Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Perceived as Savages....

Listening to two co-workers' conversation of how Native Americans payed a small price when settlers first came to their land. These co-workers believe that compared to the luxury of making millions in casinos, the millions that died and the death of their culture was nothing.

Here's what I think....

There were many differences between western settlers and the Dakota Indians of Southern Minnesotan. The Dakota had no desire for exploration for personal gain, no innate need to make a mark on the world. They believed in conservation and preservation. Even under duress, most were able to find peace through acceptance of fate. Despite the fallacious belief that Indians were savages, only those cultures who were most peaceful could be subjugated so easily.

The settlers, like most who adopt western culture, believed in divide and conquer. The practice of decimation and exploitation of natural resources was predominant due to a misconception of an inexhaustible supply. However, the disparities between these two cultures was not what created the clash among them that is still present today. It was a parasitic relationship where the dominating settlers managed to make use of the most resourceful aspects of the Dakota culture, while at the same time assimilating them to a western way of life. The settlers could not see the intrinsic value of any facet of the Dakota civilization that did not tangibly enhance their own way of life. As in any parasitic relationship, the culture of one has died for the continuation of another’s.

These two co-workers, (native Minnesotans and most likely descendants of those same settlers) are now jealous at the Dakota's new found way of life. My two co-workers should blame their ancestors. The Dakota are only making the best of what was given to them, exploiting the pale faces - the same way pale faces exploited them long ago.

Friday, December 22, 2006

On My Way Home

I saw Frederick Douglass today on the bus.
I wanted to go up and ask him his views about us.
Mr. Douglass, what's your opinion, of the children cussing in the back?
And of the 15 year old girl, with the three-baby brat pack?
What would you say to this young thug, who refuses to give up his seat,
And let this lady sit down, who suffers from swollen, diabetic feet?
Mr. Douglass, what do you think of the music we sing?
Our having "I'm In Love With a Stripper" for a cell phone ring?
Dear Sir, how can you just sit there, oblivious to what's going on?
Help us, we need you, tell us where we went wrong!
There are no more like you, we have lost all our heroes.
No more role models, activists, old and wise souls.
Instead we have half naked women, king pins, and pimps.
Pre-teen drug dealers walking with that "I'm a thug" limp.
I wanted to say, "Sir, your insight I demand.
In your eyes, where do we stand?"

Before I know it, we reach your destination.
We're on the corner of Lost and Frustration.
You get up slowly, and walk toward the door,
I half expect to see your eyes to the floor.
But your head is held high as you look at the few,
Who see who you are, and give the respect that is due.

With a smile he says, "We will reclaim our land."
Then a few more words, his bus card in hand.
"Be strong, continue to set good examples." he stressed.
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Russian Roulette

Growing up is like playing Russian Roulette. When you come out of your mother’s womb it’s like BANG!; an empty chamber and the good life, or BANG!; a chamber loaded with bad luck’s bullet. It’s not up to you where the bullet is.
It’s hard to remember any good times. I’m sure there were some, they’re just hiding behind all the bad memories and feelings, fearing that if they come out, they will be scooped up and forever forgotten. The bad memories have wills of their own. They come and go as they please with no compassion and no consideration whatsoever. Today they are coming for a visit. They have met up with PMS on the Depression Highway and both are doing 90 in a 65mph zone. It doesn’t help that I was in the mood to listen to the greatest hits of Sade, the one singer I vowed to my mother I would never listen to when I grew up because it seemed like we heard her everyday. There’s something about her music that makes you think about past times. This time I am thinking of that one memory that I hate.
It’s dark and we have no electricity. We have been using hurricane lamps and candles. It’s summer so at least we don’t need heat. My baby brother Will and I have been at my best friend’s house all day. Shauna was my savior in those days. Her mother was nice and Shauna would do anything for me. She also had electricity, hot water, and food (something we didn’t). But eventually it was time to go home. She told me that Will and I could spend the night at her house. She offered the invitation a lot, and her mother never objected, so I think even though I never told her, she somehow knew the situation at our house down the street. When I realized she knew, I got so angry. I took it out on Will, who was only a little kid at the time. Only 10 years old.
“Why do you have to follow me everywhere? I am tired of being bothered with you all day long. I never have any time to myself.” And with that I took him home, lit a candle and told him to go to bed. I then left him there, while my mother was working and my other younger brother was at his friend’s house. I left him there in a trailer with no electricity, one candle burning, and all alone. I tell myself that it was not my fault. That he was not my kid and I should not have been made to take care of him. But that’s all talk. I was 17. Old enough to know better. As the years go by I try to tell myself it didn’t affect him. I tell myself that Will is okay and everything turned out all right. But then I realize that can’t be true. Because my guilt has not diminished over the years, and I didn’t turn out all right, so how could he? I couldn’t feel worse or loathe myself anymore now than I could then. Time has not healed that wound. I tell myself, ‘I’m sorry Will. If I could go back I would never do that to you.’ But all I see is his little back turned to me, laying on the couch in the light of that one candle, all alone, while I close the door and spend the night at my friend’s house. I feel sorry for Will because he had to play Russian Roulette also.

