Tuesday, January 31, 2006

nary a word

he was frustrated. he didn't want to be at home if it meant having to be hounded about his attitude. but home is where his shower was, and home is where he could change clothes and sit still, watch some sportscen.ter without having to argue with anyone else, and let the rest of the evening eventually slip away until all that was left was turning the television off and hoping for a better tomorrow. that is, if she would just understand his need for space, keep her distance and understand this once, without him having to tell her, that he just didn't want to talk about it. if she would just not try to guilt him with those eyes. he took his keys out of the steering column, grabbed his leather shoulder bag and hefted his exhausted frame out of the car into the twilight. at the door, he paused before turning the key in the lock to exhale a wordless prayer. even his mind was at a loss for words.

he swept through the door frame silently, tentatively. the house smelled different. he couldn't place the soft scent right away, but it was nice to come home to... first order of business - drop this work baggage. keys on the table. shoes near the baseboard. he could put them away another day. coat over the banister. bag at the foot of the steps. he pulled off his already loosened tie and unbuttoned his shirt as he walked upstairs to shed the rest of his day. he imagined the shower to come, steam rising and wafting the smell of cleanliness through the room, massaging suds through his hair, warm water kneading the stiff dough of his weary back...

he walked in his shorts to the bathroom to start the water. in mid-reach for the knob, he noticed that pleasant scent, again... and he wondered where she was and why the house was so quiet. why hadn't she called out to him as he trudged through the doorway, like she usually does? he went downstairs to find her, willing to take his chances on having to find a patient way to get away from her to the shower once his curiosity was satisfied. as he walked back towards the kitchen, he saw the flicker that only candles could make, reflected on the dimly lit dining room walls, and he hesitated. damn. he didn't have the energy for this, but wasn't her sweetness a part of why he loved her?

he craned his neck into the door with a knowing smile. their eyes locked immediately, since she heard him come back down the stairs and was waiting for him to find his way to her. she knew he wasn't much for candles and stereotypical notions of romance, but she wanted to change the air with their scent and warm her gesture of love with their light. she didn't say a word as she walked over to him and placed one finger on his parted lips and her other hand on his about-to-make-an-excuse-to-run-away hand. come in, she gestured. sit down, she guided him. who knew he would make this easier by coming down in only his shorts? no shirt to strip. from behind him, she began to stroke his neck and shoulders with a light touch, the prelude to a slow and concentrated massage, punctuated with his occasional hums of satisfaction. he allowed her touch and gravity's pull to take away his rigidity, but his mind was still working full time, trying to figure out how to get back to the shower without hurting her feelings.

she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his temple. a moment suspended itself as he hesitated, then inhaled sharply while opening his mouth to speak - only to have her hand softly hush his thought again. something in him kicked against her insistence, but in his weariness, he capitulated and reasoned that if he could just be patient with her plans, he could get back to his own. so he smiled appreciatively as she served salad, followed by homemade mashed potatoes and crab cakes that he knew she must have left work early to prepare. they ate in silence, stealing occasional glances at each other. she, at the furrow still in his brow, the width of his shoulders that she had always loved, the birthmark in the abstract shape of a starfish that danced under his collarbone when he chewed. he, at the beautiful robe she was wearing, which he hadn't even noticed when she pulled him into the chair. he felt lazy now, relaxed by the massage and weighed down by the food. grateful though he was, he knew the shower just wouldn't be the same now... and he hoped she wouldn't make any unreasonable requests tonight of what little energy he had left...

as she rose and coaxed him out of the chair, he figured she must have been reading his mind to know that he wanted to go upstairs... why couldn't she also have read his thoughts that he'd rather have gone up alone? but he followed her gentle handclasp to the stairs. watched her robe shift like swaying trees as she climbed the stairs ahead of him, patiently enduring her sweetly intended game. they stopped at the bathroom, where she knelt before the tub and started a shower. come, she motioned, test the water. and as he bent over to put his hand under the faucet, she rose and dropped the robe.

he looked up at her and remembered sunrises he'd seen, and the kiss of spring's arrival. his brow lost its furrow as he finally understood that she only wanted to be there, and that if he didn't want to talk, that was fine with her. but she wasn't going to just evaporate, because she needed him. just like he needed her right at the moment his eyes traced their way up her torso to her eyes. not guilt inducing this time. just loving.

they spent the night with no words. the morning sun found a kitchen with dirty plates and plenty of melted candle wax on the table. dress shoes strewn in the hallway. a robe and shorts in the bathroom floor. wet towels on the bedroom floor. and one big lump under scattered covers on the bed. one big, giggling, joyful lump, ripe with the sweet sound of lovers flirting on the morning after - silent no more.

Monday, January 30, 2006

point of view

saturday morning i decided that my arrangement of my bedroom furniture had to change. my birthday is coming up, and i want to be ready. see, i see my birthday like how people see new year's day. and i see the time leading up to my birthday like how some christians see lent (minus the ashes and the abstinence). got to get my house in order. so this time of year is always one of more concentrated personal reflection and conscious change. so i'm facing a different wall as i type this paragraph, and now my stereo is wafting ra.chelle fer.rell and wil.l downi.ng from my left instead of from behind me. everything in my room feels new, the energy i feel when walking in has changed, and my old habits of movement have to change. when i changed into my pj's i went to put something in my dresser drawer - i turned towards it to find a bookshelf. oh that's right, i remembered. i moved it. the rearrangement is forcing me to shed old habits. to shed old energy and adjust to a new...

sorry, drifted off trying to sing both rachelle and will's parts. can't nobody tell me when i'm alone that i can't blow! (that's probably 'cause nobody's there, since i'm alone...) but anyway, where was i?

- adjust to a new pattern of be-ing.

my bamboo and wandering jew are by the window where they'll get the most morning light. the foot of my bed faces my beautiful angelic dancers framed on the wall. my head lies under the window - the sun will be my new alarm clock. and as usual, i have a big space for impromptu dancing - the kind i did tonight when i got home from my best friend's house. her (our!) new manchild is almost here, and we were getting the house ready. i love her, and i am so excited to see how being responsible for another person will change her point of view. i bet it will be more profound than what i get out of rearranging my bedroom. i'm looking forward to seeing what i can learn from this new person, too.

picked up a book at the store sunday. i made the decision to change my attitude towards food. again. the book explains vegetarianism. now, i have absolutely no intention of becoming vegetarian, for a few reasons. first, i like meat. second, it's not morally abhorrent to me to eat meat. and finally, and most importantly, i like meat. and i don't care that that's redundant. that liking meat thing is important. however, i have this fascination with the idea of goodness within, goodness without. i decided, in a dream i had over the weekend, that it would be better for me to plan my meals differently. instead of thawing out a meat (as the main element of the meal) and figuring out complementary side dishes later, i could reverse that, and think of meat last, or not at all, depending on my mood. i figure i'll get a better variety of nutrition that way, broaden my horizons, get more radiant physically, and set myself and my babies up for healthier lives... i realize that i could wind up eating vegetarian by accident, playing with my point of view like this, but i'll ride the instinct and see where it goes. of course this means learning how to cook differently and understanding more about what i'm getting out of the foods i eat - but that's where the book comes in. by the way, i ate a chicken sammich today. but it had lettuce on it... :-)

my body healed quite well after my fall last week. i'm thankful for my fall and for my little heating pad that enabled me to rearrange my furniture and get my laundry done... and to go to my poetry spots and to the party on saturday. the party went slow for me at first, and i was on my way out the door, until a friend of mine danced with me and changed my point of view. it's amazing how my attitude toward staying changed once i found a couple dance partners whose rhythms were in sync with mine (that is, on beat and not just grinding without regard for the music LOL!) i had a good time. and from this vantage point, i'm glad i waited until i was grown to go out seeking a good time. it's really something what i see from this point of view - all the heartache, all the dangers i avoided by staying true to my upbringing... thank God for my parents and my instinct and my faith.

i'm just trying to live as beautiful a life as i can. and sometimes, point of view seems to make all the difference...

