Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Shifting Winds of Poetry

Hola mi Gente,
First, I want to say that because the generosity of so many of you, I might be able to rent a room and pay for my storage and phone. You don’t know how much this means to me. In light of my decision to ask for help, my friend (and lover in a past life), Nina, said the following:

There is no shame in loving and if people never need us, when do we get the opportunity to love and care for them? It is an honor to be needed and trusted with a person's heart, their pain. It is an honor to be allowed to give and not just take.

That about says it all. I don’t want to jinx it, but I might have some good news this Monday. Keep your fingers crossed. If you can give, here’s the link:

Most people here know my love for art and poetry in particular. A few years ago, I purchased a sweet surprise of a book, an anthology titled The wind shifts: New Latino poetry. It’s chock full of new vibrant voices. I’ve included two here today. Art saved my life – literally. Enjoy and have a great day.

* * *

Wind coming over from Waimea reaches the coast below Kawaihae, HI

Shifting Winds of Poetry

Within Me
-- Naomi Ayala

War begins right here on my street.
t begins with me.
I see her weapons in the eyes of a child,
her face on windowpanes.
There are times I want war.
I lie down with her.
I stroke her back.
There are times she enters my house
and I enter into battle with her.
War slips in, into my name.
I have her in my blood.
She sweetens my morning coffee on Saturdays.
I betray her. I hide from her. I run away
but already war knows the course of my dreams
and wants to steal the children of my soul.
War begins with me.
It is with me that war begins
right here on my street
in the small showers of bullets
in an empty garbage can
in what I say and do not say
in the bewitching ivy of tedium
in the soap I use to bathe.
She is in my fingers
in the shadow of my eyes
in my lover’s hair.
I sing to her so that she may leave
so that war leaves me.
Today I sing to her and she lets me sing.

* * *

-- Lidia Torres New York City, August 13, 2003

All this is not unusual in DR or Iraq. 
The city’s extension cord shorts. 
Afternoon, offices evacuate. 
The focus is on feet, 
some people walking through the boroughs 
for the first time. We stare at our feet, 
elbow to elbow eyeing packed buses. 
Some hitch rides on the back 
of trucks. An orderly mob of feet, 
legs pushing past fearless 
grocery stores. Lincoln 
center, Harlem, 
finally in Washington Heights the 
street party has begun. Batteries boost 
the curbside music, click of candlelit 
dominoes, night meeting a stream 
of car lights, congestion 
of bodies. Everyone is polite and briefly 
romantic in the dark. On my block, 
there’s a woman selling hot pastels 
on paper plates, with ketchup 
if you want.

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 


Aragón, F. (Ed.). (2007). The wind shifts: New Latino poetry. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Friday Sex Blog [Virgins and Whores]

Hola mi Gente,
Some of you might not know, but after a lot of thinking and with even more humility, I put up a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe (here). The prospect of losing my belongings (in storage) and my cell service was what prompted this move. Mostly, my living situation has changed. Technically, I am homeless. I have been fortunate in that my sister has put me up, but I’ve been here much too long and I have absolutely no income.

So, it was with a much trepidation (and embarrassment) that I put up the page and posted it on social media. The response was immediately affirming. I mean, it wasn’t so much the financial support (some from people who hardly know me), thought that was important. What got me was people who gave so freely even when their own situations were tenuous. As an example, one person who contributed, sent me the following note:

I know you don’t know me, but I have been reading your blog for many years. I can’t tell you the times your words have had an impact on my life. Your stories and how you freely share about your life have made me think and sometimes you were the difference. I wish I could give you more…

Then there was this:

Eddie, I don't have much. I am on unpaid sick leave from work currently. But you have called me “sweetie” so many times, makes an old girl feel good!! Love you and pray your breakthrough is sooner than later!

In short, there were many messages of support like these. More than the financial support, these sentiments mean so much more to me. If you can give, it would be greatly appreciated. If you can’t, that’s OK too. You are loved… 

* * *

Virgins & Whores

Do you really have to be the ice queen intellectual or the slut whore? Isn't there some way to be both?
 -- Susan Sarandon

What men desire is a virgin who is a whore.
 -- Edward Dahlbert


Early Christian leaders were forced to establish the absolute purity of the mother of Christ because of their attitudes toward women. Eve had tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden and therefore women were view as vessels of sin, which was passed on to their wombs at conception. The pains of childbirth and menstruation were the curse of Eve (fuck!), and according to influential Christian saints, the closeness of women to all that is vile could be seen in the “feces and urine” of childbirth.

In comparison, Mary, who had not conceived like other women, was the second coming of Eve, put here to redeem the mistakes of the first. In many ways, Eve was the incarnate mother of humanity (whore!), Mary its spiritual mother (good girl!).

Mary would quickly become an object of worship in her own right. The first recorded prayer to the Virgin Mary dates from about 390 b.c.e.; her cult reached its height around the 16th century. In popular worship, however, Mary may have lost her virginal status. She has often been given the attributes of pagan mother goddesses, all who came before Mary. Mary’s most striking pagan metamorphosis, however, occurs within the orthodox doctrine, because she is identified with the Church, and the Church is the bride of Christ. There, like many other goddesses that preceded her, Mary becomes the bride in an incestuous marriage with her own son. She is regarded as an ideal of perfection but the church has never used Mary to represent women, but to slut-shame them in comparison.

As the patroness of priests and guardian of their celibacy, some seminarians may still be urged to think of Mary if they have lustful thoughts, continuing a centuries-old tradition of sublimating desire in an unattainable fantasy.

Christianity has always had a love/ hate relationship with whores. At the beginning of the 16th century Pope Julius II was said to have established a Church brothel in Rome (based on an earlier model) where the inhabitants spent their time at religious duties when they were not “working.”

To the medieval Church, unmarried women were either virgins or whores, and the cult of that other Mary, Mary Magdalene, grew alongside that of the Virgin Mary. As a prostitute (bad girl!) who was redeemed, and who eventually became a saint (good girl!), the figure of Mary Magdalene served to emphasize the equation of women to sin, while at the same time holding out the promise of salvation to those who did penance.

Magdalene is actually a conflation of at least three different biblical figures, who in the Orthodox Greek Church still have their respective feast days: Mary Magdalene herself, a woman from whom seven demons were exorcised by Jesus, and to whom he first appeared after his resurrection; Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus, who bathes Christ’s feet in ointment; and an unspecified “sinner” – not explicitly a prostitute – who bathes Christ’s feet or head in ointment in three gospels.

The image of Magdalene also became confused with that of a Mary of Egypt, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the 4th century by working her passage as a ship’s prostitute. In Jerusalem, she repented and became a hermit. Throughout Christian history, many similar figures have entered the canon as, one historian wrote, “beauty consuming itself like incense burned before God in solitude far from the eyes of men became the most stirring image of penance conceivable.” I guess at the heart of all this madness is that patriarchy and religion makes for oppressive bedfellows.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


[un]Common Sense