Saturday, July 31, 2004


What! Posted by Hello

I seen this in the eyes of someone who looked just like me. A black man showed his ignorance and threw it in my direction, intentionally and without hesitation.

It happened today as I was exiting one of my favorite gas stations in Los Angeles. This particular station is located on Florence and Normandy; the hot spot that touched off the infamous Rodney King riots. Today it's a thriving intersection with gas stations, plenty of traffic and a liquor store. Progress? That's another story...

As I was exiting the driveway, a couple cars passed by slowly. The second one hesitated a little bit, probably because they thought about letting me out but didn't. That's cool... I'm patient. Then another car passed but stopped for the redlight and here comes dude.. Not only did he not let me out but he went out of his way to turn the front of his car toward the driveway so that I REALLY couldn't exit. I gave him a sarcastic thumbs up for his unnecessary display. It was sad...

When the light turned green he went about his way. One more car passed and then someone was kind enough to let me join the flow. One hint... He wasn't someone that looked like me. And then we wonder or we question why we dont stick together, support each other, stand together...Instead we get help from others to do what we should be doing for each other... Small moments speak volumes...

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Every Other Corner...

Figueroa and 106th Street Posted by Hello

"How you doing? The food pretty good in there?" I asked a brotha standing on a corner near Florence and Figueroa.

"Never tried it, man..." He responded.

The moment I asked the question, I had a few others pop inside my mind but I didn't dare ask. I wondered why he was even standing there and why he couldn't find something better to do in almost ninety degree weather? When he was growing up, was this something he aspired to do? Run to the corner and just stand there? Did he come from generations of family that passed down this tradition of corner standing?

After I got my food, I decided to take a drive down Figueroa Blvd. The street hadn't changed much and I've watched over a few decades its transition of bad to worse, to a couple new stores here and there but no real progress. I've seen motels closed or shutdown and re-opened. I've seen buildings and homes turned into small prisons because of all the bars and security doors. Everything is a fortress designed to keep the next door neighbor out because that's probably who robbed them the first time after they figured out when and what time someone would go and come back home from work. And once again, every other corner there was somebody standing, watching, waiting... Selling drugs? Maybe so... Selling themselves? Yeah, a few of those corners had a lost looking soul trying to entice someone to pullover.

Figueroa is a tough street. It's an old street and if it could talk, the stories would probably be pretty interesting. I'd personally like to discover a story filled with happiness and success rather than death and sadness.

I knew someone that lived about a block from Figueroa on 106th Street. Her name was Linda. She was half black and asian, originally from Hawaii. She was one gorgeous lady when I first met her back in 1992. Her english was broken but she'd try all the time. She said she enjoyed the way I spoke because she could feel my heart inside every word I'd choose. I didn't understand fully at the time what she'd mean't but I figured she'd found a cool way to say that I was a nice guy. I was taken by not only her beauty but also by the fact that she had this big afro at a time when you just didn't see it that often, not even in the hood but it looked good, on her.

After the first time we met and after an hour of gaining her confidence, I asked her for her phone number. I promised her that I would take her to a movie. She didn't believe me but she did give me her number. I delivered on my promise and she was stunning that day. Her afro was perfect and she had a little jean outfit on, looking good and smelling fresh like body lotion.

I took her to Westwood Village, which to her was a whole nother country. She was looking at the sky, at the tall buildings, and at some of the students she'd seen walking around in UCLA clothes. I remember her smiling and moving in close to me as we walked from the theatre to the car.

She asked "why come you do this for me?"

At first I shrugged my shoulders. I wasn't sure how to respond but then I figured I'd better, so I did. I told her, "I wanted to do something for you and I knew that taking you somewhere different might light up that smile I saw when we first said hello."

She thanked me and then I took her back home. I watched as her curious eyes basked in new discoveries the whole time I was driving. But then as we hit the Harbor Freeway and begun approaching familiar areas to Linda, her eyes retreated inside the car and she never took them off of me until we reached her front door. I could sense how she felt about where she lived or perhaps, existed. Her whole spirit had lost it's shine as we drove down Figueroa, passing all the very same things that I still passed today, many years later. Funny thing, back in 92, a month after I'd taken Linda to the movies, I drove down Figueroa and I saw her, standing on the corner. She didn't look like the same Linda.

