Monday, January 30, 2006

See Through Me

I was up before the sun. Most days I would have gotten out of bed but this day was different. The night before was different. Instead of rising, I just rolled over. I wanted to look at The Wiz while he was still sleeping. A man asleep is a man in the most vulnerable and serene state. If I had one wish, in that moment my hearts desire would have been to caress his face and open his eyes and see everything that he has seen in his life through them.

I wonder about him. I wonder about some of the things that he has seen and where he imagines that he might go next. I’d like to know what it is that he wants to see in his future, even what he doesn’t want to see. I’ve gathered that he has already seen a lot, many unhappy things yet I still want him to share those things with me. Piece by piece. As much as I can handle. I want to know who this man is and why he is who he is. And the answer to that question is the question, what are the experiences he is made of.

Maybe with him, I may finally share mine too. I think he could be strong enough.

Friday, January 27, 2006

He's The Wiz

Sometime during December I began exchanging emails with a guy whose personal ad I saw online. Eventually he sent me his picture and I sent him mine. He was brown skin with a well framed face. He looked familiar but at this point, I think all men do. At some point I sent him my phone number and told him to give me a call after the first of the year when I would return to DC from holiday.

Two weeks ago I was awakened by the ringing of my phone. I turned to my alarm clock and it was just after midnight. I didn’t recognize the number but decided to pick up anyway. It was him. Although I had been sleeping for a few hours I somehow mustered up the energy and the voice to appear as though I was as bright as a full moon on an evening without clouds. Radiant.

He was on his way home from a night of class and running errands and seeing friends. ‘Where do you live’ – he asked me. I gave him my cross streets and wouldn’t you know it he lived no more than five minutes away. On his way home he we was stopping at the gas station literally one block from my place.

Let’s make a deal.

A deal?

Yes, a deal. You step outside and see me. I will be at the gas station pumping fuel in my black SUV. If you don’t like what you see just walk on by and call me later and send your regrets. If you do like what you see – you have to come up to me and talk for a while – and you got to take a ride with me.

A ride?

Yes, a ride with me.

Now, my adventurous spirit had the best of me. In mere minutes I had slipped into my sweats and coat. I’d brushed my hair and my teeth, given myself a once over in the mirror and slipped out my apartment into the night air.

It took even less time for me to arrive a block away from my apartment building and at the corner of the street that separated me from the gas station. The streets were empty. I had a clear view of the gas station and of him pumping his gas. I smiled.

Tall, brown and classic masculine features. By any definition he was handsome.

I am a man of my word. We had a deal.

I walked to the car. I never said a word. Opened the passenger door and got in. I was going for a ride. I didn’t know where he was taking me. I didn’t know how we’d get there. All I knew is that this was adventurous, this was dangerous but I was also curious.

Gas tank on full, he got in the car and smiled at me. A good lock of the eyes confirmed that we’d actually seen each other before on more than one occasion but neither, he nor I ever spoke to each other verbally on any of them. Now we would.

The car finally stopped in a driveway that I presumed to be his. Keys out the truck and an invitation to follow him inside. I obliged. We went in and I made myself comfortable on his couch. He talked a bit and putted around. When I fixed my eyes on his television delight came over me. There was a dvd cued up – The Wiz, and forever more that is what I would also call him. He and I watched the dvd together, talked and even played a touching game.

The Wiz is so very different than any man that I’ve ever been around and I know he has secrets that he has yet to share with me. One I have picked up on through observation and another I just have a sense about. I know that I must be careful with him.

Nevertheless, while it is still golden I am going to enjoy easing on down the road. One never knows what magic or truth may lie in the city of Oz.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Always Leave the Light On

Friday afternoon brings with it a lot of things. The biggest thing of course is the anticipation of the weekend ahead. It has been a pretty good work week but as of about an hour ago only my body is here in the office. My thoughts are with what I am going to do over the next two days and what will I wear while I’m doing them. As the week comes to a close and I watch the clock, I think of how grateful I am to have a job and oddly enough I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to how I am grateful for the office building my job is in.

The organization I work for is in a downtown office building that is really cool. It is conveniently located near the Metro, a branch of my bank and some of my favorite food spots. Further, in the basement level of the building is a post office and small store that sales all the random items my heart can imagine. The grand prize however is that there is also a tunnel down there that leads you right into the conference level of one of the cities largest hotels.


