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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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survivor

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Survivor

they say your first year teaching is all about surviving...and that's exactly what i'm struggling to do. i've been teaching for more than 2 months now and each day is something new. just as i think i've settled into a rhythm, a comfortable routine, something (or someone) shakes everything up.

so far i've had a few near fights in my classroom, found out one of my students is adopted (she told me so), encountered so many attitudes from manish 12 year olds (can we bring back paddling? Some of these kids need a gentle beat-down), i’ve moved a few failing students to tears (i was gentle, i promise), and many other things. talking to other teachers is like having a free therapy session. we know each other's pains, promises, frustrations, and share the same hope for our kids: success.

when i am teaching i feel....vulnerable, powerful, knowledgeable, happy, frustrated, saddened, tired, and happy as hell. this is definitely the hardest job E-V-E-R!

is it Christmas break YET? i’m tired y’all.

my personal life is….always dramatic. long story short, beloved was convicted and we will find out what type of sentence the judge will dole out next week. for his “felony class” the span is anywhere from probation to fifteen years (crazy, right?). we are both preparing for the worse (gotta get your mind right to handle it), but praying for the best (inshallah). His lawyer thinks he’s a good candidate for probation or something on the low end of the span, but it’s all up to the judge. I will try to keep you posted. I’ve been MIA lately cuz life…is moving way too fast.

By the way….thank you for all of your prayers and kind words. they mean the world.

peace

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 8:29 PM 5 comments

dear beloved

Saturday, October 28, 2006

dear beloved,

wrapping my head
around you is like
listening to coltrane
be bop in the rain

today
we converse staccato
breaking words like beats
between lips and tongue

 miss
      you
wish
      you
were
      in
me
      now

i love it when
you sound so vulgar
rolling my name
between your palms
wet      lips parting
to speak
hello

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:05 PM 2 comments

prayers

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

prayers

beloved's trial began last week and i've been so busy tending to our son, my classes, and trying to support beloved via phones lines that i forgot to ask for your prayers. we are facing a battle, but from what i hear it's going well. i will be shipping off to offer my support in person (and to see my man!) at the end of the week. please, while you are praying for your family, send up a little prayer for mine.

thank you. peace.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:41 PM 6 comments

Lunchtime Musings

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lunchtime Musings

I am here
trapped beneath
a seemingly endless mountain
of ungraded words

trying my best
to play catch up
while catching them
up to where they should be

teaching is a struggle

love and long hours
overdue props
nerves shot to hell
definitely worth
the smile
you get
when they understand
whatimsayin

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 1:00 PM 7 comments

tune in

Sunday, September 10, 2006

tune in


i am so excited!

the new season of "The Wire" starts tonight. the overarching theme of this season is education. this season, the wire follows the lives of young 4 boys and shows just how easy it is for kids to turn to crime. i can't wait to watch it. i'm so addicted to anything remotely connected with education, and in particular urban education. i am curious to see how the writers of the wire deal with the public education system. i love this show. the writing is just so adept and dead on, the characters are multi-dimensional, and the acting is extremely moving and realistic. sundays i will be glued to my tv to see what happens next.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 3:35 PM 5 comments

mis-education of the negress

Thursday, September 07, 2006

mis-education of the negress


i am exhausted.

my first week of teaching is coming to a close, and i never knew i would be this tired. my feet ache, badly. my legs are sore and cramping, and my classes are draining as hell. working at an "inner city" middle school is rough. i have 4 different groups of kids--a "remedial" class, a "sheltered" class, and two honors classes--each requiring their own special attention. and on top of it all, seventh graders are a precarious bunch. they are middle children. they are caught somewhere between childhood and becoming teenagers. they are fighting to create their own identities, or just fighting cuz somebody smudged their pumas.

walking in i had a plan. i would be firm, strict, and yes, perhaps even a little mean. by the way, i'm not mean. i smile a lot. i love to laugh, but at our professional development days many seasoned teachers warned us newbies not to smile until (at least) christmas. word?

week one is almost over and i must admit, i do somewhat miss my comfy office job. my kids are...a handful. they test you. my voice is almost gone, my nerves are wearing thin. i don't want to turn into one of those "SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!" teachers, but i can see how easily it can happen.

on the bright side...you have those kids that have already said my class is their favorite. i already have groupies who want to hand out books, papers, run to the office, clean my room. i feel a bit awkward about using kids to run errands, but other teachers have said it makes them feel involved in the class....so i'm rolling with it.

teaching is definitely not easy, and i'm DEFINITELY not an expert. i am sort of fumbling through a dark tunnel making my way toward a dim and distant light.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:21 PM 9 comments

hello, it's me

Thursday, August 24, 2006

hello, it's me

i'm back. i'm alive. saw beloved. he is thin, yet hopeful. we are deep deep in love. kissed for 1 hour straight. our son is growing. he is cruising. i am tired. exhausted. teacher training has begun. am i really going to be ms. __________(word?). crazy. life is moving so fast now. must sleep. must rise early. will be back, promise. peace.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:18 PM 5 comments

temper tantrum

Monday, August 14, 2006

temper tantrum


lately my nearly 10-month old son has been acting a bit crazy. he's very smary, knows what he wants, and when he doesn't get it he pitches a little fit. my mother immediately jumps into "oh no he didn't" mode, while i have been pretty lax about it because, after all, he's just a baby, right?

his outburts--flialing his arms, yelling, crying, and hitting the table when he doesn't get his way--have been happening a lot more lately. it's giving me cause for concern. the last thing i want my child to be is one of those white kids who yell at their parents and fall out on the floor at the mall. i ain't going out like that. but how do you let your child grow up and learn how to be himself, but at the same time, set boundaries so he knows how to act?

sometimes i think i'm a little too relaxed, but then again, i'm just learning as i go. the munchkin is the test kid. my first born. the one i try out EVERYTHING on, so when i have other kids i can take what i've learned and apply it to them. besides, it's really too early for spankings and when i say no he just shakes his head no. i want him to be confident, not shy like i was. he's already very smart. he says "hi" and "yeah" and something that sounds very close to "cat." he loves to be outside and just take in the world, looking at everything. his new obsession is with spitting. it's gross, but cute at the same time (and messy when i'm trying to feed him oatmeal & he spits it out).

