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Sunday Soliloquy: Ghost Dance October 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — afrocity @ 1:28 PM
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Having proved that my intentions to blog more often have failed- let me apologize.  October was a rough month for dear Afrocity.   I had surgery during late September and tons of things to do for my various income paying projects.

Many of you have asked, “What happened to Sunday Soliloquy?” .   Well to put it bluntly, I seem to be in a denial stage (again) with my mother’s death.   I know, I know it will be four years in 2011- this should be an old hat for me now.  Writing about our life together is sometimes not an easy thing.

Sunday Soliloquy takes a lot out of me emotionally.

Not only does it involve drudging my mother up from the ashes, it also brings unpleasant memories often of being hungry, homeless, or just plain feeling vulnerable.

Perhaps this sudden avoidance is a natural progression with the grieving process. Remember, I never saw my mother dead.  There is no ghost of spirit bereft flesh for me to contend with.  They would not let me see her body or the pictures they took when they found her.  She was so far gone that I had to take a DNA test just to prove she was my mother.  A DNA test which took 12 weeks for them to process.  Without proof seen with my own eyes, there was no death.   Just a phone call one night from a strange woman with a Texas twang.

“…maybe you should sit down honey, I have some terrible news…”

There is nothing more denial friendly than an AWOL corpse.  Though mother showed up in my mailbox later as a box of carefully wrapped ashes,  it never computed.  They were placed in my credenza like some relic- a gift that I hated from a relative who knew nothing of my taste.  The bad Christmas sweater or hideous art work that you hid in the closet.

Now I trawl the streets of Chicago, dealing with ghosts.

Where was I going with this?  Oh, it is Halloween.

Mother and I liked this holiday because during our lean years it meant free food- if candy can be considered a food group.  There was a sense of improvisation with my costumes. An old dress, glitter paint, and make shift angle wings cut from cardboard boxes and covered in Reynolds aluminum foil transformed me into a fairy princess.

Other more middle-class endowed kids would have store bought costumes- which I wanted but mother insisted on making mine- plus the money was not there.

In 1980,  I was taking dance lessons at a local studio.  Often, I  was late because mother would never pick me up from school to get there in time.  This lead to awkward moments where I tip toed into class – the only African American girl in the entire school mind you (sure I was not noticeable) , wearing something that mother thought was proper dance class attire…Like a Underoos for a leotard.  My teacher would shake her head at me and I fell into line with the rest of the girls who were laughing at me.

Given that this dance class was mother’s idea, she sure made it her business not to be involved in aspect of it besides registering me.  She never reminded me to practice but the studio never forgot that she had not paid the bill.  Part of the embarrassment, was at the end of class when the teacher would call my name to stay after and that folded up white piece of paper would get stuck in my  hand.

“Afrocity, give this to your mother,” she would say with a fake reassuring smile.  “And next time practice the steps at home.”

I nodded and made my swift exit into what I would call the bitches with perfect blond ponytail zone- the dance studio locker room.  Their leotards were perfect- all from Dansko.  Ballet shoes from Capezio,  personality by WASP.  Their treatment of me was dictated in large measure by what I did wrong in class.  On this Halloween Eve which was a Thursday,  Afrocity had done a lot of things wrong.   Dancing was not my strong suit.  Coordination was not a gift- feet went left when they should go straight, my timing sucked.

“I thought all black people could dance,”  said Ponytailed Bitch #1.  “What happened to you?”

My reaction, which was to ignore her, served more or less as an admission of guilt.  I did not know why I could not dance like the other black kids- especially my cousin.  Cousin could imitate any move on Soul Train. Afrocity, well I stuck with the books.  Rythmless creature that I was,  I am sure the other girls in the class grew tired of teacher having to stop just so she could come to the back and correct my posture or pose.

“What are you going to be for Halloween?”  asked  Ponytailed Bitch #2.  “Two left feet???”

A massive need to bolt welled up in me but I just laughed with them and changed into my jeans while looking down at the floor.  Halloween was the next day and I bet they would have ponytailed bitch perfect costumes.  I would be the Fairy Princess of Welfare or what ever mother was planning.  I had the Old Salvation Army puffy long Glenda the Good Witch dress, aluminum foil wings (not sure how she is going to attach those),  a crown from Burger King happy meal type box, all I needed was some shoes.   And this is where the ponytail bitches ridicule of me came in handy.  As I was looking down at the floor I notice a box of dance shoes. Ballet slippers, tap dancing shoes, pink shoes, red shoes…

The huge cardboard box must have been either some sort of lost and found or discards.   As my eyes, tore through what I could see in the box, there was a pink satin ribbon sticking out- like the kind on those really beautiful ballet slippers that they wear in the advanced class. Not the leather slippers with the shoe toe bow, but real princess ballet slippers.  I wanted those shoes for my costume. Eyes directly focused, the shoes were about may one third of the way into the box.   A less greedy and more conscientious Afrocity realized that I would have to wait until the locker room was empty to go through the box without appearing to be an urchin.  With Ponytailed Bitches primping and giggling this could take hours- and it did.   I endured about 4 more racist like insults, including one where I was asked why do black people have Brillo Pad like hair.  This was said as Ponytailed Bitch #3 was brushing her shiny tresses much like Marsha Brady in one of those Jan envy episodes.

“Can a brush even get through you guys hair?” asked Ponytailed Bitch number #1 .

“Yeah I mean lookit,” Ponytailed Bitch number #3 said coming at me with her brush.

I backed away from them. Why didn’t they just leave?

Thankfully another Ponytailed Bitch stuck her head in the locker room door and yelled “Hey guys if you want a ride it is my dad’s weekend to have me and he is outside. He has a bigger car than my mom so…”

Alone at last. The Ponytailed Bitches grabbed their Pert shampoo, Aquanet, Phisoderm,  and other Seventeen Magazine shit and left me in the room with the box of shoes.

Quickly, I went to the box and pulled on the pink satin ribbon until the shoe emerged. Oh, please be my size, please be my size.  Stuck my foot in…they were a bit big but I could stuff them with paper towels.

Digging for its mate, was a bit more challenging.

This box was about up to my waist.  I was nearly head first, feet up in the air in the box when of all people my teacher walks in the locker room.  The ability to see her upside down was not uncommon because I was always falling in class anyway.

She was tiny about 4’11, blond, lithe.  A blue towel was wrapped around her neck.  She was sweating and flushed, her skin pink and freckled against the black leotard.

“Did you drop something in the shoe box?” she asked as she went to her locker.

By this time I was upright and out of the box.  I still had the one slipper on the floor.  “Ummm I am looking for my other shoe.”  I lied.

“Oh? I did not know you took ballet classes too,”  she said changing into sweat pants. “I thought your mom just put you in the modern jazz class.”

My lip began to twitch.  What do I say no?  “I have not started yet but I am practicing early.”

“Oh, I see you are practicing for the class that you have not had yet you cannot seem to practice for my class?”

My head went back to the floor.

“Do you not like jazz dance?” she asked coming closer to me. “Do you prefer ballet because many girls often do because of the pretty clothes and shoes and pink tutu, ponytails…”

Silence was my answer.

“Hmmm, ” she nodded “You know Modern Jazz Dance class  is more in step with your culture. Ben Vereen  does it do you know him?”

I swallowed a lump… “Yes, he was Chicken George on Roots.”

“Very good Afrocity but he also is a great black dancer and was in Pippin- a musical. Have you seen Pippin?”

I shook my head.  “I know what it is.  We cannot afford to go.”

“That is too bad because Mr. Vereen is a great black Modern Jazz dancer.”

“I like your class,” I mumbled stupidly.  Gee that was insincere. I hated the class but mom wanted me the. Teacher was right, I would rather be in ballet but face it ballet was a very white class.  The costumes were more expensive and my hair was not Ponytailed Bitch compliant.

Teacher closed her locker and towards the door to leave.  Dumb me was still there at the shoe box.  Beyond the lockers was a window. I could see that it was dark outside.  Suddenly I missed the daylight until 8PM days of summer. All of this shoe business was making me late. Mom was probably wondering where I was and since we had no phone, I could not call her to say why I was delayed.

“Afrocity,”  she said flinging her knapsack over er shoulder ” If you promise to practice, I promise to bring you my album of Pippin to listen to at home.  You may borrow it…okay?”

The  necessity to say no was there and valid I did not own a record player. Mother had pawned ours for $13 dollars so we could eat.  I lied again . “Okay,”  I nodded.  “I promise to practice.”

“Good,”  finally teacher was opening the door to leave. “And don’t forget to ask your mom about Ben Vereen.  I am sure she knows all about him.  There is a reason why she chose the jazz class for you and there are so few black kids that can afford to take classes-  tell you mother than we can work something out with that letter I gave you to give to her.”

I nodded again.

“Do you have a ride home?  Is someone picking you up?  It is nearly 7 o’clock.”

I lied again,  My mom is coming she had to work late. She will be here soon.”    My mother was on welfare and she was not coming to get me.  I was going to walk the 15 blocks home.

“Okay, you sure?”

I nodded again.

“I will see you next Thursday on time,” she stressed that last sentence. ” Practice makes perfect and we have a deal now. Imagine yourself tall and elegant.  See you next time.”

“Okay.”   I lied again.  Never would I step foot in that dance studio.   That was the last time I saw the teacher.  I would not listen to Pippin or be late or practice or receive another past due bill.

In the midst of all the humiliation, there was still the matter of the satin ballet slippers that I needed for my perfect fairy princess Halloween costume.  With a  vengeance, I decided to dump the entire box and find the mate.   Dirty shoes, small shoes, black shoes, white, pink…Ah there was the mate all smooth and perfect.

My inner thief, concealed the slippers in my book satchel and was almost about to cover my tracks when the cleaning lady came in.  She was African American,  and looked pissed off …with reason.  “What the heck happened with all of these shoes on the floor?”   She looked at me.   “Did you do this?”

I shook my head and ran past her through the door into the autumn Oak Park, Illinois night.   My jacket was flimsy and I was wearing Underoos and tights.

The suburban neighborhood had put great effort into making its homes look scary for Halloween.  Jack-o-lanterns on every porch step,   brown paper bags with tealight candles lining the walkways.  The rustling leaves were in step with my running legs.   I ran the entire way home back to my apartment complex, avoiding any single man I saw walking down the street.   This practice of knowing the well lit shortcuts was an art, no one would abduct me and I had special powers to ward off lurking pedophiles because of my new stolen slippers.


Once I was home, mother seem not to care that it was nearly 8PM.   In fact, she did not bother to come out of the bedroom when I entered the apartment.

I put down my satchel and took out the ballet slippers, placing them next to the fluffy dress and box of aluminum foil for my fairy costume.

Dinner was absent from the kitchen.  I opened the cupboard and all there was in that empty space was soup.   I took out the Cream of Mushroom Campbell’s , got a pot and dumped the globby contents in.

“Add water to it.”   Mother instructed. It was alive.

I put tap water into the empty can, poured it into the pot,  stirring slowly.

Mother went into the living room.  I could hear her rustling through my bag.  “Someone had a party at school,” she said.

She was referring to the candy in my bag and popcorn balls from the class party.  I was so hungry that I had stood at the stove top eating the soup from the pot before it had heated fully.

“Afrocity???”

Could not answer her because my mouth was full of soup.  Her footsteps came to the kitchen.

“Where did you get these?” she asked holding the ballet slippers by the satin ties.

Here came my ten millionth lie of the evening “I just found them on the street by the school…I tried to turn them in but my teacher told me to just keep them.  I thought maybe I could wear them tomorrow with my costume that you are working on…”

For a moment I think she knew I was lying. She looked suspicious of me.  Later I would learn that she had been derelict in her duties of aluminum foiled wing making.   “Well lucky you.  That was an easy find. “

I shrugged my shoulders, “Easy find”

She looked at the shoes closely ” Someone must be missing these.  Oh well, God knew that you needed the perfect shoes to be a fairy princess for Halloween- the Lord will provide”

I nodded. I lied.

“The other girls will be so jealous of you,” she said.

I nodded.  I lied.


Autographed Letter Signed,

Afrocity


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Vacation Soliloquy: Afrocity Gets Sandbagged in DC August 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — afrocity @ 8:31 AM
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I am addressing you from our nation’s capital today.  A short break from Chicago was necessary in order to recharge my batteries and take in some of the sights.  I missed so many when I was last in Washington.

The Holocaust Museum was on my list along with the Air and Space Museum and the DC- Zoo.    Upon checking into my hotel, I realized that as usual, I left some much needed toiletries at home.  No problem- I would just skip through the lobby and find the nearest drugstore.  The Adams Morgan neighborhood was very  trendy- very Afrocity. Upscale boutiques, 12 Starbucks, an apothecary.  Everything a conservative girl with liberal shopping attitudes would want.   But at the moment, I needed some talc powder for those humid days and body lotion.   Hmmm, I saw a CVS store that would fit the bill.   Nail polish no.  Tampons no…Ah Caress Body wash, Nivea, and Shower to Shower.    Dreadful was the wait in line for  the register but finally when I made it, all I wanted was to pay for my items.  I did not anticipate a conservative meltdown.

“Do you want a bag?” asked the cashier hesitantly.

Big Afrocity smile, “yes, thank you.”

“That will be five cents extra…is that okay with you?”

Ummm. Did he just ask me to pay for a bag?  Yes he did.

“Are you serious?”  I asked.  WTF?

“DC bag fee…Or you can carry your items.”

Sure me and all of my toiletries walking through the hotel lobby. Nivea shoved under my armpit while maneuvering the passkey.

I never knew about the law. I was after all a visitor in a foreign country.

From NBC NEWS last January:

D.C. Bag Fee Still Creating Confusion

Businesses unsure if they have to charge

By MATTHEW STAWARZ
Updated 10:15 AM EDT, Tue, Jan 26, 2010

It didn’t take long for the D.C. bag fee to raise a more difficult question than “paper or plastic?”  How about, “Is edible body frosting really food?”

A little more than three weeks in, there is still a lot of confusion about which businesses are subject to charging the 5-cent fee. The city council’s intention in passing the law was green. They wanted to both reduce waste and raise money.
However, the wording of the law leaves some interpretation about who needs to charge customers. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, many local businesses still cannot figure it out. The law applies to any store that sells food. But what constitutes food?
One example in the paper’s report is a business where most people would not go to eat: Pleasure Palace. It’s an adult store that happens to sell edible body frosting. Sure, you can eat it, but is it food?
“I’m not sure if it applies to me,” the owner, Cecilia Colglazier, told the Journal.
So for the moment, Pleasure Palace is not charging the fee.
Sell food outdoors, and the law gets even more confusing. The Web site The Slow Cook witnessed vendors at a local farmers market in Dupont Circle doling out their goods in plastic bags, with no added fees.

Picture from my trip to the Smithsonian. Can I just click my slippers and go back to life before Obama?

The big question of the moment is did I pay the five cent bag fee…Yes I did.  What choice did I have?  You may say Afrocity it was only a nickel. But it was my nickel.  I thought the system goes something like this: you buy something- store puts it in a bag – FOR FREE.  When will a nickel turn into a dime or a dollar?  I get the logic behind this: be green or you will pay.  To avoid the fee, you will bring your own bags just like we bring our own food on airplanes today. What’s next?  Paying extra for the white creamy center of an Oreo cookie?
Government interference, liberal idealism= less money in your pocket.  PERIOD. I am sold.  Never a Democrat again.
The conservatives have Afrocity in the bag.

Autographed Letter Signed,
AFROCITY
 

Sunday Soliloquy: Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home July 18, 2010

Incoming text message for Afrocity:

DAD: Come watch me run the 5K next week.  Soldier Field

AFROCITY:  (After a long pause, disbelief)  When?

DAD: Wednesday

AFROCITY:  I will try…

Wow.  My father invited me to watch him run. To support him.  The loving daughter standing at the finish line cheering dad on, waiting with open arms and a bottle of cold Evian.   Even clad in a “GO DAD GO”  tee-shirt perhaps.

Up until now Autographed Letter Signed has been terrifically informative about my relationship with my mother’s life and death.  I have never got into a deep discussion of my father’s life.  How could I?  I have only known the man since 2005 when I looked up his name on the internet.

Make no mistake, dad and I are a work in progress- nothing more to say really.  We speak on the phone and see each other in person maybe three times a year despite living in the same city.

I invite him over for dinner. He cancels at the last minute.

He invites me to a family wedding and I play paddy cake with my decision which is ultimately NO.   Too many paternal family members too fast.  One on one would be best for now.

In nearly all of the minutes that I do share with my father, I am reminded of all the time that he did not share with me.  The echo of curiosity, skepticism, and  ambivalence stalks every invitation.

Can I ever really forgive and forget? Will I let myself?

He wants me to watch him make it to the finish line at some race.  I am proud that at the old age of 63, he runs marathons. It makes me feel proud and like shit that my mother died at 68 because she was overweight and never exercised. She died of hypertension- the silent killer.

How dare he ask me to watch him be all senior and healthy when my mother dies because she was unhealthy?

What the hell do I look like cheering on this man who never changed my Pampers at a race which raises money for kids – ironically?

Kodak moment potential aside, what would my mother think of me?

Trader daughter bitch,” mother would say to me up from far above the sky’s clouds in heaven while watching the Montel William’s show in  her government subsidized housing.   “I am dead now and look at you hanging out waiting for the prodigal dad to return home just so you can knit some perfect black family life that you never had.”

Dead momma is right.

Let’s face it. Nothing you ever do Afrocity. Nothing, will erase the fact that you did not grow up African American and Cobsy Show perfect middle class.

That dream was assassinated the moment you were conceived. A causality of single black mother/absent black father life in the inner city.

According to his 2008 speech on absent black fathers, I think Barack Obama would agree that dad and I are a causality of black life. The following quote is about the only thing Obama has ever said that I do agree with:

We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception…Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes…They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

-Barack Obama

Young Afrocity never had to hear the ominous words

“Wait until father gets home.”

There was no father. No huge size 12 workman’s boots sitting at the front door, drying from the rain along with baby’s boots and mother’s.   Never once did I have a masculine shoulder to rest on when I fell asleep at church.  I learned over the years that a man’s absence would dominate the pattern of my life. It was not a long hiatus because he had a fight with mom.  He was gone and I lived life without him along with the rest of his children but we were living the life of the Great Society- the welfare society.

And perhaps more pathetically, I tried to distract from the void by creating a special grief club with my dad’s other crazy quilted offspring.

My younger half-sister was welcomed into my home, along with her three year son fathered by a married man.  In an entirely selfish on my part move, I believed I could rehabilitate her into a college graduate.   I was raised by mother to think that education and nit pregnancy was a way out.  My half-sister learned none of these lessons from our father.  Apparently neither did my older half-sister who has six children and currently lives on welfare.

You may recall a past post about the latter sister. She had/has ovarian cancer and relies on Government health insurance.  The same insurance that allowed her to have 10 years worth of abnormal pap smear results and did nothing. The same government health insurance that offered her virtually zero options for her cancer besides a hysterectomy.  In an attempt to be a good sister, or at the very least, a good half sister, I enlisted the help of my own gynecologist.  “Please help my sister,”  I said.  “She has ovarian cancer and  public assistance insurance and awful doctors.  No one is giving her a straight story or treating her like a an equal.”

Did I mention that both sisters- I mean half-sisters -dumped me?

The younger one, just stopped calling me out of the blue.  There I was with a box full of toys and kid books I had bought for her son to come play with when they visited.   She was supposed to let me help her with her applications for college…then poof.  She was gone. My messages went unanswered. What did I do?  Was it the guacamole dip I made when we were watching movies one night and talking about dating bad men??? I can make it more spicy next time.  I promise. Please call back.

