Wednesday, September 26, 2012

alfajores in the afternoon

i hadn't intended
on my fingers
making a meal
of what lay between us
on an afternoon that swirled teal and lemon
like a brewed mug of tea
your hands begged me to partake
as you closed your eyes slightly
before opening them like the blinds
of a lover's room after their long night
watching me lick my fingers
enjoying the pungent sugar
in every taste

*Alfajores (Al-fa-ho-res) are a South American type
of shortbread sandwich cookie that are filled with
dulce de leche (caramel filling).

haiku 9.25.12

less shocked by third rails
than by a lack of honor
from would be artists

Sunday, September 23, 2012

snap, crackle, pop. (a few words on flakes)

if you're reading this right now, you might be having
some breakfast, which would then make the title of this
piece even more appropriate and catchy. but the subject
matter is in no way something nutritious. what am i talking
about? people with behavior so inconsistent and without
real reason that we can dub these people,'flakes'.

we all encounter these people in our lives. they may
be a friend or a casual acquaintance. even family. and
they all can drive you to utter frustration with this
behavior. you know how it goes...the unanswered text
messages. missed appointments without notice. wanting to
change plans at the last minute for no other reason
than their own selfishness. flakiness is no joke when

i'll give you a recent example or two of this. there's
someone i know who i'm cool with. she at times, has
been real gracious, effusive and bright with her persona
and it makes people gravitate to her. but there are those
moments when she has eaten from the bowl of flakiness.
there was the time she sent me a text asking me for my
number after missing a get-together. insert blank stare
here. another example is of one dude i used to work with
waaaay back, who was so flaky he actually changed the
date of his wedding at the last minute TWICE. this is
something we can all laugh at, but it belies a certain
embodied pattern that is a problem.

first, the flaky person does and says these things for
the main reason of selfishness and inconsideration. we
all have times where we've committed to going somewhere,
or volunteered to do something and we weren't able to.
what separates the flake from the regular person is
that a regular person would give consideration to the
occasion and what went into it and make apologies,
preferably beforehand. the flake will either just ignore
that or worse, compound that effect of selfishness by
claiming something so far-fetched that it immediately
gets a stink eye upon its utterance. another part of
flakiness is the fact that a flake will incorporate
this as part of their personality. unfortunately, there
are a lot of creative types who employ this and in turn,
enforce stereotypes. they think it's cute, whimsical.
or they think they're being 'fierce' or standing out
from the crowd. yeah, these people stand out from the
crowd because their persona and habits stink like the
insides of a tunnel rodent left out on the BQE in the
middle of July. there's nothing cute about that.

flakes are at heart, still grappling with issues at
heart. in a couple of cases, you find that it boils
down to issues of self-esteem. they want to have you
feel compelled to like them no matter what, to have
a magnetic appeal despite their actions. what they
are deathly afraid of, and what does happen is, their
flakiness shows through so much at times that it repels
instead of attracts. which is why some of the flakes
you may know do well, and then all of a sudden hit an
iceberg of drama so as to sink into trouble. another
aspect of that self-esteem issue lies in the fear of
rejection that is out of their control. they don't
want to be left behind. they are scared of not being
wanted. so they will take control by removing the
facet of accountability and in turn, exerting their
control by being non-committal.

flakiness is something we all encounter, and it can
piss you off besides make you laugh and wonder. the
best thing you can do? recognize it, assess it fully
and then deal with it and those folks accordingly. if
you can see the redeeming qualities stand out more than
their flakiness, keep 'em around. if not, brush 'em
off with directness and compassion. flakes belong in
a cereal bowl, not as part of your circle and daily

Saturday, September 22, 2012

another tender star

you have consented
to let ink and art
become star maps
upon a body full and bountiful
as the sun caught in a dove's eyes
a fair guide
if not one i can call my own
on rough waters that leave others
to turn their hearts to driftwood
you have long since become more
than another tender star
i follow the route upon your skin
to those galaxies
that i know can be home

Monday, September 17, 2012

somalian rose haiku

she's that tender rose
born of concrete and surf;don't
let her thorns fool you

lost among weeds

my shoulders heave
but no tears fall
i clutch memories past
around my abdomen
like one does a bathrobe
thinking it will protect my wounds
as i walk among the weeds
i'm looking for my joy
it seems to have dropped out here
in the looming shadow
of past troubles
sitting like an abandoned home
with the gaping maws of windows
covered with ivy and patches of paint
it is a wonder
how you can find your inner child
quickest through pangs of pain
and again
look for that solace and joy
shining, polished and familiar
lost among weeds
in the lawns of what others call, life

Sunday, September 16, 2012

music break: The Outfield

switching it up a '80's classic!! enjoy!

gentle morning crystal

some mornings
i find that i tend to walk
barefoot among blades that wear those
varied shades of green
and what cuts me to the quick
is how your face
rises like steam behind my eyes
tender, full with love and wit at your chin
sugary with the flesh of autumn
and asks me so much in a sentence of silence
little wonder
that there is more gentle morning crystal
that greets my skin
because even the sunrise
sheds happy tears
at what lies in my heart for you

