Archive for February, 2012

Too Much Cloth (“To Part Two”)

Too Much time to think about her now;
Too many memories to surmise the unknown.
Too stupid to end it all, No!
Too dumb to think I will not do so.
To call her out for being
Too impatient and untrue too!

To see the power of loyalty is at the,
TOOth of and the key unTO unlocking for;
Two people could try to be unholy unforgivably…
Two hearts too stubborn and strongly unwilling;
To not stay separate across the grey-blue foaming sea.
To suddenly say, “The man who will be is necessary to me cares of me.”
To be clueless to whom you are writing TO;
Too “disappointed” to realize time on earth is too short,
To not realize I only had the “freedom” for 182 DAYS!

To know now she may be too materialistic;
To see me who, due to past experience knew:
To have no money is,
To get no honey;
To insert inTO her impatient dowry unless she,
Too has a needed “loo-bloo” epiphany –
To ME; “me too!!”

Somewhere, a photographer or record company photo portfolio has a picture of [the now late] Whitney Houston, Clive Davis, actor James Woods and me from the night I fell out of “crush” with a songstress.

In December of 1991, I was the Attendance Teacher (spelled “truant officer”) for the Special Ed kids at a high school just north of New York City, who still had his heart set on being back on the radio as a DJ as I had been for the past fifteen years at that juncture. All of my co-teachers and supervisors knew this about me, and it is probably why I they let me leave work early that afternoon so I could go home, shower, prep and get clean for the Whitney Houston album release party that one of my record promotion friends of the day, Ashleigh Sanford, of Arista Records, invited me to.

Her recent tragically and apparently un-timed/un-planned death reminded me that I had not included this episode of my “famous” life in the memoir book I published last year. So now you know there will be a “part two” as long as I stay alive to write it.
Ya want the “juicy” stuff: That night, I arrived solo at Tatou restaurant by day and nightclub by night back then, which my memory tells me is on East 50th near Park or Madison Avenues in Manhattan (my favorite rock in the world so far) New York City.
That night the lamb roast dinner I slurped was exquisite! I met pro footballers Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants, Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles (who the tabloids had as just having broken-up with Whitney), Ms. “Downtown” Julie Brown who was hosting a late-night music countdown show or something like that at the time, and other celebs like Samuel L Jackson. [Yes I have to ‘name-drop’ so you know I am not bullspittin!lol

After dinner, we migrated upstairs in Tatou, which is a haunt that I used to love to sneak into upon the freebie of my radio station, friend, record company promotion person (as in this night) or just my stone-cold reputation as “Lenny” Bruce. (Yes the door-people thought I was a dead guy). The party experience is intimate there and the “VIP” area accessible for me, an experienced “on-location” reporter. I just knew that I was going to get Ms. Houston to speak with me into my “on-location” voice recorder as I had previous celebs like Freddie Hubbard, Grace Jones and (almost) Chaka Khan and others on this night. After all, that is why my supervisors at the High School gave me the afternoon off!

So suddenly I find myself within the body language of Whitney Houston, who I had to now suddenly summon-up all of the DJ/radio personality bravado I could muster in-order to be able to talk to her like an unruffled professional. This is where my basic boyhood shyness usually reappears, but somehow, maybe because I had on my best double-breasted blue pin-striped suit and felt in the same “club” as all the aforementioned superstars, I was able to step to her, relaxed and confident.

So here is what happened next, in the sequence that I can recall it now, twenty-one years later (but like “yesterday”).
After mingling and working the room as I always did at Tatou,, upstairs and downstairs, I spot Mr. Davis and sashay towards then; Whitney is emerging from the draped, curtained-off VIP towards us. I try to act non-nonchalant like I did not notice her…I get a beverage handed to me by someone of the many I knew at the party…I am introduced to Mr. Woods as Whitney is lingering with Mr. Davis off in my peripheral vision until a photographer suddenly appears and urges us to scrunch together so he can get a shot. We do; he does and then the DJ introduces the strains of Anita Ward’s classic disco hit, “Ring My Bell” to the din. At which point I am talking to Mr. Woods, who walks away and just as magically as I look back to my right, Whitney Houston is like shimmying and looking at me. “C’mon Jimi!” is what I remember what she said sounding like and the next thing I know, I am dancing like I always knew it was going to work-out this way with the “somebody” who sang “With Somebody Who Loves Me!” to Anita Ward music. “How Surreal is this?!”, I thought!

