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Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing You All: A Mo Happy & Mo Blessed 2011!

My New Year’s wish for you all is that PEACE becomes a presence in your homes, apartments, your castles and cribs, that it sets up a business where its main product (Peace Mentalities) becomes the latest trend… and it sweeps the nation and permeates your hearts.

I wish that clever thieves perceive a way to Bogart all your cares and steal all your debts, but never once abuse or manhandle your dreams.

I wish the empty pockets of your sorriest outfit become magnets for fiddies and $100 bills.

I wish that luck falls randomly into your lap like a welcomed stain; that Love will stick to your skin like Vaseline, and Zen comedians always whisper hilarious jokes inside your laughing brain.

I wish for your clothes to reek of filthy stinking success, for Happiness to bitch-slap ya hard across the mug... and that the only tears you shed be tears of mad Joy.

And may all the troubles, issues, fears and problems you had forget your last name, misplace your cell number, screw up your email addy… and lose your home address!

In short...

I wish that 2011 Becomes The Bestest Year of Your Freakin’ Lives!!!


That's it. That's all. Snatch JOY!



Monday, December 27, 2010

La Bonne Nuit, Chanteur de Dame. Se Reposer Dans Paix, Teena Marie!

It’s all mvery strange, and I really can't explain why, but for the past 24 hours the old skool song "Portuguese Love" had been playing on a reel in my brain… and then... very early this morning... I awakened to the terrible news that soul singer Teena Marie had passed. Eerie. She was 54.

The first expression other than complete disbelief becomes: OH NO! NOT LADY T!!!!


Teena was a mad soulful, raw, emotionally powerful and deeply stirring vocalist who could truly put it DOWN, give you goosebumps, make you stomp your feet and just say day-YUM! She was also an ARTIST who wrote and crafted brilliant poetry that became songs, and who played several instruments with a mastery rarely seen in female performers. This woman was a real creative force! It feels so odd to even refer to her in the past-tense... but sadly... I must.

She had several hits in the early and mid 80s such as "Lovergirl," "Behind The Groove," and "Square Biz" … Photobucket
and the highly-charged "Fire and Desire" with her mentor Rick James.

The confirmation of her death came from a publicist, Jasmine Vega, who worked with Teena Marie on her last album. According to some reports, she'd died in her sleep and was later found by her teenaged daughter.

She was born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica California, and from early on had a strong African-American influence guiding her, due to a godmother. Teena Marie was also known as "Lady T," and by the term she herself had coined: "The Ivory Queen of Soul." Although she was the first white female vocalist ever signed to Motown, she certainly wasn't the first white act to love, appreciate or sing soul music, however, she was arguably among the most gifted, most respected, and the one who was thoroughly embraced by black audiences. Anyone black, white, red, brown or yellow who appreciated the magic of soul music had love for Teena Marie.


On a personal note: I recall my mother (who was not really hip to Lady T) just happened to witness her singing “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” one Sunday morning. She then frantically called me up demanding that I tune into BET because, as she put it: “There’s some white girl on here... and she sure can SANG!”

When I turned the channel to find it was Teena doing what Teena did so brilliantly, I could only laugh. “Ummm... yeah, ma. She’s been singin' like that for the last 25 years, at least.”

Once Teena signed with Motown, back in 1979, she began working closely with Rick James. She and the Punk-funk bad-boy would share a long and turbulent personal life, but a magical musical partnership.

Ironically, the cover of her album, "Wild and Peaceful," did not feature her image, with Motown apparently fearing backlash by audiences if they found out the songstress with the bold and dynamic R & B chops was, in fact, white.

But she had her first hit, "I'm A Sucker for Your Love," and was on her way to becoming one of R&B's most revered queens. During her tenure with Motown, the singer-songwriter and musician produced passionate love songs and funk jam songs like "Need Your Lovin'," "Behind the Groove" and "Ooh La La La."

Her daughter Alia Rose (who has adopted the stage name "Rose Le Beau") is also a budding singer whom Teena would sometimes bring on stage with her to perform. In recent years Lady T had embarked upon touring again after overcoming an addiction to prescription drugs.

Teena Marie's last album, "Congo Square," was titled after a historical meeting place for slaves in New Orleans, featured a tribute to Martin Luther King's widow and also song "Black Cool," written for President Barack Obama.

We just keep losing people who are truly irreplaceable, and this absence saddens me deeply.

What will the future hold for music when the REAL soul singers we have left, keep dying?


*UPDATE:* Many of Lady T's friends, associates and admirers in the entertainment world spoke of her tremendous impact.

“A few months ago I saw her perform at a BET function in DC and I was sitting in the audience and was thinking to myself, ‘Where did the spirit of really finding joy in performing go?’ said singer/actor Tyrese.

“So many artists today, they get on stage and perform, and it’s like its just work and I’m here to get a check. She was up there sweating; they kept bringing her towels and water, she was just really doing her thing. She was on stage with the high heels and singing her life away. I just loved it. It was a breath of fresh air to be around somebody who, after so many years, still had a passion to be on stage for the love of music.”

Cindy Herron, a member of En Vogue, said: “It’s a loss for those who loves her music, but also the music world. She still had so much to offer.”

Last year, Teena Marie followed En Vogue at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, and Herron says she was “amazed because she’s such a showman.”

“She still had a great command of the audience; her musicianship and her singing ability. She still had so much to offer.”

Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, the largest black-owned radio company in the country, was shocked upon hearing of Marie’s death.
“Teena was a black voice trapped in a white body,” Hughes said. “I would always tell her that she was one of the greatest vocalists of our time.”

Singer Lionel Richie said that every time he'd see Teena Marie, the two always engaged in a running joke about her DNA.

“Every time I would say, ‘we need a root check!’” said a laughing Richie.
“You look at somebody like her and you go, ‘I know I’m looking at her, but it’s not translating. She was an amazing, soulful person. She’s a phenomenon to me.”

Addressing the issue of seeing a white woman with a “black voice,” Richie cut right to the point: “You have to say it. She had all of the street vibes and all of the R&B vocals, and it just didn’t match up with what you’re looking at.

“But one thing is for sure, when she walked on that stage, you didn’t want to be up there with her! If there is a word called talent or talented, it was pouring out of her veins. She was an amazing phenomenon.

“There was Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle and Teena Marie. And you don’t want to go on stage with any of them. Those three you just don’t play with. You don’t want to mention black and white, but that’s exactly what you thought about. It was an absolute phenomena to me.”

Eddie Levert, founder of the O’Jays, said, “in terms of vocals, she was one of the blackest people I know.”

“She was one of the great R&B performers of our time. She was a great person; just a nice person,” Levert said. “And she loved to perform. She got along well with everyone; even the promoters love her. She is going to be sorely missed.
“There a lot of black people who swore by her and believed in her, as far as her music was concerned. She was a good mom, and to me, that is saying a lot."


Holly Robinson Peete: "Teena Marie was an R&B Empress, a music pioneer, a brilliant songwriter/ producer with the most original powerhouse vocals ever.

 Nobody sang like Teena! But above all she was an exceptional human being, a humanitarian and an authentic friend who I will miss dearly. Rest With Angels Lady T.”

* * *

Indeed. Rest in Peace, Lady T!


One Love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Just This: Merry Xmas!

I just want to wish all who will read this a Merry Christmas. I hope it’s a Holiday that is as happy as it is Blessed, as Peaceful as it is momentous, and as rich as it is humbling.

If you can manage to help someone who might be less fortunate than yourself, then that’s all the better. If you can make a small child smile then you’ve made a new memory of the season. If you can feed someone whose belly might be empty, or find more delight in giving than receiving, then just maybe you’ve tapped into The Christ within.


Always remember the Reason for the Season, and then give yourself & all those you love the freedom to be blissful and the permission to snatch JOY!


One Love.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Breaking Out Those Holiday Classics...

Lately I’ve been trying to snatch, to retrieve and to retain this thing in me; this lost and sleeping spirit of Christmas. Sometimes, it waxes, wanes and tickles my brain with a sweet memory from the past. Often it comes and goes, and lasts as long as a snowflake on a red-hot griddle.


