Friday, August 25, 2006

What Do You Call 6 Naked White Men in A Canoe?

I have kind of been in a cocoon for the past couple of days, eating like a pig. In the midst of all this gluttony I came across this picture, or rather it was sent to me on one of my groups. Take a close look at the background. It is very interesting.

Note: The ad is cut off on the left hand side. It should say Buna Bathtub. The rest of the ad is truncated on the left hand margin also.

The thing that has made this interesting is not just the colored folk in the back and the white men washing in the canoe, it is my review of old material from graduate school now that I am back in New Jersey and have box after box of books to scrounge through. I have been separated from my babies for sometime now.

Right now I am reading "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" (1966) by Jacques Derrida. It is very insightful seeing that the first time I read the article was in undergraduate at Hampton my senior year. Little did I know that I was suppose to master the damn thing 8 months later when I went to NYU. Now, I see things much more clearly. I am convinced that the white folk needed deconstruction more than I did to understand this ad. I am sure that my grandfather opened up a magazine at Fort Campbell in 1944 and was hip to its "meaning".


Thursday, August 24, 2006

For the Love of Rammstein, Pricasso and the Undesirable Skill Set

When I was in college I was in love with this girl in the typical Aquarian manner of not knowing whether to be her best friend or to fuck her. I mention her because I am listening to Prince's B-Sides which probably best describes my sense of heterosexuality -- obsessed and surreal -- smitten with starfish and coffee -- wanting to be freakily her girlfriend and her boy toy at the same time. Maybe that is where the confusion starts for women cause I don't really look like a freak. Back then I was nerdy, linky and quirky, today I am a bit chunkier, hairy and my nerdiness has given way to a bumbling limp wristed brute, but my inner purpleness has stayed the same.

This girl and I used to sit on couches and "smoke", looking at everyone in the room; and in turn, everyone enjoyed our "epiphanies". I think we were fascinated by how people appeared versus how they really were. Those intuitive practices have proven detrimental in my post-undergraduate world where the truth is suspect to profit margins, wasteful spending and the recital of theoretical paradigm shifts that mimic origami.

There were 3 girlfriends that progressed through my life to the soundtrack of Prince: my high; school crush; my fiancee, and the girl my father wanted me to marry, who happens to be Miss Epiphanies Summer of 1992. I don't think anyone in our family is over that relationship. So, in the spirit of those days on the Virginia Coast and the girlfriends that followed I would like to make a list of some observations I have had over the last couple of days.

Man, where do I start. Maybe I am in the Rammstein age now as opposed to Prince. It partly has to do with my time overseas, but now it has to do with the number of cute Latinos that immediately ask me what "Du Hast Mich" means when I tell them where I used to live. I guess I love their music and have spent a couple of lost hours looking at their videos on the world wide web because I never noticed them before. I mean I have heard their music and seen their videos, but not all that stuff the bubbles up underneath them. They are industrial and soft at the same time. They are like the lumberjacks in the black Forest that ride the rivers on freshly cut logs. Or the manual workers that drink their Hefeweissen and Pilz in the red light district. I guess that is part of the attraction. Somewhat sexual, but mostly the romanticized idea of being in a band, or a military unit, or a baseball team. I missed the whole experience. And just recently I realized that in college I was one of only 7 or 8 men in the English department at Hampton and then after that I was at NYU where I was definitely hit over the head by the radical feminist movement hammer and gender bender axe. I was only 21 (have I lamented this before? I think I have.).

Rammstein is like a requiem for me. It is like a secret confession concerning what I lost in terms of male bonding and just being rough. Sometimes I feel like I was railroaded and could have spent my time learning something else about the world beside the healing properties of salt and clay in Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters, or the 19th century upperclass British female angst and alienation of a million dinner parties in Jane Austen's novels. My senior seminar at Hampton was Women in Shakespeare. I had no choice, there was only one seminar. I was the only male out of 30 or so women taking my exam that year. Crazy. I just ran around chain smoking with Miss Epiphanies and watching my dreads grow. But I have started to mourn that lost boyhood where I was spit out of undergraduate seminars into a world where I was looking at myself and other men in such a dirty prism.

After NYU I regained my rights to the clan through some beer binges and evenings at pubs surrounding Rutgers; not to mention, working at the men's Ralph Lauren collection in Macy's at Menlo Park Mall and hearing regular discussions of how my male friends were banging my female friends. I remember at the food court an Albanian gyros stand owner, that must have been 26 or so, told me that life is making money and taking care of a child. Funny he looked like a member of Rammstein. And it was the first time I had heard that sentence from anyone's mouth.

Man, I could have thought of this. Actually, I am a bit upset that I did not. The past couple of days have been sort of a rest up for the new world that I am awaiting to enter. A world where the price of a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo has skyrocketed to above one million dollars. While surfing the net I found a story about Pricasso, an Aussie that paints with his cock. After watching Puppetry of the Penis a couple of months back I have become more than aware of how light hearted people have been (or have become) down under concerning dicks. After watching the ABC Nightline Special on AIDS in Black America, and the controversy over Plan B, I wonder when we will lighten up about our bodies on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. It just might help us talk about our bodies and what we do with them besides feeding them beyond the point of a diabetic or hypertensive explosions. I remember reading about a black pastor in the 1920's that advocated food as a replacement for carnal pleasures. I will have to look this cat up. I wonder what was his effects on the population as a whole, and I wonder what it can tell us about our current state of body consciousness -- dick in hand.

