Monday, December 8, 2008

Driven to Distraction

too far on the outside
to attempt to look in
hands dried and cracked
from the cold and smelling
of Murphys Oil Soap
as I try to scrub my floors
and clean away
my last memories
of him

And when there’s silence
I daydream scenes
Of him seeing me at my
Most beautiful
Most charming
Most wanted

So again I begin
To scrub and scrub
Leaving floors clean
But the spot in my heart
That he did not earn
Will not leave
Sometimes the images of what could be
Are stronger than the truth
Of what is

Heeding Lady Macbeth’s call
Seeing things that aren’t there
Driven insane
From loneliness and the tricks
Loneliness plays on my heart
Out out!

Yet I keep on scrubbing
And I smell the Murphys Oil soap
And I feel my cracked, dry hands
And I see my clean floors
But I still can’t scrub him away
I never even had a chance
To fall in love
My house has never been
So clean

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sometimes its hard for me to breathe

The silence is becoming my friend. Before it was a threat of the nothingness my life was becoming.
But now I am learning to welcome it. Silence. But still its hard for me to breathe sometimes. I’ve decided that I will stop fighting who I am. Its okay that I am an independent woman who needs to be taken care of. And who only saw marijuana up close when you used to visit. Too bad I never saw you through your purple haze. But I miss your laughter and your company. With all your nastiness that makes my face hot just thinking about it

You were …so…nasty

I really just miss the company.

I find myself listening for footsteps that never reach my door. But I made the choice to spend time with someone I really didn’t like, just for the company. I guess you felt that. Only now do I realize the consequences of our behavior. So now when the late night texts start coming again. I ignore them. I won’t do that to you again. Even if you want me to.

Its hard for me to breathe sometimes

I hate that people don’t let me be Other than what they have written about me in their heads. Like how I am such a heavy drinker even though I have only drank on 5 occasions since August. Which is something because August almost killed me dead; Trapped by your circumstance and past mistakes.
And maybe its true. Because why else would I be keeping count .

Its hard for me to breathe sometimes.

I’m learning that my happiness is no one else’s responsibility but my own. But I also know that it feels so good for someone to want that responsibility. And sometimes its okay to want to feel good. It doesn’t make me any less or selfish or faulty. Because feeling good helps me to breathe.

Because sometimes its about seeing what you want and getting it. Or not. And moving on . Or not
But making the choice.

I see my father and mother. Father sick. Mother by his side. Keeping him well. When you are sick, who will be there to hold your hand, clean your body. Do for you when you can’t do for yourself . Who will do for me?

My mother and father made a choice. As will I.

So here I am

Age 35. 36 around the corner. Still waiting for footsteps. But knowing if I hear them or if I don’t, Sometimes, It will still be hard for me to breathe.

Friday, October 10, 2008


After the storms had passed,
The screaming of nature’s fury
And the driving water’s strength
Had descended into next to nothingness
The wonderment of the thick humid
Air was all that remained
We came to the moist meadow and struggled to breathe
Light air

There amongst the grass and weeds
The dew and the new sun
In the midst of a virgin morning
We were brought to our knees
As the beautiful colors enveloped us
And the tears rose up from deep inside our chest

Where peace and utter joy mingle in light,
Where beauty and knowledge beckon like sirens in the sea
And the eternity of a moment dances before disappearing
There we were

In the portal transcendent
Where love is born

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lessons from the Red Sea

Excerpt from Exodus, chap. 14/ My poem in response

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”

13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm

26 When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.

29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the Lord rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Sometimes your enemies are in front of you
Sometimes they are chasing you from behind
It’s best to keep moving
Because fear will grip you
Into paralysis

I keep forgetting I am chosen

Making sure I am alone
So my loneliness isn’t a surprise
Pushing people away
So I won’t miss them later
Because I know I’m not enough
Not pretty enough
Not comfortable enough
Not me enough
To make anyone happy

But once I remembered
That I am never alone
That I’m always enough
That I have nothing to fear
My joy came back
My courage came back
Even my dog came back
All these lessons I’m learning
Lessons from the red sea
Sankofa’s gift
To me

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A lone star state

If daddy’s little girl has no daddy, then who is she?

