Archive for the ‘ Realism ’ Category

Stolen Goods

Stole us from our homes

Stole our gold

Stole our babies while crying

Stole our blood, sweat and tears

Created the conflict

Stole the diamonds

Stole our culture

Stole our music

Stole our drums

Stole our voices

Stole our fun

Stole our choices

Stole our smile

Anything we created

Stole our style

Put our skin on trial

Jury of non-peers:

Color’s not worthwhile

See

We thought it was a trial

But it wasn’t really a trial

Stole the natural date of  death

Stole our loved ones

Stole their breath

Of all the things that were stole

You will never steal our soul

Thoughts After The Last Dance

Watching the last 2 episodes (7 & 8) of The Last Dance this evening touched me in a way I didn’t expect.  These episodes partly focused on how intense Michael Jordan was with the methods that he used to motivate others… It made me reflect on certain times in my life where I was similar.  Sometimes people can misunderstand that intensity.  When it comes to getting results, I have a more, “let’s get straight to the point” mentality.

The first memory I was visited with:  I previously was part of the coaching staff at a school in Detroit, MI called Burton International. I coached there for eight years total and coached both, girls & boys that were 7th & 8th graders (4 Division Championships, BTW). I had this one student during that time named, DC that came to me crying once. She said that she needed to talk to me and the first thing that she asked was why I was so hard on her. It seemed to her I was harder on her than anyone else.  The truth is, I didn’t know exactly why I was so hard on her at the time.  All that I knew is that I saw massive potential in her and I was trying to force that potential to the surface.  Luckily at the time, one of the senior coaches, Rev. JW, who always knows what to say, told her that I wouldn’t focus that type of energy on her if I didn’t really care… if I didn’t care about her and her being successful.

This has been a common theme with me that started with my younger brothers when the three of us were younger.  I was especially hard on my brother that is closest in age to me.  We didn’t grow up in the most favorable environment.  In that environment, I lived with a certain fear of not making it.  My fear wasn’t really of me leaving this earth… it was more, if I were to leave here, who would be here to protect my brothers?  So, in my mind, it was my job as the big brother to toughen them up enough where I knew they could protect themselves, each other and that they could also stand strong independently as individuals.  Mental and physical toughness was needed.  I’ve had the same best friend since I was in high school (CA).  If you were to ask him, he’d tell you, that’s the only thing that I worried about at that time.  There are no two people that I have talked about more than my two brothers.  The day that I knew that they would be OK is when we were out in the back having an intense game of basketball and I was being a little rough.  That game ended in my brother closest in age using a fighting move that I taught him and striking me above my right eye in retaliation for my roughness.  I was standing there leaking blood and needed to go to the hospital to get stitches. My brother thought I was going to kill him (figuratively). I’ll admit, I was more than a little angry that he used that move on me, but I was more proud than anything.  That’s when I knew.

I moved away from Detroit in 2005.  I ended up taking a job in Cincinnati, OH.  I actually had no intentions on coaching anymore and certainly didn’t think about mentoring, however, it fell in my lap anyway.  As I got to know people in the area from frequenting basketball courts, people started to ask me to work with high school kids in the area. I was very reluctant to do so since I had spent the previous eight years coaching at Burton International.  During that time, I felt that I needed to focus on me.  That never really happened.  I met a former Xavier University basketball star, BM, that was then studying to be a pastor and he asked me to check out this kid, GW, at a local high school, Roger Bacon.  BM and I went to a game to see this kid play; he then asked me to train, GW.  I initially said no. BM asked me to join him at a Men’s Night at his church and we really got to know each other, dropping the surface level pleasantries.  We had more in common than basketball. After BM heard my story, he stressed the importance of people like me wearing the mantle of a mentor. I told him, I only know how to do it one way… I push and push and push and then I push some more.

I started out Mentoring and training only GW.  Then his teammate, WF, became part of our group.  Shortly after that, a kid from Burton International that I had coached before, BJ, now in high school, called me up and said that Detroit was no longer the place for him and since we were from similar types of neighborhoods, I would be able to understand him, deal with him, and get him on a better path.  During the conversation with BJ’s parents, I was asked what my plan was to get him on the right track if he were to move in with me. I told them that I plan to treat him as he is one of my younger brothers and all that entails.  His parents didn’t necessarily completely understand what that meant, but BJ did.  To me, that’s all that mattered.  BJ knew that I would do everything in my power to make him a better person, whether he liked the method or not.  And just like that I had three teenagers that I accepted responsibility for.

I’ve had talks with all three of my Cincinnati guys as we grew to become a family. I’m sure though, if you were to talk to GW or WF initially, they would have sworn that I was a maniac.  BJ already knew how I operated from our time in Detroit together. He knew it was nothing but tough love.  He knew that I used my personal experiences and focused them into methods of motivation.  I was even trying to push them along in case I was no longer able to be there for them.  Not in the same manner I was worried about previously with my brothers as far as leaving this earth, it was more so just knowing that life happens… and if something happened where I could no longer mentor or coach, they would have gotten the best they could have gotten from me in the time that we shared.

