…about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”   +Zora Neal Hurston

This is America and anything you say or do can and will be used against you if you’re Black, other, or standing against the systemic isms. Take a look back at any organization, party, movement, or individual that dared take a stand against the status quo and you will see the termination of determination in the name of the American way.  Just what is the American way? In consideration of the nature and method by which this country was established, the American way reads like a summer blockbuster; Espionage, massacres, war, rape, theft, bondage, and blood…so much blood. In reading from Safiya Bukhari’s viewpoint, from the working ranks of the Black Panther Party, it becomes painfully clear that if you refuse to flow with the program, or make any attempt to deprogram, you will be erased from the program, by the program. It’s programmed that way.  What do the enforcers really mean by “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..”  Perhaps they should finish by saying “Continue to yearn and breath in hopes of freedom while we capitalize on your needs and crushing desire for peace.” So to keep the peace, many keep quiet and shuffle through life in silent desperation: the walking dead.

Ava Duvernay pulled back the covers on the dastardly deeds in her Documentary 13th and the prison industrial complex. The startling revelation is that slavery did not die. It grew stronger and more shrewd and conniving.  The same mind that instituted it, evolved it, transformed it into an accepted institution thats still serves the desired end.  The art of slave making is social engineering at its best.  We are living proof that, as a whole, we are more afraid of freedom that slavery. It’s not just the prisons, it the public at large existing in a state of a perpetual hamster wheel. If we would see with the unclouded eye of true justice, we would realize that what must be done, must be done with a dire sense of urgency.


Black Cat Blues


My son texted me and his words were “Dad I feel my Blackness is deteriorating with every other part of me.” I haven’t replied to him yet…

Today another black cat crouched at the base of my step

Staring at me through my glass door

I went out to look for it and lost it

In the Black shadows

Beneath my Black truck

Then found it again

Staring black at me

At my Black face

Staring black at it

Crouched low by my front black tire

We stared right black at each other

My Black cat was in the house

When I initially got him

The woman at the place of rescue said

Black cats are more shy

Black cats are the last chosen

Black cats are almost invisible

Black cats have a bad reputation

Black cats get adopted much less and

Remain in cages longer and

Are abandoned more often

Black cats are misunderstood

Black cats are more often mistreated

Black cats are just…different

I began to wonder whether she was talking about

Black cats or me and my Black Kin characterized…

In this systematized penal aggregate

Dad, I feel my Blackness is deteriorating…

With every other part of me.


S/He That Has Ears…

It was warm outside with that slight breeze that makes you walk to a rhythm. To me, it’s the time to be in Chicago. The winters can be brutal and I’m not into brutality of any sort. I stood waiting at the crosswalk as this brother slid up beside me with something in his hand and smooth words in his mouth.  Another hustler was the thought that came to my mind.  As he waxed on quite eloquently, I thought as I fake listened. “This guy’s pretty good.” But you can’t run game on a runner. I hung on the conversation as the amen corner.  He went on to tell me about his music and how he doesn’t charge for his because that’s a gift.
I saw an opening, a moment, a gap in his corral and whipped out my silver with a simple “Why?”
 “Because”, he began with the confidence that ran neck and neck with a story told many times over. “It’s like…my grandmother had this ruby, this precious ruby given to her by someone special as a gift.  She gave it to her daughter, my mother. She then passed this precious stone on to me. So now, I have this ruby. This thing of great value passed down to me. It’s a gift you can’t replace. What would I look like selling it? It would be disrespectful to sell it. Dishonorably even. That’s my music bruh. My music is the gift.”
He had that, I ate the whole damn pie look on his face, replete with serious but ever so slight grin. I let him lay in it for a second or two.
My response, “I hear you but the ruby is the thing, the physical thing.  You don’t sell the ruby, no. You sell the shine.  People pay you to enjoy the shine. I’m an artist, a visual artist.   When I sell a piece, it provides me with the revenue to buy supplies to make more art pieces, and that keeps growing. Plus, I gotta eat, and sleep somewhere, and get from place to place, and the list goes on.  I’m still producing art, I’m the producer selling the product.  All This is an exchange of energy. They get the art they want because it does something for them, and you get the money that serves you. It’s a divine cycle that allows for each one to continue.  That’s the essence of life. I’m not selling my ability to make art.  That would be to say cut the goose open and get all the golden eggs kinda nonsense. We the geese bruh.  We sell the golden eggs. Besides, I don’t see my ability as an artist as a gift. When you work at a grocery store or the post office and you get that check on the first, you don’t thank that man for the gift.  You earned that.  You weren’t born with a freakin’ keyboard or synthesizer attached from your fingers any more that I was with a paintbrush growing outta mine. We put the time in honing our craft with practice, practice, practice. We worked at our interests and gained, earned the expertise.  That’s no gift bruh.
A brief silence entangled him, hand to chin, pulling on a baby beard to be. His eyes met mine in a look of comprehension. “I never thought about it like that, for real.  For a minute he was stumped. Not to prolong the moment I bought one of the stickers he was clutching to sell. He thanked me and invited me o an event on the South Side, got distracted by some shorts going by and I headed on to my studio, looked him up and sure enough, the little brother was on the up and up; talented to the hilt.  I was glad I’d invested in him, in more ways than one. At the end of the day, or the beginning, or middle, this is America. Grandma told you, possibly the same one that gave you the ruby; get yo’ money, Black man.adamswabashstation2

