Poetry Break

“Out of the huts of history’s shame”

This is not the post I wanted to write. That post is saved in my drafts where it may never see the light of day. There’s so much to say about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but I am not well-versed, and I know that I misspeak (or type).

I won’t be taking a step back from the blog, but the content may change.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

—"And Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou
Poetry Break

“Orlando” by Andrea Gibson

I don’t want to talk about Uvalde. I don’t want to talk about the thwarted Patriot Front riot. There are half-written, angry-sad posts talking about Uvalde in my drafts. And none of them will see the light of day. Because it’s no my tragedy to talk about. It’s not my story to share.

It’s difficult to talk about it without bringing up what I was doing that day. And how the news gnawed at the back of my head.

Instead, I leave you with Andrea Gibson’s poem, “Orlando.”

Books

Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of bizarro literature, and I haven’t been the same person since. These wonderful, grotesque pieces of works were one part science fiction and fantasy, one part horror, and dark comedy added for that special flavor. From Baby Jesus Buttplugs to young men orgasming tilers with their ejaculate, these stories were set in worlds where the fantastical seemed mundane.

Such tales wouldn’t be found mixed in with the “regular” books at Barnes and Noble, so imagine my surprise when I picked read Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory, a short story collection by Raphael Bob-Waksberg creator of BoJack Horseman. It’s hard to not categorize these tales as anything but bizarro-lite. While the crass, almost pornographic references are missing, they are replaced by with lifelong bus rides, nuptial goat sacrifices, presidential clone abominations, and doorways to alternate universes.

Set in their own pocket universes where the fantastical is commonplace, these stories are about love. The love you have for a complete stranger encountered on a train; the love you have for your fiancée as you plan a small wedding while your family forces tradition upon you both; the love you have for a sibling; and the love you have for your wife in an alternate universe. They will carry though with gentle hands as they explore emotions, which may cause some introspection (it did for me, at times).

If you were a fan of BoJack Horseman, I promise you this book is a must read.

Details

  • Title: Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory
  • Author: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  • Pages: 243
  • Genre: Sci-Fi Short Stories
  • Publisher: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House
  • Available in:
    • Paperback
    • Kindle
    • Audible with full cast narration featuring Nicholas Gonzalez, Colman Domingo, Natalie Morales, Raúl Esparza, Will Brill, Stephanie Beatriz, and Emma Galvin
  • From the back cover: Written with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg delivers a fabulously offbeat collection of short stories about love—the best and worst thing in the universe.
Work

One Year Later

My desk is a mess. There are printouts of articles, research for my RGV LGBTQIA+ timeline – and all of them written by Gabriel Sanchez, someone I am hoping to meet in the future. My bullet journal is open to today’s spread, indicated what needs working on and what can possibly wait. A legal pad with pencil-written notes on the Minnie Gilbert collection vies for my attention. Raphael Bob-Waksberg short story collection, Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory waits for me to pick it up.

But my mind is distracted. Not with the subject of queer botany a friend shared with me this morning. (Though, I will admit I did fall into that rabbit hole for a while.) Not with the ruckus caused by the visiting elementary or middle school students in the library lobby.

I’m distracted because one year ago I ventured into a new job. It wasn’t easy starting in a place of uncertainty, not knowing if I could handle it or learn new tricks. Or work in my old ones.

In the year, I have assisted in founding a bring-your-own-book-club for the university community, update our holdings for digital content, research local LGBTQIA+ history, pushed for inclusion of poetry, and learn quite a bit of local history in the process.

It’s been a long journey from storytime wizard to managing our digital content. It’s a journey worth its while, and I’m glad I took the opportunity.

Photo by Chester Zhao
Work

More Work Ahead

Chrome made a mistake. It gave me the ability to mask just how many browser tabs I have open. These color-coded tab groups have chameleoned my digital-self into a well put together person. Someone who knows what he is looking for.

At the moment, I have five browser tab groups on my work computer. They are dedicated to the “core” items I use every day to assist out visitors, the “inventory” I manage, LGBTQIA+ resources for students who may need assistance, my audio websites for entertainment purposes, and my current body of research – the queer history of the Rio Grande Valley.

In an impromptu meeting, we discussed future exhibit plans. For June, we will be celebrating Pride within our lobby gallery. And while I can’t take credit for this idea, growing an RGV LGBTQIA+ collection has been my pet project for a while now and I want to think that I inspired this move.

I tasked myself with creating a timeline poster depicting a concise history of the movement in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Building off the research I made last year while working a hybrid schedule, I am piecing together a tapestry of important dates. From the establishment of the Valley AIDS Council, the first Coming Out Day celebration, the continuing growth of the RGV Pride celebrations, and everything in between.

A few names came appearing in the articles I printed out from Neta RGV and I hope to communicate with them in the future. My shared goal is to create an oral history collection in order to document the history through those who lived it.

One display case will remain empty as a way to symbolize how much work there is ahead for the archive and library community. The idea isn’t about getting it right the first time. It’s about getting it out there and learning on the way.

Photo by ALLAN FRANCA CARMO
Doldrums

…May flowers

It’s dawning on my anniversary away from the public library. A year ago, I was in a bad place. I had traded in my mental health for an illusion of success. There were weekends when I worked because there were deadlines to meet. I spent vacation hours checking in to see if things were running smoothly without me. When I punched out for the day, I continued working and planning at home. It wasn’t until COVID swept the world that I had time to focus on what I was doing. The toll it had taken on my physically and emotionally.

But I’ve talked about all this before. This is about something different. Something new.

This blog has always been my personal, online journal. Where I wrote about my days, events that took place around, books I’ve read, movies I watched, poems I loved, and so on. I’ve shared stream on conscious writings, and I’ve shared the inner workings of my mind – in the form of conversations with god.

It’s time to do something new, while sticking to the old things. Quite frankly, however, I’m not sure what the something new is. Yet.

There are things I want to discuss, repeat, and rehash. Including why I left the local poetry scene when I did. But I also want to talk more about books. More about poetry outside of my National Poetry Month celebrations and random poetry breaks. I want to share pictures I took. I want to plan new writings projects and research new things.

I want this blog to be less about me, but also more about me.

Not all my posts will be insightful, and a lot of times it will be the doldrums of my day-to-day. Just not every day. I want to write longer posts that may take time, but I also want to write short posts about nothing. Most of all, I want to “show my work” on projects I’m working on. Just little updates.

And I want to share these moments with my son.

There is something that I’m already cooking up. Something less about writing, and more about giving back.

Photo by Kaboompics .com