Category Archives: Stories and Poems

Saturday, I really saw Ice T at the Barbican

12 Movements: Ask your Mama

[I didn’t take out my notebook until after what would have been an intermission, so about halfway through. We’d had a few drinks while watching Liverpool beat the stuffing out of Man City so we were on top of the world.  This is what I scribbled in my notebook.]

Ice-T is here!

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Yes. That Ice-T!

It’s the dozens.

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Music: there were moments when it felt like the bass player was looking at the screen when a bass player came on and he was mimicking him. My eye went to the two of them.

The poems are lyrical. So lyrical that as a lyricist Ice-T can’t help but sing them. But it’s not sing songy.

They totally need an intermission. It’s a lot of information too. It needs a breather.

Blues, Afro-Brazilian, classic jazz quartet. Horn as voice. Ogun. “To the village of an anglo”. [Note to self: Langston Hughes tour (where he’s been, like the ones about the black expats in Paris)]

Cha Cha

White marshmallow drumsticks. Softer sound but cymbals have more ting drum solo during the Gods piece. DRUMS!!!

Sojourner   images-7

“Investigate them negroes, who brought them Doberman Pinschers.”

Music

In the quarter of the negroes

Sister Betty in her black veil almost got me.

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It always gets me.

[I want the pictures (there’s a slideshow on a screen between Ice T and the band. Ron McCurdy as voice and horn) to tell a story they should follow Langston’s studies & experiences. Moorland Spingarn Library/ HU.]

Brits need you to play an instrument fast and with passion to clap. Like they have to feel you earned it. Or when familiar riffs are played. And this guy [piano player] is cheap.

some song I don’t know or know in some other concoction. Cheap. Jingoistic and Langston would have hated it. Or loved it, nah, I don’t think so.

Astute audience? I guess…***face scrunch***

Spread the Gospel of Langston!

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Ice T: music is too segregated and he hates a musical snob. music is here to make you feel good. Ice is having a baby this week.

Mood 12

Lindy hop, Savoy needed. Crisis covers.

There was a lady in our balcony section clapping and responding. But she might have been drunk.

 

So there you have it. I saw Ice T at the London Jazz Festival performing Langston Hughes at the Barbican with a jazz quintet.  What a sentence!! I need to find the visual producers Jumbo Arts Productions. If you know them, gimme a shout.

 

love

Soft like an easy chair-
my ass.
It’s just the mood I’m in right now, I guess.
I don’t write about love-
don’t want to write about it because it makes
me feel like a romantic fool.
There’s no room for romantic notions
in a hyper technologized world of IM.
The time to develop the intensity of feelings
and bonds of trust have become truncated into
smiley faces and empty and
quick “I love you emails” and text messages.
I say it so much that the feelings I used to have
when I felt it is gone.
The heat and swelling in my chest.
The flush of my cheeks.
My hands going numb.
Ears throbbing and mind made blank by an emotion
so intensely overwhelming there was, as
the alcoholics would say, the magnificence of God.
But I say it back to everybody that says it to me and
when I think about how much I don’t mean it-
it only adds to the emptiness I feel
about my everyday existence.
When I don’t think about it but feel how empty it is
All I want to do is drink.
Booze is no muse though.
It only magnifies the desperation of being surrounded by
I love you’s” and not feeling loved.
It does, however, temporarily hide the fact that all of
this means nothing.
Nihilism is on short order after a bottle or two of montepulciano.
And whisky knocks it down that much better.
So love-
I’m writing about love and it’s new status as an apparition.
A ghost of what was and what everybody hopes to attain
Without knowing its true nature.
With no experience base of its highs and lows.
Because sans this understanding of the heart and mind
that relegated it to the dream realm,
the nether regions,
we all believe in reality TV’s version of love.
And that’s some real bullshit.

