Sunday, May 27, 2012
have matched our talks
they now drip with the sultry air
of humidity and stifled heat
that trades languages and flavors
like merchants in desert mezzanines
and one wonders
as you share a story of leather worn around your neck
as part of your personal rock ballad
if that was a way to stave off
the inferno of desire that adds hue to your cheeks
or was it meant to tell the unworthy
only the secret and the sensual
can be unlocked by the daring?
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
some of you out there may remember the movie 'Fresh' from 1993.
it was a powerful flick, one that chronicled a young boy who's a
chess prodigy using that skill and his mind to maneuver his way
through the mean streets of Brooklyn to a better life for him and
his sister. there's a scene with his dad in Washington Square Park
who's an alcoholic chess hustler. his dad says to him, 'you're just
watching the world pass you by. figure as long as you aint
drownin', you'll be all right.' watching that scene now, it hits hard.
because to a degree, that's what passes for normalcy among us
these days. and that's as crippling as anything else.
it took me some time to come to grips with the fact that getting
and living that kind of indifferent complacency, just trying to
'get by' in a way that closes you off to others is the wrong way.
i go back to growing up in my neighborhood a lot these days,
and so do other cats i came up with. we realize that we were
raised by a village, even if it didn't seem like it at the time.
the neighbors looked out for us, took note if we were acting
up. today, there's barely traces of that left. we're all focused
on getting by rather than getting right with ourselves and
getting along. and it's hurting us in different ways. you see
it out on the street depending where you are. it's ingrained
in the mind, in culture. 'do you.' how many times have you
heard that as advice? and we've been doing ourselves a
bunch of wrong for far too long.
i'm not going to sit there and act as if we all need to be some
monolithic group that thinks and acts the same. that's a
sociological fairy tale that sells movies and action figures.
what i'm saying is, we need to shed the notion that getting
by means we have to get along with out caring and looking
out for each other. get rid of the idea that we only have
our own circle to look after. because what we do in that
circle has an impact. even if it's a circle of one. i used to
hear my Grandma Smith tell me from time to time, 'the
world works on love. if you don't give it, you can't see it
or receive it. care about something.' i see her words
bloom everyday. and i try to live them. if you know me
well enough, you know every once in a while, i'll call or
email or text someone. there are those times when it's
not returned right away. and then there are those times
when it's not returned at all. over time, i've accepted that
for what it is and kept pushing. but i'm doing that with
open eyes and an open heart. even if i sometimes don't
want to look. even if it hurts to hear. because if i can't
give my sight, my ear, i can't receive anything in terms
of blessings nor give back more for those blessings.
i guess the whole point of this, is, don't just try to get by.
get out of that indifferent self-importance. take away
the veneer of token positivity if you're steadily drawing
into a bubble to not deal with life and its intersections.
you'll feel much better for it, trust me.
belongs in rainy streets
where we carry sunshine in pockets
and apply it to our faces
with sentences that dab like loose brushes that sit
in warm water
waiting for color to rise
for me you would hold open doors
and pave roads with past concerns
all the better
as we wind down these roads of desire
not needing any maps
except those signs carved at the corners of our lips
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
it's a pretty busy junction at the intersection of Nostrand and
Fulton Avenues in Brooklyn. and as a main artery of a vibrant
borough should, it has all sorts of folks pumping through at
various speeds. and then, there are those at a standstill. those
men and women clogged in their travel through life. you can
see one elder sister hunched on the steps of the dilapidated
bodega where you swear the entrance is leaning windward.
she's well known even to the beat patrolmen. another man
staggers, bringing a leg more lame than a Wall Street banker
in a techno club. they all wear the hard look of life choices
kicking them first in the face, then in the ass.
but every once in a while, one of them will make their
misery point of momentary sun. like today. as i left the
bistro known as Melanie's, i find this one cat in my path.
he was lanky, seemingly cut from rain soaked redwood.
he hadn't shaved for a day or two. his hair was unkempt
like Method Man circa 1994. his clothes were ragged and
his boots looked as if he'd been moonwalking on broken
cans. as he saw me, he began to croon holding out his
hand. 'escape is just...another name for perfume...i need
some change..to get me a room...' it was manic, but it
caught a couple of other people's attention that he got
a few coins. and i threw in a quarter.
i chuckled slightly at the improvised ditty he still sang
as he stood in front of the liquor store that sat next to
Melanie's while i walked away. what brought me back
to being sober was one thought...how far he may fall
before he wishes he really could escape.
