A Dodge City Short: Mr. Brooks’ Daughter, Angela…

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At 7:30am, I entered the store, staring at Mr. Brooks behind the counter.  The hogshead cheese’s foul scent flooded the air; regrettably, I was there to buy the disgusting delicacy for my grandmother, Dorothy.  Every Saturday, religiously at 7am, Mr. Brooks opened the two-flat single floor store, with its gated doors and junk filled sidewalk for business.  The half-parked cars of rowdy Friday night party goers lined 57th & Normal.  The rusty spoke wheel bike I’ve had for several years lay aside the mailbox.  Mr. Brooks, a medium size, older Black male in his 50’s raised his family in the apartment above the store.  He was a gentle man, with caramel brown complexion, and a tight small afro.  Now, as vagabonds and vandals, we stole from anyone and anything.  Mr. Brooks was no exception; in fact, stealing was a rite of passage growing up in the Dodge.  So, when, two or three of us entered stores, Brooks would get busy legs being mindful of our intentions.  Like the Arabs on 55th & Halsted Street, Mr. Brooks walks right near us, like a guard dog, patiently waiting for action.  Well, 30 cents doesn’t call for too much walking and we’d hear the occasional, “What y’all going to buy”?  At that time, we’d split up and secure candy in our busted pants, shirts, and socks.  Other than the proximity to our rival’s housing project, I had two reasons to visit Brooks’ grocery; the stealing was good and Mr. Brooks’ older daughter Angela.

Stay Where I can See you

“Can I have two grape Bud’s Daddy, and a box of Boston Baked-Bean?  Mr. Brooks’ daughter Angela slowly descends from her position at the meat counter.  She walks slowly to the front of the store; her pink blouse poorly disguises her cleavage.  Since I first laid eyes on her I wanted Angela, she was hot.  Her face, strictly innocent, with a gorgeous molasses body and her features firmly assembled.  Her younger brothers Greg and Mike’s play loudly in the basement.  But I could only hear Angela’s movements.  I, too, was young and filled with uncontrollable energy, and like most boys we played all the time.  But, I was attracted to girls like Angela and playing wasn’t considered when she worked in the store.  I deposited the 15 cents on the counter while shyly looking for affirmation; however, she exchanged the candy, only saying, “Do you want a bag?”  I softly replied, no.  I often verbally and physically pushed girls around, but not Angela; she deserved attention because she was a woman, at least in my dreams.  You see, I had a fancy for adult women as a teenage adolescent.  I wasn’t afraid to tell them either, one day; I’ll tell Angela.  Oh, by the way, she notices my friends stealing and threw us out.

Mr. Skeet, owned a grocery store also, he however carried a 357 magnum on his side.  A tall light-skin intimidating man, he was the complete opposite of Mr. Brooks.  His store was sectioned off with no blind spots, not a good place to steal.  He, too, lived atop his store with his family; however, he built gates to the meat and frozen sections.  If you wanted to go into those sections, he came with you; he had an eagle eye and customers’ feared him.  Worst, one of his daughters was short and muscular, and the other looked like him with a wig.  Nevertheless, his store was the finer of two because he kept us out of it, “If you’re not buying wait outside” was his motto. Just like the Arabs on 55th & Halsted.  Skeet let you know he’s aware of your intentions and they will have consequences, this was understood; to kids and adults alike.  We seldom stole anything on his watch; Mr. Skeet rarely received a challenge.  I cannot recall however hearing about Skeet using that gun, unfortunately, my friends use one on Mr. Brooks later.  angela

Angela, I figured had a boyfriend but that did not deter me.  When love or lust calls, you must answer.  I had to have her before some idiot gets her pregnant.  I was fifteen, but, an experienced sexual male.  You see, I lost my virginity at ten years of age and adult women since that time were hot.  Sadly, too, I knew males who got girls pregnant and did nothing; for baby or mother.  I did not want this fate for Angela; I wanted sex with her before her possible soiling, this was an honorable act I figured, at least in my dreams.  Nonetheless, I saw Angela as something purer, better; yet, I wanted her in a torrid erotic way.  I imagined it time and again late at night in bed…

