Monday, October 31, 2011

Technological Hate

I am so full. I did this to myself on purpose. I stuffed myself on turkey salad and water - bottled water and I am about to take a hot shower and take my ass to bed. This is early for me but Im tryin. I just signed up for twitter and I absolutely hate it. I never wanted to do it but I ran into a semi famous comedian recently who bought my cd, asked me to sign it and took a picture of it for twitter. He asked me what was my twitter account so that he could tag me. I told him that I hated twitter and he sat at the dinner table with me and said "Love, you are just starting out so let me help you - this is show business - the key word BUSINESS you need access to every social media angle." I took his advice but I dont like it.

I also signed up because so many of my friends have said the same thing the comedian said and many of my friends think Im hilarious (even though I keep tellin them that I rarely joke - I be serious as hell).

Anywho, now Im a blogger, a FBer, a bancamper, youtuber, and a twit. Can you blame me for not being proud of these titles?

Imma jump in the shower and call it a night. what I would love is a person to do some of my social media for me . . . Another word for that is secretary but I do not want to believe that I need one yet. My money showll aint there to hire one. Eh. We'll see.

GoodMorning :-)

New York Nights (From The Perspective of A Vampire).

I think I have my days switched completely around. I sleep all day - like for real. I used to sleep a lot the last few days I was in California but, man, I will literally go to sleep at like 7 AM and sleep until 6pm and then I'll get dressed and go out, eat at like 4 or 5 AM, come back to the house and write for a couple hours. I feel like a Vampire. This city really doesnt sleep. I dont know how people do it.

Ive been trying to explain the time difference to my family. I told my sister Wizzy and my cousin Tamishe

"you know how in Cali if you wake up at like 8 in the morning you'll see people on they way to work, kids on they way to school? At around noon you see mostly kids who are cutting school and adults on lunch breaks or without jobs? And then at like 6 it's mainly folks rushin home from work, around eight to 10 its mainly adults and teens - but no kids out? Well, here, you can be on a subway at 4 AM and it has the same mix of people as a California afternoon. It's so easy to lose track of time here because every minute and hour looks like a California afternoon, even when it's dark."

I think another reason I've become nocturnal is because I aint got shit to do right now in my life except for write. I got my confirmation number to Germany. I wish I could leave tomorrow but the soonest everything is open is on the 8th of November - next monday. So in the meantime between time I'm just pinchin pennies and chillin.

I have been writing my black ass off! I love the new direction my writing is taking. I've all of a sudden found myself working on a novel that I am absolutely in love with. I am actually writing the type of work that I would be interested in reading. I love it. I feel like a writer for the first time in my life and I've given myself full permission to operate in that feeling and cant no one tell me otherwise.

Today I just stayed in. I ate a little - I havent had much of an appetite sine I left Cali. I think I'm heartbroken, but I expected to be so - whatever. I get very thirsty here and the tap water is awful. Its just truly disgusting and I'm always thirsty. lol.

The men here are not much different than the men in Cali. I used to think there was a huge difference but there really isnt. Most men nowadays just dont take the time to try and understand womyn. I dunno if its because they dont have to or what - but Lord! I like that the men in New York approach me boldly. But after they get past hello they dont really know what to say or do. Most of them offer me drinks. And of course I love drinks. So I drink and wait for them to be who they are and not who they think I want to fuck that night . . . and they just buy me more drinks and hope that I'll get drunk and make it easier for them . . . and then I'll stop drinking and go home. This has happened 3 times already.

I met one guy that I was really attracted to. I saw him rap at a venue. I thought he was hilarious and found his security sexy. Afterwards he sat next to me and I didnt say anything to him, I just smiled. He smiled back. I thought "he could get it". Later I got on the mic and said a couple of poems. The men in the room absolutely loved em. After the show the guy that I liked came and introduced himself. We complimented each other. He asked me for my number and pretended it was about business. I played along. I asked him what was up with the night, it was young. Is there a fun place to go and dance. He told me where him and his friends were goin and I told him me and my girls would meet him there. We did. I had already told my girls that I was goin there just to flirt with him.

