Orator: Figures

It’s been a while since I stepped on stage for spoken word or orations. Yet last night I was sitting and spewing a few words. This piece is called Figures.

You had me dressed for church but didn’t dress me for life

where I needed that real advice

the stirring noise/the loud lessons

tapping at the door

calling my shit out/ to clean house

cant hide forever behind laundry lists and smiles

where the lips move and the eyes stare off into miles

eventually itchin’ to live in the light

stand in my power, speak my truth, and fight the good fight

Chivalry:

a boy and a girl/sex scratching to escape

a pin of broaches, emotional violence, and utter lies

mean while, I’m making copies of dicks

adding vibrational technologies

in worship of clits/ asking us to free a concept

and make it ever more legit

in other words the templates not right

Family:

you came in this world by copulation

a child wake wha! in the center of a fucked nation

shook by its convorting with social dignity lies

closed off by secrets

run child to the edges and outer skits of the patriarchs thighs

dress to live on the fringe

where the crabs do not grab to pull you back in

Friends:

America and the western industrial civil lies world

where romantic fantacism and dreams, oh what a whirl

competition

you know you try to be better

better yourself for yourself

no, negro please better than your brother

cause this is competition

show me a man who can hold the hand of his fellow man

without saying

(um…dude that’shos gay)

then I will show you an ally

show me a girlfriend who will make you tea when you staying up all night full of a dream

and you both got talent you willing to stoke, and prod, and light and feed in each other

to draw it out and better our world,

call that girl a friend

anything other is a social dignity lie

convorting and shit

lets free this concept and make it legit

so…

you had me dressed for church but didn’t dress me for life

where I needed that real advice

the stirring noise/the loud lessons

tapping at the door

calling my shit out/ to clean house

cant hide forever behind laundry lists and smiles

where the lips move and the eyes stare off into miles

eventually itchin’ to live in the light

stand in my power, speak my truth, and fight the good fight

well…damn, some of us had to figure it out.

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Doula lets it go: musings on service, women, and gates

Doula, is an ancient greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. She serves women mostly, as the word also meant hand maiden. She serves those who are bringing life into the world, she serves the mother as she is reborn through the rite of passage of giving birth, and she serves the woman during the postpartum passage as well.

A Doula also serves those who are on their death bed. She helps by holding space for the dying and their families. She helps to arrange the memorial, she brings the family food, she listens and doesn’t need to talk too much.

My teacher recently gave me homework, to find three people to serve on their death bed. She is a funny woman who tells it like it is. Shes sweet and hilarious with a funny accent. I find myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes in a class where we are talking about death and dying.

My god I love women. They are brilliant, hilarious, deep, mysterious, and can teach you so many things. Going through the death doula course has really helped me tremendously and apparently its rubbing off. My lover is far more open with me as I am more open with myself. I feel more here with my feet on the earth and I love air. Maybe it is all of the talk of not having things unrequited. Maybe its having your teacher tell you to make a bucket list and then making you revise it based on immortality. Maybe its being in a space with women who are unafraid to ask ourselves and answer these questions and who are willing to hold the hand of those who might not be here. I have certainly had plenty of Doulas in my life, women such as aunts and friends who have inspired me. Held my hand in general, been good examples, and really loved me that has made me see how many Doulas I have had. In this way they have served me and I have served them.

I have served them by not taking their teachings for granted. Thank you.

 

Diamonds in the Rough: Midwifery, Children, and Asia

I have a new book to read. It is all about connecting with spirit children. I am after a new movement. I would like to support women and children. One of the most vulnerable places a woman can be and is, is in the processes of birth. Prenatal, all through out the process, and post natal. Whats really wild on my journey as a doula is that I would really like to adopt a child. One who is already here, one who could really use so much love and attention. So much work to be done so I can feel like the child receives so much love for me yes but my attention that doesn’t wonder to how I will feed it but wonders more about education, nutrition, and how in the world I will be a good mum to anyone at all.

I am grounding in the fact that I do not care to nor want to compete with women. I think it is by time women joined together. Together to support one another. The talk is of equality of pay, who in the world has whipped out their breast to feed their baby on public transportation, and how women are being treated in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. My word if there is anything i care about so much in my activism besides making damn sure to treat people with love and respect so that there is more love and respect in this world it would be my observation as to how women are being treated and how we women are treating each other. So midwifery is right there for me to embrace. Because in order to truly represent the kind of woman I want my children to know my grandchildren to know I must become a better selfless servant to those most in need of love and care and that would be pregnant women and newborns.

I am excited, I am sitting with my girlfriends and we are sharing what we know of the processes. What the legislation is. We talk about the healthcare system and the sad fact that in such a country as developed United States women’s health during pregnancy is sometimes at risk because of utter neglect and abuse. Which it in its self is so hidden but new reports show that if a midwife could be apart of the process then the mortality rate would greatly decline. I admire midwives in developing countries because in some instances they have their shit in order. I cringe at what has been happening in Australia, that women have been turning on their own sisters having them sent to jail for offering up services during illegal home births. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE. The numbers, the lives, the need speaks for its self.

So I have my books to read, retaking classes, and sitting at the feet of women who are midwives with a stance a grounded affirmation. I will not compete against my sister.

By the way this country, Singapore is sooo clean. I went to China town, it was the cleanest China town I have ever seen. It was like I had flown into Ba Sing Se from Avatar the Last Air Bender. The library is in the mall. The past time is shopping and eating. Yet, I hadn’t seen an obese person. Statistics speak that Singapore is one of the happiest countries on earth. Wow. The food is amazing. There are diamonds in the rough here. The people are sweat. They helped me to get on the bus today to go to China town from another part of town. Here I am thinking and bracing myself for Mama China. I know it is a while off in the distance but I am thinking oh my word. I love Mama China and I am so ready to see her again. More beautiful diamonds in the rough please.

My dear friend Rex used to tell me to write everyday, just write, I find that the more revealing the writing is the better. My goodness how personal and yet so good to simply write. Keep writing people!

Point A to Point B

When I walked into the gym I was simply excited to be there. I was half of a salad in with sprouts added and thought for sure I had time to let it continually digest before class was to begin at 6pm. Tariq, the instructor, was sitting next to the front desk. When I said my name to the attendant he looked up and said oh you are Sabrina, turns out when I was emailing the gym to let them know I was coming since I was in Australia, I was emailing Tariq. I brought along a new friend from my hostel, he thought the class sounded like a lot of fun so he came along. Actually he drove us there on his rented motorbike.

 

Tariq was to instruct us and he began with the philosophy of parkour. Overcoming obstacles. Especially the mental ones so that the body responds physically performing feats we never considered doing. No time for the rest of my salad and sprouts to finish digesting. I was scaling a wall by my fingers with my feet helping me move along. I was leaping to catch a bar and swing feet to the area ahead of me. We were moving like animals. Then the one practice I wanted but I will admit was a task for me to overcome.

When I was a little kid I loved climbing trees and running around. There was one day when I decided I would back flip but I landed on my head and since that day (this was around kindergarden) I hadn’t done backflipping unless it was on a trampoline and even then it was to the side. Or I would slowly curl backwards and try to throw my feet over. No jumping and tucking for me. However It was apart of the class. So what was I going to do. Tariq was showing us how so now was the time to overcome. I turned around on the raised platform. He told me to throw myself backward and just land on my back without tucking into the styrofoam below. I didn’t like that at all, but I did it. He said it was the beginning. Then he said raise your hands in the air and leap upwards into an arch when I felt I was high enough raise my knees and my body would do the rest for me. OH MY WORD! but…I did it. granted each time he said I was getting better but it looked like my body was doing it sideways. But i did it! Then he taught us the front tuck flip. I did it! It was really great. Me and the guy from the hostel was flipping over and over again. It was so much fun! There is still so much to do because i usually don’t land on my feet but the point is that I am back flipping.

