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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ethereal Eartha

Some people attract your attention, even from an early age, because they are unique.

Eartha Kitt was a very, very unique presence.


It could have been her features; a strange blend of African-American and Asian, with those feline eyes spread just a little too far apart. It could have been her lithe and sinewy body which seemed especially carved for the most delicious of sinful pleasures. Or it could have been that voice… a voice unlike any other... a voice like electric velvet with a tickle of French filtered through the throat of a Persian cat.

Early Eartha Memory:

As a child, I recall watching Merv Griffin several times when she was a guest. I wondered then: WHY is Eartha Kitt always crying and whimpering about her past? You’re a star now, woman! Get over it! But I was a kid. I didn’t quite get how the past still lives within us, how it can still infect us, especially when it was full of pain and rejection.

She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South. She often spoke of being abused, neglected, unwanted because her 'yella gal' skin tone and because of how different she looked. She even wondered who her real parents were... because it seemed that no one really "wanted" her.

Well Hollywood wanted her, for a time. Hollywood was the perfect place for unique people. And in an era when women of color were relegated to roles of mammies and maids, Eartha Kitt (along with the beauteous Dorothy Dandridge) changed the perception of Black women by showing them to be sensuous, sexy, and yes, beautiful.

For a time she dated filmmaker Orson Welles, and it was he who proclaimed her to be "The World's Most Exciting Woman!"

High praise indeed, for a "Colored" woman... in Ike's America.

Her career would span six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She had a hit recording with a sexy rendition of the song "Santa Baby."

She was cast as mysterious women and sizzling exotics in the 1950s. Later, she became a fiercer Catwoman than even the cat-like Julie Newmar in the Batman series. She was a puurrrrrfect choice. This was the role that I, and many from my generation would best associate with the name Eartha Kitt.


But she was famous before and after wrecking havoc on Gotham City.

And then, being a self-possessed, outspoken woman with her own mind, she made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House. Lady Bird Johnson was NOT amused! For Eartha, speaking the truth amounted to nothing short of career suicide. The Johnson administration saw to it that suddenly Eartha Kitt could find no more employment in this country. Shameful!

Hurt from this blatant blacklisting but still hungry to entertain, she left this country and headed to a more embracing Europe. She would make a spectacle of herself there. To their credit and good taste, those Europeans just loved them some Eartha Kitt!


Through the years, Kitt remained a picture of vitality and elegance. She attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80. She died on Christmas Day at the age of 81.

The Kitt-woman is gone now, like so many legends before her. But the next time you see Halle Berry or Alicia Keyes, Mariah Carey or Faith Evans, Kelis or Jennifer Beals, Rosario Dawson or Victoria Rowell, Sade or Thandie Newton, Tamia or Paula Patton, Nicole Ari Parker or Mya, Corrine Bailey Rae or Leona Lewis emoting on the screen or singing on stages, it would be nice and fitting to remember Eartha Kitt… because without her contribution, the careers of those exotic bi-racial others may not have been possible.

Rest In Peace, Eartha!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let Nothing You Dismay... An Urban Christmas Story ~ By L.M. Ross

(Based upon a True Event)

There was once a young man who lived in a Big Bad City of Rich, Mean and Inconsequential things. This young man had a dream of being different, perhaps to one day even do something epic. This idea of achieving was long ago instilled in him by his grandmother when he was a very young boy. In the summers of his youth, he and his baby brother would stay at her small clapboard home in the south. There they'd share a swing, and the young man would sit for hours with his 'gran' those sunny summer afternoons on that large green swing. It was the most vital piece of furniture on her screened-in porch in Virginia.

It was there, one memorable afternoon, she’d tell him that out of all her many grandchildren (and she had close to 60, by then), out of every single one, this young boy sitting beside her was destined for "Great Things." But she had not told him what that Great Thing would be. Perhaps her eyes were clouded by the cataracts of old dreams and the vision outside them had grown hazy. Or perhaps she already knew and wanted him to realize it fully in his own time, and in his own ambitious skin.

As he grew older, the young man had fulfilled a part of that destiny she'd envisioned for him. When most of his friends were running the streets or rotting from the atrophy of urban youth, he’d somehow excelled in school, and soon became a student in college.

The young man worked very hard and most meticulously. While in a Modern Literature class, it was discovered he possessed a Special Gift. Perhaps this one gift was what his grandmother had long ago prophesied. It seemed he was developing into quite the writer. People, professors, pupils alike, not only enjoyed the things he wrote, they actually FELT the things he wrote. This was a magical gift, indeed.

And so as the years passed, he managed to finish school. Unfortunately, in his senior year, his beloved grandmother passed on.

This saddened him terribly, for now no matter how hard he worked, or what he would become, his grandmother could no longer see it. The young man began to question the time, the work, the effort of becoming someone epic.

Instead of fulfilling the hazy vision his elder loved one foresaw in him, he began to drift and loiter. With his grandmother gone and his college days done, the Country was gripped in the throes of a recession. There were no jobs that fit his particular skill, or held out hope for any real advancement.

The summer became autumn and autumn progressed into winter, and Christmas loomed ahead.

And there was this talented young man without a job, without hope nor the promising prospects of any employment.

He’d moved back into his parent’s home, and that alone became a setback that severely depressed his spirit.

Day after day he’d dress in his one blue suit, the same suit he’d worn to his grandmother’s funeral, and he’d head out on his quest to become one of the gainfully employed. But the doors continued to close and slam in his hopeful black face. The young man was now way beyond the point of utter despondency. More than this, he wondered how he would possibly manage to purchase Christmas gifts for his mother, his father and his younger brother.

The Holidays drew nearer.

Late one afternoon, as he and his one blue suit walked dejectedly down the avenue, he ran into an old friend. His old acquaintance appeared to be doing quite well. Though this friend had never finished high school, never considered college, never was driven or ambitious, he was now driving around town in a very fine car, and wearing the latest in expensive designer sportswear.

They spoke, and they joked, as they once had in their golden days. Being slightly amazed at his old friend’s fortune, the young man asked,

“So, what you been doing for yourself? I mean, look at you! You’re looking mighty successful, my friend.”

And that old friend informed him of his booming business in pharmaceuticals, and how, if he wanted, the young man too could be driving a nice new fly car, and sporting the latest in track suit finery.

This was his fork in that snowy wind-drift road. This could possibly be the answer to all his out-of-money-blues. Drugs and their sale were a thriving commodity within the community. There were other young men like him, who doing big things by dubious means, and he looked around, he had seen the glossy sheen of their notorious success. Now here was this friend from his past, offering him a ticket to the land of fast food urban riches. The young man was so ready to agree, to do what he had to do to finally, finally achieve and succeed.

Still, something like an old voice haunted him slowly.

And so, he told this friend he would THINK about it, and give him his answer the following day.

On this way home that snowy evening, he passed a group of carolers singing an old Christmas hymn:

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,
Let nothing you dismay…
Remember, Christ, Our Savior Was Born on Christmas Day…
To Save Us All From Satan’s Power
When We Were Gone Astray…”

Odd that he would hear that song now. He recalled how that one carol was his grandmother’s favorite of all the Christmas songs. As he walked away and the caroler’s voices faded… another voice singing the very same song became LOUDER inside his ear, inside his head. It was his grandmother’s voice. Lovely and strident, so soulful and strong… and was if she were his own Christmas angel, singing him home.

The feeling of it made him warm inside, even on that frigid December day.

Later that very night, his grandmother revisited him in a dream.

In this dream: they were sitting together on that sunny summer Virginia porch swing. But instead of the usual warmth of memories past, the young man he felt a sense of cold emanating from her. When he looked closer, he could see his beloved ‘gran’ was crying.

“Why? Why are you crying, Gran?” the young man asked of her.

“Because, my grandchild is blocking his blessings,” she said.

