NCMAE #6 – Grow To Glow

NCMAE #6

I’m not sure if my best friend could read. She figured things out regardless, making a way for herself on her own across America over the course of 93 years. Her words come to me constantly as I work to decipher the stories and tangible history left behind. I remember being frustrated towards the end when she matched my every question with a question. This in itself was a lesson.

“Grandma! How will I get through my questions if you keep asking more questions?”

“You see that baby. That’s how you stay young! You never stop asking questions. You got to ask questions and you got to listen. Especially to the young people! When you stop listening and learning and growing, you start getting old.”

Dreams #11

There was only one window. The darkness of the night left the room dreary and lonely. The entire space was cold because of the nights eerie sentiment. Closing her eyes she remembered a brighter time. It was just a week ago. She was free to roam. Free to live. Outside of all walls without guidance or instruction she wandered. She stopped only when she was exhausted and that moment had arrived. Resting outside of a small hut she sat next to a bush of green roses. She had never seen such a flower and was enamored by the vibrance. Pricked by a thorn upon attempting to touch she sat patiently looking onto the flowers. In that moment one began to bloom. She watched as the bud unfolded in front of her petal after petal after petal. She couldn’t help but wonder when she would bloom. Opening her eyes the darkness returned and the warmth of the roses became a distant memory. She knew pretending wouldn’t protect her and chill would never keep her mind still. So she sat alone in the dark without a hint or a clue.

6pm

I sat resting uneasy on that of which we exist, where the clocks are all wrong because time never mattered. I continuously wonder why we are all so bad at being good and when we became comfortable with being wrong.
With my soul as my witness I wonder what it’s all for? 
After years and years of toil in my mind I exhaled and accepted the facts. I shut down the angel and the devil on my shoulders; they became one in the same like the flightless bird and green fruit that share a name. 
Straight up like six o’clock. 

The Reality of it

Global warming is real however, my life experiences keep proving the world grows colder every single day. People lose focus and worry about all the wrong things. People make poor decisions that impact society with little regard for their actions. Over the course of my 25 years I’ve visited 20 countries. I have made it a point to watch television in every single one. I have never seen a production like the one I witnessed Tuesday in any other country. I have never seen people encouraged to embarrass themselves, their family and their culture on a national stage. The fact that this behavior is glorified horrifies and troubles me to my core. What’s worse is the sheer disregard for tomorrow. It’s disturbing seeing people so caught up in right now that living in the moment is all they can fathom, and their behavior reflects their narrow mindedness. All in the name of entertainment.

Recently, I had an experience with a group of right now thinkers that I will never forget. This group of egotistical, superficial, materialistic, shallow, morally bankrupt characters made me physically sick. The topics of their conversations/arguments made it apparent that nothing fruitful grows in the gardens of their collective minds. They bickered about money, bragged about their sexual encounters with each other and bashed the misfortunes of their cast members. At one point two women literally laughed at each other, one for having a miscarriage the other for being beaten by a man. The nature of the subjects addressed cause me to be concerned about where we are going as a collective generation. They were so lost in trivial disagreements that whole families have been dragged in. I watched a mother mediate between the mother of her grandchild, the current girlfriend of her son and another woman her son is involved with. It was sheer ridiculousness. 

Never in life have I seen such behavior glorified and praised by applause and compensation. It was as if the powers were encouraging the cast to embarrass themselves. Whomever was the most shameless received the most camera time. This tasteless experience was topped off with a brawl, more like a riot involving almost everyone on stage. Wigs, cell phones and shoes were thrown; the beautiful set was destroyed! As the fight spilled over into the audience the handle on my hand bag broke as I grabbed it attempting to move out of the way. Camera men, tech guys and photographers packed up and left after the fighting continued for 15 to 20 minutes. The executive producer hid behind the DJ booth with the host of the show who was nearly caught in the crossfire. There was nervous laughter in the midst of the apparent embarrassment. 

I know many will say if you don’t like what you see change the channel. Or why would I even attend such an event? Well, like many others I thought this behavior was just for television. I am here to tell you based on the arguments between takes and the pending legal cases discussed on set this their real reality! It is sad. This experience was truly eye opening for me, and I would be wasting my God given voice if I didn’t say something. This type of programing is wrong! We are exploiting and embarrassing hip hop! My motivation for attending the taping of the reunion was principally because I want to work in production and learn more about the process. I learned more than I could have ever imagined as I watched this cast of characters shame themselves and tarnish their public reputations forever. I still will work in production but I WILL NOT work with people who exploit themselves for the lowest pay rates of all of reality television shows. 

As the fighting continued and security scrambled, I had enough. I left prior to the recording of the second segment and decided then and there not to attend recording the following day. Outside I watched the rain drops throw themselves at the concrete. I couldn’t help but imagine these drops as tears from our ashamed ancestors. As painful as the experience was for me I’m sure watching their sacrifices evolve into the ‘hip hop’ culture that this show attempts to perpetuate hurt much worse. The sheer humiliation of real life stories played out on television for a profit is such a joke. 

None of what I witnessed was respectable. Not one moment of the show will make anybody who watches it better. No one involved will grow or prosper in a positive direction based on the behavior displayed. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts to know that many deem this entertaining. This television show is dragging us further and further behind and back in time. I pray children don’t watch or look up to these characters or the creators of this madness. I hope the children of the characters on this show don’t watch and that the parents don’t display the same behaviors in their homes. 

Being on television use to be an opportunity to change the culture and show the world something meaningful. Programs like the Cosby Show, Sister Sister, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air showed positive progression of a generation. This group of alleged ‘reality stars’ is a waste of a real opportunity and I hope it ends soon. 

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Call me Crazy

 CALL ME CRaZY

I’ve been called crazy more than I’ve been called my name. The latinos call me loco!