Friday, January 27, 2006


went to one of the open mics last night. it's usually the highlight of my week. i usually go real hyped. when i walk in the door i am usually happy to be there, especially a few minutes after i walk through the door, sign up on the list, and pick a seat and get settled in. i usually go around and say hi and give hugs to all the folks i know. i usually laugh more easily, talk more readily, and give and take as much love as i can handle.

not last night. last night i was on some silent tip. sullen. antisocial. i don't know why, i just was. i tried to get myself out of it, but i couldn't loosen up. i tried to have fun, but everything was just off. i had some conversations here and there. networked a bit. exchanged a few notes. but instead of being my usual sunny 77 degree self, i was more like 59, overcast, with a 85 percent chance of rain. my hugs were brief, my tongue unusually sharp and profane, my smiles forced, my compliments labored. i just couldn't shake the funk.

i wouldn't say i didn't have a good time or try to contribute to the fun. i wouldn't say i didn't share some love last night with my friends and acquaintances. but something was just. off. when i finally drove away, i put on some music with one of those hard beats that reminds me of walking down a city block, facing the winter wind, wearing enough clothes to look like i'm wearing football gear, mean mugging to keep the bustas away. it fed my inner defiance and was the soundtrack for my aggression. i figured, if you can't beat it, revel in it. which is exactly what i did. i do strive to be my best self. most of the time. sometimes, though, i'm just brittle.

have you ever had a problem, and you knew what it was, but you didn't want to face it, 'cause you knew if you did that you would have to confront some truths about yourself that you'd rather not admit, or have to face some tasks that you'd rather not have to complete?

i have work to do.

this is the kind of stuff that goes into my private journal. the kind of stuff i can't share here. the kind of stuff i don't even want to face myself.

but i must. this is an emergency.

time will tell how this will all play out...

Thursday, January 26, 2006


(apparently, i had more to say today than i thought i would when i posted last night.)

when i'm in the car, i turn my radio down so i can't hear the music. when i'm washing the dishes, i talk to myself. people have been looking at me strange lately as i go to and fro, lips moving, no sound.

i'm repeating my poems over and over without my beat up black and white marble composition

easy to let yourself panic

notebook. i'm gaining the ability to spit without thinking too hard. gaining the ability to play off the "think heffa - think!!!" pauses where i need to remember the next line. if i just calm down and have faith that the next line will surface, it's easy to realize that the silence just creates a useful dramatic pause where noone is the wiser as long as i keep a poker face. funny how i would give

if you don't have faith

in your ability to make it

to the other side of the gap

that advice from my acting days to other poets, and now here i am using it myself. but it's easy to let yourself panic in that moment between lines if you don't have faith in your ability to make it to the other side of the gap...

i have yellow sticky notes all over the place, 'cause that's the most convenient place, most times, to write down a haiku that happens to me. seventeen syllables. i love it! they are the sixteen bars of poetry. i never go anywhere without a pen and paper anymore - i can't afford to - i might miss something. my heart and mind are always open to new wordplay. and i pay more attention to my thoughts now, 'cause so many of them could be poems.

my feature at the HEAT is coming in less than a month. i want to do new pieces so that my friends won't be bored with the same things they've been hearing from me since i first got on the mic in july. i hope i can remember my new stuff by the time the feature comes. if i stop running around so much and take some time to sit and write out the contents of my heart, i can get the new stuff done in time enough to memorize them by the feature.

i'm determined. it can happen.


i talk to myself. sometimes out loud. sometimes silently in my head. i call myself "precious." i argue with myself and ask provocative questions to force me to work through problems and come up with revelations and solutions. i sing to myself. i am my own shrink. i am also my big sister and my inner child. i am my alter ego with a napoleon complex. and sometimes that me gets juxtaposed against my predominant ji.miny cricket. i am my harshest editor and my most honest critic. i am a cheerleader for myself. and sometimes, after i've come out of a funk, i realize with the benefit of hindsight that i am the one who allowed myself to get into that funk in the first place. i am sane precisely because i recognize the wisdom of the insane act of talking to myself. though that act is most often associated with the crazed, i value it and embrace it. my mom does it. that means it can't be all that bad...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

time to move

i was on the way to work tuesday morning. i walked out the door, and before i realized what was happening, my left leg slipped out from underneath my body, and i literally hit the deck. splat. my first thought was the neighbor's cat, that has been camped outside my upstairs neighbor's door (and mine - we share a deck) ever since her cat allergy flared up. the cat is supposedly going to be given away, but


everytime i see my neighbor, it's later, later, later. in the meantime, the kitty has been leaving its poop where she pleases when her owner doesn't properly clean up after her, and the last time i slipped on this deck is because poop has that effect when wedged between shoes and a wooden surface. i lay there on my left side, worried. am i hurt? will i be late to work? did i dirty up my oufit? is there isht on me? i fought back tears, which were welling up more for the fact that i'd fallen than because of the pain i felt. i hated feeling as small and vulnerable as i did at that moment.

i realized, while trying to get up, that the whole deck was slippery. it wasn't the cat, i realized. she, having watched me fall, looked at me from the landing above, leaning down and staring as if to say, "daaaaaaaammmnnnn! you aight?" there was black ice all over the deck, but no salt, and no mats (the cat had pooped on my old one and on the replacement her owner had bought me). i struggled to get up and stand. so far so good. should i call out of work? no - i took a sick day last week. should i go to the emergency room to make sure i'm okay? i don't want to sit there all day, miss work, and deal with the co-pay. let's see how getting through the day will go. i limped gingerly down the flight of stairs to the car, eased my way in booty first like my very pregnant best friend has been doing lately, and drove to work, tears still smarting in my eyes. my hip and my knee were tender.

i limped into work, spiritual tail between my legs. i slouched onto my right cheek while sitting, so as to alleviate any pressure on my left side. wow, living

what i look like, a old person?

like an old person with arthritis sucks. i am not looking forward to walking this slow and coddling my every movement as a rule one day
. throughout the day, more symptoms of the fall kept popping up. lower back pain. shoulder pain. shooting pain through my thigh. i figured, let me just go home and rest.

"i fell down."
"when? where?"
"on the ice on the deck this morning."
"are you okay? did you hurt anything?"
"i'm fine, dad, i mean i have some aches, but my body still can walk and stuff."
"you got to be more careful."
"dad, it was black ice, i couldn't see it. i didn't know it was there."
"you need to soak in some epsom salt or you'll hurt worse tomorrow."
"what i look like, a old person? i ain't got no epsom salt! i got some alcohol though."
"well that might help... soak in some hot water with the alcohol. make sure you warm that place up though before your bath, you can't soak if it's cold in there, and it stays too cold in there."
"i know... i will..."

later, i turned the water on to draw a bath. i checked it halfway - though the setting was on hot, the water was coming out cold. there's no way all the hot water is gone! arrrrggggghhhh!!! there's alcohol and softening salt wasted. i drained the tub. by the time the water would be hot again, the water in the tub would be frigid. damn. back to the drawing board.

i waited a few hours for more water to heat up and then tried again. the hot water lasted longer this time, but i happened to walk in just as the water was turning


yellow. not pretty. determined to lessen wednesday's pain, i just turned off the faucet and boiled some more water in a big stockpot on the stove to mix in with the tub water. ridiculous. but effective. i used my space heater to heat up the bathroom to tropical, lit some candles, and soaked, somewhat uncomfortably in the shallow alcohol solution. during my soak, i thought about the house i want to live in, and how nice it would be for me to be the only one to point fingers at if i didn't like my living situation. no upstairs or downstairs neighbors. no wayward cats. no miscellaneous poop. no come-when-i-feel-like-it landlord...

i could feel each and every pain more distinctly after the bath. at last count, my left shoulder blade hurts, the space between my shoulder blades hurts, and my left forearm, lower left ribs, my left hip, the side of my left thigh, my left knee, and my left ankle are all refusing to let go of what happened this morning. my back is uncomfortable at any posture. at my mom's suggestion, i may go to get checked out sometime wednesday, especially if i feel worse after the night's inactivity, or if my mobility is hemmed up. we shall see.

thank God for month-to-month leases and first time homebuyer programs.

one day, this story will be funny.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

keepsake bubbles

yeah, okay, so maybe i don't want this blog to be my stereotypical black woman waiting for her tall dark and handsome black knight blog. nor do i want it to be my aspiring writer blog. nor do i want it to be my stuff-nobody-cares about blog. but that pretty much is what this is, whether or not i want it to be. sometimes i think of a topic, and think, "didn't i just write about that?" i hate the idea that what i generally have to say could be so easily categorized. it would be nice if this could be the i-can't-wait-to-see-what-new-and-interesting-thing-is-going-on-in-glory's-mind blog, but it can't be that. my life is not full of new and interesting things all the time. i'm not in the mood for political commentary, since i believe that i can blog until i'm blue in the face, but it won't do anything to provide affordable housing and health care and quality education and jobs with living wages and an end to the trade deficit, peace in the middle east, an end of terrorism, racism, sexism, classism and/or any other miscellaneous -ism. i don't intend to be particularly educational, or even have a point at all on some days. this blog just reflects what's happening in my mind when i sit facing a keyboard, challenging myself to have something to say about something that i figure perhaps someone can relate to, or at least get something out of reading.

