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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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Already Missed...

William Safire's Rules for Writers:

  • Remember to never split an infinitive.
  • The passive voice should never be used.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  • If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  • Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives. 




And if you're a writer and have no clue who William Safire is...


Shame, shame poor Clarice; Tsk, tsk, one should be more careful when attempting to deduct and reason in finding out exactly whom one is talking about, abd being more careful would help too.


You would never know that I broke rule numbers one thru 16 just in the three lines I wrote  !!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GetAway

I'm not quite sure what to say or do in this moment.

I am very tired, very lethargic and can't keep myself out of the bed if I'm not working or doing other stuff.

I have never been depressed in my life and I'm not now. There is a ton of stuff rattling around in my head. I'd like it to stop but I know it never will.

I keep running into a bunch of 'gotcha' moment traps set up by my wife. Tit-for-tat arguments are not sexy when you're being run ragged and mentally tired.

I'm not angry nor am I confused on what I have to do. I just want to do something else in this moment. There is no running away from stuff like this. I just don't want to be in this moment.

But I am.

My phone hasn't rung and I haven't heard from any of my sibs.

I don't even have to pick up the phone and call my mother, I don't think I've even dialed the number but we talk. And the look in her eyes the last time we shared the same space...

Damn.

Looking into the future, things are so dim right now and the only support I'm getting seems more gawkish and misunderstood than anything else. But it's accepted... Everyone isn't supposed to understand, but loyalty...

I've never been this mentally fatigued. It has manifested itself into body aches, eye/headaches and me killing two bottles of sangria I copped from a 7/11 last night. The hangover felt better than my normality.

I still want a few shots of whiskey, but I got things to do. It's taking so much right now to deal with other people's shit when all I really need is for someone, ANYONE to take the shit off of my shoulders for maybe five minutes.

But I'm good.

I'll tuck it all away after I hit the 'publish post' button and carry on like nothing is wrong. I'll continue to smile and laugh and appreciate the beautiful things in the now that I probably won't have in the future. I still find beauty in the life I live now even when a lot of folks around me purposely cannot.

This shit is insane, isn't it?

Other than being on automatic for the sake of others, I have no clue on what to do next. I'm having a hard problem in seeing what's next but that ain't the torturous part...

Standing there watching everyone else suffer mentally, spiritually physically while absolutely nothing happens to you... It's like being the bridesmaid and never the bride except you're the pallbearer or the executor and there is this machine you're working to manage the output from manufacturing death and destruction.

And Satan is the foreman...

And he keeps calling overtime.

I wonder if you get PTO or scheduled time off ?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Not To Bug The Hell Out When Everything Around You Is Falling Apart

I said that one day I would write a book about that title above this text in an effort to help those who feel like all of life's situations are a little too much sometimes because when it rains, it pours.

I've been at the hospital for the past two days trying to be regular in a very irregular situation. The regular part is a put on for my mother who has been thrusted into a very odd, life-altering place by my step dad. He almost died Monday morning. She waited until it was good and damn dark before she called me.

And when it came time to call somebody, she called me specifically. I am not surprised. I never told her what I told friends, the long-ass book title I typed up there but she knows her son. Her mother's intuition told her that I have some sort of otherworldly knowledge in how to remain calm, assess things and use said calm to both handle a situation and quickly come up with a solution without bugging the hell out.

Yeah, I can do that.

But not right now.

But I gotta reach way deep and pull this one out of my ass somehow.

I saw her name on the caller ID and handed my wife the phone. They like to talk and carry on with that girlie-girl mish/mash. Wifey answered it and my mother calmly and coldly asked for her son. And by the time I put the receiver to my ear she was telling me shit that I did not want to hear but what I had to know.

The incident happened Monday morning, but it's now like 8 o'clock in the PM. She's been up all day at his bedside and his vitals aren't improving. She needs sleep and knowing her, she ain't gonna get it. I asked her if she wanted me there and she said no but meant yes. My wife was already getting dressed.

An hour later we were at the ER and was told that the situation was way more complicated than what Mom's was telling. We have a situation that might be greater than it seems on the surface and I need to find someplace to put it along with the cancer trials of an aunt, my up and down relationships with folks, a recent death and getting settled back in Chicago in a non-existent residence. Oh, there is more shit on top of that... But I'm telling you stuff you already know, this is what I know:

I was supposed to come back to Chicago

I am needed more than I (and they) have let on to folks

I now have to take the lead in this family because our matriarch is beyond sick and my mother has been hit hard with the revelation that the situation with her husband is greater than it seems. This and all of my sibs having their own shit to deal with (mortgages, children, work, work related stress, time management, distance, finances) and me not having any of what they have to deal with puts me center stage whether I want it to or not, and I cannot bug the fuck out right now.

I know there's a lot of cussing in these paragraphs but I have to mention God right here..

God has called me to be an intercessor.

When you realize that, you cannot complain, make excuses or run and hide. My family's balance is contingent on me holding steady to do the things and make decisions I've thought about but never wanted to really be a part of executing, but if I don't who will? When I called my little brother and thought that he already knew he was asking ME why he wasn't filled in earlier in the day and spazzed the hell out after getting completely filled in. After he learned the facts, he told me that it was too much information to add to his work-related stress as well as him just walking in the door having not taken the time to asses his own family's status...

No answer at lil sis's home or cell...
Overworking older brother cannot be found.

And now you know why Mother Dear waited twelve hours after working on stabilizing step dad, thought on it and called my ass. She figured out that I somehow is her intercessor. After staring in her eyes last night in a realization that even when her husband gets checked out and goes home that she has to prep herself for what could be the most improbable and unexpected moments in her life... I see that I cannot absolutely without fail bug the fuck out.

The stakes are so high right now.

When you see, feel, understand and acknowledge that right there... You already know how to act and what to say and do.

Realization that you are not in control makes you want to control yourself the best ways possible in order to lead by example is chapter one in: 'How Not To Bug The Hell Out When Everything Around You Is Falling Apart'...

I never knew that living this life would be the text for something greater. Take my words and process them. Learn exactly what an intercessor is so if need be you or someone can follow suit. Also, don't fuck with me right now because there is one hell of a delicate balance gwans' on over here. To upset that will probably revert me back to twenty years ago which was my first week of Army basic training things are that raw right now.

But I love you. Remember that as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What I learned/Living Just Enough For The City

It took me a minute to get to this point.

It's 1:15 am and I am at Starbucks of all places, letting the jazz, blues and zydeco-feel work its way thru my body via the overhead speakers and into the ear canal to the funk-head nod/dance processor... It's crowded but there is room enough to find a spot to cozy up to, plug in your power cord and abuse the somewhat quick but not fast enough bandwidth wi-fi thingermajigger that unleashes your soul onto the internet.

I still feel a void.

I still am a little confused because I've been thinking waaaay too much about death, spirit and the other side as well as my sense of purpose. I'm having trouble knowing what my calling is right now. The wheels are moving but I can't get the car out of the mud. I think if I rock back and forth...

I still am very amazed that I am back in Chicago, but I'm loving the hustle and bustle. A drive down the street is no longer a lonely series of a performance of actions. People are everydamnwhere. Buildings are plentiful and there is so much concrete, glass and steel to get yourself lost in. I am bouncing around a visual kaleidoscope of metropolis flavored Gotham and I still dig this. I am built for big city motion. I blend with the commute. My reflexes as well as my peripheral vision thanks me. I said a prayer to mother nature as to put in a bid for a minimum of 8 more weeks of this.

Headwraps, halters and sundresses, y'all.
Three button close crops, denim and timbos...
Wide brim buckets to block out the sun
Cardigan sweaters in the summertime to beat the break room chill
Neon-flavored thongs plunge into the crack of a barely covered ass
And she turns and looks at you like you're not supposed to stare
Where the hell are my singles?
Cars drive by with the booming system knocking some chick
Named Gaga?
Crowded buses, bunched together on the same route
Making everybody late for work
Except that one guy wearing earmuffs

Wait...

Those are headphones
Hustle Man begging for change
As the loose-square man corners the market for twenty-five cent smokes
At some random crowded bus stop.
Oooooh, snap! I can get two slices for under six bucks
And cold beverages are just a corner bodega away
but I can't buy anything because the lotto line is long...

Oh shit, he's writing me a ticket!
Welcome back to the city, chump...
Get in where you fit in.

2009 Hassan Olumoroti Ntimbanjayo YaDig!



I never expected to be back so soon. Today, my wife and I sat with my aunt who recently found out that her right lung was filled with cancer. She sneaked a cigarette when I went out to the car (and she sent my wife out after me to give me a parking sticker, which allowed her to get at least two to three puffs in), and I saw the smoke floating around her bedroom area and said nothing when I got back in.

Later on I told her to do her thing. She's 83 and subtracting one smoke from her life's routine wasn't going to hurt things any further. She like me is a creature of habit. I also asked her to not let my mother, other aunts, uncles and cousins influence be the brokering point of her treatment decision in the near future. She agreed. I also told her to not lock me out regardless of what the chemo or whatever treatment she chooses does to her body. My love for her is the same regardless of aesthetics.

She's the reason I am here. Explained it to my other half.

She introduced her closest male friend to her little sister, fresh up from Mississippi. That man is my grandfather and the little sister... My mother's mother.

As we sat and got that good old-school knowledge and a handful of history lessons from this grand dame, I realized that I was gaining intel on the how and why my Gemini Scribe Twin did what she did in her last months, weeks and days. Coming to terms with pain, struggle and impending death takes a strong human being, and she (both shes, past tense and present) sat there with no waver in her voice and no fear in her statements and boldly told us that she was ready.

For any damn thing.

Scuse' my French...




Shit. Damn and Motherfucker.

Ya heard me? Okay then.




Here is my somewhat frail, elder mother-sister coming at us with the strength of a 30 year old working for the post office and the attitude of a sixteen year old trying hard as fuck to make the varsity squad, not passing herself off as a Grand Canyon rock of a human being but actually being one. Harder than hard. Not even erosion could smooth her stone. Sitting in front of two people at least forty five years her junior telling them that if it happens today, right friggin' now that she has been ready.

No regrets.
No yearning for do overs
Meaning every word and feeling satisfied in her accomplishments and failures.

I nodded my head. I agreed with all of her assessments. We talked about my grandmother, her sister that passed on in 1992 and her best friend and big brother, my grandfather that passed on six months to the day before his wife in 1991. Her little brother/my uncle who passed on two weeks to the day from her younger sister/my aunt in 2005 and how he lay in the same church, same place he arranged for his sister just two Saturdays later and how it frazzled the shit out of her, forcing her to move to Cleveland and how she had to come back to her other sister/my aunt passing in 2007... The event that brought me home from Houston, forcing me to break my silence and stubbornness to speak to my mother for the first time in almost 2 years.

We never spoke of heaven, hell or omnipotent powers waving their holy hand making things happen. We only spoke of how we dealt with loss, how family acted and reacted and what we had to do to want to carry on. She was instructing us in those moments earlier yesterday on how to carry on. Without her. And I caught every note, every stanza of her song, lyric and melody.

It wasn't a depressing conversation. It was very explanatory to my wife because she was around only for my aunt's passing in 07' and not the others. It was very comforting for me because she knows of my Gemini Scribe Twin's passing and how selfish I was in wishing things went the way I wanted them to go because I told her like I told my wife and mother last week how I felt like I just got left behind.

She let me know in those moments that I was never alone.
She told me that the experiences I share stays with me as long for as I want them to.
She indicated to me that I am who I know and love.

I love my wife.
I love my mother.
I love my father.
I love my sibs.
I love those I call friend, I know now that number is lower than I thought or expected.
I love the revolution and those I have never met that choose to be free thru its execution.
I love doing and saying that I did.
I also love what others would do to have done what I have... Indicates how I am blessed.
I also am in love with creativity and imagination... Keeps me grounded here in the Matrix.
I love the fact that I am blessed with messages from ancestors, my spirit guides and my elders.
I love myself.
I love life and having the ability to actually live with these constraints.

I may not understand what happens after all of this is done. I know, acknowledge and understand what I have been taught. Growing up Catholic, spending my teen years as Muslim, building with the Gods and the Earths as a young man, hearing so many from places far and beyond speak on things so far beyond my realm of understanding...

Helps me to overstand.

I'm learning (that is an exciting thing to say about myself in my right now) that I cannot stand still and ponder things I'll never get the answers to. I'm learning that I must create my own set of answers by establishing legacy and building family and sharing experiences. Living life and enjoying it should occupy enough time to define the answers I am looking for. It should also keep me so busy that...

Shit.

I gotta go... Got stuff to do







See ya' around more often round these here parts. Life is calling!
And I gotta move my car...






unfin.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

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And so I must turn the page...
















And I will.














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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Finality Of Things

I'm sitting sideways over here.

I just woke up from a nap. I had to get some sleep in after driving in from the greater Los Angeles/Long Beach area this morning.

I absolutely had to spend time (which wasn't enough and wasn't the circumstances) with dear friends before I head east. I wish I had more time.

I am a mess right now. I am coming to terms with the loss of my sister. I just cannot place this occurrence with anything right now. I am thirty eight years old and I just lost a peer. I really thought that I would have more time before folk that aren't family but are emotionally close would die. I thought at we would live a little, some to marry and have kids and others to venture out and accomplish things in travel and experience. Anika and I made promises to each other to do things in life that would enhance the experience for friends, family and folk who either read us in passing or subscribed to our blogs or obtained our publications. She used to tell me that I just need to continue to travel, take pics and just write about it and that one day she would catch up to me in that regard.

I've always been a wanderer. I've always been willing to share that stuff as well. Me being selfish again wishes that she could have recovered and got out there to do her own traveling. Just in the past couple of weeks I was sending her pics via text/picture mail and she got a kick out of seeing that stuff. I really hoped that times like the Arizona, New York and that most recent D.C. trip were bound to come again for her. We planned to be at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival for three damn years... We never made it. Stuff always came up though.

I am not a religious man. I am more of a study of the spiritual and definitely into breaking down the metaphysical. My beliefs in what man has crafted has changed over the years. I have a hard time believing one particular person's theology because it seems too convenient and makes the believer look selfish. The universe is too big and there is too much to be answered for us to come to a conclusion that it is all about us. I really believe that man has taken the thoughts of intelligent design and religion and made it all about himself because at one time in our history we thought that we were all alone and couldn't see past the clouds.

With that being said, I have my own theories on the spirit and our life forces. I have never thought so hard about these things: the spirit, where it goes, life forces, the concept of forever, the notion that we will one day see each other again... The moment you lose someone that is NOT family that you opened yourself up to and let into your realm do you really begin to wander off into what all of this really means in the grand scheme of things.

I mean, we have developed a process to accept the death of an elder and family members. We help and assist each other in coping and understanding the passing of a blood relative that gets sick or suddenly leaves this realm by whatever means. We grow up with these people in our lives and there is a process of hospice within ourselves in which we can let go and come to agreement with their end and our continuance.

What happens when you meet someone by chance encounter, are introduced to or are just brought together by friggin' osmosis with a complete stranger from outside of your circle and/or personal region and you open yourself up to them and they to you (and not marry or pursue a romantic relationship with, partner up with business or otherwise, etc) and build trust, respect each other's boundaries, create a history of kinship and friendship with and then one day out of nowhere... That person is jettisoned from your square?

How does one deal with the finality of death of the people around and connected to them not by blood when he or she hasn't fully come to terms with the conditions and constraints of their own life?

This is where I am right now.

I am hurt and saddened in my friends passing. I am shocked and amazed in the fact that we're the same age and years ago in attempts to look at these times we thought at we would find ourselves knee deep in opportunity to thrive in whatever life dealt us in those unseen moments.

I'm angry that there was no moment of triumph over her most recent time spent these past months suffering through, even though she didn't complain.

I am heartbroken for her family and her BFFs... I know that sacrifices were made, concessions were placed and duty was served in providing love and comfort. We invest our time and effort thinking that there will be an abundant return. Most times there are. The time spent over the years yields so much, but our selfishness in wanting things to go our way sometimes clouds the memories of days past because we expect our present and future to be filled with the ones we feel the need to lean on.

My wife is my lover, confidant and companion. She is my business partner, co-pilot and positive visionary opposite in what I see in order to provide the yang to my ying. She is my motivation to conquer the world for our comfort. I expect her to be there every damn day. I do not know what I would do without her at my side, even when she's fussing and complaining...

My mother is my blanket. She wraps me in her emotion and provides me with that gentle voice that confirms that everything is okay. She still attempts to jump in front of me to protect and shield me from life's adversity. She is my example of continuance and steadfastness in the face of poverty, racism and ignorance. I get my determination from her. I need her to be right there when I call or visit. She drops everything to be with me in that moment because I'm the kid that wanders away and there's no telling where or when I might be...

My brother is my man at arms. He's a younger me so our interests are the same. He schools me on marriage and family because he had a family way before I ever thought of jumping the broom. We enjoy simple things that we add complications to because we're engineers.

My sister is my reality check. She has never held back about the who, what and hows in my life. She delivers my reality in short bursts of truth and is very protective over me. She's my peer nurturer and picks up where my mother leaves off in wanting to shield me from adversity. If I were ever persecuted, she would provide sanctuary and wouldn't even let on to her husband that I'm living in the basement... I'd eat well too.

Troy, Al and Richard served time in different points in my life as my best friend, road dog and partner in crime. I am still good with all of them but folks hook up, get married and start families and focus on building their own legacies and like me now, the energy spent is now devoted companionship and faithfulness in family and their significant others are rightfully their best friend. But we still kick it when time and opportunity permits

My Pops is my spirit guide. He has been through so much but his faith and understanding in what faith and religion really is flabbergasts me to this day. When we spend time and talk things through, that wisdom he has gained in failure and triumph, through loss and major gain gives me all the schooling I need to overstand what it'll take to get to where he is in life. My dad is my minister and counselor. He understands what's in my heart and can express that more than I ever could.

Anika was my truth squad. Everybody has one person that is this to them. Nikki slapped my ass with the pure, unadulterated truth in everything on a regular basis. I loved that about her, even if she would get all introverted and shy and try not to call herself out. That's what I was there for on some occasion. She was my sister, kindred in spirit. We were too damn similar in many ways, many things. Looking and dealing with her was like dealing with myself we were so damn alike. She was way more talented and me and I was in awe of how easy most things came in her ability to create. Losing her was like losing a reflection in the mirror. I am having difficulty in dealing with the finality of it all.

I absolutely could not in the most selfish way ever lose anyone in my inner circle... And I did.

It now has me questioning every damn thing. I'm feeling lost right now knowing that I must travel east and place closure on things. The finality of things... I'm not sure how to deal right now, but I'm doing the best I can in this moment. Don't expect much from me though. Thinking about her family and what they're going through is harrowing enough.

I need time to process.

Boy, that was me rambling on, huh?

The shop is closed until after Labor Day Weekend. On my way to Atlanta one mo' gin.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Remnants Forever Staining My Memory

It was April 2006.

I composed this piece and sent it off to her





We move within silence not
knowing if that motion is directed
towards completion.

To me silence replaces distance,
so I make noise as to keep unspoken
feelings audible.

If I can hear, then I know that you're close.
It comforts me knowing that your emotions
are within arms reach.

I hope that actions mean completion
of us. I pray that distance only means
that we'll be together in the meantime
and that we can grow out of individual
space.

In time.

The clicking that interrupts white noise is
me eagerly responding to you. At times I'm
afraid to pick up the phone, during others I
become a coward, withdraw and anticipate
you typing.

I get short of breath.

Silence broken ushers curious gladness.
Reconnected via wrists and fingertips helps
smooth quiet loneliness out. It replaces
conversation, but only in a season.

I write in silence only to break it with a
yearning thought. I read aloud to exercise
the power of the written word into spoken.

Words have the power of life and death.

I view pictures with hopes of recall
enhancing our face to face. Every
now and then I check my pocket
to make sure I have enough to
bring that thing together.

I can't swallow. That thought so tense.

That thing is time. Things happen in
due time. Timing is everything, it's special
that I might want to dedicate said
time for a long time.

We move within silence not knowing if that
motion is directed towards completion,
but we want it to.

We want it to, right?


Her response: yup, and that was beautiful, hassan. absolutely
beautiful. :)

It meant something different at that time. I had a meaning of kinship recently and now it means something totally different. And I really thought that simple words, although I do love them had a singular defined meaning and held its prose when you composed them. I was wrong. Although the intent of this composition was one thing, it actually meant to convey something else and she got it, others did not. I caught hell for publishing this piece at the time we both knew what this was.

I had found a lyrical soul mate. Man, we had love for words.

We never got around to creating that album we wanted to do, but I do have the bits and pieces of other things written from 2003 and beyond although anything written from September 2009 and beyond will be so one sided.