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Friday, November 30, 2012

In Longwood

I'm making Christina a scrapbook of our trip to Longwood Gardens. I'm thinking of putting this poem in. What do you think?



Step inside an amazing world,
where Jason and Erin Rachael,
their personalities shine and twirled--
pinks and oranges and yellows and reds;
white roses line the walkway,
where travelers will bow their heads
and sniff the gracious scents.
It was once said,
Pierre du Pont had kept fences
to keep the neighbors out,
guarding from pollution and shouts.

Step outside the amazing world,
where frogs leap among the lily pads,
they float on the water, black and twirled--
dark and light greens float quietly,
waiting for that moment for the leap,
but it will not become a scene so ugly.
Shrimps and fire float by side,
a favorite among guests;
watch the ebbing and flowing of tides
while eating lunch under tree,
this moment will never flee.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Writer's Block =\

I have writer's block, which might come from the fact I've been banging out a 12 page paper for my ENG400 class, but I have a short story due on December 10th. Could anyone please send me some ideas?

Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blackhorse Rocks Screwballs

Last night Len's band, Blackhorse, played at Screwballs. As you dear readers know, I follower a band called Old School. Len used to be the drummer until last December. I hadn't seen him in a year and it was so nice seeing him again. Oh, and they rocked too! :)

For some reason, I absolutely love this picture.

Obligatory band shot. :)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Baby Shower for Baby Ashlynn

Today I ventured to West Goshen Community Park for my friend, Victoria's baby shower. Although it was small, it was beautiful. It was chilly out (a mere 41 degrees) that we only lasted at the park for an hour; we packed into Vic's tiny Prius (Elizabeth, her mother and I) and went back to her house. When we got there her dad had a fire waiting for us. It felt perfect. It was cozy and nice getting caught up both with Elizabeth and Victoria. I hadn't talked to Elizabeth since May and Victoria in a year. It was nice. :)

The happy parents to be! :)

My gift to her. When we were at her house, she took them out, but I didn't get pictures. I bought her an Eagles onesy, a pink onesy and purple pants to go along with it, as well as soaps and shampoos.

Yeah, self-timers suck.

Much better when someone else takes the picture!

Oh yeah! Victoria's dad also collects beer cans. I don't know how we got on the subject, but I mentioned I was on ebay and was going to buy a Ravens beer can for dad and it shipped from somewhere in West Chester. Apparently, it was him! He gave me a Ravens can filled with beer (dad's going to love it) as well as other cans of beer with the Ravens theme. Dad's going to be ecstatic; it'll go perfectly with his Ravens stein. I thanked her dad up and down. Her family was very nice.

Now, I'm off to get ready to go to Screwballs. Old School's old drummer's new band is playing tonight. I can't wait to see them to see what they sound like!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday in Philadelphia

Today SEPTA had a Santa Express on the Market-Frankfort line, so I went into the city to check it out. It was great. They had elves, singers and musicians get on to spread cheer and brought laughter to all the children that were making the trek to see Santa at the Gallery. Here are a few pictures I could get, they're blurry because the train was moving:



You can sorta see the band, but again, people were standing in the way.


This was taken at the Bierstube. Bierstube is located on 2nd and Market, you walk a little north to get there after you get off the MFL (Market Frankfort Line). I'm normally not a beer person, but I had their imported beer called "Daisy Girl" and it was awesome. It almost had a flowery taste. I also had a burger and that was delicious atop a pretzel roll. If I can, I'll write more about it and post it when I do. :)

Nice day out, tomorrow is my friend's baby shower. Now, it's off to read for my Native American lit paper. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving / What I'm Thankful For


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
The record spins; the fire warms the room—
Logs crackle, flames sparkle and dance,
Friends sit around, turkey on the table,
Thanksgiving, being thankful for everything—
For love, for friendship, for family;
Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year,
Gather in front of the fire, football on TV;
Packers secure 11-0 in 2011, what does 2012 bring;
The Texas at the Lions, the Patriots at Jets,
So sit in front of the fire, your belly full,
Football on your mind—enjoy this lovely day!
Happy Thanksgiving!


