Posts Tagged ‘The Strand’

God Damn!

June 6, 2016

She shouted as she got onto the beach.

“It’s fucking freezing out here,” she squealed wrapping her bare arms around herself.

I chuckled inside.

I was wearing leggings, a long sleeve shirt dress, cardigan, and my hoodie, one of the four in my closet, yo.

Yeah.

I was rocking the flip flops, but I don’t like sand in my shoes, I get that enough at work with the boys when we go to the playground.

This is not, of course, the first time I have heard such an exclamation from some one getting off the N-Judah at the end of the line.

Welcome to the Sunset.

It’s fucking cold out here.

My heater is on.

Not on high, but it’s on.

I just got back in from my second, yes, second, bike ride of the day.

Neither one of them was real long, but they both got my heart rate up, and it was quite nice to come home to my cozy, good smelling, little home and turn up the heat a little to warm up the studio.

I was thinking today, why hasn’t some one started a sweatshirt stand out here?

I mean, seriously, I might make a mint.

Or you’d think San Fran Psycho would open a pop up or something at the end of the train line, just would hoodies and hats and probably some scarves.

They’d make bank.

I saw another gaggle of girls, who from the talk sounded like they were coming from the sacred inner city warmth of the Mission district, bleat like small lambs to the slaughter as the minced up the dunes toward the beach in bikinis and cut off shorts.

“It’s so cold!”

And repeat.

I had a nice little day in my neighborhood.

Despite waking up with dread on my chest like a weight of demise and ruin.

What the fuck?

I had a fantastic night last night, why the anxiety, the dread?

Well I know.

I have that thing upstairs that likes to ruin shit for me, my brain, that is.

So.

I just did what I do best.

The next thing in front of me.

And a lot of writing this morning.

I finished up my notebook that I bought in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo over Christmas when I was there visiting.

I opened up my Brooklyn notebook.

Or I suppose, I should say, my New York notebook.

Which I had bought when my friend and I hit the Strand.

A very dangerous place for me to be considering my fondness for the written word.

I did get sucked in, I did, until I realized that I could buy any and all of the books that I had in my hand in San Francisco, and that the weight of the books would not be fun in my suitcase on the way home.

I bought, rather, notebooks, some stickers, a magnet, and today I opened up one of those notebooks.

It was the one I had started when I was staying at the Air BnB in Clinton Hill.

The one that I slapped the Gorilla Coffee sticker on.

I also, happily, glue sticked my Paul Simon ticket from last night’s show in there too.

I have ticket stubs from the Brooklyn Museum, the MOMA, the New Whitney.

A postcard I got at the MOMA of a Warhol Marilyn with a pink background.

Stickers from the Brooklyn Museum.

The business card, which was really a clever word balloon cut from a book, from the art studio I got the private tour of, Doug Beube, as well as the business card from Mat Moreno [sic] which looks like a Metro card, who gave me the tattoo at Three Kings Tattoo in Green Pointe.

I also have their sticker.

There’s a few other things in there and I am always so grateful that I do that, scrap book a little, they are sweet, small tokens of my time.

So.

Yes.

Lots of writing.

Then some phone calls to my people.

It always helps to just drop a message and say, I know I’m being crazy, my brain wants me to have things to do, stuff to ruminate on, all I have to do today is show up to the 7:30 p.m. thing up at St. Gabe’s and just take the rest of the day as it comes.

One moment at at time.

And it all works out.

I think, no, I know, God damn it, I am getting old, that part of my unease was sleeping in as “late” as I did.

Gah.

I remember sleeping until 5p.m. before and rushing to get myself to the bar to work by 6p.m.

Not any more.

10 a.m. is sleeping in.

10:30 a.m.

Fuck.

That’s heresy.

I screwed my whole day.

That was the story, oh fuck off narrative, I was telling myself, I had wasted the day already, even before it had begun.

Might as well just make it a rotten one.

Wait.

Stop.

Pause.

Breathe.

Pray.

Try again.

Call another person.

