Thursday, April 27, 2006


i'm at work. i wanna go home. i was hungry so i walked to the coffee shop and got a slice of banana nut loaf. now it's all expanded in my stomach and i feel all vaklemphed up in my throat. i want some sweet tea but that's at home. water won't do. i want the work day to be over with 'cause i want to move on to the rest of my day. 'cause there are no windows in my office. and it's beautiful outside - there's just a hint of the summer's warmth to come out there, yet it's still brisk enough to need a jacket. oooooooh this weather keeps teasing me! i am procrastinating hard on every single thing in my life. sometimes you just need a break. i'm taking it. i know i'm wrong, but what are you supposed to do when you really. just. don't. care. i feel like running away from home and going somewhere with no television, no internet, no telephones. just a stereo, my cd's, and some toys - the watercolors and stencils my best friend gave me, a book that was lent to me that's got some really interesting philosophizing (is that even a word?) in it, my blank poetry book that i've been meaning to get some pen scratches in for months...

sometimes, when i get all piscean like this, i take a vacation in my house. it usually doesn't work, though, 'cause i lack the bravery or initiative to actually unplug the phone and the cable. then i get caught up in cleaning house or sorting laundry, and the next thing i know, i look up and it's time to go back to work. no pictures painted, no poems written, no cookies baked, no knowledge gained. just a spotless house and some well tended houseplants. then i trudge back to this windowless office, no worse, but no better.

y'all i'm bout to cut my phone off. i have this thing about the phone. me and my best friends will burn out some phone lines/satellite dishes/whathaveyou. and let's not talk about me and my mommy. we can get down, too. plus then there are others that call me, and when they catch me i'm all too eager to talk, 'cause most of the time, i've been so busy running that i it's been too long since i've spoken to them anyway. so then we have to catch up... you know how it is... *sigh* then i look up, and it's time to go to sleep so i can go back to work. there ain't enough time in an hour, a day, a week for just enjoying the passage of time. partially 'cause i don't have somebody keeping up with the ministerial details of my life. partially because i'm a daydreamer and my mind has a tendency to wander and then things get crammed into spaces of time that are too small (read: i procrastinate).

and did i mention that even though my birthday passed almost three months ago, i'm still not psychologically used to my new age? i have a serious mental block about it. as in, when people ask me how old i am, i tell them it's the nth anniversary of my twenty-fifth birthday? then they laugh. and i be dead serious. it's like time hates me. it's mocking me. i feel like there's so much more i could/would/should be doing to better manifest the beautiful journey of becoming myself. but i spend hours everyday at this job that doesn't feed my spirit. i spend hours every week just doing chores - bills, housecleaning, et cetera... and then the time i spend unwinding? it feels so non-productive! i have dreams for myself that i've barely been brave enough to whisper to myself in the stillness of my solitude. these dreams call to me and i pretend i don't hear, because i know how much time and effort and hope they will require, and frankly, i don't want to set myself up for disappointment.

as contrary as this is to everything that i espouse, it's more comforting sometimes to keep coming back to this windowless office, where i can't see what's going on in the world around me.

and the sands keep slipping. and every year the number will change. and writer's block keeps looming, while the inevitable yellowing of the pages of my marble composition notebook inches into the edges of my expectations, and i wonder why i allow fear to paralyze me so, when my mind knows better. when my faith tradition teaches me the fear is not of my Creator... there is life as i'm living it, and there's life as it is meant to be lived - life as i was born to experience it, and i really need a moment to get focused and get moving and claim the value that my friends and family see in me that i still have yet to realize and capitalize on and minister with...

it all sounds so intimidating and overwhelming. i do wonder if i'm capable.

*deep breath*

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


first, something completely off-topic. is it because it's spring that i can think of at least four bloggers yanging and yacking about new boos? the blog circuit is absolutely gushing about the kissing and the hugging and the tingling... y'all a trip! i won't call you out individually, but congratulations to each of you and best of luck with being boo'd up. it must be because of spring. something about that spring green on trees and blooming flowers and crisp blue skies in the morning must have y'all inspired. y'all must be getting out more or something... enjoy!

on to matters of old business. yup, i was on the radio. it was pretty cool. there's this sista - she writes poetry and she also performs with a band. she has a sweet energy, and because she can do so much, i'll call her the juggler. i ran into her in the park a while back and she mentioned getting me on a radio show she hosts weekly on a community radio station. i gave her my number and forgot all about it. well, she called me later and booked me to be the featured artist on the show for this past saturday. silly me, i put the word out to folks about it at the last minute (in all fairness, i wasn't confirmed til like the last minute). plus i forgot that not everybody has myspace - but if they did they shoulda got the bulletins.

