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Showing posts from 2014

Seat Fillers and Taking Back My Fire

We put seat fillers in the places and spaces that God has reserved for someone or something else. Impatiently, we try to fit cubical objects into cylindrical spaces; discontentedly, we clog the arteries of our dreams and desires with fatty waste that is, at minimum, unnecessary, and at most, life-threatening. We are impatient with our dreams and goals, and our seat fillers--the drug abuse, that man or woman that ain't good for us, that career of convenience we chose over a life of passion--set us back instead of pushing us forward. 
God wants to push us forward, to have a faith that is content with the empty seats in our auditoriums--a faith that, in the midst of emptiness, is full and fervent. 
Lately, I've been identifying the seat fillers in my life in a desperate attempt to save myself from myself. I've cried out to God, "forgive me for not waiting for and anticipating the people and the places you have been preparing for me, for not trusting that my gifts will mak…

Today's a new day

(Circa 5:30 am) Today's a new day. I'm 3 days sober and determined to make 2015 a stellar year, even if it kills me. I deserve it. 
(Hours later) ...feeling a little bipolar today. There were great moments when I smiled  and other moments when I fought back tears. It amazes me how some people want to fix your "problem" so quickly without actually trying to understand what it is.

Day 2 of Sobriety

12.21.2014
*Don't expect a new post every day. This writing spree is mostly therapeutic and posting publicly allows me to partially free myself from my pain. 
This is day two of this journey. I cried myself to sleep last night. I was angry and sad and tired and thirsty, and those sleeping pills just weren't cutting it. I wondered about the silence of those around me. When I was younger, I used to communicate with those strange people we call “friends” almost daily. As I age, the phone calls are almost non-existent. The texts come less frequently. I look through my phone log and the person I've communicated with the most these past couple of weeks is someone I’m annoyed with right now. What is this age thing? Everyone’s with their lovers, parents, and children, and I'm lamenting while sipping hot tea. I’m angry at my friends for not checking in. I often wonder how they’d react if I just disappeared—fell off the face of the earth. I’m trying that deactivating Facebook th…

It's purge season...

12.20.2014
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Or whatever. These past two mornings, I've spent some much needed time with God—my God who I've neglected and rejected with the lame excuses of busyness and exhaustion. In the past 24 hours alone, I've come to the realization that I’d much rather be dead than to continue living this falsified, inebriated life that I pretend to enjoy. In my conversations with God, some things have been reaffirmed: for one, 2014 has been a most tumultuous year. The highs were high and counterfeit; the lows were real and perpetual. I've yet to escape the demons that I thought I’d fought off months ago. The flames of hell might have died down for a while but when they reignite, they rise with a vengeance. On this cold, gray morning, I stand in the pit of hell, frozen. My anxiety is running rampant in the pit of my stomach and I’m convinced hell is more like sharp cuts of an icicle than that of a raging fire. My feet are frost-bitten …

Am I the Grinch?: Why I Hate Christmas

I’m staring at this blank word document trying to sum up enough energy to put some words on this page that make sense. Mostly, I'm just venting about my disposition because, at minimum, it's therapeutic. As I begin this, I only have a few more hours to write before I have to put on a mask of makeup and dance my way onto the stage, smiling while singing while sweating, and spreading loads of holiday cheer. My goal is to let my adrenaline push me through this show so that I can get home to reunite with my bottle of Cabernet and sulk about my mental and emotional state of being. We’re in the thick of another holiday season, and once again, I hate my life. During this time of year, I often feel like that kid who watches the other kids play outside from inside her living room window. Another holiday party picture is posted to Instagram. Another Christmas engagement is announced. Another “Santa brought us a baby this year” status update. And though I share in your joy (yes YOU with…

The Shelf Life of the Black Man & Band-aids over Bruises

I didn't sleep well last night and many other nights in the past couple of weeks. I've tried to pinpoint the anxieties and "handle them" like Olivia Pope. Recently, however, I started to feel as if one of my anxieties, in particular, was connected to the constant streaming of news (and opinions) related to the unfortunate events of the Mike Brown murder and the trial that followed, the Eric Garner murder and the non-indictment of the cop who choked him to death, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement happening across the country. Additionally, we (most Black people who aren't uncle Toms) are coming off of the heels of the Trayvon Martin murder and the non-conviction of his killer, still reeling from the Sean Bell case of 2006, with the skeletal remains of the Amadou Diallo case of 1999 in our mental graveyards. Add on 12-year old Tamir Rice and the innocent Akai Gurley, among many others, and we are left pondering the already crumbling state of a country that has ab…

