Saturday, November 29, 2014

The next book I'm releasing is my Poem a day for 2013 project. Dear God of formatting books, please give me strength. Thank You for the patience and time this is taking. Trying to get this done before I leave for Utah next month. We shall see. And no, I haven't written my story for Monday's class yet.

When I think of Inglewood

When I think of Inglewood, California I think of my tie to all of the work I am here to do. The other day a psychic / astrologer told me that I, with Virgo sun and Gemini moon, am a woman with many careers that drastically differ as I “can't be still for too long. You have to write though.” He said. “And you write a lot.” He was accurate.

“I'm a poet and storyteller and I also work on and off as a caregiver.” I told him.

“The caregiver in you now is some past life healing work you're still doing. You were a doctor.”

“Really?” I asked excitedly but not surprised.

“Not a regular doctor though. You've seen some of the sickest. You used to heal and work with people who had leprosy. And you were really good.” He made some other statements too, but what stood out most was something I'm very clear about. “You're here to teach art and spiritual work. You're a healer.” I believe every word of that.

Ms. Catherine was my favorite home health client. I worked with her for about two years faithfully until she passed away on the twenty-third of November last year. I still love and miss her. She was a thin woman with the widest smile that spread slowly across her face. I never knew her to be in a hurry. Even her mouth took its time reaching one ear and the other. She loved wearing her smooth gray hair very short. Mostly I remember her cold fingers as she held both of my hands in hers and kissed my writs. Always.

Ms. Catherine and family (son – Curtis and daughter in law – Karen, three dogs and cat) lived in Inglewood. Inglehood as they call it. I wonder if they realize they are talking about Ms. Catherine and her family. Inglehood? They are talking about the Black Muslim selling bean pies on Florence and Crenshaw across the street from Guidance Church of Religious Science led by Rev. Nirvana Gayle.

Inglehood? They are talking about the workers and students crowded on the 210 bus. The brother on Slauson and West selling Lakers shirts. They are talking about Mr. Bennie, whose car repair shop I walked by for months when my car was broken and said, “Gal, you should take my number.” And handed me a 310 number on the corner of orange card stock.

“Why?” I asked suspicious of the old man.

“I'on't know. Somethin' might happen and you might need a numba to call.” Then showed those white teeth through that bookcase black beautiful skin. I love us. When you say Inglehood you talkin' about my people and me. In the everlasting words of rapper E-40 “We out here tryina function.”

I looked forward to my days with Ms. Catherine. I drove from my home in Los Angeles south down Crenshaw to Florence and made that right near The Inglewood Cemetery. Then the adventure of my day began.

As a storyteller, I host a monthly storytelling show in Inglewood at a tea house called Vibrations on Manchester near Van Ness. The show is called Red Stories. I invite an artist a month to tell the back stories of their poems and lives. I share mine as well. Sometimes I share stories about Ms. Catherine and my short drive down Crenshaw to Inglewood.

One day on my way to work I passed a motel near 64th and there was a bloody mattress leaning against a light post. The image triggered my caregiver and poetic sensibilities. I made a mental note, as if the image could ever leave my brain, and continued on my journey to see Ms. Catherine. Her dogs Musa, Sula and especially Zinnji (miniature Dachshund and Chihuahua) eagerly greeted me as I walked up the driveway. Zinnji would wag her tail so furiously it seemed her body would break. When Ms. Catherine saw me every morning she acknowledged me as if I were a beloved family member she had not seen in a while and loved me more in the missing. She complimented something I had on. Always. I think of her frequently. Often we took short trips. And short walks. I took her to get her manicures, to lunch, medical visits. Sometimes when we went to eat I asked her if she had enough she would say “I have dined sufficiently, any more would be superfluous.” Then that great big wide slow smile. When we took walks she used a walker and I carried a stick. For the dogs. I am afraid of dogs. She used to see dogs and call them to her and whisper in their ears. “You're so precious. Do you know that? Do you know how precious you are?” She used to kiss and speak to the flowers along our path. She spoke to the leaves and hugged the barks. Ms. Catherine is who I think about when I think about Inglewood.

