“The sun will be settin soon, cher.”  Her mother sat knitting by the fireplace. Harlow kept her eyes to the reddening sky. Leaning against the balcony, rail she watched Lake Ponchatrain. “I know.”  She listened to the streetcars below, and Ms. Obear fussing at her youngest son not to eat the benegeies she just made. “He ain’t comin, Harry.” Harlow shifted her weight against the balcony. “I ain’t waitin on him.”

Her mother rocked, chuckling to herself. Harlow kept her position, watching the sky go from crimson to navy. “See, you gon be onna dem watchtower brides. Watching for a man that aint yours, by no means, and ain’t worried about chew.” Harlow sucked her teeth. “I aint waiting on him, mama.”  Her mother chuckled harder,  keeping her eyes on her stitching. “You is waiting on him. He ain’t thankin bout you.” Harlow walked away from the balcony, past her mother and toward the stairs towards her room. She shook her hair out as she went, the wood warm under her feet.

Harlow, in  her room, sat behind her door, head in her hands. She replayed the last night again. She remembered how he smelled, his mouth tasted. It was dark, as he held her to him.  She remembered the streetlights outside Metatarie Cemetery, how shiny slick the wrought iron gating was. “Wait for me, Nina.” She kissed him, needing the memory of his mouth to hush the fear inside her. “I’ll come get you.” Kisses then. “Before you know it, I’ll be there. You can’t hide from me.” His eyes read into her, looking for the no in her. “I don’t know if I can.”

Months passed. Letters exchanged at rendezvous points, left under benches and behind street signs. He was okay. He loved her. She was his baby. I miss you, Nina. Every week, there was a letter. She was constantly walking in their space, in-between the world seen and felt. She hadn’t gone to the Quarter in a week, she had been ill. Headaches. Chills. Body aches. Her palms were slick with tears, remembering him. “I’ll wait, Nick. Imma wait.”


“The sun is bright this morning,” she mused, sipping coffee slowly on her front porch. With feet bare and hair in thick curls, framing her pecan colored face. She looked towards the direction of the sun. In her sipping, she wondered if he was doing the same thing. Could at that exact moment could he be drinking coffee, watching the sun, thinking of her. She smiled at the justice of that thought. Could it be that what the old women say was true? The heart wants who it wants, it never listens to your head. She smiled, the light of that thought warmed her better than the sun.

The habit of being awake early began with the carrying of her first child, insomnia made her nights days with the sun her signal to sleep. She rocked in the porch swing, happy the house was quiet that she may hear her own thoughts, and see them through. Married life suited her, yes. She knew to be faithful, forsaking every other and clinging to her husband so the two of them could be one flesh. Their life was supposed to have a cadence, a loved rhythm they planned aside from what could be found writhing on bedsheets. The passion would be cyclic, she knew. She knew how to be a wife, knowledge of position didn’t push her to the front porch in her robe, with a chemise underneath. He did.

This angel of her own making, this man-made god of her youth and imaginations. He whom she saw when she heard music, or closed her eyes. The heat produced at the christening of his name over her tongue was unlike anything she had. Of course, she he knew to have him would be to forfeit her destiny, her blood, her responsibility. It would be to change the course of her path in the worst and most incredible way possible. She held on to the blue coffee cup, her head resting on the back of her thumbs and didn’t fight the tears this time. She recited the same prayer she had for the last few days. “Father, either remove him or give me whom my heart wants. Either way, Father this must change. It cannot bear to be his and be here. In Your grace I stand, In Your love I am complete. I thank you. Amen.” The tears where hot, flowing faster than the white porch paint could absorb them. The sobs then, the release not complete. She wanted to run to him, full speed. She wanted to take but her love for him and sprint towards him. Damn the rest, damn the rest of the all she was supposed to do that day. Through the fields before her, towards the sun, and not stop until he was in arms length of her own hands. She cursed softly then.  She began to will herself back to composure. She shoulders began to shake from sobbing. The sobbing, caused the coffee and its contents to spill over the porch and her feet. The heat from the coffee was a relief to pain in her heart. That burn was understood and could be explained, treated even. This, this inside heat, had no explanation. She couldn’t pray fast enough to keep ahead of it.  This pain outpaced her. When her eyes closed she saw him. The cruelty came when she opened them and he was gone.

While washing clothes, his ghost followed. She walked to the mailbox, he called her name. She washed dishes and wished his hands were around her, his chin in the meeting of her neck and collarbone. “Relief, Lord. Send it.” She loved him. She wanted him. She couldn’t have him. The screen door closed with a bang. “Mama, are you okay?” her daughter asked. Sitting up quickly, she made no attempt to dry her face. “I’ll be okay, baby.” She smiled then.  Her daughter’s eyes seems to search her own. She believed her daughter  saw the lie but didn’t know what it was. She rose from her perch on her porch swing, picking up her coffee cup. She ushered her child back through the screen door, hand on her back. “Daddy wanted to know if you were going to drink coffee with him this morning. He has his cup already, Mama.” She shook her head behind her daughter. “No, I don’t think I will, baby. I already had some. I have other stuff I have to do this morning.”


It was raining as he watched her skip over a puddle to her front door. Her hair was wet, but he could see her pecan brown face. He watched her fumble for her keys in her red bag, before going in. He had found her, with her scent he could never forget her. How could he? She was what, what whom he had sought for and wanted.  As she entered the house, he fought the urge to watch over, by watching sneaking in to watch her sleep. He would announce himself to her soon enough. “Soon, dearest one.” He whispered.

His mind went back to when he saw her three days ago. He was leaving work, it was just after sunset. She had with a coffee in one hand, glasses, reading a book. She sat In the back of Gill’s, smiled up at him. She had a heat that exuded from her. He sat across from her, soaking her up, taking her in. He motioned for one of the servers to come to his table. He wasn’t hungry, just thirsty. A blue shirted red head named Callie came over. “Beer, please.” He said.

“Budweiser, okay?”


“That’s fine.”

Callie dashed off, pencil behind her ear. He looked over at her again, noticing her eyes were brown. This scent he  knew, his tribe leaders had told him and the other young men coming of age. It was a hint to whom was to be yours, they would always say. The inception, he said, will be unlike anything before and nothing since. You will know the one purposed for you. Their scent will be a clue. Legend, he thought. Fairy tales.  It takes more to know someone than liking their perfume or cologne. That’s insane.


He watched he sip her coffee, her  full lips wrapping around the blue mug. Her eyes closed. Her lashes were thick and dark. Her dark hair, framing her face. Her legs slender, muscles detailed under the blue pencil skirt she wore, ending in black ballet flats on her feet. He counted how many times her chest rose and fell. He sat and felt his heart all but stop. Callie dropped off this beer, asked him if he needed something else. He didn’t look up, but paid for his beer and well over with the twenty he gave.  She looked over at him, smiled. Her eyes pulled him in.  He held them for a moment, before she looked down again.  She didn’t seem to notice or mind him staring at her. The blue wall above the brown paneling just made her stand out more. The want  welled up with him, was beyond sexual. It was beyond possession. It was protection of what was his. This must have been the love the elders spoke of, that one would just know once they experienced it. She returned to her cup and her book. When the server brought her check, he watched her reach in her red bag to pay it. He watched the form of her arm and shoulder as she reached for her wallet. She got up, and he saw her full height and shape. He noticed the backs of her calves and her waist detailed by her skirt.  She tipped the server, and he watched her turn to leave. She smelled of violets and honeysuckle. His mouth began to water as he began biting his lip. She was it. He couldn’t explain it, it was too radical to talk about. He drew a ring around his Budweiser watching the foam. The heat creeping up the back of his neck, a low growl rumbled in chest. He got up to go to the bathroom, pushing past the blonde texting on her cell phone without looking up. He shut the door behind him, before going over to the sink. He gripped the front of the sink. He felt the pull in his shoulders, indicating the wolf was rising from him. “Not here. Not now.” Phasing in public was not unheard of, but with this new feeling, this unfounded inception, he was hesitant of his ability to control it. Hold it together, Michael. Hold it together. He looked up into his own changed reflection. The calm blue of his eyes, became their green-gold counterpart. He concentrated, willing  to  pull the wolf back in.  Her I have to find her. Feeling steady, he smoothed his University of Miami shirt, smoothed his hair. His forehead glistened with new sweat, as his eyes reverted back. He had to talk to the elders. He had to have her. He would have her.


That need brought him to her apartment. He could find her in snow or desert. She was his now. His. He looked for her light to go out, remarking at the silhouette of his intended against the gold curtain of her bedroom. He remembered the shape of her hip. The rise of her breast as she turned from the window, and loved the way she shook her hair out before turning off the light. He closed his eyes, imagined her taste, her warmth underneath him. He even imagined what it would be like to phase in front of her and have her stroke his fur, or nestle her feet in it.  The inception will be like no other love you will ever have. The elders spoke this to generations of young males of their pack. There would always be eye rolling along the  males, the girls accepted it as medicinal gospel. “Scoff now,” the elders would say, “when you experience it? It will be impossible to explain it or pull away from.” He checked his reflection in the rearview mirror again. His eyes were phasing. “Soon.” He said. “Soon.”




