Empire State of Love, poem by Soar

Soar’s interview will be posted on 3/20/14.  Here is another preview of her work. 

One drop of truth on a peak of symbols and virtues,
that’s how she saw from afar the biggest building,
where instants and tourists comprised the dream
of being part of its memory
in the big city of flashes and promises.
She, a well of emotional intents, a wet poem and a scarf in her hand,
valued it differently, while rushing in her own movie
to meet reality – him, or thirty years of awaiting destiny,
nothing to equal such feeling,
she was protecting with all her being,
running, pacing, waiting, reaching out towards a spot
on the top, where they all came for King Kong,
except for her, there for him alone,
his veracity to unfurl,
felt once somewhere in another fate,
a magic she was trying to comprehend
on that platform of lights
like a big screen of romance,
hued in the colours of care, pure and true –
red, white, blue,
where he would comprise the questions of whys
into the answers of hows
and the sensuous silence would define
the ritual of hearts.
“Reality is not made of dreams until you make them real”,
she kept remembering a quote from her own artistry,
ensconcing in tropes her sensitivity,
yet, always positive, like a relentless soldier of love,
sometimes tired of solving the world
with only a few values of gold.
“A long time ago..”, she started in whispers,
with delicate smiles and dewy eyes,
a story unveiled before
about a vision and a little girl
of the same scene she was just living,
déjà vu made out of truth and sheer significances,
bejewelled with moments of awe and beauty,
kept secret for decades, shared only with him,
with an enthusiasm of genuine pulses,
which she kept taming
not to spoil the maturity of such innocent revealing.
“Let’s go, it’s getting dark. You don’t want to miss the Central Park”,
the only Happy End he could append
to a story with no end,
where a rhapsodic scene was honed by prosaic accessories,
needed to keep a balance with reality.
They left from the top of the glow
to descend in the mundane flow
which was more simple to behold,
his hand holding on tight a wet poem, a scarf and a gentle life,
from now on in his path
to cherish and never let go
of what was made for him with unconditional faith;
she, happy and confused, followed his steps
on long streets with no name,
where chocolate mingled with mangos and caramel,
on broad avenues of glimmering stars,
where fame and passers-by swarmed for wonders to find.
It was only late at night,
while she was conceiving dreams to better find the sun,
that he scribbled down on a scrap of paper in her bag
no eloquence, just simple words:
“Some things can’t be explained. They are just meant to be.
You are and always will be very important to me.”
And he hid it with the hope
that she would find it years afterwards
only to confirm in facts
the essence of what they have always been about
from the moment of their “hi” to the depths of their sighs
shared heart to heart
to patch cracks of haunting past or present in rush,
no matter the people, regardless the seasons,
they had been and still remain
a one-of-a-kind braid entwined with precious details,
or just one drop of truth
out of a peak of symbols and virtues.
(©2013 www.soaring-words.com)

Indigo and Life – A short, poetic story by Soar

We are sharing a poetic story written by Soar from Germany.  This a a preview as her interview will be posted on March 20, 2014. 

 
Aiiro was his name, and he was a book without content, lost in the labyrinth of history to search for his own memories. He couldn’t remember if he ever had a smell, yet he always knew that there was something missing from his skin, too jaded and blind without his entity. Therefore, he searched all over for covers, but they were all posing in fluffy shapes, never really capturing his sense.

Until one day he heard of an amazing presence, suspended in the universe, bridging two worlds, called rainbow. As it felt flamboyant and divine, he went to search for its advice.

The rainbow heard his wish to be alive, or at least to be no longer blind. “What you search is not outside, but rather at the bottom of your spine. I can only give you light, from the array of my bow: choose one colour and use it as a guide.”

Amid the dances in the sun of such joys of life, his awe was too great for a decision to be made. Yet he saw a gentle hue, something between violet and blue, a beam so unique, that it smelled of soul to him. He picked her as a resort and asked for help.

“I don’t know your woe, she said, but I can share with you the gnosis of the earth, maybe it will keep you warm”. She drew a contrast between voidness and profoundness, writing in intuition and hope all tales, from the oldest epics to the newest apps of poetry.

Aiiro was too bewitched to speak; it felt so good only to read, but most importantly to see himself opening up and growing from within. For he didn’t realize that, through her emotions transcribed, he was given an eye of light to refract his own soul and make a path to the unknown borders and back: the rainbow.

And ever since, she and Aiiro lived in the greatest harmony: she would shape his soul in dreams and he would treasure her within, while his unknown white past would find a purpose in her future coloured life.

This unremitting universal balance perdured so truly that, whenever a soul got lost or felt broken, it would be found between the lines of books unspoken: with the eyes of all dreams open.

(©2013 www.soaring-words.com )

Caring for Pets Who Care for Us

 

submitted by Tomaca

My dogs, my cats, my turtles are my babies.  They are loved and they are treasured.  And – spoiled.  I can’t forget – very spoiled.  But, how else would you treat someone who loves you unconditionally no matter what?  You could come home in the most foul mood; you could be hurt and in tears, but who is there always ready to just give you love?  They are.

sarge

There’s a joke about a guy locking his wife and his dog in the garage for several hours and coming back, opening the door and the only one who is really happy to see him is his dog.  It’s funny, but, yes, it’s true, very true.

 

And, animals don’t hold grudges.  Whatever is gone is gone.  I won’t say that they forget, but when you make a mistake, they forgive you and move quickly back into the “love you” mode.

