I’d Rather Not Die Now

I’d rather not die now. Not this Autumn. It would inconvenience me greatly. There are so many other things I want to do. I have yet to stand at the helm of my destiny. I want to hitchhike from Paris to Monaco and stop along the way to eat a late dinner on a farm with happy lovers and fresh milk. I want to feel the thunder rising from the ground as 12 bulls scuttle by in Pamplona.

I want to taste foods from Michelin-starred restaurants I can’t afford: Restaurant Le Meurice the next time I’m in Paris; Masa the next time I’ve in New York with those friends who are never too busy. I want to know chefs by their first names, and make cakes with laughing old women who never wrote down recipes. I want a loaf of good bread from a Spanish bakery to dip in oils from an Italian oil maker, and I want a bottle of good wine that isn’t for dessert. Then I want four more. I want Vodka with no chaser from a woman named Natasha, and Tequila with two worms; one for me and one for my drinking buddy.

I want summer’s night and the coolness of a distressed hardwood floor on my toes, thighs, belly and cheek. I want deep south winters and the warmth of a lover pressed to me.

More Nina Simone covers by jazz bands on a stage in Montreal. I want to stand at the pinnacle and look over the edge and laugh as loud as I can for as long as I can at absolutely nothing. Stand ankle deep in the Pacific with the sunshine slowly slumping into my beard, then my collarbone, then my bellybutton. Drift a canal. Stand in The Door of No Return in the House of Slaves. Run the wall. Climb the mountain. Find the bones of century old lovers.

I want to sit on a train with my son and teach him the importance of writing letters. Most of all, I want to play with reckless abandon. Play like I played with my cousins when I was a boy. Barefoot at sunset, chasing lightning bugs through fences we were small enough to squeeze through, with my grandmother looking on, and me staring back believing everyone in this moment will never grow old or die.

That’s why I won’t die this Autumn. Some Autumn, I know, just not this one.

There’s No Applause For This: Ferguson


I woke up to a black face on white racism. Is “White racism” redundant? In the last two days I’ve talked too much about the military training offered to police officers via Call of Duty video games and higher ups who want them to see people of color as targets, not humans.

We conversed about the last time a white man didn’t use his gun as the first reaction, and I stood in front of a liquor store last night and listened as a protestor dismissed a man who called her actions “heroic.” She said “Be gone with that shit, man. We’re not here to be heroic, and your words aren’t necessary. We’re here because we need to be. We don’t seek these fancy titles you’re coming over here to offer us. Want to do something, go tell the media to cover this conversation instead of those looters.” He walked off, and stepped back into his whiteness.

She said it for me, I think. We didn’t come to be heroic. That never came up. We came to see and share the truth. You don’t get applause for doing the things you’re supposed to do.

One & A Possible : Not For Spades But For Ferguson


I’m always up late, but I’m rarely up late and angry. An American city under fire, and I can’t help but think there’s a part of the story left out. How is this happening?

Police opened fire on the crowd of folks who look like me. A woman voiced her opinion but afraid to show her face for fear of losing her job, and images of another black kid laying dead in the street flashed across the screen. It’s been so many, whose child is this, Lesley or Sybrina’s? And my fingers not moving fast enough, protesting on twitter and facebook until I pass out. I stand with internet protesters. I stan for them. I’m often one of them when I can’t make it to these places I feel could use my voice, and brain, and fingers, and images.

But this time I can go, and I’m going. Two riders, and room for one more. They need us. These are people who realized that silence has been doing nothing but making the police force stronger. I want to scream with them.

We pull of out DC at 8:30am Friday 15th. There’s room for one more in the car. Maybe two.


I’ve spent the last several days thinking about distractions, and figuring out how to make this post happen without offending anyone. Then I thought about the truth setting people free, but first pissing them off.

Recently, I spent days with one of my brothers who spent his days, literally all day, on the phone. Foolish and funny conversations keep him from thinking about his inability to make rent, find decent employment, or get over a comfortable life he once knew. It’s really no different from those who drown themselves in the lives of others to keep from attempting to survive in their own.

Distractions have taken our leaders, our breaking news investigative reporters, and those with real talent and made them celebrity bloggers, Instagram wizards and those who “used to sing.” I’m developing the theory that celebrities must keep the work distracted to keep their competition down. While some girl or boy is writing and talking about Rihanna all day, it makes less time for that girl or boy to go after their own dream of reaching those heights.

Turn off the TV. Sit quiet for a while. Thanks to Pura (said sarcastically with no love lost toward her, because I think she’s wonderful), I cancelled my 10 day silent mediation retreat, but I was ready to get back to the world; to reconnect. To sit quiet for 10 days to see what sits in my subconscious, the dark side of the moon, and to handle that. Of course I was a tad bit anxious, because there a few things I will go out of my way to keep from surfacing. Those things that pop into my mind, and suddenly I want to throw a gathering at my spot because it’s easier to plan those than it is to sit alone and deal with unknown bullshit.

But I’m older and when I’m 45, I don’t want to think youth is wasted on the young, so I’m facing everything on the dark side, getting rid of my distractions slowly, or at least minimizing them, because I know once that happens, things become so much greater. I suppose that’s what really happened to me this summer. Perhaps all that time in Charlottesville wasn’t on accident, but my subconscious saying “sit here, and deal with this shit, and watch what you can get done.” And I’m better for it.

Yeah. That’s it. Sockless Summer is almost over. Moving on to Distraction-Less Autumn (Also what will be known as Foodie Fall).

Love Liberates

I got in yesterday from a day of exploring Raleigh, NC, eating one of the greatest burgers of my life, and talking to a brilliant mind, and reminded myself to hop on youtube to check out Maya Angelou’s “Love Liberates”

I brag about my mother often when people nervously inquire about the way my life is setup. I tell talk to them about how she trusted me enough, and believed enough in her own abilities and skills as a parent to allow me to walk out of her door, and go into a world I knew little about. She knew I’d survive if I applied everything I thought I knew and everything she taught me. She loved me enough to throw me to the wolves, and when I could afford it, I’d come home for Thanksgiving with coats made of those wolves’ fur. I was liberated, and with that freedom came a reminder that I could always return home if I needed a place to sleep, shower, and something to eat.

I remembered another liberation halfway through Maya’s story. My grandmother, Irene E. Jones, who once liberated me, and poor, broke me was able to pay her back.

When she liberated me:

My grandmother and I shared more than coffee, card games and words over afternoon stories on CBS. We talked about the trouble I caused and the girls I loved while I threaded her needles, and poured her ginger ale. School called, and I was being pulled away from her couch, fried egg sandwiches and bacon, and corned beef hash. She knew I had to go, but would come back with better stories than Victor Newman. My grandmother’s house was my last stop, my last goodbye, and I cried in the backseat of the car as my folks pulled out toward Florida. I needed her to tell me I would be alright.

When I liberated her:

Time and miles made pieces of our stories weaker, and I had long given up coffee, pitty pat, and knew nothing more about soap operas. We exchanged fewer words because neither of us were phone people. We talked about death when she was healthier, and how life shouldn’t be, so when she was in the nursing home, my heart and eyes broke. I caught the first plane I could and headed to Virginia. Each day, I’d wait until no one was there, and I’d sit in the room, next to my grandmother’s bed, telling her what I’d learned, who I’d seen, and those I loved. One day, things were different. It was time to go. “Can I play you something,” I asked, finding “Fix You” by Cold Play in my phone. And I played it, and made an honest attempt at singing. And before the song ended, I told her, “If you want to go, you should. There’s no sense in waiting around her. For what? Who?” And I left, went to my dad’s sat in the couch and waited for the phone to ring. And it did. She was liberated.

Love liberates. Thanks, Paul.

Show The Struggle Sometimes

Why aren’t we showing the process? I was on the greyhound, then the megabus last night thinking about a few things since the outlets weren’t working, and the wifi was sketchy.

Those people out there only see the finished product. What my brothers Petey Wheat-Straw and Jamail Sills would call “the kream.” They only see the polished, shiny, unbreakable product we’ve offered them. But what if we allowed them to see the process?
Then I spoke with Bayyina Black, and it hit again.

If I showed you all the struggles, and the sacrifices, and veins I metaphorically cut open, would that help in some way? Would it keep a few people from jumping from radio towers in Watts, or blowing their brains over the kitchen counter? I think it would. Those onlookers would find their struggle isn’t at all unique, and there may be someone they could speak to.

And sometimes it’s not about putting it out there for the world. Sometimes if seeing something that looks familiar and reaching out to that. When I pledged, I had a teacher cancel class the moment I walked in. She took me to her office and asked “are you okay?” I told her yeah, I was just going through some things. She said “when I pledged…” and I tried to deny it, but she recognized the struggle. When I walked in class on December 11, 2002 with a Kappa shirt on, she cried and smiled, and that meant more to me than the one million people on the yard who clapped because i knew she understood.

*lost train*

But…show the struggle sometimes. Someone could use it. It may save a life.