It isn’t enough that the foundation of this nation was poured with blood, sweat and bone of the people whom were enslaved, oppressed and murdered. It isn’t enough that the proceeding 44 presidents we of the same ilk as the “founders of this great nation.” No, now we have the system in place that is pledged, has pledged, the utter destruction of this nation. The threat of an Obama legacy must be eradicated.

So in that eradication, the-this Republican party as aligned itself with the bare-base of its “supporters”. Has pledged no speech, no seek, no action that dare be contrary to the kakistocracy, plutocracy planned. How DARE a black man RUN our country?

And there we have it…

Behind the veils of sophomoric legality and assuaged compromise, we have point blank and rudimentary racism. The GOP has destined itself for destruction of epic proportion and happy to take us all along with it.

It is far beyond reason and reasoning now, the crux being those that decided to dissuade the “better angels of our nature” are now faced with the vultures whom wait for the last pulse of hope for better in the bodies of those that remain. It has become more important to re-establish every fetter, chain and weight attached to the life of this nation that was. This idol worship of the past, remembrance of all things white and unfair. The worship of exploitation and oppression, the grandiose affections of power leading to the death and dismantling of entire peoples.

How luscious it is to be drunk with such power? To have the ability with thought and word to condemn, scorn, rip and upend the lives of those you must subvert in order to feel superior?  How those whom support this dogma, how it begins to root within them, how they lust for that power again…

At the last death throes of this system, where those whom were last strive to be first, and have attained the highest office in the land, here comes the kicks and screams of those whom have always had, believing that all they have gotten has been under and in their own strength. Now, that this is revealed not to be so, and at worse FADING (God FORBID it be fair!), they grab onto air and memory–the what was.

To have it truly again, be ‘what it was’, all traces of the undesirables must be scrubbed from national memory. There is just one problem with that. There are single memories and their are corporate memories. Single memories are specific to person, easily dismissed. Corporate memories are not so–too many people have seen and witnessed. This is what is known as HISTORY.

We know there was change, has been change and will be change. We are alive and remain. We know that President Barack H. Obama did as best as he could in the face of racism, fear, subversion, oppression, sabotage, and utter legislative irresponsibility and inaction on the part of Congress. Yet, he stood–unbowed. Yet, a portion of nation he swore to defend, lead and protect still called him to bow in the presence of white supremacy at the name of nigger.

See, we remember. We shall remember. We do remember. We cannot forget the best of us, whom in the face of the worse of us, did the best for us. This means we have no choice, BUT resist such erasure. We will resist such erasure–the nature of our mutual humanity demands it.




In The Matter Of Mother Emanuel

“Cowards die a thousand times before their deaths…” -Julius Ceasar


About a year and a half ago, a young white male (Dylan Roof) knocked on the door of  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as “Mother Emanuel”, in Charleston, South Carolina. Bible study was being conducted, and he was invited in. He hesitated for a moment, thinking better of what he intended. After a moment’s discouragement, he followed through with the plan to murder those whom attended Bible study by shooting as many African-American people as he saw.

Today, there was some small measure of justice. I ascribe to the quote by Plato regarding justice:  “True justice cannot be found in this world.” He was found guilty on 33 counts including murder and hate crimes. I exhaled. Yet, this is still not over.

I thought about this today. As African-Americans, we have this illusion that surrounds and shrouds us, that some of the human beings on this same life spectrum do not consider us fully human at one end and gods at the other. We have this image to project. Soon after he was captured, and before a court, the families of the victims were brought in, and expected to have a statement or express their forgiveness towards him. These 9 people whom had been killed–had the lives of their loved ones up-ended and expected to grant mercy–because as we know, most African-American people are “God-fearing and forgiving.”I do not think I would be able to give that type of strength to confront someone whom killed a portion of my family in less than a week.

This situation made me that much  more resolute in my faith, and to continue to not be afraid of what would happen were I to continue to preach the gospel. The thought came as to whether or not, I should get a gun to carry with me. I then thought better of it:  shepherds don’t fear or kill sheep.

Here we are almost two years later, and there is a phantasm that hovers over our community now. What is the “right” thing to do? Should there be advocacy for his life or his death? How much of faith is measured into that? Should faith be measured into that? There are strong opinions on either side, and there would be no other way to discern otherwise. With the climate of this nation stormy and dark, there is already a cry for blood and retribution for those that have indeed been wronged by those of opposite races, namely white people.

