14 February 2012

Open Letter to my Landlords

I found this today and it cracked me up. The irony is, the only way she calls me back if I don't pay rent. I've changed names to protect myself from some sort of internet business I can't even conceive of now but will no doubt exist to ruin my life eventually.

March 9, 2003


This is regarding the current status of Blah Blah Blah Avenue Top Floor. In an 8 July 2003 letter I asked for a plumber and an exterminator.

In December I called LANDLADY asking for a plumber. There was a plumbing situation in the kitchen that when “repaired” by a plumber I called exacerbated the situation to include my DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR. DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR was placed in charge of finding someone to repair the situation. In February, after asking LANDLADY to please send someone out, I called several other plumbers myself and the problem was resolved.

Monday March 3, 2003 DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR stated he could hear the water in his ceiling after me taking a bath. Which is ironic, because the water runs so slow out of the bathtub I was beginning to believe it was just evaporating because of the oven being on to blow warm air into the front rooms where it’s so cold I often have to wear a hat inside.

So again I’m requesting a plumber. There are serious plumbing/ pipe issues here requiring more than tenants making calls to “people they know” or cold calling from the phone book to rectify.

I also need an exterminator. I haven’t had one here in years.

I also need a written statement regarding the rent increase. I’m not comfortable paying more rent without having a signed agreement. I appreciate the leniency shown me with my belated payments, but that leniency is a two way street. I understand this is a business arrangement and if I didn’t before, the disregard for my comfort and dignity regarding the kitchen sink and the previous requests for an exterminator have made it abundantly clear that my humanity is not a concern of yours. So you have to do what you have to do as do I. I believed LANDLADY when she said she’d look into sending someone out. I called her begging for a plumber, I only get a call from her regarding the rent. I see now that that’s perhaps the only way to communicate with you. I hope that isn’t the case and I’m mistaken. Please let me know if this is an incorrect assumption.

Charity Thomas


23 April 2011

This is so bad

One of my love brothers died. As an only child, I adopt people I wish were related to me. Mary grew into a stellar blood component of my immediate family and that's a treat. But I didn't get Mae for 13 years after I'd developed this particular habit.

Here in NY, after B and Dane left, I only had Carl and he's harder to catch than rabies. When the bar opened downstairs I got another bit of family that rescued me from my loneliness. Then, in 2007, the universe gave me 2 new brothers. T & Cakes. I remember telling Cakes about some wack nigga business and him being all "you know we've only known each other for a few months, right? And you're blowing that nigga's spot up." My response was "uh un. Remember when we were in grade school and..." That's how I felt. Like I'd known him forever. We'd just been separated. And w/T, who'd graduated from Howard the same day as me, it was easy. We had the same language.

And to watch the two of them was to watch two men who loved and respected each other be able to demonstrate their love and respect. I'd just watch them laughing and hugging (T's a big hugger) and smile. I love watching black men demonstratively love.

I learned that my heart brother died. It was last Thursday and it's been a whirlwind every since. I've barely been alone and when I am I just stare blankly at things. My current drug of choice is Law & Order. The original, cause I can't deal with SVU right now. It's comforting. I'm all about comfort right now.

I made my therapist cry yesterday. That's cause he knows how much Cakes meant to me. He was my writing soulmate and hero. He was the coolest and you can hear his voice in every word he writes.

That's all I can do for now. I've got to take a shower and deal with one of the worst days I've had yet. Tonight is his memorial service and every time anyone hugs me they pour their sorrow into me. I'm exhausted and this is just the beginning.

My Heart is Broken

This is one of my favorites from Cakes:

Monday, June 02, 2008
bloody knuckles

i got into a fight.

it was in front of the bar. it started out as an innocent confrontation that turned into a shoving match which then mutated into a beat down and finally evolved into an all out brawl. i dont think i started it, but i guess, in a way, i did.

it all started with a cigarette, or more to the point, my desire for one. i was at the bar having an animated conversation with my friend CT when the very familiar urge to inhale nicotine swept through us both. we put napkins on our drinks and headed towards the door. no one was fighting yet.

the door opens outward and in front of it, preventing our exit, was a kid, about 20 years old, shirtless and in sagging shorts, pushing a girl around his age into the door. it looked as if they were playing - one of those aggressive, sexual games that involve a lot of contact - and i just said to them, "you cant do that here, you have to move out of the doorway."

thats when the kid freaked out. i dont know what his problem was, maybe he and the girl werent playing, and he was really angry at something she had done. maybe he misheard me and thought i'd actually said, "i fucked your mother." maybe he had taken some bad steroids and they'd just kicked in. maybe he has father issues and i look just too damned similar. i dont know what it was, but the kid was furious.

he's screaming at me unintelligibly. angry, hateful gibberish that im sure we have all spouted off at one time or another. at first im kind of shocked, then confused. remember, i'd initially figured he and the girl were just having fun, so the change was so sudden it seemed like i had hit some dreadful switch in his psyche that indicated BRING THE PAIN. i had to stare at him a moment and gather if he was serious or not. i'm not a small man, and although he had his shirt off and could act extremely peeved, i wasnt as afraid of him as i was bemused.

he was pushing up against me with his chest, a torrent of curses and challenges roaring from his mouth to my face. i pushed him away from me and i think said something to the effect of, "you better back up off of me kid." he didnt. his tirade just grew in fury. he was pushing me, still wild and screaming. i stared at him a second, hoping maybe he would calm down. he didnt. he pushed me a few more times. i waited for him to throw a punch but then he just pushed me again.

so i socked him in the jaw.

the next two seconds were long and somewhat dramatic. the first second was filled with us looking at each other. he looked confused that i had hit him and i looked confused that he looked so confused. the next second was filled with a gasp. then someone said "ooooh."

then they were upon me.