anyway, i did a little preparation over a nice homecooked meal, separating radio-friendly pieces from the others, categorizing them into subject areas, and doing a little thinking about which pieces i should absolutely positively do. i've been in a radio studio before. they're kinda like how they are on tv, with the booths and the controls and microphones and big glass windows and stuff. me and the juggler sat down a few minutes before the show and i watched her at work. the format was simple: the first hour would be a mix of interviewing me and letting me do my thing, and the second hour would be an open mic where listeners could call in to share their own pieces. but it was so much more complicated than that.

you know how on tv you see that there's the radio personality, and then there's the engineer? yeah well the juggler did both those things. she kept track of the commercial breaks, the music tracks, the callers, interviewing me, and timing it so my pieces or the songs didn't get cut off. she was good at it - so good in fact, that when she got hit up on her mobile, she still didn't miss a beat. she's been at this for three years - i'm proud of her!

i'm not sure how many pieces i did, but i'd say several. we talked about my favorite authors, how i got started with writing, how i got started with poetry, how certain pieces were inspired, my writing methods, and i also plugged my favorite venues and hosts, my poetry collective, and our local urban arts newspaper, which i love to pieces and contribute to. my pieces ranged from community pieces to cultural pieces, to not-quite-love pieces, to love pieces. i had a good time sharing them, and was pleased that the juggler and the callers liked the pieces i chose to share. i picked them on the spot, vibing off of the music and conversation which set certain moods throughout the show. before we got started, i couldn't imagine that i could go for an entire hour talking about and sharing my poetry. i should've known better, me being my father's longwinded child and all. with the juggler's guidance, everything turned out just fine.

luckily for me, i got some friends of mine to tape the show so that i'll be able to listen to it and more importantly, so that i can send a copy to my mom and dad, who are out of the listening area and want to experience as much of me enjoying my passion as they possibly can. and i'll also get to keep a copy for myself (that i'll probably be embarrassed to listen to over time... i'll let my babies laugh at it one day.) i figure this is another part of my growth as a writer, since this inspires me even more to write things that inspire or enrich or provide comfort and release to the listener. 'cause if my words had been empty, why would it ultimately have mattered to me or anyone else that i got some air time on the radio? but if nothing else, i know that i said some things that the juggler got value from, some of the callers got value from (we even had one of the callers call the show back just to tell me so), and that the next radio personality appreciated (he told me on the way out of the booth).

i had a good time, and if the juggler ever asks me back, i am so there!

Monday, April 24, 2006

blog by

this is a bunch of morning glory blooms. i'm not like these that are open and happy during daylight. i'm like the kind that bloom at night after sunshine is merely a memory...

things are happening, folks. i be running and stuff. will hopefully post soon, especially about when i was on the radio over the weekend...

Friday, April 21, 2006


apparently, according to some people, putting stuff from message boards on my blog is cheating. well! they just get the raspberry. *pbhthhhhh*

good morning to all 18 of you who might stop through this camp today. or afternoon or whenever you stop through. i have nothing to say. therefore...

ah, therefore...

you know, i should really think about what i want to say in a sentence before i go starting it...


- OH! okay i got something. *whew*

i get my interaction with likeminded individuals on through this and other blogs, message boards (i frequent two) and going out with friends - girlfriends and/or the poetry circuit. i moved across four states to live somewhere where interaction like that would be possible for me on a regular basis. i'm glad i did. it's indispensable in my life. i need to exchange ideas and feelings with other people. and i know i'm smarter because of what i learn from others - more well-rounded, more open-minded... even more creative, more confident about myself. lately a lot of things i've been thinking and saying have revolved around the concept of community - communal concern, love, examples, correction, education... i'm beginning to form the opinion that true progress for any individual or any group of people is somehow tied into their relationships with a positive community that enriches and challenges them. do you agree? i mean, how can you learn by yourself? even when you self-teach, you need resources from outside yourself to do so. often, things that broaden a person don't even come in the form of books or tapes, maps or diagrams. they come from living, breathing people. i think God put us here for each other, to edify each other, to increase each other. do you find that to be true in your life? the existence of community gives me hope. i love the reciprocity of giving and getting that happens there. i love belonging to folks and having folks belong to me. that is a beautiful thing!