I pulled over and called out to her "hey Linda!"

She started to smile but before she could say anything, a voice whose face I couldn't see stopped her from greeting me. It was a male voice sounding dark and cold like it had authority over Linda's soul.

"Yo Nina!" The voice said.

Linda's smile fell from her face and she walked away. I watched as she disappeared into the same darkness where the voice came from. It was pretty easy for me to recognize that Figueroa had claimed her and she'd become one of those lost souls who'd believe a certain corner to be theirs.

I bumped into Linda again about about eleven months later. She was again, different though she had more time to smile. We talked in a parking lot about a block away from her corner. She said she'd been to jail for shooting someone. She'd shot a female for trying to attack her with a knife. She said the female was jealous.

"She say I pretty so she want to make me look like her..." Linda said.

I told her she should think about leaving the area; maybe even going back to Hawaii where her family lived. She'd turn her head when I said that. She'd look out at the traffic and when I called her by who she'd become, she gave me her full attention.

"Yo Nina..." I said.

Today I drove down Figueroa and passed right by that corner of 106th Street. The corner was empty but my memories were still there. I kept driving. I stopped to get some gas on Century Boulevard. Then I hopped on the freeway and headed back home. The memories traveled with me and I figured I'd just place them right here...


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Day One 2 Day Now...

Cowboy dreams... Posted by Hello

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A gentle man with a deep soul, I've been described as. Personally I think I've inherited the trait from my grandfather but like most folks, we borrow from our own experience and environment. I have my moments when perhaps I'm not so gentle but somehow I stop myself from acting on stupidity and emotion. I take deep breaths. I know how to change the course of my actions before they get me in trouble. I feel blessed about that most times. I think it's better look back with embarrassment than to look back in shame...

Can you believe it? Today I wanted to kick the ass of this doctor I'd seen mistreating and talking down to a woman who was merely trying to help him. He treated her so badly that I couldn't resist stepping in. I had to say something. My eyes turned to fire. I could feel my insides boiling. The doctor said he mean't no harm but the damage seemed done as the woman's head hung low. I kept my cool as certain words that wanted to escape from my lips, remained locked away inside that part of my brain which just wanted so badly to spit out curse words. I'm not even sure why I got so mad but the positive is that my anger didn't last long. I was smiling and laughing five minutes later. I'd decided not to let the situation get the best of me... I've been happy as of late. Happy for no special reason and not because of love or anything else unless you're talking about love of self and excited about the future. I'm doing okay... I'm doing good.

One thing that got the best of me this past weekend was my disappointment in something that really should be a yearly event to look forward to and to be talked about until the next time it rolls around. I'm talking about a show that is supposed to represent black folks in a way that is glossed over and not really looked upon as something we were apart of in "his-story." I'm speaking of the old west and the disappointment was in the Bill Pickett Rodeo, which I watched last Saturday.

I grew up with cowboy dreams. My father taught me what he knew about the history and then he bought me a book that featured stories about Nat Love aka Deadwood Dick, Isom Dart, Rufus Buck, The Buffalo Soldiers, Stagecoach Mary, One Horse Charley, Bill Pickett and Texas John Slaughter. My father would use John Slaughter as his handle for when he'd be on the road talking to truckers with his CB radio. I guess I grew up with that sort of romantic view of cowboy life, if you will. It didn't hurt that I had a grandfather who was the perfect image of a tall in the saddle cowboy. I guess I say all that to say that when a show with the responsibility of history on it's shoulder rolls into town, they should come with the goods! They should bring the best talent they can find, teach everyone about the past, and demonstrate how special the future can be simply because we always continue to celebrate who we are... The Bill Picket rodeo failed to do that on a major scale as the best part of the show came at the very end when they unleashed all the wild horses into the arena and the entire crowd stood in appreciation of such beautiful animals running free. Those organizers should take note and try to make the entire show a representation of freedom. The kind of freedom that uplifts, inspires and says "we are an amazing people!" That show didn't make me feel amazing. It felt like a show with people going through the motions; retracing the same uninspired steps they took last year. They need to pass the torch if they can't represent with passion and pride... Give it to me! ==smile==

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Two Women, Two Stories...

