Tuesday, July 28, 2015

That Bitch, Acceptance (Dream Drafts)

SCENE 1 - Coffee Shop

FRIEND: Acceptance is a bitch.
ME: Upon casual acquaintance, Acceptance seems like a real bitch. Let me tell you about the first time I met her. It all started like this. 
[Flashback. Cross fade]

SCENE 2 - Bedroom

[Close Up: Mens clothing in a heap on the floor. Pan up to ME’s face.]
ME: Oh my God/dess, he makes me so angry! I just can’t with him. I just won’t with him.
ACCEPTANCE: Can’t change him. Can only change you. So, you change if you staying in this.  Do what you need to do with you to change yourself.  Accept it.  
ME: But, is it so hard to get him to pick up his damn pants off the floor? Is it? No. It's a deeply symbolic act of aggression!
ACCEPTANCE: Or not. {gestures to floor.} He does not see pants on the floor. You see pants on the floor. You care about pants on the floor. So, you gotta pick up the pants if they bother you. You gotta accept it.
ME: No.
ACCEPTANCE: {postures} Whatever, I'm not even going to talk about all that with you. 
ME: You don't even care that his pants on the floor are a declaration of war he is waging against me. 
{Acceptance shrugs and laughs.}
ME: Oh, shoot, what?!? You're like a callous, unfeeling, cold thing aren't you? 
{Acceptance is all sly smiles and saucy shrugs. Turns her back.}
ACCEPTANCE: I'm me. When you're ready, we can have a really good time together.
ME: Go the f*ck to hell! 
{Acceptance turns on her heel, shimmers away and doesn't even look back.}

[Cross fade]

SCENE 3 - Coffee Shop

FRIEND: Right? What a bitch!
ME: But, she's persistent.  She always turning up when you’re in the thick of it. Way deep down in the pity party. Everyone is there.
FRIEND: I know. Rage, Despair & Revenge are kicking back Whisky.  Sadness is alone on the balcony sipping Pinot Grigio and smoking cigarettes.  And Acceptance is hanging out with Serenity. And you know they talkin' 'bout you.
ME: Naw. Serenity don’t have time to talk smack on people. She always smiles like that. Until you get to know her, you project all your insecurities on her and start making up stories in your head about what her real motivations are. But, Acceptance?  The more you get to know her...

[Flashback. Cross fade]

SCENE 4 - River Bank
ME: I just want...
ACCEPTANCE:  I'm not even going there with you. {gentle, coy smile}

CUT TO: Animation sequence.  

My whole heart just peels open. 

ME stands on the river back as the center of her chest begins to part in the shape of a woman’s vulva.  The lips of the vulva are adorned with pearls and sparkly gems as if the vaginal secretions have turned to precious stones. A stylized heart ~ something between an anatomically correct heart and a Victorian Valentine ~ emerges through the vaginal opening. It floats out of ME chest and pulses with a radiant pink glowing light. Me raises her hand. The heart settles in the palm of her hand. She raises it to her lips. Kisses it and places it back inside of her chest.

Cut To: Me and Acceptance on the river bank

ME: Okay. Fine. I'm down with putting all the fighting down. What do you want to talk about?
ACCEPTANCE: Cool. This one time? I was sitting on God's lap and he...." 

Acceptance and Me sit down on the river bank. Slow pull out, as ambient, rhythmic music swells punctuated by snippets conversation and laughter.
ME: Your fingernail? Really? He what? 
ACCEPTANCE: on the back of a Palomino pony..
Me:  you mean inside of the rainbow?
Acceptance: Yeah, girl, inside of the rainbow.
{Acceptance and Me lay on the river bank laughing and snuggling and laughing. }

[Cross Fade]
Scene 4:
ME: And because I want more and more of those heart birthing smiles, I have to embrace Acceptance.  Because then, we are free to dish dirt on everything from Gods to molecules like teenage girls talking nonsense.
FRIEND: Damn. 
ME: Give her a chance, you’ll see.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Gratitude Is The Soft, Deep, Rhythmic Breath Of A Child

The picture to the right is Zenobia. 
She visits with us at bed time, on big, heavy thought days, I lay down with my twelve year old son to narrate his journey to his special inner safety place. Every child navigating a body of shifting of hormones experiences some amount of anxiety and trepidation.  This is a territory between two vastly different realms, no longer a child and not quite a teenager this person is balancing who they are becoming while knowing who they were and where they fit in the world.  
Add being Black & twelve & American & conscious to life as a Tween and there are times when a parent needs to expend extra effort to make sure your child stays conscious - literally and figuratively - and has the tools necessary not to accept, succumb and self censure.  
Imagine being a young boy about the same age as Tamir Rice.  You ask your mother what she is typing about so furiously on her keyboard.  
"Police in Cleveland," she says. 
"The usual thing?" You say.  
"Yes," she says. 
"Oh. Where were they?" You say. 
"Playing in the park." she says. 
"Playing in the park?" You ask.  Because you are confused. Why would the police kill someone playing in the park? and she tells you about a little boy about your age...

