Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Monday, October 30, 2006

Foxy vs. The Board of Education

Inspired by Professor GQ's post a few days ago...



Talk amongst yourselves

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What?

Your time here is short and probably numbered in days.

You think you know.

You really do, don't you?

Have you seen it on the streets? The buildings and streetpoles will outlast you. Them train tracks were there when your grandaddy was a little munchkin. Him and all of your long dead relatives walked, sat-in and got their asses kicked every which way it could get kicked for you to have the opportunity to sit on your ass and read this rant with the greatest of ease.

What?

You thought you were supposed to just grow up, listen to pop records, emulate your favorite whatever, go to school, graduate, post your multiple degrees on your office wall, get a family and show up until they give you the retirement walk out of cubicle city?

What happened to our poets?
Our painters?
Writers?
Artiseans?
We ain't even got rain dancers no more...

Where's your drive and ambition?

How many H.R.'s will you use the internet to get up on?

So, you're voting in a few weeks, huh? You ain't even researched dude's voting record during his last stint... And he's the incumbent...

Just look, choose (he seems familiar) and punch

And you're tired this weekend because your energy was sucked out of that ass at work

When was the last time you did something for you... Or for her or him? Or for the kids?

Yeah, looking at that pile of mail over there really shows how free you really are.

So get free then, you bad, right?

Aw shit, did you just say you don't know how?

To hell with me, when are you going to do what you were put here to do? When are you going to lay down that tired-ass excuse and get out into the world and make change? And I ain't talking bout' that fifty you got at the gas station either.

Nice digs, nice ride, cool clothes and a fly-ass high def joint. You seem happy. No, wait... You seem complacent. Yeah, that shit is going to always be there for you.

Waiting.

Waiting for you to do the 'right thing' and come straight home so it can lull you with all the trappings the matrix could come up with.

Minus the new neon signs and the church that was outsourced to non-union workers being built, the neighborhood still looks the same except for those cats hanging on the bully, and those are your friend's kids... They ain't harmonizing to the soulful sounds of the Stylistics anymore.

Pac been dead for 10 years and they swear he Jesus.

Jesus was a martyr who hung with the thugs and hustlers, but can it save that kid's soul?

You got dinner for your kids from the drive-thru the other day, threw that junk on the table and went to your room and watched some TV. Did the homework get checked? Did you even ask about that mannish ass boy that tried to touch your little girl? Are they bullying your son again? Do they even understand that the original 64 proofs of the Pythagorean theorem are booty these days? Yeah, we still study that.

When was the last time y'all hung out on the stoop until 1am on a school night?

It's kids out there under the age of 25 that don't know what it feels like to walk thru the grass barefoot... And skip rocks. Never played Redlight/Greenlight 123, Four Corners, Piggy... Listening to 'cuss records' in the basement on the sneak, roadtripping to see the cousins.

Are we that comfortable a decade and a half or so after Claire Huxtable quit being our TV mom that we just sit?

And wait?

How many people personally do not like our current president, but cannot recall his veto record? How many bills did his administration put into effect and/or got them shut down? What have his hand selected drones authored to make change? You feel trapped by his politics, right? What part, which bill? When is it scheduled to go to the floor and get addressed? You see, back in the day on the playground when we were signifying about each other's mommas and thangs, I would take time to research that kid's family in order to properly get everything down... All the way to her mannerisms just to get that win. Have you spoken to/emailed/called/visited your Senator/Congressperson/PAC/Donated/Funded research on the bill to make it sway in your direction? Have you heard his last six addresses to the general public? You need a better strategy other than the impeach him thing. I'm not defending anyone, I just haven't seen a stance or heard any critic come up with an exit strategy. Name calling and complaining without proper planning means a failed execution in advance. He must be smarter than he looks... he's in there now and all you can do with the power to start a new party, reform an older one or utilize your right to form a militia is complain. How do you begin to replace a person in a position that what you deem as a mistake in the first place if you do not know the work record of said person and his allies? Is the six o'clock news enough to inform you to make an educated decision at the polls? How many other blogs have you read today when you could have sacrificed a little time and done some research? CSPAN has a very detailed site... And a viewing schedule. So does your representative on Capitol Hill. You should bookmark them.

It's always put right under our noses.



We used to move mountains with our will, words and actions.

Have you tithed to your church recently?

Do you have any savings to tithe to yourself in case that big-ass corporation you slave for decides to let you go? Have you even looked at the proxy report and made a decision on how much you were investing for FY 07?

That car payment is whooping your ass ain't it?

The next sit-down dinner you'll have with your family is in a few weeks. Ain't that some shit?

You still think it's your fault?

Prayer is just a general convo with the Creator. Try not to ask for too much. Keep someone else in mind this time will ya?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fuck-Off Friday

I was in the middle of working on a piece about Senator Barack Obama and why he should run in 2008. I was also going to point out the dangers to him and our people by doing this, stuff that black folk haven't said publicly but wanna say, but I got bored and trashed it. Y'all ain't trying to hear that from me...

And then I started working on this meme about things y'all don't know about me. The fact that I bought a new car and a firearm on the same day this year shouldn't surprise you. This is Chicago, and a few days prior to that, I did get shot at. Seeing as handguns aren't banned in the burbs and the fact that the current piece I had at the time was both illegal and was the one I tried to use in my failed suicide attempt with last Thanksgiving...

