Inside The Walking Dead

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I hope you’re not the kind of person to believe everything you watch on the news. At the same time, I hope you’re not the kind of person who thinks everything is a coincidence with no connection to your world. I really hope that you’re not the kind of person who lives in a box, where only certain things are capable of fitting. Everything else is, well, too far-fetched. It is too far removed from your four corners, too much on the crazy side, too fictitious. But as the subtitle states, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

With the new season of The Walking Dead kicking off, I know that many of you anticipate being entertained. I know that you anxiously await your weekly fix. You wish nothing but to yell at Rick’s decisions. As for The Strain, your hoping the Stragoy hasn’t really gotten away. And with Halloween just around the corner, TWD is right on time. But in all seriousness these are not just TV shows. If you pay attention, very similar events are happening right here in your back yard. Unless of course you live under a rock, in which case you can stop reading now.

Otherwise, let’s start with the synopsis of each show:

The Walking Dead

1217-walking-dead-amc-3Waking up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, County Sheriff Rick Grimes finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. The Walking Dead tells the story of the weeks and months that follow after the apocalypse. Based on Robert Kirkman’s hugely successful and popular comic book series, AMC’s The Walking Dead is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival. A survivalist story at its core, the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous than the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.

The Strain

strainA Boeing 767 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold. In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing. So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city – a city that includes his wife and son – before it is too late.

In both TV shows, the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) has knowledge of a zombie like virus that eventually ensues and becomes an enemy of mankind, turning them into Zombies (or Vampires). The process usually begins with a virus that produces flu-like symptoms, such as fevers, ending in death with the eventual reanimation of the corpse.

“Are you prepared for the impending zombie invasion?”

The Centers for Disease Control posed this question back in 2011 as part of an emergency preparedness program:

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” the posting reads. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies” much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like “Night of the Living Dead” and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you’d take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.

While the tone is friendly, and suggests “Zombie Apocalypse” is used as a gimmick to tap into an audience already obsessed with them on TV, it would however become one of many warnings put out by The CDC over the span of a few years. The following year, 2012, The CDC and Homeland Security brought the Zombie Apocalypse back to life:

“The Homeland Security Department warned citizens on Thursday that the “zombies are coming,” and urged them to be ready for a walking-dead apocalypse, The Associated Press reported.The zombie “warning” is part of a public health campaign calling for citizens to be ready for disaster — to know to stock up on food, batteries and water, and to keep extra changes of clothes and medication on hand.”

Again, the tone is humorous and the article warns that Zombie Apocalypse is actually used as part of an emergency preparedness program to help people to be ready for any disaster. It is understood to be a metaphor for emergency preparedness while capitalizing on AMC’s The Walking Dead. But, is this true? I would certainly think so, however I also believe there is much more taking place than CDC warnings of a Zombie Apocalypse. There has also been Zombie-Like activity running alongside these warnings:

Naked Man Chews Other Guy’s Face, Shot Dead by Cops

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In May of 2012, a Miami man chewed another man’s face off:

“In a grisly attack that resembled something out of a horror movie, a naked man was discovered in downtown Miami on Saturday, May 26, in the process of chewing off the face of another man. The attacker, who had already devoured the victim’s eyes, nose and ears, growled at a police officer, who shot him several times after numerous orders to desist. The victim was left fighting for his life, with 75% of his face missing. “The guy was like tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, ‘Get off!’ ” the cyclist, Larry Vega, told Miami’s WSVN 7 News. “The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like ripping his skin.”

Two Zombie Attacks in Texas In Two Days, Zombie Plague Spreads

8133668_f520“On Saturday June 22, 2013 a man who’s friends said he was high on synthetic pot went wild and crazy. He stripped off his clothes and ran around the house on his all fours like an animal growling and screaming. At one point one of his friends locked the back glass screen door when the man went outside and the man screamed and then leaped through the locked screen door through the glass in the upper part of the door. He cut his chest and legs badly and was bleeding badly. He was scooping up his own blood with his hands and pushing it into his own mouth eating it. His friends terrier dog came into the kitchen and the screaming man beat the dog down with his fists and then tore it apart and ate it hair and all. Before the police and paramedics arrived on the scene the man had consumed most of the little terrier dog.”

Strangely enough, this exact scenario was played out for you on the world stage when an episode of The Strain depicted a man, overtaken by the Zombie virus, had eaten parts of his dog.

