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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Dogma of Decency

As I reflect upon this closing year, I can honestly say that, for me, it has been one of great personal loss, and profound disappointment; a year of struggle, and deep regret. If it were possible, I would like to forget the majority of the events that occurred in my life within the span of 2009. However, a closer, more internal look reveals that it has also been a year of an even deeper spiritual enlightenment. I've learned some very valuable lessons about the minutia inherent in some of mankind: I've witnessed the ways of commerce and cruelty... and people who profit from deceit. It has been a year of harsh observations about ignorance and inhumanity, about faith and the faithless, about courage and cowardice, and most of all about the concept of personal perseverance. It is my belief that having gleamed those painful lessons, I am all the richer, as they will guide me through smoother, less turbulent waters in the future.


There are so a few things that any of us KNOW for sure. And yet there are some Essential Truths, that, no matter one’s faith (or belief system, religion, creed or personal dogma), they become footsteps to the path of true Enlightenment.


During this Holiday Season, it is my sincere wish and hope that each of us, that all citizens of humankind will walk along that path of decency.

Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught
unto others which would cause you pain if done to
you.: Mahabharata 5:1517

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.:
Matthew 7:12

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he
desires for his brother what which he desires for
himself. Sunnah

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you
yourself would find hurtful.: Udana Varga 5:18

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your
fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is
commentary.: Talmud, Shabbat 31:a

Confucianism : Surely it is the maxim of
loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would
not have them do unto you.: Analects 15:23

Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own
gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.:
T'ai Shag Kan Ying P'ien

Zoroastrianism : That nature alone is good which
refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not
good: for itself. : Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Eid to One & All!



Friday, October 23, 2009

Gravity's Child/ My People... Hold On!

My People... Hold On!

These are indeed trying times for so many people, and I have become one of those Trying Times People. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I’m not alone. Almost everyone I know has been going through something lately:

A very close friend of mine is fighting serious health issues and mounting medical bills. Please… pray for him.

Several friends have lost the security of having a job, a career, a steady income, and riding along piggyback with this American tragedy comes the loss of those much-needed benefits.

My People… Hold On!

A family member has become another victim of foreclosure, and now he and his wife and kids are facing eviction within the next few days.

My People... Hold On!

The current economy is kicking major ass, in a myriad of ways, and only the strongest of us are surviving with our heads above water and our Grace intact.

My People… Hold On!

Most everyone is crying those running outta money blues, and I too know the lyrics to that song, by heart.

Currently I am fighting for something that is legally and morally my own, and yet it is being kept from me. I recently joined a union. In my ongoing journey in lone-wolfdom, I’ve never been much of a union person, yet there are times and situations in our lives when there is far more power in numbers than there is in fighting that good fight all by one’s lonesome.

I’m told to ‘be patient’… and please believe that I’ve BEEN patient until I’m blue in the freakin face!

My People… Hold On!

For the life of us, and our utter survival, there are some things we can control, and other things, that no matter how hard we try… they are clearly out of our hands. Being a spiritual person, I pray, I fast, and I mediate, on the regular. I also think positive thoughts. I try to be a good person, a sharing person, a caring and giving person. I sincerely try to become an agent for good. This is no way means I’m a perfect person, nor do I strive to be. I just believe that, whether good or bad, the Karmic energy we put out into The Universe has a way of coming back to us.

I believe that snatching JOY is not only doable, but very necessary to survive mentally, emotionally and spiritually in this world. It’s far too easy to embrace the negative, to allow it to feed off us, and to become ugly within our souls. Every day and in every way I am desperately, so very desperately trying to beautify my soul.

And so, I wrote this lil poem to remind myself and others that the survivor has an upright spine, the phoenix can still lives inside of us.

My People… Hold On!

* * * *

Gravity’s Child

Please…pay no attention if
My spine declines.
It’s my core position
Just before I rise
Like a phoenix
Whose wings
You’ve burned
I’ll just glow even
Brighter from
The lessons I’ve learned.

And you can best believe
You’ll not see
Me go down
Down on my knees…

I’m not a beggar
For coins or
Spare change
And my emotions
Never caused me
To feel any
A selfish lover’s
Never satisfied
Until they’ve made
Something inside you

But you’ll not see
Me go down
Down on my knees…

Bet you thought
I would be down
For a while…
I thought you knew
By now that I am
Gravity’s child.

So, pay no attention if
My pockets are bare
My greatest blessing
Comes from what
I’ve shared...

So I’m much richer
Than you’ll ever be
No devil holds my soul
Or kidnaps my dignity

And you can best believe
You’ll not see
Me go down
Down on my

Pay no attention if
My spine declines…
It’s core my position
Just before I rise
Like a phoenix
Whose wings
Have been burned…
And just watch me glow
Brighter from
The lessons I’ve learned…

You may see me
Stumble and struggle
With Mother Gravity…
But you will not see
Me go down…
Down on my knees!



Friday, September 11, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

On Septemeber 11, 2001, in the course of two short hours, the world would change forever.

The freedom, security, the simple peace of mind most of us took for granted ended on that day when four planes were apprehended by terrorists and set a course that would change history.

I knew three people who perished at the Twin Towers, and so the feeling of loss is beyond just personal. The sad reality is that at least 2,985 people died in the attacks, including:

19 terrorists
2,966 victims [2,998 as of Spring 2009]

All but 13 people died on that day. The remaining 13 later died of their wounds.

As of this day, in 2009, over 800 people who worked at Ground Zero have since died or become deathly ill from numerous cancers, lung and respiratory diseases. This is suspected to have been caused by all the debris from the Twin Towers.

Many of those brave and selfish people have no subtantial healthcare benefits today.

Have the terrorists won?

And so the death toll from that tragic day continues, even now.

Terrorism is a hideous disease that keeps on infecting.

There were 266 people on the four planes:

American Airlines Flight 11 (crashed into the WTC): 92 (including five terrorists)
United Airlines Flight 175 (crashed into the WTC): 65 (including five terrorists)
American Airlines Flight 77 (crashed into the Pentagon): 64 (including five terrorists)
United Flight 93 (downed in Shanksville, PA): 45 (including four terrorists)

There were 2,595 people in the World Trade Center and near it, including:

343 NYFD firefighters and paramedics
23 NYPD police officers
37 Port Authority police officers
1,402 people in Tower 1
614 people in Tower 2
658 people at one company, Cantor Fitzgerald
1,762 New York residents
674 New Jersey residents

1 NYFD firefighter killed by a man jumping off the top floors of the Twin Towers

There were 125 civilians and military personnel at the Pentagon.

1,609 people lost a spouse or partner on 9/11. More than 3,051 children lost parents.

While it was mostly Americans who were killed in this horrific attack, there were also 327 foreign nationals. Here is the breakdown, according to country:

Argentina: 4
Australia: 11
Bangladesh: 6
Belarus: 1
Belgium: 1
Bermuda: 1
Brazil: 3
Canada: 27
Chile: 2
China: 4
Cote d'Ivoire: 1
Colombia: 17
Democratic Republic of the Congo: 2
Dominican Republic: 1
El Salvador: 1
Ecuador: 3
France: 1
Germany: 11
Ghana: 2
Guyana: 3
Haiti: 2
Honduras: 1
India: 1
Indonesia: 1
Ireland: 6
Israel: 5
Italy: 4
Jamaica: 16
Japan: 26
Jordan: 2
Lebanon: 3
Lithuania: 1
Malaysia: 7
Mexico: 16
Moldova: 1
Netherlands: 1
New Zealand: 2
Nigeria: 1
Panama: 2
Peru: 5
Philippines: 16
Portugal: 3
Poland: 1
Russia: 1
South Africa: 2
South Korea: 28
Spain: 1
Sweden: 1
Taiwan: 1
Ukraine: 1
Uzbekistan: 1
United Kingdom: 67
Venezuela: 1

This does not include the brave soliders who have perished in the aftermath of 9/11.

