Friday, April 29, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
This past weekend was pretty cool... Life in LA is always a pleasure party for the eyes and observant minds like myself. I hungout at a birthday party Saturday night, which was real cool. I was blessed with plenty of hugs and some delicious finger foods. Met up with this fella that is super cool.. Turning out to be a good friend that I can chill with and not be bothered about jealousies or any kind of BS because the brotha is cool and sincere. He got himself together and still got a little street in him... He talks major shit but at the same time is blessed with a lot of wisdom about life. Sometimes I feel like I just met up with the real version of a couple of characters that I recently wrote stories about. Maybe that's why we hit it off so quickly; brought together by a mutual appreciation for real cool throwback jerseys and then we just hit it off like brothers. Funny thing though, we met maybe about two or three months ago and have hungout maybe five times but I still dont know his name. Next time I see him, I gotta get his name so I can properly dedicate a little space to him. He always greets me with "peace and love" and coming from his warm spirit you can always feel it... I'm blessed to meet that brotha...
Sunday was a fabulous time spent attending a wedding. A good friend of mine named Patrick got married to his beautiful bride. Patrick was beaming nervously in this small but very cool chapel on Wilshire Blvd in LA. I hadn't been to a wedding in probably ten years! It was nice to go to one for a change instead of witnessing folks breaking up... The bride was in tears and Patrick played it cool... It was nice...
After that, the reception was held at their new house in the valley. I had a prior commitment to take care of at the UCLA festival of books but when I was done I headed out to the reception. I was motivated to go for two reasons. To support Patrick on his special day and to also checkout this lady that I'd seen amongst the attendees. Whew.. the young lady was fine!!! BUT...she was with somebody so I couldn't do anything but appreciate from a far... That brings me to the point of this post and how all too often I see fellas mistreating their ladies. The ones that dont deserve an incredible woman seem to always have one by their side and this moment was no exception..
At the reception I got my food, chilled with some friends and by some odd moment of luck I ended up seated across from the beautiful young lady and her not so bright man. He tried to flex his strength I guess by telling her to shut up because she was supposedly asking him too many questions. Then he walked away. Beautiful saw my expression/reaction and said softly "crazy, huh?" I couldn't believe how dude was acting towards his lady. She asked me if I wanted to drink what I noticed her man was drinking but I declined. I told her I dont really drink that often. I said it in a cool way. I was trying to show her how she should be spoken to, with kindness, sincerity. She shouldn't be stabbed with angry words blurted out at her. She smiled and kind of exhaled. We looked at each other as if sharing a mental hug. Then her man returned. He must've picked up on the relaxed vibe so he introduced himself to me, offered me a drink and then tried to make conversation... It was interesting... it was fun.. This was a good weekend where my personal soundtrack included two favorite CD's that brought back memories of good times in LA when I wasn't always so in tuned and observant.. This weekend I was rockin to one of my all time favorite Reggae albums(which is what it was when I originally bought it but now I got it on CD) True Democracy by Steel Pulse.... Classic!!! And I was also enjoying Way Too Fonky by DJ Quik one of the best producers ever! I would love to have a CD of all his instrumental jams because his productions are amazing... Now it's Monday... time to get back into the grind.... As my man says... peace and love....
Saturday, April 23, 2005
My Life- Leesha Annette Tyler
This is my favorite street novel right here! *smile* Not only because I wrote it but also because it's a journey. I love stories that take you somewhere and in this one you truly go through a lot emotionally. There's something big happening in every chapter and you get to see this young woman's life play out over time; sparked by an idea that grips a hold of her consciousness and wont let go. It causes her to look back and figure out why she came to the decision which could change her life and other lives forever... Here's a very brief excerpt as Leesha looks back...
All my life I wanted to be free. When I got old enough to have attitude, I defined my idea of freedom in very simple terms. I wanted to be a bitch, a princess, and a queen all rolled up into one. Young ladies ain’t supposed to be all hard. I keep hearing that if you living in modern times you gotta be able to stand up to all the shit being thrown your way on a daily basis. You can’t worry about being courteous or being a fuckin “lady.” Shit. I never once put in my list of dreams to become a part of the “in-crowd” and wear all that designer stuff. I can find just as good or better at the Slauson Swapmeet. I ain’t stupid. I know what to do with my damn money. I learned how to shop from my mama. It was about the only thing she taught me that was worth knowing.
