Friday, January 30, 2009

Night Journey Into Freedom?

Link to actual news article from The New York Times:

My Story below:

Night Journey Into Freedom?

I opened my eyes after a fitful sleep. For a moment in the darkness, I forgot where I was. The stench and the overwhelming heat pull me rapidly back to the present. I am crouched down in a small area of a very large truck. My muscles are tight and aching and I feel the tiny pin pricks of a thousand needles tracking the blood flow as I try to stretch out my legs. Hot, dripping bodies are pushed up against me on all sides. Sweat oozes from their pores- large, wet and oily like fat drops of dripping wax on an over-sized candle.

I had scraped together the money for this ride to freedom by selling tacquitos at a roadside stand to the laborers in the cornfields. Twelve hours a day in the broiling sun I stood calling and cajoling the men to come to me. When the tacquitos were not enough to fill my rusty Crisco can with pesos, I sold my kisses to them along with my soul. I would have done anything to leave that God-forsaken place.

Now here I sit, pesos having been spent on this nighttime ride with passengers from other villages, other cities, other countries. All of us with the same dream: to discover the gold-paved streets of opportunity in the United States of America. I have left my mother, father and three little brothers behind, promising that I will make a new life and send for them after I have dug my share of the golden nuggets. All at once, the smell of urine and vomit rise up and I cover my mouth to stifle the gag that rises to my throat.

Suddenly I hear loud voices outside- it is the drivers. They are unhooking our wheeled home from the truck cab. They begin arguing in dual languages and we hear a door slam and keys being turned in the ignition. Then they do the unthinkable. They drive away leaving us stranded and locked inside this hellbox on wheels. The air becomes heavier around me and the panicked voices rise in a crock-pot of dialects to a crushing crescendo. The strongest voice emerges as the leader and a large man with a sweat-stained t-shirt takes control of our band of 100. He tells us to stay calm- that they will be back. This quiets everyone for a while.

Rosaries are soon pulled from pockets and satchels and old women silently mouth ancient prayers, working the worn, wooden beads through their gnarled fingers. An hour passes and then another. The heat continues to intensify as the morning sun works its tentacles on the outside walls of our prison. I know it is a prison because I know our supposed deliverers are not coming back- I can feel it in my bones. All around me, my fellow pilgrims are releasing bodily fluids that can no longer be contained. They erupt and spew forth from every imaginable orifice of the body. A revolt begins to take place within our tiny kingdom. I am not afraid, for nothing could be worse than the life of poverty and pain that I have just come from. Finally, it is decided that we have been left to die a slow hellish death. The stronger among us, begin to paw at the insulation in the truck walls trying to rip the cotton-candy pieces from their resting place to get at some opening to the outside. A hole is found and a thin stream of fresh air flows in- enough for a gnat to take a breath.

We bang on the truck walls screaming out in dust-choked voices. People begin to drop like flies. I hear a gurgling sound and a thud and someone lands in a pile of human excrement. This surely must be Hell that we have been thrust into. The screams, the smells, the feeling of dead bodies below my feet are an unimaginable horror. Slowly I begin to lose consciousness.

But my attempt to escape my surroundings is only a temporary one. One of the old women with the rosary beads pulls out an old bottle of smelling salts from her faded brown satchel. She uncorks the bottle and forces the vial to my nostrils. A strong, pungent odor travels down my airway and escapes to my brain giving me a chemical brain rush. I snort and choke back rivers of mucous. I am swimming; closer and closer I get to the surface and am about to break through into complete consciousness.

Strong arms reach out to steady me. There is sunlight all around. The smelling salts are gone and the old woman and her beads have vanished. It is ok, mucha cha. You will be ok. It was just another nightmare. But we were locked in and I couldn’t get out. People were dieing all around me. No, no Teresita you are safe. It was Louisa, your friend who perished in the truck across the border. You missed the ride to freedom that day. You stayed in the fields a little later than usual to sell the last of your taquitos and you missed the ride to the border with the other journeyers. Louisa left without you and now she is gone.


I could only close my eyes and sink down into the mattress quietly sobbing in both pain and joy. Simultaneously, I felt the shattering of a dream for a better life; the loss of a good friend and the knowledge that I had been spared a most horrible death. In the center of all these emotions, I knew that somehow I would find the inner strength to make it through and try again one day to leave the work fields of my ancestors forever.

Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Revised 11/8/04

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009



He reaches the knotty stick deep into the pond, giving pressure with the curled fingers of his right hand. The ripples go out in neat concentric circles, becoming larger as they grow and flow in the still water. Each ripple has a direct effect on the life that comes within its path. He sees the pond come alive with reaction to the water’s disturbance. Creatures dart here and there, their day clearly affected. Their paths altered.