And then I realized that it was time for me to go to physical therapy again and that this was my next to last session before I reach maximum medical improvement and am still in the same amount of pain I was in the day I got injured and no one has even sat down with me to go over what happens next (I already know, but when you deal with cheap-ass fuckers that want you to walk away so they don't have to spend money on you even though it is the law...).

The fact that my company no longer communicates with me, hasn't approved a visit to a bone specialist, prompts some quack to get me to get a cortisone injection that I have already refused, still hasn't sent me the money it owes me to live off of and doesn't know that precedent has already been set in cases like this so my lawyers are salivating...

I've finished writing the short about the kid and the party, but don't wanna share right now. I'm changing his fate, dammit. Damn near finished the project that I plan to have published early next year, and I don't even want to tell the person who inspired it that it's done (I promised to give that person the hand written manuscript for shits and giggles... Shit, for what now and why?)

The fact that I let a friend hear a few snippets of some tracks I was purchasing and this fucker emailed his whole damn high school graduating class (including a few competitiors) 6 pieces of unfinished shit (I have never shared unfinished work. I thought I would do something different and do the opposite, you know, for a close friend, look where that got me) effectively leaking half of my damn album, and I ain't got a budget to go back and change shit like Nas and Hova. Oh, did I mention that 2 of the tracks got back to the producer cats that created em' and I'm getting charged for shit I can no longer use AND might get sued for this...

And I get an emailed apology.

The fact that I get called into my hospital's occupational health office 3 times in the past two weeks to be re-tested because in the first health screen I took to land a volunteer position there my shit was so off it looked like I was in the beginning stages of chronic kidney disease until they proved it. I could be in either the first or second stage of the disease which (in diabetics like myself) could lead to renal failure...

So I really feel like telling a few people to just fuck off and suck my ass til' they taste snot, but I might enjoy that (not in any particular order), so I won't. I am not mad or angry, nor do I feel victimized or feel like I'm being picked on. I'm just tired and need rest. I do need a little Reiki (Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing) right now, and wouldn't mind a happy ending thrown in at no additional charge at this point.

Yeah, that would work.

So for a chosen few (not including that sessi-ass doctor I met last weekend who took the time to explain to me the difference between renal disease and renal failure) I really need some of y'all to fuck off, eat shit and die. For the rest of you, please pray that I gain a little patience and understanding, and that I get some strength to get thru what I need to get thru. I'm pulling the covers onver my head and drugging myself up today with hopes of sleeping off my precious Friday.

Right after I cancel this damn PT appointment.

I do expect a call for two from 'her' though. I don't even know her that well and she got me feeling all healthy and injury free n' thangs. I will take the time this weekend to dig a little deeper.

Always a silver lining.

Other than that, get lost and do something constructive with your stank-ass weekend.

Fuckers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Therapy Thursdays

Are brought to you by the letter 'Q'.

Let the pain begin!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Currently Writing This Piece... Part II

I know, I know... It's been a week since I gave you the first part in the saga of that kid going to that party and thangs. It's been a hectic week since I threw things at you. In the words of Grand Puba Maxwell: Sorry I left you!

There have been some things that kept me away from the story and I'll blog about that when it's time. I got some serious stuff happening over here in the Chi and trust me fam, I will address that in due time. I need time y'all. Keeping true to form as I mentioned last week I will compose this joint as I go along throughout the day. As I type this it is 4:17 in the AM Tuesday morning and I just let this little piece flow from my head at about 3am. I have early morning physical therapy going on today along with a hospital visit and me doing my volunteering thing at the Children's hospital right across the street from where all the medical tests are happening. I'll keep you posted, and when I get home, I will continue the live blogging experiment. But for now... Part II

3:09am
"C'mon man, you're kinda' early, we haven't started yet", Tammi says as she tugs on his jacket. She grabs him by the wrist and begins shuffling through the packed basement crowd. If this was early he thought, then it was sure to be packed like sardines by night's end. The basement had three sections, the rear area in which he entered looked like a wash area with washer and dryer giving that away. This was a vestibule of sorts, there were kids hanging in this area, going in and out of the party to the back yard of Tammi's house. There was a lot of chatter going on in this section because the music wasn't as loud as it was in other sections. Moving torward the front of the basement, they walked through a pack of dancing folk, grinding and working up buckets of sweat to the grooves that came from the multiple speakers scattered throughout this section of the basement. It was so dark and rightfully so, he noticed through the flicker of the strobe light that if it weren't for some remaining pieces of cloth on certain people, a lot of children would be born from activity on this night.

He was doing his best in casing the party, looking to find a few people he knew but trailing from behind he was distracted by Tammi's outfit. So happy that he came and so eager lead him to the mystery at the front of the basement she had no clue that he was checking her out. She outfitted herself in the most perfect pair of form fitting jeans she could find, her backside catching his eye and meeting his approval. Trailing throughout the crowd right behind her he had a full view. The t-shirt tied off at her navel was blocked by the unzipped sweat suit top that draped to her waist. He noticed that she was rocking two belts, one that helped her jeans hold in all of the thickness that caught his eye and another draped across her hips complete with a nameplate weighing it down in front. His eyes followed her form all the way down to her ankles where she sported the cutest pair of shelltop sneakers he has ever seen, pink and white fat laces complimenting her striped pink jacket and matching sunglasses keeping her hair from obstructing her view.