Untitled

I lay on my left side
In a loose fetal position
With my left arm softly wrapped around my body
On a curved diagonal
Where my hand cups the fat just above my hip
My right arm crosses up towards my shoulder
The backhand meets the cushion of my cheek
I hold myself loosely
Wishing for a firmness of grip
That only another could create
My left hand slips upward
Towards a tiny love handle
Tears drip like wax from candles
Running down my hand
Hardening like hearts do
What is this hug I force upon myself?
Willing a touch that fills
Breath behind my ear that heals
stillness steals the urge to scream
I grip tighter and harder
These nightmares I dream
Are growing ulcers and tumors
That bleed into my strangled stomach
days turn into nights
fingernails sink into skin
I am awaiting
Him

Not yet adieu

I willingly awoke at 3:30 this morning to the whispers of Agnus Dei bathing in my brain: "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Dona nobis pacem. -> Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Grant us peace." This morning I (re)claim and declare peace. As much as I'd like to wish 2014 "adieu", I've decided to hold out for promises yet fulfilled; and I will fight the good fight to reclaim my joy...my life...myself, until the ticking of the clock rings anew. I want to say "it is finished" and mean it-- to painfully revel in this year filled with countless beautiful moments paralleled by gut-wrenching despair, incredible achievements matched with insurmountable heartache. I still have faith that in the final quarter of this Julian year, hopes and dreams will find me and meet me at the alter of my fears. We'll eclipse all self-doubt and worry as we journey to peace, together.






Pacem

fisher of coins & the good man

October 5th Kansas City, MO I was sitting out by a water fountain just beyond the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO, when I noticed a man, barefoot and walking in the knee-high deep, rich blue water. He was fishing for coins, and looked frazzled and frustrated with his findings (or the lack thereof). He wasn't disturbing anybody or begging for money. His shoulder length dirty blonde hair and thin body resembled that of the white Jesus of the Renaissance paintings, or a 20th century "Hollywood Jesus." But this man, the wanderer, walked in water--not on it--and certainly didn't look like the well put-together, commercialized Jesus we know. His thinness bordered frailty, his mind seemed absent from his body, his clothes, ragged. 
A man and his wife were sitting on a bench across from me with their two young children. I saw them, too, watching this man--the wanderer. They got up to leave and I assumed that they, like many (myself included), would ignore this strange str…

"I Love You"

9.4.14
there is warm breath beneath my ear and for a second  I forget that  I am never alone mysterious murmurings of the  matchless monarch of the universe marvelously maneuver their way into    my cluttered, swollen brain "I love you" she says over and over again 
I drift off  to the whispers of God

Mia McClain Presents ... COLOR ME

A visually integrated performance piece written and conceived by artist/activist Mia Michelle McClain for the Department of Art and Public Policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, May 3. 2014 Kimmel Center, New York University http://youtu.be/xaQ0VswbeoQ











Mind over Manicure

She says,"[I] need to spend more time with [myself]...pamper yourself. Get a facial. Do your feet." The thing is, I do spend time with myself... reading books, writing essays, vision boarding. Are those things not of value? (That's rhetorical.) I'd much rather you fall in love with my mind than my manicure. And she'll never really get it, or me, because the ones closest to you understand you the least.  --- She says she prays for my future husband...because I'm cantankerous and not fixated on such feeble-minded feminine things. My masculinity is vastly apparent and apparently frowned upon. I will never be such a woman as she, and never did I desire to be. The polish on my pinky toe chips and tarnishes my pedicure, and I don't bother to cover up the imperfections of womanhood. We are not Grecian statues, frozen in time. We come to life and the perfect carvings are beautifully spoiled by the intrinsic malleability of the human flesh and soul. That is my woman…

"Eat and Be Merry"

Eat and Be Merry (draft)

the fat beneath my ass does a warm nut brownie make
makin me love and hate this new junk in my trunk
and the sweet potato fries turn into rolls beneath my breasts
this pregnant feelin ain't too cute
and I ain't too cute in this swimmin suit
jamabalaya, yaya, catfish
collard greens and cornbread dreams
are turning into nightmares 'neath these B cups
that used to be A  cups of hot chocolate
drizzled in caramel, whipped cream
topped with marshmallows that have melted into these thighs
breasts, legs of fried chicken are to blame for a
zipper that don't zip no more
jeans don't fit no more
and these bras that now carve lines into my back
like tracks, making love handles
this ain't love, and I don't love that you love
"a lil something to grab on to"
this is war
as I fight the urge to stuff this pain like
turkey on a leafy day
these carbohydrates I don't need
cuz eatin clean and eatin green
just makes me mean when
all i ever wanted was to
eat and…

For Myrtle ...

The color of your skin-
a sort of lemon meringue- contoured around a full framed face. I wish I'd known you longer and felt your luscious smile. Contagious was the squint of your eyes, almond in shape, when your heart pierced through pearly stones and your cheekbones lifted  and the curve of your brow met silky black hair lined with grey edges. I wish I'd known you longer. A smooth, creamy complexion,  free from wrinkles, suggested an age other than your own; And you never knew your birth year; The evil that gave you high yellow  took your age as well. I wish I'd known you,  maybe to stand beside you in the mirror to see whiteness of my ancestors more clearly- to understand this high yellow I am in winter- to recognize the history behind these cheekbones- to know myself better- to know you ... The fullness of your nose and softness of your dimples caress my almond eyes, and what I've wished to know about you lay within the crevices of a smile  wrapped in caramel.

