Friday, December 23, 2011


We are Warriors beat by beat
As we gather I&I
Come from B4 B4 
Ancient time  Long gone by.
Some with Dred Locs some with not 
Many colors hearts the same Jah Rastafari.

Chantin’ drummin’ 
Singin’ Praise 
To the most High
Burnin’ deep within’ our hearts 
the true Warriors cry 
JAH… Rastafari.

Called Jesus, Hesus, Jah, Jehovah, Yaweh, Allah, Dali Lama, Shiva…….…Ohmmmm

Yet I &I mission’s the same 
One ascertainable goal.
That we get to the next step,
Yes JAH is our Warrior Cry 
Powerful our kanke, life force, that will never die.

You see WE form the helm 
Of this New Day,
WE be the ones who see clear,
Know our calling and proudly adhere,
To our mission our aim
For us this is NOT a game. 

Our weapons, 
Our lives, 
No not perfect, 
In-fact beautifully flawed. 
Yet the precise tools to accomplish 
This most righteous cause.

Are YOU one of us 
Of the I & I Clan?
Do YOU too hear the law of truth 
From which we take our warrior stance?
Are YOU part of this gathering? 
Do YOU hear the Warrior call?

Then get up!
Brutha Marley says 
Stand Up!
Give Praise 
To the Most High - 
Jah Rastafari Halie Selassie I

Peace  & Blessings
May you have a blessed life & year

Thursday, November 24, 2011

(17) REALIZATIONS - Part 2

Nappy Locs by Gwendolyn Frazier
Malik began to explain about himself, he said his walls didn’t come down easily.  He found it very hard to trust people, especially women.  To him they always seemed to have hidden agendas.

“Here you are Sista trying to offer me help and I was ready to miss it altogether.”  He apologized and thanked Saadi for being concerned.

“Saadi you’re a good friend.”

Saadi was reminded how much she cared for him.  He talked about past relationships, women that hung on to him, not letting go, even after things were over.

Saadi thought, a woman angry over failed love is not a pleasant person to be around.

He didn’t want that to happen to them.  He wanted Saadi’s friendship.  It was important.

I wish I had the courage to ask, “ What is it about me?  What isn’t it about me?  Why can’t you be my lover?”

She didn’t ask anything.  She decided to wait to ask but she never got the chance, Malik went back out to sea for a long time and even when he returned she didn’t hear from him.  After a time she began to hear rumors that he had broken up with Luna.  Still he never called.  When she chanted he was still strong in her heart even though her brain kept trying to talk her out of it.

She wanted to try again.  I need to do something drastic. Saadi started working on a seduction card.  She pulled together images from their conversations, added colors, used some double meaninged floral phallics, a few key words and the card was near completion. 

She was putting on the final touches one Sunday evening when her mom dropped by.  This was a rare occasion.  Saadi took advantage of the time and they went out and sat on the front porch.  They laughed and giggled enjoying Sunday afternoon chitchat and gossip.  After a while the mosquitoes ran them inside.  It was just turning twilight, that purplish time when margins and images become slightly indiscernible.

The doorbell rang.  When Saadi went to the door Luna was standing there.  Saadi could only vaguely see the scowl on her face but she could feel Luna’s vehemence with all her fibers.  A voice inside told her not to open the screen door.  Luna called out and threatened her.  She spoke between gritted teeth, almost hissing.

“He belongs to me.  Leave him alone.  You cause bacchanal!”

Saadi’s last talk with Malik had been months ago.  Why was Luna up on her porch, up in her face wantin’ to get into somethin’?  For a moment Saadi’s mind went to the card she was working on. Luna couldn't have known about that.

“Luna I am not coming out there.  I don’t know what you’re upset about but you are definitely at the wrong door.”

“He belongs to me and you can’t have him,”  Luna glowered.

“I haven’t spoken to Malik in a long time.  I suggest you leave.”  Saadi spoke quietly but with force.  She didn’t want her mother to hear.

Her mother called out, “Saadi, is everything alright?”

