The Louisiana Social Pledge

We pledge our allegiance to Louisiana. We will embrace what makes us and our state unique. Louisiana will be recognized as a leader and innovator of the New South. Many great leaders of the future will come from this state. And we will show both the media and politicians that we are smarter than them. We will no longer have our resources exhausted and our people used and left behind. We will work hard and play hard. We will protect each other. We will support each other. We pledge that we will do whatever we can to get these things in motion right now. We will no longer wait for a path to be cleared for us. We will clear the path ourselves. And we ain’t giving up easily. We will socialize in the real world just as well as we do on the internet…in hopes to organize ourselves effectively.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Genesis (Louis Toliver Jr - Swartz, LA)


Genesis
Our acceptance of life
Neither created nor destroyed
The universe always has been

Energy is how our divinity exists
My spirit is not my neighbor’s
Let us not forget Eden
Euphoria of a life well-balanced

Love builds
We are born after our births

Or

Hate destroys
We are dead before our deaths

It's my choice

Past, Present, & Future (Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)


I thank my past for the strength it has given me
May I be a present bridge between past and future
I am ready for whereever the future leads me

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cruel Intentions: Part 3 (James Leland Ludeau III-Lafayette, LA & Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA))


III

“Oh, Tina!” the new boy shouted in ecstasy from Tina’s convertible that sat in the woods away from the school. They had been there for hours and it was now dark.

“”I want you to rip my skirt,” Tina pulled the new boy’s head from between her legs.

“Rip your skirt?” the new boy was surprised, yet turned on.

“Now flip me over, pull my hair, grab my neck, make me scream,” Tina eased the stick shift between her legs. Without questioning her, the new boy followed her commands, “Stick it in,” the new boy did. “Harder, harder, harder,” Tina demanded as the boy thrusted and thrusted until he couldn’t hold back any longer and he came.

“I love you, Tina!”

Tina pushed the new boy off of her and then said, “That’s all you got, little boy. It takes real man to fuck me.” She kicked out of the car and drove off leaving him in darkness.

He sat on the ground in a daze. What had been hours seemed now like minutes, and he was alone in the dark.

*********************************************************************************

“Did you hear? The new boy raped Tina!” the girls whispered at their table in the cafeteria.

“I heard he pulled her hair and choked her.”

“I hear she got more pleasure from the stick shift in her convertible than his dick.”

The new boy walked into the cafeteria to stares. He could see everyone whispering and concentrated on the lips of the student body. He could just make out what the lips of one girl said as she pointed to him.

“He raped Tina.”

Louisiana Words: Duets


A Fuckery I Can't Accept (by James Leland Ludeau III from Lafayette, LA)

that day in new orleans/ when i was feeling sinful/ but on fire in a good way/ when my skin still burned from the friction of our raw fucking on the floor/ it clouded my head/ i thought it was fuckery i had to accept/ at the time i accepted it/ but then i realized that it was lust/ there was no love there/ even though our eyes connected as we fluidly ravaged each others bodies/ i was drunk/ on cocktails/ on cock/ on tales/ tales i'd soon feel strong enough to speak of/ i feel that i should tell people not to fuck other people's lovers/ it never ends well/ you were someone else's property/ i might have held your cock in my hands/ but your heart was still asleep in bed with him/ and that's a fuckery i can't accept/ won't accept/ i can't be the other man/ i'm so much more than that/ and like new orleans/ i will continue/ filthy/ fucked up/ but a bit of eternity hangs over me/ and a simple storm like you will never count me out...but god damn the sex was hot.....i miss it sometimes...but i don't miss the way i felt after

A Fuckery I Must Accept (by James Leland Ludeau III from Lafayette,LA)