My brothers and I are not as close as I would like. We can't laugh for hours at anecdotes we can remember from when we were growing up. There just aren’t any. My middle brother and I have always argued and fought. I tell my mom it is something all kids do. But deep down I know the reason is because of me. I was so hateful, so livid at our situation, that anger was an everyday part of my life. Anger was as common to me as brushing my teeth and going to school. It was just a part of me. The unhappiness brought me to great levels of self-hate and loathing. I always took it out on my brother Samuel. He would be the target of my outbursts. It was always for no good reason. Just because I was angry at the world and he was there. I try to tell myself that all brothers and sisters fight. It is a part of growing up. But the reasons my brother and I fought were not healthy. They were as dysfunctional as you can get. I always wondered if my brother remembers how mean I was to him. During a recent phone conversation he let me know, in a subtle way, that he does remember. But it wasn’t until going back home for his wedding that I realized he had no idea as to why I treated him so bad. He looked me in my eye and told me the reason I didn’t like him was because he was darker than my brother Will and me. That floored me. I had no idea that he had harbored these feelings for 23 years. So why would my brother think such a thing? Color was never an issue in our house. It was never mentioned. There is a theory about why Black people have always been obsessed with the color of our skin. It was something slave owners did that had such a profound affect on our psyche that now it seems as if that trait is passed on from generation to generation like high blood pressure and heart disease. Slave owners would keep the lighter skinned slaves in the house, near the family, while darker skinned slaves did the harder manual labor in the fields. This made slaves believe that the darker you are, the less value you have. It is a shame that we still have some of this same mentality today, even when it is unwarranted. But his comment to me made me sit down and write him a letter about the real reason I treated him the way I did. It made me air all the things I had been holding inside for so long. If my brother had never made that comment, I would not have been compelled or had the courage to write him a letter telling him the reason I treated him so bad was because I hated who I was, and I took those feelings out on him. I would not have written a letter giving him a heartfelt apology and asking him for forgiveness. It gave me a reason to express what I have always wanted to say. My brother’s wife called me and told me he got the letter and that he cried. She then put my brother on the phone and he told me he loved me. I felt as if one of the many weights I carry had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t feel that I deserve forgiveness, and I will never forgive myself, but heaven could not be better than having my brother’s forgiveness and love.

composed 2003

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yin & Yang

I wanted to explain some back and forth posts that will probably be on this blog. I may have multiple personalities, but they are all aware of one another.

On a daily basis I struggle with my free spirit, my belief in freedom of speech, and my interest in etymology. To me, words are what we make them, nothing more - nothing less. The curse words we use today are considered bad only because of the category we put them in.

