Tag Archives: Love

The Sinner

Poetry time…

And it’s time to experiment.

So, I’m talking to a friend of mine who is telling me about her depression. I am listening, waiting for the opportunity to give her my  “You Have To Give Yourself More Time” speech. Somebody, please remind me to post it here. That speech is more of a motivational speech, it’s great for providing encouragement, and I’d welcome any of you to steal it once I post it and make it yours. It works; I’ve been using it for years. Anyway, it reminds me of this ambiguous poem I wrote… Inspired by Rumi, I wrote it to give my readers many interpretations. I named it simply “The Sinner”. Why? Because sin, like depression, like love (sometimes), like many things — including life itself–is temporary. It depends on the criminal as well as the victim. The cheater as well as the jilted lover. The depressed as well as happiness. The light as well as darkness. The sinner as well as God Himself. Take away what you will.

And by the way, this is my first post by phone. Just love this new age technology!! (Yes, I know; I’m a little slow…)

 

Thanks for visiting my blog.

 

“The Sinner”

Gloomy, dark days since
God’s gift had run its course
Tired, listless
Somber
Hopeless
Can’t seem to get out of bed these days
Through my trance-like gaze
I see a light that burns
Eternally
Illuminating my path to bliss in dreams
Of a past life
And Utopian futures
My dejected days await relief
Long, mentally-planned flights
Fantasy abound round these
Sleepless nights
It’s the only time I get to see you
Tell you how I feel
Answer the question: Why?
If I could turn back the hands of time
I’d find myself back in the days
When you were mine
It would remove this cloudy ceiling
That dampens my world revealing that which
Brings back the warmth and promise
That use to light my way…

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

Black Problems

Wrote this piece while watching a lady in a laundromat do her daughter’s hair. I know that struggle; I became a single Dad when my daughter was 9 months old and I didn’t know anything about taking care of Black hair. My best friend came to California to hang with me for the summer two weeks after my ex left. My sister visited pretty frequently that summer from the Bay area. Then my mother arrived three months later and stayed with me for almost a year. None of us knew a thing about braiding or cornrowing. Fortunately, my next-door-neighbors were Sudanese and both daughters taught me to braid, and I ended up dating a beautician… Well, I thought about how Black girls had to balance beauty with self-esteem in a world where it seemed no one–not even Black men–loved them and who they are, or how they looked. Here was my beautiful Black daughter, in a family of non-Black women. I swore she would never have straightened hair (although her hair is somewhat straight)–I even carefully chose mates who wouldn’t leave her feeling left out or feeling like her Dad didn’t value women who looked like her. This is the dilemma of raising a Black girl in a White, male-oriented world. Teach her not to love herself as God made her, and you run the risk of teaching her not to love herself. I get that. To some, it’s just hair. To those who know better-she is the young, female version of Sampson. You teach her so much more by the seeds you allow to sprout from her scalp. I whipped out a pen, grabbed a flyer off the wall, and wrote this piece. Hope somebody out there can feel me.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

 

BLACK PROBLEMS

with a fine-toothed comb

she sorted out kinks

curls

and imperfections:

lint, grease, and debris

remnants of four-hundred years of ugliness

hoping to straighten out her blackness as well as her naps

wants nothing but the best for her baby

painful process with the power

to pursue a pampered life

mother’s prerogative to pass on

a pretentious policy for a positive future

pressing in

beauty, success and acceptance

all contained in what she perceives:

presentable hair.

as if relaxing away her pretty locks with a perm

could also relax away the tense life of being a Black woman

“life ain’t no crystal box of crayons, honey—”

mother’s desire to elevate her daughter’s beauty and status

by eradicating her African roots

the ignorant notion

of solving and sorting out Black problems

with a damned comb.

🙂

©2004

The Queen and the Princess...

The Queen and the Princess…

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

His Purple Reign Is Over…

Prince SymbolI’m heartbroken.

Yeah, I’m a Prince fan. I wasn’t always. When I was 14, I had a girlfriend who loved Prince. She talked about him, wore the buttons, wrote in that easily recognizable 80s-Prince-style shorthand, even dressed like him. As a self-respecting ghetto boy, I couldn’t get with the program. I liked Hip Hop and DC GoGo music, and his Royal Sweetness was too effeminate for my taste. I liked 1999 and some of his earlier albums–but after seeing the video, I was cool off of Prince.