A Resolution…

A Resolution…Prelude to the Revelation of the Revolution

Whereas, I stand in this space of knowing beyond belief that all parties involved in the crucifixion of an innocent man (men or women) shall come to terms with their nemesis, a manifestation of their own psyche, to be visited by their own iniquities.

Whereas, such nemesis shall bring forth justice and bear witness to their restitution and due remuneration for indifference to human dignity, pain and suffering based on seemingly none other that blatant disregard for otherness… in this case blackness.

Whereas, in due faith and high regard, on behalf of one who fell prey to aforementioned atrocity, I unapologetically pen these words with archetypal irrefutability of one who you believe

  1. Was born in obscurity
  2. Was born to a mother outside of the holy bond(age) of matrimony
  3. Grew up in a less than favorable neighborhood
  4. Stood for what was was believed to be right
  5. Was innocent
  6. Was condemned to death by an unjust system
  7. Was Crucified (hung)
  8. Death served the greater good of more than the deceased.
  9. Rose again
  10. Will return to claim his throne
  11. Because of his role in advocating and standing for right, gave his life so that others may live.
  12. Will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Whereas this work shall be an elegy for one who fits this category.  And you shall see him for what he is, even as you bear witness to his truth.

As I sit bent over this page

By bent I’m not just talking ‘bout my physicality

I’m straight bent in mind

Straight twisted up in these

Blue rags dipt in white and read wrong

I’m bent outta shape of things to come

Crammed in the slop-bucket of a chattel past

Trying to jam me in your frame of my future

I’m bent over, cramps in my hand while I bleed on these pages

Of History

But I came on the pages of mine,

Locked body, mind, and spirit
And wet up the promise like Savannah’s summer rain

Hot as fuck and just as joyful

She swelled and tarried in the sun and brought forth one of the same

Son of my fathers, son, brother, uncle, friend, and god

Locked in arms of eternal belief

That sacred relief of release


And you shall call him Kalief

He shall come and take his stand

And for that stand he will die

Choked out on this American pie

He is flesh of my flesh and bone from my bone

And little bits of home

Son of man, spawn of God

He struggled beneath that cold rugged loss

I hear them drums a beatin’ and the trumpets soundin’

Krown him, krown him


My teared eyes squint ‘neath the furrow of my brow

For Browder, Kalief, Kalief

Wherefore have they forsaken you

They knew just what they did

We pour a little out for my homie

This cup shall not run dry

As surely as the sun shall rise

And he shall so indeed,

We will walk the walk of walks, hand in hand

You will tell me the story of the stories unstored

From beneath the lash, and slavers chain

And then shall only truth remain

Never the same

Never the same

Some mama’s baby boy

Out there in the back yard chasing butterflies

Transformed into a man

Came forth and took a stand


And you shall know him as Kalief

He did come and take his stand

And for that stand he did die

Choked out on this American pie

He is flesh of my flesh and bone from my bone

Son of man, spawn of God

He struggled beneath that cold rugged loss

And laid down life for us

I hear them drums a beatin’ and the trumpets soundin’

