Thursday, October 27, 2005

LOVE and more love to Donna Wetegrove and Check out the recent article on yours truly!

abrazos y besos,
lemon trees and lemon-headed baby daddies...

I have had the privilege of invitation to work with performance artist Sekou Sundiata who is amid a residency at the University of Texas at Austin. Brilliant, wise, gentle man he is, to be as young as he is. As a part of that residency, he felt it important to work with area poets to journey with him toward completion of a forthcoming work, The American Project. we, the AMAZING collective of poets and I, have been meeting nights, from 7-10pm, mostly in intensive discussion incited by Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” Hughes’s “Harlem: A Dream Deferred,” and Adrienne Rich’s “Prospective Immigrants: Please Note.” What a blessing it’s been to just be with them for these days. (endless love to Shannon Bailey, Abe Louise Young, Deborah Paredez, Da'Shade Moonbeam, Enrique Cabrera, Florinda Bryant, Tony Jackson, Chris and Rene Ford.) I feel indebted to the universe (and Shannon bailey) for the opportunity. Anyway, the week will culminate in a performance of our work as it relates to the themes of our discussions.

Last night Sekou gave us this as a trigger for our writing… (finish
this thought)
“in the possible future that I imagine, there is/are/will

My answer:
… groves of lemon trees, fields of sugar cane and
(when life gives you lemons…)
It’s so hard to recover my sunken cheeks from the sour of lemons I’ve been sucking in life these days. But I’m looking for a humongous pitcher, some turbinado and a wooden ladle. I am sure, if nothing else, my life is just preparing to quench itself on some tangy/sweet, cold-lemonade-on-a-Texas-summer-day kinda writing.

Simultaneously, with the brilliance of this experience with Sekou et al, I have had a couple of the worst days in my recent divorce history. My soon-to-be-ex (who we'll call "Lemon Head," to protect the...?) and I can’t seem to amicably agree on the visitation schedule for our children and, being the “bad guy” I am, under the advice. hell the INSISTANCE of my lawyer, was forced to call “DEFAULT.” Unfortunately, that means our children will only see their father on Thursday evenings and stay with him every other thursday through the weekend. Lemon Head is livid about it but what else can we do? his rage has become the force behind the thing that he deems makes me less worthy than he to be the primary custodial parent for our children. can he get any more 1st grade? I mean, when the brotha doesn’t get his way, the only thing he doesn’t do is throw himself on the ground, ring his fists in the air and let out all of the air of his lungs into an earsplitting “Waaaaahhhhh!” this decision is NOT because I believe him to be a bad father. It is because the court says, “in the absence of agreement, we default.” We can’t agree, so we default. Simple as that. funny how we started out with one of the best split ups of any i’d seen before. But when the whole child support thing became a reality, well, let’s just say it got unpretty. if any of you want to see what a real custody fight looks like, live and in color, I assure you he’s promised to make this a good one. Stay tuned. The revolution will be televised. (sign me up for the march, flo!)

fasten your seatbelts y’all…

Monday, October 10, 2005

i hope you're right jameri!
this is a test of the photo on profile posting directions... this is only a test. should this test work, expect the picture on the profile to change within the next week to one that ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE ME now.
greetings all:
the following editorial was sent to me via email this afternoon. i feel a poem coming from it but i think my dumbfoundedness has kept it from writing itself as of yet. stay tuned until then...

beaucoup d'amour...

What’s in a Name? Hip-hop's African Influence
By David Sylvester

I recently completed a charitable bicycle trip in Africa, riding over 7000 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip made me the first and only African American to cross two continents on a bicycle.
I have plenty of great and fascinating stories. Many are funny, others bittersweet, some are poignant, but all are entertaining. Surprisingly one story has stood out and if it was not for the fact that I have a picture of it, many would never believe it. It is for that reason that I am sharing it with you.

I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of "Jew Devils,” “Spic Bastards,” “Muff Divin' Dykes” or anything like that- only the store “Niggers.”

While in Lilongwe, Malawi, I came across a store by the name of "Niggers." That's right "Niggers!" The other riders, who were all White, could not wait to inform me of this to see my reaction. Initially, I thought that it was a very bad joke but when the other riders were adamant about the existence of the store, I had to see it for myself.
What I found was a store selling what the owner called 'hip hop' style clothing. It was manned by two gentlemen - one of them asleep! (Talk about living up to or in this case down to a stereotype). I asked the guys what was up with the store name. After hearing my obvious non - Malawian accent and figuring out that I was from America, the man thumped his chest proudly and said "P-Diddy New York City! We are the niggers!"

My first reaction was to laugh because many things when isolated can be very funny, but it quickly dawned on me that this was so not funny at all. It was pathetic. I did these bicycle trips across the USA and through the 'Mother -Land' in honor of one of my good friends, mentors and fellow African Americans, Kevin Bowser, who died on 9/11.
Here I am, a Black man riding across the world on his bicycle in honor of another Black man, riding 'home', and what do I see? Some Africans calling themselves Niggers. They were even so proud of it they put it on their store front to sell stuff. When I relay the story to folks back home in Philadelphia, most of them laugh too and rationalize it by saying 'well, we can say it to each other' or 'there is a difference' or even 'they just spelled it wrong. It should have been 'niggas' or 'niggah's'. Gee, like that would make a difference.

The issue is not the spelling. I was wrong. We are wrong. There is no justification for an infraction of this magnitude. The word and the sentiment behind it are flat out wrong. We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land.

I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of "Jew Devils," “Spic Bastards,” “Muff Divin' Dykes” or anything like that- only the store “Niggers.”