And so, Let Us Never Forget...

Freedom ISN'T Free!


May God Rest The Souls of Those Innocent Lives.

One Love.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Because this day, the 29th of August, would have been his 51st Natal Day, I thought I'd share the following:

"We Had Him ... A Poem for Michael Jackson by Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon. In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tide with the abrupt absence of our treasure..Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone. Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him. He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance. Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that. He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his. We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes. His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us. And we laughed and stomped our feet for him. We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given. Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square. In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England...

We are missing Michael."

michael jackson Pictures, Images and Photos

Snatch JOY in Peace!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Yesterday, I ran into an old friend who has, over the years, fallen on hard times. Much of this was due to Life and its disappointments, personal weakness and the failure to overcome the adversities we all face. It saddened me how he could have been me, or I could have been him. It saddens me still because between us there are very few differences. After speaking with him last night, I was haunted enough to light a candle for him, and then to write this poem.


Junkie, I might just be
Your only friend

Maybe ’cause
You haven’t yet
My car,
Broken into
My home,
Stolen my TV
And DVR.
You have not
Abused my trust
Turned my love
Into tainted
Dust… or
Made empty
I knew you
Couldn’t keep.

Yes, I’ve still
Got your back
Because maybe,
Just maybe
I’m nothing but
An addict too…
A junkie, scratching
The scabs of my
Sordid history
With you. I keep
Feeding off
Lost years of
Pick-up b-ball games
And Converse All-Stars
Good Moments and
Into my veins…


And now I’ve become
Some strange form of
Jittering to
This music
Of a past…
Tripping on times
When laughter made
Jazz and sparks in
A summer night’s
And it was cool
To be young and
Foolish, too.

Maybe we’re all
Just junkies
Holding onto
Tight as
Always looking for that
Transitory fix

See everyone
I know
Clings to
To someone
Or some shit
That may never
Come to be…

And so we
Junk ourselves
Away from
Reality. We stifle
We dope
We medicate our
Silent aches
With placebos
With nicotine
With liquor
With amphetamines
With something
That makes disaster
Seem a little more like
A dream.

Junkie, I might just be
Your only
Friend left. Maybe
‘Cause beneath
The scratching,
Leaning palsy and
The slow-mo ballet
Just maybe I see…


How my veins
Have collapsed
From the weight of
My dreams
How my desires
Have atrophied
From someone
Else’s schemes
And my fingers
Wear sores and
From clawing
And clinging to
Some illusive shit
That may never
Come to be.

The only difference is:



Friday, July 24, 2009

Rest In Peace E. Lynn Harris, Brotha of The Pen

It is with the saddest heart that I learned today E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling Arkansas author known for contemporary stories about African-Americans, suffered a serious health setback and passed away during a West Coast book tour. He was 54.

Word of this tragic event began making the rounds on Twitter earlier in the morning.
When information is found online, especially the passing of celebrities, I am very skeptical. However, his publishing company has since confirmed this sad news.

Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.

Born in Michigan, Harris grew up in Little Rock. He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was the school's first black cheerleader. He continued to be a diehard Razorback fan. He had taught adjunct courses in the English department, most recently last fall.

His latest book, "Basketball Jones," is about the gay lover of an NBA star. As stated in the publicity blurb: "In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last." According to his website biography, Harris, 54, divided his time between Fayetteville and Atlanta.

While I never knew him personally, our paths crossed when he selected my work for the anthology he edited back 2005 called FREEDOM IN THIS VILLAGE. It was an honor to be the company of such esteemed writers, pioneers and legends as Melvin Dixon, Marlon Riggs, Essex Hemphill, Assotto Saint, Keith Boykin, Larry Duplechan, James Earl Hardy, Marvin K. White, Tim'm West, Gary Fisher, playwright George C. Wolfe, the incomparable James Baldwin, and E. Lynn Harris himself.

It was my hope that one day we would both sit in a room together, one on one, and just get drunk with talk and discover the many things that made our hearts faster. Now, I'll never get that chance.

This is a terrible lost to the world of writers and of writing. I know he will live on through his works.

My thoughts and deepest prayers go out to his friends and family.

One Love.


Friday, June 26, 2009

For Michael Jackson: The Man In The Mirror, Darkly

Dateline June 25, 2009...


CNN is on the boob tube. I'm feeling a little transfixed by just the phrase at the bottom of the screen "Michael Jackson Dies."

Late in the afternoon, I didn't and wouldn't believe the hype. There was a breaking news report that he was rushed to a hospital. Even that wasn't shocking. But 'cardiac arrest' was just cause to pay more attention... and to worry. When about an hour later it was announced that he died, the reality of the moment became surreal. I could hardly wrap my mind around it.

I don't know about you, but having lost family members whom I truly loved and who knew and loved me, I can rarely cry at the deaths of celebs... even those I feel a certain kindred to don't jerk my tears. However, people like Michael Jackson are so much a part of my life, your life, OUR lives that the sadness of them passing feels like the death inside the one remaining corner of our childhood.

Yes, deep in the hoopla of his utter celebrity, he went on to make a freakish spectacle of himself... and vividly remembering Jackson as he once was, it became disturbing to see him. Yes, there was a swirl of suspicion and mystery surrounding him, his activities with young children, and his chronically bad judgment.

However, the essential truth is that Michael Jackson was first and foremost, arguably, the Greatest Entertainer this world would ever see. When he performed, there were sparks and something like electromagnetic energy shooting from his body. There are so many talented people in this world, yet his talent loomed so large, it was almost otherworldly. I feel fortunate to have lived in a lifetime that produced Sinatra, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Prince... and then, there was Michael Jackson. So Young. Gifted. Iconic. Michael Jackson's music magically bridged gaps in culture, erased color-lines, spanned across generations and managed to rock the world in its entirety! It was no easy feat, and yet his career changed the course of modern history. Michael Jackson was clearly an innovator whose like we'll not see again.

The person he became in the later years of his life was a stranger to me. But whenever they replay those old J5 clips, it feels like home... so close to the heart and the bone and the soul of me.

The pretty brown skin afro-topped boy with so much talent, it exploded from him, this is what I choose to remember.

I miss THAT cat, and his talented brothers. I missed that cat long before he died. I miss the way he made me feel.

And so, with Michael Jackson's passing, it's as if something young, dynamic, free and full of possibility has died a sad death inside me.

Thank God for the music, the videos, the memories, and these beautiful people playing his songs and dancing in front of the Apollo and all over the world today!

Maybe that's what we're really supposed to remember: the way it made us FEEL!

My soul was awakened by Michael Jackson.

I was amazed by the gift of Michael Jackson.

I admired the music of Michael Jackson.

I sang the tunes of Michael Jackson.

I was addicted to the grooves of Michael Jackson.

I imitated the moves of Michael Jackson.

I grew up with the legend of Michael Jackson.

I celebrated the ascension of Michael Jackson.

I was fascinated by the aura of Michael Jackson.

I was transfixed by the wizardry of Michael Jackson.

I was so very proud of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson Pictures, Images and Photos

I wanted to be Michael Jackson.

And then....

michael jackson 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

I became disappointed in Micheal Jackson.

I was saddened and confused by Micheal Jackson.

I was alarmed and concerned about Michael Jackson.

I became a little ashamed of Michael Jackson.

I was mystified and afraid for Michael Jackson.

michael jackson Pictures, Images and Photos

I tripped upon the icon of Micheal Jackson.

But maybe I was wrong about Michael Jackson.

I wanted to believe in Michael Jackson.

I now grieve the life of Michael Jackson.

Thank God for the Music!

Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson.

