Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Slice of Burnt Apple Pie by A. Dacosta Brathway

Well rounded fruit w/ a seedy core,
harvested & brought on ships
to bore...
to maintain cheap cost labor
& preserve the favor
of the mindset
of that time...
Looked upon as the
acceptable flavor
when cooked in the Southern ovens
of the cotton fields...
Baked just right
until the crust darkens
& hardens...
w/out pardons until the work is done!
False perceptions fed to like minds,
holding the image of a false Utopia,
living said lifestyle
as the juice drips slowly
from the cracks in between the crust
on the window sills of the big White House.
Sunday mornin' breakfast
is just the right time,
to quarter and make a point
to teach the lesson
by dividing the joints
& dispersed among the gods around the table
to enjoy the fruit of your labor
while you sing freedom songs in the mud
& mourn the loss of your religion & your manhood.

Funny how time just seals all wounds
but the pain still lingers as the experience
is all relative.
"Things are so much better!"
they say while you psychologically suffer,
all ignorant to your mental illness.
Back in the day you came from inventors,
now reduced to relentors
as your History escapes you because of your lack of focus,
watching the daze go by.
Used to be a welcomed sight,
indigenous & all,
now an eyesore as gentrification sets in.
The technology has replaced you
& is less labor intensive,
yet far more entertaining
'cause the "new sex" is on cable TV,
brought to you by BET
or whomever else is shooting
the new rump shaker video
& Master Bates indulges in the new taboo.

(c) A. Dacosta Brathway 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Wednesday, October 15th.../ Well... It has finally come to a head! I have been hearing this for years. I never thought it would come to this but it is here and it is alive and well! Ever since the '60's, there was talk of it. There were "militant" groups claiming that it was going to happen, in the form of a revolution, but the movement died when the government offered jobs to the leaders of said movement and television exec's proved that it (the movement) would not be televised. The next time I heard it was in the WWE when there was a band of rogue wrestlers threatening to take over. ("Hulk Hogan" actually led the group but reverted back to "HULKAMANIA" as a result of the backlash from the fans!) Then it happened! A subculture developed in the South Bronx. It was harmless in its origin. There was weird dancing on cardboard; there was graffiti on the subway trains and the walls of buildings, but it was harmless stuff. The music changed but it was no big deal. What? Rap to sampled music... Okay, so some guys ripped off some music that was just lying around. I mean it wasn't like the old heads was bitchin' about it. (Not at first anyway) It was a new perspective. So what if a guy couldn't sing? He could rap (talk) to music. It basically served the same purpose. There was politically conscious music and music where the lyrics described a guy wanting some booty from his girl...(or a girl!) There were songs that described all kinds of scenarios. Rap was no different except in its presentation.

But, now I see the "reality show" has brought back the premise of which I started. The movement is back and it is being portrayed thru hip-hop. The movement is called "The New World Order!" TV sit-coms are dead! TV dramas are dead. Game shows don't have a chance... I don't care what the Neilson Ratings show! The reality show genre is producing shows that allow gangsta rappers to dictate how business is done. And why not? The economy has fallen apart under the watch of those who are supposed to have a handle on OUR money. We are fighting a war for whatever reason. The Stock Market is flipping like pancakes at a Sunday breakfast! We finally have a, seemingly, worthy Black candidate for president but things are so messed up, he will not be able to fix it; which, in turn, will make him look like some rank amateur (which is probably a step up) when it is all said and done!/ Hey Fiddy (Cent), let me be on your show? I could use $100,00.00 right about now! Yo Diddy, holla at me about those vacant spots in one of your ten companies! You said it yourself that there was plenty of room left at the end of "I Want To Work For Diddy!" Shit... I could work for Russell Simmons and think of funny ass clothes to wear. If the hip-hoppers can pull off wearing prison wear and make it a fashion statement, how hard is it to suggest wearing a platinum belt to fashion crazy teanagers? And, I would solve the problem by dispelling any notion that the wearer is nobody's bitch and/or there is a load in his drawers!/ The New World Order...Who would have "thunk" it? Now you can come out of the 'hood, uneducated by formal means, dress all wacky, speak in Ebonics and make a crap load of cash, live in a mansion, drive a Bentley, and act like you come from "Inherited Old Money!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Defense of the N Word by A. Dacosta Brathway

The N word is by far not the worst
I've heard
I've heard far worse, in verse,
in the form of a curse...
I swear, sometimes the names I hear
from a particular set or crew
depict a whole 'notha point of view
where respect is of a lesser value...

To call someone other than their name
seems to bear no shame...
Quite the opposite...
It lends itself to fame;
Like "the 'ho in the video"
or the bro on the "down low!"
Why do we lay this claim?
Why use an offensive name?
Who's to blame for those who come up lame?
Did your momma not teach you right?
Such disrespect used to warrant a fight!
Now-a-days the N word pales by comparison;
There are far worse verbal harrassments...
But the user is not alone in the crime,
The recipient is just as intwined...
To allow the jesture to go unchecked
and negate a race's moment to reflect.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Divorce by A. Dacosta Brathway

Miles & miles & miles of love
spread out over scenic views &
point of views...
Gentle touches & light conversation about
everything & nothing...
Slight glances at romantic outings,
Intense & passionate love making-sex
in warm vertigo to the point of no return
while silently planning to nest for the rest of your lives!
The "darkside" plots & schemes
to shatter those dreams
as you skip lightly to that unforseen place...
Your vision, blinded by the "rat race,"
that manifests itself in your
"keeping up w/ the Jones'" psychic...
" I want more... the mansion, the big ride, the whore!"

Upon the discovery she escorts you to the door,
only to reconcile & do it once more... &
more becomes less & a burden like a
weighted vest, bogging the relationship down-
town to file & restore the smile
that once existed during the ride through the countryside!

