an open letter to new york

•May 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

SOOOOO drafty. draft like. a draft

dear new york

me and you
we got some things in common
sometimes I can be a little
frustrating
but it’s worth it in the end

like you at 4am when the F train is
running… like every 45 minutes
and only from West 4th
and I’ve clearly already been awake
too long
but I remember, on the long walk
from Alphabet City that my favorite
ice cream is in this little all night
grocer in the village
and I am content to enjoy the summer
air, my ice cream
and the thought of what’s on the other
end of that 25 minute train ride.

I can’t stay mad at you
So I want to write this down before
I forget

New York
you stole my first love
two years before I thought I’d have
to say goodbye

and I went there without him
just to see what you were all about
and you played the best friend
keep your enemies closer fashionable

you wooed me with audrey tatou
at the Angelika
vegan pastries, used book stores,
crates of records for a dollar saturday
morning in chelsea

i got what he saw in you
painted you on when I got
back to him
and he laughed at my 20 year old
pretentious
like he didn’t love the way you
showed it to him in himself

maybe you were more subtle

you got him anyway
and still pretended to be my friend
gave us every other weekend
taught my car your highways
like they were her pipes
my veins

you stole another
for sport
but he keeps his distance
feels more comfortable
knowing you’re there
but prefers blank stare
connecticut highways
to your bright necklace streets

says he’s coming home soon
and by home he means here

and by the way he says it
I know we won’t ever make it
me and Boston
we’re rooming together right now
but if he loves her
he’ll never love me

I’m not provincial or regal
I don’t go to bed at 12:30
and the only thing we got in
common is these winding streets
that punctuate before you thought
you’d understand what I was talking about

and as you steal another crop of
possibilities from me
I’m starting to think about joining you
because I know I can’t beat you
and we always said maybe someday
and someday’s looking to be a lot
like next year

but we’ve got so much in common
and I know how that goes sometimes
how common makes clash harder
so I don’t know how long we’ll be able
to live together
and yes, you can cry on my shoulder
I know he’s leaving you for
“go west young man” dreams

so maybe that’s why you’re adding more
to your collection
so yes, I woke up this morning
not mad at you anymore
willing to compromise
trying to remember 4 summers past
and not 3
how we learned to love you together
me not knowing you’d steal him
away

so I’m resigned to “you win”
but maybe we can work out some
sort of joint custody arrangement
every other weekend and holidays

i just want him on Sundays.

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open book (spoilers ahead)

•May 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I have been told that I am one of the “less subtle people” that someone has known. That general consensus kind of prevails in most of my dealings. I try it for endearing, but who knows. Truth is, I never feel more weighted down then when I have secrets, so I kind of get my therapy all over the place. Anyway… so, usually I don’t go into too much depth here, and it lacks context for people to understand unless they already know. I dance around things and don’t come right out and say what I mean. Oh, not tonight.

I am sad. I don’t like to admit it. It makes me feel foolish and vulnerable and out of control and none of those things are things that I enjoy. I have one basic principle when it comes to relationships. I don’t make a lot of demands on friends or lovers or those that identify as somewhere in between. All I ask is that you not make a fool of me. I feel a little foolish right now. I also am very tired and in an emotionally vulnerable time of the month (if you know what I mean) and so I may be a little pre-disposed to this emotionally out of controlness (i.e. I may cry a litle). I don’t like giving anyone that much credit, and I’m pretty sure it’s been about 3 years since I cried about a boy. And yes, I think that particular anniversary and the parraellels it holds to this current situation are evidently making me more emotional than i should be (read: the crying, which has not happened yet, but i wouldn’t be surprised). But also I think the combination of realizing that (a) someone you care about a lot (even if you kind of worked really hard on not caring about them and then they acted like your boyfriend in public a couple times and then you let your guard back down and said “what the hell” but i digress) is not going to be in your life anymore and that (b) they have someone else in their life that they care about is kind of like a double whammy. the kind of double whammy that makes you question whole chunks of the last 6 months of your life. i hate moments that make me feel so emotionally vulnerable that I just want to be a song. songs don’t have to pick up the pieces and go to work pretending like nothing happened.