Sure, there are flashes of old Chevy s bouncing down the street. Right now I am in Los Angeles but when I close my eyes I can smell Woody's Bar B Que on Slauson. I can see the planes flying directly over Manchester every few minutes. I remember seeing Whitney Houston in concert at The Forum many years ago. I walked twelve pounds off these thighs walking around The Forum early mornings with several other walkers. We had a family reunion at that park across from the cemetery. My godmother's mother is buried in that cemetery.

Inglewood is family. To me, Inglewood will always be about Ms. Catherine. The way she loved her family. How she watched her son, who is also an artist and a healer, get dressed for work. “Shower today, okay, Mom?”

“Oooh, anything for you my precious son.” Whether she wanted to take a shower or not. Inglewood is the smell of Karen's homemade soup. Inglewood is soup.

Inglewood is filled with stories. My stories. Ours. Red Stories. Inglewood is conversation. Is veggie patties and remembering my thoughts about what will Ms. Catherine want to eat today? Inglewood is remembering her stories and songs and poems. Inglewood is wondering how she remembered so many songs and poems.

When I think of Inglewood, I think of roses and puppies and remind myself as Ms. Catherine would remind them, that I am that precious too.

"Every day I can spend with my children is the most blessed day of my life." Said a black man on an ITT Tech commercial. I agree.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Come sleep. Come.
I am thankful tonight for hearing the voice of a friend who was arrested during the protests on Monday night in Los Angeles and is out of jail today. I am thankful for his safety and youth and courage and spirit. I am thankful for the community of which I am a part. I am thankful that during these times there is still love. There is still unity. There are still smiles.
It's 5:03 pm and I am in Long Beach at my mom's house. Resting. Finally resting. Got up early this morning. Slept on the living room couch last night and you can guess what kind of rest that was. Although I was and am incredibly thankful to have my family here and around me. Didn't want to go back home. Living room couch with family all around was blessing. Was love. Woke up super early this morning for a photo shoot about an hour away. Got to the city early to spot locations and got a great one. Had a great time with a friend I rarely get to see. She's on her way back home to Texas tomorrow and who knows when I'll see her again. That's the blessing of photography. Was lovely being with my camera again. It's been in the shop a while.

It's nap time. Uraeus is enjoying his cousin in the other room. I am enjoying hearing them talk and laugh. Had a wonderful time last time with my son, nephew, niece and mom on a ride to the game store last night, even though it was closed. The children in the back seat talked about the pros and cons of capitalism and whether or not minimum wage should be raised. 8th, 11, and 12th graders discussing. Music. Just music.

Nap time. It's nap time now.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm supposed to be writing a story for class. It's not happening tonight. I have a photo shoot in Santa Clarita in the morning. I'm soaking up more of this good good time with my loved ones, spending the night on my sister's couch and prayerfully getting up in the morning. I needed this day. I really did. To wash over the weepy of signals out that our lives don't matter. Black lives matter! Sending love to the Brown family tonight. And others.

Also, finally got my student's anthology printed out. Family is making copies tomorrow. Praise God for free copies.

Night y'all.
I greatly enjoyed my Thanksgiving day with my family. I hope you did too.


Me with Uraeus

Anthony and me

Aunt Mildred

Uncle John

Uncle Therman

Trey and Fritz

Uncles Therman, John, Harold

Larry and Ursula

Trey and Fritz

Roshann and Donald

I love my son

Me with Ursula

Happy Thanksgiving

I moved into a new place a couple of weeks ago and am just getting internet service. It feels good being back online although the break did me some good. My son turned seventeen! Yay! My mom had a birthday too! Yay! Today is Thanksgiving and I'm on my way to spend time with my family.

In horrible news, they will not charge Darren Wilson with the murder or Michael Brown. More about my thoughts on that later. I've been weepy enough over that.

Uraeus and me, blast from the past. Thanks Nikki for this photo!

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's 7:05 pm and I am at home. This would normally be my end of the night free write but tonight, it's my warm up. I have a lot of writing to do this weekend. An article due tomorrow by midnight and two stories due by 4:30 on Monday for my class. I'm behind. Apartment hunting took a lot of attention and now that that's over I can get caught up on some things. I'm moving slowly. I gave notice to be out of here on the first and I'm probably going to use every single day to move. I moved quite a bit this morning before class, so no, I didn't go swimming. Moving things from an upstairs room to an upstairs apartment by myself ain't no punk. Watch how sexy Imma be. What I'm doing now is taking something to my vehicle every time I go to car. One bookcase, one book, one sweater, one painting, one something at a time. And I'll be moved.