(c) A. Dacosta Brathway 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Wednesday, September 24th...? Man, I swear I will never mettle with FATE again! I don't know what I was thinking when I thought I could alter my FATE by employing my will in my life. See, I thought by being bull-headed and thinking I had something to do with my future, I could will my life to go the way I wanted it to go! HA!I don't know what to call the superpower of the Universe (GOD, Allah, The Lord, Superman or woman...), there was a plan already in place unbeknownst to me! I thought I was going to be a Hall of Fame basketball coach. I was going to coach the University of Big Time Ballers to a national championship, cut down the nets and pose for my bust. Well, FATE stepped in and... Well, let's just say that my plans were a bust! For years I blamed others for my downfall. When I summoned enough courage to face myself, I came to understand that I was the one to blame because I never figured that my fate was already sealed. There are some who are predestined for whatever life. I was no different. I just was not predestined to become a coach. I still have no idea what is to happen to me, other than me dying without knowing what I was predestined to do. As it stands right now, I am not doing a damned thing! But that's just me... There is one thing I do know though. FATE exists like Murphy's Law and Karma and Kismit. (I think they all share a condo in Cali?) And I'm not trying to figure them out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Monday, September 22nd.../ Why is there so much contention between men and women? You would think that people who were built and put on the planet to co-exist, in harmony, would co-exist in harmony. There are arguments, disagreements, discord...( I know, discord and disagreement mean the same thing. That's the point!) There is divorce, the excrement of marriage... (Are you shittin' me?) We get married to get a divorce... We cannot see eye to eye with the one we supposedly love and want to spend the rest of our lives with. Go figure. The man-woman thing is so played out that the same gender love thing wants equal recognition because it is a viable option. When did that come into play? Whether it is right or wrong is not my call. Personally, I don't care. It is just puzzling to me why the master plan is not working. I was married once and my marriage did not work for me. Wait a minute... It just came to me why my marriage did not work! It did not work because it WAS work! I get it now. I was supposed to go to work, then come home and work some more! What was I thinking? Why did I get married for love, sex, and pleasure? I went about it all wrong. My thinking was flawed. I was supposed to work at my marriage and accumulate things and pay bills and be satisfied with that until I got old and gray and TIRED! I was supposed to look back on all that I had aquired and relish in it. So I contributed to my confusion. Now I am old, quasi-gray, TIRED and I look back and I have nothing to relish in... Except my misery. I have no job, no house, no car. I will never marry again and I don't believe in same gender sex so what's left? I know... I'll blog!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Sunday, September 21... I was watching the program, Sunday Morning, and I saw a piece on Julie Louise Dryfess-Hall and her show. I was intrigued by her success and her attitude towards it. She seemed to have this smug laugh when she talked about herself and I wondered... Is she being humble or is she full of bodily waste?/ You know what? If I were successful, I would be hard pressed to be humble because it seems like to be able to really embrace success and be noticed, in America, you have to come from nothing. And, when you come from nothing, how can you not be smug about it when you are perceived to be successful? And, how can you become successful when you come from nothing and be noticed so that you can be smug about it? There are millions of people who have a talent and are not noticed; therefore, not being allowed to become successful which restricts them from becoming smug about their situation. I think that I would love the opportunity to be able to be smug about something! It would be so cool to be subtle about telling the masses to kiss my ass! I'm not saying the JLD-H is saying that. It just seems that way when she gives an interview. Wait a minute... Now that I think of it, I was smug once in college. I did a mock interview with some friends of mine while portraying a ficticious character and I was smug as shit! I felt powerful and important! Unfortunately for me, the feeling wore off the next day when I realized that I was playing around and it wasn't real. In retrospect, I guess it was better to have been smug just once than never to have been smug at all!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ran Into My... by A. Dacosta Brathway

..."fo' better or worse" other half in another life
that created the continental divide and sent me on my ride!
Disrespectful, playin' on my last nerve,
While on the verge...
If her behind were that fine, she'd still be mine...
Now her only comfort is her fatness of choice,
w/ no voice to make her adorable...
How dare she,
Hang up on me,
In the heat of the verbage...
Her tongue lashing...
Aimed at the wrong place...
All up in my perceived face.
The bond has been broken
W/ her being outspoken,
Never scoring a point...
When rearing the head of the beast,
At the very least
Strike a mighty blow...
Ya know?
Fuck being a pontificant participant,
Wading in your shallowness
While being afraid to mermaid in deeper waters...

(c) A. Dacosta Brathway 2005

Outside the Confines of My Utopia... by A. Dacosta Brathway

...exists an atmosphere of uncertainty, marked by the confusion of those who speak w/ a duality associated the "forked tongue" that perpetuates the fraud of the human condition as ordained by some oxymoronic demi-god who is eager to capture a false ideal, trumped up in a nightmare disguised as a dream.

Imagine the audacity of a preconceived notion that a race of people would prefer to live in captivity to serve a hand at the end of whip, though it may be psychological, that defies the law of gravity in the subconscious...

What was I thinking when I left the crib? Was it the body politic designed by some invisible entity unbeknownst to me that made me think that I had to participate in this farce; or, was I just playing the role of the Lemming? "Oh no I didn't..." make the rules, yet I am told that I have to follow or live in fear of the re percussion's...

And so I deal w/ the navigation of this vicious cycle of in normality everyday to return to that which is my creation pre-ordained by GOD to make sense of this nonsense so that I can sift my sanity from the ingredients of insanity and enhance my flavor!

