Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I love Lopez

When I was a kid, starting at 4 years old or so, I would play my parents records on our stereo in search of something good. I found this one album called Live at PJ’s by Trini Lopez and I was pretty excited about it. To say that Trini was a latin Sinatra type, on reprise records, does not do him justice. He was a great performer with a cool voice and a folk sensibility that he swung with a latin beat. The record was recorded live in a small club and had covers of (I want to live) in America, If I Had a Hammer, La Bamba and Celito Lindo, which some of you folk might know as Aye Yi Yi, Yi. Man, I dug it.

Now as an adult with my almost-3-year-old who is in love with all things latin involving guitars and good melodies, I played it for her. My daughter loves Mexican cowboy music and is mad for Ritchie Valens, so I played her Trini, to see if she too would dig it. Yes she did. She told her babysitter “I love Lopest (not a typo). Do you love him?" I played her the West Side Story version of America, but she told me she did not like it, she just wanted to hear Trini rock it with the classic sixties latin beat. As I listen to the songs with her, I am reminded how damn good he is. A real entertainer in the best lounge-y sixties folk singer way, so cool and talented. Trini ad libs the lyrics and mixes up the beat, playing guitar while singing, grooving out in his special way.The band, made up of just two guys, is phenomenal. Give the drummer some, people!

I am loving our listen sessions with Trini and I see how much I was influenced by him as a song writer and performer. Yes, my music was a whole different thing, but I took lessons from this guy.

My daughter is nuts for music, very specific music. I expose her to lots of styles and she lets me know what works for her. She rejects many of my favs and really has her own taste. She loves bands and guys with guitars who sing. But when the day is done and I ask her about ladies with guitars, she will always say, You, Mommy. And I say, That’s right, Mommy played guitar in a band and sang and so can you. She used to love my music, but she has outgrown it. If I put it on she’ll ask for Lopez and although my ego is bruised, I comply and we dance our best latin steps and sing along. Ay!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

lets do it, lets get on a plane.....

So I was born and raised in New York City and I am a bit snobby about it. It is my ONE claim to fame that I did not have to achieve on my own. Being from manhattan is my version of having a rich or famous parent. It is my tiny silver spoon that I can use as defensive armor. I was born here, not a tourist or a wanna be, I am a fucking native.
I know, I know, I have written poetic love stories about the new york of the 70’s, going to Max’s Kansas City at 13 years old, drinking in bars in my early teens when no one in the entire city gave a shit about the legal age. I wrote about seeing all the great new york punk bands live, and seeing them on the streets, seeing the waxy Jim Carroll in my old neighborhood. I‘ve written about being from the last great generation of working class New Yorkers with heavy accents that were formed from our immigrant parents or grandparents, and the way they spoke when they got here from there. Yes, another of my armors, less of a silver spoon, but still a medal of honor- the street cred that we were not the rich New Yorkers, but the real deal. I am the daughter of working class first generation Americans. I had nothing, and got nothing, but I reinvented myself in this beautiful town- so there, motherfuckers! Blab bla bla….
Anyway, its all great, I love my history.
And then I moved to this sunny land of easy living where you can ultimately live the American dream in a mid century modern house with a pool. And, yes it is true, I too hope to own a Neutra one day.

Well, I must confess, I thought I would grow old and die in my rent stabilized new york city one bed room. I had no intention of coming to Los Angeles. I came for love, willing to try it out for a bit and I have now been here one month shy of 10 years! I love Los Angeles! I love New York too. I am thrilled to go home a few times a year. I hate being away from my family and missing the birthdays and the graduations and the funerals, where we all come together. I miss walking down certain streets, and eating in certain restaurants. I miss the people, although so many of them have left. I do not miss the bankruptcy of the heart of my hometown, but I miss the secrets and the underground and the classics and the beauty.

But I live in Los Angeles now and will for many more years. I love Los Angeles. I love leaning out my kitchen window to pick and orange to eat with lunch. I love having a car that I was forced to learn how to drive. I love the sunny sunny days. I adore the rainy season. I love not having any attachment to being a native. And I love going home for the holidays and getting a taste of winter, short and sweet, and then coming back and getting warm, having a swim, wearing bear legs and a cotton dress and putting sunscreen on my daughter.

somebody told me there's a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair...


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vito



Hey kids, I just got the chance to check out the fantastic documentary film Vito, by the fantastic director Jeffrey Schwarz , about the life and times of gay activist Vito Russo. You can find it on HBO. Vito wrote the book The Celluloid Closet and was active in the fight against discrimination. I loved the film and recommend you see it.

The film documents Vitos life, but also the times, and remind us of how much worse discrimination was. It is even more profound considering the fight for civils rights going on right now in the gay marriage dispute. Dear lord, how many times will a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? There are human beings out there who still want to call other human beings less-than, second class citizen. Have we learned nothing form the civil rights movement of the 60’s? From the Civil War?

Being from an oppressed minority, I relate to the struggle of all minorities, or I hope to. Women have only had the right to vote for a mere 92 years, dig? What the fuck is wrong with people? Fear. It is that simple. And it is all of our responsibility to fight fear, where ever it rears its hideous head.

In the 1990’s I was lucky enough to be involved in the nyc drag scene and to have gay and lesbian and transgender friends. I knew a few very cool activists. They taught me about the Stonewall riots and Marsha P Johnson. I handed out multi colored condoms on the west side to the drag and transgender prostitutes. My band played the Stonewall benefit and made sure to kiss a girl on stage as an act of defiance and solidarity. Small gestures, but it all adds up. The most important thing I learned was that it is harder for some people to be who they are, because for some, it is unsafe to just walk down the street. It is hard enough to accept ourselves and be in our truth, whatever the fuck that is. No one should have to fight against additional external forces to just be who they are. But we do not live in the perfect word and the struggles continue.
Accept others. It is that simple. Equality for all.!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Allen Ginsberg said “Inside skull vast as outside skull”


I have run the gamut in this short sweet life of mine. lived so many lifetimes: wanna see?

I was a dog in the street, begged for changed, stole candy, stole furniture from your home just to watch it burn. Broke hearts just because I wanted to. Broke them because I could. Broke them because I was scared. Wanted to die. Give away everything. Kept nothing.

Sold drugs, helped pioneer my city, my planet. Changed the trajectory of lives, scenes, cites, movements. Built worlds with my bare hands. Worked in underground factories. Worked naked. Worked illegally. Worked as little as possible because everything else was so interesting. Bought property. Wrote poetry. Lost everything.

Lied all the time, but felt no guilt and shame. Left on doorstep, sent to the desert, parented by the universe. Raised myself. Made a mess. Opps. Had a conscience and told the truth. Jumped from a moving vehicle. Live through things I should not have on 9 separate occasions, like the cat that I am. Held you while you died.

Stood silent in the face of atrocities because I was frozen, screamed out at the unjust because I could. Marched for peace, protested for animals, gave money to the democrats, fought for unalienable rights, slept around, made love not war. Have the scars to prove it. Proved it all night. Needed to. Stopped needing to.

Ran on adrenaline, ran on anger, ran on intimidation and judgment and ego. Made it all look good. Made a fortune. Believed the hype. The changed my mind. Was alone more than I wanted to be. Spent days not speaking. Seeking. Attracted everything I needed.

Sold out, bought in, found god, built a foundation, betrayed my entire past. Rewrote the story. Allowed love, inside and out. Made mistakes. Failed a million times. Did my best. Made peace. Became maternal. Fought in the war. Second generation American. Loved the immigrants. Informed by it all. Changed by kindness. Saved by love. So much more, so much more. All that remains is future…..



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

grabbing at straws and thank you


I come from chaos. There was no order in my home, no empathy, no real foundation on which to build a good life and here I am trying to raise a family, trying to learn how, trying to do it right, with no blue print, no experience, and no common sense really. I have the best intentions but I am grabbing at straws in the dark pretty much. I have learned how to be a happy whole person but throw in a husband and a child and I am back to square one in terms of knowing what to do and how. I am like a pinball machine, with everything ricocheting off of everything else. This is not me alone with my self, on the mountain, this is the real deal and it is f*ing messy.

Wow, I have so much to be thankful for. This weird life where I find out I know nothing again and again. I find out I am completely wrong all the time. I think I know something and then I find out I don’t and still I move on in the right direction. They say a rocket is off course 90% of the time. It has a course it is meant to follow but that does not stop it from veering off course again and again and being brought back again and again and in the end it gets to where it is supposed to go.

So life tricks me and plays with me and I am open to what ever is next, whatever I need to learn to get me to the next place, veering and returning to my path. Alas, right now every word spoken to me through every medium is important, everywhere I look I get direction, information, inspiration, support, expansion, miracles.