Rain drenched on my watery walk home/ the French Quarter flooded in filthy water/ a soaking as intense as the filthy fuck i had last night/ pinned against the wall/ our clothes like our hearts piled on the floor/ my feet pounding this ancient path/ i soak in the scenery with a new set of eyes/ my clothes stick to me like your skin did/ the rain has no regard for the physical inconvenience it imposes on the poor people around me/ but i'm not bothered/ these streets are not the only things baptized on this morning/ after last night i'm sure i'll never be dry again/ my skin still burns from the friction of you on top of me/ your smell is raw and primal/ as i'm open mouth kissed your tongue tastes of whiskey and precum/ i'm an addict to your flesh/ crawling on the floor to feel your touch/ but it's not all pleasure/ there's a pain in knowing that you like New Orleans around me aren't meant to be tamed/ a fuckery i must accept/ you bring me to a place i've never known/ and i'm so drunk on you that i let it all fade away/ you've penetrated more than one part of me/ lying spent on a cheap mattress over looking Chartres.....

The Recovery from Loss (Rachel Leann Brooks-Lafayette, LA)

When people die
People cry.
As the dead float up to a happy place,

Loved ones stay below with a frowning face.

Memories flow,
As we remember and know
How happy the dead were and wanted us to be.

We now begin to finally see
That we shouldn't be trapped inside
The despair over a loved one who's died.

We should smile,
Have fun,
And laugh a while.

We should be happy.
We should be free
From the grasp of unhappy memories.

We should laugh out loud,
Be joyful, and shout
For all of the world to hear
That we can be happy still.

Snow on the Palmetto (Barry Sons-Berwick, LA)

The sign had to be specific. 
My life was out of control.

My faith had run so shallow 
Doubt was all that flowed.

Snow in the Gulf of Mexico, 
Is all that I’d except to 
Show me that You do have 
A handle on all this mess.

The answer, came in Your time 
One Christmas I went home; 
There was snow on the palmetto 
I knew we weren’t alone.

Flag of Fatherless Time (Alex KingHoward Berrio-Lafayette, LA)

Blue
is how you leave me
desolate and tired
of you coming and going
close to darkness
but hope has shone through
to give you some hue


Yellow
is how you greet me
warm and inviting
taking the hugs
and reflecting them
to all those around
but it all turns stale


Red
is my passion
that I am left with
boiled and bruised
I still smile with those
who hold me dear
as the embrace beckons
my soul to breath


Gold tears
for the priceless times
we've spent together
and for those
we've been apart.


All the time
that has stood blank
in my current memory
when you weren't there
Cut in half
for there is black
and then there is white

The Story of Skinny Ham (Spencer Black-Lafayette, LA)

In his plain white keds, jeans and a black shirt that barely covered his pregnant belly, Skinny Ham stepped into the empty bar. It was still hours before he had to perform, but he could already hear the chants from the audience and the feedback from the microphone. He saw the sound guy giving him a thumbs up and his fingers gliding up and down the fret board of his guitar. 

Before stepping into the empty bar, he really did experience these things. He traveled the country performing with his punk rock band. He sang, he played guitar and he traveled. He opened for big acts and eventually big acts opened for him. 

But even before the band and before traveling the country with just one van and zero groupies, he didn't have a father. The music gave him something to talk to when his father wasn't there. He never was there. Forming the band, it was his best decision he ever made. When the music stopped giving him the satisfaction he needed, once they became famous and he became bored. Drugs were the second best decision he ever made.

After gaining fame and a modest fortune and a skinnier than healthy look, this guy, Skinny Ham, he received a phone call from the father. He said something like, “How did you get this number?” and maybe more of something like, “Who are you anyway?” but we definitely know he said, “No, I'm not giving you any money.”
Way before the father's phone call, Skinny Ham begins living in paradise. He opened for a big band in a big venue. Going back to see the band play after putting gear up, he and his drummer ran into a man with a girl over his shoulder. The girl was screaming for help, but Skinny and the drummer only walked away towards the show after the man put his finger over his mouth and shushed them. 
After the phone call but before really hitting the bottom, Skinny Ham went to the father's funeral. He hopped out of the the tour van that parked on the side of the street and saw the father buried into the ground. Skinny Ham didn't have any words to say and quickly hopped in the van and started kicking the gong around.
After the father, after the bystander effect, during the drugs, Skinny Ham was interrupted washing dishes at his old apartment with whom shared with his band. His bassist talked about how the belt broke and he fell. Skinny just continued washing the bent spoons and plastic cups. The next day the bassist was found dead.

