Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fall Colors

When I walked outside this morning on my way to the Metro station I knew it was fall. For the first time I could feel it in the air. The air feels much different to me around this time of year, even smells different than in other seasons. It calms me like no other and perhaps for that reason alone autumn is one of my favorite seasons. It’s only real rivalry being winter.

I enjoy the fall weather and the colors that make the season so distinct. Orange. Brown. Yellow. Red. They are the colors of the leaves that whisk in the air, fall to the ground and make way for new life. I have looked forward to the new season and welcome a new season in my life as well.

Orange: Sweet as nectar from a fruit, so are the stories of my grandfather. Grampa Starr has led more than an interesting life and soon I will be sitting down with him to get many of his stories on tape. I am not exactly sure what I will do with the transcripts once I complete the interviews. I only realize that his history and tales as a Black man/father/brother/grandfather/family piece mustn’t be lost.

Brown: I love my people but sometimes I ask do my people love themselves and certainly there are moments when I question if they love me. Over the past few months I have begun to care much more about my place in a world rather than my place in a single community. I wish to expand. I am so much more.

Yellow: Thoughts manifest themselves in words and in actions. I am prioritizing things in my life again and in the process planning and devising a more strategic plan. Focus. Focus. Focus on the future. Shakespeare once wrote something to the effect that, there are events in the belly [pregnancy] that must one day be delivered.” Move. Plan. Prepare. Execute. Deliver.

Red: I love the idea of being in love but I’m no longer infatuated with it. I seek it but no longer desperately, almost now sporadically. I know that I am worthy of it and believe that it will come in its true and needed form in due time. In the right season. Only as of late could I even be so sure that I was capable of loving two people – me and someone else – at the same time. How much I am willing to give while nurturing my own self is still a question. It feels so good to be honest.

Even more it feels good to enjoy the colors, touch, spirit and air of this season.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A New Day

Blue Sky and I sat on the sand with darkness surrounding us. I was wrapped in spirit and opportunity. The stars, clouds and the beautiful moon were tranquil just above our heads. I could see the ocean waves in front of me and their soothing sounds along with the cool morning air put me at enough peace to comfortably pray. Lord I thank you.

I opened my eyes and it was brighter. The sun was coming out. Blue Sky wished me happy birthday and the next sound I heard was the cork coming off the champagne. It was my birthday at the beach that I had been imagining - strawberries, croissants, Moet, peace and my friend.

Today the sun has risen on my 26th year of life.

[100th Post]

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Sun Went Up

And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

When I was very young, probably in sixth grade, the mother of one of my closest friends at the time called me to ask if I wanted to go to the theater. I jumped at the opportunity. Even in elementary school I loved theater. In fact my first appearance in a large scale theater production was the year before in the musical Carmen Jones with her son as a cast mate. After I told her yes she asked to speak to my mom and I got the final go ahead. Hours later I was on my way to the theater to see the musical Spunk based on three short stories by Zora Neal Hurston. Each tale spins a fable of black love, good, bad or bittersweet.

More than I remember what each story was about I remember the transitions the cast did in between certain pieces. They walked the stage and sang...
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

Their voices were all in sync. Beautiful black voices. And each time they sang that the sun went down I knew another day had lapsed.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

Many years now separate me from elementary school and when my friend moved to the suburbs during junior high I lost contact with him. That was until recently when I happened to be searching for something online and ran across his name. I took that clue and it led to another and there I was reading his biography. He has become a guitarist that likes women who play drums. That makes sense to me because his mother used to play the congas. Maybe he is like many men and in search of his mother in a lover. It seemed so random that I happened across his name on the internet.

Even more interesting is that last night I attended a reception and started talking to a friend about his new job. When I got home last night I decided to visit the website for his organization. While browsing the page with staff names and biographies I saw my friends mother listed.

I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something. I am wondering if there is a connection that I need to make to them or in my own life through them.

And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

While I have been for many years separated from my old friend physically I have forever been and will forever be connected with the memories of our relationship and its effect on me. My dear childhood friend was special and so was his mother. She is a lesbian.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

The first time I slept over his house was in the fifth or sixth grade. He and I had stayed up all night laughing, talking and writing. The next day we woke up very late in the morning and proceeded to the kitchen for breakfast. We sat across from each other eating our cereal and his mother stood near some cabinets talking to us. A woman who seemed to have a constant presence in my friends’ life and was always at the house then came from upstairs - the same upstairs where I had slept the night before. My curiosity was peaked. She said hello to my buddy and I, then walked to his mother, said good morning and kissed her on the lips.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

