June 29, 2009

Living Out Loud

Birthdays have never really been my thing. What I mean is, I don't make a big deal about it. No big plans. No parties. No blowout celebration. My train of thought was usually, 'It's just one year older. Nothing special.' There were a few reasons for that summation. After I turned 15, it was all pretty much downhill from there. You see, my birthday usually fell around the same time as an event called Greek Fest. It may have started as a way for fraternities and sororities to get together and represent their cause (whatever that may be- but that's another blog entry) but it turned into what would be more appropriately called Flesh Fest. Tons of young men and women literally showing their asses. Anyway, because of the timing- most of my friends forgot my birthday while caught up in the gaiety of these festivities and after-parties. So I got used to celebrating my birthday quietly- since I never wanted to partake in the debauchery of those events. Either way, I don't think it even goes on anymore but the anniversary of my birth normally passed without fanfare.

Well, this year was different. My birthday was kind of a big deal. I had more fun (and Patron and Grey Goose) than I've had in a long, long time. I danced. I drank. I showed up...and showed out. I was three sheets to the wind and never better. I'm talkin' joyfully twisted! It's funny because my birthday came two days after the death of the legendary Michael Jackson. For some reason, his spirit and memory seemed to fuel my good cheer even though I was shocked and saddened by the news. Every time I heard an MJ song this weekend, my soul soared and I celebrated his life as well as mine. I was reminded of how much there is to enjoy about my life. I was reflective and noticed that my outlook on life is so vastly different from as little as six months ago. You have to make it count. I know you hear that all the time- but I can tell you that it's exhilarating when you actually apply it. I'm not looking back. I absolutely cannot wait to see what another year brings.

Anyhow-I never thought I'd do this, but This Bug is about to forfeit some of her anonymity just to show you what a frickin' fantastic time was had.

Happy Birthday to ME !
"Since the face been revealed- game got real." -Apollo Kids, Ghostface Killah

June 25, 2009

Never Can Say Goodbye

Let me start off my saying that I know there will be countless blogs eulogizing the "King of Pop" in the following hours, days, weeks and so on. They will run the gamut from endearing and loving to snide and snarky. I've already witnessed firsthand on Facebook how insensitive some people can be. Honestly, I'm still in shock at this very moment. All I want to do is express how many memories this man has given me. His style and talent were immeasurable. There is going to be worldwide mourning and you can't say that for very many entertainers when they pass. He is an unforgettable individual. From Off The Wall to red Thriller jackets with a million zippers to glittery socks and moonwalking on Motown 25...I was there. I can only hope that he finally has some peace- since the past 15 years or better were probably the hardest on him. The media can be ruthless. I'm not going to talk about him as though he was flawless- but he was something.. else. Something other than... He was a star in the purest sense of the word. He made fantastic music. He could dance his ass off. He inspired awe. People literally passed out at the sight and sound of him. Say what you want, but we should all count ourselves lucky to witness such a talented Supernova in our lifetime. He will live on forever and there will never be another.

June 24, 2009

No Coincidence

My father hates policemen. Always has. Always will. In 1958 there were constables installed on President Wiseman Avenue in Port of Spain, Trinidad- donned in crisp khaki shirts and black shorts that stopped just below the knee. At 10:15 p.m. a solitary telephone rings at 45 Duke Street. Stella does not have long, it seems. An aneurysm they say. To my 13 year old father it is no different from a heart attack or hearing that she has been hit by the Number 2 bus. He is alone in the house. Dashing about, he grabs his paperboy hat and a poem he wrote for her earlier at school. Hopping on his bicycle, he races down to the hospital to kiss the grandmother I will never meet.

