Monday, January 31, 2005

Generational Influence

Generations Posted by Hello

I wonder sometimes about my influence and how those that follow will recognize me. I'm not blessed just yet with any kids. It would be nice one day, sometime but I'm hoping to do that after I'm hooked up with that special somebody. So far so good... No drama, baby mama, mama baby and I'm sangle..(smile) But again, as I look at the picture I created above. My grandfather to the left and uncle Charlie Rivers to the right, I wonder how I'll fit in. These two men have left behind some serious imprints in Texas. My grandfather being a farmer and a gentleman. Charlie; a truck driver and a good man. I remember their voices like it was yesterday that I stood as a small child beneath them, listening.. I guess that's why I grew up liking cowboys so much because both of these men stood tall and had these deeply rich and powerful southern voices... They usually wore cowboy hats too. Charlie spoke more than my grandfather who was sort of like me, quiet, chose his words selectively...

It's a trip thinking about them and then my own life... Living in different times place a huge role in all of this. Me growing up and going through all the craziness of today. Been through a couple big earthquakes, a riot... I got the influences of the music, the streets, the culture, the arts. Been exposed to both country living and big city life. Been chasing dreams and catching a few. Had my heartbroken a few times. Seen the loss of family and friends that I miss constantly. Been blessed with meeting good people and not so good people. I feel like I have a long ways to go and a lot more to see and experience and yet sometimes I get tired. I take in a lot and live for more. You get winded sometimes, emotionally, spiritually but then you stumble upon reminders that show you that deep down you aint so bad. If anything when folks look back on me, I believe they gonna smile just as they do when they think of Uncle Charlie and my grandfather, Virgil Rivers, Sr. But of course with me being the kind of man that I am. A man that despite my journey thus far believes in that ultimate gift of love, there would be no greater gift than to be remembered fondly by that special someone... Charlie and Virgil had it. That's probably why they walked so tall and I imagine continue to do so up in heaven... But, I'm cool... I'll wait and continue to be me... a pure and honest example of a man that knows a little something about living, giving, and especially loving...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Ol' Man Rivers

Joe Rivers Posted by Hello

They say ol' Joe Rivers was a mean one. They also said he was a womanizer and had his way when it came to that sort of thing despite being a married man. I guess just like today where the dangerous, crazy, gangsta-like mentality wins out over the so-called good guy.

Mean Joe Rivers was something else. I can almost hear his voice when I look at the picture. He'd say "whatcha got there?" He'd smile when you tell him it's a camera and then he'd say "let me sit on down here, take my hat off and you get a picture of my good side!"

"Which side is that?"

"Why, that would be right in front so folks can see Ol' Joe was a real proud man!"

He was definitely a proud man. A father of many and what they call a frontiersman. He accumulated about eighty acres of land located deep in the backwoods of Daingerfield, Texas. He lived not too far from his brother's, Solomon, General, and Charles. He had children that I'm not too clear on who their mother was. I've been trying to get that story straight during many of my recent visits to Texas. Each time, I come back with another story instead.

Upon my last visit I was told about a moment when Joe Rivers acted as if his manhood and leadership had been threatened. Joe had been away for a few nights. No one knew specifically where he had gone but they did know he was with another woman. It wasn't like he was really a traveling man so when he spent time away from home without letting anyone know, it was pretty easy to figure out what he was doing.

During this particular time, I was told that Joe was at the little market nearby and had seen his older son, George. He was shocked because George had money and was buying food. He'd learn later that George did whatever he could to earn that little bit of money from stacking wood to mowing acres of grass. George didn't want his family starving just because his father found something more fun to do than providing for his family. George figured he'd step up and be the man around the house.

Joe watched from the back of the store. Inside he was fuming mad seeing his son actually shopping for real food. After George finished paying for everything, he noticed he had enough change leftover to buy this little rag doll he'd seen hanging behind the counter.

"This here enough to buy that doll ain't it?" He asked the store owner.

"Sure is... It'll be an even trade there, boy!"

"I'll take it and give it to my little sister."

George left out of that store with a smile on his face. He got on his horse and carefully rode back home so he wouldn't drop anything. Joe bought the things he needed and was only about five minutes behind George. That was enough time to reach a boiling point once he'd made it home.

Joe saw George removing the saddle from the horse. He walked up to him and began whuppin on him, all the while letting George know what he'd done to deserve this beat down coming from his own father.

"You think you the man of the house now?" Joe shouted as he slapped George in the side of the head.

Most of the blows were open handed. It was his father's words that hurt George the most.