Bottom line. I hate May. May and New York. We got patterns and they ain’t good. May and New York and Me. We’re in a fight.

shark

•May 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t written anything in a while, but tried to force myself yesterday. Here was the result:

you used to have teeth
and a swagger to match
didn’t meet my eyes from across
a crowded room because you
didn’t need to look to know that
I was tearing your clothes off with
my eyes

you didn’t even know what color they were
you were hard like a diamond
and rough like where I found you
and I didn’t even think about the eight
year old that lost his hands to provide me
with the glow of your studded charm

and yes you were every cliche I could contrive-
you could charm the pants off of an amputee with
low self-confidence in a crowded public place

yeah, you were that good

until you got real good
not good like vodka burning down throats
on sneaking out of windows nights
when 17 feels like invincible and
mouths against mouths feels like
ice cream that only melts
on your tongue

no, you got to be the kind of good
parents approved of and
that diamond stopped looking like
metaphor-

I thought you knew better
but it was like you never heard me speak
just a siren song only you could hear

I never cast a spell but you got struck
by some kind of cupid sick
and I never thought I could get so tired
of sleeping next to someone
I used to want to talk to in the morning

used to want to dance with all night
even though you were always too cool
to dance
I think I could get you to take salsa with
me now

won’t flinch when I step on your toes
won’t budge when I push instead of kiss
won’t yell when I am impossibly unreasonable
and hopelessly unapolegetic

you used to have teeth
circled around me like a shark
knowing I was easy prey
but willing to stage a sneak attack
for sport

I never thought you’d be the type
to lay down roots
sharks don’t even have feet
and I liked you better in ocean
before you needed me
to breathe

Missing in too much Action

•May 10, 2007 • 1 Comment

Yeah, much like Jess, I’ve been spending a lot of time being a person and not a poet lately. I never thought that the two had to be mutually exclusive, and don’t know that I even believe that now, but I have been so inundated with life the last couple of weeks that I have had a really hard time articulating it into words. First off, it is soooo summer outside. Man, am I unprepared for dressing professionally and for heat. I don’t remember how I did this last year, except that my commute was in an air conditioned car and not on the T.

Yesterday, I helped to produce a one hour televised live to tape (isnt that a funny phrase) broadcast on young people and the media. The more I do, the more I realize that I am in a place where I expect a lot of myself and my staff. The amount of things that we accomplish in this office in a one week time span would blow some people’s mind, but we don’t even slow down enough all of the time to high five. For me, that’s because yes, I have brought in about 250,000 dollars in grants this year, yes, I have succesfully held about 4 youth oriented events, serving about 100 young people, yes, I have from the ground up created our first ongoing youth program (with AMAZING support and work from Colleen, Marc, Miguel, and the MWT), but I can’t get the little things done. I have a staff of teens who thinks that their job is a second priority to everything else. As a result, I have a Media Action Series curriculum that is essentially collecting dust, because we can’t get organizations to schedule these 8 weeks with us on a consistent basis. Free programming people! grrr… but I digress

Ok, essentially, work is amazingly wonderfully awesome. I am good at my job, I like it, and it pays well enough for me to maintain my lifestyle. I can’t complain there. I really can’t complain anywhere. My roommate and I are getting along really well… I need to clean my room and the kitchen, but I will hopefully have some time for that on Monday. My car is fixed, registered and legal. There are little stresses here and there, but when it comes right down to it, I can feed myself, clothe myself, sleep in a pretty nice apartment, and spend mondays on the common with a pretty sun hat… yep, I got it pretty good. Granted, I’m sleeping in that bed alone… but honestly, that has not been phasing me lately. I like a couple of different people, one in particular who has, yes, been around a while, and yes, will not be around much longer, but it’s cool. We have a good time together, and that’s that. I’m 23… and I have decided that this summer I am having a good time. Yes, I will be working like it’s my job, but I plan to enjoy myself, meet ineteresting people, work on my thesis, write, read, love, and live.

