HerStory

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:

A Brown Girl’s Lips

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.

YB

Lines From the Piedmont Rose Garden

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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.

-YB

SOULFUL II in Review

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.

Enjoy

So Surreal

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.

 

-YB

 

 

 

 

We All Make Mistakes

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?

YB