Thursday, July 28, 2005

Embarrassed... only a little bit

Maggie says:
I hadn't watched TV since May. May. But this week, in between celebrating the completion of a big work project, I've been reuniting with the small and formerly silent box sitting on my bookcase, reveling in all my free time. Now, just four days into the week, I have a new obsession, one that I'm kind of embarrassed about but fully prepared to qualify. I'm talking about Rock Star: INXS.

Yes, I know all the objections, primarily that this show is a betrayal of a once-great band and a slap in the face to its late lead singer, who will be replaced at the end of this show with one of the contestants. I thought that, too - before I saw it.

But the thing is, this show is great. Really! Here's the deal: there are now ten contestants left, half men and half women. They're good. They sing with a real band, there's a real audience, and the members of INXS judge them afterwards. The difference between this show and a show like American Idol is first, these aren't teeny-bopper types you're watching, they're pretty cool men and women who are great musicians. And second, you don't have to suffer through deplorable Whitney Houston songs on this show, you get to watch them sing great songs, songs from Nirvana, Squeeze, the Kinks, and David Bowie. The only negative aspect is the annoying Brooke Burke and self-important Dave Navarro, but the focus of the show really is on INXS.

Danger: I discovered to my horror that this show comes on three nights a week. I am really going to try and not watch it on Monday, but Tuesday is when they perform and then on Wednesday it's elimination night. This brings up another point: the elimination night is actually cool because it's all about INXS. The bottom three performers (those with the lowest votes from people watching) have to perform an INXS song that the band chooses for them, and then the band decides who they would least like be their newest lead singer, and that person (or people, like last night) are gone.

So yes, this is a cheesy post about a cheesy subject, but sometimes our brains just need a break. I know mine does. And at least this way I get to remember what a great band INXS was and (according to their plan, I'm sure) listen to their music more. So try watching this on Tuesdays. Think of it as American Idol: But Not Cheesy, or American Idol: Songs You Can Stomach, or maybe just INXS: I Love This Band. Anyway, watch it. And then I can say I told you so.

PS: My favorite rockers? Jordis and Mig.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

National Poetry Slam Comes to A-B-Q

Mikaela asks:
Haven't heard the buzz yet?

This year's National Poetry Slam -- the biggest event of its kind in the world -- will be hosted by little ole Albuquerque this summer, August 10-13.

Day events will be FREE at the beautiful National Hispanic Cultural Center, and evening events will be downtown in one of 10 venues, depending on your poetry preferences.

Festival passes are on-sale at Natural Sound, Blue Dragon, Bookworks, the Harwood Arts Center, and on-line. $30 gets you into EVERYTHING, including the finals night extravaganza.

The way to see everything for free is to VOLUNTEER for day events and for finals night.

Wait, what's this? See everything for free AND give back to your community when it sorely needs you?

That's right. Just click here, fill out the volunteer questionnaire, and join the Yahoo Group listserv. As the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator (thank you VERY much), I'll hook you up. Promise.

While you're there, check out the schedule and figure out how you can be everywhere at once. (Let me know how you're gonna do it, cause I've been working on that very thing for months now.) There's so much to see, and whatever you see will be amazing.

You can get a sneak peak of some of the performers tonight at the Golden West for Poetry and Beer, 8 pm, $3 at the door.

If you miss it, you can also tune in to KUNM this Saturday to Women's Focus. Yours truly and a bunch of the other women organizers and poets were interviewed last night from Out ch'Yonda in Barelas, the funky-cool community performance space we should all spend more time in.

As Marjorie recently learned, this is truly a proletariat event. Judges are chosen at random from the audience, and while the poets you'll be seeing represent the upper eschelon of talent, they've had to fight their way to the top through a series of bouts open to everyone in their cities.

The poetry slam was originally conceived by a working man's bar owner and poet, Mark Smith, in Chicago in the 1980s. Tired of quiet, respectful, and boring poetry readings, he introduced the element of competition to jazz up the poets and put the power in the hands of the people -- the judges and the audience. These bouts are loud, with cheering and booing, laughter and applause. If you haven't experienced anything like it (which is likely), this is your chance.