When Luna heard Saadi’s mother, she stormed off the porch, she turned around on the steps and threw spears with her eyes, then she went to stand in the middle of the street. Saadi stood calm but firm.

“No Ma, nothing is wrong.  Everything is just fine.”  She said it loud enough so Luna would see she had no fear in her voice.  Her adrenaline was pumping.

Luna went to the car grabbed the door handle.  She looked like she would tear the door from its hinges.  “You fuckin’ whore,” she screamed.  Then she jumped in the car, slammed the door and screeched off just as the last moment of twilight gave way to darkness.

Saadi’s heart was racing but she still managed a chuckle, Fuckin’ Whore?  Excuse me!  Who did the fuckin’?  Okay, we love the same man.  To the victor go the spoils. Why you sweatin’ me?”

Saadi had never begrudged Luna for Malik choosing her.  Saadi knew Luna seduced him but she didn’t rape him.  He walked in willfully.  He made his choice.  However, Saadi also felt the life connection she and Malik had would outlast what she felt was their physical lust.  Then again there was always the possibility that he was in love with Luna and not Saadi.  But Saadi saw fear in Luna’s eyes.

He must have left her, hinted at leaving her?  Whatever had gone down between them Luna should not have taken it out on me.  Friends don’t do that to each other.  Not what Luna had done in the past with all the disrespect and not what she was doing right now.  Not friends, not sistas, not over a man!

I have been set free.  Maybe that is what Luna really wanted too and this was the only way she knew how to clear the slate between us.  Maybe I’m having more of an impact on Malik than I realized.  I’ll put the seduction card away for now.  I’ll wait.  The time is not right.  I will let them finish first.

Saadi’s mother brought her back, “Well, I am shocked, I never knew Luna could act like that.  She always seemed so quiet and soft spoken.”

“Well Ma, that was how she acted around you, that wasn’t the case with everyone else.  It appears that right now she’s very angry and apparently she’s angry with me, justified or not.  However, I haven’t seen or spoken to Malik for months.”  Not since the day they talked about her having the dreams about him.

“Maybe you need to leave this Malik alone?”

“No Ma, nobody’s going to chase me away from anywhere or anyone.  I leave when I’m good and ready to leave, not when someone tells me to go.”

Saadi thought about the seduction card that she was making for Malik. 

What Luna did was actually encouraging.  She said I need to stop messing up her relationship.  She said Malik belonged to her.  Something is definitely going on.  I wonder what sup?

Each day she chanted for his protection.  She heard he went to South Africa.  He had called Brutha Ibram.  Brutha Ibram thought it somewhat odd and wondered why he called.  It seems their conversation lost its connection right when he started to tell why he was calling.  Bruth Ibram asked Saadi if she knew why Malik had called. She could only guess, part of her hoping it was somehow connected to her.

Saadi knew that she still wanted to hear from him.  She still wanted to make love to him, to release some of the energy clogging her centers.  Release some of the tension from her stringent vision quest.  Most of all, she wanted to wish him well and hoped that he had not given up on his own quest to make his artwork his life work.  Maybe their life lesson, karmic exchange, had already been played out. Rumors abounded of his situation especially with Luna. It is better to leave rumors to rumors.

He was still in her prayers. Saadi went out to a pier off the waterfront in the neighborhood where Malik grew up.  They had spent time out there talking.  She stood on the pier looking out over the water.  She knew he was out there somewhere. He was still in her prayers, Nam myoho renge kyo, Nam myoho renge kyo, Nam myoho renge kyo.

Saadi had to turn her attention forward.  This stage of her vision quest had coincided with meeting Malik.  It had been a strict lesson.

I lost some excess baggage in the process and I was able to confront some of my fears, fear of close relationships with men and women, fear of losing myself in another person’s life, fear of being a person that gives up too soon when I really want something or someone, of not having the courage to fight for what I want or believe.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Months went by. Every once and a while Saadi would have a dream about Malik, she figured it was just withdrawals but the last two times he was in trouble.  She knew she might come off sounding like an obsessed woman and she felt a little foolish but she could not shake the vexation the dreams caused her, especially the two she had had the other night.

