Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FAITH

We interrupt this extended absense to bring you this msg intended for no one but
me...

Faith. Unless you are a dreamer like me you may find it difficult some times to
place a name to the face. Like me.

I know its there I just can't always find it.

Somewhere along the way, and trust, the way has been long, dark and mostly
lonely, my faith blended in with the shadows. It took on shapes like the
properties of air or liquid, becoming an element of surprise.

Now you see it. Now...

You don't always understand things immediately. Things don't always make sense.
That's when faith steps in and holds open the door for you. Faith is chivalrous.
Requires little acknowldgement...except that's its entire existence actually.

Imagine if you only existed as a promise. If all you were was your word. You'd
wish your name to be spoken without ceasing. Which is how I pray.

Somewhere along the way as is the case with most dreamers, things become so
muttled. So disfigured that you long for understanding in your waking hours.
Sleep is no longer a suitable symptom. No longer your refuge.

Somewhere along the way I lost faith in people. Determined them worthless and
unthinking. That way my own stupidity seems unordinary and less remarkable. But
I didn't imagine it. It really happened. I really got let down. I lost support.
I lost love. I lost respect. I lost my mind and the will therein.

I lost myself along the way. I am hoping that if I can retrace my steps and
rediscover the hope of faith, there somewhere nearby, there I will be also.

I lost faith in the truth. I know its there. I can taste it like it on my lips
even when it isn't. I do have faith however, that it is truly buried beneath the
rubble of insecurity and frustration and distance.

If I close my eyes right now I will settle solemnly into a dream. I will
immediately recognize the time and place. It will be exactly where I need to be.
It is not always easy for me to focus but in this moment the circumstances are
razor sharp. Its that way, all dark and long and lonely. But ill see clearly the
bends and turns, the finish line off in the distance. It will resemble the life
I ought to be leading.

I will open my eyes, puffy and still damp, and faith will pry the lingering tear
drops from my lashes and I will see again. I will visualize the possibilities
again.
I will reconnect with my faith and find my way.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

TALL ORDER

I sort of expected to step out into the morning and find a stream of people coming from every direction. Sort of flushing out into the streets like the first streams from a faucet. Instead it was more like a few here and there along the short walk. I’m not usually among the living out this early, so I couldnt tell this day from another, except that I knew it was special.


I walk inside at the same time as a handful of others, file in single file, third grade style. It’s humid as hell, kinda like somebody’s grandmother’s living room. Fitting, because there’s lots of old people here. I’m yawning on the inside, alert and anxious on the out. Take one look at me in my sweats and hat, my school book in one hand, cellie in the other. I’m simultaneously reading and texting and moving forward toward the finish line. At once a student of history and of this moment’s place in it. I’m living it. It's just after 7 am.


The weight of the moment seizes me, not suddenly, but gradually as it has for a while now. Each step forward is monumental. I’m starving to make a choice. I watch the girl in front of me, because this is my first time here, and she appears a veteran. I pull out my wallet, just in case. I know how they are with the trickery. What they don’t know is that I came prepared for anything. Not only is my bag stocked with snacks and water, but my wallet is flanked by about every piece of identification I own. I only pull out one, meanwhile my thumb presses against my badge. A sticker.


I take my time and survey my surroundings. Everyone is abuzz. Everyone sweating from the humidity. Everyone is friendly. A photographer snaps away, flash bulbs illuminating the scene, highlighting the occurrence. On the sly, I’m posing. I know that odd movements and gestures catch editors' eyes. I photograph pretty well in black and white. Definitely from this angle. I pause, pondering dramatically as if the choice hasn’t already been made for me.


I turn and take one last look before I leave. The line continues to swell outside the door. I did it. Finally. I got up early and it was well worth it.


I don’t usually like their coffee, but I am grateful for the freebie. Thanks Starbcuks!

Oh, and I also voted this morning.


Go Dukakis!

Monday, October 20, 2008

WISE GUYS


I grew up with dudes who played sports. Came to school in crispy Jordans and shiny mesh shorts that hung just at the knee. There was always a boxer briefs waistband visible. But that was all.

And even if they weren't good at sports they were obsessed with SportsCenter. They talked about it incessantly.

I grew up with dudes who had female friends. Not BFFs tho. Be clear...they'd blaze given the opportunity. But they'd talk shit and cuss and let fly a few bitch and ho references in front of their homegirls with absolutely no offense intended and none taken.

I grew up with dudes who defended said female friends. I could go out and feel like I was surrounded by secret.service. If anyone ever got slick with me there'd be a dude there to handle it before I even had a chance to ask.

Dudes I grew up with had other guy friends. WTF is this lonesome ngga phenomenon? Has it always existed where guys sit at home night after night watching movies by themselves? Where is your boy? You know, the cat that comes over the crib with some brew??? Guys are fairly simple creatures. Easily relateable with few strict requirements outside of loyalty. So I slant a mean skepty eye to any guy who proudly exclaims that he doesn't have any male friends.

Guys I grew up with want pussy. And lots of it. Even now as adults. Some married. That's not to say that they whore around or even step out on their women. But it IS to say they have libidos. Asexual ass nggas frighten me.

I grew up with straight dudes. And gay ones. But very few of this ridiculously ambiguous bitch ngga shit.

I grew up with white dudes who grew up with black dudes. And vice versa. And they have dude things in common like pussy, beer, and the Lakers.

Nggas I grew up with iron the shit out of every outfit they put on. The smell of starch always makes me smile.

The dudes I grew up with got their hair cut religiously, have precision-cut goatees, own no less than two durags, a brush for home, work and car, and two maybe three pairs of dress shoes. And they are not in any way metro.

Dudes I grew up with work. And dance. And don't need to be asked twice for them to fuck you.

They also have issues. But they deal with them. And said issues are rarely deep enough to make them disown their parents or siblings.

There are certain songs and certain artists that remind me of certain people. That's because dudes I grew up with commit classic rap lyrics to memory. Mobb Deep and the "Reasonable Doubt" album are two examples.

Where I'm from dudes smile. And grind on a girl when they dance. Their eyes hone in on fat asses, and follow them around corners until out of sight. They hold doors open no matter what. They don't eat in front of folks without offering. They use pronouns like yo and B. and son and kid and ngga and cracker and money to punctuate every sentence. They called their fathers Pops even if he wasn't ever around. They're emotionally unavailable to any woman except their mothers or sisters or daughters. They refuse to allow a woman to sit in the backseat of a car with two dudes up front. Like, they will fight you over this. They change their own car air filters and flat tires. They sometimes wait til they're reduced to tears to go to the doctor. They feel no kinda way about crying at a loved one's funeral or to express love for their friends and families and women.

Not all dudes are from where I'm from. And that's a shame. Cuz dudes I grew up with are my kinda guys.

Regular.

It may seem silly but I haven't come across this kinda regular guy in a very long while. Times have changed I guess.

Guys who are into poetry and fashion and technology and dvd collections and the mall and upscale eateries are fun. They surround me daily. But where is the guy in sweatpants who always has the game on? The one who will push me damn near off a bar stool if I try to pay for their drinks. Where's the guy who doesn't mind driving when we go out? Who isn't emotionally scarred by my mood swings. Who is conflicted about commitments but doesn't use it as an excuse.

I miss him.

Monday, October 13, 2008

CUZ LA HATES ME...

As if I havent sufficiently exposed my bare naked ass enough on this damn blog for the last 3 years, Lauren wants more.

Ok lemme see...

1. I remember vividly the day I decided to quit eating boogers cold turkey. I was really little, and I didnt even really like boogers, but I saw other kids doing it. But then it occurred to me that it was pretty stupid, not to mention nasty. So I stopped. I've only regressed a few times since.

