Monday, January 29, 2007

A Snapshot Of A Conversation About Ms. Scott

Today, while doing inventory and eating some of the food that our co-workers brought in I overheard two ladies and one guy talking about not understanding Jill Scott's Family Reunion track.

It went a follows:

"I don't understand it, listen . . . listen to that . . . did you hear . . . listen, listen . . . she sings about scallions and then says celery. It is a weird song. I just don't understand it."

I feel like a college instructor in everyday clothes, and I was just about to leap across the counter and pull out a flow chart . . .but I did not. I just looked and took note, and I let them see that I was looking at them and taking note. What could she not understand, I guess it was the songs articulation and the ROUNDNESS OF THE SOUNDS.

I felt sorry for them. Like their hearts are closed off, but by no fault of their own. I need to liberate my office space. There is some bad vibe in it . . . but maybe it is just who we are . . . in that space.

They don't represent everybody.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Conversation with Tony

I talked to a childhood friend of mine for the first time in almost 10 years. Two memorable quotes from the conversation that focused on music for about 30 minutes out of a two hour conversation (as with all my childhood friends):

Unbeached: Yeah, man. I dig My Chemical Romance. They are amazing. If the Cure and Queen had a child together it would have been named My Chemical Romance.

Tony: Dude, it even all that. It is something like the Roots, they deep, but without all the Toni Morrison grooves in it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Skooter Libby Libby Libby Canned Pineapples


I guess I am back to living in America for real, I am personally caught in a medical care vs. other bills crossfire. It is demeaning, that is all I can say right now, and I am thinking more and more about issues of the chronically ill. Something is really wrong with how I am being treated by the insurance industry, medical industry and financial institutions. And the answer, "Why should you be any different from anybody else." is really fueling a brighter fire in my head and heart. What a convenient lie that is to keep people from believing they can't organize against something as ghastly as not being able to pay for the medicine that enables you to have life. My answer to that question will now be, "Because you should be treated different from everybody else also."

I would love to talk about Scooter Libby, but I will talk about my new found love for Tom Sizemore and the show Shooting Sizemore (it sounds like a porn star's documentary, but he is one now). I know, I know. This is another boring train wreck via the idiot box (and who does the idiot box better than VH1? - - NO ONE ELSE!). But I do have a soft spot for Robert Downey Jr. and it goes into overhaul for Tom Sizemore (Mickey Rourke could have achieved a spot in my sublime pantheon, but his plastic surgeon ruined it for me).

This second tier love has to do with the fact that they are tormented artist first and foremost, but it is also the whole tie me up, tie me down self abuse they are trying to deliver themselves from. Drugs, strange sex habits and spurts of anger are interesting things to follow while they are doing great work like Saving Private Ryan, True Romance and Natural Born Killers. They are Hollywood IT men turned to Charles Bukowski chic parodies of themselves, who must overachieve to survive themselves. I love it! There is something very American about this process as we move from 15 minute of fame culture to an entire "television season" of fame that knocks the facade clean off (with careful editing of course). It goes back to the idea of confession as redemption, but now we have the added twist of "reformation" that we have not seen until our technological age. To relapse is to be both witness and witnessed. Weren't the puritans wonderful people!

I was captivated from the time Sizemore sitting with a facial mask in the Northern light of a Canadian sun chomps down on a spoonful of oatmeal. The effect is an illuminate ultra-violet glow to his smooth facial mask which contrasts with the rest of the room. He is a kabuki actor, even on his off time. His anxiety, his particular flavor of angst, his past, his isolation, his career and his detachment from drugs mixes into an everyman close-up, a broken metrosexual, a heterosexual alien munching on Quaker instant Oats.

On top of that he has a personal assistant named Luree. I need a Luree in my life. She reminds me of the inventory managers and female truck drivers I dealt with in LaVergne, Tennessee. Chain smoking, screaming, yelling, realistic, one-day-at-a-timers and aware of how to take care of every little situation in every paper ridden detail. Luree, like them, is a good reader of character. They are a perfect match. Luree is like a barren wet nurse that knows nothing about delivering babies, wiping asses or singing a cradled enfant to sleep. She simply knows how to keep a grown man to task.

So, between I Love New York (which is a total hot mess), and Shooting Sizemore my television consumption is pretty consistent. BBC, Euronews, Fox's Soccer Channel and Rome fall through New York and Sizemore's natural rhythm. I don't watch, Lost, Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy or The Amazing Race. CNN is becoming boring now that it focuses basically on child abductions/molestations and the 2008 election. And a good number of shows on PBS don't catch my eye anymore in a world where things are so evident to me.

I spend most of my time on the computer. My media diet consists more and more of old 70''s and 80's footage of Fela Kuti, Nina Simone and Paulinho da Viola. Then there is the required time on and, not to mention networking and talking about work with former colleagues.

So, Scooter, I am sorry, I just don't have the time to follow you the way I want.

This guy is pretty intriguing. His silence and face betray a lot to me . . .

And to Lindsay Lohan, I did not even know who you were until last year. Gosh, there is so much interest in you and that former Miss America that it makes me nervous. Please, who cares. I wish you the best in gaining weight and I sincerely wish that one beer was enough for you. You are so young, maybe not even 21 if a year over that, hell.

There is so much to live for and to explore, don't do it all at once.

And, Fergie, I just listened to the lyrics of "Fergalicious" for the first time. Nice production. Nice delivery. And I just heard your speaking voice on the VH1 commercial for the Superbowl show. Girl, you sound like a black girl. But for the life of me I can't remember which one you were on Kids Incorporated.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mississippi Goddam (Free Styling about My Life and the State of The Union)

I woke up to Nina Simone and Mississippi Goddam.

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

I guess I identify. Everything seems to be moving too slow, especially on the race and gay marriage stuff in the Volunteer State. And in the end I am wondering what the real motivations for migrations and ex-patriotism are. Looking at me and Nina at 4:44 am in the morning I am starting to think that it is almost a primordial/patriarchal/matriarchal Freudian response (take your pick) to what is around you. A feeling of a betrayal that prompts self orphanage.

When younger I was enamoured by Huckleberry Finn.

I am dwelling on this with Nina a bit more than normal this morning because I used to sing with some of her former musicians in a gospel choir. And everyone that was in Germany that was African American was running from something out of a sense of deep betrayal. I guess, I was one of that number.

Looking at the State of the Union address, I started to think about my choir director, the professional singers that I knew, and a vibraphonist whose story on how he came to Germany still sticks with me (its that personal, that I just can't say). Condoleezza Rice's face on the PBS coverage of the speech spoke volumes about where we are now in this historical moment. She was dressed in black like at a funeral, and the darkness in her eyes was so complete and shadowed it declared something else about her well being besides being tired. It is terrible what it actual takes to become successful in the this country when you are coloured. I listen to the way black folk speak, from successful NFL coaches to leading politicians and I can't help but get this sense that you have to get with the party line. And the only thing about this mega-assimilation that I can gleam is that I am not following the right steps. I guess my hesitation comes from the inevitable change so well mapped out by Jill Nelson in her book Volunteer Slavery.

You set out to change the system, and the system changes you. Jill said it so correctly.

Maybe me listing to Nina was a premonition. I didn't find any joy in the occassion. Justice is a hard thing.

So is letting go.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The classic song that plays in my head all the time.

Black Box-I Don't Know Anybody Else

The Over-Cooked (but still delicious)

I have always felt Martha Wash deep deep down. Black Box is this weird contradtion in my heart and always will be.

Nina Simone: Feelings

The Raw

I stumbled upon this one. It somehow fits the other two in a weird way. Nina is talking about love inspite of the heart's anti-optimism. Is'nt that what happens to us all overtime.

I am still fighting this weird version of writer's block, but this brought me back to earth tonight. So, I wanted to share it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ode to Socks

OK. I have caught a cold. And I am doing my usual thing to get over it which involves a couple good nights' sleep, drinking fresh lemon tea, and some drugs. It works very well only if you call out from work the day you start to feel sick and fight for at least 48 hours. If not, then you will be really sick before your body gives out and the rest is history . . . it will take a week or weeks to get rid of it. I advise fighting it when it is a scratch in your throat or a runny nose and don't give the evil germ an inch in terms of settling in your respiratory system, your head or your nasal cavity.

So, while in the kitchen today, I tell my stepmother that I had a revelation, I need to where socks. I live downstairs in the basement where there is an office for working, pool table for boredom and a long bar for stacking all my books. It is very cold downstairs as compared to upstairs, so my winter long habit of no socks has been abandoned in the wake of my cold.

I meant my statement to be a joke, but my stepmother immediately starts shouting at me telling me that as a diabetic I always need to wear socks, and that I just choose not too. OK, here's a list of issues.

1. The majority of diabetic information, magazines and promotional gimmicks are designed for the elderly -- so, sometimes I feel like all of the precautionary measures make me feel old. I don't particularly like house shoes because they make me feel like the guy from Father Knows Best, and I prefer beach shorts and long sleeve shirts in the winter. Just me.

2. If I am not wearing socks those that have me under dietary (and now podiatric) surveillance think I am not "fighting for my life".

3. I should wear socks because cuts on my feet may not heal, though my healing rate from minor surgery 9 years ago and the removal of a rotten tooth that shattered into 3 pieces in my mouth 2 years ago were above average. I have said it before, I am a fast clotter and heal on cue. For how long? I don't know, but I knock on wood.

4. I don't like this perception that every waking moment is a fight for my life. No one in my family talks to me about my love life, my professional life, or my life as an artist anymore. I am just the sick member of the family.

