Tuesday, December 31, 2013

i woke up like this

"pain is not pathological.  it is the absence of adequate attunement and responsiveness to painful emotional reactions that renders them unendurable and thus a source of traumatic states and psychopathology." - robert stolorow

fifty shades of womens-cut jeans from the gap

 always skinny


 real straight

 sexy boot

perfect boot

"you learn something true everyday"

there are lessons to be learned while transporting one's beta fish from bedstuy to crown heights in its bowl in a cab, if one can only shake the dust from one's eyes:

of the responsivness of liquid to motion;

of the insensitivity of cab drivers;

of the uneveness of nostrand avenue compared to it's more gentrified sisters, bedford or franklin;

of the particular pain that comes with extending oneself, in love, for something that cannot love in return;

of the infallibility of that love.  


some nights, i lay in my bed and try to feel the depths of how alone i am.  it is an impossible exercise.

Monday, December 30, 2013

what i learned at home in florida

"i'm a grown woman. i can do whatever I want." - nelson mandela

don't trust anyone.

 nobody trusts you.

the oceans are being over-fished.

"nostalgia, pt 1"

I don’t remember where I was when the news broke that John F. Kennedy was shot.  I don’t feel too much shame about this, mostly because my parents were both eleven-years-old when it happened—years before they would meet and decades before my father would say that he would rather buy a sailboat than have a child.  He and my mother would have five (children, not sailboats).

I don’t remember where I was when Harvey Milk was shot.  This feels more to do with the fact that my Floridian public school education made no mention of Mr. Milk than it does with the fact that he was assassinated twelve years before I was born and thirty years before the movie was released (and I would hear his name for the first time).

I have a faint recollection of September 11th, but when that tragedy occurred, it was my turn to be eleven.  I was more struck by the reality that I still had to go to soccer practice that day than I was struck by the “reality” that two airplanes had struck two buildings in a city that I wouldn’t visit for another seven years—when I would move there to try to make a living making art.

I do remember where I as when I heard that Michael Jackson died.

I grew up in a family of seven: two parents (one male, one female) who have been married as long as anyone can remember, four sisters, and 1.5 dogs.  It was a stable childhood.  My mother stayed home to raise the kids and my father made a career as a professional altruist—traveling the world to places like Thailand, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Romania, and Palestine to advocate for children’s rights.  (His survival job is working as a pediatrician at one of the country's top research hospitals). 

So when I returned home from college for winter break freshman year, it was neither a shock nor a logistical dilemma when I said that I wanted to spend the summer “working abroad”. The Goldhagens are very progressive (my older sister is dating a republican car salesman to rebel), so there was no shortage of ex-pat old friends or familiar NGO’s to host me.  Moreover, “working abroad” in my family means roughly the same thing as “majoring in psychology” does to many undergraduates or “raising the debt ceiling” does to congress.  It is a place-holder phrase that means almost nothing, but gets your parents off your back.

A few months and a few thousand dollars later, I walked off an airplane in Entebbe International Airport, Uganda. 

Uganda has meant different things to different people.  For the British in 1894, it meant a new and another pin on the map of places to be considered the “British Empire”.  For many queer individuals today, it means a home that denies recognition, safety, and other basic human rights.  For me (an upper-middle-class, able-bodied, height/weight proportionate, educated, gender conforming, Caucasian male) it meant the setting of my cliché and quintessential, once-in-a-college-career African adventure.  This coming-of-age tale came complete with a remote village (sans electricity or running water), more Facebook photos than could fit in a single album, and an eventual lifestyle shift to vegeteranism. 

I lived for three months in Ramogi, Uganda—an Eden untouched even by Google.  I taught English, built houses, and played out the “pray” and “love” sections of my major motion picture summer.  (Ramogi epitomizes abject poverty—the “eat” section was played out upon my arrival home).

I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of East Africa.  My main point-of-reference for the African continent before I left was the animated film of The Lion King. I spent the few months before I got on the plane training on a treadmill, “just in case” I would have to outrun a big cat in my new summer home. (This logic is flawed on more than one level, but I only had thirteen years of public school education and a year of private university under my belt).

There are no lions in Uganda, but there are vast savannahs fecund with diverse greenery, lush geometricly cultivated fields, mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and jackfruit.  Jackfruit are spiky brown gourds with sweet, pillowey pink centers.  You can buy them in most Chinatowns, and they grow in Uganda.  It was on a quest for jackfruit with my Ugandan friend, Opio, that we happened upon a stream which lead us to a path which guided us into a forrest which took us up a hill which landed us at the front door of a hut that belonged to a friend of Opio’s.  The friend was not expecting us—but as I learned that summer, to have white skin in Ramogi meant to have a kind of constant access that is not unlike the access white skin affords individuals in most other parts of the world.  We went inside.