Curfew has been instated to curb recent gang activity. Since then- bottles no longer rain from the roofs of local Rum Shops along Wiseman and Maraval Avenue. He is nearly out of breath and approaching Pitch Lake when Constable John stops him in his tracks. "Ay boy, whuh yuh doin' out pas' curfew on a Wednesday?" It is not so much a question as it is an accusation. My father gives pause to slow his heartbeat. He has already ridden three miles nonstop. "Is meh muddah, Sir. They tell meh she catch a stroke an' cyah move. But..." More gulps for air. "She wake up askin' for meh, Sir." He eyes my father dubiously. "Name, Boy?" My father has no time but obliges. "Neverow, Sir. Kenneth Neverow." Before I am a twinkle in his eye, the distrust for uniformed officers is already forming in my DNA. Constable John glowers at him. "Please Sir. They say she don't have long. An' she askin' for me at the hospital." The air is still- save for distant tires rolling on pavement two blocks over. "You ain't goin' to no friggin' hospital dis time of night! The closest one is a next five miles into town. Who you wit', Boy?! Silk Hats? Desperados? Nah- yuh look like one of dem Renegade boys." A droplet of sweat trails down my father's arm- shocking him into perfect posture. His despair is taking root. "No gang, Sir. I promise you. My mother is sick. That is the only reason I am out past curfew. Perhaps you may accompany me, Sir. Then you'll see." His invitation to the truth only agitates the constable. For a moment his scowl softens to a smile...but it is a mockery. "An' yuh speak the Queen's English when yuh ready, eh? Impressive."

"Alright Renegade. I believe you. Yuh have to go and catch yuh dyin' mother. If you willing to ride, you must be willing to run." In a swift motion he knocks my father off the seat of his bike. His knee opens up from breaking the fall. White flesh first, then tiny beads of red. Twenty-nine years later I will nurse a similar but very different wound while learning to ride my first two-wheeler. I will howl through tears- but he feels no pain upon impact. With one arm the officer lifts the bike and hurls it into the lake on the outskirts of Savannah Park. It sinks quickly. Only soft ripples give any indication of the malice that put it there, taking most of my young father's faith in mankind with it. "I thought you was in a rush, Boy? Run! You can run the rest of the way." With no hesitation my father takes his dismissal and bolts, blood now coloring his left ankle sock. He runs into darkness lit occasionally by garish orange street lights that still blink on at dusk in Trinidad. Heaving, he swings blindly into St. Mary's Hospital- mangled knee and all. A stabbing pain in his side from not stopping. He will not feel the sting on both palms where gravel was embedded until he looks down at his hands two hours later.

Stella Neverow expired at 12:12 a.m. With her she took line-dried Indian Cotton tablecloths, an all-knowing smile and meat pies at Christmastime. No goodbyes were exchanged between mother and son. There is no exact science. It may be Osmosis; or through some loyalty with no name that I inherited this strange conjecture, this deep-seated resentment where lawmen are concerned. Years later he coolly tells me why he believes in miracles. "...because I'll walk on water before I walk on eggshells for some arrogant cop son-of-a-bitch." My father hates policemen. Always has. Always will.

June 20, 2009


  • Aight People, the weekend is not yet over so this is just a semi wrap-up. Last night, I learned something and I want to share. Pull up a chair. I went to a poetry reading Friday night. But this was no ordinary poetry reading. This was, as the flyer stated "Erotic Poetry". At the urging of my friend, I toyed with the idea of reciting a piece that night. Now would be a good time to mention that I have not performed a poem before a crowd in almost ten years. Flashback to 1999 and you could find me spittin' at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, the Brooklyn Moon, Bowery Poetry Club and I even filled in at the bar I worked at whenever someone backed out. That being said- I'm out of practice, so to speak.

Anyway, I signed up and brought a piece with me that was sensual, sexual and overall means a lot to me. Before I even hit the stage, I knew what was going to happen. Sure enough, I witnessed what the masses view as erotic poetry. There was absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. Almost every piece that solicited hooting and hollering was laden with explicit, very unpoetic prose that did more to beat you over the head than awaken your sexual senses. You've heard it time and again. The most sensitive sexual organ is between your ears. But just about every poem I heard was big on shock value and low on mental stimulation. After an hour of hearing a string of 'P*ssy. Ass Crack. Swallow. F*ck Me.' tirades- I got no aural pleasure.

