Tone .Are

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Kanye West: Runaway

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 7:37 am

Most will watch mystified; some quick to reconnect with what amounts to them the novelty playing out before a text message blast and lifting chin, others beneath a tensed brow scaling for what innovative artistry Kanye West’s new 34 minute short film/ music video brings it’s audience.
Most will find it difficult to be objective about how they experienced what it was they were watching;, weighing a concept which is so radically different, it could potentially fill a prescriptions fix for those who’ve coped this long without a “Love Below” follow up in the game.
Even if it falls shorter than on it’s face, how could you knock it when the abstract dares to walk up in monotony grabbing it’s crotch right?


“Runaway” is the new millenniums ‘Thriller’. Hands down, no doubt about it. But only because it attempts to be! Then again, if you want me to keep it 100 with you… ‘Thriller’ was only ‘Thriller’ because it attempted to be. It wasn’t like John Landis’ 1983 epic had a marvel of a story line, or choreography the like of which you couldn’t see at a Broadway Play. But it busted out the box of what music video’s had been at the time, thus giving the audience an imagination, and freeing the landscape for a “Runaway” to eventually be possible. *Although, even such recognition is contestable, as some might point to the grandiose formula dating back as early as The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”.

In any case, Mike, meet Kanye West. Hip Hop’s DIY Renaissance Man, whom now adds to his track record as a Producer and Rapper: …Director.
Ye proves time and again, that he’s not afraid to try it on, and make it his strong suit! Just last video he shocked us all with an all eyes on me premier of a still-shot (Power video) that was all of 1 minute and 40 seconds long. The reaction from within my circles was, as i have already observed with “Runaway”: Wow.

Somebody needs to find me the crazy responsible for convincing Pop’s erratic narcissist 2010 to jump out the window with irony.

But of course
Who other than the larger-than-life Cabezón GOD wouldn’t be able to convince otherwise..
Mr. West himself.?.

I am a huge Kanye West fan. We go way back to College Drop Out, when i hoisted him what at the time (for me) was a HipHop Head’s sacred mantel: my faith that he would save the culture. Soulful beats with a boombap baseline, rhymes connecting wordplay with a hint of social consciousness, and fresh song structures. To some lengths he brought it back. It might sound extra, but even with 808’s & Heartbeats, i saw an era of influence born out of Kanye West, which will attest itself if you listen to the cadence of R&B songs that followed: *listen to Usher’s OMG, then listen to 808’s, then listen to Usher’s work before 808’s*
Despite my respect and loyalty to his work, i have to tell you, that there are some things that just don’t work for the Runaway video. And they start, and they end, with the Rapper Kanye West!

– The cinematography (*a kiss of the fingers to my lips) beautiful, buenicimo! CLASSIC! lOve it, with an orgasmic O.
The lighting, the montage of scenes and camera work…

– Scenery and stage setting, selection of props, the whole works. (*palms to sky) A-W-E s-o-m-e

– The choreography (*claps) great! Went very well with the tone, colors, textures of the video.

Then there is the music.
After the Tyler Swift incident i predicted that Kanye West would return from exile with something from out of space. Something that would rock music and bring him back to the top of the world. Fortunately for Kanye, he will be back to the top of the world and some of you out there in the masses won’t stomach this well, but he can thank his ego for that (hey, it sucks, but it truly is what continues to drive him back). This time though, and the other side of the coin is that it’s unfortunate for music, his album will complement his archetypal Greek God complex as badly as it does this video!
I was distracted by Pusha T’s typical bravado-16 taking the beautiful out of a ballet number; I was beaten over the head with more references to designer clothes and expensive cars (yawn), only this time it had the effect of urine splashing off a priceless mural; And finally, i was forced to come to terms with the explosions, and shades and shoes perhaps serving as an eerily Diddy.esque compensation for a flow that is quite frankly played out and in contrast with some younger hungrier emcees today – weak!