In one dream she was supposed to tell him something but every time she tried she couldn’t, Sistas stood in a line in-between her and him laughing and singing. Whenever she tried to speak to warn him they would just laugh and sing louder, so he couldn’t hear her. She was trying to tell him to chant Nam moho renge kyo.  In another dream he was having a party at his fancy new bigger place with lots of his new friends.  They looked like jet setters, models and rock stars, people from Hollywood.  Everyone was all throughout his house having a good time but when he came in the back door he was hiding sadness.  He was also hiding bruises, bruises on his face.

Saadi called Malik and told him she was having these dreams.  She felt there was trouble in his life and she wanted to help him.  She would pray with him if he wanted her to, he could chant or he could even do his prayers and she would chant, she just wanted to help him.  At first he put her off and then asked if she would come over.  He wanted to talk about it.  When Saadi told him what was in her dreams, the look on his face was one of distrust and uneasiness, like a wall or force field of energy slammed down in her face, blocking all communication. 

“Okay Malik, I just felt I had to let you know.  It was really bothering me.  Just be careful, watch your back.”

Malik walked her downstairs to her car. The day was nice with a warm southern moist and balmy breeze. 

I love this kind of breezy weather, moist and warm, like the fine sweat all over your body just as you finish making love.

Malik sat down on the curve, he seemed to want to linger. So Saadi leaned against her small compact old green car. He began to talk about what had happened. It seemed he had held a grudge against her from the first time he had asked her to “lay” with him.  Her “no” had sounded pompous, at least that was how he heard it.  As Saadi listened she wondered if she had contributed to his impression.

Maybe the dreams were really showing my being closed, I should have spoken up about my own fears and mistrusts. He didn’t remember what had happened just before he asked for sex.

She revisited that day and the incident in her head.  It had happened way before Luna broke the news about Malik being her lover.  She and Malik had only known each other about six months, not very long.  It was in early Fall and they were sitting on a bench in the City Park, surrounded by trees with leaves beginning to turn, yellows, golds, tans and browns.  A lot of people were in the nearby zoo but they were alone.  Saadi told him she cared for him but his response was that he wanted them to be friends.  He didn’t think there could be anything romantic between them. Apparently he had not long ago come out of a relationship that had been in existence for many years.  It had taken a lot of effort to leave it and he did not want to jump right back into another relationship.  His tone sounded so final it felt like a guillotine.

I couldn’t even think. I had to leave just to get myself together, to shed my sadness.  I told him I had to go to the bathroom.  On the way from the bathroom I ventured into the zoo shop to give me more time to regain my composure, I didn’t want him to see my red eyes from crying. 

In the shop there were beautiful animal masks, tigers, lions, monkeys and cheetahs.  They looked so realistic. Halloween was in a few days so I bought Selm the cheetah masque.  It was very striking, like you were looking directly into the face of the animal. Selm loves cheetahs, they run so fast, just like him. Two Feet, thats what I call him, Two Feet.  He doesn't walk, he always runs.  All you ever see are those two feet running this way and that way, running somewhere, anywhere, everywhere. 

It was after I returned that Malik brought up sleeping together. 

When Saadi came back to the park bench she acted calm and never admitted she had been upset. They continued talking.  Malik said that he enjoyed their friendship and he didn’t see why they couldn’t enjoy sex with each other.  They were obviously attracted to each other.  Inside Saadi thought about what felt like the myriad of men that always approached her wanting unattached sex. Once again here was another man wanting the same thing.

It felt like I would never change this sex-object karma. So when I answered I’m sure I sounded pompous plus more.  We talked some more and then walked back to the Loc House.  When we arrived one of his old lovers was there.  He looked at me and whispered that he wished we had stayed in the park. But a few minutes later he left in her car. 

I thought we survived that difficult conversation and had continued building a good relationship.  In fact, I thought that once he saw that I was interested in him not just his body he would also be interested in me not just in my body. 

