Friday, September 30, 2005

random - no... miscellaneous

without question, my favorite place to be this week has been in my car. with my cd spinning and me singing along. there is a peace and a safety that i feel in that small space filled with music that is unlike any other.

absence does not make the heart grow fonder. this is a big fat lie. absence makes my heart atrophy and tremble, on the real. there is nothing fond about the trepidation that absence causes because of the insecurity and the utter lack of satisfaction that comes from not being able to be there. i have a list of people i miss. and sometimes, it gets to me.

there has been no more flattering thing happen to me since i started sharing my poetry than to have poets whose artistry i admire and appreciate come to me and tell me that they liked my piece - or even better, that they want a copy. (which is funny, cause it's not like i got copies laying around or anything. i'm not that serious.) so far i owe copies of a few different poems to a few different people. if any of them are reading this, i'm sorry i haven't done it yet, please chalk it up to procrastination, but i haven't forgotten what i said i would do. (i wonder where the expression "chalk it up" comes from?)

putting your hands admiringly in someone's head and caressing their hair and their scalp is one of the most intimate acts i've ever experienced. i love it when it's done to me so much that when it's done in public, i feel a little guilt - like maybe it should be happening behind closed doors... and i love doing it to other people, most especially to the opposite sex, and particularly to a certain young man whose head i happen to really really care for, if for no other reason than that last night, i felt a little guilty in public under the caress of his fingertips... *ahem* (breathe in... breathe out... think of ice cubes, icebergs, popsic - no, uh - ice cream...) *sigh* okay, okay, i'm better...

i am opinionated by nature, upbringing, and training. and although i make every effort to keep it under control, sometimes my opinion crayon colors outside the lines of other people's boundaries. my bad. but i still like that trait about myself. i have a mind and i am not afraid to use it. if you have sensitive skin, maybe you should get the hell out of my way when you see me approaching the soapbox. we can be friends again after i step back down on the ground. i'm not always right. right is subjective, anyway. but something in me knows somehow that i couldn't live with myself if i didn't speak out. so i do, and i will.

i'm going to try not to procrastinate as much. it is my new october's resolution. i figure since i never have one in january (cause i think january is an arbitrary date to make a change), there is no time like the present to attempt to be a better glory. wow - that thought in and of itself is so anti-procrastination i feel like patting myself on the back. but i have miles to go before i sleep.

speaking of which, i plan to get a lot of sleep this weekend. we'll see how that goes with the whole trying-not-to-procrastinate thing...

have a blessed and happy weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

low frequency

sometimes silence is timely and beneficial. a wealth can be found in the midst of silence.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


ever had a hard day? hard week? rough season, even? and you knew maybe you needed to talk to someone, but you didn't? cause you didn't want to be a burden? or maybe it was because you didn't want to admit that everything isn't always perfect all the time and that you don't know everything. or maybe it was cause you didn't want anybody to worry about you? maybe it's because people around you need to believe that you're doing okay, because they've put you in a different category of success or capability than themselves - and because they need to believe you're doing okay - the way they handle your problems is to write them off as if they aren't really that serious, and assure you that you are strong enough to handle it like you always seem to do (instead of attempting to prop you up in your time of need). a friend of mine has a very good poem about the workings in the mind of "the strong one." perhaps being the strong one also comes with an ego. the kind of ego that makes you think that you have to hold on and be tough for everyone else. that everyone else is depending on you to hold everything together, since you're the strong one. so strong that you can do without the help. so strong you can help everyone else - so strong you can help yourself. no pity parties for you. no panicking for you. no crying for you. you can deal with the fears and the doubts and the guilt and the shame and the hidden tears and the scary nights and the nervous mornings all by yourself. you can do it all on your own. you pity the fool who asks you if everything is okay - how dare they? you get offended if someone asks if you've ever considered professional help. you ain't crazy. your ancestors got through the middle passage and jim crow without a shrink and you don't have to deal with half of what they go through - screw a shrink.

if you can't talk to someone, you need to.
if you have people to talk to, thank God for subtle blessings.
if you think you are doing it by yourself, you are wrong.
if you get overwhelmed, your best bet is to ask for help.
if you are too proud, you will one day be humbled.
if you are too strong, you will one day be weakened.

stress kills black people. it's called high blood pressure. it's called hypertension. it's called eating disorder. it's called clinical depression and suicidal tendencies. it's called substance abuse. it's called violence.

open your mouth and speak your pain and your fears. i do it. i write. i sing. i talk to close (hear me now, i said CLOSE) friends and relatives. i talk to God. it works. i have issues. but i live to fight another day. healthy. and willing to keep pushing. (with normal blood pressure levels, to boot.)

love yourself.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

lowered expectations?

i don't expect to get married.

when i was a little kid i used to expect it. after all my parents were married, and their parents were married. (and divorced, and re-married). people got married on tv. i was a flower girl in my aunt's wedding. we would play MASH and try to figure out which boy in our class we would marry. we would flip through the catalogs from department stores and pick which furniture and blenders we would have in our grown-up houses when we grew up and got married.

i don't know. at some point between then and now, maybe in the midst the difficulty i found in a previous long term relationship that almost ended in marriage that taught me everything i needed to know about love and everything i needed to know about disaster in one climactic opus, or maybe in the fast crushes and hard crashes i've had since then - at some point i have learned that relationships are not easy. even when everyone's intentions are pure and sweet. even when the love is brilliant. even when the sex is good. even when the goals are similar. even when the minds meet.

i've seen marriages and shack-up-ages and long term relationships with all different kinds of people from all different walks of life, and the one thing i can say about all of them is that you always, always, ALWAYS get more than you bargained for to deal with. so you betta love the one you with. and you better be prepared to deal with some shit. even when you can't remember why you love the one you with. and you better be prepared for boredom. and the unexpected. (well, wait, how can you prepare for the unexpected - scratch that - let me phrase it another way.) you should resign yourself to the fact that some stuff is going to happen that you ain't know was coming and that you won't know the answers to everything, and on top of that, somehow in the midst of all of this you're sposed to be willing and able to do what it takes to hold your relationship together. cause see, that's the heart of the marriage vows.

i, glory, take you, man, through whatever hell and high water may come and interrupt this pleasant daydream we think is coming after we smear wedding cake on each other's faces. i promise to bust my ass to stay with you and be good to you despite the fact that all probabilities are stacked against us, because i want to be flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone, cause i love you just that much. wow. that's serious.

i don't know if i can, uh... whew! i mean... for me to feel like that he really gon have to come with it! i guess the reason i can't imagine myself married is because i have a hard time believing that i can find the emotional security and emotional fidelity that i am looking for in a mate. i need a ride or die dude on an emotional level. and so far, my batting average sucks so bad i really should just stay out of the rotation.

which is really sad, because i find myself vacillating between deciding to do just that (leave my emotions in my diary and out of relationships) or trying to be open to the possibility of sharing my inner self again. maybe it's a phase. or maybe it's the beginning of what i'll call, the bitter black woman syndrome. y'all know that lady in her *insert decade of age here where people decide if a woman ain't been married by that time, her dried up eggs ain't neva getting no play* who has never been married, takes real good care of herself and swears she don't need a man for nothing. we all know her. oh Lord, please don't let me turn into that lying, dildo wielding, ben and jerry's eating, cock blocking all her girlfriends perpetrator. i'm more scared of being her than i am of not being married.

but we shall see, won't we? for now, i'm just living life. you know, most of us say "never again" after having been hurt. and then the next thing you know, "again" done snuck up on somebody. here's to hoping one of my "again's" gets it right. after all, i said i wasn't expecting it... i never said i didn't want it. i'm a dreamer, remember?