Had “Runaway” been a silent film, i’d be putting my pre-order in for the collector’s edition DVD.
But lame celebrity name drops (Alec Baldwin) and rehashed spanglish (me no hablo) make it just too… runny.

sommmeee, history to haul forward and settle here though,
the video isss
in a certain sense, symbolic…

Hip Hop has now transitioned through all of it’s paradigms.
The foundation will always be the music and so from birth, through, and past it’s death the music(DJ) will be as relevant to itself as any other element comprising of the culture.
HipHop dance (and graffiti) were the first elements to have their time… in the 70’s all the hype was the break beats and breaking; b-boys and b-girls.
Then the Emcee began to dominate HipHop. Depending on the scene we are speaking about, the DJ and Emcee alternate as pertains to the order of their relevance, although, DJs control the game.
The final paradigm HipHop entered (around the time of RunDMC) and is completing with, is the fashion. Commercialism has anointed the rapper ambassador of swag, and you simply will not survive on the mainstream level, if you cannot carry that banner. Once the hardest emcee (Biggie) incorporated Gucci and Mosquino into his content, the precedent had been set across the board. HipHop became consumer America’s theme music.

“Runaway” puts the staple through the note on the king’s door.
Yes fashion has been in the game in some sense or another since the beginning, which is why a number of pioneers include it as an element of HipHop. And yes, it has influenced the direction of HipHop for a minute –puff era is a decade and a half deep playeh’-. But the fashionista and his/her eye for ‘swag’ is no longer just influencing the game’s direction.. it is now dictating it! So much so, that if ANYBODY is going to have room to play with creative control… it’s going to be the visual artist, designer, director.

“Runaway” has great creative depth, and you can tell why.
It is not an emcee, or Producer who created it. No matter what title Kanye takes on for you when you watch it.
Judging it at lens level through such vision
Kanye does a Good Ass Job

Yet, you’ve got to wonder whether all of the allusions to Greco-Roman times is an unintended manifestation of an artist whose persona lives in the mold… or if Yeezy is trying to say something. The “Can We Get Much Higher?” sample, the hedonistic gluttons of piety too smug for their own good, Icarus, fire and destruction…

The American Pop Star is thrust to iconic heights when he/she cedes to the public’s projection/assumption of them. Bob Dylan did it, turning his famous mystique on the press and playing with them until they had gone absolute haywire trying to figure him out. Kanye is smart… it is exactly what he realized he needed to do from the angle of an insecure, vain genius fully aware that the industry so needed an insecure, vain genius, that he could get away with what nobody else could, and survive as the hottest hit maker in the universe. “George Bush hates Black People,” “Magazines are going to need to pay me to use me on their cover,” “That award belongs to Beyonce”. The industry needed that, because that image, is the absolute reflection of what Popular Music in America is in 2010… just as Pop Music was relative to Dylan in the mid 60’s: a drifter, finding it’s way…

In the midst the genius, as it is said, destroys his own art.
A more optimistic point of view will tell of it rather, a transformation.
But i’m not completely convinced. If we are talking about the visual asthetic owning responsibility for HipHop’s future then heck, HipHop is in great shape! But the fact that the content in the music has not advanced creatively, offers a sculpture that lacks of integrity. …A post modern video running over the same drivel that’s sold the organic expression of our Youth’s identity, for the kind of marketing fodder that keeps KRS-1’s cynical gray matter as relevant as Drake’s LL and Nikki’s Lil Kim franchise.

This Is It

– ToneAre



In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm
Wrote me a book, and figured i let you all know about it.
Please support this project;  i can guarantee you will not regret it  🙂
NAIMA began to appear to me from out of a dozen or so pieces, flirting with erotic/romantic themes. Naima is not a lonely poet, nor is it some vain lover, but an amalgam of experiences which yearn to embody a whole and complete expression,… of the journey i began t follow in the vision of. 

And because by the time the song is done, i am drawn back from reflections and dreams, exhausted of epiphanies; what Naima bares to present is it’s own struggle to manifest beauty.

