Things That Should Be Said
Yesterday, the creative community lost a contributor, Daniel Muhammed/Poetic Simbaltia Elimu/Mr. S/Speak, Poet, Speak. In fact, every time I saw him, he had a different name. His name on facebook changed constantly, but he always kept his image.
I was introduced to Daniel by Craig Burkhalter on a first Friday. It was one of those Fridays when I was able to just walk around. I wasn’t there for an organization or to promote anything. I was upstairs to moon over works of art that I wanted to get from Craig before heading down to the O’Dell studio for beers, to moon over his paintings and to hang out with my familiar First Friday crew. We’d eventually end up having too many High Lifes and singing along to someone picking a stringed instrument, but that’s a story for another day. Daniel was very interested in my life as a writer and spent the next 20 minutes of our time coming up with all the stories I could write about him. Every time he saw me, he wanted me to write about him.
He was very much into self promotion. He’d just come to Macon, or just started hanging out downtown, and he wanted people to know who he was. He was always weird, which I liked, and he could be annoying. Yet he was always endearing. There are people who I wish I could run from, there are people who I will always turn away from, there are people who I will always run to. Daniel was someone who I would always listen to. We would go back and forth over what constituted a story. We talked about what events he would have to create, what he wanted to do with his works, who he should be talking to regarding what he does. It was always good seeing him, even when we debated. It was good hearing his work, even though I’m not always the best judge of poetry. I was devastated when I heard he’d been killed. I knew his loneliness. It hung over him like a shroud. I knew the disconnect he sometimes felt because it is always there in the heart of this artist. No matter how much we connect to the people around us, there is a little bit of darkness that eggs us on, pushing us to create the words that speak our innermost thoughts, because the words help us forget the darkness every now and then. He persevered, he wrote, he performed, he spoke when whenever and wherever. That’s all we can do as creatives. Be creative. A friend died Tuesday morning. I feel the loss acutely.
As a writer I thought about my own demons, the things that chase the words from my fingers and onto the page, and I wondered if they would overcome me. But then I thought about my support system. Garret Eason, better known as G-Man Fantastic, music producer and one of the best dancers I know, decided to put up “digital” flowers for the people still around. Because we shouldn’t just get flowers when we’re dead. There is a part of me that hates that I never wrote about Daniel in life, and only in death can find I the words that he craved. So I have a few digital flowers to give out…
There are people who were for me that I didn’t know were for me. These are people I’ve met, had carried on friendly association with, who quite unexpectedly came to my aid in my time of need. It’s not that I didn’t know the generosity. I just didn’t expect it directed towards me. For Stephanie Robinson, Holly Dugas, Sheri McAnally Featherstone, Molly McWilliams Wilkins, Stacey Harwell, you deserve digital and real flowers.
My friends are the love of my life. They have supported me, hugged me, fed me, drank with me, and saved cigars for me. They step in when needed or stay silent if it’s not the right time. They get mad when I’m being stupid, encourage me when I feel like a failure, and cheer for me when I’m winning. I don’t know what i would do without you guys. While there are not too many to mention, I know I will miss someone and they will think I don’t appreciate what they do for me and you have to know I ALWAYS appreciate what you do for me.
Jimmy Barnett and Kara Kwako have been driving this carless person for weeks without complaint and I will NEVER forget their kindness and the gift of their time.
Mechel McKinley, Charlene Hansen, Dan Zook, Ellen Banas, Chris Nylund, Stephanie Robinson, Holly Dugas, Koryn Young, and Carol Masterson have also dropped what they’re doing in my time of need and given me a ride or made arrangements so I can use their cars. Digital flowers for your kindness and generosity. Your kindness touches my soul.
Michael Brunner, John Witmer, and Tiffany Eavenson always made sure I had a ride home after a “good” night. Digital flowers for you!
For Phil Bond, my amazing, awesome, completely phenomenal landlord who handled my joblessness with gentleness and understanding, digital flowers. I would be living with my mom right now if not for his willingness to let me continue to have a place to live. Hell, he needs a whole digital flower shop.
For the people who know my secrets and hold them tightly, digital flowers go to you: Iba Oshun, Moira Potter, Kelley Dixson (who I really, really miss), Charlene Hansen, Craig Hamilton, Carol Masterson, Kara Kwako, Mechel McKinley, Koryn Young.
For my family who takes time out to see me even when I rarely stop to see them, thank you.
For the many ladies who helped me learn that women can be friends and good friends at that. A digital bouquet for each of you. **
Daniel’s death reminded me that we are not guaranteed anything but this moment, this breath. His death reminded me that we want to make an impact on the world. His death reminded me that we can never neglect or wait on our creativity. I want to give a big, beautiful bouquet to my community – not just Downtown Macon, which has bolstered me and made Macon a much more desirable location than I ever thought it could be but also InTown and College Hill Corridor and every part of Macon in which I lived, because it took being in those places to help me realize what I have in my Downtown family. Say the things that need to be said to be people you love.
** Forgive me for not putting the name of every single person that has meant something and does mean something to me. I love you all and thank you, G-Man, for this idea.