Monday, September 26, 2005

it blows in the wind

you know i thought i wasn't going to blog anything today. i am such an addict! LOL

on saturday, i reached under the bathroom sink and pulled out my da.rk and l.ovely kiddie perm, mixed it up, and put a touch up on the front section of my hair (which is the fuzziest), about a 3x2 inch area where my bangs would be, if i had any. then i washed it. deep conditioned it with my hooded dryer. blow dried it straight. greased my scalp (yeah, i'm country - sue me). flat ironed it. drove to my best friend's house and had her clip the ends of all my layers cause i was too lazy to do it myself. this is a ritual that i am very familiar with, especially since both my parents do their own hair. i became a full service salon for myself. what resulted is a soft fluffy mass of straight brown hair that hangs past my shoulders, down near the top of my bra strap. it blows in the wind.

i hadn't done the ritual since sometime in may or june. see, i've been just washing and wearing. wet the hair, towel dry, palmful of mousse to hold the curls, oil sheen, good to go. what resulted was a soft fluffy mass of crinkly/curly/tangled brown hair that puts me in the mind of a less voluminous cree summer (freddi brooks on a different world). i would wear it down or up as the mood hit me. i loved how low maintenance it was. and going without my quarterly touch up was also a plus. it felt good to ignore half my hair products for an entire season. the only thing was, i didn't like brushing it back into a bun or a hair clip on monday through friday in order to look professional. but beyond that, i was happy with it.

new season, time for the look to change. besides, my ends started looking kinda crazy, and i was concerned for the health of my mane. and i figured since i was going to get my ends clipped, i might as well break the ritual out of the archives.

do you know that when i mixed up my relaxer saturday afternoon that people were haunting me? whispering in my ear? girl, don't do it. i'm sorry, what? don't do it. leave that creamy crack alone. you are a goddess, you are african, your hair is fine the way God makes it grow out of your scalp. i know that, thanks. that don't mean i can't wear it another way. but don't you see, when you put that toxic chemical in your hair you are accepting european standards of beauty and denying the truth of yourself. you are rejecting your heritage and telling the world that you think you are inadequate. um, no, actually, i'm not telling anybody anything, what i am doing is putting my hair the way i like it. what are your friends at the poetry venues going to think about you when you show up with your hair flowing down your back like a white girl's? who gives a flying fig? well, okay some people might have some opinions about my self image. maybe i can just stuff it all under a cap so they don't see my straightened hair - wait, what am i saying! that is the old me, the one that cares what people think about me. dammit, anybody who has anything to say about my hair will get dealt with. this is my head. oh, okay, funny you didn't have that same attitude when you would alter your hair for work while you were wearing it curly. you ain't new - you do care what people think about you. don't even try it, that's my job. i can't be too different around the white people, that affects my ends and i'm trying to get out of debt. then you are selling out. is it any different than dressing within a dress code instead of wearing my casual uniform of sexy jeans and beaded jewelry? i don't think so. you know what, get out of my ear, i got some hair frying to do.

at which point i stopped arguing with the voices of all the conscious arguments i've ever heard and commenced with the ritual. which i don't feel guilty for. i know my hair is beautiful when it is the curly fuzziness that God made it. i embrace that version of myself. but my hair is also beautiful when it blows in the wind. it's just a hairstyle. my hair doesn't have to be either/or for me to know that i am beautiful the way God made me. shoot, i'm just getting around to forgiving myself for loving the soft texture of my hair, and the peanut butter color of my skin. i've been surrounded by the backlash against the white-is-right mentality so much that i had begun to deny and downplay my own beauty just because i have lighter skin and longer hair.

(there is a scene in the movie mean girls, starring linds.ay l.ohan, where a bunch of teenage girls are looking at themselves in a mirror and they are taking turns complaining about various things about their bodies. they turn to cady, the main character, as if to ask, "what do you hate about yourself?" cady thinks about how she didn't know she was supposed to hate something about herself. i wish we could all be there... i really related to this scene. in this position, i would fawn over the full texture of my friends' hair and the beautiful coffee colors of their skin, lament not having a big black girl booty like the girl in the flava in ya ear remix video, and wallow in senseless self-denial.)

for years i overcompensated by openly wishing my hair would get nappier over time and that my skin would get darker after each passing summer, so that i too, could look like an african mother of the earth. but that is not who i am. i am a daughter of the diaspora. a descendant of africans and mulattoes and native americans. my genes reflect that. my appearance reflects that which i have no control over. and i am not responsible for the hatred imposed on my darker skinned, coarser haired sisters in the diaspora. i love them and appreciate their beauty. but i will no longer do that at the expense of embracing my own beauty. i don't think i'm cute because i'm lightskinned or because my hair is soft. i think i'm cute because it is my job to love myself. and now i do. unapologetically. whether or not i'm using the creamy crack, because i have the wisdom to know i am a complete glory with or without it. it's just a hairstyle, and it's on MY head.

Friday, September 23, 2005

i DO do magic.

this summer was awesome. i miss it already. it was my first summer ever spent as an independent adult not heading back to school or spent without my nose not stuck in some book. my first summer with a little bit of money in my pocket. it was my first summer back in the area i grew up in and had been away from for eight eye opening, page turning, horizon broadening years. highlights of the season were my dad's family reunion, the wedding of my favorite cousin, and my one sweet trip to the beach.

i realized this summer that i really have a passion for writing. like really. no, really. like if you put me in a room with nothing else in it, besides food water and a place to pee, i would probably need a pad of paper and a pen to keep from losing it. which is why i haven't abandoned this blogging thing yet. and i finally started reading my poetry at the open mics this summer. i made new friends at the open mics - people who don't guilt me for using big words sometimes, people who understand what i mean when i share my artsy fartsy side, people who are even more passionate about communication than me. i've kept up with old friends - i've spent more time with my best friends this summer than i have in the past eight years. and what's more amazing, those heffas still love me anyway! and they encourage me in my writing. i also literally stumbled upon an old college friend at the mall and was so overjoyed to welcome her sweet spirit back into my life.

i went to the sugarwater festival and saw two of my favorite contemporary artists, jill scott and erykah badu. ever since "on and on" i have been an erykah devotee - seeing her in concert was like staying awake for comet and actually seeing it flash by despite the glare of city lights - precious, and amazing. hearing jill scott sing live made me want to throw out my jill scott cd's, cause now i know that she can blow better than her tracks give her credit for, and all i want to do is experience that magic again. i also saw kindred sing, up close and personal! how cool... and i saw krs-one, LIVE, freestyling for what seemed like forever - he was so close i could spit on the center of his sweaty forehead, and i was so excited, cause i knew i was in the presence of greatness. i fell back in love with hip hop. decided to give it another chance. admitted that i've liked it all along, i was just trying to be mature by pushing it to the side, and i was just being lazy by dismissing it all to be as bad as the radio crap. i realized those beats and lyrics are a part of me. i been rediscovering hip hop ever since - i even own some cd's with rap on them now *gasp!*

oooh, and i experienced a first kiss! how cool for me. first kisses are great because they are so full of wonder and excitement and trepidation and hope. first kisses are like a child's first step. magical. the beginning of an adventure. we don't get first kisses often, so we should cherish the ones we get. even the ones from the princes that turned out to be toads, because in that moment, when he is right up on your face and you are right up in his, when your breath starts to commingling, when your butterflies start to flitting, and time starts slowing down.... oooh that's the stuff good poetry and good music and good food is made of baby! and no matter what happens after that first kiss, if it was done right, timed right, executed just right, be it sloppy and slobbery or smooth and precise, you have just witnessed the creation of priceless abstract art. it can't be duplicated. it can't be recaptured. it just is what it is. therein lies its uniqueness and its beauty.

i experienced happiness on so many levels in this my favorite season, like rocking my hair in its crinkly and fuzzy and unstraightened state for a whole entire season for the first time ever, and discovering how much i love to be awakened by sunshine. i rediscovered passions - i rediscovered parts of myself. it's funny i thought last year was my peak what with graduation and all. but this summer has convinced me that there is so much life for me to live!

i'm leaving this season feeling inspired and joyful and hopeful and excited about who i am and who i'm becoming...

