Wednesday, September 1, 2021

In One Thousand Words: Power & Our Relationship with It

An Odyssey of Creativity and Wisdom:

 one thousand words daily 2021 

Power and Our Relationship With It

Power - Photographer: Ian Stauffer

    In one thousand words I wonder if I will be able to sum up these awesome thoughts and emotions.  Yes people, today we are going to talk about thoughts and feelings for one hugely strange reason.  That reason is that I have come to a realization.  The realization is simple yet complex in concept which is that Power, as I relate it to a book I am writing, is not so relative when it comes to something I call “The Presumption of Power.” Power can be many things from electricity, to political, to the power we have as individuals but there's more!

    My reasoning against my own solidified beliefs is kind of simple.  This reasoning or "Awakening," is due to the fact that the most powerful of influential powers we as people wield, is a power that is often overlooked and seldom for anyone to be presumptuous about.  I myself, although I understand this well, did not add it to the Contents of my work, at first. We all underestimate these couple forms of power, based on what we are taught, how we are conditioned and what we believe, based on our experiences. These two major powers are the "Power of the People," or what I call "The Power of the Conscious Masses," and what some try hard either looking for or running from; "The Power of Love." (In my Sade voice)

Power of Love by Felipe Almeida
Credit: Felipe Almeida

    We cannot perceive how influential an individual or a group can become based on the “Power of Compassion.”  I could just say “The Power of Love,” but the many concepts of Love are summed up by this understanding we know of as “Caring for Others,” or having this unseen force of understanding called Compassion.” As I converse with my woman, I tell her something I noticed about our current society and things we experienced.  I tell her somewhere along the lines of “people wouldn’t ask stupid questions and use escapism when dealing with issues, especially if the media or political figures if they can see and understand about what others go through and how it affects them." I also added that folks rooted in the community have family in the community and oftentimes have to go back, sharing similar roofs with the patients, clients, or constituents they indeed serve.

    The key in all of this is to raise future leaders with a sense of purpose, and compassion. But what do I know about fostering caring? 

Power of Prayer
The Power of Prayer

Shot credit: Me
Power of the People

Power of Prayer
[Power of a Voice for Others]

    Empathy can be taught as a way to achieve success. How revolutionary is that idea, that by taking care of others around you at the same time as yourself, that a community environment would help to take care of you?  This is not socialism, Marxism, capitalism or any of those man-made isms of control. It is simply human necessity for survival and the logical deduction of thousands of years that we indeed can have more together if we work together and share than just to work towards one small goal, solely self-serving. Have we forgot the moral values we receive when working in virtue?  

Have we forgotten the worth associated with having the sum of all functioning healthy parts of a close-knit community?  Whether we realize this, we all are taught this dog eat dog lesson of conquer, control, and struggle for yourself or else.  Some have been sadly led to believe that they must do whatever to survive, even if it takes taking from others or disadvantaging another for their own personal growth. On the contrary we should in a civilized society, do the exact opposite of the barbaric, which is to do like I have said in a video late last year, to simply Build People Up! 

(There is another power we often take for granted, which we cannot personally control such as the Power in Natural things and the Power found in the uncontrollable weather.  I will save this subject for the next blog).

Ocean Beach Tides, by: Me

In a controlled economic environment such as ours, the leaders make moves and instill laws which are beneficial to the way they have been taught to build wealth, power and prestige.  Now is the time when we are reminded that there are other ways.  We now are forced to learn through the crucible, through the fire, that even when in quarantine or separate, that we do need each other.  There are excellent ways to survive which do not involve others as well as the support network of a tightly-knit community, which can work great for whichever goals the individual sets.  We on the other hand, well some of us, need affirmations, meetings, appointments and guidance with and from others in order to complete what we need to function in the best way we see fit in our new environment of mask and sanitize.  

Political and Legal Power
Power:  by Shora Shimazaki

Some simply need to work with others to generate income and support their families although innovations in the workplace have allowed many, fortunate with technological jobs and the financial means, to work from home.  Many have experienced hardships as well as personal loss due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.  Some have lost loved ones and many children, as well as adults have lost their parents.  This puts things into perspective as the strength of people is shown through the power they show when they come together for a good cause.  This turns habitual when the majority of us realize and are reminded that it is okay to positively change the life of another other than ourselves.  

It was Instagram that caught me by surprise, when I was about to post a quote of mine and noticed some video about some popular rapper talking about how he saw that his friend was touched and had tears in his eyes when he bought a house for his mother.  His initial thought was not “look at this emotional ass nigga,” no.  His first inclination was to think “how can I help him get it so he can buy a house for his mother and put someone else on so that that can do the same for someone else.” I thought about many things and I thought about myself.  I have been wanting to contact some music producers as well as a couple of publishers for my books yet I fall on one realization I have found while typing these last lines.

I have found that I, although I like to think if myself as a rebel, independent, blah blah, have also been conditioned. Many of you might know exactly where I'm coming from when I say we have all been duped by the patriarchal theory of ruling others.  This thought has gone so far as to suggest, by the unfairness suggested, that we don't need women, or vice versa, men.  People all need people in some capacity yet some reiterate in so many ways that it is not proper to ask for help or have not been taught how to or that it is even okay to ask for help.  This is something which I struggle with now.  

Struggles are not something foreign or alien to me but let me address this whole macho-derrived, anti-familial, anti-community culture we exist in.  Not just in the Western world but elsewhere, we as in humanity, have been found many times to choke our own human existence.  We do this by simply going too far and pushing the envelope, going too hard, against the human bonds that make us stronger together as a force than alone and isolated as one.  

Some are fed thoughts such as it is too dangerous and reckless, too radical to think outside the concepts of the powers all around us.  We are taught through something carefully crafted, called Fear to "act accordingly or else!"  We all understand power, fear, all of these things differently.  Some people, like me now, find ourselves shying away from large groups and not just for pandemic reasons.  I simply have been burned a lot so I prefer to physically stay away from folks.  

