Naked Guise: Poetry Undefined

The reality is, this isn’t working out the way I’d hoped.

But, I refuse to torture you with yet another dramatic exit from the blogging world, explaining why…

It’s not you. It’s me. (a conversation I avoid at all costs).

Instead, I’m offering a detour of sorts.

Until otherwise inspired, I’m focusing on a collection of words, presented in a form so foreign to my fingers, I don’t dare call it poetry.

I’m not a poet, after all.

So this isn’t goodbye. We’ll still meet in the same place we always do. It will just look a bit foreign (more to me than you).

It’s not as mysterious as it seems, although some say it’s where magic resides…summoned by a gypsy soul, hiding behind a naked guise.

For most direct route, take detour to the main menu and follow Poetry Undefined.

IMG-3141
Advertisements

Have to say, this is really f*cking good.

I think we have a tendency to blame the demise of our society on social media. I get it, the constant stream of everyone’s “all things good” can make us feel like we’re failing miserably at the whole life thing.

But, there are some legitimate positives- getting to see snippets of our friends and families’ all over the world, for example. It can also be a gateway to connect with people and opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have access to, ones that can change our lives for the better.

Here is one such connection:

Voyage Denver Magazine is featuring a series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, “…to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.”

Long/short, they saw this photo I posted on Instagram and wanted to share it on their site.  They followed up with an invitation to do an interview for the series.

DSC_2717.jpg

Photo by Jenna Sparks

My first reaction: Ummm, are you sure about that? But I knew the focus was on empowering women, and god knows, I have a substantial amount of knowledge on what NOT to do. And, I have acquired a fair amount of insight along the way.

So even if just one woman is inspired to rise up and “…take the world by the lapels,” (to quote Maya, the ultimate role model) then I did what I set out to do.

So thank you, Voyage Denver, for inviting me to share my hard-earned lessons-learned.

And I have to say,  I read it and thought, damn girl, that’s really fucking good. ;o)

http://voyagedenver.com/interview/life-work-brooke-breazeale/

Voyage.Denver.Image.Basic

 

 

Point, Aim & Shoot (but choose your weapon wisely)

I decided it was finally time to break through the cobwebs of “A Gypsy’s Tale” to make sure you’re still out there and to assure you I’m alive and well. And I am, which is what I planned on writing about (a welcomed change for all of us, I’m sure)

But then this bullshit happened, and I’m pissed off. And acknowledging it seemed a bit more important than telling you where I am on the spectrum of well-being.

I’ve been checked out of politics and what’s happening in the world for quite a spell, for survival purposes, really. But this isn’t the time to check out…because too many innocent people are not surviving.

We have to fight back, all of us, but not with weapons that kill. We have to disempower the perpetrators with weapons that disarm- ALL of the perpetrators: those who supply, those who demand, and those who kill.

My weapon of choice?

writers.are.dangerous.quote

Quote by Nikita Hill

I pose this question with acute trepidation: What will it take? What will be the tipping point to make “our leaders” take immediate, severe action to stop this?

In 2017, we experienced a record number of gun-related death, in 2018, another record high. As of today, there have been 251 mass shootings in 2019 alone.

We are on day 216. (Do the math)

*Released by CBC quoting non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country.

More than 90 gun violence incidents have occurred this year in our schools, and 3,200 youth and teens killed or injured by a gun.

Yes, these statistics vary in accordance with what is being measured, i.e. some do or don’t tease out exact numbers of suicides vs. homicides vs mass shootings.

But that’s not the point.

The point is, our country is plagued with gun violence, and innocent people are being persecuted and murdered…and it’s horrifying.

Equally as horrifying is the fact that “we” are the perpetrators. Our nation has proudly demonstrated that we value “the right to bear arms” over the inalienable human right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Nazi ideology can be defined in four parts: expansion, racial purity, power, and militarism.”  (Nazism: Definition, Facts & Ideology)

Be clear, I’m not taking the stance that all guns should be banned or that everyone who owns one has malintent. My weapon is pointed at the lack of gun regulation and assinine justification for selling automatic weapons in our country.

The only reason anyone “needs” an automatic weapon is to kill on a massive scale.

And who wants to kill whom on a massive scale in the United States? Ruthless, fucked up, racist TERRORISTS targeting innocent people they label as “intruders”, minorities, or fill-in-the-blank “deviants”.

So, here’s the pivotal question: why are we still selling automatic weapons and producing firearms at such an alarming rate, and to what end?

Well, we know why, don’t we? Guns mean money, and money “trumps” lives… especially with Trump at the helm.

But “to what end? This has yet to be seen, with no end in sight.

But what has become very clear is this: the founding principle of our country meant to be the essence of who we are as a nation is simply not true.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

   – The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

And this- the denial of the inalienable rights of American and global citizens- is the very reason I’m mortified to be a citizen of the United States.