Second Zombie Attack Sunday June 23 , 2013, Houston Texas

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“Police were called to a house on the south side of Houston Texas early on Sunday morning and they found a scene right out of a horror movie. The first officers on the scene said that Otty Sanchez a Mexican Female and a citizen of Mexico was setting on the couch with her throat slashed and bad cuts to her hands and arms. She was screaming and when they finally figured it out she was saying she had killed and eaten part of her 18 month old little boy. A search of the bedroom confirmed this. Police were also able to figure out that the knife wounds on the woman were self inflicted and that some of them were really bad knife wounds.”

But this is just another coincidence. Maybe The CDC is using the Zombie Apocalypse as a metaphor for emergency preparedness. Or maybe not:

Face Eating Attack In China: ‘Dong,’ Drunken Bus Driver, Allegedly Bites Woman ‘Du’s’ Nose, Lips

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A woman has been hospitalized in China after a drunken bus driver allegedly attacked her and began gnawing on her face.

The woman, identified as “Du,” was driving near a bus station in Wenzhou on Tuesday when a man ran into the street, blocking her car. The man, a bus driver identified as “Dong,” allegedly climbed onto the hood of Du’s car and began hitting the windshield, according to the Malaysia Chronicle.

Du got out of the car, and allegedly Dong tackled her to the ground, where he began chewing on her face, according to Shanghai Daily. Witnesses say they attempted to pull Dong off of her, but were unable to do so.

Lollapalooza reveller bitten in ‘zombie like’ attack by stranger at Arctic Monkeys gig

“A man has been bitten in a ‘zombie like’ attack during an Arctic Monkeys gig. Ben Lenet was bitten in what police claim is a vicious and unprovoked attack on the first night of the annual Chicago music festival Lollapalooza, which drew crowds of 100,000 people. The music fan is now receiving treatment to ward off infection and HIV. In scenes similar to those on The Walking Dead, Lenet and his friends were watching the band as they were attacked as a group by the ‘zombie’ in question. In efforts to restrain the attacker, who had started choking a member of their group, Lenet put his arm on the man only for him to bite back. He turns around and clamps his teeth into my left forearm,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s fully clamped, he’s coming at me. He’s ripping at me, he was trying to bite through my arm.” The 29-year-old has taken to Reddit to detail the attack and try and root out the assailant in order to try and stop any further attacks saying “I don’t want him to do this to anyone else.”

The Virus

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In the TV series The Walking Dead, the characters live in a world overrun by zombies—specifically, zombies caused by a mysterious virus that has apparently infected everyone in the population. The living carries the virus, but when someone dies—whether quickly after being bitten by a “walker”, a human or more slowly due to natural causes—the result is the same: After death, everyone is reanimated as a bloodthirsty zombie.That’s because, as is revealed, the virus is airborne.

Walker - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 2The principle that all living people are already infected with the zombie virus was introduced in Season 2 during an adventure to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the only remaining CDC scientist—Edwin Jenner—informed Rick of this fact. To date, this revelation has been the central plot point in every Zombie movie / TV show since then in terms of Public Health. “Coincidentally”, The CDC is always at the forefront of combating a virus that starts by giving people flu-like symptoms before turning them into Zombies. We can go over and over again with article after article, news report after news report of people exhibiting Zombie-Like behavior in the real world. Even if you choose not to believe it, it is a fact that people are going around eating other people in strangely similar ways to the Zombies we see on TV, usually beginning from a Virus.

Ebola and The Strain

Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Eph Goodweather performing tests in The Strain Season 1 Episode 2 The Box

One of the most obvious examples of fiction and its depiction of real life is the current Ebola virus and the TV show that “conveniently” just ended, The Strain. As previously recounted The Strain, according to FX, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. The people fall into a deep sleep, like they’re dead, and wake up as a new creature.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. According to WHO, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. It is a virus that gives people flu-like symptoms before killing them.

On September 24th, Monrovia, Liberia-based newspaper The New Dawn published an article regarding an unusual occurrence in Nimba County. According to the local news source, two deceased victims of Ebola had mysteriously come back to life just prior to their burials. The strange and sudden resurrection of two Ebola patients had naturally frightened local residents. The story has since then been debunked as false, however, is it really? Have any of us ever actually been over to Liberia since this happened? How do we know it’s false? Oh, I get it, it’s not American Certified. It comes from another country so surely it’s not real.