The mind is an incredible thing.. Creativity is a blessing... Imagination is wild! Put it all together and you'll find yourself being visited by voices that come from somewhere and you embrace them. You let them speak and in turn, they share their lives.. Such is the case here as I share a little teaser of my upcoming works.. Two women from two different stories sharing a little taste of their experience...

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Zenobia Posted by Hello

Zenobia from "Until Again":
Everyday I looks at my child and wonder bout myself, bout Cudie, bout Eula Mae. I thinks to myself, will Atoya be truly better off? I had a little trouble giving birth to her and maybe it's cause I didn't want her to live while times be so bad for colored folk. She come out fighting. I hope that be a sign of her strength, though I can't tell right now. Most times she cry at night. It be just a little wimper, like she scared whenever it get dark. I hold her close to my heart and soon enough, she fall asleep.
I recall when Eula told me that our mother do the same thing with her. She say that as she lay in our mother's arms, close to her heart, she listen to the sound of it beating. It make her feel at ease and before she know it, she done slept all night cause the next time she open her eyes, the sun shining outside. That's what Eula told me. I does that with Atoya now, but some nights, I feel her jump like some noise wake her up. I never hears nothing.
I'd say "Atoya, what you hear, honey? Tell mama…"
She'd just look at me with her innocent eyes filled with fear, not knowing where she is. I wish I could hear what she thinking. I wish I could speak to her in some kind of way that tell her she be alright. Only thing I do is keep her close and love her. I do the things that I wished I could remember was done to me. Being a mama would feel so much better if I knew more bout my own instead of what Eula tell me. But I know my mama love me and she still watching. She can see my sadness. She can see what I constantly try to hide from others. She know and God knows that if I could, I would run and never, ever come back. But, I can't. I got to think about Atoya, first.
My child going on two years old, pretty soon. She say a few words and she walking already. She a gorgeous baby but unlike most, I look at her spirit and her heart. Most folk round here look at how light her skin be.
Those last few days before she was born, I prayed that her skin be dark as Cudie's or even darker if possible. I know she probably be treated better with her light skin but I figure if'n she dark then Mister David be angry and maybe he tell us to just leave his place. But as it turned out, Atoya come out lighter than me and Mister David just smile. He the happiest man, what ever seen a baby born.
He say "thank the lord, this child is white!" and he look around at everyone and laugh, especially at the slaves, standing nearby.
I knew then that I had to go. I had to leave the plantation and accept whatever be my fate. I prayed about it though I sometimes would feel like God ain't hear what I ask of him. So, I go with my baby in the back of Mister David's horse carriage. I hold Atoya close to me and watch as my new life begin and my old life become but a memory. Mister David take us to live with Mister Thompson and that's where we been now, ever since.
Mister Thompson hardly talk to me, except when he wants something done or comes home drunk. I always thought if I come here, I be treated kind but most of the time I feel like some dark secret. When he have guests over, they just stare at me and wonder. They don't see me out in the field and they don't see me working in the house so they wonders why I'm here. I get so sick when I see Mister Thompson, parade Atoya around like she his prize possession. And she just smile cause she so innocent and ain't learned yet how people really are.
Mister Thompson always call Atoya, Katherine and one time I got so upset behind it, I walk over to him and snatch her out of his arms. He look at me like I committed a sin. I later regretted it cause he had me beat. The skin on my back never been the same since then. I aint really been the same neither. I don't pray much any more. I just cry and I hate. Then I looks at Atoya and I try to be strong. I reach inside my soul and give her that part of me which stay hidden most times, now. I give her my love and I watch her smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Leesha Posted by Hello

Leesha from "My Life Is All I Have."