(c) A. Dacosta Brathway 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

August 24th, Sunday.../ I just flew back from NYC today and, man, are my arms tired! (Rim shot right here!)I'm sick of basketball camp so, consequently, I'm sick of basketball, period! I don't care about the "Redeem Team..." (Sure I'm glad that they won the gold! Hell,they should have!) I don't care that Spain gave them a hell of a game! (Hell, Spain should have given them a hell of a game!) All I can think about is how the game gave me tendinitis in my knees! (Hell, it should have! I had sex with basketball and it gave me a basketball desease!) I've been thumping around the game since I was seven years old. (I'm now 107 years old... in basketball years!) I don't care if I don't know who the top 100 high school players are. I don't care who the pundits think will make the Final Four. So what if Dwayne Wade is back from all of his injuries! I have tendinitis and no health plan! So what if some think that I can motivate a 15 year old to play hard... It never translated into a great college job for me. I've won nothing. I am not in the Hall of Fame! (Shit, I've never even been in the building to see the space where my bust might have gone!) I know, I know... I sound bitter. Shit, I AM bitter! All that work I've done over the years and no payoff? I could have coached DUKE to a championship! ("...I know Mike Krzyzewski...Hell, I'm no Mike Krzyzewski!) So what now? Do I watch basketball on TV during the season or do I watch The Apprentice? Should I go to live games or do I stay home and watch The Apprentice on TV? Should I stay in touch with the coaches I've met over the years or do I watch The Apprentice on TV? Should I continue to work with kids and help them with their game, or, should I just point my fingers at them and say, "You're fired?" I don't know... I'm so confused! Hell, don't worry about me... I'll put my degree to use. I know... I'll become a black Donald Trump. I majored in English Literature so I'll sell words to the illiterate... I'll corner the market and become "king of the world!"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Saturday, July 26th... I watched the American Olympic basketball team play Canada last night and I got to thinking... They keep making a big deal about who is on the squad and how big a marquee player that player is for his respective NBA team. Then I realized that each player is one of the main players on the offensive side of the ball. That's cool... Gotta have fire power! But the problem for the Olympic team, over the years, has never been on the offensive end. The problem has always been the defense! Then I got to thinking... The NBA always recognizes 15 players at the end of the season for their defense... And... None of the 15 players recognized are on the Olympic team (I don't think. My bad, Kobe is on the team!). Where is Bruce Bowens? Where is Tim Duncan of KG? Okay, they don't have to play if they don't want to but come on! Why are we being forced to believe that a leopard is going to change its spots? Kobe Bryant is the only player that WANTS to play defense. Last time I checked the big men had a problem playing defense on the perimeter (and ALL of the Euros can SHOOT! All of them!)There is definitely a problem with the basketball terminology. There is no pick and roll in the Euro game... It's pick and flare and shoot the jumper! Our players seem to wait for the roll part and it hardly ever happens. Maybe it's the widened lane that eliminates low post play but whatever it is, the Americans need a basketball shrink as well as a good coach on the bench./ It looks like the NBA is responsible for the latest malfunction. They do not market defense, therefore it is not really encouraged to play and the style of play is dummied down to fit into the frame work of the time constraints. 24 seconds per possession is not a lot of time to get a shot off, so forget the fundamentals and shoot off the wrong foot; and, if you are a 2 or 3 position player, stay out of the 4 or 5 position to get your shot and vise-versa. If Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson or whomever is designated to handle the ball 98% of the time, is playing, make sure he gets to shoot 9 for 30 a night! Movement of the ball and the players is only encouraged until the designated shooter gets the ball... Then it's "get your ass out of the way and let him do his thing because we are paying him 1 million dollars a minute!"/ Hey, trust me, I get it! "It is what it is!" Just stop trying to feed me this BS of offense heals all basketball wounds. Offense fades from one minute to the next in a basketball game... But defense? Defense is nothing but hard work and hard work is the American way! If you don't believe me, ask all the the hard working people that work for minimum wage! (And also ask them how tired they are, especially when they get their check at the end of every 2 week pay period! It's damn sure not 1 million dollars a minute!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Friday, July 25th... I just read an article about Nancy Lieberman, the 50 year old Hall of Famer, who was signed to a seven game contract with the Detroit Shock in the WNBA. This transaction is the result of the big brawl that took place the other night when players were fined and suspended. Okay, I get that. The Shock needed a player, she was available, it makes a good story... whatever. What I don't get is what is the big deal about her throwing 2 stinking assists (okay one was a "no look" pass!)in a loss? I mean there was a big ass article about her! I wonder what would have been said if the Shock won the game? They lost the game! They lost! I could see if the no look pass was thrown as time was running out and the game was won at the buzzer! I could get with that... But they lost! Or, it would have been a big deal if she was a leg amputee and had a prothesis and threw a no look pass to win the game at the buzzer. Or, what if she had no arms and threw the pass? Or, what if she could telepathically throw passes, or, swallow a basketball and shoot it out of her ass for a pass to win the game at the buzzer? Now that would be a big deal!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Passing Judgment/ A Commentary by Al Brathway

So I'm watching TV today (I'm off from work for reasons I cannot explain) and I'm flipping channels... I have to say BRAVO to the show Shear Genius! I have seen the show from the beginning of this season and I have to say that this show has set race relations back quite a few hundred years. Now, I'm not saying the show is rigged but tell me why a brother is picked to work on white folks hair, with the understanding that the task is going to be real difficult for him, and then cut his ass out in the first episode like the removal of an extension? Okay, he was cocky... Maybe too cocky but so is the big-headed gay dude with the glasses and the bad attitude. (So far he's done nothing but criticize everybody else and win one challenge!) What are they doing with him? Is he gonna get his own show or will he return on another hair show to criticize other hair stylists? The score could be evened up somewhat if they brought the brother back and let him criticize other people. (I can hear him now..."If you really want a challenge, try cuttin' a sista's hair without fuckin' it up and her goin' postal on yo' ass!") I don't know... I just feel like even TV does not want Blacks to watch it. I mean, who's reality is a "reality" show created for? Sure I am exaggerating (a little) but c'mon. Seriously, am I supposed to find that real estate dude on "Flipping Out" compelling? Neurotic, yes... Silly, for sure... But not compelling... (Wait a minute, he does kind of compel me to want to choke his scrawny neck!) "Housewives of Orange County?" They don't even live like that! And the New York version? Please!!! I guess if I want "reality" on TV I should go back to watching network news. At least I will see more brothers... (Their heads will be down and they will be handcuffed but I will recognize them...)

