Pasta Headed

During my time here at the University of Arizona my overall perspective in poetry has been deeply transformed. Along with the vast amount of knowledge in this literary genre, there has also been provided a unique confidence that I needed to feel comfortable calling myself a poet.  It is not only recognizing my position as poet, but also using poetry to channel my own language to clearly voice what I think is important. This assurance I have for my writing was not always present and because I have this reassured confidence in poetry, I am now able to see poetry in a brand new light.

You know I feel that in poetry there is this level of honesty with how a poet lays down language. Not everything makes sense but if I stay honest with myself I will always need poetry to feel sincere. And maybe poetry isn’t for everybody else but all I can say is don’t knock it till you try it.

The food idiom of the post is to “use your noodle” which I understand completely and it can have several translations of how it can be used. But it’s really just telling someone to think or to use his or her head. Really it is like telling someone to use their critical thinking skill and almost can imply that people don’t regularly use their brains. It is very cool not only as a poet but as a person with so many opinions to express that sometimes it is the tone and delivery that can make this saying really offensive or just playful.

They say you are what you eat but you are also what you say. But sometimes it is how you say it that can make a ton of difference. It is very close to graduation. And along with that celebration there is also a lot of reflection and reminiscence of where you came from. And it is rewarding to be able to have something to celebrate but you are also able to see the place you started at, almost like calculating every footstep and seeing how even though things have changed so much, nothing will ever change like the way I want it to. I am in charge of change and what that change is or what it is I’m looking for in this next chapter in life is a covenant with my own self.

Slowly realizing that even though I have deadlines and events to attend that are apart of my requirements for my classes; I am and always have the need to be thinking about what I honestly want to do. I mean I have the influence of my education and have met so many inspirational individuals on this trail I took to get here. I got here of course with the help of everyone in my life but it was me that needed to actually follow through and get it completed.

I always go back to this moment from my childhood when I was just a kid, maybe seven or younger. It was my older uncle ”Gin-Gin” my mom’s younger brother who was not getting mad at me but telling me in a loud voice to take on more responsibility. I remember that day clearly too. We were cooking breakfast at my grandma’s house at the time. It was my brother, my uncle, my mom and me living at the house, and the potatoes needed to be peeled and cut.

Everyone was busy doing something else and of course we were just kids waiting to be fed. We didn’t help out during that time, I guess we were just kids. And it was just out of nowhere when my uncle said, “Let Sky do it, he needs to learn.” And that stuck out for me up until now and it always will. Those words and not just the words but the fact that my adult uncle saw that I was ready or he saw something in me. I don’t know what but that moment I have carried with me all the way here, where I am now.

I lost my uncle shortly after that moment and it was one of the clearest I have of him. We all have a trail or road that offers some challenge or information, but in reality sometimes those trips or voyages are ones that you need to go alone. And I think that is why my uncle said what he said about me doing something for the family. He knew I was capable of doing more, capable of peeling those potatoes for us to eat.

 I chose this particular video because I remember reading about how when Chris Cornell was getting famous with his band Soundgarden and was experiencing success to some degree although it didn’t necessarily mean that he was happy or satisfied. He had just lost a dear friend of his and the loss of his friend couldn’t be replaced with possessions and money. And I think sometimes life can revolve around money and possessions, but ultimately they could end up being secondary to something way more important like your own happiness.

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Hungry For Greatness Vs. Cooking Up Greatnesss

“I am Plato to Biggie’s Socrates.” – Jay-Z

 I see the time slowing down even though I am in this tornado of things occurring. I can’t help but feel the time caressing this experience I am having with my last semester here on campus. I can see all those old buildings just pumping out knowledge and I can taste hints of what has yet to come. Like I can smell something being cooked in the kitchen.

 The food idiom of the post is to be “toast.” Which means to be in serious trouble. I got a e-mail from one of my advisor saying that I was set to graduate and that I only needed to pass the classes I’m taking now. Easier said than done. No pressure, which is never the case. The pressure is what makes things interesting. It’s what makes you who you are. How do you deal with pressure?

