Glass Prints

Who would’ve known as a grown man, I’d still be that lost boy fogging the glass with his breath?
Then placing his hand there, leaning back observing that moment of art, as a symbolic thought crosses his mind, wondering…
if he’ll be able to touch the world enough one day to where his print is left behind…
left behind…
somehow poignantly funny, because being left behind is another thought he felt so akin to-
as his wrist hovered adjacent to the horizontal window PANE
straight across he thought, mirroring the same structure that carved horizontal lines that once broke his resolve and enhanced his curiosity while biting into his wrist-
penetrating that thin line of shallowness he revered as his surface, which he clung so tight to-
because he felt no one could feel his PAIN..
no one but this window PANE
yes, the window did-
for it sees all and stays silent, transparent and non-judging-
the greatest attributes in a best friend
he wondered how could something be so quietly comforting and loyal, yet easily crack and shatter under pressure
showing vulnerability at the first signs of discomfort
innocently divulging a truth of some kind imparted by the force it became victim to-
that force, became measured by shards of glass looking back up at him
and somehow he felt the pain inflicted upon it
a traumatizing act, because when glass is broken, there’s some impossible feeling of guilt and empathy that takes over us
but is that sorrow for the glass, or the broken person he sees in it?
or maybe the ensuing eyes that peer questioningly, overwhelming his consciousness with the torment of perceived judgement
he stands shooken and found out, feeling almost naked so-to-speak
if only for a moment
those pervading voices breech and surround his senses, though it’s all in his mind
often times that man was I..
I, that broke that glass
that broke that one stable friendship and bond that accepted me blindly conditionless and willingly
within its shattered pieces, I saw a man of many different faces
don’t we all?
It’s crazy to think, but selfishly everything serves a purpose, and you know glass never let me down
sometimes it showed me raw truth and reflective bits of myself on the outside looking in,
or at least what I wanted to see
and other times, a distorted or prismed perspective of the world outside of my own unobstructed view-
often given me a sight and thought that I wasn’t able to conceive or digest prior to peering through the eye of that glass
after indulging my pallet and gullet in a foreplay with spirits-the fluidity of that temporary serum it bared within so purposefully, satiated my emptiness
again…everything serves a purpose
yes, glass came in many shapes, it molds to the needs of its environment like me
and it’s our environment we seek most to control or fall in line with,
and the environment of the glass I had in my possession was a control that sometimes gets the better of me
And often as I look through it, peeking through its crystal like specs-
I may not always see my prints, but I know they are there,
for I touched it with such a purpose,
and if only for that moment…at least in my own way, I touched the world,
yes, I touched the WORLD!
and within that connection, that touch, that purpose
something was left behind
my print
because I touched the world
maybe you’ll notice..


