Thank you to everyone who supported this personal, transcendental endeavor of mine. The show was a hit! We wanted everyone to experience the magic of the Goddesses, so here’s a full YouTube link of the show, filmed entirely on smartphone. Like and share with everyone you love.
I was four years old, standing onstage with my dance mates at the Fort Hood Family Recreation Center, wearing a white frilly top with red satin inlay and matching red velour skirt. White opaque tights and shiny patent leather Mary Janes completed my outfit. My hair, curls freshly unfurled from pink sponge curlers, served as a mane. Mom had painted whiskers across my cheeks. While the costume was more holiday, the performance was animal. I was cast as a lion amongst lambs in a story about Jesus Christ’s birth. My dance was simple – a crouched position, a turn to the left, a turn to the right, then a full circle. Repeat. It was my first stage performance. After the applause and raising of the house lights, I knew it wouldn’t be my last.
Flash forward to the eve of 40. I sit across from show director Luke Rosebaro in the WSRQ Sarasota talk radio station at microphone #4. Andy Garrett sits to my left, and Frances Roberts-Reilly sits to my right. The three of us are promoting The Living Goddess Exhibit, a production I developed early 2016 that was showcased on November 11th. For Luke and his listening audience, we share poems featured in the exhibit as well as other sacred creations.
This was my first radio performance, and I delighted to share at a microphone that wasn’t propped on a stand on a stage in front of a live audience. Although I faced Luke, I knew my purpose for being there was to reach out to the listening audience – what message do I want to convey? All our poems were formed around the Dark Goddess in our daily living. What does she have to say?
To invoke goddess energy into my delivery, I took my favorite scarf – a gray sheer fabric adorned with black skulls – and draped it over my head and shoulders. Immediately I felt a tingle in the crown of my head, more to the right side. A sensation like an electrical current flowing between two points repeated across the area. I was tuned in.
Photos: Frances Roberts-Reilly
From my collection, I offered ArcAngel, Lady of Blazing Dominion, and Reed-Girl. The beautiful poetess Nidia Del Mar, who embodied Kali for The Living Goddess Exhibit, let me perform her two poems from the show. The Dark Goddess infused me, allowing the words to flow with a lion’s strength and a warrior’s passion.
I felt good sharing with Luke and his audience. I felt empowered, able to perform without the ego getting in the way. After a successful day sharing our art, we touched a bit on opportunities in the region before heading to Simon’s Coffee House for lunch. Our contributions will be aired on Saturday, December 24th and will be available online here.
Our visit to WSRQ was an opportunity to promote POP! The Poet Outreach Program I began to develop this year. The purpose of POP is to bring together artists of all styles, all levels of experience, to collaborate on unique projects and deliver community events across Tampa Bay. This grass-roots level approach embraces literary arts as a catalyst towards increased creativity in communities were artistic exposure may be lacking. Since we were in Sarasota I encouraged the listening audience to consider supporting POP! locally, and to contact our organization for networking opportunities across the Skyway Bridge.
Andy, Frances, and the rest of The Living Goddess Exhibit cast are eager to reprise our show on a local stage or setting in 2017. We hope our visit to WSRQ will stoke interest and draw supporters. Currently, we’re in need of funding to cover exhibit costs. Your generous, tax deductible donations to POP! can be made via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I took the flower bouquets I received Friday night and consolidated them into one mongo bouquet on the kitchen island. The vase it rests in is the same one from the exhibit, a gift from lady Brigid, the Bringer of Light. I wanted to depict onstage a woman’s womb and its power to birth beauty, thus the addition of the bouquet to the dais. Real flowers this time in the vase; they make me smile widely.
It is a strange morning. What had consumed my time, energy and effort these past few months is done, gone. I woke up thinking, what to do now? I took the healthy route and scaled down my interests just so I could concentrate fully on developing this creative piece. In doing so, I freed myself of unnecessary worry. But it’s done now, and I feel a bit…naked.
Let’s reflect on the exhibit itself. By the time I had horns on my head, I was ready to go. I had complete faith in each performer, on the attending crowd, and the spiritual energy in the theater. I smiled big the whole night. When I performed, I gave myself to the stage. I honestly can’t recall doing my poetic recitations, but I know they happened. I remember looking into the crowd, finding the faces of my friends. I remember feeling the heat of the lamps pointed center stage. I remember feeling empowered, thinking, “I am good at this!” as I laughed into my next recitation. I gave myself lines and not one, but two sets of poems to recite. I did not mess up. I am proud of me!
