Posted in Almost Dorothy

A Prayer for a Red Room

Red Velvet | Photo by Neil de la Flor
Red Velvet | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. I had my money on him like I have money like I’m sick of him trying to get to me like Jesus.

2. He walks through my red living room to the other red room wearing a jockstrap and high-heel boots.

3. He carries white roses in case it’s Christmas.

4. He is not a jock or Christ-like, but his chin is sanctified.

5. The strap pulls strangely around his cheeks looking like the jowl of a skinny pitbull.

6. He sits on the sofa and the sofa is surrounded by candles that are lit and not lit and he is lit and I’m unaware that he is.

7. He is positive yoga will solve history. And dance. And cartography.

8. Life is interesting, I say, when you become interested in life.

9. He is in the corner of the room kicking at the demons and blames me for leaving the mattress alone.

10. He shaves his or her hair and Lakshmi doesn’t want anymore children because Shiva has turned blue and cold even though he is dancing.

11. Always dancing.

12. He reads the illustrated Holy Bible in my red red room and the red room reads with him. The red velvet curtains seal the red room as the incense from New Mexico burns on the fireplace lined with paper dolls—

13. of Jesus & Mary, of all the saints & all the apostles, of the one true God–as the archangels swoop down and set fire to them.

14. An effigy of the burning boy burns in the red room of paper dolls.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Mother

14 things ma resolves to do for 2013 in alphabetical order

Chicks | Neil de la Flor
Chicks | Neil de la Flor

1. Ma resolves to solve the unresolved issues that plague her nanosphere with grace and humility as she tiptoes across the front yard barefoot wearing her pink biking shorts and “I Had Sex With Jesus” tee shirt.

2. Ma resolves to brush her teeth on first and second dates.

3. Ma resolves to have sex at least twice a week (with humans).

4. Ma resolves to have sex at least twice a week with the windows closed with at least 2 humans in the same room at the same time with or without sneakers and resolves to have each client come back for seconds so the neighbors don’t think she’s only into one-night stands. One-day stands don’t count, she says.

5. Ma resolves to stop reading self-help books with titles that suggest she’s half of this or half of that.

6. Ma resolves to hurl herself into the delta quadrant and kick species 8472’s ass.

7. Ma resolves to use protection even when the men of her dreams offer protection with their super powers and magic tricks. A condom, she says, is more important that the Second Coming.

8. Ma resolves to Kool-Aid.

9. Ma resolves to hug and kiss me twice a day even when she feels like punching me in the face.

10. Ma resolves to wipe from front to back (at least 3 times a week).

11. Ma resolves to be intelligent, competent, reliable, responsible, honorable, trustworthy, centered, grounded, coherent, sympathetic, empathetic, less pathetic and soulful; and she resolves to live by the code of justice even if it means wearing underwear in the most obvious places.

12. Ma resolves to fill her half-empty heart with ginger and jasmine while she drains the other half of Tabasco sauce and curry; and she resolves to stop buying into the scheme that a heart can be half of this or half of that because if it weren’t full 24/7 she’d be dead. Only the non-living, she says, believe in this symbolic bullshit.

13. Ma resolves to make fun of angels and everything holy because nothing is sanctified.

14. Ma resolves to celibacy, but I think she really meant sobriety.

14.5 Ma resolves to reveal what’s inside.

 

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Ma & I Raised $957 for Florida AIDS Walk

It’s true. Ma and I raised $957 for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. We didn’t win a certificate of authenticity though, but we don’t mind, because we are already as authentic as Barbie & Ken. When we were at the walk, the guy on stage said that for every $1,000 raised 10 people could be tested for HIV for free. Ma clapped her hands and jumped up and down like that crazy puppet in that Sia song: “Clap Your Hands”.