So close to the end and there is still a chance I might still have to re-take classes. I’m trying to let that not happen but there’s still a chance. And things just get rough and I know that I will finish. I’m ready for it all even though there are doubts about the future. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it or experience it. The last days on campus are among us and I am running around like a chicken with his head cut off. I like the challenges I come across from day to day and I can’t help but feel like I’m departing from the University. Which I am but I guess I still just want to hang out and soak up the last of those college juices. Empty.

It’s been a difficult time with the semester mainly commuting from the Rez to Tucson and then backs to the Rez on certain days. As much I as like being a college kid thriving on my youthfulness. I also like being in the Village near friends and family. Missing out on dinners at home when they’re still sitting at the table. At least I think they do. Its like I miss out on things that are discussed or don’t taste things tasted. I know it sounds silly but I do get some sense of being grounded when sitting at the table with family making chit chat or talking about the day. I miss out on those things happening while I am too experiencing something totally different.

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Although when I do get to come home which is usually when I have time to catch a shuttle that takes me back to the Rez. I been riding that shuttle for about a year and it scoops us at up at the Laos Center bus station on the south side of Tucson. I need to be able to be there by three o’ cock and if I get there with time to spare and haven’t had any lunch. I make a quick trip right across the street. They have a Sonoran hotdog stand and they are just a slices of delicious  treats wrapped in beacon. Topped with tomatoes, onions, mayo, mustard, and whatever else that makes those dogs melt my soul. So good. And so when the day is good and I know I can make it home that Sonoran dog just makes the day even sweeter.

 There are few people that run the stand and they all do good work. This Tuesday on my way home I decide to visit my favorite stand. The main guy that is usually working is there this day. Miguel is always inviting and knows how I like my Sonoran dog. No jalapeno sauce and no chili. I’ll buy a soda if they have one I like. Usually already have water so we have a routine or repotire. A pit stop in my journey if you will. Miguel is a cool dude and always has interesting things to share. But this time we somehow started talking about basketball and how the Lakers got beat by the Spurs in the playoff opener.

 It was a question even I was wondering about? These Lakers with such an odd season would they even make an appearance in the playoffs this year? Miguel informs me that the Lakers did make the playoffs and apparently they’re playing San Antonio. But Kobe is out with an injury.

 I think Miguel is a Lakers fan. I would say the sport of basketball just always interests me and its hard for me to talk basketball and not talk about the Lakers. I don’t have a favorite team but Lakers are just epic. Hate them or love them. They do have some great players that have wore that bright yellow jersey and that have brought back rings back to the dynasty. So they are the talk for a reason.

 I always remember as kid watching the NBA playoffs with my grandma. Back in the 90’s when it was Jordan the player everybody talked about. Mainly that he was awesome but me being a rebel I always rooted for the teams that Jordan was facing. And you know I can truly say that Jordan has ruined so many games for me. He’s such an artistic player. Like you were watching him work and deliver a message. So charismatic in everything he did.

 Even though I was rooting against him. I still idolized his game and swag. That’s how it goes when greatness is among you. You still can’t help but be appreciative for what a person brings to the game. I mean there are good players, but there is a difference between a great player and a good player. Not only are great players consistent but they seem to have this self determining façade like they’re almost playing against them self. And the game is secondary because they have the will to challenge themselves and do something that will change the way we see the game.

 And when it was one of those games. A nail bitter. I remember one year they were playing the Utah Jazz. Karl Malone and John Stockton were doing their thang and when it came down to last seconds. The game is about to end and there was a slim chance they could score or even win. The game that has you standing because you are so nervous to see what’s going to happen when the clock stars running. When everything is on the line. Who do you call to?

 Can you imagine the chaos? The stadium filled with fans screaming. People watching all over the world the Bulls and Jazz getting down. You have an opposing team that is capable of beating you this time. Loss is apart of the game. And some of those fans are people that want you to fail. All the boos also and all that pressure on just that one moment.

 I know we all wanted Jordan to have the ball. Even if you were against him you still wanted to see if he could do it. And I think what made it so intriquing was that even though we all wanted Jordan with the ball we all very much knew that Jordan wanted that ball too. And that is why he was great. With all that noise and pressure you could never see fear in Jordan. He just accepted that role for his team. He was that go-to guy when things got hectic. The one who gets things done.

