DIR (Diva in Reign)

Daily Prompt: The Show Must Go On

If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

D.I.R

Not being able to write. Not cool. Well since I’d like to be close enough to the artistic vision, I’d settle for being a director, but what kind of director?

I. How about a director demigoddess?

The chance to say AaaccTION! and CuUT! in the most obnoxious fashion because I’m brilliant even though every f-ING individual on the set hates my F-ing guts but smooches to the pooch anyway would be an an intriguing alter ego. To be an enfant terrible for a day would be dizzying. Here are a few cliched directorial lines I’d love to spew as a diva director:

“My pinky can act better than you!”
“I can’t believe I’m working with such amateurs!’
“Honey, you couldn’t act your way out of a paper bag.”
“We’re over budget, well what’s that gotta do with me? I’m trying to make a shitty film with a flimsy script and b grade actors great. You’re in charge of financing so go raise some dough.”

But seriously, I think after a day of being obnoxious, I’d give myself such a heartache that I’d swear off myself. Being obnoxious uses up a lot of negative energy. So I don’t think I could be this type of director.

II. How about the brilliant, neurotic director who fusses and fidgets over everything, is nerdy and awkward, driving everyone to the edge of insanity. This director talks to people through the air. Imaginary neurotic director monologue.

“U’m well that was good. Very good. But it’s not quite right. I can’t put my finger on it. Something’s off. Something’s definitely off. It’s-it’s the hair. Yes, that’s it. Hey hair guy, you see her hair, the wind is hitting it the wrong way and the scene was ruined, just ruined. We need to fix her hair.”

S/he is brilliant and delivers in the end, but the middle is a gazillion and one infinitesimal changes that drives everyone to the bottle.Yep, I think I’d pass on this one too.

III. Let’s try this third one on for size: the passionate director with a volcanic size personality and a temper to match. This person spits and spouts. Flying objects are prone to originate from their direction. They get so angry sometimes they speak in tongues.  sdkjh2@!O%#.

H’m, I think  I’d better stick to watching the movies.


Battle for the Pen

Daily Post: What a Twist

Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.

Cameo Cast from The Sky is Falling fable

Narrator: Chicken Little
Prose: Turkey Lurkey
Poetry: Henny Penny

Once upon a time in the land of sun and shine
Poetry challenged Prose to a battle of the mind
Back and forth they quibbled over every bit and kibble

“Fair sirs and m’ladies,”

Prose addressed the crowd who was eager for a rouse

“To quote Madame Sprat, who likes a bit of fat,
‘Poetry’s too lean, there’s not enough to glean’
Cryptic as a crevice or a hieroglyph of Isis
I’d rather indulge vices than be tied to those devices

Novices will teeter on the policies of meter
Acolytes will stray when the metaphor’s delayed:
horrified and stricken—the frog’s really a chicken!
E-I E-I O Must I say more?
Onomatopoeia Couldn’t I just see ya?…”

Poetry interjected when she saw verse so projected

“Verse is no curse, with Prose it’s much worse
No one’s deemed unsuited, for everyone’s recruited,
And every common rose, is license for repose

Poetry’s compatible with music and with song
What has Prose to wax about with meaning so prolonged?
Take Dickens as a sample in the following example

‘Mr Chitling was older in years than the Dodger: having
perhaps numbered eighteen winters; but there was a degree
of deference in his deportment towards that young gentleman
which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious of a
slight inferiority in point of genius and professional acquirements.’

With lines so libertine
Shouldn’t Prose be guillotined?

Verse is more simple and ostensibly more nimble.

Chitling, the old fart,
had an 18 year head start,
but dithered before Dodger
who was dashing and quite smart

Sir, there’s no question, frugality I sanction
For every 4 en route, t h r e e for heaven’s sake
should at least be quartered out
Because my wordy friend by the time you reach the end
We’ll be rigored in the mortis and be numbed to what was penned.”

Prose was grizzled to the core to be penciled as a bore
And was tongued in stony silence as he watched poetic license
There was not a single word from that muted Turkey bird

Then Poetry saw his mug, fell in love with that fine lug
Felt a start of tug of heart & vowed to play another part

“E-I E-I O It’s thee I adore
Let’s not compete my sweet, it’s neither race nor meet.”

Prose was tickled to the core as his heart began to soar
And the Hen began to rise as he viewed with newfound eyes

“Oh my heart’s desire let us marry upon the shire.”

