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I Almost Fell Victim To The Video(and other post college reflections)
I have found myself recently comparing myself to those scantily clad Headless bodies gyrating across my screen
In short shorts
Halter tops and MAC make-up
Those girls who wind their bodies to Sean Paul’s “Dutty Rock”
And make more than their hands clap to Busta Rhymes pleas
And for a split second I realize that Coltrane and Miles have never asked that of me
Never asked me to prance across green screens
Spread my body across the hood of a car
Or be one of the many starry eyed and rubbing against them
But then again neither of them had videos in constant rotation
And images to live up to
And outdo
Or platinum status to strive for
They just had music
And more than sampling machines and R&B hooks and rhyme breaks in their melodies

I have found myself comparing my life to Essence and Ebony and Jet
Wondering when I was going to get that fabulous apartment
That $300 vintage T-shirt
Or have the time to prepare those meals whose recipes sometimes contain words I can not pronounce
And have my wedding in its society pages
But I remind myself that we aren’t all “upwardly” mobile
Some of us are just mobile
Moving toward something other than keeping up with Joneses
But making sure the Joneses are stable and not placing their eggs all in one basket

I have found my life is not the stuff good commercials are made of
I am not the sitcom version of what happens are four years and a degree
And I am fine with that
But there are times when I am curled under the covers
When the books on the shelves don’t beckon to me
When I am flipping through the channels
That I almost fall victim to the videos
And my mind starts to “what if?”
What if my canvas bag were a briefcase?
My natural a relaxer?
My tattoos unmarked skin?
Would it make a difference?
Would it mean more if u read the Wall Street Journal
Time and Newsweek
Instead of books like
Bomb The Suburbs
When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost
Am I Black Enough For You?
And The Conspiracy To Destroy Black Women?
Would it matter if my opinions
Theories
Thoughts remained the same?
The same person just different packaging?
So I look at the screen again
Attempt to look into the eyes of the girl bumping and grinding to the beat
Clothed in less than she would wear under her clothes
And wonder if she’s thought the same thing...

Subway
How many people move?
Through underground tunnels that reverse the season’s in cold and double them in summer’s heat
If I were homeless
Would i...
Could i...
Ride the train from end to end
Selling batteries and manicures between stops
Would I stand on platforms asking for change to make it cross town
when cross town only meant another cold stoop to sleep on Could I bite my tongue at the masses in times square who had enough money for trinkets never to be used but not enough compassion in their hearts not to wrinkle their faces at my pleas for spare change
Could I be another
Vietnam vet
Deaf
Blind
Crippled
Runaway
Drug addicted
Alcoholic
Just down on their luck
Back against the wall fighting with what little I have left to climb out of the hole
Person on the street and still have the pride to hold my head up and remind people that this too can happen to them
I would be a subway
A sub-way
An alternative way
A way to deal with those who fall through the cracks and lose their identity
Without tossing a few wool blankets and annual turkey dinners as appeasement for the other 364 nights of starvation and freezing skin
A subway
A substitute way to police sweeps for tourists’ sake And to make the city look presentable
A solution to makes those at shelters treat me as a human being and not someone with no past and no future
Would I be more than dirty face children
Men and women asking for help of those passing by into their busy lives
I would be underground
Soon to break the surface...

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Email: jaibaby@hotmail.com