Friday, December 30, 2005

sugar brown

i'm an eighties baby. grandma.ster f.lash and the furiou.s five and k.urtis blow and all them other folks was before my time, i mean yeah i was alive, but i was still cutting teeth and trying to kick sim.ilac, so it's not like i remember what it was like when things started to blow up. so yeah, i remember breakdancing and stuff, and i know sug.arhill gang lyrics, but for real, for real, that's before my time and i couldn't get in on that. the first song i remember claiming as one of my favorites was it takes two, with rob bas.e spitting "i wanna rock right now!" i was like, maybe seven. i loved that song. i loved, "i'm bad" by ll k.ool j with his ka.ngol hat, that my cousin usedta wear, too. when i was little, commercialization of the house party music was happening, what with the fa.t boys having a movie and all. i remember hearing big d.addy and k.ool m.oe de.e on the radio. it's a part of my childhood. my teenage cousin had every record ever made, and i remember coming home from school and marveling at how important and strong queen la.tifah seemed, and how she made me feel like that too. between her and publ.ic en.emy, it wasn't long before i wanted to know more about what it really meant to be black in this country. whatever militancy lies in this heart, whatever afrocentrism i ever tried to learn, whatever interest i had in racism, classism, and politics was partly a result of the attitude i saw in them. hea.vy d and the bo.yz, digital und.erground, d.e la s.oul, and dj jazz.y j.eff and the pr.ince made me happy and made me wanna move. ro.xanne shan.te and mc ly.te affirmed my self esteem by letting me know that it was okay for a woman (or a girl) to be unashamed about having skills.

as i got older, hip hop got older. complexities emerged that changed the game and changed my attitude towards rap music. mc h.ammer happened. ice happened. ic.e-t and n.wa happened. c. delores tu.cker happened. so all the while i was loving sheep and a tr.ibe called quest, i was conflicted. see, the energy i got from watching public enemy's fight the power video and listening to the dope collaboration on self-destruction had me scratching temple like those dudes from naug.hty by n.ature, cause i realized that hip hop - that's not that simple. my parents (my role models) were shaking their heads. i was concerned about commercialism and values. hip hop started being associated with the violence in our communities. some of the rap music - the most sensationalized, the most talked about music - was insulting to me as a young woman. the subject matter of guns and drugs was so prevalent. and i recognized that it was about some people's reality. but that was a reality that i didn't want to support, that i didn't want to listen to, that i didn't want to associate myself with. i was trying to be positive, to think positively, to get myself out of the many traps i saw lying in wait for me in my hood. i felt no loyalty to the music.

so at an age where perhaps many of my peers were getting deeper and deeper into it, i found myself consciously pulling away - a personal protest, if you will. the activism of one. i didn't buy any rap, from the age i was old enough to start buying things until the ripe old age of 25. my stations of choice became the ones that those of us in urban markets all recognize as the "grown folks" stations that had 30 or 40 and over clubs and stuck to the oldies and what r&b still didn't have rap in it. neo soul was an oasis for me - a place where i could hear contemporary music that didn't fit the canned r&b formula or celebrate raggedy value like most of the rap on the radio. of course, i listened to the "hip hop and r&b" stations sometimes. seemed like all the r&b artists had rappers step into the middle of their songs in the early/mid 90's. i loved me some m.ethod man and m.ary j. talking about all they needed to get by. i didn't miss it when the streaked across the sky like a brilliant comet. diga.ble pla.nets had me feeling some type of good.

but still, i wouldn't claim hip hop. it was like some neighbor i used to play with as a child before i moved away and we lost touch and lost love and lost loyalty. dr. dr.e's it was a good day, s.noop's gin and, and big.gie's one more chance were guilty pleasures. and t.upac got shot. i mourned. but i also shrugged it off as them lying in the bed they made. live (rap) by the sword (violence), die by the sword... all it did was confirm my disappointment in the direction of the music and the culture. j.ay-z's reasonable doubt happened without being a major event in my life. sea.n' capitalization on's popularity sickened me. lil's and f.oxy brown's lyrics disappointed me more than they affirmed my feminity. the materialism was killing me. the empty lyrics were killing me. the attitude of young men and women my age who were emulating this mess was killing me. me and my jazz and r&b records were doing just fine without rap music.

and then i saw bro.wn su.gar. sweet little movie, it was. it made me realize that the fact that i even cared about the direction of the music meant that there was something more to my relationship with hip hop. (that plus the fact that the soundtrack had me just as happy as i wanted to be). i thought about it. and thought about it. and realized that personal protest aside, hip hop is a part of my life, period. the culture is the culture of my generation, and i can't shake it any more than my mom's generation can shake soul music. i realized that hip hop was less like an estranged neighbor and more like that blood-related cousin that be acting up, and you can't stand 'em sometimes... but they still family. and then it happened.

i was at my cousin's house, hanging out with him, his wife, and their friend, who had brought over some cd's that we were listening to. and i wasn't even paying attention to what i was doing, but the friend noticed that i was really enjoying the cd. really. like nodding my head, eyes closed, girl-you-in-another-world-forget-ca.lgon-i-want-what-she-got pleasure. and it came together for me. i went to the store and bought the cd's that were playing that night - mo.s de.f's the new danger, and c.ommon's be - changed. my. life! LOL! i couldn't play those cd's often enough. they fed a need that i didn't know i had been starving. i hadn't bought a rap album since h.eavy d & the bo.yz' no.thing but love and queen la.tifah's almost 10 years prior. i felt so much better knowing that i could simply duck around all the bovine excrement and go straight to something that would actually entertain me, inspire me to keep writing, and make me feel good about my generation.

so now i'm on this making-up-with-hip-hop mission. forgiving myself for being so unilateral in my youth. encouraging myself to embrace the sounds i like. i'm starting forgive some of the subject matter of materialism, listening around it and between its lines to see if there is something of substance there. sometimes there isn't. sometimes there is. but the door is open now. for example, li.ttle bro.ther has busted right through it with dope beats and dope lyrics. l.ate registra.tion stays in heavy rotation. so even though i have refused to watch 106 & p.ark since its inception, and i haven't watched videos in about ten years, and even though i can't get with that twin.s mess, or that jone.s foolishness, there is hope for me and hip hop, yet...


Thursday, December 29, 2005

over my shoulder

1) Was 2005 a good year for you?
yuh huh. i moved, like i planned, and rejuvenated myself on many facets.

2) What was your favorite moment of the year?
a first kiss, which i had this summer. first kisses are great!

3) What was your least favorite moment of the year?
when someone i cared for very much looked me dead in the eyes and gave me the pink slip with a sardonic voice, and i knew in my heart that it was over and there was nothing i could do about it.

4) Where were you when 2005 began?
in my living room, sipping on sparkling grape juice, fighting sleep and watching the ball drop on t.v.

5) Who were you with?
me, myself, and i.

6) Where will you be when 2005 ends?
i have absolutely no idea, but i hope it's not at my house.

7) Who will you be with when 2005 ends?
i have absolutely no idea, but i have confidence that it won't just be me, myself, and i.

8) Did you keep your new years resolution of 2005?
i didn't make one. i'm generally not in the habit of making new years resolutions.

9) Do you have a new years resolution for 2006?
yup, this year i came up with one - stop ackin stupid. which is shorthand for be my best self. i also have a deadline on a financial goal that i made two summers ago - we'll see what happens with that.

10) Did you fall in love in 2005?
nope, i didn't - not with a man, anyway. had some nice times and made some friends, though.

11) If yes, with who?
the act of writing for an audience instead of just myself.

12) If yes, do they know?
i don't think that writing is so personified that it can "know" anything.

13) Are you still in love with them?
yuh huh, i still love writing.

14) You regret it?
why would i?

15) Did you breakup with anyone in 2005?
nope. but certain somebodies decided to not to deal with me anymore.

16) Did you make any new friends in 2005?
yuh huh. i'm very grateful for that (and for being able to keep my tried-and-true veteran friends.)

17) Who are your favorite new friends?
i don't have favorite new friends. these people are too new to be picking favorites from.

18) What was your favorite month of 2005?
let's go with july on this one. that's when the writing became more of a passion than a mere hobby.

19) Did you travel outside of the US in 2005?

20) How many different states have you traveled in 2005?

21) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2005?

22) Did you miss anybody in the past year?
yeah, quite a few people, living and dead.

23) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2005?

24) What was your favorite song from 2005?
it's all good - fantasia

25) What was your favorite album from 2005?
late registration

26) How many concerts did you see in 2005?
two - the sugarwater festival with jill, the queen, erykah, and floetry. and the legends of hip-hop tour. that was enough for me.

