Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Year In My Life

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I used to make a list of goals I wanted to accomplish during the upcoming year. The list usually included bullet points like make new friends/rekindle old friendships, learn to drive (I have a 4-year old learner’s permit) and something to do with my work or creativity. I haven’t made that list for the past two years, but that didn’t mean I was any less aware or focused on accomplishing certain goals.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Musings on Global Warming and Hood Life


I started this blog in February by randomly musing about life and chimps. It's already December. Wow! A lot has happened this year. Good and bad, but nothing we can't grow and learn from.


Overheard on the streets today... One Black woman to her friend: He wanna get married but I'm like we don't gotta be married to have kids together...


And that is one of the major problems in the Black community.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Touch Me At Your Own Risk

I heard this morning on the radio about incidents of subway groping going way up, especially in Manhattan and how they expect with the Holiday rush, it's only going to get worse. I did notice the campaign about sexual harassment on the subways and had to shake my head at the fact that not only is the problem getting that bad, but that they have to tell the victims that it's not OK. This is ridiculous. What is wrong with these men? I have made reference to the jostling of bodies and lingering touches on the train in a consensual matter or in fiction. But this happens more often than women are willing to admit and that is the problem. I'm well-aware that during rush hour, there is very little personal space and having grown up in NY, I'm very tolerant of it, but that's no excuse for your hand being in my ass crack.


I caught a lot of heat on the NY Times City Room Blog last year when I said something to the effect that these crazy, sick men prey on women they think or know will be too scared to say anything or too lost in their own worlds to notice. You know how many times I've just stared at someone just to see what will happen and they never see me because they never look up? They have no clue what's going on around them. They make themselves targets. There's no eye contact. So even if someone did "attack" them (rob, grope etc.) they wouldn't be able to identify them! I remember a few years ago sitting across from a woman and man who didn't know one another. The man would slowly inch his hand under his newspaper and rest his fingers on the woman's thigh. I was shocked that she didn't even feel it.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finger Licking Good

I love to eat with my hands. It’s second nature to me. I am fully capable of using a knife and fork. I don’t eat rice or spaghetti and meatballs with my hands. But my fingers make great utensils as well. It’s not an uncivilized or barbaric way to eat. I don’t have food running down the front of my shirt or sauce staining my cheek. I love the feel of my food. And before it hits my lips, rolls around on my tongue and slides down my throat, I touch it with my hands. Not to mention sometimes it’s just easier to eat certain foods with your hands.

Eating with your hands is the norm in many cultures. I grew up eating with my hands. I can still see myself sitting at the dining table, chest pressed against it, my father sitting at the head of the table and me at the first seat next to him, eating ogbona soup with codfish, amala, or gari and egusi with a smoked turkey drumstick bigger than my forearm. While watching Anthony Bourdain No Reservations while he was visiting Saudi Arabia, everyone sat around a large platter of rice and a roasted lamb or camel and ate with their hands. Eating is communal. It’s a bonding experience. It encompasses the senses, touch included.

What comes before eating? Cooking. Most times, when I’m hungry, I cook to eat. Other times, I eat leftovers. The whole process is enjoyable, soothing, meditative, exhilarating, experimental. Even when it’s stressful, I shrug it off to chance and pull some more ingredients out of the cupboard. There’s something visceral and spiritual about cooking. Watching all the various ingredients come together. Ingredients mix, blend, dissolve, boil, thicken, liquefy, harden, coagulate, evaporate. There are so many different processes that occur to reach the end product. Cooking is a very hands-on process for me. And to enjoy the end result with my hands makes perfect sense.


Finger Licking Good was also published on The Cud in July 2010

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aint No Fun If Your Girls Can't Have None


When will I learn that no matter how hard I don’t look for attention or try to just blend in, it never happens? That someone is bound to say something to me to make me think?


I was at a fish fry last night. The first people I saw were two women and a man, the women sitting on either side of him. He had the boisterous energy I’ve come to know from Nigerians. I didn’t take a seat near them until I had been there for about 15 minutes. I was in people-watching mode while I sipped my drink, and not even trying to hide the fact that I was listening in on conversations.


I had sat quietly near the 3-person couple. Maybe I was too quiet. The woman closest to me said “hello”. Then the man cut right to the chase, “Are you from Africa?” he asked. I said my father was. I knew where he was from based on his accent. I could’ve gone through the speech I’ve given my entire life about where I’m “from”, where I was born, where my parents are from, what culture/country I identify with, but this time I waited to see where this was going.


He asked if my father was from Ghana. I said Nigeria. The woman on his far left teased him for now knowing his own people. He was very pleased to hear I was from Nigeria and said he assumed I was African or Jamaican.


“Both,” I said.


Now he was really impressed. I may have actually seen his dick get hard. The left-side woman called it a potent mix. He said I was the baddest of Africa and the baddest of the Caribbean. That meant I must be a bad girl. Yeah, he meant that sexually. I was promptly schooled that in Africa men can have more than one wife and then he referred to himself in the third person when he said he wanted to marry a Jamaican woman, that he was looking for a third wife. Someone fiery to stir things up since the other two wives (apparently the ones sitting with him, even though the one next to me denied it) got along well. He wanted a wife who would fight for him because she didn’t want to share him. I had all sorts of smart remarks to make but I think my raised eyebrow and lips pushed to the side said enough.


