work in progress

this ain't quite finished, but...i like it anyway.

i thought of the title as a tagline for my myspace page (another one of those midnight thoughts), and then this poem kind of came trailing behind it.

urban geisha

i keep one hand
on my hip
and the other
in my pocket

walking gingerly down
cracked asphalt streets
in high heeled boots
sequined slippers
or 54-11s

headphones and headwraps
faint smiles and quick hellos

not for sale but
betta have something going for you
to get close

bboys & poets
sipping herbal teas in the mornings
after tequila soaked nights

hold my own with medicine men
sleep under altars
stealing secrets i already knew


getting back on track

i realized this morning that this late spring/early summer will probably need to be about cleansing & renewal. basically all the stuff i've been avoiding.

i'm feeling the effects of my horrible eating habits over the past few days, so today's all about green juice & huge salads. maybe some fruit.

i also need to step my water game up. the goal today is to get in at least 2 liters. i should probably commit to that daily for at least a week.

work on getting the house straight.
get back into yoga/meditation.
organize. organize. organize.

when i go on another spending spree, it'll be for all the supplements & other things i'll need for my fast/cleanse regimen. time to break out sacred woman again...i can get some recipes from my copy of afrikan holistic health.

if i can get my act together, i can start preparing around may 1st, do the most intense portion just before the full moon on may 13th, and continue on various levels until my cycle comes again on may 27th.

i wish i could afford to think about buying a new juicer, but that might have to wait until i take care of my exam expenses. i'll see what kinds of deals i can find. if someone has a sale, it's on.

in other news...my carol's daughter order came in. for some reason it went to my mom's house instead of coming to the office. go figure. i'll try the scrub & the herbal foot bath (which smells fantastic) this weekend.

hell, i might get a real foot bath/massager this weekend, too. lol. they're only about $30 at target.


for john lennon

today he'd be
stuck on a myspace page

blogging live from the bed-in
no respected news outlet
would be caught dead near

as angry as any other
non-pop 21st century artist

probably never would have left london

makes you wonder
what folks "ahead of their time"
really could accomplish
at later dates

i really had no reason to think about this man--i'm not a beatles fan, and i'm not familiar with his work beyond "imagine". but i woke up in the middle of the night and had the first few lines in my head.

i guess it applies to anyone people tend to say were born too early.

i argue that the longer we're exposed to "exotic" things in this society, the more regulations we tend to throw over them. at first, it's like "ok. they're just crazy." and no one bothers them. after awhile, someone gets offended (or repressed) enough to say, ok. we gotta rein in the crazies. then the backlash starts. and the creativity dies.

the originators are almost always freer than the people they inspire.

i guess that's true for john, too. if he did the bed-in with yoko with a webcam, it would have been forwarded for a week and dropped. he'd be as marginalized as any other anti-war voice. i'm sure his lyrical talent would put him on the fringe, too.

even my mother's running joke about me being born 30 years too late...not really. what would i have to fight for afer the war was over and militants went out of style?

i'm fine now.
just like john was fine then.



well i did get a chance to reread the book last night.

helpful, as always. i need to take it more to heart, though.

i know i'm moving forward. i have to remind myself to respect my pace.

things are chugging along with the massage certification. but...it just doesn't feel like enough.

e.g....this house thing. i am soooo intimidated by all the information and all the time it takes to find all the information and making sure i don't get screwed and etc. and so forth. normally research doesn't bother me, but with all the other crap i have in my head, taking on another phantom project just feels like too much.

i have to keep one thing on my brain at a time in order to make everything else work.

i think that after i get this other expensive ass exam out of the way, i'll go ahead and start thinking about that. right now, if i put any $$ to the side, it's gonna be for that.

i still need to get the house the way i want it.
i can't stand this creative stall anymore.
i want to take pictures. i have to try again with the camera card.
my wanderlust is acting up.
i need to budget. like, seriously.

i'm at one of those points where i need some space to allow my dreams/thoughts to grow and make something of themselves. sitting here all damn day sucks the life outta me when i feel that way. by the time i steel myself to deal with this nonsense, i'm too worn to deal with my work (from the book...and many other books on my shelf these days. i need to remember to use that terminology more often).

it's like...there's a junkpile in my brain, but it's not a junkpile. it's full of gold, silver and all kinds of jewels & other pretty things. but it needs to be sorted out, polished, and put in its proper place before i can use it.

the ordinary is magic.
magic is in the ordinary.

have to remember that, too. that's probably going to be my new mantra over the next few months.


still blank...

i got a new notebook the other day...but it hasn't really helped much yet.

we'll see what happens...