Ma clapped her hands until the woman next to us wearing a propeller hat told her to calm down.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

That’s not a woman, I told ma. But she didn’t care. I don’t discriminate, ma said, so she took the propeller hat then propelled the woman about 7 feet before the police came and told ma to settle down. Ma did settle down and apologized for her instability. It’s a charity, the policeman said. No need to kick ass today.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

After the incident with the cops, ma decided to join the South Florida Boys of Leather. Even though ma wore spandex to the walk, the Boys of Leather welcomed her with open arms. She got bored then decided to hang out with the rabbi from Temple Beth El of Hollywood. She kept asking the rabbi for Beth, but he didn’t understand what she was talking about so he suggested she seek psychotherapy and stay out of the sun. Beth must be popular, ma said. She is, I told her. She is.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

I told ma to chill because we already kicked some ass by raising so much money in just a few days. Let’s go to Paris now, ma said. I had to explain to ma that the money we raised wasn’t for us. It was for the foundations that provide healthcare services, educational support, love and peace of mind for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay. Ma looked disappointed, but that’s just her funny face all screwed up and sideways.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

Anyway, we walked 5 kilometers and ma couldn’t help but think of Johnnie Walker. I’m so thirsty, she said over and over again until someone gave her a Sprite.We ran into some friends, but no one got hurt. I thought ma’s makeup was a bit too much, however the bullhorn blended well with her big mouth and ruby red forehead gem. You look fantastic, ma, I told her just so she wouldn’t feel too self-unconscious.

Photo by Neil de la Flor
Photo by Neil de la Flor

After the walk, we got some beers and celebrated our victory over indifference. It’s been a long time since we’ve been fighting this battle with HIV/AIDS and it seems like a never ending battle, but just like the Never Ending Story everything comes to an end. In real life, that end is just something we have to work hard for because the solution to the problems that inhabit our lives won’t fix themselves. Ma and I helped a little toward that final fix. When it happens, who knows? But it will. So, we celebrated life and the love that each person at the walk represented. We celebrated Jesus and the way he inspires us to be more like him instead of the pope. We celebrated the weather and the meatball food truck. We even celebrated the Port-a-Potties which saved ma from wetting herself. Again.Just as we were about the cross the finish line.

You can still make a difference here.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Jesus joins Florida AIDS Walk 2012

Jesus | Painting by Caravaggio

What would Jesus do? No need to answer that question. What else would you expect from a man (or woman) who dedicated his (or her) life to healing and dispelling the myth that the sick are worthless. In fact, Jesus established the first system of universal healthcare dedicated to providing love, support, comfort and peace of mind to people living with and affected by any and every disease imaginable and unimaginable. (Source: the Bible.) So, join Jesus this Sunday on Fort Lauderdale Beach for Florida AIDS Walk 2012. He’ll be the One inside the heart of every man, woman, child and pet at the walk. Bring your heart and help us raise funds for local organizations on the front lines: Neil de la Flor’s donation page.

When Jesus existed, no one had heard of HIV/AIDS. Now, somewhere between 33 – 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe and Jesus can’t heal the world by himself. He needs us. That’s what he said. Even though there’s no cure for HIV yet, there are clinical trials on the way and existing treatments that help people live ‘normal’ lives, thrive, prosper and just BE. However, this is the problem: many who live with HIV/AIDS do not have access to basic care and are often stigmatized because of the disease. Florida AIDS Walk 2012 will raise funds for organizations that provide some basic healthcare services, counseling, education, support and peace of mind for people living with and/or are affected by HIV/AIDS.  Support Florida AIDS Walk 2012 by making a contribution to my team: Neil de la Flor’s donation page.

Recent article about stigma, denial and fear: http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/29/health/jacksonville-hiv-florida/index.html

Posted in Glit Lit

Poets on Jesus (Limited Edition)

“Even a Saint Won’t Protect You: Use a Condom,”  photo by Steve Butterman, São Paulo, BrazilEven a Saint Won’t Protect You: Use a Condom,” photo by Steve Butterman, São Paulo, Brazil

Because I live on the beach in what some folks call old Florida, there are a fair number of ponytailed guys in my neighborhood who look like Jesus. One, in particular, drives a pick-up and loves animals, even abandoned beach cats. I don’t know if my neighbor, Pete, is a poet or not. He looks like a middle-aged, hard-drugging Jesus to me, so he could be. We say hi to each other most evenings. And if a hurricane came along, I know he’d share his canned chili and Easy Cheese. One weekend he parked his truck crooked to keep tourists out of our lot and blocked my space by accident. When I politely tapped on his door to move his truck, he yelled from the shower: Park on the goddamn grass, asshole.