One Love.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father’s Day Poem: With Gratitude, From Your Brown and Brooding Essence

Within this paneled den of
My mind, You are
Coolly reclining
In your favorite Laz E-Boy, gazing up
From The Daily News. Your eyes fixed in
This no-nonsense stare. You want to discuss
The day’s politics… but there’s always
Some new song rattling in my brain, playing
Upon the jukebox of my tongue. Sly,
Stevie, Marvin and Donny, they haunt
My boyish conversation.

Didn’t mean to exasperate you, yet
I sometimes did. Its evidence could be seen on
Your brow, like an angel, debating with sin.
They say, I’m your ‘spit,’ your seed, your kid,
Your son, and I inherited this countenance
From you.

It was you who predicted there’d someday be a
Black President… while the militant in me
Discarded your pipedream. The older I get,
The wiser you become, it seems.

I want to tell you everything inside me…
My successes, my failures, my joys
And my heartbreaks. I feel
As if I should name them, one by one,
For each day, each month, each
Year you’ve been gone. You are

My brown and brooding essence, now, a spirit
That possesses my older face. Beneath its
Surface, some claim to see this trace of
Implicit sadness. Still, Da,

I need to tell you this:

I’m so glad you were
My father. Blessed, that you stayed
When other fools ran, strayed or
Escaped to places free of their sons
And daughter’s cries. Each day
In my mind, I
Thank You for being
The kind of person you were:
A Man, a Husband, my Dad… and not
Some hot-wired version of manhood.

There are so many things I’d like us to
Redo, undo, renew again. So many
Words I want to say, to unsay, and say
Again… but you managed to form
The words: I love you, son. And you
Said them more than once. You spoke them
In a voice that even today, carries me
Through this world of uncertainty, untruths,
Disappointment and ruthlessness.

Thank you for showing and giving me
Your lessons in loyalty. Thank you
For that voice, which still lingers here
Like the singer in my head of this song
I call my life. Thank you for being
Strong and standing
For things like hard work and honesty;
Your steadfast belief in God, and humility.

Thank you for the gifts of laughter;
For those golden seasons of summers,
And even the winters. Thank you for
Loving my mother in a way
She always deserved to be

Loved. Father,

Though you weren’t very tall, I walk in your
Stalwart shadow now. Yes, I am a small thing
Made larger by your presence. Some say
I am your ‘spit,’ your son, your mirror reflection.
And yet, in some lone way, I am different.

I wish we had more days in the sun, more
Time to decipher and fix all our mutual
Complications. Yet, when I speak of love
There is no mystery, no bitterness, nor distraught

I get love. You taught me this! Though the
Clouds have coalesced and swallowed your
Sun, you’ll always cast a giant’s shadow
Over this kid, this runt, this man I’ve become.

Happy Father’s Day.


One Love.

Your son.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reclaiming My Inner Champion!

"You can measure a man by the opposition it takes to discourage him."

I don't know much about Robert C. Savage, but I do love that above quote of his on the subject of Courage:

Ah, Courage! The dictionary defines it as: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

For the past few months I have been facing such fierce opposition that it threatened to swallow me, my courage, and all my little dreams, whole. I’ve been fighting until my fists have been made red with blood, and my punch-drunk mind clouded by the haze of steady discouragement. I’ve been fighting with my wits and my heart, while battling the bullshit parts of my enemy. And though, I haven't been exactly down for the count, the wind was knocked out of me. Coping has been difficult under such adversarial circumstances... and then there's this other nemesis nagging inside my head that screams how: I'll never be a champion, if I keep losing fights!

I’ve also been listening to the other side of my brain... the part that whispers: maybe a True Champion is one who knows which battles are worth the fight.

There have been times in my life when I tried, really TRIED to win a fight, and overcome by the dueling forces of passion and retribution, I did in fact, win. I was never really a tough guy, a thug, or a bully, but those who mistakenly thought I was a punk were in for a rude and bloody awakening. I've had exactly four physical fights in my entire life, and I won all but one.

Yet, there are other kinds of fights we encounter in life; fights we try so hard to win, only to end up failing so miserably. Has that ever happened to you?

True Story: A long time ago, I attended a friend's birthday party. It was held at a local bowling alley. I was nine, and had never bowled before. Frankly, it never interested me. But being a keen observer even then, I watched the others go through the motions of giving out their shoe sizes to the clerk, retrieving those butt-ugly rented shoes, slipping into them, and choosing a ball that suited them. I watched each one stepping up, getting into the stance, drawing back, releasing the ball and sending it rolling furiously down the lane. Granted, not everyone bowled a strike or hit all the pins they were aiming for, but at LEAST they managed knocked some pins down.

Cool. Cool. Coolness. Maybe I was way too young to be nervous. Maybe I was too excited at trying this new thing so it never entered my mind that I might not be any good at it. When it came MY turn, I did everything I'd seen the others do. However, in doing so, I displayed absolutely NO style, no grace, no finesse, NO SKILLZ whatsoever in it!

That's when it HIT me: Wow! I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY SUCK at this!

It's a very profound moment when you realize that you truly suck at something.

No doubt, it made for a hideous display. I imagine myself looking beyond pitiful, ugly, uncoordinated and a hundred other unsightly things as I attempted this procedure. The result was that heavy-ass ball rolled, veered and went straight into the gutter, each time. This happened again and again to my utter mortification: GUTTER BALL!

Though this alone was bad enough… the worst part was that, suddenly, I was being whispered about. I could FEEL it... that creepy sensation of sheer foolishness standing still. The edgy chorus of nine and ten-year-old laughter invaded my ears, my heart and my spirit. I was being laughed at, loudly, in stereophonic surround sound! This hurt in a way that seemed to make me crumble, at least internally. Yes, some mild form of pseudo encouragement came from one sensitive parent... but mostly I was just laughed at. Hard! Obviously, I had no sense of humor about myself, and because of this, I was NOT a big fan of this harsh sound of laughter, nor being the actual object of it... at age nine.

Hell, I was not a fan of being laughed at age 18, 19, or 28 or 29 for that matter!

Long story short: I never attempted to bowl again.

Perhaps the razor of youthful trauma slices a lasting memory into the skin of us, and it leaves behind something that feels like a deeply wounding incision. The scar remains. This was, for me, a kind of embarrassment that made me stop fighting to win, to stop trying when progress eluded me, and to lose faith in my abilities at achieving VICTORY.

Who needs the slicing jaws of ridicule wrecking all kinds and varieties of havoc on their psyche? Me? I didn't. So, whenever possible, I made it my business to avoid situations where failure was a distinct possibility.

Instead of COURAGE, I chose coolness. Cool people were, by nature, just too damn cool to be embarrassed.

The bigger realization of Cool Lin: Because of my avoidance of failure at any cost, I ended up lacking the COURAGE and the HEART of a true champion.

* * * *

The reality is that The Creator Blesses us all with particular gifts. I was in a search of just what GIFTS I'd been given, and how best to use them. If things didn't come easily for me, or if I lacked the grace and courage needed to perform certain feats, I quickly abandoned them for the things I found I could do well. I wanted to engage myself in only what I could exceed in, and to win at. This was the food and the breakfast of my cool.

While rolling that way saved me from the stigma of being the brunt of jokes, it didn't do jack to build and fortify my character. People with the greatest character possess the courage to fall on their faces. They will bust their asses again and again, and yet THEY get back up and they keep trying. Courage. Eventually, many of them achieve the goals they've set for themselves; they reach some success, or at least, they knock those damn pins down in the bowling alleys of life! Courage.

Anyone who knows me would tell you, I'm a pretty optimistic person. That said, I never truly believed in the old adage that we can do anything we put our minds to... because many things in this world are simply beyond our reach, they exceed our grasp, or they venture beyond our inherit abilities. We can try and try until we're red in the eye, but moving mountains is not a human feat. I've had some mountains in my way. Trust! That doesn't necessarily mean that we're supposed to give up, to stop climbing, to throw up both our hands, or wave a white flag and surrender. It may just mean we have to apply a bit more finesse to our approach. Maybe we must refine our swagger, and use our minds (instead of our brawn or our anger) in a different way.