Along the way, there is pain and there is pleasure, there is loss, and gain, there is hope for a righteous and bountiful future, still yet, a practical resignation to life. -Naima


Purchase NAIMA:

List Price: $10.00  


A Brush of Wonder

Your face
is just like
my face
all of my friends say, she has your
face, I hear it all day everywhere

we go together; la misma cara
“that was you”
your Wela says


Were there a confession I wish to make
to clear the way, to get to the point
of where I’m going,
with a loss for words
agape in a gaze on you
as you play on
it’s just that there was a time in my youth
when I was so consumed with this
fanciful kind of greatness I
imagined my potential; that
my bust became a stencil for affirmations,
my face would become these paintings


Wonderment saw the same thing
people see in your face, in it’s state of me


this very moment, I’m wondering
if maybe those faded dreams
of greatness actually came to be

If you are one of those
mysterious ways they say God works,


I’m wondering… because you must be
at every curvature and meticulous shape,

in the nuances they portray they see in
the semblance assembling us

before their very eyes


They say
that even your
are the same
as mine…


And I’ve never carried any doubt
as to whether you were mine,
I’m the last person whom needs to hear
that I can’t deny you; everything from
my hair down to my jaw line don’t
chance a lead to such denial.


Besides, you are my world…


are you
the world’s attention
I always knew I’d find girl?

* A Brush of Wonder is a title from ToneAre’s NAIMA

About the author:
Tone Are was born, Tony Rivera, to Sonia Maldonado in Brooklyn, NY, September 25th, 1981. He is the father of Nadia Janae Rivera-Aponte.NAIMA 

Authored by T o n e A r e

NAIMA is a prologue to the literary career of Nuyorican Poet, Tony Rivera. In this, his first work, projected from his own experience is a collection of poetry which longs for love, while struggling through the demons which threaten to compromise his humanity to the oppressive pulse of ‘manhood’. As an artistic opus, NAIMA brings the melodic desires, fears, pain and pleasure of a young Latino to the very nerve of your senses.

Publication Date:
Oct 15 2010
1452866066 / 9781452866062
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6″ x 9″


But Colors of Restoration


When I heard
the sad clown
was gone

I found myself
angled upward
a memory

And while surveying why they
mightn’t have brought me down;
the tears he cried, his frown

I tailed away to


take in the white paint around
the frame, picturing a certain emptiness
Grandma must have been living
through, setting me up in a room
I remember and still feel unbounded in

as I were, scouring her ever giving eyes,
while building blocks that captivated her
past me, into premonition.


Might’ve been the moment,
which haunted me into shaking shapes
out the box for her to watch me


to return immediately after
she was done pulling socks off the ol’ man,


maybe it was when I came to understand


the childhood this saint must have never had,
for her to thump on in straight for the grab,
replace toy-time with paper to draw on

and to continue chores beyond the door


as I fixed his face happy outside the lines
the clown that watched me play, and sleep


The friend
I left in that room
To weep, while I went and
Gave Grandma a kiss on the cheek


And a picture for her to keep

*But Colors of Restoration is a title from Tone Are’s NAIMA

Something To Prove: Fearing Queer & Being Man About It

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 7:27 am

Lured Into a Trap, Then Tortured for Being Gay

Uli Seit for The New York Times

From left, Nelson Falu, 17, Idelfonso Mendez, 23, and David Rivera, 21, at right, were among the seven suspects arrested in the abductions and attacks on three men in the Bronx on Oct. 3.


He was told there was a party at a brick house on Osborne Place, a quiet block set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with plenty of cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture — he was sodomized, burned and whipped.

Yana Paskova for The New York Times

A gay man was tortured in the house, at left, at 1910 Osborne Place in the Bronx, the police said.

All punishment, the police said Friday, for being gay.

There were nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, the police said. Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, they had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, the police said — until the boys — one of whom was sodomized with a plunger — admitted to having had sex with the man.

