Brothers

I never thought we’d come to this place—

You and me on opposing sides, in a race

Against time, against each other, against freedom.

Never thought I’d be fighting a brother in the kingdom.

Sometimes, I get confused about all the issues.

Hold it now, I need a box of tissues.

Life has taught me to be true to those

Close to me, who’d give me the clothes off their back.

Maybe if we try to make this moment count,

Dig in, and give it all we’ve got.

Can you see the light coming at you now?

Don’t leave me here to just fester and rot!

You mean a lot to me, I wish you could

Accept that simple truth as a fact.

Let’s do the right thing, like eating your favorite food.

It feels good, even to be caught in the act.

Everything we learned yesterday doesn’t come

To mean a thing without love.

Every heart we’ve broke just feels like some

Kind of putting our head in a stove.

But you and me, we’ve been around the block.

We know the rules, and the pain, there’s no going back.

It’s not too late to correct yourself.

Just put those lies on the back shelf.

Hear me say, it’s not the same thing

As going on the first date.

Going steady makes me irate.

Take off like a big spring

That’s all I got, so take it or leave it!

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Aunt Jemima Controversy Explained

The new name for Aunt Jemima is Pearl Milling Company. They are starting to switch everything over now, but the old label is still on some products for sale. The picture of the black woman character will be retired.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aunt_Jemima?wprov=sfti1

The brand basically exploited the blackface Mammy character of the motherly house slave that was popular in vaudeville. Not the best symbol. Have you ever read the autobiography of Malcolm X? Or seen the Spike Lee movie starring Denzel Washington? It’s really about a subconscious denigration of black women linked to their social position in slavery and later as housekeepers. White people used their power to institutionalize their social, economic and sexual position in society at the loss of black women. It may not offend most people because it’s so ingrained in our culture for black people, and especially black women, to be uneducated servants. It is a long history and there are still parts of the underbelly of our society in which it still rings true.

The history serves as an excuse and strength of argument and social attraction of black social and political groups like the Nation of Islam, which was in its heyday in the 1960s under Malcolm X. You should see the movie. It’s very entertaining, not to mention educating. The book is great too, written with Alex Haley, who wrote Roots. The controversy is not about who buys the product. It’s about the fact that a certain part of the population has been exploited and abused and a negative stereotype was used at their expense. It’s just wrong to use a name and likeness of a figure like “Aunt Jemima” to make money. It’s a part of the past that is shameful to all races and should be discouraged and put away to only learn from.

Life is Relative

And it’s not just an alienation from language, or communication. It’s rejection of the individual, lack of acceptance, judgment. Words are empty when trying to express the grief and sorrow that results from this situation, a hopeless condition.

Lack of connection. No community. No friends. No religion. No god. Just a meaningless existence with no purpose, no focus, no hope. Everything social is either scripted or random. There is nothing real out there, or in here.

And there is only the chance to connect based on a common existence or perceived state of loneliness, ennui, loss of meaning, relativity. Everything depends on everything else. Nothing is certain. Life is one absurd action, thought or event after another.

Far Away

There are no words

That come to mind,

Seeing things pass by—

Another day is gone.

My sweet is far away.

I hear her voice,

But she won’t stay.

She has other things to do today.

Many moons will rise and fall

Before she comes back to me.

Many lonely days will pass

Until her face I see.

When she returns,

She will find me

Exceedingly happy,

Joyful, thankfully.

Changing Gears

Sometimes there are reasons

For ways I think and feel,

And sometimes it just hits me

From out of nowhere.

I can’t plan a day ahead

Without being surprised

By something that happens

That changes my focus.

Being bipolar means that

Sometimes I am at the mercy

Of my mood. But that doesn’t mean

I’m helpless. I just have to

Constantly be aware

Of everything that affects me,

Inside and out.

It is a challenge,

But it’s possible.

Gone

Stilled.

The breath and the blood,

Slowing to a stop.

Where is the smile?

The laugh?

Or even the cry?

Seconds tick by…

No movement.

No voice calling.

What happened

To the thrill

Of living life

To its fullest?