I offer this…do not make him a martyr.

Those that are of like belief, imbibed with racism, xenophobia and murderous intention, they look for those whom they can idolize. They look for those whom they can hold to an esteem or a strange bravery and emulate. Someone they can say they honor because they did what they could not do. What concerned me more, was his mother had a heart attack during the proceedings. I could not reach compassion for her, and that scared me. This woman whom raised her son, not to kill, with some semblance of right and wrong, whom she loved–took the lives of 9 other human beings. That act, his act, almost killed her as well.

I do  not believe killing him will solve anything. It will not sate the hate and bitterness that has become accustom to this part of the nation. It would serve no purpose to add to it. Yet, there is the matter of measuring justice with mercy. Justice demands action to what has offended. Mercy tells is how far we should go and if we should go.

My faith tells me, to forgive him so I will not be at risk for moving towards bitterness which would impede how I love and treat other people. My faith tells me redemption is found and accessible for all whom seek the Lord. My faith tells me, I, as a created being, do not have the right to take the life of another person. What I believe should happen is he be sentenced to life without parole. He should be reminded of his actions—everyday. He should know as the world changes, shifts and realigns, his situation will never improve. His situation shall never change. The most he could ask for is comfort, not freedom. He should be reminded of his actions and what he did. To that end, that should be his inspiration to change. He will have more than enough time to remember June 17, 2015–2025–2035–2045 and so on.

My faith tells me that there is no place, neither shall there be a place, where God is not. If that be true, that means Dylan Roof will meet Him not matter how many years he refuses to see Him.






In Memoriam

In this tumultuous  2016, we have been introduced to many people, and traipsed through many lives. One life that we were exposed to, that I was very affected by was Capt. Humayun Khan of the United States Army. Capt. Khan was killed in Afghanistan more than a decade ago, and saved the lives of those he lead and surrounding civilians.

I watched the DNC Convention like most idealistic people–rapt attention. I wanted to be aware and present of all that could be happening, especially with a man running for the most powerful position in the free world. Moreover, a manI would not trust with a bag of marbles  whom was aiming for godhood. When I saw his parents, the pain in their faces, especially his mother’s, I wept inwardly. I wept for her. I could not imagine losing my child in a conflict brought about by ignorance. His father and mother stood in the power of belief and self that they were able to say to the man running for president, “Donald Trump,  have you even read the United States Constitution?” Then offered him his own copy.

I am part of a family that has been a part some sort of military for service. Seeing how stoic his mother was, broke my heart—as a mother. Then seeing this same political imposter, liken himself akin to their own suffering in the loss of her son, their son? Incorrigible. I would has if he had any decency, but that is clearly foregone.

Tonight, I saw a co-worker with a distinct bracelet. I, being a fan of jewelry, noticed it straight away. It was simple, gorgeous and I meant to ask her where she had gotten it. I managed to read the name on the bracelet. It was his name, with the initials KIA after it. I wanted to cry. I wanted to grab her and tell her I am sorry for how the nation treated her family, how they treated him. I wanted to tell her I am repentant on behalf of the nation that has blasphemed her family, and the blood Nero dressed as a presidential candidate traipsed through.

I wanted to cry.

In this time of urgency and transition, I pray I not lose that sensitivity towards my fellow man, or woman. I pray my heart remain soft, this way, I can still be available to provide a space in the world to improve. I want to still be the portion of humanity that still believes in humanity.

Change in the world begins one life at a time.







Potential Widowhood

There is something to be said for being  married, being alive with someone and being able to build with them. This is especially true in the age in which we live now:  nothing seems to be valued if it cannot be digitally discharged, uploaded or up for public debate or consumption.

We are now living in the age of a renewal, resurgence even, of black love in the age of Black Lives Matter. In the midst of a tyrant rising to power by kakistocratic means, we have decided as a people, once more and again, to hang on to each other. Each other. Which makes the murder of Walter Scott that much more terrifying.

Will Smith said the VIOLENCE isn’t new, the cameras are new. I completely agree. There was a time these instances were whispered about around dinners, morning coffees, and after children went to bed. It was told to little black children to arm them, protect them from the cruel reality that their skin was a weapon and an insult to whiteness.

Walter Scott was a father, a son, a brother. A thread in the fabric of the tapestry of his family. Ofr. Slager ‘feared for his life’ as Walter was running from him and put five bullets into his back. Five.