5. Being treated constantly as a sick person is a form of being a none person because everybody knows what is best for me from food, to clothing, to work, to insurance, etc . . . Maybe they should make the decisions. There is also this perception that you are not living "right", because you are sick. I have encountered that among a lot of people, especially African Americans when I first came down with the disease. I could give a million stories about going to the pharmacy and elders not letting me leave without shedding a tear for me while I am trying to make an appointment across town. I will leave that for a later blog.

6. The soles of my feet are red and show good circulation. I know this from conversations with several doctors. Which are private and I should not have to recite my discussions with doctors all the time. But sometimes I do in the mist of reaching for something to drink from the refrigerator.

7. My protest at being interrogated this afternoon was looked upon as having a "shitty attitude". I understand that people are concerned, but I don't like being talked to with a raised voice and a critical eye and then stand blindly in the face of such preaching. Why do I not get to ask questions of other peoples behavior, even if they are correcting me?

8. People constantly come to me telling me what they "heard" about diabetics, but no one talks to me about what I know about being a diabetic. I have been one for 12 years, I do know a thing or two.

9. The same people that have all this new found concern after 12 years of not really asking are pissed when I buy diet soda because they think it is selfish because no one else can have any.

Now, I write this list because I think being diabetic is as much an identity crisis fought against a backdrop of those that are not diabetic, as it is a medical issue. There are several assumptions made about you and who you are. To voice any consternation about how the non-diabetic perceives you is to have a "shitty attitude" about your own health.

To say that you have a problem with what seems to be a small rule, like socks, because it is not "you" invites the response by the non-diabetic (who could be channeling a recent memory of their grandmother's foot amputation) that "your opinion does not matter" in terms of your health. It is the same as saying that "you" do not matter. And to go further and say, "Hey, I need some help dealing with this Father Knows Best Conservative Republican Subconscious Issue behind my objection to the rule" is lost in the commotion. It is probably dealt best with another medical/psychological professional than by the person pointing out your lack of self worth because you are not wearing socks. To not listen to a diabetic while passing judgement is dangerous. How would you react to someone saying to you that you have no self worth over and over and over again?

Before diabetes so many things were of just no consequence, I could just run around without socks, and my bare feet would connote a certain freedom or Southerness. It could also be taken as a sign of being a simpleton without many cares. Bare feet may be sensual to some, a larger fetish to others or a claiming of territory. Still for others it is an issue of not soiling the carpet with shoes, or a lack of formality. But, let a diabetic run around without shoes or socks and it becomes irresponsible, suicidal, a lack of self respect, amputation, foot ulcers, neuropathy, passive in the face of disease, stupid, idiotic and the waste of a young life.

Before diabetes, minutiae were plentiful and fights were few. After diabetes, fights overflow, my stubbornness abounds and a certain spite is brewing towards those that seem to know everything about having sugar, but have never experienced its social ordeal, the personal guilt and the restrictions everyone is willing to verbally and emotional enforce on you despite you trying to change. It is as if anytime you falter, people read it as moral lack, when you are just being yourself -- despite not wanting too.

Maybe I should just develop a sock fetish. Hell, I think I already have.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


OK. Payday was yesterday. After I sat down and figured fiscally everything that I needed done immediately, I realized that I had only 9 dollars left from my check. A co-worker of mine said he had only 69 cents left from his paycheck once he did what he had to do. Then, later in the Subaltern Transit ticket line, while I was contemplating what bills will have to "wait" and which ones I would "pay" because I was about to buy a 10 trip at the Port of Authority costing me 88 bucks, equaling 5 days of round trip bus fare so I could get to work, the woman in the line next to me was being told that both of her cards were declined and she could not get to where she needed to go.

Amazing. The woman was middle age, professional, and standing with what looked like a leather bound notebook full of credit cards. I realized later that it was her billfold. But in the moment, she was so desperate and starting to shamefully dismantle the assuredness she must have flexed in her office earlier that day, that I felt sorry for her. There was a sound of freshly earthed uncertainty that tainted her voice as the sister behind the window screamed pretty loudly "I said both cards were declined!" And from there you could tell that that this corporate associate, assistant, manager or partner had just a few seconds before my arrival verbally assaulted the woman behind the counter, and as a formidable counter-strike the transit clerk let one singular and sisterly volley of words out of her mouth forcing the corporate minion to fold her cards. For anyone in shouting distance there was a collective gasp, followed by a confused bewilderment at the professional appearance of the woman at the window. Then the delay at my window because the ticket machine ran out of tickets and I had to wait for the machine to be re-stocked and prepped with fresh ticket cards. Then there was the impatience of the man behind me and his non-smile. Then there was the mad rush onto a packed bus after searching for the correct gate since the rennovations have rained havoc throughout my normal quadrant of the terminal.

Everyones exhausted, no one smiles, no one talks, on the bus. Some read, most sleep, other look out of the window.

