Welcome To My Bed

Lady With Smoke

First finished in the series for our boozy launch party.  There's another more than half-done sitting on my drafting table, waiting to be completed.  If I was my younger self, I would've stayed up half the night watching reruns of the Law & Order franchise and powering through two or three more in this style.  I'm very pleased with where this is headed and can't wait for there to be ten tiny canvases ready to be shown.

3 Sorority Girls Walk Into My Cafe --or-- Rape Culture As Reported By Undeclared Feminists

I will start off by stating, unequivocally, that I am deeply prejudiced.  I immediately dislike people involved in Greek life on their campus of choice.  To me, frat-related social activities are about as appetizing (and as bland, and as devoid of value) as Kraft Mac&Cheez.  When someone within earshot mentions an affiliation with such activities, I shut off my ears so as to spare my gag reflex.  I'm not proud of this.  I'm sure plenty of nice people pledge.  It'd just not my cup of tea.

That being said, I was at work yesterday, and three preppy, willowy blondes wandered into the cafe for coffee.  They were perfectly harmless, discussing Jell-O shots and "the sloppy girls" and campus scandal. And then the campus scandal portion of the conversation took a turn from who's-hooking-up-with-whom towards the college's cover-up of a sports-team-related rape.

I didn't hear what school they went to.  Unfortunately, the details they discussed were generic enough to belong to any school that's had such a scandal.  And that's where my heart broke.  Right at the word 'generic'.  The fact that these types of situations are generic at a college level is disgusting and horrifying.  In this particular case, the rape allegations involve the basketball team.  The girls chatted about how predatory the players were when they saw them at bars near campus--how they'd sit back from everyone else and prey upon the freshman girls, specifically choosing those inexperienced and drunk enough to be manipulated.  Now, I obviously haven't seen this behavior firsthand (the closest thing my college had to sport or frat culture was an Ultimate Frisbee team called The Red Scare), but I felt like I knew what they were going to say before they even said it.  It's been in the news so much.  Promising college athlete accused of assault or rape, denies allegations or calls the girl a slut or blames her for being drunk or some combination of all of the above.  College stands by the player, not the victim.  The media twists everything.  Lives are ruined.  The end.

I expected their conversation to veer back towards the frivolous, but it remained in a place of outrage at their school.  According to one girl, their school went nine years without passing along charges of assault or rape handled by campus police to the proper officials in local law enforcement.  Even though it is their on-the-books policy to do so.  Even though it is their moral obligation to do so.  And after 9 years, somebody finally noticed this institutionalization of rape and reported it.  I wonder what kind of reprimand the school received for this transgression of human rights.  The girls spent a good deal of the following conversation making conjectures about how it might feel to be a young woman who reported her assault or rape and have the school officials take down her statement and promise to take action only to sweep the entire thing under the rug.

I had to do everything in my power not to jump into the conversation at several points.  But let me jump in now, after the fact, and say how all of this made me feel about the attitude that colleges routinely take when it comes to assault.  The horror of this, as I stated earlier, is how generic the girls' talk of a basketball team with a rape scandal is.  As woman move towards greater social equality (we've actually statistically surpassed men in terms of college enrollment), these all-too-routine exhibitions of rage, sexual aggression, and moral lapse followed by aggressive institutional cover-up appear in the discourse more and more.  And it isn't just assault of women.  Think about Joe Paterno's disgraceful actions.  Colleges are too afraid of PR nightmares to protect their communities properly.  I am sick over this.

Sexual violence is not about sex, but power.  This kind of behavior is not even invisible in this case, but rather seen, acknowledged, and actively made to disappear.  I wonder if those responsible for the nine years of non-report at this particular school have wives or daughters, or, even more chilling to think, are women themselves.  By doing nothing about assault and rape, the school is essentially condoning it.

Eavesdropping on the three girls was an essential slap in the face for me.  Women are women, regardless of who they associate with or how they choose to conduct themselves.  It is an ugly impulse to write off members of my gender for their social choices when we have the exact same concerns.  It an ugly standard that our chief concern must be rape.  Another of the girls told a story of walking across campus alone at night that contained all of the reasons why my mother hates that I walk home alone from work at night.  Who knows if these girls would call themselves feminists.  But clearly, you don't have to self-identify as a feminist the feel like a victim of rape culture.  And you certainly don't have to be a feminist to expect to feel like you are entitled to protection of your personal safety.

Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash.