This is something I've learned in the past few years, and the lesson has come a little late. Failure is a part of every human experience. It is through failure that we learn our most valuable life lessons.

Yes, it's important to know what we can do. It's vital that we are aware of our strengths and what we're capable of achieving... and it's also just as important to know our weaknesses, and to be aware that they'll be some limitations in our output.

Lately, I've been asking myself, why have I been so chronically afraid to step out of that little box? You know, the box of limitations I'd placed myself inside of to guard and protect me from the dreaded terror of failure. More to the point, what was I really GAINING from living in that box? After all, what's the worst thing that can happen when stepping out of that comfort zone? I'll fall down, go BOOM... and bust my ass! Big deal! Big shit. I'd only be in the company of tens of billions. What made me think myself so special that I'd arrogantly go through this existence without experiencing defeats, failures, instances of egg on my face, or of suffering the after-effects of a bruised ego? I'm no different than anyone else.

As a resort of this realization, I've been RECLAIMING my inner champion. I’ve stopped running away from my weaknesses. I’m snatching JOY, and pocketing COURAGE! I've stopped dreading becoming that embarrassed and mortified kid at a bowling lane. I am now embarking on the process of conquering some of my fears. NOT all of them at once, mind you... but some of those core and major fears that crippled me emotionally, or left me feeling limited, stunted, sub-par, ineffectual... and by doing so, I am steadily increasing my potential as a person, a man, a flawed flesh and bone entity.

What I'm discovering (and this is HUGE!) is that I'm a far more resourceful agent for change than I ever believed I could be. I'm exceedingly more capable than I ever allowed myself credit for, and that alone is mad empowering! What I'm realizing is that my greatest opposition in any crisis is NOT some person in a superior position, not naysayers in suits, not some faceless stranger in the way of my heart’s pursuits, not some insecure hater, and not some hardened criminal. The greatest opposition of all had been no one, but me.

Telling ourselves we CAN'T do something, we shouldn't attempt something, or that we are bound to FAIL, THIS is our greatest enemy. We alone must learn to fight that inner negative voice. The voice that screams NO; the voice that doesn't believe in The Self, THAT mofo is our nemesis!

I used to think that I'd never be a champion at anything. I was wrong. A True Champion knows which battles are worth the fight. Courage.

Yes, I am very much a work in progress. Still, I'm aiming for the day, I can personify that famous quote by Robert C. Savage:

"You can measure a man by the opposition it takes to discourage him."




Thursday, April 30, 2009

*The Dreaded Curse of The Sighing People

Lately, there's been so much going on, going wrong, demanding me to suck it up and just be strong inside my orbit that it would be so easy to fling these great chunks of rage and hurl these bruise-colored blues soundly into the faces of people who are clearly unworthy of receiving them.

*Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe! Just Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe, Lin!*

The truth is:

I don’t wanna become one of THEM… one of those people… one of those people who sigh. Those Sighing People I call them… those people who speak in only blue tones, who brood and cry in terminally sighing moans. Those people who sing only sad and melancholy songs… those people who exist in sobbing fits of solitude, whose only trick, kick or tic is a permanent facial grimace.

I don’t wanna become one of them. God, please don’t allow me to become one of those crying, hand-fixed-to-the-forehead, overly dramtic, habitually Sighing People!

I don’t wanna be one of those people who feel alone, even in crowded rooms; nor a friendless soul who’ll only move to those slow sad drums of their own. I know some people don’t trust in different drummers for fear those drummers will fuck with the funk of their beat.

But I don’t wanna become one of them.

I don’t wanna be one of people who drown in a pain… so deep… even strains of Coltrane (or Manilow) can’t release them from their Indigo Trains of Thought. I don’t need the tremulous coo of some woozy crooner to renew, redo, re-blue my Blues, when they’ve already been blown Blue enough.

I just don’t wanna become one of them.

I don’t wanna be breast-fed by Nina Simone, or mislead by Lady Day. I don’t wanna believe Joni Mitchell ever lied… even if that “Furry” cat really did 'play The Blues…' And though I love the Jazz and Blues idoms, I don’t want my Life to be a indigo-colored song that slides terminally from the reed of a dejected and sad-azz saxophone.

See, I don’t wanna be nor ever become one of Those People… those people who only speak and whine and brood and cry interminably. Don’t wanna be a member of that mind-numbing Cult of Terminally Sighing People…

So maybe today, maybe tonight, maybe if I try… I won’t be.

Instead, from the Beastly Jaws of Human Suffering, I'ma be the one who snatches the living HELL outta JOY!




Saturday, April 18, 2009

About Grace: For Those Who THINK They’ve Cheated Me

For all of its luster, confusion, its pain and terrible beauty, LIFE is and will always be a continuing course in adult education. Each day, we become either new students or learned professors. Each day we endure some grand test of our emotions and our spirits where, in the end, we receive either a passing or a failing grade.

Today, after a recent 14 day fast, I can truthfully state that my spirit has become a lighter thing. I am now left unburdened by the minutia of daily occurrences, such as stress, worry, disappointment, and even that ole rabid dog, called heartbreak. It doesn’t mean that those things have not visited me, or that they won’t visit again. Only now, accompanying those tests will be a certain clarity I didn’t possess before. It’s allowed a radiant calmness to pervade me. I know now, that no matter what positive energy I project into my living, problems and difficulties will occur. People with ungodly agendas will manifest for the sole purpose of wrecking havoc in my path. I did not invite them nor single-handedly create them, and I am not meant to conquer them all alone. I am more aware than ever before that a Presence far Larger than myself sees all, knows all, and will handle all in due time.

It’s so freeing to toss away those concerns and troubles that had imprisoned me, held me hostage, and endowed me with such psychic pain, anger and thoughts of revenge.

I will no longer allow negative people and their negative acts define me, and more specifically, my reactions to them.

I will NOT allow the ugliness of others to infect nor infest my spirit with some mutually repulsive disorder.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that what truly defines me, and what ultimately defines us all, is the ability to reveal the true Loveliness within our Souls. I’ve learned that what gives us our most Supreme Gravity in this life is Faith, Forgiveness and Reverence. What I strive to contain within myself is a profound and unwavering sense of Grace. What we must all strive to contain within ourselves is GRACE.

Life’s adversities are truly our Greatest Teachers. In all the years of matriculated studies, whether we're the class valedictorian, the class clown, or the class flunk, the class whatever, the one that matters most is the class we hold within; the class of Humanity, Love, and Honesty. This is the one class that teaches us the MOST mighty and needed lesson of all which is: to become Vessels of Honor and Compassion.

We are all born with Grace, with the glow of God-Light to sustain us. Once we allow it to diminish, no amount of money can purchase it, and no amount of success or pretense can ever achieve it again.

I truly hope those who’ve purposely, maliciously, and with much forethought, lied, maligned, cheated, embezzled, and waged weapons against me will realize, remember, and retain this Sacred Truth:

To Lose Grace Is To Lose The Core Light Of One’s Being, And The Quintessential Ingredient Of One’s Humanity.

Realizing this, KNOWING this to be True, I will strive to impart some semblance of GRACE in every encounter, and in every single relationship I’ve made and ever will make.

In the end, on our last day, this and only this will comprise our True Measure.

Snatch JOY!


L.M. Ross

Friday, March 27, 2009

That Dance Called: "Letting Go!"

"I Love, I Love To Do My Thing
Ha, and I, I Don’t Need No One Else.
Sometimes I Feels So Nice, Good God...
I Jump Back, I Wanna Kiss My Self!” –
James Brown from “Superbad”


For the past week my personal grief has been a self-conscious little dance of avoidance.