It had been nagging her the whole flight. “You should call. . .you should call,” the nag nagged. But she didn’t want to call. Even if she was right, she didn’t know what she would say or how she would comfort him. Especially because of her father and his failing kidneys and his failing heart and how she was afraid that she would someday be in his spot taking calls of comfort. So she did what people do nowadays when they are afraid to speak, she texts. “R u ok?” He texts back, “No”. She texted back some other canned words not sure what to say. She didn’t know if this meant she had passed or not. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t ok. And there was nothing she could do about it. Being in a helpless situation is not a comfortable feeling for a control freak. But knowing this wasn’t about her, she plowed on with her day.

The week was full of working and driving and watching the Olympics. It was also full of boredom and rain and forced introspection. She checked the internet a couple of days later. She sees something that lets her know she is gone. She wonders how he is doing. Then decides that is stupid to wonder. How do you think he is doing? The nag nagged again. She texts, “I’m thinking of u.” and goes on to work. That was only partly true, she was thinking of him and how she wanted to hug him and nuzzle him and tell him it will be ok, even though she knew it would not be. But she also was thinking of her father and what she would do. She knew exactly. Get in the bed, curl up in a ball, and drink until she couldn’t feel a thing. The thought of that scared her. Maybe she wouldn’t. Who would take care of the boys? Then she felt a sense of relief that maybe she would be strong enough for them. But still the feeling nagged.

It persisted into Wednesday. She thought it was work stuff. It was hard being away the week before school starts. Not to mention getting her own children ready. School supplies, uniform pants, big boy underwear. So much to do. She called into work a couple times and shared with a coworker the feeling she couldn’t shake. She told her everything was fine at work and she should relax. But still the feeling nagged.

The next morning while reaching out of the shower to close the door, she fell. Hard. While sitting in the tub, trying to catch her breath, a thought came to her. If I would have bumped my head and passed out, no one would know. I am here alone. That’s when the tears came. She hated crying. She roughly rubbed her eyes, got up, got dressed and went to work. Midway through the pain the dull ache in her side grew as well as a grapefruit size bruise on the left side of her torso. She decided to be safe not sorry and went to the hospital. After 5 hours, 3 xrays, and 1 cat scan, the diagnosis: You are bruised inside and out. Thanks for that. She chose not to linger on the irony.

That night she was recounting the story about how she fell to her sister. She was complaining how she was in the hospital and no one would answer their phone. Her sister said, “Well you know we were dealing with stuff.” What stuff she wondered. Then her sister nonchalantly said that their dad had to go into the hospital. He was so swollen they couldn’t even use the shunt that had been implanted in his arm for dialysis for all the swelling. Ah so that was the feeling. She didn’t want to find out this way. There should have been some formal phone call. But maybe her family knew that she may curl into a ball and drink until she was numb, and they couldn’t have that happen while she was in Houston. The funeral for his mother was Friday, the day she came home. She exchanged some texts with him and she marveled how he worked earlier that day. He said it was good to keep busy. Yeah, that makes sense. She was glad that he had something to do that for him. She was sad to think of him at her funeral. She was sad to think of her father being in the hospital without her there. She was sadder to think that she would have to go see him. She didn’t want to. She got on the plane, did some much needed work, and looked out the window as she waited to land.

Her best friend picked her up. Her best friend, her boyfriend, and her dog. The whole crew to carry her back to her house. She didn’t tell her about her dad. She still didn’t want to talk about it. So she came home, checked for mice, mixed up a cocktail. She called her sister. They talked. She drank. They all were going to the hospital the next day. And by all it included her. She mixed a few more cocktails, curled up into a ball, and went to sleep.

Monday, August 18, 2008


This man is going be trouble
I do not want any trouble
I do not love him
I'm not sure I like him
But I can tell
That he will be, could just be,
This man might mean trouble
For me

He was in my house
in my space
in my bed
between my legs
and then I thought
about the next time
Thats when I knew that he meant trouble
Big trouble for me

I do not love him
I barely like him
But I can tell

He was at my table
talking to me
laughing with me
drinking with me
asking me about me
But I won't tell him
"What you see is what you get"
I told him
Because I could see
that he was trying to make trouble
more trouble for me

I do not love him
I like him just a little
We are just friends
But I can tell
that trouble, scary trouble
is on the way

I want him to come again
eat maybe
drink probably
talk definitely
provide distractions: a movie? perhaps
But just that I am planning a next time
Proves that this man
means nothing but trouble
for me

I miss his face
I look forward to his words
And have become dependent on his company
And I don't even like him
Yes, I'm in trouble
Deep, deep trouble
He is causing all sorts of trouble
for me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Winter 1948


Winter 1948

He’s not coming.

