Love From The Projects

Photo taken by photographer William Gedney

There’s love in the projects

Maybe not all roses and fairytales

But there is love

I remember waking up on summer days

Just waiting to see who was coming out to play

Red Rover Red Rover send my friends over

Then we’d red light green light all over the neighborhood

Before joining the girls to sing about Little Sally Walker sitting in her saucer

Man those were good times

Standing in the front yards

Watching the sunset and betting who’d catch

The most lightning bugs

And slapping every body part bitten by mosquitos

Signaling the day was over but there would be many more to come

Until

Finally waving goodbye after years have passed

Not knowing that everything was changing

The friends that became family will now be strangers

Greetings become awkward

Smiles become forced

Goodbyes become rushed

While internally you just want

To go back to the way things used to be

Red rover, red rover bring that feeling back

Red light the changes that the distance brought

And tell little Sally Walker to never rise from her saucer

Then things wouldn’t have to end yet

You’ll continue to feel the love from the projects.

Short Story: The Murder of William “Froggie” James

Cairo, IL.

November 11, 1909- Cairo, IL. 

William “Froggie” James was a dashing young man. Tall and dark with a body full of muscles. Many women wanted him, but he only had eyes for his Sandra. They had been together for some time now and would be getting married soon. 

Walking down the streets of Cairo, IL, he was filled with such pride. Black people had come a long way, but still had a ways to go. White folks still had a short fuse just looking for someone to blow up on. He made sure to steer clear of them when he could. 

As he came upon a building, he heard a scream. Something told him to keep walking, but it was a woman and he didn’t want to leave her helpless. As he got ready to go inside, his friend Alexander came barreling out, almost knocking him over and continued up the road.  Venturing inside he saw feet from someone on the ground that eventually revealed a young white woman. Fear filled him like never before and he dashed away from there. 

Once he made it home, he slammed the door as his love came out of the kitchen. 

“What’s wrong,” she rushed to him when she noticed the look on his face. 

“I found,” he struggled to get his words out, “white girl dead.”

Sandra felt a chill come over her, “Did anybody see you?”

He merely shook his head no. 

“Good,” she started to pace, “You didn’t do it right?”

“Of course I didn’t,” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

“We have to get out of town.” She started gathering their belongings. 

William frowned, “I did nothing wrong!”

“You think they care!” She shouted. 

Just then loud knocking came at the door. 

“Come on out William,” they heard the voice of the well known sheriff. 

“I didn’t do it,” William said as he opened the door. 

The sheriff had been kind to him many times. 

“People say they saw you running away from where a girl was found dead,” the sheriff pulled out his cuffs, “It’s better for me to take you in now before anyone else comes after you.”

William took a look a Sandra, “Stay here and don’t let anyone in.”

Tears fell as she watched them drive off. Dark clouds hung over the town. Destruction was coming. 

Just as the sheriff was booking in William, a mob had formed outside. They were demanding that William be released to them for revenge. 

Not knowing what else to do, the Sheriff snuck out the back and drove William out of town. He hoped to stay there until things calmed down. That never happened. 

In the middle of the night, they heard rumbling where they were hiding before seeing a group of men. 

“Hand him over Sheriff,” one of them said. 

Before the sheriff could grab his weapon, they had him at gunpoint while others dragged William away screaming. 

He was dragged all the way back to town, “Please! I didn’t do it!”

His words fell on deaf ears. That night the town seemed to destroy William and whoever else they could unleash their rage upon. 

See as there was no getting through to them he yelled, I did it and Alexander took the lead!”

He knew the right person would hear the message in his confession. 

William was dragged through the town square as people hit him and called him names. In the center, there was a noose tied around his neck as not the men, but the women pulled the rope. After he was hung, his body was riddled with bullets before the people cut pieces of his body for souvenirs. Then as they were finally satisfied, they placed his head on a light pole and set it on fire. 

With all this going on, no one noticed Sandra standing in the background. Filled with rage, she embraced the ways of her ancestors. Her grandmother had taught her many years ago that she would know when to use her special gifts. 

Calling on her ancestors, she placed her hands on the ground, “Ancestors, feel the innocent blood spilled here today. The blood of my love. He did not deserve this and neither did the ones before him. I declare today, until all wrongs are righted, there will never be peace. For as long as innocent blood is spilled, these streets shall forever crumble. Take the peace and take Alexander.”

The streets shook as a scream could be heard in the distance. That scream belonged to Alexander being dragged away before the mob even thought to look for him. Sandra walked off into the night away from the town never wishing to return. Now cracks fill the streets of the town and no matter how many times they fix them, they still crumble. 

Note: Cairo, IL. is my hometown. Although I put a twist of love in the story, William “Froggie” James was an actual person that was lynched for the murder of a white girl there in 1909. Many of us resident have been taught the story. He maintained his innocence and just before his hanging, he admitted and said a man named Alexander helped. That man was never found. Many say that because of all the bad that happened there, the streets are cursed and indeed are filled with cracks no matter how many times they were fixed. Let me know your thoughts in the comments as if you have heard of this story. I hope you like the sprinkle of love and fantasy I placed in it.

Submissive For Him

Artist Unknown

I stood in front of a melanated God,

One who seemed to debate every word that would come out my mouth.

If I said it was hot, he said it was cold.

If I said it was 12:01, he said it was past noon.

Every single thing was a debate.

I soon found he wanted to assert his dominance.

He was nothing like the men I had come across before.

My sharp tongue only fueled his desire to make me submit.

Submit to the inevitable,

One day he would rule my world and I would let him.

Me, the strong black woman that didn’t need to bow down to a man.

Those words I expressed to him one day,

The narrowing of his eyes showed his displeasure.

He then schooled me on the fact that submissive did not equate to weak.

Submissive in a woman was not being afraid to let the man lead and showing a man is nothing without his neck, his woman.

Submissive was accepting his vulnerable side the world was not privy to.

Submissive did not relinquish independence, it balanced the roles between two forces.

And submissive was not gender based,

For the right woman, the right man will submit when needed.

With that he won my heart,

Opened my mind to a new way of thinking.

The world will know my dominance,

But for him I will be submissive.

Simplicity

Riding down the boulevard

I reach over and hold your hand

It’s early,

So early it’s like we’re the only ones on the road

We take it all in

Crazy by India.Arie comes through the speakers

The soulful notes touches us deep within

No words are needed

Everything in this moment speaks for itself

The sky resembles a portrait come to life

With colors of red, pinks, and yellow

The sun slowly rises

Casting a light of simplicity

Of love everlasting

Beauty Unveiled

Another writing prompt

She walks into the room with style and grace

Encased in a dress of sensual black velvet

I’m ensnared by the beauty of her

She is surrounded by an aura that puts me at ease

While her red nails send me in a spiral of burning desire

I need to be close to her

Even if it’s only for a second

Finally, My wish is granted

She stopped in front of me and smiled

The moment will forever be embedded in my mind

That smile was the unveiling of the rarest crystal flower and the surrender of my heart.

The Feel Of It

Artist Unknown

I love the way it feels in my hand

The firmness of my grip as I hold it

The smoothness of its surface

The length that’s not too long and not too short

The boldness that fills me with the thoughts of its creation

The steady pleasure it releases

And also the disappointment of when it runs out

Now I am in need of another….

Pen

Note: If your mind was else where, shame on you. I’m just attempting to touch my humorous side today 😂.

How Much I Love You

I want to tell the world how much I love you

I want them to know that from the moment I met you, I found the manifestation of love.

I want them to know that the rich color of your skin reminds me of the most premium cocoa

I want them to know that when you smile, that dimple on you left side of your cheek winks at me in a sexy way

I want them to know that just the touch of your hand makes me quiver down to the depths of my soul

So much so that when you hold me I wish you would never let go

I want them to know….

I need them to know….

To know that I can’t really describe how much I love you

There aren’t enough words to give an accurate description

I find myself looking at all I have written and it always seems like it is never enough

And then I fear that when the time comes like tonight, when I want to tell the world how much I love you

I’ll get stuck

Stuck to the point that the moment will be gone before I can even utter a single world

So right here, in this moment

As the spotlight is on us

I’ll look you in your eyes and simply say

I love you

It’s Already Been Buried

Standing up, I wipe my brow after throwing the last dirt on the grave

It’s done

It should have been done long ago, but

At last, it is done

The best part is, no one knows the grave is here

Should someone find it, surely they’ll have no idea who buried it here

They’ll probably be thankful that someone did it

Going to my car I laugh with glee

The world will now be free

I go to the busiest street and park needing to feel this new world

Out of my car and smack dab in the middle of it

Smack dab in the middle of the same chaos I just buried

How could this be!

It was supposed to end!

It’s still the same!

Countless brown skinned men and women on the ground

Their cries fill the air until I cover my ears

I yell as loud as I can, “I BURIED YOU!”

America yelled back, “YOU CAN’T BURY WHATS BEEN PLANTED IN THE MINDS HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO!”

Sitting on the ground I watch it all continue to play out

So what America is telling me is that even though I tried the bury racism it’s too late because it’s already been done.

The seeds were planted deeply so long ago in the minds and it’s roots are now stronger and it’s branches are even longer

Reaching the minds of the unsuspecting and innocent until it creates the intended divide

The realization hits me so powerfully that I grab my head and shout to all that can hear, “WHEN DOES IT END?”

Window To The Soul

They say the eyes are the windows to ones soul

I believe it every time I look into yours

That steely gaze that has the ability to stop me in my tracks

So dark I get lost in them as I dive in a dark pool of onyx and drift away

Slowly, with the vision of love that both you and I create

A love that has transcended the test of time

Through our many resurrections

Resurrections I am reminded of through your eyes

We once laid under the stars next to the Niger River and fell asleep in each other’s embrace

You held my hand while I prayed to the ancestors as Harriet led us to freedom

We were there in Virginia, by Nat Turners side when he led the revolt in 1831

And when the bombs dropped in Tulsa, you helped board up windows and keep us safe from those seeking to hurt us

I remember when we sat in the restaurant and was star struck when Malcolm had his date with Betty. You know the one where he taught her the history of the pig right after.

The party on Juneteenth, was one of the best we ever had. You sure did have some good moves for an old man.

We really had some good times

Times I see on repeat just like now as I stare in your eyes

My heart skips a beat as you sweep me off my feet

Holding me closely while placing your forehead on mine without breaking eye contact

Your eyes, the window to your soul and the gateway to my heart.