They agreed to fight no more and were joined in love’s amour
And were wed forevermore on that happy, dappy, sappy, rappy score

Coconut Rice with Lentils

Food for the Soul (and the Stomach)

Tell us about your favorite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations?

Arroz con coco y lentejas 2

Rice.
When people think of rice, they picture
a dish of white grains. Ah the rice I
grew up on rarely made it to the table
unadorned and without a companion, which
was some sort of bean. The beans were
interchangeable, a revolving parade of
red beans, split peas, white lima beans,
gungo peas, black eye peas and lentils.

Rice,
to my childhood dismay, was a constant.
Why couldn’t we have American food, like
mac and cheese, meat and potatoes or the
exotic sounding casserole. I didn’t know
what a casserole was and still don’t
really, but it seemed like everyone made
and ate this dish.

Rice
and beans were a staple. They are a
staple in many Latin American and
Caribbean countries I think because
beans are a great and affordable
protein. Meat is an expensive luxury
for a family trying to make ends meet
and bought for special occasions.

Rice
and beans were an inseparable pair.
It’s misleading to say rice and beans
because it was more like rice in beans.
We didn’t eat rice with beans on top.
Our rice and peas, yes rice and peas
because we referred to all our beans
as peas, son mezclados, mixed.

Rice
and peas. It is simple to eat, but not
so simple to make. You boil the daily
“peas” in water and when they are
half-way soft, you put in the rice. This
way of making rice and peas requires
skill. You have to balance two headstrong
and vastly different foods without
making either outshine the other.

Rice
is a high maintenance crop. Beans are
are less so. The rice is refined, while
the bean is more common. Both are proud.
Neither can bare to be diminished by
turning to mush in the other’s presence.
A skilled cook understands this, but
knows that each has to bend a little to
make the pairing successful. The rice
comes down to earth a bit, becoming
browned in the process, while the bean
softens, becoming more refined in the
rice’s presence. A good rice and peas dish
is when both are in sync.

Arroz
con coco y lentejas is one of my favorite
plates to eat. Coconut rice with lentils
is a dish you encounter in someone’s home.
I have yet to see it on a menu. You eat
it with baked chicken leg and a side of
fried ripe plaintains. Many people eat
this in Latin America and the Caribbean.
If you’re interested, check out the recipe for
Arroz con coco y lentejas. It’ll take you  to
mycolombianrecipes.com. Enjoy!

Mama’s Hands

Daily Prompt: I Walk the Line
Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

Mama's hand

Mama made a living cleaning
other people’s mess.
little did we know
to provide for her brooding
nest.

Mama was some time fairy,
mostly shadow wiping and
cleaning and pleating.
little did we know
to keep the hearts of her own
beating.

Her nails were manicured by labor
her hands wore pinesol, not perfume.
little did we know
that their labor helped us
bloom.

We measured mama,
measured young and short, making
her living cleaning other
people’s mess
dimmed by disinfectants
unlike mothers of tales
who died tall in beauty
by whim or distress.

Mama had no such luxury.
Labor was code and treasury.

Wherever her hands touched
such and such and such, she left all
better
in small and grand measures,
we now know this much.

Writers: Kenya and Pakistan

Kamila Shamsie
I came across Ms. Shamsie in one of my random searches for non-American/British literature. Before the internet, Amazon, Kindle & company had made searching for & retrieving books a virtual convenience, the library was the it place.The physicality of the library, the mingled smells of old & new, dogeared & pristine, books containing an immeasurable weight of knowledge in an extremely codified,  contained space is an experience that is irreplaceable. Many long, lazy childhood hours were spent at the library. The Berkeley Library is an especially exceptional “house of books,” and what drew me to this novelist was spices. The title, Salt and Saffron, played upon my Caribbean sensibility and thus my affinity for her work was born. Shamsie is a Pakistani writer whose ancestral inheritance is a long line of strong and politically courageous Pakistani writers. Ms. Shamsie’s name links to an article in The Guardian by the author speaking about her literary influences. Salt & Saffron has nothing to do with the Caribbean. If I had to describe what her novels are about, I would sum them up in two words: diasporic consciousness. This bit of literary jargon is too packed to explain. To get the gist of what it is in plain terms and what it means in real life, read about her path to British citizenship. Her characters often struggle with the contradictions and frustrations of being pulled by opposing, yet equally influential worlds. Other novels I’ve read by her are Broken Verses and Kartography.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Such a charming man. I had the pleasure of attending a conversation between him, his son Mukoma wa Ngugi who is also a novelist, and interviewer Sarah Lapido Manyika.  The interview was hosted by the the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) as part of the 2012 Litquake festival. As an aside, Litquake is a week long celebration where bibliophiles flock in bars, cafes, bookstores, libraries, museums, and other  spaces to hear writers rock the written word. It is a must-attend treat. If you’ve never read Mr. Ngũgĩ, you’re in for genius. He is well known for his seminal critical work Decolonising the Mind, which is a powerful indictment against colonialism. He has been jailed and exiled for his political outspokeness. His works depict the tension between being true to one’s home culture and the economic advancement available through colonial structures. As he gained success, language presented a nagging conundrum. He is an Anglophone writer writing about his community. He gained acclaim as an Anglophone writer writing about his community. Yet these very novels were not accessible to the majority of his family and friends, neighbors and acquaintances because their language is Gikuyu, not English.  He has made a conscious decision to write in his native Gikuyu so that his community may see, hear and enjoy stories about themselves in their own language, but also as a way of defying the inherent imbalance of power that English wields as the language of commerce.

