Are You Out There?

Trigger warning: death, suicide, abortion.

Here we are, midway through spooky month. I haven’t done a damn thing either. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I read “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James (read it!), and I’m almost halfway through “We Sold Our Souls” by Grady Hendrix (read it!), and I put up my decorations (need more!), but that’s it. I haven’t sat down for a scary movie. I haven’t gone to a pumpkin patch. I haven’t visited the decorated houses in my town. I have been trying to enjoy the weather, especially the cooler overcast days. But then a day like today happens and it doesn’t feel like fall or October. The sun is currently streaming through my windows as I type this, and it’s going to get to almost 80 degrees. Doesn’t Mother Nature know I’m trying to channel Morticia Adams? 

In the spirit of the month, I have been thinking about spirits, ghosts, ghouls, whatever you call them, and I’ve recalled a few cases when I, or someone else, experienced something, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

  1. My father is not one for the supernatural. He thinks ghost hunting shows are fake, and he can’t be bothered. However, several years ago, I found out that when he was a boy at his aunt’s house one day he watched a man walk in the backdoor straight to the basement. Seeing this stranger my father went to the adults to ask who just came into the house. Nobody could fathom who this person was, so they asked my father to describe him. He said he was wearing overalls and had a toolbox with him. It took them a moment, but it was determined that my father had seen the plumber who had died about a week prior.
  2. Fast forward to my late teens. My mother and sister had walked to my sister’s school for an event. The way they walked you could see into our dining room from the street behind the house. My sister looked and said, “Oh, Dad must be home.” I don’t recall if I came downstairs because I heard them come in or if it was a coincidence, but when they saw me they asked where dad was. They explained that while walking home they thought they saw our father in the dining room, but they couldn’t have because his car wasn’t in the driveway. He hadn’t come home yet.
  3. Another time, in this same house, I was running up the stairs to get something from my room. I stepped into the hall and stopped short because a black cat ran across my path. We didn’t have a cat.
  4. In college, there were tales of haunted happenings in various buildings around campus. As freshmen, of course, my friends and I wanted to check out the validity of one of these stories. It centered around a female student who died by suicide or who aborted her baby, or both. It was like a game of telephone, everyone had their version of what they heard. One of my friends had a video camera (yup, I’m old) and we snuck to the unused top floor of the dorm where people said the event(s) happened. Naturally, we claimed we felt a presence, the air felt weird, it felt as though we were being watched, all the things you would expect novice ghost hunters to say. However, the camera started acting funny and powered down as if the batteries died. We thought that alone proved a ghost was present, however, what clinched it for us was when we got back downstairs and the camera began to work again as if nothing had happened. 
  5. Finally, I bring it back to my father. My mother died several years ago, and my father was with her when she took her last breath. What I learned two years ago was my father said he saw her soul leave her body, and he sometimes feels a tap on his back when he’s sleeping. He thinks the tap is from my mother.

I hope you weren’t expecting tales of terror, but aren’t the simple stories sometimes scarier? Not that these are, but they are more personal. I believe there are things we can’t explain. I believe some are benevolent, and some mean harm. Hopefully, I only come across the friendly things.

Do you believe? Have you, or anyone you know, experienced anything? What fall activities have you done? Scary movies watched and/or books read? Do you listen to scary/supernatural podcasts? Share all the things!

Happy haunting, Ghouls!

Black is…

Black is beautiful.

Black is strong.

Black is intelligence.

Black is not wrong.

Black is leadership.

Black is pride.

Black is happy.

Black is rolling with the changing tides.

Black is changing the tides.

Black is a rainbow of shades.

Black is overcoming.

Black is me. 

Black is us.

Single Race

Single race privilege is not understanding I am not a single race.

Single race privilege is trying to make me pick one of those races and not understanding why that is difficult.

Single race privilege is trying to explain that picking one race over the other is like asking you to pick a favorite child or parent and you thinking it’s not the same thing.

Single race privilege is thinking I prefer one race over the other.

Single race privilege is thinking white/black biracial people go around calling each other Oreo as a cute pet name.