so many of us don't know or care to know anything about our neighbors. or we pass folks on the street without speaking or at least giving that "i acknowledge that i see you, fellow human being" head nod or smile. children rip and run and noone watches them, they just ask, "where is his mother?" people go to work, then come home, then sleep, then repeat - never reaching to be a part of the pulsating world around them. internet, television, video games... it's scary. i see now how a world like george orwell's 1984 could happen. some of us are already one step from being asocial automatons. old folks in homes. troubled kids in juvie. dads in prison. families are eating separately in three different rooms of the house, instead of facing each other and sharing each other's lives while breaking bread. we better get it together. we're going to just keep getting dumber and lonelier while surrounded by strangers who we have only but to speak to/smile at/strike up a conversation with. when did it get so rough that we have so little faith in each other that we think by default that our positive energy would not be well received? i believe that the likelihood is higher that someone will respond in kind rather than do the crazy stuff we see on the local news (which i try not to watch anymore - sensationalist bastards - got people walking around actually believing that the nuts outnumber the rest of us). all i can say is i think that community is good. and it's free. and it's easier than we think. and it's cheaper than welfare. and it's better than ethnic sensitivity classes. did i say it's free?

have a good weekend, folks.

*edit* the next time i post something that's got glaring incoherency in it up on this here blog, i would appreciate it if i got a comment telling me to go make my rambling more readable! this is train of thought, but its efficacy is only as potent as my ability to make it plain, yahmean? i have edited the post since this morning, 'cause some of that stuff was just atrocious. anyway, this ends my editor's announcement. you may now commence the rest of your weekend, dear hearts. *mwah!*

Thursday, April 20, 2006

i be talking...

these are excerpts from stuff i've said in message board conversations i've been having with various folks on various topics over the past few days:

on the idea that people should homeschool their kids, at least part-time:

"this is a default for good parenting. leaving EVERYTHING up to the school is never the way to go. it's called, 'helping with homework,' or getting a tutor or other family member to do so. it's called, "preparing them for school," which many parents don't do - children should have already begun to learn things at home before being sent to kindergarten, and they should have already begun to get a mindset for school under their parent's supervision over the summer. but too many parents don't think that way, and then they expect the kids to do well in school. so far as a supplemental home curriculum is concerned, it may not be a default, but it's certainly something i've known i'd do since i learned that there were things i wasn't learning in school..."

"my parents did [it] and i think it made all the difference. they did it by making their encouragement of my intelligence something that i could count on and look forward to. my mom read to me every night before i could read, sang and wrote the alphabet with me, and was enthusiastic about spending that time with me - i picked up reading early and with no problems. my mom would buy me golden books on basic spelling, and arithmetic, and i loved it because of the stickers in the back. my parents would get me flash cards and educational games... they would brag about my intelligence to friends and family members, so it was obvious to me at a very very early age that they 1) expected me to learn 2) believed that i could be very smart and 3) wanted me to value learning for myself and see how great it could be. given our literacy rate, i think that all parents should be able to help their kids with at least the basics before preschool/kindergarten and throughout elementary school. their attitude and enthusiasm will rub off on their kids... i don't even consider that homeschooling, i just think it's a common sense thing to do."

on the question of whether black women feeling abandoned,
and if so, what men can do about it:

i don't know how other girls from other cultures are raised, 'cause i haven't lived their experiences. but i do know that me and my black girlfriends were raised to know for sure that we had better do well in school and aim high for careers so that we could be self-sufficient, because there would be no guarantees that a man would be willing and able to wife us and take care of us, along the lines of a 1950's stereotypical family.

on another message board i read, the men are always seemingly frustrated by how women want to do what men do and still be treated like a lady. they don't understand why women are talking about being able to do the same things as a man and why women insist on having men respect their autonomy but then demand chivalry, as if they're too damsel-in-distress-y to do things for themselves only when it's convenient for them. i tend to think that it's because at the same time little girls are being raised to be self-sufficient, they're also being told the fairy tales about men being their umbrella, their protector, their sponsor - perhaps not out loud but subliminally through culture traditions. can't blame women for being a bit conflicted. but the truth is, part of the reason women are hustling so hard is only 'cause they feel they have to, 'cause they expect that nobody else (male) will [for them].

i'm not married. and i am totally responsible for myself. but i don't feel like i've been abandoned, so much as i feel like this is just the way of the world. i do feel like what my upbringing said rang true - it's a good thing i got myself together and didn't go out looking for some man to take care of me. i suppose if i had expected that, i might feel abandoned. perhaps that sounds like lowered expectations for the brothers on my part. but i know the state of our community, and i know people are picky about who they marry, if they even marry.

but i don't take it personally to feel "abandoned." and what also mitigates it that is that there are men in my life, family members, friends, acquaintances... some women don't have the supportive communal network of positive men that i do. shoot, this time a year ago, even i didn't have it. and yes, i missed y'all. but i still didn't feel "abandoned," as if y'all didn't want me or care for our community. to me it's just the way things are - unfortunate but true. some of y'all are just absent for whatever reason. circumstances come from all sides to make that a reality.

