Monday, September 15, 2008

Intuition


DSC02779.JPG, originally uploaded by damali101.

He's the sweetest boy ever, but most times, he's got 2 left feet.

Our weekly outing to the Clifton Skate Zone seemed like a good opportunity to take an hour and go to the gym...usually i'm just sitting in the car doing nothing anyway. and they're old(er) and responsible with cellphones. they'll be fine, yeah?

but then intuition was like 'nah. skateboarding is dangerous. you never know what could happen while you're on the treadmill"

so i stayed. good thing i did.

somehow Frick and Frack get this bright idea to skateboard down a steep hill. Frick does it (cuz he's the better skateboarder) and makes it down with no problem. My sweet little Frack (pictured above) sees his brother do it, so he figures he can too. cuz he's older, i guess.

i see him go from kinda far way. then, i see him go DOWN. then i hear him scream. i run at top speed over there praying nothing is broken. one arm and hand scratched up pretty bad but basically ok. whew.

at least now i don't have to fight with him to put pads on anymore.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

US Open 2008


Serena Williams, originally uploaded by meslither.

As i've posted before in this blog, I love sports. American football has always been my favorite to watch but in recent years, i've really gotten into watching baseball, football (soccer) and tennis. Watching on tv is fine but there's nothing like the live stadium experience. The energy of the crowd just makes the games so much more exciting.

I recently got to experience one of the pinnacles of stadium sport: The 2008 US Open. Ever since i've lived in the NY area (almost 13 years!) i've dreamed of taking in a match at Arthur Ashe stadium. i think i always saw it as something only the rich or the elite get to do. I've never even tried to buy tickets...but as usual, Jehan makes dreams come true.

we went twice last week...Tues night to see Venus and Federer in their 1st round matches, then on Thurs night to see Serena and Nadal in their 2nd round matches. man it was so fantastic to be there...just walking into the entrance of the tennis village...seeing all the shops and food vendors and beautifully lit fountains...i was in awe.

the action inside the stadium didn't disappoint either. all 4 of the stars easily dismissed their opponents in straight sets. so effectively in fact that we almost missed the entire Serena match on the 2nd night! she wasted no time in taking care of the poor little no name girl she was facing...but we made it in time to catch her last 3 games. her post game interview was as gracious as her serve.

she faces her sister Venus in a quarterfinal match later today. i can't be there but i will be watching on tv tonight and rooting for her.

p.s. i want those arms!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What a difference 10 days makes.

Like Lauryn said: I was hopeless now i'm on Hope Road.

yes, i am. hope. for something different, better. i mean there will still be alot of pain in the meantime...alot of loneliness and tears but maybe....maybe. and i really do understand 'maybe'. i know he thinks i don't...that i think 'maybe' means 'definitely'. yeah ok i used to be like that but i'm good with 'maybe' now. at least i have a chance, you know? that's all i ever ask for.

but the 10 days were great. greater than great. like there ain't even a word great enough to encompass truly how great. maybe i even believe in love again...maybe.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Winds of Change

If I had no more time
No more time left to be here
Would you cherish what we had?
Was it everything that you were looking for?

If I couldn't feel your touch
And no longer were you with me
I'd be wishing you were here
To be everything that I'd be looking for

I don't wanna forget the present is a gift
And I don't wanna take for granted the time you may have here with me
'Cause Lord only knows another day is not really guaranteed

So every time you hold me
Hold me like this is the last time
Every time you kiss me
Kiss me like you'll never see me again
Every time you touch me
Touch me like this is the last time
Promise that you'll love me
Love me like you'll never see me again

This song has been on repeat for the last few days...Alicia Keys and Kerry Brother's Jr. wrote that. amazing. I wish more people would live their lives like this but people always take for granted what they have. They don't appreciate what they have right now until it's gone.

i was always one of those people who believed in love above everything else. i know it's cliche but we live in world where there is so much negativity. people live in it...breathe it...embrace it. most people don't hesitate to say something negative to some. a criticism, a cruel joke, a flipped bird, a fuck you here and there. But ask the average person to tell someone they love that they actually love them, ha. much more difficult. people even have the nerve to claim that if you say it too much, it doesn't mean as much. but yet they can say hurtful things all the time with no problem.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's Times Like These...

when i wish i had a female best friend. Someone i could call and talk to...all the females that i'm close to are scattered. dawn is in israel. stef is too busy to have time for any sustained contact most of the time. one sister is 1000 miles away. another one has basically pushed me away. so that leaves me with no one really. no one who really understands me and how i feel about things. no one to feel safe to be me with.

do writers have alot of close friends? i would imagine that they don't. that they must be lonely people because how else could they pour so much of themselves into their pens and pencils? wouldn't there not be time for that if they had people? i will do the same then. i will try to give to my pen what my people reject from me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Am a Writer.

Hello, my name is Damali and I'm a writer. That may seem like a small statement but it's huge to me. To believe and know that about myself has taken many many years. People would say "you're a writer" and i'd dispute it because i am not published...because no one has ever paid me to do it. But i understand now that it doesn't matter. I write. I create. therefore, i AM a writer. and i do want to be published. scratch that, i WILL be published someday.



this writing thing has come along so late in my life though...it's strange what we discover about ourselves the older we get. As a teenager, i HATED writing. It was my least favorite subject in school and i'm pretty sure i wasn't very good at it. i would tell people that i was a singer. that i was gonna do that for a living one day...i was gonna be famous and have an album and make videos like Janet Jackson. that's all i would think about. i entered any talent show i could and performed alot at school and in front of my family and in front of my mirror.



then somewhere in my early 20s, i'd decided that i was an actor (not an actress; i hate that word). i moved to the New York area in hopes of being in movies or on Broadway. i still enjoyed singing but i was all about going on auditions for plays and films. and i did get some small work...some paid even. i did extra work in feature and low budget films, got parts in musical theater shows, did a local commercial for Mercy College. It was just all so expensive though. And unless you had a good agent, you do not get much of a return on your considerable investment.



In my early 30's, i became a filmmaker. i worked as a Production Assistant on a few film sets. I agonizingly wrote (that pesky writing again!) a screenplay and tried to direct it. i produced a short film with my friend Guy that went to some festivals...i saw myself as having the potential to be this great filmmaker one day. perhaps that could still be true. i don't know. i loved filmmaking more than singing and acting...it just felt way more creative to me.

so then now here we are. ladies a gentlemen, a dream we all dreamed of. i write. i think this is the scariest one of all.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

37.

Today.

The 2 children that love me gave me a stuffed bear this morning that they were saving since January...just for this day. They continue to amaze and dazzle me every day of my life.

The 3 adults that love me all called at about the same time this morning to wish me well.

My life overflows with blessings and i've been reminded of that today...so then why am i melancholy? why am i happy and unhappy at the same time? (i've just realized that it's almost 11am and i haven't eat one single, solitary thing today. and i'm not hungry)

i have no issues with my age. Ageing doesn't concern me much beyond just wanting to always be able to walk upright. Once i'm hunched over, i'm ready to check outta here. I have simple needs.

i'm usually hyper-aware of my own feelings and motivations, but right now, i don't know why i'm sorta blue. or maybe i do know and just don't want to say it outloud, in my own head, or to the ether.

but yeah. Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I want to talk about Zora.

"Sometimes I feel discrimated against but it doesn't make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company! It is beyond me." - Zora Neale Hurston, 1891 - 1960

When I first saw the syllabus for my Oral Traditions in Literature class and noticed that Their Eyes Were Watching God was on the list, I was surprised. I realized that I already owned the book but just never read it. I don’t even remember when I bought it, but I know why I bought it: a friend of mine had told me it was an important book. She said Zora Neale Hurston’s novel had changed her life. She even told me that if she ever had a daughter, she’d name her Janie. So, of course, I had to buy the book. I tried to read it at first. I think I read a lot of the first chapter and put it down for reasons that escape me. But I always knew that one day I’d get back to it.

I skipped the foreword for now; I didn’t want my interpretation of the book to be clouded by others’ just yet. After reading the first few sentences, it struck me that this would definitely be a book that I would need to read again and again. I love how melodic and poetic it is. Some sentences require multiple reading in order to catch the depth of the metaphors. Sometimes what I think it means at first changes once I’ve read more of the story, then I flip back a few pages and say “ahhh ok.”

The story, which is semi-autobiographical, is about a young girl named Janie who finds herself trapped in two loveless marriages until she finally meets the (much younger than her) man of her dreams, Teacake. But it's not simply a love story. It's one of self-discovery and self-acceptance. It's a Negro spiritual of sorts. it's a history book. It's a Zora-chronicle. It's too many things.

But beyond the book is the larger story of Zora herself. Here is this Black woman all on her own in the 1920s, travelling around southern U.S. collecting Negro folktales on a fellowship paid for by a wealthy white woman. Zora was quite a force to be reckoned with. She was feircely independent, yet dependent on her benefactors. It didn't stop her pen or her mouth. She often found herself in trouble by both. She had a penchant for telling off-color racial jokes in front of white people...embarrassing them. She didn't care. She grew up in a town where everyone was black...where there was no jail or no police. so her perception of the world outside of Eatonville, FL was vastly different than other Blacks. And for that reason, many Blacks at that time did not have a fondness for her.

When Their Eyes Were Watching God was published, the elite Black writers like Langston Hughes and Richard Wright came down hard on Zora. she was not telling Black stories the way they felt was appropriate. Her ample usage of 'slave language' was embarassing to them. But she did not care.

I could go on and on about why this woman is a hero to me. She was fearless. Trailblazing. Indignant. Proud. Beautiful. Free. and all at a time when it was forbidden for a woman, especially a black woman, to be any of those things.

As a writer, i'm well aware of the doors she blasted open for black women writers. No others were being widely published at that time. None. And i can't believe it has taken me this long to find out about her...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Untitled Poem

He hangs out behind my eyelids

like this little genie perched on a magic carpet

smiling.

in each blinking milli-instant of darkness

i see him waving at me.

imagine the shenanigans when i've retired for the night.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day


7:30 am Sunday morning. My son Marius taps me on the shoulders to wake me.

"Happy Mother's Day, Mommy. Look!", he whispered in my ear. My eyes followed in the direction that he pointed and I saw the tray on the bed.

Best gift I ever received. He's so amazing.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crutches Suck.

I've only had to use them for 2 days so far and i already despise them. I despised them after like 1 hour. People stare at you with pity. ok i don't really care about that part but under my arms...it hurts. my palms...they hurt. so then today i had the brilliant idea to just switch to one crutch to support the tender foot...ok but now the 'good foot' is hurting cuz i spent the whole fucking day leaning on it!

*throws crutches across the room*

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Dangers of Intellectual Property

3 people are trapped in a room that is locked from the outside. the only way out is through a hatch that is too high for anyone to reach. Collectively, the 3 of them possess the tools to escape from the room but they've spent the last 5 hours arging over who will get credit for the escape once they are outside.

Gene, who knew how to build a ladder out of the pile of wood and nails in the corner of the room, says, "For the last time people...i get us out of here but i want exclusive rights to all books and films related to our escape. the knowledge i possess is essential and the rest of you would be nothing without me!"

Lisa, who has a hammer concealed in her backpack, chimes in, "You know Gene i'm sick of your pompous attitude. It is I who holds the answer to this entire escape so you should just turn over your "whatever it is" to me so i can finally get us out of here! Besides, i'm the smartest one here anyway..."