Not giving in to the perpetual state of terror our state sanctioned agents relentlessly practice against us everyday is revolutionary. It calls for efforts mythic proportions.  To be a carefree, happy, Black boy is a daily action of bravery, creative resourcefulness and dedication. To be young, Black, self-loving, optimistic and centered takes a kind of heroic level of personal mind control. It takes a parent who is willing to take time.
Imagine being a young boy about the same age as Let's Call Her Angie. It's time to go out, but,  your mother is typing about so furiously on her keyboard.  
"Oh. Right. We gotta go!" She says.
"What were you doing?" You say.
"Police in New York," she says.
"The usual thing?" You say.  
"Stop & Frisk" she says. 
"Who was it? Did they live?" You say. 
"Yes." she says. "An 11 year old girl."
"Oh. But, phew!" You say.
"Okay, let's go," she says.
"I'm not feeling up to it today," you say.
"We can not let them turn us into prisoners in our home. Mama's got this," She says. 
"Okay," you say.  But, it's not okay. You don't want to go out. You spend the entire time in the car noticing and informing your mother of every police car. 
"I've got this. I'm obeying all the laws," she says.
"Sometimes, that doesn't matter," you say. "But...
"Not on my watch," you both say together and laugh.
You're not sure you believe her.

When the extra heavy, hard reality of being young and Black days happen, I need to lay down with him at bed time.  I need to train him to remember that he has the power to shift his reality to his own liking.  That he can find within himThe places he can use in his waking times to stay centered.  These places often have a magical forest, a beach, a dryad, or mermaids.  I invite him to sit in these quiet places in his imagination.  I invite him to relax. Listen to the waterfall splashing or the waves swooshing.  See the colors of the sky.  Bounce in the clouds as if they are a trampoline. 
self magical places which are safe and wonderful.

One days, like the day 14 year old, Dajerria Becton experienced "the usual things police officers do."  On extra weighty thought days, the mermaids are usually busy elsewhere. You've got to be careful about mermaids when the world puts strange ideas in your head. & sleepy makes those ideas more creepy than they actually are.
Those days are when we need Zenobia. She comes and bats at his dreadlocks, romps & purrs when she settles quietly in his lap as he sits in his quiet inner soul place.

As he relaxes, right before his breathing slows down, sometimes, I use my fingertips along his back as if Zenobia is mincing about seeking a good place to sleep also. He smiles. Maybe chuckles and then the weight of my hand slows his breath. The Coltrane Station on Pandora always seems to know what song to play to take him into good dreams.
When I slip quietly out of his bed I am so grateful To have a son. To have a boy-becoming-man who still likes to hear his Mama's voice; feel his Mama's arms; and imagine invisible rainbow butterfly unicorn kittens keep watch over him in the night.
I leave the dark, warm room of steady rhythmic breath, the stark kitchen light startles me. It is late. I remember ‪#‎TamirRice‬ wasn't put to bed for six months. Nobody lay him down to sleep because he was
not a boy when racism turned him into evidence that something is very broken.

If I Die In Police Custody

let the activists speak my private sorrow.
let the radicals burn the city to the ground.
let the pundits unravel White Supremacy's mantle

even as my family calls for peace, know
they are insuring the survival my genetic code.
understand the louder you rage, the more they get paid.

& blood money is not Brawny. it can not wipe up injustice.
know my ancestor's teeth went into Ben Franklin's head
& these same teeth will grind down systemic racism.

know my Gods have a terrible just imagination
& are qualified by my family's forgiveness
to deliver immediate and swift retribution.

know God works in mysterious ways,
the tragic accident, the lost marriage
the stillborn children withering in the womb,

the tweet which fires a thousand racists,
my God sees these murderers times
seven generations. my God, seven generations

my family be lifted up in public out cry
be poeted, be sung, be painted and digitized,
be quiet & let a nation of Black voices

tell all the truth.