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I’m Just an Old Dude Trying to feel the Vibe

December 15th, 2009
By Harry Crouch
Article Source
Posted in Harry Crouch, Stuff, Uncategorized, discrimination against men

As an invited group co-facilitator I attended the San Diego African American Male Intergenerational Conference in June of 2009. My memory seems worse with age but shaking it conjures up images of me being the only white male in attendance. Reception was mixed with generally welcoming and open arms countered with occasional vibes of suspicion if not disdain. Suspicion surrounded me at lunch though older men with whom I sat soon recounted parts of their lives seemingly millions of miles from any reality known to me. One man long retired from the Army early in his career worked the fields during the Second World War and recalled ill treatment, steamy weather, bad food, long hours and stifling hot housing. Across the way were housed German prisoners of war who were pampered, not required to work, lounged in the shade day to day, had three squares of decent food , and around the clock air-conditioned housing. Many at the conference like that retired soldier touched my heart including the vibes from one old Dude, Ernie McCray, who read aloud his poignant poem below. Mr. McCray is a retired educator, author, and human rights activist. He gave me permission to publish his “Old Dude” poem and I uploaded it into this blog shortly thereafter. Since then I have posted a number of things but not the poem. Each time I come here to post something there it sat with its title patiently waiting as if challenging me to hit the post button. I really have no idea why its taken me this long to post it, I wonder about that each time I come here and see “I’m Just an Old Dude Trying to feel the Vibe” above the “Title” box in WordPress reminding then challenging me to post the poem. Every so often I re read it then tuck it away again like its somehow a part of me; and, so it has become. No matter, agreeable proddings somewhere within say it is time to share. I hope it becomes a part of you too…

I’m Just an Old Dude Trying to feel the Vibe


Ernie McCray

One day,


a bunch of stuff away,

I started

flipping pages

in an old

copy of VIBE,

a magazine

to which

I used to subscribe.

And that’s a fact

I would never try to hide


I’m just

an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe.

On the cover

there sits Lil Wayne

looking like he

ain’t feeling no pain

and there’s a little of

urrrrbody in Hip Hop inside.

Young millionaires

on incredible rides:

Wyclef Jean

hugging his baby;


doing his Shady;

Queen Latifah posing

in her natural hue;

“Flavor! Flav!” clowning

as only he can do;

Piddy selling fragrances

wearing a Sean John face;

like the baddest flyest dude

in the whole human race.

Images flashing like crazy

like rap lines spit out by Jay-Z.

Fingers signing every which a way.

eyes droopy and hazy.

Common looking serious

as a heart attack.

Chris Brown doing Michael Jackson

like there ain’t nothing to that.

Jermaine Dupri claiming he “Ain’t gettin’ no respect”

like Rodney Dangerfield.

Somebody’s looking

for the “real” Lauryn Hill.

There’s Ayo, Gorilla Zoe,

and Kilo: “Elbows up , side to side” - leaning like a cholo.

Chamillionaire hyping

Chamilitary Radio.

A word or two about Mario

and a letter or two about Obama,

who had been on the cover

a couple of months befo’,

barely passed the get go

in taking on

the status quo.

And there was T-I and T-Pain and

a whole bunch of other T’s,

it seemed to me,

followed by the DEY the Fugees

and the Black Eyed Peas.

And I kind of semi-read just about

every word written inside,

again cuz:

I’m just

an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe.

But it was dizzying trying to

keep up with all the images in that VIBE.

I mean my emotions

commenced to swirling and rushing

and stirring inside me

like crashing waves at high tide,



on a

roller coaster ride.

I mean, .

as I pondered

all I had

shuffled through,

I wondered if I saw a

a single soul without a tattoo;

if I saw a smile

or a sunny mood

or any mood

without a gangsta attitude.

Looked like urrrrrbody

had put some

snarling enhancement drugs

in they food!

And, with all

I had just viewed,

there came some

quasi-scary feelings

that couldn’t be subdued:

feelings that can’t be denied;

feelings born from

knowing it’s a Hip-Hop World

in which I reside,

and knowing that the Hip-Hop Beat


World Wide.

I mean, hey, people

be wearing they long T’s

and they mile-wide trousers

down below they knees

World Wide.

Caps be on backwards

World Wide.

Dudes and Shortys calling

each other Niggaz

in just about every tongue in existence

World Wide.

Blinding bling?

Grilled teeth?

Fingers splayed


World Wide.


“You unnerstan’ what ah’m sayin?”

over and over again?

World Wide.

Grabbing the crotch

like it

stole something?

World Wide.