Step One: Turn away.

Step Two: Lean back from people who don’t give a shit, and even those who PRETEND to give a shit.

Step Three: Cover your ears to platitudes, and probing questions of “how are you?”

Step Four: There is no step four. You simply allow the dancer to dance in his corner, alone.

I’ve never been very good at reaching out when in need. I’m usually the reachee. Through some Grand Design, through fate or destiny, I’d long ago been assigned the role of The Strong, Dependable One. We so-called 'Strong Dependables' do have reps, you know. There are unwritten, unspoken, and yet understood rules that we do not allow the hue of our fears, or the blue of our tears to the reach the surface of our public skin.

Because of this, we can be seen as Superbad Superhuman Mofos. Our needs are rarely if ever considered. Our feelings don’t really matter.

We are appointed to be the net that catches those weaker ones who fall all around us. We give great hugs, and good late-night phone. We know when to nod quietly… and when or how to provide the right words. Our shoulders grow strong and wide from the weight of our boundless feats of empathy. We are longtime companions to the misunderstood, brokenhearted, and the lonely.

This is what we do. We get damn good at it, too. So damned good at it, we become these scholars and superheroes at it, even though, it’s a thankless gig, most of the time.

But… what… ABOUT… US? Don’t we MATTER? Are we not worthy of the same strong nets to catch US should we ever fall from the ledges of OUR lives?

Apparently, NOT!

Last night, I ‘broke up’ with a once closeasthis friend of mine. It was TIME. It was due time. It had long been passed the time, but being a person who collects and keeps souvenirs, I hold on to people longer than I should, longer than necessary, and longer than they even deserve to be held. Maybe that’s a very human trait. The friendship was not working in a way that provided mutual dependency or accountability. The relationship was not nourishing or fulfilling to my spirit. In the role of GIVER: I was the one EXPECTED to remember birthdays, anniversaries. I was to be the thoughtful one, the in-the-moment one whose caring and consideration was a GIVEN... while my own birthdays, anniversaries, triumphs and tragedies would traditionally go unnoticed, unacknowledged, uncelebrated, unfelt. But that’s cool. I don’t bitch, much. We can’t expect people to be the way we want them to be (though sometimes, a lil mutual appreciation would be nice).

The final straw came because I realized the worst offense of all in any relationship is to be taken advantage of, taken for granted, and just plain TAKEN.

When we reach that place where we give much and receive little, when we become an option as opposed to a priority, and when we become conditioned to being treated as if we don’t matter, then, for one’s own sense of self-worth, it’s time to reevaluate our place in that relationship.

And so, I’m doing that Dance of Letting Go.

It’s not done with hard steps that lack of grace. It’s not some deeply attitudinal selfish-assed boogie. It’s a dance done by moving away from the constricting atoms around us. It’s believing in your own stars, and orbiting your own moon, your own sun. There’s no partner involved… and none is necessary, unless you find a good one who can keep time with you, and who can accentuate and compliment your rhythm.

The people we surround ourselves with should add to the cadence of your lives, and not stumble around blindly or clueless, as if oblivious to the beat…

So… I’m doing the Dance of Letting Go. And I’m doin’ it, and doin’ it, and doin’ it WELL!



Snatch JOY!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And The Top 25 Most Influential Writers Would Be...

So, check it:

I was tagged by fellow Brotha blogger Keith to form a list of the 25 Most Influential writers in my personal estimation, right? At first, I thought this would be a cakewalk, because truthfully, I’m a knowledge junkie. I get a little high on literary grog. I become a tad agog when I see, hear or read greatness. I hold in the Highest Regard those people who create a world and who allow me an entrance into it, if only with the keys of my imagination. So, being an vivid reader, I've been influenced by a lot of artist-people, and by the characters, the places, the dialogues they created. The art of writing has always helped me to get in touch with my core emotions, shape my opinions, inspire and inform the way I view the world.

However, since writing isn’t comprised solely of book authors, in naming 25 influences I had to show some respect for other forms to reflect the infinite variety (books, music, theatre, etc.), and that’s where my list became tricky.

So... these are the ones off the top of my noggin that have left an indelible impression upon my heart, spirit and psyche:

1. William Shakespeare

2. Walt Whitman

3. Toni Morrison

4. James Baldwin

5. Langston Hughes

6. Zora Neale Hurston

7. Alex Haley

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald

9. Gwendolyn Brooks

10. Amiri Baraka

11. Maya Angelou

12. Jack Kerouac

13. Eldridge Cleaver

14. Ishmael Reed

15. Henry Dumas

16. Nikki Giovanni

17. Audre Lorde

18. Lorraine Hansbury

19. August Wilson

20. Arthur Miller

21. Ntozake Shange

22. Tennessee Williams

23. Tupac Shakur

24. Walter Mosley

25. Truman Capote

Damn! That was hard. Many others made the list... then I had to delete them because I was only allowed 25. However, honorable mentions and special shout-outs must go to:

Ralph Ellison, Stevie Wonder, Jayne Cortez, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Federico Garcia Lorca, Joseph Beam, Norman Mailer, Alice Walker, Joni Mitchell, Etheridge Knight, Haki Madhubuti, Marlon Riggs, John Ashberry, Allen Ginsberg, Essex Hemphill, Robert Bly, Prince Rogers Nelson, June Jordan, Gloria Naylor, Jamaica Kincaid, Hart Crane, Countee Cullen, Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Rita Dove, Lennon and McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Rickie Lee Jones, Ursula Rucker, Maggie Estep, Clarence Major, Charles Johnson, and a host of others whose number compete with the amount of stars in Heaven.

Since I must tag THREE others, I’d be curious to know the influences of the following blog-lings:

Joaquin Carvel

Free Spirit




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spotlight Review: Owen Fiddler, A Journey Best Not Taken… But a Book Well Worth Reading

There are times when reading a book, you happen upon an unexpected lesson, and a shining gift wrapped up in darkness. Its wisdom comes from the voice of its writer. It makes you think, discover, nod your head and relate as you read along. I just completed such a novel. It reached my inner voice, gave me a lesson in humanity, in faith, and in mankind. The book is called “Owen Fiddler.” It’s actually written by a fellow blogger, Marvin Wilson. While I was aware that Mr. Wilson was a writer, until now, I didn’t realize the fully loaded caliber of his gift. This book is the real deal. It has more than left a lasting impression on me. Owen Fiddler has branded my spirit, like a cautionary tattoo.

This is the tale of a man who is a drunken, gambling, womanizing malcontent. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and yet something about his story compels you to read further. As the novel begins, Owen is awakening from another of his habitual stupors. He’s falling down drunk, crawling around on the floor, being sick enough to call a few toilet yodels, all before heading off to another thankless day at work.

Right away, as a reader you find nothing to root for in this cat, and he only gets worse.

Owen has no luck, and never had any. He blames everyone for his station, but himself. He is one of those tedious people who never seemed to take life or his responsibilities very seriously. As Owen stumbles off to his soulless gig, he is busy cursing the world and damning his place in it… but then something quite unexpected happens. The hapless Owen sees a pocketbook on the ground, picks it up and discovers it’s filled with thousands of dollars in cash!

He can’t believe his sudden change of fortune. He chooses not to listen to that quiet inner voice of common decency. He doesn’t even search the contents for any I.D. He simply takes the money, tosses the pocketbook aside, and goes on this way with plans to spend it on endless boozing and wild fits debauchery.

However, this one act of selfish uncaring leads to a tragic set of events. Here, the author takes an ironic twist in storytelling and it is a brilliantly effective one. Without giving too much away, finding the money leads Owen Fiddler on a journey into a deeper darkness.

