Vickie From Campus Life

So, the dreams…

I was in my kitchen, facing the sliding glass doors to our backyard woods when I saw her appear out of nowhere. Night, very late. I wanted to run. She expected me to. But I became lucid, walking toward her purposefully, and asked her things about herself. She turned, I touched her face, she looked surprised then lost. Something was on her nose, a piece of tissue maybe. Then, she showed me the Beatles in a way nobody’s ever seen before. My reward for looking beyond.

Frequencies. Images to make meaning clear. Meager, paltry words to explain what I experienced.

I see people, some familiar and grown, some not. But more importantly, I feel my son’s grown-up happiness. He is with his expanded family of friends, in an extended party, where he was meant to be. I feel their energy course through me, light, sound, and this warmth.

I watch my son’s happiness in a vibrant scene out of a movie finale, the sun setting, its dimming light shines hope, love all over the sidewalk in which he treads, skips, dances — a light all his own.

I turn to the unseen and say, or think, or feel, “This is where I want to be next.” They understand. Next time could mean next life, or hold on a little longer, then I can go.

The sun sets over a suburban Costco, no match for the dream hours earlier.

 

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Black Pants

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I choose to remember the first part of this dream. It is a swirl of memory mixed with imagination, and a touch of wishful thinking.

I found him, trailing me toward the end of my mental escape. Hands cupping fine water as a speedboat races back to shore, picking up wriggly, shiny hitch hikers, which I throw back into the deep end.

I grab onto useless details. The color of his pants, Bobby would never wear Angel Flights, crisp-white, jacket-less shirt. He is smiling at me. I remember wanting to trace those lips with my own in the summer of ’77, and this time in this nowhere place, I do. Bobby welcomes me into his house of understanding, past the locked gates, the kitchen formality — thyme and lemon pepper, the unchanging years between us.

Then, I am flying away from my stalkers, locked in another dream where shadows make broken glass sounds of a young mother losing her firstborn, a first cut to warm, virgin flesh, the cry of the premature dying.

Hold on long enough for me to tell him, for me to warm his insides before they splash into the deep end of the Montauk sea, where I first found myself jumping — three years before I knew.

The black pants… are cotton.

‘Sense8’ Love

“We exist, because of sex. It is not something to be afraid of. It’s something to honor, to enjoy.” —Sun, Sense8

 

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Sense8 is the first TV show I’ve ever seen to truly break barriers.

It’s not perfect by any means. A lot of the plot goes over my head. The dialogue can be tedious and cheesy (but falls short of preachy). A lot of the details seems illogical and terribly non-linear, but true to form for the dreaming. How did they all arrive in London in a short amount of time?

But what it offers is so much more.

We bitch about lack of diversity in entertainment. We recoil at Hollywood’s tendency to celebrate the assholes (Mad Men) and cynical Narcissism in general (House Of Cards), while marketing the shit out of Midwestern white values and self-conscious, reality-TV sentiment, cheap laughs, cheap drama, cheap theatrics.

Yet here is a show to address all those concerns, plus it’s in a sci-fi multi-verse. So what does Netflix do? Cancel it after two years, because of money (I’ve read). The Wachowskis film on location in various parts of the world, flying most of its cast there — another inventive first, btw. That’s an easy fix, though. Film in one place, use your imagination. I think the cast and crew are open to whatever fixes are required to make this work.

Whatever works, fix it, do it, so we can see more of this amazing show.

I wish I had a Sense8 growing up in the 1970s-’90s. Maybe this world would be a better place, more compassionate, more peace, love, and understanding, less war, violence, bigotry, and sexual harassment. Maybe I’d be a better person.

One of the best features of Sense8 is its honest look at sexuality. It’s unflinchingly, lovingly, non-judgmentally, bracingly, refreshingly honest. It’s a godsend for repressed people like me, who were taught to hate our bodies, to view sex as a dirty act.

I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t like sex very much. I’m embarrassed, self-conscious, awkward, and stupid around sex. I find much of it to be a chore. Maybe that has more to do with the partners I’ve had in the past, I don’t know. The very idea of putting a man’s dick in my mouth, choking it down, and then, swallowing his jizz, makes me want to puke. It’s disgusting, really. And, licking his balls? I don’t get it.