Let’s Get it On

The store’s desktop counter does a poor job hiding Angela’s adult curves…I see it fully.  Like a first grade teacher, leading her student, she carefully whispers sweltering echoes into my ears.  I see her flawless body, the brown taffy-apple breasts covered by two stiff dark nipples.  Today she’s wearing only a yellow dress as I imagine chewing the lemonhead candy-favored buttons quickly off it.  I lay the warm blanket atop the counter, she’s laying braless, minus her undergarments.  Although, I’m fifteen and she’s twenty-one, our bodies are equally attracted to each other.  Suddenly, my genitals nearly erupt from the sexual fantasies running through my mind.  Thus, I angrily grab my manhood as not to hear it scream to soon; yet, it’s swollen with anticipation. I notices Angela sits up, her eyes piercing mine with an invitation for vice. 

Her wonder cave is marvelously sculptured; and its entrance covered with smooth straight hair, it’s all too much.  I’m weakened as the butterflies storm my belly.  As I glare at the Robert Clemente picture on Mr. Brooks’ wall, I grab her body and plunge my parts in her.  As an impatient student waiting on his teacher’s star, I insisted on her pleasure to stream down first.  Soon, not then after, I tasted her climax with my fingers and lips…her skin ablaze as I squeezed her breasts between my teeth, her body’s completely occupied by my naked forces.  Not long after, my facial and body begins to contort signaling my approaching explosion.  She strapped me harder as she notices my transformation, her breasts squeezing my face, gripping me harder. The firmness of Mr. Brooks’ counter did not disturb the pleasure I received.  Forcefully, I indicated my climax with such intensity and potency; I nearly lost conscious.  Soon, the motion cease and our breathing returned to normal, I imagine this is how it would occur.  Angela, and I had done it, and it was good, albeit short…if only in my dreams.

The Invisible Dragon

Boy 1

In the Dead Zone of Capitalism: Lessons on the Violence of Inequality from Chicago

“What is taking place in Chicago is a window into a savage form of capitalism that transfers public wealth into private hands, believes that individuals have the right to profit from the loss of public goods and dissolves public considerations into private troubles.”  Read full article here: In the Dead Zone of Capitalism by Henry A. Giroux

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama: The Worse UnAfrican American President in History

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In 2008, I was amazed that a Chicagoan was running for President of the United States. I am a Chicagoan and I would figure to catch wind of something that big. But, as quick as the temperature can go from 80 degrees to 10 below, a new fellow had arrive, Barack Obama. He was a politician, and lest not forget, a Black fellow. His target was the presidency. Before I go on; I have never supported politics local or national. I have no faith in the system; it is par to my feelings on religion, and educational equity for African-Americans children. I grew up as a teenager under the nation’s most corrupt political system possibly in history: Mayor Richard J. Daly’s ‘Democratic Machine’. Chicago is synonymous with corruption unlike any other major city, well maybe Philly. Subsequently, I was shocked that a politician from the Windy City had a squeaky-clean background to run for the top office.

Barack Obama’s background was lean at best on social political issues facing African-American Chicagoan. Gang violence? Never heard from him? Massive unemployment? Never heard from him. Mass Incarceration? Invisible. In fact, I can truly say, the now President Barack Obama lived clandestinely in Chicago. But, as the circus began to swell around his run in 2008, African-Americans raced to back him. However, before that time research possibly would show nearly 85% were not familiar with him. On the contrary, I did not attribute his skin color to vote for him or not vote. But, a city bloated with decades of racial inequities and violence Obama remained above the fray, he was a stranger. In the city of ‘Big Shoulders’ he remained in the children’s section in helping the neediest, disenfranchised, and unemployed.  More importantly, he was silence on the violence that choked the life out of countless African-American and Latino children. I cannot recall one speech on the topic, in print or on local airwaves, not one. Consequently, his announcement puzzled me, but led me to a prophetical assumption quickly. “Barack was all show and no grit”.    This was no Martin Luther King, in fact, far from it.