Well, by the time I got to the stage I knew my fate was sealed. The crowd was revved for what I can only assume was more of the same. What they got however was just a very personal slice of me- without hearing about my tight Sugar Walls... my throat that is deep like the River of Jordan...my fine freaky ass. Honestly, I don't care how pretentious the next statement makes me sound. This Bug will not dumb it down for mass consumption. If the attention span and depth of an audience does not go beyond the confines of the raunchy or pornographic, it is not my duty to cater to it. If I really wanted to- I could adopt what I see as the standard "Def Poetry" cadence while I talk about him sinking...his inches...into...my...berry framed mouth. C'mon now. Nah, it's not gonna happen. That's not an aphrodisiac in my book. I will not spoon feed Filet Mignon to those who can only appreciate Salisbury steak. It's times like this that Lauryn Hill's line in Zealots rings true. "And even after all my logic and my theory- I add a Muthaf*cka so ya'll ig'nant n*ggas hear me." We cry the same tear, L-Boogs.

June 18, 2009

Throwback Thursdays

Ah...Collaborations. They can be a beautiful thing. I'm not talking about the type of callabo that you hear these days. You know, when you can't tell whether it's an RNB song with some dude rhyming or a Hip-Hop song with someone singing the hook. I'm talking about a perfect pairing. Like fine wine with the best meal. Today's Throwback pays homage to the flawless marriage of two notable musical genres. Grand Puba and Mary J. Blige practically define this dynamic combination on Check It Out. And if Puba Maxwell was the peanut butter to Mary's jelly- then The Brand New Heavies were definitely the bread that brought it all together production-wise. The bass line is still one of the flyest to be done on a Hip-Hop track with live instruments. No disrespect to Leonard Hub. This video always takes me back. People were yet to really crown the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Puba had just recently gone solo from Brand Nubian with Reel to Reel and I was not getting over it easily. Granted, 360 (What Goes Around) was a nice way for him to kick in the door all by his lonely- but it was this joint that made me cop the album. And the treatment for the video was so simple- it just worked. Mary, Puba and few heads chill out in a warehouse. There's some dancing, but nothing too crazy. That's it. Ain't no more to it. The way they go line for line is what endears me most to this song. As usual, Honey from Uptown was in songbird mode- and this was raw Mary. Like Mary singing back-up on Father MC's Do For You. Also, you have to appreciate Puba as an MC. Even on the more structured tracks on this album, he maintains an almost improvisational, freestyle flow.
"I drink a Snapple and I wet my Adam's Apple..."
Does it get any better? I have to agree with Ms. Blige on this one. Puba knows how to flow. As Ferris would say, "It is so choice."

June 16, 2009

When the "L'il" Head Thinks....

Disclaimer: I am not a Feminist. This Bug does not hate Weezy. It is not Verbal Assassination Day. This is not a "Save the Babies from Hip-Hop" crusade. I am not a bitter woman. The views and opinions expressed directly represent those of the author. Thus, we can agree to disagree.

For reasons that will remain undisclosed for now, I've been listening to a lot more radio lately. Because of this I've become acquainted with a particular song that really grinds my gears. L'il Wayne's Every Girl. Each time I hear this song, it ossifies my distaste for the premise of it. Yes, the beat is catchy. That's part of problem. While the people are nodding their heads and humming "Cuz we like her..." en masse, they are missing the fact that he would carry out every promiscuous whim if it were humanly possible. Listeners of Hip-Hop are no strangers to hearing of an MC's sexual prowess. That goes back to the days of G Rap. And as I've said before- when it's done with lyrical skill, even This Bug has been known to overlook misogynistic verses. Back then- at least there was some reference to wearing a jimmy hat, no matter how fleeting. But for some reason it's different with this joint. These are widely irresponsible times. HIV and AIDS are on the rise no matter what the CDC tells us. So when a song like Every Girl is in such heavy rotation- it pours fuel on the proverbial fire. Music is powerful. I see it every day. Considering that I co-host an online Hip-Hop show once a week- I get a bird's eye view of the collective mentality of young men. While they are mostly driven for success- a part of that is measured by how many chicks they can bag. Make no mistake. The game has not changed all that much.