Krown him, krown him


(An Elegy for Kalief)

In Consideration of A Second Coming

George Junius Stinney, Jr. was 14 years old.  George Junius Stinney weighed about 95 pounds. George Stinney, Jr. was a little black boy.  George Stinney was accused of murdering two white girls. George was coerced with trickery and an ice cream cone into saying he did it. At least it was said that he said he did it.  There was no record of any confession. They decided on his life in 10 minutes.   George didn’t know. George didn’t know. George didn’t know what the grown-ass men surrounding him were capable of.  George spent over 80 days in jail away from his family.  They ran George’s family away. He never saw them again.  The grown-ass men killed George. The United States by way of South Carolina, specifically Columbia, electrocuted a scared innocent 14 year black boy…and the real perpetrator got away.  George died for his sins.  Since Jesus died for sins.  Is George like Jesus? They say Jesus came back. Does George get to come back

When they electrocuted little Georgie, he had no idea what they were about to do.  He was so scared he could barely talk.  Them grown-ass men took Georgie to that death chamber and since he wasn’t big enough to reach the headpiece, they sat him on a bible. Just boosted up that little black boy with the word of god to get him a little closer to death. Georgie sat right on top of that book of life, waiting for them grown-ass men to try and fit that too big mask on his little head.  His skinny little body was shaking like a leftover leaf in winter. Except it was summer when they murdered Georgie. Actually it was late spring. June 16th to be exact. Hey that’s Tupac Shakur’s bearthday.  He was murdered too. His killers went free too. He was betrayed too…like Jesus. Was Tupac like Jesus? Was Jesus like Tupac?  Jesus came back.  Tupac might have been Jesus. Damn, they killed him again. Hail Mary, come quick see/Hail Mary, come with me…” Those are Tupac’s lyrics. “Ya’ll waiting on me like ya’ll waiting for Jesus to come back.”  Tupac said that too. He was on a cross on the cover of his final CD, crucified just like Jesus. If Jesus was Tupac, would people pray to Tupac? Would white people pray to a god that didn’t look like them?

Remember the ice cream cone Georgie was licking on while following the grown-ass men down the concreted hall with no idea what was happening or where he was going? That was kind of like his last supper before the death knell.  Jesus has a last supper.  Perhaps it was better that ice cream.   Jesus had his homies around him. Georgie had grown-ass men with ill intent. It appears Georgie had it worse. Jesus got to wear his own clothes.  They put Georgie in prison stripes.  “…and by his stripes we are healed” (Matthew 53:5) Was that verse about Jesus or Georgie? I’m leaning toward Georgie.  I wonder if they’ll paint Georgie white one day, put some blue eyes in his head, and write a holy book with him in it.

When the grown-ass man pulled that lever with that cold clinking sound and that hot electricity hit George’s little body, that made-for-grown-criminals-not-for-innocent-little-boys, death mask popped right off Georgie’s head.  His eyes were bucked wide open running over with tears.  Clear liquid ran down the corner of his mouth and dripped onto his stripes.  You know, the ones we are healed by. And what did the grown-ass men do.  Slid that mask right back on that boy’s head and finished killing him.

10857930_10152585678988990_6525988710469530350_nI wonder if anybody said, “it is finished.”  Georgie died by electric chair in 1944, in Columbia, South Carolina. The youngest to die by capital punishment. Convicted of first degree murder. In 2014, George Junius Stinney, Jr’s status was vacated. Does that mean Georgie gets to come back?

Voodoo Child in The Promised Land

IMG_0192I can’t show you what I want to show you

But I can tell you what I saw

In a little family graveyard splintered with new spring grass

And little bits of moon on the ground scattered

Like a lit mirror shattered on somebody grandma’s

Brand new carpet slid beneath

That old living room furniture

Looking brand new with the plastic still on it.

I saw it,

I saw her

Out there in that field with all them dead folk.