Now, here they were outside his apartment.  He was with someone else now, Luna, and Saadi's visit of concern seemed to have gone unappreciated. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

(15) NO THANK YOU - Part 3

Saadi’s stomach continued to lock down.  She knew, she knew without knowing, while knowing, not wanting to know.  Saadi hung up the phone and slowly walked from her office to the small room that held the copier machine and file cabinets.  Her co-worker, Lynn, was making a bunch of copies.  The singsong whir of the machine serenaded in the background.  The room felt tight just like the life force inside her body.  It took more work to breathe.  She was overwhelmed.  She had to speak to break the chokehold on her emotions.

“My best friend is getting ready to tell me that she’s sleeping with the person I am in love with.”  Saadi spoke softly not even hearing Lynn’s response, she just wanted to vomit the words to break their suffocating hold on her consciousness.  She half heard the encouragement Lynn gave her and prepared herself to leave.  She was getting ready to face something she would really rather run away from. It was all just a feeling but much too strong a feeling to disregard or deny.

Saadi met Luna on the corner by the waterfront.  You could see military and commercial ships in the wharf being repaired.  In fact there was a large cruise ship docked at the end of the street.  It was all white with a black Mickey Mouse logo on the top.

“Greetings Sista,” said Luna.

“Greetings” responded Saadi as they did the customary cheek-to-cheek hug, one on each side.

They turned and started walking towards the neighborhood close by.  They came up on large colonial homes with small manicured lawns.  The sounds of their footsteps stood out as they crossed the cobblestone street. They turned down a street lined with lavender crepe myrtles.  Their beauty irritated Saadi.  How dare they?   Didn’t they know what was going on?  Then the cobblestones began to grate on her nerves.  She usually loved the way they were always slightly slippery.  You had to walk-slide to maintain your balance.  Right now that was too much work.  It was taking an enormous amount of energy and focus to just hold a normal conversation. 

It didn’t take long for Luna to get to the point.  A month, a whole month they had been going out.  The same month she had not heard from him.  Since that last phone call that Saadi had thought was such a victory, her fifth-month victory in her six-month No-Sex campaign.

“I told him he should tell you.”  Luna pressed.

“NO, You should tell me.  You are my old friend.  He is my new friend.  We are sistas.  Aren’t we sistas?”

Words beat inside her head like a drum…

I should know.
     Why didn’t I know?
          What a fool-
               To think that he…
                    Would want me!

Luna continued to talk as they walked.  They were coming close to Saadi’s office. Saadi was trying to figure out how to get out of there, she needed to digest this information.  She felt like a computer that had frozen, she needed to crtl-alt-del. She started chanting inside.

Nam myoho renge kyo, nam myoho renge kyo, nam myoho renge kyo.

One of the local streetwalkers walked up.  She had a somewhat desperate look on her face. She asked Saadi for a ride home, she did not have enough money to even catch a bus.  Saadi had given her rides before on the way home.  She said yes, grateful for an excuse to leave. The three of them went to her car.  First Saadi gave Luna a ride back to her office and told her she would talk to her soon.  Then she gave the lady a ride home.  Afterwards she went home to think and cry and chant over and over and over again. After the first waves of shock wore off she talked to herself.  

It’s all good.  I am determined to claim a victory from this, no matter what.  There is a “lesson learned” here.  What is the lesson, this lesson that I never want to repeat, ever again in no other lifetime, including this one? This feels very old like it has happened before, almost like it’s a tape that loops replaying the same scene over and over. again.  “Karma neh?”  But this time, yes this time I determine, it will be the last.

It is better to know before sleeping.
Waiting may mean you never sleep.
Sleeping may mean you never wait and never know…
We all want to be happy,
And we do our best to obtain it.
Such a fleeting thing…
Happiness based on another person.

Saadi’s life went on.  She mourned her loss, but she was gratified at the closure.  The loyalty to the loc group was no longer necessary.  Her friendship with Luna had been dribbling to an end, now it was over.  Pretenses by either were no longer necessary; Malik had provided the needed exit.

Saadi still cared for him.  She would see him from time to time, even though she was sure Luna did not like it. They never had sex, never kissed intimately or even held hands outside of brutha-sista friendship demonstrations of affection. He was after all, her friend.  She explained it to Luna, as she understood it herself.