27) Did you have a favorite concert in 2005?
sugarwater festival, even though it was the hotness to be so close to krs-one that i could see the sweat beads on his forehead.

28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2005?

29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2005?

30) How many people did you sleep with in 2005?
none of your business. the nerve!

31) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
uh huh. i still owe that dude a dollar. i didn't let go of some pain soon enough. i was late to pick up my little cousin. i didn't give my all when i should have.

32) What was the biggest lie you told in 2005?
that i was okay when i wasn't.

33) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2005?
"i'll communicate with you, not like what you had to deal with before."

34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2005?
my mind probably has selective memory. i might have, but if i did, i don't remember it.

35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2005?
see above - someone lied to me and another was ohsocold.

36) How much money did you spend in 2005?
too much.

37) What was your proudest moment of 2005?
when my dad said that none of his gray hairs are from me and that when he worries about me, it's not about my capabilities, it's about the world around me, because he has faith in me.

38) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2005?
it must not have been that embarrassing cause i can't remember it.

39) If you could go back in time to any moment of 2005 what would it be?
i'd like to go back to the first time i shared my poetry at an open mic and videotape it so that i could remember it forever.

40) What are your plans for 2006?
to keep breathing and believing, learning from life, and striving to be my best self.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

swaddling cloth

i have a dream
i dare to dream
in my finest moments i remember
to believe
to believe

sometimes when i am wistful, or i watch a good love story, or sometimes when i simply need the comfort, i daydream. eyes open or closed, the possibility of him becomes real in my mind. all the fondest of my dating memories and observation of folks like my parents aid in the creation of who he is to me and what he does for me, spiritually and physically.

i feel loved, cared for, and appreciated. my cooking is no longer a waste of food. the comfort of my home rises up to meet his need for rest and solace from the world outside. and his presence calms the storms of my soul. i can focus better, because his presence helps me put things in perspective. i am restful because i know and have studied the depths of his eyes, and his steady gaze is my anchor and my comfort. i am happy when i wrap my arms around his waist and kiss every place that my lips can touch. i am encouraged by his reception to my unfailing appreciation for his body, his mind, and his spirit. he knows my vulnerable places and treads respectful of my dignity, having taken the time to learn me and discover where his strengths bolster my sensitivities, and secure and generous enough to share his secret tendernesses with me, so that i can complement him and feel needed in the process. yet his openness challenges me to be even more open with my feelings, and become even more of myself - more fully and vibrantly myself than ever before. he understands my need for solitude and little crazinesses here and there, and i happily enjoy my time alone in his absence, knowing that we will appreciate it that much more when we get back together. i have finally found someone that enhances me like salt on ripe tomatoes, but with whom i don't feel compelled to lose myself just to keep the music playing. and when i'm with him, in silence, we speak kindness with no words, no glance, no touch, just presence. just the understanding that intuitive love can provide. so i, loving him, respond like flower petals to the light of dawn when he strokes the bend of my torso with strong, steady hands.

when he extends his hand to me, there is nothing awkward about the timing and manner with which i respond in kind. our place in each other's lives is sweet and magical and matter-of-fact, like the chemistry between dance partners who understand each other's movement and rhythm - we make our challenges look easier than they really are. and our dance is like when we make love. when we emerge from the depths of loving each other and sacrificing our very breath to give our best in the sharing of passion unspeakable, the climax of our dancing together is followed by dizzying joy - the kind where i know that the dance was worthwhile, that we gave our all, that the sweat was worth it, that the singing along with the rhythm was sincere, and that i would do it all again for as many times as God would bless me to be able to look into his eyes.

sometimes i believe in him. that he will be as enamored with me as i am with him and that holding me gives him as much pleasure as it gives me to be held. i believe in the closeness of our faces creating excitement in my spine and the contact of our lips being more decadent than fine candy. i imagine myself being too awed to look him in the eye when we exchange vows and crying on some miscellaneous anniversary because of how grateful and blessed i am to have him in my life. i imagine him kissing the forehead of our newborns, consoling our toddlers with skinned knees, and i imagine his face when we console each other as we get through parenting and other challenges that lie ahead. sometimes, i do believe. i believe in the pride i'll have in introducing him to friends and family, and the privilege i'll have of being at his side in public for all the world to see - world, do you see this wonderful child of God, this beautiful spirit, this awesome man? he belongs with me! sometimes... i believe.

and sometimes i wrap that faith around me like a tried and true blanket that you break out of the closet on those cold nights. i let it hold me still and patient like a child in swaddling cloth. and it gets me through on days when i'm tired of calling male relatives and acquaintances to do favors for me, or when i pridefully do something for myself that i know would be so much easier if he was here to help me with it, or when i don't feel like navigating the shark-infested waters of the scary world of men i don't know from adam, or when i am hearing and trying to resist the temptation to panic in the face of the deafeningly screamed, "when are you going to settle down," which is never really uttered in so many words, but is still so loud and clear.

my blanket, my memory, my daydream inspires me and helps me to not settle for anything less than that timeless dance. sometimes i believe the dj will play our song next. i am dressed and ready. but i can wait. knowing that he's somewhere. that our future is really possible. sometimes i believe, with my eyes open or closed, when the possibility of him becomes real in my mind.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


it has been a satisfying weekend. i am rested and with the exception of a little cold i am trying not to catch, healthy and happy. looking forward to the new year. highlights of the past few days: talking to my favorite cousin (who is like a brother who just happened to grow up in a different house) who's overseas in the service; seeing how much my younger cousins have grown - not just in stature, but in maturity and personality, much like the first cousin i mentioned; seeing my grandma; my aunt's string beans; my presents; half-off the rental car plus an extra day to keep it; new cd's - i was able to pick up Hi-Five!!!; time with my parents face-to-face instead of over the phone; being able to give presents to my cousin's kids... i'm sure i can think of more, but let it suffice to say that i'm a happy camper and thankful for the holiday weekend.

on another note, i had a dream this morning before i started the day... so far as i can gather, it highlights some residual unfinished business that i have yet to resolve within myself. it also makes me more critical of how i deal with people in the name of being nice. sometimes too nice is too detrimental. when i compare the dream with my life, i see that sometimes i am willing to offer friendship and keep the peace and work on being comfortable with folks to a fault after someone has inconvenienced or hurt or disrespected me. sometimes you just have to sever ties. sometimes you need to get angry enough to change the way you deal with a person. forgiveness is great and prudent, but that doesn't necessarily have to include reconciliation.

however, i aim for reconciliation to be a theme in my life in the new year. i usually don't do new year's resolutions, but since i am personally in a spirit of renewal at this time of year, i'll play along. my resolution is, and i quote, "stop ackin stupid." in other words, if i know better, then i should do better. if i am able, then i should try. if i'm curious, i should find out. anything less is cheating myself, and that, dear reader, is stupid. i made a few promises to myself in the past that have been fudged and broken. that should not be. i am choosing to forgive myself, reconcile myself to my dreams and plans, and rebuild my own faith in my own trustworthiness and capabilities. it can happen, and there is no time like the present to stop ackin stupid.

Friday, December 23, 2005


my comments on another blogger's suggestion that love is possible if you believe in it and give it a chance to happen:

"what you wrote about was beautiful, O. and i am generally the kind of person who thinks that way. in fact, your post is like something that i would write - about being open to possibilities and not blocking a potential blessing. but to be for real for real honest… i’d be dropping some serious bovine excrement. and to be for real for real honest, i was fighting between the beauty i was reading and the urge to suck my teeth and stop reading this post. cause i myself am afraid to believe. *my eyes welled up with tears when i typed the last sentence.* and that fear lives with me when single and it lives with me when dating (which is part of the reason i am single now). now my logic knows better, and understands what beloved said [about having to be willing to get hurt to be open to love] completely. but my heart is another matter and it is worn and weary. my hope of finding love isn’t dead but it’s presence is ephemeral - and lucky for me, when i have it, it’s potent enough to get me through the times of disbelief."

this says the woman who has a carving in her living room that says, simply, "believe." this from a woman who wishes you all a faithful holiday season and a faithful year ahead. just wanted you to know that i see my own paradoxical quirks. and that if anyone else feels this way, you are not alone.

