Ragged, But I’m Round Here

Before you say a single word, I know.

I didn’t even bother to look to see the last time I posted here, but lissen …

No, I mean – lissen!

Have you looked outside lately? Stuff’s real.

I just waxed poetic over on Academia.edu in response to a very nice fellow academic who’d read a little diddy I wrote several months ago about the possible influence of the ‘rona on educational spaces.

If I was in music, it would be my track that went platinum.

Anyway, this nice academic had downloaded my paper oh, what … let’s just say about 27 days ago. I’d been feeling the guilt of not going in there to respond to him and the other members of the international community (they love me! they reaaalllly love me) who had so graciously read or downloaded said short missive: decided today, in the midst of all my lack-of-sleep induced delirium that I would reply.

I went on about how the ‘rona has inspired goo-gobs of doctoral candidates to get down to the business. Being locked down provided the space they often claimed they didn’t have and thus, proposals appeared. By the multi-dozens. My colleagues and I were inundated. As a supervisor, that meant I had more supervisory things. The e-calendar looked like a terrible abstract, filled with blocks of meetings in different colors. I’d run out of scribble space in the paper calendar. And I have no idea what the calendar in the mobile device was doing, over there babbling to itself.

I added the real-real of it, that oh for the love of God the humanity is that people are dying. I didn’t get into the beyond-covid death conversation there because it wasn’t the place. However

for the love of God

There was a thing that Christopher used to say:

Tired but I’m down here,

ragged but I’m round here.

or something like that.

Yeah. That will do for how I’m feelin due to various reasons too numerous to wax on about in this post. But here’s a short list, in case you’re interested:

  • Hate – there’s a ton of it, coming from all corners. Newsflash, darlins: if you slowed your happy behind down for two seconds, you might learn something from that person you claim is taking your [fill in the thing here].
    • The kind of hate that calls itself conservative evangelism – yeah, I said it. Come at me. I am a Christ-follower, sold out, unnerstand? What you all are calling ‘godly’ (and yes, I de-capitalized on purpose) is a bunch of (and I quote Uncle President Joe) malarkey. It’s hate, plain and simple. Ain’t narry bit of Christ in what’s coming out of your mouths. Show me an example – not taken out of context – from the Bible (or any related Scriptural text, if you read them) and we can talk. I have no problem, pouring a cuppa, and having a down-home conversation. Let me know when and where.
    • The kind of hate that calls itself patriotic – yep, said that too. If you aren’t standing up for the freedoms and rights of err’body up in this piece, if you aren’t calling out the killing of innocent bodies, if you aren’t giving consideration to what the founding of this so-called ‘Merica was all about in the first place? I invite you to take a stadium of seats, please, and hush.
    • The kind of hate that combines patriotism with conservative (evangelism) – three time’s the charm, ain’t it. Don’t even start me on the discussion of us (‘Mericans) and them. What in all of the universe does that even mean?! C’mere and lemme tell you a secret right quick. You. Are. All. The. Way. Wrong. Unless your parents, by birth, and their parents — all the way back to before Jesus was a twinkle in His Divine Father’s eye are 100% tribe (take it Algonquin, Cherokee, Lakota … tell me, which of those or others?), this here place you drop crocodile tears over that you call the United States is. not. none-a. yours. No Columbus discovery: newsflash — the land mass was here before he accidentally bumped his boat into the wrong island, and gasp! there were already people here, living their best lives. They were not unschooled or unchurched. More education and more faith in one Old Mother’s baby toe than I see in a whole channel of preachers … If it wasn’t for them, ya boy and his peeps would have died of cold, starvation, and who knows what all. But the other thing is, when other boats got here, later after all that beautiful beachfront property had been swiped from the original tenants (because we are all just renting anyway, when you get down to brass tacks), those folks therein were from all over. They blended, they combined, they merged. It was all good, until … wait for it … Africans. Africans that didn’t pack their bags to get on the boat. Africans that weren’t asked if they wanted to take the trip. Africans that weren’t invited for a cuppa. And don’t dare come at me with that Well, you know Africans sold Africans stuff. That is a conversation for a totally different time. My point is, enslavement. But wait, there’s more: Massa or Missus tips down to the quarters and takes some liberties (and before you go there, lemme say it for you, all the way — there was rape and there was other stuff goin on. Best believe that. Those times were no different than they are now. Boy sees girl or girl sees boy; one or the other thinks, Oooh, I wanna talk to that one; eyes are made, sneaking begins. Yes, we hear about the rapes but we don’t hear about the loves that happened. And they happened. Because love’s always happened, even in the midst of horror unimaginable, even amongst people who by the very nature of what’s going on outside have you looked outside? are filled with rage and revulsion at the very sight of each other. Because humans have and always will be built to love each other) and if a child results, that child gets double-jeopardy. They are at once a step above in their enslavement (read: House vs Field) but are also abomination in the eyes of overseer and them (because ‘mixed blood’ and that’s not supposed to happen, according to the purposeful mis-education based on a conveniently out of context Bible verse or two). And it continues today. Come at me if you think it doesn’t.

