Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1:52 am: Exit the Metaphysical, Enter the New Real: Autobiographical @ 28

It is odd to me that somewhere inside me lies a weakness to hold on to things that I have no possession of, in hopes that if I nag or bug enough, or send enough smiling pictures it will one day change things. Tonight I realized this is not true. This is not going to change anyone’s mind. This is not going to make him fall in love with you again. It may – prolong your pain, and let you live a metaphysical existence. Letting him tell you that his crazy is too much for you to handle, that you do not want him, etc etc. I call this my 3-year-old coffee and tonight I took a huge whiff of it. I did not like the way it smelled. It smelled like a person my mother didn’t raise – smelled of a weak minded and simple person.

It stopped at 1:52 a.m.

I recently had lunch with my best friend Jessica and she in all her amazing wisdom (she is really beyond her years) said something to me that opened my eyes on relationships forever. She said, “He should love you the same way you love yourself.” Granted she was talking about my sick obsession with fall in love with closeted men, it totally fits with this realization of self-worth.

I wrote a poem to myself and did not know where it came from. Now I know it was my subconscious preparing me for tonight, lol. Realization comes.

Autobiographical @ 28

My favorite color is yellow,
& I don’t like my current
age. Most days I can sense when my mind
is playing tricks on me – before anyone
can tell I’m having an off day,
similar to the way I can smell
myself first after forgetting
to put on deodorant in the morning.

I find I speak
to myself to prevent
a state of constant solo. I’m a romantic,
hopeless to the countless manifestations
of reality in love endured.

My blood pressure
is always high, but I still love
mashed potatoes with salt,
butter & milk. The dentist
tells me to floss more – I remind
him that (although my gag-
reflex is usually on vacation) my fingers
don’t fit back there & it’s awkward.

The besties say I’m a mess,
and spend too much time
in the mirror – I tell them the mirror
is comfortable – I know the length
of my eyelashes – the width of my eyes—
the roundness of my stomach – the bushiness
of my pubes – the gradation
of pigment in my skin
from face
to feet – it’s comfy
it’s a teacher by reflection.

So thank you Jessica… I have decided that my 3-year-old coffee is not fair to the real me. It is not fair to be lead on intentionally or unintentionally because someone feels his life is too frenzied to make a decision. I am 28 years old, and I admit I am afraid deep down to be alone. Afraid to be unwanted. Afraid to be unknown. Afraid to be unsuccessful. Afraid to be… a number of things. At this moment, I am okay with all of this. It is okay for me to be afraid of things, as long as I continue to learn. Continue to know my worth. Continue to know that I deserve to be wanted, and not to accept less.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Story of the Collapsed Soufflé, or the Repetition of Dismissal

A chef cooks because it is something they good at it, and love to do it, despite getting criticism and the occasional negative review. I write poetry. I write poetry that moves something inside me. I love writing poetry that makes my stomach jump as if I engulfed an assortment of Mexican jumping beans, poetry that makes me want to run outside, have a cigarette and read it to my best friends over the phone (which I really do). I enjoy the process of being a poet. I enjoy being ridiculous and getting away with it by calling it postmodern literature. I enjoy being completely meticulous about submitting even though the odds are they will be rejected. Poetry happens to be my first-born child, granted I do not have ovaries and did not carry it for months; poetry fills me with an unconditional-type of love I imagine parents feel. Not to say that my child acts like a shit sometimes and I want to give it to someone.
Just like parents feel rejected when their children ask to be dropped off around the corner from school, tell them they hate them or decide to go off to college in the farthest regions of wherever – being a poet today, one must also become at home with rejection in its many forms. Having just received rejections from Black Warrior Review, Word Riot and Decomp Magazine; I didn’t have the habitual feeling of being crushed, or a thought of not writing anymore; rather I thought, “huh, what the fuck!” And, went on with my day. Although early in my poetic deployment rejections would make me die a little inside, well, okay… maybe a lot. Sometime I would not write for weeks after receiving one of those bland, automated rejections. So dumb!! If rejections offered more of a why, or some direction or even a hint of humanity – I would perhaps take them more seriously, but they don’t – so I won’t. Getting them for me has now become more of a “meh!” I acknowledge the rejection and keep going.

I think the hardest part of being a poet (at this stage of my career) is finding your audience, niche, following and/or readers; well, this has proven to be my biggest dilemma. I don’t know where I fit. I am 28 and have many more rejections than acceptances. Some would say this is normal, I feel it is bullshit. There is nothing normal about strangers that know nothing about you to tell you that you are not good enough on a continuous basis, but they are thankful you let them read your work. Alas, poetics have always worked this way and such are the dues of a young poet – and please believe—I am paying.