The older, I am more forgiving of.

She was battling cancer.  While we had spoken over the phone several times and I shared my gynecologist number with her, I had never actually met this woman in the flesh.  Sure there were specific things I knew about her from our father’s amazingly insightful commentary.

“She (my sister) is ghetto. She wears this big blond weave that is fried, dyed, and slicked to the side,” explained our father.  “She is street wise- not like you Afrocity…She acts very black, has a gold tooth…”

Okay,  I thought, so we won’t go shopping together or share beauty tips but I can at least meet my father’s other daughter.

I asked her over for dinner. She said she could only eat bland foods like boiled potatoes because of the chemo.

More than happy to accommodate her dietary restrictions, I offered to make  her a nice meal of Sheppard’s pie.  What’s more bland and filling than Irish food?    We agreed on a dinner date . Shopping for ground lamb and Yukon Gold potatoes made me dwell on the oddity of the situation.  I have never even cooked a meal for my mother’s son- my half brother. I have known him all of my life.  Now here I am looking at low sodium lamb broth for some woman I have never met that shares my paternal DNA.

This recipe of  instant sisterhood requires parsley, sage rosemary and time….

What would we talk about?

“Hi, so nice to finally meet you…I understand that our dad cheated on your mother with my mother and that is how we are so close in age… Can I get you a glass of water? I have tap or Pellegrino..Cancer popsicles? Rice cakes?”

Half sister to sister, we would tell fatherless ghost stories, share pictures of our mother’s boyfriends- our “uncles”,  and look at our brown faces to see if there is any resemblance.

And therein lied the problem of such a meeting of the fatherless minds.  The recognition that no amount of tea and half sister sympathy would ever change our narrative. Three half sisters don’t make a whole father.

She never came for dinner.

I never called her to see why she never called me.

She did call several months later. I never returned the calls.

Why? Because ultimately, it does not matter. DNA is so random when you grow up black and fatherless. Strands of nothing but sexual encounters with the same breeder.    What is the use of acting as if we are characters in some sort of urban Negro rendition of Homer’s Iliad?

It will never be easy or even possible to capture what is lost when the family erodes.

No old sounds of familiarity “Daddy will get you when he gets home!!!”

Only new sounds like the ding of an Iphone when a text message arrives:

DAD: Are you here?

AFROCITY: Yes. I am on my bike. I will meet you at the finish line.”

And suddenly there I was at the race, waiting for father to come home.

An old warrior in the war on absentee dads, putting down my heavy pounds of bitterness and protective weapons to

be present at the finish line in order to begin  something we never started right in the first place.

Dad and I at the finish line. ..Finally.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: The Liberal Spook That Sat By The Door June 6, 2010

There are moments in my life when I wonder if  will I ever sufficiently recover from being a former liberal.

Is it possible that I could have a sort of jackass Democratic version of Stockholm Syndrome?

Like an old childhood friend that I have outgrown, there liberalism is at times, calling me when I do not want to be bothered.   The summer guest that just pops in your life with a duffel bag full of old memories and outdated viewpoints.   He comes in uninvited,  puts his feet up on your coffee table – right on top of the new Laura Bush book your were reading.  The leftie poltergeist takes control of the remote and turns the channel away from Fox News.

“Got any arugula? ”  he asks. “Better be organic.”

You see my  former liberal mindset captor never really goes away- not completely.

There is a scene in the first Twilight movie, where the main human girl–Bella is playing baseball with her new vampire pals.  Everything is proceeding idyllically.  You got your thunderstorm, your Matrix like double plays.  But wait!!!! You didn’t think that life would be that easy did you?   The mood swings, another group of vampires interrupt the game.  Human gir Bellal must pretend to be a vampire but the intruder blood suckers sense that something is amiss. They can smell it all over her.  SHE IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Uh-oh.  Was I too naive to hope that liberalism would go away quietly into the night.   Abusive boyfriends never give up.  They become stalkers and you have to get a restraining order.  You can’t get within 200 feet of  Lilith Fair.   It knows your habits forwards and backwards.  The liberal junkie itch plagues you at the most inopportune moments like when you are at a Memorial Day service in let’s say Kansas…

Me at Memorial Day Ceremony last Monday, May 31st, 2010

You are driving away from a great ultra patriotic day when you look up and see a pro-life billboard with an unsettling picture of an aborted fetus in a garbage can.  Conservative friend mentions that they helped pay for the ad.   You smile at them.  Hey free speech for all…right?   Besides there is nothing wrong with both groups getting their point of view across.  Then conservative friend says:

“Women just like killing babies and until we stop them America will never be right with God.”

Until the above statement was uttered, you feel a sense of belonging with the conservative.  Just  moments after, the invisible left-wing reservists appear and take over your personality and mouth.

“Women should have a choice, ” says Afrocity multiple liberal personality #12.   “Abortion is a very private and personal matter. Republicans want limited government concerning taxation, business ….So why would you want the government interfering with the decisions we make about our bodies? “

The conservative did not agree with me but nonetheless, the conversation did not end in a salad bar brawl like it would have had I disagreed with an Obamabot.  No one left with alfalfa sprouts in their comb over or dreadlocks.

Is there ever a total cure ?  Or is liberalism like herpes?  One day your life is left wing wart-less then the next thing you know just when you want to get down and busy for an evening of scintillating discourse  with your conservative companion…BAM!!!  You have a sudden liberal herpes flare up.

The liberal imaginary stalker –texting me while I am having a meal with my new conservative friends.  Like the previous situation I mentioned.  One the exact same day, conservative buddies and I were discussing Obama’s abysmal foreign policy record.  Everything was fine- not a cloud in the political chit chat sky. No text messages from my estranged left wing friend- the ghost of Afrocity’s past.

However when the tide of  verbal mutterings turned to the situation in Arizona and need for diversity in our country,  an uncomfortable moment of the familiar liberal whiner enters the room.

Not again!!!  There is the liberal friend sitting silently by watching me.  The friend nudges me, kicks me underneath the table.  I wince at the prospect of sounding like a wishy-washy RINO- a  John McCain in brown skin clothing.

“Did she just say that gays should not be married?”  asks my imaginary estranged friend.

I kicked the pest back in the shin.  Go away! Shoo donkey fly.  We should secure our borders. If you are not a bleeping U.S. citizen or here legally, you should be deported.   The fact is, I was having a wonderful day.  Surely the most patriotic in my life.  I loved honoring the soldiers who served my country.  I loved embracing American values.  Somehow I never quite got that pill in my liberal diet.  Anytime I sounded “pro-American” around Democrats, I got shitty looks and criticism.  Now I can wear flag pins and support drilling in the U.S. without incurring a bloody nose.