What we all can agree on is that life in general can sometimes take us by surprise.  Throughout these surprises, instances, situations or adventures, it helps to have someone understand what you are going through or have experienced.  I miss traveling, going hiking with friends, even locally to a small stream or lake and sharing the sights with those I care about.  My many car problems on top of other scruples have completely incapacitated my traveling and adventure status.  Yet here I am, taking you with me on this "Journey of the Heart and Soul," but know that under the stars, there is a whole lot left to understand that even a small child with strong will and determination, can control.  Poem below.

Teenagers who dig the truth

Reach back to hip hop songs 

Their parents praised as youth like

Tupac's "What you do for love," while

We witness, sadly in the distance 

What others do for any type of attention

When elders look at realities 

Never believing that other generations 

Would ever have to endure anything close to the same insanity

When no one in power speaks on the watered down industry with musical Blacks

Instead back then it was strict like a diet what we all lacked and

The only beefs were from religious and politicians due to the power to influence white youth and use of colorful profanity

Some wonder how did we get here?

Amongst the push for what others view as normalcy defined

Others realize the matrix of confusion thus move closer to a much easier design

Aligning ourselves with others

Grounded in purpose perhaps

Linked with The Source which creates

Majestically disconnecting from the mundane madness which chokes gladness, hopes and dreams

Then comes the truths that surprisingly don't get lost with thugs

The survival tactic that faith carries as far as 

Togetherness makes us that much stronger with

Nothing more than the audacity and courage to love

Protecting not just hearts but lives with this

Reality placed in the damned of places 

As if the Jewels were purposely placed for our finding

It is then when we have reached a shore 

Without storms and scary waves 

Through comforting, a warming of

Care and compassion from or

Financial action that we then believe

That we have indeed been saved

Walking away from any type of love can be a challenge yet imagine

With a return to what's deep like foundations and solid like rock

The types of kingdoms possible to exist and

Roads without potholes that can be 

Built with a special type of power called Love, be paved

First we must seek wisdom and the needed strength to power through tomorrow, even just for today

Power Through

August 30th, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

My Version of Poppa's Day


For so many years we have watched many men own roles and responsibilities as well as abandon them.  There are examples to show yes as well as socio-economic reasons for the imbalances in many families.  As some parents are fine without their significant other, many are not.  Strength does not come from the will to provide and survive!  Strength comes from sources unmeasurable and not seen by the naked eye. 

Some families are comprised of only woman, mothers and for me, this is fine and none of my business. I as a father look at Father’s Day in a particular way for many reasons and I will explain this.  Basically we have witnessed many examples in this nation as well as internationally, what a good father is.  Everyone has their own take.  I for one have noticed examples in media now, what I have seen as a child on TV and wondered, “why can’t my dad be that cool?”

 In the community or communities I grew up in, examples were in my friend’s dad’s, well those that had them around.  Many I know were raised by their mothers, aunties, uncle’s and mostly grandparents where I come from.  Those grandmothers, Aunties and such were powerful people!  I myself have been fortunate that when my mother left my father, he told her that she was not going to take my brother and I from him.  From what I understand about my dad’s pops, he was different, a lot less affectionate than his own few words speaking dad.

  I watched him sacrifice for us, many times. Struggle, even though he was a Stanford Grad was a reality for us. Pro Wings from Pay Less were my favorite shoes as a child while he was going to college. Although I praise him for the father and grandfather that he is, seeing his shortcomings as well as other parents as a child, are a reminder for the man I never want to become and serious father that I am today. My father is a particular individual yet although I do not agree with things, I love him because I understand him.   Yesterday he stopped by my honey table to pick up a manuscript he’s working on and to me, I know that for him to share these things is unique and special.

  I have two sons.   I did not want to break up with or “leave,” my ex eleven years ago due to the fact that my mother left us, me when I was four and a half, on some “Your father is an asshole,” type shit and she’s possibly right. What I learned through much searching and conversation is that there are two sides to every story. Broken apart, not understanding how a woman can do a good man so wrong when my ex wanted to “explore,” herself, I dug well until I found answers.  What I came up with helped me gain a deep understanding about my parent's relationship. 

 Father’s Day and Mother’s Day is not just about one parent.  We are led to believe in separating tasks, people, roles, defining things for categorization of some reason, like it’s not okay to mix our parental peas with our mashed potatoes but let me be frank, there can never be one without the other.  Granted there are families that consist of just one parent, some where a person, (usually well to do financially) wants to adopt or have a child of their own, without a partner.  I don’t know what to think about this other than I know through experience, that having another person there to support goes a very long way.   Even I, I mean pops was pops and did the best he knew, yet in his shortcomings I was blessed to have the community step up when they did to help him out.

 I have many aunties and uncles I refer to as Baba so and so and Mama you know who you are for this reason so let me wrap this up so I can rest some.  Father’s Day for me is a culmination of not belief or involvement but straight up love!  For this reason I share this day with my woman knowing that a father is nothing without his community and his woman!  There are those that stepped up to be a parent when others either failed to care or were not able to for many generational and purposely constructed reasons.  Yeah, I said it, some did not want you or them to be fathers, wanted us not involved or even “locked up.”  This type of isolationism comes from the racist criminal justice system, as well as conditioning, to destroy the strong identity and power of families and communities.

Looking back to then from now, Father’s Day wasn’t much but something written at the bottom of a calendar day but Kwanzaa, Christmas and Juneteenth, oh yeah!  I remember schools would put an emphasis on “making something,” for your mother or father was taught to us, when all we understood they wanted was for things to make sense, for us to obey and overall from everyone in the world, this forgotten thing called respect! 