Just skippin’ ‘round like she was home

Just as happy seeming, like she wasn’t alone

Wasn’t but about four or five

With cute plaits in her head

And a little dress on

The Easter Sunday kind

With sprinkles of moon all over it

Out there in the dark

Just picking flowers

Had to be daffodils

Just growing right there among all them dead folk

And there she was just fanin’ that dress

And snatching them flowers up out’ the ground

Like they was handin’ them to her.

Like she was receiving gifts from all them dead folk

Just beyon her stood a line of huge live oaks

Just stretching out their big ole arms like

They were protecting her.

Not from the night or the dead

But protecting just the same

The Spanish moss hung like the sleeves of a preacher’s robe

Raised up high and mighty over all them dead folk

She paused for and seemed to look my way

I stared back like she saw me from a TV screen

That I couldn’t turn off

Then she went right on back to doing what she was doing

Like nothing was gon’ stop her at all

Not time, not beggin’, not hopin’

Out there in that field under the moonlight

With all them dead folk.



In Consideration of A Kingdom: Two Sides To Every Story

On February 15, the Marvel Film, Black Panther hit the Big Screen. Not only was the film epic on multiple levels, but the responses on opening night. It felt like a family reunion, bigger even.  I arrived ten deep and a friend jokingly inquired as to when my mix tape was coming out.  There were photographers and radio stations. I think I even saw a black carpet. For me, it carried a deeper meaning since, as a child of the comics, I only had Black Panther (T’Challa) and Power Man (Luke Cage) and Storm (Ororo Munroe) . My other favorite was Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), he is blueback.

Sure I’ve heard all of the pundits speak about it not being a black film or how people are so excited over a fictitious character and how we still dropped million$ into a non black organization and barely support black films. If someone delivers good news, it really doesn’t matter the color of the mouth.  Black Panther is an illustration, a parable of the possibilities.  What would Africa be had it not been colonized? Had it not been stripped, raped, and impregnated by the ones with the biggest guns and smallest hearts? How far our spirituality linked with impending inventions would have advanced us had it not been for a mass interruption, spiritual rerouting, and consequential disconnect with the ancestral paths, the cosmological connections that already had a knowledge of life beyond this planet? Where would be be had we not been injected with an overdose of patriarchal martial destructive genes spliced into our cerebral conduct? Be aware that when I speak of Africa, I speak not of Africa as a continent only because we know her children stretch way beyond that real estate.  This Afrofuturistic vision, Black Panther, in the incubator of the imagination gives us a glimpse of the possibilities.  It was birthed from the imagination: the seat of greatness.  Greatness inspires greatness…or awakens it.

Now let’s look at our hero T’Challa and his proposed antagonist, Erik Killmonger. If you haven’t seen the film, tune out.  This is a spoiler alert. Wakanda, under the rulership of a reign of Black Panthers, prides itself on being untouched by the world at large, thereby avoiding wars, outside influence, rendering it free to develop to its fullness. Killmonger, a misplaced  Wakandan, spouts razor sharp truth in almost every statement about the colonizers and what a revolution should be about.  His method is to use the power, wealth, and developments of Wakanda to set about the freedom of the oppressed through warfare. Although seemingly ruthless in his quest and temporary claim to the throne, you must understand that he, unlike T’challa, has experienced first hand the maggots of oppression eating the soul of a people. These two men reflect Professor Xavier and Magneto from the X-Men series, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois, Dr. King and Malcolm X, the SCLC and the Black Panther Party.  The story isn’t new.  It’s not about who is right and who is wrong.  It about what the truth of what we need as defined by the ones who need it. What we must realize is that they are two sides of the same coin. The night and the day of a complete revolution. The ebb and flow of the same man. This is most evident in the underground (allegory) fight between the two Panthers.  It not one against the other, it’s one against himself.  T’Challa, in the end makes good on the hope of Erik when he decides to extend the hand of liberation beyond Wakanda.  There comes a time for a reckoning within, united by a truth that may not always be pretty. Fact or fiction, the power is there if you care to find it.  Now is a time for using what you have to do what you can with it. A time to cease the war against ourselves and flow into the power of One: One people, One purpose, One love.


