Thursday, December 26, 2013

REMINISCENCES

            Memories Linger. I always liked hanging out will Willa Dean because Willa hardly ever thought about food. At first I didn’t realize that this was because she was too busy thinking about hard drugs.  I was happy to be around someone who never seemed to think or obsess on what she was going to eat next, like me.  I really had an appreciation for that because I was always worried about my weight being generally obsessive compulsive with a food addiction. Hanging with her was a device that helped me keep my addiction under control.

            At first I didn’t realize that the reason she was never hungry was because she preferred drugs. I would’ve never guessed that her drug of choice was cocaine either.  Hanging with Willa was great fun; she was dramatic, enthusiastic, had class and style plus was intelligent. It was a boon that in addition to having an engaging entertaining accomplice; being with her helped me keep my weight down. There was always an element of excitement that sometimes was flavored with fear and wrought with danger.  That can be fun until you see the alternate perils invited to consume you.

            I know Willa for almost twenty years. She owned the first health food store in our neighborhood.  One day in the store, she came over to my son and offered him a slice of dry pineapple she was busy packaging. That is the way to any mother’s heart. Just give something to their child and you’ve won them over. After that, I became a regular customer and we exchanged pleasantries on a regular basis both in the store and on the street. Later, after our initial greetings we’d discuss children or relationships and share our views.

            One day I ran into Willa on the street and we exchanged greetings.
She said, “You really are the most smilingist person I know beside me.” We both laughed because it was true, I always walk around smiling at everyone. “Are you busy right now?” 
I said, “No, why?” 
“Well, can you walk me to pick up my laundry? It’s right there,” and she pointed about to half way down the block.
 “Why not?” I replied and that’s how it began.  Afterwards we went to her house, where she kept rummaging around under her couch pillows, lifting them and digging with her hand.
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
“I had a small amount of marijuana that I put here this morning. I think maybe my husband clandestinely figured out where it was and he took it for himself, or my girls found it and trashed it.”
Either way, we just had glasses of water and looked at each other
“Hold on, maybe I can find it here.” She led me to a small room off the kitchen and began searching in there. “This is my private room. When I want to be alone I come in here and my husband and daughters know to leave me alone. These apartment buildings are old and I think back in the day most people used this room for the maid but this is my room.” She searched under the pillow and blankets then pulled out drawers and looked underneath. This search failed too”

            She led me back to the living room. “Do you like football?” she asked muting the T.V
“No not particularly interested in any sport.”
“I got into it when my husband insisted on watching and can follow the game pretty much but mostly I watch to see their asses. I discovered it turned me on.”
“It’s ok with me you want to keep it on,” I said.
After several moments of silence, Willa began in her throaty whisper. To hear what she was saying, I had to lean closer to her.  That was part of her art of enchantment.  I felt like she was sharing her most intimate secrets.  And she did.  Once she got started, there was no stopping her.  She’d go on for a minimum of two hours, and later, when I got to know her better, three hours and more. She was never boring.

            Willa didn’t let me know about the hard drugs at first. I kept wondering over the ten years I intermittently hung out with Willa, how does Willa do this?  How does she blow all her household cash on nose candy and then impart the desire to get educated to her children. I definitely admired her skills. Willa was educated. Willa had her masters in English Lit from one of the biggest and most respected black universities in the states. She’d graduated from Spelman and her husband from Morehouse. Willa Dean was bright, engaging and entertaining. She was witty and made me laugh. Her husband Dwayne was the opposite, quiet and withdrawn. She was often annoyed with him. I guess that her dissatisfaction is what made her take a lover. I never personally experienced her anger but I once saw her yell at a long time friend who I had experienced as a hell of a pushy broad. 