Thursday, September 22, 2005


i need music to move me. i have a certain song stuck in my head, and i know why it's there. it moves me. it compels me to sing along. when i hear it, my mind goes from where my reality is to where the reality of the song is, and whether i'm in broad daylight in the grocery store parking lot or whether i'm on my living room couch in the dark just sitting and listening as i am likely to do, i get lost in the song. the lyrics, the instrumentation, the passion of the vocalist, the story line all get me where it counts, stroking my imagination and soothing some need i have to express some energy and vibrate in tune with something outside myself in such a way that the music isn't coming from outside of me, but really it's inside me and surrounding me, coming out of my vocal cords, and rocking my torso and nodding my head for me. that's not just the particular song i have stuck in my head this morning, there are plenty of songs that do this for me.

what concerns me is that lots of songs like this are over ten years old. a significant percentage of them are in their twenties, or knocking on thirty. and the ones that are relatively recent have gotten little to no radio play. i feel like a victim of the four minute format, like a victim of videos that are killing radio stars. i feel like major radio station conglomerates and record companies all have gotten together in a room full of cigar smoke and have plotted to band together to make me miserable.

there's a saying that i've heard christian pastors use often enough for me to think it may be universal. "i'm not up here preaching to you to tickle your ears." meaning, their job isn't to ignore the life changing substance of the word of God just so that people hear what they want to hear. i love that attitude, because that means that somebody is putting some thought into what comes out of their mouth, because they are mindful of the fact that people need substance. people deserve substance. may i ask why so many radio stations, advertisers, radio "personalities," and worse yet, radio listeners, are content to listen to songs that have no power and no real energy, songs that merely tickle our ears, offer no substance, and then fade into the obscurity that they should never have been able to escape in the first place?

people should be banging down the doors of the radio stations, demanding to hear a variety of music. demanding to hear real instruments sometimes and not just the electronic beats some dude beatboxed one night in the john and turned the next morning into a four minute "hit" song for some beauty who was too short to be a supermodel, too inarticulate to act in Hollywood, and too tone deaf to perform on or off-broadway. it makes me think of clips shown on tv of people revolting against disco music because it didn't speak to their souls, and because it was getting too much attention up against the funk and the punk rock and it was taking over the pop and even the commercials, and the scent was jamming up peoples nostrils to the point where they just got sick and they took their disco albums out into the streets, into stadiums, and they wasted that wax - broke countless LPs and 45s into pieces.

can we do that? please? i know i'm not the only one who feels this way, because nobody is buying CDs anymore. it's not just cause we have CD burners now - it's just, who wants to pay for 16 tracks when you only like three of them? who wants the liner notes for an artist you'll forget about after their song is dropped from the playlist? i know i'm not alone because the internet is so full of radio stations and music sharing sites that celebrate artistry in music. there is a market for good music, if they would just recognize that we're here. can we tell the world that we want music to move us, to stir our souls and our imaginations and take us places? can we burn towers of CDs made by one-hit wonders, and bubble-gum lyrics, no-skill-having wannabe lyricists, gimmicks, novelty acts, and people who sing with no passion and no imagination? can we change the world? can we give music critics something to really debate about and get rid of all the "this one's a no-brainer, this sucks" reviews? can we?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


do you remember who you wanted to be when you grew up? are you that person? do you still want to be that person? if you're not that person, are you still trying to get there, or have you lost sight of that person you wanted to be?

i don't mean occupation, like, "i want to be an astronaut," or like a famous hero, like, "i want to be like flo jo." i mean characteristics, like, "i want to be really classy and well dressed like miss daisy." "i want to be really smart like my mom." "i want to be more patient with people than my auntie." or maybe even things you've always wanted to do, like, "i want to dance and be graceful like miss safara," or, "i want to sing for people, like my grandma," or "i want to make beautiful artwork, like my art teacher."

would the person you were when you were eight years old like the person that you are today? would they approve of how you live your life, the choices you've made? if you, at your current age, decided to time travel to visit your eight year old self/twelve year old self/fifteen year old self - would you have to apologetically explain how your life is now, or could you share with joy and pride how you have the character you've always wanted to develop, or achieved that one goal that was near and dear to your childhood heart. does it even matter if they would be disappointed in you? perhaps their outlook on life is different from yours because you are more mature now. perhaps your experiences have shaped you to see things differently, invalidating the opinions of your eight year old self...

i think that my childhood me would like today's me. she would dig the sunshine and bright colors and art and plant life and comfortable digs in my apartment. she would like my car (especially since it was new when i was her age LOL). i think she would be proud that i spend so much spare time writing and imagining, that i painted the picture that hangs above my bed, and that i wear jewelry that tinkles with beads and sounds and colors. she wasn't expecting my career choice at all, but i think she wouldn't be mad at it, especially upon finding out that it will soon take a turn that was closer to a passion of hers from waaaaay back. she would like my friends. my clothes? maybe not so much. LOL. i think my character isn't quite as lofty as she aspired it to become, but i think she would forgive me and allow me some time to grow. many of my dreams are dreams of hers that i took time and effort to resurrect and rediscover. i suppose i'm not much different than that little girl, insofar as dreaming is concerned. and i like that consistent thing about me - i never stop dreaming. maybe i've limited myself a little out of fear of failure, which i don't think she'd like (shoot, i don't like it now, but i was there when i did it, so i understand what happened). but overall, i think she'd like me. and i think she'd encourage me to keep trying to reach my dreams - and not to forget her.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

i want it! i want it! i want it!

i want a new toy. i don't want to wait for it - i've been waiting for it too long already now. this is when it sucks to not have rich family members or a fairy godmother. what sucks is that what i want is relatively inexpensive. it's not that i can't afford it, it's just that bills and other miscellaneous things keep popping up, you know? and i don't want to dip into my savings, either, cause it's just a toy... you wanna know what it is? you are so gonna laugh at me.

i want a digital camera.

that's it. that's all. a digital camera.

i have been wanting a digital camera for at least the past five years now. and in that time, i have rented cars to take road trips, paid sorority dues, gone shopping for work clothes, bought people presents, bought artwork for my apartment - done everything except buckle down and do the research and go get my camera. and i'm tired of this mess. i am going to get my digital camera in the next few weeks - i mean it! i am going to stash a camera fund to the side, and i'm going to look in the sunday papers and i'm going to visit the stores and i am going to get my camera. that way, i can finally start taking pictures of stuff and start having the instant gratification of seeing my handiwork right then and there. and i can play with photoshop (my favorite software program). and i can post my pictures for anyone to see. and i can write poems about them... ooh- or i can take pictures that are about my poems! basically i can be my inner artsy fartsy geek that has been without an outlet for way too long. i am so excited!

by the way, if anyone wants to contribute to the camera fund, hit me up in the comments - the kid is not too proud to take donations, LOL!

Monday, September 19, 2005


okay, so i put my poems on tape. i found my voice recorder from college and spent part of yesterday afternoon looking through my poems to see which ones i'd rather know by heart, and i came up with maybe ten of them. then i taped the poems. i figured that if i could listen to them repeatedly, i would start to memorize them. i mean, when i think about the ridiculous amount of songs that i've learned over a lifetime - shoot, when i think about the fact that i can recite parts of other people's often repeated poetry by now - i'm pretty sure that i can learn my own. matter of fact, after i played the tape back to myself, i learned a few things.

first, i like my poems. i mean, yeah there's that sense of pride and accomplishment that i get when i have created a new poem on a blank page with nothing but my mind and a pencil. but so far as appreciating the way i use the words - my imagery, my use of devices like vernacular language, metaphor, alliteration, repetition - you know, the stuff i had to learn in school - i hadn't really gotten into appreciating my own talent until i was just listening to the tape.

another thing is, my voice is like an instrument. i mean, not like in a singing type of way, but more like, it is my choice to manipulate the tone and the pace of my voice, even the breathing i do, and depending on the choices i make, a poem can sound like a totally different piece, like putting a song to different background music, or elevating or lowering a chorus to a completely different key. so i'm guessing that, like an instrument, the more i practice, the better i will get at conveying just the right emotion when sharing a poem with others.