with that said, let me get into one of my most often revisited topics, cause this is

i am that stereotypical

single black woman

what's on my mind right now... i guess i could say that i am indeed that stereotypical single black woman. the one who has it together. the one who is, at minimum, covering all the bases of what's expected in adult life. education. job. some modicum of comfort and recreation. financial plans. spiritually grounded. bla, bla, bla. and who secretly, in her heart of hearts, in the dark, in her place, when alone, ponders the question of companionship. the wind is changing.

i can't remember a time since i was twelve that it didn't matter to me to some degree whether or not i was attached. that was about the time

i had wisdom

beyond my years.

i wasn't pressed

that all my girlfriends started getting boyfriends and kissing and exchanging telephone numbers, getting felt up and drawing their names with his in hearts all scribbled on the back page of spiral notebooks in purple or green or pink ink. but at the time, i had a wisdom beyond my years. i wasn't pressed. i didn't think i was ugly, but i certainly didn't think i was cute. i was short, i wore glasses, my acne was having fun with my complexion, and i was skinny, flat-chested, and not used to hanging out with boys. so i figured at that time that boys were for later, even though i felt a little left out.

i was right. "later" came when i was fourteen, and i snuck a "date" with a boy at the library under the guise of research for a school project (as if my mom didn't know what she was really dropping me off for). we walked to the waterfront holding

i am still that girl

hands, and then we kissed under a night sky in front of the lights of the philly skyline and the bright blue lights of the ben franklin bridge. it was a sloppy, spitty, amateur mess of a kiss, but it's one of the most romantic i've ever received. that was the beginning. through my teenage years, i had a few boyfriends. hardly any of them lasted for any longer than four months. but i had fun learning the ropes of how to hang out with them in settings other than dodgeball games and freeze tag, watching them play football or cheerleading for them while they played basketball. all my closest friends in high school were boys. i loved each of them for letting me hang around - the girl mascot, the kid sister, the one none of them would date, but the one who could help with homework or who would let you have some of her french fries at lunch. in many ways, i am still that girl.

i had to leave my first love to go to college. it didn't seem right to stay loyal to a guy who couldn't be found at prom time, who wasn't working or in school, while i was learning about syllabi and credits, paychecks and credit cards, midterms and finals... my first adult relationship, with an older guy, molded me and sustained me through the rest of college. some of my dorm neighbors thought that i was the kind of girl who couldn't be without a man. i find that funny since most of the time i was with my college sweetheart, i was really more alone than i was with him. we loved each other, but most of the time i loved him, we were either on hiatus, or we were in the mild and timid reconciliation phases that followed each hiatus. he had my heart for the first five years of my adult life. in my heart, he was my husband. though the love was intense, i think of that period as one of uncertainty and insecurity, even though i thought that we would ultimately marry.

we didn't. for the right reasons, which i don't regret at all. but there were five years of my life spent monogamously. i stood suddenly liberated, having been loved, but unsure of how to get love again - unsure if i wanted love again. i had never

just the normal

ups and downs

really dated as an adult. the whole experience of moving on and starting over was frightening - it was like being fourteen all over again. from that experience, i can't imagine what divorcees go through. i was in grad school, and very busy, but i met men here and there. no big problems, but no major love affairs, either. still, having been an only child, i contented myself with my own company when i wasn't dating, and forced myself to face my fears of learning to trust a new person when i did have opportunities to date. nothing major. nothing traumatic or out of the ordinary. no pressure. just the normal ups and downs of meeting and dating and breaking up.

but then, one day i looked up and did the worst thing imaginable. i started to count. i started thinking about how many weddings i've been in. how many

worst thing imaginable -

i started to count.

weddings i've gone to. how many times i've avoided catching the bouquet. how many of my college friends are married or coupled. how many of my childhood friends are married or coupled. how many of my cousins are married or coupled. the effect was something like that well known camera effect, where a person experiences a sudden realization, and at the same time that the camera zooms in on their shock tinged face in the foreground, their surroundings shrink back from them in the background, as if they are inhaling and sucking themselves back like one of those little blue baby aspirators (sorry for that simile - i just hosted a baby shower over the weekend and my friend and i were trying to figure out why every snot sucker we've ever seen is blue).

which brings me to what inspired this blog entry in the first place. as i sat in front of my blank screen, wondering what to write about, my eyes landed on one of the bookshelves, one corner of which has, by chance, become the depository for all things keepsake. there is a picture of me as a bridesmaid with the bride in the last

it's just me now...

wedding i was in. there are favors from my best friend's baby shower, my little cousin's wedding, my big cousin's wedding... it's all piling up. i started thinking - i can, without hesitation, think of at least three weddings coming up within the next year or so. there will be more clear tubes of bubbles with ribbons on them bearing the names of my loved ones with people who will now monopolize their attention. there will be more baby shower party favors. as i look around, precious few of us are left without wedding scrapbooks or childbirth war stories. i did not want to be one of the precious few. am i happy that i'm not in some relationship that i shouldn't have stayed in, just to get my m.r.s. degree? of course. am i sure that i'll still feel this way five or ten years from now? of course not. the difference is that i don't want to be the single one, consoling myself like i did when i was twelve, saying that "love is for later." nor do i want to be the foolish one who marries just to be married. that is soooo not a good move. but the wind has changed. it is like the first fall wind you feel - that early wind that happens even before the leaves change and fall - the one that reminds you that cooler weather is coming. the kind that reminds you to make vacation plans for the holidays and go pull that hat out of storage. it was fine when me and my girls could go play and talk about boys and we were all in the same boat. but it's just me now.

i feel that this is an appropriate place for me to remind you all that this is just my blog. these are not the thoughts that dominate my mind throughout the days - i am not preoccupied. i will not be husband hunting. nor will i be gratuitously flirting

i am a longsuffering


with anything with a y-chromosome. i will not be batting my eyes shamelessly. i do not consider myself an old maid. and i already know about the "grass is greener" stuff - in fact, i blogged about that fallacy some months back. i understand the value of patience. these are just ruminations "on paper." "knowing better" doesn't make the thoughts and feelings any less real or compelling - it just keeps them from controlling you. and to that end, i'd rather not receive comments in the vein of patience or the color of grass. trust me, i know. i am a longsuffering pisces. i know that it is my lot to go through the spiritual journey of staying true to myself, refusing to settle for less than the love i seek, even if it means becoming a martyr in my own mind for the cause - even if it means never making it to his arms because "he" just wasn't meant to be.

i'm okay. but i think i might dismantle my depository of keepsakes, just for good measure.

Monday, January 23, 2006


boldness can be beautiful. last night i saw many examples of this at a show i went to. there was spoken word, singing, dancing - it was a pleasure to be there. as i was watching the performers, i thought about their thought processes. what is he thinking as he stands there and bares his soul in front of all these people, saying these things about his personal weaknesses and fears? does he know, while he is moving and whirling across the stage, using his body as poetry, that we are sitting here watching him? it seems as if he has forgotten about us and is simply present only in the arch of his feet, the reach of his arms, the lift of his leg - it's as if he and his emotion are dancing together in an empty room, sharing intimate passions, mindful only of each other. except we're all sitting here, watching him. where does she go when her eyes are closed and her voice soars and falls like the flight of a gliding bird riding the wind? is her rhythm on autopilot when her hands beat out the rhythm on her drum, or is she feeling each and every collision of her palm to the drum's skin? does she know that as she exudes power and soul with her every movement that my whole body is tense and that i have been forgetting to breath or move or blink because her spirit has hypnotized my own as she dances, and now all i can think about or feel is the emotion that she is seemingly effortlessly able to convey through her dance? how bold must they be to expose that much emotion to us - to let us see what's behind the body before us, and pull back the curtain so that we can witness the turmoil, or joy, or passions in their souls and minds... i love when people are bold enough to let that all be seen - to sacrifice themselves, to ignore their fears and whatever stage fright they may have so that i can be taken on some journey. these artists can be our tour guides to thought and emotion and epiphanies and memories that linger with us and enrich us, but they have to be bold to minister to our spirits this way. this is a boldness i've had before - when i was acting on stage, and when i was singing on stage. even when i grip an open mic, i have to summon my boldness, sacrificing myself for the art - sharing because some things ought not be kept to ourselves. i hope to increase my boldness. i hope to be able to have the same impact on audiences with my words and talents as the artists i had the pleasure of seeing perform last night.