"I'm the man of this house! I takes care of this family!" Joe's voice echoed throughout those backwoods. Even the other kids could hear what was happening despite not seeing what was going on.

"But you not around!" George defended.

Joe's open handed blows turned to a close fist and one punch sent his son to the ground. Joe was a very strong man physically and just like all his brothers, Joe had big hands that felt like stone when clinched into a fist. As he seen his son lying on the ground, he took a deep breath and uttered one last time, "I'm the man 'round here son."

Joe disappeared and didn't come back home for another week acting as if nothing had ever happened. Life went on...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Daingerfield... East Texas Boyz

Daingerfield Posted by Hello

Everybody was breathing they last breath. All of us was bent over gasping for air. We never expected for somebody to get hurt. We was only having fun. Maybe my mama was right when she told me that boys can't be allowed to have fun unless there's supervision around. Mama was right but it was too late. Plus the guys I hungout with would only tease me if I tried to tell them what my mama say.

After a while we was all able to stand up straight. All that running we did was so that we wouldn't get caught. Nobody seen what we done but there's no telling. I dont know. We in the country so there aint no way for somebody to see. Vernice did most of the talking and warned all of us not to say anything.

"Y'all gotta keep quiet about what just happened, you here!" Vernice said.

Aint nobody answered him at first. Everybody just kind of look at each other. I was shaking like a leaf and looking around. Seem like everybody was a little bit scared especially Brian who was standing next to me. Seem like we always ended up next to each other because we both was the youngest. Vernice had to repeat himself but this time he said it louder.

"Y'all hear me! Keep what you seen quiet or we all gonna get in trouble!"

Earl spoke up. He was the tallest and skinny as a toothpick. Sometimes when Vernice get mad at him, he call him stick. This was one of those times.

Earl said "I didn't do nothing."

"You was there, stick! All of us was there! We take this to the grave or else you going to the grave."

Vernice looked around to make sure everyone heard what he said. I think he noticed how hard I was swallowing between each breath and he probably seen my eyes shifting from left to right. I was trying my best to keep from crying.

"Jimmy, you hear what I say?"

I nodded my head yes because I couldn't get the word out after Vernice asked me. He asked everyone else, one by one until we all agreed.

"Good then the best thing to do is stay away from that spot where we was just now. You know how people is. They gonna ask questions if they see you over there so y'all need to keep away for like the next month. You hear anything, act like you dont know nothin!"

Vernice was cool and calm. That's why he was kind of like the leader but at the same time, he didn't have anything to worry about himself. He didn't do it. We was all protecting Boston who was Vernice best friend. Vernice like him because Boston lives in a nice house and his parents got money. They moved to the country thinking life would be nicer out this way. Vernice nicknamed him Boston because he from some big city in the east. I dont know if it's Boston, though. I just know it's some place where they talk funny like him. Now he trying to learn how to talk like we do. It sounds funny, though. Boston; he a fat kid. I never trust him but since Vernice make the rules we all gotta accept what he say.

Vernice looked over at Chuckie. He the last one of us that aint said nothing. He just kind of looking at his feet and got his hands in his pockets. Vernice say his name and Chuckie act like he wasn't really paying attention to what was said before.

"Chuckie, you okay?" Vernice asked.

"Huh? Yeah, I'm okay."

"So, you aint gonna say nothing, right?"


Vernice was smiling like he was proud of everybody but mostly I think he just enjoyed telling all of us what to do. I always wished I could be as tough as him but I was too little. But then again, after what we all seen Boston do, I never wanted to grow any bigger for fear that I might be strong enough to end a life just like he did.

Daingerfield copr.2005

Warm Shoutout

Shoutout Posted by Hello

Sending a warm shoutout to my favorite eastcoast (Virginia) cousin, Jennifer Rivers. I hope you're staying safe and sound in the snow... Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and blessing me with your kind spirit. Spring is on the way so until then, here's a snow ball coming atcha! Just kidding.. (smile)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Me Four Years Ago

4 years ago Posted by Hello

"Funny how time only looks slightly different from yesterday..."


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Not A Test?

Rivers Queens Posted by Hello

I was sitting at home relaxing and thinking about the weekend gone by. I'm still feeling pretty good about myself and laughing at the whole experience. I sort of wrote it off as a test from above but a good friend of mine said something brilliant like always when telling me what my weekend was really about...

Carla said "It looks like the Lord is not testing you but.....preparing you for your Queen!"