Having orgasms, on the other hand, is a guilty pleasure, one I prefer to do alone in shame, with my thoughts and a vibrator. I still feel like an ugly, dirty shit doing it.

After I watched the characters of Sense8 openly, happily engage in any physical affection — from making out to oral sex and sexual intercourse — however, I’m starting to change my view from the inside out.

I’m starting to question why we as a society view sex as this ugly, dirty, embarrassing little secret we must keep in the closet. Meanwhile, we don’t have any problem jagging off to spattering blood, breaking bones, and burning flesh in some gory, serial-killing blitzkrieg.

The subject of this dichotomy isn’t a new one. I’ve asked myself why before.

Only, Sense8 answers this question thoroughly by showing me loving couples in loving relationships in and out of the bedroom, after I’ve already fallen madly in love with them. These characters are confident in their sexuality, trusting in the sexuality of others, gay, straight, transgendered, whatever. Even Kala came around with Wolfgang (my favorite couple). It doesn’t matter who the world thinks you are, you need love, and everything that comes with it.

Initially, I flinched a bit at the open love scenes. Not because I’m homophobic. Quite the opposite, I quite enjoyed the sex scenes between Lito and Hernando, when Lito took communion at Hernando’s feet… Jesus!

I’m just not used to seeing so much flesh out in the open. It seemed like porn, not a made-for-primetime TV show on Netflix. Should I bust out my vibrator and turn down the lights like with the Rocco porn star documentary, or what?

After the first few episodes, I got over it. I got over my personal hangups and my brainwashing.

By the time Nomi and Amanita got down in the bedroom and on a grassy knoll in that electric music montage with the others, and that Roman orgy in the pool with Wolfgang (oh my!), I was all in, baby. Most of my inhibitions began to crack, as well.

I also began to believe that the only way for humanity to survive is to go this route, the complete opposite of our walls, labels, and separatist bullshit — everything neat and tidy, clean and polite. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in open communes amongst our own Sense8s? Fully integrated, vibrant, connected, fuck bloodlines, fuck your side and my side? No barriers. No labels. No caste system. Nothing between us.

As I grieve the loss of a one-of-a-kind TV show, one that may never come again, I hope we can grow as Sensates and continue influencing others to follow suit. What a wonderful world we could have then.

Primordial Soup

primordial soup, inches from my naked body
how did I get here?

“You are killing me. I can’t breathe.”

these hired TV hitmen sit and stare, none of them wear a watch

the worst sound in the world, the sound of an approach, I think it and I’m out of the top-story window, toward the light of my childhood — between 6th and 7th grade — past Army barracks, the sinking sun in landscaped woods where my father waited to beat me for my mother’s whoring

but none of that matters now, because Bobby’s here, I smell him halfway down these black slacks as I lecture what he would and wouldn’t wear when I get to his sweet, angelic face hiding a mildly sardonic nature, his blue eyes bright with helpless regard, as if to say, “You got me.” I kissed him twice, drowning in my own saliva, wanting to bury my face in his flesh, wanting to warn him too late

I’ll go in the back way through this restaurant everyone forgets, including my kidnapper and his spies, they are everywhere, hunting us down

when I wake up, I realize I’m still in the dream, thinking doesn’t make it so, that red light means I have to physically lift my right leg and press on the brake

tomorrow, I’ll try again

what
I cannot tell you
only that I am so far, too far gone into these deep, living layers
a gig within a gig,
the performer and the audience,
over one more cup, two sugar cubes

I am also there, in a million places I’ve been before
fleeting moments sparked by current images, the sound of lavender silk in a random commercial about lotion
the lotion does not matter, nor the manufacture
it’s like closing my child’s eyes, and watching the universe flicker past to present, my future the next road away

a Big Island coffee shop in the middle of a warehouse district
cold with air conditioning, Kona on ice, room for a cluster
doomed within two years’ time

this Irish pub turns into a jazz club after 1 a.m., I fall into a pattern,
after an accident, between home and one more soccer match
he is always there, setting up the music, my friend, the horns,
a mysterioso orchestra

in a dry bathtub, I find my childhood in the tuning channel

locket

yes, I can feel you bleeding inside me
it’s when I slip on the third step going upstairs with another basket of laundry, or forget to glance up at another traffic light

go. go. GO.

