There were more than enough laughs
Toasts to lives we built on purpose
More than enough stars
There were the girls who came to let loose their hairs
More than enough bobby pins keeping them up
More than enough tonic to make my tequila loveable
Men who came for the women
Too much ice
We had so many reasons to be glad
but you didn’t come and that was all I really wanted
I forget how easy it is to fall in love on a train in New York City
Over and over but unable to be together
The pain of watching a beggar make us laugh but she can’t make us speak
Undoubtedly some nigga in Flatbush is waiting for you
To help ease your above 116th St. mind
He is a long walk to a place you need to visit because the life I offered gave you anxiety and emergency room bracelets and laughs and moons over Santa Fe and sunsets on the other side of the world and mercurial dreams
When you walk back
If you walk back
I’ll offer you water to replenish and a lap for your feet and a place to stay
We’ll offer everything but apologies
When did they stop killing Black women in public? Some grand turn of events. Suffrage movement perhaps, or maybe the racists are starting to read bell hooks or Warsan Shire and deciding that, after all, Black women are ladies just like the racists’ mothers are ladies, and when they were punished by the racists’ fathers, it was always done behind closed doors.
I’ll assume, because most of you aren’t from the sticks, you’ve never seen a hog slaughtered, and there’s no need to look it up. It’s just important to me that you understand it’s more humane than the slaughtering of Black men. What would it mean if they killed us where the cameras couldn’t see. What if their compassion and empathy made them think of the Black man’s mother who’ll wish for her own death 100 times before the funeral, and every day after?
Back to the women.
And while the racists’ racist wives complained publicly about their husbands not being honest, like Erykah Badu in the trap, they understood what their husbands did with these Black pieces of property helped pay the bills. Now no one wants to talk. Sandra remains another body these racists won’t claim. And to thank, the curators at Monticello will tell you Thomas Jefferson loved all his children equally.
A lady, she said, wears white in the summer
and is polite
and holds her tongue in and her hand out to be shaken
A lady, she said, will lay there until it is over, and it will be over fast, and will say nothing
What happens behind closed doors, she said, is for nobody to know
You, Black woman, she said, are a lady now
These racists are, and not by Merriam-Webster’s definition, lady-killers.
1. My son has two fathers. Not in the ABC Modern Family Cam & Mitchell sense, but in the old school, biological parents didn’t work out and decided to move along separately for the best, of course, sense. The follow-up question to “Where does your son live” is always “Do y’all get along?”
What should be considered a dumb question is actually pretty valid. What shouldn’t be applauded, is. “Of course we get along. Why wouldn’t I get along with the father of my child?” Strange question, but that’s who he is. You have to genuinely ask, “Why wouldn’t you love someone who loves your child?” The more I have this conversation with folks who have children, the more I see how complicated some lives are. Of course it wasn’t always the easiest situation, but that small hiccup was short-lived, and of course none of that had anything to do with the kid, and everything to do with the ego, and that had to be destroyed. We grow. You then look and see a child who’s lucky to have two fathers who love him, and an even bigger family, and what can be wrong with that?
2. With big eyes and raised eyebrows, they ask, “Your son’s mother lets him come to you for the entire summer?” After I explain that I typically split the summer with my parents because they tend to love to kidnap him and do country-living things, I explain that my son’s mother’s son is also my son. There was never a situation where we even needed to discuss when he’d spend time with me because as pretty decent decision-makers, we knew whoever he was with, he’d be as safe as humanly possible. Why have a child with someone you wouldn’t want in the child’s life for long periods of time?
To those who may need it:
Father’s Day, at least where I’m from, already comes with bad jokes and awful stereotypes. What if this Father’s Day, or tomorrow if it isn’t too late, egos and negativity are sent to pasture to die, and the well-being of all children is the priority. Mend broken relationships and start new ones, make a phone call and start with “I’m sorry,” if need be. You can’t say you want what’s best for your child and in the next sentence say what you’re not willing to do to achieve it.
Happy Father’s Day.
“To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage” – James Baldwin
Our history, Black History, never had time to be true history. Not like those stories they tell us in school about those things that happened that will never happen again because there is no place for them in the present. There will never be another Trail of Tears, and the Japanese Internment Camps will not be rebuilt.
But there will always be church bombings, church shootings, lynchings in Mississippi, and black men urinated on, chained to fences, then dragged behind pickup trucks in Texas.
There will always be Presidents who use the same language to define white supremacists and Black freedom fighters.
History, Black History, has never repeated itself. We’ve been in a constant state of now with no way out.
“Rage” is a strong word, James Baldwin. Rage drives people places. There was rage in 1963 when these words were born, but now, to be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of “SMH.” Rage was Colin Ferguson and Omar Thornton and Christopher Dorner.
The beginning of Rage was Vaughn Dunlap begging the people to “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake uuuuuuuuuup” to be taught.
When you’re 18 years old and from a small town, it’s Spring 2001, and you’re now in Daytona Beach, FL, you head to the beach for Black College Reunion with your closest new college mates, and you post up on a wall with a Solo cup full of brown liquor and watch the big rims, asses, and lives ride by. This is the heaven you dreamed of in high school when all the girls thought you were lame. You, not me, I was cool. As fun as this is, there’s this nagging thought that something is wrong. Perhaps it’s the 10 cops every five feet, or the closed stores that should be open according to the hours posted on the door, or the 150% price increase in room rates and rental rates. Being in Daytona since August of the previous year and seeing these same rooms for only $30 per night, and sticking around through the college spring break season, you see only a small increase in price, and you’d think cops didn’t exist. So why now that Black folks are making their way to “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” and “Most Racist Town,” are these things happening?
Oh! According to “Big Bird” at the Harley Davidson Store on Main Street, Black folks are not wanted in Daytona and should be pushed out. This is evident, and I decide to divest as much as possible while still getting my education from the great institution Mary Mcleod Bethune founded so many years ago. And asking around, others knew this, too. So why were they still coming back to support this podunk town?
Why do we do it? Why do we continue to invest in these folks and places who aren’t investing in us? This is why A Different World is one of my favorite shows. Two episodes come to mind:
1. Season 3 Episode 14: Whitley goes shopping in a store with a racist clerk. Instead of leaving and flexing her financial power, she decides to buy one of the most expensive items because she feels she has something to prove, and because she wants to show the woman that she has the right to be here like the other customers. Who won here? Who lost? “I knew they were racist,” my friend said about Daytona Beach officials, “so I showed up to give them a slap in the face.” He doesn’t realize the racist officials are the winners in this story.
2. Season 3 Episode 16: Kim turns rejects a much-needed scholarship from a company investing in South Africa during apartheid. Yes! I was 8 years old and reading about apartheid and divesting, and even though this show was fiction, I knew Kim was making a difference somehow.
Why are we not divesting more? I didn’t go back to Black College Reunion. The Dominican Republic has never been on my list of places to go. Hell, my friends think I’m cheap, but I’m simply divesting in this corrupt country I’m living in. The Dominican Republic has been killing its Haitian citizens long before my friends decided to travel there, and even after I shared the information with them, they still go. Why are they not divesting? Convenience and comfort and fun are greater than revolution, I suppose.