We hope that if you decide to get a pet, you will get one from a shelter.  A lot (not all) of these blessed creatures have been abused, were homeless, were hungry and scared.  Yes, even big, seemingly-scary dogs can be scared.  I remember my dad went to the pound and got two dogs.  One was a beautiful German shepherd and the other was a little “barky” mutt (my mom picked the little one).  They were wonderful animals.  Our German shepherd was named “Sarge.”  The day he came home, he urinated on the floor.  My dad went and got the mop, came back and was getting ready to mop of the mess and poor Sarge saw the mop and cringed and cried and peed some more.  It took work to get him to understand that he was safe and that no one was going to beat him anymore.  I was a little girl and seeing that just broke my heart.  To think that someone would beat and hit this wonderful dog was not understandable to me.  Sarge soon turned around and became the confident, relaxed and protective being that he was created to be.  He was also one of my best friends when I was a little girl.  He developed the most amazing calm and confidence.  We put up a big “beware of dog” sign even though Sarge was very friendly.  If he was put in a situation where he had to protect anyone in the family, I have no doubt that he would do so without hesitation.  Thankfully, none of those situations ever occurred.  So he got to relax and enjoy his life as a big, happy, lovable dog.

petbed

I’ve always been an advocate for adopting pets from shelters.  Once you do that, often you will find that animal was there waiting specifically for you!  They bond with you so quickly and will do anything – even give their lives to protect you and they love you unconditionally.

Women become their “people moms.”  They see us as one of the pack leaders and because it’s usually mom who takes care of the pets in terms of the feeding and brushing, they see us as the food givers too.

Our pets deserve the best. You want to make sure they are comfortable, they have plenty of food, water and why not take it step further and get them their very own pet bed.  If you do, they just might stay off of yours!  Not necessarily though, because there’s nothing like sleeping with a member of the pack!

We have had up to four dogs at a time.  At bedtime everyone would pile into my son’s bed.  He had to find a way to lay in the midst of the pile.  It was quite funny when you’d peak into his room and five heads would all lift up and look at you.

The cats were quite different.  They were both rescues too.  They saw the dogs as being beneath them.  The younger dogs would always want to play, but the cats would have nothing to do with it.  They’d hiss and scratch and eventually the dogs learned to leave them alone.  The cats were there first so they felt completely entitled to rule everything. The dogs would get out of their way.  The cats ( my boys) also had their own unique beds and the dogs were not allowed to get on them.  We never had to intervene, the boys handled their own business of clearing defining their territory.  The dogs came to understand very quickly where they should not tread or lay their heads.

There’s a whole dynamic when you have pets in your home.  I am so very grateful to have grown up with cats, dogs, rabbits, ducks, birds, hamsters and a host of siblings.  At this point in my life I would love to expand and have horses, chickens, cows and goats.   When my parents grew up, their parents raised their own livestock.  My mom’s stories still filter through my mind.  However, because I am a vegetarian, I would not use the animals for food.  I appreciate how animals have enhanced my life and broadened my vision and understanding of life and the psychology of how we all interact (yes, I’ve learned a lot from animals).   So moms, ladies, dads, get a shelter pet.  You might be thinking that you are saving their life, but in truth, they are saving yours.

 

The King Honoring His Queen

 

This is a message from a man to his wife.  It is here because the woman that it speaks of is, like all women, a woman who moves the soul.  The fact that she is true to herself is personified in her life, through the expressions and growth of her family.  It is true that the woman is powerful and when she radiates love, she elevates herself, her family and her community to higher heights.  King Wallace, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.  And thank you for the honor that you give your wife, because when you give it to one, you give it to us all.  And to this beautiful woman, thank you for serving as an example to the rest of us on Women Move the Soul.  

————————————

Submitted by King Wallace

 

I’m King Wallace.  Today I write to the world honoring a wonderful woman who has filled my life wallace-wifewith joy.

This journey started four years ago.  I am a small business owner and was driving with my three-year-old on the way to work.   I was about to make a turn which wound up to be the best turn of my life.  The light turned green; I took the turn to the site of a lifetime of happiness. There was this beautiful short-haired woman who looked about twenty-ish.  Her figure was as perfect as the smile and beautiful brown eyes that reflected from the sun on this bright, sunny day.

My son said, “Dad, look a pretty girl.  Dad let’s go say ‘hi’.”

I replied,  “Okay son, what should we do?”

wallace-sonWith that, he jumped out of the car to show her his new toy which opened the door for me to make a move.  I opened up the greeting with one of my own cd’s.   She smiled at me and look slyly, but took the bait and allowed us to exchange numbers.

This was a new beginning of my life.  God spoke to me saying “this woman you will bare a child with and start a family.”  I agreed in silence with His decision and after the numbers where exchanged, I let faith and God do the rest.

I humbled myself and waited for her call.  She made me wait  – making this story of faith that much more interesting.  Finally, the day comes when she rings my phone.   My young son announced that she going to call just before the phone started ringing.  I didn’t believe so at first but faith had worked for me and so did the Lord.

Coming out a bad divorce I didn’t know if I was ready.  I just didn’t know.  But, it wasn’t up to me.  God knew what I needed and it was this woman’s love.