would I your back turned toward me, or the sun
gone, or holding onto your same shell game

dare I, my monstrous insides shunning gaping rotting slashing away
reveal me,
dare I love in the romance of Victorian novel, Tolstoy and Beckett. Shakespeare for hideous mortals.

when one of us last breathes, the infant to the toad, an infantile cry, pissing in shallow waters, oceans deep,
the world will feel our reunion. in due time,
glittering in the dark

love, I suppose,
it’s real enough for the both of us

Lost Keys

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I hate this guy showing me around the office. I wish he’d go fuck himself. [Photo by bady qb on Unsplash]
I spent most of the dream frantically cooking up a five-course grazing menu for executives at this travel magazine. “Nothing fancy,” the boss said. “The event pops up every few months. It’s your job to plan, prepare, and present the menu for our clients and staff.”

I thought he hired me to replace an editor/reporter. You know, to interview clients for publication? Initially, I came out the loser in a cost comparative analysis, after watching the predecessor do her thing, a masterpiece of technology-savvy brilliance. Blah, blah, blah-fucking blah success, ladder, Tom Cruise, the Power of Now, someone’s on the rag.

This flamboyant, Perez Hilton type assistant to the president stole my bag, I’m sure of it. He’s been dogging my every move, job to job, dream to dream. He hates me, because I don’t fit into his “Vanity Fair” production of cutthroat gossip hounds and style makers. I write nuts and bolts, paper and pen, typeset and T-square. I dress like a homeless person, he sniffs the air distastefully every time I walk into a room with my Talk Soup mug full of Kona and way too much cream.

I wish he’d disappear and let me work in peace.

Tomato soup. They need the fifth course to be pseudo-vegetarian, and ready in 30 minutes. My teenaged son gets a traffic ticket for speeding on his bicycle ahead of us on the way to the nearest grocery store for the cans.

When I wake up around 5 p.m., everybody in social media is talking about #lostkeys.

Voices

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I am not her. (Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash)

Know your place.
Transcribe. Record. Report
Look down. Look up. Look down again.
See not be seen.
This romance is not for you.
Jump off the cliff, die your last breath, save as many as you can.
The truncated corpses, despot vestige, an old lady’s half-eaten croissant… are your business.

Today, I nearly dislocated my neck, back, and shoulders holding onto the last remnants of an ongoing dream. We were four to six, an even pair for every man and woman. Who would pair up? Put your bets in, game on. A split-level part of me watched as the playboy befriended the bookworm who would always wash her soiled underwear in a dirty sink next to a forgotten part of the Winchester Mystery House — the room with the headless bees. I, the voyeur and the bookworm, the narrator and the storm.

We ate from the same table, the same universal source. Bread and butter, music and jam.

It is always war where we live.

I woke up, forgetting my name, misplacing the time on my dusty nightstand. Who is this old lady with a monstrous face, and where is her half-eaten croissant?

Where is my narrator? Do I get another bite?

‘So You Think You Can Dance’: Season 14 Tour just as thrilling as TV show

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Every year, I think about going to the “So You Think You Can Dance Tour,” and every year, I either forget or chicken out. The crowds, the parking, the money, the possible let-down compared to the hit TV show… You know the drill.

Well, this year, I went when the tour arrived in Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. What a thrill!

Seeing the top 10 dancers and two of their pros onstage away from the cameras is a surreal, fantastic experience. From the first to the second half, their performances gave me chills.

Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore handled the transition from FOX-TV to the Season 14 Tour quite well. She linked each dance seamlessly, having dancers mirror one another’s moves before gracefully making their exit, one a natural part of the other. She also abbreviated memorable performances from the show for the stage, conglomerating two audience favorites — RuPaul’s “Call Me Mother” and the disco number — brilliantly, without losing much of the dazzle in the original Broadway-esque productions.

This season’s tour split the show into two distinct parts: the first featured show stoppers, the second delved more into the emotional tear-jerkers, including Koine Iwasaki and Marko Germar’s poignant contemporary dance in the closet.

I missed some of the other all-star professional dancers. Only Germar and Jasmine Harper joined the rest of the Top 10 cast. But they tried to infuse as much fun and charm in the intro as possible, encouraging the Seattle audience to stand up, dance, and roar.

