seriously…who doesn't like sushi

blah

coming home is always emotional for me…

this time the most prominent emotion is “happy”.  my parents’ non-relationship elicits a slight negative emotion but overall, i feel very much at peace being here.

things are getting worse.  every time i talk to my dad, he talks about how bad detroit’s gotten.  although his emphasis on how he answers the door with a shotgun now is unncessary b/c that shotgun has been by the front door for almost 2 decades.

but even my mother, the eternal optimist, has nothing good to say about current developments.  so she doesn’t say anything.  i worry about the city where i’ve left my parents.  i know they’ve come too close to paying off the house to just move somewhere else without selling it, or walk away from it.  but i fear a time will come when safety & ease of living might have to outweigh money…

on the other hand, my parents’ house seems blessed…cars have been stolen from the driveway, my bike off the porch, the generator from the garage…but no one has ever attempted to break into the house since we moved here in 93.  which is not true of any other house on the block.  so i guess my dad’s willingness to shoot has its upsides  (he has cocked & shot his shottie out the window more than a few times).

i was telling my mom how much i enjoy weed & she was like “can’t you just look at the trees–doesn’t that make you happy?”  i said “nope, sometimes you gotta smoke ’em”.

we had a cool conversation about all the celebrations of the confederacy that people in the south are planning…

i understand the notion of states rights.  i even understand that–although the ONLY “state right” that all signatories of the confederacy wrote in there statements of secession was the right to own and trade slaves, the civil war was not just about slavery, but rather the right for states to do what they perceived to be in their best interests.

but still.  state laws will never trump federal laws.  that’s just how hierarchy works. secondly, everyone knows that the north was anti-slavery for political & economic reasons–not because of any issues of morality.   so now, looking at history of not just the u.s. but all the former colonies in the americas…it is more than apparent that if slavery continued at the rate it was going, the population of the south would eventually be overwhelmingly black.  in fact, slavery was so entrenched that even today, Mississippi, Louisiana, & South Carolina have populations that are over 30% Black.  Georgia is just under with 29%.  Alabama has 26%.

This created a short-term political advantage for southern states (then democrats) because slaves counted for 3/5ths of a person.  This meant that although slaves couldn’t vote, they paradoxically had representation among the house of representatives.

In the long-term, the Haitian revolution as well as rebellions throughout other caribbean islands and in the U.S. showed how dangerous it would have been to have black majority populations, even in pockets.  To have a slave-based economy was just not tenable in the long-term. Furthermore, as other nations began outlawing slavery, eventually other world powers would have ceased to engage in trade with the U.S. if they continued with legalized slavery.

Not to mention, slavery violates the whole entire notion of human & civil rights.

so in retrospect, with it well-documented that the ONLY “states right” the southern states cared enough to fight for was slavery, i don’t understand how this is something to celebrate.

is is very uncouth & frowned upon for the grandchildren of nazi soldiers–whether they are in germany or somewhere in south america–to celebrate their ancestors “fight for what they believed in” resulting in the holocaust.  the ones who do celebrate this publicly are skinheads that are not considered mainstream society &  receive the general ostracism that militant outcasts receive.  why in the south, do white people feel so imposed upon or defensive about their celebration of the fight their ancestors lost to keep people enslaved?

so, question:  how am i wrong for viewing you as an ill-informed, illogical racist?

answer:  i’m not.

that was such a tangent.

anyway, my interest of late has been reading books about economic development in sub-saharan africa, analyses of globalization, and books on politics in the u.s.

i just posted on the altanta community. i wonder if someone will tell me why people celebrate the civil war.

