Abolitionists toward a Palenque world


Thinking of my Mami, today is her birthday

I believe that frankly, there does not structurally exist an effective, i.e., preventative, humane way to deal with crime and its racist, classist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic production and reproduction of it by the very forces that provide the delusion (for whom really, any more? or ever!) of maintaining order.  That picture of a cop beatin the shit outta some one, or sprayin the shit outta some one, speaks volumes about the status quo’s delusion of order and chaos, for those who know what’s goin on, or who have been paying attention to the bloody parade of targeted people of color and poor white people, or, really, any one else who dares step outta line, not really targeting across class, but on a race, sexuality, trans and gender across-them-all-basis, one drawn out, pooled, cracked, ripped open, meaty, dark thick soakin the soil of our hoods.

Of course we are all animals, but I mean it specifically about the police when I think savages, animales asesinos.  I just got this great new book by Jean Franco, Cruel Modernity, whose earlier book on gender and Mexico I had read 15 years ago.  So far, her argument is that cruelty is completely modern, not primitive (with all those planned and played out default racial connotations that that implies), as in we are not beyond that stage, but modernity has centered it into its every day machinations and its very existence.  We have a long, long list of modern savages – the Nazis, the long shadow of kings and queens of all the European nations, Pinochet y sus socios asquerosos structured/backed by the Milton Friedman-trained Chicago Boys, los architectos del proceso en Argentina, las caravanas de muerte, el ejercito de Guatemala, la muerte de Roque Dalton, Tlateloco in 1968, Jim Crow, Black Codes, lynchins, apartheid, neoliberalism, Tianamen Square, los paracos y la Masacre del Alto Naya, ¡Vivos se los llevaron y vivos los queremos!, femicide in Cuidad Juarez, hatred of homos, trans women, mass graves all over, rape as a tool of war.  To name a few, in a code switchin in da tellin kinda way just now, but it is clear that technological progress, in learning and reason has also meant the perpetuation today in the application of old techniques of torture and cruelty, and human debasement.  Samplin Jean Franco, I wouldn’t say a more sophisticated implementation of methods, crude and cruel as they continue to be, just lots more convoluted justifications. aka, Dick Cheney as one of the latest exhibits NUMERO UNO.

I, with many others have survived a police attack.  What tied our accused hearts together in our particular instance, and our bodies shoulder to shoulder, those 4 years after it, was a lot of hard work, deeply lived political analysis, lots of backin each other up and just as importantly, by compas/famila/comrades/community lawyers en lucha who were not at that very specific moment targeted, that one very night, the beginnin of some light teeth suckin amongst each other that never played out, but rather, listening to and hearing each other out.  Some times the g works, some times no.   The attack fractured us in our in-formation political work together, and we used it to tie us together, thinkin on that thanks to Ruth Wilson Gilmore for those insights about partitions, that provide spaces to connect and encounter.  And we exploit them, in the sense of take advantage, tomar ventaja, not in the sense of use and discard.  And I still always regret the lack of a community-wide pachanga when we won!    Además, we defeated two jails in the South Bronx, TWO!

In thinking of people who cannot seem to wrap their heads around the abolition of prisons, jails, punishment and police, I think as kinda lookin at them more than sideways, if we had been there ala dear Octavia Butler, seeing people who supported, idly or otherwise, the kidnapping, shackling and displacement of millions of Africans, and the generational shacklin that got ingrained, institutionalized and reproduced for way, way too long, and crushed too many.  And built the U.S., the rest of the Americas and the Caribbean with no reparations,


Still, the higher education institution goes along with the accusation of racism against white people?  Because I recognized the unequal law enforcement of the war on drugs (targeting poor and working class people of color as its basis), the no arrest zones in bougie white neighborhoods, and what the slave traders/owners did for 400 years?  Not that surprised though, in the come mierda piece-of-the-pie hording and eating contest.  Proves Jean Franco’s book, breaking down the rational, fair, rights oh so modern project.

