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you can still call me rj
27 September 2011 @ 03:25 pm
The day I fell in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day
Day's I fall in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day

I swam in the river
ooh it made me shiver
sun was warm
your heart's so warm

ooh I'd like your touch
makes me feel so much
like that burning sun
love for everyone

The give of the ground
silent sounds all around
my feet on the rocks
nobody talks....talks...talks

The day I fell in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day
Day's I fall in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day

ooh it makes me wonder
when we did fall under
I knew it was you
did you know it too?

we danced to the lake
with our love we could make
our dreams come true
yes i knew, yes i knew

our love swims in fresh water
playful as an otter
staying up all night
never felt so right
the trees and the stars
do you think that it's mars?
free rent in my tent
awake at the lake
get your pancakes on
at the break of dawn
I'll canoe with you
wherever to

The day I fell in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day
Day's I fall in love with you 's a cold bright day
a cold bright day
a cold bright day
you can still call me rj
01 February 2011 @ 04:46 pm
It's nice to be with someone I know will never leave me.
I'm opening an Etsy shop for jewelry and belt buckles I make, but I have to blog about it to get people interested, but I've forgotten how to blog. This is practice blogging. blerg
you can still call me rj
22 July 2010 @ 05:41 pm
"So do boys and men announce their intentions. They cover you like a sarcophagus lid. And call it love"

"Part of my interest was zoological. I'd never seen a creature with so many freckles before. A Big Bang had occurred, originating at the bridge of her nose, and the force of the explosion had sent galaxies of freckles hurtling and drifting to every end of her curved, warm-blooded universe. There were clusters of freckles on her forearms and wrists, an entire Milky Way spreading across her forehead, even a few sputtering quasars flung into the wormholes of her ears."

"Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to know how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar."

I hosted my first couchsurfers, two sisters from France, three years ago. Sophie was reading this book. She praised it highly. People have been recommending it since, but only today did I remember it was Sophie who made the space in my brain for it to fill.

middlesex by eugenides
you can still call me rj
22 July 2010 @ 05:20 pm
the brightness is blinding.
the blindness is brightening.
you can still call me rj
21 July 2010 @ 05:22 pm
each cut.
you can still call me rj
29 May 2010 @ 11:09 pm
Walking down a hill, Holland, after dawn, to a train. Wind rocks the leaves, trees and the soft sunlight dance upon them. Air is liquid, the street a crystal oxygen river. Other folks are rare, the traffic sparse. Up ahead, the swinging back of an Asian boy, now grown to be aware and comfortable on his own.
Suddenly my feet falls are gently. The concrete is done and the bricks have begun. TAP CLAP say my shoes to the bricks. CLAP TAP say the bricks to my shoes.
The boy has paused in confounding interest. Turns round, eyes to the bricks, scattered with dozens of little copper pennies. Face searches for answers, finds none. Drops down to one knee and collects them. Such an innocent sound! Tiny cents scraping shady bricks when clean young hands pry them up in eager astonishment.

How weak the lights of men are burning
in the shadow of our sun's earthen night.
you can still call me rj
24 May 2010 @ 06:07 pm
I've decided to start blogging about my job as a canvasser because it is so interesting. I have so many conversations about the world's problems with so many different sorts of people on the streets of Boston.

I stand in the sidewalk and instantly judge the people walking towards me. I ask myself what kind of person they are. Are they alone? Are they smiling? Do they make eye contact?
"Hi! How are you?" :D
Do they smile? Do they make eye contact? Do they answer?
"Do you have a minute?" :D
98% of people do not stop. But sometimes they do.

Notables today were Gary, early 30's, dressed in a striped buttondown, semi professional attire. He works for the EPA on air quality. He says the best air is probably in northern California. He also says he cannot afford to sponsor a child who doesn't have clean water to drink because he is saving all his money to buy a condo because it's a pain to have to pay rent all the time. Gary admits to being a douchebag, but is in good spirits about it.

