Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inspired by Frida

There’s a Frida Kahlo painting
Where she is sitting in a chair
Having cut her own hair.
Formerly flowing brown hair on the floor leaves
a short boyish style behind.

Still holding some of her brown locks in her hands
In the caption she wonders about how
She liked herself with hair, and now without that hair she doesn’t.

A complete shift in self image.
Love to loathing.
Self-esteem is as fragile as to be torn apart by
a simple snip of small scissors.
All she did was cut her hair.

A few days ago I buzzed my hair.
I was in the grocery store today.
I ran into a friend who admitted she didn’t recognize me at first.
She said I looked great.
Everyone does.
My girlfriend said the haircut shows my defined bone structure.
I like myself.
Before my hair was sloppy. Uncooperative to combing and couldn’t wear hats with dress clothes at work so
I had to live with it.
See how with hair I didn’t like myself, now without hair I do.
Self-esteem so fragile as to be built up by
a simple snip of small scissors.
All I did was cut my hair.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You've Got To See

Nothing in my closet is good enough.
This shirt has a smudge, no chance
These pants are wrinkled this crinkled button up
I can’t do this.

Thumb through every shirt, throw five in my bag,
I’ll choose later.

Pick jeans and slacks
Packing for this is too hard
I have to look perfect.

I give myself a fresh shave
Otherwise what’s the point of even thinking about my wardrobe

My grandma, gammy we call her,
Is so sweet.
But you better shave or expect some comment on it
It has been too long since I’ve seen her
Since my college graduation
She stood cheering and hollering in the hot sun and
I was beaming
So proud that she saw me get my diploma.

And here I am packing to go
See her, to be near her and my family

We don’t do Thanksgiving in November because
My dad hates crowds
So now we do Oktoberfest in San Diego instead.

It is so far from tradition.
No set dress code or really code of conduct
But I’m scanning my closet to crack the code.

I want to look perfect for her. Have to.
Fill her gaze as she’s filled my life.

There’s a picture my grandpa took of her. Bupa was a photographer.
He took this beautiful black and white photograph of her with her head
Leaned back, hair spread out glimmering
Her eyes gazing forward
Looking like a movie starlet,
Looking perfect.
Like Rita Hayworth, like what Scarlett Johansen dreams of
Eyes shimmering, the kind that you’d hope fall on you as you walk past
The pretty woman on the street.

These eyes watched me grow up.
Saw my birth
The youngest of her grandchildren
Saw my childhood soccer scrapes, the result of first painful dates
We’d fly to San Diego to see Gammy and Bupa,
The most exciting of exciting trips.
She’d see us and tell us how big we were getting.
Gam I’m so big now
How proud she was of us
Doubtful I ever heard a judgmental word,
Unless I didn’t shave.

So I shaved
Thumb through my clothes rack again
Nothing in my closet is good enough
Thumb through my itunes trying to find a rhythm
Distract my mind
They said its pressure in the other eye this time.

The surgery on the first eye made it blind
A rare complication
But contemplating the same surgery on the other eye
is more complicated as
my mom tells us how
“we’ll learn Braille if we have to.”

I know Gammy is scared.
I know she must be.
I gave her my little golem for protection.
Little metal token from a grandchild
Little concentrated good intention
If it can’t protect her at least the cold in her palm might remind her
She’s not alone.

Nothing in my closet is good enough.

My bag is strewn about
Socks and shirts
A few ties but no collared shirts.

Two pairs of shoes
I don’t know to what to wear for the last time you might see me.

I don’t know how to prepare the last image you might get of your grandson. The image you’d carry after eyes unwillingly close
Nothing is right.
I can’t prepare for that

You’ve got to see me grow.
I don’t think I’m done yet.

Gammy I shaved.

Gammy you see the good in me and
Make me believe.

I’ve been praying all day.
They said the surgery went well
And we’ll know more when they take the eyepatch off

While fingers cross for a night
I know how scared you are, Gammy,
How bare the emotion.

I wish I could cradle you.

I want to shout that If we have to, we’ll learn Braille together.
If I have to, I’ll write Braille poetry.

We’ll listen to music for hours,
I’ll tell you puns,
Whatever you want
I want to shout
But nothing much escapes my mouth.

I just unpacked my bag back in my apartment.
Put clothes back in the closet
None of them are good enough
And I pray.

Gammy you’ve got to see me grow.
I’m not done.