somehow that stuff seems less important when i am reading to others from my marble composition notebook, eyes on the page, intent on reading the piece and getting off the mic so that i can fade back into semi-anonymity. it's not that i don't read with emotion, and it's not like i don't try to truly convey the right stimulation to get my audience to understand the feeling with which a poem was written. but i'm wondering what it's going to be like, the first time i try to share a poem without that marble notebook, hands free, eyes free, body free. i wonder if i will be scared.

it was different when i was in the gospel choir or the drama club at school. there i was surrounded by others. i never had (or wanted) a solo. and i only had to do one monologue when i was acting. when i was on my sorority's step team, i never had to step out there by myself cause i was with others on the stage. there is safety in numbers, and maybe that's why my stage fright was minimal. another thing is, i wasn't sharing my heart and my mind. i may have been lending my voice to strengthen the choir, but it's not like i wrote the songs. i may have been doing that monologue all by myself, but it's not like i wrote the play. i may have helped choreograph the stepshow, but it's not like the steps reflected who i am personally or what my mind holds.

with poetry, it's me. just me, by myself, expressing the gears in my head and the emotions in my heart. i'm going to try a new piece tomorrow, from the book. but i'm also going to try an old piece... from my head. i guess i'll see how it feels then. and this time, i won't punk out, like i did with the singing...

Friday, September 16, 2005

pep rally

About last night...

Taalam Acey is the truth! And I have the double CD set to prove it. What a treat last night as Jus Words at Dowling's Palace featured Taalam Acey!

Please see his website at

And by the way...

I love going to hear intelligent people say intelligent things. I love sharing our minds like that - there really is no other social outlet like that, where I can share what's on my mind, and hear what others have to share. It is inspiring and affirming to know that I am not the only person who has some of these thoughts, fears, opinions, and epiphanies. It is educational to learn from the others who don't think like me. It's like testimony at church service, but it's different, cause it's about more than just witnessing about triumph over tribulation - it's like we are collectively struggling to build a communal consciousness and love and transcends the boundaries of the politically correct and the status quo.

My concern is that, like church, when we leave, do we take our energy and spiritual and mental growth and live boldly, ever willing to change the world? Or like many churchgoers, who put their Bible and tambourine in the rear windshield of the car from Monday to Saturday, do we poets, writers, and artists settle for the contentment of the outlet of our communal activity, the synergy we find within the four walls of the open mic venue, and then forget the higher selves we encountered when we were all high off the rush that comes from a well crafted verse over a well placed beat? I hope not. I hope that like with church, when I leave the open mic venue I can present myself to the world a better, more progressive thinking, more loving, more thoughtful, more meaningful, more productive child of the Most High. And I hope I'm not the only one who leaves changed and ready to be a catalyst for even more change.

Cause the longer I live, the more testimonies I hear, the more poems I listen to, the more I know that we are living in trying times where the hope of change is sometimes all that can keep us going.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

biting off somebody else's blog...

basically see will's post (i know i'm lazy for not making his name a link, don't you be lazy, just click on his name in my links). here are the top 100 songs of 1997 - my likes are purple, loves are bolded, "yucks" are gray, and ambivalence... well, the song is just sitting there. let me just say on first glance at this list, that now i remember why i stopped listening to the radio when i was a teenager and started banging earth wind and fire cd's on the regular...

1. Candle In The Wind 1997, Elton John
2. Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me, Jewel (don't like Jewel)
3. I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans (don't like Sean Combs)
4. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton
5. Can't Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy
6. I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly (i really didn't like his dr. jekyll/mr. hyde flip here)
7. Don't Let Go (Love), En Vogue (not one of their best, but still a strong song)
8. Return Of The Mack, Mark Morrison (this hot garbage...)
9. How Do I Live, LeAnn Rimes
10. Wannabe, Spice Girls
11. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), Backstreet Boys
12. MMMBop, Hanson (no words for how bubble gum annoying this was to me)
13. For You I Will, Monica (big monica fan)
14. You Make Me Wanna..., Usher (not an usher fan, but the music grabbed me)
15. Bitch, Meredith Brooks
16. Nobody, Keith Sweat (i CAN'T STAND this man's voice. just can't.)
17. Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind
18. Barely Breathing, Duncan Sheik (heard this one too many times...)
19. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Az Yet Featuring Peter Cetera (this was aight)
20. Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious B.I.G. (i hated the thug image but couldn't sleep on the skills...)
21. The Freshmen, Verve Pipe
22. I Want You, Savage Garden
23. No Diggity, BLACKstreet Featuring Dr. Dre (the album was in heavy rotation that year)
24. I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face), Rome
25. Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.
26. Every Time I Close My Eyes, Babyface
27. In My Bed, Dru Hill (i miss their soulful crooning... wish they hadn't fell off)
28. Say You'll Be There, Spice Girls
29. Do You Know (What It Takes), Robyn
30. 4 Seasons Of Loneliness, Boyz II Men (what a pretty melody... wish they hadn't fell off)
31. G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T., Changing Faces
32. Honey, Mariah Carey (wasn't this right around where she decided to be black again?)
33. I Believe In You And Me, Whitney Houston (what clarity and power... what a soundtrack... can't believe i still haven't bought it yet)
34. Da' Dip, Freaknasty (this song was soooo corny. but when i heard it recently, i was like "oh snap!)
35. 2 Become 1, Spice Girls
36. All For You, Sister Hazel
37. Cupid, 112 (ooohhh.... with the water drops in the background.... ohhh....)
38. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?, Paula Cole
39. Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin
40. It's Your Love, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
41. Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit, Gina G
42. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
43. All Cried Out, Allure Featuring 112 (who in the hell left the gate open? didn't nobody tell them to make this over...)
44. I'm Still In Love With You, New Edition (why can't i remember this?)
45. Invisible Man, 98 Degrees
46. Not Tonight, Lil' Kim (*sigh* i can't stand her, but i love her though)
47. Look Into My Eyes, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
48. Get It Together, 702 (so glad 702 and allure and what's them rough girls, um... total all fell off!)
49. All By Myself, Celine Dion
50. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion (you know i liked celine, but they wore her out too much and then i started to hate her songs...)
51. My Love Is The Shhh!, Somethin' For The People (what the heck was this?)
52. Where Do You Go, No Mercy (this one gets one good retch from me...)
53. I Finally Found Someone, Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams
54. I'll Be, Foxy Brown Featuring Jay-Z (ahh, fox. hated her image. loved the tracks.)
55. If It Makes You Happy , Sheryl Crow
56. Never Make A Promise, Dru Hill
57. When You Love A Woman, Journey (i thought this was the sweetest lil' ditty)
58. Up Jumps Da Boogie, Magoo And Timbaland (how come i don't remember this)
59. I Don't Want To / I Love Me Some Him, Toni Braxton (the whiniest mess ever, besides some mess keith sweat did...)
60. Everyday Is A Winding Road, Sheryl Crow
61. Cold Rock A Party, Mc Lyte
62. Pony, Ginuwine (hated the music in the back... knockoff porno track - could it have been any whack-er?)
63. Building A Mystery, Sarah McLachlan
64. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis (i hate you, repeating yourself)
65. Your Woman, White Town
66. C U When U Get There, Coolio (???)
67. Change The World, Eric Clapton (i liked the melody and the chorus so much)
68. My Baby Daddy, B-Rock and The Bizz (ghetto anthems are only mildly amusing the first time you hear them... but not the next 8,793 times.
69. Tubthumping, Chumbawamba
70. Gotham City, R. Kelly
71. Last Night, Az Yet (it was played too much, but i still liked the melody)
72. ESPN Presents The Jock Jam, Various Artists
73. Big Daddy, Heavy D
74. What About Us, Total (die, total, die - i didn't know it could get any worse until lil' mo came out)
75. Smile, Scarface
76. What's On Tonight, Montell Jordan (yadda yadda yadda)
77. Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen
78. The One I Gave My Heart, w Aaliyah
79. Fly Like An Eagle, Seal
80. No Time, Lil' Kim
81. Naked Eye, Luscious Jackson
82. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio (yeah, i did the dance. like once. at gunpoint.)
83. On and On, Erykah Badu (thus began a love affair. my big sister erykah can do no wrong in my eyes. saw her live for this first time this summer and was undone.)
84. Don't Wanna Be A Player, Joe
85. I Shot The Sheriff, Warren G
86. You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time), Brian McKnight Featuring Mase (mase? come on, brian.)
87. Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Madonna (the truth is, i never liked this song)
88. Someone, SWV (why come i don't remember this? how did it go?)
89. Go The Distance, Michael Bolton
90. One More Time, Real McCoy
91. Butta Love, Next
92. Coco Jamboo, Mr. President
93. Twisted, Keith Sweat
94. Barbie Girl, Aqua (this song makes me want to get all latrell sprewell on somebody)
95. When You're Gone / Free To Decide, Cranberries
96. Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool (I love this song to this day - guaranteed to get me hype.)
97. I Like It, Blackout Allstars
98. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
99. You Must Love Me, Madonna
100. Let It Go, Ray J (I bought the single on tape cause I liked the track. This was before he thought he could pass himself off as a thug. Remember singles? Shh... remember tapes?)

