April 18, 2014

Planet of the Naps

The day I woke up with nappy hair, my husband punched me in the face, jumped out of our second story bedroom window and immediately started fucking the white woman next door. I would not have known what happened but for the swinging blinds beating against the windowpane and his warm imprint lingering in my bed. I stopped for a moment to feel sorrowful, the breeze from our open window forming goosebumps on my skin, but then realized I was probably a lesbian so it was all good.

I yelled “Goodbye!” to my husband from the window he left open and took my time emerging from my bedroom. I did not feel like showering and could only put together clothes that did not match and earrings that were loud and cheap. Confused and stupider, I emerged from my bedroom only to find my house in disarray. My children had gotten into my collection of lint and decided to throw it all over our living room. Unable to find the broom or vacuum, I bent down and swept it up with my hair. When it came time to wash it, as hard as I tried I could not remember how or if I ever had. I felt lazy, craved chicken and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to smoke weed laced with crack with Trick Daddy. Adorned in lint, I could feel my naps grow tighter, my skin grow darker and my lips grow fuller and fuller. A thin shield of ash formed across my skin and the more I licked it, the ashier I became.

I left for work late because I forgot to pay attention to the time and on the way out, I asked the garbage man to watch my kids and to give me five dollars for the bus ride there. Mistaking me for the raccoon that had been terrorizing our neighborhood, he pulled out a stick and hit me over the head. By the time I came to, he had already fled, leaving the garbage piled up in our front yard. Enjoying the smell, I sat amongst the garbage for a moment licking my ash and thinking about how much I loved salt and welfare. During my walk to work, I felt itchy and angry. I battled with deciding whether to steal something or protest. I decided instead to dance, scratch, and yell incoherent things to the people walking in and out of the local Starbucks. A police officer tried to arrest me. Despite my waning intellect, my superior athletic skills proved no match as I outran him through the streets of my town.

Remembering I had to go to work, I stopped off at McDonalds to dance and scratch with the patrons outside the store. Loving it, I enjoyed a super-sized value meal and took a nap on top of the ball pit under the slide in the children’s play area. The manager woke me up to join me in a short dance and scratch but then asked me to leave because I was distracting his employees. When I finally got to work, I had trouble getting in. Although the door was unlocked, I felt more comfortable sneaking in a window and I had trouble finding a window that I could break, instead of just opening. When I finally made it in, feeling hungry, sneaky and violent, I snuck into the break room and stole everyone’s food and drink. I wrote menacing notes in place of the food in breath fog and spilled flavored drink all over the floor without cleaning up. I took another nap before heading to my office. I dreamt about drug crimes, Hip Hop videos and yelling the word, “Bitch.”

When I finally found my way to office, my boss was waiting and fired me instantly. Among other things, he declared that my hair made me blacker and accused me of lying on my application about my Native American lineage. On the way out, none of my co-workers made eye contact. One, a cross-dressing black man named, Tyler Martin, did a short dance and scratch in solidarity, which, despite my unemployment, made me laugh all the way down the elevator and out of the building. I loved to laugh. When I exited, the police officer I thought I had outrun was waiting for me with handcuffs. I was indicted, convicted of Being Nappy and sentenced to life wandering the continent of Africa. The Judge offered to suspend my sentence if I agreed to serve three hours in a local beauty salon and be treated with Affirm Hair Relaxer and two packs of Indian Remy 1B hair. I chose the latter.

I’d like to thank Wendy Williams for her thoughtful commentary on Viola Davis’s choice to go natural for the Oscars for inspiring me to turn my life around. I would also like to thank hair relaxer, the people of India and celebrity hairstylist, André Walker.