The place is PACKED with men. The bartender is SO fine - even his earlobes had muscles. He and I caught eyes and he smiled a naughty, freaky, McNasty, sexual smile and my grin almost touched my ears. But I didnt say nothin to him because I wanted to see how it played out with the guy I met earlier. Long story short - me and dude ran into each other on the dance floor. I had to literally push other men out of my path to get to him. He came and got me through the crowd, held my hand and we started dancin. He was not much of a dancer. I LOVE dancin. So off top, I was thinkin "boooooooo! but whateva - let's see if he can hang with my conversation." Nope. He was quiet. It seemed like he wanted to say so much but just didnt know what to say. I kept leavin him. Thinkin maybe he was nervous and needed time to get his words and swag back in place. Nope. This was who he was: someone totally different than swagful, secure performer. So, I thought "Ok back to the bartender".

The music is still goin and I look at the bartender until he looks at me and we start grinnin at each other again. He motions for me to come to him and I do. He pours me a drink. I start whisperin in his ear, makin him laugh so hard he's knocked my drink over and had to pour me another one. So we start flirtin. Then I think about somethin he said and I say to myself "wait - he's a baby!" So I go back to him and ask him his age. "How old do you think I am?" "You're 21 because you're in here. But you're barely 21!" He looked at me and asked me how I knew. "Cause you still don't know trouble when it's starrin you in the face!" he laughs hard again. I laugh with him and peck him on the cheek, drink my drink and leave. When I get home, the rapper texts me saying he hopes I had a nice night and I think - Lord, I was hopin I'd have one myself. Sweet guy though. Really sweet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick Update

So from the looks of a website my dear friend and mentor Arlene has shown me on facebook, Kenya has is on the brink of a war. Not a game. Looks like it involves all types of red tape that may include hidden efforts to increase their dollar value and territory according to what I've read. I their efforts to do so they're a skin of the teeth measure away from declaring war on Somalia (if they already havent). War is not a term that Kenyans regularly use. I honestly dont know exactly what is going on because I am an American at the end of the day and that means that no matter what, I am almost always too ill read to give a clear read on the entire situation. But what I do know is that I am not going to Kenya no time soon!

So I am still in New York and it is snowing. I had no way of even considering to bring winter clothes because right now I am supposed to be in Kenya. I am not supposed to be on my way to Germany where it is even more freezing than New York. I have one pair of jeans and one Winter jacket. I have no scarf, no gloves, no mittens, and no way of knowing where the money for those things will come form but I am sure it will come.

I contacted a few places in Germany. A club owner or two acted as though they could not book me. They said they were booked in advance and I believe them. I also believe I'll wiggle my way in one way or another :-) At the end of the day, people are people and they'll see me and book me. Or someone else will.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 1

For the most part, this journey of mine has be come a big adventure and I now know what the excitement that other folks displayed was all about when I said, in a very casual way "yeah, Im going to Kenya to try and create more safe spaces for people to speak". At first I didnt get the hype. "Oh well, Im just going to Kenya" I thought. I underestimated that the planning for this trip would be like any other. I underestimated that friends would stay friends and business would stay business and everyone would keep their word. There is a biblical passage that explains my mindset "to the pure, all is pure".

As Im sitting here, enjoying the roast beef sandwich and blood runnin through my veins, I am reminded of my grandma Osie. She and I had a disagreement where I was ungodly blunt with her - respectful, but blunt. it was for the sake of a young girl and it was in total fear that the girl would undergo the multiple years of sexual abuse that my grandma Osie had absolutely no idea I endured. Anyway, that's another story. Case and point is that even though my intentions were honorable - that is still my grandmother and she has picked cotton, loved an alcoholic until his dying day, had eleven children and raised more than twenty. She deserves my patience at the least. I had no right being so quick with her. I apologized but the relationship has yet to be the same as it was before I told her a quick truth. But there is something that my grandmother once told me that counters or maybe adds to the biblical passage: "your plans make plans for you." Today, I really know and understand exactly what she meant.