Jamal, who is nervously fingering his chisel in the inside pocket of his jacket, thinks to himself, "I should just kill the both of them, take their items, and claim self-defense..."

They're all found dead a week later.

I made up that super-extreme story but imagine what our world would be like if ideas were freely shared amongst all. Yes, i know that is so scientifically socialist of me but it could work. There are so many diseases that some scientist somewhere has a cure for but because this or that pharmeceutical company owns the rights to it, certain people ain't gonna get it. inventions have to wait for patents because thieving is rampant. people sue others over the similarity of ideas instead of just collaborating.

ok yeah maybe idea-sharing is counterintuitive in a cosumerist world, but a girl can dream.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Know Why The Caged Bird Doesn't Write.

i don't write because i'm afraid to be wrong. well not wrong, but at the very least, incoherent. or unorganized. unstructured. i erroneously perceive my own free writing as something that needs editing. or pre-planning. or fuck it, even paragraphs. and i'm sure that this stifles my creativity...this need to write right. to have every utterance be brilliant and profound. it can't be like that most of the time...i gotta accept that. to creatively censor ourselves is tragic...to self-edit is nihilistic.

i think of myself sometimes as an artist but am i really? what i have done for art lately? is this blog art? i've produced nothing as of late that's worth holding up to ridicule or praise. i'm empty-handed...nothing up my sleeves either. i may try to shake myself later. we'll see.

and yeah i'm supposed to be working on my hiphop presentation for class that's due soon but i'm so unmotivated because i no longer have anyone in my life knowledgeable enough to bounce ideas off of. sucks but i'll live. and throw something together. (wow i just dozed off with my fingers perched on the keyboard midsentence)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

That's How I Feel Sometimes.

you know
i almost made this long post
here
about how when people say they
love me
then leave me, that they really didn't mean it
that they don't know what love is
cuz they don't love the way i love
but i know that ain't fair
so i didn't but
that's how i feel sometimes...

i almost did some things outta spite
just to rebel
against what is expected of me
just to turn my nose up
and my pockets out
at the world
not the whole world
just my world since may 05
but i know that ain't fair
so i didn't but
that's how i feel sometimes...

i almost deleted this blog
and every word, revelation and laughter within
cuz the value of public bathing
has become lost on me
when i can shower at home alone
in the dark for much longer
without people walking by and looking
silently
and keepin' on walkin' like they didn't see nothin'
but i know that ain't fair
so i didn't but
that's how i feel sometimes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It Takes a Nation of Maple to Bring Me Back


Maple, originally uploaded by damali101.

I wish i'd known years ago that a place as fabulous as Montreal was only a 6.5-hour drive away.

People who know me personally are probably tired of hearing me drone on about how great it is but i can't stop won't stop. So here's my definitive list of why i love Montreal:

1. The People: you think i talk about Montreal too much? ask a Quebecois about their city... but only if you have 20 minutes to stand on a cold sidewalk and hear about how great every neighborhood is. the people are warm, friendly, open and love to party.

2. The Culture: it's very European. meaning a very laid back, fun, wine and coffee centered, sidewalk cafe and 500 year old buildings kinda place. i.e. Ben Franklin loved Montreal.

3. The Food: fresh baguettes and croissants, brie, fine chocolate, ice wine, maple...i could go on and on

4. The Language: Quebecois-style French is slightly different here than in France. but no matter...it's a beautiful, challenging language that was fun to attempt and i'm so inspired to learn more. the city is mainly bi-lingual so even if you don't speak it, you'll have no trouble.

5. The "Undergound City": basically a huge, 4 sq mile underground shopping mall with 20miles of connecting tunnels. a great place to hang out when the weather is brick. the best thing about it is that it was constructed right below street level (instead of waaaay underground) which allows for natural light to get in.