Note: This post was fiction and meant to be satirical. Any feelings that were hurt in the drafting of the post were purely accidental. The author of this post is a mother of two who recently decided to go natural. Surprisingly, her husband has not left her, she kept her job, she continues to fight the urge to scratch and dance and she has not entered a life of crime. In fact, she thinks she looks kind of cute.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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Real Talk Wednesday: Where’s my GPS? We are SO lost

Unless you’ve living on a deserted island, had your head in the sand over the past few weeks, or just didn’t visit any one of the 100’s of web-sites geared toward the African-American market, I am quite sure you heard about the “uproar” in the Black male community over the latest movie by Tyler Perry entitled For Colored Girls. This new updated version of “Hollywood/Tyler Perry Hates Black Men” sentiment harkened me way back to my sophomore year in high school when a little movie called The Color Purple (which coincidentally just had its 25th Anniversary special on Oprah) hit the screen. I was like, “Wow, same song, just 25 years later!” Just as things were back in the mid-80’s with The Color Purple, brotha’s were UPSET over their portrayal in For Colored Girls (as many of my brethren are about most Tyler Perry films, yet our anger and disgust was/is pretty much non-existent when the discussion of the numerous movies/reality shows/videos that denigrate BLACK WOMEN are brought to the table…but I digress).

The truth of the matter is that, I don’t want to debate the validity on the claim that all Tyler Perry movies denigrate or don’t denigrate Black Men, nor I’m I here to make the argument that The Color Purple did (did not do) the same thing 25 years ago. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t; personally I enjoy a couple of Mr. Perry’s movies (especially Daddy’s Little Girls) although his tv shows are a bit too coonish for my tastes. And when it comes to The Color Purple? Well, easily on my Top 5 all-time movie list. But my question to all of the men out there is: For Colored Girls?? Seriously!?! THIS is what it takes to get us “mobilized”, fired up and pissed off!? When did a handful of movies by Tyler Perry become Public Enemy #1 in the minds of Black Men? When did a movie other than let’s say “Birth of a Nation” become the apocalypse? When did we as men lose our way and get off the beaten path to find ourselves in this predicament? I mean, c’mon when did we become so damn sensitive? Better yet, when did we take our eye off the ball to the point where a movie could actually define who we are as men, husbands, and fathers?

With all the issues we face in our community none of this Hollywood or celebrity dribble should EVER crack our Kasey Kasem Billboard Top 100 countdown! At the end of the day, does criticizing and being up in arms about a handful of movies address our failing schools? Graduation rates? Poverty? Teen pregnancy? Foster children? Single parent households? NO, it surely does not! Sorry my brothers, we do not have the luxury of wasting our time, energy, and talents complaining about such nonsense. Our families and our communities expect & demand better of us (notice I said US!).

Do I have all the answers? NOPE! But, we must start somewhere, and if that means at minimum reclaiming our households, so be it. It is paramount for us not to just be present in the lives of our children and our spouses/significant others, but we must also be active and engaged as well. It was just this past weekend when I literally lost count on how many little Black faces I saw at a holiday event for kids; plenty of Mothers, Sisters, Aunts, and Grandmothers, but I could count the number of Black Men on one hand. And don’t get me started on the countless times I hear brotha’s say, “I have to babysit my kids today.” Um, Babysit? You don’t babysit YOUR kids! There is a mentality that many of us can’t shake, and it’s about time we did. Ask yourself, when was the last time you went to your child’s school, read them a book, gave them a bath, feed them dinner, took them to the doctor, or picked them up from karate class? If you can’t answer any of those  questions correctly, then I’m talking to you. And before you ask, “Well, aren’t you a stay-at-home Dad? So obviously you have plenty of time to do all of this?” it’s not about being home all the time, because trust me I was at school, doctors appointments, bath time, etc… before I was laid-off. It’s about making time for what is TRULY important.

I can hear the choir now, “Yo Bruh, you need to get off your soap box!” Well, maybe I do, BUT me getting off of my soap box isn’t going to change our collective state of affairs is it? For years, our priorities have been all out of whack and now, somehow, a handful of movies are to blame for our lot in life?  I’m not buying it! The fact is the poor choices we have been making are now coming back to bite us in the a%^. It’s time for us to stop blaming the messenger and get to work earning the respect of our wives and our children. Leave the trivial nonsense/blogging of being “dissed” in a movie to others and let’s get to work fellas. It’s due time, and time is way past due…

Next time on Real Talk Wednesday’s, “Boy, I Just Said NO!”

