23 October 2009

On finding your coffeeshop.

Life is beautiful,
          regardless of the hell we swim in
          & the love we choke on.
A day, sunny & blue
          to explore my South Street--
          not as tourist, but at home.
So many places, just tryna' make it
          Aladeen out of business?
          Failed Disney's magic carpet.
Keep on, Big Green Earth Store--
          I want this: free--
          take all 3. Sold!
No more cancer in my space.
          No more Dollar Store scares.
          Still an hour? I need dinner.

Time to try The Bean.
          Almost empty--like I want it.
          Soft music, soft typing,
               chairs which don't corrupt.
Gimme the standard-wich,
          with bagel, egg, & cheese.
               Hot coffee--gimme plenty
               & Tabasco, don't get lazy.
Window seat, best light,
          best spot to escape,
          see faces & street.

There's that old man I passed
          stopped right outside--opposite:
          grey beard, red pants, Cosby sweater, rusty bike,
          lingering stare: Just.For.Me.
He's Beat. He knows.
          Had to find me again
               to gift me with that wink & grin.
              Thanks, man.

Must learn of she whom he becries,
          with the benzedrine & the suicide eyes.
          Don't hear the freedwomen--only guys:
               what if where & who I'm with
               are my place & guides?

The chick with the words, me--
          amidst the tongue-tied, stuck inside.
               checks & balances,
               callbacks, freakouts.
Come here for a minute...
          No! Take me with you.
               Calm down, listen,
               & provide me protection.
We can do this alone, or try,
          but why?
               We won't make it out alive:
               Alive the way we need to die
                    to step out on the right side.

A space is only as clean as its bathroom.
Fuck yes.

22 October 2009

Where Penn Landed.

This scene would be great
if there was no steel, cement, or ships;
this scene would be great
if it didn't smell like oils, shit, or piss;
this scene would be great
if he didn't look at me, take that sip, or lick his lips;
this scene would be great
if I arrived on this shore before 1776.


Hotels labeled luxury
are the worst facade:

Explain $400 to sit here
Justify $40,000 deficit
Manifest your words to gold. 
Everything here's from Seattle.

You gonna eat those apples?
Didn't think so.
I'll take those.
Do you need another servant--
I mean, serving?
All your ice is gone?
I'm sure your breath will freeze it.
You hope I have a good life?
You won't remember me--

Except as "Out-of-Placer"
reading Ginsberg
who briefly made you crave
your youth
your hair
good sex
City Lights

Hospitality--like hospital, not housepitality...
Nostalgia--the nose knows this ain't no home...
Auntie Em--there's no place like the Hyatt.
Get me out of here.

21 October 2009

20th Street Screams.

The only green
     on the 17
          is weed
          and weeds
          and eyes.
Pick out them seeds
     let's plant some grass
          we make that money
          and build us
          a castle
Got hardwood floors up in that bitch--
          locked him up for life,
          but I be hood rich.
Call me.

Gotta make that paper...
gotta chase that man.
Never gonna catch him.
Damned if I don't--
damned if I can.

What you hold in your hand
in any other world
would carry your notes
envelop your snot
and wipe your ass;

it's bathed in shit
rolled in coke
stuffed in tits
and you lick your lips
at the thought of it.

There's no room for belief
in a universe
where greed is pure
and cash is king
only room for more

Mores, we made them
morals, we lost them
money, we eat it
No wonder we're all sick.

The man on the sidewalk
with the broken body
has a spaceship.

He looks like he knew
and was punished for it.

Looks at me like he knows
I would do anything
to fly away.

Forgot his exterior long ago
to focus energy
on The Next Days.

Too bad the spaceship's grounded.

As a human, I know nothing;
   as a woman, I'm ignored;
      as a pusher, I will die young;
         as the rest of you, I'm bored;
            as an animal, I am.

Let me Be.

19 October 2009

Find Your Real 'Do With Homemade Shampoo!

Since June 5, I have been making homemade shampoo from olive oil soap, water, and herbs.

My hair took to its natural state with great success after only about a week of experimentation with my foolproof potion. Now I'm convinced that the world as we know it would explode if all women started making their own shampoo. Think about it:
  • Making shampoo means not buying shampoo. Shampoo corporations go out of business and huge conglomerates end up foundering.
  • Realizing how beautiful and healthy hair is in its natural state without any synthetic additives means buying fewer, or no, other hair products. More foundering.
  • Healthy, natural, beautiful hair makes made-up faces look silly and using other synthetic beauty products feel silly. Commence the trashing of all synthetic beauty products in your living space and refusal to endorse such products again. Founder, founder, founder.
  • Discovering what hair, faces, skin, and lips look like, naturally, will be a shock. A good one. Leading to natural women everywhere getting really pissed that these foundering corporations have been controlling our appearances and emotions since puberty. Damnit!
  • Natural women will tell all their friends, and the ripple effect will make waves of change throughout the product-obsessed world. I started making my own because two of my best friends dropped some "Natty Knowledge" on me and took the anti-beauty routine plunge first. I watched their natty endeavors and decided I believed in them, too.
So here I am, to start a revolution... Read on!