Jesus, I said to myself.

Once in a while a poet comes along who thinks he gets Jesus. This is my thesis. The “thinks he” qualification is important. I contemplated taking it out, so that my thesis wouldn’t sound watery, or worse, judgmental. Finally, I left it in, and there it remains, giving me away as a weird Jesus cynic while I write this on a sunny Easter in old Florida surrounded by seedy holy old Floridians. Tourists clutter the beach after going to church on the mainland. (There are no churches on the island, only sea.) Somewhere, a poet is writing about Jesus.

Goodtime Jesus

by James Tate

Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dream-
ing so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it?
A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled
back, skin falling off. But he wasn’t afraid of that. It was a beau-
tiful day. How ’bout some coffee? Don’t mind if I do. Take a little
ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.

(from Riven Doggeries, Ecco, 1979)

And singing about Jesus.

Jesus was a sailor
When He walked upon the water
And He spent a long time watching
From His lonely wooden tower

And when He knew for certain
Only drowning men could see Him
He said,”All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them”

(excerpt from “Suzanne,” by Leonard Cohen)

A lot of poets are pissed off at Jesus, and with good reason, of course. Poets should be pissed off at something, if not everything. If I stay down below the height of my window sill, I can’t see the tourists driving up and down the street looking for a parking spot, and I can’t see them dragging their beach paraphernalia along the sidewalk, and I can’t feel guilty about another wasted opportunity for exercise and a Vitamin D fix. In the end, we all have our versions of heaven and hell.

Emptying Town

by Nick Flynn

I want to erase your footprints
from my walls. Each pillow
is thick with your reasons. Omens

fill the sidewalk below my window: a woman
in a party hat, clinging
to a tin-foil balloon. Shadows

creep slowly across the tar, someone yells, “Stop!”
and I close my eyes. I can’t watch

as this town slowly empties, leaving me
strung between bon-voyages, like so many clothes
on a line, the white handkerchief

stuck in my throat. You know the way Jesus

rips open his shirt
to show us his heart, all flaming and thorny,
the way he points to it. I’m afraid

the way I’ll miss you will be this obvious.

I have a friend who everyone warns me
is dangerous, he hides
bloody images of Jesus
around my house, for me to find

when I come home; Jesus
behind the cupboard door, Jesus tucked

into the mirror. He wants to save me
but we disagree from what. My version of hell
is someone ripping open his shirt

and saying, Look what I did for you. . .

(from Some Ether, Graywolf Press, 2000)

In 1972 Anne Sexton published “The Jesus Papers” in The Book of Folly. All nine pieces are neutral on the heaven versus hell issue, but they offer controversy in many other ways, often regarding sex, always regarding divinity. All are highly recommended.

Jesus Awake

by Anne Sexton

It was the year
of the How to Sex Book,
the Sensuous Man and Woman were frolicking
but Jesus was fasting.
He ate His celibate life.
The ground shuddered like an ocean,
a great sexual swell under His feet.
His scrolls bit each other.
He was shrouded in gold like nausea.
Outdoors the kitties hung from their mother’s tits
like sausages in a smokehouse.
Roosters cried all day, hammering for love.
Blood flowed from the kitchen pump
but He was fasting.
His sex was sewn onto Him like a medal
and His penis no longer arched with sorrow over Him.
He was fasting.
He was like a great house
with no people,
no plans.

(from The Complete Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1981)

My neighbor Pete tucks his hair up under his baseball cap sometimes. He and his wife feed the cats that people throw away on the beach. I’m not saying he reminds me of Jesus in any way but looks. I’m certainly not about to capitalize Pete’s pronoun.

When I lived in Harlem in the late eighties, early nineties, my partner and I would open our back door on Easter morning and listen to gospel from the neighborhood. We’d dance around the kitchen making breakfast. We couldn’t help ourselves.

