Monday, July 13, 2015
earned by dreams that carry the soundtrack
of the sizzle that 7th Avenue South has
when the summer sun hits it just right
carry an undertone
Himalayan pink salt and burnished vanilla
and bourbon born of honey and long whispers
around mountain tops
there's no burn present as the eyes open
which makes the thought of her
easy to taste but dangerous to drink deeply
without her giving you more
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
we tend to walk around these days under the impression that we're
being 'real' or being fully explanatory. when all it can be at times,
really, is another way of covering up. and make no mistake, we've all
done it at one point or another. a couple of recent interactions online
that i've had with folks have brought that point home. even the more
equipped among us to deal with this stuff will fall into the trap of
hiding your wounds instead of honoring them. you read that right.
honor your wounds.
if you've been reading this blog, you know that to a certain degree,
i've been sharing more about myself. not just the poetry and prose
that puts me and my thoughts in a rosy light. i'm at the point where
i have begun to view myself in totality. i'm not looking only at the
regrets, or the triumphs. i'm looking back over everything. to quote
Kanye West, 'everything i'm not made me everything i am.' and that
includes the scars.
honor your wounds.
the greatest fallacy one can entertain is that of believing that
their joys and successes can come without hardship or the deep
acknowledgment of it. people can't enjoy the mountaintop without
respecting the climb. no matter what it is. when i went through my
downward spiral, i was stuck in remembering the mistakes i made,
the words i cast out in anger and hurt and all of those things
said and done to me. and my own self-inflicted wounds. i focused
more on that, than anything else. i chose to obsess over them,
rather than take them for what they were: battle wounds. anyone
who is going to fight the good fight, and fight well to be well
and help others be well, is going to obtain quite a few of them.
honor those scars. respect the fact that you have them. and that
they've made you wise, even if you wish you were never in a position
to get them in the first place.
honor your wounds.
i'm not saying that one should dwell on their scars heavily - too
much of that, like anything, leads you away from the true purpose
of things. and it also blinds you to the power that you have to avoid
gaining more scars than you need to. for some of us, that's a difficult
thing to do. we've gotten too accustomed to playing up our cynicisms,
being snarky in the guise of 'truth telling'. making statements like
'f*** my life' when we really don't want that to happen. and all that
does is band us together on flimsy pretenses that melt away like
toppled ice cream cones on a summer sidewalk when things get real.
respect and understand how you got your scars, but never let them
have the power of negativity and impeding your progress and vision.
honor your wounds.
even if they hurt still. even if they keep you up at night. honor them,
then keep moving forward. because as horrid as they may be, as
hurtful as they may have been, they are now a part of you. they are,
as Rumi says, the portals to which light can enter more freely into
you. honor your wounds so that the light can burn away the anguish
as always, thank you for reading and being attentive. until
the next time, walk good.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
this is what
love can look like
in the frame of a New York summer;
bare shoulders and tender calves
that a sundress allows you to kiss,
air so warm and thick
like molasses with rock salt.
piragua carts and Mister Softee
add to the day's mixtape
out of souped up cars
as folks stew on sidewalks and street corners.
paper plates spotted with oil
from a slice
and that open hydrant
that keeps on flowing
just like young hearts do
waiting for that evening breeze.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
let your fingers
moist, brown and offering
to feed the inferno that spirals within
and if you somehow see fit
to give that inferno my name
may your fingers stoke the flame
and teach it to pronounce each syllable
to your liking
until we are with each other again
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
you know that old saying, 'things that go bump in
on this night, it was the shadowy beckoning many of
us dread, that went bump at my bedside.
there's a few who know this story, the chosen few who
have by merit of their own character and their love and
care for me who know this story in full. i have made
mention of it here and there. it's wild to even say now,
but on this night of january 8th, 2014 around 2 A.M., i came
as close to death as i have ever been. it's surreal to
type the words out and look at them on a screen. but the
truth is the truth. thanks to the combination of a full
holiday season of food and drink, doing a lot of prepping
and other work, a ton of writing work and dealing with
shoveling for hours due to a massive snowstorm all while
sick, i was found to have dangerously high blood pressure
levels. stroke-level high. it had persisted from early
on in the week. i had actually stayed up all night to
get over the queasiness i felt. but when i took my own
pressure readings and saw it, i was shocked. i went to
my doctor bright and early the next morning. the look
on his face said it all. concern. he asked me about my
routine. then he put me on bedrest for the entirety of
the next week. so for those of you reading this who were
not able to contact me then, that's why.
i was slightly numb. it didn't fully hit me until my
sisters came by to see how i was. after their visit, i
went upstairs...and i broke down. bawling. straight up
uncontrollable sobbing. then, i looked at myself in the
bathroom mirror in silence. right there, i told myself
that i had to not only get well, but declare that i
WILL be well all the way around. for me, first. then for
my family and loved ones. because i realized then that i
was picking myself up on the fly, trying to give to others
and please others but i had slacked off on my own process
of self-care. i had actually subtracted from it by way of
stress, of being the one to get things done, by being the
one to be clear. at that point, i realized that being
well wasn't simply about saying i would be. it was, and is
a daily process. i had dealt with the deaths of loved ones,
some tragic. i had dealt with the hurts of unrequited and
confused love. i had dealt with the thousand and one cuts
of racism that i internalized for years in workplaces.
dealt with disappointments. being a disappointment to some.
and all of that, i thought i had cut out of me. but like
anything else in this universe, it can - and does grow
so from that point, i had to tell myself that i had to be
better about my diet, the crazy hours of eating, the high
amounts of stress and dealing with certain people's own
issues. that's why my contact with some folks has dwindled.
i had to distance myself from their toxicity through heavy
complaining, had to distance myself from their digital
posturing to hide their own issues, to distance myself from
their own gaslighting methods to make themselves whole. had
to distance myself from the overly self-centered. not naming
names, if said people read this. (i do invite them to get at
me to talk about it if they felt a way. no subtweeting or
passive-aggressiveness though, chill with that mess.) i
also had to be real with some of the folks who i cherish
about my connection with them. because i knew that i'd need
their support and not in a flaky sense. thankfully on the
whole, i've received so much love and blessings that it has
totally bolstered me. and i continue to. i've also sadly
had to let one or two people go who just didn't get it,
whether they wanted to or weren't able to. there was no real
malice in it.
i speak often about self-care because we are in a time where
selfies are popular, but self-care is less so. it involves
a lot of accountability. some hard truths. lessons that you
think you've learned, but come with new twists. sometimes,
you've gotta be an asshole. if only to hold your corner. i've
had to do that with a couple of people, and explain why after
the fact. i'm grateful they understood. i'm not writing this
to be in the position of sanctified poetic guru, even if i do
have the goatee for it. i'm just a Black man who is working
to make his excellence last and to do the best he can for
himself and his people. but i had to admit that i was my own
agent of sabotage.
over a year later, i see the difference. i've dropped a bit
of weight. i take the opportunity for long walks for clarity
and health. been better about the bonds with my people, even
in the strained moments. and i've been fairly cautious about
who i let in now. even the most well-intentioned can accidentally
poison your garden simply by being there too long enough with
their bullshit. all of the previous essays you may have read
on here, they have a purpose. there's so much that drains us,
erodes us before our time. and we have to fight it, if we are
to live and be well no matter the path we have to take to get
there. as scared as i was with that bump in the night, i'm
glad i heard it. I'M GLAD I HEARD IT. because it helped me to
get to this point now. and i know there's more sunrises and
sunsets to be thankful for where that bump in the night will
be a longer way off.
as always, thank you for reading. walk good, good people.
Monday, April 20, 2015
like cherry blossoms
our lives are viewed, lauded
then forgotten and cast aside
decorations for the devious and decadent
no matter the season
would that we could all have the protection
and reverence sakura trees enjoy
once they bloom
for the delight of the world
and be valued
but our bloodshed seems to delight more than the petals
Thursday, April 16, 2015
greetings good people...halfway through National Poetry Month
and while i'd like to say i've been toiling away at the keyboard
or dutifully jotting down stuff in my journals, the truth of it
all is, i haven't. at least, not as much as i'd like to. and i'm
okay with it. why? in an era where everything and everyone is all
about maximizing productivity and creativity, i've found my own
point on that ocean and i'm letting it take me where i need to.
artists, and other people, often get pulled every which way. you
think it's of your own doing, but the reality of it is, there are
moments where you convince yourself that you're CHOOSING to go these
places rather than not realizing that you're simply resigning yourself
to go there because you didn't prepare your body & spirit for that
space where you could choose. think about it - you can always tell
who's doing something for reasons not their own. the crafty among
us, the devious - they know how to get people in this frame of mind
to move to their whim. some of these folks get by just on this alone.
and if you're caught up in their mix, you're tossed about from wave
to wave on the ocean of their ultimate indifference. now, i'm not
an expert, but i do know that THAT feeling...sucks. but once you
make the decided choice to build a process that helps you at least
get that space, you won't be prey to their whims or your own feelings
of being unable to find your own way.
finding your own wave may sound like some bookstore New Age truism
meant only for desktop knick-knacks, but think about it for a sec.
the feeling you get if you've ever been atop a wave out at the beach,
and the sky is brilliant with sunlight, to where you feel it sear
your skin gently. the breeze, nudging you slightly here and there.
the feeling of floating aimlessly, uncertainty sinking away as you
go calm. THAT feeling is power. knowing that even at the brink of
things moving away, you can swim where you need to before things
get really bad. but only if you have that space to recognize your
freedom. and sometimes, that freedom means that you don't have to
go where others want you to. hell, you don't have to GO, period.
now that doesn't mean that you exercise this as a way to hurt or
be a jerk. (unless that's just your personality, which makes me
question why you're checking this blog in the first place.) but it
is a way to maintain and cultivate all that you're meant to be.
i found my wave and it's been a remarkable thing for me to ride the
crest and see just how far i can really travel. i hope you'll be
doing the same if you're not already, and for those trying to get
until the next time...walk good.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
while a rapper rides a trend
like jeans on the hips of a teen girl
who moves with the weight of the Kryptonite
swelled beyond her years
i see dudes dismantle their cool
with the speed of a limp noodle
i am armed with the daggers
dipped in the blood of habu and stardust from when i was 12
cynicism is cheap and easy
like that first loosie
'how does affection taste
to the bitter' is what my eyes ask her
she wants to be a cookie-styled cutter
but her last relationship got cancelled;
low ratings don't only destroy television shows
i'm sitting here wondering
what her heart would look like
if she chose me to open it even partially
maybe it would be exquisite
like a neon lotus in the distance
this is a heady time of year for me. yeah, spring is upon us and
all of the promises of warmth, sunshine and longer days sit right
outside and are as sure as those cuttings of the last cold snaps
of winter that accompany sunsets during this time. that glimpse
of warmth, which we all reach for, cuts away certain things. but
only for a minute, if you're not careful. because that cold, that
heaviness, that haze level? gets harder.
right now, i'm working on article pitches, blog posts, research
for other projects and in my own way getting above that haze level.
for those of you who've read my work and other writing on this blog,
you're aware of my own thoughts and situations and struggles to this
end. for those not acquainted...go back and catch up.(haha.)but
seriously...it's been slightly crazy. the weather doesn't help. but,
i spoke of the haze level. i take that reference from a Norman Vincent
Peale booklet on overcoming problems and troubles. it's part of the
arsenal towards healing and self-actualization i've drawn from over
the past few years. that book was given to me by my mother during a
gloomy moment, and that lesson about getting above the haze level
was and is still important. because it allowed me to realize just
how i can cloud my own path in addition to letting others leave a
fog over it as well.
think about fog: it's alluring, mysterious. you can lose yourself
in it and feel a slight bit of serenity. but before long, you can
also find yourself swept away in it, unable to see. and i know that
there's at least one of you who crows to the damn moon and anythinge
else that like Lion-O of the Thundercats, you've got 'sight beyond
sight' at all times. but the truth is, you really don't - until you
come to grips with the fact that you won't be able to see everything
all the time until you make adjustments. pilots, when they fly and
encounter turbulence or other inclement weather, rise above it into
the atmosphere. at times, we gotta do that no matter what. even if
doing so leaves us out of touch with people we care about. even if
we don't have the strength to do so or believe we don't. even now,
you or someone you know is going through that haze level right now
and don't see a way past it immediately. for me, i know how it can
get cloudy around me. i know some of the triggers to bring those
clouds up, and those i don't know i'm learning about. but to that
end, i know how to rise above it, or if i can't do that with some
immediate speed, how to make moves towards doing so as soon as possible.
i'm writing this tonight to get you thinking about that as the seasons
change, and we get so caught up in the fleeting sun that we can't see
the clouds forming a mass in our way or get past it, that the haze
level can never really go away, but we can get beyond it. if there
is someone you know dealing with that, or if you've been feeling like
that, i hope you'll rise above it.
as always, thanks for reading. until the next time, walk good.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
greetings, good people...
the thing with writing to get free, to reclaim
being free and to understand what that truly means,
is repeatedly sitting down across the table from
those doubts and demons and hashing it out. in
this case, this particular session deals with
the idea of how being trustworthy can make you
both invisible and expendable.
i have been told, by a great deal of folks i've
come across, that i'm a 'good guy'. 'reliable'.
but there is a danger in that, one i never really
understood until some years ago. see, there are
those individuals out there that love people they
feel are trustworthy & reliable not for those
qualities - but for how they can take advantage
of those qualities for their own needs. you may
know these people. hell, at one point in your
life or currently, you might BE one of these
people. or have been, as it were. these people
that do this, are mostly doing it because their
flaws, their inner pain, drives them to do it.
there's only a small number that do it in a
malicious and twisted way. but i'll get back to
see, i bring this up because you begin to realize,
as you get better within yourself & be better,
you start looking at how these people operate.
they praise how 'down' you are. they exalt over
how you always come through. but if you stop to
think about it, how often do they need you to
come through? how one-sided is the situation
between you two? i'll provide an example. at my
last full time job, i was praised for being a
reliable & trustworthy employee. but i soon saw
just how the company leaned on me. one particular
situation came up where we had to change offices
due to an explosion in the street that caused
damage to the building. the experience was
traumatic. my boos at the time managed to get
us relocated, to start the very next day. i was
reluctant to go in, and said so. my boss calls
me at home and says to me to begin the conversation,
'what, you don't wanna work?' to this day, i
don't know if he meant that as a joke. but i can
tell you that i was livid. i didn't go in the
next day, and when i did return, i saw that the
attitudes of my boss and a couple of my co-workers
cooled towards me. i had dared to actually be
concerned with my well-being instead of being
i had dealt with that from a couple of friends
and in some small ways, i still do. part of that
issue is that i'm always the one to be concerned
with others' well-being, how they are doing. but
as i looked at everything in totality, i saw how
being that way set me up to be taken advantage of
by others. it's damned hard to have that knowledge.
but, in that moment i told myself that i had to
stop feeling so forlorn that someone would do that.
i had to check my triggers from that feeling and
make sure it wouldn't affect my day to day. and
so, i basically began to only display that ability
to be dependable to those who i felt deserved it.
you don't get that from me right off anymore, not
like i used to display it. you need to earn it.
and if i've known you for a minute, guess what?
you need to renew that spirit of earning if you
feel you're slipping. does it seem harsh? on the
surface it could. but i'm protecting me, and i'm
also protecting my faith in the good people and
spaces i can be fully reliable & dependable with
and in. it is an act of self-love and self-care.
it's also a balancing act. there's days where i
fall back into the morass of feeling under-appreciated.
feeling unwanted. those days and moments show up
unwanted on the doorstep like hustling salesmen.
but i get through them by reaffirming the values
i believe in, by trying to get past those doubts.
by not allowing those folks to have dominion over
my emotions. and then there are the days when i'm
like Robocop with it - clinical, precise and at the
ready to either ignore or shut someone down. those
days catch some off guard, but its always those
who are culprits.
so i'm finishing this off by saying, if you are
reliable, dependable, trustworthy...hold onto that.
cherish that and be an example. but make sure you
guard yourself and your spirit so that those
wayward & hurt folks don't make you an example of
how to be taken advantage of just because they
need your shine to cover up their tarnished selves.
as always, thanks for reading! until the next
time, walk good.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Photo Credit: HipHopSite.com
what's happening good people?
i've been chewing on what to say within this
post, and as i sit down to type this out on
the national holiday designated to celebrate
the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it
seems even more appropriate to offer up these
'fuck all the shark biters.'
now, the reason for that line really stems
from what not only goes on today with the
vanilla, generic buffing of Dr.King's image
by a cross-section of people to where he is
a one-dimensional figure, but from two separate
situations and narratives from good friends that
i was privy to over the past couple of days.
let me break them down in turn.
The first instance involves my boy Julian
Lytle, a well-known illustrator. Now, Julian,
Sean Causley along with Shawn Pryor and other
guest artists have been hard at work creating
the world of Longboxes On 22's. To sum
up, it's an entire Tumblr galaxy filled with
creations inspired by the fine blending of
comic books, album covers and pop culture.
and it SNAPS. it really speaks to a good deal
of folks that are into all these things but
don't see themselves fully represented in
comic books on a larger scale. so this past
Friday, Marvel announces that they are dropping
variant covers of Howard The Duck and Deadpool.
These covers are done as an homage to the
magnificent hip-hop tandem Run The Jewels.
So, here's the rub...the Deadpool image?
Bears a pretty keen resemblance to what the
Longboxes on 22s crew did NINE MONTHS EARLIER.
(They build on it here.) Now let's be
real here. I'm not openly saying that there
was a deliberate attempt to appropriate this
one piece of fan art. But it's pretty damn
intriguing that an industry which has seen little
diversity among the ranks of its editors and
writers(this is info i've gotten from Jules
and other creators of color working in that
field)is now embracing hip-hop like this. i
noticed when the new Captain America was
released by Marvel that there was a variant
cover featuring Sam Wilson, the former Falcon
as the new Cap, flanked by Rae Sremmurd. it's
a move to move more books, i dig that aspect
of it. but you can't tell me that a major
machine like Marvel doesn't have research
personnel on the lookout for stuff like this.
and maybe the artists really wanted to show
love to Run The Jewels. but there's creative
interpretation and then there's appropriation.
the second situation involves my people at
ThisRespekWear. you've seen their clothing
lines for the past few years, from their
iconic 'Don't Feed The Pigeons' t-shirt to
the current - and valid - clothing line
dedicated to the suffering of all New York
Knicks fans. myself included. so my man JV
puts up a post on social media detailing how
he went into a store and they're selling a
t-shirt...with THEIR design. on some knockoff
status. mind you ThisRespekWear has a real
movement going, and while it was comical,
it is a bit of a dumb move on the establishment's
i detail these two situations out of dozens
that have gone on and continue to go on. as
the world gets more in touch with each other
via technology in all forms, there are more
demonstrations of how out of touch some of us
are with each other AND how out of touch some
businesses small or large are with true creatives.
look, we've all heard of the saying 'imitation
is the sincerest form of flattery.' but there
is a limit to that flattery when it seeks to
void your contribution as a creative person
due to your hue. it's almost a game now that
is being run by the powers that be to take an
aspect of another culture and just run with it
with no real understanding of the elements
involved or why that came to be for that culture.
most recent examples i'm sure you can remember:
vegan leather 'du-rags'.
reality show celebrity women getting surgery
for 'full lips'.
the thing that irks me is, what's so damn
difficult about involving more people of color's
perspectives to have a rightful place of
influence in any industry rather than taking
their shit? or even letting them, when they
have their own initiatives, just sustain their
output and respective consumer bases? on a
more simple level, it's about control. control
to support a supremacist system that doesn't
want anything that they can't co-opt or knock.
look at today. how many times are you going
to see the same quotes from MLK about peace
posted somewhere and how many times will you
see other more pertinent quotes from Dr.King
that reflected how revolutionary he really was...
and why they killed him?
appropriation like this is micro-aggression.
and while it may seem slight, it's highly
damaging. and that's not to say that there
aren't POC's doing it. look on Twitter at a
few accounts and you can see some tweets
being jacked. i say all this being mindful
that there is a grey area at work here. but
i do sincerely wish that more folks that look
like me, that more folks who are grinding
away striving to be heard don't get bit like
what happened to Longboxes on 22s, ThisRespekWear,
Sister Rosetta Tharpe...you dig what i'm saying.
we gotta see this stuff for what it is, and
call it out when it is necessary and valid
to do so. some of it may be more subtle than
in closing, respect the real when you come
face to face with it. and do your part to
make sure the shark biters either starve or
have broken teeth.
thanks for reading, until the next time...