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Thursday, July 24th... Last night I watched a documentary CNN did called "Black In America" and I wondered, "why is Black life in America so fucked up?" Why did Blacks have to be schlepped on a boat from Africa to live in this bullshit? Whose bright idea was that? (Well, we know whose idea it was!) It's like it does not matter if you have money, mean and opportunity or if you are broke as hell with no place to go, the quality of life for Blacks is a pain in the ass! Maybe it's me but I find it strange that the color of someones skin can create such a prejudice, and, yet there is this mad rush to tan at every opportunity. Is it jealousy and payback for said jealousy? I mean, if there is a GOD in Heaven and He?/She?/Whatever? and there is a devoted belief to said GOD,and the belief that GOD created the Earth, shouldn't ones discontent be directed to the Creator and not a race of people? I don't get it! I guess that's why politics was created. A system had to be in place to lay the blame on when shit goes down. Politics is like the invisible man that takes the heat for said screw up yet nothing can be done about the screw up because you have to be able to prove who did it; but, it's not clear who is guilty. And, it's justified because it's just the politics of it! I gotta tell ya, my hat is off to the fore fathers who thought this shit up. How cool was it to be able to enslave a race of people, ship them to a foreign land, incarcerate them, be married and also have a concubine, have bucknaked sex with your slave whenever you feel like it in front of your wife, get your frustrations off (when your wife would not give it to you because you had bucknaked sex with your slave in front of her) by beating the crap out of your male slaves, and blame the whole twisted mindset on the politics of the times! AND, the psychological damage that resulted from such behavior has had a lasting effect from generation to generation of Blacks... WOW! AND...AND... It's not getting any better and won't get any better. If there is an "after life," is the same system in place for a Black's soul to endure the same treatment all over again? Is there such a thing as "Eternal Torture?" I mean, will my soul be able to get a one bedroom apartment for $700.00 a month or will gentification set in and my soul will be tossed out on its ass... Kicked to the curb as it were? Oy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Wednesday, July 23rd... I was writing to a friend and I was telling her that I'm thinking about going into advertising. My plan is to use the advertising game to get into the movie business. I'm gonna move to Cali and get a job wearing a sandwich board for a fast food restaurant like El Pollo Loco while looking for acting jobs by signing up as an "extra." I could play roles like being an old vagabond. As I work my way up the food chain, I would get to meet some shady producer, whose office is on Hollywood Blvd somewhere. Yeah... I can see it now! It would be a rags to riches story that would add to the already interesting chapters that is my life! Then, I would pitch my blockbuster idea! Picture this...(Put your hands up and make a frame with your thumbs and pointer fingers!)A Rupal type character, on crack, in a movie titled Transvestites: Fact or Fiction... (It could be a documentary!) A griping tale of a schitzo tranny finding both his/her inner chi at the exact same time and the conflicts it causes him/her. (By conflict I mean something like going into a men's room, dressed beautifully in a white dress, at a public place and using the urinal while suddenly being attacked by Mother Nature w/out having a tampon to fit into a huge phallic penis!) The camera would capture every moment in his/her life... Where he/ she eats, sleeps, hangs out. His/her friends... The parties, the pitfalls... His/her sex life! Imagine how awkward his/her sex life would be? I would interview and find out what his/her family thought about his/her sex life? I would interview former Johns... I would interview his high school sweetheart and find out what she thought of his lifestyle and if there were any signs of his/her inner conflicts back in the day. Things like if they fought over makeup or clothing! Imagine seeing this in an IMAX theatre! His/her living condition when the bottom falls out. Imagine the squaler...the violence... What do you think? A little too John Waters?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Tuesday, July 22nd... Man! I have to apologize. I have been on a world wind tour of NY/NJ and now I am back at my desk to share the experience. NY was great! Between the gunfire and the pitbulls, Brooklyn was as lively as always... (I walked around when it was deemed safe!)I enjoyed the sights and sounds of my old neighborhood. The different dialects of the Caribbean fill the air as the arguments continue on the street corners all hours of the day. I love the smell of meat patties and jerk chicken as the combination penetrate my nose and head straight for my brain, allowing me to envision what it must be like to live on an island other than Staten (Island). The women are scantily dressed and walking around freely as if danger is on vacation. My head snaps around as though I am watching a tennis match. I also got a kick out of watching jobless 18 year olds drive around in 6 Series Beemers and Escalades and wonder how they made that happen(?). I went to Manhattan to take in the sights. It always amazes me to see the different hustles people come up with. There is an actual Mariochi (Is that spelled right?) Band that rides the Q train, playing their music as subway riders fill their ten gallon cowboy hats with change as they stroll through the cars. (Ahh, only in New York... and Mexico!) I'm going back up there next week. I want to monitor the progress of the gentrification movement taking place. Not to worry, my passport is current in case I have to move back to Africa by order of the NBA! (The Nets are moving to Brooklyn and the rents are going up!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Yeah, yeah... I know. I haven't been here since early April. I was in new York City catching up on my life and getting re-aquainted with "from wence I came." I had forgotten how spontaneous life can be (if you let it) until I was standing on the corner of 5th Ave and 45th St., when from out of nowhere a crowd gathered and a breakdance broke out! I stood there and watched and thought, "You know, I would never see a bunch of naive tourists willfully be conned out of their money by a group of breakdancers in Maryland!" Their moves were choreographed and set to music blaring from a boom box! Then there was the fire truck that t-boned a car that killed a young woman in Queens and the juryless trial, that ended in the aquittal of three detectives that killed an unarmed, young, and intoxicated black man at his bacholar party in a hail of bullets!It was a boring trip to say the least, not to mention the argument I had with my 80+ year old mother who claimed that Marilyn Monroe had absolutely nothing to do with Playboy because she saw MM's life story in a movie and they made no mention of it. (However, they did mention how she didn't like to bathe and didn't like to wear panties when she went to a formal affair!) Go figure! It was very cool and rainy the whole time I was there and I had no warm clothes. I slept on a futon that was a foot too short and I had minimal money. (Okay, so I donated some to the breakdancers' fund! Sue me.) All in all I had a good time. It was good to get my blood pumping again and I will always have the lasting image of watching the Black folks file out of the old Brooklyn neighborhoods, like lemmings, because of gentrification issues. "New York, New York, the BIG APPLE!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Maybe it's just me... I recently received a rejection letter for a job I applied for a couple of weeks ago. The letter writer wrote that she "...wished me luck in my job search." Bitch please! You wish me luck? What... Did I need "luck" to get that job, or any job in that particular line of work? What about whether I was qualified or not? I could see if she gave me some specific reason why I did not get it, based on my resume. I guess she wished me luck because I did not have "luck" listed on my resume as one of my accomplishments. (Where would I list "luck" anyway? Would that be under "Accomplishments?") If "luck" is one of the requirements to get a position, maybe colleges should offer a course in it! Colleges do prepare you for the workforce, doesn't it? I mean I was always told that I had to get a college education to get a good job, but I do not recall taking a luck course(?). Condescending bitch... Keep your position, which you made sound like I needed "luck" to get. Hopefully the person who gets the job is lucky enough. If I may, I would like to send a message to the "lucky" person who qualifies... "Don't worry about knowing how to do the job. You're lucky! That is all you need."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

I do not have a taste for American politics. I don't care about the process of it, the results of it, nor do I care that history is kind to it. It is a dirty process designed by dirty people who get quite rich from it. Right now History is being made in it. A Black man is running against a White woman for the Democratic nomination. I'm sure to most Americans is some big deal(?). I guess... But I'm thinking that no matter who gets the nomination and, lets say, one of those people wins the presidential election, I'm wondering how effective that person could be to exact change considering the mentality of the American people? Why am I even pondering this question? Well, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a woman named Valerie Benjamin who had a Hillary Clinton sticker on her van. She was waiting for a light when a man pulled up beside her, saw the sticker, rolled his window down to shout to her, "You can be for Hillary all you want, but there is no way that thing is going to win!"
Sure the statement is sexist. But is it wrong to say? America is supposed to be the poster country for freedom, but is it in good taste to voice your ignorant opinions, arbitrarily to people you don't even know just because you have the freedom to say what you want?
There is another issue here, as I see it, that speaks to what a black man or a white woman could do if they were in the White House? Would either one be able to exact change for the betterment of all races in America? By calling Hillary Clinton a "thing" clearly, to me, speaks to a population of bigotry that has not and will not go away willingly. (I can only imagine what Obama is being called to his bumper sticker face!) It's funny that there is a population of people who thought GWB was the answer for eight years. I guess he was if you like bankruptcy. Not only did he bring down a company and a baseball team, he has now managed to bring down a whole country! But hey, that's business as usual in politics in America. It seems like the attitude about politics is like what the character, Norman Gechco (is that spelled right?)in the movie "Wall Street," felt about destroying a business at the expense of the workers. Wreck it because it is "wreckable!" And with that line of thinking, maybe it is okay to be a bigot. Be one because you can if you want!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

