conversaciones

April 21, 2008

In January 2008, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Roberto Francisco Santiago, a junior-level scholar at Sarah Lawrence College. The subject of his study involved LGBT/Queer Latin@s, and I am extremely honored to be included as a voice among other brilliant herman@s in this important project. Below is the transcript of the interview. If you are interested in Roberto’s project, please feel free to contact me and I will connect you with him (he not only happens to be an amazing scholar, he is also my long-time partner).

Read the rest of this entry »

Ambitious Child

April 20, 2008

Ambitious Child

My grandmother kept two small birds in her kitchen. As a child, I remember being completely in awe of birds. I did not understand how or why they could fly…or rather why I couldn’t. I, unlike those other stupid children I knew did not attempt to fly. I knew it was impossible for a human being to achieve self driven flight. But…I suppose the real question is: how did I know this? Although I did not break my arms, legs, head, neck or any other part of my body in any foolish attempt to soar with the birds, I carefully observed everyone else who did.
I suppose the ambitious child really had a fear of flying…

Without Notice

April 14, 2008

I just read some speeches by Maurice Bishop, the former Prime Minister of Grenada assinated after the U.S. invasion in 1983. I was provoked to respond directly to Bishop and the United States. If you want to read up on Grenada, wiki it–i support democratizing knowledge.
—-

Without Notice

I.
I am the voice that remains lost in your revolution.
I  cannot be explained in objective or subjective terms: I exist beyond that limited understanding.

I am the wo/man who does not know
of my fellow sisters
of the struggle
of who I really am.

This voice remains absent from your revolution and
I am not cognizant of the possibility of  my own liberation.

Your ties beyond this space
Nicaragua, Cuba, Iraq
provoke to me wonder:
where do your interests lie
what is your revolution?

The revolution lies in my body
I gave birth to it
and there it should begin and end with me.
my body lies present with a voice
an open womb bleeding for your revolution.

disease, illiteracy and famine
do not mark the parameters of my struggle—it cannot be explained in a material vision of
development.
your image of
development
remains colonized
and my voice does not have a space.
it is imbedded in
silence—
silence
so sharp that the dogs howl in misery each fortnight.

On your second and third anniversaries
will you wish to hear my
voice
as you blow out the fire?
Oh, dear Bishop,
you can only see a connection to your colonizers:
their sneeze
develops
into your cold.
yet, Bishop, in your revolutionary position of authority and oversight,
cannot see that when you cough
I choke and suffocate while warm trade winds speed through my naked hair.

Your revolution has improved the condition of my being,
but has not addressed the substance.
I now live:
longer, healthier, richer.
but my voice continues
lost in your reforms.

The crisis you speak of truly affects us all
and yes, affects us like a leech—
but I no longer have any more blood
to feed its hunger for raw materials.

Your Revolution seeks to deepen
individual and collective
consciousness.
and you call us, your local congregation to move
forward ever, backward never!
I remain lost somewhere in between.
Your Revolution seeks to deepen
international consciousness
rendering me lost before I reach the ears of interpreters.
I know not of my sisters elsewhere, because I know not of my sisters here.

Your jewel, with its sheer brilliance
transfixes
and
renders me silent.

I have no voice.
I have no elections.

II.
I mourn for the 17
but from bereavement
I now have my voice:
or so I believe.

Hello All,

It has been a while since my last post. I have been really consumed by work these past few weeks, but I hope to get back as soon as possible–better to post quality work, then just copious amounts of trash, eh?

Please take a look at these upcoming events. I will be present at all of them. Please come out and support the work of these amazing activists, organizers, intellectuals and fabulous people.

In Solidarity,

Pablo

——-

InterSEXtions

http://intersextionsconference.eventbrite.com/

In the upcoming election, “Change” has been thrown around as a bit of a buzzword among the Democrats. This “change” promises to restore hope in government and address the neglect of citizens of the United States by the current dictatorship. For generations, the right wing has used divide-and-conquer tactics to impede liberation for women, people of color, trans & queer people, immigrants, youth, poor and low-income people, and countless others. For too long, this imposed division has prevented our movements from recognizing the points at which we intersect. At organizing at the InterSEXtions, we hope to focus and build upon these points of intersection – for example: educational inequality, gentrification, legislation that diminishes both the rights of LGBTQ people and immigrants (ie. Marriage rights and the REAL ID act), HIV/Aids as a health, socio-economic and political epidemic, and the war on Iraq. The SEX in interSEXtions is a commentary to copulate the issues, to rub our activisms and identities against each other, to grind together, to flirt with other political discourses, and to make love to the movement!

