Friday, March 31, 2006


for the family unfortunate enough to have dealt with my pride this week:

my eagerness to share and express outruns my better sense sometimes, distorting the true intentions of my heart, crossing lines, mutating my love into that which alienates and taints instead of that which blesses and heals.

and for that, i am truly sorry.

i am so, so very sorry.

*exhaling, hoping that the karma of my love in days past will work in my favor this time around*

a good question

this morning, my thoughts stumbled upon a good question, which i'm still reflecting on:

what can i do to bring out the best in other people?

Thursday, March 30, 2006


i love the way a clean, unmarked sheet of paper looks, right before you touch it with graphite or ink. i like the scent of a freshly sharpened pencil, blowing the sawdust off of the pretty, perfect new point. i like the way the point glides or scratches trails across the paper. or when using a pen, i like the fluid motion of the ink and the ball or felt tip... most especially, i love the smell of the ballpoint pen's ink... i like trailing my fingers over the indentations in the page after it's been consecrated with the products of my mind.

before all this, the blank paper is just ripe with possibility...

i'm developing a similar affection for an empty space for typing on a computer screen. the blinking cursor, asking for something, anything... i like the feel of my fingers flying and skipping all over the keys...

shoot, i even love the pregnancy in the pause that happens in the moment when i open my mouth and inhale sharply before i speak. i can't see myself, but i know that my face is probably like the page, the open box, the wordless word processor's sheet - open: eyes bright, eyebrows slightly elevated, jaw slack but eager...

i am not a mother - my words are my only children; my thoughts, my only procreation. i love to do this. it's a natural love. it's a cultivated love. it is a huge part - perhaps the most beloved part of who i am. a communicator. i got it honest, i am my father's child. we come from a long line of communicators, for better or for worse... :-)

i thank God for my voice, my faculties, my vocabulary - everything that enables me to get it said, whatever it may be. it is truly a saving grace.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

nigger, yeah they said it (updated 3/31)

i will promptly correct any person, black or white or anything else that calls me nigger. nigga. however you want to spell it. it's disrespectful. period.

bruno, the white man on the show black/white, is annoyed that black people call each other nigga, but he would be considered politically incorrect and labeled as a racist for using the word. to him, it's just. a. word. and it is just one more thing that black people hold on to with the tenacity of a bulldog, putting a ridiculous amount of sensitivity on... it'd just be easier on everyone (read: white people) if black folks simply would drop the chip on their shoulder that they have about that word...

nicholas, the black teenager, responded to the use of the word nigger in the exact way that bruno suggested in the first episode, while he was socializing with white teenagers. he shrugged the word off, refusing to react with the anger that the white boys using the word were more than likely trying to elicit from him. the word means nothing to nicholas. he didn't give it any power. this is exactly what bruno said was the best way to handle the word. i think bruno believed that when you refuse to react with anger to the word, it will diffuse the word.

not so. when nicholas reacted indifferently to the white boys' use of the word nigger, it became a game to the white boys. they reveled in the free-for-all that nicholas allowed, repeatedly using the word in spite of the fact that it offended one of the white girls there. objective of the game? let's see how many times we can use this word in the presence of this black boy. result of the game? they took advantage of nicholas' acquiescence and called HIM nigger, repeatedly, to their amusement, in a simultaneously overt and covert way. it wasn't much different than when the white girls were in nicholas' room, cooning in his baseball caps and his wave cap, acting like every black person they've ever seen on b.e.t. (thanks again bob joh.nson and and nicholas just didn't care. didn't see the cooning and the taunting for what it was. this is what the old folks have been trying to warn people about, ever since people have been spewing that, "we are taking the power out of the word" garbage. he stood by and allowed himself to be disrespected, looking stupid, being made fun of, but seeming to not even understand that that's what was happening.

nigger has not been diffused. because even though nicholas felt nothing, those white kids did. they wielded the power of insulting him when they used it. and many black folks will still get mad if white folks call them nigger, so where is the diffusion there? if it were truly diffused, it would truly never matter who says it and to whom. but as long as it still does? it's disrespectful and inappropriate. period.

and bruno's rap video? corny. and reactionary to every stereotype of black guys ever. (even if bruno never said, "black guys" in the video, some things -and most racial things- are understood though unspoken). i could see a black guy doing that video and it wouldn't have been any less corny and stereotypical. i didn't find it offensive, i found it stupid and obnoxious. and i think his wife carmen's criticism of his attitude wasn't too far off the mark.

as an aside, here's an update. peep this video:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


sometimes you get superseded. plan though you may, sometimes your plans get changed for you, whether or not you want them to change... then you have a choice. you can go with the change and be miserable, or go with the change and be optimistic. either way, if you plan on getting up the next day and breathing, the change is going to be there, and you will have to live with it.

something happened. my plans got changed for me. and after some ranting and pouting and sulking, i decided to try to embrace the change. to try to be optimistic about the change. one day, perhaps i'll look back and be happy that things have happened this way. i like my peace of mind, so i'ma try to keep it. maybe the cuttings i made from my plant didn't enjoy being severed from their parent plant. if plants hurt, i'm sure those scissors hurt it. and now the nutrients are coming to the cutting differently. the cutting is probably depending on photosynthesis for life now more than it ever did as part of the main plant, which had nutrients stored in the roots, and water stored up in the soil. i'm thinking that if my cutting had emotions, it would be mad about the change. but it should be okay. it's got sunlight and water. and it's got an innate thirst for life. it'll grow roots. and one day, it'll be back in dirt. it'll be okay, change in plans notwithstanding.

i'ma try to grow some roots in these new plans. try to remain faithful in my Source. try to let my thirst for life be the bridge that my tendency toward impatience needs to make the adjustment.

Monday, March 27, 2006

little pleasures

homemade salad
repotting a plant
buying flowers for my kitchen, just because
calling home
trying something new for dinner and liking it
the hope of starting a cutting in a salsa jar and hoping it will root in the water
catching my reflection in sunset's sunlight by chance and liking what i see
having friends make me smile with stuff they say
getting good advice from the kindness of another's heart
enjoying a well executed, delicious song
a glimpse of my cousin's pretty little girl smiling in a picture
looking forward to being with him - having a good belief day
feeling the sun's warmth, knowing the brightness isn't false advertising
looking forward to summer
noticing new growth on my purple wandering jew and bright green bamboo

Sunday, March 26, 2006


i am disturbed by the notion that religion will kill us all. that the distortion of knowledge and wisdom blinds us to truth. that the ego and greed of a few can and has become the destruction of many.

i am disturbed that if that woman had been a man, and that student had been a girl, that teacher would have gone to jail. but noone seems to care about this double standard. and everyone wants to make jokes.

i am disturbed by yet another article about the plight of black men. i appreciate that smil.ey recognizes that the problem isn't just for our doorsteps but for america's doorstep. i celebrate sonny redd's nose-thumbing at the statistics that are used to freak us out. clutch our purses harder. set our standards and expectations lower. believe a little less. excuse a little more dysfunction. remove a little more blame from all the appropriate scapegoats. i'm tired of this isht.

i am disturbed by people talking about each other. i don't understand the deficit in some people's spirits that allows them to take their words so lightly. you can't believe everything you hear. sometimes nobody bothers to check with the source. some sources lie. some people's perception of events and situations is warped and flawed. but a listener may take the words as truth, spread them as truth, and the next thing you know, people have it all wrong. turning the innocent into monsters. turning the innocent into victims. in this respect, i can see how the first paragraph has come to be...

i am disturbed by my hesitance to take steps forward. this happens sometimes when i fear the possible consequences of decisions i make. it is an annoying habit of mine. i usually get myself together in time to keep from screwing everything up. by and large, my decisions have been very good ones. but the more life i live, the more crucial the decisions get, and the scarier decision-making becomes, and the stronger and more dangerous my hesitance looms over my progress. i find it ironic that i expect to enjoy companionship with someone who has confidence in his own ability to make good choices, yet i struggle with that myself. perhaps we just love to see strengths in others that we feel are weak in ourselves.

i am disturbed by my talent for dreaming and envisioning and aspiring - when i contrast that talent with my actual actions.

i am sometimes disturbed with my willingness to hold up a mirror to myself, exploring my flaws. publicly, in retrievable print, before others.

i am disturbed by the challenge to examine my willingness to be a hypocrite. by the call to be my best self, knowing the possible ramifications of living such a bold life. i am disturbed by the battle between good and evil within me and around me. disturbed by the intuitive knowledge that i will either have to live fully and engage myself in the conflict, or die inside, and lay dormant, as much a part of the problem as i could have been a part of the transcendence above it. i wasn't kidding when i said my birth was reluctant.

i am disturbed, both by the fact i have so many things to think about, and by my desire to suspend my thoughts. is it really, i think, therefore i am? i've never really studied that statement, neither have i ever enjoyed expending too much energy on being philosophical... but sometimes i wonder what existence would be like without thought, wishing for it, but guessing that there could be no such existence... and in that case, wouldn't it be, i am, therefore i think? who cares? that's why i never took a philosophy course.

i am disturbed that i have a blog entry for every day after my declaration that i didn't have time to do so. because i know what this means, even though i try my best to fight it. time is ticking. air is thinning. and i wish a vacation was all i needed. ignorance is not bliss, this i know. but neither is knowledge. and if i spend too much time marinating on that... i'll get disturbed.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

10 things (meme)

can i just say that i am doing this under protest? unsaid tagged me. and i don't even like this meme, 'cause i don't want anyone to think this is an exhaustive list, or that they have the golden ticket, even if they have everything on it. but i like to think of myself as a good sport. and perhaps i may have fun writing it, so here goes:

ten attributes of glory's perfect lover *rolling eyes*

1. crazy. anyone dealing with me must be at least marginally able to relate to my craziness. because a crazy person and a sane person... something tells me that ain't necessarily a good match. i suddenly feel compelled to clarify that i have not ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, nor have i been prescribed drugs for maintaining mental stability, nor have i been institutionalized. i'd pretty much prefer run-of-the-mill, garden-variety craziness. you know, the kind that won't bat an eye if i decide to (in the middle of an august day, after coming home from the grocery store, and leaving the groceries on the counter) put on a char.lie br.own chri.stmas album by vi.nce g.uaraldi, and jump up and down on the bed to li.nus and for absolutely no reason. that kind of crazy.