The anti-no fear

My mantra of “no fear” keeps me afraid. As long as I’m waiting for the moment to be fearless, I’m ignoring the present. I can live outside of social conventions and fear. I have to move past the superficiality of success and action that I perceive from others and create my own momentum. The springtime of my discontent is over. It’s time to move. And instead of recklessness based on fear- stemming from fear- I’m going to turn it into a recklessness of confidence and boldness. I can’t be afraid of motion. I will not allow cigs and booze to be an excuse for not moving and succeeding. By the end of the year I will be a well paid published writer fully engaged in the process of my work and enjoying the writing because I’m not afraid of it. Trusting it and myself. Trusting being prolific. I think I can be. I know I must be. Be about the business of it. I have to remove the “shoulda/ gonna” fakeness of it. Being engaged, not having a choice. And getting money. A lot of money for it without losing myself or my love. All of this spiritual work is the build up to this. I must be engaged in my life. Not researching it. Not asking other people about it. Being really terrified about it and doing it anyway.

Feeling Better

I decided I’d feel much better about myself today if I’d posted to my blog before I went to my swim class. My Thursday and Friday swim classes with the women I most affectionately call “my old ladies” are the only real moments of structure in my life.
I love them because they inspire me. They show up weekly, as their schedules permit, and I love that they have these busy lives even though they could just sit around being grandmas. They’ve taught me just how skin deep beauty really is. That our inperfections (remember we’re in bathing suits) are as beautiful, natural and human as what we might laughingly refer to as our perfections. They remind me of my grandmas. Only since I don’t officially belong to them, I get a degree of candor about their lives that my grandmas would never reveal to me. Our naked steamroom talks are like fellowship meetings among women who’ve lived (and live) active productive lives. Their reassurance of me finding what I’m looking for in this life is comforting because I can trust their collective “don’t worry about that sweetie, you have plenty of time”. They have collectively been all over the world and still travel every summer. They give me recipes and tell me about the special days and activities they still share with their girlfriends. They tell me about meeting their husbands and their grandchildren’s triumphs and problems. Most importantly to me, they see me as one of their own. But as a young woman with infinite possibilities who is taking advantage of life. They know my money woes are temporary although I feel like it’s the end of the world sometimes. Coupled with my own experience, I know it’s not the end of the world. They also want me to buy property. To go to jazz clubs to find a boyfriend- a jazz musician preferably (but been there- done that). To continue to travel and be free. I just love them. And now I’m on my way to go work off this ass of mine in the second of the 2 intense aqua-aerobic workouts of the week. I’m still taking aspirin from yesterdays. And they move. I’m sweating in the pool. But I know if they can do it, I can too. When I began going about a year and a half ago, I was gonna chicken out. I hadn’t been in a pool outside of vacation splashings for years. That’s when Miss Ruth said “well you’re here now, go put your toe in the water. If you don’t like it- take a nice steam.” A year and a half later, that’s what I know tell myself about everything I get scared about.
It also doesn’t hurt that comparatively I look like, to quote Miss Victoria “a Playboy Bunny”. Nice.

Just A Lousy Dime

“We want to leave early so that we can get in for free. So can you be ready by 9?”
“If I take a nap. I’m exhausted. I haven’t had time to sleep yet.”
“Well you know you have to go with us Minah. It’s your last night here. I haven’t seen you since graduation and now you’re flying off to Paris… I can’t even talk about it or I’ll start crying.”
“Okay. Okay. I’ll go but have to start my nap now. It’s already 6 what time are you calling?”
“Okay, I’ll call you at 8.”
“That’s cool, I have to shave my legs so yeah, that’s cool. Eight o’clock.”
“I’m so happy you’re going.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll see you later.”