I started realizing mama knew what she was talking about when I went to the mall one day, by myself. The only thing I could afford up in there was a t-shirt and maybe a cute little belt. That’s what I bought, too. I felt so bad. I’d see other girls from my school hanging out and acting up. They was fast and I was just getting started. Teenage boys stepped to them left and right. I sat down in the food court area and just watched the show. I learned a lot from watching. I liked the idea that females could have so much control. That’s what I saw when I watched those girls from school. They had control over any male that tried to talk to them. That is, if they knew what control was all about. I noticed most of the girls just collected names until they found themselves face to face with the most popular boys in school. Even though I wasn’t a part of any clique, I took notes until it was my time.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I might be silly for the picture but I sho is havin fun! *smile* Today I got inspired not in my usual way ie. writing or creating something visual. Nah, my stomach got inspired to tell me it craved some Sara Lee Chocolate Dream Pie... Oooh is it delicious and cold! Just perfect for a hot day in Cali! Yessssssss!
Thing is, I can't just go to the store, get my stuff and go home, I gotta be blessed with an unexpected moment.. Something that causes me to pause and say "humph, I may need to blog about this." Ya know, blogging is like suspending your thoughts in time so that you dont have to carry it with you as you continue on with your life...lol.. Well, I'm gonna look at it in that way.
Anyway, I went to the grocery store to get what I craved for. I remembered that I also needed some honey mustard for a future recipe that I wanted to throw together. So as I'm walking up and down, aisle after aisle I come across this one aisle that along with juices and other good stuff, stood this gorgeous mahogany sistah looking incredible. I wasn't gonna walk down that way at first but when I saw her silhouette I said "whoa!" I didn't say that out loud because I am a gentleman but I thought about it. Instead, I played it cool and nonchalant. I eased my way toward her not really planning to strike up a conversation but more so just hoping for a smile and a hello. Hmmm.. what did I get? An angry glare! Arrrgh!! And I got this look as if she's sending me a message that reads "dont even think about approaching me!" lol...
I kept walking and eventually found my honey mustard. When I turned to head toward the checkout stand, Mahogany was there in my way or I was in hers. We danced for about two or three steps trying to figure out who was going what way. The confusion sparked a reaction from her. She started laughing. She dropped something. I picked it up. It was some frozen egg rolls. I handed the package to her and she smiled. It appeared she'd dropped her angry glare or perhaps that was her guard. It was gone for the moment.
"Thank you" she said.
I didn't know whatelse to say beyond that..lol.. I guess I dropped something too but nevertheless, I enjoyed the moment. I told her to take care and I went on my way. I saw her again as I was pulling out of my parking space and she was exiting the store. I waved. She smiled and walked to her car. That young lady had a helluva walk too! Whew....
Now, here I sit blogging, eating my chocolate dream pie and listening to Trillville but not by choice! lol.. This is about the 50th time in the last two hours that the song is playing on the radio... This was fun.. I figured I'd throw in some personal experience on the blog after sharing a few excerpts from stories that got me crazy excited right now. *smile* Peace....
I've got two very special stories that should be out very soon. One is a contemporary thang aka a "street" novel called My Life Is All I Have and the other is what I'd like to share once again right here. It's my masterpiece called "Until Again." It's part contemporary and part slave narrative. This little bit is taken from the slave narrative part. Until Again is such a powerful journey that takes you to so many places, emotionally, visually, etc etc... This story will be devoured once it gets out there *smile* but for now I'd like to wet your appetite just a little with this excerpt... In it you will see when a young man(Jalen) comes to give Zenobia the news that her man(Cudie) has died.
Jalen’s voice grow silent and he look away. He try to talk bout something else like he afraid.
“Sho is hot, ain’t it? You remember when you come out of them woods that time?” he say all fidgety like.
“Jalen, what about Cudie?”
“Well, Miss Hattie say I should just give you this letter, first. This here what Cudie wrote to you a few days before his wounds get the best of him…”
“Yes ma’am. He take ill after those men beat him. Miss Hattie try to tend to all his wounds but he come down with some kind of fever that just don’t let up. Maybe he know what gonna happen so he have Miss Hattie bring him something he could write on. I finds a paper sack in the barn and tear a piece of it to give to Cudie. This what I bring to you…”
Jalen place what Cudie write to me beside him. He stand up and walk to the door. He say, “I best go cause I sure ain’t mean to bring you so much grief. Miss Hattie say she sorry and Eula waiting for you…I best go now…”
Jalen walk out the door and leave me to my silence. My heart feel like it’s no longer beating. I look down at the piece of paper sack and see Cudie’s writing. I could tell it’s his. I know how proud it made him to be able to write something and then read it back. I wish he was here now, reading to me cause I know his words come from his heart.
I sit down beside the letter but I don’t pick it up just yet. I look down and notice my name, written by Cudie as best he could. He ain’t write it out all the way so he just begin the letter with “Zenob.” I smile and then I picks up the letter. Just below my name, it reads:
This here letter so hard for me to write... I very sickly and can’t think too well. One thing for sure that ain’t hard for me to say is that I love you with all my heart. I ain’t sure we see each other again, at least not alive but I believe we find each other somewhere. Zenob, you always say dem words I like to hear and I believes in my heart that God make that happen. I prays when you get this letter, you say dem words again and when we find each other with no Massa to fool with and no more being a slave, we gonna jump dat broom into a life we shoulda had now… I’ma rest for now and I know you go’n be the best mammy, any chile ever know’d…
I continued to read Cudie’s words over and over until my heart can’t take it no longer. Tears drip from my eyes to the piece of paper. Some of the words mess up behind the wetness and me trying to wipe it off. All I can think of is that Cudie be dead now but I try my best to do as he would want. I have to be strong and take care of my child. When I’m able to, I go see Eula but for now all I can do is picture Cudie and the last time I seen his handsome smile. I clutch my heart and speak so that he can hear me say his favorite words, “until again, Cudie, until again…” And then I close up the letter, never to read it, ever again. I place it with the one I’ve been holding on to, to give to Eula. I have to be strong for my child and for myself. I can’t think bout Cudie no more. I gots to worry bout myself.
Though I tries hard to believe that what I learn bout Cudie just the same as any other bad news, I find myself unable to stand. I becomes a little weary so I lay myself on the cold hard pallet and begin to release all the tears that’s been fighting to leave my closed eyes. I guess I love Cudie more than I ever realized. I feel my spirit wanting to give up but I know I can’t. My saddened heart make my body feel so worn down. Like something heavy, pulling me that way. I wants to just sleep forever.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Coming In August
Coming out in August is a very special anthology that I feel extremely blessed to be a part of. I can't wait to see it out there and to hopefully receive a couple or so reactions...*smile* I think the story will definitely move a few folks and perhaps leave them thinking about L-O-V-E and the way we respond to it in today's times. We always talk about life being so short so I constantly wonder why we take the best most meaningful part of it for granted? Or worse yet, we fear it.(Love)
Take a peek at some dialogue from my upcoming story, Love Is To Blame. It's one of three novellas featured in this anthology, "Love Is Never Painless." This excerpt shows the main male character(Malcolm) writing in his journal.
“I wanna be in a situation where we can talk about life and feel understood. That beautiful kind of vibe where smiles coincide with fond memories of what used to be or could become… No blank stares following that overused familiar exclamation point of; you know what I’m saying? We can talk until the wee hours of the morning, only stopping every once in a while for passionate lovemaking. We’d understand the true importance of getting to know each other. I wanna be able to say things that go beyond love. It’s a beautiful feeling to say I love you more, but after the passion has subsided, I want to continue feeling proud of the person that I’ve come to truly know. And within that pride, I imagine there would always be some sort of motivation to keep the passion simmering and the effort would always be mutual. That last word should be underlined in everyone’s consciousness. Mutual…”
Malcolm sighed and looked over what he’d just written. His heart was pouring out on the pages of his journal as he recalled how he used to think before his experience with Shaylisa. It seems so foreign to him now to actually believe that love was possible or that trust could be fact, rather than fiction. A woman actually giving and not just taking from the relationship? Malcolm shook his head in disbelief as he returned to writing in his journal. His thoughts seemed to take on a more doubtful perspective. Malcolm wrote…
“Sometimes I wonder if I’ve taken the wrong route toward my recent discovery. For whatever reason, God took a while to turn the light bulb on and present to me the reality of how cold hearted love can actually be. I’ve been in situations that had no strings attached or so we tried to convince ourselves. Personally, I believe there’s always a string attached. That string is about life and discovery. Sometimes on one end you’ll find an optimistic heart while on the other end you’ll find a selfish soul with a talent for manipulation. Sort of like some chick who will come up with a scheme to get what she wants by giving you a choice on what you should buy for her rather than her trying to do the shit for herself. I used to be so optimistic before, but rather than become manipulative too, I choose to be alone.”