Me having a post Memorial Day lunch at the Veterens Club.

Go away jackass.  I am in a good relationship now with people who respect my views and don’t reek of patchouli.

You are not here. You are in Dubrovnik- the tomb of the unknown liberal.

“Afrocity, may I ask you an honest question without your being offended?”

My conservative friend was addressing me and only me.  Gee I wonder what they are worried about offending me for.  I am a conservative too, right?

” Why do blacks want to be called African American and not just American like the rest of us?”

The room became silent as every conservative and my liberal imaginary stalker awaited my answer.

And the rest, I will leave for another post.

What will Afrocity do?  Is this the end of her as a conservative?  Or will she rise to the occasion and beat down the left wing “Hulk” menace that lies within?   Is there a cure to save her just in time???  TO BE CONTINUED.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: King Richard and the Chicken Hearted May 23, 2010

King Richard Daley II of Chicago, Illinois

Taking refuge in my apartment is how much of my summer will be spent.  When it comes to violence and murder, Chicago has definitely seen better days.  With the sexual revolution of the 1970’s came freedom in the bedroom but we raising our inhibitions in every other matter.

“There was a time that you could sleep all night in Lincoln Park under the stars,”  mother would say while shaking her head over some rape or murder that was reported.  “No one would bother us.  Kids could go trick or treating without checking for razors in their fruit. A stranger could give you a ride home.  Now look at what things have come to.”

Again, Chicago has seen better days.  Unlike myself, mother  did not have to worry about being shot by a drive by on a nice summer day.

Yes, better days indeed.

The same goes for the people the  citizens of Cook County elect to its highest office. Chicago has seen better leaders in its past.

Or has it?

On the evening of Monday December 20th, 1976, an emergency bulletin diverted my mother’s attention as she prepared my dinner in the kitchen. Our component set radio was tuned to ABC news in the living room where I was playing with my calico cat “Taco”. We had developed a game of chase the Fisher Price person. I would fling the piece across the linoleum – usually the father piece- I always abused him. The cat would chase him to some narrow corner and roll him about. The radio was of no concerned to me. It was only news and for some reason, mother loved to hear the news during the evening. She preferred to receive her daily dose of happenings by radio- as if we failed to possess a television. Never quite understood why she was like that but even at night, we would listen in the dark to old broadcasts of “The Shadow” or another station that played ghost stories.
“Listen and picture what they are describing in your mind,” she instructed.

I would nestle in bed and close my eyes.  Some nights, the stories were just as frightening as if they were on television.  Others, they would make me go to sleep.  I was indifferent.  I could take it by sight or sound.  But for my mother, something about the sound of the radio satisfied her.  She liked to create her own photo-journalistic pictures without help from the restraining eye of the media.

On December 20, 1976 she saw a powerful man- who was either loved or hated -dead on a sofa in his doctor’s office. Her vision needed no assistance. Just the sound words told the story.

I smelled smoke coming from the kitchen. Taco stopped playing with her captive toy.  Mother came running into the living room.  At first, I thought she was angry with me for not having changed out of my Catholic school uniform but once she kneeled down by the radio,  I realized that something bad must have occurred.

The gruff voice on the radio was saying that Richard J. Daley, our mayor, had died of a heart attack in his doctor’s office.  He had been in office since 1955–the year my brother was born which was a long time ago.  Chicago had lost its father.  He was 74.

Funeral for Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Cardinal John Cody pictured Daley's widow Eleanor and her son Richard M. Daley. Chicago Tribune photo by Michael Budrys

This is a big deal, I thought to myself.  The mayor was the king of the city.  His name was on everything from garbage trucks to the big tall concrete apartment building where my cousin lived.  A sensation of excitement and fear could be heard in the announcer’s voice.  My mother was clearly shaken.   Chicago would never be the same ever again and depending upon through what lens one looked at things, that could be a good thing.   Daley’s death would herald the end  of the ” Chicago Machine“- a system of political patronage and corruption.  Dependency upon the machine would be a hard habit for Richard J. Daley’s chicken hearted cronies to break.

Though the impact of the mayor’s death upon my mother was not as directly felt as that of a Chicago politician, I could see that she was having a difficult time processing the tragedy.

“What will I do now?” she asked herself aloud.  “I was thinking of paying that old man down at the City Hall to let me sit for a test to be a caseworker.”

Mayor Richard J. Daley and his son Richard M. Daley- who would be the future mayor of Chicago

Mother had wanted to be a welfare caseworker for sometime.  She was convinced that you could only get jobs with the city and state if you knew or payed someone on the inside.  Often, her assessment was correct.  Nepotism was an essential component of the Chicago Machine.  It was about who you know and how much you paid them.  Feeding the machine was essential to your ability to rise in social stature on the waves of the mighty “big shoulders”.    Your job relied upon it as well as the schools that your children attended- particularly at the high school level.  A dramatic sum of cash was not easy for a mid-thirties single welfare mother to come up with.

The following Saturday was Christmas Day but for the city,  the death of its King burdened the normally happy day.  But for a child, there is very little that can ruin Christmas.  Gifts were opened at home and later we rode the bus to Grandmother’s house.  Upon entering, I could smell bay leaves and sage.  Grandmother was singing, which was not like her at all.

Somehow the  holiday was extra special for Grandma.  Our visit would later reveal that my mother’s concern about Daley’s death was not a meeting of the minds when it came to the reaction of her own mother.

“The machine is dead!!!”  Grandma exclaimed, laughing, chopping celery.   She did not have any teeth and had a gummy smile but it was still beautiful .  “I bet ol’ Daley is down there with Satan fit to be tied,”  she continued. “Fussing about ‘who gonna take my place?Lordy be’ “

“I feel sorry for his family,”  mother said taking her seat at the kitchen table. “Losing him during the holiday and all. What family wants to deal with that?”

Grandma twisted her lip and rolled her eyes,  “Hmphf!! That man is responsible for more dead men than anyone in the city.  Running ’round with mobsters, the likes of Sam Giancana, blockbusting.  I don’t feel one bit of sorry.”

Mayor Richard J. Daley overlooking Chicago

“I bet they gonna have to torch his name off every building in Chicago.”

Grandma saw the war against the infamous Machine as one that had been won.  The king was  dead, lying in state downtown.  His loyal subjects were powerless.  Without Daley, there would be no machine, no antagonism, no forced patronage.  No Irish blue collar thug bosses.

“The machine will never be dead,” mother injected. ” What makes you think that?”