The thought was colder than the February air that was numbing her fingers. Gloria’s eyes stayed transfixed to the bend in the road from where he should have been traveling three hours ago. She began to worry about his safety. It wasn’t safe for any coloreds to travel down that part of town this late in the evening. Not even a foreign one. It always seemed strange to Gloria that white people owned everything, even the roads, the dirt. It was impossible to even exist and begin your own life, love who you choose without their approval.

She couldn’t even bring herself to walk into the house to warm up. As if her presence on that porch on that chair was enough to will him to her. As if all he needed was her eyes transfixed on the road as his beacon to this place.
“Come inside, girl. You’re going to freeze to death.”
Yes, freeze to death. That is what would happen. Either he would come or she would die and she would be frozen.

Little by little her worry turned to despair. The reason behind his absence didn’t matter. The plans they had made would be of no use. The Spanish she learned, the job leads in Philly, the English accent he’d perfected, all useless without him.
“Don’t worry,” he’d told her. I will come for you and we will be together. We can be a family and I will take care of you. Just wait for me.”

She wondered if his family figured out his plans. They hated her. They hated the fact she was a negro. They hated the fact that she had no father. They hated the fact that of all the Mexican girls that had migrated with them or they had left in New Orleans, he chose a nigger girl with no family or culture to speak of.
It didn’t matter. Even if he had never loved her, even if it had all been a lie, even if he was lying hurt in a ditch on his way to her, the result was the same.

He’s not coming.

And so after four hours and 26 minutes on her porch in the dead of winter, she died. She waited until every feeling, organ, and piece of hope was frozen. And when that was done, she got up, gathered her things, and walked back into the house.
She was dead, every piece of her. Every piece except the one growing inside her fifteen year old belly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Honoring Bob Nesta Marley

July 27, 2008
12:32am-The last of the texts between GM and me. Something about the anonymity of texting and the lateness of the hour makes me very excited to go to sleep and think of him

6:55am-The dog is up, barking his head off. I think the worm medication keeps him awake. I go downstairs and walk him. When we come back in I realize that he will be in his crate most of the day, so I give him the run of the house while I try to sleep some more.

9:18-The boys are still asleep. We had quite a trip yesterday. It exhausted them. I get up to get their clothes ready for the day and the next. I start getting more texts from GM. I love when that happens: to go to bed talking to someone and waking up with the same someone. It’s like we slept together. But not really at all, just in my mind. I shared my summer to-do list. I was nervous he would pick the wrong one. Dudes always go for the threesome. But he didn’t, he said he would see about helping me keep my skin clear. That is a good thing because I could feel a pimple coming on my chin.

10:30-the boys are up and in the bathtub. They leave so much water on the floor. It is messy, but I love that I am not bathing them separately yet. DJ is beginning to complain, I know I will have to stop this soon. I hustle them out of the tub and into the lotioning and dressing portion of the little boy makeover. I haven’t even showered yet.

11:30 Breakfast is done. We get in the car and start the trip back into Maryland to drop them off at their dad’s and for me to get to brandi’s by noon. I suggested noon. I mean I know the trip to Wolf Trap was going to be closer to an hour than 40 minutes. Not to mention the trip from the car to will-call then to a free patch o’ land to set up shop.

12:20 Randi still hasn’t arrived to Brandi’s yet. I can feel myself getting anxious. It didn’t matter. We still had to pick up juices to mix with the vodka and roll up . . .well nevermind. We don’t get on the road until 1:05pm.

1:50-We’re still on the road. It begins to rain. I am relieved. Summer storms are fleeting. I am learning to let life have its own timetable. If we had left on time, we would have been soaked. I am relaxed now.

2:20-We finally arrive and split up the load to lug up the hill to the will call. We get our tickets. There are very few seats left. We squeeze into a spot on the hill. It is obvious that we won’t actually see any acts. But this really wasn’t about the actual seeing of the acts, it is about being out in the elements experiencing good music and friendship.

just one-fourth the crap
3:10 Listening to the opening act. They are pretty good. But at this point I am a drink and a half in. I meet Matt or Mike. I was dared to go ask him to take a picture of his dreds. Don’t dare me . . . I did.