 In this day in age I would say it is Kobe that represents that kind of player. And that is why the Lakers are the talk of the town when it comes to basketball. Because Kobe is great and he represent the Lakers proudly. Kobe and Jordan get compared to each other all the time. Who’s better? And as Jordan retired Kobe became Kobe but in an odd way he took on the Jordan façade that Jordan portrayed during the prime of his career. Kobe is the go-to guy now. He’s the Jordan of his time but I can’t help but see this passing of the torch sentiment as a punishment of time. Like I know we get old but sometimes it just a thing that makes you wonder. How would things be if these guys got to play each other in a championship series? Best of seven. It’s also bittersweet because I am a fan of basketball first and it is always interesting to see these upcoming players that are destined to play great basketball. But are they worthy of being compared to Jordan or Kobe? Like anyone could be that person Kobe hands the torch to. That’s a debate probably happening somewhere in the world right now.

I eat my Sonoran Dog. Which is excellent. No mustard on the jeans which means success in my book. Thank Miguel and catch him on the flip side. As we say because I still have some time in the semester to treat myself to a Sonoran dog. So Miguel knows I’ll be back. Going to be riding that shuttle home another day probably. You know the topics of conversation vary with Miguel. We can talk about pretty much anything from going out drinking with friends and having a good time even after the bars close. The way a girl can be so attractive and gorgeous that all you can do is just stare in awe. Even though he is working and I am just waiting for the shuttle to arrive. There is still that need and want to have a meaningful conversation on both ends. I try to be like that with everybody. But when I come to get a Sonoran dog after a long day on campus discussing concepts of tribal soverginity. It’s still nice to have these talks about basketball and just be entertained by someone else’s feelings toward the sport or the Lakers. It is just a goodtime overall.

The food saying “toast” can also mean when a person makes a speech or a grand gesture at a fancy event. Maybe when you have a lot of people you know and you have something important to say or tell them. Although a lot of people fear public speaking like more than dying I think. So either way you are toast.

“You can’t move forward until you look back.”

Cornel West           

 

Catching Up

Shall I count the hours or shall I count the weeks? I’m so close to the end and I can’t help but feel disconnected to myself from three years ago. I mean if I could time travel three years into the past and share a moment with the younger me. I know it sounds like the premise to an awesome science-fiction flick, but if I could talk to the three year younger me. What would I say to myself? Would I be angered, or impressed?

I’ve mentioned this in many of blog post so it seems, the struggles of adulthood is a popular theme and one that just comes up regardless. It’s just what I’m going through constantly in life. The hardships of growing up; I just want to keep true to the real me. The me that I can’t recognize because he is older and looks responsible. Even though I am aware of the concept of being an adult, that doesn’t mean that my childhood experiences have nothing to do with this new aspect of my life just beginning. Still a kid a heart, but my old soul wants me to act my age. Whatever that means?

I think the big difference between childhood and adulthood is that as a child you have this ability to imagine the world being this place where dreams and goals are born. Now, adulthood can be similar to this ability to create something out of nothing, although in adulthood the dream or goal considered can come to life or take a tangible shape. I believe this is why I have so many issues revolving around this idea of growing up. I want the future to be a place where the younger me is proud and secure.

I have accepted the responsibilities of my adult life, but it is very odd for me because I want to create something original the younger me wanted. And it becomes confusing because I know I’ve changed over the semesters. I’ve learned new things. Influence sneaks up on you. I question what adulthood brings because I want the new space to be a good place for me to be.

I know it sounds like I’m over exaggerating, and it is a reflective thing that needs to be taken care of or dealt with. I know I’m near the end of this tunnel and when I finally reach the end I’ll just want to still feel connected to the younger me. I’m not making sense, but I think it has to do with the reevaluation of the goals and dreams that were on the table from the beginning. I guess the younger me, and the older me need to have some kind of mutual understanding.

