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muMs is an award-winning New York City based Poet and a member of the Labyrinth Theater Company.


muMs the Schemer ===> Schemer: fiend, foe, friend, fear, /swallower of your fear, /blasphemer, /dreamer…. /to hold, to have, to be in a condition akin to, to victory he prevails! /A mathematical or philosophical diagram representing the astrological aspects of the planets, emotions and intellect on scales, /teller of your tale /in a letha-phorical outline, /a concise examination crafty and secretive in sign, /a systematic and organized chaotic plot. /I am muMs the schemer and you, are not. ===> The first ‘m’ is lower-cased /concerned with race /and small manipulative matters of that sort: /the things in our face /that bleed into our heart. /The ‘u’- also small- leads me to look to the sky, walk there the edge of a shore equating to particles of sand, stars, the moon. To be under all that which is bigger than me lead’s to the second ‘M’ capitalized for the manipulation /of that that from which all shall begin /and again /from when /we least expect. /The ‘S’ is the trick: the hush of it all. /The control over what we discuss, beckon or call /or plural to represent the many that know /or just that the path is a windy road? /No matter, it also is small. ===> muMs, the schemer and echo-er of it all.

welcome to a new day --goRealer

Monday, June 30, 2008

Guns and the U.S. Constitution

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
II Amendment, the Constitution of the United States of America

Translation: there is a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.
Really? Is that what that Amendment says? I know I didn't go to law school but...
In DC vs Heller, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision in favor repealing Washington DC's restriction on handguns: the toughest in the nation in a city that was once the murder capital of the world. It ruled that the restriction violated the Second Amendment, which some believe, protects an individual right to own a gun for personal use.

No I didn't go to Law School so I guess I don't have any argument for the interpretation of the amendment which sounds like, to me, that if there needs to be a militia- like there needed to be back in 1791 when this amendment was drafted- they can have some guns. I don't think the framers of the constitution ever envisioned the type of guns we have today nor the illegal gun problem we have in this country. But once again I'm not qualified to interpret an amendment to the constitution of the United States. That is the job of Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr and the rest who spilt their allegiance and votes down party lines.

Guns are Pussy

That was going to be the original title of my blog. It kind of gets to my point a lot quicker.
I'm going to approach this whole gun issue thing from a different perspective, from the streets. I'm talking strictly from a thuggish street point of view where guns are revered. I grew up in the Bronx in the 70's and 80's. There weren't a lot of guns on the streets back then. I could hear my older brother, who was recruited by a lot of gangs back then, tell of broken bottled and knives. And back then if you pulled out a knife at a fight it was because you were losing and had to save face. It's the same today, false bravado and bruised ego's has caused the murder rate to skyrocket because that broken bottle has turned into a gun. Anybody with a gun, no matter how small, soft, weak, can threaten or kill another person. So the kid who gets bullied at school goes home to his father's cabinet, finds his loaded gun- that is kept in the house for safety reasons- and takes it to school.
We're never going to be a violence-free society. And if we're not going to fix the problems of why kids pick up guns in the first place, which has its origin in the home and in the school, then we as adults can at least make the sacrifice of giving up our need to shoot something, like a little furry rabbit or a turkey, for the sake of our children. But what am I saying? People couldn't even sacrifice their SUV's when clearly we entered a war over oil.

There used to be a certain quality to being able to walk up on someone, who did you wrong, talked about your mother, disrespected your girl or maybe just even stepped on your shoe, and punch them square in the face without the fear of that person going and getting a gun. The both of you would fall on the ground afterward, tussle a bit and then someone would pull you apart and a winner would be declared. It's not like that anymore.
Once again I must say I'm speaking strictly from a street perspective but I think all can admit that if it wasn't for guns and lawyers a lot of deserving people would get punched in the face daily. So maybe that is a way that guns prevent violence.
On an aside, there is really a softening of society going on lately. The hot girls, when I was growing up, were into the men who seemed dangerous, men whom they felt could protect them. That pretty much falls in line with natural selection. But nowadays a woman can just buy a gun for protection and date a man who wears his hair over his left eye and borrows clothes from her wardrobe. I'm at that point in my adulthood where I'm starting to reminisce about the good old days.
But do we really need guns? really?