Me and a random white boy dred.  Why dont mine grow so fast?
3:30 Barrington Levy comes on Under Mi Sensi is the bomb. We get up and start moving. Brandi, Randi, Denise and I. Dancing . . .Singing . .. badly. But so much fun!

Under Mi Sensi!!!  Yea Barrington!
4:00 The sun has emerged. Oh Hell is hot but Wolf Trap on Sunday was soooo much hotta. The heat and the vodka has gotten to me. I lay down to rest. 30 seconds later Matt/Mike shows up to chat me up. He takes his hat off for me to see his waist length locs. He said he only is ok with letting pretty girls touch it. Yeah game is not tight. Very weak in fact. Then he tells me he’s in a band (The I-ternals) and will be at the Sept. 7th festival at RFK. Yeah u need more than au natural locs and “I’m in a band” Cool though. He leaves after a minute or two.

He came back for more
4:17-Ziggy Marley takes the stage. I’m sorry, but to me he is the most boring of the Marley brothers, next to Julian that is. So we drink vodka and rum slushies! Yum! I am having a good time. Love spending time with those girls. I’m drinking a lot. So is brandi. Every 20 minutes she asks, “Where’s the vodka?” Its in the same place bran. I’ll pour.

See you next summe!!!!
4:47-Stephen Marley takes the stage. I enjoy him. There is more dancing and singing badly. There is a clay colored Jamaican who is flirting with Denise. I mean seriously he is clay colored, with the thickest accent. But he is more dancing and fun. He eventually dances with all of us. So much fun. Beautiful . . .

Denise and the man that smelled really good.
5:14-Damian comes! Jr. Gong himself doing his Traffic Jam piece. Dancing and singing and chanting well this time. This was our jam a couple of years ago!! I do a shot with some dudes passing by. I spill most of it purposely. Yeah, I always know when to say when

6:00-We pack up and get back on the road. We crank up brandi’s ipod and sing and dance on the way back. It was such a good day. Love and singing and dancing and friendship and freeeeeedom.

After 6:30-We get back to brandi’s. I grab a couple pieces of chicken and some juice to go with my cheap vodka at home and drive back to DC. I drunk text a couple of folks. Not a good idea. I will have to stick to those words later . . .damn, damn, damn. But liquor is my truth serum, it was all true, but not as complicated or as serious as he thought. All my feelings are deep, its who I am. And I just had a day of freeeeedom. I won’t be held captive by worry about being understood. I am who I am and it is what it is . . .that’s all.

8:41- I get a couple of texts. I have no idea, because I apparently am sleeping hard. Not passed out, mind you, just sleeping hard.

10:27-I notice the texts and respond thinking I just got them. I realize I got them an hour or so ago. Oh well. Back and forth, back and forth. I swore I wasn’t going to text him anymore. We don’t do well over text. Unlike GM, our text never really convey what we want to convey. Who knows, maybe GM and I shouldn’t be texting either. It feels false. Though it bothers me more with him.

11:21- I get the pictures from the day. The day was more awesome than I realized. Looking at those pictures, seeing how beautiful we are, seeing how lively we are, seeing how real we are and how much we are connected, was a wonderful way to spend our time honoring Bob Nesta Marley. Laughing, singing (badly), dancing, and being with each other. Just us girls . . .

Look da dreds dem

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That's nobody's business but my own