It is as Ntozake Shange wrote in her poem, somebody almost walked aff wid alla my stuff,

not my poems or a dance I gave up in the street
but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin
this is mine/ this aint yr stuff/
now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self

As I touched on earlier rejections at some points in my poetic journey have caused me to question my place in this canon. Specifically, editors have sometime almost walked off with all of my “stuff, “all of my inspiration, all of my talent, all of my thrill. Sometimes unknowingly resulting in what Sheri (my shift supervisor at work) and I like to call a “rolling funk.” A rolling funk is a phase when you are sad, depressed, and moody for no feasible reason, these funks are usually unexpected and their triggers are generally not known. My rolling funks allow me time to “hang out in my own self,” and figure me out (dramatics and all). In addition, they give me time to be quite and still within myself, which I think is healthy when they come on a sporadic basis. Now if I start to have rolling funk after rolling funk after rolling funk, I may need to seek medical help…haha.

I write poetry. Just like the chef with a fallen soufflé keeps on, keeping on – I do this in my poetry, I like to lay around in bed with it, sit it on the moon and fish it down when it’s done – I let it curl in my imaginary sister’s hot comb. When inspiration hits me, I have no choice but to write. It has to come out of me, as a placenta has to come out after a baby is born – it is mandatory and natural.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mirror Mirror: The Lady of Shalott and Me Cast as Twins in a Phallic Prison

However, not always as pretty, green or wet as Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott, I find myself more often than not relating to the great poem. Tennyson must have been some type of fortuneteller because how was he to know that in 2011 I would be suffering from the same plague as The Lady. Written over a hundred and fifty years ago, and on a base level only few things have changed for the struggling artist, or me.

She sits in her tower longing for love and a social life stuck with a duty (or job) of weaving a tapestry meant to serve as a record of her viewings. I too, long for love and a more vivid social life, and work as a dispatcher (which is the farthest profession from anything creative, lol, but bills, bills, bills). I like to think that the countless albums of facebook pictures on my profile and those of friends provide a record of my viewings of the world. My best friends (Ami K., Aviva B., Chris F., Dominique B., Jessica S., Jonathan W. and Tony C.) act as my mirror so when I lose sight of reality, or want to opt out of reality, I still have a way to be a part of reality (even if it currently isn’t mine). They keep me filled in on the goings on in the world, their lives and give me a good cursing out when I get out of control.

Several of the artistic elite have said that The Lady of Shalott is Tennyson’s depiction of a battle between art and life; while, I wholly agree, I also think this poem is about liberation. Being the feminist that I am, I quickly digest the freedom that she gains on many levels. A couple examples: 1) when she decides to leave the socially accepted interior sphere of domesticity for an outside adventure (however brief it may be) and 2) a sexual liberation by being so taken by Sir Lancelot that she no longer wants to wait to be preyed upon and chooses to leave the phallic prison to pursue him. I must say that this poem makes me think of the Chopin novel, The Awakening, which also has a female protagonist who is also an artist (against the will of her husband and society) that too chooses death in order to have the ultimate liberation: a choice.

Alas, I have gotten completely off topic, this is my blog, and I am supposed to be talking about me. I think it is so funny that I have chosen to write about my existing situation juxtaposed with The Lady of Shalott because I didn’t read the poem until I took this awful Pre-Raphaelite art class with Ami, and hated it. It is amusing that it has seemingly stuck with me… Okay okay, get on topic Jermaine and stay there… … … my current situation: I am still living in Midland, which is good and bad, and worse and better; my family and two of my best friends are here…which is great! There are really no words to say how happy it makes me to have them a five-minute drive away, to go for drinks and gossip with Chris, have young people knitting nights with Jessica (where absolutely no real knitting takes place) and to have your family is priceless. Nevertheless, I am beginning to have restlessness in the core of me, a feeling that I need to run or am hearing a knocking at a door I am not answering; and, this is why The Lady and I are cast as the reckless twins. Life for me has become like her tapestry – an interpretation of a real life. (NOTE: While I feel this way about my life, this in no way is to be taken as an indication of how I feel about my friends or family. It isn’t, I have the best friends and family, literally, I think in the world.)