Meeting family didn’t really excite me because even family be trippin and acting like you should kiss they ass. I only pretended to be excited because grammy seemed excited. For me, meeting new family just made me nervous.
Mama’s huffing and puffing in the background caused my conversation to end early with grammy. Mama had a way with getting what she wanted. It was a trick that I noticed most really selfish people do. They play the victim role and act like what they need is more important than a nation of starving children. Mama was good at that shit and when she saw me hang up the phone, she reached her hand out like I’m supposed to know what she meant. Actually, I did know but I put the phone down and went to my room. She could pick up the phone herself and I wasn’t about to sit and listen to her talk to Victor. I went to my room and slammed the door shut.
I turned on my radio and then plopped down on my bed. I felt strange for a moment, thinking about my surroundings. I looked out the window and focused my attention on the apartment across the street. There was nothing really to see and I wasn’t really looking hard. I just sat there, thinking and watching. I could hear mama through my door, on the phone. She was laughing. Victor makes her happy I guess. I can’t be like her when I’m on my own. She can’t live without having a man in her life and that’s really sad because the ones she chooses be so messed up.
I had to turn my radio up louder. I got tired of hearing mama’s voice. She was calling him sweetie pie and shit. That turned my stomach. I wanted to call Scottie and see if maybe he wanted to come with me to the party. Then I thought maybe grammy wouldn’t approve. That might put her in shock to see me bringing a guy to one of our family functions. It’s not like we have very many. Not any more, at least.
Grammy mentioned that there would be family coming to the party that I hadn’t seen in years. That made me wonder if my cousin Luther was coming. He’s real cool but crazy as hell. I used to look up to him when I was little. It would be a trip to see him now. Mama don’t like him because she says he’s a thug. She don’t date thugs. She’s only attracted to wimps and assholes like Victor.
Luther was a true thug. He was a serious gangbanger and definitely in it for life. He’d been in and out of jail, mostly for robbery or selling weed and violating his parole, but he ain’t never been caught for doing some of the things we’d hear about but didn’t know if it were true. Despite all that, Luther was a sweetheart and was all about family. I was his pride and joy when I was little and I’d see so much love in his eyes until I knew that no matter when or if I’d ever see him again, I knew he loved his little cousin Leesha.
Scottie kind of reminded me of Luther except that my cousin was a few years older. I had thoughts about the two meeting each other but then I figured it might not be cool because of a possible rivalry or something. You always had to be leery of someone’s affiliation in LA because everybody always belonged to something, even if it was just them claiming their neighborhood.
I slept on and off most of the night and it seemed like mama stayed on the phone forever. Every time I woke up I could hear her voice. I tossed and turned a lot and it wasn’t just because of mama. I kept thinking about the party and why it seemed so important to grammy. I started to think that maybe she was gonna tell everybody she moving away or maybe she’s sick. I would’ve died if I didn’t always know I could walk to grammy’s house to escape the jungle I live in. Having no alternative to mama was like being sentenced to twenty years to life. Your heart sees no other choice but to become numb ‘cause the rest of you be in total shock.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hope you enjoyed this little taste.. Be on the lookout for the main course when they hit the shelves everywhere! WarmBlessings...

Sunday, July 11, 2004

2 All Of These, I Say Yes...

Ever seen a woman smile because she'd found you to be true? Ever seen a woman laugh because your honesty moved her spirit? Ever seen a woman cry because you connected with her very essence? Ever seen a woman close her eyes because everything you said reminded her of the dreams she once had? Ever watch a woman sleeping and wish you could be one with her soul? Ever watch a woman share her passion and realize what you mean in her life? Ever watch a woman grip the soil where the body of a loved one lied beneath? Ever watch a woman close her eyes and die? Ever watch a woman open her heart and then lie? Ever had a woman embrace you because you'd given her new life? Ever held a woman so close that nothing else mattered but the unspoken words and the hug itself? Have you ever stood back and really watched a woman?

