Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Song of the Week: When We Become

I've been having vivid music-y dreams lately. Last week, I had a dream that a quartet of beery hipster boys were singing this on a snowy street.

If I can figure out what to become, I'll be sure to stop fleeing, Clem Snide.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Songs of Queer Karaoke Part 2

I'm not sure why you need to know my favorite songs from karaoke night, but you do!

The first one is the one I picked. You may have noticed I am obsessed with it lately. Because heartbreak's not over yet, but I'm enjoying not being dead-behind-the-eyes.

Oh Shuffle, Thank You.

For reminding me that songs do get unruined. Sitting here working on stuff and belting it out. Alchemy indeed.

Poetic License Horoscope for January 27-Feb 2

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Make some space for yourself at the margin of things. Shush the peanut gallery of your past, your fears, your self-doubt, and spell out events in your own formation, according to your own interpretation. We promise it will be worth it.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): On last week’s Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope felt very conflicted about the idea of running a negative campaign ad about her opponent for city council. Like Leslie, find a way to point out the flaws of the situation and still be adorable about it.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “Your heart is both drunk and a kid.” (Marshall Erikson on How I Met Your Mother) Trust your heart and its adorable recklessness. Let it do the equivalent of jumping off the porch roof wearing a towel tied around your neck for a cape. Sometimes hearts land safely.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Even if you’ve written a list of everything you’ve learned, dressed every bruise and scar, begun every transformation, some things just aren’t about learning or transcendence. Let it stay in your bones until your body is done with it, don’t struggle to be free.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): On last week’s Portlandia, a couple’s attempts to throw a non-conventional wedding nearly tore them apart, yet somehow, the dividing up of their friends turned into a wedding ceremony/basketball game. Find a way to make conflict into something surprising and beautiful.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): According to Wikipedia, “Daylight harvesting is the term used in sustainable architecture and the building controls and active daylighting industries for a control system that reduces the use of artificial lighting in building interiors when natural daylight is available, in order to reduce energy consumption.” This week, please make the most of everything that’s given to you for free.

Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): “But I reserve a special sort of love—and, yes, it really is love—for my favorite appliance. Slow cooker, all would be lost without you.” (Kristin van Ogtrop) This weekend take time to celebrate this and every other warm thing that simmers.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Okay, so the stars have been watching a lot of TV this week. We are surprised to find ourselves riveted by Desperate Housewives: Brie van De Camp has gone rogue. When her church’s pastor caught wind that she’d been drinking and enjoying casual sex and sought her out at a bar to intervene, she told him “You don’t know me.” Find a similar way to tell false virtue to fuck off.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): This week the stars will find ourselves at two parties benefitting top surgeries. Believe in anything your friends are making themselves into, and pledge to help them get there, preferably if it involves drunken karaoke.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): In the movie/ Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Hercules Unchained, Hercules finds himself marooned on an...island, maybe? There, he is forced to drink the waters of forgetfulness and presumably get lucky with lots of nymphs. Take a break like that any time you can.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22):  “Jenna, you know how much I hate clubs and dance halls and odeons. They’re all malarkey.” (Liz Lemon on 30 Rock) Feel free to stay home as much as you like, but remember, it’s never too late for now.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Google the video of Neil Patrick Harris singing Dream On on Glee. Listen to it a whole bunch of times and believe it. Your dreams will come true if you just keep asking yourself, what would NPH do?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Was Made for Me: Emotional Bag Check

A friend of the factory and my #OKCSupportgroup alerted me to this adorableness. You tell your story and people send you songs to make you feel better. They also write you really nice notes of encouragement! 

Here's my favorite of the songs I got:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Songs of the Week: Glee, Dreams, Zombies

So I've been having these recurring dreams about Neil Patrick Harris and, though I doubt that my subconscious is this optimistic, I've decided that this is what they mean:

Glee - Dream On ft. Neil Patrick Harris from Paulvilalta on Vimeo.

I've been catching up on episodes lately, and when Kowalski can't resist joining in on the dancing in this one, it choked me up embarrassingly much:

And speaking again of Love in the Time of Zombies:

Good Queer Fun For Good Causes

Hey dears! The Serotonin Factory is all about transformation, self-determination, music,and drunken tomfoolery, so if you're in the Philly area there are some great chances this week to have fun and support worthy causes:

Thursday, Jan 26, at 9pm,  in honor of my friend Rae's birthday, during their always-delightful karaoke night,  Tabu is ever so graciously donating 15% of the money made at the bar + money made from jello shots to his chest surgery fundraising project, The 7000 People Project! http://7000peopleproject.org/

And Friday, Jan 27, at Tritone Come out and join Gender Reel's Organizers as they host our next MixTape Event!