Last night and early this morning, it snowed. Actually... it was officially just a “dusting”. Kinda wimpy really. Maybe I needed the snow to remind me of those long ago Christmases. Y’know: kid voices singing carols, people smiling and being kinder, the smell of pine trees shining with tinsel. But mostly, it’s the SOUND of gospel and holiday hymns sung by REAL singers. Maaaaaaan, I loved those Christmas songs. Something about them made me feel a part of the world, so warm and necessary. Thus, I’ve been trying to reconnect with those cursory things that bring forth the angels of memory. Yes, the lights across the street beckon and remind me that tis IS the Season to Be Jolly, but I’m running a bit deficient of those fa-la-lala-las.

One of my first poems ever published appeared in Essence Magazine, and it was called “Cobwebs on my Revolution Poster. “ It was metaphor for a time of promise and expectatation that somehow faded away. Well, lately I’m beginning to realize that there are cobwebs on my childhood.

My upstairs neighbors have been blasting Hip-Hop and R & B classics. To counteract their sonic assault, I broke out one of MY classic gems: my Merry Christmas From Motown album. Yup, it still plays, even though it skips, pops and scratches from a spinning disc of vinyl.


This was the music from my kidhood. See? For me to reconnect with those good feelings, the emotions, the wonder and promise of the season, I desperately needs me some Ave Maria, some O Holy Night.

I can seriously O.D. on some original Temptations crooning Silent Night....

....And some Jackson 5 way back when li'l Michael was a soulful brown-skin child who wore a ‘fro and was so vibrantly ALIVE!


Calling on Smokey Robinson… come in Smokey… ‘cause lawd knows we could all could use some Miracles!

Stevie… Mr. Wonder, could you please summon that Little Drummer Boy to come out and play for me?

Damn it! Drats! I mean, Good Grief! I somehow missed this year’s showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas! The l’il keeid in me was never very big on animation or hyped on pretend, but he still relates to this one & only cartoon from way back when.

Who even realized back then how seriously COOL and quasi-intellectual that music was when The Peanuts gang got down? The man in me still grooves to that classic soundtrack of fluently jazz-inspired tunes.

Music seems to bring the joy of Christmas back to me… even more than snow or lights or shiny presents under a tree. Music alone can take me over that river and through the woods of materialism and deliver a few of My Favorite Things.

So, I’m trying to reclaim that rightful spirit… the spirit that’s been stolen, kidnapped from me by those vicious gods of greed and avarice. I’m trying to keep it simple... when the world keeps getting so damned complicated around me. It’s a chore and a war of the heart, but I aim to score and win that small, yet important victory.

After all, it’s my duty and my solemn right to snatch myself a little Holiday

Photobucket !!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sex and Love: A Confessional Poem


This is my confession:
I've made love
Far more times
Than I've ever had
Sex. My
Imagination is
A whore… yes… but my body
Has been

A temple
Composed of
Apprehension and Tolerance, Poetry and
A reed-thin Hope for romance.

The penis
Is a jerk
With piss-
Poor judgment.
It works,
Rises, performs as
We breathe.

It can pretend to be
A magic wand...
It can abracadabra us away from
But only the fluid of
Lust appears
From its hat.

And me? I've always dreamed
Than that, and so…
I've made love
More times than
I've ever had
Sex. Yet,

My head,
My home has been
A promiscuous dome
Where Illicit
What Ifs play

This is what we
Men do. We stick our erections deep into
Illusions and
Into the reality
That we are most alone
Inside this bed
Within our heads.

But sex with no emotion
Was too easy, too dangerous,
So instead
I've made love to faces with names,
To orifices with brains
And souls who fell
Shamelessly to their

Knees. And I've fallen, too
Before false gods
And goddesses, who
Made me kneel
At the altar of
Some thing
That felt
Soft and Hard… and Real, like




copyright © 2005 and 2010 by L.M. Ross

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

* And I Want To Say... For World AIDS Day


“There are crazy rhythms in this room. They click and churn and hiss and beep. They tick away the time between breaths. Such crazy rhythms inside this room, and I just can’t even dance to them. I wish I could speak… but the words, they won’t come. So these rhythms, they break the silence, fill in the vacancies, make up for this scarcity of language; and it’s strange how these rhythms can hush the occasional uneasy utterance.


Please, take this silence as Love, because words no longer make sense to me. Words like: The Plague, and words like Haitians. Words like Africans. Words like junkies, like faggots, like gay. Words go in and out of fashion and they don’t always vogue upon the tongue. Words... they can prick us like dirty needles… and leave behind these scary realities like: HIV, Thrush, and SIDA, and AIDS.


So, take this silence as a LOVE, baby. And right now, I’m loving you ‘til death.

Please, take my silence as a Daring, and most Death-Defying Act of Love!

See, sometimes I think, I think too much. Sometimes
I think this world is just
A Stupid Test
Of love
And most of us
Are failing it



One Love.

*Excerpt from ‘And I Want To Say’ copyright © 2001 and 2010 by L.M. Ross

Monday, November 29, 2010

At Least Ten Things To Be Thankful For...


During this time of the year, we, at least those of us with an interior life, tend to become very reflective of the things that life continues to show us. Personally, I've meditating upon the changes, the challenges and the Blessings that have been visited upon me and those I hold dear. This short entry is to acknowledge the 10 Things I’m Most Thankful For:

I am thankful for my health, and my general state of well-being. Without these, life would be this huge theatrical play in which I never got a chance to perform.

I am thankful that my mom’s most recent mammogram showed no signs of cancer.

I am thankful for the roof over my head (no matter the STOMPS & BUMPS I endure along with it).

I am thankful that no forces of nature, no hellish hurricane nor earthquake, or terrible tsunami has wrecked havoc upon my life, its quality, or its being.

I am thankful for the handful of people I can genuinely call “My Friends.”

I am thankful and grateful for the bravery of our soldiers overseas fighting in two wars to protect our freedom.

I am thankful that none of the recent terrorist plots and conspiracies against this Country have proven successful.

I am thankful for the gift of self-expression and for the healing it sometimes brings.

I am thankful for the existence of music and that it is a Living Thing which continues to feed my spirit.

I am thankful for my life, no matter its joys, recent disappointments and strife, it has not destroyed, defeated or left me stranded in the scenery of depression or failure.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday.

Snatch JOY!



Monday, November 22, 2010

Cigarette Poem? (Maybe, then again Maybe Not)

I have breathed you in…
Inhaled you in
Drifts and drafts
And mad dizzying spins.

And I have
Sucked you
Deeply into my lungs
Like some nicotine dream
Or herbal retreat…
An opiate from
A madness
That dare not speak
Its name.

I have breathed you in
Inhaled you so deeply
You became
My wind… became
The song
That plays in my brain
And repeats
And repeats
Its soft,
Sly refrain.

I have breathed you in
Like a fine Italian
Wine, and felt
My viscera sigh and
From the giddiness of
The high. I have
Breathed you in
With both lewd
And angelic

I have felt my
Corpuscles race and
And glided with
The flutter of
Sightless butterflies, as I
Imagined gardens of
Earthly delights.

Yes, I have breathed you in
Like carbon monoxide
And frankincense
Like roses and toxins
Never knowing if
Your fragrance
Will awaken or kill me
Slowly. I have breathed you

Into my system… and
Made you a part of my
Blood stream's story
And then
Until you became
My prick

Of heroin…
Sliding thru my arteries
And taking me on wings to
The Heights of Heaven. You are

My insanity and my
Adrenaline, personified.
And I have become
A junkie...

Nodding to The High…
Purring to The High
Smiling to The High
While dancing inside
Each time, I close my eyes
To slowly


copyright © 2010 by L.M. Ross

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When a Poet Brings The FIYAH!

Last night, I went back to my roots, my origin, my native, the place where my words first caught that fire of attention and the promise of ambition. Last night, I returned to my primal mission: POETRY.

Readings are something I once did frequently, before little magazines, publication and noveldom intervened and became a part of my immediate scene. Readings can be extremely cool when you get into the head-groove of them.

For this event, I wanted to give my drummer some... but my drummer was giving me nothing, but drama. I called. No word. I left messages. No reply. It was looking like I'd be reading all by my lonesome.

See, my drummer, Abdul, can truly play. This cat slaps skins and takes you back to those days of Nubian warriors being welcomed home to their villages. I mean, when this cat plays, he takes you away on the wings of a rhythm.

But Abdul was busy playing the cool mute who was not computing my messages.

So, I rolled, stag, Metro style, got on my train, and tried to breathe in smoooove easy waves, going over my lines, mentally clocking my timing, as the train soon made its next stop... and… BAM! The last cat who boarded was lugging a huge conga. Ah yes! The Drama's over. That last cat's my bwoi, Abdul! Now, I feel as if I can spit! We give each other dab. We riff and we rap, and we’re ready to make our poetic attack, and get that party started correctly.

