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And sing and dance and praise the Earth!

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I remember 2004

I remember 2004, it began in dark blue. My mind was dark and blue. I pretty much had enough of Michael, the Irish drunk. For the greater part of 2003, my time with him was fraught with drama and drinking booze only made the constant drama worse. The first week of January 2004 began with Michael coming over, drunk as usual, to collect his daughter’s belongings. She was staying with me for a bit but two feral cats in one place didn’t work well for me. I’m main kitty in my lair, not some younger and white version of me.
Michael and I sat down opposite of each other and I explained to him why I was ending our relationship. My black cat, Deansie jumped onto my lap and I stroked his soft, black fur as I talked to Michael. Stroking Deansie calmed me. It was the first time that I got the notion that he was my familiar and that he looked out for me in anyway he could. It was too bad that I couldn’t take my cat with me everywhere because he would’ve helped prevent a world of trouble. Following our last meeting, I had second thoughts about breaking up with Michael and Michael was evidently glad to move on. I went ballistic. First I went over to his Squat on a Sunday morning and belted him in the face. I guess I didn’t realize my own strength because he went down. The fact that he was reed thin didn’t help his cause either. I was supported by people because a lot of people despised him and didn’t understand what I saw in him. Their admiration turned to disgust towards me when they found out that I called Children’s services on Michael and his daughter. My jealousy was causing me to lose my mind. My therapist tried to convince me to sign myself in a mental hospital he felt that I was becoming a danger to others as well as to myself.

Around that time, I found out that my friend’s husband wanted to divorce her. Max and I haven’t been close in a number of years but our respective heartbreaks brought us close together again. We licked our wounds by drinking alcohol and talking. Max’s drinking far exceeded mine and looking at her made me realize that I needed to slow down on my drinking and try to deal with my problems without drinking myself into oblivion.

In Early Spring, I decided to keep my mind off of Michael by getting a plot in a community garden right by Michael’s home. The Spring was spent with both of us eyeing each other warily from opposite sides of the street.
I live and work in Brooklyn but every day I trekked to the Lower East Side to tend my garden and to stalk Michael. My plot was awesome. I had peppers, kale, basil, flowers and Squash growing in abundance. The other gardeners said that I had beginner’s luck. As the Summer Progressed, I would go to my plot to water my plants and harvest some of my crop for dinner. What a great feeling it was to reap what I sowed.

That Summer, I met a really cute lady named Annelise, I was volunteering at my garden’s bluegrass music event and she sauntered in and made my life a lot more fun. Annelise was a photographer and she encouraged me to resume taking photographs. I stopped for a while because of an incident in Paris, France that made me scared to run around the city taking pictures. I was almost attacked for taking photos of what I thought was fruit vendors but I guess they were up to other shenanigans.
I began carrying my camera around again.

The Republican National Convention came to NYC and unintentionally it was the catalyst that set me on the path to a new life. I stayed away from activism for a number of reasons. I didn’t want to get arrested any more. I didn’t want to lose my job over it and I was so tired of wingnuts.

I couldn’t miss going to the RNC antics though, it was going to be full of actions and protests. I wanted to be part of all the excitement. There was a major protest against the Republicans and I marched with an anarchist contingent that carried a huge Green Dragon Head. As we marched past the RNC convention place (Madison Square Garden), I was right inside the dragon head by that point. Somebody put on Led Zeppelin’s song “Your Time is Gonna Come”. Suddenly, somebody said, “see you later” and all of these kids dressed in black ran up Seventh Avenue and left the Dragon head in the middle of the street. A smell of kerosene hit my nose and I thought to myself ” Oh shit, they set the head on fire!” I ran away from the head and watched it become engulfed in flames. The cops stood on the street in shock. The kids were long gone by then. When the police finally woke up, they just grabbed the first people they saw and none of those people had anything to do with the burning dragon.

Later that night I went to St. Marks Church. It was the main hangout for all the kids and those of us who hang in the Lower East Side. The fence surrounding the church was nearly covered with bicycles. The cops had arrested a lot of people who participated in a Critical Mass bike ride. I was there with Annelise. We wanted to find out what happened to the bikers and hang with our friends. Annelise and I made out and as I kissed and fondled her, I could see Michael staring us. I gloated inside and felt sick at the same time, I still wanted him so much.