the rising sounds of grunts and yells swelled in the street. voices heading my way. an army of growls. i look and see about ten kids storming my way. fist clenched. all baggy clothes and screwed up faces. a herd of angry teenagers barreling straight towards me. thats when i think "ok, im gonna get my ass kicked. i better just brace myself for it."

i move from the doorway so as not to be trapped. i push someone, i dont know who, away from me, and three kids are already at me. i cant remember if they are punching or shoving or what. i see a long arm come at me from over the top them and it connects with my temple. there is that ringing white light you see and hear when getting hit hard. more yelling. hands everywhere. i'm pushing people away. shoving. not throwing punches, trying to keep my arms close to protect myself. more kids are on me. fist rain down on my head and body. my shoulder slams against a wall. i continued shoving and pushing, keeping my arms close. my friend Griddy comes from no where and punches a guy whose hand is clawing for my face, connecting squarely with his jaw. i see the kid crumble a bit. then half the kids go for Griddy. then im backed in a door way with 5-7 kids on me and im pushing them away. someone is pulling kids off of me and someone is saying whoa! whoa! whoa! and arms are flailing everywhere. it is pandemonium.

there is a small moment of calm while everyone assesses the situation. i am in front of a door and three kids are in front of me. one of them being the kid i hit. he makes his approach and then a foot flies from no where and kicks him back. i wonder where it came from and i realize im standing behind CT, towering so far above her i dont even realize shes in front of me. she says, "you better get back!" and the kid steps back. i just stand behind her, waiting, when i see some guy on the ground getting kicked. its Griddy. so i race over there and start pushing kids off of him and lift him from the ground. he is a little hurt but he stands firm, adrenaline firing on all cylinders. fist still clenched. we look around, prepared, but the kids then scatter. all of them. they leave. up the block. under cars. behind bushes in the shadows. suddenly they are gone.

the police come and ask questions. my hand is bleeding where i split my knuckle. i tell them what happened and we all just shrug our shoulders and say, "kids." i go back in the bar and we talk more about what happened over whiskey shots and beer and cigarettes. a complex rush of violence, fear, and testosterone shivers through me. i ask myself over and over weather or not i should have hit the kid but can only come to one conclusion: what else could i have done?

now i have to be wary of the neighborhood i work in, which is unnerving to say the least.

posted by -jkg at 5:16 PM

17 February 2011

If you build it...they will come?

So I have started a storytelling night at Bar Sepia and I have no idea what I'm doing. Whoo. That felt good. Now maybe I can organize it or something. I know, I'll write out my mission statement for it here:

Mission Statement:
To create a safe space to share real life stories and making our neighbors (and new neighbors) know each others humanity thus strengthening our neighborhood.

That sounds awfully lofty. Does it even mean anything? Speak plainly kiddo.

I want the newbies in Pros. Heights to hear the stories of us old timers and for us to hear them. I'm doing this for myself because I don't particularly take a shine to the newbies. I think they're arrogant and rude for the most part and inconsiderate of the people who've lived here before them. I know, it's still part of my gentrification blues. I know, they're not all demons and some of them are struggling. But the ones who are buying million dollar apt's and giving the finger to us poor renters, well fuck you too.

So that's why I wanted to open a forum to help me with my own prejudices and tell some stories. I also want to be able to tell my own stories. It's funny how everyone has a certain idea about why I want to do this. But it is really something I'd do for free. Sure I need money, but I know the money will come. It always does. I want to do it out of love. That's what always brings me money.

My first month was excellent. I was nervous but I knew I had some great stories coming my way. This is what I do. I tell stories. I have to get over myself. I'm still censoring myself publicly. I want to tell riskier stories but get freaked out by it in front of my friends. It's like, am I too fat to tell this story? WTF? This world's done a number in my brain.

So I'm building it. I hope they come. I want to be cool as a cucumber and just trust that I do what I do.

We'll see next Monday.

08 December 2009

I've got your Cabliasian right here

Look, I've been avoiding all this Tiger Woods business until I read a really great blog about it today on the heels of talking about "important" news stories I'd missed the last couple of weeks with my kid sister. While I had to google Adam Lambert (I don't Idol), I knew that Tiger'd been in a car accident. Megalomaniacal me said "nobody cares when I hurt myself" so I ignored it.

Then I started hearing about affairs, mistresses coming out of the woodwork, the wife chasing him with golf clubs and smashing windows. That's interesting, but no. I'm going to remain on my moral high ground and continue to ignore. I've lived through enough sex scandals to know that unless someone's been living under the bed in a dog collar, it's just fodder.

I told The Kid last night that if one of the mistresses was named Darshawnqa with long airbrushed nails and hair sculpture- then I'd be interested. But this morning I read this from one of my favorite blogs and I paused (and laughed at the video). But only long enough to write this post.

In conclusion, he's 33 years old and been playing professional golf since he was a teen. He hasn't had a life. Leave him alone. Who cares. Now I'm part of the problem, but enough is enough already. He likes pussy. Let him be. He's not the first or last professional athlete to cheat. I think the over arching statement of pro athletes should be that they're going to cheat on their spouses. The ones that don't- they're the exceptions. If I went from town to town with women throwing themselves at me- I'd probably be too tired to even play whatever game I'm getting paid for.


10 June 2009

Emails, A Retrospective

For some reason my email program will randomly pull up all the emails off the server. So when I check it I have like 700 "new" messages from like months ago. As this happened today it gave me a chance to see what kind of crap I really receive. Most of them make me long for the life I had when those services or that information was something useful.