I wonder if I snore?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Breaking Bread -- A Dinner in English, Spanish and German

Today is MLK Day. It is interesting to watch it morph into an African American version of a national church service, like the Palm Sunday of my childhood as delivered by the Rose of Sharon Club at Mt Zion Holy Tabernacle, or Men's Day Services at any congregation's house of worship found on Nashville's Church Street near Fisk University. James Brown's funeral gave me the same feeling, especially after he has appeared on the cover or Rolling Stone and other magazines. It is kind of like a potluck, where you don't know which black man or woman is important in the constellation of American heroes till they are dead. So Ed Bradley gets a yes, while Gerald Levert gets a no.

For my MLK festivities, I went and had dinner with Sylvia and her kids. I walked into a room full of ladies and babies, between the ages of 3 and 8 or so. All boys, all part Venezuelan, African American, German, Argentinian, Jamaican and a couple of other countries. Great! Before our dinner, the kids sat down and were given a great speech by the Sylvia about how it is important to stick together and not allow other people to be teased because they may be different than the group. Then we ate fried chicken. That was one of the best dinners I have had, not just because of the food, but because of the company, and the spirit of the evening. I felt like it was done right, kind of like Christmas, but kind of not. It just turned into a German, English and Spanish verbal love fest. The only problem was that I was the only non-parent, so I didn't know how to let it end. Parents get going, I feel like I lingered a bit, but not too long. Talking to Sylvia's husband Andre at the end was great, he gets my anxiety about being back stateside. He grew up outside of Muenster.

This is the first MLK Day without Coretta Scott King, so it is significant to me. It is like the festivities are set to start a life of their own. I wonder what it will look like in 100 years, will people have an inkling of what it was really like, or will it be just sound bites and a collage of black and white images presented as the totality of the experience. I saw footage from Meet the Press from 40 years ago, and I must say that I am impressed beyond a doubt every time I hear Dr. Martin Luther King's speaking voice. But the true kind of fighting and blood letting I heard from my grandmother is never talked about in this part of the country (Up North). She talked about black soldiers rioting, about a cousin shooting to defend his property in the 1920's or 30's, about hiding her brother when the Klan was riding and the death of a child after a car accident because the ambulance only picked up white people. Before and sometime after MLK and his non-violence stance, I always received the message that at some point, in order to defend their property, many blacks resorted to violence or tactical cunning. For some the outcome was divine benevolence from a judge or God him/herself and for others it was death by an angry mob, but in the end . . . c'est la vie.


I saw I Love New York on VH-1. I know that many of my friends dislike the show, but I really don't like entering the American workforce or dealing with people without knowing what the prevailing stereotypes are, nor why the white people at my job look at me funny when I tell them about my work experience and life. Many of the people think that I am lying because "black people don't do", what I do. Everything from their change in posture and their switch to the vernacular betrays this. So, I like to keep current.

Virginia Heffernan's review in NYT is an anthropological interpretation of this season's Celebreality. The review is really efficient in its dramaturgical dismantling of the minstrel show, but the reviewers language is definitely crafted for the middle-class and the Uber-middle-class of NYC. In short, the show itself was less alarming to me than for the sweet and salty New York Times reviewer of this new Negriod Heaven by VH-1.

I am going to watch this show regardless of what my friends say though. Many believe it is acting (and it really is), staged, retrograde, reprobate and derogatory. Yeah, that is there, but there are also some interesting issues concerning character. New York is fascinating to watch because she has no internal core, just an internal compass for her desire. Her responses to people and different environments are truly protean. Her inner demeanor changes, but the body stays the same. In terms of race, the "negrita" comment by Rico and New York' s response was very good for people to see on television. Plus, there is a good amount of nice booty in this bunch, and as far as I can see it is all being pimped by one woman. So, I am wondering how the contestants and the producers play this angle.

There is one thing that the reviewer pointed out that hit close to home. All the guys that were rejected were the ones that were not hard enough, but might have had something going for them. The ones that stayed were completely crazy. I remember this being my life in high school and college for the most part. Black women blatantly told me I was too smart to date, then when I dated someone outside of my race I was pounced on like a intruder at Artemis's bath (been watching HBO's ROME, excuse the metaphors). And when I said I had a relationship with a man then I became this strange non-person, or privy to some black women's secrets concerning other men but with no desire of my own. New York's selection is staged and arranged by producers, but then again, doesn't this happen in real life too? If New York has ratings to maintain, then what is the reasoning behind what happens in our community concerning hard and soft men? A reverend years ago said that this was a problem in the black community that will come home to roost. I have heard no other analysis of this situation since that chance meeting twelve years ago.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Lines of Demarcation, Beauty, and Liposuction: Or How the Daughter of German Immigrants Changed the Land of the Samba

I have been thinking about my relationship to food, and how sometimes I wish I could talk to someone about it. In our society only women have problems with food, but I guess I am part of the long list of male diabetics, horse jockeys, male body builders and corporate manorexics that live in silence and/or pleasure because of their relationship to wine and bread.