There are some without parents for one reason or another and their definitions of family for me and towards me have always been the most heart felt.  Like I tried to tell you guys earlier, I was raised by the community. It was those inside of doors that were not ours where we often learned; by loving hearts, out of the box minds that in many instances, made miracles occur, right in front of our very young eyes!  For those that read this, thank you for reading, I just wanted y'all to think a bit. Sometimes I used to think about our government or even our Creator, Him/Her or whatever your belief Them and what they thought when it came to Father's Day, USA!

You see, a father and a mother must first have an example to emulate in order to discover, how one ought to be for future generations.  For me, this is why Western man’s theories and ideas of creation mean little to me.

Happy Father’s Day 🎉 🏆!!! Now for a poem…

Hands, rough hands hardened and caliced by occupation's malice or

As smooth as a newly built marble palace

Caress hair of the sleeping child time after time while others

Have not yet learned their place or something malicious instead

Engulfs the time given, even what should be said

To be honest, in society, our ideals are thrown about like black mats covering weeds

From not allowing growth, light is kept out

Purposely drowned out by darkness 

So that any remaining seed would either die off while the ones allowed to poke through

Survive in a carefully controlled environment

Then there are the seeds that blew in on the wind

Not knowing exactly from whence they came how, where, why or when

Taking root in the best soil found even the bits within concrete

On sidewalks with chalk either laid by children or CSI

We ask as if everything we are purposely taught, goes against the norm when

Reality is the best indicator of how the wind might blow and by instinct

Knowing even in deserts can be the lurking presence of a dangerous storm

Realizing these challenges, many step up and commit while others well

They don’t know shit or understand shit to begin with

Even King said he might not get there with us but that he “sees the promised land”

But tell me, will we get there without making some type of peace and some kind of demands?

As children’s smiles from Earth can be seen from the heavens yet

There are few places on open Earth allowed to safely stand

Folks want respect but children, they only want Love and an open guiding hand

So let us all now foster what was purposely forgotten with I love you’s

Be back real soon because like we also wanted to hear back then

You can do it

Not because we haven’t told but 

Because some were never led to believe

Allowed the space to breathe, to explore

To be daring aside from driving 80 mph on city streets or

Brave enough to climb the mountains or spelunk the caves beneath

Ingrained not to swim from the lines of closely following sharks, we remained

Bouncing back with the audacity to create, invent and remain

The parents others wish they had, even without children, we are

Ending cycles of neglect, smashing disrespect and spitting hot bars or wisdom

Knowing Freedom and Peace for parents Exist beyond stereotypes, death and prison

Nothing short of miraculous with glory, honor and still some calls residual pain

Building communities and foundations deeper than the roots that bind us

Giving smiles, hopes, sharing dreams and admiring tattoos and scars

Parent in Your Hood

June 19th, 2021

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Story About Faith


A Short Story about Faith

               I wrote this blog post December 11th, 2019 when I was still healing from surgery in residential facility yet for some reason, I guess I didn’t post it.  Perhaps I let depression and pain get the best of me and thus, many of my pens went dry without touching paper.   Although this is more than a year ago, it remains relevant, as someone might be able to receive help from a few simple words about faith and action.  Helping others is one of my sole reasons for writing in the first place. While quickly talking about the subject of Faith, I’ll throw something out there which is that, you don’t have to have a deep spiritual belief or religion to exercise it.  To exercise Faith, a few conceptual elements definitely needed which I have found are Patience, Flexibility (time-wise as well as outcome-wise) and definitely an Open Mind.

               A week ago I woke up with a beat in my head, a musical beat. I’ve also woken up with beats still in my head from the end of a dream like a soundtrack.  The first time this happened, I was six or seven years old.  The song then was “Let the Slide Show Begin,” and the curtains closed in my dream before I woke up.  This has happened many times before from some dream or from the end of some dream and I was reluctant to jot down the idea from it, telling myself that it was “too simple,” thus it didn’t matter.

All of the sound generators I'm using on FL audio.

                Any message I receive in my dreams should be taken seriously for many reasons.  Sometimes my dreams are learning tools, reminders from the past; possibilities of what could be or to the extreme, direct windows into the future.  I told one of my associates about this and he knows me well and suggested that I should have made that beat, knowing what beats I have made in the past from dreams.  I ignored his advice although his voice on the other end of the phone sounded surprised and serious that I ignored one of my Divine-given gifts. I thought about it later and regretted it, thinking “oh well, another beat will pop in another night… hopefully,” yet knowing that I had missed a very unique valuable opportunity.

Rain Comrade trying to hear what Daddy did today.

               Last night I had a very short dream, where I met up with him.  In the dream he let me know that he got hired at the same place he was working at before he started the business with me; “Collections,” which is a very grimy business. He explained that they hired him right away and gave him his same position.  I asked him if he became John Gilman once again yet he did not answer. Instead the focus was on my handing him earphones to let him listen to a rap from a familiar sounding rapper, someone reminiscent from what we used to listen to (to be frank the guy in the dream sounded like a mix of Eclipto and B-Real from Cypress Hill and I don't sound like either lol).

               In the dream he was surprised and apparently so was I, as this was as if, it were the first time I had heard this song.  I woke up this morning to this beat still in my head and was thankful, thanking my Creator for gifting me with this simple yet very hard sounding track.  I scrambled to find a phone so that I could beat box into to record the idea before other daily sounds drowned out the idea.  In this retirement/rehabilitation center, I had to act fast but I did not want to wake up my other two roommates with the task.  Thankfully they were awakened with medical diagnostics, breakfasts but damn, my phone was dead.  I scrambled like fighter jets to find the cord, cleaned up my whole bed area and drawer just to find that I was sleeping on it.

               I plugged up my phone, kept beat-boxing the tune at a low level as well as repeatedly in my head and five minutes later, took down the idea.   As I thought about the simplicity of the beat, I came to realize that it was the exact same beat that I was given a week ago!  The only difference is that I can hear the sounds much clearer as well as having a point of reference of what I will sound like spittin a rap to. This is how I know Jesus likes good Rap music, lol or at least the being that created him! Sometimes I get songs, stories, whole movies and predictions in my head from dreams.