We married December 16th, 2011 in front of a judge in Beaver County.  Soon after, Latrice wallace-babyAngela-Renee Wallace was born.  My life couldn’t be better.  We have become a normal family, and much like all others, we face ups and downs.  But one thing I know is I have became a better man because of this women.  Her love and support has helped to heal my broken heart inside my body and soul.  Her remarkable beauty inside and out has kept this family growing everyday.  She has two sons from another man that she allowed me to call my stepsons and I am honored to serve them as well as her.   I am very proud of the spiritual gifts she has given to me.  She cleans, works hard at a hospital and cares for all of us.  She is the Queen of our castle.   I want to say Racquel Renee Wallace, I love you every second of the day from head to toe.  You are a blessing from God.  Till death do us part.   I’m proud to be your husband and I thank you for your love.

 

For all you men out there  – honor your wife until the end.  They deserve it!

 

wallace-selfKing Wallace is a husband to Racquel Wallace, an actor, artist and producer.  He also expects to be publishing his book in 2013.    http://www.slipnsliderecords.net/profile/kingwallacerecords

 

 

 

To Whom It May Concern: On Being Black

Written by Dr. Nancy Nelson

 

 

To you who have discovered the shell I leave behind, plain brown and now still, and to the few with tears to shed and to the ones who ask why, I leave this explanation. I wish it were simpler for you and apologize for its length. If I was simply having problems or if my heart were broken from a fallen love, you could say, “Ah, poor thing. Why didn’t she get some help?” and then return to your life.

 

But my story is long and deep. Many times I have asked, cried, begged for your help. Perhaps you did not know how to help or you did not hear. I think more that you did not understand the depth of my pain or the exhaustion of my struggle. After reading these pages you still may not understand.  Even now that causes me to cry out in agony.

 

It wasn’t you alone who shut your eyes. Nor do I blame you for failing to save me from taking my life. I have journeyed through this pain long enough to know that you do not recognize it and may not still. But you at least deserve an explanation for the coldness of this form that has hopefully been found with eyes closed so that no one must look into their faded darkness.

 

I have chosen not to be politically correct as I have had to live. As I will not be here to hear the judgment that is placed upon me, I do not care. It is this caring that has helped to bring me to this place, or to this time would perhaps be more accurate. By now you may not even be caring of the language that I use as long as I get to the reason so that you will be able to complete the paperwork, close the chapter and go on.

 

Even with my skin now an ashen tone, it is obvious that I am or was a woman of color, an African American, a Black woman, a sista!, a girlfriend!, a Negro, a Negress, a descendant of slaves, former slaves, and from rich African kingdoms. Less obvious is my being a descendant from people without color, Caucasians, European Americans, whites, slave owners, enslavers, brutal people from Europe who I have never known and who have displayed no interest in knowing me. I dutifully learned their collective histories during the many years that I was forced to receive what was said to be a well-rounded, accurate education of history. So I feel that I have given them enough of my time, mind, and energy, enough of my life.

 

As I think about it, it is due to this side of my ancestry that I have taken my life.  How can I blame you in your ignorance, you who I have never met, when it was my hand that accomplished this deed? There is really no one else to blame. I am now, I pray, at peace; a peace I have never known in life.

 

Now you may be demanding of me an explanation, direct and honest, since you now feel accused and responsible. You are weary of the tales of how black skinned people suffer, do without, are treated as unequals and on and on. Yet have you ever thought of what I have lived because of your racism, your ideas, the treatment I have had to endure from you? I cannot wholly blame you, not personally, because I do not even know you. And you are, of course, not responsible for the choices I have made nor the direction my life has taken.

 

You did not force me to dig so deeply into history that I covered my ears, screaming the suffering of millions of ancestors who wanted to be heard, who wanted everyone to know that even in death they could not find rest. Rest can only come when their stories have been heard. They rushed at me to tell them but it was too much for me, so much all at once that I cried out with them. I ran leaving them still in their disturbed darkness.

 

Though it was not my will, I had to go back. It was my destiny to hear them, to help them, to attempt to free them. But they had to slow down. They had to talk to me one at a time of lost sons and daughters, of longing to find fathers and mothers, of rapes and sales and laboring hard in the fields. They could not just tell of their lashings but held me down so I would feel each blow while staring into the twisted face of the one doing the deed. My back bled. My voice was gone from ignored screams. My eyes were drained of tears. I, as they had, eventually stopped begging for mercy, for there was none in the eyes of the one who unleashed his fury on my back after having risen from lying between my legs.

 

Tammy – “About Being Fat”

I don’t consider myself a writer.  But then again, maybe I never had anything interesting to write about.  I can’t even say if what I’m writing is interesting.  But it is very personal to me, and lots of women I’m sure can identify with it.  I want to tell you about being fat.  I’m not making a judgment, nor am I using the word in a derogatory sense. Rather, I am speaking in terms of fact.  Based on healthy guidelines, BMI, health weight ranges etc., I have been fat on and off for my entire life.  For a lot of women I know, it can be endless source of frustration…trying every diet known to man.  But for me, turning 40 was what woke me up.  No longer was I interested in “looking good” (although that is a benefit!).  I was now more concerned with my health, and the lack of it coming down the road in the future if I didn’t change something.  It required a lifestyle change…not a diet.