Knowing this, I still will not use them in front of my mom or my Grandma, and would be less inclined to use them in front of God. I feel the same way when I talk about pimps and ho's, call my boss a she-bitch, and cuss my cat out when he throws up on the floor. I don't know how to find the balance between the smart-mouth that is me now and the Christian I want to become. Hence the yin and yang.

I thought after going to college, learning so many new ways to think, and being able to analyze others words more logically would make me less likely to believe in Jesus and the teachings of the Bible. Imagine my surprise when it didn't. I wasn't coerced, fooled, tricked, or brought up to believe in Him. It is a truth I feel in the very depths of my soul.

Why is this important to me? It is something I've wanted to talk about for a long time. It is something I haven't shared with my family for fear of what they will think. I fear they won't understand, but if they don't, it doesn't make it less true. This blog is really for me, so I will place it here for all to see.

I received the Holy Spirit a while ago (see Reception of Proof.. A Testimony..) The experience is a real one. I wish all the world could feel it. There is no way to describe it. Having this inside me changed me. Things I wasn't sure about are now clear. However, even though I know what I should do, knowing is not the same as doing.

People think life is hard. People think going about their day to day activities the way they always have is hard. Trying to become a better person is much, much harder. To go to work and not gossip? To not get road rage at the person who cuts you off? To be kind to an unkind person? To not cuss your cat out when he throws up right when you're about to walk out the door? To find time to really pray every day? To find time to read a little of the Bible, when I have time to read those sci-fi books I love so much? To give a drunk a dollar when he asks for it? To not call the man a drunk?

Those things are hard. It is one thing I'm not so good at. I've tried to take it one day at a time, but that does not work. I have to take it one minute at a time. This is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. But I have to do it. I have to. It's the feeling I have in my heart.

Like I said, this will be a struggle, and everyday won't be a good one. Please take every post for what it is. At times I will be a hypocrite. At times I will be on my high horse. At times I will curse. At times I will praise Him. It really depends on the day, and whether or not I've had a conversation with Him as I lay there in the morning waiting for the alarm clock to sound. The nice part is, even though every day isn't one to be proud of, I still feel a million times better for trying. To really know God is to know that I never have to feel guilty about a thought, a comment, a post, a day, or a week. If I talk to Him about it, he will forgive me - Always. All I have to do is ask. There is comfort in that. It annihilates fear.

Please bare with me as I grow to be whomever I'm destined to be.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Do the Math

I have to say this for that co-worker that says he's a pimp because of the number of women he's dating on the job. I had to give him my opinion, which of course he didn't like. I'll share it with you and you can let me know if you agree.

First of all, a pimp's status is not usually measured in quantity. The only quantitative measurement used to describe a pimp's degree of success is one that is monetary in value. Dollars and cents. Any other time, a pimp's status is determined by the quality of his ho's.

For example, let's say (hypothetically) that a pimp's top score is 100 points. If a pimp has ten ho's that are all dimes, that pimp has reached maximum pimp status. But this co-worker I'm talking about has 10 ho's on his jock, but they are all ugly and desperate. I'm not hating, this is my objective observation. Anyway, he has 10 ho's, but each one is only worth 2 points. Ten times two is only twenty. Twenty points on my pimp scale ain't nothing to brag about.

Now, a pimp does not have to have a college degree, but he should know some basic 8th grade algebra to reach maximum pimp status. If all the pimp has is 2 point ho's, he needs 50 of them to ensure he's making the most profit. This is what I told my co-worker today. I think I hurt his feelings, but that's what he gets for bragging about the women he's sleeping with when I'm around, in a bad mood, working on a Sunday because my boss is a she-bitch.

I ended this discussion by reminding my co-worker that if pimpin' became legal and all of a sudden he could sell his ho's as a retail brand, he would not be selling them at Macy's, he would be selling them at Wal-Mart.

The only reason he would be selling them at Wal-Mart is because you can't sell a 2 dollar ho at the 99 Cent Store.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Can't We Just Calm Down?

I wrote this one day watching people while waiting for my number to be called at the DMV. What is it about the DMV that makes people so angry? Mystery to me. Anyway....

