I listen to Bob Dylan often. Especially when my mind begins to stir, confounding my heart with it’s foolishness. But a quiet mind is like a precious stone–all the world clamors and begs for just a moment in its presence. I find myself a seer in the midst of a loud a bustling city. Somehow, I’ve managed to cultivate peace in my home. While all outside hollers and sings, bachata and hip hop playing loud from cars and windows; barbershop talk spilling onto the sidewalks and the young people on my steps, some with their babies laughing loud, playing, drinking, smoking–I find stillness and hear the trees and birds singing, grasshoppers hopping into my apartment from the open window with no screen.
Two years ago my sister came to visit me from Atlanta. Not unlike her she had complained about many things. Namely the fact that she wanted two things: a husband and a daughter. Though it would likely kill her if she got pregnant again, she always longed for a girl–she already has two boys. A little over a year ago she met someone. Continue reading
“Quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Hua hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
To begin there was nothing but happiness, joy and lightness. No deity, no sin, no reward, no punishment and no regulation. The hue of my mother’s skin and its softness–her perfect dark brown and my father’s rough hands. He would toss me around like I was a little boy–I was always the roughest, always a tomboy as a child. Even now from time to time. Mami told me he didn’t hold us often when we were infants because he thought he would break us. He probably would have; to me he was the strongest human on the planet. I remember being a toddler always with him and his friends. They would treat me like one of the boys. In Panama he and his best friend were so close and similar that I would call them both Papi–never distinguishing between the two. I would climb all over Papi and he would spin me around, pin me in his legs–which to me were like iron bars and hold me there for a long time as I struggled to get out as he watched TV in his bed–each time thinking I was stronger than he was, always growing fast and strong, like he used to say. I could never escape though, I couldn’t escape his love. Mami would sit me down every few days between her legs. She’s the epitome of femininity–like a hairless puppy. (Not like me, so much like my father in how I walk, sit, gesture and hairy everywhere–especially my belly.) No, Mami doesn’t have any hair on her legs or her chin, very little under her arms, skin as smooth as a baby, complexion perfect. Mami would pick out my afro first, grease my scalp, little braids with shiny clips or big plaits with bolitas at the base (Black American girls called them bobos, I used to think that was weird). There was only love between her legs where I used to sit. She made me beautiful–negra linda. She gave me comfort. She seldom lost her temper. She loved me when my actions would have made me unlovable to anyone else. She breathes tenderness and kindness, patience and beauty. As I child their love was my only religion. Continue reading
Loving is never hard, don’t buy it. The sun appears every morning and the moon each night. Love is not pain. The stars in the firmament have managed to find themselves into your DNA without hurting you, without silencing your voice, without letting you down. Love is nothing like war. It builds, heals, gives life, renews, obliterates boundaries and gives you direct access to your source. Continue reading
There are nights like this that are perfect. The wind blows into my window after I’ve spent an hour biking around my beloved Harlem.
Nights like this when I feel so inspired I can’t stop writing. Nights like this when I remember my guitar–I play songs of love because no matter where I go or what I do, there is always love in my heart.
My favorite are nights like this when everything is crystal clear, when I don’t have to think about a word, a thought, when feeling overwhelms me–when my beloved sits near me. The hem of her dress sometimes cascades along the wooden floor dancing like whirling dervishes. She cups my face in her caramel hands and kisses my face and I love her.
There are nights like this when I can hardly stand to keep still because every cell, atom, electrolyte is brimming with energy. Nights like these when I wish my lover was here because it’s all I can do to keep from jumping up and down, delighted. Continue reading
…shines into outer space and becomes a part of every piece of me and you. Colliding, our skin is star dust! Letting go of fear leaves you open to anything, anything. The impossible waits, the unlikely is just around the corner, and what you once believed was impossible will show up as serendipity.
In the meantime, go inside, go outside. And as the sun masquerades your face–keep your heart open. Dance like you don’t care, do it until it hurts, and look back at it–not because you’re trying to make a point. Just look back at it because it’s beautiful. Continue reading
Years ago a teacher of mine asked me what I’d like for my heart to be made out of. Immediately glass came to mind. I wanted it to be transparente. In my last love I felt most honest with myself when I was transparent and also it was the hardest thing to do in love or life in general. Sand makes glass under great pressure, glass breaks but it can also reassemble to create new things, it can melt in to a hodgepodge of beauty or crack into shards that cut–and sometimes things need to be cut out, water can rush against it and render it’s jagged edges soft, it can hold the heaviest weight, but when its not positioned correctly it can crack under the pressure too. Sometimes you can see straight through it, other times it’s cloudy, sometimes there are specks of color and always the sun reflects off it breaking rays into the atmosphere.
I always wanted my heart to be something like glass. Sunday was hard. And when I felt like I didn’t want to move anymore because of the fluttering you’ve caused in my stomach–the sun came out and kissed me, reminding me to flicker in the air. But wasn’t butterflies I felt, it was Continue reading