kaya

•May 1, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I met the most beautiful little girl the other day
and for a moment I was sorry that you were
never born
remembered the night I admitted that you lived
briefly in my body…
after too many drinks and no more words
to console the best friend
vomiting from morning after medicine
and coulda woulda shouldas

and at that moment I realized the words weren’t
grasping at straws but
another life that bled out of me with yours.
I would have named you Kaya
I don’t know what I would have told
my father
or yours
I didn’t like him very much
but he made me feel special
asked me
how I was so sexy and…
“was it good for you?”
without an ounce of the irony I reasoned
was the only reason I kept him around

don’t get me wrong
your Daddy was smart and cute and funny…
sometimes nerdy
he probably still is
I wouldn’t know
we don’t know one another anymore
didn’t even speak the year after when
we lived blocks away from each other
and when I think about the life
that bled out of me with you, he’s not in it.

The only way I could ever think of bringing
you into this world was the same way
I lived in it everyday
but that would have never been good enough
for you
imagine me
nursing you in the back of a collegiate classroom
reading your a story between latte steaming
How could I have written a thesis with a
crying baby in the library?
Would your juiceboxes have ever made it to
Take Your Daughters to Work Day
if I couldn’t stop cradling you long enough
to walk across that stage on Graduation Day?

but little Kaya I missed you
looking into that gorgeous baby’s solemn eyes
I saw the life that bled out of me with you in
first steps and first words and
you sleeping on my chest until I
was certain that you wouldn’t stop breathing
in the middle of the night

and I know it was for the best that I woke up
that morning
before I even knew your were sleeping inside me
with that life torn out of me
with the slim percentages of babies that
are actually born

i know when you join the right side
of that percentage
you will have a better life than WIC checks
and daycares I can’t be sure you’ll be safe at
You’ll be a blessing and not a
tomorrow I never had

I know this

but Kaya, baby girl, when I looked into those
little eyes and I saw the yesterday that didn’t happen
it didn’t seem so bad.

men… don’t get ’em, and starting to not care too much

•April 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

so yes, I have a reputation for crushing a lot. which is true, J*me called me a whore last night because I was checking out a lot of guys, but he was teasing, and I slept in my bed by myself, which is most often the case, so I invoke big pun- “i’m not a playa i just crush a lot.” also “i don’t discriminate, i regulate every shade of that a–…” but that’s another post entirely. anyway, so usually the crushing is pretty focused. i meet a guy, i fall in (though Kirk says not to deep, which i why it’s usually not that hard to crawl back out) he’s wishy washy, then I scrap what I can of my dignity and move on. Always the same thing. because I don’t make demands. because I worry about what’s too soon to start having conversations about what sleeping in one another’s beds means. because I praise communication but don’t communicate. and sometimes because i fall for dudes who simply CANT. i’ve been down a couple of different roads in the past few months, both dead ends it seems, and but both that seem to want to keep me around despite the fact that they clearly can’t make up their minds. I got really mad about this earlier this week actually. With both of them actually. They seem to have this strange idea that I am like a book, and they can pick up where they left off after putting me down for a week or 3 weeks.

so i end up doing this take what i can get in between unhappy medium. and maybe it’s because i’ve been so busy and happy and excited about work lately, but i just don’t feel invested in either of them anymore. i can honestly say that i did feel invested in both of them. i know it sounds crazy, how can you be invested in two different men, but I really do care about them both. but i honestly am not that freaked out about leaving them both on the side of the road. i have to do me, and neither of them seems to get or respect that, so I can’t keep sacrificing my peace of mind because i caught some feelings. especially when i don’t even understand them.  and i really don’t get what i am or have been to either of them, but i know how easy it is to lean on someone who’s there (haven’t we all done it? aren’t i doing it right now?) so I can’t fault either of them for coaxing me back into their arms when i am just as willing to surrender to the comfortable.

if there’s anything i’ve learned in the last year, it’s that not everything has to be the start of something. sometimes things just are, and life is fluid like that. it’s not always something with plot points. and that’s okay. so i intend to enjoy myself. feel good about who i am and what i’m doing and who i’m doing it with and if eventually something becomes something bigger than me and another person than it does. but i’m not sweating it. i am too important to me for that.