The new hair, in full-ish effect:


The newest painting, now that it's no longer shrouded in secrecy:


And my new favorite outrageous lady:


Spent the better part of last night listening to Nicki the Ninja. Pretty sure the only reason I ever disliked her is that her verse on "Bedrock" is the only underwhelming one she's ever spit, and that's the track I heard her on first. But we couldn't have her upstaging the boys again, could we?

Lil Kim needs to get her ass back to music-land (besides that brief moment on Luda's "Battle of the Sexes") and join this little lady in breaking up the boys club with some serious skills. I'm rather tired of there only being one or two female MC's in the mainstream at a time.



Today's episode is brought to you by the feathered friends that both inspired this morning's haircut and live on my current shirt. Regardless of the fact that it snowed today, I still can't stop myself from succumbing to my intensive need for changes to my physical appearance. Too broke for new piercing or tattoos, but those clippers under my bathroom sink are always around, offering a free alternative to racing down to the drugstore for more hair dye. So I brought back the hawk in full force, just in time for the early onset of winter.

The bouncer at one of the bars my sister took me to while we visited Jersey for the holiday insisted I looked like La Roux. This is a photograph from that night:


My hair isn't nearly as architectural, but I must admit, I am insanely jealous of the amber tidal wave that lives on her head. I mean, look at her.


I'm going to learn how to sound mostly disaffected over a dance beat, grow my hair out a bit more, and then promptly steal her identity.

Maybe this is only something I want because it is a Saturday, and I just got out of work, and I am mostly delirious from lack of truly restful sleep.

Ain't no party like a NoHo party.

Saturday night after work I ran over to Pearl Street in lieu of joining the annual zombie pub crawl to catch Lynx and Beats Antique on the Blind Threshold tour with Zoe Jakes. Not only did I dance until my legs got rubbery and uncooperative, but I can honestly say that I've never had a show experience like that before. There are days I forget that one of my favorite feelings is live sound rattling in my chest. With two drum kits on stage at once that night, it was impossible to forget. And in addition to the amazing and invigorating experience of the room, there was stunning dancing besides. I had never seen anyone belly dance before, and I'm pretty sure I've been supremely spoiled in seeing one of the more famous belly dancers on the planet do her thing over some of the most fun, original dance music I've come across in a hot minute. My jaw was on the floor half the time for how simply the set-up was: two guys, two drum kits, a laptop and mixer, and the occasional electrified string instrument. Every few songs, Zoe came out in a different costume dripping of rhinestones and self-possession and wow-ed everybody. I know little to nothing about belly dance, but my roommate is an instructor, and I am willing to take her word that this woman knows her shit.

At the end of the night, a hippie chick had given me a glow stick, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside from the music, and both my ears and eyes thanked me for feeding them such delicious things. The following is an episode from the tour's video blog regarding a song collaboration between the two music acts on Lynx's forthcoming alubm, featuring footage from the show I attended. And there we are, in the front row. Bow-throwing back from my Jersey hardcore days still comes in handy every now and again.

Oh, and Lynx played a banjo beatbox cover of "No Diggity". Jus' sayin'.

What dinner parties are made of.

Last night on our day off, Jericha and I decided it was time we threw a dinner party for a few of our co-workers. No, that sounds too sophisticated. We told them to bring beer and we would make food. We christened this gathering an impromptu meeting of the Right Honorable Ladies Society, our salon that usually takes place on Thursday nights, but instead of food for thought, we mostly stuck to the dinner aspect of things. And feast we did, on my momma's old faithful baked macaroni and cheese recipe, accompanied by heaps of bok choy. We have strange tastes, but the food we make always tastes amazing.

Alongside the supply of Shipyard Pumpkin that we mostly sipped in the alley during cigarette breaks while getting hit with doors and drenched with rain, there was quite a bit of giggling for one very special reason. Jericha had a flashback to childhood (I cannot remember what it was triggered by) that lead her to the following video:

Not only did we find where MJ learned his footwork, but we asked a lot of questions that supplied endless laughs as well.

Good food, good friends, and good ol' youtube. Welcome to the typical gathering of the 21st century.

Magic morsel #39, dub-step remixes etc. near daybreak.

Whenever I wake up from a dead sleep in the middle of the early morning, I look up Rusko remixes on youtube and dance myself back to sleep. Or maybe that's only tonight's remedy.

The dancing cigarettes in this one makes me a little bit too happy.

After a few good go-arounds at dancing, I then let things derail a bit. Which, tonight, means that I get on the Amanda Blank train and refuse to get off.

I suppose this is meant to make up for being a total homebody all Friday night.

Magic morsel #37, those Bette Davis eyes.

