martes, febrero 28, 2006

Throwing Up for My Daughter Raeden

Throwing up, for my daughter Raeden, was not such an unusual occurrence that it would frighten her (or me) if it happened to happen at McDonald’s on a Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA. In fact, throwing up, for my daughter Raeden, was such a usual occurrence – and had been for all 15 months of her beautiful life – that when it did happen at McDonald’s on a Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA, no one was frightened except for everyone but us. Partially masticated, thoroughly processed pieces of hamburger and french fries made wet with the water used to wash them down and the wonderful mystery-fluids of Raeden’s baby insides, for some reason, were just too much to bear for the folks at McDonald’s that Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA. I like thinking about that day because it re-members for me, the right that Raeden and I have, that I forget (and that she hasn’t been made to forget, yet) to be where we are as we are, whether throwing up or swallowing the shit we get at McDonald’s on Saturday afternoons in La Jolla, CA.

One bite into my quarter-pounder with not-exactly-cheese, I look up to her eyes starting to water and that cough that’s almost a warning, and ask, “Do you need to throw up, honey?” And she answers with the first splat of it. No fear. No tears. She keeps eye contact with me, reads my reaction that tells her it’s all o.k. It’s all o.k. Let your body do what it does. You don’t have to be afraid.” I say, “Go ahead, honey.” “Do you have some more?” She does. She has more and more and more. Enough to soak herself and the pictures of Ronald McDonald and Hamburglar on her high chair with. Enough to flood and spill out over my cupped palms, which I hold out to her. She retches into them. But still no fear. No tears. No shame, despite the woman at the next table wishing it on us. I hear a shameless “Isn’t she going to do something?” And I answer by holding Raeden’s vomit, lovingly. I say, “It’s o.k. It’s all o.k.” And it is. It is despite the snap I feel in me. And it is, even as the familiar disgust of all eyes on me with my brown baby tinges my calm with rage. Raeden is now done. But I decide that I’m not.

I am grateful for the wheels on her high chair that make it easy for us to travel the long way around the restaurant, passing every table on the way, to the trash can. Gliding happily, we sing “twinkle, twinkle little star,” a little louder than usual. I help Raeden out of her clothes, free her from their sogginess, announce her peanut-butter skin while she giggles with the pleasure of it. I am grateful for this moment we are making, for our harmony at show time. Because they are still watching us. I toss Raeden’s shirt in the trash can and enjoy the gasps. How can we afford to throw clothes away? They wonder. When are we going to leave? “Ooops. We forgot to order Daddy’s food. Have to stand in line.” We do. I pull her from her high chair and decide I’ll take care of the drying liquid on her face when we get home. I’ll wipe my hands then, too. In the meantime, we’ll stand in front of this 60-something white man hating us and take our time figuring out how it was that Daddy said he wanted his hamburger and what it was he wanted to drink. “Wave to the nice man, Raeden.” She does, giving him a triumphant smile. He wants to spit.

This has been a guest post by machafemme on the occasion of the second Radical Women of Color Blog Carnavál.

Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

CNN from New Orleans

If you’re writing down stupid racist remarks in your commonplace book, CNN will provide much fodder today. As the post-Katrina Disneyfication of New Orleans continues you will find CNN interviewing such important cultural critics as the editor of Vogue who said “you can’t help but notice the absence of African Americans” and in the same breath describe the event as “a kindler, gentler Mardi Gras” Several of the reporters talk about the new “family friendly” atmosphere.

So far the most shocking thing I’ve seen has been the Zulu Crew float, full of white men in blackface, being described as a “really integrated crew.”

lunes, febrero 27, 2006

Octavia Butler has died...

I just found out that Octavia Butler has died.