other than that, i'm living.

i really need to reread this book.

i forgot i had it. but i came across the oyin handmade site again today. clicked around a bit and bam. there it was again.

while i'm at it, i probably need to pick this one back up, too.

that combined with my latest dreams is enough to get me thinking.

still not writing, tho.


the christians are coming....

i didn't know it was this serious.

have you heard of this guy?

i have no problem with folks believing/practicing what they want how they want, but to have this idea that EVERYONE should believe in god the SAME way in a pluralistic society is...nuts.

another nugget of proof of the american cultural amnesia.

black folks had their original religions beaten and tortured out of them. maferefun oludumare and the multitude of egungun that many of us are beginning to wake up and remember.

native americans had theirs snatched from under them, along with their languages, as they were scattered from ancestral homelands. their children were shipped off to assimilationist boarding schools, completing the cycle.

others have been goaded and hoodwinked into giving up their ways in the face of a "better" american way.

think about it, kids.

...and what's wrong with this statement?

WITH HIS KHAKI PANTS and checkered shirts, Gary DeMar could be one of a million guys meeting weekly in men’s groups at churches around the country. Bright and articulate, he’s soft-spoken until he gets in front of a crowd. His publishing house distributes hundreds of tracts, more than 20 of them written by DeMar himself, with titles such as The Politically Incorrect Guides to Islam (and the Crusades), which promises “all the disturbing facts about Islam and its murderous hostility to the West,” and The Marketing of Evil, which covers everything “from easy divorce and unrestricted abortion-on-demand to extreme body piercing and teaching homosexuality to grade-schoolers.”

I first met DeMar 18 months ago at his church, Midway Presbyterian, in the Atlanta suburb of Powder Springs, where he was teaching a class on government. During the session, a teenage homeschooler talked about how he had tried in a paper to prove that the family is a form of “Christian government.” “You don’t have to prove that,” DeMar gently chided, and then added, with more heat: “That’s established—established by God!” DeMar’s lecture focused on the “three governments”—family, church, and state—all of which, he told me, should be ruled by God-fearing men.

it's always about the god fearing MEN, isn't it?

ay yi yi.


marriage is for white ppl (?)

(i wanted to post this whole thing because i think it's important not to comment on it out of context. i will interject in italics.)

'Marriage Is for White People'

By Joy Jones
Sunday, March 26, 2006; Page B01

I grew up in a time when two-parent families were still the norm, in both
black and white America. Then, as an adult, I saw divorce become more commonplace, then almost a rite of passage. Today it would appear that many -- particularly in the black community -- have dispensed with marriage altogether.

But as a black woman, I have witnessed the outrage of girlfriends when the ex failed to show up for his weekend with the kids, and I've seen the disappointment of children who missed having a dad around. Having enjoyed a close relationship with my own father, I made a conscious decision that I wanted a husband, not a live-in boyfriend and not a "baby's daddy," when it came my time to mate and marry.

My time never came.

For years, I wondered why not. And then some 12-year-olds enlightened me.

"Marriage is for white people."

That's what one of my students told me some years back when I taught a career exploration class for sixth-graders at an elementary school in Southeast Washington. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.

"That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."

"Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."

And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a
nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."

valid. but then again, what relationships have these boys seen?

obviously they get the point that they need to be better fathers. but what good is that if you sleep with people you hate or barely know/like because of some other issue you're compensating for?

i hate for this to start to sound psycho-babble-ish, but ppl are not raised in vaccuums. the boys have part of the puzzle right, but they also need to understand the value in choosing their partners wisely, not just "stepping up to the plate" when an "accident" happens.

He's right. At least statistically. The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s, and today, we have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in the United States. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics have caused Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country.

gotta start pointing out stats for prison numbers in these articles. which point to many other socioeconomic issues.

e.g. if we're only x percent of the population, why are we getting charged/convicted/imprisoned disproportionately? what effect is that having on family life?

How have we gotten here? What has shifted in African American customs, in our community, in our consciousness, that has made marriage seem unnecessary or unattainable?