A few other things - I hated the Spice Girls. I was sick of Toni Braxton - her sophomore effort (and the ones that followed) have done NOTHING for me. How come Heavy D, MC Lyte, and New Edition have songs that came out that year that I can't remember? and why is my graduation year so whack? *sigh*

d.l. derelict

i know i can't be the only one that doesn't find adulthood easy. cause if i was, there wouldn't be so many bankruptcies and divorces and substance abuse. being responsible is a constant thorn in my side. staying on top of all the different areas of my life is an ever-present chore. gotta keep the house clean, remember to budget, keep up your personal and professional associations, stay healthy, work on your goals, perform at work, care about other people, keep from looking a mess... if it ain't one thing it's another. i, being the emotionally driven person that i am, always find a way to let go of the stress that sometimes comes with striving to get it all right so that i can be happy. except sometimes "letting go of stress" becomes "letting go of responsibility" which ultimately becomes "stressing 'cause i ain't been responsible" which leads to frustration, shame, and disappointment, not happiness. there's a proper balance to the whole thing which i sometimes miss somehow - get it done, but don't drive yourself crazy, get some rest, but don't let your priorities get neglected...

i am not a type a person. granted, my life can largely be characterized and benchmarked by my various little achievements, for example, finishing school, or getting a "real" job. but anything i ever did was 75% done out of societally imposed necessity. i didn't want to be in school. i didn't want to get a job. i did want to eat, however - so there we find the reason why i studied in school and hunted for work. but the truth is, i am lazy. i am soooo lazy. i am a big fat couch potato who sleeps until three in the afternoon watching old tv shows all night in a pair of oversized sweats in a messy house - who just happens to be trapped in the body of a somewhat responsible person.

thank God for the ability to cram. and talk my way out of situations. thank God for grace periods and kind people. thank God for multiple bill paying methods. thank God for healthy amounts of pride and fear that things may fall apart. thank God for credit reports - cause if i wasn't worried about maintaining my credit score, i might pay bills maybe 'bout three times a year. thank God for the wisdom that tells me that if i don't clean it up now, i'll just have to clean it later when it's crustier and dustier.

i hope maybe i'll be less lazy on the inside in the case that i have children. they deserve a mom with energy and initiative for its own sake, and not just cause "i have to..." shoot, maybe i can muster up the initiative to be less lazy for my own sake, so i can stop fighting my way out of bed in the morning and grumbling my way to work... i suppose time will tell.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

i am breathing in beauty.
i am beautiful.
i am rested.
i am taken care of.
i am comfortable.
i am grounded.
i am soft and sweet.
i am protected.
i am blessed.
i am innocent.
i am wise.
i am fortunate.
i am eager.
i am excited.
i am pleased.
i am melodic.
i am delicious.
i am daydreaming.
i am smiling.
i am sweet.
i am happy.
i am suspended in the unreal.
i am satisfied.
i am haunted.
i am blushing.
i am coy.
i am bold.
i am sexy.
i am delicate.
i am colorful.
i am peaceful.
i am full.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

crazies talk to themselves

writing with purpose has its place, as does writing for an audience. i am always my primary audience. i write because i am innately a communicator. i've been talking and reading from a very early age. i grew up eating dinner at the table with my parents, talking about the day's events, talking about the world around me, learning and listening as we passed the salt. my dad is a longwinded fountain of words, and i got my gift of gab from him. in school my classmates forced me to sharpen my intellect by trading words. i found that if i could just have the opportunity to say something i could persuade people, or inspire people, or agitate people. but i also learned that there is power in words on a personal and introspective level. i learned that i can take refuge in words. i also get therapy from words. one of my favorites is "articulation," the noun form of the verb "articulate," which is defined as follows:

v. ar·tic·u·lat·ed, ar·tic·u·lat·ing, ar·tic·u·lates (-lt) v. tr.
1. To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.
2. To utter (a speech sound) by making the necessary movements of the speech organs.
3. To express in coherent verbal form; give words to: couldn't articulate my fears.
4. To fit together into a coherent whole; unify: a plan to articulate nursing programs throughout the state.
5. Anatomy. To unite by forming a joint or joints.
6. Architecture. To give visible or concrete expression to (the composition of structural elements): a spare design in which windows and doors are barely articulated.

in this verb - most especially the definitions i've italicized - i find the impetus for my writing. i like to name it and speak it and classify it and make it real so i can understand the stuff that is going on in my heart and in my mind. a poet friend of mine has an excellent poem about this - when i first heard the poem, i heard myself in his words. i have been told that i have an uncommonly good knowledge and familiarity with myself - my values, my opinions, my flaws, and my desires among other things. i am convinced that this self-love and self-awareness is because of my willingness and eagerness to articulate myself through writing. i get joy from the ability to describe something with just the right word and just the right phrasing. it's like developing a picture and getting the processing to be perfect, so that the finished product is a perfect replica of the original - every color, every shadow, every nuance, every dimension. when my words say my thoughts right back at me like a reflection in water, all is right with the world, because in that moment of good photography, i feel like a master of my craft of communication.

now i would hope that an audience could see and appreciate my communication and my writing. but i ain't pressed. because i am my primary audience. maybe one day i'll be a good enough communicator to help change someone's world or enrich someone else's mind or inspire some one else to write, like how paule marshall and j. california cooper or william faulkner or toni morrison have been able to do for me. but for now, i will settle for talking to myself. so sometimes my words in journals and poems and this blog might not do anything for anybody but me. i write about nothing sometimes, just to get the mind moving - just like stretching keeps the body from atrophy. but never let it be said that i left my own soul neglected, because i stopped writing, because i never stroked an audience.