The place, the spot, the den, the boite was this joint in lower Connecticut. It was done up in cool retro café-style, where along the brick walls lay black and white snaps and posters of cats, chicks and poetic deities like: Ginsberg, Kerouac, The Beats and dem, Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, Jayne Cortez and Nikki Giovanni, just to name a few.

Like always, I‘m a bit fritzed, a bit frazzled with frenetic nerves and energy. Abdul? He was just maxin and relaxin with a cool-azz lounge.

The show began, precisely at 8:30PM. And like, Whoa! From the jump, I was stoked, I was hooked.

That stage was the breeding ground of some fiercely hot mad talented spoken word artists, all finessing and flowing, all verbing and vibing with ratta-tat-tat ballistic styles, poeting on serious issues and kickin' this mad powerful shit.

I sit and I listen, and soon become an enthralled and enthusiastic member of this poetic marathon.

But suddenly, I feel small and unworthy. I feel all fake and fraudulent. Me... with my frail-azz phonics, seriously considering just vacating that place.

I was sixth in line. This fifth chick was doing her slick linguistically rich mad urban mama drama monologue, complete with high-pitched SCREAMS and shit... and I felt the intensity of this maddening nerve thing, this swerving-in-my-belly thing combined w/ this frog-in-my-throat thing, the semi-freak-out-just-beneath-my-skin thing... mixed with that I don't think I can cope with this whole judgment thing!

Gawd! I hate that feeling!

But it was way too late to do anything-- other than to breathe, yo... just breathe in easy in waves. Breathe baby. Breathe with me!

Then, the MC, Zeke, 'The Vociferous Puerto Reek' cat was back at the mic, and he was loudly introducing ME.

Abdul went on first. He set his mighty congas in place. Then, some invisible hand (God?) pushed, nudging me forth and I followed behind him.

Inside the high-yellow glow of a single bright spot, I stepped to the mic, cleared my throat, hoping something other than a croak, or smoke emits, but I KNOW it's Show-time, dammit!

Nerves, be gone, yo! You on, yo! Madness, begone! Yo Lin! You KNOW you can do this, yo!

And so, I did it. I spit, I riffed, I waxed, I poeted and, yes, I lyricized:

“Actors Acting

We act the mack, the clown, the hack.
We act, we wax, all hip and romantic.
We act as if
Our bullshit
Didn’t stink.

We act coy
We act shy
We act cool
We act fly
We act lies
And half truths
In that quest to
Knock boots

We act happy
When we’re sad
We act calm
When we’re mad
We act slick
& get tricked
By our own
Acting bag. “

And Abdul’s right behind me, keeping his steady rhymic beat. BOOM-CHA-BOP, BOOM-CHA BAM! BOOM-CHA-BOP, BOOM-CHA-BAM. Am I master of this verbal domain? Oh, yes, mos def, I am, mane! I am cool groit… and street-battered soul. Yes, yes, yo! Yes, yes, yo! I am truth-bringer and metaphor slinger. Yes, yes, yo. Check me out, yo!


And the words and drums all merged, so fluidly, so beautifully.

Shoulders moved. The room too became fluid, yes, fluid like me, like he, like us, like we.

And I’m gazing into this amazing sea of faces, eyes all attentive. They are feeding me waves of affirmation!

People are nodding their heads, yo. People were feeling my vibe, my stee-lo. And me? I’m testifying most tenaciously. I am in my zone. I am feeling alive! I am fi-yah and sometimes, I am ice. I am all this unleashed anger and hushed sensitivity. I am a poet, dammit! A poet, in his own rightful element! When a poet's busy poeting, he or she ain’t sweatin’, ain’t stressin’ about shit!

I am on, yo! I am a drum, and a beat. A voice and a flow.

And then… before I knew it, my flow was done. The jig was up. Finis. WTF!? Where had the time gone? Had I riffed too fast, or gone on too long? Had I said too much, or not quite enuff?

But people were clapping—clapping kinda loudly-- and I could feel the love. Zeke, The Vociferous Puerto Rican cat was stepping my way. I guess I was done. I'd read four poems, and it felt like four seconds!

That's the whole trip of this live performance thing. You dread it, up until that very moment, then you're on. Then, once the words come… it seems nothing and no one can stop you. You're a train, zooming, full-speed, a loco locomotive, with one mission, one motive and that is-- to be heard.

And for all the nerves, the highs and lows, I highly recommend it. Take it from one who knows: you'll *never* forget the ride.

Poetry readings can transform me from a reasonably shy and mellow guy into this whole other cat with an arsenal of words, thoughts, actions, verbs, and whole other swerve in my sway. No longer just another cat, stalking the stage in head to toe black, but something dangerous, like a panther, yo! Yes, a panther, in mid-pounce…

Last night, it was big-ups, kisses and embraces, and props of: "you the shit, yo!"

And tonight, it'll be back to work again, back to my lot, back to people placing orders and taking me for granted again. Back to me being this ace-mixologist, this writer wannabe, this part-time poet, with a semi-secret life.

But for one too brief moment, I was fire, baby! FiYAH, I say! Just wish y'all coulda seen me, burn.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Introspection: A Poem For Tyler Perry

After viewing the film For Colored Girls, I was moved. The film, for the most part, is very good. It contains many of the things a great film should aspire to be: compelling, poetic, moving, didactic, stunning, beautiful... and sadly, ugly too. Ntozake Shange created a gem of living, breathing theatrical art. Director/screenwriter Tyler Perry attempted to follow suit by creating a moving piece of cinema. I believe he did so. I believe, in some ways he succeeded, at least to the best of his (current) abilities.

However, in keeping it real, I was also personally hurt, disturbed and offended that a black male director saw fit to continue the Hollywood tradition of cranking out a fleet of stereotypical Black Male Monsters; characters in black face with no redeeming qualities, no life-affirming purpose and ultimately no reason to exist other than to cause harm, shame, hurt, and to wreck demonic havoc upon the lives of others. Because of this, I left the theatre entertained by the thematic nature of the film, engaged by its many vibrant performances, and yet filled with strains of mixed emotions.

My Emotions dictated this piece.

Introspection: A Poem For Tyler Perry :

The way you do me...
The way you do love
Is an offense to my humanity. Hard
To stifle the screams of
My inner child, my inner being,
My inner cries…
While you and your vision wear
This hangman’s smile. Still

I have no hatred in my heart.
I throw no shade
Upon your star. Though
Sometimes, sitting there in
The dark, I almost felt
Pity for you.

It must truly suck
To hate your self
This historic way you do.
The way you portray me with
This absence of pride
Is its own kind of spirit
Homicide. I am more
Than whipping boy
More than felon, fuck-up
Or fraud! More than
Demon seed unleashed
To feed upon our women who’ve
Indeed considered… suicide
Because all this bullshit was

Is this how you really see me?
And is that all you see?
When you gaze into mirrors what
Stares back at thee:

Black and crazy?
Black and ugly?
Black and beastly?
Black and blinded by
Rages no one else
Do you
Ever see the chains
Affixed to my history?

The bloodstains
From my struggles, or
These blisters from
My journey?
Do you ever see the
Attempts of boogeymen
Trying to annihilate me… or
Are you too busy being
One of them?

Ever once
Feel the THUD of my
Treacherous descent? Ever
Notice… my
Beauteous feats, or
The bravery in my attempts?

Ever pay notice to the flight of
My ascendency? Ever once
See these tears raining inside me?

Yes. You see monsters
Where you should see MEN
Who share your fight, & the tone of your
Skin. You do see, plenty,
And you roll call all
The ugly. But

Have you ever once
Looked and saw
The poetry

In me?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Transitory Shelf-Life Of The Male Stripper (& Other Tragedies of The Ridic)

The other night, as personal favor for a friend, I did a bartending gig for this private party. I was told ahead of time that the tips would be cool, but the atmosphere might, ummm... "get kinda rowdy."

I wondered WHY he felt it was necessary to warn me. I mean, what exactly was I about to roll up on?

“Well,” he said. “This is a bachelorette party.”

Oh. Say no mo.

Having done of this kind of thing before, I knew that indeed things could get hectic, and LOUD, and crazy, and LOUD, and freakish, and LOUD and outta hand... and well, LOUD. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the LOUDNESS, but this was for a friend; and ya know a Brotha could always use some extra tippage. So, LOUD or not, I agreed.

