by Zamounde Allie
"Where's that bus! Man it never runs on time." There should be a separate lane for buses just like the subways back east. It's just not right to have to get up three hours early to make an half hour trip. "Man that's a fine sista." I said as her car passed by and parked up the street. I've never seen her before around here. As she got out of her car I almost lost my mind. I know she ain't coming this way. She closed her door and headed towards my direction. I felt my blood pushing the top of my head like a overheated thermometer. "How are you sista?" I asked as she approached to go inside what appeared to be beauty salon, but it couldn't be for she was already too fine to define. I didn't want my bus to come now.
A little while later she came back outside, and I noticed her blouse had a poem on it. "You like poetry sista?" I asked in a hopeful tone of voice. She said yes and that it was also her hearts passion. I told her that it was mine too, and we talked for about five minutes or so just about poetry and what styles we used.
"What's your name?" She smiled and said that it was B-Honey.
"Buzzz that's sweet" I said feeling impressed with how calm I was in her presence. "What's your real name sista'?" Only my friends know that was her response. "I guess I'll just have to wait until I become a friend."
She looked at me with a pleased expression on her face." I thought about this young lady that I had liked in elementary school. What are you thinking about? "I didn't mean to stare at you." She just smiled and said she'll see me later. I watched her walk away. "See you later B-Honey. Yo! Hold up for a minute please, we're having a poetry meeting Friday at 8 o'clock over at the Cafe' on Main Street. You're welcome to come by and check us out; we're a new group." She said that she'll try to make it. " There's my bus! See ya sista, peace."
Now as I looked back at that pretty sista' I couldn't help but to reflect back to some far off time when this here woman might have been scrubbing some white man's floor a few decades ago, and that made me so mad; I know people must of thought I was trippin' or something because I was just standin' there holding' my change in my hand. "You goin' pay sir? Step back behind the line please," said the bus driver in a polite but fake tone. I dropped my change in the box and walked briskly to the rear to try to catch one peep at B-Honey but my eyes wasn't that good, for she was already well up the street going in the opposite direction.
I sat there the rest of the ride thinking about that sista and reflecting on a few lines for a poem that came to mind. Like a football slipping through your hands and clocking you in the face I just realized that I'd forgot to tell her my name. I was so caught up with her beauty I had forgot something as simple as my name.
"Mama, what's for dinner'?" Mama gave me that same look she'd been giving me for years. You know that look; the one that says," You got feet, and you know where the kitchen is." We had that kind of understanding. I would ask the unnecessary questions and she'd give me the answer with that look.
Moms was only fifteen years older than me, and I couldn't help but notice sometimes that she still had a little child left in her. I'd wonder what was on her mind; she was always too busy to really talk to me or my brothers and sister. If it wasn't for orders and questions she probably wouldn't say too much to us. I still love her, she's my mom and that's all that really matters.
I'm the oldest of five living' in a house built for three. My room was in the basement; I ran that line that I was the oldest and needed my space, but later regretted that decision when winter came. The real reason that I wanted my room in the basement was so that I could smoke cigarettes.
The phone ranged and startled me, I must have dozed off after that long walk; my apartment was a mess and papers were scattered everywhere, but I knew if I'd moved them I would've lost some mean thoughts.
"Hello?" I said still half asleep. It was G-Money as usual he just wanted to know if I was planning to attend the meeting. "Yeah, I'll be there later on man." We were "Frienemies" a half and half mix, but more on the sibling rivalry side; unpredictable in our dispute.
The Heart Speaks
"B-Honey! What's up sista? Hotep." She came over to where I was standing and said hello. I don't know why I didn't go to her; my legs were frozen, or something. "This is B-Honey," I said as we made our way around the Cafe' greeting the group members. Kim just stared with that look sisters give each other when another woman threatens their pre-existing position in the man-chain. G-Money made it his duty to tell B-Honey that he wasn't a poet, but a rapper. G-Money and I met a couple of months ago during a festival in June.
