On Turning 30

Despite my efforts to the contrary, I’ve been thinking about death a lot. (Not the celebratory start you were looking for, huh.) Make no mistake, I am thankful to see these 30 years and a day. Very thankful– 2019 has been a great year career-wise, I’ve made monumental steps in strengthening relationships, and I am here. But my cousin is not, he was murdered in his own home. From my understanding, this was some haphazard robbery–the details are still foggy. Then, several days before my birthday, I find out my brother, my lil bruh, had cancer and even his hours were numbered. God answered my prayer and I was able to see him the day before he transitioned.

Passed.

Died.

That I’d have death on my mind makes sense now, huh?

Both of these passings were completely unexpected. But let’s be real, who truly expects death to come to the family reunion? Who actually expects death to sit at the bar with the crew? Death runs in a different crowd, at least, that’s how we live. And who can judge that? Who wants to always be aware of the possibility of death? Of loss? Of pain?

This year, death invited himself into my safe places. And quite frankly, not just this year. The last few years, funerals have gathered the living more than birthday celebrations and weddings. More than baby showers.

And here I am, 30 years old, and I can’t help but wonder why. Now this ain’t no survivors guilt, or maybe it is…nevertheless, why is my brother not letting me know what he’s doing for his 29th birthday? Why is my cousin not chilling at home and watching the game with his dad? How can they suddenly not be here, on this earth, where I am?

Every loss, every death, doesn’t hurt the same. And maybe that is a blessing. Just like being here to ponder about inevitable things like missing the deceased is indeed a blessing. Life is a blessing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel cheated. (The things we tell ourselves, right?)

In my 30 years, I have learned that plurality exists. That a man can be both grateful and unsettled. That a person can be at peace and in turmoil. That I can still laugh and smile and converse despite less than shiny thoughts. That I can live while fears of death kick back in the family room with my loved ones.

I would apologize for the solemn nature of this entry, especially due to the title, but it would be a dishonest apology. Why do we feel the compulsion to pretend like everything is alright? Why do we celebrate when we aren’t even quite sure how to grieve? So, I do apologize for the title, especially if this content put you in your feelings, as they say. I understand how it could be misleading, but I’m choosing not to change it. Sometimes we forget that a major part of living is feeling, and feeling honestly. We owe ourselves that.

#cancer, #grief, #life, #loss, #mourning

With A Note (written 2012)

It’s not that I presumed…

It’s not that I presumed greatness before its time, demanding accolades for works yet unwritten.
There’s a reason, I must believe according to faith, that rejection has stood stone-faced behind opportunity’s many doors.
As I must believe, according to that same faith, that more often, and when it counts, acceptance will greet me at those doors with open arms.

I must believe that purpose cannot be ignored forever.
That hard work pays off.
That little boys can grow up to be the heroes they wished they’d encountered.

Where Do I Begin (Midnight Ramblings)

How do I start? How do I determine if the seed came before the flower or the flower before the seed? Perhaps the question is how do I begin. Perhaps the question is why should I begin. Perhaps the question is an expansive universe full of strange suns. Perhaps questions are both seed and flower.

“Did I start in the valley?” wonders the seed. “Or are my origins more rock than soil?”

How do we start? How do we determine if our pain came before the love, or the love before the pain? Perhaps the question is: how do we begin? Perhaps the question is: why should we begin? As it stands, beginnings transition into endings, as is the natural order.

But can words, convenient as they are, truly pronounce the beginning in its purest form? But can words, generous as they are, grant us reprieve from the frustration of inaccuracy? How useful is a metaphor with a shoddy bridge connecting the comparisons? The seed or the flower, the beginning or the end, the pain or the love, the answer or the question?

Is a man a flower? Are flowers black? Can petals remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?
Is a man a seed? Are seeds mere flowers? Can men remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?

Perhaps the question is when will I begin to focus my thoughts.
Perhaps the question is a matter of faith.
But in whom?

Excerpt from “Master of Silence: Avatar Rahk”

Chapter 9-Toddler Rahk

“Mama, where is the seedgiver?
Am I not given?”

“You are. And your father
gave all he could muster
before your roots
grew too thick for my womb”

“So where is the seedgiver, mama?”

“Dear Rahk, had I an answer
perhaps I would have carried you
on dry land
rather than a sea”

Rahk contemplated her words
while studying the power “to be”


I want to read Chapters 10-11.

Tell Me, JohnJohn (excerpt from “Raising Suns”)

Who strong enough to hold the ocean?
With all of its waves and womanizing slaps.
Whose hands and arms big enough to hold it all?
Not yours, JohnJohn. You’sa itty bitty little thing.
Your arms couldn’t comfort a puddle

Never-mind a tidal wave. Never-mind a tsunami.

You’d have to be a fool. A fool, I tell you!
to even hope for arms or hands or strength that big!

Is you a fool? Is you a fool or a sage?
If you’sa sage you won’t even ‘tempt to hold a puddle.
A puddle ain’t nothin but an ocean to littler beings.
I bet oceans are puddles to God.
Oceans just so big to us because we so small.

But even still, only a fool would think he could hold it all.
Only a fool, JohnJohn, and I tell you:
I hope that fool exists ‘cause I’m tired of waving
to absence, crashing on empty shores
just to flow back in the deep of myself.

JohnJohn, please tell me you’sa fool…


-Rahk.

EXcavation [excerpt from “Raising Suns (And Other Celestial Bodies)”]

finding pieces of men
protruding from the earth
in a perverse cemetery

full of
winding torsos
and intended smiles,
sentient statues that sneer
in passing with living eyes

and though half buried,
they remain
erect and expecting eager hands
to delve beneath the earth
for their pedestals


-Rahk.