What can a black man do?

I look at President Obama and I see a good man. A man who shows us that we have ENTERED a post racial society. I say entered because racism still exists. It still exists within the minds of many Americans, BLACK and WHITE. Most white Americans have realized that whether they are ready or not the time for exclusion has past. Give it another generation or two and race relations will be all but forgotten. By the white population of our country anyway. Many in black America still refuse to accept the truth.  As a White man of course I can’t relate to the way they feel. But I can see what’s happening in our country Although racism exists in the minds of some white Americans, they realize their time has passed and they “tolerate” other races in silence. “Tolerate” such a deceitful word. It doesn’t mean anything has changed. It means  that instead of educating the ignorant we make them feel uncomfortable. Black America is a different story. How does a 20 year old kid now about racism?  Whereas White America has shouted down the ignorant. Black America has only become emboldened within the last few decades to speak their minds freely.Older black Americans pass down the racism of generations past. Strengthening it instead of weakiening and eventually  disipating the anger and hatred . They fuel the hated and resentment. Unwilling to look at the world as it is today.

 Ask around, “Bill Cosby is an uncle Tom”, “As white as Bryant Gumble” “So and So  isn’t black enough” It must be a confusing time to be black in our country. They can’t win, if they’re too black, they get profiled. If they’re not black enough, they’re not accepted by many of their own race.

  I can personally say that I have been abused a few times in my life just because I am white. I have been verbally abused on a couple occasions by African Americans, didn’t know me, I said nothing offensive. They just went off, and felt perfectly comfortable repeatedly telling me to “fuck myself”. When is black America going to start policing their own? Hey, I know there are good people and bad people regardless of race but the fact is there are a lot of very angry black people in our country that aren’t even sure why their so angry.

 

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Who’s Deserving?

  As I watched a piece on  60 Minutes I began to cry. Families living in cars, motels. Split up because they had nowhere to go. And here I am sitting in an apartment paid for by someone else. Eating food paid for by someone else.  I only have cigerrettes and internet service because of money my father puts in my account ecery week. How am I more deserving then these children?  It really brings to the surface just how much I wish I  were dead. I don’t envision myself ever beeing productive, or contributing anything to society.

   I have this vision of helping others, but I know I never will. I truly believe I have something to offer. Insight, empathy, that few possess.

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Poem to Her

I never cared enough.
I never cared enough.
Until you stopped caring

I pushed and pushed
It was as though I were a child.
It was as though I was testing you.
You failed.
I knew you would.
There’s no way to pass.
Just another test, with the hope and expectation of failure.
A child’s unquenchable thirst for validation

There is no validation.
“Validation comes from within”
How clich’e
How true
how unfathomable
How impossible
How tiring, for all involved.

All I know is loss
All I expect is pain
All I deserve

The face’s change but nothing else.
Vast hatred
Fear
Loathing

It will never change will it?
Something happened
Something happened
Something happened.

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The Formative Years

 A young boy who yearns to belong. he doesn’t fit in anywhere.  In school, he jokes to gain attention. The class clown. No one really cares who he is. He’s just a distraction for the other kids. Serving a dual purpose. he makes the class go by quicker and he draws the attention away from them.  He’s very smart. he’s told this early on. Somewhere during the fourth grade things changed. he became disruptive. By fifth grade he is out of hand. Visiting the principal was a common occurrence, and  his teachers were beginning to find him intolerable. He had one alliance, Andy. this kid seem to be in the same boat. Always mouthing off to teachers, with  one difference. The boy wasn’t openly disliked the way Andy was. The boy just didn’t seem to matter. He began to miss assignments. Not even a, “dog ate my homework”, he just stopped.

   When at home he read his comics. He played games with the other boys in the neighborhood. He was always pretty good, never bad at anything. But as always, didn’t stand out.  He had 2 friends in the neighborhood. One was a very quite, tall, skinny kid who seemed to be an out cast in his own right he came from a pretty big family and had one younger brother that we tormented constantly. I recall one day when we were harassing the younger brother, we drove him to the point of holding a knife to his chest. begging to be left alone. i didn’t stop. My friend did, and demanded that I leave him alone.  I think our relationship ended that day.

   The other friend and I had comics and science fiction in common. We were passionate about both. It seemed we were into pop culture more than most at that time. We just drifted apart. I couldn’t really say why.That friend enter the priesthood fairly late in life.