Friday, January 20, 2006


i know, i'm late again. i haven't been inspired towards a particular topic today, and i didn't have the time last night. got some laundry done, though! *sitcom applause track plays* big weekend coming up. ooh- wait! i got something. (ain't that amazing, i actually started to just leave a message along the lines of, i'll holla back at you, like how the hostess and beloved do sometimes, and now here i am about to actually write about something.)

criticism. i like the concept of good constructive criticism. it can be a very good thing. i thought about this as i was remembering how last night, a friend gave me a dvd that recorded me on

i like

good constructive criticism

stage, reading three of my favorite pieces for one of my favorite audiences. it was the night that my parents were in town, so i did three pieces instead of my usual two. it was also the last night that this particular open mic would operate in the year 2005, so it was kind of like, "okay people, what do you want this year to be marked with?" (i just love ending sentences with prepositions - i know better, i just don't care.) i popped in the dvd and fast forwarded to my part. you can't see it, so i'll have to give you the play-by-play, complete with director's - ok, well no, author's - commentary. and for free, no less. ain't the internet grand?

i was introduced by one of the coolest poet friends i have - the one i did the collaborative piece with. my friends made a lot of noise for me - so much so that i had to give them the "y'all are freaking me out a little bit" screwface, which made the audience laugh along with me. i noticed before it was my turn to spit that an earring was missing - i did the logical thing and broke the ice (and entertained the audience) by putting out an a.p.b. for my jewelry. i figured it was worth a shot. i had to deal with the peanut gallery (i love the front row!) asking what they'd receive for finding it. dag, couldn't gratitude be enough? a sista suggested offering a hug as a reward, which i said i could deal with. (aha! yet another dangling preposition.) i told the audience that i had gifts for them, and then began to read my pieces.

the first gift, for women, is entitled snowflakes. it skims the surface of a lot of things we deal with. self image, societal pressures, jealousy, pride, community. men seem to like the piece

i'm trying to give you

the best of my spirit

because i talk about female anatomy in an appreciative way. women seem to like the piece because it's about them and it promotes each of us in our own glory. my mom really likes the piece, too, and i thought she might like to hear it. while watching the video i noticed a lot of moving and shuffling around the room, and for a moment, i felt a little twinge of "shut up can't y'all see i'm trying to give you the best of my spirit?" and then i let it go. isn't that funny though? like my words are manna. um, they're not. sure they're nice, but they're not manna. besides, it's not like i haven't ever been the murmur in the crowd.

i looked at myself. i tried to look at me as if i wasn't myself. as if the girl on stage was some other person, completely separate from the girl on the couch watching - as if i only knew her by stage name and face. i saw a young lady, clutching a tattered black and white marble composition book, wearing tight jeans and some flowing interesting looking brown shirt thingie and a round

i wanted to hear her

tell the story

disc necklace where her collarbones kiss, right in front of the origin of her voice. her voice was strong, clear, and sincere. very matter-of-fact. sounded like a definite alto. she seemed, with the exception of her dependence on the book, comfortable behind the mic. here and there, she would move, shifting weight from one hip to the other, or shifting the book from one hand to the other, or turning the page. here and there, a hand would reach out and speak with her to emphasize her words and pantomime her emotion. she didn't keep her eyes on the book at all times. sometimes, she would look up during spots where she apparently didn't need the book, or just on g.p. to look at the audience, as if she was reading ahead and then grabbing eye contact like air where she could, so that she could look out and say hello every few lines or so and help to tell the words with her facial expressions - her rolled eyes, her smiles... she could use some more growth on stage - getting rid of that book being a major step. but i wasn't displeased with what i saw. i liked her. listening to her didn't bore me. even though i knew where the piece was going, i wanted to hear her tell the story.

the next piece i read was dear to my heart. i was minding my own business (when does anyone ever NOT mind their own business in a story) and the words started happening in my head, and i had to get paper and a pencil to write it down. i remember the emotion i felt when i wrote it. i

a joy to write and express

was crying before i'd finished the piece, and if i remember correctly, the original written copy has a tear stain or two on the page. it is entitled altar, and i read it often, perhaps because i hope that its empassioned plea for peace and understanding between black men and black women will be internalized and acted on by any and everyone who hears it. i always make a special point to read it with as much emotion as i can, because it was a labor of love - well, really a pleasure, because it was a joy to write and express. i dedicated it to the men. i've gotten good feedback from both men and women on the piece. men say it makes them feel appreciated. women say that the words are taken out of their mouths. i was happy that my dad was there to hear that loving, passionate part of myself, since i so rarely like to show anybody (especially him) the feelings and vulnerabilities and sensitivity inside of me, 'cause i don't want pity or for anyone to worry about me or think of me as weak (i have a poem about that, too, and a topic i should blog about one day).

my last poem surprised even me. i hadn't planned on reading it. another poet wrote a piece, "i want to be assassinated," which describes his desire to be, as they say, out for his people. he encouraged others to write their own versions and riff off of him. i had no intention of doing so,

i wasn't expecting

that amount of power

to come out of me

but you never can predict inspiration's results. one night, two poets i respect were doing their versions, and the first lines of my poem screamed at me. "he wants to be assassinated/because all great men are/so i am preparing to be a widow." i read the piece to the other poets who had versions, and to the originator, who was in town on leave from serving this country. it was his last night with us before going back to uncle sam, and he said he wanted me to spit it out, so i did. with a vehemence and a strength that was literally growing right there while i was on stage. watching the tape, i didn't know how much strength and resolve was steaming out of my pores when i was behind the mic. i wasn't expecting that amount of power to come out of me. i don't think anyone was. but there it was, and the audience was cheering me on, and when i finished, people stood up and hollered. for me. including my parents, who'd never seen me recite on stage before. i'll never forget the "hercules, hercu-leeees" look on my mom's unashamed that's-MY-baby face, and the props i got from my dad. it was a night to remember.

and to critique. 'cause i know what i want to improve on from watching myself. criticism is good. i timidly but sincerely volunteered some constructive feedback to another poet last night, and was surprised by how grateful he was to have someone say something other than, "yeah, that was tight," or "yeah, i liked it." critique can help you grow.

and growth is the goal, right?

a postscript: a sista did find my earring. and i did give her a hug.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

what's the point?

i'm not burned out or depressed, nor do i have writer's block. i'm just bored with anything that i have to say. perhaps a reader may find some of the things i'm kicking around in my head interesting, but since they've been kicked around in my head - and even on this blog - often enough, i'm not moved to write about them. but what's funny is, i can write about that.

write about what?

write about how i don't wanna write about anything.


anyway, i was thinking, as usual, minding my own business, literally, and i figuratively tripped over a particularly interesting thought. why am i bored with the things that i'd otherwise write about on this blog? if the things that i write

why am i bored

with things i'd write about?

about are reflections of what's going on in my life, does that mean that i am bored with my life? or perhaps i am simply realizing the ultimate futility of being self-absorbed, since this blog is basically, after all, a monument to self - the experiences of self, the thoughts of self - sheesh, even self-deprecation is centered wholly around the self. reading that last sentence back to myself, i am reminded of the reason why i refused to take even the most inviting of introductory philosophy classes in college. too much dayum thinking. times like these are where the book of ecclesiastes is irresistable. i worry about what will happen when i outgrow solomon's musings.

but let me zoom out for a second and go back to my first pesky question - am i bored with my life? kneejerk answer: a little. i get up after too few hours of sleep, rush

busy people shouldn't

be bored

to work to almost not make it on time, reluctantly do what i have to in order to finance my after-five life, and then speed giddily out the door. i have my best girlfriends (when they're not tied up by men and babies), college girlfriends, sorority sisters, family up and down the east coast, and poetry (or should i say local urban arts), which has lately been the most prominent out of everything i just mentioned, what with open mics, meetings, concerts, parties... my laundry STILL ain't done. it seems like i have no good reason to be bored, doesn't it? busy people shouldn't be bored, right?