The first poem I recited is an actual poem written by Enheduanna, the high priestess of Ur and first poet of recorded history. It’s actually the invocation portion of an epic poem, Inanna and Ebih, In-Nin-Me-Huš-A, which means “Lady of Blazing Dominion.” You know what I use as a mnemonic? Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” I play the chorus in my head, then I launch into the whole poem.
The second poem is an original I wrote earlier this year. It’s a poem about self-discovery and taking chances. It was a story I wanted to tell about me in the search for footing in a 21st century world. I figured it fit with the story of Enheduanna’s difficulty in pleasing the world, leaving her unfulfilled. Until the goddesses hear her desperation, Enheduanna suffers the part. This is so common, especially with modern women. We sit there and stew in our troubles instead of reaching out. Yours truly is a culprit of this activity. Thus, I turn around and encourage the high priestess to reach beyond and find her potential amongst the cosmos. If you can’t find inspiration in this world, be inspired by the worlds beyond.
Today I feel like I released a bird to the sky letting it fly and be part of nature. The exhibit belongs to the artistic ethos now, out of my hands, existing as its own pulsating thing. Today I should allow myself to breathe. Friday was a fantastic night. Today should be a quiet day.
(NOTE: This occurred in May 2015…)
Once at Murphy’s I am consumed with the idea of a beer. In one day I embraced mortality twice; surely, my libation limitations can be excused this evening!* Besides, the two male cousins before me, busy with setting up our pool table, have earned my trust, now and forever. I sip an ale and cherish the simple act of drinking.
A pool cue placed in my hand, and it’s my break. As I line the chalked tip between the 1st and 2nd balls to my right, the green felt bubbles. I blink to correct my contact lenses, then line up again. The smooth wood rod punches through my left grip, a sure shot, but instead, I scratch. I offer a self-deprecating comment to my company and giggle, then return the cue ball to start position. I attempt again. I fail again. The pool table is a tide moving quickly towards shore.
No one else sees this but me.
I look to my love and consider for a moment telling him, but his response will be a logical one: you’re coming down from the adrenaline rush, dear. This makes sense, except, I’m as calm and steady as I can physically be.
Perhaps more beer…
The cousins take to the table and I’m benched, nursing my ale, when I feel a wave of energy push against my right side. Moving only my eyes, I witness a furry, bearded man wearing a brown plaid shirt, hands clasped to his chest, eyes squinted inebriatedly. He smiles warmly then takes my hand as Jerry introduces us. “Ed, my name is Ed, I don’t know if I said it already…Ed.”
I find Ed to be comforting.
Jerry suggests we visit Ed’s studio. A break in the action? Sure. Brews are grouped aside and pool cues are chevroned to indicate, “We’ll be back.” A right turn from the cloaked billiards room over to the smoke haze of the outer patio, down the slicked side stairs and into the rain, the same murderous rain from our descent earlier. The audacity, I curse, as I bunny hop over puddles towards the adjacent building.
One key opens one door, another key unlocks another, then we’re in the presence of track lights and shiny instruments. Is this the universe interfering, or am I just plumb lucky? On the floor lies a six-string bass. Along the wall, a banjo, an acoustic and electric guitar, and a framed photograph. Jerry points and Ed blushes momentarily. BF doesn’t know who’s in the picture, but I’m well acquainted from my Kentucky days: the greatest picker in all of Appalachia, Mr. Doc Watson. To Doc’s right is our studio host, smiling and squinty-eyed.
Jerry goads him to play, which I know as an artist, we don’t need much cajoling to do what we love to do. Ed eases down onto a stool as I lower to the floor before him, cross my legs and cradle my hands, rocking into a cozy sit. “This is a song about a girl…” Ed starts as he fits his pick against the 3rd string and fingers his chords. The acoustics, so well tuned in the room, send me a fit of chills. He strums and sings with reverence as he shares his pained story, about the girl who moved on. My spine follows the melody and my shoulders meter the down beat. Where the cousins are I don’t know, all I know is this irresistible urge to sway. Side to side, side to side, as the notes play in the white light surrounding us. His words mute and I hear, “There, there. You’re all right. Everyone’s all right,” in a soft, wise, feminine voice. I’m cradled in a maternal embrace, a baby swaddled in a tight blanket of light. “There, there,” she sings. The terror of the last hour simultaneously manifests, actualizes then dissipates.
