Monthly Archives: January 2012

M . L . K


Josie Harris: Another battered Woman, expendable to the system… Floyd Mayweather Jr: Not just any Black Man!


It was a sad day in April for me in 2010, when at the height of the fight world’s demand for a Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. showdown for boxing supremacy, an obscure southpaw from out of Venezuela took his own life at a time during which word amongst many of the sports purists began placing him at it’s helm.  

Edwin Valero was lightening in a bottle.  He had yet had anything legitimately comparative to Pretty Boy Money or Pac Man‘s  Hall of Fame careers, but his record of 27-0 with knock outs in every one of those bouts was nothing short of legendary.  Valero had just defeated current champion Antonio Demarco in what was his 9th title defense reigning over the WBA superfeatherweight, then WBC lightweight devisions.  Questions as to how he’d fare against fast-powerpunching contemporary Pacquiao were sufacing, with Valero himself calling the pound-for-pound king out.  

We with an ear to the scene, and a considerable knowledge of geo-politics at the time knew if there was one thing preventing the man from slaying his way to complete dominance in capitalism’s most primitive game,  it was more likely his notorious advocacy for his beloved Socialist President (Hugo Chavez tattoo’d on his chest), than his unmerciful fists!


Sadder than the loss of such an extraordinary talent, were the developments that brought it about.  The story of Edwin Valero is not simply that of the modern gladiator, or class warrior manifest in the ring..  the day before his untimely suicide, the story of Edwin Valero ever tragically became that of his wife; 24 year old Jennifer Carolina.  That was the day he murdered the mother of his two children, capping a tumultuously violent relationship which cited numerous hospital stays and police reports for domestic abuse. 

In the wake of the sensational turn of events (Valero was found hanging in police custody), conspiracy theories flung about from every corner of the net.  “drugs and alcohol”, “psychological effects of his motorcycle injury”,  Even President Chavez chimed in to pretty much claim it all a right-wing political plot.  Generally absent from the whirlwind of talk, outside of reactionary response from politicos looking to exploit anything that might undermind anything Venezuela, was a focus on Jennifer/her family/ the all too common plight of abused boxing wives/ failure of Valero’s circle to support him into getting help for his demon, and on a larger scope; a lack of attention and resources towards gender violence by legal boxing councils…


Here is the wife of a professional athlete.  Even typical as one may project her to come, she is human as human gets;  the unacknowledged superhero!__  balancing the barbarity of her husband with a nurturing spirit;  feeding, cleaning, clothing and educating their children;  keeping a stable home for him to come back to for his psychological and emotional well-being.  She doesn’t just open her legs to him, and in fact it’s not even so much that she cooks, cleans, and handles very fundamental business tasks autonomous from those of the industry vultures..  as much as it is that she reserves an unconditional place for his human interests!    __She lives subbordinated in the silent role of a superstar athlete’s wife; and if she should die, she dies silent; out of sight, and out of mind.


When in protest of the 90-day prison sentence inherited by Floyd Mayweather Jr. for battering ex-partner Josie Harris, World Boxing Council chief Jose Sulaiman put out a statement dismissing “beating a lady” as nothing akin to “a major sin or crime”;  I could not be shocked.    

Neither was I surprised to learn that in the interest of clearing May 5th for Floyd to fight an *as of yet signed opponent* (a fight that hasn’t even been made), Justice Melissa Saragosa had pushed his January 6th report-to-serve date back to June.  

Such a travesty is to be expected.   Women have always been expendable in the boxing world. 

If they are not circling a ring showcasing huge placards over their bikini laced bodies between rounds, they are occupying comparisons to one another in the first row of our imagination, opposite sides of the ring, donning luxuries we rarely consider they might adorn on their own dime.   Each, marrying into the sport to carry the mark of ‘gold-digger’ or glorified ‘groupie’;  each, measured against expectations set to the likeness. 

How many men saw a fighter’s manager when they were looking at Mrs. Shane Mosley?   Heck, matrimony aside, how long will it be before we recognize the best trainer in the game might be Ann Wolfe??   We take them for granted, they’re tossed aside.   We’ve never allowed ourselves to accept that boxing in it’s own right belongs to Women as much as it does men. 

