Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spring Blog Hibernation

Alright. I gotta take a break for a little while from the blog entries. There is some community building stuff to do -- need to reach out. Some geneological stuff I gotta do. Some family drama fresh from Big Moma's birthday that needs to be settled. Some weeding to do since the roses are showing knew leaves and my Stella D'Oro has decided to be greener than all the other stuff in the back.

Plus, I gotta re-do this blog in a certain way.

So, hands are full.

More later.

Off to a lecture at Vandy right now.

ciao ciao.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Memphis Epiphany/Nashville Epiphany

MEMPHIS EPIPHANY

Got back yesterday afternoon. I feel so much better and out of my funk after being with family. It is all very complicated because my paternal grandmother had so many of dem kids. So the family drama is really deep, but I feel more relaxed with them than on my mother's side of the family. It is much smaller, uppitier and full of pretensions. You get in trouble when you start to believe the mask you wear is really the skin on your face.

Anyway. I might take a break to work on this blog a bit. Learn some more functions. Give you a bigger link list. And there is an entry I want to write dealing with the Surrealist and this book I am just about finish reading. I identify with Surrealist art, but seperating their radical purpose from its links to Trotsky and the communist is essential. It is this radical purpose that Alejo Carpentier will weave into Magical Realism. But, the surrealist were due to die, or just experience resurrection after resurrection like in British New Wave music videos or movies like the Ring and Ring II.

Anyway, I digress from my Memphis epiphany . . .

This is a good time cause that bowl of gumbo I had a couple of days ago really cleared my mind. And when we started to talk about ancestors in a very real sense (at least with the youngest uncle) I got a good picture of what I am working with. Big Moma gave me the names of her parents and grandparents and told me which ones were pure African and which one was Native American (mom said she had meet some and attested to all that she said). So I will probably slow down on the blog entries because I want to follow up on the information.

The Best Story From the Birthday Party!

Unbeached Whale a.k.a. Long Lost Cousin: Tubby, I got back as far as 1807 with my mother's family tree. I am sure I can do it with my fathers.

Tubby a.k.a. Cousin With a Gigiantic House in Memphis: Really?

Jay, Tubby's Little boy a.k.a 12-Year-Old With Pins Sticking Out of His Leg From a Motorcycle Accident: Yeah, me and my daddy we looked up our family tree. We thought that we started out in German and it turns out to be right. There was this lady that came for Germany and she bumped nasty with a black slave and since then we been black on black.

Long Lost Cousin: (Speechless, I mean completely silent)

It was so classic. I loved it. OK, there are obvious problems with this thinking. But my little cousin Jay's speech pattern is so right on.

The rest of the trip was me catching up on Katrina. Tubby said that Pass Christian is gone and so are many other places. New Orleans is having to function with just 1/3 of the tax base. Can you believe it?


NASHVILLE EPIPHANY

Multi-tasking is effecting my fiction.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gone Fishin'

I am finishing packing and heading out to Memphis in the next half hour for Big Mama's birthday bash. She will be 84. I have 4 aunts and 4 uncles on that side (surviving that is, my grandmother had 11 children -- 6 boys and 5 girls -- counting my father, who was the eldest). Last count I had 32 first cousins, but that has increased for sure. The number of 2nd and 3rd cousins is impossible to comprehend. My grandmother was one of 17 children -- 3 girls and 14 boys.

My mother was an only child so all of my maternal cousins my age are 3rd cousins. And I know every single one. So this is all very exciting.

I feel like I have always grown up around extremes.

As I am walking out the door, they are talking about the 9 trillion dollar credit limit the government has.

My German business students found that the American idea that one takes out a loan and then gambles on future profits and earnings to be a bit too optimistic. Others thought that it was plan stupid. I think that about my student loan now.

Assumptions and misinformation.

It is the American way I guess.

This way shows all of our faults and has shocked the world more than most think.

Enough.

Gone fishin'.

Will write back when I get back.

Sapporo

Well, just finished changing my profile. I looked over some of the chapters of the project I am writing.

Not happy.

Will need to figure this one out.

My brain is not in the zone.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Transformed

I woke up this morning around 5 and started typing this at 7:00 am. I guess I went to sleep around 2. This is normal now for Wednesday night to Thursday morning. I go to the doctor on Thursdays and it gives me anxiety. I don't know what else I could actually loose by being diabetic. Well, there are always limbs.