 

And so…cliché, and like so many other folks, my New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to get healthy.  I joined Weight Watchers and attended my first meeting on Sunday January 2, 2011.  I had a friend who had lost quite a bit of weight, and had found the program worked for her.  She was my inspiration to get started…I figured if she could do it…so could I.  Now let me tell you that because I’ve tried very diet in the world, I can also tell you that I tried Weight Watchers almost 20 years ago.  Although I did lose some weight, the program was difficult to follow and more importantly – maintain.  I gained what I lost, and then some.  Many of you will shake your head in agreement.  You’ve been there.  And so I was determined that this time would be different.  I am not a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, so I am not in the position to endorse this for everyone, but it has been my vehicle on my weight loss journey.

 

I know exercise and eating right are the 2 components of being healthy.  For me, I could only start one at a time.  I decided to focus in on the healthy eating first.  It took some reading, some homework and time, but the PointsPlus Plan on Weight Watchers has truly made it easy for me.  I don’t feel like it’s a diet.  In fact, I never say, “I can’t have this because I’m on a diet.”  Any maybe that’s why this time it’s working for me.  For me, it’s been slow, but steady.  To date I’ve been on the plan for 10 months, and I’ve lost 32 pounds.  For a 5-foot tall woman, that’s 3 sizes!  Think of bags of sugar at the supermarket.  They’re 5 pounds each.  I was carrying around 6 of them on my body everyday!  I feel so much better now.  Aches and pains that I had are gone.  I have more energy.  I can do everything my kids want to do.

 

I added the exercise component 7 months into the plan.  I started slowly.   I still don’t get as much as I should though.  With 2 kids and a full-time job, it’s hard to find the “me” time.

My son goes to religious school for an hour once a week.  What can you do with an hour?  Not much.  So one of the other moms suggested that we exercise during the hour.  We’re there anyway….what a great idea!  She found a Zumba instructor to come to the school and teach a group of moms for an hour.  I love it!  I look forward to Tuesday every week…I feel energized after.  I only wish I had more time to do more.

 

I haven’t reached my weight loss goal yet…. It’s not so much of a destination as it is a journey.  I still would like to lose another 10-15 pounds.  I expect that I will always need to monitor my healthy eating and exercise habits…so as not to be on the endless merry-go-round of weight loss.  But I’m on my way…..

Tammy lives in Arkansas, USA with her husband and two children.

Sherry DeGenova – A Kind and Gentle Hand

Sherry DeGenova, ACO

 

 

What kind of education or training is required to be an animal control officer?

It all depends on the town and state. Most require some type of animal related experience. I’ve been in the animal field since I was 14 years old. So I have just celebrated 30 years in the field of animals. I personally have worked in vet hospitals, pet stores, boarding facilities and animal shelters. I landed my first animal control officer job in Stamford, CT which required just animal experience in general and when I got my job in Hartford, they required at least 6 months in the animal control field.

 

Why did you decide to do this kind of work?

I feel I was born with the desire to work with animals. I cant ever remember wanting to do anything else. I was drawn to help animals. It has always been my passion. I remember finding my first cat when I was around 7 years old living under my back porch and convinced my parents to let me keep her. I had her until she passed of old age at the age of 17.

During my time of growing up, I had found my share of lost pets and rescued my share of injured wildlife. I remember my first wildlife rescue like it was yesterday. It was a black crow that I found with a broken wing at the end of my street. I called local vets for help and built a cage in my backyard and wrapped the wing so it could heal for a couple weeks. I would feed him and eventually took off his bandage. He couldn’t fly at first but everyday I would let him out of the cage and toss him slightly in the air.  Each day he got stronger.  One day I tossed him up and off he went. For as long as I could remember, “Blacky” came back and sat on our backyard fence and would crow. I’d come out and he would take bread from my hand.  One day, he just moved on.  I think that was the one moment in my life that I knew this was my calling. I went to college briefly to be a vet tech but realized that’s not where I belonged. I wanted to rescue animals..help them. It’s where I felt I could make a difference. From there I started to climb my ladder to where I am today.

 

Sherry playing with her dogs

Are people often surprised to see a woman doing this kind of work?

People are not surprised to see women as ACOs (Animal Control Officers). There are a lot of women who do this job just as there are many men. I think it comes down to what kind of person you are and what kind of compassion you have for animals. (I also have to say there are men and women who are in this field that shouldn’t be.)

 

The economy has been very rough for a lot of people these last few years. What differences do you see on the streets as you do your work?

Since I work in an inner city its always been a difficult scene on the streets. I deal with a lot of different ethnic backgrounds and people have different ideas on how an animal should be kept and treated.  Not just in Hartford but in many other cities, people don’t have a problem just leaving their animals behind when they move or tossing them on the streets when they don’t want them anymore. I think the biggest problem I see more now is people who truly want to keep their pets but struggle to feed them properly. It’s either the family eats or the pet. The pet gets what is left over. People are forced to chose their families over their pets. With seeing that being a bigger issue, I started a food drive for the residents in my city. I get donations of food and when people need a little help, they reach out to me and I help them by providing proper food, treats and toys for the dogs. I also collect collars and leashes and hand them out as well. I see so many people walking down the streets with their dogs on everything from shoe strings to extension cords.

I always have something in my van to help someone. People appreciate it and they realize that “animal control officers” are not the mean animal killing people that they think we are.

I next biggest issue is providing basic medical care for the animals. I try to direct people to low cost facilities and hand out applications to get free medical vouchers.

 

In the 70’s Dobermans were considered to be really bad, evil dogs. They received a lot of negative press in the media. Today, it’s pit bulls who are lambasted everywhere. What has been your experience with the pit bulls that you find out on the street?

