Amateur Beat Poetry

Well I realized today, after some disbelief, that my new laptop comes with Garageband, at around 9pm. It is 3 in the morning now and I am addicted. For my first project I played around with some of my poetry and my boyfriend’s poetry and voice and just the samples from the app. If you are interested in listening to it and giving me some pointers on how to better incorporate poetry with sound, please comment! 🙂

PS- It’s rather dark and weird, just a heads up.

First Attempts at Beat Poetry

Masculine makeup?

Masculine makeup?

Is masculine makeup a contradiction in terms, or should we simply look to a definition of masculine loosened from the confines of traditional societal values?
A few months ago, I tried to date my Dad’s friend’s son. It didn’t work out, primarily I think because I didn’t feel like he was masculine enough to date me. Not literally on those terms, I just felt like he was more gay than straight and it made me feel undesirable and unappreciated. That in and of itself is funny. Why should someone who is also attracted to men make a woman feel unappreciated? Needless to say my whole reaction to the situation was extremely closed minded in retrospect.
Regardless, recently we became friends again. I do makeup for theater productions, and with my usually dogged persistence, I persuaded him to let me do his make up. I just blurred imperfections and accentuated his eyes. I found him so alluring!
And why not? Why can’t sultry, kohl lined eyes be sexy and mysterious on men as well as women? Our society practically mandates that sexy, polished women must wear makeup, and yet unless you are dressing up as a pirate, it’s considered effeminate for males.
I don’t think everyone should wear make-up all the time, but I certainly think that the balls it takes to pull off the look with confidence should be taken into account when society judges men who wear makeup.
He’s going to let me do his makeup again soon, and I’m going to be proud to walk around downtown with him in our conservative, certainly diversity lacking town. Do any other ladies (or guys) find straight (or bi) men more attractive with makeup?

Objectification perpetuating cartoons??

Objectification perpetuating cartoons??

So long story short, a few months ago my ex-boyfriend was unpacking his bag at our lake house and pulled out the shirt pictured.
“Isn’t this a sweet shirt I just got?” He asked, which honestly must have been a rhetorical question.
 I think I stared for a few seconds.
“No. Thats a walking poster for sexual objectification.”
“I just like her tattoos.” Bullshit response. *cough*
“No, you like it because you think people will think you’re cool for having a sexually objectified girl on your shirt.” (Aren’t I fun to date?)
“That’s just what society says makes women hot. Women are sexy when they are in objectifying poses, men are sexy when they look powerful. That’s not my fault.”
“Just because that’s what society dictates doesn’t mean you need to perpetuate the double standard.”
The argument ended somewhere around there with me insanely irritated that my concerns were blown off, and him retorting I could basically shove my opinion up my ass because he “liked the tattoos.”
 I burst out laughing at my luck when I found it left at my house. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t notice… or didn’t have the guts to ask for it back.

At first I was going to throw it away, but I thought about it, it seemed to me that if a girl wore the shirt, it wouldn’t be offensive in the same way.
 I suppose that’s because I feel like when some guys look at women in overly sexual poses, they get this attitude like it’s for them, or that she is a slut and an object. While on the other hand, I know that when I at least look at really sexual women, I just think they are really sexual, the end. Kind of like the difference between a teenage boy having porn posters on his wall, versus if I, a heterosexual woman, had them. For me it would be art and an pride in female sexuality, not objectification. (Maybe I should get some?)
The more I mulled over it (is it funny how important this issue became?) the more I thought that if I wore the shirt, I could reverse it’s message from sexual objectification to sexual liberation.

 In the end, I decided it was stupid that a sexual pose often equates to objectification. Lame that society says it’s okay to equate strong sexuality in females to sluttiness, while the same people don’t say a really sexual guy (Channing as Magic Mike anyone?) is less of a person for his performance.