“I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

And she told him, “Son, God has blessed you with everything you’ll ever need… and you keep ignoring those gifts. They are what make you special and rich inside, and you don’t even use them,” she cried.

“But it’s Christmas! I want to bless my family… and I can’t, Gran. Even with this so-called ‘gift’, I can’t!” he said in desperation.

“Oh? Really? Can’t you?” she asked.

And then she turned away from him. The young man held his head in his hands, and when he lifted his eyes, she was gone.

He awakened that Christmas Eve, still unsure of everything, except for one thing. He was going to say NO! The answer was, NO, to his friend’s offer of quick cash through dirty deeds.

And though that friend looked at him as if he were crazy, the young man said it. “No!”

On his way home again, strolling by those same carolers, singing that same song, he happened to look down in the snow, and he saw it. It was a brand new Cross pen. The gold inlay gleamed under the Holiday lights in a way that beckoned him. The gleam of it begged his knees to the ground. He picked up the pen as the carolers sang “Let Nothing You Dismay…”

He headed home with that shiny new utensil. That night, he sat at his desk, and as if by magic, the thoughts and the words and the sentiments began to pour out of that pen. They came out of some sacred place in him, like fresh spring water from a gushing well.

This would be his Christmas present to his family: Poetry. For each of them, a poem composed of the words he felt for them, each special, each uniquely beautiful, each heart-breakingly tender.

In the last lines of the poem he'd penned to his mother, he wrote…

“I wish I could purchase you a fine new mink
I wish I could lay the moon, there, at your feet…
I wish I wouldn’t cry as I write this poem
I wish I could prove how much I love you, mom.”

And so, on Christmas morning, he presented those gifts to his loved ones. Oddly enough, knowing his circumstance, each of them truly FELT the love implicit in his words. But his mother felt hers most especially.

She said through eyes full of tears, “How did you know, son? This is this best gift you could’ve possibly given me.”

He wanted to tell her that he saw it in a dream, about an old woman, sitting on a large green swing.

But instead he embraced his mother very tightly, and simply said, “Merry Christmas.”

* * * * * * * *

One Love.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How To Succeed In Writing When Spike Lee Doesn't Call...

In the last few years, I’ve found myself answering this one question countless times:

“So, how do I get published?”

Seriously, without exaggeration, I must have answered this same question for 6 or 7 hungry-starving-struggling-artist-writer-poet-type people just within the last week. In each instance, I’d take time out of a busy day to explain it, in detail. Then, it finally dawned on me that maybe I needed write it all down, save it, and simply go back to the file whenever that question was broached again.

So, without further ado…hereitgo:

** First and foremost: Mad, MAD PROPS to YOU for dreaming, for writing, for seeing a world, for penning and winning and sticking to your goal, and most of all: for finishing what you started! That alone dictates an inner fire and a Real Passion for what you do.

You need to know, everyone’s journey will be different and there are no surefire ways, only some tried and true ones from each writer’s personal experience.

My situation dates back to poetry. While in high school, an English teacher first noticed I had a gift for writing. She submitted a poem of mine to a National student magazine, & BAM! There I was, 17, and a published poet. That part was easy.

But, the following years were anything but easy. And maybe they weren’t supposed to be. Each of us gets tested in various ways. Maybe this is to separate the walkers from the talkers. In college, I had published and polished professors tell me that I had "a Voice," and that I should really "get published."

Cool-cool. How lovely. How flattering! But no one, not a soul would volunteer the needed info on HOW I was to get published, where I should go, or what I had to do to make that happen. Was this some State Secret? Would it have killed them if they’d TOLD me how to go about it? Or if they told me, would they then have to kill me?

So, I kept writing, poetry mostly. But sometimes I’d get inspired by some life event and I’d create plays and songs and rambling monologues. I just kept writing, not knowing if any of it would ever see the light of publication. I was doing it for me. I was doing it to purge, to unleash, and to let my soul sing. And like any muscle, the more you work and exercise it, the stronger and more vital it becomes.

A small turning point came when I picked up an Essence Magazine, read the work contained in their poetry section and thought… hmmm… I can do that. So, dammit! I tried, and a month later received a beige business-size envelope from the Poetry Editor. Inside, I found a terse rejection slip.

*Pipe in the BUZZER SOUND: Annnnnnt!*

Oh damn! It hurt my feelings. For real. But I'd grown accustomed to having my feelings hurt. So I just pressed on. I still wanted to get my work inside the glossy pages of Essence Magazine. Folks asked: why… when it only paid $25.00?

Well, it had a circulation of over a million people. If a percentage of those people read my work, I would become known. Maybe the famous person on the cover would read it, and I too would become mad famous, and hip and cool, if by association.

Ok. Foolish! Major mistake in thinking! HUGE, in fact! No one needs to be writing if their only goal is to become famous. That was stupid. But so was I… well, at the very least, ignorant. Again, I had no one telling me, pointing me, advising or guiding me.

So, I issued this challenge to myself: I will BE in Essence Magazine before the year is done. I went so far as to visualize my words, and more importantly my name in the same print and the same font as the other writers they featured. I stared at that page for the longest time until I could actually SEE it.

And then, I sent them four more poems.

One month later, another long business-sized beige envelope arrived. But this one felt different. It was slightly heavier than that previous one. I took a deep breath and I opened it.

A typewritten letter with my name in the heading was followed by the beautiful word: Congratulations!

I’d made it. My work was to appear in the shiny pages of Essence magazine! THANK YOU ANGELA KINAMORE, Poetry Editor!

I was hyped, yo. I was so mad happy. I was high. Dammit! I’d arrived, yo!

Spike Lee and his sister Joie graced the cover of the issue in which my work appeared. I received two copies and a check for 25 beans.

I was beside myself. I told most everyone I knew. It was my calling card. Even to perfect strangers, it became my M.O. to say: “Have you seen this month’s edition of Essence? Well, I’m in it.”

I was living the dream, bay-bay! For a whole month, I was living, gloating and just-a floating on Cloud Nine. Besides, all that… maybe, just maybe SPIKE would see it, read it, and dammit, maybe we’d be like riffin' and dialoguing, spitting and co-hittin' , and maybe even co-writing screenplays for his joints together.

Hey. I mighta been published, but I remained very much an ignorant Brotha.

Spike never called, yo.

Time passed, and Essence would later accept yet another piece. Coolness! Cha-Ching! Another 25! Now I could finally buy that island in Tahiti!

But in between, it was a very dry season. I mean drrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiier than the Gobi desert in my writing life. No one else was biting.

It was with the help of a WRITERS MARKET, and then POETS MARKET, NOVEL & SHORT STORY MARKET reference books that I found other places actively seeking the kind of work I offered. I submitted to those places, and was lucky & Blessed enough to have a lot of it accepted. BUT even though my work has appeared in over 200 places, I must have submitted to over a THOUSAND more places where it was NOT accepted. The lesson there is to never stop at rejection and to just keep plugging. Let rejection FEED you… NOT fade you!

So, if you want to get your name out there, start out small... make baby steps, like poetry and short stories or excerpts from your novels or works-in-progress, simply because publishers like shorter work, as it saves them time and, yes, money.

HOWEVER, if you get yourself a NOVEL/ SHORT STORY MARKET, you'll save so much time and needless frustration. That book is the Bible for any budding novelist. WHY? Well because it lists thousands of people, places, publications, addresses, editors, when and how to submit, and how NOT to submit, what they’re looking for, when to expect a reply, and what they pay. It also has sections for each kind of writing under the sun: childrens, black, feminist, romance, sci-fi, gay, lesbian, mystery, adventure, technical, erotica, comedy, experimental, etc. So you can find a niche and discover the many places that seek exactly what you have to offer. Feel me?

You can find the books at most public libraries. But your best bet would be to invest the 30 bucks, and purchase the mofo, so you'll have it at your reach. It would truly behoove you to check it out, because it’s also full of valuable ideas, help tips on sharpening your ms.... and making it more salable. There are even agents, resources and contests, oh my!