2. patient. he'll have to have patience. lots of patience. 'cause this smile will only get me so far. i take after my father, which means not only am i longwinded, but in an ironic twist of genetic cruelty, i simultaneously lack the patience to deal with others' plodding along. my perfect lover would know how to keep my attention, would recognize exactly when to zone out and just say mm hmm, and on the flip, he would also know exactly when to actually pay attention. 'cause if he thinks he's going to shut me up, there's only one way to do that... and you can't just do that any and every place any and every time. oh yeah - let's not forget my many flaws, which i won't name here. let it suffice to say that i've got some, and he needs to have the patience to learn what they are and deal with them, and be patient with me as i try to deal with his.

3. intelligent. (really this shoulda been number one on the list, but these are in no particular order). i like the smart guy. i've always liked the smart guy - the guy who can hold his own in a debate with me, or who can teach me something new. and not just intelligent, either. 'cause not just any intelligence will do. i don't just mean the ability to regurgitate facts in a single bound. i mean, can he reason, apply, synthesize? does he have knowledge that isn't printed between two covers, like the kind i got from growing up where i did? can he express his intelligence well - with confidence (not arrogance), or with cleverness? which reminds me -

4. confident. let me just say what i DON'T mean by confidence. i don't mean rudeness, delusions of grandeur, an utter lack of modesty, a blind eye to reality... no, none of that. what i'm getting at is, is he comfortable with who he is? does he know who he is? when he questions himself, is it according to his standards, or someone else's? is he afraid to take chances? is he afraid (mind you, i didn't say mindful, i said afraid) of what i, or any other people, think of him? does he have faith in his own ability to reason well and make good decisions? does he literally stand at his full stature? 'cause i have confidence and i have little patience for folks who don't have it. to me, confidence is a form of power. (and, i'm sure i'll say this again, i love power in a man!)

5. funny. i love to laugh. i'm not very funny myself. but wit is like intelligence's cuter, sexier cousin. people have different senses of humor, too. for example, the show fra.sier is funny. also, the show mar.tin is funny. but those shows are funny in two different ways. my perfect lover's humor would tickle my eagerness to laugh.

6. moving. or in other words, openminded/amenable to change/ambitious. in my life, stagnancy is not an option. i like to rearrange my furniture. my dreams for myself for the future have themes rooted in lifelong aspirations, but the details change as circumstances and life experience require them to. lately, i've been trying new foods like i'm searching for a cure for boredom. i'll listen to what an enemy has to say if it's interesting enough, even though i don't agree. i question authority and accepted knowledge. this is a big world, and ruts of thinking and living are just not for me. new stuff is cool. defying expectation is fun. and there's a lot to discover. i can't be getting the screwface from my man for living the fullest, freest life i can. if anything, he should be curious, and inquisitive, and be wilin' out and moving somewhere right along with me. 'cause i won't be staying still.

7. able to discern boundaries. but i have home training. and i know my limits. and i respect wisdom, when i'm blessed enough to recognize it for what it is. there's a time for irreverence and a time to be humble. people have boundaries that need to be respected - i do too. i'm not a loose cannon - all my rhyming has reason. and his should, too.

8. creative! creative people are just more interesting. that's all there is to it. one of the things i love the most about myself is that i've always been creative. i appreciate artsy stuff. something painted, drawn, crafted. something written. something composed and played. i find the creative process sacred (put your open-minded cap on for this. ready?), like a manifestation of love. i love to see the creative process in action. i love to see talent in a person. and (don't tell nobody) i use creative people. their energy feeds me. i'm kinda like those little birdies that lived on the hippopotamuseses hippos in the cartoons. and only a creative man would truly understand why i must (eventually) take all these artsy fartsy lessons i'll be taking, and why i must write something every day, and why i run to philly to support these creative people all the time. to me, a creative man is just imitating the action of his Creator, instead of remaining limited and accepting what others create. creative people have vision. that's beautiful. there's power in that. (and i love power in a man!)

9. affectionate. i love to be touched. hugged. kissed. held. not on "mookie, it's too hot" days, or not if he needs a shower, and not all the time... but often. my perfect lover delights in holding my hand and kissing me for no reason when noone can tease him for acting all sweet (and maybe even sometimes in front of others!) he likes the moan he elicits from me when he massages my scalp. he likes that i like to kiss him everywhere he'll let me. but he also knows i'm physically affectionate because he makes love to my spirit, by actually believing in me, appreciating having me in his life, sharing (not everything but) everything he feels comfortable sharing with me, letting me know that i'm wanted in his space and important in his life.

10. possesses that other thing. you know, the thing noone can really describe, 'cause it comes in so many shapes and sizes. so many different voices. so many different walks and swaggers. sometimes i don't know it when i see it. but after getting to know someone i realize that he has it. that thing, where when you think of him, or if he calls in the middle of the day (close your eyes, kids) your love comes down. that thing, where when he gets near you, you feel like you're more at home than ever, no matter where you both are. that thing, that makes you want to go right home to him from work (or say #%@& it and just call out). that thing that makes you feel feminine and attractive. that thing... you know? the thing. the thing a man simply does or does not have? my perfect lover will have that thing. and i'ma love the hell out of it...

Friday, March 24, 2006

fighting inertia

i don't like liars.

i won't say i've never lied, but i'm happier with myself when i tell the truth. i'm talking about my personality. i don't lie with my personality. i'm not ashamed of who i am. i recognize that there is a time and a place for everything, so yeah, sometimes i display facets of myself more prominently than others. for example, my professional me shows certain facets of my spirit more so than my chilling-with-my-best-friends me. but even when i may turn thisaway or thataway to offer my best angle to whoever's looking, what they're seeing is still me. pure unadulterated me. even when i tailor my words to fit a situation, what people are hearing is me. pure unadulterated me. i own my prayers and my promises and my profanity - all my syllables are heartfelt. all my intentions are heartfelt. it's not always easy to tell the truth about who i am. there are times when i front like i'm tougher or braver or more outgoing than i am... but i always either catch myself or my self catches me - either way, i always wind up back at the jump off. pure unadulterated me. if i did it, i'll own up to it, or at least offer a damn good excuse. if i say i didn't do it, or i didn't mean it, well then i didn't. i'm simple that way. i ain't the one to exhaust myself trying to keep up with a persona that isn't from the heart of me. even my fronting has a root somewhere in this heart and in my experiences. i refuse to waste the energy to come up with one thing after another to cover this or that false impression that i gave off of myself. when it's all said and done, i desire to be understood and loved for this real heart and this real mind, and not some foolishness i imagined.

this is why i can't stand liars.

we all have our moods. we all experiment with different facets of ourselves. most of us, myself included, have had intentions that were real to begin with, yet evolved over time. or perhaps we withhold certain elements of ourselves until we feel more comfortable with new acquaintances.

but how far are you willing to manipulate the things you say and do to convince someone you're someone that you're not? how many times can you offer fake concern for someone? spend time with people you wouldn't otherwise hang out with? come up with just the right things to say to get someone to believe some bull about who you really are? why would you do that? what is so compelling that would make someone - a supposed friend, a supposed lover, a supposed ally - be so deceitful about the contents of their mind and heart? why cheat someone out of the opportunity to love you for who you really are instead of for an illusion - or conversely, why cheat them out of the opportunity to distance themselves from a truth that they'd rather not be close to? is it not a waste of time and energy and effort to lie about who you are, and what motivates you, and what your idea of decency is, and what your intentions are? how do people who aren't themselves sleep at night? aren't they scared about what will happen when their slip starts showing and people come to realize who they really are? or are they so self-absorbed, so callous, so demented, so selfish, so voided, that they have no concern for the hearts of those people who've been deceived?

i can't help but to think of a scene from wednesday night's episode of black/white, when carmen, who is white and has befriended a black woman while appearing black, explains to the friend that she is really a white woman. the friend said something like, "i feel like my friend just died." that resonated with me, because i know how that feels. i've had that happen to me. you find out that someone isn't who they held themselves out to be, and it shocks you, and then it hurts you, and then you feel like mourning someone - this friend, this lover, this ally - who never really existed. you grapple with very palpable feelings for a very intangible fantasy, while looking into the eyes of a person who is now a stranger. welcome to the matrix - what you thought was real, really ain't real.