2. When I lived in NY during jr year I used to exist mostly on leftover green room breakfast and a slice of pizza every day. One time I was plotting on walking out of the Chinese buffet without paying, but the sons of bitches followed my black ass around like they knew I was up to no good. And when I threw down the container full of sesame chicken and stormed out crying racism, they pretty much just cleaned it up and kept it moving.

3. As my childhood bedroom was right across the hall from my parents, I would on occasion hear them having sex. One time I confronted my mom the next morning in metaphorical terms and she flat out denied it. I was maybe 8.

4. I'm immune to weed. I'm Jamaican, don't smoke, have inhaled, have lived with daily smokers and have never been all that high.

5. I'm fcuking a blogger that half you muhfcukas would loooooove to get at and that's all you need to know about that until further notice. Don't hate.

6. I don't know how to make friends. I'm absolutely lousy at it. I have almost no friends that are not from some sort of controlled situation like school or work.

7. I once kissed a girl on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was all poetic and shit. And fantastic.

8. I write best when I'm drunk but I always pass out before I can formulate a complete sentence. I have 3 writing projects that remain incomplete because I'm a loser who can't finish anything either always or never drunk. I'm probably afraid of success, or more accurately afraid of failure.

9. My dead dad made an appearance last week, and it was a huge help.

10. I'm a really efficient stalker and I did some reconn work the other day that I now regret.

Happy? Huh?? No seriously, I miss you guys. But since we being honest and all I'm not gonna front like other bloggers who disappear and say, "I've been away but I've still been reading all of you." Yo, I aint been reading shit that aint on tv school related. What can I say, my life blows. No need to drag you all thru it. :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

One year ago...

There’s that moment when the exhaustion burns from the whites of your eyes, straight back to the hook of your damn head.

If you peep over at the clock radio you’ll be at once rendered blind by the hot, fuzzy red, and incredulous at how much time has escaped you. How little is left before you must abandon your bed.

Speaking of which…the sheets are bunched up in all the wrong places. Pillows stationed at random checkpoints, marking spots where you’d posted up for undetermined stretches of time.

Your stomach is folding over itself, and you wonder if this is what happens when you’re asleep...bec that’s what you should be doing at this particular moment.

But who can sleep at 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning…

“You see what time it is?”

“I don’t care to look.”

The newness blossoms in the wee hours. The fundamental necessity of sleep is rendered optional, when you lose yourself and all track of time within the amusing cadence of the voice in your ear. Laughing, sighing, and making a mockery of your anytime minutes. ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

911

I hate calling 911.

It costs extra, for one thing. And it does something weird to my cell phone.

And it’s 5 in the morning. And the operator ACTUALLY asked me if I wanted to leave my name and callback number.

I hate calling them, but I had no choice this time. This shit had been going on for hours. And no sooner than I hang up the call I hear voices outside my window. I live three floors up, and my bedroom faces the wide street. The voices must have moved from one floor down - the central nervous system of drama - and taken to the streets while I was on the phone.

I stand up and discreetly approach my window. Before I peel back the heavy curtain and move aside the blinds, I can hear her. Funny, if I ever did leave a callback number, I wouldn’t ever be able to identify her face in a line up. She’s just a voice to me.

The cops are already here. Three cars lined up at the curb outside the crib, two facing the wrong way on my one-way. One cop doing most of the talking.

“It’s up to you. I told you that before,” he says. “I can walk upstairs with you and get your stuff and you can file a report. You can’t keep going back and being a punching bag.” His words are at once pleading, but mostly exasperated and annoyed. “This is the third time I’ve been called here tonight alone.”

I was late calling because I’m used to their nonsense. My neighbor one floor down is a nutbag. As is the white chick who lives there that he kicks out on average a few times a week.

When I came in this evening I noticed rose petals on the stairs up to the second floor. Weird. it was right in the spot where I almost threw up at the smell and sight of blood, about two weeks ago.

What I know of them is mostly what I piece together from hearing them fight. I gather that she’s from Oklahoma. Maybe a stripper. They share a car. She has a few friends. They smoke a lot of herb. He thinks she’s the “stupidest girl in the entire world. So fucking dumb!”

He’s big and imposing. She’s tiny. I sometimes run into her on my way in or out of the building. We say hello. But I can ever make out her face. The one time I had an extended period to study her – when she knocked on my door to borrow my cellie – a large spreading bruise covered most of her right eye.

Usually they argue, maybe throw some shit around, and then pass out. Tonight they argued, he left for a bit, came back, pounded on the door, and started bitching at her again. “Why the fcuk I gotta knock on my own door, yo?!”

Then he throws her out of the apartment. She’s in the hall quiet. Usually she’s bawling her eyes out and banging on the door, begging him to open it. But this time she’s quiet.

Then he calls to her. “Where the fuck is my [INAUDIBLE]??!!”

“It’s in my black Guess bag.”

“The black one?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t see it!”

“Open the door. I got you. I got you. It’s ok.” She’s exhausted. And she’s pleading. But this time it sounds like she’s trying to reassure him. Like she’s talking him down from a ledge. Like he’s forgotten that he can trust her while spiraling in one of his episodes. Cuz it’s obvious that this is what is happening. He's not just a bully. He's a sick (psycho) bully.

“If I you lying to me ima throw your shit out the window."

“Baby, open the door and I’ll find it for you.” I’m thinking, ok weed. He’s looking for his weed and maybe that’ll calm his ass down.

“It’s not in here!”

“Empty out the bag. It’s in there. Open the door so I can show you. Let me help you.”

“It’s not in this fcuking bag and now your shit is going out the window.” And sure enough, I hear debris scraping against the brick outside on its way down past my window.

“Baby, you gave me your shades and I put them in my black Guess bag. Are you looking in the right bag?”

This ngga is flipping out over SHADES. This is when I let my fingers do the dialing.

Outside on the curb in front of my bedroom I look down at the girl talking to the cops. She’s in cuffed jeans and, ironically, a wife beater. She’s barefoot. And from here the tat on her forearm looks like a smudge of dirt. She’s smoothing down her hair, and standing still as she listens. She occasionally fidgets with the large plastic bin with the cracked cover. The one he threw out the window.

I then wonder where dude is. Did he dip out the back fire escape like she did that one time the cops came to their door a few months back?

It’s just past dawn now. The sky is awake, as I imagine is the entire neighborhood. I wonder who else called the cops. I look out at the neighboring windows to see if I’m the only one watching. I’m so sure that the old man in the crib directly across the street – the one who would watch me dress and get fcuked against my window before I got curtains – is up and enjoying the scene below.

But I see only empty windows. Windows that reflect back to me the light of the early morning sun.

“What’s his last name?” the cop asks. I hear her spelling it out. I look down, and then back up. I see a figure in the window across the street. But it’s not the old man. In fact, it’s a young man. Large and imposing. I look closely and through the window across the wide street, I can see the reflection of a man crawling on my roof. I’m on the third floor. The top. I see it clear as day.

This muhfcukas is crawling around on the roof like he’s gotdamn Toby.McGuire with dreads.

He’s laying on his stomach listening, as I am, to the scene below. Within seconds he scales back away from the street like he's in a damn obstacle course and disappears. Then he returns to the front of the roof, this time walking upright. I wish I had spidey sense enough to let the jakes know this loser is up there.

I retire back to bed. The cops are still outside. I can hear them talking. She comes back upstairs. He’s there. They continue arguing, like nothing ever happened. They pass out before I do. I’m up for the day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TODAY AGAIN

I'm not going to go into a retrospective of where I was 7 years ago today (116th Street, Harlem).
Not gonna recall everything I saw and did and smelled and felt. It's far too traumatic, as are the images I've been avoiding from TV and radio.

But my mom called me this morning, as she has on every September 11 since 2002. She wanted to hear my voice, because on that day she couldnt (no phones). And she wanted to tell me she loved me.

That's my tribute.

Carry on.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

NIGGER, WHO TAUGHT YOU OCTAGON?