Sadly this is an over-bred breed and a very misunderstood breed. A lot of the wrong people have

Sherry's kids

this breed of dog and use it for all the wrong reasons. I spend a lot of time just trying to educate people about the breed and I spend a lot more time trying to protect the breed and enforcing laws that help to protect them.

There are no “bad dogs” just “bad owners” and it’s the dog that usually pays the ultimate price.

I have had my share of aggressive pit bulls but it doesn’t come close to the amount of awesome pit bulls I have been in contact with.

It breaks my heart to only see the bad stories being told about this breed when there are so many incredible, heartwarming stories to be told.

 

For certain you’ve had to deal with aggressive animals on the street. How do you do it?

My ability to handle the aggressive dogs definitely comes from my many years in the field. I have a great ability to read dogs eyes and body language. This plays an important part in my safety. When I’m the street, I NEVER let my guard down and I’m always on alert. I never go on a call without some type of protection. Luckily we have a lot of tools that help protect us. Its all about being smart and safe – NOT being a “Super ACO”.

Myza Rosalinda – The Love of Music

Are you in the game or just a spectator?  We do not have to stay where we are in life.  We can choose to enhance ourselves by learning how to do something new.

 

Most of us love music.  But, how many of us choose to actively participate in it?  How many of us make the effort to go beyond the easy part of singing along to learning how to play an instrument?

 

Myza Rosalinda’s great love of music drove her to be a part of it.  She learned how to play the guitar, not because she wants to be a “star,” but because she likes it.  Being able to play music has enhanced her life.

 

 

Myza, how long have you been playing guitar?
Ten years.

 

How did you learn?  Did you take classes or work with a teacher?

No, I taught myself.

 

Why did you choose to learn how to play at this point in your life?
My age doesn’t matter; time doesn’t matter.  I simply love the sound of the guitar and wanted to be able to create that sound for myself.

 

What do you do with this talent and skill that you developed?  Are you playing in clubs or seeking to be part of a band?
No, I just play at home.  I am having fun with this instrument and all the things I have learned and am learning how to do with it.  I suppose eventually it would be nice to play out or to play with a band, but I still need to learn a lot more.
Myza with her son and little cousin.

You have a young one at home.  Is he learning how to play also?

My son loves it when I play guitar, but he is still a little too young to learn…

 

Who inspires you musically?
I would have to say Bob Marley.  When I heard his music, I was inspired to learn how to play.  He’s my favorite artist.  But, music is universal.  I love all kinds of genres.

You also sing.  Did you take lessons or just start singing?

No, I have never taken any lessons.  I just sing!

 

Have you written any original music and if so, do you plan to market it and make it available for people to buy?

Yes… I have three songs that I wrote by myself.  I think it’s still a little to early to promote my music.  I feel I need to learn more!   LOL!

 

Myza lives in Spain with her son.

 

So, there it is ladies.  Pursue that hidden dream to learn how to play the piano, the cello, the sax…!!  Express yourself.

Jeanine’s Story – I Used to Hold My Body Sacred

Jeanine used to live in the suburbs in a large 4-bedroom house with her husband and two sons.  Both she and her husband lost their jobs and that’s when things changed drastically.

Jeanine is very attractive and in her mid-40’s.    She works both full-time and part-time and in addition she works for a gentleman caller.  Jeanine is not her real name.

 

Jeanine, let’s get straight to the point.  How did you get involved with prostitution?

Wow, it sounds so harsh and so wrong when you say it that way.  But, I guess when you really look at the reality of what I am doing, that’s what it is.

Both my husband and myself lost our jobs.   I found another job as a receptionist, but the pay is half what I made before.  So, then I got a job part-time as a waitress and there was a man who would come in regularly and ask me if I would sleep with him for money.  After his repeated asking, I finally said yes.

 

Well, understanding that our first interview with you was lost and here we are again asking the same questions, because there was such great feedback, we are trying not to leave anything out.  Your husband also lost his job?

Yes.

 

He is working now as a school bus driver?

Yes and the money he makes compared to what he used to make is nothing.  It’s like minimum wage.  We can’t afford to do anything with that.  Don’t get me wrong, every little bit helps, but it’s just not enough.

 

Jeanine, you are a devoted wife and mother.  You love your husband, love your children.  Why sell your body and sell your time to another man?

You know, the first time you asked me all of these questions Tomaca, I was extremely emotional with the answers and the thought of the answers, but now, it’s been a while.  I’ve been doing this a while and I have adjusted emotionally I guess.  So, I say that to say that I hope that I am not sounding cut and dry … like what I am doing is okay.  It’s not okay, but I have adjusted like I said.

I LOVE my husband.  I LOVE my family.  I have no intentions of leaving him for anyone else.  What I am doing is just a job – nothing else.  We need the money for basic survival now.  We lost the house, we lost one of the cars; we sold our furniture and our belongings.  The bank wouldn’t even talk to us after we started falling behind in our mortgage.  We ended up moving into an apartment in a very poor area.

I hate the neighborhood we’re in now.  It’s loud, noisy, there are loose dogs running around sometimes.  People just don’t seem to know when the make their children come in at night.  They’re out there late, playing and screaming.

Well, it is what it is.  We are both doing what we can to pay just our basic expenses now.  We are surviving.  Heat, electricity, food, water, shelter.  We are down to the very basics and that’s all I am trying to cover is the basics.