I stayed in that hotel years before I moved to Washington and never imagined one day I’d be living in the District and working right beside it. Not only did I enjoy the hotel as a guest, but now I frequently use its facilities as a neighbor.

I hate using restrooms where I might see someone that I know. Although it may be rather silly because everyone has to go I don’t like people knowing or seeing me go. So, I use the bathrooms on the conference level of the hotel instead. That way my colleagues never see, hear or smell my evil.

When work is slow and I crave mischief another coworker and I journey on over to the conference rooms that have just had events or are setting up for one to snag bottled water, canned sodas and other various snacks. Maybe caffeine is addictive.

Alas, I’m reminded of the time I had a friend from out of town staying there and when my coworkers thought I was just on an extended break I was actually breaking out of my clothes for an afternoon tryst. What fun.

This Friday, I am thankful for the light on in my little cubicle and that right next door…they always leave the light on too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Act One

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They all have their exits and their entrances,And one man in his time plays many parts.
William Shakespeare

Walking on the plane I had a prayer in my heart, a bottle of vodka in my left hand and the January issue of "O" magazine in my right. By my own standards, I was equipped for my maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. AQueer and I were on the way to visit Meech Muffin and bring in the New Year in a new land. We brought in the last year with Foxy Brown and Thirty Red on the Hudson River while catching a glimpse of the fireworks that lit up the beautiful face of Lady Liberty. This time we would meet Big Ben. AQueer has travelled throughout Europe previously and this was my first time and I knew that just as it always is when we get together, there would be an adventure in store. I admit that I didn't have high expectations of something happening but I did anticipate that some feeling somewhere, some day during my excursion would be felt. The emotion, I did not know in advance. But something did happen, more emotions were felt and it was a blessed new beginning to a New Year.

Something happened that first night. AQueer and I met a fairly young man, of age 31 and spent the evening with him and a bottle of red wine. Talking. Drinking. Sharing. Although I have prided myself on being one who understood the idea and reality that I live in a global society and every one thing in every one nation is connected I had not been so struck by the breakdown of it until Thursday night. Our new mate was originally from Sierra Leone and has been living in London for several years now and for five years prior resided in Germany where he was married to a woman. He said that was part of why he left Germany, not really because of the country or his station there but because he could no longer continue to live his life as he was living it with his wife. They parted ways and he departed to London where he lives now. The seed of our real conversation was planted by an image we saw on television. It was of a Black woman who had gained some degree of notoriety while on a television game show. He talked about how he believed race played a factor in her not finishing the show as its victor. From there the conversation went deeper to discuss race and ethnic relations in the United Kingdom, particularly related to how he viewed the oppression of children of the African Diaspora by white Europeans. The original colonizers of the world. His candor in discussing his observations, theories and own feelings on people of African descent throughout the world was insightful and left me with lots to think about. Much more than I would like to in fact but I know that I must in order to continue develop as a critical thinker, as a person of color in a world where people of color are the majority but hold a minority of its power.

And this man spoke to me. He talked to me. He was his authentic self in what could be conceived almost as quite a contrived physical space. One evening I found myself consumed in a chat with a very nice man from Turkey. He, like several men I met during my stay worked in the hotel industry. He says that he may be taking a trip to the States in a few months for a training. I told him to visit more often, at least the room is discounted. Nevertheless, I thought after striking up an exchange of pleasantries that would be the end of our encounter. Instead for some reason, some purposeful reason our talk turned to his life. His girlfriend. His ex lover and his family back in Turkey. We even talked about how he thinks he needs to be loved and for that reason he may never be able to fully experience it. His girlfriend, he says is a nice woman who deserves something he may not be able to offer her. His ex lover is in need of substance abuse treatment and uses drugs to cope with serious emotional scars and subsequently creates physical ones. Back at home in Turkey, my new friend told me of his siblings still reside there. His sister is the oldest and beautiful on the inside and out. His brother was once a handsome man but after a divorce stopped taking interest in his appearance and health. He believes that his brother has lost his will and realizes there is nothing that he can do about it but be supportive. A charming young Turk, only 24, I told him his is a path I'd like to cross again in ten years. As I do for myself, I wonder life has in store for him.

