Saja Bo Storm
Afro Puffs, Dashiki, and Bell-Bottom Blues
Sounds from a transistor radio blasting Eric Clapton, Sly and the Family Stone, The Bee Gees, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Beatles, The Supremes. You are ready to go out. It doesn't matter where you are going. You have to feel good. You have to look good. You are young and you have a dream you are going places, but you need to look like the world belongs to you. the 60s opened a new life other excitement. War. Make Love not war dancing in the street burning bras it opened my eyes should I wear Flowers in my hair the student union we're meeting there it's time to sign up for the sitting where your brother’s dashi the colors blind you as you look in the mirror the Blues yellows, greens, red they match the rainbow. You've got to put it over your head carefully as not to mess up your Afro puffs. It took you are mourning temperature here and rap the rubber bands around your her trying to escape its imprisonment. your hair looks fabulous. You're running around like a chicken with his head cut off where are your pants where are you change dirty are in the corner of the room it didn't even take the time to fold them up. Did I wear those yesterday? I don't have time to wander. I'm late for my first 8:30 class. Biology. Ug h! The only thing I like about biology is my professor Mr. Kelly. Francine and I both I fell in love with Mr. Kelly on the first day of class. She made me stay behind after class well she asked him 50 stupid questions about an assignment she had already done. I don't know what I'm gonna do my brothers in Vietnam and I have to write to him again. I don't know anything about Vietnam. I only know that it's wrong. I wrote a letter to one of my brothers Air Force buddies his name was Daniel. He wrote me back I remember he told me that the letter I sent him was a sweet-smelling letter. How did the perfume I spray on the latter stay strong enough to last from Baltimore to Vietnam? I'm afraid to write him again because I don't wanna lose him. If something happens to him my heart will break. My heart is tender. I only have room for one heartbreak. And I'm saving that for my brother in case he doesn't return. So, is off to school. Arrival France sing and she's playing James Brown I'm black and I'm proud with every beat she stops and starts the car. That girl is crazy. But we are friends. She's wearing she's wearing a headband with beads and tide started back Francine’s hair is too WAVY and curly to go in two Afro puffs like mine. She kinda looks like someone from the Blackfoot tribe she said her mother said they have Indian in them I really don't know what that means but because my hair this course and worry I suppose I don't have any Indian in me. Francine is wearing a dashi key too I don't think she got her Dashiki from her old oldest brother because Francine is an only child the fabric of her dashiki is just as bold and bright as mine, but we don't match. Francine is very tall, and her Bell bottoms look better on her because of her length she has the statue's look. I'm short and chubby so my Bell bottoms are too long you can't even see my feet I might as well be barefoot but I choose to wear sandals Zorro’s not really sandals they're like shoes you can get for $0.10 on the Avenue we call them sorrows I don't even know what material they're made out of but they come in different colors Anne of the construction never Zorro was quite precarious one trip end the song will be released from the center of the shoe and you can't fix it believe you me I've tried the only thing you can do let's go back download Ave and buy another pair of sorrows. Trancing turned up the radio and parks her car in the parking lot of the canteen. We get out looking fly but afraid about own shadows and this brand-new world a protest, demonstrations, and college classes. When we walk in the cat team canteen, we see ourselves reflected in the other students. Fashion al fashion is their fashion. What we wear is who we are. Perhaps the future will allow us to maintain this dress code because it was the right dress for the right time. I think we need to go back and get it because the fight isn't over.