Also Larry, 50's, in a group of people sightseeing with the usual tourist look about them. Larry appreciates the work I'm doing out here, but he just lost his wife, isn't working, and can't afford $22 a month. He's from the San Francisco area, and says the economic depression has been a lot worse for people here on the east coast. I tell him that the organization I work for actually had an increase in new sponsors during that time.

A young girl from Haiti, one of the many extremely nice people I've met from Haiti, wearing blue eye shadow. She approaches me and traces a halo around her head. As I speak to her she softly strums an air guitar to the music emanating from Borders. She is a student and can't afford to help, but she is a lovely light fairie.

Tom. Tom should have signed up. Tom was a businessman eager to learn more. He had previously been a sponsor and put down his briefcases to give me his full attention. Tom wanted to learn more, on his own.

A young black boy who knows what a good cause this is, knows it's good, knows people in developing countries are so much more kind, can't give because of the money. I understand that I believe them when they are sincere in the wanting to help, but I never believe them when they tell me they can't afford it. This boy was very nice, and I won't berate him on the subject, but I do not understand how you can walk on with your DSW Shoes bag and tell me you can't afford it. The words are hard to come out but the truth is you don't want to spend the money you have on someone who needs what it can buy more than you.

That is the easy way out for you and it is called greed.
you can still call me rj
01 May 2010 @ 01:21 am
You don't have to change who you are to communicate with another person.
you can still call me rj
01 May 2010 @ 01:19 am
- I started writing this one a week ago and never got around to finish it. But I have to post it because its stagnancy is bothering me.-
When I see an adult with a child, I think, "I am so glad I don't have one."

I'm now hypersensitive to the cultural differences associated with child development. My entire time in Senegal I lived with host families, all with at least a minimum of a half dozen kids, usually a lot more. This was the most time I'd spent with children in my entire life, bar none. I quickly realized how much more mature, capable, independent, and overall mentally healthy these children were compared to the American children I'd previously witnessed. The main causal difference is obviously parenting style. There is not one mother in the whole country who would call herself a "full time mom". That phrase now makes me laugh and be disgusted. Senegalese women work harder than just about anybody on the planet, I'm pretty sure. Children aren't raised by their mother, they're raised by their mother and their sisters and their brothers and their aunts and their uncles and their cousins and their dads and their nieces and their nephews and their other cousins and their adopted siblings and their in-laws and their friends and their housekeepers if they have them and their wits. Mom isn't spending all her time on her kids, she's got her sister's kids, and her brother's kids, and her little sisters and brothers, and all the other kids that hang around too.

Family. It's like the most basic thing a person would understand and I feel like I had no idea I didn't know what it meant until I saw people live -as a family-. I'd never felt what it was until I was there and I was -family-. I was telling my Wolof brother Medoune about how when my mother's parents died, she and her brother split up the money, each was unhappy with the what they got, and stopped speaking. He just plain knew, "That's crazy!"
"Family is family, you can't break that. I might be friends with somebody one time, and something happens, and that friend isn't a friend anymore, but Family is Family. If you're my sister, you're always my sister, no matter what."

I read on a blog the other day, "co-sleeping". First I had to realize what that referred to - sleeping in the same bed with you infant/toddler/child - and when I did realize that it was the new lingo in affluent forward thinking child raising lingo, I checked a scoff.

Why was it that my first reaction was to smile at my 20 year old brother Lamine and his naievity when he plainly stated he slept in his mother's bed even when I wasn't using his room? Why? Why didn't I understand fully how absolutely wonderful it is for a grown man to love his mother as the goddess she is?
you can still call me rj
Things I'm Learning about Myself

I feel like a baby.
I can't even type.
There's electricity.
If I can't see, I can turn on a light and see.

I lived without electricity.

That didn't seem like giving up much for me. Things filled in the vacancies. I would be occupied by things that seemed really important. Like laundry and keeping clean. But I spent so much time not doing a damn thing. I read a bit. Sometimes I would read for days straight. The most exciting doings were trips out to other areas. But trips just to Mbour, 30 minutes away were such an adventure!

