Wednesday, December 31, 2014

one year closes, another opens...

what's happening, folks?

on the last day of the year, i wanted
to take some time out to do things that
sustain me, things that make me who i
am. because this year, more so than in
recent years, has been one to really
savor and contemplate in those terms.
this year was the year i reclaimed a
few things. confronted a few. and made
peace with a couple parts of myself.

the year began in a tenuous fashion to
say the least. i've alluded to it here
and there, but i encountered a serious
health issue. one i thought wouldn't
happen to me, in all honesty. even though
i knew i was purposely daring, on that
edge. to sum it up, i had an acute rise in
my blood pressure. brought on by the
combination of stress from work, the
holiday season and its partying air,
getting a cold and trying to fight it
off with cough medicine and herbal tea
mixed together. one night i couldn't
sleep, and thought it was gas. when i
got my pressure reading, i was floored.
my doctor put me on meds, and a week of
bed rest. during that time, my family
was scared. hell, i was scared. as the
month went on, i got determined to lose
weight - physically and emotionally. i
was close to death and never knew it. in
truth, we all are, as much as we will
either acknowledge it or cast it aside.
but that scare led me to something better.
something on the other side of fear. a
place that was familiar. a place that
is where my spirit could rise as it should.

getting back to that place, reaffirming
who and what i am has been the mode for
this year. in the process, i've had to
ask myself tough questions. all of this was
necessary in order to do what Yaasin Bey
says on 'Worker's Comp', 'tell the tough
guys we're tougher than tough times.' if
you've followed along with this blog, you
know i've had my share. but i have made
the choice to push through. and in that,
i've had to be less stern with myself. i
have had to firmly ask for better from the
folks who i want in my circle. i have had
to accept that there are some folks who
won't regard me in a way i need to keep
them around. i've had to admit that i've
been an asshole, and to also admit that
there were times where it was warranted.
i've gotten used to not being a 'bigger'
person, but a better person for myself at
least. and most importantly, i've learned
to enjoy the benefits of my own silence
and what it brings me.

i mean, i've gotten more freelance writing
work(though i could always use more, so i've
been putting that intention out there in
addition to grinding). i put out another
book of poetry with the help of some fine
people out there. i've gotten myself in
shape enough to do that 5K walk.i got a lot of
support and acclaim and notice from some
well-regarded people and institutions. i've
gained a lot of insight from people. i've
been blessed to see love in the eyes of
newborns turned toddlers. i've made donations,
been there for friends in need. i've gotten
to understand my parents more. i've had the
opportunity to add my voice to important
discussions from the state of hip-hop to
tech developments to the continuing struggle
for rights and justice for Black/Brown people
in this nation and abroad. the blessings
have made the year's journey that much
easier and sweeter.

i won't focus on those that won't read any
of these words. if one person reads this
and gets some of the black gold of the sun
from it, i'm happy. i know there's still a
ways to go on this road. but i'm striding
on it, i'm less fretful even though there
are more gray hairs in my goatee than before.
as this year closes and another one opens,
i want to keep working at growing goodwill.
i don't want to necessarily label myself in
order to do good work. i want my spirit, my
presence to be a good one in the eyes of those
i care about and those i have yet to meet.
i want next year to explode with even more
blessings and pride. and i do hope that you
will be around to see it. more writing, more
art, more celebration, and less frustration
and dissatisfaction.

in closing, may you all have a safe and
blessed New Year, however you choose to ring
it in if you already haven't. thank you for
all of your support. see you on the other
side of 2014. one love to all!

walk good, good people!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

body cams for brutes

they will say you are mad
when you cry out
at the vivisection of your experience.

they will look askance
when you resist the pornography
of your black body
of your brown body
of your womanly body
of your child's body
ripped asunder by bullets
strangled and hung like so much salt beef,
because you
remember that they deal in death for business
and record it for fun
take a look in any museum for starters.

they will say you are mad
because you refuse to be mowed down
like those herds of buffalo
because before your trails of tears and anguish ends
you will make them choke on it

and that
is when
you find that sanity begins
and you realize
that body cams for brutes
are nothing but toys
for the brutes and voyuers