  • Expedia, Travelocity, American Airlines, Travelzoo and various other travel sites telling what great deals they have right now that I can't take advantage of. I'd love to go to London for $400 with taxes included. When I went to Europe last year my tix was like $1100.
  • Oprah- I actually found myself saying to my Wednesday on Oprah's "Best Life Week: Finding Your Spiritual Path" - Suck it Oprah. Why don't you help tell people to hire me for stupid commercials on your show, or better yet, make me sit at my computer and write for @ least 2h a day so I can turn these words into the kind of gold bullion you have in your HOUSES. And ya know I loves me some Oprah.
  • Nordstrom, YOOX, Bluefly, Endless, Gotham City, eBay- shoes and clothes that I used to see on sale or say "oh, that's cute" click on it and miraculously there would be these wonderful boxes of beautiful things that barely fit or I'd give away to my friends.
  • Target, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Overstock- okay, I do have a lamp in my Target queue, but it's replacing the Pottery Barn one that I've broken.
These are the ones that hurt. They hurt when I've put $1200 worth of clothes in my Nordstrom bag. Now, I totally did this before, but then I could get a little sumthin' sumthin'. It hurts when Eco-Tulum, my favorite cheap Mexican getaway is giving away rooms for like $25 a person for our 4 person palatial cabana right on the beach (and tix to Cancun are $87 each way and everybody wants to go but nobody has any money or time).

But there are the ones I do use and relish more now than I did before:
  • Jewel Diamond Taylor's Success Gems Thought for the Day- for obvious reasons. I actually print them out and stick them all over my house so I don't feel so alone.
  • LiveStrong- any man who can win the Tour de France with one ball gets my attention.
  • eDiets- new ways to make my beer belly go away because real spirits are out of my budget right now unless I buy a bottle of Jameson's and drink it all alone in one day, which is bad. And painful. And not as cute when you're almost 35 and unemployed and have apparently no transferrable skills and can't even understand half of the job postings online.
  • Astrology.com- they never ask me for money and since I'm a Leo, rarely give me bad news.
  • Joanne Jimenez telling me when Francois K, Joe Claussell or Danny Krivit are spinning.
  • Huffington Post, NYTimes, and NYPost because I have to have something to post on Facebook.
  • Hope Clark, Writer's Digest and the millions of other writery ones that don't actually make me sit down and write, but make me feel like I'm taking writing seriously. Thanks guys.
And finally the ones I can do without that will never go away:
  • Chase- "Funds transfer not processed" or "Overdraft protection alert"
  • Juniper Visa- "You are approaching your credit limit" when I'm like $50 over my credit limit
  • AT&T for a landline I don't use but I need it for the Direct TV, or do I? It's not on now. I just found a phone. Okay, that's stupid; I'll take care of that tomorrow.
  • Citicards- "Thank you for your payment." Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. What payment? Shit, now I'm gonna get another one from Chase.
So now that I've re-deleted them. I'm going to look on them with fond memories. I'll still put some shoes in some baskets. I actually have tens of thousands of dollars in shopping carts all over cyberspace. It's my virtual shopping that I pay for with all of my winnings from internet poker.

02 April 2009

Open Letter to Michelle Obama

Dear First Lady Michelle Obama,

Your husband and his people have been sending me emails for months now. I was sure you'd caught on because then you started sending them me too. After the election, well I thought we'd put this all behind us. But unfortunately, I'm still receiving emails and, well, I thought you should know.

You seem like a nice enough lady. I've even written you a letter that's published in the book "Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady". It appears none of our missives elude publication.

You looked so lovely and happy at the inauguration I thought we could put these minor dalliances behind us. But they continue. I need you to be understanding about this, because I NEED you to be with your old man. You're too important to a battalion of highly educated black girls who have all formerly had (and currently have) perms and have all enjoyed 4 wings with mild sauce from Harold's, if you know what I mean.

But I would appreciate if you could get them to stop with the emails. I appreciate the updates, but I do read Huffington Post.

With Reverence and Love,
Charity Thomas

Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Barack Obama,

I love you.

Charity Thomas

P.S. I love you in a clean reverent "leader of my free world" way, that's all. Make sure you tell Michelle that. I'm just saying, 'cause I don’t want her coming after me. I mean, I do have the weight advantage, but with height and arm length and strength- she’s got me beat. I, also, can’t pull my “I’m from the South Side of Chicago” intimidation routine on her. I know for a fact that if she though I was really trying something, she’d CUT MY FUCKING HEART OUT. So, it’s a platonic love. And it’s a true love.

10 March 2009

Open Letter to the OcotoMom

Nadya Suleman: A New House And Six Angry, Sad Older Kids

Dear Nadya Suleman (or Crazy Baby Machine, or Crazy Clown Car Uterus Lady, as I affectionately call you),

While I can sympathize with not having a job and wanting to be on TV, I have to ask if having a litter of babies is the most effective way to do that? I mean, I don't like kids particularly, I guess I could start there. When I heard you had 8 babies at one time, I was like "Whoa man. That's a lot of babies!" Then I heard you ALREADY HAD 6 AT HOME, didn't have a job and lived with your mom. Then I was all "WTF? Is this bitch crazy?"

No, really. What The Fuck? Are you mad? I watched that Ann Curry interview and you sound crazy as cat shit. How are you really going to provide for those kids? Your loving presence does not diapers make. And you don't have udders despite your litter of kids.

You seem to be a religious woman. You had six miracles despite your bad plumbing. Maybe, as a way of course correction your tubes were blocked for a reason. I know that's mean, but look what you did when you superseded the natural order of your particular body. You were given a gift.

Then you just got greedy.

Charity Thomas

Open Letter to Dana Dane

Dear Dana Dane,

Since the old days, rap now sucks. Please make it better.

Charity Thomas

P.S. Please tell Big Daddy Kane that he can still come over
my house anytime he wants because he's The B- I- G D- A- double D- Y givin' good and plenty....

19 February 2009

Open Letter to Crazy Connecticut Monkey Lady

Dear Crazy Monkey Lady,

Monkey's aren't pets. Chimpanzee's aren't people. You can't feed it, get it liquored up, have it BRUSH YOUR HAIR and not expect it to go APE SHIT on somebody. That's where the term APE SHIT came from I think.

