Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem: Choke

I wrote this poem about three years ago. A friend of mine at the time was going through a period of significant loss. Her brother and cousin were murdered. Her birth mother died, and her niece was raped all within a year time period. I was living across the country from her at the time, and I watched from afar as she struggled. This I wrote for her.


It takes her again
wraps stiff fingers around her throat
chokes her until the tears run
burning channels into her cheeks
reopening half healed runnels
coffin-nails have left on her face
she calls me gasping
too much
too many
why her
why him
why them
bang bang
they found him in a lake
they found her in a ditch
he was murdered
she was murdered
the violence overshadowed by
the mist that leaders her voice
sodden from her throat
she exhales between questions
I don’t have the answers she needs
the ones she deserves
can’t loosen the grip of too much time
cut short
wrapping around her throat
can’t breath enough for her
can feel the damp
as it pours out of my phone
fills my mouth
runs out of my eyes
two killed
unsolved crimes
two taken too early
all died
this year and last year
too few years between them
too little time for healing
while prayers and prairie dirt fill the holes
they left behind
we’ve sat up nights talking
trying to make sense
of senselessness
of grief
of acceptance with no understanding
while the reaper keeps on reaping
scything through native lives
her life
cold voice laughing
like lines dug in her face
open wounds festering
fearing that she might use alcohol to sterilize
knowing its ability to cauterize
too far away
too far away
to fly to her
pry death away
breath for her when she can’t
pray for her when she can’t
promise her what I can’t
that it’s over
when my promises
are drowned out
by the laughing of the reaper

Monday, March 30, 2009

Poem: These Streets

I wote this poem a while back. Sometime early last year.

These Streets

I’ve been down these streets before
walked them so many times
my feet need no directions
know every sidewalk crack
weeping flakes of paint like sunburned skin
vibrancy a long gone memory
these colors are barely surviving
but the patterns left behind tell stories
there for anyone that can read the street patois
the pig Latin of the ghetto
that gives young eyes the gift of x-ray vision
lets them see the roots beneath the sidewalk
through the sagging sheets hanging in the windows
beyond the rib cages of yard dogs
skin stretched tight
kinship found in hungry canine eyes

I’ve been down these streets before
walked down t hem so m any times
watched dreams cashed for rent money
watched rent money cashed for a dream high
watched the junky prophet proclaim prophecy
whispered in his ears by the monkey on his back
toothy, grinning, picking hopes like lice
lips smacking
the monkey savors each one, whispers and waves
as the street opens up
swallows them whole
I step over the chalk outline
the street grave marker
requiescat en pace
a memorial
until the next rain
or morning piss

I’ve been down these streets before
seen single mothers press bottles of Similac
into mouths screaming umbilical rage
at fathers that found peace in fists pounded into pregnant bellies
into the girl-next-door, high school sweethearts, white picket fences
that never lined these streets
lined fantasies in heads
nobody told us that white picket fences were meant to keep us out
loan denied
bad credit
pickets turned into red lines
by bodies hurled against them
fences made of white steel
liberally distributed
one nation
divided in two
all for some
and little for us

I’ve been down these streets before
cuz these streets pave my mind
a city built and peopled by our fears
the can’t dos, and the can nots
the not qualified enoughs
the you speak so eloquently
the relapses
the system tracking
the racial profiling
the unemployment
on these streets there ain’t no schools
only prisons
on these streets every home is broken
and no way to fix them
on these streets segregation has been perfected
it is illegal to sit with yourself
high treason
to ask yourself why
premeditated murder
to come up with your own answers
to better yourself
your only choices
drugs, jail or death
all available without a prescription

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple

A week ago, I was on my way home from a conference in Los Angeles where I met with a cadre of professional and lay people interested in issues of net neutrality and media justice. In the room were everyone from an elder who was just learning how to use to the internet to Parul Desai--a fierce communications lawyer with Media Access in DC. A week later, I am sitting in David and my studio (mostly David's), preparing the final arrangement of my manuscript, It Ain't Truth if It Doesn't Hurt, in my new home city of New York, NY.

Getting here has been a journey.

The first time I declared that I was moving to New York was in 2002. I was looking for a job, and I had a a promising lead at the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). I thought the job was a slam dunk. It was coordinating the National Day of Silence (NDOS). NDOS was founded by Jessie Gilliam in 2006. I knew Jessie and coordinated a NDOS at Warren Wilson College in 2006. I was one of the first folks to organize a NDOS event. Makes sense that I would be a shoe in to coordinate the program. Well. It didn't happen. Thanks Christopher!