Really, I can't tell you how amazing it will be to witness your first ever poetry slam with the nation's best performance poets. They will BLOW YOU AWAY. People travel all across the country to hear these poets perform. They're coming to your backyard! DON'T MISS IT! You will be very, very sorry if you do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Secret History

Maggie says:
Last night I finished re-reading one of my all-time favorite novels, The Secret History. This was Donna Tartt's first novel, a fact that never fails to blow me away when I read it. It's hard describing this book, actually - I saw a review calling it an "intellectual thriller," but I'm not so sure, because it's not exactly a "thrilling" read. It's more of a character study drenched in the classics, a story about fitting in (or not) colored with eccentricity, money, and intrigue. It's also a book about crime, about two crimes, actually.

And this brings up an interesting point: what is it about me and novels dealing with the psychological effects of commiting criminal acts? I ask because another all-time favorite classic is Crime and Punishment, where we sift through Raskolnikov's internal reactions to killing someone. In The Secret History, we live through all the characters' reactions to their crimes and to each other. What's fascinating about this book is how often your perceptions of the characters change with her storytelling, which shows to me how gifted Tartt is to have us rethink every person in this clique of overly cerebral and self-important students.

I first read this way back in high school and did a presentation of it in the first week of AP English, kind of a nerdy "what I read this summer" thing. My English teacher asked me to borrow it, but after reading it, told me she just didn't get it and that perhaps "it was too smart" for her. Nothing was too smart for Mrs. Umstead, but that goes to show that this book is not for everyone. But if my little ode to this group of students and their crimes intrigue you, I whole-heartedly recommend reading this book.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Chile Within

¿Me olvidaste?
Do you remember me?

Still holding the sign
with the faded outlines

of what I couldn’t be to you?
Do you remember?

There’s hope now,
for us,

because memory grays,
and one day all we will be is sepia

in the one photo of us
taken just before or after

the Marx-cocktail quiz
you said I passed with flying colors.

That A+ was for you,
the entrance exam

into the cramped antechamber
of your heart so thick with Aztec blood

you sacrificed us both
to keep it beating.

I could take it
if our syncopated rhythms

were just one step
closer to home.

But instead I hold this sign
of my outlines

pointing us both
in the right direction,

and only my shadow
cries for you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

KBAC gets hot Thursday morning

Mikaela raves:
Honey Harris at KBAC Radio Free Santa Fe (98.1 in Albuquerque) made my morning with some new music from the band Yerba Buena.

The song is "Bilingual Girl." The lead singer tells us he's been looking for her all over the world because "two tongues are better than one." Mmm. Nice.

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

This American Life

Mikaela says:
Three cheers for This American Life.

Let me just say as a disclaimer that I'm an unabashed word person. Want to keep me up, want me to drive across the country without stopping? Give me words, words, words. More than words: stories.

I've been a closet This American Life fan for years, but because I'm not a habit person, I never seem to remember to listen to it. I've never even heard an entire show. But the pieces I've heard are fascinating. Incredible. Outrageous. Windows into moments and subjects that no one else is talking about.

But a miracle happened today: I finally had the brainstorm to check for their website, and allah! They've got archives. Now you know what I'll be listening to at work for the rest of the month.

At this second, I'm listening to last week's show about home videos. The first story is a home movie made by a Jewish teenager recording the craziness and wonderful specifics of his family. He asks his mom for napkins; she tells him to use toilet paper. His aunt dares him to pinch her ass: "You can't pinch it because it's too tight!" and she squeezes her butt so that it's "as hard as a cantalope."

Oh, my. My eyes are watering.

This American Life kills me. For once, in a good way.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factor: Too Sweet?

SPOILER ALERT: Hereafter lie full plot details and disappointments.

So a group of us ran out and saw the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fear not: Johnny Depp's not THAT weird as Willy Wonka.

Here's what's weird: Tim Burton. And not in a good, dark, morbid kind of way. Weird in the sense that he should be dark and morbid but he keeps making really sappy movies. They're good right until he buries you in chocolatey goodness.

I was on board with this Willy Wonka. I was willing to go there with Burton's need to create his toothsome backstory. But his heavy-handed addition of a nuclear-family moral to the story was frankly ... off-putting.