And on top of all of that, the thing that really is heartbreaking is that- the chimp had to die. The chimp that was probably a little tipsy and on Xanax. The chimp who has been turned into a surrogate human in a bunch of really messed up ways by this poor disturbed woman, had to get shot (after being stabbed and hit with a shovel).

That's just fucked up.

Shame on you Crazy Monkey Lady.

Shame on you.



EVENT: Ali/ Patterson fight, Las Vegas Convention Center, 1965

Floyd Patterson’s wearing black shorts. The defending heavyweight champion of the world Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) is in white. That is the battle in 1965. Black against white. Good against evil. Christianity against Islam. America against the world. These two gladiators are fighting for more than the Heavyweight Championship of the World. They’re fighting to see who’s going to be a player in the new world order. Patterson is the good. He’s is a Christian, follower of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and an hope of the new Black American world- an integrationists’ dream. Ali (who commentators as well as Patterson still refer to as Clay) is evil. He hates America. He hates whites. He follows Elijah Muhammad and is in the Nation of Islam. He’s a proud big mouth who’s braggadocio is going to get him in trouble. He’s too proud and too cocky. He must be defeated. That will be the only way to shut this kid up. The crowd boos every punch he lands. Needless to say the Las Vegas Convention Center is a cacophony of boo’s this evening in 1965.

Ali eclipses Patterson. The power of his left hand is only matched by the playfulness of his right. The calm on his face is that of a Zen master. Patterson is only one in a line that will lose this eternal battle. The righteous vs. the unrighteous. Which one is which is unclear contextually in 2002. Ali is the star. Patterson is only a rung on the ladder to greatness. Ali is The Greatest. His punches are like the waves in the ocean. Patterson is a man drowning in a sea of uppercuts. He throws wild shots that seem to glide off of The Champ. Round 8- Patterson is looking to get leverage. Even when he gets inside he’s ineffective. By round 9 the commentator slips and gives Muhammad Ali his proper respect and call him by his chosen name. The name of his adopted faith. It’s a fight to get the respect given any other man in simply being called by his name. Patterson stands his ground. He must defeat this kid. His back is bothering him. He’s not as young as he used to be and Ali moves like the ether. The eleven thousand strong in the convention center can’t muster enough cheering to encourage Patterson to a win. They seem to not be able to convince themselves that Ali is evil but they must continue trying. Patterson can’t seem to get off a punch. He’s trying to stay away from Ali who runs out at the beginning of Round 12 anxious for battle. Patterson’s confused and on the receives the message of every hook Ali delivers. Ali hits his mark every time. The referee Harry Krause ends the fight. Patterson concedes to the 24 year old- Muhammad Ali. Winner and still the heavyweight champion of the world.

After the fight Ali thanks Allah for his supreme boxing wisdom and gives thanks to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for his prayers.

06 November 2008

It Ain't Free

I wrote this in 2004....
Irony's always ironic.

America pumps it’s market driven interests throughout the globe only to naively ask, “Why do people hate us?” and then answer their own question with “because we’re free”. Now I now one true fact about my life – IT AIN’T FREE.
Art ain’t free. It’s very expensive when working within the capitalist model. Working outside that model? Here in the US that’s called underground. To be an underground artist takes work and perserverance and either rich parents or a job that’ll pay a living wage. Not that it can’t be done- but we’re talking about models here. Sure the underground model can work. It builds prestige, a market base and respect among comrades. The most important product of this work is the integrity the artists feels about the art s/he’s creating. The integrity of the work, the spirituality of the creative process, perhaps even the illumination of truths are indeed rewards in themselves to the artist. But will it support you? Probably not. And I’m sure there is somebody this has worked for but I’m talking about large monetary scale support. But how much money does one really need? Does the truth sound better or ring truer when delivered in a Bentley?

Underground is what it is because it’s outside the radar of populust consumptionist culture. Any hip-hop created outside the states is underground in the US. Any art aimed at communities of color that isn’t commercially marketed is called underground. Once the underground moves into the light of success it loses the edge- some argue the truthfulness- of it’s alleged pre capitalist roots. Finding diasporic artistic movements and contributions is an effort to Americans. To find out about different (read as non American) forms of artistic revolutions takes effort. It takes time and desire to experience something else. Why when bred in a culture that tells you that you are what everyone else on the planet either wants to be or destroy, would you look outside to find other modes of artistic expression? MTV et al barely show non mass produced music and images from within the US. When you’re told that art is either an imitation or a negation of what you believe to be art, why would you not believe that your expressions (and for a lot- not all- of this generation of “urban” youth it’s hip hop) can’t be translated into a global struggle against oppression?

Why can’t we Americans get up off of that? Because it’s a “Lovely Day” when the Gap tells us to all look alike like most proletarian/ elite models. We see through the unitarianism of our systems, not specifically governmental, but the transnational bent of American corporations the need to create a consistent market base for their products. Products! It’s sad to think that James Baldwin, Fela Kuti, Gil Scott Heron, Nina Simone, etc could be thought of as product. But when looking at the current cultural landscape of mass produced “artistic” endeavors… you have to wonder if you would even have heard of them today. When we make an effort to move through cultural differences it’s apparent that colored artists all over the world living in “decolonized” war zones are moving in a similar rhythm.

True power comes from controlling one’s own destiny. Money is not (always) the answer to that problem. Changes in policy, educational curriculum, early cultural and media studies education are some of the steps to freeing the minds of youth of color to see the links they are in the struggle for the global destruction of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Moving past methods of control and searching for ways to find truth and integrity globally through art could be the key to bridging power structures leading to the bonding of the links to personal freedom.

