April 27, 2011

A to Z or the Gamut Pt. II

Almost instantly, the shift was felt. Because in more ways than one- it was always waiting in the wings. Carrying on is more a duty than an option. Doing what's right can be a curiously foreign concept to some. Everyone handles it differently. For some strange reason I welcomed both the fire and the ice. Going your own way is fitting once you tried other routes but wound up hungry and lost. Higher ground is sought but water always seeks its own level. I knew it had to be that way. Justifications became paramount. Kisses gave way to sealed lips and deaf ears. Longing for what was and never will be never felt so empty. My mind plays hide and seek with the memories. Now we know for sure. Once it's all said and done- we'll be better than before. Places everyone! Quiet on the set. Roles are played out and carelessly improvised. Surely- this wasn't in the script. Today I took my last backward glance. Underneath it all we bear the scars of fallen stars. Visions of what might have been plow their way through an obstruction of crowded actualities. What would I have changed had I known it would come to this? Xeroxing past moments to look them over later with coffee and the Daily News crossword. You were the apple of my optic but still you had the nerve? Zealots cannot even fathom that brand of adoration.

Author's Note: Inspired by a writing exercise where each sentence begins in alphabetical succession. Also inspired by the poem, The Gamut by the incomparable Ms. Angelou.

April 20, 2011

Death be not proud

"One short sleep past, we wake eternally." -John Donne

I once read that if we didn't have endorphins, we'd all be junkies. I'd never thought of it like that before- but it makes sense. Sort of. You see, endorphins block out pain. All day long, that's their function. To block out pain, physical and otherwise that would likely turn you inside-out and keep you in a fetal position. They say if you take opiates long enough- your body stops producing endorphins. And what happens when you stop taking the opiates? Well, all you feel is pain you wouldn't ordinarily feel. Everyday pain. The pain of living. Which I suppose on any given day is better than the pain of dying. But I wouldn't know. Not for certain, anyway. What I do know, what I've become familiar with, is the pain of surviving. Since the year began I've been to three wakes and funerals. I have another one to attend by the end of this week. Don't get me wrong. I'm well acquainted with loss. But it has me on the ropes lately. I'm not ashamed to say that I've taken a beating this time around. So much pain and loss in such a short span of time. Bad news phone calls and utter disbelief. Tragic intros and mournful outros. Tearful goodbyes. I had no idea it could hurt so badly. I feel wrung out. You hear it all the time: "Life is fleeting" "You just never know" "Here today, gone tomorrow" "God makes no mistakes" I've heard it all and seen too much in the past few weeks. Back-to-back deaths. Mothers burying sons. Children who won't know their fathers. It's not natural. It's not right. But who am I to say? I'm so numb at this point; without the aid of opiates. And I feel that maybe, just maybe, my endorphins are slacking on the job... because I can feel it all.

April 13, 2011

Atlas shrugged

There's no such thing as catching up when it feels like not a day has passed. Not with him. He's not unfamiliar with judgments. He just never cared to dole them out or let them stick. It's not to say he hasn't been called everything but a child of God. He has; simply for living his life how he saw fit. But still, he is one. Underground the sounds of the E train occasionally drowned out his sentences- but never once his sincerity. He looked weary but not worn. A resolute certainty replaced the whimsical look I've grown to know in his eyes. "I fucked up." The words came from a proverbial punched gut on the mend and for an instant- they sounded like my own truth. No more crestfallen than I was when it all happened to me on opposite sides; in parallel universes. A similar collapse in a different time. But it was my time to listen. And I did. I owe him that much after years of spilling tears into my cup of International coffee and his open ear. After years of overflowing ashtrays and heartbreaking songs on repeat. But he never judged me. Not once. And when he admonished me, it was from a place of such genuine love that I was better for it. Always. We stood there on that platform doused in separate antidotes of saki and sangria, years wiser but still so young. Still vulnerable and imperfect. Still brother and sister despite lack of DNA and regional closeness. I heard every word as I studied the flecks of gray in his goatee. My own wiry grays quietly outlining my freshly washed mane. I used to joke and say, "Quick! Smell my hair!" He never would, as big brothers don't do that sort of thing. He couldn't be caught off-guard. Once though, when there was nothing left to do but hold me close as I broke down- he told me this was a fucked up way to get him to finally smell my hair. His plan worked and I burst into laughter. It doesn't seem that long ago. Now we both have strains of gray. Shit.. when did we get so old? When did the problems become so real? As his train roared in there was so much I had to say. That time is the healthiest elixir, no matter how bitter. That it was okay to lose it after holding it together for so damn long. That these things tend to work themselves out. That I love him- pure and simple. Instead I looked at him and said, "Atlas shrugged." He agreed. And as we walked our ways from a rushed goodbye- he seemed lighter. We seemed lighter. Unburdened, at least for the moment.

"And tell me, Friend..how in the world have you been?"

April 1, 2011


Been rockin' this one on repeat for a minute now. It's so melodic. So hypnotic. So effin' true. Enjoy..

Taxi - Ski Beats ft. Mos Def & Whosane

En garde…bang bang it’s a war of the hearts
We could either make love or we could spar
Either way we hollerin’ out “Good Lord!”
Either one won’t solve the problem at all
Spent the first half tryin’ to get it on
Spent the next half tryin’ to get gone
“What’s wrong?” “Nothin’ at all…”
Watch ya head girl, that lie is too tall
Don’t go, eff it do what you want
I’m out the front door, I’m waitin’ on ya call
Forgot it took place, rememberin’ it all
Feel like forever, the moment’s so small
Your eyes soft, you go hard, your kiss warm
Your cold heart, fresh frost
Tryna melt it off
Bags packed at home, lookin’ lost
Trippin’ out, endin’ up where you start
Carousel at the merry-go-park
Pretty horse, let me off
Shed a tear but I’m too tired to mourn
I…do it tomorrow, when ya gone
And ya can’t see me at all
Boulevard, love and hate, we at the cross
Buckle up…rough course…TAXI!