tulips in the garden

the tulips that grew in the garden
were a reminder of
when my father lived his life
with soil underneath his fingernails and
sweat dripped from his lashes
like tears
sometimes he did cry
over the majesty of his garden
the garden he had built
after the world
made him a ghost
the only way he was able to hold on
was by reaching deep into the Earth
scooping out its hot core
letting it warm his cracked
and dirty
palms

in his weakest moments, he made
offers
to the sky
begs for his Father’s judgement
begs for his light to shine on him
begs for one more day

in the mornings
i look out at the garden
think of all the
dreams
and all the
lives
that are planted there
faintly, my father’s heart
bends with the wind
faintly, my father’s heart
bats its wings
always in constant flight
yet rooted in the ground

Trois Choses: Getting into a Groove

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Robin Givhan is renewing my fashion obsession

There was a time in my life when fashion felt like my whole life. I used to obsessively flipped through the same issues of Vogue, tried to learn as much fashion vocabulary as I could and wrote the most amateur-ish of fashion show reviews. Over time, that passionate obsession faded into a vague liking and these days, I doubt that I could call myself a fashion fanatic. But in recent weeks, there has been a strong light in the very dim tunnel: Robin Givhan’s reviews for The Washington Post. Givhan is a respected fashion critic, who’s books on historical moments in fashion—fashion’s battle at Versailles, Michelle Obama’s fashion choices as a first lady—are groundbreaking and provoking. Her fashion reviews feel equally the same; her perspective always feels fresh and she seems less concerned with the sensationalism that often surrounds things and instead focuses on the collections at hand, the precedent the sent and what that means for the future of fashion. The more I read, the more I am reminded of why I loved fashion in the first place: for its possibilities, for its expansiveness, and its ability to bring beauty into the world while saying something worthwhile.

The new Blood Orange music video

Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange, just released the music video for “Chewing Gum” from his album Negro Swan and after just one watch I was overwhelmingly impressed. I’m constantly awed by Hynes’ unique brand of artistry and the layers of his work, and this was no different. Like the other videos from the album, the “Chewing Gum” video isn’t overly complicated—it’s Dev Hynes and A$AP Rocky driving ATVs in hazy, sunset dripped desert, looking fierce and free. Apart from its visual beauty, what struck me most about the video was the fresh perspective it gave me on the song and what it means. When Hynes looks straight into the camera and sings “Tell me what you want from me,” it has a fierce demand that feels unexpected from the soft tone of his singing voice. A big theme of Negro Swan is the freedom of being fully yourself, of doing the most, and the power that you get from being surrounded by the right people, the people who let you be free. In this video, both Hynes and A$AP are not just demanding their right to that freedom and power, but taking it. As their scarves dance around them and the drive on seemingly endless strips of road, they become more free and you as the viewer, feel it too.

On Being Podcast: Alain Botton

Lately, I’ve been feeling like maybe I’m interested in pursuing and entering a romantic relationship and if so, why. Despite this desire, I’m also hesitant and a little afraid of what that would actually mean. I love listening to and reading radical perspectives on love and relationships, and so was especially excited to listen to Alain Botton’s episode of On Being with Krista Tippett. Love is Botton’s subject—he’s been writing about love since he was 23—and his perspective on it feels valuable and increasingly so the more I think about it. He said three things that stuck with me, the first being that the scariest part of entering into relationships is that we have to make ourselves “weak,” to not con. The other two things: relationships aren’t just the lovey-dovey parts, but also involve everyday responsibilities; and we shouldn’t be fear imperfections in ourselves and our partners but be open to them. It’s such a good listen and I’ll be talking about it with everyone I meet for the next little while.

Music Video Friday: Lorde's "Perfect Places"

One of my personal beefs with music videos of late is how random they feel. I understand the desire not to create something fairly obvious but I wish some videos would align, if only briefly, with the song or at least the vibe of the song. That's why I love Lorde's video for her song "Perfect Places" (from her album Melodrama). 

"Perfect Places" is a magnificent song about attempting to turn our reality into the very clear fantasy that exists in our head, and the various ways--drugs, partying, kissing boys--we try to do that. The song speaks to this escapist quality that I think comes with just living in a very tumultuous and painful world, but especially with feeling young and out of place. The video perfectly visualizes this by placing Lorde, alone, at a random house on the beach. Dressed in an array of decadent gowns, she runs along the beach and drinks whisky while swimming in a waterfall, like the angsty heroine of a Kate Bush song. The video is perfectly indulgent, Lorde is perfectly indulgent in it (with her one woman tea parties) and is so escapist I feel like I've taken a vacation. This song/video combo reminds me that although our realities rarely live up to our fantasies, sometimes we need to escape into a world of our own and let ourselves indulge. Nobody really needs to know. 

TROIS CHOSES: I Like a Red Rouge

Trois Choses is an evolving thing (sometimes monthly, sometimes weekly) that spotlights things I can't stop thinking about. It might be a movie, TV show, podcast or just a feeling. 

You’ve Got Lipstick on your Chin (Newsletter)  

I’ve been an admirer of Arabella Sicardi for years now, and their work has always encouraged to think bigger, to develop my ideas in ways that were unexpected. Generally, they're just brilliant. I've been a subscriber to their newsletter for a while and am super excited that they've chosen to reboot it. The first email was so good, I was inspired to write this post and share it with everyone. In the newsletter, they recommended an interview with Andrea Long Chu from the latest episode of the I'd Rather Be Reading podcast, "Bad Desires", which I listened to immediately and found particularly thought provoking. I'm currently in this place where I am really excited to learn, especially about things that I never would have thought to think about initially, and the interview, as well as Arabelle's newsletter are all a big part of that. 

The Art of The Essay: Hilton Als (The Paris Review)

I never felt there was a separation between the art I loved and myself

Another person whose work often pushes me to look deeper and consider how and what I consume is Hilton Als, which is why I loved this interview with him in the latest issue of The Paris Review. The interview feels very special--it manages to capture his voice, literally and as a writer. Many times, it feels less like an interview and more like one of Als' spectacular essays--questioning, profound, and celebratory of the people that have been influential in his life. He talks about his family and the ways in which they have been un/able to preserve their history, how he "became" a writer, and the continued search for voice. This interview is one that is meant to be read again and again, not just because it's inspiring but, like many things I associate with Als, you discover something new and magical with every read. 

Luke Cage (Netflix)

Embarrassingly enough, I watched all the episodes of Luke Cage in about a week which is A. unsurprising and B. a testament of how good it is. Whenever I watch anything with superheroes, it's usually background noise and feels excruciatingly long. Luke Cage was different. First of all, watching a show that has a primarily main cast and that is able to cover the complexities of black life, while still celebrating it is so refreshing and, in some ways, life-changing that it's harder for me to watch other stuff that doesn't have that. Even better, Luke Cage is well written and fantastically made--there are clear motifs, the aesthetics are amazing, and the characters so multi-layered that it's hard to find someone to fully root against. I definitely want to spend more time digging into it, especially the role of art (the paintings in Harlem's Paradise, the importance of the musical acts in the club) and how it plays into the ways in which black people build their lives. And I'm going to be honest, even though Black Panther exists and I love Sebastian Stan, Luke Cage is hands down the best thing from Marvel I've ever seen. 

 

Hokey Cokey with the Opposite Sex

THE VIDEO FOR “FOUR OUT OF FIVE”

Like any Arctic Monkeys fan, the announcement of the band’s latest and freshest album couldn’t have come soon enough. It’s been five years since AM, the album that made them so popular that you couldn’t visit an Aritizia without hearing a song from it, and I was jonesing for something new. I didn't know what to expect--I knew I wanted something different from AM, which felt a little too much like pop--but I was so pleasantly amused by the title, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino that as soon as it popped up on my Spotify on the day of its release, I listened to it, despite the fact that I had been just about to go to sleep.

Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino has been both a surprise and a comfort. Upon first listen, I didn’t feel the same excitement that I’ve felt for other long-awaited music releases, (like Lorde’s Melodrama) but I didn’t completely dismiss it either. And although I couldn’t say that I loved it just yet, I found myself constantly putting it on, curious to discover all the creases and pockets of it all. It wasn’t until I listened to it with headphones, actually listened to it, not just played it in the background, that I began to connect with it. I think what had kept me curious was that, especially lyrically, the music felt like a throwback to their early music. I feel like Alex Turner's penchant for slightly kooky yet smart lyrics that could easily fit into a short story collection was a major part of why I ever fell in love with the band in the first place. A bit of that kookiness was lost with AM, made a brief appearance on The Last Shadow Puppet's most recent album (I still love the lyric: "It's love like a tongue in the nostril"), and has exploded on Tranquility Base. I can’t help but think about the poignancy of lyrics like “I launch my fragrance called “Integrity”/I sell the fact that I can’t be bought” (Batphone) and “The leader of the free world/Reminds you of a wrestler wearing tight golden trunks” (Golden Trunks), or one of my favourites: "Love came in a bottle with a twist-off cap" (Star Treatment).

There's been a lot of chat about how much this album, more than any others, has a really strong narrative. Alex Turner told Zane Lowe that he sees it to be like a collection of short stories. And the world that's built throughout the record is very clear and defined, that I feel like I'm a part of it. But apart from it's narrative brilliance, this album also feels like a very poignant commentary on the state of our world today. While not overtly political, it's hard to miss the concern about the way the world has changed, and the way it continues to change. The futuristic theme of the album feels like a sort of warning--we can look to the future all we want but it doesn't really change anything that's going on right now. Listening to the songs on tis album, I can't help but think about consumerism and gentrification, what it means to sell-out, and what the future of our world actually looks like. It makes me think about what it would mean to throw away our smartphones, and if any of us actually want to do it or if it feels good and smart to say it. Just like it used to feel good and smart to say that we would never be sell-outs.

Tranquility Base is the kind of album that you can't help but think about all the time, the kind of album that you're constantly making discoveries about. It makes a mark, one that can’t be easily washed off. It this amazing combination of art and storytelling and social commentary. It's the perfect "comeback album", and despite my initial reservations, I can confidently say: I love it. 

I Want To Be A Part of It

Here's the second part of my New York diary! I realize while editing my 100s of pics, that I started taking less pictures as the week went on and I got more tired and was trying to focus on just like experiencing things. But I did get some good pics and I had a lot of fun. 

Saturday

Saturday was a really weird day. We left the house a little later than usual, but I had been awake forever and felt really out of it. We didn't really have buying appointments on this day because we went to Capsule and ManxWoman which are pretty big "trade" shows. I definitely preferred visiting smaller showrooms that were more intimate over the trade shows. I did spot Rachel Antonoff at Capsule though, which literally made my day!

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We were meant to go to Jack's Wife Freda for brunch, not realizing that NY brunch lines are HELLA LONG. It was an hour and half wait, in the rain, so we went searching for other options. We ended up at The Egg Shop which I honestly think was meant to be because the food was amazing and I fell in love with cold brew there, so it was a win-win. 

A Day in Brooklyn〰Sunday

Sunday was pretty great, and definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I met up with my best friend from middle school and we headed to the Brooklyn Museum to see their small Basquiat exhibition. And we were in Brooklyn! It was great, even though the neighbourhood wasn't super vibing on a sleepy Sunday but I felt so comfortable and so excited, it was great!

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I was definitely a tourist at Grand Central because GOSSIP GIRL PEOPLE!

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The Brooklyn Museum was honestly a treasure! From Judy Chicago's Dinner Party to their singular Basquiat painting, the exhibitions felt really unique and inspiring. I'd have to say that my favourite exhibition was Infinite Blue which took up most of the first floor and focused on all these variations of blue. There were cool installations, like this weird underwater video that I wanted to watch forever. And its open all year, so people can still experience its magic. 

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We had brunch at Shane's, which I'm pretty sure is a black-owned restaurant which was really exciting for me. There's not a lot of unique, special black spaces in my current city, and so there was something really comforting being surrounded by black people who were just enjoying their Sunday brunch. I had their chicken and waffles, which was tasty and homey.

We spent the rest of the day just hanging around uptown--going to Barnes and Nobles and brainstorming in a Starbucks. It was just a nice, quiet day--a dream Sunday tbh.  

Monday

Monday was our last official day, and we didn't really have too many appointments, which gave us a chance to explore. Honestly, we went to some of the best places this day, including Coming Soon NYC and Totokaelo. This was the day that I felt the most like I belonged in New York, and not like I was just floating around with my eyes wide at everything. It was pretty great. 

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 Combine des Filles

Combine des Filles

 COMING SOON NYC

COMING SOON NYC

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 TOTOKAELO

TOTOKAELO

Once we were done with appointments we went to Ruby's Cafe, which is Australian cuisine and was really cozy. Even better, as we were finishing up I saw that FREAKING SUBRINA HEYNIK WAS THERE! I love her vintage store and her Instagram even more, not just for her aesthetics but also because of how much she speaks to what she believes in and never excuses herself from talking about important issues. I said hello to her as we were leaving, we hugged and we both almost cried. It was honestly one of the best ways to end the trip.

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I finally got to visit the Glossier Showroom which has been my dream since they first launched. To be honest, as beautiful as it was, the experience wasn't as special or exciting as I had built it up to be in my mind. Probably because it was a dreary Monday afternoon, and there wasn't much going on. I was too distracted to really try a lot of different products as well so there was that. Overall, I am glad I got a chance to go. 

 STREET STYLE

STREET STYLE

We spent the rest of our evening at some weird Amazon summer event, where I got pretty drunk, danced to some major bops and got really nostalgic about leaving the next day. 

Even months later, I still think about this trip often and how it confirmed that my dreams could be a reality. I'd wanted to go to New York for so long and I really built it up in my brain, and I was afraid it would disappoint. However, I felt so comfortable there and leaving was especially hard. But I'm definitely going back!