 

human-rights-blog

 


Stats

“The United States has the highest gun ownership rate [in the world] with about 101 guns per hundred Americans [latest estimation rose to 120]. Serbia is ranked second in the firearms per capita with a rate of 58.21 guns per 100 people. Yemen has the third highest gun ownership rate in the world with a rate of 54.8 guns per a hundred people.  (World Atlas)

“Guns killed nearly 40,000 people in the United States last year.”

“In 2016, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that Americans were ten times more likely to die as a result of a firearm than residents of other high-income countries, as classified by the World Bank.”

“A 2017 survey estimated that there are three hundred and ninety-three million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, a rate of 120.5 guns for every hundred residents, twice that of the second-highest nation, Yemen.”  (The New Yorker]

“From 2009 to 2017, there were at least 173 mass shootings in the U.S.

“In at least one-third of mass shootings, the shooter was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting.”

“Mass shootings that involved the use of high-capacity magazines resulted in more than twice as many fatalities and 14 times as many injuries on average compared to those that did not.”  (Everytown for Gun Safety)

Lucky #13, turtles & a timely perspective

Soooo, I’m moving again.

I can’t help but think there was a colossal mix-up during my incarnation, and I was actually supposed to be a turtle.

 

Why? Because this will be move #13 in 3 years and move #4 in the past nine months, which includes a 5-month stretch living out of a suitcase…in 3 different countries.

I fear I might have cursed myself with the whole gypsy association. If this is the case, I would like to clarify: what I meant was “a free-spirited, love to travel, always up for adventure” gypsy…not the perpetually displaced kind.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, well, I am. Because let’s be honest, moving is f*cking terrible. One of my favorite bloggers, mydangblog, summed it up perfectly:

Moving is bullsh*t. Everyone knows that. In fact, I can’t understand why people don’t just live in the same place until they die because moving is so horrible.

And just to make sure these moves were sufficiently terrible, I did most of them with virtually no help- one, on the hottest day of the year, another, in the pouring rain, and the most recent, minutes before the worst blizzard this year ensued.

One move, in particular, I believe #7, stands out as one of the more challenging. To add insult to injury (literally), I had conveniently torn a tendon in my ankle two weeks before. So, I hired Karl to help…Karl, with a “K”.

Karl was a friend of some random guy I met at a coffee shop. I was so grateful, I never asked if “said friend” was a guy or girl, which proved to be a good thing.

I’m the first one to declare that our gender is just as capable as men at performing most physically arduous tasks. But realistically, the average woman isn’t primed for hauling heavy furniture and boxes upstairs. And since women aren’t frequently recruited to help friends move, they aren’t necessarily good at it. And I’m here to tell you, there is an art to moving.

All to say, I was admittedly disappointed when *they showed up…and a bit worried. My concerns proved to be valid. In addition to having to haul the heaviest boxes myself and explain how to maneuver furniture around corners, there was an additional element that proved to complicate things further.

In an attempt to make the task at hand more bearable and boost morale, I tried to lighten things up a bit- crack a joke here and there, throw out the occasional affirmation, for example, “We’ve got this, girl.”

But I was getting the vibe that my cheerleading wasn’t working. This was confirmed about 30 minutes in when they turned around, mildly annoyed, and said something to the effect of…

Helper: Could you please stop calling me that?

Me: Wait, what? Oh god, what did I say?

Helper: I’m actually transitioning and no longer identify as a girl, so if you wouldn’t mind…”

Me: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t…I mean, I couldn’t…I was just…

Awkward pause.

“Right, got it.”

I darted downstairs and slid into the bathroom. Seriously Brooke, could you have made that any more awkward? Just call her by her name…or do I say his name? Oh shit, I forgot what her name is. I mean his! Oh my god, I seriously can’t…

Within an hour, they announced they needed to go. I panicked. We had barely made a dent, and my ankle was twice its normal size at that point. I caved and called “E”.

Me: Um, so I hate to ask you to do this, but I’m kinda desperate. This girl, I mean, this friend of an acquaintance, was helping me, but she, shit, I mean, this person has an appointment that she. Oh my god, I seriously can’t…

E: (Laughing) Uh, you okay?

Me: Tears.

E. Oh, alright. I’ll be over in a bit.

I grabbed my checkbook.

Me: So what is your name again? I mean, I know what your name is, but how do you spell it, exactly?

Helper: Karl Adams, Karl with a K. But for now, just make it out to Carly Adams, Carly, with a C.

Me: Right, got it.

* This is not intended to disrespect anyone in transition AT ALL. After the fact, I did some research and the consensus seems to be that “they” is best when you are writing if you aren’t sure. In retrospect, I should have just asked, which upon further inquiry, seems to be what most everyone prefers. All to say, I’m so very sorry, Karl, wherever you are!

In contrast, my next move, or maybe it was the move after, had serious potential for a better outcome. I happened to meet a kind, extremely fit, very attractive Australian who offered to help- a seemingly fortuitous encounter that turned into a love story of sorts, just minus the happy ending.

