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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 8: Black Brotha

Years have passed since I wrote my last poem. It was going to be my audition piece for Lyrical Quest, a group of poets and other like-minded, artistically inclined souls that graced the campus of Grambling State University down in Louisiana. I never got the chance to perform that piece and over time, poetry became my distant lover. Yes, my heart would still skip a beat whenever I heard it's familiar tone but as far as my own pen was concerned...let's just say, the thrill was gone.

The closest I've been to an open mic night was probably during my time at GSU but tonight, that changed. A fellow #GramFam member by the name of Harold Green III, hosts a weekly set on the south side of Chicago called Soul Speak, where artistic souls hold one big jam session, with a lil poetry sprinkled in the mix for good measure. Every Wednesday night at 8:30, J Bistro turns into something out of love jones as people pack into the intimate space until it is standing room only, anticipating a good time.

Harold and his co-host (I feel terrible that I can't remember his name) had me cracking up the entire night. The chemistry those two share is amazing. *sidenote: just realized that I didn't hear Harold spit tonight--yea, he does that too* Although the spoken word I heard from everyone who blessed the stage was amazing (shout out Brandon "Real T@alk The Poet" Williams and Erthe St. James [#GramFam]), that wasn't the best part to me.

There was a brief section where Harold discussed the importance of us playing a role in our children's lives. He is a father himself and I listened intently as he shared with the audience about how his own father is writing a memoir for his grandson (Harold's son) to help him understand why his "Da" (what little Harold calls HG3) is so amazing. Harold gave us a quick background, telling us that his son always talks about how he wants to be strong and cool like his "Da". Almost immediately, you could see the emotion trying to escape as he told us this story. He was seemingly overwhelmed to know that his own father thought he was such an amazing man on so many levels.

Watching him stand up there, beaming about his family, made me think about mine. I wish I had the relationship and shared the love that he did with his family. His father wrote him poems as a young child and I'm sure he gave him plenty of books to read as a way to educate his son in more ways than one. The relationship he had with his father and the one that he is cultivating with his son now made me feel some kind of way about the bond I share with my own dad.

This is not me bashing my dad because most of the times I needed him, he came through in one way or the other but it is no secret that my mother raised me. He was supportive throughout my basketball career up until the day I graduated college, paid for every gym shoe and uniform I ever put on but the other stuff is what I needed him for.

...I feel this turning into something totally different, calling for emotions I'm not sure I'm ready for yet. I've got work in a few hours and no time for puffy eyes.

The point I'm trying to make is that I appreciate men like Harold Green III. Men who play an active part in their childrens' lives, especially our young men, hold a dear space in my heart. I am thank for Harold's father who took the time to write those poems to his son. The same man who is penning a book for his grandson (that is so dope to me!). It's funny now that I think about it but as Harold stepped off the stage and closer to where I was sitting at the bar, I just watched him and I thought to myself, If I am ever to have children (because I don't really want them--'nother blog post for another day) I would want to have them with a man like him. And I say that with all due respect to that special woman in his life.

I don't know him personally but from the few times I've been in his presence and having listened to his music/poems for a few years now, I know the brotha has some sense. I wish I could be around to see the type of man his son grows up to be; how smart and knowledgeable he'll be at such an early age.

I want to be that role model in a young child's life; that person that encouraged them to read books instead of discussing reality television. I want to do my part in helping the generation after me, regardless of how small the task. In the words of Demetria Lucas, "How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time."

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