Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Comes First

As a child growing up in the Hyde Park section of Boston I used to look forward to our "Holiday Bazaar" held each year in the auditorium of my school. I attended Joesph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial School, a catholic school complete with uniforms, a chapel and of course, tough as nails, nuns. The bazaar was the first indication that Christmas was somewhere in the near future. The bazaar would have tons of arts and crafts for sale, most with a Christmas theme. There would be holiday wreaths, candles and tree ornaments for sale along with cookies, cakes and pies. There were games of chance such as a roulette wheel and a game wherein you pulled a lollipop from a Styrofoam base and if you had a green tip on it you won a prize such as a football, baseball or a toy car. If you didn't get a green tip, you got the lollipop, which was the real reason why you plopped down your quarter. The women manning the booths at the bazaar would all be wearing Santa's Hats, elf caps or holiday earrings. The bazaar was held the second weekend in November, so the memory of Halloween had faded and the anticipation of Turkey and cranberry sauce was simmering. The bazaar at my school and other holiday bazaars held in various parishes, schools and local men's clubs were usually the first time people put any thought into Christmas since the preceding year when they brought their dying, dried out trees to the curbside. It was when the browns and oranges of fall were starting to be replaced by the greens and reds of the impending Christmas season.

Christmas in the Catholic church is celebrated in the four weeks preceeding Christmas
in the season known as Advent. There is an Advent Wreath that is presented in the front of the church next to the alter, which has three purple candles and one rose colored candle surrounding a white candle nestled around the wreath. During each Sunday a new candle is lit to remind us of the coming of the birth of Christ and the white candle is lit on Christmas day. Our nuns reminded us of this fact each day in class. Although we got a glimpse of the "big" holiday to come at the bazaar, we all knew there would be no acknowledgement in school or church of the start of the Christmas season until the first Advent candle was lit the first Sunday after Thanksgiving.

I took piano lessons for a number of years after school. I would start practicing Christmas carols when the windows were still open and a warm breeze blowing across the keyboard, so I would know the songs in time for our Christmas recital. The parents who donated crafts to the bazaar would start knitting scarfs and sweaters at Labor Day cookouts. My mother would shop for bargains when she had the money or found a particularly good bargain as early as June. Christmas preparations were always in the works, but behind the scenes and without fanfare.

30 years after I last set foot in my old school things have changed. Christmas has been commercialized to the point of having year round stores with Christmas themes, year round Christmas music channels on cable TV, Christmas displays set up before Halloween and Christmas commercials starting the first of November. In this world of immediate gratification anticipation is an emotion that has fallen by the wayside.

The holiday bazaar, cherry pickers putting up Christmas lights in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and Santa at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade where all signs that the Christmas season was near. The lighting of the Advent wreath let me know the Christmas season was here. What are the signs now? Macy's Pre Pre-Chrismas sale, in October? Buy one get one Christmas CD's at Wal-Mart, in October? Home Depot's sale on artificial trees, in October? The Christmas season has lost its mystique and charm in the quest for the almighty dollar.

My cousin Jimmy's (aka: Sul-Dog) favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I have to agree with him to an extent. I love the unconditional aspect of Thanksgiving. You prepare a tremendous spread, spend time with friends and family, watch hours of parades and football and give thanks for all you have. There are no expectations beyond that. But, I still love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the decorations. I love the traditions. My wish is that we stop diluting the holiday by starting Christmas in October. One of my favorite stories growing up was a story called "Christmas Every Day". In that story a boy gets his wish of having Christmas every day and soon realizes that it loses its appeal when there are Christmas Carols in July and gifts all the time. Its a lesson I wish corporate America would learn.

I love Thanksgiving, but Christmas is still my favorite holiday. I just wish everyone would remember that Thanksgiving comes first.

(Please visit my cousin's spot (click here)to see the inspiration for this post.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Love Suite I: New Love

I want I want I want NEW LOVE, still fresh and vacuum packed in it's wrapper love. I want the anticipation of grabbing the tab, pulling off the bow, unwrapping my new love like a child with birthday dreams.