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
the record spins; TV blaring with consumption of beer—
gather in front of the fire, last year Packers: 11-0!
What does 2012 bring, the Lions, a Thanksgiving tradition, oh—
Texans 9-1, will they kick butt like the Packers did a year ago?
Whatever the outcome, we will surely know—
Patriots at the Jets, will the game be a run away?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, they say,
for love, for friendship, for family, for football;
so sit in front of the fire, chestnuts’ scents loll—
logs crackle, flames sparkle and dance,
call up the apple of your eye, take the chance
and watch the reds, oranges and yellows flicker.
You gotta love the scent of turkey and confetti ticker,
sit down after the important call and enjoy!
‘tis a day for love and gratitude and traveler’s joy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-----

I personally love the 2nd poem better and will be going with that one. :) I feel it catches the spirit better. The Texans won (yay! I was rooting for them since the Lions are the Packers rivals) and now I'm watching the Cowboys and Redskins game. I have no particular one I'm rooting for. At 8:20 pm the Jets and Pats play, I'll be rooting for the Jets (YAY! Tebow!).





Now onto what I'm thankful for. Andrew's blog mentioned health; although I'm not 100% healthy (my thyroid was off and was increased to 100 mcg, and I'm still experiencing emotional disturbances, I'm praying it's not a psychiatric change), I'm glad I have very good doctors who are awesome at their jobs and listening. This includes my therapist. Before her, I would struggle with the therapists at school and felt misunderstood. It's a nice change. Even though my health isn't perfect, I'm thankful that I still have pretty good health considering.

I'm also thankful for nan and my dad. They made me who I am today. At the end of her life, I can't spend as much time as I want with her right now because of school, but once school ends I'll be spending weekends with her hopefully. I really appreciate what she has done for me and I appreciate all dad has done.

Today has been a nice day, which I'm glad about, I hope it can stay this way!


Rockin' Thanksgiving Eve with Old School






I had a great time last night. It was so nice to see old friends and to make some new ones. However, I overheard mom say, "It's unacceptable she has no friends her own age. It's ridiculous that they are friends of her friend's mom." I don't really care, it doesn't matter the age of the friend as long as they are there for you and treat you with love and respect. I'm so thankful to have my older friends; I'm thankful to have the few friends I do have. They've been there for me through thick and thin. My friends last night were so happy to see me, they gave me hugs. It was really nice. It was nice to get out too. :) I've been so depressed lately that it did cheer me up. Dancing and rocking out is always fun.

If I'm not feeling too stuffed and overly tired, I'll post the obligatory Thanksgiving post later. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Being Thankful (Outline)



I wrote that for a class for my freshman English class a mere four years ago. I think about how much I have changed in those four years. I have made leaps and bounds; sometimes I forget the simplicity that I had as a young to older teen because it gets lost in the waves of life. After reading this essay that I wrote when I was 19; for the past few days I have been thinking about what I am thankful for or at least reasons not to be depressed because there are people out there worse off than I am.

I’m very low on money—in fact, I’m having a money crisis. However, I am lucky to have two great jobs when so many are still left unemployed. Even with the bills, breaks are coming soon where I can work more and start saving again. I’m also lucky I have a roof over my head and a father that I love dearly. I’m also thankful for nan, she’s been there for me through everything and I have no idea what I’d do without her.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Playlist


This is what I'm putting on the mix for #67:

1.) Johnny Cash- Ring of Fire
2.) Johnny Cash- I Walk the Line
3.) Stonewall Jackson- Me and You and a Dog Named Boo
4.) Joey Maysky- A Different Side of Me
5.) The Killers- Read My Mind
6.) Alice In Chains- Love, Hate, Love
7.) Mad Season- River of Deceit
8.) Pearl Jam- Even Flow
9.) Metallica- Nothing Else Matters
10.) Led Zeppelin- Dancing Days
11.) Iron Maiden- The Trooper
12.) Bon Jovi- I'll Be There For You
13.) Korn- Got the Life
14.) Staind- It's Been Awhile
15.) AFI- Girls Not Gray
16.) Lil Wayne- 6 Foot, 7 Foot
17.) Kg- Thank You (feat. Joey Maysky)

About #67

Last night Christina and I were having a conversation and it went back and forth between #67 and Christmas. Before I retired for the night, I said: "I remember the only time I hung out with Mike and he asked me if age difference bothered me. At the time it did, but I'm realizing it shouldn't."