This article on Brazil, food, women, beauty and Brazil's beauty culture is very, very telling.

O Trem Azul -- A Life in Conversations

Well, I guess I should just say that I missed the the fight. I worked late on Thursday so the whole Condi Rice versus The United States Senate was totally over and out of my normal visual range. I did not see nor hear of anything till this Friday morning glancing over the front page of the New York Times even though I have been far more satisfied with the Wall Street Journal this past winter.

This morning I watched Meet the Press and the Mclaughlin Group. Both seem to miss some major points, mainly that the talking and bickering of congress is of little consequence, the powers of the Middle East will respond according to their own self-interest and those of their particular religious and political lines. I guess it is sobering to ponder an army of warriors without ideology or tiresome 200-year-old Western notions of the nation-state battling to the death in the largest oil fields of the world. Talk about Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Harold Bloom and the barbarians at the gate. It is unfortunate for them and their analysis, soon they will not be the center of the world.

OK, I promised to relax the political slant.

Otherwise Friday was a haphazard diabetic day. Blood sugar normal till I got to work and tested and saw that that my sugar was high (snacking on some Cheeze Its before the evening shift). Was under control till I kept getting delayed from eating my 6:00 pm meal, so I started to feel a low. Then I evened out after that cause I was really hungry. The sad state of affairs is that good food choices require lots of money and if your money is funny so is your diet. Period. Maybe congress should hold a hearing on that.

The only other things to report is that I was talking to a co-worker. She graduated from the same HCBU (Historically Black College or University) that I went to. She works with hedge funds. Very, very interesting world she belongs to during the day. I want to hear more about her everyday -- much different than the motley crew and career choices I have made.

Thursday night I had dinner with Alice and a friend of hers we will call SC. First Alince and I went to Borders in the new (to me at least) Time Warner Center. We sat at Dean and Deluca and talked for a good while about my younger sister, her niece, her girlfriend, women in dance hall, future projects, newness in my life and how to raise a child. I am not sure if the people around us liked her rants on capitalistic society, but fuck it, ten years back that same street corner would have seen a handful of old 60's radicals and septarian cold war socialist dotting its quadrant at anytime. Now I am astounded by the consumerist milieu that is sprinkled on top of normal heady New York literary behavior. I guess I shouldn't be a sour puss . . . but I kind of am.

After the Dean and Deluca experience (I have only eaten in one other Dean and Deluca, about 10 years ago in Soho), we went to meet SC for dinner on the Upper Westside in the upper 60's, lower 70's. Again a different NYC, but at least more neighborhood like. There we talked about Vibe,where I interned eons ago and wrote a couple of articles. Seems they are looking for a copy editor and posted it on Craig's List. Well this is a sign. Then we talked about Vibe's trajectory an arc from test issues, to New York darling, to Fashionistas secret choice, to not being hood enough, to being gangster, to writers being beat, to staff turn overs, to now. It is epic and it is symptomatic of something else in hip-hop that I am honing in on, but decline to comment on till I have thought my hypothesis out clearly. But at the end of the day, Vibe showed so much promise when I was younger, that I am still speechless on what a waste it has become in comparison to its expectations. The wisdom I have earned tells me that people are more apt to tearing other people down (and their institutions, notions and dreams) rather than building them up. You choose what you will fight for, and I must admit that hip-hop is not what I am fighting for anymore. I just had a flashback to me and other interns standing alone sipping our gin and juice. Just watching.

But that was the past.

Otherwise the dinner was more about this season of The Wire and Clive's rescue of Whitney. We all agree, this will be the comeback of comebacks. All she needs is a cigarette and an orchid in her hair and bitches will be throwing tantrums.

Other conversations:

-- We talked about Hunt's Point at work on Friday. It is a stroll in Brooklyn that was featured on HBO where there are a mass of prostitutes. I like to think of it as an ass mall. There is a young gay guy at work who talks to everybody with much respect about everything from politics to Sanitorium (the inanimate noun, not the person, I will say no more), which can be political. It was nice because we are all of varying sexual identities and we just talked about all the types women, transgendered and male hustlers found at the ass mall. That would never have happened in Tennessee. I forgot that I like NYC for that reason, and I think that many black men have gotten a bad rap uptown for being portrayed as homophobic. Many straight uptown brothers are very open minded and will not shy way from any questions concerning sex and what one likes.

-- I have been playing O Trem Azul by Milton Nascimento to calm myself down a bit. It is nice. It is helping me get into a position to get through this plot issue I have with a particular project.

-- Jochencito! Congratulations.