Thanks to an angel from God my bed was purchased yesterday and will be delivered tomorrow between 3 and 7. I never understand four hour windows but...whatever. I'll be there with some thrown together bed linen waiting.

Today is my son's birthday. I'm incredibly proud of him. He hung out with friends yesterday and it seems will be doing the same tonight. I was scheduled to be at a WomanPreach event tonight in Connecticut but didn't want to be gone the same weekend as my son's seventeenth birthday. I hope I see him this weekend but I'm not sure I will. There are things going on. Mostly I want him to have fun. And be safe. We spent last weekend together and he knows his presents are here waiting. Even if we don't see each other this weekend I'm still glad I made the decision to stay (even though the money and experience would have been delicious). I just wanted to give him a choice to be down here or not. I didn't want to say to him that we had to celebrate his birthday another time because I was working somewhere else. There will be other shows. There will. I want him to have a good time.

I have an essay to write on the city of Inglewood that's due tomorrow night. I started a very rough draft and have forever more to go. I need this warm up right now. I'm staying in tonight. I'm getting some things done. This essay for one. Now that some space has been cleared in my head. Oh, same God angle has made it possible for me to copy my students' anthology without cutting it shorter. Praise God. Really. I know the most amazing people. I do. And I greatly appreciate the blessings bestowed upon me.

I'm eating bread again. I'm cutting it out again, soon. Not today though. But soon. Right now I'm munching on my favorite of comfort food. A spicy chipotle burrito with raspberry tea (no ice), and chips ( I got the combo - judge yourself).

So I hired the daughter of a very good friend of mine, my play niece, to go through my email every day. Except she has weekends off. She has been doing a splendid job. She totally gets why I hired someone to do the job. My email every day is a beast. Truly. She calls or sends time sensitive messages to my Facebook account. Love her! When I went to see her tonight, her mother (my friend) and my godmother were at the apartment. There was also a young man who is an astrologer/psychic. He was in the middle of giving V (godmother) a reading. It turned out, I was next. He did say some things that made a lot of sense. To some degree I do give weight to astrology. I sat there feeling my shoulders finally fall from the days work. My last day of class until January. I released the stress and worry over worry and worry money and urgency over how I'm going to cover bills during my time off. Doesn't it always work out? Didn't He, didn't He?! Won't He, won't He?! I began to feel relaxed from the mint, chamomile tea my niece handed me. Let my head rock back and forth to Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on," while slowing inhaling the incense T stuck in its planter. I never did figure out what it was. But it all had me easy.

It turns out, my sun in in Virgo and moon is in Gemini. "You don't like staying in the same place or the same job too long do you?" He asked.


"Have you had many jobs?"


"And are many of the drastically different from the others?"

"Yes. Even now I'm a writer and sometimes I work as a caregiver."

"That makes since. You wite a LOT!"

"I do."

"The caregiver thing is left over from your past life work. You were some kind of doctor, but a regular doctor. You dealt with some really, really sick people. You used to heal people with leprosy. And you were really good at it."

Oddly that didn't surprise me.

He said some other things I don't chose to share here but I'm glad I saw him. I left quickly so that I could use the last bit of daylight left to drop off another load from my home to my new home. I'm going to end this warm up and get started. I'm officially procrastinating. Also I took my meds already and they make me mad sleepy. Well, worst case, I'll get a draft done and work on it like a dog on a bone tomorrow.

I have a women's writing group to attend tomorrow around the same time as the bed is due. I've missed the last three months and hate to miss again. I gotta be there for this bed though. Also gotta get the essay done. We'll see. Early in the morning I'm going to load my car with as much stuff as I can get in it and unload while I'm waiting for the bed to come.

This sleeping pill is sooooo kicking in.

Let me get started on this essay. Oh, the fourth anniversary of Red Story is this Sunday. Come out if you can. It will be at the same place, Vibrations 2435 Manchester in Inglewood and same time, 7:30.

I hope to see y'all soon.