The problem is more me being treated like I am sick by everyone all the time than anything else that bothers me. My doctors treat me as if I am more capable of running my everyday life than the family that is around me. Most friends here don't understand what the problem is. They think I should just be doing whatever. And when they see the tube coming out of my stomach they say I am not being honest. But before such visual signs of my disease, refusing a beer was somehow being inhospitable.

I just keep my distance now in most cases.

One day they will age and something will happen to their bodies. My "something" just happened when I was 23-years-old.

At 5 am, I just watched television. I am totally transfixed by Soledad O'Brien. I heard more stuff about the war. We are going to invade Iran soon (that is what I think). Probably before July. I wonder what the world is saying, I have not read German, British or French papers in a month of Sundays. Will look at them later tonight.

I finished the documentary on the penis performers. Great! The view of the Australian countryside/outback is great. There were shots of them going through a brush fire (bush fire) in the middle of the desert. Makes me want to take that trip to Arizona (or maybe the Texas pan handle). Or maybe Australia itself. Australian racial tension has me a bit nerve racked though. There is something about it I don't understand. I understand the Klan. I now understand German stuff. But raging beach bums?, not sure about that context. You gotta know where, when and how to cover your ass in certain situations. The world is not all the same, despite a theorectical language that reduces experience to terms of agency, transgression and the marginalized. I tell my students that all the time.

Mom cooked breakfast this morning. She is going to the gym while I am with the doctor. Then we will go somewhere together. She wants to do something I am sure. Last week it was curtain shopping and a movie, this week, I don't know. She does look and feel great after her retirement. I can tell. All my family and friends think that she is amazing.

I do too.

I will think she is even more amazing when I move out. LOL

She is turning into my grandmother with all of her rituals and taste. I remember that my grandmother became this person after retirement too. Gosh, I was so small. Maybe it was 1980 or 81. Mom had a discussion about things that happened in 1984 this morning. She was apologizing for something that happened during the divorce or something like that. That was 22 years ago! And that was my exact response to her -- "It was a long time ago."

She smiled.

I just loaded my insulin pump.

I will inject the catheter after I shower, it is better that way.

Always.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Last Night's Penis Origami (Non-Sexual, It's Just Art From Australia)

Woke up this morning and went to the career center where all the head hunters are. I guess that's what you call them, there seems to be no private agencies here like in NYC, so I will have to look around for some other things. This being one of them -- A Career Center. I talked to a high school friend and was signed up for orientation. I receive my own little agent next week. After Big Momma's birthday.

Then I went and returned some videos to the bookstore. I watched the puppetry of the penis performance video -- Penis Origami, and am now in the middle of the documentary called Tackle Happy which deals with the two artist and their time on the road. Very funny. And very real. Today over lunch at this all you can eat sushi buffet I told my friend/business contact that I felt I had more in common with the guys traveling around making puppets with their balls than with the stiff guys I drank coffee with at the business school in Germany where I taught. She said, "Does that mean you don't want to go back to Germany to live?" My answer, "It might mean that. More than likely it means I don't want to live in Stuttgart anymore" I found out that you don't ever live totally in a country, but you alway live totally in a city. Will finish that documentary tonight.

I forgot to try and make a hamburger out of my penis in the shower, I was in a bit of a rush to get down to my meeting. I want to try the Eiffel Tower but I am afraid I don't have enough foreskin. I will try later. And I will keep you posted. Those stunts did look like they hurt.

I then talked to Bug at the bookstore about his apartment and his lover and their long relationship. A good strong relationship. I guess he is lucky. He is two years older than me. Been with the same guy for 13 years. He just celebrated a birthday, I will get him a gift. I also found out that he bought a truck, partly because I told him that it would make him blend into the straight world -- well, he was joking about that, as much as I was joking. But we talked about him being so masculine looking (I was transfixed by his fiery red hair, and his lips are so beautiful I wish he would cut the hair off from around his lips not to mention the tattoos). After the discussion I went home to shorten my resume and took a nap. Woke up. Finished dinner and started blogging and searching the web for the next gig. This is taking a bit more time than I thought.

Then it always does. Finding a mate, finding a job, finding the perfect living space, etc . . .