I am so lucky to have everything I need, so happy to be surrounded by all the perfect people, situations, struggles. My struggles are ridiculous, so ridiculous I am court ordered not to to talk about them. I am left feeling like I have been in a car accident several times a year and yet I do not complain. Not today anyway. Instead I strive to find out how I can improve my experience, I strive to understand what I can learn here, I strive to have peace and acceptance and how to have the best life in the world, how to rise above, how to master my situation, how to find my bliss, which is there for me regardless of external nonsense. It is an inside job my friends. Trust me here, if i can do it you can do it.

So I write to say thank you world, for this crazy ride, this full experience with all its gifts. Thank you for my family and friends, teachers and inspire-ers, helpers and healers, and even the not so helpful ones, who wind up teaching us a lot, and helping in their own backward way.

All the best to you all, happy thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I was not born to live to die

I love the whole world

I could tell you stories no honest man would believe. I have my reasons to bitch and be bitter, hate and act violently. Great reasons that I won’t bore you with. But despite my obligations, my burdens, and my past, I feel really great. I am in love with the world and I wish you all so much good and greatness.

I wish everyone to feel free and happy. To like themselves and have comfort and joy, to be great at what they do and to get everything they want. To love and be loved. To prosper and manifest their worth and dreams. To belong and feel safe. To have fun and laugh. To feel good in their bodies and with their bodies.

This is what I love right now.

My yoga class. All you good looking open minded try-ers, practicing open-minded flexibility of body and spiritual knowledge. My teacher, who sweetly elevates us, levitates us.

My friends old and new:
All the moms in the mom group and their beautiful kids, doing this mind bending task of trying to raise and shape a little wild human being. How any of us do it, I have no idea, but it gives me great compassion for my mother. Parents make great sacrifices so that we their children can exist. Even the awful ones have given a great gift. Fuck.

All the people from the early ny hardcore scene. Wow god bless us all. I think I can say that we all must have had some real struggle to have been attracted to that music and found each other. You guys affected the course of my entire life. So few I even talk to anymore but you were my peers, my mirror, my enablers, my friends, my lovers, my family, my high school, my partners in crime, my life line sometimes.

All the people who have been supportive friends, random strangers sometimes, who took me in or held my hand or let me cry or lent a hand or listened. Who accepted me and had patience and saw past the outsides and touched the insides. I was the huddled mass, tired and poor, homeless and lonesome, and you showed up when you didn’t have to do anything.

All the teachers and healer, leaders and peacemakers. teachers of my daughter, directors who show us the way, point out the direction, have gone before me, did it already so that I can benefit. Lincoln, King leaders who do service for no other reason then that they believe that it is our responsibility to.

My family, ancestors, pioneers who paved the way so that I could be here. You long line of islanders, and every one who has come from them and everyone who had come before and after my husband and our daughter. We are part of each other. It is not black and white where you end and I begin. We are all here.

Everyone. So many.


(I read my very old diary last night and it said that I was jealous of my friend because when she was a little girl she believed in Santa Claus and danced around in joy. I wrote “I never believed in anything.” Poor baby. But now I do and now I get to dance around too.)

the artists and actors, poets and dreamers, directors and writers, Lina Wertmuller, Lena Dunham.

As random as this is I will end with gratitude for all the music. Musicians, DJs, music makers and sharers. Showers and tellers, movers and shakers. Ritchie Valens, Nina Simone, David Bowie, Celia Cruz, Carole King, George Harrison, Leon Russell, James brown, Elton John, Otis Redding, I could type till dawn so let me stop here: Henry Rollins, we share the same initials and when Poly Styrene died he played the entire Xray Spex record on the radio. I love you all.

I am tempted to post “Joy to the World” 3 Dog Night, “Border Song”, Elton John, or “Dancing with Myself” Gen X, and a million more but I will go with this one

If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance..oh oh oh oh

XH


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Patti Smith- Gloria

Middle school. That is when you revisit the terrible twos. Your becoming who you are. Your hormones are surging. School is the most painful, other kids are the most judgmental. But you are open, alive, willing and able to talk about it all. Apparently you retain what you learned at that critical time. You are the most porous. You grow at the fastest rate since infancy. Your bones grow faster than your muscles, so it is hard to sit still. You are going through it.

In middle school my life was hell, and a storm was etched into my heart, one I have always carried with me. Blah blah blah, what a drag. But on the flip side, there was this one time where my mother was house sitting, feeding the cat of a coworker in our neighborhood. He was a young bachelor with a cool pad in the rougher part of my town. I went with her to feed the cat on evening and found a treasure chest of RECORDS. That night I took home a bunch of his records to listed to. I taped them onto a cassette tape. Dylan Highway 61 Revisited, Pattti Smith Horses and The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street, which only contained one of the two discs.

We did not have much money and if you can believe it, there was no internet at that time, so you had to actually have a record to hear it. And magically these records appeared unto me and influenced my whole life. Moved me to my core and stayed with me forever.

How does it feel?

when you got nothing , you got nothing to lose

Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.

People say beware but i don't care..

Etched in me forever. Perfect. Supreme. Come on!

Music is an emotional experience, more than notes, words and instruments. It matters for odd reasons. I was so lucky to go to that apartment. A weird twist of fate.

Alas, hand of fate, I always appreciate what is happening, I am being shaped and led and taught all the time. I write with gratitude and joy. Thank you.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

what is good right now

what is good:
we already have everything we need.
the kingdom is within
we can access tolerance and empathy there
we can access abundance, it is there for EVERYONE
we can access our freedom. it is there.
we get to breathe and be in the present moment, where everyone is the same, we all have that present moment. we all have our breath.
we get to do our best
we can start the day over at anytime.

thank you.
i have gratitude for my family
our health,
poems
beautiful colors
sun and rain
peace inside
quiet
piano music
friends
laughing
reminders
inspiration and inspirers
fun
good stories
a body
a brain
meditation
yoga
swimming pools
the desert
wheat free cupcakes (harm reduction as i like to call it)
trees
flowers
animals
humans
kindness
support
my husband
my daughter
peace in my heart
trust
the absolute knowing that i am ok and taken care of and safe no matter what happens. (yes, an ideal, but accessible and true
you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

happy dia de los muertos

Ah yes, the veil between the two realms is the thinnest tonight! Remember the dead with Joy. Celebrate their lives. Have a laugh and a smile. They are here with us tonight.

Our ancestry can be traced back through our cells. Our ancestors are part of us. We carry them with us and can learn from them, be inspired by them, find strength in them and heal them as we heal the more challenging parts we inherited.

I am a pioneer, consciously choosing to live differently, and still I find myself doing what my parents did. The difference is that I have the tool of awareness. As I make space in my brain with my consciousness, I can pause before I react in an old way and instead find a new way, a new world. I miss the mark a million times, but a thousand failures leads to success. Slowly, things do change, I promise. Life dances on. Take what you like and leave the rest. Go be better than that before you. Be the change. Change your brain. Joy to the world. Peace on earth. I need to write this to remind myself. God Bless the East Coast. I miss you. Love on……


Sunday, October 28, 2012

oh i love the world

Dia de los muertos.

“Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” 
Mark Twain

“Oh! I love the world! That is what pure art makes me feel”
Holly Ramos

Ah yes, the parking sucks and the graveyard is a madhouse almost like a san genero feast, still, I love going to the Hollywood Forever Dia de Los Muertos party every year. Dressing up walking with the masses, eating greasy food and seeing all the beautiful people and skeletons. The crowd is so peaceful and everyone is so cool. The alters are stunning and the performances sublime. This is my L.A.

My daughter is too young to sit still and let me do a full skeleton face so we did white face with some black on the eyes, ghoul style. She was thrilled to wear tons of flowers in her hair and jewels and makeup. I did my best to dress like a skeleton but came out looking pretty shabby due to lack of time. My worst costume ever, but who cares. We made it there.

Daughter got the idea to dance some freestyle interpretive dance on some graves and that was pretty fun. Then we found the stage with the Vera Cruz style bands playing traditional beautiful music with guitars, tiny guitars, harps and various strings, sung by gorgeous humans. Oh I love the world. That’s what pure art makes me feel. My daughter felt it too. She sat and watched for over and hour, as three different bands set up and broke down. Beautiful women stomped their feet and danced with beautiful man in traditional garb, like brides with lots of eye liner and lashes. What an attractive people. And of course we could not help but dance to La Bamba, the most famous song from that style music.

My daughter wants to go back again tonight. She does not yet know that that was a once a year event. On our way to the park she let me know that she did not want to go to the park, but rather the graveyard! I can’t wait till next year. In the meantime we still have a few days till the actual day of the dead, starting on Thursday and ending on Friday.....



I miss you dad. I hope all is well over there. Please come visit on thursday night. I will be looking out for you.



“Dia De Los Muertos is a time of celebration on remembrance. It is an ancient and enduring ritual when the living commune with the dead – a mystical night when the veil is lifted between their two realms and they may share a day together. It is also a time to come to terms with our mortality and become aware of the cycle of life and death. Rather than deny and fear death this event teaches us to accept and contemplate the meaning of mortality.”