InterSEXtions is on a mission to create a “state” where NYC activists, students, and movement leaders of tomorrow come together from their distinctive backgrounds, with their diverse perspectives and skills, to investigate social injustices at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, “citizenship” and ability and learn tools for grassroots organizing to develop a vision to further their activism. A central tenet to this conference is to build a network and solidarity among activists and students involved in intersectional social change. organizing at the InterSEXtions will be invigorating, critical, multilogical, and groundbreaking for movement building in NYC.

This conference will be held on April 19th and 20th, and will be a part of the larger “Building the Movement Weekend,” working in solidarity with ARKestra: Arts for Advocacy and Social Change and Zami, Like Me: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER.

Saturday

8:30-10am: Registration: Conference Resource Center, Lang Cafeteria

9am: Breakfast, Invocation and Libation: Julia Rhee, Leadership Academy Fellow with Young People For (YP4), Jamila Thompson, ARKestra and Women of Color Organization, Educator and Healer in training.

10a – 12:30p: Session 1

a. “Everyday Sexism and Modes of Resistance.”, Jamila Thompson, Women of Color Organization, ARKestra, Arts for Advocacy and Social Change.

b. “The Unexamined Whiteness of Teaching: The Challenge to Social Justice Education”, Bree Picower, Assistant Professor/ Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Steindhart School of Culture, Education and Human Development, NYU., Core Member, NYCoRE.

c. Afro-Asian Relations: Hip-Hop as a Platform*”, Julia Rhee, Leadership Academy Fellow with Young People For (YP4)

d. Uses of the Erotic: In Activism and Scholarship,” Aih Djehuti Herukhuti Khepera Ra Temu Seti Amen, Ph.D.

12:30-2 p:

Lunch

and

Keynote: Kaila Story, Ph.D. The Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality, Assistant Professor Women’s and Gender Studies and Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville

and

Reflection and Harmonization: Jenn Ghost Bear

2p-4:30p: Session 2

a. Learning & Media Pro(e)d(u)cation @ the Intersection of Literacies and Difference.”, 2008 Cohort, Educational Video Center.

b. “First, Class: Economic Justice and Class Issues in the LGBT Movement*.”, Kenyon Farrow, Board Co-Chair, Queers for Economic Justice, New York, NY

c. Moving from Prevention to Intervention: HIV/AIDS Activism among Changing Times“, Michael Roberson, Executive Director, People of Color in Crisis (POCC), Frank Leon Roberts, Doctoral Student, New York University & Research Fellow, P.O.C.C..

d. Local Anti-War Movement Building: Students for a Democratic Society

4:45-5:45pm: Organizing Mixer: A meet and greet, mocktail hour for conference attendees.

6p-9p: Zami Like Me: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER

*Tentative workshop title/subject to change

Sunday

11a-12:30p: Roundtable Discussion: “Academic Justice: A conversation with folks who seek it and fight for it.” Aih Djehuti Herukhuti Khepera Ra Temu Seti Amen, Ph.D., Jan Clausen, Greg Tewksbury

12:30-2p: Lunch

1p-2p: “Love=Peace: Spirituality and Social Justice.”, Maya Hatch and Kumiko Endo, Love=Peace Project

2p-4:30p: Session 1

a. “We know what we’re “against” but what are we “for”? Defining our vision for a progressive future.“, Dennis Chin, Program Associate, Movement Vision Lab, Center for Community Change, New York, NY

b. “Using Independent Media to Support Grassroots Organizing: Eugene Lang and Beyond.“, Eleanor Whitney, Lang Alumni, co-founding editor of New School Press Press (formerly Inprint), co-editor of riffrag.org, museum educator and freelance journalist, Irene Villasenor, youth organizer with P.O.V./American Documentary, Vani Natarajan, young adult librarian with the Brooklyn Public Library and member of Radical Reference.