His thought process on Tammi and the efforts she went through to put on her jeans on was abruptly interrupted when he ran into the posse he hung out with at school. "How you living?" shouted his friend Poppy as he extended his hand, "Good to see you dog!" his homeboy Sandy yelled over the music while giving a handslap. He bumped elbows with his partner Wayne and gave a head nod to the tall, quiet brother Enyo standing near the speakers with a drink in his hand. All of the guys from outside his neighborhood that went to his school were there. These were the kids he tried so hard to get along with and share a little commonality during the school day, but never at a party. In his mind he wondered what took them so long to invite him to a gathering like this, but really he didn't care. He was in the house now and the party was just starting to jump off. After shaking countless hands and getting hugs from about a crew of twenty, he glanced at the makeshift DJ booth near the front of the basement and saw his man Al spinning new music he hadn't heard before. As he glanced in that direction Tammi said: "I know, we're about to go over there so we can get things started". He wished he knew what she meant by that.

The path to the DJ booth was a hard one to navigate. At these parties, droves of 'heads' gathered around the sound selector in an almost trance-like state watching the DJ spin his grooves. It was like Al had his own fan club. A head, or hip hop head was a guy or girl that probably came to the party alone just to hear the DJ play new records and watch him spin. A DJ had to be crafty, so he or she would place plain white labels over the labeling on the middle of the records in an attempt to hide what they were playing. Couldn't let anyone find out the names, record labels or groups that made the songs, each turntablist has his or her own way of blending grooves that makes that makes their style unique. He remembered traveling far and wide with Al in the weeks leading up to the party, going places he never expected to cop records from. All the hot new music along with old grooves kept a disk jockey fresh in the minds of partygoers. New music mixed with old favorites drives the crowds wild, and white labels on the records will keep them guessing what song is what and who made the it. Blame it on the boogie.

3:38am
As Tammi leads him away from the crowd of football players, basketball hoopers and other kids too cool to be seen in a sweaty uniform he noticed that the dance floor near the booth was packed with all the girls he broke his neck to get a glance at school. He seemed surprised that he got waves and shoulder taps from the ladies, he even had to stop and dole out a hug or two. He said hi to Cynthia the one that got away, tapped the shoulder of his old crush Angela and bear hugged his girl Sharon (the clique called her Bookie) who was the rightfully self appointed ambassador of style and grace at school. With music cranking loudly from the speakers, strobe lights quickly illuminating darkness with every drumbeat, pretty women lining every inch of the basement and yard areas and his crew of compadres, he knew that this would be a night to remember and reminded himself to savor this moment. If he stayed out too late, this would be the last party he would ever attend, and he is a long way from home.

He remembered that he had cab fare his dad gave him earlier that evening while watching the basketball game. His pops gave knew that look in his face as he prepared his outfit, making sure his sneakers were crisp and clean for the evening. Pops also knew that it would take a lot to pull his son away from whatever this special event he was going to, so he slid him a twenty dollar bill and told him: "Whatever it takes son, just get back here before your mother wakes up. I know you want to have fun, I know your friends are there, but don't let them get you in a world of hurt. If you need to get a taxi call Jiffy Cab and ask for Mr. Graves. I went to school with that old man and I know he'll get you here in one piece. Stay off that subway."

Reassured that the twenty spot his dad gave him could save him from severe punishment, he put a little pep in his strut behind Tammi. Slapping hands, giving high fives and receiving hugs from all of these kids felt good and then it hit him. Exactly what were they giving him all of this love for? At that moment he gave a perplexed look to his friend as Al looked up from his work on the turntables and said: "It's about time you got here man, you ready to work?"

2:05pm
"Ready for what, man? Y'all got me sweating over here! What's the fuss with all of this..." He was interrupted by Tammi asking him about the 'bathroom thing' and he flashed back:

It was about one o'clock and the halls of the school was quiet. There were six boys in the large school bathroom in a circle, or cipher as they call it. The tall kid with the letterman sweater had his head thrown back and was rocking side to side like he wanted to seize. He was doing his best to emulate the electronic drum sounds heard on his favorite rap records. There was an echo that reverberated his faux beatbox across the large, mostly marble latrine. The other boys also rocked back and forth to the rhythm that the human drum machine expelled from his mouth. Hand claps and ad libs were heard and that sound also echoed, giving the essence of a real, live rap record. It was a contest between two kids that started off trading notes with small poems on them which eventually exploded into an all out rhyme war. Nothing was off limits to rap about. These two kids would get together and try to rhyme about anything they could think of in order to one up the other. The freestyling contest went on for weeks... At the bus stop after school, in the lunchroom during break, in the lockeroom after gym class. Everybody heard about the quick rhymes and clever lines these two kids used to outwit each other. One day it was established that there would be a final 'rap off' and a champion would be crowned. It was to be witnessed by only a chosen few but what happened in that large lavatory that day would go on to become a part of school lore and be fresh on the minds of anyone who attended Tammi's next party because they both were invited to be there.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Night Experiment:


To have an all night affair with only Prince records...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Damn... It's Friday Already?

