It had been 13 years since I visited the island of Puerto Rico, the birthplace of both my parents. I had considered a vacation to the island for some time when I received word that my father was a bit more ill than he was letting on. My father, a devout Pentecostal, never let on the severity of his illness. So, in September of 2013, a call about his worsening illness, had me on an emergency flight to the island. Unfortunately, my visit there, after so many years, was on bittersweet terms. One of mixed emotions; a sense of loss, heartache, closure, completion and belonging all at once.
Just before leaving on my flight I received word of his passing. I had lost the opportunity to say a few longing last words. Words which had remained unspoken due to a broken relationship. Even when standing face to face, we were separated by a thousand miles. So to hear of his passing at that moment left me heart-broken in never having a few last words.
During the funeral, I met several people who knew him well. They offered me an opportunity to meet the man that they knew. It was during that time that I came to realize that even though he had passed, there was something learned. While we never truly communicated, opportunity was never lost, for closure in silence was itself a lesson.
This all leaves me wondering of my role as a father. While my relationships with my children have had many ups and downs, hopefully, none will be a lesson taught in silence.
Nonetheless, my journey to the island, while bittersweet, was one of belonging.
It is said that writing is therapy. Well then, at the current moment I should be writing up a storm. But then, it would probably be a tell all. Some days it seems like there is so much crumbling going on around me that I feel like letting out a scream. A scream may be simplifying matters. I’m sure there’s some rage and pain in there somewhere. My senses and self discipline catch a hold of me and keep me level headed though.
Some where along the way, I will figure out how to put all this out there. Until then, it’s all a note taking process. Here, there, a notepad, my android… there are notes waiting to find their respective places in my journey through the maze of life. There will be a time and a place for it all. That, I’m sure of.
Until then, I’ll keep taking notes…
I don’t write enough. That’s what I always tell myself. Yes, I tend to beat myself up quite a bit for it. Writer’s block? Well, if it is, I’ll just take note.
It is said, time is of the essence and I couldn’t agree more.
Seems like I spend most of my days between my commute and the ever maddening world of work. Work, well that in itself is a story that would make most people shake their heads in disbelief. I could end my days by writing about workplace stories that may seem like complete fabrications. Instead, I’ll just keep notes and save those stories for another time.
There it is! That wasn’t difficult at all.
Until next time, keep on writing on.
It continues to happen. The senseless killings go on. Not just around the world but in our own backyards. You know what it’s about. It’s about the never-ending cycle of being considered less than in America. It in an embedded trait, embedded in the American conscious long ago. So long ago that to kill a dark skin boy or man, no matter the circumstance, is immediately portrayed as an act of self-defense.
Today’s America is no different from the America of our past. It purports to be a society where equal rights have made gains,yet underneath the layers of this American system lies the same racist attitudes that existed since its foundation.
There is one thing that comes with a guarantee in America. That is, that we will see more like the senseless killing of Jordan Davis in our future because no matter what term is used to coin the so-called equal rights progress made, one need only look under the rug and see where the racism has been swept, that is, of course, after the blindfolds are removed.
I call it, mediocre justice…
Recently, on my commute home from work, I decided to tune in to local Hip Hop and R&B radio station Hot97 instead of the usual news radio or music via my iPod (which I prefer). Three to four songs in, I was asking myself, “what are they playing?” The Hip Hop playlist seemed to be missing the vibrancy of its youth. I initially played it down as the generational gap and continued to listen. A few more songs in and I began to think back to the controversy that surrounded the release of Nas’ “Hip Hop is Dead” and wondered about the state of Hip Hop.
I realized then that the reason for my fall out with Hip Hop wasn’t so much the generational gap, I simply could no longer subject myself to listening to lyrics about the gangster lifestyle, the excessive use of profanity, b**ches & h**s and the ease of the use of the ‘N’ word. Factor in the loss of energy that once made it what it was and I equate it to a soul that has been sold.
Enter Kendrick Lamar and his verse on the Big Sean track “Control.” Undoubtedly, a meager attempt at calling out his peers. Really? Kendrick is still in his infancy when it comes to Hip Hop. All hype at a time when that fire that once kindled in Hip Hop has turned into smoldering ash. What’s needed is a step back into the Hip Hop history books for some real reflection.
His calling out several rappers, to only apologize later on, is cheap and a joke. A joke on himself.
You can’t go back to the old days of Hip Hop but you can sure add some fresh firewood and rekindle that fire it once had. Check it..
I take 7 MC’s put ’em in a line
And add 7 more brothas who think they can rhyme
Well, it’ll take 7 more before I go for mine
Now that’s 21 MC’s ate up at the same time
-Rakim, My Melody
Jr. will say peace…
I understand. It may be as simple as walking into a local department store and being stared at from the moment you walk in or entering a classy restaurant and being looked upon like “are you sure you’re in the right place or can afford this,” in either case, it’s a sense of discomfort regardless of how much I try to convince myself that it really doesn’t matter. I have nothing to prove to anyone and it’s not about walking with a chip on my shoulder because I make a healthy salary or served 22 years in the military. It has nothing do with that. It’s knowing who I am, what I am capable of and yet no matter my successes, it’s always a less than expectation because..
…I’m constantly reminded
…and it eats at me as well.
Read this carefully as if reading in between the lines, for there is something deeply wrong in our American society and Questlove said it…
Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit
Where to begin? The easiest way would be to just dive in. After all, this isn’t a new beginning but more like an expansion. Allow me to further explain:
I began writing at another blog I entitled “Efrain’s Corner“, at which I mainly focused on a Puerto Rican theme. I’ve since realized that, being American born of Puerto Rican descent, there is much more than that. My experiences have molded me to the extent that my perspectives have changed as well, as they do many of us.
As a young man, I never gave much thought to leery eyes in a department stores but as I grew older and became more aware of the stares I began to question the reasons for it. After all, was I not an ordinary shopper, was I not a law-abiding citizen, was I not a veteran? It was that and more that brings me to this point. But all that, will be left for a later date.