I saw it! I saw the basketball documentary called Black Magic and I have to say that the intention of it being shown during the NCAA's big event added, yet, another reason to love basketball at this time of year. That being said, it left a sour taste in my mouth because of the timing of its showing. Why?/ Basically, "Black Magic" blended into the fabric of the bigger picture and disappeared. It was that "feel good" feature where we get to see some of the history of the game. Sadly, nothing has changed to right the wrongs that have taken place in the sport as it relates to black coaches being treated fairly and equally. Blacks basketball royality was treated very harshly but that can be blamed to the times. The Civil Rights Movement was the backdrop to the piece and it also served as the explanation for the many wrongs black coaches faced. But what is so different now? What, blacks are not being attacked by dogs at the extention of a police officer's arm? What, blacks can eat next to whites in a restaurant? What? We can all use the same water fountain and restrooms? What about the disproportionate hirings of black coaches at major universities? Oh, my bad, that has gotten better too?/ I don't know if I feel so good that a white coach took a bunch of black players and dared to challenge and beat Kentucky, which had an all white team anymore. And the title, Black Magic implies, to me, that black athletes seem to carry a chicken's foot in their socks or rattle bones in a plate in the locker room before a game. Black athletes train as hard as anybody when it comes to playing sports, in general, basketball in particular. Earl Monroe did not represent black magic as it were. He was a highly skilled player and his feats are diminished by calling him "Black Magic" or "Black Jesus!" Why couldn't he be Earl Monroe, one of the baddest ever? Same for Cleo Hill and Peewee Kirkland... And, what about Ben Jobe and "Big House" Gaines? How come they are not mentioned everytime a coach"s wins are mentioned? Dean Smith and Bobby Knight are always mentioned! At one point I thought that they were the only two coaches that won a lot of basketball games until Mike krzyzewski showed up./ C'mon... Stop screwing around with my head and do the right thing. Either show the documentary and pieces about black's contributions year round or, when you do show it, get me a Coke and some popcorn at your expense. The never seems to be a problem treating blacks like an afterthought at a black's expense!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Warped POV by A. Dacosta Brathway

Well, well, well... "Oh how the mighty have fallen!" What kind of buffoon government is New York running? A self-righteous governor caught in a sex scandal while basking in the glow of having the rep for being a muckracker? Are you kidding me? What the hell is going on? I used to have faith in men in power in government. No, they have not done a damned thing for me, personally, but I marveled in the fact that they had the balls to run for public office and act like they are in charge. When 9/11 happened, the Mayor of New York City showed up, like he was supposed to and did what everybody else did. He stood there in wonderment just like every other New Yorker... Fast forward, he tried to use his showing up at the World Trade site, on that fateful day, as a platform to convince the American public that he is the right man for the Republican nomination to become the President of the United States because he had an astute point of view on terrorism! BALLS! It takes iron testicles to be able to even think that you can be that way and pull it off while getting the drop on the American public. (Is it a coincidence that he dropped out of the race early?) I could never even consider allowing my mind to wander in that territory. So now "The Governor" as it were, spent "cheddah" in the neighborhood of $80,000.00 for some booty when he had a perfectly good booty at home that he could have gotten for the price of... let's say... a bag of groceries? C'mon man, do the math! Am I the only one laughing? This is "real" reality tv comedy going on! If a sit-com is not developed from this premise, it is not even worth buying a new flat screen in HD. And, now we have "a brotha" vying for the Democratic nomination for President. I'm sorry but a blackman running for president is not as absurd as a governor paying $80,000.00 for a piece of ass! Damn, now I'm priced out of the market!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

I never thought of my life being rough, considering my high school experiences, until I was told that I had to be signed out of school. My mother, who was livid when she found out she had to sign me out, threatened to send me to live with my father. The trick was that we had to find out where he was to know where to send me!/ I remember it being a frantic search... My mother called every family member she had a number for to see if they knew of his where-a-bouts. When all else failed, she had me to scour every bar in the 'hood. After several days, I finally found him sitting on the last stool of the last bar I searched. He was drunk and did not know who I was when I raised his head off the bar. After a brief struggle, I finally got his house keys out of his pocket, then tried to get him to tell me where he lived. He must have given me about fifteen addresses before the bartender confirmed which address was the correct one./ When I got him home, there was debris everywhere. There were newspapers all over the floor... Damn near everywhere I stepped there were dead roaches. They were dead because there was no food in the house. There was no garbage in the garbage cans or in the refrigerator. The man did not eat... Nor did he feed his roaches! There was, however, plenty of empty liquor bottles laying around. Maybe that's why there were no mice around... All the booze was gone! I dropped him on his unmade bed and took his work boots off. Man his feet stunk! The race between his breath and his feet was a close one! After getting him in a position on the bed where i could be sure that he would not fall out of it, I started looking around his apartment for pictures, letters, or some sort of momento that would give me a clue as to who my father was. He left my mother when I was three years old so I never lived with him. Every now and then he would send my mother some money but I could see that most of his cash went to buying spirits and cigarettes. My dad smoked like a chimney in a farm house on a cold winter's night. He would light a fresh one with a spent one. I knew that because there was only one match, in the ashtray by his bed, burried under twenty cigarette butts! The apartment was sparsely furnished. He did not look like he needed much. He went to work, then the bar, then home. The cycle was endless... I did not find anything of real value in his apartment but I did notice that his work boots were all polished and lined up in his closet. His work pants all had sharp creases and were very clean. My father was an electrician and I was told that he was a very good one. He was known for his fearlessness around live wires, which was evident by the burns in the palms in his hands. He could pull cable with the best of them. He was a tall man with a strong build. His laugh was loud and hearty. He laughed like a content drunk! As I stood there and stared at him sleeping and snoring like a car with a busted muffler, I wondered... If I could live with my dad and keep him sober, would he teach me his trade because after getting kicked out of high school? I wondered because there was no way I was going to be able to go to college!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