As you know, this is my first blog entry in… let us just say forever, that is because I am usually unfilled. Devoid of anything to marvel at (yes, I love Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts); I feel most inspired when Jessica and I are together, but I can’t strap her to my back and keep her with me at all times, lol… I could try, but she might have an objection. Jessica told me once that I am miserable here because I choose not to exist here. She is right! I live here – I don’t exist here, if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron. Here - I am another Black man that white women clutch their purses at as I walk by in the grocery store aisle, the Mexican man locks his door as I approach my vehicle parked on the other side of his, the gays here (oh Lord, Ay Dios Mio, Hail Mary, Allah – someone?... where to start with the gays here). Tired of hearing, “I’m not racist; I just don’t like Black guys.” Or “I’m married, but we can fuck around.” Or “You’re cute, but not my type.” The list goes on and on and on. I have become the tapestry and as pretty as it is, (lol… yeah, I just complimented myself) I am ready to live, to be an artist all the time, to escape.

How do you make that happen, how do you make the wind change? You don’t!! You just pray, and hope that you’re ready when the change you want... knocks. All I can do is make a promise to myself, however temporary it may prove to be, that I will attempt to exist here despite the stupidity and ignorance birthed into the local society. In addition, make it a goal to have Jessica surgically added to my back!!

As Jessica and I say, “This is what young people do,” and Tennyson wrote:

She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

I will have to live my own path, I will have to make my own choices (however, irresponsible, reckless, dangerous, naive or flighty they may be) only I can measure my own happiness. To me, courage is still knocking on doors, even after they’ve been slammed numerous times. So…here’s too continued knocking and looking out of the mirror and down onto my own Camelot.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Really, Shakespeare... What role do you call this?

As many of you know, I have been in my hometown Midland since late August 2009, and have completely obsessed with getting out since I come back… LOL. I have not been inspired to do anything let alone write. Therefore, I am trying my hand at picking it up again. I am hopeful this will help me stay focused. This is just a short list of events/things that have happened and my thoughts since I moved back to Midland (not in chronological order)

1) Midland has not changed a bit, yes true, there are new restaurants, hotels and a plethora of other buildings, but at the core, nothing has changed. I am happy that I will always know that whatever adventure I decided to undertake, whether successful or not, I will always have Midland here to “refuel” if you will. I think Midland, to me, is like a rest stop. Like driving on a loooooong road trip, and you want to rest, and not give up on the trip (or perhaps you were thinking of giving up and going back “home”; but instead, you just pull over into the rest stop and take a breather from life, get your thoughts together, make a new plan, look at the map a little and reemerge ready to conquer anything. That said, Midland is my home, and I will always cherish it as such.

2) THERE ARE NOT JOBS HERE, OR ANYWHERE. I am so over doing jobs that are not worth me, not worth my education, not worth my time… all because of bills… haha. I say suck it bills. No, not really; but I am tired of working dead-end jobs. I moved back here in hopes of finding a reasonable job and getting things back on track. You guessed it, upon getting back here no one was hiring. On the other hand, they would look at my resume and say, “over-qualified!” It is so back that my friend Ami told me that another friend that had recently moved back to Midland had to take off her graduate degree before she could even get an interview. Yeah, can you believe that? I do not understand what it is with people not wanting to hire someone (especially in a recession) because of their level of education. I mean, seriously, if a person is applying for a job, don’t you think he/she/ I know(s) what the job entails or what it pays. We know if we are overqualified, but that is clearly not an issue or else we would not apply. I finally found a job on the complete end of the spectrum of what I would like to be doing, but hey, it pays the bills. Also, had a short relapse and did a retail position, it did not last long.

3) Speaking of jobs, I am up for a position (in the same company that I currently work). I am super excited because the job would not only pay more that I make now, I would be able to use my education, and I would actually have a title (and my own office)! I would consider this my entry-level position, because to me, it would be my first “professional” job. It is located in Beaumont, TX…, which I do not mind, but I had a friend say, “moving to Beaumont, is just like moving to Midland.” I rebut by saying, “no, I do not know anyone in Beaumont, I do not know any streets in Beaumont, Beaumont is absolutely new to me, so it is not Midland. And, plus, I would be moving for a job!” (Will keep you posted)

4) It is hard watching someone you love fall out of love with someone they once loved.

5) New Car! It is such a wonderful feeling being able to just get up and go driving in your own car, knowing you pay the note, you put gas in it, and it is YOURS!!!

6) MYA LYNN – my niece is soooo wonderfully perfect. I love her to death, she started crawling and she is a little terror. Her first birthday is March 24th, 2010!!! She is having a “Paris in Springtime” themed party…

7) Poetry & Motion 2010! I was the assistant director of my first poetry event show. I am very please the way it turned out, and with the crowd response.

