31 October 2009

You May Now Kiss The Brizzle

The interesting thing about the ceremony for Kate and JJ at the City Clerk office was that it was given by a very passionate, very involved woman named Soraida M Burgos...coincidence? in another lifetime? I don't know. My very good friend Sarah and her Jan were also joined in holy matrimony by Ms. Burgos. She was, for them, just as passionate, teary, and involved...Maybe she's just another actress trying to make it big in the Rotten Apple...hitting up auditions during the afternoons, and marrying people on Friday mornings on the side, for to pay the bills...etc.

Good Fucking Dudes

I talk a lot about the beauty of women around these parts...just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge (with a corny 50 mm lens) these good fucking dudes right here...you will, of course, forgive Jay's snarky face...is this him opening up? amazing...JJ got married. Karels, Dani, and Yant were just three of many other amazing males in the place. But maybe not AS amazing, as these four characters...In High School I thought I had male friends. Then I moved to New York, and all of a sudden you're having conversations and sharing shit and sometimes they even let you enter the building first...as you ARE a lady, after all...In California they just don't do that...One of these kids might even buy your Mother a chardonnay, given 10 seconds alone with her...For Karels we all wish a quirky, glasses and tights wearing dirty blonde. Must like miniature figurines, odd words, accents, fixating, buildings, e-bay. Loyal, too. For Dani, perhaps an impossible female...I haven't seen her yet...don't think he has, either...but she has to have heart humility beauty and brains beyond brains through that era and that book and into fantasy land through the history of baseball as well as a knowledge of new york that dates back to maaaaaybe 1964...bonus points for knowing the name of the subway lines when the IRT was still around: good luck. For Jay, I know she exists...she is smarter than him, and that is ok. She might be a LITTLE more extroverted, but not a ham, she might appreciate his humor and she might look at him in a different way than we all have since he entered our room freshman year with braces, quoting Bowfinger...she might understand his silence and know that when he's moved to do or say anything, he's moved...and for JJ...shoooooot, see the borja speech, september...Happy Halloween Young Mens: I love that none of you ever don masks.

19 October 2009

Sandra and Liza

...Sandra and Liza are like me and tater at 13 years old wandering around modesto in our saturday outfits and with 10 bucks in our 'purses'...walking through their small universe together no matter how flat or vast or boring or commercial...they walk and talk and grow and learn to keep their eyes on various people in the streets...honing their survival instincts and bullshit / scam artist radars...occasionally a nerd in a red helmet will approach on bike and shorts and ask to take their photo and they will say yes because for the most part the female instinct and bullshit meter is spot on regardless of how young the female and they will recognize me as a lioness might recognize another non-threatening lioness circling her group, just scoping, twitching her tail...trust is a dangerous thing...and it seems like females across the bestial kingdom are constantly riding on or around the word and its reverberations...sandra and liza pulled out their cell phones to take note of my name. i hate cell phones in photos because i like to pretend that everything is timeless.

14 October 2009


kmb visits smb, october 2009. there was a period of time where this girl was the first person i wanted to see in the morning and the last person i talked to on the phone before bed...'what the fuck are you guys talking about now!? you just spent all day in school together!!!" and? i know that when i see her i will collapse. i get strong when i am alone (or i try to be) and then when i see something who knows me better than i know myself (LSP, KMB) i collapse, get weak in the knees, my insecurities come out, i fold, i child, i rumple...KMB is always right. I would probably follow her gut before I followed my own. One of the best photos of us from childhood is us in matching swimsuits washing my mother's grey subaru station wagon in our driveway on college court...we are both wearing goggles, smiling like 7 year old balls of happiness, and holding the same hose that is spritzing the station wagon i learned to drive in...tater liked bob dylan before me, found a little bit of love before me, played soccer before me, used words funnily before me, found thrift stores and magazines and good movies before me...she was, after all, born in january...and i was born toooooooo late...


...on this night the family of the bride asked me why i was not shooting...every 4 seconds...shoot shoot shoot! like you grab a handful of geranium seeds and toss them into your backyard and expect that 5 plants will grow from this careless toss into full fledged geranium bushes...as opposed to planting 5 in pots and setting them in the sun and watering them and making them happen...i hope this young woman is still married - she was brilliant. beautiful. feigning timidity. custom for custom's sake...things for things sake...tradition for the sake of...etc...towards the end of the evening i found myself conversing with the latino catering team...one of the dudes told me not to drink so much soda, or else...we glanced at the beautiful bride-to-be...

