Go Maya

Image

Go Maya
Somebody lied and told you the poets would keep going
The writers would remove themselves from in front of computer screens and write something they loved and maybe not others
Lies aren’t always so bad though
Not if they’re built upon rocks put in place to help others step up
To help others come too. Later.
Go Maya
Dance a song
A light
A smile
They told the poets. Us. They told us we’d be fine
They told us we would still be poets and you’d now be a poem found written on the back of any old thing
We won’t take up our milk crates from in front of liquor stores but buy new Moleskines and pens
And make sense of these new you’s that never quite knew you
Go Maya
While we make sense of this new you

What I Did Behind My Friends’ Backs

IMG_8925
I’ve always had friends who loved to clown in class just as much as I did. We showed off, and were loud, and sometimes even a little ignorant. We made fun of the homework, and the teachers’ funny looks, and stayed in the streets too late, and talked too much about sex, drugs and hip hop.

When it was time to move forward, I moved forward. Sometimes ahead of schedule. They were upset. Didn’t understand how it was possible. I assumed we were all studying behind each others back. We weren’t.

Moral: don’t assume I’m not making moves because I’m here planted with you for a little while.

Snatching Masks

Line number 2,853 in Walcott’s Another Life reads: “I no longer care for whom I write.” How amazing to adopt this thought. To remove the faces and the targets and just create amazing works for whoever’s walking by and finds the cover art or cover words intriguing is outstanding.

I was a major Jay-Z supporter in the recent past. He said quite the opposite. “Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense. But I did five mics. I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.” He chose to go against Walcott and care greatly, of course motivated by what that audience would bring him.

I adopted these thoughts long before I fell in love with Willie Perdomo’s words, but Willie did lead me down a road of reexamination and once again, affirmation. As a writer, it’s worked. Hell, I was writing Creep while many folks were in my ear telling me to market the book toward black men because it was definitely for them. I dismissed these whispers, saying “I’m just going to write. Whoever reads it, reads it.” Of the several thousand sold, less than 10% were black men.

Can we remove these masks from people sitting in the audience watching out lives? Can we live like we no longer care for them? Yes. The proof is that I do it.

Clever Bastard’s Sockless Summer

IMG_8314
Clever Bastard’s Sockless Summer is about letting go, exploration, crushing the boxes, breaking through the ceilings, and laughing as much as possible.

How to participate:

1. No socks allowed unless absolutely necessary.

2. If given the opportunity to travel to a new place, try a new dish, meet a new friend, open your brain, or learn a new skill or talent, take it!

3. Try something outside of your comfort zone at least twice a week.

4. Make at least one new friend a week.

5. Take a real, guided tour of your city. If there are no organized tours, find someone who knows more than you and get them to create a tour. When you learn the sites, give someone a tour.

6. That thing you’ve always wanted to learn, find someone who will teach you for free, or for really cheap.

7. Buy a journal, stat a blog, or write on toilet paper if you must, but critically reflect on how Sockless Summer is going for you.

8. Play in the rain at least once.

9. Volunteer someplace at least once a month.

10. Do something extremely fun and exciting with a group of friends and prohibit anything that will allow communication with the outside world.

11. Have fun!

And be sure to hashtag #SocklessSummer when you need to.

I Really Do Love It

Image

I do love it. This life. It fits me, and it fits into my carry-on luggage and backpacks and pockets. It’s a good life. I come and go when the people invite me and when they dismiss me. I can set up an office in the sand, on a cliff or in the small space Greyhound calls a seat, and not miss one day of necessary work. It’s a good life.

But every so often I attempt to bring some sort of calm to it. When I find myself giving up on my efforts to “make it big” and settle for just a few people knowing my name, and a few hundred knowing what it is I actually do. I found that cross street where “Where I Am” meets “Where I Want To Be,” and, as I feared, it’s in a town I’m not very fond of, but around people I’ve grown to love. And in that, I discovered there’s always an intersection and I’ll need to take both roads at some point, and it may end up being the road I despise during the happier times of my life. The universe will bring balance, huh?

A calm to this life. I want to leave a space and believe myself as much as others when I say “I’ll be back soon.” I left Los Angeles with those words, knowing no one truly believed them because those folks no me now. I want that calm in my life. Perhaps then they won’t be so scared of getting attached, or investing emotionally. Invitations to the small things may start appearing, and a few “how are you’s” may come.

I’d love to see me from the outside. I heard someone say a few months ago “we don’t know what we really look like. The way others see us.” I want to see that guy. Perhaps he’s worthy of the rumors and praise and abuse.

I’m preparing for two art exhibitions after only being someone who paints (I have no earned the title “painter” yet) for a couple of years. I have two stage plays popping up in Washington, DC in June and I laugh and smile as I anticipate great success while simultaneously biting my nails off because I’ve found a way to deal with this slight fear of “what happens if it’s actually successful?” It’s a good life. 

I’m on a Greyhound now, stretched across a seat, passing through my hometown, noticing how much everything’s changed since my last run-in. It’s about growth, though. 

I really do love it.