1.Think about your hair and its personality. Ask if it's curly or straight, dry or oily, long or short, brittle or strong, frizzy or smooth? Just like synthetic, store-bought shampoos, your homemade brew can be crafted to suit the needs of your hair. Below is a list of herbs that will maintain the beauty of your hair. Don't be shy. You can mix and match. My hair is long, fine, wavy, and a bit on the oily side. Since my first batch, I've been sailing along with chamomile, nettle, sage, and rosemary.
  • Normal Hair: red clover, chamomile, horsetail, marigold, rosemary, and crushed lavender flowers.
  • Oily Hair: dried leaves of peppermint, rosemary, burdock, nettle, tea tree, orris roots, and lemongrass.
  • Dry Hair: red clover, elder flower, comfrey leaf or root, crushed lavender flower, crushed orange flower, chamomile flower, jojoba oil, and marigold.
  • Black Curly Hair: ,sage, nettle leaves, crushed lavender flowers, comfrey leaves, jojoba oil, indigo root and rosemary leaves.
2. Check your house for the items below, or go to your local health store (Essene Market on 4th and Monroe is closest to my new place, but Newark Natural Foods started it all). If you don't have one of these close by, Whole Foods Market, or in some cases, Target, will have the ingredients you need. You can probably also buy most of these things online. Thank you, Internet:
  • 1 bottle Dr Bronner's castile soap, available in Peppermint, Lavender, Almond (my choice so far), Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Unscented Baby-Mild, Rose and Citrus Orange. It's Fair Trade, certified organic, 100% biodegradable, and comes in 100% post-consumer recycled bottles with ridiculous writing scrawled all over them. In addition, you'll find that you can use this soap for myriad things--hair, body, dishes, mopping, house cleaning, cars, etc. And, since it's meant to be heavily diluted, it ends up being super cheap in the long-run. Basically, it's the shit. 
  • Herbs that you're going to test out. If you can get these loose, it will probably be much cheaper, and you decide how much you need.
  • White vinegar or inexpensive coffee, ground.
  • Tea kettle or small saucepan with lid.
  • Tea strainer or colander.
  • 2 storage bottles, preferably with squeezy-tops. Suggestions: old, washed out shampoo/conditioner bottles; small, empty liquor bottles, or picnic-style ketchup and mustard containers from the dollar store or party section of many stores.
3.  Once at home, this recipe is easy. You're going to tweak it to your liking the more you make, but I've found that my routine of making 8oz at a time is great, so I'll use it as an example:
  • Measure out 1tbs each of chamomile, rosemary, nettle, and sage.
  • Boil 6oz. water. Turn off heat, add herbs (in strainer, if you choose... I just throw them in), cover, and let steep/cool for 20-25 minutes.
  • Strain the herbal mixture using a colander if you didn't use a tea strainer. Squeeze out the liquid from the herbs the best you can, and--if necessary--strain 2 or 3 times to get the major floaters out. You'll notice that your 6oz. of water is now more like 5oz. This is good.
  • Pour the herbal mixture in your squeeze bottle, and fill the bottle the rest of the way with Dr Bronner's soap. I started out using a 4-to-1 liquid to soap ratio, but I've found that I really like having a lather, so it's now become a 5-to-3 ratio. If you dilute too much, you won't get a lather, and my hair didn't seem to be clean. You'll find your ratio--and determine how frugal you are with your soap--as you go.
4. Make your rinse. The mild, natural ingredients in your concoction won't completely cut all the oils in your dirty 'do, so you'll need something acidic to cut through. Prior to rinsing, your hair may feel a bit matted. When you use an adequate amount of rinse, you should be able to run your fingers through your hair pretty easily under the water.
  • Combine water and white vinegar in a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 ratio.
  • If you have dark hair or want it darker, it's possible to rinse with double- or triple-brewed coffee. I tried this, and, although I liked the slight color change, I don't think it's acidic enough to actually have the cleaning effect.
5. If you don't like the smell of your hair after the vinegar rinse, try adding a drop or two of good-smelling essential oil (mint, lavendar, tea tree, etc.) to your shampoo, rinse, or directly to your hair post-shower. I've never felt the need to do this, but I don't find that my hair smells much at all, and I've learned to like my natural odors. Hopefully you will, too, but there's nothing wrong with liking a little added scent!

6. Shower to your heart's content! Lather up, rinse, and get squeaky clean. But remember, don't use too much water.

Things to keep in mind:

1. A little goes a long way. This routine is meant to be environmentally friendly, physically healthy, and absolutely economically savvy. After about 5 months, I still have about 2/3 of my first bottle of Dr Bronner's ($12.99), and my first 3 months' herbs only cost $0.87! Similarly, a large bottle of white vinegar will run you between $1 and $2, and I find they last about 2 months each.

2. You may not need to use the rinse every time you shower. Similarly, you may find that you need the rinse but not the shampoo. Or, like me, you may just realize that your hair looks pretty great for a while and showers every day (or even every other day) aren't as necessary as Americans make them out to be.

3. Don't be surprised if success in the shampoo/rinse realm causes a ton of other changes in your behavior. Since my entrance into the natural beauty arena, I:
4. Obviously, I really believe in this lifestyle, and so do tons of other people in Philly and throughout the blogosphere (see, for example, The Green Beauty Guide). I'm trying not to be overly idealistic, as I do realize this isn't for everyone (right now...), but imagine what a green beauty revolution would look like! If you're timid, test these things out when you have vacation time so you can ease into your comfort zone, or challenge yourself with a friend or family member. I promise you won't be disappointed.
    And most importantly:

    Learn to love who you Are. This isn't just about saving money or being nice to the earth, and it's definitely not just about shampoo--this is about YOU, and taking back who you are. You are not a cosmetic company's mannequin. You are not a slave to corporations. You are a beautiful, natural, human being. Take your transformation to confidence one step at a time, no matter what it is. Keep it natural, keep it about you, and the rest will fall into place. It's working for me!