    When your Creator gives you messages or gifts, are you able to listen and openly receive? Okay, now I might need some headphones because these little Apple things just don’t cover the sounds but watch me make miracles with what I’ve got; well that’s what I’m used to!   Look out for “The Return of the Real,” one of these days, hopefully before or right after summer.   Now let me save the progression of this beat and get back to these books, which is a whole other subject of faith and action.

Curious minds often wonder if there are some pertinent things we might forget

After our slumber

Are we capable of listening to the squeaks in-between being awake and asleep?

Can we, reach deep into the subconscious of self and sanctuary?

To pull out what has been etched into our DNA of ages by sages and ancestors but

Will we, willingly let ourselves to expound upon the gifts made to silence evil and

Drown out all negativity, corruption, put crowns on children 

When men and women once given their opportunity

Scowl at them with jealous eyes with thoughts of

Drowning the innocent in the tides

Working on burying the truth with lies the youth persist as we have

For so long we have been silent although

Some have listened yet

To find the right time or better yet, the courage to speak of such things

Seems never right for those not chosen to understand the visions chosen for

Within your sights were right to recognize what others missed yet

Simply it is the overwhelming treasures that come with such gifts

Something grabbed attention for you to become stopped frozen for

An idea, a light, a way, a path inside, a hope or a remedy to help another life

Occurrences whether often or rare are perfect sphere not square and

Nothing close to boasting of pride

Reminders of what could very much be

Ways not yet tried 

I'll lead the way 

I'll close my eyes

I mean, I can wait

Until we are all safe without fears in that Dream State

Dream State



Thursday, August 6, 2020

Where Has Love Gotten Us?

       Amidst all of the things, writings and tasks this disabled being has to do to change his circumstances, answering this question for myself, for all of you, I rate as dire and critically important.  In all honesty, we hear messages and are asked things when it comes to happiness and especially responsibility.  My responsibility is to answer this below…
Where has love gotten you?

        For educational purposes, let’s just view love in all it's possibilities.  Love helps families exist. Families create communities and thus cities and nations are born.  Where has love taken me?  Well Love my friend, has taken me to travel with friends, to help countless others, to help build and provide in new ways, to move with my ex to New York City, to be brave and allow myself to be open to the possibility of falling in love with my high school sweetheart. Can you believe that love has brought me to you my friend?
 How exactly has love brought us here? 

Well if we do not know each other, picture yourself concerned about your own well being, your ability to socialize, to matter to another, to be recognized for who you are or the ability to be able to check on a Family member or friend.  All of these reasons and more are why we use social media, right?  Think of it this way, you are practicing self love and more when you log on, simply to see what’s up.  The social part of your humanity in the Subconscious sense, cares about your mental health and socialization!
 Caring about yourself as well as caring about others is one of the simplest yet humble and Noble things a person can do.  
       What I really want you to think about with this post, to come away with, is to seriously and consciously realize how powerful this force we call Love, actually is and can be.  One question I used to hear when I was much younger was “Is it better to be feared or to be loved?” The answer to this is now less complex for me for a few reasons, some of which I'll leave for y'all in s different post titled Fear vs Love.  The first reason is the understanding of self sacrifice.
As a parent, I now look through a completely different lens that I previously had when lives did not depend on me.  As a father I look at the sacrifices made as not strenuous, stressful or tedious but things that “needed to he done.”
       The largest thing I now know about Love is knowing that I will do anything to protect those which I love and sacrifice for.  I would pull the stars from the sky for my children and I am trying to do that now!  I realize the fight within myself and the “no holds barred, you better stay the fuck out of my way,” demeanor when I feel my family is being threatened.  Looking back at those nature shows I love so much, it is now easy to realize why specific animals, parents fight all unbelievable odds to protect their offspring. 

       For the reason of freedom as well as to protect home, I understand completely why people, when fighting on their own soil during a war, tend to naturally fight harder and strategically for the places and lands they love.  (Just look at Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and others) You see, love can even conquer the conquistador. I’m not talking about changing someone’s mind about fighting in the first place, or rethinking a fight or conflict, I am talking about the ability, strength and will required to beat unsurmountable odds.  I’m not saying that you cannot win a disagreement, fight or conflict without war.  What I am saying is that the party, individual, group, community or government which is fighting for a reason tied to this unseen gasoline called Love, is indeed more likely to be much more dangerous as well as prepared against the force they are fighting.

       When fighting for love, we automatically reach deep past a strength we cannot see within ourselves and bring it forth to he challenged without question.   We as humans do things that seem to be humanly impossible.  We use the survivalist instinct suppressed in order to ensure that those we love, can endure.  We do not only get stronger but we inherently get more creative and inventive with the task at hand… to let no harm befall those we cherish and value in our existence as priceless.  We move mountains so that we can, if possible, prevent suffering, hardship and death to those which  we care about most.

I do this every now and then when writing these thingies.  I ask an open-ended question, just for you to think on.  What for you is worth fighting for?  When you know what that is, I also would like to ask, do you believe that there are any circumstances or reasons why you would choose not to fight?  Let me be frank, now the power of love is so strong that a physical fight or confrontation might never need to occur in order to achieve the goals and get the answers we seek.

Love can stop the opposition in it’s tracks, especially if it knows the overpowering force that they are up against.  Love can cause people to find innovative ways to protect themselves, to protect those they love, build wiser, to pay attention to details and love provides focus to the pursuer.  With focus and clarity, the one sacrificing time, energy, effort, emotions gains the ability to build for others, whether it be a physical sanctuary as a house, or an idea(s) to change the life of another in a positive way.  To be more serious, I can say with confidence that it is purely Love which is lacking in communities as well as in many governments.  Lastly I want to remind that love survives all odds, builds healthy Families, builds empires and it is only love alone that lead successful revolts of the past and has many times, won revolutions!  