Minah laid down with Miles Davis asking “So What” on his trumpet. She dozed off with visions of the Seine flowing through her mind, then the phone rang.
“You up?”
“What time is it? “
“Five after 8. I just finished cleaning up and I’m about to take my shower. We should be over there in about 1/2 hour. I’ll call first.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you in a little while.”
“Cool.”
Minah got up and turned on her light. The room was bare. Everything was packed except for some pictures she wanted to carry with her and her traveling clothes. She picked up a stack of pictures and started flipping through them. She stopped on a picture of herself with her “big brother”. Though they weren’t related by blood, they spoke everyday until she left for school. She hadn’t spoken to him in two years. Two years? Has it been that long Blueboy? She missed him, he always wanted to go to Paris. But pain kept her pride from giving in to fits of sentimental fancy. She’d accepted his flaky behavior as part of his character, but after that Christmas she couldn’t stand being stood up by him one more time.
The final straw had been her missing a party she’d planned because of him. Her car was being ravaged by the unnaturally cold Chicago winter. It was quite naturally cold for her, but her car was Japanese and still not used to the weather. So who else to call but her brother who only lived a few blocks away. She knew she was taking a chance, but she figured, Hey, we’re adults now and made the mistake, yet again, of depending on him. He called and told her he was on his way and she woke up the next morning in her bad-assed boots and a mini-dress in the recliner by the door. He called the next morning with some excuse she’d already heard and she hung up on him. He called periodically but she never spoke to him. She didn’t trust him. She had a couple of boyfriends who tried the same game. She had no tolerance for it and they got the same treatment. When they asked why she was “trippin’ so hard” she’d just say she had her reasons. She flipped to a picture of herself as a child standing in front of the window smiling and holding a little suitcase.
“Minah, sweetie, is your bag packed to go to your Dad’s?”
“Yes, I even put little Minah in there.”
She points to a brown yarn doll wearing a yellow sundress and black toe-shoes. “We’re dressed alike today, only I don’t’ have a bonnet and she doesn’t have on gloves.”
“Well you have a little while before your dad gets here. Do you want to watch some TV?”
“No thank you. I’d like to sit in the window and see him pull up so he can see I’m ready. We’re going to see the Muppet Movie and we can’t be late.”
“Okay baby.” her mother said and gave her a kiss on the cheek. As she did she stroked Minah’s cheek and looked lovingly at her daughter. She looked so much like her father it sometimes scared her. Please let him come this time. One of the few good things she believed about her ex-husband was that he loved Minah. Yet she knows he loved her when they were married but that didn’t stop him from disappointing her. She hoped he wouldn’t have the same relationship with Minah. As she walked back into the den, she looked at her daughter so little and vulnerable, then at the clock. He was already 20 minutes late.
Minah comes back to the present and puts the pictures down. On the top of the stack is the picture of her as that child. Ironic, she laughs to herself, as she pulls out a similar dress to wear on her last hurrah. As she jumps in the shower she throws in her favorite Jimi Hendrix CD and together they declare “there must be some kinda way outta here” as All Along the Watchtower begins reverberating through her empty apartment.
About ten “there must be some kinda way outta here”’s later she’s dressed and waited for her friends. She puts her wrap, purse and shoes by the door and sits in her living room smoking a cigarette and looking through more pictures. She runs across another one from the same day except it’s with her and her mother at Fun Town, the now defunct amusement part that was Chicago’s equivalent to Coney Island. She remembers waiting in that window for hours waiting on her father and running for the door every time a car started down her quiet street. She sat there until the phone rang and her mother came out of the den and told her that her dad wouldn’t be able to make it today and that he would come and take her out tomorrow. As soon as her mother finished telling her, Minah started crying. Her Mommy came and picked her up hugging her tightly to her.
“It’s not that bad Sweetie,” her mother said in that soothing Mommy voice. “You’ll see him tomorrow and you two will have a great time, you’ll see.”
“But why didn’t he come today? He promised,” she said through her tears. “What’s wrong with me? I look pretty today, don’t I ? Tomorrow I might not look as pretty. He promised. Why doesn’t he keep his promises?”
“Oh Baby,” her mother said with tears now in her eyes that she fought to keep out of her voice. “You look pretty as always and you’ll look just as pretty tomorrow. This isn’t your fault. You know your daddy loves you it’s just… well… it’s just that sometimes the things you may think are important he might not feel the same way about. And that’s not his fault. Now I’m not saying he should break his promises, that’s not right, you just have to make sure you tell him, or anybody else, how this makes you feel. Okay?”
“I guess so,” she said feeling better and not really understanding why.
But she understood why now. She couldn’t, then or now, cut her father off. But anyone else who pulled the same act got the boot. She sometimes explained why, and like with Blueboy, explained over and over again how she felt, other times it was just not worth her breath. She said in the beginning of all of her relationships if you can’t make it or are gong to be late, just call and tell her what’s going on. No big whoop. Just a thin quarter.
At 9:45 she slid on the jeans and tee-shirt she was going to wear tomorrow. She taped up the last of her boxes and started a book. Her friends called at 10:30 explaining but she didn’t answer. She was on the other line talking to her father. She wanted to see what time he was coming to pick her up for the airport in the morning- before she packed her phone.