i detest liars.

i try to be the kind of person that people can feel comfortable around. i try (for better or for worse) not to be judgmental. i try to be empathic, open, welcoming - so that way, people won't be tempted to lie to me about who they are. i think that helps some. i intuitively believe that most of the people who deal with me don't feel the need to deal with me from behind a mask. but here and there, there are people who just give me a feeling. that's the only protection i have - my gut. and sometimes, because i want so strongly for people to be worthy of my best intentions, my gut is overruled by my desire for a questionable glass to be half full instead of half empty. and by the time i begin to realize i took a bad gamble, it's too late. i am left to mourn a ghost. facing a murderer. you see, liars create things, and when their lies fall like scales from a blind man's eyes, it's easy to see what they've killed. their beloved illusion falls at their hands, along side a bit of something even more priceless - someone's trust.

i blame liars for my need to write this blog entry. for my disturbing suspicion that a lifetime of liars requires a lifetime of healing. for my tendency to protectively front on people a little too often, flirting with liar status myself. for my need to read my mom's advice in the sunday blog time and time again, because i realize that if i don't absorb it, it will be wasted on me, and i will have lost my most important possession - my faith. such things distract us from our most meaningful usage of our time here. such things separate us from the love of the Creator. such things are a powerful tool in spiritual warfare, because they weaken the soldiers.

it is my imperative and pressing need to continue to apply healing balm to my wounds and keep it moving. pressing toward the mark. so says this woman whose feet can't rest, because stagnancy is not an option.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

gray/gray colorblindness

it's thursday! this means two things. first, you made it past the middle of the week. second, i watched black/white last night.

first, let's dispense with the light preliminaries:

i found it interesting that both teenage white rose, and grown black renee said that renee's son nicholas acts like a stereotype. the apathetic, materialistic, immature, young, ignorant black boy. shoot, i agree. i hate that that boy has been left back twice and expresses himself in a manner that probably shames his parents, who both speak well. i think that renee and brian should have kept nicholas away from b.e.t. a little more vigilantly... he didn't just get like that...

why did bruno say that he liked the way renee used the word, "negro" when she cussed nicholas out? just why??? he really wants me to dislike him, doesn't he?

why am i hoping that white people watching this show don't think that all black parents use profanity towards their children? what's worse, why am i hoping the black people watching this show don't think that this is how black people should be towards their children? see, i'm realizing that in the absence of real community interaction, too many black folks are taking their cues on how to be black from television. sad but true. exhibit #1 - nicholas. exhibit #2 - black suburban kids breaking their necks to be like kids from the urban jungles, because that experience is "blacker" and "realer" than theirs, or at least that's what the videos and songs tell you... but anyway, my parents didn't use profanity on me. they didn't have to, but even so, let's not take that one family to represent all black families in america, just like i know bruno isn't all white men. (thank goodness!)

why was i rolling when renee was cussing nicholas out, though? ooooh that was funny.

now for the beef.

i have a beef with two people this time. first, the minor beef. ms. sassy black tourguide. the lady who showed carmen and bruno (the white couple) around the museum and the hood and the park. don't get me wrong. i like her friendly spirit and her kindness to the white couple. she seems like a sweet girl. but sometimes, she grates at me. "black people do this," and "black folks do that..." come on. she could at least say, "a lot of," or "some of," or "it's been said that," bla bla bla. but nooooo. she is the ambassador extraordinaire of all things knee-grow. and that just isn't so. i don't think she realizes it, but she is bolstering stereotypes all while she's supposedly trying to get these white folks to see beyond stereotypes. it's like she's unwittingly put on black face when she says stuff like, "no black woman would admit she hasn't read a Bible in ten years," or "black people look in your shower when they use your bathroom." whether in earnest or in jest, she knows that carmen is listening to her, trying to get some understanding of blackness (whatever that is), and carmen's silly self is standing there nodding, like, "ohhh, i didn't know that," which just encourages this woman to keep on cooning. oh just stop. however, there are times when i think ms. sassy black tourguide is useful, like when she explained in the park that the tension they felt walking through a park full of black militants was because they appeared to be a black man with a white woman. carmen and bruno needed to have that said and confirmed for them.

which brings me to my next beef. the meatier cut. bruno. again. of course. see, earlier in the show, before they went to the park, bruno and carmen went out dancing, appearing as a black couple. they went to a country/western spot, where the clientele was all white. they were the only black folks there. now first of all, this is my first issue with the producers. this is a totally unrealistic situation. it's not unrealistic that black folks would, in fact, be the only minorities in a room. but i think it is unrealistic that black folks would seek entertainment there. i'd think that perhaps another place would have been better. but i'm veering off. carmen felt strange being the only black woman in the room. she wasn't used to being a minority, and she felt unwelcome. she felt tension. and she felt untrusted for being asked for her credit card before being able to get a tab at the bar. but bruno says he felt and noticed nothing strange. umm, okay. it's like he and brian (the black guy) said in the first episode. if you're looking for something, you'll find it. and if you're not looking for something, you won't. well maybe carmen was looking to feel foreign and unwanted. and maybe bruno wasn't looking to be treated differently. or maybe carmen's feeling ostracized was very real and she was just being honest, and maybe bruno was getting the screwface and chose not to acknowledge it for what it was. guess we'll never get a confirmation. sounds a lot like what we black folks have to go through when we get the feeling that something ain't right, but we never get the confirmation... we just have to keep living, finding a way to deal with the suspicion.

now contrast this with their visit as a interracial couple (bruno appearing black, with carmen appearing white) to the park where the black folks with drums and incense and backpacks and camouflage and bandanas hang out. the tension was palpable. carmen felt it. bruno felt it. ms. sassy black tour guide confirmed it, and, as i said before, she identified it as hostility at what appeared to be a brother bringing a white girl into black space. they were very obviously not welcome. bruno was aggravated. he labeled the tension as racism. he wouldn't attribute it to ms. sassy black tour guide's reasoning, but he knew he felt something ugly and uncomfortable. carmen was really broken up - she was afraid and alienated - feelings that she wasn't used to at all. she accepted the tour guide's reasoning, and really felt something that struck a chord in her.

you wanna know what struck a chord in me? (tell 'em why you mad, son!) imagine carmen as accurate for a moment. the "control" in the experiment. how come carmen felt tension at both the white bar and the black park? how come bruno couldn't feel the tension from the white folks at the white bar, but he could feel the tension from the black folks at the black park? how come? huh? how. come? i'ma just leave that rhetorical and let you marinate on that for a minute.


can't wait until next week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

my wife, continued, and flipped a little

in response to a friend's question - do i think, in light of what i wrote yesterday, that Black people don't believe it necessary to be coupled up, i wrote the following. it's embellished for you guys, though...

*this is an aside* last night i didn't feel well - had a horrible headache. but i still had to drive home. and i had the fleeting thought - i wish i had somebody to give this wheel to, so i could just ride home instead of having to stay alert and drive for 15-20 minutes... *aside over*

then i got home and thought, it would it really make a difference if i was coupled up? i would still have to work. i would still have to keep track and stay on top of my finances. i would still have to clean my house. what would change if i married? i would still be do-it-all woman. it's just that perhaps there would be more bills to be paid and more to clean up. conversely, there would be more hands to clean up and more money to get the bills paid. so maybe i could get a change in position from do-it-all-woman to share-some-of-it-woman. that's not too compelling though. the deciding factor is moments like the aside i typed above.

maybe i would still have my days where i would want a secretary to help me stay on top of things, but the difference is having someone to take concern for you when you're sick. someone to talk to without having to pick up the phone and hope your best friends ain't all boo'd up and too busy for you. someone to share the highs and lows of their life with you, and add variety to what could otherwise be a very self-absorbed existence. i'm introspective and wordy - i like to articulate things. so i'm fortunate in being able to recognize that though i CAN do it alone, it'd probably be nice the coupled way, provided i'm coupled with the right person. (even though i can do all these things... i need you... i do i do i do i do... said, even though i can do ALL... these here things... i need you... we need you... we do...) *sannng jill!*

but i think that some people, men and women, find a level of comfort in being the only person they have to take care of, and knowing that they are fully capable of doing so, and doing it well. and the prospect of being coupled seems either elusive or difficult or intimidating. so they get their wanna-be-a-hermaphrodite-on-an-island on, trying to be self-sufficient, telling themselves that that's the way to go and that love is for suckas.

let me let you in on something. i am fully self-sufficient so far as many things are concerned. i'm a baaaaaad sista. but i need people. i need my cousins and their families to get my nuclear family and maternal instinct on. (i just got clowned recently for showing off other people's kids in my wallet.) i need my philly arts scene to feel like i'm a part of a community. i need my girlfriends for the things only women understand. i need my homeboys 'cause... well shoot - i need 'em to admire and tease and dote upon and support and flirt with. no (wo)man is an island. without my ridiculous level of social interaction, i would be a very miserable (but congratulations, self-sufficient) person. and unfortunately, there are too many people in that position - pessimistic, mean, and anti-social. those are the people that believe we don't need each other. and they're right. we don't. not if we're content with being miserable as all hayle. the Creator wisely put us here for each other, and cultivates and loves us through each other's influential Creator-given gifts.