MixTape is a quarterly surgery fundraising showcase for gender non-conforming and transgender people. This months MixTape is raising money for Sam Richman, and features the amazing Jack Cooper as our MC, and our always wonderful regular DJ, and Gender Reel Organizer, Evil v.

Performances by:

Alien Beauty
Chaos and Lace (from NYC)
J Mase III
Ethan B.

Performances from 10-12 am, DJ, dancing and mix and mingle to follow.

MixTape brings diverse communities together one party at a time, for a good cause.

Cover $5

This is a 21+ and you must show ID to enter.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetic License Horoscope for January 20-26

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Last weekend, I found out that a friend of mine who seems quite mild-mannered has a great knack for tying people up. This week, make a point of discovering these hidden treasures, not just in others, but in yourself.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): “It is always sad when the awesome people have their hearts compressed by heartbreak.  It takes time, which sucks, but hey, at least it's something we have in abundance.  What if it took uranium to get over a heartbreak?” (Joseph Prisco) As time helps your griefs peel away, fill yourself up with as many beautiful experiences as you can. If you want, all of those experiences can be books.

Aries (March 21-April 18): When I was in the grocery store the other day, I saw the following tabloid headline: “Adele Finds Love.” All of your torch songs were well spent. What comes next is so much better.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Some things defy cost-benefit analysis. Some memories are worth a little trauma. Some trust is always a little bit misspent. Trust yourself, Taurus. You know which risks are best to take.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Your life is a snow day. Enjoy the (metaphorical, maybe) kids being home and the video games aplenty. Read nice young adult novels and/or indulge in dumb romantic comedies. Pour yourself a little hot chocolate, and rest.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You know enough for now. Give the learning curve a rest and take a nap on a nice plateau. All of the striving and struggle with be there when you decide to open your eyes again.

Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): On last week’s Portlandia, a nice couple put a fire pit in their backyard, only to have to extinguish it because it conjured up rollicking S&M fantasies. This week, you can risk those fantasies, or just admit that you’d rather hold hands.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “But it is wonderful to think that if one day all of us humans, regardless of race or creed, could lay down our differences and create a human chain by circling the globe and holding hands, we would all come down with exactly the same cold.” (Steve Martin) Your ability to collect connections is beautiful and quite worth any incidental sniffles.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): You are walking around with quite the bag of tricks.Think of ways to make space for them, to arrange them artfully. Find fun places to stand and wait and holler.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Ask for everything in the world this week. Apply for stuff, send letters to influential strangers, make long distance phone calls (even if there isn’t really such a thing any more) while you paint. See what surprise connections emerge and make the most of them.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): In Diablo Cody’s movie Young Adult, Charlize Theron’s character goes on a fool’s errand to correct the past by seducing her high school boyfriend, who is now married. You know better than to rewrite history, and you have no need to.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): In case you didn’t know, the stars have a part time job at the library. Yesterday we were doing a project on inventions and one student invented the Disguise Machine. She said you could simply step inside, press the button, and become whatever you want. That’s what it’s like for you this week, so choose wisely.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Songs of the Week: Inspired by Young Adult

I'm not getting along with music right now. As much as I hate to admit it, and as many songs as I've deleted, it'll probably be a few more weeks before my iPod stops feeling like a minefield. There's a mixtape-moment in Diablo Cody's Young Adult that encompasses every time-to-get-over-it song/life nuisance. Oof.

Also, if I could punch Someone Like You in the face, I would.

But still, at least I'm not Mavis! Mostly!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Triads and Quadrangles: Poem From #OKCSupportGroup But Also Rumi

Not that I'm in any mood to go back to scrolling through matches yet, but my OKCSupportGroup friend sent me this Richard Brautigan poem that captures both what I love and what I hate about my lovey-dovey adventures. It's Raining In Love.

And as an antidote, The Way of Love is not a Subtle Argument. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Triads and Quadrangles: Okay, So, Therapy.

