tongues

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because I don’t

speak the tongue

that cracks the code to the last

blast from the past that ran amok as fast

as a gas tank catching the flame of a match

to the task I understand to be at hand

this man

that lands

like a splash of sizzling coconut oil in my pan

and I play my last hand

in this game

roll the dice it’s like a vice

I’ll say it twice because it’s nice

too nice I’ll say it

twice

I slip the grip and sip the tip because I’m hip to the trip

and the drip drip drip in my mental

potential i’ll mention the intention that I had

was to look twice and cross across the other side

but I was blinded in one eye and took the ride

I felt myself electrify & ignite

the revolution I’ve been carrying inside all this while

I sly a smile because it’s true that from this view

everything looks new & right on cue

like fresh rain

and now I can’t engage the rage I was in flames behind

the door I opened to reveal and find the time

I had to pen inside my head inside my poetry head

the bed I made with him in it

not the rhyme inside my mind nor the verses I assign

to explain my blind design nor the wheel of sex appeal

revealing my very real

feelings

and I find in every sign

through the labyrinth of time this is going to be

the dream I’m dreaming and the sleep that maybe I dread,

or maybe I’m scheming

and the truth that maybe I never said but

I am now screaming

10/2015

The Woman’s Dicktionary of Male Dating Terms

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On Twitter i recently started the hashtag #Dicktionary in an attempt to contextualize & deconstruct the misogyny that het/bi/pan women experience regularly in our intimate personal lives while dating men. This took off unexpectedly as dozens of women began to respond on the subject. Several asked for a full unabridged version of the Dicktionary, which i have been tweeting one phrase at a time. So in response to that, and in a prophylactic attempt to help us decipher the usual “lie-to-her” language codes, and protect our feminine self-esteem from the shredding that inevitably happens when we insist on navigating the treacherous journey of sharing our sexual love with people who are programmed to oppress us, here is the new, unabridged Women’s Dicktionary of Male Dating Terms!

Below is a list of phrases commonly used by men while dating women & their translations:

“baby i wanna make love to you all night” translation: “it’s gonna be 20 minutes & we’ll pretend it was hours”

“baby i know i fucked up, I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you.”  translation: “i don’t have anywhere else to wet my dick tonight”

“I can’t stop thinking about you”  this phrase is generally used BEFORE he hits it & translates to: “i can’t wait to own you so i can keep you waiting”

“I’d like to take you out sometime,”  translation: “don’t hold your breath”

“I have this unique fantasy…”  translation: “I think i’m the only man on earth kinky enough to want to bang 2 bitches at once”

“I’m not like other men,”  translation: “my ego is way bigger than my dick. DON’T mess with it! Seriously.”

“I’ll call you”  translation: “I have a few on my list that i want to hit first but i may want to wet my dick here at least once / again, so i’ll keep your phone number”

“I’ll call you soon/later/tonight/tomorrow/after work, etc.” translation: “sit & wait for that”

“I lost my phone/broke/sick/accident/spent a night in jail or… /fill in the blank with any other excuse/” translation: “i was busy banging my new/ex gf for a few days” in some cases it may mean “i was busy abusing my substance of choice and/or banging a new/ex gf for a few days”

“I love you,” this is a phrase used only in desperation when there is no other way to get the pussy & basically means: “I’ll say whatever it takes to hit that pussy right now”

“I’ve never met a woman like you before”   translation: “What? You mean you have hair down there???”

“It’s not that I don’t love you, but i  just can’t leave her yet,”  translation: “she’s paying the rent & that’s her car I’m driving”

“It’s not that I don’t love you, but i  just can’t leave her yet,”  can also mean: “you won’t put up with the shit she’s putting up with”

“I had to leave town unexpectedly & my phone died, then it fell out of the airplane & landed in a pot of wonton soup, then my dog ate it and my grandmother dies, and basically, this all happened in China” translation: classic cuento chino

“Let’s hang out,”  translation: “let’s fuck”

“Let’s hang out,” can also mean in some cases “let’s do our drug of choice & fuck” or in the worst case scenario: “let’s watch the game while we fuck”

“Not All Men Are Like That” or “NAMALT” for short.  translation: “i don’t want to listen to anything that will make me question the way that I/my friends treat women”

“OMG, you’re so beautiful/gorgeous/pretty/briliant/amazing, etc”  also often heard as “OMG you have such beautiful eyes/lips/smile/teeth/hair/whatever”  normally this phrase is repeated throughout the date like a mantra.  translation: “I want to fuck you & i have no interest whatsoever in making the slightest effort to have an intelligent conversation.”