if i never marry, i at least have all the stuff i need to get by. self-sufficiency. communal love. but i'm not so foolish as to dismiss the value in coupling up. and i hope that more people come to realize that we need each other. stop walking around with our degrees and pay stubs in the air, talking 'bout some, i get my OWN hair and nails done. *shaking my head* we can do better. can we learn nothing from ossie and ruby, bill and camille, cliff and clair, tim and daphne, my mom and dad? O and XXXXXX? brother buck and his patient wife? anonymuse and amani? me and him (do you think i should name him)? bobby and whi- HAHAHA i just wanted to see if you were paying attention!

wishing you love peace and afrosheen/soul glo/pink lotion/sheabutter/whatever you people are using nowadays...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

my wife

even though i didn't devote time for blogging last night, i still wound up ranting to friends this morning. figured i'd post it... this not blogging daily thing is going to take some getting used to. i keep forgetting i'm a writer and always have been, so whether or not i want to devote time to it, the words will still come...

i'm trying to slow down and focus. how come getting the space to slow down is taking so much work? i'm trying to get simple matters out of the way: touching base with family members, wrapping up loose ends, my seasonal purge of all unnecessary possessions, budgeting, bills, filing taxes, groceries, housekeeping. sometimes, i wish i had a wife - i mean, an assistant - to handle some this crap for me. i know now more than i ever did, that high-powered white male executives get married consistently and at relatively young ages, 'cause they know they wouldn't make it anywhere if not for sweet Lauren at home. i need me a sweet Lauren. problem is, i'm a woman, so what i really need is a secretary, 'cause me and sweet Lauren can't get down like that. i made groceries yesterday in between the cycles of carrying huge laundry loads on each shoulder. still wearing the three inch nine wests i had to wear to work yesterday, mind you, 'cause i couldn't have worn my last clean pair of dress pants (the ones with the long inseam and the high riding waistline) without being almost 5'8", or the pants would've dragged the ground. i also needed some socks, belts, and dress flats - some of that stuff that gets lost in the sauce when you're busy hustling. the kind of stuff that white male professionals get sweet Lauren to get for them. sometimes i get weary. tired of being my own sweet Lauren. i have to make the money around here, and do all the chores and ministerial tasks, and then flop down on the bed, realizing that my entire body is spent. and i have no masseuse appointment, 'cause there's no sweet Lauren to say, "honey, can you make an appointment at the masseuse for me, please," to. or better yet, screw sweet Lauren, i should be able to be sweet Lauren instead of do-it-all woman (not so, for any black woman i know) and then i could rub my husband's back before rolling over and asking him to return the favor, hoping his spoiled tail didn't fall asleep on me. i woke up this morning, disoriented and drained. wishing there was some dayum breakfast already done. (i'm hongry now - forgot to grab a banana in my mad dash out the door.) not pressuring myself to blog after my dinner of late leftovers gave me more time to rest last night, but i still have so much more to do in order to get my mental desk cleared off. it'll have to wait til tomorrow, 'cause i have to be at the Heat tonight. (time's a wastin'... don't you take your time.... *panic--checking it--sighing*) and i'm not happy 'cause i don't have anything new to read. maybe a poem will happen to me sometime between now and then. maybe it'll be about how i need a business partner in this life. screw love, i can worry about that later. but for real, it would be great to have someone help with some of this other stuff.

forgive my rant. i'm just a little jealous of men who have sweet Laurens to buy them new socks and wipe up their pee sprinkles and call their travel agents. their grass isn't greener though. i don't have to work as hard to support a family and a wife, like they do...

my last dream was crazy. gotta stop watching funny british zombie movies before falling asleep.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


i lost a plant this weekend. i love keeping plants. i have several in my home. it's nice to have them around because they're living beings and that can be very inspiring when you live alone. after christmas, my job had several large poinsettia plants that they were going to throw away. i picked up one for myself and another for my aunt. some folks don't know that though you usually don't see them on display until just in time for the holiday season, poinsettias will stay alive into the new year and beyond if you just love 'em. i found that out from my mom, who probably got her love for houseplants from her mom before passing hers on to me. i gave it a shot, making sure my poinsettia got sunlight and water... but it was never really happy. the whole time i had it, it just kept dropping leaves. i'll never know why. i can go through all the maybe-i-should'ves but in the end, what's done is done. i had to put it out of its misery today. it had simply lost so many leaves, and the remaining leaves were wilting, and it was just the most pitiful looking thing... i took my scissors and cut up its remains, then took the roots and dirt out of the pot, which i'll reuse for another plant that needs a bigger pot to grow in. it was really sad, because when i cut up the poinsettia, it started to bleed this white sticky plant starch that i had to wash off of my hands, just like a slaughter. i felt bad that i couldn't do more to make its life better. i mean, i did save it from certain death. but i wouldn't say that the past few months have been good for the plant, either... i got my mourn on, but i know that life (even for poinsettias) goes on.

it'll be okay.

my mom and i had a talk today about my hesitance to add too many more people (including men) to the inner circle of my life, trusting them with my friendship and my confidence. i've had my trust betrayed and my expectations disappointed enough times to not want to open myself wide again. (wide open wide the mistake was made love slipped from my lips dripped down my chin...)

you know what she told me?

get over it. that's the way of the world. (plant your flowers and they'll grow and grow a child is born with a heart of gold the way of the world makes his heart turn cold.) my response? that's just more evidence that i don't belong on this planet amongst all this coldness and betrayal, if this is the way it has to be. she wanted to know where i thought i belonged, if not here. i told her, where i came from - with my Creator.

you know what she told me?

Jesus was with the Creator, but came here because He had a gift for the world. if He could do it to share his gift, so can you, because you have a gift you have to share. He was betrayed too, and He found the ability to love, anyway. so can you.

you know what i told her?


life goes on. it'll be okay.

Friday, March 17, 2006

facing forward

i needed to hear a man's voice in my home tonight. tedd.y pender.grass would have been perfect, but nobody picked that cd off of my wish list, and i am on a budget, and the cd store is closed, and i have dial-up, so i couldn't even download him. so right now, i am spinning g.aye. (i love how, with the exception of the needle, we can use resurrected record player terminology, like spinning, for our round cd's.) i needed marvin because sometimes, like stepha.nie mills says, you need the comfort of a man. tonight i needed comfort. just because.

anyway, i need to make an announcement. i no longer have the time to commit to blogging daily. though i have the inclination, unless someone starts paying me to smith words, i have some other priorities that must now monopolize my time. i wish that i could write all day and all night to my heart's content, but right now, that's not physically feeding me, nor will it be doing so in the immediately foreseeable future.

my personal journal is stagnant. my poetic mind is getting overgrown and needs tending, but in some strange complement to the timing of this earth's hemisphere, my poetic mind is having fall, not spring - approaching the time for winter's rest, instead of hurtling with energy towards the lushness of summer. i also have a project to concentrate on - it's been hanging over my head for some time now. so i need to get my aquarius tendencies into gear and lovingly steer my pisces head out of the clouds so that i can get my focus on. i have american dreams to attain. dreams of progress, freedom, independence... see, i can speak like that, 'cause when you separate the message (liberty and prosperity) from the messenger (slaveowners, imperialists, and john-wayne-round-'em-up bullies), and if you remember that my people have loved and nurtured this land since before its inception, then you may understand my eagerness to embrace american dreams. and thanks to those who've come before me - freedom fighters and accomplished achievers - i know that what my parents told me is true: if i want to, i can make it happen, without my gender or my youth or my background or my culture being an impediment - in fact, in this country, i can use these things as strengths.

this post has become, strangely, almost patriotic. it's a funny thing, patriotism. until i remember that this country is my birthright. my people were natives here, living at peace with and living with love for this land. then my other people built this place - digging the ditches, paving the roads, and supporting the first crucial economy. i am now diligently ensuring that my promissory note gets cashed. forget reparations. i will just take my due opportunity as a citizen of this my native and adopted land. i simply refuse, in the memory of every ancestor whose back was bent before i was able to walk straight, to accept rejection in the name of insufficient funds.

it's not just in their honor that i aim to stake my claim, though. for my own personal edification, i intend to fulfill my potential, and shine my light so that others may see what the Most High has created in me. for my own personal satisfaction, i want to live a life that i deserve - a happy one, with no financial worries, which affords me the ability to be a good daughter to my parents, a good wife to my husband, a good mother to my children, a good sister for my community, and most importantly, a woman i can be comfortable looking in the eye on a daily basis. the measure of this woman will lie in how i seek and attain my Creator-given destiny. and i've learned over this past year that a large part of that will be how i use my love for communication and artistic expression.

there are parts of this journey that scare me. there are other parts that thrill me with their promise and potential. i pray for strength and focus and encouragement as i just keep moving and growing, trying to simultaneously get through and learn from the process. there are some times, like this moment, that i'm glad that g.aye is the only man in my space right now. i have so much to process, and so much growing to do.