i'm guessing that the best thing concerned brothers can do is be around, interacting with people, visible, and active. befriending neighbors. coaching teams. going to community meetings. walking women to their cars. being role models for community boys. fixing stuff. being leaders. 'cause in my neighborhood, my dad was one of two or three married family men on the whole two-block street. but nobody who needed to see them actually saw these good men. they were like, mythical. all you saw was them going to work or working on the yard, and folks, that ain't often. shoot, if you go to a community meeting, pta meeting, church event, block party, family reunion, etc. the women always outnumber the men noticeably and substantially. that shouldn't be so. good men need to "belong to" more than just themselves and their families, 'cause there are children and women who need to see that you exist, and raise their expectations for manhood and change their warped macho/thuggish ideals for what manhood should look like. i think that as we as a community raise the bar, we should see less absentia and more positive male presence. i thought that's what the million man march was about..."

"we need to see that brothers get married, too. we need to see that they love their children, too. nothing warms my heart more than seeing adult black men with their kids, or with their families as i'm out and about. i don't see it often enough. i was with my cousin's wife and daughter yesterday when he came home from work. and the first thing he did was reach for his baby girl and talk to her and love her. it felt good to see it - inspiring, you know? and i wish i wasn't their only audience, 'cause so many people could stand to know that black people really do live and love that way, and not just in a movie or on tv or with a certain household income...

i will say that i've heard brothers wonder where the good women are - i know. they are making the same mistake the good men are making. staying on the grind and out of trouble is a good thing, but not so much if it isn't balanced with getting out there into the world. you will never find a mate from your living room. you will never be a role model or an inspiration for your community from your couch. or, for that matter, from the stage. like [my one of my poet mentors] says, if you're at an open mic every night out of the week, there ain't but so much you can honestly say you're doing on the streets. to every thing there is a season - i ain't mad at people doing what they have to do, 'cause shoot, i'm one of them.

but our community is in crisis. we don't believe in each other. we don't believe in our men. we don't exalt their potential. we don't see their achievements. and i think it's 'cause we're not inspired. but we can be. it would be so nice to walk in our communities and feel safe, knowing that if anything breaks out, concerned people will intervene to help a victim. knowing that if you flag a man down to help you jump your car or push it out of the way after an accident, he'll help. knowing that if a child is doing something bad or dangerous, some adult woman or man, will stop them, and teach them, protect them. but we can't wish for it. we just have to do it."

on being in search of chivalry:

"[this] girl i know [and respect] told a story today about how she called her man a bad word out of his name during an argument (which i have never done). and instead of lashing back at her in the same way, he just gave her hurt eyes, and said, i will never call you out of your name. he hasn't yet and it's been years. they're married now. she said that until that point she just thought such bad treatment was a normal and expected part of relationships. it wasn't until she encountered his love and patience that she learned better.

i've been fortunate enough to have always been with and around men that knew how to treat a woman like a lady. i see now that that's a fortunate thing, 'cause i've never had the same delusions about drama that she [used to have]. if there's too much conflict, my spirit wants out, so i bounce. i also know that i've received such treatment because i act in a way that sets the tone for being treated nicely. a girlfriend of mine told me recently that there are guys she knows don't approach me because they're intimidated by their (correct) assumption that i will not entertain bullisht. that must be the reason why i've always been around men that know how to treat me right. class doesn't attract or accept riff raff. because i act like the woman my parents raised right, i get treated right, and when i'm not, i don't linger and complain and bemoan the loss of chivalry. as surely as i was raised right and know how to treat a man, there are men who were raised right who know how to treat a woman. and i'd rather spend time with them."

Monday, April 17, 2006


it feels kinda cool to not answer your mobile phone. to prioritize living in the moment above whatever it is whoever it is on the line wants from you. if just for a few hours, or a day, or a weekend. it's cool to go spend time outside doing nothing in particular, enjoying spring, bearing witness to new life, being a guest of the woodland creatures, breathing in air that doesn't make you want to stop breathing. it's a blessing to stop. and just listen. and hear songs in the languages of all those animals and insects, seen and unseen, in the trees, bushes, and even the streams. i need to get out more often and surround myself with green. i'm thankful for my houseplants, but their beauty pales in comparison to the foliage in woods that glistens with the remnants of morning dew. there is a peace that comes from being outside, tuning your eye and your ear to the life around you. there's a special whimsy involved in watching two moths greet each other without using e-mail, or following the erratic flight pattern of a butterfly who doesn't seem to have an appointment to get to, or sneaking a good look at a bunny who doesn't care if you're his voyeur... as long as you don't get too close and respect his space! i am a city kind of girl. but i think you can take my ancestor's child out of the woods, but you can't take their love for the woods out of me - something in me pulls me back, now and again, to visit and linger and reflect and appreciate what God made out there. it's enough to make you realize how useless and time-consuming some other activities are...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

open mind

i guess what the show black/white really boiled down to for me was whether or not a person has the capacity to be openminded. can you be brave enough to admit that you don't know everything, that you haven't seen everything, that there's something you can stand to learn, that not everthing is what you expect or deem it to be? it seems that the most closedminded people were the ones who got the least out of this experiment, and the more openminded a person was, the more likely it was for them to get anything of value out of it. generationally, i'm scared. though i'm glad to see that the parents in this experiment - brian and renee, bruno and carmen - are not our future, i really wonder what is to become of the nicholases of the world? and are there enough roses in the world? what will the blank wall in the museum look like 30 years from now?