5 Most Requested Moments!

The Hits! Posted by Hello

I have a fascination with memories and with revisiting what once was. Some moments I missed as they happened and others I was completely aware of because I cherished every second. With that being said, I'd like to take a look at five of my most requested moments. Meaning, if God gave me a time machine, I'd go back to these moments and LIVE them all over again!

Number one: At the tender age of maybe five or six(I can't remember which) I proposed to a little girl living in the same apartment building as me and my family. It was in LA over on 24th Street, near Arlington. She accepted and with the help of our very active imaginations, we created a wedding. Looking back on it, I have no clue how we even knew what to do but we did. We were moved by our hearts and I can remember having a lot of fun. Maybe that was the first sign that I'd grow up with a very romantic soul. The kind of heart that a woman can look inside of and tell I'm genuine if she's able to step outside of herself.(wink 2 all y'all)

The location of our wedding was in this storage room located behind the apartment building. It was the size of a small garage. The little girl's name was April. Her family had boxes of old clothes and in one of the boxes was a tuxedo and top hat. I put on the coat and top hat and danced around. I was probably imitating Fred Estaire or maybe the Nicholas Brothers. I remember feeling very excited and then I stopped in my tracks when I'd seen April putting on a white dress.

"Yuck!" I'd said.
"What's wrong?"
"You should wear something cool like what I got on!"
"I'm a girl!"

Well, despite our brief disagreement we said all the vows we knew how to say and then I patted April on the shoulder and told her she could ride my tri-cycle. Then just before she sat down, she kissed me... "Yuck!!!"

Number Two: Many summers I would visit my grandparents in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. I remember one occasion when I stayed with them as a young boy. I loved spending time with my grandfather but I hated those long country nights! It would get so dark out there. This was before they had any sort of street light and there was hardly anything on the nearby highway as it is today. Now it doesn't get so dark because of a nearby Walmart, Home Depot and a whole slew of fast food places, gas stations, etc etc...

Anyway, I remember one summer getting up every morning to the sound of the rooster crowing and cows mooing outside. I'd look out the window and see my Grandfather carrying a couple sacks on his back. He'd get up even before the rooster every morning. Seeing him outside only made me excited. I wanted to go out there and join him so I'd start putting on my overalls just like him and my cowboy boots. I'd be half dressed trying to run outside, only to be stopped by my grandmother who would tell me she was almost done making breakfast. I'd smell biscuits and eggs. She'd pour a tall glass of milk that came straight from the cow. I got fat during that summer. So much so that my mother put me on a diet when I got back home...

When I caught up with my grandfather outside, I walked alongside of him feeling proud. He gave me his hammer so I could put it in the loop on the pants leg of my overalls. I could walk and feel like I was a working man on the farm! Grandpa would take care of the cows, the pigs, the chickens and the horses all in one morning before taking me to see other farms and places that he'd do business with. He worked from sun up to sundown, as they say. And during this time, all his brothers were still around. They had farms too with green pastures that were as far as the eye could see and the mind could imagine. One very powerful image that always comes to mind is when all the brothers had met up at the oldest brother's(George) farm. I stood there holding the hand of my grandfather, listening to these powerful southern male voices and looking up to them as if they were trees. They all stood very tall... George, Charlie, Oscar, and my grandfather, Virgil Rivers.

The day would usually end with my grandfather telling my grandmother to give me some cake. Although in his words, he liked to call it "boo-boo." He'd say after taking a puff of his pipe, "Senora, give this boy some of that boo-boo you made.." And then he'd sit back in his rocking chair, smile contently and listen to my grandmother tell him about whatever was going on... Maybe he'd given cake that special name because of the affect it would later have on me after I digested it! Whew! It was delicious and super rich! The benefit of having fresh eggs, butter and milk at your disposal.

Number three: Back in the day, me and my uncle Richard used to hangout all the time. We'd play music and sports together. I would get a hell of a lesson on musicianship and watch in amazement as he would imitate some of the musical licks of the Tower Of Power horn players. Richard Moorings was always my hero from day one... My uncle.. Another tall brotha with style and a knack for driving the ladies crazy..