mini vacay

i'll holla at cha round about tuesday. thank you for reading this blog, checking this blog, putting links to this blog on your sites, leaving comments on this blog, emailing me about the blog... i appreciate all of that. if i have no audience, there doesn't need to be a glory-i-am blog - shoooooot, i have a diary. LOL! i also want to thank the blog folks that i read for what you write. it entertains me, educates me, inspires me, and increases me - so thank you. (i don't feel like getting my shout out on, nor do i feel like leaving anyone out, so let it suffice to say that if i've left a comment on your blog, i'm talking to YOU, and if i haven't, i'll make sure to do so to let you know i've come to visit). i don't know what you celebrate, but celebrate it well. walk in your (or find your) faith, not because it's the holiday season, but because faith should be the cornerstone of a balanced and purposeful life, and who wants to waste their breath? i sincerely hope that anyone reading this will not feel left out of the joy of family, friends, and faith. travelers, be safe. lovers, put a hat on. givers, give from the heart so that you don't get mad if you get back a present that somebody bought at the car wash, like one of those little scented trees or naked girl mud flaps or lime green fuzzy dice. receivers, happy receiving! and may your Creator bless each of you.

merry christmas. or happy holidays - y'all know what i mean.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

to the last drop

my bedroom looks like santa's workshop. there is wrapping paper on the floor, a big pile of boxes sitting, waiting to be wrapped, christmas cards and envelopes sitting on the desk, and a list of

happy tired

names scribbled on the back of an envelope. i wore my feet out last night searching for a few last presents and i am a wreck. i don't even want to talk about how much has to be done around the house. between trying to be santa, making some moves personally, and always keeping my hand on the pulse of what's going on with the creative folks surrounding me, i am tired. but it's "happy tired," you know?

last year at this time, being santa wasn't so... for lack of a better word, complicated. but i wasn't as happy, either. last year at this time, i was working for a telecommunications company by day, then rushing through rush hour traffic and virginia countryside to make it to my part-time department store hustle. i had a dream. i was saving money to get out of virginia. months earlier, i realized that the frequent trips i was making to see friends and family up north were beacons of light that gave me a reason besides bills to go to work and earn paychecks. i figured that i needed to move - near philly, near the best friends i grew up with, somewhere where stores were open past 9:30 at night, where i could get a decent italian hoagie - where people wouldn't look at me funny for using the words "hoagie" or "sneakers." a place where i knew there were more young people like myself, and where i had a better chance of getting my spoken word fix on more than once a week. so all day i would get through my monotonous work, knowing i only had more work to look forward to that evening. then, i would stand/walk/pace on my feet for the next four hours, retailing my behind off, dealing with the backbiting politics of sales associates, adventures in bad management, and sometimes frustrating customers.

but i was stacking that cash. making moves. looking for an apartment. using up my precious daytime minutes and sneaking to unused conference rooms or using my car as an office to talk to prospective landlords, who, i might add, are some of the most difficult people to deal with, and several employment agencies. i had no life. i was trying to get one. i wrapped my presents last year over the course of several nights after my part-time job. i was done before mid-december, and was quite proud of my promptness. it was my last christmas in that apartment, because i sacrificed and persevered.

i'm here now, employed and sheltered - truly blessed. i have a life. i've gotten closer with my old friends and my family in this area - i've even rediscovered some people - and i've made a gang


and appreciation

of new friends. so i'm busy busy busy. and distracted. and all over the place. but i love it. so even though here it is, the last minute before i leave to visit my parents in VA, and i still have unwrapped presents and a few straggling what-is-their-address-anyway christmas cards to send, i don't mind. cause the reasons why i'm lagging give me joy. i am so full of things to be thankful for. so blessed because this year, more than ever, i feel like a spoke in a wheel - like part of an ever turning cipher of love and life. this year has been an especially enriching journey for me, with its triumphs and even with its challenges, which are making me grow as a person, even as i type these words. though i have plenty left to strive for and experience, i know that God has been merciful and kind to me. so i will not complain about having to wrap up those presents and rush them out to their respective households tonight if i want to make it on time to get on the list of one of my favorite open mics. i'll just get it done and find a way, so i can both enjoy the feeling of giving and so i can enjoy my love of language and creativity all in one night. 'cause last year, that kind of fullness just wasn't possible, and as long as i have the energy, i'm going to appreciate every drop of it.

i hope i can remember to pick up some tape on the way home...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

can't live without 'em

i've written about men on this blog before - what i love about them, why i like being around them... but no matter how heartfelt my words are, and no matter how


appropriate the words i choose are, it seems like i can never do them justice. men make me happy. some men offer you a seat and make you feel wanted. men make plans to support your efforts. men ask if you're okay and ask you if there is anything they can do. men observe the pain that women go through and do what they can to be supportive. men walk you to your car. men give the bestest hugs. men have you call them when you get in the house so they know that you're alright. i love looking into their eyes. smelling their colognes. being close to them. i love the timbre of their voices and the cadence of their speech. i dig watching them move, their stance, their walk. mmmmmm.

some time back, a poet friend of mine was saying that he doesn't date his female

story of my life

poetry friends 'cause the community is just too small and the potential for feelings getting in the way of business is too high. at the time he said it, i didn't agree with him (especially since at that particular time, i was dating another poet). but with me being single now, and with time having passed, i have come around to seeing the wisdom of his words. so imagine what a drag it is to constantly come into contact with good men who are good to me, and not entertain the possibility of really getting into anyone. something about that is simply not healthy. and it's difficult. these men are handsome, intelligent, positive, engaging... all the things i claim to desire. it's crazy - i know where the good men are. yet i remain the "girl mascot," the "love-her-like-a-sister," the "homegirl." just like when i was the token sista in my all-guy high school clique. the story of my life - surrounded by the intriguing masculinity i adore, yet putting on the brave face and escorting myself home alone. i'm sure my Creator is really serious about teaching me patience. not just with my poetry friends, but also with old classmates and other male acquaintances. sometimes i ache to tell them how much i love this or that about them, but in the same way that i hold back at the end of open mics, i hold back with men friends i admire, knowing that something i say out of agape love could be taken the wrong way.

i'm not beat for misunderstandings, or awkwardness, or reaching for the phone to call a friend only to change my mind mid-reach, 'cause some drama went down and now

friends first...

the friend is an ex. it's happened to me a few times before, and i never want to lose a friend that way again. makes me wonder about the often touted idea that men and women should be friends first. ideally, sure, that seems to make sense. but when you value a friendship, taking it to another level puts that friendship in jeopardy, since sometimes the aftermath is civil and pretty, but other times -it's not. and there's no way of knowing the outcome until experience and hindsight become available to you. i'm not that much of a gambler - once bitten, twice shy. this heart shivers at the thought of love. this heart stops at the thought of heartache v. 2/3/4/5/15.0 at the hands of a friend.

they say (they is anybody who touches on the subject) that women know if a man belongs in their friend zone or their dating zone not long after meeting him.

the universe knows

i'm not free...

there is an element of truth to that contention for me. but i am more complicated than that. i have sincerely dated men that i wasn't initially attracted to that "grew on me," or who i had initially put into the "off-limits zone." when a man's persona outshines the first impression, sometimes - sometimes, now - his attractiveness grows, his stature grows, or the reasons for him being off-limits somehow become less prohibitive and less important. my hope, despite my longing for him, is that it doesn't happen to me such that it results in the loss of a good friendship... paradoxically, however, my hope is that i don't deny myself happiness, 'cause i'm so worried about the politics of friendship and love and categories. it's funny i should find myself discussing this, since last night, a poet was just talking about the paralysis that results when your mind isn't made up. i think me and him haven't gotten together because the universe knows i'm not free enough to let myself go, as much as i hate to admit it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

coltrane how comes

*two entries, so don't miss the second one - glory-i-am overflowing today...*

how come i wonder if jive turkey is really something that real folks useta really say
how come i am now addicted to myspace
how come as if i needed another dayum addiction
how come insomnia is not the hotness
how come neither is emotional eating
how come i wonder if it's the holidays or something else
how come i wonder why i said that when i know exactly what it is
how come i promise myself i will go to sleep at a decent hour this evening
how come i am so feeling my new poem "instead"
how come the rush of creativity that comes with new and unexpected inspiration never gets old
how come it's not as good as sex (i've heard)
how come i don't know if it's like when you get high but
how come it's pretty gravity defying and awe inspiring
how come i ache for the stage right now despite my zombie state
how come it was worth it cause if i had been in bed the piece would not have happened
how come i woke up surrounded by amber brilliance and it kept me from quitting today
how come my future home of choice must get good natural light in as many rooms as possible
how come i hate money
how come i want what i hate and worse yet
how come i need what i hate
how come my cousin's baby girl brings me back to solid ground and gives me joy and hope
how come there is always music in my head, like background music that happens like thought
how come mixes, samples, and original compositions are happening more and more often
how come in my head i take themes and expound on them, like the bass line i am creating as i write this
how come i been using my teeth to tap out an imaginary improvised drum solo all morning
how come i been doing that ever since the earliest youth i can remember
how come sometimes when i am singing, the drums of my teeth interfere with the singing
how come cookie for you if you understood the last how come
how come i don't play the drums at all but wish i knew how
how come add that to piano, guitar, and turntables
how come aha! you didn't know that about me...
how come i am happy about this creative frenzy i am in
how come it is a little overwhelming and i don't know what to think about it
how come nevertheless i am excited about my next poem although
how come i don't even know what it will be about
how come creativity is my raison d'etre today and without it
how come i would be hiding under the covers at home
how come i never took french


sometimes i bore myself. it's weird to me that i am writing this, and someone is going to click some link from wherever they are and read this to see what i have to say. what's even weirder is that i do the same thing for a handful of other people's blogs every week day. that is truly fascinating. it amazes me that we can do this.

