a doozy

i just came off such a night! this might go on…

i went over to rehearsal time with joshuagabriel, the third of the affianced jewish trifecta. the major difference between jg and my other newly affianced friends is that jg is my ex-husband. there was a period of my life when we giddily filled the roles of husband and wife, and every day i left work trying to find him and hole up in whatever little room he lived in, and we’d make indulgent music, long, random, intense or hilarious songs…we completely amused and entertained ourselves and he pulled me into a cloud of Genius, everything we made was Genius, which was remarkable since we made so much.

he is also one of my dear gemini – i keep several fabulous gemini in close proximity to me even though they flake on me all the time. i just adore them all. perhaps my odd combo of virgo sun scorpio moon means i need some binary companions.

jg wasn’t my first affair of the arts – i once co-edited a magazine with a man who i found decidedly short but he had the most beautiful eyes, no one else seemed to see it. when we were editing i felt a cataclysmic bond, an ardor unchecked by reality. it took me years to heal enough from that to show my writing to another man.

in these cases and others i was always convinced that despite all my misgivings – the fact that i the pleasure activist didn’t Want these men – that the creative passion must still be love. love and sex keep ending up on separate parallel paths through my life. whatever it takes to make something beautiful i suppose. still, i have a bad habit of being completely enthralled only by those who could take or leave me, and let me take or leave them. now i am growing to where i like understanding why i need someone, and why they need me, and that it isn’t just the song. and having since experienced a more thorough heartbreak, felt the coming and going of love, felt the deep chasm of loving someone who doesn’t really know how to sit and receive it, i am concluding that its really quite nice when someone can’t take leave of you.  is that too brokeback for the blog?

anyway, joshua and i have now recorded three pre-demo songs, songs that were jottings in my journal with melodies in my head and now they have beats and guitar lines and breath. i am beside myself with the tangible aspect of having songs. i suspect they are really good. time will tell.

then we went to this spot, the glass house, which – how can i even describe it? it looks a bit like a room might look at the bottom of the east river, with all the sort of things one might throw into the east river (toys, toilets, bicycle parts, torn hammocks, bedposts) recreated into a living art of a room. quantity, not quality, reins supreme. but then there was quinn, who sounded quite wonderful, and sported a pair of pants that looked like a rabid woman had bitten the crotch off in a moment of lust…he’d mended with a kerchief, i couldn’t help but examine. there were all these Fascinating Individuals there, 54 alices of different races and genders, a ghanaian drummer, all sorts of artists and hipsters. my baby sister right now has a set of friends who will likely grow into the folks in the room tonight: delightful if inadvertently pretentious – sort of wonderful, in a state of constant creation and battles of the wit. i never quite know what to think of it, i am drawn to people who hold their arts and genius a bit closer to the chest, doling it out in secret in the middle of the night, under alias, afraid to take themselves so seriously. it should, then, be refreshing to be in such a free scene. alas, i fell asleep.

the act of making my words and melodies into songs is exhausting and kind of frightening. they never sound like i thought they would, i want to do them over and over; joshua has to remind me they are just demos, this is just protools, we have a real studio coming. my first two callings combine in songwriting, and the songs don’t really sound like anything i’ve quite heard, so i can’t place my feet solidly in the idea that others might like them. but there you go…the demo is coming!

so is a good night’s sleep. i am making these small steps – less whiskey, less cigarettes, more water, more sleep, less red meat, more walking, more cutting the hair (in the morning i go for mohawkish again!). steps from binge to balance, steps from now to then.


some days, some things are a bit too tender to really blog about. whew. i admitted it. i believe that. and yesterday was one of those days, some of those things happened, maybe later i can tell you – i just got the exact words and attention and truths i needed to hear from exactly who i needed to hear it from, and now i’m back in the rabbit hole, fully willing to journey….

the rabbit hole is full of a bunch of nonsense, so this horoscope made me laugh out loud:

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): The elegant,
shimmering fabric known as silk is obtained from the cocoon of a worm
larva. Typically the cocoon is dunked in boiling water to kill the pupa
inside before it can chew its way out. Another precious material with
gross origins is ambergris. It’s a foul-smelling excrement that sperm
whales vomit. After years of exposure to the sun while floating on the
ocean, it transforms into an aromatic, waxy substance that’s used as a
major ingredient in perfume. Silk and ambergris are your personal power
symbols in the coming weeks, Virgo. I predict that you’ll turn crap
into treasure.

