Monday, March 29, 2010

No way am I missing this!

Got back to Chicago tonight to discover that Janelle Monae is at Schuba's tonight and tomorrow. YES. I'll go alone if I have to, dammit. Umm, if tomorrow's show isn't sold out, that is.

VIOLET STARS HAPPY HUNTING!





Wish me luck on getting a ticket to tomorrow's show! Hey, I can't spend ALL of my birthday money on bills, right?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"One word then, one smile, is enough"

I'd post this one in Espanol if I could. Trust. Alas, English will have to do.

I LIKE FOR YOU TO BE STILL
By Pablo Neruda

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it's not true.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Because I can't afford Maxwell tickets

I sit around and watch his YouTube channel. Yeah.

Can you blame me?





I could really do without the part where all the women start floating out of their beds though. Maybe that happens at the actual show? Maybe? It better. Cause if not, I simply cannot justify buying a concert ticket.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: Birthday Edition

So, like I said in my previous post, today is my 26th birthday. I've been having a hard time blogging as of late, because, quite frankly, my brain is bogged down with a lot of personal and financial issues that I don't necessarily want to address on the Rainbow Chronicles.

Basically, my boss at my internship summed it up this morning when she looked at me and said, "You're really having a month or two."

Yeah. That is for damn sure. But while I have been going through a difficult time lately, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how during this time, I've also had the unwavering support of some pretty kickass friends up here in Chicago. Without that support, I'd be pretty lost. I have some major decisions I need to make in the next month. My lease is ending, my job situation is beyond pathetic, and everyday is a constant battle against myself. By that I mean, I can really be my own worst enemy. Beating myself up for stupid decisions I've made (and I've made a lot of them, both financially and personally). Questioning myself. Doubting myself. Worrying about what everyone else thinks.

Enough is enough, I tell myself. Just. Stop.

It's hard to do that, though. And even harder to recognize all the wonderful things that have happened in the last couple years, in spite of—and because of—decisions I've made. Sometimes (okay, many times), I feel like a big fat failure because I've been waiting tables, barely scraping by, and interning for the last two years. But yesterday I caught myself giving a friend advice about whether or not to go to school, and I realized everything I was telling him, I also needed to tell myself. Things like: You're living your life. You're not a failure. Do what YOU want to do. Do it on your own terms.

I'm 26 today. It's about damn time I learned how to take my own advice before I dish it out to others. So tonight, when I'm out celebrating with some amazing friends, I'm not going to be sad. I'm not going to worry. I have quit jobs, and I've found new ones. I've been lonely, and I've been surrounded by friends.

Today, I'm 26...

and it makes me feel a little like this:


and a little like this.


Know what I mean? Probably not. Whatevs, it's my birthday. If you gave me a cupcake, I'd eat it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Till the Moon's Upside Down



Oh, Fiona. I wouldn't try to change you. Not one little bit.

You know I'll love you till the moon's upside down.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Because the little cats know is so much


This is Charlie. She's one of the cats at my internship. I didn't give her permission to drink my water. But I guess she was thirsty.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh, London.

I just found this silly little thing I wrote when I was in London and it's so awful and wonderful at the same time that it made me laugh. I really do have bad luck on escalators, it would seem.

This is what I wrote. I called it "Escalator." How clever. Sheesh.

I stood on the right, staring straight ahead like everyone else. I wondered if anyone knew, just from looking at me, that although I stood still, staring straight ahead as the escalator took us to the surface, my heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty. The crowded subway, with its escalators lined up with unfamiliar British faces, terrified me.

But I couldn’t let that overtake me, so I just stared ahead at the tall man in front of me with the broad shoulders and the yellow backpack, with the great ass in bad jeans, and I started to wonder where he was going. Did he have a girlfriend? If so, would she be like me—I mean personality wise? What would she look like? And the more I wondered the harder I stared at that great butt in the bad jeans and now the crazy me wanted to reach up and squeeze it, or at the very least tap his shoulder and ask some silly question about directions, because hey, I’m American, what do I know? And then I’d get to see if his face straight on was as mesmerizing as his profile. And maybe he’d like what he saw when he turned around and it would be love at first sight!

But I thought so long that when the escalator reached the top I almost tripped, and as I looked down at my feet, I lost the yellow backpacked great ass in bad jeans mesmerizing haunt of a man who might have been my future husband.

Oh, dear. I guess I haven't changed too much since then. I'm still tripping all over myself on escalators, thinking silly thoughts about boys. Except now I have a blog.