Skill Set
Ok. I apologize, I am about to be cynical. I hate this word "skill set". What does it really mean? When I hear people use it I feel like they have been brainwashed just like the imbecile that came up with the word synergy. It is an impossible term that is used to communicate in very specific language why you can have the job, or why we are not going to train you to do the job. And this American term is so right on point, which is what makes it so dangerous. It is a catch phrase that sums up the situation in a very overstated way. It is a consummerist reflex in out language. It emboldens the speaker because it is a way of turning someone down with very little emotional attachment: "Yep, that is just the way it is. You do not have the skill set we are looking for at this time." It also means that those that master this language know when to use it and how to make things sound clearer in terms of policy, allocation of funds, distribution of responsibility, blah, blah,blah.

Skill Set lays out the bacon in very certain terms, the only problem is that ironically no one has asked about who decides what those skills are. The human resource managers and corporate head hunters of course fondle its meaning, and we all know what a lovely group of people they are. I just think it allows a massive amount of room for pushing people around in little boxes. It is a dirty word that is creeping up in our technocracy that many have confused for entertainment.

Other Blogs
I have been reading a whole bunch of blogs in the past couple of days. I think it is my way of catching up with NYC. I have learned a bunch of things. The New York Press for example is withering away, and with it a time in the late 90's that I remember vividly. I am also finding many blogs by New York writers that have moved away; some of the articles I have found mimic my life choices step by step if not under different guises of credibility. Meghan Daum captures it very brilliantly. Substitute "hip-hop" for the Upper Eastside reality, or Quincy Jones for Jann Wenner or Tina Brown; and, Fabio! I come from the alternate universe where keeping it real became the new literary chic and my black college "I'm Building Me A Home" jubilee suit and tie were just dusty Edwardian threads of a life less than ghetto fabulous. It was much less than the power fantastic to me too, unbeknownst to them. In the end, it did not matter.

Now I am back in NYC. And I have read a million little blogs the last couple of days that have a lot of shirtless brawny celebrities, or are full color bling bling camera phone tricks and treats for you to gobble up hour after hour. I seem to always use more words. My blog always seems to be about me and my head. It is a little embarrassing, no? I have stopped saying I am an aspiring novelist or historian or what have you. Where does writing get you with other people in the end? I am starting to think you just simmer in your own pot, peeking from your cranium now and then to pick up new things for the stew. It could be totally different tomorrow. I could be painting with my prick. It might be fun, especially when you have to adjust the thickness of the brush.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Journey Back

It feels like a holiday. I have been waiting and waiting for people to call and tell me if I have work for the fall. I interviewed on Sunday for a second job on 59th and Lexington. It is nice, non-descript, rich, European, touristy and low traffic. Perfect for me.

The other treat was the first episode of UFC 4. Fantastic. First fight was great.

The big job is still a question. I have passed the time with the Harlem Baker who baked a cake for me so I could take it to S and A and their kids' house. S and I talked for a long time. She has so much to bear and is a totally different person than years ago. But she is not sad nor has she aged. We talked about the sadness that comes with maturity. Not a depression, but a realization of who you are and what you want simply makes some experiences unnecessary. You are old enough to know the outcome, realize that you are wasting your time or circumstances and relationships will not giving you what you really need. So there is little thill in new experiences, cause you have an increasing encyclopedia of them.

I left on Thursday and just got back from THE CITY today. That is what my father calls NYC, with all the foreboding of carnal acts, rude people and a lack of respect for capital.
New Jersey.
The Harlem Baker.
Prospect Park.
An hour to Brooklyn from 145th street on the local B train.
A faster journey to Port Authority on the Q,
but 20 minutes underground by foot with my bags.
An hour and a half on the turnpike and Route 27.
As I slept on the bus there were many voices in my head,
and so many people around me were drowned out by their own iPods.
I think I am overstimulated.

Something in me craves solitude. I dreamt of Vermont last night. Actually, it was a guy named Vermont. His face was unfamiliar, but when he said his name I recognized him from childhood. I wonder what the universe is trying to say. I don't know a John Vermont in real life.

S said she would be willing to go. Maybe we will. But first the beach if E coli if down.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Happened to the Month of May?

I just realized that I did not post anything really during the month of May. I started back working at the Fires of Hell Brazilian restaurant in Nashville. Which reminds me, The Arabian Princess gave me a call from Cashville/Nash Vegas today. He wanted to know if I was going to Ms. A's birthday party at Bar 23. I told him I was in N.J. Then he wanted to know if was going to Cocks in the East Village. The Slut.

Today was an interesting day. My father is distressed that his 11-year-old daughter has been watching Fergy and Kellis's new video (What should I do about apostrophes after names that end with the letter "s"? Does anyone know about adding that extra "s" after the apostrophe? I am never sure. Plus, book editors are much different than magazine and newspaper editors, so I never ask an editor cause I am still confused about commas and the item listed second to the last in a list, just before the word "and".) He says it is soft pornography. My stepmother says that "Check Up On It" is soft porn, but "Deja Vu" is not. It was an interesting conversation. I told dad that The Pussycat dolls were practically burlesque.