i remember the first time i heard about the internet. it was somewhere around 1988 or 1989. one of my teachers was trying to get the school system to put on the computers in our classroom, so that we could communicate with people in other places on the computer - sending messages and reading information. i had visions of a future where students would be in classrooms where everyone in every seat had a computer - where you wouldn't even have to go to school because you could communicate with your teacher without leaving the house. i never knew that i would be in one of those classrooms, with a computer that could fit in a briefcase, simultaneously ignoring a lecture, sending messages to two friends in real time, and checking on the weather. look how far we have traveled, and how fast! instant messaging, electronic mail, web logs are so commonplace now that we don't even bother to refer to them without abbreviation. what's interesting is that in the same way that it's hard for some in my generation to imagine a world where the milk man literally brought milk to your house, today's youth don't remember what it was like before we could just log on to the rest of the world and literally have it at your fingertips.

it's like the internet is doing for communication what gutenberg's printing press did for the distribution of books and for literacy. anyone with an internet connection can meet someone who is on the other side of the planet, find dating partners, look up the word antidisestablishmentarianism, learn how to cook a souffle, cuss out their congressman, pay bills, and be a worldwide published author in the course of an afternoon. people have friends they haven't even met. there are blog readers who know more about me than the people at work who see me everyday. i admire and/or have a distaste for people that i couldn't pick out of a lineup if my student loan default depended on it, unless maybe they started writing, and i was given a chance to discern their writing style and tone. what a trip! some people are concerned about all of the time we're spending on line communicating face-to-screen. hey, if you have no other life, then by all means, close your browser now and go outside to remember that you live on earth and are free to roam it, not through a search engine, but using your own two feet.

but blogging and message boards and email enhance the fun of writing for me. if it wasn't for this blog and the open mic, i would have no audience for my sophomoric fits and starts of creative expression, save my personal journal and/or my mama and close friends that i would sometimes read my poetry to. and there's no way i would realistically be able to keep pen pals with so many people from so many places all at once. so, with that said, yay internet.

which brings me to my last point. it's weird to me that even though i had absolutely nothing to say when i first started writing this, i found something to say. and what's weirder, you read it. from houston/philly/england/jarrell/alexandria/medford/miami/san diego/nigeria/washington state or wherever it is that you are. thank you for reading - for taking time to see what i had to say, despite the fact that i'm just a person like you, who simply likes to write for the sake of using words and who lacks the ability to be interesting every day. i appreciate your comments and your dropping in. you guys encourage me to keep writing just as much as the open mic audiences do, fanning the flames of a passion that i have for articulating emotion and thoughts into words and images that can be meaningfully shared. i'm truly happy to have the outlet.

Monday, December 19, 2005

from the heart

i went to a wedding over the weekend as a guest of the bride. it was beautiful to see her marrying someone who seems so grateful to his Creator for having her in his life. their love for each other has come after many years of being tossed and turned by life, and it is a sweet refuge for them from the things they have been through. it was a monumental triumph over adversity for them to find love in each other and to be blessed enough to solidify it in a marriage, so i am glad to have been there to witness it.

what was perhaps most interesting about the wedding is that neither the bride nor the groom knew if their invitees would show, and if so, which ones. as i've said, both of them have been through some things, and my guess is that those experiences have done their part to affect the bride and groom's relationships with their respective families. the room was mostly filled with clergy, church members, and some feuding family members. the pastor of the couple used the opportunity of having everyone in the room to remind all of the people present that family is important - that forgiveness and reconciliation were signs of the true believer. the pastor then encouraged the family members to give love to one another, call each other after the wedding, keep in touch, have reunions, and deal with each other from the heart.

how telling is it that such reminders even have to be given? seems like that reminder has been given at every funeral i've been to in my life. seems like there are family members that i only see at a wedding, funeral, or maybe one of the big three holidays - easter, thanksgiving, and christmas. now i know that everyone works, and that families, including my own, don't all live in the same neighborhood anymore. that said, i wonder why some folks don't make their families a priority enough to spend time with each other for no reason? i try to do that. i'm not always knocking on doors, but i make sure that my family sees my face or hears my voice. it doesn't matter to me if i'm always the one calling or visiting them. it doesn't matter to me if i have to be discreet about my business in order to keep it out of folks' mouths. it doesn't matter if it feels awkward sometimes because maybe we haven't been in touch for a while and don't know each other well. the effort that's made could possibly be enough to keep the next generation of children from growing up to not be able to tell family members from strangers. shoot, when i was down south, i was hesitant to even date anyone from the county we're from , just because i had to check names and family trees with my grandmother first.

i love that my cousins' children know me and that i'm not some random person they only see on the holidays. i remember being wary of family members like that when i was a child. the ones who seemed like nice people, but could only talk about how much i've grown since they last saw me, since that was the extent of their involvement in my life. i'm not saying they had to take me to the park every week, but a simple drop-by every once in a while would have been nice - just to say hey, how are you, just came to hang out for a while. instead, such people would give me what i call a "church hug" (you know that tepid hug that people give a stranger) and slip me some impersonal money to show that they cared (or to avoid the political fallout from other grown-ups of showing up without presents). later for that. that's not what family is supposed to be.

something is wrong when your own family seems to know and care about you less than people you picked up by choice - church folks, fraternal folks, school folks, teammate folks. something is warped when people take ties and commitments to other folks more seriously than they do the spiritual bond that should exist between members of the same family. people need to love from the heart and give from the heart when it comes to their flesh and blood family. family is a gift that should not be taken for granted or rejected, because there is value in those family ties. i know more about myself because of my parents and grandmother and caring aunts than i would ever know without them. i know more about the world because of my cousins and their children. i know one thing, if i ever marry - i'm going to need a big space for my family.

Friday, December 16, 2005

cracked shells

does it get any better than listening to we major in the middle of the night, driving down broad street, towards the tall, lit buildings of center city after having shared my soul and after having hugged a roomful of people that i know i am proud to call my family? it's nice. niiiiiiice. and sweet. every poet last night became my hero. at one point, they took the time to try to understand and articulate emotion and observations and stories. that in itself is a fortuitous wonder. and then, to put the results of that effort together in such an entertaining way... it inspires me to keep writing, because if i can do for them and others what they do for me, then i can truly be of service to someone - of value to someone.

i think of who these people are and what we've been through. we are mostly the children of the working class or poor, many are fatherless, some are veterans - of the armed services, of college, of the streets, of the prisons, of the churches. we are veterans of rape, abuse, student loans, racism, spiritual disillusion, ducking cops, spiritual reincarnation, parenthood, marriage, divorce, substance abuse, community work... we bring our experiences together and enrich each other with where we've come from, and where we'd like to go - where many of us are actively trying to go. and whenever a sister lowers her eyes as she finishes her work and after i have finished remembering my life through her words, as she walks away from the mic, i am proud - proud of her, and proud of myself. and on the inside i am saying, "that's my sister right there." and when a brother puts the mic down after i have finished studying the movement of his hands and speculating on the source of his wisdom while he offers me visions from his own mind, i am proud of him. and inside i am saying, "that's my brother right there."

i want to hug the women, tell them how their beauty makes me feel beautiful too, reassure them that their light is bright, and that God loves them. i want to feed the brothers, hold them tight, and tell them that i - that we appreciate the manhood that they contribute, and that they shatter the world's low expectations for them. i may not go so far as to say and do all these things when i'm on my way out the door, but my hugs are real and given liberally, 'cause despite this wordy mind i have, i'm at a loss for words when i'm actually facing them. sometimes it's hard to tell another woman that you love her, or tell a man that you just love him - you know... politics, homophobia, caught feelings, people not being used to pure intentions. not to mention that i don't want people to think i don't use that word sincerely just because i happen to be able to use it for so many people. so i settle for, "good job," "thanks for sharing that," "i really liked that piece you did," or "i'm proud of you," "keep doing what you're doing." but i love them, and they help me understand the love of God more. regular imperfect people like them and myself are worthy of love for its own sake. what a beautiful lesson - learned, not cerebrally, but in deed and in truth, through these poets, who are just the kind of people you might pass in public and never learn their name or care about as long as they don't bother you.