Annelise took off somewhere and I decided to check out what was going on inside the church. Did I mention how hot it was that day? By evening it was still sweltering heat. The church was not air conditioned and I saw a man with a blond pompadour start to talk to his choir, asking them if they minded if he took off his clothes because it was hot! With the assent of his flock, he proceeded to strip until all he had on was his preacher’s collar and vest.

This was not the first time I’ve seen Reverend Billy but it was the first time I seen him perform with his choir. The show started and I was mesmerized. I just had to get to know him. A few weeks later, I see him at a party that I attended in Dumbo, Brooklyn. That night was magical. My friend Killagrrl went to a burner party called The Nation. I had the best time with my girl that night. We danced, ran from naked man and in the beginning light of dawn, my friend Arrow, the shaman of the turntable, made me dance again even though my feet totally hurt.

Fall and Winter, I kept running into Rev. Billy, I did a flashmob at Ground Zero and slowly but surely, my life was changing. My old life faded and by the end of December, the beginning of the year was just a bitter memory being replaced by a new life and a new Year.

Barbara R. Lee

Roosevelt Field Mall ruined the wonderful downtown of Hempstead. In the Sixties, Hempstead was a thriving hub of Long Island. Everybody came to shop there and there were so many small businesses. I think the only franchises we had was Abraham & Strauss, Woolworth’s and Thom McCann shoes. We had five theaters that played all sorts of movies and they were in really cool movie houses, some of them were from the vaudeville era and the most recent was probably built in the early to mid sixties. The bus station was the hang out! Hempstead Bus station was a major station with connections to Jamaica and other parts of Long Island. In the station was the best pizza place ever and if you were cool, you hung out by the record store. To this day, you can’t talk to anybody who lived in Hempstead and not talk about how good it was back in the day.

Roosevelt Field Mall came in the seventies and killed Hempstead economically. In a matter of a few years, Hempstead became a suburban version of urban blight that it never really recovered from. I notice that malls are failing and especially those horrid mini malls that ruined Long Island. I cannot be happier. I hate to see people out of work but if it means that maybe those people might be able to own their own business that isn’t a blight on the Island then hey, it would be worth it.

War and greed killed Long Island. We had thriving food farms, duck farms, local businesses like butchers, bakers and ohhh man, the grinder guy who would ride around town on his bicycle wagon, ringing his bell so that you know you can bring your knives out for him to sharpen. I miss going to the cheese store and smelling all the different types of cheeses. On Sunday, I would go to the bakery after church and I might get a free cookie from the counter ladies. Long Island had a thriving fishing business. Generations of fisherman lived on the south shore to bring back fish that you can get the day they caught it. And you would know the guys and they’d know what kind of fish you like and save it for you. You can’t get that at Costco or Pathmark.

I guess I’m writing this because the Times article really struck a chord in me. I lived out in Long Island from birth up to age 24. I love it so much and I wish you all knew the Long Island of my childhood. It wasn’t perfect and it was certainly racist but if you were able to see the land before the malls came then you’d know why I’m so fond of it. I’m just glad all these fucking malls are failing. That means there will be a small town that won’t succumb to the disease. Amen to that!

Barbara

Barbara R. Lee
barbikat60@aol.com

Memoir from January 2011

Okay so I’ll write a little bit because I have to go to bed but I promise more tawdry tales tomorrow night.

Well, when Ginny said that she and Larry were going to retire in Virginia, I knew the jig was up and I had to find a place to live. While that was going on, I was checking out the air force for long term plans. I moved into a disgusting house in the Heights and spent a load of my wages on roach extermination products and I cleaned and cleaned. I hate cleaning but I hate roaches more so I did what I had to do. I couldn’t take it any longer when my roommates came in my room to see what they could steal from me. I moved in with a lover of mine for a little bit because I was pretty close to leaving for San Antonio anyway. You know when they tell you that they check your blood for drugs before you MEP out? Just before it was time for me to go, I really did try to stay clean but a few days before I left, some of my friends at Villa Court got me wasted on pot, coke and alcohol. I was so afraid I’d be busted but instead I got on the plane. It was my first plane ride ever and we had to go through a thunderstorm. A lot of the women were scared shitless and one girl gave up her window seat to me. I happily sat there and looked at the lightening going off in the clouds. I have never seen such a beautiful thing. I truly appreciate the beauty of nature when it’s at it’s fierceness.