Then, in 2003/2004 I visited my friends RJ and Jeremy. And I declared once again that I was moving to NYC. Life and circumstance conspired against me in that instance as well (plus, well, Jeremy is crazy---love him...but he is nuts). Finally, last summer, the Liberty Tree Foundation was running out of money, I had to find a new job, I applied for five in NYC...and ended up getting one in the Bay. And then, after some interesting experiences (please note the editing right now...oh lord)...the work in the bay didn't work out...and my man said...pack your shit...and get thee to the City.

So here I is. I feel as if the Universe was letting me have a glimpse of my future life here, but it was also letting me know that I was going to be here on its time and not mine. Hell, I have been coming here on and off since 2000. I partied at Limelight. I partied at Roxy. I partied at Crash before it moved to Manhattan. I have watched West Harlem go from Dominican ghetto fabulous to gay. And I have been here enough to know that when white folks start making up the majority in Crown Heights that some shit has really broken off.

I am excited about the possibilities of New York. Now its time to make a strategy around taking advantage of the city. From the Minne-Apple to the Big Apple...it's time to put that shit in blender, make some apple sauce, and spread it all over my body.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's All About Me Damn It!

I got this from one of my readers today. I thought it was hilarious. Thanks for passing it along my friend!


This is an official
notice to decree that the
bearer of this item
is indeed better than you
in every respect of everything,
this includes intellect,
personality, social status,
number of loyal friends
and the ability to destroy
your life if they feel the need.
You have been privledged
to read this as you’ve spent
a prolonged amount of time
in the bearer’s presence.
you should now leave.

It is
all about
Damn You!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am too annoyed to even blog. And that is saying some shit.

C-YA Oakland

I am going to miss a few things about Oakland, but, you know, the ride here has been hella-interesting. I made mistakes--quite a few. And I spent a lot of time dealing with the mistakes of others. A lot of time. Peace Oakland. Peace.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Liner of the Week Award

So it has been a while since I have given out a One Liner of the Week Award, and this week we have a new recipient: Melissa Tangye.

I met Melissa years ago. I was in the midst of my own Great Depression. I basically was unemployed, drinking, and using my entire apartment as my bedroom. It was note cute.

Anyway, Coya brought her over, and she proceeded to teach me the Fart Dance. It kind of looked like George Jefferson's walk but done to a beat.

Anywho, I sent her a message today telling her that I was moving to New York, and she responded:

"You move more than a pair of titties in a jazzercise class hombre!"

And that is most definitely the One Liner of the Week.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It Ain't Sunny in L.A.

Today has been somewhat of a challenge. I got up this morning in a dead panic when I received a text message from David. I thought I had overslept and missed my flight to Los Angeles. On top of that, I had gone to the movies the night before, and I could not find my cash card, so I wasn't sure if I could get out of Oakland to L.A.

I did find my cash card. Which was some relief. Went to the atm. Got cash out for the cab to the airport, and the damn card broke in half.

I had just enough money to get to the airport. But no money for food. David to the rescue with his credit card. Thank god. I ended up sitting next to a beautiful little girl and her Grandma, and I coached the peanut through her first flight. In exchange she taught me a game called "Picachu," which to someone over the age of 12 would be called Rocks, Paper, Scissors.

I arrived in Cali and got a solo van to Occidental College. That was awesome. The conference has been awesome so far. Though I am in a room surrounded by a bunch of media/media techies....which is always interesting. And, frankly, I am scared that at this point I actually understand most of the conversations.

In the interest of not spilling too many personal details of my relationship (you, my faithful readers know that I would normally tell all....but David is a bit more squeamish...such a lady). Today is one of those days that is totally challenging me. And to show mad love to my partner...he has been great. And I am saying publicly that though you are pushing every one of my insecurity buttons today....I am behind you (well not behind you,....ooooooooo holding back on the inappropriate comment...barely holding on......whew)...but I hope you have a blast...in my own selfish interest I hope it is a relatively quick blast.....and I love you.

GEEEEEEEEZZZUSS! Self censorship today is REALLY taxing my strength. Baby...we are going to have to talk about my blog....this is my outlet....and I am going to have to bust through and share sometimes...I am...yes I am...

but not today.


Pray for me ya'll.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Somethin's Cookin' In Hell's Kitchen

Whoever thought of the name Hell's Kitchen deserves a fucking award. Imaginative. Descriptive. I like it. And, I am moving there. Life and the universe have a way of pointing you in the direction you need to go. This time the universe dropped kicked my ass towards this particular destination.

I am both so excited I could just pee all over everything like our new house puppy Fausto and so scared that I could just pee all over everything like our new house puppy Fausto.

Moving to New York has been a dream for years. Living with David has been a dream for almost a year. Combining the two is enough to make my head spin around. And it is enough to make me wonder if the universe is playing a big fucking joke on me.

The closer I get to Wednesday the more I feel as if this is all some big ass joke, and that I am still on that mental health ward at University-Riverside and at any moment Nurse Buffy is going to pop in and tell me it is time to head to Occupational Therapy (I never understand that name...call the shit Coloring Class...cuz that's what it is).