The story of how I got published is simply one of diligence, hard work, and never giving up. I kept submitting EVERYWHERE. Finally, it paid off.

As I mentioned earlier, everyone's journey is different. But the one thing most people have in common is a love for what they do.

So, if YOU have a need to do it, possess a passion that doesn't die with rejection slips, if you’re not doing it to get rich and famous but have a purpose, something REAL and important to say, and if you possess the Balls and Bravery it takes to SUBMIT your work, you WILL eventually get published. It's your fate.

The rest is finding the RIGHT place, the right fit, & the right hands to place your work into.

So, GET the Writers Market Book, whether for POETRY, SCREENWRITING, or NOVELS & SHORT STORIES. Study those mofos! Find your markets, & then dammit submit your work!

That's it.

Unlike so many other selfish, insecure, spirit-poor writers, I actually WANT to see YOU succeed! If writing and getting published is really your dream, your passion, then by all means, go for it! Talent helps, but determination and *support* provides a Giant push forward.

When one of us wins, we ALL win!

Feel me?

I wish you many Blessings in your endeavors.

Keep Writing! Keep Fighting!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Poem For World AIDS Day

As a teen,
Faces I thought I'd see
Clear into gray senility
Withering shadows
Aged by
Antique memories

The bodies of
Young gods
With vital dreams
In their eyes were
Toppled from their pedestals as
An ill wind blew inside…

This urban wasteland.

And I carry them with me
Like songs inside my chest.
So hard to sing them now
Through these screams of my

Tears fall in silent
For tens of thousands of
Names forming
A quilt
From flesh
And broken
Hearts turned
Painfully into

Inside this country's guilty

And an ocean
In between us
Children will die today
Having seen their
Aching fathers,
Having watched their
African mothers
Quickly fade away.

Seemed no one cared
To warn them of
The terrible price to pay
Inside this global wasteland...

And I think of J,
I think of Jett,
I think of Kim, Cunning and Cliff.
I think of Deb and Mike and Wilson and
The list has grown so long,
I almost lose my breath…

I think of smiles we've lost
And dreams we've tossed
Like old sneakers to the air
Dangling now from power-lines
Above streets everywhere…

Our memories broken
Like needles in the rain
We spray-tag their names into
Physical graffiti
So a part of them
Always remains

In this urban wasteland.

On this World
AIDS Awareness Day
I remember,
I reflect,
I ponder,
And I don't quite get it


How 33 million
Souls can be
How some
New fools
Still refuse to heed
The Lesson:

How needles never
Gave a shit about
Friend or family…
How sex without


Can easily
Flip the script
On the most beautiful-est
Men, Women
And children,
And turn them

A reference
A half-life
A past-tense
A sad poetry
Of skeletons…

Here, in this HIV wasteland.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Freak Comes Clean

Let me tell you a secret:

When I first saw you, I wanted you. I wanted you physically, spiritually, emotionally, too. I wanted to kiss me so badly… I kept stuffing that urge in a cool place, hoping my hunger wouldn't show so much. I wanted to do you… but even more, I wanted to hold your wholeness.

And now I want to make an Art of you, to let my fingers crave Love upon your body, like warm wet Plaster of Paris. Imagine it: me, with my chisel, hard as diamond, hammering into your hot marble flesh…. me, with my chisel… molding and erecting this brand new shape to your heart.

Yes… you would be my art's food, my chisel's muse… as a carve and drill and erect this space inside you, where your caged freak soul flies free.

Let me tell you a secret:

I'm one of those romantic fools, those Sensitives who sometimes holds tenderness too close to the heart and the bone. Am alone to sometimes think of sex as Art?

So ponder: Does this make me, a freak, or simply an Art Groupie?

Some tend to see, to think of Love as a Science, a question of Chemistry; a continuous series of complex equations. E=Mc2. See. You've lost me? I always sucked at science of scientifics. I excelled instead at fitful poetry. I could never recite the Table of Elements, but I can be your creative idiot savant.

Let me tell you another secret:

I sometimes some nights forget to be so tender. I sometimes want to grind your mind in time with mine; to grind you finer than you mill your coffee. See you with your flava, and me with my vintage beans… imagine what a brouhaha we could be together!

And my kisses… oh, my kisses might begin so butterfly soft, and then the intensity of them increases… and that butterfly becomes a freakish raven.

That kiss alone might cause tongues to chafe like flint and kindling igniting flames of desire…wild hot fiery flames that smolder, smother and consume us both to ashes of moist lust.

Let me tell you my final secret:

Love makes me artful, thoughtful, sensitive and tender, angel and devil, madman and savage. Love and me… we've this running history with schizophrenia, baby.

See… I'm not a ho.

I'm a freak, yo.

I just told you.

Now you know.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just a lil Turkey Day Love In Yo Face...

Today, I just wanted to leave a shout-out in a small Thanksgiving message to The Universe.

I hope all of you who celebrate the day enjoy a happy, healthy and safe occasion. Whether you spend it with family, friends, loved ones or alone, be grateful for what you have in this life, and never take even the small things for granted. This year, for the fourth time, I'll be spending part of the day serving Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless people in my community. I've found this really gives me a sense of purpose. I'm dealing with a nagging backache, which at this point has become chronic (aging sucks, yo!), but something about lending even a small service to others helps to decorate the soul. So, some soul-decoration will be just what the spirit doctors ordered.

And, oh yeah. I have something I'd like to share with you. Yeah, yeah. I know everyone has their own lil ritual... but here's sum'm new you might wanna try...

A Moanerlicious TURKEY RECIPE:

I thought this sounded good. Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing ingredient -- imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when turkey is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

8 - 15 lb. turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good.)
1 cup un-popped popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S LOW FAT IS BEST)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan making sure the neck end is toward the front of the oven, not the back.

After about 4 hours listen for the popping sounds.

When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the bird flies across the room... it's done.

And, you thought I didn't cook...


Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Snatch JOY!



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lata for SEXY! I'm Bringin' 'AMAZING' Back!

Today, I made a discovery in blog-ville. Like to hear about it? Hereitgo:

Through the sheer goodness and charity of her heart, the lovely Mizrepresent has nominated my meager lil blog as something deemed “Über Amazing!”


Peep the Blogging Star on the right!

I’m getting a little emotional. Please, talk amongst yourselves!

Yeah, yeah. I’ll wait until the applause dies down before I continue.

This news comes as a complete and utter shock to my system as I’ve only been blogging here for a minute, and actually don’t have many readers. However, apparently this title/ award is given to those sites that:

* inspire you
* make you smile and laugh
* give amazing information
* are a great read
* have an amazing design
* and/or any other reason that makes them Uber Amazing!

How about that?

While I’m primarily a poet/novelist, I have blogged in other spots when time allows. It’s very gratifying to know that your blog is being read and appreciated so, I humbly accept this award with no degree of hubris implied.

But, on the real: now it’s time to Pay It Forward:

It’s also important to read and recognize others as well, so in that spirit, I hereby nominate the following five blogs (bloggers) as my recipients of the Uber Amazing Blog Award:


Free Spirit


Joaquin Carvel


tout noir

All of the above criteria (and actually much more) would go into describing your blogs and the contributions that each of you make to the concept of blogging through your hearts, spirits and talents as writers.

I admit to a certain weakness for poetry, and this was a part of my nomination process. Also there are many other people whom I read and enjoy, but I had to narrow it down to five (these were the rules—not my own arbitrary decisions). It is my hope that all of you will receive this award in the spirit in which it is given and "play it forward" to other bloggers as well, so we can share as much love and support for one another as possible (maybe y'all can hit some of the others that I missed).

The rules for the award are as follows:

1. Put the logo (award image) on your blog or in a post.

2. Nominate at least 5 blogs that you feel are Uber Amazing!

3. Let them know that they have received the Uber Amazing Blog Award by commenting on their blog.

4. Share the love by linking to this post and the person you received the award from.

I’ve now completed this mission, and so, my gig is done.