i try to think about the other extreme - excitement - and the first two things i think of are a) a relationship and b) my get-out-of-virginia project. see, when i'm building something in my life, something with a definable goal, something that's actually within my reach, something that i can look forward to building upon every

i do have some

passion in my life

day when i wake up in the morning - to me, that's the stuff excitement about life is made of - that's the stuff that inspires me to write. sometimes i don't have it, so i write to manufacture it, since writing has that effect on me. i can tell you now that my career prospects don't do that for me, since there's no passion there, and it's just a means to an end, which end will be getting myself out of my current career path and into another one. when that project gets started, it will be exciting. and before you think, "no time like the present," let's just say i'm not in a position to move just yet, but i will when i can. and so far as a relationship is concerned, as long as i have projects to keep me busy, i'll be fine if nothing's happening there. which explains why i took up knitting after one breakup and painted my entire kitchen after another. i guess you can say writing - my poetry, this blog, my poet friends, are the thing that keep my week going (i don't live day-to-day, cause my days melt into each other, but my weeks are more definable). i do have some passion in my life, so i guess, no, i'm not too bored for words.

next question - what about the futility of being self-absorbed? it's funny how much my train of thought has shifted since two paragraphs ago. i don't necessarily think

introspection keeps me

in the parade

self-absorbed is the right word. introspective may be better. i know the sun doesn't rise and set because of me or my writing. time and life and circumstances will parade right on by me if i let them. i think maybe introspection is a good thing - something that keeps me in the parade. in fact, i think that my desire and ability to search my self and articulate my inner workings are the main reason why i see myself in the parade, instead of being trampled by it, or lagging behind it, or watching disinterestedly from behind the wooden barriers that say, "do not cross."

an old loverfriend (the one who had me knitting) is as much to blame for my penchant for writing as my dad is for giving me my first diary. he was big on the concept of

knowledge of self

is good

articulation - understanding and being able to voice and analyze the self and the rest of everything that the self encounters. one of the most enriching writing exercises i've done was in a letter to him, early in our relationship, where i realized that writing to him before talking to him was more productive for me than just flying off the cuff without having sorted out my own feelings first. it's funny how my acquaintances say that i think too much. i didn't have nothing on this guy. but i agree with him - knowledge of self and introspection are good. this blog is good. if for noone else, then at the very least, for myself. confessional writing in a public space is teaching me things about how i communicate that i could never learn from my private journal alone.

i am still committed to teaching myself the discipline of writing for an audience every day. i think i am growing as a communicator from writing and from reading others' blogs. growth is good. perhaps, when i finally send my first published book to O and xxxxxxx, they'll actually be holding something worth reading, instead of the lackluster chicken scratch of an inexperienced communicator...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

what happens when you leave glory unattended

yeah, i'm being lazy. yeah, i posted this on a message board yesterday. yeah i don't have anything to say. yeah, i'm late. well, my fault. but, i did write this myself, so it counts.

how come people ask for volunteers but don't have nothing for them to do
how come people give the screwface when you express a desire to have something to do when they know that's what you're there for
how come one experience can sour you on dealing with folks henceforth
how come i said henceforth
how come that was hot
how come people don't return messages
how come who has time for games
how come everybody and they mama wants to help me before i'm ready to move
how come i hope they're still around when i am
how come they can keep their dayum politics
how come that is not what i'm here for
how come this will absotively posilutely be the busiest weekend ever
how come i'm nervous and i hope it all goes off okay
how come i wonder will the poets forget me when i'm gone
how come i wonder if i can ever really be gone even if i need to be
how come moving to philly would make some sense
how come i've crossed the bridge every day lately, as if i work there
how come i even know the neighborhood i'd like to live in
how come i'll probly stay here though - family loyalty, ya know
how come the closer to the bridge the better though
how come i think i want a fishbowl
how come i'm not sure...
how come baby showers cost so much money
how come i come to work only because it makes the rest of my life possible
how come that is so important to understand right now
how come they're on my clock just as much as i'm on theirs
how come the opportunities are at my fingertips
how come i can't wait to see how this all plays out
how come i gotta remember to email my cousin
how come messing around with y'all i'll never get my laundry done
how come i'm bout to just buy new drawls
how come i really miss in-house laundry equipment
how come i hate the 'mat so much
how come i wonder sometimes if i've bit off more than i can chew
how come my ambition is tempered
how come there's a method to my madness
how come sometimes if you think you want something really bad, if you just wait, you'll see that as time passed, your passion waned, and it helps you keep things in perspective
how come sometimes waiting kills passion that should stay sizzling
how come wisdom is knowing when to pounce and when to ruminate
how come it's funny i just realized that was in the fantastic four
how come who knew there was a lesson in the comic book movie
how come i have music lessons to take
how come i don't know which instrument to prioritize or where to get my lessons
how come same for dance
how come i've lived this long and am just getting to learning what i really want and doing what i really want
how come i feel old but life is just beginning
how come i hope i'm blessed with a long one because there are so many more things to do
how come i have so many dreams and time seems so short
how come i need money to make it all happen
how come that last how come makes me ache for all its implications
how come you are still reading this long ramble
how come i am being extremely piscean lately
how come two fish one swimming upstream one swimming down
how come i am such a stereotype
how come the longer i live the more i see that there are countless women just.like.me
how come believing i am unique as a person, as an artist, as a woman, as an aspirant takes faith
how come it always comes around to faith eventually when i get going
how come that is the only thing that makes the difference for me sometimes
how come what would i do without it
how come really, what would i do without it
how come other people seem to be able to live without it
how come i can't imagine living with no faith
how come i'd die by my own hand, i'm sure
how come it's cause i don't belong here
how come that's why i was born five years and five days late
how come that's why i'm so creative
how come i'm just trying to get back to the energy i came from
how come i'm getting too deep
how come who cares, holla if you hear me
how come i might finally be apathetic enough to stop stressing soon
how come i might finally be passionate enough to stop waiting
how come that made perfect taoist sense to me
how come if i had a tattoo that would be it
how come that symbol of balance is so much better than a blond white woman holding scales
how come she is a fallible human, subject to gravity, screw the blindfold
how come the presence and absence of light are Creator made, infallible, and worthy of symbolizing the poignant dance of each soul
how come i sure do have a lot of reading to do

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

all dressed up...

on new year's eve, i had a friend over. my policy was, my door is open to anyone who wants to stop through. i was glad to receive the company of this sisterfriend. we talked and bonded for hours, and for all the words we exchanged, these are the ones i remember most vividly:
"i'm already a wife and a mother, it's just that my husband and kids ain't here yet."

ain't that something???

the statement was made in a matter-of-fact way. an almost flippant but very sincere, naked declaration. what's interesting is that it doesn't matter which one of us single black females said it, it hit both of us in the "ooh, yeah, that describes it" part of the heart that recognizes when its inner workings are adequately given an articulate voice. we paused in wonder after the words... we each had that aha! facial expression - marveling at that suspension of time that happens when the words are just. right.

i walk around my place sometimes and just look at what i see around me. i have made a nest here. i blog about it often enough. the plants, the pictures, the food, the colors, the decorative plates on plate stands... this place is no single party girl's mere crash pad. this is no hermit's cave. there is a concerted effort made in every room to infuse life and comfort into the space between these four walls. it is as if i am trying to will the universe through the work of my hands to place my future family within my reach. i bake cookies. i lay out games in the living-but-not-family room. i hang pictures of smiling family members. i habitually cook more food than i can eat by myself. i just unloaded some extra banana pudding and chocolate chip cookies on my cousin and best friend. this weekend, besides the two parties i went to, i mended a seam on a shirt. then i took on a b.smi.th-like project (i woulda said mar.tha s.tewart, but i had to go with the sista who doesn't shine as much as she could if ma.rtha wasn't around, a la everybody in the shadow of m.j. but i digress...) complete with hot glue gun and a trip to the crafts section of wa.lmart, (the store from hades). and, even worse, i had the nerve to wonder how much more fun it would have been to have tiny hands helping me with my project... earth-to-glory!!! honey, you are not flor.ida evans, clair h.uxtable or june cl.eaver, and no amount of trips to the grocery store or crafts store will get you there.

i know mentally that life happens as it does, when it does, and there is no peeking around the corner with some things. they just are what they are. i also know mentally that domesticity alone does not a wife and mother make. that's too easily comprehensible for words. but i can't help but wonder if perhaps the works of my hands signal some subconscious desire to start mating and laying eggs in this nest a little sooner than that part of my life is ripe for the happening. that's a little scary. i really don't want to become one of those obsessive chicks who only has a one-track-nesting-mind. ewww. a family can sooooooo wait right now. i have dreams to pursue.

perhaps i need to take a break from all my married/engaged/pregnant/parent friends (which, come to think about it, is darn near everyone i spend time with) for a while so i can fully embrace the single life. i'm sure there are some redeeming things to say for not being married yet. um... oh yeah, i can come in when i want, no questions asked. i always get to think of my wants, first and foremost. um... wow, i'm drawing a blank on others. i'm sure there are more, i just can't think of them at the moment. probly cause i'm sleepy and yawning so hard that my eyes are tearing up. probly should sleep, huh? yeah... i'll holla...