6. Maple lollipops. nuff said

7. See
photos for more.

Monday, February 04, 2008

As If I Needed Any Proof

In the future, when going to the barbershop on a Sunday, I'll make sure to get there early. A Sunday barber is such a rare occurrence that many come from far and wide, children in tow, to get a seat.

Marius and I waited for a long time. His patience held up quite well, considering. Perhaps in a moment of boredom, he began to study his hands. Yes, a sure sign of boredom. After a while, he walked over to where i sat and held out his right hand. Pointing to two brownish moles on his palm and index finger, he asked:

"What are these, mom?"

Slowly, i held out my right hand and opened it. I showed him the two moles i have on my palm and index finger. I looked into his eyes and said softly:

"These mean that you are my son."

He beamed the most beautiful smile i'd ever seen. He didn't say anything...just went back and sat down, looking at his hand with awe. After a minute or so, he came back over to me and asked for my hand. Marius placed his index finger next to mine and stared...smiling. Just a beautiful moment that i don't want to ever forget....

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Worst Feeling

You call someone you love and they answer the phone. Their voice is all chipper. Well not exactly chipper but at the least, upbeat. When you say hello and they realize it's you, their tone drops into a low and dejected "hey". All of the blood drains from your face. Your heart stops. You feel like you've been stabbed and punched simultaneously.

I always want to just hang up in that moment. Always. Just not even say another word and try to recover. And no matter how much the person claims that they aren't unhappy to hear from you, and that everything is ok, there's just no mistaking that split-second tonal shift. You can't fake that. or un-fake it. And the pain stays with you for days...

Perhaps someday soon I'll meet someone who's voice rises when they hear it's me. Perhaps. But i'm tired of being treated like a nuisance. Oh but i'm loved...gee thanks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Office Haiku

All my good pens: gone
People leave the shitty ones.
Crazy glue next time....

The Value of Decision Making

I can't stand it when people don't want to make decisions. They are afraid to say A or B or C. Instead, they opt for just letting whatever happens happen. And of course, when that thing that happens isn't to their liking, they fucking complain.

It takes alot of courage to say "this is what i'm going to do and how i will handle it" and then stick to it AND accept the consequences of it. But instead, alot of people wait until the last minute until life FORCES them to make a choice...why not be in control of things yourself? Why wait until the choice is taken away from you or until you've fucked shit up so badly, you just have no options left? What the fuck is wrong with people?

Decisions give you purpose; direction. They can always be reshaped later. You can change course. But at least you START OFF on a particular course. As you are on that path, you may learn things or find out that it's not the right path, then you still have time to choose an alternate one. But to not choose anything is like not deciding whether you're going to turn left or right until you're in the middle of an intersection and you've caused a fucking accident.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Recon.

Sometimes my coworker enlists me for my eavesdropping services. i sit closer to her boss than she does and can sometimes hear phone convos. generally, i get a covert text message from Coworker asking 'Who is Boss talking to? what's being said?' Then i tune my highly trained ears onto the convo and report back via IM.

it's fun. i feel like a real spy. like on TV and movies.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to Life; Back to Reality

Even though i came to work during those days between Christmas and New Year's, it still felt like a vacation. I wore jeans, came in late, left early, didn't do hardly any damn work. It was great. Being back this week for really real...it's hard to get back in the groove.

One of my coworkers who sits near me got engaged over the holidays. She's been dating her boyfriend for 7 years, waiting for him to propose for the last 2. i'm really excited for her. i hope i get invited to the wedding but i doubt i will. we're not close or anything. i guess i don't expect to be, but it will be a bit of a downer if i don't...i'll live. on second thought, it's probably better if i don't get an invite. cuz i know if i go, i'll feel happy for her but probably a little jealous...

it's bitterly cold in NY today. 10 degrees with windchills below zero. i barely remember how i got to work. i wore my big giant coat w/hood and all i did was get on the train, sleep, wake up, get off, get on the next train, sleep, wake up, get off...etc. i must have looked like a zombie between transfers.