An over accentuated morning gray sky hung high.
Tight and wide on the horizon.
Suspended indefinitely, no intention, no pun, still; surrounded.
The ambient gray sunlight silhouettes past moonlight light.
Morning in all its glory.
Noble trees played brave notes of Music`s diversity.
Here I am again, standing proud loyal to their heir.
Extended branches, stalwart !
Slick iron arched lamp posts embrace.
The heavy, empty, gray wind wrapping around its shadows of light.
Dancing like a cold invisible man.
The silent morning was new with the same streets.
Gray numbered some black some white.
Named with personalities owning silence.
Day in and out, night after night.
Private mews of characteristic stories.
Flashback, a dream:
My eyes rolled back.
Tightly like a smooth fitted membrane.
A soft velvet glove inside this complex.
A web of trillions of nerves synapses firing away simultaneously.
In the cavern of my brain spaces and places.
Holding beautiful memories like a wet colorful oil painting.
Constantly rolling pictures of my son’s .
This movie flickers on the screen,
Like a swiss watch going off in my head.
What is this wonderful urgent inspiration?
It is that, you?
That urgency when I attend your every need.
The unconditional love.
Seeing your smiling innocent childress boyish face.
Then the wonderment, the nativity in the moment.
Absent answers now, only the mirror is.
Cracked into thousand of pieces.
As memories glued together like some nightmare of an old jacket lost
Hanging in the back of the closet collecting dust
The broken glass, lies on a gray street,
With a heavy gray sky constantly hoping
Waiting for the sunlight to shine again…
Waiting for the sun,… waiting’.
I miss you guys every day that passes… Forever in love…Fathers 4 son`s.
As I sit here alone, staring at my thoughts, every single one of them confronts me, face to face.
I don’t know what to do…To hear, to see, to feel, these thoughts, inside my head the final analysis plays out, rolling like a film endlessly. A silent stillness, versus the colorful contrast of young energetic presence of my two beautiful young teenage son’s, with all their entertaining wit, humor, intelligence and fun personalities, constantly evolving on the move and flow, have left now.
This crescendoe is familiar, it’s the end for now, leaving with memories of one of the most wonderful, amazing experiences, since the last time, so long ago. When times intervals waxing and waning, the boys are growing, rapidly changing, transforming from boys to young men, right before my eye’s. I try to do whatever is possible to be relevant when time is lost. Nostalgia becomes my friend, reflections of small boys looking up to me, holding their hands, wiping their dripping nose, preparing school lunches, singing songs and bedtime stories, going for walks, playing ball games…
These reflections play out in my mind like a movie constantly rolling never ending…
like a brightly lite candle,
waxing yet waning,
while the glass is full for a moment,
with my heartbeats and unconditional love,
then irony steps in,
these great moments become fleeting memories,
like that same movie over and over again,
then it comes to an end and,
my son’s have to leave.
I Stumble back to reality;
dizzy and dazed, like cold stone,
a meteorite crashing back to earth,
trapped between two worlds,
two nations heaven and hell,
like a alien, still the outsider,
then gravity eventually rules.
The weekend father emasculated !
Behind my dark mask, shades of irony, shades of joy, dancing in a void, a blank dark black aura prevails again over my face, as the curtain goes down as their absence leaves this home for the other, until the next episode!
Then the melancholy, a disjointed withdrawal you’re anticipating, like a junky that needs his fix. Always after they leave that happy sadness movie plays out again and again; in my mind.
What is the weekend, father…?
You see..We spent the arrival of 2016, New Year’s together, it was monumental though it’s been some years since I can recant experiencing, feeling such an amazing sense of love accomplishment, excitement and joy being with my two youngest, now teenage son’s in years. The juxtaposition is that they are older, a new chapter unfolding while they share the things we’ve missed, as father and sons, we are a family reunited…
Long marathon deep conversations, about school, growing up, about their ambitions and career paths. Their entire plethora of hopes and dreams. I was their role model, for all the lost time, again irony of separation set`s in, living in another town. We crammed everything in these 7 days, as much as possible…our hopes and dreams for the future, where do we go from here…
Now… void, void !
Invalid, incomprehension, disconnect, unplugged..
A serial of summer experiences is what I plan to share with you followers of my blog, in the days ahead. Having had some interesting and exciting summer days, which is now at an end; at this last summer day of August, knowing fall is around the corner tomorrow. I thought by giving you a little insight, we might manage to extend that emotional feeling of what a joyful summer can bring. I hope you will might enjoy reading just a little of what happened. It`s been a vibrant and creative travel experience, one for the memories of a lifetime, for the books to keep, and for the pictures to repeat.