Ask how they are doing.

Go buy some groceries up the street.

Then.

Oh.

Novel idea.

Cook the food.

Ha.

I actually made a really fucking delicious dish today, I haven’t made it in a long time and I must be craving something, because it was calling.

Basically I made a sort of stew.

Turmeric seasoned brown rice with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

And.

Chicken, shrimp, and mussels sauteed in their own juices with a little garlic, chopped onion, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, lots of sea salt, I like things salty, ahem.

Then I threw in four green zucchinis chopped up with a can of black olives and some crushed tomatoes and let it simmer in the pot on the stove.

It was hella good.

I froze some and put up the rest for meals at work this week.

Love taking care of myself.

Although.

There, it snuck in, for just a moment, man I wish I was cooking for someone.

Ok now.

Stop it.

I hate this trope my disease likes to throw out.

It has not been working for me lately though, I’m like, over you, shut up, move on, been there, done that.

I recalled my conversation with my friend last night after the Paul Simon show and how sometimes the solution is just to do some fucking exercise.

Yes.

Hop on the bike.

I took a short bicycle ride and felt much better.

And.

Yes.

There is an afternoon yoga class.

Sign up for it.

Ok.

And fuck it.

So what if it’s grey, take a walk to the beach.

I was on the beach for an hour, talked with the moms for a half hour, did my daughterly duties, and then I collect sand dollars like pennies from heaven.

Seriously.

I have never found so many whole sand dollars on a walk on the beach.

I could set up a sand dollar and sweat shirt shop on the beach if I don’t make it through grad school.

She sells seashells by the seashore.

I found nine or ten and some pretty stones and sea glass.

I picked out the ones that pleased me the most and put the rest back for some one else to happily discover.

I got back here.

Hopped into my yoga clothes.

Got on the mat and got happy.

Then a hot shower, God, I swear, is a hot shower.

And.

Dinner was a repeat of the delicious.

Then, yeah, fuck it, ride the bike up to St. Gabe’s.

And like that.

My day.

Two bike rides, cooking, writing, long walk on the beach, ahem, collecting shells (yeah, I am a girl like that, shut up), yoga, and doing the deal.

Even when my head tells me, lies to me really, that my life is not enough.

It so obviously is.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

 

Warm and cozy.

Down by the sea.

Wrapped up in my music and the love of the day.

Nigh y’all.

Happy Sunday.

It was smashing.

Seriously.

Are You Just Coming

May 31, 2016

From the Warriors game?

He asked me, his head cocked and curious, “you look amazing, really, beautiful.”

And he gave me a big hug.

So surprised, sweetly so, to run into my yoga instructor as I was mailing off a letter at the corner mailbox on Judah and 44th.

“The what?” I asked, “no, um, ha, I was working on a poetry submission.”

“That’s even better!”  He smiled and lit up, I mean, really lit up, it was nice to see.

“It’s the blue,” he said, “that’s what got my attention.”

And.

Wouldn’t you know?

It is the exact shade of blue as the Warriors blue and gold, and though I was not technically wearing gold pants, um, ha, I am wearing leopard print leggings which in certain light do come across as gold.

Nice God.

Subconsciously supporting the sports ball.

I mean.

Seriously.

Same blue, some gold, blue eyeshadow and blue glitter, blue flower in my hair and yes, I’m not kidding, blue nail polish, blue star necklace, blue star earring, and I don’t often wear this color, nor in the amount that I did today.

It must have worked.

I hear they won.

Heh.

“Carmen you are the only person I would take a phone call from at this time and only because I know you have no idea what is happening right now,” my friend on East Coast time said to me years ago when I called to chatter excitedly to him how I was taking dj lessons and the guy that I was working with really thought I had some skills.

Note to self, cocaine addiction not great for keeping up with things like.

Although super grateful that I did not know how much I could get for my sweet Technic turn tables until after I had gotten sober, sold my entire (oh the tears on my face) vinyl collection to Amoeba on Haight Street and all my cds too.

