Category Archives: friends

On Becoming an Ex-Writer: A Personal Essay (part 1 & 2)

Blessed and honored to announce that Part 1 & 2 of my non-fiction essay “On Becoming an Ex-Writer” just went live at Doveglion Press! Many thanks to editors Barbara Jane Reyes and Oscar Bermeo for the shine. Shout out to coming out and coming of age in the golden early 90s in Frisco, writing on walls, bombing partners and falling in love with words, one at a time. Trying to connect the dots before they fade…
Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Filed under 90s hip-hop, blues, childhood memories, community organizing, friends, getting politicized, graffiti, Inspirations, literary universe, origins, poetry, San Francisco

Response to my sister grieving at the bottom of a well

Dear sister,
I want to crawl into a bucket
wearing a big ass puffy coat
and lower myself down there
to give you a hug you can sink
into instead. Or release a jar
of fireflies to keep you company
and bring you some light.
Or maybe you’d like floating cloth
bundles that release baby potatoes
on your head that make you laugh
and the sound of your laughter paints
the walls of your well a spring green
where little shoots of daffodils
and violets start to poke out.

I’m so sorry you’re down there right now.
I have a whole big strong heart
full of love and resilience for you pumping.

Maybe you’d like to hear this song while you’re down there, too:
Tell me how it sounds when you tilt your head up at that circle-shaped opening of night sky that is still yours.

I’m here. And I will come looking for you.

love you so much (it’s not hard),
t

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Filed under friends, love, music sweet music

On Anger

I recently wrote a bus story about a teenage girl who gets with a middle-aged bus driver. It is what you think. And it isn’t. At one point the main character Renee says, “Sometimes anger is a girl’s best friend.” It’s been swirling in my head lately, that line. Anger is the hardest emotion for me to feel. It usually turns into sadness before it even has a chance to touch air. I let it feed on me from the inside. I’ve made progress. I don’t get sad nearly as much as I used to. I’ve learned to let feelings rise and then move through me because I know they need to travel to the other side. Growing up I never learned how to express my anger so I think much of my adult life has been spent coaxing it out, making it safe. An entirely different thing from growing up surrounded by anger and learning it as the default reaction for anything disagreeable, but still along the same spectrum of self-destruction. Just maybe on opposite ends. It’s a trip, but when I can allow myself to feel angry at someone, it’s usually a sign that I trust them. It’s a sign of possibility. Watch out.
(The anger I’m speaking of is not anger at social injustices, which I don’t have a problem tapping into.)

Years ago when I hadn’t figured any of this out yet, an ex-boyfriend of mine did something precious. I was angry one night. I can’t even remember what it was about. But I didn’t know what to do. I thought I might explode. I thought I might try to drink myself numb.

That night you went through the recycling
pulled out all the glass bottles and grabbed
my hand. You wouldn’t say where we were
going, just drove towards the train yard
in the dark. We stood out on the tracks
metal vibrating beneath our soles.You handed
me the first bottle from the crate and turned
to face the red brick wall. Throw it.
Throw it so hard it shatters.

I hurled the bottle by its neck
watched it fly towards
the wall by the force
of my own motion.
Better than careful words
Better than merciful prayers
Better than song
My fist
releasing
the sound
of impact
glass
breaking
me
into
shards
that
cannot
be put
back
together
again.

I stand
weight balanced
itching to throw another.
I am already
enjoying my sore
shoulder in the morning.
You stand
beside me
passing the next bottle
until I empty
this crate.

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Filed under childhood memories, friends, love, poetry, solidarity

Blessings

An incomplete list…
I live next door to a boy who drinks red stripe and writes haiku.
My professor closes his eyes and smiles like i do on the dancefloor.
I am reading a book called the Karma of Brown Folk.
I got two beautiful handwritten letters in the mail from SF on the same day.
Bloomington knows how to do Korean BBQ and lemon custard ice cream.
My love is coming to visit in ten days.
I can give my new friends rides home at night.
I can cry when I need to and it keeps my heart open.
I just sold one of my short films to a college library.
I go to a school with running creeks and gingko trees on campus.
I am almost 33.
I can still imagine the ocean in my mind.

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Filed under Academia, food, friends, Inspirations, long distance relationships, love, Pacific Ocean, Writers & Poets

I heart my ricecooker

it never lets me down. like last night when i came home after class and made adobo, my first bloomington batch. i shovelled out two steamy scoops and topped it off with my extra vinegary sabao. then this morning mixed with green onion and diced tomatoes and then two fried eggs with soy sauce on top. sarap! it’s my own cooking that will now be my comfort food. not mama’s, not james c’s, my own. My rice cooker is my ace-in-the-hole. the part of the meal i can take for granted. i have so much love for the things i can take for granted…

i’ve made a few friends here, but we’re all still checking each other out, taking it slow. No one wants anyone to get the wrong idea or overcommit. To grab on to new friends sometimes feels like it means i’m letting old ones go. So I don’t grab. We’re all here to write anyway. The real task is making writing my new best friend. Figuring out how to stay up late with my writing. How to be loyal and stick up for my writing. But how, against the voices that say I’ll be neglecting my old friends? Who needs a new best friend? This writing is too demanding. And what if we don’t hit it off? Well, either way I have a story due in two weeks that I haven’t started yet. Best friend, enemy, flabby muscle, whatever I wanna call it, it’s time to get crackin. sometimes i wish my writing was like my ricecooker. Easy, reliable, comforting and filling me up. Taken for granted. But in the absence of wishes come true, there are deadlines.

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Filed under food, friends, Homesickness