 

Does your husband know?

God -NO!  I would never tell him.  It would kill him.  He is a man.  He is MY man.  I would never tell him.  Never.

 

Doesn’t he question the extra money?

No.  I pay the bills.  That’s always been my responsibility, my thing in our relationship.  I handle all the finances and let him know where we stand in terms of what is owed and what is paid.

He thinks I am just working extra hours.  That’s all.

Ella’s Dream to Ride the Train

by Tomaca Govan

There was a little girl named Ella. She grew up in a poverty stricken housing project in Hartford, CT. The area was destitute and void of activities for children. A lot of them went down to the train tracks to steal from the sitting freight cars, if they were open, because they could sell the items on the streets to make money.

 

Ella would go down to the train tracks also. But her goal there was different from a lot of the other children. Ella went to the train tracks to dream. She dreamed of taking a train ride to New York City where she would have a big, fancy office like Walter Cronkite’s. She would go the train tracks
near her home and imagine taking that ride all the time.

 

While other kids were running around creating meaningless mischief, Ella was at her safe haven – her grandmother’s house – reading, studying and learning.  It was her grandmother who told her she could do anything she wanted to do and to believe in herself and her dream. Fortunately for the women who’s lives Ella has touched, she believed her grandmother.

 

 

Ms. Ella and her sister China

Don’t Cry for Me

A Short Story by Betty Brown

I wake up thinking, ” this too shall pass.”  The mirror in the bathroom tells me otherwise as shows the recent bruises and on my cheeks along with the permanent scratch marks on my neck. While I was cleaning my face, I started to think back to the night before and all the other times before; trying to remember what I had done to deserve this kind of treatment from someone who’s supposed to love and care for me, but I could never find anything. These bruises on my body and face told me there had to be something; otherwise why would this have happened to me? I couldn’t talk to anybody about what I was going through because I didn’t have any friends anymore. They were all bad influences. All I needed was him. Those were his words. He had a lot of words when it came to making himself the victim of my beatings. It was funny how everything always ended up my fault. So funny but who was laughing?….not me, and not him for long. I just need to find a way to get myself out of this mess.

 

Thank God there were never any children. I don’t know how I never got pregnant because he never allowed any kind of protection. That’s one way I know there is a God. The other way is, he didn’t let me do what I had in mind for my husband. I knew there would be another episode as usual. He’s always going out after work and coming home intoxicated. That’s when all the anger comes out of him. What he’s so angry about; I don’t know. The place is always clean and his food is always cooked. He never has to do anything but come home and relax.

 

This evening was feeling a little different. I could feel a shift in the air…. you know how the saying goes..”I can feel it in my bones.” I just couldn’t put my finger on it, so just said a little prayer of protection. I was awakened to the noises of things falling over. I was trying to focus my eyes on the clock on the nightstand on his side of the bed. I think it read 2 a.m. There the noise was again, but this time it was followed by an angry voice that I knew all too well. I had prepared myself for what I knew was going to happen. I got up and put on my tennis shoes and sat in the chair that was in the corner of the room; facing the door to the room. His footsteps were getting closer to the top of the stairs.

 

All I could hear were the profane names he always called me when he was drunk but some how tonight, they didn’t bother me. Even though I knew he was going to come bursting through the door, I still jumped when he did it. He started with all the name calling and blaming me for all his short comings and when I didn’t respond to him like I usually did; crying and cowering away from his insults; he came over and slapped me so hard that I fell to the floor. I knew he wasn’t finished, so when he grabbed me by the hair; I came up with the knife in my hand and stabbed him so many times that I didn’t even know I was doing it. I must have blacked out because when I came to the police and ambulance was there.

 

I saw all the blood on my clothes  and I just started screaming. “What happened! What happened!” One of my neighbors had called the police like they always did but this time things were a lot different. He was dead and I was the one with the knife clutched in my hand.

Mané – Promoting the Music and Culture of the Senegalese

Introducing the creator and founder of Senegal’s premiere internet music magazine, Ndèye Mané Toure.
We are interviewing the interviewer to understand why she created this vehicle to highlight the music and the artists from her country.

What got you interested in interviewing artists? Why did you start doing this?

I am very pleased in interviewing the artists in view to discuss with them the art that they are very personate of doing but not getting into their private lives. That said in Senegal, there is lack of musical information in regards with the artist, and most of the times, they got interviewed only when they are encountering problems quite often are related to personal matters.

This brings me to the following question which is why did I start doing this?

I did this for this simple reason not only to create the first Senegalese musical website which is www.dakarmusique.com but also to have a database on Senegalese music and at the same time it is used as well for display. Then, we wanted to interview the artists and feed our website. I started this in January 2009.

Was it easy to get started?

I think it was quite feasible, contrary to what we thought about when working on the project but at the end we were really surprised because it was not as awful as we thought it would be. Nevertheless, we have endured some troubles in regards with certain artists and managers to the extent that we wanted to let them know the interest or importance of having a website which led to an area of mistrust at the beginning but along the time they saw the advantages. Moreover, the other issues we were dealing with were the artists of old generation, interviewing them were not obvious.

Is it easy to get access to the people that you would like to speak to or do you sometimes have trouble getting past managers and publicists, etc.?

