Category Archives: FBD

“Let’s Take A Long Walk…”

I hear the question every time I leave my house; I step onto a sidewalk and walk: one foot in front of the other, my hips unhinged, dropping in diagonal directions to the beat of whatever diva coos in my ear; I walk deliberately and with an awareness that each time I move, I do so to the rhythm of: Who… do… you… think… you… are?

I answer with my body: more than big, gargantuan, and soft, unmistakable. It should be unruly but I swing all my pounds gracefully, demanding space, commanding attention. I will not cower. I will not apologize.

I strut down city streets because I am not supposed to, because I can. I have paid the price; the ticket is in my pocket. I feel your brother’s eyes on my chest. I have felt eyes on my chest since I was a boy standing in midwestern high school hallways; I have felt the hands connected to those eyes of greedy sweaty pimple faced white boys who didn’t take “No!” as an answer. I fought the hands that reached past my “NO!” and grabbed my chest to preview what Friday night with their girlfriends would feel like. “Who do you think you are?”

I, the tank with a little sugar, slink down the avenue. I am searching for sweet potatoes. The big ones are the sweetest, their flesh the deepest orange. I, the tank with a little sugar, slink down the avenue for potatoes to boil in water and mash with butter and sugar and milk and spices. Sunday is soon and there will be pie. We took the pie with us to Angleterre; we left the pumpkin in Amérique. I slink toward the shucking of corn, toward buttered dough made soft by brown hands, toward a salty smoked bone placed in the freezer, toward ham fanned on a plate, toward tough greens made soft. I slink toward Sunday. I slink away from bruschetta and small bites, away from thinly sliced fish, away from fish that can swim out of its roll, away from crepes with Nutella. I slink away from Friday. I slink about this town gathering my mind. I slink South. I, the tank with a little sugar, slink to the buzzing of that hot question: “Who do you think you are?”

The question stabs me everyday when you, yes you, look at me. I close my eyes and see myself: A figure, large and black. My edges dissolve into the soft black shadows that ziggs and zaggs through the city, limitless. Those parts of me forever trailing away from me, forever infinite. But my core, that stands out against the brilliant white of the city. A city that glitters all around me, sounding like coins fighting each other as they cut through the air, falling but never reaching a floor. This American city that does not hunger for me. If it devoured me, it would vomit me up. But, I bite it, lick it, kiss it, tear at its flesh and swallow, and call it love.

“Who do you think you are?” I answer:

I am a “We.” “‘Who we be’?” We be screamers, dancers, singers, and dreamers. “‘Who we be’?” The children of the first hym and hir. The South’s forgotten ones. “‘Who we be’?” No one named Tom; we know no Jemimiah. We have no uncle named Ben. “‘Who we be’?” Sugar made hard, candy laced with testosterone. Who are you? Hungry little ones craving something sweet. “‘Who we be’?” Jawbreakers. Who are you? Little boy lost and little girl scared; children who ate the lady’s house and blamed her for wanting justice. Who are you? Just Jacks and Jills dropping the pail because you were busy trying to kiss. “‘Who we be’?” Stars fucking, knowing that “this nut might kill us,” still; we engage in that “revolutionary act.” We be not shadows but suns. All that heat you feel be us twerkin’. We be young. We be gifted. We be the song that bird sings.

“‘Who we be’?” The originators of you.
Who are you? Imitators of us.

I switch all through the fucking city––––– the whole fucking city.

*For my fellow black queer brothers and sisters. We stomp all over this town they call America.

(Contains references to Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Essex Hemphill, Marlon Riggs, Jill Scott, and my Mother and Grandmother’s kitchens.)

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FBD: A Queer Thought

I said something to someone yesterday; something kind and honest to someone who was rarely honest with me and didn’t deserve any kindness from me; it may help him but I think I said it for me because it was the first time I voiced aloud my fundamental core belief about myself, what drives me:

“Nothing in my life tells me that I am lovable. I am not talking about deserving love, we can make arguments for that and it is easy to say ‘you deserve love’; no, I am saying that my experience, my life has taught me that outside of my family and close friends I am unlovable, in the romantic sense.The only man who has professed to love me did so while hurting me. My ‘experience’ tells me that I will not be loved and the world tells me that I should not be loved: I am fat; I am dark; I am a faggot to some; I am ugly to others; the world and experience tells me that this is not what love seeks. I am not what love seeks. If I take your position and go by my ‘experience,’ then I should give up.
But, I can’t; I won’t. I have to believe that I can be loved, that I may be loved, that I am beautiful, that I am human. I may never actually be loved, by this I mean in a healthy way; I may never have that ending with a guy by my side telling me that I am what he wants, but that is not the point. The point is that I have to believe that I may have that, that the chance may come for me too. I have to believe in more than just my experience because my experience is so small, so narrow; it has been so short. I have to believe because it keeps me going, keeps me strong. I believe because not to is to give up and say to the world, ‘You win’ and I don’t know how to do that. So I say, fuck experience, believe that you can have, that you deserve more than what experience has taught you.”

