Asylum Rising: Imani

Sometimes you can live so much for others, that you forget to serve the one master that should have been fed first. Don’t think for a second that the repercussion that follows such a grievous act isn’t without a desire to kick, scream, and yell. As I sit next to this space heater in the room of a fairly dilapidated building owned by an associate of my cousin, I wonder where all my damn close friends went. And I suppose the tough guys out there reading this are going to feel the comfort of their homes and laugh; or consider their space and begin to tear it apart for some invidious comparison to hurl my way. Ultimately, I have two hoodies to venture out into a St. Louis snow covered scenery to walk to grab something to eat and a computer to type my story into. Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.


Alas, that peace can be easily disturbed, but given the circumstances, that is a might grand and favorable position for me to be in. Throughout 2011, I had to question the reality of fate. I had never seriously given it much thought, and until I felt the pressures of a world that simply wouldn’t bend to my will, I began asking my Self certain questions. Now, I’m much more hopeful, and much more wiser for the incidents of 2011, yet, I’m only so sure that fate or predestination doesn’t exist. I’m also questioning my attachment to this Black race, or Afkan people, that I find my Self shackled hand and foot with. I understand that many of us have our perceptions of what an expression of Black Love -outside and inside Black romantic love(of course)- should be. And I can hear the rally of fierce warriors banging the beast yet the head never bleeds, at least none of the blood seems to be trickling or flowing near my seat here in the streets. What do you love? What sort of love is it? It must be the blind type because I can’t see it, and let’s be honest, since I’ve been homeless, most Afkans(Afrikan Amerikans) can’t see me. To be fully candid, if it weren’t for my trumpeting through Black Twitter, you would have never noticed this Black media analyst named “Owl”.


I don’t know what it feels like to be alienated by the same people you have spent years assisting from the vantage of your body, but from mine it feels like being that lone booger sitting atop the public transit seat’s rail. I accept the story as we are telling it. Sure, let’s all be accountable for our actions that may hurt one another. Unless, big unless…hold on let me break out my typography skills here…UNLESS,(there you go…) you are a guy with millions of dollars that can make songs about big pimping and girls, girls, girls, and you won’t have to stand and face the court of public assholery(coined it first!). If one finds them Self being THAT guy, well, you can wait until you are in your forties and making music to keep you relevant with an ode to your new born daughter(wasn’t American Gangster the “soundtrack” he came up with the last time he was “inspired”?) to decide to realize that,”Hey, women don’t like being called ‘bitches’ do they? Let’s stop that then…”




I’m not here to play with anyone’s intelligence. I’m not in the position to play public executioner or holier than thou Black legislator of all things Afkanian(“Afkanian”…hold on, I…like the sound of that…anywho…). I’m a man living way too many lives in one lifespan and taking the abuses that would come with that from Karma if I so chose to believe that such an evil bitch existed. I don’t know if I’m more upset because I probably deserve to be living this lifestyle due to so many unbalanced and inconsiderate decisions made prior; or because of all the extremely balanced and noble deeds that I’ve done that I will possibly die unhonored for. I had to rethink a statement I typed into the Black Twitter box of my Tweetdeck yesterday when responding to Brie…well, you know her as B. Sharise Moore(her name Brie to me). Eldridge Cleaver did more with his time as a person wrestling with the harshest of conscientious demons than I have without them. I should be honored to be compared as a writer, to a brother like that. I still stand by my story regarding being the first Owl, however, sure…but, people will be people. In the world that I live in, I wish there were more brothers like him after his pathologies were controlled floating around. After all the “Uhuru’s” and Kwanzaa decorations begin to fade in the memory of our yesteryear, it was a White man that retired from Elvis impersonations that allowed your Asylum’s captain room and board on St. Louis’ west side. Yeah, tell that to my immaturity as I drug it down a corridor to be executed project’s style.


I believe it is too easy for us to say we love Black people from the comforts of couches tilted at an angle that allows that noonday glare to be avoided while watching our favorite football teams on flatscreen televisions. Many of us are too busy attempting to look busy while the work of heroes is being recorded in front of a live Twitter audience. Obviously, no one owes me anything; or they are just not willing to pay. I do ask that those that speak of changes to be made for those like my Self be accurate in their content and respectful in their tone. No, you have never had a nightmare about running away from a place that would scare me. My better days are still a bitter taste. I don’t have a problem with the romantics. I actually applaud the spirit’s ability to exist in an Afkan body given our trajectory. Yet, so many of us fail to remember in our hours of boasting of stripes earned on civil battlefields that most of us weren’t volunteers;most of us were drafted. Such is life.