I make lists. I love lists. This is my list of things to get for (transfer to) my new apartment:

1. White hangers for my closet. Because I like uniformed hangers.
2. Full sized bed linen
3. Pillows
4. Really cute shower curtain. Cute shower curtains are important.
5. Rug for bathroom floor
6. Swiffer
7. Flowers
8. Candles
9. Couch
10. Chest of drawers
11. Art
12. Art supplies
13. Clothes
14. Hats
15. Books
16. Rug
17. Bookcase
18. DVD player
19. Full mirror
20. Towels
21. Washcloths
22. Plates
23. Bowls
24. Pots
25. Pans
26. Glasses
27. Wine glasses
28, Lighter for candles
29. Cleaning supplies
30. Truck to move couch
31. Television
32. Television stand
33. Dish soap
34. Bubble bath soap
35, Incense
36. Sage
37. DVDs
38. Plants
Today is my son's seventeenth birthday! I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hard saying so long to my students today. I love them. Every one of them. I do. I'll miss them. I'm still ready for a break.

Excited about moving into my new place. Doing it slowly. I'll probably be moved in by the first. We'll see.
Picked up my meds. Sleep is easier. I love easy sleep.
Feeling happy. My son's birthday is tomorrow. He turns seventeen. Seventeen! I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The country celebrated Veteren's Day yesterday and I constantly thought about my Vietnam army vet father. He used to talk to me about his time in the war. Not often, but sometimes. Told me that his job was to collect dead bodies of other soldiers. Sometimes the bodies would split in his arms when he picked them up. You don't get over something like that. You just don't. I don't think he did either.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I don't like hearing people chew
The sound grains in my soul
It sounds like kissing
Kissing is personal
Food is personal
The sound of people chewing
The pop of gum
Sounds that come out of mouths
That are not words or music
Claw into my skin
Like claws
Like scratches
Like needles on a chalkboard
Some sounds are whispers
Are secret
Are private

Because sometimes a writing prompt is ten minutes on any item in my bag...

I need it. Now the length of my pinky finger, too dull to be real good. I need a new one. Black is my favorite, but sometimes I go for brown. What I look like without crafted streaks cross my forehead? Fuck a good hair day. A good brow day always make the difference. Plus, it smell a little like a Crayola crayon. I don't know.

It's the last thing I put on before I head out the door. It takes skill, you know? Maybe you don't. Funny, something I get once a month from the dollar store make me feel so some kinda way. Way it lines my eyes and tell folks, Here I am. I'm tired maybe, but I shol am here. I don't need or want all that other foolishness and time wasting paint, but this... this right here!?!

I'm a simple girl. I ain't not girl at all. Girls ain't neva come grown as me. Not me. All I been through and everything. Yep. Whether I put it on thick or thin it's there if you look. See? Blink blink. Can you see? Like what you see make the difference. Silly me. Maybe I'm just a girl after all. Ain't we all though? Nothin' but fass tail eighth grade boys and girls runnin' 'round here thinkin' we somethin'.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Maybe I will get some sleep tonight. That is certainly the plan. I've been in bed for two hours. I'm not close. And that's okay. Ideas are rushing through my head. About shows. Another tour. Possibly. Maybe. About product. About rent and bills and blessings and stuff.

I told you I couldn't sleep. You knew another free write was coming. Didn't you? There will be more.
One of my students asked me how a pager worked. I told her someone would call your pager number and enter their number. You would go to a pay phone and call the number and hopefully connect with the person. She said "Dang, all that?!"
I had a long day today. I'm blessed. I really am. I went swimming early this morning. Cut it short about ten minutes because I wasn't feeling all the way...way. I don't know. Glad I went though. Taught two classes. My first set of teens were more than a handful. Way more. My second class was bliss. I'm so proud of these children. I do love every one of them. Course I did have an episode of a student pulling a blown up condom out of his back pack. There was a condom wrapper on my vehicle after class too. Don't know what's up with it being condom day but I'm glad they know how to purchase them. I think. Found out I got the apartment. We like that. Met with manager. Went to class tonight. I'm in a fiction writing program at USC called Community Literature Initiative (CLI). I am learning so much. I highly recommend it. Home now. Free writing because I gotta get these words out. Hopefully I will sleep tonight. I didn't last night. Blah blah blah.
I got the place!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Me at Lit Crawl North Hollywood 2014

The love of my life

For Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's 2:07 pm and I am at the Barnes and Noble in Bakersfield with Uraeus. My wonderful son. We were just eating at Marie Calendar's when the apartment manager from the last apartment I applied for called. It sounded good. It, our conversation. It, his tone and the numbers. It, the location. All the its. I'm always nervous applying for things. My internal "You're not worthy" conversation shows up.