I thank you,
for coming into our lives
for painting women of color in the future
for God as Change, Chaos, Clay
for Dana and showing us how we're always-already compromised
for Lilith who looks her man in the face and says "of course I know why I was chosen"
for your so seductive first construct ooloi
for your women who never look like starlets
for giving us the universe (and that one over there, too)
for driving me to pack a bag for under the bed

near-poem written after running for the bus, realizing i forgot eyeliner (again), and thinking of my beautiful cousins

my branch has never produced a beauty queen
not that we haven't any beauty,
with our dark eyes
dark hair
cheekbones out to there

we brush our hair
we put on makeup
with one eye on the clock
looking over our shoulder
at the work to be done

Painting a smile over a mouth
firm and determined

who has
hours to labor
over just the right combination
of pearl and glitter
light and shadow

our eyes weaken
from the monitors, the tiny print
our lines embed
from problem-solving

when each day means more than what to wear
how we look
is part of the journey
not the destination

sábado, febrero 25, 2006

Rally for Immigrant Rights

On December 16th, the US House of Representatives passed HR 4437, one of the most anti-immigrant legislative proposals in recent memory. The proposed legislation would make it a felony to be in the US without proper documents.

The proposal now goes before the Senate.

Joins us for a rally to defeat HR 4437

That’s what we’re up to in Fruitvale today. I’ve written to the Senators about this bill and of course my good friend Dianne Feinstein always writes back that as the granddaughter of Russian immigrants she appreciates the struggle immigrants face but believes that we must have strong rules for those who enter the country illegally. Cabrona.

Now I have to go for my walk early, because my back has been a disaster this week (I didn’t walk last weekend) and my nerves were in tatters. Exercise, my daughter. Be strong, smart, and bold! Stand tall!

Shout out to Big Brown Girl

Hey, BBG, I saw
this article
and immediately thought of your co-worker!

Credible research exists that strongly suggests that adopted children raised in Republican households, though significantly wealthier than their Democrat-raised counterparts, are more at risk for developing emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves, and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.

For those unfamiliar with the story of BBG's co-worker, see here and here.

jueves, febrero 23, 2006

Have you seen my marbles?

L* said:

Sometimes I think I’m losing my marbles. And other times, it turns out that you’ve moved them.

So I know I read on a woman of color blog somewhere about how offensive it was on Desperate Housewives, the Alfre Woodard character talks about “putting down” her child, in the same episode where Eva Longoria buys the affection of a Chinese immigrant woman with a silver bracelet. (And, by the way, could THE MYTH OF THE BLACK RAPIST be any more in play in this show? )

Can I find said post anywhere now that I’m looking for it?

No, of course not.

do any women of color blogs come up when i try to google for it?

No, of course not.

And I’m really looking for it. Because, I don’t know. Stupid shows do and say racist things all the time. And is it a waste of time and energy to discuss them?

I don’t know.

But I do know that on American Idol, judge Simon Cowell described Filipino performer Jose “Sway” Penala as being “too pimp-y”. Oh, that’s right, when white boys sing Earth, Wind, and Fire and wear velvet or a sharp chapeau, they are “the bomb” and when a Black, or Latino, or FIlipino does it that “pimp-y.” Because people of color are only cool when appropriated by whitepeople or when appearing in white face.

PS the vote on Paula Abdul

Do you think Paula Abdul's face doesn't move when she talks because a) Botox is paralyzing her facial muscles or b) she's on major drugs?

appears to be C) all of the above.

And other people must be saying it too, because you could really see her smiling more last night, in spite of the paralysis.


Bad time at the DMV today. Don’t ask.


Will anesthesiologists bring an end to capital punishment in California? We can only hope.

Playing with the “logic” of capital punishment, L* wonders why they don’t just use morphine as the painkiller. As they do with assisted-suicided. Do you think they they don’t want “capital punishment” to be used in the same sentence as “assisted-suicide”?


Mariposa Atomica just related the funniest story about looking for a song. When I was in Mexico, I heard a song on the bus that I really liked, and I tried Mariposa Atomica’s solution with the proprietors of El Barecito Cafe, but of course I didn’t know either the words or the tune (!) so I was much less successful.

miércoles, febrero 22, 2006

Too much American Idol!

