- Take Care of your own.
“In benighted, incompetent Africa, I had never encountered an orphan: the American streets resembled nothing so much as one vast, howling, unprecedented orphanage. It has been vivid to me for many years that what we call a race problem here is not a race problem at all: to keep calling it that is a way of avoiding the problem. The problem is rooted in the question of how one treats one’s flesh and blood, especially one’s children. ”
- Freedom doesn’t really mean we’re Free. There are expectations and even then it’s all a lie.
“And what the white students had not expected to let themselves in for, when boarding the Freedom Train, was the realisation that the black situation in America was but one aspect of the fraudulent nature of American life. They had not expected to be forced to judge their parents, their elders, and their antecedents, so harshly, and they had not realised how cheaply, after all, the rulers of the republic held their white lives to be. Coming to the defence of the rejected and the destitute, they were confronted with the extent of their own alienation, and the unimaginable dimensions of their own poverty. They were privileged and secure only so long as they did, in effect, what they were told: but they had been raised to believe that they were free.”
Let everything that’s been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it’s tender and pliant. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win. Andrei Tarkovsky
Love and Happiness,
In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Today I thought I would be honest and share my thought process in making hard decisions. Martin Luther King would have been 88 years today. I always reflect on his birthday because he is so important to me. I like that picture of him above during the Bus Boycott. Two of my favorite things, Martin and PEPSI. HA!
But seriously when I had to make a really important decision in life and I wasn’t smart enough to make an informed decision myself I had a trick. I would find smarter people than I that fit three criteria and I would follow their lead. I am always in search of a Righteous Mind.
1. The first criteria is they had similar beliefs and the principles as myself and led their life with unwavering conviction on what they believed and never stopped believing.
2. They had access to information that the average citizen might not have. For Example. Hollywood folks or ex CIA / FBI . Doctors etc. You can get creative and with all the blogs and info out there on the world-wide web that is easier to find now more than ever.
3. They helped others and often without being really obvious about it.
When I find that person or persons and I don’t know what to do I would look to them and I tried to mimic or do what they did or some form or part of it. We all get lost sometimes so we all need a North Star once in while . I know I did. I look to those people now more than ever. It is a confusing time. I keep hoping the previous first family will be able to do more good now that they will be released from the constraints that politics ensures. No Bi-Partisan Congress wall to conquer daily. I often think about those famous eyes on that billboard in the Great Gatsby. Dr. T. J Eckleburg. I can’t seem to get that image out of my mind lately.
That and that scene in the Jack Nicholson’s movie Five Easy Pieces where he picks up those two lesbian Hitch Hikers and they keep talking about everything is crap …crap, crap and more crap.
Were they the eyes of GOD judging and watching the morally bankrupt wasteland ? Why was he just watching and not doing anything about it. Was that Fitzgerald’s way of saying there is no GOD or that GOD thinks we have to figure it out for ourselves. The people’s distrust of political , Social and Religious institutions were breeding new thought. Is there even a GOD? Is it really just up to us? I don’t know. I don’t know but I know I need to do better and do more.
So what’s next for me and the whole world and how can I help? If you have any ideas hit me up.
I look at 2017 as a year to be a better me than the last. When they go low, we go high. Wink.
Peace ya all. #myprocess #northstar #service #mlkjrday
Love and Happiness
The other night I stopped to get some beverages at the local convenience store and two women decided that they wanted to start a fight with me. They kind of parked behind me and waited for me to come out so they could start some stuff. Whatever. They said something to me and seriously I was like really, were doing this? I didn’t fight back, I blew it off but I wasn’t in the mood for their bullshit. I have never done anything cruel to anyone in my hometown but for some reason there is some serious hate coming my way. It is fine…I can handle it but you have to wonder why?
Now these two women didn’t say much but it was more about the way they insulted me .. like they actually knew me. I didn’t know them. How dare them!. My anger grew as the night went on. Then I thought to myself how easy it would be to fight back and just maybe make a tragic mistake that could affect me and them for the rest our lives. That’s how it happens. It can be that quick. I am not a confrontational person and I am a non-violent person. I know myself. But they better watch out because you can start a fight with the wrong person and well..you never know. You here about Road rage all the time.
I always wondered how someone could get to that point where they would actually cross that line. I would never kill anything or anyone but the anger I felt in that minute gave me the insight, I mean I would never hurt anyone intentionally, I will always take the highroad and walk away but I am ashamed to say I fantasized about taking a knife and stabbing those two women in the neck.
Now it was just a harmless fantasy but it made me think about people and how someone could lose themselves if enough shit happens to them over their lifetime. I remember thinking that no matter how hard I tried or how kind I was to people bad things kept happening to me.
Now there is a lot of great stuff happening too so I am so grateful for that. I have now learned how to ignore the negative stuff and will not let it affect me anymore. My hard work has paid off and I know I am where I want to be. I was angry but I let it go fast.
I refuse to let it affect me anymore.