Reveille at five, bats flying from the dorms like mini Draculas, armadilloes strolling across the base. Yeah, I liked Texas but I did not like the military.

I only stayed a month and I will never tell you how I managed to get out but I will say that I got out on a general release with an option to reenlist. Needless to say, I refused to take them up on that offer.

I got back to Hempstead and immediately figured out a way to get the fuck out of Nassau County. I found an ad for a live in Nanny in the Village Voice and I got the job.

I lived up in Washington Hts and suddenly my world totally changed.
All of a sudden I was surrounded by the glitterati of Black cultural society. My employer was a Jazz Singer who was also a singer mother. She evidently did well between her nursing and her singing because I lived in a four bedroom apartment with a spacious living room and dining room. I’m certain that she must’ve inherited it from her parents or something. Either that or she did extremely well with her work. That place was fabulous and only bohemian or professionals in the art and music worlds lived there.
N would have these fabulous parties and I got to meet people like Playthell Benjamin. You would have liked him, a bit pompous but a real sweetie underneath his scathing wit and oohh, he was frigging intelligent. He used to write for the Op-Ed section of the Daily News.
During that time, I also became an Artist’s model and it was the most freeing thing that I have ever done. For years, I have had issues with body acceptance and now I got paid for posing and many, many schools and private places wanted me teo work for them. At my peak, I was more flexible than any yoga teacher or dancer. Everybody thought I was a dancer despite the fact that I never skinny. Being an artist model really opened a lot of doors for me. I learned about art, I had access to many homes of rich people who feted me. I fell into the downtown scene and left my Grateful Dead period behind to go back and embrace my love of punk. Yeah, I know you and Joe hated it but I LOVE PUNK ROCK.

In those turbulent times, my alcoholism started creeping back in my live with a vengence. I was soon living with a french canadian guy that I adored but he did not adore my drunken and rowdy ways. After a few years of living together and he not happy with my love of drugs and booze, he kicked me out. A model friend found me a place to live and ha, my new roommate was a coke fiend. She would come home all tweaked out and insisting that I help her do the rest of the coke or she’d do it all and keep me up all night. Well, I had to oblige her, right?
As you must’ve read in my story, during that time, I got a bottle thrown in my face and some real “caring” person said that heroin would help the pain.
I then let my world fall utterly apart.

One night, I’m climbing up the dark stairs to my space in an abandoned building and I see my “roommates” wandering around illuminated by the fire in the barrel.
I thought to myself that there had to be more than this. I didn’t tell anybody, least of all my drug addict boyfriend. I just kept it to myself. I saved money and put in my bank account. I don’t know how I managed to keep my bank account but I did. Then I told Rodney a lie that I was really sick and I was going to emergency. I gave him money for the cats which I regretted because I knew it would go to coke. Fuck it, I had to go. and I got in Bellevue saying that I’d kill myself if I was not able to get in.

From there, I went into the shelter system but I got to stay at a nice SRO on the Upper West Side so it wasn’t bad and they let me do my modeling, even my modeling sessions in Florida. and by the time I got back from my last modeling session in Florida, I was able to move in my apartment where I have been ever since.

I have to go to bed but I think that should hold you for a bit.

Porn for a friend

From: Morph60@aol.com
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 7:20 AM
To: skyclad@vol.com
Subject: a story

