Monday, October 31, 2011

We Wear the Mask: Show Your Face Today


Its Halloween, definitely my favorite holiday of the year rivalled only by Mardi Gras. I love these two holidays because I believe in the transformative power of masking and unmasking.  How for a day, one becomes the other.

Halloween is an opportunity to get in touch with spirit. The spirits of our ancestors and loved ones, who have gone before. A chance to let loose that inner self that we shut- in most other days.

Today is a day to let go of inhibitions that stop us from being our true selves. Halloween is a day free from judgement, so wear what you want.

Like my headpiece for example. I love it. It's like having jewelery as bangs.  I had another one that I loved even more before Katrina.

Once I wore it to my ex-boyfriend's dad's house. As soon as I walked in my ex cringed and his dad chuckled, trying to rib.

"Were you in a play?" he asked.

"Nah, Kristina just thinks she can live her life like it's Halloween." My ex joined in laughing with his dad. Needless to say, we weren't soulmates.

Wherever he is, I hope he knows, its been a decade and I'm still doing it.

Quite happily.

Do Whatcha Wanna,

Stay vicious

Love,

Gypsy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bro Q , The Golden Pistol and One Last Ride Through the Center of Town


I remember waking up last Thursday to the "unconfirmed" reports of Muammar Qaddaffi's death. Next thing I knew, I was being bombarded with the graphic footage of  a bloodied Colonel Qaddaffi, being led through the streets of Sirte.  This was followed shortly by the video and images of Qaddafi being hoisted into an ambulance, layed out on a stretcher, with a bullet in his head.

I wondered then and today, what all the hubaloo was over  not releasing the Bin Laden photos? Especially, given that  I had basically, just witnessed all but the actual gun shots of a murder on network television.

I have been feeling a little discombobulated, lately. I've been writing fiction but not blogging, watching the news but not offering much by way of my own two cents. This general feeling of unease of mine, I can trace back to many sources right now. But while it may sound a bit over-dramatic of me, to say...I think the pictures of Qaddaffi with a bullet in his head have only exacerbated the problem.



I have had the misfortune to have been very near gunfire, a few times, in my day. All the local coverage of murders in New Orleans, witness killings, bullshit police press conferences, and executed former dictators has been causing me to relive those incidents, lately.

It hasn't been fun. Quite frankly, it puts me in a dark place.

The rebel fighter in the picture below, proudly shows off a solid gold pistol.  Reportedly recovered from Qaddafi, it serves as a  powerful symbol of everything many tribes hated about his rule. Brute, military strength and a wealth, they were excluded from attaining.





Unlike in the case of Saddam Hussein, who was ultimately hung, there will be no trial. Qaddaffi will never go before the Libyan people for justice. His captors have already exacted their version of it on the people's behalf.  We the international community were allowed to become the most macabre of voyeurs.



I don't think beyond his tribe and his children, there are many that mourn the loss of Moammar Qaddafi. But with reports of mass graves filled with both Qaddafi Loyalists, Black Libyans and Black African mercenaries I hope no one expects life without him to be pretty.
 
With "Old Fuzzhead" pulled from a drainage ditch, I expect that new doors for Western Imperialism have been re-opened in Libya . And  that the people still trying to free themselves in Syria and Bahrain and Yemen will continue to suffer and fight.

In New Orleans, they've locked up Telly Hankton, but I don't know anyone in the hood who feels "safer". I expect that true people's freedom, here in New Orleans and abroad is still a long way off. Despite what they tell us on TV.

It has been reported that among Qaddaffi's last words to his captors was this:

"'Do you know what is right or wrong?"

Staring at the pictures of this bloodied  man with a gun to his head, watching the coverage of Serpas' press conference loop around and around, and recalling the events from the past that I'd rather forget, I ask myself the very same thing every day.



Remember,

The revolution will be no re-run brothers;



The revolution will be live.

Love,

Gypsy




Read more on the death of Qaddaffi @: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2052178/GADDAFI-DEATH-VIDEO-Moment-Libyan-dictator-killed-bullet-head.html#ixzz1btzeBksf

Friday, October 21, 2011

Public Service Announcement #3: You Get What You Pay For


This should be on a t-shirt, like seriously...So the next time somebody hims and haws to me about their "tax dollars" I could just point. So,  that maybe next time they saw state of the military equipment, they would get as mad as, when they see a young mother with an EBT card.

Somebody does have their hand in your pocket but its not poor people. Its more like banks that don't lend, and charge you to use your own money. It's like funding two wars, and guys on Wallstreet that made bad loans and then bet against them, profiting, as we say in the N.O., "however the cut goes...".

