I Stopped By To Thank Mary


“You are who Mary had in mind,” she said. “You came back to serve.” The tears I had to fight back while speaking to my sophomore year journalism professor were large and strong, but I won. Immediately, I knew making Bethune-Cookman University, my alma mater, the first place to screen Seeking Asylum, was the perfect idea.

The idea that I’m one of those students who fulfilled some dream or some hope was not something that crossed my mind. This was supposed to be nothing more than me coming home. The people will always tell you who you are and what you’ve done. Thanks, people.

The chapel was full of students who came in to pass time, some who came for extra credit, and some with a genuine interest in the topic. Almost immediately, the slouching, texting, and eye rolls stopped and everyone watched, waiting to see where the documentary would head. And to my surprise, there were many raised hands after, many great reviews, many photos taken, and several seeds planted.

Thank you Raquel! You’re too amazing to be all human. Thank you Stacey! You know my love for you grows constantly! And to everyone at Cookman who raised me just a little more than when I came, thank you!

Today was beautiful. I went by Mary McLeod Bethune’s grave to pay homage, then remembered all the insane moments I had on the campus.

I’m Naked and This Isn’t Religious


This afternoon, yes afternoon, I jumped in the shower to begin a day that would consist of me packing a bag of dirty clothes, eating a cup o’ noodles, drinking a half a glass of Schwepp’s, and hopping the train to the Meatpacking District to drop off a few macaroons to a lady down there, and jump on the Starlight Express to make my way for Charlottesville.

I finished my shower over an hour ago and I’m still sitting on the bed naked with my towel over my knees and sensitive areas to keep the computer from burning anything fragile. I’m thinking about this voice that came to me in the shower. It’s not uncommon, especially when I turn my back to the shower head and increase the temperature and let the water hit my lower neck with my eyes closed. This time is different. This time, that voice, a voice that doesn’t speak aloud but you hear it anyway, asked, “do you realize what could happen if Black men were able to discover their divine self? Why aren’t you showing other Black men how to do it.”

Who told this speaker I’ve been able to discover my divine self? And if I have, who told this speaker that in spite of what my 2015 goal list said, I’m ready to throw out my ego and move toward a life I don’t know for certain I’d be proud of on my death bed.

But I can’t stop thinking about it now. I blame Janna M. Hall mostly for Funkadelic last night. I think about George putting Eddie in a room full of amps and telling him to play like his mother just died. I think about Eddie finding his divine self in that room, and no matter how many covers will come from Maggot Brain, there will only be divinity in that one.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with religion.

I’m still not able to fully comprehend how I found the amount of vulnerability I needed to find who I was in that field, and in that living room, and in that hospital waiting room, and on the other side of a Facebook message.

I did it though, huh? Yeah. I guess it’s not about showing others how to do it. It’s showing others what I did, and letting them tune it to fit them, eh?

Shit. I don’t know. But it’s 2:30 and I should get dressed. Feels like a long day ahead.


Loving The Writer. Loving Me.

Birthdays and anniversaries and being together for 5 months next Wednesday aren’t important. There are promotions you’ll get at work and I won’t be home waiting to congratulate you with flowers and edible arrangements on your accomplishments, but I will send a text saying how proud I am of you, and it’ll be true. I’m quite forgetful, and when you asked for another pint of Talenti ice cream from the market, I didn’t hear you. I was busy writing a note I was trying to remember from the shower.

Weeks will go by and I won’t ask you out, but I’ll gladly accept your invitation. Time in my world doesn’t often exist, and when it does, it can be manipulated. I swear to god, two weeks passed with a single closing and a single opening of my eyes.

This is romance: you in sweats, me in sweats, us in winter on a couch. A grey sky but bright home, burning wood from a neighbor’s house to remind us of all the Halloweens we’ve known. I give you a place to bury your feet in exchange for quiet to finish my work; to finish something I’ve been working on since we met or made love. It’ll be about how your hair smelled when it was trapped between the back of my head, locking your face closer to mine. Romance is sharing all my developed characters with you, and all their well-developed flaws.

Ask me about their clothes, and their childhood, and what they’d order from the bars they frequent and you’ll find pieces of you. You’ll find I was listening when you thought I wasn’t. You’ll see that even when I was dead tired, I paid attention to what I told you wasn’t important.

You’re never allowed to be so sensitive that insecurity swallows you when I ask, “were you the one I told that to, or was it someone else?” Say yes or no, and understand.

I won’t always answer the phone, but I can always be reached. Spoken words, as you’ll find time and time again when you want to sit and have serious conversations about our future, get trapped in the middle of my throat, or, and this is rare, they come all at once when we’re not so sober. I am a writer, I am going to write, but when I speak, it will always be with intention.

Loving others will be easier, more convenient, but others can’t know you like I’ve known you. They can’t speak about you without cliché’s. Their admiration for you is like every other admiration that has ever existed. You’ll ask, “What do you love most about me,” because the question in inevitable. You’ll be satisfied when they tell you “your spirit is kind, and you’re passionate about what you believe in.”

You have a stubborn curl your fingers find when you think others aren’t looking, and you slide into the warm spot my body left when I hop out of my side of your bed. I know your neck and your wrists. I’ve studied you. I can line you up with “everybody else” you think I’ve grouped you with and find you because I know everywhere you spray every fragrance you own. I know what you smell like fresh out of the shower, and after running in the rain. You are found in pieces of every character, every scene, every song, and every half-decent adjective I’ve created since meeting you.