Monday, March 13, 2006

Moonshadow

Late last night the lights went out and I talked to WineTastingLesbian on my cellular phone and starred at the moon that glowed with such a strong light it illuminated my slopping backyard and the field of clover. I think WineTastingLesbian is beautiful and she is the kind of woman who I could have a kid with and sleep all night with I think. Not just because she is beautiful, but because I don't have to put up with all the shit that straight ladies give me. Sometimes I think straight women want to be lied too. I know that is a generalization that could be up for tons of critiques from feminist, cultural theorist and queer pinko problematic thrill seekers. But fuck it. Let's start with that sentence; and, let's end with that sentence, because I think WineTastingLesbian is really nice, hot in red lipstick and has had to face many of the challenges in making friends with the straight and gay world, just like me (except I have done it in three worlds). She has got the same battle scares as me. And in the end, does that not have some critical weight on my point-of-view? And in the end, is it not our relationships with people that transverse any ideas of sexuality or theoretical emancipation? I mean, how realistic is it to take politics to your fist instead of roses? I like the fact that WineTastingLesbian bought drinks for me on Saturday. There is something backwards about it, it normally goes the other way around. But she is not hitting me over my head with feminist rhetoric about how subversive it is, it just is. We just be. She knows her drinks. I know a bit about the world.

When we went to the Waffle House on Saturday night for a midnight snack I noticed that men and women were looking at her. I have to admit that it is a turn on for me. I love it when others look at the woman I am with, and even though me and WineTastingLesbian are not together I liked what I saw, and I like that others liked what I saw. She was really flirtatious, and she reminded me that I should be flirtatious and that was that. It was not an inward flirtation but an outward flirtation, with the environment. So, we were a little flirtatious with the waiter, who was this big beautiful greaser. He was like a young teddy bear or leather bear cub in training. He was sweet and docile with a mane of greasy brown hair and black caked under his very short fingernails. He moved very peacefully and asked me all the right questions.

"Would you like to order now?"

"Do you want me to put the order in now or wait for the rest of your party?"

Each question was done waiter to waiter, hyperspeed spirit to spirit contact. The sympathy that you feel seeing a waiter never leaves I think. You know what it is all about. Part of it is seduction. That is life, no? Seduction, food, selling, flirting.

Winetastinglesbian emerged from the bathroom, this guy was watching her all the way back. He was watching me too, trying to see what my reaction would be -- trying to see if were were brothers and sisters, fag and fag hag, just friends, cousins, etc. He was sizing me up trying to see if he could talk to her. I let him know that I knew he was looking at me, but went back to doing my little menu reading game, but clear that if he came over here to talk to her, I will rip his clavical from his torso. When Winetastinglesbian sat down we continued to talk. Tonight is the first time I saw her with lipstick. Maybe that is why I had a hard on. I told her to do her nails. If she does do them, then we are going to make babies.

When she got settled and ordered, we looked at the tall buttery looking men with their plump girlfriends. We looked at the butch 20 something girls giggling as this other guy walked around them. He was talking, touching and squeezing them, while the Alpha Bitch of the group talked about getting this pretty young womean next to her worked up for the evening. Immediately the other girls laughed, the boy blushed, but there was also a sense that he lost some patriarchal balance. These mares were already sired, he should approach another herd. After he left their booth he went to sit with the woman he came here with that evening. She was dark auburn and sophisticated. She read the Waffle House menu like she was picking a cut of beef or deciding if she should pick a red wine first. After a good 25 minutes, he went to go touch and talk to the women further down the counter. The stallion wore a dark blue cowboy pinstriped shirt with his top 3 buttons open. He had this very alabaster white skin, but it became fleshy and darker with more inspection. It was a combination of the hue of the shirt and his dark chest hair that made his skin look so pale at first.

Behind WineTastingLesbian was an older couple, they were talking the way Southern black folk talk. The way I talk and revert to talking when I am here. A level of gossip that is permissible in a way that it is not in Southern Germany despite the people of Southern Germany being far more nosey. It is the idea that gossip is done in the open here, in Germany it is done in secret and in whispers. Life her flows like butter and grits, in Germany it is compartmentalized like fenced in fields. Private discussions about you in Germany are designed to plan abuse and social alienation, in the South the smile is very big and the knife is delivered between the teeth, into the shoulder blade. You just need to see the eyes, that wink before a compliment, it is almost undetectable, it is your only given clue, it is covered with a pat on the back, it is the gossips way of saying "I am fucking you". Here you take the warning and fold it up and set your boundaries for defense or for the offensive. In Germany, you are not even given a chance to fight back, they will railroad you to the ground, revealing no emotion what so every, just that plain white paper sheet of arrogance. The company Trumpf comes to mind for Germany. The warehouses of LaVergne come to mind for the South.

