I got carried away with the scissors. My gaze stunned into the mirror at the buzz cut with the fades on the side of my perfectly oval head. There was no other remedy. The only place that could put those stranglers out of their misery was the barbershop. A delightful experience in which I got to glimpse into the alternate world in which men are free to be silly and childlike while still maintaining a most appealing sense of masculinity. I arrived there a bit sheepish but desperate to salvage the few hairs I had left poking off my scalp all at different lengths and some in curls and some bone straight. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised I thought, as I squeezed the last bit of gel out of the tube; that I would come out looking like a 16 year old boy; but the massaging elegance of the clippers, soothing relaxation of the old school RnB and the cathartic small talk of each others gripes left me numb to giving any female directives or questioning the artist with the array of different razor blades laid out on his proud station.

Its not the first time in my life that I had a ‘boy doo” but that was back when I was 11 years old and my matted afro; in which the round ball of frizz, was the bane of my existence but had a social life of it’s own. One to which every onlooker seemed to need to pet in order to see if their fingers would not get cut up and bloodied, “It’s so soft…., we just can’t believe it… how interesting??”. My “puffball” “burning bush” and “brillo” wouldn’t have stood out to anyone in a typical ethnic neighborhood especially during the mid eighties, before hair extensions and reverse perms were mandatory for a black girl and most importantly a light skin “mixed” senorita; Where I came from the closes to normal for an atypical girl was the unfortunate curly haired brunettes’. The ones embarrassed by the need to ask me for advice and who had to shop off the diversity shelf at the CVS. At that age I decided in order to survive and most importantly not draw attention to myself, I would need to take the high road and pretend that I wasn’t superficial and that I could care less that mine would never make a pony tail swing just by walking or that being mistaken for my twin-in-face- older brother, by adults, didn’t bother me.

My face is a bit older now and the grey’s can’t be hidden especially at first unrecognizable glance at my door reflection but true to form, the mind went right back to it’s defense response. Pretending to be not superficial and to maturely and boldly decide that a proud black lady refuses to hide who she is or wear a hat! So I choose to not leave the house for the next month as a fair trade off. The shame is not the same intensity as so long ago when I was under the microscope of unforgiving boys; when I wanted desperately to feel girly and participate within feminine attributes that came in the form of mom putting my hair into a French braid. Not the two sided one pressed neatly behind each ear, but the long mane one sitting perfectly down the back of the head. How I longed for those straight as an arrow white scalp lines, drawn with the little black comb along each plait and just a wisps of hair poking out the bottom of the elastic swooped up in a feathers whoosh. Today I could honestly say that I no longer wish for hair like a “white girl” and I am even appreciative of this wild bushy mess I used to have, but as I wait for to re-emerge and I sit in the boyish outlines from my other chromosome, I still long for the feminine essence of my middle aged body to let the 11 year old flashback know that it will all grow back and until then it is ok to wear a hat.


I am that Ferris wheel buying my ticket and standing in line to catch a view up high and away from a world hopped up on ice cream and cotton candy.

I admit to crazy at crazy makers hand blaming you for rocking the cart when both are kicking the feet.

A performance of man hater scripted by a patriarch using me as punching bag before language understood what it was.

I played the part and used you as leading player perfect in laying the scene.

My dark humor tempted to get ahead of it with flashy lights and secret jabs to an apparition stuck in the same seat.

I am that Ferris wheel caught up in a game of who can care less and dodge the bullet that fate created with nobody to win and stuck at the top until maintenance spot us there.

Round and round each thinking the other is the fault but the ride comes to an end whether a truce be told.

A new line takes passage to play out their specific role in the carnival of who hates who more.

The crazy or the crazy maker

Until we remember that it is all just a ride for kids to entertain the crowd while mommy holds the bags and daddy gets the car.

30 day writing challenge

Hello expression Monkey’s. So I was going to start this thirty day challenge in May but when I get an idea I like to run with it. Let’s brake from convention and do a mid month challenge together. It is so important to stay connected as artist, especially in an extremely competitive and left brained environment. Our culture puts artist in a double bind; when we are small most of us are forced to participate in things like piano lessons or violin (for boys it’s sports) as a way to develop sophistication to get into a good college. When we grow up, the very thing we are pressured into doing becomes a liability (this goes for sports too) and we get judged and told that we aren’t living in the real world. It can be even worse amongst other artist who will parse out those of us who don’t measure up to certain standards such as making enough money or other random ways to makes us feel unworthy. It can take tremendous effort to block out the noise while also being open and sensitive enough to reflect “as twere the mirror up to nature”

This challenge will not have a specific theme and instead we will write 1-2 lines each day, adding to the lines we did the day before. Follow along and post your piece or wordpress link in the comments below, or just keep it in your personal journal. Good luck, have fun and remember DON’t Think.

30Day WritingChallenge

Midnight sky holding the trees down in a blanket of yellow speckles. Oh that drinking cup.

Take me through the portal to the ancestors crouched into the woods toward the call of freedom

Avoid the fishers who poke in to gather information to structure your own noose.

The clouds keep the moon from pointing out our path and brings haze on our direction.

chains and bondage make the flight worth the fear, yet no promise on the other side.

Loved ones torn away sold to the highest bidder echoes cries from the north star.

Master threats makes most crumble while wild dreams takes the hands of a terror less daunting. Possibilities lie ahead in the dark

Trusting widow to the bible holding down a generation of salvation set aside by a will to survive.

The sound of the river breeds hope to tired legs and blistering toes, the path towards some semblance of relief and a place that mother earth anoints the weary.

Set out for an impossible dream reaching for a light side of horror; set in scars to be blended under the surface.

One more day, the sun rising on the horizon and a greener grass grows strong.

May this be the day, one were freedom rings and the dream made manifest.

A less harrowing walk to the school bells over the bridge and separation a small price to pay for books stacked high.

Adopted religion to set history right on wooden pews, making the butt hurt and the soul fly.

a trip that marks the anniversary of grandparents shoes to walk in. Acres of high rises lit up to usher in determination from a Chicago rail yard.

Stepping across a threshold to cry out a shame inherited through unconscious ghosts wrapped up in the double helix of a vision of victory held.

Releasing a resistance to a life worth having and laughter at the same counter. Dying for a cause that sends ripples down a stream of forever after.


Oh beautiful and sacred bonds from sea to shining teeth

words committed to memory from the desk saluting the flag on automatic

A race war run by a menagerie of ethic cocktail hidden by wrapping paper over the bones

Oh say can you be removed from the dark or the light

melodies politely crooned to mommy and daddy in the auditorium

A perfect union experimenting with explosives because they can

God shed his gift for a small fee

lip synching lines that mean nothing to grades posted online

Bring us your tired and bored

mouthing off in detention to stand out as worth something

Purple mountains your majesty melted in the crayon box making gray