Congratulations to all you mad Creative ‘Úber Amazing’ Mofos! (smiles)




Monday, November 24, 2008

Cyber Suicide: The Next Frontier?

I'm not the most tech savvy cat on the planet, and I have no real desire to be. And yet, there are some elements of the net that truly confound me. For instance: Cyber suicide? Is this the fly new 2K version of a snuff film?

People have given birth on camera. People have sex whether either with a partner or via self-gratification on camera. People have even been beheaded and the event shown to millions who had the stomach to watch. Was good ole American on-cam suicide ever far away?

On Wednesday, police found the body of 19-year-old Abraham Biggs Jr. dead in his father's bed. It was 12 hours after he first declared on the web site for bodybuilders that he planned to take his own life. Sticking to his promise, he took a fatal drug overdose in front of an Internet audience

Have we lived too long, and seen so much that we’ve become an emotionally impenetrable society? Sometimes I wonder.

When we’re born, each of us starts out with a clean slate. We are pure, innocent, and we are vulnerable. But somewhere along the way, this world has a strange and tragically numbing effect of desensitizing so many of us.

Reading of this 19-year-old kid taking his life online, I could only shake my head at the sadness of it. I wonder, in a world where some people have become so desperate in their loneliness, and so obsessive in their need to be noticed, was this his final bid to say to the world: PLEASE! LOOK AT ME! NOTICE ME! LET ME KNOW I MATTER!

Was it a cry for help? A cry bellowed to a bunch of strangers who really didn’t give a damn about him?

It’s beyond outrageous that several people watching from their computer screens actually egged him on, as if seeing someone take their life somehow would make their day. A slow tear came to my eye as I pondered the insensitivity of this shit. What has happened to our humanity? Has it been cyber-raped along with our inbred censor of right and wrong?

Although some concerned viewers actually DID contact the Web site to notify police, authorities did not reach his house in time.

I can’t help but think that many of those who watched this happen thought it was a trick, a bluff, or a dare of some kind. And when it happened, they must have been truly horrified. But I’ve no doubt that some undiagnosed sickness in the heads of others actually WANTED to see it. And so, they got their wish.

This young man was obviously an unhappy soul. He was on medication. He was apparently clinically depressed. He'd made other attempts previously. I’m not so sure if the net is the proper place for some people in such a vulnerable and delicate mental condition. Why? Well, because while there are many folks out there who are good and kind enough to want to help, there are millions more who have no tools, no advice, no words for them. Tragically, there are even more who simply don’t care and who really don’t give a shit. Next! Click

When you break it down, we’re all just strangers passing through, aren’t we? But every stranger has a story, an emotional life, a past, a secret, some unshared ache, and a need to connect with the spirit of another being. Everyone wants and needs someone willing to understand them, to console them when they’re down, to lend a hand, a kind word, a joke, a positive outlook, a sense of sympathy, or empathy, and to provide a core connection that binds us all as humans.

I wish this young man had happened upon such a person in his real life, or even online.

Instead he found only contributors to his misery, only those who wanted to see a show.

Maybe that was this young man's final memory: We’re all alone, and then we die.

All I can hope is that some part of his soul manages to find the peace and understanding he obviously wasn’t allowed to experience here on earth.

Have we lived too long, and seen so much that we’ve become an emotionally impenetrable society?

God help us if we have!

Snatch JOY!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Universal 'Thank You!' To Those Who Saved My Life

Has anyone ever saved your life? I mean seriously rescued you from the certain clutches of death?

If so, did you ever properly THANK them?

This is my THANK YOU note.

Truth: I almost died three times. The first time was as an infant, from pneumonia.

This is all family legend. I was far too young to recall any vivid details. But everyone who was around back then told me I was very close to death.

So, to whichever doctor or team of doctors saved me in my infancy… THANK YOU!

The second time, I was 12 years-old. It was at summer camp. I'd seen all the older kids daring to launch themselves from the high heights of the diving with the skill of seasoned Olympians. And not wanting to be thought a coward, I mustered up the foolish courage to boldly, foolishly jump into the deep end of the pool.

I promptly sunk to the bottom.

Drowning is an almost spiritual thing. First you panic. That panic state seems to last forever.

Then, it occurs that:

No one is going to rescue you. Poor you. Either no one cares, or no one notices, and world just goes on without you.

You stop panicking and something very strange takes over. You begin to float with a kind of slow-motion KNOWING that this is to be your fate. You begin to surrender to it. It becomes almost calming. Mentally, you begin to say silent goodbyes to the people, the faces and places in your life. You’re not afraid of dying anymore. You almost embrace it. There's this slow and blue kind of ballet you dance to; and you dance to it, all alone.

You wonder what people will think, say about you, and if they’ll even
remember that you were here. I mean, how much of an impact could you have
made in a scant 12 years?

But you don’t care, because this new and glorious slow-motion peace has descended
and it feels sooooooooooo placid and calming. You begin to imagine… Heaven.


The reverie ended!

I heard this noise, this fevered sound of slapping water heading towards me… and I KNEW it wasn’t my own fevered sound. And then, something seemed to clutch me up and out of my floating death. And I knew it wasn’t the Hand of God.

It felt oddly like a kind of betrayal that this hand would snatch me from the slow and peaceful place I was entering.

I think I was fighting that hand.

But that hand belonged to a kid I knew, a beige long-legged, long-toed skinny kid,
we used to call “Frog.” Yes, as kids, we were all so creatively cruel.

The lifeguard blew his whistle, and quickly jumped in after the kid. But the Real
Hero was Frog. He’d snatched me up and brought me back to the water’s surface,
back to the land of lifeguards, curious crowds and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,
back to that morbid fascination and the embarrassment of concern, back to a less
peaceful world of living in black 12 year-old kid skin.


No! THANK YOU, John Holiday, for saving my life that fateful day in my 12th summer of living. Maybe I was too mad, or too embarrassed, or too deeply mortified to give you your due. Maybe, back then, I never properly THANKED YOU. But I’m sending this shout-out to The Universe: THANK YOU!

My third time of near-dying occurred when I was 22. 22 and cool-man-cool, so damn cool, I could party like a new fool, drink, pop strange pills, be disarmingly charming while still drinking at will. I was 22, cool-cool & soaring inside my own skin. 22, & thinking everything was so fine, so ridiculously fly, and I could still party-hardy like it was 1999.

Popping another ‘lude, was like throwing another shrimp on the barby of that night, that hot night, that wild night when I was careless with my existence.

It was a night when my words became slurred and I couldn’t tell. My posture was little more than a junkie’s slouch, but I thought my spine was perfectly erect. I was heading into some deeply dangerous territory, and was way too high to even give a damn.

But someone did give a damn. Someone noticed I was not being myself, and he was my boy and co-worker, Bryan. We’d gone to that club together, and he was by no means, a saint. But,that night, that wild night, he became my sentinel and savior.

Bryan knocked that last drink from my hand. He grabbed me by the elbow and led me through that high, wasted and dancing crowd. Outside, he loudly scolded my leaning smiling ass, and he told how foolish I was acting, and deadly my behavior was that night.

He told me how I could “fuck around and O.D. or die” mixing all those drinks with pharmaceuticals... and I, I just laughed at him.

And he hauled off and smacked me, HARD. And TRUST, White boys just did NOT go around smacking me, HARD or otherwise! But it was the Cold Hard Smack of Reality.

He forced me into his car and drove me home, And suddenly my heart raced, and I felt sick, then more sick, then a panicky gut-clutching, stooped-over, toilet-yodeling kind of sick… that was sicker than I’d ever felt in my entire life! It was then that I knew something was horribly wrong with me.

And Bryan held my head as I vomited up all that was left inside me that night. He stayed w/ me until I was coherent and nearly back to being me again.