I have nothing against polygyny. On the surface, the three of them seemed happy and it’s a practice that’s been going on for centuries. But let me explain--if you’re a married man or in a relationship and your partner doesn’t know that you have other women that’s not polygyny. What I do have an issue with is the whole “man-sharing” or “man-stealing”, both of which involve blatant deceit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The People That Were


I was at the Michael Jackson birthday party in Prospect Park. I did think it was a bit morbid and sad that they had a birthday cake. It made it real. Who was going to blow out the candles?


We're only a little more than halfway through the year and I'm thinking about the last week in December when all the network news and entertainment magazine shows do the "Year in Review" and remember all the celebs that have passed that year. 2009 has had major loss and upheaval. The People that Were; all very influential, loved. I've noticed that many were pioneers in their field, visionaries, real people with real problems and somehow hold a part in the public's heart. I've also noticed that the people who have been most affected by these deaths are themselves on the brink of transformation. They're being primed to take those spots left open by those that have passed. It's like a sick, dying parent who holds on until they know their children are gonna be all right before they go.


I truly believe it is the changing of the guards. My contemporaries and I are on the verge of greatness.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Write Stuff


I haven't been writing much on this blog, but I have been writing. It's been a little slow on the freelance non-fiction front, but my erotic short story collection is moving right along. I'm at the point where I can decide which stories not to include. So that's a good thing. I've been asked a few times what's the theme of the collection. I made a list of the commonalities--food, music, minor Pop culture references, Black/African characters (at least 1 in each story) and of course, sex. I'd like to have a little more "love" in my stories, but I've realized that when someone else reads it, they pick up on the "love" or emotion, even if I don't think I included any. That's my energy coming through on the page. I'm an emotional person. I feel everything and I have the ability to feel what you feel and make you feel what I feel (I know that's empathy, but I felt like being long-winded).


In mid-July, I went to the Harlem Book Fair (HBF), primarily because there were certain talks and workshops I wanted to attend. It was my first time at the event and I did enjoy myself. But I was turned off by all the booths and the folks manning the booths shoving "Urban Fiction" at me. When I see people reading those books on the train, my initial thought is, "Oh, they reading one of those ghetto books." Then I quickly rationalize, "Well, at least they're reading." I can only recall TWO (book) booths that weren't selling that genre of fiction (There were tons of other vendors). Two? In the panel discussion on making a living off your art the topic came up and what it boiled down to is that's what sells. And at some point your art/show becomes a business. By no means were the attendees of the workshop encouraged to write Urban Fiction but it was just an example of the obvious--what sells is what makes money and there will always be someone who will relate to (and buy) your art, so continue to create what works for you (special thanks to Mo Beasley, Mahogany Browne, Brad "Blue" Bathgate and Ebony Washington).


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Verdict On Courting


“Seeing you feels like flowers growing in my heart.”

Those were the first words this old(er) gentleman; we’ll call Mr. Ray, said to me as I walked down Spring Street in SoHo. The comment did make me slow down and smile. He asked my name and we shook hands. Then he said that seeing me made him feel like…this is where he started singing “Shining Star” to me. I really like that song. Have I ever had a stranger serenade me on the street before? No. Did I want the attention? Eh…it’s New York. The folks at the table in the restaurant right behind us looked for a few seconds then went back to their conversation. Mr. Ray wants to be my friend. He said he’d court me if I let him. He loves to go out. He invited me back to the restaurant where he’ll be performing Doo Wop (he totally dated himself) and also said he’d buy me dinner.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 25, 2009


There's so much I could say about that day. I was working out, the 5 o'clock news was on and I was crunching away. They were talking about Farrah Fawcett. I said to myself, imagine what will happen when Michael Jackson dies. I've always thought about that. Even as a kid, when I would watch his concert footage and see fans fainting. It all seemed so big and otherworldly. So after the Farrah Fawcett story, I flip to another channel for a different spin of the news or maybe for better news and there's the announcement that Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest.



What? I was just "talking" about that! And then it was time to prepare myself for the bad news. Cardiac Arrest. They were reporting they had to do CPR in the ambulance. I knew nothing good could come of it. I ate after my workout, sent a text to my friend about plans that evening at 5:23pm and when I went to the kitchen to wash the dishes, I wished "good luck" to the doctor who would have to call it--time of death.


5:26pm


Friday, May 29, 2009

Scalping Scalpers


NOTE: I no longer work for a ticket broker. However, I wrote this back in April 2008 when I did work for one, so that will explain the references to idiots willing to spend ridiculous prices for concert tickets and the last seasons at Yankee and Shea Stadiums. Ticket brokers have been in the news a lot recently over Bruce Springsteen concert tickets. They just can't seem to get it right. I say don't bother going to the concert if its going to cost you triple your rent, but what do I know. Fans are still going to want to be a part of history because Springsteen is the last act that will take place in Giants Stadium as we know it. Yes, they are building a new stadium in a recession. First, they were directing people to the secondary market where prices were hiked up and now three brokers who I am very familiar with are being sued by the NJ Attorney General for selling tickets a week before they actually went on sale. For those of you unfamiliar with how the secondary market works, ticket brokers will take your money for tickets they don't actually have. Just a heads up.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angry Big Sister