The Color of Wine and Music
Paul imagined the perfect color for the petals on the zinnias of the lavish garden on his coloring sheet. He stretched lean, angular fingers throughout the pile of rainbow markers searching for the quintessential grape. A tug from a stubby, short hand plucked it from his imagination and literally from his grasp. He didn't let go. She didn't either. “Oh, were you trying, hoping, dying, or wishing to use this color next? A final pluck using a determined thumb and forefinger, and it was her captive. He squirmed, “Yes. I was hoping to complete the floral garden reminiscent of my mother’s summer garden. A childhood memory.” “Well, she handed the marker to her opponent. You can use it. It's not the proper color I need after all. I'm searching for a more Azure blue like the clear skies of spring.” She dropped the marker into his hand as if it were a hot coal and immediately raced across the room. In the library's adult coloring class, there were two tables of people resembling a kaleidoscope of colors, aromas, cultures, and flavors. Yet, she stood out in the crowd. Even though people always thought she resembled their friends, relatives, and lovers. Paul remained motionless until she sat down at the table and joined in a conversation with two other people who sat across from her. She laughed as her coiled hair bounced to the beat of the jazz music lilting in the background. “This is so relaxing” a voice from across him bellowed. He jumped at the sound of the stranger's voice. He looked up and shook his head in agreement. Finally able to move one foot in front of the other, he carried his prized possession back to his seat. The scuffle of the chair scraping against the cement floor caused a few stares and frowns. He had broken the tranquility and peacefulness of the activity. Across the room, a smile formed at the corners of her full lips. In an instant, she looked down again at the task at hand her ‘Sky’ masterpiece. Suddenly she lost all concentration. Something unnerved her. Something made her edgy. She stared across the room watching his movements like a hawk. She watched as he held the marker striking gentle, circular motions across the coloring page. She wondered what he was coloring. Had he finished the garden? She felt the blue across the room. It was that vibrant. All this time, he continued to stroke against the page with a determined flourish. Occasionally, he would swipe the long black wayward strand from off his forehead. She had both her hands under her chin just staring now. Her coloring buddy called her name. She didn't know how many times until she felt a kick under the table. Oh, ow! What! Why are you kicking me? She whispered back at her, “Shh! your eyes are full of him. Your mouth is drooling. Behave. Maybe you should try to color something. It is an adult coloring class after all. Faith, color something! I invited you so that you could release all that stress bottled up inside of you.” “Hey, it's my business how I choose to color. I color on my terms but thank you for the invite. It's not like it's a private country club… it's a public library Jackie so anybody can attend.” Faith pushed out of her chair soliciting frowns from the zoned-out crowd and scuffled up to the art project display table. She tapped her finger to her nose. Maybe I need a different picture. She glanced over the uncolored pictures of animals, flowers, shapes, and shook her head. “Yes, it isn't working maybe someday, but not today. I need something more to relieve my stress. I need to relax.” She let go and listened to the rhythm of the jazz music. She wrapped her arms around her body and swayed to the lilting melody. I like this music too. It's just like the blue I'm searching for. A quiet movement behind her forced her to turn around. She found him smiling at her. “You have a blue nose”, he chuckled. She swiped the blue marker off the table and dotted at the tip of his nose. “And so do you.” He looked at her quizzically and then reached for her hands placing her head gently on his shoulder. They moved to the melody slowly and steadily. He whispered in her ear, “Let's go!” “But we are coloring,” she murmured looking up into his eager eyes. “There's coloring and there's coloring. What you need is the more advanced adult coloring class.” He grabbed her and pulled her gently toward the exit of the library past the stairs and grins of a coloring class and the chuckling librarian. He snatched up their unfinished papers, grabbed their coats and they bounced out into the brisk coldness of the snowy evening. They jumped to dodge piles of snow across the street into a small café. The blue door welcomed the couple warmly into its fold. She looked up and smiled at the sign ‘Cafe Bleu.’ Once inside, he ordered two glasses of Merlot and appetizers of tempura vegetables, mushroom caps, and unsalted pretzel breadsticks. Paul gestured to the waiter to leave the bottle of wine on the table. “What should we toast to?” she smiled clinking her glass on his. “More color,” he said. Much more color! As they sipped the sweet blend, a sound of jazz filtered from the backstage. The quartet of musicians prepared for their next set. The table displayed their adult coloring pages now blurred from the snowflakes and now blended into one new vibrant blue.
Submitted for your approval...