I like #67. I like #67 a lot. I decided I'd give him that book after a lot of advice given (one friend I shouldn't because it'd be moving too fast and creep him out, but three friends said I should and it's a good risk, especially letting him know how I feel); I ordered it last night and I'm nervous as hell, yet excited at the same time. I hope he likes the poem I wrote about him.

So, about #67. As I mentioned in the poem, he is a football player for WCU. He's also a criminal justice major and is a freshman. He's in my critical thinking class. Yesterday we worked in a group and he asked me for my e-mail address for our assignment. I said, "Let me write down my e-mail address on your study guide." He retorted, "I'm giving it to you, I want to put it in my phone." So I gave it to him, though at the time I thought it was odd, but a few friends said it was a good sign. He did send me the study guide and we texted for two hours last night. I learned a lot about him (we both love Johnny Cash and rock music) and we're both only children. I brought up the topic of his cousin since they are in pictures a lot together. His cousin is 7 and adorable. I think I made a faux pas by saying, "that is a good age. I'd adopt a child that age." Ooops, he didn't respond, then I had to go to bed.

I brought up a Christmas party last night to him, but I realized this morning that it;s the same day that I signed up for my memoir writing class from 10am-1pm. I could have it that day, but I have a feeling the cab fare is going to be expensive. Christina said I shouldn't stretch myself and could have it at another time. I decided I'd have breakfast, lunch, or dinner individually and get some pictures and catch up. I brought it by #67 just now: "So, I decided that instead of having a party I'd have a meal with one at a time. So maybe sometime we can have breakfast before the semester ends. I signed up for this memoir writing class, so I don't have time for a party before the end of the semester." I hope it wasn't too straightforward and I hope I'm not so obvious that it hurts. An adjunct professor I talk to told me not to obsess like we all do at the beginning of a relationship, but it's hard. He's right though.

Thursday a cab driver told me, "You're pretty. Getting a boyfriend should be easy for you." It isn't and I keep forgetting that maybe I do look okay, but I don't feel it. I'm scared shitless because I have bipolar disorder and thyroid condition. It scares me because I don't know. I don't like being so unstable (especially if my thyroid is off, they just adjusted dosages since I was lashing out, hopefully that does the trick because psychiatric med changes suck) and it scares me. Maybe it shouldn't?


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Gift for #67

I decided I'd give my #67 a Christmas gift -- a book of my poetry and short stories. I'm really nervous about it because I do like him. I hope he doesn't find it creepy. I changed around the poem #67:


#67

A walk by the window, my sixty-seven,
with football in hand, iPod in ear;
it must be like a blissful heaven--
oblivious to the world, when I am near.
Alas, like a flower in bloom,
new, fresh to the touch, I hold you--
the heavens sing joyful hymns and booms;
however, I still feel ever so blue.
Yet, your eye flickers my way,
in the hustle and bustle of a crowd,
sidelined, an injury delays--
a wave spotted among the fury and sound.
Football in hand, the minute strikes eleven,
a possible victory, how I long for sixty-seven.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

I'm finally getting around to typing my Wisconsin narrative. It's a bit out of order -- I'm sharing this one with my creative writing class for feedback and thought they might like this piece. It's from my adventures at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, WI on August 15, 2012. Enjoy! Also, attached on the questions I sent to my class; if you wouldn't mind answering. Thanks!



The Safari
Jessica Marie Cavaliere

Secluded from man
under the shade of pine tree
animals live here.

In shades of pine tree
Lake Michigan flows quiet
ducks peacefully swim.

