Friday, June 26, 2009

For Brandon

I suppose it's natural for me to think of you now that I'm so happy. Of course, you also made me happy, you gave me a lot of things, but after I ended it, my life fell apart. I don't think anyone really understood what it was we had, our families, our friends, much less you and I.

Driving through Inverness today I remembered you, the way we planned the rest of our lives together on hot summer afternoons like today. I saw a couple who looked like us drive past me and wondered if he insisted on her holding her hand in the car the entire trip. I wondered if he kissed her at red lights, so distracted by passion that he didn't realize the light had turned green.

The messes we've made afterwards will never happen again and to be quite honest, I hope to never see you again. Please understand that I don't say that with hate or regret, I say it with solace and fulfillment.

You were ready to give me the rest of your life and I could barely give you the next week. Every now and then I'd imagine what my life would be like with you, how different it would be, how different I would be...but all along I knew I needed more, not necessarily from you but just for me. I gave you everything I had then, it wasn't enough for you but you kept on choosing me, loving me. To this day, I'll never understand why, nor do I want to know.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I knew I Couldn't Be Anything To You But An Aspiring Lover

Beatriz, a good friend of mine, also an accomplished writer and current graduate student pursuing her Master's, and well, my own personal hero, recommended new poetry to me earlier this week. Surely I'd heard of Sandra Cisneros and all the hype of The House on Mango Street, but haven't yet had the opportunity to read any of her work. The very next day, right after leaving work, I picked up a copy of Loose Woman, a collection of poems by Cisneros. Let me just mention that I have very little to no self control when buying poetry, I tend to buy several books at a time because well, let's just call the bookstore my candy store. I could actually lose myself in a bookstore for hours, I try to hit Myopic in Wicker Park at least once a week, but it's always so crowded with tourists when I go. This week I was forced to go my local B & N, not quite the same experience but they had what I needed. I was definitely tempted to buy almost 8 books but narrowed it down to only three, in addition to Cisneros' Loose Woman, I picked up Jack Kerouac's Scattered Poems and Kenneth Koch's New Addresses. And I have to say, it's been a wonderfully fulfilling week for me.

To begin with, nothing could have prepared me for Cisneros and Loose Woman. People tell me my poetry is sexually driven and raw (which I don't believe in the first place) but after having read Cisneros my hold over my own sexuality in conjunction with my writing is not even comparable--I feel like I'm incapable of harboring my sex, my memories and myself. I'm certainly not discouraged by any means, but wholly inspired and in search of something I'm not sure yet what. All I can say is that I don't know quite what it is about Cisneros' writing but as Beatriz put it, "That is the one book that I feel I could eat three times a day and feel full and sustained."

I briefly thumbed through Kerouac, I personally don't enjoy him as much but bought the book as gift to my brother who really does like him. There are collaborations with Ginsberg and other New York School poets, but again I didn't really keep that one for myself.

In my very first writing workshop class, our lecturer had us read Kenneth Koch's "Making Your Own Days." This is the one book I cannot find anywhere, I actually try not to think about it too much because it makes me really sad. The book can be purchased sure, but it was through that literature, through that class and in the notes I took so adamantly in the book that I fell in love with poetry. And I fell hard, it was only several months after that realization that I also grew to despise it. My affair with poetry is a tumultuous one, with anything I feel passionately about, there has to be flaws. I think it's because it sobers me to the knowledge that I can't take it for granted because if it always came easily to me, where is the challenge? Where is the moment of relief and gratification in completing a work? I guess it's all subjective though since I learned early on that a poem is never ever complete, that it is in fact always going through drafts. I admire that poetry changes with the writer, the moment the words tumble onto paper we're naked and unarmed, telling you all exactly what we feel and how we feel it.

But shockingly and again I digress, back to Koch. I bought New Addresses, and cannot stress enough how full I feel--my senses are sated, overwhelmed at times but in the best ways. There are two poems that I cannot stop reading, two poems that I read again and again from the moment I wake in the morning and again right before I fall asleep. Let me first explain that an address poem is exactly what it sounds like, the writer chooses objects, memories, anything really to speak to simply as if they were a person listening--they are directly addressed to in the poem itself. I first heard "To Orgasm" (one of my all-time favorite poems hands down) as an undergrad and new that Koch was a genius. I complain all the time about being happy and unable to write and Koch was the only poet who I knew actually negated that stereotype. I'll share with you an excerpt of "To Orgasm:"

Someone was there, later, to join me and you
In our festivity, a woman named N.
She said oh we shouldn't do
This I replied oh we should
We did and had you
After you I possess this loveable
Person and she possesses me
There is no more we can do
Until the phone rings
And then we start to plan for you again

(Lines 11 - 20)

However, as much as I enjoy that poem, I've fallen hopelessly enamored with another one of his address poems, "To The French Language." It's a poem I read nearly 5-10 times a day, either in succession or spaced out throughout the day. I love the way it sounds when I read it to myself aloud, I've even locked myself in my bathroom with it, and sit perched atop my sink and listen to the words clearly echo around me. I'm a woman obsessed, no joke. I think it's also because I love the way French sounds even sans poetry interspersed with it. It's just beautiful, it makes me feel beautiful; it's a poem I imagine reading to a lover, while we're in bed, dressed only in wrinkled sheets.

