Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Love

I could not have been happier. It was night before my birthday and I was going to meet my idol. For months he is all that I talked about. My idol wrote this. My idol said that. My idol is speaking here. My idol is speaking there. My idol is brilliant. My idol is handsome, strong and has the most beautiful skin. He was Black, gay, out, smart and everything that I loved. He was everything that I wanted to be. The night before my 20th birthday I was going to meet him.

As a gift my boss purchased tickets to attend an event where he would be speaking. At the time it was the best gift she could have ever given me. I spent the week before planning what I would wear and what I would say if I got close enough that he and I would speak. We did.

He was standing right next to us and he, my idol, turned and struck up conversation with us. I was beside myself. The conversation was lovely. I was in heaven. I had met, spoken with and smiled at Keith Boykin. I thought that the night wouldn’t or couldn’t get any better than those few brief moments. At 19 that was huge for me.

Later on that night everyone at the event was corralled in a small auditorium and there was a brief speaking program. Keith spoke and I being the impressionable youth I was rushed for pen and paper so that I could take notes on his every word. He talked about several things but what I will never forget is that he said that all our decisions are based on fear and love. I was inspired by his words. I was inspired by being in the environment that I was in. I felt comfortable in my own skin, in this world. His words and presence came at the right time and the next day I gave myself a present.

On my 20th birthday I came out to my mother. That was a gift. I did it out of love. It was my love for her, for myself and life and truth.

Today on occasion, when I am making decisions I sometimes still find myself asking if I am acting out of fear or love. Sometimes I don’t like my answer. I acknowledge that. Fortunately, the grace of God continually gives me other opportunities to change it. To walk in faith. To live in freedom. To act out of love. I am grateful.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am going to be 28 years old.

Keith Boykin is no longer my idol but I still like him a lot.

My mother has not only loved me assiduously since the day I was born, but since the day I was reborn in the spirit and then again in myself.

I am choosing and making decisions out of love.

I’m so glad she took me to see my idol. My boyhood crush led to a manhood memory and motivator.


Happy Birthday love.

Happy Birthday me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Norma(L) Jean

Since my first introduction to it in the eleventh grade no other poem has spoken to me in the same way. The poem Theme for English B by Langston Hughes resonates with me in my constant cycle of quest and discovery for the commonality that we all recognize as humanity. In the work Hughes takes us to his dorm room in a big city, at a major university, where while he is surrounded by many, in one sense he is alone because he is different. On his journey navigated by his train of consciousness he finally arrives to a place of understanding. He realizes that as much as we may appear to be different, we all share some things in common.

Tonight I reflect on his poem as I think about my own personal evolution and while in just a matter of days this, as in I, 27 year old black man from a poor section of Cleveland who now lives in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC will be turning 28 and how he, as in I have so much in common it seems with a white woman born in Los Angeles in 1926 and died there in 1962.

When I read her words it is almost as if I am listening to myself speak. I hear my voice.

It's often just enough to be with someone. I don't need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You're not alone.

There are times when there is no one else around and I long for the presence of someone, just someone to soothe me. Like my departed friend, I believe others rarely recognize this desire that I have. They have created an image of my wholeness for me or they don’t know how to help me fill it so they back away.

People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn't see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.

It isn’t that I am viewed as lewd and as much as I am within my own community sometimes seen as less than because of my feminine ways. Masculine gay men and even those who are not watch the beat of my body and listen to the music of my voice and cringe – hating that inside they are the same music, the same movement.

I restore myself when I'm alone.

And so I work on me.

A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.

And I just simply work.

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.

Here in the District.

I want to grow old without facelifts... I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I've made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you'd never complete your life, would you? You'd never wholly know you.

Looking ahead and moving forward in my evolution I pray that I continue to get to know me better and find myself more in tune with me and the universe. I daydream sometimes about how I will do this with style and dignity. I wish to be regal with salt and pepper hair.

Imperfection is beauty; madness is genius. And it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

All the while I want to enjoy this life while I have it. It should be fun. It should be exciting. It should be something that not only I will remember but something for others to remember and do so fondly.

Her third husband, the talented Arthur Miller said of her: "To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes."

I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.

All I want is to be loved for who I am, just as I am.

Marilyn Monroe and I are quite the uncommon reminders of the truth spoken by Langston Hughes in Theme for English B about our universal commonalities and our connectedness yet indeed we very much are.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Truer words have never been spoken.

He will lead you to the water.

This week.

This day.

This night.

This instant.

He has led me to the water and I have been soaked.




No matter what great highs I may experience in my life in years to come this first week of September will forever be remembered as a time of newness. In the past week I have left the desk that I have occupied for the last two years and nine months. I am stepping out in my quest to step up my professional growth. I have rehearsed my full script for the last time with my director and in a few hours I will see the playbill printed for the first show that I have ever written, performed in and produced. My words will come alive in front of an audience. I will use my voice and my body as a ship to carry them on a journey. It is my largest body of creative work to date. Today for the first time in my six years in this residence I did not want to rush to clean myself. My spirit told me today that I should not routinely shower. My spirit said sit down. Lean back. Become immersed in the water. Bathe. I waited until dark. I lit my candles. I turn on music. I ran the water. I poured in liquid that would help soothe me and make bubbles. I soaked. I don’t recall my last time feeling this good.

He led me to the water.

This week.

This day.

This night.

This instant.

He has led me to the water and I have been soaked.