It makes no sense, getting huffy and indignant.
Letting ourselves be controlled by a rave or a rant.

Our blood pressure is up, we're all overweight,
So caught up in frustration, we can't see what state we're in.
White folks all calm, pointing, saying, "Oohh - look at them!"

This is not in our nature, I believe that's a fact!
Do you watch the discovery channel?
Tribal Africans don't act like that!

We were peacful by nature,
How else could they have gotten us here?

Now we're acting like fools,
Behaving according to other's fears.

I don't want to be a hypocrite, I snap and go off, too.
So I'm going to start today, let's call it resolution #2.

The first is to thank God for alllowing me to wake up everyday.
The second is for my health, I want to live a long time.

So I'm going to calm down, starting now, at the end of this ryhme.

composed: 05-2005

Reception of Proof....A Testimonial

At 29 I was reborn but spent three weeks in incubation.
I was moving, breathing, feeling, even though I was not fully alive.
When I was finally reborn after my developing weeks,
I was suddenly claimed, my adoption sealed.
My eyes were closed, yet I could clearly see,
Like a baby who lays eyes upon it's mother for the very first time,
I saw who re-birthed me.
The claim and the love were severe and instantaneous.
At 29 I opened my mouth, I took my first breath, said words I'd never before heard,
And like all who come to life, I cried.

composed: 11-3-05

Scent of a Storm

A coming storm smells so good.
The tumultuous air mixing a sumptuous brew.
At the same moment one can taste afternoon haze and morning dew,
Fresh cut grass, turned compost, damp and rotting wood.

The electricity in the air is tangible.
All of the insects buzzing, crawling, whispering with their wings.
The culmination of all these things is fragile.
The touchable smells of all the activities not only livens my senses,
but makes me want to sing.

composed: 07-01-05

Missing Nothing

All the fun and laughter that I never had.
Never a talk or walk, never a hug or kiss.

What could have been makes my heart sad.
What is this nothing that I miss?

After so long my heart still aches.
I yearn for love and guidance I never received.

It must be tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes.
Anything less keeping you away I can't conceive.

When I think about my collective memories of you,
It always turns out to be so much less than something.

But nevertheless, I miss it, and what could have been, too.
I wonder why i find myself constantly missing nothing?

composed 04-15-03

Driving Myself Crazy

I wrote this poem 6 years ago. Read in context with the Haikooos poem below, it shows a powerful transition in my relationship.

Are you there?
Do you feel what you say, or do you feel what you do?
Am I a fool? Do you really see the pain I go through?

Am I your stone to step on,
until your dream girl comes along?

Am I better than you,
or lucky to have you?

Do I sit by and play wifey,
or will you ever marry me?

In your distant future, who do you see?

Am I too fat for you?

Is my hair not long enough?

Who am I to you?
Who am I?
Who am I to question myself !!

All these questions I ask you,
I should be asking me.

Why do I doubt you?
Why do I doubt you?
Why do I doubt myself !!

I am just right for someone.

Not just right for you,
Not just right for the next man with whom I may be.

The someone I'm just right for is me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


a day in our life
commences while we slumber
I will let you in

I awake, look over
an expanse of muscle waits
dark mounds undulate

up, down, beckoning
I glide over quietly
mesmerized, in trance

what will I get now?
lambskin leather or sheep's wool?
both pleasurable

close now, I feel warmth
safety and security
intangible scents

no longer corporeal
our souls united

I move from the dark
into the darkness of you
with eyes shut I see

trust, love, and understanding
while we drift in sleep

we fall back to earth
hear the sound of our captor
sated for a day

words not adequate
our perfunctory good-byes
antagonize us

we try to connect
through satellite transmissions
counting the minutes

warning! says the sun
in purple and orange hues
dusk is upon you

state your day quickly
food to eat with food for thought
glimpses of the clock

speak! idiot box
the "ha! ha!" of fake laughter
eyes mechanical

a yawn means so much
it's cue what we've waited for
it begins again