Oh, I love life.
xHolly




Saturday, October 20, 2012

long live art

Me and my husband

Oh lord, me and my husband are two different creatures. I have never needed to find a partner who has the same taste in fill in the blank as me. Being really different and having different taste leaves lots of room for growth and new ideas. It keeps me young and vital to have someone who adores and supports me but does not reinforce all of my taste, which, in turn, does not keep me stuck in the mire of my own clutter. I am free to move around and grow and change and delight in our differences. And on top of that, he introduces me to all kinds of new things that I may never have known or appreciated otherwise. We like the phrase “less stuff, more life”. To me that includes less stuff I hold onto mentally as well.

When we put our daughter to bed, there is a short period of time where we are quiet, to make sure she falls into deep sleep. We will read or go online for that spell. Tonight I went online and saw that Jackie 60, a favorite nightclub of mine from the 90’s, is re issuing their tee shirt, which are beautiful. I want one. I browsed their website, Jackie60.com, looking at the brilliance that is Jackie 60 and viewed a few clips they posted from the Jackie 60 movie. The clips were of my dear friend Marti, aka Marti Domination, doing her shoe dance, and then Flowrider and friends doing gay male go-go in Man-O-Rama. Both clips were stunning. My husband came over with his iphone and noted the clips I was watching and then showed me the clip he was watching, a young Walter Cronkite reporting about the Viet Nam war. We both laughed at how our clips were such great examples of our different personalities and tastes. Then he held his phone up to my computer, putting the 1960’s serious Walter at his news Desk reporting about the horror, in the stunning wash of vintage colors and textures, next to the barely dressed, perfectly bodied men, Flow and friends, dancing in the 1990’s brimming with sexual energy and joie de vivre. “Makes a beautiful piece,” he said. He was right. I am so lucky to be married to my gem of a husband with his brilliant taste that is so different from mine, and not so different.

No need to let differences keep you apart. Sometimes love looks different from what you were expecting. Do not let a small mind rob you of your dreams. Luxuriate in expansion. Stay open to the infinite possibilities.

60 days ago she was such a lovely child. now here she is with a gun in her hand. one of the greatests...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life begins outside your comfort zone

Life begins outside your comfort zone. That is what I heard twice this week. My mother used to say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Just do it. For me all of the challenges used to be about external risks. Cut your hair, make a band. Go on stage. Audition. It still is about things like that, but more and more it is internal risks that I have to step up to the plate for. My biggest challenges are about growing, changing, feeling more, going deeper, getting closer to human beings, loving more. Love is the biggest challenge. Love yourself, love your neighbors, love each other, love your family, love your kids, love your partner. To love is a verb. If you want to love someone, act lovingly. That is so fucking hard sometimes. Challenge is often (mostly?) about being willing to move through uncomfortable feelings like fear. Even if you are trying to get rich or win a race, there might be physical obstacles, but there are also mental ones, self doubt, fear.

In the end, playing it safe keeps you old and unattractive. Venturing into the light, into love and openness and vulnerability helps to keep you young and soft. Really, everything that we resist, that we are afraid of or closed to just involve resistance to feeling something. It’s just a feeling, an uncomfortable feeling, the world isn’t going to end!!! Caution to the wind my friends! Nothing ventured nothing gained. Open your heart. I am always writing to remind myself. Just do it. We can all just do it. Its easy, actually, once you get past the resistance.

Friday, October 12, 2012

On Being a Mother


Oh man, this stuff does not come natural to me. Being a mom is work.

You know how the Ike and Tina version of “Proud Mary” starts with her talking about how they “never ever do nothing nice and easy, we always do it nice and rough.”? That describes me on my journey to mending my broken concept of family in order to create a new beautiful one. I have jumped through hoops, worked my ass off, to have a warm and wonderful family. It is not a given. Almost every one of my x boyfriends remains childless to this day. Many of my long-term female friends are childless as well. I do not come from maternal stock. Never gravitated towards it. Until I did. Then, when I changed and grew into the longing, I had to go out and develop the necessary qualities. Not an easy task.

Until recently, I lived a selfish life of cultivating ease. This is itself was revolutionary. I wanted a life different than the one I inherited. I wanted comfort and easy. I worked hard to live simply with the ability to take great care of myself. I like to sleep late and carry very little, so that is what I did. I was born with an imperfect spinal structure and carrying weight does not feel good, so I figured out a way to live where I did not have to “hump gear” so to speak. I did lots of yoga and other self-care to feel good in my body. It was a priority. I manifested it and then I gave it all up to manifest something else

I had to really really want to be a mother in order to let go of my cushy set up and start plowing a field everyday. The getting up early and carrying a pack mule’s load is the opposite of what I ever strove for. Despite tons of work that had strengthened my body so that I can carry my 35 pounder and her stuff, it is still a daily challenge to show up in the way that is required. And to be quite honest, being available for a relationship with my husband is just as challenging and not my first nature. I was not born or built or bred to be a mom or a wife, get it? That is my starting point, my jumping off point. So what did I do? I leapt and the net that I had spent a decade sewing, actually appeared.

That being said, I am not complaining, just setting up the contrast. Who cares about a little hard work- I can handle daily challenges. I traded in one cushy life for a whole different experience and I am so f*ing glad I did it. I have gratitude everyday for the choices I made. Being a mother with my husband is the best thing I ever did. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for the institution of adoption, which has allowed me this experience. I cannot imagine what life would have been like if I were deprived of this. I know it would have been cushy and fun, but what I mean is now that I have gone down this road I would have it no other way. I am so lucky and happy, even when I go to bed exhausted night after night, wiped out by my toddler. (they say it gets easier, we shall see.)

I was once told that my misspent youthful ways would rob me of my dreams if I did not change them. I did not have many dreams at the time, but I started on the road less traveled to reverse my nature or my nurturing, whichever was the case. It was a conscious choice. I worked on my constitution, my very foundation, in the same way that some people work on their career, and I manifested gold, do you see?

So all I can say is if you want children or marriage or success, and it is not being handed to you and if feels too hard, or you believe that it is being withheld from you, or you buy into the idea that some people are richer or prettier or younger or better and they are the people who get to have the “thing”, just remember my little tale. It is the truth: Work hard and you can have your hearts desire. You have to be open. It may (or may not) look different than you planned or imagined. But it is there for you. If I could do it, you can. Trust me. If you want something, go get it, do it, have it, make it happen. With your hearts desires, the benefits will outweigh the cost. They always do…..
xHolly


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sympathy For The Kids

In Catholic grammar school we had a special class one day where the boys and girls were separated and the nuns talked to us about girl things and the brothers (which was a weird order of celibate male teachers who were not priests, kind of like male nuns) talked to the guys about boy things. Man, that was a bad place to get your information. A lot of these folks had serious problems that led them to this life style choice and while I won’t judge them for it, I do wish that they did not get to teach kids about sex related issues.

Quite honestly, there were a few good nuns and brothers and a few very bad ones, and a bunch fell in the middle as just OK, or messed up people who were trying to do the right thing to heal whatever wound they had. The problem was that they really did not have positive resources to help them things got distorted and wacky stuff went on all the time. I do remember one rather harmless brother who really tried to teach us and care about us, telling us that “doing something once as a boy scout did not make you gay”. At the time I remember not being sure if he was trying to convince us or himself.

So on this one peculiar day, all the girls got brought to the lunch room for the inside info.
Sister Veronica told us that god made our bodies perfect and god gave us “public” hair to protect the part of our bodies that babies come out of. Did she really never hear the word pronounced properly before and get it that wrong? Next, she explained the purpose of getting your period, pretty accurately, and also added that “sometimes it may seem like we have a cold down there, but t is normal to have some discharge”. It was not until I tried to get pregnant and really studied fertility, that I did find out that there is a particular point in your cycle when you are ovulating and your body makes a very special fluid referred to as “sperm conducting fluid” that helps keep the sperm alive and get it to its destination. Perhaps this is what she was referring to? At the end of the class we were all given little boxes with a sample shampoo and a maxi pad. We were told not to show it to the boys or we would be in big trouble.

That was our sex education. Luckily, I had a mother who was progressive about sex and had already explained things to me intelligently. I really appreciate that, and I feel for the poor souls who had to rely on Sister Veronica, who probably had to rely on some nun’s limited knowledge when she was younger.

Me and my girlfriend threw away the dated old lady pad because we already knew about tampons. We shared a cigarette on the walk home from school while my friend ranted about the incident, “’Public’ hair? What’s fucking Public about it?” I still wonder what the boys learned that day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

high school newspaper

When I graduated grammar school I didn’t take the test to go to Bronx Science, which would have been a shoe in. Instead I made the mistake of going where people I knew were going. When I got there I found out that Cardinal Spellman catholic school was uptight, airless, controlling disrespectful and condescending. The nuns were verbally abusive, which indicated to me a basic error in its philosophy of learning. Some people liked the place, and I mean you no disrespect here, but I was simply allergic to it’s closed minded suffocating practices. I could almost get the hives thinking about it.