But then, I had my first date.

Purple Rain hit the theaters, and Mustafa Akamo’s first date was that movie–with my Grandfather sitting between us. Hey, it was a different time then! I went, griping about the theater she chose–I sure as hell didn’t want none of my homeboys to see me coming out of that theater. Hell, it was not much different than getting caught coming out of the porn theater! Anyway, by the end of the first song and scene of the movie, I was a fan. And have been ever since.

I don’t know about you, but I was a fan in the biggest way. Being a fan of Prince’s music was something I couldn’t share with my friends. We were ghetto kids, we did manly things like play streetball, football, and boxed. We fought kids from rival neighborhoods. This was DC, we wore lumberjack jackets, Adidas tennis shoes, our hats backwards, and if you liked something strange like David Bowie, Culture Club, or Duran Duran–you’d better keep that shit to yourself. Not that I was a closet fan… It was just something I enjoyed by myself. I owned all his albums, all the 45s, collected magazines with articles and song lyrics (but no posters–I drew the line there–this was an admiration of the music, not a damned crush lol). I even started writing in the shorthand. I wore trench coats, loved purple, let my hair grow long. I had a lot in common with him. We were both biracial Black men (so I thought, turns out–both his parents are Black), loved motorcycles, rock music, identified ourselves as “brothers”. Except I liked my women chocolate and dark, but he liked mixed women. No biggie.

I had four girls during my Prince stage that I was crazy about, but they were older and liked me as a friend and didn’t reciprocate:  Lauren Kelly-Washington (who went to Georgetown Prep), Kamalah Lucas (either Duke Ellington or GP), Lisa Ponder and Bernadette Brandon (who both went to Eastern High). I wrote love letters. I called them (during my time knowing them) daily, incessantly. I befriended them and learned how to talk to girls. Prince was there all the time, telling me what to say, even when I might as well have been listening to Chinese Arithmetic, because I had no clue what he was talking about. He accompanied me on dates. He was in the background when I daydreamed about them. By the time I made it to the University of Maryland, I was a well-seasoned Playboy. armed with my ambiguous bilingual ghetto-boy/intellect/poetry-writing street kid persona–and women found me to be an irresistible bitch. I could be romantic, intriguing, and fight two niggas at the same time. Articulate-as-hell-but-carried-a-gun type of interesting. Prince seduced the nation, and he taught me to seduce those I came in contact with, simply by being different, being exotic, being strange and peculiar, and being myself. At a time I was struggling to fit in, I learned through him, that fitting in isn’t always where it’s at. They laugh at me for being different; I learned to laugh at them because they are all the same. There’s power in standing out.

I used to say that three things pulled me back from becoming just another brother on the street:  my mother insisting that I was Filipino, my Cuban stepfather who taught me to dress and dance, cook and speak some Spanish, and Prince’s music–which balanced the pull of DC calling me out my racial mixture to join the rest of the brothers. Those who know me know that I am equally Afrocentric and exotic. Many don’t like it; they want me to choose sides. Prince was all about not choosing sides. Shit, that fool wouldn’t even make it known that he was decidedly straight, riding the fence and staying in the gray area is what made this brother stand out. Everybody loved him. Black folks knew he was Black. Latinos loved him because he gave nods to Latin rhythms and music. White folks thought his momma was White, and considered him to have “transcended race” (which happens to be White people’s way of saying “He can’t be Black, we like that nigga too!”).

The brother didn’t leave the race; he wasn’t bisexual. He was just Prince. That’s all. He was who he was, and the place he loved to hang out was right there in the middle. And in the middle where everybody could identify with him and appreciate him. He was kinda White, kinda Black, kinda Latin, kinda Hip Hop, kinda Rock, even kinda Country, kinda straight, kinda gay. He taught those who loved him to get past their own limited tastes and biases and just appreciate him for who he was:  an awesome musician.