c. [Re]Visions of Public Schooling: Grassroots Organizing for Educational Equity.”, Amita Swadhin, Sunset Park Education In Action Community (SPEAC) Collective

d. “Queer Diaspora: How might the cartography of a queer diaspora offer alternative narratives of globalization and its effects on subjectivity, culture, and kinship?”, Sadat Iqbal, Queer Union, NYU

5p: Closing Ceremony, Julia Rhee, Jenn Ghost Bear, Jamila Thompson, Maya Hatch

6p-9p: Zami Like Me: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER

*Tentative workshop title/subject to change

questions? email us at intersextions@gmail.com

conference produced by Joaquin Sanchez Jr and Harper Keenan,

the women of color organization, New School’s OPEN, Lang Student Union, Lang Dept of Education Studies, Lang Office of Community Activism and Participatory Citizenship

illustrations: Martin J. Fitzpatrick

and for a breakdown of Zami Like Me: Queer Womyn of Color CipHER:

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/101221757/emailinvite

“Does our sexual or racial identity compel an activist intersection with such a horrifying status quo or not? Is it sexual or racial identity that will catapult each of us into creative agency for social change? I would say, I hope so.” – June Jordan

Put on by The CipHER Project and co-sponsored by the New School Women of Color Organization and OPEN, the gay/straight alliance at The New School, Zami Like Me is a social, political, activist, artistic, educational and entertainment two day event that will serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, non-conforming, and two-spirited women of color and allies in celebration of our multiple identities, works and talents. It will be a one to two day women’s cipHER, a sharing space of skill, wit, talent and gifts that will run full circle, 360 degrees, with love and support. In reaching out to the New School community as well as the outside community, I hope to bring in artists (in many forms) and academics, youth and elders, to join in this two-day event to educate and learn about the issues that are prevalent to these women. This event will be on Saturday, April 19th and Sunday, April 20th.

[Please join us Saturday April 19 from 5:30-9 pm and Sunday April 20 from 6-9pm.]

SATURDAY, APRIL 19 5:30-9PM

3 FILM SCREENINGS:

black.womyn.:conversations with lesbians of african descent by tiona.m.

I Look Up to the Sky Now, created by Barbara M. Bickart and 11 young queer activists.

Like a Boy, Like a Girl by Ash. S. Tai and Cleopatra N. LaMothe

FOLLOWED BY 3 SMALL CIPHERS AND THEN 1 LARGER CIPHER LED BY KAILA A. STORY, AUDRE LORDE CHAIR AND ASST. PROFESSOR AT LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.

SUNDAY, APRIL 20 6-9PM

ART EXHIBITION BY LGBTQTS WOMYN AND ALLIES!

LIVE PERFORMANCES!

LIVE ART BY THE AGYTATORS!

$5 to $10 suggested donation will be requested at the door. All proceeds are going to the Audre Lorde Project and the Youth Enrichment Services (YES) at the LGBTQ Center. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY BECAUSE OF MONEY. There will also be a raffle foe a gift bag of goodies!

Zami Like Me

Inspiration

March 15, 2008

Emanuel Xavier is one of my favorite contemporary writers. I was looking through some poems, just to serve as some inspiration for a piece I’m working on…and I came across this poem from Americano. I wanted to share it with you. If you think this is good, I hope that you will go out and support his work…(this means buy his books!)

Risk
By Emanuel Xavier

Emanuel, you know I love you, but I need you to be more affectionate. I don’t understand why you pull away when I try to hold your hand in public? I know you love me too but it makes me feel insecure. There’s nothing wrong with public displays of affection. It’s important for people to see two men or two women in a loving relationship. Society will never accept us if we hide our love like there’s something wrong with it. You, out of all people, should be aware of this. I mean, what are you so scared about? Do you really think I’d ever let anything happen to you?
I was six when a group of guys chased
what I thought was a girl
toward my stepfather’s parked car
outside our Bushwick apartment
Lifting myself from the back seat
young and curious
Mami rolled up her window as the young man smeared with make-up and blood
banged on the other side of the glass
crying for help
The mob caught up to him
someone pulled him by his long hair
dragged him to the hood of the car
smashing his face into the cold metal
Sometimes, I can still see his eyes
staring back at me in horror
I was introduced, for the first time,
to the words marica and maricón and faggot
It’s so ironic that in your writing and performances, you come across as so revolutionary and strong, but out in public, you’re so private and reserved. People look up to you and you need to take a stand. How could you get up on a stage and read the stuff you write about and then be afraid to be yourself with your lover out on the streets?