Monday, May 7, 2012
they say vision
can be as fragile as glass
and that the fear of breaking
never allows us to paint each other
as we desire
i came to the realization
in knowing you
that i would brave those cuts
because i let love
in it's palettes of pain, passion and promise
color and frame all that you were and are
and to this day
you may be more brilliant
within the stained glass eyesight of time
all of that light
that you'll let simmer at the corners of your lips
making it shine
as you sit with me in the cafes of dreaming
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
“All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be,
with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it
from the true face..” - Alexandre Dumas
i've been thinking about this the past couple of days. masks and
why we adopt them. why we wear them, why we won't take them
off even as it pains us. i always think about that episode of the
'Twilight Zone' with the family visiting an older rich relative in
his New Orleans mansion during Mardi Gras. they each put on
this facade for him, one he was always able to see through. he
asks them all to put on grotesque masks and they reluctantly
comply. once the clock strikes midnight, he dies. they remove
their masks, with little else on their minds except the money
they'll get from him. to their horror, they find that their faces
have taken on the same horrid, twisted looks of the masks. as
they take the mask off their uncle's face, they find his face is
unchanged. even when i was younger, that episode stuck out
the underlying message speaks to how some people out there
are living with masks as truth. masks of who they wish to be.
masks of who they wish they still were until life threw them a
few curveballs. masks to hide the hurt. masks to hide their fears
of not being accepted, not being proud of who they are, masks
of being afraid to open their hearts to love for fear of rejection,
masks to cover for their selfishness and indifference. there's
even some folks with masks so cleverly crafted you can't tell
what's real and what's Hollywood.
folks, i don't claim to know it all. not by a long shot. but if
there's anything i do know is, even the most practiced at
putting up a front let it slip. even Pai Mei from those Shaw
Brothers flicks, as invincible as he was, had a weak spot. and
that's part of why it is unhealthy and unwise to rock a mask
all the time. you start BELIEVING that's who you really are.
and that mask doesn't really allow you to connect to what's
important. nowadays it's even worse in this digital age. we
have gotten so accustomed to communicating or NOT
communicating on social media that we forget ourselves.
we risk putting on masks to deal with everything from the
mundane to the most serious. you've got people who do it
so much that everyone KNOWS what they're doing and
laughs at them behind their back while they think it's all
another variation is putting on a brave front. going out of
your way to tell people everything is fine when it's not. we've
all been guilty of this at one point or another in time. i had
a recent situation with someone close to me who told me
that he didn't have medicine and that he was dealing with
chest pains. he's a bypass survivor. yet he tries to tough it
out. i damn near cried when i found out. sometimes we try
to be strong not because we need to be, but because we can't
look like suckers. even the very strong can get broken down
to the last compound by pain. look at the recent death of
Junior Seau, NFL great.
if you've stuck with me up to this point, there is a point.
live life with your soul and personality as bare as possible.
show off the wounds with your winning smile. masks are
only good for Halloween and costume parties. they're never
meant to be worn for a lifetime. let the ones you love, the
ones who hold you down see the true you all the time. that's
why they're there in the first place. and see yourself in the
way you're meant to be seen.
until the next time...
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
in the silence of the birds
if i would be able
to hear those echoes
of the shattering of your heart
you try to keep from resounding
with loud chatter, beer and long nights
in the mornings
that give birth to regrets and revolutions
will you try to collect me
lost among angel's tears upon your lawn
frozen in moments
where i mattered to you most
before your wounds named me dangerous
maybe the birds hold their tongue
and wait to sing until we
can truly speak to add strength to the sun
when the broken pieces
we both bear with toughened hands and cascading hearts
form the joy that frames a song