Matt Welch and Megan McArdle debate the DC vs. Heller decision on in a segment called Megan Get your Gun. You decide.
The argument for having a gun if someone breaks into your house: that I sort of understand. If someone broke into my house I'd want to shoot them as well. But if someone is breaking into your house and has a gun, it's pretty likely he stole it from the last house he broke into. For me, too many accidents, stolen guns, and tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech negate any and all arguments for the need to repeal DC's restriction on handguns or any others state's for that matter.
Do we really need a machine gun to shoot a deer? A real man would just go up to it and punch it square in the face.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Don Imus, John McWhorter, Neil LaBute, Rodney King and Laurence Olivier. Man this blog must be about race, huh?

So it seems Don Imus is at it again. He's in hot water for some comments he made about the Dallas Cowboy's recently signed defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones. In a conversation about Jones' extensive criminal record, Imus says, "What color is he?" When given the answer, which is African American, He then said, "Well, there you go. Now we know."
That got me to thinking about the whole issue of race and being Black in America. I can already see a lot of my friends rolling their eyes at this blog. There goes muMs race baiting again. I can understand their annoyance with the issue of race in this country. I'm annoyed by it. Shit, the John Singleton directed Rosewood where Ving Rhames plays basically a black slave super-hero, came out the same day as Booty Call in 1997. Take a wild guess which movie made more money that weekend.
Race, and slavery aren't the issues that people want to talk about at all, Black or White.

For as long as I can remember, growing up in New York City, there hasn't been a summer where there wasn't some issue about race in the news from Eleanor Bumpurs to Amadou Dialllo to Michael Stewart, Yusef Hawkins, Abner Louima, Larry Davis, Bernard Goetz and Rodney King.
Oh and who can forget O.J. Simpson. I can remember wondering what would be the new controversy as the summer rolled around. Last year it was nappy-headed hoes and this year, well, it's Barack Obama.
Though the possibility of Barack Obama becoming the President of the United States is a great thing, the fact that the color of his skin is an issue at all is a distraction.
I guess- and this is from pure speculation, not any researched factual journalist whatchumacallit- humans are tribal. We are comfortable around our own kind. But the like kind is really based on social commonalities like what songs you listen to, what foods you eat, what you do for a living, etc... The color of the skin is an easy way to infer things about people. The mind searches for the simplest ways to make it's judgments. Unt viola, Stereotypes! That is why a woman walking down the street at night might hold her purse a little tighter as she is passed but some young African American men. She has learned, particularly from the news, that Black and Hispanic men make up a very high percentage of the petty crimes in the city. Do I blame her? No. She's just being cautious. I don't view that a racism.
And neither does John McWhorter, the Manhattan Institue academic who thinks Hip-Hop (all forms) is bad for the brain. His latest book "All about the Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America" explains that even conscious Hip Hop is all part of the misconception that Hip Hop will save Black people and pull poor Black people out of the Ghetto. And Damn this guy hated 8 Mile. Do I agree with him? Hmmmm... I don't know. I do have my problems with Hip Hop. But there is still so much potential to the music form of Hip Hop all over the world that I just can't throw the baby out with the bath water. But I'll give his book a good perusal. It should be good for a few talking points.

Check out John McWhorter and Glenn Loury of Brown University debate the worth of Hip Hop and Barack Obama's Father's Day speech on Bloggingheads.TV called Higher Moral Sound. Interesting.

Anyway back to Don Imus...
The main problem is in the broad sweeping blame that happens when a woman does get punched in the face by some young shameless thug. The idea that if one Black man commits a crime, then all Black people are prone to criminal activity.

