Rose in Spanish Harlem

“There is a rose in Spanish Harlem, A red rose up in Spanish Harlem, It’s a special one, it’s never seen the sun, It only comes out when the moon is on the run, And all the stars are gleaming, It’s growing in teh street right up through the concrete, But soft and sweet and dreamin’ ” Aretha Franklin

I now have nieces and nephews on Facebook. It’s such an odd phenomenon to have children who’s bottom you changed, who’s first steps you watched, who’s first words you overheard… to now see them as young adults, with free spirits, and the desire to speak out.

I’m huge supporter of free speech. But I’m not so big on teenagers cursing, flipping people off, and using bad grammar; especially when they’re the teenagers in my family.

Are these the type of world leaders we’re breeding these days? Children with so much anger, resentment, know-it-all that the only way to express themselves is through self-aggrandizement?

Right now they think it’s cool to take pictures of themselves: booty shots, low-cut tops, tongues out, middle fingers up… why? Why is that acceptable? Why is that even cool? How does that revolt against authority?

I think it would be different if they were self-sustaining. Not needing their parents funding to make every little step, then I wouldn’t mind so much the very public displays of punk-hood. But it’s tacky to “uprise against the man” and the next moment ask for money to go to the movies with your friend?

I wish I lived closer. I would take each one aside and say: Do you know how pretty you are? Do you know how smart you are? Do you know how expansive your future will be? Can you even imagine the possibilities? Then why are you lowering your coveted innocence by “growing up” so quickly? Why are you spurning the thoughtful reproaches that guide you to the right choices? Why are you tarnishing your imagine with vulgar images of yourself?

Do you know that these images that are cool, stylish, popular now will eventually make you feel shameful? Once it’s out there you can never take it back… it’s now someone else’s property. You’ve literally signed over ownership of your image to someone who could literally use it against you.

And, my darling nieces, you are so much better than that. These so-called friends that encourage this type of actions don’t have your best interest at heart.

Let your light shine respectfully. Be an individual Be ahead of the generation that’s encouraging you to be ignorant.

Place thorns around your precious flower to protect you from the idiots that wish to pluck away your beauty.

But since you probably won’t follow anyone’s advice, we still love you.


Just the Lonely Talking Again

”But something tells me I’m headed for heartbreak… So darling please, I’m praying that, This time it will be different. That you and I can share this dream that I visualize… Tell me are you really ready for love boy or is it just the lonely talking again. Are you really ready for love boy, Or is it this lovely talking again…” Whitney Houston

I really wish I knew what you wanted from me. I’d like this “relationship” to be crystal clear… not this multi-faceted, granulated version that distorts the images once held up to the light. I’d like the truth, whether it is hurtful or not.

I wish I knew what you were thinking. I wonder if this is all a game to you. I wonder if you find it amusing to diffuse images of an “us” through my susceptible brain. My thoughts rage endlessly; like a bull who sees red I’m ready to attack, to pounce, to spur forward. During the day I consciously shut you out, refusing to let myself dwell in a house without windows.  “And when the night falls, the loneliness calls” Oh retched night, how you torment me! How I fall prey to the wonders of your darkness and the answering siren to my lonely heart. In my dreams, I’ve created a fantasy that you visit every night.

I wish I wasn’t such a fool. Yet here I am an ardent enthusiast who can’t resist the urge to lay down my gauntlet… you greedy little bastard… how you want all of me and deny my access at the same time. You tell me what you want me to hear, and I listen each time… willing, wanting, waiting…why?

Can’t I be self-satisfied?

Can I disprove the single black woman statistic?

Can I walk away?

I think in my heart of hearts, I would never move forward… but the sickening fact is that I’ll never back away either. Here I stand complacent, content in your paltry attention. Beck and call… Beck and call.

I answer. Come to attention. I’m ready.

Internally I’m screaming, pleading, demanding a full about-face. Ida, please don’t give up on yourself. You’ve come so far. Walk away!

I wish you would have extended an invitation. I wish you would say something encouraging. I wish you wanted me for the fairy tale instead of the booty call. I wish you considered me a possibility.

Even more… I wish I didn’t care. I wish I could accept things at face value, not searching for the hidden clasp revealing magnanimous treasure. I wish I could switch the channel of my thoughts when your butter cream words scroll across the screen.

In your moments of weakness, why do you turn to me? What is this girlfriend number two, and still I’m here in the background? Why do I continue to extend my shoulder for your pitiful stories? Why do I feel pain for you, when I have enough of my own?