Although slavery was an atrocious social system, men and women back then nonetheless often succeeded in establishing working families. In his account of slave life and culture, "Roll, Jordan, Roll," historian Eugene D. Genovese wrote: "A slave in Georgia prevailed on his master to sell him to Jamaica so that he could find his wife, despite warnings that his chances of finding her on so large an island were remote. . . . Another slave in Virginia chopped his left hand off with a hatchet to prevent being sold away from his son." I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today, according to sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin. Traditional notions of family, especially the extended family network, endure. But working mothers, unmarried couples living together, out-of-wedlock births, birth control, divorce and remarriage have transformed the social landscape. And no one seems to feel this more than African American women. One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.

people in this nation in general are running out of role models. blk folks are no different. people are being raised in households with intergenerational poverty, mental health and other issues, etc.

in short: people have issues. our people especially.

so do we help each other overcome, or do we abandon each other?

disclaimer: everyone has their limits, and you have to know yours. i'm not saying you need to be your mate's therapist, but i do think that we need to start understanding--individually and collectively--that our parents made mistakes. that we DO need therapy. that a lot of us needed more love and less "tough love". that a lot of us were semi-neglected and/or abandoned children. and we need to heal that pain LONG before we begin to think of relationships, children, and families. of course, that's not always the way life goes.

still, putting a bunch of broken people in marriages with each other--i don't care how binding--is not going to solve anything.

"A woman who takes that step is bold and brave," one young single mother told me. "Women don't want to marry because they don't want to lose their freedom."

Among African Americans, the desire for marriage seems to have a different trajectory for women and men. My observation is that black women in their twenties and early thirties want to marry and commit at a time when black men their age are more likely to enjoy playing the field. As the woman realizes that a good marriage may not be as possible or sustainable as she would like, her focus turns to having a baby, or possibly improving her job status, perhaps by returning to school or investing more energy in her career.

As men mature, and begin to recognize the benefits of having a roost and roots (and to feel the consequences of their risky bachelor behavior), they are more willing to marry and settle down. By this time, however, many of their female peers are satisfied with the lives they have constructed and are less likely to settle for marriage to a man who doesn't bring much to the table. Indeed, he may bring too much to the table: children and their mothers from previous relationships, limited earning power, and the fallout from years of drug use, poor health care, sexual promiscuity. In other words, for the circumspect black woman, marriage may not be a business deal that offers sufficient return on investment.

In the past, marriage was primarily just such a business deal. Among wealthy families, it solidified political alliances or expanded land holdings. For poorer people, it was a means of managing the farm or operating a household. Today, people have become economically self-sufficient as individuals, no longer requiring a spouse for survival. African American women have always had a high rate of labor-force participation. "Why should well-salaried women marry?" asked black feminist and author Alice Dunbar-Nelson as early as 1895. But now instead of access only to low-paying jobs, we can earn a breadwinner's wage, which has changed what we want in a husband. "Women's expectations have changed dramatically while men's have not changed much at all," said one well-paid working wife and other. "Women now say, 'Providing is not enough. I need more partnership.' "

i totally agree with this...when you add in the fact that we don't need men (economically) like we used to, dealing with his issues becomes a matter of sheer will and patience, not "i need to stay 'cause otherwise i'm screwed (financially/socially)"

this means that there is a much higher expectation for men, because they need to begin coming in to relationships sane and emotionally healthy--something that women tend to be much better at achieving for themselves than men. women sometimes tend to be forced into therapy or self-care because of their other responsibilities (raising children, taking care of loved ones, etc.). where is this impetus for men? often it comes with loving a woman, but if she breaks his heart or doesn't stay long enough to help him through his demons...

again, you have to know your limits. what you're willing to put up with and what your dealbreakers are. still, i fear having these discussions without acknowledging the healing that ALL of us have to accomplish (ladies: there ARE NO SUPERMEN) before we see a change in our community.

The turning point in my own thinking about marriage came when a longtime friend proposed about five years ago. He and I had attended college together, dated briefly, then kept in touch through the years. We built a solid friendship, which I believe is a good foundation for a successful marriage.

But -- if we had married, I would have had to relocate to the Midwest. Been
there, done that, didn't like it. I would have had to become a stepmother
and, although I felt an easy camaraderie with his son, stepmotherhood is
usually a bumpy ride. I wanted a house and couldn't afford one alone. But I
knew that if I was willing to make some changes, I eventually could.
As I reviewed the situation, I realized that all the things I expected
marriage to confer -- male companionship, close family ties, a house -- I
already had, or were within reach, and with exponentially less drama. I can
do bad by myself, I used to say as I exited a relationship. But the truth
is, I can do pretty good by myself, too.

ok. so she knew her limits. and the tone of this article isn't of someone complaining. she's not saying all men are dogs, which i'm glad of (there are too many inflammatory articles on this topic floating around cyberspace).

i know i wouldn't date a man with a child again if my current relationship faltered. however, i also understand that putting that restriction up will limit my options in many ways.

there is no singular/easy answer to this problem. it's multi-faceted, like the rest of them.