Behind me were a group of young guys. I want to say they were from Laos but I was not sure. They were in their earlier twenties, late teens, smoking cigarettes and piled up like a bunch of bananas in a crate. In that booth, there must have been at leas five or six of them. Their eating and conversation were undetectable. Their delight in the world around them was displayed as a bubble gum colored aura that rose above them and protected them from all the spit fired drunk boys and girls around us. An environment painted mostly in black or white. Mostly drunk. Mostly hovering between high school age, to twenties, to thirties, to forties, to fifties. Their sexualities were mixed. It was that feeling that everyone knew how they wanted to take it. Sexual opinion like Waffle House coffee was everywhere. “Black.” “No Sugar.” “No Cream.” “Half and Half.” “Just Milk.” “Sweet and Low.” “Splenda.” “Equal.” “Blue packets.” “Pink Packets.” “White packets.” “Yellow packets.” “I normally don't do this, but since you don't have any of the Yellow Packets, I will use the Pink Packets.” “No Brown Sugar?” “We have some Raw Sugar.” “I like Raw Sugar.”

All these conversations were running through the air like radio waves. WineTastingLesbian and I just ate our waffles and coffee and eggs and steak and hash browns cool like that -- that jazz player cool life I used to know and had growing up here.

The truth behind our silence though was the fact that we had lost He-man. He came to the bar with us, but we could not find him at last call. I told WineTastingLesbian that he had smoked too much weed over the past 15 years and is fucked up. He is still on that Metu Neter and holistic oil rant. Not bad, but I was in that place in undergraduate, years ago. He has to find a place now, and not waver through life with his old girlfriend (Angryblacklesbian) protecting him. Nor should he leave the bar and not tell anyone where he is going? We just went to Waffle House and waited for his call.

But that is an incomplete story. I promise to tell you more about last Saturday Night.

So, I looked out onto the moonlight and we talked about work and her trip to Atlanta. I kept commenting on the lights being out, and she kept talking to me about the world that she lives in now. Bills and uncertainty. She started to fall asleep on the phone, as the moonlight keep bouncing off my backyard. I laid down on the couch, said an important sentence. Something I can't remember. There was silence. Then I asked if she was asleep. And she said yes. So, I let her go.

I got up. Turned on the lantern we have stored in the back for emergencies. Sat down and read. Then the lights came on an hour later. I completed one chapter in that time. I wish all the texts I have to read were that easy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Celestial Virgo Among Us: The Diary of a Long Day

We are rapidly approaching the Virgo full moon. Time to weed, plan and plant. That way when the moon is in Pisces and the Sun in Virgo, we can think about harvesting. I saw some roses for the backyard yesterday. I like them very much. They are the Walmart variety. They may be susceptible to fungus and Japanese Beetles, but hell, when you clip them bitches back they will bloom again, and again and again. At least that has been my experience. I think I am going to get 4 small bushes for the back. That is going to be about 25 bucks.

Yesterday proved to be very interesting. It started out pretty normal. I woke up, walked up stairs and mom was heading out. She had some stuff to do for the National Diabetic volunteer thingie, then off to Fisk and finally she was going to be at church. Or something like that, I can't remember the exact order. I was busy pouring coffee and logging into my computer.

Shortly after mom left, I posted my resume on Monster and spent some time going through all the e-mails I have gotten from Monster over the last month, since I have reregistered. Sometimes I wonder if it is a waste of time, but other times I think it is OK cause I can just look at the ads and see what I am up for. I always feel like I am lying when I am looking for a job because I can't say that I am working to be a historian or that I am a writer. People feel that you are then divided and not focused. So, I am getting my poker face ready and preparing for bagging a good gig. The morning task of task of cleaning out my inbox and writing a letter to the guy I meet in Atlanta that speaks 12 languages and who just wrote the first 14 pages to his novel was more tedious than I first imagined. It was weird. I meet him at the film conference, it was like we were kindred spirits in a way.

In the middle of e-mail cleaning I received word from WineTastingLesbian that she was not going to Atlanta like I had thought. I wanted to follow her to the ATL, but that would be too much since I have to travel to Memphis to see my grandmother on this coming Thursday. WineLickingLesbo is now going on Tuesday and turns out she is having a hard time with her separation from AngryBlackLesbian. So, WineTastingLesbian, true to form, wanted to go drink. I told her no problem.