"Finally Spring"

Finally spring

Anticipation of
Brooklyn brunches
Crop top lunches
Double Dutch and
Easy breezy
Fruit stand smoothies
Gentrified greenery
Harlem harems
Ice cold beers in
Jukebox joints and
Kaleidoscope prints as
Luminosity lingers in
Morningside Heights
Noonon 9th Ave and
Omnipotent warmth
Passing through
Queens and
Riding onto the
Staten Island ferry
Toddlers tiptoe in sandboxes
Under the shade
Vicariously, parents
Watch on in reverence
Xylophonic murmurings of the
Yearnings for summer
Zestfully fill the air

"Harlem #1"

People live passively in Harlem
just comfortably enough
to not have to deal with Harlem
To assert their privilege in silence
and be visibly invisible

What would it be like
to sink hands in the quick sands of Harlem?
To really know neighbors in a
"Can I borrow an egg" kind of way?
To say "good morning" to a stranger
on the corner of St. Nick and 150th

and mean it?

"14 hours"

Fourteen hours on my feet. I wish the fairest of them all could walk a meter in my shoes. These wicked stumps called feet lay bruised. The bumps and blisters make their homes inside the skin that wraps the bones of fourteen hours--much too long--of stress and disarray.

Fourteen hours on these toes. These fractured, fingered, feathered foes. And guest requests that run me ragged, ripping through these aging knees. This evil demon, arthritis, crawling through decrepit hips. I limp and linger, licking lips to hydrate for a moment--the shortness of this minute but an hour goes too long.

The Assassination of My Blackness Pt.1

They said my black girl accent had to go
Riffs and runs I sang so freely Diphthongs, twangs; I swallowed them And for a moment 
wished I was bulimic To regurgitate the bull shit I’d inhaled about “real acting."

Color Me ____ .

Color Me _______. “People of color?” What do you mean? If I could be “colored,” Today, I’d be green To become one with nature, And bask in the breeze, Then I could lynch who I pleased.
If I could be colored, I’d paint myself red With blood from the barrels of guns to the heads of my Brothers who’ve perished Their mothers who’ve cried The guilt of my privilege— A slow suicide.
But the world shall paint me black Not my will, but I conform And I take on all this blackness Even though it’s not the norm Even though my skin is brown And my soul is colored blues Go ahead. Pick up the brush and stroke me like I am your muse.
People of color? Unpack that phrase. Tell me your troubles. Show me your gaze.
Color me struggle. Color me rape. Color me hatred. Color me fate. Color me strength. Color me love. Color me fragments of all the above.
People of color, Where do you stand? Take back your colors. Take back your lands. I am the red and the black and green I am the fragments of colors unseen.

Significance ...

Adam: What were you interested in?
Claire: Being more than an observer.
Adam: You wanted to be seen.
Claire: Not just seen. I wanted to be significant. 
- House of Cards
I see myself in Claire Underwood...however scary that may be.

The Things I Carried

The Things I Carried
Essay excerpt from 2006
“Even now, I’ll admit, the story makes me squirm. For [some time] I’ve had to live with it, feeling shame, trying to push it away, and so by this act of remembrance, by putting the facts down on paper, I’m hoping to relieve at least some of the pressure on my dreams. All of us, I suppose, like to believe that in a moral emergency we will behave like the heroes of our youth, bravely and forthrightly, without thought of personal loss or discredit. Certainly that was my conviction back in the summer of 1968.” The Things They Carried -Tim O’Brien

     I took my purse, cell phone, the house keys, my iPod, and three outfits, including the one I left the house with. Little did I know that these few things would be the only things I owned for the next few weeks. As the day went, the sun embraced the sky with an ironic presence of charm and allure, unknowing of the following day, which would erupt in the madness of an extraordinary disaster. The stra…

On the acquiring of knowledge...

Since I started my Masters program in Arts Politics at NYU, so many people, even my loved ones, have been questioning my pursuit of such degree. They asks: "What are you going to do with that degree? "What are your plans afterwords?" I've learned to disregard other people's inquisitions on the validity of my life choices, specifically my academic and professional pursuits. "What am I going to do with my new degree?" I don't know. Be smarter? "Is my degree necessary?" It's necessary for ME, even if it isn't perceived to be necessary for the world. Often, people like to question my academic pursuits, as if elevating my intelligence is not reason enough. I'm so glad I believe in the exponential and infinite possibilities of my being or else I would dwell in a place of predicted ignorance and mediocrity that is not fit for my expansive nature. 

To be personal for a moment...      In my experience, black people's general d…