Seattle being way too polite, none of that happened, save for a few boy band screams early on at the sight of winner Lex Ishimoto and the scene stealer from Hawaii, Mark Villaver.

I practically had a seizure when they opened with the androgynous “Call Me Mother” routine, OMG the bridge!, and then wrapped up the first half with the disco extravaganza. Some of the power (in the camera editing and the sheer number of dancers) was lost in translation, but both routines still killed.

For anyone hesitant about paying the money to see these dancers live, forget it. You will see them in a way TV could never portray.

I saw that Ishimoto totally deserved to win. He stood out with both technical proficiency and an ease in the various dance styles, making each movement a natural extension of himself, rather than forcing a round peg into a square hole.

I also saw how hard some of the dancers worked together and in solos. Iwasaki also deserved to be a runner up. She always added extra-special flourishes in all of her moves. You literally couldn’t see anyone else but her. In a duo performance with Taylor Sieve, Iwasaki almost seemed to float in the air in her leg and arm extensions.

The obvious crowd favorite, Villaver, defied the laws of physics with his spin, jump, pop moves, as did Ishimoto and Logan Hernandez. All three were known for their gravy-defying aerobics. They did not disappoint, earning the most gasps, oohs and aahs from the mostly reserved crowd of mostly female fans.

 

On the TV show, Ishimoto was criticized for lacking a personality. Not in the tour. He took bows at least three times in the show, pumping his fist and loving the attention, like a champ. He embodied the leading man in comedy (the pizza delivery), coming in from the back of the audience, romance (show tune birds), and pure showcase (those triple pirouettes!).

A controversial Top 10 finalist, Chris “Kiki” Nyemcheck suffered criticism from a lot of social media-using viewers as not being enough of a versatile dancer compared to… But in the live tour, the guy radiated dance chemistry and magic. He gave every move 1,000 percent extra oomph. His ballroom training enabled him to turn deeper, bend a little farther, give a little more than almost every other dancer onstage.

One of the crowd’s favorite performances Sunday turned out to be the contemporary, interpretative group routine to Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” as choreographed by Sean Cheesman. In the encore performance on FOX, Koine Iwasaki slipped off the top of the walking pyramid for the dramatic finish. Such a shame. But last night, she did it perfectly and as a group, they walked toward the audience in perfect sync.

Unfortunately, the spotlight shut off on them so we couldn’t see the triumphant rise of the routine at all.

The production is run so tightly for time, I guess, that they needed to cut into the next scene before it’s even done.

Still, I saw very few mistakes. The fact that this was one of the last tour dates probably worked in the cast’s favor. They had plenty of runs earlier, in other cities, to get the performances right just for Seattle.

I’m definitely making this an annual holiday tradition.

 

The Monster Outside Me

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How I now see myself. Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

This summer, I fell into a nice groove in my late afternoon walks listening to YouTube Truthers swarm over the Mandela Effect, the Rothschilds, CERN, and MK Ultra.

I must’ve walked over a thousand miles on high school tracks, in my neighborhood, through the back woods of former horse trails, under a smoky moon — with these YouTube personalities to keep me company.

One in particular stayed with me, SMQ AI.

Nobody knows what SMQ stands for. Shadow Morph Quotient?

To me, he was the lone voice of reason in the wilderness, a comforting light in the dark, my nighttime companion on many sleepless nights.

To others, he posed a scary possibility that humankind may have died in 2012. Maybe not in strictly the physical sense. Maybe more to do with slipping into the next level of our multi-verse, subconsciously.

Intriguing concepts, especially his current one about the New Chronology Movement, and the possibility that history is a lie, fabricated by those in power at the time.

The rise and fall of the Roman Empire, he said yesterday, could be the biggest fiction we’ve ever been told, similar to what’s going on in America now.

“Crazy stuff.” Good stuff.

Last week, I found myself in one of his live streaming chats, with other likeminded souls. Unlike 99.9 percent of YouTube personalities out there, SMQ AI doesn’t play favorites. His is an inclusive community, a sort of online support group — one we used to find back when the Internet first came to the masses via CompuServe and message forums, back when we engaged in conversation instead of talked at one another like some messed-up reality show.