Gammy I shaved.
Gammy you see the good in me and make me believe.
You see the good in me.
You see.
You’ve got to see.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Berkeley (Hella Much)

Fellow Berkeley artist Adam Stern and I freestyled a little collaboration about our hometown a a couple Fridays ago at the Om Cafe in Hollywood. Check out the video, and be on the look out for the next incarnation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cultural Jealousy

I don’t speak the language.

In the first hour of being here I tried to order a hamburger
and ended up with a glass of bubbly water.

They were out of hamburgers.
When the waiter tried to explain the other options in Portuguese
I got flustered,


I gave up and just asked for a water.

I’m staying in a house here with four Germans
so I’ve learned as much German as Portuguese.

Still I feel this desire to go out and buy a flag.

Portugal 2008

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There are 15 definitions for “to lose” in the American Heritage Dictionary - a short story

The Following are two excerpts from a short story. To download the entire story Click this Link


It didn’t take long to find Sal standing on the beach. Cowboy hats stand out in Oahu. His boots and balled up socks were in a pile a safe distance from the water and he was just standing there, his ankles barely wet. The ocean looked as though someone had put a few drops of blue food coloring and one drop of green into the expanse.
Hawaiians are used to seeing mainlanders come and stare for long hours at the ocean, in awe of that much beauty in one place. No group of tourists is allowed to leave until someone in the party makes a comment about how amazing it would be to live there, surrounded by water and sunsets. Hawaiians listen to people talk about how amazing it would be to live there all the time. A lot of them want to leave.

Sal wasn’t doing any of that. He was staring at a spot about two feet out in the water when Wes walked up. The dinged leather of Sal’s aged face was a sharp contrast to the youthful smooth of Wes’. When Wes shaved he looked seven or eight years younger. He had shaved that morning.
“What ya lookin’ at?” Wes said.
Sal pointed to the spot. Sitting a couple feet below the water was a single solitary sand bag. The great big ocean, and one fifty-pound bag of sand. The kind they would use to protect the house when the river would flood back home. The top was tied off with a cord and the excess material was flapping back and forth as the waves came in and out. He had been standing there for the better part of an hour, not sure what exactly to make of it.
“I s’pose that’s a losing battle,” Wes said.



By all accounts the footballer Zinedine Zidane was one of the best around. Correction. By all French accounts Zidane, or “Zizzou” was the best around. By all Italian accounts he was a hack with a dirty whore of a mother. Nobody gets to have everyone say nice things about them. Nobody.
Objectively speaking Zidane was at the pinnacle of the game for a long time, playing key roles for professional superclubs and leading the French national team in multiple World Cups. He was on the field when France won the ’98 World Cup in France, and he captained the team that made it to the Finals against Italy in 2006.
The lights were bright that night on the crisp perfectly trimmed pitch. Everyone in the world was watching, but Zinedine was used to that. You had to tune it out and play the game. Doesn’t matter if it’s the World Cup Final. Doesn’t matter if it’s your last game. Stay focused, stay calm. That’s what you tell yourself. You don’t always remember.
Within close earshot the Italian Marco Materazzi muttered something to him. No one else heard it. Everyone would ask about it later. Everyone would want to know what had caused Zidane to turn and headbutt Materazzi to the ground. It wasn’t much of a surprise when the referee sprinted over with his whistle blowing wildly to pull the red card out of his pocket and send him off. France lost in penalty kicks. Not everybody gets to pick how they finish. Not even the best.

Zidane was given a suspension. It was known before the game that he would retire after the match. He was still given a suspension.
People who don’t know soccer, know the guy that headbutted that other guy in the World Cup. Nobody gets to choose how they’re known. Nobody. Not the best, and not hacks who are born to whore mothers. Neither of them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Deep Wounds

I always wondered how animals recover from deep wounds
No hospitals in the forest
How do they lick their wounds and live?

There comes a moment to live or die
stand or fall.
This Fall right now
I imagine a fox somewhere torn twisted
bleeding on pine needles.

Surivival is continuous work.

But limbs don’t ache forever.
How do they stop?

Somehow they scar,
Old animals have these limbs that work somehow.

I stare into the mirror
At the freak of this wound
And I wonder how animals recover from deep wounds.

Don't Go

Click the link below to download a spoken word track. This poem is written with the hopes that all military overseas get to come home NOW.

Don't Go

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is my plea to all yes on Proposition 8 voters

It doesn’t affect you
The law accepts you
No one expects you to really feel this,
Except me.