“There are lots of folks that want things in this city to return to the honest way, ”  Grandma replied. ” No threats on your property taxes if you don’t vote how they say.  That is why I clean homes. I don’t want no part of those city jobs.”  Grandmother got up from the table and walked over to her backdoor which led to the porch where she kept vegetables in bins to stay cool.   She needed some potatoes and onions.  The porch was enclosed and adjoined by a flight of stairs to porch of her landlord Mr. Brown,who lived upstairs.

My mother followed her onto the porch and taunted, ” I bet your perfect landlord who works for the mayor ain’t feeling too good about his job.”

“SHHHHHH!”  Grandmother hissed. “Their door may be open.”

Mother continued by whispering “Mr. Brown is always out there ‘Vote for Daley’ -“

“Cause he has gots to,”  her mother whispered back.  “That is what you have to do when you get them city jobs. Campaign day an’ night for Daley and his peoples or they fire you like Mr. Watson.  Even when it comes to the President of United States you had to do what Mr. Mayor say. Vote for Kennedy.  Vote for Mr. Johnson.  Mr. McGovern.”

Being stubborn, my mother threw her hands and walked away from the porch, leaving the old woman standing there with a handful of potatoes.  She returned with a metal stockpot  and began taking the potatoes from Grandmother’s arms.   Each potato, one by one made a loud clang in the pot.

“Some people do what they have to do momma,”  she said.  She looked cross.  Her mother was often the source of her irritation.  She had abandoned her and her seven siblings to live with another man in sin.  Despite my grandfather being an abusive ass,  mother never quite forgave her mother for leaving her to raise her younger children.    “Isn’t that why you scrub the Jews floors?”

1974 photo of Mayor Richard J. Daley giving a press conference at City Hall taken by George Quinn

Now the Browns were a respectable black middle class family.  A complete family.  Father, mother, two sons, pet Siberian Husky.  No food stamps in that household.  They were Catholics, which was rare during that time in the West Side neighborhood.  Mr. Brown worked for the city of Chicago. Doing what I cannot exactly recall.  He was a black man with a job  who wore a three piece suit everyday and for my fatherless butt , that was all that mattered.

Mrs. Brown worked as a nurse at Illinois Masonic Hospital.  They owned a yellow Pinto, barbecued most weekends, and shopped at Sears – Roebuck Department Store.

I was insanely jealous of them but expressed my class envy rather positively by inserting myself into their lives at any given opportunity.  Running upstairs to knock on their door for nothing. When it opened , I would peek around them to see what sort of furniture they had.   This was about as close as I was going to get to a real complete black family.

Every moment with the Brown’s counted towards my “black middle class” patch.  A patch I wanted desperately to sew onto my history as if it were my very own life.

I watched them from the Viewmaster of my sagging self-esteem.  I could not stop looking at them.  They were fascinating because they were not me.

A Brown family backyard cookout was sure to get crashed by Afrocity.  I would plop in a lawn chair and sit there watching them eat until they offered me a hot dog.   Grandmother would come to the yard and rescue them after she noticed I had gone missing.

“Afrocity stop bothering the Brown’s,” she laughed with a tinge of embarrassment.

“Oh she’s no bother,”  Mrs. Brown lied.

Grandmother would steer me by my shoulders back into the house. That was not the end of it.  I would continue being psycho kid by gawking at them from porch window. Watching them eat, laugh, playing badminton the entire time they were in the yard until they retreated inside.

My perfect black family.

If they could have fit into my back pocket, I would have never washed my jeans.

Now grandmother’s portrayal of Mr. Brown as a city employee contradicted the image I had of him as a strong black man.  He sounded more like a slave to the white man’s machine.  Are all black men weaklings even when they do have a job?

Young Afrocity did not know any better but the Chicago Machine ate the balls of plenty of white men as well as Latinos and women. Chicago was no liberal’s haven.


The public librarians, court clerks,  dog catchers.   Even kids are not spared when you think about the role city politics plays in the control of crime and racial segregation/

My mother was correct. The machine never died.  It only went on a short hiatus until one day Richard J. Daley’s son Richard M.  would be king. Heir to the Chicago throne.

Chicago just couldn’t quit the Daley influence. Everywhere you look, the name is there again on buildings, signage. Burned in by years of sun and sub-zero temperatures, as if by blood oath:

HERE REIGNS KING RICHARD!  LONG LIVE THE MACHINE.

Pity those who question the machine, you may be told to stick a gun up your butt.  As King Richard instructed this reporter who addressed his highness about Chicago’s failing anti-gun policies.

Why Chicagoans?  Why do you continue to elect this man term after term?

(sigh)

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: The Unforgiven May 9, 2010

Joan Crawford and adopted daughter, Christina. June 1944. Getty Images

On this day of all days, we as some woman’s child, cling to  an understandable pre-occupation with visual representations of women who embody the perfect mother. Smiles, candy, roses, an ornate $7 gift card that sings when the recipient opens the pink envelope.   Our mothers are all special today- whether they deserve to be or not.  Next to Christmas and Thanksgiving, I am willing to bet an FTD floral arrangement that Mother’s Day follows closely behind its autumn and winter competition when it comes to holidays in which we are inclined to turn a deaf memory towards a dysfunctional family member.

Recently, I was watching the movie The Lovely Bones. The mother in the film is portrayed by Rachel Weis. Without giving away too much of the plot, a young girl “Susie” is murdered by a serial killer (Stanley Tucci) which sends her family into an emotional black hole.  Each  family member deals with the tragedy in their own way.  The father played by Mark Walberg becomes obsessed with finding his daughter’s murderer. The mother has the opposite reaction and wants the family to move on with their lives.  Finally, the mother can no longer take the stress and abruptly moves  away…leaves…yes leaves her family- her precious children to deal with this loss all on their own.  In what sense does a “good mother” leave her own family?  Cursed was she, that awful character, for me throughout the entire film.  Good mothers don’t leave.

But I was wrong.  Why would I find it more acceptable for the father to have walked out on the family rather than the mother?  With its emphasis on the “good mother” what does Mother’s Day really communicate about the reality of motherhood?  Are we to forget the failings of the women in our lives who serve as  mammary gland in chief?

1953 photo of Actress Judy Garland with daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft

What about mother’s who experience postpartum depression? Are there any Mother’s Day cards that come with a sample of skin salve for chaffing breasts?  Any IOU cards for 3AM feedings that you pass on to your nanny?  Some mothers steal their son’s credit cards.  Does Hallmark have anything on the shelves for that? Other moms  only call when they need their daughter to send money.  What about the mothers who fail at society’s demands?  Sterling in American iconography are the June Cleavers and Carol Bradys.  Florence Henderson with six kids in a case study-esque house.  She  fawns over Marsha’s golden tresses while Alice cooks pork chops and applesauce. Dutifully waiting on the AstroTurf  lawn as husband Mike creates architectural masterpieces at work.   Those pictures of motherhood were remote for Afrocity.   What about when the realities of motherhood transform from black and white fantasy into technicolor pain?

