Monday, December 31, 2007
Doing whatever I had to do to survive.
I'm not saying what I did was alright,
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight.
Been down so long, getting up didn't cross my mind,
I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find.
You don't know what you'll do until you're put under pressure,
Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester.
Across 110th Street,
Pimps trying to catch a woman that's weak
Across 110th Street,
Pushers won't let the junkie go free.
Across 110th Street,
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street.
Across 110th Street,
You can find it all in the street. Bobby Womack "Across 110th Street"
" They say that it's funky, but it's fair...." Well at least that's what they say. I would so, like to disagree with those that believe dat. I knew that after Christmas would come the storm, but I tried to hope and pray for the best. I know all is not over, but when you step into the world from which I was born it's like walking into the urban version of the twilight zone.
As you can see they have begun packing all the clothes and throwing away all furniture. It was a very solemn day at my mother's house. With less than 48 hours 6 human beings have to pack and be out of the of the only shelter that they have. When I arrived my sister Camille and my niece and nephew were there, my brother Andre was in his room writing his scientific manifesto and my other Kenny was playing that groovie Xbox 360 I was telling yall about the last time we talked. How anyone could be patient enough to play Gears of Duty while they are on the verge of sleepin' the cold streets is beyond me. But my family is no ordinary family, and what me seem rational to the "Cleavers' ", aint in no means sound mind to the folks I love and call family. I know I can be a little temperamental at times, but sometimes it takes someone to light the match under their toes, to get them to steppin'.
Well my brother in law Babu, he had his friend Alex come give us a ride in his Minivan. We went to my brother's job at the Pottery Barn to get some boxes, its right by this store called the Naked Fish. You should have seen the look on one of my brother's fellow employee's face when she saw those boxes slidin' out that side door. She leaned out to my brother and said, "How did you open that side door." Like he don't work there and obviously got someones permission to do so. She gave him a fake ass farewell and we were off.
Adversity in times like this is what creates the kind of character in which great men formed. As I watched the various shopper gallivanting in search of some escape from the reality in which they live, I wondered how could people spend money so frivolously when it is an over abundance of destitute people. I understand that their are reasons people work hard, so they will be able to the fruit of their labor, but when a man or woman begins to venture beyond the surface of material satisfaction, only then will they be allowed to understand the true meaning of life and love of their fellow man.
At the church I am a member, the pastor has a saying that he likes to sang in that ole preacher drawl, that preachers use when they want to emphasize on what I call my thought for the week. He begins to harmonize like he is Teddy Pendergrass and he says, "One of these ole days... " Usually implying that you better do what you gotta do while you have the opportunity on this earth to do what's right, cause one of these ole days, you got to be accountable for your righteous as well as your wicked actions.
Tonight I stared at this LCD screen since 7:00 p.m. and was unable to to form the words in which I wanted to express how my day at home felt. Tomorrow I have to scoop this sack of ebony necroplasma outta bed and go through the same thing again, and although thats a blessing one of these ole days... I wish I could wake up and without worrying if my mama will have some where to sleep.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Christmas was wonderful this year. Despite the fact that my family is on the verge of being homeless. They had presents which were expensive, and I am still unable to grasp that concept. From the Xbox 360's to the digital cameras with a printing dock (which I received and loved), it was beautiful to see everyone so happy. I think I spoke on that before, but it is so hard for me not to worry about tomorrow, even when tomorrow aint promised. I wish I was able to buy something, besides some chocolate chip cookies. The cold part about it, I was the only one who ate chocolate chip cookies, at least while I was there.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
It's Christmas Night. I haven't had the priviledge of being home for the holidays for 8 years now. This Christmas I am up listening to Allen Ginsberg and thinking about what I was doing one year ago, how was I feeling one year ago. It's such a drastic change to go from one extreme to the next and then with a slight shift of thought...it's really quite natural. Coming home from prison isn't natural, but changing is...it's constant, as they say.
Well I finally completed my 24 week class in computer training. I was a little uneasy about attending the graduation, being in a social setting which would be predominantly my academic peers and instructors. I understand that it is innate for me to stand upon the soil of my own grave and ponder, "Where do I go from here? How do I get to the great wall of China from the Golden Gate Bridge? How the hell this carriage get in front dis' here horse?" I was so wrapped up in the idea that a conversation about the latest stainless steel, 54 mbps, 1,000,000 GB Iphone may come past my way and I would feel so stupid, that I, Lannie Ross hadn't recieved a email from Bill Gates himself informing me first about it. Lawd forbid, in this vast world of technology, that I may miss something, let alone not know every detail, down to the most minute specifications.
Bun on the contrary, the night was rather pleasant. I attended it with my mother, who was very quiet. If she didn't take a cigarette break from time to time, I may not have noticed the nectar of her of nicotine, breaking the silence, like a sledgehammer at the hill of my nose. I believe she may have been avoiding the same conversation about that Iphone too. Lucky for us, no one at our table gave a damn about a computer that night.