Two hours is way too long. Don't know that I'll have the energy to sit through the boys tonight. (Although I still have to finish the fringe on the prayer shawl I'm crocheting, so who knows?) Why do you think all the Anglo girls were styled and dressed alike?

Hurray for Paris singing Midnight Train to Georgia.

Do you think Paula Abdul's face doesn't move when she talks because a) Botox is paralyzing her facial muscles or b) she's on major drugs?

Screened three awful videos on American Indians in the 19th Century yesterday. Going with the lesser of the evils and going to direct my students in how it constructs authority and knowledge before they view it.

And then, in the science fiction class, ST:TNG, Birthright, Pt. Klingon nationalism. It's no coincidence that Worf is wearing a black turtleneck through the whole episode. And contrast Picard's assertion that Data is "a culture of one, no less valid than a culture of one billion" and Ba'El, the mixed-race woman of color who must remain in the prison colony because her very existence troubles all existing paradigms.

lunes, febrero 20, 2006

Almanac of the Dead

Yes, it's time for my bi-monthly report on Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead. Page 422. I've reached another part where I just want to be reading it aloud to L*. Vietnam Vets, conspiracy theories, biomatter. That silko: she's a genius! Not only does she write the million-page novel by writing half-a-million two-page stories, she's callin' out the orishas and the corn mothers, and all the stops. I had to drag myself out of the bath tonight (where I do all my pleasure reading). Especially 'cause it's deep in New Orleans and Black Indians right now, and Black Studies classes at UNM. Lovin' this book. Oh, come on, it's not that long. When I was an MA student I took a Victorian lit class, now those were some long-ass no-fun novels. Me, I was cackling in the tub at Silko.

It's funny that I read Gardens in the Dunes before this one. Because she plays some of the same cards, but like for a whole different audience. Gardens would work very well with the Oprah crowd. The Oprah-Martha crowd, that is. I love Gardens in the Dunes. Still haven't taught it effectively, but I could if I had a graduate ethnic lit class. (witness the masochism of the victorian lit!)

So today I was imagining how podcasts could/could not work if me and my billion-dollar budget and my queer friends were to make a blockbuster film from this novel. Tropic of Orange too! Even if I don't think Guillermo Gomez-Peña is strong enough to hold up the end of a novel, the more I think about Tropic of Orange the more I like it. L* taught it this quarter in her class. I was too chicken. Coulda shoulda woulda.

jueves, febrero 16, 2006


Okay, on Wednesday, February 1, Lorca Loca posted this picture of him at age six (?) in a cowboy shirt and with saddles embroidered on the yoke.

My comments:

Ay, qué cute.

All the hullabaloo over Brokeback mountain has me wondering if Annie Proulx ever heard the Pansy Division Song...

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other--
What did you think those saddles and boots was about?
There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand the way that he feels towards his brother
Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out.

Okay, fast forward 2 weeks. On Thursday, Wily Filipino posted that Willie Nelson has recorded this song, for REAL.

I'm having a full-circle moment. Now maybe, like L* you heard Pansy Division perform the song fifteen years ago at Club Fuck. Or maybe, like me, you only found that music six months ago. "Cowboys..." is one of my favorite songs, and since December, I've been listening to it on my iPod as I walk around the lake.

But this is a whole 'nother critter.

When Willie Nelson sings it, you can hear the smile in his voice. And you know why what sells country music is not the words but who's singing them and how. Because, face it, we've all listened to country music and thought "I could write that" or even "I could write better than that," but country music isn't successful because it's the world greatest poetry, but because someone with a gui-tar is crooning it out with leather or velvet or whiskey, or tears. So while Pansy Division sings ALL the lyrics (Willie don't), they manage to make the meter sound torturous and the rhyme gets lost, but that's okay, that's their aesthetic, they're HARD, dammit. But Willie, man, well, go to iTunes and see what people are saying. Let's just say, there's a few more young men in West Texas who are gaining hope from Willie's words.