“In My Mind, I Couldn’t Find A Place To Rest, Until…

Some years ago, I was in my favorite public library, Barnes & Nobles.  Positioning myself in a cozy spot on the floor in the African-American section, I leafed through several books, soaking up images and words while simultaneously creating my own from the filing of the information. Eventually I reached for a book with an inviting green cover and began to read. It was as if a breeze blew through my soul and time wrinkled.  I consumed the meal in that book ravenously.  As a child of nature, this text spoke a language that was strangely and in a way uncomfortably familiar. When I surfaced at odd intervals, I found myself looking over my shoulder to see if anyone I knew was around.  I didn’t want to be seen engulfed in this text. The idea of it conflicted with the letter of my parents’ religion, in which I had been battered and fried.  The inner chatter of that imprint conflicted with the idea of the book in question.  But my soul felt it. I didn’t know how to reconcile the two but I knew what I knew.  The book was on Witchcraft. Not that it was the practice perfect for me in all forms but it spoke to me because most who followed the path were in tune with the forces of nature, had a knowledge of herbs and medicines, gave council and were valuable parts of the village and community as Shamanic healers and leaders.

It was like when Tupac said in, So Many Tears “I grew up amongst a dyin’ breed. In my mind, I couldn’t find a place to rest, until I got that Thug Life tatted on my chest. Tell me, can you feel me?” My mind dug in, my soul was a lost child who had found its mother. Quite befitting when there’s been only a father and son in my wake. Mother/father/ nature connection is paramount. The African cosmological synapse presents a fully inclusive path to view life in 360 degrees which connects rather than compartmentalizes and subjugates facets of this life journey.

The Dogon, Dagara, Yoruba, Luba, and other African religions/pathways laid out the blueprint and created the structure for mind, body, spirit connection long before modern psychology or the branches of other religions arrived at the door. The connection to and importance of the natural world was evident in every aspect of daily life.  In present day, author Richard Louv in his book, Last Child in The Woods, states,” At this very moment when the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature – in positive ways.”

Once again, I’ve come to that place, even deeper this time, beyond my childhood and long hours in the woods. On Sabbath afternoon hikes on the mountains or rides out in the country areas looking out across the converging rows or leaning treetops, linked me to something beyond the present realization. Ancient voices spoke on the winds that blew through me in the the cradle of the natural world.  The ancestral paths connect us to all life.  Nature is an integral part of the return to ourselves.  As elder and teacher of the old ways, Patrice Malidome Some says, and I’ve heard it said by the elders in my own family.  I knew it in my bones.yemaya_by_m_curtiss1

Your Silence Will NOT Protect You

This most potent statement by luminary visionary, Audre Lorde, speaks to the prophetic nature of purposed passion and undying vision.  She also states, “It is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.” At this juncture, this fat grisly top-heavy bend on the historical continuum, I issue not a statement but a question… What is your silence? What are you silent on that whispers hoarse in your time of solitude, that makes your own thoughts so discomforting that you drown them out with looping music and mindless conversation, the silence that screams and pitches fits on your psyche, the silence that has and will destroy any relationship that you’ve hoped to experience. The one that you choke on in liquid form and makes you step to the rhythm of a strange but common drum. You cannot drown it, kill it, out run it, hide from it, or ignore it. You can’t eat it away, dress over it, shop it out, work around it, fuck through it, smoke, pop, or snort it down.  You can only break it.  Your only way to freeness and truly living is to break your silence. Not only will it not protect you, it will systematically destroy you and everything you have, even dipping into your generations to come. It is not designed to protect you but to keep you enslaved to your darkness, locked in a prison of pain and consequential fear of speaking it. What…is your silence?


Here we are in this cycle of a thing called life.  It doesn’t stop, some just get of from time to time, while others get on, some more than once. So while you’re in it, be in it.  In fact be in the minute because that’s truly all you have.  Some wise dude told me once, and I paraphrase and refry…

Your guilt and regrets rise up out of your past only in your mind, choking out your enjoyment in the now. Your anxiety and fears reach back from an anticipated illusion called  future, and stifle your dreams in the present.  All you really have at the moment is the moment, so you might as well be right there in it.  Yes we puff and plan, strategize and shift into gear for go, but as ole Johnny said, (Steinbeck) “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  So don’t go around laying heavy plans with rats.

It’s Black History month, African-American Heritage season, and so forth. On March first, guess what…