James Higgins

James Higgins

Nothing special about me at all, I'm a happily married, college educated (Go Bison!), stay-at-home father of two wonderful children. Just trying to keep myself, my wife, my children, and my cats sane as we navigate through this journey called family life.

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Creative Musings: He Feels Like…

He Feels like the wind in my face
while my head is hanging out the window
courageously trying to inhale all of him-
forceful, yet teasingly and excitingly
taking my breath away….
He feels like that…

Like I inhale and he finishes my breath
exhaling…
He feels just that good,
like my 2nd skin,
I could caress and bathe in his scent
and lather up his passion in my towel,
then sqeeze him all over me again…
Yes,
he feels like that…
like worship in its purest form…
like a good key striked on the perfect note
organ grinds, tune held in place
until the pews climax with shreeks of joy
in the form of tears,
hands raised,
arms stretched out wide-wating to be rescued-
as if the Divine-self would come down
to craddle every soulish hurt away-
liberating,
peaceful, enticing….
he feels like that…
yes,
He feels that good!

K Buckley

K Buckley

I keep myself hidden like stained secrets and letters from old lovers... The Divine is within me... written across my chest with an umbilical cord trust, I pray....asking why I exist unapologetically... empowering those I encounter...bold and magnetically, ...as endearing as a kiss to the forehead... I am delightfully satisfied in the presence of likeness.... I am...a 'new' mommy-to be, lover of life....love...and all that is free! Writer, poet, teacher, healer, the nurturing buttafly. Love&Light.

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Creative Sundays: Guilty

Continued from, With Kerry,  part of an upcoming novel by Tiara Faith McCray anticipated in 2011.

When Kerry found out, I was careless.  I woke the next morning to an empty bed.  Kerry’s small black hair band lay on her pillow as if carefully placed in the spot where her head had been.  Her small purple suitcase was gone but her sweet almond scent was still in the air.

It was unlike her to leave without saying goodbye but when I entered the kitchen and Jayna told me she left early and didn’t want to wake me, I accepted that excuse although I should have known better.  Jayna wore one of Kerry’s old oversized t-shirts.  If Kerry was there, Jayna would have been wearing shorts, so I knew it wasn’t an accident when she kept bending over a little too far to get things from the lower cabinets.  I was shirtless and wearing my basketball shorts.  She kept looking at my stomach and smiling.

“Did you have a nice night?” she teased.  I shook my head and opened the refrigerator wishing Kerry hadn’t agreed to let Jayna stay the night.  After we left the restaurant, Jayna started dropping not so subtle hints about her long drive back home.  Kerry offered her my couch until the next morning.  I could still picture her smirking at Kerry and I when we entered the bedroom for the night.  A part of me wanted to take her up on what her eyes offered.  Another secret moment, with Kerry right on the other side of the wall but I resisted.

She sauntered over to me and wrapped her arms around my bare chest, I turned to face her.  She pulled me to her by my shorts and nestled her body into mine.  I sighed deeply. She snapped her head back with her arms still around my waist.

“What? Are you done with me, Nate?” She said pretending to pout.

I wished I was.  I wanted to push her away.  I wanted her to disappear.  I wanted the side of me that lifted her to the small kitchen table and lifted her t-shirt to be buried somewhere far away.  Instead, I buried my face in her neck, kissed her so deeply she could barely breathe.

“Who’s better?” She murmured when she came up for air.  I ignored her. 

“Me or Kerry?” She said a little louder.

Instead of answering, I pulled down my shorts.  She smiled as if that were a good enough answer and pulled me to her. 

“Oh my God.” Encouraged, I continued.

“Oh my God.”  This time I realized it wasn’t Jayna’s voice I heard.  Jayna sat up and placed her hands against my chest pushing me away and staring over my shoulder.

“Nate…” she drifted, her eyes wide.  I pulled up my shorts and turned around.

Kerry stood behind us holding a beverage carrier with three cups of coffee.  She opened her mouth as if to speak but no sound came out.  Jayna crept off the table and gathered her t-shirt from the floor, pulling it over her quickly.