Somewhere down the line, after the death of his friend, Skinny finally found the Father. He no longer needed to fill an empty void with loud music or with a heart-shaped gong. He felt something inside of him and felt guilt for the things he didn't do.
Skinny Ham saw the empty bar eventually become packed with a raging audience. The sound guy gave him a thumbs up. He still had feedback from the microphone and the audience still chanted his name. And he played his acoustic guitar by his lonely self. Trying to get rid of all of the emotions where the void was filled.

Glory in the Clouds (Alex KingHoward Berrio-Lafayette, LA)

Caught in between a lover's gaze
one simple thought should ne'er be thought
flowing through her mind's love maze
one soft touch should ne'er be fought
for she feels so warm like sunshine
orange, glowing, and love drunk
laying still here, complete peace
an enlightened joyful monk
here we are in mid-laughter, just release
feel the happiness hug your pores
and push your hatred and the venom
out past your skin, out past your denim
celebrate in your glory, celebrate in mine
as we drink wine and begin to shine
complete and perfectly aligned
look down to see fluffy white beneath us
there is no mistake, this is cloud nine

TDOR and the Days Following. (Elizabeth Jenkins-New Orleans, LA)


Slouching on my leaf green leather overstuffed chair, feet up on the matching English Pub ottoman, my feet comfortable in faux fur lined leather moccasins, my favorite with the pink strap ties, I rest. I wear washer worn jeans, butter stained pink tee-shirt, and jean jacket of unremembered origin, comfortable after church, where church wear was the opposite of this casual dress, black leather heeled boots, black and black and black skirt, blouse and coat, but a bright blood red brocade made scarf I found at Goodwill. Is it from India? It's hung up now so it won't wrinkle, and my church clothes put away. Contrasts make life interesting.

But I am exhausted after three very complicated days full of sorrow, responsibility, and Kennedy Assassination Anniversary shows; and then fantasy fun, in that order, in that sequence. All very intense. Today in church was a relief, and a rest. But it wasn't enough. I am trying to come down by immersing myself in television and the consumption of the chocolate brownies I just baked. It is only working on the upper levels of relaxing, not on the deeper ones. Not even the cold milk helps. I am a tired person and a very unsettled person. It will take time to recover.

Transgender Day Of Remembrance is called TDOR by most in our community. It is a solemn memorial to attend, emotionally hard on all. This year the count was 263 murders. There were twenty four in the United States, four of those in Louisiana, where my partner and I live and of those two within a mile of where I live. It was a very bad year to be transgender. People who consider us less than human were shooting, stabbing, torturing, decapitating, and dismembering us, two days out of three. Brazil was the world's worst place to be transgender as 107 were murdered there, Mexico was second and the United States was third in the world, that is, the world where the information was available. Tip of the iceberg, 

TDOR is an event observed internationally on the 20th of November, I have participated in many, too many. Last year I was the organizer in New Orleans, and was this year as well. I spoke at the Baton Rouge Memorial last year and again this year. I am always emotionally down for weeks after. 

To offset the effects of the weeks of preparation and the terrible stress of the two days of TDOR presentations this week, we decided to go to the other end of emotional scale, an escapism to the eighth century, a day at the Renaissance Faire here in Louisiana. 

We always go in costume, 'garb' as the seasoned veterans call it. And it was a full day of immersion in a different time.

But this escapism, as refreshing as it was, wasn't enough to allow me a full recovery. 

