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Posts Tagged ‘ love ’
EPIC! That’s the first term that comes to mind when I think about the long journey of bringing “Herstory” to fruition. It was March 30, 2012 when I sat down to conduct my first interview with Niema Jordan in my shabby East Oakland living room. When we finished recording our conversation I thought the project, in its entirety, would be complete within two months. I was hella wrong.
So many bad things happened that my selective memory won’t even allow me to recall most of them. I do remember amicably parting ways with my original editor halfway through the project. I do remember at least two other people committing to the project only to back out once they were able to truly internalize the fact that I could not pay them. And well, everything else is a blank until I reconnected with a fellow Skyline High School graduate who possessed the skill set and the passion to bring Herstory back to life. It was February 11 when she committed to the project. Now seven weeks later it’s done.
I’m high right now. I mean I’m super elated. I’m glad that Herstory survived all of the abandonment that it was exposed to in its infantile stages. I’m glad that beauty still exists in this world and I am so grateful that I have crossed paths with three super dynamic black women that opened up to me and told me their stories. With no further ado this is Herstory:
I like the bottom one the best. I like the way it hangs and glistens. I like the fact that she can’t conceal it. I like the black mole that decorates the left side. I like it when she smiles and when she pouts and when she laughs. I like it when she bites it…
The top one is civilized. It’s conservative. She presses it down on the bottom one when she is trying to concentrate. It doesn’t curve as much when she smiles. Her top lip is somewhat ashamed of itself. It doesn’t portray her emotions but it compliments the bottom one rather well.
Together they bring balance. The lady meets the savage. They come together to bring her melody into the world. They come together to make sure she always gets her way. The girl is so spoiled. I could run from her but I could never leave her. She plays the games that I like to play. She likes the dances that I know how to do, and she always moves in my direction. She rotates around me as I spin on my axis facing her constantly. The light that I generate illuminates her and she gives me divine purpose. We understand one another and what we don’t understand we’re ok with.
I don’t love her at the moment but I find her energy to be very necessary. She isn’t one of the beautiful ones that I mistakenly let go while drunk with the hardships of my past—quite the contrary—she is the one that needed time to grow.
I don’t control her—can’t control her, but she wants me to think that I can. I like the games that she plays. It took me a long time to really confess it to myself but I do. I play games too. The truth is that I follow her lead and this is the one thing that I could never allow her to know.
I sit down at the Piedmont Rose Garden but the roses do not grow; they do not blossom, they do not bloom. My inspiration hath been circumcised, butchered for its own good. It is early February and very few things can grow in the cold. The grass grows more slowly and the soil clings to itself.
Behold for I am lost-
My heart groweth cold but at least it still grows. It bends toward a sun that hasn’t been seen in years. The water in the lake is cold but not frozen. My thoughts create steam. The steam dissipates, and then I have nothing. I have nostalgia like so many baseball cards hidden underneath my bed at night. If it can’t be seen then it can’t be stolen.
The roots of the tree before me plunge downward even further than my soul does. I see cowards in the darkness. I see the weak and I distance myself from them hoping that this will make me strong. My distance disallows me to follow people so it can’t be entirely bad.
I see the ugliest things in the world wrapped in the most beautiful skin imaginable. I touched her lips before I kissed her. I sinned with her long before we lay down. I got up first. With sweat beading on the tip of my nose and soaking my brow I opened the window and allowed the winter chill soothe my flesh.
Last Saturday I got a chance to be the host of a phenomenal literary event entitled Soulful II: Telling Our Own Stories Our Own Way. It was an extremely powerful happening that was dedicated to raising money for Kim Glanville a youth advocate who on October 27 was shot three times in a tragic case of mistaken identity. She told her story in a manner that only she could tell it; with humor, passion, and depth.
It was clear that she had been feeding off of the energy left on the stage by the other performers. Sean King blessed the audience with a poem about love and an always-relevant story about police harassment. Rami Margron who is the curator of http://www.theshoutstorytelling.com told a very engaging tale about an encounter with a deer, Sayre Quevedo shared a few stirring poems about what it’s like to be 20 in the year 2012, and Jezebel Delilah X straight up ripped it. And then there was the Russian literary sensation Zarina Zabrisky. I could use a thousand fancy adjectives to describe how amazing her performance was but thanks to youtube I can just let you see it for yourself.
It’s not that I miss her specifically; I only miss what she represented. It’s unhealthy to live your life from night to night not knowing where your next intimate moment will come from. I found myself at a museum a little while ago taking in some surrealism. I stared at the photographs as if they were living breathing beings from another planet and I looked at the paintings in the same way. I was moved by the art, like I have been so many times in the past, but this time I realized that the reason I looked at each painting for so long was because I didn’t want to go home—to no one.
One would think that I would be over the situation by now but it still bothers me. The way it ended bothers me and I sometimes become irritated by the things that she took with her. Not the material goods but the intangible things like my trust for women, my confidence, and my pride.
Women come and go but none of them stay for long enough. On a subconscious level I think I like that. There are so many things that I don’t have to face when my love life is constantly on the move. There are so many questions that I don’t have to answer and so many more questions that I don’t have to ask of myself. The single life can be very liberating but the single life can also cause a certain emotional retardation.
I worry that maybe I’ve forgotten how to treat a lady, or how to be accountable. I fear that my heart may have become obdurate from such a prolonged period of inactivity. At times I feel like I choose to be with women who only take up time and space but who aren’t essentially real. And then I fall for those who are incapable of receiving the love that I give which begs me to ponder the question: If you give a gift to someone and they do not accept it then did you truly give it to them?
My heart tells me no if it can still speak to me at all. My body continues to yearn for destruction and my soul craves for a sense of security that it has never had. My love life is so surreal.
I approached her skeptically fearing that she was the type of woman who was insanely in love with the idea of being in love thus reducing her man to some kind of weak representation of what she thought love should be like. I never made love to her. When we walked together I stepped very lightly because I was afraid that the conviction of my natural gait would draw too much attention to the reality of the situation. The reality being that our situation was hopeless. I took a chance on a woman from another planet because I have failed so many times here on Earth and in the end I still managed to be left alone.
I would rather be enamored with an inanimate object than with someone who can grow to hate me so definitively. I like acoustic guitars because I can’t figure them out and they slow down my spiritual tide. When I hear beautiful music playing I am able to forget about all the time I have wasted on unwholesome things. I have to remind myself that I am a good man but even still sometimes I do way too much. Unfortunately I make a lot of mistakes but then we all do. Don’t we?
Silence comes to me when I run from my own voice because I don’t want to be bothered with myself. I go deep to find peace. I once saw on a documentary that the first underground explorers of caves in America were black slaves because their master’s would send them down out of curiosity. The white men wouldn’t dare go themselves so they would send their slaves. On one occasion a slave was gone for a day and a half and his master assumed that he was dead however the man came back with a map that he had drawn which traced the route that he had taken and everything that he had seen while underground. Apparently that map is still used today.
I wouldn’t ever want to stay overnight in a cave because I’m terrified of bats but I’m sure I would get over that if my only other alternative was to work on a plantation. I think about how peaceful that day and a half must have been for that man. I wonder what he dreamed about at night and whether or not he contemplated ever coming back to Earth’s surface. Maybe while down there he yearned for all of the things that he thought he hated. Maybe he had children or a sweetheart that needed to return to.
I was once so bothered by the voices of others that I changed my phone number only to become immediately depressed because no one called me. I then forwarded everyone my new number. Misery is almost always a self-inflicted wound. Everyone can find happiness if you search hard enough for it. So many men women and children were enslaved but perhaps they were freer than their descendants. For they had one another and all we do is run.
I fear that I may be some kind of chauvinist or sexist because I always seek women for the sole purpose of escapism, which instantly overwhelms any potential lover with an expectation that she can never permanently live up to. So when she first raises her voice to me, or tells me about my inconsiderate ways, or reminds me that I am flawed—when things essentially “get real” then I run.
I just want to be high on a woman, I want to be enamored, I want to be enraptured, I want her to conceal me from the rest of the world should I ever break down and cry. I want to be ensconced by the idea of love but I never want to be reminded of the reality that she is a human being. And I don’t want to deal with the fact that love requires a lot of work. My heart is obdurate, my body is weary, and my soul is jaded.
Alas I do not wish to work. I want to retire at the end of each day. I want to lay my burden’s down. I want to bury my head in her bosom. I do not want her to say the wrong thing. I do not want her to tell me that I have said the wrong thing. I want to break down all of the beautiful potent lies, roll them with cigar paper, and smoke them until I hallucinate.
In my hallucinations I believe I am running forever in a race with no distance or finish line. I am winning and I am not getting tired. She stands on the sidewalk and gives me nectar to drink in a small paper cup as I pass. I drink it fast and throw the cup on the ground beneath my fast-moving feet. I run for her so she cheers for me. We share the glory of our first place position and we appreciate the roles that we play in one another’s lives to keep us here. We love the fame that comes along with success and we love each other. She understands that if I ever stop then we stop. The nectar tastes heavenly and we are forever victorious.
March 19, 12
At this moment I find myself thinking about that point in life where fantasy and truth intersect. I know a woman who had a child by a man who was murdered over 10-years-ago. I knew both of them and I knew the dynamics of their relationship very well. I can honestly say that she was in love but I’m not sure that he loved her back. As a matter of fact if he were alive today I seriously doubt that they would even be on speaking terms.
But he did die. He was gunned down shortly after his son was born and his ex-girlfriend will never move on. It’s a tragic situation for multiple reasons. She has his name and the image of his face tattooed on her chest. Her son looks a lot like his slain father, and she keeps his memory alive via social media.
All of this brought me to the conclusion that one good thing about his unfortunate demise is that the young lady gets a chance to know a love that she probably never would have achieved if her man was still breathing. She gets to continue the relationship in her mind and design her own wedding cake. She gets to sleep with him every night and she only speaks positively of him. It’s kind of like a very hood fairytale and I suppose all girls want to have a fairytale love life, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.
She’s got his face permanently displayed on her bosom, and she’s got his child, so whose to say that she isn’t living happily ever after?
Youngen Black is a writer and educator from Oakland, CA USA whose first book, "The Souls of Hood Folk," is available at lulu.com. He describes himself as "An average everyday man from East Oakland who writes about average everyday hood life." Follow my blog at www.ghettosun.com