          Once when we were hanging out at pushy broad's apartment, she said insisted I was tense and needed a massage. I had to yell to make her stop because she was actually hurting me. I probably was very tense. The gal was married to a famous jazz musician and we went to their house to bring them the drugs Willa had picked up for them. I didn’t understand why Willa never told her how annoying she was. Willa and I were straight out with each other. We talked freely and we always were respectful to each other. We also shared things like clothes and costume jewelry. When I started work, she gave me a few beautiful work skirts she claimed she had picked up in Macy's wholesale outlet in Atlanta. That helped me a lot. After I'd worked a while and bought some Betsey Johnson dresses at eighty percent off she begged me for one. I remember how hard that was to find the one that she liked best that I was willing to let go of. Up till now, I'd been so poor this was the first time I'd ever had money to buy anything except a pair of jeans or a sweater in the $10 Store.

I listened to her complain about her husband.  She’d get high and then she say “I’m gonna go home and get me some.” I never knew if she meant her husband or her lover, so I’d ask. It seemed at that time, it could go either way. Sometimes she seemed surprised that I didn’t know which one she meant.
           
            I got to see things I had never seen before with Willa. She showed me how she had a hole in the cartilage in her nose from snorting coke. I didn’t believe her when she first said it so she took a Qtip while I looked inside her nose and so the tip from the opposite side. I met the world famous jazz musician who lives not far from Columbia and watched him and his wife get high. Another time, she took me to the Ritz on 5th Avenue to work as a dresser for some high-class fashion shows. It was amazing. I dressed world famous models plus got paid a hundred fifty bucks plus got a designer belt and gloves too. You really couldn’t take more because they watched and counted everything afterwards on a big long list that they checked everything off of, which took another hour or so more after the show was over. I also got to see cocaine apartments in my neighborhood.  You walk into an apartment building and there’s a guy who escorts you up the stairs. Once you get inside the apartment, there’s no nothing there except another guy sitting on a chair, a table with a scale and the drugs. That’s it! I was shocked the first time I saw this.

In spite of her crazy behavior, Willa was very sweet and engaging.  Funny enough, Willa often had dinner together and prepared for her husband by the time he got home. She was master at throwing leftovers together and using up odds and ends to make an attractive dish. She’d speak in whispers describing her feelings, her lovers, her adventures, and her daughters. What amazed me the most was how Willa could actually separate out her strengths and capabilities from all her craziness and addiction. She accomplished her motherly chores astonishingly well. Both her daughters were well mannered and got good grades in high school. They were bright and both graduated college a year apart and afterwards got steady work. I was impressed. During this time her husband and she closed the health food store and Dwayne became a cab driver. Later, Willa had some jobs on and off doing retail in clothing stores. At this point I lost touch with Willa. I became busy with my full time job and helping my son. I ran into her bossy friend at a Board of Education annual meeting. Bossy told me she’d become a licensed teacher. I asked about Willa saying I’d lost contact. She told me that Willa’s two daughters had moved out the year before and got a place together in New Jersey and that after her daughters moved out, Willa moved out and left her husband and moved in with her lover. After Willa left Dwayne, he eventually lost the apartment and went back to Georgia to live with his family. I miss Willa Dean and wonder where she is. I hope she’s still alive.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Japan: Frying Dutchman - HumanError -- Society's Child -- Sott.net


Someone as crazy as me ranting like me trying to get the dead who inhabit our earth to wake up and see the sunlight before it is too late. The strength and emotion is very powerful. Now I understand how it feels when someone tells me they came out on a Saturday, their day off, for entertainment and though they find it very interesting and like it, they want something a little different too. 

The words and music did make me cry.


Friday, December 06, 2013

See Clearly Abundant Obstacles

Purple luminescent moon, deep florescent blue-sky
mirror eyes refuse to judge and see
I become one of them
I am one of them
The ones who have done wrongs
I am one of them
The one who sees the right
Moons up high in a golden sky
Up high, purple, not golden, I see it - violet, not yellow
One love one world one desire
Nature no longer pure

No one can fight the flow of love 
the truth will set me free 
the truth is set before me but I only see 
what they put there for me to see 
in control of xyz, who’s in control in domain e 
I can’t see but what is put before me 
I only see what they want me to see,
like Fox news on TV, 

