Monday, January 28, 2008

Seduce Me

This is a beautiful poem Nia directed me to by one of my favorite poets Mayda Del Valle. This thing is breathtaking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Seduce me

write me a poem

tell me about the scent of musk at the nape of my neck

that you dream of spending sultry summer days between

my breasts

that if you could taste me

it would be mangoes and tropical breezes on your tongue

keeping you up at 2am

for weeks

staring at black ceilings

legs entwined in sheets

wiping your brow

wondering when the next will be

seduce me

write me a poem

drop those weak pick up lines

and overwhelm me with quotes from Nerudas 100 love sonnets

tell me i walk in beauty like the night

trace the lines in the palm of my left hand


then read and whisper their meaning to me

tell me my life line crosses your destiny

imprint your words on me like overnight scratchmarks

leave butterflies in my stomach

with honeysuckle syllables

that remind me of first kisses

and holding hands at recess

seduce me

write me a poem

that prays my name

and preaches our passion

chant a litany of our lovemaking to come

under your breath

with the faith of withered hands holding rosaries in cathedrals

until images of us entwined in each other

burn themselves inside our minds

like incense at mass

seduce me

write me a poem

with your eyes

lock glances for a moment

across a crowded room

soft smirk on full lips

and a slow deliberate blink followed by a flutter of


that says

damn I wish...

seduce me

write me a poem

with your body

approach me with the certainty of the tide

move to me without doubt or question

make me your origin

and your destination

let music be the catalyst that lets our bodies meet

spin me in and out of conga rhythms

lead me into a Coltrane wail

grind me into the bass-line

of between the sheets...

then pull me close enough

to feel our hearts beat together

when we dance

seduce me

write me a poem

that speaks of our timelessness

remind me it was you I loved in a past life

on some faraway continent

tell me I carry you in my genes

that I can't forget you if I tried

that our memories are engraved into eternity

that time is just a theory to us

seduce me

write me a poem

that needs no words

compose a silent sonnet on soft bare skin

where your caress on exposed back

speaks that syllable I need to hear you

a poem

where melding bodies become

the book

where shallow breathing becomes prose



seduce me


inspire me to write you the poem

that shows you how to love me

by Mayda Del Valle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Una Fiera, a political conversation with mama about the country breaking her heart

I was a militant socialist of a 10 year old, quick to invoke every freedom fighter I had ever heard discourse in documentaries or on TV whenever I spoke about the need for change. I would say by the time I was in fourth grade, I spoke exuberantly about the lack of resources kids in the hood had to experience and the unfairness of the world. Now as an adult, I wonder where I got the rhetoric. I mean clearly, I was 10 and my ability to know nuanced views about the issues was incredibly limited. And I wouldn't say that my parents spoke about politics in the same way I did. I mean my parents and I have always aligned ideologically/politically. Having grown up in their house, I took away many and most of their liberal ideals. Though, I believe I was always the one to start conversations around politics in the house. They were always trying to reign me back in and had a fair level of concern with my anger at the injustices of the world. And I hesitate to downplay my ten year old angst because it meant something to me. I just knew our ability to make change and I didn't have the patience to be older before I started vocalizing it.

16 years later, I am on the phone with my mother and we are discussing the Democratic primary. Having been so aligned, it is the first time we have ever not been in full agreement on an election. I am an Obama supporter and she is tenuously in the Clinton camp. After his South Carolina win, I call, not to brag, but to ask where she is at. And she tells me, "Mija, people in politics are just so mean, and the country is so evil. He seems like such a good man, how can a good man survive this. If they killed him, it would be devastating for the country, I don't know how Latinos and Blacks would ever recover."

And there it was, the fear many people of color in this country carry when it comes to the thought of an Obama presidency, what if he's killed.

"Is this why you aren't voting for him mama? I thought you liked her." "I do mija, I think she's really smart y una fiera (a wild animal) when she's attacked and when she is attacking. Pero, I think he is a good man with the right ideas, but it scares me, what could happen to him. This is a country that does not love us and it does not want us here."