Monday, September 12, 2005

white glove test

i remember my mom saying that she would never want a house that was so big that she couldn't clean it herself. that made a lot of sense to me. it didn't occur to me until later in life that that's why people hire maids and cleaning services. but though i may one day have the means to hire someone to clean up after me, i don't think i'll be using that option.

i think my mom's concern was privacy. but i think that there is value in cleaning up after yourself. whether or not you enjoy cleaning up, i think there is a certain amount of valuable humility to be gained from scrubbing your own toilet and encountering your own shed hairs in the dustpan. i notice that i have this strong desire to remain grounded and humble because the thought of me ever thinking my excrement doesn't stink disgusts me. so despite the fact that cleaning is therapeutic for me because it gives me time to think, i like doing it because i am proud that i take care of my space well and that i am not a spoiled messy brat.

now i am not the most meticulous person there is. i don't have an obsessive compulsive desire to have everything perfect in my home. or anywhere else for that matter, cause right now my car is a mess of tracked in floor dirt, christened here and there with miscellaneous bird doo doo. my office needs a good dusting, and my filing hasn't been done. with that said, i need to feel comfortable in my own house. my home is my personal corner of the planet - the only place i have absolute control over, and since it's up to me, i like to have it my way - everything has a place, too much clutter is a confining no-no, and i am not a fan of dust, smudges, crumbs, or toilet bowl rings.

i watched the w.ife sw.ap marathon on the family channel yesterday afternoon. that show is fascinating to me. two families switch wife/mothers for two weeks. the producers pick the most disparate families and send camera crews to watch as the moms learn to live like their host family and then are allowed to impose their rules in the host family. it makes for interesting drama because you get to see the different ways that people live. one show just can't get out of my head. the moms' idea of keeping house was like night and day. one lady had dust bunnies all in everything and piles of laundry and messes everywhere. she would spend maybe 15 minutes a day cleaning - if that. she wanted to spend more time meditating and mothering her kids than worrying about cleanliness. her free spirit husband was cool with that. the other lady devoted all her time to cooking and cleaning, while her kids watched tv and played video games. her own mother and daughter were just like her - very big on spotlessness, and how that reflects on a woman's worth in the home. on another show, one married career mom had a house manager (who she referred to jokingly as her wife) that also functioned as a nanny. there was also a full time housekeeper on staff. she didn't see why she should have to clean up her house when there was work to be done and money to be made. i would say these women each represented extremes in one way or another.

i think i identified more with the super cleaner more than the other two moms. not because i'm anal, but because both the protestant work ethic and the cleanliness is next to Godliness concept have somehow sat down in the middle of the stuff that i buy into. i can't look at dust bunnies nonchalantly. i don't want some stranger dusting my bedroom or changing my sheets. so i suppose what i am hoping is that i will one day be able to balance having a clean home with spending time with my children and not losing touch with my own humanity cause someone else deals with the excrement stains in my toilet and the jelly stains my babies stick on doors.

so it looks like my house will only be so big. and like i'll probably be at home wrist deep in soapy water most saturday mornings. that may sound like a jail sentence to some people, but in my naive and inexperienced cloud of understanding, it sounds good to me.


Friday, September 09, 2005


i love y'all. i do.

i love your big rock heads and your nappy hair. i love your lopsided grins and your fuzzy eyebrows. i love your eyes. all the sizes and shapes and gazes. DAMN i love me some men. i love being around you. i love thinking about you. i love your shoulder spans and your bootys... i love talking to you, arguing you, debating you, teasing you and being teased by you. i love y'all. i do.

and i appreciate when y'all say hello but i know that you know and you know that i know that hello ain't all you trying to say. i love getting dressed for you - it's often said that women get dressed for other woman. i ain't thinking bout them cows, i'm thinking about you. i want you to see me, dressed down. attractively, not whorish. classy, not desperately. differently from all the other women on the street, all the women in the room. because i want you to notice me and notice that i put time into putting my best face forward to the world and i put thought into how i represent myself because i want you to see and respect me and know that i can - any one of us women can be put together. i smile when i talk to you. i avert my eyes when you make me feel shy. and when i know you're watching, yes sometimes my body moves a lil bit more musically because i love y'all. i do.

i love to hug you. that platonic, but you still a man and i'm still a woman and why you letting go so quick hold on just long enough for me to make you feel like somebody cares hug. i love flirting with my voice. be it strong and assertive or sweet and demure, there is nothing like knowing that when i spoke, you heard me, i can see it in your eyes. i can feel them following me out the door after i have thanked you ever so kindly for going out of your way to open it for me. and like a third grade boy, sometimes you know i care if i'm teasing you. and like a seventh grade girl, sometimes you know i care if i'm ignoring you. and sometimes yeah i'm a tease cause one day you can catch me walking past you with mule blinders on, understated greeting, and brisk pace like i know where i'm going and hell no i'm not stopping for you even though i know i look good and that you only want to tell me so. but most times, oh i'm a peach. i may wrinkle my nose at you when you hold my hand a little too long after the shake, but you know i like it. i may roll my eyes when you tease me, but you know i just want you to do it again. cause you know, i love y'all. i really do.

i like your gators and wingtips and timbs and ones and knockoff ad.idas flip flops with socks. yes i do LOL. i like your oversized polo and khakis. i like your suit and tie. i could kiss that headful of braids. run my fingers through those sumptuous locs. massage the mess outta that caesar. umm umm!!! i love y'all. i really do.

walking past me, smelling all good. making me wanna pick each and every one of y'all from the sexy patch, take you home, and have a little dinner. all your beige, brown and ebony faces show me God's many moods and glories. i look at y'all when you ain't watching, wondering about your stories. checking out your strong hands, thick fingers, short stubby nails that you chopped with the clippers... how did you get here? why are you so amazing? i love y'all. i really do.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


i don't like fear.

i like to face fears. it makes me proud of my strengths and it helps me to battle my weaknesses. but when i don't face a fear - when i allow it to paralyze my thoughts, movement, and progress - i come out feeling like i have failed myself. like i have failed God. because I do not believe He created me to be a fearful person. i'm supposed to trust Him enough to know that nothing i can possibly be afraid of is bigger or badder than Him, my protector. my daddy.

but sometimes i still get scared anyway. so then not only am i dealing with the fear itself, but i am also dealing with my shame and guilt over feeling scared in the first place. fear is so annoying. aggravating.

i am usually in a position to either face a fear or remain trembling in its grip when i am faced with a new frontier. i'm not talking about big dog barking at me or big bee following my perfume fear. i'm talking about should i take this job fear, or should i move out of state fear. can i trust this person fear. is this sacrifice worth it fear. shall i dare to dream that big fear. more often than not the fear is a fear of failure. but sometimes, it's fear of success. other times, it's fear of change. the first is a little more understandable than the other two. but fear of success is just damn stupid. fear of change is futile because change is inevitable and necessary. every breath we breathe is a change.

but that fear of failure... what if this? what if that? maybe i shouldn't? those are very powerful, intimidating questions. sometimes they whup my behind with their dark possibilities, keeping me up at night, sapping all the juice out of my attention span.

part of me always wants to say, girl go for it. the worst that can happen won't kill you. it could possibly knock the breath out your chest for a second, but one good choke and you're back in action. for the record, i listen to that wiser part of glory more often than i choose not to listen to her. but even she will admit she doesn't like the prospect of getting laid out.

though my heart may tremble, my mind knows that i can't live my life in fear, because that, dear reader, is not a life. it's a mere existence. there are too many lessons to be learned, too many pleasures to be had for me to be a punk and miss it all.

so i am hoping that my mind and my heart can get it together, cause i'm facing a frontier that is ripe with possibilities and i just want to get this right and not make a mistake. i just want to get this right and not have any regrets. i know i can't be perfect, but can't a sista strive?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


i could sit here and pretend that i am just a sweetheart and that i love everybody and all i want is sunshine and rainbows but that just wouldn't be honest. i am only sweetheart sometimes. other times i am controlling the impulse to seize certain people by their throat and shake them. so today, i have decided to name a few people who come to mind when i consider who i wouldn't mind sticking on a boat and marooning on some obscure pacific island indefinitely. i want them to sit down and stfu. i am either tired of seeing them, tired of hearing about them, tired of them acting stupid, or tired of trying to figure out why they are famous or noteworthy. this list is in no particular order.

bill o'reilly
the black lady in the ma.alox - or wait, is it ph.illips? - and sud.afed commercials who bosses her husband around and talks all loud about indigestion and farting and stuff
the black man who plays the shuffling clueless husband in those commercials
the black lady with the shower cap who is the honey bu.nches of oats mammy
the black lady who is the pin.e s.ol mammy
the black lady who bugs her eyes out for money
the women who make their asses clap on that bet late night video show
the director of programming at bet
nancy grace
yin yang twins
howard stern and robin shivers
paris hilton and nicole ritchie
michael jackson
dr. phil
omarosa manigault stallworth*
the d.c. snipers
anyone who has anything to say about that girl missing in aruba
anyone who has anything to say about jon benet ramsey
anyone who cares if o.j. did it or not
george w. bush
donald rumsfeld
condoleezza rice
r. kelly*
ja rule
destiny's child
whoever decided that it makes sense to open 4 of the 18 registers at wa.lmart at any given time
whoever decided to keep building walma.rts with that many registers for decoration only
jesse jackson
al sharpton
drivers that don't get outta the way and to the right as they slow to turn right*
queer eye for the straight guy guys
adults that yank kids by their arms, or expect kiddie legs to move as fast as adult ones
adults who call children names
men who think it's ok to put their erection on your hindparts at a party or club*
sean combs
50 cent
clay aiken
that yelling stocks guy i click past on cable everyday
mike tyson
wendy williams

this list is subject to change without notice. i reserve the right to cuss any of the aforementioned folks out at will. those folks with asterisks are likely to get physically assaulted on sight.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


i was sooooo spoiled over the weekend. first with the beautiful weather. i cleaned my whole place from top to bottom, rearranged the bedroom and redecorated the bathroom. i love being at home sometimes. it is my corner of the universe, and it is as peaceful or as jumping as i ever want it to be, when i want it to be that way.

i got to spend some time with one of my two best friends, and found myself in awe that we are adults. i don't know how that happened to us, but it did. and i think i'm finally no longer mad at myself for turning into an adult.

i got my laundry done that night too. which is a major accomplishment, considering i've once been desperate enough to buy new drawls just to keep from having to go to the laundromat. i HATE the laundromat with a passion. i can't wait until i can do my own laundry in my own machine in my own house. but i can't complain about that too much, cause i'm too busy being high off my great weekend...

sunday was the best day i've had in a long long time. when i woke up the sunshine was screaming through the window - wake up girl, you got life to live! and i talked to my mommy on the phone, put away my laundry, and did some praise dancing and playing my gourd instrument and probably driving my neighbors crazy with all my tony toni tone-ness. then my cousin called and told me to grab my bathing suit - we were going to the beach!!! yay! i had been meaning to get to the beach ALL summer but i just hadn't gotten around to it. next thing i knew i was in the car having a very fruitful discussion with my big cousin about self-love while inhaling the calming scent of the pine barrens that you pass through on the way down the shore.

i acted a complete fool in the water and played with my cousins' kids and talked with my auntie and buried my feet in the sand and flirted with the tide and tasted salt water and ran away from the jellyfish that came in with high tide and basically wore myself out before we even walked the boardwalk and hung out in the arcade and had pizza for dinner. i love that rocking feeling the ocean gives you that sucks you to and from the shore - i love how you can still feel it echoing after you get home and you're in bed waiting for sleep to come. on the boardwalk, i bought some fudge to take home (i don't like salt water taffies) and watched the fireworks. and the pizzeria had the mda telethon on tv. these women of all shapes and sizes were dancing african dances and just inspiring me with all their energy. (i can't wait until i start taking my classes!) i pointed it out to my lil' cousin so she would feel beautiful and know that there's more to dancing than what video hos do.

i was absolutely blissfully exhausted by the time i got home. i was straight chillin all day monday, happy for the extra time off. i polished off an article for a local newspaper that was asking for submissions. writing makes me happy, and i know the more i get a chance to do it, the better i should get at it. then i watched scent of a woman, one of my favorite movies, and hung out with a friend for the rest of the night, watching harlem nights (another one of my favorites) and munching on snacks. i am the queen of rainbow sherbet!!!

i couldn't have been a happier camper when i woke up this morning. what a way to start off the day, the week, the fall, the rest of my life. man, that was a great weekend. i sang and smiled the whole time... shoot, i STILL feel like singing. and humming. and dancing. my neighbors better brace themselves...

Monday, September 05, 2005


i have been reading my favorite blogs and i've been truly touched by how people are actually being moved by the tragedy down south. y'all got me feeling speechless. (although i am never actually speechless).

there but for the grace of God goes any of us.

and i choose not to - i fight not to - live in fear. but i can't help but wonder what is wrong with americans. if we don't know how to be good to each other, why is that? we are so far from the promised land that dr. king saw from the mountaintop in his i have a dream speech. as a country, we are facing a huge disaster that affects us all. and instead of being able to concentrate solely on alleviating human suffering and sustaining human lives, we are forced to consider the role that politics and race relations and classism and media coverage have played in the formation of the situations that led to the terrible aftermath of this storm. that makes me distrust humanity on a level that i have never known i could.

is my next door neighbor the kind of person who would steal an automatic weapon in a tragedy and shoot it at a helicopter that is trying to rescue sick people?

would my white co-worker have the audacity to believe that racism plays no role in the media coverage and rescue efforts (or the lack thereof)?

is my president, who calls himself a born-again Christian, really calloused enough to hold back on his power in such a way that it takes four or five days - damn near a WEEK - to get some help to the suffering people in new orleans and throughout the coast, instead of putting his presidential muscle into making things happen not "faster" but "now"?

we find out how people really are when some shit goes down. this is often said. this is one of those things that you know in your head and agree with, but you have a limited amount of opportunities to experience its truth - and if you're lucky, to have the presence of mind to learn from that experience.

my heart hurts for humanity - still - because this tragedy is showing me so many shades of ugly. so many shades of evil. my eyes water, my chest heaves, my brows furrow at the thought of how people are dying because of considerations that were overlooked and lives that weren't valued as much as others. and the only thing i feel i can learn from witnessing this mess is that people are way too susceptible to evil - the kind i can't understand. the kind i can't wrap my mind around. the kind that is devoid of a true understanding of love.

and i have other concerns.

why do the survivors in new orleans seem so disorganized? it may be politically incorrect to criticize them, but i was wondering why everyone seems to be everywhere. why aren't the older women taking care of the sick and disabled while the younger women and girls supervise the children, while the young boys help the grown men protect the weak, forage the city for survivors and supplies, and relocate the dead so that children would not have to play around corpses? in the days where the militia was absent and the cops were outnumbered, where were the strong men to take leadership, organize a militia, and control the violence until the national guard came? i am reminded of the black panther party's school breakfast program and how it makes our pre- and post-million man march community look like a bunch of punks. maybe i'm bugging - maybe this was happening, but the media wouldn't cover it because that would be too much like right - that would be showing intelligent strong black men - that isn't the kind of coverage they believe people want to see, because america's worst nightmare is way more newsworthy.

and if we can't handle a hurricane that we can see in advance on weather radar, how in the hell can we withstand the next major terrorist attack? i cannot take the department of homeland security seriously - not that i ever did, but especially after this mess. what on earth will if have to go through if something happens where i live? will my well being depend on how much i make a year and will people's sympathy for me be contingent upon the color of my skin? will we collectively be so unprepared and hard hearted that this mess could happen again? i shouldn't be an afterthought in my own damn country, which was built on the whip scarred spines and calloused feet of my ancestors, and defended in wartime by men like my grandfather and my dad and my cousin. why do i continue to live in a place that calls me and treats me ugly? why do i foolishly expect this country to have any love for me and people who look like me?

i need a hug. and maybe a plane ticket.

found a quote: "Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by legal segregation laws? ...If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions." Mark Naison, director of the urban studies program at Fordham.