The family lesson is already in the book -- subtle as only Roald Dahl can be in a book about candy, magic, and spoiled brats. Why ruin this with a make-up scene between Willy Wonka and his torturer of a father (again, not subtle! He's a dentist for crying-out-loud with-your-mouth-open!)? A horrible childhood, years of estrangement, and we're supposed to think everything's okay after an awkward rubber-glove hug between father and son? I don't think so.

Come on, Tim! We know you're morbid, and that's okay with us! Let it be dark. We can take it.

If only he'd heed my advice before releasing his next creepy sap-story: Bride Corpse. I'm sure it will be just as saccarine. Sigh.

Threadbared Gets Me Fired

Fired up and fired. I think I just lost my job. I couldn't stop laughing.

This one's for Marjorie, courtesy our favorite funny duo at Threadbared:

Look who’s back on the bunny slope!
It’s your favorite ski-suited dope!

Just when you thought you’d had your fill!
It’s me - skiing impossibly uphill!

That’s O.K. I haven’t a care!
I can even do it with one foot in the air!

My high-waisted warm-up suit is pretty hot!
And check out these mirrored sunglasses I got!

I think the stripes make me look tall and thin!
As if it ain’t enough to have this big ole grin!

Why do all the young women run away?
Do you think that this outfit looks too gaaaaaaaaay?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Harry weekend

Maggie says:
What better way to decompress from work-week overdrive than with Harry Potter? I laid around reading this all day yesterday and couldn't have been happier.

What makes Harry so fun to read?
  • Well, the story is great. Especially if you're hooked by now after reading all the other books. Especially if your mom rightfully harassed you into reading them because, despite your snobby contempt, she knew you would love them. (Thanks, Mom.) No really, the Harry Potter books are sweet and funny and mysterious. And getting darker by the book.
  • Reading Harry Potter is not work. It's not hard. It's just fun. And fun=good. (And did I mention how pleasurable it is to simply not work, to lose yourself in a fun book?)
  • Everyone needs a break now and then. I have two other "serious" novels sitting on my bedside table, and I'm very much into both of them. Yet stopping them both to check in on Hogwart's just seemed right. Kind of like deciding to have a weekend full of delicious nothingness because your brain needs a slow-down rather than a menu full of excitement right now.
So here's to slow-downs. And fun reading. This book is just great.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Trinity Anniversary Event Saturday

Mikaela says:
More on this momentous anniversary later, but I wanted to let people know there's an event this Saturday in Albuquerque at the Lobo Theater. Poets from New Mexico and around the world will come together to read poems about war and the atomic age.

Saturday, July 16, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Mightier Than the Sword: Writers Address the Nuclear Age
Lobo Theater (3013 Central NE) in Albuquerque - a benefit for Los Alamos Study Group.

$10 tickets may be purchased in advance at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW); Page One Books (11018 Montgomery Blvd NE); and The Book Stop (3410 Central SE); or on-line at Tickets will also be available at the door, but seating is limited! For more information, call 505-265-1200 (Albuquerque, LASG) or go to Democracy for New Mexico.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Duke City Shootout

Mikaela says:
I just know Duke City Fix will have a really great post about this. I certainly won't. This will be a shitty post about it, but at least it's something.

What am I going on about?

Consider this your advanced warning:
There's a SHOOTOUT a'comin', headin' your way, pardner.
(oof. horrible. I told you!)

Still don't know what I'm talking about? Me neither. Man, I had breakfast at Mannie's this morning, and I'm STILL paying for it. Whew! Focus, focus...

The Duke City Shootout Festival will take place downtown July 22-30.

The opening night extravaganza will be hosted Friday, July 22 at the Golden West Saloon ( appropriate!). Drinks, sample films, an opening band, and something really exciting ... a SKA BAND! If you come, you might even catch me skankin' to the beat. Oh, yeah, baby, you know I'm a rude girl.

Doors open at 7:30, and the cost is a wee $5.

So here's the inside scoop: Seven lucky people were chosen to turn their 12-minute scripts into movies over the course of 7 days -- right here in our fair city. (A couple Burqueans represent. Power to the people.) They have strict rules about shooting only 8 hours a day. They have help with editing and post production, and 7 days from the opening shot, viola! Seven 12-minute movies for your viewing pleasure.

You can see the results of this innovative marathon-week of movie-making at the closing ceremonies:

Saturday July 30th, 8PM: Film Awards Ceremony & Party at the Kiva Auditorium (401 Second NW) and Post-Party hosted at the Sheraton Old Town

More info: Duke City Shootout or contact my girl Alexis by e-mail ( or phone 266-7220.

She'll even give you one of these fantastic posters for free. (I really dig the tough-girl! "She had more than a vision...she had a script!" Apart from the grammatical error, I'm considering using it as my personal mantra. At least, for all my Raymond Chandler novels.) Ask nice. She likes that.

Creative Re-Use in A-B-Q

Mikaela says:
If you ever need a good argument against form and function being inseparable, here it is:

This is an actual, operating restaurant on Central Ave., good ole Rte. 66. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Just different from us

Maggie says:
This breaking news story on CNN annoys the hell out of me. Why is it news that Brad Pitt has the flu? More importantly, why do celebrities routinely check themselves into hospitals for things the rest of us just deal with? You know, things like the flu. What was Michael Jackson always in the hospital for during his trial - back pains or something? What is wrong with these people?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Welcome back, baseball

Maggie says:
Obviously, baseball season has been going on for quite a while now. The thing is, it's been going on without me. The deadly combination of the Red Sox winning the World Series last year - combined with my new lack of ESPN and being too busy for my own good - has meant that I haven't even watched a game this year. What could compete with the Sox winning it all last year during my whirlwind return to Boston? Nothing, really -- so I've stayed away.

But on a much-needed work break, I find myself at a local pizza and beer place (which much to my delight I just discovered has a wireless connection) watching the Home Run Derby. And man... I have missed baseball.

So hopefully tonight marks the return of all things Sox back into my life. Although at the moment I'm pretty interested in Bobby Abreu of the Phillies. That's the great thing about being a female baseball fan. I love this sport as much as any guy - but man how I also love admiring Johnny D, Big Papi, Manny... and now Mr. Abreu. (Who said I'm not an equal opportunity fan? As long as he's not wearing Yankee pinstripes, of course.)

Summer + Baseball + Beer = Happiness. :-)

7/12 UPDATE:
Per Mikaela's shameless request (see comments), I offer these pictures:
(What all four have in common are GREAT smiles. But it's suprisingly tough to find pictures of smiling baseball players online. Better to watch the games and see them for yourself.)

Johnny Damon

David Ortiz

Manny Ramirez

Bobby Abreu

Something to put on your calendars for early August

Mikaela says:
AUGUST 5 - 11 (One Week) The Guild Cinema presents:

SEARCHING FOR THE WRONG-EYED JESUS (4:00, 6:00, 8:00)Dir. Andrew Douglas - 2004 - 82m - USA - video
Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus is a captivating and compelling road trip through the creative spirit of the South as “Alt”-country singer Jim White takes his white-trash muscle car through a gritty terrain of churches, prisons, truck stops, biker bars and coal mines. Writer Steve Haisman says, “we were trying to pin down what it is about this baffling place that inspires musicians and writers. This whole area was so fascinating - somehow it was a raw image of ourselves, or at least something we’ve lost sight of or forgotten. Our own world seems so sophisticated and so devouring, it assimilates everything but is at the same time so lacking in a certain content….We suspected the Southern Church and the internal conflict with, shall we say, secular impulses, was somehow central to the creative process, and this certainly seemed true of Jim's music.” This is a journey through a very real contemporary Southern America, a world of marginalised white people and their unique and intense homemade culture. Along the way are roadside encounters with present-day musical mavericks including the Handsome Family, Johnny Dowd, David Eugene Edwards and David Johansen; old time banjo player Lee Sexton; Rockabilly and mountain Gospel churches - and novelist Harry Crews telling grisly stories down a dirt track. Everybody has a story in some form, almost invariably of sudden death, sin or redemption - yet all transformed by the characteristic grim humour and natural eloquence of the Southern imagination. And all the while, a strange Southern Jesus looms in the background. This extraordinarily powerful and moving documentary plays to each of the senses, taking the viewers off the beaten track to the poor white backwaters and backwoods of the South.

