The Little Things…

Thirteen years ago, I became a married woman. It took thirteen years to reach that point and I happily wrote out my newly hyphenated name everywhere. However, partly because of laziness and partly because I wanted something of the original me to be just me, I wound up not changing any of my legal IDs (birth certificate, work, social security, insurance etc.) to my new married name.

Six years ago, I became a widow. Though I have made it through the grieving process, I still sign things with my married name. Partly because it is a habit I have no need to break at this moment, and partly because I like the alliteration of it with my birth name (blame the poet in me for that). I will concede it was something of a convenience not having to change all my documentation back again and thus thought nothing of it, until today…

My trip to England in ’03 was the first international stamp to grace the pages of my very first passport and my trip to Paris last month was the last stamp. After ten years of running amok, I now have to renew it. It’s not exactly news, obviously, I have known for a while that I would have to do so, no big deal.  However, as I am thinking of all the documentation I needed the first go around, versus what I will need now to renew it, is when it dawned on me. I will need to include my late-husband’s death certificate to change my name.  My passport is the only legal document that carried my full first, middle, maiden and married name.

I now find my head at odds with my heart.  My head understands that this must, and certainly will, be done. Still, there is this odd part of my heart that aches. For this feels that this really is the end of it all.  That once I change my passport, nearly all traces of that marriage will be over except for twenty years of photos and memories.

It’s the little things that sneak up on you…


Weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge

Reading Raivenne

When the Book of Me was fully open to the life of you, it was tough handling what was written on those really private pages wasn’t it?  Now that the private section is closed off to you, it’s tough not always knowing what’s written there. Especially, the private parts you think may be about you.

Sucks for you, huh?

And what if there are? Private parts written about you…

I could tell you that there is nothing concerning you, but it’s me, with a history of you. We both would know that for a blatant lie. A part of you is always going to be in that very private section of me.

I could tell you a truth that may have something to do with you, but what could you do about it even if you wanted to? Would it assuage your curiosity? Build an even thicker wall between us?

I could mind fuck with you and tell you, yes there is something, something that I can’t tell you, knowing the curiosity of such would drive you crazy. But I couldn’t live with myself putting you through that for no reason other than Schadenfreude.And I am happy to say, I now care a hell of a lot more about who I see reflected in my mirror, than who I thought I saw reflected in your eyes.

Or I could do exactly what I did, and tell you the truth…there is nothing concerning you, that you need to know about. I know, you do not like not knowing anything that may concern you. It may bug you for a hot second, but by the time you’re reading this (if you ever do), I know you’re already over it.

(I hope) you know me well enough to realize, if it really were important for you to know, I’d tell you.

So you say you can’t read me any more, not the way you used to. Is it really that surprising? We had a long time apart and neither of us are the same people anymore. I had to quickly learn to build one bitch of a thick ass wall to function around you without falling apart. The wall held shakily at first, but it is formidable now. I don’t know how to lower it.

Besides, I don’t think I should.

When I desperately need a friend to open up a page to at 3am, your name is no longer on the short list which comes to mind. While, I may still choose tell you things others may not be privy to, you’re no longer among those few 3am-ers.  Thus you no longer have access to deep private pages written any more. And that really is a shame; for you were an excellent sounding board once.

These are the new chapters of the Book of Me.

Only time will tell if you are a continuing character…

…Or already an epilogue.

The Fire Next Time…

Other than my poem, A Lesson Deferred and a Facebook status post, I have been pretty quiet on the whole Trayvon Martin matter. A friend called me on it knowing I must have some opinion. My response was along the lines of simply not wanting to go there again. Today, I read a comment from a fellow blogger’s Slice of Life post from yesterday and she has nailed my feelings right on the head…

“I am so very tired to being quiet, of having to be concerned about the degree to which I can express my feelings because I have to worry that people will label me an “Angry Black Woman””

This is how I feel in a nutshell.

What does it say when a public figure such as Rush Limbaugh regularly feels free to spew vitriol on a variety of subjects, but I feel that I feel the need to self-censor? The very fact that I feel this restriction, this need to play the “Good Negro” just makes me more angry.


Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012


Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

A week ago Saturday, I should have been repeatedly glancing at the time, waiting for 5:17 pm Pacific Daylight Time to make a call that would have rung in New York City at 8:17pm Eastern Daylight Time. For the past few days I should have been teasing my friend, on how I wish I could have personally seen the expression on her face when the man she had been living with for three years dropped down to one knee and proposed to her, in front of the family gathered for St. Patrick’s revelry while she and I were talking on the phone at 8:17pm EDT/5:17pm PDT. Why that exact time? Because the proposer was seventeen minutes late for meeting up with friends at a pub in San Francisco for St. Patrick’s Day, when he first laid eyes on her four years ago. As I was in California for the weekend, I thought it was a grand idea to call from the West Coast at that exact time tying the events together.