Because it doesn’t affect me either
Because either of us could easily ignore this
Because clenched fists on Wilshire will surely dissipate
At some point in the night
And you can go on about your business
So this is my plea.

My boss wears a wedding ring.
Been with his husband Peter as long as I’ve known him.
The two of them are sophisticate eloquent elegant adults
Who have committed their lives to one another
Their union is as deviant as your parents’ union
Egregious only to the fact of death do us part.
The two of them raise two beautiful children
They are a family.

I show up at work after an Obama victory in the election hoping to celebrate.
Prop 8 in the back of my mind
I walk into the office ready to pop open two Martinelli’s bottles.

I see his wedding ring.

We pop open one bottle for Obama and leave one unopened until he can call himself a married man in the eyes of the state.
It is a tiny gesture that feels small and trivial and it is all I can do.

My boss wears a wedding ring
Treats his children with love and care
He is a father, picks kids up from swimming,
He is more of a father, more of a husband than most straight men and
He is forced to hide the pain at work that all he can do is not give up hope
And he is pretty good at at it
And I can not do anything but make minute gestures that can’t mean much.

The irony is too much.
A high minority voter turnout
Elects the first African-American President in a major victory for civil rights and
Votes yes on prop 8 because of Churches’ influences.

I have no slogans to share.
Cleverness seems as inappropriate as
Simply celebrating our forward thinking in this election.
I wish I could.
David I wish I could ignore prop 8.
Because before the results were in I felt proud to be an American
for the
first time
without conditions.

But it stares at me and
Slaps you in the face
Hate remains an acceptable political position.

It seems perverted how used to this you are.

I want to say I’m sorry.
But that feels young and naïve.
I am young and naïve,
So I say I am sorry.

I am sorry to my coworker Noel.
A writer, a mentor,
I wish there was something I could give you.
I can see you breaking inches below the surface as
We drink the bubbly cider celebrating Obama
And the drink tastes sickly and sweet.

You are the sweetest man I know.
A role model of how to be kind to other people.

I want to have an answer for their ignorance.
Help you find enough love to counter balance.
I am young and naïve and I love you.
As you search for love and dream of marriage
All I can do is catch you at the office door and squeeze you for a moment as
You walk out.

All I could do for Johnny was hold him.
A beautiful student dancer,
The hurt bubbles out of his tall body
I can see his frame shaking with it.
Pores leaking with “how could they do this?”
I stopped him in the hall.
“I love you,” was the only useful thing I said,
though I said much more.

Johnny is young. Johnny is not used to this yet.

So this is my plea.

Don’t let him be.

The slogan is not new and robbed of power by overuse
But still simple and true
If you are against gay marriage, don’t have one.

I know this one thing to be true.
If you are worried about how gay marriage will affect you,
Please understand this.

To David, Noel and Johnny,
Your life could not be

Less relevant.

There is no agenda with you on it.

You have Nothing to do with this.

These are my friends,
These are their lives,

You are not required or invited to take part.

All I ask is that you stop restricting parts of theirs.

This is my minute gesture to my friends.

To you, this is my plea.

by bobby gordon
Nov. 7, Los Angeles, 2008

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Greetings from Sunny Los Angeles

This is my senior thesis at UCLA, entitled Greetings From Sunny Los Angeles.

Amateur High Dive

Amateur High Dive seems like a random name for a blog of writing and spoken word.  

I chose it for a simple reason.  High diving is an activity that takes precision, focus, and a monumental amount of training.  A person really should spend years upon years in preparation, learning the exact technique for each dive in order to complete it with the grace and beauty intended.  Otherwise there could be a painful series of bellyflops and awkward spills into the pool.

I bellyflop from time to time.

It would be great if you could go through life always having the time and ability to prepare.  To take on every challenge with a calm sense that you know you are ready for it.  And for a lot of things that is true.  

But I submit that for the truly important life changing instances, there is no preparation.  For the moments that really make up our biographies there is no preparation good enough.  There is no getting ready.  The moments just come, with your heart in your throat, mind buzzing and the entire world rushing at you.

No precedent.  No muscle memory.  No training.  

You make it up on the spot.  You kiss a girl for the first time.  You bellyflop.  You lose your virginity.  You swan dive perfectly into the pool making a tiny splash.  You go off to college.  You stand on the high dive and wait for the fear to go away.  It doesn't, so you jump anyway.

Later you call it a memory.

I am an amateur high diver.  

So that's the story behind the name.  

Check back, every week there'll be new poems, stories, videos, songs.  

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