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

The beatings and robberies went on for hours. They were followed by a remarkably thorough attempt to sanitize the house — including pouring bleach down drains, the police said, as little by little word of the attacks trickled to the police. A crucial clue to the attackers was provided by someone who slipped a note to a police officer outside the crime scene, at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights, near Bronx Community College.

Seven suspects were arrested on Thursday and Friday, and two were still being sought in a crime that the leader of the City Council called among the worst hate crimes she had ever heard of. “It makes you sick,” said the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, the city’s highest ranking openly gay official.

The charges included abduction, unlawful imprisonment and sodomy, all as hate crimes.

“These suspects deployed terrible, wolf-pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference.

The assaults are the latest in a string of recent episodes of bullying and attacks against gays. A Rutgers University student jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge last month, prosecutors said, after his roommate had secretly set up a webcam in their room and streamed over the Internet his sexual encounter with another man. Two men were accused of robbing and beating a man in the Stonewall Inn, a landmark gay bar in Greenwich Village, last weekend while shouting slurs….

Article:  “9 Accused of Torturing 3 in Bronx for Being Gay”,  New York Times, 10/8/10




. .

.  .  .

Something       To    Prove:

Fearing Queer & Being Man About It

.New York City.   The bustle of midtown Manhattan shrinks the tourist wanderer.   It does not so, the native.  Corporate slicker, b-boy, sidewalk vendor, skater, Actress, police officer, bar tender,    be you who you may; you’re from here: you own this city,     and you walk around like you do!

But even for a child of NYC such the hodgepodge 42ndstreet is, for different shapes and colors of people walking in their own ways of life, will risk you to become a stranger in your own skin*at the stone of an eye, *with the bump of a shoulder, *or a tripping insult.   There’s just something trivially intense about having a world which is till this day considerably polarized into ‘types of people’, condensed together around you, whether you reflect yourself in each passing person, or project upon them your most terrifying insecurity.   Not in my imagination had i visualized sharing a glance trading chuckle with a turbaned Man in a one piece garment & sandals, before i experienced it in the city.  By the same token, i couldn’t tell you how many stares have condescended on me into a momentary loss of reception, while i’ve tried unconvincing myself of whether what i interpreted had just happened.

A couple of weeks ago, while waiting for the light to change at the corner of 8th avenue,  i was forced to struggle through having observed what in the context of my being, was something of a relatively inverse, yet wholly relevant scenario.  Juxtaposition of my identity as a person of color, and social privilege, as a Man, positioned me to incur a sense of responsibility, all the while inhibiting from confronting a group of young Men about the homophobic rod waved in top decibel of their Jamaican patois.  As it does whenever I’m within earshot of white people spewing racial bigotry, or to keep it particular to the circumstance, young Black&Brown Men, lashing at females with misogyny, their words froze up my veins.

Even from the POV of  some 3rd  person, and so it goes, the world in all of it’s microcosms remains fertile ground for inter-social landmines.   Magnified becomes this phenomenon, to the impending danger of a crisis liable to pressure the points beneath our American idealism that trigger screams of protest, when the threat of violence whispers from an oppressor.  And those young Men were, as are all men so determined by birth into universal hegemony, groomed oppressors.  As a silent accomplice to their belligerence, i myself became more than an oppressor, i became the larger atmosphere of oppression around Queer peoples in society.  Dually significant, is the reality, that i added another accomplice, and territory to the atmosphere of oppression WITHIN the being of these men; in their mentality, their emotional and psychological experience, their physical expression.   Especially having the full understanding, that the internal Man has landmines of his own;  and in having chosen to forgo any type of intervention, watched as they continued to distance themselves from their own humanity.

