Just a little something to make you smile.
Peace & Love,
When I kill myself, don’t tell anyone
I died because I was feeling sad.
Instead tell them about the time
I visited my grandma’s farm, when
I was about eight or nine
Tell them how I crawled through the hole
in her fence and walked to the place
that smelled like honeysuckle and peaches.
Tell them how I was able to lie on my back
and gaze through the trees and listen
to the peaches share their stories
about kids who bruise their skin when
they reach up in the trees
searching for the perfect peach.
While I inhale the peachy scent that
smells nothing like the candle,
I hear tears laced with their words and
I know they are the ones who are sad.
But just like all the others before me,
I stood up and reached for that one peach
that was way up high, the one silent peach,
the one whose skin had yet to be pierced
by clumsy, fumbling fingers.
Silence engulfed the grove that afternoon
as I held that perfect peach in my hand.
My pride swelled and throbbed
to the beat of my heart.
I was holding something special,
a peach I left sitting on the ground.
I just walked away.
When I kill myself, tell them I returned
to that spot in the grove and the peach was gone.
Tell them how I stood there feeling nothing at all,
not sadness or pain. And tell them I sat down to rest
but couldn’t find the strength
to get up again.
Peace & Love,
When I first started giving birth, the older people in my family would chastise me for holding my babies too much. “You shouldn’t run right over there as soon as they start crying and pick them up. You’re going to spoil them.”
Those words of wisdom often fell on deaf ears. My mother heart could not stand to hear my babies crying. I would go through the routine: checking diapers, seeing if they were hungry, etc., and then if they were still upset, I would sit and talk to them. I would play with them. I would spoil them with mother love.
These days it’s well known how important touch and engagement are to newborn babies. Babies who are denied touch and engagement are at risk for developing social, emotional, and behavioral issues later on in life. We all need to feel loved. Even our babies.
Love is one of the most powerful emotions in our arsenal of emotions, without it we can quickly go through the stratum of emotions: anger, fear, hurt, rejection, depression, disappointment, and some people even become suicidal when they don’t feel loved. Yet, as powerful as love is, it is not always given with honest intentions.
In her book, Salvation, Bell Hooks argues, it’s easier to acquire material possessions than to acquire love. “We use the satisfaction of material longing to deny the need to love and be loved.” So, sometimes we love things instead of people. And, not only that, sometimes people prey on those who love them in order to have material comforts. It’s an old song, I know. There’s nothing new here.
We all have seen the stereotypical young girl dating the 70-something year old guy, either on TV or in reality. And, our first thought is “uh huh, he must be rich.” With the low value that is placed on love, some people tend to believe that it’s better not to love at all, so they don’t risk being hurt. Either way, it’s obvious that love is no longer valued and, oftentimes, it’s in favor of satisfying other superficial desires.
A superficial wound doesn’t sustain as much damage as a deep wound.
Love has the power to be our salvation and, so, it’s a shame that we don’t value true, authentic love as much as other things that really don’t matter. But, hey, that’s just my two cents.
I have no expectations about love
is the lie she told me & herself.
In reality, she did have expectations.
She expected love to hurt.
She expected love to end.
She expected love to hide.
She expected love to withhold.
She expected love to lie, but most of all,
She expected love to break her heart
even though it came to love already broken in places.
Peace & Love,
“…nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter like unrequited love…” –Charlie Brown
And, of course, then there’s being unable to sleep because the heart is heavy. Heavy with the loss of loved ones you never really knew. Heavy with the knowledge that a two-year old died in a sterile hospital room, the result of a pretend grown-up feud. Heavy with the knowledge that true love is slowly slipping through your fingers. Heavy with the knowledge that sometimes love just isn’t enough. Heavy with the knowledge that little boys can be killed as easily as a pesky insect. Heavy with the knowledge that life is hard and always will be. Heavy with the knowledge that sometimes there are no rainbows, only rainy days. Heavy with the knowledge that you no longer know who you are or are supposed to be. A simple poet or revolutionary? Isn’t it revolutionary enough just to get up every day and try to love those who can’t find the path to self-love? Is it revolutionary enough to get in touch with your natural roots? Sometimes there are just more questions, with very few answers for you. And those are the nights when sleep eludes you. So, you sit up at two a.m. and you make yourself a peanut butter sandwich, but it doesn’t taste quite right, and, of course, you wonder why.