I began this article by expressing my hope that you are not someone who believes everything you see on the news. Likewise, I equally hope you are not living under a rock. There are many more people with this virus than they’re telling you there are and it is much more serious in Africa than they show you it is. In The Strain, the disease restructures the genetic make-up into that of a new creature; in other words it changes the genetic code. For this reason, the bodies cannot be buried the same way regular bodies are buried, they have to be burned and the head must be severed from the body because it is the strain disease that carries the virus. Likewise, Ebola patients cannot be buried normally, their bodies must be burned:

Ebola bodies must be cremated rather than buried, says Liberia government

“The bodies of Ebola victims must be cremated rather than buried, the government of Liberia has ordered. Hundreds of troops were sent to the capital Monrovia as fears rose over the killer virus being spread through touching the bodies – the local tradition at funerals. Fights broke out between health workers and residents trying to bury another 20 victims yesterday. A further 17 bodies have been found dumped on the streets.

It is very possible that Ebola carries the Zombie-Like Virus and this is why the bodies must be cremated so that the bodies are not reanimated.

1413502104235_wps_2_The_CDC_ran_a_social_mediThe Media

Of course the media is going to make every story attract a lot more attention for the sake of ratings, after all, this is a business. But that’s just surface information I’m sure we’re all familiar with by now. 9/11 has been proven to have deficiencies in relation to the motive behind it, the alleged “terrorist attack” thing,  but that doesn’t mean the deaths are fake. It doesn’t mean people did not lose their lives and that it didn’t have a dramatic effect on the life you live today. It just means the purpose behind their deaths is different than what is shown on the television as to why they died. Just because we know the TV shows and News broadcasts seek ratings doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay close attention to what’s going on around us. I’m sure CNN profited off the Trayvon Martin Case (I’m sure his parents and Al Sharpton did as well), but that doesn’t mean a young man did not die. Nothing is actually irrelevant in this world.  Sure, there are lots of distractions yes, but it is not irrelevant in the full scope of things.

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Finally, the Ebola Virus looks strangely similar to The Strain virus. Or maybe this is just yet another major coincidence, I’m crazy, and the CDC’s issuing of Zombie-Apocalypse Preparedness tactics has absolutely nothing to do with the CDC’s overwhelming presence in almost every Zombie movie / TV show around today.

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Flashback: CDC warned Americans in 2011 about brain-eating corpses and said ‘If you’re ready for a Zombie Apocalypse, you’re ready for any emergency’

  • CDC spent staff time organizing a ‘Zombie Preparedness’ website and creating a graphic novella
  • ‘That’s right,’ a CDC website read. ‘I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this’
  • Tom Frieden, the embattled CDC director, helmed the agency in 2011 when the campaign went – ahem – viral
  • Frieden is the subject of several resignation demands since his agency fumbled the first three Ebola cases diagnosed on U.S. soil

To Powerblog or not to Powerblog…that is the question!

Message to the Blog Owner:
I’m writing this post because like you, I care about the productivity of my blog and its basic upkeep. My purpose may be different than yours, but we have each decided to be part of a public online community. If you don’t care about reaching out to people, don’t build a blog, buy a diary. But…I digress…

 

I don’t have a long blogume. That’s a completely made up word for blogging resume. In the past I’ve held a total of four blogs including this one. The first one was with blogspot and it was real amateur. Amateur because I don’t have any other way to describe how whack it was (I don’t even remember the name). Then I held down a position with The Aftermath Blog, created after I published my first novel, The Aftermath. It did a lot better than the first one. I was able to reach out and connect to readers and receive useful feedback. I was even able to hustle a few reviews out the mix. I believe that had I held on a bit longer it may have still been here, but I pretty much got bored with it. Then there was ahouseofpoetry and ThePBSblog. I don’t consider myself an expert on these matters and I’m not someone who researched this in a book and can give a sophisticated analysis (whatever that is), but I do have an opinion to share on power blogging based simply on observation.

 

I assume the definition of “PowerBlogging” is to blog at least once a day or more, I could be wrong, but I have my own definition anyway.

I think “Blogging” should consist of updating your blog at least once a day, only missing a day or so in-between if need be. PowerBlogging, it seems, should be defined as updating a blog more than once a day, and can range anywhere from 2-3 posts a day, to a stream of posts that come in pretty much all day. The difference is pretty much based on common sense. A blog is a social networking forum to which people can interact with an online community based on various themes (my definition). Someone may create a blog because they feel like it. Someone else may want to air their dirty laundry in public so it becomes a public diary (don’t care, that’s your business). Some may actually have an agenda they’re pushing. Others may want to just promote a book, or showcase their writing in general. Whatever the reason, blogs are different than regular websites because they are interactive. Though bloggers can acquire domain names, the title “blog” I think, sets it apart from a regular website that you would actually purchase product from or that is used as advertisement for whatever business. Businesses can surely have blogs, but I think a blog differs in that it allows people to interact, follow, like, and comment. For this reason blogs are social media outlets, it just gives you more room to write, and possess much more flexibility than Facebook. But because blogs are what they are, it only makes sense to stay engaged.