I am to blame for this. Every time I said the word, I condoned it. By not correcting others or by rationalizing it, I gave it respectability. By looking the other way when others said 'hey nigga what's up', and when I purchased CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff, I enriched it. I now see the error in my ways and I am so sorry Black men and women.

The flame that we called entertainment, that was only to warm and entertain us, now engulfs us and scorches our own self esteem. If a child only knows to refer to men and women as niggers, bitches, pimps and hoes, then what is he/she to grow up thinking of themselves?

The bottom line is this: I rode over 12,000 miles on two continents through 15 states and 13 countries and broke two bikes in the process to get to a store in Africa called Niggers. I am willing to step up and admit my part in the havoc that we have wrought on our mindset but I think that we all are to blame.

I will finish with 4 things: if you don't like being called a Nigger, Bitch, Faggot, Dyke, Spic, Jew Dog, Wop, Towel Head or anything of that ilk, then think. Think before you speak those words, write those lyrics, support that rhetoric. And most of all think before you purchase! Purchasing is akin to compliance. I may like the beats and rhythms of some songs but I can not support it any more. You rappers are intelligent. Find another word to describe yourselves.

A picture is worth a thousand words. For larger view click onto

David Sylvester is a personal trainer, who teaches health to adults in Philadelphia. He e-mailed this story initially to 35 friends. They forwarded the e-mails, and Sylvester has received more than 300 responses, including responses from Japan since the initial e-mail on July 20. See:> for more.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Your Seduction Style: Fantasy Lover

You know that ideal love that each of us dreams of from childhood? That's you!
Not because you posess all of the ideal characteristics, but because you are a savvy shape shifter.
You have the uncanny ability to detect someone's particular fantasy... and make it you.

You inspire each person to be an idealist and passionate, and you make each moment memorable
Even a simple coffee date with you can be the most romantic moment of someone's life
By giving your date exactly what he or she desires, you quickly become the ideal lover.

Your abilities to make dreams come true is so strong, that you are often the love of many people's lives.
Your ex's (and even people you have simply met or been friends with) long to be yours.
No doubt you are the one others have dreamed of... your biggest challenge is finding *your* dream lover.

WOW!!! it's amazing what answering a few questions reveals about a person. I LIKE THIS ONE!!! (gon' make a sista's chest swell.) i tag jamerie to take this one! (go ahead. you know you want to.)
happy birthday to me… happy birthday to me… happy birthday dear shia...
happy birthday to me!..
and to nobel peace prize winning president jimmy carter… and to the late musical genius donny hathaway…

the last several weeks have delivered a plethora of percussive punches from the universe. but when the earth is unsettled and axis-changed, and night heat feels arabian, and katrina and rita come for reclamation, i imagine no one is quite at peace. and what’s the moon doing? mercury is not in retrograde… is it? the good thing is that i am finding breath again. and i guess it is all milk for my bones anyway… the storm before the rainbow of a birthday celebration that was this last weekend.

it went a lil something like this…

on friday night, eight of my daughter’s friends came over for the a swim/slumber party she (and my son, by proxy) had organized in honor of my 35th. nothing like a room full of slightly hormonal, extremely attitudinal, possibly premenstrual eight and nine year olds and a taunting, tattling, brooding younger brother to start off your birthday. luckily, though, my birthday and participation in all activities around it was the trump card i whipped from my hip pocket to gain their cooperation whenever things got too out-of-control, which seemed more often than not.

at midnight, one of the girls realized it was officially my birthday and they all gathered around to sing to me, and give me their handmade cards and presents. for those that know me, i’m sure you could have guessed that i was a weeping mess by the end. following a fashion show, the settling of few sibling fights and the movies-on-demand showing of casper, (cuz remember, i got cable now y’all), i forced them to find sleep, despite their desire to meet the light of morning (and dashing their dreams of carrying that badge of honor to the next party… “we stayed up all night!”). by the time all of the parents came to pick them up, my daughter finally found the deep sleep that eluded her in the midst of hosting the party. she missed their goodbyes.

on saturday, my actual birthday, i went for my mani/pedi/facial appointment in the beautiful shop of my friend ola. (i can’t imagine oprah gets better treatment than what ola gave me.) from there, i floated on to the hotel where i got in a hot bath and slept off the glass(es?) of wine ola served as i basked in her pampering.

oh shit! i woke up from my chardonnay-induced slumber at 8:39pm, to realize in a panic that my birthday dinner was scheduled to start nearly 40 minutes prior at austin’s “she-she” downtown chinese bistro, pf changs… without me! i threw on the birthday outfit i’d shopped for all week and strode around the corner to join the gorgeous group of people gathered in my honor! from there, everything about the evening was perfect! the food was exquisite! my friends were simply and beautifully divine! the cherry atop this birthday sundae of perfection was that my birthday fell on saturday... and the party left pf changs to resume at my favorite nightspot, club one15... and dj cut creator was the dj of the night!!! (remember when LLcoolj asked us… “what’s my dj’s name?” and we yelled “cut creator!” yeah, well he lives in austin now and puts it down at club one15 every saturday night.) so, along with the vip section, the champagne and the delectable chocolate cake, cut creator was on the turn tables and i was on the dance floor nonstop til 2:00 when the club closed and we trooped it over to copa for first saturday salsa! by 3am, the last of us headed home and i to my hotel where i passed out in dream-filled sleep, praying i’d wake up there and that it had all been real.

this was by far the best birthday i’ve had since my 30th and i am grateful to all those who made it out to celebrate with me for making it all so unforgettable.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Your Hidden Talent
You are both very knowledgeable and creative.You tend to be full of new ideas and potential - big potential.Ideas like yours could change the world, if you build them.As long as you don't stop working on your dreams, you'll get there.