i presently can't imagine the void that would happen if we silenced ourselves. these poets increase my faith in others, even those people on the street or in the store that i pass that be mean muggin. we're taught to do that - but maybe in the right environment and maybe if they're encouraged to share their worth, like the people i heard from at word 4 word and jus words last night, maybe those mean muggin people are beautiful too... it's a shame that being loving has to be pulled out of people. or camouflaged or shelved for more "appropriate," more "protective" behavior. these hard exteriors do us a disservice. they are each person's preemptive strike against an evil that they believe aims to steal, kill, and destroy them. i understand that, but i can't help but wonder what would happen if we stopped letting the news, which literally profits from displays of depravity, shape our understanding of the world? and what if we each gave other people a chance to signal either good or evil to our intuition before we dismissed them as another guilty-until-proven-innocent bystander? what if we developed the ability to be wary of the worst, without expecting the worst?

just some thoughts.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


it's good. it's bad. i have it. it's okay. sometimes. other times, it's easy to trip on if i don't watch myself. you know they say it goes before a fall. so you gotta watch it. it has its place, and it needs to stay there. once, it helped me finish a degree that i was ready to give up on. another time, it helped me tackle algebra in a new school where i was doubting myself because i didn't know if i had what it took to compete with my rich, white, suburban (and supposedly, therefore, smarter) classmates. it kept me from working in the peep show booth to pay bills during college. it kept me from getting into fights. it kept me from making a fool of myself in front of guys that i would have regretted it for later. pride can be your friend.

but once, it kept me in a relationship that i should have exited sooner. and once it got me into a fight. well, a scuffle. right now, pride is keeping me from

...has caused me to

deny my own


feeding the courage to make that move i need to make for my spiritual sanity. pride has kept me from being happy for other people's triumphs and achievements. imagine that. pride has made me break my generally kind and easygoing character just to best someone else for the pleasure of being able to hand them their ass on the platter of their choosing. and pride has, from time to time, caused me to deny my own truth. i have held in tears. choked back words. feigned smiles. changed plans. denied myself the natural course of breathing - delaying that comfortable exhale - just because of being on pins and needles because of pride.

part of the reason i love writing is because without the outlet, i would never be able to face and truly understand truths about myself such as these. my dad has seen my pride well up inside me, boiling over, upsetting the lid on my pot in such a way that he knew what was going on inside me. he would say, sternly, "you need to humble yourself." never are those words harder to receive than when you are consumed with pride.

i never really think of that, as i walk around, lil' chest poked out like a peacock, 'cause through the grace of my Creator and Sustainer *pride alert - pride alert - bragging coming* I am working, I am paying these bills, I am keeping this house, I am taking care of my own hair, nails, and pedicure, I am doing it without calling home for money, I am taking my social life and my wants and needs into my own hands, I am doing it without depending on anybody...

y'all know the litany.

of course, it's not true. without the love and support and occasional helping hands of my friends and family, discouragement, difficulties, and complacency might well have overcome all of this "I do this and that" mess by now.

never mind that i still hate asking for help. never mind that when i get scared, i hate having to call home and discuss it with mom. never mind that i suspected today

one of my worst

fears is a


that one of my worst fears is a reality - that i am afraid of something. a friend of mine asked me what i was afraid of - i have a simple and often repeated answer to that question. being afraid in the first place. i hate the idea of being afraid of anything. (there goes that pride again.) well guess what i am afraid of folks? i am afraid of giving my talents the attention and effort that they are due. i know. i'm so ashamed. wanna know why i think i am afraid of that? 'cause my heart would be broken if i gave it my best, and then my art wasn't valued or well received. you know what that is right? uh huh. that pride again. *sigh* it's the same as when i was pushed to read my poetry before others - i was too proud to subject my writing to a bunch of strangers. but then these two sisters told me that my gift is not my own, and who am i to impede what God has given? now here i am, tempted to move to a higher level of nurturing and showcasing the gift. i know now that's why i've had writer's block (outside from the blog), and why i've been bored with my own poetry lately. pride. ah glory, what am i going to do with you, precious?

we shall see, won't we?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

some other stuff

*this is the first of two blogs today - oh yeah, a double feature, like the matinee movies on the uhf stations on saturdays after the cartoons. so keep scrolling after some other stuff to the rest of today's blog*

5 random facts about glory:

i legally changed my middle name 'cause, doggone it, i just didn't like it. my mother, bless her heart, combined the names of two of her sisters to create it. now why did she do that? somewhere around 1986, i figured out that it was not the hotness. so once i became an adult, and after years of keeping the middle name on the hush, i got this attorney i was working for to change it for me. it is now my paternal great-grandmother's first name, but because some famous recently married actor uses it instead of his first name (it's his middle name too), when people hear it, they immediately think of him. i can't win either way, LOL! in any case, in her heart, my middle name is still that thing she came up with.

i do not have any pets. i will not have any pets until i own my own humble abode. the last pet i had and loved was given away because the place i was moving to (my parents' house) had a strict no cats policy. that hurt. so because i am renting right now, i don't even have fish. a pet will be my second reward after moving into my own place.

i am an only child. which is not particularly interesting, since plenty of people are only children. but since i'm on the subject, i guess this is the point where a reader may think, "so then she is spoiled and likes to get her own way." mm hmm. well... in fact, i do like to get my own way, but who doesn't? the spoiled part? negative. the folks weren't the spoiling type. i started making my own money at twelve, being responsible for getting my own stuff before i left home for school, and was independent by 19. (we're going to ignore that i moved back home for grad school and had to re-liberate myself again at 23 'cause um... that's besides the point.) but i will say this, being an only child was good preparation for the independence that i live now, but it's probably the reason why i want at least 2-3 children of my own.

sometimes when i wake up on an exceptionally cold or exceptionally damp morning, my back hurts. riiiiiiiight down near the crack. when i was 12 i was on my way to a softball game, or was it practice - man, i don't know - when i slipped down the first 4 or 5 of the 13 wooden, uncarpeted stairs in our rowhouse. then i stopped falling, got fully upright and managed to slip again down the remaining stairs. my coccyx, which is the tailbone at the bottom of the spine, hit each and every step with all my weight (which wasn't much, but it was enough to permanently fracture that bone). one of my teammates/new double dutch partners brought some friends to visit and make me feel better while i was sentenced to sitting on a donut pillow, and so began my trio of best friends that i have to this day. doctor said my body would adjust to the new shape of the bone, and i guess it did, even though it doesn't feel like it when it snows overnight outside.

i don't drink. people who know me know this. but some folks don't know why. i have a few reasons. first, as a child i was inspired by the story of samson. lots of people remember that he couldn't cut his hair. but i noticed that he didn't drink either, and that the abstinence was a way that he showed how devoted he was to God. that didn't last me through adulthood, though, especially since i always knew that God loves people who get their buzz on, too. stronger reasons happened to me later - i learned, over the years, about the devastation that alcoholism played on members of my own family. then i heard about tolerance and how genetics can play a factor. i thought, why acquire a taste and conduct experiments to find out if i could hold my own or if i would lose my damn mind? i could be a disaster waiting to happen. a simple "no thanks, got any water/juice," will suffice for the rest of my life. as a result, i get to make sure my friends get home safe, i've never had a hangover, and i've never made a fool of myself and not remembered what happened.

folks, you owe these five random things about me to will. at whom i would throw some inanimate object if my arm and the aerodynamics would make that throw across north jersey and the river possible. instead, now it's these five folks' turn to be mad at me - tag! you're it!

miss tee

shame belief hope love

what to write, what to write?

first, a postscript on my backbone. i didn't say anything on the way


to my car because i was embarrassed and ashamed, and because i was selfish enough to prioritize my shame over his request for help. such a simple truth, but it took me days to come up with it. but i'm glad i did. i can learn more about myself from that answer than i can from the question that preceded it.

second, i was ducking talking about to.okie williams, because i'm not about to debate anybody about this. you can comment if you like but i will not debate you, 'cause frankly, i've done enough debating about how i feel about the death penalty to last me a lifetime. i don't approve of what that man did. i think that if he is a murderer, he deserves to be punished as a murderer. he must deal with the


consequences of his actions. what i wish, however, is that our society's consequences didn't consist of the irreversible ending of a life in retribution for that person's - any person's - transgressions. by the time folks read this, i believe he will be dead. before he walked to the chamber where he would be killed, i was praying for the people who killed him. i was praying for the families of the victims that he killed. for the families whose lives were affected by his actions - the gangbangers, the families and children of the gangbangers, the people the gangbangers terrorized, the victims of williams himself, and their families. i was praying for the jury of peers and judges and legislators that all played a part in the societal decision that he should die. i was also praying for the people who actually sat and watched as his life ebbed away. i prayed for williams too - that he had somehow found a way to submit himself to the truth of his sins and that he found a way to submit himself to the will of his Creator before he died. i prayed that God would be merciful to everyone involved who sought mercy. and that He would be merciful to me for being judgmental of those who don't agree with me that the penalty is merciless and usurps His authority.