In sophomore year of high school I was kicked out. I was a bright smart student who loved learning, but I dyed my spiky hair and wore black eyeliner in a London ‘77 style, fishnet stockings and black patent stilettos and a leather motorcycle jacket with my hideous blue polyester uniform. The school had a large population of students from organized crime families. Many of the girls were quite beautiful and many dyed their hair and wore tons of make-up and 6 inch Fordham Road pumps to school. We were all doing the same thing, we just had different taste. The problem was that it was ok for them to look that way, but the school had an issue with my choices. That was enough to get me kicked out. I wasn’t actually asked to leave, I was asked to look like everyone else. I left- joyously running through the halls in street clothes on my last day.

Junior year I reported to The McBurney school on Central Park West and 63rd Street. This place was really loose, they took kids from half way houses and took me in my third year with a little scholarship because I had a great grade point average. I helped them they helped me. My new school was light years ahead of where I cam from.
The school had a slew of wealthy kids who were pretty privileged, and probably thought it a drag there, but I was in my element. There were a handful of bright cool students and the faculty was awesome, for the most part. I loved not having strict rules and no uniform. We were supposed to wear a collared shirt, but I would wear thrift store shirts that I cut the cuffs off of, like Patti Smith on the cover of Horses, so it never even felt like a dress requirement. I could pair a collared shirt with combat boots, a plaid skirt, and long underwear, or with tights with colored fishnet stockings pulled up over them haphazardly, a black pencil skirt with lace slip over it and high top sneakers. It was the time in NYC when a lot of people were hanging out at Dancateria and dressing like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. Goth was starting- black hair or white hair, pointy boots white skin and black makeup. The wealthy popular girls in my school wore Guess jeans, skinny to the ankle, with zipper so you could get your foot through the tiny hole (pre-stretch jeans, my friends) and had big-ish hair ala flashdance, curls all tossed to one side. I didn’t talk much to them. I was still rocking a completely different style, but all was good.

The school had a concerned staff that wanted me to get a scholarship to college so they made me the editor of the newspaper so I would have some extra curriculum leadership things to put on my application. I went along with them, not knowing what a gift they were giving me. As it turned out, I did indeed get an NYU scholarship but at the time I just figured I would be newspaper editor, what the hell

Here is the point of this story:

As editor, I changed the format of the paper from the way newspaper stories are usually written, into stories that used the word “I”. “I think” I feel”. I thought that news style writing was ridiculous, making yourself invisible was a lie. All that was written, what people read, was just people opinions, why try to act like it wasn’t? Plus, after all, it wasn’t world news, it was high school stuff.

The school let me do two issues this way and then replaced me saying that our experiment failed. The teacher who supervised us was awesome, but he wanted our newspaper to be a newspaper. It all worked out. I got the scholarship and the paper went back to normal. The end.

Except that the teacher who headed the newspaper was really disappointed in my choices. He cared about news and the formality of the institution of newspapers. At the time, I felt bad about my choices too, like I had been foolish, But looking back I can see that I was so ahead of my times. I was indeed a visionary on the forefront of the new wave of journalism. Or at least I was onto the truth about it. The world had changed since then and many people agree that news stories do indeed reflect someone’s opinion be it Fox or whomever.

But I too have changed and I really do appreciate the attempt to be neutral in reporting. I love the newscasters who share those values. Warren Olny of PRI comes to mind, as a hero of staying neutral and giving all sides a voice. We need more people like Warren. Thank you to the heroes that try to keep that kooky business clean. And thank you all you good folk at McBurney high, who were great staff and teachers and had the students best interest in mind. Education is a process.

Too bad that my sweet high school is now just another NYC co-op apartment building. Ah, the perils of growing up in New York….


Do Your Best
Care about your world, your neighbors, your community, kids
Opt for the best possible outcome for all parties involved
Think win win
Stay open minded and fair
Listen to the other side
Practice empathy.

I write this because I am not good at any of these things, but I am consciously trying to be better.



Friday, September 21, 2012

absolute freedom

Let me tell you a story.

When I was sixteen, I was a teenage anarchist. To me now, this is so silly and cute and brave, but at the time I was DEAD serious. I idealistically believed that people were smart enough to rule themselves, control themselves and live in harmony without idiots interfering. I believed that I personally knew how to live that way and that did not need government to tell me what to do. I thought that absolute freedom was an external thing and eliminating the government would provide that. Little did I know.

[Sounds real conservative, huh? Like keep the government small and keep it out of our lives? The similarities were only in the way that a teenage brain fails to be able to reason out certain things, because it is under developed still. Dissimilar because: the conservative line is to keep the government small but then they want the government in our bedrooms saying who can be married and in our bodies saying that women cannot chose abortion, so really they want the biggest most intimate government of all. Scary. But I digress…]

So as an anarchist, I and my boyfriend, also an anarchist, figured that it was ridiculous to be monogamous because saying I love you did not mean that you were the only person I could laugh with or hold hands with or have fun with. Why would love mean that you had to cut your self off from all of the other people in the world you might have feelings for. You do not need to be an anarchist to feel this way, but for us, at least for me, it was a principle. This is the simple version, as I do not have time or energy to write the whole manifesto, dig?

Really what was going on was that we were teenagers and we wanted to try it all, (who doesn’t?). But we had a relationship that felt like soul mates and we didn’t know what to do. So we had an “open” relationship. It looked great on paper. For me, the whole thing was a stormy mess, exactly what I was used to and what I felt good with. I felt jealous of every girl my boyfriend was with, but I was happy to be with all the other guys I dated. Our experiment was brilliant and my life was big with experience. And we are still good friends till this day, so there was something to it.

Really, the only problem with our set up was that I judged my jealousy, thought I should be above it, tried to change it and never admitted it- the opposite of absolute freedom. I never admitted that I felt pain, to myself or anyone else, and I stuffed and fixed and judged all of those feelings into fights with my boyfriend. And man did we fight! My inability to be honest and just feel my pain was criminal. I probably would have been equally miserable staying faithful to one guy during that time period, 16-20 years old. Either way, I feel sad that I was trying so hard to be something I wasn’t, or rather to feel differently than I felt. The world would be a better place if we all accepted our selves and our feelings, particularly if they are different from what we wish they were. Then it would be easier to live and let Live. Accepting and respecting others begins with accepting and respecting ourselves which leads to less war, less hate crimes, more peace, inside and thus outside.

Life is an amazing and unexpected journey for me. I am taken to so many surprise places with depths I never imagined, lived so many lifetimes in this one already. I applaud my young self for being so brave, and challenging the rules in a quest for freedom. Really, I was just from a very troubled home and I found comfort on blaming in other institutions. I have come out on the other side of my experiences knowing that absolute freedom is an inside job that very few have mastered, but the beauty of life is in the seeking it.

Life is long and wonderful and I have done all I have needed to do thus far and have few regrets. I probably don’t need to say this but I have no interest in an open relationship these days. True intimacy, where my partner and me are open about what we feel, is still a challenge, but a challenge I confront, not avoid. Don’t fight it, don’t fight it, baby feel it.

I loved Crass. They still sound good. I will always have a soft spot for you…..


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Everybody plays the fool


Super Bad

In 1972 I was in 2nd grade. I saw a record advertised on TV called Super Bad and I NEEEEEDED to have it. It was put out by K-Tel label. It must have been really important for me to have because I somehow got my mother to get it for me and that was rare. I did not get a lot of things. I must have worked really hard to make that happen, but I have no memory of  that because it was all eclipsed by getting it.
It was a Funk and Soul collection and the cover was the words Super bad, spray painted on a wall, you dig what they are getting at? The vinyl had James Brown “Get On the Goodfoot” and Isaac Hayes “Shaft”. I was a bit too young to fully appreciate serious funk, but I liked it. I was curious about “I Gotcha” by Joe Tex, a song that struck me as weird at that young age, why did she promise and then not give it, and why is he demanding it?
At the time I felt that the two best songs on the collection were “Band of Gold” which had a pretty great opening and “Everybody Plays the Fool” by the Main Ingredient, which I thought was “Everybody Plays the Flute Sometime” because there is a solo instrument in the intro/riff that sounds like a flute. What did I know? Not a lot, but I really dug that record. I played it all the time. I had passion for music at 4 years old and 5, 6 and 7 and on and on. Make it happen, follow your bliss, go where it is warm, go where your heart leads you. Dig it brothers and sisters.
Love to you all,
Holly





Monday, September 10, 2012

nine eleven

Sept 11th
I woke up that day after it had already happened. I lived on 13th street and ave B about a mile from the towers. My sister called to see if I was ok. It took her a while to get through. It was close to 11am when I finally woke from the ringing. I got up to answer the phone. I heard her voice on the other end
Are you OK?
Why wouldn’t I be?
They took down the towers.
Who did?
Osama Bin Laden
Who is that? What towers?
I was still half asleep. It took me a while to understand what she was talking about. When I finally got it I burst crying. I never even visited those towers. I never much cared for them and then I felt like my friend was gone. I could see the plumes of smoke out my window where they used to stand.