 

 

 

 

new kem cd

feeling some kinda way,

wonder where i am, while i wait on a phone call that will only come too late.

it bothers me that i can’t write.

i thought i was better than this.  my conscious mind seems consumed with thoughts of what might be, or what might not.

i have an apartment to clean.  i’m exhausted.  i have chapters to read.  and honestly, i can just dump everything in my closet if i need to.  walk in closets are cool, but not when they take up half the size of your bedroom.

i want to live off the ocean, or at least by a river or lake.  i want a kayak.

chill relax

in movies and in poems scribed by spoken word artists, there are so many tales of people who are afraid to love.  or to even be open to the possibility of love.

i’m listening to erykah badu telling me i’m hurt my back, dragging around all this baggage…

i’m open-hearted, but then all of a sudden a stone wall pops up.  the one that says: “don’t get used to him, y’all might not even be talking tomorrow, or a month from now.   you don’t even know him like that, he could be telling you everything you wanna hear, & doing the exact opposite.  don’t get too attached because 89% of people cheat.  can you compete with all the women he sees on the daily basis? what happens when the newness wears off, & he gets bored with you?  what happens when he stops thinking the sex is good? ”

see my mind reiterates 2 resounding thoughts:

1) most men aren’t worth shit.

2) you don’t have what it takes to keep the ones who are.

so i stand humbly before love’s altar, realizing that if i can honestly say that all i want to do is give my best to someone who deserves it, then there must be others who feel the same way.  and even though it’s too soon to tell if this particular person merits this level of effort & commitment, i owe it to myself to at least give it a chance.  because how will i know if i don’t try?

i’m just wondering what it’s like after the newness & giddiness fade…after the getting-to-know-you type conversation has been exhausted…after you’ve seen some of each other’s worst & best & decide you still want to stay…when it’s just 2 people standing before each other, naked, stripped of pretense & facades, seeing directly into each other’s selves…and in their eyes you find reflected some of your worst faults & deepest fears…what do you do then?  what activates that impulse to affirm each other’s strengths instead of manipulating one another’s weaknesses?

there comes a point when a person hands their heart over to you, and you can either choose to nurture it or destroy it. and of course the choice is obvious, but the price of nurturing requires giving that person the opportunity to do the same…hold your heart…and who’s to say whether they will make the same choice you’ve made?

have a yet arrived at that point? i’m not sure.  as warm as i try to be, there’s a coldness that lives in me…reminding me that no one else in this world will make me or break me.

people describe falling in love, like, infatuation, obsession or lust as jumping off a cliff.  it’s a choice you make, or a force that pushes you over the edge…

right now i feel like i’m standing on the edge of that cliff…looking down…and sometimes the vision i see down there in love land looks so pretty. and then other times all i see is a black, churning sea of uncertainty.  i feel like i’m just waiting…on the edge…for a sign?  for a push from fate?  i’m mystified by my own ambivalence.  logically, i think moving forward is a good thing–maybe even the only thing to do.

but emotionally…

i just feel like…i need so much.  i have no wish to be anyone’s “everything”, nor do i want anyone to try to be mine…but i do feel like i need love without reservations…i need to know that i can call you at 4:42 a.m. & you’ll answer…because you know that i would only ever do that if it was a necessity.  i need to know that if i tell you i just need to be held or even made love to, that you’ll come to me or invite me to spend the night, because even though i’m a grown woman & i’ve been on my own for awhile, inside me lives that little girl who still hurts from all the affection & affirmation she never received as a child…i need to know that if i’m forgetting to eat you’ll remind me or even bring me dinner if it’s feasible, because you know i’d do the same for you…i need you to understand that some days i’m just not going to want to talk.  not because of anything to do with you, but because i’m a woman & it’s like that sometimes…i need you to believe the things i tell you, because you know i believe in this relationship too much to ever lie to you…i need you to promise that even if you get pissed at me that you will never disrespect me, that you’ll trust me enough to know that i would never intentionally hurt/take advantage of/disrespect/ or mistreat you.   i need you to care about how i feel, & to communicate your feelings to me.  and finally, i need to know that when you say you want to be with me, you really mean it, that you’ve decided i’m worth the investment of time, effort, & love that it takes to be with someone…and that if that changes you’ll let me know.

i guess that last bit is what i’m waiting for.  and i know it’s early so i’m not trying to rush anything…i just…feel like i need something…more…i can’t even say i’m standing in place, i actually feel like i’m backing up a bit from that cliff.  something kicked me out of my comfort zone–& it’s not him.  it’s me…

to be continued.

snapshot

i am on the other side of my 20 somethings.  recently transplanted, already beginning to take root in the closest thing i have to an ancestral homeland.