Imprisoned prism of a Realist


The term rings off real sure, but to me it is lacking. Wisdom is knowing that you don’t know enough or everything. One can always inform themselves with other insights and perceptual beliefs. To me a realist is stunted in knowledge and growth, a realist is a trap and/or a bail out word. For example, being a realist, or pragmatic, is simply thinking with all the information in front of you to make a safe yet narrow-minded opinion. Having a felony will follow me around all my life limiting my possibilities. True but not, that is the trapping side, the bail out side of being a realist is that it relieves the responsibility of embracing the metaphysical aspects of life, like love, faith, hope, imagination etc. Two hemispheres in our brain, left and right, you don’t use that left side of your brain when you are a realist, you see things as separate and distinguishable from one another in that they are opposites, one can’t exist at the same time of the other, because opposites contrast instead of compliment. Now there’s no room for paradox and possibility with right brain thinking. The left side is for creativity and abstract continuity, unity and likeness of all things, the right side is for pragmatic and the concrete disposition of things, the separation and opposites so to speak. If you see things as flat as ratios, percentages, facts, numbers and statistics, then naturally you will view people, possibility and chance as such. This type of thinking is so limiting within self and onto others. I become and amount to nothing more than a statistic after a downfall, with only a minute chance of over coming your objective opinion. Being a realist is a virtualistic compromisation and a perceptual scapegoat, why can’t a person view themselves and others beyond the pan of either this or that. No, indeed there is a middle, an in between route, a combining force that is manifested by belief. Eyes can betray us just as the heart and mind can, so seeing doesn’t have to be the end all be all for truly believing, because that isn’t believing, it is surficially or circumstantially knowing of something by its exterior, while neglecting its internal layers. Just think, if all felons decided to be realists, then there’d be no need for hope by changing self if we all conceded to this mass perception of impending doom for all opportunity, rebellion and anarchy would be a constant because what does an animal have to lose once its caged doors are open all the while knowing he will return to captivity soon enough? I was a realist, til I realized I was dying faster that way. Once I began to step back and notice the abstract beauties and metaphysical wonders of and in life, I began to have hope and slowly I began to come alive and started to live again. So I’m no realist, I’m not jaded, I may be taboo and tainted, but I am a hopeful optimistic romantic within my thinking, seeking symmetry and synchronicity with life, not apart from it. But what I wonder is how much more would I be able to accomplish if you thought this way too, because it used to be I, myself that limited my life, but now it could be you. Be a left sided, not lop-sided, thinker, even if you have right wing views, be idealistic and take the time to create your own beliefs, even if seeing things for what they appear to be seems so much more convenient. Take that time and use your mind and choose to see more. Being narrow-minded is a choice, being a separatist is inhumane, and being a realistic is cheap and easy and has no imprint of originality. Facts, I’m a black imprisoned father of two sons with a few violent felonies. In that line, read more than facts and a statistic, and see that there is a person with more depth than the sentence alludes to, but understand that it will take more effort understanding that as fact then accepting the short sentence in itself as truth and all there is to know. What’s a record if it’s broken? What’s statistic if it is defied? What is a ratio if the numbers flip? What is a percentage if it rises or decreases? What is a number if it changes? What is a fact if it is disproved? Make room for possibility, no matter how sensibly impossible it may seem, and see more even when your eyes can’t see it tangibly, at that moment, develop faith, because then you get to enjoy the ride of imagination and hope. We manifest our own destiny by our thought patterns. Be thoughtful and thought provoking, see things for what they appear and then imagine what more they could be, then see that to fruition. You may just find enough room to free me from your narrow sights, just as I have freed myself and others that I come across. Thinking you know it all is not thinking at all, so what more is life if you stop seeking, if you stop believing you have more to learn, if you refuse to see all reflective sides of a prism while only concentrating on the side that faces you? So today, can you start believing an inmate can be more than a number, and that he can conquest, accomplish and create unimpeded by apparent realism? Will only denied the person that ceased to try. We have to change the narratives and connotations, if not simply just recognizing them and their weight, on certain terms and words, and take on deeper meanings so we can establish a sense of self, seeking more in every meaning we reason with. Often we disparage those stuck in physical prisons, while still unaware nor able to free ourselves from our invisible circumstantial and internal prisons which keep us in captivity most of our whole lives. Realistically, there is more to reality than a realist can ever really see, experience is an infinite abundance of realty able to be cohabited once we realize how to perceive and live a real life without unnecessarily imposed limitations. Don’t try to confine that which you can’t comprehend into a small box so you can feel safe. Do more than address, assess in excess for access.

