13 November 2013


Was that round three? Round four? Who knows...
I was floating on endorphins and adrenaline, the thrill of exploring old limits with a new lover.

His hand gently traced the line of my hip.

"What's this? It feels like a splinter."

 "I don't know...probably a little clogged pore or something"

I froze and watched in horror/fascination as he, quite matter-of-factly, extracted this little sliver of keratin from my skin with his thumbnails.

"That was, uhm...oddly...intimate?" I ventured uncomfortably.

He rolled his eyes and gave an exaggerated, exasperated sigh.

"I've had my tongue in your ass!"

"...good point."

All Content Copyright 2013, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

17 September 2013

Romance in the 21st Century: Vignette

We spoke of things that could have been, that might have been.
We reminisced on love, friendship, and loss.
As we hugged goodbye, his hand dipped below the small of my back, firmly cupping flesh.
Turning to look for his taxi, he quipped:
"You turned me into an ass-man, d'you know that?"

17 September, 2013
A street in Portland, OR

All Content Copyright 2013, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

13 May 2013

Of Myths and Machetes

Most every mythology, regardless of provenance, includes a version of the "hero/heroine's journey". Outwardly these are tall tales of epic journeys, battles and ordeals; of monsters and giants.
 Read more deeply, and they tell the story of everyman's inner journey, the struggle for self-discovery and self-mastery.
Wise-women, mentors or fairy-godmothers offer help along the way, often in the form of gifts: winged sandals, magic swords, cloaks of invisibility.
Today, while I visited my mum's for Mother's Day, she gave me Papi's old hard-hat and his fine Colombian machete. As I held that well-used but still-sharp blade, and when I plopped that hat on my head....well, I felt a little silly for a moment... but I also felt buoyed by the experience. I felt strengthened by my father's memory and by the energy that still lingers in those pieces.

 Now, I am unstoppable. Now, I am ready to go slay a hydra!

All Content Copyright 2013, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

29 April 2013

Meditations on Germination

It's days like today that remind me why I love Portland. Sure there's all of the ridiculous Portlandia stuff, but there are also these moments, just as the seasons change--- moments of pure joy and magic.

I was walking home, still wearing a coat against the slight chill, but enjoying the sunshine nontheless.
Just as I was walking under one of the many venerable old trees that still line the streets in my neighborhood, a sharp gust swept up an eddy of leaves and papery little seed-pods. They swirled around my feet and started upwards. I looked up to find more of the pods raining down from the topmost branches.
The sun had dipped just low enough to give the surrounding trees a thin halo.
It seemed for a moment I could see/feel them breathing and all I could do was smile and breathe along with them.

Meditations on Germination
29 April, 2013
Portland, OR


Not the usual ICCG fare, to be sure, but there you are...consider it a peek behind the curtain. 

 Infamous CoatCheck Girl

All Content Copyright 2013, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

12 February 2013

R.I.P Pauly Schermerhorn

It was 1995, maybe 1996, and my roommate at the time came home one day and said "I met this really cool old raver guy at the square today. He's like sixty years old. Can he come stay with us?"

"Are you insane?!" I asked "You want to let some creepy old guy,  who you just met on the street, come live with us?"

"Just wait until you meet him. You'll see."

Pauly Schermerhorn moved in with us the next day, and would live with me whenever he landed in Portland over the following 8 or 9 years. Pauly was LOVE personified...in the shape of a FABULOUS filipino drag-queen from Memphis. 
He'd show up on my doorstep twice a year with about 10 small bags/suitcases: 2 of them might contain regular clothes, but the rest contained a wondrous assortment of costumes, decorative odds and ends, multiple pairs of platform shoes, and the elaborate head-dresses that he often wore to parties. 
Oh, and there was always the one bag full of kitchen gadgets.
My mom always used to tell me that when Pauly was staying with me, she didn’t worry about me. Pauly was like a second mom--- he taught me how to walk in heels, talked with me about boys, always made sure I was well-fed, and that I felt loved and cared-for. 
I have many fond memories of coming home from a night out, and Pauly wandering out 
“Do you want something to eat?”. He’d whip up some salad rolls with home-made peanut sauce, and sit with me. 
“It’s bad for the soul, to eat alone” he’d say. And he’d tell me stories as I ate. 
He’d tell me stories about Memphis, about his family and  “his kids”. He was a nomad with a network of friends spanning the entire country, and he would spend his year travelling-- city to city, party to party. High on life and LOVE, he’d dance circles around kids half his age and younger. Come to think of it, I never really knew how old Pauly was. He told me he was 58 when I met him and 10-12 years later when asked his age, he would give the same response.

While Pauly was never able to sell me on the whole “rave scene” thing, the love and acceptance he lived and emanated, managed to transcended the obnoxious music, the horrible pants, and my own innate cynicism. I was affectionately granted the title of “Honorary Raver”. Over the years I housed a lot of DJ’s and club kids--- he almost always travelled with some cute boy or another-- all were welcomed into my home.  And all of us, “his kids”, navigated the rocky emotional terrain of our late teens and twenties (even into our thirties),  guided by his unassuming embodiment of love, joy, wisdom, and generosity.

Pauly, you will be missed and forever remembered.


*Though there is a part of me that is absolutely heart-broken right now, there's another part of me that thinks: of course on Fat Tuesday--- some fabulous party was callin' your name. And I can picture you in all your fabulous glittery glory, dancing with a smile on your face.

All Content Copyright 2013, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved