two movie reviews: sugarman and cloud atlas

in the past 16 months, 4 people that i love have transitioned, 3 as total surprises. i find that one of my grief activities is immersing myself in movies, the more epic and ‘grand human story’ the better. in that spirit, i went to see searching for sugarman and cloud atlas. here’s what i thought:…

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heaviness of heart, brandon lacy campos

last night i heard my friend and comrade brandon lacy campos has transitioned. denial, shock, anger – the grief process is getting to be familiar. i hate that.

but i adored brandon. he was fierce, always looking for love, vibrant, so deeply naughty. brandon was always doing something that made me shake my head. and this? this makes me shake my head, suck my teeth, shudder, lean away and sob. come on blc.

will miss his chatting, falling in love, sharing vanities and bitching and aiming always towards justice and fabulousness.

rest and rest.

for the staten island moores, in grief

for glenda and damian moore, i cannot even comprehend.
for connor and brandon moore, rest in peace.

this goddamn country
sometimes it just takes too much

i heard about this woman
running all around in this maze
thinking she was free
just free to keep her children in her arms
but the storm took those babies
she thought she was free to cry for help
to wail, inside, behind white doors
help, she just called to anyone
to take her in
to make a room for her to fight for life
to grieve
to bear down through the transition

this country ain’t bethlehem
or any kind of goodnight story
with our black president in tears,
is the state of our union

we are free to buy anything
even in that prison
you can get a hold of just enough
to taste that bit of freedom
on your own sucked tongue
that tingleloin declaration
you are still alive
to suffer the walls

there is also freedom
to learn those things
that will keep you docile
until you forget –
yes you mostly forget
i have seen it –
that you asked about freedom
that you longed to evolve
your life wasn’t a small talk
it was a monstrous awakening

and when you saw injustice
you called him out by his name
you showed him the way
out of your heart

this goddamn country
how can we look in each other’s eyes
over those babies’ bodies
how can we stand with any dignity
when you treat us all like this
and we stay?

talking about freedom
something to teach, fry, export, drop down
in a parachute
or guide in for explosion, by computers
but i really want to know
what freedom

freedom to suffer in silence?
cause they made us hush up
our hands, our languages
freedom to beat our babies?
like they beat us
to break us mind you
to break us
and still we do this
freedom to turn away from suffering
when it huddles in your doorway
freedom to close the door
and sit in the dark
hoping it all goes away

if i could
i would banish you
from the realm of the selfish
make you forget
the word i
poison you with wonder
and spirit
til you grew mad with love
mad with it
you goddamn country
you self-loathing multitudes
you who have my blood on your lips

just yesterday
just yesterday i came here
and already and again you have broken my heart?

i mean is there a freedom
that we can’t see?
a definitive human freedom
which permeates all of our prisons
the prison of the racist heart
the prison of the victim heart
the prison of those strangers
in staten island
who didn’t know death
when she came to the door
whose souls died when her boys died
and is there a freedom
from that moral death?

can this country
flooded with blood
let go of the
sharp instruments
let go of trying to cleave
us from us
atom from atom
master from slave, inside
inside of us

let go of that whip
chain, trauma and bitterness
let go of the belongings
that sicken your soul
with envy and longing
that you value
over the small stranger full of tears

let go of that

what freedom you might find
in your empty guilty
forgiven hands.

who comes to your door
is the mother of the new world
and somehow
your house
is coming down.

when in doubt, default to love

my love capacity is massive.

just finished two days of work with the most inspiring girls in the world over at the young women’s empowerment project. literally ended with the room shouting ‘I AM PRICELESS!’

the practice of being with women in a space that is action-oriented, non-judgmental, uplifting, grounding, centering and real is so healing, and it drives home to me how much we long to default to love with each other – instead of suspicion, jealousy, hatred…those are the systems we face, and to face them together means to hold each other, as we are, whole/broken/bent/bruised/scared/strong/hilarious/glamorous/whole.

here’s some of the art from the walls.


this first piece is a poem i couldn’t stop reading – “i want someone to call me beautiful, when they see my shame. i want them to place me on a wall, anyway.” the rawness of that need made me ache; how much of the essence of love is seeing and being seen for your darkest, most shameful, most imperfect self, and called beautiful? who do you love that way? who do you let love you that way? open up.

YWEP art 1

YWEP art 2

i am also in a swirl because my grandfather, who i love and who loves me – across generations, faiths, political differences and life – is in the hospital and i want to go sit by his side and listen more. the moment reminds me that only faith can stand up when grief and crisis enter the room, and i have to remember what my faith is. there’s something in defaulting to love, and something in Earthseed. god is change, change is god. i think now how my life has been touched and shaped by my grandfather, how i have touched and shaped his life, and what a blessing that is. and no matter what happens, no matter how long we have, we will continue to change each other. i have faith in that.

it’s been about 6 months since i moved for love [to detroit, same time zone as cuba, the greening city, the burst of future in a regressing economy, and home], and since then my capacity to default to love has been growing. what i have learned so far about defaulting to love:

– you have to be present and attend to what you are actually feeling/thinking/experiencing…that is the essence of self-love

– once you acknowledge the truth, you can let go of what is irrelevant.

– love lets you see what is distraction, what is ego, and what is learning.

– love lets you move past taking things personally, and begin to see and honor the pain and survival under the surface of your own and others’ behavior.

– love reminds us there is no right or wrong life, or choice.

– love sees the blessing and the lesson, laughs at regret, nods wisely at unintentional acts, and carries only the wisdom forward.

– love is physical, spiritual, social, political, solo, duet, chorus, universal, isolated, natural, technological, chemical…more states than water, all at once.

– we are always capable of love.

i will of course keep you posted as i learn more.

because…i love you.