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

saving heat for cold stones.

there is an old but new-found value that i've been
lucky to re-establish in my life these days.
it's something that came across again thanks
to a Tumblr post i saw a day or three ago. it
contained a simple message thrown up on a wall
in Krylon: 'you waste energy being angry'. it
was something i needed to see, and to focus
on. because i had been dealing with examples
of why it was fruitless to be angry and much
like having silence and hearing a temple bell
ring out suddenly, the truth of it hit me once
again and i got back to maintaining my calm.

now, i'm not going to say that anger isn't
necessary. it would be asking someone not to
express their humanity. anger can allow for
other things to flow more freely if they are
important. but there is a tendency with the
way things are, and the society we live in,
to look to irrational anger as a viable
solution for EVERY. THING. think about it -
if you're a Facebook user or Twitter user,
count how many messages are laden with anger
over minimal stuff. they can range from
bewildered exasperation to outright rants
filled with expletives. now think about how
many do that on a constant basis. if you can
count more than three people you know that
do this, that's a problem. one that we shrug
off a little too much. and it gets worse
'cause there are those who do this just to
seek validation for the anger, and not any
help in why said anger rose. for me, the
journey of self-care i'm on basically meant
that to realize that about other folks, i had
to realize that i fell prey to the same
things. there's different reasons why -
examples from a family member, the effects
of diet, bad decision making and not dusting
oneself off after - it all composes to that
core of anger along with other things.

it takes some time to get to a point where
you can recognize that the constant anger
over stuff you can control as opposed to
actually doing something about it is flat
out minor. it's not easy. and there are
those that will take you to that point,
especially if they are actively avoiding
doing that work behind a multitude of
excuses. i had a good friend earlier say
that actions by a mutual friend of ours
was 'tiring'. my rebuttal was, 'well, it's
tiring only if you give it more energy
than needed time after time after time
again.' we've all got people close to us
that try us like that, i'm no different.
but in order to be and live well, you have
to let them sort certain things out without
too much of your energy being taken up.
especially if it seems like it's often &
they're not mindful of you and your time.

there's some who'll dig what i'm saying
here. and others who'll look at this like
it's bull. Only thing i can say is, when
i chose to reserve anger only for something
that deserved it, i found that life got a
little bit more manageable. and as we
advance through life, that's all we really
want. 'you waste energy being angry'. i
intend to hold on to that energy for when
i really need it, and not for another long
story of an avoidable situation or another
social media rant from someone who wants
more attention for the rant than help for
what caused it.

thanks for reading...walk good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PENNY CANDY RHYTHMS now available from 108 Press!!

Ladies and gentlemen, i'm very happy
to announce that my latest book of
poetry, PENNY CANDY RHYTHMS is now
AVAILABLE for purchase!!! Check it
out and get your copy at the link

Friday, August 29, 2014

lady Lazarus with onyx eyes.

in mornings covered in teal
to hide veins of gold
and the steam of many evenings
made warm by coffee
and words birthed by a frenzied, loving history,
it appears.

it bows its head
this free-form jazz
that gets sung in the spirit
of a certain lady Lazarus
with red hair
giving tyranny the blues

this feeling
does not evaporate
like dew over grass at high noon
her goddess stokes fire with one arm
and she weaves freedom with the other
over bones knit anew after pain & anguish

this warmth
bears a name that rolls smooth
like quiet winds on the Nile
or coot cats down Edgecombe
and finds sparks behind orange eyes
magnified by her truth

such warmth with an edge
is akin to the feel of the sun
on a mind kept dark and imprisoned
yes that is her power
it beckons to you
and asks you to rebel because it's righteous

gives you this warmth
that makes you want to be
her concubine of clarity
to toss off inhibitions to the wind
so you can rise

lady Lazarus with onyx eyes
maybe you feel the fire
showing you
how freedom burns clear.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

for moments after a missed train to work

what do you make of your heart
that screams silent
trying to find enough crumbs
your apathy hasn't snatched?

Russian roulette routines
you endure daily
to tell the world you're this and that
trying to run from the bullet that will shatter you

what do you make of your heart
that pretends it can be a phoenix
but fears it may only have the flight
of an ostrich high on cheap coffee and mundane TV?

what will you make of your heart
the day you get tired of avoiding
the truths that come like a bullet
and how will you speak then?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

learning to detach and float with grace.

there are moments in life where we find
ourselves the immediate object of someone's
fear and so, we will get all of the emotions
associated with that fear that causes a
detachment. a disconnect that may or may
not be willful. and in those moments, if
this happens to you, you have to learn to
detach with grace.

let me say that again.

detach with grace.

listen, i haven't pretended like i'm a
certified therapist and i won't start now.
all i'm doing is relaying what i've gotten
from my life experiences and trying to help
'cause we all need it from time to time.
that said, back to the grill...

i said 'detach with grace' because it is
in our nature to feel all kinds of ways
when people do and say things to you to
push away. i have had these situations
happen before to me a few times. and i
won't sit here and act like they don't
still happen from time to time. but what
i have learned to do is in essence a
process. detachment with grace is not
easy, and it may not be for everyone.
before i get into that, let me break
down why i'm writing on this.

a couple of instances that i had
recently really could have put me
in a down state. first, someone who i
befriended and had a good rapport with
to the point of being close emotionally
was going through a rough time in her
personal life. i tried to lighten the
mood but was met with a terse response.
i basically replied as neutrally as
possible, and she then said she felt it
was time to limit our friendly interactions.
i've known this person quite a while.
as stung as i was, in that moment i
realized that it wasn't about me. that
one doesn't make a decision to really
limit communication like that in a flash.
that this was in essence, a defense
mechanism. one that was chosen for
protection from conflict and emotion
at all costs. i replied saying that
i understood, and that i felt a bit
hurt that she didn't trust me. and in
the day or two afterward, i went over
all of our conversations as best as
possible to see where i could have
not made her feel safe. and having done
that and not feeling as if i had done
wrong, i let it go. i understood then
that in this moment, she chose to run.
run from whatever i represented in that
moment. and so, i let her. because i
said to myself that whatever inner hurt
she was going through, she felt that it
was bigger than whatever friendship we
had cultivated at that time. and to a
degree, that even though she said that
she loved & respected me, that what she
then did was to some degree not clear
and would lead one to think the opposite.
the next situation happened with another
friend and her girlfriend where their
attention was at times focused mainly
on each other, excluding me to where
at one point or two, i was an afterthought.
then i realized that this is something
that they've gotten accustomed to.
that they were focused on the idea of
'living in the now' that is good in
mindful practice but in this case was
tinged with a bent of selfishness.
my particular reaction then was to
handle that with extremely dry wit as
deflection and illumination when

in both of those situations, the process
i went through was a five step deal:


that's the one step that can bring
you insight if you do it, and can
bring a bigger ruckus if you don't.
when someone hits you with bad behavior,
frazzled emotions or passive aggressive
swings or anything that is a manifestation
of whatever they feel about you that they
know is unjustified, you need to breathe.
it gives you that brief but necessary
space to do the next step.

2)realize and assess.

if you've done something wrong, realize
and assess. if you haven't, realize and
assess why the other person would put
you in a position of supposed wrong.
with time, you can quickly review and
do this to attempt to restore clarity.

3)check your immediate feelings.

i'm not saying ignore anything. we all
get to that moment where we get HEATED.
where we don't have words or the ability
to express clearly and honestly. oh, some
will say that they do. they'll say so in
other forms. but if they're not consistent
in anything but causing emotional wreckage,
no matter how slight it is, then they're
being false with themselves and you.

4)address the situation at hand as
directly as possible. when possible.

you know, truth hurts. and even as i'm
writing this, i realize that when i'm
trying to be honest and truthful, i find
myself trying not to be too harsh. i'm
not saying that you have to be an asshole
while relaying truth or what you feel to
be the truth to someone in a scenario like
this so you can both come to an understanding.
the truth is the truth, and it comes in
its own clothing or not. real deal. but
one has to get at the truth of the matter.
if you have that opportunity that is. do
understand that there are some who are
extreme avoidance junkies. they do it to
hide their own hurts and fears and to not
let others know their vulnerabilities.
what you can see as selfishness or spite
is in essence that mutation of inner fear.

5)detach and float with grace.

once things have been said, or you've
tried to reach an understanding or you're
just done, make it a point to resolve
your anger and hurt the best way possible.
then go calm, and let go. tell yourself
holding on is doing nothing but blocking
your blessings from flowing and blocking
your own motion forward. tell yourself
to float on. that you're not doing this
because you don't care, but that you care
enough about yourself to not go through
this kind of strife. this part is important
because we often tell ourselves that
there are things and people worth fighting
for. but if others don't exhibit reciprocity
of consideration and mindfulness, your
fight gets wasted. and you may need that
for other things and people that will be
more vital.

the thing is, there are things and people
over time that will put you in the position
to do these five steps. for me, learning
about how to deal with these situations
helped me understand myself. i asked myself
what drew me to these people. i found
that we all have different hurts and
wounds that make us emotional puzzle pieces.
some fit, some don't. and it's on us to
find out who fits us, and keep that together.
you know, like how some pieces won't come
apart in a puzzle after a couple of tries.
and then you get a lovely mosaic. but if
there is no fit, let it go and float on.
and find that grace that propels you forward.

thanks for reading, catch you after the jump...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

haiku 8.15.11 (2)

he said, 'i want the
kind of love that makes your legs
twitch." she gave him lice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Help me on my campaign journey to fund the publication of PENNY CANDY RHYTHMS!!

Hello good people! I've got some great news
to share. Yesterday, I took the step of
launching a crowdfunding campaign through
Indiegogo towards funding the publication
of my third book of poetry, PENNY CANDY
RHYTHMS. After one day, I've gotten some
great feedback and solid support through
folks donating & spreading the word. The
campaign will run through June 10th. For
more info, please check out the link. If
you are moved to do so, I would appreciate
your support, be it a donation or even you
just sharing this news with your friends
and family. I humbly thank you. Here's the

Friday, May 9, 2014

haiku 5.9.14

to be warriors
means to endure the first cut
so we won't love war

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

22/30: from silver to blue(for aunt anna)

tears carry the words
past weathered corneas
and morning turns from silver to blue
part of this heart
jump-started by instant coffee
soars on silence
breaking time
back to the last time
you held my hand

you were shorter than me
by a foot
but the loudest voice in the room
you cut through angst
as one can cut muscle from leg bones
teaching me that love is firm
but constant and easier
when we slice down to what matters
your voice ringing like calls to service

i never got to ottawa
though i did try
maybe that was why i cried
thinking i was one more promise possibly unkept
after you gave me so many
in one last clasp of hands
before you and the family went back north
with the wave of the leaves

these days
you teach me that real love doesn't leave
when mornings turn from silver to blue
and the blinking of the sun that warms
tells us never to forget you.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

9/30: haiku 4.9.14

when the pain washes
you ashore in dreams, find my
embrace in the sand

Sunday, April 6, 2014

6/30: how to sever ties with a boxcutter

i am practicing with tears
tugging at the corner of my smile
like newborns testing their grip
a newly created art

'how to sever ties with a boxcutter'

there are lesson plans
tinged with frailty
left in the empty spaces
ringed with promises left like broken furniture

they bear the crust of insecurity
hold familiar fingerprints
from family members, lovers indifferent and insensitive
and other villains assorted by sodium content

i've found myself practicing
from time to time
to cut these tendons that tie me
to all these instances

because if i am to run
into a sun-strewn promise land
that i am crafting by grit, love and deeds
i have to cut precisely

and leave the hurt to sit cold on asphalt
like so many shells of sunflower seeds.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

3/30: vertigo of a mature lover

the lush latitude
in her upper arms outstretched
fingernails with electric polish chipped at the edges
by seizing life by its throat

kisses delivered
by the semaphore found
in the finely ground coral and cinnamon
when her lips pucker

the fine mane tossed from side to side
when she argues
when she makes cursing lyrical
or when she duels with the shaking of a speakerbox

she comes to give you light-headedness
the vertigo of a mature lover
somehow giving you balance
with mischief as her perfume

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1/30: hoarders facing springtime

shoulder blades
left to flex concave
as the lungs begin the eviction process

alkaline and sodium
bound together with water
see themselves out in the chill of the dawn

be the beasts with too many burdens
hoarders of future fears and past regrets

rag-pickers and bag ladies
toting luggage that gets seen before
our honest hearts do

rip tendons like flimsy window blinds
and shutter our eyes from the sun

tuck away those hurts
in shopping bags stuffed and bursting
on weathered oak within the chest

when the springtime
that demands you pack light
to dance in the golden grace you know the steps to

will you still cling to the bags
will you still cling to these bags
will you still carry that weight

or, will you let it slip from your shoulders

Sunday, March 30, 2014

flicker of the third bulb on the freeway

whatever little
was left of what you thought
you took from my heart
in plastic salad containers
found in midtown delicatessens

found that evening
gave it legs of vapor
it rose and joined the space
found around the lightbulbs
atop a lonely freeway

and made it blue
to illustrate the sea
of casual indifference
sometimes one creates
when they drown in their own confusion

Thursday, March 20, 2014

the steam that sits

that there is the breath that bears my name

it travels like a wisp of steam
as you bathe in the morning
feeling like that last Sunday moment 
i kissed your neck 
while fixing your necklace 

and all it asks
is that you make that breath a voice
that you call it what it is

before the day begins 
and it sits in traffic 
within the veins wrapped in 
the skin of hazelnuts
and flourishing summer off the Jubba

the steam that sits on your chest
and calls to you
is the breath that bears my name
asking you to exhale
and free us both

Sunday, March 16, 2014

dodgeball with screwballs

at first glance, this might seem like
one of those slanderous rants. but trust
me, it's not. despite my use of the
term 'screwballs'.

you've probably seen the Albert Einstein
quote: 'Insanity is doing the same thing,
over and over again, but expecting different
results.' you've seen it passed around
social media like it's a seasonal cold.
but take a moment to stop and think
just how many people who STILL embody
this quote. it takes a lot of will, a
lot of mindfulness to first realize
that you may be doing the same thing
repeatedly. and once you gain that
recognition, to make firm changes to
get better JUST GET BETTER
overall. some folks can pick that up
right away. others need some time and
the counsel of outside perspective that's
not biased towards them. and then....

there are the aforementioned screwballs.

i call them that not to be derogatory
towards the mentally ill. but it's an
apt term for this group of individuals.
think about it - you probably know one
or two people that sit and stubbornly
lock themselves into a cycle that does
not benefit them in the long run. and
when things don't go right once again,
they choose to focus on everything
except the issues that led them to that
point.they don't look to themselves
and why they keep coming back to that
same place. they'll do everything and
anything in some cases to remove their

'oh, this is fated.'

'well, this person...'

'if only they...'

this is the thing...if you know one
of these folks, and they come to you
yet again with a diatribe of avoiding
accountability, make like it's a game
of dodgeball. especially if you've
tried to be helpful with regards to
their situation and they keep winding
up in the same place. because at that
point, you gotta come to the conclusion
that they like the drama. that they are
more comfortable with the anguish of
another failed scenario that doesn't
help them move forward in the way
they'd like. and that's just screwy
to me. i know when i was in that pattern
myself, it seemed much more easier to
just assign blame to someone or some
thing rather than own up to my own
culpability in the matter. one large
part of owning your power is owning
your mistakes. and that's something
we don't prevalent these days. now
i'm talking about the delibarately
unwilling. you know those folks, the
ones who will spit all of the truths
and quotes but still complain about
the same damn thing for the past 3
years. they are just another form of
drama addicts. because the drama is
predictable, it's routine. it allows
them to go on auto-pilot, and not to
pursue any real work towards effective

