Soul Food

Every time the squad comes together we eat. It’s what my family does. digest a good meal as conversation marinates. words left at the table , finished on the porch. I’m never allowed to cook when we convene. If given duties , I’m usually relegated to the most rudimentary of dishes.

cole slaw

salads

actually just set the table

It is where we will congregate after the food is blessed.

And the line of hungry people finish creating their plate of food.

an artistic pile of grub compiled almost as if  a game of tetris was in being played.

I will make my plate last

There in my chest lies a fullness .

not from my mom’s salmon but rather from her laugh.

Dad’s snoring on grandma’s recliner. Tie flipped over the left shoulder. residue from a clever move to avert an unfortunate convening of precious silk fabric and briset gravy at the dinner table.

Laughs are shared and pie is cut. The Lakers are cruising through the playoffs.

When my Aunty Mattie points at the screen , Shaq can’t miss a free throw.

Such fortune is what keeps us together.

though at times we may be worlds apart.

Right now they are content.

I will eat later.

I’m full .

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Kerry James Marshall 


Kerry James Marshall’s work was the MOCA for the last time today . I had to go see it. This was one of my favorites.

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Family


My cousin was in town so you know we had to link up. I love family .There’s something about these relationships forged by blood and marriage that I find comforting; maybe it’s the simplicity and complexity that are brought together in communion. Because you are my blood, my only choice is to love you. I cannot hate my own flesh. The complexity is found in humanity. We all have our issues ,mannerisms and nuances. This paradox what makes life fun . How do I move forward in a singular command which involves such complex arithmetic ? The answer after 30 years is one I don’t know but I just ponder on, as I move forward . 

Peace ,

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Family


It’s funny when I talk to people and when they ask me where I’m heading , in reference to my parents house , I always respond I’m going home. Rarely do I say I’m headed to my “parents house” My current residence is in Los Angeles but meals like this make me feel like home. I’m not to bad in the kitchen myself but nothing touches my mom’s home cooking .

Seeing my pops today for Father’s Day also reminded me of why wherever he is at will always be considered home; it’s the safety and the comfort . Sitting on the couch talking with my dad reminds me of a familiarity that no amount of furniture and pictures can ever replicate . Our relationship is built of 30 years   Of Spoken and unspoken communication. Hugs and kisses, fights and arguments. Words of wisdom and counsel that I will never forget . This spread of food will forever remind me of home, because my dad likes it . Not necessarily the food itself , but the fact that he played a part in the provision . That’s always how he has been. He’ll pray, eat a little and just watch the table . It’s those eyes watching over me that bring a comfort . It’s that voice on that phone that fortifies my backbone when trials seem to be too much. It’s what I aspire to be one day. The man at the head of the table just watching . Enjoying the food that God has provided, but enjoying just a little more the satisfaction that I was privileged enough to Enjoy it with my family .  Eat up pops; we’re okay . We’re home .   
Happy Father’s Day Dad . I love you the only a first born son can love his dad after 30 years . Unconditionally and with pride .

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Two years 


year two with dreads .

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The land of my father

My father’s family Moved from Haiti to United States when he was a young child. He grew up in a Haitian home and to this day still Speaks kreyol . I was born in Los Angeles and grew up speaking English and hearing some intermittent kreyol when I went to New York to visit my Haitian family .

Not speaking Kreyol nor growing up in Haitian culture ,it never crossed my mind that I was or wasn’t Haitian; It was just who I was . However , when asked are you Haitian ,if I responded yes , it is always followed by another question or statement …. In kreyol. The language, as in other cultures, is very much part of the the blood , the identity of the people. I think my lack of identifying my self as Haitian wasn’t based on shame , I just never had visited Haiti nor spoke the language so when I was asked if I was Haitian, I Would say my dad is Haitian .

I don’t know what exactly changed in my life or what spurred the sudden interest , but I just decided almost out of the blue that I was going to Haiti. As I reflect , I think turning 30 really played a part in The whole thought process . Walking into a comfort and confidence with my identity as a man , there was a void that came from never being to Haiti. To have never seen the land of my father nor speak the language built a barrier between the thought of who I was now and the wholeness in thought and self in being exposed to all that Haiti is .