Huge reactions and changes of life’s course occur when humans plunge that stick into the pond of existence. One action, one decision made can have a ripple effect on the lives of those around us. I am witness to one of these decisions. It was made by someone very close to me and it changed my life forever. In fact, it changed the lives of several people whose original path twisted into something new and different and unexpected- an unusual situation artificially inserted into the sands of time. Interesting that in looking backwards we each have our own versions of what went down. Somehow that makes me sad.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Monday, January 26, 2009

Animoto Addiction- Here's Kenz

RANDOM JOTTINGS.............

Random jottings found scribbled on various notepads and scraps of paper as if they belonged to a woman without a home. Have no clue why I'm writing this way- totally goes against my usual grain. But hey, I'm following my muse or maybe it's the Angels released from the deck of cards treasured so carefully to my heart. Let's see where this takes me:

Really, really long story, but I want you to know that I will always remember you.

You captured what little I know of your situation extremely well, and what is more- you did it in rhyme!

How sad it is when a child hoards her babysitting money, afraid to deposit it into her local bank branch because she has ingested the fear of a failing financial
industry-capturing the fear of an entire nation.

I want to pull away from this disastrous ending,
but some unnamed force compels me to stay
And so the cycle begins again, until one of us explodes

Yet one aspect of your multi-faceted personality
touched mine so deeply, that all else was a blur
That connection made everything else seem inferior and unimportant
And we made a life of living that way

Will have to see where this takes me. I’m usually an anal sort of writer. I pick a time to write- I focus and voila within minutes I write a fairly lengthy piece. This works for me because I visualize all of my writing in my head. My work usually tells a story or captures very strong emotion. I become the person in my head and I write what I feel. This is why so many people erroneously think that my writing is autobiographical- this is usually the furthest from the truth. I am an enigma and do my best to be invisible to others regarding my true self. If you knew, you would be quite surprised. (and for the record, I’m using the definition of enigma that means “containing a hidden meaning”)

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Animoto 2- this is addictive!



Distill a lifetime into Kodak moments

Sepia toned, some white-washed with heart and guts cut out

Time will dim them further

A melody may refresh them for a moment

A tune caught as I flip through the songs on my satellite radio

Pulls my mind back to days in California

Blue skies and clouds like spun cotton

Running barefoot through the tall grass

Falling hard as we laugh into the soft ground

Lying on our backs staring up at that great big glowing orb

Daring our eyes not to close and succumb to its rays

Pulling back the petals of the honey-suckle to reveal that

Singularly perfect drop of sweetness

Placing it in each other’s mouths carefully

Reminiscent of the servants of Cleopatra feeding her large purple grapes

How we laughed and loved in that field by the brook

Sharing our stories, our words and our music

Combining our hearts until they beat as one

Until we no longer existed as separate entities, but as one unified soul

We promised to be together forever

That no matter what our futures held,

We would return to the place of our birth

To the land that had nurtured our secrets

To reunite our souls for eternity

As the last strains of the song ebb away from my car speakers

I am left with an empty hole in the pit of my being

A part of me had been resurrected for a moment

And in that instant, all those feelings came rushing back

The feeling of what forever means

And how sometimes, forever isn’t always meant to be

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



Contentment overtakes me and manifests itself
In the form of a smile curling up the corners of my lips
I am safe in the knowledge that somewhere out there,
A solitary soul walks this earth with my essence in his hands
My history, from start to finish-
With a few blank pages left still to be written

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin


A shadow lingering at my darkened doorway
A whisper in the night
Like the sighing of the slightest breeze
Your familiar form leaning against the brick wall,
Arms crossed, head tilted, smiling that green-eyed smile
As if you had never left my side
Not a word crosses your lips
Only your eyes convey the sorrow and regret
That you have carried inside
And in an instant, you are gone
Disappearing again among the midnight shadows
Ghost or desire, I'll never know.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My Heart Breaks For Your Heart

And so this is how it began......

My eyes cry tears of liquid crystal
My heart beats softly in my chest
My baby boy has a broken heart
And no manner of solace or bandages can repair it
No soft words, no bed-time story, no talk of angels
Will mend this life-force within him
He carries a card that will mark him for life
Always a dark reminder that the slightest twinge or tightening
Could be the beginning of a fatal end
Oh God, how did we come to this?

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Have you ever had such an intimate relationship with the written word, that you could literally feel a book calling out to you to be claimed, to be consumed and to be regurgitated into new revelations? I recently had such a moment. Zora Neale Hurston's book (first published in 1937), "Their Eyes Were Watching God" called to me while I was in the check-out line. I had never heard of it before, but it bore all kinds of accolades on its slim paper cover: Harper Perennial Modern Classic, P.S. insights, interviews and more (included) and a wonderful front cover accolade by Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple", which reads: "There is no book more important to me than this one."