Friday, January 13, 2006


if a woman tells you that there are no hard feelings, but that she would rather you stop giving her complimentary attention because it makes her uncomfortable, listen to her. heed her words. she is trying to save your time and her blood pressure. there is no amount of complimenting her, trying to make small talk, or following her around that will change her mind, once she has decided that you will always, henceforth, and forever more be in the i-won't-date-you-hell-i-don't-even-want-to-be-your-friend category. that's my word.

this is the fallout of not heeding her words: she will come to resent your very presence in a room. if she had the opportunity to get a restraining order to force you to be 500 feet away from her at all times, not because she fears for her safety, but because she fears for yours, she would. she would either embarrass you thoroughly in front of any passersby who would later be more than willing to repeatedly regale you with recounting how your pride was mercilessly and skillfully assaulted by a woman, or she would solicit the help of her friends to help keep you away from her - either way, a window will be opened to others, showing the extent of your pathetic attempts to wedge your way into her life in the face of blatant rejection.

have some pride about yourself. take the hint. when you try to initiate a conversation and she

have some pride

about yourself

acts distant, unwilling to speak, rude even? stop talking to her. she doesn't like you. when there's a seat near her and you take it, hoping to be close to her and that she will notice you and suddenly realize how wonderful you are, only to watch her find some way to get away from you, let your feelings be hurt. let them be bruised to the point of hating the idea that she has the nerve to not love you back. some women aren't playing hard to get. some women just don't like you.

this sounds like tough love advice that a kind parent or friend would give to a young man, first discovering girls, whose game isn't quite refined yet. in fact, this is advice that i wish someone would give to certain other someone who almost ruined my evening. i ultimately decided not to let this ardent admirer steal the joy out of my entire evening since i felt safe, and since i was among friends who understood what was going on and were kind enough to indulge my pouting attitude and my need to play musical chairs to "run" away from the admirer. i'm actually embarrassed at how i handled it - silently, passively, hoping he would just get the hint based on my prior "leave me alone" speech and miraculously go away. in hindsight, i wonder if perhaps i should have checked this certain someone, with venom, since i'd already warned him before, and kept on about my business, resisting the temptation to guilt myself for hurting his feelings by reasoning that it didn't seem to affect his guilt that he was ignoring my plea to be left alone and making me uncomfortable in one of the few places i go where i can relax and have a good time.

i always thought that people were redeemable - that you can improve situations with honesty

can't be nice to


and kindness. some people are just dayum hardheaded. some people incite you to entertain the thought of meanness - violence, even. it is in my nature to try to give my best to others, including forgiveness, second chances, understanding, etc. but a friend of mine told me something last night that i would not have entertained until that very moment: you can't be nice to everyone. he's right. some people take kindness as an open door. sometimes you have to remind them that your kindness doesn't mean that you don't have boundaries.

and this is why i resolve to no longer succumb to trying to fulfill unrealistic expectations of

unrealistic expectations of


kindness above and beyond what's expected for everyone - that only needs to be reserved for those who deserve it, like those who are kind enough to reciprocate respect for you. i resolve to not allow my peace to be shaken anymore over people who deserve to be admonished. i resolve to be brutal(ly honest) when it's necessary to salvage my peace. i just hope that this resolve doesn't create a monster. but a sista has to have her limits, right? right.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


i sat here for what seemed a small eternity, massaging my scalp and letting my mind wander, trying to figure out what to write. i find that trying to blog about something everyday will increase my confidence in my ability to always be creative. i mulled over a few interesting things going on in my life and psyche, only to shoot them down one by one because they would each take too much energy from me. i found little in those ideas to motivate me to write. my eyes were closed, fingers poised on the keyboard... i opened my eyes and my gaze fell one of the pictures in my room. suddenly, i was inspired.

the picture is by laverne ross, entitled angel wings. it features several women with beautiful chocolate skin, dancing barefoot on the their toes in light flowing garments against a backdrop full of shadowy lavenders and the magenta that knows sunsets intimately. there's something about the almost tangible motion in the picture. it's like i was there - watching the women raise their arms silently, solemnly, gracefully into air that is sweetened with the perfume of their soft movement. it speaks to me - to the part of me that perpetually longs to dance.

i hadn't been out of school and working very long when i decided to buy the picture. i was on a

i am reminded of the

purity of spirit

tight budget and i couldn't buy it when i first saw it displayed in the shop. but i knew i had to have it, the moment i saw it. i may not believe in love at first sight for men, but i do for art. i saved my money, went to the store, and bought the painting for myself as a present, to treat myself to "life after school." i was so proud to have purchased this, my first framed art, for myself. i hung the picture myself and just stared at it - the colors and shades captured me and i allowed myself to get lost in the dream of the picture. i am reminded of the purity of spirit with which one seeks the peace of the Creator, when you settle down to pray, when you enter the church and smell that church smell, when the family holds hands and gets quiet right before the food is blessed, and even more, i am reminded of the pregnant hum of an orchestra, right before the performance. their tentative suspension in the middle of their dance lends the spirit of these dancers so much promise...

i need to see something that has that effect on me when i wake in the morning. on the one side of

they dance for me

my bed, i have sunshiny windows and a vase of bright green bamboo sticks... on the other, there is my dance ensemble, speaking to my soul with no words. every day, they dance for me.

and some days, i dance for myself. i dance to no music, or the music playing in the

no obstacles to the

movement of my feet

soundtrack of my head, or the music on my stereo. i love that i am a functionalist when it comes to furniture - i have no coffee table or unnecessary obstacles to the inevitable, joyful movement of my feet, from room to room i go, mimicing dancers i've seen, from soul train to church aisles to the ballet to african dance ensembles. i lend my whole body to the expression of spirit within me. sometimes for release. often for fun. and sometimes even in meditation and prayer. it is release and inspiration that i need very much in this world where the death of the inner spirit is so pervasive that you have to keep vigil over your own, every day, however you can.

when my mind thinks about all of the issues i face, and all of the problems i

i see


perceive (like some of those blog topics i thought about but didn't have the energy to tackle), sometimes the easiest way to deal with it is to dance. the release lends itself to a feeling of freedom. when i see these dancers, i see freedom. i remember the peace that comes from letting go and sacrificing my body and mind to the pulse of life within me that yearns for expression through dance. i'm glad that when i don't have the time or energy, these angel winged muses/sisters/versions of myself are able to do it for me, and my spirit is still fed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

straight wilin'

i was going to do some research and get some statistics and some guidelines and some really official-sounding medical advice from journals and public health publications and stuff like that. i had to study some of that stuff in school, so i probably would have done a really good job and really gave this blog entry the hook-up. problem is, i didn't have time, 'cause i was too busy sleeping.

awwww yeeeeeeaaaah boy-eeeeee!!! (please forgive my fl.ava fla.v moment. i've been

awwww yeeeeeeaaaah


listening to fear of a black plan.et a lot lately, so i guess he's on the brain. please do not attribute it to any watching of the cele.breality tragedies that have been airing starring the clocked one - cause i won't... won't-won't-won't patronize the hype. but i digress...)

i simply have not been getting enough sleep. i think monday night i got about 3 hours. sunday, maybe 4 or 5. and i've been dealing with not getting enough sleep for the past few months now. i can't rightly say i have insomnia. it's just that there are so many other things i can find to do besides sleep. and since i can't get out of going to work during the day, and since i can do whatever i want when i leave, i often find myself admonishing myself, somewhere around two in the morning, to go to bed. for the last two days, i have had to leave the office and take a 5 minute walk to keep from falling asleep at my desk. not a good look. at all.

last niiiiight, me and my pillooooow... we slept, slept, slept, together. said we sleeept! (slept) sleee-heeept! (slept), sleeeeeeeept! (slept) - we slept, (everybody now) together. *doo-doo-doo-doo. doo-doo-doo-doo. doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo...* i won't apologize for the ed.die lever.t impression. this is my house (*copyright e.ddie murp.hy's drunken, slurring daddy*), and i'm

goot gawd!

