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Sojourn

ONLINE JOURNAL 2002 ~ SOJOURN
Journal entries are listed in ascending order ~ oldest entries are on the bottom.

2-28-02
There are too many entries in my journals about death. There is no eloquent way to write about it anymore. Last Sunday, Cristobal Mendoza passed away peacefully of old age. He was my grandfather's brother, and the last elder member of the "Mendoza Clan". My parents and their generation are now the oldest living members of my family. It's strange how little I really know of my father's family and heritage. Cristobal (Tobita) apparently, was a member of the Free Masons, and according to my aunt, so were many of the other members of the older generations of our family. Grandpa? How much of my family's heritage is unspoken? My father has only once spoken to me of what they lost. Only once... Granted, he's told my sister and I countless stories of his experiences growing up, but... there were always gaps in the story... their houses... their farmlands... no details... no backgrounds... no descriptions... no environment... no memories.

Of what I do know: there were several houses on my grandfather's land, enough to shelter his whole family and their families. He grew up on that land. It was his father's. Then, it was taken away. The land is still there... barren. My mother has received letters from her family telling her that my father's lands are just empty now. They were taken away in spite. Not even utilized. I never remembered my grandfather protesting about it either. He seemed happy with his life here in America, and happy just to be alive with his family.

Everytime I used to visit my grandparents, I always played with this little toy horse that my grandfather had. It was black and white and had a removable saddle, but other than that, it really didn't do much. I loved that toy! My grandfather died in 1988. I was about fourteen. The horse remained with his daughter, Sofia, for over a decade. I'm surprised she didn't lose it. I asked her for it after grandma died last year, and she knew exactly what I was referring too. I now keep it in my bedroom, on one of the windowsills.

Family defines us... doesn't it? It's our starting point. We either are a product of our environment, a product of a revolt against it, or we walk somewhere in the middle. I think I'm "somewhere in the middle". I was born in the United States in 1973. I grew up here. I was educated here. I have more freedoms here than I would have had anywhere else... more opportunities... more of a chance for a happy life... but I am also Cuban. Many of my people have lost their homes and left their families. My mother has not seen her brothers or sisters for over thirty-five years. This is not her home. She was not raised here. She came here with her family and... merely survived and lived on. My mother loves this country, but like so many first generation immigrants from Cuba, she arrived in this country already with a sense of loss in her heart. There is no place like home...

What defines me? I once thought that I knew. I've been stripped to the core, poked at, laughed at, analyzed and criticized. I've been placed on a mantle. I've been dismissed. I've been beaten down and dragged up. I've been spit at. I have laid on the floor and in a stranger's bed. I have looked in the mirror and not recognized the face staring back.

I have loved.

I have laughed.

I have lived, and I have the power to change my life.

For a long time I was looking for definition from other people. Who was I to them? What did I mean to them? Do they need me? Do they love me? I wanted to feel as if I was a part of something, and in that illusion, I thought I would somehow find peace and my place in this world. I was wrong. I have gotten up from the floor and put on my socks and my shoes, my shirt, my pants and my dignity. I have put on my pride, and done up my hair. I have walked down the hall into the bathroom and cleaned the mirror so its reflection is clear of streaks.

I have opened the door, and walked outside.

I have felt the sun on my face and the wind kiss my back and send chills down my spine. I have bathed in the river of tomorrow and drank its salty water with an unquenchable greed. I am an artist and a dreamer, and I have always been... beautiful. I am the son of poet nobles and of gypsy kings... and... of gypsy... queens. I am the warrior shaman's last reserve of courage. I was born on a mountain high above the clouds and I have felt the rain bathe and baptize me a nature's child before ever opening my eyes to greet her skies.

I am wicked... and I am free.

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1-30-02
I took the day off today. My father is coming home from the hospital today. Expect some cool updates in My Portfolio by tonight.

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1-27-02
Signs of life slowly begin to resurface on Azodnem.com... When I started this journal page and called it "Sojourn", I had no real idea of the journey my life would start to take. A new year has dawned on the world and finally on me.