I was eleven when two men kissed outside the Manhattan store Mami had just finished shopping in
handing her bags over to me to block my view
blocking the love
Her purchases ending up on the floor
Mami ending up on the floor
pushed out of the way by some thug
Her bags, her body, beneath me
Opening up the view
to see a group of men replacing the two previous
cursin’ and punchin’
kickin’ and spitting’
howlin’ and laughin’
before Mami got up
and shoved me into her breasts to block my view
blocking the hate
Look, it’s not like we have to be on top of each other everywhere we go but it would be nice to have people realize we’re a couple every once and a while. It’s confusing. If this relationship is going anywhere, you need to work on being more affectionate.
I want so much to touch you
fall asleep in your arms
on the back of the bus
huddling together in our own little world
where the bumps and potholes
add joy to the ride
I want to kiss you out in the open
even if it means our brutal death
because our blood will feed the cracks between the concrete
weeds will grow to remind this world that nature
will never be completely destroyed
You’ve survived so much and yet you’re so scared of what people think. It doesn’t make any sense at all. A real man is someone like Stacy Amber that could live his life on a daily basis and not be afraid to walk the streets in a tight dress and high heels.

I was sixteen when a guy chased
what I thought was a girl
toward my trick’s parked car
outside the West Side Highway piers
Lifting myself from the front seat
young and angry
John rolled up his window
as the young trannie smeared with make-up and blood
banged on the other side of the glass
crying for help
The guy caught up to her
before I stepped out of the car
pulled him by the hair
dragged him to the hood of the car
smashing his face into the cold metal
Sometimes, I can still see his eyes
staring back at me in horror
He was introduced, for the first time,
to the words change and revolution from a faggot
I just want you to be a little more affectionate. You can’t keep hiding behind, “That’s just the way I am.” That shit don’t fly with me.
I was twenty-seven when you came into my life
I had never felt more comfortable and safe
with anyone in the world
You were the first to ever challenge me
to realize that sometimes sacrifice
is the only way to salvation
to recognize that true love
requires strength and compromise
If only I had reached out
in public
to hold your hand
Emanuel, you know I love you, but this isn’t working out. I can’t live like this. I need to be with someone who is not afraid to be themselves out in public. It’s really important to me. I want to be able to kiss my lover at any given time. I need someone willing to take that risk.

Audre

March 3, 2008

During the first night, I was terrified of the novelty of my new surroundings. I attempted to breathe in the exotic chilled nocturnal breeze, but my lungs lacked the capacity to accommodate such a miraculous air. I sensed my body being galvanized a revolution of unimaginable sorts. I was not in control. A warring sense of chaud and cold began to encompass my entire being—it was a most extraordinary feeling of euphoric panic. I was outside of my domicile, experiencing the first of my many panic attacks in Canada. The air was the catalyst of my culture shock. My body, without any knowledge of this alien environment reacted irrationally. I vomited on the driveway.

I wrote this last year. But something has transfixed me. I’m not blocked…

I want to transform my writing.

I need to find the voice to speak, simply. Where can I locate the words to set me free from this complex? I’ve been thinking about tools. Audre warned us about the tools–they won’t dismantle that fucker’s house. But I am filled with fear that I have been overcomed by that fucker–he raped the voice out of me. and I’m not going to let him have it for one more second.
Audre, cuentame, how did you do it?

Volver

February 26, 2008

Running, running, running in Brooklyn
pack of cigarettes in my hand
I stumble
side to side
the last glass of wine hits me
I’m free
ready to kiki on the corner
sustenance meets me there

Vice

I am compelled to return from the obscure.

This past year has been shit–but it’s going to fertilize the flowers. And in their blooms, colors of my memories shall sobrevivir.

I miss my grandmothers. They were my histories. I yearn again to feel my father’s laughter upon my ears. He was my heart.

This is the time to return–like a refugee from the war on terror, I’m here: kicking and screaming.

Let’s start this shit.