Everyone who was performing met under the so-called V.I.P. tent, but if it was really a VIP tent for important people they would had provided us with chairs. Some of the local acts were pretty good, and some just played the role with all the fancy clothes. G-Money and I exchanged words before and after our show-time in a jokingly but serious competition. A small crowd had gathered from the VIP tent to see what was going on. Meet Mr. Peer, I knew sooner or later he would step in to put the pressure on us. I found myself just spitting' out words off the tip of my tongue, trying to out do G-Money, but after we had exhausted our memory the crowd voted us even. I knew in the back of my head that I had won though, as we shook hands and got out of the sun to get a drink.
Good-evening and welcome to the Pan-African Poets Society monthly "Open Mic Nite" we are not here to criticize your poems, but we hope that everyone will be open to a little feedback. I sat across the table from B-Honey and as I stared at her I began to reflect on how most men cannot be just friends with a woman; at that moment I vowed to just let nature take its course.
B-Honey was listening to the recital and nodding her head in non-verbal agreement to what was being said. I felt relieved to had made that decision for now I was not just looking at her with potential boyfriend intentions, but as a friend; besides I don't really even know who she is, or where she lives either. She stood up and walked over to the microphone to recite her poem.
"Sista' got skills!" a brotha' yelled standing up as everyone else simultaneously did the same; all except for me I just sat there deep in thought feeling her last line of the poem, "If only I could gather all the crumbs from all the years my pops fell down from rum".
I stood up clapping as she approached the table to sit down. Now we have Schizo up next on the mic. I looked back at B-Honey as I turned to adjust the mic stand. "What's Up. How's everyone doing? This poem here might be a little crude, but I'm still working on it. Check this out." Most of the regular poets were deep in their conversation as usual, but the only one I was concerned with was B-Honey. I knew she wouldn't give me that nonchalant response, "Yeah, that's straight." She was new and would give me a real answer. "We can't be tamed by your game in search of our unreachable fame.................................Imagine if you will after swallowing' this pill the pipes below us working unseen but seen producing' the daily ills sent to you first class by Mr. Bill. The mental-pacifying' brain-cell armies taking us out biologically via the second eye the mind............."
What's up with that? G-Money yelled from across the room. He claimed I was using his lyrics, but as usual he was just looking for attention; B-Honey's to be exact. She wasn't even concerned with all the side talk; Kim and her were discussing something that must had been interesting for both of them were smiling and nodding their heads. I refrained from interrupting them, and so I continued to entertain G-Money's perceived notion. It's strange how we have that friend-enemy type of relationship, but let a little money get involved and I guarantee we'd be fighting for real. "Why a brotha' got to be frontin' all the time? Chill out man!"
G-Money was more than a pain in the neck if you know what I mean, and that wasn't just in my opinion either. Everyone just got used to him, and learned how to tolerate his trips. Where did she go? I thought as I looked around the Cafe' in a puppy-dog kind of fashion to crash into my own disappointment to find that she had left without saying good-bye. I was in a downed mood the rest of the night.
It Has To Be
I do a lot of traveling around the city which enables me to meet a multitude of people from different beliefs; especially from the Nation. I met one of the brothers on my way to a poetry meeting. We conversed for a while about our differences, but the brother became angry when I told him I that I used to be in the "Nation."
After listening to the brother express his concern I explained to him how I was only a child following my mother. I continued to break it down a little further, and after exhausting my explanation I became a little upset. I told the brother how I truly felt about the issue. "Why if the Nation is so male-oriented did they allow for a sister to take three soldiers out of the nation without as much as one question, or one follow up, or to at least helping my mother out. She did what she had to do to survive; my father was in and out of our lives, and only brought hardship. One of the brothers should have intervened on the matter. So please do not attack me."
The brother looked on with both sympathy and discern as he said, "that was then, but what about now". I looked at him with a smile and said, "I am a foot-soldier on a journey through the tunnels in which man has created, and I can no longer just exit because of what man tells me, but I must follow my hearts lead. I've been on both sides of the scale, and feel that I must respectably stand down from any further commitment to nothing else but the overall "Cause."