i'm learning that parenting is a process. no matter how much i read or ask my mother and grandmother, it ultimately comes down to how i want to raise my child and what i think is right. they may laugh and shake their heads at me, but like them, i'm learning as i go. and hopefully like them, i will raise an intelligent, loving, caring child. i can tell you this though, it's fun watching him grow and change right before my eyes.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 8:46 AM 6 comments

travel insecurities

Thursday, August 10, 2006

travel insecurities



it is not enough that we have to stand in long lines, remove our shoes, get fondled by TSA staff, and be damn near strip searched to ride on a plane these days, but NOW we have to drink baby formula (and breast milk?) too?

i am all for safety. God knows i don't want to end up being blown up just trying to get on a plane, but i am a little weary of the new travel restrictions. i am flying to new york next week to visit beloved, and according to the new mandates, i can't take any liquid on board, which is fine except i have a baby. and babies require food. and the munchkin drinks Enfamil. according to the TSA i'll have to taste it before it can be allowed on the plane. easy enough, right? WRONG! any mom knows that once you pop the seal on the formula, it's a wrap. it starts to expire. so even if my child isn't hungry, has just eaten, and isn't due for another feeding for four hours, i'll have to open up his formula and take a swig to prove i'm not a terrorist?

playing the fear card...

the media is all whipped up into a frenzy. flights have been canceled, people are pissed, and the thwarted terrorist attack may or may not have ties to Al Qaeda. every time there is another story, another foiled terrorist plot, another radical brown person on tv, i feel like the media (or government or whomever) tries to make us all believe we're going to die. they tell you to remain calm, live your life, but every news story talks about what could have been, how many people COULD have been killed, when and where the next attack will occur, and why we need to "remain vigilant" against the terrorist. if i were a conspiracy theorist, i might say that this whole liquid terror plot comes at a mighty convenient time. the US & UK are getting our asses kicked by the international community because we have laid back and let Israel bomb the allah out of Lebanon, and the administrations are in need of a distraction. you know, something to remind the world that there are evil doers lurking around every bottle of Pantene.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 4:32 PM 4 comments

wha gwan star?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

wha gwan, star?



i love my man like
cook food
like star apple
mango leaves passion
fruit cool like
breeze over mountains dem

beloved speaks
to every piece of
i and i and we
will make it
cuz love is
stronger
than
this


[ i got inspired by xavier and his blog. i couldn't help but vibe off his poetry. thanks for the inspiration.]

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:19 PM 8 comments

nervous energy

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

nervous energy


today i woke up feeling horrible.

last night my stomach was rumbling and in pain. i didn't sleep. i chalked it up to nervousness. you see, yesterday, before i left work, i handed in my letter of resignation. it's time to move on, take a short vacation, go see beloved, and come back to start my teaching gig. so, i was nervous about seeing my boss today. i didn't want to feel awkward and have that weird interaction that you tend to have with people after you tell them you're quitting.

this morning, i felt sick, but i figured a hot shower would get me back on track. when i came out of the shower i felt dizzy. felt like i was going to collapse. my son was starting to get impatient. he was tired of being in his crib and sesame street was no longer keeping him entertained. i still tried to keep it together and get dressed, but the more i moved, the more i felt like i would end up crashing to the floor. i knew then that i couldn't go to work. then the dizziness made me nauseous. i haven't felt that sick since i was pregnant. all i could do was lay down and try to call someone to come pick up the munchkin.

i called my mom & my older brother, no one was picking up their phones. when i finally got a hold of my mom, i managed to make the munchkin a bottle and seat him in his bouncy chair. when my mom came to get him, i was passed out on the couch and he was 2 seconds away from eating a quarter.

times like these, i REALLY need beloved. need to call him at work and ask him to come home. to come take care of me and make me feel like everything will be ok. pick up our son, take him to the park, bring me some soup or pineapples. baby me a little.

missing him is tough. i can't wait to see him. speaking to him today made me feel better. hearing the concern in his voice, his calming words, the love that flowed, eased my headache a bit. speaking to him made going to the doctor bearable. he had to TELL me go to. if it were up to me, i would have laid on the couch or the floor for the entire day. hell, it probably would have been more productive than dragging myself to the doctor. she did nothing for me. guessed at my condition. told me that perhaps i had a stomach flu (huh?), then perhaps it was a sinus infection (wha?). told me a sinus infection could cause dizziness and the headaches. i feel like i could have diagnosed myself better if i would have gone to WebMD, but whatever. i do feel better now (no thanks to her). i guess i just needed some rest and to relax. whatever happens at work for the remainder of my time there happens. i'll continue to work hard until my last day.

i'm happy tho. excited to be moving on, but scared. hopefully i'll be a good teacher. hopefully i'll make a difference. hopefully...my class won't be full up with bad ass kids.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:51 PM 9 comments

Solitary Art

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Solitary Art




"On Friday night, more than 500 people had jammed into a gallery in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to assess 25 of Donny Johnson's small, intense works. There was sangria, as well as big bowls of M&M's. By evening's end, six of the postcard paintings had sold, for $500 each.

"They are made with these chocolate pigments," said Adolfo Caballero, an owner of the gallery. "He has really created a new kind of technique, because he doesn't have access to conventional materials."

Most prison art, the kind created in crafts classes and sold in gift shops, tends toward kitsch and caricature. But there are no classes or art supplies where Mr. Johnson is held, and his powerful, largely abstract paintings are something different. They reflect the sensory deprivation and diminished depth perception of someone held in a windowless cell for almost two decades." (read entire article)


these types of stories always bring up interesting debates: should prisoners have rights?

there are a lot of people who believe that inmates shouldn't be allowed to do anything, no school, no social programs, no tv. i'm sure you've heard the argument before: "they're in prison, not on vacation." but then there is the other side that insists that inmates be able to better themselves--get an education, learn a trade, and yes, watch a little TV--especially if they will be released back into society.

i never really thought much about this debate until beloved became locked up. sure, there were a few people in my family who had been to prison, but they were always "the bad cousins" of the family. it was expected. they were never into school, never wanted to go to college, never really held a job; so i guess i wrote them off as career criminals who would forever cycle in and out of the system because they couldn't give up the block. but now, as beloved waits in jail all sorts of questions have run through my mind.

how will he be viewed when he gets out?
will he be able to get a job?
if he has to go to prison, will he be able to take classes while he's in?
what will people think of me? what will they say about our son?

before beloved got locked up he was in college working toward a degree in computer programming, now, after waiting for almost a year for trial, he is unable to take any college courses, unable to advance his education, he is basically wasting a year of his life. stuck on pause, unable to move forward. each day we talk i can hear more and more frustration in his voice. sometimes he apologizes to me, to our son, for putting us through this. sometimes he says he would understand if i left him. and other times he is angry...at everything.

although prison is a place of punishment, it can also be a place for transformation, hence the name "department of correction". in recent studies that measured the effects of educational programs at prisons, it was found that those who completed an educational program while incarcerated were less like to return to prison.