Although my intensity has worked well in the mentoring arena.  I’ve also struck out with it at times.  Another memory that comes to mind is when I had been dating someone and she essentially told me that my tactics to motivate are very effective but sometimes not pleasing at all.  I can’t really disagree with her.  I am the type of person that will say what people are afraid to say and I’ll say exactly what you don’t want to hear if I think that will be what it takes to help you move in a better direction.  I am mostly like that with people I care about most.  Yes, it is something that I can work on.  It’s probably something that I should work on.  However, at the same time though, it’s hard to argue with results.

And I’m definitely known for getting results.  I am good at it.  I’m just not good at being soft about it.

Pain Blinders

If for you

To make my case

Uprooted myself

Moved across states

Would my intentions be clear to see?

If I actually provided us a home

Was present as a whole

Accepted your child as my own

Would you still be blind to me?

Would you just be questioning to question me?

Would you be faithless to the faithful?

Not recognize

Seem ungrateful

Say things

Distasteful

Because you’re plagued full

Of past relationships pain

Toxic & hateful

That fell apart at the seams

Or would you be able to see

Me for me

None of what you went through

Has anything to do with me

Be able to trust and believe

In the plan developed for us to seize

And know

I’m just here to love on you

Love on her

Teach her things

And help raise our daughter

To a queen

Lie To Me (Some Can’t Handle the Truth)

Lie to me
Tell me you love me
Don’t have to mean it
Lie to me
Paint me a picture
Because I need it
Lie to me
Tell me a tale
While sleep
I’ma dream it
Lie to me
I’m weak
Don’t want to see it
Lie to me
When I wake
I need to believe it

Lie to me

Please protect me from my weakness

Lie to me

DEATH IN THE FAMILY

She was

One of my kids

Just like you

 

Her name was

Isabella

I always called her Izzy

She was one of the 2 little girls

Sisters

That I would bring to practice

At Burton

When they were in my care

I’d take them to the other side

You know…

Across from the gym

So that someone in the afterschool program

Could braid their hair

I obviously had no clue on how to do that

Last night,

October 29

Izzy committed suicide

She wasn’t biologically mine

But still,

She was mine

Just like you

I don’t know if I had been more active in her life

If I had done more

If it would have made a difference or not

I do know that I am out of time

If only I told her

What she meant to me…

Sometimes having knowledge

Of a person’s true feelings

Or actually having it verbalized

Goes a long way

I won’t make that mistake with you

Our relationship is a two-way street

It always has been

I have affected you

You have affected me

Family is more than just a bloodline

I may have been a role model

Or even a second dad to you

You have been first children of mine

And reasons to become a better person

Having children teaches love in a way

That can’t be taught otherwise

It has been an honor to be in your lives

And hold the position

In your hearts and minds that I have held

Seeing you grow into the adults that you are now

Has been the best movie I have ever experienced

I’m looking forward to the sequels

I love you

I believe in you

I always will

If I think you are wrong about something,

I’m still going to tell you about it

And I’m going to use that tone

Adjusted for the fact that you’re now over 18

If you ever need to talk

I am here

I wish I could have done more for your sister

She would have been 19 on November 29th

Izzy was one of my kids

Just like you

2 Questions

I come to you fully exposed…

No walls, no barriers

Defenseless

No bravado

No inflated ego

No mannish pride

No tricks or side angles

No games…mind or otherwise

You’ve overtaken my mind over time

And are in my thoughts working overtime

A natural cause and effect scenario

With the affect immortalized

By way of your many distinctive determinants

The impression on me you’ve made isn’t fleeting or miniscule

Its essence transformational

It has the meat of permanence

We both know what happened and what didn’t

We both share some responsibility

I admit

At times I was protecting me from you

Just like you were protecting you from me

I will do better if you let me

I want to

Known for keeping my word

And I want you…

…to trust we can succeed

The bricks and mortar are already there

Foundation

Opportunity to build on top of that

Is the only need

Here I am

Before you

Humbled and fully exposed

I’ve knocked down walls

And removed barriers

I have:

Open eyes, arms, heart and mind

None of them to you are closed

I don’t know how else to say it

I really don’t know how else to act

I do know how I plan to fix it

But the only power I currently have is to ask

Will you let me love you better?

The bond we share is not happenstance

You and what we have should be fought for

Will you give us the fighting chance?