Single race privilege is thinking bi/multi-racial people have a secret handshake or wink or nod or that we all know each other or worse: have the same experiences. 

Single race privilege is thinking “mixed-race babies are the most beautiful” kids ever and not understanding how toxic that is.

Single race privilege is thinking bi/multi-racial people want to marry and have babies with each other because we are trying to further a mixed-race society. A take over if you will. 

Single race privilege is thinking we go around flaunting our physical appearance to make others feel bad.

Sing race privilege is thinking it must be so cool to have parents of different races, that our home life must be like being an exchange student. We think our parents are as uncool and unhip as you think yours are. To us, they are simply Mom and Dad.

Single race privilege is thinking those of us with one white parent who are VERY fair go around not aware we benefit from white privilege. Just because we can does not mean we try or want to or don’t call it out.

Single race privilege is thinking it’s okay to bring us into your minority fold for “numbers” or to help “the cause” while in the same breath telling us we don’t understand the struggle and wonder how we came to stand beside you. 

Single race privilege is thinking those of us with one black parent will always classify and identify ourselves as black and if we don’t our invite to the bbq is snatched back faster than edges.

Single race privilege is going around using terms like biracial or multiracial or “color-blind” and thinking you have cornered the market on inclusion and tolerance but secretly you are dying to ask questions and don’t want to come off as racist or ignorant. 

Single race privilege is thinking we think we’re better than everyone because we are mixed race.

Single race privilege is assuming us fair-skinned, light-eyed biracial people think we’re “so cute”.

Single race privilege is treating us like we’re a plaything or doll.

Single race privilege is assuming you know how we think, feel, and live our lives.

Single race privilege is telling us who we are.

(Perhaps we need more listening and understanding and less telling others who and what to be and how to live.)

You Tell Me

It has been a rough week. Derek Chauvin is still on trial for murdering George Floyd. Yet another Black person has been killed at the hands of the police; a twenty-year-old young man. Video of an Army lieutenant pulled over by the police in December 2020 has surfaced and while, fortunately, this man survived it wasn’t without guns drawn on him and pepper spray being used. In South Carolina, a young Black man was accosted by a white man, an Army man, for walking in the neighborhood. These are just the tip of the iceberg. 

As with most of these cases, a lot of talk on social media has centered around people complying with the police. “If they just did what they were told to do.” “If they were just respectful.” “If they didn’t commit a crime.” If, if, if; an infinity of ifs. How about these ifs. What if they did comply? What if they were respectful? What if they didn’t commit the crime of which they were accused? And what if the police didn’t take it upon themselves to deem the people with whom they interact guilty? Last time I checked, this is a country of innocent until proven guilty. 

Here’s the thing. Even in a case when someone may have acted out of pocket, may have been guilty of whatever it was that got the police called, it is the job of the police to restrain the person, handcuff them, bring them to the precinct, and process them so that they go through the criminal justice system. Are there circumstances when the police have to use lethal force? Of course, there are times when that is necessary. What people are saying is that perhaps there should be training and procedures in place so deadly force is not the gut instinct. The police know how to do this; they know and they have done so. 

I saw a video today of a white man in Minnesota (I swear there must be something in the water there) who had the cops called on him because he refused to wear a face mask in a store. I believe he also got physical with store employees. I don’t know where this man was when the police arrived, however, I saw the interaction at the point where the man was in his pickup truck. An officer appeared to have a gun drawn, another officer was either trying to use his truck to stop the man from pulling away or the man’s truck was moving the police truck, it was hard to tell, and another officer was hanging onto the driver side of the man’s truck. Did they shoot? No. The man was able to drive away, at a high rate of speed it seemed, with the officer still hanging on to his truck. Articles have also mentioned the suspect hit the officer with a hammer. Where is this white man now? This white man has been arrested. But, but how is that possible? He wasn’t complying. He was actively trying to flee. No kidding. But this man is alive to tell the tale. Am I suggesting the police should have killed him? No. I don’t authorize or wish for people to be killed by anyone. But what was it about this man that he was able to be arrested and not shot to death? Other than being a white man, I need someone to tell me what other reason they would have for arresting him without harm. You tell me, I’ll wait. 

