i packed the most obscenely big luggage bag of clothes for the katrina releif victims. then i made amari take all the toys and leap frog *which she never uses* and put them in a box. we found several brand new barbies, still in the box (if you are coming to her b-day party - she doesn't do barbies!?) and when chance and laila came to pick them up, with her 2 year old twins in tow. we were ready.
felt good to give something more than just money to the victims. i mean, you never know where that money is going -- so atleast that new jacket i brought at sears will look fly on someone (and its reversible, what?!). i wouldnt even let myself think twice about it. just folded it neatly into the bag and kept it moving.
all that packing got me prepared to write my homage to nina simone. i have been commissioned to write a poem inspired by soul singers. two years ago i was assigned donny hathaway (which aint bad - cause i love him like cooked food dammit!) and this year i was given the choice of any two soul singers i liked! ha -- bad idea for me. i love them all: etta james, etta jones (yes she's dope. check out don't go to strangers.), otis redding, donny, stevie, minnie riperton, marvin gaye, teddy pendegrass, billie holiday (though she is more blues-y)... the list goes on. so i broke it down to the two singers that made me extremely happy upon hearing. first it was otis redding and bill withers. i once listened to dreams to remember like 8 times in a row. it was disgusting - but his voice is so rich and painful that i swore if i didnt understand exactly what the hell was going on, i'd die. maybe not that dramatic - but im a writer dammit. what do you want? everything to me is do a die...i presume i've adopted the bed-stuy mantra too easily. but bill "hit women" withers had me at "use me". i watched on new year's 1999 as D'Angelo did a rendition of it on tv and that was it. i had to know who sang that damn song. it was infectious.
so those were my choices. until i remembered the importance of nina simone. i named my daughter after listening to her song "the other woman" - which i was so living through. it was then that i decided not to commit a felony. sounds lame to you - but great to the 3 - 5 i could've spent behind bars had i not cop'd her greatest hits cd.