My stepmother looked at my sister who was sitting on the couch by the time we got to such details and said "Do you know what burlesque means?"

My sister looked up at me and said "No."

I said in a pendantic and brazenly patronizing manner, "They are strippers who work where they serve martinis."

My stepmother looked at my sister and said, "Do you know what a martini is?"

My sister said, "No."

"Littlemilk, You have to learn how to talk to younger people." my stepmother said in a dry voice (of course she called me by my family nickname, which everybody knows; and, I am certain this oh-soooo-delicious Sting and The Police like anonymity would die an awful death if I revealed that to you. But most people know who I am anyway, and might have used my name so what does it matter anyway?).

Man! Accounts like my stepmother make me tired. They are so matter-of- fact and clear about everything. My sister just looked at me. Then she smiled. Then she went on to humming the lyrics to "Deja Vu." I am the only artist in the family. My father is a biologist. My mother is a retired civil servant. My stepmother is an accountant, a real Ubererbsenzahler who makes lesser penny pinchers piss in their pants and simple minded bank tellers just say "Fuck it!". My other sister is a perpetual student in the art of paper pushing. She is striving to be a medical records Meister. My youngest sister is a natural actress and has already been in 12 plays and she is only 11. Maybe she will be an artist like me. There are no others. My uncles, aunts and cousins are engineers, armored truck drivers, eighteen wheelers, camp counselors, investment bankers, high school teachers, kindergarten teachers, retirement home executives, principals, members of the paparazzi and perpetual takers of the Bar after two previous Masters.

My father had declared early during breakfast that he did not know when we (as in the James Earl Jones in COMING TO AMERICA Royal middleclass Family "we", or just the letters "W" and "E" for the Well E-cheived) started the day off with videos.

"We have always watched CNN first thing in the morning." he said looking out onto the lawn contemplating the brown splotches that look like miniature reminisces of U.F.O landing, his hands aimless circling the brim of a large clear water glass with a soapy sponge.

Well, needless to say, things are changing in our household.

1. My father and I are making some sort of peace. He is not so presumptive about what is good for my life and what isn't. He held up a Christmas picture of me and my "other" sister when I was 5-years-old and she was only 3. We were all smiling then. I wore a brand new blue flannel housecoat and leather slippers, my sister had plaits in her hair. My father asked me if I remembered.

I said "Yeah!", holding back a microscopic tear and trying to enable the cookies on this stupid PC so I can read the New York Times online.

I was generally a happy kid. But later today, while half listening to this 16-year-old girl go ape shit on Dr. Phil, I felt nauseous as the love crazed, Northeastern, plain Jane, harpy accused her then absent from the camera mother of being a liar, as her distraught father tried to figure out what to do. Somewhere in the distant rumbles of the television background noise, I heard Dr. Phil talk about children and the stress of divorce. Ironically, the subliminal messages from the boob tube were being transmitted through my skull, while my stepmother and I were talking about my younger sister choosing not to go to her first dance. "She would have been the youngest one there." my stepmother said with her feet elevated and a cushion positioned neatly in her lap.

Little Sis is already old enough to go to her first dance. I am already part of my father's first failed family. I am part of my mother's previous stint as a single mother (that girl on TV is screaming too fucking loud!).

2. My youngest sister is into everything but still a child. She says I am weird. I believe she is picking up on something but just can't figure out how, or why, I don't fit in. Maybe, it is the manic gardening? Is gardening bisexual? Maybe I should say I am a landscaper? No, that is definitely bi. Well, I am about to dig up some of the shrubs anyway.

3. My stepmother is getting older. She is right. I have a hard time adjusting my speech, humor and mannerisms to those that are younger, say below 16-years-old.

The Harlem Baker said that I have to channel my talent for being a teacher to my family. I have to except the fact that some will get me and others won't. But the problem is, no one gets me; and, I thought at one point, that my youngest sister got me.

But she doesn't.

Maybe, she will come around one day. I didn't really like my first dance either. Actually, I came home and watched television teary eyed. My mother didn't notice as she gave me something to drink (probably orange juice, I luv orange juice). I felt I missed something big that was suppose to happen that night. I figured out then too, that I didn't fit in just right. I had to change something, so I could pass.

I was 13 and in the 7th grade.

Sis' was 11 and in the 6th.

I wonder if it was this May passed (?)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Rebel With a Pause


I need a break. Losing yesterday's blog was really serious. Damn PC's! Gosh I wish I was at home on my Mac! This crashing shit is too dramatic for me. And we had printer problems while my youngest darling sister was working on her project. That stressed me out too. She is bossy and accidentally hit me in the head with the tip of a pool stick, while she was intentionally giving me orders about my coffee cup. She is like my stepmother.

Later I asked if she was going to put her hands on me while I was in the garden, she laughed then thought a second time about being bossy. I still love her. I know I should not encourage this behavior . . . but, I can't help it. She is my little Jersey Girl.

So, I must say that anyone with an 11-year-old anything roaming through their house on two legs, all fours or just stationary in a pot has all my best wishes and much respect. And anyone dealing with a budding 7th grader (my sister is also very gifted) gets mad praise and my humble acknowledgment of gratitude for keeping at bay the compressed energy that is in their bones and threatens to knock out all who inhabit the earth if one of those hormoned challenged children channel all their commotion to their 7th chakra/third eye. My sister and her friends are a cross between Punky Brewster and The Fifth Element!