enough about that grimness. let me move on to my grimness. i missed him today. only for a few moments, but isn't it strange how powerful a few moments can be? but really though, i'm not grim - that was a bad word to use.


let's call it a passing unpleasant breeze, which, once it has expired, is a mere memory, and not a lasting burden. but it's uncomfortable reminders like that that keep me on my toes, hopeful for the love around the bend. my latest theory is that nothing significant will happen for at least the next 3-5 years, 'cause it seems like most people who are finding love, if they don't fall into it right after college, generally wind up waiting until about the age of 30 for something real to happen. i dunno, it's not a scientific theory by any stretch of the imagination, but doesn't casual observation count for anything?

what's interesting is that sometimes moments like that make me think about the good things in past relationships. like the way he made me feel like the sexiest woman he'd ever been with. or the way that other one made me feel


taken care of without ever having to give me any tangible thing. or the way that one made me float on air because of the instant and energetic connection we had. or the way that other one became so much of a part of me that his very gaze screamed love without him having to part his lips to speak. i miss each of them for different reasons, but what's funny is that it's not a melancholy "missing," it's a sweet memorial "missing." a here-lies-what's-his-name-again-but-wasn't-he-precious in the final resting place of my ghosts of dating past. the memories are healthy - they help me believe that the love around the bend is possible. they remind me of how i like to be treated, and how i love to love.

Monday, December 12, 2005

she makes me better

she is ten years old. sometimes we hang out. she is my family. i love her. she makes me better. suddenly words which i used because i claimed i had no alternative become profane prohibited transgressions instead of benign tools of mere frustration. and music that gives me release makes me tense in her presence because i don't want her to express herself that way - i don't want her to think that the things espoused in those lyrics are things that i agree with, or things that she should agree with. i hear jazz now through her virgin ears. it is foreign and strange, but i still like it and i hope that she does too. i think twice about what i eat, because i don't want her to poison her own body. i am more positive with my words and my attitude, because the last thing this world needs is another young lady trying to emulate the negativity she sees all around her. she makes me better. i think of things that we can do that will affirm her sense of identity and bolster her self-love and self-pride. funny how those same things do the same for me, although i am grown and that's supposed to somehow make me "finished." being with her shows me just how much more i have to learn. i remember being her age and younger. looking at adults with such pity because they seemed to have forgotten the wisdom of their youth. she reminds me of what i must hold on to and what i cannot forget as time passes and i change. i admire her youth and her beauty and the chance that she has to live the opportunities that i didn't know of... partially through my small influence. so i give to her. nothing special or fancy. just attention. conversation. plans to look forward to. and i just know that as much as i am giving her something - an outlet, a different adult to hang out with sometimes... i know that she is giving me something too. i love her. she makes me better.

Friday, December 09, 2005


may God bless the man i am thinking about this morning. it snowed early this morning, maybe about four inches. it's cold and damp out there. i hope he is warm. he came up to us last night before the snow. five of us, three poets and two audience members, were hesitating on walking back to our cars. we were the stragglers, the ones who enjoyed company so much that we didn't want to leave even though it was after one in the morning. we congregated in the frigid weather, laughing and joking with each other. our breath made pictures in the air, hanging there, then getting cold and losing its steamy visibility. then he approached us. dirty. perhaps old enough to have fathered some of us. i looked at the circle of us. there was a palpable anxiety. how would this encounter go? one audience member started to audibly balk at the man's approach. one of the poets said, no, wait, hear him out. this could be a poem. the man started his probably often repeated litany. some of us already had our hands in pockets... who would give him what we knew he was asking for?

we, silenced, strained to hear his voice. he was humble. timid with his request. the audience member who started to balk before asked him to speak up, the truck that was passing was drowning him out. he started again, asking for money, he hadn't eaten and was hungry and homeless, he said. could we spare some money, so that he could walk up a block to the all night fast-food joint to get something to eat? the audience member who spoke before pulled out a handful of change and gave it to him.

here, that's all we got. they - nodding towards the rest of the circle - don't have no money.

the man took it, thanked us, i suppose for our attention as much as the change, then walked away. we began to talk about him.

one poet said, you never know if they're asking for food, for real, or if it's for something else. everyone understood that something else meant drugs/liquor/those things people don't approve of.

another poet said, yeah. nodding in agreement, and adding that, with x amount more money, they'll be able to afford the hit that they need... at one o'clock in the morning? he ain't out here for food...

then the audience member, let's call them jingle, since they actually came up off some money, said loudly and with mocking disdain, i'm saying, ewww. and he had snot running all down his nose. the man, on his way to post up at the gas station next door, was still within earshot.

one of the poets said, so? and you're just going to say that with him standing right there?

jingle replies, so? i ain't scared of him.

the poet, continued, it's not about being scared. that man has dignity. dignity. that's some woman's child right there. the circle got quiet. then this poet, let's call them husher, says, i'm sorry. i didn't mean to be...

another poet says, but you were.

husher says, but that needed to be said. that really is a person with dignity right there.

after some little banter to break the awkwardness, we stragglers split up and i walked to my car. driving home from north philly, i thought about that exchange. i thought about how when i saw the man coming, i started to finger foldable bills to be ready to pull out a dollar for the man, but hesitated when i heard jingle say none of the rest of us had any money. somehow, jingle's word became more important in that instant than the dollar meal sandwich the man could have bought. i thought about how i knew it was going to snow and was i going to warn the man, since i figured he didn't watch the evening news with no t.v. and all. but then i hesitated. the encounter happened so fast, with him walking away, and then i felt like the opportunity for me to warn him had passed. why did i let jingle speak for all of us? why did the others let jingle speak for all of us? why did i feel ashamed when jingle essentially told the man to beg louder, but did nothing about it? we all knew what he wanted. he shouldn't have had to repeat himself. to magnify his humble position just because he was in a humble position. why did i feel ashamed when i heard the jingle of jingle's change? when i stopped fingering the dollar in my pocket? when i walked past him to my car, why did i fight off the temptation to give him that dollar and warn him about the coming snow anyway? what is wrong with me? and why would jingle's comment about the man's dirty face have gone unchallenged if not for husher's words of admonishment? why was there awkward silence after husher's words? and why was it obvious after husher spoke that husher wanted to reassure the rest of the circle, even though the snot comment, and acquiescence to it, were indeed wrong? even if he was going to buy crack or wine with the dollar and change, would that have been so bad? to help a man turn to his only comfort on a bitter, cold night? to be honest, i don't think so.

may God bless the man i am thinking about this morning. i may never see him again, but i feel like i owe him a dollar.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ruminating on the thunderbolt

in response to all the blogs and messageboards i've had the pleasure of reading over the past few days:

i've heard it's like flies on a screen door. the ones that are out can't wait to get in. and the ones that are in can't wait to get out.

if you think about grass being greener on some other side, wouldn't that be because of more water? more tending? or maybe better fertilizer? you know what fertilizer's characteristic ingredient is, right?

the best things come to those who wait, they say. is that so? ask the people who were so busy waiting that they forgot to go out and seize the day. the year. the decade. their life.

but wait - it happens when you're not looking for it, right? the trick is to shrug it off, stop looking and then one day, like with michael corleone in the hills of sicily, it just happens - the thunderbolt. or so i've heard.

is there a such thing as shrugging it off too hard? some people say they are taking a break to get themselves together - get their mind right, reexamine their stance so they can be ready... mm hmm. that's code for, i'm trying to make it look like i'm chilling on purpose since i don't want to admit that i don't know what i'm doing, or what to do if i find it. not that i don't respect that stance - just call it what it is. you mean to tell me that when the thunderbolt busts you in your chest, you're going to say, "not right now... i'm trying to find myself?" HA! and i repeat, HA!

and HA! indeed to those who think that you're entitled - that the universe owes you, in fact - a thunderbolt of your own. i beg to differ. this world owes you nothing. you got here naked and alone, and have done nothing but usurp resources ever since you got here. if the thunderbolt happens, consider yourself blessed and highly favored, and take care what you do with it once you get it.

and if you get it, do the rest of the poor saps a favor by respecting what you have. don't go around complaining all the time, provoking arguments all the time, taking folks for granted, sabotaging it because of your lack of faith. it just discourages the other folks who are watching you to see if your grass is indeed greener, and further convinces them of your need to spread ever-increasing amounts of sh- ah, fertilizer, to make your grass look like something out of this world when it fact, it's really still just earth, and it's really still just grass.