I didn't get the last apartment I applied for. My precious credit. Rather, my not so precious credit. Who talks about these things? Dear son, grandchildren, great great grands, keep your credit good. It matters.

I was bummed about not getting the last place, but you know the saying, "When one door closes, another one opens." This place is smaller but I do get a parking space, it's a smaller building (which I like), and it's $175 cheaper. Please pray. I'm praying for the perfect, divine, right space for me right now. My nerves and patience and I want this to be it. I'll know on Monday. I'll let you know.

It's 2:21 and Uraeus informed me that he is going into the store next door to use the restroom because the guy in this restroom has been in there for five minutes already and apparently shit stinks.

I thought he was coming down to L.A. today but it didn't work out like that so I came up to spend the day with him. That's cool. I missed him. Haven't seen him in weeks and that ain't cool for me. He looks so grown and handsome. We're planning on seeing a movie after this. Who knows how long we will be here? Uraeus tends to take his time in the bookstores. He's not even back from the restroom next door. And so far he's only selected two books. It looks like we will be here a minute.

I planned to go to a woman's writing group tonight at five but that's probably not gonna be happening.

This older white man is sitting at the table next to me probably talking to some younger relative about money. Sounds like his money. "I know what I'm doing. I've been doing this a long time." I heard that. Love the way he keeps cutting the person short with "Okay, you have a good time!" He said that like three times.

2:30 and Uraeus is back from next door store's restroom. I'll be here another few hours unless he can find a movie he wants to see. What do I care? I love hanging out with him. I'm especially thankful right now for friends who make my life easier. Specifically Friend who has been a blessing.

Send your prayers up for my new place, y'all.

3:25 pm and alas we got out of the bookstore in under five hours. Secretly I'm proud to have a son who loves books so much. But still.

My son has some handsome feet with his flip flop wearing self. Them toes need to be did doe! So we're at the nail shop. Yep. Mamas don't let you boys have poorly manicured feet.

The time goes by so quickly but I'm glad we spent the time we spent together today. I can't wait to see his senior pictures. He told me that his initial pose was with all of his hair in his face but the photographer said, "I'm also a mom so you have to get that hair out of your face." It takes a village. Uraeus is handsome anyway, but when he pulls the mounds of hair out of his face and shows off those big, beautiful eyes you just wanna melt. Seriously. Once I asked him why he didn't wear his hair out of his face more often and he said, "Mom, they have to work for my forehead." Um...okay?

4:01 pm and this fancy pedicure session is wrapping up. He doesn't want to see a movie. I'll be dropping him off at home and on my way back to L.A. soon. Perhaps I'll make the last few minutes of the class. We'll see. Mostly I got to love up on my son today in the time we had. Next weekend is his birthday weekend. I was booked to perform in Connecticut but canceled it because I just don't want to be out of town on his birthday weekend. There will be other shows. he doesn't even know what he wants to do for his birthday, but spending time with him on the weekend he turns seventeen years old is going to bring me so much joy.

Jesus be a fence around my boy. Keep him safe and in Your protection.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My student's excuse for not knowing about 9/11 is that they were babies! ??????? !!!!!
I love my students. Every single one of them. But that doesn't mean they don't get on my nerves sometimes.
I don't have any poems about Ferguson
Because all of my poms are about Ferguson
All of them are about my boys and girls
With hands up or not
All of them are about my brothers and sisters
All about mothers and fathers
Make me wanna holler

The streets are on fire

Do you know your neighborhood cop
Your neighborhood protector




Body in street
For hours

Black is not cause for arrest
Black is not cause for harassment
Black is not cause for death

White is not right
White is not right for fight
For shooting on sight

These words
These are just words
Just poems
Just stanzas

These are my words
About Ferguson
About family
About fists raised
About riots
Police will not rest
We will not rests
Jesus be a rest all around me

The streets are on fire
Our children are holding down the streets
Our children are dying in the streets
Streets are holding up bodies
For hours
For ours
some. typa. way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dear people who do not have the dis ease called bipolar but want to explain the feelings of those of us who do: Please stop. You sound stupid. We didn't ask you. You're not doctors. You're not helping. Thanks. Have a nice day.