It just seems that when things are hectic or even hazy, the future is distorted and it might have to do with my internal self not on the same track as my present self. And because of this dilemma I believe in these moments of confusion; an individual should be able to tweak or rethink his goals and dreams. Rearranging things in a different order or simplifying what you’re trying to say and finding a new way to say it. Sometimes language just has to be adjusted to give a clearer meaning or significance. All I’m saying is that from time to time when things are overbearing or overwhelming it wouldn’t hurt to adjust or fix the way you perceive your life goals or dreams and make them even richer or more tangible. When things get hard and you find yourself almost feeling stuck. I mean you work hard to accomplish something important and when things get unclear it may help to step back. Go back to the drawing boards. Take it back to the beginning and see how time has evolved things in your life. Reconsidering the original drafts of a vision and making additions or taking things out. Just reconsider the idea and see what else it could be.

I personally think its ok to go back to the drawing board and re-invent the dream. Tweak it to make the present clearer, maybe things aren’t what they seem and a goal was really a job. I’m speaking on my own expectations of life and where I want to be in this world. And to have that ability to re-adjust and re-think a goal or dream is a good trait to have when working with time.

Time is so unpredictable. As much as I can prepare for the future and plan for the future, there is so much of the future that I have no control over. So you should be able to reinvent the dream from time to time, and adjust your stance in life and to help keep your composure in your day-to-day living. Expecting the unexpected in an odd way.

The food idiom of the post is, “cut the mustard.” It means to succeed and meet expectations. It’s not one I use everyday. But how I can relate it to how things are in my life at the moment. At this particular moment it is the fourth quarter and the points I need to make are my assignments that still need to be turned in. I need to prove to myself that I can cut the mustard. As much as I know I can cut it. I am going to actually show or do. Proof, they want proof always.

This goes back to having the ability to reinvent the dream. I know once this semester is over I’m going to have more time to think about my goals and dreams. I think it’s important in life to reach your dream or goals. At least attempt to cut the mustard.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

                                                       –Albert Einstein

Veggies ‘R’ Us

Things are getting real. It’s like crunch time for me. The semester is winding down and I’m more nervous about getting all my assignments turned in. Dreading this exam I got coming up and I can’t help but see this sense of relief once that last thing is done to signify the completion of the semester. Usually it’s an exam. The blue book you buy at the bookstore, writing your name on the cover that lets the instructor know that you are attempting the exam they’ve prepared. Walking out the building, the same building you’ve been walking in and out for the past five months. Or is it when the time runs out and what you got is what you got?

The hectic atmosphere we get ourselves in, when we take on these challenges.  Always good to stay, “cool as cucumber” as these times start to get overbearing and challenging. Keeping calm is probably the most suitable answer for all the things I’m facing with the chapter in my life closing. So chill. How will me making a fuss solve anything? Get it done. Do some food meditation. Cool as a cucumber intuition. Keep things under control.

Cool as cucumber is not always easy to attain, if you know what I mean. I guess in the case of my niece Elexis when we visit our Grandmother, which is E-girl’s Great-Grandma, always fun to see the dynamics of our family when all four generations are being represented.  I mean Elexis is still so young and has not really paid any attention to what makes my Grandma tick. She is oblivious to all the rules and customs that my brother and I had to learn growing up. So when we visit my Grandma with E-girl, I’m already just anticipating something to happen or to break.

My grandma’s house is laid out in a particular way. Everything is in its chosen place, all the glass and ceramic figurines. These are my grandma’s collections and precious items. I personally would never touch anything, just because I’m not bothering Grandma’s stuff. So pretty much everything in my Grandma’s house is capable of being broken by us or even worse, E-girl.

Those ceramic figurines and porcelain ornaments are just toys to Elexis. So the time frame from when we walk into my Grandmas house to the moment when we walk out the door, I have my eye on E-girl. And it is so scary. Because she takes the different figurines and slams them on the table, playing with them like they’re her plastic toys. And to make things even more daunting, My Grandma has these Christmas ornaments that are just on the ledge of this two inch self. Elexis has to tippy toe just to reach certain ones. But she uses the ledge as a playground for the newly found toys. Them being potentially broken is not a concern of E-girl’s.

I know E-girl means no harm and I’m just trying to keep the peace. But being able to stay cool as cucumber when all I’m seeing is Elexis passionately smashing the figurines together is impossible. It’s nerve racking because I don’t know how my Grandma will respond to E-girl if something breaks or happens. There is just worry and concern on my end of things going bad. I know it sounds silly but I want things to go well.