That's pretty cool and then for some reason I drifted and began to think about Queens that have come and gone in my family... There are three major ones that I hear about constantly whenever I'm in Texas, visiting family on my father's side. I never tire of the stories and can't wait to hear more... They take me back to a time that I sometimes believe I may have lived in or maybe these beautiful spirits of the past are always sprinkling that magic dust to remind me of what's in store if you remain a good, strong and decent man... Oh, you can have your fun.. Boys and men will be just that, Boys and men... But, always remember kindness, respect and sincerity... It can take you everywhere especially if what you seek is the same as what you wish to give... Funny thing, when I talk like that? I dont always think it's me talking... That's those queens I speak of... Moriah, Lucy, and Senora Rivers... Collectively they are my great great grandmother, my great grandmother and my grandmother, respectively...

I hear so much about Moriah especially, that I would love to write a novel based on and inspired by her life. I mean, her journey which eventually brought her to east Texas is truly incredible. Some of it is hearsay and probably embellished over the years but even that's some really cool stuff. I've even recently heard tales about how my great great grandfather approached Moriah for that first time. It was some love at first sight kind of stuff. His name was Peter and I guess you could say he picked the perfect lady. A woman of strength and beautiful spirituality. She loved God so much that once she was no longer a slave, she built her very own church. I wish I could turn back the hands of time to that day and watch how it all happened. For now, I just listen and piece it all together. Hearsay or not; I love it all and it makes me proud.

I often hear stories about great grandmother, Lucy. I hear she was a sweet and very kind woman. Then I hear that she wasn't afraid at all to say exactly what was on her mind. She'd let you have it in a minute. I heard she was funny too and would catch you off guard as if her humor just snuck up and bit you... I didn't know her and I dont recall if I ever met her when I was a kid. She had to be a strong woman to put up with the habits of a wandering husband and raise all the children she had, especially those five boys that turned out to be good strong men. Her favorite son was my grandfather so I'm kind of proud of that. I think she'd be proud of how I've grown up too..

And then there was my grandmother, Senora Mae Rivers. She was a strong, proud woman who definitely didn't take no mess from nobody. She was so protective of her tall cowboy named Virgil Rivers; my grandfather. She was the brains, the beauty, the school teacher, the volunteer, the church secretary, the farmers wife, milking some cows, cooking some incredible "suppers," making her own butter, specializing in pear preserves and being proud of me from day one. All my grandfather did was just love her and admire her like crazy. I can still hear his voice whenever he called her name and I have a feeling when they reunited in heaven, the bells rang for days as one true example of soulmates found each other again. Grandma stuck around for a longtime without my grandfather and I could tell that she constantly missed him. I reminded her of him. I carry myself the same way but more so than that, I'm glad to know that she's up there with the real deal now, smiling at me on some days and shaking her head on others... The journey continues..

Monday, January 24, 2005

Blame It On The Vibe

Blame It On The Vibe Posted by Hello

Just blame it on the vibe that I had this weekend. That certain unexplainable something that lifts your spirit to the surface and gives you an aura that attracts and turns heads....perhaps.. I dont know but I had something going on this weekend. Maybe God squirted some magical dust on me as I was cruising around LA and it gave off an undetectable scent like a pheromone.. Or maybe it was an extra pep in my stride because I received an email from an angel(SS) that sent me to the moon, so to speak... A brotha was turning heads this weekend and it was cool but I stayed out of trouble. I just soaked up the positive energy and continued on my way. But, there was one thing that happened that I can't let go unnoticed without documenting it in my blog. This young lady of only 29 years old came over to me at the sports bar and was seriously hitting on me. It happened while watching the Steelers lose to the Patriots. She was giving me hugs and acknowledging my height like I was Lebron James, Kevin Garnett or somebody with a combination money and height! She wanted to buy me something to eat, something to drink and on top of that she wanted me to get her pregnant!! WHAT??? I mention her age because she kept repeating it to me and saying that she's getting way too old and wants to have a baby....NOW!!

Then she said "I'm not gonna sue you, I promise.."

She said that I'd only have to take care of her during the last four months of her pregnancy...In my mind I'm laughing and saying "oh my goodness!" This crazy vibe was hittin on all cylinders this weekend!! I'm blessed that the head on my shoulders works exceptionally good and knows how to over-rule any kind of thoughts that would surely get me in trouble...(smile) I'm still laughing about the way the conversation ended with this young lady. Her name was Nicole..

She said "my friends call me Nikki but because I want you to get me pregnant I want you to know my real name which is Nicole..."

