Sunday, July 26, 2009

[My Life] Embarrassing Moments.

Did you every have one of those moments where you find yourself in a very compromising position. Last summer, I had one of those moments in my own home. Even through we had a very mild summer here in New York there were some days where it was hot as hell leaving me sweating more than a nun with a positive pregnancy test.

Well, sometime during a very humid night, I became hot and decide to sleep in the nude. No big problem really, however I was in the living room of my family’s apartment. You see, I wake up before my grandmother and in the mornings. She usually just wakes up and goes into the bathroom for about 20 minutes and then rushes back into her room and does appear again for another hour at the most.

During that time I usually slept in the living room because the cable and computer are both in arms reach. Since it was Saturday morning, I like watching the cartoon network while writing or listening to my songs on the PC. So it was like just after 7 a.m. and I wasn’t excepting my mother home for another hour from her night shift at her job. The plan was to wait until 7:30 and take a cold shower and be dressed before she walks into the door. As we all know the best laid plans are usually flawed. I gave myself 5 more minutes of sleep and that 5 minutes turned into 45. I awoken to my mother screaming at me to get off the couch and put some clothes on. Now, I walk around this house during the summer in only boxers half the time, so I know she would not have been shocked to see me there, but through my sleepy phase, I turned to her and saw another woman standing next to her. There I am nude as a jay bird and my mother’s friend from work just looking at me and smiling. Yeah, Good Time… Of course I high tailed it to my room for the length of her stay.

Yeah it was SOOO embarrassing and all that was running through my as I hid was the gossip that was going to occur at my mother’s job the next week. After she left, my mother, instead of screaming at me, she couldn’t stop laughing and saying that this will teach me to not wear clothes in the house. Good Parenting, Mother…


Saturday, July 25, 2009

[My Life] Fire Happens

Last month there was a fire in the building across the street from me. I was getting ready to go to Staten Island when I felt this kind of explosion from the outside. Within minutes I heard fire trucks roaring around the neighborhood. At first I thought it might’ve been my building. I already had to deal with the aftermath of one fire I did not think I was strong enough to deal with another. However, when I left my apartment there were people in the hallway, looking through the windows towards the building across the street. Outside there were tons of fire trucks, police cars and bystanders looking at the scene unfolding in front of us. A firefighter was helping a frighten woman down the fire escape. There was a brief second where I thought she would fall but the man grabbed her tight even with that smoke and flames biting at there heels. Seriously, the whole thing looked like a scene from either Third Watch or Rescue Me. As I stood there, I had the foresight to take a photo of the scene, but most of the madness was over before I found that cheap ass camera. The pervious day, a car exploded near the train tracks by a garage. No one knows exactly what happened (except for the people who did it of course), but the smoky ruins could be seen and smelled for blocks around.

Yesterday, I was in the foulest of moods. At a certain point, I laid down and really did not want to be bothered with anyone or anything. For twenty minutes, I just laid there In silence until I heard a knock on the door and screaming that there was a fire. Opening my door of my apartment, smoke was everywhere. I went back into the living room, put some clothes on and walked to the other said of the building where others where gathering trying to get out. Smoke was looming all around. It was a smell that I recognized but could not put my finger on. As I descended to the lobby, more and more smoke appeared coming from the other side of the building, my side of the building really but on another floor. As people piled out, firefighters rushed in and I was out of it. For twenty minutes, I waited outside wondering where this fire was coming from and if it was going to destroy the whole building until the only Black firefighter on the scene came out with the object. Some one had set fire to a trash container in the incinerator on the second floor. Fucking idiots, I swear. I personally I think it was one of the kids in this building who run around like idiots, half naked might I add playing stupid games when there is a park like 3 blocks away. But I digress…

While going down was easy, going back up the stairs proved to be much harder as all the floors were now flooded in off-white smoke that smelled like brunt plastic. For a second I was overwhelmed, but I pushed myself to my floor and to the apartment. For a little while, I was dizzy and I ended up sitting on the couch for what I thought was a few minutes but ended up passing out. I came too around, 10 this evening, dazed and confused. It’s about 4 in the morning. I can’t sleep. I have a slight headache that is slowly going away on it’s own and I am cold. What a wonderful day…


[Lifestyles] Flashing Jackson

I get it. You have the ability to gather in front you of you a lot of bills with the face of Andrew Jackson on them and you understand the complexities of a digital camera to take a picture. Plus you understand the how to upload a photo onto your webpage.