Overall, it's been a fantastic week of poetry and life, love and writing. But then again, poetry is life, love and writing, is it not?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Before You

I never was the woman
who would’ve have been
your safe bet or worse,
your sure thing.

I’ve loved and love but
is there a difference
between having loved
and loving?

To know anything by heart
is a false accusation.

I was a woman
undone, unguarded.
I was an
an in between,
an other.

this, but decidedly
always that.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Blessed. I feel truly blessed these days. Honestly, my level of happiness is unreal. Lately I've been trying to picture my happiest memories and the people I've shared them with but nothing compares to even a fraction of everything I feel now. And what's crazy is that I can't pinpoint any one thing that's responsible for this, I guess I just keep waiting for something to go wrong, horribly wrong.

Although I can't pinpoint every single reason why, I know that a great deal of my happiness is the solidity of my family, more specifically my sister, Czarina.

To cut right to the point, we journeyed over to Molly's (I'm laughing as I've just realized that picture above is obviously from a family wedding many years ago but I start this story with how we went to Molly's. Disclaimer: That picture is not us at Molly's. LOL!) to satiate our pangs for something sweet, plus I really needed a break from Alliance. We got our cupcakes, grabbed a table and started to talk. And I mean really talk. My sister and I talk all the time, if we're not together we still manage to talk either on the phone or though e-mail. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous but I'm constantly searching for her approval, not because I don't trust my own instincts, but because letting her down is my greatest fear.

I am without words when it comes to describing the kind of person that she is, she is the heart of our family but she is my lifeline. I don't know what came over me today at Molly's but I told her something no one knew. I told her of my one and only regret in life. Sure, you'll say I'm 23 and too young to have regrets but I doubt you've done what I have. It was like that moment in the movie "Mean Girls," when Lindsay Lohan's character experiences "word vomit." Something just came over me and I felt that she just needed to know. It was an experience that I think about almost never that when it does cross my mind I question whether or not it really happened. What's hardest I think was that it happened last August, and not when I was 17 and stupid. I knew better, I knew much better and that made the reality of it impossible to come to terms with.

It's funny though how fiction and reality can be so closely interlaced, perhaps I wished for it to unhappen so often that sometimes I believe myself and forget. Regardless, when I told her (after we had both cried for an entirely separate reason from this, and yes we cried inside the bakery) she responded as I knew she would. She didn't try to tell me that she understood or that everything would be okay. She kept it real, which is so hard to find in people nowadays, but I admire that she's always so straight with me. She is the last person I want to tell things to and the first person I want to tell things to if that makes sense. But to have someone in my life who inspires me everyday is nothing short of amazing. On my worst days she still sees the best of me and drives me to reach my potential.

I know that my family and the relationship we have is not normal, sometimes I forget we didn't grow up together because we are so closely knit. But at the same time, the relationships we have with each other both together and individually are what gives me my greatest happiness in life. I also will tell you that a significant part of why I can't share myself or let anyone in--and I mean really in relationship wise, is because I've known I could never love someone who didn't feel the same way about their family. I'll sacrifice a lot of things for love, but I'll never sacrifice them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Life has been awfully generous these past few weeks and I've never felt happier, freer or more blessed than I do right now in this present moment. To celebrate this I decided to get my third tattoo this week. I don't usually plan my tattoos and act mostly on impulse. Earlier this week after shopping at Akira on North Ave I decided right then and there that I wanted to get inked again with my best friend by my side. We walked down the street to Tatu Tattoo and unfortunately there was a wait.  I'm the kind of person that if the time isn't right then it's just not right.
Luckily enough, after a busy morning at work yesterday I was struck by the urge to get inked again. Back in suburbs, Libertyville to be exact, I knew I could count on my regular shop to get my third tattoo. I'm not going to go into detail about what the tattoo means because if you don't already know then perhaps I didn't want you to. I got the number 4 in roman numerals, "IV" on my left foot. 

The experience was in one word, gnarly. I'm not your average girl I guess, I have a really high tolerance for pain, which I think I've mentioned in previous posts. Getting tattooed feels good to me, weird I know. Now that I have ink on various parts of my body (inner wrist, nape of my neck and foot) let me be the first to tell you that the skin on  your foot is certainly more "nerve-y" as my tattoo artist put it. It didn't hurt at all but I definitely felt spasms shooting down my leg as he first traced the outline of "IV" and then lightly twitched as he filled it in with a second needle. This was also the first time a tattoo needed more than one needle, so it was a really exciting experience. And to top it off, the man knew his poetry. Now I've had dates where men ask me what I enjoy doing and hesitate when I reveal my passion for poetry, mostly because they don't know how to react or what to say, the worst is when they start to rhyme a clever-on-the-spot-little jig. Lord. But this man, upon the mention of my writing poetry asked me what style and which poet I enjoy most. Again, hesitating I smile and say I enjoy a mix of french modernist poetry, Baudelaire and also the more modern language movement. As soon as "Baudelaire" left my mouth, he followed it up with his liking of "The Flowers of Evil." So there I was, getting inked and falling love. Sometimes people surprise you and when they do it's truly a moment to be treasured. I honestly feel so lucky these days, I've been meeting some amazing individuals and have been growing closer to those already in my life.  

On the downside, I haven't been able to write! I've been so happy that I've literally created a jolly, impenetrable wall of writer's block. I can't even write a blog post it feels. Something needs to be done about this, but until then who knows.