Thursday, December 29, 2005
I painted this woman after meeting her in my dreams. I awoke one morning having literally tasted the air she breathed. This woman who lived over a hundred years ago blessed me with the opportunity to witness how she lived, struggled, loved and even died. How could I not put her image to canvas considering the way in which she came into my life. I thought God was playing a funny trick on me or maybe my boy, Byron hypnotized me because I'd cover my ears when somebody started lecturing me about sacrifices folks made years ago. Zenobia didn't have to explain her sacrifice; she showed me... Now my only question is why and what do I take from this experience? This has got to be about more than just inspiration, allowing me to paint with more realism. What Zenobia has given to me and even to my art is a purpose...new life... and even love but where do I go with it?
Monday, December 26, 2005
(A memory shared by family about Christmas time in Daingerfield, a small town in east Texas as told by George Rivers, the eldest son born to Lucy and Joe Rivers.)
Christmas wasn't much for us in east Texas. Only thing I seen that give me a different feeling about it was the change in weather. Those days we couldn't get much done. Working on the farm was always cut short 'cause of so much ice on the ground. Papa Joe just had all of us chopping wood and with five boys, by the end of the day we had enough firewood for a whole month. Once Joe seen all that wood we collected, he'd start to smile. He'd think about all those white folks close to town that be looking for firewood and willing to pay a lot of money for a healthy supply. Joe usually sneak off with the wood we done chopped and he take it to town and sell it. Then we dont see him for a couple days but just to be safe, we still do our chores and chop more wood. Joe a mean man when he seen stuff aint done the way he like it. I calls him Joe because, well that's his name but also because he dont respond to daddy or papa; at least not when it's me speaking them words. I'm the oldest and you would think the favorite but Joe ain't got a favorite with his boys. He hardly even look us in the eyes unless we do something he dont like.
I recall one particular Christmas where I got a little fed up with our family not having a nice time with a big dinner celebration. I didn't want for us to have to pile up in the wagon and ride to church for a Christmas meal like we always done before. Mind you, it was always good seeing family and friends there. Grandma Moriah own that church so the doors always open but for once, I wanted to see my family have a meal at home, sitting around our own table and mama saying the prayer before we eat. I decided, that's what we was gonna do so, there I was, taking the wagon by myself to the supply store about two miles up the road.
Mama Lucy yelled at me from the porch "George Rivers, where you going off to?"
"Gone to the store! I be back soon!" I told her.
Mama just shake her head and then go back in the house. I worked at other farms, tending to cattle, chopping wood, clearing brush. I did all I could to bring home some money 'cause I know what Joe make, he keeps most of to himself or spend on something that have nothing to do with the family. I felt like; being the oldest son I needed to be a man.
Once I made it to the supply store, I pulled out every last dollar I had in my pocket. I had enough to buy plenty and when I was done, I was a proud young man. I had about a quarter left and I stood there flippin it in the air without a care in the world. I could already imagine the look on mama's face when she see all this food she be able to cook. And my brother's be mighty happy to be drinking something other than water from the well.
My pride ended before I could lift myself back up into the wagon. I heard a deep familiar voice say my name and I liked to froze in my tracks. The quarter I was flippin in the air fall to the ground and that was the last I seen of it because I didn't pay it no mind any longer.
"Boy, what you doing over here?"
That voice belonged to Joe and he ain't sound too happy. I turned around and his eyes stared so hard at me I could barely see if they were open or closed. They just looked like two dark holes in his face. I didn't say a word as he come closer to the wagon and get off his horse.
"Where you get the money to pay for all this here?"
Joe tossed around the flour, sodas, and everything else he could reach for. A couple bottles broke open. My first thought was to put out my hand to try and prevent him from breaking more. Then as soon as Joe felt my hand touch his arm, he turned toward me with all his might and slapped me with his open hand. Joe was strong to where an open handed slap felt like heavy leather hitting you upside your head. I fell to the ground but I got right back up. Joe kicked and cursed at me. I defended myself by putting my hands up but then as I seen some white men come outside the store and start laughing, I swung back at Joe. I hit him, too. He backed up and glared at me. He told me to go back home. I stood still until I seen him get on his horse and head that way first. Those white men snickered as I tried to put all that I bought back inside the large sack they gave me inside the store. I didn't want nothing else to break. Once I got home, Joe was waiting for me but Mama was standing on the front porch too. I was bleeding from my right ear and my clothes were all dirty but I walked up those stairs and inside the house feeling proud of my sacrifice. If Joe couldn't do for his family what a man should do then as the oldest, I was gonna make sure this family enjoy what family's is supposed to have. Ain't no excuse for a man to think his responsibilities can wait while he go have fun. Me and Joe never talk again. We just stare and when words need to be shared, we speak through somebody else. Mama tells me what he say and I tells her. She dont like the anger in her house but Joe gone so much that he take that anger with him 'cause he the only one I ain't respect. Christmas felt a little better that night because we could stay home and eat at our own table... Mama say a prayer and she smile. My brothers, Virgil and Charlie pat me on the shoulder 'cause they sitting next to me. The others nod like they proud. Joe was somewhere else in the house or he could've been gone. It didn't much matter 'cause mama and us couldn't contain our joy, we had our own Christmas celebration... When mama said "amen," we all said it and this time we mean't it.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
MY BEST AND WORST OF 2005:
1) Was 2005 a good year for you? For the most part despite the lows and losses, it was fabulous..
2) What was your favorite moment of the year? Tie between seeing the reaction of L. Dawg when I showed her the cover to My Life Is All I Have and the incredible feeling when Tee C. Royal let a lot of folks know that my epic story, Until Again is a future bonafide classic. Other moments come to mind as well(great walks, Sunset Blvd. closeness, meat pies in Natchitoches, La., walking and photographing New Orleans, and another visit to the St. Augustine Church near the Cane River) but those two moments are great things that will spill over into 2006 and will be attached to the success of those two incredible stories...
3) What was your least favorite moment of the year? Having to serve as pallbearer for my cousins funeral in the very same church that I once witnessed her get married. Nevertheless, both times I was proud to be her cousin..
4) Where were you when 2005 began? Standing outside under the moonlight eating some Ritz crackers until I heard a couple gunshots.... oops...
5) Who were you with? I was enjoying the company of me...
6) Where will you be when 2005 ends? Not quite sure yet...
7) Who will you be with when 2005 ends? Noise..
8) Did you keep your new years resolution of 2005? Yeah..
9) Do you have a new years resolution for 2006? Same as last years.. do better, look better, make somebody smile...
10) Did you fall in love in 2005? Hmmmm...perhaps deep like.. I tossed pebbles in an ocean of love but never did my rock hit the center and sink to the depths of the ocean... get to the point, right? lol...
11) If yes, with who? Hmmm... Its like I tossed pebbles....lol...
12) If yes, do they know? perhaps suspect the sincerity of my deep liketh-ness..
13) Are you still in love with them? I aint had a chance to hit that level yet...
14) You regret it? What's to regret?
15) Did you breakup with anyone in 2005? Nope..
16) Did you make any new friends in 2005? Yes...
17) Who are your favorite new friends? L Dawg, Big E., Eric Peete, Patrick
18) What was your favorite month of 2005? Can't remember..
19) Did you travel outside of the US in 2005? No.
20) How many different states have you traveled in 2005? Six
21) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2005? Any loss is too close for comfort...
22) Did you miss anybody in the past year? Yes.
23) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2005? Crash
24) What was your favorite song from 2005? I'll Be Late by Kanye West
25) What was your favorite album from 2005? Late Registration by Kanye West
26) How many concerts did you see in 2005? memory lapse on concerts..
27) Did you have a favorite concert in 2005? same as above..
28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2005? Nope
29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2005? No drugs.
31) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year? Nope
33) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2005? Dont believe in remembering someone else's lie.. I'd only be serving as the mirror to their stupidity...
34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2005? Probably but it was unintentional as I was blinded by that human quality of being in a bad mood and reacting out of anger... We always hurt the ones we dont wish to hurt when that sort of thing happens...