So, I roll through around 7:30 to set-up the bar. Gradually, I see the women-folk (won't call ‘em ladies) sift through. Some come in pairs, and some in groups of four, five and six. They looked sedate enough (at first), and a couple of them even gave me some rhythm. The woman of honor, the Sista of the hour, the Bachelorette to be fetted was a chick in her early-30s, I suppose. She's all coiffed up weavey wonder-style, manicured down, and one could tell she was the woman of the evening because the others sort of swarmed around her in queen bee fashion, giving her kisses, props, and the occasional gift box.

Gradually, I noticed the crowd getting antsy, and LOUDER, as the drinks were flowing nicely and the liquor was going to their heads. I also knew what was expected to be the main emphasis, highlight of the evening, and The Big Tah-dah!: The male stripper…

Initially there were a couple of buffed cats I'd spotted patrolling the premises earlier, and I'd assumed they were the strippers, as both were rather rocked-up in the extreme. But NO! These cats were bouncers, not strippers. My bad.

The main cat, the cat-daddy stripper of some renown was a large chocolatized dreadlocked Brotha who went by the name of Aaron Anancoda. Trust! I couldn't make this ish up! There was even a BIG-AZZ "A.A." on the back of his gold cape, which was strange in itself, 'cause the dude was dressed as a cowboy!

There really should be a better set of stylists for this profession. I mean, no matter the machismo of the dancer, they always end up looking like some ridiculously femme, flamed-out superhero, gone all kinds and varieties of WRONG!

Not understanding the boots, the cape, the glitter, the tassels and such. Just NOT understanding, yo!

ANYWHO: When this A.A. dude made his way to the stage, the place went wild! I don't mean wild… or even WILD. I mean Wi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-le! Male strip clubs must unleash that sleeping inner CAVEWOMAN out in some women. They lose ALL control! And yeah, I must admit, in his rowdy raunchy rodeo glitter-gear, A.A. did look kinda impressive. I mean his shoulders were huge and his guns were looped and gi-normous. He was blessed of thigh, and had bountiful gluts. Yes, I understood the buzz, the hype, the squeals of delight generated by this he-man's hulking presence. Some of the women were indeed visually pleased to see such a well-built speciman.


However, when I looked closer, my writer's eye noticed, A.A. was no spring chicken. I mean, seriously, I'm all for shaking whatever yo mama (or daddy or granddaddy) gave ya, and I'm not about the age discrimination trip, but dude was tad long in the toofus (AND the jockstrap!) for such a physically… ummmm… demanding profession.

This was just something I NOTICED, and having noted it, I just kept pouring.

The crowd grew LOUDER, more juiced on liquor, and this only made them all the more impatient to see some more skin. So, A.A. ripped the back of this stripper-gear away, and showed ‘em some man-azz.

I heard a few "Ooohs…" followed by "oh…" and the "oh" wore a tinge of feminine disappointment. Still he received a bill or two as he continued going through his dated hip-swerving moves. The cat's dancing ability was... ummm... kinda lax and lacking. I mean, there was a distinctive absence of energy, as if his heart, balls and the rest of him wasn't really INTO it.

But the crowd grew louder and more demanding, and she, the bachelorette, straight up hollered: "Show us what you workin with, big daddy!"

Oh. My. Goodness!

Man... this is where it gets sad.

I mean, for real.

You might wanna stop reading at this point. If so… Peace.

Aiight. Still reading?

Homeboy, churned and slowly rolled his hips in a freaky old skool circa 1985-style, and then he slowly, methodically whipped IT out. And, trust me, whip would be the correct terminology. Yeah, he was kinda blessed in the lax ding-a-ling department, BUT, I guess the women wanted to see the old anaconda dance, rear-up, get frisky, and bite someone. Unfortunately, all the damn thing did was hang there and swing, sway and flop, uninspiredly... and the women were just NOT having it! But trust... they WERE definitely amused.

They began to laugh, teehee and titter and some just straight-out guffawed.

"Damn! Is that thang asleep?"

"Somebody call 911, stat!"

More laughter ensued.

Charming, eh?

Then, for his next move of grace-free choreography, he launched into his MAIN ACT. He half-lumbered, half-gyrated over to the chick-of-honor and did his shake and swing-a-ding-a-ling dance thing for her. He began to slowly grind her now giggling thigh. He sat on her lap, which was shaking hysterically as he rolled his hips all lewdly upon her. And she, oh she was doubled–over laughing at his ass, and the rest of him! And no, this was not that shy, uncomfortable bachelorette giggle thing. Nah. She was mad laughing AT him! And, by now... so were the rest of them. I mean, they were all ROARING!

It was like this cat had become the stripper-comedian or some such shit.

Then, and this is the SADDEST part: homeboy left the lap, went back to the stage and laid on the floor, on his back, face-up.

Oh Lort! What was Aaron and his alleged Anaconda gonna do next?

Well, he commenced pouring oil all over himself, applying extra oil to his rippling, if declining assets… and still the anaconda wouldn't dance. Maybe all the laughter had killed the mood. I clearly could see why it would. But, that didn’t seem to faze him. He just kept pouring and rubbing, rubbing, and a-pouring and nothing noteworthy happened. The only thing throbbing in the room was the boom of the music.

Ironically, it was an old Sade tune, "War of The Heart," and it seemed that even she had conspired against him, as she sang:

“I’m loaded… Don’t know where to point this thinnnnnnng.”

Really? Et tu, Sade? Seriously?

Maybe that musical selection had already been pre-planned, but, for me, as a man, this was a pretty pitiful and putrid display.

I couldn't help but wonder... Did homeboy forget to pack his Viagra?

Picture it: a grown-azz man with dreadlocks, easily in his mid-40s, with a decent build, a large, if lazy johnson, spread out on the dance floor, with only a couple SINGLES surrounding him. A grown-azz man, old enough to KNOW better, dry-humpin’ the floor, and TRYING his level best to entertain these drunk, laughing and abusive women... I mean, you had to SEE it.

I seriously felt sorry for him. I felt like: DAMN… Bruh, I hope you got a good day job!

And the whole time, I'm mixing and pouring and having this mental dialogue with this cat that went something like:

Am I the ONLY ONE who feels this tragedy? I hope this scene doesn't scar you for life, bruh. In fact, I hope this scares you straight; awakens you to the reality that your stripping days are through. Done! Ovuh! Kaput! I mean, fo real, yo. Maybe this will be your epiphany… because surely, there's gotta BE a better life than THIS! Maaan, just GET UP, yo! Maybe if you leave now, no one will notice!

At this point, gangs of women were just a-walking by him, going to the ladies room, ordering more drinks, carrying on LOUD sista conversations, as if this naked cat on the floor didn't even exist.

I swear I wanted to throw a big ass blanket around the man and lead him away from that madness. But I was only there to serve drinks. So, I chilled.

Truthfully, I never understood the male stripper mentality. Other than using their assets to make a quick buck, and letting that become the seed money for some Bigger Dream, then what would be the point? It is ego-inflating? Well, maybe if you’re young enough to lack any other sense of esteem or self-possession. I definitely don't GET why anyone after, say, age 30 or 35, would still be out there shaking dat saggin’ ass for cash. It's clearly a young person's profession! And besides that, this tad-too-long-in-the-jockstrap cat was NOT bringing sexy back! In fact, he shoulda seriously considered retiring it! And just WHY was he the last one to know this?

Everybody's got a hustle… and more power to them. It’s not really fair to judge him or anyone. Witnessing this sadness was actually a lesson in social studies for me. The moral of this pitiful display: Whatever our profession, we need to KNOW when we've become a parody of ourselves. And when and IF that happens, hopefully we'll possess the grace to simply retire our respective tassels, and just say, goodnight...


This has been another of those Public Service announcements. Aiight?


Monday, November 1, 2010

“i live in the ghetto. you just come to visit me, ‘round election time.”

As yet another Election Day is upon us, I can’t help but wonder: how many people will be heading or marching to the polls with a clear(headed) agenda? How many will be voting with their HEARTS and not with their fears? And for all the millions that do vote, just what issues will they be basing their vote upon?

Considering the history of Black people and People of Color in this Country, for anyone to NOT exercise the right to vote is tantamount to a slap in the face to all those who struggled, fought, even lost their lives to see that we were afforded this basic Constitutional right!