Anyway, I'm not up in arms over this song. If Weezy and the rest of them can't be choosy when it comes to women, by all means, they can cast the net as far and wide as they see fit. But I hope they are mindful of what crabs can be dragged into that net as well. Figuratively speaking of course. Something about wishing that you could f*ck every girl in the world is a major turn-off to This Bug. The fact remains that these dudes are real people and the females they are getting down with are real people, too. I'm sure there is a long haired, thick redbone chick out there right now who proudly fits Wayne's description of what he likes- and would be happy to sample his Sex Game that's stupid and Head Game that's dumbest. That is the sad and sorry truth. And just because she is told that she is beyond beautiful doesn't change the fact it will be said to the next girl. Females should know one thing and know it well: It's not hard to give a dog a bone. They should be more concerned with how easily that bone is discarded once a pup tires of playing with it. When viewed as a different species...almost lesser beings for the purpose of pleasure, anything goes when comes to hoes. I guess pimpin' is easy after all.

June 11, 2009

Throwback Thursdays

Peace Peoples. I was going through my Throwback Thursday archives that I have painstakingly brought to you since...Oh I dunno...since February? It feels longer. It's such a labor of love, you know? Anyway, while perusing my past treats it struck me that I have yet to show any love to the Ladies of Hip Hop. How can that be? But today all that will change.

Check it. When I was in 7th grade I had a Sony Walkman with... wait for it...Megabass. Did it make much of a difference? Hell no. But I can remember walking to school and bumpin' Monie Love's tape. To be truthful, I wasn't crazy about the entire Down To Earth album, but she had a few joints on there that I continuously rewound. (Why does rewinded sound better to me in this context? Eff what Spell Check says.) Anyway, It's A Shame was one of those songs. What a Brit Hop darling she was. From across the pond she was schooling sistas on a topic that is just as crucial today as it was in 1990. If you lose yourself in some dude- you should map your way back to yourself ASAP. Her advice was stern without browbeating. She kept it sincere. There comes a time when you have to say, "I'm out. No matter how much I love you- I have to love myself more." I always loved the Spanish guitars in this one. I literally see familiar houses in my mind's eye when I hear this song. It puts me right back on the block- and in the here and now at the same time. Not many songs can do that to me. Monie does her thing and reminds you that there is indeed love after heartbreak. Self Love. Because the most important relationship you will ever be in is the one you have with yourself. This Bug's favorite line? It's hard to pin down just one but here goes: "Makin' sure you get the full entire view-Of who's to blame at the end of the game. Things will never be the same. And it's a cryin' shame."

June 8, 2009

I'd Rather Be Awake

I'm sitting here wrapped in a towel, Biore strip across my nose, completely perplexed by the dream I awoke from this morning.

I can't recall exactly where it started but I know I was walking around one of those interstate highways that have tons of local motels and greasy spoon restaurants lining it. I had my purse and luggage with me. There seemed to be no true destination in mind. All of a sudden I'm at an airport. Apparently I was waiting for flight when it occurs to me that I no longer have my luggage. Did I check it? Was it stolen as I sat right there not noticing? In the dream- I have no idea. I'm too embarrassed to ask the flight clerk at the counter if I checked my bag or not. I leave the airport with the intentions of finding a branch of my bank. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps most of my cash was in the luggage that I've now admitted to myself was stolen underneath my nose.