35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2005? Oh yesssss and they get the why-you-be-trippin-like-that sticker placed on their forehead!
36) How much money did you spend in 2005? Too much but it never hurted...
37) What was your proudest moment of 2005? Making someone happy without one second of thought about what I'd get in return.
38) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2005? Cant really remember...
39) If you could go back in time to any moment of 2005 what would it be? None because even those good moments were meant to be as long or as short as they were. I'm much more interested in seeing if the wisdom of time can allow for those moments to have much deeper meaning to the foundation that completes me...
40) What are your plans for 2006? Be hot like fire, flow like water, remain humble, stay sweet, be bad, be good, keep a sense of humor(I laugh at my moments of deepeth-ness though its always sincere and meant as food for thought/expressions of honest feelings), enjoy the journey, feel the disappointments, celebrate the achievements, support and champion others, live good and keep those blessings warm..
Thanks to Alli for this creative exercise in lookin back... *smile*
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The hands of time move so fast that it makes a lot of things blurry. As I adjust the focus during the last few days of 2005, I notice a few folks who dont take the time to appreciate or recognize sincerity when it's rubbing their shoulders... Sadly, disappointment was one of the gifts that I opened this year for Christmas and its been an eye-opener.
I did something different this year during my usual three week vacation. I stayed home, stayed in Cali and got in some much needed relaxation. It was cool but it's not me... I've felt a big part of me missing because I wasn't out there on the road, traveling from town to town in the south like I usually do. All that delicious food on the road, the uncertainty of what's around the corner and all the beautiful history found in the land, spirits and eyes of people I'd encounter along the way. I miss placing flowers on the graves of my father, grandfather and grandmother.. I even miss the cold weather during this time of year and the smell of Texas when I'd typically first arrive just outside of El Paso in the early evening searching for a hotel to lay my head for the night. Next year I've got to make my return to the road... Its in my blood to hit that highway and document through pictures and special memories, every moment of my travel...
Now, 2006 is almost here and I'm trying to stay motivated; keep everything in perspective and make sure my dreams remain in focus...I usually like to indulge in a year-end wrap up so I thought I'd start on a few things...a few thoughts... inspirations, disappointments, etc etc...
2006 brings with it a whole lot of promise and cool things on the horizon... 2005 was fun, interesting, emotionally exhausting and even uplifting at times... It brought a whole slew of new friends, a deepening of current friendships, and a few disappointments that can only be classified as mind boggling, just-dont-get-it-type-of-stuff... I may have to make an appointment with my friend Dr. Stephanie to see if she can place the card of enlightenment in these blurry hands.
I had a chit-chat recently with one of my fellow white chocolate mocha drinkers outside the Magic Johnson's Starbucks in the Ladera Center. He too was wondering what's the deal with folks today... The lack of concern... The tossing away of positive experiences for the party-party gotta get paid mentality...
He said to me, "when you got somebody good in your life be it friendship or a deeper reason, you hold on to them.. If you got folks that can't appreciate real sincerity or the stability of a strong hand that reaches out to them with no expectations, let them go... More than likely they'll leave anyway due to the clueless induced, trifling behavior that floods they veins.. Youngblood, people be seriously trippin these days..."
After we sat in silence for a minute possibly pondering similar thoughts, a car drove by blasting a new song with the familiar vocals of Too Short rapping "I do it everyday anyway, 'cause I gotta get paid..." We both laughed. Dude said to me "see what I mean, that shit is everywhere.."
When I got to my car after enjoying the chit-chat, I took out my journal and began to scribble some poetic thoughts down... I never finished it because I didn't want to harp on something that got me down or had me feeling confused but this is how the half that I wrote read from my thoughts to the page in my journal.
I'm sitting on the shoulders of time watching rainbows float by.. They look like dreams that glow with no real focus.. Women that wave with smiles like love is hopeless.. But I know that not to be true... I hear the sounds of waves crashing in the distance. The wisdom emanated from patience... I grow in the midst of undecided hearts trying to figure out direction... Waiting to tell me that perhaps another time things could be different. Time has nothing to do with it, at least not the present. Your mind has decided that you and I have no mission. Your past appears to dictate your decision... I listen... I offer to you friendship because from day one that was always priority...foundation... I hurt but I foster no regret. My heart and intention overflowed with respect... first, last and forever.. Life is clever... New hope floats by and changes my mind from never to this might be better...
Anyway, I'm excited about the next book coming out and thanks to a fabulous publicist/friend(Glenys), we're gonna do big things with this novel..(My Life Is All I Have) The cover is the bomb and the choice of model has turned out to be the best choice because she represents the character in more ways than I originally imagined... Sort of like life imitating art... You'll have to read and get inside the character's(Leesha) mind in order to know what I mean... Now I'm in search of a new model for my book due out in the fall of 2006 called "Until Again." I've got two choices already in the running and both I'm sure will be beautiful but it's gotta be right because this story is epic.. It's very special and it was completely motivated and inspired by the kind of LOVE folks dream about... I know I do... It's dedicated to my great grandmother Mama Julia on my mother's side, my great great grandmother Moriah Rivers on my father's side and the initial inspiration and reason for the title; a beautiful woman who during four months of my life shared something with me that felt as powerful as an eternity... Despite a certain recent misunderstanding, she(Ardys) has my love(friendship) forever.... One day she will finally see what I've been telling her about for years. This story is the most amazing journey put on paper...
Well, I leave this interesting year behind with no one to fill my heart.. That's a sad admission for a brotha who is definitely passionate about love and remains a big supporter of such a blessing... I've got amazing shoulders to lean on(Angela, Shelia, Jamise, Missy, Apryl, Big E., Arnail, Kitten, Kim, etc etc) and I thank those who send me compliments and cool affirmations about whom they see in me... I especially thank Angela for being there for me on October 6th. Powerful experience... But in closing, It's not hard to be sincere... To not be is when you find yourself struggling to represent in the right way so instead you find ways to remove yourself or to simply no longer care but I'll be here when you do and it be that way because from day one, my intentions were always sincere... From this romantic soul to the world...Happy New Year...
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
This post is dedicated to the always worrying, "I tell you" saying mother of mine... She worries about her son but I'm just fine. She's an amazing woman though most of the time she doesn't know this; we both gonna be fine. She can read it in the stars and listen to the words of others; she got a good son... *smile*
She got a son that remembers the years; details of which she's left behind. She's sacrificed on many levels for me and I am grateful. She's intelligent and beautiful; takes care of business. I know that even my father respected that in her. Maybe one day she'll verbally tell me she's proud but that's not what I shoot for. I'm enjoying a good life and I want her's to be fabulous as well. Good times, bad times, tragedy, celebration, it all happens in life but the beautiful thing is when you take the time to be thankful, to document in the most special and profound way that thing which is never held up enough for the world to see..... L-O-V-E... I wanna play that Dear Mama song by Tupac but instead for now since this is the season I'll simply sing... Happy Holidayzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
Rolling back the hands of time and memory when romance took me to northern Cali... I remember this young lady with an interesting name.. Xochilt... I met her by way of the internet when it was just beginning.. AOL counted the minutes back then and if you weren't careful..chi-ching! You got hit up for a big bill... Nevertheless, I caught a sweet connection with this lovely lady.. She intrigued me with her innocence while at the same time she was always determined to voice her opinion and be the shit, constantly.. She could verbally move from a northern Cali way of speak to a very heavy caribbean accent in seconds... I loved the sound.. I drove hundreds of miles one time just to deliver flowers to her on her job. She was thrilled and touched. We celebrated with lunch on Fisherman's Wharf, ate lobster thermador and listened to some sweet caribbean music played on steel drums.. We had a nice time.. It remained nice for a while; this moment in time until the threat of a deeper relationship made things complicated. Neither of us were ready and I had no clue back then either... I made desperate attempts to understand my own thoughts but everything got foggy.. We argued over silliness which sent us both in strange territory.. We lashed out and things ended... We gained nothing but a need to dislike one another for reasons that will forever remain a mystery to both of us... Friendship should've been the foundation we should've worked on.. Friendship is the kind of soil you can walk on forever and thus wake up ten, twenty years later and still be able to say "yo, what you up to today?" and be able to smile and laugh and pick up from any amount of time left behind... I think back and pray that this lady is alive, kickin, lovin, and bless'n the world around her with her spirit... I dont know what makes me think of her now but when memories come I figure, you might as well share..... Blessings...