Editor's Note:
The origin of the title: "Nig, who taught you octagon?" is from Chris Rock. He was joking about slaves being forbidden to read and what a dilemma it must have been to try to hide it. So the joke goes that the slave who's driving cracker's buggy comes up to a stop sign and is scared to stop for fear of incriminating himself as literate. So he explains that he knew to stop because he saw the big red octagon...
Get it? My learning that simultaneously eating and hot combing wasnt normal is akin to learning to read and seeing the world in a new way.

I’ve been going to a black hair salon all my life. Can’t think of any reason why I may have ever been in a white one.

Until television brought me there, of course.

If your life is as pathetic as mine and is predicated by a television schedule you watch cable like me, you’ve probably seen Peter.Perfect on Style network. Ok so the concept is that Petey, who is a renowned Bevvy Hills stylist, goes to struggling salons and basically does a makeover on the shop and the owners.

So it’s just like any good makeover show…first they highlight the foolishness. He runs up and through the shops kicking stuff over, and hollering in amazement that they even have a single client the way they got their shit set up.

So I’ve seen a couple episodes that featured black salons. And they are oddly familiar…

No receptionist.

No separate break area.

Stylists stopping mid-perm to take a personal call.

Plastic lawn chairs in the “waiting area.”

Cushion coming all out of the ripped up dryer chairs and shit.

Stylists balancing a chicken box in one hand and a tail comb in the other.

The Dudley products on display out of a cardboard box.

So Peter goes absolutely bananas when he sees this shit. He simply cannot believe that this is a business, much less a profitable one. He can’t fathom a place where there’s not a person dedicated to answering the phones and taking appointments. It is beyond his realm of possibilities that clients should ever witness their stylists having lunch.

So then he takes the poor saps to his salon. They get there and are immediately greeted by a friendly and trendy receptionist who offers them water and champagne and shit. They walk in and it’s like an oasis of beauty and relaxation. Completely foreign.

So this is the part where I start dreaming about freedom...

So I’m sitting in the salon yesterday getting my locs sexied. My fav neighborhood pal found this place in our hood, and I decided to give them a holler. It’s nice inside. There’s some gospel music blaring, and it’s fairly quiet. Not too much shenanigans. I’m pleased. I don’t sit and wait 100 years before I’m called over. I’m immediately shampooed, albeit half assedly . It was serene and pleasant, and very befitting of the modest digs.

But then suddenly homegirl’s cellie starts singing. She goes ape shit trying to answer it. Says hello loudly no less than seven times before slamming it down in frustration. Then some chick comes in talking and talking and talking. Loud. And I’m zoning out. She asks me if I’m ok, because “I’m really quiet,” and I pause. I’m really quiet because I already told your ass that you parting my damn hair feels like you’re pulling up loc’d hair and you pretty much ignored me. And because ain't nothing to be talking about... I'm reading!

I sink into my book and only partly absorb the words on the pages. My mind is actually wandering back to television. And I’m pissed! I think of every time a stylists has asked me if I wanted to order something from the Chinese takeout spot next door.

Every time I’ve passed the hours counting roaches.

Recalled the countless personal phone conversations I’ve overheard.

The sons and daughters who come in like it’s Take Your Crumbsnatcher to work day. Every day.

Every time I’ve walked out with a style I didn’t ask for.

The treks through town before arriving, looking for an ATM machine because I know they don’t take cards.

The times I've almost tripped on pulled up linoleum on the floor.

The times I've left smelling like hair spray and bbq ribs.

It could very well be that I just havent been to an upscale black establishment. This is true. I have a penchant for the hood since most of the places I've lived have been mostly blue collar towns. But damn, why do I feel real plantation about my experiences? Why do I feel like I've been accepting this nonsense as normal?

Why do I feel like the ngga who just learned to read and sees the world in a whole new way? This some ole bullshit!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

TV GUIDE: AN OPEN LETTER TO BARACK

Dear Senator,

Here's what I'ma need you to do.

Make a quick stop in Nashville. There BobbyBrown will great you with a cowboy hat and boots. Photo op at random local bbq joint.

From there you will meet up with six strangers. You will dip into the hot tub and triple kiss with two blonds. Gender breakdown optional. Mediate a fist fight, then run naked to your jet. FlavorFlav will be awaiting your arrival. You will receive a clock and a few dozen suitcases. HowieMandell couldnt make it, but he sent his donation to your campaign.

Next you will give a speech to 75,000 people. You'll be opening for ClayAiken. MarioLopez will introduce you.

Lastly, AccessHollywood will be at your crib, following your taping of Cribs. NeicyNash will be doing a special CleanHouse segment, right before your Young Voters Matter townhall meeting in your back yard, hosted by JustinBobby and Audrina.

I need you to move fast, Senator, because they havent announced it yet, but clearly these damn Republicans are FILMING A MUHFCUKING REALITY SHOW, starring Juno's mom. And if you don't hurry they will soon produce hit spinoffs into the emerging Double Standard genre.

~Management

PS...Guard your girl...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LOSERS' LOGIC

I’m bout sick of this shit.

This country was built on accepting an ‘L,’ shunning sore losership. These crackers made the “Indians” quit their pissing and moaning. Whupped field negro ass up and down the dirt road and dared them to sniffle. Put midgets in the circus and sicced the monkeys on them little muhfcukas if they had something to say.

So why, in the name of all that is americangangster,
are these ride or die ass Clinton supporters still mad?


Sore loser crying asses. SHUT THE FCUK UP!

You lost. You picked the wrong pony. If this was March Madness, you woulda put your money on all 12 seeds to win in the first round. You are Myanmar…you won like zero Olympic medals. You are the ’07-’08 Dolphins. The first muhfcukas kicked off Dancing with the Stars. You are the Confederate army. You are the Croissaandwich getting slumped by the Egg McMuffin circa ‘85. You are Kool Moe Dee/Canibus. Your shit is looking real WindowsVista right now. Real CBSEveningNews. You’re like fcuking MarciaClark and ChrisDarden. You are Columbus on his way to New Dehli with no compass. Your ass is the first single off of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Nell Carter’s thong is what you are. The whole lot of you.

Ya lost. LOSERS.

Quit your gotdam blubbering. Shut your ass up, neatly tuck away your Hillary08 placards and scrape the shit out of that tired ass bumper sticker. Careful not to scratch your paint.

Excuse yourselves briefly, don’t be rude and stay gone all day now. Wipe the snot from your upturned nose and write YES WE CAN 100 times in an email. Fire up the blackberry and start sending it. The same way you was fwd’ing that Rev. Wright viral shit.

Your crying ass LOST and no one has told you that there’s no crying in America.

So you carry on in public like a Dallas Mavericks fan. You sorry sacks of shit didn’t make it to the next round. GO fishing. You proclaim all proud and stalwart that you REFUSE to vote for the WINNER. Something like 37% of you?

You don’t know the WINNER well enough, you explain. He’s too new. He’s all talk. Too idealistic. He passes out way before 3 am, he doesnt have the hips for a pants suit and he’s not ready to start on day one. You’re just not sure about his platform.

And yet, you CAN read, yes? Oh ok just checking because the people who voted for the WINNER, we found a way to make out the exotic language posted on his website. It’s the New English and it’s terribly complicated.


[pause for a moment pls…
Dear Ma'am:

Is your quick weave ass on CNN CRYING????? And furthermore are you literally INCONSOLABLE as you’re being intvw’d by Suzanne.Malveaux saying, “You KNOW she’s presidential! Barack has 2 months to prove to me that he deserves my vote. I came here to cast my vote for Hillary.” Madam, if you don’t mind could you please read this post from the beginning. It is written especially for you. My gift to you, a consolation gift if you will. That’s what LOSERS get.
Disrepectfully,
Wise, a WINNER]


Now, let’s assume for a moment that aaaaaaall of the literature on Barack is written in Mandarin. And all of his speeches have been delivered in Wolof. And you only get hearing impaired Dutch TV news. Tough break. Ok but…100% of McCain’s verbiage is in the King’s Plain English. You KNOW for sure, like oprah, that his shit aint for you if you are any semblance of a intelligent human being Democrat. As Jonzee says, because of your shenanigans we bout to all be in the bread line shaking our heads.

