Monday, December 1, 2008

South Loop Two

Him in the snow; winter comes early like good love, only cold, and the streets are slick with people.

Close to 7pm; been dark since 5. He parks his car in the South Loop.

Walking past State Street...

Passes her between slow falling snow...."Really, it was just a glance," she'd say later.

He goes in the store. She looks for a cab.

Bottled water, protein bar because he doesn't want dinner, wants to buy the eggs but doesn't want to carry them.

Back out into the cold.

Passing the Starbucks on the corner he sees her inside. The hurt that had started inside him that afternoon gives birth to a beautiful anarchy. Him, no longer caring about convention. Plus, there was that glance.

So he goes inside and sits down.

Her smiling: anarchy she knows. May have woken up with it that very morning. May have noticed it in him when they met each other in the snow.

He asking her name.

Her not telling.

He saying it's all for the best. We'll never see each other after tonight.

Her saying he shouldn't let whatever happened pull him from love. All you can do is believe, even when you shouldn't.

He telling her that he believed in love, but jagged pieces of it were still caught in his throat. So it hurt for him to swallow the truth of being alone.

Her mouth parting slightly.

A few moments passing.

Him getting coffee.

Her asking him if pain came to visit or had stayed too long. Every season passes.

Him smiling at something ironic buried beneath cold inches of his own personal snow.

Him trying to tell her what he lost, but the words not seeming to describe it.

Her touching his hand.

He felt like talking.

He saying that empty affairs only made life more hollow, and accentuated the brightness of the past.

Him talking in broken fragments of the year; bits of days and weeks that had tried to drown him but only left him alive, his lungs filled with the experience of water.

Her listening.

He sees a cab pull to the curb.

Her saying "where" without him having to say a thing.

They get in.

Her never saying her name. Him promising himself that he'd learn her name tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What We Are Here For

Sorting thru a city of thoughts I find
A connection, a bond

A reason for sensual rhyme

What u like
What I like
Hope to find...

Just a touch,
One human to another;
Moments alone


...Sorting through a city of thoughts
I find
What u like
What I like

The thought of the next encounter
Your lips on mine
Just a touch
Just an infinite moment in time

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Know the Ledge

Today a friend of mine stood on the ledge. I had to talk him down. Tomorrow is his birthday. He didn't want it to come. Funny how hard times can make us not want to celebrate anything at all. Funny how nothing is funny when you're broke. Sometimes you get tired of watching dreams catch trains that are departing your life.

I talked my friend, momentarily, out of depression. "We warriors, fam," I said. "We gotta stay up. We gotta look the bad spirit in its face and say 'Fuck you. You won't claim me.'"

My boy felt the passion in my voice. He knows some of what I've gone through this year. He knows what I've been through over the years, he was there when I was broke as hell and spent every other day pulling dreams off trains and tying them up in my basement.

Back then I held on.

Faith is a muthaf*cka. I kept my dreams. I kept on the grind. I didn't talk about it too much. I was it. I hope I still have that fire.

One day, in 2004, I looked up and saw something so beautiful I knew immediately who she was. It was almost like she was slipped inside my world like some unbelievable blessing, something I couldn't conceive or imagine if I had years to try. She was what I needed and wanted and more than what I knew I needed and wanted. That's how God is, when he gives.

So it helped to remember my dream battles, my struggles, broke-ness, my blessing, my triumphs, and that day in 2004. It helped talk my friend down from his ledge. For I know the ledge. Used to spend nights there; used to sit there and gaze out at the incandescent city. Used to listen to Rakim and understand the story that was written between the genius lines he spit.

Used to. Used to? No. Still do.

Because the truth is that we should all know the ledge. We should all get intimate with it. And we should never let it claim us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And God Created Woman

How can I get over you? Get past you? When, in reality, you are at the end of every road.

The passenger in my car.

The reason for the drive. The fuel, the passion, the everything; the perfect imperfection-ism, made

You are woman.

