call it a prayer if you like.

The extent to which I live in my head is a problem in relationships.  But maybe not when it comes to my relationship to myself.  Although I have always found it harder to forgive myself than anyone else.  When I think about things I need, I overlook most of the details and find myself wanting.


I ask for the courage to open up and give my best love away, leaving space within me for whatever is left when it's gone.  Or what comes.


I ask that the people I love and the people they love and so on until everyone is covered can be healthy, happy and free.

You know, insofar as that's something you can ask for.


words that didn't come to mind, part one: 10/08 - 10/25

It has come to my attention that I'm extremely behind on my endeavor to keep up with the Word of the Day feature over at Dictionary.com using haiku.  I'm not quite up to date yet, so I've decided to split the past few weeks into two posts, so when I finally do finish it doesn't feel like homework to read it.

Ta daaaa!!!!


this business of music/be-my-friend-or-else-i-won't-play-yo-sh$t.

Sometimes I get the feeling that the underground music scene is really just a high school do-over for kids who felt like their special qualities were passed over in the not so glory days.  So while I'm grateful not to be caught up in a dying machine that involves paying through the nose to become a celebrity who has to go through several breakdowns to rediscover herself as an artist, I am dismayed that I am still expected to pay up, albeit in a different currency.

Let's call that currency: gas.  As in, the closer I (the artist) get to you (the media handler), the more gas I blow gently into your ear, and the more gas you feel comfortable blowing up my rectum helping to send me off into the stratosphere of indie/local fame, which by association inflates your own hot air balloon enabling you to bob along in my wind stream until you decide to cut the connection when I inevitably do something human that doesn't reflect well on my artsy-goddess-ness that drew you to me in the first place.  The thing about gas in the internet age is, it's odorless, colorless and can be produced at no cost by anyone with enough imagination to give themselves the impression that they perform a function entertaining and important enough for other people to pay attention to.  Lest you think I am merely pointing fingers at others, let me concede that I, too, am in part a product of my own self-manufactured gas, which I have learned to readily supply myself with as a combatant to another closely related, odorless, colorless, but far less glamourous, construction: my insecurities.  The instructions are simple: stick your pride in a plastic bag and cover your nose and mouth.  Breathe deeply for approximately five minutes.  You will get high, and your eyes will get all glassy.

The time seems ripe for an example.  Several months ago I was approached on the internet by a woman presumably working in radio.  I think, but I'm not quite sure, that she had a professional job at a station, but was transitioning into a more freelance-based existence producing  internet radio shows presumably from home.  She sent me a simple business request for a few songs to include in the mix.   I admit, my response was extremely radical in this DIY culture of everything we are currently enamored with: I directed her to my record label, which generally handles all such requests.


But not.

As I said, this was a business request, so there should be no need for the drama that comes with multiple exclamation points.  But this wouldn't be a story about gas if it didn't noiselessly blow up in my face.  So of course she did not respond to me and opted against following up through the appropriate channels.  For a short time, I drove myself a bit crazy trying to imagine whether or not I did something wrong.  Was I rude?  Too blunt?  Did I inflate my self-importance by condescendingly suggesting she approach an actual record label?  Had we dated the same man years ago and I just forgot?  Were we dating the same man right NOW?????

And then I caught myself.  Because no matter what her reasons for her lack of response, at the end of the day I handled my business as it should have been handled: according to procedure.  I should be able to assume that her response fit into the same model.  Perhaps she is a budding internet superstar who has a strict policy never to deal with record labels.  So be it.  Might be a little odd, and maybe even counterproductive (I can't help but wonder if she would respond the same to a major-label represented artist who dared suggest she contact Jive or Warner Brothers), but that's her choice.

The super-friendly, social butterfly part of me winces a bit, though.  I remember the days when I entertained the music scene from a "let's all decorate each other's lockers on our birthdays" perspective.  It was fun.  I had a vibrant social life, I rarely paid to go anywhere, I had flash-in-the-pan romances with guys that seemed as kooky and/or brainy and/or creative as I was.  I made friends with girls who occasionally went Punky Brewsterish in their attire just like I did, and once or twice, one or two of them even wore the same size shoes.  Jackpot.  But I didn't get a whole lot done back then, and I got my feelings hurt a whole lot, and I even went so far as to hurt some other people's feelings.  And to this day, I don't have any of those friends anymore.  All of those feelings, mixed in with intoxicating music that strangely sounds way better when you are already intoxicated, didn't really produce (in me or in those I surrounded myself with) anything that came with staying power, much less moving power.  I gained life experience in fluffing up my own feathers after my own actions caused them to get all wet and oily.  Valuable, sure, but not altogether necessary.