so, family, please excuse our appearance here at glory-i-am. this woman is a work in progress and is under construction. for a certain period of time that is yet to be determined, posts will be less frequent. however, for your edification, here's a rough sketch of what may result from the inconvenience: a more balanced, more professionally accomplished, more focused, less aimless, less stressed glory. perhaps more thoughful. hopefully spiritually stronger. probably more self-assured. and Lord willing, a more prolific wordsmith, with a tighter delivery and a braver spirit. to expedite the process, the management here at glory-i-am suggests the occasional good intention sent to the Universe on her behalf. now, that "occasional" can mean sometimes or frequently - hey, do you - and please know that any and all support is sincerely appreciated. the management would also like to caution well wishers against disrespecting this growth process by trying to rush the Creator's work. to every thing there is a season, and we here at glory-i-am will respect that. in the meantime, please know that the management appreciates all of the readers, skimmers, and commenters. you are the reason management enjoys this blogging hobby and you also serve as inspiration to keep the supply going as long there is some demand.

peace to you.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

grey matter

why it gotta be all that? we some sensitive people sometimes, and i don't mean black folks, i mean folks, period. those poor white folks on black/white, unh, unh, unh... they are fish out of water, ain't they? so unaccustomed to thinking about things in a racial context. so unaccustomed to the mine field of talking about race without pissing people of other races off. you know what i got from the show last night?

first, i think that at this point, the black couple is digging for information, trying to find out juuuuuust how racist white folks can be when we are not around. interesting? yes. tempting? yes. would i have tried it? yes. but i don't think that should be the sole objective of their endeavors. aren't they also supposed to be trying to find out what "whiteness" is like?

which brings me to the other thing i got from the show last night. we need to stop acting like there is no such thing as "whiteness." our society's established patterns of talking about race are skewed to a point where "white" is "white" and everything else is an "other," or "ethnic," or "cultural," or "racial." but arguably, "white" is indeed ethnic, cultural, and racial. ask people from countries where the majority of people aren't white. shooooot, ask the people who were here before the white folks got here whether or not whites are "default" or "other." ask that white girl on the show, rose (i like this kid), who has been appearing black to black kids her own age - ask her whether or not she feels really really really really white right now. y'all know those kids are calling rose a "white girl" behind her back, or are at least thinking it.

contrary to what yet another hapless bar patron thinks we think, our idea of "acting white" is not solely based on a drive for achievement and educational attainment. i could hear mary mcleod bethune and booker t. washington turning over in their graves during his "black folks celebrate stupidity" litany, which i'll revisit in a moment. besides that, we also pin acting white on cultural things, like what music a person likes (rose said she liked the cranberries instead of fronting and saying D4.L or lu.dacris or alici.a k.eys, and that was step number one to her culture showing like an errant slip). or perhaps her cultural slip was showing when she did that ridiculously wack freestyle (for entirely too long, i might add) without at least prefacing it with, "i can't freestyle, but hold up, let me play with this for a second," or at least following it up with, "sike, y'all, i was just playing." her cultural slip was showing when she did a poem about race, without capturing the heart of how a person who is experienced in thinking about and navigating race from a black perspective would speak. it simply didn't resonate with her peers. because while all are american, they are still experiencing life from two culturally different vantage points. rose has a culture, and that culture is whiteness.

not necessarily the bullisht "i didn't know 'bitch' was offensive to black women" whiteness that her mother batted her eyes and welled up with tears about in last night's episode. (i understood her desperation to not seem racist, yet was simultaneously not impressed with her horrible judgment and assumption that we all use "bitch" affectionately.) whiteness is also not necessarily the getting-nice-treatment-in-the-shoe-store whiteness that the black man attributed to his white appearance in the first episode. but there's something there, and it would be interesting if the black folks started to experience it, besides rehearsing misconceptions by regurgitating racist and recycled jokes about how black people run from strange sounds and white people go to (stupidly) investigate them and get killed. i understand that an answer to this could be, "but black folks know what whiteness is, because we have to understand it to navigate this white man's land daily." ahhhh, but grasshopper, slow ya roll. have you had on a white man's moccasins? huh? what does it feel like to be vilified and called devil, not because they think you'll rape their wives and your doppleganger's mug shot is on the news every night (like what black men go through), but because you are the rapist of the world's resources, descended from heartless slave owners, rapists of black women, mercenary and conspiratorial, like all the minorities say you are? what does it feel like to have black friends/associates/colleagues and not know what to say around them, 'cause their sensitivity is something you don't understand ('cause you don't necessarily have to) so conversation is like a mine field? how do you answer your kids' questions about race and the accusations that they are, by default, racists? i don't know. i'm just wondering. and i think that's something worth understanding.

but i gotta get back to my homeboy, gomer, in the bar. (no, his name probably wasn't gomer, but isn't that just fun to call him?) *sigh* first of all, gomer's dumb, 'cause he should've known better than to say those things to a black woman's face, unless he doesn't mind being seen as a racist, and a stupid one at that. but i think that gomer is a victim of the don't-talk-about-my-family-'cause-only-i-can-talk-about-them double standard. he said the same thing bill cosby said - the same thing many of us, or at least our parents or grandparents have said - about black children not being encouraged to excel, and about ignorance being celebrated. hayle, i've said it mydamnself on occasion. (dr. bethune, i wasn't talking about you, honest!) and not nary one of us gets the screwface for anything except maybe classism. but gomer? i bet there are black folks right now who are ready to put a klan sheet on gomer's head. he's just repeating our dirty laundry. you know what gomer's problem was? gomer let his guard down and was honest, and said, "you know what, the hayle with this mine field, this pretty and nice black lady makes me comfortable," and he just let 'er rip. and she (wisely) just kept okaying and mm hmming, giving him rope to hang himself (or perhaps to hang ignorant black people???) 'cause remember, the cameras were rolling.

anyway, i ain't mad at gomer. i applaud his honesty. not his painting black folks with broad brush strokes. and not his well-you're-a-good-one-though-so-i'm-not-talking-about-you condescension in the guise of acceptance that we coloreds hate so much. but i liked his honesty. i wish more people, of whichever race, would stop being sensitive and cautious and just let 'er rip. i'd rather we all know what mines are laying under the dirt.

we can rebuild after the riots.

i had to leave the house about 15-20 minutes before the show ended. so i missed rose's confession and the poetry session at the house and the "beautiful black creature" incident, all of which i caught on saturday night. i'm proud of rose for being honest and going with her gut. and i agreed with the guy in her poetry group for being honest about his feelings to rose's face and not behind her back. i appreciated that he took some time to work it out and reconcile as a friend with her afterwards.

*sigh* now, about carmen's "beautiful black creature" comment. i know in my gut that she didn't mean to call that black girl sub-human to degrade her. but see, it's moments like that the bother the hayle out of people. that word "creature" still rankled in my ear, even though i mentally knew that carmen meant no insult by her words. now, to ask bruno, her husband, the one who thinks most racism is a result of our sensitivity, and he would probably say i'm reading too much into it, because carmen is white, and black folks are just looking for carmen to say something racist. to ask the black couple, they would say, that's just more evidence that carmen and her husband are racists - maybe not cross-burning, nukka-pick-that-cotton racists - but people who either consciously or subconsciously think of black people as something that's somehow "less than" white people. and i honestly don't want to argue either side, 'cause i think there may be truth in both. it's hard to tell. that's the problem with race relations today. you never know. because it's never fleshed out. because noone wants to talk about the hows and wheres and whys. because every one is so sensitive.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


march comes in like a lion every year.
every year when spring approaches, the weather gets bipolar, even though some folks forget.
monday i had to crack my car windows to release the warmth to keep from dying in the car.
tuesday i had to turn on my car's heater.
the weekend only required a light jacket, if anything at all.
tuesday i had to put on my lined wool pea coat.
and everyone (else) is hacking and coughing and sneezing.
for me, it's not illness, it's sinus pressure headaches.
fl.onase here i come.
the buds aren't here yet, though i'm looking forward to it.
this would be a beautiful time to fall in love.
this would be a terrible time to fall in love.
i'm not yet sure if i have the heart and energy for it.
i am sure that i don' t have the time for it.
if i could do it without having to give of myself, that would be great.
but there is no justice, no balance, no love in that.
but there is no chaos, poetry or magic... in timing and judging your love.
i've been having dreams and they are talking to me about love.
my love.
others' love.
optimism about love.
so now, i don't like dreaming anymore, 'cause i can't force my dreams' direction.
i went through a period where i couldn't remember my dreams for all my effort.
now i can't stop remembering them.
can't forget them even if i wanted to.
i cling desperately to my defiance and cynicism as my dreams try to wrest them from me.
i meant to talk about the weather.
i did not mean to talk about my heart's vulnerabilities.
sometimes honesty is unnerving.
what a mind job.
i learned yesterday that sarsaparilla (sass-parilla) is a plant that cowboys used to drink to fight impurities.
interestingly enough, that's what i use writing for sometimes.
i also learned that sweetpotato tastes good with salmon.
i learned that i loved some people that i hadn't yet thought that way about yet.
i went to three places looking for a cd but i found it.
funny the things we'll do for music that massages that part of you that wants to forget your dreams.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


how come i understand now what some bloggers and poets say about if it means x much to you that y, then maybe you should back away sometimes...