Bryan was a better friend to me than I’d been to myself.

Of course, my coolness, my embarrassment precluded me from ever truly thanking him properly.

So THANK YOU, Bryan Zee.

I know we’ve lost touch, but I think of you often. You were a good Friend, and I really hope you’re still breathing air. Maybe you’re somewhere out there, smacking sense back into people who temporarily lose touch with theirs.

Anyway, with it being near Thanksgiving, I've been pondering here on the ponderosa... and I realize that there are some Special People who've made a Real Difference in my life... and without them, I may not even be here today.

So, Thank You From the Depths of my Soul, You Special People.

Whoever reads this, if you’ve ever had someone, some Angel who saved your life, THANK them, in a Real Way… and maybe the Universe will play the postman.

That's it. That's all.

Snatch JOY in living!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A New Word I'd Like To Introduce Into The Venacular

Working in a bar you meet all kinds of people. I dig people. I’m a people person. But some people cause me to ponder.

Picture this:

You meet someone, whether in real life or online, and you initially find them kinda intriguing. You don’t know why exactly. They are not your usual type. They may be off-the-wall, slightly offbeat, or just OFF. They might even be a little shady. But on the personal tip, you have always prided yourself on having a very LOW stankosity quotient. You're that sort of person who can get along with most anyone (at least until they give you a reason NOT to). This is just the way you roll. You try not to judge people. So if someone steps to you, you don't put up the sign of the cross if they happen to have bad skin, bad teeth, missing teeth, or a single rotten toofus… You are able to overlook the bad grammar, a bad odor, or a little whiff of danger. They might come off a little too shrill… a little ill, but still there’s this dirty little thrill about them.

They entertain and they amuse you. In your own private way, you actually kinda like them, and almost admire their swagger and sway. But you’re not exactly falling in dig with them.

Anyway... They leave you their number, but you know you’ll never call them. Yet, there’s some strange thing that's almost, but not quite appealing about them.

Maybe they provide good convo. Maybe they make you laugh in spite of yourself. Maybe they possess an esoteric kinda charm thing, or perhaps a certain strain of edginess.

No. They are not drop-dead gorgeous, or whip-smart, and not particularly your cup of hot java. Still… you find them interesting… Interesting, yes… BUT maybe just a little stank.

And sometimes you find yourself wondering: hmmmmmm… what up with those people… those interesting, yet slightly stank people?

Interestanks I calls em.

I’m sure you must know a few interestanks, right?



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miriam Makeba aka Mother Africa Draws Her Last Breath


MIRIAM MAKEBA, the Empress of African Soul collapsed on stage in Castel Volturno, Italy during a Sunday solidarity concert on behalf of six Ghanaians who immigrants who were shot to death several months ago.

She died on Monday from a heart attack at the local hospital.

To her dying day, she gave voice to those who no longer had a voice.

MIRIAM MAKEBA was born in South Africa on 03-04-32 and became a famous songtress of South African music and a vocal opponent of the Apartheid policies of the South African Government. After starring in an anti-government documentary that was filmed outside of the country and entitled; "Come back Africa" (1959) she was banned for over 30 years from returning to her home country. Becoming the most famous performer out of "Black Africa" she was called "Mama Africa".

I clearly remember as a kid my mother playing this strange rhythmic song called "Pata Pata." Although I didn't understand the language there was something in the quality of her voice that compelled me to listen. I would continue to listen for years.

It was followed by another strange (to African-American me) yet intriguing composition "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), where she used a language composed of a tongue clicking sound which was and the native-speak in Xhosa. This was as educational as it was enthralling. Miriam Makeba used her gift of song to teach us new and important things about the world she inhabited, and those of us who listened, we were all the better for it.

In later years, it was she who inspired me to pen a poem that became my first piece published in the National magazine, Essence:

**"I dreamed you were
A Poem,
Composed in Makeba clicks
And hypnotic chants. I dreamed
You were
An ancient dance of
A poem."

During her career she had performed with several musical legends from around the world including NINA SIMONE, DIZZY GILLESPIE, PAUL SIMON & HARRY BELAFONTE. Her work with HARRY BELAFONTE lead to her 1960’s American Grammy Award. She also sang for world leaders such as the late President John F. Kennedy and South African President Nelson Mandela. During her personal life she was once married to South African trumpeter HUGH MASAKELA "Grazing in the Grass" (1968, #1 Pop/RnB) from 1964-66.

Also she was married to the Black Power Activist Stokely Carmichael from 1968-78. Carmichael changed his name to an Africanized one and became the President of the African Country of Guinea.

MIRIAM MAKEBA announced her retirement three years ago, but true to her art, the woman never stop performing. It was on her 75th birthday that said, she "would sing for as long as possible…..and will until the last day of my life!"

When one loves the beauty of their country, and yet decries its ugliness in song, in activism, and in the very spirit of their artistry, perhaps the best way to die is in expressing your soul in music before a crowd that loves and appreciate it.

Rest in Peace, Mother Africa!

One Love.

** excerpt from the poem "Art Groupie Exile," ~by L.M. Ross

After We Fuck (Recitation From my One- Act Play)

After we spark

After we talk

After we kiss…

After we touch

After that fit of

Magic happens between

Us... After we descend

Like slow and falling

Stars… After

Stripped virtues

Quickly depart

After the stardust

After the rush

After we bust

That final nut…

After our bellies

Fill with

Mild disgust

After the silence

What'll become of


After we've moaned

And groaned our

Frenetic groans...

Shivered in rivers

Then made excuses

To head home

After we've fucked

In the absence of lust

After night sucks passion

Like a Hoover Deluxe

Will what happened

To them

Ever happen to


After we fuck...

After we've fucked?

After we've howled

After we've screamed

After we've exchanged

These bodily fluids

After we’ve hummed

And come…

And made shit and dust

Of a Sacred Moment

Will tomorrow be implied

Inside this silent kiss

Or will tomorrow be…

Just another muscular


After the suck

After the ride

After the fuck

After the lies

After we've kissed

After we've touched

After we've descended

After we've fucked?

After we


That final nut…

After our bellies

Fill with mild



The Hoover night has

Sucked passion up…

Will what happened to

Those others

Ever happen to us…

After we’ve fucked?


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


America has a brand new swagger this morning. It strides and moves in a unified sway, and it feels to me like the rhythm of change.

I am proud that on November 4, 2008, World History was made. I am proud that I was able to experience the Monumental Event come to pass as Barack Obama became the 1st African American male to be elected President of the United States.

I am proud, as a Black Man, because I am well aware of the tumultuous history of this country.

I am proud because Barack Obama's victory speaks multitudinous volumes, and has set the stage for people of ALL races.

I am proud because Obama is living proof that we are in the land of opportunity.

I am encouraged that Obama's ascent did not solely manifest from the works, the deeds, the hopes nor the dreams of black people or white people, or brown people or yellow people or young people, or women or men. His being elected to the Highest Office this country allows did not rest solely upon the shoulders of straight or gay votes, nor the rich, middle class, the poor and disenfranchised alone. His ascent to this position is due to all these people coming together as one in a profoundly beautiful AMERICAN MOSAIC.

I am encouraged that we each now have the opportunity as Americans to unite and work towards rebuilding this country. The 2008 Elections have been irrefutable evidence that this change can and will happen.

As I watched President-Elect Barack Obama give his acceptance speech, I thought of my late grandmother Margie, who lived most her life under the spirit-robbing, soul-smothering blanket of Jim Crowism, and who didn't get the right to vote until she'd reached middle-age. I thought of my late father who quietly raged against his perceived limitations and his ultimate station as a black man in this country.


It makes me believe in the strength of the law of attraction. Americans came together promoting change and empowerment through a sense of passion and hours spent in preparation of this election.

It is evidence that what you think about, you bring about.

And comes the time for Americans and the world to THINK ABOUT empowering ourselves, and to BRING ABOUT the spirit of positive change that is yet to come. Barack Obama has made it clear that he can not accomplish the herculean task before us all by his lonesome. He needs US!

I am proud to know that you and I and we are far more powerful than we've been conditioned to believe.

This election has affirmed for me that America has begun to live up to its creed.

Never again will I allow anyone to tell me I am not deserving of the life of my dreams. Barack Obama by his mind, his will, his plan, his determination, his sheer 'audacity of hope' has already proven that YES WE ALL CAN!

America has a Brand New Swagger this morning. It feels like the rhythm of change.

As Sam Cooke once sang so prophetically over 40 years ago:



May GOD be with you.

One Love.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Emotive Election Day Here in Moan-ville

Today, wanting to avoid the crowds, the long lines, the stress and headaches, I was one of those wise people (or fools) who ventured out into the pre-dawn darkness to cast my vote for President.

One of the wonderful things about this country is that we, as a people, are given a voice. It’s probably the only chance laypeople and non-politicos ever truly get to exert a sense of power in the way things are governed. Ultimately, the big cheese, the big baller, the grand poo-bah, the main fat cat who’ll be running things, calling the shorts, making the tough and necessary choices, this all becomes OUR decision.

Today, I walked with just a little more power in my stride as I headed off to get MY vote on.

As I entered the building (a local youth center in my ville), I encountered an elderly man behind a desk in the lobby. An old Italian gentleman in bifocals, I took him to be a retiree hired to meet and greet, and be social. He had a friendly face, and I gathered this position made him feel useful. He reached out his hand and said, “Welcome. Good to see you come out this morning.”

As I shook his hand, I thought that would be it, and I’d keep it moving. But, no. He then went on a mini tangent about the candidates. His words clearly favored Obama to the point of dogging McCain.

I like McCain. I think he’s a decent man. A funny man, too. John McCain is a man who has served his country well. I don’t see him as my enemy, just as I don’t see Barack Obama as my savior.

I guess this old gentleman assumed, that since I was a Black man, he was already preaching to the choir. Suddenly, I was elected to be his AMEN corner. To be quite honest, this felt a little condescending. However, I’d always been taught to respect my elders, so I just let him speak.

It was then 6:25 AM. More and more people were steadily arriving. Each of them had the casual luxury of stepping past his desk and going directly to the voting room. I, meanwhile, was a prisoner to this man’s political diatribe/monologue. He’s ranting about how unfair the campaign has been to Obama. How McCain’s people should be “ashamed” of themselves for suggesting socialism was at the core of Barack’s philosophy; ashamed for questioning the man’s religious faith, his true agenda, etc. etc. Me? I just nodded along. He then went into the subject of Obama’s father leaving him and not representing what a father should be. And he waxed on into Obama’s grandmom’s passing, and how emotional Barack was while speaking about her.

Now I’m thinking: Okay. This old man’s for real. He’s a fan of Barack’s. He wants to BARACK the vote, yo!

But people were coming and going, and my early-bird intentions are lost, as I’m standing there, nodding my head at him. At one point, I wondered: WHO CAN STOP HIM? Would someone PLEASE stop him!

Finally, I looked at my watch and said, “Great speaking with you, sir. But I’ve gotta get in there and vote, before I head off to work.”

He ends his monologue with, “All right, then. Go vote! But I pray he (Barack) wins.” He then pulls out a crucifix from behind the collar of his pale blue shirt. He raises it slightly to the heavens, and kisses it.

Yup. This old cat’s for real.

Once I make it inside the voting room, there is a smallish crowd of maybe 20 people in line. They are young and they are old. They are Black, White, Brown and Yellow. They are the faces of this country.

I show my ID to this elderly lady sitting behind a table, as another checks to see if I’m registered. I admit this part was a tad stressful. I’d heard some horror stories about some people don’t being able to vote in this election for various reasons. Sometimes it reeks to me of the pre-civil rights era in the south. But luckily, my name is listed, so I’m cool. Good thing, too, cause I really didn’t wanna have to SET IT OFF up in that mofo! Especially so damn early in the day!

As I waited my turn in line to cast my ballot, I was reminded once again of my power. There was power in my little vote. I was thinking how this day was a historic event, no matter which candidate wins the election. I began to feel this sense of PRIDE to be a small part of it, and have lived long enough to see it. Perhaps it’s the writer, the chronicler of events, this poet in me that actually brought on a twinge of emotion.

I didn’t take this lightly. I hope no one does.

As I pulled the lever to close the curtains, I remembered my childhood, and my grandmother telling me how she wasn’t able to vote until she was in her early forties. The laws didn’t ALLOW her to vote. Such were the troubling and racist times in her native Virginia.

How dare I or anyone else take this right for granted!

Well, I voted. Pulled four separate levers, and then it was done.

I walked out of the place at 6:47AM. The sun was out by then, and it was shining, almost brightly.

I walked away with just a trace of power in my stride.

Yo! No matter which candidate you favor, just VOTE people! Go get your power surge on!


Monday, October 27, 2008

For Jennifer Hudson & All The Rest Who've Senselessly Lost Their Loved Ones

There is a song from the classic musical HAIR, and it asks the essential question:

“How Can People Be So Heartless?

How Can People Be So Cruel?

Easy To Be Hard.

Easy To Be Cold.”

Maybe for some people it IS easy to be hard and cold. But HOW and WHY? I wish I knew the answer to those questions.

Ironically, Jennifer Hudson did a remake of that song a couple of years ago. She sang the HELL out of it then. I bet, if she sang it now, it would be with so much heart and pleading emotionalism that it would bring a torrent of tears to most anyone’s eyes.

I've sat here for 15 minutes trying to figure out what I could say or write that would clearly communicate the weight and the sincere meaning of what I am feeling for Jennifer Hudson, and her sister, Julia, and the rest of their family, but I can't. Words fail me.

What can you possibly say to someone whose mother, brother, and little seven-year-old nephew were senselessly murdered?

The Hudson family is in my prayers today, and yet they are not alone.

I have no words for the abusive Brooklyn mother who beat her 11-year-old daughter to death with a mop handle and left her to die in her own bed.

I have no words for the 25 year-old woman in Queens whose throat was slit, and who was stabbed to death, while she was nine-months pregnant.

I have no words.

I don’t know why some 18 year-old-kid would kill his parents, set their home on fire and afterwards laugh, while drinking wine nearby with his girlfriend.

I don’t know why someone takes a gun onto a college campus and shoots young people to death.

I have no words.

I don’t know why in nearby Newark NJ, people are shot to death while standing on the street. Two of them died this weekend.

All these tragic occurrences happened in the course of a rainy October weekend.

I know no words.

I guess, as the song says, it’s EASY TO BE HARD.

I don’t understand that heartless nature in people. I just don’t fuckin’ GET IT.

I wonder if pure evil exists and grows more muscular in the hearts of mankind, or if it’s all some sickness in the mind that disguises itself as evil.

I don’t know what will become of the people left behind who will live to mourn, wail, ask why, and try to make sense of the senseless loss of those they loved.

I have no words.

I do believe in God.

I do believe in taking our grief to Him and allowing Him to work His own gentle miracle of transference.

I do believe wholeheartedly in Karma for those who perpetrate acts of evil. .

Most of all, I believe in love.

And so in the spirit of love and condolence, I pray for some semblance of spiritual peace to be placed inside the hearts of those left behind.

And so in the spirit of love and sympathy, I'm mustering up all the Compassion, Tears, and Prayers I can access that your stricken families hold on to each other and know that God, The Creator will embrace you.

That’s all that's really left to believe in anymore.

Because these days, it seems a little too Easy To Hard.

