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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