I'm slipping...

I only posted on Monday?

Interesting.

Well, It's been an interesting week... I would elaborate, but I just took a lortab and cyclobenzaprine...

Lights out...

Monday, October 16, 2006

What it is...

Hold up...

You said that I peaked your
interest and then walked away.


I never got a chance to speak.


I saw you over there, and
although your smile said hello
and your eyes invited me to come
over, it wasn't that.


We spoke, and your voice was more
than I expected, perfect pitch to
me and as comforting as mamma's
lullaby, conversation turned into
staccato statements about want,
need, lust and love. Politics and
stance were discussed and we
achieved balance in one conversation

but it wasn't that either.

Physically, you are the challenge
that the teenage boy in me cannot
overcome. Intelligent and
curvaceous. Opinionated and
sultry country thick. Fingertips
call for me to want to hold your
hand even in the most inopportune
moment, your eyes show me more
that soulful spirituality. Your
lips say more closed in that
crooked position than when open.

The nape of your neck calls for
my lips to lightly stroke it and

damn I want to do it, but...

Nah, it's not that.


Even in the admiration of your
immense Nubian stature, not
afraid to show the world the hips
that baby Africa rests on, having no
inhibitions on displaying the
earth tones that personify your
the depth and richness that is
your skin... impresses me.


But it ain't that either.

Being able to handle your own
against the powers of the world
both government and corporate.
Challenging men with deep pockets
and old societies who reflect a
polar opposite of us in the relentless
pursuit of tangible things. Being
daddy when daddy can't be and being
acknowledged as mother to the world.


Ain't that.

I'll tell you what it is.

I see God in you.

2006 Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo

I remember when I wrote that for her. I remember the look I received the first time our eyes met. As I wrote this, I knew that it was the first time I had written about any encounter I had at all. I was so overwhelmed in actually being right there, that she had actually taken the time to spend it with lil old me those words formed in my head as I tried to keep from squirming in my seat. When I got home, I remembered exactly what I thought.

Sometimes I feel so small in a world that I know I can topple if I ever opened my big mouth.

It wasn't the world that had my mouth agape, it was the fact that I could feel the anger, the lust, the unappreciated love she had to give, her yearn to bare children, her wanting to save the world one child at a time, the interest she took in me...

I could feel her.

I have never felt anything like that in my life and I know why. I had traveled so far to do other things, blowing off serious appointments and a meeting just to make time because what I felt from afar was just the tip of an emotional iceberg and I had to be in her presence just once. I was afraid of being there, but I stood pat. I had finally found someone that had more control over thier power than I. It's known that I have this thing, like a newfound mutant over at Professor Xavier's school, this thing that I do that evokes emotion through speech, written word and song. I know that I have these gifts, but I cannot seize the power to do what I want to do with it because I know it's God's will and not mine. But to meet someone that has that thing you can feel just from standing there...

Shit.

I know why I wrote what I wrote. I felt at home in her presence, and it was hard to talk about the intimate so we conversed about the mundane, secretly giving subtle hints to the deeper aspect of what really was. It went on for hours. I finally got over the urge to just piss my pants in fear and I opened up and was received. That felt funny. Never in my years did I flow in a moment that was ruined by not having enough time. I wish I could have stopped all time and space so we could have just sat there going through each other's mental rolodex over a few bottles of wine but I knew that wasn't possible.

I learned that she is fallible, prone to many mistakes, a mere mortal woman and a woman on the path of right ready to be loved. She is indeed mortal, (I checked) but I was still overwhelmed just being in her line of sight at that moment. Sun, moon, earth and stars had all crossed this woman in ways unimaginable and yet she still stood. Horrors and disfigurement of family ways were as routine as a hit TV show. Still there. There were many misnomers made and she had overcome every single one of them using her power, that gift that I speak of and I so admire and love her for that. I could have gotten down on one knee and asked her to leave all of the bullshit behind and just ride with me after learning of her that evening but I knew that I could not.

Not that I couldn't have asked her. She probably would have thought that it would have been a great plan to right the universe. We could have made babies to strengthen her army of spiritual balance to my logic and reason in the face of the damned but we didn't. We could have taken the world and held it captive in our creative banter for the next few decades, but we didn't. We closed our conversation that day and went back to our respective ends of the forest, distance being our only obstacle, neither of us ever looking back.

I had fallen in love and had my heart broken in no less than 4 hours. It was the only face to face conversation we've ever had.

I still have that moment and she still has this poem.

There are others... Poems, that is.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

whatever, man...

Every now and then you question a few things...

You wonder how when all is right and well in your world how you could be left alone with the burden of the repercussions of the mental and emotional stresses that got you to that point.
You wonder if you've sacrificed enough. You wonder if you were really forgiven for your sins. Was all of that repentance and pennace really worth it?

You wonder if that thing you did ten years ago actually affected anything or anyone. You know that it actually affected you, but you're afraid to speak past discretions into existence.

It'll truly fuck things up for you, huh?

You wonder if going to church on Sunday or temple on Saturday, even jummah on Friday is a waste of your time. Someone made that shit up and you bought in, right?