Happy Hollywood Love

Mikaela says:
Occasionally, you hear good news about solid Hollywood couples. I consider this a much-needed antidote to Jen&Ben, TomKat, and Brangelina:

Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon still happy after 17 years
UPI News Service, 07/10/2005
Nearly 17 years after marrying Kevin Bacon, actress Kyra Sedgwick says the "Mystic River" star is still the man of her dreams.

"I think I got really lucky, really young and I just met the man of my dreams and he continues to be that," Sedgwick told UPI in a recent phone interview. "And we continue to grow and learn and change together and I find him endlessly interesting."

"[Our kids] are older now. They're 13 and 15. They just simply don't need me as much, which is a horrifying thought -- even though it is the truth."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lunch Talk

Mikaela says:
I just had a lunch date last week with an old college buddy of mine at The Range Cafe on Menaul and University (had the chicken caesar, which was good with the dressing on the side, but man -- I've never seen heartier lettuce. I think they're using weeds from my backyard! At least I know it was really good for me.).

Bruce was one of my straight-up fellow nerd scholarship college friends. He grew up in the North Valley and was a straight-arrow as they come. Not too political. Not too anything. Bruce is meticulous yet laid back. Wound up but easy-going, if you can picture that at all.

Mostly what I like about Bruce is that I amuse him to no end, which makes me feel witty and worldly and sparkly and all that good stuff, especially because his giggle is adorable and infectious. He's married now with his second kid just born (Cora James -- how cute is that). We had a very interesting discussion about whether there can really be equality in relationships. Bruces says no. There's compromise, and in good relationships, you just trade off picking up the slack when the other one can't take it anymore.

This seems practical to me, and accurate. But still, I'm holding out for more. What I said is that there can be equality in relationships, but you have to make that a conscious choice every single day, day in and day out. If you choose to go that route, you both agree to make your relationship the highest priority in your lives. Period. Even kids come second, because in this model, you have to split the child rearing consciously and equally in a way that's fair to both people.

Bruce is a smart guy, but not too political. He's a family guy, for god's sake, and the last thing he has time for is what he considers theoretical debate about government. I'm not sure which side of the aisle Bruce leans to, but I'd guess he's on board with the libertarian agenda.

Interestingly, Bruce has been reading the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Has anyone read it yet? I'm intrigued enough to seek it out, but the authors' desperate protests that they're just using data to reflect reality -- that there's no agenda and that they're totally objective -- makes me more than a little wary. All the reviews are glowing, not surprisingly, but I'm wondering if anyone out there can warn me off before I waste my time.

In support of chick flicks

Maggie says:
Lately, I've been kind of annoyed at another blog that will remain nameless, one run by guys who tend to have interesting and intelligent political commentary but are not men I'd consider very socially or personally progressive. Something has always bugged me about them, and recently I realized what it was: these are guys who just do not get women. To illustrate my point: while these guys can probably defend Roe v. Wade in their writing much more rigorously than I could, they also recently wasted time on a post bashing Sex in the City as an over-hyped, over-rated show featuring dialogue better suited for the schoolyard than for professional New York women.

Readers know I love this show, but here's why I love it and what they just don't get:
1. Sex in the City is more about female friendships than it is sex
2. Sex in the City is more about relationships than it is sex
3. In real life, girl talk about sex is as explicit - if not more so - than the discussions on Sex in the City, and if you don't believe that, you're clearly a guy who's never been privvy to a female sex discussion before and are probably deluding yourself about what women are really like. (Or what they like, now that I think about it.)

The breaking point for me was when a commenter agreed that Sex in the City was really just "Steel Magnolias in Italian shoes" and the writer of the post continually refused to recognize that as a man there may be lots to this show that he just didn't get the same way a woman viewer might. (By the way, the only dissenter was a woman bringing up the show's honest and touching portrayal of female friendship.) So anyway, fresh off a night where I watched not one but two so-called chick flicks (one of which was the unfairly-maligned Steel Magnolias), I present my top three chick flick list. And I'm not ashamed of them, either.