"A study at Folsom Prison in California showed that none of the inmates who earned a bachelor's degree recidivated, compared with the 55% recidivism rate of the rest of the inmates released. A study authored by female inmates at New York's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility indicates that women who attended college while incarcerated recidivated at a rate of 7.7% as opposed to the 29.9% return rate of women who did not attend. Post-secondary education in prison can help reduce crime on the street" (read entire article)


there is definitely a stigma attached to those who have been to prison, as well as those who have supported their love one through prison. and it's not ok. with so many of our loved ones locked up, we are all affected and shouldn't be made to feel like social outcasts. if we commit to educating those who seek it, providing job placement and housing support to those that are willing to turn their lives around, our country would be much better off. and maybe, just maybe we wouldn't have so many of our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and daughters behind the walls.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:15 AM 12 comments

the block is hot

Monday, July 24, 2006

the block is hot

as i'm writing this is it 3:51pm. i'm sitting here bored at work, avoiding whatever it is i'm supposed to be doing right now. it should not be this hot right now. not at almost 4pm. last night, around 11pm i flipped on the weather channel and it said it was currently 91 degrees & the air was thick with 95% humidity. are you kidding me? when i left new york i thought i'd left the humidity behind, but here it is...stalking me.

my son has it the worst. for the past two nights he's been stripped down to his huggies. at first i was worried, like...maybe he would get cold in the middle of the night, but then i realized, there is no air. there is no breeze. the air is stale and hot and oppressive. and he sweats more than i do. so he's been going sans clothes when we're at home. poor chile. i made a pallet for him on the floor yesterday afternoon and he slept there, directly under the fan, in front of the open sliding glass door, and he still managed to sweat so much he left a puddle on the comforter. what's a mom to do?

two hours from now i'll be leaving work and will be thrust into the afternoon annoyance of traffic. this morning i tried to decide whether to burn up my over-priced gas by using the AC, or suffer, be cheap, sweat it out and roll down my windows. even though it pains me to spend $30 on gas and not even get totally FULL (and i drive a corolla!), i decided to splurge and treat myself to some AC. at least (i reasoned) i wouldn't be totally aggravated on the drive to work.

all of this heat has me REALLY wondering about global warming. how big of an impact does all of our pollution really have on our environment? are we killing ourselves? lots of people dismiss global warming as a tree-hugging cause, but there just might be something to this. pollution is everywhere. i don't want to take my son to the beach cuz who knows what's floating in there. and if you have asthma....forgetaboutit.

at lunch my co-workers and i joked about how everyone, all conspiracy theorist that is, are claiming this is the end of the world. the weather is crazy, the middle-east is in chaos, and the amount of consumption seems to be moving into overdrive. i'm not ready to say this is the end just yet, but best believe i'll be praying for some cooler temps and lower gas prices.

i never thought i'd say this, but i'm SO over summer!

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 3:54 PM 4 comments

Cos, he said so

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cos, he said so


"You have to seriously see yourselves not as the old women where the men stood in front and you all stood behind, because the men, most of them are in prison."


In the 1980s, we watched Bill Cosby glamorize the black family through "The Cosby Show." For me, I wanted to be a Huxtable. Growing up in South-Central Los Angeles, I saw myself and my family as somewhat of a 'hood Huxtables. My parents, while not doctors or lawyers, made enough money to keep my brother and I in private schools, go out to fancy restaurants, and take trips to Vegas, Cleveland, Florida, and New York. I thought we were rich. I was the first kid on my block to own a pair of rollerblades and one of the few to have ever been on a airplane. Then it all fell apart. My mother was laid off from her well-paying job with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, my parents divorced, and my mother, brother and I moved into my grandparents house. Our lifestyle completely shifted. No more trips, no more Friday night dinners out, my father became distant, and my mother was left to struggle to pay my tuition, our rent, and keep us afloat. She effectively became both mother and father, playing both roles fairly well, while somehow able to keep it all together.

At this year's commencement speech at Spellman college, Bill Cosby warned the graduates of the all-women’s college that they will have to be the ones to lead the race because black men are lagging behind. Cosby went on to tell the graduating class that "it is time for you to pick up the pace and lead because the men are not there. They're not there and every one of you young women know it.”

I know I am late to this issues and his comments, but this quote was posted in this month's Essence magazine, and so it got me to thinking. When I was in college, we (black women) would have these discussion amongst ourselves about brothas not being on our level. We noticed that we outnumbered our black male counterparts in nearly every class, major, and every dorm. We wondered who would we marry after we got grown, got our education, and had established ourselves in the world.

Lately there has been a string of articles and special reports about the plight of the black male in America. While I am torn by Mr. Cosby's comments, I think there is a bit of truth in his words. Unfortunately, black women are making greater and faster strides in corporate/academic America than black men. Because of this we do bear a certain amount of responsibility to be leaders in our communities to help facilitate success for the next generation of black youth. However, Mr. Cosby's comments rubbed me slightly the wrong way because, to me, they seem to call for the abandonment of black men. He seems to be saying that black women must lead, without trying to simultaneously help our brothas succeed. If that were the case I would not be with beloved. I have two degrees (BA/MFA), a well-paying job, and am about to return for more schooling. Beloved, on the other hand, was working toward his BA and is currently incarcerated. He has a great heart and a determined work ethic, but he is not on my "level" academically or economically. If I were to overlook him because of these things, I would have missed out on someone who loves and cares for me unconditionally.

If we write off our brothas and abandon them, how can we rise as a people? We can't. While I applaud Mr. Cosby for bringing these issues to light and begining a dialogue, I am skeptical at the message he is sending our young women. We cannot rise and succeed as a collective without ALL of our members performing their duties. Instead of merely claiming our place as leaders, we need to figure out ways to help our entire community to succeed.