“Its two different issues, my relationship with you is not dependent on him and my relationship with him is not dependent on you.  He is my friend and he will continue to be my friend, just as you are Luna.”  Inside Saadi could see that before she and Luna’s relationship had been cracked, now it was broken.

Luna said, “I think we should all be friends and hang out together.”

Bullshit, thought Saadi, who’s she kidding, herself? 

Saadi had known her far too long. Saadi had no desire to hang out with them either.  To see Luna embrace him, to watch him look into her eyes intimately.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

(14) NO THANK YOU - Part 2

Not long before Saadi moved back to Virginia she went to one of her weekly Buddhist meetings.  That evening there were some special guests, Japanese members visiting from Japan.  Nichiren Buddhism and the Soka Gakkai, its lay organization, was still so new in the United States that sometimes Japanese members would come from Japan to share their experiences.  They hoped to help Americans who were mostly raised Christian, Jewish, or Islamic to better understand the religion. 

At the meeting a middle aged man told the story of how he had lost absolutely everything, his business failed and he became poor and destitute.  He was encouraged to use his religious practice, chanting Nam myoho renge kyo, to pull himself out of hell and to build an even more magnificent life. He said he went through a very difficult process of human revolution. His faith and his life were tested but he never gave up. Now he had a very successful business, where he could take time to travel around the world, sharing his story about faith and victory practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Saadi was sitting in the meeting struggling inside.  She had kept the news of her pregnancy from just about everyone, she had not even told her family.  She was in graduate school, the first one to go in her family. Saadi couldn’t bear to disappoint them, even though she was a grown independent woman. Plus things were not going well with Jon.  Maybe it was the look on her face that made the man peer deep into her eyes when he said, 

“When you go to hell use Nam myoho renge kyo to come out of hell.” 

The visitors had brought gifts from Japan, beautiful tokens, trinkets, and souvenirs, a lot of it handmade by the Japanese members.  The man gave Saadi a small fuchsia colored case about the size of a small mailing envelope to hold her prayer book and beads.  He encouraged her to never give up.  She also received a box with four little spoons inside.  Each had the name of a major Japanese city on its handle like Kyoto or Osaka.  Saadi decided to save those for the baby, considering them her first baby gifts.  She hoped one day she would be better able to understand the encouragement she received because at that moment she felt pretty discouraged.

Saadi graduated with honors, shared the pregnancy news with each member of her family and went through all the changes of relocating back with her parents.  Her father was really sick and had been for a few years now.  Taking care of him was wearing her mother out.  It was like their entire lives revolved around his illness, they were living with the only thing in site being his illness and death.  Saadi figured coming home might be good for all of them, having a new baby around would help bring some life into their discouraging situation and she would have her much needed support. 

Her pregnancy went well and the anticipation of a baby gave her parents something else to focus on. Saadi faced the showdown and told her mother she would not be marrying Jon.  Once her mom got through her misgivings about Saadi being an out-of-wedlock mother she got excited. When Selm was born new life breathed into the environment bringing more hope to her and her parents.

Now, they lived a six-hour drive from Jon and Saadi had foolishly assumed that when Jon saw Selm he would fall in love with him just as she had. Of course he would long to be around him.  Even if they were not going to marry they could still enjoy raising their son together. Jon saw Selm and Saadi was sure he loved him but it was in his own way.  Jon was not in Selm’s life very much, not like Saadi wanted; not physically, emotionally, or financially.  Saadi had to carry that burden alone. 

Now here she was with a chance at another relationship, a relationship that she really wanted.  She didn’t want anything to blow it.

Oh my gosh!

Saadi’s mind came back.  She had been holding her breath.

Oh goodness Selm called him Dad. 

"I'm sorry Malik, Selm thought it was his Dad calling."

Now, I know he will run for sure!

But instead he responded, 

“It was nice, I liked it.  I will call you tomorrow.”