But, of course, that is not the final story because we fight, fight, fight for a totally different world based on totally different principles than those that have been enforced on us.  A little respite here and there, to keep on keepin on.

And as Maya Angelou reminds us, “And still we RISE!”.

And then the mass uprisings, resulting through the daily constructions of new societies with new/long forgotten/surgiendo gender, race, class, sexuality relations that obliterate these partitions to create places of liberation together – palenques, maroons, quilombos! 

Cruel ModernityThis cover photo is by Susan Meiselas of the site of the forced out/spilled blood of a student slain while handing out political leaflets in El Salvador, 1979, and a child next to it.  Witness!

New Rosemary Lip Balm/Nueva Pomada de Romero Para los Labios


Tools of the trade, so to speak/Herramientas del trabajo, pa decirlo

20150826_231417Melting the beeswax into the rosemary oil/derritiendo la cera de abeja dentro del aceite de romero


Looks like egg drop soup no?/ Parece sopa china de huevo, no?


20150827_002000As it gels it rests/ cuando cuaja, descansa

I just finished the long process of making more rosemary (my second favorite herb) lip balm.  This concoction was a long time coming, a very long process to complete, given unemployment, school, teaching, racist & classist housing and employment drama, but the alchemy happens and is so great, every, every time. To help these ingredients come together, and on their own power with my tender mixing help, wisdom based on back generations, to go from liquid to solid is amazing. I added peppermint essential oil this time, and it gives this lip balm a zing!

I remain so deeply content working with herbs to make more natural, less processed medicine for myself and my friends and mi kitties. It is pretty great to produce medicine with nature, anti-modern as Paul Gilroy writes it in another context, to know exactly what materials go into it, and to enjoy the labor of it. Although “natural” is complicated and some what contradictory, but what I mean is simple, less complicated (involving connections to the earth, heat, knife, a product of bee labor, oil, herbs – rosemary, sage, peppermint, glass, funnel, un-stolen labor). And sharing is caring, as they say, it doesn’t have to involve a monetary exchange, just seeing happiness and the power for herbal medicine is enough, though it would be more difficult if this were my source of income. Because as they say, nothing from nothing leaves nothing, you gotta have something if you wanna be with me! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuaG-TCpbtw

Acabo de terminar el largo proceso de hacer más pomada de romero (mi segunda hierba favorita) para los labios. Esta poción hace tiempo que esta en proceso, tomo mucho para completar, dado el desempleo, el colegio, enseñar, la situación dramatica de la lucha contra las maniobras racistas y clasistas de vivienda y de empleo, pero la alquemía anda y es bakana, cada, cadita vez. El asistir a esos materiales cuajarse, de su propia cuenta con una mano mia de revoltura tierna, sabiduria de generaciones de mucho tiempo, para ir de liquido a solido es algo bakano. Le agregue aceite esencial de hierba buena esta vez, y le da un ¡zacata! a esa pomada para los labios.

Sigo profundamento contento trabajar con hierbas para hacer medicina más natural, menos procesado para mi, mis amigxs y mis gaticxs. Es bakano producir medicina con la naturaleza, antimoderno como lo dice Paul Gilroy en otro contexto, el saber cuales materiales estan en ella, y disfrutar el trabajo en hacerlo. Aunque lo natural es complicado (cuyo incluye conexión con la tierra, llama, cuchillo, un producto del labor de las abejas, aceite, hierbas- romero, sabila, hierba buena, vidrio, embudo, trabajo no robado). Y el compartir es cuidar, como se dice, no tiene que ser un intercambio de plata, basta con ver la felizidad y el poder de la medicina herbal, aunque si sería difícil sí contara con el para mi ingreso. Porque, como se dice, nada de nada deja nada, y tienes que tener algo sí quieres estar conmigo! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuaG-TCpbtw  2 times!