I received a call from my brother this evening. He started by telling me something funny then said he was angry. He explained this situation he’s been having at work – feels like they’re pushing him out. Big corporation got no respect or regard for the little guy. My brother is vocal. He will voice complaints without yelling or cursing or flailing his arm or threatening violence but I’ve seen my brother angry. I let him vent then gave my big sister advice while we cut the tension with jokes. He did mention that he remembered I told him that last time he had an issue at work not to carry on like the “Angry Black Man” – he’s likely to intimidate everyone and surely not get his point across or better working conditions or work relationships. I tried to reinforce that today and told him he needs an outlet for his anger. He said worked out. While we spoke on the phone he was on his inversion machine because his back had tightened up. He used to write tons of screenplays. That’s an idea we tossed around. I told him when he visits NY again I’d take him to one of the poetry events I frequent. “There’s tons of angry black men there. Write something so you could read, or just come and listen, get that sense of camaraderie. You may even find solutions in the words.”


A few hours later I was at Bowery Poetry Club witnessing creative genius or genius creatives. Taalam Acey (Mr. Manual Gesticulation that spits a mile a minute. I swear I can actually see the words waft out his mouth), Kasim Allah (whom I like to refer to as “King” accompanied with a curtsy every now and then in honor of his greatness), Ainsley Burrows (Jamaican Brethren who can prepare you for the verbal SATs just by listening to his poems) and Lamar Anthony Hill and Faraji Salim – two poets I just had the honor of being blessed by. The poems were sermons. There was one poem that made my eyes sting. Lamar Anthony Hill recited one about growing up without his father and finally forgiving him. At one point in the poem he said a woman cannot raise a boy into a man. I’ve been well aware of that fact and I’ve heard other poets say it before, but it just struck me tonight. What can a Big Sister do?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Personal Belongings


I took my usual people-watching stance at the Laundromat this morning, partly because it was way more crowded than I had expected so getting worked up and harried wasn’t worth it, it was pretty early (for me, anyway) and I only had one load of laundry to do.


For those of us who don’t have the luxury of a washing machine at home or a laundry room in the basement of our apartment building, there is the world of the Laundromat. Laundry is a personal thing that we do in a public place. My clothes were in the midst of being churned in soap and water when a Jewish woman dragged a huge black garbage bag into the Laundromat, hoisted it up and plopped it right into one of the wheeled baskets. I’ll admit, I just watched but nothing about what happened jumped out at me until the Jamaican guy dressed in a white T-shirt and paint-splattered “work pants” told her the carts dem fa clean clothes and why she a come up in dey and dutty dem up. She asked why it would be dirty and he told her because she had just dragged the bag along the ground. She nodded in realization, then smirked and shrugged it off. She had no intention of taking her bag out of the cart until other folks started giving her dirty looks over her dirty clothes. The older Hispanic woman who I encountered earlier that was “using” a machine (with nothing in it) that I had asked about was loading two other machines that the Jewish woman inquired about, and didn’t get.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chocolate Body Frosting


I was cleaning out my fridge on Sunday night and found some chocolate body frosting. It’s been too long since I’ve used that. After implementing everyday kitchen cupboard, fridge and freezer contents like jelly, ice cream, sorbet, peanut butter etc, I remember when my ex and I got that set of body frosting. We were excited. I haven’t lived like a nun the past few years but I looked at the jar of frosting and realized what I’m missing – passion.


There was one lover since my ex who put in a very hardworking stint. All personal things aside, he’s ranked in the top five. I love the way men throw around the cliché that they want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed. But to get to my inner freak (yes, there’s a lot more than what you see or read) there has to be a connection. There must be a bond. I have to trust you and you have to blow my mind. Once that’s achieved, I can reach the level of unbridled passion. I’m very astute and will know immediately when a man is doing his best for me so he can do his best to me. When I’m returning the favor it starts outside of the bedroom. I’m calling you, cooking for you, laughing a lot.


I also haven’t been depressed for the past few years and have shed pounds of baggage. Obviously that allows for deeper, truer connections. Physically, my rebirth is manifesting itself as shiny hair, plump muscles, bright skin. I’m in tune with my inner voice at a level I was about ten years ago. That same wide-eyed enthusiasm I had as I started college has returned…with wisdom that doesn’t restrain me. Despite being hurt in the past my heart is still open. And it’s a magnet for everything positive lately. I’m capable of feeling fully and deeply and will be ready to use that chocolate body frosting again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Single Occupancy Lifestyle


I’ve been single for almost 3 years. I’m always on the go. It’s nice to be busy. And living in New York there’s always something to do and some place to go. I love going places. I invite friends along but with all the flakes, scaredy-cats and unknowingly depressed folks, I end up going out alone. Believe it or not, going out by myself is easy. It’s not sad or lonely or scary. I’m always bound to meet someone. If not a new friend, a new person-of-the-moment. My single life doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around waiting to be in a relationship before I do anything. Depending on where I’m going, I get a high off being in a new place. What’s going to happen? Who’s going to make me laugh? It’s my experience. If you don’t want to come along, I’ll tell you about it later as you gaze at me with envy.


When I was at my lowest and most unhappy, I was staying home, missing out on things I wanted to do because my other half didn’t want to go. The mistakes young people make…

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Space In Space


I like astrology. I find it very interesting and clarifying. I'm not big in the telling the future through astrology but I do agree with the descriptions of the individual sun signs; the basic traits people exhibit, who you get along with, who's attracted to you, physical features and all that jazz. 