It was so silent as Kerry eyes darted from Jayna to me then around the kitchen taking in the whole scene.  I started towards her and she threw the cups of coffee at my chest, the hot coffee sizzling down my body then onto the floor.

She turned around and headed towards the door.

“Kerry…” I said entirely unsure of what would follow.  She paused and turned around.

“I knew!” She screamed, her voice shrill and uncomfortable, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I knew but I didn’t want to know…” she breathed.  “I knew but I didn’t want to…” she repeated.

For the first time, I noticed Kerry’s purple suitcase nestled against the side of the refrigerator and her airline tickets on top of her bag.  Jayna knew Kerry hadn’t left.  She wanted her to find out this way.  Kerry lowered her head and moaned mournfully.  She began to sob audibly.  I looked at Jayna cowered in the corner of the room, looking like a scolded child.

“Don’t you look at her!” Kerry yelled in a voice unfamiliar to me. 

“I loved you.” She spat, striking me twice with all of her might in my face.  She said loved like it was a dirty word.

“How could you do this?” She asked as if expecting an answer.  When I didn’t answer, she asked again, and again… pounding her fists into my chest for punctuation, the tears falling freely from her face.  When she lost her balance, I tried to catch her only to be smacked twice in the face. 

I felt emptied and unable to speak.  I had known this moment would come.  In fact, a part of me looked forward to it.  I didn’t want to hurt Kerry but I needed to be released.  I knew I would disappoint her and this day seemed as inevitable as death.  With or without Jayna.

Kerry pushed me aside and began towards Jayna.

“You’re disgusting.” She spat.  Jayna looked away.

“Look at me!” Kerry screamed taking a few steps closer to her.  I grabbed Kerry’s shoulders and she pulled away looking to the side.

“I am better than this.” She said more to herself than to  Jayna or I.

She exited the kitchen and a few seconds later, we heard the apartment door slam.

Not long after, I followed.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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Old school music

Today as I drove my children to their track practice and flipping through the radio stations, I came across an old hip hop song called “Get Up” by Salt and Pepa.  As I listened and sang along word by word, I noticed my daughter looking and cringing at me as if she were thinking how uncool her mom was.  I explained to my 12 year old daughter that songs like these were the very songs that defined my growing up.  These songs were not too vulgar (if at all), and boasted of nothing but having good pure fun.  Now, I make it my duty to educate my children on the power that “Old school hip hop and R&B” has on me and the many people in my generation and some of the generation before me.  My daughters have also grown up to these songs as they are played in heavy rotation in my house.  I do use discretion for some of the songs can be a bit out there, but for the most part my kids get the drift.  My oldest definitely loves to listen to old school R&B.  She sometimes likes to show off that she knows everything there is to know about the genre (you ain’t there yet boo, but keep trying).  She says her friends call her an old soul when it comes to music.  My middle daughter has two favorite hip hop songs, “La-Di-Da-Di” by Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick (clean version) and “Super Sonic” by J.J. Fad. She can wear out an iPod with those.  She just asked me to upload the Salt n Pepa song on her mp3.   My baby loves to listen to Michael Jackson.  I even have a video of her when she was 2 years old singing “Beat It” posted on my FB page.  It broke her little heart when he died, as I’m sure it did with millions of little children just learning about this great master of music. Though she still listens to Michael she has become a new fan of Pink now.