I hope people will take that history and that struggle into consideration, and bring it right along with them into their voting booth. I hope people will vote with the truth of their hearts, and the voice of their conscience. With all the political hype and hoopla, it is far from being a perfect system, yet it remains (a small) way for us to send our voices directly to those who are supposed to represent us and our needs. This can not be ignored!

It's rare for me to use a video to make a point within the confines of this blog. However, this particular one reveals so much Truth that it seemed appropriate to include it here. It's a compelling look at America. It’s the America far too many people know by heart. It’s also the America some never see, and others never bother to consider.

There’s a line from Stevie Wonder’s Big Brother that reads:

“I Live In The Ghetto. You Just Come To Visit Me, ‘Round Election Time.”

Indeed. Maybe that’s the Real TRUTH of politics.

Watch this video, and I DARE you not to feel something!

"Big Brother" ( By Stevie Wonder)

“Your name is big brother
You say that you're watching me on the telly,
Seeing me go nowhere,
Your name is big brother,
You say that you're tired of me protesting,
Children dying everyday,
My name is nobody
But I can't wait to see your face inside my door

Your name is big brother
You say that you got me all in your notebook,
Writing it down everyday,
Your name is I'll see ya,
I'll change if you vote me in as the pres,
The President of your soul
I live in the ghetto,
You just come to visit me 'round election time

I live in the ghetto,
Someday I will move on my feet to the other side,
My name is secluded,
we live in a house the size of a matchbox,
Roaches live with us wall to wall,

You've killed all our leaders,
I don't even have to do nothin' to you
You'll cause your own country to fall!”

*Mad props to the talented artist/visionary “Rizashi” for putting together this compelling video.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Aging, Like Life, Is Kinda Insidious, But It Beats The HELL Outta The Alternative

It happened yesterday. I didn’t start out being or feeling any differently, but then… LIFE happened.

While walking from Grand Central Station about 11 blocks into midtown, I felt this severe CRAMP in my left calf. It seized upon the muscle with such an intense vise-GRIP that I literally HAD to STOP, and stop immediately! I've always hated it when getting my-serious-tunnelvision-NYC-destination-stride on, then suddenly some fool just STOPS short in front of me and messes up my rhythm!

Never was a fan of those blatant rhythm blockers! Now, I was becoming ONE of those annoying people!

I told myself: ‘Shake it off, yo! This is embarrassing! Just keep walking, damn it! You have an appointment at 11. Let’s make it happen!’

So, I began to walk again, this time a little slower, and more tentative, to avoid the chance of that damn SEARING calf-pain thing recurring. Gradually I began to notice all these people (a couple of ‘em even had CANES!) just gliding by me. These people were not only, passing me, but leaving my slow azz deep in the Manhattan dust! WTF?

Truthfully, this bothered me a little. I can vividly recall being one of those physically-aggressive people who would often beat the subway by walking to my destination with a brisk long-legged stride. Where was THAT cat at? Suddenly, I WAS NOT THAT CAT anymore.

So, I make it to the appointment, a mere five minutes late, calf still feeling numb and uncooperative, but the rest of me was none the worse for the wear. We conduct our business. These were young professional people, handling things efficiently, and it was kinda cool. Although some nagging little thought in back of my head wondered: ‘How old is this person? They seem REALLY young. I wonder how long they’ve held this position, and just how much experience could they possibly have?

Admittedly, this was a straight up ageist attitude. Nothing peeved me more than being in my early 20s, fresh out of school and having to deal with the often patronizing attitude of people not thinking I was capable of doing my job; even questioning my age and experience. The nerve of those tiresome mofos! Hmmmm. Déjà vu all over again. Only, I didn’t say anything rude or ask any probing questions. It was just one of those mental convos I was having with myself.

So I leave the office, and head back to GCS. Though I’m moving a little slower, I’d like to think I'd retained some of my cool understated dance, and that my patented L.M. Ross swagger was still intact. But who the hell knows? Again, I’m noticing people of all shapes, sizes, genders, and ages passing me by.

Finally, I make it to the station. But dammit! I’d just MISSED my train! Maybe if I had been walking with more pep and energy, I woulda made it on time! Pissed at myself, I sat and waited aboard the next train which departed in a half-hour. I was virtually the only person sitting in my car. But I HAD to sit. Trust! Sitting was MUST. My leg was beginning cramp up and ache again.... and PAINFUL as it was, I didn’t wanna start crying out loud in agony, while in public. That woulda been tres uncool!

So, I’m chillin in a secluded seat in back of the train. Gradually it begins to fill with people. People of all sorts… a typical NY crowd. As the minutes count down to the train’s departure, the car gets so full that instead of sitting in the seat next to mine, people choose to stand rather than risk intruding upon my presence. Who was I Quasimoto? What was I, hideous? Grotesque? Or just black enough to be seen as dangerous? Ordinarily when that’s happened in the past, I actually liked the fact that I could stretch out and have my own space during the hour long ride home. Only, yesterday it kinda bothered me, and I can’t really understand why it did.

So, the conductor rolls thru the cars, collecting tickets. I notice he looks about 25, maybe. And then I lazily gazed ahead. The car was full of faces and everyone on that train appeared to be younger than me. Decades younger. Not school age. Full ADULTS! Only these adults were considerably younger than myself. Even the people who might APPEAR to be older than me were most probably YOUNGER than me. As you mature you can tell certain things about people, detect their age range by their posture, their graying domes, their body-weight and its distribution, the amount of fat under their chins, etc. So, I determined that I was the oldest person in that entire car of more than 60-75 people. That's a very sobering reality.

Suddenly... I’m ancient. Suddenly, I'm feeling very old and alone in NYC.

It was one of those Twilight Zone Moments: Witness... A young man boards a commuter train, and he ages, light years, before the trip expires...

I took out my notepad & scribbled the following thoughts:

When did this happen? When did I become OLDER than everyone else in the room, older than everyone else in my orbit, everyone I’d see, meet, or come in contact with during the course of a day? This strange phenom began to take flight when I realized a profound shift: the people on TV, in movies, people in the media, the reporters who delivered the news were suddenly all younger than my self. It wasn’t always this way, but it clearly is now. But Bigger than this: The people who run the government, the people who make the laws, the people who are in executive positions, the people who are technically, my bosses, are all younger than me.

I’m beginning to feel not only OLD, but invisible on this train! No one pays attention. Am I really here? Look at them all with their iPods tuning out the world around them! Hey, I’m hip too, yo! Hell, I have an iPod, and I coulda brought mine with me today, but I wanted to least appear professional! Self-involved people can be such a panic!

Where are those beautiful older-than-me gray-haired people???? Is there a special train just for them???

I stopped going to clubs a while back. The music was amped up waaay too LOUD! Most hip-hop bores me. I’d wonder: Where was the REAL MUSIC? I missed it. Club-life… it didn’t seem comfortable anymore. It actually felt a little silly inside my spirit to even BE there, and check it: I once was a cat who LOVED to dance, could dance my azz off, and was known for this… Now, I’m sitting here, leg HERTIN like Hades’, and still a little fatigued from a 22 block walk that would’ve taken me about 10-12 minutes in my prime.

I’m OLD, yo! Not getting! Done GOT OLD, yo! Time for me to even stop saying the word: “YO!”

And when I finally come out of this Twilight Zone Moment, will I hear Rod Serling's voice narrating this incident? Or will he be at the sliding doors to greet me in that eerie staccato voice? Suddenly, I realize even the reference to Rod Serling is a tad dated, old, about to become archaic.

Dammit! GET HIP, MAN!!!!

The conclusion of this entry is simple: Life doesn't care about what once was, nor what we've planned. And getting older is sometimes a bitch; a lonely, Twilight Zone-type bitch, but it still beats the hell out of the alternative.


Monday, October 18, 2010

WEED: What's So BAD About Feelin' GOOD?

Should Cannabis Be Legalized?

Leave it to Cali…

“Despite leading in three of four public opinion surveys, the fate of Proposition 19 on the November ballot remains up in the air. The initiative, billed by its advocates as a "common sense" approach to marijuana control, appeared to be sailing to victory in late September when the venerable Field Poll found it leading by 7 percentage points among likely voters. Since then, however, Proposition 19 has experienced a series of setbacks -- last week a survey by Reuters/Ipsos, with a much smaller sampling than the Field Poll, found the initiative trailing.