And thus, my weekend ended and I was happy to get home safe and sound. I'll laugh about it some more I'm sure...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Memory From The Big Easy

New Orleans Thoughts Posted by Hello

I've seen this place in New Orleans a couple years ago that still trips me out today... Every so often it revisits my thoughts. I place a mental note that tells me to drop by again when I'm in the Big Easy... I dont know the name of this spot but it blew me away. The close proximity of project housing and the cemeteries that surround it. Maybe for me as an outsider it's more noticeable but to those living there, they shrug it off as a normal way of life. I have a fascination with cememteries but I dont know that I would enjoy being surrounded by one. And this particular cemetery also holds the woman they refer to as the "Voodoo Queen," Marie Laveaux inside. Next time I visit, I hope to talk to some of the people living inside this housing project and get their take on it. While I was there no one was outside. The most I saw was the stillness of life gone by and a few footprints left behind in the mud. Yeah, I plan to return there soon...

Friday, January 21, 2005

LINP Teaser

LINP Posted by Hello

Yo, I'm apart of this fabulous, fabulous, fabulous collection of novellas (Love Is Never Painless) due out in the summer so I couldn't resist sharing this little teaser from the story. I loved writing this novella called "Love Is To Blame" for this collection. I was asked to write something from the perspective of a man showing perhaps the affects of a wounded heart... I think I did pretty good so check it out when it hits the racks! (smile) For now, peep out this little excerpt... Oh..and I sort of enhanced the cover in my favor here so when you see it in the stores, it wont be the same...wink...(smile)


Shaylisa Jones loves to eat Pecans and drink Sparkling Cider late at night. She usually ends her day that way, along with reading a good book or calling up her girlfriend she’d met recently, about two months ago. Their meeting each other struck an instant cord of sisterhood and friendship. No subject is ever taboo between them but so far, time had not allowed for all their past experiences to be revealed. Recently, most of their conversations involved complaining about men. They wondered why most, if not all of the ones they knew seemed to have the same first name, Ex.
Shaylisa has had to deal with several by that first name but only one makes her wonder if she’d said goodbye a little too fast. Two years is a long time to just throw something away on a whim. How could she possibly wake up one morning, thinking and wondering about somebody else being the ideal man in her life? When did the man she was seeing become less exciting to her? When did things change? Doesn’t it matter that he gave her so much? Did she ever really care about him in the first place? Doesn’t she remember all the dreams she talked about sharing with him? She even looked him in the eye one day, assuring him that she hadn’t changed her mind about him being “the one.” She was probably motivated to lie because she and Malcolm were enjoying an all expense paid vacation at a resort in Palm Springs. All expenses were paid by him, as was always the case.
“Girl, I’m sick of trying to explain myself! Why can’t he just move on?” Shaylisa asked her girlfriend.
“Does he call you a lot?”
“No, he doesn’t call me. I got caller ID so I know he’s never called me since we broke up.”
“You mean, since you broke things off.”
“You know what I mean, girl.”
“Uh huh, so, why you frustrated with him?”
“Cause I got this letter from him. It just screwed up my whole day too! Almost made me want to call him up and curse his ass out.”
“Why, was it that bad?”
“Not really bad, just one of those guilt trip letters. Plus, I guess he doesn’t want any memories of me because he put all the pictures he had of us, of me, in the same envelope as the letter and sent them.”
“Damn, that man is wounded girl. I hope he doesn’t pass that pain on to someone else.”
“Should I feel guilty about that?” Shaylisa replied on the defensive.
“I’m not saying that, it’s just…”
“Listen, it’s not like I just disappeared one day. I didn’t leave some funky message on his voicemail. I told him in person how I felt and what I no longer felt about him.”
“Then why are you feeling so guilty now?”
“Because of the letter… He’s not a bad person. I don’t know. Can we just change the subject?”
Shaylisa couldn’t take what she was feeling. Instead of drinking Sparkling Cider, she put her girlfriend on hold so she could go in the kitchen and poured herself a glass of Merlot. Shaylisa brought the whole bottle with her and turned off the television before picking up the phone again.
“You still there, Cindy?”
“I’m here, what did you just do?”
“Poured a glass of Merlot ‘cause I need something to calm my nerves down right now.”
“You sound like an old woman! What were you watching anyway?”
“The Sopranos… Although to be honest, I’m not really in the mood to watch anything tonight.”
“Yeah, I turned my TV off a long time ago, girl.”
“Hope I’m not keeping you up too late Cindy?”
“No, before I called you, I was talking to this guy I met this past Saturday.”
“Yeah, he’s fine, girlfriend. He seems to love talking and I don’t mind listening to him, either. I think we might be going out next weekend.”
“Seems like you’re not sure about him?”
“I only hesitate because he seems like a player. I mean, I met him at Venice Beach and for all I know, he probably collected a hand full of phone numbers besides mine. I’d rather be alone than to be with some man I got to share.”
“I hear you. I guess I never had that problem with my ex cause all he wanted to do was spend time with me. I couldn’t bribe him to spend time with somebody else.”
“Well, this guy seems like any lady in his life would come second to his own ego.”
“He’s that bad?”
“Hard to say, but it seems like it.”
“That’s funny Cindy. Girl, maybe you should just leave his ass before you even start down that road.”
“Don’t think I haven’t thought about it Shaylisa. That’s why I turned down his offer to have Sunday brunch. But, he got this sexy voice that had me rocking my leg back and forth when we talked tonight. He was saying some stuff to me that, oh my God…”
Cindy laughed as she anticipated Shaylisa’s next question.
“Did you just have phone sex with that man?”
“No, I didn’t!”
“Cindy Griffith, did you?” Shaylisa repeated her question, waiting for an affirmative answer.
“Girl, I almost did but I held my ground. He definitely stirred a little something inside of me but I had to end that conversation and tell him that I’d call him later during the week.”
“What did he say to that?”
“He just brushed it off and said, cool. You know how men with huge egos try play like nothing disappoints them.”
“Yeah, I guess so. I mean, that’s the thing about my ex, if I told him that I needed to go somewhere, he’d say it was okay and then he’d tell me that he’ll miss me until the next time.” Shaylisa said while imitating a sweet sounding man.
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing, I guess, I mean…”
“Shaylisa, I know we haven’t known each other that long so I can’t really say much about your ex, but you have me constantly wondering who’s the real villain in your breakup. But, don’t get mad and think that I’m putting you down…”
“No, it’s okay Cindy. You have a right to question it, but all I can say is that for whatever reason I woke up one morning not feeling like I wanted to see him any more. I wanted to see someone different, if I was to see anyone at all.” Shaylisa attempted to explain.
Her words only revealed uncertainty or a sense of not really knowing what she wanted in a man or wanted for herself. The trouble with her indecision was that across town she had a man who in the six months since they parted ways, has yet to move on with his own life. Malcolm’s feelings for Shaylisa ran deep as the ocean and right now, his heart pounded constantly against the wall of his chest, similar to the waves crashing along the shoreline.

Copr. 2005


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Mentality Thang Or Just Plain Accepted...

New school way of life Posted by Hello

Mentality or accepted behavior? I was trippin out over a conversation I had with this guy. He seemed like a nice enough person. Greeted me strong and we connected real good with respect to being two black men enjoying the Steelers win over the Jets. The conversation was about women. Seems like this topic comes up in pretty much every conversation lately or maybe I didn't notice before. The difference being the person or people I'm conversating with.

Yesterday the conversation came up when this guy asked me how many women I had. I laughed. I figured he was teasing me. Maybe trying to say that I looked like I had it going on in the women department. Only in my dreams is that fantasy true... I told him that I was completely single and only needing to visit the ATM once a week.

"I hear you, black man" the guy said.

We sipped our drinks and glanced up at the flat screen monitors showing the game. This guy's name was Kevin. One of the bartenders was this beautiful tall sistah with a gorgeous smile. Kevin ordered some french fries and chicken tenders after she answered his question about whether it was cool or not to eat at the bar. Then Kevin returned to our conversation about women.

"Dude, I have a lady and she's cool. We been together going on three years now" he said.

"Sounds like a good thing..."

"Yeah, but I met this other chick that I went out with last weekend, dude. This girl blew my mind when I seen her so I had to see what was up with her! You feel me?"

I just smiled but inside I was thinking about the fact that he told me he had a lady. I had a feeling he wanted me to high five him and hoop and holler but I couldn't. I just smiled, sipped on my drink and continued to listen.

Kevin said "yo dude, it's way too many women out there, especially in LA! It dont even make sense no more to just have one.Plus these women nowadays expect that shit."

"Expect it?" I asked. I tried not to give the appearance of being in shock but I was kind of trippin over the things he was saying.

"Yeah, they lookin at you from the start figuring that you got somebody but they dont care. That just make them come at you stronger. The best thing you could do is hangout with your lady at a club and then return a week later with your boys and see what happens."

"Oh yeah? What's gonna happen?"

"Shee-it... What you think? All them women that seen you with your lady gonna be knocking over chairs trying to get at you!"