1. How to Make an American Quilt. I ADORE this movie. First, similarities between myself and Winona Ryder's character (minus the parental drama) are just eery. This is my movie for commitment angst, for "what am I doing with my life?" angst, for "what the HELL am I doing with my life?" angst, for "wouldn't it just be easier to start over from scratch at this late hour?" angst. It's a movie that celebrates women and their stories and reminds me to look around at the examples of the women around me and learn from them. This movie says that all of us have wisdom to share. Because ladies, we do. Now go and seek some wisdom from your girlfriend or great-aunt or neighbor.

2. Steel Magnolias. You know, I hate it when people make fun of this movie. From the minute I turn it on I am in a perpetual about-to-cry state. Not because I'm waiting for Julia Roberts to die, but because every word, every scene is so home to me. This movie screams SOUTH like few others. Add in some incredible women (I want to be Olympia Dukakis' "Clarie" when I grow up) and you have a very powerful story about friendship, laughter, and strength, about women being there for each other no matter what and under any circumstances. Even better, the men in this movie are supporting characters and they know it - the actors just do their understated thing and step aside for the women to rise above them. And they do. Isn't that so often the case?

3. When Harry Met Sally. Who hasn't gotten themselves into a friend/lover scenario? To remain friends, to sleep together, to try a relationship... that is the question. I love this portrayal of Harry and Sally's friendship, because it's so real, and I also love the same-sex friendships we see Harry and Sally have, because those also are very real. This movie just makes me laugh and laugh. I love seeing them over a ten-year span, one becoming more mature and one becoming less tightly wound, but falling into each other as best friends and then finally as partners.

So here they are, my three favorites. And I ask, what is so wrong with these movies? What exactly is the threat of women watching movies about female friendships or about women getting into relationships? The threat to insecure men, I think, must be the big unknown, the fear of what they just don't get. But I'm thinking that the way to find out about women isn't to bash movies and TV shows they might like, but rather, to talk to one. Hello!

So how about it - what are your favorite chick flicks?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

m-pyre horoscopes

marjorie says...

folks who know me will be surprised by this, but i was pretty floored by these crosswinds horoscopes. written by eric francis of "planet waves" for the week of July 6- 13, they are simply completely right on. so, here are m-pyre's horoscopes - can folks guess which M goes with each?

1. You need to decide if you feel insecure or daring. It’s torture feeling both, and really, I doubt you’re actually feeling insecure. What I would guess you’re feeling, from the look of the New Moon chart this week, is the sense that you really want to take a chance but that there is a security factor to which you must attend. If you can start with that and work your way forward, you may find that any sense of a divided mind eases off. In fact you are in a safe and protected environment, and you’re unlikely to take on anything that exceeds your level of actual responsibility.

2. (intro sentence with astrology verbiage about signs and moons…) Together, these influences will function like a great wave of progress. But you need to be guided and propelled by the aspects rather than push yourself. Much like when someone gets a cast taken off, it’s not a good idea to overdo it. At the same time, you need to stretch a little. Living with the kinds of limitations you’ve lived with has taught you a lot, and you’ll be able to use that knowledge all your life. Now, gradually, another approach to existence begins to take center stage.

3. You’re being asked to live without something, or to live as if you were without it. Think of this something as part of yourself. Imagine that you’re in a psychological experiment where you’re relieved of the burden of self-consciousness. You’re free to be you without that peculiar human quality of regret, or of seeking something better in the past or future. Note how you relate to your own needs in this space, particularly your need for companionship. Notice how it feels to offer yourself to others from this unusual point of clarity.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Independence Day

You peek at me
from behind Olmec heads –
head and shoulders above
white boys
who don’t close their eyes
to be blind.

They may reject my colorfulness,
but only you left me for white,
burning red in the regret
of A-B-Q sun.

We race around heady questions,
juggling futures
hot as German potatoes.

Although the decision is yours,
I’m still the one
to pull you down
off the hook,
and when we call it –
Friendship: 4 p.m. –
our bubble still convulses,
so that when it finally pops,
it is still
Independence Day.

You’re red,
I’m white,
and we’re blue.

Here, baby, grab a match.
Burn this flag instead of surrender.
Help me set even this ablaze.

Stolen moments of intimacy between the races...

Marjorie Agosín is a Chilean poet. Her family fled Europe during WWII and emigrated to Chile, where as an adult, she was exiled and fled again to America.