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: We Have Said No Enough

Since today on the way to the mall (yes, the mall, I said that), I said to Lauren, "I am Erica Jong," it seems only fitting to feature her for today's slam. Enjoy.
You Hate the Telephone
from Ordinary Miracles, by Erica Jong

You hate the telephone
but will not see me
face to face
so I am left
beseeching you
long-distance,
trying to thread our love
along the telephone poles
of Vermont,
trying to tunnel it
under the Atlantic
as if it were
a rare fossil
I'd unearthed,
or an offshore pipe
bearing precious oil.

But it is your face
I love,
your funny grin
that now seems
cruel around the edges.
You do not wish to be
cruel—you,
the kindest person in the world,
but driven to curious
rages
when you feel
pressured, frustrated,
saddled with
an albatross of love
like an ancient
mariner
who tells his same sad story
to the wedding guests.

The telephone will not
suffice.
Coleridge would have
loathed it,
& so would his
mariner.
It is our modern
Person from Porlock,
interrupting poems,
interrupting loves
& forever
keeping us at arm's length.

I would look you in the eye
again, saying yes, yes, yes—
we have said no enough,
for the rest
of many lifetimes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry

Make me go without a word, get so crazy when you shut up.

Pleasures of the Damned

It's finally feeling like spring in Chicago, and today all I really want to do is one of two things: hang out with my cats and read Bukowski, or drive around with the windows down listening to Tegan and Sara. That's it. That's what I want to do.

I have to go to work.


eat your heart out
by Charles Bukowski

I've come by, she says, to tell you
that this is it. I'm not kidding, it's
over. this is it.

I sit on the couch watching her arrange
her long red hair before my bedroom
mirror.
she pulls her hair up and
piles it on top of her head-
she lets her eyes look at
my eyes-
then she drops her hair and
lets it fall down in front of her face.

we go to bed and I hold her
speechlessly from the back
my arm around her neck
I touch her wrists and hands
feel up to
her elbows
no further.

she gets up.

this is it, she says,
eat your heart out. you
got any rubber bands?

I don't know.

here's one, she says,
this will do. well,
I'm going.

I get up and walk her
to the door

just as she leaves
she says,
I want you to buy me
some high-heeled shoes
with tall thin spikes,
black high-heeled shoes.
no, I want them
red.

I watch her walk down the cement walk
under the trees
she walks all right and
as the poinsettias drip in the sun
I close the door.


This is it. Eat your heart out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hit Em Up Style?

YES. Carolina Chocolate Drops, where have you been hiding?



Just in case you're now thinking, why does that sound so familiar? THIS is why. Ooops! Hee hee hee.



Never, ever did I think Blu Cantrell would make it on the Rainbow Chronicles. But I couldn't resist. Life's full of surprises.




Big surprise: my brother Jay tipped me off to this sweet ass trio. Shortly after, I found them on Bitch blogs. Name drop them next time you're out, and I promise you'll earn some hipster points.

You're welcome.

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: Partly Because

Having a Coke with You
By Frank O'Hara

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, IrĂșn, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I'm with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o'clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it's in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven't gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn't pick the rider as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it

You can also listen to Frank O'Hara read the poem, which is ... just terrific. (Video below.) 

I can't decide what part of this poem I love best. Definitely the end, but damn, this part makes me happy:

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it's in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven't gone to yet so we can go together the first time

 



Hat tips and curtsies and so forth to CW for sharing this poem with me last week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Magnificent Mo'Nique

Until I saw the movie Precious (based on the novel "Push"), I really had no feelings one way or another toward Mo'Nique. I've never watched her show, and honestly can't remember too many (if any) of her comedic performances in movies. So basically, to me she was just a comedian to whom I'd never given much thought. Maybe she's hilarious. Maybe not. I really don't know.

But I really don't care. When I watched Precious, I was blown away by her performance. I was so happy when Mo'Nique won best supporting actress at the Oscars last night.

If you haven't seen this movie, please, please do so immediately. It's not an easy movie to watch, that's for sure, but it's the kind of movie that sticks with you, and makes you think. And hopefully makes you feel.

Mo'Nique's character, Mary Jones, is awful. She's abusive, hateful, and cruel to her daughter Precious. (I'd tell you more about the storyline, but seriously, you already know about it, don't you? C'mon.)