So I wrote TAKING BACK OUR SEXUALITY on her back (hard to see), because I don’t think it’s right that people don’t respect sexual women. 
I don’t think it’s okay that when I wear fishnets people look at me like I must suck dick for a living.
 And I don’t think it’s okay that for whatever reason I was so incredibly offended by the shirt in the first place.
What do you think? Am I setting a double standard by thinking it’s offensive for a guy to wear this shirt in today’s political climate but not a girl? Am I hurting more than helping by thinking women should be as sexual as they want and make it loud they are more than an object?

When atheism is coming of age….

It was the summer after freshman year and I was having a crisis. Growing up was memorizing Bible verses, my mother’s lilting soprano guiding me and my sister through hymns before bedtime, Thanksgivings with at least thirty-five of my relatives clasping hands to listen to my grandfather pray. I don’t know what happened that year, but by the end of it I knew that something was off. The songs at church were hollow, answers fleeting and desperate. So I went to Peru.

 

We were allowed 28 pounds to bring with us for two months, my personal supply of butterscotch candy contraband was a luxury I barely afforded. It was not your typical mission trip for a 14 year old girl. First there was bootcamp in Florida. We wore combat boots laced to mid calf and shouldn’t show our upper arms. There was no running water and the obstacle course included army crawling to avoid being hit with swinging balls labeled with deadly sins. Lectures stretched three or four hours. This was not the Kumbaya I had in mind. The owner of the organization told us Bootcamp would break us so thoroughly, we would turn to God. Fifteen days later, when we boarded the bus to the airport, I remained unconvinced.

 

Peru wore me down. We worked nine hour days clearing inexorable jungle plants for an orphanage. If we weren’t working, we were memorizing Bible verses, reciting every known Christian song, or divided up for teaching on how the sexes ought to behave. A few weeks into it I was as firmly convinced as the rest of my friends. God was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, salvation was mine, eternal life and unconditional love lay at my boots.

 

When I returned to Washington, I was in for a rude awakening. Despite my new-found direction I was miserable. I denounced my favorite books because of the atheist themes, diverted to only listening to Christian music, suffered through the idea that I couldn’t take a high paying job and ought to become a missionary instead. I felt that my unhappiness was my own inadequacy.

 

After about six months my catalyst was a philosophical incompatibility. If God told me to love all people equally, I could not value one person over another. I could not love my best friend over the boy in my Spanish class who told everyone my Ayn Rand novels were pornographic. Nothing more for those who strive to improve themselves and the lives of others, create beautiful art, or pioneer for humanity. Perhaps through the influence of individualistic American values, I felt so against the doctrines of loving equally, of never being enough for the person you serve, of denial of self that I rejected it. I realized that I had only forced myself to believe out of an emperor’s new clothes style fear of exclusion, not because it resonated with my soul.

 

Atheism wasn’t easy. My parents commented I was likely worshipping the devil. My baby sister still tells me I am going to hell. Although it hurt me to see my family feeling betrayed, I felt more alive than I had all my life. The world transformed into a virtual buffet of intellectual opportunities, and I no longer had to skip dessert. 

 

My transition away Christianity was my coming of age anthem. Through it I found my self-esteem, a crucial missing factor in my younger years. It was the first of many deeply ingrained beliefs I discarded. My break with my family and culture on the religious front gave me the confidence to be a feminist, pro-gay marriage, and on a more personal level, to change my path from lawyer to writer. I know that if I hadn’t gone to Peru, I might still be hanging on to my childhood. So when asked if I wish I’d canceled the trip, I reply “God forbid.”

P.S. If you want some atheist inspiration, sign up for Teen Missions International trip. 🙂

http://www.teenmissions.org 

Mulling over my failed relationship…Part 1

We’re in the Explorer, me and Emily, in the back seat. The lights glow and the bass is thumping in our throats, we look at each other and nod in approval at the general impressiveness. I am so proud, so painfully proud of him. I want to show him off to everyone. I want to waltz about on his arm and spit on the faces of those who look at us sideways.