i’m actively pursuing 1 dream in grad school, & laying the foundation for a couple others…

my love for language(s) currently lies latent but i’m sure i’ll resurrect those skills in the not-too-distant future.

i have my own place, and it’s nice–nicer than i expected to live for a long time.  my car is in good condition, too.

i’m still working on my finances, but overall, there’s been a lot of improvement in the past year.

i’m celebrating two 1 year anniversaries:  the job & the new city.

i’m wondering if i’m falling in love? or falling into openness to the possibility of love?

thinking…

i believe:

in karma.  that what you put in is what you get out. that you should treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.  that being your best self to everyone is an effort worth working towards, because our words & our actions have energy.  & when you act out of love, you add a little more love + positivity to this planet & in your own heart.

that perception is everything.  we must always remember that our perspective on everything is just that, 1 of infinite ways that a person or situation can be viewed.  remember that as obvious as your way of thinking may be “right” to you, so is the next person’s perception to herself.  reality is subjective (most of the time).  never be afraid to challenge your own perspective…but also, never be afraid to trust your own judgment…

in the concept of confidence.  what i call confidence in one instance, i may call “self-love” in another.  being confident means accepting & loving yourself for whoever you are.  confidence may also be “humility”…to be confident you must be willing to admit & accept your flaws/shortcomings & see them as opportunities for growth.  “confidence” can also be ebullient optimism…the thing that motivates you to try a new avenue when a previous attempt has failed, or the certainty that just because something has never been done, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done…that if you look hard enough, you will always find a way.

that in everything, there is a lesson. on scales miniscule to grandiose, life is a series of learning experiences.  to borrow from my man paulo coelho, if you continuously find yourself in the same negative situations, it’s because you refuse to learn a lesson that life is trying to teach you.  what the lesson is, is determined by you & your belief system…in most cases there is no “right” or even clear answer…we determine our destinies based on what we believe to be true.

in gratitude. nothing in life is guaranteed.  not food, shelter, love, money–not even our next breath.  everything you have is something to be grateful for–whether you believe it’s due to God or just the luck of the draw…when you remember that nothing is promised, that there are so many people who survive with so little, or don’t survive at all…it makes me thankful.  it’s not that i delight in comparing myself to “the less fortunate”, or that i strive to be like those who have more than i do…it just reminds me that there is so little that you need in life, but when you don’t have those things it’s hard…& anything extra is just that…extra.

i’m sure i believe in more, but that’s a start…

remembering…

just remembering this time my granny–for whatever reason–decided to treat me to anywhere i wanted to go to eat…i told her i wanted to go to big boy’s, and that it was on jefferson. as she looked for it, i fell asleep in the car…an hour or more later i woke up and she was still driving, apologizing to me that she hadn’t found it…right then we came up on the restaurant…i pointed to it and said “there it is!”…she hadn’t known what it was, because it just said “Elias’ Brothers” on the front…
i always felt so bad afterwards for how frustrated she must have felt, looking for something & not being able to find it…and driving around so long…but grateful too because now i can look back & remember how my granny made sure i knew she loved me…

i really miss her…but glad she was in my life for as long as she was.

i remember not too long before she died, sitting in the sitting room in her house after church one sunday, and leaning my head in her lap while she patted my shoulder, and my mom & aunt gaynell were talking…

or when i was younger, how i used to like to play in her hair, and she used to always tell me “don’t put no plaits in my hair” and i used to braid it anyway…

or watching some real life version of “the exorcist” on 20/20, and granny telling me i was gon be scared, and watching it anyway…and then dashing around the house from light to light and her saying “i told you…”

or when i was really little, sleeping in the bed with her and trying real hard not to kick her…

how she always had food for me, drinking coffee with her in the morning, eggs, toast, sausage patties or red links, grits…juice from concentrate…watermelon or cantaloupe or honey dew melons, strawberries…bananas in the cereal…butter beans, collards, cornbread, pound cakes, lemon cakes, 7 up cakes, peach cobbler, & banana pudding from scratch…i remember how pretty the flowers in her yard looked…how when i was in pre-school or kindergarten, i got a radish seed as my “toy” in a happy meal once, and granny made sure it grew…and then chopped it up for me and put it in a salad for me…i can still taste my first radish.