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Token Flamboyance


In those high school dramas there was always the Token Black Guy. He didn't have much dialogue, but his presence broke up the monotony of white on the eyes. The concept of the Token Black Guy is spoofed in comedies. In horror flicks, he's usually the first one to die, or he's the smart one who doesn't go towards the noise or out into the woods to investigate... but dies anyway.


So apparently Hollywood has done the Token Black Guy thing to death and maybe now they've moved on to the Token Black Gay Guy. Token characters portray stereotypes or are caricatures of the group they represent. What made me want to attempt to put this unstructured observation into words was The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, namely BK. He's described as "flamboyant" - a euphemism for "gay". He's a hairdresser as well. The only other Black gay character that sticks out in my mind is Carter on Spin City. Please let me know of others.
 

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency is based in Africa. Homophobia exists heavily in Black American culture. Same goes for African culture (re: continental Africa) and derivatives, to the extent that gang rapes are committed against lesbians to "correct" them and gay men are jailed and killed. I want to look at the positive of this situation. A token character is an admission of existence. They are willing to show that gays are born, raised, live, exist in Africa. Yeah, it is a stereotypical character (hopefully one day we'll move past the neck-rolling, hand-on-the-hip gay characters who are hairdressers, waiters or fashion designers) and it's only one show but it's a start - No? 

10 Year Old Golden Girl


Conway Twitty had stiff hair? I didn't even know there was a Conway Twitty until Family Guy. Apparently he used lots of mousse in his hair. I learned that from watching Golden Girls this morning. They're running marathons on Hallmark Channel in tribute to Bea Arthur. I haven't watched the Golden Girls since I was about 10 years old. Its interesting that watching an old show with older women can take me back to my youth.  


What I remember is how that show made me feel. Cozy. All the pastel wardrobes and decor. I did not fear or dread getting older. It looked fun. It also showed me that it's common for women to outlive their men and it was okay to be single at that age, you always had your friends. I would think about eating cake in the kitchen in the middle of the night in the company of friends to make me feel better. At that age they were still dealing with men/relationship issues. Blanche sauntering into a scene giving just enough information about her sex life (enough for a 10 year old to catch on). Doe-eyed Rose dated too. 


I wonder what it will be like to watch the show through wiser eyes now. I have a lot of Golden Girls memories. I'll be revisiting those memories through the marathon. There was also comfort in seeing Dorothy with Sophia. As a child, it made me feel like mothers lived forever.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Musings On The Times


The cycle of fashion and trends continues to turn. Every 25-30 years, fashion goes retro for renewal. I remember when I was in junior high and high school, the late 60's and 70's (an era I identify with) were "in". You had to have your bell bottoms and platform shoes. My senior class even had a sit-in protest. We clogged the hallway in front of the principal's office to protest paying for our yearbooks. We made it through 4 years of high school; the yearbook should be our free reward. We went to public school! Our protest wasn't effective enough however. We didn't have a senior trip that year but we had a prom. Thank god they didn't take away my right to get dressed up and dance barefoot.
 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Topless Trouble


If you've been reading/following (although I don't actually chronicle my life in any particular order on this blog) you may remember that I was on my way to get some sun during these past few summery days (it was only yesterday's post, but I take into account your busy lives) and I also love Tuesdays. I decided to keep my quest for sun local today and went to Prospect Park.


I am a borderline sun junkie. I choose to walk on the sunny side of the street. Very few of my summer clothes have sleeves. I like to feel the sun on my skin. I woke up this morning with the intent that I would go to the park, read my magazines and sit in the sun. I had to even up the tan I got this weekend from walking around. The skin that lay under my straps betrayed me once I took off my clothes. And I'm beginning to believe I look better out of my clothes than in them. Maybe I just need a new wardrobe. I also had to get rid of the reverse raccoon eyes I got this weekend from my sunglasses.


Monday, April 27, 2009

From The Mouths Of Bums


On my way to soak up some sun this 80+ degree weekend (it's April, it ain't right, but I adapt), I took a short train ride to the Brooklyn Bridge. I wasn't on the train but 2 minutes before this older, slim, no-teeth-in-his-mouth Black man came through the car. He was talking out loud but kept looking back telling "someone" not to take his cigarettes. He proceeded to tell this person they could take his car, his wife, but not to fuck with his cigarettes. Ok, he was harmless enough. He eventually took a seat across from me and a few feet to my right. I really need to stop making eye contact with people, but I can't help it. He slid to the edge of his seat and started talking at/to/with(?) me (apparently my sunglasses aren't tinted enough). He edutained me with his lesson: Why commit murder illegally when you can go to Iraq or Afghanistan and commit it legally? "I'm 61 years old!" he told us, "I got four more years! Yeah, I gotta gripe, but I ain't gonna murder nobody in America. I went down to the VA and was like, 'send me to Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea...' I signed up for all that! I could go over there and kill somebody!"


Hmm...


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mommy Dearest

So often we hear of children growing up without their fathers, deadbeat dads and the dysfunction it can cause. What about children of single dads? What happens to the children who grow up without their mothers? 