We departed no more satisfied with the outcome of that conversation, but it just added a little more fire to our internal flame which drove us both our separate ways. The meeting started shortly after I had arrived, and Kim was smiling and giggling as I approached the table where she was sitting. "What's up sista?" I asked her knowing good and well that she was up to something. She continue to smile as she told me nothing was going on. I sat down beside her still wondering what was behind that smile.
We began the meeting with greetings and minutes from the last session, and open the floor to questions and new poems. I had hoped to see B-Honey here tonight, but she's probably working or something like that. Kim still had that smile on her face, and I was beginning to get a little upset. "What's up with you Kim? Quit playing' games with me; I know you're hiding something." She nodded her head as if to agree with me, but nevertheless continued to smile.
I stood up to change tables just as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. It was a note from B-Honey addressed to me. I felt overwhelmed with compassionate thoughts as I slowly unfolded the sheet; observing Kim's curious look out of the corner of my eye. I know she probably read it already, and that's what all the smiling was about. The note simply read, " I'm sorry I didn't say good-bye the other night, and I hope to see you soon". Man, my heart jumped into my head so quickly I had to leave the room to avoid further embarrassment. That little note packed a powerful punch; she cared for me, and that was enough to make me smile the rest of the day.
When I had returned to the room Kim was still smiling, but now I was too. The rest of the poetry session passed by with very little of my attention; for I'd dwelled the river of love with my heart as the paddle stroking my thoughts. "I can't believe Schizo doesn't have a poem to recite," Kim said as the rest of the group agreed, but I just couldn't maintain my focus enough to do anything from my memory; my thoughts were too far up stream.
"B-honey!" I just had to say her name. I wonder what she's up to. It's strange how a person can strike you without saying much. I believe in that old saying, "Paths crossed are paths planned." or something like that. I could not help to feel that maybe I was jumping ahead of myself and that my feelings were just that, "My feelings." Who are you talking to Kim asked. I didn't realize I was speaking out loud. I played it off by saying that "My Feelings" was the title of a poem that I was working on. Kim expressed that she still wanted to hear a poem; it was more like she was telling me to get up and recite something, so out of spite I refrained from reciting.
"I don't know about you sometimes Schizo," Kim said, as she pushed against my shoulder with her elbow in a playful but assertive fashion. "Did you read that note Kim?" She ignored the question by going up to the mic to recite a poem, and as she looked over at me I lip-synced the phrase, "I know you did. She smiled in acknowledgment just before starting her poem. "That was a straight poem sista!" She just looked at me as usual with that smile. She pleaded for me to do a poem, and since I do have a weakness for woman I agreed to do just one. "This poem is called JEROME DIED. When I die, let me go peacefully than by the hands of some creep on the streets. To be caught in some cross-fire he couldn't bear Jerome was put down and to ask if it was fair you'll be gettin' in a little too deep.
Certain rules play a man each day like a deck of cards fresh out the plastic you hope life would not get too drastic. you're dealt the hand but to play it without understanding the rules could leave you lying in a blood-pool Jerome died so that I may live." I explained that this poem was never finished because Jerome and I were friends, and that it was too personal for me to dress it up according the so-called rules. "That's all right brotha!" Echoed acoustically through the room; there was B-Honey standing in the doorway smiling. Like Martin, my heart went "Woo-woo!"
The rest of the night we talked and took turns sending each other vibes while Kim continue to make hand-signals to me. I told B-Honey that I had to catch the bus before it stopped running. She smiled and said that she could give me a ride. Why is it that brotha's and sista's all seem to have a Honda Accord, or a Maxima? I thought as she unlocked my door. B-Honey asked me what was funny. "Nothing, I was just tripping off a thought." She smiled and started the car.