The media has made so many assessments about the Latino vote and where it will go and why the Clinton's (and yes I say that plural for a reason)likely have a stronghold on it. How the supposed hatred in brown/black relations make Latinos voting for an Obama presidency unlikely. But I gotta tell you. I have yet to see any "expert" discussing it on tv that is actually Latino. Not a one of them has the language ability to even watch Univision or Telemundo. And it really pisses me off. They also assume that Latino is never black, when obviously, so much of the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Hatian, Central American and Cuban populations have the ability to be both Black and Latino. No doubt, there is a history of racism in the Latino world. The more light-skinned you are, the more revered in some places. But I would come close to making the bold assessment that this is pretty much a global problem that has roots in a looong line of socio-economic oppression. And that there are just as many allies in these communities as people who create division.

My mother's reasoning, actually resonates to me, much louder as the true fears behind the Latino community. I would venture to say that Latinos in this country have felt in the last 3 years even more than usual that we are not wanted here. It has played psychological havoc on our community and our children. Trust me, having been told in the past to go back to my own country, having being born in San Gabriel, California... you just feel like a less than to a country that is supposed to thrive as a result of its diverse population. My mother fears another blow. This woman who fought so hard to study and fight for her citizenship. Who fought for her children to become educated here. Whose admiration of this country just a few short years ago (pre-Bush re-election) was so unfailing. Her patriotism while I was growing up was almost blind. It frustrated me, yet at the same time infused me with hope and belief in this country.

And this is what it comes to? She starts to vote in elections here, the way she and my father would have voted for elections in their mother country? Based on fear and a lack of belief in the ability of change?

Is it my luxury at my 26 years to still have hope? To still ardently believe that as a country we are capable of getting past years of division. And to believe in a leader whose been more aware of my experiences growing up with a lack of power and privilege. Don't get me wrong, some of the fissures, I know they will always exist. But some of it, it just doesn't need to be this way. I want to be "una fiera" for that kind of belief.

So I close this entry with how my mother and I ended our conversation...

"Mama, I'm tired. I'm not going to vote in this election based out of a fear of what could happen. Or because this is the least evil person that could be the most evil and pull it off. I want to believe because I always believed. I have to take a leap of faith mama and if something bad happens deal with it, fight against it, and move on. Because the country shouldn't have broken your heart like this, you never spoke about this country like this."

"It's so much more corrupt than I ever thought it was Karla. But for your sake mija, I hope you are right. I don't want it to make you feel the way it makes me feel. And you do with your heart and your brain what you think should happen. And then we'll both pray."

"Si mama, we'll both pray."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy 100th!

This would officially be my 100th post on my blog. Yay!

I want to thank everyone whose ever read the words I write on here. They come from my heart, and it has allowed me to keep alive my love of writing. Which in truth, is both sanctuary and therapy for me. I have all of these words in me on any given moment in time and this blog helps me put them in the world. The release of them is as vital to me as meal times.

This week, in my search for balance, I had a friend challenge me to write a list of the things that bring me pleasure. Just pleasure. Not something I do for someone else, to benefit anything or anyone but me and my heart. In the short run, I was pretty stumped. It took me sometime to sift through. And if you would permit me, I would like to write the list down now.

1. Writing my blog
2. Writing in my journals (yes, there are thoughts I have, the larger world is not privy to.)
3. Singing
4. Dancing
5. Cooking
6. Latin American Art (as of late, particularly art depicting Mayan culture)
8. Reading (For enlightenment, education, and general girlyness)

In the coming year, I'd like to put some elbow grease in one of these and work on expanding the list. May your lists fill you with just as much, if not more, joy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Epiphanies and Illness

I've had time to reflect in the last two day about how I ever got myself to this space in my health life. I got so sick, it was scary. I believe it is the longest any illness has put me out of commission. I've spent an entire week literally in bed because my body just didn't have it in me to do anything else. I thought I had reflected at the beginning of being sick, why I got this sick, but really, I didn't. I came up with the boiler plate answers. But the last two days I've been lucid enough to really get it.

I'm an epiphany kind of person. I'll have moments of insight and get clarity like no other. Even the lessons that take a great amount of time to garner, usually hit me like a brick in a moment of a-ha. The way that I take care of myself has inspired many of these epiphanies. Moments where I go "Okay, now, this time, I will take care of myself." "Now I will be my biggest priority." "Now, I'm gonna do it."