After that I contacted a friend from high school, Helen. We talked about our liberal arts majors and the life we live.

At times like these don't you wish you never read that revolutionary shit concerning Marx, labor, commodities and happiness?

Helen went on to talk about careers and how much money she makes as a social worker. How 6 years of schooling is nothing compared to 2 years of training as an electrical technician. Which is the truth. Just as Pepper said. So, God help whoever becomes one of "those" people from the humanities or social sciences . . . you are not really needed. As depressing and cynically as that sounds, Helen and I laughed. She was gardening while her son slept. The thing that she said that startled me was that something like between 50 and 70 percent of black women are not married. "It is because there is so little out there" she said. Then she said, "Not to mention the incarceration issue." I felt the bitter pill. Am I not worth marrying? Am I a scrub? Do feminist just not consider my point of view? I kind of took it, and kind of didn't. I told her that I thought that most black women are looking for a hard thug with an MBA, and then act shocked when he is a drug dealer like an Erykah Badu song or Keisha Cole’s video. That is part of the matrix now, narcotic disappointment upon the rising of Eros in the morning sky after a night of thug passion.

So after a morning of doing that kind of life maintenance, I did a little bit more around the house. I took a shower, which I needed to do. I had had a bachelor moment of rebellious hygiene. I think I need to start dating.

Then I went to the library and picked up a book from interlibrary loan. Jean Price-Mars and Haiti by Jacques Antoine. I needed to review some facts that I found very interesting in that book. Just as I was about to take my application for the mini-job to a nice desk in the library and fill it out, my phone started to ring. It was Wolfie. He left Darmstadt to attend a conference in Chicago. We spoke for some time about things. It was a mixture of German and English. Mostly German because I did not want anyone understanding what I was saying. I talked to him about stuff here. He talked about his life very little. I think he was experiencing a little culture shock. He kept asking how far Memphis was from Chicago and then how far Chicago is from Nashville and stuff like that. He said he did not realize that the US was so small. I think this region is small, but America no. All of America is gigaintic. He just doesn’t understand our geography.

While I was speaking to Wolfie, this beautiful black girl was singing in the foray waiting for her father to pick her up. Her voice was so beautiful that I had a hard time concentrating on what Wolfie was saying so I went outside. The automatic doors parted and the humidity from the air and the dogwoods blooming made me feel as if I was going to collapse into a hay fever clump of negro intellectualism. But it did not happen. We just talked a bit more. The girl who was singing walked outside and apologized for singing, she did not know that I was talking. Her voice was so loud and melodic I guess she could not hear me. I like Tennessee for that. People just let it out, especially young people. That is not the case in other places (it is normal for NYC and NJ, young people just blurt notes out with their headsets on top of their heads all the time).

I went back into the new library and they were rearranging the furniture. I was a bit upset because I wanted to finish my application for the mini-job and look at CD's to check out. Instead, I just picked up my stuff and went scavaging for BBQ sauce.

I got to Kroger's to pick up the BBQ sauce because I was going to cook dinner. I cook dinner in my home, that is my official job. That and gardner/handyman. I cook much better than my mom, I learned it from my dad. So today, BBQ Drumettes. I found a bottle of Hunts Hickory Brown Sugar sauce for 99 cents. And, at that moment as I went down the aisle where the magazines are, I had a moment of zen. It was this feeling that everything was going to be OK in the Cumberland River City. A song is what ticked off this feeling as I hovered over the floor. I can't remember which song it was, but it was either Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond (when I was a real small kid I got them mixed up all the time, they looked the exact same white person to me). I had the sauce in my hand and I could smell the cold flesh wet air from the refrigerator units, and a specific Tennessee smell. It smelt like dew, freshly laid tiles and spring all in the same. I had a moment of euphoria that lasted as I walked out the door and saw this dark sister with a little boy running around her that she did not know what to do with. She wore pink jeans and a mid-drift and heels and she felt good before I could even touch her. I only saw her from the back, then she turned around and looked at me. I looked at her. She had a look on her face, she felt me too. I kept walking. That little kid running around was bad. She was too young to have a child so big. I had that feeling I get. “I am too old to bite for something that looks like so much trouble.”

The inexplicable high I had wore off once I got to the car in the parking lot, my grandmother's large 1988 white Cadillac Brahm, parked far away from the imbeciles that were cluttering up the parking lot (Nashville drivers are infamous), is pristine but on her quarter-to-the-last- leg, surrounded by the low humidity that is not even a decibel, but is there preparing itself for when we move into Gemini.

I then drove to the bookstore on church. While looking through the video section I heard this group called Gossip. It is so unbelievable. The CD is great. The lead singer's voice touched me in the back of my neck and made my shoulder blades tingle. After I picked out a movie for rental, I sat in one of the chairs up front and filled out my application. I love the bookstore, it is where I order books for my dissertation or just to read. It also has a great selection of movies from around the world, and a nice magazine section. By the time I finished all that. It was dark.

I drove home, mom was already back from her long day. I cooked the drumettes and steamed some broccoli. I then promptly chilled the green bouquets with long angular steams that were peeled from the stalk and showered them with honey, red curry and low salt soy sauce (I loved chilled blanched or steamed broccoli). After that, and a nap, I went to see Jarhead at my friends house. It was cool. There is much to be said about the film.

First Jake Gyllenhaal is not really beautiful to me. He has a weird face, nice torso, average ass and these eyes that are made for the cinema. I really liked the film while I was watching it, until later that evening I figured out it felt more like I was watching pledgees for a Vanderbilt fraternity more so than a real war film. Then again that could be the legacy of the first Iraq war. Jamie Fox's character was tough but not hard enough. He was like the head Q on campus. This film was no where near Full Metal Jacket in strength, it was a bit too artsy fartsy. It also showed a different military leadership style, not to mention fighting a war in the dessert. It has got to be insane. And I wonder what the Second Iraq war film will look like.

The thing that got me about this film was that I was a senior in high school in 1989, and by the time the war was going on, I was busy protesting it at Hampton University and doing all kinds of subversive stuff (just meetings and feeling invincible). Insane no? That is a different conversation actually. Hampton. Worthy of some thought and action. Will get back to that.

After I finished the movie I went out with WinetastingLesbian Lesbian.

I will feel in the blanks of that night later. There is so much more to the story.

As there always is.

It starts with picking up He-man. Then meeting WineTastingLesbian and having one Sour Apple and 2 Key Lime Martinis (with a graham cracker rim, insane). The devil of the night is in the observations.

I will share later.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Baby Boy

I am busy. In the middle of reading. Goal is to finish 2 books this weekend, plus an application for a mini-job. So only one brief observation.

Earlier I was talking about feeling like I am an emotinal wet nurse to all the black women that are around. After looking at adam4adam.com and tiring of people typing in ebonic code I started to see why my female friends were having a problem finding mates and father figures for their children.

While I was shopping with my mom for drapes (I am not really domestic to tell you the truth, but I went along because I like to look at beautiful things with my mom), there was a discussion on 92Q concerning men being "moma's boys" and how prevalent it is. This all transpired as we drove from Walmart (I bought some deep dish bowls, two coffee cups, some of that new citrus orange blue beaded exfoliant shower gel and looked at the rose bushes that I plan to plant in the back where there is more sun. Walmart roses never die, just clip and they regenerate -- no real smell though) to JC Penny's at Rivergate mall. We were driving up a side road that is perpendicular to Gallatin Road, but adjacent to the mall’s back entrance and turns into a ramp for I-65 North, which is a freakin horror show due to construction, when the DJ blurted this out. This is the same DJ that had pictures of Tyson Beckford at a gay club and started to say that Tyson was/is gay. Big fuckin' deal I thought.

Now I am in the car with my momz and we get the moma's boy debate while I am looking for curtains. What is my life turning into? But slowly I am starting to see that coming back South means that it is turning into something that I have been subconsciously running a way from for 15 years. It is this world of black and white that makes it weird for a black guy to play rugby in West End and not basketball at Hadley Park. And there is the world of men and women, that makes me impotent because I am not married (this was the same in Stuttgart offices, but not Cologne). I must go to the mall. If I want to be a man then I have to manage an Arbies or sell cars and have a kid.

But back to the radio . . .

the points of view were as followed:

DJ: You women hold on too tight to your sons! How are they going to learn to be good husbands to their wives if they don't let go?

Woman #1: This is a big problem out here. My husband is a moma's boy and . . .

Woman #2: dido

Pause: I play my Milton Nascimento CD for a little while

Man #1: I don't have any problem being a moma's boy.

Conclusion
This is a true cultural phenomenon that people in the black community fall into but don't want to say anything about. 2 things come to mind. First, when I was running around with my East Indian friend who lived in NJ by way of London, I was amazed at some of the things he said about women and his family. We compared notes all the time concerning the place of women in his family and the place of women in mine. It was very interesting. At that moment I realized that the situation of my family was much different than his reality. No time for details, but his father was the center of the family and his relationship to his mother and sister were very different. For me it was my maternal grandmother.

The second thing that comes to mind is Hilton Als and his book The Women. It captures something about community, mothers, women (Bajan women and church to be specific) and the types of social roles men may or may not play. For Als, if you are effeminate and single then you are regulated to the realm of women in his society and family. To reduce the label to a more tangible metaphor, you become a "spinster", a male Reverent Mother that does not challenge the order of the universe, because you are not really a man anyway. And that is where you function.

Now, this is the problem I have with the radio and the DJ. He is not having a constructive discussion at all. The focus is running up and down a cultural nerve that needs to be pressed not eradicated like a dentist with his tools. We need a psycho-sexual acupunturist in this Cumberland River city immediately, cause there is something going on here with black men and their relationship to the world and I can’t put my finger on it. There was no discussion about "why" this "mama's boy" social structure is taking hold. There was no comparison between today and the past -- men like my grandfather versus men like the ones my friends complain about. Those men that are drug dealing, 38-years-old and got 11 kids. The DJ only made an acknowledgment of a problem, then the act of shaming. Fuck that! I changed radio stations. I did not want to hear more. But before I could reach the button, my mother made one final response.

DJ: This is not good for men and their future relationships with their wives.

Mom: People should be thankful. It means that the men will love women.

Interesting. Wonder what Freud would say?

Often I wonder if Freud is for Negroes.

Back to Milton Nascimento.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Long Thursday

I like Thursdays. For me it is really the last day of the week. You are always finishing up something so that it can be presented on Friday. At least in my mind. Especially tests, both giving them to students and taking them. Nothing like a Friday morning test, and a Saturday of grading or a Saturday thanking God the test is over. Don't know why.

So I was too busy to put anything together today -- Thursday. I turned the computer on so late. I am shocked by the number of people that ask me what is going on when I write about it everyday.

Well, almost everyday.

Then again, they do not call me littlemilk now do they?

I saw a film called Second Chance. It is about two churches in Nashville . . . or a fictitious city rather. I see my childhood barbershop in the film. I recognize the projects. One of the main actors is well known in the community and I think I went to high school with him. I know that he married another student from my high school for sure.

It was playing in the movie theater. Believe that!

I came home. We watched The Day After. All 3 hours of the 1983 nuclear mega ton drama. It was eerily reminiscent of Katrina my mother was saying. The comparison was not lost on me, especially the hospital scenes and issues concerning the number of dead bodies accumulating through out the city.

I will see my grandmother next weekend. My father's entire side of the family is showing up in Memphis for her birthday. I have not seen them for a while.

Years.

It will be a post Katrina Thanksgiving.

Things could have been worse for us.

Ciao.

Littlemilk

PS,
Was the Cold War a dream? I watched The Day After in my current context and circumstance. It is a much different fram of reference than the world 23 years ago.

We were that scared.

What are were now?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Broken Winter or the Passion of Gasper the Rescued Beluga Whale

It is over. The drive to Atlanta on Friday looked like winter and the return trip on Monday looked like spring. Buttercups and green were in between every crevice of dirt mounds and bridges, and at moments entire fields of new spring grass glistened in between hills. Especially in the areas just after leaving Chattanooga driving North, and on the other side of Mount Eagle. Those are the most beautiful parts of the drive.

I can't really tell you what went on because the trip was all internal (the Beluga Whales at the aquarium sent my soul soaring and floating. Viva Gasper!). I talked to my cousin about my situation. Not so much the current situation, but my feelings about the past and how it is working out. In short I have outgrown some things and am busy searching for the next road. But is this not the theme of my blog.

It is weird, this is the first time I am acknowledging a private part of my life on the blog, a revelation of self-censorship. I am doing it because I don't want anyone to think that I have stopped writing, it is just that the exploration of my everyday world would be disruptive to some of the people that read my blog and know who I really am. I don't want to say certain things unless I can tell them to their face. Not on my blog. So, I am drawing a line where the frontier is, and in doing so, where the country of my blog will not be.

Talked to Jochencito about everything that I am not revealing on my blog. He wrote me today asking if I will make it to the Germany World Cup. I probably will not, it is simply not a priority. Writing and community are right now, Germany is something else. But I am seeing the same warning signs in the search for a writing community that I saw 7 years ago. Mainly this feeling that the arts and humanities in this country are still affixed to old questions of race and power.

Plus, right now, those in power have pulled out a reactionary culture to the fore, leaving us stranded to only react and not procreate (yes, I meant procreate) an art form that is inclusive of the New World and not this small little dominion of Northern European industrialism and spastic seizures caused by a popular culture detached from the Empire itself. In short, watching BET, E, VH-1, MTV and Bravo followed by CNN, MSNBC, FOX and Public Television makes my stomach turn. They are disconnected. The seriousness of what is happening in the world is not penetrating out public discourse, especially with the young.

And, I am still grappling with it (the turning stomach) and the South. I want to get on with it, but, in a way, the world I am in is a bit combative. It is common knowledge that Southerners don’t leave. They stay put. I don’t mean it literally, but in a cultural sense. I have tons of friends from Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, etc . . . all have family spread all over the world. Not here. I think of New Orleans and my grandmother and my cousins that stayed with me for a year in NJ. They all wanted to get back home immediately. That does change things when I talk about living somewhere else.

I think that most of the people (women, I know no no one else that is African-American) here want me around because they don't have a man, so I am becoming the surrogate mate for a lot of women around me. But I don't know how to tell my community that this is what is happening to ME and that it is unfair. Just because your babies’ daddies are gone. Husbands are dead. Husbands are making a new life. Or your boyfriend is in jail does not mean that I am to fulfill all those things just by placement. I can’t decided if I am nice or if they “make me nice”. And just because my sexuality is a little different than the draconian brothers and the rules that many of these women uphold in looking for the proper mate through vacation bible school and other gatherings does not mean that I am not a man. So, I can't identify with the sense of lose that many have, just cause I like dudes too (I was going to use another word . . . concerning what I like . . . but won’t . . . more self censorship).

And all the above does not even touch this "downlow" stuff. It is really a way of life for some, but when has it not been a way of life for many men that choose to separate a little hunching from the obligations of job and community? And is it only black guys? I don't think so. I am sure it is not actually. Married white guys have taught me a lot . . . in the beginning they actually taught me the most.

So as I start to acculturate and acclimatize to my new old world I see a lot of things (Little Five Points for example) and have had a couple of experiences (too hot to mention) and wonder if this is what I have to work with.

The answer is yes.

The answer is yes.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Deluge

I am so upset about the Gulf I am not sure where to begin.
That feeling that no one understands you in the first place.
And no one in America really cares.
I dare say the Anglos don't care.
I just don't speak French well enough to really say it.
(which is what was nice about yesterday. I spoke the few French words I knew in an accent that the professor from Martinique understood. In Europe people look at you like the earth pushed you up from a mineral spring).
When my grandmother fled to Memphis that was the first time she left the Gulf in ages.
She was born on the Gulf.
Moved to Picayune when she married my grandfather and stayed through 2 more marriages.
She even survived Camille.
Though the rest of the family could not make it to my parents wedding in the summer of 1969 in Alabama,
she did.

Now, I see all the people walking around with plastic bags and it bothers me.

I still have not found friends in Treme.

I know they moved from that neighborhood. But to where I do not know.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Paradises

Last night on Independent Lense I saw a documentary on Oakley Hill III (who I think was Alfred Jarry re-incarnated and Bacchus carnated . . . and I am being for real).

Then I saw the Fanny Lou Hammer Documentary.

Did paperwork.

Went to bed.

Woke up.

Went to Vandy at 2:00 pm. Talked to a professor about Martinique and Guadalope. Had a great time. Talked about Haiti and what is going on. And a bit about the past, grandmothers, their generation of black intellectuals, etc . . . We talked about the Duvalier regime. We also looked at pictures of the family online. Simone, Francois, Jean-Claude and the others. Have not had a discussion like that for months. And no one thought I was weird.

For once.

Sometimes I wonder about the self-imposed isolation that I have started to form. It is not so much the social but the things that are meaningful to me I know longer share so quickly with others. That is life I guess.

Dissertation, even though it is taking forever, is starting to take shape. I have found my focus. I find Firmin and Price-Mars' translations to be long and flamboyant. And funny a little dry at the same time. For us there truths are evident, but for 1895 and 1927 they were profound.

All well.