Thursday, November 18, 2004

Putting it out careful of what you wish for a while ago, a great friend and personal guru of mine gave me some sage advice.

"If you want to accomplish something in life you must have the courage to state it and put it out there for all to see."

Another teacher gave me some additional advice that seems to be in the same vein.

"Be careful of what you wish and dream. It may very well come true and you better be prepared to do the hard work that it requires."

It's kind of like dreaming about having a family and realizing after giving birth that this kid is yours're stuck with it and all the responsibilities that raising a kid entails. (Yeah...I'm not ready for that dream quite yet, thank you very much.)

So I'm putting it out there...I'm sending it out to the ethos, to the muses, and all those things great and small that help to shape good fortune.

My dream (among many others) is to:

1) Have my first chapbook (a self-published book of writing, art, and other creations) completed and published within 18 months.

2) Have my first book of poetry or my first novel published within 6 years.

Although this blog doesn't give much indication of my ability to write a coherent sentance, I do write more artistically significant stuff. Stuff that most of you haven't seen.

So that's it...I'm putting it out there. I've done this before and every time I've stated my goals clearly and with good intentions, I've always been able to realize them.

Here's another poem that was written a while ago. Yeah and it's copywrited to me blah, blah, blah, no stealing...not that I thought that you would.


She was acutely aware of
The similarity between them
That he and she, that they favored red umbrellas
And their left leg
An unconscious favoritism betrayed by
The uneven wearing of their shoes

A finger raised, once more, urgently
A button pressed, repeatedly, frantically
But here wedged, stuck
Between floors
In the nameless space
Neither up, nor down
Nor Sideways
She ignored him consciously, feverishly
In a way that only made their proximity
More ludicrous and obscene

She could actually smell him,
And not only
His shampoo and his cologne
But the smell on his shirt and pants
Unlaundered, crumpled, and overworn
She imagines instantly that scent
Mixed with hers
Embedded in her bedroom, on her bedspread, in her towels
Moist scents, accusing and unyielding
Instantly she imagines
And instantly she craves

Another lurching
And they slip some more
He and she, they can hear
The mumbled reassurances
“Someone is working on the problem”
Voices bleeding into white noise
White sound, white light, white buttons
White dress
Her white dress
Prevents her from joining him on the floor
He, ignorant or unbothered
By the hundreds of shoes that have stood on
This floor
Parquet, juxtaposed tiles

He fidgets with a button on his shirt
And in his hand,
In no time
There the button lies
Amid the creases
Life line, love line, fortune line
Death line
Without changing the shape of his palm
He turns his hand
And allows the button to fall
It lay where it fell

She, unthinking, unconsciously, instinctually
Bends to pick up the button
Her white dress rises
Above her knee
To accommodate the expanse of her hips
Swollen, inviting, beautiful to his gaze
And only after standing upright
Does she realize the absurdity of her action
And once again becomes conscious of his scent

The useless button
Now inbetween her
Index finder and thumb
Pinched, held, squeezed, tortured
She wants it to disappear to dissolve
And with it the image of her
Picking it up
Off the floor
In her dress
Waiting here
Here where there is no motion
Stuck and wedged

Here where there is stillness
As is the rule of physics
They must create their own movement
To compensate

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Conversation in my head

Feet: Psst…
Feet: Pssssst….
Me: Oh, hi. What’s up?
Feet: We’ve got to talk.
Me: ‘bout what.
Feet: I know you love me.
Me: Oh I do, I do.
Feet: Then why you always treating me so bad?
Me: Bad, bad…but I love you. I buy you pretty things all the time.
Me: Don’t I paint you pretty colors and show you off to the world in the summer?
Feet: But you’re always cramming me into those tiny little shoes, with the tiny little heels. And when was the last time you scheduled a reflexology session for me?
Feet: Well…
Me: But…but…I always get the prettiest ones for you…don’t you like Marc Jacobs?
Feet: You know me girl, don’t even question my Marc loyalties. But I gotta tell ya, I thought I was doing to die the last time you wore them.
Me: So what are you trying to tell me? Are you asking me to wear ugly shoes? I don’t think I can do that. Sneakers…Aerosoles…CLOGS!!!!!
Feet: HONEY…HONEY…slow down. I’m asking for a little consideration, not to dress like some hick from the mid-west.
Me: Oh…sorry. I got carried away. Okay, so what do you want from me?
Feet: I just want some love…L.O.V.E…love.
Me: Okay
Feet: Pick up a nice pumice stone and some of that gingery foot scrub stuff from Origins on your way home.
Me: Okay
Feet: Wait, I’m not done yet.
Me: Sorry…continue.
Feet: Also, do they still do paraffin dips at the corner nail salon?
Me: I don’t know, should I check?
Feet: Yeah…and schedule me an appointment for Saturday.
Me: Done. Anything else?
Feet: Oh last thing. You know those Pradas that are on sale at DSW.
Me: Yeah.
Feet: Me want!
Me: Oh you, you sure do know how to sweet talk a girl!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Momma wisdom