11 October 2009

Pop, Sabi, Beto / Family / You

This has been a month where friends of mine have come out and offered me shit that only family should offer...it is heartbreaking...I suppose if you are a young person in the 21st century, U.S.A., you maybe live alone, and try to pay your own bills and debt on your own, and maybe buy your own cereal and make your own lunch and dinner by yourself. Maybe you eat with a roommate or maybe one Thursday your good friend, newly employed, spots you a hamburger. Or maybe you eat on your boss's dime. Whatever the case, I understand family through two lenses. The first is as I understand it through the lens of my adopted peoples who I've known either since childhood, met at Vassar College, or even more recently, a Great Dame and an Irish-Italo Gent from the ICP. I understand these to be loyal, solid, dependable, lifelong unions. I understand that sharing is no big deal and that cooking together is better than eating what you made. I understand that we chose different paths, and it seems no one wants to hold me accountable for this! Jeez. I understand that if I had cash like I would some day like to have it, it wouldn't last long anyway, because I love spending it and because not like my peoples are 'buyable' per sé but that I would use money as I would use my love : I would give it away. I would give it away because it looks like paper and so I treat it as such. I understand, too, family, that money is not actually paper and you can't just light it on fire. But you CAN rip it in half and tack part of it onto your wall above your pillow and hope that in your sleep one of a thousand yoruba gods or goddesses will work on making that money come back in full. Or you could get a job. Or a big break. I understand this family to the extent that it is chosen...it is a chosen family. You get to choose who is in your life. You do not have to have that annoying aunt, or that slutty cousin. You don't have to have that selfish brother or careless father. During times like the present, it is very easy to see who your family is, and what we are made of...those people who have REACHHHHHHHHHHHHHHED out reached out reached out extending their thoughts and concern in a real way, are the hearbreakers of my chosen family. I mean, if even for a second they mentioned 'it'll be ok'...it's all part of the same heartbreaking machine. To say 'thank you' sounds too humble, so I won't say it. I don't exactly know what the words are, then. Thank you is like "thanks for the sandwich, boss." But I mean to tell them that I feel what they are extending...I know that for them it is very easy to imagine themselves in someone elses' shoes. So I feel them...in my sleep or in the morning, when all of this is so acute and solitary. I wish I could rectify this quickly so that I don't become 'that' friend. I don't want hand outs. Nobody does. Not from your equals. So money leaves a mark on all of us...it is a razor's edge, this money thing...a certain song would also say that beauty, too, walks on a razor's edge and that someday we'll make it ours, but the point is...we are equals, that's why we chose each other...money tries to get in between the letters of e / q / u / a / l / i / t / y but with family like this, you could roll that shit up and put some bob marley on because........anyway, we are equals because we see each other as such and treat each other with respect, communication, open veins, proper space, honesty...and that is, I guess, why money -- to this family, is -- actually, nothing but paper...

Here is Pop, Sabina, and Beto a long time ago cooking lunch. Sometimes, being able to wash the dishes since your sister bought the chicken and your brother chopped the cilantro, is a nice thing.

(foto por laura paull - who never gets any credit)

10 October 2009

There's a Bald Thing Crying At Your Back

Every Sunday like clockwork Pop calls me. This is worrisome for a number of reasons. Figure it out. Someday I hope to deliver good news and I pray he can hear happiness in my voice as opposed to assuming what we know of the present. I don't know why I've always been so loyal to both parents. It's weird. What if they were Mormons? I would be as loyal to all of that, too? This winter when I was visiting Pop, I had a surprising, unfortunate conversation on Christmas morning the ramifications of which I couldn't hide for shit on my face when I re-entered the living room after putting the phone down and attempting to compose myself, waterproof mascara and all. I hadn't cried in front of Pop for personal reasons for I don't know how long. Over 10 years. We never saw each other enough for him to get a dose of this. I cried in airports, and that was about what he saw. It was weird for me to do so on this Christmas, at 27 years of age, but I could not contain myself so I stood there in the living room - my body vapid - watching my father make a fire (in a fireplace!) from kindling for the first time in my life. I had no idea he could build a fire ....I realized how many tantrums/tears my mother has seen or heard from me, and how much had been hidden (passive voice) from Pop. On Christmas morning, I repaid his fire with water. I gave him this little dose of me, this little present of real; messily wrapped in big tear drops like pearls that soaked my face and exposed me for the gullible, hopeful fool that I am...There is something so unsatisfying about crying in the shower; I will never do it again. It's like you catch yourself in the act of crying because your tears begin to be washed away by the water, and you realize you have never experienced crying without the sensation of THAT specific water on your face ...what are tears if not contra to dry skin or gulps of air being drowned in your own throat? What am I, if not how you see me? This, and every other dichotomy. And so, you just let the water run down your face, the expression of crying ceases...it's either going to be tears or shower water, and at this point you feel like a clown, because the water running down your face could really: create a clichéd river-o-tears...and then you remember there are some places in the world that don't have running water and then you figure that means that there are some places where shit is SO FUCKING BAD the people there are not even at a luxury to wash their hands, let alone their hair, or waste their own goddamn tear drops...especially while doing something so divine as showering. Then you stand facing the water, and let it pummel your face...the fake penitence for being so goddamn naive...and this time, eyes closed, you are trying to keep the water out.

(foto por laura paull - who never gets any credit)

POPS - (Luís / Luís)

I read some chick's blog today that had a lot of postings of her in Texas with her mom, or of her mom alone, or her mom's boyfriend, or her school photo at age 6, etc. That blog lead to another blog, another one and anotheroneandotheroneandother........one...and...I experienced waves of doubt and of course - comparison...is that how it goes? Always? I always thought I would just continue to compare myself to my self and that would be harsh enough...I am maybe more proud of the past and the photos we have and the story line that weaves through it all, than I am of myself and my own sprig of story, and so I am safe in posting things like this, on occasion...so here you go...some saturdays i am not so brave.

The Original LP / Dancing with Pop's Pop (A Poem For The Golden Era)

...bailando con el padre de su esposo...

holding hands with those /
that made those that hold you / that, which, who /
whom, whence, sentence /
things like holding hands with /
those that made the ones that /
hold you /
do not happen often /
maybe they don't happen ever (happenstance / hop on over) /
maybe this depends /
on /
whose /
espadrills you're wearing /
what you smell like /
and how you move... /
love /
moves .


Marina Borja Salazar and Luis Borja, El Negro. San Antonio, Cali. Party dresses and family. Snapshots, the present.

07 October 2009

His t-shirt reads: I'm Hers - Because She Deserves The Best

Kate with the Sun on her mane, and those sweet fingers curled up like they do, in her lap, in her wedding dress, on her wedding day.


today, today, today...i need for money to fall like skittles out of the rainbowed sky. i need it to grow como la yerba buena, that once flourished in carmen's backyard in northern california. i need six trees of it, sprouting 100 dollar bills. i need it to multiply, quadruplify, enth-ify. i need more than $34 over the course of 7 hours at the restaurant. i'm just saying. i hear people talk about "getting money." like, they just get it. this has never been my case. i don't come from it, i don't find it, i don't see potential for it anywhere, i avoid it, i hate it, i need it. i try to earn it. i try to attach a dollar sign to my various worths (office assistant, photography assistant, good person, Vassar graduate, ICP graduate, waitress). i need it to live in this room, to travel on the subway, to pay for my internet, to buy toilet paper, toothpaste and not just the travel size, to fucking buy a box of fucking tampons for christ's sake. i need it and i refuse it.

so what am i worth? i joke that my dowry would be worth a donkey...one, long-lashéd, docile donkey...but somewhere else...i am lucky i have this blue passport...am i? and it is only half a joke, actually, about my dowry...

tonight while earning these $34 i was talking to the other waitress. she is 23. she lives with a much older lawyer. she is chiseled, hard-bodied, she is much more mature than her 23 years. she has a classic face that would place her in a period drama, some day...and she is working on this. she auditions. she cooks barley soup. she works at the park slope co-op, she waitresses now and again. this was never an option for me. never ever have i ONCE fantasized about my wedding day, or about meeting a 'man with money,' or even sharing a bank account with anyone, or ever thinking that maybe i'd get lucky and be supported by, again, this man with money. i know i never will, either. not then not ever. on me, it is on me on me on me. while my mother bears the brunt of my stupidity and idiocy, less than 10 years from her retirement she still gives me the monetary shirt off her back...not this week, mamá. not this week.

it began to rain in brooklyn about 10 minutes ago...i've been checking weather dot com all week. i don't know why. i've known for two days it was going to rain on wednesday, after 12 am...but all i hear are those beautiful gotas of water falling on the gardens and rooftops that brooklynites are so proud of (it's a concrete jungle, after all...)...rain is always soothing. it also ALWAYS, CONSISTENTLY WITHOUT FAIL, makes you miss someone...who that someone is depends on the year...so here we are...i am missing a figment of my imagination, listening to rain fall on my rented abode in a town not mine in a year so brutal and spectacular all i can do is ram myself against the corner of my bed where it meets the wall and hide under the covers...plugging my ears...i know the sound of bills falling from the sky would be more like the heavy, deafening silence of snow falling...it wouldn't be candy rain nor quarters nor sand dollars nor japanese yen nor luck nor change nor prosperity nor anything other than rain, snow, water...it's just an element doing its job...if only my task in life was to fall onto everything in my path, and make it grow...i am still mad at the elements...spring makes men antsy, summer turns them free, and fall...fall...fall...a crisp slap in the face...a dry leaf at your feet...and me sleeping through it, dreaming of being a thief, the niece of pablo escobar, a skilled 'contractor,' a stripper, an IT technician, a PhD student, an entrepreneur, a spelling bee champ, a home owner, a mechanic, a teacher, a professional, a consultant...anything but THIS! ...my mother and step-father used to make fun of me...they thought i acted in a way befitting someone who had been a 'princess in a previous life...' (!!!!!)...with an air of entitlement, of quick rage, of indifference and blasé, of gimme!...so here i am, then, family...the reincarnation of that princess, in all my entitled royal glory...hiking through the borough in my worn green keds, shoes which barely support what was once used to nothing less than gold plated sandals, fig leaves and cacao, sunshine and time...time for me, me, me...so now look at me, again...still worth my weight in gold, but eating when my place wasn't set...

Cash Rules Everything Around Me.

02 October 2009

Daniel - Before the Wedding, The Flowers

The Flower Man. These bouquets cost $20 a pop. This may be because the flowers are silk and plastic, and therefore, by definition, last forever.

"Just like the couples getting married today!" I quipped...

He humored me with a "Yes - Exactly."

Speaking of Brides...

...there were so many at this train station. don't mind the yellow hue; i'm sure they're not scared.

mikey and jade

hers was an indefinable poem of self-recognition and of acknowledging it was ok to look into her mirror everyday and find worth there...since mikey is that mirror. his was cool, calm, collected. just like he do. i wish they got married every weekend so i could be reminded of what is possible. it could, too, be just possible that we live amongst the impossible, the magical, the inconceivable, every day...and so...


BETO B...was...is Pop's younger brother. Taller, browner, smoother, louder, quieter...more fierce. more heated...more bottled up in more space. As I remember him, he was strong, quick to laugh and quick to cut you off. Delicate, wonderful hand writing. A passion for color, the finer things in life, like a beautiful box of new paintbrushes. He loved to make me laugh. And when he found what worked, he didn't let up. I remembered him every time his daughter, my cousin, Paula Catalina, would come over for Sunday lunch when I was visiting family in Colombia in 2007. She was 15 at the time. She had turned into a finely coiffed, caramel colored pair of legs and lip gloss. She frequented the mall and stayed close by her mother, Beto's true and maybe only love. When I first saw her, I remembered how messy, and how unkempt I felt. I remembered being ten years old, and seeing her enter the world in 1990-91, when Beto and Ana Paula had moved to San Francisco and were living on Dolores Street. I saw them, and the baby Paula Catalina when I went to visit Pops in San Francisco every other weekend. And when I saw her in Colombia a few years ago I realized that she was always going to be closer with her Mother's side of the family, of course - no fault of hers. She was so young when Beto died. I remember one photo of him in her room, that Pop took. I remember the sense that it is almost impossible but completely expected of us to live without the people we love...either because they are gone, or because they are gone...I remember seeing Paula Catalina struggle with the volatile and passionate, free-reigned nature of our baby cousin, Pablo. And I remember her struggling to see our own Grandmother so old, and so frail, and so close to the edge. And I remember trying to play 'the clown' when I sensed that I was dealing with a fortress of a human being. I remember her only speaking in Spanish around and to me even though she understood everything I said to her mother in English. I remember her looking at me, trying to find family. But alas - too foreign. Too curly. Too odd. And I remember wanting to talk about Beto with her, but not knowing how to go there. I remember telling my Pop to call her often, and speak with her about Beto, subtly, as he is the only way she could ever really access this side of her family. But most of all, I remember her nature, even without her father she is: proud, confident, inaccessible...beautiful, bossy, moody, torrential...the only daughter tyrant of a wonderful union. She will learn to use this power benevolently.

She gets all of these traits from the Borja side...and she knows it. So here is Beto cutting his older brother's hair...she was already living...see?

(photo by Laura Paull--who one time sat on the dock of the bay with Beto)