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:01 PM 9 comments

beathe and stop

Sunday, July 16, 2006

beathe and stop



last night, as i do most weekends, i settled in to my saturday night ritual of watching one of my netflix selections. this week's feature was MANITO. Manito is a award-wining, independent drama about a young teen, Manny, with a promising future who ends up blowing his chance at attending college (and his scholarship) by falling in the same cycle of prison as his older brother, Junior. set in the bronx, this film was a loud, riveting, salsa-driven family drama that showcased the complexities and challenges of growing up. it highlights the effects of the choices we make on our futures. while watching i found myself laughing, almost crying, and yelling, "DUMB ASS!" at the screen when Manny decided to make the wrong choice. this movie is definitely one of those films that doesn't make up your mind for you. it allows you to enter the world of its characters and make up your own mind as to what could or should happen.

i love taking chances on indie films such as this one. it just so happens that this DVD is a part of the Film Movement series, which is subscription service that sends it's users a new, award-winning independent film per month. if i weren't already a netflx member, i might consider this, because it's sounds like a good way to stay up on new films. one cool thing about Film Movement DVDs is that each feature film is accompanied by a short film. The Manito DVD featured a short film called MORNING BREATH.


MORNING BREATH is a 15 minute short film that depicts a typical, working-class brooklyn cat (Lord Jamar) as he traverses the streets, interacts with his boys, and falls in love. Sounds very predictable right? Wrong! The film is devoid of dialogue, but is instead driven by a 15 minute (straight dope) poem by Mums, of Def Poetry/Oz fame. While watching this film, not only was i taken in by the amazingly fresh poetry and cinematography, but i found myself hypnotized by Lord Jamar. For him, I would run this film back 30 times in a row just to catch his beautiful screwface (can you tell i was feelin it?). you see, i've always had this thing for slightly rugged, coca, new york brothas (brooklyn!)--all accent and swagger--with long & freshly lined lox (and goatees). Amen.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 8:11 PM 4 comments

no rest for the weary

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

no rest for the weary



i have been sorta mia lately, coasting day to day, not keeping up with posting. i haven't been writing at all lately. my letters to beloved have decreased from 7 a week (one each day), to maybe 3. i am not inspired. i am tired, i am bored at work, and i miss beloved more than anything else. and it hurts.

these past few weeks i have been OVERLY emotional, crying at random movies, tv shows and songs (god, i'm cliche). i've been having dreams of beloved, the munchkin and i at the park or in our home or at the beach, just living as any other family lives. i want that so bad i can feel it everywhere.

on the 4th of july i went to ikea to buy the little one a dresser and when i started to see all of the furniture that we decorated our apartment with in bklyn...it was just too much. i couldn't even bring myself to buy the dresser. i just walked from display to display and took note of what we once owned. it is so hard doing this on my own. i never wanted to be a single mother, but i think it's even harder to be a non-single, single mom. the responsibility of raising a child, while trying to make his life--our life--as normal as possible and include beloved is so hard. i feel like i am on a constant state of pause....and i just wish i could push play.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:01 PM 14 comments

my life in letters

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Life In Letters

(letters from beloved. he paid someone to decorate the envelopes. they are so beautiful!)

Over the past 8+ months beloved and I have exchanged upwards of 300 letters. Some of them mundane, and many more full of raw energy and wanting. Enclosed in the last letter were two poems. Two beautiful gifts. These letters and words keep me/us going in spite of the distance, and the setbacks, and the feelings of missing and loneliness, and sometimes guilt. Beloved wrote...

With every moment that passes
In every hour of each day
My thoughts reflect like the blue
Of the ocean's waters onto the sky
With the sun rays

It's your smile that fills my inner vision
With a light full of warmth
Penetrating the darkness
with your loving presence
comforting my essence

With every memory of times we shared
Keeping you as my constant companion
I stare as if into thin air
I struggle to keep you near
Through salty tears

So dear, you are where you are
Within me Within us
Within God we trust
What is communicated with each touch
I miss you so much


Today was supposed to be the start of the trial, but once again, the DA wasn't ready. We must wait...and this time, we will have to wait an entire summer for the end, some end, to come to this. I pray that in the waiting we will continue to grow and continue to have faith in each other and in God.

Speaking of God, beloved traded Jesus for Allah and his mother (who is a super holy roller), is in denial. I, on the other hand, have always held true to the belief that Allah, Jesus, Jehovah....are all one in the same. Of course, it's hard explaining this to the peopleI know (esp. considering I am a Baptist minister's granddaughter), but it's how I feel. Last night, I saw a documentary called "Three Faiths, One God" which explored the connections and shared history of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It was so fascinating (and affirming). I wish I could send it to beloved. He is just starting to learn what Islam is, and I would hate for him to fall victim to an Imam that preaches separation instead of unity. Everyone of each faith should watch this film and realize that we are all serving the same God. Perhaps then, the conflicts and wars and pain would cease.






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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 2:07 PM 9 comments

Throwback Thursdays: NY Undercover

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Throwback Thursdays: NY Undercover


I have always had a crush on New York City.

When I was 8 my family and I went to NYC with my grandparents. My grandfather, a minister, was conducting a revival at a Bronx church, and my brother and I begged my mom to let us go along. Not for church, but to see the city for ourselves. She eventually caved and we packed up for a 2 week stint in the Bronx.

I was in awe

Even the trip from the airport was an adventure. Our driver/tour guide/pastor of the Bronx church drove like a madman (or so I thought), stopping in the middle of traffic to grab us some "authentic" hot dogs from a man on the corner. The buildings seemed to climb endlessly into the sky, while the iron lion weaved through a maze of apartment buildings. For two weeks I rode around taking in the streets and sounds. I wondered if Sesame Street was real, and if so, could somebody tell me how to get to it. I was in love. And over the years my crush, my lust for the city grew stronger.

Fast forward.

1994. I was a freshman in high school, consumed by Illmatic, and dreaming of packing up and moving to New York City. I sent off for info about NYU and I instantly gravitated to shows/books/films based in the New York. After seeing ad upon ad for a new, urban who-done-it cop show about based in New York and featuring some of hip hop’s finest, I knew I had to watch.



Billed as the new-and-improved Miami Vice, NY Undercover stormed onto Thursday nights and (in my opinion) launched Fox as REAL network. This show crammed sex, drama, the city, and a banging soundtrack into one hot hour. Every Thursday night at 9, Torres and Williams helped me to explore another piece of the city.

For four years I rode shotgun from Harlem to Wall Street, exploring every seedy and siddity part of town. Risking life and limb, Eddie and JC easily morphed into drug dealers, cult members, bikers and drag queens, never failing to catch the perp (and most times a fly girl). From the theme song to the performance at Natalie's, the show had me hooked. Dressed in the latest Karl Kani, Mecca, and PNB gear, Williams and Torres made cops look cool again.