“She ain’t hot/sweet/fine/sexy/whatever like you are”  translation: “I’m tired of destroying her self-esteem, now I want to destroy yours”

“She’s not my wife,”  translation:  “it’s not on paper but we live together, she pays the bills & we have 3 kids, plus she’s pregnant so i want to fuck YOU instead”

“The women of my ethnic group are not as cool as you are,”  translation: “i feel totally entitled to judge, degrade & bash women of my own ethnicity, but will be on best-behavior for exotic foreigners”

“There’s nothing between me & her”  translation: “she cooks for me, i fuck her occasionally & send a text once in a while to keep her on standby”

“This dick is yours baby, come get it anytime,”  translation: “go ahead & call but i won’t answer & ofc you don’t know where i live”

“You my special girl”  translation: “you’re the one I’m lying to most often.  in fact: you might even be the one i want to have a baby with, so you can cook, serve & clean for me & i can control you at home”

“Wow! I’m really sorry men have treated you that way,”  translation: “I”m sorry you’re not opening your legs as quickly as i expected”

mujer_cita_MIA at Little Haiti Cultural Center and Girls’ Club

mujer_cita_MIA will be on view at:

“Global Caribbean V” an Art Basel Special Event

Little Haiti Cultural Center, 219 NE 59th Terrace, Miami

Opening reception: Friday, December 6, 2013 from 10am – 12Noon

In tandem with the opening of this exhibition, the work will also make its online premiere so that male viewers and viewers outside of Miami may see it.

The piece is also currently on view in the co-ed rest room at:

Girls’ Club Collection  117 NE 2nd Street  Ft Lauderdale

November 10, 2013 thru September 26, 2014

Imagemujer_cita_MIA, 2013 by Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez

 featuring Lucia Aratanha and Niurca Márquez

mujer_cita_MIA is a series of video interventions installed in women’s rest rooms in diverse sites across Miami. The work’s subtext addresses rape, domestic abuse, and systemic social violence against women, within the cultural context of Miami vis-à-vis the world at large. The piece further engages contemporary feminist discourse via an active social media component that harnesses the power and reach of the global feminist community online. @mujer_cita_MIA tweets daily, posts regularly on facebook, and maintains an interactive blog at mujercitamia.wordpress.com.

Why… The Ladies’ Room?

The Ladies’ Room is that ironic place of utmost privacy in public. It is a place where fleeting intimacy occurs between random strangers as we wash our hands and apply lipstick in a mirror together, greet each other politely, make small talk, and wish each other a nice day, having just taken care of other, more delicate, personal matters.  Imagine if, as we do this, we are surprised by the presence of a video art piece on the wall, layered with references to issues that plague all women and can never be discussed in public places. mujer_cita_MIA exposes our strength, telling our stories of rape, abuse and survival through the abstract, universal language of dance. mujer_cita_MIA seeks to make a subliminal commentary on society from the perspective of a female Caribbean Latina immigrant in Miami, along with others who enter into the dialogue online. The artist’s conversations with women in Miami and all over the world are the basis for this city-wide public art intervention project.

To see the full work online visit: mujercitamia.wordpress.com

 

Diamond Girls

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Some of the teen girls that I teach and mentor in Miami are classmates of Rachel “Diamond” Jeantel and Trayvon Martin. Many are similar to Rachel, and in fact, quite a few go by the nickname “Diamond,” a popular pseudonym in this bling-obsessed neck of the southernwoods.

Diamond is a diamond in the raw and she knows it. Her spirit is on fire & she lives to stay cool in the heat. At home & in the streets the spirits are sometimes demons & people get shot. Like that’s it, basically.

Sometimes we don’t understand each other: Diamond and me. It might take me a minute to adjust to her accent & way of speaking, as this varies from neighborhood to neighborhood in Miami.  But I’ve been around Diamond Girls for a lot of years now, and I try to keep up with each new linguistic wave: Miami is a hotbed of language evolution.

I ask where her family is from. She answers some island, often Haiti, the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Belize, Cuba or some mix of all of the above. Occasionally it’s some place North, in the Deep South, like Georgia, or northern Florida. Diamond avoids my direct eye contact but I sit near her, touch her hand, and compliment the masterpiece on her acrylic nails. I take a picture of her hands. She smiles at me; I see her eyes grow curious beneath the sweep of eyelashes from Walgreens across the street.  She asks where I am from.  A window is opened.

Though there is still the issue of my color. The question is: which kind of light-skinned Latina is this one…  and how is she judging me?

I open my laptop & whip out Mickalene Thomas, followed by Wangechi Mutu and Lorna Simpson.  Other times, I throw in Ellen Gallagher, Shinique Smith, Kara Walker.  Suddenly we’re just talking & questions are pouring out. Little by little I get to know my group of Diamond Girls.

Diamond is feisty, opinionated, not instantly open, but willing to bloom IF she trusts the gifts you’re offering.  And usually, she likes my gifts: she likes that I’ve tapped into her intelligence, her creativity.  She thinks I might actually be worth learning from.  I’ve won her trust.

Actually, Diamond gets around, knows everybody, saw all kinds of shit first-hand, but is only a tiny bit young and free. She seems engaged in a battle between her desire to express her uniqueness and the pressure to be so many things the Black immigrant experience demands, especially if you are Female. She often emits an essence like that of a muggy & windy Miami sky when a hurricane is approaching.  When she smiles directly at me, it’s like a sun shower with rainbows. Diamond is not soft, but in spite of that, she’s a girl: a Black girl in a White patriarchal world.