So now I have learned.  And now that I have label representation, you can be sure that I'm going to use it.  If you can quit your nine-to-five and take a bunch of pictures in front of a logo-covered white sheet on your way into a "magazine launch," "film screening," or "t-shirt release party," then I can represent for Ankh Ba as hard as Ankh Ba has represented for me.  In the end, I guess it's a relief.  Chances are I don't want to be affiliated with people who don't take their own business seriously enough to respect the notion that someone else might.  I can't eat gas, after all, and I imagine if I was stuck in a room with no windows and only gas to breathe, I might wake up dead.

Ankh Ba Records.  We take it so seriously that we welcome you not to.  Lol..


beckee's birthy book club.

Some of you may have known I was bound to get 'birthy' on this blog eventually, but for those who didn't, allow me to explain.  I have been nursing a growing obsession with midwifery and the natural birth movement for much of the past ten years.  I believe it started somewhat subconsciously, deeply embedded in the inner machination of my biological clock.  Little did I know that thing was already ticking as I entered the tail ends of my teen years!  But that silent ticking led me to a precursor obsession with watching live birth on television.  When I moved into my first apartment, where for the first time since leaving my parents' care for college I had access to cable, I found myself addicted to watching shows like "A Baby Story," "Bringing Baby Home," and "Birth Day."  Actually, it may have started earlier than that, because I remember watching Molly Ringwald's belly and stress levels grow over and over again in "For Keeps" while I was still in high school.  At any rate, I fed myself of all things birthy for several years straight, cringing through the screams and crying on cue when those screams gave way to tears of joy and strategically placed strains of baby-friendly music as new mom after new mom held her minutes-old child for the very first time.  My understanding of the bonding that was taking place before my very eyes was enhanced by the sense that I was going through a bonding experience as well; each viewed birth formed a tether between me and every woman who is or will be a mother on this planet.  These were Oprah-watching days, too, so every time Oprah's eyes glistened as she turned to face the camera and proclaim her view that motherhood is THE-MOST-IMPORTANT-JOB-ANYONE-WILL-EVER-DO, I felt further vindicated in my new love, my new relationship, my new passion for mothers and babies and families as they were made, again and again, before my own glistening eyes.


haiku vocab quiz no.3, para ti.

The latest in a string of reckless haiku... courtesy of the Word of the Day feature at good ol' Dictionary.com.  Feel free to answer back with your take.  The original haiku game (Princeton, NJ, circa 1997) was a collaborative affair.  There's no reason this one shouldn't be, too.

don't get testy with
me, love is a rigmarole
and i'm all in it.

if she threatens to
efface, he will remind her
just how much she paid.

don't let your anger
appear confiscable.  you'll
surely be a pawn.


commercial attack.

If you have gout, try drinking black cherry juice to reduce uric acid levels.

The commercial I just saw didn't say that, but since it didn't, I thought I would.



life in the shed.

Every fall, I am swept up into a fantastic party thrown by my own creative energy.  I think it's partially residual brain-training left over from all those years of following the school calendar.  (My friend Holly suggested not long after I wrote this that it may also be a sign of my Vata dosha.)  As August dwindles, my fingers start twitching in tandem with my brain waves.  Summer travel often has the effect of jump-starting this, but this year I did my traveling in the spring and early/mid parts of the summer, so here I am emerging on the other side of September only just now really hitting my stride.  I remember one year I spent a week or two of August up in northern California at my aunt's house.  While I was there I had my last-to-date encounter with the man who as a boy had been my great teenage romance, and, in a matter fitting to our generally chaste and suspiciously 19th-century (we wrote letters and exchanged verses and ultimately volumes of poetry) courtship, I began writing a series of poems that didn't stop for almost three months and about 150 poems later.  I remember I wrote the first one on the plane, about the two of us standing on the curb at the airport, and how everything that we had broken together was inconveniently loud under our sneakers as our cautious steps towards each other to hug goodbye completely demolished our tries at seeming smooth and unaffected.  The bulk of the poems that followed were tomes of adoration for the classic artsy-jerk dude I was to make a habit of following around soon after my return to real life back on the east coast.  Well, to be fair, I wrote a lot of stuff about being black and all that comes with that, too.  I wrote about being a woman, an American, a human, a speaker and a listener, too.  As all true Beckees know, being true to form in and of itself is an exercise in multitasking.  But I suppose for me it was (for a long time at least) always the angst that provided the wealthiest remembrance cache, especially when it compels you to develop new styles to better reflect the love or lust that seems to be causing such a commotion.