The novel shifts back in time to when Owen was a boy and details how so often the choices we make in our youth can haunt us for the rest of our lives. Owen is abusive to everyone, has little regard for his mother and brother, and cheats at games played with his friends. He steals a bike from the neighborhood, and runs away when the cops show up at his home. In running away, Owen unknowingly enters into a newer darker strange world filled with runners and pimps, dealers and hardcore criminals. No longer homeward bound, the boy doesn’t look back. Instead, he becomes a street kid who embraces the fake freedom of never going to school and doing as he damn-well pleases. His life now consists of having sex with loose women before his time, and running drugs for the big boys uptown. Once busted by a plain-clothes cop, juvenile detention awaits him. Life there is worse than ever, and when he finally emerges, he is a hardened teen, unready and unwilling to embrace a new life with his family.

The precarious events of Owen’s story are harrowing and filled with the terrible details of what can happen when we fail to acknowledge our blessings, refuse to accept the onus of our actions, and neglect to live up to our potential.

Owen is good at only one thing: sex. His earlier experiences taught him well in that department, and with this skill he is rarely at a lack for fast-food companionship. What he does lack is the vision to look inward and to believe in something real and necessary for his own personal happiness.

What is so fascinating about this book is that for all his peccadilloes, everyone knows an Owen Fiddler. He’s that cat who doesn’t give a damn; the one who will always find some lame excuse for his behavior, and curses most anyone who comes into his path. He dismisses his mother’s love and rejects his caring stepfather. He despises his younger brother for being everything good and decent that Owen clearly isn’t. Once he finds a kind and beautiful woman who actually loves him, and he cheats on her during their honeymoon. He is his own worst enemy, and yet he doesn’t have the clarity or the guts to realize it.

I didn’t much like Owen, the man. But I loved Owen Fiddler, the novel.

Of course, even a troubled soul like Owen can’t go through his journey without some sort of redemption, and it is here the author surprises, astounds and enlightens his reader.

The closing chapters of this superior story elevated the form of visual-spiritual-transcendent writing for me. It was so otherworldly, so perfect in detail, so imaginatively rendered that it stunned my eyes and warmed my soul.

I used to think that for something to be Great, it had to make me cry. I’m not an easy crier, so to find greatness was always a challenge. This book didn’t make me cry (though the final confession scene between Owen and his ex-wife Jewel DID make me a tad misty). No. Art is truly Great when it makes us think of things differently, view them with new and different eyes and challenge the old perceptions we once held.

Author Marvin Wilson managed this SUPERBLY with the story of Owen Fiddler. The writer uses an eloquent language to elevate his tale. His descriptions are often poetic and lyrical to the point where they reach elegance, even in a story that reveals so little beauty until its memorable conclusion. He took me into a world I always knew existed, but always did my best to avoid.

Being one who doesn’t like to be hit over the head with religion lessons, Owen Fiddler made me appreciate that The Word doesn’t necessarily need to bombard us in order to be FELT, digested or absorbed. This is a morality tale at its finest.

Wilson, as the writer-storyteller became a wicked force, a sexy force, a spiritual force, and most of all, an Enlightened force. Once turning the final page of this opus, I could honestly say I felt CHANGED from having read it.

What more can any writer ask from an audience?

If you want an unexpected surprise, I would highly suggest you pick up Owen Fiddler by Marvin Wilson. In it, you will find deceptively wrapped in a shroud of darkness, one of life’s most shining gifts.

Snatch JOY, and snatch this book!

You can find it at: Owen Fiddler

It can also be purchased on, at: Owen



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Letter of Outrage To The NY Post

Dear Editor, Most Specifically, Rubbery Rupert Murdock:

Congratulations, on this, your latest salvo into the world of racist journalism! As a Black Man, I deeply appreciate this newest honor you’ve shown my brethren and me, especially with this being Black History Month and all! Thank you.

It still seems that in SOME eyes, we are and will forever be doomed to the tunnel-vision scope of your tragically limited perceptions of us. We are not inventors, not doctors, not lawyers, not astronauts. We are not Congressmen, not Senators, and certainly NOT Presidents! No. We are apes and monkeys.

It is both shameful and incredulous that you claim not to have known of the cartoon’s dubious implications. It is beyond sad, that in 2009, you, your so-called journalists, and your cartoonists have yet to evolve from a mindset steeped in good ole Jim Crowism.


It is no secret that racist minds have long attached the image of gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and simians to the visage of African-Americans in this country. Only a FOOL would bother to deny that this was clearly your intent! The cartoon's caption furthermore targets one very specific Black man: The President. How sick! How dangerous! How dare you!

How could this not be obvious to you, or to anyone on your staff, regardless of their education?

Any image that hints at the assassination of anyone, much less the Leader of the Free World is an image based in evil. Period.

If this were truly an ill-conceived and harmless depiction of a current event, it might be forgiven. However, only the deeply uninformed would believe this to be a mistake or an egregious error in judgment, because your history of blatant yellow journalism, your habit of ridiculing, debasing, besmirching and demonizing blacks in this city and this country is a long and ugly one.

Having once been a regular reader, I can site chapter and verse of the many times you’ve used your paper to sway public opinion in a negative light whenever it featured people of color.

Was it not YOUR paper that has referred to young back men as ‘BEASTS?’

Is it not your paper, which will systematically ignore the achievements of blacks, or usher them to a less visible section, and yet gives front page headlines to any negative incident or crime where people of color are involved? Does the arrest of Spike Lee’s father for possessing a ten-dollar bag of heroin really necessitate front-page news? Apparently in the pages of The Post it does.

Since those days of your not-so-subtle racist headlines, your aggressively right-winged slants, your ugly ways of reporting stories that are geared at degrading black and brown people, I had already long ago boycotted your rag. Hopefully, with this latest event, thousands of others will do the came.

It is my wish that you will come to know such explicit racial hatred, shameless dodging of the facts, and your fake-ass passion-free apologies will no longer be tolerated. Perhaps when your revenues begin to slip even further, THEN you will finally get the message.

Wake UP!

L.M. Ross

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Poem: Love’s Sly Ride

After the roses,
And chocolate candy
After candlelit dinner
And late night brandies…

Your lips
Caress the kiss
Of my lips. We share
A wet language:
Of dueling
And rattling breaths.

Your hand
Treks slowly
Down this
Path that leads to
The contour
At the small of
My back.

My fingers become these
Rapid heat-seekers,
Reading the hot
Braille of
Your skin. And you are

A pulse beat… and
A knowing smile.
A face of twitching
Fire, and a wild
Undulation. You are
A catch of sweltering
Breath… a torrid
Rhythm and
A swerving of hips.

You are
An urgent voice inside a dream
That whispers softly,
Then crucifies
My name.

And I am part
Part man, inflamed.
And I am passion’s
Insane beast!
My hunger
An exclamation, yearning
Your sweet relief.

Inside my eyes
You shine and hum
There is some
Thing in you,
Like a shooting star...
And all of me longs
To catch your


And beneath me
You sweetly quiver
As I lunge…

We are rays of
Light and sweat
We are sighs
And moans
And the rustle of
Sheets swinging.

We are walking
Tongues and hot
Stalking paws.
We are the song
Of angels and
The howl of dogs!

We are a strange
Contortion, and
A rough day’s

We are
A sultry map of steamy
Geography. We become
A happy,
Nappy journey
Through pleasured peaks
And cherished valleys.

We are the lush cry and
The shuttering gasp! We are
Rush of consummation, and
The climatic

And then…

Your lips caress
This waiting pucker at
The kiss of
My lips.

I levitate.
As my soul shifts
From the gist of
Love’s sly ride…

I … I… I… bask in this utter
Thrill of you, panting,
Convulsing by my side.

And still your
Hand surveys
This Braille of

And you touch
And you touch
Those downy narrow
Places where even

Cupid with his arrow

Would blush.

One Love.


Saturday, January 31, 2009


“The devil ain’t nothin’ but a talent scout!”