The translucent crystals of the sun shone on the beautiful hues of blues and purples of Lake Michigan. We were finally out of a run-down shanty section of Green Bay. Apparently we were near the heart of Green Bay. It looked empty, but it might have been because it was a Wednesday and everyone was at work.  This was the bay area. Everything was shaded and the lake looked breath taking. I wanted out of the bus at that moment to explore.
“Bay Beach is awesome,” the bus driving was saying to me as she drove the #2 (Danz) Line. She knew I was from out of town; earlier that morning I was looking for Curly Lambeau’s birth house and she was the go-to person. However, she wasn’t sure either and had to call the supervisor (I did eventually get  to the house). “If you go later, which you should, Elvis’s favorite ride was the Zippin’ Pippin. You need to check that out.” Later that day I would be meeting my pen pal, I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do; the bus driver suggested a few places we could go. Bay Beach amusement park was top of the list.
“You’ll love the wildlife sanctuary,” the bus driver added. I looked at the bus driver in the surprisingly clean mirror that hung above the fare machine. I was sitting up front in the handicap section; I felt guilty about it, especially when this elderly man hopped on, but the bus driver reassured me and said, “You’re from out of town, I want to guide you.”
“Yeah, I went last year to the Sanctuary, but I didn’t stay long since I was only here for three days. I was there for an hour tops. I have three hours before I meet my friend, so I can stay a few hours.”
“I once drove this couple who spent six hours top there because there is a lot to do.” At that moment I wished I did Lambeau’s birth house tomorrow instead of today; the planning I had been doing since April did show there was a lot to do (fishing is one of them, but as I learned you have to be 12 or younger to fish. This fact made me sad because I did want to fish since I never did before in my life). I had been out since 8am.
We were finally outside the reclusive sanctuary. Trees covered the path situated on a hill and there was a chill in the fresh morning air. The sounds of waterfalls echoed throughout. All I felt was peace.
“This is not a normal stop, but a request stop. Give us a call when you’re ready. Do you have our number?”
“Yeah, I have the schedule right here,” I held up the tan booklet.
“Great. I’ll see you later.” She closed the door and was off down the hill.
10:30, my gold watch read as it was darkened by the cool, wind-blown shade. I had three hours before I had to meet Deb. I would spend two and half hours at the Wildlife Sanctuary.
A day camp was running around as I stepped inside the sanctuary. The first room is a play area that is set up like a forest. I played in it last year when I visited for an hour; I could see why the kids were having so much fun. Crawling through fake logs with different trivia/facts taped all over, kids were laughing ferociously. I walk past the playhouse (which also had facts about insects and animals living around your household) with a confused look on my face. I thought the information desk was towards the front; a mother noticed my expression and asked if she could help me.
"Do you know where the information desk is?"
"I'm not sure, but I saw a staff room right around the corner."
I smile, "thank you," and head around the corner to where a wooden door was half opened. I knocked and a woman in a green shirt (that read BAY BEACH SANCTUARY above a paw print border) greeted me and noticed my confused look. "Hi. I could have sworn the information desk was around here. I need to pay, where is it?"
"It's free. But, the information is the next building, just walk under that bridge," he pointed out the window of the door, "you'll pass some displays and the building is right there." "Thank you," as I walked toward the door.
Ï

After visiting the information desk, which admission to the sanctuary was free and bird food that was a dollar in hand, I'm ready to go and explore the sanctuary. I have my camera in my other hand and I'm excited to get some photographs that I could give for Christmas gifts. Blinding, the waterfalls reflected the crystalized rays -- I was in full sun now.  At that moment I wished I hadn't lost my sunglasses back in King of Prussia; the blinding only lasted a few minutes, however. Once it has passed, I am mesmerized by the waterfall protruding from the rocks. Ducks swam away from the violent crashes and met the other people that walked along the graveled path.

The rickety old bridge was held up by chains and ropes; it creaked as I walked across it. I had to watch the bird poop. Yet, despite the bird poop, I watched the beautiful geese swim across the lake, quacking from afar for food and attention. With the paper bag of corn in hand, I open it and throw the corn into the lake. Geese rush over, but the mallards that were swimming close to the bridge came faster than the geese. Some grayish brown (some had a tint of blue in their wings) mallards jumped up on the bridge and started waddling around me, begging for more corn. They did get some and they let me snap a picture of them before moving on to the other half of the park.