I did a bit of work this week for an elderly Black woman, that stays around over in North city St. Louis. Actually a block up from Mason elementary school(which is a pretty awesome school, well it was when I was taking my ex’s children up there). One of those very insular St. Louis neighborhoods where the teenage babies are left to their own devices, so elderly Black women ought to be concerned about their safety. Enough foreshadowing…so, she asks me to grab some wood from University City for her stove to heat her house since thieves had stolen her copper and aluminum piping and what have you. Of course, I agreed. I saw it as an opportunity for various things, and she was a connect of a connect, you know? Now, mind you, the connect had initially connected us so that I might be able to work around her house and be allowed to use one of her free rooms. It didn’t work out like that, but she still needed someone to work around the house. Faith amongst one another is one of those ethnic things that got lost when the Afkans got born through all those forced sexual engagements and rapes, you know?


I rode around with the sister and we collected the wood, enough to overfill the 4 x 4 bed that was used to haul the wood form U City’s recreational department to the elderly woman’s home. Once back, I unloaded the wood, and stacked it in reasonably ordered way. As noted, I only have two hoodies, neither zips up, so, I’m working to get through the process at a certain point. And although the work was less than a chore really for me, it does go back to certain principles. I walked away with less than promised, I felt the ripple of the bridge as the flames began to consume it, and I felt like,”what did I do wrong here?” Nothing. I could make really drastic demands on a woman old enough to be the grandmother I just buried, or I could be me and chalk it up to an opened hand developing arthritis. You know?


Now, that was all on the 11th of January. Today, I wake up and roll over, press the plastic sheet used to insulate the window in the room I’ve been afforded up to the window pane, so as to see outside. The echo of the thought must have been heard as I felt the window creak and shake a bit. “No” couldn’t have been screamed louder by an Arab in US military custody. I looked at the snow, and I got up, turned the space heater towards the desk, and began my day of research and uploading content to the various web sites I’m developing. I ventured through Twitter, and around midday, our good friend from the western states, Writer Randolph wrote some interesting commentary. Being a fairly astute student of hoodthropology, I recognized the tone of his salutation as what it was: damn reckless. My first emotional response was laughter. You know? Twitter is an interesting place to talk with a certain bravado. I thought to my Self, “what would anything matter here in this space? I can’t swing at you and you can’t swing at me, yet you are writing in a tone that suggests somewhat differently.” I gave in and told him that I had disagreements with a post of his, and that I had responded via Asylum. He made notions about his dedication to the Black race, his world renown stance of not being a “Tom”, and hurled a few insults about me not being a man for not using his name after he quoted me using his name(read it again and I promise it will make sense in the morning).


I didn’t want to hassle with it. I got a little heated, knocked off a few lines of code and ventured across the street to King Omawali and Makeda’s house. I let Makeda spin me about web sites and logo prices, and then I got bored with that. So, now I’m here. 1693 words later I’ve still got to figure out how to get child support payments in the mail, a new coat, legal fees covered, phone bill paid, and a decent haircut(stop laughing, goatees have to be trimmed professionally, too) before I fly out to join Brie(we already did the “you guys call her thing”, right? Cool.) My problems are a little larger than Twitter. I’m a little larger than Twitter. So should you be.


Homelessness didn’t break my wherewithal. It didn’t fashion any weakness onto my character. In some ways it made me more willing to allow pawns to become queens for kings that think they can’t be seen. I can’t say what will happen when Writer Randolph and I meet face to face and these words we have shared have to find a rectification. It is a shame that we can’t somehow behave better than 19 year old gang bangers; especially given the violence and pain of both of our histories. But, I’m in a better place now. At the moment I’m extremely happy with now. So, we’ll see about then when we get there.


Where Black people choose to go is solely on the guidance and direction of leaders such as my Self and your Self. I’ve never seen a group of people that didn’t have factions and cliques. I’ve reserved within my Self to deal with my portion of influence over Akfans. Come what may…


Sure, Asylum is still on life support presently, but, I’m at peace.


Hey, Brie…