I’ve become part of what they let me see
Please let me see
Fear the answer in deed
The truth will set me free
Truth wind and fire, free desire
I’m on fire tonight
What a sign a sight of Taweret       (prounouced D-aww-waH-Ray)

Seshat made me ride the dragon
Turned tides trite keep the darned lamp lit
I know where to sit plus I gave you my turn
Reality begs the question to answer

Com’on and give me some loving keep it tight tonight
Give me some of that sweet loving tonight
Found a man to do me right
Give me some of that sweet sweet loving tonight
The very sight of you makes me cry
remember the night you first invited me to join you
Sweet cheat in my heart
Eyes Wide Open I see the magic mysteries of trees
Easy to see magic in trees, adorned and leaves bereft, 
flowers and other foliage carried away in the storm 

I can’t digest the storm in my heart
Thunders with discontent
Doors close, all alone, listening to word play, 
new words mist to old, the saxophone wails 
while my heart fails to close, 
beg for mercy feel snow flakes falling on my head

Silver branches reverie, a starlit night, stark bare branches
crystalized icy leaves twinkle bright on a bitter chill night
November ends red and violet changes to gold caprice and yellow
mystified by how simple a delight

Ice my shivers, silver dragon fantasies



_________________________________
Seshat: Ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge and writing
Twaret: Protective ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joy’s repertoire is expanding

Since late 2008 when I began working on my bluetry series, beginning with I Sing The Blues For You, which to date, has been published 5 times, I have been incorporating music into my performance poetry. More recently I decided to expand my repertoire by adding song to my performance and also to give listeners a break from my rants and raves which are very sad and sometimes overwhelming.

My neighbor, Wren Harrington, has been kind enough to take me on as a student. Ms. Harrington is a very accomplished singer and teacher. The first lesson consisted of breath exercises along with scales. I then begged her to help me with my first song that I had been miming alone and with Dubblex. Wren proclaimed that I improved greatly just in my first lesson.

I am so excited! I can't wait for lesson two.

In the meantime, here I am playing sing song all by my lonesome, plodding along.

Here below is the first song, Turning Point, that I know from listening to Nina Simone. If you click on the link you can watch at youtube.

Turning Point

The second song below can also be watched at youtube.

I Wish You Love


Gloria Lynne made the song I Wish You Love famous. According to what I read, Ms. Lynne, who recently passed on a few weeks ago, recorded this song thinking it was no big deal. It wasn't even one of her favorite numbers to perform, but audiences fell for the way she performed this number and it hit the top ten list quickly and became a hit.

For a while, Ms. Lynne was homeless, as she never received any monies from the records of most of her recordings. When asked why she continued to sing when she couldn't make a living, she replied, that singing was what she lived for. I am certain all of you artists can relate to that. It's certainly welcome to earn income for our art, but whether we earn or not, we continue to be artists. It's just so sad that so many artists during her time period were taken advantage of in this manner, and not given proceeds for the albums they made that sold.

The day after Ms. Lynne passed, I happened to be at a music jam on the lower east side, at University Of The Streets, and a woman sang this song in memory of Gloria Lynne, and did it justice too. This inspired me to move myself to the next level to add to my performance. It was also a sad moment for me because Mohammad, the guy who originally founded the University Of The Streets, was someone I'd met back in 1977. During that time Mohammad had many type programs at the University for the community. I happened to be walking by, looked up and saw the name of the organization and walked in. After that, I met with him frequently. My discussions with Mohammad was a focusing impetus in my decision to enter Columbia University, where I was a student in the Higher Education Opportunity Program, made eligible through poverty status and being disadvantaged educationally. I was the only white one in the program the entire 5 years I spent undergrad there.