Even though NY Undercover was completely dismantled and killed in 1998, it was good while it lasted. Thanks to reruns on TVOne & Si TV, I can still ride along with the flyest detectives New York has ever seen.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:23 AM 7 comments

On The Outs

Sunday, June 18, 2006

On the Outs



There is nothing more powerful than a good story

Saturday night while browsing through Fader Magazine at Barnes & Noble, I saw an ad for the indie film called "On the Outs." I read the reviews, noticed one of the actresses from "Raising Victor Vargas," and filed it away in the back of my mind. I knew I was making a trip to Hollywood Video that night to pick up a DVD for my mom, so I thought I would pick something up for myself.

Since beloved's been incarcerated I have pretty much stopped watching DVDs. It was one of the things we loved doing together. We would hit up the DVD store on 14th & 6th Ave and buy a few flix, order take out, pop some popcorn & enjoy hours of movies. Since he's been gone I haven't been able to watch many DVDs. I don't think this has been a conscious choice, but I have rarely been in the mood. But last night, there was something about the ad that made me want to watch this film.


Based on the stories of young women in juvenile detention centers, "On the Outs" is a gripping tale of three young women from Jersey City dealing with the hard knocks life has thrown their way. There is Suzzette, the "good girl" who gets caught up with a fast-talking, drug dealing boyfriend, Oz, the seemingly hardened gangster girl who deals drugs, despite the toll they have taken on her mother, And Marisol, the single mom whose drug addiction threatens her involvement in her daughter's life. On the surface, each story seems like just another story about girls pissing their life away. But the beauty and the power of this film happens when you realize just how normal and human each one of these girls are.

Perhaps it was the adept storytelling or the weight of beloved's and my situation, but I found myself sobbing, uncontrollably about halfway through this film. Despite their behavior, their bad decisions, and their crimes, each girl had a story that was is palpable, so real, that you can't help but feel for them and even imagine yourself in their shoes.

In the tradition of indie films like Girl's Town and Our Song, On the Outs perfectly illustrates how easy it is for anyone to get caught up in the downward spiral of bad decisions. Today, young women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population. Many of these girls get locked up before they even reach the age of 13. Because of these alarming trends, this film is so important. With realistic storytelling and poignant acting, this film can change the way we see our sisters, daughters, and mothers. Now, instead of writing them off for bad choices we may be able to understand why those choices were made. Understanding is the first step in finding common ground and saving our girls and boys from making damaging choices. I encourage everyone to see this powerful film.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:23 PM 6 comments

Government Sponsored AIDS?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Government Sponsored AIDS?



25 years after the first case of HIV was diagnosed, and 10+ years after TLC stapled condoms to their clothes and championed safe sex, Black people, and in particular Black women, are contracting HIV at an alarming rate.

Newsweek recently released a series on its website regarding "The Crisis In America," dealing with HIV/AIDS in the Black Community. Although black people make up only 13% of the population of the US, we account for more than 50% of new HIV patients. Furthermore, according to medical professionals, there are approximately 1 million people who have the HIV virus and do not know it. Because of this, the CDC released new guidelines to recommend conducting voluntary HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 13 to 64 during physicals (read them here).

Let me preface this by saying, I am not as well versed as I probably should be about this issue, but I am very curious.

In a controversial new article, "Out of Control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science," scientific journalist Celia Farber argues that AIDS is a "chemical syndrome, caused by accumulated toxins from heavy drug use." Furthermore, "many cases of AIDS are the consequence of heavy drug use, both recreational (poppers, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc.) and medical (AZT, etc.)." Farber writes...

Nobel laureate Kary Mullis, who discovered the revolutionary DNA technique called the polymerase chain reaction, has long been a supporter of Duesberg, but he has grown weary of the AIDS wars and the political attacks on contrarian scientists. "Look, there's no sociological mystery here," he told me. "It's just people's income and position being threatened by the things Peter Duesberg is saying. That's why they're so nasty. In the AIDS field, there is a widespread neurosis among scientists, but the frenzy with which people approach the HIV debate has slacked off, because there's just so much slowly accumulating evidence against them. It's really hard for them to deal with it. They made a really big mistake and they’re not ever going to fix it. They're still poisoning people."

Duesberg thinks that up to 75 percent of AIDS cases in the West can be attributed to drug toxicity. If toxic AIDS therapies were discontinued, he says, thousands of lives could be saved virtually overnight. And when it comes to Africa, he agrees with those who argue that AIDS in Africa is best understood as an umbrella term for a number of old diseases, formerly known by other names, that currently do not command high rates of international aid. The money spent on antiretroviral drugs would be better spent on sanitation and improving access to safe drinking water (the absence of which kills 1.4 million children a year). (read the entire article)


This article is both loathed my medical professionals and embraced by those who think that HIV is a man-made tactic to wipe out certain groups of people. Last year, the Washington Post covered a study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, that found that nearly half of the 500 black people surveyed believed that HIV was either cooked in a lab to kill people or was created and spread by the CIA.

Whether you believe AIDS is a man-made phenomenon or a natural catastrophe, as black people we must stand up and do our part to educate and protect each other. If we don't, no one will.

UPDATE: I meant to post this article about the origins of AIDS. According to this MSNBC article, the virus originated in wild chimps in Cameroon (read more).




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 6:52 AM 5 comments

The End of Affirmative Action?

Monday, June 05, 2006

The End of Affirmative Action?


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide the extent to which public schools can use race in deciding school assignments, setting the stage for a landmark affirmative action ruling.

Justices will hear appeals from a Seattle parents group and a Kentucky parent, ruling for the first time on diversity plans used by a host of school districts around the country.

Race cases have been difficult for the justices. The court's announcement that it will take up the cases this fall provides the first sign of an aggressiveness by the court under new Chief Justice John Roberts.

The court rejected a similar case in December when moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was still on the bench. The outcome of this case will turn on her successor, Samuel Alito.

''Looming in the background of this is the constitutionality of affirmative action,'' said Davison Douglas, a law professor at William and Mary. ''This is huge.'' (read entire article here...)

~*~*~*

i always flinch at those who say affirmative action is racism in reverse. first and foremost...white women have benefited SIGNIFICANTLY from affirmative action, because as women, they are considered a minority. so affirmative action has not only afforded greater opportunities for people of color, but it has also grown the white middle class (but you never hear about that do you?).

now...for the colored people that claim we are being crippled by affirmative action...the fact is, the playing field is not level. people of color (and economically disadvantaged people) do not have equal education. our schools are poor, failing, and do not have enough resources to teach our kids how to compete in the world. second-rate education limits our access to college, which limits our access to jobs. so to say...we should nix affirmative action to be fair, is laughable at best.

but this is my opion. i'm curious to know what you guys think of this issue. should we scrap it? fight to keep it? does AA give unfair advantages to minorities? is it racist against whites?

talk to me people.