It's a pretty lame repetition. I've gotta admit. Its lackluster at this point. The epiphany means nothing. I know, at this fundamental level, that what is missing is me treating myself like the most wonderful precious thing that I have in my life. Or even, like I would treat any other person.

I have this reverence and regard for people, organizations, and good work. Its one of the things I love most about me. That I genuinely care and am deeply vested in the world around me. But that level of care, it just doesn't translate well when I'm dealing with myself. You would think it would be so easy, once you know, you just do it right? I mean its basic, this is wrong, fix it, do better. But I never seem to grasp this particular principle.

So how do you do it? Does anyone know? How do you gear 26 years of making yourself less of a priority than the world around you into a change of lifestyle? I don't want it this way anymore. I don't want to get so sick or so sad or so overwhelmed that I hit a wall and have to crawl back to level out. I want to value me, my body, my spirit, and my heart so much that I am there for me. All of this growth and introspection and self-evaluation that I've been fortunate enough to do, I've always done it in relation to the other. "I'm going to learn this and be a better daughter" "I'm going to do this and be a better manager." "I'm going to learn this and be better with kids." "I'm going to learn this and be better for my family." and in all honesty, I struggle to remember a time when I've thought, genuinely, "I'm going to learn this to be a better Karla for Karla." To an extent, even the counseling I've done has been to not be a mess for other people. And I want it for me. I mean really really want it for me. But I don't know how to get it.

And thats the epiphany this illness has given me. I don't want to make myself or those concerned about me any more empty promises. I just wanna hold my shit down for me. And really get why that means something. And move forward. Because the cycle, its not cute, and I don't wanna be in it anymore, but how? I'm just in such prayer as to how...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

That Brown Girl

So this is day 5 of stick to bed illness and I'm frustrated, so I figured I would just write about something thats been bothering me. Cause when you are laid up in bed unable to do more than go from room to living room, you kinda wanna nag about something. Rather than nag the good people that are being so sweet to me, I am going to nag about an actual issue. Maybe this way, I spare us all, haha.

The East Coast is the most "Latina" I've ever felt. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am Latina and proud of it. But when living in CA, I can't say that I totally was aware of my ethnicity, every, single, day. I was aware of it in the way that I am proud of my identity, have very cultural ways of being, speak in Spanish regularly. But not aware in the way that I felt when people looked at me they saw "Latin girl" and I gotta say, I definitely do here in our fair nations capitol.

There are things about DC that are much better in so far as diversity than SF. I love walking into places and being in diverse settings without even trying. I love feeling like there is so much out there to explore. But really guys, every single day, someone reminds me I am brown. It's the "Hola" I get when everyone else gets a hello. It's the habit of anyone in throwing distance coming to tell me whenever they have had ANY kind of Latin food. My favorite was someone coming to me on and telling me they had great Peruvian this weekend, like I should hand out a diversity doggie biscuit. Do you go up to Filipino men or women and say "I had the best Chinese this weekend!" No. You don't. And if you do, stop. Now.

I have even had someone go as far as saying "Ole!" when I accomplished something. Its just gotten to be a little ridiculous. I get confused for other Latin co-workers, though I'm relatively new to the city - I get asked for Latin food recommendations, the amount of men at bars whose opening line when they come up to me is some Spanish phrase they have no idea how to pronounce is staggering.

The East Coast is different. Or maybe its the northeast. Whatever the case, its happened enough times where I know I have an obligation to point out these faux paux's but struggle with how you correct in a way that is clean. Especially when I've let it get to the point where I've heard so many of the comments, every new comment makes me have to pause and breathe. I just know I am about 2 months away from becoming "that brown girl". And don't get me wrong. I'm glad I came out here. Though my initial instinct that this place could never be permanent I feel was right on. It will be interesting navigating being "exotic" to my new community. I'll post something the first time anyone calls me spicy. Oh and please believe, its happened before, so it wouldn't be an out of left field surprise. For now, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm proud of my heritage, I'll just have to find a way to bridge gaps between it and my new community.

Okay, back to napping. Muah.