I was talking with a friend the other day about whether or not I was going to go see Neil LaBute's play Reasons to Be Pretty. I was debating going because though Mr. LaBute is a wonderful, albeit controversial, playwright, an article he penned last year in the L.A. Times called "Casting for the stage should be color-blind" made me question his sanity. In it he speaks about how today Laurence Olivier wouldn't be able to play Othello in blackface because of unfair casting making it unable for White's to play Black roles. He goes on to say, "Now this probably won't stop somebody from having the bright idea of casting BeyoncĂ© in the role, but Liev Schreiber — as fine a Shakespearean actor as this country has at the moment — will never have a shot at the part (of Othello. he was making a joke suggesting Beyonce play Othello, I guess). For most white actors today, roles of color — from the classics to some of the sensational writing that is currently being done for the theater — are not even an option for them, and I'm not sure why."
I laughed my ass off. As if there aren't enough roles written for white men. Wow.
I spoke with another actor friend who knows LaBute personally and after reading the article she just chalked it up to his need to push societal buttons, which is his m.o.. His plays are all about making you feel very uncomfortable. So I wasn't really offended by the article until I got to this part, "I understand about slavery and all that, but that was a generally unpleasant time in our national history and it's firmly in the past. No one but a few folks who own "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete First Season" continue to think that slavery brought this country anything but shame and heartache. So we should all get over it, say we're sorry — I'm happy to do that to anybody who stops me at the Grove — and move on."
I f'n hate that. We should all get over it, huh? I don't go around blaming racism for every injustice done to a person of color or myself for that matter. Not even jokingly. But when people say that preachers like Rev. Wright- even though he was dead wrong- need to get over slavery because it happened a long time ago, my come back isn't in comparing slavery to the holocaust because I don't want to get into that battle of human tragedies and which were worse. I compare the African American holocaust to the homeless Vietnam Veteran who still wakes shaking from the nightmares in a cardboard box on the streets of the country he gave his life for. Now spread that across generations. Less than 50 years ago I still would have had to drink from a separate water fountain from a lot of my friends and just because some 25 year olds nowadays can't understand how that happened, don't tell me to get over it.
If triangular trade, slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era was war than the Post-traumatic Stress disorder is Nihilism. And Nihilism is the cause of all the ills that make up some of the worst stereotypes of African Americans, crime, drugs, broken families, etc...
And being called 'Black' fuels that Nihilism. To most people, regardless of their heritage or color, the terms White and Black are synonymous with Good and Bad no matter how much black pride we try to instill. It works on a subconscious level. So like my friend Julian's father who is Puerto Rican said, "there is no place called Hispania, therefore how can I be Hispanic. I am Puerto Rican." For me there is no place called Black that I am from and I realized from my recent trip to Ghana in February that the only thing African Americans have in common now with Africans is the color of skin. So therefore I'm not even African American. I am an American period. a Bronxonian, New Yorker if you need specifics. And I'm not mad at Don Imus. He's an idiot and it's not his fault. I don't think he should be fired. I believe he should be able to exercise his first amendment rights. I have faith in people. Eventually only the ignorant will listen to Imus and that will be very few. Plus he's really old, he's going to die soon anyway.

But all of this is, like I say, a distraction. the real news is they discovered water on Mars, nice.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Turning 40, Tim Russert and the Purpose of Life

So its been a pretty uneventful week in the life of me. Im still performing in Penalties and Interest at the Public Theater which runs until the 28th of June.

