Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Broken Boys

broken boys*

leave his casket open.
let the world see what it did to him,
creating a face even a mother couldn't recognize
couldn't know again
post his picture.
not the way his mother presented him to the world
but the way the world sent him back home
bloody teardrops
missing teeth
aborted heartbeat
made-for-TV horror flick
no, not that station; the other
candle blown out by his city's harsh realities,
much deadlier than its wind
let his broken limbs
tell of how society couldn't arm him against its ills
or brace him against crippling odds
we build broken boys
of splintered wood
2x4's that beat them down could have been their brothers
with strings attached
but they instead are weapons
with matching boxes to be buried in
boxes that should be left open on display
for us to see what we've done
what we've done
to our boys
for even less than whistling
emmett's horror tilled this land
for an even uglier fate.

*for derrion albert


Monday, September 28, 2009

Home is Where the Art Is...

peace, sistergarteners.  a few weeks ago i mentioned starting an open mic/hang suite in my home.  well, this past saturday, about 30 poets, artists, and supporters of art gathered in my family room for a soothing evening of good food, good vibes, and amazing talent, set to flickering candles and a playlist of my very best soul music collection.  i was beyond grateful for the turnout.

i've never organized an event before.  not even a birthday party.  so i'll admit there was quite a bit of trepidation upon entering into this venture.  but something within kept urging me to stop getting in my own way and to just do it.  at best, it would be a great success.  at worst, it would be a huge flop.  either result would be better than being too afraid to try.

so i did it.  and i think i'm still in awe of how beautiful it was and how gracious the guests have been with their gratitude and praise.  and i know it was a simple gathering of kindred spirits, not a major feat by any stretch of the imagination.  but it represents something more; i had a vision of a place i wanted to visit, and when i couldn't find that place, i created it.  at home.  and it was good.

be.  fly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

License to Kill

my mama once shared with me something that a survivor of domestic violence once said to her, "if a man beats you, he wants to kill you.  'cause he never knows which blow will be fatal."

plaxico burress just received a 2-year prison sentence for attempted criminal possession of a weapon, charges that stemmed from an incident in which he was carrying an un-licensed concealed weapon that accidentally fired from his waistband and shot plaxico in the leg.

chris brown recieved a sentence of 5 years probation and 6 months of community labor for felony assault of rihanna.

what is it i'm missing?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

forward state of mind

these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you... -alicia keys, (jay-z's) "empire state of mind"

i'm not from new york.  i've actually only been there once, and it aggravated my claustrophobia.  but i do feel brand new lately.  i'm deeply inspired, and i sense big things on the horizon.  for me as an artist, and for art in general.  i can't explain it, really.  just a feeling i have.  and that feeling is what's keeping me going most days.  that and music.  currently, jay-z's the blueprint 3 (my first jay cd and official initiation into his legion of fans) and my pandora tupac radio station are in heavy rotation.  tonight, i'll crack open my highly anticipated copy of mos def's the ecstatic.  i'm so high right now.

life is happening.  grand things are in store for me.  hear that, universe?

Friday, September 11, 2009

And What of the Vessel?

*photo: Reuters

many people have visited a "body" exhibit of some kind.  in these exhibits, via different (competing) companies, dissected, preserved human cadavers are displayed in varioius "life-like" positions as an examination of the human body (read more about one company here if you're not familiar).

so now, one company, Body Worlds, is planning a variation of their exhibit which will display these cadavers in sexual positions with one another to show "the anantomy and the function" of the human body during sexual intercourse.

i've personally never seen any of these body exhibits.  i'll admit i'm a bit too squeamish for it.  and i've also questioned the ethical paramaters when some of these companies have allegedly used "unclaimed" cadavers and cadavers of imprisoned individuals.  so i'll refrain from giving an opinion on something i haven't directly experienced.

but this new proposed exhibit has me examining my thoughts of this vessel we call a body.  on one hand, i somewhat instinctively believe in being respectful of this shell someone's soul once inhabited.  on the other hand, i realize it's just that: a shell.

so this doesn't end with a profound declarative.  just a trail of ellipsis...

what say you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Coming Out of the Dark

coming out of the dark, i finally see the light now.  it's shining on me.  coming out of the dark, i know the love that saved me.  you're sharing with me.  - gloria estefan, "coming out of the dark"
i have the tendency to become reclusive.  i've yet to determine the reasoning behind it.  i just know that from time to time i feel the need to retreat.  though i'm not exactly outgoing, i do enjoy being social, and i love getting to know new people.  but for one reason or another, i always get to the point where i feel a bit overexposed.  and thus, i withdraw.  as this pertains to the arts scene, it usually stretches over a period of at least a year.  as a result, i always return to mixed reactions, mainly composed of equal parts "rhythm!!!  how have you been?!?" and "who is she?"  both are very comforting, actually.  i enjoy seeing familial faces, and i enjoy meeting these new artists who have become a part of the family since my last span of participation.
my last break from the scene lasted about 2 years and just ended this spring.  while the time away was used productively (i worked on libations vol: 1 and did a lot of soul-searching on what it is i want to do with my gifts), i was SO glad to be back.  there was so much life in the work that everyone was sharing.  and to my suprise, quite a few other artists had been on "leave" for a while as well.  so coming back together was a reunion of spirits on some levels.  and for that matter, a renewal of spirits as well.  and so gloria estefan's "coming out of the dark" came to mind.  because i'm cheesy like that.
and in honor of this renewal and my gratitude for having an arts family that always welcomes me back home, i'm starting a new open mic and hang suite in the comfort of my home.  opening night is in a few weeks, and the features are Vision, a veteran performer, and Heather Feather, a young poet who's making her feature debut.  and i didn't realize how fitting that was until just in this moment.
be.  fly.


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