Saadi exhaled, she felt a victory.  She was so happy, the six-month plan was working, she liked Malik a lot and it appeared he cared for her too.  Maybe giving up the dream of life in Jamaica, or the storybook dad she had hoped Jon would be; giving them up for single parenting and elder caregiving had all been worth it.  She had finally met that strong distinctive brutha she had long wanted at her side.

The next day she waited all day in anticipation for Malik to call.  She waited the next and the next and the next.  Days turned into weeks and she still heard no word.  Something was wrong she could feel it, a disruption in their connection.

She chanted, “Nam myoho renge kyo.”  

"Do I have the strength to know the truth?" Show me!

Saadi chanted like this for about a week, still waiting to hear from Malik.

It was time for Saadi and Luna’s monthly lunch date, which was pretty much the extent of their hangouts.  It was a hard truth to swallow realizing that if she didn’t seek out Luna she would not hear from her.  This was the hardest part of the Vision Quest, facing the truth.  Saadi dialed Luna's number.

“Hey, hey” the usual pleasantries.  Luna didn’t really want to go eat.  She wasn’t hungry.  She said that yesterday everyone from the Loc House had come to her place.  Someone had cooked her a meal and she had brought leftovers for lunch.
“Oh, who came?” 

Even as Saadi asked a voice inside questioned.  

Do I really want to know?  My stomach is getting a tight knot inside. 

“Let’s just meet and go walking,” Luna suggested.

(to be continued)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

(13) NO THANK YOU - Part 1

She thought about their last couple of phone conversations. Out of the blue Malik had called to ask for information on how to buy a good playing djembe drum. He wasn’t a frequent caller so Saadi was really happy to hear from him. They talked for a while and as she was hanging up he said, 

“Saadi, you're my Sista. I want you to know that I love you.”

Saadi was so happy when she hung up. 

This six months plan is really working.  

As Saadi returned to her work a few moments later the phone rang again. Selm came in the room.

“Ma, I answered the phone and I thought it was Daddy, but it wasn’t him, it was Brutha Malik.  I hope it’s okay that I called him Dad.  Saadi felt her heart skip a beat.  Oh gosh… 

It had been such a long journey since she had been in a relationship that she wanted.  Saadi and Selm’s father, Jon, had been friends.  She had met him while she was in grad school at NYU.  He was Jamaican but not a Rasta, he was from the Jamaican bourgeoisie, well educated, traveled, smooth and debonair, living the New York life. He was her hangout buddy.  When she would go to Jamaica she mostly stayed on the north side of the island in Ocho Rios but when she would visit Kingston, a mini Manhattan, she would board at his mom’s house.   Jon and her were friends not lovers, she had no intention of settling down with him.  

Saadi was in love with a Rastafarian elder, Jah Teg.  He was the love of her life and their relationship, her treasure.  They just had to wait until she finished school and then she was going to come there to live.  He didn’t want to live in the United States.  He loved his country Jamaica.  He didn’t live in a town so it was hard to stay in contact. He had no phone and mail was sent to a community address, which wasn’t unusual, that was life there.  

Jah Teg would periodically call her from a nearby tourist hotel. She had sent him a couple of letters and he had written her too.  And then, there was no more word from him.  She tried desperately to find him, to get in contact with him, she left messages for him to call, she wrote and did everything she could think of.  After about three months she had exhausted all her ideas. All she could do was wait to hear from him but she never did.  It was discouraging.

Jon also had a lady back in Jamaica.  He explained to Saadi that they could keep each other company, both of them had lovers that were away.  Saadi hadn’t heard from her Rasta man in so long that she didn’t even know if he was alive or dead. Against her better judgment she went along with Jon’s idea.

She knew Jon had more feelings for her than she did for    him but she figured it would take her mind away from Jah Teg and Jon couldn’t be but so serious either, he had a woman at home.  She told Jon she was still sorting out what had happened; Jah Teg was her soul mate and she wasn’t ready for another relationship, but she didn’t mind hanging out, so to speak. Jon was a very attractive man.