I guess the death of Tim Russert- moderator of Meet the Press- from a sudden heart attack, is the biggest thing to happen this past week. I felt very sad at the news of his demise. I'm a big fan of Meet to Press. It wont be the same without him. The fact that he died at such a relatively young age- 58-years old- has caused a bit of alarm within me. All year up until this point I have been thinking about the fact that I will turn 40 at the end of the year. It has been a big concern of mine. I feel I am, in essence, leaving my childhood way behind and the superman that I thought I once was at 25 is long gone. Heart disease, diabetes, and my cholesterol levels have become issues in my head. But much more than that has been the though of what I have accomplished from birth until now. I won't bore you with details but I feel a sense of urgency creeping on me. My friend Andre and I had this disucssion one nght. He turns 40 this year as well. We came to the conclusion that we only have about 40 years left, God willing, and that last 20 years should not be stressful at all. I feel when I'm 60 I should be chilling some where on a beach or a by a lake not worrying where the next dollar is going to come from. So for real I have about 20 years to make things happen, buy a house, meet a girl, start a family... the whole american dream thing. It's a little daunting when you really think about it. Oh well. I'm not going to let it stress me out. We only have one life to live as far as we know so why not go all out huh? I've made a list of the things I want to accomplish in my life and are at work making them happen. I'm already pretty proud of what I've done up until this point. No need to fret, just live until living is no more. As they say, when death smiles at you all you can do is smile back, right? We're sad about the sudden death of Tim Russert but I bet he can look down from wherever he is at and be proud of his life and that is what it's all about given what we know.
until the end, be blessed,

Monday, June 9, 2008

PROGESSION TO A BEAUTIFUL TIME: Mos Def, Barack Obama and an Island of Garbage the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

So I'm not really sure what is going to happen here on GOREALERdotcom other than me putting up the things that concern me and giving it out to the world to read. I guess I've been reluctant in doing this for a while because I wasn't sure if anybody wanted to hear my opinion and also the road to world wide fame on the internet seemed long and laborious. But as you'll see there are just things that I need to talk about and get off my chest so that I can think clearly, you know.

There is this certain motivation that came over me while I watched Barack Obama's legendary speech on race.

It reminded me of when I heard Rapper's Delight for the first time back in 1979. I remember clearly the moment I put that record on. It spoke not just for me but in a way was speaking from me, saying the things I wanted to say and the way I had wanted to say them but hadn't known how. At the moment I- as I would realize later it was my entire generation- had a voice. I felt the exact same feeling as I watched Barack give his speech nearly 30 years later.

There is a certain complacency that comes with watching history happen right before your eyes on the TV and computer screen nowadays. I remember watching something hit one of the Twin Towers live on my TV when I thought I was turning on the Today show back in 2001 and then later that day going out to dinner with my then girlfriend and commenting on how beautiful and serene an evening it was in NYC with the bridges and tunnels closed off. I believe that one day people will look back at the first decade of this new century and know that these ten years have changed our perspective on the world. I say all this to say that I'd be lying if said tears fell from my eyes during Barack's speech. But there was a moment that I remember, clear as a sunny day, that I felt finally there is a politician/ human representative that clearly was thinking and saying what I had thought and wanted to say.

So Now that Sen. Barack Obama has won the Democratic Nomination, or more pointedly Hillary Clinton had dropped out and endorsed him, the reality of the first black President is starting to take form. This is an email conversation with a female friend regarding whether or not he'd be willing to take Hillary as his running mate:

mums-yeah it's seeming more and more like a bad idea but I just feel that he might have a hard time with a lot of people if he doesn't take her. in either case its obvious she wants it. I got really frustrated with all those people who were saying that they'd vote for anybody else other than Obama, including McCain, if Hillary doesn't get the nomination. I just think that is crazy. 18 million people did vote for her. he can't just sneeze at that. But I am convinced she is Crazy though.

FF-yeah.... i know what you mean. crazy but true: my own mother said she’d vote for mccain if obama was the democratic nominee. i was appalled. my liberal dad said he’d vote for obama but didn’t like him (and when i said obama’s the kennedy of our generation, and that kennedy was equally ‘inexperienced’ when he ran, he said there was a big difference because ‘kennedy had a lot of state government experience when he ran for president’ !!!??!)

i just worry that a lot of people dislike hillary so much that they’d be really disappointed in obama if he picks her. because, conversely, i spoke to A LOT of people (more obama supporters than hillary supporters) who said they’d refuse to vote for hillary if she was the nominee. will they then think obama’s full of shit for saying she doesn’t represent ‘change’ if he picks her as vp? i think he’d do better to choose strickland... or someone equally experienced but who doesn’t already have as big a negativity rating as clinton...