President Obama refusal to address social ills provides evidence to my 2008 proclamation. His presidency maintains its silence on these issues. Yet, beloved by many African-Americans as a person of ______________? I lacked a word for the previous sentence. I assume, which is always dangerous, African-Americans and the President only share skin color as a commonality. Which leaves me wondering, what do they see in him as a President or as a man of color? Many brothers and sisters intoxicated with the fascination of skin pigmentation cast their vote around racial pride. Finally, the tags of lazy, shiftless, and unintelligent rinsed from our spirit, we could be a mighty people again. We were hoodwinked with hallucinations and make-believe. Let us deal with reality, if this man was not Black, African-Americans would not have read the local papers. Obama was a complete mystery before his skin color galvanized Black folks, star-glazed whites, and Latinos to join his political movement for ‘Change’. I ask myself, now as I did then, why are African-Americans voting for an empty suit?

Barack Obama is the first African-American President with no ties to the Black community. I conclude that his skin color and marketing Barack_Obama_with_Superman1campaign was the two biggest values to his election. The man from nowhere had nothing else, not a political record, a social movement agenda, nothing. Subsequently, he provided the uneducated masses sound bites, erroneous rhythm, and lest not forget, “Hope”. Yet, hope is not a process to end poverty, hope runs away from education inequalities, mass unemployment and incarceration, nor does it increase jobs for Black folks or Americans. Hope is a term you sell to religious zealots, dreamers, and lottery ticket buyers.

What is Obama? He is an aristocrat sitting atop a global hegemonic empire bent on world domination. He personally directs, alone with his cronies, an unfettered capitalist state devouring Americans and foreigners alike. His divine smile and trifling musical abilities charms the uneducated and socially disable. The racial circus that surround this President who holds foreigners in indefinite captivity in Guantanamo Bay is outrageous. What right does the United States have to hold prisoners without due process or their day in court? In the past, this sort of behavior was associated with Nazi Germany or Stalin’s assault on political foes. This treatment of the detainees at Gitmo is against the humanity of a civilized nation. From his drone attacks aboard that kills hundreds if not thousands, to the increases in domestic surveillance, he has run amok. I must say, he is very different from the 2nd Bush however…he’s worse.

I predicted years ago Obama was nothing but sound bites and wealth driven as all politicians must become. Sadly, African-Americans with its uncontrollable appetite for reality television and fantasy remain mesmerize with his spectacle.  Absolutely nothing comes out of the White House toward African-Americans to improve their existence in America. Obama like most politicians set his sights on the financial gains that political service provides in our society. He fed out blank hope and stuffed his cronies with bloated defense contracts and bank bailouts. Obama is a corporate ventriloquist soothing us with a hope of a brighter future while maintaining the old social order. He is comfortable while our present state burns with dismal unemployment, intense gentrification in Chicago, and cancerous urban schools closings. Sadly, however, African-Americans cannot recognized they backed the wrong pony.  Hey, but at least we could say Barack’s our cousin.

 

The Invisible Dragon

Best and Worst Things about Living in a 1970′ Black Ghetto

“The lack of confidence of the Negro in himself and in his possibilities is what has kept him down. His mis-education has been a perfect success in this respect.” The Mis-Education of the Negro, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, 1933

give me a dam education

I grew up Black, poor, and mis-educated in a ghetto inside Chicago, Ill, in the 70’s. These horrific conditions created particular challenges for both my consciousness and my self-awareness until this day. I wonder, if the Ghetto is stuck in me or am I stuck with it. Its presence fits like skin yet I know it is a social construct created by human decisions.  It only exists in my subconscious, I think, well…I hope.  Occasionally, its hurricane force winds toss my (fragile) mindfulness around as if it were a doll. Its depraved memoirs rush in leaving me clinging to a board.  I hope against drowning from its dreadful episodes. Yet, as the tide subsides, so does the Ghetto’s harsh discrimination and sunlight reveals itself momentarily. Thankfully, I am pardon and this bring some joy, not much, but some. This is a familiarity, the nightmares and pain of the ghetto.