i wonder if flies communicate in some secret fly language we can't hear? i can't imagine that they do. otherwise, why would they cling to the screen, longing to be let over to the other side? perhaps if they tried to learn from each other, they would realize that either way, you got to work.

that is, it takes work to stay enchanted after the thunderbolt. doesn't matter how good it feels at first. with time comes trial. with trial comes the need to stay encouraged and diligent at preserving that thing you were praising God for when you were blessed with it. likewise, it takes work to stay encouraged in its absence - especially in the face of a society that tries its best to hold on to antiquated notions of happiness that dictate that bliss comes with no less than the picket fence surrounding that green grass, a golden retriever, two and a half offspring, and that very special someone. that's some straight up fertilizer, let me tell you. shoot, forget me - ask those who are in an attorney's office with dissolution papers or chapter 7/11/13 papers, or filling their anti-depressant prescription at the drug store, or talking it out in weekly appointments a la tony trying to relax, relate, and release...

find your happiness where ever you stand. find your fulfillment where ever you stand. if circumstances change - if the screen door swings open - fly off to meet your destiny with hope, caution, and a resolve to make the best of it, wherever you wind up. but worry about your own grass. and stop trying to play chri.stopher l.loyd and let the thunderbolt jolt you when and if it does. worst case scenario? at least you have a wonderful lawn and (hopefully) no anti-depressant prescription, cause you were too busy creating happiness for yourself where ever you stood. that's what i'm trying to do... my guess is that the more time i spend outside tending to my own grass, the greater the chances i'll get hit by the thunderbolt.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


i figure most people have heard of "bad hair days." i doubt if i am the only one who has bad reflection days. despite good self-esteem in general, and despite knowing that i'm not a bad looking woman, some days i look in the mirror and simply have no positive things to say. i thought i was cuter than that. i wonder if other people can see that marionette line or those dark circles i see under my eyes. my hair is such a listless mess. why should such a young woman have a double chin? is this the me that other people see? what do people see when they see me? not that, i hope. i hope people are more forgiving of my flaws than i am with myself.

"more forgiving than i am with myself?" why am i not forgiving with myself? that marionette line is the result of a happy spirit - an easy smile and a ready laugh. dark circles are what should be expected after working hard for the future since the dawn of your memory. a mess of hair can

why am i not

forgiving with myself?

be un-messed, and bad hair days are as ephemeral as you make them. that double chin (that noone else has ever pointed out as a noticeable flaw) ties you to generations of women in the family you love... the family that loves you. if, when people see you, the only things that are noticed are your supposed flaws - why would it matter to you what such shallow people think?

when is the last time you thought about the supposed flaws of the people you know and love? for example, your granddad's love handles... the few errant chin hairs of your great aunt... the explosion of freckles across your best friend's nose, the crease lines in your mother's forehead? those folks just look like themselves to you though, don't they? those supposed flaws only come to mind when you think about them, don't they? 'cause you're too busy loving those people for who they are to you, aren't you? that marks an ability to see people, not with your eyes, but with your heart. know that they see you the same way. and even if they don't, you have to be able to see yourself that way.

i had a bad reflection day yesterday. in my perception, i wasn't my best self from any angle - all day, i was turning away from any and all reflections of myself in glass and mirrors. but if i could only see myself through the eyes of someone else who loved me, all that turning wouldn't have been necessary. thing is, i am someone who loves me. i just needed to write this blog entry to remember that. whatever my reflection, i often see more than my aesthetics when i gaze at the mirror. i see a woman i love for who she is. who calls herself, "precious," when she talks to herself. who speaks to her loved ones and strangers with kindness. who tries to remember to offer her very best to others whenever given the chance. whose personal philosophy revolves around love. and it's that perception of myself that allows me to stand at full stature and look people in the eye when i'm away from the mirror, despite whatever perceived aesthetic flaws had the chance to ruin an otherwise productive and positive day. the next time my reflection stares back at me and i start the nitpicking, i'll just have to gaze deep into the brown eyes before me and remember the love there. so i can get on with the rest of my day without avoiding mirrors.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

best approximation

an edited version of my response to Kajuana's question, what is love? what is in love?

it’s been some years since i was in love with someone who was in love with me and there was no doubt about any of that. since that one monumental relationship, i have “loved” others, but have been “in love,” maybe just once. i see the difference as whether or not having them in my life enhances my anticipation for living. because there are men friends that i love right now - i would do just about anything for them, out of love. but the reason they are only friends is because the feeling i have for them doesn’t get me going in the morning, so to speak. my one epic love affair taught me that the act of love is consistently making the decision to be someone’s best ally in life. the feeling of love is that heightened anticipation for living, that i generally get from their presence in my life, that inspires me to continually make that decision. that’s my best approximation of how i feel about it - today. i hope that my next relationship could possibly heighten my understanding of the whole thing. i do believe in love. but i’m not encouraged that it is nearly as prevalent or likely an occurrence as many would have me believe. i’m only cautiously looking forward to having it myself, which may be one of the reasons why they say women don’t feel it as soon as men - too bruised, too skeptical, too jaded…

because i tried

it feels so good when you set out to do something and then you do it. so, so good! my action is the difference between there being absolutely nothing in my bare hands and there being a warm, fragrant apple pie in my oven mitted hands. amidst a backdrop of soft snow falling, i gave baking an apple pie from crust to filling from start to finish. i'd been preparing for days. checked out a few different recipes. took the best suggestions from each. made sure i had all the ingredients i'd need. got my mind right. went to the kitchen and went to work. first the crust - mix, mix, mix, knead, knead, roll, roll, roll... flour all over the place. then the filling. peel, peel, peel, core, core, core (this was the only part i found difficult), slice, slice, slice, toss, toss, toss. then the artsy-fartsy part. trim the crusts, then pinch, pinch, pinch, slit, slit, slit. and the crowning glory, crumb topping - mix, mix, mix, sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle. *sigh.* then the waiting. and the peeking. more waiting and peeking.... and a little more. then finally, it was brown enough - pie-looking enough to take out of the oven. and what a beauty. i snapped the picture, then waited for it to cool. seemed like it took forever. and then, finally, i scooped a bowl of my favorite ice cream and went to cut a piece out of the pie.

i hesitated. what if i don't like it? what if all those apples just dried up in there? what if it's too sweet, or not sweet enough? i bet the top crust is too thick. i hope i left it in the oven long enough. hope it doesn't fall apart on me like a cobbler.

i shook it off and cut a healthy sized slice. the crumb topping was nice and crusty. the apples were surrounded by nice apple syrup that miraculously happened while the pie baked. i looked closer and could see the spices dancing in the wonderfully scented goo. so far, so good. i tried a small piece with a fork. leaned back against the counter and closed my eyes to enjoy the moment as the apple sweetness and tang flirted with the cinnamon spice in my grateful mouth. i did it! i made my favorite pie - and not only that, it was edible! and not only that, it was good!!! not the best i've ever had, but certainly good - something i would be proud to offer to a guest, or even bake as a gift for a loved one.

and to think, i almost missed out on it. because of procrastination. and worrying about whether or not i'd waste my time baking something i wouldn't like. nothing beats a failure but a try. and now that i've tried it, i know what to do next time to make it even better. but as it stands now, i am proud of my pie. i feel such a sense of accomplishment. i can bake an apple pie from scratch. and it feels good. i wonder what else i can do if i try it? i'm inspired to discover the answer to that question...