Here’s the thing through…

Now that you got the memo, stop doing it! I know it’s the realm of cyberspace, but actions in cyberspace have very real consequences. What if an uncouth person in your area stumbles onto your page and sees your happy ass holding up a wad of 20 dollar bills. Do you think that he is not going to start checking for you in the future? Many times I wonder with all that flashing, how much of the money is actually the person who is fanning it. You have grown ass men in there 30’s still living at home with their mother, have no job or prospects trying to avoid there umpteen child support request, trying to internet pimp with some one else’s money. I can not count how many pages I see on different networking site, where guys and a few girls are flashing around money like it’s going out of style. Some people even think it’s cute to drown some infant in paper money as well. Newsflash, money has germs. In fact some still have drug residue on them and you are going put that all round a child that really hasn’t developed a strong immune system yet? Where are child protection services when you need them, huh?
I think I am going to blame the Hip-Hop with this one. When you see certain rappers going around flashing the bling they have around their necks and teeth, throwing money in the air like they don’t need it any more, getting people thinking that it would be cool for them to do the same thing as well. But you know what they never show the rappers doing? Putting that money they earn in a bank account which is entrust baring! Unfortunately that might lead to a new group of fools posting photos of themselves at the ATM punching in their code.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

[Lifestyles] Dead End

After I watched the video above this morning, I started to wonder if this was staged somehow or could people really be this idiotic to film themselves while hold guns and talking about hustling when their face is clearly shown on camera. Besides that point I started to wonder about the people who are not in front of the camera, but doing the exact same things portrayed in the video snippet. What do we do about them? Shouldn’t there be this giant uproar from our so-called Negro leader about this matter? The 800lb Gorilla in the room that at times no one seems to want notice are the atrocities that we do to one another. I find it interesting how the same people who want to hold accountable other people for their misdeeds against the African-American community, happily ignore what’s going on within the community itself. Are we no longer compelled to speak out against all violence and situations that bring down us as a community or should it be the norm now? A better question is: Why are so many people willing to glorify the negative aspects?

I tried to set some sort of rationalization in my mind and the only conclusion I could come up with was that this life is their DEAD END, so nothing really mattered to them anymore. Nothing, but the here and now and what they can accumulate in the meantime. How can some one feel worth anything when they see nothing around them that IS worth anything? If this video was real, the people exposed have accepted the fact that there is nothing more to what they see in front of them since some many have been detoured because of lack of education, employment opportunities, health care and other hurtles that seem to just knock people off the straight and narrow path and onto the broad and crowded one, which only leads to the dead ends of prison and premature death.

If this video is false, you have people trying to glorify or make role models of images that clearly DO NOT deserve it and once again exploit a “Thug Gangster Lifestyle” we see all over the mass media. Besides, with so many people of color advancing in the arenas of politics, film and industry, a child’s role model should not be Pookie the drug dealer that stands on the corner, but some one who is going to stand for them even when they do not have the strength to stand for themselves. While parents carry the bulk of the responsible in making sure that their children are taught with certain moral values, I ask myself if the old proverb that it takes a village to raise a child is true. In fact shouldn’t we all be each others keeper in this day and age? Is it finally time for people to stand up and say that this is not acceptable anymore and we want it out of our neighborhoods?


[My Life] Adventures in Employment.

I was 23, unemployed and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life besides being a writer. My mother’s solution was of course to GET A JOB! So, I started going on an interview blitz. My mother one morning placed a classified AD in front of my face of a company looking for general office work. I called, made an appointment for that day since it was in the same area inQueens I had to go to that morning for another office job interview.

That afternoon as I rushed down Woodhaven Blvd. to keep this appointment, something told me to just turn back and go home. But that was drowned out by the angry voice of my mother telling me to move my ass…

The office was shabby looking. The walls were painted this ugly hospital blue color and many areas needed repair desperately. The “reception” area, if you can call it that, was lined with these raggedy beat down chairs. Since hindsight is always 20/20, that should’ve been my queue to run for the hills, but I was so nervous about getting this job that I just held onto my thin resume for dear life. After a few minutes and a few more people arriving, I sat down with one of the people who was going to interview me. She was a nice Puerto Rican woman, friendly and talked very fast. She explained about the company she was working for and after a few minutes of Q&A, she said that I should call back around 5 that afternoon after she reviewed the information. Nervous, thinking that was her kind way of giving me the brush off and that I would never see her again, I called and she told me that I had one more step to be hired and congratulations. I was SOOO f-ing excited. The next step was the group interview directed by Puerto Rican woman along with her husband the following day. They went more in-depth about the company they worked for and how we too can be like them if we pass this point. They explain that this was a sales job with opportunity to advance to own and manager your own store.

Still excited about this new opportunity I did my best to shine above everyone else, which I did. I didn’t even have to call back! The woman pulled me to the side and told me that training was going to begin on Friday and I should be here bright and early. The training was going to be unpaid, but there incentives I could achieve. On that day, I walked in all spiffy in my suit with a positive attitude and sat aside the other 7 people who were picked from the second interview. As the man talked about the multi level advancement system and what the company offered, some of that excitement evaporated. By the end of that first training day, the goal was to sell at least five items that cost 20 dollars a piece.