In other news – blessings to Mia on a new baby girl who i can’t wait to meet, and I heard from joshuagabriel that he’s engaged which completes the trifecta of nice jewish boy engagements all around me 🙂 mazel tov!

that’s all today – oh but we’ve started a blog on the league site – www.indyvoter.org/leaguetalksback – its in early stages, let me know your thoughts!

love and love

kat and i are here in my home with maker's mark, mallomar's, half baked and 
a girly movie - in her shoes. we are having a moment with our computers and
our thoughts of people we adore who are not near. some people don't celebrate
it, some people protest it, some people get lonely - i like to notice who is closest
in my heart, and then let it all go. i have been thinking lately that letting go of
expectations is such a good way to roll forward into any relationship. but at the
same time, you risk losing dreams, dreams you didn't know you were holding,
of kisses on the back of your neck near the top, hands on your back when you cry,
children - with names, bone shattering passion, traditions of romance and family,
singing in a room packed with people who love lyrics, writing breathtaking novels,
waking up next to someone you wanted to spend the night with, dreams that sit
brewing in the unused 90% of your brain until they suddenly don't happen and
some other wonderful random normal magic happens and you're giggling and
small talking and just so happy to be anywhere with someone you never expected
to exist. losing is an art. this movie had a poem in it that captured this for me...try
it on for size.

One Art, By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel.  None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch.  And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

this goes out to beheaded saints, patriarchal giving of flowers, packed restaurants
full of awkward conversations and good intentions, cuddling and nuzzling and
missing and wishing.

happy valentine's day darlings...

snow snow snow!!



i fell down. that was my first encounter with the blizzard, i fell down some wet steps in washington heights. i looked at the wetness and thought — ooh slippery, be carefuuuuuuuuuuuu-ow! i still have not looked to see how big the bruise is on the right buttocks, just keep avoiding that angle in the mirror.

i love snow, so i couldn’t even stay upset at the outrage and embarrassment of finding myself flat after booty bumping down some steps in front of several children who looked on me with the pity they clearly reserve for adults who can’t maneuver snow.

i also fall a lot, so i couldn’t be surprised.  i fall so much that this past weekend when my sister met a friend of mine, and he commented on the fact that she wears heels and i don’t, she felt the need to point out that i don’t wear heels because i sprain my ankles and fall down all the time. i owe you one sis!

i spent a lot of the weekend developing some thoughts on how i feel about the lambasting of young white activists as a strategy to fight white supremacy. i watched this white boy get skewered a bit at a conference this weekend for trying to do something underthought but fundamentally good, and it occurred to me that we are really focusing attention on the wrong stuff. you know – don’t protest when they call you nigga, protest when they legislate us like we niggers.

white supremacy doesn’t prevail because guilty white kids try to do something to balance out their guilt and messed up legacy on the planet, nor is white supremacy new or evolving…it triumphs in  inertia. but it prevails, really, because people of color have such a deep inferiority complex and sense of self-loathing. justice, i think, requires an internal sense of equality and a consistent external reality of equity. i am not of the belief that the planet is big enough for anyone to escape white supremacy, or shame it out of existence; it’s deeper, more personal work than that. i am thinking of some long point/counterpoint with a white activist and then someone who really believes hating whitey is the answer.

this reminds me of my freshman year in college, my girls were the black girls from our dorm, we rolled everywhere together. but it got to the point where my girls were spending 90% of their time just hating on white folks for everything, and it ended up with me not wanting to kick it with them anymore. and i don’t think it was just cause my momma white…i think its cause i feel hate begets hate and at a certain point, reactionary, justified, whatever, it becomes a poison and an excuse and a wall.

now for full disclosure, i do my share of laughing my ass off at white people – white folks do some funny, backwards, lame, deadly things. history ain’t on the side of white, speaking purely in terms of oppressive legacies, or style.

but we’re all pretty flawed, pretty laughable, pretty pathetic at the end of the day. that’s the common human struggle. in places where white folks aren’t actively getting wicked, we find ways of shooting ourselves in the foot or leading genocidal campaigns against ourselves. (disagree? please send me examples of perfect communities). point is, we all have to evolve. the only white folks i know that seem to truly, deeply get it are those who’ve had intimate familial proximity to people of color.