Just reestablishing and rebuilding this story, and putting words to these emotions, these feelings, this experience; is and has been an experience of great importance. I hope by sharing some of them with you, I can make you go back in time and maybe make you rekindle with your own experiences, from childhood/early teenage years of what you might have had with your own fathers. What these moments means for the bond between sons and their father. Memories of love, joy, lessons of life and learning. Enjoy!
The Summer vacation of a lifetime with my son !
Bergen seen from Mount Ulriken, about 600 meter above sea level
Five A.M., it’s another morning, a hot summer. The sun’s blazing heat creeps into my window. It’s July, but no ordinary morning, this was real special. It was a long awaited important event, for my 15 year old son and I. We were about to have our first real summer vacation, only us two, together for the first time, and for 4 entire weeks. .
The energy in the air was filled with excitement, we didn’t really sleep much the night before, knowing we were travelling outside of Norway for this first time. This journey was going to be the beginning of a great summer for the future, one for the memories. This was a dream come true, to travel together. We packed our things for camping, a tent, sleeping bags, some basics, we’d be roughing it. Most importantly being together, while spending some nights in our tent under the moon and stars of the northern Danish sky..
The Port of the City of Stavanger
The journey from Bergen to Denmark and Copenhagen, with Bergen famous Fjord Line, a coastal shipping route, known as a part of the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour, a journey synonymous with Norway’s deep pristine fjords and scenic coastline. The overnight journey took us to the port of Stavanger, a small city on southeastern coast of Norway, the major base for Norway’s offshore oil productions. By 10 p.m. we were on our way for the long crossing of North Sea, scheduled to arrive at 7:30 a.m. in the Port of Hirtshals, Denmark.
During the long crossing my son had I had plenty of time sharing stories, eating pizza, playing games, filming and documenting this wonderful feeling of freedom, experiencing the world together as father and son.
“Dad, we are finally traveling for the first time in my life”. “I am so happy!”
“This is the best day of my life.” “I am never going to forget this, for the rest of my life”; he said.
“Yes”, I answered. “This is just the beginning”…
We looked into each other’s eyes, smiling shaking hands, accompanied with big hugs.
It was late, as we settled down for the long night crossing, from Norway to Denmark. Was this a serendipity moment? A magical silver moonlight guided our passageway, while the serene silence of the sea sent us into a deep sleep. A dream of our life to be together, traveling as father and son, was finally happening. I was humbled and thankful, and privately my heart pounded with pride, so much love and joy.This was a dream come true.
Morning arrived greeted by a blazing bright sun with not a cloud in the beautiful Danish blue sky on a glorious summer morning..
Welcome to Denmark!
The Port of Hirtshals, Denmark.
All smiles, gathering our bags as we navigated the summer crowd, we were fast and first at the disembarkment door, ready for the adventure ahead of us. We took a 10 minute bus ride to a local train that we took for 30 mins to another train, that was departing for the Copenhagen at 9:00am. A ride which took us on a 6 hour journey into the capital, through the flat terrains, scattered with some small hills of moraine ridges, passing through small villages, backyard roads and stopping at a couple of towns with many red bricked houses. The weather was exceptionally beautiful on this summer morning. We took our first bite out of Denmark, Danish cakes and coffee. Hmmm…, my son suddenly pulls out his Gopro camera, with a big smile on his face, he says: “Smile!” and laughs out loud.
Dear Sons, as you continue to grow up and develop into men, I think of you everyday. The separation of distance between us, makes life very complicated, while we still live in the same country, but in different towns, hours apart. I find this situation quite unsettling for us being a family. Unfortunately due to the impartial custody arrangement I sometimes see it as a hindrance, to our closeness as father and son’s, to build a strong relationship between us
It is important that you know; that every waking day and night, you are in my deepest thoughts and subconscious mind. There is never a time that you are not there. I miss you… I miss your hugs, voices and your smiles, the private conversations, the trust and love we’ve established together. I miss all 4 of you. All the time… I miss the natural connectedness of everyday, a family love. Every second, minute, hour, day, month, years that passes. Time is of essence, in my mind the separation of time cannot transcend the love I have for you, as your father.