In the Eyes of the Beholder: Mea Culpa

I think what’s lost on people is that ‘guilty’ isn’t the only life changing judgement given to an incarcerated person. It’s not only the added judgement of those whom you don’t know that also is so difficult to tread through, but it is the judgement of those closest to you that really changes your life. Either for the better or for the worse, and often the worse sadly, because those are the opinions and affirmations we look to the most. And so, with that added space of unfamiliarity and judgement, incarceration becomes an added community and family of like struggle, adversity and pain. Because this side of the fence understands the hardships, the hidden scars, the denied emotions and the blocked traumas..simply because it’s all about survival. So we celebrate birthdays, holidays, familial reunions, new found or continued love and outdates! It’s tough to see those you form such a bond with leave, it’s weird to say as a man that you care about other men and have built deep storied intimate bonds, confiding in them your worst, while having those confidences relayed in this concrete jungle of testosterone and longing. I’m happy when I see those I grew to have a love and respect for leave, but it takes something out of you every time that you don’t know how to explain let alone refill. You don’t know how to talk about it, so we just go on, feeling that pang of loss and comfort leaving us once again. Just recently, a person left that has made such an intangible impact on my life in a short span of time and it’s hurt in a way I can’t describe. I have known of this person most of my bid but because of who they were, I never interacted with them until lately, which seemed almost a fateful encounter. I know it feels like I lost out on so much, and I only wonder how much more could I have gained from them had I not kept distance from them because of those prejudices, stereotypes and judgements that rule this side of the fence also. Effect, impact..are intangibles, they can’t be measured and come around boundlessly. Titles and identifications that create divides like gay, trans, different gangs, different colors, convicts etc shouldn’t be the decider of the core of a person and the possible influence they can have on you for the better. Let me speak in plain terms..I have lesbian aunts and cousins, a transgender brother and yet I question my manhood when it comes to speaking to those I’d title as such that aren’t family. I’ve always said titles don’t matter, it’s what’s beneath that shows the person, well someone of that ilk also challenged my hypocrisy and put my words to the test. Where am I going with this? I made a gay friend, no, I made a guy friend that even now I feel self conscious about but I hope to be his friend for years to come, because he not only taught me so much, but beneath it all he may be one of the greatest spirits I’ve ever of course my best friend Katie! Nobody beating that, let’s get real folks! She brought the world YoungR.U.S.S. WayOfLife and Proseofacon! Hopefully I can continue earning his friendship ridding myself of my personal phobias, because he even kept his word once he got free, checked out my page and showed his support and he could be just focusing on freedom that he just acquired 72hrs prior. Me, being who I used to be holding one on one dialogues with him feeling like I had the eyes of the whole prison on me within the unit was maybe more mentally a struggle than any fight, war, riot, or hole stint i’ve experienced..that says a lot about shallow perceptions and how they rule us. I felt like I needed to come up with a reason if anyone ever asked, and he got it and respected it without taking offense, but in those moments I felt bad and I envied him, because I thought I had finally gained my freedom of self without care of opinion but I really hadn’t, but he does and THAT in itself was a lesson and so motivating empowering and revealing. A friend revered, hugged him one day and I was like I wish I could do that. I give it to some others comfortably, that same friend shared sentiments with me after his departure, I never knew they were also that platonically close, I was blind. I eventually shared a hug. Not all lessons come in words, most come in acts, and he embodied compassion, faith, understanding, respect and freedom of identity. I guess I still have awhile to go to find myself or to be comfortable with how I feel. The eyes of the world may see and judge me while in here and once out, because even some closest to me only see what they are lazy enough to see. In some eyes we will also be everything but who we are, but in our own eyes, we need to be confident in who we know that we have become and striving to be, no matter what people say or think, and the rest will take care of itself. I’m still bettering myself everyday, join me, I like to act as if I am ready to be free and have it all figured out but I keep finding things to work on, I’m just like you, an unfinished masterpiece. I can be a better father, friend, son, brother, and person, but im trending All The Way Up #facts Thank you Nikko!

Visit Day!