Most single black women over the age of 30 whom I know would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man. A number of my married friends complain that taking care of their husbands feels like having an additional child to raise. Then there's the fact that marriage apparently can be hazardous to the health of black women. A recent study by the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think tank in New York City, indicates that married African American women are less healthy than their single sisters.

my mother has always said the same thing about my father. yet, they're still together. and they've worked out a lot of personal issues through their relationship with each other.

is it easy? fuck no. but that's what it takes if you're going to stay committed--whether that means "official" marriage or not.

recently i was talking with my honey, and i was telling him that i thought a lot of the issues many women have with men is really the problem of not understanding them, not being used to them. i've known several wonderful women who grew up in households of women...intergenerationally speaking. and it takes a serious effort to overcome that inherent discomfort.

By design or by default, black women cultivate those skills that allow them
to maintain themselves (or sometimes even to prosper) without a mate.
"If Jesus Christ bought me an engagement ring, I wouldn't take it," a
separated thirty-something friend told me. "I'd tell Jesus we could date,
but we couldn't marry."

And here's the new twist. African American women aren't the only ones deciding that they can make do alone. Often what happens in black America is a sign of what the rest of America can eventually expect. In his 2003 book, "Mismatch: The Growing Gulf between Women and Men," Andrew Hacker noted that the structure of white families is evolving in the direction of that of black families of the 1960s. In 1960, 67 percent of black families were headed by a husband and wife, compared to 90.9 percent for whites. By 2000, the figure for white families had dropped to 79.8 percent. Births to unwed white mothers were 22.5 percent in 2001, compared to 2.3 percent in 1960. So my student who thought marriage is for white people may have to rethink that in the future.

Still, does this mean that marriage is going the way of the phonograph and the typewriter ribbon?

"I hope it isn't," said one friend who's been married for seven years. "The divorce rate is 50 percent, but people remarry. People want to be married. I don't think it's going out of style."

A black male acquaintance had a different prediction. "I don't believe marriage is going to be extinct, but I think you'll see fewer people married," he said. "It's a bad thing. I believe it takes the traditional family -- a man and a woman -- to raise kids." He has worked with troubled adolescents, and has observed that "the girls who are in the most trouble and who are abused the most -- the father is absent. And the same is true for the boys, too." He believes that his presence and example in the home is why both his sons decided to marry when their girlfriends became pregnant. But human nature being what it is, if marriage is to flourish -- in black or white America -- it will have to offer an individual woman something more
than a business alliance, a panacea for what ails the community, or an incubator for rearing children. As one woman said, "If it weren't for the intangibles, the allure of the lovey-dovey stuff, I wouldn't have gotten married. The benefits of marriage are his character and his caring. If not for that, why bother?"

as i've probably said elsewhere on here--and the author alludes to as well--i don't think a lack of "marriages" is the real problem. i think it's the cycles engendered by poverty, lack of access to education and other socioeconomic "stairsteps", racism, and a slew of other factors that converge and rear its ugly head in the foundation of culture: the family.


urban haiku

she got them across
the busy street in one piece.
brown boys safe for now.


i'd help him.


stressed out

so i get home last night in desperate need of something to help me "unwind". i wound up buying a hershey's bar w/ almonds, a caramello, and a 6-pack of mike's hard lemonade.

the chocolate was lovely, but i don't even like shit like mike's hard lemonade. what did the news ppl start calling them? alco-pops?

not to mention that i tend not to drink alone, or in the house. or on tuesday nights. i figured something light & breezy was better than nothing at all...but now i realize: i'm too old for coolers.

a decent bottle of wine would have been a better choice.
or just doing some asanas...


i'm tired. a long weekend is most definitely in my future...i am declaring my independence next friday.

this weekend will be all about hazy pleasantness, sex, and other wonderful things. i'll have a kiddie party to hit up next weekend and honey will be away at a show, so i'll have to have my grown-folks fun now.

i still haven't gotten my taxes done...i'm still kinda sore...

i'll have to cook for easter dinner...my mother's decided to have the family over. and, apparently, my cousin's new hubby is muslim & doesn't do pork. so i've been asked to make veggie lasagna. i told her i'd throw in some meatless greens, too. that means another trip to the market friday night.

made a disastrous batch of cornbread the other day to go with my chili...it would have been fine if it wasn't for the spoiled crisco i tried to pass off in there. for your information: bad crisco smells like new plastic. not a good sign if you ask me. i doubt it will be finding its way back to my kitchen.

rappers i know nothing about are dying...

and so on.


be careful what you wish for...

ok. so this morning they had 2 mothers discuss immigration from their point of view.

the american woman was complaining that homework was coming home in english and spanish, what her tax dollars were going towards, etc.

the immigrant woman spoke of how she wanted to stay in her country, but wasn't afforded the opportunities she saw here. so she brought her children to this country in search of a better life.

apparently both women were from arizona.

what i wanna ask that white (american woman):

1) where is YOUR family from ('cause she didn't look native american)?
2) whose land did HER great great granddaddy/mama steal so she could pay all those lovely arizona taxes?
3) does she not realize that most ppl on the planet speak and/or understand at least 1.5 languages? (*this isn't an actual stat or anything...but if you consider geographic proximity and other factors, it's very likely) why are americans so defensive of a language they can barely speak/write in the first fking place? these ppl are almost doing our kids a FAVOR. we could use some exposure.