Who Dat Boy

In the 70’s, I lived in a Chicago neighborhood segregated and isolated by race, class, and hate. If you were poor, you lived in these isolated areas with other poor people. There was no race and class mixing, at least not from my point of view. You experienced everything through one lens, your race or class, and its culture (i.e., religion, ethnicity, privileges). There was vast episodes of intra-racial prejudice and discrimination that existed in the ghetto.  In fact, it exist today as it did yesterday with similar intensity.  For example,  middle class Blacks wanted nothing to do with lower class poor Negroes.  They conceptualized this group as lazy, shiftless, and not worth their time. I discovered this phenomenon as a child on weekend sabbaticals with my uncle and aunt.

My uncle and aunt were middle class in the 1970’s.  I can say they were a bit ‘uppity’ and had done well for themselves.  They were the American dream, they were what all Negroes wanted to be, well off. They lived at 9542 South King Drive, Elizabeth and Raymond Johnson. On some Saturdays, they would arrive in the hood and pick up my siblings and me for cultural reprogramming lessons. They wanted to get the laziness out of us.  Teach us which fork to use for a salad and being proper.  The first lesson was the ethics of hard work, my older brother and I would handpicked weeds and dandelions.   In the searing heat of the Chicago’s summer we baked bending and pulling weeds for hours. I hated this exercise with all my heart.  My aunt and uncle watched with judgment making sure each weed was uprooted properly or they would stare till you get it right.

Our second lesson was learning proper manners at the dinner table.  Although, I hated them telling me how to sit at table or use the proper fork, I believed they loved us.  I understood their love, but animosity had settled into my tiny consciousness. The hate of survival, which is the worst hate was already flourishing in me.  Survival hate makes you arrogant, mis-understood, and scary.  I was mad that my Uncle Ray and Aunt Tee were Black, educated, and well off; everything Ghetto occupants were not.  I did love them for what they attempted to do for my siblings and me however.  They taught me to never relinquished a work ethic or the motivation to do my best.  I instruct my grandchildren on table manners and tell then too ‘sit up properly’.  Thanks to Tee and uncle Ray.

Ghetto Hating

The worse condition is being born a Black child in poverty. It is more zombiesevil than cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Children of color (i.e., Latinos, Native Americans, and African-Americans) are not perceived, as…I do not know how to put this. Well, living in poverty seems to be viewed as a choice and thus you deserve it. This is a popular American’ perspective on urban inhabitants.  You see, colored children can starve from a lack of food, education, and resources in America without a social movement.  Our children are important but they are not viewed in a similar light as White children.  This is no secret.  We have always received less than our White counterparts (i.e., employment, housing, education). It was that way in 1970,  and that way now.

I am a bit concerned saying this lest I receive the label of a racist.  It has become common today, to charge African-Americans as being racists if they discuss racism. No kidding. I have inexplicably felt tension in my college classrooms when I speak about racism, and hegemony. You would think that we could have the discussion, but somehow, the subject has become taboo.  So, if you violate this unspoken treaty you are a race agitator. Sadly, it has become a part of the postmodern American society routine.

I remember eating sardines, tons of process lunch meats, and canned everything (i.e., spam, corn, peas).  My mother was a darling trying to protect us from the reality. While she rarely admitted it her howling for some Savior was always ignored. She like most Blacks had been sold a bill of good about a White Jesus.  He will be there, yea right, I was disgusted with her relationship with this damn myth.  We were poor and the Ghetto was filled with others like us. I would say angrily, where in the hell is this Jesus and what is taking him so damn long. Nothing made me more sad than the cries of my mother for this fictional character. This mythical belief creates a horrendous disorder for poor Blacks, it gives them patient.  And if it is one thing you do not need in the ghetto is patient.