The Ship we sailed with to Denmark
In this very complex, challenging, competitive world I understand the importance to share my wisdom and knowledge, as an elder in supporting your challenges, education, social, emotional needs, from being boys and developing into whole healthy young men. You are all four very different versions, uniquely talented, bright, intelligent, ambitious, in your youth and you are an undeniable part of me; it is our Dna that connects us. No nation, flag, societal discourse can argue or refute the genes we share. In fact; it is the glue that makes you who you are, your identity. I am you, and you are me, we are Family. When we meet, I see your changes. It is difficult being a complete part of your experience growing; so I try the best way possible to find the joy of your presence, in the preciously little time we have together.
Copenhagen Railway Station
While coming from New York City, there is a strong desire to succeed for me, maybe it`s a trait given my history and where I grew up. Sometimes against odds when addressing injustices, may even be unpopular, when you are not allowed to criticise; has the connotation of being negative, even upsetting the status quo (Jante Loven). In a place where codes and laws are written, by and for the majority. I hope that you one day will understand that these experiences I went through, since I moved here, it was all for you. I gave it all up, my family and friends in US. My life experiences, education, accomplishments and failures, because I felt the urgency, the importance of being here, it became my priority to be present as a Real Dad, opposed to having a long distance relationship that I saw as impossible and illogical. I just wanted to do the right thing, and be the father I could, knowing that I didn`t want you experience what I had, having a father, who worked in the military and who wasn’t always there when I needed him. And that’s why I did what I had to. Some might say in hindsight that I made a big sacrifice, still I did it all out of love. Everybody makes mistakes, but love conquerors all. I love you guys so much, you mean the world to me.
A street in Copenhagen
For the first time, I travelled abroad for 5 days alone with my 15 year old son to Denmark and Sweden. We sailed with Fjord Line, a regular cruise line connecting Bergen in Norway, with Denmark. In Copenhagen, we camped, rented bikes, and went all around in the city, and met a lot of interesting people. Then later we travelled by railway from Copenhagen to Stockholm and then onwards to Oslo in overnight sleeping train, we even had a shower in our sleeping car and Wi -fi. We were so happy, laughing, smiling all the way to Oslo and back to Bergen. A roundabout train ride for 22 hours. Travel is a great learning experience. Your intellectual antenna heightens, your abilities to learn and interpret new information builds confidence, personal growth and development in a young person . Being in new places, learning new things about life is what I saw for in him for the first time, traveling with my son. He was so engaged, he had never had Dunkin donuts or Kentucky Fried Chicken, so it was some of the fun things that made his experience so special. We both were experiencing the excitement of having a real holiday outside the parameters of home visits.
The plan this summer was to travel with my two youngest sons to the U.S. I wanted them to visit their grandmother who is in her mid-eighties, who has never seen them except from in photos. Their Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and extended family and friends, was hoping to see them too. “Unfortunately” that was denied by the mother; again…like last summer. Sadly their grandfather died last fall… Thinking about it, brings tears to my eyes.
Still he told me, that this trip was the most amazing experience he had ever had, a memory of a lifetime. His eye’s told the story, he was shining. For the very first time, in a very long time, I felt like a whole normal father with my son, having a real summer vacation…
I was planning to report some happy uplifting, enlightening, positive, inspiring and good news. You know excitement of warm weather, summer, good spirits and hope for the future. But, F’’k that !!!
While standing in front of a Mall, in the center of Bergen town, where I reside, I was waiting for a friend. We were to meet and go for our ritual evening run, in the Norwegian mountains. A solemnity routine that helps cope with everyday challenges, in life. But it never happened! Why?
I was about to have a throwback hellish nightmare, this strange encounter of a past that had hallmarks of police harassment in New York City, some 30 years ago. Life couldn’t be more stressful. Was this a visit from my past? I thought, what is happening? What could be the reason, for this? Could this be the new testing ground of what’s in the media, around the world? Is America’s race problem resonating here? With all the recent migration, insidious terror threats, cast a shadow of suspicions for the other, meaning people of foreign origin. I had an intuition earlier realising more than ever, that this can go so very wrong here in Norway. Insightfully I saw this was coming.
Two plain clothed, blond Norwegian police suddenly rolled up on me from nowhere. A young man and woman, no more than early to mid-thirties asking me;
“Snakker du Norsk”? (Do you speak Norwegian?)
Apprehensive, cautiously I stated yes, in a very civil, polite manner, the police demanded my ID, without offering me a reason? I was being profiled. You see, I am 6’3’’, a powerful built African American.