Monday, December 12, 2005
Laughter is like music to the ears just as a smile is a stroke of genius...
It's always easier to close chapters once the truth is revealed and as a result an epiphany hits you like a revelation saying "I'm gonna be just fine.."
Blessings are the memories that linger and keep you in awe of the person framed inside your thoughts..
Friday, December 09, 2005
I lifted this creative exercise from the Sell Crazy Some Place Else blogsite...
1) My uncle once: performed on that really old television show called Midnight Special.
2) Never again in my life: will I remember what I'm never again supposed to do...
3) When I was five: I got married.
4) High School was: a learning experience on and off the school grounds.
5) I will never forget: yes I will...
6) I once met: Tupac in the bathroom at the Glam Slam Niteclub in Downtown LA.
7) There's this girl I know who: frowns for no reason, not recognizing that she could be on the list of most beautiful women in the world if she simply relaxed...
8) Once, at a bar: I witnessed the most beautiful smile in all of God's creation..
9) By noon I'm usually: waking up my spirit.
10) Last night I: Made an unsuccessful attempt at xmas shopping, came home, watched Love Jones and ate some delicious tuna fish sandwiches and sweet potato fries. Washed it all down with some of that there Arizona Sweet Southern Tea...
11) If I had only: had one more hug...
12) Next time I go to church: I'll stay longer and stop noticing how suggestive the women be dressin!
13) What worries me most: people taking time for granted...for that matter taking each other for granted..
14) When I turn my head right, I see: my journal sitting near a row of candles..
15) When I turn my head left, I see: a spilled drink underneath my window..
16) You know I'm lying when: I head butt you before I answer..
17) You know what I miss most about the eighties: When Prince woke everybody up musically..
18) If I was a character written by Shakespeare, I'd be: out of my element..
19) By this time, next year: I'll be smiling and celebrating....hopefully..
20) A better name for me would be: Shorty
21) I have a hard time understanding: why sincerity and giving just because is so misunderstood... or even feared..
22) If I ever go back to school I'll: prove I'm smarter than I used to be...
23) You know I like you if: you like me too...
24) If I won an award, the first person I'd thank would be: that unknown, most popular person that goes by the name of "umm.." I'd like to thank ummm....
25) Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferarro are: People who weren't blessed with great first names but still followed their dreams to do their thang.
26) Take my advice, never: worry about the definition or what others might think, LOVE is alright.
27) My ideal breakfast is: Hot pancakes with delicious butter and maple syrup on the front porch of a beautiful country home while watching strong gorgeous horses hanging out in the field.
28) A song I love, but do not have is: cant think of anything right now..
29) If you visit my hometown, I suggest: plenty of money..nothing is free..
30) Why won't anyone: say thank you when you let them in your lane...big city life..
31) If you spend the night at my house, DO: make me feel good about allowing you to do so..
32) I'd stop my wedding for: no one unless I found myself standing next to past experiences who almost became..... yuck...
33) The world could do without: expensive prices...
34) I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: nah...lets not go there...
35) My favorite blonde is: any beautiful sistah that puts on a blonde wig for two seconds and then promptly removes it...
36) Paperclips are more useful than: glue
37) San Diego means: cool place to ride a train to from LA.
38) And by the way: I'm a sweetheart....genuine...
Monday, December 05, 2005
A funny thing happened to me while driving down Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles. Two ladies tried to stop me by any means necessary. They almost crashed into my car but luckily they didn't. At the corner of MLK and Crenshaw, the lady in the passenger side screamed out "THAT AIN'T DENZEL!!" Then she went on to say "HEY! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE DENZEL WASHINGTON!" I laughed and then I said, thank you. It appeared that the other woman who was behind the wheel thought I ignored her friends' compliment so she screamed out the window too.
"UMM, SHE SAID YOU LOOK LIKE DENZEL!!"
I had to repeat my thank you and then they both got into a little discussion. They looked like they were debating over whether to keep talking to me or not... I was still kind of laughing and hoping that the green light would hurry up. When it did, I let them hear the sound of my VAROOM!
Denzel, hmmm.. that was nice... Folks also tell me I look like R. Kelly so go figure! Ha haa!! I think I look better than both them brothas and I'm taller.. Now if I could just have the same bank account... whew... I'd truly be precious.. *smile*
Sunday, December 04, 2005
My Life Is All I Have
A novel by V. Anthony Rivers
Life is about decisions and no matter how big or small, each one can affect the outcome of others around you. Love can change your direction. Tragedy can ruin the best dreamed out plans. However, a young woman in control; she can do just about anything or at least that’s what Leesha grows up to believe…
Packed with suspense and vivid descriptions of some of Los Angeles’s toughest streets, My Life Is All I Have tells the gripping story of a young girl who will do anything to leave her troubled past behind her.
Leesha Tyler is about to commit robbery when memories from her past start to consume her. Leesha looks back on her life and remembers the chaotic household she lived in—with her mother and herself always at odds. Thoughts of the death of her grandmother and the untimely loss of her favorite cousin Luther only sadden Leesha further and make her more determined that the only solution to her problems is to get out of Los Angeles. And the only way to do that, or so she thinks, is to commit armed robbery.
My Life Is All I Have is a timely piece of fiction that paints a candid, upfront portrait of a section of Los Angeles known as “The Jungle.” West Coast readers will welcome the familiar settings and others will enjoy a realistic slice of Los Angeles life. With echoes of The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah and Warmest December by Bernice McFadden, this novel shows how the decisions one individual makes can alter many lives—a perfect blend of contemporary fiction and street-lit flair.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I was asked to contribute to this wonderful exercise expressing my thoughts or I should say, responding to the thoughts of a woman. It's featured in a wonderful online magazine called Bahiyah Woman's Magazine. The website address is BWMmag.com. Jump on over there and enjoy. It's very good. For now, checkout this fabulous piece that I had the priviledge to be involved in.
The Battle of the Sexes - Or Is It? (Part I)
by Guest Blogger Sharon "Shaye" Gray
Is it all a farce?
A devilish ploy, designed and passed down through a wicked fraternal tradition, to make an innocent succumb to the perils of premarital sex and other various faux relationship woos.
Am I your toy?
Your ultimate conquest?
Make her whimper-fall prey to the big bad wolf? Am I this said prey that has beeen once hunted in pure play in hunt of a quick thrill?
Is this deviant and ill-composed ‘chase’ really worth future heartache of another?
Are you playing me?
What is it you desire?
My squeals from intimacy induced dances?
I plead in lack of angst or even in seek of anything else beyond pure curiosity derived from my deep skepticism, grave fear and horrific past heartbreak.
What is it that you want from me?
Woman to man—
Straight with no chaser
I present to you in all of my nakedness. My truth.
Will you let me be...let me free…leave me...
If it is so—that your intentions are tainted for other desires than love.
If you seek a lover—solely and purposefully please let it be known and save me another grudgingly heartache at the expense of my dignity.
Let me be.
If you seek a buzz—a quick sexual jolt, an exchange of temporary ecstasy—be loud with your tongue and speak your rendition of the truth. I will listen.
Do you not aspire all of my essence in which enthralls one and weaves a collage of passions and whimsical tales of wanderlust?
You see...and I whisper this from within so mark my honesty with my life and the life of my unborn.
I like divinely, adore intensely and love immensely.
That’s my hand of truth—in all is bare so I plead in earnest repertoire,
For you to reveal your earthy intentions with me. My affair. My adulation. My love
Confess now, let it generously, and mercifully unfold...