Cuajo! It transfomed! (gelled doesn’t quite get it as a translation)
pomada de romero

Ethnobotany studies update/Ponerte al día de mis estudios ethnobotánicos

IMG00463As I am a week away from beginning my fourth year of studies, I am preparing to do field work in Colombia.

A brief rewind to last semester when I took dear Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Policed class where we were able to study the history of being thus in the U.S. and in other countries.  It is a complicated sordid history, well documented by The Institute for the Study of Labor and the Economic Crisis’ (Tony Platt, et.al.) The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove an analysis of the U.S. police, and most especially given the antecedents of the slave patrols from Barbados via South Carolina, Sally Hadden did a great job of documenting those and their geneology in Slave Patrols:  Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas.  I learned that in France from Didier Fassin in Enforcing Order  An Ethnography of Urban Policing, that French society largely doesn’t care about liberal niceties, or putting that lipstick on a pig, literally, particularly in relation to the banlieues (that word has a nice uuuus to it, though the reality is that they are like no racialized suburbs we have ever heard of on this side, and then the uprising in 2005). And of course, lovely Rachel Herzing’s still unfortunately live in the flesh, and still too current, for NYers, “Resisting the Bratton Brand: Lessons from the U.S.”.
We also worked on great, collaborative research projects. In one of those, fellow abolishionist homies got to look at and understand initiatives of not calling 911 in the U.S. and in other wise, not accessing the coercive forces of the state the world round. These are the ultimate collective DIY projects – inspiring, in-process and exposing the deep contradictions in racist, sexist, homo/transphobic capitalism; and making clear que muchos mundos son posibles!  Pamphlets in the works and up here when they are ready!

I took Rupal Oza’s Gender, Race and Space class which was also a foundational class in helping me make those important connections, read some amazing literature which will also be very useful in thinking about my work around these issues in Colombia.  And really this is my life’s focus, how race and gender remake our spaces, and how troubling those in relation to our places transforms us.  There was lots of great literature, particularly about Native American identities in Canada and the U.S., but one that really stood out was the most excellent analysis by Jacqueline Nassy Brown in her book, Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool. Big props were given to Paul Gilroy and his anti anti essentialism, which is, mind blowing!

So, to another semester to work on writing, look at social reproduction, and to paying the bills outside of exploitative adjunct teaching, but then that is a whole nother post, dears!

Me falta una semana para iniciar mi cuarto año de estudios, y estoy al punto de hacer mi trabajo de campo con y en Colombia.

Y quiero darle un repasito al semestre pasado en cuyo tome la clase de Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Policed, so sea vigiladxs por la chota con cual pudimos estudiar esa historia en los EEUU y en otros paises. Es una historia compleja llena de maniobras, bien documentada por el Instituto de Estudios de Trabajo y de la Crisis Economica (Tony Platt y otrxs), El Puño de Hierro y el Guante de Tiercopelo un analisis de la policia en los EEU, y en particular, dado los antecedentes de la patrulla esclavisadora. Sally Hadden hizo trabajo chevere en documentar esas conexxiones y geneología en Patrullas Esclavizadoras: La ley y la violencia en Virginia y las Carolinas. Aprendí de Didier Fassin en Aplicando el Orden Una ethnografía de la policia urbana que en Francia realmente no les important las sumercedes liberales, o sea, pintar los labios de los cerdos, por decirlo claramente, particularmente en relación a los banlieues (dicha palabra con esas uuuuus que suenan bien, pero en realidad nada que ver con los suburbios racializados de este lado, resultando en el levantamiento de 2005). Y, por supuesto la divina Rachel Herzing, muy encarnado y muy corriente, para lxs neoyorquinxs, “Resistiendo la Marca Bratton: Lecciones de los EEUU.”
Además hicimos proyectos investigatorios collaborativos cheveres, en uno de ellos cuates abolicionistas miramos a y entendimos initiativas de no llamar al auxilio estatal estadounisense y por supuesto donde quiera no usar las fuerzas brutales del estado alrededor del mundo. Dichos proyectos son hacer tu mundo propio – inspiradores, en proceso y desencubridores de las contradicciones profundas del racista, sexista, homo/transfobico capitalism, aclarando que many worlds are possible! Los pampletos estan en marchas y se mostraran aca cuando esten listos.