it's a long held opinion of mine that i don't want to live in a colorblind society. i don't want the color of my skin to become meaningless. i don't want it to lose meaning to me or to anyone else. when people see me, i want them to know who my ancestors were, and i do take pleasure in the identity, history and culture that my skin color ties me to. i just want to be valued more for the content of my character than i am judged for the color of my skin. what i'm asking for is tolerance and understanding. what i try to extend to others is tolerance and understanding. what i expect in people of other races is that i'll find differences in culture and experiences and opinions... in addition to finding similarities and commonalities in the human experience. i enjoy the richness and the mystery of others' difference and the diversity of my world. that requires openmindedness. i try to nurture my own openmindedness as much as i can.

...even though racism does exist, right alongside classism, religious intolerance, homophobia and xenophobia. i accept that for what it is. i combat what i can where i can and keep it moving. of course, it's not that simple - i've been harassed, underestimated, insulted, provoked, enraged, disappointed...

but then again, it IS that simple. it takes an open mind, patience, and resolve. but it can be done. and it has been done, time and time again, by my ancestors in this country, under worse conditions, to achieve and live with vigor for my sake. they did so i could. so i will.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


i rock myself. i don't know where i got it from, but i rock myself. when i'd be in church, listening to a good sermon or a good testimony, or after a good good praise... or sometimes when i'm alone in prayer or meditation or whatever you wanna call it. and you know another time i rock? when i'm at an open mic, and somebody's words are stirring up spirit inside of me. it's an old lady rock, like a metronome or a pendulum - back and forth, back and forth. sometimes i try to stop, but apparently that's just how i do, 'cause before i realize that i'm doing it, i'm rocking again on a rhythm. on a roll.

some folks might not be able to relate to this. there are different ways that people express what's going on in their spirit, and some ways are more verbal while others are more physical. i wasn't raised in the church. my parents talked to me about God and let me discover what was meant for me to discover about christianity on my own. my mom comes from a baptist kind of tradition. my dad's family is pentecostal. you know, apostolic holiness - the no makeup, doilie on the head, no pants wearing women, who shouldn't watch movies, and should be in church every night of the week and eighteen hours on sunday - the holy rollers who speak in tongues and catch fire with the holy ghost and get laid out under white sheets when they fall out near the altar. those folks who look at you as if you're the devil's spawn if you don't exhibit what they feel is evidence of the baptism of the holy ghost.

mm hmm. not for me. however, neither am i much for quiet churches, the ones where the only people who speak are the announcements lady, the choir, and the pastor, and everyone sings ancient songs from hymnals that don't speak to the soul. churches where everyone looks at you strange if you want to make a joyful noise or even dance like david danced. not for me.

i've been in and visited different kinds of churches. catholic ones, methodist ones, baptist churches, pentecostal churches, and my favorites :) the non-denominational churches (those are the evangelical pentecostal folks who don't like being called pentecostals and wind up being looked at as holy rollers anyway).

i don't know where i picked up this rocking thing, but it's a part of who i am. it's like when you hear someone saying something and you nod to affirm it. it's actually the same thing, it's just that when something really moves me, it literally moves me, and i nod with my whole body.

last night was a rough night for me. actually this week has been a rough week for me thus far. i have a lot on my mind. a lot of competing thoughts and pressing obligations and serious decisions... and my time is pressed, and i'm feeling a little stressed, and my evasion techniques that i usually use to manage my stress aren't really working, and there i was sitting at one of my favorite open mics, trying to chill and relax and not really feeling it. i flipped through my ratty marble notebook for something to read and hated everything i saw because it was all inadequate to express anything i was feeling. and i haven't had time to really write lately - and i didn't have time to write in the middle of this open mic. i got up to read a couple of my poems and i wasn't feeling either of them.