Every chance I get, I try to school these young-uns on the history of music  because I think that music plays such an important role in our lives.  Your born hearing melodies that wake you up, Teach you to play, and lull you to sleep.  As a youngster music teaches you the alphabet, about history,  and how to play well with others.  In your teenage years, music helps you bond with others and introduces you to your first  love. As an adult, music helps you get over heartache, celebrate life, and reminisce the many years of joy and pain.  Someone once said that music is the soundtrack of life and all that it entails and I believe that this next generation needs to respect its origins by learning as much as they can about it.  I believe the music that is out today, though some are still quite tasteful, disrespects the old school somewhat by taking songs to the extreme. Many lyrics today leave absolutely noting to the imagination.  I am all for freedom of speech, but I also believe that a good song doesn’t have to explain exactly how you want to do-me-and-screw-me-till-the-walls-fall-down-and-neighbors-call-the-cops.  I believe we have lost the romance that once was real music.  I would like to give credit for all of the new school artists who still pay homage to the old school and keep it clean or at least don’t go by the way of the sleazy.  Artists such as Jill Scott, Amel Larrieux, Alicia Keys, Raheem DeVaughn, Music Soulchild, India Arie, Rashaan Patterson, Ne-Yo and the list goes on.  Those artists are a welcome favorite in my house.   Believe it or not, I still love to listen to hip hop but now I’m very choosy about who gets play in my house.  Common, Kanye, The Roots, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli are masters who not only have great flow they have great messages that should be heard.

I have been brought up knowing that music can set the mood for many a situation. It is the best pick-me-up, the best friend, the best healer we have. I will continue to bump it in my jeep, blast it on my stereo (LOL), and rock to it on my mp3, but most of all share it with the next generation so they can hear true music and how it should be.

Creative Sundays: With Kerry

Continued from, His Dirt,  part of an upcoming novel by Tiara Faith McCray anticipated in 2011.

“I wish I could stay longer.” Kerry said, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling her long braids back into a ponytail.  I had been lying in bed watching the last of the sun escape the horizon outside of my window when she emerged from the bathroom in an oversized t-shirt.  She had just washed her make-up off and her skin was bare and moist.  Her voice was a welcome interruption to the silence I had begun to grow accustomed to.

“Me too, baby.”  Kerry’s flight was at 1pm the next day.

“I know I gave you a hard time about being in New York with me…” She looked back at me, where I was leaned against a pillow propped on the headboard of the bed.  I placed my hands, fingers linked, behind my head, remembering how hard Kerry had tried to convince me to follow her to New York after she had gotten the job offer. 

“I knew I would miss you,” she whined softly. “I just wanted to be close to you.”

“I miss you, too.” I began. “But Kerry, what would I look like following you to a new city with no job and no plan.”  I could feel the frustration begin to rise in my body. 

She turned to face me and crawled her hand on to my lap, placing her hand on my thigh. 

“I don’t want to fight…” she whispered.

Softened, I twirled a few of her braids in my fingertips.  She turned and looked at me and smiled mischievously.  She leaned down and playfully bit my thigh over my shorts.  I laughed.  Encouraged, she bit the other one and I laughed again pulling her ponytail lightly.

“Hey…” she said popping up and laughing.  She leaned into me, her head buried into the nape of my neck.  She kissed my neck twice.

“I love you.” She stated looking into my eyes. 

In that moment, I wanted to grab her and kiss her.  Tell her I loved her too.  Confess about Jayna and swear to never stray again.

Her look changed; she looked worried.  She must have sensed my hesitation.

I grabbed her under her shoulders and lifted her up to my face.  I studied her, looking for a reason in that moment not to feel guilty.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” She said, her voice dripping with insecurity.

“Like what?” I said smirking.

“Like that…” She smiled, embarrassed.

I pulled her face toward me and kissed her.

“You love me, too?” She asked, pulling away and staring at me.

Too much, I thought.

I turned her over on the bed, pulling her t-shirt off, studying her body under the dim light pouring into my bedroom from the street light outside of my apartment.  Kerry didn’t just turn me on.  She got to me.  She got to me in a way where I never wanted to stop touching her.  I never wanted to stop hearing her voice.  I never wanted to stop breathing her in on nights like this.  Jayna accepted me for who I was but Kerry loved me for all that I wanted to be.  I hated the part of me that felt so strongly, that cared so much, that was scared of a world that she didn’t exist in.  I was pretty sure I would have been better off having never known her and I was pretty sure she would have been better off having never met me.

I traced my fingers down the middle of her breasts, down her stomach and down to her thighs.

“I love you, too, baby.”  I murmured, hoping that for this one night, I could hide my betrayal and be the man that deserved a woman like Kerry and her love.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

More Posts - Website