SpliTongue

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Weaving the Threads.”

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

           2/5
Chomba girl, States Woman after 24 years

Sun shinnin, him mek rain.
Sky wáata, him rain rain. 
      Judgeman se—
    Half-and-half Équal.
¡Coño, Half umbrella not équal!
         Chó.
 Mi kyaant ñam this Équal.

           5/2
colored boy, Black man after 24 years

In joy & pain, 
she shinned on 
my rain. 
      She stepped, & went.
          Stepped, left, & went.

Baby, if you read history from the start, 
no judge cares about a Negro’s heart. 
Can’t help if I’m simple, bitter, and tart.
Ain’t nothin’ more to say on my part. 

    Half umbrella, half-man, 
      half of... of-half...

           1 and 1
       Judge’s summation

       Through the zephyr 
              and gale of marriage, 
        a common shelter was shared. 

      To each a share, a part.
          This umbr|ella halved apart.

     Equitable and fair in Law.

     Divorce: is hard comfort;
           satisfaction’s souvenir.

Terms
Chombo/a: person of Antillean descent
chó : exclamatory expression of anger or frustration
coño: shit
kyaant: can’t
mek nais (make noise): to argue
ñam: to eat
two-five: good friends
wáata: water

in the blogosphere…

DAY 7 and COUNTING

3.14
new to the blogosphere
checked out the homes, strolled around looking at themes
settled on piano black, it matched my angst
the neighborhood is nice and jumping
there’s a university and a community pool, yippee
posted “Mirror, Mirror”

3.15
problems of a novice
couldn’t figure out how to add the real “Blogs I Follow”
from the ones I don’t to the sidebar
if you find yourself not knowing how to make a blogtech move,
there are some handy ways to resolve (shortlist of possibilities)

        1. search tool on Daily Post
        2. ask your neighbors by the pool
        3. tutorials and walkthroughs
        4. blogging 101 at the university

posted “Penelope”

3.16
playing house
added two poems , still in drafts

3.17
playing house
added a bunch of poems
checked out university course “Writing 201: Poetry”
love love love the examples!!! so accessible
shared them with my husband

3.18
neighborhood stroll
checked out other blogs
the bucket list grows ever longer
there are so many things i could do, so little time
made 1st comment

3.19
messing with widgets
perused other blogs via  Daily Prompts
you should really check it out
learned a few “must do” widgetmacallits
like… tags and gravatars what the heck is a gravatar
added calendar
added tags
put off filling out “About” even though i know i should should should
forgive me i’m having an OMG what am i going to say moment
put off adding a gravatar, ignorance is my cloak here

3.20
remodeling
feeling a little dark around the edges, so went theme shopping
the fun thing about going to open houses is that you get to
walk through and imagine yourself in the home and
walk right back out if you don’t like the fixtures or the ambience
settled on Hemingway…okay still darkish, but only on the inside
the “About” is a nagging to-do, but i’m still in the OMG i can’t find
nothing to wear. i have nothing, absolutely nothing, BUT
added a gravatar…ta-da

