little lessons

little lessons

I could go on for pages on the ways in which Life interrupted my plans to post, but I won’t. Simply, I’ll apologize and move on. I messed up. I’ll do better.

The professor looked in our direction, put their elbows on the table and told us if we could do something else, we should.

If we were able to enter a different field, shift academic trajectories, choose another program we should. If we decide to stay… if we believe this is what we were born to do…  “my condolences.”

I’m forced to be smarter here. I am in constant state of reeducation. I walk slower now, making sure I don’t “pull” when I should “push.” I adopt mannerisms, study ways my peers talk to the professor. I study outfits, diction… Durkheim.  As a graduate student in this prestigious program, I am aware both by nature and training of those around me. The air here is dense with complex text and discussion. Therefore, I breathe with intention. At a pace. I am learning. I can feel it.

I’m forced to be selfish here. I let a love be momentary once again. A fatal combination of free time and emotion led me there. And here. On my bed. Writing. I’m at peace. The goodbye was necessary, yet I remind myself it takes more than one to measure a relationship’s worth. Twenty two with two jobs and a thesis on the way… I need to be selfish in love. I am in a constant state of reeducation.

I’ll do better.

In the Door, a series (edit: short lived)

In the Door, a series (edit: short lived)

“Section 8 to Ivy League”

I saw her hands rise, just a touch. The tone in her voice becoming more urgent, less anxious. Sure of herself and her intentions, she spoke passionately against the field she taught in. Her words attacked the elitism and inaccessibility of education, her desire for inclusive research became her. I listened. I agreed. Yet, I couldn’t forget the initials by her name. The number of publications she’s authored. The number of times she’s been cited.

I couldn’t forget where we were. A bougie high end coffee shop in downtown Boston charging $4.75 for a pack of 3 gluten free cookies. Here, we critiqued the “elite.”

In a month I will begin my Masters degree at an Ivy League institution where you can feel the air of prestige even in the restrooms. This anger, this passion, this frustrated quiver in tone… it’s inside of me too. But I wonder, where do I stand in this fight for accessibility? How angry can I be at the “other side” while I plant my foot in the door? Is my desire to fight against the system contradictory to my walking into it?

In this blogging series, I am going to document my year at Columbia. My transition from one school to the next is more than a change of scenery. It’s letting go of a Section 8 voucher for more student loan debt. It’s a disguise of elitism, a false air of comfort… a childhood dream come true. Tackling with the complication of my position, I hope to make this experience tangible and in some strange way find strength in this vulnerability of sharing my journey with you.

I’ll be posting at least every other week.

(EDIT: I can’t even say I tried to keep up with this post’s promise. I apologize & moving on)

“whiskey breath”

“whiskey breath”

i remember
body parts
skin, stubbly
rough, never soft
sweat
always there
a slip unkind
my fingertips could never quite

grab on

i remember
stomach, stretched
round, pulsing
smell of beer
steak
cologne I loved
faded
bitter
never seemed to

hang on

to these
pressed lips
sloppy mouths
vodka, whiskey
smell of rum
the only way
to feel you

i remember

i felt us shift
months of slipping
we fell and flew
together
asleep
the entire time
we never did

grab on.

“Here You Are”

“Here You Are”

my poems don’t rhyme anymore
they fall and they rise
or they keep falling
or keep rising
they twist your mouth
into uncomfortable shapes
they are awkward
unkind, they make sense
only to me
but still i wrap them
in myself
and gift them to you
the one with bright eyes
squinting in wonder
asking which words
which sounds
fit together
when do you pause
when can your tongue rest
you do not know
but still
here you are

“Images of My Mother”

“Images of My Mother”

I want to tattoo my body
with the image of my mother
watch my hands master spices
see my calves grow in size
so I too can run marathons
with four babies on my shoulders

When my voice turns into hers
My tongue will grow heavy
with tastes of herbs and te amo‘s
watch my whispers soothe cyclones
remind all daughters to breathe
again and again

When I crawl into her skin
and I taste the church’s wine
I see God underneath my eyelids
feel the lord’s blood join our own
and the darkness would feel warm
for the first time

I want to tattoo my body
with the image of my mother
so when I look in my reflection
I can finally believe
I too have the strength
of a thousand women