Tag Archives: reflections

Dirty Window


An hour after I named my blessings
will, determination, and aint gone take but so much shit
I got up, opened my mind and the curtains
and sat with my pen looking out a dirty window
hoping for a muse
who could whisper purpose so eloquently
I saw a playground called
what big momma birthed
where 3 children played
like aint nobody profiling
like aint no sad songs on the tongues of
choirs dressed in shadows
like the sky been the only trusted blue
like the sun been spotlight
like that earth be stage
I saw those babies put on a show
with faces more animated than television
and smiles dancing between check bones
3 hearts, 2 bodies, 1 spirit
2 sets of footprints in the mud
and I knew a blessing was there
present where time ticks too fast
and yesterday can’t remember anyone’s phone numbers
and I prayed
prayed that insincerity would never wash my window clean
or I might lose my understanding of each beautiful smudge
might forget each dusty promise
each speck of why
that lets us know what tomorrow is worth
because this world makes us believe that a wash
is better than transformation but
I know only in the midst of darkness can you understand light
so only covered in dirt can your soul be cleansed
see these 2 young souls were playing free
with a friend teaching them to build with imagination
preparing them for when we tear this all apart
and I was thankful that guardians
come from up above with degrees in
engineering and innocence

I looked out a dirty window
and saw a couple holding hands
tears down his face
because what he held onto
couldn’t hold his heart together any longer
See he was tired
Tired of hoping strength would come tomorrow
Wishing he could shed the weight
of everything gone wrong before
The unwanted goodbyes that found
refuge in his gut feeling that the next
would be like that last
So he decided to workout
the hesitation he had been grappling with
Because faith without works
is a lonely affirmation that the dead of night
aint got no room for saints and sanctuaries,
only lies and lust
So as grace held his heart
and looked him in his eyes
He got down on one knee & asked
for the now and forever he planned 3 days ago
once he hung his worry on the star crossed love
God gave this lonely forgotten son
with only the blessed belief in his spirit
that the rock he moved along her finger
would resurrect the revelation
that happiness exists
As her tears joined his
I thanked the Lord for this miracle of sight because
It’s hard to see love when your blind to yourself
and he seemed to find the answer
in the reflection from the wet
along her cheeks
so cry y’all, cry

I was looking out a dirty window
and saw wings spread
saw the sun smile, the clouds blow kisses
and the wind clear the way
for a flight path to heaven
I saw eyes look towards me
and hands wave goodbye
felt joy deep and full
exhaled I miss you
holding fingertips to window panes
wishing to reach you once again
can’t we just talk for a moment
can’t you tell me what to put on this page
aint it supposed to get easier
aint the weather report supposed to love me
what I am supposed to do with these storms
Don’t just leave with me the words
I want you to read these stories to me
and put my insecurities to rest
so I can reach my dreams
see angels rise with the dawn
God’s arms welcome them
and it’s a wonder
to see his presence
where we need it most
in the midst of hard times,
where peace is waiting,
insight is available, and breakthrough is inevitable
I know it’s true now, tangible and within reach
but would have never been ready
to receive it
If I didn’t sit down
and look through my dirty window

Elder Wisdom (from the unlikeliest places)

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40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

Below is an excerpt of a piece I wrote for Tribes Magazine. It was sparked by the debate over some comments that Bill Cosby made at an event. This stuck out to me to share because I still eat at that Bojangles by Saint Augustine’s University Campus. There are still community elders there. On any given day you can be given or overhear some of the most interesting insights you will ever be exposed to. I’ve learned that you may not always understand it initially, but there is value there. I still believe it is in those spaces and at those moments that I find the real gems. Leaders, pundits, and trailblazers have earned the platform they have. But you have to also consider that there are also folks who have lived, worked, and fought each day for a better way that can provide you with just as much wisdom.

Now I am not here to spend more unnecessary time dissecting his speeches. We’ve heard the same comments from our parents, grandparents, and any other important elder in our lives. They all lament the state of young people today considering them a generation lost. I know Mr. Cosby is not alone. There are other “Cosbyists” (as I call them) who share some of the same views. They see our state as a direct result of a lack of parenting, mentoring, community, goals, sense of achievement, motivation, and vision. Many are our privileged black middle and upper class that look at the lower middle and lower class and say “carry your weight.”

Now, I am not writing this to agree or disagree. I’m here to ask what is the big deal? Is it that Bill is one of our favorite icons that we spend so much attention on speeches no different than Sunday dinner conversation at Big Mama’s? Is it because there is a fascination with black culture and our experiences, including our dirty laundry? I am here to say I gain so much more from the people who actually live this reality and have a more practical understanding of our everyday struggles than the results of research or products of philanthropy. The people we meet in grocery stores, at restaurants, at community meetings, demonstrations, college campuses, and at holiday dinners.

Let me give an example. I was sitting in Bojangles having just finished my lunch and was working through some concepts for a new piece. A man sitting at the next table saw me with my journals on the table and asked if I was a student. He began to talk about the value of education and his 4 kids that finished or were in college. He had one chemist, one potential chemist, a med school student, and an aspiring lawyer. He seemed to be a hardworking blue-collar father wearing a “super dad” tee shirt. He proceeded to offer me tidbits of knowledge that he had passed on to his children while pushing them to exceed. These were tidbits that inspired them to get the best grades possible and benefit from the doors that opened for them. This is someone who didn’t have money or academic intellectualism to give his children, just love, advice, and support within the framework of a system he saw for what it was. Below are some of the gems he gave to me.

There are eaters and there are readers. In this world there are too many readers. When faced with knowledge you have to decide to eat. You can’t be a spectator. Try going to a restaurant and just reading the menu. It doesn’t fill you up. By the same token, our leaders have to feed us. We need something substantial and practical.

Your faith is yours. You define what it is and how it manifests in your life. You don’t need anyone to tell you how to be a faithful person. You don’t need anyone to tell you about your relationship with your higher power. If we answer to the same father why does he have to keep telling you what to say to me? I can talk to him myself.

You send your child off to school to get an education but you make them smart at home. This system wasn’t made for us so you have to prepare your kids to overcome the obstacles set in their path. You need to value education, but also understand the system we live in and the challenges it presents to youth of color.

 

Leaders make flunkies out of followers. Look at a pack of birds flying south. They form a V and it seems the bird at the peak of the V is the leader. Not if you look closer. You will notice that when that bird gets tired he falls back and another takes his place (He then added an exclamation point with an “Oh my goodness”).

We are the beacons of light. Your heart is the switch that turns that light on. We have to remember that light and shine it whenever we can. It is a gift from heaven, the key to our happiness and the answer to relating to others. If you meet someone and there is no connection, if the switch isn’t working…leave it alone.

At the end, I left that Bojangles feeling like I learned something. Not just from the words he gave me, but the sincerity in which he spoke. I valued the conversation, not knowing the reason he offered the advice. I do know that he said that we meet people for a reason and to be open to the lesson. That day I learned more from him than I could ever learn from “Mr Huxtable” or any popular conservative. These are the lessons that make us the successes we are while Mr. Cosby just gives out a scholarship or passes accolades to those who listened to the voices closest to them.

God bless each one.