Proposition 19 would permit any Californian who is 21 or over to grow marijuana for his personal use. It would also, more controversially, permit California's 478 cities and 58 counties to set their own rules on regulation, taxing, and retail sales of marijuana, creating what even some proponents of legalized pot say is likely to be a crazy quilt of new regulations. Nine California cities have advisory measures on the November ballot, seeking voter guidance on the taxation rates that should be imposed for marijuana sales.”

*Writer thinks to self*... Self, by writing this entry, are you allowing friends, fam, perfect strangers and lurkers to peep your cards, and expose your socio-stee-lo?

If so, awwwww... what the Hell!


Recently I was rewatching this documentary called “WEED” which was very, VERY, VURRRR intriguing. Pssst! Can we be real? Let’s face it: Mad millions of people DO smoke weed, pot, grass, trees, hemp, reefer, gangster, chronic, herb, skunk, boom, babbit, ganja, jism (a covert Miami term my friend P.S. uses), blunt, bud, ‘jane or whatever. Fill in the blank for your own personal choice of herbal stank.


But for *some*, we reach the age and a time where we stash the pipe, put that most potent jay away, and embrace this newfound responsibility called “Maturity”, right? Ahhhh yes... that M-word or some such flight of fancy ish.

Yet, this flick “WEED” hipped me to the naked fact that vast communities of people are still indulging wholeheartedly, passionately, and yes, balls-to-the-wall in the weed. Trust! Not all of them are mindless spaced-out cadets, or ex-hippies, or marginal people lost in a some whack 60s haze of reefer madness. Many of these are businessmen and biz-women, entrepreneurs, respectable humans, even professionals and intellectuals and shiznit. I’m telling you-- they ran and do run the virtual gamut.

Some were straight-laced politicos, others talking heads with expressed manifestos. There were lawyers, legislators, and barrister types fighting for the right to smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Some were MD’s exposing the enhanced medical bennies, documenting its pain-relieving effect on the chronically (no pun) sick and cancerous. Many formed segments outside of this staid society, and they argued, quite effectively, for the legalization to puff and pass the righteous pipe.

This flick was mad enlightening on the schoolin’ tip documenting the many uses of hemp and cannabis. It displayed a wide variety of fashion statements— including shirts, blouses, coats, jackets, belts, shoes, entire suits—all hemp derived. My boy Woody Harrelson was right-- just creatively and environmentally alone, its uses would seem endless.

I love it when a film can entertain, inform and downright educate my azz, like: didja know The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp? So, just how many of our brilliant founding fathers were also blatant and chronic stoners? Ponder.

Didja know weed-smoking dates back to (and even before) biblical times? Hmmm. Just think of those heady consequences alone!

The film also touched upon the socializing aspects of weed. Yes, it’s been tried and proven true how it seems to break down those old tired walls and barriers that continually plague and separate us as a people. Ya know: that whole racial, class, socio-eco, religion and sexual wall.

Ah! Yes. I kept viewing with renewed interest, and then, things began to get downright spiritual, yo. Several folks waxed and waned, ebbed and flowed on the even flow of communal smokers. I mean whole the peace-mentality, the stone proclivity toward art and freer expression, easy exchange, the birth of ideas and mile-wide smiles, and yes, that oh-so-freeing ritual inherent in the puff-puff-pass. For some, there’s a kind of natural and unified Zen in the shared benefits of the bud.

Ah! Yes! The bennies. I am not about to front Bill Clinton-style and tell you “I didn’t inhale.” Trust. In my day, I inhaled, plenty! But just hearing this film's testimonials made me recall those lively concerts I’d attended in my so-called reckless youth.

There I’d be, at The Garden, deep in my element listening to Earth, Wind & Fire JAM, when some stranger with long hair taps my arm and offers me a hit of his waaay spacey weed. Who me? I’d accept, inhale and my eyes would widen and crisscross, signaling its powerful potency. He’d nod in a gesture that I should pass it along to my date, and then the next, and so on and so on and scooby doobie-doo. And suddenly, deep inside some lovely bliss-state, we’d all just become these new, cool afroed and long-haired friends.

Unlike alcohol, where aggression and violent mood swings are often a nasty little after-effect, weed gave me a such a mellow, a sense of grace, a certain openness, and dare I say, a more positive generosity of Spirit.

Yes, in the burned-out brain cells of my once reckless youth, I do recall the radiant cool of instant camaraderie brought on by a few hits of the “evil weed.” All it took was to indulge in a session, and before long-- I was lovin’ these people, feelin’ these people, noddin’ my noggin and diggin’ these people. I wasn’t mad nor resentful of anyone.

*Light Bulb. Light Bulb!*

Suddenly, I had this silly very early morning epiphany: Hey! What if all these warring World Leaders got together, loosened their ties, and undid their head wraps; and what if they unclinched their uber-tightened azzes, removed the strain of their leather shoes, slipped on some hemp sandals, sat on the floor and shared a communal bong together? Think of the possibilities, the ideas, the laughter in that room.

Anyway, back to this modern day and time: watching “WEED” enlightened the hell outta me. Trust! I’m not about to go on a rampage or stand on a soapbox and demand our government get off their old tired ethics. Methinks, with this current administration, such a shout would seem useless.

Besides, I am NOT, repeat NOT, an advocate for the widespread legalization of ALL drugs. Drugs kill! I know this vividly. Hell, I’ve seen it, up-close, and too damn personal to speak about it.

But marijuana has the ability to Save more than Kill, to enliven more than deaden, to relieve more than stress. That’s the truth as I’ve seen it. Personal experience and this "WEED" documentary, more than anything, brought that reality to the surface.

That’s it. That’s all. Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em, y'all!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Drunk... With Truth...

Over the weekend, I drank and I drank, and I drank some more. Vodka martinis were my grog of choice. Don’t get it twisted! It wasn’t a binge or one of those traumatic, deep-seated alcoholic bender things. It wasn’t a scene from The Lost Weekend starring me, as the negro Ray Milland. I was just imbibing the steady grog and pondering the gods of my own inner ponderation.

I don’t drink very much anymore. I don’t drink to get high. I don’t drink every time my mind or spirit want to celebrate. I don’t drink to call upon my sleeping bravery. I don’t need to drink to get blatantly ballsy, and I don’t need a drink to score. Still, there are some rare times I’ll drink to remember, or I'll drink to forget the things that distress or floor me.

Often, I’ll see people who drink, as if on a mission to get drunk, get lit, get loose, get bent, get wild, get busy, or get crazy-- constantly. I’ve my own theories about drinkers and drunks, and the drinks they drink.

Some do so to collapse and defeat the curse of being them selves; to rid their minds of the people they are the majority of the time. They drink to escape the job, the boss, the wife, the huzzz-ben, the kids, or the past they’ve lost. They drink to give themselves permission to laugh or cry, to bitch or become mad violent at their world… that world in their mind, that darker world they sometimes inhabit.

I see it. I witness it. I get it. I do.

See, I’m that dude behind the bar, the one who facilitates their intake. I’m the master prestidigitator of their personality overhaul. I’m that cat who watches their habits, morph, who hears their voices rise, their words slur. I'm the one who sees their posture loosen. I'm the one who liberates their inner thoughts. See, it's me who unchains the insanity... and soon they are engaging with their freer tongues.

I sometimes even like them drunk— the friendly ones, at least. I grin, sometimes even laugh out loud when their inner comedian’s are unleashed. Some people are human light shows when lit by the neon of alcohol. They can be very entertaining. I like those people. And they like me. Maybe it’s a sham. Maybe they really do. Or else they affect an attitude that resembles fondness by escaping the confines of a sometimes racist persona, and despite their true hillbilly-hearts, they manage to put-on a helluva fakery. Who knows?

But then there are those belligerent drunks. These are the ones who hate their lives, out loud. These are the ones who relinquish all control, lose their tongues, and surrender their charisma quotient. Their words become like great titanic farts, nasty, stinky, offensive-- harsh. Their eyes get crazy. Beware the crazy eyes! The transmogrification begins with the language of the eyes, and the mouth and the hands. Some toxic chemistry sleeping within becomes awakened and roused, and these toxins move through the body like mercury. That thermostat which controls and measures tolerance, suddenly blows. It cracks its glassed enclosure, and all HELL can break loose!

Trust. I’m not such an admirer of the belligerent drunk. Not a fan of those people housing those great chunks of rage, or possess some thick and combustible funk. To see them, hear them, or have to restrain them when they get physical, often makes my gig a living Hell.

Well, this weekend, I drank. I drank and I drank and then, I drank some more. I became neither the comedian nor the combatant.

