Busboys & Poets is a restaurant, cafe, and open mic central located in Chinatown of Metro Washington, D.C. Its U Street location was the hub of a progressive renaissance, drawing together black, white, gay, straight, young and old alike. The name is a tribute to Langston Hughes, who was working as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1930s when he slipped three of his poems on the table of Vachel Lindsay, a famous poet, who proclaimed in the papers the next day his discovery of a “Negro busboy poet.” It also happens to be my latest obsession!
To those visiting D.C. between the hours of 9 to 5 on Mondays through Thursdays, D.C.’s professional culture is most apparent (outside of the various sightseeing opportunities it also offers). The personality that this city has tucked away in the name of starched collars, matching ties, and pearl earrings finds its eccentric release in places like Busboys & Poets. Artists and aficionados alike unite here for a cup of java, wining/dining, and a weekly poetry slam. There aren’t enough place like this here, but it’s a start.
A big part of me needs this. Last weekend, when I went to New York, I felt that this sort of culture is missing in D.C. Happy hours seem to be a commonplace escape from the 9 to 5 here, but music/poetry/coffee&art beat out alcohol in my book any day.
Coincidentally enough, I had just purchased a Harlem Renaissance poetry book two weeks ago.
Take me Out to the Ball Game
First baseball game I’ve ever gone to, and it’s in D.C. I was told the two teams that played each other (D.C. Nationals vs. San Diego Padres) both suck, but it was somewhat of a symbolic opposition for me. “Home” team took on a different meaning today!
Cool thing about baseball games in the city is that everyone comes out and the Metro is backed up for hours after the game ends. It will take you forever to get home unless you call for a taxi. Crowds of people, clouds of B.O.
Also, I volunteered to be part of the cheering section for a softball game this week. My supervisor has a group of friends who play softball regularly, and staffers from our office also participate. It’s like any other softball game. Except your opposition includes people who work for the FBI, EPA, and other government acronym-ical organizations.
Bar Hopping, No Stopping!
Went bar hopping in Dupont Circle with a friend on Friday night and walked all the way up to Adams Morgan, did more bar hopping and dancing, and made it home. I crashed on the couch and have no idea how I made it to my bed in the middle of the night. Awesome. Total score: 5(?) bars
I found a place to live next year, thanks to a few friends at the APALRC (Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center), who have been so welcoming ever since I got here. It’s off the red line in Wheaton, Maryland, and is so close to my work that I won’t even need to take the Metro at all. It’s in a house, and I get my own room/bathroom. Rent is very close to what I’m paying in Irvine. The people are awesome, and it’s close to grocery stores, a mall, and a Target. I’m good. Also, the demographic in the area is much more ethnic than in Metro D.C. I’ll be living in the community that I’ll be working with in the following year with AmeriCorps as a community organizer.
In West Philadelphia
Born and Raised for my Pre-Service Orientation…
Taking the train to Philadelphia tomorrow to attend my PSO for AmeriCorps. Everything is coming together! I can’t wait to try a real Philly cheese steak sandwich, visit the Liberty Bell, and see what this city of love is all about!
uNAVSA-6 this weekend to learn more about leadership, challenges in the national Vietnamese community, human rights, and ways that we can affect the aforementioned. And a whole lot of fun, as usual!
[[ On a personal note, I feel like I am living life as I want to. In the past few months, I have known loss (and how to cope with it), questioned what lies within my soul, made decisions about my future and been proactive about setting up the steps to get there, familiarized myself with a once-unfamiliar city, traveled to other cities, added to a network of close friends, kept up with my physical fitness, learned more about poetry/music/art/science, and maintained relationships with those who mean very much to me back home. This sounds crazy, but after having experienced the emotional roller coaster that has been these past few months, I am not afraid of death. If I were to die tomorrow, I would have no regrets about today or yesterday. In hopes that this will not be the case, though, I still plan to live every day to its fullest and make the most of what I have been given. I feel very blessed to be where I am.]]
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?