Scene from the movie "Precious". Actress Monique protrays an abusive mother.

The first time my stepfather fondled me would be the last time.  The 1980’s was the beginning of the sexual and child abuse revolution.  ABC After School Specials relentlessly chipped away at the pressure to uphold images of the ideal family.  Secrets leaked from beyond the grave.  Mommie Dearest brought all of the skeletons out of Joan Crawford’s closet which hung by their wire hangers.  Soon stories of Judy Garland and others followed.  It is impossible to imagine that the women behind those beautiful visual representations  of motherhood were unfortunately amateur photographers when it came to child rearing.

For a moment when my stepfather rubbed his hand across by breasts which were really training bra nubs, I sat paralyzed.  He smiled his Kenyan smile of white teeth which contrasted with his dark blue black skin.  I was eleven years old at the time; old enough to know that his hands were not where they should be.  Pushing his hand away, I pretended not to care.  Whatever was playing on the television in front of us did not matter. I needed a focal point, something to forget that he was sitting next to me on the bed.  A container of Vick Vapor Rub was on the floor lying on its side.  The room smelled stagnant with cough syrup and funk from the chest cold I was getting over.  Where was my mother?  Isn’t she just in the next room being depressed or making his dinner?   Isn’t this the part where she is supposed to dash into the room, kick him in the balls and rescue me?

Nicole Kidman as a distraught mother in "The Others"

No Afrocity, you are in the wrong tele-drama.  I could not verbalize my protests to my stepfather who put his hands on my breasts again.  Somehow, I managed to find the courage to rise from the edge of the bed and leave the room.  For some time I stood in the railroad hallway of the apartment.  This was my fault. I was not wearing enough clothes and this is why this happened.  How inappropriate of me to wear only a tank top and some panties in front of a grown man.  Having dug through a closet of black trash bags, I found a thick sweater that was stored away for the season. It was May but I did not care.  I had to cover my breasts.   I am so sorry, so sorry. I am such a stupid girl.  What a dummy.   For the next several days, I stayed away from my stepfather and rarely spoke to my mother.  I should tell her, I thought. She always told me to tell her if a man was bothering me.  Did this only apply to strangers?    One morning as I prepared my pet rabbits’ meal of shredded carrots, I stupidly felt I could trust her.  So I told her what had happened in the bedroom.   She did not react with any emotion.  Why was she starring at me as if I was some child she did not know?  It was awkward.  She promised me that she would confront him about the matter.  This not what I wanted to hear because I wanted her to throw his clothes  and smelly cheap Pierre Cardin aftershave out on the streets of Oak Park, Illinois.

"Rabbit" by Wayne Thiebaud

But being a reasonable child, of course I knew that Rome was not built in a day and families probably were not torn apart in a day either.  He would be kicked out later, after their confrontation I thought.   Later that evening he came home and mother cooked dinner as usual.  During the meal she motioned for me to go into the kitchen with her head.  This is it, I thought.  Eagerly, I jumped off my stool and went into the kitchen. My rabbits’ large green wire cage was in the corner by the back door.  I looked at the gray and white  bunnies hopping around; one was  drinking water from the silver ball dispenser.

Did they know how I felt?  Why couldn’t my life be simple like theirs?  I would always feed them and make certain they were never hurt.  They would always have shelter and be warm.  My thoughts were interrupted by what should have been yelling and anger but was instead laughter. Loud mocking laughter.  I remained crouched by the rabbit cage.  What the hell was so funny?   They should not be having a good time.   Hearing their footsteps approach the kitchen,  I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a carrot.  Appearing to do something besides wait was my best defense in case my stepfather said I was lying.  I did not want to look him in the eyes even though I was telling the truth.   Now, there they both were standing in the kitchen doorway.

“Afrocity,” he said with a huge smile.  I will never forget his face or the deceitful smirk.  Mother was just standing there like some mannequin.  “I was only playing with you when I touched you.”

Silence was all I could give them.

“You know that I was only messin’ with you,” he went on. “You crazy girls nowadays think everyone is out to rape you. Crazy American tee-vee poots too much crazy thought in girls.  In Kenya, a girl would never think such things.”

He turned to my mother who was not looking at me.  This almost never happened.  Her being silent. A dummy with his words coming from her mouth “You are too sensitive,” she accused. “You have no breasts anyway- just little nubs.”

They both began to laugh.  After that moment, I had no subsequent reason to ever believe that her only duty in life was to protect me.  I hated her and in a very non-Afrocity moment, I threw the carrot in my hand at her.  They both ducked.

“Bitch!” she yelled.

“You see how American kidz are?  Ungrateful…In Kenya we would hang them upside down by their feet-“

I ran past them into the bedroom, closed the door behind me.  Why don’t these apartments ever have locks on doors like they do on TV when Jan Brady locks herself in the bedroom?  Soon they were in the bedroom.  Mother grabbed me and started shaking me as I screamed and kicked.  “I do not know what is your damn problem, ” she said throwing me on the floor. I don’t know if it is those Stouffer’s meals with MSG that make you hyperactive but you have a problem.”


Silence was all I could give her.  My chest was heaving from the fight. My  hair had freed itself from the Goody barrettes and now stood on my head.  Stepfather was in the doorway smiling.  He liked it when mother and I argued.  We were friends until he came along. That was when everything changed.

"Mother and Daughter at Penn Station, New York City, 1947 " By photographer Ruth Orkin

“Do you want to move back to Chicago?” she yelled. “You should be thankful that you are here in a nice suburb. Now we are around these white kids and you are acting ungrateful just like them. Cursing at their mothers.  I won’t have it.  Now you stay in here and think about your homework which you never want to do lately.”

With that, they left me in the room alone.  My tears dried, my knee was skinned from hitting the hardwood floor. It was getting dark outside, still I did not move from to turn on the lights. The rabbits were probably hungry. She would not feed them.  Soon I would have to swallow my humiliation and face the grown-ups.  Maybe in a few moments, I could move again but for the time being I  sat there in the dark.  Perhaps an hour passed by before mother opened the door.  She had some ice cream in a Parkay Margarine container.  We used them for bowls when they were empty.  Handing me the ice cream,  she said nothing and we did not look at each other.  What occurred was unspoken of.  Slowly I stood up and sat on the edge of the bed.  The same edge where my nubs where violated, tasting the sweet ice Neapolitan cream mixed with dried salty tears.  This was to some degree, her way of apologizing, this eloquent mother ,her daughter forsaken for a man’s love.  She went back out into the living room closing the door behind her on her little brown rabbit in a cage.