so will bi/multi-racial folks save the world? is saving the world a pragmatic goal these days? and if it is, shouldn’t the focus be on the planet anyway? the aftermath of katrina is a racial cleansing, but why did katrina even happen? how oppressed is the earth, to sound hella crunchy…aren’t we all kind of active players in that bit of needless destruction?

questions, comments, neck-snapping responses welcome…just thinking with my fingers a lot these days.

here’s a cute picture of my sister april ordering room service breakfast in my most recent emergency hotel room – her face is just fabulous, check that out:


saw donnell baird today, who i originally met when he was working for ACT in milwaukee, we’ve just decided to get to know each other. he’s funny, and i can’t recount any of the stories that made me laugh out loud, which is generally a good sign. also saw my boy darien today and he is newly engaged…look at you baby, love and commitment. what a delight!


ah i’ve left this post open too long and i fear its going on and on – just got a valentine’s day gift from the parents and got myself chapelle season 2, octavia butler’s newest offering, a replacement copy of waking life and anansi boys by neil gaiman. i love the ‘buy used’ option, you can get so much more for so much less!

i did get a hot new blazer from my mom for no real reason, just how mama-love is:


ok i will stop now! kisses, amb

these grown up days

do you ever go through little periods where you realize that there is very little that is actually theoretical or far away from you? like the things that, when i was growing up, seemed to happen to only the very famous, very scandalous types, or on television to make things dramatic. but then they all come into real life…death and babies, love triangles, love ending, love beginning, intrigue, conspiracy, heartbreak, affairs, impotence, brilliance, forgiveness, becoming more revolutionary, finding intimacy and romance, trauma, healing. it requires all sorts of maturity and honesty and being a grown up, trying to stay clear and standing and even joyful through all of that. i’ve had to be such an adult lately. 

have you deeply listened to the song ‘love me still’ by chaka khan? i think, for moments when you realize that love over a long period of time is really the deepest friendship where you hurt each other with your hurts, and love each other with your hope, and free each other from your burdens, and carry each other through hard times, that this is the perfect song to play. some of you faithful readers may ask: does this mean the heartbreaker has come back? not so simple beloveds…it means that a new chapter is upon us, one with less illusions and demands and self-absorbtion and more listening, learning, and depth. so its not even the same person come back, its the next evolution of communication.

in other news, just got back from a successful outreach trip, met with some folks doing great community work, and saw my sister april before her road trip to south carolina, who i may nickname the oracle, cause she be breakin off the super guidance. she’s one of the few people who won’t let me wiggle away from direct analysis. i like to analyze myself an a way that makes everything ok, but sometimes you need someone to be like wait hold up hold up…some things just aren’t ok.

in my world of not ok, i am not sleeping a lot. for better or worse, my brain is fully on right now. its really hard to just lay down and sleep! i have so much to think about. my little meditation is a struggle. i haven’t quit smoking yet. but april was like, join a gym, fake it till you make it, just invest in yourself!

then got to grab lunch with bouapha toommaly, one of the co-authors of how to get stupid white men out of office, for some catch-ups on how hard the non-profit world is. she’s a warrior.

and then stopped off in baltimore for a quick and dirty hour of talking world, politics and life with dr. lester spence, one of my favorite brilliant people to talk to. i mean its that good when you go out of your way and meet in a train station just to get that level of conversation. then i slept on the train home like a bear in a cave, grabbed my favorite gyro and now, serious catch up on sleep time!!

tomorrow is the ny grassroots media conference, i’ll be presenting on creating community voter guides. if you’re in ny, come by – its at New School University Graduate Faculty (GF), 65 5th Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets.  Union Square is the nearest subway. Come through if the blizzard doesn’t get you.

i’m enjoying all the emails and posted responses to my little quiz! 🙂 keep them coming. big kisses!


tarn gets my favorite reader of the day award for great answers to my questions!! i’m jealous of your implications! and to others who didn’t answer…hint, hint – they weren’t rhetorical.

i just spent several hours as a jury member for the media that matters film festival. how inspiring! there was such amazing work in there; real, beautiful stories and issues captured in these short films. i was most moved by those by young people, those on women – it’s amazing that something only 6 minutes long can move you tears. i rallied for the ones i loved and am really excited to see them all out in the world!