   The only identity that gave me any notoriety was that of a bully. Not sure when it started but by sixth grade I was a terror. Sounds silly but “King of the hill” was my favorite game. Rushing across the snowbanks able to take on the biggest and toughest from the grades ahead of me made me feel like I somehow mattered. At least people knew who I was. I often noticed others got tired of the game but I never did. What a surprise. Something that was building my ego, something that appeared to be pretty important in separating myself from others wasn’t, as important to most. They had their own ways of fitting in.

   I didn’t ask a single girl out all through school. I was so terrified of looking bad that I never dared. back in fifth grade there was a girl that I liked.  Everyday at lunchtime I would take her to the bowling alley or McDonald’s. Paying with money I had stolen from my fathers wallet.  I know I never told her I liked her. i suspect she and everyone else knew, and probably made fun of me behind my back.  At some point my father came to my class, pulled me out and confronted me. I don’t recall the conversation. but knowing me I denied it. Even after that day I continued to take money from his wallet. I know I got  caught. Don’t know how that scenario played out. Now that I think about it. It may have ended with my father on his knees in front of me crying. begging me to stop and asking how he could help .  Poor dad, no one could help me.

   Seventh grade began my back and forth life. My father spent a lot of time on the road at meetings in other states or in the southern Maine. Somehow, it was decided that my mother and I would move to Lisbon Falls. My parents called it a “commuter marriage” My father kept an apartment in Caribou and was with us as often as he could be. Lisbon Falls was chosen because of another couple that ran the Credit Union in town. they were good friends of my parents. Dot and Russ Livernois, Great people.  Because of them my mother converted to The Catholic religion and I got stuck going along for the ride. I made my first communion and was confirmed at a quaint little Slovak church here in Lisbon. I suppose from the outside we look like a fairly normal family.

    At first, Lisbon seemed like a good idea. My father still laments my mother wanting to move to Portland. He thinks I would have been fine if we had stayed there. It’s not true. I continued with my awkward ways around girls. I was not doing well in school and I was still the class clown, but I had taken it up a few notches. I spent many days in detention and was suspended a few as well. I did have one thing going, i was excelling in sports and that alone was gaining me some attention. I wanted so badly to play football, (There is no football in Caribou) after a couple of practices I quit. To this day I beat myself up for it.  that road not traveled could have changed my life. I can’t say I wouldn’t be where i am today but things would have been A LOT different. I don’t really remember but I think I took a big hit in the respect department from classmates, even though I was one of the best basketball players. Football is first and foremost in most communities. I pussied out, that was big.

   While in Lisbon I experiemced my first drunk.  My parents had gone away and I had 2 friends over. We got plastered on minibarbottles and whatever else we could find in my parent’s bar. Unfortunately, My Uncle gary showed up. My parents had asked him to check on me.  I remember one of my friends became sober in a hurry. We found out that he had pretended to drink, but hadn’t drank at all. JERK. My uncle told me I could tell my parents or he could. I think I told them the next day, don’t really recall.

   I also had one of the most impactful experiences of my life. Not for the better either. I got high for the first time. One of the town punks lived a half mile down the road. No idea how but I started hanging out with him. that’s when I started getting high. I believe the first time was in his basement. I also remember he and I hanging out with two sisters one night. In hindsight, she gave me an open invitation and being that I had NO EXPERIENCE even kissing a girl at that point, I froze. I must have looked pretty stupid. One of many times some thought I was gay.

   I can’t say how getting high changed me at first. My recollection is very hazy. I must have held it together for awhile.  Although I had resumed  my old ways in H.S. Suspensions, detentions, I was a star on the basketball team. When it was decided we were moving to Portland  I was pretty upset. We were in the middle of the season and I didn’t want to leave. The parents of another player on the team stepped up and offered me a place to stay until the season ended. I had a good time with them, it was maybe a month or two. I don’t think I ever got in touch with them again.

 NNNNNNNN

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Hitching back from West Palm

   When I was about 19,  I was Hitchhiking back from Westpalm Florida to Caribou. I met several interesting people during that voyage. Had some good times and some bad.  The first person to stop, turned out to be an absolute nightmare.  The car slowed down, pulled over and waited for me.  I looked in, opened the back door and threw my pack in. As soon as I closed the door the asshole drove off. leaving me with literally the clothes on my back. Not a great way to start.