I don't know, do you think my mom is trying to tell me something?

"Don't you care about my happiness?"

"Oh, Maria from church is getting married on Dec. 5th. Her mother must be so happy."

"I take it all back. You can marry anyone you want and I won't say a thing. You can even marry someone Jewish."

"You're almost 30...what are you going to do? " (I turned 29 three weeks ago.)

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone who can't speak perfect English."

"Think short shoes...short shoes."

"You don't want your cousins to think you're an old spinster, do you?" (These would be the male cousins that are 41, 38, 25, and 23 and ALL STILL live with their parents. Yeah, I'm related to a bunch of losers. Maybe I'm avoiding marriage so that I don't have to invite them to a wedding.)

"I'll pay for your nanny."

"When you get married, I'll buy you brand new furniture. You want new furniture, don't you?"

"When you were 9 you promised me that you'd be married by the age of 23, you lied."

Do you think I should be worried?

Friday, November 05, 2004


Warning: I'm in the mood for something more positive, mushy, and thoughful. Read at your own risk.

I wanted to take the time to write a bit about my new job with Catalyst. I loathe to even call it a job because I realize that it is quickly becoming much more. Those of you who've spoken to me live and in person can testify to my rather fanatical excitment when discussing Catalyst. It's strange and wonderful to feel so fulfilled by my job. I suppose I should provide some background. Many years ago, after being nearly destroyed by my very first job out of college, I learned how to very effectively seperate my happiness from the events and progression of my career. I vowed that I would never allow my sense of self to be defined by what I did professionally. But I now find myself at a bit of a crossroad. I enjoy what I do at Catalyst. I enjoy it a lot. Damn, I love it. I am inspired every day that I go to work. My collegues are brilliant and I am challenged by their intelligence, their passion, and their commitment to Catalyst's mission. I'm one of LEAST educated people in the entire organization. The subject matter I work with, research, and present is some of the most fascinating and compelling material I've ever worked with. I spend 8 hours every day thinking about issues of diversity, inclusion, corporate social responsibility, and gender equity in the corporate workforce! I get to develop solutions that are not only good for women and people of color, but good for business at large! I'm doing something that betters society; that actually improves the quality of life for people like myself. Catalyst is not motivated by profit, we have a higher mission and will not be bullied by clients to provide advice that we do not believe in. In the 2+ months that I've been with the company, I have not worked on a single project where I was not intrinsically interested in the material. I feel I am morally, ethically, and intellectually in tune with Catalyst. It makes it really easy to go out and conduct workshops, moderate panels, give speeches, and represent the organization to the public.

To top it all off, I feel respected. Not just as a professional, not just as an intellectual, but as a whole person. Catalyst realizes that people have lives and my quality of life has never been better. Sure, I'm busy on occassion, but I'd say that I'm averaging 45 hours of work per week. The official work week is 35 hours and we are STRONGLY encouraged to try to maintain normal hours. Flexibility is not even a question. Need to work at home for a few days - no problem. Have to run an errand - no problem. Just so long as I am transparent about my where abouts, flexiblity is a non-issue. Your birthday day is an offical holiday - and you can take it off anytime after your birthday!

The ironic thing is that had I not spent the last 7 years doing jobs where I was 1) treated miserably, 2) intellectually uninterested, 3) micromanaged, 4) had no quality-of-life, or 5) sexually harassed both peripherally and directly, I don't know if I'd have developed the skills necessary to join Catalyst. Don't get me wrong, all of my jobs provided me with at least one skill or bit of knowledge that is indispensible to me.