Check out how she downs that martini! And picks over those chocolates! And that gown! Oh, jeez. I am smitten with this movie. Jericha and I watched half of it last night before bed and dissolved into giggles so frequently it was alarming. We also got quite moony-eyed over the clothes.

Mostly, I just want such snappy dialogue in my life at all times. Where are all the well-dressed men to argue me off my high horse?

Kicking undead ass, via Boston.

I know a lot of ladies with more than their fair share of pizzaz. But one in particular is celebrating a big day today--Madame Psychosis' first ever music video is live on youtube! HOORAY!

If you like zombies, and I'm sure that plenty of you do, you should probably check it out:

If you like what you saw/heard, check out Madame P's new EP on Bandcamp, and the rest of her AKA Jade Sylvan's projects here. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Pomp (& circumstance).

I can't sleep. I haven't had to say that aloud in a long time.

So I started thinking about my hair again. It's been an obsession lately (and always). I've dyed it twice in the past two weeks, once lighter, once darker. I am satisfied with the color now, but the length is driving me nuts. Having an inch and a half of hair is difficult. With my styling options close to zero, it seems my collection of hats is growing exponentially. Not because I want to cover my hair by any means, but because I just want something interesting to be happening on my head. Oh, how I rue the day that I shaved off my mohawk! Well, not really. I've quite enjoyed this crop. But I am ready for some different extreme. These two ladies and their fabulous coifs have been spinning through my head as of late:


Now, Rihanna is someone that can essentially do no wrong by me. Argue her talent all you want; I'm not going to tell you what opinion to have as far as pop music goes. But for the past few years, basically ever since she cut it short, her hair has been fierce as a tiger let lose on Las Vegas. If I could have even half the pompadour she's rocking at the right of that pair of pictures, I would be beyond pleased with myself.


If you have not heard of Janelle Monae, you have been living under a boulder of epic un-coolness. This woman can sing and dance like I have not seen in years, not to mention carry a sci-fi story of Frank Herbert-proportions on her shoulders rocking wing-tips and the freshest white shirts. I love me some Gaga, but I have half a mind to smack the entertainment industry hard in the mouth for being so moony-eyed over that New York love child of Madonna and Marilyn Manson when Janelle is leaps and bounds beyond. If we wanted to have a no-holds-barred battle between high-concept pop divas, I know Monae would win, hands down. That being said, her hair, while defying all gravity, has absolutely captured my heart.

I suppose what all of this means is that I'm currently sitting at my kitchen table in the dark, meditating on ways to make my hair grow faster. After dinner tonight, I had a brief modeling session where I showed my roommate Jericha this fantastic vintage dress I picked up mid-July. In talking about how to style it, I went off on a tangent about the plans for my future hair. She told me I was only allowed to dress pin-up if my hair got larger than life. I am inclined to agree. There is nothing that makes me happier than the idea of winged eyeliner, sky-high pumps, and even higher hair.

Except maybe this last picture:


In other, perhaps more important, news, the website for my winter tour is up and running. I have been smiling too much and doing impromptu happy dances in the crosswalk on my way to work because of it. It was designed by the badd-ass and talented William James, a man I admire for many reasons, the least of which is that his typewriter collection rivals his pearl snap shirt collection. RESPECT!

If you're in the New York area this weekend, you should come out to the inaugural tour date, my show at Sarah Lawrence's Teahaus, sponsored by their Spoken Word Collective. I will have limited edition books and lots of words and hugs and dance magic to share. Word on the street is there's going to be an epic after-party, as it's their first feature of the semester. I am honored, and absolutely beyond excited to rock New York hard. Details here. I'd love to see your smiling face in the audience!

Last, and perhaps most importantly, today is my sister's twenty-fifth birthday. Well, more like yesterday at this advanced stage of morning. I am sending her a unicorn for good luck in the coming year, her silver anniversary of living. What a wonderful lady!


Here we are at the Flying Rhino last fall, our favorite restaurant in Worcester. I can't wait resume our tradition of monthly dinners, this time with wine.


Did I mention it's now nine days until my 21st birthday?! SHA-ZAMMM.

Ok. I really need to go to bed now...

Stay out of the business.

I have been lazy in terms of writing lately. I am going to continue to be. My novel is due, completed (at least in some sense), this December. I am still kicking unborn scenes around. I need to buckle down. Instead, I'll show you what we looked like in St. Paul.


Breakfast at Mickey's our first morning in St. Paul.


Tackling Sam through a storefront window.


Updating the exhaustive minute-by-minute travelog at dinner before our first bout.



Anddddd I found a carrot flower in my soup. No joke. We sang.


Anna & Mckendy talk politics. Or something.


Way too much time at the same thai place...

The first leg.

Greetings from Ortonville, Michigan. The Lady Poets are taking a day of rest before continuing on our way to world domination (fingers crossed), and that day of rest is turning out to be glorious. First off, check out this good looking breakfast:


It goes quite well with the good looking morning we woke up to in a bed that felt like a cloud, a mattress so soft that I slept like a rock. Not that that makes much sense. Anyway. Sunshine so perfect you get drunk just looking at it:


And now, a selection of entries from the road trip log thus far, a minute-by-minute record of the strange things said, done and seen on our way to Nationals.

9:28 AM

Bumper sticker: "Nashua belongs to Jesus Christ." Sweet life, Trashua. I thought you were the meth capital of New England...

1:40 PM

First Amish sighting. "Are they even allowed to wear bright blue?"

2:14 PM

Who parks this beauty at a Pennsylvania McDonalds??


2:28 PM

"Are we still in Pennsylvania?"
"Yes, Pennsylvania has child-bearing hips."

5:08 PM

Ohio. Also, "No Scrubs".

7:19 PM

Speeding ticket.

7:34 PM

Ohio: where the cops are all assholes and the gas stations are too far away.

8:12 PM

My first nuclear power plant.

9:44 PM

Big Beaver Rd
Exit 69 A-B
I-75 N
Fo realz.

And because I just said Pennsylvania way too many times, here's a song about it:

I just hear what I want to.

I have a distinct memory of this scene in Easter Parade, except that I've always thought that Ann Miller was singing "It's Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate.

Maybe the heat has fried my brain.

This heat literally made me sick to my stomach this morning. There is a clause in my lease agreement prohibiting air conditioning units. I've spent most of today with a wet wash cloth on the back of my neck and a killer headache. New England is not supposed to be this hot. Ever.

Vomiting rainbows.

Art is more important than brushing your teeth! I have spent the better part of my day off listening to estrogen-heavy hip hop and assembling the team chapbook, and man am I amped about both of those things. I got to arrange things in space, make use of my drafting table (and long-dormant drawing skills), and reread all of the team's wonderful poems. Happy, happy Friday!

And now, a quick sneak peak at the soon-to-be-printed book's cover (and one of my three new pairs of glasses):


Running over to Duplications in a few minutes to make this shit real. Promise I'll brush my teeth beforehand.

Who doesn't love it when My Little Pony goes bad ass? Exactly.

Ladies, hands up.

I have been listening to only ladies (with some minor exceptions) lately. The following are frequent members of the summer playlist club.

Good things come in all packages.

So many many many good things this past week, even through all of the tough stuff. I'll give you the run down quick right now, but there will be longer stories once pictures are uploaded, dates are finalized, and changes have taken place. I'm being vague. Bear with me.

+ Team practice is in full swing, and I'm not sure I've ever had a more rewarding space to grow artistically. My lady poets have given me endless happy surprises, and we've only really been at this whole process together for less than a month. Every evening we spend working together leaves me with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. This is why I love collaboration. Besides a regular case of the sillies that infects every meeting, there is so much to look forward to for the summer because of all the poetry that's happening. We have two regional slams this month (one in Boston on the 7th, details here, and one in Providence on the 18th) and, if all goes according to plan, two team features to get us all amped and ready for St. Paul. Not that we need any help getting amped. Every time we get together to work on our poems, I am lucky enough to get goosebumps from absolutely everybody's writing on the page, as well as their performance choices. It's good to know that I will be going to my first nationals with no doubts about how proud I am. I am putting together our team chapbook, literally beaming from ear to ear.

+ I took a brief trip to New Jersey this week to see my family and was blessed to be with all of my siblings at once for the first time in months. I also had the pleasure of introducing on of my dear friends and teammates to my whole family, and the talks that ensued were so special and important for me. Going home provides a fair amount of stress in most situations, but this time I made sure to love the trip for what it was, not fault it for the hiccups. Things are not perfect with anything family-related right now, but I'm confident we'll get through this rough time. My father inspires me more and more every day with how strong he's been through this whole scary process. I just keep believing in the resilience of the heart, both his and my own, that this is just a test and a testament to how strong we will always be.

+ When in Jersey, a Manhattan/Brooklyn visit is always in order, and this trip (though only two days long) was no exception. Christina and I had quite the adventure, not arriving home until about 6 AM after much traipsing around in tiny dresses and sweating in the unbearable heat. That sounds gross. I'm sorry. It's no comfort to say there are pictures, but there are. Also, lots of stories of strange encounters with men on the sidewalk. But more about that later.

+ I have a new job. I start July 12th. I'll be working in retail, which, in pretty much any other case, I would be dubious about. However. Faces is the kind of place I'm going to fall in love with and never want to leave. Aside from the fact that waitressing has been draining my lifeblood without providing fair (or livable) compensation, my restaurant isn't exactly geared toward mohawked, rainbow-haired twenty-somethings with ambitious tattoo plans and a great deal of financial woe. In short, I'm not really the look they're going for. No matter how much I bust my ass, this will always be true. I will always be the "alternative" one. If the money was better, I'd be able to deal with this, but the money just hasn't been there because of this damned recession. So, I decided to take my love of customer service elsewhere. This elsewhere happened to be only up the block. And chock-full of rainbow-haired, tattooed twenty-somethings with big smiles, along with all kinds of quirky awesome for sale (and the best return policy I have ever heard of in my life--any time, for any reason, with or without a receipt). As my time in the restaurant winds down, I am getting really sad, but at the same time, I know that this change is definitely for the better.

+ In closing, last night was Star Trek drinking game night at Kevin's, and we had quite the time. We watched the belly dance episode from the second season, which was really a murder mystery, which somehow ended up being about metaphysics and time traveling non-humans, which is why I love Star Trek. But what I love even better is a combination of Star Trek and Ke$ha, courtesy of Christina:

Ooh-la-la, or, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M GOING TO NPS 2010.


This about sums up my shock and awe at the events of last night's slam as accurately as anything else, although I must say that I am not wearing a hat that fabulous. But the sentiment is definitely the same.

In the final bout for the Hampshire County Slam Collective's third ever NPS team, we came up with a first in the history of HCSC (at least as I know it): an all-lady team. Christina Beam, Anna Meister, Katie Frank, my lovely roommate/partner in committed friendship Cassandra de Alba, and yours truly will be storming St. Paul this August for some serious shenanigans, and also some serious poetry business. As a fundraising ploy, we are going to have a photo shoot as pin up girls and then make a calendar. I am very excited about this whole thing. The road trip, the estrogen, but especially the calendars.

In other, semi-related, poetry news, I submitted some poems to Write Bloody last night as part of their yearly call for new authors. I am also terribly excited about this, especially because of how soon I find out whether or not I've moved on to the next round. So many big steps to take in one week.

Papa bear is still in the hospital getting stronger (I told him we need to have a Rocky-style training montage replete with egg drinks and Philadelphian stone steps, etc.), and my sisters are working overtime looking for various heart surgeons to get second and third and fourth opinions from. Ever the glamorous one, Chrissie is going to get in touch with Oprah's very own Dr. Oz (she has more connects than any other working class 19-year-old I've ever met) and Kaitlin is inquiring with old friends who've had heart surgery who may be able to point us in more productive directions. I feel useless, as I know absolutely nobody who's had these types of problems, and thus cannot ask any doctors, famous or otherwise, for help. I just have to keep crossing my fingers. I hope they don't get stuck this way. But then again, even if they did, at least I'd have that extra luck.

Honeysuckle, she's full of poison.

all I wanna do is play rock n roll house with you

My Amazon order list includes the complete Patti Smith from 1975-2006, and Courtney Love's diaries (found in hardcover for $0.51). My library order list is a minefield of Russian history (especially the Romanovs and the seige of Leningrad...don't ask at the moment, it will make sense later) and new feminism, with a dash of modern novel and image-heavy poems for good measure. My thesis is in absolute full swing. I cannot sleep past eight in the morning lately, and while I'd like to blame the nightmares, I know that it is more because I want to be awake and reading every second. Case in point: I bring you a nice chunky sentence from Elizabeth Wurtzel's Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women.

"I think, quite frankly, that the world does not care for the complicated girls, the ones who seem too dark, too deep, too vibrant, too opinionated, the ones who are so intriguing that new men fall in love with them every day, at every meal where there's a waiter, in every taxi and on every train they board, in any instance where someone can get to know them just a little bit, just enough to get completely gone. But most men in the end don't quite have the stomach for that much person."

AMEN, Lizzy. Amen. Now, I may have serious problems with how this book is defending itself, but that passage there just about sums up my existence with a neat and tidy plastic barrette bow. I could blame just about any of my relationship failings on being "too much" for my significant other, and I would absolutely not be wrong.

I have half a mind to send this quote to Sean as proof towards his theory about me being the crazy girl you date to learn things from, the girl you dump for some bland other person who you'll be happy with because of all that you've learned from my being difficult to handle.

I don't know how much I agree with EW or SPC, but there is definitely an argument to be made.