SPREAD THE WORD

•April 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Hey guys

So here’s a VERY important thing I’m working on for work. Very excited about it, and I want to get as many people and organizations involved as possible. Please repost or send to anyone you think needs to read it.

**PLEASE REPOST**

Friends, Family, Allies, and Community,

Project: Think Different’s Media Watch Team is launching a petition campaign to call for the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, BET, MTV, VH1) to host a televised town hall meeting for young people to demand answers from those in control of the media that claims to represent them. In the wake of the Imus fiasco and the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we see an opportunity to begin to hold big media outlets accountable for the biased and often negative images that are crafted to represent young people, especially urban youth and youth of color, most often with little to no input from the youth that are represented. The average person sees over 3,000 media messages a day, and the images that represent youth in our communities not only affect the way that they view themselves, but also the way that the rest of the community and those outside the community view them. We have opportunity to mobilize together to change these images.

We cannot do this alone. We are sending the attached petition to all of the aforementioned media outlets, and are asking that you do the same. Simply use the petitions and addresses below and add your letterhead/signature, or that of your school/organization. Please forward this to your networks; the more petitions that get sent out, the better. Imagine desks at MTV flooded with stacks and stacks of letters from concerned youth and youth allies. Media is communication and communication is a right. Help us to take back that right. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, thoughts, concerns, or comments, and have a blessed day.

Peace,

Cara

***
Cara Lisa Powers
Media Education Organizer
Project: Think Different
14 Beacon Street, Suite 503
Boston, MA 02108
617.557.9200
http://www.projectthinkdifferent.org

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
Audre Lorde

ABC, Inc.
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551

BET Network
1235 W Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20018-1211

CBS News
555 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

MTV Network
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

VH1 Networks
1515 Broadway
20th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Crisis of Faith… In the Media

United States- We are truly in a crisis right now, wherein the mainstream media seems completely out of touch with the needs of the people it claims to serve. Is media aware of this? What can they do? By bringing together concerned young citizens with people who have the direct power to change the images we see, we aim to answer some of these questions, and move together toward a future wherein the media plays an active role in facilitating civic dialogue, engagement and sustainable communities.

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and the controversy surrounding the Imus firing and the media response to both, we are both disheartened and heartened; disheartened at the initial sensationalist reactions to both, but heartened by the dialogue that has been opened up in these situations. We feel that the actions of the last few weeks highlight the need for an open conversation about the media’s role in our society.

We are calling on the major players in the national media landscape to host a town hall meeting with young people and media industry leaders to address the concerns and issues that are facing our generation and our communities. Communication should be considered a fundamental right in our culture, and the predominant form of communication in this culture is the mainstream media. That communication is rarely in the hands of those that it claims to serve. As young people in the United States, we are affected daily by the images that portray us in the media, images that we rarely have a role in creating. The often negative and biased images that we see of ourselves and our communities in music, film, television, and online media greatly affect our senses of selves, our communities, and the ideas that those outside of our communities and/or generation have of us.

We are requesting an audience with you to discuss ways that mainstream media outlets and youth leaders can work together to build a future that we will be proud to call our own. As the adults of tomorrow, we need to have a voice in creating what that tomorrow looks like. Voices of Tomorrow… TODAY! a campaign sponsored by Project: Think Different, is focused on reshaping the mainstream media landscape to be more inclusive, diverse, and representative of youth, youth allies, and other disenfranchised populations. Project: Think Different’s Media Watch Team, a group of 10 Boston youth, aged 16-19 are coordinating this effort as a part of their work to educate and empower peers through media literacy and civic engagement.

The proposed Town Hall meeting will be a one hour televised special, bringing together personalities, producers, and executives from leading media organizations to answer the questions and concerns of their primary demographic- teenagers. We refuse to be defined by adults any longer, and demand a voice in communicating who we are, what we stand for, and what is important to us. We hope to be able to consider you allies in this effort.

Most sincerely,