One of our favorite past times was going up to this local school called Palms Elementary. We'd usually do this on the weekends. We'd have with us a can of tennis balls, two baseball bats and two gloves. We'd play what I believe we called, Strike Out. We'd have to strike the other out. As I got older, I got better but I do remember many years of seeing Richard's bat connect with my fast ball. I hit a few good ones too but mostly I just remember the fun we had and how proud I felt just being around my uncle. It would probably be a trip to play against each other now. We've allowed too many years to go by without really hanging with each other. Growing up, working hard, leading different lives, etc etc... It's a trip how things like that get in the way but nothing ever stops the love and my uncle to this day remains my hero.

Number Four: Back before that infamous 9-11 impacted our world's history, there was a moment in time that impacted the history of my heart. I'd find someone very special. A connection first generated by words and shared thoughts. We found common ground in the past. A passion for seeking out our roots and at the time, a passion for discovering who we were to each other. So began a beautiful love affair...

Every milli-second of the times we spent talking, I can remember. Every thought shared from day one, I can still visualize. And when that day became a reality that we'd meet for the first time in her gorgeous city of Seattle, I can still walk through every emotion that I felt that day.. Excitement, nervousness, fear, happiness, comfort, love, belonging, and making sure that the time we had meant everything to the both of us... This moment was nothing short of magical. THIS moment is what movies should be made about because if everyone could've seen this on a big screen, the whole world would fall in love. It was 24hrs of heaven that I wished could've been stuck on repeat mode.

Number Five: Discovery... I love to travel and discover new things, places.. I love to experience actual journeys when I travel. Ever since my father passed away a few years back, I've been taking trips usually during the month in which he died. My first such trip was when I decided to travel to places that I thought would've been so cool to do with him and to this day I wish we had but in hindsight, we always come up with the best ideas.

Anyway, my journey as always took me to east Texas. Mt. Pleasant, Daingerfield, and Pittsburg, Texas. I hungout in the backwoods and small towns, visiting family and meeting those I'd never met before. I spent a good week doing this as I prepared for the unknown part of my trip. I was to drive for the first time through Arkansas and on into Tennessee and eventually into Mississippi. My first stop was Memphis. I had the time of my life. A visit to the Lorraine Motel forever touched my heart and a sweet smelling discovery on Highway 61 forever set my tastebuds on fire! I'm speaking of Jim Kneeley's Interstate BBQ. Wow!! And now, it's always my yearly mission to get back there and get some more!

My next stop was Clarksdale, Mississippi and at the time, this was my first time in this state. It felt so different to me, so eerie and yet so addicting too.. I loved feeling like I was so close to history in a way... The kind of history that fascinates me and when my father was alive, it fascinated him as well.. Blues history... Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Son House and others... I visited the infamous crossroads but I imagine it looks nothing like it once did many many years ago. It's now an intersection with gas stations on a couple corners and way too much traffic blowing by. I visited the beautiful Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. I've been twice more since this first visit and each time it gets better as they continue to add on to it. This journey was very special to me and then I can remember running out of time.. I needed to get back to Texas because I had only a few days to spend there before heading home to California. And with that said, the most powerful moment of this trip happened as I'd crossed the Mississippi River coming out of Memphis, headed toward Arkansas. The sun was going down, the sky was like a lazy orange color melting away slowly.. I switched from my cassette player to the radio. I picked up on a station coming out of Memphis. I dont remember the number but the song playing was "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke. That song was the perfect soundtrack to the highway I was traveling as I could see the Mississippi river in my rearview mirror fade into the distance. And by the time the song was over, I could see Memphis no more. Darkness had rolled in and so began the end to my journey in celebration of my father. I know he enjoyed the ride 'cause I sure did! Hits and more hits! Life is a helluva journey if you allow it to be..