A Year and Several Days Into an Experiment

It has been a year since I started this blog. And true to form, I have lived in two different places Nashville and NYC/NJ. I feel as if I have two different blogs just thinking about it. Now I am trying to figure out what to do with my blog. December had to be the worst blog month for me concerning entries and making sense to a wider audience. In other words, I felt that I was trying to capture snapshots of what was going on around me but had insufficient time to flesh them out. And right now, I want to talk about Saddam Hussein's execution, the President's revised Iraq policy and the swearing in of a new Congress and Senate, but it has all become background noise. Things on the home front concerning immediate family, larger family and the future are pretty tight. Plus, I am starting to wonder about blogging. I can write whatever I want, but the question becomes in the end, "Who is my audience ?". And there is the crux of my dilemma.

So, in 2007 I want to start all over.

There are a ton of things concerning sex and sugar that I have been pretty tight lipped about because I wanted to touch on larger issues concerning the world, but my desire to talk about that is waning in the catastrophe that our political process has become. I also have felt that treatises on the larger world or the application of my political views to the world around me can become boring to my readers. I have thought of myself as a writer and an artist probably longer than I have thought of myself as a bumbling teacher/academic and reporter, so for now, my everyday observations are what I want to concentrate on in my blog entries. After all, being diabetic, that is all I do. I sit in observance of how I feel physically. I watch for mood swings. I watch for sudden hunger and the shakes as I approach blood sugar rock bottom. And, I watch for sluggishness and grogginess after lunch, signaling a dangerous blood sugar high and its required guilt.

So, I promise to get to what I felt was the story I wanted to tell at the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. In 2 previous posts I talked about tiring of boys and my 14-year-old excursions to the projects with my play big brother Andre as he conquered 2 women there. In some weird way they are linked. Sugar and desire, maybe this is my life's journey.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Hustled and Hustlers

Not much time, it is already the following day. I am a little bit tired from having to be in the city by 7:45 this morning. Inventory is coming up and I am not really looking forward to it.

The thing that really tripped me out yesterday was my ride on Suburban Transit which I call Subaltern Transit because I leave this really well to do suburb in central Jersey (practically Pennsylvania) and head to my Brooklyn, Harlem, Financial District, Upper Eastside work-play-stomp almost everyday. I take either the 5:55 am or the 6:15 am to be in the city at around 7:00 where I drink my habitual Red-Eye (coffee with a shot of espresso), read a surfing magazine, watch the European tourist try and turn Port Authority into Gare de l'Est and just stroll up 8th on what used to be the craziest Red Light District in North America. It is now just a former X-rated world where I giggle at the people that go into to this comedy club that was a strip joint in a not so previous life. This is the same stripe joint where I saw the most toothless set of strippers this side of the Mississippi simulate the most torrid of sex acts in front of an all female group of Japanese tourist. Oh, and there was a cigarette involved. Now look at the place.

Great Jupiter! What has happened to MY CITY!

Well, the thing that was interesting as we hustled onto the bus like a bunch of Flash Gordon automatons (preparing for battle to the soundtrack by Queen) was that out of the 3 other passengers sitting around me I was the only one reading a book. I was brushing up on Rodo and Retamar, another commuter sitting diagonally from me was sleeping, the gentleman directly in front of me was playing solitaire on his lap top and the guy adjacent to me was watching Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth on a portable DVD player. So only one out of the four of us was reading. That says a lot to me about the publishing world, people's habits and how we receive information. I was actually more shocked by the fact that once we arrived at Port Authority the guy who was watching his DVD immediately put on his earphones and marched out of the bus with an introverted cadence of the heart. I bet you he dates on line.

The academic snob in me wanted to say "Pity, maybe I shall eat a peach."

But Littlemilk said, "C'est la vie, maybe I can make it to work on time if I walk today. It is cold, but its nice to get the blood pumping and to feel my cheeks become tingly at their most rounded tops. And who doesn't like Central Park South and the view of the trees."

So I walked to work en mass.

Nothing else to report.

Monday, January 08, 2007


The past couple of days have been extremely positive. I have not gotten to the writing that I would like to do for this blog, but some unplanned things happened that were nice, just the same.

So, I must apologize to the King Cake that could have been. I decided to make Pots de Creme instead because I could not find the right color icings for the cake, nor could I decide if I should make a real traditional King Cake that involves making a dough (and yeast I think), or just making a moist bundt in a Fleur de Lis pan. Turns out that my family doesn't like dark chocolate and they found my choice in chocolate to be too bitter and strong. So the King Cake will have to wait till another free day. And, there are three ramekins of chocolate that will have to be disposed of. Maybe I will take it to work.

And to the exhibit at the Bronx Museum that could have been, I must apologize for forgetting that on Monday many places like the MET, MOMA and you, are closed. So the exhibit will have to wait, but Ava and I spent a nice day together on my day off. I walked her to NYU and waited outside on Waverly fidgeting with my phone on a day that felt like the breaking of winter rather than early January. I stood in my Mossimo jeans and soccer shoes like I was in some Italian movie and waited. I felt so cold, and a little down as I watched the people walk by. They seemed so disconnected or in the middle of a tedious humdrum that I do not envy. There is something about Washington Square Park that feels flat like a postcard, perfect in every dimension, but slick to the touch and hostile to the taste. Maybe it is because I remember when it was a little bit different, more like Saint Mark's Place.