anyway, if i remember correctly the bet had to do both with obama picking her but also with my contention that she wouldn’t accept and wasn’t interested... and you said she would and was. so i think if he DOESN’T pick her but she already said she wants it, it’s a tie. what do you think?

mums-ahhh... a tie, yes... anyway I can get some Sasabune, I'll take it. :)

I watched some youtube clips from West Virginia about people saying they'd never vote for Obama. some are clearly racist but there is something else going on I think. My own black mother said she refuses to vote for him. Other than obvious racism, I think there is a thing that the older generation has against him. I've watched every speech, every debate and listened to pundit after pundit from CNN to MSNBC to the Huffington Post to Politco to the New York times and even Fox news! There aren't many who know more about what is going on in this race than me and I still cannot see what is unlikable about Barack Obama. But last week there was a string debate in the opinion section of the daily news of whether he was the anti-christ or not. I understand my mother not voting for him because she is a conservative and is Christian and pro-life. so McCain represents her issues but she was ready to vote for Hillary now it's McCain. But for any pro-choice people to switch to McCain just because they hate Obama is just ridiculous. and visa verse for Obama Supporters even though you can explain away the distaste in the mouth for Hillary Clinton a lot better. I really believe for People over 55 Obama represents Culture passing them by. I can understand it a bit. I had a brief moment where I was mad because I couldn't learn the new dances the kids were doing. silly.

By the way we had a bet about an Obama/Hillary ticket. I said she's wants the VP slot and would take it. She said that Hillary wouldn't want it and wouldn't take it if offered. The prize is a sushi dinner at Sasabune which is hands down some of the best sushi I've had in my life. It's melt in your mouth good. I think I won but It's up in the air. I think she's trying to sneak a 'tie' past me.

So now I'm inspired by the progress of Barack Obama. The reality has always been I can be anything I want to be if only I just put my mind to it. But being a Black man in this country has furnished me with a shit load of valid excuses I'm pretty dependent upon for not living up to my potential. That's right I said it. I think it can be said for a lot of us that there is a certain comfort in that dependance. "Why should I do anything, I ain't allowed to be nothing in this country no how". But now forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther (The, like a lot of white politicians like to mistakingly say) King, a man of African Heritage is the Democratic Nominee for President of The United States. I can do anything.

And now that I'm sure I can do anything I'm realizing that the getting up to do it is the hardest part. A good friend passed on a book to me called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Once I opened the front cover to read it I finished it that day, jogging around the block in between. I haven't jogged again since but I DO think about it everyday. Maybe I'll go in the morning.

And Barack has become the topic of conversation with all kinds of people on many different levels. I ran into my old friend

The Mighty Mos Def

He was chilling in the village out front a popular health food store drinking a smoothy, listening to some tunes, this past weekend. We spoke for a good hour, maybe more. The conversation started with the traditional, "what up man how you been? Chilln Chilln, right". But it took a sharp turn towards some sensibility once Barack was mentioned. After the, "yo son did you EVER believe we'd see it in our lifetime" wordless look we gave each other the conversation turned to the environment, health and self-worth issues in the black community, how our gifts as artists can really make a change in the world. I even found myself confessing something I've wanted to say to him for some time now. In brief, I told him about the depression I had fell into as an artist a while ago watching his success along with Jill Scott's, Erykah's, Talib's, Saul William's, Alicia Keys and many others whom I came up with in the most invigorating part of my artistic life, and not having it truly realized it on my own. It was a pleasure to have my friend MosDef aka Dante Smith that I've known for over 15 years, remind me of my strength and worth in between saying hello to random fans. "Just keep doing you muMs. keep pushing, grinding. Right now is a beautiful time. It's a beautiful time". He kept saying that. "It's a beautiful time". It is. It is a historic and beautiful time.

In some more inspired time, I found myself surfing the net. I came across this documentary about a floating Island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas. We may have already signed our death warrant as humans. We make plastic that isn't degradable. We throw it away. It gets in the ocean. The fish ingest it, We eat the fish. hahaha... oh shit!