What of risk,

Rides and rough-housing?

What of playing games,

Teasing and pranks?

What of kisses,

Hugs, and holding hands?

Life.

Gone!

Starting Over

Leave your heart

At the door,

Slammed shut,

With a thud.

Cover your eyes.

I don’t want you to see

How thin I’ve become,

Wasting away,

In loneliness.

And how I’ve hurt

On this special day.

How I wanted to say

Something cute,

Something caring,

Something happy;

But all that came out was,

“That’s nice.”

All I cared about

Was hiding my fear,

Not starting a fight again,

Over something stupid.

I want to start over.

I want to be closer.

I want to embrace your

Wilting body.

Let’s go down

To the river,

To drown our sin,

And come up again,

And bask in the sun.

Let’s hold each other again,

Like we once did,

When God smiled on us,

And we had not

A care in the world!

Spirals

Drifting through despair,

The emptiness tingles.

My soul quivers

At the tickling breeze

Of meandering routine,

The repetition of work,

And the high-pitched whistling

Of idle conversation.

The circular motion

Of a life without purpose,

A mind without focus,

And feet without direction,

All come together for an

Absurd account of a life lived

Without meaning.

Freedom comes with its own

Heavy chains,

And a weight that is a

Painful, woe-some

Burden to bare.

A Reflection on Juneteenth

Crimes unimaginable

Sins unfathomable

Wrongs not righted

With an apology,

A soft word,

Or the stroke of a pen.

Pain to the deepest parts

Of the heart and soul,

The very fiber of one’s being,

A wound that doesn’t heal,

But rather cuts deeper

With every smile,

Every handshake,

On every pay day,

Every trip to the grocery store,

Every night at mealtime,

When they look at their children,

When they look at ours.

Privilege continues

Despite the lip service,

Despite the promises,

Amidst the meager gifts,

The dregs of easy charity

From the tatters of a bursting purse,

The guilt trip laid on thick

To the middle class and even

The working poor.

Those that lack for food,

Clothing or shelter,

Living barely day to day,

Not knowing where one’s next

Meal will come from.

And at the church the preacher

Says try harder, pray more,

Save your dollars

So you can send your little ones

To a good college,

Make them study,

Keep them out of trouble,

Tell them you love them,

That you’re proud of them

For that report card.

What do you say

When the white kid

Calls them the n-word?

What do you say

When you don’t have a job

Because you refused

To kiss your supervisor’s butt

When he would talk to you

Like you were nothin’,

Just a cog in his machine,

A disposable, replaceable,

Optional, neglectable,

Insultable, disrespected,

Used, abused, tossed out

To the street

Like so much garbage,

Black man?

Power

Wrong meets right.

The fight is strong.

Laugh, they will.

Cry out, they must.

Shout, at the top of their lungs—

Justice must prevail.

So many innocent lives

Have been crushed by the fist

Of the oppressor!

So many suffer

Because of the greed

And the arrogance

Of the powerful.

The powerful?

Who is powerful?

What is power?

Don’t you know that

The wind has changed course

On this hot, dry day.

The wind! The water!

The earth! The animals!

The birds! The insects!

The trees! Yes, even the trees!

Look at an old oak tree,

And tell me about power!

Look at a rushing stream,

And tell me about power!

Watch a lion kill its prey,

And tell me about power!

Is a gun, power?

In the hands of a six year old, a gun is just as powerful as in the hands of a grown man!

A gun is just a tool.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it useful.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it powerful.

And when a thousand voices scream,

That’s power!

When the people speak as one,

That’s power!

Don’t be afraid.

Be excited!

Be joyful!

Be glad!

For power has come to the people,

And they will not be denied this moment.

They have prayed,

And they have worked,

And they have suffered

For this moment.

Listen to the wind blow

Through the trees!

Justice has come like a mighty rush of wind,

And anything that’s old, anything that’s weak,

Anything that’s not tied down tight,

Is gonna blow away!

Those old tricks, old ways,

Cowardly words, weak attitudes,

Straw men beware!

The wind of justice has come to blow you…

Away!