Accenture - taught me client management & project management skills, deep change management & org. development knowledge, and professional discipline.
T3 Media - taught me the art of managing internal politics.
American Express - taught me that big corporate can, on occasion, do it right.
WetFeet - increased the range and depth of my HR knowledge, taught me significant qualitative and quantitative research skills, and provided me with director levels skills.

Heck, even my MBA played a significant role in securing my place at Catalyst. Here is a hint for any female minority out there. Get an MBA - it's amazing how desirable you become.

While the cynic in me keeps telling my emotional self to calm down, be sensible, and wait for the other shoe to fall, I can't help but think that the shoe will turn out to be a cute little size 6.5 Marc Jacob number. Maybe even one with a cute bow. Every director and/or senior director in my department has been with the company for 4 or more years and they continue to be as passionate and committed as I am.

So why am I writing this? To make you feel unhappy about your life? To be boastful? No, that's not my goal at all. I guess what I'm trying to say honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you really want to do and then start the engine to get it done. Make the hard decisions, muck through the crap...don't be afraid to take risk. Try something where the outcome is not certain. Don't make decisions based on the financial reward. And even when things get really rough, don't stop, things get better. If you made your decision with good intentions, then only positive outcomes will materialize.

And yes, I'm really busy...really busy. Expectations are high, deadlines are approaching, and A LOT of eyes are on me. But I'm not afraid.

It feels nice...really nice.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Let America Be America Again

This is my calling, this is my mission, this is what I must do.

Let America Be America Again
a poem by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand
I came To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

I'm going to be sick

I'm so very disappointed.

I can honestly say...maybe for the first time in my life...I don't think I want to call myself an American today.

Not if America stands for:

> Banning gay marriage in 10 states
> A House and Senate controlled by the Republican Party
> A Senate without Tom Daschle
> Increased scrutiny of my actions and words thanks to what will likely be a reinvigorated US Patriots Act (when did being patriotic equate to being f*cked in the a*s by the gov't - yeah! I'm very upset. I'm swearing)
> More tax cuts for the rich
> More people falling under the poverty line
> Children being left behind
> An unjust war
> A youth vote that just wouldn't materialize

Well, I suppose I now have bigger things to worry about. I'm guessing that the North Korea situation is only going to escalate and the harrassment experienced by those of Middle Eastern descent will now shift to those of Asian descent. I will become the victim of hate crimes, racial profiling, and harrassment. I will be cowed into quieting my dissenting voice for fear of retribution. I am afraid. Afraid of being an American woman of color. I am afraid for mother earth, for the already marginalized, for those that will experience hunger and homeless for the first time. I am afraid.

I'm so very very disappointed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Good Advice

I thought these made a lot of sense:

"Love is more powerful than a tape recorder, but both are good to bring to rehearsal..."
- David, Musical Director of the NYMMC

"GORP. Yup, GORP."*
- Anonymous

*GORP, for those not in the know, is Good Old Raisins & Peanuts.

Election Day 2004

It's always interesting to live a day with the conscious knowledge that it will go down in history. Like 9-11 and the day Bush declared war on Iraq and today, election day 2004. I'm nervous, excited, and just a bit optimistic. I'm an optimist by nature, so I can't help but feel that good things will happen today. If the polls this morning were any indication, good things have already begun. Four years ago today, I was able to walk in and out of my polling site in 5 minutes. Today was a different story. There was a line! and it was HUGE! I'd estimate that there were well over 150 people at the polling site. It was 8:30AM! I was so happy! And it is a good day to vote. Crisp and cool, with the scent of decomposing leaves and chlorophyll releasing into the air. Yum.

Nothing beats the voting high. I don't know how you vote where you live, but in New York City we still use those old, monolithic booths where you have to flip a huge red lever, click some switches, and then flip the huge red lever again. Uh! I love the sound of that huge red lever. Kuhhhhu----chunk. I get all happy and giddy every time I vote. I feel the same sense of fulfillment that I had when I was 18 and voting in my very first election.

Keep those fingers crossed. It'll be a long day (and possibly night, and then next day) for Kerry. If the non-scientific indicators can be trusted, it looks like a Kerry win.

The Redskins lost on Sunday (thus indicating a defeat for the incumbant) and the dow was down 2.5% for the month of Oct. (again, a defeat for the incumbant). We shall see, we shall see.

I'm gonna be up all night. Give me a ring on my cell and we'll chat!