A tear fell from Malcolm’s eye. His anger felt justified but it didn’t feel like an emotion he could hold up with pride. He wondered how much time would go by before he could trust love again.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Flowers Of Moriah
I traveled for miles thinking about my children. Two daughters I left behind because I was told they couldn't come. Mister Clark say they old enough to fend for themselves and "besides..." he say with a smile on his face. "You about to begin a whole new life so you dont need to be weighed down by unnecessary weight. I aint got much room for them no how."
I didn't much listen to Mister Clark because no matter how he say it, none of it makes sense, especially when his words just bouncing off all the pain that was collecting inside of me. Still, I had to keep myself strong and somehow believe that in my heart, God make this all work out just fine. I dont know how he do it but I seen miracles happen before. Blessings come to those who need him when it's the proper time.
Mama used to say to me "aint no good to recognize somethin if you aint doin nuttin about it." As I traveled with Mister Clark from one state to the next, I learned how to think and plan ahead. I guess some would call it dreaming but it felt to me like I was doing more than just putting empty promises inside my head. I figures once we get to where we was going, I could finds a way to be with my daughters no matter how long it take. Love so powerful it can't be separated by distance or even years and aint nobody strong or evil enough to pull love from my heart. I refuse to allow it. I may hold a cold shoulder to a stranger at times 'cause I got to protect myself but family whether kin or friend is always welcome... (to be continued...)
Copr. 2005 Flowers Of Moriah
Monday, April 18, 2005
Ghost Of A Good Man
I feel like I'm repeating myself when I say that this past Sunday, I awoke to spiritual voices singing in my head. It's happened before. I even used this for a character in a story once. A story inspired by my family and by the power of the human spirit, which continues to prove itself constantly... The story is "Until Again" and what had happened was.... smile..
This past Sunday in the wee hours of the morning I was tossing and turning. I was deep inside a beautiful dream where I'd seen my grandfather's face. He was smiling and looking strong as ever. He didn't say anything but he was there. He's always been there for me. And then I began hearing this beautiful voice singing a gospel song. I wish I'd listened closer to the words just so I could remember what was being sung but I didn't. I was mostly captured by the beauty and the emotion of the sound. The voice was powerful. And as I came out of this dream, I could still hear this voice. It was coming from my television which I had left on all night. It was a beautiful feeling because my memories hold many Sunday mornings waking up in Texas; hearing the sounds of gospel music coming from a television or radio in my grandparents house. That's where I was this weekend, making a decision which left me wondering if I'm doing the right thing... Deep down I know I am and seeing my grandfather's image sort of confirmed this to me... I felt at peace when I woke up and now I'm back in crazy LA but I brought something back with me that also blew me away. An unexpected treat...
Again, what had happened was... I found some old cassettes as I was cleaning out a dresser drawer belonging to my grandmother. A few tapes had preacher names and titles of sermons. I listened to one where the preacher said to the congregation "when you shut up and straighten up, I'll do somethin..." I dont think he was directing it to them. It was more so in the context of what he was preaching about but I like the way he said it. I listened some more and then I played a cassette which had no writing on it and discovered a beautiful treasure. It was the sound of my grandmother's voice, reading a nursery rhyme. She read "Jack jumped over the candle stick..." It feels like it's been forever since I've heard her voice. The last five years of her life were a struggle for her. She could barely speak at all, which always frustrated her so much. During her adult life and as she got older she was always known for her sharp wit and her sometimes sharp tongue. She was a strong woman that would speak her mind and if you saw her lips get tight, you were in for a serious tongue lashing. Hearing her voice on this tape I consider a gift and perhaps even a special message. My grandmother passed away almost five years ago now and despite those moments when I hear her voice through memory or inside a dream, it was good to hear her for real, once again... sort of...
Sunday, April 10, 2005
On one of my venturing out journeys over the weekend, I'd discovered this street that served as one of the entry ways into a project housing complex known as Nickerson Gardens. I laughed a little bit and then I wondered if folks living there even paid attention to it or if the sign to them had disappeared in their consciousness and become a backdrop to the sights and sounds of the hood.
This past weekend I took a friend of mine (KR) who wanted to visit Nickerson Gardens again. We'd gone there before but we didn't find that much to photograph. However, on this visit we came across several really interesting images. The young boy in his own world drawing in his coloring book. He refused to smile but he finally looked up. There was a gang of fellas hanging out on Success Avenue that we wanted to photograph but from the looks on their faces, we figured it was safer to capture the image in our minds and be able to laugh about it later.