(This is what happens when I don't have stuff to blog about - I make stuff up.)


Saturday. Nyla remembered a second too late to flop her legs down to the side and smooth her dress down over her ashy knees while sitting on the curb. That boy across the street flicked a booger (see, this is why she never wanted to play with him, anyway) and started singing.

"I see London, I see France..."

Nyla was already past the boys tossing the football on the lawn, past the little plastic toad sitting at the bottom of the stairs, and halfway onto the porch by the time that little nosepicker told all her business. She had to slow down to sneak into the house, though, 'cause Mama said to play outside and not to come back in 'til she called. She listened through the screen door. Good. All the voices were coming from the kitchen. Nyla pulled on the wooden frame to get the door open juuuuust wide enough to get through, but not wide enough to let the squeak loose that Uncle Junior been said he was gonna get fixed.

She had to blink and pause for a second to adjust to the light. It's a good thing she did come back in - she'd dropped a few of her jacks right here in front of the door on the way outside. If Mama had stepped on one in her houseshoes, she'd probably threaten to send her and Kevin both to Arlene's house to get out the way. It's not that Nyla didn't like her mother, but she was just a little bit afraid of her, 'cause everybody knew Arlene was about as crazy as indian summer. Cool as Mama's lemonade one minute, hot as Mama's iron on wash day the next. Nyla would rather stay at home with Mama and her sons Uncle Junior and Uncle Billy, where she and her brother Kevin have been ever since she could remember. The food was better, Uncle Junior told funny stories, Uncle Billy was slow but sweet, and she didn't have to share a bed with Kevin or listen to people stumble in drunk and hollering all night.

From the kitchen, words came to Nyla in snatches.
"It ain't enough room, noway..."
"Won't be nothing but trouble."
"Don't much matter what you think."

Once, after church, she was pretending to listen to boring old Pumpkin Williams from her Sunday School class, when she was really eavesdropping on grown folks business. Mama was telling Sister Tucker that she didn't really want to send her and Kevin to Arlene's, but she just didn't want them to feel like strangers with their own mama. She knew how worldly Arlene could be, and she knew Arlene had heathens over all the time for liquor and spinning those records and everything, but she wasn't but so worried about Nyla and Kevin, 'cause she knew they were raised right and were old enough to stay out of trouble for the short spells they would stay at Arlene's. Well, she was half right. Sometimes Nyla would catch Kevin drinking that whiskey "Uncle" Fish would give to him, with Arlene just watching and laughing. When those records would start playing, Nyla and Kevin would go and watch the grownfolks shaking everything for a while, but Kevin was bold. He would go right on out in the front room and dance with the grownfolks, just grinning all up in those loose women's faces when they would call him handsome and tell him it was okay to touch on their bootys like the men did.

"It don't make no sense to me!"
"Family is family."
"Well, I guess you done just made up your mind."

Nyla wanted to be wild and crazy sometimes, too, and swing her booty from side-to-side, too. But she was too scared Mama would find out somehow. Not Kevin. When they say Arlene spit him out, they weren't playing. Like her, he had no fear, and a look in his eyes that was hungry for anything that wasn't sitting still.

Nyla had stayed by the door too long. Voices had stopped. The door to the kitchen porch swung open and slammed shut. She felt the shift in the energy from the kitchen, and quickly picked up the jacks and scurried to the bathroom before Mama and those houseshoes shuffled to the couch. She listened to Uncle Billy's tender, deliberate steps go towards the armchair. Musta been Uncle Junior that stormed outside. Nyla found the Vaseline and rubbed some on the gray of her knees.

"Billy, I done told that child that pride goeth before a fall. All that worldly living... She just..." Mama drifted a moment. Then, with the determination required of a woman with no time to mourn, she spoke more clearly. "Son, tell the chirren to come on indoors so I can talk to 'em 'fore Junior gets back."

Nyla flushed the toilet and came out of the bathroom to head towards the door.

"Nye," Mama started. Nyla stopped under Mama's suspicious glare, and tried to look as if she hadn't been listening in.
"Go and tell your brother to come back in - right now, mind you."

The booger boy was tossing the ball with Kevin and Shorty now. As they came inside, Nyla told Kevin to wipe his hands, to which he sneered. He changed his mind after Nyla told him about the boogers that were probably on the football. They entered from the porch laughing together. Their smiles at the joke were met and erased by Mama's serious face, like Pastor when he talks about Judgment Day.

"Your mama will be staying here for a while in Nye's room. Nye, you'll stay with me in my bed from now on. You be sure to be quiet in the house and unselfish. I don't want no trouble out of y'all, do you understand me?"
"That Fish done lost his mind and your mama needs a peaceful place to rest, 'cause she's not feeling very well. Get her water and whatever else she needs when she asks you for it, understand?"

As they went back outside, Brother Williams' truck pulled up in front of the house. Except that where his wife and Precious would sit, there was Uncle Junior and Arlene, looking about as small as Precious. Uncle Junior lifted Arlene out of the truck and carried her unceremoniously through the yard. Nyla winced. Arlene was pale and looked tired. She was wearing workmen's denim instead of a dress. Her hair was all over her head, and even though her eyes were open, she looked asleep under the big bloodied bandage on her face, where she'd so obviously been slashed. Mama stoically opened the squeaking screen door and Uncle Junior took her straight up to Nyla's little walk-in-closet-turned-bedroom.

In a rare show of brotherly love, Kevin put his arm around his sister when he saw her confusion and the water welling up in her eyes. He knew better than to try to explain what the adults would never tell her - that Fish finding out about Arlene's pregnancy by another man was the reason for her miscarriage and her new scar. Nyla had heard the word, but didn't know what "whore" really meant. He didn't have the heart to tell her that the town spelled it "A-r-l-e-n-e."

Nyla wanted to get her sack of marbles out of the room and go anywhere else to just play with them and forget about Arlene - the paleness, the scar, the weakness she'd never seen in her mother. She wanted to forget Kevin's embrace and Mama's solemn face that just confirmed that things were as wrong as she felt they were. Instead, she just sat with her family to supper, while Billy took a small plate up to Arlene. She pretended the collards were medicine, letting the potliquor minister to her throat, while wondering if the way she felt right then was the reason why Arlene gave up communion juice for bourbon before she and Kevin were born.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

e equals emcee ciphered

i hope that i can do my many thoughts about this luscious day justice. bear with me. this may be a long post, and in case you didn't already figure it out, i don't work off of a plan or an outline, i just go for it.

i have two journals. the one i keep here is just stuff. whatever i'm moved to write on that day... which could be anything from the occasional meme to my feelings about writing to my musings about my life's journey. this one is not so much about what's spiritually going on with me - that's what my other journal is for. but see, i haven't been using the other journal as often. this is partially because i devote time to this blog. but i realized that it's also because "what's spiritually going on with me" is so very intertwinable with my creative life, and i've been blogging about that.

this morning, i woke up early, to sunshine and my best friend's text message. i did usual saturday morning stuff. scrubbed my place up a bit. got myself comforted by calling home to stop my mom in the middle of cleaning her kitchen so i could get some love... then i did something i don't always do. there's a local newspaper that covers the urban literary and performing arts - it's a project that i adore and champion. it's spearheaded, and admirably sustained, by a woman who i call both role model and friend, sage queen. i volunteered to do some work for her, so i sat down at my computer, and for something like two or three hours, i did some work on the paper. i loved it all - the content of the paper-in-progress and the act of doing something with my literary eye, and even the frustrating moments where i had to confront or discover things about the english language that get sticky and tricky. it kept me inspired and challenged and feeling useful to someone besides just myself. may i say - i love my dictionary and thesaurus!

anyway, i had plans to look forward to. yesterday, i asked my beloved frik when would be the next time folks would be in the studio - just my luck that today was the day! but before i left the house, i wanted to take care of me. everyday i run to work to make money to take care of my debtors and servicers and my landlord. i cheat myself out of pamper time every time i'm too tired to do anything but sit and veg. and though i love doing it, when i'm running across that bridge supporting the arts i love, i'm spending money, i'm driving between 40 -90 minutes to get where i'm going and back, hunting down parking, getting home late - ask my friends and family members - i'm never home, i'm never available, i'm always running. and though i love it, sometimes i need to slow down.