As a woman, a Jew, a European, and a poet, she crossed many frontiers and challenged many barriers to her human experience. She is a passionate advocate for human rights and a steadfast witness of injustice. In her poetry, she records history and unveils the possibility of unity with an understanding of difference. Here is a hauntingly beautiful love poem written during Pinochet's reign of terror in Chile that offers me a deeper understanding of what is to be shared -- and risked -- in moments of connection with those whose skin color and therefore life experience we can never fully know.

(Celeste Kostopolus-Cooperman provided the English translation.)


Over our heads
through the night
the stars descend,
sacred threads of evening.

Through the night
in this desert
of invisible Bibles,
of nomads and incantations,
spread over us
like a book of prayers.

The moon is a sharp and clairvoyant feather
surrounding all obscurity.
Night passes.
Night is
your body that withdraws and
navigates intermittently through sheets of water.
A ruffled pillow
divides our bodies
dreaming the dreams of others
and sometimes those of all.

Suddenly my body turns and surrounds you
like a cascade of raindrops,
like the origin of loving rings.
I encircle your waist,
a dangerous frontier.
Our legs intertwine
through the night,
and that aging body that I see
becomes clear
in my caress.

The bodies decide
there are no frontiers
like men and women
worn out by war.
Your face is no longer disfigured.
It recovers the savage light of love.
I cross your lips and your legs,
the destiny of your sex.

There are no countries between you and me.
There are no foreign spaces.
We choose no languages.
No language
can divide us.
Your friends are already mine.
We smear our mouths like
those who butter bread or
fragments of memory
that splendid and
magnificent bedsheet that
protects us
from the fear of peace.

Now we recognize each other.
I’m not that stranger from another country.
I’m every woman
surrounding the enemy who is now familiar
and you love my old age, my lines,
my children who are yours
and whom you must not kill.

we have visited other
Your dreams are no longer
those of mutilated
I am not the girl from El Salvador
without legs,
nor the Jew with tattoos of terror.
We have demolished war
with a victorious kiss
and in this dark night
we don’t think clearly
immersed in this white dream of peace.

Por la noche
sobre nuestras cabezas
descienden las estrellas,
hilos sagrados de la noche.

Por la noche,
en este desierto
de Biblias invisibles,
de nómadas y conjuros,
las estrellas nos
como un libro de rezos.

La luna es una pluma aguda y clarividente
rodeando toda la oscuridad.
Transcurre la noche.
La noche es
tu cuerpo que se aleja,
navega intermitente por las sábanas de agua.
Una almohada desquiciada
divide nuestros cuerpos
que sueñan el sueño de los otros,
a veces el de todos.

De pronto,
mi cuerpo gira y te rodea
como una cascada de lluvias,
como el principio de los anillos amadores.
Rodeo tu cintura,
una frontera peligrosa.
Nuestras piernas se entrelazan
a través de la noche,
y veo que ese cuerpo envejecido
comienza a aclarar
en mi caricia.

Los cuerpos deciden que
no hay fronteras
como los hombres y mujeres
cansados de la guerra.
To rostro ya no se desfigura.
Recupera la salvaje luz del amor.
Cruzo tu labios y tus piernas,
el destino de tu sexo.

No hay países entre tú y yo.
No hay espacios ajenos.
No escogemos idiomas.
No hay idiomas para
Tus amigos ya son los míos.
Untamos la boca como
quienes untan el pan o los
trozos de l memoria
que son una sabana grandiosa
y magnifica que nos
del temor a la paz.

Y nos reconocemos.
No soy esa extraña de otra patria.
So todas las mujeres
rodeando al enemigo que ahora es un conocido
y tu amas mi vejez, mis estrías,
mis hijos que son los tuyos
y que no debes matar.

Esta noche
hemos visitado otras
Tus sueños ya no
son los de los hombres
Yo no soy la niña del Salvador
sin piernas,
ni la judía con los tatuajes del espanto.
Hemos derribado a la guerra
con un besa victorioso
y en la oscuridad de esta noche
no pensamos claros
sumergidos en el sueño blanco de las paz.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What kind of plant would you be? And what would you eat to grow?

Venus fly trap
eats the carcasses of lies.

I bat my pretty lashes
open eyes wide.

I do not disguise
who I am.