The hut was small with painstakingly even mud brick walls and a roof made out of metal siding—similar to most of the structures I visited in Ramogi.  The air inside was thick and smelled like burnt poplar and sweat.  Three Ugandan men, a decade or so older than me, were huddeled around a small television screen.  It was the first electronic device I had seen turned “on” in about a month.  Outside, the sun was setting and it was beginning to get cold.  Faint rain began to pepper the metal roof.  None of the men in the hut turned their heads to see who had entered.  Instead, their gazes were fixed on the television screen.  It was playing what appeared to be the equivalent of a “local news program” in Ramogi.  A man in a boxey suit and a women with quaffed hair wearing a patterened dress spoke in a language I could not understand.  Images of an empty bedroom washed across the screen in slow motion.  Opio leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Michael Jackson died.”

This, I would learn, all happened on a day two weeks after Michael Jackson had died.

Five years later, I am sitting on the floor of my apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  It is the frontline of gentrification in the northern-most tip of the southern part of the borough.  The walls of the apartment are exposed brick and sprinkled with holes from the nails of tenants past.  Three of the five lightbulbs in the generic living room ceiling fixture have gone out. Old movie posters, semi-ironically ironic photographs, and worldly patterned tapestries litter the walls uncohesively.  The perimeter of the room is cluttered with mismatched furniture found on the street during the firsts of the months or left by old roommates.  It holds all of the charms, the smells, and the potential of a flea market (as stated by my mother, on her first and only trip to Brooklyn). I live in this apartment with four female roommates.

It is Thanksgiving.  I am not surrounded by my family like I had been for Thanksgivings growing up.  I am not with a boyfriend like I had blissfully been the year before.  I am with two of my roommates (who also live to far from home to make the treck), an acquaintance from college, and a fourth person who is a stranger to me but apparently an old co-worker of someone’s.  The sun has just set.  We have just finished a Thanksgiving dinner of spinach artichoke dip, sautéed kale, hummus, vegetable stir-fry, and “Rebecca’s Avocado Thing” (a recipe my roommate acquired on a trip to France, where an avocado is halved, spread with some Dijon mustard, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar).  We got an early start that day (at noon), and nine mimosas, two bottles of red wine, three rounds of hot cider, half a pot of mulled rum, and three joints later, we are playing “Apples to Apples”. (We cannot afford cable). 

Someone interrupts the game to ask if everyone remembers where they were when Michael Jackson died. 

I did not remember until that moment during “Apples to Apples” that I had that memory. I remember when that moment in Uganda happened, I floated outside of the experience for an instant and thought to myself “This is an incredible moment.  You’ll want to remember this later.” I dropped the pin and had revisited that moment for the first time while in my apartment in Crown Heights on the last Thursday of November, 2013.  And thinking about that memory for the first time made me realize how far away that part of my life felt.  And what I felt in the present was nostalgia.


congratulations, everyone. female sking jupming is now an olympic sport! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

look how beautiful brooklyn is

  i think they may have fallen this way.

if anyone sees eugene francois, tell him he left his letter on eastern parkway.

when you're lost out there and you're all alone


it is better to risk disappointment than it is to compromise optimism.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

email correspondance with my father

"this is too funny." - my dad, in an email to me, about the image below

(what exactly is he getting at?)

"my response"

that is funny.  we shall overcome!  also, here are two things you should watch.  the first is a trailer for this documenatry about bob marley called "marley". it is a really phenominal documentary--i think you'd love it.  also, have you watched the ted talk about the "queer jihadist" that i sent you? i'm attaching it also--i would really love you to watch it and to hear your thoughts.

i have the day off tomorrow.  tonight am going out for "gay day".  it is a thing my friend anthony started where once a month, we get together with twenty or so of our gay friends and go out together.  its a little silly, but is actually a nice little community.  i'll call tomorrow!

much love



target on a sunday. like standing in line for soup during the great depression.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

cinnamon toast cuz i got none of that greek yogurt

"bitch got pregnant.   and then that slut went and had a fucking abortion." - a living breathing male, to his four male friends, at my restaurant. 

nell and william.  friends for life.

"when you wake up with crumbs in your bed"

today i woke up to overcast skies with nowhere to be until work at four o'clock.

i watched the last half hour of a movie i started the night before.  in the last half hour, one of the protagonists unsuccessfully attempts suicide, and the other dies of natural causes alone in his apartment.

i decided to order in.

the thai restaurant by my house wouldn't answer my call, so i had to call back.
and back.
and back.
and back for fifteen minutes.

i placed my order.

after i called my dad.  he was busy.

while waiting for my food, i remembered that i had to be in time square at three o'clock to return something i had borrowed.  so i threw my laundry in the wash.

my thai food arrived.  i ate it.  i picked out a new book to read. (that seemed like the right thing to do).