Instead, I got in touch with my introverted side, my inner grotesque, my quietly fiery cat... that woe-is-me taboo blues cat. I’m not sure you’d like him much. I’m not sure he’d even talk to you. He gets lost in his music, gets caught in the twists and turns and traps of life. It’s then that he takes refuge in fits of prolonged brooding. He writes songs and poetry direct from his soul. He composes stories he never shows to anyone.

He gets vaguely pissed at his station in life. He grows impatient with the tediously slow-ass rhythm of his progress. He wonders why mediocrity is so often applauded… while emotional substance so often gets ignored.

He misses the company, the shining personalities, that singular sound of laughter from those people who are no longer inhaling air. When vulnerable, he speaks to them, there, in his dark room, alone, hoping to commune with their ghosts.

He wonders whom among them he’s most disappointing. Which of them has turned their backs to him, and which ones still stand in his amen corner? He thinks these deep thoughts. He gets lost in thought. Sometimes I think he thinks too damn much. He doesn’t cry very often. But he’s been meaning to… just fall down upon his knees to moan and sob and cry and scream and WAIL for quite some time.

I don’t think you’d like him much. But I really don’t think he’d care.

He doesn’t drink to celebrate, to get brave, or ballsy. He doesn’t imbibe the elixir to up his charisma factor. He doesn’t drink to feel mad sexy or even to score. But sometimes he drinks to remember, and sometimes he drinks to forget those quiet little tragedies he tries to ignore, when they beat so loud, so hard and so close to his chest.

So, he gets into these moods… they last for a bit… and then, by way of God and Music, he breeeeathes… he's free... and he just gets over it. And then… he tells himself:





Monday, October 4, 2010

No Disrespect Intended But... Please Put Away The God-kit, Yo!

Okay, so check it: After a prolonged disappearing act, a (formerly) close friend of mine recently resurfaced, right? Only, this person who appeared before me was the new and improved dude. You see, it was that whole other person version, because apparently they've now had a religious conversion. In fact, I received the Miraculous news that they have recently been “Saved."


Wow! Will wonders never cease?

Now, MY end of the convo went a lil sum’m like this: “Wow! Saved? You? For real?” This was followed by a short GTFOH chuckle. However, internally, trust... I was busting a mad gut and cackling with a big ole guffaw. And although this was Zen laughter on my part, I was hoping the amusement at this concept doesn’t show on my face.

However, in return, only this seriously dour no-nonsense expression flashed back at me.

“Oh. You’re for real? oTAY. My bad. Then let me say, congratulations and Amen, my brotha."

Somebody shout hallelujah up in here!

BUT... then it came. The pointed, accusatory, wholly judgmental question: was I “prepared for Judgment Day?” Had I gotten *my* "house in order?"

Well, urruh, I'm lookin into coppin some new furniture, but... Oh no!

Already, I could FEEL it. IT was a-heading my way: some ass-backward, misreading, misinterpretation of Biblical scripture thrown in my face. It was something I'd heard enough times to be accustomed to it, but something about it didn't ring true. Was he even remembering correctly? Ummm... I think not.

Check please! Gotta go. Bub-bye.

No, I'm not completely jaded, but somehow, I *do question* that person’s new conviction. Why? Because in this case (and others) it’s usually such a foreign entity that's 180 degrees away from the person they’d always shown themselves to be. It’s almost always some violent diversion from the norm or the soul I’d come to know. So, it sometimes becomes difficult to fully wrap my brain around this new person, and this new flow.

Now, far be it from me to question anyone’s convictions, religious or otherwise. As far as I know, it COULD very well be legit. At least, THEY believe it to be. So, more power to them! I just find it amusing and yes, *amazing*, that it's always the ones who went buck-wile, who were *known* at the party, who had the baddest rep, who you'd usually cross the street to avoid, who, back in the day, were voted Most Likely to Commit a Felony or an atrocity (& in some cases, they actually DID!). These tend to be the people who up and suddenly find The Light. I mean, what's up with that? Why is it them — and always those somewhat unstable, part-time criminal, carnivorous, predatory, sexually— urruh-- liberal, bed-hopping, hemp-smoking, coke-sniffing, smack and crack-abusing hellions? Huh? Why those folks!

Hey… How bout we regular folks, huh? How about the one’s who go from day to day being regular, thinking regular and treating people and the world as humanists do? How about those of us who are not abusing anything or anyone, who DO have a belief in a Higher Power, but feel no need to SHOUT it from the highest tower and have to make it our mission to convert errrbody in our path?

I need to understand the impetus for these so-called conversions, yo.

Okay… the obvious answer is, they’d hit rock bottom with a pronounced BAM, BOOM! They had to go through some mad and daunting utter darkness to get to the other side of it. I can respect that concept, and I accept that answer.

So, if you truly had that redemption experience, and you have changed, that's a Beautiful Thing.

Just please don’t go around viewing me differently or calling me out, or describing MY ways as “sinful"... when we are ALL sinners! True Story: Perfection will always elude us!

So, don’t go approaching people in your orbit and commence to whipping out your God Kit!

Yo! Get back! It's tired. Just put it away! Aiight? That shit don’t fly with me.

If I KNEW you back when you were a stone hell-raiser, and I liked you, dug you, and accepted you as you were, don’t suddenly start quoting scripture (incorrectly!), chapter and verse to me! You ain’t-- repeat... you are NOT anyone’s Biblical scholar. Aiight? Don't make me speak my mind, and then dare tell me it’s flawed... simply because it doesn't fall in line with your newfound (so-called) Enlightenment!

The Bible is a Wonderful and Wonder-filled Book, that is, in many ways archaic. And beyond all that, face it: it’s been translated from its original text, retranslated, regurgitated, updated, revised and remixed by MAN— dig? So would it not stand to reason that some crucial Truths have to get lost in the mix? Does it not make common sense that some other human’s agenda gets thrown into that sauce?

Please don’t hate on me or see me as lesser than YOU simply because these days we seem to be thinking quite differently. I’d love to debate you about words and freewill and other complexities within the text, but it occurs to me, you ain’t nobody’s theologian nor a preacher, yo. So, just calm yourself! Just breeeeeeeathe, baby! Don’t make people avoid you like the plague, or begin to *hate* on you because you’ve suddenly turned all Holy and Sanctified. Aiight?

Besides, so many times, far too many times, in fact, all that self-righteousness and holiness tends to expire. Much like a loaf of bread, it feeds you, gives you sustenance for a while, and then… it gets old, begins to mold, becomes rancid, and you throw it away. When all that crumbles into dust, then WHO are you?

What happens then?

Well, most of the folks I've known end up just as fugged up and disillusioned as they ever were, or even more so. But don’t blame The Man Upstairs because your God-kit is in the repair shop, in disarray, in shambles. Aiight?

So your preacher, pastor, rabbi, guru, bishop, priest, spiritual leader shows himself to be a fraud. Oh no! Oops! There goes your religion. Right? Wrong! You've simply placed your faith in man, again. And just whose BAD was that… God’s? Or yours?


So, you’re Holy, now? Wow. You're redeemed! You’ve found The Way? Cool. You’re Saved. Wonderful. Wunnerful. Wonder-filled, I say.

Just please make sure your God Kit stays intact; that your Deep Conversion Mode is not some flavor-of-the-month-demi-holy act! Try seeing to it that your belief system doesn’t shut down in a time of Real Crisis, and you get weak and revert back to type! Should any of this happen (& it often does!) then, my friend, you’ll be just another fraud who ain’t really down by anyone’s law. Then, you really ain’t Saved. You’ve simply just put your wild days, wile azz and wile ways, on layaway.

Aiight? Bless up, and have good day!

Whew! I just had to get that one off my chest.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Meditation On: The Myth of Manhood

The Myth of Manhood


We offset masculinity
With bravado and obscenity
Afraid to embrace sensitivity,
We disconnect from our poetry.

We boil in soups of complexity
And stew in our futile brutality
Too fearful to reveal our humanity,
We ignore our peace mentality.

We inflict our core fragilities
Upon weaker ones, for clarity
That we are MEN... a phallically-
Challenged curiosity, with no idea of
How to be.

We shield our insecurities
With braggadocio and hyperbole
Ignore our wounds and maladies
Projecting our faux-vitality.

We erect and flex our sexuality, yet
Disguise our chronic uncertainties
We exaggerate our salaries
As we over-inflate our reality

Refusing to acknowledge our fallacies
We stoop to acts of inhumanity
We masturbate our M-16s
And falsify our legacies...