I’m going to conclude with my own traffic stop story from several years ago. I have been wracking my brain trying to remember the reason for the initial stop; it went one of two ways. I was either pulled over for an outdated inspection sticker but was given a lesser ticket for having things hanging from my rearview mirror (sound familiar?), or I was pulled over for the stuff hanging from the mirror and was given a warning. I don’t remember because it had to have been at least a decade ago. Moral of this story? I walked away but that’s not even the best part. It was such an innocuous incident I can’t remember why I was pulled over. How is that for some damn white privilege? Just an ordinary citizen pulled over, and still can’t remember. He was friendly too. Very respectful and understanding, almost seemed as if he was trying to put me at ease. It wasn’t until this week when Daunte Wright was pulled over, possibly for air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror, I remembered. The memory hit me with a force that brought me to tears. I am alive. Daunte Wright is not. I walk in this world with a privilege that allows me to remain alive. Daunte Wright did not. The thing about this too is that when I have seen Daunte Wright’s parents this week, I am looking at my parents: white mom, Black dad. Yet, again, I am still here. I have had the privilege to keep raising my children and celebrate anniversaries with my husband. Daunte Wright will not.

I hate this. I hate that people who look like my husband, my father, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my friends continue to deal with this nonsense. I hate that some continue to choose not to understand. Check yourselves, people. To begin dismantling this insanely broken system, those of us with white privilege must check ourselves. No, we didn’t create it, but we can break it. We must protect our Black brothers and sisters in the ways we are inherently protected. If you can’t or won’t then there’s nothing more for either one of us to say to each other except, why? You tell me.

Welcome, Spooky Season

Happy Halloween! Happy October! It is officially spooky season. If you are anything like me you love this time of year. I’ve written about this before but I feel I must honor it every year. I love autumn and Halloween and don’t understand people who don’t. All right, Halloween and the macabre aren’t for everyone. Autumn, however, is a no brainer.

Hear me out; it’s a crystal clear day, the sky a vibrant blue. The air feels clean, crisp, chilly, but not winter cold. Not the cold that feels like tiny daggers sliding down your throat when you take a breath. I’m talking jeans, chunky socks, boots, a long sleeve shirt, sweater, and a vest or fleece jacket. The shining sun gives off a bit of its warmth before the cruel, cold, grey days of winter.

There is something so cleansing and inviting about fall; it’s energizing. But, my interest in this time of year is something I’ve embraced more as I’ve gotten older. I’m convinced it started with my affinity for mystery novels. I began with the Nancy Drew series, grew to the raunchy, gritty Ed McBain 87th Street Precinct series, which morphed into a delirious love for Stephen King. King has made me look over my shoulder, peer inside closets, and check under my bed more than a few times. How freaking amazing is that? 

It is much more, however. The older I get I have to be honest about my interest in witchcraft and the occult, the history of Samhain (look it up), and folklore. I have researched the origins of witchcraft and what it means to be a practicing witch, and I have a Pinterest board dedicated to surviving a zombie apocalypse. That last one may be a little left of center, but you get the idea. I believe in ghosts. I believe in things we cannot see. I believe some people can see and communicate with ghosts. I don’t think any of these things make me sad, depressed, weird, not normal in any way. On the contrary, my beliefs, fandoms, and likes make me happy. I have not publicly acknowledged how much they make me happy. Unfortunately, we are taught these things are evil, dark, scary, akin to devil worship. 

This does not mean that I wear all black, or a pointy hat, or practice Wicca; it means that I don’t want to suppress my likes, loves, and quirks. (Not that those things are bad or off limits for me.) I’m almost fifty, who the hell am I trying to impress? Why am I trying to hide who I am? Why does it matter to people anyway? If I’m not judging you why the hell are you judging me? 