I was watching Wrestlemania a few weeks ago. I clutched my pillow on my couch when I watched Jeff and Matt Hardy wrestle. As usual, Jeff climbed a ladder and jumped off. I remember thinking aloud that I couldn't be his mother, I'd have a heart attack. I later found out they were raised by their father. Could that be why he's so reckless (never mind he's a boy)? Quite possibly children who don't have that nurturing from a mother don't understand the effect and/or/of the consequences of their actions. I have to look into this. Or they don't have the worry of someone worrying about them. When my brother was in the hospital after a car accident, one of the first things he said was he was worried about what it was doing to our mother. Fathers care and worry about their children, but it's usually the mother who is "worried sick."


Some circumstances are out of our control and children end up being raised in single parent homes. I do feel that it is necessary for a child to have both masculine and feminine energies raising them; Grandma, Uncle etc. Mothers teach life lessons and encourage following your dreams with a level of security. There's always that shield of protection around their pickney. So it just makes me wonder about children growing up without a mother or maternal figure. Yeah, I have to look into this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Smokey Rhythms



for a friend of old and of new



It may appear as though I've been gone a while. And in a way I have been, I've been everywhere and nowhere. As a creative soul, I take these trips every once in while. Sleep is important for survival and I'm a cranky bitch when I don't get my fair share. But lately, I've barely been getting any. I've literally been living off of music, yogurt and my pen and notebook. Here's what I birthed last night on one of my psychedelic sleepless nights in and out of my body.


Smokey Rhythms



Remember the New York when you could smoke in bars? I went out a lot back then. Took home memories of those nights on my leather jacket. I could smell the events of the evenings in my jacket weeks later. The cigars, cigarettes, weed or cologne from my partners. It wasn’t a New York full of flower children practicing commune love or the key party 70’s but love was freer back then. Prudes may use the word “reckless”. Either way, I did what I did. No regrets. Just the dip in my belly when I relive the moments with him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fluid Retention


Sprawled out on the bench, legs cocked up on the handrails and spread eagle, without sufficient underwear, a bunch of grapes barely covering the crotch, incoherent rambling. 


That was the sight on my subway ride home at about 1:30 in the morning. A drunk woman. There's nothing more unattractive. Yes, I'm going to display a double-standard. I don't like drunk men either and especially not drunk drivers(!), but you know what, for the walking drunk, I'm more accepting of men making fools of themselves. Belligerent drunk men can walk into oncoming traffic if they so choose. But for a woman to get to that point... Where is your couth? Your grace? I'm not anti-alcohol. I love me some vodka and tequila, Baileys, white wine, champagne etc. Having a few drinks with friends is great. I'm a social drinker. After my first sip, I become intoxicated - not only from the alcohol but from the company. People intoxicate me (some more than others...you know who you are) 


The one time I threw up due to drinking was very surprising and uncomfortable. In between heaves into the toilet, I pleaded, "Why is this happening to me?" I wasn't even drunk! I've been around women whose main objective when they go out is to get wasted and have that moment on the toilet! Why would you do that to yourself? Vomiting is so uncomfortable! And I'll never comprehend drinking so much that I have no memory of the night before. Drinking is a veil for many a lonely soul. What's so bad in your life that you're trying so hard to forget? Will the STDs or unplanned pregnancy be worth it? Do you get drunk because it'll help you open up and talk to people or enjoy the party more? Maybe you're just a shy person. Constantly getting drunk aint gonna help you. Then the feigned shame - oh my god, I can't believe I did that! Yeah, bitch, but you're gonna do it again next weekend. So shut up.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday



I love the word "Tuesday". I also love the day. Even though Monday is the "first" day of the week (work week not calendar week), I think Tuesday is the day for fresh starts and new beginnings. I like the word Tuesday so much, I named one of my characters Tuesday Akers. He first made an appearance in my screenplay, "Fly on the Wall". He was the older lover of my main character, Morgan Lewis. He seemed to be more in love with her than she was with him, yet they both had other lovers. He was rich and estranged from his wife. When I started writing my novel in 2004, Morgan and Tuesday were reunited in "Letters to my Former Self"


I thought I'd share with you a bit of who Tuesday Akers is. Looking back, he's similar to Big from Sex in the City in a lot of ways, but more open with his feelings. Morgan would never be hurt by him the way Carrie was by Big  -  she has other men in her life who will hurt her feelings. 


Below is an excerpt from my novel - Chapter Nine - the first time we meet Tuesday Akers.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Mano A Mano


This weekend I watched the Winky Wright/Paul Williams bout after watching the documentary, Thrilla in Manila. Then I watched 300 which got me thinking about the epic battle scenes in Lord of the Rings. Movies, but more specifically, scenes like that really excite me. Just the hand-to-hand combat, the fearlessness, the honor, the men. I would love for a neuroscientist to study me. Hook up electrodes to my brain, play some violent images before me and monitor my brain activity. I've had a proclivity to violence; the old ECW, hardcore matches, the less-sanctioned UFC from the late 90's, shootfighting all that. I also understand "emotional violence", "honorable violence".