Submitted for your approval. Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone is one of my favorite television series. It has influenced and motivated my writing and most importantly my interest in selecting binge-worthy shows. My love for this iconic show has influenced most of what I watch, possibly what I read, and how I write. The superior writing of the show has stood up to the test of time. I aspire to be as clever and skilled at creating stories that appear so normal but end just as twisted as the stories of the show. I search for shows that have intelligent topics, horror, science fiction, political implications, human interest elements, social significance and relevance, and characters I can relate to in their search for…well, whatever. Most of the people in the world of Twilight suffer from prejudice, avarice, selfishness, cruelty, narcissism, and arrogant. There has to be humor, aliens, space travel, witchcraft, drama, chaos, order, ghosts, diversity, monsters, horror and a little bit of crazy all with a melodramatic and suspenseful twist. I watched the Twilight Zone religiously. I sat in front of the television as a young child with tiny hands which cupped my chin in awe and spellbound with the quality of entertainment in all things Twilight. Summited for your approval, was the unforgettable opening line that reeled me in as the cliché suggests hook, line, and sinker. “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast ad space, and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the submit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.” Not everybody loves the show, but I’m positive that most people on the planet Earth and possibly other galaxies have heard of the television show. In Black & White, these stories are clear and crisp in their presentations of the human condition. The anthology presents a moral tale or fable that should teach us what our futures will be if we don’t adhere to the principles of treating all of mankind well, not just the man or women in the mirror. One of my favorite episodes was “The Eye of the Beholder.” It told the tale of a young woman who was having a surgical procedure to correct her disfigurement. Can you imagine sitting so close to the television that the gleam from the light almost blinded you? Now what do you think happened when the bandages were removed from the ugly woman’s face. “The doctor yells, “No Change” and I see the face of a beauty queen. And the camera pans out and I witness the distorted and contorted faces of the hospital staff who resemble adult pigs. My brothers chased me through the house all week holding their noses to the side to mimic the ‘pretty’ people. Well, after I screamed, I cried and then understood. She was not pretty, not in her world. Later, influenced by this episode I devised a saying of my own, “Beauty is an inside job.”
I'm not your Superwoman
Dear Meghan, Who is the strongest woman you know? I’m sure your mother is one. Probably even the Queen. Personally, I’ve known and read about many strong women-historically, fictitiously, familial and spiritually. And there are many comic book heroines who are strong. One of the strongest is Superwoman. In Alicia Keyes song, Superwoman released in 2008, the heroine is portrayed as an everyday average woman:
Over four decades ago, Nellie Buchanan had the weight on her shoulders. She was faced with the challenge 0f teaching inner city middle school students the dead language of Latin. As a unsuspecting resident of a city housing project, I was already familiar with Latin because I was a Catholic. In a classroom of over thirty students, this knowledge did little to help me with reading and translating Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey, two epic poems in dactyllic hexameter. Dactyllic hexameter represents the meter or rhythm of these two epic poems in a long syllable and two short syllables. Alexander Pope translated both epic poems into iambic pentameter which resembles the rhythm of a human heartbeat. Pope most likely translated it into this meter because it was the type of metric line used in English poetry or verse drama. Everybody knows that Shakespeare used iambic pentameter in most of his plays and sonnets. Miss Buchanan was a angular faced woman with red hair she worn in a tight bun on the top of her head. She stood tall, her lanky body straight as she stood in front of the zealous students. Students who were not as excited about Latin or Homer and his writings. Every one in class knew that Latin was a dead language and so it goes with out saying that the Illiad and the Odyssey were Greek poems translated into Latin just for us poor children in the urban concrete jungle. Without this lesson whether it be considered archaic and obscure then and now, I would not have found my passion for all things poetic.
I’m a Sagittarian. Come closer. Let me hug you. From head to toe. I’m true to my zodiac form. No need to duck or hide. I have an arrow and hoofs in case you forget. I can kick you in the head or shoot an arrow right through your heart. Right after I kiss you full on the mouth. I will either talk you to death of kill you with my bluntness. I don’t seek revenge. I will not forget what you’ve done however, and you will go on the shelf and collect dust. I was born on my Uncle’s birthday and when we had a three-foot snowstorm, we talked to each other for eight hours. At least we weren’t bored. Either way resistance is futile. And you’ll never understand what hit you because I greeted you with the biggest, friendliest bear hug when I saw you. I made you laugh at my funny jokes, puns, and stories. But why is it when I begin to talk to my family, they roll their eyes, exhale, and poke out their lips. I told them that the story was short. Why don’t they believe me? Please don’t be stupid around me. I have zero tolerance for ignorance and nonsense. And if you lie, you might as well have a built-in combustion device. I will incinerate you. Like the heat from a fire breathing dragon,
“It was a dark and stormy night.” “What! Are you insane? Do you want to be known in the literary community as a plagiarist?”