Maybe I feel like a baby because people in America are babied. It's so easy to do everything. If you want something, you can have it right away. Anything. It's like the purpose of civilization is to make living easier. Is that a good thing? Why did I like living away from that so much? My roommate Jeff started a conversation the other night about how people are really interested in his decision to leave a good solid job at a large company to work for himself and try to make a living as a musician. He related it to the economic downturn, how people were forced to give up a lot of things when they realized they just couldn't afford it. Then people realized they didn't need all the shit they'd been paying for for so long, and I think maybe it made them happier to realize they don't need as much as they thought they did.

I'd had that kind of craving and realization before, trying to live a low-impact lifestyle, and being extremely cheap in general. Living in Senegal made it easier for that to happen. Less is available. There's not temptation to buy a whole lot of shit you don't need, beyond souvenirs. And maybe that's why tourism is such a big boom for underdeveloped countries. People from the North are so used to buying excess on a daily basis, they don't even realize they do it, when they go to a place like Senegal, where there isn't all that excess, but there is this beautiful tapestry this vendor is showing you, and all these beads and necklaces this lady has for sale, and that really unique leather bag, and those bright fabrics you wont find anywhere else in the world, and for so cheap!, that of course you want to buy that.

And good for the native people who saw that desire and that money. The easiest way to make money there is to get it from a white person.

In America, you can be whatever you want to be.
When I was young, that was cliché, but in recent years I'm seeing the absolute truth in it and it's making me more appreciative of what America, and I guess I mean in large the government, driven by citizens, offers its' citizens. In Senegal, you can be whatever you want to be, if. If you can find the resources and get over the million hurdles that are blocking your path. In America, there are hurdles as well, but they pale in comparison at the scale of opportunity. There is no comparison really, two different worlds, two different civilizations. Want to go to another planet? Try Africa first.

Another thing I'm realizing is how much the weather affects a civilization's way of life. In Senegal, it's dry and sunny for most of the year. I would get up every single day and know that it would be sunny and hot out. In the rainy season, things pretty much come to a halt. When it rains, it pours, and pours and pours every day. There's not much progress to be made when your house is flooded and the roads are flooded. And that's the whole country, the whole region. There will never be enough Red Cross workers, there will never be enough sandbags.

Being back in the North, I am continually in awe of all the intricate workings of services and technology. That there are so many people occupying so many jobs. There are people who know so much about things I didn't even know existed. For example, signing up online for a gym membership and all the small print that is written. Somebody wrote that for that one legal purpose for gyms. Somebody had to get the gym to be successful enough that it needed a website, somebody had to figure out what you needed to put on an online contract, somebody needed to write the code for the website, somebody had to provide the website, the customer service, the phone lines, the real estate, the whole internet! And there are a thousand gyms in this city alone. There is a service for everything! There are so many jobs!

I left my aluminum water bottle in Louly Ngogom. Anybody who knew me the past few years knows I go everywhere with that thing. I dropped it in Yoff one day when I was walking to Nas (Maimouna) and Sam's (Salimata's) house with Ako, to plan Rebecca's (Yacine's) surprise birthday party. The insulated plastic cap broke, the styrofoam exposed. I snapped it back in place so it held water, but the insulating quality was never the same again. When I got to Louly, and stayed hours each day out in the fields, 16 ounces of water wasn't enough, I needed to use a big Kirene plastic bottle. Packing for leaving, I left it. I knew there'd be better versions where I was going. Something not broken, something easier, with some nifty quality, like a carabiner attachment.

I got home and found it, a CamelBak Insulated Stainless-Steel Better Bottle - 17 fl. oz., with the "Angles" decoration. Perfect.

It's a baby bottle.
It's an aluminum baby bottle with a carabiner attachment.
I am a baby.
I can't even drink.