   I didn’t have much choice but to continue my trek home.  My next ride was a doozy. A tall slender man pulled over, I got in and he asked where I was headed. iItold him my story and  he asked if I’d like to come to his place and watch the Superbowl with him and his friends.  Yea, I was hitching on Superbowl Sunday. I figured what the heck, I had no where to go and I wasn’t in any hurry. We got to his place and there was no one else there. He said they’d be coming along in a little while. I started to get an uncomfortable feeling.  We talked, and he gave me something to eat. All of a sudden, this man came up to me and started to touch me.  Now I was a naive kid, pretty freaked out by this as you can imagine. I don’t recall what was going through my mind ,but at that moment the doorbell rang. His friends had arrived.  I took that opening to scram out the door and back into the world. 

   I found the highway and stuck my thumb out.  No clothes, no money and a bit of a wreck.  Didin’t take long before someone pulled over. I jumped in a big black Cadillac.  the driver turned out to be the principal of some school somewhere in Georgia. Details are pretty hazy almost 30 years later. Almost immediatly he offered me a drink. Turned out he had what appeared to be a stocked bar in the trunk.  In hindsight, after my last ride, getting drunk with this guy probably wasn’t a very smart idea but, I did.  I shared the driving with him for awhile until we reached his destination. Both of us plastered, and lucky as hell to be alive. He let me out and I was back on the highway with my thumb out again.

    I had a couple of other rides that don’t seem to stand out. Probably a good thing, had to sober up.  Then a couple picked me up. They were returning from a honeymoon in Florida.  Very nice, didn’t seem to be a hint of menace, thank god. The next thing I knew, I was driving the car, and they were in the back seat having sex. Good for them. They get off, and I get closer to home. Win, win all around.

   When  the newlyweds let me off, I was almost immediatly picked up by an 18 wheeler.  Said he was going north. Good enough for me.  Problem was, we ended up in Kentucky. I had gone a little out of my way. Did you know Cincinatti airport was in Kentucky? Me neither. I was at the airport. I considerd calling my father, asking him to wire me some money to fly home. I eventually said, “screw it”, and figured, i’d gotten this far, I could make it the rest of the way.

   The trucker had given me 10 dollars and I had taken a local bus back out to the highway. Some people on the bus heard me talking of my plight and gave me a few more dollars

   I don’t recall anything about the rest of the journey home. I do know that I didn’t really have a home. Neither of my parents trusted me enough to let me stay with them so I ended up at Nancy’s tourist trap in Caribou. I dump of indesrcibable proportions. Per usual, my father was paying.

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A Symptom of Avoidance

   Awoken by a tapping on the window of my car. I look up sleepily to find a police officer looking back at me.  I roll down the window. The officer says, “Is everything all right sir?” “Fine officer.” I respond. He then tells me that he ran a check on me and that there is a warrent out for my arrest  in Uxbridge Mass. “It’s over 20 years old and the charge is for driving an unregistered car. Not a big deal, but you should look into it.”.  He then asked me to move from where I was parked.  Culvers wasn’t open at seven in the morning, and it was private property. I started the car and was on my way. I had forgotten all about that ticket.

   The incident was Deja Vu. A different time and place but I definately had that experience before. I had stopped going to whatever the job of the moment was,  and hadn’t told Casey. So, when the time came to go off to work I would go through the usual routine. Wake up, shower, eat, say goodbye and leave. The difference was that I would either find somewhere to sit in my car, or just drive around until she left for work.  returning home for the day and playing the scenario out when she returned home in the evening.

   I’ve  perpetrated this fraud many times on several different women through my adult years. Now that I think about it, I did the same to my parents when I was in school. I never meant to hurt anyone.  I was just incapable of facing the music. Everytime this occurred, I would continue until I was cornered.  Until it became a full blown crisis and I had no way out.

   The worst example of this has got to be when I went to Great Lakes IL boot camp. Without bothering with the details, I was eventually given a “less then honorable” discharge. While awaiting processing, I was stuck in a barracks with others in my possition for a couple of weeks, I continued to  tell my parents  through phone calls and letters, that everything was going great.  I flew home and partied away the little bit that I had been given when I was discharged. When that ran out, I went to my mothers.  In the middle of the night I knocked on her door. She asked who was there, I responded, “It’s Greg” She said, “Aren’t you supposed to be in Great Lakes?”, Opened the door, and told me to go to bed. “We’ll talk in the morning”. No idea why I waited until the middle of the night. Guess I thought there would be less confrontation.  Most of my moves are very calculated, whether I admit it or not.

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