Mind you that everyone I knew at the time were living hand to mouth, having them break off 20 bucks for an item they were not going to get until the next week was impossible. I went by my old GED school and sat with the employment coordinator who I had becomes friends with. I showed her the information I had received from the company, the products and pamphlets. She took one look and started laughing and started pulling out job fair listings, vocational school brochures and anything else she could get her hands on to place right in front of me. When I told her that I could own my own store, she laughed even harder and TOLD me to call them and say that I was not going to return. Hell she even called my late mentor and he not only told me the same thing, he took my phone and dialed the number for me.

So yeah, I called told them that this wasn’t for me and never looked back.Now, what company did I sign up for? Well see for yourself…


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

[My Life] Sins of the Father.

To say that I have a very complicated relationship with my father would be an understatement and at the same time false. The bottom line is, I had NO relationship with my father. I met him once, talked to him less then a handful of times with each time being more hostile and colder then the last and he did a very good job of keeping my existence a secret from the people in his family, a fact that I only learn in my early to mid-twenties. Now as I get closer to 30, I can admit to the fact that he abandoned me, but as a kid and teen, I felt ashamed by it. It was as if he somehow knew from the start that I was extremely flawed in some kind of way and wanted no part of me because of it. Yup, I am a statistic. I am one of millions of men that did not grow up with a father figure their life. The things I know about him now has come from external forces. The memories of my mother, my brothers, some of his family… and honestly it is nothing good. Without getting so personal to reveal what type of man he is, let’s just say that I am not proud of the things he is reportedly has done. The only reason why I put some much stock in believing that the things told to me is true, is because of the limited interactions that we have had.

In the one and only time meeting him, I expressed that I was too old for him to be some sort of father figure to me, but I want him to be my friend since I was going through that odd time in every man’s life where I was at the crossroads. I needed that guidance from the older generation on things I should and should not do. I don’t know if I was just too naive, delusional or maybe a little bit of both to expect something different would result from this. He told me in no uncertain terms that he never wanted to be in my life from the start. A part of me died when he told me that. What I couldn’t understand was why? What would be the point of creating a life if you want nothing to do with it in the end? Were condoms not invented back in 1980 and the only option was the pull out method that men THINK they know how to do oh so well? But I digress… Sometimes my thoughts drift onto my father from time to time. I don’t know why really. He abandoned me before I even took a breath in the world and I had no choice in the matter. Funny, there was a point in my life where I would’ve forgiven him if he only said he was sorry. Yeah, funny… I hate him; there is no doubt about it. He is the only person in my life that I could honestly say that about and no matter how much therapy I go through I can not seem to let that hate go. He left my brothers, he left me and raised his lighter skinned children. Another funny joke to be made right there isn’t it…

When I was a kid, I always felt like a black sheep. Even through I had a loving mother and grandmother around me, I felt embarrassed as I watched all the other kids who had there father’s with them. I didn’t understand why that couldn’t be me. It lead to me isolating myself, withdrawing from the world around me because I didn’t want to get hurt by anyone. When I started to get to know my father’s side of my family, I felt myself drawing back and retreating, thinking that they were going to be just like him. Cruel, manipulative, deceptive… and I as normally do, disappeared before they could hurt me. I had no proof. I did not have any “Miss Cleo” powers telling me that they would. In fact, they loath him more then me, but I just followed my impulse and ran.

The more I learned about him, the less I wanted to know. I found myself engulfed in the knowledge anyway and it weighed heavily on my mind for sometime. I always wonder what made him the way he was? Was it the Jamaican air? Was it something my grandparents did to him when he was growing up? Or Was he born that way? Nevertheless, the ultimate question that clouds my mind is whether that same frustration, rage and cruelty is a part of me somehow waiting for a catalyst to provoke it. Every time I look in the mirror, I see his face staring back at me, so is it SOOO far fetch to believe that I might have more of his traits that are unseen. Will I do the things that he did and hurt so many people? Am I a carrier of his sins?

Every time I look in the mirror and see the face staring back at me… I just don’t know…


Saturday, July 04, 2009

[Poetry] No One Knows

No one knows what is like to die a little each night.
To hate your own image because it's yours.
No one sees how hard it is to maintain some sense of worth.
Everyone wants to change you.
Make you another carbon copy.
No one knows how vulnerable you become when you let others decide.
It sickens me to the core.
How people surrender.
Giving up all the things that make us different and special.
Conforming to the norm.
No one knows what it's like.
No one.
Except for me.

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