That began my first true introduction to lesbian and gay relationships. From the bio that I read on the web last night they are still together and have been for 22 years. Love is beautiful and so are the people that do. I am sure that when they kissed in front of me many moons ago they had no idea that I would remember that one kiss nearly 15 years later. Memories, I am so blessed to have them.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

Tomorrow afternoon I am leaving for Los Angeles. I decided to spend the weekend of my birthday there with Blue Sky, one of my most cherished and loved friends. Because he lives on the other side of the US we don’t get to see each other nearly as often as either of us would like and I figured this would be the greatest time to celebrate our friendship and life. His birthday is just a few days after mine.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

Blue Sky will be the only other person at my official birthday celebration this year. When the sun goes down on Sunday, September 25 I will be 25 and when it rises on Monday, September 26 I too will be 26. The sun and the ocean will greet me a good morning and happy birthday on the beach.
And the sun went up. And the sun went down. And the sun went up. And the sun went down.

What lie ahead for me in the next year I don’t know, only God does. I am thankful for what he has allowed me to see, do and experience thus far and continue to pray that the best is yet to come.

And the sun went up.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Presence

When I woke up this morning the first thing I said was, “Praise God.” The second thing I said was, “Can I have a number two with orange drink instead of orange juice please?” I was hungry and definitely my throat was parched. Another Saturday party and another Sunday of waking up hungry because I didn’t have enough to eat the night before.

Last night I did something that this morning after finishing off my number two and orange drink I decided I would not do again – host someone’s birthday party. In November I helped host and pull together a birthday party for AQueer. It was a nice affair but afterward I was drained. Several others were too but in a much different way but that’s a totally separate tale of tails.

Yesterday evening I was the official host with the most for a birthday party for Mr. Kane. Much of the day I spent with him preparing for the party which was nice because I so enjoy his company but the time went by quickly. The bewitching hour was fast approaching and I had to do a costume change and head to the venue to begin set up. The food was early, the bartender on time but the liquor supplier was running late. I had several hands helping me and they were dolls. I couldn’t have made it through the prep without them but at some point my mood changed and what I could have made it through the evening without were some of the guests. By the end of the night a few of them were getting on my nerves. And as the host I couldn’t leave and because they were friends of the birthday boy I couldn’t just kick them out.

There is nothing worse than being somewhere, especially a party in where you can’t leave. Earlier this summer I went to a gala on The Odyssey III and I was terrified of going for that very reason. It was a social event on a moving vessel with the only way out being to jump overboard and swim to shore. Problematic because first of all, I am not that great of a swimmer and second because I wouldn’t want to ruin my favorite pair of black shoes. That evening didn’t turn out so bad though. A man I once lusted after was there, and I still vow that should he ever become comfortable with his own sexuality I would pursue him. Being comfortable with your sexuality has always been a big requirement for men that I date, mostly because if you aren’t comfortable with yours you couldn’t possibly be comfortable with mine. The very presence of my sexual identity has been known to be so bright and radiant that it often casts more shadows than the sun. Just because.

Last night after the saxophonist I hired played a jazzy rendition of Happy Birthday I felt like my work was done. Too bad it wasn’t. Setting up, being up and then the cleaning up wears me out at those things. Suffice to say, I have typically pulled together my own birthday celebrations. I was reminded again last night of why. The gift of time, dollars or energy that goes into throwing or hosting a party for someone is quite large and I wouldn’t ask someone else. The next time someone asks me I will gracefully decline and offer another gift. My presence will be their present.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Taking Off

In the past two weeks I have only left my job and went directly home once. It has been great and typical me. I have connected, reconnected and twice visited my new DC love, Bus Boys and Poets. I am absolutely in love with the just opened coffeehouse, bookstore and eatery with an urban chic look that brings the name of the venue full circle with the concept in what the owner calls the Langston Room. Of course the name alone makes my heart jump. I love Langston Hughes. I remember getting his collected works for Christmas one year and sleeping with it. Langston for so many reasons is special to me.

Nevertheless, tonight I need to do something special for myself and that is take a break. I won’t do dinner, drinks, a play or anything else with anyone tonight. I am going to spend some quiet time at home with me. I think I deserve it and I know that tomorrow and Sunday my calendar is full and the only evening next week in which I’ll be able to do the same is Monday. Next week is the Congressional Black Caucus hosts its annual conference and receptions and other special events are abound. Then Friday night I will slip into the night headed for my birthday celebration. I can’t believe that day is approaching so swiftly either. Twenty six on the twenty sixth. How times flies.

