Saying Goodbye to My Home.

With a very heavy heart, I must leave San Francisco. The place I have called home for over 4 years. The tech industry has both powered and ruined this great city. The rent on my apartment will double the day I move out. Some high paid programmer and his girlfriend will likely be the only people to afford where I live now. Tech has sustained me for 18+ years. It has afforded me a life most would be very satisfied with. Yet it has taken my health and my sanity. I am very good at what I do. But ask me if I enjoy it anymore.

It only takes a few too many bad experiences and unemployment streaks to break a person here. I have had 8 different jobs in 4 years. The startup world can be brutal as war. I gave it my best. I worked my ass off. I put up with an overwhelmingly male driven career field. Unless you are a woman you can never understand what that is like. I have some amazing triumphs in Tech. Many of you see my work daily on various retail and entertainment sites based in Northern California. I am proud of what I achieved. And honored to have worked with some truly phenomenal people here in San Francisco. A few are my friends now and forever. I will miss many things here. Especially the dreams I had that were never fulfilled.

My future lies in my past now. I started off in this world as a full on creative doing production art in a small regional ad agency back east. I still have a piece of the artboard that covered my drafting table when I left as Art Director. I rocked graphic design and photo retouching. I drew constantly. I was deep into ceramic arts, even building my own kilns with another artist.

Now 48, I paint, draw, do photography and even record my music after nearly 15 years out of the arts, in preparation of a complete cold start back to a new old career. My brother asked to me to get back into ceramics last night. He is not the fist. I am amazing with my hands and I will when I land. I am not sure where I will land. For now I will be homeless and jobless. I will survive on a short sabbatical because of the support and love of family and friends.

What I can say is I will move somewhere more laid back, much less expensive where I can eventually have a yard and hopefully my own house and art studio. I will miss the mega conveniences of this most walkable city. But I will gain more freedom to create. I will not miss the near constant worry of how to just get by when most of what I earned went to rent, food, taxes and parking tickets. I will miss a few friends I have made up here. I will not miss the egotistical, ladder climbers that infest and gentrify this city.

I read almost daily about more and more people actually being driven out of San Francisco because of evictions by greedy landlords and a cost of living so high teachers, cooks, barista, artists, musicians, and even life long residents of the city can not afford to live in the city. As for the homeless that litter the streets, they say there are well over 5000 homeless living on the streets here. More daily. There are growing tent cities expanding under the highway around Cesar Chavez and Bayview Ave. Real tent cities of firmly encamped people with furniture and children no less! This is nothing short of a tragedy. The dirty underbelly of technology running wild making millionaires and ignoring the poor. This is a city of mass consumption too. It is easy to fall into that trap. Drugs and alcohol are the norm here. I have seen friends take it much too far. I have seen wasted wrecks of meth users convulsing on the sidewalks and drunks passed out face first in the street. This city WILL eat you alive if you let it.

I will leave this city in tears. Because it is a beautiful, eclectic melting pot of every culture you can imagine. Where it does not matter if you are gay, straight, bi, queer, trans, questioning, intersex, weird, artsy, scientific, nerdy, blue, tall, a bear, hipster, pony, unicorn or a furry. There is something for absolutely everyone here. I had so many hopes and dreams when I moved here over 4 years ago. For me I was never able to get that foothold I needed to make them all come true. That hurts the most. It will be hard to reconcile as I do not accept failure well.

But in some masochistic, ritual way I seem to have perfected, I will pack my shit and just leave as I have done many times before in other cities. I leave this city the same way I got here. Broke, unemployed and full of piss and vinegar and feeling much older. I will start completely over somewhere else with the same dreams and the same hopes I had almost 5 years ago when I decided, Fuck It! I am moving to San Francisco. And I will succeed one way or another. I am older and wiser now. I am experienced in “battle”. I can do this one more time. I just have too because that is what I do. I survive and keep moving forward no matter what.

Adieu et Bon Chance San Francisco.

Piss-n-Vinigar

We come into this world full of piss and vinegar ready to take on the world, full of great ideas, able to do anything. Innocence is a beautiful thing still as yet uncorrupted. Then the world sees our zeal for life and pisses on us. Years later we sour, become jaded and realize we can’t really do a GD thing to change anything. Yeah we can affect our immediate world and even ourselves, but it never really catches hold.

Midlife comes and everybody who is not a friend sucks ass, does stupid stuff and screws the rest of the world in general. Not yet defeated we keep putting on the good face and try to go with the flow in some way. By the time we are intelligent and wise enough to understand the world and maybe have the idea that could truly change the world, we are to old to give a damn. The world forgets us and we leave this world. Our dying wish: I hope my kids and grandkids can have it better… make it better.

Maybe it’s time for an evolutionary change. Let our young children rule the world with the oldest generation as their guide. The rest of us between the age of of 13 and 70 are not allowed to touch anything. We are only along for the ride until we can behave.

The Well

the well so deep, yesterday
not so much today
your love
your friendship
my guide
my strength
to fill the pit beneath me

light is like words
encouraging yet thin
but your hand
it breaks the stone
it clears the path

these wells that form
deep under foot
bored out by our own hands
when standing still too long
when night destroys the day
where life soon cools
and slowly turns to stone

alone in the well
it fills with atrophy and shame
but
the slightest push
the faintest shove
the stone it cannot form
we fill it in again
and hope momentum
carves a path instead

to my love
your are
the wind

No Ice Cream

Alone in a room
Sitting
Sitting
Sitting
Slow Down, the melancholy of Radiohead
Wholefoods, Mac-n-cheese offending my wallet
Joyous, my tongue tastes organic cheeses melted
Eyes dead set in a window
Rain
Falling
Falling
Falling
Cold in a well heated room
Bustling city, this inclement day has your attentions
Holiday of me
A self imposed joy of the lonely
Ink on the cards still wet with passing thoughts
Mailbox
Empty
Empty
Empty
Check it again
If you call debts on paper bills
I call them words of remembrance
I am not forgotten
Do you remember her name
I do now
She lived in a house in a abandoned field where children played
Long ago
She was sitting in a room alone too
Ice Cream for young visitors
They are all grown
Fields long since paved
Cars driving by none the wiser
Rumble
Rumble
Rumble
Quiet comes late at night
I’m still sitting
Ice Cream
I have none

Advice of the Gods

The heart doth surely bleed and the soul shall weep it’s lonely death.
Life is a tear in the eyes of the universe.
If only one could see.
Let open your mind.
Your heart shall never die.

Twitter: How it helps me as a writer and poet

I was recently asked to write a short comment about how Twitter helped me ( @NikkiDreams )  as a poet. My new friend Tony Riches ( @tonyriches ) over at The Writing Desk: Writing, thoughts and useful links for writers got more than he bargained for I think. Well simple request kind of turned into an entire blog. I have so much to say about this and to understand how it helps me you really need to know a little about my past as far as that is concerned and how I evolved to this point.

I first started writing about 3 or 4 years ago in my early 40’s. Before that I have never written or read much of anything. I hated English and literature all through school. In fact until 5 years ago I had not read more than maybe 15 books my entire life. As a Fine Arts major at East Carolina University in North Carolina I continued to loath English, writing and literature until I had one amazing and inspirational class during a summer session my “2nd” junior year. It was “Old English”. The teacher had a masters in it along with a few other degrees. Books like “Beowulf” and “Njal’s Saga” blew me away. I still have the books I bought for the class to this day. The teacher even spoke old English and read poems and stories from that period. That planted the seed in me that took another 17 years to grow. but I was captivate and truly inspired by what I read and learned in that class.

17 or so years later while going through a very difficult, painful and metamorphic period in my life, I started writing. Blogging actually. It was a cathartic and healing experience I started to enjoy immensely. My writing began to blossom and so did my appetite for reading. I have read more books in the past 5 years than my previous 40. I started writing more poetry offline. And eventually started posting it in between regular blogs. Almost overnight I found a new creative outlet that appealed to me as much as my other artistic pursuits in music and illustration. I posted and people responded. That fueled me as much as any visual artist receiving favorable reviews about their work.

Then came Twitter a few years ago. I went a year without using my account. Then I started cross posting poems and linking them on Twitter to reach more people, faster. Twitter is a hugely viral way to get instant feedback and provide expose for more people directly to to your work. I use Twitter more and more as a tool to get that exposure and instant gratification, as well as just make some great frineds online. Amazingly I have only recently realized and taken advantage of using Twitter to educate myself and find other resources. Connecting to other writers of all types has really been a blessing not only to see how they write but to find great resources. The first Twitter poet I satrted following is Samuel Peralta ( @Semaphore & his blog Semephore ). Jessica Kristie ( @jesskristie & her blog  jessicakristie.com )  is another wonderful poet among several I follow.  One Stop Poetry ( @Onestoppoetry ) is also another really wonderful connection for Twitter Poets.

Interestingly enough the art of writing micro-poetry on Twitter is great practice for writers. You really have to think sometimes to get an idea across elegantly in so few words. And there is almost no better outlet for stream of consciousness writing. I do that all the time on Twitter and Tumblr with short poems and bursts of creative ideas. It makes you think in a much different way. If you are good you can successfully break with accepted grammatical rules that actually work better in poetic formats. While this is my opinion, I have found the best poets not only break with tradition on a grand scale they even make up their own words as part of the art. Fitting everything in that 140 character burst of writing forces you to do that more often than not. And it is good for creativity. The AP and Chicago style books and my High School English teachers may cringe and disagree. But what is art if it does not break the rules and create new ones.

All those micro-poems, lines of Haiku, creative thoughts and “Twitter Poems” have helped me learn how to write better. Often, those little bursts of creativity are seeds for larger and more complex ideas that grow into full poems. One of those little bursts on Twitter actually evolved into a full screenplay that I am writing. And the coolest thing is not only the instant feedback, but the reminder is always there in your timeline so you can ignite that larger idea on paper, in a blog and hopefully as a published work later on. They are like little notes to myself sometimes. If only my spelling and editing skills were up to par. Yes there is always room for improvement. My very first published poems on other sites were the direct result of using Twitter as my own creative outlet and yes, cringe, a marketing tool. But hey, nobody is going to read your work if they don’t know about it or how to get to it.

So that is my story and I am sticking to it. Twitter has been a major reason my poetry has blossomed not only in exposure but a catalyst or rather inspiration for my love of writing. I have connected with some very extraordinary poets and writers because of Twitter. And I look forward to many more great connections. You can expect to see me on there for as long as it is a relevant and useful way to get exposure and grow as a writer. I expect it will be around for quite a few years.

And the Inspiration never ends.

The Blue Fairy

The greatest powers in the universe cannot hold back tears that need to flow free. Mine had been building for a few weeks. I did not cry long or particularly hard. This time I had my mother their to catch me. So many times I have cried in the last 2 years that I wished mom was there. Today she was because I am home for the first time in many years. Today I cried and All I needed was a catalyst.

The Blue Fairy pried the memories from my mind and the tears soon followed. As I watched the movie AI with mom, I realized I had forgotten about the Blue Fairy. The Blue Fairy was to grant David is sole wish in life; to made into a real boy so that he could return home so his mother would love him always. Towards the end of the movie the key to my tears would soon appear. As David steers the craft too the bottom of the ocean where what seems a blue fair stands silently in the ruins of humanity, he finds her and asks her “Blue Fairy, can you make me a real boy?”

The darkened cell in which a certain memory lay captive, silent and seemingly dormant was released. And David became trapped in a prison forever just out of reach of the Blue Fairy to perpetually pray to her to make him real and to be loved.

I too had my Blue Fairy as a child. Endlessly praying to release me from my own prison and to make me “real” too. For me what seems a lifetime, over 30 years, since then my wish was finally granted. But it was not the Blue Fairy to release me from my struggle to “become real.” David’s wish too was granted in a way after 2000 years. And like me the Blue Fairy was not the one to satisfy his dream.

In the end it is not important how each of our wishes came true. It is only fair to say that they did in our own important way. Not the exact way each of us had hoped and dreamed for so so very long. But in others equally as beautiful.

I am not a robot. I have always been real. Just not as real as I was meant to be, but I am now. I have also known unwavering love from my mother. In the end David did too even as she passed in her sleep as he held her hand. The strange irony of standing in the doorway of my bathroom as the tears came before heading off to bed, my head on my mother’s shoulder, struck me even as I cried and told her briefly of my Blue Fairy.

Eyes of the World

Today the eyes of the world are upon her. The cold stair of a billion people following her every move. Watching suspiciously and with conviction in their eyes. She is 8 feet tall today and the sign over my head is an unavoidable beacon drawing everyone closer.

The circus freak goes on stage and in the darkness that surrounds her only silence. The deafening silence rips at her ears as the white ring of light probing her from all directions strips her bare. Naked and alone all she feels is fear. Her self-consciousness swells under the skin like a thousand boils of her disease. No escaping the intense gaze from the corner of her eye… either direction the same.

The darkest layers of her clothing can no longer hide the seething pain of vulnerability. Her fingers shake and clutch at her arms crossed over naked breasts. The transparency of her flesh and bones offer not protection from all the unbroken stairs. Each piercing her flesh with divine accuracy. The criss-crossed gazes dissect her every breath. Paralyzed in a pool of fear only the beat of her heart bursting from her chest offers any hint of life within.

Flight of this motionless statue made impossible by the roots of doubt pulling her limbs deeper into the earth beneath her. She can do nothing but fear. Her chest longs to cry out. Heaving only shallow breaths of a dying flower at the center of the universe. If only she could break free. If only the arms of comfort had not abandoned her soul.