I feel, in a word, remarkable.
My snake dance to the charmer slows to an erect sit. Ed has finished playing. I awkwardly clap, hoping it’s not ill-timed. The cousins are ready to head back to Murphy’s but not before I take a few pulls of healing smoke. We leave, without Ed, from the glow of the studio back into the steady rain.
*: minutes before this interaction, the male cousins and I were near-death, sliding down the face of the mountain during an impromptu storm. This is the recovery from said event. Hence the beer.
Happy 2016 to you! Have you started off right? I sure have! Let’s catch up:
☆ I am blissfully in love and loved in return. February 1st our two houses become one!
♤ Mental health treatment is going well; a slow, careful journey up a steep hill requiring patience. Working on ‘patience’ too.
♡ Authenticity is the name of the game. I’ve scrapped the bent cards from my life deck. Working on solidifying my inner circle (invite only). Nice to have physical friends again.
The biggest update is:
♧ I am expanding my artistic base to dance! Pinellas County Florida is home to the Second Time Arounders Marching Band. Yours truly was a flag, sabre, and rifle-tossing member of Excalibur Color Guard in high school, and I still count those performance moments as the happiest of my turbulent childhood. So, the Universe provided me essentially a second chance at childhood – authentic, healing fun. You have no idea how great it felt to pick up a flag again!
Wanna see me in action? Check out the band’s website for the official 2016 schedule. If you’re in Tampa Bay for Gasparilla, the parade will be my 1st flag performance in 22 years! Come cheer me on!!
Here’s a 1994 video of my last winter guard performance. Look for the backboard with Cupid holding a heart; the girl with the puffy hair in set position is me…
Here I thought I had a sure project: a handyman I met through my neighbors eager for me to work with him on increasing visibility for his mobile business. Currently he’s using Craigslist, but wants to get beyond that in order to attract a more reliable clientele and demonstrate credibility. That’s super easy, I said, then brainstormed ideas on how he could turn his small space into a busy business.
We had a planning meeting over breakfast, where I asked a bunch of objective-building questions. He answered generously and eagerly, occasionally expressing gratitude for pursuing this work. At one point he noted, “You ask a lot of questions, like you’ve done marketing before.” I smile at the compliment to my meticulousness then shared my various experiences working with small scale to national organizations pre-social media. Now, using my enterprise, I have the capacity to help small scale organizations merge into the SocMed arena of marketing. It really ain’t that hard, but requires objectives and goals. What it always comes down to is, ‘are you trying to grow your business or your likes?’
Later I reviewed my notes – got a list of business goals and links to current ads – but didn’t capture his full name. Oops! Once I have him set up on the major SocMed sites, I want them pointing to him, not me. I don’t mind managing them, I remember saying; ultimately the business would be ran by these tools and not his one phone that he’s always looking at and answering when it rings. But, can’t get to Instagramming without the necessary details right? Left a phone message for the client. Texted him directly.
A week passes.
He ghosted me.
Of course, something may have occurred personally which delayed his ability to return my call, I can take that as an excuse. But who in this modern society carrying a smartphone can’t return a phone call or text message in under a week?
Once again, got stung by the good ol’ “I have no intention to pay you.” All expectations, no action, and how come it’s not free? This is what being a small business owner smells like.
This very handy post came in Sunday night, which helped toss the marketing project in the mental wastebasket: So busy trying to secure the Next Big Project, I forgot I have my own unfulfilled project to deal with: get my book back on Amazon. Right now, you can’t buy a print-on-demand nor an e-book from them, thanks to my butthole former publisher, but I failed on the follow through, not completing the necessary due diligence to keep the book in rotation.
This week my one novel deserves my attention. I shall keep you posted on how that works out. In the meantime, Nook Press has a downloadable e-book for $2.99 and there’s an awesome soundtrack on SoundCloud, which I highly recommend you give a listen.
Have a great week!
She approached with heavy Megan Fox-style panting, not a single wiggle to her lean profile, pushing a three-wheeled exercise stroller with two well-behaved younguns strapped in for the ride. Her smile fanned the driveway, holding my gaze, interrupting the fill of my bike tires prior to an inaugural ride. Her skin, a scintillating coat of sweat which made me consider, if I was to bite her right now, she’d taste like crispy salted caramel. She’s still smiling and I’m still checking her out. The left brain asks, “What does she want??” The right brain predicts, “My money says she’s a nanny!”