The people in my community essentially hated their situation like I did. You see, hate is a disease like capitalism it needs to expand to stay alive. Our neighborhood eventually went from livable poverty to unsustainable despair. With the subtraction of industrial jobs living condition decreased overnight.  As a result, the Ghetto grew angrier and more vicious in the late 70’s.  I celebrated the fact it was not always externally bad, I mean we were hard on each other at times. For example, if you received something new by chance, say like a new bike.  Some of your friends were not just envious; they abandoned you for days.  I mean, they disappeared from the block, playground, and the candy store’s stoop.  Vanquished, M.I.A.  Why?  Because they hated that you got something new, most of us hated signs of progress or achievement by fellow ghettosmites.   We were most happy when we all lived equally, this means as fucked-up as the other family.  The pain of graduating or doing well received harsh rebukes, people would say, “Oh, you think you’re special” anybody could have done that”.  I heard this quite often, or ‘you think you’re so damn smart’.  I hear it today from Blacks peers behind close doors.

chicagoIn our community, the most hate went to the families who had two parents, and lived in a new constructed house. My vagabond cohorts and I hated these families with all our mediocre hearts. Some of the new inhabitants had the nerves to have “good hair” and nothing was worse than having good-ass hair in the Ghetto. This would fuel more hate than anything at least that’s what I thought. However, light-skinned Blacks were hated with even more strong feelings.  Who gave them the damn right to look White and speak proper, damn fake Honkie.  We need to have a lynching in the hood today. Hate and the ghetto, like bread and butter, Jeri curls and juice, they lived side by side.  Black history is self-hate in America.  Englewood was no different, neither was its occupants.

You faced hate every day, folks charged you with ‘acting white’ or the being better than us bullshit. The constant violence changed you whether you realized it or not. You became something that must only survive by any means necessary.  I do not think Malcolm X meant this shit when he said this.  There are countless untold stories of stuck consciousness as a result of the ghetto. These layers, when peeled back, unveiled unspeakable violence because of our culture of hate.  Incest, sexual abuse, rape, drug abuse, mental illness, and physical violence all resonated from hate and self-hate.  We hated ourselves and covered it with manipulative behaviors.  You see these things as a child and copy some of these ill-behaviors for life.  You know its wrong.  But hey, “If you do not tell, neither will I”. The worse secrets on earth lived in the ghetto.  We are aware of our decadence but we’re afraid to reveal them.  It would cause us to seek psychological help.

Hate is a blanket laid upon the consciousness, the heart, without our knowledge, in the ghetto. As a result, some poverty-stricken children have turned into hateful adults, unaware that their cognizance are corrupt. As I have discovered of my own consciousness, there are things I need to discard.  Bad things, things from the ghetto, they still exist in my psyche, I am ashamed at myself.   The things that are on my mental and spiritual hard drive need deleting. Indeed, it is highly likely that my mainframe is infected by ghetto malware from the 1970’s. I suggest such a thing because I lived in the ghetto too long, I caught a disease, hate.

to be continued…(Really)

The Ghetto Worst (Part 2)  Upcoming…

I cannot forget entering Dunbar High School in 1976 from the ‘low end’ (i.e. Englewood). I was now attending a school with students who grew up in communities like my uncle and aunt, the nice hoods (i.e., Chatham, Morgan Park, and Kenwood). Yet, I was still dirt poor, one pair of shoes, struggling to keep my slacks up, and wondering what the fuck. I could see a difference in the students; I knew who was poor and who was well off. Growing up in poverty, you possess a keen sense of details, hell your life depended on it. Dunbar Vocational High School was a flagship institution, unlike my community’s high schools Tilden and Englewood for which I refused to enroll in either. The ‘Bar’ was uppity’. The school was surrounded by condominiums, close to the lake, and minutes from ‘The Loop’. There was plenty intra-racial discrimination and prejudices’ bullying going on in the ‘Bar’. If you were a student not from one of those nice neighborhoods, it could be tough. Now the ‘Bar’ alumni’s get together pretending these cultural and sociological differences did not exist, Bullshit. Students from the projects and communities like Englewood were treated different. Some of us were poor and from the other side of the tracks. We felt the class divide as other impoverished Blacks has throughout our history in America…(to be continued)

Robert a Williams

My Bad-Ass Mother…

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All photo Google images

Something about my Mother…

My life consists of a set of wishes. (1) Unity of Family, (2) Never Quit, Never Give up, (3) Be Honest with Yourself, and (4) Accept Yourself. These are not all the wishes I have but they are at the core of my human existence. Every facet of my life begins with this framework and the credit of this paradigm goes to my Mother.

