all the beauty in this world that someone would want to spend their time in this life wanting to  cause such destruction and grief.  I ask myself how but it is easy for me from the comfort of my very Brooklynite, sabbatical planning 30 something life to place judgement on the actions of individuals who live in countries wallowing in conflict (and I am not speaking of Assad but the minions in his employ who carry out crimes against their own people).  It seems even so much more illogical to me often that my life is the way it is and that others are the way theirs are.  When I look out off of rooftops onto the NYC skyline I am looking past the hazey dreamy sunset to the other souls surviving in much crueler circumstances and my immediate reaction is to pray pray pray.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hang Out Type: WTF?

Sunday morn stroll through Von King Park (Bed-Suy) on my way to retrieve my life.  
I am slightly addicted to chaos.  It gives me a subtle satisfaction and at the end of a day of it I will sleep the easiest.  This weekend was probably my favorite in awhile beginning Friday night with unexpectedly having three people sleeping in my fairly small studio apartment, which nearly a year ago would have seemed like an impossible desire.  A year ago the thought of even having one person in my home for a few hours was almost overwhelming.  But as we all four drifted to sleep the one closest to me wished me many many blessings throughout my life for my generosity.  I wanted to tell her the moment we were all in was blessing enough.

The next day I woke up slightly feverish but happy and spent the morning sharing punk music and cigarettes with my current pseudo roommate.  The day was beautiful out but I could already sense that it would be off and although feeling remarkably lazy, decided to eventually step out the door and see what the vibe I was feeling was all about.  I worked for a few hours and then went to go meet up my old friend Scotty at our friend's bookstore for a stroll, some reminiscing, and general check in.  We had a really lovely evening of hanging out with another old friend from our former "dejected planet" of Pensacola.  Around 9PM we returned to the book store to find it dark, our friend gone, a classic move on his part.  We were met with an apologetic note about how he couldn't possibly wait leaving Scotty unsure how to return to where he was staying for the night and me without my bike and house keys.  I called pseudo roommate in hopes that he was around so that I could return home and Scott could chill until he figured out where he was going, only to be quickly hung up on because pseudo roommate was on his own weird adventure for the day, helping a friend in need who seemed to have disappeared.  I was laughing hysterically at this point joking about how I really needed to get some normal ass friends who a) would not deprive me of all my belongings to leave me stranded mid Saturday night and b) would not hang up on me two seconds into a phone call without finding out first why the fuck I was calling.  Scotty seemed stressed in a non-New Yorker way by our predicament but I decided to solve the stress of the moment how I solve all my feelings of angst in New York - by catching a cab.  Sure, they can be pricey but the ease of the ride lulls me, I usually have a nice chat with the driver and it gives me a moment to think and gather my bearings.  Around 11:30 PM I get Scotty to his destination after a few hours of BK walking and exploration.  I eventually get the  text that I would not be getting into my own house that night and due to an increasingly brewing fever I almost cry where I would have been laughing at my misfortune  instead.  Another Florida friend stepped up to the plate and welcomed me to her home around 1AM, where I finally got to crash until my very stinky slightly sore self would have to get up the next morning and trek north to retrieve my belongings and my bike.  Without my key I missed two anticipated social events, a gay nautical space themed dance party on a boat and a birthday picnic in Prospect Park.  But I spent time with other friends during my brief window of homelessness, having unexpected conversations and exploring streets unknown to me, so I was content.  How the hell does being locked out of your house sound like fun you may be asking?  Well most importantly because it reminds me that I still have it in me.  That I am still alive- that my body and spirit are still operating at a level that can take whatever each day is going to lend me.  So I want to shout out-"Give me more!", to whoever it is that is listening.

Raised eyebrows, whoas, and it's-complicated's , have been bantered around me a lot as of late in response to my current life plannings and happenings.  But I love this shit and by shit I mean my life.  What is so fucking complicated?  This year of living dangerously, I want to lend what I can lend and bend where I can bend.   After nearly a decade of boxing things up, being cautious and over analyzing I am exhausted.  This year is a lesson in and a return to just going with it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hang Out Song Break #4

Life Side Note: Some days me and New York hang out all day and at the end I wish I could be immaculate conceptioned by the magic that is this city.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Bonito. Beautiful"