now if it sounds like i'm being overly
judgemental, well i say this: these
people i talk about may be a bit more
inclined to do that than i would be.
look at the tell-tale signs they
present. they're more than likely to
engage in blanket statements and
judgements. they will stop you when
you have an insight that may differ
from one that fits more to their
trip of avoidance. and let's not think
that they're not aware of it. there's
a reason why they choose to make the
decisions they make. it's because
they prefer the mayhem of that poor
choice than building themselves up
to make better ones across the board.
these folks are also extremely sensitive
and tend to flee easily. the thing is,
one has to be mindful and careful
with folks like these. you have to
take what they throw at you, and
give it back to them just as firmly
or more forcefully. understand that
most of them are lost in a pattern
and need to be reassured if they're
trying to break out of it. there
will be those who you have to let go
on their own to sort it out. because
they will even go to the lengths of
insulting you and your intelligence
on an emotional and mental level to
satisfy their need for self-abuse
in the guise of running from owning
up. you cannot own your power if you
don't own your failings without any
puffed-up mask of importance. i guess
dodgeball has some relevance as we
get older after all.

thanks for reading, until the next time...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

untitled 3.11.14

she left memories like tribal tattoos
on my ribcage
so when i breathe, her touch trails off
like a panther under moonlight

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

scrap and bone

not interested
in being your scrap and bone
you can chew upon
to see if your teeth are present
through the acidity of timidity
you've acquired in your age.

i prefer
you lay your scars bare
to be blessed in truth
much like bruises all flowers recieve
when we walk through them reveling in the day;
it would make you more honest

and as brave as i know you can be


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

haiku 2.25.14

so many want flight,
to leap free but in fear, clip
their wings too easy

Saturday, February 22, 2014

aspartame appreciation or, fake sugar makes for bad coffee.

*this goes out to my Aunt Norris, who made her
journey home two days ago, and would add her
two cents without fail on this subject. she
was always one who called it like she saw it.
even if she never failed to call someone on
their BS. rest in power, lady.*

it goes without saying that people are
vigorously trying to keep it as natural
as possible in their lives. that finds
some heavy corroboration in food. you
probably know at least one person in
your immediate circle who rails against
artificial sweeteners and substances.
aspartame jumps to the head of the line
without fail. it's kind of the 'it'
artificial substance that many can agree
is bad for you.


if people are so against artificiality
in their foods, why do they cling to it
in their own lives? why are they drawn
to using it as a tool of defining their
own personality?

okay, this is the part where you are
more than likely doing a double take as
you look at the screen. bear with me.
there are some of us, for different
reasons, who choose to willingly put on
an air of artificial sweetness to people.
you may have come in contact with it -
they are quick to shower you with the
'honeys' every third to fifth word or
heap a lot of overt friendliness that
might not fit like pants after a holiday
meal. sometimes you see that more when
the person may have done or said something
out of order. or their behavior towards
you has been flaky or subliminally
disrespectful. i have dealt with one or
two people like that from time to time.
it's unavoidable to a point for a reason.
these people are employing appreciation
like it's aspartame. add a bit here and
there and whatever the problem is for
them disappears. or so they hope. this
also applies to people who suddenly make
themselves total experts on human issues
online. it's even worse when they don't
even make an effort to be consistently
compassionate beforehand. you know the
ones: they'll post a hundred links on
something, rail against others as to why
they're not doing anything(anything
meaning listen to them stroke their ego
like customers in a peep show booth
and/or share the same link from a website
that could be debunked by a 6 year old
with an iPad)and then not provide follow-ups
or comment on something so tedious.

yes, these are people who feel that
artificial sweetness works for them. they
do it to cover up flaws in their persona
they don't want to work on just yet,
or that they don't want you to see out
in the open. they do it because they
like the buttress of being seen a certain
way, not realizing their truths can and
will weigh that facade they encourage
down. of course, you tell them that,
they immediately revert to the defenses
of ego we all have. accusations that
you're being phony. saying that all these
other people(some of who they do the same
thing to but they are oblivious or accept
it)would prove you wrong. when you get
real hooked on fake sugar, it can be as
hard to get off of as cocaine.