i had a thought today that the world would be more bearable if people thought of money like it was the sun: there to sustain us, but too much creates a cancer that will kill you. unfortunately this presupposes that people actually understand their power dynamic with the sun, which is definitely not the case.

in other news john legend won a grammy for ‘ordinary people’, which is such a brilliant song! john performed for one of our healing innovations shows way back in the day, and at the nina simone tribute concert, which is still one of my most cherished events i have ever been involved in. back then he was john stephens, but the voice was already legendary. i then got to see him and kanye in a show at the knitting factory before they blew up – i remember thinking that john was angelic and sly and seemed so young; and that kanye was exciting and so short and what was up with that little backpack and that i liked the earnestness of his work. onward and upward boys!

in other other news – great therapy session today. haven’t been since 2003, after a somewhat massive breakdown. it was good to be able to say i’m in a good place and have some real clear pieces of work. i think everyone could benefit from therapy! get some.

speaking of getting some…i had this nightmare that i hooked up with someone fabulous and we were later instant messaging about it and it turned out i was actually in an explicit conversation with the girlfriend i didn’t know existed – oh no wait, that actually happened!! like, tonight!! rule one of taking a new lover: ask if they might have a serious significant other who wouldn’t be cool with the lover-ness. my rather non-monogamous approach to life is such that i really interact with people as they present themselves and figure the rest falls in their area of responsibility. ugh! so not fresh.

but back to things that ARE fresh: soft toilet paper, long walks, good facilitation, letting go, thinking deeply, and sleeping a LOT.

off to do some outreach training in d.c. tomorrow, that insular, strange, pretty, short city i am so not feeling. but good people still need this info, so off i go.


today someone reminded me of the existence of gizoogle.com. have y’all had your ego gizoogle moment? do it – just a tip from adrienne marizzle brizzle.

the next whole segment is xxx, mom. the only safe reading is not reading for you at this point!

i am so tempted to write a piece called: tips on taking a new lover. i have been wanting to write this for a while, as i think it is a necessary skill to acquire and there is a RIGHT way to do it! but i am about to start the sex column! so i will save it.

i am also tempted to write an unrelated piece here called head sex, about a phenomenon which a dear friend told me i have been guilty of (there’s such a more proper way to write that sentence but, you know, kiss mine.)

i would like to state, for the record, that I LOVE SEX. and i am blessed to be an activist-organizer whatever. and that’s why my sex and relationship advice column for organizers is going to be so fun.

and now, i want to ask YOU a few questions. 10. 10 questions:

1. what comes to mind when you think of revolution?
2. what comes to mind when you think of slavery?
3. what comes to mind when you think of heaven?
4. who comes to mind when you think of evil?
5. what do you think of threesomes?
6. do you think you are superior in some way to the majority of the species? in what way? (hint: i think i might have a greater capacity to forgive, but i haven’t determined if it is mo’ superior or mo’ sucker)
7. would you say you have amazing sex on a regular basis?
8. do you recycle?
9. what do you do when you most need to relax?
10. are you addicted to sudoku yet? (www.websudoku.com)

the founder of now has died. coretta scott king has died. i want a different remembering of them than i am seeing thus far. why don’t we ever want to remember the real strength in women when they pass – they are wives or symbols to us, we never want to remember humans, warriors.

has anyone created a multi-use charger yet? something with multiple adapters for various phones, computers, etc? i want one. where is it?

i’m going to be interviewing saul williams – any burning questions you’d like me to ask him?

and now, some shout outs:

i want to send a shout out to malia – hope the rice tasted just right!
i want to send a shout out to adam and karynn – i love the energy you left here!
i want to send a shout out to sofia – miss you!
i want to send a shout out to jalen – i will call you kai if you want, promise!
and to janine – 10 Gs homey!
i want to send a shout out to april and autumn – you inspirational beauties you!
i want to send a shout out to you – have a marvelous day!

i must to bed 🙂



on superbowl weekend is nuts!! The Steelers have won the Superbowl and the city
is on fire, people are in the streets celebrating, everywhere I look its black
and gold and folks giving the high 5! I
fell in love with Pittsburgh in 2004, and spent the weekend training the super
sophisticated Pittsburgh League in organizational development, political
landscaping, base building and multi-racial organizing with Natasha, Khari and
Biko…everyone is moving onward and upward and we had the greatest talk last
night about shedding light, trust and how love is the ultimate force.

