Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Barnes and Noble, what's up?

I left this message on Barnes and Noble's website tonight because I went book shopping. I was looking for something by Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, or Alice Walker. I went all through the fiction section, but I couldn't find any books by these authors. I was directed to the African-American section - I didn't know where it was because I don't shop for books very often, but there it was, stretched out along a wall near the entrance. I walked over to the section and I felt very uncomfortable. All I saw were half naked people, guns, seductive mouths licking on candy... I didn't want to be anywhere near that trash - I don't read that crap. I don't want to read that crap. Call me bourgeois - whatever, I don't care - I didn't want to even look like I was looking for books like that. And from what I could tell during the thirty or so seconds I stood there, those kinds of books vastly outnumbered the kind of black fiction I was looking for. I just walked away. I asked a salesperson if there was a suggestion box, and she said there wasn't one, so I told her my issue. Since I don't know if she'll have the ability to relay my message to what she called, "corporate," I decided to find them on the web and type the following message, using the customer service feature of their website.

"In the same way that romance books and science fiction books are shelved differently from general fiction and literature, African-American urban/sexual books should be shelved differently from general African-American fiction and literature. It is embarrassing and somewhat demeaning to have to look for prize-winning literature among this relatively new and tawdry genre of urban/sexual fiction. I declined to even look through the 'African-American fiction' section for the literature that I could not find in the general 'Fiction and Literature' section, because standing in front of those books is as embarrassing as I imagine renting pornographic films would be. Your company lost my business because of this issue, and will continue to do so.

I can be reached at this email address and would love to help if your business is interested in addressing this issue with customer input.

Thanks for listening,
glory [actually insert government name here],
Philadelphia, PA"

I figure that if you're going to separate the black authored books from the other ones so that their readers can find the books easier, I think that burying general black fiction/literature books among less literary, more romance-caliber books makes no sense. I don't think they'll actually adequately respond, but I figured it's worth a shot. I only wish I had a vast readership who agreed with me and would be willing to do the same...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

i need a break

i'm frustrated
worn out
divide them and conquer them
drop a noose on their desk when no one's looking
blue by day white by night
some of my best friends are
bla- i mean african americans
and i just love dave chappelle
and mos def
it's poverty, the economy, stupid
not color
it's not racism
that was centuries ago
it wasn't even me or my parents (you can't prove it)
shoot we were immigrants
escaping our own oppression
at least you have welfare
affirmative action
let me tell you something
about the potato famine
gas ovens
'cause jim crow wasn't shit
and besides it was two or three
generations ago
the race is on even ground
the race card is played
you played it
but it's not real
your blues ain't real
matter fact
your blues ain't yours no more
or your rock n' roll
and hip hop
that's everybody's
'cause certainly it wasn't birthed
from the pains of black labor
through fields
running from whips and sheets
through chain gangs
through nooses
through sit-ins
through burning churches
through the welfare office
through the shotgun shack
to rowhouses and projects
cracked out corners
raggedy schools
crumbling molded jails
certainly it's just sad songs
some cool songs
some black magic we can dig
'cause for real, your sense of this
this supposed oppression
surely you just want to be special
we're just waiting
while you keep killing each other
and fighting amongst yourselves
for you to realize
you are not special
and your special treatment needs to end

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


aight family. i've been to church, literally and figuratively. i looked in the mirror and saw a beautiful black girl, clear skin, bright eyes - how bout that? i've been sleeping better. working less. talking to God more. enjoying the weather more - walking, window shopping, reading in the park... taking advantage of all that philly in the spring has to offer me. and i'm feeling good, baby. you know what my problem was?

i'd been neglecting myself. you'd think by now, with all the life i've been living, i'd know better.

self-denial, self-deprivation... that ain't sexy. it's just not.

gotta remember that. gotta find a church home, too. i've been missing it for a while - it's time. my spirit is crying out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

on november

I really do think that if things continue at this clip that John McCain will handily win the November election.

Just because people support Obama doesn't mean they're blind or stupid or something is wrong with them.

Just because people support Clinton doesn't mean they are sell outs or Uncle Toms.

I personally think that reasonable minds can differ on this. And what troubles me is that so many people are so venomous and petty that there may be no hope of getting the White House back from the Republicans, because half of the Democrats will be so busy bitching that they will lose sight of the ultimate goal.