Her life is limited. She has responsibilities, sometimes a job, somebody at home who requires attention, devotion, servitude, sacrifice, and discipline, and somebody in the street that she has to impress daily by playing a whole nother character.

Add to that the stress of facebook, fashion, substance abuse, “bitches fucking wit yo man,” a busted economy in a disenfranchised neighborhood severed from the glitzy magic city by a highway that divides by class, and of course, people getting shot all the time.

Usually it’s gangs & street violence.  Sometimes the police attack somebody. A fight breaks out over a drug deal. Somebody got stabbed. Somebody saw or heard something. A lot of times it’s somebody you know.  You saw it from your window.  It was somebody’s brother, your cousin’s ex. It was your neighbor or the friend you were talking to on the phone.  It was that kid from Norland or Edison Senior or Miami Central or Booker T.  It was your friend wearing a hoodie & carrying a bag of skittles.  A rumor started that somebody shot him.

It happens and you just hope you or somebody that you really, really love and really, really rely on doesn’t get hit. You pray. You don’t get involved, mainly, you just pray & hope. Half the time nobody ever gets arrested or goes to court or does time for any of it, except sometimes when it’s the police or once in a while if it’s really loud or there’s a big fight or a drug bust or a drive-by or a robbery. But lots of crimes are going ignored and that’s the way it is in this part of Miami.

When something does happen that gets the police involved, you do your damndest to stay out of it. And if, heaven forbid, it happens to a kid that you’re good friends with, if it’s a national case, and you’re billed as the star witness, if you have to perform for the courtroom, the television cameras and the world, not to mention the memory of your friend and the look in the eyes of his parents…

You do whatever it takes to preserve your inner core, to hold it together for the family that needs you, the brother that fucked up, the cousin who’s doing time, the friend whose Mom got deported, your grandma who doesn’t speak English, your homies, the people who get that you’re really beautiful, the people you love and trust.  You have all kinds of ways to keep yourself under the radar. You know you’re being attacked by a system that takes you for a fool.  You’re pissed as shit, but you play it cool. You have your Miamittude.  You’re all fire inside, but you’ll never let them see you sweat a single hair out of place.  You are a Diamond and you’re going to explode one day in shimmering brilliance.

You stand YOUR ground.

You go, baby.

Artivism in Process: making mujer_cita_MIA

mujercita artist

Once again, it’s late at night and I am at work in my studio: painting, scratching on celluloid and editing sound. Actually just finished the hand-crafting of the 16mm footage, and have spent all night compiling the dozens of interviews that will make up the soundtrack for this work.  I have recorded over 5 hours of conversations with women from varying ages and backgrounds. ALL have shared with me at least one story of child molestation, sexual assault or rape.

The interviews include a lot of my own commentaries and the sharing of my own experiences, which include three rapes in my adult life and one at the age of 4. I have spoken to about 13 women, of whom only two have never been raped. Of those two, one endured an attempted rape and the other a child molestation.  Of the group that admitted to having been raped, three also endured physical violence in the form of beatings or physical threats from intimate male partners.  Maybe it’s my particular group of friends, but these statistics don’t match that “1 in 3” that’s always being thrown around as the actual incidence of rape and violence among women.  Of the 13 women interviewed, only one was raped by a stranger at gunpoint, and only one was raped by more than one man in the same incident.  The vast majority were incidents that involved friends, dates, acquaintances, intimate partners, and family members.

Among the interviewees, I spoke with Patricia, a Mexican woman from Juarez and former sex worker, who shared with me the atrocities that her home town is besieged by: horrific accounts of rape, murder and mutilation, and unspeakable acts of hatred and violence against women.  Another woman shared with me an intimate, chilling story about being raped by her husband shortly before they were married, and how this incident shaped the dynamic of the abusive relationship that ensued between them after marriage. The conversations also include snippets of commentaries on sexuality in general, sexual shaming and the ways in which power in heterosexual relationships is often defined by sexual acts of coercion that bleed into the fiber of daily domestic life.

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Admittedly, I could have selected a more optimistic subject to be working on, but what saves the beauty and integrity of the piece is the work of the two dancers that I have filmed for the first set of videos in the series. Niurca Marquez is a dancer and choreographer of Cuban origin whose work blends Nouveau Flamenco with techniques rooted in ancient forms.  Lucia Aratanha is a dancer, choreographer and theater director, originally from Brazil, whose work juxtaposes classical and contemporary dance with experimental movement theater. Their grace and power – both physical and spiritual = bestows the piece with the empowering serenity and strength that I hope to bring to the hearts and minds of my audiences, to women everywhere, to the Ladies’ Room.

If you happen to be in Miami on April 18-20, please drop by and see the piece at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W Flagler St. in Miami, in tandem with three musical concerts by contemporary local artists that will be presented there during those nights as part of FUNDarte’s Miami On Stage series showcasing the work of local artists. mujer_cita_MIA will be screened on the façade of the building, in the lobby, and in the Ladies’ Room.  Hope to see you there!

Now, back to editing…