I am a writer. Forgive this cliché, but I know you better than you know yourself.

Justice or Else: Where Were You?

I wished you were there. Not so much for the message, because I’ve told it to you time and time again, and what I didn’t know, you could hear at any given moment standing on 125th and Amsterdam. No, I wished you were there because we needed the numbers. There’s a power in those things. Those numbers, I mean.

I’ve seen church folk shout, and you have too, so you weren’t needed to witness my imitation of them when the Minister said “show me a Jew that forgave Hitler.” Then he said something about the folks who can’t seem to find forgiveness in their heart for their parent, but can walk into a room with the enemy, smiling. I shouted louder because I was so far back, I was afraid my claps wouldn’t make it to the stairs of that government structure.

I wished you were there because I wanted to tell you the story of the Washington Monument while it sat behind us, erect. We’d turn away from the monitors while I shared the story of Isis not being able to find the penis of her slain lover, Osiris, and replacing it with an obelisk, and watch your eyes light up when you figured out on your own that the Washington Monument was nothing more than a large black penis in the middle of Washington, DC. It is the symbol they chose to remind us that George Washington is the father of this country.

You didn’t need to be there to hear the Minister clear himself of involvement in the death of Malcolm X, or the speculation that immediately followed. “What if the Minister has been working with the FBI all these years like Whitey Bulger,” someone sitting close to me asked. You would have asked “yeah, what it?” I would had kept listening.

“We don’t ask your sexual preference,” the Minister said as rainbow flags blew in the wind. “We love you. We want to free all people.” And the applause grew, while some faces turned sour, and some folks departed. This was different, as I’ve always assumed the Nation was against homosexuality. This is good because all people should be free, but you already know that, so you didn’t miss it.

You missed the parents who brought their children who weren’t even thoughts 10 years ago. You missed the Black man selling #AllLivesMatter t-shirts, and you missed the white man who stood 10 feet in front of me, facing the crowd, ignoring the speech, holding a Jesus Loves You sign. You missed the groups of Asian organizations promoting #BlackLivesMatter, and you missed the Minister saying he was 82-years-old, and the old old lady shouting “Black don’t crack.” It don’t, though. The babies in dashikis, the oil and incense man, the beautiful sky over DC, and the Fruit of Islam brothers picking up a man and carrying him to a place far far away are the things you missed. But the speech? No, you missed nothing new.

Keep pushing the agenda to free the people by any means necessary. Keep educating the children righteously and loving the women wholly. Love the men, too. You weren’t needed there to get this, as I’ve said all this to you before. You were needed there for the number, if the administration cared enough to count honestly.

The Boys of Uptown Schools


The boys of uptown schools slip out of shoes that make those administrators comfortable and into shoes that grant entry onto their blocks
The conversations and code switch
It’s girls girls girls and cousins
Everybody’s your fucking cousin, bro
And slap boxing
And picking the right train car
And days they won’t remember a long time from now

Halloween Idea For Grown Folk

Halloween is around the corner! The candy is already for sale, the kids are all getting their costumes, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are buying their heavy bolt locks, and the extreme pseudo religious types are reposting literature about Satan and witches and the like.

Meanwhile I’m over here trying to figure out just how drunk and/or high I can possibly get while still being fully able to function in West Hollywood, CA with the hundred thousand other folks. Then this idea popped into my head:


Let all the adults in the neighborhood, community, apartment building, or where ever you are know that you’re changing up the game. Tell them all to buy a bottle of liquor, and when you come around to their door, with or without your kid, you’re bringing a shot glass.

Enjoy. You’re Welcome.

Things We Lose in the Fire: A Funny Funeral

You –

You’re losing it. As if your hand is atrophying, that tight grip you once held around your sanity is weakening. What are you going to do if this is it? If this is the moment you drive by your house without even a glance over, and you keep going? You drive until there is no gas, and then you walk, and when your feet hurt, you walk one more mile and you call that place “home.” It smells of burnt wood and dryer sheets and minimalism. It smells of a beauty you’ve never known.

Every Shire word more potent than the last and every tequila shot setting you up for too high a tolerance. All those highlighted Neruda poems in that big book addressed to an apartment in Virginia can now be destroyed. This will be one of the things you lose in the fire. Stoke it and don’t stop until you’ve added almost everything. Until 7,498 photos are all that remain because you know burning them won’t mean those moments never happened. Because the people in those photos, though flawed to their core, believe they are still worth loving, saving, and holding onto.

You are dark with dark places. Your soul has shadows when your face refuses the sun. My god, you are delicate.

Compassion, or humanity, doesn’t suit you. You wear it like the suit they give prisoners when they need to attend funerals. You tried. You stepped into it with audacity. You were hopeful and it made you ugly and soft and you second guessed yourself. Strip down to your nothingness and tend the fire or dance around it.

Dance naked in a place that fills the space between your toes with cool mud and the space between your teeth with sweet coconut meat. Tend the fire. After the memories are ashed, heave in the leaves from the heftiest pile first. Tend the fire. Keep count of everything you lose to it. Hold a small funeral for it all.


Tell someone Autumn has you as afraid as you are mesmerized. Tell them you once sat naked under a tree and listened as she explained how beautiful it can be to let lifeless things die. A giving tree.

A bicycle down a tree-lined street on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the middle of October is better than any Heaven any god could offer you. It’s important you remember that.

You’re losing it, but it won’t be in Autumn. Hold on tight for the next 89 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes.

Collect leaves. Tend.