Then,
There were no cars below 14th street, only ash that looked like snow. It was so quiet on the streets. It was so scary, what the f where we going to do now. How would life ever be the same. What was gonna happen. I would have to pass a barricade of national guardsmen to get onto 14th street to do my laundry. They would look inside my laundry bag before letting me through. I would have to show them again with photo id to get back home. I would try to find the same guy who let me out so I could get back into my block with as little stress as possible. Things were nuts.

The streets were covered with those heartbreaking devastating posters of the missing. People in the street would cry with you, hug you, pray with you. Then people started getting together and having parties. I had a dinner party, Mmy apartment was packed, everyone brought food and sat around and relished the company. We needed each other and we were there for each other. A fighfighter who I had never met before was in my apartment. PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Amazing and Overwhelming with sorrow. We were so openad and felt so much. We supported eachother and we moved through it, better people because of it, but at a great cost.

God bless you all, the victims, the survivors, the cops and firefighter, true heros, and the families and friends. New yorkers. Citizens of the world. All of us. Peace on earth good will towards people.
xH

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mother

Mother
Oh man, I am a lot like my mother. How does this happen?

Our similarities are nothing terrible, some are great and some are just plain embarrassing. I do the things that embarrass me when my mother does them, like create drama over losing something, a big burst of hysterical energy and then- POP!- bubble bursts- oh never mind, I found it.

My mother was in town for 8 days. We both thought we lost our drivers license. Neither of us did.

The more important thing is this. Becoming a mother not only gives me great appreciation for my mother and the sacrifices that my parents made to have me and raise me, but it also gives me relief from the issues we had between us and there were many of them. I did not talk to my mother for years. She was invited to my wedding because
we had made some cordial peace but we were not rocking out as mother and daughter. It was a long hard journey into daylight

I chose to do the work. I respect people who break with their families permanently. Some things are too hard. I know. I showed up the best I could and so did she and we found a way to be with each other that didn’t cause a lot of pain.

The cool thing is that things actually got better. First we dealt with each other with anger, then politely, then warmly, and eventually lovingly. We were reconciled before my daughter was born, and having a mother around was actually a great deal of help to me as a mother. I am glad that I did not just let the relationship crash and burn. You never know, people.

I have written somewhat loosely about how after my daughter was born, my husband and I were taken to court and the ordeal lasted 2 years, which was quite traumatic for us. I was a brand new mother dealing with all that that brings and living under the intense stress of not knowing if I would keep my baby and never having the needed luxury of sweet peace externally. There was always another court date and a visitation and pressure to be perfect, and a brief to write and research to do and a fucking deposition to prepare for, all with no sleep. Dear God in heaven as my irish grandmother would say. It was way too much for any one person to deal with. But I did. I did it. With yoga, meditation (coincidently, things my mother modeled for me) and lots of late might crying and support from the right people, I could get to internal peace and create a safe warm home for my daughter. I did a lot of work to handle the trauma while it was happening and after it was over. The events were still staggering but I was in the best place I could possibly be. All that AND, I reiterate, the events were still traumatic.

The beauty is that I write about this because my mother had had traumatic events of a different nature before having me and she raised me without much support around her experiences. My hideous experience gave me a lot of compassion for her. It made it easy for me to understand her behavior; behavior that had seemed awful and baffling was more understandable, some of it was even behavior i was capable of in my darkness, and she became more human to me. And I could forgive her more easily and that somehow lessened the hurt and damage that I was holding.

And at the end of the day, when my baby is needy I have to tend to her, I do not have much time to give to my mother or her issues, or our issues. It all takes a back seat, which is a gift as well. My mother has so helpful on this visit and my daughter loves her so much and so do I.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We Three

WE THREE

It is not an easy life for a sexual outlaw. I was one, I should know. Not the most heroic kind, I was more of a self center one with a mission, to find liberation from the legacy of being a woman in my family and in the world. The struggle was how to deal with being a victim of sexual abuse but not be a victim of the world? How could I get back to my power and not see the world as an unsafe place? How could I get out of the cycle of the power struggle, with winners and losers, and just be? Oh the things I could write…

Suffice to say that my story is a positive one. I never went to jail and although I overcompensated for a long while before I found peace, I did find it.

Had I not been born in a country where I was free to express myself the way I needed to I could have easily found my self in the shoes of the women in Pussy Riot. So easily. Because when you need to express something, you either express it or it comes out sideways. There is no way to keep it in, no way to suppress your truth.

God bless those women and their families, and while we’re at it lets include Reinaldo Arenas, Marcia P Johnson, (oh do I have the strength to write everyones names…) and all the others, the good the bad and the ugly.

Since my blog is so off the cuff, write it-read it-publish it in a matter of minutes, I hesitate to write about the sordid stuff. Some of you know about it and there are lots of funny adventures that a young woman can have but I will save it for another time.

Right now I will tell the story of a more innocent time, when I was on the brink of being sexually active. Pre outlaw…..

I was just a teenage girl into hardcore. I really wanted to go see the Bad Brains and Minor Threat at Irving Plaza. They were my favorite bands. No one I knew could or would go, namely the two of my teenage friends who liked this kind of music. I was alone. Also, I knew that a guy I liked was going and he certainly did not invite me with him. I was feeling really left out and that was intolerable so I took direct action.

I acted most boldly and called up a store where a guy I knew worked. I had met him because I would wander into his store every week when my friends and I would take the A train downtown from the tip of Manhattan to the west village to buy records and clothes and “see the world”. He would talk to me and tease me about being with my friends “going to the village” which was true. We were not worldly at all, we were trying to be but we were really suburban, even though I lived in Manhattan. He was funny and nice, which was enough to make me fond of him. His store was a silly card shop but it was thrilling to me- to see interesting photos and artwork on these cards. There was no internet and physical images were rare and special. The experience was closer to going to the library or a museum, having access to beautiful visuals, like great photography books or something rare. A card shop in the west village was truly special, that is how innocent I was.

Innocent but bold, I called 411 and got the stores number and he answered and I asked him if he was going to the show and I if I could go with him! He said yes. We met outside of Irving Plaza. It was intense to see the throngs of punks going to this monumental show. I remember so many of the kids I got to know on the hardcore scene, but even more, I remember this one “older” woman in the lobby of the club wearing stilettos and iron cuff around her ankles that had iron chains attached to her wrists. A real throwback to the scene before ours, the original New York City punk scene! Everything was larger than life.

The show was about to start and I naively went right up front. The first chord rand out and chaos broke out. It was like being caught in a rip tide with waves that were too rough to handle. In the first few minutes I was getting so beat up by the bodies flailing about that it was actually scary. It was so early in the movement that I don’t even think the hideous word “slam dancing” existed. I told my buddy that I would meet him in the back of the club. He stayed and watched for a while and then joined me. Later, we made out on the stairs. Not my plan, but I was curious and interested.

Needless to say the show was awesome. My new friend put his hand inside my tight black bondage pants and felt around. Nothing new here, as I seem to always find myself in the shark tank with every guy I liked. No surprise since I was hanging around on an intense scene, seeking it on purpose. And yet I was still a little girl. My mother had made me promise to call a private cab company, because she thought that was a safer alternative than a young girl coming home alone at 2am in a regular cab. So I did. I felt so square telling my buddy that we had to wait for this dumb car to come get me instead of just hailing a yellow cab.

On the way up the Harlem River Drive I rolled down the window and let the cool wind whip my hair around in the 3am glow of the neon across the river. Alive and free.

A few days later another guy I had met on the scene who had had interest in me (lets call him #2)(leave out the names to protect the guilty) called to tell me that my friend from the bad brains show (lets call him #1) had told guy #2 that we (me and #1) had had sex!!! Gossipy rumor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt stabbed in the heart. It was so gross an idea to me- that people talked about having SEX with me and that it was a lie and that someone else believed it. It was devastating on some level. I was a kid. What the fuck! Did I mention that at least one of these guys if not both were adults, living on their own, supporting themselves. Also, I had no idea about anything, much less what guy #2’s motives were. I just believed him, that this conversation happened and that guy #1 had told this lie about me. To this day, I do not even know if he did say that or if #2 made up a story. Also, I didn’t have the life experience yet to just tell #2 what the fuck are you doing telling me this, whose business is it anyway, etc.

Later on, guy #1 called me and I refused to come to the phone. My sister kept telling me to come and kept saying no. I think I finally got on and said some thing about not wanting to talk.

That was that, we didn’t talk again. A giant teenage failure to communicate that was never clarified. I never talked about it to either of the two parties. I have no idea who said what or who lied or what happened or how they felt. I just shut the door.

