Thursday, March 24, 2011

To: the exchange between gardeners of sorts

there is a way of speaking to God

bowed over a brown prayer rug

in the first light of the morning.

there is a way of waking the life in seeds

small enough to sprout faith,

in flood-rain and drought-days,

a way of growing past trouble

to blossom better in times to come

there is a way of time coming

only because it needs to

plants life into your chest

comes back and says that it needs you

to walk back with him

there is a way of walking backwards

into life again

back to the brown prayer rug of the soil

back to the first light of heaven

back to being the blossom of the seed you were buried to be

back to care of the sun and caress of the rain

back to the elements of the earth minus the pain

there is a way

of speaking to God

that it would be the conversation of a lifetime.

RIP Uncle Frank.

Copyright © 2011 Arielle John

Monday, March 21, 2011

To: asking and being given by the universe.

I just found this engaged couple that makes love through music. They have some beautiful conscious-raising music, and VIBES. ALSO, they have a FREE concert in the cafe of the Brooklyn Academy of Music on my birthday. I'm taking myself on a date. :D

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To: Vibrations Being More Than A Cell Phone Option.

(Photography by Arnaldo JJ, see more of his work on )

So that essay I had been frantically seeking out in the last few days had been sitting in my reading packet all this time. Might want to delve into that magic before I go sleep.

I was looking back on some entries I had hand-written back in 2005 and saw how much I put emphasis on the sacredness of open-mics, the open-heartedness of sitting in circles around floating stages, the ritual of acoustic guitars and dejembes. We always call it 'vibes', and I took that concept for granted. It's the way Aristotle breaks down binary forms for us. You know something exists, because you know what the absence of it means. I have come to know what the absence of that means, and now I know what 'vibes' did to impact my life as both performer and audience.

Maybe it's the way most stages are here. Very fourth wallish and separatist. It becomes all about you and what little talent you have and not just about your physical closeness or your ability to embrace your audience and them to hug you back on that level. It lacks love, it lacks common thread tying in the room, it lacks warm colours, it lacks brimming energy, spontaneity.....vibes. I think drums store heartbeats, and if they're absent we're not breathing right. Guitars are blood vessel strings, people in circles spin soul, and the performer is forced into a serving, giving of oneself type love.

Maybe it's the benefit of a small island. People are familiar, we can generate the home atmosphere as the need arises. Here is plastic, distant and impersonal. The first instrument I bought when I came here was a drum. I only use it for Church when Trinidadian priests fly over on mission. I know I needed a drum to keep that part of myself alive. There is an alchemy of live roots music, that knocks on your chest and says yes, I am already what is inside of you. A certain dance that is difficult to control once your body wakes to it. I miss that. The most.

p.s. Vagina Monologue opens on THURSDAY for two days ONLY!!! You can vibes me for tickets, come out and support the effort, come out and bless my beginnings.

What I'm on about? Check out this music.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

been singing this song all evening today.

To: my body as a Temple.

Tonight makes me feel lazy, not too sure why either. I've been looking for Wole Soyinka's essay on 'The New African after the Cultural Encounter', as a matter of fact I'm not even sure of where to look. Looks like a heck of an interesting read as he addresses the process and bipolarity faced when the traditionalist moves into a fully western location and what that divide creates in one's mind. Essentially what all our Cambridge and Oxford-educated leaders of the post-independence era and present study abroad students like myself had/have to deal with. It would be wonderful to see how he makes sense of that schizophrenia.

Tomorrow and Friday are expected to have sunny 60-degree (16 deg. Celsius and beyond) weather. Who would have ever thought that I would find myself rejoicing at 60-degree weather. This makes me excited.

I've been given two major roles in the Vagina Monolouges as of this week. The one part that everyone tires to get. I pray that I can pull it off. I doesn't really associate prayer with vaginas though right? But God made me Woman. He created my body this way, and the way I offer myself and my abilities back to Him is always a way of prayer. He made my sexuality. He formed my consciousness in the defense of those who can't defend themselves, Women included. So it works. I think this will be my bautismo performance. Knee-high high-heel boots et al.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To: the face behind words.

John Charles Beddoe. My great grandfather. The scribe. The child is unknown, but lucky enough to be in the shot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To: the seed of a Saint in Us.

A sistren sent this to me today, and it's beautiful. So...I'm sharing :)

"May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us."

— St. Thérèse de Lisieux

To: 1959 meeting me one Thursday night.

Monday, March 14, 2011

To: the spiraling of my haircase.

They have a real, live organ in the Church here. The organ player gets paid for playing in the mass. Essentially, he gets paid for going to church. There is a single rasta drummer who sits beside him, the only thing to keep tempo for us, and prays with his hands clasped near his belly-button, diamond shaped, with aligned thumbs and index fingers. He reads the scriptures from his iphone and speaks and drums to himself before and after church.