I found it fascinating that I had never heard of it. The 20- something Borders Clerk even told me at checkout that he had read the book for school and found it to be one of the best he had come across. So the words whisper to me to claim this slim volume above all of the other books and periodicals who have taken up residence in my house long before its arrival. I am simply hoping to be inspired and mired within that inspiration should be a desire to spin my own story. As Neale Hurston says in the book, "...there is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you."

I want to feel the agony and birth of my words and to revel in the afterglow of creation.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


What happens when your past meets your present? When recollected memories between two or more people differ so dissonantly? People come into our lives and leave a lasting imprint, whether we realize it at the time or not. Those among us who have been gifted with the ability for introspection and have a high emotional intelligence or sensitivity realize over time just how these human interactions interplay with who we later become.

Social Media tools give us the opportunity to reach out and touch someone from the past. Many of us would be loathe to pick up our land-lines or even our mobiles to call a long-lost love or friend or classmate out of the blue after discovering their number on Google. There would be intimate stress involved in making that contact. Would the person on the other end remember us? Would they even want to speak with us or would they slam down the phone in shock and/or disgust? This is where those dissonant memories come in. Yours may be shaded in the pastels of time, while the receiver of your call may be remembering in present shades of fiery red.

As humans, we naturally fear rejection and the act of reaching out is a risk that some refuse to take. Social Media tools give us the opportunity to reduce risk and rejection. A good researcher can use MySpace, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social networking site along with Google to discover where the “missing” person is in their lives and lessen the stress factor of making contact.

Within minutes we can answer the following questions about that certain someone from our past:

  • Where they live- including a Google Earth satellite shot of their home-
  • Phone listing
  • Email listings
  • Relationship status-one search site will also give you a list of people who are related to them for free
  • Education and Employment history
  • Interests

I could go on, but this short list gives a mini-background check that reduces the fear of connection. With knowledge, we feel more secure, more tied to the person. We can then take that step to contact them armed with some facts and figures to help refresh their memory of us.

Social Media also enables us to reach out and touch someone REMOTELY if we so choose. We are given the ability to test the waters by sending a tentative message via email or an actual networking site. Once the message is sent we wait, hoping to hear from said person. If we don’t, nothing is lost, as we never really made a connection. There is no rejection to recover from, in fact we can rationalize that they simply never got the message.

However, if a link has been made and the stress has been lifted, we are left to sort out those discordant memories. How you combine pastel with fiery red to make a new palette is the joy in rediscovery. Social Media tools help you discover, decipher and connect. What happens afterwards is out of cyberspace hands and left for total human interaction.

Here’s hoping that we all can reconnect with those special people who occupied our lives, our minds, and our spirits and walked with us for a short time on this journey called life. To those of you who walked by my side, listened to my words, and loved me with all of your heart- I thank you immensely. You have made me who I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin


You walked back into my life
Right out of the blue
Picking up virtually where we left off
But in a better place, a stronger place
A place tempered by time with old wounds washed away
By the river of regret
Apologies made, recent history shared
A soul connection re-established
Friends Forever Again

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Sunday, January 11, 2009


A British Pub, a funky neon-green Margarita, a room full of “virtual” strangers and an ice- breaker exercise to demonstrate physically the subject matter to which we had all been drawn to. Strange combination of confluences you might ask, but in reality they all came together to make one of the most enlightening and enjoyable evenings I’ve had in a long while.

I attended the New Media Cincinnati Meet Up at The Pub at Rookwood Mews. The group was created by Daniel Johnson, Jr. for folks who have an interest in new media (podcasting, video podcasting, blogging, micro-blogging, social networking, etc.). I am an extroverted super connector by personality trait, a free-lance writer, a Learner according to the Clifton Strength Finder Leadership Tool (put out by the Gallup Poll folks), a huge user of social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo) and a person very much interested in the future of new media.

Daniel began the Meet Up by asking folks to write one word that best described themselves on their name tag with the additional instruction to place the tag high on the shoulder to save room for later. I was immediately intrigued. Competitive person that I am, I went through a couple of name tags until I thought I had best captured my essence. Little did I know that the actual exercise would involve the strangers around me further distilling that essence. They were instructed to come up with their own one-word description of me after a brief conversation together. It was great fun and a very creative way to force people to get out of their comfort zone, move around and meet new people. By the end of the night I had accomplished the following:

  • Met quite a few highly fascinating people
  • Learned why I should jump on the Twitter bandwagon and Tweet along with the rest of the enlightened world
  • Asked to contribute some writing for the website (“the online community for women based on female friendship”)
  • Recorded for a promo for the podcast “How I Got My Job
  • Took several photos which I later posted to my Facebook and to the New Media Cincy Flcikr site (as well as here)
  • Had a complete and total K-A blast!

