Armed with Melanin.

March 26, 2015 Leave a comment

In 2006, on the heels of the New Year, my uncle was found dead in a ditch. There was no foul play. He was riding his bicycle home, died and rolled into the ditch. He was missing for a couple of days before we found him, so my family was on the news. The media reported some really ugly and mostly untrue stuff about my uncle.

I hold very little the media reports as true now.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the movies with my friends. I did not want to go. I almost backed out at the last minute. We had not seen each for a while, so I decided to muster up the wherewithal to press my way. I had no desire to see Will Smith with a wave nouveau. My friends did though. So I went. Reluctantly. I should have stayed at home

After the movie and hoodrat things in the mall, we went to get something to eat.  One of my friends casually mentioned a story that had some coverage in my city a few months back about a man we all knew.

This is where shit went left.

This is where shit went left.

Some background: The story she referenced was about a close family friend of mine. We graduated the same year. He was so close to my family that he only referred to me the way my family does. He went to prom from my aunt’s house. He went to graduation from there too. Every time we encountered each other, he would pull my hair and give me a hug. So, right, we were not the closest, but he meant something to me.   I discovered he was dead as we find out most things these days, on Facebook. I was in shock. It was even more mind-boggling to know that he had been gunned down by the police. I could not believe it. There was nothing I could imagine him doing that would cause him to end up dead by the hands of the police.

At the restaurant, my friend said: “Did y’all see the story about Leo?

Me: No

Friend 2: No, what did they say?

Friend 1: Well at first, I was on his side, but after reading the story, I’m on the police’s side.”

I am livid at this point. I am shaking.

Me: ” I don’t want to talk about this.

Friend 2: Well, what did they say?

Friend 1 elaborates, but I am contemplating getting up and walking the fuck out of the restaurant at this time, so I miss everything. I say again that I don’t want to talk about it. They look at me like I have two heads, but they acquiesce this time.

As they converse, I pull up the local station and read the report.  One of the weapons they have him listed as having is handcuffs.

Yep, Handcuffs.

In typical black man against the cops’ fashion, he is reported to have been so upset about going to jail that he grabbed the cop’s Taser after running and punching the cop a time or two. The officer opened fire. Leo idead. Cop had no injuries. This was a traffic stop. Who is so upset about going to jail over a suspended license that they attack a cop? Every black man I know is fearful of cops on some level.america hanging

This might be a reach, but it seems that black men are always armed with something. The weapon changes, but that is because they cannot say that the weapon they are defending themselves against is our skin. Our melanin is a weapon. Trayvon Martin was armed with concrete. VonDerritt Myers had a gun that no one found. Jordan Davis had a gun that no one found. John Crawford, III had a toy gun in a store in an open carry state. Tamir Rice, was armed with a pellet gun, also in an open carry state. Leo was armed with the cops Taser and handcuffs. There seems to be a trend here.  I am a black man. Will my friends believe that I charged some cop too? Will they that I lost all of my mind based on someone else’s word?  Will they read a story and side against me? Will they let someone tell them I did something they couldn’t fathom me doing and take it lying down? I hope not.

I’m just letting everyone know now all I’m armed with is: words, wit, and depending on the day and or person, a killer smile. And if we are talking and some one is dead,  I am probably on their side because you know they are dead.

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I Dont Want No Cinnamon Apple Love

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

My friend and I have been talking about me dating a lot lately. She’s been asking me to write about it and I have. I have been hesitant to share a lot of it because it is so deeply personal, but I told her I would and so, I will.

Today is not that day.

A while back, I told my friends I was going to start questioning potential interest and based on their answer I would determine if we could grow into something more. Only the questions would not be the typical: “What do you like to do?” I am much more interested in things like:

 Has anyone ever stood outside your house because you did not answer the phone?

Has anyone ever stalked you?

Has anyone threatened to fight you because you wanted to leave?

Has anyone ever called you back to back until you answered?

And if the answer is yes, to any of these questions, you have got to go. I do not want anything that’s going to tear my life apart. I kind of like it the way it is. Don’t run me anything that is going to drive me crazy. If the mere thought of you leaving has reduced someone into a puddle of helplessness. I am all the way good on you. I do not need any category 5 hurricane activity. I might be the only one to say this, but give me mediocre bedroom activity in the beginning; we can work our way to be great, because I don’t have time to give up on life because you’ve got that ooh wee. If you have made anyone not care if their hair is combed or forgo dental hygiene because of you, leave me now. 

I don’t want any.

And finally…

Finallly….

If anyone has ever called you, their cinnamon apple, don’t even speak to me. I am serious! Keep it moving

DO. NOT. WANT!

If anyone has ever screamed out in the middle of the street how you did them wrong…

  If anyone has ever told you how they did all the stuff they were supposed to do anyway you can stay with them.

Yup! You got it. You ain’t for me.

UNH UNH!

Remind me to tell the story one day how my ex scaled up a brick column to the second floor of my apartment to break in because I didn’t answer my phone at 1 am. If I ever find out the move that caused that it’s coming out the repertoire. I can’t risk it again. We are not talking about me today, though.

Right, so back to the video.

 I would have had to take the loss on this one. All his friends were right? Everybody told him to leave her? He didn’t listen to everybody? Sometimes you gotta lick your wounds in private. Why does he still want her back? Why can’t he buy her everything anymore? Did he lose his job?  Is that why she cheated? Is that why she doesn’t care about him anymore? Did anyone else die a little inside when his voice cracked mid threat? You can’t be ranting speaking in a countertenor. At that moment, it loses a little zing.  That sent me into a fit of hysterical laughter. I almost laid on the floor and begged Jesus to rapture me right then. There’s nothing else after this. It can’t be.  Seriously, what do you have to be someone’s cinnamon apple? How does one accomplish that? How long do you live after being someone’s cinnamon apple? Is it a life sentence? What happened after she left with him? Did she leave after he went to sleep? Did she have to break up with the dumb dude? Did she delete her pictures? Will the world ever know?

Things I already knew and pretended I didn’t….

July 31, 2014 3 comments

I am a pack rat.

A lightweight hoarder.

I hold on to things I should have long cast aside. I save stuff, packing it off under the bed, in shoe boxes, in envelopes. I may need it again, right? Wrong. I still cannot bring myself to throw this stuff away. I have a problem with letting go.

I hoard emotion too. I chew on things. Try to make sense of things that are nonsensical. I hold things close to me, as if for comfort even though sometimes it weighs me down. I hold my fist closed over it until the shattered edges eat into my skin. You would think the pain would make me let go. It does not.

I am a mess.

 I have taken leave of Facebook for more reasons than I care to share. Way more than you care to read. The main reason is I needed the quiet. I needed the still. I needed the peace that brings discovery. I desired the guided whisper  that usually comes when you are not distracted. I needed new direction.

I discovered in that startling way we seem to love, that the problem is me. It is me holding on to useless things. Things that do me no good…. and people. I have got to let go of people. I had a couple of “loved ones” inquire about why I left. They wanted to know what was going on. I would tell them of course and they would say: ”Well such and such is trying to reach you on Facebook.” “I’ll just write on your wall and let everybody know.” “Such and such thinks you are being funny.”

Fuck that.

Yup….

Fuck it in its entirety.

I just told you what was wrong. I just told you what I was doing. However, we are still talking about what someone else wants, what someone else needs. And why do people have a need to explain me to someone else. What is wrong with the person that has the question seeking the answer? People don’t realize that other people use them as bait. Use them to do their dirty work.  

Know what else I discovered…

  1. I don’t like being explained to the next person. (I spent a significant amount of last year having a friend explain our friendship to other people. I had not done anything that warranted an explanation other than be a friend.) I have no problem explaining to you if you ask and I want to answer. Is there some irrational fear people have of being told to mind their damned business? Do people like to play the victim?
  2.  People think you care about them far more than you do.  They think you spend way more time pondering their insignificant asses than you really do. I am not thinking about your no count ass and had you not inquired with this simpleton you wouldn’t have crossed my mind today.
  3.  Your intention does not absolve you of responsibility.   
  4.  It does not take a catastrophic event to sever ties.

I recently read a Langston Hughes quote:

“Folks, I’m telling you,

birthing is hard

and dying is mean-

so get yourself

 a little loving

in between.”

I have got to surround myself with people who value me. Life is so short. There is no point in wasting time with someone who do not value you and vice versa.  Find people that are vested in you. People that want to see you smile. The people who will cheer you on and chide you. The people that don’t need to explain you.

