This picture popped up in my memories today on Facebook and made me smile. Michel and I fought, a lot. He thought I was spoiled. I was. We argued, a lot. I’d only learn in time and the passing of years what he meant. I learned so many lessons from him. How to live a simple life, to love and respect nature, to take long walks everyday, (like ten miles burn your ass and legs walks), how to laugh at yourself and others, how to work out, how to eat clean, and how to be here now. How to love. People, animals, life. The basics. All of it. Sometimes when I walk the nature trails with Lupe I can hear him, “hurry up connasse” and so I pick up the pace. And thank god for the days spent in his company in the sun, the fondest memories that a person shares with you are the ones that sustain us. I do the dishes, make my bed and celebrate another year (however hard, tragic, and chaotic) around the sun. Lost loved ones leave open wounds that become stitches in our hearts, scar tissue and eventually leaving room to mend. To grow, and to learn. The heart expands even when broken by time and circumstance. Love lives on the wind that blows frigid and in an instant, Spring appears changing her course once again. Nature’s seasons were Michel’s happiest, simplest magical place and I am still learning how to be present like him. My New Year’s wish for you is that you never give up, even when the physical pain of losing a loved one or perhaps even yourself feels impossible, keep on pushing the boundaries, stripping away all the nonsense, the baggage, the noise, and trusting you will fill the empty spaces with love, and relearn to walk again. To die young is not the natural order but a life lived full, simple and serene is a gift to be opened with gratitude, compassion and humility. Go ahead make your mistakes. Like the worst, wildest fuckups you can dream. And if you’re lucky they’ll be a person, or persons who will challenge you to get up and walk tall again and again. The nostalgic pictures help us remember we were here, and life was good. I forget sometimes reverting back to that spoiled girl, only for a moment. And then I remember how lucky in love I have been.
I couldn’t imagine a life without words to give us meaning, purpose and stability on a planet that is four billion years old. Words tell us that earth is the only planet whose English name derives from Old English and Germanic. Words. Use your words, use your voice, and write it down. Write out most intimate dreams, hopes, and desires. We are merely spectators allowed the shortest visit, to marvel in scale on foot, or in the imagination of childlike wonder. Words to describe discovering grainy salt, grass, cement walking barefoot and alive. Words help shape us, make us civilized. Words make mothers weep and poetry lovers swoon. Do not take away my words, bullies of the 21st Century. I am civilized, and educated. I am a solemn observer of atrocity, hatred, abuse of power and ignorance. I am a profound lover of words, their safe keeper; shape shifter, and documenter of these modern times. I am here for the briefest visit; the observer.
I understand I cannot stay. Let me type fast all the beauty and magic I’ve seen and felt on my skin, and type slow my tears with intent the unfairness I’ve witnessed.
I met a mesmerizing “transgender,” with Rapunzel spun golden hair and sequins of kindness spoken softly from her lips. She was a goddess of feminity dressed in fine linens and a moral compass. I discovered she, he, they were different than me and yet so much better. She wore no sense of “entitlement,” only flecks of humanity. I remember floating in my mother’s womb, the concept “fetus” before time was linear or had a name picked out. I was free, embryonic fluids dancing and lulling me like the salt water I adore. I was “science-based,” a human without form, without ego, without judgment, without all the messy noise that comes with living. I was pure love, alive and in waiting. I was nearly human without the hate and the truest, purest form of freedom and “diversity.” Nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow, nothing is predetermined, or “evidence- based.” Not one word is yours to take away, not one thought, not one vision shall be banned. I exist now until stardust reclaims my bones therefore I will use my words with honor and integrity. We are nothing without the words, their stability and dignity carries us home.
The banned words include “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
I had the craziest dream.
Sweet Gardenia blossoms grew immense enveloping firestorms and chaos, masquerading all traces of ash and burn.
The intoxicating scent of sweet perfume permeated the clean air, creating nursery rows of safety bubble greenhouses.
A young girl’s innocence remained pure and virtuous.
Flowering freedom rained dewdrops of kindness.
There were no guns, no mass graves, no starvation, no rape, no death.
No dead children.
No hate. No hate. No hate.
White rapids filled the streams replenishing and purifying waters.