Is it, indeed all a farce, as it was softly, from above, undoubtedly told?
To me. About you.
What is it that you seek?
The Battle of the Sexes - Or Is It? (Part 2)
by Guest Blogger V. Anthony Rivers
I feel as though you mistake me for another. For I seek what most men and some women for that matter, take for granted. In my experience(s), I've come across women who fear what feels right. They run from good intentions and efforts that say, I do, I will, for always, forever...
I could never imagine nor fathom the idea of placing my heart on the line only to present to you a false image of the future. That to me is a waste of time that would only serve the purpose of leaving us both exhausted. Sure, unforseeable things happen between two people but it's always been my belief that once a man is blessed with commitment from a woman, that's when the real fun begins...
A toy or a quick thrill?
Dearest, as I said, you mistake me for another. I see and even know many who play such games to fulfill what you accuse me of. At times because of disappointments in my own relationships, I too have considered going that route. To become a man interested only in quick thrills, mindless pursuits and efforts where paydirt is another notch on my manhood. Crazy thing though; I once discovered what I'd always believed in my heart to be true and you know what that is? In a committed relationship, love gets better; it has purpose and the sex? Very hot! Within the realms of commitment, a man is blessed with the opportunity to learn all of your pleasure zones from head to toe; physically and mentally... I crave that sort of committed exploration.
Man to woman-
I present to you my own nakedness and truth for everyday I fight the very same skepticism that you carry so close to your heart. This feeling which causes you to doubt and question a man before he can even utter words like "how are you today?" It hurts my heart to have that which I refer to as the most beautiful blessing on earth(Woman) convict me without so much as having the courage to investigate my heart on a personal level.
That question you place before me; "what is it you want from me?"
I sigh whenever I hear it. My adult life flashes before my eyes because it conjures up the disappointments that I too have suffered under the guise of love. I dont fear trying again but I do fear that after you've witnessed the ease in which I'm willing to share my heart and soul, you will then take it for granted or run because it's not what you've become accustomed to when dealing with a man.
What is it that I seek?
A chance without early conviction... Run from me if I treat you wrong or curse me out but if I show to you sincerity, passion, kindness, comfort, support, honesty, and a desire to build something together based solely on the merits of my actions; reward me with your own sincerity. Don't run if I treat you right... Don't walk away from the possibility that forever could potentially be right here with me... I'm not afraid. I dream about it all the time...
Sharon "Shaye" Gray is Sr. Editor of Bahiyah Woman Magazine, www.BWMmag.com She is also the Co-Founder of Essentially Women Writing Group, and co owns Eve's Literary Services with Lorraine Elzia. Ms. Gray works full time as a high school teacher and part time as an evening instructor for adult education; she has her B.A in English and Master's degree in Public Administration. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctorate degree in Higher Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Adult Education. Presently, Sharon Gray resides in Maryland and is working on several literary projects. You may visit her site at www.essentiallywomen.net/Eve
V. Anthony Rivers is the author of Daughter By Spirit, Everybody Got Issues and the upcoming My Life Is All I Have(March'06) and Until Again(Fall'06). He has also contributed to various anthologies including; Sistergirls.com, Chocolate Flava, Truth Be Told, and Love Is Never Painless. A native of Los Angeles, California he currently resides in Van Nuys, Ca.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Back in the late 70's, Dad had the key to the city of Houston, Texas. Just like it seems as if musically today, everything is about Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and Mike Jones..who? In the late 70's things were jumpin on Alameda Blvd. and other parts of town where you'd find a Budget Soul Records run by my father. He had colorful characters all around him, namely the fellas that ran the streets along with him; Big George(semi-bodyguard, looked like Issac Hayes), Steve(cool white guy with a beautiful black wife), George Frazier(KYOK air personality), Gil Bultron(exciteable record salesman behind the counter), a few other co-horts and sprinkles of afro wearing sistahs all around. It was a far cry from my father's country boy upbringing in a small east Texas town where he had no indoor plumbing and no streetlights.
Dad lived it up bigtime during this brief era. He drove a new corvette every year and eventually found that he garnered more attention while driving a souped up Cadillac Seville, two-toned with chrome wire wheels... He was all that.. The shiz-nit, promoting concerts with his cohorts under the moniker of Family Productions.. Such acts as Rufus & Chaka Khan, Al Green, The Brother's Johnson, Earth Wind & Fire, War, and every year the spectacle that was Parliament-Funkadelic. That was life at its fastest and most exciting for dad. He was even given the key to the city by the mayor, covered by local television. He was celebrated as a black businessman generating a great deal of success via his chain of records stores; Budget Soul. Those were the days for him and then like some good things, change moves the playing field in a whole new direction... Those small record stores where you could go into and get personal attention. Have a brotha place the needle on the record for you and have you listen to the first five seconds of the song only to realize you gotta have it! Those days had to give way to the huge record stores which sold more than just records. At the time in Houston, the store that came in and changed things was called Cactus Records. They sold everything... Those neighborhood stores with the personal attention, the culture, the fun, the conversation and good times like Budget Soul, couldn't compete. Dad found a new niche building homes and making furniture but gone were the days of fast times, hot music, nice cars, women and running the city.. The key became but a memory but its those memories that last longer than anything that might interrupt an era... Dad had fun...
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I would do everything and not say a word... Not feel the disappointment when time flies and no acknowledgement graces my path... Not allow the scent of your presence to affect the way I feel... The motivation that lingers between missing you, wanting you and being inspired to do something for you...just because... I would become faceless and detached for you so that my presence wouldn't put your comfort level at risk... I would do this and yet magically find a way to keep you smiling.. Speak less romantically and yet still have you feeling the energy... Cultivate the passion and yet still be less threatening... Motivate you and yet still keep my distance...Turn you on and yet still....stay...where..I...am... Nah, that wouldn't be me... I need to breathe, smile, have fabulous days and feel wanted... feel appreciated... feel... too. Exhaustion should not be the reward for giving... for being true...for being everything you dream of someone being to you...
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I was doing some latenight shopping as I typically do at Ralph's. I love having the store for the most part to myself with the exception of maybe ten other folks and fellas stocking the shelves.. I didn't need much; just some yogurt, tea, a few vegetables, some kitchen cleaning stuff and some Downey. Speaking of which, I forgot to buy some Tide..*smile*
As I was standing in line, one of two that were open, I couldn't help but enjoy the choice that I'd made with respect to where I would stand. One line had this guy scratching his head and acting really fidgety. The other line had a beautiful Mari Morrow looking sistah in it. she's the lady from Bill Bellamy's How To Be A Playa movie. I approached slowly and non-chalantly carrying my items. After about two seconds she could sense someone standing behind her. She turned and caught a glimpse of me from the side of her eye as I was reaching for some Eclipse gum. I figured the look she'd give me was all I'd get. Ladies be protecting their space in LA with some serious mean muggin, which prevents them from recognizing a sincere brotha in their presence who would be content with just a split second hello and smile... I wasn't trying to get my flirt on but I did appreciate the view...
The lady caught me off guard as I was placing my items on the conveyor belt thing. She said hello. I greeted her back. She glanced me up and down. It didn't seem like a sexual glance so I knew what was coming next. The old height question was about to fall from her lips.
"You are so tall... How tall are you?" She asked.
Her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. She raised herself up on the balls of her feet to see how high she came up to me.
"6'6" I answered although I wasn't enthusiastic. I answer that question probably no less than five times a day.
Her right eyebrow raised and then she smiled. She pulled her hair back behind her right ear and moved a little bit because she was up next to pay for her food. She didn't hear the guy ask her if she wanted paper or plastic. I guess her mind was too focused on asking me if I played basketball or not.
I teasingly said "there's no money in it..."
She laughed and I only hinted at a smile. The guy asked her again if she wanted paper or plastic and the cashier person told her how much her stuff cost. She almost didn't know what to do with herself trying to focus on voices coming in three directions. I gave her a button that shows the cover of my book coming out.