22 March 2007

Comments on 300

Interesting. I've been getting a barrage of comments on my "300" post that mostly consist of people telling me to "chill out, it's only a movie". I have no idea who these people are and they have obviously only read post and not the entirety of my blog. I'm a media studies scholar. I'm a media literacy expert. It is my job in life to read the context of things on a grander scale than those prescribed. Of course, it's only a movie but if we don't contextualize the entertainments we're being fed, then we aren't aware of what we're being told to think. America doesn't create entertainment to entertain you. This is a capitalist society that creates commodities that serve the greater needs of the prevailing power structures. It depends on us being sheep and having no/low critical thinking skills to go to jobs to make a pittance of what someone is making on your backs. During the 1940's the medium of film was the most powerful propaganda machine for creating support for WWII. Do not think for a second that Hollywood is there to entertain you. It is there to sell you things. Lifestyle particularly. So for all of those who find it necessary to leave me comments simply about "300" who haven't read my thesis or any of my other work, while I appreciate your visit, you can save your typing time. Your comments are simply annoyances if they hold no serious critical comments. Thanks.

17 March 2007


This film is about 300 Spartan warriors lead by King Leonides who held against King Xerxes and his horde of "Persians". You can read any review somewhere that will tell you of the debate brewing about this movie. I agree with most criticisms and cringe at the affirmations. That being said here's what I think:

Propaganda. Blatant sheer racism. The upholding of American national identity at its most precise. Americans racist xenophobia against Iran was so clear (really against the whole world that doesn't adhere to the same code or is the same color) that I laughed out loud. Spartans discarded the weak, sickly, or misshapen babies leaving only strong warrior men born to Spartan women. They respect their women above all. These women would have been crushed beneath the weight of the soldiers who's airbrushed six packs made even the boniness of the women pale in comparison.

That's not really how I want to say that either. I left the theater furious. They've got all the blacks and people who look like me behaving like animals when the Persian Empire was one of the greatest forces of civilization in history. (Ironically enough the Persians believed in truth above all else, no wonder we're at such a historical impasse.) Making the Persians a hyper-sexualized conglomerate of all non "Western" people who are all slaves to a megalomaniacal god/ king monsters exemplifies America's demonization of those who don't share their adolescent mindset. In Xerxes harem, the traitorous hunchback is offered the pleasures of the flesh from beautiful women of color who smother him with kisses, undulate seductively beneath him and (sigh) lick his hump. At that I stated, in perhaps not my quietest inside voice: "This is some bullshit. The only women who look like me are licking a hunchback. Black ladies will even fuck a hunchback. This movie is some real bullshit!" I concede the inappropriateness of that behavior, but I was incensed.

For the generation of young boys sitting in their basements playing their x-boxes and wondering what this world has in store for them the idea of doing something for glory must be appealing. It's appealing to me. To believe in something so strongly that you'd give your life for it has moved men and women since the beginning of time. But at a moment when America's intention is to overpower Iran, to not place this film in a contemporary context belies a naïveté I don't believe we can afford as a democratic nation right now. Americans are the world leaders on propaganda. I know I help create it. We have created a national identity out of who we want to be or at least want the world to believe about us, not who we are. We tell ourselves so many lies and ingest so many that we can't separate them. A friend of mine said it was propaganda for going to the gym and working on a six-pack. It most certainly is. Because that's what we believe about ourselves. We believe we are those perfect, powerful, noble Spartans. Well then we'd be doomed, because the majority of Americans couldn't lift a spear nor hold a shield and would run the other way before risking their life for another. But we're not all soldiers. Oh, yeah right... Abu Ghraib & Gitmo. Right. Soldiers.

The black lady licking the hunchbacks back made me really mad though. And they were the only women who's ribs you couldn't see. They could be warriors. Not those bony Spartan women. And the homophobia... Did I mention that Xerxes was all done up like a video ho? So terrible.

Oh and Leonidas' last speech of the movie stating that they fought against mysticism and tyranny. Really? Is he running with Giuliani next year? This thing was a mess and it was not the best movie since the Matrix. What a load of crap. That's what got me in there. But imagine the feeling you might have had (I know I did) when I first say the Matrix. Not only was it visually stimulating, but also the story was unprecedented. They worked in tandem. This story was so bad that the effects meant nothing to me. But I'm old school. I still go to the movies to learn something about myself or others that don't exist in my real personal life. Yes it's an escape, but there has to be something that draws you into a fantasy of escape that truly grabs you. Something that holds you rapt. But I'm old school.

Maybe more later, but I do feel better now.

13 March 2007

it's really dumb not to write here

I'm writing everyday but not posting on this thing. I have to split my focus to do both and I'm not really sure if I want to do that. The other writing's getting really good to me. I do have a few rants to get out of me. Like the person who changed the time. I'm pretty pissed about that. I don't know why Caesar has decided this is a good idea to get some history books to take heed to something other than greed and mongering of all kinds on his behalf. I have to choose my words carefully because this is the main agent of information to all agencies. But come on. Really! And global warming is real. So are vulture funds. So is slavery in Guatemala and the Cote d'Ivorie and others. Things are not right. Whatever your idea of right is. But I guess as long as Britney Spears is on the loose, nobody cares.

Oh, that felt good. I can do that more.

13 December 2006

Getting it Together

DO IT!!!!

Write like your life depends on it


Soft like an easy chair-
my ass.
It's just the mood I’m in right now, I guess.
I don't write about love-
don't want to write about it because it makes
me feel like a romantic fool.
There's no room for romantic notions
in a hyper technologized world of IM.
The time to develop the intensity of feelings
and bonds of trust have become truncated into
smiley faces and empty and
quick "I love you emails" and text messages.
I say it so much that the feelings I used to have
when I felt it is gone.
The heat and swelling in my chest.
The flush of my cheeks.
My hands going numb.
Ears throbbing and mind made blank by an emotion
so intensely overwhelming there was, as
the alcoholics would say, the magnificence of God.
But I say it back to everybody that says it to me and
when I think about how much I don’t mean it-
it only adds to the emptiness I feel
about my everyday existence.
When I don’t think about it but feel how empty it is
All I want to do is drink.
Booze is no muse though.
It only magnifies the desperation of being surrounded by
I love you’s" and not feeling loved.
It does, however, temporarily hide the fact that all of
this means nothing.
Nihilism is on short order after a bottle or two of montepulciano.
And whisky knocks it down that much better.
So love-
I’m writing about love and it’s new status as an apparition.
A ghost of what was and what everybody hopes to attain
Without knowing its true nature.
With no experience base of its highs and lows.
Because sans this understanding of the heart and mind
that relegated it to the dream realm,
the nether regions,
we all believe in reality TV’s version of love.
And that’s some real bullshit.