More times than not she is assumed to be a deserving victim, or no victim at all.  We hear the chuckles of brothers at a Farrakahn rally, responding to his smirk, mocking the notion that a young Desiree Washington accepting a 3 a.m. invitation from Mike Tyson, did not ‘know what she was getting into’.   Of course we do.. just earlier that day behind the scenes broadcasts have Mike meeting Washinton in a line of contestants during beauty pageant rehearsals in Indianapolis;  bogarting back and forth before their wide eyes, he caressed his chin, dipping a scope up and down with design on their figures, smiling back at the camera; …expendable.

Before Diego Chico Corrales lost his life in a Vegas  motorcyle accident, he was immortalized for his classic battle against Jose Luis Castillo;  The beating of his pregnant wife, in which he is reported to have delivered a deliberate blow to her stomach, was a fly-by-night headline.  Just as the arm pulling, fist throwing assault on Jossie Harris by a seemingly teflon Mayweather is proving to be.  It will not stick to him, nobody will reflect critically on it a year from now as we may, say..  a ‘suspect’ Miguel Cotto for wiping tears away as he recalled the passing of his father.  Nobody, is even talking about it, now!

Backwards as it sounds, the entitlement we grant men in sports, almost lends  deferment of Floyd’s jail-time as something Harris  might feel fortunate knowing he received.  It is afterall typical of the psychology of a battered woman to fear greater repercussion should her abuser be put to face punishment.  And there are  undoubtedly  legions of fans who’ve grown resentful of Harris, as over the course of the trial Floyd has been persistant in declaring the accusations false and malicious.   For his big date to be cancelled by default of the court’s ruling, we’d be hearing a backlash of public opinion put her to blame for his missing the boat on a potentially imminent showdown with Manny, before we hear anyone holding him accountable, for a crime his children testified baring witness to. 

Sources have all around confirmed that what earned Floyd his reprieve is the potential revenue to be made off the long awaited  Pacquiao super-fight (a fight which still seems a long shot from happening).  There is no question an event of it’s magnitude, taking place in Las Vegas’ famed MGM Grand, on Cinco de Mayo would make good on his lawyer’s promise before the judge, to generate $100 million for the economy.  In America, money talks.. (pun intended)

In fact, now we are hearing Top Rank Promotions’  Bob Arum float an offer for the fight to happen if Floyd agrees to a June 9th date, which by all accounts would be impossible to tend considering he is to report to prison on the 1st of June.   Leave it to the powerful Arum though, to arrogantly suggest that he’d put up the fees to have it pushed back again; almost as if looking right past the grief stricken reality of Women who’ve befallen a heavy hand, to the man at the other end of the bargaining table.  His rationale?  There’s a chance that an extra  $40 million could be made  off  additional seats constructed in that time.

As if though the same $100 million (plus 40) couldn’t be made after Floyd has justly served his time. 

Sulaiman, Judge Saragosa, Floyd’s legal team, Bob Arum, we the public, are all responsible for the grave injustice given slack here..  we ought to all be ashamed about the precedent we seem so blood lustingly willing to set, to see this fight happen ASAP at the clap!   This is bigger than Floyd, this is bigger than boxing..  the legal grace and public apathy towards it are indicative of a system working to the endangerment of Women and families.    Despite the model of political or economic government under which it manifests, patriarchy victimizes individuals.. families.. societies..  humanity.


..When a man

has so much power that

no-one but he himself, 

dare take him out. 


Who knows what he is capable of…



– Tr.

-A Genesis of Brown- (early draft: chptr 1)


Chapter One

Sweat was as Pa as the uniform Ma needed spread a sheet over, nights when attempts to wake him off the couch would’ve done little more than rouse a snore.  You watched his sideburn bristle drip into a pour when an envelope took to his hands; beads perspiring from the nose as he went through shirts like cuchifrito does a brown paper bag.

Nobody racked up time and a half like that man; not a police officer, no fireman, nor anyone in sanitation, much less any of his co-workers in the Emergency Medical Service.  Which is probably why he received so much love, as manifested per barbecue and pool party we were invited to attend when Pa wasn’t covering someone else’s weekend.  Navy blue up, navy blue down everywhere we went; patches and the badge.  If your name wasn’t Don Mattingly, no one in this city could say they knew you to hustle more doubles than Resto!