I wanna gush and grin at the prospect of having it new, having it first, having it only. Yeah big boy toy, new car smell, flat screen high def goodness with kickin' surround sound, dual overhead cams of love, twin turbo thrust that torques me out of my mind, standin' there, layin' there with "aww shucks hyuck."

When she arrives and we start to vibe, listen: I want that crackish love. That love that has me talking about everynothing on the phone til 3:30 AM when I know I got ta get up at 4:30 AM. And when I do get up if I ever get down, I ain't even tired because it's that Red Bull love that she be providin', that Pimp Juice, Rock Star, Jolt, Monster love.

Floatin' through my day wishin' I was lovin' her for pay, wantin' it to be my job I say. Not just my legs but my breath comes in pants and it is rationed at levels inversely proportioned to her...exhales. This love, this breath-less-ness, calls the heart aside and says, "beat like this", it's all heavy and slowquick African tempo with it's comforting annoyance broadcasting from it's northward residence in my throat whenever I think of her, this brand new love. And when I do settle down at night it's her love, this love that is keepin' me awake, robbing me of my chance to dream of her, weave mental futures with her, until the vision of her, the fantasy of her, the essence of her hypnotizes my psyche, bringin my heart into normal sinus rhythm, yeah V-Tach, sound track to my fantareality

I want us to laugh and talk about the effects of this love, for her to say, "I know your joint but let me tell ya 'bout MY story of love. I'm agonizing over my choice of scent of the day, will it be work or will it be play? I more than usual care about the color I wear wanting to brand your brain with this vision of love. It trips my mind to come to realize that your touches cause giggles, your kisses cause wiggles and your skills cause jiggles. New love, new love, you got ooh, ooh, ooh, OOH love, and I ain't even shame Luv. Because an emotional vacay from this world and this life is what I want with you Love, where cherubs sing, trees bend to give shade and waves lap lovingly at our sand encrusted feet. Heart shaped clouds and tropical breezes fill this bubble that shuts out the universe and locks in, new love, I have for you NEW LOVE."

Yeah that's what I want, mmmm that's what I crave. Can it be a thang between me and you girl?

1 Cor 13:13

©SojournerG 2007 All rights reserved


Granny whacked mommy with a tamarind switch
Bled her to womanhood ‘fore nature’s course
Mama smacked sis with a bamboo stick
Dots and dashes more controlled the Morse

Sis got a tot out of wedlock
Cutest little kid
What you think sis did?

My little niece fell ill last week
Bed-ridden, near gone
Doc says was something in her head

Three generations of silence
Not a whole lot said
But so much passed on


Monday, November 12, 2007

Making Peace with the Blood Within Me

Thanks Grampa....and Gramma

I never met you
but all of your bloods flow through my veins.

One Black
One White
Hear tell it, somebody in our line was even Asian...
and probably Native American.

What was it like to fall in love with someone
who didn't look like you, smell like you...
and probably didn't taste like anyone you'd ever put your lips on?

I don't know why you did what you did,
I don't know how you endured all that you endured...
so, I can only ... thank you.

I thank the Heavens for you.

In this world where I find myself now -
I want to ... "pick sides"
I want to ... herald my Blackness for all the pain that was endured.
I want to ... detest my non-Blackness for all that was "put upon us"...
All the bigotry and ignorance that my "Black-side" was subjected to.
Because, according to the laws of yesteryear one drop was all it took to make a baby "Black".

Still...I thank the Heavens for you.

In this world where I find myself now -
I don't need to..."pick sides".
"Sides" are "picked" for me.

Nevertheless, you still joined together
And the result was the birth of several beautiful babies
...including me.

Gramma and Grampa, I wish you could see
All that we have grown to be.

Yea, f$%k ups happen now and again.
But, generally...I'm glad to BE
the Black woman who resulted from
Your copulation
So that I can

...thank you...

C.A. Paige©November 2007

*This fits no poetry "form" that I know of- it flowed as it did from God thru my fingers to this computer -- so here u have it....enjoy...or not...but, it's out of me;-).