Gravatar

Penelope

i am
straight as a pin’s tail.   narrow as a needle’s eye, sti sti stitching
(unlike that one, esa bruja de la isla where men roam as
pigs, quien sabe muy bien what it is to be a woman,
el dolor de womanhood, but has decided, like the witch that
she is, to stick pain into the heart of una hermana.
who does not know what it is to vow unto death—
when the body is poppied with youth, but the tongue knows not
the knot and stitch of words ~

oh   to   dance
float,    float!

nimble as nymphs, carefree as cologne, fertile…flowing…nubile…

before it has
learned to groom
words like mountains,

attend them
like spaces in combs.

who does not know the pea of respectability only a true princess
feels, the chastened bed, the halo’s bite, the frayed lash of longing.
who does not know what it is to carry on knowing the day rises
to die and the night mourns to rise as maidens marry, become
mothers more than once, and grooms become fathers to children
que crecen y cambian con los años, grow and change enfrente de sus
ojos and husbands to wives who grow fat and old and wifely,
wifely, beside them.

quien no sabe what it is to sit pious as a pin’s head, sharp as a
needle’s end, threading hope like a hobby, con cada oración,
after each little resolution that this, sí este, será el año
of his return. who does not know what it is to have men of court,
the choice of the kingdom, vying for your hand, while las viejas
shove fur into your hands, fidelity i would sooner cast off
but for their whispers, their pointed ¡cuidase reina! your stitches
are loose! loose.

the heart does not sit still. it makes a bubble of its breath,
it sews and pines, needling over doubts about the
steadfastness of a husband surrounded by women: the nymphs, the
sirens, the witches who would seduce him, make him forget promises
to wife, child, and kingdom. these thoughts make hope a purgatory
las viejas say i am making worse. Let him be a man and you be a woman
a wife and mother.

who does not know that the heart fasting on hope produces an
arsenic that numbs bit by bit, fingers less nimble, so that el invierno
viene less sharply after each passing. and stills bit by bit that i no
longer suffer winter as much or drink summer as much or fall or spring
as much. and embitters bit by bit, heart and hands and head less steady,
poco a poco, that i catch myself sharpening vigilance for fear, por temor
of slipping, of becoming a Helen or worse, another Hera. i have become
an island to myself, myself.

pero then, yes it is then, at these times that I am reminded to
tighten my stitches, reminded by las viejas clinging incessantly as
conscience, to remember that i am not alone.   other women have
husbands they are waiting for, husbands with my husband. who am i
to think of myself, to worry that i have become an island to myself.
it might be true que no sea la mujer que era, la esposa muy joven i wish
i could still be, pero ésa, i am told, no es importante. Debe recordar que
que es un ejemplo, an inspiration a las mujeres, sus comadres que
llevan una carga como Ud. y se sienten como se siente, keeping the hearth
clean afuera y adentro, inside y out por always y siempre. it is our cross,
nuestra duty as women, the wives of warriors. i remember then that
she, that one, may be an enchantress ~ without a care for reputation,
duty, or fidelity ~ with magic hands and magic ways but she is nothing
but a bruja and i, i am a wife, la reina de casa y kingdom, the keeper of
a name, a legacy for my son, nuestro niño, la esposa de un gran hombre
que lesser men envy and greater men admire. la madre of a prince who
remembers his father in los cuentos que le contaba of herself with a
heart of hope for his father, husband and warrior, setting out 1, 2 , 5, 7,
10, 15, 20 years ago. heart stitched upon he who might not return, but
for whom hope lingers past the past y past the present:
ojalá que él no muera, ojalá que no me muera.
that age does not kill me before he returns.
ojalá que i remain faithful and true y guapa
so that when he returns, he will still want me.
ojalá que this hope sustains, does not kill me.
ojalá que should he return, i am able to embrace
the warrior returned, brave and negligent, my husband.

i pass these years pensando de todas esas cosas, all these things y mas
while sti sti stiching to wife and stay, wife and stay this bandit of a heart,
this mapache…comiendo y comiendo mi esperanza, hope…
…unfurled, unfurling in stretches of paw) as i must.

Mirror Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who’s the baddest of them all?

The Big. Bad. Black. Wolf.
In your pea. princess bed.

If you mess with him,
Snow White,
he’ll ride and make you ride
and ride and ride until…
you’re red.
and cindered.
and strawed.
as if
you’ve spun gold.

(all night long,
All night...
all night long,
All night…
all night long,
All night…
all night long,
All night…)

So keep. to your tower.
Don’t letdown. your. hair.

Don’t sleep, my Beauty,
apple of my eye,
with…
that Beast.