A quick introduction. . .
“Yo, soy el cantante, muy popular donde quiera. Pero cuando el show se acaba, soy otro humano cualquiera”
I just wanted French Fries. A bag of fries…
This is what is all comes back to my in my heart, my soul, the demons that return in the night. A one dollar bag of fries in waxed paper smothered in ketchup and hot sauce. It was also I wanted and as an eight year old I could not understand why something so trivial was impossible. I could smell them from Jerome Ave and 171st. I do not remember clearly why they were there, but I do recall we were homeless at the time, so maybe we had circled over to our former neighbor’s house, Elsie, to try to crash there. We did that a lot.
But that may not have worked, and she we had to find an alternate place for the night. Usually, we would walk straight up 171st and the cross over to 170th on the Grand Concourse, but some reason we took Jerome Ave to 171st and walked towards Webster. I am not sure where we going exactly. There were to options, Ella’s on Washington Ave was closer, and usually my mother would just drop me off there and return. Deedee’s on Oak Terrace was further, but we could usually both spend the night there.
But why did we take Jerome to 170th?
“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. . . Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”
By taking that route, I could smell the fries from Jerome Ave, through he piss, through the subway waste, through the supermarket trash. And I was starving. Not figuratively. We probably had only ate earlier that morning and it was nearing 2200. Being a malnourished kid, I did not need much. Just the fries. We turned left on 170th street, a route that took us past a number of pizzerias, bakery stores, and, that fry spot.
I tried to go in and was yanked back, my mother telling me, in a soft voice, that we did not have any money. It may have been possible that we took the route we did to see if we could hop the train, and the police were probably there. I tried again, this time grabbing the door. In pride, I wish I could be like other authors and speak poetically about how I had the strength of Hercules, etc. My mother snatched me right off of that door. I think I walked with her, pleading for the fries, imploring that I was hungry. Until Walton Avenue.
When we reached Walton Avenue I became hysterical. So hysterical that my mother decided we should go through the underpass of the Grand Concourse. This underpass was dark, usually occupied by homeless, bathed in urine, and dangerous. But I refused to do any form of walking and crossing the multiple islands and lanes of the Grand Concourse was not going to happen. Also, it would lessen the audience and possibly give her a chance to calm me down.
I ramped up.
“I need a new nigga for this black cloud to follow . . . ‘Cause while it’s over me it’s too dark to see tomorrow"
By the time we exited the underpass, I was rotating between rolling on floor, yelling at the top of my lungs, being drug down the hill and grabbing on the fencing to get some traction to return to the fry spot. I was even hungrier now after expending so much energy for what appeared to be miles. All the while she pleaded for understanding, for patience, that we would get somewhere, for our destination was still unknown, to eat. My eight year old brain did not and would not comprehend this.
So I ramped up more.
On the corner of Webster Ave and 170th street my mother spanked me. Not hard, not dangerously, but to send the message that I needed to stop. And I did. I think she even began to apologize and try to explain what was happening.
Then the ambulance came. Followed by the police.
The police immediately placed me in the ambulance, asking if I was hurt, where I was hurt, etc. My answer was always in the negative We arrived at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, with that hideous “B” logo that I despise to this day. I was placed on a bench in a room where I could see my mother speaking to the officers. They came back to me, I don’t remember what was asked, I just remember being moved away from my mother. And starting again, but with less vigor, to fail about and complain and ask for her back.
I was in a group home in lower Manhattan within hours.
“I come up hard, baby, I had to fight. Took care of my business with all my might. I come up hard, awful hard, I had to win. . . Then start all over and win again”
Despite my blood relatives being called repeatedly, I even spent Christmas in that group home. I was not released until a nice “sista” social worker informed my family that they could get $500 - $600 for taking me as foster parents.
They got nothing for adopting me fully.
I didn’t see my mother again for nearly three years.
I never had a family again except in fleeting moments.
This is what is all stems from, the large failures, the small successes, my sabotaging desire for a family that made me available for evil people to take advantage of, the unending desire to help any young men from avoiding this. The most painful irony being that without any proper support of foundation, I have contributed, to a great extent via poor choices in whom I allowed in my life, to this cycle repeating for my two sons. I pray for the help and support needed to break it.
And now that you have seen into my core being, I invite you to explore the rest of my site. Many thanks for your time
On purpose. . .
My dreams were always….
….to have a family. A wife, children - at one time I even thought of having, or attempting to have 12 kids. It was reaction, in part, because I did not truly have a family when I grew up. But it was true to me because I loved people and helping people, even at a young age.
I envy people who have their brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. Those that celebrate birthdays and hang out together. I was always isolated, apart. Primarily, because no one in my family wanted to adopt, so I was passed from foster care home to foster care home so they can get the monthly check from the State of New York. My stability, etc. not a care. But I also believe that my cousins couldn’t relate to me either and not because they were bad, but because I was a unicorn. So while I could balance the schoolbooks because of an innate desire to do so, and I learned, possibly unfortunately, to adopt myself to the streets, my cousins saw me as something different, always, and treated me as such.
This thought is a response to someone asking “what happened?” Quite simply, my past caused a ridiculous drive within me to try to create a family and through that a ridiculous number of bad choices resulting in my children, Neverson and Najm being used as weapons against me. So the very things that I dedicated my life towards became poisoned and I am still recovering, and incoherently still desiring what has proved to be nothing but a minefield.
One of my favorite cousins passed in February. I found out through a random Google search, no message, no note, I don’t even know how she passed. And I fear more “notices” of the same. Which hurts, because I know that upon any demonstrable success, I will start to get the emails, the calls, etc. From “family” and saboteurs and “apologists.” I don’t know if I want these nor how I may react.
But I have a decision to make - whether my peace is worth more than purpose. Previously, this would have been an obvious decision, for the past 10 years, not so much. I have been told, many times, to share my story. I haven’t, due to the immense amount of pain that it includes, but maybe it’s time. And hopefully, through this, I can invite those who wishes to become such, into my “family,” no family.