I was invited to read in this poetry and spoken word show. The theme is “Fearlessness,” and so I wrote this sonnet:
“Fearlessness” is the chosen theme, you say?
The word—alone—strikes fear in this arch heart.
I fear many things: traffic, tooth decay,
Bears, the acid skin of some men, just to start.
And, in the night, stiff straight, I lay awake,
Because it was chasing me. What was? It!
It was. But that’s when…I take It by the throat
And…I snuggle It close, damned hypocrite.
This is my life, and I am living it.
Day by day by day by day by day by…
It is mine. Mine. Fear: my bitch, my trinket.
When the audience is ready to play…
Fear-less-ness, you say? I want fear. I eat
It for breakfast, and for ev’ry meal and treat.
May 27, 2014
Natalia Eristavi, 21, emigrated from the country of Georgia to Southern California with her mother and sister when she was in elementary school.
In 2010, Eristavi began Swing dancing at Atomic Ballroom in Irvine, California. In 2012, she also became a dance instructor there. Although she has been drawing since she was a small girl, her two passions, dance and art, remained separate until she was asked to create comic strips for the Atomic Ballroom website weekly blog. Eristavi has developed a charming, unique style that is both witty and whimsical. Her comics offer a humorous take on partner dancing blended with subtle insights into human nature.
She said, “The offer [to draw these comics] appealed to me. Considering the amount of cynicism that floats through my head on a daily basis, I could definitely see myself spending my afternoons in the backyard drinking tea and throwing miniature ink dancers into awkward situations. As long as feet continue to be stepped on and jaws continue to be elbowed, Atomic Comics will live on.”
We definitely want to see more. Here is a taste for now: Continue reading
For a decade, I had an extremely unique car. He made everyone smile. At least once a day, my Little Buddy the T-bird made at least one other person besides me happy, and sometimes many more. I loved him. He was faithful, loyal, and brave through 114,000 miles and a decade together. He had a powerful V-8 engine under his hood, and he was 252 horsepower-full of fun. He was a rare gem with white-and-black leather seats and a smooth-to-the-touch, ivory stick shift. He even got excellent gas mileage and immaculate emissions reports.
I have included a photo here of the original 1955 mint-green model, the very first Ford Thunderbird. My Little Buddy was made in this signature color: Only 50 in this color were in the 11th generation of T-birds, the last series, which was produced only from 2002-2005, and I had one of them. I saw another mint-green signature model from the same series only one time, up in L.A. at the corner of Sunset and Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills. I waved enthusiastically; he did not wave back. Snob, I thought. I had my Little Buddy, and he had me; we were not alone.
Sadly, my Little Buddy was struck down in his prime on March 2, 2014. He has been mourned and very much missed. I had hoped we would be together for another decade, but unfortunately Ford (absurdly) decided not to support these little beauties, and no parts were available to rebuild him. He was finally relinquished to the insurance company, but not before I laid myself across his hood in the parking lot of the Ford dealership body shop and wept like a B movie queen. My only consolation is that his engine—like donating a heart—likely went to a Jaguar in need. The stereo system—like a kidney—went to my brother’s family. Continue reading
Linda Kaye lives in the Mt. Washington area of Los Angeles in the hills east of downtown, famous for L.A.’s very first museum—the Southwest Museum. This area of Los Angeles is also currently home to many musicians, artists, and community and political activists, including writer Jack Smith from the LA Times.
Kaye is a native Angelino who grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She claims to be both a first-generation Valley Girl, and The Original Hipster. Educated at Antioch University and Cal State Long Beach in psychology and social work, her day job is working as a psychotherapist for an out patient mental health clinic, and as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Social Work. Linda also loves to travel. She shared, “Just tell me where you want to go, and I’ll join you! Hawaii, Buenos Aires, Thailand, Israel, France, Greece, Italy – all have seen my happy face. I’m down with all future adventures.”
In April 2014, Linda told Archive 405 about how she makes poetry:
How did you start writing poetry?