i remember her telling me the only people to give some “sugar” to were my parents & grandparents…and that they could kiss me on the cheek or the forehead but no where else. she told me to be a help to my mother, to respect my father, to be grateful for my accomplishments & talents but never prideful…to give people the benefit of the doubt…that loving someone means being able to forgive, & not judge…

i had written my granny a letter once…
right before she died i was supposed to have written her another letter…i never got around to it…

i saw her a week before she died, a sudden compulsion to go home for easter sunday. after church everyone came to my parents’ house for easter dinner…i didn’t spend much time with her that sunday, but i had just turned 20 a few weeks before and granny wanted to make sure i knew that i was grown now…and that i had cab fare to get from the airport back to campus once i got to new york; she gave me cab fare every time i came home from school. one of those nice things i both really appreciated yet never showed enough appreciation for.

when i got back to new york, i went almost a week without calling her which was weird for me. i think once that week i had called and the phone was busy & never got around to calling back.

the following sunday, when i got a call from granny’s number at 8am i thought it was weird because my granny was not an early riser & i was knocked out from having gone out the previous night, but i was happy to hear from her so i cheerfully answered “hi granny!” then i heard my mom’s voice saying “no, it’s not your granny”…and i knew something was very wrong. when she told me granny had died, i think i collapsed. fresh grief is a mixture of disbelief, fear, hurt, & great regret.

it’s been 6 years now, but sometimes i really do get sad. i miss having a granny in my life. but i’m thankful to have an “aint” rose, who is a granny herself, and was my granny’s sister-in-law as well as one of her close friends.

i really really miss my granny…
so many things i wish she was still around for, questions i wish i could ask…

she was even the 1st Christian person i knew, who i was able to tell how my beliefs had changed & that the whole jesus story was problematic for me…& of all things, she quoted scripture to affirm me & said that as long as i believed in God that was what was important. she said that to me when my own mother told me i was going to hell if i didn’t change my beliefs.

summer always makes me a little bit more excited about music…warm weather means breezes blowing through open car windows & balcony doors, and music flies on the wind.  or something.  wack poetics aside, i love blasting my music on a sunny day whether it’s pleasantly warm or sweltering hot.

i recently found out about 9th wonder & david banner’s collaborative album: death of a pop star which is supposed to be coming out some time in 2010. when i 1st heard about it i was excited, because 9th doesn’t just fuck with anybody, and i just knew this meant to the return of conscientious lyrics to david banner’s music.  of 4 songs i’ve heard slated to be on the album, i love 9th’s production (duh).  i’m pretty sure you’ll never catch me claiming David Banner as one of the illest emcees in the game.  but i definitely hear improvement & see room for more, AND i am absolutely f-ing thrilled to hear a mainstream, commercial artist FROM THE SOUTH rapping about some real shit from a higher than street level perspective.

the following is  “no denying”…

no triangles over my head/but folks live rock to rock/block to block/i want ’em to betta/so i try to find somethin else to rap about“.  this is my favorite line of the song and sums up the purpose of the whole entire death of a pop star (D.O.A.P.S.) project.

the following single, “strange” features a-1 production by 9th wonder, with david baner & reno giving a light-weight critique of various political, cultural, socioeconomic issues with a splash of unnecessary misogyny,

as evinced in the song’s final lines:
When I die
And I bow to my knees
When I meet he maker
What am I gon say that I did with this blessing called living?
We kings & queens y’all
& when the south time’s over
I want em to know
That we was more than just gold teeth
More than just white
More than ass & titties
But 9th wonder I love titties.

“slow down” is less enthralling, but all in all i’m super excited about copping Death of  A Pop Star whenever it drops.

also on my can’t wait to cop list:

the arch android, janelle monae

Self Portrait

self portrait by lalah hathaway

The Song Lives On

the song lives on: joe sample & lalah hathaway

Ballad of Purple Saint James

the ballad of purple st. james: yazarah

the love & war masterpeace (2 cd deluxe edition): raheem devaughn  should have had this loooooong ago, but…”it’s a recession”