Then just as abruptly as we cavorted Terpsichore, Whitney bounced away from me and when I turned back from one of my famous “spin moves” she was off, mingling back among her adoring fans near the bar.
From that moment, what I noticed that night as I futilely tried to stay within her orbit, were two things that I’ve carried away ever since: Whitney preferred the Hip Hop guys to an “Arsinio hall-style clean” brother like me and that her lexicon was surprisingly impious. Having met her prim and proper Mum, Cissy Houston, one evening at Sweetwaters on Amsterdam Avenue a few years prior, Whitney’s potty mouth surprised me and turned me off, turning my pedestal-infatuation into that of a spectator which must have lasted until last Saturday evening when, at the tale-end of a computer tutor session with my neighbor, we saw the headline on Yahoo. I “didn’t believe it” like many have professed, yet at the same time, I was not surprised.
I guess I will have to write a “part two” or “b-side” to my memoir book. What is your favorite Whitney Houston song or memory?

That night some of us went “along for the ride”; after dancing with and observing her that night, I got off of the ride.
Thank you! Спасибо! for reading.

[This post, I had to let marinate for about a week because of the subtle-but-knowing/understanding shock of Mr. Cornelius’ move and because the subject is so haunting]

So…I am not so crazy as those American Generation Xers, who would have every person who’d ever had a depressing thought subjected to some stranger “analyzing” them into true lunacy, eh?!
OR ~ I am just as crazy as most other under-appreciated, under-funded, underemployed Black American men are…
OR ~ The option is always open for some Don Cornelius-style self-deliverance from the “Sooooul Train” of the physical world!

My honesty, which comes from almost six decades on earth, plays to what I think people need to hear upon the news of the suicidal end to the life of the Father of the U.S.A. TV show, “Soul Train”, Don Cornelius, on the second day of February 2012. The first great “loss and tragic death” of this new year in entertainment.

“Soul Train” was the black answer to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” during that time in American television history. It caught-up with me when I was in college during the mid-1970s, and not a ‘sleep-in Saturday’ went by that my dormitory roommate and I didn’t wake up, turn it on, get back in our separate bunk beds bed to watch it, and maybe learn or validate some of the latest party fashions and dance-floor steps!

But back to suicide and Black American men for a moment. I recently read from the Chicago Tribune, to the Root to Psychology Today, where the prevailing noting has been that “Black American men do not commit suicide, or it is a ‘taboo’ or diluted because of that ‘Mandingoness’ amongst us”. Nothing could be more ridiculous! That tells me that this is yet another mis-characterization and perpetuation of the stereotype Black American that those white Americans who were/are uncomfortable with people who look different than they do propagandizes. It goes along with “those ole Negro fairy-tales from slavery days” that we are somehow, because of that subjugation, less-likely to want to end it all? That is illogical and means subtly that “those people” are less than human, in-reality than those who would assume such assassinity. Don’t believe the hype, world! To do so says that Black Americans do not have the same ups and downs, peaks and valleys that the rest of mankind does! I am writing this to put to bed, once and-for ALL-times, this bullshit! To dispel the myth! What does this chart tell you about it?

I can testify…and I “ain’t proud to” admit that I’ve considered self-deliverance several times. Most recently when I was unemployed for an ungodly long time due to NO fault of mine with so much life-experience that nobody wanted to pay me for, as I continued to grow older, day-by-day! I’ve thought about it a couple of days before I wrote this post because, in a moment of panic, I thought I’d never hear from my suddenly, mostly-silent fiancee`, Nina again!! “And so…?” as my Ukrainian [it] would say. Don and I have the same “good eye” for Slavic women, I see! ;-*)
When you are faced with eviction, food banks, injury and denial of benefits; having to ask for Welfare or any kind of social safety net public assistance after having gone to the University, and lived the “right way”, hailing from a “good and “stable” family” (bullshit for another post) with two parents who were married for over fifty years and never getting into criminal trouble, often the edge of the abyss…is the engraved invitation to ending it all by ones own hand if things do not improve exponentially.

I most-often have felt suicidal due to the callousness of a lying romantic interest who got my heart “open”, just to break it. “Damn, some women!” :-j
It may sound silly but, I bet something similar that pushes your suicide button would sound similarly to me! To each their own poison (“oops!”) and I guess I’m at small risk to ever actually “do it” because, as I’m sure a few who are really close to me know, I’ve mentioned it as an option open to me from time-to-time during tough-and-lonely/depressing/unfulfilled times; the odds pundits of human behavior say, “Yee who talk about it will not really DO it”., but my deep-seeded optimism that I will be comfortably rich soon always carries the day. When that happens, you won’t be able to get me outta here with a crowbar!
It must be that forlorn, walled-in Black Cat, beating-under-the-hard-wooden floorboards, Telltale Heart “Edgar Allen Poe” in me.

I dare you to now admit your suicidal thoughts, whatever your exterior skin color is, in our ‘comments’ section below! As the really old radio show used to say, “The SHADOW knows“…look in the mirror!

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