Friday, April 10, 2009

No Thanks For Smoking


My only bout of bronchitis occured about 4 years ago. I was in DC at a club. Smoking was allowed. 10 days, sleepless nights with painful, chest-heaving coughs and a dose of prescription medication later, I was better and able to return to work. I was reminded of that illness after hearing the report on what non-smokers are subjected to, the chemicals and crap found in our bodies and lungs from secondhand smoke. In New York City there are 3,000 cases a year of fatal lung cancer in non-smokers. Infants die of SIDS, rates of childhood asthma are much higher than in other cities and teens exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to start smoking. Car exhausts, incinerators and "dust" from construction sites are enough for our nostrils to battle without having to deal with smokers who seem oblivious to everything around them. I have run into a few polite smokers. In March, at First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum, I waited outside for a friend. I hadn't even noticed the gentleman who took a seat a few feet away from me. But he asked me if I minded if he smoked. I told him I mind and he moved without incident. Folks like him are few and far between.


I don't care how much New York State taxes smokers. It's not like raising water rates or food prices. Cigarettes aren't a necessary expense. Smokers chose to start smoking knowing the possiblity of addiction. A young lady interviewed on the street for the news story said too bad for non-smokers cause people aren't going to stop smoking. She's right though. They've all but banished smokers to the edges of society and out into the cold. I sure don't miss coming in from a night out and my leather jacket smelling like smoke (even though that scent did trigger memories of him). This is the 2nd tax applied to cigarettes in less than a year and folks are still smoking. So then don't complain when you're taxed for it; you're inconveniencing others, taxing the health care system with cases of asthma, emphysema, COPD, heart disease, lung cancer that were otherwise avoidable. Bend over for the tobacco companies. I don't care. I'll watch. I like porn.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Office Romance Expat


Since January, I haven't been part of the world of "traditional" employment. Office politics, punching time clocks and useless meetings can go crawl up somebody's butt. But I couldn't help but wondering about all the juicy stuff I was missing out on. The sex, lies and videotapes (big brother is always watching). The office romance. Even if you don't get involved with someone you work with, many a person's love life revolves around work. You meet your significant other at work, after work, on your way to work etc. All the rush hour jostling on the subway allows you to get a feel and whiff of your partner, you chat and learn what their interests are, who they be with, things that make them smile, what numbers to dial....



I don't get to spend 8 hours a day in close proximity to potential mates or attractive men (or men who will appear attractive over time), no office parties to in which to embarrass myself (thankfully, I was never that girl). At my last job, I did have a work crush, but didn't act on it. I had the opportunity to counsel coworkers on their relationships and had male coworkers to practice my feminine wiles on. Without guaranteed interaction with other people will my social skills falter? Will I suddenly become awkward or inept around men I'm attracted to? Or am I destined to pairing up with a man who's a freelancer like myself? I can imagine how much fun it is to see your babe at work everyday. You sneak glances as you slink by each others' cubicle or send dirty IMs, wink and blow kisses during meetings. Or picture this scenario, the elevator doors are about to close when you hear a familiar voice call out, "Hold the elevator!" It's them! The third wheel gets off the elevator a few floors before the two of you, then you proceed to grope like octopuses and find out what the other had for breakfast. Or you cop feels at the coffee machine. Ah, office romance...


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Half-Assed Ode To Technology


If you know me personally, you know how I feel about chat, IM's, text messages etc. It's fine to share small bits of information quickly but I believe if that is your primary or only means of communication, you're hiding from something, using that as a crutch. You tell yourself, oh I talked to her yesterday, or he said this to me... Really? Did you really talk? Did all those lol's when you didn't even crack a smile or were rolling your eyes get your point across? How many times have you had a "fight" over text cause someone mistook what you "said"?



Sunday, April 5, 2009

Arrested Development


I'm a few days behind, but I was gonna talk about this eventually. It's a definite "shaking my head" topic, however, I will not use the e-language abbreviation for said emotion. It doesn't take much for me to type out "shaking my head". LOL and LMAO I tolerate. Don't push it.


East Shore Middle School, in Milford, Connecticut has banned touching; all touching. One kid got sent to the hospital after a fight and school administrators feel, that's it, no more touching. Not let's punish children for fighting, but let's ban high-fives, handshakes, 'way to go, pal' pats on the back, etc. It's ridiculous, I think. For one, it's unnatural to tell children not to touch one another. When I was in junior high, I greeted friends with hugs and kisses all the time. I wasn't tonguing dudes down in the hallway but it was a sign of affection between friends (opposite and same sex). Kids play. And when they play, they touch. Does that mean no more basketball games, or tag? 



I heard this story played over and over on Headline News while I waited to board my plane in Atlanta. There were numerous viewers calling in who also disagreed with this rule. The children aren't going to develop properly was a common theme. I agree. Interaction with other people, including touching and school, where they spend a majority of their time, is where they learn and express who they are. This ban is in place in a junior high school. They want pubescents not to touch one another? Ok... 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happiness Doesn't Kill


The shooting in Binghamton, NY is tragic. And tragically, I had to look up Binghamton on a map. I should be ashamed of myself (I should be). There's a vigil being held for the victims of yesterday's incident and now new information is being released about Mr. Wong. Some say he was a quiet man, others (as the news media puts it) describe him as an angry man who loved guns and hated America. He was a naturalized citizen but was unemployed and shot up innocent people in the community civic center. Those folks were trying to learn the native language and better themselves. And the gunman must've felt hopeless. What happened to the time when hopelessness led to guys drinking at home alone, or chain smoking and telling their girlfriends, "Whatever. This is just who I am, doll face" instead of mass shootings or murder-suicide? Why take others with you? 