Caramel approached with the pram. She sexily exhaled as she pointed out the deflated front tire, and could I help her air it up? I scowl inside: she’s pulling the Hot Damsel In Distress on meeeeee? That’s my move! At least she’s close enough for me to admire her toned thighs and sculpted calves. Shoving kids on a run does wonders for the human form! Alas, no ass. That’s Jenga. Right brain concedes to left.
The way the tire pump latches is too bulky for the small tire space, plus the receiver is funnily angled. Not gonna ruin my equipment for a hot chick, so had to send Salted Caramel on her way. Graciously she thanked me, waving as she bounced off.
I can get used to the suburbs.
We’re two weeks out, and muscle memory has kicked the door down. I’m able to walk a mile with the Bobster and push two miles on the bike before my legs tire. At peak performance I was burning up cardio machines and playing in bike lanes for ten miles on average. We’re getting there people! Santiago’s Manolin springing forward.
That takes care of the physical development, but how about this big brain? The apathy I shared in my fisherman’s post has tempered a bit. Every day I sit at my laptop and excrete the garbage getting in the way of genuine reflection. In reflection lies the idea, strong enough to stir tangible thoughts and visceral reactions into typed or written form. Just like thigh muscles, brain muscle memory is quite possible; the gift isn’t lost it’s just not exercised enough. Finally, a pay off. I really like the idea presented in my documentary post! Needs rewriting, yes, needs more carrots or potatoes, maybe even some Texas Pete’s. I’ll keep adapting it; you’re welcome to offer suggestions as I clean up. So there’s good news; the creative cauldron is ready to cook in!
Spiritually I’m indulging on companionship and doing it healthily. It’s…nice…different in a good way…this pseudo-domestication that is cohabitation. Something about sharing a nap or a homecooked meal keeps the crazy kitties at bay, or at least, bothering someone else for now. Major Lazer was onto something when he produced “Lean On” wasn’t he?
I have always been in love with O’Shea Jackson. The way he carried himself, that street-borne braggadocio mixed with literary genteel, a marred Dionysus not outdone by our screwed up society. The crushing weight of discrimination, heavy to bear, yet O’Shea kept his shoulders up, his head high, never quite frowning. Bothered, but not broken. His Jehri curl, perfect.
Cradled face on twin bed as my heart sighed towards the telly, ankles crossed, marking the beat for Straight Outta Compton. The rest of the clan: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Yella, MC Ren, they were alright, but not the focus of my tween attention. Ice Cube was bad, but not bad meaning bad…well, you know the rest.
Of course I went and watched the documentary this past weekend, of COURSE I did! And please, whatever is causing you to be scared to go, don’t believe the hype. It’s just like Coal Miner’s Daughter. A story of struggle against the status quo, of artistic starvation, of personal definition. The moment Loretta Lynn decides to write and perform a song about birth control, wanting to take back womens’ right to be a human being and not society’s brooding sow, she is forever marred. Instead of being recognized for her bravery in speaking out for the oppressed, she is demonized; her music, considered dangerous.
As I pass the movie lobby poster making note of ‘the most dangerous group in the world’ or whatever, I smirk at the thought of, who labeled N.W.A. as such? They certainly didn’t. What they did with Fuck The Police was utilize momentum to take back the right to be acknowledged as human beings and not society’s kicked down domesticated dogs. There was a scene that was so agitating for me I squeezed my man’s hand really hard, then realized he was angrily squeezing mine back. Damn right, fuck the police, we both expressed in pissed-off embrace.
I knew I was going to cry once E got sick. His voice, his crowd command despite his tiny build, reminds me of my monster days. I let the tears flow then broke a selfish smile at the thought: “I bet you would’ve liked I Blew Up Juarez, E.”
Straight Outta Compton the documentary did everything right. Honored Eazy and Dre; made me smile as I learned more about my tweenage boyfriend’s skills as a writer.
I had my demigod Oprah’s ‘a ha!’ moment at an early age, listening to West Coast rap albums, following Ice Cube’s skyrocketing career, putting into practice what Cube was extolling: people are out to placate, not celebrate, dark individuality. My a ha was realizing everything is not unicorns and rainbows, and I’d be lying to myself if I even attempt to write prose or poetry without darkness. After all, that’s the point of “gangsta” rap: tell the ugly truth, expose the pretty lies.
Great documentary; I will likely own it once it’s out on Blu-Ray.