My fellow ghouls and goblins, here’s to October, Halloween, practicing Wiccans, those interested in the craft, and all things horror and gore! Here’s to falling leaves, chunky sweaters, hayrides, haunted or otherwise, pumpkin picking, cider drinking, firepits, witches on broomsticks, and dancing around a cauldron. Fellow spooky peeps, it’s our time of year! Let’s clutch it to our bosoms, squeeze it until green, viscous ooze flows, and have fun and frights. Don’t be afraid to express your interests and share it with others. If they want to join, that’s more for the coven. If not, hopefully, they won’t be a bother unless they want to be on the wrong side of a hex.

A Jumble of Thoughts

Do you ever have so many thoughts running through your head you don’t know where to begin expressing them? That’s me as of late. To say 2020 has been one hell of a ride is the most inadequate expression to describe what has been going on this year. My mind has been almost as crazy as the state of things in the nation and I have much to say, but I either come up with the words as my head is hitting the pillow, or I write them down at a more appropriate time and nothing properly conveys what I’m thinking and feeling. With that in mind, here are some takeaways.

  1. A global pandemic? And the first thing to go from store shelves was toilet paper? None of the zombie books, movies, or television shows I’ve read and watched told me to hoard toilet paper. 
  2. Then we couldn’t leave our houses? I have to say this one wasn’t so bad. My family and I have been spending more time together than we probably ever have. We like each other, but when you have a workaholic husband and busy kids, family time is hard to come by.
  3. The Masked Singer. This became our family’s go-to show. Fun fact; don’t make a bet with my husband because he is a man of his word and will either pay up or expect to be paid. Ask our older daughter’s friend who got fifty bucks from him because she won a bet about the identity of one of the masked singers. One minute they’re talking smack and the next he’s asking for her Venmo. Lucky girl!
  4. I still love to read.
  5. I’m not averse to audiobooks. A traditional book is still my fav, but audiobooks are helpful when it’s time to wash the dishes or cook dinner.
  6. I still have too many podcasts to listen to and finding new ones almost weekly.  
  7. Yes, racism is alive and well in the good ole’ U. S. of A. Oh, you didn’t know? Get a clue. Having to watch video after video of Black people being murdered by cops and civilians, again and again, has been difficult, to say the least. 
  8. My daughters and I went to a Black Lives Matter protest in our town. My sister and her oldest son also joined us. It was nice to see hundreds of people, many of them residents of our white, Republican town in attendance. 
  9. I’m not sure how I feel about corporations, finally, acknowledging the systemic racism embedded into the foundation of our nation. It’s good, but what occurred to make them take notice has been happening longer than some of these companies have existed. Why now? I hope they are sincere and stick by their new codes of conduct and statements. 
  10. Black Lives Matter.
  11. Black Lives Matter.
  12. Black Lives Matter. 
  13. Black Lives Matter.
  14. Happy Pride Month.

Equals – A Mini-Story

What if we looked the same?

Would it help to ease the pain?

My hair blonde and my eyes blue.

Maybe you’d stop trippin’ and we could compete head on – me and you.

I would be more your equal and we’d fight for Tim – star quarterback, homecoming king, 1600 SAT scoring, child tutor, UCLA bound Tim. Tim with the killer grin and a horrible problem called gin.

But who cares! He’s going to UCLA on a full scholarship: academic or sports?

He got both cause he’s Tim – Tim with the killer grin and a flask full of gin.

And we would snarl. And we would hiss.

We would bear our claws and clench our fists.

We would cheer for him at games and shake our pom-poms like they were prized lion’s manes.

Toss and flip our golden hair and bat our Pacific Ocean aquamarine eyes.

We wouldn’t give the time of day to the tons of other guys.

But wait! Here comes another…

Oh. No. He’s just a brother.

Not just a brother. A star athlete, homecoming king, 1600 SAT scoring, child tutor, HBCU headed brother, Tyrone.

Tyrone with the pearly whites – Tyrone who is (clap!) dy-no-mite!

But seriously (J. J.) get out the good stuff, you know. Yeah, the red Kool-Aid.