"This is a nice ride," I said trying to spark up a conversation. I couldn't control my heart which was so over heated I had to ask if I could let the window down. Man! Calm down and concentrate my conscious told me, but I was struck by who ever the black Cupid was. Why are you so quiet B-Honey asked, but not really looking for an answer. I paused for a moment and said that I didn't want to appear the fool and run any weak lines on you. She smiled so big that I could see every detail in the dimples on her face. We both just smiled at each other; that was more than words could ever explain. I decided to leave it at that, and as we pulled up to my apartment I jumped out and told her thanks for the ride.
She stopped me as I headed for the main door and told me that her name was Lisa, but you can still call me B-Honey. I said all right sista' my name is Lakuunde. She said that it was a beautiful name and that she would like to meet later on tomorrow. Why'd she do that to me; now I'm gonna be up all night. "Okay B-Honey I'll be here; my number is 376-2866." I wrote it on a receipt that I had in my pocket, and she said goodbye. I stood there as she disappeared in the distance; thinking that maybe I should had kissed her. I told myself not be in a rush, besides we haven't committed to anything. I guess we're friends now since she told me her name.
When Two Are In One
"Ahhhhhhh yes!" I awoke the next morning feeling drained and at the same time recharged like that Energizer Bunny I'm ready to keep going and going...Right to the bathroom to relieve myself. The sun was shining bright through the window creating the most beautiful effect on the floor; I wish I had some film to capture that image. I go through this same ritual almost every morning; Used the bathroom, take a shower, and pig-out in the kitchen. I got to clean up this place before B-Honey stops by; I'm not saying that she going to come up here, but I hope she does. I don't get too much company, for if I did I wouldn't allowed my papers to spread so far away from the computer. Besides even if we're just friends she still is a woman and I don't want to impress her the wrong way. I'm not really a slob; my moms made us keep her house clean from the dishes to the garbage cans.
Scrub-a-dub-dub that was me on that commercial Mr. Clean. The only thing that gave my apartment its cluttered look was my papers. I can get rid of that shower smell with an open window and by burning an incense. I can't help but to be excited, a beautiful sister wants to see me. I have no car, no real job, and yet she still wants to see me; I'm excited and not ashamed to be. To think of all those days I spent pursuing sisters to have one as beautiful and straight up as B-Honey approach me ; it just caught me off-guard with no time to prepare.
I spent the next few hours roaming around the apartment and reflecting on my thoughts which by now you can best believe that the majority of them was about Lisa. The funniest thing about it was that not one of those thoughts were about sex. What is sex anyway without love; nothing but a magazine full of naked women on the shelf. My thoughts transgressed that notion that sex was the ultimate of experience because right now what I was feeling could not be alleviated by sex alone. Lisa, B-Honey was to me my child-hood dream from what I've seen of her so far. I don't want to go too far into La-la Land and start making the sista' out to be more than she is until we get to know each other. Does she have other sisters and brothers, what is her last name. what schools did she attend; who knows she could have been in the same school and we just didn't see each other before.
I had a bunch of questions in my head, and I know I couldn't just asked them all in row without appearing to be fishing with loaded bait. An apple a day would keep the doctor away, but what about an orange for that's all I got. I don't know why my fridge stays empty; maybe its because I'm not here as much as I used to or maybe it's because I pigged-out too much. A lonely man once told me in a dream that if I wanted to be alone forever all I had to do was stay asleep; you can best believe that after that I didn't sleep well. I'm very conscious of my dreams which is the meat of most of my poetry mixed with reality to get the message across.