“I am NOT going on that block,” one of them yelled “That block is full of boTTy fish (translation: Faggots)”

He said it like there was nobody bigger than him.  And in his mind, nobody was! (oppressor).  He knew he was a big fish, swimming in a sea of what he could count on, would remain small fish (‘Straight’ Privilege).  Ironic how implicit in his choice of words was his fear,  of Queer.. his fear of that sector of  humanity which he can’t identify with, and thus, doesn’t feel so secure being around.

iT – ALWAys – gEts Me – hoW – “MAN” – oNe cAn Be – aBoUt – BEinG – “BiTCh”

(In other words, how he can be dominated by a fear of what he’s convinced himself is an embodiment of weakness; and fail to recognize how deluded such irony makes him.)

I don’t believe i’d ever be capable of imagining what it is like to be Gay.  I’d actually be interested to know whether Gay elders, think they could themselves imagine what it like to be Gay in this day in age.  A brilliant mind whose tutelage i had the privilege of enjoying, (for the record a Gay man; professional Dancer/Actor), once explained sexual orientation with a tennis analogy.  “Some people like the back hand,” he said “and others like the forehand.  Simple.”  But i have to believe he was speaking in jest (in fact i’m quite sure that he was.. come on).  ‘Homosexuality’ cannot be simplified down to preference of an awkward vs comfortable stroke.  He had actually made the comment in a seminar setting, in response to a younger Queer Brother, whom proudly claimed to be militant about living in full expression of his identity.  The insinuation was, that there is no reason to carry anger; simply be.  Having been challenged by the young man to consider the oppression Queer people experience in the world, the elder was quick to retort “Oh, i could see all the rage 20 years ago.  But today?  I mean, it’s actually becoming cool.”

In a more ideal America, I favor to imagine that the tennis racket comparison would suffice to explain an undisputed reality.  The recent re-focusing of press headlines on hate crime against Gays, however, is reminder that being ‘out’ in the larger society is as dangerous as it ever was.  Oppressed people can choose whether or not to accept that there won’t be a day in our lives we don’t step out amongst the populous, as a target;  but we all understand how powerless we are in determining whether tomorrow will be the day we walk out and become one!  Whether or not we care to fill the notion with any effort of energy, every single one of us live in this world a martyr.  It goes for Womyn, People of Color, Queer People…   Yet, while i can identify with the general experience of existing as an other, I’ve witnessed the subjugation of Queer folk to abuse, across institutions; and as the identified oppressor (me being ‘straight’, ally or not) i cannot say that albeit compassionate/angry,  i haven’t been able to allow myself to feel perfectly safe in spaces which have opened themselves to harboring what i can only describe as outright emotional/psychological assault, if not torture!    Without exaggeration, for Queer Peoples, these are the times we live in.

But my assertion, that i cannot imagine what it must be like being Gay in this day in age, is not a tongue in cheek recognition of how difficult it has got to be, in as much as it is a passive fiending of inquiry into what it really must be like.  I am perfectly aware that there was a time in which it wasn’t even a conversation, anywhere; there was zero tolerance; millions of people woke up and went to school and work, came back to their families, and even congregated together forced to live in the most literal sense, a subversive existence.  What isn’t often explored from this point is how the dialectic differentiates the total experience.  So while the time upon us is certainly defined by levels of tolerance and therefore, comfort which couldn’t be exploited by Queer People in the past; there comes, in effect, a more and more aggressive push to suppress a resistance which hadn’t presented itself as a challenge to the status quo before.  And the targets, they make themselves clear.

Shamefully, it was the generation i came up in which harvested a resurgence of epithet specific bigotry on a mainstream(if not pseudo mainstream/certainly urban) social level.  By the time i was 10 years old Nigga had gained a far more popular conveyance than Brother/Sister, Sir/Mam, and Buddy/My Friend, maybe combined!  And before long, -i was about 16-, the No Homo era was in full bloom.  Not only has the language accessed full normalization since; manifested through it have been heightened levels of hate and domestic violence.  To my observation, having worked with young people over the course of the past decade, the impact of pop culture’s perpetuation as complimented by our communities’ enabling of homophobia has been undeniably pervasive.  I walk into the room prepared to be informed how unbeknownst to me, everything from homework to school lunch ‘is gay’.  Despite our structuring in of safe space rules, and constant reinforcement of our agreement to make the classroom a no-hate zone, i am consistantly reminded to trail an eye towards a young Womyn/Man whom i suspect may be Queer, in order to read whether they are struggling in the fore-drop of an isolating conversation between self proclaimed ‘straight’ students speaking as though they have something to prove .