I am serious.

Like kneeling down in front of a horse while a flaming sword falls into the hand of my 7th grade geography teacher serious.

I have that much newly found respect for her and all that had to deal with me in Middle School/Junior High.

Other than that. Uneventful day. I took my father to the mechanic to get one of the cars fixed.

I listened to my father's Xydeco Willie tape all the way.

I miss French spoken that way. I wonder if it (Cajun/Creole) will survive the New Normal.



Every girl who is sweet and grainy is named Lucille.

Gardening, the Garden State, and Harlem

For the love of God! I just lost a blog!

It was very good. I liked its range. I talked about my father's house, the Harlem Baker, my youngest sister, my stepmother's double hip replacement surgery and my father's silence.

So, I am just going to leave it at that.

Maybe it was just good that I got it out of my system.

I could not say much about my father.

I am not sure if I am in live with the Harlem Baker. It has only been a week. Not even that. A week on Tuesday.

Pre-teens are tiresome beyond belief.

And Leela James is singing Sam Cooke over my speakers.

That is my new normal.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Misfits of Science

Misfits of Science

Now, that Logo by broadcasting brothers in tight underwear on national television, not to mention that bubbalicious light skinned doctor , has changed my life for the better I have a confession to make. I am a You Tube addict. And it has changed my life forever.

Today, after printing out all these possible places for me to apply for work in Manhattan, the tune for Misfits of Science came to my mind. I can't remember the year it came out, but it must have been around 1985 or 86. The theme song had this great eighties technotronic beat machine industrial post-new wave neon coloured valley girl construction to it. And the girl who sang it was really singing. She had pipes and could lay waste to all its complexity. I used to just sit in front television and listen to the opening theme song then change the channel. Which many people obviously did because it did not stay on the air that long.

Anyway, I found this obscure gem on You Tube after a life time of not hearing it. You Tube is changing our world forever. This memory became physical on the cyber plane today. Maybe it is just me, maybe I have been living in a hole. But I feel freakin' great.

And tell me how could I not know that I was different from the other boys when I was listening to this.

High Faggotry or The Importance of Spades and Fried Chicken

Holy Hell Logo! Where have I been for the first season of Noah's Arc?

Living in a house in Tennessee with only basic cable, that's the hoppin' John where.

Rarely, if ever, do I get up and start to blog directly after a television program in the middle of the night, but I have just seen two episodes of Noah's Arc and I am really hooked. Not just that, it is the raw giddy side of black gay life that is really spectacular. The "chul'dren" are dropping the irony and double entendre like a well rehearsed vaudevillian encore.

"You better kick bitches!"

Sorry, the inner butch queen voguing femme was just released. Maybe I need to name that alter ego. Plus Jodi Watley's version of "Borderline" was playing at the end of the episode. Damn, I don't know fellas, her new album of remakes is bound to bring out the icing over the yellow cake.

I guess looking at the show I see a lot in it that pulls at my heart strings because I have been to the club attached to my friends like a bunch of lion cubs; on the three way trying to make things right; and, at the parking lot eyeing the candy outside the store. And in away I have been in all the character's shoes, sometimes simultaneously, but most of the time unbeknownst to my everyday world. Flashback Germany (except for the clubs). Flashback Publishing (too busy fooling with the chicks). And fast forward to the family reunion in 2007 (extend Black families just don't understand).

So, as soon as I get some money I am buying the first season on DVD. And as soon as I get a chance I am going to talk to the Harlem baker about this. He is Noah and I am the guy with corn rolls at this junction of our St. Nick strolls. I think. But he knows more than me. He seems to be in the world, I have been up to my neck in books for the past couple of years.

In my previous life (the mid to late 90's) I was part of an underground culture championing the rights of the homeless kids in Time Square or watching the booties shaking at Stella's or Cats on any given weeknight before waking up and going to a 9 to 5. Now, eight years later, I am part of a mainstream ambisexual event complete with television shows, political engagement and a boiling down of queerities that strangely aspire to be more inclusive, but can still drive a wedge between us under the guise of Down Lows and Metrosexuals. Can I just hook up with a hairy muscle bound mechanic? I saw one yesterday with two earrings in his ear? Do the rules still apply.

Regardless, I feel reborn, like I can't fuck old way anymore; the ball trophy I want is New Way. I am too young to be legendary, but I am old enough to remember all this coloured gay life before it was this glamorous. I remember it when it was dangerous to utter it, and that I am glad to see change. But, unfortunately, it is still dangerous to live it, and that may not change for a while.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Aristocrats

I saw this movie The Aristocrats last night on HBO 2. It was absolutely hilarious and jovially disturbing. I want to buy it and show it to all of my friends. And I want to buy the soundtrack as soon as I get some money. I have a new appreciation for stand-up comics. Especially Penn and Teller as they talked (not really, only one of them talks) about art and it being about the "singer" and not "the song".

Comedians seem like a great fraternity to belong to.

I should join.

And if that was not enough, my youngest sister who is going to the 7th grade did her impression of Nicole from Cycle 5 of America's Next Top Model and New York from Flava of Love Season One this morning after returning from a sleep over.