Además tome la clase de Rupal Oza, Genero, Raza y Espacio, otra fundamental en ayudarme hacer conexxiones importantes, leer literatura suntuosa que aun me ayuda pensar en mi proyecto con respeto a estos asuntos en Colombia. Y de hecho, este es el enfoque de mi vida, como asuntos raciales y de genero rehacen nuestro espacios, y como inquietarlos en relación a nuestros lugares nos tranformamos. Hubo mucha literatura buenísima, particularmente en relación a identidades Indígenas en Canada y los EEUU, pero una que realmente me acojio fue el analísis muy excelente de Jacqueline Nassy Brown, en su libro Poner el ancla, navegar: geografías en la Liverpool negra.

Entonces, a otro semestre de mejorar como escribo, estudiar la reproducción social y a pagar los biles fuera de la explotación del trabajo de medio tiempo como profesor. Pero eso es para otro correo, Queridxs!

Y que viva el espanglich!


Doing the East Harlem Shake!


Um—>cucumber, pineapple, carrot in water.

Rico—>pepino, piña, zanahoria en agua!


Um—>cucumber, black grape, peach.

Rico—>pepino, uva negra, durazno.

Cucumber peach piñones pomagranet seltzer honey

Cucumber, peach, pomegrante selter, piñon nuts, honey –

fancy smancy!  Pepino, durazno, seltzer de granada, piñones, miel –

chevere wevere!

Cucumber papaya

Cucumber, papaya, peach, carrot, pomegranate seltzer/pepina, papaya, durazno, zanahoria, seltzer de granada.  Those CSA carrots are powerful, they pack a punch/esas zanahorias del CSA sí son fuertes, te dan su poder!

Asparagus, plum, black grapes, pomegranate selter, um.  Asparago, ciruela,

uvas negras, selter de granada, rico.


ciruela uvas negras blueberries

Black grapes, plum, promegranate seltzer.  Uvas negras,

ciruela, seltzer de granada.

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Strawberries, passion fruit coconut yogurt, blueberries/

fresas yogur de coco de parcha, arándanos o moras azules

Rosemary, lavender, peppermint shampoo!/¡Shampoo de Romero, lavanda, hierbabuena!

shampoo foto 1 rosemary lavender glycerin

I finally did it, I made a shampoo, with some of my favorite herbs – rosemary, lavender, and peppermint.  This should get the scalp and singin!  It turned out to be a rich amber brown and it felt heavy when I applied it.  I disappointedly realized why many shampoos have alcohol in them.  But it washed out well, and when my hair dried, it was kinda fluffy (I still need to find a solution for the frizz).  It is a great body wash too, since all of these are great skin herbs.  Peppermint is the key, a great summer herb because it is cooling for blood circulation in the skin.  It gives you this cool inside feeling, to put up with NYC summers!

Making herbal medicine is an interesting process, like alchemy, as in days gone by, turning something into something else, equally as valuable (not to buy into the hierarchy of material value).  But instead of using chemicals and making gold, and all the complicated extraction process that implies and entails, this alchemy process is about using herbs in combination with each other to make less processed, more something which is at the same time more simple and more deeply profound.

So this was my process with herbs to make an herbal shampoo – I put in some rosemary and lavender in a nice jar of vegetable glycerine, shut the lid tight, covered it all with brown paper bags to keep the sun out, and let it sit on the window sill for about 10 days, gently turning the jar top to bottom morning and night to keep the mixture up well.  I had never used glycerine as a menstruum, or dissolvent, as it is called.  A menstruum is a liquid (oil, alcohol, water or glycerine) into which one puts herbs to draw out their medicinal power to make herbal medicine.  See the pics above, which give you a good idea.  Now, according to James Green in The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook  A Home Manual, “(G)lycerine, the sweet principle of oils, was discovered in 1789 and came into use in medicine and pharmacy around 1846.  It is a liquid obtained by the hydrolysis of vegetable or animal fats or fixed oils.” (186) Sounds western-biased, as we now know, for example, that Native people in the Amazon and Mexico were using rubber by 1300, just sayin.  Although Green does give credit usually to Native American contributions.