There are people who are “fans of Prince’s music”, but then there are “Prince fans”. Prince fans got into more than just the music; we learned as much as we could about him. We still bought all his albums, even though he hadn’t had a #1 hit since 1989–and went to his concerts religiously. We dressed differently, we talked differently, we wrote differently. We enjoyed his music, then studied the lyrics asking, “What did he actually mean by that?”  We categorized dates and life events by whatever Prince songs we were jamming to at the time. He wasn’t just making albums we loved; his music was literally the soundtrack to our lives. And now, he’s gone.

There was a joke about his Royal Badness–that he was the only guy who could wear a headwrap and eyeliner, and STILL take your woman from you–and it’s true. He is probably the only guy a very straight man, even homophobic ones, would admit comfortably was a Sexy Mother Fucker and still feel masculine. Like I said, there will never be another.

This was our Elvis, the Black man’s 9/11. He taught us to say screw the mainstream, screw status quo and do your own thing. For that, I’m honored I had the pleasure of being a Prince fan.

June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

From Him we came, to Him we return. Till we meet again, Prince Rogers Nelson. Rest in peace, my brother.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

4 Comments

Filed under Inspiration

Invictus, Lesson in Life

I’m going to be selfish today. The Quran 29:2… “Do the people think they will say “I believe” and they will not be tried?”

God tells us that he will no put more on the soul than it can bear.

If you want to make glass stronger, you heat it up to the point that it is about to melt and then pressure it while it cools.

For my martial arts students, I make them stronger by training them until their muscles give out. The will go home night after night, exhausted and in pain. But over time, a sculptured, rock solid body is the result of all that punishment.

When you were a baby, your parents probably punished you or popped you to teach you obedience.

We could go on for days. The people of Mindanao, Philippines, have the same culture, religion and language they had for centuries. It is in spite of the many dominating cultures who invaded the Philippines and colonized it in recent years–from the Spanish in the 1800s, to America, to Japan. They also happen to have the strongest martial arts. This indomitable spirit is the result of a millennium of fighting off invaders. Toughness is rarely something we are born with. It is the result of a tempering from being attacked and standing strong. We all pray for resilience, but we often do not understand that the problems we endure gives us that resilience.

The prophet Ayyub (Job, for my Jewish and Christian readers) was known for his unshakable faith and obedience to God, even after being attacked with affliction and misfortune. When you pray for strength, pray for the strength of Ayyub–that you do not allow set backs to cause you to backslide or join the non-believers. There is always a reward at the end of struggle. If you know this, your struggle will be much easier to take. Don’t complain or whine, just pray for guidance and strength–and then get to work.

We all have our issues. Things don’t go our way. We get disappointed. We get let down. We don’t get what we want. We lose who and what we love. We bust our behinds for something, and sometimes it doesn’t work in our favor. We pray for God to give us something or to do something for us, and He answers “No” or “Wait”. It happens; just keep at it.

Muslims have a dua (supplication) we say when we encounter someone who is struggling:  May Allah make it easy for you. Pray for other people, and He will protect you as well. The more you invoke this dua, the more He will have your back. Stay positive while you endure, and may His will be done.

By the way, you all… I didn’t write this article for you–I wrote it for me. (That’s why I said I was going to be selfish today)  I am picking myself up today, I thought I would let you hear me talk to myself. Maybe someone will hear what I need to hear.

I read this poem years ago, and it had stuck with me all this time, because I could hear William Ernest Henley talking to me as I recall its lines–and it describes many people that I love and admire. It originally had no title, but was given the title “Invictus” (latin for unconquered) when it was included in an anthology. Enjoy! And thank you for visiting my blog.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Poetry

As Temporary As the Mountains

With God's might, they all move...

With God’s might, they all move…

The Quran Chapter 27, verse 88 says:  “And you see the mountains, thinking they are rigid, but they pass like the clouds. It is the doing of Allah, who has perfected all things, and he knows what you do.”

وَتَرَى ٱلْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِىَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ ٱلسَّحَابِ ۚ صُنْعَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Ameen. (Amen)

God knows what you are going through. He knows you’re hurt. You get sick. You’re sad and lonely. You have financial problems. You have health problems. You worry. You don’t see a way out. But look back at your life, that time your money got tight, your car was about to be repo’d, you’re heart was broken, you stressed over finding work, graduating from school… Did you make it through? Did it work out?