8) I have lost ALL of my jewelry! Everything, yes, even all of my Tiffany bracelets and the Tiffany necklace. So sad. Oh, and yes… I also broke the Chanel’s … that was a sad day too.

9) Lived with my great-great grandmother, who happens to be a total comedian; my favorite quote from her, “Lord, kill her!” By the way, she was very serious with that request. Love her.

10) Started a chapbook surrounding the events/ residents of my job, it is called, “Their feet are half in the casket” (It is a working title)

Currently, my tank is on “F” and I am putting all of my effort into escaping.

My nemesis, William S, always throws in my face his famous (and clichéd) quote:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Black men (upway to finish) first

We are the black
spots on the backside
of a ladybug built of ancient
stock landing

offside walls crawling
upway (rest complete)
Ascend obstacles made faux

by wing-decay I accept
this weight that was bestowed
on me from above the clouds

Wander nomadically
lost (arise again
at the start) wander

to and through a stolen
nest First to be secondclassed purposely
made the blacksheep

with matching attributes
Ghettogrins paired by liquored
chickengreased lips of full

potential Complacent
by way of (misguided clout) evolve
roots by tree whispers and grow

upway then walk now
run The pre\era shouts
for our black spots
to smooth white rocks

to fresh asphalted
journeys of
imminent upway climbing

My poet-self said this morning:

“Wipe the sleep out of your eyes, and go! Live every day before there are none left. Just detour around the bureaucracy –never look back. Oh, and smile daily!”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are you kidding me...

Are you kidding me…?

I am sure I am not the only person that watched the 2009 Miss USA pageant last night. The show was great until the Q & A portion when the absolutely stunning Miss California was asked a question by the infamous, Perez Hilton; he asked her about same-sex marriage and should other states, like Vermont legalize it. Now, I will admit that I am no scholar on pageant answering, but I do know that alienating a sizable amount of America, and the world, for that matter is not appropriate.

WOW! She really went there.

I understand how she feels, and completely respect her bravery, as I am from a town build on church and football. I just feel that the priority of Miss USA is to be as inclusive as possible, and I honestly do not know what LGBT people are going to want to work with her after that. It is safe to say at this point that there will be protests, and at the very least tons of publicity to follow.

It is my personal opinion that the sanctity of marriage has been gone, along with the family structure, etiquette, self-respect and a whole mess of other things the church tries to throw into the faces of anyone that is supportive or tolerant of same-sex marriage. Truth is, America still has a hell of a long way to go before it can be said that we are a free, accepting and equal country. I mean, people are still being murdered in Texas for being Black! Come on people, whatever your personal belief is, that is fine! Stick to them, no one is asking you to change them – the fact is –intolerance kills.

The bible says,” The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (NLT, Proverbs 18:21), so many of us often forget the power God has bestowed upon us, our words have power. I was just reading a friend’s blog and was stunned to read that an 11-year old boy committed suicide for being accused of being gay and the consistent bullying he underwent. Miss California is not responsible for young Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover’s death, but the message of exclusion she supports is. The words that she spoke on stage last night, could have been the breaking point for someone else in the world – we do not know.

2009 has been coined a year of change, and I am optimistic with the reign of Obama, but this is a baby step in the direction we need to be headed. I am confident that he will act as an apt guide. We progressive folk must not be fooled, there is still an abundance of people that think the way Miss California does, and they too, hide behind pageant hair, veneers and a bright white sash. We must not give the opposition anything to use against us. We must begin to support each other. Stand strong for progress, change, hope, reform and what you believe in. If we do not work for the world we want, we will be left with what they want.

This guy I hooked up with named, John Wieners , said to me:

“I’m infused with the day/ even tho the day may destroy me.
I’m out in it./ Placating it. Saving myself/ from the demons
who sit in blue
coats, carping
at us across the

(This blog entry is dedicated to the memory of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and his family. May God be with you all. Rest well Carl.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A letter to the Dearest Self—

I awoke this morning with you wrapped
in my heart, caressing my toes with down
and tickling my senses with sweet morning
breathe. Yellow ash knocks on my windows
beckoning me to leave the comfort
of dependency. Love settled on my cheeks
while hate matured in my stomach.

I am the you I should love
unconditionally for eternity
without secrets whispering
sublunar chants of promise.

Conspiratorious soul left me dumb
behind the falling in extravagant fancy
for another. I am the I I ought not
dispose to nothing for the halflove
of him.

A promise I made to myself:
Dear self be uninhibited
be weightless to float
like an empty Key Food
grocery bag in the air
passing stoop by stoop
by stoop

My good friend, Alice Walker, offered some advice by saying;

“Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.”