Yes I would say it is easy to have access to the artists apart from those that I have mentioned previously “The old generation”. Even for those the international artists who come to Dakar it is quite easy to interview them. At the very beginning I had two to three contact artists to whom I called to explain what I wanted to do for them in order for their fans or public to have more information on their musical actualities which they did appreciate very well to the point that they hooked me up with other artists. It is thus; by interviewing them I was taking some pictures to illustrate their articles. From then on, people started calling me by their own will. So as time goes by, I was going to some night club and other venues to link some partnerships with the managers. And with my media badge, I could have access to any places without incurring to any problems. Now I don’t call almost anymore because most of the cultural agencies have my contact details and if need be they phone me for an appointment with the artist whether they are national an international artist.

What do you want other people to get from the work that you do?

What I want from other people to get from the work that I do is to learn from me as much as I learn from them and create a line of communication between us and to make sure that they appreciate the remarkable work I try to do for them, as well as earn their respect and trust so that way I will be highly recommended to other artists.

Do people reach out to you looking for you to interview them?

Yes indeed, couple of artists phones me to interview them but sometimes it is the even agencies that call me to propose me some artist. Rarely, if need be I call some artists to interview them.

How did your website and interviews become so popular?

My interviews and website become so popular thanks to the site that has been created for musical events only and for your information; it is the only site that Senegal hues to publish the daily news of the artists so far hence its popularity. By doing so, when I post an article on a website, basically two to three other websites copy it, it then allows to the artist to have more visibility and get many comments at the end.

Editor’s note:  Mané designed and maintains the website and does all the graphics herself.

Your myspace page is written in multiple languages.  Who does all of the translations?

I speak four languages: Wolof, French, English and Spanish. Wolof is my native language; the French is the official language in Senegal as for the English I learn while I was at 6th grate. Last, Spanish is the second language in our high school right after English, so I am able to do the translations myself.

Who were some of your favorite people that you spoke to and why?

My favorite people that I spoke to were Morgan Family and Timshel Band of Dakar because of this simple reason I love reggae music and consequently I adore reggae singers.

What are you future plans for your internet magazines and your career as a publisher and interviewer? Where do you hope it all takes you?

For my future plan, I intend to do the same with the students enabling to keep their best grade online. In my case, I lost my entire good grade I earned in School. In the meanwhile, I continue to work with the artists in the time being to promote the Senegalese culture throughout its music. It is true that you find or know many who are just like me meaning have with them big projects but the means are not in their favor so they like to work with what they have. I think this will take me where it will take me, as to be interviewed for example by a website administered thousand of miles away from my hometown (laugh).


http://DakarMusique.com

http://www.myspace.com/ndeyemanetoure










An Old Pair of Jeans

Written by Betty Brown

 

♣This is for non married couples. When you’re in a relationship and you’re always the one left at home because they want to go visit “their” friends, then… that’s an old pair of jeans. When you’re the one who’s feelings are always put on the back burner just so they can feel happy, then… that’s an old pair of jeans. When you’re up at 1 or 2 in the a.m. and you’re not partying but instead thinking about an argument that happened earlier and they’re snoring…sleeping like a baby, then… that’s an old pair of jeans. What I’m getting at is those old pair of jeans are a pair you hold on to because when you first got them they looked damn good on you but now things are changing but you still hold on thinking… one day these will fit again. I’ve just go to change a few things about myself. NO! NO! NO! What you do is go out and get you another pair that fit you just the way you are! Change for yourself, not for an “old pair of jeans”. ♣

Her Crown of Noises

by Burghelea-Handaric Maria-Daniela

It was a regular and typical day. Nothing was special. Sunrays, still play, come and go on my face, without letting me enjoy my morning sleep. I stay still for few minutes with thought that they will go away. Not even close. They continue to come and go, like they are all alone preparing a party on my face. I let them. They are funny and cute in their childish game. My sleepy mind is trying to think what should do in that day. Not too much, but I have much to do…

Hold on, with my mind still sleepy and with sunrays full of play, I try to make room for me in this morning, in this old world, but unknown for me. The house is ready to wake up. Sunrays get her? I don’t know. I just try to listen to her moves and his noises. They are strange, don’t look like the typical sounds heard in every morning. Hey, sounds like something I know…oh, no, just a sleepy door who just glued on her frame with anger. Nothing unusual in this house! I decided that in this new morning to hold my life for a few seconds, maybe minutes or maybe hours and listen. To listen for the first time to the noises around me, which was never important to my life, to observe things which I don’t believe I saw before, until now.

Interesting this new world! Where are the sunrays now? Have they found another game? Oh, now…they are here in my show. But I don’t invite them. I only hear doors opening and trapping. Anyway, it doesn’t look like it was from my house. Everything is new – from the first sunray – to the noises of the house. I have time, so, I stay and listen. Looks like something new. I hope I don’t dream….another noise. This time was much easier, much wiser, but more discreet. He has a special air. Has grace and power. Has determination, but is rather weak. It is a door noise. How can make this door noise be that weak, but in the same time, so decided? I will follow that noise, it is made by a…woman. Delicate, decided, suave, but strong. What a mixture! My heart looks like she wants to break my body and go out – hey…where do you want to go, my little heart? She was scared by a damn weird noise. Well, then? Who makes it? Looks like a tornado coming. I don’t have a chance to see or feel one in my life, but the TV left me a clue about how it is. I think she looks like what I just heard. Opens, slams, don’t close.