As usual, I have left a poem for you to enjoy.  Persistence, Purpose, Patience, Prosperity and Inner-peace! -Sekou Mensah Black

A seed awaits just as we do
As much as time allows one to survive
Faithful and patient for the main event
For things to change, there must be a key ingredient
Dark heavy clouds agree in unison to open up
Pouring the liquid equivalent to what we know as Love
So knowing this we can begin to understand 
How exactly the most simple of organisms
Thrive in spite of
With conditions we deem unfit for life
Stepping up to Nature’s challenges & demands
The story was started before seeds hit soils or
Much before life in any place was placed to show Granted opportunity to exist, no matter what and
With winds, we too travel'd far
Some came on ships, some on Airplanes while others
Shot straight down from an unknown star
Being let go, to fend for themselves some question
Was this some sick mistake or was this pre-destined?
Whether Creator exists at all teaching ethical lessons
Keep it positive, keep it moving & keep em' guessing
I cannot speak on what I do not know but
If they think struggle and folly got me here 
They must first remember 
That Love finds no reason to brag
Especially when it already shows much
As some say the journey is not important yet
We cannot discount the struggles of any seed nor
Belittle ways in which the destination was achieved
“Give me rain,” some seeds say while others
Entertain many with the thought that
It was them who watered and raised themselves
Because no one wants to think of a seed screaming
That Neglect is possibly one sure way to reach
A very unforgiving and scorching hell

Waiting Seeds 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Black Canary

The Black Canary

Until We Are Truly Free:
The Tale of The Black Canary

“Singing like a Canary,” as I recount in the streets of East Palo Alto, California as a child and teen held a call against the street code. I learned much from street scholars as well as from many books my father kept, yet I would never guess that I would understand the complex nature and significance that bird held in the lives of us all in this experimental extraction of resources we know as Capitalism.  Although I had done some reading myself, I did not fully connect the relation between the oppression of a people and the government which benefited.  I mean, I clearly knew the First Nation's struggles from broken treaties to massacres but to fully notice the uphill struggle of your own means one thing, that you can in no way discount or deny what you have been conditioned to live, or in the case of the canary in the mine, conditioned to die accepting.

All over the planet as well as in the earliest recorded histories African as well as the darkest skin of people tend to suffer an abundance of Genocide, Oppression and inhumane hardships.  One could look at history from ancient times of the pharaohs and understand, why African slaves in more modern times, rebelled.  In fact, Africans from the diaspora, although indoctrinated through a carefully controlled, Christian brainwashing, learned to read, in secret for themselves and thus were inspired to seek freedom, compelled by what was taught in the biblical book of Exodus.  But why is it that Africans were used as slaves in the first place, why Aboriginal Australians were forced into slavery as well as any other dark-hued people of the diaspora and so forth?  Being the first people, we have had many firsts, unfortunately that even means, the first to struggle and die.  

During mining throughout the world, humans have learned to use the canary to signal when the air levels in the caves were too dangerous for miners, as it were live canaries used that got sick and in some cases, died before the people did.  It is not strange for people to seek dangerous occupations, yet when your very life becomes dangerous, the term occupational hazard is no where close to the injustices which follow and the scars that are left.  So yes, Africans and people of the diaspora have been the sociological, canaries in many societies, especially in this American one.  In a sick twisted sense, what happens to us, will indeed happen to everyone.  As a man of African decent myself, I cannot ignore the injustices, nor can I act caviler to the reality that some stranger, just because I have melanin in my skin might decide to physically attack myself or my family, unprovoked.

Many have accepted the generational injustices as “the way of things,” yet everything within their conditioned humanity seeks to scream, “give me freedom, give me peace,” when we have already fought and died for that many times over.  Sacrifice is something understood which all can attest to building character, strength and resilience of spirit, yet how much burden do a people have to bear?  When unfortunate circumstances happen to us, do we look at the past as a teaching tool or do we simply “move on,” to greener pastures, placing a blind “hope,” as an achievable goal, without worry for what could happen, or do we look back, take stock of the previous lessons learned and strive for a different kind of hope?  I ask this due to the fact, that many can empathize as well as see the common threads in humanity from family, work, school as well as in our social lives and even in religious lives for some. The question for me is not whether people, can see themselves in us in different aspects but can people foresee the ways in which control and oppression has had a negative impact upon our lives and can sense the same common threads of dissent, abuse, financial fraud, and financial dependency aimed at them as well?
Many in capitalistic societies do not recognize their importance nor their role as an openly participating “Unit of Production,” per see, such as the social security number given to Americans since birth.  I have not studied enough about other modern or “Western,” cultures to know how they view their citizens yet can clearly see the “trickle down effect,” from what the United States of America has modeled to hlthe rest of the world.  We can easily look at any form of governance and see people being abused and even killed, while working for the common good, the unspoken monster which Capitalism breeds called “Greed.” Now this Greed, which societies experience is like the gingivitis to our teeth and gums.  It eats away at any nutrients we need, after the accumulation plaque has prevented our gums to properly breathe.  Capitalism as I have been told many times, is a good thing, yet ingenuity usually comes from a curtain kind of person, one that either wants to make their own circumstances better or in many instances, make the lives of others easier or better.

“It is genuinely the nature of the beast to want more and more, even after the feast,” I sarcastically say but what many fail to realize are the many ways in which, they too have fallen victim to and yes, have been used and abused by a nature which goes against everything good, wholesome and natural.  While living comfortably, it is easy to understand why many would not see the struggles, hardships or even notice the many ways in which their society has conditioned them.  Their relationship with their society has been designed to seem natural in all aspects from desires to need yet what was carefully crafted specifically for them, could be everything which alludes to superficial.  “I get it I get it,” I mean, we all need to live by some type of rules and everyone has to work in some capacity in order to survive, yet where the question lies is with two words, choice and freedom.  We are born into this world with the understandings given to us, whether through family, socially or educational. 
 The decisions we make, directly affects the outcome of how we are allowed to live or chose to live. When people say “Do as they do in Rome!” I question, do they know what happened to the Roman Empire and how it fell?  When we see others suffering, are we drawn to help them, so we believe or aknowledge that what we see in that moment could also befall us or someone we care for?  Why or why not?  Is our ability to empathize and relate stifled by the monotony we toil with daily?  Are the messages we are fed by government and media foster community, or individualistic success?  

