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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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Leaving...

About a month ago I got mad.

I mean, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I couldn't walk around the house without either sniping at my wife or having her snipe at me. I would go downstairs and just be. It's quiet down there, and I likes me some quiet.

I watched my parents split up not over his impending narcotic problem, that actually brought us closer. I was in high school and I really didn't care one way or the other. My father proved after rehabbing himself that he could still be daddy to my younger sibs who were 10 years my junior. Every family has their problems, and I saw my parents start their split whenever they argued over money.

That's our problem now. We argue, and $ is our excuse to cuss each other.

I remember 2 and a half years ago over the phone my then girlfriend told me that the only thing that would have her leave me should we get married is if we fell out over money. It didn't surprise me that we started looking at the front door when we started having financial problems like everyone else. We made money, saved some and spent the rest, paying our bills somewhere in the middle. I preached fiscal conservatism on our drive to New Orleans the week of Mardi Gras, but my pleas to come back to Chicago with a little spending cash in our pockets went unheard. I let that happen. We spent 4 figures in the bayou and didn't even think about it.

Until we went out of what I like to call our 'pay cycle'. With a small sum in our savings.

My wife teaches at the undergrad and graduate level for a big ol' university. She gets paid at the beginning and end of each 5 week semester, which means at this point, someone was going to get their fine share of our bucks a week or two late. When we contacted folk about paying them off cycle, they nearly lost their minds. My house note was due and we had the means and intentions to pay it even though our lease expired and we were doing the month to month thing, and then I wanted to refuse.

Our neighbors are strictly ghetto and are not used to living a more mature lifestyle. I put that mildly, but you know what I mean. The year and some change of the loud music, parties running into the 10am hour of the next day, the drunken fighting and the unwanted presence of both undesirables and the damn police drove us crazy. I looked at my wife and told her that I was willing to pay the note for May, but as of June we were out of here.

She agreed.

One thing... Where would we go and what would we do?

We started looking for houses and town homes in all of the areas we liked here in Chicago. We didn't find much that either we liked or we wanted to lease ourselves to pay a mortgage for. We did apply for a mortgage on one property, we still await the call from the bank, but by this time it was last week and we both wanted out of this place due to the environment. We were still arguing and I was very angry over lack of communication over what I perceived was my wife holding info away from me by not telling me that we had tremendous bills. Case in point, out normal cable bill was around $240 a month. I could no longer pay the high amount of these bills knowing that we could barely stand each other and refused to get along, so I took a nap last Thursday and I had an idea:

Let's get rid of everything.

Yeah, I wanted to get rid of the duplex, the high-ass cable, power and natural gas bill (which hit us for $800 in February), I wanted to take the monthly house note and reinvest it in my relationship, but how do I do that?

Hell, I've spent the last 4 years dealing with living on the road and I was used to being out there, but what about my wife? Never had to think about that before, so I made a few phone calls to see if a few opportunities still existed in other cities. A bunch of cities. My idea would have us visit those cities and see exactly what existed outside of Chicago. We would drive, hit up an extended stay (which costs 50-65% less than our monthly house note with NO UTILITIES to pay) and scout out a potential city to see if it was a place we could possibly relocate. I also thought that we should call up a few financial, spiritual and marriage counselors to see if we could get some guidance while out on the road together. My idea was coming together easier than I thought.

I presented my other half with this idea and she said yes. I thought that either this was too simple of a thing or too complicated to get into, but my wife surprised me when she said that the extreme nature of what we were doing as well as the benefits of not having a mortgage/rent payment, not paying utilities for a few months and the financial and marriage counseling was just too good to pass up, soooo...

In a matter of days my wife and I will hit the road. Just her, me and the truck. We will fast, detox, pray, receive counseling and manage our finances with nothing external to distract us. We will live on the road and cover cities cross country from June until September. We have tasks already lined up and work to do while we're out there. As some of you know, my wife and I are self employed and the tasks I just mentioned will put money in our pockets so the trip is already paid for.

This is not a vacation. My wife indicated to me that when we made the announcement to rid our selves of material stuff and work on saving our marriage on facebook, a few thought what we were doing was a disgusting (some cat actually used that word) stunt that would take us away form our focus as well as future dated business ventures (mainly THEIR future related business venture), but not the case. She was also called unprofessional for making a non-business related announcement on facebook even though a contract was signed, no letterhead, email or announcement to breach such a contract was mentioned on her commercial site and our travel plans were made to not only accommodate the contracted business venture, but to actually network and participate in other industry related events surrounding the holiday proceeding said contract event.

Shame.

I don't think it's neither strange or extreme to want to save my relationship. I also don't think that ridding ourselves of meddlers, distractions and unnecessary financial burden is a crazy thing to do, especially when you love someone. When it all boils down, all we have is each other, and I know what isolation and compromise will do in the face of adversity.

Some just don't get it, and some never will.

I didn't forge a union with this woman to have it broken over bullshit. I purchased 2 homes in my lifetime and I can always buy another one. This is my opportunity to build a home finally with the woman that'll birth my babies, but sacrifices have to be made first.

Oh, did I mention that I'll be filming our travels and the wife and I would be journaling it as well? I should have, huh? Okay, you can catch us over at www.herzandhiz.com. Follow us on our journey and root for black love. Y'all did it last year in the primaries and general election, so let's keep this thing going, okay?

Y'all know you want us to make some babies anyway.

Wish us luck!

Monday, May 25, 2009

To My Brothers And Sisters, Past And Present...



The cost of liberty is less than the cost of repression.

-W.E.B. Dubois


I cannot and will not ever forget...





Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Change Gon' Come

I have this idea that I just ran across my wife.

It is so crazy that it just makes sense.

I asked her if she was game on doing it... She said yes. For now.

I think we're going to do it, or at least I hope so.

This'll be the craziest thing we've ever done...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sixty Nine And I Owe You None

I'm more spiritual than religious, but...


Sometimes scripture just jumps out on your ass. Case in point:

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.
But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.
Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.
Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.
For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

Ya dig?

Don't act like you can't feel me. I ain't the only one. Never have been.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hanging Out With Mom Today

It took a lot to get here and this is also my second year rebuilding with my mother.

I'm kind of sad that I let pride and spite take me away from my mother and am glad that the Most High didn't take her away and has allowed me all of this that I have shared, reminisced and rekindled with my mommy since coming back home.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Harder than hard

How much harder must I love?
How much more do I have to show?
Am I ever to get my due?
Thoughts come hard as hell when thinking of you

Times before, me getting open
in the presence of you
made my head hurt
I tried to internalize these thoughts and made excuses to myself
in order to execute an exercise in staying

but that would be my great mistake.

I thought you to be the glue that would make this thing stick
instead you repelled me
not by words or deeds

but

you moved my knight
three steps down and two steps over
making it difficult to get back at you
and then you requested my touch

You wanted it hard
asked for it from all directions
but from your own hand
questioned if I could really love hard

when it was obvious

that me standing there in front of you
was the hardest thing I could ever do

So you spoke in soft tones
singing into the wind
making requests I'll never honor
because it was too hard to hear you

so I hung on your unspoken diatribe and I fell hard
then you said that I wasn't your kind of hard

loud enough for me to hear
like I was hard of hearing
and slung me in some emotional waste receptacle with a
very hard overhand yank
the stench of trash soaked into my skin
built up for damn near half a decade
took a hard scrubbing to remove

You defiled me yet still wanted me to give it to you hard
with broad, slow strokes
so that you would remember
as much as you would savor

You know not how hard it is to dangle from your own string

I made a hard decision
leaving is never hard when you never came
and if you would have gotten it any harder than what I gave
releasing me would have been the hardest thing you would have
ever had to do

cause I fuck hard

But I love harder
causing hard decisions and hard times for your mind to differentiate
forcing hardships on those that find it hard to love my name
yet remained silent when called to rep for said nomenclature
because enunciating is hard to do in the presence of others
breaking up ain't hard to do when protocol has never been broken

see, you never allowed me to penetrate
because you believed times to be hard
and you remained conservative

at the one time I was liberal enough
to spread the wealth
you vetoed my stimulus package
when

You should have called my name
and confided in me how hard is was
to see me walk away
but pride is a hard thing
and speaking my truths into existence
is a hard thing for you to do.

Dammit, life is hard
fending yourself from the harsh realities of life is harder
but what's the hardest thing?

Finding out how hard it is to do things yourself

Because I love so hard
things could have been much easier
and you never would have had to ask yourself
how hard things could have been

If you ever really knew how hard it was
to just stand in front of you

2009 - Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thoughts On How I Got Here

This is a long post, but most of my recent ones have been long. Think of it as multiple blog posts... I hope that helps. Hell, I hope you actually read the whole damn thang.

Oh, and I know it's been a while. I just felt like not blogging again until I had a conversation with Terry. Matter of fact... The Cheap Seats are open!

Have you ever just sat there, you know... Somewhere quiet in your home and just thought about shit? When was the last time you attempted to decipher exactly what the inner workings of your mind was telling you?

I've been doing that lately.

There is entirely way too much stuff tumbling around in there. I just can't believe with all of that wet laundry tumbling around in my head's dryer that I still feel unmotivated and bored as hell. There is some sort of sense of urgency to get things done, but I can't prioritize exactly what to work on first.

I know that some things need to be addressed but I just cannot decide what to work on first. And then there are so many glaring items I gotta handle on the home front as well.