'cause, see, whitefolks are really quick to blast these immigrants, but how soon they forget that much--if not all--of this nation was ripped from under its indigenous people and others. i don't care if your ppl came to this country with nothing in 18whatever on the mayflower or a prison ship from england. the fact is, you probably got yours because the people who were on the land you now enjoy were slaughtered or herded off like cattle.

as far as black folks who have an issue with immigration...we need to stop letting this divide & conquer b.s. keep us from bonding with folks in the same situations we're in. perception of scarce resources. look it up.

there are black mexicans. and puerto ricans. not to mention all the other blacks and browns all over central & south america.

take a good long look at history. we are facing the chickens of colonialism coming home to roost.

and it's not just here. france, england, and others have had to deal with the consequences of subjugating a group of ppl, making them worship your way of life, and then denying them said way of life in their native land.

what else is there to do but find their way to the mama country? why, it only makes sense.

you killed the leaders working to make independence more than colonialism-lite.

you undermined just about every effort to economic and social justice, political empowerment, and self-love that your "subjects" developed.

where else are they going to look for the gold you keep waving in their faces?

maybe you should have thought of this before you went carving the world into neat little pieces.

i suppose most of us weren't supposed to survive. thus, these problems were not forseen...



the family (chapter 2)

(originally written feb. 27. a follow-up to this entry)

i looked for my grandparents’ grave the other day. that awful cemetery was cleared out more than usual. so i tried to find them, but it wasn’t any use.

it was cold out there. i walked along the path towards the back of the place. apparently my great grandmother is out there somewhere. and my biological maternal grandfather’s family, too.

i cried. i hate knowing that they’re there and can’t be found. and so many others...so many markers that are just a piece of white stone with (maybe) an initial on it. some are just long, rectangular slabs of white marble with no writing at all.

i’ve seen my grandmother’s headstone once. that’s it. i am glad that some of the land’s been cleared. Very glad. i had no reason to go out there...i was coming back from the flea market and something told me to go by...when i did, i saw that so much of the land had been cleared that i could actually walk around and look for them.

but all my memories are hazy. i wasn’t at my grandmother’s funeral and only went to her gravesite once. and that memory was—i realize now—distorted in that way that childhood memories often are. i didn’t go to the grave when they buried pop-pop. i couldn’t watch them put him in the ground. so I didn’t have a point of reference for that, either. my mother says they’re marked by the same stone. i do know it was flat, which would make it more difficult to find.

i want to find them. and my great-grandmother.

i love her in a way, even though i never met her and have only seen a few pictures. but my mother loved her so much i feel like i know her. and because of her maiden name, i can trace where we came from—a rare gift. my great-aunt garnetta looks like her...

i have to go to virginia this summer and leave an offering in the river. it's been on my mind since honey & i went to richmond last summer.


and we wonder why the weather's effed up...

mama earth is in PAIN.


i didn't even realize dirty gold was a problem.

i really need to stop reading & finding shit out. lol.

Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste
By Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner
The New York Times

The closest most people will ever get to remote Papua, or the operations of Freeport-McMoRan, is a computer tour using Google Earth to swoop down over the rain forests and glacier-capped mountains where the American company mines the world's largest gold reserve.

With a few taps on a keyboard, satellite images quickly reveal the deepening spiral that Freeport has bored out of its Grasberg mine as it pursues a virtually bottomless store of gold hidden inside. They also show a spreading soot-colored bruise of almost a billion tons of mine waste that the New Orleans-based company has dumped directly into a jungle river of what had been one of the world's last untouched landscapes...

That frustration stems from an operation that, by Freeport's own estimates, will generate an estimated six billion tons of waste before it is through - more than twice as much earth as was excavated for the Panama Canal. [emphasis mine]

Much of that waste has already been dumped in the mountains surrounding the mine or down a system of rivers that descends steeply onto the island's low-lying wetlands, close to Lorentz National Park, a pristine rain forest that has been granted special status by the United Nations.