I was somebody capable of being loved before I became inmate, walk down this love lane-guage with me , as I speak to you about falling…or re-falling in love as an inmate. Its not the same as prison love, I’ll explain that concept another day, but right now let me tell you about a date I have. Yes, we can have dates in prison, we aren’t primitive! So this person is great. They are young imaginative passionate talented energetic vibrant athletic smart innocent kind of rough around the edges and high maintenance but that strong will and mind only breeds their pure love. They kinda remind me of myself, I guess its why I love them so much. Yes I said love, again I’m in prison, I’m not primitive! Sheesh! But its real love, biological in depth so to speak, cosmic and purposeful. Nothing in the world could have stopped this love from blossoming and us two finally meeting, let alone inhabiting this planet at the same time, it was meant to be I guess is what I’m getting at. I’m nervous, because they only know me over phone calls, letters, and videos…what if in person I’m not liked as much? Things can always be awkward and either be for the better or worse when you finally meet. Today will be the decider of that fate I guess. When I first heard them get all bashful and happy but also nervous when speaking of finally coming to see me, it warmed my heart and calmed my nerves a bit. I haven’t dealt with much outside of this prison life when it comes to meeting people on the outside, I’ve been locked up the whole time we’ve known of each other. Ah! And what about the first hug and kiss?! I’ve ironed my clothes, but I sprained my ankle playing football yesterday so I’ve been healing it because first impressions are lasting and I don’t want them to see me in a weakened state, so I’ve iced my ankle and kept it elevated and rotating it all night! Forcing myself to walk straight and strong through this pain all morning. I stayed away from working out and people so I couldn’t get any surprise sicknesses or injuries and that is exactly what happened when I played our game, oh well, nothing planned stays perfect. But the day is finally here, you all don’t know what I’ve been through to get to this day. The sacrifices I’ve made, the trauma I’ve fought, the ways I had to adapt and evolve in order to survive this land of violence and misery. I used to wonder if this day would ever happen, let alone if I’d get out in tact to be with them. I’ve protected my life an few times with them on my mind, willing myself to not be beaten, and on the other end willing myself to not give in to venting my frustration violently and staying positive, so I couldn’t ruin this fateful reunion. I’ve been scared through it all I admit, but not a coward, I embrace my own actions and reactions. Now I write to an audience and can share this great moment with you, I’m not polyamorous or unfaithful, but there’s two loves I want to meet, these loves you embrace and don’t appraise one over the other, but I can only have one for now and this isn’t settling so I’m just as enthused, because everything comes within time. I’ve seated on both of them with this time away but I’m paying that forward, my mission is my penance so to speak. So here we go, two hours away,..I will fill yaw in on how it went, maybe I’ll tell you who it is also..
ahh! and here we are, I hate cliff hangers…on the edge of my bed during lockdown for count and it is approx 53 minutes til visits start. A million things flying through my head, but mostly hoping for no difficulties with the staff that may ruin the visit…anything but that!
Well of course there were problems but I won’t dampen the mood speaking of those details, I also won’t kiss and tell, maybe details for another day, but all I can say is that long lost and long distance love is all its cracked up to be! We were just perfectly meshed…I guess I’ll let you in on their name…Treyvan, it was my youngest son! The best day I had in over half a decade!
The way we talked laughed cuddled fought joked and danced, oh I swear he can really dance! The saddest part was seeing his heavy head clutching onto the pics we took together as it was time to go, it went from not thinking I’d see him, to not believing he’d stay the whole time, to him not wanting to leave me. Every good love story has tears at the ending, I shed one I admit, but to see the crowd of people waiting to see the pics and hear about my time with him was a beautiful show of community love here in prison! And to my bro Nate, thanks for taking the time and sharing that moment with me.
Nothing else mattered every second I held him, those moments I wasn’t a felon or a inmate anymore, I was a father with a son that met him for the firs time and loved him without conditions. I guess that’s the picture often forgotten when all you know and see in someone is the display of them in their worst moment latched with a title and cause, while presented with a number and a facial photo crop. Today, I was a person again, and a child will never let you forget what real love feels like before we get older and jaded by opinions prejudices statistics stereotypes having to qualify love instead of quantifying it. Everything I’ve been through to get to this day, has paid off and was worth it. Today, his mother showed me the depth of forgiveness and parenting for the good of a child not self, the way she went out of her way is more than I can ask, everything takes time, she’s not late, she did it exactly when it needed to be done and that’s when she felt ready and comfortable, so thank you Liss. This isn’t to shame any of you out there that may hesitate bringing your child into a prison, comfortability isn’t manifested overnight, but just know that the effort, whatever that effort is, is what really counts. So, uh, it may take time but I’m willing to make this work, so whenever he’s ready, I’m up for a second date, love at first sight just isn’t so cliché as I thought!