It remained to be seen whether I inherited that same work ethic upon being offered a cut for every job I tagged along to lend a hand with.  After two decades which saw them maintain the kind of camaraderie withstanding every Giordano promotion that set hierarchy between the two, and every Giordano transfer Pa felt pressure to follow, Giordano and Pa went into business together behind his longtime partner’s lead for side-income doing home renovations.  Giordano had the van, Giordano had the plan: he provided the tools he promoted the service he secured the contracts.  Pa covered the labor, which would’ve provided me opportunity to earn money for school books while holding onto one last season of sandlot baseball; and did… until it didn’t.


I never told him why I began to resist, and eventually, ceased lacing up boots all together that summer.  Were it not for the game he saw slash and burn prospects of delinquency, to a future in his boy’s eye, my abled body would’ve had no alternative but to try my newly minted diploma from the get; believe you-me, there wasn’t a request Pa didn’t begin and end a response to with “MORTGAGE” and “CAR PAYMENT!”  So it had to be to the dismayed welling of his own defeat, that despite Pa’s faith in me, I’d eventually turn down his proposal to split earnings for the sake of sparing me some 9 to 5 that might impede on practice.  And it was in a sort of melancholy, projecting to be gracious humility, that I would sooner settle on a fulltime at The Nathan Boardwalk than seek the old man’s recourse.

Save for having to swallow a little sarcasm on my supposed golden arm’s supposed struggle to sand a wall, my decision didn’t draw the kind of reaction I had braced myself for.  Of’course news of the Nathan hiring relieved me of ‘the real world’ speech on his 70 hour work week.. and he did gave off as if convinced I’d keep my promise to continue grinding toward our dream.  Such absence of disappointment at any prior juncture would’ve shown passage for me to whistle off clean;

Stopped, whether by the stoicism contrasting such usual eccentricities as his ever-wincing forehead or how he’d normally clamp his lips curled into his teeth; …or by something more intuitive than the reading his pensive face gave off in its concentration, there was something it seemed, even he felt left to be complete between us.

At second glance I’m at a loss to explain

the space in which I found myself, between

offering up a hug and venting.

Pa had sacrificed for us too willfully to be exposed to the heart of my wallowing; the intensity of those veins and snapping tendons proving harder to detach from than I could have conceived.  To think; how the bills reflecting off the ol’ specs bridged before him bound those providing hands to so demeaning a keep, so obsequiously.  I have to believe he was uneasy as I, hearing what one the other heard, as we worked through the bigotry inundating from Giordano’s shadow the morning that would deter me from returning.  Then again he’d survived nearly half of his life smiling through the shame, absorbing a word his son was just learning the pain of.


Throughout childhood, SPIC, whizzed me by in cacophony with MAMI, TE SIRVO, GRAHAM AVE, LANI!, LET’S CUT THE SHIT, WE’RE FAMILY, THE HIPOCRACY, JACK!, DON’T INTERRUPT ME LET ME SPEAK, DIME CON QUIEN ANDAS Y TE DIRE QUIEN ERES, PHILIP!, UNBEKNOWNST TO ME,   DINKIN’,  CLARO QUE SI, SAM! and IT’S SAD IT REALLY IS…   Especially Saturday nights, when receiving a guest meant the bottle of soda erecting from a spread of Bacardi| seltzer| Tanqueray| and gin was off limits; those of us who’d long built tolerance to a drunken thumb ‘cross the gums testing the hour of company in our own irritable right, Saturday night!

For a time I couldn’t tell it different from any word that wasn’t my name, except that I can’t recall having traced it to a voice other than that of Uncle Ray’s.  When I came upon it’s implication of disdain per the darting force with which he pinned it to neighborhood names that never came up favorably, nothing of its nature notioned it could pertain to me.  Spic, was a lazy ignorant drug addict who lived off welfare, but back then it wasn’t Puerto Rican.  According to Ray it was Carmen flopping a stroller forth with her knotty headed boys straggling shirtless behind.  But it wasn’t referred to Rosa, who wore the same chancletas when she got home and out of her blazer to walk Tito; not usually at least, not unless she in some way gave him the inclination that she thought she was better, needed to be brought back down to earth.  Such ambiguity might explain why it would be years before I found myself processing those four letters relative to my own identity.  (Everyone owned a brown pair of slippers lettering the gold Puerto Rico!)