I’m Jamaican (shout out to Lightening Bolt *slapping the wall*) so I’m a bit unfamiliar with this loserspeak. Someone please break it down for me…

Why are they acting like he won by a (HarveyDent) coin toss.

Why do they keep boasting she got 18 million votes?? That’s like saying, Kobe averaged 94 points in the playoffs. Ummm...did he also get traded to Boston in April?? Cuz them nggas was the ones in the parade.

Yall walking up in the convention like the rival high school and shit. You aint Danny Zucko, bitches. Sit down in the back and respect the home team. The WINNERS.

It’s been months and you got dumped. She’s Just Not Feeling You! Get over it.

Why don’t you slow learners ask for accommodations since your reading comprehension is on a 4th grade level. You no child left behind asses got the chance to get to know Barack just like everybody else did. What the hell you talking about you don’t know him or his policies?? Here’s a hint Special Ed, the joke of the primaries was kinda that they’re policies were really similar. So that’s like the cliff’s note for you, since you’ve already memorized Hillary’s shit, and I do mean feces cuz you are so far up her ass it’s embarrassing.

Lemme ask you this…Did u have to be convinced when Kerry won the nomination? When Bill beat Gore and ‘nem in ‘92? Cuz you KNOW you hadn’t heard of him before. His ’08 Convention speech tanked and you didn’t know how to locate Arkansas on a state map back then.

WHY??

Is it for the same reason that MichelleObama, a brilliant Ivy League professional and mother and wife needs an image “makeover?” Why that family needs to be framed and introduced to America?? And yet pill poppin, swindling Cindy McShort Arms [if the link doesnt work for some reason, go to nytimes.com and serach "For McCains, a Public Path but Private Wealth"] gets by unscathed??

Wipe your crocodile tears, pick up your dignity and kick rocks.

I’m so over you losers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

FRIENEMY

What do you do if you hate one of your significant other's good friends?

I know we've discussed this before, but there's this situation that I'll explain in the comments that has a different spin.

Discuss...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ACCENT

I remember being on the phone with dude and I distinctly looking at the phone all defeated.


Or maybe it was in person, and I stood silent and momentarily frozen, before kicking aside a rock or something.


Either way, it wasn’t no email or text or voicemail cuz I was only in like 7th grade.


“You got a white accent.”


He didn’t say I “talk white” or that I “sound like a white girl.” He said I had a white accent. And for some reason I instantly knew what he meant.


This obviously wasn’t my first trial. I had been accused of all of the above, what with being one of only five blackies in the “smart” class since 4th grade. It was either I was acting white because of my achievement (guess they never got wind of that one warning letter I got threatening to kick me out because I got a couple Cs.). Or that I talked white because of my penchant for the King’s English. Silly grammar. Guess they didn’t hear me getting scolded at home for either speaking patois with my brothers, or using slang my parents couldn’t decipher.


But if you ever been around white people you know it’s hard to be around them for long without falling into their cadence, if for no other reason than so that they can understand what the fcuk you’re talking about. It’s similar to how you can tell when white folks grew up in the hood. You can hear it.


But that wasn’t it. It was just, how I sounded. For years I hated my voice. Still do. I have no control over the high pitches or the sometimes low lilts. I do however, have full handle of my articulation and I can sometimes rein in the occasional Caribbean riddim or borough-inspired rough edges. If you speak to me on the phone, and particularly if you know my government, it may be difficult to discern me as a negress. Unless you get me cussing.


So you know how on BlackinAmerica there was a segment on “talking white.” Cause it’s apparently a HUGE problem facing our community. If you’re uninitiated, the argument is that young people who do well in school or speak proper English are often accused of “acting or talking white.” Of course this is rubbish, because the idea is that to be a high achieving is equated with whiteness…and you know where that leaves blackness. In the dark, per usual.

But here’s my question…Is this the whole truth?

Or do some coloreds actually talk or act white?


Hear me out, cuz I’m just typing out loud…


Let’s first consider that there’s a good chance that the good, book-learned black folk, like myself, who articulated this Act White oppression are probably the ones who were accused of doing so. They were the Act Whiters. Might still be. So then there’s a good chance, that like me, they carry some baggage about it. It’s like the newly-brolic dude who used to get his ass kicked when he was little. He still feels some kinda way about bullying, and can hypothesize and analyze the shit out of the topic. Yes?


Ok, so then there’s a good chance that in the self preservation of said White Talker’s superior ego, there’s still a side left unturned. Three sides to every story, no?


Real talk, as someone who’s been accused, I don’t really think that what was being said was that I was trying to be a good student and therefore a white student, and therefore acting white. I don’t think that I was being dragged down by the crabs, then unceremoniously kicked in the belly of the bucket by self loathing niggers. I think that they saw me running with my best friend, a white chick, heard me talking about how we used to go cross country skiing back in the day (but missed the part where it was during gym class, and not on the weekends at my family's cottage in Vail or no bullshit). Peeked into my Latin class and saw me, the only black speck. Heard my accent.


But real talk, some nggas actually talk white.

And some try to act white too.


Yeah, I said it.


And I’m not talking about black folks who like rock music either. Cuz that shit’s ours. And your ipod does not a White Acter make.


I’m not talking about dating outside your race... Though if I wanted I probably could.


Not talking about Hillary or Carlton.Banks... They knew they were black.


Nor am I referring to no suburban negroes... Sometimes you just want a gate and a lawn and to be pulled over by the cops in your own driveway.


I went to a white school, so you know I’ve seen my fair share of brothers and sisters trying to get away with the same shit that white kids do. The hazing. The outdoor partying. The walking barefoot. The shorts in the winter. Their asses ALWAYS ended up locked up or in the hospital. Nggas.


If you closed your eyes you would think that Tiger*Woods was pretty pale. Plus he plays golf. Anyone know who Shane*Battier is? It’s not that they both speak proper English. So does Michael Jordan, but he doesn’t sound like an overseer.


Don't mind me... I'm just typing out loud after all, but maybe, just maybe, black folks aren't as deft as we'd be led to believe. Sometimes nggas be just acting stupid.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

"They don't got sheets there?"

So my oldest nephew is going off to college this month. [insert all types of falling out and carrying on and dropping to my knees praying he don't get locked up, mixed up with no party white girls, or expelled for plagiarism.]


Oh Lawd...not my child!!!

*sigh*

So I ask him if he has all his stuff together and he's like, "No Weazy, I dont even know what I need!"

"Ok, you need bathroom stuff, shower shoes, sheets..."

"They don't got sheets there?"

So apparently the boy thinks his dorm is the Marr*iott. So I told him I'd email him a list of things he'll need to bring. Can yall help me out, please. Cuz I know a lot of yous have done the dorm thing fairly recently. Young asses.

Muchas grassy ass!

~Management's Nephew

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WHITE FLIGHT

I didn’t even want to be there.


But I had no choice really. Between the gorgeous midsummer evening breeze; the looming guilt that would ensue had I driven past the lake on my way home; and the threat of having to buy a whole new wardrobe…I found myself stretching my hammies against my back bumper, and adjusting my ipod*shuffle.


Even so, I wanted to be home relaxing with a Bud*Lime. Reading thesis stuff. But I took my place amongst my fellow joggers, bikers, bladers, strollers, and dog walkers… pumped up my volume and set out to circle the lake. As I’m walking, I’m looking down at my thighs. I like ‘em thick, rubbing together even, but my slacks don’t necessarily. My arms could use some toning, but they aight. Dare I say I wish I had a rearview mirror so I could check out my ass. I can use all the help I can get back there. It’s the midsection that’s a problem. A combination of emotional eating, binge drinking, a penchant (compulsion) for Sub*way cookies, and a lover with the southern sensibility and distinct intention of “fattening me up,” have done me in. So I jog. The effects of those damn clove cigarettes constrict the shit out of my breathing. But I trudge on as best as I can.


