Monday, April 11, 2016

Aug. 20, 2015

For years, I have lived for the weekends. Comedy/musical performances, bartending/serving gigs, booking shows/parties, DJing/officiating weddings, and more. I have always felt a tremendous power in the days that people reserve for themselves, for creativity, for expression, for joy.
I want to keep living for the weekend. I want to set aside room and space for creativity, for joy, for expression, for connection. And I want to do that in a way that honors Life beyond myself, beyond my perception, beyond my ego and my understanding.
Over the past few months, I have discovered the more than bone deep joy of the Sabbath day. I have heard clearly the name of the powers that I have unconsciously experienced every Friday night and Saturday for the past 35 cycles around the sun.
I want to rend the barriers between me and my Creator, the veils of convention, of convenience, of compromise, of fear. I want to stand tall and let the Universe scoop all the excuses, the distractions and the pettiness, the pride and the doubt out of me for just one day, for 26 glowing honey-colored honey-flavored hours.
I want to offer to my G-d as a sacrifice all the moments of the week, when I thirsted for validation from others: when I panted for compliments and attention. I want to set free my nagging thoughts to fly away like great flocks of pigeons.
I have decided to start keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Because I feel the ecstasy of only answering to the Total Pervasive. I feel the lightness of letting go, of trusting, of not doing, and not needing and not scheming. The glory of focus and fulfillment.
I have prior commitments and plans on upcoming Shabboses that I intend to keep. But I will make no more plans for subsequent holydays (from 18 minutes before sunset Friday night until 3 stars are visible in the same patch of sky on Saturday nights).
For the most part this means no more of so many of the things I love doing. And for this I celebrate. Because I am not what I do.
I don't mean that doing things isn't important. We are all responsible for our actions, for doing better. For lifting the world, for loving each other, for making a difference.
But I believe that beyond the doing, beyond what ever goodness we can scratch out of ourselves in the world through action, there is still something more. Something intrinsic that points to the majesty of the universe that I couldn't begin to describe even if I had William Shakespeare's tongue and Audre Lorde's soul. Something that reminds me that even if (G-d forbid) I became blind, paralyzed, mute and deaf, I would still be as important to world as I am now. Because Life is always more holy than our ability to perceive/understand it.
I'm not giving up what I like: I am gaining what I need, what I have always desired: Peace. through sweat and tears. fragrant and in bloom.
Will I have peace at every moment on every Shabbos? Probably not. But I will do everything in my power to open myself to the blessings of G-d's peace because I long for that, and because the world deserves it. For every person who has hacked open the pathways of peace into the red fibers of their own heart, takes a little pressure off the rest of the world to try and do that for them.
This is not a rejection of all the beautiful things we have shared together on Fridays and Saturdays over the years. This is the result. I feel so lucky to have lived all the lives I have in 35 short years so far, and I await the revelation of the unexpected moments to come be they blissful or sad.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before S/He who sustains me. May S/He continue to bless me with the strength to open to Her/His blessings and keeping finding more of Her/Him in every facet of Life.
I send my love and gratitude to all of you. I thank you for all your support and Love and understanding through my many adjustments. May you learn deep lessons with minimal struggle, and may you feel light and life in all your actions and be truly present to that which is within/without you.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Oct. 23, 2014



Nov. 24

I have one thing to say about the Cosby thing: I think we should quit posting the creepiest pics of Cosby. This is a way of suggesting that sexual offenders "look" a certain way. The tragedy is sexual predators and men who use their patriarchal privileges to assault women in a variety of ways walk plainly among us. They are often handsome, cheerful, and friendly. They are "normal" people. When we insistent that all sex offenders are monsters, we wind up assuming that "normal" folks could not be the monsters capable of committing such acts. But tragically they are and do. The way we characterize "criminals" as others, part of our racialized system of societal control, causes us to leave our family members in danger. We begin by taking victims seriously. But we must also see the victimizers as humans or else we become the monsters, the obscuring fog.



Who threw the first punch?

Nov. 24, 2014 7:30ish p.m., an hour or so before a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury announced its decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson fro the murder of Michael Brown.

The government of Ferguson will soon ask protestors to remain "calm" regardless of the grand jury decision because of the "unrest" in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown. But it was NOT the protestors who showed a lack of restraint then. It was the soldiers dispatched to suppress a peaceful protest. Jay Nixon should be forcing the police to remain calm. The government continues urge Black people to be peaceful despite the fact the United States has been waging war on Black people since before it was an independent country. The murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner and Renisha McBride are genocide. I dont use that word lightly. But it is impossible to separate the middle passage, Dred scott, lynchings, Emmet Till, the disproportionate numbers of African Americans on the front lines of America's imperialist wars, the new Jim Crow of mass incarcerations and drug legislation, the water shutoffs in America's Blackest city, and the above murders from one another. This genocide has continued unabated for 500 years. And yet we ask the people we are killing to remain peaceful. I believe in peace. Truly. But I will not ask or advocate peace from Black people while my community continues to wage war. Wake up white people. We are the ones with guns and tanks. We are the ones who manage the jails. It is our fingers on the triggers. With our hands on the taps. Whose genetic imprint on the Black community tells the story of institutionalized rape. We are the ones who should be waging peace. Who should have remained calm. Who should stop the violence. Who need to rebuild our communities. Who need to protest for justice. Because regardless of what happens when the grand jury announces its decision, it is all of us who are guilty of the first-degree murder of Michael Brown. Premeditated. For all the chances we have had to rectify our continued assault on African peoples here, on the continent and across the Diaspora.

Funny Guy

Aug. 12, 2014

I've been thinking hard about this Robin Williams thing, about living two lives - always being the "funny guy," the entertainer, but holding onto an abyss of sorrow and fear and unresolved pain you don't let anyone see. As some of you know, I started getting counseling two years ago. At the time, I didn't have health insurance and I paid for those sessions in cash, because I was days away from where Robin Williams is now. I didn't think I could afford it, especially for more than a couple of quick sessions. Turns out what is spent on booze, food, cocaine, weed, sex, shopping  whatever it takes to suppress the emotions that are natural for all of us - costs a lot more than the therapy did. Don't get me wrong, I have not yet reached a state of perpetual bliss, but life is substantially more savory for me. I fear less and I feel more. WE ALL DESERVE TO FEEL BETTER. Life is not hopeless. This tragedy really can be a message to us all that all humans struggle, no matter how talented, smart and funny they are., and success is not measured by the $ or the awards but how you feel. And if you are hurting, remember the hurt is not you, it is something you can get rid of. And what remains beyond the hurting, the real you, is more gloriously than you can yet imagine. I promise.

Back to School

Sept. 2, 2014

I saw the most beautiful sunrise of my life today.

The top of the sky was deep purple inlaid with grey clouds tipped in fiberglass insulation pink. The purple stepped down into electric lavender, neon rose, a throbbing saffron and then pure shining gold. The lower sky gilded the clouds there- the bumpy ones, the wispy ones, the long bars of pent up rain, and the fading stains of yesterday's downpour.

I reached for my phone.


What was rich in my eyes, was poor on the screen. A thousand different brilliant colors faded into a simple dichotomy: blue and yellow. The textures of horizon, as complex and sensual as reading Neruda in Braille, were flattened, absent.

Another pic. Another. Nothing.

Maybe a filter? X-Pro II, Earlybird. No.

You can't capture what is freely given. Every day the sun comes again to each of us, freshly dressed in colors we will never see again. The sun has no wardrobe, it leaves its gown stretched over the dresser of dusk before it vanishes between raven-winged sheets.

Live your memory, the sun says. Come back tomorrow and I will give you something new. The phone maybe bright, but it illuminates nothing - the night is always brighter. Nothing lasts, so why spend all your energy holding what turns to dust in your palms? What you have held, try to feel. What you have looked at, try to see. Your being is your memory. The truth of your past lives (verb) in how you experience the present. Your ancestors stir in the way you dance. Stop grasping for what your wear in your veins.

In honor of everyone starting school today, this will be my lesson. I may not learn well, but I will try. And God willing, I will be back in class tomorrow, to enjoy all that is given, all that will come again without ever returning.

#ish: Hope for the Future

Nov. 15, 2014

Sometimes I despair that technology is ruining the world. That in the architecture of these new cryptic systems, we've retained all of our fears, our inclinations to oppress and exploit, and yet failed to build into the virtual world our capacity to grow, to change, to evolve, to love.

But today something gave me hope.

Let me start by saying that my spellcheck is racist as hell. It doesn't correct it when I type "the" instead of 'the"  one of the most common words in the English language. It almost always allow me to use any French word without admonition. But if I type in any African/Islamic phrases it has a million suggestions: type Kemet  "Did you mean Emmet?" the pad asks me. When Amiri Baraka passed, apparently the white guy that runs the algorithm thinks all Black names are spelled alike, so it would occasionally ask me- Did you mean "Barack Obama?" when it wasn't trying to transmute the Arabic into a Jewish name. I think one time, I actually typed the words Kunte Kinte and the name "Toby" magically appeared on the screen...


My keypad is starting to learn. It has learned the words "masjid," "kujichagulia," "wakan," "haShem," "Eid," "wopila," "womyn," and "ashe." It understands that Zenobia was once queen in Palmyra and is now in Detroit.

And today when I typed the word "hashtag," my phone asked me if i meant... "hashish."
It's like the phone finally understands my mind. Like it has grown and changed. Shout out to the plant teachers finding their way into the screens and protocols.

So, now, I not only have hope for the algorithm, I have hope for my own ability to change. To be less racist. To learn. To grow.

To love.

I mean, I'm at least as smart as my phone, right? The new age is coming, buds