It's Summer in New York aka the time of the year I feel extra Puerto Rican!  You  cannot live in New York and not be exposed to how Latin the city gets once the weather is warm and the streets are poppin.   I love my nest in Bed-Stuy but I miss my old hood of Washington Heights often.  I miss apartment building living, all of us on top of each other and in my corner of the Heights that consisted of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Russian Jews, opera singers, jazz musicians, random ass white people, policia and the high end drug dealers (often difficult to tell the difference between the last two).  I miss hearing the rehearsing, the lovers quarrels and family celebrations.  I miss the bustle of 181st with it's mix of cheap and high end boutiques and the vendedoras  hawking their fruit juice and roasted corn and the old men hawking their frituras.  I miss the interweaving of the multiple languages coming up to my window and at the end of winter when the slightest bit of warmth becomes apparent the Latins opening their windows and turning their speakers out into the street.  On 181st and Colonel Robert Magaw there was the house that played bachata.  At my first apartment at 177th and Haven Ave there was the family across the alley way who would have actual musicians in their living room and my roommate and I would sit at the window and applause at the end of every song.  One time I made an attempt at joining in on providing entertainment blasting Mi Gente out the window and at the end of the song got some cheers and applause in return.   Over all my favorite was the older lady on Fort Washington who every Friday night played heart wrenching Puerto Rican love ballads.  All her windows would be open and every light would be on and you could see the marigold painted walls of her home and the somewhat tacky gilded furniture and oversized pots and plants one associates with homes of older Latin women of a certain ilk.  I looked forward to every Friday because of her and almost would close my eyes feeling the  sentiment as I walked the four blocks that the songs she was playing were completely audible.

I miss all of this I suppose because it was a subtle reminder of a life I miss with my family.  And each song and "mamita" from the neighbors kept me afloat feeling supported by some world wide Latin web and not so distant from something familiar.  Lately I have been having a lot of family exposure- not mine but that of other people.  Most recently, last night at the celebration of a friend from med school whose Ethiopian family fed us plenty and insisted on bringing my table of friends bottle after bottle of some sweet  mystery home brew until I was sufficiently tipsy and very much needed to go home.  I like to hang out with the family of friends 1) because for one moment in my very sola life I get to have a familial moment and pretend they are my family too and 2) to see another element of a friend's personality.  They are polite and a little reserved, bending over and kind to children, revering older folks and respected by their families. I get this opportunity every now and then weddings, birthdays, random evening dinners at their homes and what I love about New York is that often it leads to me being exposed to a culture vastly different than mine or vastly similar. I become a part of something new and I secretly laugh inside how they love each other and grate on each other and want to tell them to take it all in no matter what, "you're sick of them but you would miss them if you were rolling on your own".

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rules of Hanging Out #3: Go ahead and have some fun (you won’t get fired/kicked out of school/broken up with/ evicted)

On this day I was supposed to go get my taxes done but the universe said "Fuck it!" and I did.  Rarely in New York does my life allow me the privilege of just bopping around for a day and I was not going to pass this up.  Plus my good buddy and PIC (partner in crime-a topic to be discussed later) Adee was visiting and we could all be dead tomorrow so let's make the best of it eh?   We started the day off with some breakfast at my house and then a pleasantly warm and sunny walk over to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  On the way grabbing ice coffees and I a cigarette which made me so happy that I stopped  walking and almost knelt on the side walk and prayed out loud to the creator to feel free to take me right in this moment because there was no way I could feel any better and I was satisfied.  Finally getting to the gardens (Tuesday is their free day by the way) Adee and I  as usual found ourselves laying in the grass mid rose garden staring at our surroundings, feeling the earth beneath us, pondering our existence in this realm and feeling refreshed.

Afterwards we headed up to Harlem to meet up with our friend Anna Luisa who had let us know about a work shop for teaching artists at the Studio Museum.  The Studio Museum is one of my favorite places in NYC and I was long over due for a visit.  The workshop was designed to provide project ideas for folks who work with young people and art related programs, which all three of us have done in the past.  The art project they had us do was making 45 album covers bearing in mind the theme of  "the soundtrack to your life".  It was really adorable to sit in a room doing an art project with all adults especially when everyone went around the room, sharing what they had produced and their fucking feelings! The whole experience really made me miss working with young people, it has been some years BUT afterwards a woman approached me about speaking with some students at her medical high school in Canarsie about the work I do.  Now that I am not a grad student, I am really trying to build meaningful connections in New York so it becomes home/community for me and my future life here that I am constructing in my head.  Which I realise sounds grossly sentimental when said out loud but it's true.  I am really looking forward to visiting the high school and all goes to show that it pays to hang out!

Our record covers
Two weeks after this good day I am finally going to go get my taxes done.  Is there some sort of late fee? I don't know and don't really care because in the end it will be okay.  I am not preaching irresponsibility (because I think having a sense of responsibility shows character) but a sense of balance and wisdom (also displays of character).  We all have things that need to get done and I know generally accepted wisdom dictates - "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today", however this must be applied to general good times as well not just tasks, errands and work.  Now go call in sick to something!