These are all questions for us to ask of ourselves while we seek to feel more “liberated,” as wholesome individuals on our own "road to sucesss," or view life. Now for the canary in the mine, the Black Canary… do you think that you could find yourself in situations where what happened to her/him could happen to you? Why or why not? Do you see instances of people taking advantage of others or has anyone taken advantage of you or your kindness in any way and if so, how did or does that make you feel?  My only tasks I ask of you is that you try to look through eyes of a different lens, that you perhaps open yourself to the possibility or thought of… something magical and seemingly impossible and not befriend a Canary, but free them as well as others from the dangerous mines from dangerous minds which led them there in the first place.  Besides, Compassion and Courage is Contagious.  Dare to plant a seed of resistance and resilience and see what sprouts.  (Poem left below, enjoy)

There have been many dark corridors and corners to turn
I swear it feels so trapped in here 
Sometimes the air itself is so thick it burns but
I exist for a reason
Can’t you see that if I’m allowed space, I can spread my wings and fly but
My wings have been clipped and they gave me no reason why so
I sit in this cage
Calm and complacent
Still singing and patient
For one day I know they will open that cage and set me free
I know the world out there is scary
I have seen it all being the Black Canary
Watch me glide through the courageous skies and I
Will show you how to fly during the storm and when wet
I will unfold my wings to keep you dry and warm
Together, new treasures and shady trees we will find but please
Just please don’t force me back into that cage and mine
Watch me close even if your breathing is fine or
It might be you who finds yourself confined, out of time

The Black Canary

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Revolutionary Father's Day

       As my own father mentioned today, after I brought up a question about this Holiday we celebrate commending Father’s, for Black men in particular, this holiday holds an eerie significance.  Being that Black men have been murdered and are still murdered by racists and police, any Black father that is not dead and incarcerated is a very blessed man, a living symbol of Power, Greatness, Strength and Love. Oh yes, soon in a blog or two from this one, you will read about me taking about the power of love. For one reason alone I will make a serious example.  Ok, so we know that for love, many folks will do the damdest of things, right?

       I have one more question.  If you knew that there were negative forces, being a set of laws or a group of people, that wanted the most precious person you care about, either a slave or dead, what would you do to protect them and guarantee their safety?  I ask this because this is what Black parents have wondered as soon as, if not much before, their child steps one foot out of the houses into that unforgiving and very racist White Man’s World. The Black Woman is indeed the most precious as well as the most abused woman in this planet, the true Atlas yet I was amazed by what I saw today.
Although there is lots of hate out there, there’s also lots of love and I saw that as Black women stood up, not just this Father’s Day but other years as well, whenever the call arose.
       While others pointed out criminal convictions, they pointed out that these men, were fathers and pillars of their communities.  I watched the Black family in many forms, nuclear as well as modern, kin as well as stranger, come together to stand up for future generations as well as the brotha on the corner selling cigarettes that could have passed knowing too many of us saw faces of evil as they breathed their very last.  So we need soldiers to combat hate and fight the good fight so that our children might never have to raise a fist, to protect the ones thrown at them.  I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there for my children and loved ones.  Just trying to imagine what that would be like is not a nightmare I want to visualize thus I cannot even fathom the idea.

      Unfortunately there are thousands if not millions of African men that were ripped away from their families either on their way to the New World or through kidnapping, murder, or this new virus of Jealousy, Hate with Greed. Me giving thanks for being here isn’t even the half of it as I struggled to communicate with my twelve year old, who is already sad about the COVID realities, that it’s “just not safe out here for us.” (Below are pictures of George Floyd, Oscar Grant and Reyshard Brooks with their daughters)

I used to look at this American Crafted holiday of Father’s Day as another Hallmark ploy for sales and economy boosting.  I can no longer look at it that way for my life, our lives are much more valuable that any words or phrases Hallmark can print. Every year, as the plight of the Son’s and Daughters of slaves gets pushed under the rug, so does the fabric of Freedom itself. The seriousness of what it means to be a Black Father or a Black Mother, to date, is the most challenging and yet the most profound, noble, and powerful responsibility in human history.  The fact is that this past day, the one where we honor our fathers, is now sadly a Trophy of Our Black Survival, as “I made it alive to spend this day with my family and my children.”
       I am thankful even for what I saw on social media, as I saw classmates from all levels of schooling, with their own children, fishing, BBQing, cooking Father’s Day meals and even watching the joys others had, like when my boy Alvin shared the joy of his son eating Eloté corn with what looked like hot Cheetos on top.  These are the moments actions which build a community, although we are far and only close by way of our telecommunication devices.  I saw my friends with their fathers as well and was reminded what those Black men must have gone through just so that we could be here.  We only know struggle and hardship when it is brought directly to our doors, as in many cases, struggle is the norm.  If we are still here throughout the Mid-Atlantic slave passages, torture, rape, murder, dismemberment, fed to animals, burned alive, drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, hanged, branded, chased, bred, abused, psychologically messed with to the point where it perpetuates over ten generations removed from the harshest trauma imagined, we are truly here for a divine reason.

       We are simply told when we were Young that “there will be challenges,” yet in many other phrases commonly heard like “life ain’t peaches and cream,” and so forth.  To accept the challenge and gift of being a strong Black parent is nothing short of heroic.  Walk proudly and let us teach our future Kings, Queens, Geniuses, Billionaires, Scientists, Professionals and Astronauts that with fierce determination against all forces and odds, that our Creator has invested in us that we can and will be anything that we truly want to be.  Here’s to real freedom and whatever that flavor tastes like.  I've left a poem below so enjoy!