"Oh wow, an author?"
"Beautiful girl on your cover. Very nice button..."
"I'll have to check you out, huh?"
My turn was next to pay for my stuff and the lady had started toward the exit. The grocery clerk fellas were looking at me as though I'd made a hook up. I was busy looking for the price of my stuff.
"You have a club card?" The cashier asked.
I punched in my phone number and finally got the total which looked pretty good. By the time I was grabing my bags of groceries, the lady had exited the front door. I soon followed in the same direction but not searching for her. Two seconds later I heard a whispering sound. It was that lady again. She pointed at me.
She said "I'ma get your book, boy and it better be good!"
We laughed and then we went our separate ways...
1} Last thing you burned while attempting to cook?
2} Describe yourself in three “s” words:
Seductive, Searching, and sometimes Sane...
3} How long does it take you to get ready for your day?
About an hour, depending on what I'm getting ready for.
4} Favorite place to blow $50?
Tower Records, Starz, Loews, online...
5} How many people have you thought were “the one?"
Three, and its been as many years since the last time I thought that...
6} What is something that turns you off about your crush?
Uncertainty and that old old ass, not really necessary question "what do you want from me?" Umm....time, fun, conversation, and a chance to see where things go? Hello?
7} What kind of car do you drive?
Infiniti FX35.......BLACK.... I love the V-A-R-O-O-M!!! sound it makes... *smile*
8} What’s in your CD player/ipod right now?
I've got a six CD changer in the car but the last thing I listened to before I turned off the engine and closed the door was a song by Tupac called "Better Days."
9} What celebrity would you have coffee with?
10} What celebrity would you NOT have coffee with?
I dont know.. I'm still imagining the beauty/blessing of sitting across from Sanaa
11} What kind of toothpaste do you use?
Arm & Hammer advance white
12} What time do you go to bed?
13} Last movie you saw?
“Get Rich Or Die Tryin”
14} Last TV show you watched?
Something on HGTV. Can't remember... Dont watch TV that much...
15} Who is your best friend?
Kim, Angela, Jamise, Arnail, La-La
16} Who in your family do you best get along with?
17} Who do you have a crush on?
I have a few of them..
18} What time is it right now?
19} Are you planning a vacation/travel?
Only in the mind...
20} When/Where was the last time you traveled?
New Orleans, a week before the hurricane hit..
21} How many times have you been in love?
22} How old will you be in 10 years?
Same age as I am now... *smile*
23} Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Padded room somewhere...
24} Sinful snacking weakness?
None right now. I've been extra good recently with eating habits thanks to the inspiration of one of my crushes and the motivation of future crushes... *smile*
Such is life....
26} Ever run out of gas?
27} Ever been on a train?
When I was a kid... From Texas to Cali...
28} Ever been on a blind date?
Yes, a few...
29} Ever been to Europe?
30} What would you do if you could be the opposite sex for one day?
Scream in the mirror and say "Nooooooo!!" I love, adore and cherish women but I'd like to remain on this side of the fence as I continue...
31} Would you tell anyone it was really you?
32} Ever been arrested?
33} Have a crush on anyone you work with?
34} What is something you believe in?
35} What is something you fear?
Losing my mind because of the above...
36} Big or smaller?
Depends on what we're describing...
37} What is the worst physical or emotional pain you have ever experienced?
Losing my father.
38} What is your favorite television show?
Dont have one..
39} Ever photoshopped yourself to look better in a picture?
Nope. Currently trying to figure out how to use the darn program!
40} Tell us something about your childhood.
I can't remember it...
41} What would it cost for you to flash the person next to you?
A million dollars unless its one of my crushes or some of the gorgeous famous ladies I adore... *smile*
42} Best time to catch you in a good mood?
After a woman catches me off guard with a sincere hello...
43} If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?
On the highway, somewhere between here(Cali) and Texas or Louisiana... I love the road and the mystery of traveling..
44} Most prized possession?
Until Again and My Life Is All I Have. Two incredible journeys for the mind, heart and soul that I've written. And also another prized possession are the memories of good times.
45} Would you ever sell it/how much?
Sell as in publish? Yes... The memories, I'd share for free.
46} What is one of your bad habits?
Being too nice...
47} Favorite kind of ice cream?
Breyers, Dolce De Leche. Haven't had any in about four months... Been swearing off ice cream...
48} Coolest thing that happened today?
A little girl waved at me with the sweetest smile on her face as we passed each other in the mall... Priceless moment that made me feel really good..
49} What’s your favorite part of a Friday?
Clocking out from work and beginning hopefully a great weekend..
50} What would make you most happy right now?
A phone call from LaShawn, tea/conversation with Dr. Steph, a walk with Angela. a photoshoot with Kim, a talk with Jamise, an email from Kitten, a talk with Shannon, lunch with cousin Apryl, a hug from Sanaa Lathan and about two million dollars to add a strong dose of freedom to my daily living...
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Despite the strangeness of this past week I feel extra good.. Like a rebirth of sorts telling me everythang is gonna be okay... Its gonna be beautiful, its gonna be extra nice because you cant keep a good, passionate, sincere man down... You can knock him for a loop and make him scratch his head for a moment; wondering what the hell? You can test the strength of his heart but it's a lot deeper than a bottomless well... I thought I'd rhyme..*smile* I'm aight...
This week was strange.. Lossed a really cool friend... Debbie Robinson. She's a Texas lady so she got that special spirit about her. She was always planning to cook me something one day. She teased me with her recipes and potential family secrets but never blessed me with the flavor; the taste... That's okay because I remember her laughter.. Sadly, she died in her sleep on her birthday but she went quiet and at total peace... That's a cool way to go.... Me? I'm probably gonna go out in a blaze of love and glory... Mostly love though because its always testing my spirit, my patience, my understanding but that just makes for deeper thoughts and greater strength... I come back strong and with a whole lot of new determination...
This week was strange indeed... I saw a chair burst through a window and then someone followed... I shook my head... I'd seen this before but again, despite all of that and the questions that lingered in my consciousness as this week drifts into the history books, I feel a renewed inner spirit thanks to the cant-give-up-mentality of something that lingers inside of me and the spark to ignite such feeling from good friends like Kitten and Kim Roseberry... And then to top off all that, I received inspiration from the always philosophical and extremely gifted surgeon named Robert Klapper. He's also an artist specializing in sculptures so this man is amazing. He said something about the unspoken blessing of being able to create art and/or music that left us both sighing deeply... And I close with words that were like music to my ears, spoken by a beautiful living sculpture in the form of Dr. S.S.... She said, "It's good to see you..." Believe me when I say this... Heaven on earth is appreciative words inspired completely by sincerity... I wish everyone could be hip to this...
Thursday, November 10, 2005
BP Part II
I received a beautiful card in the mail from Aunt Mildred thanking me for not only being a pallbearer at her daughter's funeral but also for the tribute that I did, which you can find in an earlier entry on this blog. That's a blessing and it definitely made me smile when I saw the card. Right now it sort of brings to mind something that was talked about on one of my favorite blogs by Ja-me. She spoke about something called "Unconditional Love." In my opinion, all things positive should be unconditional... Love, kindness, support, wanting the best for someone, compliments, prayers, etc etc... I wish we could all hear about these kind of blessings being spread from person to person rather than always waking up to the news of something negative being passed around from gossip to disease to stupidity... It dont have to always be that way... I mean, I can say right here that this entry is the result of some unconditional good stuff spreading around... Thanks aunt Mildred and thank you Ja-me. *smile*
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Sunday night got me feeling mighty creative for some reason... I've been writing up a storm, creating great dialogue and direction between the characters I've been working on. I took a little break and decided to get in a workout but then as I was pumping iron I found myself thinking about various movies that I love. Films that standout in my mind constantly as classics and yet despite the critical acclaim they'd received when they were released these films where Hollywood is concerned seem to have disappeared... I can recall sitting in a theatre watching Love Jones and as the ending credits rolled, people applauded and shouted "thank you!!! Please make more films like that!!" Maybe Hollywood heard those cries and that person that pulls the strings instead pulled the plug... But over the years we've had some truly great black movies.. The kind of movies that could all be made and enjoyed in one single year... I found myself imagining my own little film festival.. One full day and night with free BBQ, seafood, salads and gallons of sweet tea to wash it all down... I'd show all these films you see in the picture... There's more that I've forgotten and that will come to me after I've written this but for the sake of time, these movies are what came to mind as soon as I asked myself the question "what are my most favorite black movies ever?" And also because I feel like I've got the bomb movie in the making, I think this fantasy film festival should conclude with the world premiere of My Life Is All I Have (The Movie) based on the book of the same name written by yours truly... *smile* Yo, checkout my list....