feeling good (goot-gawd!), because i got seven and a half sweet hours of unconsciousness last night! shoot, i'm so delirious - my energy is so raw - i don't know what to do with myself. and therein lies the lesson. i've been missing something in my life. no not that. well, yeah that, but that's not what i'm talking about - see toast. denial is our friend. *shaking my head*

but anyway, i've been missing sleep. and i just wanted to make a public service announcement (since i couldn' t think of a decent enough topic to post by 10 this morning... see? my creativity is better in the middle of the night. see?!?! i been missing sleep 'cause of this blog. no wait, i am completely undermining my own resolve to get more sleep... *taps keyboard* oh snap! is this thing still on?) *ahem!* anyway, um, make sure you get enough sleep. your blog might suffer. but your body will thank you for it. cause i don't even need the massage my shoulders have been begging for anymore. and look - *does br.uce lee impression* i'm alert and ready for the day! speaking of which, let me get to it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

behold there is some thing greater than yourself

i've been in a few conversations with others lately about how artists should approach their art. i don't find the concepts to be much different from how people approach their careers, relationships, and other important aspects of life.

i've found that too many artists are selfish. they are making the art without regard for its merit and without regard for the other artists whose reputation is affected by their actions. they are not taking the time to develop their craft fully before exposing it to an audience. they are not taking the time to learn the ropes of what's going on around them in their craft - not learning etiquette, not learning terminology, not studying trends, not thinking of their audience... they are thinking short term, not long term. they are thinking either too commercially, so that their artistry is overshadowed by bad motives, or they are thinking too egotistically, so that their talent is overshadowed - or worse, outstripped - by their zeal to be their own untalented version of muha.mmad a.li's "greatest of all time."

humility and pride have their place. one should have enough humility to recognize that they don't know everything and that it's okay, in fact, highly recommended, that you ask for help. people should humble themselves in the face of a term like "artist." that word conveys more responsibility than too many "artists" recognize. an artist's responsibilities include having enough pride in your craft and in your particular expressions within that craft to care about the quality and purpose of anything you produce. problem with that is, some people are so high on confidence, busy going off of the inflated praise of their mama and their friends, that they have delusions of grandeur about their art's quality. mess around and create some mess that embarrasses everyone involved.

i think it's a matter of respect. do you respect what you do? do respect your audience, photographers, musicians, writers, emcees? do you respect the men/women you deal with, lovers? do you respect your position, career folks (consider the fact that you may be reading this blog from work before answering)? do you respect your marriage? your hobbies? your faith? i think if you have respect for everything you put your mind to, you'll come out better off. the humility will be there, the pride will be evident, the confidence will be justified, and you may even inspire your friends to have high enough expectations of you so that they won't feed you anything but the truth you deserve, because they know you're humble enough to put your personal pride and confidence in its proper perspective vis-a-vis your endeavor.

i have lately been giving much thought to my own aspirations when it comes to writing. i'm good at moving people with my words. but i continually come to the conclusion that anything i do with my talent will be done in its good time, after i have invested enough time and paid enough dues to put out quality work. no poems hastily thrown together, unedited, will be distributed under a cover with my name on it. no spoken word cd with a lack of technical quality will get sold on some nickel-and-diming hustle, "just to get my name out there." no bootleg short stories with lackluster character and plot development - no abuse of the versatility of the english language - no book that doesn't deserve to lean proud and tall on the same shelf as toni mo.rrison or wil.liam faulkner will bear my name, my father's name, or the description of me on the inside flap or back cover as an "author." my words are the work of my heart, the passion of my life. its production and distribution are as important as kun.ta's naming of his daughter - it will follow the work from birth to success/infamy/obscurity and will signify the destiny that i hope for it. it is due the proper honor in tribute to those who have come before and those who, hopefully, will find enough value, merit, and inspiration to follow behind.

may God guide my talent.

Monday, January 09, 2006

weekend redux

call friend re: thing we talked about, leave message. deliver a poinsettia to auntie since she admired mine.




check on homeboy - he aight. reconnect with old friends. happy they remember me. reminiscing on that old praise and worship song from church. amazed at how much one can remember, years removed. spit two pieces before a new, younger audience. happy they listened. amused that they snapped their fingers for me, like massander. television is a trip! loving live music. loving children who are growing way too fast for my heart's preference.

late morning. try to shake off the confusing, against-everything-i-ever-thought-about-myself dream. write letter to the person i wake up thinking about. clarify my feelings about the attraction, realize it's not earth-shattering. get the brush off from homie and hope she's okay. run letter by other homegirl, decide against delivering it, but not against getting up the nerve to say something, despite mama's wisdom. swallow pride to call an ex to ask for help. glad i did. the

clarify feelings...

swallow pride...

things we do for friends. arrange, scrub, wash, aerate, incense, sweep, mop. repudiate laundry. nurse houseplants. cry involuntarily at the ending to the ma.n witho.ut a fa.ce. again. bond with homie. laugh hysterically at singers who don't know they sound like ce.phus and re.esie. kudos to anyone who understood the last sentence. watch baby move and change the shape of his amazed mama's womb. feel his dramatic shifting with my own hand. taken captive by the profundity of

taken captive

by the profundity

of life

this child's life and the divine engineering that makes this moment possible. thankful to mama for letting me feel her child dance. reject beans and rice in favor of taco salad. think of getting po.peye's biscuits too late. wish my mamanem didn't watch the news so much - worse than little kids when you let them watch scary movies. tell mom about elements of the master plan. encourage uncle to have faith. fix doorknob. remember that landlord is supposed to have replaced this door by now, get peeved with whole living situation, and then remember that i have a master plan. balance checkbook. coordinate master plan for financial dreams this year. watch and laugh at priv.ate parts and bo.ondocks. consider making cheddar biscuit mix that's stashed in the cupboard. fall asleep way too late.

another late morning. impromptu meeting, banana, turkey sandwich, share peanut butter and jelly sandwich ripped apart by baby. play with baby and her new toy. get more motivation to get my professional posterior in gear. repudiate laundry once again. make groceries: sugar, chicken, lettuce, n.illa wafers, bananas, spaghetti sauce, milk, stockings, d.ome simplified home budget

share pb&j


book. mad that a fill up costs $30. wonder why gas went down loudly to $1.60 some'um and then whispered itself back up to $2.20? wonder why the lady is so unfriendly. tired? hopefully. fix egg noodles extraordinaire. fix sommore sweet tea (can't be without it.) gotta pick up sommore hot sauce. notice my brand is made in nawlins. wonder if the factory is still there. stumble upon i hear.t hu.ckabees on cable. glad i didn't cut the cable off. gotta buy this movie. reminded me of my friend the existentialist. jud.e la.w's american accent is pretty decent. quee.n latifah on br.avo's ac.tors s.tudio. so proud of her. not sure i'll see the movie, but isn't my baby daddy from another lifetime just as scrumptious as he wanna be in the trailers? *sigh* feel the pulse of lifeblood through a vein in my neck by chance. feel the same amazement that i did when i felt the baby moving in his mama. recognize how precious life is. again. clean fridge. more dishes. hungry. no snacks. doggonit. aha! remember that i have chocolate chips and cookie ingredients on hand. after all that mixing and egg cracking and beating my right arm tired, eat only two of the dozen and a half cookies, and freeze remaining dough. proud to be able to tell future guests the cookies in my jar are homemade. reflect on the coziness and



in the kitchen

warmth of my kitchen. realize i've spent most of the weekend there. realize that the whole day passed without me feeling lonely because enjoying my own company was enough. happy cause i needed the mental break from stresses i have. consider going into the office early tomorrow. line dance alone in the kitchen along with the radio's broadcast of but.terball and the oldheads at the club. resolve to handle laundry monday night. resolve to call other homie tomorrow while tackling laundry. blog really late with te.mple jazz radio in the background. give myself 50/50 chance of making it in early. postpone breaking in the new budget aka master-plan/take-over-the-world book. beat myself up for being late on my deadline and resolve to apologize and make amends by the time i sleep tomorrow. try to ignore developing headache.

review the blog entry. looks boring. decide not to apologize for it, 'cause the truth is what it is, and you never know what things people may be able to find value in...