Saturday, August 12, 2006


Not much to report. I went to 2 block parties in Harlem around St. Nick. One of them was a street renaming in the honor of The Dance Theater of Harlem. Then had two red velvet cupcakes made by the Harlem baker and a cup of espresso. I also watched him toil in the garden on his street corner. I left Brooklyn and made it home to New Jersey where my parents had bought me Chinese food.

They are very, very nice and giving.

So, I guess I will just sit here and think for a while. I have to wait for my job interview results. The week has been all encompassing, with much to take in from the city and problems to solve. But for the first time in 6 years I heard a live jazz band on the streets of Harlem and received blessings from a missionary family in Spanish screaming Jesus Loves You over a bull horn after glances to the right produced great mental snapshots of Yankee stadium and the frontier across the East River known as the Bronx.

After a week of looking through the Village Voice and reading about gentrification in the New York Press, I wonder what is going to happen to all of us who hover around the island of Manhattan. Is this madness sustainable? I think that is the appeal and great failure of New York, it just keeps collapsing on itself over and over like a man shuffling a deck of cards.

But today of all days, I should have took my camera. There was a lot to see and report.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I didn't do anything today but watch A while back, while I was in Nashville watching DVD's with my best friend, I remember us having a conversation about how I needed a vacation from my everyday life. Nashville was great for physical healing, but it was not helping nor producing anything else for my career or sanity after a certain point.

So, today I took such a vacation. There was a brief feeling of guilt because I could be out looking for work at a temp agency or calling people I know from the publishing industry. But I would as soon as not bother. It would just mean the real American rat race of a cup of Joe, two eggs on a roll with beef sausage from the Yemenite bodega near my subway and a Daily News; plus, having my balls chewed off by a successful New York PR firm executive that finds my attitude less than "serious'' because she can't get over the fact that I finished her simple stapling assignment and seem clueless to the fact that her newly Manhattanite blue-blooded-booty by marriagte gave three fifths of a shit to contact the same temp agency and hire me for a third day. "Most other firms would not let their interns let alone temp workers be entrusted with such an important task." she would say taking off her glasses and leaning over the desk, barely inhaling to recite her austere filth with a stationary set of molar and lips spread thin over a her patrician canines.

Fuck da Bitch!

So, I stayed home and watched There were some great little films by some Swedish teenagers or twenty somethings that I thought were really funny. And I saw a great short from Mexico that dealt with violence and fags in the public toilets. I should link think them, but I will do that later.

Another interesting thing happened on Wednesday August 9th. I went out with the Harlem baker. First lunch at Republics, followed by a stroll in the village, a visit to the Adidas store and finally coffee at Cafe Borgia II.

There is a little used bookstore on Mercer I think, just south of 4th. We went in together, and to make a long story short (I could not see the categories because I have lost my glasses again, so I had to deal with the book attendant's sly, dry non-verbal stoic rancor), the Harlem baker told me upon exiting that he found the place too dry to stay inside. In fact, he had slipped away while I was looking for a copy of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus because I had to turn mine into the library before coming up North. I bought a postcard with Wittgenstein's picture as a consolation prize and am using it as a bookmark.

There was something about the baker's frankness in the matter that caused a bubbling realization to formulate and hit me in the face like a succession of bricks. He just did not like the atmosphere of the bookstore, so he left. I feel that an intellectual would stay in such a situation to figure out what the problem is, why it feels wrong. And there my friends, is where the problem lies for our type of folk.

Well, I am done with that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Awaking to the Terror Plot Or How My Insulin Victory May Turn Sour

I was in Brooklyn, sleeping on the living room couch of Sylvie and Andre, trying to get my head around a little romance that has been brewing between me and a baker from Harlem and the anemic cash flow that is effecting my quality of life in the Big Apple when I hear Soledad O'Brien say something about a terrorist plot and dangerous liquids in plastic bottles.

I went back to sleep.

This has been a problem of mine. Lately, if I must sleep alone, I have to have the TV on and the volume down low. A friend of mine said it is a sign of loneliness. I have not talked to my counselor about this, but insert the Harlem baker into my bed and this little quirk does go away.

Anway, I awake about 2 hours later at 9:00 am to hear that all shit has broken loose and if you are flying anywhere in the country or overseas then no liquids are allowed in carry-on-bags. Nor can you drink your last can of Arizona Ice Tea's Watermelon Punch that your jiggaboo ass bought in bulk at Sam's Wholesale Club. Isn't that a hot ass mess of a situation? Not that I discourage it or think that it is invasive; it is just very serendipitous that I just got finish writing about my airplane flight from Nashville to NYC and outlined in detail my the condition of my bad nerves and how my insulin pump could be mistakened for a bomb that is strapped my body.

Later that day, through all of the coverage, I heard another CNN reporter list all the exceptions to the rule . . . insulin is on the list.

OK. Cool. But my name must always be on the prescription bottle. I remember when I first became diabetic I used to just buy the insulin without a prescription, but in the last 10 years a bottle has gone from 30 dollars in this country to 60 dollars. So, I don't do that anymore. But the other thing that is nerve racking is that I have thrown away all of the boxes that contained my Novolog short acting insulin and my Lantus long acting insulin. I just have the little bottles. The problem is that my name and prescription numbers are written on the box. The carrying cases for insulin and needle are made to hold viles of insulin not boxes . . . they won't fit in my refrigirated cases any other way.