There’s something about dancing that I really love, the way the music can
grab me, touch me and whirl me around. I lose all abandon if the music is
really full of rhythm and hot beats. The heat, the heat, I sweat and writh
and have no shame as my hips and ass move to the sensual sounds. Its like
sex.
I’m at the club and it’s dark, just the way I like it. A wild brazilian
tribal techno beat, I’m on fire and people all around me are lost in the
madness. I smell the muskiness of bodies, dripping with heat, with passion.
Mmmmmm, whats this? A pair of hands roaming my body, I can feel a male body
keeping time to my rhythm. He grips my breasts, pulling me closer to him.
the hardness of his cock against my ass. he grinds into me, squeezing my
nipples. I moan but nobody hears me, the music is so loud. He lifts my skirt
and grinds his cock more into my exposed ass. I should really stop but I’m
so horny, I want more. I take his right hand and move it down to my wet
pussy. Such nice big fingers he has. Mmmmm, I like how he sticks his fingers
in my wet hole and then gently rubs my clit. This is crazy, we are going to
get caught. I feel lips at my ears and and an insistant husky voice tells me
to follow him. ohhhh, he can go to the vip private area. The bouncer winks
at him as he still keeps a grip on my titties and guides me to a couch. He
wastes no time drawing me closer to him. his lips on mine. the pulsating
music pounds louder and I gyrate my hips to the beat. I open my eyes to see
a stunning woman in leather pants and silk halter top standing in front of
us, staring at us. My man looks at her and lifts my lacy top and asks her
does she want to taste my sweets. This unbelievably hot latina with long
curly auburn hair, looks at him and laughs. I’m embarressed but horny. She
kneels down to the couch and furtively touches my nipple. I look at her and
she asks me if I want her to suck my titties. I get a shiver up my spine as
she says titties. The guy takes my breasts, squeezing them so that my hot
little nipples are sticking out, begging to be sucked. She sticks out her
tongue, slowly tracing a path around my nipples, I moan…please suck me.
She laughs but starts to suck them in her hot mouth. She pushes me off the
guy’s lap and straddles me on the couch. her leather clad mound grinding
against my pussy. I feel so trapped. like a slave. I try to get up but my
pussy is going crazy from the rubbing and I want more. Faster she rides me
and my man starts to suck on my breasts. I look around wondering if people
are watching but the bitch roughly pulls my face to hers and kisses me,
forcing her tongue in my mouth. I give up and let the passion take me. I
lift my hands and I feel her lovely breasts through the silk halter, I love
the way the nipples just poke through the silk. Its so hot and her sweat
causes the shirt to stick to her skin in such a provocative way. but I want
to see them. I slowly lift her halter and two sweet honey breasts fall out,
I want to suck them right away but she pushes me down and tweaks my nipples
hard instead. I look over to the man and I see that he has his dick out
stroking it as he watches us play. I open my mouth as an invitation for him
to stick his cock in my mouth. he moves closer and as the latina still
grinds against me, he rubs his dick on my lips before pushing past into my
willing mouth.
ohhhh damn, his dick is so hard, I love how he thrusts into my mouth like
he’s fucking my pussy. The Latina moves down and I can feel her hot breath
move down past my breasts, past my belly button and soon I feel her breath on
my pussy hairs. Her tongue finds my clit and its hard for me to suck his
dick as I moan with pleasure.
…….
Let me know if you want me to finish this, I have to mastrubate now. lol.

As the helicopters fly in the night sky, shining their blazing searchlights in your window, are you glad that you voted for President Obama or any of the politicians that insisted that taking away more of your constitutional rights will guarantee your safety? Do you feel safe?

Does the “shelter in place” procedure that the Massachusetts police used to keep people on lock down smack more of a training program to get the police ready for the real deal, martial law?

And what if you find out that it is all a ruse by the government, do you, can you flee the United

States and risk your life just to get the truth out?

Did the New York City police really need to bring a tank down New York City’s street in the bright light of day just to rouse some squatters from their building or was it a warning for the rest of us?

President Obama signed the National Emergency Act that has been in effect since Franklin Delano

Roosevelt first signed it back in 1933. That’s right, the United States of America has been in a state of Emergency since 1933. Every president since FDR has renewed the act.

Very few Americans are aware that it’s been this nation’s policy to keep control of it’s citizens by undermining every aspect of The Bill of Rights.

Why on Earth would The Land of the Free be kept in a De Jure Police State since 1933 and why would there be subsequent policies put in place to as an excuse to “protect” The American people?

It’s no secret that more than a few politicians and corporations would be ecstatic if The Constitution was abolished. The Bill of Rights has a rude way of getting between what politicians and corporations want as opposed to what’s right for the American people. That is what the Constitution is supposed to be for, to protect the rights of American people.

These days, nobody cares about what’s right, they are more concerned with turning a blind eye to the not so subtle dismantling of The Bill of Rights.

Let’s look at the Shelter-in-Place request put into effect by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, his excuse being that there was “exigent circumstances” I guess nobody told Governor Patrick that there is no “exigent circumstances” clause in the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Governor Patrick doesn’t care about the Fourth Amendment, why should he? The Patriot Act passed into law with only a mild whimper of complaint from the American people. How about Obama and his National Defense Authorization act?

