I can’t hardly sleep no more. I useta be able to leave the TV on for hours, and not hear a peep.
Life man, it’s exhausting, and then I can’t sleep.
I got a new home now, a kid. A kid, man!
A kid that –
Listen, the other day he came over to me and said, “For Christmas, I want an X-Box One X. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
I was like, “Ok, fool, whatever.”
A few minutes later, he comes back to me, “Dad, don’t forget I want an X-Box One X for Christmas. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
At this point, I’m like, “Why you tellin’ me twice then?”
And then it dawned on me, this kid doesn’t understand what that phrase means.
So, I explain it to him.
He looks at me and says, “You always saying it at the end of your sentences, and you’re always saying it mad-like.”
That’s a mirror to my fuckin’ face.
They’re watching us too much.
Dear Lil’ One,
Oh mighty one
Survival is an interesting thing.
Living from a fight or flight perspective is daunting and exhausting.
I know you know this.
And yet, here we are yet again, sitting opposite each other.
It’s the waiting game.
Who’ll quit first.
I want you to know
I come with peace in my heart
A white flag in my hand
Hoping we can come to some agreement.
Hoping you’ll be open to some space
A lil’ room for a shift in perspective
See what kind of information that tells us.
The truth is,
What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working.
I know you feel this.
We are spinning plates.
How about a new journey
A new path
No map, besides our instincts and love
Not fear, not competition, not stupid pride
Nothin’ but us.
There is space for you.
There is love for you.
There is possibility beyond this.
She doesn’t say thank you.
We took her to the moon and back, showed her the stars; live music, delicious eats, Nature, space, room to breathe, ears to listen, shoulders for padding — we have been the best hosts.
And yet.. no thanks.
Thank you for buying dinner.
Thank you for making me tea.
Thank you for driving me around.
Thank you for the company.
Thank you For. It. All.
I’m watching myself retract from her.
I’m watching myself not wanna care.
Something so simple.
Three words that make all the difference.
Why am I so attached?
Why do I need that gratification? And so immediately?
I let it go for some months.
Let this new light fester.
Out of the blue, she reached out and asked what I wanted for Christmas
To say thanks for making her first West Coast visit one of her favorite memories.
FADE IN: Two women, one smokes.
A: I was in a Uber car, well, really Lyft but you get what I mean. The driver, Jamal, asked me what I do. I said nothing. No really, I said, “Nothing,” all nonchalant and shit. He took a second to understand, much like me, really, I mean who says that?
I said nothing. Ugh. What kind of despicable human, am I?
A week later, I’m at this yoga retreat and someone asked me again. I was just about to answer Nothing, when I stopped myself and took a sip of my organic hot apple cider, and pretended I didn’t hear them. Or maybe I pretended to react like I was still thinking about what we just talked about. I looked stupid, is all. Well, if I’m not sure what your intentions are I’m going to blow you off.
[beat, she smokes]
Why do I do that? I know damn well who I am. Why is it hard to say it, “Who me? Oh, sure, I’m an Artist, with a capital A.” Or, “What do I do? I do greatness. I am greatness.”
[she laughs, and smokes]
You know, Mohammed Ali would say that, “Who me? I’m the greatest.” So why can’t I?
B: You can.
Continue reading “dip your toe”
FADE IN: Anne Ferney (18) and Jaquila Gilmore (16) drinking Dr. Pepper:
A: And that’s when her mom started rattin’ around Wilkinsburg going around to people’s houses, “Is my son here?” I am, like, oh my god, I don’t want ever for our family to experience that. You could see in her face that she was scared.
J: My dad. First, he’s the first one to call me. And then my mom called me. And then my best friend called me and, I didn’t know what happened.
A: The news keeps sayin’ they had an Automatic AK and I’m just thinking it couldn’t be an AK cuz they kept hearin’ the shots go off so you know he kept pulling the trigger.
J: How you actually know that, just blew my mind but OK.
A: It sounds like first person let their clip go and the second person let their clip go. They say eight people got shot. Cuz first on the news they say, “Ok, four people got shot.” The next thing you know five people comin’ up dead. I’m like, yo, they just changed from four people shot, five people shot dead, eight people shot, like. And then they brought the little baby out, like, there was kids in that house. And one of the girls was pregnant. Basically, it was six people that died. If you want to be technical.
J: I don’t know who she is, but she was pregnant and she was shot. I’m like, this is cray-zy. I gotta get out the hood, cuz this is too much.
A: My senior year, I’m tryin’ to go to Florida cuz you can graduate with a trade.
I wanted to win.
It’s stupid and childish
I know, I get it.
And who fuckin’ cares, right?
But Got Damn It.
It was in the bag!
All bets were off.
On the tip of everyone’s tongue,
“And the winner is…”
Like synchronized swimmers, ME!
What. The. fuck.
Who fucked up?
Who’s to blame?
Where did I go wrong?
Continue reading “shoulda been me”
FADE IN: neighbors staring into the sky.
…And, and I hate to be the bad guy [he leans in] but which neighbor has the brightest outside light? I mean. Come on! It’s brighter than a reading lamp. I told the girls, you know, they’re really sweet but they forget to turn it off all the fuckin’ time. They have guests over tonight so I’ll have to wait. But, man-oh-man. I wanna sleep, you know.
When I moved here 20 years ago, there was darkness. The ol’ school kind. The stars were everywhere, you could see the stars from the ocean. It was beautiful. Now with the whole technology thing, it’s like everybody wants light, God forbid some shadow. There are only 2 spots at the beach that stay dark if you want some star gazing: on the left after the parking lot and the Whaler where the pathway stops; and on the right, at the second parking lot near 23rd. Das it.
It’s slim pickin’s now. Those are my hiding spots.
He looks up.
Yeah…I miss staring into the night.
They look up.
You know, I put a chair in the heart of my garden just for star gazing. Its beautiful. It’s been a while since I’ve sat there but das cuz when’s the last time you’ve seen stars?
We look up again.
I’m sure Orion is somewhere up there.