Every time I watch Dateline I sit there and wonder ..how the hell could she kill her husband like that or how could he kill his best friend like that? You know, it was always inconceivable for me.
I’ve thought about this often. It fascinates me and frightens me at the same time. The human condition I guess and how easily a life can change over one bad decision.
After I saw Eugene Oneill’s Play, Hughie, on Broadway I was reminded how much I love his work. I was always attracted to his plays because he wrote about people on the edge. The depressed, the addicted , the night people. The darkness of his work and the darkness of his own life always kept my interest. I went back and read some of his plays recently. I re-read his most popular play Long’s Day’s Journey into Night. I even love that title and completely understand it.. There was a quote in that movie that I was familiar with but I think for the first time I really understood it to the fullest of its meaning.
“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
― Eugene O’Neill,
The saddest 48 words ever spoke in my opinion …. but nothing could be truer. I know this happens to a lot of people and they have no idea how it happened. It’s like a rolling avalanche, once it starts moving you can’t stop it and it keeps destroying everything in its path. That very thing almost happened to me; losing yourself forever; but a little luck, strength and resistance was the key for me and so I was saved. I remember thinking how did I get here? This isn’t who I am. For some there is a turning point and they are saved, for others there is a turning point of no return. My heart breaks for the latter.
I understand how easy it is to end up there. The unfortunates in the world, prone to addiction or mental illness or violence or bad luck.
Maybe they were born poor or have no family. Maybe they were abused and cast out into the night. Maybe they just made one bad decision. Maybe they trusted the wrong person. Some people have to pay for that one bad decision for the rest of their life.
That breaks my heart. I can’t help but think about them. It reminds me of a movie I love called Two Men In Town.
It takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I think it’s a great movie with a powerful message. Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel are reunited again in this film, whenever they work together poetry happens.
I loved them both in the movie Smoke. Harvey Keitel was a cigar shop owner and a Poet in his spare time. He took a photograph of the corner where his store was located every day at the exact same time of the day, every day. He kept a photo album of his life’s work. I loved that. So Poetic. Great Movie.
Anyway in Two Men in Town Forest’s character (William Garnet) was a murderer who got out of prison after 18 years of serving his sentence.
He was model inmate that tried very hard to control his anger and become a peaceful person. Forest Whitaker was incredible in this movie by the way. I saw it when it first came out but watched it again recently….a few times. I know I’m a super fan but no one can deny the brilliance of his performance in this movie. There was also this bad ass parole officer Emily Smith…I loved her in this film. Imagine this scene..so she sits listening to I think , Edith Piaf, while cleaning her guns in the desert night under the stars. That was probably a nod to the French Director; Rachid Bouchareb in this movie.
That scene sets the precedent for the whole film. Dark vs. Light, Good vs. Evil, Love vs. Hate, Beauty Vs. Beast. She was the female heroine trying to help Garnet through the whole movie. A tough but fair ethical parole officer with a heart. Brenda Blethyn was the actress. I also loved her in the movie Secrets and Lies; another great movie. She is an incredible actress. So like I said, the movie takes place in Albuquerque New Mexico. Some scenes are breathtaking while others are just dust and ashes.
Walls and Borders are a big part of this movie too; geographical borders and emotional borders.
After Garnet served his 18 years sentence the sheriff (Harvey Keitel) in town wouldn’t let Garnet alone. He had an old score to settle with Garnet and had no forgiveness towards him. The sheriff kept harassing him, and no matter how hard Garnet tried to turn his life around Agati ( Keitel) was there to derail him every time.
Every step forward was a step back. The heartbreaking scene between Garnet and his adoptive mother (Ellen Burstyn) is heart wrenching. While she speaks with a almost detached and disappointed voice about a scorpion that was loose in the house (symbolism) I understood Garnet’s frustration because he just wanted his mother’s love; love she couldn’t afford to give.
This movie makes a huge statement about redemption over a Dark Past and working toward New Beginnings. It seems we don’t like to let people have new beginnings. We don’t like to let people forget their past. For example; We don’t let prisoners have a second chance in this country. We let them out with no money and let them fend for themselves. It’s tragic on so many levels because so many prisoners are locked away too long and the crime doesn’t fit the punishment in the first place. It seems to be getting even worse in this country . People are going to Jail for thirty years for minor Crimes because of Corrupt judicial system. Three strikes your out? There is Big Business in putting folks in prison now a days. The increasing stats are overwhelming. It is very sad and unjust. The song Let my people go comes to mind, Paul Robeson https://youtu.be/gtLcELU1brA
There is a lot of symbolism in this movie as Garnet washes his hands of the past. Not letting someone start again, and live their life is a sin. You can watch the movie and no matter what your beliefs are about prisoners and murder you have to appreciate this well-acted story about new beginnings, redemption, and the tug of war between good and evil.