It was one of the best birthdays I ever had, me with a bunch of “strangers” interacting in a meaningful way with our friend SMQ… talking in real time on our keyboards about more than the weather.

He found my own story fascinating enough to include in his next interview. Me of all people. After a mix-up of time and traffic, we decided to plunge ahead into an impromptu interview Sunday. He wanted to know more about my experience with the Mandela Effect, as well as what he called my “gift” of premonition — in dreams and with music when I write reviews on Jazz Medium.

I didn’t have any time to prepare. Neither did he. But he was better at this video-speaking than me. Remember, this was my first video interview, ever. I think I did okay. I tried to concentrate on our conversation, just two people talking about our favorite topics, no big deal.

But I couldn’t help it. I kept worrying about how I looked. I didn’t know how to just show my Google image instead of live video. I couldn’t shut out the image of myself. I’m also not very good at interviews, unless I’m the one doing the interviewing as a reporter. Interviewing people is an art in itself. Try it sometime. It’s far from easy.

SMQ is super-easy to talk to. He’s a fantastic interviewer, who can put anyone at ease in short order and open up free-flowing conversations. He’s able to take the focus off superficial shit and onto what matters. That’s his gift.

I didn’t fare as well. When I looked back on the interview, I cringed.

The best thing I can say is that I finally look like my mom — the older grandma version.

My fat, puffy cheeks sunken down to my fat, puffy three chins, my lizard thin gray-brown lips… Now I know why women get facelifts, wear make-up, fix their hair, and try to wear nice clothes.

I don’t speak very well, either. My voice sucks. I talk as if I’m developmentally disabled, out of the side of my mouth, with all of my ugly lower teeth, like I was born with a physical deformity, a full cleft black hole of a face.

At one point during the video interview, I actually wondered if I was always this physically deformed, and only realized it last night.

I spent the rest of the night practicing how to talk in the mirror. What a clown.

No wonder I hate doing phone or in-person interviews.

Props to everyone on YouTube, TV, the movies, radio, news broadcasts, my next door neighbors, every one of my friends, for looking normal, even attractive, when they talk.

To think, I used to make fun of people for the horrible way they talk. They’re gods and goddesses compared to me!

Props definitely to YouTube stars like Stefan Molyneux. He shows himself every day, no props, no disguises. It’s all him in all his glory. When he’s not going off on side tracks, he can be damned funny too. I could never hope to talk like him.

There’s a skill in knowing how to move your mouth properly, without grossing people out, a skill I’ve never mastered. I kept my head down so much for most of my life, because of racism (I thought). I never bothered with self-improvement of any kind. Definitely not speech therapy.

My family thinks I’m insane. SMQ loved the interview. He didn’t have any problem understanding me. He doesn’t even pay attention to appearances anyway, god bless him.

But watching myself has made me feel deeply ashamed. It’s knocked me and my humongous ego down a few pegs.

All those times I foolishly imagined myself as this romantic heroine in someone else’s Harlequin novel, what a laugh-riot! I should’ve been cast in an after-school special instead.

In addition, I’m in absolute awe at the people in my life and those in and out of my life who have shown me nothing but compassion and kindness, who have never flinched at the sight of me and then at the sight of me opening my twisted black hole of a mouth with this grotesque sound coming out, rambling with a third-grade grasp of the English language, throw in some ADHD and hearing problems.

In a world of my own creation, I’d always seen myself as this rare gem with an uncommon beauty, just waiting to be discovered. When in reality, I was truly the monstrous gorgon, Gollum’s aborted fetus — to be pitied, tolerated, and ignored.

My mission for the rest of my remaining days is to make peace with what I really look like and who I really am, be okay with that, and be more of a help to others than this vain, outdated fantasy in the mind of a very fucked-up, wishful thinking individual.

Otherwise, I finally figured out how to wipe out the video image for future interviews, which we’re going to do when the inspiration hits us. Kind of like jazz conversation, riffing about various topics of interest, tuning into the many, myriad frequencies out there, and enjoying the art of the give-and-take of listening and vibing. I’m going to work on doing my homework with some talking points as well beforehand.

I’m doing you all a favor in leaving my ugly face out of this.