D.D.

I want a disruption, a commotion,

an explosion.

Sing out loud in the restaurant,

sing out loud in the library,

sing out loud in the lecture hall.

And scream

at the house,

at the green grass,

at my car parked on the curb in front of the plastic mailbox,

scream till blood runs

and coats my throat;

scream that this suburban life is killing me.

I had a dream

that one day I would be fucking

beautiful, in NYC,

and setting the sidewalk aflame with my sashay. I had a dream

deferred.

And it exploded in my mind.

And it exploded in my mouth.

And it exploded in my hand.

I have no dream.

Only a deep aching need,

for disruption

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My Blackest Wish: A Note to My Younger Self

If I could I would try to shield your innocence from time

I think myself to be a well, always for filling. I feel myself to be a dipper, plunging down and pulling up selves from myself.

I’d drink from my gourd to down ’94 with stones and sticks from all the years after  and I’ll swallow it all, even the bleach creams.

I would reach out and touch your face and say, “Look boo-bear, look; I have to reach up to touch you. Don’t you see the stars IMG_1510 - Version 2forming a bracelet around my wrist while my fingers are barely cupping your face? You are so high boo-bear, so high.”

I would carry you with me always like I do my mother’s first kiss. I’d hold you as close to me as my father held me next to him when he danced with me at night till I fell asleep and knew the comfort and safety of a man’s arms.

I would say, “No! don’t go that way. Don’t say yes. Scream. Scream. Scream!” but if you still went in, if you still opened the door, I would kneel down and tell you, “You will be okay; it is not your fault.”

I would tell you that the black boys and the black girls lied; you are enough and Africa beats in your veins through and through;  America does too;  Britain does too. You are not a cookie.

I would tell you that the white boys and the white girls lied; they do not forget the African in you–they deliberately forget. They lay claim to your mind, to your voice, but they leave the body. Your body carries you through. You are not a specimen.

I would convince you that the world lies. Your skin has hypnotized every god man and woman ever created. The sky weeps for not having kept you.  You are beautiful.

I would guide your hands to the stove, give them a knife and spoon, and move them over pots and pans, have cornmeal fall between your fingers, let peach juice stain your  lips, allow hot chicken and greens perfume your clothes. I would show you how to take flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, and milk, mix it, bake it, call it a biscuit and plate it with eggs, rice, sausages floating in brown gravy, and serve, serve it to your mother and your father, serve it to your brothers, serve it to your grandmother because you remember–ancestors taking flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, and milk, mixing it, baking it in kitchens not their own and calling it work for mouths not their own. I would teach you the recipes so the man you’ll love will taste and know, so your children taste and know, so you will taste and know.

I would take you into me and wrap you with Marlon Riggs, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, Essex Hemphill, and so many numerous nameless black faces with stubble kissing other black faces with stubble. I would hold you while you cried at the beauty of possibility.

I would teach you to dance with  Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Nella Larsen. I would help you sing for Billie, Etta, Diana, Aretha, Patti, Nina, Lauryn, Beyonce, Jennifer,  Mariah, Toni, Janet, and Whitney–everyday Whitney.

I would make a garden for you and forbid you nothing.

I would kiss all of you.

I love you.

…Give you courage in a world of compromise. Yes I would… 

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The Fat Boi Diaries: Breaking To Heal

IMG_2440This is a hard one:

Does it matter how long it takes you to reach a place of healing? I dunno. Is it scary and hard? Yes. But, is it necessary that you reach the point when you can admit the truth, face up to what you allowed yourself to become and how you treated yourself? Do you need to acknowledge and understand the price you paid for someone who never did, and  never would,  put forth any effort to cherish and respect you?  Does it matter that you made sacrificed so many things including your self-respect for a  person who only cared  about you when it was convenient for them? If you want to survive, yes. Can you heal from this experience; can you respect yourself again? Yes.

So here it goes, a confession:

Over the last 4 years, I took myself and ground myself into dust, cracked my bones, twisted my guts, all because I thought I needed that intangible thing. Because I deep down believed that fat, black, dark-skin, fem boy me was lucky to have that copper-skinned, high cheeked boy tell me that he loved me; that I was the beast and he was Beauty. All because I believed I was the monster. Because I still, somewhere inside believed what the world told me. So I needed his “love,”  and I stayed, no I waited for the moment when he would “bless” me with the “privilege” of being his, even though it only hurt. It cost.