It is absolutely disappointing to see how people are regarding each other as these two candidates go at it. A spiraling pit of stankness, leading to Democratic defeat in November. All McCain has to do is sit back and watch as half the Democrats either refuse to vote or vote for him, and laugh his ass off. A sad sorry shame.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

the goings on

I started this post already and erased what I wrote. I'm trying to stay cool. I'm temping... it's going okay but I'll be unemployed again soon enough. I hate networking and business card peddling. I hate smiling at strangers and pretending to be interested in anything other than whether or not they know where I can get a damn job. I want some stability. My dad and I were talking about his hopes and dreams and fears for me. He's proud but a little concerned about my career. This is a man who doesn't have 30 years in with a company - there is no retirement windfall, no gold watch waiting for him. He wants me to get into a secure situation before I get to be his age. It's hard to explain to him that it doesn't work like that for my generation. But anyway, I'm not for all the azz-kissing and status symbols, hundred dollar blouses, and seventy hour workweeks. Um, no. I'll find something for me. Somehow. My back hurts. I'm working in a chair for over 10 hours everyday. Sometimes it seizes up. And there's this pain round about my left hip. Doctor's office said take two of these as needed and call in a couple more months if it's still bothering you. Okaaaay. My skin is breaking out. Vision all blurry - I'm actually preferring my glasses to my contact lenses now. I'm hoping this vision thing is temporary. I don't need to take another job where I'm doing this same self-destructive stuff, running my body into the ground. But. F%@$ it, I got bills. I'm saving for a house. Understand, I'm on a mission.

I don't have time to blog everyday. I don't have time to write poems, compile a chapbook, record a cd, go to the poetry venues, join a gym, shop for cheap power suits, send out resumes, rub elbows with the strangers, help my cousin write this letter she wants to write, flat iron my hair, do my laundry, clean my bathroom, cook a decent dinner...

I know I'm blessed. I know that complaining is wack. I don't care tonight, though.

I mean really. If it's like this when I'm childless, renting, and cohabiting, should I even be bucking to give birth, have a mortgage, and be a wife (not in that order)? I've been asking myself this a lot over the last little while. No point in indelibly joining my life to others' lives until I've found some balance in my own.

The good news is I saw Jill Scott in concert. It was an amazing show. The other good news is that I went to the open mic and read a new poem I was inspired to write yesterday. I went to church on Easter. My aunt who was ill is doing better. I'm taking a road trip later this month. My mommy quit smoking. I started volunteering more. I am still in love.

Part of me wants to go back to the time when I was playing hooky, letting my inner artist shine through instead of worrying about my outer warrior/hunter/gatherer. For a delightful couple of years I was able to float with it, you know? Go to the event? Yeah! Roll to the after event? Most def! Road trip? Hayle yeah! New CD? You better believe it. I miss that.

Responsibility is constraining. I feel constrained - that's what I think I've been getting at. And nobody is doing this to me, that's the thing. It's all my choice. I don't have to be (somewhat but not totally) ambitious. But that's my thing. I do enough to keep the thang rolling. I must hustle. It ain't optional. And it doesn't matter if I might be interested in something other than what I studied to do, 'cause the bill collectors, miscellaneous emergencies, future babies, and years of my future jobless old age don't give a #&@% what I would rather be doing with my time, period. Don't matter if the bed feels good when I wake up.

Friend of my honey's told me that I don't sound very happy. She told me I wasn't happy. When she said it, it was like I was hearing a news headline that was about somebody else. It didn't occur to me to ask myself whether or not I was happy. I think it's less about happiness and more about transition. I think my quarter-life crisis (if there is a such thing) is here. I think I've been in it for the last four years or so. And I don't think "crisis" is the right word, either. "Transition" is better. Longest transition I've ever had to go through. I suspect it doesn't end. Whatever.

I had to start telling myself to enjoy the ride back in high school. The thing was, life doesn't start when you meet a goal - it's the stuff that happens along the way to the goal. So I'm trying to enjoy being childless. Even though sometimes I think I'm so ready. And sometimes I think about my 28-year-old eggs. My 28-year-old womb. It's not time for me to be mom yet, and I know that on both an emotional and on a financial level. And my eggs are 28, not 48, but still...

Sometimes I just want to curl up into a little ball and sleep. It's late. I think I'll grab a snack and do just that.