Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán.
Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo’s work is remembered for its “pain and passion”, and its intense, vibrant colors. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Her work has also been described as surrealist, and in 1938 André Breton, principal initiator of the surrealist movement, described Kahlo’s art as a “ribbon around a bomb”.
During her lifetime, Frida created some 200 paintings, drawings and sketches related to her experiences in life, physical and emotional pain and her turbulent relationship with Diego. She produced 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. When asked why she painted so many self-portraits, Frida replied: “Because I am so often alone….because I am the subject I know best.”
She also stated, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.” (x)
poetry usually makes me feel light but tonight my bones crackle with heavy emotion.
I’m feeling everything and nothing at the same damn time… we were once emergencies by Buddy Wakefield has woken a sunny-side up field of love and acceptance. I am healing and letting light in. Healing from all the lies I have told myself. Anis Mojgani says you make the Lord happy. come closer. come into this. I am dragging my feet to the truth and meeting myself for the first time over and over again.
We can stick anything into the fog and make it look like a ghost but tonight let us not become tragedies. We are not funeral homes with propane tanks in our windows, lookin’ like cemeteries. Cemeteries are just the Earth’s way of not letting go. Let go.
Tonight let’s turn our silly wrists so far backwards the razor blades in our pencil tips can’t get a good angle on all that beauty inside. Step into this with your airplane parts. Move forward and repeat after me with your heart:
“I no longer need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself.”
Make love to me like you know I am better than the worst thing I ever did. Go slow. I’m new to this. But I have seen nearly every city from a rooftop without jumping. I have realized
that the moon did not have to be full for us to love it, that we are not tragedies stranded here beneath it, that if my heart really broke every time I fell from love I’d be able to offer you confetti by now.
But hearts don’t break, y’all, they bruise and get better. We were never tragedies. We were emergencies. You call 9 – 1 – 1. Tell them I’m having a fantastic time.
You may know him, or know of him—he’s one of slam poetry’s legends, and he pretty much coined the formula we are all, by now, becoming tired of. He’s a talented, kind, intelligent man with a huge heart and way more hope than is safe for a human to have. This is him doing a TEDx talk about how he is the way he is. It’s like a 20-minute long spoken word piece and it’s very hard to take your eyes off of, because that’s just what he does.
A few weeks ago, we at words(on)pages had the pleasure of attending a workshop with this father of contemporary spoken word, and we took notes for you. These are those notes. Happy writing.
Buddy’s #1 piece of advice
don’t fake cry—it’s embarrassing.
Buddy on writer’s block
it’s a myth rooted in laziness
you don’t need to be brilliant every time you sit down to write—just show up every day
if you write one sweet little line, find one gem each day for 30 days, you’ve got 30 gems to string together in a poem
Buddy on getting on stage for the first time
know you’re going to be nervous
know that’s okay
false confidence won’t resonate with anyone
so be honest
(not vocally, necessarily, just honest)
(you don’t need to say, “Man I’m so nervous—it’s my first time”)
(you just don’t need to pretend you aren’t nervous)
allow the feeling to unfold the way it will, not the way you want it to
he was always looking to write himself into the light
and that formula became ubiquitous
he no longer wanted to be a part of it
“fucking the hearts of the judges to get a bastard 10”
so he hasn’t written anything to completion since 2011
“all my life I’ve been writing my idea self, and only in practice have I gotten closer to being that guy”
you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart.
come closer. come closer.
know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil form the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this. come closer.
know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this.
there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it!
come you wooden museums you gentle tigers negro farces in two broken scenes. come rusting giants! I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move our arms take every breath we swallow is worship. bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on songs.