Friday, September 02, 2005

i missed janet's boob. but i saw this...

y'all i was minding my own business, waking up from a nap, and one of those talented marsalis brothers and harry connick were finishing some beautiful song on nbc's hurricane relief show that's going on live, right now.

then mike myers and kanye west appeared to put in their pleas for help. i don't even remember what mike myers said, something about giving - the stuff we all (should) know and plan to do already if we haven't already done it. he spoke pointedly. i do remember that kanye spoke about helping out as well. helping other black people. he came out his mouth first about how he hated the media for their coverage of white finders and black looters. how he was guilty of shopping before donating, but that now he is asking his business manager to find out and inform him of how much he can afford to give to help. he said we need to give to the poor people. the black people. because they have given the okay to shoot us. look, dude was obviously rambling off the cuff - i'm a smart one and he lost me for a second, lol... anyway, then the camera cuts off of the shot of them and shows some coverage of the tragedy for a few moments. i'd say that things seemed to be going ok enough so far...

then the camera shows mike and kanye again. mike says a few more of the expected words you'd use to drum up compassion. and kanye says a few more, obviously still rambling off the cuff. then this man says, like he's stealing cookies out the jar, like he's telling the teacher the truth about her ugly wig, like he better get it out because this is live tv, like he's the little black boy in the "that's racist" icon, that

"george bush doesn't care about black people!"

all momentum in the show just stopped. LOL. i think kanye's pause was supposed to put the responsibility for speaking back on mike myers. mike looked like kanye hit him on the back of the neck like will used to hit carlton on the fresh prince. dude took a second to ask himself if he just heard what he thinks he heard on live tv and then commences to turn not his head, but his whole body around to kanye like, "WTF?!?! THIS MF..."

i could "hear" the director in the control room saying oh snap - end scene! onto the next celebrities, please - let's get just this N*gga off the screen, hurry!!! ROFL! and that's exactly what they did. my stomach hurts soooooo bad from laughing... i LOVE live television.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

unruly n*ggas, unruly media. yo chris rock, i'm looking over my shoulder for both.

have y'all been paying attention to how the looters are being portrayed?

did y'all know that black people loot, but white people find?

and let's not forget the shots of brothers and sisters with tv's and tennis shoes - ahem - sneakers, and reports of them with ak47s. the truth is, yes, the majority of the people left in new orleans are black and poor (because they couldn't get themselves out on their own means - you try driving a car when you don't have one or paying for sold out plane/amtr.ak/gre.yho.und tickets with money you don't have). the only people they show looting will be people who are left in new orleans. so it follows that the majority of the people looting in new orleans, and captured on film looting in new orleans, will be black and poor.

that's just probability.

but, lest you think i have lost my mind, of course i believe that the media is showing what they think viewers will be moved by seeing - n*ggas with nikes and automatic weapons. that's sensational. if it bleeds, it leads - or more aptly - if it scares, the media cares. america's worst nightmare is happening - our tv's show the lawlessness allowing big black bucks and eye-rolling black heffas pillaging - downright showing their a*ses, supposedly justifying racist treatment and all the negative stereotypes of black folks, and making it so hard for rescue efforts that rescue missions are taking a backseat to Operation: Clamp Down on the Unruly N*ggas.

i would like to thank the media for always rising admirably to the occasion, never missing a beat when it comes to affirming mainstream america's worst fears about "the darker race."

i would also like to thank the ignorant a*ses who think they're going to be able to do something with a water logged big screen tv when there ain't no damn electricity, along with their comrades, the a*sholes who are scaring the rescuers, doctors, and refugees alike with gunshots.

come on up here and get your This-Is-Why-Glory-Believes-In-Public-A*s-Whuppings award. let me show you exactly how much i appreciate what you do to affect our collective faith in the human family.

i am really ashamed right now.



i have a hard time with tragedies. when the oklahoma city building got bombed, i thought about the children in daycare who died before they had a chance to live and wept. when los angeles erupted in riots and looting after the rodney king verdict my heart sank and i grieved for my country and for my people. i wore black for three days and walked around like a ghost in mourning after september 11, 2001, preoccupied with thoughts of people living a real-life horror movie, falling from the sky, or burning before they could even realize they were drawing their last breath. i realized then, as i was thinking about the families that had plastered thousands of posters of family members around like children on milk cartons, that i can't watch news coverage of such tragedies. when the tsunami hit southeast asia and africa i rationed my news monitoring, knowing i probably couldn't reasonably deal with witnessing the overwhelming volume of destruction left behind.

i have a very limited understanding of what the morning after a disaster is like. two years ago, i huddled with my family in my parents' house waiting for hurricane isabel to stop wailing on our roof. waiting for the unexplained crashing and movement outside our dark house to stop. listening to the news accounts on the battery operated tv and radio. hoping that my apartment was intact and that the roads would be passable. we walked outside the next morning - with no electricity, limited plumbing, no phone except our unchargable cell phones, and talked to our neighbors, some of whom we'd never spoken any more than two words to before the storm had us actually acting like neighbors. a year later, i was trapped in a shopping mall because tropical storm gaston decided to sit on top of my city for hours after work without warning. the roads were impassable, not just because of trees like when isabel came, but also because of the sheer volume of water that literally was dumped on us from the storm. flooding is no joke. so many people were trapped or hurt or lost their cars. an entire low lying neighborhood full of businesses and people was destroyed because of the risen water. they are still cleaning up the damage a year later. i knew i couldn't deal with this level of loss much in a lifetime. i've lived in the mid-atlantic states my whole life. i've never understood how people live on fault lines or in tornado or mudslide or wildfire or hurricane country. a nor'easter, i can deal with. the tail of a weakened hurricane, okay. but all out, full blown, get-out-of-town-cause-we-gonna-die furies of nature? i don't think so. i can't begin to understand the worry and frustration and danger that comes with that territory.


which brings me to hurricane katrina slamming into the gulf coast. what a nightmare. i remember eight years ago, i met a guy from new orleans - wonderful guy who dated a close friend of mine. he told us then that one good storm could wipe the city out. why did i think he was exaggerating? and here i am wondering how his parents are doing - i've met them and they are fine people, who remind me of my own parents. wondering how an old roommate from new orleans and her family are doing. hoping they're okay. that they have shelter and food and a sanitary environment and that they are safe from the looters. i am hoping that unlike most of the people i'm seeing on television, they had the means to get out before the rising water broke the levees, sending a surge of water into the city. i'm hoping they're not homeless. identity less. my ex-roommate's mom has a chronic illness - does she have her meds? will she be okay? a friend i left behind in richmond has family in louisiana and i'm hoping they, and he, are okay... it is so much more real when you have a familiar face to put on the victims and their families. it is so much more scary when you realize it's not comfort these people need first, but survival. health. water. food. sanitation.

it makes you put your problems in a more proper perspective.

it also makes me want a fireproof, waterproof, grab-in-case-of-emergency kit, where i could put some cold hard cash, a cd with all my scanned pictures of my life, all my old diaries and written works, and proof of birth and citizenship. and a few changes of drawls. how can you get housing and a job and start over when you have nothing but the clothes you were wearing when you got plucked off a roof into the helicopter or boat that took you away from your destroyed home?

boy do i appreciate waking up in my room surrounded by my stuff this morning. washing up with clean water. flushing my toilet. having a bowl of cereal to eat. clean clothes to wear. gas in my tank. a job to come to... i am blessed. rich even.

feenin (not like jodeci)

and strangely enough, you know who i was thinking about today? crackheads and junkies.

i was telling a friend at lunch that i feel sorry for the crackheads and junkies. people are attempting to assist diabetics, preemies, and other people with serious medical conditions - as we should be. but i bet nobody is looking out for the drug addicts. this is no nicotine irritability i'm talking about here. i'm talking about dry heaves, and seizures and psychological stuff - withdrawal is no joke. a lot of people can't physically withstand the trauma of every cell in their body crying out for smack. and though it may seem that shelter and sanitary conditions are the most important things to most people, y'all know that crackheads and junkies just need to get high, cause their bodies are turning on them. where are their pushers? their stashes are flooded away. their drug houses are flooded out - they don't even have nowhere to smoke or shoot up. they might be illegal or wrong or whatever you wanna call them for doing drugs... but they are living people with souls, feelings, and families who care about them (albeit from a probable distance).

i think as long as they're alive, they're doing better than dead - well, some of them. i certainly think that the rescue and recovery of whoever needs to be found definitely preempts making sure that the addicts are OK. but i wonder how they've been making it these last few days, and when this is all cleaned up, i wonder how many people will actually have died from drug withdrawal.

i wonder if it is ethical (i didn't say legal) to hook them up with their drug of choice to keep them alive because of humanity and love? or is it ethical to keep them feening and let them die because they chose to buck society's values and the money for their drugs could be spent elsewhere?