Plus you can two-step to it.

Dare I hope that Dolly Parton will cover Two Nice Girls' "I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer?"

martes, febrero 14, 2006

Valentine thoughts

The other day L* tells me "catch me" and comes running up and jumps into my arms. And I caught her! It was hilarious!

I told this story to my sister, who said:

It's...pretty much a summary of how you two live your lives... you're always there to catch each other. Isn't it great knowing you have someone there for you that you can trust that completely??

It is great. And although I don't run and leap into L*s arms ('cause I'm a hunka-hunka-burnin-love, and we would go crashing through the next wall and to the floor, like some kinda Brokeback barroom brawl) I know I can stand on her back.

In the System

Today Miz Ktrion was fingerprinted, as a pre-requisite to her volunteer work, and thus her prints are now on file with the DOJ. I'm trying to black that out of my mind, since there's no way to put a positive spin on it (short of imagining my own death, which rather takes away the "positive" aspect, don't you think?)

But downtown Oakland was beautiful this morning, and I got my walk on.

Back in Action?

The acronym would be BIA and that is soooooo wrong. But ArtichokeHheart, on her blog roll menu, puts designations like "Raw" (since we're all sushi to her). And I've been wondering if I should start putting MIA when a sista's blog goes down. Sonrisa Morena is back in business. Even Miz Cherry Galette has made a reappearance. But La Malinchista, man, her hard drive started screeching back in November, and not a peep since.

Which has me planning ahead, because L*'s hard drive is also a little chitty-chitty-bang-bang.

Do I only have so many words?

I've been catching up on emails to family and friends lately, and as a result my blogging is way down.

I've always written long narrative emails, and I haven't kept a journal. Since I've been blogging regularly (last fall), my emails have gotten shorter and infrequent. Sometimes I'll start writing an email to a friend and then, instead, cut it all out and paste it all in my blog.

Makes me wonder if a) my email communication has always been "all about me" and b) whether I only have so many words in me.

viernes, febrero 10, 2006

La Terminacha

If you can imagine what Arnold Schwarzennegger would look like as a short, stocky marimacha mexicana, then you were prob'ly on public transportation the same time as I was this morning.

I have a Dark Angel in my Bag

Up early to go in early to work in my office before class.

I've been in a funk lately, not getting much work done at my office at home. In particular, my poetry books are split between the two offices, and it always seems like the book I want is in the other place.

Today we're writing poems in my lit class. Elegies. I know: I'm so funny. I seem obsessed with mourning. So the students are supposed to come in today with concrete descriptions someone. And we're going to use the June Jordan guidelines. I'm very very nervous about all this, but I also really need to start pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And so, writing poetry along with the students. That means I need a list.

In my office, the "order" is breaking down. I signify on "order" because the office itself is not in such great shape. it's more than half full of boxes of books and papers (not mine). I'm also guilty in this, and though all my books are on the shelves, the two boxes of papers I haven't figured out what to do with are now--in the immortal words of julien--covered with Colorful Throws!

They would have fit under my desk, but then where would I crawl during an earthquake?

Oh, so back to "the order." I'm talking bookshelves of course. I periodically change my classification system. And since my job move was both disciplinary as well as transcontinental, the old order changeth. Do I put all the books of poetry together? Or do I keep the Chicana poets with the Chicana novelists? (some of them are the same people, after all). Is it better to put Cherríe Moraga's Hungry Woman next to the Reza Abdoh's The Law of Remains? or next to Alma Luz Villanueva's La Llorona and Other Stories? I'm always afraid of appearing like the "certain aphasiacs" described by Foucault in The Order of Things:

It appears that certain aphasiacs, when shown various differently coloured skeins of wool on a table top, are consistently unable to arrange them into any coherent pattern....In one corner, they will place the lightest-coloured skeins, in another the red ones, somewhere else those that are softest in texture, in yet another the longest, or...those that have been wound up into a ball. But no sooner have they been adumbrated than all these groupings dissolve again, for the field of identity that sustains them, however limited it may be, is still too wide not to be unstable; and so the sick mind continues to infinity...

maybe i should knit instead...?

for the sci-fi class, I'm keeping an episode of Dark Angel in reserve, so I can draw upon the brilliant theory of bendypalm and prepare the students for next week's discussion of Tuskegee.

jueves, febrero 09, 2006

En familia. En memoriam.

I set up a family website a couple of years (four?) to commemorate my grandma lupe. Last year, my sister asked me to update the information, so the site would send up little email reminders about when everyone's birthday comes around.

When we were all together for Thanksgiving, my dad was excited about it and wanted one for his side of the familia. I set it up, and he has been emailing the familia in Califas, Colorado, and Nuevo Mexico, either hooking them up or telling them "email Ktrion to get hooked up."

I let go of the family tree, posting it online and asking cousins to start filling in their branches. When I looked at it today, I could see sketches of my cousins lives, with marriages, divorces, kids, adoptions. I haven't seen any other same-sex couples besides me and L*, although I know that this tree's a lot more bent than it looks at first glance.

A week ago I posted the first foto to this site, of my tía and tío. Almost immediately, other family members started posting pictures. Of my tías and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Three days ago, my dad was emailing me fotos of the new bis-sobrino so I could put them up.

Two days ago, Yr*na, one of my cousins posted a message saying "pray for Tom" a cousin (whom my family still calls "Tommy") whom I haven't thought of for years.

I just read a new post from Yr*na, saying our cousin died last night. After a quick email exchange, she gave me the cellphone number for our cousin's daughter. I called my dad to share the information I had with him. He says this email is the best invention since pen and paper.

A few years back, I wrote a poem, which I guess I did not keep a copy of, called To:myfamilia@internet. I was a grumpy girl at the time, tired of receiving "jokes" from another cousin, whose social, political, and religious viewpoints are radically opposed to my own.

What a strange media the internet is. making you feel so connected and disconnected at the same time.

En memoriam, to my cousin Tommy

miércoles, febrero 08, 2006

In the Box? Out of the Box?

I'm about to start volunteering for a program at Girls, Inc. (Inspiring all girls to be Strong, Smart, and Bold!) This organization is just SO FABULOUS. I am thrilled. In our volunteer training we had a lesson on "language" where we classified comments to girls based on whether the comments "keep them in the box" and empower them out of the box. (Now, mind you, I've been a professor of women's studies, but this was still such a great exercise!)

"Your dress is so pretty and it matches your shoes"

(In the Box. Although it's perfectly okay for me to write in my diary afterward,Dear Diary: Marisol is so cute! Today her dress matched her shoes!)

"Use your smart brain to figure it out"
(Out of the Box. Lots of "smart brain" talk. Girls need to be told they have smart brains)

"You're being so good and quiet."

(In the Box. Where no one can hear you scream.)

"I like it that you used your strong voice"

(OUT. You are strong. You are powerful. You are loud.)

Be careful.

(IN. Stay where you can be protected. Don't take any risks. Conform.)

Try it! I bet you can do it!

(OUT. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. It's not about being the best, it's about growing.)

You're a fast runner!

(OUT. Nobody's gonna catch you and stuff you in a box!)

See what I mean? try it for a little while. The kinds of praise girls are given. The kind of behaviors we find appropriate for girls. I gave a whole lecture on this last year, and yet it's suddenly all fresh and new. Do you think that's because it's not an idea, but actual girls?

domingo, febrero 05, 2006

Sa-Sa-Sa-Saturday Night

Thank L* for the fact that I finally put in pictures of the BART ads I was talking about. We took BART into the city last night to see Buchlalis de Panochtitan perform at Galería de la Raza. I pointed out one of the ads to her and she said "you couldn't find a picture?" and I realized, (duh!) given how obnoxious those things are, there's got to be lots of web coverage. (I had initially looked on the Oakland diocese's website, couldn't find pictures, and gave up).