I laughed at the visual of women bumpin into furniture trying to approach one guy but I listened. I also remembered in the back of my mind another guy trying to convince me that a man and one woman exclusively was a thing of the past. This other dude claimed that each lady was just a pitstop until you just got tired of changing partners. I had trouble with that analogy. I know we take from our experiences in life but I could never make a commitment to a woman with the idea that one day it would be over and that would be the natural thing to do. Times have changed and people seem to accept what's on the table rather than expect more. My thing has always been to never settle for less and to always seek out that relationship which will last forever. Funny thing though, fellas that practice what Kevin and the other guy preached are typically the ones who always got a woman. In essence...accepted behavior... new school way of life...

VAR Posted by Hello

Friday, January 14, 2005

A Letter From Julian Woods

Zena and Zenobia Posted by Hello

I'm an artist blessed with a gift. This gift has allowed me to see into the past. A kind of past that I'd always wave off as nonsense. I'm really not into slavery. To be honest, I dont even like hearing about it. Somebody once gave me a DVD with all the episodes of Roots on it. I was like "why you give me that?" I took it home and just tossed it on the couch. I was in some serious denial because for a longtime I'd kept something to myself. That something was pretty wild and probably no sane person would believe me if I told them about it. When I sleep at night, I'd have some intense dreams. Not just your typical dream... These dreams took me back to that time that I'd try to consciously not pay attention to. My first dream was about a woman named Eula. That vision was so powerful that when I woke up, I reached for my sketch pad and tried to recreate the image that I'd seen. Funny thing, I really didn't have to try very hard. It took me about ten minutes to draw every detail of her face. Eula was a hard looking woman but that's only because the slavemaster kept her in the fields day and night, working her like an animal. Like I said, it was wild being able to travel back inside a dream and then pull Eula forward so that I could recreate and actually paint her on canvas. I've never done that before with folks that I see on a day to day basis. I might remember some sexy lady and draw her but nine times out of ten, I'm doctoring the image up to meet my own fantasies. With Eula, I don't doctor it up at all.

Time went by after I'd created a couple portraits of Eula. I gave the paintings to my buddy Byron who has his own art gallery over in Lemiert Park. He was pleased and I pretty much assumed that those special dreams had come to an end at that point. I'd began thinking that craziness was just a fluke and I'd have to go back to just imagining what a slave might look like inorder to finish this special project I was doing for my friend. I just needed to paint maybe three or four more portraits; no problem. But then it started up again... whew... talk about some twilight-zone-style time traveling! I went back in time through my dreams again and met up with Eula's younger sister, Zenobia. I couldn't believe all this was happening inside my head. It's not like I'm talking to these people, though. I'm just watching their lives play out and strangely enough, I'm also able to hear their voices and listen to their thoughts. Crazy; I know... And I still ain't popped open that Roots DVD yet so it's not like I'm subconsciously going nuts over watching too much Kunta Kente and the crew. Plus, this Zenobia was finer than any woman I'd seen in my own lifetime, let alone during a time that existed hundreds of years ago. She had me mesmerized like I'd gone into a coma and found that white door leading to heaven. Zenobia was out of this world beautiful. And yeah, I did the same thing that I did with Eula, I grabbed my sketch pad and brought her image to life. I'd transferred all that I'd seen to canvas and gave her color. Zenobia was amazing with all that hair wrapped up over her head, a white cotton dress, and some white chocolate mocha skin. (laughing) She had me salivating. But nothing.... I say, nothing made me lose my mind more than when I met this chick at Starbucks whose name turned out to be Zena. That's when I started to say to myself, "no more wine or alcohol for me!" That painting that I did of Zenobia? That actually looked just like Zena... And from then on, I've been trying to figure out why...

Until Again,
Julian Woods

Copr.2005 Until Again

Friday, January 07, 2005

Innocence Inspired...

Innocently real... Posted by Hello

What keeps me the way I am and how I feel... That belief in part that love remains so real.... Innocence.... I know I've seen a lot and been through some stuff but somehow through it all I've kept a certain boyish innocence... I still get nervous before saying hello or introducing myself to a woman that has caught my eye. Similar to that time back in Junior High when my heart was beating so hard, you could see my shirt actually moving. I thought I was gonna have a heartattack. That happened because I wanted to speak to this fine ass girl named Dedre Chachere... She would later turn me down because she said I was too young for her. She was a whole grade ahead of me but there were times when she would look in my direction and say "there's something different about you... you're a nice guy..." Those sort of words have followed me forever and so has the nervousness... It's that innocence that has remained with me like a badge or an encouraging reminder...