Only mothers can know the strength which resides in a hopeful possibility
Not even us fathers can fathom the will to carry and even lose a child
There are those that hold no worries
For their destinies were carefully crafted, stolen
Prepared and procured, purposely for them and prestige… and then…
There are men
Ripped from the existence they fought so hard to keep
Whom may never again feel water flow or the amazing strength of the wind
As some were strung up by their necks and limbs others
Shot like criminals or enemy combatants in a war
When we have been patient to the point of no longer trying to keep score
But we want our daughters and son’s to live another day to greet the sun
So when days like this pass, I hold fast and hold them tight… like...
A Black teenager, bright child of a mother or father doesn’t want to let go
Off into the night, now an argument ensued so we let show
How damn scared and afraid for them and how far we have let things get thus far
Too distracted by what’s spilling on the concrete to be focused on the stars
So we fight and live with the strongest love given
Until we are called by force or by grace to sit proud where our ancestors are

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Vigilant Parent

The Vigilant Parent

What to Tell Our Sons and Daughters 
During These Times of Change:

       When I think of freedom, I dream of golden grassy hills being blown by the wind.  I dream of walks on the beach and I begin to fantasize about what it would be like to live completely without the fear and worry of murder for simply being me.   To live in fear daily, believe me is no way to live however this is the reality of many Black Americans especially if you are a parent.   When we think about what our children might have to go through, getting sick to the stomach is a normal feeling.  Anger sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed is very natural if you are a black parent in Apartheid America.  The big question many have is “how do I talk to my son(s) and daughter(s) about racism and what is going on with the George Flynn murder?"

       My answer for a fellow colleague, coworker was simple “straight up,” yet we wonder, how will my child receive these truths?  Many wonder, is there a certain way or sensitivity that should be used when speaking about these horrific things?  As a parent myself the best way I know to talk about hate and injustice is the opposite of the subject, with empathy, understanding and love.  We as parents want the best for our children and this includes how they feel about and deal with issues.  

When a CNN journalist asked a community organizer about the realities of raising a child of color in this racial tinderbox and the screenshot I took says it all.

       Some that know holy books are taught about “The Age of Reasoning,” when a child can distinguish right from wrong. We simply do not want our children to be hurt or traumatically affected by the stories of the past as well as with the horrible realities we still struggle with.  We as parents cringe at the thought of the young souls we know losing their innocence.  I for one do not want my son called a “nigger,” as I was in kindergarten by a little boy or girl singing the racist version of “Enie Minnie Miny Mo, catch a Nigger by his toe.” These fears as a parent are very much valid as some of us have experienced truths in our childhood which caused some of us to “grow up early,” per see.  

      There is no easy way to speak about violence, injustice and especially murder with our children yet it is detrimental and essential for their understanding and most importantly, for their survival.  The answer sounds simple, yet I imagine can be met with layers of anxiety.  Using the most understanding we can muster, with the love and sensitivity you can find when speaking about the subject of death and loss is one way.  Another approach is to be nonchalant yet serious when we mention the reality that injustice, that harm could befall the young lives we cherish.  How do we explain the positives with all of the negatives we know and see?

      Compassion as I have witnessed can bring the coldest heart to a standstill.  Compassion and empathy is how we will also teach our children of promise to be better than what this rat-race of a capitalistic society demands. Introducing them to awesome people, successful as well as educated Black folks is one way to show them positive.  Bringing them to community events such as the  Juneteenth and humanities which include us such as plays, musicals like “The Heights,”can be awesome.  Showing positive movies which depict the Black man (Latino or Native) in a positive manner helps. 

       There are no perfect answers yet I can remember what my parents did.  My father had books about racism and blackness everywhere in his library, thus Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Before the Mayflower became some of my first books.  When I was called “nigger,” in Kindergarten, my father removed me from that school and put me in a community school that nurtured blackness, cultural strengths accomplishments and emphasized the many leaders which have led us this far.  I was introduced to African events, food and culture via the African friends my parents had.  How will our children know that we are strong, resilient, intelligent and have a large outpouring of support if we do not show them?

       Personally my first son, now twelve is much too mature for his age due to what he, what we have already been through.  He is resilient yet sensitive to the point where I have to choose the right time and space to talk with him.  He has a strong sense of morality just like his father and does not like to hear about people, especially Black people being hurt or killed.  My son had unfortunately experienced bullying by white children as well as blatant racism from children at playgrounds. This, if I could have avoided was one of my fears.

      My duty as a parent and a Black Father is made that much more challenging.  While I'm on the subject I must say that I do not believe that I would have the strength it takes to be a black mother.   One thing we must do is to ensure that our children know that they are undeniably loved, super awesome as well as what he knows what's up.  My job of protecting him is not just physical for I have to try my best to encourage him faced with an environment which does not nurture community, individuality or the accomplishments of anyone that is not of European decent, especially Black men. I must help him keep his fire lit and hopeful, so that no matter what comes hisway, that he will be prepared by all means and ready to fight back in many ways and not to let the negativity aimed at him, become him.

      We must model as well as show them the majesty through our great histories, how beautiful, black and powerful they are and how great, if they are down for a little fight, they will soon become.  With showing them how to defend and protect themselves we must also explain that like many instances, there are good people and bad people, good cops and bad cops etc. and that we decide how to become, that being who you are is not decided for them.  I have a new son, one that has me wondering, what will we teach him and what will he face.  As I have before, I will leave you with a recent poem of mine.  Enjoy!