five minutes before i had to leave, my clothes were ready to be taken out of the dryer.  my only pair of nonripped jeans were still damp. i put them on. i hopped on my skateboard to ride to the train.

i arrived underground as two trains that i could have taken left at the same time. while waiting for another train to come and take me an hour away to time square, i realized i had forgotten my book.

the train came. i got on.

halfway to time square, the train stopped at wall street and was terminated without explanation. i got off with everyone else.  i waited for the next train with everyone else. the next train came, but there wasn't room for everyone. so i gave up on time square and decided to go above ground to find somewhere to get some frozen yogurt.

i skateboarded uptown through the financial district.  nothing about the financial district likes stakeboards.

i avoided potholes.
tourists on buses.
police baracades.

i made it to sixth avenue.

finally, familiar territory.  and i fell of my skateboard.  more accurately, i flew off my skateboard after twenty three years of not falling off a skateboard.  i landed face down in the middle of sixth avenue.  i yelled 'fuck me'. i ripped my only pair of nonripped jeans. someone asked me if i was okay and i said that i was even though i wasn't.

i'm five blocks away from sixteen handles.  i get back on my skateboard.  i make it one block further before i have to stop at a red light. i am stopped, waiting for the light to turn green. i hear someone yell my name.  i turn around and see jack.

jack is the man i have been sleeping with who i met on grindr and swore i would never see again after i deleted his number from my phone the night before when he asked me to 'remind him of my name' as we were saying goodbye.

now he is wearing a helmet and biking across sixth avenue.

i say i am on my way to work.

i make it to sixteen handles.  i am sweating under my too-heavy fall coat.  they are out of 'euro tart'.  they are blasting an episode of 'the fairly odd parents' on a flat screen tv. it is an episode i have already seen.  i am the oldest child here by about seventeen years.  i finish my frozen yogurt and head to work.


i keep hearing my name being called in public.  what could that be a coping mechanism for?

Friday, November 22, 2013

cleaning my apartment

"actually, spectacular." - the six-year-old i babysit, when i asked him how his day was

we rode together from the barclays center to the brooklyn museum. i'll take community where i can get it.

"my condolences to the family"

i have recently become aware 
that one of my eyes
is noticeably squintier than the other.

all things considered, 
i feel as though 
i am dealing with this tragedy 
with grace.


why do they even bother to make single-stuffed oreos?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

guess whose back, back again

"tell me something about yourself." - a man i had sex with, right after we had sex

¿que tiempo hace hoy?

"what i do not have"

a boyfriend.
a desk.
a salary.
a six pack.
an ash tray.
an airplane.
a plan.
a plan b.

an idea about what the second most important thing i don't have is!


awareness is learning to keep yourself company.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


"Are you a girl for Halloween?" -A Trick-or-Treater, to me, who came to my house, (and didn't say "Trick-or-Treat")

Come one, come all!





It's cold outside!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Read All About It!

Dear Readers,

In an effort to write more in my notebook instead of on my iphone, the plog will no longer exist on this partiular online forum.  If you wouldl like to receive daily plog post, please email me at poetryinyourtwenties@gmail.com.  I'll put you on a list.  Much love!


The view from the roof of the building of the dentist that I hooked up with on Grindr yesterday.

Along the Seine

(No quote because I spent the day by myself and literally didn't talk to anyone)

smells the same no matter where you are

"Who Is That Guy Drinking a Bottle of Rose by Himself?"

Who will I become?

Who will I end up with?

What will I end up doing with my life?

How will I ever be financially independent?

Who are my friends?

Does everyone feel this way?

Where is my home?


Everything in Europe is really inexpensive when you don't take into consideration that the euro is worth significantly more than the dollar.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

This Is Forever

"8:30 makes it seems like we were alcoholics." - My friend, about what time we decided to meet for drinks last night

my room

"on a bike with no breaks!"

i stepped on a nail 
(which was unpleasent).

had coffee with an old lover
(which was pleasent).


cooking is good for you.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Hope But I Also Don't

"I know it's expsnsive, but I'll make money tonight and tomorrow night and Saturday, so if I do decide to have the baby..." - A woman, on the phone, who I passed on the street

a chance occurence, that could have left the world with a lot of good luck, but instead left it more or less even.

dead cockroach

"Something True"

When you go into your bathroom
And you forget which toothbrush is yours, 
It is almost impossible to distinguish your toothrush by sight--
But the moment you put it in your mouth
You will know if it's yours or not.


Pizza for breakfast! Ice cream for dinner!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Too Belittle Too Be-Late

"I wish I was as drunk as I looked." - My friend

cool job!

feeling out of my body.

"Tired of the Representative Self"

I was not the person
That I want to be.


Cheese is grown-up candy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now

"I'm a nurse." - The woman sitting next to me on the airplane, while opening a bag of Peanut M&M's

urban jungle.