There are several methods of coping which i can lay out in the name of Gay youth i’ve attested to having survived such an environment, methods which not surprisingly, are to my knowledge/experience, commonly assumed by all oppressed peoples.

  1. They refuse to acknowledge it; ignore the comments until they have seemingly managed to white it all out.
  2. They tire under the pressure to maintain invisibility and whether or not consciously, begin to stray.
  3. They occasionally step up to confront the oppressor whether by direct/confrontational means, or subtly.
  4. They create themselves from out of the circumstance, and reappear firm in a unapologetically Queer identity!
  5. They internalize the ignorance, and begin to sling their own share of “No Homos” and “Faggots”

Reading through my analysis one may be fair in questioning what i might be looking to imagine about ‘what it must be like being Gay’.  He seems to have a considerable grasp on the stress of adapting to the oppression ::  You may iterate to yourself ::   He seems to be capable of gauging that there is a range of interpretation even/especially by Queer People themselves, to which one may subscribe, about the Queer experience :: What Tone, do you expect there may be to imagine, besides the fact that Gay People like chocolate and hate paying taxes like the rest ?!?!

When i purport an intrigue in imagining what it must be like to confront the world as a Queer individual, the feeling i’d pay a million dollars to connect with, is that of a Gay Man or Womyn whom has been able to see through to the fear beneath the phobia.  I can only imagine, amidst the frustration triggered by society’s prevailing facade of ignorance and rejection, the perhaps liberating indication that behind the curtain are manifestations of freedom, of life, soon to come.  That the giant is shrinking, and it’s hands too weak to prop the shadow much longer.     Because as a straight Man and Queer ally, i am just as much inclined in position to mind the Queer from an insiders perspective, that the ‘straight’ are weak, as i am inclined in position to mind the ‘Straight’, that we had better get strong enough in our own skin, to be able to share and embrace in the arms and minds of  all people, before we lose ourselves.. in a masses quickly moving past us for the day.


It is high time, as


we are already

talking to ourselves!



– Tone Are

f a s t

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Disappeared from the apparent,
and returning it is apparent, I am

a Man… in reflection upon the temple
of my familiar; suppressed in the familiar,
sweating out it’s command

back from the company of a woman I feel..
impulses tranquil to a journey;
present to her presence, dis-inviting my
self to the absence of her will toward
desires reserved for a man in a man’s world,

stocked with familiar concealings of savagery
for a feel of a feel healed of
a feel up, held down..
restraint of any inquiry of the hands,
phallus, the jaws, had transitioned
to a discipline dismembering persuasions

construed up by the source fiending her
obedience to a cordial pacing for it

And from restraint spawning discipline,
transformed the struggle to a quest;

the radiance of my temple through
my familiar flesh absolving
to a camaraderie in her sisterhood

If you’ve ever had a powerful Sister
feeling you, you feel what it do…


solvent of rugged condensation
fighting familiar notions of a whimper,
the vicarious discovery that to be
a real brother one doesn’t have to cripple
his spirit or resist safety in emotions

Feeling in touch…

For what it was, I disappeared from
the apparent to return familiar
with whom I have submitted to sharing, in
a universe unfamiliar with the fully human
yet rooted in the prodigal legacy of the soul

Feeling in touch…
For what it was, I disappeared from
the apparent to return familiar


ToneAre (Fast is featured in Tony Rivera’s first publication, NAIMA *soon to be available on

– The New Man –

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Healing Circle

Reflection, 10/2/10

Tony Rivera

My first Men’s Healing Circle experience was one I will never forget.