I wonder what other restrictions I will have to endure in the future? Am I the canary in the mine shaft, experiencing first hand the restrictions of our new American society that is beginning to look more and more like an Israeli security style state? I love the way the conservatives have boiled down all drastic changes of public policy and societal regulations into advertising agency outsourced sound bites like "The New Normal." Our consumerist society is very receptive to digesting information in this way. Is this fashion? No, it is not! It is as much fashion as my insulin pump is an accessory.

I mean, first I am treated like a fucking crackhead by the granola children at Wild Oats in Green Hills. Not to mention the William Sonnoma incident where the bitch told me I could not afforn anything in the story. Then, I can't marry my boyfriend. Now I can't fly.

Funny, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem seem so safe to me now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book Survey

Mendi O. sent me some questions about books the other day. And after reviewing her answers I thought it was a great way to find out how others approach books and what makes them tick artistically. So here we go.

1. Book that changed your life?
Alejo Carpentier's Kingdom of This World/El Reino de Este Mundo is number one on my list for a million reasons. I did not understand baroque and its use in the literary until I read it. It is also skeletal and delicate in a way, especially the parts where Pauline Bonaparte contracts yellow fever, and the black servant caressing the stone effigy with his hand the same way he massaged her in life. It also made the Creole world available to me and turned me into a surrealist or maybe a surrealist reformer. Carpentier's life also became my idea of what an artist/intellectual is in many ways. I am not finished with this book, his other novels, his work on music nor his life. It is a life long masterpiece for me.

2. One Book You Have Read More Than Once?
I am embarrassed to say that I am not really a person that reads stuff over and over. Books that I have combed through more than once are rare. But there are a few. So, for the sake of picking one that I have chomped down on more than once, I would have to say that Tar Baby by Toni Morrison is that book . Sometimes it is for what I feel is a fractured love story; sometimes it is because I like to contemplate Valerian; sometimes it is to pick over Ondine and her family's blessings and curse; and at other times it is for the shear imagery and characterization. I also like her narrative voice in this novel; it is very matter of fact. The book is NOT my favorite of Morrison's, but it is far from imperfect. Its span is so wide that the holes in the narrative become ornate in a way. Paris, New York, the Caribbean and the uninhibited spirit of dreadlocked, horse backed, maroons riding in the middle of the night meld back and forth with no real center axis. All the characters are believable; it is the situation that I am still trying to figure out with every reading. There is something very isolated about the character interactions that make it an enjoyable problem in the end.

Screw it, there is another. I could read The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles everyday of the week.

3. One Book on a Desert Island?
This is a hard one. I think maybe Tropics of Capricorn, Tropics of Cancer or Nights in Clichy by Henry Miller. There is something that still captivates me about Miller. I started reading him in my senior year of high school, and I could not get a single page. Every time I picked up one of the Tropics it felt like a different story to me. I guess I am addicted to personalities as much as books. I remember watching Reds when I was pretty young, maybe 8 or 9, and being totally amazed by all those people that were interviewed. He was the most captivating personality to me before I knew who he was. That 20th century world in all its funk and power is what I would want to read about on a desert island if time is not an issue.

4. One Book That Made You Laugh?

Groove, Bang and Jive Around by Steve Cannon, which also gave me a raging hard on in the first couple of pages.

5. One Book That Made You Cry?
The end of Ben Okri's The Famished Road made me feel really melancholy and tearful I must say. I enjoyed that book beyond all others in so many ways. His work is unbelievable. There were points of extreme comical farce and there was a level of sadness that underscored absolutely everything in his imagery. I can't even describe how it made me feel and how it made me think about writing. His spin on Magical Realism is the closest to melding the everyday spiritual connections allowed in many African cultures and the sure slide of the marvelous, both act as a wonderful floor board for such strong imagery.

6. One Book You Wish You Had Written?
by Patrick Chamoiseau and the fact that it was written in a Creole dialect and won the Grand Concourt is even a greater accomplishment for what it has done for story telling. I also like the fact that it is written almost as two novels. The first half is a daughter telling the story of her father and is written in the second person. It ends with a wonderful tribute to the father spoken by the daughter. The second half of the novel is the speaker telling her interviewer about her life. There, it shifts to first person. And in the course of these two lives we see the history of Martinique.

I wish that I could have written that book in the sense that I could never have written that book. It is Chamoiseau's superhuman linguistic attentiveness and the social consciousness he brought in writing a master piece in Creole that makes it great. Don't get it twisted, I only read the translation. I wonder if one day I will be afforded the opportunity to understand the novel in the original language. In that way, I wish I had such abilities to write in a totally different language.

7. One Book You Wish Had Never Been Written?
That stupid On the Down Low by J.L King. It is like, "Please, give it a rest". Do most women believe that black men have a penchant for sleeping with one another any more than other social and ethnic groups? The author feeds into very anti-male themes and ideas . . . i.e., the reasons there are no good black men around. Plus, it is divisive in a very toxic way. Does sexuality always have to be discussed in terms of deviance from social norms and Terry McMillan dreams? I guess it does.


8. One Book You are Currently Reading?
Michel Foucault's The Order of Things
. I can't even talk about it this dude gets me so mixed up, connected, disconnected, energized and zapped all at t he same time. And I am only on chapter one, which is a magical chapter.