So while the top 1% controls 40% of the nation's wealth, we 99% are competing for the remaining 60% and quibbling over less than 10% of discretionary spending. Maybe some people can just stick their fingers in their ears and cover their eyes. But some of us can't. This casting of the people that have the least is like picking on the smallest kid on the playground. Its, unfair, unwarranted and unattractive of our culture.

The truth is hard and it hurts but we are a nation of blamers. But instead of blaming those people and institutions that hold society's progress hostage for real, we look downward with our most impassioned scorn. Its irrational and it holds us back as a people.

As long as we live in denial about the systemic causes of poverty in our country, things will stay the same.We may feel better about ourselves and our own accomplishments but nothing will change on the ground. What you can rest knowing is that the amount of people on food stamps, Medacaid etc. will be steadily rising as unemployment, poor working conditions and stagnant wages are around.

It's time to validate the lives, worth, resourcefulness and intellect of our community--not continue to disparage it. Part of that is knowing, who you are, what you are and where you come from. And like a fellow writer told me, once, when i was down:

"What you are is a beautiful person."

We are all beautiful people...Uncle Sam's contributions be dammed.


Hold your head up high,

Love,

Gypsy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When the Story Mocked is Your Own: Youth, Love and Violence in New Orleans


So, it's Hump Day in New Orleans...

I was trying this thing, where I made my Wednesday post all uplifting and upbeat, or at least pretty to look at.  But New Orleans just ain't a pretty sight lately.

Can I just say, I really detest politicians. Or maybe, more specifically, I hate the New Orleans' political machine. Totally abhor the nature of the beast that makes a photo-op out even their most grotesque failures and humiliations

People can kid themselves all they like but prohibition and poverty makes New Orleans a dangerous place to live in for all of us. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in city government is engaging the root causes of the violence in our city in a serious way. Press conferences to engage in a game of modern- day Cowboys and Indians or Elliot Ness and Al Capone, does nothing to make the city safer. In fact, I would say it only exacerbates the problem, an elevates the confrontational climate.

It definitely doesn't help when the those pledging to go , and smoke the criminals out of their holes, are widely perceived as at best out of touch and at worst corrupt themselves.

 A lethal mix of poverty, ignorance, depression, survival, greed, and  cultural materialism have made the trade that drives this all a thriving one. The dirty truth is that we are a community with divided loyalties from the top down and on both sides of the law.

Yet, at the end of the day, we [ black people] are dying and being locked up at a rate, not matched anywhere else in the world.

There is a certain kind of hopelessness,a despair, that takes root in heart  of our city's young men. I've seen it too many times. Watched that transform and be replaced with  pure malice and a profit-motivator. From then on, its on... and we are all the lesser for it.

 I don't know what the remedy is for filling up a lot of our generation and younger, who have been so hollowed out by this life. We have all shed tears for those lost to it and the mistakes we made in it. I know I don't like superficial displays of care and ego. I know that I hurt for my generation and the ones below me. I know I am a realist. And because of that, I worry about my son. He is growing up in a wild time. How will I protect him?

With all the ferocity of spirit it takes to be a mother. I pray,quite honestly, to make it, so that my son never has to experience this. Never has to feel the crushing weight of unreached potential. I am working hard, every day to make that happen.

It's a certified war-zone out here.

Put on your combat boots and ball to you fall, y'all...

Love,

Gypsy

New Orleans classic...personal narrative, religious philosophy, and all that from a baby gangster.





Monday, October 17, 2011

This is How I Look Without Make- Up: Out of the Dark with Mama's Gun,

So this is how the weekend went...

I visited the New Orleans  Healing Center,took some good pictures, felt like I had a mini- spiritual awakening  in the Island of Salvation Botanica and then wrote and  attempted to submit to a blogthe worst article ever about it.

I am still striking the article from memory, as we speak.

I proceeded to critique a short story for class that contained the ghost of dead slaves and the verb "shuffle". Let's just say I wasn't amused. Maybe it's tacky to put a classmate on blast and Workshop is a sacred space and blah, blah, blah. But, fuck it, I'll be polite when I get there.

 On my blog, I'm myself.

That was followed by some near tears over my feeling that my own writing is amounting to a lot of little bits and no one big thing. Makes me feel the unfamiliar feeling of an amateur.

Mix that with a little general discontent and you have the Gypsy in the dark, throwing a pity party, that could rival anything going on  in the street.

But while I get  down... I'm never out...

In  true New Orleans fashion, Sunday came, I went to a Saints Party,  and  got hella -fied drunk off Hennessy and my friend's rum punch.

The Saints lost but really the weekend wasn't all bad. Or ever as bad as I had made out to be.

I did start work on my own mini altar and make a collage to the Patron Saint Badu.

I have been on that Mama's Gun again hard. That's what you call making moves with a broken heart. Erykah makes art for those that understand her, prays for those that don't and sticks her ass out [literally] at those who disparage her.

My kinda woman.

There were some things I didn't get done but I'll get around to them. I'm crossing them off my list one by one and getting it done.

On my time, at my own pace and I'm starting to catch up.

I guess what I'm saying is even though its Monday and it's a mess...relax, take your time, cut yourself some slack.

I'm trying to loosen my own cuffs as well.

So maybe I choked and wrote a terrible article, maybe I have low tolerance for people figuring out their place in the world, using my history as a backdrop. Maybe I am moody, unpredictable, sensitive and  insufficiently ladylike...

But like Ms. Fatbelly  Badu says ,

I'm alright with me,

"Cleva when I buss a rhyme...Always on ya mind..."- Erykah Badu



Love,

The YoungGypsyChild

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Life You Save May Be Your Own: A Tale of Women, Health and Hospitals

It's Feminism Friday and I want to take a little time out to discuss a very serious issue.  Many women shy away from speaking about reproductive rights  openly.  Even more dangerous  is that so many women remain grossly uniformed about their options and rights under the law.

No matter what side of the debate you fall on, pregnancy, childbirth, etc. affects more women than any other single issue. Most women will become pregnant and/or decide to have a child at some point in their lives. As a result ,I think it is important that women remain in control and informed about their choices ,when it comes to reproduction.

In the midst of an economic crisis, the largest since The Great Depression, the Republican Party has once again taking their time out to attack women's reproductive rights. This isn't about whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. The GOP is intent on attacking the rights, health ,and lives of women even in pregnancies they have chosen to carry.

There is an old saying about being pregnant: one foot on the ground, one foot in the grave.

That's real talk and anyone who has had a baby knows it. Childbirth isn't a limo ride and their can be sserious complications. Today, I want all women to familiarize themselves with something called The Access to Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act.

The Access to Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act states that hospitals do not have the right to refuse treatment to patients in life or death situations.  And if they can't treat you they are required to transfer you to a facility that will.  How this has played out when it comes to  the treatment of women is in Catholic hospitals (at least 15% of all hospitals) is that women in life in death situations are transferred to other facilities.

Women, who are hemorrhaging, in sepsis, and in some cases not completely stabilized, must be transferred in order for them to receive life saving medical treatment, which in some cases is an abortion.  . For women in urban areas this may be a short trip but for those living outside cities, the next closest hospital, isn't all that close.

That women are still seen as only vessels for life with no innate right to it themselves is something beyond sad in the 21st century. Check the chart below. If you notice, America isn't exactly first-tier when it comes to mortality rates of women in childbirth.


The GOP Bill, would seek to add a "conscience clause" that would even further endanger the lives of women. If they had their way, they would provide  legal protection to health providers that refused to transfer dying women to other facilities, if  they believed those transfers would result in an abortion. Basically, we can call this, as other Democratic women  described the macabre law as, 'The Let Women Die Act'.  

Now this bill out of the House of Representatives is basically dead on arrival in the Senate. However, the 2012 election is about more than just the economy, believe it or not. It is about basic rights that many young women have never known their lives without. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, you have always had a choice. If the Republican party wins control of the White House, choice will be under attack in a big way.

All young women and men should really think about that in a serious way. Even if you are morally oppossed to abortion, if it becomes a crime what will be the punishment for women who receive them? How will you protect women from the back-alley abortions that still costs lives globally? And even if you are oppossed to abortion,  if you are woman, you will most likely find yourself in a maternity ward one day. You should hope the people taking care of you, see the goal of  preserving your life, or the worth of it, for what it truly is

Your Divine and Inalienable Right!

Fight for it,

Love,

Gypsy






Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hi Rihanna: Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive Gets Dirty


It's Hump Day people and who better to celebrate this kind of morning with other than Rihanna? Some  have criticized her, wondering if there is any other strategy for selling her music, other than disrobing.

I think Rihanna would say, why do something else when you do one thing so well?

I had fun watching the BET Hip Hop Awards last night. The Cyphers being my favorite part. The best one contained an homage to my favorite rebel flower by 5'9 Royce.

 Esquire Magazine's Sexiest Woman Alive reminds us to love the skin we're in, loosen up and have a little fun.

Rihanna's taken her licks [literally] , gotten the shallow shit up off her, forgiven Chris Brown and seems intent on living her life to the fullest.

Life's too short to be sittin 'round miserable

Carpe Diem and
Happy humping,

Love,

Gypsy


Click [read more] below to check out the video of my favorite Cypher from last night's awards

Monday, October 10, 2011

YoungGypsyChild in the Wild: Chronicles of An Open Heart Part II

 I stepped out into the sunlight this morning with a few things on my mind.

I.  Good food, drink,smoke, sex, and people are always great to have.
II. Others only have control because we give it to them.

***
 Its really been shocking me lately how uptight, particularly, women my age can be. It seems to me that we are regressing culturally and intellectually when it comes to our relationships with men and our morals. With the new black male hustle evolving from "for-profit" churches to writing a books of  terrible dating advice--the women my age and younger seem so eager to prove they're not "angry" or "bitter". So hungry to show that they don't posess egos equal in size to their male counterparts and can be properly "submissive".

Whenever gender debates come up in the corner of the cafeteria ,where all the black kids hang out on Twitter, it always kills me how much women identify with men. Despite the fact that  sometimes the boys are arguing for more work for you to do, plus to shut the fuck up while doing it, girls are the main retweeters. And when it comes to "respectability" women where the pants on that patrol.

How does this relate to good food, drink, smoke, sex and people? Because the more closely aligned a woman seems to be with the theory that if she is a "good" enough girl, acts like a lady but thinks like a man, one day her prince will come...the less she seems to have of all of the above.

Am I only person that thinks that's wack?

I know I can't be.

At the end of the day I'm not here to knock anyone. I am a firm believer in "whatever floats your boat". I think marriage and/or monogamy with the right person is a worthy pursuit if it appeals to you. However, so often, women choose the wrong man in pursuit of the idea of marriage, and a lack of any other framework for their lives.

This wrong choice or just the committment to the idea often leads to an intense judgement for other women that choose differently. Not all women are concerned with being deemed "righteous", "respectable" and "poised". Some of us just want to live our lives and make art  instead. And if I get called a harlot for doing so, I will  be the one to make my own scarlett letter H for my chest.

There is nothing wrong with forming a healthy partnership with another human being. But hinging your fulfillment on it is foolish. Because the sad fact of the matter is that women don't control the dating game. And the reason we don't control it is because we care too much and are too concerned with being chosen.

Men don't spend their childhoods imagining the day they pick one of us, so why do so many women already have their weddings planned to imaginary men?

Sigh.


***
I have a friend, a muse of sorts, that posesses a unique ability to subtley infuriate me with his words. Many times I find them smug and pompous but often very true.

You are much more in control than you think you are, he said when I complained about my lack of it.

Great way to free yourself of any responsibility in this, I thought cynically.

But I also could not deny the truth of the statement. I was in control--I had only lied to myself because it was easier that way. When you realize you are in control, sometimes it means you have to put on your big girl panties. Face, facts, reality and situations for what they are--not what we wished they were.

"We are the ones we have been waiting for", said Mama Alice [Walker]. I think it's high time we all join hands, male and female, and stop planning and living for days that are not promised.

Take a sip, a toke (or not) ---lighten up and enjoy the present moment it's the one thing we have for sure.

Do it for your girl,

Love,

Gypsy


Friday, October 7, 2011

If You Were Traitor to the Movement: Blame Yourself Herman Cain!

I am about to do the unthinkable...

I am about to defend Republican, "Clarence Thomas lite", Herman Cain against uber-liberal, self-proclaimed, Socialist commentator Lawrence O'Donnell.

Last night on the Last Word, which airs nightly on MSNBC, O'Donnell and Cain went toe to toe over Cain's lack of participation in the Civil Right's Movement. O'Donnell referred to Cain's book, This is Herman Cain!, in which Cain recounts his father's advice to move to the back of the bus quietly and "stay out of trouble."

 I am the first to say that a man like Cain belongs in the psych ward for aligning himself with the likes of the Tea Party. I borderline question his sanity at times. I mean how does he really feel when he looks at those racist signs, or hears about Camp Niggerhead? What does he see when he looks in the mirrorr?

Those are valid questions from a reporter of any color, however, I resent a white man hammering at the line of questioning Lawrence O'Donnell hit Cain with last night.

Where would black people be if Rosa Parks had followed his advice?
Why were you on the sidelines while your classmates were on the Freedom Rides?

Parents want to protect their children at all costs--even if it costs their freedom sometimes. When Cain's father advised him to "stay out of trouble"--that "trouble" was often death at the hands of the system countless black youth were protesting.

As a white man, Lawrence O'Donnell would not have had to face such a decision in the Jim Crow South. Any participation in the Civil Rights Movement would have been entirely voluntary. And it is the height of arrogance to call a man out for cowardice,who in the sixties, had to choose between his life and their dignity on a daily basis.

I may be projecting but I think in Herman Cain's heart their may be a smidgen of shame that he chose to cover his own hide during that time. This may explain his attempt to represent himself as younger than ripe college age during the Freedom Rides. That shame may explain his antagonistic relationship with the rest of "brainwashed" lot of "us".

Maybe because of this shame, he choses to believe that we are to blame for the current economic climate in America. This shame of a man like Cain  is that he accepts the system as it is, he just wants his peice.There are winners and losers in this game.And Cain knows to the victor goes the spoils. So to a man like him ,better to be the winners' mascot, sleeping in the big house, with the all the good cooking than to be fighting in the fields with the plebes.

I think Lawrence O'Donnell should chill and thank his lucky stars, he never had to trade his soul for a slice of this all-American humble pie.


Foraging through the forrests Niggerhead for my next meal,

Love,

GYPSY

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chronicles of An Open Heart: YoungGypsyChild Afternoon Meditation

So it seems that I am waking up from a long,deep, slumber.

Coming up on the second anniversary of my son's father's death, the fog is beginning to lift--I am beginning to see clearly again.

 It is a painful process, not all filled with pleasant discoveries.

Pain is a difficult thing to rid one's self of but easy to mask. Sometimes we seek out people, places or things  to relieve it. I'm not ashamed  to say I've needed salve for my wounded heart .

What I've learned on this journey is that the trick is not to confuse the medicine for the cure.

In that regard--

I am getting stronger every day.

Love is something that resides deep in the human heart. A full and abiding sense of self  love in communion with empathy for others is the only cure for what ails us. For some experiences there is no resolution. I will never be able to "make right" at such a sudden, youthful, loss of life. What I can do is put one foot in front of the other, keep moving toward some destination be it darkness or light.

 I am optimist and I believe that my best days are ahead of me. To all those who shared some of my darkest, whether you knew it or not...

I thank you,

Love,

Gypsy

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So Lonesome I Could Cry: The Nigger Rears His Ugly "Head" Again

So... Hank Williams Jr. thinks Barack Obama is the twent-first century version of Hitler, the Perry's agreed with the previous owners of their hunting camp that Niggerhead was an apt name for the sprawling country, and Herman Cain thinks this is all a "distraction".

Whew, I'm not even going down that racial rabbit hole today. What drives the psychology of a man like Herman Cain is beyond me and not worth the trouble.

What is worth more than the time and the trouble is stopping our muted outrage at bullshit like this.

Yeah I'm on my lil' Angela Davis shit this morning because this is getting ridculous. From President Obama in diapers on a lawn Uptown, to Niggerheads, Hitlers, and tarbabies galore! Where and what time are we living in?

The answer is America and we are living in what has always been. People, it's time to act again. There is most definitely something brewing. You have to be comatose at this point not to see it.

When one New Orleans citizen exercized his first ammendment rights and posted that billboard of the President in diapers, about 60-70 New Orleans citizens exercized theirs and showed up at his house.


That's what I'm talking about...


History, Time has something in the works. You better believe that.


I think we should tell the story this time or at the very least give 'em hell,


Love,

Gypsy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Art and Life: The Woman in the Mirror


Armed with two coupons good for almost fifty percent off my total purchase, I entered Michael's, a local craftstore in Metairie, Louisiana on a mission. I would rid myself, or at least find an outlet for all the anxiety that I am filled with at this time of year.

I am coming up on the two year anniversary of my son's father's death and the mania of the time creeps back into my psyche not so subtlely. When I feel this way, I am restless. TV is no use because I can't pay attention--I can write but only for so long. Music helps but I still need something to do with my hands. 

This weekend I decided I would declutter my mind the way I used to when I was child. While my collages and paintings may not reveal any hidden inner genius, they do calm my nerves, make me feel connected to Marley's dad, and its also an activity that me and my son can do together.

Sitting out in the sun, feeling the breeze, gluing my feathers, flowers and magazine clippings into a "found poem"(a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry.) with my son's assistance, is as close to peace,as there is in this chaotic city of mine.

With each thing I create,I become closer to the woman in the mirror.I harness more and more of the power that lies in my own hands. 

As women we possess the power to both take and give life to all God's creation. It's like my girl Nikki Giovanni said,

I am so perfect, so divine, so ethereal, so surreal

I cannot be comprehended
except by my permission

Call it ego-trippin if you all like-- but in a city filled with choppers, cops, weight, victims, and perpetrators--armed with my feathers and my word...

I call it necessary.



By any means,

Love,

Gypsy