My initial plan was to live with a certain set of friends and that went its own way. And then my plan was to save a chunk of money but I didnt know how bad I was at saving until I had to actually do it! Then my plan was to make money and people have been too busy to keep promises. The upside is that I have been given favor. People have given to me freely. I have had to learn to take. I have had to learn to let go of people who dont know how to give without in-debiting, I have had to learn that the majority of the people in my life are acquaintances - not friends and there is a huge difference. I figured it out today while I was transferring from the L train to the A on my way to 1st st and 1st Ave for Mike Geffner's show - here's the difference: a friend is a friend at ALL times - that's the Word, not me. And an enemy has the courage to declare war and make herself known - but an acquaintance is a friend or foe in wait. It is someone the soul is still trying to figure out if it should entreat or retreat from. I have so many acquaintances that I have been calling friend for the sake of their feelings because they want me to believe that I am their friend so badly. But why? Why lie? That's what this journey is helping me figure out. I've been lying - and Ive been slackin on this blog - which is my opportunity to get a quick truth to those who are asking for it, for the sake of people's feelings - mainly poets feelings because we dont want to see how we look - we'd rather tell you how you look and how wrong and short sighted you are! Many of us are truly the cowardly consciousness - the most sensitive orchestrator's of drama and ugliness and I cannot lie or hold my tongue about what I see - even though I see the shit storm coming like a train at me. Poets will read this and call, or text or comment but, whatever! This is my truth. My soul is a witness to it. And nothing is going the way I thought it would go - so what makes other poets so special?

There is a war going on with Kenya involved. Nairobi has been bombed so I do not feel safe going there. Im going to chill in Europe and try to get as many gigs as I can there and hope the war between Kenya and their disagreeing country will mellow out. If not, I am thinking of beginning the project in another country. This has truly become an adventure. Im draggin you with me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GOODbye California

Considering all of the things I had to do and experience before I left California, I believe I left the state on good terms. Of course, I left it with enemies - but the people who have always loved me still do and will always.

Tooo much - I am learning tooo much so soon and so fast on this journey. Some days I feel like I need a video camera and a mic implanted in my mind that can narrate for me so that you could get every detail. I am now in New York and I was just on the train today in shock of all the shit I just went through for a year to be on that train. I lived with people - strangers, lovers, acquaintances, family and patient and giving friends for a year. I have slept on couches, floors, in a closet (made into quaint and comfortable room) in cars, boats and some of the most comfortable beds. I have had to adjust to cats, kittens, dogs, couples, singles, infants, preteens, potheads, partyers, players, poets, church folks, elders, exes, and houses with other house guests besides myself and honestly - I can not believe it. I just can't believe Im HERE. In New York on my way out of America within days.

New York doesnt feel like New York. In my body I am still in California. At first I thought it was jet lag. I was telling my mentor/friend (before I left Cali) that flying in airplanes is unnatural. I don't mean that it is "wrong" - a lot of things I love to indulge in are unnatural like, caramel. But I dont think that flying is meant for the soul. We are made to stop and see and smell and taste and journey instead of just appearing at a destination. It usually takes me the same amount of time to adjust to being in the destined city after a long flight to "catch up with myself" the same amount of days it would've taken me to get to my destination by bus or car or boat.

Anyway, while in New York I am touring. Visiting as many poetry spots as possible. I've already been to Baltimore and had an OK time. Maryland is hard to adjust to but I know that I am speaking from the perspective of a person who reads people more than places. You know, tonight I had the honor of being invited to a venue and I was to say a poem. When I got to the venue a poet was speaking and she is well known. I have seen her perform before and was impressed. Tonight she said different poems than what I'd seen before and I couldn't hear her because of the audience. They weren't loud or talking. They were praising the poet - not her poetry. When she said jump up and down and squirm or pace or make goofy faces and softly clap their hands - but they weren't really a listening audience. They were fans of catch phrases. I don't believe they really cared whether the catch phrases served the poem or not. I stared at some of the audience members and went closer to the front to fight feelings of contempt. I hate popularity competitions. They never cease to make any moment feel like the first day at a new school. It wasn't until my name was called to speak that I realized that I didnt want to say a poem for this audience. I was no one to them so they would fail to act like they were really hearing me like they were acted for the other poet. Of course I said a poem, I didnt perform it. I just let it spill out, stayed till the last poet spoke (out of respect) and left.
            When I got back on the train I realized the problem wasnt the audience more than it was me. I discovered that I just don't want to say poems for certain people. The air in the place was stuffy and not in a breathing sense but in a pretentious sense. There was no real welcome. There was no invitation for the unfamiliar. I wont perform for an audience like that again. I dont have to. I didn't have to tonight but I'm glad I did and I am still truly honored to be included in the sharing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Black American Dream

Ive been swamped and reading A LOT of James Baldwin lately. I remember walking into the bookstore in Berkeley and requesting James Baldwin and Stokely Carmichael. The womyn at the counter told me to look in the "radical" section. I quickly informed her that they should replace the word radical with the word LOGICAL.