I am reminded of the old spiritual adage that the death of a single person diminishes every living person in the world. When the people that die, murdered in the ways these transgender people were executed. for executed they were, then the divine in humans is lessened. I cannot hold the idea in my mind of this happening, it is just so horrific. And I understand that millions whom are not transgender are killed every year. I am not so naive to know so many humans are very primitive and are somehow subhuman in their lack of humanity, as if it is a mental illness or a deficiency in their souls. Words like bigotry, prejudice. and cruelty come to mind, but those words are inadequate and weak.

Somehow the fact that I too am trangender makes a difference. Am I in danger? Yes, but should I be in fear of my life? The rate of murder of homosexual people is high, yet statistically, we are four times more likely to be murdered. Hate Crime.

So on the 20th in the New Orleans Candlelight Vigil, we lit candles distributed to the attendees, announced the name one by one, and each person when pointed to blew out their single white candle, indicating a life snuffed out. The next night in the Baton Rouge ceremony, we called ot the names and lit a candle. I am not able to say which was the most powerful. as each had it's symbolism. Watching candles diminish in one ceremony and watching the candle light increase in the other, it was a strong reminder each candle was a soul, a human being, a death. 

At the end if the first, when the lights were al extinguished I cried my heart out. At the end of the second ceremony, when those lights brightened the sanctuary, producing a low warm glow and a small heat almost as if they lived again, I cried for the second time in public. Yet even those lighted candles in the second ceremony had to be extinguished in the end, and we started forgetting the names of the victims. Gone.

But there will be the same again next November, different people and stories, transpeople who are living now but will be dead then. It has to stop, it has to. 

So we went to the Renaissance Faire and that was fun. But like writing in the cheap tablets, the ones we had in early elementary school, we erased best we could when we had to, but the ghost of what we wrote was always still there. We spend our lives writing over what has come before. 

So the Renaissance Faire was a good eraser, but the ghosts are still there this day, television shows and fudge brownies be damned.

Elizabeth Anne Jenkins - November 24th 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Louisiana Words: Thanksgiving Tonight!


It Takes Two (Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)


One whole person Plus another whole person Make two whole persons Both are halved equally Feminine and masculine energy Their creativity creates the fire That all men need to survive They celebrate what is divine In society through writing For the people Speaking like their own people They pulverize what is dishonest With wit, class, crass, sass, edge One whole person Can sustain life Two whole persons Can create life

It Will Not Hurt. (Barry Sons-Berwick, LA)


I will not Shake in anticipation of your voice.
I will not Trimble at the memory of your touch.
I will not Shutter in longing for you kiss.
I will not Die of missing you.

I have no Right to expect an ounce of kindness.
I have to Vomit the angst in my stomach .
I have to Remember how you made me feel alive.
I have to Learn to live without you.

I will Love you always
It will not hurt forever. 

Life Threw Us At Each Other (James Leland Ludeau III-Lafayette,LA)

this counterfeit disposition can't be good for your health wasn't for mine you sit across the room from me and i see your smile i see the Light in you that initially attracted me to you i see the real you beneath all the guise you inspire me sometimes if you bore me i'm comfortable and if you interest me i'm scared my attraction paralyzes me but i want to be the real thing and so do you i see it in you and in this drag that life can be at times my makeup's all off who am i? i am a boy sitting across from you relating to your struggle because we are alike and the room smells like Peppermint oil we are both trying to quiet the storm that brews within us but maybe the storm is a gift and we should stop running from it and run toward it embrace our light life threw us at each other for a reason and it's unfolding it's beautiful in your evolution i see my own

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Lesson in Words (Rachel Leann Brooks-Lafayette, LA)

Words
Words on a page
Words
Spoken aloud
Words that carry on the history
Of those no longer around

History
Written on a page
History
Spoken aloud
History that carries on the memory
Of those no longer around

Stories
Stories written down
Stories
Growing in value through time
Stories telling of people
Of those no longer around

People
Who once lived a life
People
Whose stories in which value has been found
Lessons from the lives of those who have lived;
Of those no longer around


Lessons
Lessons told with words
Lessons
Warning of recurrence and dangers around
Lessons within the stories of the history of people;
Of those no longer around

The Forgotten People (Barry Sons-Berwick, LA)

Standing at the Convention Center knowing that your government would come; they did three days later. Images gouged into my brain. All the while our fellow citizens washed away to be forgotten. Not by me; Not by me.
***************************************************
At least 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest US hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane.
It should be noted that officially, 1464 of these deaths took place within New Orleans.
== Deaths by state: ==
=== Alabama: 2 ===
=== Florida: 14 ===
=== Georgia: 2 ===
=== Kentucky: 1 ===
=== Louisiana: 1,577* ===
=== Mississippi: 238 ===
=== Ohio: 2 ===

Bromance (Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)

Come here fella
Let me love you
Your emotional needs
We are strong allies

No women, just us
So snuggle up close
Let me be your friend
We are sensitive men

Tell me your heart
Your deepest desires
I promise to protect
With a hug, I support you

Yellow Brick Road (by James Leland Ludeau III from Lafayette,LA)

so i want to wander
and i need to wonder

and if your love is real it'll be there when i seek it
i need to be free
to explore this life
and maybe it's not my lot in life to be attached to someone else's star
maybe it's my destiny to burn my own path through this life
take the road alone
unknown
sometimes i feel like Dorothy Gale
making my way down the yellow brick road
encountering people who are broken
incomplete
who are searching for something just like myself
whether it be love or strength or courage
the road can be long
twisted
but i'll keep blazing my way
my very own yellow brick road
leading to self love
but don't think i won't miss you along the way
i will
i do
but i need to conquer this demon on my own
and if we never get the chance to reunite in this lifetime
perhaps i'll love you in the next

My Life (Caleb Rink-Patterson, LA & Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)

Go here...
Go there

Being pulled
By everything

When will it end?
Or will it ever?

This is where I’m at
Hope is what I have

Shift in focus
I’m independent

I pull the strings
I‘m the director

I’m here
I’m there

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life is a Play (Louis Toliver Jr-Swartz, LA)


Life is full of surprises
When the curtain rises

Drama comes to us all
Let’s pray we don’t fall

We all have a role to play
We are stars every day

Black, woman, gay, old
Your life is precious gold

Take control of who you are
Indeed you shall go very far

You’ve got me and I got you
No matter if act one or two

Trust life’s direction my friend
Let’s dance happily until the end

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What happened to just the two of us? (Adam John Schexnayder - Crowley, La)

We arrived at his apartment.  It was on the second floor.  The apartment building had a rustic, fire house sort of feel.  It was about four stories high with ruby red brick.  The side walk had designated parking spots for each apartment.  He carried my bags.  I only had a carry on.  He never did let me do much for myself.  When he opened the door the first thing I saw was the most beautiful apartment in the world.  It was very spacious.  The hallway to the living room had paintings, mirrors, and decorations that all seemed to flow together like a river of perfect design.  Chris could not have put together this apartment.  And he would never hire someone to design.  A woman definitely designed this apartment.  Actually, a woman definitely lived here.  There was a purse on the coffee table.  Before I could finish my thought, a tall slender black woman walked from the kitchen and lit up at the sight of us two.

In the Mind (Patricia Dudley - Lafayette, La)

The time flies
Yet is slow
There's a sense of speed
But of which we don't know
Fast and exciting
Still scared to let go
One day we wont realize
Our hearts are suppose
To combine and flow

Monday, November 18, 2013

How Do I Explain? (Jason M. Smith-Lafayette, LA)

Why do I cause you so much pain,
I wish I could find the words to explain.
I know that you and I belong together,
You have always sheltered me from the weather.
I think I do the things I do to keep me safe,
Even though you say you’re here to give me faith.
Could it be that I am afraid to loose you too,
Is that the reason I try to hurt you?
To have you leave me for another mate,
Will it be my fault when you have left me to this fate?
You have made me happy beyond belief,
You have been the ground beneath my feet.
I love you more then I often show,
Please don’t let this cause you to go.