And to the evening that might have been, I saw Perfume last night instead. I was disturbed by its premise, amused by its denouement and disappointed in its ending. But most of all I was disgusted by the anti-hero. Rat-mo and Ava had great commentary on the film, and I was spazzing out afterwards as usual, reciting all the things I know about these 18th century novels that incorporate Egyptian mysticism and issues of self awareness. All this happened in the cab. Again I must apologize for the subway ride that could have been.

And to the blog entry that could have been, I apologize again. I went to Labyrinth on 112th and Broadway and bought a book on fascism and the male body. Studying fascism has become a sort of past time for me, and I did not feel very attuned to writing about growing up black and in the South, specifically Andre and I riding to the projects from our middle class neighborhood. It is so expected of me as of late, especially in NYC. Back in Nashville, people would find my tales no more amusing than any other, but here they are transformed into a Briar Rabbit smorgasbord of Americana, the type romanticised by the cosmopolitans. After buying the book I walked down to a Haitian restaurant, bought a snack and walked home. I also decided I would watch Rome on HBO on Demand. It is more important than my Southern sex and cigarette tale that some critic is sure to call a sort of Black Huckleberry Finn. I could do with out the shame as a result of my labour this evening.

Besides, I find that the Roman Empire and its operation spark my imagination like reliving a past life. Throughout the movie Perfume I thought about Roberto Fernandez Retamar's book Caliban, and his declaration that the history of Western colonization is a series of Roman conquest re-incarnated. Is that why we think of Pre-Revolutionary France and The Antebellum South as epic backgrounds. The masters and the slaves, the lords and the servants, and the enlightened senatorial classes that rule appeal to someone. Or shall I say, it appeals to some sense of the Western World. Art surrounding its celebration is beginning to bore me. Sometimes I think its praise and critique are part of a class status lexicon, a way of being esteemed in some obtuse manner, a way of sniffing out who belongs to the ranks and who has not done the sufficient reading. What about all the worlds that could have been, if the need for empire and subjugation did not exist? Are there not times and lands in our human history where empire did not existed to such an organized and exploitative extent: otherwise, there would have been no where to colonize.

Lastly I must apologize to the dinner on Wednesday night in Brooklyn that will not exist. I was scheduled to read from a set of vignettes, but a key member and friend is going to move away and start a life somewhere else. Plus, I want to work on new installments, I have a problem to solve with the next two. So, Sylvia we will have to eat and share our ideas for illustrations on another day. Gregory, I hope to see you and your art work soon. Have a safe trip to the borders of our empire.

And Simone simply get better.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

In A Land Far Far Away

The other war that is raging in Europe. Check out these placards. Courtesy of Fabulon (lutte contra le Fascisme) -- Careful opening his page at work.

You might want to wait to check out Fabulon's myspace page if you are at work, the pictures are full of lush male bodies and positions. His myspace blog is dope -- great French hip-hop videos. Overall, a strong political statement an interesting view of the evolution of hip-hop and masculinity.

Junior's Got Sugar

OK, I have been unashamed to write about black things, cultural things, New Orleans things, book things, bisexual things, gay things, "the children" voguing uptown, my wine loving lesbian friends, sperm thieves (well, that has yet to be written about), Nashville hell, Germany, ex-loves, true loves, faux loves, a one night stand, Brazilian women and snapshots from a New York present that still needs a bit more focusing. What I have not written about has been my diabetes in great detail.

The reason I am coming out as a diabetic, though you have all known this for sometime (just like most queers creeping from behind the coat hangers), is because of the guilt I have concerning my eating habits at points. I have not always the best choices, and sometimes it is because I don't want to be excluded from the places and people I enjoy. Plus, I can't stand being under gastronomical surveillance. I abhor it when people start inspecting my food without knowing what an insulin pump is, the difference between bolus and basel doses, or that if I faint you should not look for my needle. That will more than likely kill me. I NEED SUGAR! But I think you should know about my illness in a more formalized manner, and I think you should understand that a spoonful of cake is different than a whole slice, just as a bagel is far deadlier than half a Twix candy bar. And that, my friends, is the motto of my life.

I must make a detour today. I was about to write about my daily rides when I was 14 to the projects with a childhood friend named Andre. That piece I wanted to construct in a proper manner because part of my New Year's resolution is to construct better pieces over longer periods of time, rather than constantly running to the computer with frothy tid-bits of disconnected parts of my compartmentalized life. I am looking for something else in this writing project. But yesterday I received my first diabetic reader (that I know of) and I have been introduced to a whole list of people brandishing glucometers and trying to deal with the same disease I have. So, it is nice to feel a sense of community beyond my doctor's waiting room where I see a whole bunch of supportive families and solitary professionals. Some families in my waiting room experiences are so overly supportive that you can see the actual diabetic patient retreating into some smiling silence, on the other side, 10 years ago many were running into offices with a incomplete charts, desperately trying to fill in little squares with numbers for the epicurean miss deeds that the nurse practitioner will demand in your confession.