I wound up getting a boyfriend shortly thereafter and seeing those two guys around for years and chatting with them casually, but never talking bout the incident that was such a big deal for me and never taking down that wall.

I forgot this whole sequence of events until our three names came up together in a facebook post, so fucking random. In fact it was four of us mentioned, as my boyfriend of that time was included in the post. Just us, all mentioned together in one sentence. How fucking random: My x Jesse did some radio show in the city guy #1 and #2 both live in and they both happened to be there and he played a song of mine and there we were, all together again. And some fifth random person from that old hardcore scene mentioned the reunion in a post. God Bless, I hope you are all doing amazing. I have no feelings but good ones toward everyone involved. Love and peace, dudes. Life is so long and beautiful.

two of my all time favs...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

liberation

So our vacation was challenging. Then we got home and moved, beautiful new place but short notice. Lots of work. We got here and our dear cat pushed out the screen that I had checked. He has been gone for 20 days. I have looked high and low, as if I had the time or the energy. Did it anyway. No luck. I am accepting that this is what he wanted. He is liberated in one way or another. I try to think of him happy, as opposed to the devastating alternatives.

So can I just get a fucking minute of rest anytime soon? No because I have no pet, but we got a flea infestation. Today I bombed the house, did 20 loads of laundry and then came home and vaccumed and mopped.

We have an unlimited reserve to draw from. I have been drawing and drawing. It works. Did it. Done. Goodbye fleas. Come home cat! I miss you and love you so.

We took ourselves on a date to end the evening. Saw a heavyset woman in green spandex shorts and high heels, (sounds cool, but it didn’t really work) getting out of a Maserati and a man still in his hospital gown on Santa Monica blvd. They were not together but that was a lot to see.

"i wasn't looking too good but i was feeling real well" xHolly

Thursday, August 9, 2012

hold on papillion

oh my god, has it been a week already. dear lord have mercy. I agreed to write once a week and cannot believe that the time has come again to try to write something.

Sometimes it is interesting and sometimes lame, yes, I know, but I do it. It is like any art, just do it, move through the resistance to get to the good stuff. Even iggy has to make a bad record every blue moon to get to the next one, hopefully great one, or better one, or another bad one, to get to the better one.

I have burnt the pot twice tonight, trying to make tea. All the water is gone before I get up to pour it.

I am in deep grief over my missing pet, who escaped from our new home, and who may not know where he lives and may not know how to get back here.

I am exhausted from looking in the neighborhood and hanging signs and exhausted from the emotions. During the court proceedings that would end with me keeping our daughter or not, I was able to live in the spiritual place of putting it in god’s hand. Showing up and letting go. (how the fuck did I do that?) This cat situation has proved so difficult to stay in god consciousness.

The thing about life is there are so many feeling to process, so much to move through. Addiction seems so appealing because it seems like you get to skip the hard part, but really you only postpone it, making it ever harder to face. I would love to tune this shit out, but really, as my old pal Charlie Bodt used to say, see me now or see me later. I think that is what he would say.

My husband just caught the tea water before it boiled away and poured it for me. Small victory for the weary.

Twice I was told by the strange coincidences that feel like the spiritual guidance of the universe, twice I was told that it is not the fruit of the labor but the labor that matters. Just because you cannot see the outcome of your work, the fruit, that does not mean that it was in vain or unimportant. In the fight for justice and freedom, or in the search for a lost pet, or writing a quick blog, or in the tiny gesture of feeling your feelings today, and not checking out- all the efforts count. If you pray, please say a prayer for the great grey cat, Papillion. Continue on dear ones, I got your back, and thanks for having mine. xholly


i love the jagger-ness of this.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

teacher

I taught drama to grammar school kids in los angles public school for a while. It was the most amazing job. I kind of figured out that I wasn’t a teacher as I was doing it, but that did not take away from the gratifying moments of magic fulfillment success, (actually those words suck in describing the feeling and the experience) of when kids got it, or where moved, or shined, or where a bit more secure, or truer to themselves, because of our interactions. How fantastic is that? My little students, sometimes in second grade, would respond to the work, the creativity, the truth of what we were doing and you’d see the physical change, they would beam, their inner light would shine through brighter. Wow. I was so lucky to get to have that experience.

I would leave there each time exhausted from working with kids all day and depressed because I really wanted a music career at the time and I was so far away from it. That all worked itself out, but the truth is you really have to be a special special person to be a good teacher, to want to be there and do what it takes. I moved on and got to do music the way I wanted for a while before putting it aside to be a mom. I have lived so many lives and have gotten to do so many things and have no regrets and am thrilled to be where I am right now, but again, am so lucky to have had that experience.

My students were 99% Mexican and one day I was subbing or for some reason I was completely off lesson, just teaching freestyle and I decided we would sing the Stevie Wonder song Black man, which talks about all the people of all colors that helped build this America. (Yes, he only mentions on woman and that story is for another day). I still brought with me the radicalness of this song and its words with me to the school. I felt like an outlaw. I felt free and alive and empowered as I played this song for my students and we sang it out together. We yelled it out, out loud and proud that it wasn’t just the white man whole built America! We yelled out Caesar Chavez’s name, a name they heard their families have pride in, we sang it out together in school. We sang about the brown man as well as all the other colors of men and one woman. We came together in the power of great music and we all shined a bit brighter that day. God bless all you great kids, thanks for letting me have the privilege of knowing you and working with you…

I have more to say but I am too tired, stay tuned.





First man to die
For the flag we now hold high (Crispus Attucks)
Was a black man

The ground were we stand
With the flag held in our hand
Was first the redman's

Guide of a ship
On the first Columbus trip (Pedro Alonzo Nino)
Was a brown man

The railroads for trains
Came on tracking that was laid
By the yellow man

We pledge allegiance
All our lives
To the magic colors
Red, blue and white
But we all must be given
The liberty that we defend
For with justice not for all men
History will repeat again
It's time we learned
This World Was Made For All Men

Heart surgery
Was first done successfully
By a black man (Dr Daniel Hale Williams)

Friendly man who died
But helped the pilgrims to survive (Squanto)
Was a redman

Farm workers rights
Were lifted to new heights (Caesar Chavez)
By a brown man

Incandescent light
Was invented to give sight (Thomas Edison)
By the white man

We pledge allegiance
All our lives
To the magic colors
Red, blue and white
But we all must be given
The liberty that we defend
For with justice not for all men
History will repeat again
It's time we learned
This World Was Made For All Men

Here me out...

Now I know the birthday of a nation
Is a time when a country celebrates
But as your hand touches your heart
Remember we all played a part in America
To help that banner wave

First clock to be made
In America was created
By a black man (Benjamin Banneker)

Scout who used no chart
Helped lead Lewis and Clark
Was a redman (Sacagawea)

Use of martial arts
In our country got its start
By a yellow man

And the leader with a pen
Signed his name to free all men
Was a white man (Abraham Lincoln)

We pledge allegiance
All our lives
To the magic colors
Red, blue and white
But we all must be given
The liberty that we defend
For with justice not for all men
History will repeat again
It's time we learned
This World Was Made For All Men

This world was made for all men
This world was made for all men
This world was made for all men
God saved His world for all men
All people
All babies
All children
All colors
All races
This world's for you
and me
This world
My world
Your world
Everybody's world
This world
Their world
Our world
This world was made for all men

Here me out...

Who was the first man to set foot on the North Pole?
Mattew Henson - a black man

Who was the first american to show the Pilgrims at Plymouth the secrets
of survival in the new world?
Squanto - a redman

Who was the soldier of Company G who won high honors for his courage
and heroism in World War 1?
Sing Lee - ayellow man

Who was the leader of united farm workers and helped farm workers
maintain dignity and respect?
Caesar Chavez - a brown man

Who was the founder of blood plasma and the director of the Red Cross
blood bank?
Dr. Charles Drew - a black man

Who was the first American heroine who aided the Lewis and Clark
expedition?
Sacajewa - a red woman

Who was the famous educator and semanticist who made outstanding
contributions to education in America?
Hayakawa - a yellow man

Who invented the world's first stop light and the gas mask?
- a black man

Who was the American surgeon who was one of the founders of
neurosurgery?
Harvey William Cushing - a white man

Who was the man who helped design the nation's capitol, made the first
clock to give time in America and wrote the first almanac?
Benjamin Banneker - a black man

Who was the legendary hero who helped establish the League of Iroquois?
Hiawatha - a redman

Who was the leader of the first microbiotic center in America?
- a yellow man

Who was the founder of the city of Chicago in 1772?
Jean Baptiste - a black man

Who was one of the organizers of the American Indian Movement?
Denis Banks - a redman

Who was the Jewish financier who raised founds to sponsor Cristopher
Columbus' voyage to America?
Lewis D. Santangol - a white man

Who was the woman who led countless slaves to freedom on the
underground rairoad?
Harriel Tubman - a black woman

Friday, July 27, 2012

moving

We are moving tomorrow. It is stressful. A place came up quick and we jumped on it. And packed our place of 10 years. We were also being audited this same month and had 30 days to get the tax stuff in the mail. I did it. I f*ing did it!! I will do it again tomorrow and we will settle in and have peace soon enough.