These two men talk about liberation in it's most purest terms and they have helped me to make a clear distinction between free and captive thinking. I am on my way to being a free thinker - I feel it.

I have this friend. She is a phenomenal Jazz singer and I owe her a heap of money that I have yet to gain or deliver, but I have every intention of gaining and delivering to her no matter how tired I become paying my dues.

Paying my dues . . . it's the cost of a free mind: to oppose captivity no matter how tempting or more easily to obtain it shows itself . . . and I could still be a hostage . . . . I have been for so long. NOT a victim, but a hostage - hostages are NOT always victims, especially the ones who escape OR overthrow their capturers and I like to believe I am strong enough to do such things.

When I was married, I would like to say it was my husband who had the emotional knife to my throat and kept me there but it was not. My husband is just a man. No matter how ugly or beautiful, powerful or feeble I will and have painted him, put your complete trust in the truth I am tellin you now, he is just a man: Flesh, bones and silliness. Same as me. So he couldn't hold me anymore captive than I have been able to hold myself - and I cant speak for no one else, but I've lost myself a time or eight in this life. I've lost myself to the wishes of others, to the role society had lain out for me as a "woman" who (in order to truly be a woman) should lose herself in the wishes of others - and follow the map of - not womanhood - but black womanhood that has been lain out, and I'll tell you the difference between the two:
There is chivalry in womanhood and gentleness, and a fixed place for her in society - and by her I mean middle-class white women.
But for me, the black woman, yes there is some sort of chivalry - but our men work too hard surviving (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, ecomonically, racially, sexually) to have the Humphrey Bogart light in their step. And there are bills with mine and his name on em that he expects me to figure out for or with him. And there are white folks who come into our towns, wave they money and take over, and there are prisons who take our men and drugs that entice our children (that we don't have the authority to sanction or outlaw). There are things that were given to me to make my American dream such a black dream. And I don't mean black in an evil sense, I mean black in a Black American sense! In my mother's day, her American dream consisted of a kinda rundown house, three badass girls (me and my sisters) and a husband who had integrity and raised us right. I'm sure in that same day some nearby white woman's dream was the white picket fence, a dog named spot, a boy named Billy, and girl named Sue and a Nanny named Aunt Jo who raised em, with a CEO for a husband to pay for it all.

Well nowadays, my black American dream should not consist of me leaving America. It should not consist of me greeting the unknown and not caring what folk think or say or spread about me - I should be angry. I should be angry that some folks dont like me because I am a woman. I should be emotionally insecure and needy for the world's love. I shouldn't say "Fuck you back!" to people who scream it first - that's uncivilized (if there is such a thing as civility in America).

I should want the house and the white picket fence because times have changed and I dont have to "settle" for the same dream as my mother. I should want the kids, dog and nanny and the CEO husband - because it's OK for me to strive for the outdated American dream. The white woman who once dreamt of the house, kids and picket fence, well, her children are my age now and they dream of owning jet companies and oil and diamond mines and Greek Islands! So it's OK for me to strive to own a home in a white neighborhood, and marry a black engineer/preacher and have two kids and a dog and feel as though I am validated through those things because my mother never gained them - and so many black Americans DO feel validated with things! We dream this black ass American dream!

We swathe in Louis Vutton, and a bunch of other shit we can't spell and yell out names of designers that we're too afraid to fly and meet.

I am surrounded by so many captive folks that what I'm getting ready to do next week is amazing to them. Getting a ticket, shots, saving money and getting the hell out of this GOD FORSAKEN country is amazing to them . . . . and maybe it IS amazing, I just cant see it yet.

I cant see leaving an illusion as amazing.
I see it no different than drinking coffee to further awake from the dream I don't belong in.