I remember one nurse at the Joslin Center telling me that the psychology of diabetics is very interesting. It dawned on me then that my very character was changing. No one told me that when it first happened, and no one has explained it to me since. Nor did I know the importance of living with someone when diabetic, just in case your blood sugar goes so low you can't get up. Great, another reason to get married, or maybe to pass a gay marriage bill!

So today I am coming out of the closet. I am a Type One Insulin Dependent Diabetic. Only ten percent of all diabetics are Type One. I am not like your Type Two grandmother. If I go jogging and watch what I eat the disease will not go away. If I go jogging and watch what I eat, I will still have to put a needle in my stomach, my ass, my arm or my leg at some time of the day. There will never be a point when I am not going to have to do the work that my pancreas should be doing. He gone. But if I exercise, watch my weight and eat correctly I will have a better quality of life and reduce my risk factors for complications -- a public relations sort of double speak by the medical community to make the realities of kidney failure, blindness and my feet getting chopped off more palatable for discussion. Don't call me cynical, just trust.

So on that note, today is January 6th. The first day of carnival in New Orleans. It is the Feast of the Epiphany when the kings arrive to the manger and present gifts to the King of Kings. So, I am going to make a King Cake for my father. And, I will have a whole slice today.

Thanks Kerri.

I like your blog Scott.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Zero Time


Happy New Year! Sorry, I haven't been blogging, I got caught up in life. I worked over time hours for about two weeks, commuted about 3 hours a day, wrote a 25 page essay (well, 19), took the GRE, had to find some extra money, celebrated xmas and new years, and typed documents for my dad's company. That was December. It turned out to be a big detour from my original plan of looking for a more corporate environment, compared to the gig I have now, but I enjoyed it. I forgot what it was like to communicate in the terse language the academy requires (which can contradict the complex but sometimes empty vocabulary). Some of the issues that were prevalent when I was a graduate student are still there, but many of the contentions about theoretical language that happened 13 years ago have cleared up like a bad case of acne . . .at least at this particular place. Yet, there are still fears of sudden eruptions and outbreaks.

Before the university application (thanks for the help M+K+Doktor Doktor), an overstressed visit from corporate offices at my gig, petty politics from the head manager (which caused an exodus of the subordinate managers), the xmas rush and an infected cut on my hand, I was reading Women in Love. Now I am busy looking at I'll Take My Stand and a book entitled The Agrarians. They are boring, but in terms of intellectual movements they are essential to 20th century American thought and New Criticism, and to think all this happened in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee in the 1930's is amazing. I should at least know that part of American intellectual history. More comments on them later.

Otherwise talked to R, my best friend, whose family is my second family. Lots of drama, but I am simply floored by the fact that both of her nieces are pregnant. One is 20 and the other 21. This is the first for the 20-year-old, and the fourth for the 21-year-old.

The way that a lot of young people are conducting their relationships is pretty bad concerning self-esteem, self-respect and understanding what is needed to live with one another. I feel like sometimes independence is declared by a marriage or a baby in certain circumstances. Why aren't we making education a meassure of independence (and I mean something higher than the GED). And, why are people not using condoms? The 21-year-old is married, but the 20-year-old is not, so assuming that the elder one's husband is faithful, why is the younger one not scared of catching HIV? That is what is on my mind this evening. Where is the disconnect? My best friend R basically said it is low-self esteem. I hear it, but I just don't know how to address it, though I know all of the environmental reason behind the young women's decisions (insight from watching someone grow up from pre-school to adulthood).

... I have to make a note to myself to write about my rides to the project when I was 14 with my friend Andre. He was 4 years older, had just graduated from an all white, all boy catholic prep school, and went to bang chicks in the hood ever chance he got. I used to listen to him talk about sex all the time, and the way he felt about the ladies he conquered. His emotions ranged from love to a disdain he tried to hide with chatter about hips, breasts, legs, faces, etc . . . We rode from our middle class neighborhood all the way over to the then Preston Taylor projects in the spring and summer. I turned into a pretty fit 14-year-old for a little while. I used to just sit on the steps smoking cigarettes and drinking wine coolers (the newest thing at the time) oblivious to the reality of living in the projects. It was like I was a tourist. Man there is more to that story . . .

. . . In my life I feel like I have zero time for advancement, for love, for sleep, for eating properly, for exercise, etc . . . but, when I look back home sometimes, even at these Agrarian writers (who seem to have been behind the curve in the 1930's as well) I feel a different sort of measure in time concerning maturity, ideas and a sense of self . . . like I have lived several light years beyond, moving with other celestial shards of ice that are invisible to my childhood friends and environment.

Holy flying fish! -- days, hours, seconds -- what a motley crew.