Skip to main content

Ain't gonna have it here.

Recently, a stranger over the phone struck up a conversation with me. It wasn't news to me. I'd seen her kind before. She was a transplanted northerner distressed over the situation in our city.

Why? she said, do we put up with it?

We duke it out in this gritty city because there is much to love. The hearty history of workaday men and women seeps from the pores of a culture built on dreams and determination. "Blues, Beale and barbeque" only scratches the surface.

The failure began generations ago with the shadowy enigma of inequality. And we haven't quite recovered.

"Believe", they say as I call and write to the powers that be to no avail. Why is this graffiti allowed on my street? What aren't these parks maintained? Why does this 'hood within miles of mine have speed bumps while we tidy up every week after trash collection? Paint over the tagging yourself only to find it fresh the next week. Pick up the trash and it falls again come the very next day.

My northern friend suggests we lack a strong middle class. This is a new theory worth considering as the white flight argument is tired because where's the error in morality when families, regardless of color, desire better for their children? Why wait the system out to provide what we can find elsewhere?

If that makes a villain, then count me among every independent spirit who braves the seas for the American dream. To have a better life. To give their children a chance. To allow them the opportunity to experience life beyond an inner city war zone. It's unfair, really, to ask the kids to suit up and go where we would not.

In this town, we do what we wanna do.

The time comes to recognize that is, indeed, a drug dealer next door. The signs those young men flash today are the same as yesterday and the day before. Those are not fireworks at 3am. This neighborhood school is most definitely not producing the leaders of tomorrow. Someone will pull a gun on your neighbor for his pocket money.

When the shootin' finds it's way across the street from Beautiful Daughter's window and my bed of yellow lilies and pink roses, we fly.

But, that don't mean I don't love you anymore, M.


Popular posts from this blog

Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing.

Retired Memphis Police Department Chief Inspector Robert Jones came to my pool party the other day. Over hot dogs and fruit salad, he regaled his grandchildren with tales of his days in Special Services on the police force. That's SWAT to you and me.

Among those anecdotes, he spins a yarn that includes a tear gas capsule hidden on the motor of a car full of pimps and ladies of the night, effectively expelling these law breakers out of a Buick Electra 225, running crazy. Later, he would be appointed Chief Inspector, along with fellow officer James Bolden (who also served MPD director), climbing his way up the career ladder with an excellent work ethic. But, before all that, he was a regular joe on the beat, paying his dues. Only, this fiery, young Irishman was going to do it his way.

They called him The Flame. Not only for his ability to run like one but, there was also that shiny red hair. In his youth, his stubborn independence got him into some trouble so he channeled that and mad…

I was so scared to face my fears.

Why You even trust us with so much, I can't even imagine. We alternate between pumping triumphant fists in the air and rocking quietly in the corner, squeezy eyes and knitty brows, vulnerable to the next thing next. In a matter of weeks, issues that include extreme trauma, mental illness, genetic disorders, and tired, old grudges, which serve to poison the waters, pass through our hands. We stand, arm in arm, carefully considering whether we are meant to dodge or take the shots:What are we supposed to be to learning?
Can we set it gently to the side and move along?
Is this our burden to bear for a season?
Who is wearing hearts on sleeves?
and should we?It's hard to say in a world of emotions but I KNOW our hearts are true. Even in their ugliest states, we keep it real. Sometimes, we're all Daigle, inspired and fortified, but, as many times as not, we're blasting Adele, accidentally alienating the ones we love and raw as can be. Let's just keep the Gungors, Eminems …

You built me palaces out of paragraphs.

You're so sure I don't hear your words. Maybe you think there's too much weary history for me to contend with New & Fun. You hear told of the time before yours and sometimes you feel alone. Maybe you've even wondered if I'm still up to the challenge.
You assume too much, Love Child, because yours are the words I've been waiting for all my life.
So many words.
My time before you taught me to talk less and hear more but I sift through ALL your words and listen for your heart.
Without your words, how could I know that you sometimes say what you don't mean just because you feel too much to articulate?
Without your words, how could I know that you are unsure and insecure about who you might become?
How could I know, were I not listening, that you often hold back because you think it's not quite your time?
Without your words, how could I know how much you root for the underdog with a righteous anger?
Without your words, how could I know that you often …