Now, I walk with a certain degree of sarcasm and the patience wears thin pretty quickly but most of my wounds remove easily, well...for the right somebody they do. I spoke to someone today who voiced their displeasure about women, specifically black women. He was angry because of the ones in his life recently as well as one particular woman who made a good friend of his reach the same conclusion that he did... They both are on that kick right now of going elsewhere for their female companionship aka not dating black women. I can't go in that direction. It makes no sense... Never have I been wronged by "black women." I've only had situations not workout with three or four in my life. They happened to be black but their decisions weren't based on being black or being a woman. They tripped on their own, which of course was silly because I'm a fabulous dude! (laughing) JUST KIDDING.... I can't give up on women... Refuse to give up on love... That innocence keeps me that way... What's changed is that I'm learning to communicate my displeasure and I do carry some of that(a lot depending on the day) with me... Baggage left behind by certain ladies, each one reminding me of good times and each one reminding me of bad. A couple of them even have a special asterisk by their names and then if you drop down to the description detailing why there's an asterisk, you'll see the word(s) asshole. I'm only human, but hey...I'm still innocent too...

Something that I like to do is collect greeting cards...blank ones with beautiful pictures.. Cards that I can one day fill up with words because I was inspired to do so. And then I'd send them to friends and family and not just on holidays but any day the feeling hits me. Or, I'd send one to some unsuspecting person like a beautiful, gorgeous doctor that I've admired who seems very genuine like she deserves the world because I know she's probably real cool people. I can see it in her spirit. I hope this gesture will inspire her smile and eventually she'll say thank you... That sort of response I place in my heart and take it with me. It's a real cool feeling that comes with the territory of being a giver. (smile) I have no expectations for more. And then I smile when my words are taken even deeper than they're sometimes mean't. Certain friends become speechless.... disappear... and then wonder... But yo, all I've done is express truth... All that good stuff hangs in my heart like shirts in the closet waiting to be worn and perhaps shown off to the world... And I love to give sincere shoutouts.. The sort of thing that has meaning and can be felt by those you acknowledge. Love is never a practice run for me; it's the way I live one hundred percent of the time, probably leaving myself open for the possibility of disappointment... But guess what? Whatever will be....will be...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Chained To A Crazy Dream....

Chained By A Crazy Dream... Posted by Hello

During the holiday season next year? I wanna be in the country, chillin in the cold weather and surrounded by beautiful colors and dreams... I wanna be with somebody then, sharing my history and learning about hers, no doubt just as fascinating. I wanna detour and sign books and thangs... Tell folks that love is important and dont always have to be a painful, drama filled journey clogged by two minds clashing and wasting unnecessary time strangling each other's existence.

Yo, I wanna share some hotlinks and rub off the grease with soft kisses. Take her to places I like to call my heaven on earth and discover new areas along the way... Make some plans for the meantime.... for the future or whenever; I'm flexible... Share my world as she shares hers... Allowing no boundaries to exist unless you count laughter and smiles because most of our conversations will end and begin that way... Only time floats in front of us as we do our best to make the best of every second... I'll chop down one of them pine trees growing in the field in Texas or just decorate all sixty of them (my last count) with ornaments and pretty garland. Run around like little kids because we created our own little Santas village. Who this partner be is unknown to me but she will be found and along with success and a re-dedication to my dreams, it's all gonna happen because I'm claiming it and I know that this can be..... sincerely, a most of the time good guy known as Anthony....

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Never Known Before.......

Never Known Before Posted by Hello

We spoke just two weeks ago. It was funny because we joked about cooking for each other one day. I think it was just his way of trying to get me to come see him. More than a thousand miles separated us so our contact had always been limited to the occasional phone call and emails. I've know him for years like this and even from a distance he's touched my life in a special way.

When we spoke a couple weeks ago, it was really enjoyable. I dont think I've ever had as much fun with him over the phone as I did on this night. His dinner menu was just the same as mine and when I called him, he'd told me he was sitting down enjoying his food.

"I can call you back..." I told him.

"No, no...we can talk. It might be a long long minute before you call me back. You know how you do!"

"I'd call you right back!"

I laughed at how he tried so hard to keep me on the line. His efforts were sincere and I was just teasing him anyway. I really did want to talk.

"What you doing over there?" I asked.


"What you cook or did you do like most guys and go get you something to eat?"

"Why you player hating?"

"I ain't hating!"

"If you must know, I cooked me a nice meal over here despite not having anybody to share it with..."

"Yeah, yeah.... what you cook?"