Yet Mo'Nique manages to portray something in this character that I believe is so important. Even though Mary Jones is a monster, you begin to look at what made her this way. As she tells Mariah Carey without makeup, errr, the social worker, in her final, powerful scene:
"Who else was gonna love me? Who was gonna make me feel good?"



I love what Mo'Nique says in this interview below. I also love how she just took over this press conference, bossed the journalists around, and still called everyone 'baby':

"Have you ever had a dark moment, when you were unlovable? Didn't you want someone to love you through it? ... For as cruel as Mary Jones was, for the monster that she was, everybody—and I don't care who you are and what crime you've committed, everyone deserves to be loved, even when they are unlovable. This role was so not about my acting career. This role has shaped my life, to allow me not to judge, and to love unconditionally. Now if that goes into my career, great. But if it doesn't, and I'm just a dynamic person that I strive to be, I've won, baby."







Kudos to you, Mo'Nique! Please also read this letter by Sapphire, the author of "Push," about why stories like Precious need to be told.  I also loved Mo'Nique's interview with Barbara Walters, where she unflinchingly and unapologetically speaks of her abusive brother, her open marriage (and how she defines "open"), and yes, that she doesn't shave her legs.

Maybe Mo'Nique will never become my favorite comedian. But that doesn't matter, because she has now joined the ranks of my female role models. So in honor of International Women's Day, I'm giving this shout out to Mo'Nique, who not only has given this powerful performance in Precious, but has spread the message that no matter who you are, where you come from, what size dress you are, or even if you (gasp) don't shave your legs, you are deserving of love. We all are.

Happy International Women's Day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I hope this happens at my birthday party...



Sweet! I would also settle for a birthday present of tickets to either of their sold out shows in Chicago. Just sayin'.

Found this little gem via Pitchfork on the tweets and the twoots.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In Another Time

My mother loved Sade. When I was a kid, and she’d put on one of her Sade records during our Saturday afternoon cleaning ritual, my brother and I would groan and protest until she put on something else.

I have no idea why we hated Sade so much—all I know is that those records were equivalent to being stuck in a boring, grownup conversation without being allowed to go outside and play. Or maybe it was just one of our ways of teasing Mom. When we got a little older, we’d constantly quote movies and laugh hysterically as she looked at us, baffled. She'd always ask: “Are you quoting something again?” Or she'd laugh a little with us (even though I could tell she felt a little left out) and say, "Okay, what movie is that from?"

Either way, we hated Sade. We wanted nothing to do with those records. I wonder if Mom blasted those records when we were out of the house. I know I would have if I were her.

Because I have such vivid memories of protesting Sade constantly when I was a kid, I never even thought to give her a chance until much later. I’m so glad I did. I mean, have you heard Sade?



The last few days I’ve been missing my mom intensely. I have questions, and I don’t want to ask anyone but her. I can’t ask anyone but my mom. You know?

***

I was thinking about my mom today as I reread this piece I wrote about her a couple of years ago, a piece I submitted to The Sun and a couple of other publications. (It was rejected.) In retrospect, I understand why it was rejected, and I think I could write it better now. Yet I still wouldn’t change the ending, and since it’s all mine, and I don’t have an editor to answer to, I get to keep that privilege. I wouldn’t change it, because every time I read it, it brings me right back to this moment I had with my mother.

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: Dreams, Deferred

When I was a freshman at IU, my African American lit course professor read this poem to our class one day when we were studying Langston Hughes, and I'll never forget it. That class wasn't a lecture, it was a show. Every time I read it, I hear his voice.

I hope he's still teaching, and still reading great poems to his students. And I hope they're listening.

Same in Blues
By Langston Hughes

I said to my baby,
Baby, take it slow.
I can't, she said, I can't!
I got to go!

There's a certain
amount of traveling
in a dream deferred.

Lulu said to Leonard,
I want a diamond ring.
Leonard said to Lulu,
You won't get a goddamn thing!

A certain
amount of nothing
in a dream deferred.

Daddy, daddy, daddy,
All I want is you.
You can have me baby—
but my lovin' days is through.

A certain
amount of impotence
in a dream deferred.

Three parties
On my party line—
But that third party,
Lord, ain't mine!

There's liable
to be confusion
in a dream deferred.

From river to river,
Uptown and down,
There's liable to be confusion
when a dream gets kicked around.


For more Tuesday poetry fun, check out today's featured poem at The Writer's Almanac, "Un Bel Di" by Gerald Locklin. It made me freakin' teary eyed earlier. I think I'm a little homesick. But then again, what doesn't make me teary eyed?

Monday, March 1, 2010