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:15 AM 3 comments

Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka

Friday, June 02, 2006

Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka



Yes yes y'all (yes y'all)
O.G.C., Heltah Skeltah be the best y'all (best y'all)
Fab 5 slam from East to West y'all (West y'all)
Sound pound straight through your bubble vest y'all (vest y'all)


Fam, it's Friday! Even though this week was a short one, it seemed so long. My Memorial Day weekend wasn't what I wanted it to be. I barely cleaned, I didn't relax, and I think I got sun burned. But, at least I didn't have to work, right?

Yes Yes Y'all....

After dropping off the little one this morning, I cranked up my stereo (and the bass) and proceeded to scare all the old white people in West LA. Don't you just love to make your rearview rattle with the bass? I was definitely having a Master Ace moment, speakers blaring Heltah Skeltah like it was '96. Ok, so I'm on an old skool kick right now, but this new ish don't make my speakers knock.

Today's iPod Commute Playlist

1. Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka (Duck Down)
2. Step Into A World (The Blastmaster strikes again)
3. Love You Better (Ladies Love James Todd)
4. Definition (Cuz I'm a Black Star)
5. Inna Heart (A real fiyah man she want inna heart)
6. Buck Em Down Rmx (i ain't taking no shorts)
7. Sugar Honey Iced Tea (it's better than a milkshake)
8. Break You Off (Black Thoughts are sexy as hell)
9. The Way You Make Me Feel (you know how much I care about you right?)
10. Sincerity RMX (I love escobar AND nasir jones)
(i'm too lazy to track down all the links. sorry. if you don't know the above songs, do an amazon search)

PUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLL UP

so what are y'all listening to RIGHT NOW?

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:18 AM 7 comments

HS Dropout, College Grad?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Q: Do you need a HS diploma to enter college?



A: Not anymore


April Pointer, a part-time telemarketer who never completed high school, attends Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y.

But many colleges--public and private, two-year and four-year--will accept students who have not graduated from high school or earned equivalency degrees.

And in an era of stubbornly elevated high school dropout rates, the chance to enter college through the back door is attracting growing interest among students without high school diplomas.

That growth is fueling a debate over whether the students should be in college at all and whether state financial aid should pay their way. In New York, the issue flared in a budget battle this spring.

They are students like April Pointer, 23, of New City, N.Y., a part-time telemarketer who majors in psychology at Rockland Community College, whose main campus is in Suffern, N.Y. Ms. Pointer failed science her senior year of high school and did not finish summer school.

But to her father's amazement, last year she was accepted at Rockland, part of the State University of New York.

"He asked, 'Don't you have to have a high school diploma to go to college?' " she said. "I was like, 'No, not anymore.' " (more...)




What do you guys think about this?




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 3:47 PM 6 comments

Summer Bounce

Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer Bounce



It's Friday y'all! Thank God we made it through another week. Those of us Stateside will be enjoying a long weekend. My uncle is having a BBQ on Saturday (can't wait to taste those links!) & I need to clean, do some organizing, pay some bills, and round up all the little one's clothes he can't fit anymore & donate them to charity. That's my weekend. Somewhere in the mix we'll get out to the park or the pier or somewhere warm, sunny & interesting.

What are y'all getting into this weekend?

Because I am a wanna be DJ, I have another song for y'all. This is just in time for summer. The Billionare Boy & The Louis Vuitton Don have teamed up to create something akin to Michael Jackson circa his Off The Wall days. Enjoy!

Pharrell ft. Kanye West--Number 1

Be safe & blessed this weekend fam.




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:35 AM 3 comments

Are You Too Short for Prison?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Are You Too Short for Prison?

Hello again, I know I like to keep Thursdays light with my "Throwback Thursday" posts, but this just made me so upset. A Judge in Nebraska sentenced a convicted child molester to 10 years probation, instead of jail time because he was "too short" for prison (Story Below).


SIDNEY, Neb. - A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

"You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child," she said.

But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category."

Thompson will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.

He faces 30 days of jail each year of his probation unless he follows its conditions closely.

"I want control of you until I know you have integrated change into your life," the judge told Thompson. "I truly hope that my bet on you being OK out in society is not misplaced."
(source: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/12969163/?GT1=8199)


Are you kidding me? What is wrong with this woman? So does this mean any short person can get out of prison time because they are not fit to be there? Because they will be taken advantaged of (isn't everyone?)?

With my beloved awaiting trial & facing prison time, this just continues to illustrate how unfair our justice system really is. Not only are you privileged if you are wealthy, but now you are also at an advantage if you are short.


Craziness!

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:19 AM 3 comments
Throwback Thursdays: 29-inch Pythons




In my neighborhood in the '80s a few things made you a star. A fly haircut (or an especially curly jeri curl), a rag-top mustang with gold daytons, an ill crack game, the latest jordans, and a snake wrapped precariously around your neck.

I never understood the obsession with dudes and deadly snakes around their necks, but whenever a guy would walk down the block with his gold and black python on his shoulders, we'd all run up to see it. It was like being at the circus, but better. It was so close. And at any moment this snake could strangle the life out of dude or jump up and choke the neighborhood bully, who you hated anyway. We wanted to see some tricks. Would the snake dance to music like they did on tv? Somebody blasted a song from a boombox, but the snake didn't move. Tongues slithered. And our nine year old selves were amazed.

On the way to work this morning I saw two guys with snakes around their necks. I was shocked. I thought this practice had died out with Cube's curl, but there they were. Strutting down Fig with two big yellow and black pythons around their neck. And despite being 26 and very grown and late for work...I wanted to run up and touch it. Just to see.