"A little boneless turkey roast thingy, some cabbage, some hot water cornbread and some black eye'd peas!"

I teased him about his black eye'd peas and then confessed to having cooked the same thing. I was one up on him in that I also made a peach cobbler and had real turkey instead of that processed thing that they turn into a roast. I teased him about that too and then at the same time we decided to have a spoon full of peas together.

"You ready?" He asked.

"Yep, I'm ready silly..." I said while holding the phone with my left hand.

This whole thing was his idea but it was fun. He began the countdown.


We both laughed while attempting to chew our food and then we talked some more. Actually, that was the last time we spoke. I didn't hear from him until today, though this time was different. Someone spoke on his behalf, telling me that Michael had something he needed me to see. I questioned the word, needed and asked why. This person speaking for Michael responded very quietly. He had to clear his throat before saying anything.

"He wrote this on a legal document as his last wish..."

"Legal document? What are you talking about?"

The man said to me in a no more questions asked sort of way, "I'm sending you a ticket and this legal document. That's all I can say, for now..."

The man speaking for Michael did just as he said and I'd received a ticket to Dallas. From there I was to drive about eighty miles to a town called Sulphur Springs and locate a woman named Virginia Irvin who would then take me to see this place which was described in the legal document.

When I arrived in Dallas, it had been raining. The skies were cloudy and the ground was wet. I wasn't too crazy about driving on the damp streets nor was I too excited about traveling to somewhere I'd never been before but for whatever reason, this was important to Michael so I had to do it. That was the kind of friendship we had. He never hesitated to do things for me and I know with his crazy self, if I asked him to come see me he'd try his hardest to be on the next plane out. I laugh about it now. He never changed when it came to showering me with kind thoughts of appreciation over the years.

Seems like a lot of memories hit me as I drove down the I-30 to get to Sulphur Springs. The memories were all good except for the one when I broke Michael's heart. I convinced myself it was necessary and unavoidable. That was maybe four years ago and I've questioned myself ever since. I guess what's made it a little easier is that our friendship continued and has been very sweet.

I pulled into this small country town and found the agency where it was stated that this Virginia woman worked at. I gave them my name at the front desk and immediately they seemed to know who I was. Everyone smiled. I guess with this being a country town realestate agency, there were no secrets between anyone. There were about five people in the office and I was introduced to all of them. Everybody said they'd heard about me and I wanted to know how or why. Nobody answered.

Virginia drove me to the outskirts of town. We cruised down a couple really pretty tree lined country roads. She asked me how I felt about what was left to me. I told her that everyone was being so secretive that I'd had no real clue what she was talking about.

"I'm thinking that Michael is playing a sick joke on me because he knows my curiosity is such that I'll take a chance and see this through" I'd said.

Virginia just smiled and then told me that the next driveway would be our destination. We pulled onto this beautiful piece of farm land. It was absolutely gorgeous despite the muddy areas caused by the rain that had just passed through. There was a house in the distance that looked huge and a barn that looked like it hadn't been used in a longtime. It felt good to see all this because it was the perfect country home. It was the kind of place that Michael would love. Then I began to think to myself that maybe this was a special surprise somehow. Like maybe Michael put me through all this just to see the shock on my face when he tells me it belongs to him.

I looked at Virginia. "Michael?" I asked as I stretched my arms out imagining that all of this belonged to him.

Virginia just nodded her head, yes. I wasn't sure if she quite understood my question because she didn't smile like she was happy. She simply handed me a pair of keys and gestured for me to use them once I got to the house. It was so beautiful too. The front porch had Michael written all over it. The rocking chairs and the way it wrapped around the house. I remember him always telling me he wanted one someday.

When I walked inside the house, it felt like this place was truly meant to be a home for some lucky person or family. It was so warm and inviting. The fireplace in the living room was gorgeous. Virginia stepped inside and led me to the kitchen. There was a picture of me on the center island. I remembered the picture as being one that I'd asked Michael to make a copy of since he took it four years ago. He never did it and eventually told me that he loved this picture so much so that he wanted it to be the only one of it's kind. I wanted to strangle him for that but I've lived with his decision.

I'd shed a couple tears when I saw the picture. I knew then that something was up and I was here for a reason. That's when Virginia handed me another set of legal documents which stated that this beautiful property now belonged to me. Michael had done this. It was in his will and just like he'd done so many times before, he'd found a way to bring a smile to my face eventhough sadness flooded my heart. Sitting next to the picture of me was a bag of black eye'd peas and a measuring cup. I guess he was trying to tell me something...