While walking over to the bank, I see a Dunkin Donuts and decide to go in. As I'm crossing the street a man in a red car is revving his engine while turning into my path- as though I'm walking too slowly for him. I stop. I look at him. He is lurching his vehicle forward in an attempt to quicken my pace or frighten me. Neither happens. "Asshole." I say it loud enough for him to hear. I make my way to Dunkin Donuts, half noticing that he has changed his mind and is now pulling into the parking lot. I'm on line ordering a Chocolate Croissant (do they even sell those?) but he is already sitting at a table like he was there before me to begin with. I sidle up to him and a woman that is now sitting with him. She's wearing a silver gray petticoat. I speak. "You're rushing to get me to cross but you have time to detour for some donuts? Asshole." They say nothing. I walk off.

I never get my food but find myself looking for a table with an outlet nearby. My cell phone is dying. The sequence gets a little hazy from here. Back on the interstate highway- I am not even sure whether I am in Orlando, FL or Atlanta, GA. I consider that I'm within walking distance to a friend I barely speak to now and the bank. But I don't find either. Suddenly I'm in a taxi under a train trestle. The cab driver is an older Black woman. She looks more like she should be baking Sweet Potato pies than hacking. She tells me it'll be $30. I'm wondering where we went to rack up such a hefty fare. I tell her I'll be right back. There is nothing in my pockets to give her. I never return. In a dim hotel room, my cell phone rings. It's about to power off from such a weak battery. I answer and it's my good friend, Sweetest Tea. She asks how my trip is going. I begin to crack up laughing but the hilarity is amiss. I relay that my luggage has been lost. I have no money and I'm not really sure where I am exactly. I leave out the part about the asshole in the red car. She's happy I can laugh about it- and then I come clean. "Girl, if I don't laugh about this, I'll break in two. Lemme run. I'm not gonna cry about this on the phone when I have no battery." She sounds worried. Tells me to call her when I get home. I make her a promise that I will. I close the phone with a flip of my hand, rest my weight on the edge of the bed. I don't know if I'll ever get home.


That's it in a nutshell. There were some other minor details but they really make no sense so I left them out. This dream was so vivid that I looked it up for interpretation. According to the website- roaming on a highway represents my sense of direction in life. Losing my luggage represents a loss of identity. To dream that you nearly escape the impact of a car denotes successfully overcoming some sort of rivalry. All of this on the heels of my sister telling me that presently she hardly recognizes me anymore and that my life doesn't look good on paper. True story. Maybe I have lost myself somewhere along the way. Maybe I prefer confrontation to actually getting important things done. Maybe I should go peel off this Biore strip.

June 6, 2009

Where's Bill ?

This is too much. I swear. One minute you're going about your business and everyday routine- next you're hearing about a Kung Fu movie legend found dead in a Bangkok (of all places- Oh the irony...) hotel room. I can't say I was an avid fan of David Carradine. I don't really know much about him besides the fact he comes from a family of actors, he was married a few less times than Elizabeth Taylor and would actually hurt people on the set. No stuntman karate antics with him. Nuh-uh. He whooped ass. My appreciation for him only recently began with the Kill Bill Volumes. But amid the swirling controversy of his death, I'd like to take a moment to pay my respects. Whether he died while practicing some freaky-deeky suffocation or not, he still deserves a nod for his life's work. He made a boatload of movies and Kung Fu will always be one of those cult classic TV shows that people like Quentin Tarrantino will reference for the sheer love of it. Why else do you think Sam Jackson's character was retiring to just simply "walk the earth" in Pulp Fiction? So let's all raise a sword and pour some Saki out for Kung Fu Master Carradine. He will be missed.

June 5, 2009

I'm No Expert

Based on a conversation I had with a dear friend earlier this week, I'm fulfilling a request to write about a topic I know too much a little something about. The Co-Dependent Relationship. I have no degree. I have no credentials. Only experience and self observation. To tell the truth, I'm not even sure I have technically been in one of these so-called relationships. All I know is how to identify an unhealthy pattern of behavior. Well, at least from the looks of it- it seems unhealthy. Like I said... I'm not Dr. Bug, PhD.