At the end, it wasn’t like that anymore. He was looking like a dead beat in a teenagery tank top and his dingy cream colored jeans, a fake tattoo of the eye of Ra on his shapeless bicep. I was sleek sophistication, a vintage 90’s dress tight and classy, sky-high heels, hair curled up like Anna Karenina. I expected him to meet me half way, to at least run his hands over my curves as he used to and remind me he was in love. But he didn’t’, I sat in my car with Peter the Great as he watched his friends skateboard. He didn’t come over. I figured he knew I was sulking, but I suddenly needed to look as if I didn’t care. As if there was a million things on my mind and he was only a minor detail. But he wasn’t minor, he was everything. All at once, everything was dressed in poorly maintained scruff and a fake tattoo. He said he couldn’t decide whether he wanted it on his back or on his shoulder. I said his back. He said his shoulder because he “wanted people to see it when he wore a tank top.” I was dry mouthed with horror at the short-sightedness of his long-term decision. Either he would outgrow tank tops in a few years and have a pointless tattoo, or he wouldn’t outgrow them. I wasn’t sure which was worse. The image of a late-twenties Chris in a tank top made me panic. The image used to be vaguely hipster, distinguished and rich, it was now in a shitty job, self-assured, not yet grown up. I shrugged off the thought.

It just occurred to me though that at some point I stopped being proud of him. I stopped wanting to show him off, I stopped wanting to flaunt myself on his arm.

The other time was at the Volkswagen show. He asked one of the older guys with a sweet sound system in a bug to play a song for him. I almost told him not to play Beautiful Nightmare, but I didn’t want to insult him. But when the song began to blast, I wanted to curl up inside myself and die. The winy, adolescent voice and angsty, stereotypical lyrics to a boring techno riff made me feel sick. Some of the women booed loudly and said they wanted the song changed to less “Girl” music. I had decided long ago that there are songs you secretly like and a smaller repertoire of songs you reserve to show yourself off to other people. Chris clearly didn’t understand that he was playing something very lame, and although I tried to convince myself it was no big deal, it seemed like a bad omen. Chris, who’s taste I had once revered in my heart… was now evoking pity.

I think when we first started dating he was very successful at creating a very seductive picture of himself. He had the bad past, the rich family, the unfortunately failed relationships, the clothes, the knowledge, the passions and of course… the charm. He was charming. He was so fucking charming. At some point, I started to feel the picture being washed away. A bit of it would disappear and I would think that it was okay, it was only a small thing. So what if he was doing poorly in highschool? He was passionate about other things. So what if he never bought me flowers? Wanting flowers was materialistic.

I remember we went to dinner with his family at some Thai restaurant, and I don’t remember what sparked it, but afterwards I addressed my concerns that he was growing uninterested in me. I honestly don’t think he was uninterested for a time after, he simply couldn’t, or rather didn’t think he needed to sustain his hook.

It’s funny because his facade only barely got me. I almost said no when he asked me to be his. I told him I had to think about it. If I had known what I knew now would I have left it? He would have tried harder. I would have fallen harder. I remember that essay I wrote him about being dissatisfied. Even then, I thought it was an issue of his interest. I mean he had once been so romantic, certainly the ceasefire of reasons to love him must be due to him moving on? It didn’t occur to me that he had himself up to be an embellished version of what he was, and he could only keep it up for so long.

He’s really rather sad. I wonder if he realizes that the show he puts on is no longer even parallel with reality, it is angling off at an exponential pace. He still thinks he could become that person if he needed to, but I wonder if at this rate he could fool someone as hopelessly analytical as myself again. The infrastructure is eroding piece by piece. Honestly, I just want to give him a huge hug. Okay that’s a lie. I want to punch him in the face. I want him to ask me what he can do to become the person he believes he could have been. I want to help him. I want him to owe his transformation to me. I want him to appreciate how intelligent and perceptive I am. I want him to turn around and take charge of our relationship. The problem is, he’s too proud, we are angling away from each other exponentially, indefinitely, and his potential, or his achievement of it, will merely be pure speculation.

Mine on the other hand, is thankfully fully at heel.