Tag Archives: incest

to be real: for twenty twelve

Dear Readers,

This past Wednesday I went out to dinner with a few friends, this macrobiotic spot by Union Square, and after we finished the delicious fish soup and seaweed, one sister pulled out a deck of cards.  Tarot cards, fairy cards, fortune cards, however you call it, we all did it, staying put at the table till they turned the Christmas tree lights off, letting us know it was time to be up.  One of the cards I pulled said, “Be honest with yourself.”  But when you’ve learned to lie so well, how then do you get back to being honest with yourself?  So I wrote this poem last night.  And before I share it with you, I want to let you know that I am chairing a panel on Cinema and Law for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference coming up, and yeah, I’m still writing, but just not blogging or tweeting as much.  Maybe I will get back to this practice regularly, or maybe I am simply transitioning away.  Either way, thank you for all your comments and for reading. 🙂

To Be Real

whatever happened to a dream deferred

does it turn into the sun

glowing behind a perpetual cloud

called the soul conflicted


what does it mean to be honest with myself

does it mean to shake forth the silver studded bullets of my dreams

through the lattice vision of these eyes

into my palms upturned before me

awaiting the message

ready to build

to be honest?  with myself?

honesty was never an option.

honesty was always my rock.

growing up being honest with myself

would have split me into a million pieces

one for every day

two for every hour

three for every minute

four for every second

new selves ever blooming

ones that had never ever been defeated

that had never been raped

never even been molested

and so never had to lie

because nothing had happened

not to them


being honest with myself

that there was a me who was being raped, molested

hawked, touched, blamed, neglected, forced, tricked

and that it was the same me who was forever drawing

rainbows, suns, clouds, birds, hearts overflowing off the page

I have hated myself

I have loved myself

in exquisite balance

enough to stay alive, knocking down world class goals

enough to stay loving, plummet and resurrect all the way


I learned to lie, to cover up the signs, subtlest of deceptions

calculations beyond my years

leaving a trail

covering all tracks

both at the same time

when you learn this way

about the inside skin of truth

how far is the journey to honesty with self?


being honest with myself means

I don’t know why I am fighting this fight

I don’t know what this fight is about

except I am fighting for my life, the light

is righteous and deserves to live

is an arrow shaped cloud with rainbow flecked tail feathers

is heat in a clear pool of cold

I fight even in my dreams I fight

I ebb and flow through depression like a monkey swings trees

waking life galaxies to filter through before coming into stride

being honest with myself means understanding I’m still alive

and forgiving myself for knowing how, even back when

when time stood still and patience reigned as an eight headed demon


being honest with myself

I don’t know how to fight this fight

speculation fills my coffers with fools gold

should I, you should, we must, you can’t, hurry up

words pound against my skull, numb me to my skill

words pin me to myself, until I am a bulls eye full of darts

it never starts

and it don’t stop

the musical snakeskin I don and shed

chameleon finding colors to blend into a colorless world

being honest with myself

just be yourself and you’ll be fine

but they don’t tell you how to get there


is not a simple place to reach

it is a path, it is a place, I am space

energy rotating, lp’s in a crate


being honest with myself

is not filling journals with lists

is not focusing on the limits

is not doing everything every day

is not thinking my way to truth

is feeling my way to the sound booth

eggshells soft against my cheek

they know I sing when I speak

is picking up my pen

is turning the pages of a book

is flipping thru stages of how I look

is catching hold of the golden thread

that bread crumb trail of who I am

i find it where all the birds are

angels flying between me and the sun

run through me with winged shadows

like im the one

being honest with myself.



roopa singh


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international women’s day: i wish us courage

dear readers,

i swear, i used to love march in the bay area. international women’s day meant acting in loco bloco plays at the women’s building, meant butta and mango were extra hype, meant the empowering women of color conference, which i’ve helped to organize at uc berkeley.

and i still love international women’s day here in nyc. here, iwd meant crisp, near spring basketball at the essex street playground, meant focusing on my arc, my wrists, meant harlem and crossing guard conversations, meant arabic coffee and cinnamon tea, meant thumbing thru “our bodies, ourselves,” a women’s health book that my homeboy/girl is in. international women’s day in nyc meant a walk with her/him through central park, basketball dribbling the whole time, tracing our hopes and fears into edges of the jacqueline onassis lake in central park, bringing the sharp edges of highrises into rippled water relief, the cast down shadow of the horizon blessedly softened by every lake.

too many times today i heard the media talking/writing about rape, in honor of international women’s day. but those of us who’ve been there know that it’s an every day, every breath struggle. and maybe, just on this one day, it’s not our burden to hash it thru so singularly. we should talk about the public health epidemic known as rape more than on this day. and hell, i’ll risk it, it is carnaval, it is mardi gras, and women we deserve to celebrate, dance, move and shake. let’s talk about sexual violence on election day, at the board meetings, when the bell rings to signal both the stock markets open and the meditators to focus on our breath. then we can talk about those vampire souls, the ones who try as they might can never truly infiltrate you with their guilt, their lying and shallow grief. the perpetrators bear a sadness that would hollow out the space underneath our eyes, cause the muscles to pull back under the sheaths of our very organs, oh but victory is more than to talk. it is to feel. feel past the fear, past the vendetta. it is to hone. hone spiritually, physically, mentally. may we have the courage to speak up, and to feel. every minute of every day. engaged.

happy international womens day,

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death notes from la rumba in spanish harlem: dedicated to miguel piñero

dear readers,

this piece combines prose with poetry.  it is based on a true story called last night.  🙂


last night was la rumba up in spanish harlem.

her feet


burn into wings

fly on the heels of music

turn shoulders into spears

she is cutting through fear

and landing on the beat

of his drum


october, the time of dia de los muertos, a south and central american tradition of honoring the ancestors who have passed.  october, and i am celebrating eight years free from the living death of incest.

frida impaled

i bleed like you

on the dancefloor

death rising with the night

music got me open right

now I can feel his swipes

at the slice of my womb

she excavates her tomb

uprocks a bee petal to bloom

never again

would be too soon

rape is a tunnel

black moon


so when we ladies are clap clap sidewalk war lording, or when us ladies are clap clap dance floor courting, don’t get it twisted, we are clap clap bravo and take a bow before the specter of our this, our daily dead.

they call me death

lady death

my hung neck

is bobbing

and i am watching

this rumba is rocking/knocking

air thru the lungs of her coffin

four tokes, no coughing

corner caballeros

all chivalry, no jocking

they call me death

lady death

and i am watching

a conversation between

hips and drum

moon versus sun

hands full of skirt

face fierce with flirt

she his only begotton one

chest tempo to gun

thighs pounce for fun

air slicing hands

and she’s done

bows to the drummer

and when she smiles

her skeleton whispers

I won


la rumba, from africa via cuba, where the drummers and the song singers pulpit out a rhythm of battle your demons and get twisty on el espiritu.

stop, don’t start

one million musicians

slaves to our hearts

we are spinning, cantilevers careening

we are whole galaxies

tilting towards the sun

this fun is instead of murder

this fun is icy hot burners

lighting up a night white train

this fun is who we are

when there’s no one left to blame

women brawl fiercest on the dancefloor

as eagles as hawks

we oshun but we cocks

she fly when she die

silhouettes don’t stop

808 at my back

fuck a yellow cab cop


catcha laters,


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