Last year I had a picture of me feeding the ducks. I wanted another one this year. Running into a little boy and his grandfather, "excuse me, sir, would you mind getting a picture of me feeding the geese?" He looked at me like I was crazy, but happily obliged. "I'll try. We'll see if geese get close enough."
The warm Wisconsin sun shined brightly on the tan sand. It felt like I was in a safari with the heat (fortunately Wisconsin doesn't really get humidity) and I wished I was back in the shade the covered the entrance. I spotted a gaggle of geese and the man with his grandson also spotted them. I handed him the camera and walk slowly toward the geese. I pull the bag closer to my hand and slowly grab a handful of corn. The bag rustles and the geese run toward me—snap—the picture is taken and the geese run off happily with corn.

I’m not happy with the picture that is taken; I walk over to the bench near the lake and see another grandfather and his grandchild feeding the geese. I sit down on the bench and in front of my eyes, I see a swan swimming. I’m excited—the last time I saw a swan was in Switzerland in 2007 during a gray, cold day. At that moment I was wishing that Bay Beach was as chilly as that April day in Innsbrook. After the few pictures taken, I ask the grandfather to get a picture of me feeding the duck (man, I must seemed oddly obsessed with these damned geese, but I always loved pictures like that; the cuteness and innocence of someone feeding animals). He made me stand up, he thought it would be a better picture. Again, I’m not too happy with it—the bright sun caused a contrast and I look black that you can hardly see me. But, I don’t want to be more of a bother; I smiled and thanked him.
The beady eyed, gray and black striped creature, the badger, is Wisconsin’s state animal. The cute little creature looks nothing like the university’s mascot where the badger is dressed in a red sweatshirt (complete with a white ‘W’) and has an intimidating look to his face like he’s ready to kick butt at any given moment. Behind glass, the badger stands on its hind legs and looks at us. He almost looks sad, but he is in want of attention. He was getting plenty, though—kids’ cheeks and noses pressed against the glass and “ooohs” and “ahhhs” floated out of their mouths, fogging the window.
Badgers have rather short, fat bodies, with short legs built for digging. They have elongated weasel-like heads with small ears. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, gray bodies with a light-coloured stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light coloured stomachs. Behavior of badgers differs by family, but all shelter underground, living in burrows called setts, which may be very extensive. Some are solitary, moving from home to home, while others are known to form clans called cetes. I am lost in the white sign that hung next to the badger’s habitat. I had learned something new—the second animal fact I had learned on my trip; I look towards the badger again and I continued on down the wood chipped path.
Yellow moons peer out of the white face and look me directly in the eye as I stop in my tracks on the wood chipped path. Her white, gray and black body sits comfortably on a tree branch. The Snowy Owl is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae. This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is easily recognizable. It is 20–28 inches long, with a 49–59 inch wingspan. The Snowy Owl is typically found in the northern circumpolar region, where it makes its summer home north of latitude 60 degrees north. However, it is a particularly nomadic bird.
I always loved Snowy Owls. I have always thought that Snowy Owls were the prettiest in the owl species and according to the sign, I had a few things in common with the owl: we both love to travel and can’t stay still for very long, except they didn’t have to worry about money. I stare in awe as my camera snaps a few pictures. She closes her eyes and the moons disappear into blackness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
The gold of my watch shined again in the hot sun. Noon. I had been here for a few hours and it was time to get back before the Danz line went on lunch break and I had to meet Deb at 1:30. Walking across the bridge, I see more ducks and a mother with her pre-school aged children sitting on a recycled plastic bench feeding the ducks. This would be my final chance for a duck feeding picture; “excuse me, this might sound crazy, but I keep a travel blog and want a picture of me feeding the ducks. Would you mind getting one for me, please?” She smiled and obliged.
I took a seat on the brown plastic bench and opened up my brown paper sack and threw the corn gently in the water. Sploosh, the corn landed on the water and quickly ducks rushed. I probably had two dozen ducks fighting for the corn. I threw more, creating more waves and more fights. Snap, I hear the lenses focus and take the hopefully good image. It’s too bright to see a flash, but even if I could, my attention was on the beautiful ducks fighting and eating the corn.
“Let me know what you think,” the mother grabbed my attention as she handed over my camera. I press the play button, green with an arrow, and see the picture. I smiled. This had to be my favorite picture of the day. “Thank you so much. I hope you have a great day.” Her children continued laughing and throwing corn ferociously into the water (typical for toddlers to do), I’m surprised it doesn’t frighten the ducks; but, I suppose they could take any food they could get.