As many an adventure as I've had, in high school, and as much fun as I had having those adventures, my high school days finally ended. The years blitzed by so fast... Probably because I did not live in the moment when things were happening. i was called into the Academic Dean's office and was warned that a letter was being to my house to advise my mother that she had to come to the school to sign me out! I was not going to officially graduate. SHIT!I knew that when my mother read that letter it would not matter that I did not graduate because she was going to kill me!/ My mother was a hard working single mother who did not attend any PTA meetings because she was wat too tired when she got home from work. Besides, there was no way she was going to ride a bus for an hour to go to my school. Oh hell no! I can remember always being nervous around my mother. I can also remember never being constipated and having to take a laxative because my mother was my laxative! My bowels were always loose. When my mother came home from work, my room always smelled like shit because the flatulence was overwhelming. I was quick, as a kid, because I was literally jet propelled!/ ...She read the letter and went off on me. Back then there was no such thing as a kid knowing the number to Child Support Services. If I did, know the number, they would have probably advised my mother to continue to kick my ass until I got it right./ Finally, the day came when my mother trekked up to my school and signed me out. The process did not last long... In fact, it was quite informal. It was sort of like "business as usual" for the black kids because all the kids that got signed out that day were black. It was sterile, surgical...therapeutic! I, to this day, cannot describe how relieved I was knowing that I did not have to return there after I mother put her John Hancock on that paper! So what if I did not graduate, had no high school diploma, and no future, I was free! Free from all the racial tension, the racial slurs, the race riots... I was not sure of what was ahead, but there was one thing that I thought of, in the moment of my joy, that I thought I would never have to go through again... I thought that I would never have to take another order from a white person for the rest of my life. And, whomever said "Be careful what you ask for!" Well, there were no truer words spoken!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

I only liked one sport- basketball! To hell with baseball! (I never got picked to play with my "so called" friends when they struck up a game.) Football? Oh hell no! I was not even trying to catch a concussion! If I wanted one of those I would have joined one of the neighborhood gangs. Basketball seemed to make the most sense for me. I dug the movement of the game. Running up and down the court, with a ball, trying to put it in a hoop with a torn up net had a certain appeal to me. When I started learning the game, of course, I sucked at it. But that did not deter me. I kept trying and trying and trying... I was always in the park playing pick up games. I always got picked! It had a lot to do with being tall for my age. I don't remember if my junior high school had a team... Wait a minute... Come to think of it, the school did have a team. I just didn't know when tryouts were. I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would play high school basketball! That was it! End of story! I was going to play./ Before I knew that I was going to be bussed out of the 'hood to go to high school, I was headed to the great Boys High School. Now Boys had a reputation for winning that rivaled some of the pro teams in the NBA at that time. Lenny Wilkins and Connie Hawkins went to Boys. There were more guys but I just cannot remember their names at the moment. When it was my time to go, a kid named Mel Davis was going to Boys. Mel was 6'5", about 240 pounds and had the reputation of being a mean SOB. Shit, Mel would dunk on his mother if she stood in his way to the basket. (He probably got his toughness from her which means she would have probably blocked his attempt!) There was no way I was going to make Boys basketball team. But as FATE and the Civil Rights Movement would have it, I got shipped out to Madison High School, which means I had a shot. When I got there I inquired about when tryouts were for varsity. I was told that freshman had to play jv ball. I have to say that I must have smoked a ton of weed before I got to high school because I do not remember playing jv basketball nor do I remember being disappointed if I did not play. However, by my junior year, I was good anough and tall enough to play varsity and that is an experience I will never forget! It wasn't playing for the team that I remember fondly... It was what happened off the court that gives me nightmares. I had the pleasure or curse to play for a "legendary" coach named Jamie Moskowitz, who sure as hell did not like me. I don't know what I did to draw his fire but he never let up on me. I don't know... Maybe it was my teenage alcoholism, which caused me to be late for practice most of the time that pissed him off. Or, maybe it was the fact that I never listened to him when he was trying to make a point. I don't know where he got that idea from... I hardly made eye contact with the man! I remember, on the way to a game on the school bus, we were passing over a bridge. There was a gigantic cemetary we were passing over and Coach asked me, loudly, how many people were dead in the cemetary? I did not answer right away, which gave him the impression that I was trying to count the head stones. He broke the silence by saying that they were all deads and he postscripted his comment by calling me a "dummy." Yeah...yeah, he called me a "dummy" in front of the whole team. Everyone laughed at me because they wanted to stay on the squad. That had to be it because that shit was not funny... to me! Somehow I managed to stay on the team. I wasn't the greatest player but I wasn't the worst either. And, I got to exact some revenge on my coach. I remember getting a plaque for being the best freethrow shooter on the team. That was my last laugh! Imagine the irony. A teenage, black, alcoholic basketball player, in a predominately white high school, becomes the best freethrow shooter. Got 'em!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

...As a part of my socialization process, my mother introduced me to jazz music. This was significant because I was diggin' music that my peers could not even get to (which made me hipper than them!). My mother must have been in entertainment in another life because she was always singing and dancing around the house. She talked about her days when she hung out at a dance hall or the movies or a concert. Her album pile consisted of Dakota Staton, Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday... All smooth singers that hung out in Harlem back in the day. To be honest, I didn't really care about that style of jazz but it did motivate me to get into cats like Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Byrd, and Coltrane (when he went into his transendental spiritual meditation bag! There were others... Bobby Hutchinson, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Greshen Moncur, Dizzy... I was so far gone at 15 years old, it wasn't even funny. I actually wanted to become a jazz musician but I didn't have the one main ingredient a musician needed to have... I couldn't play an instrument worth a shit! And gettin' high did not help my plight. But I had everything else a jazz musician had. I had the look, the voice (you know, low and raspy), the walk and the drugs. I wanted to be down so bad, I thought about joining the school jazz band and strapping a kazoo to a tenor sax just so I could be down! It probably worked out for the better though. If I had got down the way I wanted to, I wouldn't be writing this now. I'd be dead and, probably, would not have become world renowned the way my idols did. And, in retrospect, I would have gone overboard. I would have so cool, I would have been too cool for my peers and they would have shunned me anyway. But, now that I know what I know, I should have done it because my life is really fucked up now and I didn't have a blast getting to this point!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