We’re victims to this harsh disease
Contorting our souls into machines
Terrified that shows of empathy
Might destroy our guise of

Masculinity. Yes, we are
MEN. We stew, we boil in
Soups of complexity, with no idea of
How to simply



copyright © 2010 by L.M. Ross

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Accepting Duh Love & Passing Some On...

Good news is something I never take for granted, and today I’ve some good news to share. It appears that the very captivating Anna Renee aka “Sista Westsiiiiide”
(as I like to call her) has deemed to bless me and this blog in a large, remarkable, and mad lovely way. She has tagged me in a meme she’s participating in, which originated at the Electronic Village Blog.

In doing so, she writes: “It's for black bloggers to introduce themselves and share about their interests and other black bloggers they know.”

Coolness. I’m extremely honored. Realizing there are tens of thousands of other worthwile blogs out there, it’s really quite humbling to have been chosen. However, being selected from the multitudinous masses had me scratching my nappy head, wondering, WHY me and my blog? No. I’m not being dense or obtuse, nor am I fishing for compliments. I’m just the curious type.

So… WHY ME, Sista Westisiiiide?

“I chose you and four others out of ALL the lovely blogs out there because you are in my TOP FIVE: For being cool! (I appreciate that there's no East coast/west coast beef between us;

For being funny! For being REAL! Really Real! I’m not gonna talk about your talent. You already know you talented. And for having the coolest blog title and a sign off word!! That ish is cool as hell,” she said.

Oh. Ok. Bet. Well, thankyavurrrmuch! See? I figured it was best to let HER explain it, instead of me talking myself up!

(But you can still APPLAUD me! * I’ll wait*)

Part of the meme is to apply five separate links that help to reveal a lil something about myself and my circle of fam, friends and those things that make my heart beat faster. So the rules of the meme are thus: Create five links about:
• 1. Link one must be about Family;
• 2. Link two must be about Friends;
• 3. Link three must be about myself–who I am, what I’m about;
• 4. Link four must be about something I love;
• 5. Link five can be about anything I choose!

To begin with, I’ve three bigheaded & beloved nephews; the oldest one is named Lang.

AKA: “The Neph-son,” as I call him. He’s managed to seamlessly infuse the ying and yang, and use both sides of his brain by playing football on his college team, and he’s also an aspiring writer, with an eye on journalism. I’m so proud of him. And yes, it was me who suggested naming him “Langston Harlem”, after the great Harlem Renaissance Poet, Langston Hughes. Thus far, he’s doing that name some serious justice. God Bless him and the other bigheads, Ellington and DuBois!

Then there’s my serene friend Sunni

Her page is a loving homage to the Great African-American entertainers, past and present. I’ve never known a more wonderful person, or a more beautiful spirit than the woman I call “My Sunni-ness!!!” I’m very Blessed just to have her as a close and treasured friend. She’s so down, smart, cool, lovely, spiritual and just a pleasure in every way. Sunni lives in the Philly area, where she and her husband, legendary radio personality, Tony Brown, share the duties of broadcasting a nightly Quiet Storm format at WDAS-FM, bringing good vibes and meaningful music to those who still appreciate it.

As a lover of music, and being a hardcore audiophile, I’m lucky to count a few friends in my circle who happen to be surperb musicians. Some do their thing quietly, going about their lives making music that matters and by doing so, they feed the soul.

My friend Lucas
is one of those cats, specializing in the kind of jazz that makes you tap your feet, nod your head, and yes, THINK at the same time. His vocals are a throwback to a hipper, more polished and classical age, and he continues to set a sterling example of what today’s music can be. So, please, check this dude out!

I’m always a little amazed at how many people have never had what can only be called: The Jimmy Scott Experience. Mr. Jimmy

Jimmy Scott's Facebook Page

No words could possibly describe this man’s gift. Once you HEAR him sing, then you will GET IT. He is the sound of the human soul in its most piercing bluesy, brilliant, emotional, fragile and fantastic echo. His voice is a God-given instrument that taps into something so deep and unspoken within your being that you might listen to him and find tears pouring from in your eyes. He is considered a legend in jazz circles, and having met, spoken to, and seen him perform several times, I feel humbled to consider him a beloved friend. The man is 85 years-young, and still doing his thing! So, roll by his page, read his bio, check the pics (I’m actually in one. “Moanman” cat in the cap would be me). But better yet, go to your favorite music site and download a few of his masterpieces disguised as songs. Once you do, then get ready to be MOVED beyond your imagination.

A lil sum’m about :
I love: the art in and of expression...
I hate: limitations of any kind...
I fear: never having been *felt*...
I hope: there is a Heaven...
I hear: Music, all the time...
I crave: human understanding...
I regret: ever hurting anyone...
I cry: for abused children...
I care: so damn deeply...
I always: breathe...
I feel alone: in my solitude & dig it muchly...
I listen: closely to the lyrics of jazz...
I hide: my deepest pain from others...
I drive: some people crazy...
I dance: with each stride of my walk, yo...
I write: because it lets my soul sing...
I act: like a gentleman... most times...
I miss: the people I’ve lost...
I eat: new KNOWLEDGE...
I drink: vodka martinis, str8-up w/ a twist...
I learn: that life continues presenting new lessons...
I feel: I am a work in progress...
I know: a Creator exists...
I sleep: with dreams as constant companions...
I wonder: why I don’t have wings to fly...
I want: to heal...
I worry: about the future...
I have: a cosmos in me...
I fight: my insecurities...
I need: to purge sometimes...
I am: a human being w/one beak of song...
I think: I'll sing.

Read more: Book Page

While I’m not the most consistent blogger (working two gigs while finishing up a new novel doesn’t leave much free time for anything else, not even blogging), I do enjoy the opportunity to vent, to express, unravel and poetically reveal the goings on in this ever-evolving cosmos within my spirit.

HOWEVER… the hardest part of this whole process is that NOW I must choose/nominate FIVE other bloggers for this rather prestigeous honor! It’s rough to narrow my list down to a mere five blogs when there are so many that I genuinely enjoy visiting, reading, and commenting on because they either amuse me, challenge my perceptions, inform me, and/or basically entertain the hell outta me. However, I must follow the rules, and they state that only FIVE can be singled out, thus… without any further ado, heretheygo:

1. Fellow writer, music lover & all round chill bruh, Jason. I recently discovered his blog and it has quickly moved to the head of my must-read list. There’s something about his topics and his writing style that feels as if we went to different schools at different times, and yet picked up some of the same lessons along the way. This is one of those blog brothas definitely worth checking out:


2. Curvy. Well I choose her blog because this sista shares the wisdom, drops the science via quotations from various great minds which often serve to inspire, and in addition, she pens blogs in her own voice that consistently keeps it real and relatable. Reading her words often remind me of those good ole days of sitting on the stoop with a few friends, riffin’ on various topics and commenting on the passersby, while one of the neighborhood chicarinas braids my hair. You can find her at:

3. Then there’s my girl, Felicia. What can I say about Felicia? She’s a blogger I recently happened upon; a quietly cool and talented sista who doesn’t use any bells and whistles to get her point across, and yet, I’m always intrigued by her poetry and the verbal landscapes she chooses to share with her readers. You just know there’s a caring, feeling, sensitive and active mind composing these thoughts. Check her stuff at:

Mariposa Tales

4. There’s no way I could NOT include Miz… Ok, I admit it. I’m a sucka for good writers who have something to say and express themselves in their own uniquely individual way. Miz definitely fits that bill. An artist, mother, feeler of deeper emotions she’s unafraid to explore or question and she always leaves you wanting more. Her blog is like a beautiful gift you take pleasure in opening just to see what new and beguiling contents lay inside. You will find her at:

5. Finally, there's that unshakable force known as "Sista Lo!" She is one of the most keeping it Realest Black women who never chafes at revealing all that goes on with both her exterior and her interior life. She is a fearless writer on her journey through love, divorce, family and other personal issues. And yet, for me, whatever she writes about, and whatever her emotional terrain, she always provides a good read! Peep her out at:


oTAY! That’s it. I apologize for not being able to include more. But, truth be told, copying web addys, setting up links, and making sure they work is a time-consuming enterprise for someone like me who is NOT the most net savvy person on the planet. So mad congrats to the nominees! I hope you will be as honored and perhaps as dumbfounded as I am by this inclusion.

Snatch JOY!