I am looking forward to being with my mother and family tomorrow. It's unfortunate that I am unable to give her a present like I would like. Something nice like a bouquet of hundred dollar bills, or a new house. But with her and my family being evicted come the 2nd of the New Year, I believe that their are some other priorities that we should all focus towards. I am going to bring over some chocolate chip cookies and hope to cherish a memory, maybe a year from now. How I was feeling, when my money was about as thin as Lionel Richie's anorexic daughter, or I may wonder about the hybrid of emotions I was feeling when I was nervous about passing a dumb ass test, about where my mama was gonna call her next home-instead of praisin' the Lawd that he aint callin' her home.
It's hard for me to be in the moment sometime and not react. But I am proceeding to learn, each and every day how to remain humble and have patience. Be thankful that I was allowed the opportunity to be with my mom, family and friends this year. This year, in 2007 that's all that truthfully matters. So when that slight shift saunters on in, I will look him crack-dabb in the middle of his eyes and calmly ask, "So, where do we go from here?"
I wasn't able to catch it verbatim, but Mr. Ginsberg was asked since he has written homosexual poems, does he view himself as only a homosexual writer? His response was that sometimes he is bi, straight, a poet, a activist...etc.
Constantly changin', can't be the same, gotta put a twist wit' that, some fries and a shake, shift it baby....ever so slightly.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Some just said this stuff is just far too complicated for a simpleton to be learning, and left. Whether it was it was 6 months left to completion or one, each had their reason and left. Some may say that they took the easy way out, but after going through the training myself I know how easy it is to say,” To hell with this stuff! I’m a felon and who is going to give me the opportunity to fix their equipment, learning I/O addresses, IRQ’s, different motherboards, ram, capacitors, pci cards and the rest of that stuff.
Even today I find a reason to say I happy just being a educated “USER”!
But why do that, I have come too far to turn back now. Even if I never get a job as a technician somewhere making $30-40 an hour, I will at least be able to say that I completed Street Tech's 24 week class and obtained my certification. I set a goal and accomplished it. I am somewhat perturbed that my class wasn't as focused as a unit on accomplishing our task like our Street Tech (San Pablo division) counterparts. Hopefully I will still be able to finish completely, what i set out to do.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It's been 5 months since I was released from San Quentin State Prison after serving 8 years for armed robberies and discharging a firearm in the Burger King around the corner from where I use to live. The journey through California's penal system was a hard and laborious one. After dealing with the situation myself, it's hard to even understand how anyone can become acclimated to that way of life, however it is possible and like my old friend Joe Snow use to tell me while I was fighting my case, "Lannie, when you get out you will not be the same person." I'm not.
I have alot of subtle institutionalized characteristics which are still embedded within the core of my physche. I seem to always mention prison when speaking with people I interact with on a daily basis. In my mind it's like, " get it off your chest, so we can move on," type of mentality. Other times it's more of a ego trip if anything else. Being in prison for eight years can damage a man, physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually. However, I will reveal about how it personally damaged the center of me later on. Today, I just want to mention that,"this is the last day of the beginning of my life."
Upon release from prison, I made a point to get active immediately with my transition back into society. After such a long period I made alot of plans. I wanted to start my own little t-shirt business, so I purchased a airbrush with some cash I had accumulated while i was in prison. I checked myself into the Haight/Ashbury clinic, a clean and sober living environment, not because I had a problem with drugs, but because it would allow me the time to focus a bit longer, go to school and save some money there in the meantime.I have accomplished all but the latter, smile. I began going to the Ebeneezer Baptist church every Sunday because I knew it was nothing besides God's good grace which allowed me to survive my ordeal and give me the chance to give my mama that hug and a kiss I waited so long to give to her. She was the only living being that stood by me through those times. Yeah, people cared about me, but she was there.
The community at Ebeneezer is what I would call a classic congregation, nothing fancy. Which is one of the main reasons I became a member and got baptised there. They don't have many young men there so they were happy to see me come. They try to involve me in alot of activities which is nice, however I am not currently in the position to take on such responsibilities as being a usher or going to picnics and things of that nature. My appearance means alot and if I'm not up to par I'm personally just not feeling it. My sister usually braids my hair, but sometimes she flakes on me and then my head looks a "hottmess!" Due to CDC's lack of medical funding, while incarcerated I was unable to get proper dental care so I am some what conscious about how my teeth look. Then there is the case where after not being around women for so long, there are periods when I just feel very awkward and although this is not often at times it happens and I realize that there are some things which need to taken care of before I just emerge myself into things and be completely comfortable. But for the most part I'm cool with where I am, today. I am better off than a lot of people who are coming from my background of incarceration or a street lifestyle. I recognize that I am blessed even though sometimes I don't know what the hell is going on. And people do accept me for the person I am, I just would like to be the best that I can be, physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually.
Well, I am one month away from completing my A+ training (computer installation), and I plan on altering my my image today, if not sometime over the weekend. This whole month will be nothing but a complete makeover for me. On January 1, I want to look back and say, "Okay, that was a good start, now let's really get going. It's the first day...