My crib is not a bad looking place. The walls are covered with my arts and poems and other artist/poets that I feel warrant a spot or two on my walls; too many people just buy art with no thought into the message it projects to people who visits their home. If people visited my home they would know that I was a conscious brother, or at least I had aspirations to be. B-Honey could either be a friend or my future wife; I hope for the latter to be true, for to reach me now you probably would need a ladder. I'm high on love and this pain in my chest is not from a murmur heart skipping pace to my life beat, but the love-jones kicking in full drive straight to my feet. I know that she is a queen if not just to me, for I'd crown her even if it had to be via mutiny; that's how revolutionary love is. My apartment was now in satisfactory order, and I was pleased with how artistically in tuned it was. All the colors from the furniture to the six walls that contained it were perfectly blended. I made no distinction between natural boundaries that said the floor is the floor and the ceiling is the ceiling; I placed my art where it fitted in to the scheme. I hate to wake up confused one day ; my room may look the same if it was upside down too. "What's up sista? I thought you weren't coming by because you didn't call." B-Honey just smiled and walked into the living-room observing my art and poems with a kind of surprised but expected look on her face. I watched as a she continued to read one of my favorite poems. What did she think of it I thought as she sat in my only chair and asked where my TV was. I told her it was in the bedroom and that I could bring it out for her if she wanted me to, but she gesture as only a woman could that it wasn't necessary. She reminds me of this sista' I seen being robbed; She whooped his behind with her shoe so bad that when the cops came they arrested her. I laughed out loud and B-Honey just looked at me, but I couldn't help myself that memory was still funny. B-Honey said that I was trippin' hard and I agreed as I told her what I was thinking of. "What would you like to do?" I asked her hoping that we could go for a ride, but I didn't want to play the sista like that.
She began to smile as she said that we could sit and talk for awhile. I wasn't use to talking to a woman about myself except Kim, but that was different. Kim was just one of the fella's so to speak; not saying that she wasn't pretty though, I was just not attracted to her like I am to B-Honey. "You know I have to be straight up with you sista'; I'm seriously attracted to you and I hope that I am not appearing to be coming on to you. I feel stuck in the middle of my feelings like a slice of cheese on a sandwich."
B-Honey busted out laughing and I couldn't help but to laugh too, but I was serious also at the same time. She told me not to be in a hurry, and that if it was right it would come around naturally. I looked at her beautiful smile and just nodded my head in agreement. "Where do we go from here?" I asked with a kind of exhausted tone in my voice, for I felt relieved to have gotten that off my chest. Lisa got up from the chair and hugged me, and as the chills overwhelmed my arms she told me she'd like to go get something to eat.
We pulled up in Churches Chickens parking lot. "Why are Churches Chicken's only in the Hood'." I commented as we got out of the car. B-Honey said that she had noticed that too, and we both walked up in the place trippin' on that thought. I quickly ordered my usual breast, fries, and drink, and B-honey ordered some Hot-Wings and a drink. The two sista's working the cash registers were real young, and probably just working the summer. I was kind of nervous still about trying not to be assertive with my volcanic feelings for B-Honey, but I couldn't resist telling her that she was a very beautiful sister.
A couple of brother's about my age came in to place an order; I fronted them with the usual "What's up!" I don't know why men have to go through that ritual of proving their manhood. B-Honey had already picked up our order and was walking over to get some napkins. "What school you brothers go to? If ya'll got any skills in poetry or rap we're having an Open Mic Nite at the cafe' on Main Street tomorrow." I guess I caught 'em off-guard or something because their facial expressions went from tough-guy to prospective participants in an opportunity of a life-time. I exchanged a few lines of my poetry and listened to them kick a few and then B-Honey and I drove over to the park and ate outside with the birds and bees.
Time just stood still as if it was the black cupids will, but like anything it has to end. "Baby, bay-bay!" I said in my head as B-Honey started kissing me. This sister's got me twisted, and tight-fisted trying to control myself in a moment of strictly business. I don't want to jump on old girl like Speedy Gonzales.
"What's that for?" I asked in an appreciative voice. She just kicked a few lines on me from one of her poems, and I had to get up out of my seat and walk around for a minute; to trip on being serenaded by B-Honey. "I'd hoped you had feelings too, but I didn't want to pursue you like I know a lot of brotha's must do everyday." She told me not to worry about them and that they had nothing to do with us.