Man, this whole drug thing is twisted. Young folks and some old folks) are killin' themselves with all kinds of weird drug concoctions and that puzzles all the hell out of me! Back in the day, I got into the drug thing. At first I started drinking beer. I lived over my aunt's store so I could go downstairs and sneak a bottle of malt liquor out of the fridge and have at it. It was cool, at first, but then I started getting drunk! That was some weird shit. I was dizzy and throwing up... I remember the room spinning around and no matter what I did to try to stop it, it kept spinning around and around and around...I got bored with that shit real fast. The only other way I was willing to get high was to smoke weed./ Now, out at the high school, thw white boys was doing all kinds of shit. It was the '60's and the hippie thing was in full effect. There was LSD that had cats straight trippin'... I was having no part of that. There was other things happening that did not interest me... But that weed... Oh man! I loved smokin' weed! The first time I did it at the high school, I was told, I pulled my pants off and ran the length of the football field, buck naked! I have no recollection of that but that's what I was told. However, I do remember craving potatoe chips and "Hostess Twinkies" and "Ring Dings" and "Devil Dogs" and lots and lots of soda! Back then a soda cost $.15 and any one of those cakes cost a dime. Potatoe chips cost 5 cents a bag. A bag of weed cost $5.00 and a lid was going for $20.00. Because I played ball, I knew all the dealers so scoring a bag for a discount was not a problem and my game was not even that tight. When I hung out with the "real" ballers the smoke was even better!/ I have to say that when I started smoking weed, I stopped giving a shit about school. I was too high to care. But, I did like the feeling. I guess when you are young, you don't want to care about anything. You just want to do what you want to do. I didn't have a whole lot to do so all I wanted to do was smoke. I think I started smoking weed because I was getting dumped on by chicks. When I was high, I didn't give a shit about chicks. I didn't even know when they were dumping on me after hitting a joint. I didn't care! What was cool about it was I liked being in an altered mental state. I had weird ideas when I got high. To hell if what I thought did not make sense to others. It only had to make sense to me! Obviously, I had to stop but, in my mind, I was real creative when I was altered. I thought differently about myself. I felt confident that whatever I did, I was cool with it. I wanted to be an artist and a musician. I couldn't play an instrument to save my life and the only thing I could paint was pictures by the numbers. It was like I was smoking confidence. When I came down, I felt like I couldn't do shit./ I eventually stopped getting high in college. The feeling got lost in translation. It was that and me getting thrown out of college after I got caught smoking a joint, in my room, during a surprise inspection during homecoming weekend when it seemed appropriate to smoke a joint in the first place!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

Who or what determines how or why you live? Is it GOD? Is it science? Is it dumb-ass luck? I don't know that answer but if anyone asked me that question, as it pertained to me, my answer would be that it is dumb-ass bad luck! Why I was born black, in a one parent situation, in the ghetto, and poor in America can't be anything else but bad luck. And in my teenage years, bad luck reigned supreme in my life./ After I got bussed out of my 'hood to what seemed like a foreign country to go to high school, I was experiencing things I never had to worry about before./ After several encounters with "almost" sexual intercourse, and "very close to" fucking a girl,(good) fate stepped in and lended me a hand. I went to the gym to play some pick up basketball and when I got there, there was this fine honey sitting on the stage, watching. (The gym was a Catholic Church/School that had a stage in the gym.) She was short, shapely, very cute and not the kind of girl that would be interested in me./ When my game came up, I just happened to look over at the stage and for some odd reason our eyes locked! She was staring at me and I guess I was staring at her because I wasn't looking at anything else, including the pile of gear on the floor that I just happened to trip over. Of course everyone laughed... But her! She looked genuinely concerned about my condition. Hobbled, I played my game, lost, and exited the gym. When I got outside, she was out there, smoking a cigarette, which was a no-no around the gym but a complete turn on to me. She was so sexy the way she blew out the smoke then looked at me to see if I caught her committing an ungodly act. When I looked her over, she had on a tight blouse, tight shorts... To be honest, I don't know what else she had on because I could not get past the shorts! When I got closer to her, she spoke to me and my life changed forever!/ Over time, we got to know each other...over the phone. It got to the point where she wanted to see more of me so we decided that one day we would meet and hangout... together./ At that time I was very secretative about my private life. I never talked to my mother about anything! School, sex, teenage anxiety, my failing grades, girlfriends, or the lack there of... So me meeting my mystery girl met the same criteria./ When we finally talked about getting together, she decided that she wanted to come to my house. My house! How in the hell was that going to happen? I lived in a house that was guarded by an aunt that stayed home all the time. Not only did she stay home, she ran a small grocery store and was always watching the block. There was no way I would be able to get my concubine in the house! Ahh, but (good) fate reared her head once again. The day we decided to hang out was the same day that my aunt had a doctor's appointment. All I had to do now was find an excuse to have to go home in the middle of the day, from school. I decided that I would, deliberately, rip the crotch in my pants. That would get me a pass to go home early. When I got to the bus stop (it was too early for the race riots!), my mystery girlfriend was there, waiting for me. For a solid hour, we rode on that bus, teasing each other and reaching a fever pitch!/ When I got her in the house, I thought, "Ive done it! She is in the house, no one is home and my secret is safe!"/ I hear women complain about how bad it was to lose their virginity. They talk about how it was nothing like what they thought it would be... Shit, when I lost mine that beautiful, sunny day, it was everything I imagined and more! I remember her moving past my premature ejaculation moment without a complaint... I remember her dispelling all of the myths about not being able to get it back up after I came. She had skills!/ When it was over, I was so loose, I could not think straight. Unthinking, I thought sex would be like what I saw on tv. You know, like on a soap opera when they had sex. After it was over, they would just get up, put on their clothes and act like nothing happened. It looked so sanitary. Yeah, right... My sheets were soaked and my room was as funky as a whore house on the weekend. I took my sheets off my bed and balled them up in a pile on the floor. I was home free... That is until my mother came home and saw them laying on the floor. When she picked them up she felt the dampness. The funk was not as profound, but it was still in the air because the GLADE had not lived up to it's own advertising./ I saw my mystery date one more time after that. She was with another guy, probably going to do the same thing she did with me on my special day. But I was a man about it. I had already done my crying... It was when (bad) fate stepped in and convinced my mother to whip my ass when she figured out what went on... On my dream date when she smelled the funk and saw my sheets on the floor...!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