inspired by today's lovely spring-like weather, i dedicated hours to myself. i lit some incense, spread its scent all over the house, and nurtured the inner hippie earth mother i knew was in there ever since i was a child ruminating on what it meant to be soulful, natural, true person... i even thought to myself this afternoon that i am such a boho stereotype. i put on a favorite - er.ykah badu's live album, which i'm actually listening to right now (her cover of searching, on repeat). ate some bright orange cantaloupe melon. then, slowly, lovingly, and somehow both solemnly and blissfully, i commenced to loving this beautiful body from head to toe. first up, a facial with my caro.l's dau.ghter stuff, which smells soooo good. then a meticulous, soothing pedicure. and the shower? oh yeeeeah. i know the water heater was challenged today, but it was soooo worth it. i let that water help me shed my every concern and just be sensual - the sight of the sunshine brightening up my bathroom, the sound of water making the bass line on ery.kah's album the only other heartbeat i could feel, the touch of pure wetness and soft soap, the smells of strawberry body wash and milk and honey shampoo... so peaceful... so right. i painted my toenails, like i'm apt to do in spring. let cocoa butter do its sweet magic. let conditioner caress the softness of my unstraightened, crinkly hair. when all was finished, i looked at my naked body and admired it, unashamedly. i smiled at myself. i affirmed myself. it had been entirely too long since i'd done anything but mere maintenance. today's extra loving was like getting a free rearview mirror tree and wax besides just the car wash. the extra attention can go a long way. even now, i'm still riding on that high, feeling beautiful and beloved.

then and only then was i ready to leave the house. lucky me, k. b. (knowledgable beauty) was working on a project at the studio. the song that i heard being mixed when i entered moved me. i've started a new poem, inspired by what i heard today. i thank God that i heard that project today. it ministered to my spirit so refreshingly - so lovingly... and then, surprise, surprise, i wound up in the booth adding an extra voice to the others around me for part of k.b.'s project. i was intimidated at first, like the last time i lent my voice for a friend's project. i am not a singer. can't read notes. ain't used to studios. not sure of my range. i have issues slipping from full voice to falsetto, and insist on singing alto despite having been told i'm a soprano. i'm still, after all these years, learning how to breathe right. and, to date, i have never sung solo in front of an audience, with the one exception of a one liner as part of an ensemble cast, way back in high school. can you say, uncomfortable? i really like and admire k.b. and i didn't want to mess up her stuff. but she had more faith in me than i did. so, i sang with the others, who are so much bolder and more secure about their voices than i am. i harmonized with them. and in hearing the playback, i can only hear myself if i listen hard for me, which pleased me immensely! that means i'm not sticking out, messing up.

now let me tell you about k.b. k.b. writes. she writes creatively and entertainingly and introspectively. she also sings and performs. she gets on a mic and commands attention. if she's ever nervous, you wouldn't know it, because she's at home when she's on a mic. her pieces and her presentation never bore... never waste your time... and whenever she performs (i told her this today) she reminds me of heroes of mine, jill and erykah. part of what i like about them is that you get the impression that when they perform, they're not just doing a song 'cause that's what the people came to see. they're drawing back a veil and offering you a piece of themselves. it's a skill i want to develop - to be able to draw people in and make them feel your humanity and relate to it and even aspire to be closer to it. k.b. can do that. she has a gift that way - it's beautiful to watch. like jill and erykah, she loves what she does - she's never told me this, because she doesn't have to. it shows - it glows out of her. it shines through in her writing. i call it presence. k.b. has amazing original presence, not just in the performance, but in the quality and tone of way she puts her words together. i am very much looking forward to hearing the final outcome of her project - from what i've heard i'm really feeling the creativity, the production, and the direction. watch out world!

from the studio, bunch of us rolled to the movies to see dave ch.appelle's bloc.k pa.rty. now, i knew already that i was in for a treat, because some of my favorite performers - some of the best artists who are doing the dayum thang right now - were headliners at his concert. without going into specifics about the movie (only 'cause it's dark in the theater, or you know this dork would've taken notes) i really enjoyed myself. strangely though, the primary reason wasn't the music, or the comedy, or even the great company. it was my thoughts on the faces in the movie. each face represented one spirit. each spirit having issues, likes, dislikes, beliefs, pasts, presents, futures... each face represented a manifestation of its Creator. (why is this so hard to explain?) i was looking at the people dave brought from here and there. all those faces in the crowd. all those faces on stage. like grains of sand. like every individual strand of hair on a head... to see them all having this positive experience together - nodding their heads, putting their hands up, singing along, sharing energy - it was such an extraordinary thing. or maybe not... it happens every day at mass, every sabbath in temple, every sunday in church, every time the prayerful are called to gather together prostrate before the Most High, every time those kids surge together at a rave, every time they jump up and down in a mosh pit, every time the tribal dancers get mystical when communing with or consulting or appeasing the spirits.

energy needs release and expression and distribution and to be shared or transferred somehow. that's why atomic particles move and clouds spit lightning and even why babies sometimes holler for no reason. and those who can facilitate and steward energy are among the truly blessed. those who can inspire or teach are among the extremely blessed. those who can do it for masses are among the extraordinarily blessed, most especially when what they spread is love, peace, joy, knowledge, wisdom... not only do they provide for others' souls, but they are most certainly feeding their own. energy loves to be spread generously. i know this, 'cause i know what i feel when i sing (alone). there's something about taking a sound you can't hear yet and manipulating energy and air to make that sound happen, coming out of your mind's earshot, and putting it within the world's. it makes you high. there's something about taking a thought that needs to be articulated and manipulating energy to find the right words to make that thought or feeling or experience speakable, nameable, claimable. it's nourishment.

that's what i do. that's why i do it. that's what i have in common with k.b. and frik and frak and sage queen and ebony knight and wild child and the servant and countless other wordsmiths i've met since God brought me home. that's what we have in common with dead prez and talib and mos def and kanye and jill and quest and black thought and erykah and cody and kanye and common and wyclefprasandlauryn, and yeah, dave too. that's what they have in common with dizzy and sassy and count and duke and miles and bird and quincy and that's what they have in common with sonia and nikki and maya and langston and zora and countee and saul and that's what they have in common with baldwin and morrison and achebe and walker and that's what they have in common with the scribes and prophets and griots. it's a beautiful thing. it adds to people.

and when done juuuuussssst right, you can inspire one of those faces, one of the grains of sand, to seek the best most positive energy there is. to spread it. to ask for their Creator's guidance and manifest it, becoming a creator in the very image, changing their world and the world around them. and maybe, not just one. maybe two. a dozen. a dozen dozen. a thousand dozen dozen. a whole entire brooklyn block. the whole city of philadelphia. the whole okayplayer clientele. a marching band from ohio. an internet aficionado in timbuktu, mali. an indonesian grandmother. who knows?

but the possibilities are endless.

and i just wanna be a part of the movement.

may my Creator lead me.

Friday, March 10, 2006


it's just better - i can tell the difference. my skin radiates and my hair swells with pride. my hips switch sexier. my gait is easier, 'cause i'm not rushing to get in the car or rushing to get in the door. my smile is simply seen more often.

it's warm outside y'all. it's warm in my house. and it makes all the difference.

i thought about my spring and summer clothes with delicious anticipation this morning as i ironed my pants for work. my dark pants. the pants that hide what my mama gave me to keep me warm. i can't wait to pull out the sundresses and the low-rise shorts and the skirts that accentuate every note of my hips' song... for a fleeting moment i was disappointed though, 'cause i know warm weather ain't all there is to it - you have to wait for the weather to set in good. and folks, i don't care what the thermostat says, it's still winter. the solstice is still a few weeks away. it's still too cold to go outside at night without a jacket. still too cold to put the air conditioner boxes in the windows or flip that central air from heat to a/c. and it's definitely, definitely too dayum cold to wear track shorts, like miss thing was doing at the grocery store last night, where i briefly stopped to get some ripe plantains, croutons, refried beans and butter. i looked at the child and just shook my head, thinking my mother's thoughts: "at this rate, that child is going to be sick and then wonder why." (i swear i'm turning into this mutant of half-mom and half-dad, which isn't so bad considering who i'm talking about, but i do wonder, how much of me am i, anyway?)

my summer clothes will remain in their storage container on the upper shelf of the closet next to my shoeboxes, virtually forgotten. shoot, at least until palm sunday. at least until the sun stays with us 'til about 7 - 7:30 at night. at least almost 'til the first thunderstorm. even though my cousin is thinking about having a barbecue tomorrow, LOL! i've never been to a barbecue with a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved sweater before, but i'm willing to try it to get me some good pasta salad, cold grape soda, and my first grilled meat of the year. and that little taste of what's to come should last me, at least until i pull that storage container down from the closet.

despite my enthusiasm and preference for warm weather (if not for my love for the northeastern pace of things, i would probably be living in the deep south somewhere), i don't despise winter. i won't miss it, mind you, but it has its place. i've lived on the east coast my whole life, so i've always had four seasons, and i wouldn't have it any other way. there is nothing like the first beautiful snowfall. just like there's nothing like the thrill of the first warm days of weather, the first super green buds on plants, or the first smell of warm rain... and these are gifts that i only experience because of the gift of winter. so i'll tolerate it a few more weeks.

but in due time, baby tees and sandals, here i come!!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

gray observations

i am truly a dork. i'own even care. i took notes while watching black/white last night. liketahearitheahitgo:

white dude said we are "superior athletes," and he wished when he played ball that he could jump high, like how the black dudes jumped... dude. don't do us any favors with your well-here's-something-i-can-say-that's-nice-about-kneegrows remarks.

when the black couple saw each other appearing white for the first time, they were awkward towards each other. wifey even said there's no way she'd have been attracted to her husband if he really looked like that. but when the white couple saw each other black? whoooooo!!! dude was turned on by it. he was loving his wife all brown and afroed out. they kissed and whatnot... *chuckle* i found the contrast a little telling. hope i'm not reading too much into it.

white mom's response to seeing her daughter as a black girl for the first time? that she looked just like a "little black girl." forgive me for the chip on my shoulder, but there was just something about the way that she said it that twisted my lips up... oh, and daugher's response when dad reached out to her? "scary." LOL!

the music they played was comical! why was the music they played when the black folks were out appearing white some ole hokey smo.thers br.others mayb.erry music? just why!?!?! LOL!

there was no commercial break for the first 25 minutes. interesting.

i never truly knew the impact that television really has on people until i witnessed these three things: first, the use of the word "jiving." second, the use of the word "honky." and third, the sh.erman hem.sley shuffle that the white man did (thank goodness he was only playing and out of character when he did it.) which reminds me. when his wife and daughter were getting their makeup done, the blacker they began to look, the more they started whipping their necks around like sh.eneneh jen.kins from marti.n (or let's say geraldin.e from flip wils.on, for the mom.) this right here is why i don't argue too vehemently with people who complain about black images in the media, and why sometimes i'm one of the ones complaining.

was it just me, or did the white woman and her daughter just have awesome transformations? carmen and rose looked like sisters, for real.

the white guy. *deep breath* i love how the man just has all the answers for great race relations. he seems to think that if we shrug whenever we hear the word nigger that the indifference will kill the impact and taboo of the word. according to him, we should simply ask, "well, why would you call me that," and keep it moving. sounds simple enough. when in public appearing black, his strategy was to not expect racist treatment and to, "be polite and respectful," (this, in particular, was repeated ad nauseum) in order to avoid static. how ingenious of him! why didn't we think of that before? it's so obvious now. if only james byrd and emmett till had thought of that... i get it now. i just have to teach my future son that racism is our fault for having bad attitudes, and that if he's a good kneegrow then the cops won't bother him, and he'll never have to wonder if he didn't get a job because of color.

it was like a blow to my throat when that poetry "teacher" told rose that she need not use all of those, and i quote, "big words" in her poetry, so that she could connect more to the audience. broke this poet's piscean heart. i understood what she meant by relating to the audience. but as a matter of principle, i hate the idea of a poet dumbing down their communication. and i was a little embarrassed that what ultimately made the child stick out was that her poetry wasn't the same regurgitated black nationalistic stuff that too many black poets seem to think is the only subject matter black poets should ever write about. there are some experiences that are simply universally human, and rose's poem touched poignantly and creatively on one of them.

it was interesting when the black guy was at work appearing white and the bar patron gave him the "how to avoid crime and non-white folks" scoop on the neighborhood. i couldn't help but wonder what would happen if (when?) the white guy would be out somewhere, appearing black, and then some black guy would say something to him that usually isn't said in mixed company. i wonder if the white guy is going to learn more about how bigoted black folks can be more than he'll learn about how bigoted whites can be.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


i hesitate to call my visitor a friend.

acquaintance is more like it. one of those you deal with, 'cause they're around, you know them well, and 'cause hey, such is life. uninvited, pensive melancholy takes a seat and sits with me, reminding me of all my cares, fears, and insecurities. i put up with the visit and share my space, 'cause i know it's all just a big cycle. this visitor will come and go. it's part of the balance of life. the death of fall/the birth of spring. infant incontinence/elderly incontinence. satisfaction and joy/melancholy and lowness. it is what it is. i don't shy away from my visitor. i allow the feeling to be itself. i turn on the radio and let luther's voice soothe me... let minnie's sweet soaring ribbons paint pretty pictures of flight in my mind... let the elements rock me in nostalgia and in the magic of horns and voiced harmonies that make me forget momentarily about the visit. i distract myself by checking e-mail, message boards, the blog comments. i curl up into a ball, radiating my own body heat to myself, holding opposite arms with opposite hands. no tears. just the patience of waiting for the visitor to leave... flipping channels to distract my mind... munching on the homemade cookies i baked in a happier time, when the kitchen was a room full of celebration, and not the room i try to avoid when my visitor comes. i blog, not for sympathy, but to share the cycle and to have a reason to put words together. i think about my goals and dreams and remember that they are attainable. i think about my healing and remember that the power is within me, because He gives to those who ask in faith. i think about the door, knowing that as sure as the visitor came and pulled up a chair, the visitor will move on, out that same door, vacating that chair for joy to roll back through. i think about how beautiful tomorrow's sunshine will be, now that the days are getting longer. the sunshine is stronger in the sky as i wake up lately. its rays reach through the blinds and play on my face in stripes of encouragement that tickle me to keep going. the thought of tickling sun rays gives me a reason to look forward to tomorrow. the visitor squirms in the chair and looks toward the door. i pull my many covers up around my neck to give me the embrace i need to fall asleep, knowing that in the morning... Lord! in the morning... my visitor will have left me, unable to stand my indifferent reception. unable to touch my heart. unable to separate me from the faith and the energy that keep me going.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

the divide

for years in the mid-90's, w-w-w dot anything meant nothing to me besides something that other people could see that i couldn't. i had a computer. an overpriced, obsolete-when-it-left-the-factory model that was too slow even for dial-up. i knew how to use a computer, and i could type. i'd learned word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation software in school. but the internet was a frontier that i had yet to face.

then my college years changed all that. i got my first e-mail account. learned what an "inbox" was. found out about w-w-w's and the many possibilities that lay ahead of the dot anything - dot everything. new vocabulary: search engine, message board, spam, login name. what a world. a friend of mine gave me the address to her very own web page that she designed herself. i was so jealous. she'd made it in a class that taught/reinforced computer literacy. it'd been a few years since the high school course, and word in the lounge was that the last part of the course taught enough to make web pages! oh, i was soooo down for that. or, as the terminology at the time requires - i was about to get up on that. down, up, whichever, i was all over that course in the next semester. file transfer protocol. tags. attributes. gifs. jay-pegs. i was hooked, making page after page after page - gaining more knowledge about making webpages from - where else? the internet. over time, message boards, web programming, and webpage design became more sophisticated. it was great! i made friends in other states that i've never seen to this day. i remember one day, some small company nobody'd ever heard of visited the computer lab with a grip of mouse pads, trying to support their website. wish i'd known then what i know now.

tagging along after some friends, i wound up in the club about a month ago - as i was on my way in, some cute guy was on his way out. he whipped out his cellphone and asked me for my - did you think i was going to say number? oh no no no. that is so 20th century. he asked me for my e-mail address. it's a new world. i don't own an encyclopedia. i've got wik.ipedia dot com. i don't deal with the yellow pages. i've got dot com. i don't need a map. i've got dot com. (though a map is more reliable.) shoot - i owe a significant chunk of my social life to the internet. my good search skills led me to the community of poets i now think of as extended family. i can't imagine living without the world at my fingertips and information on demand.

until i talk to some of the folks i know - most especially family members and friends that don't have or regularly use access to computers. i cringe when i see people i love flailing while trying to use commonly used office software or trying to find information on the internet. i remember that feeling, vividly, though it was over a decade ago. so many new things: how do you work this thing? how come you can't just fill-in-the-blank? well, how was i supposed to know i needed to press fill-in-the-blank? well where do i find it and how? my parents want a computer. my grandma wants a computer. i know other folks who have computers that don't know what to really do with them except word processing or uploading photos and maybe, if they're advanced, check e-mail. not that they have to do more. but i wish they could at least know how to do more. there is so much in the world that's closed to someone with limited computer skills.

it's just that, where my first instinct is to " it," or reserve it online, or pay it online, or investigate it online, these folks are plodding through 21st century life with a 20th century understanding. sending off bills hoping they make it through the mail in time. waiting on hold on the phone for information they could get in an instant if they just logged on to the internet. scared to write checks because their printed bank statement is still three weeks away in the mail. hesitating to even get internet access or conduct business online because of all the consumer reports about privacy and identity theft and because of conspiracy theories that black folks tend to fear. it is the difference between hiding your money under a mattress/between ezekiel and daniel, and getting an interest-bearing certificate of deposit.

i remember reading years ago about the digital divide - how it would negatively impact the poor and minorities. i remember understanding that because i was fresh of the boat from the other side of the divide. but i crossed over. and i noticed how much cheaper computers were starting to get. you can get a computer that's a gazillion times better than my first computer for almost one-tenth the price. i figured, well, computers are cheaper than big-screens now, so we should be better off, right? dial-up will at least get you onto the net for as little as five or ten dollars a month, so we should be better off, right? it depends. computer directions aren't all that clear. and computer training isn't handed out at your local retail chain store. the digital divide is still here. affording the tool is not enough, and not having internet access is like not having a telephone nowadays.

what's your e-mail address? if you put it on the sign-up list, we can send you e-mails on our listserve so you can be kept up-to-date.

do you have a myspace page? give me your username and i'll hit your inbox with a message or leave a comment.

oh, well, all our information, directions and everything, is at the website. the address is w-w-w dot bla bla bla...

the world keeps on turning, family. and folks - my folks included - are missing out on the new literacy - getting left behind. some don't even know what they're missing - the knowledge, the interaction... and that scares me.