Right?

You know that every person that actually stood for something died for nothing. Even the ones you despise. Not everybody Liked brother Malcolm or Karl Marx for that matter. You wonder if you should just take a step back off the front lines and just disappear into the darkness and not be either seen or heard. It's easier to live that way.

You know, wake up, go to work, get lunch, come home, have dinner, watch TV, go to bed. If you have a family, you squeeze the spouse and kids somewhere in there, like dropping folks off at school. Maybe you car pool. Check homework, stuff like that.

Wash, rinse and repeat.

Is it worth actually standing for something?

How in the hell are the folks in charge that fucking irresponsible? Who appointed/elected them? Oh that's right, we did. So why haven't we done anything? Why them and not Jon Stewart or Chris Rock? It's funny how cab drivers, late night talk show hosts and barbers/hair stylists have all the answers but never run for public office.

Can you open your mind to the fact that your ancestors had a different belief system? So why do you believe what you believe? Oh, that's right, mom and dad told you so.

Can you really make a difference?

Is (insert deity name here) actually listening to you? Does he exist in all of your suffrage? Do you really believe that?

If we're being watched by folk on other planets, you know they're laughing.

Hard.

How long has it been since you made you happy? Is it possible? Why don't you do more things for yourself? Is people pleasing that high on your priority list? Yep, probably is. You're already Christmas shopping right now aren't you? And you never get good shit from other people as hard as you search for the right shit for them.

Thanksgiving... Will it be fucked up again this year? You already know that answer.

Stop eating that shit, you already know what it does to the ass on top of your ass, right?

Fuck will power.

When are you going to reach out and talk to him/her? Oh, I know, you want to say whatever it is standing over thier casket. Better yet, you'll be in the coma or on your deathbed without the energy to speak and they'll be right there. And you can't say shit. Fucked up way to die, huh?

I realize I cuss a lot. Must be the army in me. I didn't used to cuss like this. They're just words, right? Narrative discriptives that I like to use. What scripture is that that goes on about words having the power of life and death? I write like I speak, but in person I don't cuss a lot - like when I perform. Poetry, that is.

According to Sam Cooke, change gon' come. It just has to resonate inside of you. You have to get that pissed and know that time is really running out for you to actually get up off that ass and do something.

Anything.

Look at your watch... You ain't got much of that shit left, so do something.

I double dog dare you.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Redirect


While I'm handling an emergency appointment with my orthopedic surgeon this morning, let's redirect our focus here:






Taj Anwar - NATIONAL M.O.B.B. COORDINATOR



Let's discuss. Leave comments and or suggestions. Y'all have some of the most beautiful minds I've come across... When I return, I'd like to see how deeper we'll go into the rabbit hole. If we talking, I always want that discusstion to count.

Hotep, family

(that's two fingaz)

Hassan

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Therapy Thursdays

Peace and blessings... I'll be back in the house (literally) to finish this joint later this morning after I get in some physical therapy on my shoulder. If you haven't already, please check out the piece below. I was was experimenting with creating a story on the fly and came back to it a couple of times throughout the day. So far it's flowing well. I have a few more pieces to add (in my head) and I hope to add to the story throughout the day.

Wishing y'all well on your Thursday, I'll return to create more later.


Hotep

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Currently Writing This Piece...

Currently banging this out as I sit at my desk... I don't know why. Just reminiscing I guess. I'll keep adding to it throughout the morning. Live blogging at it's best... Bear with me and try to enjoy it. Just an experiment in writing. I'm bored and need something to do today. It's an off day for the brother. Got a full body massage, manicure and pedicure scheduled for later today (that's right, why should I jackhammer the feet on my own?). Anyhoo, here's the first installment. Let's see where this goes:



He was walking with his hands in his pockets, lumbering down the city sidewalks with a brisk pace. It was October, and the Chicago winds aren't forgiving if you're dressed improperly. The outfit he wore on this day, special. It took him a month to come up with the money to purchase the matching bottom to the top of his sweatsuit. He also donned the low cut sneakers that sat in the window of his favorite athletic spot for what seemed like forever. On lay-a-way. Like his rap hero, he sported what he called 'headgear to the stars' with a little cock to the right side.

He was fresh.
To def.

Unexpected excitement and wonderment of what would be rolled around in his head. He wondered who would be there and how things would go down. This was the first basement party not on his block, and to travel this far to groove in another neighborhood made him straighten out his hat. He knew that the gangbangers on this side of the tracks wore their hats cocked to the other side. Everything seemed right in his mind. He replayed the move he saw from the basketball game over and over in his head. "This cat from North Carolina is on some other stuff" he thought. "To move like that in the air is not human. He makes hoops look good around here. Ain't been that way since... Ever." He mocks the stutter step made by the basketballer and hesitates, remembering he'll scuff his sneakers before he gets to the party.

The set is at his homegirl's house, and he knows that the neighborhood is a delicate balance of Latin angst, white flight and newly crowned black homeowners, him and his friends being the first generation of brownfaced kids lacing the blocks claiming space to play, learn and grow. He knew where she lived but never actually been in her neighborhood so the party is an excuse to learn the lay of the land. He hung out with the kid DJing the set and knew the sister hosting the party, but not that well. She had crew and they were considered 'in' at his school. Crew was small and social functions were invite only, so to be invited was a straight up hood honor. Inclusion. He felt it. Now he could show off the steps he's been practicing in his room for weeks on end. This is what he hoped his weekends would be like after leaving junior high.