He sits at the table, the noise of the opening newspaper is so energetic, so rush, maybe a little bit nervous, and yes…he gives orders. He never hears any noise. He gets a simple, routine and indifferent noise. Maybe an ignorant noise, but I don’t think so. It is from the woman who was the noise earlier. He finishes, is up and he goes in the same way he came. Silence…with ease I hear preparing noises. My heart doesn’t want to go anymore. I got her in my game. She sits and listens. I hear the same movement. With care and carefully, with the routine of the years, she is washing, removing and placing objects on the table, closes and opens doors. She put a light on something…the cooker flame. Probably preparing something. But she makes a strange noise. It is not from preparations. It is from the soul, it is from her pain. She keeps going…kitchen noises cannot cover the noise of pain. How powerful it is, but she ignored him. She has something else to do, something she’s been doing for years, but with the same noise of pain. She blends like a crown of spikes, noises of pain, of habit, regular love, of hope, of love…maybe the noise of love…yes, but, this does not appear to be present in her crown of spikes. The noise of sorrow is present.

I decided. I will go after that crown of noises for one day. How rich is this crown…and she looks so beautiful, or maybe she was. I cannot figure out, I will go closer. Silence…hey, this time is outrageous. Same, like earlier, the noise of two little tornados make their appearance. They scream, they cry, they caress it, they order, to whom? To the crown of noises. She only listens. She looks at them with adoration. For a while the noise of pain is covered by the noise of love. What noise of love…sweet, suave, forgiven, determined and, yes, patiently! Is someone that can leave like this?! It is so fascinating this interweaving. Preparing noises are heard, she makes them. Voice noises…they come too. Scold, but she’s not yelling, advising, but she’s not ordering. She wanted to spoil them, but she cannot. Interesting. The spoil noise it is pretty weak. She keeps him hidden. Little tornado could stifle, choke him, so she hide him. What a crown of noises in this morning. Looks like a habit. Pain cuts her. Stabs her in the lowest corner of her body. I wish I could say to her “stop!” But I cannot do that. Why is that? I don’t have a noise to reach to her, that she can hear. She only keeps going. Little noise goes. I can hear only the pain noise. That is what remains of her.

She cuddles, she gathers her self. She ignored that noise, but it is still present. What a crazy noise! She seems common to her. She makes other noises. Finishing. Oh…I see …prepare herself. I can’t see her, but I feel the way she looks at herself. She is alone with her crown of noises. But she still has that pain. I hear noise from arranged hair. She makes him in a hurry, palms touch her face, probably, she looks at her. She doesn’t do that for a long time. Other noises came, which she blends. She is in hurry. She wore a dress that was prepared before and dresses her indifferent.

It is strange, the pain is still there. I can hear. I think she ignores her, or it is used to her? Now, she’s ready. Opens, closes and she goes. It is the last noise made by her. I think she goes to her work. I cannot hear the noises from there, but I guess. She goes with the noise of pain…they do not leave her. It is so normal to her and I think she even notice anymore. Now, is silence! No noise.

What a morning. Still, I don’t realize where I am. I wait. Exciting, this game of noises… I have in my mind that crown of noises. It is beautiful, but sad in the same time. I wonder if she knows about it. Probably she not gives her attention to it anymore. In a hurry all the time, she does not notice, she keeps her attention on the others. Unhappy…but she must please others. Concerned for the house noises, without paying attention to her own noises.

I did not feel when the sleep came to me and I did not know when this noise spellbound me. But, hey… I just hear familiar noise – in fact many. Oh…the same pain and another new noise appears. It’s a happiness one. It is the joy of coming home. And here she comes, noise of habit. There are many. The house is cared, is cleaned and it is arranged. What a blind, what a crown. It is she. She starts all over again, with different order. The noise of her self-concern is not blending. Concern for others is her second nature and the pain follows her. Oh…the noise of little storm, just arrived. Careless and selfish, they only demand from her. They take and go. They left her alone. Another noise I hear. It is from tired. No one notices him, but it’s usual for her. She keeps continuing to prepare.

The day is finished, so others’ noise gets around. I wish I could hear the noise of her heart, at her tiredness, soul and mind. The walls from between us are too thick, or it seems to me this way. I wish I could take in my arms and cuddle those noises of her mind, heart and soul. I want to chase the noise of pain, lock him, that never could come to her. I want, that she could have only the noise of relaxing, the noise only for self-esteem. I want to admire and hear the noise of her hand on his beautiful face. But I cannot do that. The noise of my despair breaks my soul and I can feel her pain noise. It’s present all the time in her crown of noises. Any noise she makes, this noise is present. If she care and teach her little storms, he is there, if she waits, a tornado is there, if she tries to pay attention to herself, is there, if she cares for her home, is there. Anything she would blend in her crown, the noise of pain is still there like weeds in a wheat ears yellow crown. And I cannot make a small, little noise for help.

After such a day, the only noise I can hear is the noise of silence. Even the pain stops a little bit. She is alone with her soul noise. She’s thinking. I wander about what? I wish to hear her. Not yet. The magic of the late summer night shrouds her. I can feel in the end the noise of relaxing. I never even hear when she sat down. What a crown of noises!

And I was not able to do anything. I can hear my sadness and despair noise. If she can hear it, she knows how to make them to go away from me.

But, hey…all this noises is from my mother! It is my mother’s crown of noises…and I cannot do anything. But, she in her own noise of pain, cares for others crown of noises.

This is for all women, who care for others in their own pain.