I am going to walk through the door, take off my shoes, my clothes and anything that has weighed me down. I’m looking forward to taking off the night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dangerously in Love

Sunday, I did as I always do. I took my Sunday stroll. My one hour or more walk from my apartment building to the Howard University campus and back is sometimes used to be at one with myself and sometimes to connect with loved ones via phone that I haven’t talked to in a while. This Sunday I reached out to a friend who shared with me what I thought was some troubling news but it came to me as no surprise.

The night before she had a gentleman’s company at her house but the man was truly no gentleman. In fact, just a few weeks ago he was the man that slapped her to the floor and tossed her around while verbally assaulting her. It disturbed me that he had done those things to my dear friend, a petite woman though tough. It did not surprise me however that weeks after he had done such a horrible thing that he found himself once again in her life, in her home and in her bed again. She constantly craves affection. Attention. She just wants to be loved or at least feel like it. I can’t blame her. I do too. I know that is why she let him back in. If only temporarily he would come over and make her feel good, loved, wanted and worthy. What a vicious act. What a vicious cycle.

Since Sunday, I have been thinking about how while I have never been in her exact situation I have participated in destructive behaviors in the not so distant past in search of feeling loved if only temporarily. Countless times I have masked my desire for emotional satisfaction with sexual gratification. I know there have been many times when it wasn’t that I had a hunger for someone to be inside of me or me inside of someone else as much as it was that I was starving for someone to be simply by my side. In that state I have done reckless things and committed sins against my own morals and values. More than once or twice.

My dear friend and I, and I imagine many others have something in common. We will do dangerous things for love or the false sense of it. There are billions of people in this world. All we want is just one, other than ourselves to love us and make us feel loved. Many are ashamed to admit it. If only we lived in a society in which it was okay to be honest with ourselves and others, free from shame and fear of perceived weakness. Until that day comes many of us will live or die so dangerously.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Good Morning


I must have slept good last night. I do feel refreshed. I’m looking at things from a different framework. Last night was wonderful and at a closer look so was every night this week. There wasn’t an evening this week that I didn’t spend with friends or colleagues having dinner, drinks or seeing a theater production. While none of them are my special someone they are all certainly special people in my life for which I am grateful. Single? Yes, I am. Will I have moments where I want companionship of a different kind? Absolutely. Will I just rush out and find someone just to have someone? Absolutely not. I’d rather want something that I did not have than have something I did not want.

Surely, I will have other moments at night of desire and feeling a little down and that is okay because I will also have mornings like these. Amen.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sleep On It

12:27 AM

When I was young and not feeling too well or just seemed to have a lot on my heart and mind my mother would encourage me to go to bed and just sleep on whatever it was. She told me that when I woke up the next morning I would feel refreshed. It would be a new day and I could better deal with whatever the situation was.

Tonight I want to go bed, to sleep on it, but I know as soon as my head hits the pillow I will be reminded once again that my bed is empty and what I am sleeping on is who I am not sleeping with.


I guess tonight I should try to sleep harder.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Can you hear me now?

I hate to admit it but it is certainly true that I like most Americans have become through media overload desensitized to many problems, issues and horrors. Following what was probably the largest natural disaster in the United States in the past century I felt very little. I was neither particularly sad nor compelled to reach out. I felt removed from the images and the situation that although it is just hundreds of miles away from me has been framed to some degree like it was a whole world away. I felt no connection to these people, many of whom are people of color just like me.

Then I heard voices. The first was of one of my best friends from high school. After graduating college in 2002 he moved to New Orleans to participate in the Teach for America program and remained there until earlier this summer when he took a position at a school in nearby Texas. He called me last night. My beloved friend was emotionally drained. He was fearful. He sought comfort that not even I could give him.

He was so worried about friends he had not heard from, friends he knew couldn’t evacuate the city and more than anything his former students from one of the poorest sections of New Orleans. They lived in housing projects that the city never particularly looked after. He doubted they looked out for the residents once again. As he told stories, as he watched the news while on the phone with me he gave life to the dead. I saw water. He saw what was once up under it. I saw random people. He saw people that he knew. I saw jobs lost. He pointed out the building submerged beneath the water where he once worked.

Today, I heard another voice. It was the voice of one of my fraternity brothers. For the past week he has been trying to locate his dearest friend. They spoke right before Katrina touched land and since then he has been calling and calling to no avail in hopes that he will connect and touch his friend soon.

I can hear now. I can see now. I can feel now.

The Superdome proved not to be exceptionally super. Thousands who flocked there seeking shelter from a storm are now living in near refugee camp conditions. Gone now in Mississippi and Louisiana are the pictures, heirlooms, histories, homes and loved ones of many. All irreplaceable.

This morning I pray. I know that God can hear me.