We talked for a while back at my crib and before I knew it I woke up to find it was morning and B-Honey was gone. I can't explain that feeling, but I know I didn't like it. Something like opening that box of your favorite cereal thinking it was enough for a bowl, but only enough to make you mad and disappointed. A hard head makes for a long day sippin' cool water in the shade; sista' got me worked up inside. A cold shower was in order, but I ain't no fool; it's cold.
A Pong I was working on kept playin' in my head on repeat until I began to sing it out loud. " I know sometimes I be trippin'..... I know sometimes in yo mind I deserve a good -whoopin, but you got understand that sometimes a man has to be a man...In this crazee world-I'd hoped......In this crazeee world-I'd hoped...In this crazeeeeeeeee world I' hoped that you would understand." If I could really sing it would be straight, but I'll stick to my poems where I flow like apple juice, sweet but strong at it's best. I know I be trippin' but that's me, and I can't help myself.
The phone ranged as I left the bathroom steaming; it's got to be her. "Hello? Hey what's up? I didn't mean to fall asleep on you." B-honey told me that she had to leave early to get ready for work. I could hear people talking in the background as we continued to talk. "What time do you get off?" I asked her. She said that she hadn't gotten off in long time, but I had to get a late pass 'cause that one flew right by me for a minute. When I finally caught it I had to laugh, but I knew that I would be contemplating the real meaning of that statement the rest of the day. B-Honey told me that she'll call me later on, and asked if I would be home. Even if the sky was falling I'll be here flappin' my wings and treadin' the last bit of air I thought as we said good-bye. The phone was stuck to my ear and even though in reality it was a steady tone my heart skipped a beat like it was busy.
I had been through approximately five so-called girlfriends and out of the five only one of them was really love. The others, well we just got together because we were expected to by our peers. Carnetta the one I loved, well she was said to be too young for me, and I like a fool listened, but not with B-Honey. If Lisa says she thinks she's too young for me I'll chase down father time and give him back his minutes. I know that I might be jumping ahead of myself, but I can picture the ring sliding on her finger like.......snap out of it. Is this sista that good? Is she the one? I'm still waiting for that long distant call; "Hello heart, Is Lisa published or unpublished? Do you have her number? I gave her my phone number, but could you call her for me and tell her that as far as I can define this feeling is love. "My blood is hot when it is cold, for what I feel for you will forever grow." I should write that down, but I'm not going to for it is a special expression of my true feelings; it will never leave my spirit's archives. B-honey said that she hasn't gotten off in a long time. She's in control of her life and I respect that.
I couldn't help but wonder how come we didn't make love last night; It was something special in the air. Yesterday was beautiful and I am glad that we didn't. Real love-making starts in the heart. I still felt that craving though, an attraction so strong that I could feel my body chemistry boiling inside and ready to explode; all it took was B-Honey to add to the mix. The sista' knows that too; I know she does I could see it in her eyes.
We'd make a good couple I think. The only thing that bothers me about a relationship is that after all the curiosity is gone you'll have to invent new flavors of Kool-Aid to sweeten it up. I'm trying to think ahead a couple of steps to see where B-Honey and I might stand in the future. "Turn around brotha" my mind said as if to say don't go there.
I didn't want to waste my time because my last girlfriend was crazy enough to try to play me for a full cup of butter, and they wonder where all the good men have gone; some of these sista's are fools. I had a good job starting off in our relationship making some good money, but I was laid off for about three months. In those long days to follow I stood in fifteen lines at the unemployment office all day for nothing; I now know where the tax money goes out of our checks. I had a meager savings account and it soon shriveled up and died like a fallen fruit. To top it all off my so-called lady left me, she said it was time for her to move; there went my apartment too. I didn't see it coming, and that's why I have to be open with my thoughts for I don't want it to happen again. I want who ever I get with to understand where we stand from day to day with no secret feelings withheld. I am not a lazy man nor have I ever been. I don't want no materialistic women; I want a partneristic woman for life.