This last day is the hardest, as they say the darkest hour is right before the dawn. I am happy to be going through a physical challenge rather than an emotional one, although there are big emotions involved. I will miss this beautiful perfect treehouse up with the birds and blue sky and my dear dear neighbors, mainly Philip. I won’t miss carrying my sleeping 34 lb baby up 47 steps everyday.

This is only the 4th move of my life. I left the home I was born into and grew up in, in manhattan, to live in brookyl in college. Shortly after I moved to the west village with my sister and then the east village on my own, oh if those walls could talk... My husband lived there with me for a spell before we moved out here, to this very place where my daughter was born into and came to live at one day old. These walls ache with the rage and horror of our court case but also sing with the sweetness of a new baby that has grow into a strong toddler, and with the gratitude of our family being together, and with the strength of me and my husband coming more and more together each year, through the thick and the thin. I will miss you dear apt. and alas, more space awaits us. More life, more adventures with my dearests, more great memories and magical moments. Thank you , thank you thank you.

I am too tired and busy to write anything deeper. Love to you all, go easy, step light, stay free…

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Turn the ship around....

I had a string of bad luck, or so it seemed. I could say that my spiritual path took me down deep, for my healing, which is probably closer to the truth. Either way, it was a difficult patch for the last 2years plus, being a new mother and being in court with the threat of losing my daughter hanging over my head.

I got really poisoned by the ordeal. My thoughts reverted back to some old negative thinking, which is never good. There was little I could do about it but try and pray to have the negativity removed. I had so much joy as a new mom but sooo much struggle around negative thought patterns, like judgment and blame.

They say that when you have an injury, even after it has healed, it is your weak spot and that that injury gets recalled every time something else happens. If you have a bad back and get in a car accident, it is your back that takes the impact. If you have a bad knee, that is the issue that come up with every twist or fall. Not just your physical injuries, but your mental ones too. Often smokers go back to smoking when things go haywire. So it makes sense that my old wounds would get stirred up by the latest trauma.

I worked hard for many years not to dwell in blame and negativity. Changing my thought patterns from the ones I was raised with- to nwe ones that saw the universe as a safe and compassionate place- was long hard work but I did it! I so desired to trade in my critical eyes for loving ones. I loved having success in giving up those things, but my thought patterns reverted back to their old critical ways when things got too difficult and painful. I hated it but I could not stop it. I did not have the strength.

Anyway, I have worked and struggled and suffered through that same fucking injury, the same one I was born into, and I am starting to have success in turning this ship around. I live in more bliss, less shoula coula, fuck you. I have more compassion, more love, more peace, more joy. I have bad days but a great life. I have brief slips but easier recoveries.

It can be said that this is all for my greatest good, for my healing those wounds of darkness on deeper and deeper levels. While it was going on it felt unbelievable. Undoable. Impossible. Like I had had an accident where I lost my ability to walk and talk, spent decades relearning how to do it again and then had another accident that robber me of speech and walking. How do you go on, start again on one of the most difficult journey of your life? You just do, one easy step at a time. Softly and slowly. This has happened to me more than once, where I lost everything I had worked for, got knocked back down to Zero or lower and had to start again. But I am writing tonight to say that I did it. Just recently I started to notice that all the hard work was payimg off and that something had shifted. I am doing it and so can you, I write this to remind myself. Love to you all….


Sunday, July 15, 2012

road trip, AMERICA

Redding , CA

Roadtrip 2012: I find myself watching the end of a sunset at 9pm, purple mountain majesty. The sea of shades of purple, against a still light sky is breathtaking, it is hot like death valley up here. The sun is gone and the air still feels like a warm hug. The stillness and silence is divine. Strange beautiful country of ours.
My over ambitious idea to take my daughter on this trip was made harder by her getting her final molar. My girl teethes terribly. Each tooth had been a descent into hell. Some moms say “oh look a new tooth popped up”, yet I know three months before it shows up because of the random entirely sleepless nights with twitching and ear pulling, nose running and other telltale signs, finalizing with three nights of sleeplessness for me and her, lots of neediness and clinging, and a new tooth in the morning. I have been waiting for this last one to complete its cycle, as teething will finally be over, and so it came at the worst possible time, when we were already pulling her out of her comfort zone, sleeping in other people’s homes, spending time with less familiar faces and trying to be on vacation.
Poor baby was miserable and hitting and hurting. And we were out and about, driving for several hours a day, sleeping in strange beds. This was hard on everyone involved. Oh my! But she did it! She popped her last tooth and now I get to sit in the silent sunset and DECOMPRESS. Be kind to those you meet because you never know what they are going through. I write this to remind my self.
Strange beautiful country, these amazing summer nights of fresh air and cool breezes, hot nights and low flying birds, rainy mornings and hot coffee, pools and lakes, oceans and rivers, plains, and farms and amber waves of grain. I find it hard to believe that there are such fearful conservatives out there in this great brave land.
Today we were joined at the park by a church gathering of beautiful kind people. The woman wore their hair wrapped up and their bodies covered in long dresses and long pantaloons. They were sweet and they played with my kid but their goal was to save our souls. Doing good and behaving a certain way to save your soul seems so selfish a reason. I try to “do the right thing” so to speak to make the world a better place for us all. Saving your soul seems such a dated idea, jurasic technology. Oh well, god bless them. Life is so big and beautiful.live and let live people. Be in your joy, be over ambitious, pay the price, love the journey, transform your self from the bottom up. Love one another. Have empathy. Be here now. Trust. Continue. I wish you all the best.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Do your art.

Art changes lives

Art is the gateway drug to life, health and truth. It might not be enough, but it is a step in the right direction. So if you were on the fence about making something or saying something, just get it out there, you never know who it might touch. Do it for others, as service. When we do it for ourselves and our egos and for fame and fortune, it can really take us down. Sometimes I stop being an artist, a story teller, because it seems futile, self centered or I feel that I have outgrown it- but we all have stories to tell or visions to create and put forth and they are all important. Some people think art is the most important thing: write everyday, leave your family for it, die for it. I don’t feel that way. I think that we need to create it and we need to find balance and peace with it. Music saved my life a s kid but then it almost killed me. Often the thing that saves our lives and takes us to the next place will slowly start to kill us. When I was in fur, the rage was too big. I was on the train, making music making music making music, but I lost the joy and balance. So I stopped. But then I started again, different the next time around.
George Harrison was nervous about having My Sweet Lord be the single because of what people would think, because he would really be seen, be vulnerable. I would hear it on the radio as a kid, I didn’t think anything, other than it was great and it sounded like he was singing my name “My Sweet lord, HOLLY Ramos, Ramos ramos..” The thing is, no one is thinking that much about any of us. Thinking about what others are thinking is the trap. Continue on my friends, show yourself. Be in your truth. Tell the truth. Tell it beautifully. Be vulnerable. Tell it because it is a gift to be able to. Tell it because it can touch one person.….love to you all.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

how?

How do we endure our suffering? How do we act with grace when we are in severe pain, when our family is in pain?

When I was starting a family, my husband and I spend a great deal of time, money, and energy trying to get pregnant. It worked. And then I had a miscarriage. And then we tried again. It was so hard to re enter that place of hope and joy after having the devastating experience of being there once before, open hearted and thrilled, in the miraculous, only to have to endure the loss. Unlike other losses, where we do not get to have something we want, this one comes with its own DNA in you body, creating a complete physical, mental and spiritual challenge. It took months to recover, to process the pain, to try again, to have hope.

You can’t help wondering, How? And Why? When you are in the miraculous and it seems to get taken away, the world seems so cruel. It is easy to be with god and see the good when you get what you want. It is easy to find ease when you are lucky and good things come you way. The challenge is when the thing you want does not come your way. The challenge of life is how do we endure the hard stuff, because even the luckiest of us have to grieve. I have learned that the miraculous is indeed in the “getting” but it is also in the “losing,”, in the pain- a whole different gift, a whole deeper, richer blessing. Yes, I have learned that, but I still forget it when I am hurting. I write this to remind myself.

Recently, I have faced another situation, an almost unbearable one, in which I have to endure a very painful experience. For personal reasons, I consciously chose to endure it with kindness and respect to those involved. I succeeded in that respect but it was still utterly painful and I hurt for a long time afterwards. How do I face it again? How do I find the strength to get up and walk on? How do I have hope?

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes: that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death.
Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner's psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has, even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a hope in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that hope, he is doomed.