The gift shop is closed; pity, I wanted postcards and remembering how inexpensive it was last year; I knew that was my best bet to get souvenirs. It wouldn’t open until twelve though. Checking my phone—the bus would be here in another five minutes according to the book of schedules—I take my phone out of my purple pleather handbag and I have a text message waiting for me from Larry’s sister who is married to the special teams manager for the Packers. “I can meet you tomorrow night. Remember, if I do bring you into the locker room to meet the players, they’re very strict.” I’m a little disappointed by that rule—no pictures—because I wanted to make whatever pictures I would get my Facebook profile. I replied, “Okay. I’m at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary waiting for the bus. I’m going to meet my pen pal today.” “Bay Beach is beautiful, it’s nice up there. I hope you have fun.” I close my phone, the bus is here and I’m on my way back to the hotel to get ready before I’m ready to meet Deb.



































Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
Price                                  Free
Bir d Food                           $1
Charity                            $1 for pin
“ “            At your own discretion
Fishing (12 and under)              $10


 



Questions
1.       I’m always bad with titles, would “The Safari” work for my piece about the Wildlife Sanctuary or would “Safari Through Bay Beach” sound? Or what title would you suggest?






2.       What do you think about the rhetoric? Does it persuade you that you should go and check it out if you’re visiting Green Bay?






3.       Is the notepad after the article listing prices and different activities helpful?




4.       Are there too many pictures? Would it be better if I made a scrapbook pages toward the end of the story?





5.       I included half of another story in this to show the journal format I am thinking about putting in. Does it work?





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote with a Bullet

The assignment was it had to be 1500 words or less. Enjoy!


Vote With a Bullet

Based on a speech by Malcolm X and a song by Corrosion of Conformity

 

 

If we don't do something real soon, I think you'll have to agree that we're going to be forced either to use the ballot or the bullet. It's one or the other in 1964. It isn't that time is running out –time has run out!

1964 threatens to be the most explosive year America has ever witnessed. The most explosive year. Why? It's also a political year. The year when all of the white political crooks will be right back in your and my community with their false promises, building up our hopes for a letdown, with their trickery and their treachery, with their false promises which they don't intend to keep

~ Malcolm X: “The Bullet or the Ballot”

 

I shot some men once. I shot these men, to vote for Mr. Johnson, hell I hated him but I hated Mr. Goldwater too, but I only wanted to vote despite their lying and cheating ways. I knew nothing was gonna change, but how I hoped and dreamed it would. Now, I'm a fugitive running from Biloxi to wherever my feet can take me, if I’m lucky some place up North or the Midwest.

 

Another bloody day today in Atlanta, the white voice rang from the TV, ten dead after a riot took place near a bus station. The white face looked formidable and cold, like he was apathetic to what was happening to us, like he sided with those murderers and racists.

 

"Turn that TV off; you don't want to give them ideas!" Mrs. Clifton shrieked at the top of her lungs to her daughter Evelyn. I was working that day; I worked as a gardener for the Clifton family. They were wealthy and lived in a modest house on the outskirts of Biloxi. I always liked Evelyn, though. She had just returned from college in New York City and I could tell it made her grow as a person, a hippy as I overheard her parents call her as well as their wealthy neighbors—she was for us, she championed our cause. She was also a writer. I hoped and dreamed that she would write for us; write what we couldn’t speak, to make a difference in the world.

 

 “Mama! This is national news!” Evelyn wanted us to stay, but the cooks and maids all walked away, afraid of being fired; I had no choice although I wanted to stay. I wanted my job—I needed this job and the Clifton’s were kind for white folks in this town.  It didn’t cure a hardened heart, but it sure did take my mind off the pain for twelve hours.