One time around is all I’m in for. That’ll satisfy my nagging laziness. Tomorrow I’ll complete my requisite three lap minimum. And I’ll remember to update my music. No offense to Kelly*Clarkson and Sean Paul, but I’ve pretty much memorized the order of every possible shuffle.


I’m about a half mile in, scooting between a group of walker-grandmas. I emerge in front of them and catch out of the corner of my eye an impending white arm. I ignore it, until I see it again, this time pulling slightly ahead of me. I skip a step ahead then pause to pretend like I’m scratching the fresh mosquito bite on my shin. Sure enough there’s this frumpy white woman hopping alongside me at a slightly amped up pace.


See, this what I be talking about when I be talking about shit.


I’m simply not having it. Not physically, not psychologically, not historically. I don’t know if it’s the 400 years of it all, or some washed up athlete thing I'm feeling, but something ignites my engine. I’m sailing now, weak lungs be damned. And dammit if Frumpkin isn’t keeping up. Has the nerve to almost pass me. I’m coming up on where my truck is parked, and what was just a moment ago a consolation work out, suddenly turns gladiator on my ass.


My juices are flowing, I’m in a rhythm. The bitch won't die. Is she even sweating? Is that grey hair? Holy shit, I'm losing to Jonie from Happy*Days. I'm shaming Flo-Jo and Wilma who came before me. What the hell ever happened to white girls being scared of us?! If we can't win a foot race what's left? (a dance-off, obviously).


It’s not easy. I'm struggling. I’m…challenged. It’s very Jesse*Owens 1936 Berlin Olympics, except the only aryan here is in my mind. I’m determined not to let this white woman pass me under not no circumstances. I focus. I coast.


“This is a good pace,” she says. All I hear is Portis*head blaring from my earphones. I notice her gesture to me, and I hit mute to hear her repeat herself. I agree, hit pause again and keep moving. We go on like this for another mile and a half, until I see my car again. I spurn it like a bad fcuk, and move on. A few minutes later, Frumpelstein gestures to me again.


“That was really good,” she pants, and veers off the path toward her car. I wave good bye and trudge on. I’m spent, but I won’t let her know that. ‘Give her about a minute or two to drive off then double back and quit,’ says my inner-scoundrel. Easy enough.


But I fought off easy a couple miles back.


If only there were frumpy white people running beside me all the time.

Maybe I’d get a lot more done.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

VIP

I am VIP.

I’m not on any list. I didn’t tip the guys at the door. Nor do I know the owners. I’m just a loser who happens to win this time. Win big, even.

The preparation is typical. I wasn’t looking for a party, still reeling from the last one actually. Hung over. Swearing off the scene with a sincere exhaustion. But then I caught a glimpse of a flyer. Heard whispers that folks were hanging out. That there's someone I should meet. I decided on a whim to head out. Again.

It’s crazy cuz the preparation is usually a production in and of itself. The outfit, the entourage, the chaser. But this time I went easy, seduced mildly by the music, though miles away. See, the pulses found me. Got my fingers tapping. Had my feet happy. Head nodding. Easy. Soon I was in full effect mode, three-stepping myself into a full sweat all the way to the velvet rope. Again.

I didn’t know the promoter from Adam. Never laid eyes on the club. And yet I slid in like a seamless DJ transition. Like a Fat Man Scoop mix [editor’s inside joke: Why did I forget until this very moment Scoop and the matching sweat suits. Cannot? Oh yes you can, and you will! All my real live bitches throw ya hands up!...] Even fit in with the d├ęcor as if I had somehow been privy to the blueprint. It’s fly. One of those rich ngga lounges. It’s all plush love seats and beautiful people. Free drinks and dope music. I’m old school, so I always go for the music. Seduced by the ladidahdi of it all. I’m wopping my ass off.

This place is for frontin'. So clearly, it’s packed. There’s every type of somebody here. The sexy deep oak of a brother in jeans that are a prisoner to his perfect high ass. The seductive beholder of long loose curls and unruly spaghetti straps. The breathtaking chick with the brush cut and impossible heels. Dude too fine to get turned away at the door just because he’s got on a wife beater and Timbs. The pouty bartender with the felatial lips.

I feel the eyes as I walk the gauntlet of who’s who. I barely glanced at the mirror before leaving the crib, yet I’m hyperaware of all the skin I’m showing. Aware that I’ve yet to shed that pesky winter weight. Well aware that I’m thick all over, no vestige unclaimed, my skin chief among them. My reflection is clear to me in your eyes. I walk directly into them, sight unseen. Except from the inside out.

I’m digging this party shit.

I like the way you knew our rhythm before it was even ours. You pulled me close, and I fit. Your hands log carefree miles along my spine. Your fingers find the loopholes in my logic while lining my scalp. Pulling at my sensibilities, and my locs, like I won't notice. You aint slick, son. But your moves are, and I fall in step, again. You dumb down your classical training and Bogle with me.

You grab my hand and I think we're on our way to refresh our glasses. Instead, fingers tightly interlocked, you lead me through a tunnel that seems buried, soundproof and sparcely lit. Your lips graze mine and we exchange a split second of secrets. In that muted moment we're once again tangled. I'm on my back, wrists gripped together and pressed into the sheets. Kisses rained on my forehead, my lips, over my neck, my breasts, my stomach, my thighs. Tiny nibbles on my bottom lip. Gentle sucking that easily becomes more urgent. My own voice is foreign to me, a coarse whisper of moans and unintelligible mumbles, my breath still tangled mercilessly in the cage of my throat. Warm breath on my skin. A soft kiss. The generous offering of tongue, a deeper parting. I'm struggling to maintain some kind of composure, my eyes filling with tears because I'm so damn overwhelmed because everything about this touch, this skin, is just perfect. I'm fighting it, fighting giving in, letting go, and flailing in vain to keep a hold on my last wisps of sanity. Well placed pressure, one hand on my hip.
And I'm gone.
Lost.
Falling. Again.

We climb a narrow stairway and enter another space. This one more beautiful than the first. More exclusive. Intimate. Thrilling. I'm pleasantly surprised by this spot, glad I came. But even this, this next level, is unexpected.

You open my hand and kiss my palm. Hold it to your face, then to your chest. You pull it away for one more kiss, but not before allowing me the thrill of a beat. It is then that I hear more music, a litany of all the sweet things you mean to me. This is clearly our soundtrack. All the songs repeat your name.

You put in my possession your keys, your ID, your phone... your lifelines. There is an entire party whirling around us and yet I see only a tint of brown, your eyes meeting mine, as you tell me to hold tight. The colors of music splash in bold strokes around me. Is it possible that this level is more crowded than the last? In fact, as my head stops spinning I'm realizing the chaos that ensues. Where have you taken me? It's mad familiar, these heavy hues and shrieking signs. This is the place you been telling me about.

Your eyes never leave mine, and I try to follow, but I stumble. Your shit goes flying. I reach to collect them but the velvet rope that clipped me, is in fact a barricade. This is some bullshit.

Yo, but I'm VIP! There's no one to whom I can plead my case.

I can't get past the rope. What they dont tell you at the door is that despite your admission, there is a rope beyond the rope. A space where even you cant reach. VIP has VIP. And I'm losing. Again.

I'm sitting here watching you and I can't reach you. I'm inside, you brought me up to the highest level, you've entrusted me with your life, and I can't even keep it safe. It's my job to see what only a select few are allowed. I've made promises. We've made investments. And there you are, beyond my reach. I can't hold you to me and let tears stream down my bare skin. That's what it's there for.