If these flies
mis-read my spines

if my wetness signals desire
and not hunger

deception is not to blame
but rather their willingness

to make me the soft home
where their lies take root.

Only after I turn black
and spit out their bones

am I free to shed the used
contemplate digestion

convert energy
and grow

a new mouth
open to love.

Tom Cruise: Mini Me

I discovered today a new twist in the TomKat storyline.

He's such a big personality, right? And she's so nice, so open, so ... petite.

Which is why today's series of photos from the ever-shameless MSN were particularly amusing and enlightening.

Here they are. Cute as buttons. Ahhhhhhh. Right?

Okay, now we zoom out, and we're ... disturbed. Something's definitely not right.

Is she standing on a stepladder? Is her side of the street on a hill?

Nope. He's just THAT diminuitive. We all knew this, but ... oh my god is he short!

But still, we want to believe in true love, right? Even though he makes us skeptical bastards.

And then they hit us with this.

"I won! I won! She's mine! She's mine forever! Ahh hah hah."

Yeah, no issues here. Straight up romance, you bet. A marriage of equals based on respect.

It's what we all want for ourselves.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Confessions of a Christian-rock Band Fan

Don't you hate it when you really like a band and then find out they're a CHRISTIAN ROCK band?

And don't you REALLY hate it when you STILL like their music?

And the kicker? When they stop getting played on the radio, and you STILL like their music. Years later.

Okay, I'll admit it. Hi, my name is Mikaela, and I like Collective Soul. Jesus Christ. They couldn't even come up with a half-way decent name.

I've been rocking out for the past 2 weeks on their latest (now you know what I consider "recent music") album. I can't listen to them very often, because I have to listen covertly. When I'm dating anyone, they get buried under the stacks of "cool" music that's socially acceptable.

When I'm single, out they come, all dusty and in love with the lord.

Thank god, their lyrics are actually poetic, so I can just pretend they mean something other than what I'm sure they're intended to mean.

I have all their albums, and I like them all. They really do have range, within a heavy-metal, metal-ballad, Grunge-era genre. That's saying a lot, right? Saying something, anyway.

So now you know. I love a lord-loving band.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Go and see this poet!

Maggie says:
I already have plans for Tuesday night, but wish I didn't, because I'd love to see Albuquerque native Demetria Martinez. She'll be speaking at UNM on Tuesday, July 5 as part of the "Voices of the Southwest" lecture series promoting her book "Mother Tongue." See her from 6:30 - 9:30 in the Anthropology building, Room 163. Much thanks to Mikaela for turning me on to this amazing poet. I may just have to reschedule those pesky Tuesday night plans. To inspire folks to go and check her out, here are three of my favorite poems from The Devil's Workshop:

Class Action

New York, Oaxaca: you promised trips.
For years I worked the late shift in your
Heart's sweatshop, assembling

Parts that made love tick.
Not even a raise, much less a union.
Rumors of a strike and you knock

At my screen door bearing fine
Wine, but my hurt is too vast
To fit inside a bottle like a ship

Where you are still at the helm,
Too proud to ask directions,
This time promising India:

Hennas and mantras,
Saris and tablas...
Sweetheart, I'll have to pass

On nirvana. I've seen so much
Light I need sunglasses.
The other huarache

Has dropped.
The redwood you hear falling
In the forest is you.

I Don't Want Love

Not love, but something

That, when it loses its green,
Holds its form

Like ocotillo,
Long flutes of cactus

To build a ramada
At the threshold of my house.

My house, my home,
In my name.

When I love myself
As I loved you,

I will invite you in.

Another White Man Goes Numb

Sisters, beware
The champion
Of colored folk
Who fucks then
Tucks your colored
Self like petals
Between pages
Of Karl Marx.

Sisters, beware
The man who
Would change
The world
For you
But not be
By you.
Who smokes
The opium of
Stale ideas
Year in, year out.

You are the people. You light candles to the santos then make
Your pilgrimage to the border to pray for the healing of the wound.

He does not eat grapes. He lowers himself into you, primitive, savage beauty.
The mere concept of you is enough to make him come. And go.

You are the people. Woman. Mujer. Not a flower. Not a fiction.
He has fled to colder regions. Where you do not belong.