State of Mind
One thing I’m not going to do is dive deep on the seriousness of the situation. The word “cancer” alone conjures darkness. The love and concern of friends and family remind me of the depth, but my journey has been one of mindful awareness of and respect for the brevity of life. We have to live it while we can because there are no do-overs. How we get to a point in our lives is based on the decisions we make. That notion alone makes you pause and think about where you are in the moment.
Living in the moment saves me from torment. I spend days focused on work, and doing things around the house to make it more comfortable and functional during my recovery. I have a list of supplies, a list of books, a list of movies. The best thing is that I will have uninterrupted writing time, and during my recovery I plan to write a lot of poetry. Poetry is a hidden talent that I’ve kept under wraps for years. I had a bad experience in my early days of doing spoken word. I was untrained, but I always loved the way I could play with words to describe my life observations.
I think it might have been the Leimert Park crowd I was performing in front of. The set had a blues format, where every other poem was a about the suffering and torment of our people. The life of a Black middle class male who grew up in an integrated school system didn’t have much to contribute to the vibe, and my time was often cut short by the host. I was considered a square, a Black nerd, a Blerd if you will. You know how Chuck D said “every brotha ain’t a brotha”? I had been accused of that several times because of my upbringing. I could’ve tried another poetry spot, but my confidence was already broken.
Shortly after my fall from grace in spoken word, I was asked to write some reviews for a new hip-hop magazine called No Sellout, and lo and behold, journalism became my new niche. At the same time, the LA riots, the largest civil uprising on American soil, was soon to tear down the foundation of my upbringing. The riots was an instrument playing a resonate tune to the soul of the writer in me.
In all my artistic expressions, from my acting and singing in high school and college musicals, to the words and photography I produced in the Golden Age of Hip Hop, to the film and video production and NFTs that I’ve created in recent years, I am oblivious to the way these expressions make people feel. I realize that when I express in the moment, without pretense, I can express my deepest feelings.
The sheer joy of being in my poetry space is a selfish joy that I’ve kept to myself to heal from the trauma that came along with the loss of the love and spontaneity I had before LA burned down nearly 30 years ago. That’s how long I’ve been moving in spurts to get past the past, falling and rising, forgetting and remembering, until I remember that all that I am is all that I was. I’m a product of my hardships. I got the blues.
As I pass through this healing journey of recovery from robotically assisted radical prostatectomy, I will strive to be mindfully aware of where I grow from there. And while there are no do-overs once this life ends, there’s a chance to do-over parts of life with a changed outlook. I want to know if the poetic gifts that got me through emotional and mental healing, I want to start sharing my joy again, finally.