I’m listening to an album called Spiritual War by this band called Fertile Ground. It accidentally came on a random playlist a couple of days ago. It brings back so many memories. Particularly a song called “Broken Branches.” I used to listen that song all the time back in the day. It was released in 2000. Can you fucking believe that? Seventeen fucking years! Has it been that long? I was new to Los Angeles. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for adventure and change, thinking Los Angeles was going to be a pit stop on my way to London. The world was so open at the time, and the only thing more numerous than my possibilities were the stars in the sky which, coincidentally, I was obsessed with at the time. I was talking with this guy named Chino from New York with the thickest slab of New York accent on his tongue and a loam deep fascination with my poetry, my body and my time. He hipped me on to Fertile Ground and was making quite the convincing argument for me to change coasts. Fertile Ground was a part of that campaign; this loose, organic group of African inclined, natural haired, Hippie-esque musicians and singers. All the instruments were live, all the lyrics were about love with a uniquely African brand of storytelling. It was his favorite band and I was just soaking up the newness of those drums, horns and tambourines like a baby swallowing mother’s milk for the first time since leaving the umbilical. It was so good. It was so nutritious. I wanted more. Chino was convincing me, New York was mother… and her titties were just sitting there, waiting for me.
I just had a thought about how I would have turned out if I would have taken that leap. If only two years into my Los Angles storyline, I just would have lifted anchor and went Eastbound. Every time I think about that, about the many “What if” scenarios of moving Eastbound, I always conclude that I would have been homeless within a year. Not sleeping on the street homeless type but whatever apartment or situation I would have scrambled up, it would have elapsed and maybe I would have done a night or two on a bus stop until I wound up with my tail between my legs heading back to Chicago or God forbid the millionth excuse for my failure begging my sister for shelter. I would have dreadlocks. I think I would have dreadlocks. I think I would have taken much better care of my hair in New York. I don’t know why.
But who knows. I used to really like that Chino dude. He was so FYNE! I remember he sent me a life size poster of himself and a money order for $50… unprovoked and for no reason. Who does that? Twenty somethings with more passion than common sense trying to find their way in a world with infinite possibilities. I guess he liked me. I liked him. But a las, here we are. I can’t help but rationalize that it all worked out for the best. I could be with him right now, drinking herbal tea, listening to jazz, making macramé plant holders for his daughter and her husband while listening to Roy Ayers then finish up by smoking a huge spliff and some Crown Royal vanilla then fucking the shit out of each other before watching the different hues of purple and pink the city sky turns to at night when the stars try to peak through the ambient of street lights from our apartment. Or… I could be another dreadlocked dude sleeping underneath a vomit and shit crusted blanket in the subway piping on nonsensically about the leaves on trees on broken branches and where they go after they’ve done their dances in the wind. Or maybe just shot in the head the moment I landed in the city. I have to think, for better or for worse, we are where we are supposed to be. I do miss that dude though.