Subtle and extreme.

You are woman. Soft, warm, here; far away.

You are woman, and we-- men-- we need you. More than you need us?

I don't think so.

But it doesn't matter. Our insanities are fed and left hungry by you.

We can never be satisfied.

Your brown thighs, honey-colored fingertips, cinnamon frosted lips, black feet.

We love you in your Cuban mood, Midwestern stance, African flair; Japanese, Sicilian, Greek, Brazilian, Parisian, Russian, Puerto Rican, South Side, West Side, my side of the bed...


We need you.

So I can't get over you, get past you. Straight up, I saw you just the other day.

You were following me on 71st Street. But still, you walked ahead of me too.

That is our story, love:

I will lead you like a man should. And follow you to the end of every road.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ali Days

I feint
And the day moves to the right.
It does not know
How ready I am,
How I have eagerly looked forward,
To this moment, to this fight.

I jab
And all that assails me goes left.

I dip
And my enemies lose breath.

I move forward
And they can't believe their eyes.

Why does he keep getting up?
Why does he rise?

There is Ali inside
There is Ali inside
There is Ali inside.

You do not know
How God has changed my pride.

In the face of loss
There is Ali inside.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Third Place

I remember seeing a book with this title once: I Am Third. I didn't read it (My sister was reading it for a class). I just know it was written by Gale Sayers. He was describing his place in life: First in his life was God. Second was his family and friends. Third was himself.

This is what it means to be a man (among other things): being third and bearing weight. I have learned that if you aspire to be a true man you aspire to place your needs and wants behind those of your children and the woman in your life. You also aspire to hold onto the incommunicable weight you will carry throughout life; things you will suffer from so your woman and children do not suffer from them.

Sound depressing? It's not.

A man's joy comes partly through sacrifice. It is part of a real man's nature. He cannot rest or take joy in his own pursuits until he knows his family is safe: his children protected, and the woman in his life is at ease, secure, and happy. To make sure these things happen he is more than willing to put himself at risk, to do whatever is necessary to make sure his home is taken care of and his wife/girlfriend has what she needs to nourish the children. Knowing this, going to bed at night with this knowledge in hand, allows a man to rest. He is secure in the fact that, for another day, he has done what he needed to do to provide for his fam, both emotionally and in practical terms. He has fed the spirit and mind of his loved ones.

I knew this before 2008. But events this year have taken my understanding of the third position to another level. Only God, whatever God you worship, can provide man with the strength and power he needs to carry this weight throughout his lifetime. And only God can show us the joy in that burden.

I have many female friends. So many of them are hurt because the man that was or is still in their lives has placed himself first, ahead of spirituality and far ahead of his wife or girlfriend. Most of these men have not been taught their responsibility and role. Their selfishness has withheld their manhood and kept them frozen in a state of boyhood. It's not easy being a man and this is why many males choose not to.
So, I believe that when God blesses us with the right woman, and through her He blesses us with our children: we should strive to do what is right, what is natural, and what is beautiful.

We should strive to be third.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Idiot [Savant] Box

I am watching the Season 1 DVD of Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and thinking about how literary television has gotten. Even this show, built on the shoulders of an action movie franchise, is imbued with a narrative structure that is driven by literary concern. There are many TV shows now that do not operate simply on a surface level but instead offer the viewer the chance to dissect layers of story and character development, creating serial films: short 45 minute bits of cinema that offer visceral and intellectual entertainment as well as the usual car explosions and ass whoopins.

Among the current and recent literary shows I like the best: Sarah Conner, Mad Men, The Wire (clearly one of the best series to ever air on television), Rescue Me, 24, and a few others.

There was a time, about ten years ago, when I rarely watched TV, with the exception of sports. I even remember not having a television for about six months once.

Now I'm thinking about buying a Tivo because the DVR my cable company gave me isn't quite cutting it.