This is a picture taken of Billie Holiday during her last recording session. She died within the year. I hate this picture. It should not have been taken. This photo has a rubber-necking, intrusiveness quality of a horrible event at which we shouldn't be gawking. I would much rather remember her singing and strong and whole. In this picture she seems broken. There is another reason I hate this picture. In her hand she is holding a glass. In the glass is vodka and lime. Anyone who knows me knows what I drink: vodka and lime on the rocks. Billie and I had similar tastes in alcohol. And even though I know that Billie Holiday was a long time heroin user, this picture still scares me to death.
My grandmother was a long time heroin user. With the exception of my mother, all of her children are or have been addicted to cocaine or alcohol or prescription pills. Food and shopping are my mother's drugs of choice. On my father's side of the family, he has nieces who have been addicted to alcohol.
I drink alot. If you were to ask my friends to describe me, they would probably mention how much I drink. But when folks talk about how much I drink, it is never in a pitiful, sad, "oh she has a problem" sense. It is always in awe. Like drinking is one of the qualities that they would aspire to have. I too am proud of my drinking capabilities. I can drink alot, no throwing up. Only my best friend and maybe my brother can tell when I'm drunk. I hold it together amazingly well. I have a very high tolerance. I am never drunk in public. The only way I can tell when I've drank too much is the next day if I wake up with a hangover. I never drink while my children are awake. Part of this control that I have over drinking is what scares me. The question becomes, How or when does a person know when they have a problem with alcohol?" Billie Holiday was a heroin addict. She drank on the day that photo was taken because she said it would help her voice. It didn't. Some say asking the question lets you know that you may have a problem. I'm not so sure. I know at one point I was drinking daily. I no longer do that. I do not drink when I'm sad. I just don't feel like it. I attribute drinking with partying and happiness.
I did until a few nights ago when I was lonely and depressed and no one was around. I really had the urge to drink. In my mind, just to have something to do. When I saw there was nothing in the freezer, it made me even sadder. When I felt the sadness wave over me about the lack of vodka, the fear crept it. I couldn't believe I was almost in tears because there was no alcohol in the house. That scares me to death. I am very grateful in hindsight there was no alcohol in that freezer. So even though I feel I have control over my drinking, there is a quality to it that is obsessive. One of the reasons I have never tried any other drug is because of that obsessive part of my personality. I don't think I could stop. I wonder if Billie Holiday thought she had control?
I have these arbitrary rules that I have about drinking alcohol. Not when children are awake, not when pregnant, not after 10 when I have to go to work the next day (unless I am out dancing, then all bets are off). The most important rule, not if it hurts someone else. Billie Holiday said, "I don't hurt nobody but myself, and that's nobody's business but my own." Well said. Self destruction can make a philosopher out of anyone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who's That Girl? more like the eurythmics, not madonna

I am a cinnamon brown, dred loc’d girl. I am ashamed that I began my about me talking about how I look. But while I’m on the subject . . .I am bespectacled (I wear glasses) never contacts. I remain Clark Kent. I am tallish (for a girl) I am waaay too old to refer to myself as a girl. Even though I’m one of those “natural chicks” I love tv, I can’t stop eating red meat for more than 4 months at a time, and I eat very few vegetables. I know it’s bad for me, but I have very little self control. I love words. I love how the right words can evoke feelings. I love poetry. I despise bad poetry. I love spoken word. I abhor spoken word done poorly. I love to write. I love to write. It is cheaper than therapy. I write to figure it all out and to hope others can find some truth in it to reaffirm I am not the alien that I fear myself to be.

I am writing a book. I have a poor attention span so I am worried that my novel will remain unwritten. I tend to daydream. I was thinking about getting evaluated for ADD, but I’m afraid that with my new focus, my daydreams will disappear. I find people so strange and interesting. I love talking to people and figuring out what they’re all about. Which is why I love myspace and people watching. I make up stories about them. I look through what they want people to see and get to their reality or the reality I have daydreamed up. And more often than not reality and my dreamed up reality are one of the same or pretty darned similar. I don’t like cursing. I don’t like people to curse in conversations with me, when they don’t know me. However, after a few cocktails, I tend to curse like a sailor. That is when you can tell I’m drunk, the cursing and the country accent that appears. (which is altogether strange for a girl from jersey).

I married the first man who said he loved me. I am also divorcing him. Lesson learned. I have two sons. They are beautiful and funny. Some people (including myself) think I’m funny. I like to make people laugh. Unfortunately, sometimes that keeps people from taking me seriously. And I am very serious. Some people are offended by the things I say. I say things impulsively sometimes without thinking of the ramifications. However, people shouldn’t be offended. Grow some thicker skin, really.

Hmm, what else. Yes, I love Jesus. I am his favorite. He answers my prayers (although I’m not always crazy about the answers). This is where I get my confidence, my fearlessness. I am still growing in my knowledge of what all that means. I continue to be weak in ways that are not good for me, so I am grateful for God’s grace. Ummm, I love That Girl by Stevie Wonder, I love Holly Golightly, Rear Window, Claudine, dancehall, and vodka, vodka, and vodka again. That is all, over and out.