 

I’m not going to define blog success. I don’t think it is restricted to any particular definition. Based on your reasoning for building a blog, that should define how you look at its success, period. I don’t believe any big brains can come along and tell me how successful or unsuccessful my blog is. I do believe however, that the individual blog owner is responsible for making sure there is fresh content for the reader. True enough, every follower is not going to be attracted to every post. True enough, every follower is not going to agree with every post. And true enough, every follower is not going to like or comment on every post. Every post may not even gain you any additional followers (that’s a different topic because then we’re getting into the whole work aspect). But if you work hard at something eventually you’ll begin to see the results of that labor. Already I see that the difference between ThePBSblog and my other blogs is the time I’ve dedicated to it, and it has already made it much more successful (on one level), than the others. Every post is written for a reason, to which not all of them are verbally acknowledged by readers. I’ve read many poems and posts on blogs that I have never made the owner aware of that inspired me (I will…eventually). Yet, inspiring me is a reaction even if you don’t know it. To make a very long story short, you never know how many people you reach who are just observing. There is a reader out there for everyone and someone who will understand your message.

 

People have a number of reasons for following your blog (that’s another reason I don’t think one person can give a general definition of what makes for a successful blogger. Follower count can be deceiving, but so can dashboard data). Some people are glued to your content, but some would just like to see your posts pop up in their e-mails or readers just in case there’s something tasty they wanna try. Some just liked one thing you said and decided your worth adding to the guest list. Others may have followed you simply because they like the way you designed your site. They may not agree with the words on the wall, but they love the interior design, which can be of help to a blogger looking to redecorate (I speak from experience. I once followed someone’s blog because their design included some of my favorite colors. They have long redecorated, but I ended up really enjoying their content. So see, you never know 🙂 ). No matter the reason, everyone has a different reason for following someone. Not everyone just wanna add someone to the reader, not everyone just wanna get post emails, and not everyone just enjoy staring at the pictures, but some people actually look forward to your posts. For this reason, I think it’s only logical to try and stay as updated and engaged as possible. For me personally, if I follow you it means something. And while a bombardment of email alerts from your blog can be annoying, at the same time it lets me know that you’re alive. Otherwise it’s easy for me to forget that you exist. Even if I don’t click on your post, at least I’ll see your name pop up every now and again as a reminder.

 

Blogging is not everything, at least not to me. I’m a woman of balance so Blogging is not my life (I have other things to do) but it is an important piece of the puzzle that I have allowed to occupy space here. It is a part of my day that I have allowed to withhold some of my time, because I think the purpose (to spread truth and inspiration through innovation and creativity) is worth putting my energy into. It is not my whole world, but it is a small piece of the world that I have allowed to exist around me. When I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, I will retire this portion of my life. That said, I think Powerblogging can be successful if you are willing to look at is as a job. It doesn’t have to be your primary job, and it doesn’t even have to be a big part of your day, but if you can look at it as a form of employment, then you’ll see how important it is to stay engaged on one level or another.

 

So, to Powerblog or not to Powerblog?

 
Based on my definition, I think bloggers should at least blog; keep the content as fresh as possible.

 
I don’t think Powerblogging to the extreme of out staying my welcome on your readers and emails is a route I wanna take, but I do believe staying as closely updated as possible is necessary to build a strong online community.

Guest Feature: Waiting for Someone – Lamar Jorden

“Somewhere
In the Northwest region of Seattle Washington
There’s a homeless man, armed with a beer can
Trying to drink away war memories
Waiting for someone
Self-less enough to lend him an ear
He sits on the side of a Pizzeria on the corner of Queen Ann and Mercer
In a chair, they probably kick him out of after business hours
His skin
Has grown all too fond of the concrete beds that he rest his shell-shocked head on
His braggadocios body
rocks back and forth showing off to the world the only gifts war veterans ever receive
He addresses me, “Ey lil Bra, you got a dollar?”
Without even checkin my pockets I tell him, “I aint got it”.
Having anticipated this appointment he responds with,
“That’s fine, cause I really wanted a 20.”
Amazed, not that he still knows what humor is,

but that is one of the few possessions that the war actually let him keep, I laugh
Before digging into my coat pocket filled with a ton of change I’ll probably never use
He lets me know that more than a 20, what he really wanted was a conversation
And takes my 75 cent donation as an invitation to start one
Without offering much space for me to converse,