Nothing less than wonderful can I call the city of London. Its monuments, culture and treasures that I've been able to absorb some small piece of over the past several days have been an enriching experience. I've had good feelings about every place that I've seen or touched. Yet, the best moments that I have shared cannot be found in any of the travel books I have on loan from the library. The very best and most touching parts of this trip have come in the laughs, hugs and company of my brethren Meech Muffin and AQueer. Yes, I've gone clubbing and caroused until hours of the night but I think I've spent an even amount of time sitting at this table playing scrabble until 4AM and watching DVD's and listening to music. Three different Black men with several common shared experiences, bonded together in what must be love. Dinners with the guys, sitting in St. Martins-in-the-Field with my eyes closed listening to a violin concert of Bach, raising my hands and voice with Aqueer in Heaven, those types of memories are the ones I will remember. Those memories and of meeting...

New Year's day I still had a little more celebrating to do and Sunday night brothers here head to Brixton for the Caribana party. When in London, do as the Londoners do. So we did. AQueer and I hopped on the double decker heading to Brixton Station, found Brighton Terrace and the club. As we walked down the steps I was greeted with and bounced to the hip hop beats that I enjoy at home. Cover, coat check and the customary first stroll through the club to get a good bearing of your surroundings and moreover, see who is there surrounding you and who you might want to surround. I'd seen nothing but heard a beat that called me and my Cape Cod to the dance floor. AQueer followed and the music belonged to us. A few more spins and I headed to a stool to sit and observe for the rest of the evening. A man caught my eye. He was the kind of man I like to look at but not necessarily talk to. He was a six foot tall dark brown complexioned fellow with muscle and somehow at the same time modesty. His hair in cornrows to the back, a perfectly lined up short beard and enchanting brown eyes. I caught his eye too. I turned away. Some time passed before I looked again. This time he caught me looking. He called me to come to him. I was on holiday, I would answer his call.

I liked his energy. I liked his spirit. I liked his vibe. I liked his words. I liked his approach. I liked him, Othello. We talked off and on for the rest of the night. Venturing off to chat with our friends and then returning back. I gave him my number here and told him my friend and I were leaving and assured him that it was a pleasure making his acquaintance. Indeed it had been but it wasn't over yet. He wanted to see my off properly so he walked me out and upstairs, ground level to the exit doors. He shook my hand, drew me closer and kissed me. Not just an ordinary kiss. There was both lust and life in those lips, in his tongue and in mine. I didn't know if he would ever call me or if I'd ever see him again but that kiss made it all right.

Before the night bus dropped AQueer and I off at the flat he had already sent a text message inquiring if I'd made it to my accommodations safely. A gentleman, and a move I'v seen played many times over. But, I still liked it. Everyone rather they admit to it or not, wants to be liked and cared about even when we can only get a sliver yet we all want a hunk of the cake that is affection. It's so sweet.

The next day we traded text messages and spoke on the phone and this afternoon he came to see me before I depart in the morning heading for home. Just he and I in the flat on another typical cold grey winter day in South London found light in the fire of candles and warmth in the arms and touch of each other. He is younger than even I am and I find a level of sophistication in his communication, level of thinking and yearning for understanding that I've not encountered in men who have seen many more moons than the both of us. He appeals to all of me and he is precious. He gave me countless thoughts and covered me with a thousand kisses before he headed to work and wished me safe travels. He bundled up and headed out the door. I stood in the kitchen window and watched him as far as I could see.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

In Light and Love

With Big Ben to my right and the London Eye in front of me I stood on the bank of the Thames River. And just as it had done in the year itself light rain passed through the night as we, thousands of men and women I've never known and two of my greatest friends who know me so well, stood as one. A bottle was popped in anticipation and quickly a building across the river transformed itself into a tower of passing time.

One minute left in the year of transition.

As the minute fleeted into mere seconds and in unison the crowd of thousands counted the seconds down, excitement, humility and joy filled my spirit. When the New Year began it made itself known with the help of man. The night sky was painted with the most spectacular fireworks and light display that I have ever seen. Bursts of light and energy left me mesmerized by their beauty. I could not have imagined for myself such a fantastic way to begin the New Year.

Light and universal love.

A new year has begun.