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:25 AM 1 comments

born day

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

born day


happy birthday to meeeeeeee.

today is my born day. the beginning of my new fiscal year. i am 26. thanks to my mother, i don't dread aging. she has always embraced her age & has never tried to lie about it. she loves growing older because that means she has been blessed. i have also been blessed. this year has been both very painful and very amazing. my first child, my son made his way into the world in the absence of my beloved, his father, who has been incarcerated (and simply waiting for trial) for the past 7 months. but it is what it is. a blessing. each day, whether filled with joy or painfully difficult, is a blessing. i don't have to be here. i don't have to have the most beautiful baby in the world (sorry mommies! lol). i could have gone though life without ever finding my beloved. so i am grateful. so blessed. i am eager at what is to come & i am open to experience what God has in store for us. i know he hasn't brought us this far to leave us now.

so today is a great day. not really sure what i will do. i am not working today, made sure to take the day off. i am high off tax refund money. perhaps i will treat myself to a mani & pedi, or a pair of new shoes. or i might take the little one out to lunch (i want some jerk chicken!). we are just going to chill & have a good ol mommy and baby day. beloved "bought" extra phone calls today. he is so sweet. he says he will surprise me throughout the day. so i'm just going to chill and enjoy the sun, my son, and my beloved.

be blessed y'all

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 7:06 AM 13 comments

stray shots

Saturday, May 20, 2006

stray shots



tonight a dj saved my life. his name: garth trinidad. can i tell you how DOPE chocolate city is? (J, take notice. you wanted good music for your son?). i am beat. i spent 5 hours this afternoon/evening in a classroom in LBC taking a teaching test. i have NO idea how i did. i killed the essays, i know...but the linguistic section...ehhhhhhhh, who knows. so driving home i was in no mood to play mommy or wifey, but it had to be done. thankfully that brotha garth stay burning up saturday evenings. right now i'm listening (again) to his tribute show to dilla. considering how fly it was, i thought i'd share with y'all (u can thank me later).

enjoy
(ps, you need RealPlayer to listen).

what is the look of....it got something to do with uhhhh....


be easy.

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:35 PM 8 comments

New ISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSH

Friday, May 19, 2006

New ISSSSH



In keeping with the music theme, I surfed on over to OkayPlayer to get the scoop on last night's Roots concert at Radio City music hall. While there I heard a couple of new Talib Kweli tracks called "Listen" & a really dope jawn called, "New York Shit" Ft. Jean Grae. Both songs are very summertime fresh.

Although I love Kweli ("2000 Seasons" is my all time favorite), I long for the day of Black Star. I heard Kwa & Mos are supposed to team up real soon for a follow-up to 1998's "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star." Let's pray y'all, so we can make it happen.

What are y'all feeling right now?

Yesterday I asked about the throwback joints, today I'm talking current music. And remember kids, sharing is caring.

peace

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 1:03 PM 10 comments

Throwback Thursdays: It's Party Time

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Throwback Thursdays: It's Party Time

Let's party y'all. Let's go back to the days when hip hop was about throwing parties (sans Moet), chillin with your crew, whylin out (in a good way), and just having a good time. When it was ok to go to a party and dance until your press was a distant, kinky memory. I'm talking Roger Rabbit, Running Man, Cabage Patch, Troop, all of that. This goes out to all the hip hop party joints banging out the jeeps from Compton to Brooklyn.

The Liks: Make Room


It's the Liks baby, It's the Liks. Cali stand up! I couldn't drink a thing but juice when this album dropped, but it continues to be a party favorite. You can't help but have fun (and sip a little something) when you hear this joint. Tash is crazy on the mic.



Pete Rock & CL Smooth: TROY

My cousin used to "house" to this song all the time. You can't escape the horns. Everytime I hear this song, it is so haunting. The Chocolate Boy Wonder does it again (and again). Get we get another reunion?



Chub Rock: Tream 'Em Right

Dance, suckas. You can't help but get up and move when you hear this joint, it's so infectious. This song makes me think of Hale in Strictly Business (don't say you've never seen it). Don't know if that's good or bad, but everytime it comes on I feel compelled to start dancing.



LLCoolJ: Around the Way Girl

LL gave some love to the girls around the way. This song made you proud to be a no-shorts taking girl from the 'hood. Classic.



Black Sheep: Strobelight Honey

I gotta go...Where the hell is Black Sheep? This was the joint. "This or That" gets more play, but this will always be my favorite.


~*~*~
This is but a mere sampling of what I'm feeling now. There are way too many joints to pull out the crate, but I am just reminiscing. I am compiling a list of early 90s joints for my iPod & a sista needs suggestions.

What are your favorite party joints?
Share!






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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 2:57 PM 10 comments

Bush Speaks On Immigration

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bush Speaks On Immigration




Sounding more like a moderate, than a hard-nosed conservative, Pres. Bush addressed the nation last night. Although I cannot stand the man, I did find myself nodding to a few key points, notably reforming the current system. I did however, disagree with his idea of not allowing illegal immigrants, who are already here & are productive members of our country a pathway to citizenship.

Missed the speech? Here is the quick & dirty version of Bush's proposed 5-point plan to reform immigration.

We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We're also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will accomplish five clear objectives.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

[hmm...grouping illegals with Bush's favorite buzz word "terrorists"]

Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life.

Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof.

Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.

Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation. That middle ground recognizes that there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record. I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law...to pay their taxes...to learn English...and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.


[Isn't this a pathway to citizenship? I think by reiterating that he isn't agreeing to amnesty, but offering this solution...he is still proposing a pathway to citizenship. Which, I feel, is totally necessary to those immigrants who are already here and contributing to America's growth.]

Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery...from cleaning offices to running offices...from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams...they renew our spirit...and they add to the unity of America.

[and in closing...he says...]

America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone’s fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain.

[Amen to that Bushie. Although I am not a fan of his politics, I do agree that we must continue to debate and work through the issues of immigration. This is just one of many issues that we MUST talk about if we are able to proceed as a unified country. So here we are again. What are your thoughts on this issues, Bush's ideas, or any proposed ideas of your own. Let's talk about it...]




Missed the press confrence. Read it here.




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:02 AM 3 comments
Throwback Thursdays: Remembering Brooklyn





brooklyn sounds clash
a cadillac calabash
of rude bwoy noise
bang out bed-stuy blocks

nostrand is alive in summer

beef patties & ting
sing out hungry babies
black skin white tees
meet humid corners
to hustle poland springs

click clack the soundtrack
above the ave plays loudly
rumbling past nodding rastas
rocking redblack headwraps
proudly speaking to the babies

maybe this is the future
bruk-up color canvases spill
red on black on white on yellow
on the ave
everything looks new again


~*~

it's official. i miss it.

(on another note...anybody up for a cypher? i need to get my creativity flowing again. poetry or rhymes. feel free to post them in the comments & we can get it going)

peace.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:55 AM 11 comments

where do baby daddies come from?

Monday, May 08, 2006

where do baby daddies come from?