Back then people were people.  It was a time enriched by naiveté when a child’s bliss was safe.  We played until it was time to eat then were off again after we ate.  Taught it our business to keep out of grown folk’ conversations I was trained on being seen, not heard.  Thus, my listening had adapted to assume a like distance.  For if ever I, stampeding in line past a powwow of elders or swarming in and out a pile of sibling limbs, were pulled to that chat in the kitchen it was when “T O N Y!” hollered out on mother’s whim.


As a seventeen year old elbow resting a palm full of chin, or lollygagging behind, from the ride to home depot < home depot back to the ride for our sheetrock stripped destination, it was no different.  Unless I was present to a mention specific to me, nothing exchanged in Pa-and-Giordano’s discussion drew me aware to it.  The same uncompromising trust my face gave the wind trailing passing scene; that music behind my eyes facilitated from  hammer to nail I glanced between;  was the trust my red light green light 1, 2, 3’s held, uncompromised by noise screaming from the kitchen back in my young’n day.

There was however, that time and again

in which tensions flared on the drink and a counter slammed,

shouting slanted our attention still to it, and

glass broke.

You grow on to the grapple and roll of wrestle-mania from the cowboys and Indians chase.  Then you learn roughhousing earned you a spot on front of the living room television glowing Sabado Gigante when things got carried away.  Didn’t take forever to develop a rapport on how to avoid repercussions of hyperactivity, with a period in which G.I. Joe became the rave half decade before we sedated on video games.  Passivity however is another thing, especially amongst a community in which it could be viewed as weak.  After all, stores selling us Desert Storm Cards to trade during the first invasion of Iraq probably didn’t do as much to tame us as they did to engage us in war.  No doubt it pissed our parents off that a transition to figurines wouldn’t eradicate the havoc to be raised. …Makes me want to go back and lift a mirror to show them who we were the children of;  STOPPP STUPID!, INDIAN GIVER!, LEAVE ME ALONE!, and HE STUCK HIS MIDDLE FINGER AT ME!, caroming off the walls.


Soon as the day came Ma  lit up to Pa divulging Giordano’s arrangement for us to go see a home, things were bound to change.  That mammoth edifice of the old Brooklyn Army Terminal stood in the way of the harbor, across which sprawled suburban pastures to which we couldn’t imagine conforming our ways.  Not that Ma ever pictured us doing so might resemble the manner she frightenly observed children behave during yearly visits to their cul-de-sac for Giordano’s son’s birthday; but that she had us speeched to an impeccable posture, in the balance of which hung privileges and a possible whooping dare we embarrass our father.

Days went by months gone by years past, and nowhere near as long had my refined demeanor come to lasting the guidette cadence Ma adopted an awkward variation of; not nearly as wide as that of my PRAP (Puerto Rican American Princess) knighted sister, had my own Staten Island circle grown; nowhere close to as high had I ever come to imagine our becoming selves, above the selves I looked back on leaving, as brother had, on a past he looked down on being.  There must have been something resisting any like-allowance to succumb to the numbness my family seemed to embrace in overcoming our confronting transition.

Suddenly I was dealing with a heartbeat which had been chased before, but never through the terror of a plight unfamiliar as the wilderness to an urban animal.  The weight of whatever collective adaptation we generated to repress idiosyncrasies within family at home, within our peers of the Spanish congregation at church, amongst classmates pooled at the lunch table end dominated by the accent of our lips, hair and shade;  became the suppression of impulses discouraged from rising with the pride of our rooted heritage.

We had derived from a place from which I recall a scrap between biological sisters being triggered by one’s reference to the other as a “five dollar hoe”; where we arrived at school every morning prepared to fight for our sneakers; glance at the wrong person the wrong way and you could find yourself cradling your skull on the concrete.  Now we were being muscled around by eyes on the bus, stalled on by the doctor and rushed by the deli clerk; observing our parents pussyfoot around signs that our youngest siblings were being singled out and spoken at in a tone adults reserve for other adults.                      …I had never felt so low.