Instead, a week ago I was trying to get drunk so I could fake happiness for a party I had traveled to the other side of the country for, but no longer wanted to be at, because I received the news from the fiance-to-be the day before, that my friend was killed in an auto-accident by a drunk driver. The shock of the news put me in such a state, much to the worry of my drinking buddies who (when I did not show up at the dance Friday night an hour after I received the news), could not reach me through my self-imposed communication silence while I grieved.

Today we bury the body that died, then we will celebrate the life she lived. The past few days have been a whirlwind as I had chosen not to talk about it. Not talking about her is not an option today. For the past few days I noticed when either 5:17pm or 8:17pm struck and felt a pang. Today, tomorrow, a week from now and for several more weeks to come, those specific time markers will be a bittersweet memory; she would hate that.

Eventually, she will be a sweet memory and while she’d likely gag at the use of “sweet” as adjective in relation to her, I know she’d smile at that.

Yet I know as soon as later today, instead of tears of sorrow , it will be tears of laughter streaming down my face as we all tell our favorite stories about her, because you cannot talk about her and not laugh. She would love that.


Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

A Lesson Deferred

Moonlit justice
of an imagined sunlit crime
Swung from an oak
a cruel pendulum mark of time
Some eyes tremble
Some eyes leer
all wonder at the marvel
of what happened here

Emmit’s a lesson some can’t forget
Emmit’s a lesson some haven’t learned yet

How many more
Must there be
Why does it take a man’s death
for us to see

As we travel down the road of another man
Who will never travel the same again
Truck tires designed to ride him above
Much better used to drag him down in the night
For a crime no more sinister than
He wasn’t born white

James Byrd’s a lesson some can’t forget
James Byrd’s a lesson some haven’t learned yet

And sometimes a child is shot
For doing nothing more
The walking home in the rain
From the local store
Was it the clothes he wore?
Was it the color of his skin?
He carried iced-tea and candy
What was his sin?

Some fifty plus years between hence and thence
To be reminded how fragile the balance on the fence

Stewart, Griffith and Hawkins lesson some can’t forget
Diallo, Bell and now Martin lessons some haven’t learned yet
How many more names will be added before the lesson is set?


Letting off some steam in the wake of another senseless killing and wanting to bitch-slap Geraldo Rivera even while a part of me understands the rational behind the unintentionally inflammatory statement.

Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

And I’m Off…

By this time last year, I had attended the first five of far too many funerals. By years end I had officially dubbed 2011 as The Year of the Departed. I am happy to say 2012 bodes far better for me as I now dub it The Year of The Travels. January found me visiting Boston and Philadelphia. In February it was Richmond, Virginia. April will find me spending some time in New Jersey and May will see me cross an ocean to visit Paris.

I sit here now having checked all my jots and tittles yet again as I prepare to head to San Diego tomorrow (betcha thought I forgot about March didn’t you?), I’m already plotting to see how long I can keep this streak going.

Stay tuned…


Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

I Felt You…

I felt you

A city with millions of people wedged between us

You touched me

A slow, easy gossamer susurrus 
Eased from the back of my mind
And worked its way forward

Past the myriad of shopping list for groceries,
Home improvement projects and dry cleaning runs
Skipping over the reminder for the 1:30 meeting
And it was already 1:27
Through the jungle of facts, figures and techno babble
That will be my form the verbiage in a few moments 
And took over the forefront of my mind,
My heart, my physical and emotional soul
And dropped them straight into the moments
Just before afterglow

And I inhale

Gone was the fluorescent office glare
The soft glow of candlelight
All that I can see
The white noise of voices
Replaced by the soothing sounds of bass sax heat
All that I can hear 

And I exhale

Vanilla hazelnut coffee, transformed 
Into the vanilla scented musk of incense
All that I can smell

And I inhale

The slow cool slip of air over my tongue
Past parted lips, 
Bring back the sweetness of your breath
All that I can taste
In whole, a combination to 
Arch my spine backwards
As I subconsciously thrust forward
To the feel of your fingers
All that I can touch 

And I exhale

As fate, spite, karma, Murphy’s Law intervene
My phone rings just as
A co-worker steps up to my desk
My response to both a questioning “Yes?”
And I’m trapped at the verge 
As you and he ask in stereo
“Are you coming?”