Still loved. Still mother. Still unforgiven. Still, silence is all I can give her

Autographed Letter Signed,

Afrocity

 

Sunday Soliloquy: The Nanny State Diaries May 2, 2010

A key argument advanced by my liberal friends is that Afrocity’s new found conservative voice is simply a phase.

Now that the “phase” has been going on for nearly two years, attempts to bring me back to the land of ass have been occurring more frequently.   This month alone I have been treated to at least four lunches where portraits of the “Chosen One” adorn the restaurant as I slowly sip my soup.  Conversations somehow digress from living room decor and skinny jeans to why Obama is making such progress as our president.   Depending on my mood and how much I value my friendship with the person, I either eat and smile silently with a few nods peppered here and there  OR  I softly offer my dissent.  Aside from the question of whether or not Obama has really improved the lives of Americans, in particular those who reside in Chicago there is no doubt that his supporters are begging to realize that he is NOT the greatest thing since Wonder Bread.

“Well hopefully, if Obama leaves office in 2017…”

(Snicker) Oooo, that was funny!

One disturbing confession was several friends of color admitting that they were Hillary Clinton fans until Obama challenged her during the Democratic Primary.

“I loved Hillary,”  one friend said. “In college I was in her fan club.  I voted for her as senator.”

Then comes the 10 months pregnant pause.  Friend picks at the Cobb Salad while never looking me in the eye.

“Then I heard Obama at a rally and just knew I had to vote for him,” she says with a huge toothy smile.

Curious and saddened,  I always have to press the matter and shoot back with “Why? What was it that made you turn your back–errr, um I mean change your mind and support Obama?”

“Well he was so inspiring and he just wanted to do everything to change our world.”

“And Hillary did not?”  I asked with a raised eyebrow.

Pause comes again. Friend eats more salad…”No,” crunching on lettuce while speaking. ” You know [Bill] Clinton  was da man!!  He was a superstar in my book but when Obama came it made me go WHOA.”

Well of course you went WHOA. You were stepping in Obama’s bullshit.  That is what I wanted to say and here is where I gets frustrated and cannot continue the conversation. Just tell the truth you know.  We are all black. Just say you felt conflicted because Obama was a black man.   My friend went into some story about John Lewis and how he actually cried because he could not choose between Hillary and Obama.  She  mentioned other prominent African Americans who were caught in the “Great Migration” from Clinton to Obama.  The blacks who chose to remain with Hillary were characterized as though we were some sort of maimed donkey who could not get up on all fours .  Something held us back.  Our allegiance was to a white family over this great black hope.  Driving Miss Hillary Daisy.

As she was speaking,  I looked outside the restaurant window.  There were some African American males standing on the street corner, pants falling down past their behinds.  Should be in school, I thought.  An image of Cynia Cole, a little 20 month old baby that was killed recently by a bullet meant for her father intruded into my mind.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Charges filed in shooting death of 20-month-old

April 24, 2010

A 21-year-old man has been charged with killing a 20-month-old girl sitting in a car Wednesday night with her father, who police said was the intended target.

Danzeal Finley, of the 700 block of East 92nd Street, was charged with murdering Cynia Cole, who was shot in the head about 11 p.m. Wednesday on the 600 block of East 92nd Place in the Burnside neighborhood. Cynia was sitting in the rear seat of the car with her father, Jerome Hendricks, and her two young sisters.

Photo from Chicago Tribune showing Cynia Cole, a 20 month old victim of relentless violence in Chicago.

Finley was ordered held without bond by judge Adam Bourgeois today. His next court date is Monday.

Finley turned himself in to police Thursday after Alberta Cole, the girl’s mother, said she recognized him and told police, who put out an alert for Finley. Finley was accompanied by Rev. James Meeks after Finley’s mother called the minister and state senator to make sure her son would be treated safely…

The night of the shooting, Hendricks, Cole and and their family — Cynia, known as Coco; her sisters Janiya, 4, and Amazing, 8 months, were on their way to the girls’ grandmother’s house after visiting Coco’s aunt when they stopped by a neighborhood house to buy some cigarettes, Hendricks said.

Cole waited on the porch for someone to open the door when she said a hooded gunman came running out of a gangway and  began firing at the car. She said she eased back onto the porch so the gunman wouldn’t know she was there, and when his hood fell recognized Finley from the neighborhood.

After the shooting, Hendricks took the girl out of her car seat and held her head in his arm as drove to his mother’s home around the corner. Once there, his mother, Cynthia Lyons, a nurse, applied pressure to the wound behind the girl’s ear until an ambulance arrived and took her to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she later died.

How was I to see the Obama “hopium” machine playing a role in the life of Cynia Cole?  Chicago is in the state of chaos. National Guards have been one possible solution as we are in fact a youth violence war zone.  Suddenly, the Obama outsider art paintings in the restaurant sickened me.  This man used these people but you know what?  They wanted to be used. All I ever heard about from my friends and family  was what “Obama will do for black people”.   “Now we will get what we deserve…our president is black like us. He knows what it is like to be down and black.”

Really? Living in Hawaii, attending private schools, law school at Harvard.  Hanging out in Indonesia. Sure, Obama really knows what it is like to be down and black because his experience so mirrors that of  those in inner-city Chicago.

If you say so bruthas and sistas.

This is the part where I attempt to elevate the discussion to a new entirely new level. One where our blackness does not play into our voting choices.”I supported Hillary Clinton in the primary,”  I admitted with a straight but thoughtful face. ” She was a candidate that reflected my values and that is how I voted.  It is not about what a candidate can do for me, not as a black person or a woman…The government should not have to do anything for us. We do for ourselves…That is why I am a conservative now.”

My friend continued to enjoy her salad.  I said my “peace”  (snark) but still felt somehow defeated.  Any effort expended here was a waste.  The historic moment was a good selling point for Barack Obama and it worked.  It cheated Hillary Clinton out of a nomination.  It cheated Sarah Palin out of becoming Vice President. Both  good women.  Both good people.  The historic moment did not give baby Cynia Cole a life and iconic moments of her own making.  She would never live to see a woman take oath of office.  She would never live to be a woman.

We were all bound and raped by the considerations of race, gender, and historic moments.  What some Democrats have already noted in respect to Obama’s broken promises, are played out in Chicago’s streets as an African American saga.  How does one get over being raped?  Again the dream deferred simply explodes.  It gets angry and apparently it kills.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY