Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Beauty, Part 3" by Carvens Lissaint (inspired by Mega)

He said
Hey yo, fat ass, yo, biggie mcfatfat, yo, you so fat, I'm gonna blow all the motherf*cking fat people up on one island and make a big ass bowl of chunky soup.

He said
you so black you gotta eat oreos with some white gloves.

He said
you so fat it look like you got two midgets in a headlock.

Oh he said you ain't have no nipples.

She said, I mean, Carvens, I mean like, you're handsome and everything but like I mean like, you're like my brother, we can't...

She said
OMG how did you get your skin that color?

She said
She said
You know what? This is what she said.
I swear to god this is what she said.
She was like Carvens, you're so ugly you should kill yourself.

He said
how do you stop black people from coming to your house? You hang one in the front.

He said
yo fatass I want you to have a stroke from you running up those steps.

She said you should kill yourself.

And when I was in the fifth grade, I wrote a suicide note.

That was the first time, I believe, someone loved my writing.

In the fourth grade, my valentine told me that I couldn't be seen with her because all the kids might actually think she liked me.

In third grade I ate lunch by myself
every day.

In the second grade
a kid punched me in my mouth at the end of recess.

Two of my teeth fell to the pavement
I laid on the ground, blood spilling from my lips for fifteen minutes before anyone asked if I was okay.

In the first grade, a white girl at snack time told me that my skin looked I never took a shower, she's never seen something so black.

In kindergarten, I was the only student who stood awake
during nap time.

You know, feeling alone is not foreign to me.

In the classroom, children spoke the harsh language of tear gas
I cried in more bathroom stalls than I can remember learning

My bullies were swastickas dressed in Catholic school uniforms

The machete eyes,
the machete eyes of my peers would carve smiles out of my face like a jack-o-lantern

They always needed an overweight, dark-skinned target to dart through,
a pinata to hang in the nucleus of the playground while each kid took a swing.

I learned how to hate myself
at such an early age.
I wrote "God doesn't love me" on the inside of all of my notebooks

I would pray, every night, to be a superhero, asking anyone who watched over me
if they could grant me the power of invisibility
so I could vanish off the face of humanity
each time my confidence was steamrolled to the concrete

You know
My freshman year of high school
my stomach and muffin top was so big I could barely see my feet
I used to breathe like a coughing motor cycle

My sophomore year
I wanted a girlfriend so bad
I used to practice making out with the mirror
just so it would be perfect when I finally fell in love

My junior year
I grew a foot taller,
I lost 30 pounds but still was heavy with self-consciousness

My senior year I was the most popular kid in school but still saw a sea of faces cackling at me whenever I turned my back

My freshman year of college I started having sex with women in the hopes to find
myself in the museum of their pelvis
so gyrate my hips under the bodies of their sweat and of temples crashing
I used to pound bodies into the spine of mattress
screaming at the top of my lungs
what's my name
just so they could remind me who I was



can drive humans to very hollow places

Places where flocks of vultures lurked in the things I found beautiful
and I often asked myself

Am I beautiful?
Am I worth glancing at twice?
Can anyone love me as much as I love God?
Does everything really happen for a reason
or am I just some laughing stock
of this inside joke the whole world is in on but me.

It took almost two decades of living on this earth
to finally love myself.

If you only knew,
If you only knew how hard is was to write this poem

How hard it is to embrace every stretch mark like a life line when I feel dead inside

To say, to say that my skin color is a shade of armour that can never be bruised
to say, to say that my smile is a page of the bible
that my face is a halo that spent its entire life basking in the sun

I learned how to love my weakness
I wear my insecurities like a good suit to a job interview

I'm awkward, I'm awkward, I'm awkward, I'm awkward
And I love it

I make a fool of myself

I make a fool of myself
but still have the confidence of a firefly buzzing in the gut of a cave

I cry
I cry
and I fight and I cry and I fight and I cry, I cry and I fail and I fall and
I get the f*ck back up.

I'm no longer afraid to stumble,
to fall flat on my face and look around like nothing happened
to turn the center stage into a playground

Have you all looked at me, lived in my own skin, and wake up every morning
look deep into the mirror and say you know what,
you know what Carvens, I love you
I love you so much
And you are beautiful.


Another beautiful video poem is "Bullies Called Him Pork Chop" over on

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."

My BFF's kitty gazes into the distance.
"Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."
- Joseph Wood Krutch

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

it lives in the wild...

flower watercolor
I took this photo in Arizona and then turned it into a digital watercolor.
"Sometimes I try to write about you, about us, and the words just crumble. Ashes, dead petals. I go aphasic, although I'm supposed to be skillful with words. I sit here broken. I make a move to put it all down, and a million marbles skitter across the floor and into crevices and down vents. I can't whip our story into some tidy, domesticated thing, so it lives in the wild and scratches at the window when I dream. I can't make it come here when I call it, or be what I want. I never could do that." -- Christie Chapman

Christie Chapman, on her quote above: 

"Here's what I guess I am trying to say. Let's say you lived some big, poignant story with a person. You shared some adventure with someone. Then it ended. It lives in the past, for all sorts of very good (if painful to think about) reasons. Yet the memories creep into your mind and even into your dreams all the time. It feels like this great, meaningful story... and you feel that if you could just somehow weave these experiences into a coherent piece of writing that resonates with others, you would not only do the story justice but finally move past it a little. You would have tamed it, or at least translated it into words. You would have won out, at least a little, against its tyranny over your emotions.

"Only, you can't put this big, amazing story into words. It's elusive; it lives in the ether and won't let you translate it (put it into a labeled jar). So the story is this wild, untameable force. And for that reason, you worry it will always have power over you. Sometimes domestication is a good thing, dammit."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Learning to draw: sketches from 2011

I started taking an intro to drawing class around this time last year -- here are the sketches from my year of experimenting with learning to draw.

I ROCKED a pear, yo.

We did a lot of still life studies in class. This is pen & ink, not charcoal/pencil like the others.

It's harder to capture the white balance than I thought.

The best thing in class was seeing how many different ways people drew what they saw.
No drawings were even remotely similar. Angles & shading can change the entire picture.

Experimenting with different ways to shade.

Here I was trying to draw a body that contained a bit of a belly to see about different physical forms.

Another pen & ink.

I enjoyed trying to draw Edvard Munch's Madonna but it's on the flat side.
I need to learn good shading techniques to add dimension.

I struggled with the face here (and you can tell) but I was mostly concentrating on the body since
it was one of the first times I was branching out to a whole figure.

Here, experimenting with different postures.

Heart-shaped face.

I drew this after I came home from class itching to draw more. We'd been doing freeforms
all night and I drove home seeing lines and shadows in everything. It only took me 15 minutes
to sketch this out but only because I'd spent two hours "warming up" with freeform drills.

A quick 5-minute sketch of my hand.

Eyes are extremely difficult for me -- getting the right proportions is a huge challenge.

Charcoal drawing of fruit on a cloth setting. Capturing wrinkles in cloth is also extremely difficult.
Here I introduced color to add dimension.

I didn't intend for this to resemble Julia Roberts -- if I TRIED, I'm pretty sure it would have failed!
But kind of neat that it turned out that way.

Mug shot! Not really, but that's what this looks like.

This reminds me, in retrospect, of Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy series, for the outfit and rushing inference.

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