9. One Book You Have Been Meaning to Read?
by James Joyce. I want to read that book so bad that I can taste it, but I need more time. Don Quixote is another one that is on my list.

10. Now Tag Five People
Well, let's see. I guess I will ask some friends. Angryblackbitch is number one on the list. Then maybe jockohomo. Pissed Off Pencil is a good blog. I will have to think of two more.

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Brooklyn Flight In One Paragraph

OK. I made it to Brooklyn, Prospect Park to be exact. There is a lot to say about what I see, but let's talk about the Nashville airport. The hardest thing was the airport security check. A man just walked by with a cell phone in his hand and was not stopped by anyone until he was well into the screening area. The brother behind me said that if it had been either one of us we would have been down on the ground with a gun on the back of our necks. And I agreed, loudly and boastfully as many an African is likely to do in such situations. Then the little black security lady with pearl chained glasses promptly took my ticket and had me thoroughly checked at a random screening. It was interesting because I did not know what to do with my insulin pump, and had actually thought about it on the way to the airport. It is one of those boundaries that I have to constantly cross in terms of learning to live with a tube coming out of my stomach which is attached to a machine in my pocket. In all honesty, the order of my machine dependency and development has been as follows: first, learning how to wipe my ass and pull up my pants after taking a shit and not breaking the pump, getting tangled in the cord, or straining my ass muscles so as not to turn into a stinky mess in turn sacrificing the sanitation of all the parts involved in my well being; second, learning how to fuck with a machine connected to my stomach without a belt or pocket to hang the damn thing on, plus not freaking out the object of my affection because of a fear of needles or cat herders (I just take the thing off to tell the truth); and third, how to get through airport security with a what looks like a detonator and tubing attached to my body. I always have been in awe of the Korean War Veteran with a plate in his head, or the matador that has a rod in his thigh after being skewered and severed on an unusually cool day in 1967. I imagined that I too belong to that legion of people, as I inconspicuously left Nashville for Brooklyn. "Should I have procured a note from my doctor?" I asked myself in bed a nana-second before the sleep fairy came in and busted my jaw. I then asked again on the way to Nashville International with my best friend and her three daughters on Interstate40 East, as the heat and weighed down the car, making me feel like I was traveling submerged, in some warm lagoon. It was very eventful. First I was set off to the side. Then I was moved into a small waiting area that is paneled off with clear plastic dividers. All was normal after that. They x-rayed my bags and I put my change and the machines in the nasty little box. I should have kept it on, but I guess I did not want any stuff from security. They make me nervous. Then after that, I went to a state of the art screening section where I had to sit down and lift my shoes. Then they did this swab test on my bags. I immediately thought of the swab AIDS test. Isn't the AIDS disease like a terrorist in some ways? It is part and parcel of our times, these swabs for evasive rogues that have no country or species. I don't know. Why don't you sit and discuss it. There were two people working on my bags. The first was a tall lanky gentleman who was of that physical type that leaves you wondering how old he is and very Tennessean in that Johnny Appleseed sort of way. There was something liberal arts educated about him, and there was something authoritative about him, but there was also something that was too cruel, too much like the real thing. There was something reminiscent of a public servant or official that is going to order your hands chopped off for stealing or deportation to Siberia for holding contraband sardines from North Africa in your cupboard. In the plastic tray he found my pump and held in his palm in this very dandy manner, like it was either a diamond pried from the stone socket of a bejeweled monkey or a dissected hummingbird pried open to view her bloated entrails. He turned his head and looked at me with a very serious tone and said: "You should have kept this on." Was it embarrassing? No it was not. It was annoying because I take the thing off all the time and drop it in my gym bag, on a park bench or the bathroom counter to exercise or shower. His blue gloved held it very plainly and his disgust was apparent. I simply glanced at the second attendant who was juggling though all of my diabetic supplies scared of the needles and vials of insulin. She unzipped every glucometer and caring case. Her tenseness was apparent and in the end she told me she did everything as to no compromise the sterile condition of my supplies. I said "Thank you. By the time I left I felt I had passed the test. Airport security, needles, pumps and tubes. Shitting, Fucking, Airport Security. It is now crossed off the list.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Nashville City Limits

I think I am pretty good at packing. It is very interesting. My whole life is chaos in motion, but all I need is to see a suitcase and I can have a year's worth of mischief organized and doing my bidding by lunch time.

I am running late and cannot really write because I got to be out of here by 4pm. I have been quiet most of the morning. My mother is doing better than I thought, and things are a bit painless actually. It is funny. I have been here almost exactly a year and a half, just as a shaman down on Ellington Place told me. I got to e-mail his ass when it is time to find an apartment in NYC. You know what I mean?

Last night was hard. I took my 3 god-daughters shopping for school clothes. Enough said. 12, 10 and 9. Macy's 3rd floor.

So nothing else to report. I busted my knee after voting. Fell off a sidewalk in front of a church. It is funny. Some of the council members are the same people I saw when I was graduating from high school 16 years ago. They were all in the church parking lot with signs. We are all extremely overweight. But they are all older people now. No one in my generation was out there campaigning. And I was among the youngest at the polls.

When I come back I am going to spend some time in the country. Out east. Maybe things will be different there for me. I like Tennessee, I just could not find my groove here in Nashville, but there is a big change coming. We will just have to wait.