Your shit weighs a ton, so you step away and make sure it doesnt nudge me. That I don't break a nail or something. You share some when prompted, but it's a rather foreign concept to you. I know this. So chivalrous with the heavy lifting, you are. I stand and watch you crumbling from the stress, unable to help. Maybe it's because I'm half naked that you won't let me. Or because my locs are thinning and greying. Am I losing my strength?

Or is it just that there is nothing I can do? Like there's a wack (down souf) song playing and we just gotta wait it out.

"I'm worried about you."

"I know, mama."

"It's killing me."

"Me too."

"What should I be doing?"

"Just being with me."

"It's not enough."

"Why not?"

"Because neither of us is ok," I say.

"But I'm honestly at a loss for what else to do."

"Just feeling helpless."

"It'll be over soon, babe."

The music plays on. We dance this oblivious dance, as if there isnt a million miles between us. Between us and the next level. Between where we stand now, and from that which we came. I gather both strength and patience in that quiet path we traveled. I collect desperation from the sadness in your eyes, and mostly in your voice. It doesnt stop me from reaching. And dancing. Doesnt stop our music.

I'm glad I came. You're very important to me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

JULY 14

My mother was born the second oldest of 10 children in Spur*Tree, a small bush town in the parish of Manchester in Jamaica, West Indies. The oldest daughter.

This is an important fact, because by virtue of birth order, my mother inherited a litter of children at a young age when her own mother died a painful death. Cancer. My mother doesn’t speak of her mother very often, so the one time she told me details I listened with an intensity that rivaled only the directions given as child to avoid an ass whupping.

“My mother had 10 children. One didn’t make it. Not long after your Uncle Gilly was born my modda [because shortly after delving into her mind’s museum, the Patois accent appears, heavy, and I feel almost like an intruder] get cancer. Ovarian. She wasn’t a small woman but I’ll never forget how she blew up, so swollen, she musta been bout 200 pound.

“She was laying in her bed in pain and all the children were outside around the house bawling. All you could hear was bawling, and my father singing. He could sing! That man had a voice, boy! I was outside hanging clothes and my father called me and said that my mother wanted to see me. I walk in the room and all I could say was I could feel death coming close. And my mother just looked at me, and said....”

I wish I could remember what my grandmother had told my mother. I’ve blocked it out. I remember it being grave and curt. Not the kind of frilly, heartwarming last words you’d see in a Lifetime movie (so this is how you know I’m getting old right…all of a sudden Lifetime is my SHIT!)

I guess subconsciously I cannot bear to curate those last words. Partly because of the pain so visible in my mother’s voice and face as she recalled it to me. Partly out of fear that remembering might somehow summon a similar scene between me and my mom. That it might speed up the slowdown. Or something.

So my mother was a mother long before she was a mother. Actually I take that back, because my oldest sister is really not that much younger than my Uncle Gilly. My mother, his oldest sister, is the only mother he’s ever really known.

Some years later her beloved father also died. The kids were pretty much grown by then, save for the two littlest, and my mother had had two more of her own. And soon after laying her father to rest she made the decision to leave her children in the care of her closest sister. She moved to Washington, DC, in a immigrant worker program which imported many young West Indians to this country to work as domestics.

As fate would have it, this is where my mother met my father, and where the context of my conception begins.

My mother never passed on to me the issues that so many of my friends have inherited from their mothers. That’s not to say we don’t have our issues. That’s not to say that my mom’s not as crazy as every mother is biologically and psychologically destined. Instead there is a healthy distance, a respectful boundary that she’s established. It doesn’t really exist between her and my older sister. I’m guessing because my sister was born in Jamaica and knows that life. The life, and subsequently the history, from which I’ve always been sheltered.

I imagine that there are things my mother has repressed. Actually, I can’t imagine. The dim echoes of her scant recollections of life with her own mother are haunting. I probably won’t ever ask her about it until she is nearing the end. If God willing we are granted that type of ending. When it wont matter any more, those recollections. When she’ll soon have to face her mother herself.

In the meantime I call her every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, after Wheel of For*tune. Sometimes on my lunch break so I can hear her fussing with my nephews. Or to hear what she’s cooking for everyone. Or to let her vent about her latest shenanigans down at the grocery store. (shout out to Weg*man’s!) To respectfully tune her out when she makes a dead dad reference without warning. To smile wide at every overwhelming ounce of support, every reminder to pray, to stay safe, and to remember that "Mommy loves [me] much, much, much."

In the meantime, I wish my Mom a Happy Birthday, and many moooooooore!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

S.O.'SHIP

Since I'm in a long distance relationship supported monthly almost exclusively by South*west Airlines, I feel compelled to share this PSA that the airlines emailed me...





An Open letter to All Airline Customers:

Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now.

For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers. Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.

Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.

The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem.

We need your help. Get more information and contact Congress by visiting www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com.



Robert Fornaro
Chairman,
President and CEO
AirTran Airways Bill Ayer
Chairman,
President and CEO
Alaska Airlines, Inc.
Gerard J. Arpey
Chairman,
President and CEO
American Airlines, Inc.
Lawrence W. Kellner
Chairman and CEO
Continental Airlines, Inc. Richard Anderson
CEO
Delta Air Lines, Inc. Mark B. Dunkerley
President and CEO
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
Dave Barger
CEO
JetBlue Airways
Corporation Timothy E. Hoeksema
Chairman,
President and CEO
Midwest Airlines Douglas M. Steenland
President and CEO
Northwest Airlines, Inc.
Gary Kelly
Chairman and CEO
Southwest Airlines Co. Glenn F. Tilton
Chairman,
President and CEO
United Airlines, Inc. Douglas Parker
Chairman and CEO
US Airways Group, Inc.
=====

Save Our (relation) 'Ship!

Thank You, kindly.
~MANAGEMENT

Thursday, July 03, 2008

CONVENTIONAL INDEPENDENCE

Independ*nce Day…a time to declare freedom from whatever bullshit you got going on in your life.

I hereby declare Independence from conventions. No, not the cleverly marketed annual gatherings of likeminded professionals… though I’m bout sick of them shits impeding on my time to enjoy the host citieswith these essential ass workshops…I mean, the things that are universally accepted, and expected, without reason or provocation.

I’m standing in the conventional meeting place, where many a family meeting and announcement has gone down…the kitchen. I’m standing amidst the conventional gathering of generations…my mom and her sister run behind my nephews, while my sister in law mans the stove and I sit, drink in hand, in the center of it all.

“Wise, you’re a waste of a vagina.”

Based on the lead-in, I’m actually in fact, a waste of a womb. My vagina functions at an optimal level, thank you very much. I’d rank it up there with the best of ‘em. That’s not the point. Fine.

My sister in law, who declared my womanparts DOA, has two fantastic children. The oldest is my favorite, and the baby is pretty much the embodiment of what I’m sure my biological child would be. And therefore, though he’s beautiful and hilarious, he’s also absolutely and inexplicable insane. Unabashedly out of control. And I love it. For THEM.

I, on the other hand have absolutely no attachment nor desire to be knocked up. None. The irony, I suppose, or perhaps the logic is that I want 4 or 5 kids. My family finds this hilarious. Partly because they know personally how psycho you get when you have kids, but I think partly because, bless their conventional old school hearts, they still don’t see how I could have kids without the belly.

So I’m a waste of a uterus, fine. I can accept that, though I’d argue the uterus is the waste, not me. Either or. But it’s the conventional labels I can’t co-sign. I’m much too contradictory for them.

Because I’m probably the only girl in the world who (on most days) doesn’t want a ring (or wedding for that matter).

Because you will never see my black ass eating a watermelon, neither publicly nor in the privacy of my own home (did you ever see the episode of the Jeff*rsons where George said he refuses to carry a watermelon in public. So if you ever see him with a bowling bag that’s what’s inside?!!)