There I knelt, knee deep in a rising tide of rage.  Reaction to insult had always begged a practice in restraint.  Here I faced a turbulence quivering deep in my soul, battling in question as to whether I’d be able to regain cognizance of the sunlight beaming into the patio and the smell of paint overwhelmed in the tension consuming me.  I sooner became afraid I might not be able to stand up straight, than I had become of potentially confronting a man a quarter century my senior.  Thwarted to the ashen planks of my surrounding I’d be missing the mark if I characterize myself having been beside myself – I was so beneath myself.

I had been in the way of that laugh before, now I was at its opposite end; I had accompanied Giordano’s eyes in mine, this time I kept them back from forcing their way in.  Way down binaural drone-deep in double vision, a mirage of references dotting select experiences from my rearing to the moment, framed me pit between a double consciousness that summer Saturday morning…

One which set my soul into mourning while it sang to the sky.   Looking back, that’s got to be the day, I killed my master.   And the spic, began to die.


– Tone.Are  (A Genesis of Brown__ work in progress/ chapter 1)

Half-Time Pep Talk; guys, gather ’round


In the immortal words of the great Descartes:

I am stupid…  therefore, I’m a man!

See, now I’m processing whether I should even dedicate a whole blog post to this.   Because if I do, I become the town crier whining-about, over what most men who come across it welcome a lovable affirmation of their own typical brute.  Sure, the majority of us will recognize Dr. Pepper’s Power 10 commercial as ‘tasteless‘, but see qualms that act no deeper than ‘fun and game‘.   Which lends me to projections of  “soft” and “sensitive” for so much as giving it an extra thought.

Me?  THINK??   < The audacity..   I’m a guy!

Plus..  my  caption for it probably does more to tap on that rigid mental than would a full on exploration into the social psychology which conditions us to reinforce such shallow depictions of Men; depreciates a Women’s capacity to share space in a traditionally male world.   Only, I’m afraid there are far too few of us who’d be insulted being exposed to the possibility we may have come all this way in life, without ever realizing just how (how could I say this..)  un-evolved we show to be; just how much credit, beyond that which we deserve, we give ourselves.


Let me put it out there that I, for one, happen to enjoy romantic comedies. 



Get clear brothers, I’m not talking myself up, I’m not speaking for Women.. I’m speaking for US.  And not in the way we do when one of us start a statement with: “I think I speak for all men when I say…”   No, this is not that.   We don’t need another alpha ego stepping up to cajole our rowdy response to the opportunity he saw to take; stepping up to be THE MAN in the room, just as the rest of us were settling down to listen.

(( sit back down “fuck these hoes” guy..  please find your seat Mr. “Long as they don’t bring it around me.” ))

I ain’t necessarily saying you need to start looking at the sky like it’s the ground and the ground like it’s the sky;

_you ain’t going to hear me advocate you run out and get a pedicure right now. although, it’s a Sunday, you got off and yo’ shit is busted.. why the hell not

_i’m not interested in you going out of your way to find a Woman who can bench press as much as you do. don’t let me find out the only Firewoman in town is suddenly having to avoid stalkers   *fellas, keep it together*

_i don’t care about the check you’re going to write out in the name of gender equality.  What you do in the bedroom (in the name of gender equality) is not my business…


But it is high time for us to have a conversation on just how comfortable we are allowing ourselves to be defined and represented, by our lack of depth in everything from domestic (cooking, cleaning),  to personal (hygiene, diet), to social (emotion, communication) survival skills.   And by the same coin how UN-comfortable we remain, with re-considering how we engage ourselves and how we engage others  in respects to identity/lifestyle as indiscriminate matters of choice.

Hell, it’s time we have a conversation about our discomfort with having a conversation, period! 

We’d love to be able to write off the Dr. Pepper Power of 10 commercial as a ridiculous marketing ploy.   We’d love to equate it analogous to English Royalty; parody on a dated legacy; slide our hands into our own jaws, show it has no teeth.   But if that were the case, why then do companies continue to use sexism to sell their products;  why haven’t they stopped using sports networks, and targeting audiences on football sundays, to sell beer and beef jerky using scantily clad Women and big wheeled trucks???    Something about these concepts perpetuating violence, misogyny, and homophobia must be proving beneficial to those putting them out there…