Friday, January 06, 2006

heah it go!

inspiration is like a baby. you know how when babies are really little, everything they do when they first get home is absolutely amazing? their little eyes, their gassy smiles, their teeny weeny toes - and it just gets better and better the more growth they experience. it's awe inspiring. inspiration gives me a similar feeling - this "wow" type of high.

my latest inspiration happened at the open mic last night. i write poems about what happens there, but i try not to do that too often, since my ultimate goal is to

you ain't said nothing

but a word,

i got my pen and pad

right here

write stuff anybody can relate to, and not everybody frequents open mics. however, a poet was on stage, and i was listening, and reacting, and thinking, and then the next thing you know, i leaned over and whispered in my homie's ear the thing i was thinking, and then she was right there with me in agreement, and then i said, "i should write a poem about it!" my most quotable words for the 2005 and beyond. then i rebounded, "no, we should write a poem about it, a collabo." and of course, my homie, an accomplished poet with an appreciation for poetry and a respectable body of work, agreed. we didn't wait until the evening was over. as a matter of fact, after discussing when we would coordinate the poem, my partner said, with the bravado that only the truly inspired could muster, "we could do it now." to which i replied, as if i was being challenged to a schoolyard fight, "psssssh, you ain't said nothing but a word, i got my pen and pad right here." so we excitedly birthed lines here and there in snatches until we'd both read it out, trading stanza for stanza, and let me say, a la s.alt n pep.a, "my mic sounds nice."

by the end of the night, we had a spoken word piece and a plan. which is beautiful, because i've been asked to collaborate before, but it's always, later/i'll call you/you call me/we'll brainstorm until the next thing you know, months done passed and then somebody randomly asks, "wasn't we supposed to work on a piece together?" i really didn't want to point this out, but perhaps it may be notable that my other didn't-wind-up-happening collaborations were with men, whose idea it was to collaborate in the first place. hmmm... LOL! but not last night. let's hear it for female ambition. one minute we were thinking, we should write a poem. a couple of hours later, we were like, "wrote a poem about it, liketa heah it, heah it go!" it will be a definite crowd pleaser. i'm telling you, watching something grow from an idea to filling up what used to be a blank sheet of paper is amazing, like a baby's adventures in crawling. i'm glad to be blessed with the ability to witness it in action and see the results. now all i have to do is remember my part in the piece so that i can perform it without the raggedy marble composition notebook it's scribbled in by next thursday... *gulp*

Thursday, January 05, 2006

may i see your i.d.?

it's not that i'm a conspiracy theorist. (most of the time...) it's just that a little anonymity is more fun. more than half of the people who even know about this blog don't know my name and/or goo.gleable identity, and i like it that way. most of you don't know what i really do for a living, which pleases me. i'm generally somewhat excited about revealing things about myself, if you couldn't already tell, because it's challenging and fun. i actually have no objection to sharing that information on my blog, or at the open mics, or with cyber or poetry acquaintances. however, i do have an objection to the shortcuts that i think people would take when drawing conclusions about who they think i am as a person, based on things that don't adequately reflect the nature of my character or the way my mind looks (thanks to will, my mental look-alike, for that concept), like what my name is, or what i do for a living, or where i went to school, or whatever i've ever been involved in that can be gathered with a few clicks here and there on the internet and/or a quick goo.gle search.

(aside: did anyone do a goo.gle search yesterday? you know how sometimes they change their goo.gle image to fit the season or a holiday, for example? well yesterday, they just had a bunch of dots that didn't even look like the letters. i paused... thought about it... then realized that i was looking at braille and i smiled at myself for figuring out the riddle. you know what i did next, right? i'm a little crazy, i know. but i don't care. i touched the computer monitor to run my fingertips over the dots to see what goo.gle felt like, knowing full well that the dots weren't raised and that i wouldn't feel anything but cool, smooth computer screen under my gliding fingers. i just couldn't help it. i wonder how many other crazy people touched their computer screens yesterday. maybe there's enough strength in our numbers for me to know that i'm not crazy - just a little imaginative, or a little playful, or maybe eccentric um, silly - cause you have to be rich to properly be termed "eccentric.")

back on topic: librarians are quiet, and strippers are nasty, and doctors are egotistical and a little geeky, w.nba players are lesbians, accountants are boring, and people who work at the fast-food joint or the shoe store aren't bright. right? wait - that's not fair. and people who went to school at fill-in-the-blank must be fill-in-the-other-logical-blank, right? um, no, that's not fair, either. so i aim to try my best to remain just that girl who writes that stuff, allowing a reader draw their conclusions about me solely based on the contents of myself that i challenge myself to whisper loudly on the page. so far as readers who knew me when - they know the deal already. they know who i am enough to not have to be lazy and use shortcuts to judge my character and personality based on the cocktail party litany of where i went to school and what i do for a living. those things don't define me, and i refuse to let them, either on the blog or on the stage.

at least until i start publishing books, of course. then i will volunteer the government name with the quickness. otherwise, how else will you know how to find my little bound labor of love sitting on a shelf at the store? (buy hardback, and buy copies for all your friends! LOL!) and how else will you know that the author at the book signing is me, waiting to happily and gratefully scribble, dear reader, who been reading my thoughts from way back, thanks for reading the blog and encouraging me to keep scribbling! love, glory government name. and then you can take my government name and put it in goo.gle and see that i had nothing to hide in the first place...

there's my reason for (semi-) anonymity. what's yours?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

hongry heffa

hello, dear reader. meet DaHayle. she is named so, because that's what i exclaimed when i saw her hongry, anorexic ass (if you can call it an ass) in front of the vicki's at the mall while i was christmas shopping. i was in between my little cousin's gift and my best friend's, thinking about how it was going to have to be my last night walking around a mall - you know, minding my own business... and then i saw this half naked hongry heffa posed all up in the window, and i felt assaulted and insulted. this picture doesn't do her exaggeratedly olive oyl-ish figure justice. let it suffice to say that if i'd tried, i'm sure i could have wrapped both hands around the fullest part of either thigh, with plenty of overlap. i could have made a circle with one hand around her ankle and not have touched her leg at all.

besides the rare extremely-small-frame genetics recipient, or somebody who thinks that what goes down must come up, who in da hayle looks like this? most women look more like that lady with the blue bag in the background. now before anyone who actually knows me starts to try something cute, trying to invalidate me on this issue, no, i'm not a thick girl, either - but that's beside the point, anyway. i know one thing, i sho as hayle don't look like that. nobody looks like that. and that is exactly my point. if nobody looks like that, then why would this hongry heffa be propped up in the window, like that's what we would look like if we came in and purchased those ridiculously priced drawls? first of all, we wouldn't look like that. secondly, noone should want to look like that. i've seen skinny heffas on runways, in catalogs, on tv, and a bunch of other places, but this mess right here is absolutely ridiculous.

i know a 10-year-old girl, who is smart and cute, and who inspires me because she shows so much promise. the last time we hung out, she expressed dissatisfaction with her weight to me. "i weigh ___ pounds," she complained, in a fishing-for-agreement voice that was so obviously expecting the deep throated unh-unh-uhn or the slow, ain't-that-a-shame head shake that we brown girls learn from generations of mamas before us. she got no such reception from me. i think she's beautiful, and i told her so. she's tall for her ten years - about 5'5" - she gets it from her where-is-he-anyway daddy. she has a solid frame, not under- or overweight, and is sure to be a tall woman with a nice shape when she grows up. she already wears a size ___ and weighs about as much as a grown woman. so i suppose that her development is quite different from her mother's and grandmother's, who apparently both developed later and at a slower rate than this young lady. as a result, she often hears astonished and sometimes disparaging comments about how tall she is, how much she weighs, her jeans size, her shoe size...

once, i heard her mother and grandmother tag team her eating habits, calling her "fat," like it was no big deal. i couldn't believe my ears, and it was all i could do to refrain from undermining their authority in front of the child by blasting them with a few choice words. instead, i asserted firmly, yet not in an argumentative way, that she's not fat - that she's beautiful and developing just fine. they continued to chide until it became obvious from the edge in my voice that i didn't think it was a laughing matter.

of course it comes as no surprise, then, that mom later noticed that her 10-year-old is becoming a pickier eater... because she doesn't want to be fat.

i thought of this girl when i saw DaHayle in the window. said a silent prayer that somehow she will love herself enough to know bullisht when she sees it - and hears it - so that she doesn't wind up actually looking like DaHayle one day, sick in the hospital somewhere, with her caloric intake being watched so that her organs don't fail. some of us believe that we don't have such problems, cause we're so strong that we don't have mental issues that would allow us to succumb to eating disorders. and besides, they say, our culture values women with real shapes and sizes. maybe it did when we first got off the boat, but as other imported americans know all too well, assimilation can be a hongry heffa, much like DaHayle, who is named so because that's what i exclaim when i think of how we place our women in danger by failing to affirm the value of their very real beauty, instead of some bullisht window dressing fantasy.