An example of Frankl's idea of finding meaning in the midst of extreme suffering is found in his account of an experience he had while working in the harsh conditions of the Auschwitz concentration camp:

... We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor's arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: "If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don't know what is happening to us."
That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory...."[6]

Let us walk on…


Sunday, June 24, 2012

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord

My worst nightmare is my biggest gift

Because it brings me to a new perspective, one I would have never gotten to otherwise.
That new perspective changes my life, my brain, and my body because it is all connected. I am completely different because of it. This is the biggest gift

I would like to remember what I am writing and stay in gratitude around the issues that feel so hard and scary, hopeless and helpless, pointless and despairing.

We all have a heavy load to carry, be kind to the fellow travelers because you have no idea. And also, the lower down you sink in life, the greater your capacity for empathy.

Sometimes I am forbidden from telling the details, the story that makes you able to relate to me, but trust me as I write broadly, that I am climbing the internal mount everest. I am right there with you if you are climbing to, and we will arrive at the summit and gain a new perspective and that is grand. So forgive me when I forget and complain. This is all grand. Life is grand and divine. Right here right now is sublime and magnificent. I am willing to forget everything I think I know about everything and start over brand new and free. And you can too. Much love to you all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

start by admitting from cradle to tomb... it isn't that long a stay..

What is great: dancing

Dancing is life changing, the expression of the magnificent, stronger than a locomotive, wilder than the ocean, free-er than the wind in the trees. Are you with me? Yes, I love to sing and make music and hear it, but dancing is the best. It is like laughing or sex or both, essential, divine. Great dancers: (I am forget so many so fogive this partial list but…) Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, gene Kelley, Viva Ruiz, Johanna Constanitne, Ebony Jett, Marti, Stacy Dawson, the work of Bob Fosse, great ballet dancers, break dancers, soul train, empire state soul club, Gene Kelly, Tina Turner and the Ikettes, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop… cause I’m loose.

I used to dj at the Greendoor. In the hey day, the point of life was to go out dancing every night, till the break of dawn. That was what I got paid to do. i was unconsciously manifesting pure joy which to countered all the other shit, kept me alive. I would spin vinyl on the earlier shift so I could dance for the rest of the night. For years we did the parties at illegal venues, places without liquor licenses or air conditioning. You wore as little as possible and got soaked to the skin. Sweating like that was never gross, it was like being an olympic athlete. You moght even go home with someone in that fantastic condition and that was perfect. Everyone was doing it. Great shoes were so important, not for comfort, but because they were the only thing that held up. I could dance all night long in six-inch heels, so problem. The hair and makeup that you spent so much time on was destroyed, but in a beautiful way. We all looked fantastic because we were young and alive and in the bliss of life.

Remember when Giuliani got elected and they brought back all these hideous corrupt cabaret laws from the 1920’s and dancing was illegal in Manhattan in non-zoned clubs. I do not know the zoning rules, but I think it was that in clubs on streets that ran east and west, dancing was illegal, north to south was fine. (I might be making that up. I write this blog on the fly, the only research I do is my memory). Random nonsense, (not my memory, but the laws). We would break the law every night. Beautiful criminals fighting the powers that be, our only weapons, our bodies! Crime ecstasy with every step.

Any one of you beauties remember that there was a kill switch at the top of the stairs at Coney Island High? If the cops came in, the door person, me or someone else, hit the switch causing the music downstairs to get cut off and replacing it with some waltzy shit. Killed the mood, tricked the cops, see ya later alligator. Once the cops were out the door, the dj started right back where they left off and so did the dance floor. Please don’t try to take away our pursuit of happiness, cause we won’t let you, motherf*&##ers.

Now in Los Angeles with a kiddie, I do it less often, but I still make it a priority to go dancing now and again. My dear friend who meets me in Santa Monkica to go dancing at Afro Funk has moved to Portland. What shall I do? Meeting in Santa Monica to go dancing was real dedication, the equivalent of living in the east village and going to Connecticut to dance. Typical Los Angeles ridiculousness. Talk about a drag, but I did it, cause I had to. I will find a new venue and a new crew, cause I have to. ‘Cause what good is sitting alone in your room? Come here the music play….



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ode to Joy

I was fourteen and out with a guy I liked. He was older, had a car, liked me too. It was a planned outing, but the word date seemed hideous and old fashion. There are no words to describe hanging out with someone you like. Language is ridiculous when you feel like this. Words make a mess, don’t they? The feelings were indescribable. Free and special and beautiful and alive and in pre sex, sexual energy. Here now! Let out of the cage of childhood, wild in the streets, autonomous, delirious, perfect and flawless. Alive and free.

As a little girl I would hold hands with my cousin and spin around and around in circles until we both got dizzy and fell on the floor laughing. That feeling. As a baby, when you get to run and laugh and fall just because you just learned how. That feeling. Do those events have specific names? No. Definitions aim to contain the experience, but some experiences are uncontainable.

We were in the West Village just walking around. It was dark out. We were looking in windows and drinking a beer out of a paper bag. I had on black bondage pants, white hightop pro keds and a leather mc jacket like the Ramones wore. A few months earlier my cousins and I had seen them in Creem magazine and called them the Ramonos. Ramone-Os. Where we got the extra “O” from I do not know. They were that new. No one had ever said that word to me before. I discovered them. Now I was one of them, in attitude anyway. My hair was ironed pin straight and spiky on top, like Joan Jett. I too did not care about my bad reputation, and I aint gonna change! I did not need to because there was a place out there in this fucked up world that I fit in, place where other people were as free in spirit and they opened the door for me to come in. This new world was brilliant. I walked around in it like it was mine and I felt the joy of life.

Then, you know how someone can get mad at you and you have no idea what just happened? Well that happened. The guy bought me a single red rose and handed it to me. He was just doing something he thought was nice or he thought I would like, or he thought he should do and that fucking ruined my night. First of all I did not want ANY confinement. I did not want to have to hold something, that is what pockets are for. My hands needed to be as free as I was. Now the magical energy was getting bottled up because it could not flow properly. Everything was off kilter. Danm it!

But more than the physical confinement, I felt a metaphysical one. I did not want to have a leash on, or a sign that I was claimed or a ring or a thing, or a rose. Yuck. Did this guy know who I was? Did he see me? Would a Ramone ever be caught dead holding a lame unopened red rose from a deli? Would Joan Jett? Seriously?

His little well meaning gesture wrecked my night. My teenage brain was thriving in the zone and then got sucker punched, slammed by some imperfection right outta left field. Ouch. I could not fix it. Feelings are big and teenage brains work in mysterious ways. The night ended with me watching him in a bloody fight in Washington Square Park. He was the one drawing the blood. Ah youth and male hormones. I tossed the rose in a trash can on the way back to the car.

I love you teenage Holly.


Friday, June 1, 2012

What is great about L.A?

Bottega Louie’s high ceilings, brilliant food and Parisian macaroons! The sea is so close, day trips and weekend trips to: Solvang with the kiddie! Yosemite! The desert, one of my fav places. The Living Dessert Zoo, near palm springs for the kiddie. Redwoods! Humming birds everywhere. Pools! Running through the sprinklers! Endless blue sky! Sunshine, which I never tire of, despite how much I LOVE the rain. I am addicted to the sun. I miss it after two days of grey. The smell of flowers everywhere, night blooming jasmine and all those other scents, peppery, smoky sweet and earthy. Having a car. Forced to learn to drive. Dancing at Afro Beat with friends. Summer clothes from India for the kiddie and for me. Neutra architecture abounding. mid century modern all around. Clifton’s cafeteria downtown. The integritron. Magical thinking. Agape. The observatory. Watts towers. Fountains. My husband, cat and daughter and our apartment. California living wih a California cat and a California baby! Crazy!


you can get it if you really want...

I am into practicing how to do emotional alchemy, changing one feeling into another. I am not talking about faking it, glossing over the truth, loving everyone in a superficial way, or “forgiving” solely because of a religious tenet. Those can be useful practices, but I am more concerned with going deep, being honest, feeling the feelings and then transmuting those deep strong feelings.

Sometimes it feels impossible to move the boulder of judgment (fear, rage, whatever it is), but it is not. Feel it first, give it voice. Then, keep trying to transform it, let it go, move past it, ask for the willingness, pray for the target, feel it and then try to go deeper into compassion for yourself and the target. Talk about it if you can, get a witness, get support. Move through the shit. (remember Winston Churchill said ‘if you are going through hell, keep going). There is an end. Urg!

It is a practice, like yoga, meditation, just keep coming back to it, try your best, and then the impossible happens and it shifts, slips away, turns into something else: freedom.

Today I ran into someone who I had not seen in over 2 years. She was around when I was going through, in vitro, miscarriage, the tedious pre-adoption process. She knows I have a two year old now. She saw me and said:

“I tell everyone, ‘eventually you will get what you want’ and I think of you. You are my inspiration.”

Wow. I got what I wanted after trying for years? Yep.

It is true, you will get it, get there. You, dear reader, will get that thing that you want. It may look different than you imagined. Stay open. Enjoy the ride.