9:10am
Chatter, murmurs and the thump of the bass drum was what he heard as he approached the block, he knew he was almost there. Parties on his block were supposed to be had in basements but somehow found open air because of all of the cigarette and spliff smoke and the folks that partook and didn't. Fights often broke out and on occasion, someone would get stabbed or shot. He hung out with a few of the boys on his block, gathering near the alleyway or congregating on the curb just to hear the DJ and Emcee compliment each other over the speakers. You never heard anything from the radio at these functions. This is where he discovered a whole new realm of music.

They called it hip hop.

12:43pm
As he approached the house he noticed a bunch of lighter brown skinned kids hanging out in the gangway. He was thinking "I never been to a party with Mexican cats. Puerto Ricans too? Whoa. Why in the hell are folks not fighting?" The question in his mind was answered by the sound of the DJ cutting records back and forth. It hit him like he was standing in front of a moving bus. There was a small speaker with wires rigged onto it hanging in the gangway. He had to pass these Latin kids by walking past and he had no crew. So excited about getting dressed for the party he forgot to tell the boys on the block. He also hesitated telling one kid at the corner store a few days prior because he didn't want him to tell the wole crew just for them to get stopped by the police in the subway. He also didn't want any beef with cats in this uncharted neighborhood.

"Whaddup kid, you trooped alone?" one boy asks as he holds out his hand. He slaps the kid's hand and says "yeah son, I had to come thru dolo. Tammi here?"
"Yeah kid, she at the basement door cuffing funds. It's five bucks. You straight?"
"Yeah, I've been waiting for this."

As he approaches the rear of the house, he notices a bunch of kids wearing the same outfit, practicing moves in the back yard. One kid is barking out orders while the other kids are trying to keep in sync. There is a short set of stairs leading to an enclosed porch at the rear of the house. A few girls are sitting on the steps sharing a cigarette. They speak. The head nod is in effect. There is a small stairwell leading down to the basement door. As he ascends, he notices that the basement itself is dark but crowded. With the exception of the strobe light, you cannot see the people which is good as long as he doesn't dance with an ugly girl. Everybody sees that. There is a blue light at the basement door replacing the safety light. The girl from school and her best friend are sitting at a table decorated with a small plastic tub filled with flyers and pluggers and an old metal box rifled with cash.

"Peace black, with the plugger it's five dollars..." She says with her head down organizing the money in the metal box. "Oh snap you came!" she fired as she looked up and immediately leapt towards him and gave him a hug. Was he supposed to get that kind of love from someone he speaks with on a cordial basis? He was more surprised than confused because she even called him by name. She knew who he was and was expected as well. He let go a kool aid smile that could have lit the room. "Ay yo, my homeboy is here to do his thing, y'all ready?" He had no idea what he was in store for tonight, but Tammi did.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bring Hip Hop Back

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Random Saturday Ish

Why is stuff more difficult to execute when it's all pre-planned?
Why have I written all new joints when I committed to working on all the old stuff?
Anyone seen DJ MorninMan?
I was checking sitemeter and saw that someone peeped an old post (November 13, 2005)... I seemed comfortable then.

Where is that now?

The orthopedic surgeon has said nothing about my condition.


You wonder when the mish-mash of emotion and common sense will all come together during morning conversation.

Right in the kitchen over a half-hearted breakfast.
You won't even have time to gel...
You gotta get an oil change or something, she's hanging out with her girls.
Something like hair, lunch and paying a few bills.

But it'll come out right.


My neck snapped the other day in the gym when the scale read 228.
I haven't been under 250 pounds since I got out of the Army...
That was the end of 1992.


I feel older than I look.
I think it has something to do with being repaired so much.


It takes an oxycotton and a lortab to get me to sleep these days.
I'm right back up in 2 hours. I'm averaging about 2 hours a day of sleep. Helps with writing for that deadline though.


I like Mr. T's new show.


So my road dog Troy and I have switched places...
He's no longer single and straight effin' up my plans.
He's on the clock... I gotta motivate him to go ring shopping soon.
Hell, I might even let 'Flan' out and plan the damn wedding.

'Flan'... well, he's my inner "interior designer".

He's 'Frank's" cousin (remember Martin Short in "Father of the Bride"? Yeah, him).
'Flan coordinates his ass off! I only usually confer with him at Ikea, Crate and Barrel and at Macy's.
I let him dress me.
That's as close as I can come to having 'her' dress me.


whateva...

The city of Chicago offered me a job...
So did the State of IL...
Damn near the same position.
Whom do I choose to work for? I fingerprinted for TSA twice this week. I'll need my security clearance back for this one.
The questions have changed... All about my name change and affiliation with certain organizations.


So they're tracking frat charity monies. Like all of us collectively are funding Bin Laden...
riiiight.

We just need an interest bearing account that'll help pay for the liquor tab at the next function.
That, window tints, new Jordans and tickets to upcoming Bulls games.
Yay, got a few this morning... Right before they sold out.