Cause Tyrone has that killer grin, but Tyrone doesn’t have an issue with gin.

He needs to stay focused.

He needs to stay strong.

He needs to keep his head in his books – all day long.

See, Tyrone needs to work 200 percent.

While Mr. Gin, I mean Tim, can say: “I’m spent.”

And still get the grades and the accolades.

And get in trouble with the law-

-I’m sorry ociffer is there a problem?

-Yes there is son, license, and registration.

-Really sir, okay, but I assure you this will go away.

-Tim. Tim. Tim with the gin, I mean grin?

-That’s me, sir, you know it. Is everything ok?

-Yes son, you betcha’. Better get on your way and go get em at UCLA!

But Tyrone – 5 years, no probation, no parole.

Sit there and rot.

Bitter and mean.

No, Tyrone, don’t do it. I’ll be your queen.

I’m not like her, it’s an act. It’s only a wig and some blue contacts.

She and I can still compete even though she’s white and I’m really black.

But she doesn’t understand how.

She’s not like me (says Blondie). I don’t get it, break it down.

You’re no better than me, in fact, you’re a little worse – you just think you have it all with Tim and your Gucci purse.

But when he hurts himself for good, it’s the gin girl, don’t be blind [fine, whatever, your life, not mine] just remember my husband’s name – Dr. Tyrone – and pay on time!

 

Chop, Chop



When I was in high school I used to cut my bangs. Nothing drastic like making them from scratch, but trimming someone else’s handiwork if they got too long sort of thing. I have never had my hair dyed by a professional and when I have done it myself I have always used those dyes that come out little by little with each shampoo. I have straightened my hair, had my hair relaxed, worn it short and long, but today I had a hair first. I cut my hair. Like, a good four inches cut my hair.

I haven’t been taking care of my hair for a while now. I wash it maybe once a week and put it in a bun or a ponytail that is then braided. Every now and again I switch up the ponytail by wearing it either high or a little low on the nape of my neck. I’m a rebel. For the past week, I have been doing the high pony simply brushing my hair smooth and then redoing the braid. I don’t work and the most I do is pick my daughter and her friend up from school and go to the food store. Oh, and I take my daughter to her after school activities; did I mention I’m a rebel? My point is that since I don’t do much outside of my home, I don’t do much with my hair. Fast forward to today when I had a hot oil treatment on my agenda which meant I wanted to detangle my hair first. I knew my hair would be a knotted mess, but I didn’t think I would come across small, matted, bird nest pieces. I had had enough.

My husband wasn’t home, my youngest daughter was still asleep, and I was on a mission. I put my hair into two bushy ponytails, divided those almost in half with little rubber bands and chopped! I freaked out. I texted my sister, I was almost hysterically laughing, and then I did the other side. I texted my sister again, she still hadn’t answered, and evaluated my work. It was still long, but not bad. I tightened the ponytails, added two more little rubber bands and picked up the scissors again. At this point, I was almost giddy from fear and happiness. I am not one to shy away from a short haircut, I usually have a short bob, but having it done by a professional and then doing it myself, someone who can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, was terrifying. With the second cut done, I took out all rubber bands and admired my work. While I will not be advertising myself as a stylist, it wasn’t bad. I had a bit in the back that was a tad longer than the rest, but I cut just a little to make up the difference and now, according to my thirteen-year-old, it’s hardly noticeable

The big take away, however, is how light I feel. Not just my head, but my whole being. I feel as though something else was removed with my hair like burdens, worry, maybe a bill? Perhaps I should check some apps. But seriously, it’s like my hair was dragging me down and although I know my bills are still the same and I still don’t have a job or a new social life, I just feel better. I have been wanting to cut my hair for months and have refused because I don’t want to spend money if I don’t have to and let’s face it, for the most part, a haircut is a desire but I also desire food, shelter, clothes, paid bills, and therefore I have done without. But something today changed and I couldn’t look at my hair in its previous state another moment. I stepped outside of my comfort zone by not stepping into a salon and I like what I see. Is it perfect? No. But I’m happy with it and myself and isn’t that what’s more important?