I lied to myself. I lied for him. I created alternate truths because reality was too harsh to face. Like the time my friend Carl saw him on what seemed like a date with his friend K while he and I were trying to make something work between us, and when I asked him he insisted I trust him and that K was just a friend, nothing more, and he wasn’t at all attracted to him; then I found out the following year that he had lied to me and had fucked K off and on for about a month or two while we were trying to make something work.  There was the time I needed him at my cousin’s funeral; I begged him to go with me because he was the only one I allowed myself to be vulnerable around, but he claimed he had to work.  I called him and called him while I was away, needing to talk and it wasn’t until the day of the funeral, while I was telling him how hard the funeral was for me while I was sitting on my best friend’s bed, once I asked how he was because I couldn’t get a hold of him, when I asked how work was that he told me that he never went to work. He wasn’t scheduled. He spent the night fucking his ex in his backseat and had to spend the day cleaning his car from the paint job the ex gave the backseat. Oh, then there was that time when I was kept in the hospital out of the doctors’ concern but he didn’t answer the phone. Or the time I apologized for the bad head and explained how memories of sexual trauma were coming back while my mouth was wrapped around his dick, but all he said to me was for me to “do better next time.” Or the time he shamed me for being too sexually aggressive and then six months later penalized me for moving too slow. Or that time when I became a doctoral candidate and he never congratulated me and just fried twenty tacos instead. Or the time when I moved to Chicago and he forgot about me. When I confronted him about it and his in general horrible treatment of me he said, through a cracking voice, that he loved me but was too scared to let himself be with me. And I believed it. I believed it enough so that when it was my last night in St Louis I set it aside to spend time with him over my parents or other friends; he stood me up again. I cried for three hours on the way to Chicago. And still I came crawling back. I listened while he told me about how he desperately wanted to fuck some fellow fast food worker he knew because the guy was white. “I have never been with a white boy and I want to know how it feels and what you can do with them.” I listened while he complained when the guy T stood him up ,”I rearranged my entire schedule for him; I am done.” T missed the date because he had an incident come up with his kids. Yes, I listened while this “man” who supposedly loved me told me he was pinning over a white boy who was closeted with two children. The white boy was the prize and I was the burden. And later when I asserted my independence Robin suddenly became re-interested in me, and I once again fell for the lines.  When he told me he wanted to see if we could be together, no one else could make him feel the way I did, I  allowed myself to believe him. Then, not even two weeks later, he fucked a guy who “wasn’t too special” to him and suddenly he, once again, was not sure if he wanted me.  I waited in all of this, all of it shit.

And in-between I kept myself numb with so many anonymous ones. I survived off words and apologies and empty promises and lies. I lied to myself and pulled my friends and family through it all too. The times my mother wondered where my smile went. My brothers looking at me scared because they saw me slicing myself off and rearranging myself to better appease and please him. My brother’s words echo in my head from when I asked him of he could accept Robin and I officially together, “He has taken years not months but years!” My friends’ clicking the phone at his name. The fatigue. The loneliness. The question of “Why?” The dark.

And it comes to me: I did this with him. I told him he could treat me like shit because I felt I was shit. I said it was okay for him to disregard my feelings because I consistently ignored my pain. I begged him to be cruel to me every time I stayed. I made myself pathetic for him, and Robin was not worth it; no man is.

But then something else occurred to me: Once I could admit what I did to myself, the role I played, once I gave up on not being angry at him or myself, once I stopped not caring,  I started to heal.   I am forgiving myself. I can admit that I care–not about him but about me. I love myself now, I did that.

Was that hard? Yes. Embarrassing? Certainly. Freeing? I feel the wind.

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Pariah: Heartbreak opens onto the sunrise for even breaking is opening and I am broken, I am open. Broken into the new life without pushing in, open to the possibilities within, pushing out. See the love shine in through my cracks? See the light shine out through me? I am broken, I am open, I am broken open. See the love light shining through me, shining through my cracks, through the gaps. My spirit takes journey, my spirit takes flight, could not have risen otherwise and I am not running, I am choosing. Running is not a choice from the breaking. Breaking is freeing, broken is freedom. I am not broken, I am free.

 

 

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OUR QUEER BODIES OURSELVES

PLEASE SUBMIT ANY PHOTOS AND STORIES YOU HAVE TO BLAQUEERGMAIL.COM OR TWEET ME AT @BLAQUEER.  This is a project for those of us with queer bodies (bodies that are considered undesirable or failed bodies by society: fat bodies, bodies that are “too dark” or “too light,” bodies in transition, bodies that are considered “shapeless,” bodies that have little to no access to “beauty power.” This is an attempt to state that a movement must consider bodies and embrace all bodies in order to be a truly progressive movement. Photo on 9-01-13 at 2.58 PM

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FBD: I am okay with it being a little broken right now

Every few weeks I receive a certain phone call, the “Maurice! Why am I single; I just want to be loved and cuddle; don’t you?” phone call. I rarely know how to answer this call. I do, from time to time, get lonely, and I want a warm body, but that is it. Once I moved to Chicago some of my friends, after walking in on me drinking red wine in the dark while listening to Joss Stone’s “What Were We Thinking,” seemed to try to have a mini-intervention policing how I emotionally survived a recent difficult experience and suggested I date random guys. When I mentioned to a friend over the phone that it would take a special guy to get me to be in a relationship right now, another friend called “bullshit” on my position because—well I don’t really know why. But the truth is this: If I were in a relationship right now, I would be settling for a relationship.