There are those amongst us who pose that it isn’t the media generating these dynamics of oppression, that it is we ourselves being violent, misogynistic, homophobic, and that markets are simply being wise to exploit our condition;  holding up a mirror;  doing it in a humorous way.   To a certain extent these points are valid.  I as a 30 year old man neither feel inclined to buy beer because somebody told me to be a man and do it!   Nor will I walk out the door tomorrow, having fixed myself to be more like the guys in the commercial because they like beer.   ..But what about the impressionable youth?  Doesn’t the plausibility that that which is given precedence in the media  will bare an influence on society, increase, when messages inferring what it is to be a man (insensitive, intolerant) and what it is to be a woman (sexualized, quiet yet bubbly) are being absorbed by the boy who will tell his friend to BE A MAN!  When he is in mourning or feeling humiliated?


You may feel we ought to expect that not everything being projected by the media will be respectful towards diversity, not everything will be compassionate towards our  emotional and psychological impulses.   But are there boundaries we ought be mindful to keep?  Is there a measure of accountability any entity must face, if not to the law, to your own personal or your communal sensibilities of right and wrong??


Miller Lite has been running a “Man-Up” campaign which airs commercials framing an “Un-Manly” thing the men in each respective spot reflect on one of them having done.   In one of the commercials we are aired a flash-back to a gentleman bawling out tears before his girlfriend;  he repeats “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.” slumping his head over rejected shoulders.   Two of the commercials question a man for what he is wearing (in one a scarf, in the other: skinny jeans), and two others mock a man who would exhibit fear (in one a man is screaming on a roller coaster, in another, he is anxious for someone to take the fish off his line).   And if Miller Lite is putting out that it is not “manly” to be hurt in a relationship, or that it is not “manly” to be nervous, then by in large it is not only limiting to men, it is limiting to Women..  It must be ‘womanly’ to be nervous and thus we can see how Women learn to depend on men for strength.  It must be ‘womanly’ to be hurt in relationships, so in turn, women who DON’T allow themselves to live at the affect of heartbreak become heartless ‘bitches’.



The relationship we assume to the mediums responsible for informing our reality, determine the power we have to maintain a grasp and mold of our own making on it.   Sure there is an element of entertainment we can prosper from being open to enjoying, in whatever it is we take in.   But to omit any and all angles for sociocultural critique is to befall the reality of a robot.   We become consumers in our homes, in our minds;  we disconnect from our humanity.

There is something valuable, that we have yet to recognize as men, about standing for being recognized and appreciated for our intimate qualities.   We open up to allow young brothers around us to transform who they are at an earlier age than we did, and thus empower them to impact the world around them in ways we will not be able to imagine until we witness them do it.   We give our elders the privilege of watching humanity continue to evolve via our very actions, in their lifetime.


When a world class football player is a boy, he wants to be like his idol.  He begins his life in the game, performing in emulation of what he has seen on television.   But before long, he recognizes that he will not be successful watching himself be that idol;  running from outside his body, dodging competition in choreographed step.   At some point he begins to recognize mechanisms that work for HIM, he begins to acquaint himself with techniques that draw him closer to himself as a prospective athlete.  He felt how the balls of his feet twisted off the ground when he recorded his record time;  he aims to reproduce and master that motion.  He feels the muscles of his thigh disjointing and pulling together, meticulously, and knows he is doing something right, as he looks left and right to see he has left all other sprinters behind him.

We see a game…   But he –

he feels the wind, smells the grass, hears his own calculations.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things    1 Corinthians 13:11


we are men

because we don’t need to be reminded that we are.

Black beans. from a can. Dammit.


.Low Flame.


> Pour a cap, or two of Olive Oil into a pot.

> Dice 2 cloves of garlic to begin flavoring the base.

> Throw a splash of water in there. (you need that accent, u need that Brooklyn: in thea’)


.Let it simmer a bit.

(let it brown just a bit.. coupla mins)


> Break a nice ol’ coupla  pinches  of fresh Cilantro.

> Slice some thin rings of onion; throw that right there in there.

> Chop up and add dices of a bell pepper.

> (May also add celery shavings _or_ seeds)


.Let it simmer a bit more.

(Get the aroma going)


> Now take out your jar of soft pickled red peppers.  Let some of the juice from the jar into the pot and tear strips of the peppers in to follow.