So I opted to go solo my last move. A sore back and a few bruises seemed better than offending the shit out of someone or a broken heart.

I made it a little easier on myself this time, leaving all things too cumbersome in the ally for some stable homeowner or renter to enjoy. I have replaced them with versions I can manage by myself if necessary. And yes, this includes a desk and a dresser. (You can’t even wrap your head around what I’ve managed to haul up and down three flights of stairs.)

Moving usually makes the list as one of life’s most stressful events. Divorce is usually high up there too (check), death of a loved one (partial check, with a terrible twist), financial upheaval (check). Imprisonment is high on the list too, but to date, I have managed to avoid any run-ins with the law, for the most part, anyway.

But, I shall refrain from complaining further. I do still have my limbs, after all, and a roof over my head…most of the time. I mean “I have a roof over my head most of the time.” My limbs are hopefully here for the long haul…because I kinda need them to haul shit around, it seems.

be thankful.paradise

I try to keep reminding myself of this because I know it to be true; I’ve been on both sides.

When I was packing for the Congo, one of the essentials I was told to bring was a watch. Electricity was going to be a luxury, so if I couldn’t charge my phone, I wouldn’t know what time it was.

Why would one need to know what time it is in a remote village in the Congo? Well, there were chimps to be fed and an imposed curfew we were supposed to abide by for safety purposes. I admittedly regularly missed the latter, but I truly didn’t know what time it was…because I had misplaced my watch the first week I was there.

I wasn’t too upset about it. I’d only ever used it to time my track workouts, and I had my travel alarm, so the chimps wouldn’t go hungry.

So a month or so later, I was running with Rafael, one of the staff I had become friends with, and I noticed he was wearing my watch. I don’t think for a second that he stole it. I think I took it off when I was washing the chimps’ veggies and left it on the counter. That meant it was up for grabs, plain and simple.

As we were running, I realized the watch no longer worked. It was just a dirty, pastel green band with a blank screen. But Rafael was now one of the only people in the village who had a watch. It didn’t matter if it worked or not; he had a watch.

He did not, however, have running water or electricity in his home. And his home was what most would consider a shack, probably just one open room with dirt floors and a tin roof.

My point is, for most of us in the developed world, Rafael’s life seems tragic. But he was always smiling with a kind disposition and fun sense of humor. He had a job, which was extremely rare in the village. He had food to eat, albeit mostly beans and cassava. He had friends and a healthy family, all of his limbs, and a roof over his head. Most of these were a luxury there.

I know, a seemingly random tangent, but I think of these things when shit seems like it can’t get any worse. A) I make it a point to never say that because I’ve learned it definitely can, and B) I can focus on the shit that’s wrong or the shit that’s not. Unfortunately, the prior wins out more than I’d like.

So, here’s to lucky number #13 and the hope that a kind soul will swoop in and help a girl out. I promise I will commit your name to memory and keep the cheerleading to a minimum.

And if you are in fact, a kind, fit, attractive male, that’s great. Just no broken hearts, please. Cause, although I can’t give you the exact length of time (I misplaced my watch, you see), I know a good chunk of it has been wasted trying to move on…which I think we’ve established, I’d rather stop doing.

Besides, I’m simply not wired to be a turtle. I’m too impatient and tend to operate in 5th gear most of the time. And even if this is someone else’s paradise, it’s not mine, so I’d like to get things moving (or even just help moving), and time is of the essence.

https://tenor.com/embed.js

 

 

 

This time it was the apple, but I’ll keep trying.

I received a request for something a bit more substantial than “just a quote,” and another for something more, “I don’t know, about butterflies or what you did in Australia. Something happy.”

Right, okay. Butterflies. Happy…

So I sat down, opened up a new document, and took a bite of my apple…

Mushy apples, wet peanut butter, cigarette smoke.
Caged animals, plastic straws, tree stumps.
Distended bellies, oppressed souls, false hope.

Hiccups, parking tickets, splintered wood.
Sirens, screeching brakes, raised fists.
Apathy, the sound of pain, someday I should…

You deserve the best, cold feet, flights home.
Broken promises, resignation, empty words.
Rainy days, sleeping alone…waking up alone.

Starting over one more time, one more time.

I’ll try again next week…or maybe the next.

IMG-1223

Okay, here is my offering to make up for the absence of butterflies. The thing that always feeds my soul, even after the mushiest of apples.

Courage

That moment of truth. Your truth.
When you stop running. Because you have to.

Because your soul implores you.

That moment you discover, what you feared most
was, in fact, what you’ve been searching for all along.

girl-buffalo.ionut

Images by Ionut Caras

Forbearance

girl.stars

No Love, you are not broken.
There is nothing to be fixed.

You are just beautiful in a way
most can’t understand.

But you don’t want most, do you.

You don’t need to be understood by someone
who can’t see the beauty in imperfection.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               * by Shawna Erback