Well, the last few months' adventures were rewarding in so many ways. I've come a long way since I started this, um, research project. But opening up my heart so much in the past few months brought sadness with it, too. I'm mourning the years that I've spend being afraid of men and wasting lots of time on fruitless crushes. I'm realizing that unless I deal with my teenage past, I'm going to cause myself a lot more pain. I've spent the past few months feeling like both a healthy dirty-thirties woman and a desperate teenager. I feel so grateful to the guys who were my first-a-lot-of-things-in-a-while, and I'm still sorry to have had to let them go. For the next few months, I plan to focus on spending as much time in the poly and kink communities, making friends and settling into my various new identities. I think it'll be fun. also, I'm going to watch a lot of TV with my wife, which is more happy-making than most things.

A few of you might remember that I started this blog the year before last after leaving therapy in a huff--I felt like it was impossible to find a therapist who wouldn't try to cure me with pills and/or monogamy. Today I had an intake appointment with a practice that seems different. Their policy is one of cultural competency, and the woman who did the intake made me feel like I wasn't being steered or judged. They'll match me with a therapist within a few weeks, so we'll see how it goes. It would be nice to have some support through the various transitions. The goals I gave were:
1. To not be afraid of men.
2. To be more confident and less anxious.

Isn't that always the dream.

Friday the 13th is Forgiveness Day

A while ago, I came up with this cornball idea that every Friday the 13th I would forgive myself and others and start the next day with a clean slate. That's a pretty big goal, but awesome, right?

So, there's some stuff that already happened that I will stop trying to rewrite. And chances are, it'll always mean a lot to me anyway.

Poetic License Horoscope for January 13-19

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Do something untoward this week. Talk too loud about secret things and get outraged when they shush you. Skip church in favor of erotic poetry readings. Think about that person you are not supposed to think about. Ask for more than you ever have before.

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): If this is your time to take a break, make the most of it. Spend whole Tuesdays writing letters to yourself. Catch up on beloved series. Hug your nearest and dearest a hundred million times or tell them (nicely) to go away and leave you in peace. This is your time now, take it.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): You have all of the moxie in the world this week. You are as brave as children. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, push them down and walk away. Enjoy the rest of the playground. I recommend the swings.

Aries (March 21-April 18): To the dear Aries headed off on a first date: may he be cuter than his profile picture, and say the same about you. May the conversation flow without questions or prompts. May it end with a blush, a giggle, a kiss. May the evening end optimistically and full of light.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): You are not stranded. Whatever limits you feel at the moment are temporary. You can Houdini yourself out of any unwanted or imagined shackles if you proceed optimistically. Make every kind and hopeful choice. Take whatever risks will get you to magic or escape velocity.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Stop putting it off. Whatever you’re lusting after, whether it’s time to read for pleasure or a nap in a treehouse by the beach, start moving toward it. You deserve every wish, as lovely as the talent in your perfect hands and heart.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Thank goodness Portlandia is back! In last week’s episode, Carrie realized that her old-camp-friend-turned–mixologist loves her based on the elaborateness of the cocktail he serves. She follows him to Southern California to give him a mixtape, and they find true love. That’s the kind of quest I want you to go on. Good luck.

Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): “Worry is NOT well-spent on things that are already making me happy.” (Olivia Conti) That shiny thing you were always looking for is with you, and for the moment, it always will be. Don’t fuss with the edges of it or dwell on differences, even if they seem too deep. What’s keeping it there is deeper.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “The way of love is not a subtle argument.” (Rumi) When the stars asked for requests this week, almost everyone asked for patience, but what you really need is faith. Whatever you are waiting for, it’s coming, and when it does, you will not have to talk it into anything. You won’t have to try so hard, just listen and know.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): The stars recently began poking around on the online community FetLife and aside from the possibility of making nice new friends with good imaginations, we like seeing our platonic friends in somewhat compromising positions. Take a risk like that this week, Libra, pretty and fun and vulnerable. We trust you’ll remember the safeword.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Call your latest adventure a success. Take any and all positive feedback to heart, and get ready. You have everything you need now, your dedication, your pretty eyes and soulful photographs, your steady heart and reliable texts. Follow it all through and get exactly what you need.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): To the Sagittarius hoping to learn to be less hypocritical: Walt Whitman said “I contain multitudes,” and I find that that makes a good excuse for almost anything. Learn to love your contradictions, blush and apologize and move on from mistakes, and follow your own advice as often as possible, but not always.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Poem Hits the Spot

Since my breakup with the Philly Slam last fall, I've been on a break from all things performance poetry related, but lately I've been easing back into it by catching up on Indiefeed episodes. This poem by Guante entitled Love in the Time of Zombies really hits the spot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Song of the Week: Virgo

'Cause I am soooo happy to be back to a hardworking semester. It's not like this, but still:

Song of the Week: Brand New Key (for brand new parties)

Today I am celebrating the fact that for every new part of myself I discover, there's a new kind of party to go to. Text me if you want to go along--there will be outfits.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Poly Karaoke=Buckets of Mental Health ( A Mini-Mix)

So as evidenced by my songs of the week, I was feeling bluesy and under-the-weather this week. The only way I could think to make it better was to get pretty and go do some new things. I'd never done karaoke before-didn't think I'd like it, for some reason, even though I really enjoy drinking and belting out songs. But the poly meetup group was having a thing at a favorite local gay bar, and as soon as we walked in, I felt the healing begin.

