Wednesday, January 23, 2008


You know I try to look at the good in all things before I speak. I like to listen and learn before I judge. Better yet, I try to HEAR. I hear because it’s deeper than listening. Listening is a passive action. You just stand and or sit there and allow the sounds to come to you BUT hearing requires action. You have to not only take in the sounds but the spirit and intent of the sounds that come in to you. In saying this I HOPE the person this Blog entry is meant for HEAR ME when and “IF” you decide to read this it is PERSONAL. (One Man .... I know you are out there listening but TRUST its not about YOU).

I woke up this morning with a dream about my Father. To all reading, my father past on last year from cancer. It was a changing moment for me because it closed the door on a chapter of my life that has brought me closure on a number of levels. I talk about it sometimes but I rather express it within my ART. I believe that DREAMS are mental signposts that can help you heal, give guidance and exercise desires in ways that “Sane Folk” could never do in the waking World. I like DREAMING, I don’t do it much, but when I do, I make note of them all the time. Today, in my dreams, my FATHER gave me a sign and I didn’t know what it meant until I walked through the door to begin this entry.

If I hadn’t said it before I’ll say it now, I had a good day until ……

I work up and took my time to prepare for a doctor’s appointment. I was a little stressed because I had just had a bad experience with a previous physician whom had a piss poor professionalism and bedside manner. The one thing I HATE more is having to demand and pull information from a doctor about my health and he or she having an attitude about giving it to you. I dealt with that for a little over six months until I decided to kick ol’ Doc to the curb and get another MORE qualified doctor. This new doctor was ON POINT. He did in one visit what my previous physician still hadn’t done over 6 months.

For me, that is a serious load of GOODWILL bestowed upon my spirit. So in that moment, on a cold and windy day, it was SUMMER and SUNNY all the way home. Mind you, I am on a waiting list for a New Place, a list for this great place I had been trying to get into for a while. So you’d think my blessings where raining upon me all full blast. Taking my time to get home I decided to whip out the camera to take pictures of the town. I was thinking about taking Blog pictures as my theme because LORD knows my Blog fans rarely see the LIGHT side of my personality. Soon the photographer in me came out. I haven't allowed myself enough ME TIME to take a few shots so I needed to test my eye, keep it sharp. As I took on subjects, the POET in me came out as well. I took pictures of people shopping, kids on the street playing, dogs and posters, gates and trees, store front signs, all the things that make up living in an urban city, the Metropolis called Harlem.

So I walk past a one of the high-rise projects and see a great pictorial concept, an iron gate in front of a tree. I looked at this contrast as any artist would; hard and soft, man-made and natural, dark and light, and many other possible contrasting examples.

As I am taking my picture I hear a voice behind me. “Hey you!”

Now I would like to put out there in the UNIVERSE, I neither respond to anyone who responds to me as HEY or YOU nor would I ever consider you worth my personal energy if you put the two together. This ASS did that.

I take my picture and then I begin to continue on my way when I hear from the same direction (which was behind me), “Excuse me, what are you taking pictures of? Buildings?”

It was a police officer in a squad car. In my mind I go, “WHAT THE F%*# DO YOU WANT”, but I give the benefit of the doubt. So I responded, “I’m taking pictures of this gate. Is that against the law now?”

No, I was just curious.”, the officer responded in a smirk and condescending manner.

Lies. I had just walked past 5 drug dealers on the corner and 3 double-parked cars and several other possible easy citations and this Mofo rolls up on me for taking pictures of a gate and this MADE THEM CURIOUS? I would have given THEM pause if I was dressed like a THUG with my pants SAGGIN' in 20 degree weather, or I was carrying a lot of BAGS and wearing a beanie and a long ass Middle-Eastern gown, if I fit a stereotypically ARAB PROFILE, or was walking around constantly looking over my shoulder and circling the area, I mean anything that would give a RED FLAG for criminal behavior but I was walking and stopped for a minute and TOOK A FREAKIN' PICTURE OF A TREE. Last I checked, I didn't hear of a secret organization of Photographers banning together to DESTROY America, much less, A HOUSING PROJECT IN HARLEM ( Shyt I'll leave that to the Empowerment Zone and the Crooked Snakes behind that organization).

I doubted this cops sincerity and his curiosity even less, so I had to decide how I was going to do this. I knew my next move; the next words that I’d say would either have me calling Al Sharpton just down the street or home Blogging off this situation in a RANT. Then I recalled the Dream I had earlier. In my dream I was visiting my father where he was living. I had to wait in line for my turn to use a one-person elevator when I was called to come forward to take my turn. As I got on the elevator, the Keeper or Elevator Operator asked who I was going to see and I told him. He responded, "How long has it been since you have visited your father?" I responded, “A while.” The Keeper then hands me an envelope and says, “Here, this is for you, he told me to give you this.” As I take the package I wake up.

A fairly simple dream but for me, it had significance. My FATHER in his youth was a man who knew the truth and when it came to using his mind, he was exceptional. That was his gift to me, and the package in my hand was that SIGN.

I know I am prone to SPEAK FIRST AND THINK LATER when it comes to a person’s RIGHTS and mine was being messed with BIG TIME. I did not want to end up like my father, who has seen HIS DAYS with police and brutality and civil right violations in the 50’s and 60’s and being placed behind bars because of his actions and or mouth and this was my lesson. "You are needed more outside then in right now, LET IT SLIDE." I have leaned in my activities against community OVER POLICING, it was more important for me to give the illusion of their POWER than TESTING it.

I decided to flip the script and humor the officer sitting on the passenger side so I walked toward the car and asked, “You do know what a BLOG is?” He hesitated as if taken off guard. “Ahhhh yes I do.”

Good, then I don't have to explain to you that having pictures are a part of a good one”, I replied back.

What is the BLOG about?” the cop asked.

The BLOG is about me, I am a poet.” As I stare in his eyes as a challenge.

REALLY?” he smirks back.

Really. It has poetry and more. The more YOU might not like.” Long pause.

And why is that?

Because I talk about people like you. Sometimes, not in the best of light.” I say with a smile.

What is the BLOG address?” The cop asks.

I tell him the site address and as I do that, in the back of my mind I say to myself, “You just might get a promotion if you report it to HOMELAND SECURITY.” But I decided not to push it, we did our dance already and the song was over for now.

So the officer writes down the address on a sheet of paper and then shows the other officer who was driving (and silent all the while). As I back off from the squad car I say, “I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and don’t take everything I post personally. It’s just who I am as a POET.”

My day isn’t quite over as of this posting so maybe I can salvage it with some good MUSIC or reading Nathan McCall latest book, THEM. I get so exhausted when shyt like this happen. And it happens all the time to SO many people who are innocent and law abiding. Now you might think I am blowing this OUT OF PROPORTION but this happens all the time, policing urban areas like Military war zones. One might be happy for this type of policing if one lived in a crime infested area BUT for my area, the crime crack downs are MORE SO of what Mayors Giulliani and Bloomberg would deem, QUALITY OF LIFE offensives. And since those Guilliani years, the type of OVER POLICING that he established and allow to flourish, it has taken on a whole new face. Because of the radical changes Uptown and then factor in the economy and loss of home and housing, you now are getting a community that is ANGRY just because. And these rookie Cops sitting with the season Cops left over from those days of "Shoot and Empty Out You Gun And Worry About The Cover Up Later" isn't going to keep flying anymore. Especially Uptown. When a person is stopped for taking pictures of a Housing Project gate I have an issue. Taking pictures of Highway exits and Toll Booths I can understand. THERE IS A DISTINCT DIFFERENCE you idiot. My anger doesn't come because I was stopped for picture taking, my anger comes from YOUR DUMB ASS STOPPING ME while ignoring the F&%$$ Drug Dealer across from you.

Where is my JILL SCOTT CD? I need a HIT of something POSITIVE!!

1 comment:

jjbrock said...

Shazza you did a great job expressing your self. Keep up the good work. The way you handled that situation was great.