Lawd! Lawd!

Somebody help me understand

before I become

tongue tied.

Somebody give me some hope

before I take my last ride.


I’m just

an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe.

And here’s

a little aside.

One of the letters

about Obama

inside that month’s VIBE

issued this cry:


And, hey, that writer ain’t never lied.

And if the change Obama,

who now lives in that big White House

in Washington D.C.,

has prophysized

is ever to truly be realized,

then the Hip-Hop World,

based on some of the sad tales

of hood life

I’ve read about in VIBE

might need to try a

few new thoughts on for size.

Yeah, that just might be wise,

considering so many of our

young folks are carrying AK’s

and taking other young folk’s lives;

considering that there

are a few too many

baby daddies

seeking pleasure

just for pleasure’s sake

all day and all night

and baby mamas

dropping little ones

sometimes out of spite,

sometimes even knowing the dude

ain’t ever gonna act right;

considering that too many of our children be shucking and jiving about how “getting good grades is trying to act white”; Lawd knows that ain’t right; considering that everytime we look up some superjock in the NBA and the NFL, heroes our children hail, are being hauled off to the local jail, packing heat - sweating so much courvoisier doing the rub a dub dub with all the hotties at the club that they can’t pass the DUI inspection on their own two feet; considering that way more than a fair share of our kids have been shipped off to Afghanistan and Iraq, returning home seething and desperately needing some kind of debriefing, not too mention those who come back not breathing -

Oh, it just might be wise,

with all these

factors in our lives,

for our singers

and our rappers to make rhymes

that inspire our children’s lives;

rhymes about

how they might enrich their lives

beyond their wildest dreams

and come upon better days

if they learned to view the world

in more positive

life affirming ways;

rhymes about

how beauty

is sometimes as close

as a sunset

or a sunrise;

less rhymes

about “playas”

and the glorification of

drugs being used and abused

and more rhymes

about the freedom fighters

of yesterday

who paid the heaviest of dues

so we wouldn’t have to

walk in their shoes;

less rhymes

about our troubles and woes

and our booty shaking

bitches and ho’s,

and more lines

about all the mothers

and grannies

and nieces and sisters

and aunties

who are out here everyday

contributing mightily

to their families

and to the uplifting of our communities.


I’m just

an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe,

knowing that

the children

are trying to feel it too

deep down inside

and that makes me wish

upon a star

that our wordsmiths

whomever they are,

seen by our children

as gods

way up high -

I just wish they

would give it the old college try,

when they show up on


or VH1,

or MTV

or BET,

to do something

that’s truly fly:

Sing the children

love songs;

Sing them to them ever so softly;

Sing them to them ever so tenderly;

Sing them to them ever so sincerely;

and soulfully

and frequently

and so lyrically

that they can’t help but dream dreams

with their eyes opened wide,

dreams that enable them to realize

that they can rise above

the troubles in their lives

and not only survive

but thrive.

Oh, they could grow

to mesmerize

the world,

today’s little

boys and girls.

That’s the vibe

I’m trying to feel,

the vibe that has eluded me

for a lifetime,

the vibe that

has to resonate

if there’s ever to be

the good times.

And there could be no better time

than these times

to create a world

that has both

reason and rhyme.

Because the Planet Earth,

when we look around,

is running out of time.

But if the Hip-Hoppers,

with their words and beats

in four/four time,

help the children view their minds

as something truly divine,

rich resources

to be mined

for answers

to all the dreams

of love

and peace

that have been

deferred or denied

to humankind

throughout time -

well, if we start on this venture,

in this very moment,

we might just be

in the nick of time.

And, as for me,

I’ve written these words

in a spirit of hope

but I haven’t lost touch

with reality.

My emotions still

swirl and rush

and stir inside me

like crashing waves at high tide,




roller coaster ride.

I won’t live to see

what I yearn to see

but, you see,

I’ll appreciate

whatever progress

unfolds before me

down to the puniest degree.


I guess

I’m now


an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe,

no matter

how intense it is

or how great its size.

Just let me

feel a vibe

with any amount of upside

that could make

the world

feel good inside.

That would

be some kind of vibe.

I’m just

an old dude

trying to

feel the vibe.


Harry Crouch

California Men’s Centers

National  Coalition For Men

932 C Street, Suite B

San Diego, CA 92101


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By Harry Crouch
Article Source
Posted in Harry Crouch, Stuff

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Harry Crouch
California Men’s Centers
National Coalition For Men
932 C Street, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101

Join NCFM on facebook - and pass it around so others can join too!

Dedicated to men, their families, children, and the women that love them

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