First of all, it should come as no surprise that this is the song I chose for my first ever karaoke...performance? Don't know if you can call it that.

And some songs I really liked watching other folks belt out:

Friday Love Poem: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

Just a reminder dears! Even though I haven't been doing regular FLP posts, you can submit one at any time like my pal Jennifer-Leigh did! Here are the submission details.

Jersey City-

this is never going to work.

When Mayor Healy calls you a problem child,
he isn’t wrong.
You are like Helen Keller
after the fistfights
and before the Braille:

a badass dressed in vintage
who only believes in things she can touch.

Jersey City,

I never learned to speak until you touched me.
Now, I'm in rehab trying to learn how to shut up.

Jersey City,

when Superintendent of Schools Charles Epps
said that little girls were your biggest problem,
he might've been exaggerating,
but he wasn’t lying.

Put sugar and spice within a 50-mile radius of your arms, 
and they transform into sirens-
songs and all.
That's why they call us girls beautiful
even when we're falling apart.

Jersey City,

you stole my heart
and my mom bought a time machine.

You thought you could cry your way out of it
and bust a sewer main,
but she found a paddle boat.

You are the one thing she begged me never to take home.
It’s not that she’s against free love or anything. 
She just really wants grandkids
and girl-on-girl isn't exactly conducive to that,
but I've always been an overachiever
so, fuck it- I wanna build skyscrapers with you,
create a brood of brownstone and barley wine
and call your concrete mine.

Jersey City,
you tried and failed to take my virginity 3 times,
but still you let me stay,
all smokestack sunrise
in your open palms I lay.

Jersey City,
in order to properly execute this break-up poem,
you’re technically going to need to screw up,
so listen up:
I’ve surrounded Hoboken in banana peels.
All you’ve gotta do is fall into her 
and look gorgeous like you always do.

When you try to blame it on gravity, 
I’ll walk into the sunset 
as if departure was a place 
I always knew.

Jersey City,

the first time I went to Hudson Pride,
It was because I honestly believed that it was a support group 
for girls who fell in love with cities.

I even had a nametag that said 
“Hi! I’m a HudsonSexual. I mean, my name is Jenn!”

That was before I realized 
that it was for universes 
learning how to live as men.

Jersey City,

we both knew I’d eventually be leaving. 
You just always assumed I’d carry you back in my arms. 
Yes, we both know that big girls have their charms, 
but let’s be realistic here.

Jersey City,

when I grow up, I want to be your heartbeat 
instead of an arrhythmia still searching for her key.
they say the easiest way to leave is to make a quick and painless release,
but I’ve never seen the romance in bandaids or adhesion,
so call me lady liberty.

Let New York say what she will,
but I will always rise up to meet you
spine more rusty than respectable,
painted in all the shades of your lovers past.
I promise to hold them close as long as they keep building you up to last.

Jersey City,
there will never be enough poems
enough harbors
enough cobblestones to break your heart of glass.

Jersey City,

you’re probably going to get me killed,
but I just might take the bullet
if it leaves me at your side-
the terror, the rest and release, the pride.

You don’t have to do anything crazy like make me your bride.
I’ve never needed a ring to tell me I had the right to love you.
the heart transplants have always been instinct,
their beating, the reflex of an exploding compass rose.

Jersey City,
we’ve already started our revolution.
just let me call you home.

Bio: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory is a connoisseur of carpe diem and light. Slam Mistress of the Pleasantville Poetry Slam (Hawthorne, New Jersey), editor-in-chief/founder of the online poetry journals Borderline and Anatomy + Etymology, and Publicity Manager of Death Hums Magazine & Reading Series in NYC, her work has been featured in journals including The Legendary, Breadcrumb Scabs, Troubadour 21, and Four and Twenty.  She wants to help you rediscover your heart, one syllable at a time. For more information, check out her website at http://phoenixpoet.info.