I politely asked what is this about? Why am I being profiled ? They didn’t comply to my request but insisted on seeing my ID. ‘’Just give me your ID!’’…still not giving me a reason. I asked why they did not give me a reason, and they adamantly refused, and continued harassing. It felt like my world, was being rocked! This incident reminded me of my past.(See blogpost,“Excerpt from my Journey.”) My mind raced through, a number of issues, concerning current state of political discourse. Xenophobia toward foreigners is a conversation that is looming in the consciousness of Norwegians. I am not the enemy. How they get it wrong by putting everyone in the same context.
At a stalemate, the plain clothes police demanded that I come with them if I didn’t want to give up my ID. Refusing, since they didn’t give an explanation, and I wanted to make a complaint. I refused, then called my lawyer. She advised me to give my ID, to them so I wouldn’t have problems with immigration authorities later. With reluctance I followed that advice, feeling my rights as a human being violated, they continued to check my status. It felt like an eternity standing in front of the doorway to the mall. In public, while lots of people passed by, becoming a public spectacle for approximately 15 minutes.
I am a permanent resident of Norway and have been for the past 22 years. So why this now, why now? I still feel that I am a vibrate intelligent father of 4 sons, still working very hard to make my dreams to become a reality.
The current atmosphere of migration, the exodus of Blacks from Africa, pouring into the European nations, a unsettling force, this new wave of migration creates a solicitude of xenophobia, profiling people like me and other people of color.
With all the negative media from the U.S. about police brutality, murder and violence against men of color has sparked a new, convergence of white supremacy; even with a Black President in Office. He has been aggressively attacked by white conservatism, with overt disrespect for the Office of The President of The United States Of America. What kind of message does that send to other nation’s other political leaders who model or copy what America does?
If the President of the United States office, is debased by his race, even being qualified, referred to, being called N’’’r monkey, terrorist, not satirically but just hate for The President as a man of color is unprecedented in these times. What message is that sending around the world, to other governments and political leaders? When people of color are living and trying to contribute and make there way as good citizens and human beings.
I`m concerned that these images in the media, are dangerous and detrimental toward the progress in the civilized democratic world, particularly within the human rights area, but are we accepting these images of coverage as becoming the new norm? Where the protection of the outsider is paramount, in countries like Norway and other European countries, when a lack of understanding and the propensity of racial profiling creates a negative attitude towards people of color. This lack of understanding for the historical implication, for the economic inequalities and social injustices of African Americans and Black people and their experience. It divided nations based of racial oppression for centuries.
Norway is a country of 5.2 million people, of a predominant white population. People of color, don’t represent any power base. About 1,5 percent are of African, Afro American descent. About 6 percent of the population are Non-European.
I am thoughtful. I hope I am able to continue to live in peace and harmony in the Norwegian society, without suspicion, harassment or of any form or hidden agenda or experiment of racial profiling or being look down upon as the other. But as equals, but for now I must continue to live with the reality of this very unpleasant experience that has shattered my trust enough to put this out in the public domain. It took several days to recover psychologically from this incident and get back to being my normal energetic ambitious happy person/human being.
Thanks People for reading.
I would like to share with you a small segment of my upcoming book. My story has an uncanny significance and is a frightening and factual detailing of the long-hidden day-to-day realities of American life for black and brown American men. These harsh circumstances are finally being exposed to the public at large, primarily via 21st century social media, and enraging truth-seeking peoples everywhere, jump-starting a global outcry for justice and equality in the black diaspora in 2015. This excerpt is about police violence in America in the early 1970’s.
I was a young man on the move, bursting with wild hopes and soaring dreams. This is my personal account and life experience of racist police brutality and hate for men of color. 40 years later and right until this day I clearly remember the scene, the faces and the names of the white New York City police officers, one Irish-American, the other Italian-America, as if it was yesterday.
I knew I had to tell this story. I could have died that night, but for some reason I’m still here, with the memory of this event that has haunted me for the rest of my life.The irony of what is saturating the global media today, of black men being assassinated by white police in America in 2015, has not escaped me for an instant.
Violence and brutality directed toward men of color has been the gold standard of “law enforcement” in America – it is undeniably not something new. But perhaps there is now a new climate for meaningful change. I was a young Black man – proud, ambitious, hungry for knowledge, athletic, brimming with hope for the future. It was my first year at Hampton University, Hampton Virginia. A native New Yorker, home on semester break, I was going to see my sweetheart. My girlfriend was studying at Long Island University. Her family were hard workers, first-time purchasers of a condominium in the very early gentrification of New York’s East Village, at Avenue C and 10th street.
