my father taught me love.
that when disbanded strands of humanity wash up on the shores of our home
we pick them up, and put them back together, no matter
no matter who, what, when, where, why, or how.
my father taught me love
he picked up fragmented hearts and cradled them in his center
in a song.
laid them on the blackest keys and promised them softly
to breathe is to be, and eventually
this healing wholes our holes.
my father taught me love
is insanity. it is
not having enough but still giving.
it is not knowing how, but still winning
it is empty palms together
better than full arm-span & lonely soul.
my father taught me love
is the strength, that others may call weak
it is an open door
friends sleeping on the floor
promises never empty
food stretched, illogically multiplied,
like fish and loaves of bread
that every soul is a seedling
and love the water that it needs
and laughs the sunshine ever-greening
my father taught me love
never leaves a friendship bleeding
and when anger rises to the ceiling
a little time will send the tides receding.
(a lot of love will ease our pains
even unsheltered in the rain.)
You should be hurting.
fighting the feeling of being crushed under the weight of wrong.
Under the image of bloodshed,
of last, painful, soft and fleeting breaths on the way to death.
The day that daddy died
his blood red on his shirt, the car seats forever stained.
Of never wearing this again, because last time it was The Day That Daddy Died.
You should be breaking.
Hear him say, "it's okay," as he slips away.
knowing it is not.
this is how we live
subjected to a grown man's gun
and his fear of the helpless.
The walls you keep up between yourself and THEM.
They should be crumbling. Bitter bits of bullshit; swallow them and feel the distress of
with your own skin.
You should be wailing. For The Day That Daddy Died. May your feet sink into the ground today. May your footsteps make potholes in the concrete earth, may you carry him around.
Feel this pain.
We need you to feel this pain
as things stay the same
(Philando, my love
and all your kind
you haven't lived in vain.)
Dudes need to understand that women get sexually harassed by the creepiest, most disgusting sad sacks of poop that the bowels of this earth have to offer in this weather. It is traumatizing. It makes our skin crawl, our stomachs turn, and our blood boil, all in the same three-second span of time. Often that is followed by the feeling of helplessness, and feeling stupid and/or angry because THERE AIN'T SHIT I CAN DO ABOUT IT. I can't spit in the asshole's face or cuss him out like I want to, because there is always the threat that it could escalate past a point that I am physically able to handle.
So when you come up to me all poised in fuckboy position to say some slick shit, like "I love you," or "smile," or, "you're beautiful," (or some other smug comment thinly-veiled in fake ass "positivity" that you'll inevitably try and defend as well-intentioned, though I don't know how anything other than "hi, how are you/ have a good day/etc" & the like isn't an attempt to try an assert some kind of sick masculine bullshit agenda over me as I'm MINDING MY DAMN BUSINESS AND GETTING TO WHERE I HAVE TO GO) and I don't immediately worship you and throw myself at your feet like you so obviously are fishing for, OR EVEN SAY THANK YOU you need to fucking deal with it because your brothers are out here on street corners city-wide robbing you of any possible pleasantries in such interactions.
When a strange dude, well dressed, or not, cute, or not, light skinned or dark skinned, clean or dirty, drunk or sober, comes up to me I AM IMMEDIATELY SKEPTICAL. Because AT LEAST (AT. LEAST.) 75% of my interactions with men I don't know on these streets in sundress season ARE FUCKING DISGUSTING. Any response I give a creep like that is an excuse for him to take my inch and make it a mile. And I don't know which one of you is creep and which ones aren't. So in the name of self preservation, I am walking duh fuq on by because I DON'T TRUST YOU. You have a better chance if you are politely saying hello, have a good day, and maintaining your damn distance. But even then. I'm not stopping for you, or giving you anything you can interpret as a green light. AND THAT'S JUST HOW IT IS, BECAUSE YOUR PEERS (AND IN SOME CASES, YOU) SUCK, AND MAKE LIFE DIFFICULT FOR US. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, TALK TO YOUR HOMIES. I can't offer you anything else.
And don't you dare comment on here telling me about being "open minded." Are you "open minded" in areas where you KNOW people will pull up on you and mug you if you look like a target? C'mon. Don't be stupid. I know you New York men know about guarding yourself carefully on the street. We are concerned with that every moment of the day.
This was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
The adventures of the naturalista are never dull. Having spent a large portion of my life with relaxed hair, and now a significant amount of time with natural hair, I’ve noticed the difference in the attention it gets. Most notably, everyone wants to touch it now that it’s fluffy and not flat (see below). And I know, to some people, natural hair is a new and exciting “discovery,” or perhaps even a foreign object (“oh my God, your little afro is so cute!”) and we as humans approach these things sensorially. We don’t fully understand something unless we have experienced it with the appropriate sense, and in this case, it’s touch. I get it. But here’s the thing, I still really really don’t want you to touch it.
I often feel a little bad when someone I know asks me, “can I touch your hair?” and my first instinct is to shout “please for the love of all that is holy, no!” But I’m often too nice for my own good, so I suppress this instinct and reluctantly say yes with a weak smile, knowing the person will leave it alone after just a few moments. Until one night, when a very enthusiastic (and intoxicated) friend of a friend kept it up for a while. I barely knew the girl, yet she continued relentlessly throughout our conversation “my hair is curly, too, so it’s fine!” She explained to the rest of our friends, who by then had moved on to a different topic. I casually moved out from under her greedy caressing hands in an attempt not to be rude. I wasn’t sure how to explain to her that her hands in my hair were actually grossing me out.
Yeah, it’s gross. Mainly because I am entirely unsure where exactly anyone’s hands have been between the last time they washed them and the moment that they’ve excitedly begun rummaging atop my head like they’re looking for buried treasure. And even if you are some type of person that runs to the nearest faucet to have a rinse any time you see a friend with fro walking toward you, there are still all kind of naturally-occuring finger oils that will seriously mess with the happiness of my hair. See, I know a fro to some people looks just like a thing on my head that I have this magical ability to grow, but the truth is it does take work. The trial an error with hair products, figuring out what type of hair you have and what it needs- nay, demands -to stay healthy is difficult. So when I finally nail down my hair regimen and my hair is happy and shiny and kinky and you add your yucky (not your fault, mind you, but still yucky) finger funk to the mix, I am not a happy camper.
That leads me to another point. I have taken time (whether it be a ten-minute wash-n-go type of time, or a full day’s hot oil treatment and deep conditioning, or an overnight twist-out type of time) to do my hair that morning. It’s likely still in the shape I was happy to have achieved the last time I picked it out, and your finger party will certainly rearrange that shape, most likely to something I will not approve of. If I twisted or braided it the night before- that is, if it looks fuller than normal -then I really don’t want you to touch it, because in my experience the perfect twist out requires the perfect amount of gentle picking for it to look the way I want it to, and I’m sorry, but your hands will just ruin the day’s masterpiece.
And I know, you may from time to time see other people touching my hair, like my mother, or my best friend, and think that I have given a general green light to anyone looking to play in a fro today. But unfortunately, that is not true. So the next time you think about asking, “can I touch it?” ….just don’t, please. The natural hair world and your natural-haired friends will thank you immensely.