One Love.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Tisha Mae, My Favorite Jersey Chick, On Her 46th Natal Day

Dressed down in all black, our berets cocked at a deadly tip, our cool is

heading towards ridicuous and our swagger is becoming the stuff of

legend in this city. Hey, Tisha Mae, in the moment, I am quietly digging your

sway, and how sometimes you'll move in this smooooove unutterable elegance, I

become so impressed by the essence of you... that I almost forget you

know me, know my name, shared my secrets and heard my dreams, and you

even “LOVE” me a li'l bit... that way you Jersey chicks do… or so you’ve said

on a bold or giddy occasion or two… though it seems it’s always me who says it


Night blows by like a hit of good cheeb... and we sit, lit in pink bistro

light. Some slight scatting jazz chick croons from the juke... and jazzoid that

I be I think it’s Rosie Clooney, which is sweet though Nina Simone would’ve

grooved and wooed and taken us home in slow motion. Slowly, we eat, talk, laugh

some. We speak fluently of horny evenings and current sex machines and of poetry

readings in Brooklyn. We each secretly want to be Real Poets kissed by stars of

adoration and acceptance. Yet we only admit this in deeper whispers when those

voices of our inner perverts come gleaming from our eyes. Funny how we become

two groggy victims from this Italian wine with the world "swhirling" and the

traffic sighing around us as Rosemary Clooney serenades us.

"Happy Birthday, Tisha Mae!" I raise my glass and sing in Stevie Wonder style,

as waiter brings a single red cake cupcake and you smile like the sun.

Later on, 27th Street sits all over your shoulders like a navy shawl with

moveable glitter in it.

You want to visit a psychic. You want to pay some mystic to feed you

good news and divine you some brighter future… But I nix this idea. Psychics,

scare me. Besides, I say: 'I’m all the clairvoyance you need, baby! Let’s see:

You still dream to be kid-free, Jersey-free soul-free to write and Be

or maybe if not prominent then at least a cooly popular cult figure.

See? I know your dream. I even share its sheen with you.

No need for juju nor tarot reading mojo-slinging mystic women summoning up

Voodoo, at 1:22AM. No need when nothing but the swoosh of traffic and Cool York

City noise comes on strong in this shrouded voice of Love and yet-to-be poetry

speaks best for you and me.

Hey! Tisha Mae, have I told you lately how your smile paints me softly in

colbolt blue plumes and downtown moonlight? Hey! Maybe it’s infectious, too.

Makes us giggle like junior high fools and beautiful, if profoundly retarded

people do. You smile and it reminds me how I haven’t really smiled from

deep inside my soul in a week (or was it a decade?) or two. Well, at least

since my last time hangin' out with you.

The night turns a cold 59 degree shoulder to us. I walk you in Stagger-Lee mode

to your train, and we wait for its arrival. And it comes in a slow gust of foul

air, and I kiss you goodbye. And you grab my ears... and you smile that smile

you do. "Thanks for making this one a memory, Lin." And you kiss my lips, and

you kiss my cheek. And I back away as you board the train. And I turn back

to see you in the windows. You are moving through the cars… just moving with

this Grace, with such quietly dignified, with such unutterable elegance that

your swagger becomes legend… and you make a new memory... and it's times like

this that I almost forget, you know me, know my name. I forget we've shared

each others secrets. I forget, you know the weight of these dreams I’ve put on

hold… Hell, you even “LOVE” me... a li'l... or, so I've been told…

Seems I'm always the first to say it, though.

Sometimes, inside my mind or in the back of my throat, I find myself

humming it, in a happy-to-be-nappy tune of strangely transforming notes

all the way home.

Happy Natal Day, Tisha Ma. I do… I really do love you, yo.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Choreography of Love

My love for you has advanced and journeyed through the clouds to a place that is higher than the stars. And now those stars sit static inside their blackened coats. And now those stars are jealous of our beauty. And now those stars are so envious, they blush from this Love we make beneath them.

And now that I’ve found you I am warm and whole in a place where my spirit was cold and frozen. And now I hear music in a place where before the lyrics were all unspoken. And now there is music in my heart and it waltzes to the rhythm of Love’s rapid feet.

It is YOU, you, who choreographs this foolish routine that beats inside my chest. It is you who directs my mood and sets free this dancer in me. It is You, and the stories in your face, the soliloquies in your eyes and this music of your hips that inspire new concertos in me.

And what am I to do with these songs you’ve birthed within the concert halls of my soul? I want only to play them into your waiting ear and for future generations of our brethren to hear... and to know they were made from Love.

And together, we'll let them know this Love exists and it gave us wings... and it gave us flight... and it gave us the ability to soar so high that our heels would scrape the darkest corners of night.

Love is the gift I get from you. And love is the package I present to you. Just say you’ll take it... because your love is the lyric and the melody... love is the music… and the tune… that makes me… your forever dancing fool.


* Poetic Excerpt from a new work by L. M. Ross

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cool Like Newman... Reflections Upon an Icon

Rest In peace, Paul Newman

Paul Newman made his transition over the weekend. He was 83. When a legend passes, I’m sure it leaves many people who've followed their careers a bit sad or reflective. I feel some of that, but not knowing Mr. Newman personally, and having real loved ones pass in my family, it doesn’t feel quite the same on the human heart.

Paul Newman is dead, but his films will live on to inspire and entertain for many years to come. I remember watching his movies as a kid. A program called Million Dollar Movie played in the afternoons after school, and not being a kid who lived for cartoons, I’d view those old films. Newman starred in many of them. He soon became an iconic presence in my mind. He was lanky and cool, surly and smooth, and sometimes even a little rough around the edges. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, The Hustler, these and others became staples in my filmic memory.

My personal favorite of all his films would have to be Cool Hand Luke. It was the essential Newman part, the classically handsome rogue, the smart-ass, authority-bucking anti-hero who becomes a real hero by displaying the size of his spirit and determination. But the end of the film, damn near every macho prisoner, and a couple of the guards nursed man-crushes on him and that “Luke smile.”


Yeah, Paul Newman made many great films and memorable, no doubt. Maybe that’s what most people will remember about him. But his biggest contribution to the world was not his features, his fabled blue eyes (which apparently were colorblind), or the fact that he raced cars when he was well into his early 80s.

Paul Newman had a wonderful heart. He used his fame beautifully. He understood the importance of capturing the world’s attention wasn’t purely about self-garnishment. He didn’t do the Hollywood thing. He lived modestly (only owned one suit) and remained with the same woman, the equally talented Joanne Woodward, for fifty years. He used his mind beautifully. Real Life always took priority over his career. At the height of his fame, when it could have jeopardized his career, he marched with Dr. King. He was a liberal and a proud one. He used his political savvy to show that he cared about the world around him. He used his wealth beautifully. His greatest achievement was in founding the organization called The Hole In The Wall Camps, and making his own products of Lemonade, Popcorn, Dressings and raised, to date, 250 million dollars for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

That’s huge. That’s bigger than any movie. He used his life as a true and shining example of what one man can accomplish with his time here.

So those who are old enough or aware enough to know who and what he was, you can grieve his passing if you must. But, I’m just glad such a man lived.

Rest In peace, Paul Newman.

One Love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

About Motherfuckas, And Why They Are So Necessary

Recently, I experienced a great and profound disappointment in my life. Boo-hoo. Woe is me. Being a human being, I’m not exactly a newbie in the field of disappointment.

This particular one, it hurt me so much, I felt it down deep in my soul. When the soul hurts, it’s serious business.

Without going into great detail, I will say, I’d lost my trust in man, and in all humankind. I'd forgotten to Trust Only in God, as a rule. Man is full of bones, heart and bullshit parts, and thus, man is bound to bullshit you, and disappoint you, and lie to you, and smile in your face and stab you in the back with such cunning and swift precision, you won’t even feel the blade coming.

When someone does this to you, whether they be a man or a woman, it’s a Motherfucker’s Move.