Friday, September 14, 2012

haiku 9.13.12

*for brownin'*

under autumn leaves
i grin; they remind me of
sugar in your hips

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

dulce de brevas

i find her voice
still coats the expanse of my skin
like fresh panela
made with an abuelita's touch
as the last stars of the night
tip their hats
and somehow
i can tell that she still savors me
like warmed figs upon the tongue
during an autumn chill
her full lips
stretching to tell the oncoming sunrise
'see? this is how
one remembers a lover's sweetness.'

walton ave. haiku

sneakers dangle high
as signals; street banners cut
short the sun's slow dance

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

manhattan, shanksville, baghdad

the morning starts quiet
waiting for me alongside instant coffee
and flecks of gold in the window
a chant lies in my memory
Manhattan, Shanksville, Baghdad
echoed by thousands
whose voices stretch out
through time and find themselves added
to the hum of girders creating shiny temples
graphite marble rising from meadows
the whisper of deserts
and the lilt the air makes amongst blooming poppy flowers
this is a morning where the chant
keeps me from watching news networks
because they could never re-live it
as i do today
Manhattan, Shanksville, Baghdad
it frames pictures of billowing smoke along the Hudson
reminds me of the tinge of terror
not hearing from my mother
until the end of the day
and praying my sister
outran the rubble
Manhattan, Shanksville, Baghdad
it speaks
not to governments and ideas
it speaks
not to religions and smart bombs
that have dumbed down reason and our own compassion
Manhattan, Shanksville, Baghdad
this quiet morning
this chant
is a requiem
for all those lives that ended
may the silence help us
possibly understand

Sunday, September 9, 2012

rust along the steel

so, right before i was all set to head out of town to
begin my Labor Day weekend, i wind up seeing something
on Facebook from an artist friend. 'RIP Chris Lighty'.
the news hit me like a ton of bricks. even more so when
i found out it was due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Chris Lighty was an icon in music, influential, powerful.
even had his own managerial company. he was at the pinnacle.
he was even getting back with his wife who he had separated
from. he had two daughters. and yet, it wasn't enough to
keep him from submitting to the demons that ravaged him.

i remember the shock of it all. how everyone couldn't
believe it...and yet, they could. we all could. because
it's something that looms on our horizons at times, even
if we don't want to admit it. for those of us of color,
suicide is something we can't say we as a community don't
do anymore. truth be told, it's hung around all the time,
like the surreptitious growth of rust along the steel we
so often strive to project in this world. it's a topic
we don't want to discuss, one that gives us pause because
how can anyone get so far gone as to GO THERE? it defies
logic, at least the logic we employ to enable us to keep
things moving day to day. and yet, we don't realize that
people who go that route use that logic to commit that act.

i often hear the sentiment, being raised in a Christian
family, that those who take their own life don't see God's
face. that sentiment is not isolated strictly to Christianity,
it can be found in other faiths as well. but the thing is,
for someone dealing with that inner turmoil, we don't
understand that they may be in such pain that it doesn't
even matter. they're referred to as demons for a reason.
because demons will not only take your reason, but it will
use it against you for their own purposes.

it's tougher being a person of color and also being an
artist or creative soul because the rigors that come with
such a life lead us to develop some of that rust over
time. you can't help but do so in this contemporary society
that alternates between exploitation, devaluing and other
forms of consumption of the soul. for example, i recently
watched the documentary, 'Still Bill' again about the
great musician, Bill withers. i always get struck by how
he talks about his own bouts of manic depression. it then
leads me to think about those we lost due to it, greats
like Don Cornelius and Weldon Irvine and Phyllis Hyman,
to name a few. it seems that the more we build up our
personae to be towers of steel, the more we get taken
aback at the rust of anger, loneliness and hurt that
shows up. and we think we can't remove it at all.

folks, i don't claim to have answers when i write on
stuff like this. but i do know that on such a sensitive
topic like this, we need to talk about it. TALK ABOUT
IT. be open, be honest. check in with the people you
care about from time to time. don't fool yourself into
thinking that it can't happen to you because life has a
way to break you down when you least expect it. if you
are going through something painful, seek help outside
of yourself. trust that support system. i've volunteered
on a hotline before, and for those who called in, all
they want is for someone to listen. LISTEN. be mindful.
get involved. let those in pain know, that rust doesn't
make them anything if not more powerful, more beautiful.

until the next time...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

haiku 9.7.12

let me wear your voice
like cologne around my neck;
sweet musk behind ears.

corner boy cannibals

disciples of gangsters
who left blood and beef as legacies
find they own hunger
that says 'I don't give a fuck'
it feeds on swagger
cannabis & carelessness
wears masks that grin and grind
hope to the consistency of stale grits left on the bowl
jackals on the corner
waiting to savage sensibilities
a slice of the pie ain't nothing
when you can feast on the baker
and how do you get rid of them
these corner boy cannibals
when they feed on compassion
and communities
like snack boxes out of Harold's
licking their chops in pride
how do you get rid of them
when they still look like
their grade school pictures?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

haiku 9.4.12

i want our passion
to burn like Chevy backseats;
hello morning pie

of steam and avocados

there is only
the slickness of cast off memories
the clouds have left in their wake
a perfume
of steam and avocados
the conversations of goddesses
far off in the distance
and my own silence
blending like ink
into the pool of night
for whatever words
i used to have for you
like stray cats
in sudden headlights

Monday, September 3, 2012

music break: The Revolutionaries

figured i'd take some time out on this Labor Day to send
you all good wishes and hope you're having a mellow day...
i'm starting mine off with some dub, courtesy of The