all i can say is, if you spot it early,
keep that aspartame appreciation OUT of
your immediate cipher. with a vengeance.
it rots you from the inside and can make
you crave it at the expense of everything
that is real and true about you. and once
you get a cavity of the spirit like that,
it's even more arduous to fill in as
opposed to all the work that you would
have done to fortify it with honest
personality in the first place. so, do
yourself a favor: check those people
that look to give you nothing but fake
sugar. it's bad for your life as well as
your coffee.

thanks for reading. until the next time...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

the 'r' word

it's a clear, crisp Sunday morning that shines
a bit less through my window as i write this.
i write this the day after another botched
verdict in the state of Florida came to pass.
i write this the day after Michael Dunn got
time in prison for missing three other Black
teens in a car with his gun, but not for the
actual murder of Jordan Davis. it would have
been Jordan's birthday today. i'm writing to
get this malaise alleviated, the nausea that
rose when the verdict came down. the nausea
that came as i watched Jordan's parents do
the same thing Trayvon Martin's parents did,
the same thing Renisha McBride's parents did
and TOO MANY Black and Brown parents have done.
put on the noble face of respectability and
grace. it is what we have done in this country
since it was born. one imagines Crispus Attucks'
relatives would have done the same.

the face of 'respectability' in grief. it
makes respectability a slur. picture it -
millions of parents of color have to work
to ensure that their child or children are
seen as 'respectable' once they go out in
the word. they have to police their children.
POLICE THEIR CHILDREN. pay heed to that
phrase. and it starts from when you're young.
how many of you reading this have had to
hear from your folks, 'don't be common'.
in those terms or others? and it's all
because time and time again, our youth and
our folks have been murdered. seen as trifles
in the eyes of the system dedicated to
protect and serve white privilege. what
good is respectability when you have these
devilish individuals, out of fear systemically
and self-imposed, feeling as if they have
due course to take YOUR life on a whim?
you know, it used to make me extremely
pissed. because they'll deflect it if you
challenge them head on. they'll trot out
the 'Black On Black crime' deflection.
use codified language like 'thug' or 'urban'
to hide what they really mean to say you
are. yet if there's anything that's been
more thuggish, it has been privileged,
race-based supremacy and domestic terrorism
supported by flawed laws. what good is
respectability when they've proven over
and over again that they DON'T RESPECT

i write this, and ask these questions,
because i know all too well that there will
be generations after me that will ask the
same thing. i know that i have godchildren,
cousins, a nephew, future children i may
have that will look to me to decipher this.
to decipher the hieroglyphics of a hatred
that they can't comprehend is directed at
them from the moment their first cries are
uttered. and yet, respectability will be
the fall back. it is an unwieldy and
sometimes unrealistic tool. but it is a
tool that we have to use to survive and
in due time, to live. one can easily
say' to hell with it'. but the costs are
too great. especially now. let's face it,
having a Black president has exacerbated
the issue. You may have your particular
thoughts about this president. But what
has happened to Trayvon, Renisha, Jordan
and countless others since 2008 is this:
there are those who do possess a fear of
a planet that doesn't look like them or
what they hoped it would be. and these
executions of fear take place. we may dance
about race like a maypole at a picnic,
but it is an inherent American illness.
(and remember, Black folks used to be
lynched at picnics.) it's an illness we
not only have to honestly confront, but
to pick apart to cure.

respectability. the 'r' word. it is not
a comfort when in spite of it, lives are
taken from us. yet you will hear it
tossed about again and again.

peace, and thanks for reading. until
the next time...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

haiku 2.15.14

(for Sagal)

north winds say to me
hiloow, i then know it was you
calling in the night

*hiloow - Somali for longing

Saturday, February 8, 2014

haiku 8.2.11

we whirl in circles
like dervishes; where we meet
adds heat to the beat.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

untitled 1.26.14

falling out
of love with someone
has gotten to become just like being
on the J train
just before it goes under
into Jamaica/Van Wyck;
all of the hopes flash by
like faded tags of glory
before darkness swallows

Sunday, January 12, 2014

haiku 1.12.14

when you feel alone
treetops feel like large, gentle
and safe embraces