Those were the words of my Great Aunt Bessie. When I was a kid, she’d utter these strange, crazy expressions that made absolutely no sense to me. But then, the older I became, the wisdom, the knowing inside those things she’d said would end up haunting me slowly.

Maybe the devil was, is, and will always be a devious talent scout, stalking, constantly searching for some new and Magnificent Misery. He must innately possess the primal instinct to smell it. He whiffs it, and very odor of it makes his dick erect. When the devil sees misery, when he witnesses desolation encased in human flesh, it makes him grin his sickly grin and he grows even more aroused.

I can't really say I know the way someone feels, even when the person hosting that feeling might be someone close to me, or even someone I love. I can sincerely sympathize with the best of them, but to say that I empathize with them… that would be lie. You can love someone to their core, know they’re in pain, and still never identify the degree, texture, the depth or temperature of their anguish.

When you love someone, you don’t always see him or her as they are, because what you love about them most is their spirit. It’s the essential part of a person that makes them beautiful or ugly. Knowing this to be true, Addy had a beautiful spirit. It didn’t matter to me that his fluctuating weight had become problematic. By the time he was twelve he weighed almost 300 pounds. It became apparent to everyone that my brother wasn’t just plump or chubby anymore. Addy was morbidly obese. I knew this reality made him deeply unhappy in his skin.

Over the years, I’d overheard my parents arguing about it so many times in their bedroom. Gig’s voice wore a trace of shame and something very close to disgust.

“What the HELL are you feedin’ that boy? I told you his ass needed to be on a diet… but you just keep on feeding him all that fatty food! It’s getting outta hand, Dakota!”

“Shhhhh! Keep your voice down! I feed that boy three square meals a day. That’s it. That's all. But then, he takes his allowance and he buys candy and sweets, cakes and cookies and chips and soda. He’s slick about it. He hides them because he knows I don’t want him eating that junk!”

“So, when does he eat it?”

“Late at night when I’m asleep. I can’t police the child at all hours. I’ve tried for years to steer him away for that stuff. He does as I say, and he’ll lose a little weight. But he always ends up gaining even more of it back. Our son has a problem, Gig!”

I was glad Addy didn’t hear them. But even if he had, nothing Gig or Dakota could say would’ve been worse than the things he’d been called at school. It was there he heard so many cruel and unfeeling words aimed at him; and his classmates would say those things to deliberately to break his spirit. Kids who are bullies can be the most insensitive beings on the planet. They never take into account how their words can cut or brand a sensitive soul forever. Maybe this never occurs to them. And for those who are aware, who know what their words and actions can do, and they purposely use them anyway… shame on those sad and internally fucked up people!

This is what some human beings do to one another. They do or say some brutally heartless thing for shits and giggles… or to wound and make someone suffer.

I cannot say I knew how it felt to be Addy. But the part of my brother that lived within me, would so often weep for him.

The truth of this hurts… truly hurts in some deep secret place inside of the viscera.
The truth is you want to hurt all those hurters back.
The truth is you wonder if anyone will ever love you, and just you, flaws and all, completely, honestly and unconditionally.

Her name was Allison. Allison Andrews. From the time Addy was in the fifth grade, he’d nursed his own silent yet undying crush for her.

She was a lovely young girl to look at, with her shoulder-length plaits and light sienna skin. Addy would spend days constructing these homemade Valentine cards and putting in a little poem he’d composed especially for Miss Allison. Addy and Allison. Allison and Addy. It was such a beautiful dream in his mind. He’d never found the courage to approach her directly with these cards or with his feelings for her. He seemed to take his own delight in secretly placing the anonymous cards in her cubbyhole, and then hiding behind the classroom door to see that slow smile trace across her face. He’d done this for three years straight. But then came junior high school, where the kids seemed to up the ante in the game of human cruelty.

Someone had apparently seen him place that year’s card into the slits of her locker’s door. Someone obviously told her that the card was from that ‘big, fat Swinton boy.’

But instead of being flattered by the careful and poetic attention he’d shown her for three years, and instead of applying just a little touch of sensitivity, Miss Allison chose a different method of giving my brother his due.

She waited until lunchtime, when the school’s cafeteria was full, and then she stood on her chair, and said:

“Hey, everyone… guess what? I got another special Valentine this year. Isn’t it beautiful?” She held it up to show the crowd. Everyone present was paying attention, because this was Allison Andrews, the prettiest girl in all of junior high. And then she read it, out loud:

‘Every day you grow more beautiful…
Every year my heart explodes…
Every time I’m near you.
My love just grows and grows.

Every time I long to tell you
But every year I get more shy…
So I’ll quietly ask you
Once again,
Would you please
Be my Valentine?’

The crowd of kids actually applauded, quite loudly. I imagine Addy was a little embarrassed, and maybe just a little proud in that moment.

But then she, Miss Allison Andrews, announced:

“Wow! I wish I knew who my secret Valentine was… because if I knew, I’d give him a big wet kiss. And I don’t care who it is,” she said. Then she twisted her face in a way that wasn’t so pretty anymore, and she said, “As long as ain’t that big’ fat, gross, two tons of ugly, SWINTON boy!”

I can’t even begin to imagine what hearing those words coming from Allison did to my brother’s soul. All I know is, Addy got up looking astonished and damaged and winded and thousand unutterably painful things, and he ran as fast as he possibly could from that cafeteria filled with viciousness and that coarse cutting noise of laughter.

I wanted to kick her ass. I wanted to kick the ass of each person who’d coldly laughed at him. I wanted to… but I couldn’t kick everyone’s ass.

And because I loved him, there were times I wanted to fight for him, and I did. I couldn’t that day, because had Addy disappeared.

That was the first day of many painful adolescent days ahead, and the first time my little brother ran away from Coolsville.

His disappearance lasted for three days.

“The devil ain’t nothin’ but a talent scout,” Aunt Bessie said.

* * * * *
I believe the devil is indeed, a talent scout, in search of some Grand Misery… and when he finds it, sees it, sniffs it, tastes it and feels it, his raging red dick grows more erect.

I believe in the devil just as much, and just as fiercely as I believe in God. Too many people mistake the devil’s place of business as a hellish underground community. I believe only the hellish part to be true.

My Great Aunt Bessie once said something else in her infinite wisdom:
“People need to take God outta the sky and put Him where he belongs… in they hearts.”

Borrowing that old sage’s philosophy, then by the same token, maybe some people take Satan from the underground, and they let him breed within their souls.

# # #

Excerpt from the novel "Like Litter In The Wind," by L.M. Ross



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Oscar, Golden Globe, Nor An NAACP Joint, But A Noble Award Nonetheless!

Peep the emblem to the left. The lovely, most kind and mad industrious Miz Write has bestowed this award upon me. It's called The Helping Hand Award. I am very humbled, grateful, surprised and yes, elated to be in receipt of it. Whenever I’m told that something I’ve written or done has ‘inspired’ someone, it brings a smile and a certain peace to my spirit. I think maybe that’s a part of what we’re all here to do in some way or in some act we perform.

I’ve been blogging in various places for nearly five years, and in that time I have forged some incredible relationships and networks of support. It just feels good to know that you’ve touched someone, encouraged someone, reached them in a visceral place, or made them consider something positive and affirming in their own lives.

Since writing is probably what I do best (well, maybe second best) I’ve become proficient at reciting my interior and being that everyman who pretty much feels what everyone else feels, in certain degrees. I’m not a psychiatrist, not a Holy Man, nor a martyr. I’m just a very human being, and my shoulders have grown stronger from helping to lift and uplift others in my path. And you know what? I’m cool with that…so thankyaverrrmuch!

Anyway, the award reads as follows:

You are receiving this Emblem in recognition for your mentoring, support, and encouragement to a fellow blogger is no small fete! It is evidence that you have gone well beyond the call of duty by your continued efforts to "leave the pile higher than you found it"! It is further evidence that your blog(s)has been identified as the epitome of excellence and is certainly admired.

Only FIVE? *sigh* Decisions! Decisions! Aiight! Below are some bloggers who write from the heart and by doing so, they inspire me. This is my small way of saying THANK YOU for your inspiration:

Wandering Caravan

Free Spirit


Broken Mannequin

Joaquin Carvel

Receiving the Emblem from a seasoned blogger (such as… ahem… myself!) is a testimony to you that you're on the right track, and that your voice is being heard and FELT. It gives credence that there are those out here in the blogsphere who recognize your potential even if you don't. Keep up the good work, and remember to "Pay it Forward".

As for the vets who have been in the game for longer than a minute and yet consistently provide a steady stream of much-needed inspiration, the award goes to:






A host of mad congrats to you all!!

The Rules:

1. Select 10 bloggers: 5 you consider your blogging Helping Hand then "Pay it Forward" by extending your "Helping Hand" to 5 additional bloggers in support and encouragement for their efforts.

2, In passing on the Emblem, each recipient must provide the name of blog or blog author with a link for others to visit. Each recipient must show the Emblem and put the name and link to the blog that has given it to her or him.

3. Link the Emblem to this post: Helping Hand: Much Obliged and Paying it Forward so that others will know it origin and impetus.

4. If you have not already done so, show your recipients some love by adding them to your blog roll, Technorati Favorite list, or in any other way to further let them know that their blog voice is important to you and being heard.

5. Add your name to The Helping Hand meme and don't forget to leave a comment as a permanent record of all Helping Hand recipients.

6. Display the rules.

Okay? A Warm and hearty congratulations to all the winners of this highly coveted and most prestigious award in blogdom!

Snatch JOY... by inspiring someone!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Becomes President Today... And The Feeling is EBULLIENT!

e·bul·lient ( -b l y nt, -b l -)
1. Zestfully enthusiastic. A boiling up or over; effervescence.
2. high spirit; exhilaration; exuberance.

Is anyone else feeling strangely hopeful today? There is a feeling of beauty all around on this January 20th. The whole world is witnessing a major zeitgeist, a powerful spirit of change. That we are alive to experience it and to grasp the full and historic significance of it is a truly a-once-in-a-lifetime Blessing.

“Ebullient” (along with exquisite) is one of my all-time favorite words. I like the way it feels on my tongue, how it churns and flows and uplifts my spirit. Today, I am truly ebullient. I believe much of America and the world feels the same way.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

I wonder how many of us truly believed in those words. This was always taught in my home by my parents. Yet when I opened the door and ventured into the world, there were always others determined to make me think and feel that it was all a lie. My skin-color, whether implied, or plainly stated, was something that in THEIR eyes, made me inferior. I was thought to be lesser than, believed to be not as good, not as worthy of honor, not as intelligent, and not as necessary in the world.

Yes, many of us were told that we could become anything; and that whatever we put our minds to, with hard work, determination and the Belief in God, anything was possible. But even when armed with this concept, even if it infiltrated our belief systems, we tended to place limitations upon our own potential. No one, not a soul ever once told ME that I could someday BE President. It was too large to imagine, too impossible to grasp.

Barack has transcended the myth of racial inferiority and brought forth this glorious and exquisitely hopeful new reality.

On Election Day, 2008, Obama, by his singular vision, by his sheer determination, by his character, his will and the will of the American people caused a revolution within the American mindset. He proved that, yes, little black and brown boys can indeed dream bigger, wider and greater, and not only dream but to make those dreams manifest. YES WE CAN!

Perhaps even greater than this, the people of this Country overcame their differences, their ignorances, their prejudices, their taboos, and their fears and they made the decision that HE was the RIGHT man for this awesome responsibility. They, the MAJORITY, chose him! Their hopes and faith and dreams were placed in HIM, Barack Obama, not his skin-tone, not his heritage, but his Manhood, his intellect, his vision, his character, and his 'audacity of hope' was just what this country needed in these turbulent times.

Having known my history in this country as a black man, only to witness just how far we’ve come, yes, today I am indeed ebullient.


Somewhere I just know that my late father, my grandparents, and my ancestors (once kings and queens, and then American slaves) are equally filled with this radiant and most exquisite ebullience.

May The Creator Bless and watch over Barack Obama! May God Bless America and The World!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poem For The Marchers~ By L.M. Ross


I marched
My Freedom was
A bastardized entity.

A contemptuous America
Made a slaughter of
My dignity.
I marched because
My flesh
Had become
The food of rabid beasts.
I marched because
Men who looked
Like me
Hung on nooses…
Strung from poplar trees.


I marched because
Injustice had become
The rule…
And I marched because
The Constitution
Had run out of

I marched
Because the klan carried
Crooked crosses,
And this country stood by
As we counted
Our losses.

I marched
Because my weary soul
Ached for the balm of
Righteous. I marched because
The swift boot of
Cruelty kept
Trampling upon
My spirit.

I marched because
A King
Whispered softly…
And my distressed
Humanity could
Hear it.


I marched because
My worthiness was
Shunned. I marched because
A Change
Had to come.

I marched because
A man named
Martin came to
Realign my spine,
And re-ignited
My flame…
And I marched
For me, and
My ancestors,
In Freedom's name.


I marched
And my flame
Sustained the jets
Of water hoses.
I marched
Against the fury of
Those voices
Screaming "NO!"

I marched and
I marched, because
The dictates of
Told me so…

Happy Birthday Dr. King... because of YOU, the flame grows Taller!

Snatch JOY with Freedom's Grip!

** It seems that mere days before Barack Obama takes the office of President of United States, a part of the dream for freedom and equality has finally been realized. Somewhere, I just know Martin must be smiling.

One Love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Few "Sacred" Thoughts

One of the most talented and egregiously slept-on artists around is the lovely and profound Ms. Amel Larrieux. I dig most everything this beautiful sister has done over the course of the last decade or so. However, lately, I’ve been revisiting, what is, in my humble opinion, her most brilliant opus, the CD entitled ‘Bravebird.’ In particular, I’ve contemplated the meaning, the thought, the sound and vision in a song she did called “Sacred”.

The thing is, it’s one of those pieces of music that defines ART, because it makes me go all internal. It causes me to question the things I hold Truly Sacred. Here, I mean Sacred with a CAPITAL “S.”

Not to get all gushy-gooey sentimental, yet it occurs to me that some people don’t really hold very much Sacred anymore.

Yet, we've witnessed lives, homes, material possessions so quickly taken away in a blink of an eye, or in a hurricane’s destructive wind. Knowing that nothing is promised, and all things have a shelf-life, it’s best not to place too much emotional investment in something that doesn't contain a pulse, breath or a heartbeat.

But some people and some ideas and some internal qualities remain Sacred to me.

My family and my quirky and closest friends are Sacred to me.

Those who say they LOVE me, and who mean it with every fiber of their being, they are Sacred to me.

My ability to stretch and bend and see beyond my finite limitations... this is Sacred to me.

The memory of those I’ve loved and lost and who have left behind tender moments and lessons in their wake, this is forever Sacred to me.

Waking up each day without some horrible pain or chronic limitation, just waking up and breathing, this is Sacred to me.

The sound of music which uplifts my spirit, calms my rage, possesses the ability to hold my soul tethered to a most excellent note, this is Sacred to me.

The joy inherent within a child’s laughter, the assurance of their well-being, and the sensitivity inside their tears, this is Sacred to me.

The gift of creativity and the ability to muster strength in times of stress, this is Sacred to me.

Love of any kind that is enduring and true, and real and tangible, this is so damn Sacred to me.

Anyway... if you read this entry, and come up empty, vacant of anything you hold Sacred… then, whoever you are, and wherever you are, I’ll feel sorry for you.