It ain't the bills. As long as my other half and I put our shoulders down and drive forward we'll move the chains on the football field of life. I had a conversation with my other half yesterday questioning the if and where we are in our lives. Not that I'm not grateful and appreciative in who is here and what has been gifted to me by the Creator, I just wonder sometimes what got me here...

So certain thoughts take me back two years ago and I was in Houston. I made an ill-fated decision to leave Chicago. I knew that the decision I made at the time was the right one. I had support, a good reason and felt protected by the spirits to be there until one action made me question why in the hell I was where I was. Being there wasn't new, I had been there before but only as a visitor. Houston is a little larger than Chicago in land mass but the Chi has damn near four times as many people. There was comfort in being where folks look like me made things cool but there was still a feeling of restriction.

Being broke as hell will immediately put clamps on you, or at least it feels that way. One day I was there, she was there and somewhere very early she felt a need to get up, shower and dress for Sunday. Hell, it was Sunday, people go out. She made herself look look nice. She can make herself into sexy mode, but on this day, she dressed to highlight her cuteness and not her sexy, like she was headed to church but she didn't attend church. She didn't have a church home that I knew of.

During that time in 07', I hadn't spoken to my mother in over a year, but some of you knew that. I really needed to hear my mom but I chose to be stubborn and stand my ground and not speak to her. That was stupid of me to do. So imagine how I felt when her mother called and there was an opportunity for myself to be allowed to introduce... Myself. Yeah, that shit works if her mom even knew I existed. Hell, she met all my sibs and the nieces and nephews earlier that year! Oh well, I guess eventually one day I would get an invite or have an introduction.

Never did.

So the one time when her mother called the spot, I was waiting for a call from a perspective employer. I normally answered the phone with no objections but on this occasion I answered the phone and ended up speaking with her mother. I have never seen someone in my adult life, being the same age grown and independent from the parental units as I was back peddle verbally from another human being quite like that about me being there.

Or not really being there, as it was trying to be explained. Shit! I'm a nobody. Not good if the fam doesn't know some ashy assed, dreadlocked, Kush smelling cat like myself was all up and thru there, huh?

Her mother unleashed a verbal bashing questioning her about having a man answer her phone. She interrogated her about my status in her home and I was just crushed as I watched her stammer and fall all over the answers she had to search for. I was nobody, or at least I had to hide within the shadows until she was able to rewire her feelings to match the words needed to explain my presence. Her actions were fine and definitive for me to this point, but I realized that the only people in Houston that we both knew were 4 other people. 2 were room mates and the others were her confidants. She promised that I would meet her brother who was also a truck driver. So much for that, huh?

In that moment, I needed just a twinge of motherly advice. I was too proud to call my mother, especially feeling that I've just had my tail put between my legs by coming to Houston empty handed and with no definition. The inaction and being hidden in plain sight what I believed to be the fatal flaws that loosened my confidence in living in Texas was concerned. I didn't leave Houston until August because I believed that May, June and July would birth the emotional and stabilizing efforts put forth that would convince me to stay.

And where did she go on that fateful Sunday dare you ask? Her sibs and other family members hosted a mother's day brunch. She told me as she walked out the door that she would be right back and didn't mention anything to me upon her return 6 hours later. Even though I was on the outs with my mother, I understand the importance of who you are by the way you're introduced to family. We had been hinting around, visiting and snowballing to this moment since late 2006 and I had managed to be there in the flesh...

Other things happened in those months leading up to me getting back to Chicago in August of 2007, but that was cake batter. There were other moments that could have taken the cake but during mother's day weekend? Bowl, eggs, whisk and pre-heated oven. One of the shoulders I cried upon during that time kept me sane and grounded me. I ended up marrying that set of shoulders later on that year.

Funny, huh?

I only wondered about this because after talking with a friend yesterday, I realized how long, hard and complicated it was just to get to where I am now. I feel uninspired and am unwilling to write yet everything is unbelievably alright. In a few short actions, I realized that there still was still some precedent to be set in being in Texas whereas in a long, complicated and turbulent filled journey I arrived here. Able to sit and think about the minor things, the fodder if you will that runs amok in my head.

I'm not really uninspired, bored or unmotivated.

I'm actually blessed to have one place to sit out of many to ponder my thoughts both major and minor. And I have been blessed to have been shown which way to go in order to get here. And those actions were actually inactions. Things undone showed me the path in getting things done.

I just cannot imagine anyone else putting up with my shit but her. What I had to go thru to get here... Well, that was just one of life's hurdles in the paragraphs above causing me to want to just sit here and praise the master plan our Creator has for us...

And it is a beautiful plan.

Now all I gotta go is get 12 and a half more years in with this feeling like Kim and Allen have...

Happpy Anniversary number 14!