My desire of a close-knit family comes directly from childhood. Growing up poor on Chicago’s south side in the 60’s and 70’s, my memories are similar to thousands like myself who was part of the ‘Great Migration.” As Latino immigrants flood America today in search of a better life so too did Blacks in the 50’s.

Their mass exodus from the swelter heat of Jim Crowism, racism, discrimination, and lack of decent employment opportunities drove herds of them to cities like Chicago, Detroit, and New York.  As African wildebeest and zebras travel the Serengeti for water and grazing annually, so too Blacks went north for respite and redemption. Thousands in search of the America dream flooded the South and West side of Chicago changing the demography overnight.

Chicago, Sweet Old Chicago

2D2577BCDC834AD8A6684F7037B2CA3D Some found their dreams and some like my Mother continued their nightmare, as a single pregnant teen she left the south as to disguise family shame and not for greener pastures.  The shame of teen pregnancy was deeper then grown Black men being called, “Boy” or chronic physical beatings Black women suffered from Black husbands, boyfriends and fathers in the south.  A pregnant teen was considered an obtuse figure and given a train ride with their “mistake” out of town.

In this tiny apartment lived a single Mother of 6, a dog, mice on occasions, monthly visits from welfare social workers reminding her how detrimental a husband would be to her receiving benefits and a big white-book with a big white Jesus on her dresser. We were pathologically dysfunctional from the beginning.

My Mother was 13, uneducated, single and thrust into one of the many fiercely-segregated neighborhoods of Chicago (Englewood) to fend for herself. She had no role models that I knew, her Mother, my grandmother (Dorthy) a chronic alcoholic did not give much hope to life.

An All-American Bad Ass,

Oh, she was in the “shit” no doubt; her daily anthem, how do I feed and clothe my children.  A miserable view from the eyes of a child.  It however was there I understood family unity; although admittedly by the dysfunctions; I learned what unity can prevailed against.

She was the All-American 60’s Black Ghetto woman, five children hanging on her tities wherever she went, (My last sibling would come later when she married) she had amazing personal and physical strength as a young Mother. I realized early her physical strength; one of her pet peeves was for us to always call her mommy, never by her first name, “Ann.”  I was quickly enrolled in a apprentice program of Black cultural Do’s and Don’t,s by my teacher, “Ann.” praise woman

In 1967, I learned that not only was it a cultural taboo to call her by “Ann,” but unforgivable to do it in front of her friends. One night in our tiny apartment we shared with her two sisters and my cousins, I somehow wondered into a “grown folks” conversation (another cultural no-no) and somehow injected the word “Ann” into the open atmosphere.

Do What I Say

I did not know there was a different in hand preference as a child, you do not notice which hand a person uses most it’s not important as a child.  Well I discovered my Mother was left-handed, a southpaw, and after the unforgettable stinging stop in my mouth I never lost that knowledge. She slapped the “Shit” out of me, I feel it like it happened yesterday; her hands were liken to a champion boxer, fast, strong;  I never saw it coming.  As I staggered away dizzy and discombobulated, I never called my mother “Ann” again, or at least where she could hear me.  (I was a rascal.)

On occasions her instructions were met with a slow response or a disrespectful non-verbal gesture, her radar picked up the activity, her missile disguised as a left-hand was launched before the combatant took another step. Man down! Medic!

As my wounded sibling or me raced for cover, for you learned not to retreat was also a form of disrespect, she then would unleash “Hell.” Whatever object at her nearest disposal was applied to your disrespectful “Black Ass” as she would shout angrily…usually my aunt or grandmother would administrated respite to us soon after however.

comment from the author…

…I loved my Mother’s strength…no matter how dysfunctional it looked to the outside…inside of it was my salvation.

Robert Williams