Because hurt people hurt people. We'll never really understand what goes on in the minds of these killers. Depression is a murderer. It lurks and kills slowly and it doesn't only kill the one suffering (think that Cymbalta commercial). I've been kicking around the idea of a health initiative in my head and it would most certainly address depression in the Black community and in men. I truly believe there is a correlation between depression and other physical illnesses, broken families, STDs and crime. Contact me. Let's discuss.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

She Really Is The First


I don't give a flying beep about royalty or the Royal Family in England. I think the whole concept is ridiculous and antiquated. But the fact that Queen Elizabeth, someone so steeped in tradition and stoic would "break ranks" and hug Michelle Obama because she liked her so much speaks volumes.



I haven't met the First Lady yet, but just from the images in magazines or on television, her interviews and such, she does come across as very genuine and likable. Her new social status has thrust her under the microscope of the media and so far they haven't anything unlikable. She's a real woman. She came from humble beginnings, and although "being smart wasn't necessarily cool" she didn't hide her intelligence, she strove to feed it and benefit from it. 



Michelle Obama has made it clear how important it is for her to be the First Mother. Her daughters will undoubtedly grow into fine women, unless they decide to go astray. Her physical presence has also garnered attention, her height and hips included. Her outfits are always stylish, classy and professional. Her clothes show off her shape without being overly sexual. And although there is a poise to Michelle Obama, I still notice a bit of humility and shyness. I can just imagine what it's like to realize and accept that your life will never be the same again as far as privacy. The influence she'll have on women from now on is immeasurable. What other firsts will be get from Michelle Obama? I can't wait.

Big Brother NYC (REPRINT)



The recent MTA Doomsday budget got me thinking. But since I was traveling, working on an assignment and trying to rest up, I haven't had time to put my rants down on paper... yet.


I wrote this in 2007. It was published in the November 2007 issue of The New York Pamphleteers. Let's take a trip down recent-memory lane.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monk And Me


I have a crush on Tony Shaloub. You know, the actor who plays Monk. I'm sad the show is ending this year. I still get my fix during the day-long marathons on USA. I do feel sorry for Sharona and Natalie sometimes when they have to deal with Monk's OCD.



OCD is a serious, debilitating mental disorder. But the term has leaked into everyday language to describe minor quirks. What are you OCD about? 


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Too Much To Handle


Maybe I'm just a pervert, but when I meet someone new my mind runs on sex at some point. Even when I'm not sexually attracted to them, I'll wonder what their sex life is like or how they even manage to have sex. The former and latter refers to fat people. I'm talking waddling-not-walking fat and things-getting-lost-on-your-body fat. Do they have sex? With that extra weight, what are the mechanics like? I couldn't be with a person where we have to lift parts of their body out of the way (an episode of Inside Brookhaven Obesity Clinic had a shower scene that amazed me). Even someone who isn't morbidly obese, are their sexual positions limited? How easy is it for them to masturbate?


Friday, March 27, 2009

I Survived Craigslist


I used to meet folks off CL (circa 2005). Either I posted an ad or answered ads in "strictly platonic", "women seeking men" or "men seeking women". I was depressed and seeking something. I started to notice it was the same people posting ads and answering, repeatedly. Maybe they hadn't found a victim yet(victim in any sense of the word). A reporter on WABC radio was murdered after posting an ad for rough sex on craigslist (I'm assuming under "casual encounters"). The teen who answered his ad had a MySpace page that showcased his love of knifes (he stabbed the reporter 50 times) and sadomasochist view and lifestyle.


When I used CL, I googled people all the time. That's just my need to know what's what and who's who and how shit's supposed to go down. Any emails from anonymous addresses like "lovegun72@aol.com" or "nycblack@hotmail.com" got no response. After the 3rd or 4th time of getting an email, it was an automatic delete. The circumstances of the reporter's murder probably surprised those close to him who had no clue of his "other" life. The internet makes it easy to hide behind a computer screen. The internet also puts everything out there; just takes a little digging sometimes. I always do my research.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Master Or Mistress


Disclaimer: If you enter into a committed monogamous relationship, you owe it to your partner and yourself to remain that way. If the relationship goes sour and it's not worth saving, then move on. Open relationships or non-exclusive relationships are just that, open. 


It happened to me twice; I got involved with a married man. I say it that way because I didn't know they were married when we first got involved and when I found out, I didn't move at lightning speed to end contact with them. I was pissed. They weren't honest with me like I was with them. One waited until things got hot and heavy and then decided they really liked me and should tell me the truth. After that experience, I've been on guard. So the second guy, I had to ask. He wasn't going to tell me. When I did ask, that scared him off. He didn't answer the question just walked away, literally. Two things he wanted to know as he was walking out the door were, was I going to kick him and if I was going to protest (meaning stop having sex with him). Looking back, I think he felt that was his only recourse in what he perceived to be a power struggle; end it with her before she ends it with me (this is my hindsight insight).


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hunger Pangs

Every other Wednesday, my mother volunteers at a food pantry in Gwinnett County. I was supposed to go with her today, but that didn't happen. I was interested in seeing what sort of people relied on food pantries in this economy. The food pantry I was to visit today opened only a year ago. Right down the road is a much larger one run by the local church. The fact that both of them are necessary says volumes. I even benefited from one when I wasn't even seeking the help. I was touched on two levels; surprise and gratitude.