You see I am nursing a broken heart, and these things take time, or at least they should, or at least even if they shouldn’t, for me they do, take time to heal.  And yet, very few of my friends seem to get this concept. Even when I attempt to be naked with them and confess how broken I feel emotionally after what the last guy I truly loved did to me, how it felt as if he took my body, ripped it open at the abdomen, shoved a dirty hand in and reach up through the intestines, over the diaphragm and a little past the lung, beyond the hear, through my throat, behind my eyes, and stuck his finger tips in my brain, wiggled them around and pulled out chunks, they still don’t get why I am not out and about dating.

I could date. I had a date scheduled for this evening. I tried to stick to it because I had my friend’s voices in my head telling me to just do it; it is just a date, live, fuck ol’ boy you are Chicago now; I did it when I moved, but in the end I had to listen to me. My voice said “No.” and I canceled. I felt so very powerful.

It does one no good to trade the voice of an Ex for the echoes of well-intentioned friends. Sometimes you must listen to yourself and believe, as well-intentioned as they are, your friends are not you, and you must know how to heal yourself. For me that means not dating for a bit; it means sitting in the dark sometimes because then the world is moving slower and I can breathe and think. For me it means finding power in turning down a guy, even a potentially great guy, for an even better guy—me.

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Fat Boi Diaries: New To The Chi!

Life as a transplant in a new city can be a little overwhelming. Moving from my suburb of St. Louis (and the comforts of mom & dad’s house, with its boundless pantries, stocked fridge, and space [Oh my god the space!]) to the urban pulse of Chicago has taken some getting used to (no boundless pantries or even boundless pantry, no stocked fridge, and fuck space hello friend’s sofa) and missing my parents has been palatable, but what has also been in the air: CHICAGO! These are the top ten things I have noticed about Chicago:

1) The smell(s): You see every city has a smell some smell a little like sewers, others like factories, others like sweat, but Chicago smells like everything. Sweat from people hustling home on a hot day; pizza wafts into your nose from the numerous pizzerias (all claiming to be the best), but depending on the corner you may smell hot dogs or pretzels and the lake has some sweet smell that I have yet to put my finger on.

2) The neighborhoods: Each has its own funky attitude. Key word “ATTITUDE”; everyone in Chicago is positive that their opinion is correct and they are quick to judge you by what neighborhood you are from, and if you are not from here they are quick to tell you which neighborhoods you should live in and which you should avoid (for the record I am partial to: Humboldt park, Hyde park (parts), Kenwood Park (parts), Albany Park, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Andersonville, Lakeview and Lincoln Park).

3) Take the train avoid the bus, but if you must, buses on the North Side trump South Side buses.

4) Summer Chi is really a thing! Like it should be its own season. People get off work and they can’t wait to stroll; it doesn’t matter your age, they are out there enjoying the sun and the breeze.

5) Rent is INSANE! 700 gives you like a 320 sqft studio in a good neighborhood. What is even more insane is that in other cities it is even higher.

6) It is possible for a fat guy to find love here.

7) Everyone in Chicago assumes you are from Chicago, but don’t mention to a South Side person that people assumed you were from the North Side or the burbs; I don’t know why but it seems like it triggers something.

8) Take Pics! (Chicago is BEAUTIFUL):

around my job

 

S Wabash

 

waiting on a South Side bus

 

the only good thing about a south side bus

 

Catching the Western Orange line on the south side; pretty view from here

 

Big ass ads that are not in STL; I am not sure if this is good or bad.

 

My Job (the short building)

 

Do you feel the vibe from these two? just über cool

 

Mariano’s Pizza (it is a grocery store)

 

waiters

 

hanging with my friends (here we were at Chicago’s Chicken & Waffles on King)

 

feeling happy

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The Fat Boi Diaries: An Epiphany

“That feeling that snuck up and crawled into my chest, that one I called ‘love’ was really just habit. A collection of misremembered memories, unserviced wants, passion turned into hate turned into desire, recycled laughs, tears, and arguments, and unthinking gestures and phrases that come with the telling ease of rehearsal. It is cowardice not admitting that what I feel for you now is something more akin to pity which will one day fade to indifference.”
 
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