"Where At Least I Know I'm Free"

Things that such about Europe:

You can't get free wifi everywhere.

You can't get coffee to-go everywhere.

There are no burritos.

The metros aren't air-conditioned.

No one really likes you if you are American.


i <3 watching people play Candy Crush on the subway.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Shittiest Pieces I Don't Need

"We should go to shoul." -My friend, about finding a husband

     ...but how do we get there?

"i have a fever"

the only thing
i ever dream
is you.

take care if me!


My dream last night was literally an episode of "Ace of Cakes".

Friday, September 6, 2013

home feels like it's a million miles away.

"When you step outside of your comfort zone for a higher purpose, the universe will support you in every way." -My friend's dad, to my fried, her whole life.

Time heals all wounds.

"A Brand New Day"



Has anyone ever seen an adolescent pigeon? What is adolescence like for a pigeon?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Appolinia's Kiss

"My life is my message" -Ghandi, the original performance artist

It costs two euros to have safe sex in the Swiss airport.

"We'll figure it out"

I read
In a book once
That when you are young
You can be very foolish.


You never want to wake up in a hostel itchy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Getting Ready to Go

"Knowing and feeling are two different things--and feeling is what counts." - My book.

The United Nations hates trees.

"Commuting Alone"

What a wonderful thing
When a baby chooses
To be fascinated by you.

So wonderful,
Until something more interesting comes along.

Like it's mother
Or a dog.

Like light 
Passing through trees
And warming your face
As you drive by
On a train.


Americans should eat more fondue.

Monday, September 2, 2013


"Don't trust me, I'm fourteen." - A fourteen-year-old, about driving directions



Well, I have to start legimitating myself somewhere.

"Left At Intermission"

On this Labor Day
I'm in Geneva
Watching Andre Gavrilov
Play Chopin.

What was I doing
Last Labor Day?

What will I be doing
Next Labor Day?

The mind needn't drft
Very far
And I'm thinkin',
"Play something about love."


On some level, everyone everyone everyone likes the smell of their own farts.

Times are Hard for Dreamers

"You are invisible." - My google plus account, about my online status?

Looking for someone to sublet my room. Dates flexible!

"Before It Vanishes"

Seeing the sun
Behind closed eyes.

The shadows of clouds 
On mountian tops.

Hearing rain.

I am a land mermaid.


Last night, I had such a pleasent dream about something that is so unlikely to occur. Betrayed by my subconscious!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thinking About Chairs

"Refrain from self-induced pain." - My dad, to me, in response to an email I sent him

 lonely tic-tac in a big world.

 someone teach this woman some better coping stratedgies.

Three Cheers for Swiss Accessibility! 

"While Star Gazing"

I think I'm here.
I don't know what I think.

The population of Saint Lucia is 
One Hundred and Seventy Thousand.


What is too bad about the world is that so often we love people who don't love us, and people love us who we don't love.  

In other news, my happy one year wedding aniversary to my kindergarten girlfriend. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Think Your Puppy Is Stupid

"Hopefully in five years, I'll have a really ruch husband and then it will be okay." - My friend, about student loans

Even super villans get the blues.

"The Road Less Traveled"

Have you listened
To traffic


Grown-ups don't eat sour things.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Too Much Beauty Can Be Exhausting

"Action expresses priorities." - Ghandi (duh)
almost a boat

"Three Things That Feel Amazing"

Having sex with someone you love.

Being recognized for your ability.

Getting your braces off.


Whenever my wifi stops working, I take it as a direct sign from god.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Little Older With Every Day

"It's like crossing the street without looking both ways." - My friend, on the severity of having unprotected sex

The snail pulls its shadow.

"Are You Kidding Me?"

I was looking at my hand
And a mosquito landed on it.

When you search my name
On the internet,
A picture of my unrequited love

The only known predators
Of whales
Are humans.


Gummy bears!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why am I Here?

"Or you could go back to college." - The fifteen-year-old girl whose family is hosting me in Geneva, about how to find your soul mate

It is very important for infants to have a strong sense of national identity. 

"All There Is To It"




But in reality, being unhappy can also teach you something about being happy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Beautiful Is

"Remember, move forward with your eyes wide open." - My mom

don't fuck with this cat.

"before i turn around"

at worst
it feels like i made you up.

the stuff of myths.

do i send the letter
from gay



There's no point in looking before crossing the road if you don't look in the right direction

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Just Can't Stop Loving You

"You're whole life can change in a moment." - One of the mothers of the family that I'm staying with in Switzerland

Look what Europe figured out that we haven't.

"The Five Most Interesting Things To Watch (in no particular order)"

1) Ant hills
2) Crepes being made
3) Grass growing in fast-motion
4) Those people on the street who spraypaint canvases with scifi planet scenes
5) Clouds


What is better than dreaming? What is better than listening to Michael Jackson Music?