‘The 2012 NDAA gives the president and his agents the right to seize and arrest any U.S. citizen, detain them indefinitely without charge or trial, and do so only on suspicion, without any judicial oversight or due process. The new Executive Order states that the president and his secretaries have the authority to commandeer all U.S. domestic resources, including food and water, as well as seize all energy and transportation infrastructure inside the borders of the United States. The Government can also forcibly draft U.S. citizens into the military and force U.S. citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of “national defense.” There is not even any Congressional oversight allowed, only briefings.” (Taken from Jim Garrison’s article “Martial Law by Executive Order” published 3/21/2012 The Huffington Post.)

So what we’re looking at is a blatant disregard for the rights of the American people. Under all these new laws, The United States Government can use surveillance to spy on the average American for no reason. Oh wait I forgot, there are reasons, there have been reasons since 1933. Nazis, Commies and Jihadists, oh my! Lion and Tigers and Bears, oh my. Laugh all you want but as you chuckle, your personal freedoms are dissipating and it’s because the government has boogeymen that must be stopped and a great deal of uninformed people believe this nonsense and believe that the only way we can be saved is to let the US government do what ever it needs to keep us “safe” even if it means at the cost of our Constitutional rights.

Is there a way to halt the dismantling of The Bill of Rights? I am not certain but I do believe the first step is not vilify the actions of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. If not for these men, we wouldn’t know just how much our government doesn’t care about the rights of the American people.

If you have to ask why this is happening, I can tell you three things, money, power, control and it’s not for the benefit for the American people. People, get ready because the cowpie is about to hit the fan. It’s time to vote, demonstrate and riot. It’s time to FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS!!

fight for scraps, be a scavenger. It’s the American way.

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Sober jamming

My first Wharf Rat meeting.
Call it coincidence or call it fate. April 24, 2009, I went to Nassau Coliseum to see The Dead. I was by myself and I was quite happy because it was my first time seeing the Dead sober. My first sober concert was Matisyahu in 2008 but it has nothing to do with recovery so let me move on. when I got to the venue, I headed straight for Shakedown Street and bought a beautiful dress from a really sweet man named Don Bryant. I asked for his information and he told me that he’d be vending at The Gathering of The Vibes. I made a note of it and headed inside the coliseum. As I walked to my section, I passed a booth that said Wharf Rats, I wondered what the hell it was but I thought it might have something to do with stuff to sell and I wasn’t interested in buying anything so I kept walking by. I enjoyed the concert even though it wasn’t as awesome as some shows I’ve seen in the past. I walked out of the coliseum on a clear and warm April night and was feeling so wonderful to be sober. I’ve been seeing the Dead since 1978 and everytime I was high. I was afraid that it wouldn’t be a great experience to go to shows sober. It was quite alright.The next day was Madison Square Garden. This time I was with a whole horde of sober deadheads that I met at my home group in Brooklyn. There is nothing like seeing The Dead or any band at Madison Square Garden! It has always been a magical experience for me (except for the time I saw Genesis during the Duke tour). The crowd was pumped and the band provided the magic. I was home, this is what it was always like for me and I got the magic SOBER! At setbreak, my pregnant sober friend Sarah told me that it was time to go to the Wharf Rats meeting. I was reluctant to go because I like watching the freaks milling around in a drug induced haze. I followed after her and there was a massive crowd of people around the table. People shared and then there was a sober countdown. I just could not stop smiling. I was with my people, I finally have come home! After the meeting was over, a young man with a psychedelic bandanna and tank top came over and started talking to me. His name was Michael and he offered to take me to a Wharf Rats meeting out on Long Island. I had the feeling that his intentions was not solely sober based and I was right because nearly a month later, I finally gave in and hung out with him. It was love at first sight and we’ve been together ever since. Through him, I started going to Phish shows and going to Phellowship meetings and meeting much more wonderful sober friends. What a long, strange trip its been and I cannot be any happier. The Wharf Rats, the Phellowship and my 12 step recovery programs keep me sober and happy. I am really blessed.
I’m a black Wookie, woah!

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Welcome to My Words!

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Saturday, September 28th, 2013 • The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore, NYC • 6:30pm

Keefe To The City

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Musings by a jaded black woman

politics, memoir, recovery, drugs, love, life

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