Priests and holy men around the world hold fast
Praying, meditating and fasting for insight
Pacing and trying to think of innovative ways 
As unexpected tides rise much too fast to find high ground
Evil creeps in sinks both sharp teeth deep before…
Any sound of pain can be heard and simple solution found
While children world’s away but even…
The ones dead in our face have been forced to thirst
Oblivious to the busted teeth, broken bones bruises and blood stains
Those who could change things fail as other cowards have countless
This time even the value of human life we leave for them to define
For even the old and weary point out...
The way in which this sun currently shines
Worrying about economies and 
Satire too close to home to be comedies
We forget yes
I admit that I didn’t see the reason things must have come to be
You see, while we were all blinded
Some asshole put out a contract on “Kindness,” 
Now we all must show face, soul search and if we must… purge
Not like the sick movie types
With death, racism and political euphemisms
Just a plan and an action with momentum and rhythm
Cutting off Evil Greed and Lack of Empathy as the main determining
Maybe then we could perhaps find a grand design or 
An offspring of the risen
The son or daughter of Kindness expressed in Love to get this ball rollin'
Perhaps then we would be paid for our patience and granted reparations
Maybe then land that was stolen would be given back to them
As First Nations stand with their fists raised...
We behave like trained slaves
With every reason to rebel, instead we accept Hell
Proving that we were the most successful colonized people and
There was no forced brainwashing or reasons under the church and steeple
It was us, comfortable, immovable, unyielding and yes, Complacent
Because it could be me or you, no lies, only truth
Taking their very last gasp of breath pinned against the cold  pavement
As onlookers only yell or walk pass we cry in disbelief and
From the deepest of pain
Allowing no just cause 
As our own empathy for others momentarily pauses
Ask the ancestors and elderly for all of these causes and they said...
"Not on my watch!"
We don’t need a sundial, watch or phone to remind us what time it is
Only a person not tied to the privilege to act according to what we might do and …
To resurrect my dear homie named Kindness

The Contract on Kindness
May 26, 2020

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

An Odyssey of Creativity and Wisdom: Day 22

one thousand words daily

one thousand words daily: Day 22 – the possibility of

               Due to what I have experienced in my short 38 years, I am one that believes in miracles.   If anyone were to tell me that something weren’t possible or not able to do, I would ignore or out loud say “Bullshit!”   I admit that I myself need to learn a bit more of patience... ok maybe a lot more than a little bit but I am learning, slowly.  I get discouraged, pissed off and think, “damn, why do people have to make the simplest things so got-damn difficult… for no good reason,” but that is just the way in which some systems are designed.  There are systems, laws and other things in societies designed for us to fail, succeed (by their standards of success) as well as systems to keep us stagnant on a perpetual hamster wheel.  Meeting with various folks, I am reminded of “SHABLAM!!!”… the REAL!

real recognize real
               In my upcoming book, The Art to Seasoning Life, I dedicated a whole chapter toward what I dubbed “Originality Takes the Cake,” simply meaning that our uniqueness and originality as an individual is enough fuel to spark the best fires in relationships of all kinds.  By simply being ourselves, we often lend a perspective or as I say, a “perfect ingredient,” to conversations, relationships and even in new business ventures.   That quote from Marianne Williamson comes to mind when it says “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you...” yet we are fed these messages  intentionally, subliminally as well as right in our faces, on a daily.

the push-back
               What do we do to combat these negative forces, which I have dubbed “The Opposition?”
We fight back with diligence, patience, focus, truth and this amazing unseen substance called Love is what we do!  Granted that there are countless numbers of imbeciles that have been taught that they have to take from others to survive, thus they only know how to take, Take, TAKE - opposed to building stable foundations for themselves.  I have witnessed many with this mindset fail miserably, no matter how big they perceived themselves to be and no matter how they exerted their perception of power.  In the beginning as well as the end, although it helps some, it does not matter how you start off financially but what your goals are, how you set them and whether or not you are open to “The Possibility of…” My fiancé calls this “The Audacity to do…” which is exactly what it is.

dare to be be audacious
               We must be audacious and courageous when reaching towards our desires and dreams.  When raising a family we are often told that we must “suck it up and get a stable job,” but if you can genuinely do more than others, more than your employers, then you owe it to yourself as well as your family to invest in yourself and shine like the stars that shine down upon all of us.  Anything else would be lying to ourselves, right?  How can we be comfortable, knowing that we can be living a better quality of existence, a much richer life with a lot more potential, open to endless possibilities?   I for one just can’t do that y’all so I’m writing and striving towards perfection, deflecting blows, rolling with the punches and not stumbling across but being fed with amazing blessings I would in no other way have been given or trusted with. 

               I know that I might have touched on the subject of being audacious yet I felt a passion to write about it once more. Matter of fact, I was taking a shit in my makeshift office of Starbucks and kind of got really inspired. Clearing the mind and body have that sort of effect, you know, when you have the inclination to write an important idea down or call someone.  I guess it is time that I shut up now and leave you guys a poem. BTW I go in for surgery soon (Titanium rod replacement and fusing bones, taking one out of my hip and putting it in my lower tibia and fibula) where I will not be able to walk or function like I want but I think that I am ready, although I still feel a bit scared for the reason that they are just too lax about the whole thing.   
               Please pray for me and my family!

Clouds with faces do not blow the fierce winds we perceive
As conditions are now created by us oblivious to the deconstructs of greed
Some believe it bad when wind topples branches or unstable trees yet
There was reason within season as they were possibly not in the right place, us
Misplacing trust and erasing much to create a way of comfort without stepping back
Looking at the whole portrait of Ansel Adams in flesh not just on canvas for
While we plot and plan, Earth reminds how fragile and confined we are and
How flawed a design we can become when taking things for granted
Yet by measuring our own success we walk away with something special
Magic and miracles surface on soils when we never thought at night, it did rain
We notice a wet pavement and through the expectance of morning dew
Many seedlings and spores sprout creating clout is what they do but
We are just as fragile as they
Needing nourishment of all types
Not just moisture, soil and sunlight
Believing and acting on faith, we find a ways of more than one but many a ways to provide
Soaking up realness from gifters not takers while shaking off the fakers
We step forth with proper power showering others with hope and love, we survive

Dare to Achieve