So, being a vegetarian, I used vegetable glycerine, and it seems to have worked well to draw out the rosemary and lavender essences.  I added peppermint essential oil, because it just seemed right to get the scalp and hair dancing.

Por fin lo hice, un shampoo, hecho con algunas de mis hierbas favoritas – romero, lavanda y hierbabuena.  Debe poner el cuero cabelludo a cantar!  Resulto ser un color carmelita rico.  Cuando initialmente me lo puse, se sentia pesDo y tristemente me di cuenta porque muchos shampoos tienen alcohol.  Pero se juago bien, y seco ligero y plumoso😆😆(quiero encontrar una solución a hacer mechudo).  Además sirve muy bien para lavar al cuerpo, como todas estas hierbas son buenísimas para la piel.  La hierbabuena es clave, una hierba veranal buenísima porque le quita el calor a la circulación de sangre en la piel.  Te da un sentido frio adentro, para soportar los veranos neoyorkinos.

Hacer medicina de hierbas es un proceso bien interestante, como alquimia de los tiempos pasados, convertir a algo a otra cosa, egualmente valioso (para no compar esa herarquia material de valor).  Pero en lugar de usar quimicas y hacer oro, y todo ese proceso complicado de extracción que incluye, este proceso alquimista es uno de usar hierbas en combinación para logar algo a la vez más sencillo, y mucho más profundo.

Entonces, este es mi proceso con las hierbas para hacer un shampoo herbal – puse romero y lavanda en un jarro chevere de vidrio lleno Continue reading

Birthday love and appreciations/Cariño de cumpleaños y agradecimientos


Burma birth day post card

A beautiful postcard from Burma from my dear fierce friend Spike from Tucson!

54 years ago, my sweet, don’t mess hard as nails Mami birthed me. It has been a tumultuous, sweet, heart-breaking soul and body inspiring learning 54 years where lots of differently gendered, raced and cultured classed people have helped make me the person I am today. I thank all of you my dear people who have helped me be the awnry, principled REVOLUtionary, smart, loving, teeth-suckin, eye-rollin, cop hatin, completely secular, nature-lovin person I am.

I especially hold up the womyn and LGBT people in my life, who don’t get enough credit in society btw, for helping me to be the fighter I am. Here’s to another 54 rollickin years!

Hace 54 años, mi querida, no joda Mami me dio a luz. Han sido 54 años revueltos, dulces, rompe corazon, inspirando mi alma y cuerpo donde muchas personas de diferentes generos, raza, culturas y clases me ayudaron ser la persona quien soy hoy. Les agradezco de corazon querida gente en ayudarme ser la persona mañosa, REVOLUcionara con valores profunfos, inteligente, cariñosa, chupa diente, voltear los ojos, odio policia, enternamente no religioisx, amante de la naturaleza quien soy. Particularmente, alabo (no de manera religiosa!), a las compañeras y la gente LBGT en mi vida, quienes no reciben su puesto en nuestra sociedad, pa dejarlo claro, por ayudarme ser ela luchadorx quien soy.

Y a otros 54 años de bulla!

Que viva la vida y

And a very important rewind, racist police brutality and misogynist violence are connected, well said Dee Barnes!  http://gawker.com/heres-whats-missing-from-straight-outta-compton-me-and-1724735910

Summer Garden Interlude – Descanso en un Jardín de Verano

Conservatory Garden - El Barrio , NYC

Conservatory Garden – El Barrio , NYC

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