So to sum all that up succinctly , I put my butt on a plane and went to Haiti; The trip was amazing, frustrating , hilarious , beautiful inspiring and a bunch of other adjectives .

There was immediate irony as I landed. Here I am a man of Haitian decent in the Dominican Republic and I can communicate with Dominicans that were at the airport , yet cannot speak to the Haitians that met me there to pick me up . For the first time in my Life , I really felt frustrated that I could not speak kreyol. Living in Southern California , away from my Haitian family , I never really connected or embraced that side of who I was . There was a lack of familiarity being that all my Haitian family was on the East Coast.

I stayed in DR for a few days then took a bus to Haiti . The arrival was surreal. The Dominican Republic is not as advanced as the U.S. but in comparison to Haiti , it looks very advanced . Driving through these towns to my bus stop just made me think , ” Where in God’s name did all that foreign aid go after the earthquake “? It was just amazing how undeveloped the country looked.

In spite of it all , Haiti is still a beautiful place. The rolling hills , the endless expanses of green; It’s breathtaking . The people however , is what really make This place shine . I stayed with a woman and her husband at her hotel/ compound.My dad knows her from ministry . She was so warm and kind . At night I went out for dinner . It was beautiful to eat at this Haitian businesses and sit there under the dark expanse of the sky while people danced. This is Haiti . This is life . Despite all hardships, there lived a stubborn vibrant energy , a persistent joy that pushed through the mire of poverty and made itself known and felt . I was happy to laugh , proud to share conversation and jokes with my people and friends . The rest of the week we saw monuments and just spent time amidst daily life . This place has shaped my thought process in reference to legacy and purpose . The last few months , I have been feeling called to ministry; I don’t know what shape that calling takes , but I feel that it’s an incorporation of enterprise and community. All I knew when I left was that I needed to commit time to learn the language and I needed to come back soon . Haiti is an amazing place . It’s part of who I am . It’s part of my legacy . 

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No ticket please

So here’s what happened ,

Thursday night I was driving back to Los Angeles from Redlands. I was making a left turn onto the on ramp for the 10 just as the light turned red; it was like 11:30pm with absolutely no one on the road …….except for a cop, who I didn’t see, who wasn’t with the last minute turn . So as I begin to accelerate , the lights come on and I pull over. 
Now at this particular moment , I really had no idea I ran that light , the officer will shed light on that as he asked for my license and registration. His next remark threw me off. ” what is Joshua 1:9″? 

I was so caught off guard I had to verify the question . ” Are you asking me for a bible verse “?

“Yeah I am “; “you got your bible back there in the seat”. Just then as I looked behind me , I realized he was looking at my bible in the back seat . I was so caught off guard , I couldn’t think . ” I don’t know that verse ” I said . He then follows up with “well what is your verse “?

In a moment of absolute amnesia, I spit out the most well known bible reference known to man, ” John 3:16″. 
Now that’s not MY verse , mine is actually Matthew 6:33 ; I just couldn’t think at that particular moment. The officer knew this as he replied ” everyone knows that verse”; “I want to know what your verse is “. As he walks to his car to check my info I looked up the verse :
“Have I not commanded you , be strong and courageous , for the lord thy God is with you wherever you go.”
He came back and asked did I read the verse . I read it to him and said thanks . He gave me my license and registration back and I left . NO TICKET!!!!! Thank you Jesus . 

Now , I am not saying that if you follow Jesus and carry your bible with you , you will avoid tickets for obvious violations you committed , but I will say that every moment of your life is ministry . I was reminded of this as we spoke about scripture at 11:30pm on the side of the highway. I’m reminded of this as I speak with a table at my parents restaurant about Christ . I won’t promise you that you can run infinite red lights and avoid tickets , but I will promise you that faithfulness and integrity will reward you with an intimacy with God that will expand your relationship with Him to new levels . As my verse says ” Seek he first the kingdom of God and all these things be added unto thee.”
Let your pursuit be consistent , let it be genuine and let it be preeminent . For the Lord is worthy .

Peace 

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