One day I went to MetroTech to see if there was a deferment plan I could sign up for to pay my Con Ed bill. The faceless customer service rep on the other end of the phone told me about the Energy Share program offered by Con Ed. They give grants (free money!) of up to $250 for utility bills. I didn’t know this program existed. There are quite a few programs designed to help people in need. It’s unfortunate that those who really need the help aren’t aware of these programs and aren’t benefiting. There was the usual run around – Con Ed gave me a number to call for Energy Share. The automated voice at that number gave me the addresses and numbers of community centers that you have to visit to apply for the grant…



After applying for the Energy Share grant, the social worker(?) asked if I wanted food from the pantry. She probably noticed the thought process going on in my head, because she shrugged and said, “Why not? It’s free. Take it.” Honestly, I assumed I had to be “down and out” to use a food pantry, not be able to afford food or with babies to feed and what not. There’s no application process for that, but you do have to sign for the food. Once you’ve signed up, you can visit 6 times a year. I don’t know if those same rules apply to all pantries. I left there hoping I’d get my Con Ed bill taken care of and two bags of groceries.



In this economy, two income families are falling behind on bills and food pantries are the only option to put at least one meal on the table or just a way to limit the grocery bill so that money can go towards something else. There are tent cities popping up everywhere due to rising numbers of people losing their homes. Donate to your local food pantry. They accept monetary donations and canned and dry goods. Also consider volunteering your time to distribute food or do inventory. There are even pet food pantries popping up…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Try Bi


My personal belief is homosexuality is not a choice. It's how you're born; you either are or you aren't. I love the differences in people and learning about them and what makes them tick, how they think. It's also accepted that women's sexuality is fluid. More women are prone to be bisexual (I'm referring to the sexual not the emotional in this piece) but it's not every woman. It's not me. My number is not 3 on the Kinsey scale. If one more man asks me to be with a woman for their enjoyment or is just amazed at the fact that I've never been with another woman, I will scream. I'm not hardwired that way. I don't have the desire to please a woman sexually. When I watch girl-on-girl porn (which I enjoy), I become aroused and then either want to masturbate or be with a man. Lesbians obviously sense this in me because they don't hit on me. I don't even think they notice me. And it makes sense, they want to be with a woman who likes women. I can look at another woman, be nude with her, find her sexy and attractive and beautiful yet the urge to kiss her and touch her just isn't there.


What annoys me even more is that it's expected of me, or women, in general. There are men who won't even let a woman near their assholes because they think "it's gay", but I'm supposed to lick another woman's pussy? If I kept asking you, "you never sucked your boy's dick?" or "you never let him jerk you off?" you'd be pissed off. If I tried to arrange something, invited you guys over, cooked some food and figured we could pop a bottle and I'd get to referee a swordfight, you'd want to punch me in my face. I'm not going to get drunk and make out with a girl. The guys who have pleaded for a threesome expect me and the other woman to be with each other (I won't get into the fact that not too many men can handle and actually satisfy two women). When I'm in a threesome with two men, I don't expect the guys to do anything with one another. So why is it expected of me? I'm a very sexual woman and I think men are drawn to that; they can smell it. My sexual openness, erotic creativity, experimental ways and past experiences would have one assume I've been with a woman, but if I've told you it's never happened and I have no desire to force the issue, stop asking. Common sense would tell you that I could easily have been with a woman if I was so inclined considering said previous experiences. So to all those fellas who still don't get it, go give one of your boys an open mouth kiss then come talk to me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Obama Didn't Say


Did Obama really have to apologize for making a self-deprecating joke about his bowling skills? He made the joke, the audience laughed. Why did the audience laugh? Because it was funny. Would athletes in the Special Olympics be allowed to compete against Usain Bolt or Shawn Johnson of the "Un-Special" Olympics? No, because the point of the Special Olympics is to allow disabled individuals (physically disabled, handicapped, mentally disabled, retarded, pick a word) to compete against people of similar skill levels. He may have even boosted the morale of some Special Olympians by equating himself with them, or implying that they could slaughter him in a game of bowling. Obama was not trying to insult anyone with the comment.


What's important is what Obama hasn't talked about. I am bothered by the fact that neither Obama or anyone from his administration (to my knowledge) has made a comment about the now infamous cartoon from the NY Post. For all intents and purposes, that was Obama in that cartoon, depicted as a chimp lying in a pool of blood with two bullet holes in it's chest. Obama has been a very vocal president. Any chance he got/gets he was/is calling a press conference to tackle the issue of the day. That NY Post cartoon was a major issue - the cartoon itself as well as the underlying issue it addressed - race. Could it be that Obama and/or his administration didn't want to say anything about the cartoon because it could be misconstrued as giving "the others" too much power? Was it not important? Ignore it and it goes away? It's not going to go away; "it" being the issue of race. Race is a major divisive issue in this nation. The height of the Civil Rights Movement was only 40 years ago. If race wasn't issue, it wouldn't matter that Obama got elected. His inauguration wouldn't have had historic attendance records and the television and internet viewing ratings. It wouldn't matter that Michelle Obama is the first Black First Lady. His ability to play basketball and his inability to dance wouldn't be a topic of discussion. His being president has the term "Black Love" being thrown around with abandon. 

I hope Obama can make all the positive changes on his agenda; repair the economy, reform the health care system, "green" the nation's major and minor industries etc and the fact that he's a Black man doing it, is an issue. Mr. President, we have to talk.

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