Staying calm in those situations, is tricky. Whatever happens happens. And out all those times visiting nothing has been broken. Knock on wood. I just have to hold my breath when I’m there with E-girl. My grandma wasn’t mean but more like strict with us growing up. We respected her wishes and acted the way she wanted us to act. I love my Grandma and she has taught me so many things in my life. But she can be intense if things go wrong, or if things happened when they could have been prevented. She is just someone you don’t like to see discouraged. So that might say more to the reason why I don’t want E-girl to break anything of my grandmas. I guess I would feel semi-responsible for it all. I need to be a really cool cucumber if I take E-girl to see her Great Grandma.

You know my Grandma was a lot younger when I was a child. E-girl is not getting the version I got. And I keep forgetting she is not the Grandma, she is the Great-Grandma. The dynamics of the family are shifting. We all got symbolically promoted. Of course I’m the fun Uncle buck. And my Grandma got a “great” added to her title. So maybe if something were to break, she wouldn’t get as mad or even care. We shall see.

My Grandma the person that cooked for me my whole life is still going at it in the kitchen. She still even makes tortillas, but in O’odham it’s called Cemait. Which is challenging in itself. I can’t make cemait.  So when I get to have cemait at my grandmas, it’s just the icing on the cake.

Elexis is fortunate to taste the cemait made by her Great-Grandmother’s. All of us connected through food. Wow how about that? I think someone is cutting onions because I am crying for no apparent reason.

I am going to be one with the cucumber. 

Brewing A Conscience

I am getting more comfortable writing for the blog and of course what I could always strive to do is keep coming up with new creative ways to incorporate food and memories into a blog post.

The blog is an outlet for me. Writing it and having it means something different for me. It is an extension of my voice via the internet. Yay! for the internet. The food idiom of the post is “I have a bone to pick.” Kind of odd because the blog in a sense is me with a bone to pick. Always analyzing my experiences. Questioning the way things are.  I guess having a bone to pick is what it’s all about.

I mentioned this in a pervious post but sometimes these routines and schedules can be like going with the motions, if you let them. I have a bone to pick with myself.

With all this change in the air, did I stay true to myself?

The time goes by in a heartbeat. I am near the end of a long ride. Getting my degree here at UofA has been such a gigantic experience and it seems that I will be analyzing it forever. I guess the time is what keeps everything making sense but when you analyze time, it is just a bunch of memories; time isn’t tangible.

The bone I’m picking with myself is a complex one. Did you do everything you said?

Was the experience worth it? I know that I aged. I still want to feel like a kid but nothing can deny the fact that I am growing up. Graduation is what I’m anticipating, although, adulthood is associated with that threshold in life. I know when I entered the University life that I was taking on a something big, but I never wanted to feel completely disconnected with who I was becoming.

The stereotype that adulthood brings. I guess I always associate boring responsibilities with growing up. And to some degree maybe adulthood is a stream of responsibilities waiting to be dealt with.  But I’m my own adult. I can choose what kind of adult life I want to live. I also think that as an adult you can create any world and situation to be apart of, but the individual must be willing and committed to put in that effort and concentration to make that life a reality.

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

                                                            –Lucille Ball

I wanted share this quote and I really think it sums up this way of living poetically. Even though the choices in life are difficult to make. We need to be doing things we honestly want to do. Being sincere with yourself and those around you, but also owning up to the consequences of your actions in life. Why is it so hard to live in the moment?

A very close friend of mine, we always have this talk about this way of living poetically. Where the present is what matters most. I’m not saying the past or future is less significant but in order to pay homage to anything, it is the present that will allow you to appreciate life overall. But it is hard not be distracted by the future and the past. Although the past has already occurred and the future is not even here yet, then it is the present that actually holds any tangible information or significance for a person.

I will always be thinking about my time here on campus and may even be semi regretful for certain things I never got around to doing. Nonetheless I will never be regretful for deciding to get my education here at the University of Arizona.

This is just my take on life. I could have it wrong for all I know. But it does sound like I know what I’m taking about. Appreciate the moment and appreciate the people your sharing the moment with. Cheers!