18 September 2006

Traveling while black

Okay, so I'm in Tulum, Mexico. Tons of Italians (apparently August is their month off) and my friend Simone says Argentians. She's deduced this from all the staring. And I don't mean a curious look of not expecting a person of color (who's not Mexican and in service of some manner). I mean a fork in the air- mouth open-full minute stare upon entering a room. Sitting at a table of compatriots and everyone at the table fully turning around and staring boldly even after the party of color- namely my friends and I- are seated and going about ordering cervezas. Sunni says it's because I'm beautiful that the children stare (thanks honey, right back at you). I buy that but what explains the adults? There are few cultures left on the planet in which this degree of staring without speaking is acceptable and many more where it's downright rude. When I give my friendly "Hola" there's no response. Of course, they're mainly Europeans and I must admit I don't expect many human courtesies from them- sorry. But the staring must stop.

On the other hand, I must say that during this trip I've never been so happy to see black people in my life. Remember, I'm from segregated Chicago and honestly believe that there are black people everywhere. Or, at least, we've been there. The people I know have been all over the globe so I don't believe I'm like James Baldwin when he went to Sweden. But, maybe I am. Dude. My people. We've got to travel more. It's fucking cheap down here. and a black person told me about it. Only here it's clothing optional (as I believe the entire beach is here in the Mayan Riviera) and I'm constantly aware of the historical context of my naked body (naked HOT! body). The reality of the skinny women in bikinis give me visions of Aushwitz. It's very disconcerting. I do love that the Spanish and Italians have some meat on their bones. The Americans are crazy skinny or crazy fat.

But being black gives me the feeling of unwanted novelty. I'm obvious everywhere and everyone remembers me. It was easier to think about when my friends were here. But today as my first full day alone, we'll see. I don't want to go to the pounding techno music party in Playa but to one closer to home at Mezzanine down the beach. I was there last week con mi amigos. Lets see what happens when I go alone, dancing and a little drunk hopefully. We'll see what the interest is then.

16 September 2006


So reinvention is heavy on my mind again. When I think about Chicago, I know I can do it. Go back more traveled, less known and so some society. But not like the Links, something entirely new with the same kind of social mores. I do think this is somehow part of my deal. I have had a dream of society, but I need to define what it is. I want to create my own with it's own rules, but only exclusionary to a point of behavior and belief. (Oh no Charity. That's not megalomaniacal at all. Everyone wants to recreate society.) Since ghetto is the rule rather than the exception it must be the point of departure for rule creation. So we have to define what ghetto is in order to destroy it and see what we shan't be. But I'm actually more interested in value systems than behaviors. Values define our behaviors. So what do I want to propagate?

yeah, yeah- i know

It's been like a month of Sundays, but I forgot my password in Mexico. I actually forgot all of my passwords in Mexico, sue me. I'm 32 now and gonna forget a lot more. Here's what I wrote while away... Enjoy

23 July 2006

In Speech to N.A.A.C.P., Bush Offers Reconciliation - New York Times

In Speech to N.A.A.C.P., Bush Offers Reconciliation - New York Times

Ha-What? Do I still live in the 21st Century? This is an age when I can sit here all day, playing in my computer and come up with all kinds of information. Now I understand that this guy is theoretically "running the country" but we all know the truth about that one. Did he really just defer to Karl Rove like that? No... that couldn't be so.
So let me get this straight:
I am supposed to believe that the "extension" of a law that protects my rights as an American citizen is bridge building?
Wait a minute... what would have happened had it not been extended? Would I have to recite the capital of all 50 states to be able to vote? Would my voting rights be revoked? Why do we still have this anyway... It's not about registering to vote it's about motivating people into believing their vote counts and that their voices will be heard. People don't get bopped over the head anymore to register. They're just hard pressed to go on a Tuesday morning to vote for someone that's not going to do anything to change their lives in any tangible way.
This is all some bullshit. More bullshit to get black people's heads away from the fact that more hell is being raised in the middle east and more black people are going to die because of it. If we don't get our heads out of the past, our actions out of the past the future is going to eat us alive. I thank God everyday that I don't have to suffer the inhumanities my parents did. They worked hard to make sure I, not only, didn't know that kind of hatred but also had a healthy love for justice and the truth. Only they couldn't train me for this new form of racist/ classist insidiousness. I might not be called a nigger (that often) but people certainly attempt to treat me like one. Like our current administration. That guy, GW, is so busy blaming history for his ignorance and lack of concern for a group of HUMAN BEINGS... I don't know why I'm allowing that to make me angry. He does it all over the planet to anyone who's not part of his clique. Oh, but I remember why I'm allowing it to upset me: CAUSE I DO VOTE. I'm from Chicago and I vote early and often and it still didn't work.
I have to think more on this and see what else I'm supposed to be paying attention to while this is being waved beneath our noses. I bet they're gonna pull OJ out of a hat soon... They tried a little Michael Jackson business, but it didn't move us past Lebanon.