I don’t mind being mental.

 

If my name was Crazy what would be my middle name? It’s questions like this that cause people to think I’m crazy in the first place. But that’s just the way crazy people like me think. Is this what crazy looks like to you? You can’t keep up with crazy. Is this what crazy talks like?

 

I’m cool with crazy.

 

There are worse things to be than crazy. I would rather be crazy than ignorant. I would rather be crazy than loud. I rather be crazy than evil. I would rather be crazy than ugly – on the inside and/or out. Believe it or not I would rather be crazy than regular because then I would be the person calling other people crazy when I know nothing about the origins of their distinction.

 

I might be nuts you know?

 

For a while I thought crazy was my name. I never took offense to crazy or cray-cray. I never knew crazy was a issue until the world made me feel that way. I never realized the negative connotations with crazy till I heard an old lady talkin about me in the street. She whispered with her  friends, “Momma should be shamed. Out here lookin crazy!” I kept swangin up the street and stopped in front of a store gazing into the window looking for the crazy. I cocked my head to the side where was the crazy, was it my hair, my teeth, my skin? I peered into my own eyes and searched for crazy from within.

 

I couldn’t find the crazy.

So I stopped searchin.

 

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Roses’s Sestina

Rose’s Sestina

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It was July. Trees were green.

Grandma sat on the porch smoking

and arguing with Pop about forever.

Although, there isn’t much to tell a grown man,

they learn lessons best from time.

I resented her for wasting words.

I only love Jesus more than words

and on occasion sticks of green

that help me pass the idle time.

Aaron approached the porch smoking

a black and mild one finger over the cigar like an old man.

After a brief pause he hit play. It began again our forever.

Sitting in my windowsill I often dream of our forever.

I could love him my whole life. Words

come easy when we’re alone. He’s my man

I’ll stack for us, I’ll share my pile of green.

Aaron is something special smoking

hot he looks up into my window smiling, it’s time.

I smile too, birds chirp and violins play. It’s our time.

I clean up a bit still thinking about forever.

Grandma yelled up “Girl! He out here, still smoking.”

No smoking allowed inside. The black bought me time.

Peaking down again we caught eyes. He’s wearing that shirt. It’s green.

I looked away, heard shoes on the stairs, then a knock, there he is my man.

He asked, “How are you? It’s time.”

I laughed “I know. I don’t know a lot but I know my man.”

I lowered the shade as Grandma nosily looked up green

with envy. We melted quietly into forever.

No need for words. No need for words.

We put out the fire and left the room smoking.

I raised the shade. Grandma still outside smoking.

No reason to be embarrassed he’s my man!

We put to rest sounds and motions, waking up language and words.

He yawned, “I have work later.” I inquired “What time?”

There was a time limit today on forever.

The sweat turned the lime sheets dark green.

I love words more than time. Even when it’s smoking hot in July, he is cool as a March shower my man. And as far as forever goes, we’re parked at the light waiting for it to turn green.

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Miss Adventure

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“Skip to my Lou pretty lady” it was still funny even though he said it every single day. He’s my skipper and I’m the first mate. So naturally I’m Lou. Saturday came quick as I anxiously anticipated our alone time. It was our first day without passengers in two weeks and life felt like a vacation. A staycation. An even keel. On our boat. Just us. Us and water. There was nothing around as far as we could see. Nothing but us. There was nothing else to be concerned with. Just us. Me and my skipper. The Skip to my Lou.

That moment I knew we had something. Something that would inevitably end but we were in the thick of it. We swam every day. He like to sing. He couldn’t sing well but it sounded beautiful to me. All it took was eye contact. Eye contact ignited us. Our zone, our world, our universe. I attempted to contain our world. Which currently consisted of the yacht.

He dropped the anchor. In the midst of the extreme calmness he whispered in my ear “come closer.” I played hard to get for all of five seconds. He knew better, but it was fun to pretend I didn’t want him. Besides, why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t we? I had a vision of our situation before I left London. Maybe it was a premonition or a dream! Regardless, my imagination wouldn’t allow me to let this moment go. On top of that, if I’m brave what should I be afraid of?

The wind blew pretty hard. His American flag and my Union Jack flapped viciously side by side in the zephyr. He moved my hair out of my face. We didn’t speak for a while. It was the loudest and most comfortable silence I’ve ever shared with my skip. Only the birds drifting by could know the freedom I felt in that moment. Sweat was the glue that kept us stuck together. The pitch in sync with our breathing.

There is no feeling like freedom. Having no where to be or no one looking for me. I wonder what he’s thinking about. I hope he’s thinking about me. Then the interruption of the thoughts I was lost in, “What’s your favorite color?”

I turned to look him in his eyes, “green.”

“Mine too.”

And with those two words he sealed the deal.

17th Annual American Black Film Festival

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I did not anticipate how full I would feel at the conclusion of the 17th Annual American Black Film Festival here in Miami on South Beach. My mind and soul were stuffed with information, encouragement, and motivation. I didn’t know how fortunate I was until it was over.

I was a sponge last week at the festival. I soaked up more than I could have imagined and I watch some incredible films. From Kevin Hart’s pledge to encourage entrepreneurship in our community by starring in, writing, and producing his own films to Reggie Blythewood’s 10 craft commandments I was motivated and educated by the brightest and most forward thinking in the game. It was a privilege!

To discuss what took place behind the scenes of the festival is a testament to the commitment and perseverance of Film Life and it’s management team. Everyday began with a dance and a prayer!

What a blessing to be in the Ritz Carlton on South Beach becoming a better writer, a more informed person, and a more creative individual. The hardest day was the last day because it occurred to me that the festival was over. I smiled less on the last day. Shout out to programming and the talent team!

I can’t wait for next year….

 

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