Weird.

The White Sox, Bears and Bulls have all sold out the house in the 2006 season. We gotta win at least one championship.


Congrats to Frank Thomas. I was rooting for you man. And the new contract too.


Over here doing the shoulder lean for real.


I was going to reply to the comments on that last post... I think I'll get on email duty this weekend. I have thanks and kudos to give individually.


Hurl time.
Since I've gotten back, I can't hold down much.
Weird as well.
My therapist almost reported me to the chief doc at the rehab spot. I almost got committed.
Blood sugars are a little abnormal...
Oh, and the weight loss. I think it's a seasonal thing.
And that writing deadline.


I'm out y'all. Going to chuck up breakfast and then get ready to get out and do Saturday.
Laptop shopping!!!


Peace and blessings fam. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Open Letter To My Potential Yang

To my blogfam, thanks for the advice and all about slowing down, but...
Understand that I haven't gone out on a date as of yet via the online dating thing. At this point, I really don't want to. I don't want to get in detail about what's going on behind the scenes out of respect to those involved but I will say this (I'm talking to those that just popped out of the blue and for those that haven't but just don't understand what's going on):

There are a few women that I know that participate in the online dating thingee I joined that wonder why when we met some time ago why a connection wasn't made.

There are a few (and I'm not exaggerating here, I wish I was) that I was involved with that wonder why I'm even looking for love at all when they are right there (pointing).

Well to those that have found, rediscovered or thought they knew what time it was but just weren't sure let me say that I've always functioned better alone. I enjoy the fact that I only have me to care for. Call me selfish or whatever, but for me it's just easier this way. I know that I won't be functioning that way in the future, I will find my kindred sprit. I've always had grandiose ideas and back in the days before I started dating (pre 2000) I was with someone that didn't always agree with how I did what I did but supported me in the impossible (and for some of y'all, you probably know what those ventures were) and believed in me as I did her.

That's the only thing I'd like to repeat.

I can safely say that although I never compare exes with exes there is one criteria in which you must hold the gold standard, and that's why it's been damn near impossible to consider long term or longer in my relationships with some (for some that's been extended conversations until I got to the point where it was no longer necessary), and that is support.

Yeah, I said it.

Support comes in different mannerisms. I've felt the vibe, had the conversations and even heard the fodder that lead to convo and excessive banter with family, sorors and phone buddies from around the way. If my beliefs and actions in them effect your esteem to the point where you think something is wrong with you, see Katt Williams. If you halfheartedly support me because the sex is/was good, we look good together (on paper and otherwise) and/or my potential is so strong that you know you can fuck me into that open junior VP position at your homegirl's firm, or you're waiting for recoupment to drop from the label or publishing house...

sigh

If you cannot believe in me like I believe in myself then what do we really have?

The exact same thing we have now.


I know I have potential to be on the top of the food chain in this or that industry.
I know that I'm loyal and will kill for you at moments notice.
That my eye doesn't wander and I have the utmost respect for you at all times (that's my mamma's words, my grandparents love and my daddy's fist).
That I would bend over backwards and break if need be to accommodate you and make sure you know that you are loved and faithfully believed in.
That if I wanted to be, I could teach at the University level and then come home and deliver the Heathcliff Huxtable to my own seed(s) and be effective.
That intimacy to me is the highest equivalent in the spirit.
That I compose words that some (that incidentally aren't connected to the lit publishing industry) find intriguing, and that helps with me expressing how I feel about you.
That I'm probably one of the last honest people in the universe because I'd rather put it on the line and deal with it rather than suppress emotion, lack understanding and lose time...

I know these things about myself and I take pride in being Fran's favorite grandson (she verbalized that to the rest of them), Debra's son and a student of Granddaddy Sammy and Pappa Zo. I learned that from them and honor them in my actions at all times cause' I still might get my ass whooped if I act out. Understand that I don't want to be a teacher, I'd rather not have anything to do with corporate America anymore (with the exception to going to deal with book/music publishing issues), that I'm through with school and am not going back and my honesty I guess at 35 is my calling card. Hell, the fact that I'm blogging this is because I have nothing to hide.

All I want is to continue to have the ability to compose, create and find an channel to get it out to those that appreciate it, and be able to share it with no incident. A few years ago that meant self-publishing a few poems and making bootleg CDs to hand out to those that saw me at a poetry spot or a showcase, but I must care for and feed myself, and there are some in the lit and music industries that believe that I can attract a core audience, so I now direct my energies towards them in creating new material and rehashing old.

If time has passed me by on having children, then it is/was my passion to delve into the artistic side of me and share the love given back to me by those that understand and appreciate when we interact within that realm. My compositions are my babies.
If a glaring opportunity (to you) was missed because my focus was not on a having a relationship with you, then know that it is not me that should be loving you. I have never waited to dive into a project or an opportunity to reveal the artisan in me just as I will not wait to open my heart.
If the conversation never got past basic stuff (as much as I talk), then know that my interest waned at some point.

I'm not quite sure if I'm supposed to be in a relationship, but I do want one. My best work comes from me doing my thang when I want to, how, where and when because I have no clocks to punch and no one to report to. I should not have to be on a phone schedule and should not have to report my every move to anyone for that matter. Those things bother me. The fact that I am not chattel is the fact that I take pride in roaming free and just doing my thang. You can't compete with that.