Speak or be Silent

Mulatto. Mixed. Biracial. Half-breed. Swirl. Remixed. Blasian. Blaxican. Hapa. Oreo. Zebra. Confused. There are many terms, positive and negative, embraced and shunned to describe mixed-race people. Like blasian, some of these words are a mixture of two, in this case, Black and Asian, combined to form one. Some, like mixed or biracial, are more general. Yet others, like zebra and Oreo, are used to demean and belittle people.

Growing up, fortunately, I didn’t hear too many of the negative words. The tradeoff, however, was when I didn’t hear any words at all. I can’t recall how long we had been in Kentucky before the kids learned my father and mother were different races, but when they did I was met with silence. No words; just a bunch of tight-lipped kids. That silence cut me to my core. I was sad, lonely, and confused. I didn’t understand why having a black parent and a white parent mattered now when it never had before. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I was about nine, what did I know. I did know that when we were fresh in the neighborhood the other kids told me I talked funny (I guess I had a Jersey accent at nine?) that I was a Yankee, they were Confederates and I was on their turf. Calling Rhett and Scarlet! Two words I wasn’t sure I even understood at that point in my life (had we gotten to the Civil War lesson by then?). So, in hindsight, perhaps a smarter third grader would have recognized what was coming and braced for impact.

Fast forward a few years to when we moved back to New Jersey and the kid who lived across the street from my family. If I remember correctly he was often in trouble and on occasion if he saw any member of my family he would shout out Oreo and zebra as if he was the first one to use those terms. We ignored him and he would shut up. He was one of those kids who fed on your reaction so if you didn’t give him one then what was the point?

In high school, I heard a word that was a new one for me and inaccurate, but sometimes you have to let the chips fall where they may and I think the kid was trying to be more funny than mean. I remember we were in the gym perhaps in line waiting for the bell to ring for our next class, but I don’t recall. I was talking to another girl and this guy and another boy were engaging us and somehow my being half-black came up.

“You’re half black?” Incredulous.

“Yes. My father is black.”

Laughing, “So, you’re a step-sister.” Deep belly laughs now, he and his buddy.

“Ha. Ha. I guess so.”

This conversation is not verbatim, except for him calling me a step-sister. I really wasn’t offended or hurt, although it might have been around this time I was starting to view myself as a female of color so it struck me and obviously hit a chord since it stayed with me all this time; really the joke is on him. He should have called me a half-sister since I am half black, but we don’t always use the right words.

When we are young we are taught that sticks and stones cause physical harm, but words never will. While this may be true at its core, words will not cause physical damage, they can hurt emotionally and mentally. Also, the silence that happens when words are taken away can hurt just as much. I kept to myself what happened at school in Kentucky, choosing to remain silent just as those kids chose to remain silent with me. Not the smartest thing to do, internalizing it, but it was that silence and the words I have heard over the years that have helped shape me and my views on race. We hear a lot of words in the media now that shouldn’t be used, that cause hurt and sadness, we need to be aware of what we say and how it impacts others. Perhaps, if we all take a breath, remain silent when it is prudent, be mindful when we speak we will use the one appropriate word to describe us all: human.

 

Where it All Began

I don’t know if my mother read to me in utero or if she was excited to read to me after I was born, but she did just that instilling in me a life-long love of books. Our favorite to read together was A.A. Milne creator of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. I don’t remember her reading the stories so much as the books of poetry the one in which Christopher Robin was afflicted with the wheezles and sneezles being at the top of our list. It might have been my go to, but to her credit, she read it over and over like a broken record never complaining.

As I got older and began to read on my own I watched my mother curl up with her own books and my father was no stranger to reading either. My maternal grandfather who also fostered my love of reading inscribed several books over the years with heartfelt birthday and Christmas wishes hoping I would enjoy that next find. Ours was a home filled with books, newspapers, and magazines. At one point, when I was about nine my parents had someone build them two huge bookcases that seemed impossible to fill, but they managed and I loved staring at the books dreaming of having similar bookcases in my own house one day. The library was like a quiet playground for me filled with endless possibilities. If I could have, I probably would have brought a sleeping bag to move into the library.