In life, we need to be aware of the Motherfuckers. They are everywhere, yo! You can’t and you won’t always spot them right away. Why? Because Motherfuckers are shape-shifters, damn it! Act like you know! They can wear the face of a friend or your boss, your family, or even your lover. What makes them Motherfuckers is that they won’t really care enough about you to support you when you’re down, or have your back when that back is against the wall. When you’re hurt, when you’re struggling, when you’re trying to keep your head above water, that’s when the Motherfuckers will show you their True Face.

That’s when a Motherfucker will rise from the dens of their wretched Motherfucked-ness.

So, upon the Great Disappointment in my life, caused by another kind of Motherfucker entirely, I sought friendship, instead of stress. I sought understanding, instead of madness. I sought empathy, instead of selfishness. And I sought love from those who claimed to love me.

When you love someone, and they require space... you give them space.
When you love someone, and they ask for peace… you give them peace.
When you love someone, and they need to be alone… you give them their alone time.

But a Motherfucker won’t care about any of that shit.
A Motherfucker has his or her own agenda.

A Motherfucker will make demands upon you.
A Motherfucker will make erroneous accusations about you.
A Motherfucker will not give a shit about you or your feelings.
A Motherfucker will always find some new shit to bitch about.
A Motherfucker will say some shit with no other objective than to Piss. You. Off.

And yes, a Motherfucker is chronically insecure.

A Motherfucker will secretly smile at your misfortune.
A Motherfucker doesn’t care if there’s a death in your family.
A Motherfucker will only crave more attention.
A Motherfucker will drain you of your last once of energy.
And then that Motherfucker will still ask for more.
A Motherfucker can’t stand it when you tell them NO!

A Motherfucker truly believes they are the planet’s most important person.
And yet, that same Motherfucker needs constant emotional reinforcement.
A Motherfucker will try to make you doubt your own abilities.
A Motherfucker is truly a miserable human being.

But I want to give all The Real Motherfuckers their rightful due.

You Motherfuckers inspire me to be the best that I can be.

You Motherfuckers give me new confidence in myself.
You Motherfuckers make me realize the hero within me.
You Motherfuckers make something in me rise higher.
You Motherfuckers stoke my creativity’s fire.
You Motherfuckers are soooooo damn necessary.
You Motherfuckers make me stronger than I ever knew I could be.
You Motherfuckers force me to make a LIAR out of you.

So, thank you, Motherfuckers.

Even if you don’t know you’re a Motherfucker.

I know it now. I hope... No. I'm sure others recognize your Motherfucked-ness, too.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Your Sensuality

The size and

Degree of your


It sometimes almost

Frightens me. I feel




To know

This wealth

To receive

This gift

This prick of

Your nipples...

Like two pin-lights

Inside a cosmos

Of skin

As taut, tender, and

Tight as stars.

My God!

Your sensuality

Can almost

Frighten me.

Make me feel

Hard as Diamond

And Yet,


In The Universe

Of its Largeness…

It’s as if

Your legs

Would stretch

Into a chasm

Deep and Wide

And swallow

My secrets and

Swallow my


And gorge my



And I


That sex with

The Soul

Manifests and

Flows into

A slow and

Enduring song.

I believe


With the skin

Is a physical act

But sex within

The intimacy

Of the soul, unfolds

And floats upon

Erotic sheets of

Poetry… It’s all

Nin & Whitman

Maya & Kerouac and

Zane, Barrett-Browning

Shakespeare and shit!

But I am finally


To dip

My pen inside

Your whipping

Erotic tide.

But will I

Only drown

When I’m supposed to


I never learned

To perfect

That arc

In my dive. Never learned

To swim freely


A rushing tide.

Never learned the righteous

Way to go

Insane, and lose

My mind

Inside of you…

But I am


To embrace

This newfound


To close my eyes

And ride

Your wave

To wherever place

It leads…

And so

I go down

With grace

And I go down


Even though

The size and degree

Of your sensuality…

It sometimes


Frightens me.


By L.M. Ross

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ten Ponderations on Love & Friendship

I'm a curious kinda cat. I think people are much more interesting when they are faced with questions that reveal their true nature. I mean questions that make one think and consider the way they roll through this comic strip called LIFE. So, with this in mind, a while back I composed a survey on one of my other blogs. I figured, why not try it here, for those who are bold or honest enough to face the truth of themselves. So, without further ado, I now present

Moanman’s 10 Ponderations on Love & Friendship:

(A survey by me)

YOU are at your most realest when:

a) you’re comfortable with another soul
b) when you’re drunk off your azz
c) when you’re all alone
d) when buck-naked, after transcendent sex?

LMR: A) When I'm comfortable w/ another soul. When the vibe is right, whether we're engaging in convo or long stretches of silence, everything else just flows.

When someone shows you love, your usual M.O. is to:

a) reciprocate that action in some form
b) panic and out for the nearest exit
c) smile, sigh and let the moment pass
d) take it as a given and do nothing?

LMR: A) Usually I'll return the gesture. Not that I should *feel* OBLIGATED, but I firmly believe that kindness begets kindness, and love should be a sharing of spirits.

When you blatantly LIE to someone you're supposed to love, do you:

a) feel mad guilty about it
b) let it go of it like an accidental fart
c) say a silent prayer
d) assume everyone lies, so what's the biggie?

LMR: A) I feel mad guilty... because lying is an affront to my better nature, but I'm not perfect & sometimes a gentle lie becomes necessary.

Picture it: You’re engaged in a very intimate conversation where certain secrets and truths are revealed. Later on you and your former intimate are no longer speaking, yet, you are still armed with that preciously intimate info… when upset would you:

a) use that precious info against them
b) make a crude joke about it
c) still hold tight to that precious information
d) tell all your friends and have a good loud laugh about it?

LMR: C) Keeping someone's secret is a sacred thing. All we have is our word, and if I promised to keep it earlier, then my word is my bond.

Someone you purportedly love is hurt-up and emotional. *You* did *not* personally cause this hurt, but you’re really NOT in the mood to deal with it. Do you

a) tell them that in effect 'This too Shall Pass'
b) sigh, let them riff and bore you to tears
c) be kind and listen with an understanding ear, perhaps even offering advice
d) simply tell them buck-up, and stop being such a drama queen?

LMR: A & C. I would try A... hoping it will help and that they might become philosophical about their plight. But if that didn't work... *sigh* then C would be the move.

When YOU’VE hurt someone, unintentionally, are you usually sensitive or compassionate enough to even be aware of it? If so, how would generally follow-through to help to close that emotional wound? Would you most likely

a) let time pass and trust them to get over it
b) make an effort to fix what's broken by a call, an email, a letter
c) invite them out to have dinner and a long talk
d) shrug, and question if this friend is a bit too damn sensitive for your comfort level?

LMR: C) Communication is key. Everyone has their stuff and things that upset them that I might unaware of... some having dinner & talking it out helps us to understand where we're BOTH coming from, & hopefully this will squash the madness, literally.

Have you ever meant to tell someone the Gentle Truth, but it came out harsh and hurtfully? If so, did you try to fix it, pretty it up, or simply let that Truth breathe and breed?

LMR: Depending on the situation, I might see the need to let the truth breathe, hoping that they might begin to check themselves.

When a close friend wants to hang out with you, but you’re busy or just not in the mood, your tendency is to:

a) deliver a quick and feeble excuse
b) tell them you’re not feeling it, and hope they’ll understand
c) shrug off your plans, sigh, and accompany them
d) gently remind them that you have a life that doesn’t always have to include them?

LMR: B) Being that I'm an author, I'll often use the little free time I have to write and be creative. So, a true friend would have to understand that, and not take it personally.

If Love is a verb, are your verbal enough for, and to those you love?

LMR: Very, very, vurrrrrrrrrr verbal.

Was the last thing you did in the name of Love?

a) something sweet and kind
b) something sexy and physical
c) something martyr-like and sacrificial
d) something warmly sentimental and lasting?

LMR: C) Sometimes you have to sacrifice for love.

And for those who chose to answer, thanks for the honesty.