I know that something big is in the works. I know I have a TON TON TON TON TON of personal shit to work on. Last night David and I tentatively agreed to some minor rule changes to make our relationship stronger.

I feel so fucking grown up. And I feel like a kid taking his first steps. The dichotomy and the oxymoron imagery is not lost on me.

My love told me today that he is feeling like..."let's get this show on the road already. This long distance thing has SUCKED."

I could not agree more.

The long distance thing has bred insecurities that may not have been there or may have been less intense, it has created a helluva a time getting into a groove that is long term and sustainable. It has created roadblocks in our various artistic endeavors, it has created situations where when we are together a chunk of our time is necessarily consumed by processing instead of just being able to relax and have non-lesbionic feminist process fun.

I am definitely looking forward to waking up next to him everyone morning and going bed next to him at night. I know that we will have our own lives and our time apart, but I want to know that when the sunrises and the sunsets he is there. That I go to sleep with the taste of him on my lips and the smell of him around me. So sweet. So home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New York, New York

I am moving to New York.

Holy shit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Days Like These

So there are days like these that are generally a mixed bag. All in all the day has gone well, I finally hooked up with a hottie from DC that had been trying to get at both David and I since before we got down here. He was sweet, cute, buff and had a huge penis.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A New Poem: Chief Joseph’s Song for Those That Cannot Change What Is

For Frank Inman: Heal. and for the LCO Band of Ojibwe, my great-grandma Susannah Johnson, and her mother Bim We We.

I shall fight no more forever
Lay down my bow and arrow
Set aside my shield
Take up my sorrow
Like a shawl
Drape it carefully
Around low slung shoulders
Use the last light of the setting sun
to clasp it to my breast

I shall fight no more forever
Spread my arms and embrace the rising tide
Use my body to shield
Those things most precious
until my last breath
is my grave marker
and the grass is churned into concrete
the North wind whispering
here fell the shadow of man

I shall fight no more forever
From where the sun now stands
no more dawns will I greet freely
no more the war path will I take
no more shall I know peace
that I lay aside too
only here now lives sorrow and sadness
our blankets are thread bare and hollow

I shall fight no more forever
Stealthily among the young
An ancientness has invaded
Like a cavalry rampaging
Slaughtering innocence
Herding what’s left
Into dusty reservations
The secret land where Death hides it kingdom

I shall fight no more forever
I surrender
There are those that will find new ways
Warriors to resist
But the song my children sing is hunger
Their Fathers are buried in forgotten places
Their Mothers dry bones thrust up from the tall grass
And I have only emptiness to feed them

I shall fight no more forever
Until one day
When the sun rises again
When songs of hunger
Are set to war drums
When fires are built
From broken treaties
When love turned bitter
Is honey sweetened again
When the judgment has passed
Then, then
Bend near to this place
Place your lips on the ground
And whisper my name

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-New York, NY
-8 March 2009

-The photo is courtesy of David Berube and was taken at the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Happy International Women's Day

To all of my women identified friends and family, whether you were born female bodied or have embraced an identity that encompasses that of a woman, I wish you a year with greater strides towards gender freedom and gender liberation. The power to walk freely in this world, without shackles and weights attached to the body you demonstrate, is a gift freely given to those called men, but those called men also fail to feel the invisible restraints created as a counterbalance to the awesome oppressions we have visited and maintain on bio and genderqueer women. The impact of sexism and heterosexism is felt widely and broadly without regard to the genitalia found below your beltline. But overwhelmingly the violence and oppression that maintains the power structure of sexism is targetted at women and the genderqueer. On this International Women's Day, it is my wish that we all remember that our liberations are truly tied up together with one another and that each of us has a deep and abiding role to play in freeing ourselves and rejecting the power of privilege that maintains cycles of violence and continued oppression of the women in this world. Much love.

Monday, March 2, 2009

By the Grace of Phyllis Diller

So the last couple of days have been interesting. Once certain circumstances have changed, I will have much more specific commentary on some of what has gone down. But, instead, I am going to focus on Phyllis Diller.

The first time I became aware of Phyllis was when watching Scooby Doo as a child. Phyllis was a guest on one of the shows, and I remember that she had a dozen or so husbands, and I thought to myself, "One day that is gonna be me."

Well.....I may not go through twelve husbands, but I have definitely gone through about 12,000 boyfriends...but I finally found one that is going to be my husband. He knows it. I haven't asked him officially yet. But I will get around to it at some point.

I am still in DC and looking forward to learning more about the legislative process from the backside. I have come to know some things about myself, and I have come to know a lot about some other folks. And in the end, I am secure that who I am and where I am is a lot better place than some of the people I happen to know.