Roe V. Wade

I’m not a religious cynic, I’m just a religion critic
my beliefs first, I believe in a just god that loves and forgives me with divine justice as long as I am truly repented
but let me get back to my point for a minute
now I’m not scorning everyone who identifies with a religion or those whom are religious
because it’s just some not all that uses divine wisdoms
as cultural, gender-biased, and societal prisons
and for their greater good it blinds many of its citizens
some just follow unquestioningly Orthodox values and are truly innocent
but all sects and teachings speak a unified notion that all humans are flawed, so we can’t be that naïve that some orthodoxies come without agendas
hmm, women, let’s say for instance
at one point in time the were heralded as equals to men and reigned in matriarchy and other high positions
there is a reason I’m getting to, just let me finish my sentence
influence became synonymous with conquerors of the times spoils of war necessitated a common interdependence
men were on a mission to conquer and rename all within their image
and that came at the generational cost of a woman’s position and opinion becoming one mainly of catching up, silence, and submission
Man and Woman, of equal parts, yet a symbolism of division or sexual tension
now we’re on track, this is what I really wanted to mention
name a part of a man that is a matter of law or in need of permission controlled by a government, religion, or societal vision
outside of, of course, his circumcision
I’ll give you a minute…
I have a mother, a sister, a bestfriend, maybe a daughter one day and a woman that I will love one day
and they’ve been controlled and marginalized enough and I rather they only concede to God or fate
not by androcentric men heading each state
fighting to outlaw Roe V Wade
let me get of rhyme for a moment…
how can a woman’s choice and body be controlled by patriarchic religions and governments?
how can’t she be handled with the dignity respect love and care that is needed in her bearing that biological responsibility of bringing forth life?
shouldn’t life be cared enough about as to not just be thrusted into this wayward world without the necessary preparation and readiness?
what about her physical and mental state, the situation and cause? all of this matters, only she should be able to make that call.
after all she has to live with it
its her life that becomes limited
its her body that stretches and may wear
because during and after carry a child that society laws have may have made her bear
this is just another ploy to keep women out of the workforce and from gaining ground in society
if you pay attention, most men’s worst fear is a woman’s notoriety
obviously I agree to a certain degree in regards to tri-mester
but let someone I love be raped, taken advantage of, abandoned, or molested
and the world turns their back and the country she lives in won’t protect her
I know first hand- because I’ve been on the worst end- with a girlfriend- with a forced hand- to abort then- because not having a black baby in their family to her parents was more important- than the life of another person- even though we both weren’t ready to take care of a life together
I hated it, but even in retrospect, that was their families mutual consented decision
freedom comes in free choice, not choice with provisions
we’ve all played apart in silencing our women
even some women have done so, doing of coarse unknowingly, in order to distinguish themselves and gain position
us men must speak up against this gender based inquisition
which is playing out politically with the supreme court confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh in front of the senate on our television
this may not affect you now but it may in the distance, so it must be championed as a human cause, not political gain or loss because of religious laws, and make this mission.. more than just another submissive penetrative position

everyone hates politics
so I hear
I flee debates and turn on the TV and still, there are politics
so I see
sports entertainment attire news and social lives politicized
so it feels
if I could taste politics
it’d probably taste like the water in Flint, Michigan or maybe French fries being called Freedom fries
if I could smell politics
maybe it’d be the smell of rain in Autumn or the smog and chemical emissions into our changing atmosphere and climate while arguing global warming contemplating how clean the air I breath really is
If I could become a part of politics
I’d stay exactly where I am, in prison, because money sets values to life and always becomes the bottomline
if I could name my child a truth of politics
his or her name would be left or right, or, right or wrong, because it seems there is no moral standard for compromise or neutral ground