Of course it did. My mother used to say that worry is a sign of disbelief in God, that you don’t believe He will pull you through. But He always does, doesn’t He? Yes He does. Yet you doubted Him when things got stressful. Did you even thank Him when it was over? Or did you claim that you found a way out?

Hmm.

Muslims say that Allahu khayru alma kareena:  God is the best of planners. Indeed He is. The Creator does not put any situation on you that He doesn’t deem you strong enough to deal with, and even when you find yourself trapped in a maze He will lead you out. If you are a believer He will save you. If you are a non-believer, He still may save you. (By the way, “Believer” can be a Muslim Jew or Christian) Just ask, and if it is His will, you will find a way. Notice I did not say “if you deserved it”, I said “His will”. Deserving is up to Him. Regardless of the outcome, God is in control and His will be done. End of story.

Understanding that even the mountains will move as easily as the clouds is a sign of God’s power. What looks more stable and immovable than the mountains? If God so desires, he will move them or crumble them just as he will move the clouds. The Creator is permanent, and He is powerful. If you stare long enough, entire continents will shift, but only Allah sees it. When you look at your love life or your job situation, regardless of how bleak it may seem or how powerless you feel there is always a way. You don’t see it, but having faith will help. You think they are permanent, but those who understand the miracle of Allah know otherwise. And this is why He told us way back during a time when men weren’t even aware that the Earth moved:  Yes, I even move the mountains too. He knows what you go through, and through this passage he is telling you that not even the mightiest mountain is permanent.

When I hear someone give up–love, work, their passions, working out, their goals–I want to share this with them. Perhaps you are too close to the forest to see the trees. So rely on the One who knows the way out. Follow Him.

Or accompany someone who follows Him.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

1 Comment

Filed under Inspiration

New Category: Inspiration

If ever there was a bipolar blog, this might be it, to match MY bipolar personality. I have so much planned for this blog and, apparently, not enough time to make it happen. However, being the determined, driven man that I am–it will happen.

So here’s my latest. Everything that drives me–that I think may help drive you–that doesn’t fit into one of the categories already on this blog will get pinned right here. Mostly religious, but some non-religious. Self-help (I read lots of that). Psychology. Motivational. You name it.

I know some of you aren’t Muslim. But if you bend an ear to wisdom (not mine, but the wisdom of those who came before me), you may find out why Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet. If you love me, you will have to understand Islam to understand me. I am a Sigma, but I am also the sum of my experiences and my religion is the language by which I define myself. Plenty of friends and family have asked me about my many marriages and why they failed to work, and one thing I’ve noticed as of lately is that where a woman fails to take interest in me–including this blog, upon which I explain myself–she fails to qualify herself as a mate for me. I don’t care how handsome or smart you think I am, how compatible you think we are, how good the dick is, or how pretty you think our babies will be–if you don’t understand what warms my soul and respect it, we can’t do business. You’d be surprised at how much in love some women profess to be who NEVER read this blog, despite that I place so much importance on it–even emphasizing that if she takes an interest, she will learn me faster than phone marathons. I can tell once I’ve introduced a sister (white chick, latina, etc.) to my blog, how they react to it will determine whether we have a fling or will have a strong soul connection. Shoot, I have exes who read this blog and the connection we have is a result of it.

Some say that the way through a man’s heart is his stomach, others say it’s through his dick (actually that’s the way to a boy’s heart)–but there are several ways to my heart:  through my brain, by osmosis through my skin, and going for the jugular–straight through my chest. Taking an interest in learning your man will endear you to him, trust me ladies. Find out what makes him tick and genuinely hit that button. Enjoy doing it. Whether it’s through food, sports, sex (wait, you said? yes but this is what I mean), his hobbies and interests. For me, the three things that excite me more than anything are my religion, my children, and my martial arts. Then a close second to it is my love of cultures and languages (including food and travel). Read this blog and you will find out.

I’m hoping that through AskAkamo you will be inspired to find yourself, and I have found myself.

Bookmark this page, subscribe to get updates, and stop by sometime. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration

My Reading List (Autobiography of Malcolm X)

Okay this blog is going into so many directions.

