the ways of white folks-langston hughes

i read this because it was recommended to horace grant by phil jackson.

sooooo.

here are my questions:

1) did phil jackson read this?
2) when did phil jackson read this?
3) what the hell prompted him to recommend this to horace grant (in the same year that he recommended a beevis and butthead title to stacey augmon)?
4) did horace grant read this?
5) did these players have questions on the correlations between them and their books?
6) were the reading assignments handed out at the beginning or the end of the season?
7) again-what the natural hell?!

and of course, the most affecting story, father and son, is the last chapter.

dang.

i have the right to destroy myself-young-ha kim

“It’s easy to have sex when you can’t really communicate.” (66)

a few months back, some friends were jealous of me because i don’t smoke enough to be blase high. especially when they always bring out new implements and shit-i can’t keep up (i know i’m west coast, but i left…) and part of me sometimes wishes that i could just fuck.

and i might be able to one day, but i gotta get there with someone that i actually like, that likes me. but then why wouldn’t i just want to be with that person?

i guess this quote means that it’s easy to have sex, but not necessarily good sex. i suppose that’s the line that i can’t really get with anymore-i don’t have any time for mediocre sex. and i can’t buy into the hype that communication doesn’t matter.

the ideal situation is tenderness and understanding and humour, but not wanting to be in a thing, but that’s complicated because not wanting to be in a thing is different from “coming from an impossible situation” or “not being over your last thing” or “emotionally impossible and/or immature/still blaming your parents for shit that happened and you’re over 30”.

(sigh).

kanye sidebar:

“There are only two ways to be a god: through creation or murder.” (10)

(because what else do you do when you’re talking about relationships while not talking about relationships but pull a quote from the book that brings us to kanye)

and, because i’m all about an abrupt ending:

“People who don’t know how to summarize have no dignity.” (6)

chance the rapper-the be encouraged tour

“my mom says in arabic that when it’s raining and sunny, rats are getting married”

chance got finer.

it started innocently enough-i noticed that the show got rescheduled to the day that my season boo was coming to my home for the first time, and casually texted her about it, though she was just coming off of seeing him at the palace of auburn hills (yes, i am sad that i’ll prolly never see the pistons play there).

we had a lovely day of making soup and working on projects, separately and together, napping and watching many monsoons from my window. we made references to going to the show all day, but we both had things to do and, well.

around 5pm, we were called by carbs, and since she’s a vegan who hasn’t yet experienced doomie‘s (propagandistic comics and all), we decided to walk between showers the two now lovely-scented parkdale streets that separate me and the resto. we paid our respects to the lovely guard dog with a fierce underbite in the bougie flower shop, and settled into one of the window booths. i did a double-take in time and space when a pianist that i knew almost a decade ago in montreal walked past and we caught up for a minute before i just accepted that my hair would be smelling like fried.

but delicious mac and cheese (with mushrooms) and deep fried oreos later, we were full and happy and ready to make our way towards a very ominous cloud to see this guy. considering that it was a reschedule, it was pretty breezy to get a ticket.

the bag check should’ve been foreshadowing, but we were high and happy and made it through lightning and humidity and the dj’s name was oreo and there numbers and signs everywhere.

and the rapper was perfect-he was sounding right and looking right and his energy is amazing, if a bit too religious in that way that american artists get that make it a bit uncomfortable to sing along to sometimes. the special effects blended right in with mother nature’s downpour, and even though we were standing in sponges (i have yet to check on the canvas shoes that i left outside, but if someone took them-good riddance), it was beauty-full to be dancing in the rain.

the subsequent push to get to bags that was longer than the concert by a duration of 1.5 x? not so fun. but i suppose this is what happens when you throw 3000+ bags onto the floor and expect people to wait in line and retrieve them when it’s been pouring rain all night.

but it was hilarious to be amongst the high school kids budging the line and that one dood who “had to tutor french at 9am” and was feeling all the feelings over it. it was extra hilarious because he butt into the line, and then was lamenting this, and figured out 25 minutes later that it was the bag line and not the line to leave.

and canadians are hella polite, yo. i’m surprised that there was no riots, especially with all those bored white people excited about a “hype” rap show ready to fight garbage cans and shit.

based on the “blessings” that came down, i’m not sure what “praises” went up, but congrats to all the rats that celebrated their nuptials yesterday-it was an honour to be in your presence.

“new ideas need old buildings”-tile at dufferin station

i’ve already been reprimanded this week for spoiling the nba playoffs, so let me not do this to a woman’s show.

but belladonna the blest or dm st. bernard‘s sound of the beast is everything, and then eleven more everythings. do yourself a favour and go see it. please. if one of the city’s finest (the finest imo) poets can roll through (and i think he even bought a ticket because he’s not a personal friend of the inspiration’s), you can too.

ok-psa over, do what you want.

i’ve been feeling the feels since i was in montreal for a week and a half, doing everything and nothing, and with the birth of babies all around and work never ending (and still not beginning), i know it’s not an accident that i ended up in the same room as these two that i run into so randomly it’s become specific. the fact that there was a stage and words and so many ideas layered and folded into ideas that if a mille-feuille crepe cake could be a thing that could be witnessed and absorbed and spoken and felt, this would be that thing.

i’m largely not a fan of the tiles at dufferin station, especially of the two that are close together near the main entrance, one reading “blah blah blah new immigrants” and the other “occasion to turn around”, like wtf?! but i never noticed this one before, or perhaps due to its proximity to the aforementioned as well as the “lemonade living” (and i paraphrase all these tiles, except for the one that i board the train at every day on my way to work which reads “something happens here”, because, well, who has time to footnote tiles, or remember them properly and such?) i’m too busy getting to the punchline of 3/5s when it’s so meta and brilliant, when accountability happens and its calling for is further justified when the perpetrator responds by throwing her kids under the bus. when a discussion about whose lives matter is brought about without the use of those slogans so familiar that have lost their lustre, but is named nonetheless, and stories are woven so beautifully that you forget for a moment that they’re tragic but flower petals are still gentle, whether or not they’re unbreakable, and you decide, we decide-but things are complicated, and we do what we can….

(i’m writing a new piece called “poets talk in circles”….but then again, that’s been the ongoing story of life itself)

place is a thing. theatre passe-muraille is a place. it’s been one of the most reliable places that i have crossed paths with dmsb over the years, and toronto is a place-also one of the most reliable locales. it’s an old building that’s housed almost 50 seasons of new ideas, and even though it’s been fixed, i still just can’t push that door…and i’m glad that i didn’t stay away when the latest ad joined-even when she was the first person to fire me from a job at a little theatre that we both worked at in mtl-what are the chances, right?

but there are no accidents, and (the) space (between our ears) is the real place.

we gotta work on that time-bending piece, but then again-we’ve been working on that project our whole lives.

this is why i scheduled a volunteer shift on my first day back to work after a long vacation of doing everything and nothing, horny as hell but great-full for the life choices i’ve made not to have kids and a dog (though i really, really love dogs and kids). it’s nice to be able to walk in and out of that for a week, because if it was real life, i woulda had to work all day and then go home to single-mother kids and a dog.

this is why.

i live for this and i am ever great-full to this woman for reminding me to do it by doing it.

shoutout to maddie bautista-we may have only met tonight (in this life) but it’s far from over.

sacred hoops-phil jackson

this was my holiday book, my homecoming book, probably partially what led to my dad asking me about “my favourite team, the chicago bulls” and having my grade 10 picture up because he doesn’t like my bangs in my grad picture. in a lot of ways, i did feel like i was back in the tenth grade, rooting for the bulls.

i rang in the new year, in a tall chair eating a delicious meal reading this, calmly waiting to come home. i don’t know how zen phil jackson is these days, running the new york knicks organization into the ground, but to be fair-he inherited a helluva job.

(and doing oakley like that?! come on, man-if he wasn’t traded for cartwright, you would’ve coached him instead of coaching against him all those years)

“Basketball happens at such a fast pace that your mind has a tendency to race at the same speed as your pounding heart. As the pressure builds, it’s easy to start thinking too much. But if you’re always trying to figure the game out, you won’t be able to respond creatively to what’s going on.” (50)

tell me about it. this playoffs is making me feel things that i never thought i would-like teams that i never cared about-i gotta hand it to the celtics, they looked really good against the bulls last night, though the t-shirt jerseys (and rondo’s blush on blush suit) maybe had something to do with it….and the rockets? i started out just rooting against westbrook-because can you really be mvp if your team is knocked out in the first round (again?) and the utah jazz? i didn’t know a single player, but hey-they’re looking pretty solid. i never thought i would be saying that in my lifetime. but i can’t figure basketball out, i can just love it.

“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

and love it i do. like this wonder-full vacation here in the trill. although i’m mostly hiding out, guarding the hearth and taking care of the babies, i’ve found myself smiling over the simple things-like earlier on a terrace with an iced coffee writing letters and before that, air drying on the couch with the rottweiler and bojack horseman.

we never really change who we are, and here’s another example of phil’s long-standing feelings on young talented ballers:

“Everywhere he went, he was surrounded by a squadron of bodyguards and ‘a personal entourage,’ who formed a cocoon around him that was difficult to penetrate.” (19)

hmm. sounds like a posse to me.

game on, players.

common-the limits of men (again)

“deep as a skinny girl’s cunt”

“fuckin’ on the sink, bought my mama a mink”

“butt nekkid in the kitchen flippin’ pancakes/plus she tricking from the dough that her man makes”

“ladies get their hair done, and men, we notice/you get high grade indian weaves, at the lowest/prices, chivalry is no longer lifeless”

wow. it was so hard to just pick one lyric from this problematic ode.

(sigh).

it was probably fitting that this album prompted a man whom i experienced in a particularly stunted moment to reach out to me because a good common album reminded him of me.

my conflict over rachid was immortalized in writing during my freelance stint in montreal, and one particularly scathing album review (for which one now, i have no idea), and this latest album (that i’m late to, i know), falls right into formation.

it must be said, too, that this man’s breadth of work and the variety of styles/positions that he has held has now, in my opinion, put his body of work in line with madonna‘s. what i perceive as common not knowing who the hell he is from moment to moment could really be common being all of the things, all of the time.

i have listed a few of the lyrics that have always just rubbed me the wrong way, but it’s undeniable that he has always held my attention enough to keep listening. so, there are so many lyrics and songs that i’ve loved, and water for chocolate will always be one of my favourite albums.

i couldn’t get a proper version of da struggle, but key and peele completely captured his likeness, and i think, even more aptly, with his name, captured the problematic “border” between “conscious” and “jiggy” rap. this is a line that common has always straddled, and that is why his bullshit gender politic is always so disappointing, because he’s otherwise, so very good.

the fact that this song features bj the chicago kid only annoys me more because it reminds me that the only song that i hate on his otherwise brilliant album is “it’s a woman’s world”. is there something dillusional going on in chicago’s feminism?!

i must also say that noID is flawless. the beat part of the rap equation is very, very strong, on this project and the one before that. he’s a bigger man than most for picking up the pieces after being left for ye, and staying in the shadows of producing may be the most feminist aspect of this album.

it is also something of note that pops is gone, and it’s officially the end of an era of albums punctuated by a daddy outro. i was sad to learn this in the song, and acknowledge that it must be hard to lose a parent who obviously had so much of an impact on his life and work.

which brings me to the song with nas that came out at the same time as “otis”, and the contrast between that other ny/chicago rap duo was mostly about how those other doods were just rapping about their money and these two were “conscious”. the bigger contrast for me was that these two were examples of men who clearly had their fathers, and jay-z and kanye famously did not. so perhaps that has no bearing whatsoever on your relationships with women, or it has everything to do with your relationships with women. but, jay-z could only commit to beyonce after his dad died, so perhaps common can actually evolve now that his is gone?

“i said i got my SAG card, baby i’m an actor”

“think they be mackin’ but they actin’…”

well, he is starring as a rapper having a mid-life crisis so…perhaps he knows all about this?

(sigh).

my next lover must read

books. regularly. independently and habitually. because they love reading. period.

not because of me. because you haven’t gotten around to it yet, but you’re tired of just sitting there like a dummy when you take the subway with me because i’m winning by reading.

not because you think you’ve reached your limit of reading-you’ve read books before, you even own books, have a shelf full of them! you’ve done it before, you know what it’s about. you read magazines, you’re good.

DEFINITELY NOT because you think you’re somehow qualified to write a book BUT YOU DON’T READ.

DEFINITELY NOT because you’ve designed course outlines and you’re good with the books you’ve chosen and there are no current books or any that have come out in the last 80 years that would also work in the syllabus and could possibly be more inspiring to your students because they speak more directly to their experience. you believe that they should meet you, you shant meet them. (this is what teachers who don’t read sound like)

you don’t have time to read.

but you have watched all the tv shows/movies/porn that has been produced in the past ten years

but you are fluent in emoji (though you can’t spell)

but you send 10,000 text messages a day (to me alone, who knows how many others to how many others?!) and they’re all full of emojis and misspelled words

my feelings on “common interests” with a romantic partner have shifted over the years. there was a time when i pondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of hip hop was a must. lately, i’ve wondered whether or not interest/love/knowledge of basketball is a must.

i have come to the conclusion that neither of these things are a must, as i have homies and friends who can fulfill this for me. and when it comes to lovers, my conversation needs to be shifted to shared values.

because reading is about coping with life, making the most of it of what we’ve got, and learning to adapt.

because reading is about imagining your ways out and in.

because reading is about creativity because it is creativity-with every single page.

because reading is about being the solution instead of sustaining the problem.

because reading is agency, activism, escape and (the) rest.

because reading is education, freedom, choice, and listening.

and these are all my values, and because you can’t truly love me if you don’t love to read. books. regularly. independently and habitually. because you love reading. period.