Because I’m a backpacker who thinks Tal*b is mediocre.

Because I’m an African American alcoholic who hates Hennessey.

So… *cue balloons and confetti and band*…conventions be damned!

I’s free now!!

From what, or whom will YOU claim independence?
Happy 4th!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WHAT IT LOOK LIKE

"Babe, do I look like I can fcuk?"

"YO. You look like eating pu**y is a bullet point on your resume."

And there it is.

Coincidentally, I've been having this conversation a lot lately. Particularly with male friends, and then followed up and confirmed with females. Do you know anyone who isn’t all that attractive, but gets a whole LOT of ass? Or maybe someone who is super sweet and nice and charming, but gets NONE. Or the complete bitch whose phone STAYS lit up. Or asshole Jack who NEVER sleeps alone?

It’s puzzling at first, cuz maybe you ask yourself if you’d do them and the answer is a resounding no. Or perhaps, you just know them really well, seen the havoc they wreak in their lives and just can’t understand how people keep getting caught up in it.

It’s really not as simple as just, ‘Pu**y’s a hellavu drug’ (tho it is), or ‘Dick can blind you’ (tho it the hell can).

I’m pretty sure it’s simply because owner of said genitalia in question just LOOKS like they can dish it.

I had this real whore of a roommate when I first moved to Brooklyn. She’s a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother day, but the point is she used to get it IN! Every few nights chick would have a new dude in the sack. When my peeps came to visit for the first time, I basically pimped her out to one of my boys, who later said, “Damn, Wise. All I had to do was show up!” She didn’t have much in the way of face or personality, though she was a fitness fanatic so she at least kept it together physically.

My friends and I decided she had Pheromones. That was our thing. Anytime someone would pull somebody who was out of their league, or pull someone at ALL despite facial bustation, we’d say, ‘I think so and so got pheromones.’

Pheromones of course are: chemicals that trigger a natural behavioral response in another member of the same species. It’s like an undetectable fragrance that attracts the opposite sex. But even that’s only half the story.

Take a second please, and think about the people you wanna give it to right now. What is it about them? I’m not talking on a spiritual or mental level. I’m talking purely primal. Urgent.

Now think of the perfectly attractive, nice, cool people in your life who want desperately to hit you up. Why won’t you give it up? Why do you keep that person in the friend lane?

Real talk? Because they don’t look like they can fcuk.

It’s what ego-protectors like myself have been neglecting to say for years now, to the perfectly nice young men who try, to no avail, to get wit it. It’s the answer to the debate about why women (allegedly) prefer thugs to nerds. Why nice guys finish last.

Plenty of nice guys get it. It’s the nice ones who don’t look like they can work it that lose out.

Same with women. Bitches? Men love them because they carry their bitch asses like they can suck a mean one. Fast tail Lil.Wayne looking girls? Yessir. Dudes can see right through the Vase.line face and can tell they’ll do whatever. It’s all in the eyes. Meanwhile, there are scores of genuinely good women sitting at home watching Top.Chef instead of um...getting served up.

So fellas, if you’re not getting none, it’s not that light skinned dudes are back in, or that color contact nggas are back. It’s not that you have no game. It’s not even that you’re ugly or corny. It’s that you look like your bed game is limp.

Mamacitas, you go to happy hour every week with your girls, make up flawless, dress and heels tight…but it be the same one of your girls getting the numbers? It’s not that your ass isn’t big enough. Or that you’re not showing enough cleveland. Or that your weave’s crooked (tho I’ma need you to straighten that up, por favor). It’s just that THAT chick looks like Betty Back Shot. I mean, a dead ringer.

I could be wrong…but let’s find out.

What things make you look twice?

How would you describe Look Like You Can Fcuk Lookin Boy/Girl?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HOME ALONE 2

[UPDATED WITH AN ENDING...scroll down...]

Tucked away in my parents’ attic, and in the corners of their garage are boxes full of me. All sorts of foolishness with which I cant bear to part. Things that are essential, but that don’t belong in my every day grown up space.

They’re about all I have left that resemble home.

I don’t even ask my mother about her new house anymore. I’m too preoccupied with the disarray of the old one. The only one I ever lived in until I went away to college. The address that my family has owned for longer than I’ve been alive.

It takes me an hour and a few bucks on Air.tran to get home, yet I hadn’t been home for six months. Cuz it’s not really home anymore…

So you know I got two older brothers. Twins. There’s Boss of Me aka C-Boy. And there’s Anger Management. This kid is insane. And I love him to death. To this day people think he and I are the twins. We share our father’s forehead and our grandfather’s imposing eyes. He’s the one person in my family that I know would never ever judge me. He’s the one I call when I need someone on my side.

One day, a few weeks prior to Miami (bday trip. catch up!), he calls me. Needing someone on his side.

“Yo, I’m getting a divorce,” he says, always with the slightest awkward silent pause before knocking the wind out of me. His approach to bad news is a lot gentler than his twin’s, I notice.

“Oh.” I find that remaining neutral when someone is expecting a reaction is the cleaner, quicker way to uncovering their reaction.

“You took it a lot better than Mommy,” he says. My poor mother. The thought of her awake at night, alone in that big house, finds its way to the forefront of my mind, until I quickly sweep it away. Unequipped.

He goes on to tell me about how he actually left his house and has been staying with my mother. It only took all of a week for him to become indignant at the idea of him not living in the house for which he pays mortgage.

“Does Spider care?” I ask, of my 12-year old niece.

“I call her everyday and she says she wants to come stay with me wherever I go.” She’s a daddy’s girl and all, but what the hell do you expect her to say? She’s caught between two parents she adores and can easily con.

I should be more shocked, but I’m not. His relationship with his wife of almost ten years has always been complex. Not unlike our parents’ union. Our parents, who were married for 30+ years. I took for granted that there may not be a trickle down effect. I thought staying together forever even if you’re miserable was a part of the deal, part of our DNA. They say parents don’t have favorites, but in our fam we all know Anger Management gets top billing. So if anyone, I expected him to stick it out.

“It’s really bad, Gum. That’s why I can’t wait til Miami. I need to get the fuck away.”

“I feel you.” There’s a sadness and the hint of desperation in his voice. He could care less about being judged, but I’m the one he calls when he needs someone on his side. He’s my “twin.” No matter what, my home is his home.

“Well if you ever need to get away you know you can come hide out down here,” I say. “I keep a six-pack on deck.” This time there’s no signature pause. In fact, he barely skips a beat.

“Can I bring a friend?”

*

“This is the last time we’re going to discuss this,” I answered, and with it I expunged the image of my brother and some loose jump off bitch bunned up in my crib.

“I can’t bring a friend?” he asks again, this time a bit incredulous, but mostly full of mischievous. This annoys me to no end. First of all, he has never known me to indulge in mess. I don’t do it. And particularly not a family member’s mess. Anytime something goes down I revert to being the youngest child, banishing myself from the scene of grown folks’ talk. I am the family “Bennett.”

But it also pisses me off because he’s asking me to be ok with being uncomfortable, and that type of selfishness is only underneath the surface of his personality. He’s generally genuinely thoughtful and unintrusive.

“I’m out. I’ll talk to you in Miami,” I say, and hang up. Miami, though the scene of celebration for MY birthday, will be a respite of sorts for everyone but me.

“Gum, I want you to meet my friend.”

“No thank you.”

“Why not?”

“Because her being here is inappropriate, and I will tell her so.”

“Please don’t.”

“As a grown woman, she knows right from wrong. I expect this from you, but not from another grown woman.”

“I’m asking you to please say hello. That’s it. Her and her homegirl were planning to be here anyway so they decided to meet us.”

We lie to each other. That’s what siblings do. It’s not like friendships where honesty is mandatory. We thrive on being who the other knows us to be, not necessarily who we really are. The irony of course is that we know the absolute best and the painful worst of who we are and where we’ve been. Our essence. And maybe that’s why it’s a pain like no other.