Friday, July 09, 2004

Time Makes Room For Familiar Strangers

Doing fine... Posted by Hello

I pulled up in the driveway of this gorgeous country home on Green Street. The moment I stepped outside my car, I could smell the freshly mowed grass. I looked in the direction of which I came, thinking about how gorgeous the surrounding landscape was. Every direction was a picture perfect snapshot for any travel magazine.

I made my way around my car, taking careful steps. I was a little nervous about meeting this woman. We'd never met before and yet I'd heard so much about her. She'd never met me before but family has said she'd spoken of me often. I felt strange appearing this way but it was necessary.

A gentle breeze caught my attention just before I knocked on the door. I took a deep breath and smiled. I glanced at the old wooden screen door and knocked as firmly as I could without damaging the wood. I waited but no response. I tried to peek through the window but found no light, allowing me to see if anyone was home. I knocked again and waited some more. Still, no answer.

There was a lone rocking chair on the front porch, swaying back and forth just a little; probably caused by the breeze. I decided to sit inside the chair and continue to wait. Maybe the woman would return home soon and we could still meet.

I sat down and began rocking slowly, back and forth. My mind focused on conversations I'd had with other family about this woman I'd wanted to meet. I was told this woman was a close friend of the family who everyone sort of adopted and embraced into their hearts. Then I began hearing echoes of comments made. Words that floated by like the breeze that filled the country air.

"We called her cousin Calsa." A voice echoed.

"She was so fond of your grandparents. Uncle Virgil took her in like a little sister and she looked up to that man like he could do no wrong."

"She's a sweetheart, always inviting folks to stop by for a visit. She never ask for nothing. She never want folks to fuss over her. She just like to visit."

"Cousin Calsa say she want to meet you 'cause she seen pictures and say you look just like Uncle Virgil. She say over and over how she want to meet you at least one time..."

The screen door swung open and startled me. I stood up to close it shut as the breeze had kicked up a little bit stronger. I knocked one more time just in case. I waited for a few more minutes before stepping off the front porch. With each step as I returned to the car, I glanced back at the little country home. It was so peaceful that the sound of my disappointment could probably be heard as far as the next county. I didn't get to meet Calsa on my first visit to her home but I would meet her another time when it wouldn't be possible to really sit and talk. That moment left me with an image that I will never forget as a teary eye'd woman embraced me and whispered in my ear, "I knew I'd see you before I leave..."

Today Calsa prepares her spirit for the other side and I am so thankful to have met her once. I have no doubt I will find her many more times through memories shared by and because of love... Peace...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Road Was Da Bomb...

July Trip Posted by Hello

I'm back from a trip that took me from LA to New Orleans and in between two cities where excitement awaits, I journey'd to the backwoods of Daingerfield Texas. It was a cool visit with an angel, my cousin Maggie and an eye opening look at the dark side one can find within one's own family. It's amazing how one small country road can be the dividing factor between the two, but that's another story for another time.

New Orleans was fabulous! It was paradise for me as I drove into the downtown area. I got off on Poydras and headed down to the HIlton Riverside. I only looked back because I'd seen just as many beautiful sistahs in my rearview mirror as I'd seen through my front windshield. Paradise... Heaven... An island for a healthy imagination... And as I look back on the highlights of it all, I smile as each and every thought runs across my mind. Prince on Friday night with The Time, Morris Day, Shelia E., Chaka Khan, Doug E. Fresh... Saturday morning I had a latte and three beignets followed by several booksignings and meeting cool folks like author, Eric Pete. Saturday night at the Magic Johnson black and white affair. Ladies galore parading everywhere, no food to be found, drinks all over the place, free glasses of Remy Martin... Uh oh, I tried some and I knew I shouldn't have had two glasses of rum punch on an empty stomach... Head spinning but I stayed strong until I got to my hotel room. Before I could remove an ounce of clothing, zzzzzzzzzz! I was out like a light! Sunday was travel time as an incredible weekend came to a close but I couldn't leave Louisiana without hooking myself up with some boudain balls. I drifted down the highway with stronger dreams and more memories... Life is a good thang!