Wednesday, December 13, 2006

septa lessons, again

it wasn't my usual bus stop. i was there because i realized after work that i needed to buy some tokens for the next day, which took me up the street to another stop on busy market street. there were already a few people there, waiting with their shopping bags or getting off from work. a bus came, a bus left, and then there were only two - an old man and me. i heard somebody hollering and looked away from my gaze down the street to see if my bus was coming.

there was a group of boys - young men, really - walking together down the street, maybe about three or four of them. as they were walking, a man was hollering, "young baw! yo! that's my young baw!!! hey man, how you doin'. my young baw!" (to those not fluent in philly-ese, the guy was saying something to the effect of, hey, it's my peoples/friend/homie. "baw"="boy". now you know.) there were smiles all around, and the older guy gripped up the youngin like he hadn't seen him in a long time. though not involved, i smiled too. i love public displays of affection (especially among brothas) , even if they are loud. i noticed that the young dude didn't really seem to recognize the man who was greeting him, but i guess he figured, hey, no harm done. the boys continued on.

so did the loud man, who was walking in my direction.

there were two women sitting on a bench not far from me, having a smoke together and talking. they looked like they had been shopping and were taking a break. the loud man approached them and bent down from the waist to their level on the bench so that his face was on level with theirs. his face was less than two feet from theirs.

"hey, how you doing!" he boomed.

i couldn't see their faces from my vantage point, but i was guessing that he didn't know them, and that they didn't know him. they were white, in another age group, and were obviously together. my guess? he got a blank stare from the both of them.

the second time he greeted them, it was as if he was reproaching them for their rudeness.

"hel-lo! how are yooouuu! happy holl-idays!"

he got some sign of life from them at that point, and he went on talking to them. i looked down the street to see if my bus was coming. chances were, if he was trying to move his way up the block, i was next, and i really didn't feel like the bull isht. i was hoping the bus would come before i wound up arguing with him.

suddenly my attention was grabbed back from looking for the bus:

"well, fcuk you then!" as he walked away, backwards from the women.

"no, fcuk you!"

"fcuk you!"

"i'm not the one, walking down the street, begging people for isht!"

"i ain't beg you for nothin, i asked you! you racist bitch!"

"why do i have to be racist 'cause i didn't let you smoke on my cigarette! go get your own!" as her girlfriend picks up her shopping bag and pleads with her, wordlessly, to shut up and come walk with her away from the bench.

"fcuk you!"

"fcuk YOU!"

he walked away. they walked away.

my bus came, and i looked incredulously at the old man who had been standing there when i arrived. his facial expression remained unchanged. i wonder, was that a function of being old and having seen much, or was it just 'cause he's used to seeing stuff like that?

bitten bottom lip

i haven't been going to the open mics any more often than i've been writing on my blog. i'm forced to examine whether or not all this writing was just a phase or if this current inactivity is a phase.

i've been writing all my life, it's just that some times have been more intense than others. ask my diary. i started my first volume in 1987. i don't think i've written in it since spring. ask my marble composition notebook. i haven't written a new poem in at least a month. but if you flip through either my poetry or my diary, you'll see that it wasn't always this way.

lately, i've been too busy living, or being tired from living, to write. i'm working at work, so that means no blogging from the job. i'm busy at home, trying to keep up with friends and family, trying to keep my house clean, my business straight, enjoying a relationship that any reader should have known was bound to happen to me...

i mean, did i talk it up? did i will this happiness to come to pass? or was this bound to happen, and somehow my intuition felt it coming? i suppose i'll never know, but in my piscean view of the world, i can't help but to think that it was a little bit of both - fate and longing burning at both ends of a string, meeting and exploding at just the right place and time. i feel like i've found a safe space in the world. a shelter from the winds of worry. a peaceful haven. and i'm truly happy - bubbling, smiling to myself with no explanation to curious passersby.

it's really nice, when i'm hitting my after-lunch-'itis-what-time-is-it-anyway slump in mid-afternoon, to have someone to think of - the thought of whom gives me just the boost i need to make it to the end of the workday. really, really, really nice.

a friend of mine warned me not to fall off just cause i got arms to fall into. he says it happens to all the lady poets. they get all hugged up, or married, or mothered, and then you don't see them anymore. the defiance in me wants to vehemently deny that this is what's going on with me. i actually have not been inspired to write poetry lately. blogs, yes - but not poetry. i'm tired of my own poetry. the few times i've been to open mics, i've flipped through my book, looking for something i felt led to share. but i keep getting frustrated by that exercise. none of it impresses me, and much of it fails to entertain me anymore. i don't think that it's because i'm used to it either - i think it's because i'm growing and changing, and the old pieces just don't speak to my present spirit. i think i need to elevate the quality of my writing, and frankly, being intimidated by that challenge is part of what's keeping me from writing new pieces. let me not forget that i haven't really been inspired much at the poetry venues in the few times i've gone in the last several months. have i seen it all? heard it all? in any case, i must admit, the arms i've fallen into are quite distracting. sometimes i feel like the best, most satisfying poems i've been writing lately are made not of words, but of the artful interaction between me and him. at this rate, i don't know when my poetry books will get new pieces scribbled inside them.

it might help to go on the internet more often to communicate through writing, in whatever form that may take. my myspace page is all but abandoned. my favorite message boards probably don't even remember me. my blog is really suffering. shoot, i'm barely even checking my email. i keep meaning to make more of an effort. then i keep slipping and losing ground...

it's not an easy place to be right now, wondering if i'm losing something really special.

but i'm trying to hold on.

i don't know where to begin...

draw your own conclusion. found this in the back pages of an upscale magazine...

"ARE YOU LONELY TOO? Man, 55, married, seeks married or single female companion age 35-50. Non-smoker. I am a moderate wage earner. Please send recent photo and other information. [insert message information here]"