barbeque 4 dane

my best friend left me and broke my heart years ago.
i had a slight nervous breakdown.
she’s reconnected and i don’t know what to say
she said she’d read my blog.
she broke my heart.
but this was one of her favorite poems….

BARBEQUE

I’m drowning in a sea of skulls
While Adam’s ameoba looks
for that lost rib.
Am I missing one too?
Not unless I want to be a pop
star with a smaller waist.
Maybe I should sit up 200 times
a day, but I might get bed sores.
Besides, there must be enough
room for people to live inside of
my body and suckle at my udders
while my ass becomes roast for
Oprah’s Texas cattlemen. Yee Haa!

The Time

The time is so short
Much like Herve Villachez
But not as severe
Maybe it is
It bites your knees too
Rockets don’t move fast enough
For the movements of the symphony
Yet we’re trapped inside the music
The notes locks us to this alleged reality
Releasing our souls to the next ethereal plane
While our bodies rot in this mortal shell
Expiring
Expired
like the milk they feed us
Because it’s for baby cows
Not for baby humans
Yet we refuse to believe that it’s
Killing us
And making us weak and fat
We capitalists are executing our purpose
Not dying steadily and constantly
An unnatural death of consumerism
Fueled by the light from the box that tells
The truth resting comfortably in the lies
It has grown to love
And we fight time
As if it’s our enemy
Instead of our teacher
Full of infinite wisdom
We’ve been told time and time again
From Charlamayne to Baldwin how it goes
And we as infinitely arrogant beings
Refuse to believe it
But whether we do or not
Time doesn’t care
And the lines around our smiles
Become our passport to our own destruction
While leading us to the ways of the past
Time laughs
At our arrogance and trepidation
And our race is lost
For by the time we understand the truth
We’re too old to do anything about it.
Ahh, sweet youth.
We certainly do shake it fast.
12/07/00

Luna-see

maybe I’ll write a poem.
the full moon tomorrow.
yesterday.
last week.
cutting off circulation to my brain.
can’t think.
only emote madness.
crying
crying
are you crying too?
go hide behind the silver lining that hides your tears.
your pain of getting your face walked on while having so much work to do.
who thinks about that?
saying you’re made out of cheese-
well that must be painful.
how ridiculous.
but they say I’m made out of sugar and spice and everything nice.
they’ve always been idiots no matter who they are.
you have to control the tides,
calm the soul,
drive people mad with desire, lust ,anxiety, and fear
when you’re full of yourself.
any other time that damned sun tries to steal your glory
by concealing some of your splendor
until once a month
you’re gone.
but not the sun.
no
no
you won’t catch that bitch hiding-
not coming up at all
so why would she do that to you
i’ll get that sun.

Tuesday Afternoon

Today
I stood over a pot of water
and it boiled
it was boring
but it boiled
I watched it
whoever said it wouldn’t
lied

the 21st century

When one no longer differentiates
between the word and artificial reality
the clouds passing the moon become
rays of light protecting us from the
hole in the sky.
Madonna becomes the goddess of the
universe and what shines out of a
little box takes the place of the word
and holds all truths.
Moving through the earth becomes
natural and our feigned self-proclaimed
independence makes murderers of us all.
There is no word thus there is no truth.
We have changed the rules and there is only
chaos beneath the thin veneer of order.
Yet without this chaos we humans would
be forced to look within.
Into the most frightening place there is.
It’s much easier to go to the moon than
to look within ourselves.
At least we don’t know what’s on the moon.