After that we drove around and discovered a whole world within the confines of this area made famous by videos like the anti-violence music video "All In The Same Gang" and the movie, Set It Off. This area has character and stories for days despite the occasional violence that breaks out. KR had seen and was touched by this young man taking care of his little baby girl. He tried desperately to keep her warm as the wind was strong enough to blow clothes off the line behind him. It was a chilly day despite the clear blue skies.
Another scene we saw was an older crowd playing cards outside on one corner and perhaps a block away there was a latino family of several generations preparing for a big outdoor picnic celebration. Within this world there was a feeling of community and that's something I rarely see in the so-called better neighborhoods on the other side of town including my own. Mind you, Nickerson Gardens looks like a place you dont want to be stranded in and the homes on the outside edge of this area have more bars than your maximum security prisons but over the weekend, the sun was shining and everybody seemed cool with each other. As I said, there was a true sense of community spirit combined with all the images that black folk might smile and reminisce about.. Hair being braided on the front porch, young men standing proud in T-shirts and colors representing who they claim to be and young kids oblivious to their surroundings but having fun as if they'd found all the joy they'd need to see.
It was a cool day on Saturday... A day in the LIFE under the gleaming LA sky...
Monday, April 04, 2005
I had a conversation with a young lady this evening. The first thing she said that struck me was "my heart has space for rent..." Before she made that comment I was only halfway listening to her. She was cute. She had a way about smiling that left you wondering what was really on her mind. She'd glance down on occasion or even stick her finger slightly between her teeth. I didn't mind. It gave an observer like myself a few more things to remember about her. But again, it was that statement that she made which really brought her into focus for me.
There I was, first sitting sideways, taking sips from my drink and half listening while watching the body traffic all around. In fact, her original reason for sitting with me was because she'd noticed I was having fun watching the parade of folks going about whatever it is they were going about. Otherwise known as people watching... She asked if she could join me and I didn't see any reason to refuse.
"Please" I said before standing to pull up a chair for her to sit on.
"A gentleman and a people watcher... I'm scared of you!"
I laughed. "Why you say that?"
"Because you're observant and yet at the same time, you dont neglect a woman that's in your presence."
"That's cool. I never really thought about it like that."
"I'm observant too and I notice things like that, especially with a man! Typically I'm just waiting for a man to do something wrong so I can place him in the same barrel I have most other men."
I laughed again but this time it was with reservation. This young lady was getting deep with me even before she knew my name. After a few sips of my drink and only quietly responding to her comments, she introduced herself. Maybe she felt me retreating a little bit because she'd been talking so much.
Her name was Cynthia and the conversation traveled through all sorts of territory from traffic and weather to the trials and tribulations of men and women trying to relate to each other. She told me I was a good listerner and complimented me on looking clean and fresh... I laughed and then I guess she could read the not-completely-understanding-look on my face.
She said "I mean that in a good way. You've got this look about you that's borderline playa but you're shy too and I've yet to see you even hint at anything sexual towards me."
"Well, some thoughts I keep very well hidden."
"Nice comeback. Now you just trying to be charming but I dont think you've looked at me in a sexual way."
Cynthia and I ended up in a two minute debate about the ways in which she could tell how a man looks at her. I took notes. She knew what she was talking about. Then she excused herself because she wanted to throw some used napkins away in the nearby trash can. She turned to look at me as she dropped the napkins in the trash.
She smiled. "See, that was a sexual..." she said.
I shrugged in defense. "What's sexual? What do you mean?" I asked.
Cynthia returned to the table.
"The look you gave me. I ain't mad at you, though. A woman likes to know she got it going on just so long as the man doesn't be disrespectful about it. You're alright, Anthony."
"So why you sitting alone out here looking like a loner?"
"I am a loner but I do enjoy company, too. Right now I'm just relaxing. Winding down from the weekend and watching the show."
"You had a busy weekend? Maybe a really hot date that's got your mind spinning?"
I laughed and thought for a minute how cool that would be if I had a date that left me spinning or at least dreaming of the next date.
"Nah, no date... How about you?"
"Actually I did have a date. It was cool. We went to this place called 'E' Cuisine. It's spelled Y-I but they pronounce it like 'E'."
"Not bad... Asian sort of food."
"It was nice. I dont see this man as a long term vision but he could be a friend. I've seen girlfriends jump way too quickly into things and then I have friends who hook up with some nice guy and then wake up one day and break his heart because he ain't moving fast enough... It can get confusing but personally, I have my parameters set up so I should be okay for now..."
"Meaning what you said earlier?"
"That space for rent comment..."
"Oh... yeah..." Cynthia smiled.