(Preface: I was reading Slate.com & they had an article on the origins of "baby daddies")



Every time I hear someone say, "that's my baby daddy," I cringe. When I found out I was pregnant early last year, I swore that those words, "baby daddy," would NEVER come out my mouth. I quickly told my beloved that he could never refer to me as his "baby mother" even though his Jamaican accent makes it sounds more like "babimadda" and I would hear him refer to his brother's girlfriend (and other women in his family) as such. But still. That ain't me.

When I hear that phrase "baby daddy" I instantly think...(God help me)...uneducated woman with three children, by three different men. Somehow this phrase has become common place and cool, and with all things black (and "cool"), it has been co-opted by the mainstream (read: white folks).

Baby daddy has now taken it's (rightful?) place along side Bootylicious in the Oxford English Dictionary. It is defined as, "the father of a woman's child, who is not her husband or (in most cases) her current or exclusive partner."

Why people?

Why does this phrase need to be in a dictionary? This makes me wonder what the prerequisites are for new additions to the dictionary? Wasn't "Jiggy" enough?

What do y'all think?





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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:48 AM 14 comments

worst person in the world

Friday, May 05, 2006

worst person in the world






i couldn't agree more. can't stand the man either? then you'll love this




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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:11 AM 3 comments

Throwback Thursdays: Remembering Us

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Throwback Thursdays: Remembering Us


three months since
lashes kissed corners
eyes wide smile
sun breaking sky

riddim beneath city
speak secrets
lovers talk     rock
ready ears
     cadence
metal meets tracks
heart mash up reason
and

love is like
the break beat
of your favorite song
wild
           scratch
astounding
           scratch
repeat

all walls break

between us
there is no silence      here
dancing is breathing


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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:41 AM 2 comments

slow motion is better than no motion

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

slow motion is better than no motion

Arrows on tarrot cards pointing to the grind
Po' livin in more prisons, pointing to my mind, shine the light up
Clench my fists tight, holding the right up
Freedom fight in dark gear for the years to get brighter

~Common "The Food"


If I have learned anything at all throughout this whole process of jail and visits and collect calls and lawyers is that patience is a priceless weapon. Nothing happens when it's supposed to happen. My beloved's trial was scheduled to begin this week, but it was postponed because the DA isn't ready. Now he has another court date, scheduled nearly two months from now, just so they can set another trial date, in which case the DA may or may not be ready then either. We try to take this as a good sign, but it's so hard to really tell. The court system is so congested, that you are forced to simply wait.

The thing that kills me is that while we are waiting, my beloved has to sit in jail, as if he has already been convicted of a crime (which, he never has). Considering our system is supposed to assume innocence, I find it mighty ironic that if you cannot make bail or aren't granted bail, you are basically sentenced to an indefinite jail term and thrown into a whole new world of people who are either 1)heading upstate to serve hard time, 2) cycling in and out of the system or 3) detainees, waiting on the system, just like you.

When this all began we were cautioned that this is an extremely slow process. Initially, we were told that it may take until mid 2007 before his case went to trial. Perhaps they try to prepare you for the worse, so you sell yourself out for a plea-bargain. Who knows. My beloved won't cop to anything, so we wait and leave it in the hands of God.

I try to imagine his world. When we he calls it is so loud--the clanging, the men, the CO's yelling for the count. Although my beloved is a pretty humble man, he is also very tough and won't allow anyone to take advantage of him. So there have been fights or near-fights (and a broken hand), because after all "you have to do what you have to do."

With men head to foot, clashing tempers, and building frustration it is so easy to catch another case while you are waiting for your day in court. This is what I am afraid of. So I pray nightly and during the day and while I'm driving or in the shower. And I ask God to sustains him. Help him to keep a level head, and keep him away from all negativity. Thank You God. Amen.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:07 PM 4 comments

the new civil rights movement?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the new civil rights movement?






let's talk about it.



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:59 AM 17 comments

If you can huh, you can hear me

Monday, May 01, 2006

If you can huh, you can hear me

You have to have somebody to write for. You can't just open the window and make love to the world ~Kurt Vonnegut

Yesterday I felt like a real poet. While my son took his afternoon nap, I read through my copy of "Poets & Writers Magazine" with Wole Soyinka on the cover. I never really buy writing magazines (this is strange I know), but I know that if I am to take myself seriously as a writer and get back into the business of writing, I must be up to speed on the goings on in the writing community. So there I was, flipping through the magazine when I ran across an article dealing with the disproportionate ratio of writers to readers.

I am a poet.

Even before I changed my undergraduate major from business to English, with an emphasis in poetry, I knew I was sentencing myself to a life of hustle. Poets don't make money just writing poetry. Unless you are some sort of poetry rock star or the second coming of Walt Whitman, you are going to hold at least 2 other jobs in addition to writing poetry. And even IF you manage to carve out a living writing, you are forced to teach, or freelance, or act or are always on the road trolling open mics and coffeehouses for gigs. That ain't me. Being a poet mommy means that I can't jump up and fly to DC or Atlanta or College Town USA to do a reading for a few bucks. Not without proper planning at least. So, my writing life means that while I am a poet to the core, I also have a day job. But this article made me think. When the planets do align and I release my debut collection will anyone care to read it?

In the piece, "The Law of Diminishing Readership," Joseph Bednarik discusses the troubling decline in the readership of poetry and prose, while MFA programs are blowing up and turning out writers by the pound. As he points out in his article, many people LOVE to write poetry, but don't like reading it. I confess, I'm guilty. When I was sitting in my MFA workshops, I was often asked who my influences were. I would quickly answer James Baldwin, Nas, Mos Def, Richard Wright--notice how they are not poets? But ask me if I want my book read and I will most-certainly say yes.

Reading this article made me rethink my approach. I know that in order to become a better writer, I must read more. Lately I have been enjoying the collections of Saul Williams, Suheir Hammad, and Wanda Coleman. Each of these leaving me inspired and eager to put pen to paper. But the question remains, if no one reads...why continue writing?

This article not only made me more conscious of the poetry market, but of the whole blogging game as well. Just as any other writers, we bloggers get here, craft our entries, and hope someone reads and better yet comments, but do we do the same for others? I have tried to go out and read and respond to as many blogs (that I find funny/interesting) that I can. Many of you have returned the favor (thank you), but there are many still that are silent and lurking. While I am thankful for EVERYONE'S readership, I am vain and in need of a little ego-stroking. I want your comments. Please share and discuss and argue or disagree. Let me know you are out there and have something to say. I promise you, I will do the same.

peace



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Posted by the prisoner's wife On 11:00 AM 9 comments