Right now, it is a festive war with the gays, the singles, the northerners, the retirees pitied the evangelicals and their families. We will see what happens. All I have seen in the clubs is drugs and men acting like 8th grade girls and Latinas straight from the border looking for a husband. And a change coming up to th constitution concerning gay marriage. But, if they do not make it without a referendum and only by decree, we will have more to worry about.

It makes me dizzy.

But there is flavor here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fried Clams and Rumsfeld Give Me Gas

I woke up at 7 am. Had gas and went back to bed. Between the family reunion planning, my sister being here from Houston, my interview, packing, and trying to get into a NY state of mind I feel a bit stressed. Like a low grade migraine on my inner peace. I also think that fried clam dinner I had last night has contributed to my sluggishness. I had major gas.

So upon rising, talking to my sister, and finding Rolaids I heard on CNN that Rumsfeld had finally agreed to a meeting with Congress; and, everyone was happy that he showed up in that waspy, American "legal/corporatese", dry, tight-lipped irony that is so funky.

The first words I heard out of Rumsfeld mouth were like tepid swamp water. He said that he believed that we are seeing what war will look like for the 21st century.

"Fine" I thought.

Then he went on to talk about the war on terrorism as a clash between systems and it is not being fought in the traditional way.

At this point my mother stops roaming through the house (she finds dirt where I just don't see it) and sits at the dining room table.

"Bogus." I said to my mother, "Every war is about a clash of systems or cultures with tactical differences."

Mom laughed and started to clap during varying parts of the imperial congressional questioning. I continued to talk under my breath. She would then laugh again at my jokes. I must say in the last year and a half I see that my mother has always been much more politically active than most people take her to be. It has had a great influence on my view of the world. Southerners are very much about appearances, and what people really think is always masked pretty well. I lost some of that in NYC. Now I see its usefulness.

Anyway, back to another episode of Hogan's Heroes and American military policy . . .

It is simple. Rummie and the other cronies make the assumption that if you are poor and not white then you probably can't think and interact with your environment. So, the subtext of the apology that they were trying not to give was: "Sorry, the coloured folk are not behaving the way we thought. And when they do behave and take responsibility for their nation-state then we will claim victory. But, until then the failure is due to their inability to take the opportunity we have offered."

I let it out at the television. "Learn Arabic so you stop signing up militia fighters!" I screamed. "It is a no brainer for the insurgents." I continued.

Needless to say, Congress let it out on Rummie today. No one even stayed for the full thing. Senators just got up and left. McCain drilled them military style. Kennedy asked questions about the numbers of troops and put the conflict within the context of other military feats and wars. Hillary Clinton gave a damn English senior thesis on Rumsfeld's failure; and, all the others let up little on the pressure with number crunched questions and repetitive statements concerning Iraqi troops "standing up" and the US "standing down". I am starting to feel a bit of the indifference towards our military leaders that is circulating everywhere. Congress, in general, wants to take the war policy to task and I don't blame them. It is nerve racking.

McCain hinted at the fact that the militia has infiltrated the Iraqi military and police force, but no one wants to just say that we have helped armed a major part of the insurgency that seems to inch toward civil war like a silk worm.


My gas dissipated. I have to get a hair cut and prepare a lesson. There is also a new restaurant opening. Owner is nice enough. He told me to try the shrimp and grits. I will. I would go with friends of mine, but they are going to a campaign function. 150 per person. I ain't got it to give. I am just going to cast my vote this afternoon. It is election day in Nashville. People I went to high school with are running for office.

It's wild.

Life is wild.


The Migrant

I got a post from Das Experiment.


What a screwed up situation!

I wonder if he knows?


But he is sitting in the same spot on the Swiss/German border and I am moving yet again . . . What does that say about European social system? I tell you what it says: "Many people don't learn to work and make a life by themselves!"

America is not so bad after all

who needs love when you can get a 401K and a 2nd job.

I am being cynical.

And I am not.

But it is the truth.

I would be lying if talking to him, now and then, doesn't make me feel like writing.

I have been caught up in a ton of things dealing with man to man love lately. I have been reading about Wittgenstein for example. And I must say I have a new found appreciation for him. I also watched all of season 4 of OZ except for the last season. I love Keller! I might buy the that box set just to keep him for prosperity. I also saw the Sopranos season 4 I believe. It was very, very, very good. It is a different type of man-to-man love. I am toping this love fest with Terry Eagleton's After Theory. Feels good. I am after all trying to turn into a historian, and Eagleton puts the intellectual history of the Western world in good perspective. I am a man that needs broad strokes when cerebrally masturbating.

All of this was what I was doing before I left for Europe 5 years ago. I lived in NYC. I worked at a publishing company. My agent worked for HBO and moonlighted on the side finding me some gigs. The both of us will be back in business soon I am sure. Plus I was running trying to get some perspective on an intellectual world that was tossing me around like Dante. There was the Paradise in Harlem, Edwardian purgatory in Gotham Book Mart and Hell on Earth at Dorling Kindersley. I was in my 20's. It is Ten Years now since I walked into that publishing house. Wow!

I got an interview in NYC. Tuesday. If it works, then the long rest here in Nashville will be over.

It will be different this time around.

I will have my Terry Eagleton in hand and my eyes wide open.