My father is currently in the hospital. He underwent open heart surgery on Martin Luther King Day. The surgery took just over seven hours, and went by without any complications. He's expected to make a full recovery and possibly even feel as if he's twenty years younger. Unfortunately, knowing my father's character and personality, he will prolong the recovery process as much as possible. Already, the more "pleasant" parts of his personality seem to have been magnified, but I have come to the conclusion that he is a human chihuahua - all bark, but no real threat.

My mother - well, she's probably upset that he will most likely outlive her, and the few years of her life she was planning to spend alone and peacefully, have just been shot to hell.

My sister and I are finally starting to build a "bridge" between us. There's communication now and a growing sense of understanding. I have seen a very VERY different side of her lately and all I can say is... "You've come a long way, baby".

Mabelyn and I continue fueling PANDORA magazine™. It's going to probably be a long and tough road to walk before we're finally published, but I'm very confident in our skills and in our inevitable success. PANDORA magazine™ has a lot of power behind her and I don't think the world will now what will hit it.

And yes... I'm single again, and have been since late October. I loved Todd very much. I will never deny that. Going into details is pointless, but for a long time afterwards, I was angry. I was very angry... and partly... with myself. I have learned a powerful truth this year; People treat you how you let them.

There is a beautiful life ahead of me, and someday someone worth the journey will walk it with me.

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11-29-01
I'm am most definitely over that nasty little cold/flu that everyone seems to be getting. I was kinda out-of-it for two or three days... nothing major, but I've noticed that I always seem to get sick around the holiday seasons. Avoidance? Perhaps. Seasonal? Most definitely. Everyone is running for flu shots; I refuse.

P.S. For the curious - The Photo Albums at Azodnem.com are down again. I'm working on a redesign for some of the pages. I'm never fully satisfied with that section - I wonder why? I have far better things to do than constantly restructure those pages.

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11-22-01
Happy Thanksgiving, world. I celebrated this year's mass turkey massacre day at my sister's house with about twelve other people. My nieces put on a very cute and patriotic little "song and dance" routine. Afterwards, and for most of the evening, we listened to "Uncle Marty's Happy Jesus Music". Let's just leave that there, shall we...

My father's birthday present finally arrived in the mail yesterday. I bought him a book containing pictures of pre-Revolutionary Cuba from Amazon.com. It's a beautiful book, and as I figured, both he and my mother recognized most of the scenery and buildings. They loved it. I might get a copy for myself.

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11-18-01

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.

You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.

But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.

That's the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love...

Happy Birthday, Todd Michael Thomas.

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11-15-01
A phone technician should be coming to my house on Saturday. My phoneline has gone crazy... I can't seem to make or receive any calls on the main number at all. It just rings busy... busy... busy... busy... busy...

My fish did not die. I thought it did.
It is Vampyre, Nosferatu... the unliving... the undying beta fish, formerly known as: "Mr. Cojones"!

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10-31-01
Something wicked this way comes...
Happy Halloween to all the wonderful witches, warlocks and miscellaneous weirdoes currently in my life. The room's full of scented candles. The lights have been turned out. Music drums, and incense fills the air of my home. The witching hour approaches... I feel loose... limber... tingling chills run up and down my spine and across my shoulders...

Also, Happy Birthday, Robert "Asmodius" Glanzman.

Jason's grandmother past away yesterday afternoon, after an extended bout with ovarian cancer. It is in those moments of great pain and loss, that we discover the true strength that has always resided within us. The darkness is never as dark as we fear, and the tears do have their end.

My great-aunt, Mina, also past away on Friday. I hadn't seen her since I was in high school, but I remember her being a very feisty and well educated lady. She lived in D.C., and her health had prevented her from making as many trips up to New York and New Jersey to visit some of the other relatives she has up here.

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10-27-01
For Bert:

Fireman Bert & Ernie

Love, Ernie

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9-15-01
I waited three hours online last night for the ferry. The ferry service, as well as the tunnels and bridges were all closed because of the President's visit to New York. Fighter planes were constantly cruising the sky. A military helicopter kept encircling the harbor. The coast guard was in the Hudson. I remember finally getting home and being incredibly tired, exceptionally cold, crabby... and ungrateful. I had been "inconvenienced"... big shit... big deal. At least, I'm still alive to complain about it.

Our way of life has been indefinitely changed. Can I get home today? Will I be safe? Are those I love safe? Will they get home? Is home safe? Violence on this scale has never hit American soil since Pearl Harbor. This is our generation's Pearl Harbor. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. History repeats itself, yet again.

I couldn't come home on Tuesday. I was trapped in upstate New York without any means of getting home safely. I had to spend the night at Concetta's. Her family opened their home to me. I'm grateful. We were glued to the televison. Clip. Clip. Clip. Crash. Crash. Crash. The World Trade Center Twin Towers really are gone. It wasn't a special effect. It wasn't a hoax. It wasn't a movie. We had to just turn it off at one point. We wanted blood. We wanted vengeance. Most of America does. This is not over. Violence begets violence, and this has just begun. Heaven help us all when it finally ends.

I left work early on Wednesday to try to get home. I'll most likely be taking the ferry for awhile. There were more people on the streets of the city than I would have expected... but there was such a silence. That silence was the loudest sound I had ever heard in all the years I have been commuting to New York. There were at least three to four police officers on every corner of 42nd... two or three police cars per block. I saw a few buses heading towards the tunnel with police car escorts. Is this Manhattan? It is now.

Todd is safe. He's able to get home and to work. I can't even express... Mabe's OK. Rob's fine. Jason. Oneida. Tony. Dee. The others. I've been lucky. Everyone I love is still alive, but we all know "someone". Someone who wasn't lucky. Someone who lost a husband, a brother, a father, or a "fill in the blank".

We've all been affected on some level.

I've been up since 8:30. I went to the nearby MAC machine to get some cash. Then I basically did some errands, cleaned up my apartment, and then finally decided to sit down and work on Azodnem.com like around 3pm.

My father was in the area, and stopped by... "This all the Fidel Castro's fault. The Communists are involved, and Russia wants to take over Puerto Rico." Whose ass did he pull that last one out of?

I listened though. I listened because I have never heard this man complain about his life. Not directly. I wanted to know that he is in pain too. That he can feel pain. He can. Does that prove anything? Does that make him that much more human to me, and less of the monster I feared as a child? I don't know.

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9-11-01
One word. One minute. One second can change the face of a nation and the heart of the world.

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03-01-02
You know what...
in retrospect...
Bert was mean.
LOL.

Evil Bert

02-28-02
I'm working on a fresh idea
for a new journal starting
in March, that will span thirteen days. The idea for it began to evolve at the office. We'll see where I take it. It should give an interesting feel to the journal entries.

Lately, I feel like Azodnem.com has done nothing but serve my own vanity, which, of course,
in and of itself is not a bad
thing... (LOL), but I've actually been thinking of burning the site onto a CD and donating the copy of it along with my real journals (or photo copies of) to the
Gay & Lesbian Historical Society (is that the right name for it?).

It is an organization that you can donate love letters, journals, writings, etc and so forth, to and help preserve gay culture and experiences. It's something to think about... or do you have to be famous to donate?

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11-23-01
It's funny how this thing called LIFE plays out. One minute
- Bliss. One minute - Not.

Things have changed. Eyes opened. The journey remains the same, but the travelers have changed. Where is your poetry now, great archer? LIFE plays out and we watch the scenes... a hypnotized audience... caught in its magnificence. Joyless and sorrowless exceptance of what cannot be changed... of what should not be changed, as all things have happened as they were meant to. Transgression and Evolution.

Were not life full of mournful change, the soul would
never dance.

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9-15-01
I'm listening to Elaine Silver.
She's one of the musicians I
have contacted regarding PANDORA magazine™

PANDORA magazine™

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