As. He. Ran. Away.

On camera. On. Camera.

As of the date of this publishing, the jury voted 11:1 to convict. Eleven people saw what he did was wrong and wanted justice served for the Scott family. One person “couldn’t bring himself to rule that an officer could do such a thing.”

As a wife, as a wife of a black man, that petrifies me. It causes me sleepless nights, to watch my husband when we go places, become hypervigilant of him with our children. It has changed everything I do with him. I can only liken this to the fear my foremothers had when lynching were law and plentious as harvests. This fear, this terror that grips you, claws at you, when you give it attention, and recoils in laughter at your lack of sleep. I fear for the life of the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I fear for him, because he holds a portion of my destiny. I fear for him, because I know what love and power he houses. I fear if this were to happen to him, he will become nebulous and dreamlike, and like Jesse Williams said:  “discarded like rinds of strange fruit.”

I fear for him, fear for them, fear for us,  because the world does not mourn black men.

The New Normal

I beginning a long time St. Louis resident, I hate the fact I have to catch the bus at night. I dislike the waiting in the dark, the transient nature of the will of on time bus drivers and always, the walking. In losing of my car in March, I have had to go back to mapping and treading the metropolitan area by mass transit and light rail found in Metro and MetroLink. Working in Clayton, commuting from Ferguson requires 90 minutes-each way, each day. And I work the graveyard shift.


In taking the 61 Chambers to the North Hanley station (where that eastbound route ends), I walked to the platform to wait for the first train to take me towards Clayton. I was aware there were police officers on the platform, there is an excess of  police officers everywhere in St. Louis City and County it seems. Almost like they are in constant preparation to quell insurrections, and there is a most uneasy peace to this:  they must do their jobs, and I must live.


While waiting for my train, I hear laughing behind me;  there were three white police officers on the platform. I shuddered. As I steeled myself on the inside from the unseasonal May cool, and the discomfort of the near presence of the STL County PD, I heard one officer tell the other two, “I’ll fuckin(g) kill you.” I have never felt more unsafe in a public place than after that was said.  Now, to be clear. The officers were speaking to each other, no one was harmed, and they were “joking” amongst themselves. Yet, I had never felt unsafe. Ever.


I checked my phone, and wanted to make sure I had enough battery life. Those bars and percentage would allow me to make true what would happen, rather than what people would hear over local news. I would upload to Twitter first, I thought.  I would call my husband next. I wanted to know exactly where these officers where and where they were going. My Eastbound Metrolink train came, and when it did? These same three officers jumped on that train. I kept looking over my shoulder. I wanted to make sure I could see them, even if I had my back to them. I know they had a job to do, with all the violent outbursts on Metrolink trains and buses lately; I knew that there was a plea from Metro for more security. However, I was not reassured I was safe. Not being able to constantly see them, my back to them, was my armor-my shield. At my Forest Park-Debaliver station transfer point, I got off the train, trying to regain my social equilibrium. The same officers got off the train. My Shrewsberry-I 44 train towards my final destination came, and  got on the train. Those same three STL County PD followed.  I sat again, my back to the officers and made eye contact with one. I felt the fear in back of my throat, and gripped my phone, in case I had to document and upload evidence.  I calmed down, and tried to prepare my mind for the next eight hour shirt at my employer, McKnight Place Extended Care in Clayton.


I heard, “Tickets, transfers, Metro Passes.” My heart fluttered. I wanted to scream and curse. I didn’t want to seem that I was afraid. I dug out my transfer out of my pocket as he approached me, my heart beating in my chest, in this combination of fear and anger. I showed it to the officer in my left hand without looking at him, my utter disrespect shown in my lack of eye contact. He stared at it longer than I thought necessary, and that made me uneasy. My stop came soon after, and I walked through the MetroLink doors and up the Clayton station platform to cross over the bridged overpass which took me over the quiet of I-70 to head to my Number 97 (Delmar) bus. I looked over my shoulder, and looked at the same officers to make sure I knew where they were.

As rolled over the experience in my mind riding the last bus to work, my ninety minute saga almost at an end. I wondered how my foremothers and fathers felt in these situations. Was it this exact, stifling feeling?  I felt vulnerable, fearful and angry. I wondered if that same helpless was felt by my ancestors while trying to navigate the identity of being black and American. While being enslaved and stripped of anything that made them human or visible.

My new normal, the new normal subsists on being able to have a voice and evidence of all that could happen to me or others in these instances of fear, racism and perception of threat to be met with the consequence of badge and service weapon.