Are we friends? This doesn’t feel like friendship. I’m standing at the water’s edge, sand beneath my feet as the wave retreats. Retreats, retreats, retreats… and gathers force. Soon the tsunami will come, and yet I continue to feel the pebbles beneath my toes, sinking into the soft surface. I refuse to look up even as the enormous wave lays shadows on the beach.  Will I let it crush me? OR will I run from its looming presence.

I guess it all depends on whether this is near love, or just his loneliness talking again.

*UPDATE* Came, saw, conquered… and never mentioned a thing. Guess I got my answer.

Bicycle Race

“Bicycle bicycle bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like” Queen

Like an invariably parched horse, I took a huge leap in establishing myself as a true Washingtonian. Washingtonians journey around the metropolis we call DMV in three ways: by foot, by metro, or by bike. They have the distinct ability to make even the most haggard of commutes seem ecofriendly and urbane with their nonchalance as they wait solemnly at bus stops, train platforms, and commuter locations with their chic iPods and thought-provoking novels on politics and prose. Traveling in style: their slick sneakers that make running a breeze, in versatile clothes that combat the ever-changing climate, and with a haughty magazine-esq glamour; would under normal circumstance, cause my proletarian nose to turn-up in distaste at their faux-bourgeois grandeur. I pass by them with a little wave as my 12-year old clunker soars by, inevitably clogging the ozone layer. There LBOW goes frittering from place to place, driving mile after mile at gusty speeds.

I took the unalterable step toward a biped life, sadly shelving my quadruped memories for a healthier, greener, albeit less safe means of transportation.

Like any good nerd I did my research. I decided that I wanted a cruiser. Being from California, I’m used to seeing this beauts clog up the boardwalk as women with free-flowing hair sail across ashen pavements in sundresses that capture the salt water with every swoosh of the pedals. I located 7 bike shops in my area that boasted rave reviews on service, selection, and sales. I wanted the best because I’m worth it.

Well the best not only turned out to be nigh $300, but it was also impractical for the hilly, cobbled, and uneven asphalt that we call city-streets. “Best to get one with gears or else it will simply sit on your porch and collect dust”. *ponders*, *sighs*, *responds*: “Sir, I simply want something stable and easy to use; that won’t cause me to hunch over; that won’t go faster than my mental capacity to screech the brakes; on which I can place a little brown pannier to run my errands. Might your fine establishment sell something that spectacular?” The flabbergasted expert says “Honey, if you want to get anywhere in this city you need at least three gears.” He then shakes his head and mutters something conspicuously close to “well why get a bike at all if you aren’t going to ride it on the trails… wasteful”.

Even more, $300 is nowhere near a viable option for my meager and easily depleted bank account. So I settled for the wonder that is CraigslistDMV.  Fortunately, the Fates smiled on me the day of my search. Miraculously, I was able to find a cruiser-hybrid with 8 gears that this lovely woman wanted to sell from disuse. Eagerly I responded to her ad, in hopes of providing a loving and welcome home to such a dear bike.

Note my hallowed conquest:

Notice I’ve already purchased a charming helmet and bike lock that match the auspicious coloring of the darling bike. Can you imagine how smashing I’ll look as I course down the road in a summer saunter, beseeching the world to gander at my magnificence?

Now I need to learn to ride it. ((blushes)).

I must say I approach the task with extreme hesitance. The one time I hopped on such a two-wheeled contraption, I ended up with my face introduced to freshly deposited garbage in an industrial sized dumpster. Even worse, I somehow twisted the spokes of the wheel so that they inserted into my left calf; though faded, I still bear the imprint.

I belive in numerology, the number 11 signifies teaching… granted I could be wrong, but it makes sense that this year I feel empowered to learn all of the things I “missed” initially. The self-instruction to the mastery of all things bicycle-related is just the beginning.

I’ve heard a few chuckles, and even more gasps of shock, at my inability to ride a bike. Have you ever noticed that many people compare “re-learning” something to riding a bike. “It’s just like riding a bike, you never forget”. I always agree that it’s hard to forget something you never learned… Yes many things are like riding a bike.

But I’m ready to check this monumental occasion off of my bucket-list. I hope to treat this experience like John Wayne: bravely, with confidence and self-assurance, calmly, and with flair.

In the words of such a courageous cowboy: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”.

Yippee-Ki Yay, Mes Chers!

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