Aaron Loves Angela:
This is a movie for the most part not heard of because its old...lol.. It features Kevin Hooks Jr. and Irene Cara. It's old but this is a great love story... One of those forbidden love stories with a young black male who falls in love with a puerto rican girl from another neighborhood. It was forbidden back in the day. Seems strange compared to the way things are now, it wouldn't be such a big deal. Like imagine me and Rosario Dawson...whew... You wouldn't find that strange but it would probably knock my socks off! Ha!
Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman:
This is a powerful story and one that everyone should watch. I used to avoid watching it when I was younger because of the whole slavery thing that I didn't want to see but you know what? I bought the DVD last year while in Texas. I watched it on my laptop in the country. I was moved by this story in a way that was so cool because I felt like if I stepped outside the door, I'd be stepping back in time witnessing the life that Jane endured. As fast as the years go by is just how close we are to yesterday... It wasn't that long ago...
Menace To Society:
I saw this movie when it came out. I watched it and I loved it. It was a real escape for me sitting in a theatre on the corner of Beverly and Fairfax. I knew these characters very well and I'd heard that Tupac was supposed to be in this movie but to be honest, they had all the right people in this film, especially Larenz Tate who I wish could do another movie as O'Dog!
I discovered this movie a few years ago on DVD. I dont know why I didn't see it when it came out. I guess I didn't really hear much about it but this was definitely an overlooked film by many. The acting by DMX and Nas was perfect for the roles they played. The narration by Nas was really cool.. The imagery and the power of this movie was right on point. I even loved the scene with Method Man wearing all yellow or that classic scene with that guy eating a banana. Just like all the movies on this list, I never get tired of watching this one again and again....
This is another very overlooked movie... Probably not recognized as a "black" film per se but it really is an awesome movie with a lot of emotion in it... The cover says it stars Pierce Brosnan but to me the real star of this film is Hill Harper. He plays the son of an irish woman who passed away. He wishes to fulfill his mother's wish by taking her ashes to Ireland and spreading them on this hillside that she's so very fond of. Upon going there he meets her family and of course they're quite shocked to find that this young man is black.. The story has a lot going for it and is really something to cherish... You will cry at the end too..
Love & Basketball:
An all time favorite with one of my all time ladies that I would feen after for years and years to come.. I'm speaking of Sanaa Lathan... whew... This story is great.. I first saw it at a private screening with my good friend Kim Roseberry over on the Paramount lot. That was so cool and we were blown away by this movie. We watched it and when it was over we felt we'd seen something really special. Everything from the storyline to the music was so perfect.. I wanted to see more of this kind of love up on the screen and of course I wanted it in my own life too!! Neither came too quickly but that's a neverending story...
Classic! Larenz Tate doing it again but on the romantic tip this time. Nia Long looking incredible and this movie sort of brought a little popularity to the whole poetry experience too... This was some beautiful black love eventhough I wanted to choke the male character(Darius) for trippin and acting like he didn't want to be with Nina... In real life that's a waste of time to me. Denying what you truly feel and letting time or possibly a blessing getaway from you... But, I guess for the sake of reaching that almost two hour time frame folks gotta be stupid in movies so they can get back together and have a delicious ending as portrayed in the final kissing scene in the rain... That's my kind of scene in real life or imagined...
This to me is one of Tupac's best along with of course, Juice. Gridlock'd has Tupac acting in a totally different way. He seemed so comfortable in his skin and as this character. I loved this movie and the chemistry between the actors. It made me want to see more movies directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall...
What can you say! Jamie Foxx's tour de force... An incredible film that was a visual and emotional journey to watch and experience... I loved this movie and have definitely watched it a few times since getting it on DVD. Amazing performance...
Set It Off:
I've probably watched this one a thousand times.. Being from LA I love seeing a movie that's set in familiar surroundings but more so than that, I love the chemistry between all four of these beautiful actresses. I also remember dating this young lady at the time who reminded me so much of the character played by Jada Pinkett. Her name was Belinda. I took her to see this movie when it came out and I can remember looking at how Blair Underwood and Jada Pinkett's character related to each other. I looked over at Belinda and smiled because I was experiencing the same thing with her... Two people from different worlds, living in the same city enjoying each other. But despite that and because of the differences, things couldn't remain... Oh...but back to the movie, it was the bomb... It was emotional and powerful... Performances were top notch!
This is a long overlooked classic movie that I remember going to see by myself in Westwood on the UCLA campus. The audience was basically all white and maybe a couple other black folks besides myself. I sat there wondering if this was gonna be some kind of artsy type of movie that I wouldn't enjoy but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful stories ever put to film... I was sucked in right away as they displayed the rich culture you'd find in Louisiana. I found it years later on my own as I visited what has now become like a second home to me. Eve's Bayou influenced even my style of writing as I so often like to capture the same emotion in the characters that I write or the same impact as the classic scene in this movie where Aunt Mozelle(Debbi Morgan) steps inside the mirror and watches her lover kill her husband. The gunshot echoed inside the theatre and practically everyone jumped because it was unexpected. The dialogue sucks you in to where you dont expect what eventually happens.... Excellent classic movie...
The Best Man:
This is one of my favorite movies here in a lighthearted sort of way... I remember watching this movie and trying to relate to the writer character. I know I'd never get into the kind of trouble he did on a couple levels. One is that, despite thinking that Nia Long is very lovely, I could never see myself trying to hook up with her when I got Sanaa Lathan lovin me in a bathtub with rose petals trying to get me to say those magic words... Whew.. I'd say them without much resistance and with a quickness! *smile* And another thing, as a writer I would never write characters that are based solely on one person. All of Harper's friends would've been made into one character. But alas, this is a movie and not real life so they gotta do what they do... The movie was great...
This movie was also great in a lighthearted sort of way and plus it starred pretty much the same folks from The Best Man. They started getting into that trend of using the same folks at this point but luckily this movie turned out to be very good.. I cant say I've watched it as much as the Best Man but nevertheless its a movie I enjoyed a lot...
Devil In A Blue Dress:
Oh yeah, this movie I loved a lot! Denzel and my man Don Cheadle playing the character of Mouse! *smile* This is a great movie and great story set in old time Los Angeles... I was hoping they'd do a sequel to it just so I could see the Mouse character be crazy on the screen again... I saw this movie in Hollywood at the Cinerama Dome which is now the Arclight Theatre. The experience was lovely because this round dome shaped theatre has great acoustics for movies.. I just remember having a blast watching this one...
Antwone Fisher Story:
This one made me cry... I loved this movie. I haven't watched it over and over yet because for some reason I never bought the DVD. I'll have to fix that soon but this story was so powerful to me, especially when Antwone goes to find his real family... It reminded me so much of recent family discoveries and recent dreams of just wanting to bring generations of family closer together. I had tears when Antwone was introduced to the elders of the family and they welcomed him... He also had a fine ass lady along side of him every step of the way and that's a beautiful, extraordinary thang to have love right beside you as you take your most important journey of discovering where you came from... That's life and love... powerful...
Well, that's my list of incredible movies aka flicks... My favorite all time ones and just as I mentioned, a few more would come to mind as I was making out this list and sharing my thoughts... I also forgot to mention such classics as Dead Presidents, Friday's, The Inkwell, Jason's Lyric and Rosewood.