But he could’ve lied better than this shit. At least show me some fucking respect and give me something elaborate, where I can at the very least commend you on the effort if not credibility. But this ngga is treating me like it’s my 13th birthday and not my 31ST.

I look her in the eye and shake her hand politely, then turn back to my drink and my friends. My friends, to whom I confided about the situation just minutes prior as I saw my brothers walking into the spot.

I won’t go into details about how within minutes of meeting me Jump Off Bitch was in my face about what time we were leaving for the Jay/Mary concert. About how little effort it took to I give her the most vacant blank stare I could muster in response. About how she sat in the row in front of me at the show, next to my brother, who seemed more calm and at peace than I’ve ever seen him. How she rode on the back of the motor bike with him. How there was no other homegirl. How we ended up in a cab together when I wasn’t nearly drunk enough. How I took covert pics of her to send to my sister.

“Are you serious? Wow,” she says. Technically she’s my sister in law – Boss of Me’s wife – but she and I are family. I called her the next day to vent, and she was blown away by the entire scenario. “I know they having problems but he aint outta the house yet, and they’re still married. I’m sorry you gotta deal with that, Wise.”

I sigh. She listens intently as I give her a rundown of the entire weekend. I tell her about how I had the first conversation with her husband, my brother, about his cancer. It was just after the concert and we were waiting on our rides, and he and I held hands and walked down the street alone, huddled together just talking.

“He’s going through something,” she says slightly subdued. “And I can’t reach him.”

“Well, that’s to be expected right?” I answer. “I mean, faced with your own mortality how are you supposed to act? I don’t know how I would.”

“I told him to move out.”

Tucked away in my parents’ attic, and in the corners of their garage are boxes full of me. They’re large and take up lots of space, but no amount of neat folding or concise packing would make room for my memories. Fond and foolish. It is where I grew up. Where I dreamed of leaving. It’s been a constant for me. The place I could always come back to no matter how far away my dreams took me. The place with the walls and voices and laughter and faces that would always feel familiar.

Those memories are about all I have left that resemble home.

Monday, June 02, 2008

THREE'S COMPANY


So yall already read this, right?

And been read this??

Ok, ok on with it...

DATELINE…
Miami. March 2008. Day 1.

We’ve taken this exact photo a thousand times. Me, the shortest, flanked by the Amazons. My best friends are both six-footers, and in about 90% of the photos we’ve ever taken in our 15-year history, I’m making some sort of ridiculous face…compensating for the shenanigans that might be going on above my head.

In this case, we’re collapsing over each other at a South Beach dinner table, the bottle we brought in, underfoot. My eyes are struggling to stay open, though my mouth won’t shut up. I’m laughing hysterically. Gay Bartender’s hands are crossed on my bare shoulder. High as fuck, trying to be cute. Curly’s fingers are deep into my roots, playfully pulling my locs. She’s pointing defiantly at the camera. This is who we are.


DATELINE…Brooklyn, NY. New Years Day 2008.

“We all know I’m the worst. I don’t return calls. I disappear. I shut down when there’s a confrontation. But this is the one time I’ve gone above and beyond to save the friendship and she shit on me.” I sit up on the leather pull-out couch, last night’s clothes draping off of me. The loft apartment is dark, so I consult my phone to see that it’s already afternoon. Gay Bartender hands me a cup of coffee and takes a seat across from me.

GB and I go way back to 4th grade. 1985 or so. She was the black girl with the white best friend. All four of the other black kids in the class couldn’t stand her. Over the years – and we were together through middle, high school and even undergrad – I blackened her up and we were tight. I wouldn’t exactly say we were best friends, though I distinctly remember the first time she introduced me as such. We were close, but competitive. More like siblings than BFFs. In ninth grade we’d meet the girl who would be joined at GB’s hip.

Curly and I played ball together. She was tall and wiry and I loved lobbing the ball to her over her shorter defenders. But she was so skinny, she used to get her ass knocked around on the boards. She had a colorful personality and wardrobe to match. I’ll never forget the first time I met her she had on some red Cross.Colours jeans and matching rubber bands on her braces.

She and I were super cool, but she and GB were the pair. They were Every Day Friends, sleepover girls who spent weekends at the mall, and trying on make up. As we progressed through high school, they branched out with some shady cats, started smoking and fucking, and I wasn’t doing either. (I was however, getting pretty drunk on the other side of town). Nonetheless, we were a trio, but they were mostly inseparable, and I was more of the frequent guest star.

Years later after college, GB and Curly were roommates in Philly, then moved to Brooklyn. Having lived with GB myself throughout college, I knew that deep drama would ensue.

“I was home for four days, one of which was Christmas. And I have to basically spend enough time with my damn-near estranged mother, my grandmother who is slowly losing her mind, and my sister. And I don’t see Curly and the baby ONE DAY and she’s pissed at me.”

Back in like 2002 Curly had reconnected with one of her high school sweethearts. He lived in Florida then, and she in NYC. They had started making plans, were getting closer, and then one night he was gone. Shot in the head in a parking lot. And GB was nowhere to be found. She was bunned up with this chick that all of her friends hated. A chick who had manipulated her and caused a rift between her and Curly. Their friendship was never the same after that.

Curly had a kid 2 years ago despite several serious red flags. She lived in Brooklyn, a block away from GB, who was there with her, but her heart wasn’t in it. GB was the first to meet the loser who’d become her babydaddy, and was not pleased. Made it very public. Called me, the perpetual referee, to update me on the nonsense. He hit her. Was a coke head. Has a bunch of other kids. She’s convinced he’s gay cuz he came to the club wearing “gay ass sneakers.” Sure enough, the ngga was sitting in a jail cell when GB & I flanked either side of Curly's big pregnant self, walking up and down the hospital block, rubbing her back and timing contractions.


DATELINE…Brooklyn, NY. New Years Day 2008.

“We missed you last night.” I reread the text before sending it to Curly.

“You had fun?” I read her terse response and imagined her sitting in her dark living room watching her genius son identify obscure animals in one of his many wildlife books. I knew she was feeling some kinda way.

“You not being here created a glass ceiling on the fun. What’s up?”

“You know before Christmas I didn’t speak to GB for MONTHS? I would see her online sometimes and after a while I would just stop even saying hi. I sent her an email like you suggested and she literally didn’t respond. Not even to acknowledge that she got it. If that’s what best friends do then I guess I only got one left.”

We’re too old for this shit. These spats run deep. I understand and empathize with both. Because that’s what best friends do. I stand in the middle and listen. A part of me knows that this too will pass as it always does. And it will subsequently return, this chasm, this ugly gash in our family portrait. As it always does.


DATELINE…Miami. March 2008. Day 5.

“So Curly,” I say, before handing her a shot. “I was asking them nggas about 3somes.” Our heads cock back in unison. Bitter faces synchronize, too.

“You and two boys???” she asks.

“I didn’t say a TRAIN!” Our convo is lost among the many in the hotel room. “GB couldn’t believe I hadn’t had one since we got to Miami. Whore.”

“Don’t do it,” she says without turning toward me.

I pause. Listen.

“Drama. I didn’t even like the dude, then this bitch starts liking him when he started feeling me. So we did it.”

“When the fuck was this?” I'm incredulous.

“In Philly.”

My mind scrolls back to that period of our photo album. I didn’t expect to open this can of worms, but now that I’m all up in it I can’t help but simultaneously double over laughing and nervously squirm. “Who was this??”

“Remember Justin? That one from Cali?”

“Ngga, the CHICK! Who the hell was the chick?!”

This is a photo we’ve never taken. In our 15-year history we have never had this conversation. Philly was almost 10 years ago. The weight of this secret hovers above my head and I cant help but make a ridiculous face…as the next round of shots go down.

“GB.”

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