Man, talk about history repeating itself... Back in the 60's, when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing and the rhetoric that was being spewed from both sides of the ledger seemed to make sense, the Vietnam War was in full effect. (Just like the Iraq War now) At that time, the government implimented a draft and young males were chosen (like a lottery pick for the NBA) and issued a "status rating." There was certain criteria set that you had to meet that would determine when you were drafted. There was a list of conditions that the military determined how you could be drafted or not be drafted and there was nothing you could do about it. I remember thinking that I would have to go to war and never become the "genius" I thought was my manifest destiny. I did not want to go to war because I knew I would have a problem navigating the terrain in Vietnam. I knew that because I was having a problem navigating the gang turf in my 'hood. There were two prominent gangs happening when I was a kid. There were the Bishops and the Chaplains and, believe me, these two groups had nothing to do with the church! (That is unless they were violating a rectory to rob the sisters out of their "vow of silence" allowance!)/ I lived in Bishop territory. A block away from me was the border between Bishop terrirory and Chaplain terrirory. On the surface that was not a problem for me, since I was neutral. But, it became a problem for me because of my mother every weekend. My mother had this thing about me going to the grocery store every Saturday to pick up the usual suspects... Breakfast cereal, milk, some kind of cheap meat, and her feminine hygiene product. The Chaplains thought that because I lived in Bishop territory, I was a Bishop. When I had to go to the store, I had to find a way to explain to them, when they stopped me, that I was not a Bishop and I was going to the store for my mother. For some reason, that was not enough of a passport to get me through the gauntlet they had set up. I should have chosen track as my sport because I got real fast!/ Needless to say, I did not always get through untouched. I remember once I tried to explain to them that I was not a Bishop or a Chaplain... Hell, I was in conformation classes in the Episcopal Church to try to become an alter boy and they wouldn't let me join their gang! It might have been easier to just take the gang initiation then going through those classes! Anyway, I took two ass whippings that day. After the Chaplains were done, I had to go home and explain all of this to my mother. Under normal circumstances, she would have understood but this particular Saturday was a heavy flow day and her maxi-pads were of vital importance. In retrospect, maybe I would have had an easier time in Vietnam!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway

While I was in high school, I suffered through the normal adolescent trama that male teenagers go through. Only the difference between me and a normal male teenager is I'm willing to expose myself to the public, in my blog, while they crawled into the closet and built a cozy nest under their shirts and between their sneakers./ I started to take a liking to girls and there was one girl, in particular, that I was developing strong feelings for. Her name was Barbara (not really her name) and she was smoking hot! She was tall and had a shape that could break an hour glass. She was in a couple of my classes and my sense of humor was good enough to get her attention so I used it to my advantage. We would talk after class and it got to the point where we would walk to the bus stop together. (Later on I found out that she walked with me because I would shield her from the bottles that were thrown during the race riots!) We became close enough for her to ask me to visit her at her house. When I went there, I found out that Barbara was not some ordinary black chic from the 'hood. This chick's folks had some cash! I remember her father being very cool and quiet. He did not look down on me like I was invading his privacy. After he spoke to me, he disappeared to another room in the house and I never saw him again. Barbara's mother was another story. She gave me the once over all night long. Not that I thought that I would even get to first base with Barbara, her mother made sure I that I would never even get to the batter's box-that night. She pelted me with questions about me, my family, and my job status. When she determined that I did not make ENOUGH money to her liking, she told me that I had to step up my game if I wanted to even get a sniff of Barbara! Weeks turned to months before Barbara invited me back to her house. Only, this time, things had taken a turn for the better. Her parents went on a cruise! When I got there, Barbara was dressed in a slinky dress, heels, and a fur coat and matching hat. I was stunned. I remember wondering where she was going dressed like that and why she invited me over in the first place? She took me upstairs to a room where she had a pool table in it... Nothing else. She took off her coat and hat, laid across that pool table, spread her legs, then asked if I could put the black balls in the corner pocket? Hey, just call me "Minnesota Fats!" After some struggle, I got my pants down, pulled out my pool stick... And then it happened... I, prematurely, shot, and missed the pocket! Needless to say, I was never invited to shoot pool with Barbara again! Stay tuned...

Monday, January 14, 2008

CRAP/ My Journal by Al Brathway

January, '08, Monday/ Well it's a new year and that means new things. My plans are to go to new places and do new things. I plan to meet new people and participate in new dialogue. However, this means that I will have to get a new job and make new money. I will also have to have a new attitude! So, making new year's resolutions is not a new thing to me because I do it every year... And, nothing new seems to happen. What could be new to me is that I get to be in control of all of this newness and have a new found control over everything so that I can experience all that is new. Maybe I should start by saying some new prayers? Whatever is in store for me this year, I hope will be good. I'm ready... Happy New Year!/ CRAP! (But I mean that in a nice and new way!)

My Life Sucked Which, Psychologically, Affected Me To Aspire To Become a Vaccuum Cleaner Or a Writer!

January '08/ This is a part of the Prelude (The Wonder Years)to my new book. I will reveal snippets of my colorful life until I find something more interesting to write about during the course of '08.

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement was both a scary and rewarding experience. Prior to 1955, I never thought I had anything to worry about. Then all hell broke loose for me! Emmit Teale was murdered, there was a big march in the South, Black folks needed Federal marshals just to get around town and everybody hated everybody! Now, living in New York at that time, was a little different than living in the South because racism was deep under cover. I did not know I was hated until a big Irish cop ordered me and my friends to get off the street corner before he knocked the shit out of us. (Which may have helped me because I remember being constipated a lot?)

After I graduated from Junior High School, integration set in. The high school all the black guys went to was two blocks from my house. I could have slept late, walked the two blocks and never been late for school. But, somebody decided that blacks and whites needed to go to school together so I was shipped out to Flatbush, Brooklyn to go to an all white high school. What a joke that turned out to be. The blacks hated the whites and the whites hated the blacks and I was stuck right in the middle. I didn’t hate anybody, at that time. There were race riots every week! I didn’t like fighting, although I had my first racially inspired fight in high school. The guy I fought was an Italian kid with a funny accent. He talked like “Vinny Barbarino” from the sitcom “Welcome Back Carter.” (I wonder if that kid was John Travolta?) I had to find a way to get home without getting my ass kicked. Back in my ‘hood, I was running with a bunch of guys who fashioned themselves as young revolutionaries. We all had big afro hairdos and we wore African garb. We spoke in “pig Latin” because Swahili was too hard to learn and we talked about killing the enemy all the time when we smoked reefer.

The Vietnam War was in full effect and I knew that I did not want to go there. I felt like going to Vietnam was like going to Flatbush except that there was no bus or subway there that could bring me back home. To me, at that time, it was one thing to fight for your country and it was a whole ‘nother thing to fight for your life! I chose my life! (No, I did not defect to Canada… My mother would not let me go there- kill joy!) By my junior year in high school, I started rebelling. I did not want to go to school anymore but, since I had to go, I figured I would start failing all of my classes! (I got bored being an honor student!) The only one in the school who seemed to care whether I passed or failed was my young, Jewish English teacher, who had just gotten married and had a crush on me! I didn’t think anything of it until she asked me to take her home with me and I could not figure out a way to sneak her into my crib without my mother finding out about it. She had “jungle fever,” only it was more like Malaria now that I look back on it. She was good looking but way too motherly for me. I already had the “mother of all mothers!” Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother but she was a motherf#@ker!