Ode to Another Sleepless Night
My heart is like a boulder
I carry around in my chest;
It hurts to feel it there &
sometimes I just can’t breathe.
The pain of carrying the boulder
obscures all the good
I used to see. Now
all I can see or feel is
how the inability to breathe
is slowly killing me.
Peace & Love,
Sometimes there are no words, just a tugging feeling down deep in the gut.
These are the words that were in my mind as I left work this weekend. As I was leaving work, I looked over to my left and caught a glimpse of a person hunched over sitting on the porch of the abandoned Celebration Station building. I was going to keep going. I admit it. As I was driving away, something from deep within me urged me to turn and go back. It could be someone who tries to hurt you, another voice struggled to be heard. I ignored the second voice.
I didn’t get out of my car. I couldn’t know who or what I was seeing until I was right up close. Turns out it was a woman who looked up at me. I asked if she wanted money to get something warm. Not ten minutes before, I’d been lamenting the cold weather as I raced from the building where my class is held to the parking lot where I’d parked my car. It was cold out, so my first thought was to offer her money so that she could get something to warm herself.
In front of her on the ground were several bottles of water and she was wrapped in a couple of blankets. But, still, it was cold out there. I reached in my purse and pulled out a $20 bill. Instinct. That’s all it was. She didn’t even look down at what I’d placed in her hand until she’d started to walk away. Then she turned around and the look on her face was one of anguish. “I can’t take this. It’s too much,” she told me.
It’s cold out. That’s all I kept thinking. Tears welled in my eyes. Of course she would take it. She had to. There was no way I was going to take the money back. She’d been crying the entire time and now we both were crying. I didn’t take the money back.
It’s cold out. All I gave her was 20 fucking dollars. She said it was too much and yet I drove away feeling like I hadn’t done anything. I wished I could do more.
(This is one of those times when there are no words. Only feelings. And some tears. So, there’s no poem. There’s nothing other than one heart reaching out to another, hoping to bring some relief. At least for a little while.)
I wrote the words above on Saturday after I left work. All day long I thought of that woman, and my heart broke time after time because I felt like I’d not done enough.
I teach a Tuesday class, as well. Tonight when I was leaving class, I saw a man standing beside his car as I passed the abandoned bus terminal on American Way. He was talking to a man lying on the sidewalk. The man was bundled up tight, but still, he was lying on the sidewalk. Not in a bed.
What I couldn’t put into words on Saturday came to me tonight:
I’m ashamed to admit
I live in a world where
people don’t seem to give
a shit that people sleep
on the sidewalk or streets,
their heads wrapped in
sidewalk spit, shit & you know
sometimes people take a piss there—
all this shit
like a headband to keep out the cold.
The tears you see in my eyes
cannot begin to help you realize
that shallow ass statements like
it could be worse mean absolutely
nothing till you see the hearse
pull up to the bus station lot
to collect the body of somebody’s pop,
pop who wasn’t good enough
for a fucking cot
in the basement or the garage.
That’s the shape we’re in &
it’s almost a sin
that twenty dollar bills
are too hard to come by
my pockets’ nearly empty
all I have are tears
a dollar bill never will
be able to stretch
wide enough to protect
from the cold & never stretch
far enough to feed a man
who’s outgrown his clothes &
his humanity – Nope, I mean human –ness
cuz it’s some mess when
a singing bird will crow all about
animals left in the cold, but
nobody gives a damn about
a man, woman, child
with no fucking place to go.
That’s not your problem, right
It’s too big of a fight
for you to even don your gloves
so pops sleeps covered with mud
in double digit temps that are trying
to go solo
cuz he ain’t got no fucking where to go.
Do the plethora of cuss words
hurt your ears – oh so that’s what I feared
you’re one of those folks
more concerned with listening to the messenger
than hearing the message, well I’ll tell you this
while you’re trying to figure how to
wash my mouth with soap and water,
I’m trying to wash your soul with the soap of truth.
When I hold up a mirror to look at you….and me too
I see a man just like you, lying in the streets
knowing life has beat the shit outta him &
now he’s lying at life’s feet
seeking a reprieve &
all he got was left in the cold.
Peace & Love,
Last night I woke at three in the morning and I was lying there thinking about my grandmother. For some reason, I started thinking again about the shoes she used to wear. Grandma used to take old shoes and cut the tops off them and wear them like that around the house.
I wrote a poem:
Grandma used to wear men’s shoes
though she never tried to stand
like a man. Like any woman who
carried love for her family in her heart and
Mother Earth determination to hold her family
close to the security of her love, she just
wanted to be free from having to stand
alone, at the end of the day.
were rough from years of picking cotton and
her joints stiff from a lifetime of dropping
her self-respect and self-love on the doorstep
day after day, whenever she’d leave the house.
Always they’d be there to greet her when she
dragged herself home most evenings – sometimes
the neighbor’s kids would find them and play
with them until their parents would force them
to return those feelings back to grandma’s doorstep.
One day the neighbor’s kids – did I happen to
mention those kids were white – took grandma’s
feelings and hid them underneath the porch of her
sharecropper’s shack and charged her ten dollars to
go get it. That was her last ten and she just slipped
on those shoes that belonged to a man
at some point and walked tall as the strong black
woman she was.
One day a man was standing on her porch, he
was protecting those feelings she had left on
the doorstep. He said he’d spotted her leaving
the field one day and instantly fell in love. That day
grandma traded in her men shoes and for once
walked like a woman until the day after
grandpa died and she was forced to wear
men shoes again.
Peace & Love,
Today my heart was broken as I learned of the passing of one of my son’s former band directors. James’ jazz band instructor, like all of his band directors, poured into my son’s life in a way that let me know that, for him, teaching was not just a profession. It was a calling.
Unlike most of his other directors, Mr. Jeff Huddleston, touched more than one of my children directly. My daughter, Courtney, also took a class from Mr. Hudd, as they called him.
The true measure of a person is the legacy they leave behind. This is more than a saying. Someone who just gets up to go to work every day won’t likely touch as many people as a person who feels that it was his or her calling to end up impacting the lives of kids. We pour energy and give time to those things which are important to us. Mr. Hudd poured life and a love of music into his students. Thankfully, while he was alive many of his students expressed their love and appreciation for Mr. Hudd. The briefest glance in his direction would let you see that he knew that his kids loved him and that, in return, he loved them.
Newspaper stories were written about Mr. Hudd and the opportunities he provided for his music students at Overton High School. People were brought together through his love of music. Music was so much a part of his life that even when he wasn’t teaching music, he was playing gigs with his band. He exemplified true musicianship.
I believe people enter your life for one of two reasons: they either have a lesson to teach you or they are part of your blessing. Mr. Hudd brought both of these things into our life. The lesson is this: Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. He personified this quote. He exuded passion and enthusiasm every day. And those who saw him never got the sense that he had to drag himself in to work. And, the blessing can be found in the love and lessons he poured into both of my children. As a single parent, it is a blessing to witness a man who has so much knowledge and passion for music willingly offer that part of himself to your children. The opportunities he provided James and Courtney (and countless others) are priceless. And a man like Mr. Hudd is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
Here’s a little something that came to me as I watched my daughter try to digest the news that Mr. Hudd had passed away:
Thread a music note through my soul
I’m the jazz man, don’t you know
Don’t bring me no angel wings
All I need are my music notes, so
I can play the music of my soul
Play on, Mr. Hudd. Play on.
Peace & Love,
For the friend who told me she’s losing faith in love…
Don’t Fall for Love that Doesn’t Fall for You
By Rosalind Guy
Why do you keep knocking on doors you
know will never be opened to you? Doors
that are blocked by the very men who claim
to love you? Why do you keep watching them
walk away, day after day, knowing their intentions
were never to stay with you? Why do you stay
and try to force yourself where you don’t belong?
Stop, okay, it’s not fair to you and you know it.
You should stop and try to see who the real problem
is. It’s not the men who end up leaving you.
Everyone loves to pay clearance price for goods
they receive, and he’s loving not having to pay
full-price for the love you give. Just like the ones
before him, he recognizes the clearance tag. So,
again, I ask you why do you keep allowing yourself
to be devalued when you say you only want to find
someone to love you as hard and deep
as you love them? Time after time, you keep choosing
to stay with men who fail to value you in word or deed.
Why do you let him put your heart on a string, like a
big red balloon, headed to the outer reaches of the moon,
alone? He’s only stringing you along, staring in detached
amusement as you run along to try and keep up with him
while he plays with your heart, plays with your emotions &
stokes your fears of always being alone. Stop telling him shit
about how he makes you whole while he gives you no role
in his life. Stay in your lane, the place you belong.
It’s time to pull out, let the wasted years trickle to the floor
like children unborn, a love unformed. Once you pull out
of that space that was never meant for you in the first place
you can place your heart in the hands of a man who
won’t take your love & loyalty for a broken toy.
Finding love in life is all about the choices we make, and if he’s not
choosing to love you, maybe it’s time for you to move on &
replace your love for what he could potentially be and what the future may hold
with that old-fashioned love you used to feel for yourself. Then
wait for the man who will not only be there to catch you
when you fall in love with him, but he’ll fall too &
while he’s falling he’ll grab hold to you & never let go
until he has you right where he wants you: by his side,
not as a side chick or the other woman, but as the
only woman he wants to come home to.
Peace & Love,
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
–Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I just finished reading the book, The Alchemist by Coelho. The story, like many of Coelho’s stories, touched me deeply. After I had finished reading it, I lay in bed for hours contemplating the overall message of the book. Being that I am a person who doesn’t believe in pure coincidences, I believe I picked that book up when I needed to. That being the case, I have to wonder what message I was supposed to take from the novel. It has been said that no two people will read the same book. And that is true. I will receive a message based on where I am in my life experiences and another reader will receive something totally different.
Many people probably identified more with the shepherd in the book, the main character who spends the entirety of the book learning how to read the language of the universe in order to find his treasure. And, while I received many life lessons from the shepherd, I cannot shake the image of the man at the end. The one who admits that he didn’t follow his vision or destiny through till the end. The one who contributes to the shepherd’s final understanding of what would be required of him to see his dream come true.
It’s so easy to give up of achieving a dream. Many things make it possible: fear. I finally can understand how a person could be afraid of finally attaining the thing he or she has prayed for all his or her life. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that it “won’t get greater later” and that it is better to go with what we know. After being knocked down two or three times, some people simply choose to give up. Why keep going right? Then there’s the dilemma that arises when people try to chase dreams that are bigger than anything that the average person could ever imagine.
You have a 9 to 5 job that brings a steady stream of paychecks, so why give up that certainty for that big dream you have? You know, that dream that’s so big, you can’t imagine how it will ever come true for you? I can’t answer for anyone but myself. I don’t want to, but, yeah, I can see how it’d be easy to stick with the familiar and just not risk the impossible dream. Another thing that keeps people from trying to make their dreams come true is complacency. We don’t want to change and it’s easier to just let things stay the same. Change is hard for everyone, even when the change is positive.
The most important lesson I took away from The Alchemist: It’s not enough to have a dream. You have to be intentional in trying to attain your dream. In those intentional steps, the universe will rise to meet you and help carry you through to seeing your dream manifested in your life.
A treasure sits
for the eye of Heaven
Beneath a tree
a treasure awaits
I will walk away
I am not ready
for the blessing
that awaits me
I will simply
throw it away
Peace & Love,
“When two souls fall in love, there is nothing else but the yearning to be close to each other. The presence that is felt through a hand held, a voice heard, or a smile seen.
Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.
This is the reason why you miss someone so much when they are not there — even if they are only in the very next room. Your soul only feels their absence — it doesn’t realize the separation is temporary.”
“Can I ask you something?
Why is it every time we say goodnight, it feels like goodbye?”
I drowned in my own tears last night
trying to understand how
a dream became a nightmare so quickly.
In the beginning the words whispered
were forever I’ll be true
now all I hear is I can’t talk to you.
You promised to never be the cause of pain
& yet I’m swimming in my own tears again.
I cannot tell what is real
I truly have no idea how I should feel
when everything has shattered to pieces
right before my eyes & all I can do is cry
Should I heed the call of forever true
or just realize it’s the end for me and you?
I call out to you and receive only empty silence
My response to the silence is the truth of my tears
I drowned in my own tears last night
crying my eyes out over a lost love thought true
Is this a final good bye or are you just
in the next room?
Peace & Love,