I went to the music jam at University of the Streets with Demetrius Daniel and his friend Mark. Mohammad's photo sat large on a wall. Only the lady singing knew what I was talking about when I said the University used to be around the corner from where it currently was. She informed me that Mohammad had died a few year ago. This made me sad because I had always intended to stop by and see and thank him for our talks and now I can only thank him in my heart.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

George R.R. Martin - reading and writing

Since Summer I've been spending a lot of time with George R.R. Martin. I read all 5 of his Game of Thrones series, because I was so fascinated with the HBO show, Game of Thrones. Each book was over 1000 pages, easily more than 6000 pages total at the rate of about 100 pages per day - sometimes, more - sometimes none if I was extremely busy. I usually always read on the train too. After reading all these books, I became curious as to Mr. R.R. Martin's other novels and there I began with The Armageddon Rag. I will be moving on to his other novels now.

George R.R. Martin mixes fact, fantasy, and fiction into a delicious cocktail made to spur and goad our insides to believe and question humanity and our purpose. Dialogue and inner conversations portray several levels, superficial, exploratory bestows significance on more subtle references or hidden meanings, devices and triggers that move us.

It is our choices that define us. All humans have these. Our alikeness internally ends here. We all think we know certain people but everyone of us can be surprised because we can only, after all, interpret others behaviors through a screen of our own experiences combined with birth circumstances and living, which normally infants have no power except their tears or laughter, which indeed, moves most of us to console or play with them. I don't need to tell you about the sick few - either perverts or crazies but they exist too - everywhere. Sometimes we too, if we choose, can be one of the perverts, or crazies who enjoy inflicting pain. Strangely, sometimes someone who does not enjoy inflicting pain on others may do it as a means of self-defense. We easily excuse trespasses done in defense on one's person or mental status, or those of us who defend weaker, like our children and friends we wish to help. Mr. R. R. Martin reminds that these truths exist on various levels. Usage of subconscious levels combines with using things we can't understand yet see, serve to emphasize this point.

Good read and I love the music quotes! Worth reading if only to see R.R Martin's creativity in weaving 60's and 70's lyrics from musicians so flawlessly into the plot. His weaving style and ability to do this is truly amazing and entertaining. I certainly wouldn't expect any less from him. 

:) I have been having a great deal of fun reading his entertaining writings!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Catch Me If You Can

If one was well enough to do everything one needed to do, to get relief one sought,
then one wouldn’t need the help he needs in the first place, would he?
Life is Catch 22 of the universe
He said, “I don’t understand why you insist on helping him,”
“I want to,” I said, “It’s a feeling I have to do and want to.
What difference does it make to you?”
While we waste time on bullshit
Epiphany strikes suddenly, a new sight, an oversight
The answer to the question that makes evil disappear
Warnings served years ago now come into play with global warming
Ignoring criticism about forefathers back in the day of humanity
Helps me to glimpse the truth that we'll never get away
Now technology makes it impossible to hide away
Know our religion, knows when we pray
Tracked by GPS, our cell phones, credit cards tracked, petition signing
Usage tallied and compiled daily
Threats to control humanity
Trickle down abuse flourishes
I try to spread the good word today
To foster peace in a world of abuse
Hope propagates, knowledge widens the scope,
more of us see the trickle down abuse encompassing earth
Come see, you know whom I mean! They ~ the big they, you know who they are,
They will not give us back this  great glorious land.
They fight for coin and silver.
Slowly we go to slaughter, like pigs, goats and cows,
we kill ourselves in their sham.
Forced to pay more than our share of taxes
It’s only paper you know, no more gold in Fort Knox
and, while the Masonry leads our government
Symbols lurk every place when you see
Small insidious devious concerns surround us, controlled
By society, daily news, TV, our jobs families, and our conscience
Our desires prevent our seeing
Facebook and twitter rule you can’t see
Enough to spin your head, dizzy, can’t comprehend why facebook
warns one not to add a lot of friends, you can only add so many each night
Isn’t adding friends a boon to Facebook?
Every day it becomes more difficult to understand the world I’m living in
They are not going to give our land back
If we don’t fight for our rights,
if we don’t take  back from the usurpers who have stolen our planet,
we can’t inherit the earth by common assent,
agree our land is not sold for gold, this land is god’s gift,
is not ours to give or buy, but to love and care for like we do our children …

This land is your land,
This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.