> Add the few cube cuts of the potato THAT HAVE BEEN BOILING ON THE SIDE.

> Finally add a small can of tomato sauce, followed up by a refill of water.


.Taste what you’ve got so far.

(Add salt if you need to bring more flavor out.  Add crushed black pepper if you like a little spice)



> Escort your black beans out to the dance floor and let them babies salsa away.

> OH WAIT..  at this point, you can also have Stedman roll out the chopped sweet plantain  -OR-  pumpkin piece.  (both ought to be SOFT/Over ripe if possible)


.Let cook on low flame until the sauce has thickened.





The Happy Belated


“PUNETA!”    hollered the void become of a night mixing recollection of his children with the drink.    Then through the void, falling between his fingers wrapping his face;  reverb of a dripping sniffle.  Cupped in his hands, again;;  alone in the pork reeking breath of  those murmuring walls;;  New Years Eve…


He had tripped a mess a million times before and if his reaction were any different this time, you couldn’t tell by the ruckus of it; although if there were anything ‘Ando wouuuld make more sense out of than anyone else, it’s that you don’t throw the 40 oz in your hand to spite the one at your feet!    If you knew the man like he knew himself, something was definitely off about the absence of so much as a flinch toward attempting to salvage something from the bottle propelling across the floor.


There wasn’t a concern in the moment.  There wasn’t a thought present to the space.  All he could see, sunken over, were the audible flashes of his eldest, his middle, and his youngest child as they brought him back to reliving an ache which had continued to tear, ever since the day he walked away.

_   _   _   _   _   _   _                                     …                                     _   _   _   _   _   _   _  _

Around the same hour just the year prior he had sat contrastingly placid with his eyes glazing evermore distant over the television, with every minute pulled closer to midnight.  Of course, wonder about the kids took his mind the same, however the years stretched-about time to be redeemed and the time being,  had for some time lent itself to  impassivity.   Interrupted by the fateful phone call he received from an unrecognizable voice that night,  monotony was to be aroused to a hopeful gratitude, upon receiving pause, followed up by a name:


“It’s Junior…”


‘Ando always hated hearing back the sound of his own voice; to him it whined the tail end of each word with the most wretched intonation.   But hearing his Junior behind it was sweets to his heart.  Unexpected as it was, the senior did his best to keep a composed throat as his sinuses began to well up with the probability of tears.  Which would have in and of itself had no affect on the conversation if not for the tension-to-rush waiting at goodbye.


Receiving the call was good enough to make his day, his year; albeit shameful in his  attempt at making it to the call’s finish without having to tread through request for explanation as to why he cut out.  And he was nowheres capable of ranging outside the discomfort enough to realize how so too had his son approached, a nervous wreck;  a grown up man struggling to rise to a stand above his childhood, to be strong for himself.

_   _   _   _   _   _   _                                     …                                     _   _   _   _   _   _   _  _

It was the 360th countless day ‘Ando had counted without hearing from them again; like a dying sunflower the calendar’s arc  sloping heavy, twice finished, yet this time pending on the angst blossomed of a new hope gone withered, yet hopeful.   The moon, the mood, the motion and the music, anticipation then cynicism, doubt, resentment;  it all came up, it all came down with the Times Square ball popping in a sea of pandemonium.   Puddles  of shattered glass and a shirt collar wiped wet off his beard; the brisk winter air seeping cold as his blood, through two holes the wall hadn’t pocked into itself.


Finally, he hunted down that number; turning dresser draws inside out and shaking books upside down.   He had had no clue where it was until finally Ando turned up the momento on which he recorded Junior’s digits that day, after chatting up a call that switched hands between each of his dear sources of grief; his seeds, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone.  It was meticulously scribed on  the back of a photo of all three, smiling shoulder by shoulder on a day none of ’em had ever lost from picturesque memories of weekends with dad.


Up he held the flick, quivering in his fingertips, elevated to meet eye level.  …Coney Island


Then, down he placed it back, (from an arm gone tired up at his magnetized point of contemplation), covering  it back over with the heap of mail, notes, receipts, and other miscellaneous nicknacks he was ever relieved to find it under;..wiping the tears and smile off his face, before placing a pensive moment far out on the horizon of a daydream;

then straggling off for another beer.



– Tr