 

I don’t remember how I heard on that cold day in March two years ago. It just blurs for me. I do remember a good friend of mine, the only cop I trusted, rapped furiously on my door. “Desmond,” he pants, “What is it, Edwin?” I ask. The look in his eyes were sad, my heart sank. I had a feeling what was coming. “Desmond’s been shot, I’m sorry Ned.”

 

They, the crackers, claimed that Desmond had a gun and was about to rape a woman. He resisted and attempted to beat a cop to death. He was beaten first, I could tell when I had to identify the body, then shot. I knew Desmond wouldn’t have done that, I raised him to be a good Christian man. He was only 17 years old.   I had suspected he was chosen at random, some cop wanted to show off how he could beat an “uppity Negro “ that wanted to get ahead of the whites, or so the racists claimed. They always made me sick.

 

“Tomorrow’s election day,” Evelyn said as she came up from behind. I had gone back into the garden. Although it was November, the Clifton’s had me deadhead the summer flowers and had me do various things around the house. It changed from day to day.

 

“I know, ma’am,” I replied and looked away. I didn’t want her to see the devious look on my face. There was going to be a revolution tomorrow and I was going to make it happen come hell or high water. I had my gun ready; no one was going to turn me away. I had convinced a few men to do the same.

 

She saw right through me though, “don’t do something stupid, you hear? We need change, but we don’t need any more violence. We have men dying in Korea and Vietnam. We don’t need more violence.  I’m just saying. I know you’ve been behind me that day watching Malcolm X’s speech. I know you know everything going on.”

 

“Ma’am. I was gonna go come hell or high water. Things are gonna change and we can’t help if it happens by bullet or by peace. “

 

I got on the bus by Strawberry Lane. Faces—white and black, men and women and children—stared at me. Some were businessmen getting done for the day and probably were gonna vote for Mr. Goldwater, white men seemed to like him, but they also seemed to like Mr. Johnson too. Women with children in hand, just sat there and were probably going to vote for the same person as their husbands did. It was an infection among housewives—they voted like their husbands, they voted to keep things the same. They didn’t want change. They didn’t want to stand up to the Man.

 

“Negroes, off the bus,” the bus stopped and a tall, brown haired man stepped on the bus. “There was an incident down the street and we need all Negroes off the bus now,” he added in a deep, forceful tone. Most of the women trembled in fear and the black women with their children all got off the bus. Blue and brown eyes just stared as they walked off the bus.

 

I decided I wasn’t going anywhere. “C’mon man,” the cop had said. “get off!”

 

“NO!” I yelled back, “I ain’t going anywhere. I came today to vote.”

 

“I said, get off. You can walk to the voting place.”

 

“I ain’t going nowhere. I’m voting today.”

 

“C’mon, Negroe” he had his Billy Club ready. I didn’t say anything and just sat there in that leather seat. He raises his Billy Club, but instead of beating me, he dragged me off the bus. I put on a fight, and this is where things get hazy. All I can remember was him beating me because I wouldn’t let him arrest me. I cried like a baby and he kept laughing and beating the crap out of me. I had blood flowing down my forehead and I could hear women begging him to stop. In a quick moment, he turns his attention to flailing women pouncing on him; I grabbed his holster and pulled out the gun. He didn’t even notice. I cocked the gun, fully loaded, to his temple and called out, “Hey, cracker!”

 

“What you call me,” he snarled, but then notices I have his prized possession.

 

“I told you I was gonna vote and now I’m gonna. You ain’t stopping me.” I pulled the trigger and he fell like a falling leaf. Silence. The women looked in horror and the whites on the bus looked shocked. Some men leapt off the bus, to get me I guess, but they couldn’t.

 

Malcolm X said there was gonna be a revolution that fateful day in 1964. I heard that night that there were riots in Atlanta and Birmingham, people, apparently white people too, were tired and had enough.  And the marches in D.C. showed that Northerners did care somewhat. Mr. Johnson won that night, the night I chose the bullet over the ballot.