And now that we've concluded this incredible film festival, we leave you with thoughts about a future classic black film... My Life Is All I Have... You will cry, you'll be on the edge of your seat, you'll be shocked, you'll fall in love, you'll feel sorry for the innocent and champion a thug... You'll be amazed by everything this young woman named Leesha Tyler goes through and yet in the end, you'll want to strangle her for making the kind of decisions she makes in order to satisfy her own selfish needs... She learns her lesson the hard way and in the end realizes that all she's left with is what she's made of her life... See you at the premiere... *smile*
You And I For A Reason
I began writing this story last year. It's a little something dealing with the gift of friendship. I'm revisiting it because it reminds me of a novella that I have coming out soon as a part of this collection called "Love Is Never Painless." Only thing is, this story is more about the blessing and reason why folks connect so deeply as friends.. sisterhood, brotherhood, etc etc... Finding true friendship can test your patience just as finding true love and for the most part no matter what you do or what circumstances you meet under, it just happens... Love does...Friendship does... I often wonder why people are so quick to run from love and why they place it in their minds as something so scary... A very wise and beautiful in the spirit woman told me recently "love is chance happening..." That's a cool quote and I love taking chances like that but going back to this story/excerpt that I'd like to share; this is more about that less scary and threatening sort of love/gift... That thing called "Friendship." So far, in friendship I've never been accused of being scary or trouble or any of the millions of other descriptions placed upon me simply because of being sincere with no hidden agenda... Got no time to hide.. I'm trying to enjoy life, take chances, and share/reflect my experience...thus, maybe someone will smile and give me a positive nod.... Don't be scurred... Enjoy this excerpt from "You and I For A Reason."
Confusion set in like a mofo the other day. I shake my head sometimes wondering where I'm headed. I'm trying to live right and remain the nice guy that people label me as. I'm proud most times when I hear it though I also get a little sick of it too. I walk through this battlefield of life noticing that some of the victories I want to win come to those that have no trouble with deception. I stick my hands out there wishing to help and uplift. My hands are heavy like I'm picking up sand that never stops pouring between my fingers. Sort of like time standing in front of you as a constant reminder of what you want but may not be able to have.
I called up my homegirl Tuesday the other day. That's actually her name; Tuesday Jackson. She's a dime piece with style like a young Angela Bassett but when she gets serious and feels like she needs to school you, she'll have you feeling like you're sitting in conversation with Susan Taylor; that lady from Essence magazine. She smiles alot, speaks with confidence and touches your arm when she's about to make a point. When I met up with her at Jamba Juice she diagnosed me instantly.
"Brotha you look tired! What's wrong with you?"
I didn't have an answer for her. I just shrugged and smiled simultaneously. We greeted each other with a hug. Tuesday and I are just friends. Of course me being a man, I always steal a few glances at her bootie or cant help but notice when the cleavage is within reach. She's definite eye candy but the boundaries are there and I respect that. Plus I got her up on such a well deserved pedestal that ain't no way I'd try to bring her down with my confusion.
After we got our drinks from Jamba Juice, we sat down outside at a small table with an umbrella overhead. Tuesday pulled out a bag of honey roasted cashews and offered me some.
"Nah, I'm cool.."
I refused not because I didn't want any but just out of habit. Most times my first reaction is to always say no when someone offers me something. I think its a psychological habit of me not wanting to appear needy. I'm a trip; I know this already.
Tuesday touched my wrist to get my attention. I assumed that maybe she'd said something but I didn't hear her due to being lost in thought.
"Huh?" I asked just to be sure.
"I didn't say anything yet..."
I tried to change my mood and act as if everything was lovely in my life. I sat up, took a sip of my drink and smiled at Tuesday.
"What's that you drinking?" I asked.
"Do you really want to know or you just making small talk?"
"I have a strawberry nirvana. Now tell me; what gives with you?"
"Its like this, Tuesday. I live in a world where nothing comes easy, games are played everyday, and nobody can tell me where to buy the magic potion that will allow me to wake up tomorrow with a million dollars in the bank and have this girl I met a few months ago lying next to me, slobbering on my pillow."
"You're silly. Why you want some chick slobbering on your pillow?"
"It's not so much the slobbering its just that she seems really real in that way to where despite all the smoke screens she puts between us, I just know she's down to earth and right for me..."
"Wait a minute... Are we meeting today to work on your wounded heart again?"
"I'm not wounded, just confused. My situation aint deep enough to be wounded. I just get a little tired of the waiting, the not knowing, the unanswered efforts..."
"You know we been over this before and I've seen you put your heart on the line many times. Somehow, you have to figure out a way to stop waiting. Just do what you do because it's a part of you and then move on. Keep being you. Don't go broke trying to show these sistah's your a good man because no matter what you do or how you do it, that's a quality that will come out regardless."
"Yeah and that quality gets on my nerves. I'm beginning to understand why some fellas become no good..."
"Don't go there because that ain't you. I wish I could wave a magic wand and give you your slobbering chick but I can't. Maybe her ass dont deserve you anyway or you just gotta be content with waiting..."
"That's what I mean..."
"Sorry. Maybe you should try focusing on that million instead."
"Yeah, having that would make me slobber."
An hour went by though it only felt like ten minutes. I'd temporarily forgotten all about my confusion. Tuesday was always good at bringing relief to my spirit. She caught me several times just staring at her with a smile or losing myself in the soundscape of her voice. That's typically when that ghetto twang would surface. She'd put the brakes on whatever she'd be discussing and turn toward me.
"Okay, what is wrong with you now?"
I laughed. "Nothing at all. I'm cool. I feel much better..."
Tuesday had a life of her own to deal with so we parted ways. I'd recently bought this new cell phone which is the bomb because you can receive emails with attachments. I had two images waiting for me. They were sent by my good friend and business partner, Jayson. We do photography and graphic design, which we funded from the proceeds of our first venture, realestate. Jayson and I are always getting into something. We sit for hours talking about ways to make money and just like my girl Tuesday, Jayson had been a God send from day one. They say folks come into your life for a reason and there had been many days where I was looking up to the sky complaining that I can't find a good male friend. I'd get tired from dealing with jealous knuckleheads or trifling fellas that had a woman completely all to themselves but was trying to find a way to keep her happy and the other chick they got on the side. I was looking for a good friend just like I'm still trying to be number one in a certain lady's life. It was getting real frustrating and the friends I had, I would run from on weekends which would make outside observers think I was a loner. But in reality, I got mad friends all over the place. I just dont want to hangout with them for any length of time, that's all.
Jayson and I clicked right away when we met. I had the male counterpart of Tuesday giving me daps just because he liked my unsuccessful attempt at getting this fine ass girl to talk to me. She left me in the dust shaking my head. Jayson approached slowly as a stranger would but as soon as we spoke, we were strangers no more.
"I feel your pain, man. That girl was fine as hell. I wish I had my camera with me because even if I just captured her backside, that would still be a money shot! You feel me?"
Jayson had one of those Tupac laughs. It was infectious and real. My disappointment was gone and we'd spend the first hour standing next to each other talking about photography, traveling and women. Actually, everything we talked about had to do with women but what was so cool was that this first meeting never once felt as if it were truly the first.....
You And I For A Reason
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Once we reached the area known as Boyle Heights in downtown LA, Scottie finally opened his mouth. He asked me if I was sure that this was where the mural was located.
“Yeah, it’s over there…” I pointed.
We drove over this long bridge. We could see some graffiti to the side and I told Scottie that the mural was underneath.
“Why he put it way over here? Why he didn’t do it like on Crenshaw or somewhere close to where you was staying at?”
“I don’t know Scottie. Actually I think he said he put it here because of the trains passing by. People could see it everyday.”
Scottie shrugged his shoulders and looked for a place to park. We would have to climb over a fence and then climb down into the area where the mural was. Once we got there, Scottie reacted before I did.