Just the night prior, I struggled with a bit of resistance, having been asked by Rafael, on the spot, whether I might attend the following morning.  10am he informed me, “in my home in Queens”.  Or course I responded with a “well”, when before I could give him the run-around, he offered that I could stay the night so that I wouldn’t have to travel from Staten Island the following day.

Upon stretching the sleep from my body, I found myself before an alter prepared on the floor of his living room before me.  Stones, aligned particular to spiritual directions Rafael later explained, surrounded sage on a red cloth.  Before long the brothers whom would join us for the circle, arrived, light on their feet and with light in their faces.

Going into commencement I was in a state of peacefulness as I recognized, via my foreknowledge of the nature of healing circles, along with my personal relationship with the good Brothers present, that I was in a safe space.  So as we held hands for a blessing, and settled into a go-around to share where we are in our health, family, physical and spiritual, I was able to communicate clearly.  It wasn’t until we began in the more physical sharing that, as I had expected, I began to feel a more forced bolstering of my support to the circle.  My role required that I touch another man where he felt tension on his body, and the first location I was called to meet that energy, was on his face.  It was my pleasure to remain present and bring my hands to his face, however when my hands were brought to my neutral position at his knee, that’s where I felt the tension; as I struggled with the comfort of resigning until asked again to apply them, and integrity to the process, in keeping them busy, working, helping.  As the experience went on though, my level of comfort took my power over the insecurities dictating the moment.

When it was my turn to open up to the hands and voices of my comrades before me, behind me, I was totally open to what possible to come, yet cynical as to whether anything invoked might draw my emotion.  Within two and a half minutes my voice was cracking, and from there the tears; this was real!  It wasn’t as if though I was sharing some undiscovered pain, I spoke on an episode in my life which I have shared with others, which I had a perfect interpretation of (it was a dream of my Mother and Father marrying, a very short dream in which she simply drops her ring and echos a startled “oh”).  This time however, there seemed to be at the essence of the exercise: an almost intrinsic conduit for total expression of my relation to that experience, to clear me.

The Brothers’ hands inquired where my body was holding back, and as they massaged and pressed I freed up evermore to the direction their questions coached me in, towards the moment.  I was asked to visualize whom was in the room when I had this recurrent dream (something I had never considered, I’ve always been so enveloped in the actual dream), I was asked about my mother, and my father, and I allowed my thoughts to flow.  They took me to my fathers lap where he’d sit my brother and I when he drank, in order to investigate what was going on back home (they had already been separated) and to berate my Mother.  “What would you like to tell your father”, Rafael would continue.  And it was at that moment that I began to dialogue with my Father, in the moment, as if though it was just the two of us, speaking about something I had never had the power to address him with.  “Do not say those things about my Mother.  She is a good person”, “I forgive you.  I love you!”, etc.   And my Father would respond in kind: “I am sorry”, “I love you.”

The healing circle allowed me to clear the air with something that I’ve been carrying around for a long time.  It was in the space with these other Brothers sharing their own vulnerability, that we all came out stronger, in the realest sense of the word.  As Men a lot of our presumed strength enlies in this fallacy of what we are conditioned to believe strength is.  And because these “strengths’’ are really weaknesses which ultimately equate to our failure to be capable of loving, working, living to our fullest potential, we exist in the world as relics of the human experience, swinging at the world through a straight jacket, and humping through chastity belts.  Thinking we know what it is to fight, or to generate sexual pleasure; imagining that we are leaders in our lonely worlds.  Destroying ourselves and everything around us that doesn’t recognize us for the mound of stone we’ve become in the foreground of the sun on the horizon.

These are all things I have come to learn and understand from powerful Women and Men around me, and yet to experience it is a different thing.  I no longer look forward to being able to speak the language of freedom in my words, but through such essential practices as I experienced in the healing circle, to speak and listen in the language of freedom in my body; not simply on the page or some soap box, but everyday interactions with fellow Brothers, the real thing!

For reference on Healing Circles, and all things Health/Spiritual

evolve off of the work of Esperanza Martell @


In Uncategorized on October 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I call upon the Ancestors


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