After the organist near-destroyed my solo by taking it about ten octaves too high, I start on my way home after church, and a petite Haitian young woman stops and asks me about my hair regimen. She claims her English is not too good, so we end up having most of our conversation in French. I am amazed by how fluent I still am. I take her to a nearby pharmacy to show her the oils I use and we continue walking home together. Only to realize that she lives a single house away from me.

I spent a long time yesterday remembering Martinique and Axelle and her family. How they live on a mountain-side with the capital at their feet and a Jazzy-Zouk carrying the sea-breeze on a Friday evening. I remember the blue-framed window without burglar-proof, the shower with no curtain, the green-peas, the fish-pie, the bare-skin of the beach. The old slave barracks, rum-houses, montagne Pele and women in their yellow scarves. I miss the vibrancy of the place.

I've come across a document written by my great-grandfather in 1959, apparently he used to write a lot of correspondences both in English and Chinese. He spoke on being a businessman and the hardship of it, on the scattered seed from his loins and the generations growing from it, and their beginnings in South Trinidad. My focus for a years now has been to learn about his own father, Joseph (obviously not his original name) and what it was like to come to Trinidad in 1863. I would like to write on that at some point. I did a while ago, but I want to revisit the idea.

I fear for the generation of Trinidadian women who ten years from now will be at a loss for love and their spouses and fathers. Men are on a steep decline where I come from. That is not the type of sleep that they can wake dreams from. The real-type men are even more scarce. Rare specimen in a field of dirt.

Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children, and your sons, and your sons.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To: the almost of Spring.

It's an near-spring night and I wonder if the sky outside is as clear as it had been on my late walk home yesterday. It was beautiful. I felt my heart say something like "thank you brooklyn". It finally wasn't too cold to look upwards, bare-necked and hatless. The world is beginning to look familiar again.

Commie Torres, an extremely talented young man who I met at Trinity East High School a few years ago was shot last Monday night in Arima. After dealing with the shock, it really made me think on how it's like everyday we're walking among the potentially dead. It's a morbid kind of thought, but truly how does one go from being so full of breath to cold body? I remember being chained back to back with him in a performance and how life happens off stage and suddenly that other body, that sturdy back, that web of hair doesn't exist anymore. It's humbling. Actors know about living in moments. What happens when moments stop living then? Warrior, Rest in Peace.

I am working on embracing my development as a woman. What it means to now have all of relationship, education and career all at once. I'm still working out the balancing act, but I think I'm managing relatively well. I'm also working on a college production of the Vagina Monolouges for the end of this month, and a spring concert with the church choir that the prodigal daughter returned to. I am trying to be as healthy as possible in the midst of the fasting and minimal gym time. I am trying to embrace life and confront it. I sometimes feel like it's not hugging me back, but squeezing the life out of me. Hugs are nice though. Don't think I've hugged another human for at least 3 months now. True Story.

I've realized that I could be quiet at Trinidad and still get around and be normal. My being quiet in New York is a survival no-no. I've realized that because I'm so quiet and opinionated that people just sort of let you be in your corner, kind of thing. You are officially a 'troubled' child. I'm not anti-social...or shy. I just think that generally people talk too much useless rubbish. So I avoid the vocal. Of my very few performances here, I think they were that impactful because I'm not your typical black loud woman. Unassuming...and that works for me....but it def. worked better at home.

I'm about to travel one hour into the future. Clock switch.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To: the strange way the word "Eulogy" could feel in your mouth

To: waking up, nose before eyes on mornings

To: the brew of Hong Wing coffee and mini bakes called 'breggedaire'

To: the wooden rocking chair shifting back and forth in the living room

To: wanting to watch meh cartoons during 700 Club, and never being able to bargain with you.

To: the miracle of cherry juice from the backyard to the blender

To: your fingers, not being able to comb meh hair from arthritis

To: having to write this and not being able to be there

To: the length of your doll-curled hair

To: the legacy of Bigen hair-dye in our family

To: the doilies, from your crochet

To: how much age can slow you down

To: the caraille in your plate

To: the way life could taste bitter sometimes

To: the creases on either side of your eyes

To: watching your tablets increase,

To: "My darling you are growing older"

To: the belly-deep laughter in your smiles

To: the sight, of you in the gallery every afternoon

To: watching your transition from walk to wheels to wings

To: the way you sing "Mother's Eyes"

To: The way your eyes look like my mother's

To: going for pension after midday mass on Wednesdays

To: the lesson on vex money

To: making me think I could make pastelle successfully

To: the last time you hugged me from your bed

To: the annoying tangle of mosquito nets

To: the end, of an era in you.

To: wanting that you rest now,

To: wanting to thank you

and To: falling asleep only to rise on that Morning.

To: the grandmother we had in you.

-Arielle M John

Copyright © 2011