My knees tend to act up if I try to stay on them for too long, so I’mma stand quietly over here, and maybe put a fist in the air too, while Colin takes a knee for all of us. And when he gets up, I will say thank you, but not before the end of the anthem because, contrary to popular belief we aren’t being unpatriotic, whatever that means. Now if I was spinning figure eight’s in a stolen riding mower while the anthem was being sung, call me out. But I am not active duty, reserve, or veteran. I hold no stars and bars. I don’t have to salute. No law says I have to put my hand over my heart. But my mom, dad, Nana, Pop-Pop, and Mom-Mom taught me to be respectful, so I’ll stand over here with my mouth shut. Or, I might sing along, if I’m feeling particularly good about ‘Merica that day.

But baby, lemme tell you. It’s been a long time since that’s happened.

My outburst was actually and has been repeatedly for cryin out loud. I say it if I happen to catch a glimpse of the news. I say it more specifically because the dogs have been sick. My girl has pooped on the floor, late in the midnight hour, for the nth time. It’s runny, stank, like a human child with a flu. My boy has the runs, too, but he’s smart enough to pinch it shut and sing outside the bedroom door to let me know I needs to get up — right now! — because he needs to let loose outside.

I haven’t slept well in I can’t say how long.

Something’s not right.

Dog bellies know it. My sleep cycle knows it.

So I get up, clean up, run the rug cleaner (praise God for it).

Again and still.

In the midst of all that, you think I haven’t been writing I bet.

Wrong, me bucko. Check all the yellow pads, strewn round here. Check my bill for fountain pen ink. Check my bill for fountain pens.

Inexorably, words have come. Fits and starts and unsatisfactory pieces, but they are here.

I am satisfied with the current thing. It is slow, like pain. Slow, like the creep of age, when it creeps. Slow, like a good rack of ribs. God gives me insights and I write. I think on it. I put it down and go to clean the poop off the carpet. I put it down and go to work. I put it down to read a good book.

If God wills, my next post is going to be my letter to Billy Porter about his book, Unprotected. I ordered my copy, pre-release, so I could get it signed. Oh, yes I did. I stayed up until almost midnight to finish it. Here’s what I have to say, in brief, as a preface. @theebillyporter: my heart hurts at all the so-called folks up in God’s house, who treat/ed you as they do/did. This Christ-follower, right here? She loves you. The you that was behind the clothes she wanted to steal from the Pose set (@MJRodriguez7 and all y’all … ya lucky I couldn’t because those threads would be right. over. here). The you revealed in Unprotected. The little boy who got picked on and messed with by kids and grown folks. Because you are the sibling this only child should have had (and for the record, I would have been the elder: I was born a mere eight months before you, and just down the street. Well, in South Jersey but you’ve been to California. That’s just like down the street).

I’ll save the rest for later because I’m ragged but I’m round here.

And I gotta go to work.

So I can go and read and so I can finish this writing that will be a book.

Because when it’s done, it’s going out for representation.

Watch out — coming to a bookshelf near you.

Don’t believe it? Come at me.

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