I might have been out there running awhile longer.

As it stands the money I got from the sales of those things kept me in food and rent for a month of San Francisco living.

Well spent, frankly, well spent.

My friend who I was talking to on the phone was in the middle of a nail biter, seventh game of the World Series, his team, tied or some such thing, and only took the phone call from me because he realized I had no clue.

Still little to this day.

Cue parking on 15th and Valencia the time the Giants swept the series in 2013.

Oops.

Ha.

I left the car there.

I was literally on 16th and Valencia when the entire world erupted and people poured out into the streets with brooms and starting lighting shit on fire and drinking open containers and screaming and jumping up and down.

And fuck people.

Cue the same team winning the series two years ago and I’m coming from The Gratitude Center on 7th and Irving at the exact time the series is won and I’m on my fucking bicycle trying to get around police in riot gear and the entire block erupts.

So.

Yeah.

Um.

I knew the Warriors were playing and it was a big deal.

But.

What was really a big deal to me today.

This.

Thank you for your entering the Rattle Poetry Prize competition—your entry has been received. If there are any problems with it, we will let you know, but otherwise it is safe to assume everything is set. Winners will be announced on September 15th.

It’s a huge prize.

The odds of me winning it are slim.

But the odds of me winning if I had not submitted, well, that would be nil.

I took the effort.

I pulled together three sonnets and a longer free verse poem and I submitted to the journal.

I am not making any promises, but what with the time I have off over the summer, I thought it wise to submit some work again.

Plus.

I read a blog that someone wrote about me a few years ago and it inspired me to submit again, it’s been a hot second since I have sent any work anywhere.

I had forgotten about the blog–She Inspired Me To Write–by my friend.

I was googling searching something and it popped up.

I re-read the blog and got a little misty eyed, recalling how excited he was to talk with me, about my travels to Paris, about taking risks and not knowing it and doing it anyway.

I have had it in my head to unearth a short story I wrote years and years ago as well and perhaps submit that out as well.

And.

I would like to put together a small manuscript of my poems.

I have never published a chap book or a manuscript, well, I did a limited, and I do mean very limited, press of a zine called 7 Months, but that was super small and super rough.

I think that it’s time to do something with all the words.

I have felt this before and gotten out there and submitted and nothing happens.

And.

That is ok.

I have to remember that, it’s just how it works.

Loads of folks get loads of rejection.

It’s not to take it personally.

This is my art.

“What kind of art do you do?” He asked me, assuming what I’m not sure, but that from my attire, my tattoos, my star tights, the flower in my hair, that I was an artist.

There was a time that I would have said.

“I’m not an artist.”

There was a time when I was more comfortable with the lie than the truth.

That I have been an artist since I was young and picked up my pen and started scrawling poems in a notebook sometime in middle school.

Or when I started doing forensics and reciting Edna St. Vincent Millay poems at competitions.

Imagine if you will.

I took first place at state.

Not too shabby.

Although I won’t soon forget what it felt like to have the entire school wait on me, as no one else on the team had made it to the final round–the guilt I felt as I progressed was almost subsumed by the pride I felt when my name was announced during the awards ceremony and I got up and walked to get my first place trophy.

And then I thought about being at The Strand book store in New York recently and how I touched and caressed titles of books that I had read, and then, to see a class mate from Wisconsin and his series of books doing so well, displayed prominently at the front of the store.

And.

Then there.

Another woman I know in San Francisco.

Her memoir there.

I had a moment.

I’ll be here too.

When?

Who knows.

But I will.

I have been given a gift and for me it is enough that I get to write.

Not that I am acknowledged for my efforts.

But.

To hear once in a while that I have inspired someone else.

That means the world.

Or.

To have someone tell me they loved a blog I wrote or a poem they heard me recite.

Well.

Love.

That means so much to me.

It’s almost unbearable to express.

But.

Thank you.

I am so graced with these gifts.

I have to share them.

Whether or not they are received.

That’s not my business.

I just get to have the experience of giving the gift.

And.

That.

Well.

That is everything.

Day Two

May 22, 2016

New York.

I’m beat.

I mean.

I walked so much today, I started to get shin splints.

But I couldn’t bring myself to get on the subway again after getting off it in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center stop.

I had gotten switched up on the trains as they were doing construction and the line that I was supposed to connect with was suddenly no longer available and I could have done another transfer but wanted off.

I wanted to walk.

That’s the best way to see things.

On foot.

I took loads of photos and saw some awesome graffiti and paste art that I wouldn’t have if I had been on the train.

That being said, I am pretty proud of myself at having navigated as well as I did.

The train system is smart and pretty easy to figure out, but I did find myself having some anxiety this morning as I headed off to the big city from Brooklyn.

And I realized now that it was my first time by myself figuring out how to go from one point to the other.

And I did fine.

I did get turned around, but, haha, not on the damn train, on the sidewalk.

I am so freaking dyslexic, I read my navigation backward, I literally look at the screen and go right when I should go left.

I am so grateful for the navigation and map apps on my phone.

I would have been wandering around in desperate circles.

I am a total know it by mistake person and a land mark person.

Oh.

That church there, that’s where I need to go, or I can go on this block, or I will remember, as I did earlier when I was at Union Square, which way I came the only other time I was there and did the deal at the Seafarer’s Union hall, but ask me if it’s North or South, East or West, and I am at a complete standstill and close to tears, if not in tears.

I don’t have pet peeves per se.

However.

Ask me to be your navigator and I will be a very unhappy lady.

Don’t hand me the map.

Don’t ask me to figure it out.

Just don’t.

You want a happy traveling companion, do not ask me for directions.

Or.

Expect to get lost.

Getting lost for some is fun, an adventure, a party, but for me, it just produces a lot of anxiety.

I know from a lot of self work and a lot of introspection and a lot of having done the deal and some outside therapy that has, oh, a little to do with needing to control my environment and being in fear.

It’s a safety thing.

I get it.

I let myself be gentle with myself when it comes up.

I have, however, been on the receiving end of some not so nice words having gotten lost with people.

It’s not comfortable.

I’m very well aware of it, but it will still catch me totally off guard and then I’m like, fuck, I’m lost, how did that happen?

But today, mostly, I just got lost in things I love.

I got lost in books.

Oh.

The books.

Stacks and stacks and heaps and piles and floors and aisles of books.

So many yummy books.

Oh.

The smell.

Such a good smell.

Not my most favorite smell in the world, wood smoke, bonfire, fire wood burning in the fireplace on a cold night, but right up there.

The clean, crisp, warm smell of paper and book binding glue and I just perused the aisles at The Strand and was a very happy lady.

My friend that I met today suggested popping into it.

And my.

What a good suggestion.

I actually put down all but one of the books I wanted to buy.

Not from a place of frugality, although, that did rear its head a bit, but more from the perspective of, oh, wait, how much weight do I want to carry around?

And.

Can I get this book in San Francisco?

The answers were obvious.

But I did buy some notebooks, yay!

And some stickers.

Double yay.

And a magnet.

And one book for the flight back.

So that was nice.

My friend departed before me, off to work on his film project, and left me with directions to get to the MOMA.

Which I promptly forgot when I was on the second floor of The Strand.

Where did he say to go?

Get out the phone.

Map it out.

And yes, still spend way too much time when I got off the subway walking the wrong way down the streets.

Seriously I have a problem.

I did, however, make it to the MOMA.

And started at the top.

Rothko.

Although, to be honest, not my favorite, not in my top ten Rothko’s at all, I didn’t like the lightness of the colors he used, I like the deep oranges and greens or the super dark brick reds almost black or the indigo violet blue ones, this one, though luminous and gave me a pause to look at, was not something that held me for very long.

I was drawn to Van Gough’s Starry Night.

Me and too many other tourists, good grief, too many, too many, too many fucking tourists.

Which is probably why I enjoyed the walk home through Brooklyn so much, like that, “home.”  I have caught myself saying that a number of times, I’m heading home, I’ll be home soon, or I’m at home, and it’s the Air Bnb I’m staying in.

Off all the places I’ve been in the city, I actually like this neighborhood and Greenpoint the best, there’s a mix of cultures and ethnicities that make me happy and I feel right at home and yeah, there’s projects, but I have been in the projects before and I just put on the walk and I am not bothered.

If I were to move to New York, which I don’t foresee, at all, the winters, yo, I would live in Brooklyn–but not Williamsburg, too white, too many hipsters and man buns and women reading tarot in a way too serious manner selling over priced hyper curated vintage and emergency sage smudging kits.

Dude I think I had seen it all at that point.

REALLY?

You’re selling emergency smudging kits?

Where am I?

Santa Cruz or Brooklyn?

I feel better in this neighborhood with the barber shops and the families and the hair salons, the little bodegas and the funky art and the graffiti.

But that’s just me.

I’m often at home where ever I go.

And yes, I got asked for directions again.

This time in Greenpoint by a woman from the city trying to figure out what train to get back on.

I had to laugh.

And.

Of course.

I helped.

The blind leading the blind.

I also walked, because I had a funny feeling about being on the train past the point where I had gotten off.

I don’t know why, I don’t have to know why, but I had to turn around when I was heading down the stairs to the underground, it felt wrong.

And it was raining and I was tired and I thought, shoot, just call a car, but no, the walking.

The brownstones and the lights within, the big leafy trees, the sound of the rain falling like that, the smell of wet sidewalks.

It was a nice way to sort through my day and recall all the lovely art I saw.

I only got to the Rothko before digressing.

The ones that stood out for me, Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, that stopped me in my tracks.

The two Klimt’s I saw, Hope II, Adele Boch-Bauer II.

The Mondrians, three of them, just stunning.

The Hopper, House by the Railroad.

Stumbling upon the Monet Water Lilies, I did not know they were there, at least this version of them, and I was brought to tears to think that I have gotten to see them in Paris and in New York.

How lucky am I?

The Seurat, Evening Honfleur, brought me to tears.

I was so startled by it and just stood transfixed.

I don’t always know that is going to happen with me and art.

I get something deep within, I am moved, I am transported, I feel deep joy.

And gratitude.

From my humble, poor, meek beginnings.

To a bit of a traveler and a bit of an art junky.

It’s so nice.

I’m so lucky.

I really.

I’ll say it again.

The luckiest girl in the world.

And.

All tuckered the fuck out.

One more day New York.

Let’s make it smashing, shall we?

I hear you have some art for me to see.

Next stop.

The new Whitney.

But first.

Bed.

Night y’all.

What A Day

May 21, 2016

What a day.

A fucking awesome, amazing, meandering, sweet, full, very caffeinated day.

Yeah.

That’s sort of my go to when I’m on vacation.

Coffee.

And  a lot of it.

I may regret that come bed time, especially as a friend pointed out to me via text, “and you’re still on West Coast time.”

Fuck me.

I totally am.

But I was up super early this morning.

I mean.

Really early.

I had not planned that, it was just what happened, I got up to go to the bathroom, tiny bladder yo, and the animals were on me like the second coming of Christ.

“Feed me!” They were scampering about as I made my way to the loo.

I pet them both and went back to bed, actually shutting the door this time, last night I left it open and both the dog and the cat slept with me!

“You must be one of those people that give off that vibe,” my host said this morning as he served me my first cup of coffee today, “they always sleep with me.”

He’s got a lovely little Cuisinart espresso maker and he pulled me a fine shot and then topped it with some hot, steamed, unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

OH my goodness.

So delicious.

So.

Yeah.

Um.

Ha.

I had another.

Yeah.

I know.

Addict.

But better a hit off the caffeine then a hit off a pipe.

I got back into bed intending to sleep, but as I lay there thinking about all the things I just decided to get up and get the day started.

And I am so glad I did.

It was such a lovely meander of a day.

I decided to walk to the Brooklyn Museum.

Google mapped me out for a 38 minute walk, 1.76 miles from the place I’m staying at in Clinton Park, Brooklyn.

It took me nearly three hours to get there.

Bahahahaha.

I made a few stops on the way.

Ahem.

Ha.

I went to a wig shop.

I hella love wig shops.

I’m not in need of any hair, in case you are wondering, but I always can find a great fabric flower clip for my hair and I had recently broke one, and there it was in the store on Dekalb and I had to pop in.

Yeah.

My first stop in Brooklyn was not a museum, but the wig shop, I don’t even want to know what that means.

I will say, however, that all along the way, all day long, I was constantly being complimented for my look, my style, my hair.

From middle schoolers in the bathroom at the Brooklyn museum–three eighth grade girls on field trip hiding in the bathroom braiding each others hair–“you got great hair,” one girl said.

I thank them, smiled, played it forward, complimented their braids and walked out, as they were chatting to themselves–“she got style,” one girl said.  “It’s her hair,” another girl said.  The other girl replied, “it’s her dress,” the third chimed in, “no, it’s all of it, she got style,” she finished, “that’s right.”

Hella flattered.

Flattered to be stopped on the streets, literally, by gay men and black women and construction guys, and not creepy construction guys, and the security guard at the Brooklyn museum, Jules, oh my god, such a Brooklyn accent and the conversation about tattoos we had and the Marilyn Monroe bag I was carrying and whoa.

I mean from the minute I ambled down the ramp of the warehouse loft where I’m staying to the minute I got back, I was pretty much complimented on my look, hair, smile, tattoos.

Seriously, if I need a boyfriend bad like, I could consider moving here.

Nah.

I like where I’m at.

I also like not having a cold ass winter.

I don’t know that I could tough out a New York winter.

But today was lovely, 75, sunny, got lots of warmth on my skin.

Weather tomorrow calls for rain, but that’s ok, I felt like I got my summer moment in, in my polka dot dress with my crinoline on and daisies in my hair.

“Oh my God, I’m sorry, I just can’t stop staring, you, you’re outfit, the marguerite in your hair and they match the ones by your bunny tattoo!” This sweet young gay man at the table next to me at dinner tonight.

It turns out he’s from Denmark, and the queens name is Marguerite and they all love the Marguerite daisy, which is my favorite flower, and next thing you know we are having this great conversation and I meet his husband and their dog Dolly.

Is it me?

Or is New York just friendlier than San Francisco?

Or is it having grown up in the Midwest, where you smile and talk to people and wave?

Maybe all of it.

I did really talk to a lot of people today, 95% of them I did not know, baristas, yeah, like I said I drank some coffee–Gorilla Coffee was amaze, and I bought some coffee there and the girl gave me a very coveted sticker after we chatted a bunch, and a great recommendation for breakfast where I had the most amazing porridge I have ever had, although for the small amount in the bowl and the huge price tag, $11, it needed to be extraordinary–so maybe my tongue was just unhinged.

But.

You know.

I think I am just someone that people feel they can approach.

I was asked for directions early this afternoon.

And I was actually able to tell the young woman where to go, I had just passed the place two blocks prior.

I’m not a local.

But I’m not a tourist either.

Just another woman of the world.

Out and about.

So grateful for this trip.

And!

That I got to see my good friend and his girlfriend, we met up and did the deal in Williamsburg.

I’ll be seeing him again for round two of said deal tomorrow by Union Square tomorrow and then off to the book store.

“Have you done any pleasure reading yet?” He asked after I down loaded about graduate school.

So a date for the Strand and then he’ll go his way and I’ll go mine, the MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, depending on where I am at and how I feel.

And of course.

Yes.

More coffee.

I mean.

I am on vacation.

Seriously.

Oh yeah, and lest I forget.

I got a tattoo.

Heh.

It really was quite a day.

Lucky.

Lucky.

Lucky.

Yes.

Damn straight.

Luckiest girl in the world.


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