I have this theory, that Black men must be well read in the effort to improve our condition. My recommendation for the reading list begins with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”–or as most Black folks would call it, simply “The Autobiography”. Ask for it by that name, any Black man or woman worth his weight will know what you mean. I feel every Black man’s REAL education should start with Malcolm X’s Autobiography, and there are so many directions to go after that. But this book, out of all, was the most important and memorable for me. Malcolm’s story is one that the Black man as a people, in America, has undergone–that to understand him, we understand ourselves. He was a man who experienced the worst of racism as a child. His father was killed by racists, and forced into a life of despair and oppression and extreme sadness. As he grew up, because both smooth and charismatic, educated and well spoken, physically strong and angry. Then he finds himself in prison and is exposed to the teaching of the late Elijah Muhammad and his brand of religion that he called “Islam” (Not Islam, but a Black American version of it).

It didn’t end there. He grew as a “Black Muslim” and then became a “Muslim”. It was a powerful transformation.

malcolm-x-syracuse-universityHere is an excerpt from an interview used for the book:

“Everybody’s wondering why I’ve been going back and forth to Africa. Well, first I went to Mecca to get closer to the orthodox religion of Islam. I wanted firsthand views of the African leaders — their problems are inseparable from ours. The cords of bigotry and prejudice here can be cut with the same blade. We have to keep that blade sharp and share it with one another.” Now he was sounding like the old Malcolm: “Strangely enough, listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn’t just a Black and white problem. It’s brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.”

He stopped and remained silent for a few moments. “Brother,” he said finally, ”remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping Black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all [Black] Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me twelve years.”

“That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I’m glad to be free of them. It’s a time for martyrs now. And if I’m to be one, it will be in the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country. I’ve learned it the hard way — but I’ve learned it. And that’s the significant thing.”

As we parted he laid his hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, “As-salaam-alaikum, brother.”

“And may peace be with you, Malcolm,” I answered.

(the speaker, btw, was Gordon Parks, who interviewed him)

I say this because Black men are in need of healing. We are passing down a trauma that was passed down from our fathers, passed from his father to him, and from his father to him. No one will help us cope but ourselves. The anger in the Black community is legitimate. We have been through hell and back and we still have one foot in the damn place. We are being victimized through this country’s laws and practices, the disdain of nearly every racial group to immigrate here, hell we’re so bad we even victimize each other! The cancer of violence and hatred has been injected into our community’s bloodstream and it spreads everywhere we look. You can’t educate out of it either. A black man can get a PhD and a 6 figure job, and a cop will still pull you over for no reason and want to brutalize you. Fuck it, you can be the President of the United States, and the drunkest dirt bag and uneducated fool in the trailer park will still call you a Nigger and a boy… from trailer trash to U.S. Senators–you’re just another Black man they would rather see suffer.

Oh and please don’t come at me with that “Talking about it opens old wounds” BS either. The wound hasn’t healed because we won’t talk about it. White men avoid it, and Black men are obsessed with it, and if you don’t treat a cancer what does it do to you? It spreads all over your body and invades every piece of you. And since this is a conversation that White folks don’t want to have, and Black people love to have–the least we can do is to be experts at it.

And we are. Black people are such experts at racism and race relations, that we know history your average high school history teacher has never heard of. We know of incidents, historical essays and books, techniques used to control the slaves and dominate, people, places and events–that White Americans don’t know and probably wouldn’t want to know. The sad thing is that because we know it and don’t know what to do with it, we are like the Incredible Hulk, with all this anger, all this strength and power with no place to channel it and no peers to understand it. In the end it becomes destructive. We destroy ourselves, our communities and our people, even our children. Like I said earlier, the way to control it is to educate ourselves in order to improve our condition. Once we understand it, we can then heal it, battle it, and then change it.

The White man has done what he did. He still has a race problem of his own, which is evident in how insecure he is with talking about race and his own history with us. If you understand him and why he is the way that he is, you will be able to deal with him and help him navigate through his own bullshit–even when he is unwilling to admit he has a problem. As a Black man–you have bullshit of your own. But you cannot fix it until you understand it, and to understand it as well as the cure–you will have to turn to the experts and read and learn. Start with the Autobiography. Then come back here and we’ll talk about it.

Black woman, I am speaking to you too. White man, ditto. White woman, ditto that.

And you Whites, Asians, Hispanics who have Black friends and/or Black mixed children–read it. You’ve got a lot to learn as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Message to the Black Man, Message to the White Man