then i sat down. and this sista came up, who hadn't performed in some time, and she was so beautiful to me. the way God crafted her face - wide open, like sunrise over a panoramic horizon. the way her soft accent and the lilt of her voice carried her words like the first spring rain bringing nourishment to fledgling flowers... and what she was saying!!! y'all, i started to rock. tears slipped out from the corners of my eyes... kinda like how they're rising to brim my eyelids as i type this, and i just kept on rocking, looking at her, urging her with no words to continue to feed me, to rescue me from my contrary mood - if only for those few moments. and i just kept rocking. what comfort i found in her words! what safety and familiarity i felt in that rocking. i got through the night because she helped to break the negative energy i was struggling with - it was a pivotal moment that i'm thankful for.

this morning is a better morning. i've had some sleep. i was brave enough to not call out of work, like i seriously considered. 'cause i got to keep moving, right?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


yeah, i admit it, i'm soft. that's why i'm so hard.

see, what i mean is, i am quick to want to give the benefit of the doubt. sometimes too eager to look at myself to see if i'm the wrong one, or if i'm contributing to the problem. i'm sensitive. i do care what other people think about me. i don't want to have bad karma. i don't like my feelings hurt. i don't like hurting others. i want to be merciful. i am quick to apologize. slow-witted when it comes to insults.

now i do like the truth. and sometimes that puts me in a complicated position, because i like to tell the truth. sometimes even when people don't ask for it. sometimes that pisses people off. sometimes it hurts their feelings. sometimes it winds up being judgmental, 'cause my truth ain't necessarily THE absolute objective truth.

i'm learning to balance these things as i grow and strive to acquire wisdom and practice love through tolerance and the golden rule.

i also have been learning that my softness can be taken for weakness. i offer a false face sometimes often, kinda like those animals that are capable of changing their shape as a preemptive measure against being attacked. sometimes "the lady doth protest too much" applies to me. maybe that's why that line is something i've always remembered (even though i don't remember exactly where i picked it up. was it hamlet? macbeth?) props if you know. but anyway, my bark is simply worse than my bite, i can still only be me. i always boil down to the only child trying to make friends, the struggling Christian trying to meekly live the Word, the lil' bitty pisces trying to navigate this big behind ocean.

so when i get mad 'cause i think someone else is being too judgmental, my fault. that's just me being soft. and when i talk isht trying to seem less vulnerable than i am, please excuse me. that's just me being soft. when i withhold detail about stuff, maybe even seeming unnecessarily secretive and shady, please understand, that's really just me being soft. would that this were a different world, within which i could be as open as the possibilities of each new day, as warm as the amber of each dawn, as trusting as the hand of a newborn babe -

but some of y'all just as hard as calculus 3.

Monday, April 10, 2006

and i wasn't even drunk...

i was conjugating "fleetingly":

gotta strip it down first.
well first, take off the -ly, which made it an adverb.
then take off the -ing, which made it a gerund.

ok here we go.

i fleet
you fleet
he/she/it fleets
we fleet
you all fleet
they fleet

wait a minute. fleet ain't no verb. isn't the correct infinitive flee? as in, "to flee."
well then, where in the hayle did fleet come from?
you know, fleeting and fleetingly are an adjective and an adverb, respectively. and uh, fleet is a noun.

dayum. i just conjugated half of an adjective. da hayle??? you can't conjugate an adjective!
dayum. i just conjugated a noun.
dayum. i took honors/ap english, too.
dayum. and for those of you who didn't catch that mess from line one, shame on you, too.
dayum. you know what's messed up? just now, while i was writing this, i looked it up online.

fleet is a verb!!! i get some genius points back... but not all of them. 'cause i actually bought that "fleet ain't no verb" foolishness.

dayum shame.
blame it on the -itis. and don't ask why i was trying to conjugate it, 'cause i don't remember, 'cause i had the -itis at the time. y'all know the -itis don't play.

let's just say it's almost as funny as the time i was sitting in a folding chair at the HEAT with my feet propped up on this other folding chair... and i wobbled... and fell... in front of everybody... and the friend who was talking to me just instinctively backed away so as not to be associated with my clumsiness... even though i maintain that it was his partly his fault that i fell... and then my homie frak helped me out of my moment of embarrassment...

wow. true stories, folks.

and i wasn't even drunk...

and y'all wonder why i don't drink.

Friday, April 07, 2006

flower petals

i bought myself flowers maybe a week or so ago. to my surprise and delight, they are still alive and well! i just wanted to take the time to be thankful for them and explain why they're important to me. sometimes, i just want to see and be around something beautiful. i love the existence of flowers - how soft and silky the petals are to the touch. their light fragrance. the words they speak of calmness and beauty in their sweet silence. the richness of their colors. thank God for flowers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


i am so annoyed with renee from black/white. she is the black woman who appeared white on the show. this woman wants to make friends with a white person. so she decides to try a knitting class, 'cause that's what white people do??? and when that doesn't work, she tries a scrapbooking class?

where do i start? that was so stupid. white people do all kinds of things, just like black people do all kinds of things. it was stupid to label something foreign to her as something that white people do. it was also stupid to take up something that wasn't really up her alley and expect to find someone of any color, let alone someone white, that she'd have anything in common with. it made me wonder what renee does in her spare time when she's not in the experiment. does she bowl? does she go out dancing? whatever hobby she has, there are more than likely some white people in the vicinity of where the show was taped that have that hobby too. her rationale in finding a white friend was just damn stupid.

also stupid - her husband, brian, for trying to set up situations where racism would happen, just to prove to bruno, the white man, that racism exists. first of all, bruno is hardheaded. an african proverb warns us not to argue with fools 'cause passersby won't be able to tell which arguer is the fool. and right about now, that's what's playing out between brian and bruno. secondly, overt or covert racism doesn't necessarily happen every day. we live in a society where many folks are politically correct and where, short of anger or jealousy or a battle over scarce resources, racial tension doesn't necessarily just happen. you can't just manipulate a situation to bring out racial tension or conflict whenever you want, because you never know who you're dealing with. i can go for indeterminable amounts of time without experiencing racial tension firsthand, then have two offensive things happen in one day, 'cause that's just how it works, depending on the kind of folks you're around. it's a "by chance," random type of thing. brian is trying too hard and quite frankly is overzealous about the whole thing.

see, if bruno had come along when renee and her white friends were in the club talking to a white man who had some racially charged things to say about mexicans, blacks, and crime, maybe he would have, by chance, witnessed something brian would have wanted him to see. but then again, maybe bruno would have dismissed the man's words as statistically reasonable analysis of real situations instead of stereotypical judgments on minorities.

there is a point that white men, who seem to be tired of being vilified, are making more and more often in the media: not every thing that minorities and liberals call "racist," is in fact, racist. that's just how statements and actions are perceived, because there are minorities and liberals clamoring for justification for their victim status and special treatment, and they'll take it however they can get it, if you allow them to twist your words and your actions into something that's racially based. to some extent, i agree with the notion that some people are hypersensitive, paranoid witchhunters. that said, those folks and those situations don't negate the relevance of words and actions that really truly are based in supremacist, racist, and/or elitist attitudes that affect minorities negatively or that reflect low respect and esteem for minorities.

for example: many of us have heard about cynthia mckinney in the news lately, the scuffle with the security, the change in her hairdo, etc. in his commentary on the incident, a radio talk show host called mckinney a "ghetto slut" and a "welfare drag queen" based on her hairstyle, which has been changed from cornrows to what looks like a straw set (think crinkly curls) afro. he apologized the following day for calling her a slut, and made clear that some people wouldn't accept his apology because they "consider any negative comment or criticism of any type at any time about anybody who is not white to be racism."

of course, he glossed over the actual problem with his words. the problem wasn't that he had negative criticism for mckinney. it was his usage of the words "ghetto slut" and "welfare drag queen" to describe her that made his words racist. if congresswoman mckinney were white, i doubt that "ghetto" and "welfare" would have been uttered. he undoubtedly used those particular words based on stereotypical thinking about black women that would even possess him to utter those words, which are so obviously racially associated with poor black people. his apology notes that congresswoman mckinney is "engaging and endearing," but i suppose she would not have been, if indeed she was a "ghetto slut" or a "welfare drag queen" instead of a congresswoman. to me, this insinuates elitist thought, not just stereotypical thought, on his part.

but if you leave it up to the many brunos out there, i'm reaching - just grasping at straws for something to be up in arms about. no actually, i just know what i'm hearing when i hear it. but i can't make white men hear what i hear. they're not coming from where i'm coming from, and i accept that for what it is. this is a lesson for all of us, especially renee. people simply are who they are, and their experience, or the lack thereof, is something you can't control for.

on the show renee was upset when she took white carmen to a black hair salon in black makeup, and carmen asked for permission before actually rubbing some woman's hair. this was a learning opportunity for carmen. renee could have explained to carmen that that action seemed out of place in that environment, and that it's not common in her experience to see a black woman touching another woman's hair. instead, renee just gets upset and rants to the camera, "you don't see black women touching people's hair," as she explains why she's finished with getting to know carmen. i've got a question for renee: how was carmen supposed to know that, not being a black woman herself, and not having been told not to touch another's hair? she was ignorant to that sensitivity of ours. you can't hold people accountable for experience that they don't have - accept that fact for what it is and then just teach as best you can. in my opinion, the next time carmen pisses off some black woman by asking to touch her hair, it's renee's fault for passing up the opportunity to tell her better.

we all require patience and exposure to different experiences in order to recognize and respect the humanity and dignity and idiosyncrasies in people from other cultures. i find renee to be entirely too impatient with carmen's ignorance. i find too many people to be too impatient with other's differences and backgrounds. we can at least learn from this show that differences are real and we need to just accept that and be patient with that. learn to work with it, around it, however we can get it to work, not just on a racial level but in general, from person to person.

edited to add: a friend of mine reminded me that i also picked up on how rose is learning a lot, but she doesn't really filter for class differences in addition to race differences. there are some differences between her and her poetry class peers that exist primarily because of economic class more than for racial and cultural difference. it's not clear from the show whether her processing is sophisticated enough to pick up on this. perhaps she'll catch on to that with more experience. also, i'd like to add that the finale airs next week, and i'm looking forward to it, 'cause with the exception of rose, all these folks get on my nerves anyway.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


when they shot you, you were away from home preparing for more movement, more agitation, more progress. we miss that spirit. the one that would allow you to put on a brave face and sacrifice to get what needed to be done, done. we compare anyone with promise to you nowadays. your name gets mentioned in conversations about freedom and courage and peace and faith, not just here at home but worldwide. every year when i look at the date, i remember you in a more somber and important way than the day i get off work. sometimes your memory gets compared to your contemporaries, and criticisms surface about your methods - the time it took, the pain that was endured by so many patient sufferers. but i think, sometimes, it took more strength to do it your way. it was worthy of my respect - our respect. there was dignity in the suffering and nobility in the losses that people caught along the way. it was imperfect, but not ineffective. you understood that mercy would intervene and shame would change them. just like you understood that hatred would strike back eventually, and that your own fate, your own family's fate, would depend on your God - my God... and it did strike back, thirty-eight years ago today. i could say that i am who i am partly because of your work, but it's really bigger than me. we are who we are - not just me or my family or black people but american society - partly because of your work. you left this earth better than it was when you found it, to the extent God blessed you with the ability to change it, and that is so very admirable. thanks so much. we thank God for what He did through you. and for the judgment you used to pick a wife who would keep pushing for recognition of your legacy, so that we wouldn't forget what happened and why. rest in peace, the both of you. insomuch as anyone is willing to do what they must to end injustice, and ordinary people make this decision every day, your efforts and your death were not in vain.

Monday, April 03, 2006


i wrote this some time ago, on another blog. here is an edited, updated version:

a reason to write

my favorite cousin feels more like a brother to me than a cousin, even though we grew up hundreds of miles apart. we were raised similarly - his mom and my dad are sister and brother. i love him to pieces because we get along so well. we played together in the summers that i left concrete jersey for grassy virginia. i'd watch him play video games for hours. i even like arguing with him ('cause he lets me win, 'cause he thinks i'm too tenacious). it was fun watching him grow from a boy to a man. i'm two years his senior and i used to be bigger than him... not anymore. but he still allows me to pull rank sometimes - humoring me. i love him for that. because i only get to chill with him sometimes - his maturation is always impressive to me. i love his mind - the way he thinks, how he's matured and learned to control his temper better, how he so very obviously loves his wife, who is a wonderful woman - i'm so proud that he's chosen a life companion well. i love how concerned and protective he is over his baby sister and i love how it's obvious that she loves and looks up to him. he makes me laugh, and he makes me feel like i'm not really an only child. he encourages me in my endeavors, gives me guy advice, asks me for advice, (values my advice) believes in me - does all the things that a good friend would do. he's awesome. i tell him, not as often as i would someone else, 'cause i can't kill all my cool points with him, that i love him dearly. even though we fought as kids, and argued, and he was selfish with his toys, and acted like a big baby that time he got sick and i had to do every little stupid thing he asked 'cause his mom had to work. i've forgiven him for all of that. one of my favorite pictures of all time is of me and him before either of us was even in school. i put my arm around my lil' cousin and we cheezed, looking like two little geeks. with my ponytails on each side of my head and with his alligator polo and white stripy kneesocks on... LOL!

now he's in the army.

he's in iraq for his second stint.

he reads my blog. and was inspired to start his own. even though that kneegrow ain't posted in like a month, i kinda let that go, considering the extreme circumstances.

and one day, he posted this in response to my thanking the people who read my blog for reading it:

no, thank you for doing what you do. for some reason everytime i have a down day out here you write somethin that shows me a world i don't know and brings me thru. thank you cuz

i almost cried (i didn't, though). but i wasn't i think i'll be high for the rest of the week on that. 'cause that tells me that my writing gives one of my favorite people in this world something to look forward to while out there in the desert, in the middle of a war, away from his wife and family. his comments give my words importance. and i don't even know what to say to that except that i'ma keep on writing.