And then the Steelers became world champions!! And no one’s going to work, school is delayed, the streets look like a tornado rolled through, and it did – a tornado of crazy fans knocking over everything in their midst. All the streets near my hotel were shut down…the feeling in the city was crazy. Happy.

Another little moment of happiness:

(01:02:56) karynn: oh my god did you hear what charlie
rangel said?
(01:03:03) karynn: speaking of new yorkers?
(01:04:26) karynn: reporter asked rep rangel what he
thought of the President
(01:04:31) karynn: and he said
(01:04:51) karynn: "well, i really think he
shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all."

It’s Monday morning, I have to leave the victory party later today and go home, but until then I’ma soak it in and let it rub off on y’all.

Here we go Steelers…


live from denver – true spin

"warrior supreme
any true fighters dream
outrageously insane
to not love her"

that’s what i woke up to as my latest testimonial…and it has made my day!

especially since i spent the morning having a moment of…oh what to call it – technical hypochondria? virtual hypochondria? i saw a report on cnn about the kama sutra virus and realized i hadn’t backed up my files and then i turned on my computer and it froze, and kept freezing and after that every time i turned it on it would work for 5 minutes before it froze, so i was trying to virus scan it, and trying to save all of my files to a different place. tears started to well up in my eyes, and then i decided to not think about it.

it then started working.

whew. i have since backed up everything that matters on here. back it up chris!

a random thought – there’s no clear path into chaos. i feel like the wind is picking me up off the ground and i am ready to fly.

have been hosted in denver by the stunning and brilliant nora. last night involved mango and sticky rice, nina simone, smoke, whiskey, telling of our brushes with death, jammies her mama bought me with dolphins on them, and me slipping into a deep sleep too early. it was perfect, i got so so relaxed. i love nora, her eyes alone are worth three pages. thank you sis! next time malaysia!

now i’m at the true spin conference and there was an interesting presentation this morning on how we present our stories, it’s either institutional accountability vs personal responsibility. it made me think about how much both sides confuse this – it goes back to that left/right battle which is the center of why i hate politics.

we are all hypocrits…the right calls for faith in the institution. when the institution fails, they blame the people – support the troops until they are homeless lazy bums, right? and we on the left tell these personal stories of tragedy in which this personal tale is supposed to lead people to a conclusion of institutional guilt. in the process, we cast ourselves as pathetic victims – and yet for our side of the story to work, we must believe the people’s power is unparalleled. we don’t show the brilliant hero who the system has left on the streets. I wondered – how do we clarify this? How do we tell stories of people that show their power against an institution that is failing?

And of course the context for this right now is the culture of fear – you are taught to fear other people, and trust the institution. People bombing people: terrorists. Institutions bombing people: war on terror. Right now the right is way ahead of us in placing the origin of fear in other people…crazy people want to stop democracy and freedom and want to take your stuff and rape you in the park. We don’t want to hear that the institution is driving people crazy, we don’t want to hear that the institution isn’t taking care of people – is that even the job of…it goes in circles!

my question is, how do you use the tools of the institution to shift the thinking in normal people (when i say normal people i mean people who don’t sit around all day every day thinking a strategy could save a world) enough to realize that their only prison is the institution? how do we communicate to people who don’t realize that they are in a prison? how do we communicate to people who are maybe more comfortable not thinking in terms of questions? trust people, fear the institution.

and plus, almost all the stress for the left comes from the fact that the right is scooping a message that makes more sense for left programs and left policy. one of the speakers – kathy bonk – said its like flowers. most people aren’t trying to garden, they just want flowers. if policy is the earth and issues make the stem, then big picture/values make the blooming flower, and most people just want the flower, a tulip, whatever. to me, we’re at a moment where we have to say bitch give me back my flower! or expose the right’s tulips as faux. fake flowers, fake fruit, fake opportunity – nothing is really being offered by the haves to the have nots. nothing ever changes. you have to grow your own, person to person.

ok gotta go head to pittsburgh. its superbowl weekend…how will anyone want to focus on learning? 🙂

go steelers!