Let's start with the Denial aspect of a Co-Dep. They tend to minimize or deny what they truly feel. That in itself is a no-no. Especially when it comes out later in passive/aggressive actions. They also tend to perceive themselves as totally unselfish and dedicated to others. Too giving. This way when they've been taken advantage of- the Pity Party can last God knows how long. It's a sad reality. Then there's the Self Esteem factor. They have difficulty making decisions, see themselves as unlovable and value others' approval or thinking above their own. This type of person will compromise what they truly want to avoid rejection or anger from others. They tend to be extremely loyal, which results in staying in situations that may be harmful to them. What is most interesting to me about a Co-Dep is the Control aspect. They tend to resent others if their help is not wanted. They have a need to be "needed". The attachment is apparent to everyone around them while they remain oblivious. These individuals tend to isolate themselves from everyone except the object of their affection.

I'm not saying I know the key to a "healthy" relationship. Shit, I can barely tell you the last time I was in one. But if any of the above factors sound familiar- you have witnessed or been a part of a Co-Dependent relationship or friendship; and I should hope some examination takes place so as not to repeat the trappings of such an imbalanced alliance.

That's my two copper coins on this matter. But seriously, I'm no expert.

And now... A word from our Co-Dep Sponsors. Enjoy!

June 4, 2009

Throwback Thursdays

This Bug is back on this fine Thursday to bring you a bittersweet treat. Man...listen. We're in a recession. Everyone is feelin' it. I'm not saying I'm ready to run up on someone and tell 'em to Give Up the Goods, but I can definitely feel the sentiment behind Mobb Deep's message. Stick up kids is out to tax. Ain't a damn thing changed. What I love about this video is that there was no reaching in it. Honestly, I couldn't have written a better treatment for this video. This was just an illustration of what looked to me- like the average Saturday night in QB. Drinks pouring, dudes chillin' and the occasional and necessary jooks. Prodigy and Havoc lay it down and walk us through what goes on around the way. Big Noyd reps hard on this one, too. I've kept an eye on Mobb since they showed up in The Source's Unsigned Hype section many moons ago. These dudes seemed to have it all. Tight production, signature lyrics and exclusive terms (I'm out for delfia- It's healthier.) and an unapologetic way of truth-telling. They were hardbody. This is the part where you try your best not to picture Prodigy in dance attire. (Damn, Jay was wrong for that one.) Anyway, I can never tire of this video. The gangsta in me loves when homegirl gets hemmed up in the ladies room for tryin' to style on the other two. Love the camera angle. You can feel the violence of that moment. Work of art. It hurts me that it ends without P's last verse, though. One of This Bug's favorite lines was up in there. " First of all slow down, you on the wrong route. Let me put you on your feet and show you what's it all about..." And show you he does. You can't just pass through shining and expect not to get looked at like good food. Times is hard. You can get it. So their advice is quite valuable: Just Step.

June 3, 2009

Not just material things

From Gregory Stock's Book of Questions, I am asked: Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire; after saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be?

Her voice is as clear as the Christmas Day I unwrap the box almost twenty years earlier. "When I'm dead and gone- you can tell people this is the nicest thing your mother ever got for you." Nestled in the glass globe is a teddy bear atop a rocking horse. Iridescent glitter falls softly around them with a turn of the wrist. There is just enough water within to create the snowy, floating effect. He wears baby blue overalls and one eye is slightly bigger than the other. No doubt an inexact movement of the artist's hand- but it lends to the bear's charm. He holds on for dear life to the white horse with the yellow saddle. The horse's eyes are blank. Fulfilling its equine duties with resignation. They rock to Brahm's Lullaby when the turnkey is wound; the noisy coils inside rivaling the soft music. I guard it with the province of a sentry.

I would always run back for that water globe. Because it is indeed the nicest thing she ever gave me. Because she is gone now. Because I'd brave fire and more- just to have a small piece of her for all time.