We're still stewing in our pre-writing phase, before we start the piece we're writing together on BdP.

Saturday's performance was full of new material and new guests, and that was really exciting. Of course, I was less interested in the pieces that went the stand-up comedy route, and more interested in the performance art/spoken word/extraVaganza.

Lots of new video. Some really amazing footage from an oral history.

viernes, febrero 03, 2006


New anti-choice adz by catholic diocease. Theocrats tip their hand.

I'd seen these ads in the trains on BART, always featuring a Anti-Choice ads on BART 1white woman and a white background.

The one I saw this morning featured an African American woman on a white background, but her face was like through a thick fog, mostly whited out.

here's a news release from the Catholic League, about how most of the ads have been defaced. (ha, the women of color were already "de-faced" by the ads themselves!)

OK, apparently I'm 2 weeks behind the times on this issue, because the ads appeared in mid-January (yes, before the Alito vote). But classes at SFSU just started on the 30th, so I just got back on BART last week. But here's Jon Carroll's chronicle editorial on the ads and the interesting things people wrote on them.

Welcome Zx!

Welcome Baby!

My nephew Stvn and wife Krtn had a baby boy yesterday! Zx! Welcome, little guy! (six pounds something--i wonder if he still got the big feet). He apparently looks a lot like his big sister Vxra.

So L* and I are once again great-aunts.

time to put those baby blankies I been crocheting into the mail.


I woke up this morning to no internet! I was so stressed. First I ran through the whole process: turn off the Airport, turn of the cable modem. wait one minute. shutdown computer. Then turn them all back on again in a different order. finally called the cable company and it turns out they were having an outage.

but i couldn't check the weather, i couldn't look up the phone number to the cable company, i couldn't check my email.

on the other hand, i smiled a lot this morning, because it was so early and today is trash day, and someone was quietly making his way up the block, removing something from the recycling bins. I just love it when folks take from the recycling. i just think it's so cool. it's taking the recycling one step further.

Now the sun is coming up and my neighbors are on their way to school/work. When we first moved in we never saw them for precisely this reason. We wake up at nine (when the U's are not in session) and they're gone by seven-thirty.

miércoles, febrero 01, 2006

Favorite TV shows...

Hey, so I was just reading Pomegranate Queen, and she got tagged so she was listing her tv shows and I though, hmmmm, how convenient that I totally forgot to list Law & Order,

Dun-DUNH, and all its offshoots.

and, um, American Idol, which is starting to convince me that everyone in this country is seriously emotionally disturbed. Both the people looking for their 15 seconds of fame, and the rest of us full of schadenfreude. Although, lately, I've started raving to L* about this constantly ("What did they think was gonna happen?" "Do you think they have delusions of grandeur like serial killers?") to the extent that I think I'm starting to worry her.

You are what you eat

Sonrisa's blog made me laugh, 'cause she's all eating healthy.

I don't believe in diets, but I guess I'm on one. Sort of.
My cholesterol was high. (My bad cholesterol. L's good cholesterol is high, which is a good thing.)

I'm a vegetarian, for pete's sake. cholesterol comes from animals! How is this possible? I mean, back when I used to sneak chorizo and sourdough bacon cheeseburgers, I coulda maybe seen it. But that was ten years ago!

Now, as you know, my favorite way of eating enchis is with an egg on top.

Do you think the natural food place has been sneaking raw eggs into my smoothies? Nothing else explains it.

I tried the "it's genetic" line on L* but she totally wasn't having it. And my mom Doña Leora also exercises a lot like L* and also has high good cholesterol, so forget about it.

So, less total fat for me (no more sinister macaroons, even if they're vegan!) And more walking.