“One moment at a time”
He turns the nozzles to the right until the just drips are visible
as the last traces of dirt and soap cascade down his body and travels down the deep black orifice in floor…
his thoughts trail off for a moment
feeling in sync with that deep dark tunneling unknown
in a way, he identifies internal…maybe even externally
pulling back the shower curtain slightly, then reaching for his towel
he starts the same process
drying his head
the towel is brought over his face
he closes his eyes, breaths deeply, and meditates for 20seconds
he is gone, lost to his world of internalization
a periodic escape
collecting his wits and gathering his senses
he reflects over his whole day up until that point in a rapid flash of mental pictures sequencing behind his eyelids
satisfied with the information gathered
again he breaths in deeply, and then exhales
rallying his strength courage and reserve
because this process symbolizes a start over
yet the repeating of this continual depravities’ reality
he then chants ritualistically “here we go again”
and with that, the towel coats the rest of his body
his eyes open
his ears are aware to the familiar sounds of running water and loud banter
he is back…
he we go again, as he leaves the shower in shorts sandals and no shirt wearing that renewed strength confidence comfort and pride buffed and sculpted from his jaw to his waistline
just enough water left on his body for its stainless and glistening effect
seemingly unphased by his environment
he has started back over
one moment at a time

alone within the darkest hollow he retreated
darkness enveloped his now
inside and out, his light likened to coal
while blinds draping the windows of his soul, shut tight
there, dawned a blacker abyss
a decrepit contrast littering this deathly fog
imagination, colored as a gothic reflection of deep cave dwellings absent glow from distant moon and stars
sound as black as the upside down bodies of winged shadows
their screeches invading his senses
everything there-
as he remembered, yet not
only aware of self-
rewarded by that privileged knowledge
since he has stood stranger to company far too long
ignorant his place and fit
gestures and mannerisms foreign
etiquette and norms alien
gab and humor absent
the conjured echoes-haunting
a mystifying black ambiance he embraces
swallowing his last bit of resistance
his taste-a dried out well
he smells the void
touches nothing
and feels it all
best friend to loneliness
kin to darkness
married to space
he finds life and now thrives in the hole
harmony within his new habitat

life is a process
food gets processed
inventory gets processed
information gets processed
memories love and scorn are a process
everything is a process, then it gets processed
am I person or process?
my mistakes were a process-
leading me straight into prison…after getting processed

“wonder why?”
My heart is my handicap
I have loyalties of principal and heart, but not of deep rooted emotion
so its easy for me to be misled or sensationalize moments
I guess that makes me human right?
I’m aware of this contortion within myself, but not many are
now, if you may wonder why many people become pulled in and a part of their environment
not rising above individually, for the worse or better
look at life look at relationships look at politics…look at prison

I was down

I was down like left over ingredients in a cup
I am part heathen, it was hard for me to believe in me going up
It was hard for me to see, I was seasoned but the seasons had me seeking the easiest way of coming up
hoping my culture would coast and coach me, another hidden way of me coping instead of opening up
trying to be grown, my youth was a bad ode, and I wasn’t old enough
maybe faith in something would help me grow, mold me and hold me up

Instead of the spots I was holding up
hold up!
systematic symptoms
from diagnoses full of isms
spewing venom and criticism
my vision was indigent
ordaining a preeminence ending with me in prison
living thru so much tension
as a fostered kid spending stints in detention
dissention, division, split decisions- mistakes versus intention
both perforating my core-this thin line dividing my external impersonations hiding in plain sight, perpetually perpetrating
my lips pursed, disguising my reserve being purged and permeated
living in the middle of a pendulum-
life and worth, and to calm my nerves, I was overprescribed Ritalin
too hyper was just a synonym
but for a troubled child, pilled vials, became an emblem
of too many symptoms
I was a young victim, but forget your criticism…or is something wrong with me!?! Love was missing…
More soul serpent than person
I never searched for purpose
forced in church, but I lurked behind curtains
because I was too hurt to surface
I don’t speak of deserve
my reason is because I lean towards the words that speak of my worst
my good evaporated by how fast my bad gets dispersed
I irk for and worship relationships
because too long I felt alone, and as purposeless as an atheist
forgive me, I didn’t know how to pray
my repayment is painted in pain with these pages
I stray like a pagan
I cannot be patient
I’m sick like a patient
I’m rough and I’m down and I’m beat under feet, understand I am pavement!
all I feel is side effects
I see and do, a blind follower like Simon says
I gotta big head with a giant neck
so I can balance and keep the weight of my pride in check
all I feel is side effects
all I feel is side effects
but maybe sippin this last bit of residue,
of pride in the bottom of my cup will do
if I start living instead of worrying about being uncomfortable
everything doesn’t resolve or dissolve easy, no matter how hard you try to mix the ingredients, you just need to be gritty and greedy, and tilt up
the last bit of resistance in your cup

Ignorance, not Bliss

A c.o. asked if I were racist
surprised by the question’s basis
because it was the title of a book she read without flipping thru the pages
isn’t that a cliché…
but this is the same narrow minded perceptions our society has created
would she prefer my seeking of knowledge be nameless or faceless
or was it because the end result of what I seek started and ended with black faces
what is depth, when the inside is hidden to the uncaring consumer absorbing a calzone
so which part of the title was the threat? The conditions that face black people in America, or the valley of dry bones?
we all know that answer…
How could I speak on a subject in which in her 50 plus years it hasn’t even been relevant?
How can I speak of color, skin, the science of melanin, only as difference not as supremacy, if her history, cascades its skeletons?
She only seemed to understand the fact of me having close white friends, well I guess it really was a surprise
How can I give in and make allowances for the cliché, ‘ignorance is bliss’ while willful ignorance is just as incendiary to our society’s demise?
How can she believe that everyone experiences life the same, how can she be that blind?
Then I realized…
She only knows what’s been shown, whether conscious or unconsciously learning to deny and downplay
Maybe she doesn’t know that black is more than a color
Though color is not identity
Black is enshrined deeply with culture
Though most, of it has turned ghost, from being poached, since arriving on the Virginia coast, by boat, and the ensuing reconditioning played culprit
Maybe I should’ve told her
How black has become a stereotypical synonym posted
as loud and boastful
Materialistic, objectifying, absent fathers, promiscuous big booty crazy women, ignorant sagging slang talkin rappers, criminals, drug dealing abusive illiterate fast running, high jumping, angry gang banging wild yet lazy monkeys, the engineers of an inciting riotous hip hop cult, not culture!
but if that’s true, then despite the lack of reparations, and every movement and economic progression stunted, by governmental forceful tactics and Willie lynch syndrome inhabited, what you deem problematic, I call it coping
and religiously hoping
though this cult like culture, has been stolen and resold for exposure
I could’ve explained in depth our resilience, strength and accomplishments, but in all honesty her response may provoke me
to a black child, which the world doesn’t know, seeming to have given him a cold shoulder
his dreams look no further than a poster and apolster
disbelieving of making it to be an adult, let alone not understanding the point in cementing his vote/and inhabiting the mind of becoming a broker
he may chase solicited fame, designed to saturate his brain, which in the end will make him broker
this isn’t a word, but he wouldn’t know it
a rapper is just a misunderstood urban poet
that dreams to swallow pride enshrined in Moet
to numb the pain of facing a society that doesn’t understand him and a legal system he shadow boxes with as if an opponent
which preys on his lack of understanding and color, poaching-waiting to pounce on his worst moment
the problem is, I could’ve explained it all, and just as I tried
I realized I was talking to a door by the look in her eyes
It’s sad the unknowing narratives that rule our lives
clichés are shrugged off as a collective of agreeable and undebated truths, but the real truth is that saying, “ignorance is bliss” is just another ignored lie

Dear Josiah

Dear Josiah,
This will be a first of many letters I write. Truth is, I’ve always thought of writing a book of letters to you, and even recently my best friend, who is your Aunt Katie, advised me to write letters to you and send them to her and she’d keep them until you were ready to read them. So years ago and recently I’ve tried, it’s no great excuse but I’d get too emotional somehow, and my hand would tighten and start shaking. I couldn’t write a sentence! Here is where technology plays in, I guess it’s easier to type away, ironically the thing that keeps people at distance is what I’m using to hopefully bring you close again. Even now it’s hard, I finally got pictures of you after all these years…and my head screamed the same thing yours would if you saw me…”Who are you?!” I last remember a baby I used to feed, change, nap and shower with, a baby I watched born at 8lbs 5.8oz (which is incredible on my part because your father is hardcore yet squeamish) and now you are tall and grown, taking selfies in the mirror looking every bit like your mom. I can’t even see myself in you, I don’t know if it’s shame or guilt that blinds me and refuses to let me see myself in you. After all, it’s been your mother that’s been there the whole time. I lost myself and flew down the drain quickly after her and I split, I didn’t deal with my hurt well and it made me into a bad guy for awhile. You are my greatest regret from my greatest moment once upon a time at your birth. I want to tell you how much I love you, but what would that mean to you right now? I want to tell you that I am really a good man although I admitted that I became bad at one time, but how can you even fathom any good? I heard a quote and I asked the question with a twist, “if a man can become a monster, can that monster become a man again?” For so long I couldn’t see how or believe it, but often we are our own worst enemy and critic. I want to say that you got your athleticism and intellect from me, but you wouldn’t know that either? I see your mother’s smile, that smile that use to drive me crazy. How do I say when, where and why things went wrong? I can say it’s my fault. But what would sorry mean to you if you have a whole life without my presence, you don’t even know if you really are missing anything. I will say that there is so much to say, and this is the start of a series. I’m going to open up and tell you everything about me and my every mistake, your mom was perfect, and as for the blame, I will bear, without regret, on my shoulders…your dad is beasty strong too. What I will tell you is that you have a younger brother that doesn’t know about you yet, but one day when the timing is right, (I wish that was now because I shouldn’t be another reason for anything withheld in your life). He’s a ball of fire, and I know he’d look up to you because the young man I’ve heard about is nothing short of amazing. Baseball is all you, I never played it but your little brother Treyvan just started. He is 6. What I will tell you is I have fought to become a better man and I will succeed because you deserve a great father once I am able to come back into your life. I feel I don’t deserve a chance, but I will fight in every way that you can’t see now, but that will manifest one day within you. I won’t just be a father that’s been to prison, I will be a great example, a patient, humble, encouraging and loving father able to provide from doing what I love, because no matter the mistake, if you believe, and have the right people in your corner, you can do anything. So with that said, you have an Aunt to meet that has been in my corner and helped me want more and see myself beyond my past and as she knew me to be. But that’s in another chapter. I’m not a traditional type of person, I write as I feel although I’m organized, so I hope you take this rollercoaster ride with me. I’m tough but I’m a sucker for a love story, so I got this idea from the notebook. You are the love that I hope against all odds comes back to me one day, if not for love right away, then for answers. Finally…I can breathe, though my chest is tight and I may still tear up looking at your pics. I could go on but I’m going to restrain myself and do this step by step. I’ve given you one goodbye that lasted so many years, but never again, I will say goodbye many times because I’ll be coming right back many more. Goodbye Josiah, I love you
Your Father
Russell H. Wardlow
p.s. I hope you don’t mind if I share my letters to you, it’s how I heal and stay open and honest. I’ve hid long enough, truth is for the light son.

M- Power

We need to help bring fourth more trailblazing feminist like Supreme court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg..she will either be a spark that stood amongst flames, being seen only in the moments she needed to for the greater good of women, decenting her opinions without worry of her all male colleagues, bringing fourth new laws. Equality as it is, and the women, as far as cultural economical political and societal advancement, for the most part in this millennium, have all, either knowingly or unknowingly, profited from her Consistent staunch and brave stances. So women, help your sisters, see themselves as equals and worthy, don’t compete and thwart each other, fighting for identity under a mans arm or workforce. Men, empower and praise women as the queens of life wisdom and emotional intellect that they are, don’t just them as jewels to wear and own, but polish them as priceless relics. In the words of the late Aretha Franklin,
“R E S P E C T” this is not a mans world, its a world of people, don’t lose that important common ground. Not color, not sex, not belief hierarchy, but a human kind. No one above all, but all above one, lifting each other up. I’m not against religion nor religious people, but just like in politics, but some not all people, who hold power over our institutions and messages aren’t always the best fit, and those dynamics cause suffering for so many. Mankind power is empower is M-power.