I could sit for hours reading, often losing days as they turned into nights not realizing until I was called for dinner. It’s cliché but I loved how you could read a silly poem – I’m looking at you, Shel Silverstein – become a teenage crime fighter like Nancy Drew, go through the angst of teenage love and friendships with your twin, Sweet Valley High, and get sucked into a seedy fictional city filled with foul-mouthed cops and criminals via the Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels.  I loved it all.

I’m not the most well-read person; in fact, I have a lot to catch up on when it comes to the classics and in my youth, I had no idea Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach were written by such a significant author. I only knew I loved them, a little too much. The spine on my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hardcover broke because I read it so many times! For some reason, early on in my reading journey, I decided to write a poem. My mother kept it for years, a little scrap of paper with a short verse about what I have no idea, but she raved as if I was Shakespeare incarnate. It could be in my father’s basement in the filing cabinet filled with years of my school work, but it was on such a small piece of paper I doubt it survived all these years. Anyway, I don’t know if it was my mom’s rave review or if I just enjoyed writing so much that I kept trying. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I stopped sharing so that now, if I looked hard enough, I could probably find quite the assortment of notebooks with poems and short stories that no one has seen.

And having notebooks of my poems and stories is great because somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but how could I achieve that without showing people, without finding out if it was good and how to make it good and better than good. Sometimes, I think that’s why I didn’t pursue a college with a creative writing program choosing instead to major in English Literature and part of why I didn’t graduate and why I always talked myself out of a profession in publishing and never entered writing contests or honed my craft in anyway. It’s scary, man, to put yourself out there like that. Will they like it, will they rip it apart, will they laugh at it, will they, will they, will they. About two years ago I decided to return to school to complete my bachelor’s degree in creative writing. That meant learning, crafting, sharing. It was not easy, but I did it, started this blog that I have been ignoring recently (see how easy it is to return to the comfy place where things aren’t hard?), and now I have decided to share a couple of pieces I wrote about fifteen years ago. They aren’t very good, they could still use some work, but why not put myself out there? Otherwise, what is all of this for? What am I doing and why? You have to start somewhere, my journey started with reading, but I want to see if it can continue with writing like I’ve always dreamed. On that note, here are two untitled pieces I wrote in 2003. The first one was edited just a couple of weeks ago to include a current protest.

Untitled Poem One

Do they think we don’t know – don’t have a clue – can’t figure it out

Do they think they disguised it so cleverly – the systematic pillaging and raping of our

bodies, minds, souls

Or do they think we are that stupid – that we believe the whippings, lynchings,

name calling, Jim Crow laws, back of the bus sitting, dog biting,

hosings, catch the damn football and stand for the anthem was/is the way to life

None of it has nothing to do with being black or brown in America? I guess we wanted

to be kidnapped and, wasn’t Middle Passage an early cruise ship vacation?

My bad – We must have joined the White Men in Power tour group      And

Have you noticed that attitude – [the] “if we don’t bring it up maybe they won’t remember”

or my favorite, “Go back to Africa”

Not until you go back to Europe           Puhleeze!

Like it’s our fault

Like we flagged you down and asked to be crammed into a ship – Please overbook!

We want to be in the bowels of the ship, to have no control over our bowels

We want to dance a jig on deck for you

We want to be poked, prodded, branded for you

Yessir Massa’ we luvs bein slaves

I want to SCREAM

Maybe one day we all can get along

Maybe, when we all come together as the

One strong group of people we are…

Hopefully

 

Untitled Poem Two

Don’t you know I’m just like you

   I walk the same

      talk the same

           breath the same

           dream the same

   So why do you look at me like I’m two?

   I am only one person, I don’t have a twin.

   It would have been pretty hard to ride on 1 Schwinn.

   But yet here I am on 2 different sides

   Talkin’ the talk and glidin’ the glide

   Maybe I should change my name to The Chameleon

   Cause that’s what I am

   I can blend in