he lets me know how in this country,
war veterans are rarely anything more
Than patriotic flies on a wall
And that for all these people to ignore his request
Is just as second nature as swatting at a pest
I guess
None of them realize that here lie their tax dollars at work
His body jerks
To the percussion of his bones
Dancing to the song of post-traumatic stress syndrome
How wrong
Is it of humans to lack humanity
Demanding he keep his lips locked but
Possess the audacity to ask where he got his army cap on
To think it’s a trigger you can purchase at a gift shop he tells me
That they’ve labeled him as crazy and they say

he has to take medicine called percadine but the one time he took it
It made him high so why would he continue when it makes his mind worse with time
It seems like the perfect crime
Having people fight for a country that won’t fight for them
The goal
Was for one of those countries to take his life from him
And the opposing country failed when he
Returned to civilization but
The home country would succeed by stripping him of his home
How long
Will this be the standard in this country?
Where if war doesn’t kill you
They distill you
Sending you back home just to rot and mildew
the phrase
“War is good for absolutely nothing”, is still true
Before he lets me go,
he tells me
that he wants to die.
And I see the tear-shaped white flag surrender from his eye
I give him a pound
Before digging back into my coat pockets surrendering

the rest of the change I found.
I tell him I have to go
Cause there’s a white man, screaming at me through traffic
Waiting for me to end this conversation
There’s a young lady at a bar and grill across the street
Waiting for me to join her for dinner
And there’s a poem
Scratching at the insides of my soul
Waiting for me
To tell this story.”

Copyright Lamar Jorden

 

Let’s Make Music

Retro microphone on stage in restaurant. Blurred background

I wanna make music
tonight
I wanna sing
for you
Don’t ask me to metaphor into bunny rabbits
cause I ain’t up here to do tricks for you
I am up here to sing
for you
I am here
to make music
to make
melody
you ask me
why I don’t show my face
why my performance can’t be seen by yo physical eyes
but this here aint no show
I got no tricks of the trade to show you
these words aint cropped to fit your opinion
they aint photo shopped to enhance your feelings
but I know how visual you people are
how you wonder about signs and wonders
so you wonder
why I won’t baptize my poetry
behind the lens of your cameras
have I fallen from the horse of couplets and closed forms?
maybe
I’ve just C-sectioned my Spoken Word to reveal my insides
besides
I’ve got to have some kind of gut
to stand up here and strip for you
just let me be real for you
let me calm you
let these words heal you
and let’s make music
a cleft
a time signature
a note
a rest
a song
a stepping stone
to play just the right scripture
to guide us back to the music sheet
just let me stand here
let me be here
and
just let me sing
for you

The Relationship – My Love Affair with Poetry

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Smitten.

You know the feeling

that refreshing taste of newness

the aching agony that occurs merely from having to wait

until you can see him again

the love sick hurricane in your stomach

just to hear him say your name

the sweat that hides itself beneath your fingertips

when he’s around

the sudden sense of laughter

upon seeing his face

because you know like he does

the secret that lets its guard down

upon the blinking of your eyelids

the pace of a heartbeat

when a word of kindness escapes his lips

you know it

the feeling of fresh love

like the aroma of gourmet coffee

like when the caffeine simply invites you

like the pupils of his eyes when they mentally undress you

because the kindness pouring forth from these thoughts

is strangely exhilarating

the feeling that reminds you

why you were ever single,

the masculinity of a voice

strong, and incredibly calm

whatever I could do to convince poetry that it was necessary that we speak

was a chance to breathe,

for he was a ventilator

and I just needed air.

so I rushed home just to grab a book

or pry open my diary

and hold his thoughts in my hand until my paper

bled its first period.

Deeper.

Over time, we got closer and I became more open

I grew out of childhood

and demanded more attention from my lover

I became jealous and obsessive with my need to be seen with him

in the classroom, in the library, and late into Open mic nights

I ate up words with the speed of speech

and wrapped alliterations

around alphabets

like it was oxygen.

Smoking lyric

and sipping on rhythm slow

like the stride

of a black man

Commitment.

It was no longer convenient to lock me away,

cover me under the flap of notebooks and journals,

it was time to come out of the closet.

I tried to stay focused really,

but paper had proved to be too cluttered

and too slow for us,

too polluted to allow the thing we’d attempted through privacy

to ever grow into what I needed

How could I allow our particular version of intimacy

to be buried by the commas and blue lines

and falling parenthesis that make up the creative world?

After all, we were in love and as such it was time for marriage

and the introduction of this relationship

into the mainstream

The way these words were so finely crafted

almost as if they wrapped themselves around my lips

and took trips inside my memories

Euphoria

any feeling this good has got to be a sin…isn’t it?

No,

What I’d stumbled upon was a gift and no,

this was not a transgression of law

this

was

love.