We were the lucky new Blacks, having somehow clawed our way out of low-income housing, heading to University, with sparkling hopes for the future. Abruptly, on a cold, wet October evening, an event occurred that changed my life forever! I would lose hope, trust and faith in the corridors of equality, justice and the ideals of democracy forever and it left me with a scar for the rest of my life. I was a victim of racist police brutality and hate.
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming publication. I share this with you in classic screenplay (a little rewritten to fit the blog) because I`m working on that as well.
10th street avenue: CAMERA PANS:
Jacquelyn’s condo, as Michael walks toward the corner of Tenth Street and Avenue C, where he routinely waits for a bus. It’s pouring down with rain, it’s a dark, wet mid-October night, suddenly Michael reaches the corner and sees his bus approaching, about 500 meters in the distance. Like the great sprinter, his powerful legs gallop with grace and speed, as he races to catch his bus.
CAMERA SHOT / SLOW-MOTION:
Like two dark evil shadows, two white policemen, draped in long black raincoats; wielding nightsticks and sporting silver badges (the light reflects as the water drips like the blood that’s about to be spilled) converge, intercepting Michael as he is in his final stride for the bus stop. He is met by yelling, screaming wild, foul, dark evil forces, descending upon him with great force, violence and abuse. The policemen pound him in a flurry of verbal abuse, nightsticks pounding his head and upper body melt into a gleaming blur of polished wood and fast, furious blows. All the force of their heavy armor and anger is unleashed on Michael, as he is crushed by the force of this ambush, this unwarranted beating.
Now he is bleeding profusely from the crown of his head after being struck several times by these dark forces with a black billy club. Michael now has experienced this unprecedented act and the violation of his civil and human rights. It is the hallmark for the person he will become later. The two white policemen, in their 30`s are out to brutalize, beat and dehumanize anything that gets in their way that is not like them.
POLICE DESCEND ON MICHAEL:
We see Michael being beaten and handcuffed. He is now in police custody. The police now call in a patrol car to take him down to the 6th Precinct police station in Greenwich Village. The Patrol car arrives and the two cops force him into the car.
INTERIOR SHOT/ Police Car: With hands cuffed behind his back, he sits between the two policemen, as one punches him in his face. The racial insults and humiliation turn into Michael worst nightmare.
First Policeman:- “What’s, your name nigger?”
(Humiliated and violated; Michael’s face is swollen. He remains silent under the unjustifiable violence he has encountered from these men).
First Policeman:- “Oh, we got us a smart nigger!!”
(Michael remains silent, completely shocked and stunned by what is happening as the police car arrives at the 6th precinct station house.)
Camera Shot:- Michael is dragged into the police station house. Interior Shot: East Village 6th Precinct Police Station House: Desk Officer O’Brien (The desk officer looks at the two arresting officers and knows they’ve made a mistake. He knows immediately that Michael is not the type to be arrested.)
“What’s the charge?”
(The arresting officer’s eyes shift to his partner. They are silently propping one another up in rationalization of their wrong doing.)
First Policeman:- “Uh I think…??”
Desk Officer O’Brien:- “Charge him with resisting and harassment arrest, and next time cover your ass!!”
Michael is held in a jailhouse for the night and arraigned the next morning. So is there any difference between the U.S and Norway? Check out my next blog post, coming up soon!
Robert Frost wrote the poem “Acquainted with the night”, it was first published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Oktober 1928. His rich text poems has parallels, contradictions, complex idiomatic textures, which ironically evoke emotions, symbolic and significance in my life. I choose this poem this to share with you and present one of his great pieces of work, which he left for perpetuity. As an interim blog before a series of some blog posts about Scandinavian and Norwegian culture insights seen from my point of view, experiencing it first hand, where I will include some video. For those who don`t know much about Robert Frost he was born in San Francisco in 1874, he published his first collection of Poems in 1913, 39 years old. “A Boy`s Will” He managed to win 4 Pulitzer Prizes for his work, the first one in 1924, for the book “New Hampshire”. He has been an inspiration for many writers, intellectuals, artists, and many other people who has read some of his work. He is looked upon as one of the greatest writers of 20th century. He died in January 1963.
Acquainted with the night By: Robert Frost
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street.
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.