Here I am before you

Vulnerable and fully exposed

No tricks or side angles,

No bravado

No inflated ego

All I have are these 2 questions

Along with

Open eyes, arms, a heart and mind

That are no longer closed

200 Percent

This is how I see things
It’s how my mind actually thinks things
Should work
Call me old school
If it works
But,
If the path you’ve taken on earth
Leads to a lady
That exudes certain quality
Your effort should match her worth

Who hasn’t had a dream girl?
Even if it wasn’t apparent at first when you met…
Once realized that
She’s walking around in the flesh
The affect should reflect an effort
At your best
200 percent is what she deserves to get

If she is
That beautiful
That much of a lady
Authentic and intelligent
If just the thought of her births a smile
And her voice when heard is heaven sent
Never mind if it seems sometimes
That she’s just a little hesitant
Just like
“It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine”
Because that’s just Common Sense
Be just as obvious with your intent
Give 200 percent
So she’s convinced

If she’s the complete package
She should have a complement to that
If she’s loving,
Caring and thoughtful
She should receive every quality reflected back
Tell her what you feel with words
Sometimes all she needs to hear is that
But make sure actions accompany those verbs
And she will trust in you
Then give you
Every percent of the 200 back

This is how I see things
It’s how my mind actually thinks things
Should work
Call me old school
If it works
But,
If the path you’ve taken on earth
Leads to a lady
That exudes certain quality
Your effort should match her worth

SO MENTAL

I am so mental when it comes to you…

My left brain & my right brain
Get into arguments over which can depict you best
The objective of being expressive and selective
Of the right ad-jective
Becomes a mean chess contest
Between hemispheres…
Both on a quest to claim you as Queen
While keeping the other side in check

Are my thoughts of you neurological contradictions?
You’ve been in my dreams,
Girl
But you walk in real life
Even though,
The actual definition of a Dream Girl,
Is synonymous with fiction

In right-brain vision
You’re a fantasy
You’re a Princess
I’m the frog…
You’re the Beauty,
I’m the Beast
See through your enchanted mirror
Past my exterior
My heart is exposed…
Before all the petals fall from the rose…

See me…

My left-brain has less in common with
Disney movies and TV
You are not a cognitive apparition
But a definite cognition
Don’t need my imagination to paint pictures
To Tell a Vision
The quantity of my logic
Is cognizant of your quality
I am such a realist
I speak your name and there we have
A living definition of non-fiction

Right-brain tried to paint you with colors
None were vivid enough for the job to do
Looked into & through the spectrum for your essence
However, there is only one of hue

Your voice to me is heavenly
It transforms words
Unique in melody
The sweetest thing by far,
I’ve heard,
Are your words when you speak to me
My ears are at concert when you speak
Sitting in orchestra seats while you symphony
I’m a stargazer when our eyes meet
And don’t need Galileo’s fathering of modern astronomy
To conceive a belief
Or grasp that I have
A celestial being standing in front of me

Which side of my mind will you believe?
Which half of me will be claiming you as Queen?
As I transition in between the two for another view
If I paused the pendulum
Just for a second or two
Your attributes stand in the middle
Of abstract and absolute

The battle of thought for you
Does not stop
That’s a statistic that’s not even probable
My left brain follows the thought process
Of the Great Architect and all knowledgeable

It weighs how you were made
Logical versus illogical
The possible vs. improbable…
Not only thinking of a single part of you
But every single part of you
From hair follicle to hair follicle
When God thought of you
From the very first molecule
You were meant to be cherished
Particle by particle

Most feed you empty words like calories
Now it’s time to change your diet
Standing mute could possibly end in tragedy
No longer am I silent
Pick a side in my mind in which you wish to confide in
Right brain or left brain
Which kingdom would you rather reside in?

If neither fit

And you’re being pulled from both sides
I won’t make you decide

Then,

The only thing left is to offer peace
A truce…
For you…
My left brain & my right brain
I will focus
I will metamorphize them and combine them

I’m so mental when it comes to you

X-girlfriend

Thirteen years…
Thirteen years…
It sure seems like forever,
Doesn’t it?
That’s how long
She and I were together…
I was just a teenager
When I met her

She appeared suddenly
I lost myself to her will

A powerful woman she was
She’s what my world became
Before I could grasp what was really going on
I was already consumed
Not much of my identity remained

Friendships before her became a mystery…
The faces seemed familiar
The relationships just weren’t the same
I was wrapped so tightly around her finger
Fearing exposure,
I had to fake it
I couldn’t connect the memories to the names

So much time had passed in our relationship
I thought for sure
Amnesia would be the one
I would be with
When I breathed last

Just as quick as she came initially,
Although thirteen years later,
In an instant,
She left just as fast

WRITER’S NOTE: This was inspired by the plethora of commercials and news articles I have seen recently that are focused on Traumatic Brain Injury awareness. This includes the texting while driving commercials and what’s going on with mainly former but some of the current NFL players and/or other athletes in sports with extreme contact. TBI is very real. Call it what you want, but I am one of very few who has survived and recovered from the debilitating injury. I lived for thirteen years with partial amnesia, along with other effects, after being in a car accident with a Detroit city bus (16 Dexter) at 17 years of age… Protect yourselves and especially, protect the children. Teach them proper safety in sports, while driving and in all that they do. Their lives depend on it.

Dream Girl?

I was asked, “if you had a dream girl, what would she be like?”

That question at first glance seems like a tall order to answer, however, as I have gotten older, I have come to know myself pretty well.  It took a while but I am in touch with what is important to me and what isn’t.  At times previously, I have ignored, like it was a bad thing that at the core, I am a thinker…  Thinkers and creative types need the proper complement…

So my Dream Girl would be as Alicia is, but to the Keys of my mental piano…

Alicia Keys – No One