The art of Parkour is brilliant. Get from point a to point b in the most efficient way possible. If there is something in your way climb it, leap over it, and move like an animal to get over it to get to point b. Humanity has looked to our animal cousins for so long to teach us. The circular philosophy of Tai Chi, the brilliant animal moves of qi gong. My teacher told me he used the philosophies to move from being behind a desk to now teaching in a gym, the art of parkour and over coming obstacles in a gym, which by the way glows in the dark if your turn off the lights.

By the time we returned to the hostel I was drenched in sweat my tank top soggy wet.

 

Over There: A Story of Finding Folks to Hang Out With While Journeying

I am in my hotel room. Very affordable by the way because in the bed over there, I mean about less than 7 feet away is a total stranger. The hotel attendants have brought us two extra beds because also accompanying us are two women from Holland. All of this began because I wanted to bike solo to the rice paddies.

It all began…(love when a story begins this way)…when I was in a small area outside of Kuta town. I was in a hostel and reviewing the best ways to get to where I wanted to go when two women walked in. We said hi to each other and they said they were going to Ubud. The next thing I knew I said to them, want to rent bikes and journey to the rice paddies. They looked at each other and said something to the tune of, yeah we can do that. The very next day, being today, we got on a shuttle for Ubud. In the same shuttle was a British man. Once we arrived in Ubud we decided to try the same hotel that another two women were staying at. When we got to the other women hotel (which was quite a walk by the way and I had to pull out the “are we there yet”) we realized the place was too expensive. So me, the women from Holland, and the Brit decided to trek back towards where we were dropped off. A man standing outside of a Villa started yelling at us. We ignored him at first but we realized with the four of us, maybe if they could let us all be in the same room, we could pay hostel prices for a nice space. The attendants were okay with that in the end and so there is a stranger in the bed not too far away. It really actually pays to say what you feel when you feel it.

I am sitting here thinking I rarely do these things. Just felt right to me so I am going with the flow. Going with the flow also landed me at an ice cream parlor with vegan ice cream and a gluten free cone for a good price.

Flowing with it.

Forgiveness Bound: Parent’s Finally Understand

I was in the kitchen talking to a new volunteer. A sweet family from Texas actually, all the way in Australia. My mom had been sending me messages to my phone and when I checked again I was smiling. Let me paint her for you.

My Mom is a 50 year old angel. I mean this. She has the moods of a human but the sweetness of an angel. She loves to laugh, watch westerns. I run.  The other day my friend tried to get me to watch a western and I thought no thank you my mom has been trying for years, and by the way yuck. It actually turned out to be a good movie.

My Dad is a 53 year old play boy. He just goes with the flow does his own thing. He used to date a lot.

They met in high school. My dad was a class clown. (I was voted class clown in school also by the way). My dad has jokes for days. When I came out of the closet, which didn’t take long at all I wasn’t afraid to say I was queer, I didn’t think it was all that taboo although my family was very christian I never felt an interest in being afraid of my sexuality. My dad wasn’t mad but he had jokes for days which culminated in him showing up at my high school graduation with his girl friend at the time and yelling as I walked across the stage: “Go Dick!” “That’s My Son Up There!” If you know me you know that I am very much into my own world and as I was walking across the stage I hardly paid any attention to what was happening. I think I was more concerned with the mere fact that I didn’t get the memo that we were not supposed to be wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes to a formal affair. I was also concerned that my cap might not stay on my big fro. So as my dad was yelling, “Go Dick!” and his girlfriend was probably crying laughing next to him and applauding I simply thought it was a normal thing, got my diploma, and made it, thankfully, to my seat with my graduation cap still attached.

I hope that painted a picture of my parents for you. My mom, as I stated before, sent me a message earlier that she had a nice breakfast with my dad and that he had her laughing so hard her side hurt. She said he was kind to her and that this morning he told her he loved her. I was thinking oh geesh Mom, how cute.