Categories: personal

Hey Love! (Throwback Thursday Poem

May 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Hey!

Has anybody seen love?

I miss what once was…

I miss the subtle caresses of conversation

The slight elation at your tones mingling with mine I’ve been patiently waiting for

Those tingles in the spine

That flow into your stride

I miss the thought of you and me against the world

That one thought that makes my lips curl

Curve into a smile that only someone who has felt real love

would understand

Understand that I had to first love me as a man

Before I could ask anyone else to

What a journey this has been

Finding me and liking it

Discovering me and not fighting it

Hoping that at the end of the road love would find me so far

from where I had started from

No bitterness about how far we had both come

Just to stand here and grow

Or maybe go a little farther 

Bask in the ardor

 

Hey! 

Has anybody seen love?

I miss the shared secrets

The overcompletness

The understanding that I am already whole now, so no one

person or thing could ever complete me

But Love

Oh love would be a

beautiful half note adlibbing on a song that doesn’t need too many runs.

I miss the gentle concern

Of one soul who understands when all else are baffled 

The lessened traffic in what otherwise seems to be a pack

jammed maze of confusion

Has anybody else lived in the world?

I bet somebody is thinking these thoughts real strange, but I

wouldn’t change

I know someone identifies with the seemingly lost cause

The rise and fall

The wish for someone there to wash your back

Take up your slack

Save you from the cruel world when you can’t do it.

Sometimes I get tired

I miss the laying of a head on my thigh

Humming in content

I miss……

So much and yet I realize

I have missed little

In finding me, I have found much 

Still sometimes I stare off and miss love’s soft touch

 

Hey! 

Has anybody seen love? 

I mean really, really seen love?

If you have, can you point it in my direction?

This is no reflection of me being lonely 

Just looking for the last puzzle piece that fits me and me

only

I think I’m ready now

For the good, the bad, and the ugly

I want the love that will console me 

The love that holds me

 

Has anybody seen love?

Never mind 

I’m confident it will find me

I just hope it is as ready as I

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Goodbye 2013…

January 1, 2014 Leave a comment

2013,         

I remember exactly where I met you. The exact outfit I had on. The people I met with you. You were familiar to me. We had settled into an easy groove of intimacy. I thought I knew you. I told myself I knew you well enough to know your next move. We danced together, as only two partners who knew each other well do. Then in the autumn of our relationship, when I knew you, when I trusted you, you took me in a dark alley, took my pants down and forced yourself on me. You left me in that alley, broken and dejected. You forced me to look at everything around me and examine it. You made me question myself. You showed me what I was made of. You forced the people I loved to show themselves as worthy or unworthy. You made me cry. What I don’t think either you or I bargained for, 2013 is just how strong I am. We didn’t bargain for the people who would rally to me. The people who pick me up and bandage me. We knew each other, so you knew that I draw into myself when times get hard. You knew that I would retreat from everyone and everything. What neither of us bargained for were the people who did not mind seeking me out. I think that was your worst mistake. You didn’t consider your opponent. I don’t say this mocking you. I thought I had you to. Tonight as I leave you. I am grateful. I’m grateful to you for the people you showed me were worthy of me. I am grateful of the people you showed me I had to let go. You challenged everything I knew about myself. You made me relearn myself. You sent people that made me laugh until my sides hurt when I wanted to cry. You sent people to push me when I wanted to give up. You threatened to take the person I hold most dear in life away from me. You were a lot 2013, but you weren’t enough. You didn’t win. My family and I are still standing. We are still  complete. We are still smiling. You don’t get to take our dignity. You don’t get to take our joy. Today, 2013, I am telling you with every fiber in my being that your pussy is  throwback and you know that. I’ll claim this victory and work on these scars, bruised but not broken. I’m glad  to see you retreat. I’m glad I never have to see you again. I’m glad you taught me the power of someone just asking if everything is alright. On January 31, I posted a Facebook status that said: “Sometimes, in an hour of need, what we need is not to hear about God, but to feel God. We cannot always understand the words. If you know someone going through something, hug them, hold their hand, call them, just be there, support them. It could really make the difference.” Exactly 11 months later I know first hand how true this is. I will never hesitate again to ask a friend if they are ok. I know exactly how big of a difference it made. It’s corny,but it saved my life. I will never, ever hesitate to do the same.

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#SlayNewYork Day 4

November 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Day 4: In a perfect world I…

Trayvon Martin would be alive. His parents would not have constant reminder of the piece of their life that is missing. George Zimmerman would not have been the judge, jury and executioner. America would recognize the worth of all its citizens.

Michael Dunn would not have written the letters denouncing an entire race because he doesn’t understand it. He would have realized that loud music is no reason to have someone’s son not come home from the store.

Cancer would be cured. It would not be the cash cow that it is. HIV would be cured. It would not be the black disease or the gay disease. I could tell my friend Kenya how much I love him. How much he means to me. I could tell Chris that we all knew that he was sick and that we loved him. We would have told them that they mattered to us. We would not silently have watched the disease destroy them.

No one would teach kids hate. We would all keep the innocence and beauty of our youth.

People would be free to love who they wanted. They would never have to hide it. Love would be celebrated.

Anyone qualified would be able to get a job. Kids would not be hungry. No one would be shamed for needing help. We would still help our neighbors. No shame for mental illness would be real. We would really be judged on the content of our character.

Chicken would be available at all times of day or night. Breakfast for dinner would be an anytime thing. There would be someone to wash my back at home. I would never have to sweep the floor. There would be someone to wash the dishes when I cooked. People would stop hating on Scandal. Fantasia would blow up. Kelly Rowland would win at life like she should. We would know how Moesha ended. The Game would still be good. Deception would still be airing.

Reading on the couch with #NotTheBae would be considered quality time. (#NotTheBae totally doesn’t exist) #NotTheBae would be a real human. That last sentence would not be so thirsty.

Or nah would go away. Facebook would not have hashtags. People would actually know how to use them properly. I would not scroll my newsfeed and question my life and my choices. I could swing my feet with my friends all day long. 

Black eyeliner would never line another lip. Lacefronts would all be quality. The registers at Wal-Mart would all be open. Chris Brown would go on sabbatical from life and ask himself the hard questions. Someone would give him a hug.  People would never look me like I am an alien when I say I do not smoke. Cigarettes would not stink so bad. I would be a little bit taller. I would be a baller. That last sentence wouldn’t have been so corny. I would be able to get naps at work paid. All the good food would not be bad for us. I could get paid to read books. We would know how the person in Deborah Cox’s song got there? Why wasn’t he supposed to be there? We would know what a dancerie was. Lenny’s friend would have been in love like Lenny had been in love. I would not be lactose intolerant. Auntie Whitney would have really believe crack was wack. MJ would still be making music. Ciara would be able to dance and sing. You would not be tired of reading this.

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#SlayNewYork Challenge Day 3

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

I am full of dreams, overflowing with them even. The one that has remained the most constant is to work in the medical field. As far back as I can remember I wanted to work in the hospital I wanted to be a doctor. I did not have aspirations to be just any kind of doctor though. I wanted to be an obstetrician. Of course back then I called it a baby doctor. I have had a fascination with babies and all that has concerning pregnancy for as long as I can remember. By the time I was in middle school I decided medical school was too much school for me. When I was about 16, I found a nursing book. I took it home and I studied it like it was something I needed to learn. As a result, I can calculate a due date in my head. I know Nagele’s rule the way most people know their multiplication tables. I know things that I have no business knowing. I settled for Preventive Medicine. That did not happen. Well life happened and i started working against my parent’s advice. I’ve been making preparations to go back to school for some time. It’s been a struggle between working full time and realizing that I will not be eligible for financial aid. Thank God for tuition reimbursement. I am not the little boy I was once and so now I realize that men are frowned on as Labor and Delivery Nurses. That is kind of understandable. I do not know what field I will specialize in. I know something will catch my eye. Truth is, I am lowkey excited as all get out. I loved school. I am kind of sad that I have filled my history requirement already. I like learning new things. All except for math, so pray my continued skrenf in the lawd. I cannot believe I am going to be going to school full time and working full time. I ain’t a young whippersnapper like I used to be. Pray for a g. Also, lead me to your smart friend or introduce yourself if you are smart. Shoot me your best study tips, it’s been a minute. I wanna be friends’ wiiithhh you. So tell me do you have a dream you’ve been putting off? Are you making preparations to make it reality? Why or why not?

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