Then I extended the night by having dinner at the pub with Jeanne Bernish, Mike Finn and Steve Platt. Unbeknownst to the group, we discovered that all four of us live within shouting distance (ok, yodeling distance) of each other. We all have a background or interest in writing as well as a blog on the side. It was great, spirited conversation and a wonderful end to a fabulous evening.

Looking forward to the next Meet Up in February and by then I should be an old hand at Tweeting my way through the universe. (Btw, the neon-green margarita was fab!)

Additional info on New Media Cincinnati:

The main URL for the group is

Google Calendar:
Flickr Group:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Xavier Networking Event

Awesome day at XU attending the Alumni Networking Event! Kendra Ramirez of Sales Konnect was the featured speaker on the topic of maximizing LinkedIn to build business and make connections. Met some new folks and ran into old classmates and colleagues.

I just love all of the programs that Xavier puts together for their students and alums!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Witchy Women

This piece was perhaps influenced by some intriguing family history.........

Bewitching eyes
Guillory eyes
How many countless faces share those eyes
Their uniqueness goes beyond the gaze
That sears through you like a burning white-hot light
Insight resides behind those lens
And it can render you speechless with its pronouncements

Her eyes penetrate you completely to the core of your being
Every pore of her body is focused on you
Watching and waiting for you to do something
That she can store away in her interminable inventory of knowledge
About you
For you
Because of you

Her glowing onyx orbs force you to do her will
Many men have fallen before the spell that she casts
They are left immobile, ceasing to move of their own volition
Following her with longing hearts

Empathetic soul

Which of her variations comes to you tonight?
Will you be able to resist her charm?

*copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Just had to post this because I absolutely love what the PostSecrets founders have done for the state of mental health in American society- plus I just find it down right fascinating in a totally human behavior kind of way. So check out this video from the PS founder:


Ask anyone that knows me really, really well, and they will tell you that I am an avid reader. This love of reading goes way back to my childhood where I began as a precocious reader. I had read the complete works of Shakespeare (although the abridged version) by the time I was 7 and moved on to the Iliad and Odyssey several years after that. My house was filled with books during my growing up years and my mother was a librarian at our local public library. I used to go to work with her on Sunday afternoons and just sit in the library for hours and hours reading.

I am a particular reader, preferring certain genres and even subjects within those genres. I also am one who needs to employ the full senses when it comes to book selection. I like to pick up a book, wonder at it's cover art, smell it's pages, look at the font size and feel the heft or lack thereof within my hands. A paperback would never do for me, especially when combined with the romance or summer beach- read genres.

After reading the summary on the inside flap, I turn to the center of the book to read a paragraph or two so that I can lock into the feel and flow of the words. If I don't like what I see, then the book goes on the reject pile, never to be considered again. Thank God, I'm not a New York Times Book Reviewer able to make or break careers because I am so damn subjective! There would be several depressed first time authors wandering the streets because of my rejection of their work.

I love to save money and help with the whole green movement by borrowing as many books from the library as possible vs. buying them. The exception, and there always is one, is that I do collect all of the works of my favorite authors; even when I don't have time to read them. They just continue to line the shelves with the hope that one day I will stop reading other books and return my attention back to them. The authors that I collect include:

I think they represent a pretty ecclectic range of work.

I am currently reading (ok, let's call it what it is: these books are currently lurking on bed-side tables, kitchen chairs, family-room end tables, under the seat in my car, etc.):

Next on my list to read will be:

You know, I think one could make some conclusions about a person from glancing at their reading lists. Let me know if you gain any insight about me from mine!

One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more (and hopefully those piles scattered about will become a little smaller). So if you truly need me, you now know where to find me. Grab a book and join in.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

HAPPY 2009!!!!

Glitter Text @

It's always a strange sensation to begin using a new year on correspondence, checks, etc. in the early days of January. The physical act of writing the new year down feels like an outside force has whisked away the old year and left me with this imposter: this unknown entity. I will try it on for size, some years longing for what I have lost and in other years, quickly wanting to make it my own. It is the same with the moments leading up to the New Year's Eve countdown. Sometimes I feel nostalgic and restless, not wanting to let go of the wonderful year that I have- afraid of the unknown stretching out before me. In other years, the glittery silver behomoth can't drop quickly enough for me.

As I stand at the crossroads between 2008 and 2009, I have to say that I had a fabulous last year. One filled with great things, many blessings and many opportunities. This was the year that I found myself and I am very glad that I did!

2009 also looks to be another great year that will capitalize on the strides and plans made in 2008. Although we never know what kind of curve balls will come our way, it is my belief that if we live life to the fullest: enjoying and appreciating every person, every moment, every nuance of living, then we should be able to dodge any silver bullets launched our way or, at the very least, be in a better position to handle the fall-out.

Here's hoping you have the most fabulous 2009 that one can experience!