Some of y'all just can't hang.

With me.

I'm not putting myself out there like I'm holier than thou because I'm not. Some of you that frequent the blog need to re-read my previous posts.

Digest, then understand.

Then question self first.

Then ask me.

I am trying to find the one of you that is equally yolked with I. This may take longer of a timeframe than originally expected. The one thing I do know about writing and composing music, the rhythm and movements, the completion of non verbal expression, the beat of the drum and how it replaces my heartbeat in song... I know I can share that with a person. I just haven't gotten to that level with most of you. No offense, but to be able to see the Creator in composition is what I live for. To be able to share that equally is my desire. It's a hard thing to do. You must live for that as well and forsake all other things.


You are not your job

You are not your sorority

You are not your pedigree(s)

You are not your mother

You are not your environment


You are the spiritual embodiment of yang to my yin. God has made the perfect compliment you to I and I to you. I want to explore that when I find it. I just haven't.

Yet.

It has nothing to do with me putting a profile on an online date service. I meet people in many other ways, that is just another method. I never expected to hear from all of y'all (at the same time) once my pic and thangs went up there anyway, so that particular method of contact is now at the bottom of the totem pole because y'all scare the hell outta' me. Until then I will still compose, create, travel, fellowship and have a good time not being tied down to anything or anyone.

There is no routine, and this is where we differ.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What? Don't eat the Chile? Why not?

Online dating is starting to suck.









Who the hell knows me like that?
Why are these two stanking ass pictures getting me in trouble?
When did all of these people come out the woodwork once I said... Never mind.
I never knew I knew that many single women... Saw em all there just browsing thru.
Got a lot of crazy ass messages so far... It's scaring me.

and then...

_____________________I got a call from someone I met in Salt Lake City:
Relocated from Chile 3 years ago
Enjoying it here in the US, most of the family is here, including mom.
Exotically beautiful, intelligent and independent (what in the hell does she want with my stanking ass? I'm talking beautiful and got it together... Intimidating to the average cat, but I'm like Garfield, I likes the lasagna, I ain't scurred to eat.)
Interest was mid-range when I was there
Put my profile on the dating thingee..
Now... BLAMMO!!! dialogue is poppin' (daily) and I might have to go back and pay her a visit...
She wants to arrange my next visit to the Salt Flats...
How do I turn down a free trip?


Did I mention she was Mormon?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Minstrel Show, Parody or Just Plain Tragic?

Just thought I'd share, I'm sure you'll decide wisely...

UPDATE 1 - 10/01
henry gandolph posted a comment and suggested that I add a third option to the title of this post. Thanks Henry!

Something about a transvestite with 2 bad wigs swinging naked, dead e coli round' all them kids that just warms the cockles of my heart...

UPDATE 2 - 10/2
Now there was a conversation about it last week here, but I wanted to sit on this topic for a minute and hoping it would go away... Until I heard it on the radio.


Fry that chicken indeed baby.
(shakes head, walks away)

ADDED 10/02 - Ms. Peachez - "In The Tub"

ADDED 10/02 - Ms Peachez Goes To Cosmetology School


What the hell...

10/02/2006 About 2:35 in the morning.

I thought about the whole Ms Peachez phenomenon and how it's being perceived in other communities. After a little research I found that Peachez has a whole album of this stuff and is a pretty prominent hood figure in the greater Shreveport, LA area.

It seems that Ms Peachez is a spokesperson of some sorts (of course she has the support of the community helping business and all) for a lot of smaller black business, and the shops, tattoo parlors and beauty schools of the like are willing to pitch in and get on the bandwagon to drum up business, which leads me to this question:

Madea, Big Mama, Sheneneh, Wanda... Where is the line drawn?


And why is the 'Chain Hang Low' song an exact replica of 'Turkey In The Straw'?




















We still doing the 'Toe Wap'?
Oh, snap that's no longer called the coon dance... It's 'Chicken Noodle Soup' dance.

With a soda on the side.

Damn.

In this day and age it seems that we have no concept of history both triumphant and damaging and how our actions and the repercussions of them directly affects us. The saying about us not learning from our history being doomed to repeat it seems to hold true in some aspects in 2006 because once again, we've relinquished control of an art form that was transformed into a global phenom and then evolved into culture... A way of life to someone else.

And at this pace, technology will pump this version of modern day coonism into our homes at an alarming rate, thus...

Nah, fuck that. It starts at home. Hell, I had proper training. I also knew how rich we were by being taught about our culture. I also know the difference between entertainment and reality. For me, there is no blur. We must start by re-taking hip hop culture and making it easier to decipher what is and what isn't to the shorties. If not, hip hop goes the way of jazz and rock and roll - totally out of our hands and ineffective as an intergral part of our culture and current history.

You are watching modern day versions of Pat Boone and Elvis. You are watching the modern day version of the negro in blackface, hustling for that meal ticket. Don't fret, them coons are also writing screenplays and books as well. They also own terrabytes of space on webservers and can afford bandwidth.

It's up to us to decide what is and what isn't. Let's start here.

Where do you draw the line?