06 June 2006

The anti-no fear

My mantra of "no fear" keeps me afraid. As long as I'm waiting for the moment to be fearless, I'm ignoring the present. I can live outside of social conventions and fear. I have to move past the superficiality of success and action that I perceive from others and create my own momentum. The springtime of my discontent is over. It's time to move. And instead of recklessness based on fear- stemming from fear- I'm going to turn it into a recklessness of confidence and boldness. I can't be afraid of motion. I will not allow cigs and booze to be an excuse for not moving and succeeding. By the end of the year I will be a well paid published writer fully engaged in the process of my work and enjoying the writing because I'm not afraid of it. Trusting it and myself. Trusting being prolific. I think I can be. I know I must be. Be about the business of it. I have to remove the "shoulda/ gonna" fakeness of it. Being engaged, not having a choice. And getting money. A lot of money for it without losing myself or my love. All of this spiritual work is the build up to this. I must be engaged in my life. Not researching it. Not asking other people about it. Being really terrified about it and doing it anyway.

19 May 2006

Feeling Better

I decided I'd feel much better about myself today if I'd posted to my blog before I went to my swim class. My Thursday and Friday swim classes with the women I most affectionately call "my old ladies" are the only real moments of structure in my life.
I love them because they inspire me. They show up weekly, as their schedules permit, and I love that they have these busy lives even though they could just sit around being grandmas. They've taught me just how skin deep beauty really is. That our inperfections (remember we're in bathing suits) are as beautiful, natural and human as what we might laughingly refer to as our perfections. They remind me of my grandmas. Only since I don't officially belong to them, I get a degree of candor about their lives that my grandmas would never reveal to me. Our naked steamroom talks are like fellowship meetings among women who've lived (and live) active productive lives. Their reassurance of me finding what I'm looking for in this life is comforting because I can trust their collective "don't worry about that sweetie, you have plenty of time". They have collectively been all over the world and still travel every summer. They give me recipes and tell me about the special days and activities they still share with their girlfriends. They tell me about meeting their husbands and their grandchildren's triumphs and problems. Most importantly to me, they see me as one of their own. But as a young woman with infinite possibilities who is taking advantage of life. They know my money woes are temporary although I feel like it's the end of the world sometimes. Coupled with my own experience, I know it's not the end of the world. They also want me to buy property. To go to jazz clubs to find a boyfriend- a jazz musician preferably (but been there- done that). To continue to travel and be free. I just love them. And now I'm on my way to go work off this ass of mine in the second of the 2 intense aqua-aerobic workouts of the week. I'm still taking aspirin from yesterdays. And they move. I'm sweating in the pool. But I know if they can do it, I can too. When I began going about a year and a half ago, I was gonna chicken out. I hadn't been in a pool outside of vacation splashings for years. That's when Miss Ruth said "well you're here now, go put your toe in the water. If you don't like it- take a nice steam." A year and a half later, that's what I know tell myself about everything I get scared about.
It also doesn't hurt that comparatively I look like, to quote Miss Victoria "a Playboy Bunny". Nice.

16 May 2006

Dying to Get Rich

In 1971, Melvin Van Peebles produced, directed, edited, and starred in Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which has now been dubbed the first “blaxploitaion” film. The films of the decade that followed used the commercial success of this film showing a Black man against the system and diluted the revolutionary-ness of the image to cater to white mass-market sensibilities. It’s this marketing and the re-appropriation of the caricature to a commercially viable creation that concerns me. As long as rappers can espouse “thug life” as cool and make lots of money from it- for themselves and more for their white owned record companies- this stereotype retains it’s power to terrorize white America while creating dangerous situations for Black men at large. The phenomenon of racial profiling is hinged on this caricature.
In Sweetback the movie’s stars were the Black community. In later movies, such as New Jack City (directed by Melvin’s son Mario Van Pebbles) the idea of community is used only to create a market for its own destruction. I use New Jack City as an example because it shows the generation of children born in the blaxploitation era and raised in the Reaganomics era of excess. Given the rise of drugs and violence in everyday urban life and the image of whites living “Dynasty” lives on TV, these children (now teenagers and adults) see money as the great equalizer. But the pursuit of material comforts demand an individualist capitalist modus operandi that is destroying the Black community and making Black men moving targets while commodifying Black women. In New Jack City, while they gave away turkeys to the community at Thanksgiving the “Cash Money Brothers” were in the process of turning a low-income apartment building into an all-inclusive crack haven. Therefore their seemingly generous gesture was really just a marketing scheme to win the trust of the community they were about to decimate and murder for profit.
Now with the popularity of everything hip-hop, what began as protest and revolution in lyrical and musical style, the line between commercialism and revolution has been smashed. Hip hop/ rap is used to sell everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Chevy cars. Hip-hop as a culture has, beginning in the mid ‘90’s become about “money, hoes, and clothes- all a nigga knows” (Notorious B.I.G. “Juicy”). The line between fiction and reality in hip-hop has blurred and the drug dealers become rappers Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Doggy Dog, Fat Joe, Jay-Z, Master P. are just a few of the more popular (and lucrative) examples. The violence needed to become a successful drug dealer bled into the reality of being successful rappers. Even rappers who had more middle class upbringings, like Tupac, fed into the brute stereotype because it sold albums. The “badass” moved from being an agent for revolution to a puppet for capitalism. Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac paid for their roles with their young lives.
The flip side of this image is the searing of it in the minds of white America. The brute image was created to instill fear of free Blacks into the minds of the post Civil War white consciousness, particularly white women. The conglomeration of the sexually indiscriminate and uncontrollable Black buck with the violent animalistic Black brute is what can be seen today most in media images. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation was the visual marriage of the two images locking the Black man’s sexuality with violence leaving the brute image as a predominate staple of American popular culture. In the “Law and Order” clip I showed in class the perception of the threat of rape, whether real or imagined, got a man killed. The perception of violence got Amadou Diallo massacred. Emmett Till was murdered for allegedly looking (sometimes the story is whistling) at a white woman in Mississippi in the 1950’s. It’s a commonly held perception that Black men are dangerous and they are being sold as such. From the Supreme Court to Brentwood, even outside of the hip-hop community Black men are dangerous.
But are they? I think so. I think so not because of the threat of physical violence but as a Black woman who is acutely aware of the psychic violence that is currently breaking down the Black community and communal ties. I’m aware of being called a bitch or a ho or being perceived as a gold digger or being bought for the price of a dinner. The media doesn’t tell me that’s how I’m treated, experience does. The rapper Nas released a song “You Owe Me”; he tells a young lady that she owes him her body because he’s bought her things. Female rappers aren’t blameless either; they perpetuate the wonton sexuality slave masters used as an excuse for their rapes of female slaves. Yet my concern is with the Black men, because it’s costing them their lives.
Sweetback was necessary viewing for the Black Panther Party because a Black character standing up for himself and rebuking a comfortable life as a nonentity was unprecedented. He used his sex to get himself out of trouble and even his sexual encounters were communal activities. He moved from being controlled by it to controlling it and using it as power. There are still flaws in that schematic, but he’s not a victim. Nino Brown killed his “brother” G-Money in New Jack City over what came down to his capitalistic individualism at the expense of the Cash Money Brothers (his created community), but still in the midst of that, a woman he “took” from G-Money. The notion of being “your brother’s keeper” keeps literally getting shot to bits and forget about being “your sister’s keeper”. There is no responsibility taken by these men (and women) for their actions. Yes- as an artist one should have the right to express themselves however they see fit. But it’s the proliferation of this one image for more than a century that is obviously gotten into our psyches as well. The saddest part is that as evidenced in the Fat Joe and R. Kelly video “We Thuggin’” simply being Black and Latino means thug… because they’re singing, dancing, talking about what they have and ogling women. That’s not thuggin’ not by Nino Brown’s standards. The contemporary rappers with their “ghetto fabulous thug” mentality now equate sex with money with power and it’s destroying the community- by my estimation.

