Mar 30, 2008

Have you ever pined for something or someone?


Mar 24, 2008

A Dis/Illusory Rhythm

I got one last carrot juice at the deli on 125th, and said bye to the jedi master of juicers. He told me to come back soon and wished me a safe trip home. I was sad to leave after being in New York for so long. My stay got extended because of a small cold that spiralled into fever land, leaving me bed ridden for a few days. I ended up staying longer than planned, to get better and to reclaim my trip. Now it was time to say goodbye to a few loved ones and to the city.
The city with the strongest presence and the heaviest energy.
The city with stories oozing out of its rust, concrete and brick. Sewage and bridges. Backstreets and playgrounds.

The city of dis/illusions.

I took a cab to La Guardia. I was running late. For a minute, I hoped to miss my flight back home. But reality check squashed that wish in the roughest way. Must go home! Get back to your life! I got to the airport and scrambled out the cab, carrot juice in one hand and bags in the other. I turned around and nearly bumped into some guy. Tony Touch. I did a double take and almost spilled the juice on myself. He smiled, and I gave him an awkward look back, and continued on. Gotta go!

Amid the grime, bling and hustle of this city, I found incredible things. Things I forgot I was looking for. Things I forgot I needed. Things I wasn't even looking for. None of it tangible. All of it inside me.

Amid the dis/illusion I found space and solace.
An internal music.
And for the first time in a long while, I danced. For real.

Here’s to water towers on dilapidated buildings, mancu and eggs, bass sax players at 42nd station, and tripping all over myself in Spanish Harlem.

Here’s to dis/illusory moments. Because sometimes, clarity comes in the most unclear of spaces. And when you least expect it,

you find a forgotten rhythm.

Get Out of My Hair

Mar 12, 2008

Acetaminophenic Serendipitous Times

The other night, my friend and I ran into this guy, a person she had known from post-911 organizing a few years ago. This guy is a politically conscious renaissance man who's been around the way, done a lot, and still doing a million things. A lawyer-cum-civil liberties organizer, and part-time artist, he was of the most interesting people I'd met in a while. He'd been a vocalist and percussionist in an 80s r&b/funk band, with a banging hit song featuring George Clinton and Bootsy Collins (see youtube below). So when I told him about my love for music, and how I used to play the piano, clarinet, guitar, and more recently been messing with turntables, he couldn't help but take me to this gem of a spot in greenwich village, where we watched legendary singer and bassist Roy Bennett and his ensemble do classic soul/r&B/funk covers. It was such a joy to watch these guys play. The highlight of the night (apart from a crazy O'Jays medley) was a random appearance by two members of the well-known 70s group, Crown Heights Affair. YUP. I had the privilege of watching these guys do a Keni Burke tune, as per my awkward request during the break.

I've got a mild fever, sick with a throat-gutting, rib-bruising bronchial cough, and a sinus headache that's mashing up the insides of my head and face. But I’m oddly feeling more alive than I have in a while. Either that or I'm high off the copious amount of acetaminophen in my system.

I'm dedicating this post to serendipitous encounters, and to the beautiful individual who has inspired and encouraged me to find the music within.

Mar 9, 2008

Bra-Less At Bilal

I saw one of my favorite artists perform in NYC tonight. In the rush of getting to the show, I forgot to put on my bra. Really.

I can't find the words to express just how incredible this show was. The venue. The audience. The band. And Bilal. Beautiful. Brilliant. Crazy and lovely.

His falsetto screams were so fucking precious.

He encored with Love Poems. I thought I'd lose my mind. Then he ended it with Soul Sister. And I lost it. Man oh man.

If you haven't heard of Bilal, check him out. Support his music.
In the era of the "try-hard" Bilal stands as a true innovator.
And that's something to hold on to.

Mar 5, 2008

And She Said...

I was telling a friend how I like myself better when I'm not in love. Words spoken from a true warrior. Hardly. I've been around long enough to get burned a few times when it comes to love. And being the type that falls hard, I tend to lose light in the aftermath of a beat up heart. But I pull through, and when I do, I lift myself over and beyond to the point where I feel more alive being solid and single than I do clumsy and in love. Or maybe that's the illusion reflecting off this choke-tight shield that's strapped around my heart. The truth is, I am clumsy. Shaky with heart wide open. And when I'm in love, I lose balance, tripping over myself and everything around me. That's how I fall. Hard and awkward.

I was re-reading a book I last looked at a couple of years ago: homegirls & handgrenades. I was stunned. The same words I read a while back were hitting me in a different way. This time the words of Sonia Sanchez were slapping me across the face, like how I needed it. In this book, Sonia's writing is so much about love, and being in it. Even when it isn't so apparent. And this time around, I was open to hearing it. Not just from anyone, but from someone who has lived love clumsy, with a gaping heart that's fierce as revolution.

The excerpt below is from a short piece in her book. This particular story has stayed with me. It's the one I find myself reading over. Each time, soaking up the words. Letting them seep deep into my skin.

As I stood watching them race the morning, Mrs. Johnson got up.
"Don't go," I cried. "You didn't finish your story."
"We'll talk by-and-by. I comes out here almost everyday. I sits here on the same bench everyday. I'll probably die sittin' here one day. As good a place as any I'magine."
"May I hug you, ma'am? You've helped me so much today. You've given me strength to keep on looking."
"No. Don't never go looking for love girl. Just wait. It'll come. Like the rain fallin' from heaven, it'll come. Just don't never give up on love."
We hugged; then she walked her 84-year-old walk down the street. A black woman. Echoing gold. Carrying couplets from the sky to crease the ground.

Echoing gold. Gaping Heart. Fierce Love.

It's time to take this shield off.
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