Besides, Saadi was in the final stage of getting her Master’s degree, she couldn’t focus on much else.  She had a master’s thesis to finish. When she graduated her plan was to move to Jamaica and work with the Jamaican National School of the Arts. She had already met with the Director about a teaching position.  Once there she could work out what was going on with Jah Teg. 

About a month before graduation Saadi got a little surprise, she found out she was pregnant.  She was totally shocked but pleased. She had always wanted a child, in fact she had wanted many children.  She had had a plan, if she wasn’t married by a certain age she would have a baby, like Nikki Giovanni, one of her idols had done, as a single parent. The baby with Jon was definitely not her first choice but they were good friends and he was a good man.  She had thought Jon would be happy about the pregnancy too.  He was always telling her it was time for her to have a child.  However, when he got the news, he wasn’t happy at all.  Their relationship and friendship struggled. 

At one point they played around with the idea of getting married. Saadi wasn’t crazy in love with Jon but she cared for him a lot and he was the father of the baby she was carrying.  She was willing to give it a try.  Jon was already going through a transition in his life; he was in the process of getting a divorce and as many Jamaican men he had multiple children from multiple mothers. He wasn’t ready. He kept mentioning his fear of making another mistake.  He wanted to do it but he wanted to be sure before he took such a big step. 

Artist:  Carol Kim
Saadi knew inside she was mostly considering marriage because she was pregnant, not because she was in love with him.  She liked Jon, he was a good friend, she even loved him but wasn’t in-love with him. In the end she couldn’t go through with it either.

They remained friends but there was a lot of anxiety between them, too much anxiety.  Saadi knew the stress wasn’t good for her, Jon, or the baby.  Jon wasn’t very interested in the pregnancy anyway, he already had children, but for Saadi it was her first, she needed support. 

Saadi decided to leave once she got her degree but instead of going to Jamaica she returned home to Virginia.

(to be continued)

Monday, August 8, 2011


Artist:  Claire Lieberman

Saadi had stopped hanging regular with the loc people.  The last series of confrontations dealt with some business dealings.   A brutha presented a story to the Loc House that had him looking like an oppressed victim and the company Saadi worked for, looking like the demon oppressor.  He never shared any responsibility for the situation twisting many of the facts in his favor. To Saadi, his exaggerations approached lies. However, he had been around for a long time, she was new and on the fringe.  No matter what she might say or explain she knew she would be the considered the villain.  She had come to grips with her outsider status, too mainstream and therefore, in their minds, a sell out.

The hardest one to leave was Luna; they had been together since Saadi was pregnant years ago.  Bit by bit Saadi reduced her visits to the Loc House and to Luna’s.  The relationship felt lop-sided, they disagreed a lot.  Luna would get angry and start cussing and screaming.  She would start to talk down Buddhism. Saadi would only let that go so far.  She would call for an end to the discussion; they would have to agree to disagree.  Saadi was tired of the slander of her religion, to Saadi that was disrespecting to herself.  She wanted peace.  She searched for some general explanation to provide an exit from their relationship.  She didn’t dislike Luna, she loved Luna, Luna was her ideal.  For so long she had tried to be a Luna.  That was before she began her vision quest, which seemed to be undoing many relationships and things in her life. Maybe Luna felt Saadi was doing the same thing to her.  In any case their paths were growing apart.

The Loc House closed and Saadi’s work hours changed.  This was probably a good thing considering the long two hour lunches she and Luna kept taking.  She could have gotten fired! Saadi didn’t give Luna a long explanation.  She felt she had been hinting at it and leading up to this moment for a long. What she told Luna was the truth, it just lacked details, “I feel like I’m living outside myself. I need some time to myself.  I’m pulling back from everyone.  Please understand.”

They would still check-in with each other from time to time, updating each other on their six-month no-sex plan.  They would discuss the plan’s merits and pitfalls.  Saadi could hold, it had been a while since her last lover and Malik was the only one she was interested in, even though she kept that to herself.  Luna, on the other hand always had someone interested in her. She mentioned that there was someone, even now who kept asking her for a “sexual relationship”.  She was tempted but she said she was going to stay with the six-month no sex experiment.