They met in high school, they married really young, they had twins that didn’t make it and then me and my sister came along. They divorced after I was born. There is one thing about my parents which I appreciate and I use all of the time. It doesn’t matter what you did, you can and always will be loved. I have known for years that my dad would call my mom to check up on me and give tid bits of information on my sister. My mom and I lived in California, my sister lived in Texas where my dad was. He would call to see where in the world I was relying on my mom to know. She would call him to find out any information on Clarissa if she couldn’t reach her. There is something about having children together that will do that to two people I think. They talk far more now than ever since we are not little anymore, they talk more than when we were teenagers. The conversation is mostly still about their kids but it has finally started to lean in towards each other since we are independent.

So today my dad told my mom he loves her and my Mom sent me a message about it. Word on the street is when my dad saw my mom for breakfast he was beaming (well, that’s what Clarissa said and if you read my last post you know Clarissa is eccentric and has a joke for everything) apparently she weaseled her way into a free breakfast and of course had her opinion on the whole thing. I can just imagine it now, my mom and dad sitting there having a chat and Clarissa looking at them out of the corner of her eyes, and leaning in to interrupt the good moment for the butter 🙂 . My mom said she gave my dad relationship advice,now I know we have come a long way.

I am 28 now and my parents still call me their baby. It stems from a union they had and still in someway have.  I am now quite a grownup and independent in my own right but I admit, there is still something about your parents getting along and forgiving and loving each other that makes me smile and happy inside. I think Clarissa is happy too, she has jokes for days.

Phenomenally Phenomenal Woman: Eloquent History on the Journey to Language Learning

My sister Clarissa was one of my favorite orators in our drama club. She was hilarious during practice. We would all laugh as she joked around or did some funny gesture. The teacher sometimes didn’t like it because we tended to join in with Clarissa and her antics.I loved it.

At first I wasn’t even in the drama club. I just showed up to watch the performances. This was no normal club. All of us were black children and we did traditional black poetry; Langston, Maya, Countie. I loved Langston. Eventually Clarissa’s hilarious actions had me joining in on the fun with everyone else and the next thing I knew I had memorized something and was performing it for everyone.

I went to a famous historic black school. I mean old, it was the original Yates school before Yates became a school. Before the Civil Rights Era it was called James D. Ryan School for Coloreds. There was a worn out plaque in the entrance someone had tried to scratch out. I took a picture in front of it once, smiling and pointing with my friend Nicole. Our school was slightly modern but in the 3rd ward neighborhood there was certain things black children learned and did by way of tradition. How to Step, How to Orate, How to Debate, How to Sing a Gospel Song like you Deserved to Be On Stage, and How to Pray. All the keys to eloquence.

My teachers would put me in play after play. My family and my teachers would make me dress up to go to Museums to orate a speech or a poem. My friends and I would make up dances and step it out in front of the school. My Uncle would make us kids sing like we knew what we was doing at church. The frilly socks, the super done up hair, and the attitude to boot. Those were the funny, black traditions a young child was taught in the historically black neighborhood I grew up in and at the historically black school I went to.

Oratory competitions was my thang!

I think it helped me to be the person I am today. These powerful poems and the awareness of black history, it helped me along the way. It gave me a foundation of what I believed in, what I thought was fair, how I wanted to see the world, how I wanted to be treated.

I will make a grammar mistake like anyone can do. But when I really mean business, I can get my point across. I love to remember and perform poetry. My own now a days.

Even when I went to my first year of college I spent what money the school I was working at gave me for free books on Langston Hughes poetry. I loved a new poetry book from San Francisco’s Marcus Books which catered to black authors. I would sit in my living room remembering by heart Langston’s poetry and performing for myself since no one was around

Sometimes when the children were good in my class room, I taught visual and expressive arts in the historically black neighborhood of Bay View at an elementary school, I would perform for them. They ate it up, they loved it. One of my favorite poems I will never forget by Langston was called Suicides Note, it simply goes: The calm cool face of the River asked me for a kiss.