So..when those two women in town started with me at the convenience store it reminded me of a fight I got in when I was about ten years old. Now that I am back in my home town I am reminded of childhood memories. You can’t help it, there are reminders everywhere. So I was ten and me and my best friend were walking down to the same store that I was just talking about. It had just snowed and my friend had a snow pants on. I was dressed in jeans, These two girls, older but still girls, bullies, started to make fun of my friend in the snow pants. Back then snow pants weren’t cool at all. lol.
Well I thought it was important to protect my friend ( I am very loyal) so I told them to stop and to leave us alone. Well because I spoke out they decided to turn their attention to me and left my friend alone. They then started to jump me and I remember them slamming my face down into the snow and punched me a couple of times. I heard my friend start to cry because she got scared because she saw blood. My nose started to bleed and there were little rivers of blood oozing into the snow…like a bloody snow cone. The two girls saw the blood and they got scared as well and ran off. I still know one of the girls names. I ended up working with her at a restaurant when I was sixteen and she played on the same softball team as well, she picked on me there too but decided after a while that she liked me and left me alone. God, I couldn’t get away from her.
The other night when those two women in town started fighting with me in that parking lot it reminded me of that day in the snow, I was ten again and I had a bloody nose. The snow was red and my face was covered in ice. Its funny the things we hold onto. I could have fought back or even went further and caused physical harm. My life could be changed in an instant. So when I got home I decided to write some words down to shake off the anger I was feeling, first I vented to my friend, god bless her…and then wrote a poem about how I feel about some of the people I have come across recently. Anger is something I’ve had to deal with and try to minimize. It has been a work in progress but I think I have mastered it. I am sick of being accused of things I never did. I am sick of being mistreated. I am sick of being patronized and I am sick of being misunderstood but I know how lucky I am to be here to write, love, work , sing and laugh. I am making my comeback. My turning point was in the direction of up; not down and I am so grateful for that. Don’t look back don’t look back don’t look back, only forward. The ten-year old is now fifty looking forward to love and light. Your perceptions of me cannot and does not matter anymore. I am only feeling the love coming towards me, the rest will be ignored, no more anger, no more violent fantasies.. only love and light. I can no longer care about the big hoofed herds and their opinions of me. They are wrong but I know longer need their approval. I will only let the light come in. I have washed my hands of the past, scrubbed them clean.
I went out to the garage to look for a tape recorder so I can tape some jazz standards I am working on and since I moved out of my last home so quickly I have no idea where anything is, everything is in storage and boxes. I hate being disorganized like that. It is very hard for me to not know where my stuff is. I feel like I am constantly looking for things; like a cd I want to listen to or a book I want to read.
It’s an annoying problem but not an important one.
Anyway I didn’t find the tape recorder but I did find a Song Journal I started years ago, probably in my late mid thirties.
It’s a book I have, a blank Journal basically and I would write my favorite Songs in there, like Lyrics and maybe some commentary about the song or a picture. I opened it up and there was a handwritten foreword there that I must of wrote a really long time ago. It made me laugh because It said exactly what I just spoke about in my last blog about my love affair with music.
This is what it said.
The Only thing sadder than a life without Love would be a life without Music. For without it I could not take another breath. Maybe for a while I would breath but soon I would fade away. Like a flower with no sun, just shrivel up and die. Like a beautiful Bossa Nova being played in a distant café, as you walk away your hearing the music slowly fading away until there is only silence.
The songs written in this book are songs, music that means something special to me. So special I had to write them down on paper. Somehow this helps me deal with the Joy I feel when I hear these songs, sometimes sadness too, But oh the pure beauty of it, it helps me deal with that.
Whether it be the lyrics or the melody or the message given or the voice, whatever it is; something has struck me, makes me shiver when I hear them. I will always have these songs, no matter what happens around me, things I cannot control. I will always have these songs burned into my memory of my being. No one can ever take that away from me—- signed me. Thank you for the Music.
The Journal is only half full today so I still have room to add to the collection. I have Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke. Etta James and you know Billie is in there. Even a Cars song is in there. I have many ideas and canidates for those blank pages. I call them Soul Burnin’ Songs.
One of the songs I wrote in the journal is a Song that I fell in love with as soon as I heard it. It is a Christian hymn called Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling. Written by Will Thompson. God it’s a beautiful song. Its a song about going home.
I think the first time I ever heard it was in the soundtrack in the Academy Award winning movie, Trip to Bountiful (1985) with Geraldine Paige and John Heard. I loved that movie: I watched it many times. It was about a old woman going back to her hometown, a place called Bountiful one more time before she dies. After I heard that song I told myself I would record it some day. It is so beautiful. When my dad passed I made sure that was one of the hymns we sang in the service. He would have liked it, he was a religious man.
I did some research on the Hymn and I was surprised there weren’t more recordings of the song. What I did find out is that it was sung at the Memorial service for American Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta Georgia. April 8, 1968.
I thought to myself, how interesting since he has always been a hero of mine and has always been such a huge presence in my life and here is this song now that ties back to his life and sadly to his death.
If you watch Trip to Bountiful you will not only see a beautiful Movie but you will hear a beautiful Song.
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.
O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.