“I’m still going to wait,” said Saadi.  I have to know that a man wants me for more than my pussy.  I’m not asking for marriage, just that he like me for who I really am.”

Saadi and Luna continued to drift apart.  After a while Saadi didn’t even think about her so much. It was comin’ up on the summer. There would be lots of Reggae Concerts held down on the waterfronts and harbors.  They saw each other often.  Luna would seem really happy to see her, acting quite chummy.

I guess she misses my company.

She even held Saadi’s hand.  Luna had never, ever, done that before, not since Saadi had known her.

Why she did she do that?  She hasn’t done that before. Well, at least she isn’t angry about the change in our relationship.  I know I am the one who’s changed.  I’m not running behind her like I used to.  I’m glad she can accept that and still be my friend.
Artist:  Claire Lieberman

“Greetings Sistas.”

“Greetings Malik.”

Wow there’s Malik. 

Saadi loved that he was at the concerts.  The concerts were always mostly white audiences.  American whites knew about life in the Caribbean long before American Blacks.  They start their vacations there at an early age.  They have fond memories of their island playgrounds.  For many of them the concerts were like being at spring break all over again. 

The few Blacks there were usually rebel souls coming to listen to conscious reggae music.  The regional loc community came out.  The place to stand was right at the front of the stage.  Everyone would go to the same side.  The white people would move out of the way because, face it, they were a little afraid.  They did not know whether or not these Blacks were the same as the ones in the islands. Not the ones that kiss up to the tourists but the ones that say, “Fuck you.  I don’t need you. I am happy without you.”

It would be packed in tight by the stage.  People would bring percussion instruments and play along with the music. Splifs would be passed around.  People were feeling ire, peaceful, proud and reggafied. At the loc concerts Saadi would seek out Malik, subtly she hoped. 

Oh, to press up against him in this crowd of people, close enough to smell our sweat mixed with his perfumed oils, to feel him swell against me and no one to know but him and me.  Fantasies – Fantasies!

It was the end of the fifth month and Saadi thought she had learned much about Malik.  They had talked about so many things…life, nature, politics, religion.  He even asked questions about her chanting. He wanted to better understand.  When he first found out Saadi chanted he cracked a joke about it but the next time he saw her he apologized, “Who am I to disrespect another man’s religion?”  That really warmed him to her heart, she was so used to being ridiculed. Saadi enjoyed his company so much.  Talking to someone, a man, who actually thought enough to listen to what she had to say was like salve to her soul. Even when he didn’t agree he was still respectful.  It was such a welcome change.

Deep inside though, Saadi still did not have the confidence that their relationship would last.  Maybe they would be good enough friends so that he would tell her why he would leave her.  Men always leave.  But at least if he did, he would leave before she just threw open her inner temple.  She would not open them before she had gained some wisdom.  This time she would learn something, she would have the courage to wait. This was very different from the way she had started most of the relationships in her life.  This time she would learn something, no matter what happened. 

“It’s all good”, as the loc people say, “It’s all good.”

Sometimes when he set and talked or read she would watch his lips, wondering how they would feel in a kiss.

What was he saying, something about being polite?  Is he talking about being polite with me?  Oh gosh it’s because I talk too much. Is he just talking about something in general or is he trying to tell me something?  Is there a double meaning here? Was that what this was, politeness?

It was a déjà vu, a shifting sands type moment as Saadi felt the walls begin to rumble, tumble, crumble. Something was not right, there was a dark mark on his neck. 

Damn it’s a “hickie

Saadi ran through the list of possibilities.  She flushed feeling the tears in the backs of her eyes.

But I remember him saying his queen had not come back and later he had said he felt she wasn’t for him.  Didn’t that mean he was ready to be with me, doesn’t he like me like that? What did I expect?  I’m not giving it up.  He’s a man.  Men fuck and that’s that.

Malik broke into her thoughts, talking.  Saadi felt a vast distance like in a dream. She felt the stirrings of a whirlpool, small but powerful.  A voice spoke inside,

“Don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  Not yet.  You don’t know.”