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December 08, 2006


Logo for the film Shampoo (1975), in which I appear in a cameo performance with my beautiful mother as a newborn being breastfed in a bar scene as moms puffs on a joint (I'll have to ask if it was "prop trees" or b.y.o.b.). The scene is unfortunately cut when the film is aired on non-cable television due the breast being fed upon.

My blood family was a mixed bunch of ancestors already by the time I entered the universe circa August 1973, made moreso upon my homebirth into the physical on April 6, 1974.

My first breath wasn't fetid hospital air recirculating disenfectant fumes like most - no nurse, no needle, neither City of Angels nor Cedars of Lebanon (Sinai) - rather the crystal pure nature air of Laurel Canyon - oak, pine, sumac, orange, eucalyptus, oxygen, and the most potent second-hand marijuana smoke known to man, woman or newborn child.

The closest person to a doctor there was an off-duty chiropractor, but none was necessaryfor the delivery of the most powerful medicine woman this family had ever known - until one dayI bring a daughter here, or if she's not in the divine plan; when I've trained one of my nieces - all of whom have the innate gift and certainly the wisdom.

I grew up surrounded on all sides by a perimeter of concrete jungle and ghetto heaven, but with the safe haven of the Holly Wood Hills all around me whenever I lay my head down to sleep. Instead of roaches and rats, it was scorpions, snakes, deer and coyotes.

My poverty was a paradise five days a week at home with my Mother, at least when comparedto the two torturous ones spend trapped in an opulent castle with an evil and dastardly villain - my Father - and his minion-slash-childbride, my wicked stepmonster.

No one ever got the story straight, but regardless my first memory is in the second house, the one on Lookout Mountain Avenue, in the bathrooom looking up as my father strikes my mother, she falls back toward me, and I fly back until the back of my head meets the cold porcelain of the bathtub.

While not the reason for his eventual departure and the obvious divorce proceedings, nor my mother's becoming so tired that she one day boiled a teakettle - lucky for him he awoke just as she was beginning to pour the scalding water into his ear canal...the memory stands alone.

Less than 18 years later, in that same bathroom in the morning dressing for school as my mother's new boyfriend beat her relentlessly in my brother's bedroom just five feet away, I again heard the sounds of a man's fist meeting my mother's face.

She knew that my gang friends would eventually remove the boyfriend by force, and if they didn't do it my play-brother would; so instead she chose. After trying to get through the locked door I'd left for school, only to be called into the office out of class once I got there to learn I'd suddenly become a homeless teenager whose only belongings in the world were now in trash bags in front of 8706 Lookout Mountain Aveue.

There are trillions of pieces to the puzzle of my life, and I'm a mere 32 years old. Since I never imagined I'd live to see 18, this is quite the accomplishment already. And I've only just begun to heat my many irons in the fire. These words are the only sword I'll draw, the only gun I'll load ammo into, cock, and let off. Nowadays.

Story of my life, how heaven must be missing an Angel. The only explanation I have, I learned from Teena Marie and Rick James - HERE I AM, YOU'RE PASSING HOLOCAUST...SCHOOLED IN VENICE, HARLEM, IT'S SO SWEET, THE SOUR SAUCE...I TOSS MY HEAD UP TO THE SILVER SKY, AND THEN I SIGH...LOOK AT ALL THE BLESSINGS IN MY LIFE.


(And that's not even Chapter I)

- Miranda Jane, fresh for '06 U sukkas.