Friday, December 02, 2005


tiger's eye marble: so my dad wants to know why i don't have a man to call to help me get around and get my car fixed. i told him i'd like to know, too. he wants to know, what gives? i tell him i've dated this year.

this man

loves me


2005 was interesting. got dumped twice. yup, twice. LOL! fun stuff. one of these dear souls really impacted my spirit. the other one just beat me to the punch. i told my dad that i think what happens is that they meet me, are taken with me, and after the happiness cloud evaporates, they look up and are bored with the possibility of further involvement, so they un-involve themselves by deciding not to call anymore. shoot, i've done that before. (not often enough, though, cause i'm always looking to love the lovable part of someone, forgetting that i have the choice to bounce. it takes me too long to give up on people. i should learn for my own sake how to get better at that...) my dad wants to know why i think they get bored. i say, i don't know. but isn't that what dating is? hanging out with people until you realize that ain't nothing there you want to keep? or on the flip, that there is something there that you want to keep? not every body is good for every body. my dad then goes into soliloquy #34,829 - the know and examine your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to be flexible speech. bless his heart. i could do that. but i already like myself, thanks. and some man that i want to be with will want to stay whether or not i change. and if not, i'll be aight. i don't have much wisdom, but i have that much. i asked him, for the sake of conversation, so what should i do? have an exit interview with my outgoing boyfriends? you can't say, "hey uh, so could you tell me why you don't want to date anymore?" i don't think so! ROFL! and does it matter? what doesn't work for one could be a platinum-laced bliss formula for the next. either way, i got to be me, and not worry about being a chameleon depending on who i'm trying to keep in my life. bump that. i agree with fantasia: if you don't want me... free yourself (and while you're at it, free




me too.) i know that's not what he was saying, though. and i know i'm not above examination or reproach. but anyway, i love my dad. him so precious. he don't want his only daughter living by herself, figuring out how to get the car fixed by herself, catching the bus in december cause she ain't got no man to pick her up. i could tell him i'm not bothered, that the $2.50/day for the bus ain't breaking me, that it's a pretty mild december so far, that i don't care if the mechanics grease me as long as i'm driving soon, that if i'm not worried he shouldn't be either... but that wouldn't dissipate his fatherly concern. so i indulge him by listening to his soliloquies, or at least giving him umm hmms at the appropriate intervals in the rhythm of the words i'm only half listening to as i fix dinner and think about the challenges at the office tomorrow. because i love this first man in my life, who loves me unconditionally and ain't going nowhere, and who would move the earth for me if he had to...

red marble: somebody on a messageboard pushed my buttons thursday. was just sarcastic and smart-mouthed enough to touch the right nerve ending and provoke my unbridled venom. it was all i could do to refrain from outright profanity and namecalling... things i rarely do out of anger (unless driving). sometimes emotions shock me - i didn't expect that, it just kinda happened. but it was honest, and well, that's good enough for me.

yellow marble: my homie, that i met in high school, that was my college roommate, that was on line with me, that made me a maid-of-honor at her wedding, has gone away to live far away, and after our short farewell lunch, when i hugged her, i was sad. i know we can visit and call and email. but it will never be the same. change is good. she desires this move and is going to meet her destiny. the best thing i can do for the both of us is wish her well and release my selfish desire to keep her here. i did that today. and i'm happy she's leaving to find out what's on the other side of that horizon. she'll meet good things there, she'll be happy, and that will make me happy.

blue marble: i got a message on my answering machine. from some woman calling for some man who doesn't live here. i started to delete it, but paused when she expressed such joy at hearing an outgoing answering machine message, since she thought the man had died, and was glad to know he's still alive. she talked about a few people i guess they both knew, and explained that she was driving around, lost in the midwest somewhere as she made the call. i wished her well from afar, hoping my hug would help her get her direction and find it home safely. i felt sorry that she thought she'd found her old friend, who may in fact no longer be with us (since i have his phone number...)

green marble: i have two best friends that i've known over half my life. the three of us are crazy. and we like it that way. but we express our love for each other by being brutally honest with our feelings, including dispensing with all tact and formality. no room for tiptoeing. we give it and take it straight, no chaser. things that may lead other people to think we don't like each other much are really us saying, "girl you know you family to me and it's all love." but i still wonder if that's healthy. should our exaggerated sarcasticness and cattiness be a substitute for loving sentiments? words are powerful... hmm. time will tell. i would hate to lose either of these, my double dutch partners, my sleepover crew, my future babies' (fake) aunties, my sisters from other mothers... i wish us well.

purple marble: as i type this, my poetry family is breaking lyrical bread. wish i was there. but me and the roots and kanye and this blog and a blank page in my poetry book are making the best of a situation that i refuse to make the worst of.

clear marble: i feel good. cozy. the weekend is coming. . . long mornings to sleep in late. hopefully i'll have my car back by sunday. might drop by my best friend's church - i feel like being among the believers. people who believe in something are my kind of people. people with hope. people who dare to dream. i'm like that, whether my dream is to make it through a tough day like yesterday, or whether it's to feel at peace with your existence, your purpose, your Creator. i'm in that mood now. peaceful.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

snail's pace

i don't have an ipod. don't really want one either. i don't understand how they work - where do you get the music from? how do you pay for it? don't wanna pay for one, anyway. pretty satisfied with my cd's and portable cd player. i've been taking the bus this week cause until my car gets straight, i don't want to abuse it. the bus ain't so bad where i live now. little old people take it, so the bus is clean and quiet, not like how it was when i was living in the city and it was crowded, noisy, and funky. but anyway, i have rediscovered my cd player, which i haven't had much use for in some time. it helps me not miss the cd player i had installed in my car about this time last year cause i got tired of struggling with my thriller tape and radio mix tapes (remember those?) when the radio got on my nerves, LOL! i be walking down the street in the little quiet south jersey suburb i work in, listening to my cd player, matching my pace to the rhythm of the music, mouthing the words - i know those people think this black girl is crazy LOL! (i am! but) anyway, i would have posted a picture of the cd player that i could take with the digital camera that i just got (about 7-8 years after they started getting hot). but since i'm still working with dial-up, cause my cousin just told me it's under $20/month now, i don't feel like the hassle of trying to upload the picture over my telephone line. especially since i tried a few times to upload a picture that i took of myself today and it just wasn't working out. anyway, i'm also starting to buy cd's that i couldn't afford when i was a broke student. used, of course. (i'm not just slow on technology, i'm cheap, too.) so anyway, here goes my playlist of tracks - oops, i mean CD albums (and if you don't know what album means, ask your grandparents) that i've been cramming in my bag for the past week or so.

cece peniston - finally
leaders of the new school - t.i.m.e.
floetry - flo'ology
kelly price - mirror, mirror
the roots - phrenology
kindred the family soul - in this life together
tye tribbett & g.a. - life
p.m. dawn - the bliss album
kanye west - late registration
john p. kee - the color of music

when i grow up, i will have a better operating system than win98, high-speed internet, an ipod, a car that doesn't take vacations, a printer for my digital camera, and photoshop (which i had on my laptop, which is currently out of commission.) LOL! just describing my behind-the-curveness is really cracking me up... i'm just not in a rush to get this stuff. i have no overwhelming need for the toys. my writing and my peoples keep me from needing it so much... anyway, even though i refuse to go to philly for poetry without my car because of how late i would be out alone trying to get home, i am intent on having a good day today. i will just have to appreciate my favorite open mic that much more next thursday. (but if i'm lucky, i'll be driving by the afternoon...)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

what's good?

i am inspired by my parents' 30+ year marriage. i am inspired by my friend's work

i am


ethic and tenacity that has her being a sister ceo - founder, publisher, editor, head of a non-profit - wow. i am inspired by my anonymous friend's hustle to get to spread constructive messages to as many stages as possible, and producing music and writing advice columns and whatnot. both folks while working for the man... (but not for long, i'm sure!) so proud of them... i am inspired by the willingness of friends and family members to help me when my car needs a new alternator and transmission adjustments and i need rides to and from the shop. i am inspired by innovative new music that shows me that people still value creativity and talent. i am inspired by the community organizations in camden that are changing the world by enabling real people to have homeownership and helping to poise my city for healthy urban life. i am inspired by having gotten this far and knowing that i have my youth and talents to pull on as resources. i am inspired by the knowledge i soak up by reading for the overwhelming majority of my days. i am inspired to see good men i know out there searching for the "her" that they are most

it helps me


compatible with, cause it helps me believe that my good man believes that i exist somewhere, which is good, 'cause here i am. i am inspired by what i learned about the egyptians on tv last night. building those pyramids without the wheel or batteries, or electricity or gas, but with engineering that we still can't figure out today. i am inspired by readers' comments on my writing (not just on this blog). they let me know that i do have the ability to express things that we share in a way that taps someone on the shoulder and says, "yeah, you're not alone." to me, writing - any communication - bridges the gap from body to body, mind to mind, soul to soul, and somehow affirms our presence, because if i am thinking and feeling, and someone else is thinking and feeling, whatever connection between us comes out of that makes each of us less

growing a bit

each day

alone, and makes each "other' person that much more real and relevant, worthy of recognition, respect, and love. to be an instrument of building those bridges humbles me and makes me proud all at once, and makes me feel useful and happy in a way that other things do not. i am so very inspired by that. i am inspired by the jazz station that i am listening to - that people still have an appetite for jazz music is encouraging. i am inspired by the artwork in my room - one of which i painted myself. and i am so inspired by the new growth on my wandering jew plant. i rooted it such a short time ago - potted it such a short time ago, and here is new growth coming out of the dirt, growing a visually noticeable bit every single day! how amazing! i can't imagine what it felt like to create existence, but if watching this plant grow is any indicator - how much more inspired can you get? that's good...