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself

Ask Yourself: Are We Living The Dream?

If The Negro Would Try

"The Negro race has never tried to do very much for itself. The race has great possibilities. Properly awakened, the Negro can do the so-called impossible."

Carter G. Woodson

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself by Nannie Helen Burroughs
(Circa Early 1900's)

1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.


The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls "a good time." The Dr. Kelly Miller said, "The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he Needs." Too true!

2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself.


It is the "Divine Plan" that the strong shall help the weak, but even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do--Carry his own load--"Take up your bed and walk."

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive.


He must learn to "run his community up"--not down. We can segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a matter of race, it is a matter of standards. Believe it or not--some day, some race is going to outdo the Anglo-Saxon, completely. It can be the Negro race, if the Negro gets sense enough. Civilization goes up and down that way.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For Leisure.


Knowing what to wear--how to wear it--when to wear it and where to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance.


The leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually, and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship.

We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America, as well as in Africa. Ignorance--satisfied ignorance--is a millstone abut the neck of the race. It is democracy's greatest burden.

Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the cultivation of kindred social ideals, interests and standards.

It is a blending process that requires time, understanding and kindred purposes to achieve. Likes alone and not laws can do it.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His "Color" And To White People's Attitude.


The truth of the matter is that good service and conduct will make senseless race prejudice fade like mist before the rising sun.

God never intended that a man's color shall be anything other than a badge of distinction. It is high time that all races were learning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan. He will never become a vital factor in industry until he learns to put into his work the vitalizing force of initiative, skill and dependability. He has gone "RIGHTS" mad and "DUTY" dumb.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits.


He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He also has a bad reputation for conduct on the job--such as petty quarrelling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing, carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and--too often--liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places.


Taken as a whole, he is entirely too loud and too ill-mannered.

There is much talk about wiping out racial segregation and also much talk about achieving integration.

Segregation is a physical arrangement by which people are separated in various services.

It is definitely up to the Negro to wipe out the apparent justification or excuse for segregation.

The only effective way to do it is to clean up and keep clean. By practice, cleanliness will become a habit and habit becomes character.

10. The Negro Must Learn How To Operate Business For People--Not For Negro People, Only.


To do business, he will have to remove all typical "earmarks," business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating competition, graciously--in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of The Air. He Is Too Inflated Over Nothing. He Needs An Experience Similar To The One That Ezekiel Had--(Ezekiel 3:14-19). And He Must Do What Ezekiel Did


Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses, the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul. It will do all leaders good to read Hebrew 13:3, and the first Thirty-seven Chapters of Ezekiel.

A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its sensible "common people." A race rises on its own wings, or is held down by its own weight. True leaders are never "things apart from the people." They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble example and challenge them to "Come on!" Dante stated a fact when he said, "Show the people the light and they will find the way!"

There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the "latter-day leaders." In many cases, their names would never be recorded, among the unsung heroes of the world, but for the fact that white friends have written them there.

"Lord, God of Hosts, Be with us yet."


The Negro of today does not realize that, but, for these exhibits A's, that certainly show the innate possibilities of members of their own race, white people would not have been moved to make such princely investments in lives and money, as they have made, for the establishment of schools and for the on-going of the race.

12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. "Remember."


Read Deuteronomy 24:18. Deuteronomy rings the big bell of gratitude. Why? Because an ingrate is an abomination in the sight of God. God is constantly telling us that "I the Lord thy God delivered you"--through human instrumentalities.

The American Negro has had and still has friends--in the North and in the South. These friends not only pray, speak, write, influence others, but make unbelievable, unpublished sacrifices and contributions for the advancement of the race--for their brothers in bonds.

The noblest thing that the Negro can do is to so live and labor that these benefactors will not have given in vain. The Negro must make his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his feet and go forward--"God is no respector of persons. In every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is" sure to win out. Get to work! That's the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much about nothing instead of redeeming the time by working.



In spite of race prejudice, America is brim full of opportunities. Go after them!