Poetic License Horoscope for January 6-12

Poetic License Horoscope for January 6-12

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): It’s simple: walk away from anyone who doesn’t love you, or like you, exactly as you are. Stop trying to find the right pose, or line, or inflection of voice. Just get up and walk away, toward yourself.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): This is one of those weeks where the stars ask you to make lists. When you wake up tomorrow, write down everything you’re looking for, and don’t leave out any little detail. Then post it up around town like street art, and see what comes.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): The stars like to have many support groups, for every wish, fear, and deviation. Get several of those for yourself, and spill out every hope.

Aries (March 21-April 18): When I told my dad about some troubles I’d been having, he said, “Well, how long do you have to be sad for?” Hopefully not too long, but I am glad to give a little time to loss and learning, if it makes things better the next time around.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus who says he’s fallen into the trap of not writing because of love—just go with it. It’ll only last a little while (the not-writing) and when the words come back, they’ll have grown and burst and blossomed. We promise.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): The parties are over and you have finished the leftovers, every elaborate cookie. Now is the time to clear out everything, to return to eating finite amounts, to take long walks and think 
what the future might be. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who sent the stars a Zen Cats calendar—it says “When we Look Deeply into the Other, we find Ourselves.” (Honshin) That seems like as good of a resolution as any. Let’s give it a whirl.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): You are a bed with flannel sheets, a flannel comforter, a cup of tea. You are my favorite pajamas, everything that I need to wake up fresh and new and clearheaded and beautiful. You are the best influence, thank you.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “And the memories of me will seem more like bad dreams, just a series of blurs, like I never occurred. Someday, you will, be loved.” (Death Cab for Cutie) Keep yourself still, make yourself listen, hold yourself to it—you know what you really want, and it’s coming.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): This time of year, the light’s hard to find, but you’ve found it, streaming through the trees, through clouds of chimney smoke, off the ends of your pen and paintbrush. This is the year that you make it all, the year that you make it all new.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  I’m not sure if I’ve made it clear what a good job you’re doing, but you really do have some special skills. This week, prepare to be rewarded, then asked for more, then rewarded again.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): To the Sagittarius who is hermit-ing right now, recovering from hard times: darling, your pillows love you, and so does the duvet, your books, your video games, the forgiving blue light of the television. Wrap yourself in those loves, and the stars’ love, and feel better.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Triads and Quadrangles: Updates and Resolutions

I’ve come past a lot of thresholds since I last did a poly update. I’m starting the year off loved, and liked, and heartbroken. I still have Amy, who, though she only likes me, is probably the best person I know at being in a polyamorous relationship. She listens to me so much, asks for what she needs, soothes my hurts, and roots for the guys as long as they seem worthy. I also have an excellent snuggle pal with whom I am working my way through all of the Joel episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

But last week things got really extra-ugly with someone I really liked, and I had to give him up, so I am now recovering from my first poly breakup-type-thing. (I’m writing about some of the details elsewhere, email me at serotoninfactory@gmail.com if you want to read them and I’ll tell you where.)

I’ve learned so much about myself in the past couple of months, and I wanted to commit it to writing before I move on to my next adventures.

  1. I will admit to myself that I cannot separate physical affection from emotional affection, and I will act accordingly. I do not need to learn this lesson any more times. I will let myself look for and enjoy real relationships.
  2. I will not compromise about communication. I need to feel free and unafraid to express my hopes, fears, needs, and wants, without being ignored or dismissed, and I only need folks who feel free to do the same.
  3. I will learn the difference between NRE (new relationship energy) and someone who just drives me nuts. I can’t spend any more time on guys who frequently make me cry.
  4. I will spend more time just hanging out with poly folks. This always makes me feel more safe, real, and lovable.
  5. I will put myself on the calendar. I have come such a long way in such a short time, and I need the space and time to process it.
  6. I will not waste (too much) time on crushes.
  7. I will let myself be liked and loved, and treat myself lovingly, too.
  8. I will leave my baggage behind. I am no longer afraid of men. I will be fine.
  9. I will learn not to yammer quite so much to Amy about boys. I will do a better job of honoring her space and time.
  10. I will not ignore warning signs as just me being distrustful. I am officially trustful, and I have a good intuition. I will listen to it.
  11. I will only date guys who communicate well, are genuinely interested in me as a person, are respectful of my time and of Amy, are kind and friendly. Also, they have to have their own apartment—that will help me to be kinder to Amy’s space and my own.