And I inhale

He for the meeting now a minute late
You for the dinner in a few hours hence
And somewhere in the echoes of silence
Between the flap of a hummingbird’s wing
The atom’s splitting 
And my “Oh!” of surprise
I realize the answer to both question
And a third
That could just as easily 

Be asked of myself
I close my eyes, grasping the phone
And the arm of my chair tighter
The inside of my cheek taking the punishment
Of my suppressed moan
As I answer all three yet one question

And I exhale



Entered in..

dVerse Poet’s Pub | OpenLinkNight – Week 35

Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

And No Jim Carrey!

I have this thing I occasionally post as a Facebook status called Verbal Diarrhea Diaries (aka. the crazy shit that comes out my mouth).  This wasn’t so much verbal as an email response, but it applied.

A few girlfriends and I were given a choice of venues to decide out next hanging out adventure. The following is how I phrased my vote because I cannot resist — bad puns or sexual innuendo, especially when combined and simply because I’m an idiot:

I vote for Medieval Times. I love watching when strong, virile men mount up, then getting a solid grip, pull it straight out  front for all to see and then thrust it at each other until one falls for them. And the jousting is fun too! 

Yeah, I know — I need help.


Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

Can You Say Clueless…?

Taking a break to enjoy some of this lovely weather we’re having today and had a chance to enjoy the following:

Two women walking in opposite directions cross paths. One stops the other in her tracks.

Young Woman 1: Wow, that’s a great tan! Were you on vacation, or use a salon?
Young Woman 2: Um… I’m black.
Young Woman 1: You totally are! So, was it like, Jamaica or something?
Young Woman 2: (Looks at Young Woman 1 with an expression that clearly screams “ARE YOU EFFING STUPID!” before stepping around her and keeps walking.)
Young Woman 1 (sees me trying not to giggle): What?

I turned and walked, away shaking my head. I swear, sometimes I love my city, for no other reasons than random moments just like this.


Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012


Raivenne’s Phone Etiquette:

Why is it such a pain getting a hold of you on the phone?

Why can’t you talk now?

Why does it take so long for you to respond sometimes?

Why? Because…

I generally do not answer the cell phone, or text, when in the presence of friends/family/co-workers etc.

…Unless I am waiting for a certain call, or it is from one of my sons. Even then, I try to step away from the person/group I’m with and keep the conversation as brief as possible. It irks me when people answer their phones and then hold long conversations with intermittent raising of the index finger to the other party indicative of the “just one minute” than turns into twenty. This is especially galling to me when it is just I and the other person. When I am with people I aim to give them as much of my undivided attention as possible. With the above exceptions I tend to send calls to voice mail. I will listen to the message and respond (or not), accordingly, always opting for the least intrusive option to the company in front of me.

I do not hold cell phone conversations when on public transportation.

…except to inform the caller I will return the call when I reach a place where I can speak in relative private. I will not be that person. You know… the one sitting the other side of the subway car, or halfway down the block, but I can hear every detail of “what had happened was…”, even through my iPod. Obviously I will text, if I must.

Unless it is an emergency – no one should be texting/calling me between midnight and 9am without expressed permission to do so – period.

1) If it is that much of an emergency you should calling, not texting.
2) If contacted between these hours without a damn good reason, you get all the attitude I feel like dishing out for the disturbance.
3) If any call between the hours of 2am – 6am that does not involve the police and/or an ambulance, when I see you again – there is a chance it soon will.

Please Note: a fuck-up on your part does not automatically designate an emergency on mine.

When in the street and I need to text, I step out of the flow of foot traffic (and especially vehicular), to do so.

Very few can walk and text fast simultaneously, For most of us, to ability to perform either one or the other function drops considerably when doing both. This is especially true when it involves steps. and I am stuck behind someone walking at the speed of sludge because they have to get that last word in. Literally. Also, if I’m in the street that means I am attempting to get from Point A to Point B as expediently as possible. Thus, I may wait until I’ve reached my destination first, for walking while texting defeats that purpose.

I do not call to just say Hi and hang up five minutes later.

I do not call people for casual conversation unless I really have time to sit and speak with them. If I cannot give you my attention, or if I am somewhere where a private conversation is not feasible when you call (ex. sitting at my desk at work or on mass transit), I will tell you and try to get back to you as soon as possible. Just note, as soon as possible my be an hour or more away, especially if I am at work or out with friends (see above). Regrettably, this means I do not speak with as many people as I like, as often as I like, when I can’t give them the time I think they deserve from me (*cough vortex cough*), but I think they know that.

Essentially, With the noted exceptions, preference is always going to be given to the one/s right in front of me, whether in person or on the phone, when I give someone my time, I give someone my time.

And your time is worth it.

Visit the rest of today’s Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012