–Maureen Seaton, April 8, 2012

Posted in Almost Dorothy

Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48

All Saints Episcopal Church

Last night ma and I went to see Seraphic Fire at the All Saints Episcopal Church off Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale. Ma wanted to go cause she thought there would be saints and fire. There was no fire, no smoke, and the only saint she recognized was the one that slides down chimneys like an old pervert. There are no chimneys in Florida, ma said. I’m not sure how this old perv breaks into houses without getting arrested. No response. Ma drank the holy water during intermission. There was no intermission.

We sat and watched a firebrand orchestra from the church balcony. Last row. Ma said she would jump. I encouraged her. No luck. Instead ma fidgeted and chewed gum. Then she stuck her gum beneath the seat and scrawled profanities on the podium next to her. God is a woman!, she wrote. And so am I, more or less! Meanwhile the orchestra played string instruments and fiddled away to lullabies composed by some foreign gay guys named Tchaikovsky (Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48), Mendelssohn (String Symphony No. 8 in D Major),and Mozart (Divertimento in D Major, K. 136). I asked ma which was her favorite part of the performance and ma said she loved the ending. You mean Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Srings in C Major, I asked. No, she said. When we left.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

The Specificity of Red

Ladytron | Miami | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. I’ve gone missing inside of reddish hula hoop.

2. I’m back from the red.

3. Now I’m ready.

4. And I’m running away from an invasion of solidly insane chickens

5. or the sound of chickens.

6. Chickens are impossible pests like the possible pests in my red oven.

7. I’m not specifically red.

9. Not as poetic as chick peas or a marble pieta of Jesus and Mary.Or Joseph.

10. The photograph above is a photo[graph] of a ghost eating toast.

12. Not really.

13. It’s a lady

14. tron.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Squinny

Still I Rise by Squinny Angelou

My name is Squinny Angelou and I can’t wait to tell you I’m not dead. Ready? I’m not dead! And I’m not related to Maya Angelou either even though she probably wishes we were related. I rose from the dead yesterday and my dad is missing. I miss dad but I’m not waiting around for the missing. Jesus didn’t. I think it’s almost noon or midnight. There’s always someone missing and time is just a waste of time.

 

The Resurrection

 

If you can find the scar, the purple-black-and-blue bruises and/or any of the identifying marks on my body from the unidentified accident and/or disease and/or  fists that originally killed me, I’ll give you a dollar because I can’t find any. It’s like nothing ever happened, which is fine. I have better things to do.

 

Frill at the neck,
then the flutings of their Ionian
Death-gowns,
Then two little feet.
He does not smile or smoke.

The other does that,
His hair long and plausive.
Bastard
Masturbating a glitter,
He wants to be loved.

Sylvia Plath, Death & Co.

 

When I rose from the dead, or resurrected myself as Squinny Angelou on behalf of all girls-in-transition everywhere on a bed of red and white roses (or white rice) where stupid ass vultures pecked at my body, I became holy and had an e-harmony moment. My heart is not made of liverwurst. I just want to be loved.

 

Vultures Pecking Squinny | Photo by Neil de la Flor

 

When I arrived on Fantasy Island, or got home, I found a photograph of Almost Dorothy and I dressed as Batman and Robin for Halloween. It was our last Halloween together. I never ever wanted to be a bat or a man, so I chose Robin with a capital R. because I thought the Boy Wonder was a girl just like the 1990’s singer-songwriter Robin S. was. Almost Dorothy looked so angry in that picture. Maybe she was pissed cause she looked like a gay Zoro.

I’m home now and dad is missing. Stevie Nicks says I can set my secrets free but I can’t find the carpet where I hid them. I found dad’s gun with two bullets in the barrel and played a round of pinochle with God. I pinned a note to the tail of dad’s donkey and informed him that I’m home, and that I’m never leaving this goddamn world behind again–no matter how hard they pull my hair.

The sun goes down and I imagine I’m up at the corner of Demon and Disaster where my BFF Almost Dorothy awaits me in her Ionian death-gown with her two little feet peeking from underneath the hem, arms waving me home. Home. The neighbor’s front yard is on fire and mama Dorothy’s naked body is covered in glitter. She always wants to be loved. Her long hair dares the firestorm.

Welcome home, mama Dorothy screams. Her thumbs up. And I know I am here.