“Check that out! That nigga can paint, huh? Look at that shit!”
“It’s beautiful…” I said in total disbelief.
I’d seen it before it was finished and thought it was nice but now that Trey added the final touches, it looked really beautiful. I could barely feel my feet hitting the ground, I was so amazed. The expression Trey painted on my face looked so real. Trey had even drawn a white flower in my hair like that jazz lady, Billie Holiday.
“I need to have that dude paint me too! Damn Leesha, you need to tell that brotha to do something with his talent instead of chasing after you. I’m looking at this and I see a young dude with a solid ticket to fame but he putting all his energy into trying to get you to love him. You my girl and all but I know you feel what I’m saying.”
“I know Scottie but why should I feel bad? He’s as old as me so he should be able to make his own decisions.”
“Yeah, you right but when a brotha is real about loving somebody, he don’t always see everything clearly. His mind is all messed up right now and all he trying to do is figure out what he could say or do to make you feel the same way that he does.”
“Damn Leesha, y’all must’ve made some serious love for that brotha to be painting you like that…”
Scottie was talking to me almost under his breath as he stood in amazement over the huge mural that Trey had created. If it weren’t for Scottie mentioning something about making love, I would’ve ignored his comments and kept my eyes on the mural like him. But then I thought about what he’d said and immediately got defensive.
“Scottie what did you just say?” I asked.
“You two been together, right?”
“You mean, had sex?”
“Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!”
“Our first time was last night so I don’t know what you trying to say.”
“Damn, for real?”
“I don’t understand what you trying to say, Scottie.”
“Yo Leesha, it’s like this… I mean, the way this dude put so much detail in your face and your eyes? Damn, it’s almost like he held your face in his hands and just placed it on the wall.”
“So, what does that have to do with us having sex?”
“Might be just sex to you, but dude is so into you that he captured your spirit. If I never met you before, I could look at this mural and feel who you were.”
“I don’t know what you talking about, Scottie.”
“Aw, you tripping…I bet you do know what I’m talking about. Shit, you in shock just like me.”
I knew what Scottie was saying but I didn’t really want to think on that level. I couldn’t because I had other things on my mind. Plus Trey was just a friend to me and I didn’t want to admit to the reality that I cared about him because of what he could do for me. I glanced over at Scottie and he was staring at me really hard. He was shaking his head and looking at me like I needed to do something.
“What!” I shouted. “Why you looking at me like that?”
“I don’t know Leesha, this is just deep to me. I mean, maybe I’m getting soft or something but I just feel this niggas love for you.”
“Scottie, let’s sit down so I can talk to you about something else.”
“What, you don’t wanna talk about this right here; this painting?”
“We can talk about that later. If I don’t tell you what’s been on my mind lately, I’m gonna drive myself crazy thinking about it.”
“You got something else going on besides this stuff with Trey? Damn girl, you stay busy, huh? I don’t never hear you talking about how good you doing in school. What’s up with that?”
“Scottie, school is just fine. I need to talk to you about something else.”
I wasn’t sure how to approach telling Scottie what I wanted to say and he didn’t give me much time to think about it. He kept nudging my shoulder as we sat close to each other on the pavement, underneath the bridge. The beautiful mural that Trey had painted was in back of us and we could hear cars passing by overhead. I figured the best way to tell Scottie what I’ve been thinking was by bringing it up casually. I wanted to get him thinking about something else and then I could just say what I had to say.
My Life Is All I Have copr.2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
"Real friends add to the journey of life. Subtract those that dont get it."
- Big E. circa 2004
"Walking in two is medicine.."
- borrowed from an incredible sister, Tracy Price-Thompson
Be sure to pick up Tracy's new read, Knockin' Boots!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Last week was a moment in my life that will go down in history as defining in a spiritual way and also a loving way. I didn't know what to expect but I was honored to be asked to serve as a pallbearer at my cousin Natalie's funeral. Her mother asked me and I had to do it. Work could wait and my own life could also wait in order to witness what turned out to be a beautiful passing...
I didn't know Natalie very well. For whatever reason, time got the best of us in my family where it seems as though some of us are close and others aren't. It's a sad and strange reality when I think about the fact that we all live no more than an hour away from each other yet we rarely visit. Sometimes we bump into each other on the two major holidays but never because one of us said "hey, let's get together.." And now years later, I'm sitting front row with white gloves in my hand serving as a pallbearer and hearing great stories about this young beautiful woman. It's as if I'm meeting her for the first time. She was blessed with a lot of friends. Great friends that took the time to reflect upon their moments with her. Friends from what I noticed, never took a moment spent with Natalie for granted. Their were two young men sitting in the row with me that wept uncontrollably. I cried and yet fought back tears but it was hard, especially whenever I'd look over at Natalie's mother and father; my uncle and aunt. What they must be going through losing their only daughter to cancer. Natalie fought hard and though she lossed to that tough disease she triumphed in her passing. She had the kind of love from friends, family, and her children that we all hope to have and be able to look back on to say "yes, I lived good..."
Last week was powerful... The passing of my beautiful cousin, the powerful memory of something that happened to me, a friday night that makes life worth living, and a friend that decided to leave... And I'm still standing though I intend to say a few prayers and to be thankful for those blessings that have come my way. I learned recently in a very profound way how short life can be and how powerless you will feel when your time comes. Right now I'm livin it up and celebrating the moments that come through the goodness of my heart. I hope my journey continues because I've already touched the place where I'm headed...
Peace & Love...
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Sometimes you find people in your life whose words, thoughts, and even their approval mean the world to you. It's like when they say something in the form of advice, it gives you that extra incentive to proceed with a big ass smile on your face and a strong dose of dedicated sincerity in your heart... In this case I'm speaking of my little big sister named Jamise L. Dames. I can't resist sharing this little bit of advice because it's right on point and I love being schooled by someone who truly cares... These words come on the heels of my letting her know that as another friend so cleverly put it, I've got butterflies in my stomach aka a very special crush on an amazing special somebody...
You deserve to be happy and have a good woman who appreciates you. I think that has been the problem for you, unappreciative women--girls, really. Because girls don't know how to appreciate a good man, they want hardheads; if a good man comes their way they run or treat him badly. Just because someone has reached the age of an adult doesn't mean they're a woman. Actions are the definition of a woman, knowledge and a good heart are also definitions. It's not the age, the career, the kids, the body; it's how a female lives that makes her a woman. Remember that! Not to school you, but hey, your sister has to look out, right?
I love these words above.. I've been floating lately so its nice to be blessed with thoughts from someone so grounded... *smile* And of course I gotta throw in a plug as I say, checkout the novels written by Jamise L. Dames... Pushing Up Daises and Mommas Baby, Daddy's Maybe. Both are incredible reads....
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Motivation To Fly
The deepest of thoughts inspired by an innocent moment got me motivated to fly... I'm topping high speeds on the interstate trying to get back... Gotta get back for one more moment, one more smile, one more sound of her laughter, one more look in her eyes that shows she cares... I can see it... I can feel it and I pray she feels it coming from me too. This aint a practice run.. Every moment is based on something real and at the same time, just hangin together is hella-fun!! *smile*
Like I said, I'm topping speeds just to get back. I stop every once in a while for gas or a sugary pick me up. Damn, 2.96 per gallon at one station and 3.39 at another? I brush that off and get back on the road... I'm motivated to fly. I'd hungout at this cliffside spot overlooking the ocean earlier in the day before hitting the road. There was this one bird that kept flying in front of me. I took several pictures. Maybe it was used to being photographed because it kept spreading it's wings so wide as it came near me. It was beautiful to see but once again I kept drifting back to the reason why I wanted to return and relive a moment that I'd experienced the previous night. It was the first time and it meant the world to me... This kind of motivation makes you stronger and gives you purpose, especially when you're testing your eye strength and trying to stay awake.. Did I make it back? Well, you've read these words so the answer must be yes! *smile* But that moment? Whew... I'm still there! *smile*