Not only because it was easy to remember, simply a sentence, but he brought the River to life and maintained that the River wanted him. The spirits in it’s depths wanted him and he kissed the River.

I don’t think I told the children what the name of the Poem was. 🙂

Our drama club, the one I was at first a spectator in at school, had only a few girls. Priscilla, Clarissa’s and I childhood friend was a helpful ringleader of the foolishness we drummed up. After drama club we would go to my grandmother’s porch and make up dance steps with the radio blaring and our ice cream melting and my bag of hot chips all over my fingers. Our drama club also had about one or two guys. I forgot his name for now but I know we had no since of what managomy or jelousy was. We used to practice kissing him and I tell you I only did it once and I don’t think I kissed another boy for a while after that because I thought it was so gross.

The girls remembered one poem in particular. I don’t think we could truly eloquently put into words why we all personally thought this poem was important to remember but we just did and kept it to ourselves. The poem was Maya Angleou’s Phenomenal Woman. We blared it, our hands on our hips as we performed it, walking sassy across the stage. I Am a Woman Pheno-na-ma-na-ly! Phenomenal Woman That’s Me!

My sister was really good at this poem. We didn’t laugh when she performed it, we watched. I think our drama teacher was calmer when she performed it. She certainly didn’t have an annoyed look on her face when she did. Another favorite of ours was Fire by Langston Hughes, the guy we kissed performed this one so well. Like he was about to get smote. His hands in the air over his head, a pleading in his loud clear voice. Begging and unbelieving that he could be burned by fire in hell.

However Phenomenal Woman, I will always remember that poem. How important it was for me. How important it is for me. I think I once shared it with the children of my art class. In front of all of those beautiful black boys and girls in my class. My voice ringing out: I am a Woman!

Now I am learning French. My tutor told me to do things I would normally do in French if I would like to become better at speaking. I love to read poetry. I love to read Alice, Tony, Tananarive, Octavia, Langston. I love to read. I love to read more than I would like to see a movie or video. So I pulled up this poem for you. A reminder for us all. No matter your race, age, or beliefs. No matter if you are a woman or a man or a transgender person. I think this poem has something to teach us all. I think this poem matters even to feminist and womanist (some might not like the note on high heels). It is a triumphant cry with defining verses opening doors or perception and the bare bones truth.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

And because I would like to get better and make myself and my tutor smile 🙂

Femme Phénoménale

PAR MAYA ANGELOU

Merveille de jolies femmes là toute mon secret. Je ne suis pas mignon ou construit pour adapter la taille de mannequin, mais quand je commence à leur dire :

Ils pensent que je suis dire des mensonges. Je le dis, C’est dans la portée de mes bras, La durée de mes hanches, l’enjambée de ma démarche, la courbure de mes lèvres. Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

c’est moi.

Je rentre dans une chambre Tout aussi cool que vous s’il vous plaît et à un homme, Les boursiers debout ou Tomber à genoux. Puis ils pullulent autour de moi, Une ruche d’abeilles. Je le dis, C’est le feu dans mes yeux, et le flash de mes dents, le swing dans ma taille, et la joie dans mes pieds.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Les hommes eux-mêmes sont demandent ce qu’ils voient en moi. Ils essaient tant de choses Mais ils ne peuvent pas toucher Mon mystère intérieur. Quand j’essaye de leur montrer, ils disent qu’ils n’est pas visible. Je le dis, C’est dans l’arc de mon dos, le soleil de mon sourire, Le trajet de mes seins, La grâce de mon style.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Maintenant vous comprenez Juste pourquoi ma tête n’est pas courbée. Je ne pas crier ou sauter sur Ou dois parler vrai fort. Quand vous me voyez en passant, Il devrait vous rendre fiers. Je le dis, C’est en cliquant sur mes talons, la courbe de mes cheveux, la paume de ma main, le besoin de mes soins. Parce que je suis une femme Phénoménal.

 Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

 

Merci.