In February 2012, The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts was hosting a tribute show to celebrate, Don Cornelius, famed host of Soul Train, who had committed suicide a month before. My then neighbor, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf was spinning the music and videos for the show, and he invited me to attend. While walking into the venue, I saw a very handsome, Johnny Depp-looking man enter before me. We began talking and he turned out to be a writer/poet, who shared that he hosted a monthly open mic poetry salon. After going to it, I was instantly inspired to write. My first attempt was a poem titled “20 Years Left” which was written to the song, “Whatever Lola Wants,” from Damn Yankees. Continue reading
Letter from the Editor: Talking Out of My Pie Hole by Lisa Montagne
Anne Frank wrote in her diary during World War II, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” I have to agree. There is a lot of misery in this world, no matter who you are or where you live. Yes, we all have to deal with the crap that life sends us, and we should make it a mission to help others deal with theirs, but who are we not to enjoy the beauty in the physical world that remains around us? From glorious sunsets on the horizon, a daily gift from nature, to a beautifully wrought piece of furniture, gloriously rendered painting, or carefully composed bite of food, the work of loving human hands, the material world is ours to enjoy. It seems ungrateful not to.
If you asked me, say 10 years go, if I were a materialistic person, I’d have said absolutely, categorically not. No way. Happiness comes from within, from relationships with others, and from doing good for others. I still firmly believe this with no doubts, despite many set backs. But, I now have a slightly modified point of view, which goes something like this: Life is short, and it should be savored—morsel-by-morsel. Continue reading
Splash! For the first time in a couple of hours my eyes are actually wide open. As a paralyzing shiver rolls through each and every one of my veins, I ask myself, why am I not on my boat? Why don’t I have a drink in my hand? Just a moment ago I was partying my brains out with people I consider my best friends, alongside the closest thing that I have found to true love in the past 7 years, which I pay through the nose for—sometimes literally. In all directions, except for one, I see nothing but darkness. In the direction of the coast, I can see lights. We must be 5 miles, give or take, from the harbor. Man, is it freezing! What the hell happened? I must have leaned back a little too far on the railing along the starboard side of the bottom deck. Cigar in one hand, drink in another. Shit. The yacht is not turning around. Nobody saw me. They couldn’t have. They were all two stories above me while I was enjoying a few moments alone. Continue reading
In anthropology, there is a definition of culture that describes it as both abstract concepts and the physical tools by which human society adapts to nature and nature to human society (“Culture,” pars. 5-6). Whether these physical tools aid in the gathering of resources or provide a barrier between humans and the elements, these physical tools—these material objects—serve a vital function for civilization. As such, some form of materialism is necessary for human societies to thrive.
Furthermore, materialism as a system of thought can be traced back to the 4th century B.C.E and the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus. This belief system holds that “the nature of the world [is] entirely dependent upon matter, [which is] the fundamental and final reality beyond which nothing need be sought”(“Materialism,” par. 1). This definition, though extreme, coincides with the reality that human society depends upon, and thus defines itself by, material goods to some degree. More currently, however, the word materialism refers to the importance of material goods in society, implying that the concern that materialistic people have for material objects is excessive (Goldsmith, par. 2). This negative connotation is not without basis. Materialism has evolved in modern society into over-consumerism, the consumption of material goods disproportionately in excess of the resources available to the consumer to acquire goods and beyond what is strictly necessary to live (par. 3). So, despite its necessity in society as a whole, in practice materialism has resulted in several negative consequences that plague modern society and not only damage society in the short term but are also not sustainable in the long term.
My Granddad encouraged me to “art,”
so my muse is the crooked portrait of Aunt Margaret,
cradling a Siamese cat,
that’s tacked to the wall of wine.
Lilac traces the room with a hint of smoke.
According to the wisdom of half-hour American sit-coms, most “normal” women are either not interested in sex, or they use it as a control mechanism. The usual scene on these shows plays out something like this: A middle-aged husband and wife are sitting up in bed, reading or watching TV. The man tries to bargain for the sex that his wife—naturally—is withholding. She feigns a “headache,” and hilarity ensues. Ha, ha. At the end of the scene, the woman looks like she is in charge, but she also looks like a giant prude, while the husband looks like a humiliated child who is denied his lollipop after dinner.
Perhaps in the 1980s this was a new kind of trope, but in 2014 it is more than tired. There are too many problems with this scene for me to address here; for example, in real life, it is actually much more likely to be the middle-aged man with the “headache” in this scenario. You would think given the frequency with which Viagra commercials fly through the air that people would pick up on this, but, no, even the men in Viagra commercials are horn dogs—even when they aren’t. The crux of television often getting sex scenes so wrong, especially in scenes involving characters over the age of 40, stems from the writers of these sit-coms and television commercials, who are mostly 20-something men who have no real idea what goes in the bedrooms of people over 40. Still, people watch and laugh. Continue reading