Dirty DNA was washed clean.
Gardenia, Fig and Jasmine were the new currency whilst greed, power and ugliness got strangled, suffocating.
In the dream state, time was no longer a linear concept, and bountiful floral gardens grew happy.
Everyone had their own space to paint rainbows, waterspouts, and imaginary firestorms.
Humanity bore green buds of fragrant possibility where wishes and dreams flourished, fruit bearing trees.
Gentle desires on the wind of a someday, some glorious day, and a somewhere different.
Sweeter than here.
Where Gardenia, Fig and Jasmine blossoms grow through the cracks blanketing away all fear.
I had the craziest dream, and wrote it on the petals adorned in her hair.
Whispering wishes of a new pathway to love.
Floating away, and landing in a stranger’s thoughtful ear.
Sometimes I think I should just quit. The world is too ugly, too sad, too dangerous. You know like most creatives, empaths, humans we question ourselves, we overthink incessantly, coming up with a gazillion reasons why. Why not stop. And, why not? You know what, fuck it. I’m not finished, your story is not finished. Our story. We’re in this chaos of crazy together. Stuck together. What is this one life, without art and emotion? What good are words or photographs or movies if not to fill our broken hearts and empty spaces?
To replenish our souls.
What matters in these troubled times is that you look up and out and around and make something beautiful. Spill your guts, break your heart and then dig a little deeper. Jump into love. Inside the blues, inside the scary, safe nurturing walls of love, you find truth. It ain’t always pretty, but it’s always relatable. We are all wonderfully broken pieces, with smashed hearts and hopes. Humans can be so ugly, and there is so much hate going around. Pick up a pen or a paintbrush, a guitar, some headphones. Whatever makes you feel better. Whatever moves you and please don’t give up on the rest of us. There is good, and then there is good enough. You are good and I am good. Don’t wipe your tears or fears, let the floodgates pour. Humanity is dying, but broken crayons still color. God, I love that line. I love New York. She was the first city to open my eyes to so much imagination, vibration and color. Pure, uninhibited blissful art and joy. To the evil, hate filled human that tried to break her spirit, you won’t. You cannot. She survived 9/11, and will survive you. My heart is broken for the victims, their families and friends. My heart knows New Yorkers will rise, and come together in a tidal wave of good. Come together, and be better than this. New Yorkers are reinforced steel with liquid golden hearts and the frontline dreamers, artists, and inventors.
Daughters Who Shape Us
May we be your best example of speaking the ugly truth
May you never be soiled or spoiled or talked into anything you don’t want to do
May you remain untainted and uninhibited in all your glorious nakedness
Never know shame by the hands or wants or manipulation of another fucker
Man, oh man
May you never hear great tits and ass when you walk down the street
in your skinny jeans and heels
May you always find the courage to say NO
I’m out of here
Punk ass douchebag
I am woman Women
Here Me Roar
May your virgin innocence be crystalline pure
And unshaken and untouched and untaken
Until YOU decide
Owning your sexuality
May the warriors and feminists
who spoke out before you
with their brokenness and battle scars
Become your cloak of honor
‘The Women Who Shape Us’
Are speaking out today
One million voices loud and clear
Screaming no way, fuck off, not me
I’m out of here
You are the white warriors, the reason and hope
Not this time, never again, no dirty little secret
You will remain sacred and pure
I cannot walk through the grief for you. I would if I could.
I cannot cry the tears that pour like a fountain. I would if I could.
I cannot understand the pain, the weight, the fear and the messy emotions that consume your broken heart.
Grief is yours, and only yours.
The love never dies, no one can take that from you.
I would carry that burden,
I would if I could.
All that is beautiful in you, all the shared memories can never be erased.
They are sacred. They are theirs and yours, one intimate legacy.
And no one, not even life’s ugly tragic circumstance can steal them away.
Now, what would they tell me to do, to help mend your broken heart?
I would do anything, so I sit silent and wait with you for easier days.
When somehow, someday far and away from today you realize you are stronger than the pain, and the tears. You are tough, just like them.
Not today, no no no. And not tomorrow. Not even next year.
So, we wait in sorrow and silence for the seasons to bear the heavy load.
Time becomes the sweet and sad reminder of how very much you were loved.
The physical longing mysteriously grows lighter.
I cannot walk through the darkness and your grief. I would if I could.
The one thing I can do is be an ear, on solid ground, sitting silent with you.
How much money and greed is worth even one life?
Shame on you, politicians for not having the decency and moral conscience to fight for gun control, for taking the NRA’s blood money and for not giving a fuck after another mass murder. Yes, I understand that pathetic argument that “guns” do not kill people, but guess what they actually do. Why does anyone need an assault rifle? They don’t plain and simple. Shame on us for being complacent, egocentric, and prideful for NOT saying NO MORE VIOLENCE, death by yet another evil sociopath. A white man who looks like us, no beard, no border, no limitations. Shame on us for offering prayers instead of taking action.
While many of us are saying here we go again, blaming Mental Illness please don’t. Anyone who plans an attack with automatic rifles and opens fire on a crowd of innocents at a concert is deeply disturbed, and Mentally Ill.
I wrote a piece after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, “I Am Adam Lanza.” While I don’t believe I could ever commit such a horrific act, I am well aware of my own psychotic breaks, and smart enough to not own guns in my home.
Shame on you Trump, you evil, narcissistic bastard for signing a bill into law rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
The gun silencer bill, is that really next on the agenda?
That is what this country’s current administration is about.
Well, I will not be silenced, and neither should you. The Second Amendment does not apply to senseless carnage, and yet another mass shooting tragedy. Which, sadly given the number of mass shootings will soon be forgotten.
To the victims, families, friends and loved ones of Las Vegas, you have my word I will keep using my voice to raise awareness.
I will never forget.
If you think owning a gun is a good idea pray you are never, ever, EVER on the receiving end of the wrong side of the barrel.
The Mentally Disabled I know are the most empathetic, creative, beautiful souls who need support and the government’s help, not evil power mongers threatening to cut Medicaid and repeal Obamacare.
I am embarrassed to be an American. I am heartbroken, but I am not defeated. I have my words, and I will not be silenced behind the cowards who are ruining, not running our country.
– Jacqueline Cioffa
“Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms (principles and rules).”
You don’t have to like my politics or my opinions
Even my race, gender, social status, mental health
That’s fine by me
All I ask is that if my views on the world, my liberal “everyone should be treated equal” views
Leave your stomach sour, pause before you judge me
My artistic ideals might be so very different from yours
Could you try to stay open minded, not bitter or jaded?
And I will too
Once we’ve crossed the blame and shame line into the great divide
It’s too late
Because one cruel man is leading
With hate, pride, and posturing
That’s where I draw the line
And take a knee
In prayer, not any specific religion or another
But a general protection bubble of light
For me, and for you
For all the bad sour experiences you endured that were ugly or skewed
How was your childhood?
I’m truly curious
I hope pieces were magical, and joy visited you
Was it privileged, sheltered, did you even have a roof?
Did you know love intimately, really feel it in your bones
Did your mother tell you it was okay to be different?
Actually have a mind of your own and kind heart
Did you have freethinking, strong willed, compassionate mothers and fathers who loved and adored you?
Who taught you the awesome responsibility of respect?
Or did they try to shove their redneck, one-sided backstory on you?
Did they give you ample space to grow?
Were they present and kind?
Were you the outcast, bullied, gay, straight, black, pimply faced fat kid?
Hate is not our natural state, although it is the easiest enemy to fall back on
Guilty, I’ve done it
Hate takes so much work and energy
Hate is learned
Just let it go
So on bended knee
I ask you please
I am no different than you
I bleed too
Call me crazy and they have
I don’t care most days
Because I have a voice and strong heart with the best intentions
Put down your pride and smile at a stranger
Someone perhaps who has opposing views
Respect them and make up your own mind
Free will, baby
Take a knee because you believe deeply in human rights to express virtue and value
And the power of unity
Even when you’re different from me
I may not agree with your views
Whatever your politics
Standing up for your beliefs
And that, is all you come and leave with
Using your voice takes courage, resolve and moxy
You were born to be kings and queens
Not slaves to hate
That makes all the difference