Rejuvenation: A Poem, a Brujeria Bath, a Fat Lip and Avatar

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

“When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true.”

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Its 2010 People

O-9 is in the rearview – old school like moon shine

Get on your grind cuz I’mma get on mine

The present is a present, a gift that is divine

It’s not just another year it’s another decade

The future will be as bright or as bleak as you envision it to be

Tomorrow is always a day away and yesterday is but a memory

Now is the new black

In an ever-expanding universe limits are illusions

A habit of looking back will stop you from moving forward

Paradigm shift is the order of the day

Evolve or become obsolete

It’s now or never – shift or get off the pot

Supernatural selection – Darwin with a vengeance

Succeed or succumb – irrespective of circumstances

Use what you got to get what you want

Excellence is a choice that is yours to make

That poem was written almost 2 years ago, on December 30th 2009 to be exact. At that point in my life, I sensed that I was due for an awakening. I felt that even though I made a decent living and was raising, clothing, feeding and supporting my family, that there was more to life. For someone who came up on a rough block in Washington Heights and saw so many of my childhood friends end up either in jail, on the run, killed or in dead end jobs, I could already be considered a success. I am a self-taught professional, I owned a piece of property and more importantly, I had aspirations of make of a living from my writing, editing and entrepreneurship. For the longest time, I had nurtured a vision of my life that would transcend a day job. One where, I could make a living from being creative full-time, the problem was that it was just a vision – it needed action and elbow grease. Little did I know then, that it would also take blood? But I digress.

I didn’t so much write the poem as it virtually poured forth out of me, completely formed. I went into a trance like state and I just wrote. After it had exited my soul, I read it aloud. Better yet I declared it. The act of writing it and then reciting it, set the whole metamorphosis in motion. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, the rejuvenation was in progress.

The next day, New Year’s Eve 2009, I did something I had been doing the last few years in a row on New Years Eve. It is what I like to call my spiritual brujeria bath. No, I am not into Santeria or any of the other Afro-Caribbean religions but the spiritual bath is something that survived the middle passage and made it’s way to the Dominican Republic via Africa. My mother-in-law suggested it a few years back and I had been doing them ever since, to mark the start of a new year. I figured it couldn’t hurt.

The bath is actually a two-step process. First and foremost, you have to purchase the necessary ingredients from a botanica, plants and herbs such as Abre Camino, Ruda, and Yerba Buena among others. Don’t worry, you can go to any local botanica and tell them what you are looking for in terms of prosperity, love or revenge (lol) and they can tell you what you need. I basically buy the ingredients and my mother-in-law prepares them by boiling and combining the herbs into 2 separate batches. The first batch, which is for the removal of bad energy and the second batch, that is for attracting the good into your life. Okay, I know it sounds odd but it is what it is.

Anyway, so the point of the brujeria bath is to really get into it. To believe with every iota of your being that the act you’re performing is re-writing your destiny and discharging all the negative vibes in your life. It helps to have a concrete vision of the things that you desire. This particular year, for me it was different, I was really focused on my career as a writer and I really felt that it was now or never for my dreams. I worked myself into a veritable lather. After I had finished, I felt that something had changed.

The very next day, January 1 2010, I woke up with a plan. I went online early and purchased tickets to watch Avatar in Imax 3-D. I figured watching such an awe-inspiring movie on the first day of the year would be just the ticket to get the creative juices flowing. A little before I was set to go, I went and sparked some high-grade to enhance the experience. And that is where this story takes a divergent path then expected.

After finishing up my nefarious activities, I was kind of in a hurry to get to the movies. In my haste and highness, I tripped and ended up smashing face first into the weight bench that I owned but hardly used. While it didn’t knock me out cold, it hurt like hell and split my lip in two. You could actually see right through a part of my lip. Luckily, I didn’t lose a tooth. Okay, so now Avatar was out of the question and I was on my way to the Emergency Room. I would spend the better part of the first day of the New Year in that Emergency Room. I emerged with 40 stitches to my lip and a realization that I had to change my life. It was not enough to dream but I now had to bleed, sweat and cry for the things I wanted in my life. It was no longer an option to sit back and ponder; I had to take concrete steps to actualize my aspirations. I also came to the conclusion that I was on the right path, that my accident was a blessing and that it is not about happens to you but how you deal with it that is important. The rejuvenation had begun in earnest and I was on the verge of becoming the change that I wanted in my life.


February 1, 2010, I began my tenure as the Editor-in-Chief of the Uptown Collective and as far as creativity goes, this was one of my best years ever. This site has become the definitive portal for Washington Heights and Inwood and we are just now realizing how big this thing is. It is just the veritable tip of the iceberg. The Uptown Collective is becoming this cultural behemoth that has tentacles throughout this neighborhood. Our ever-growing army of paradigm-shifters is helping to transform the cultural, social, political and business landscape of this neighborhood. As we sit here a few months away from 2012, I can confidently say that we are Uptown online. We are the voice of this neighborhood. The future is ours to shape. Spread love it’s the Uptown way!!!

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at


2 thoughts on “Rejuvenation: A Poem, a Brujeria Bath, a Fat Lip and Avatar

  1. Wow! very well put. I am a fan of Uptown Collective because it gives light to so many things that go on in the neighborhoods that so many of us who live here are unaware of.
    By the way, this piece is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Feeling at a crossroads myself.

    • Hey Liz, thanks for the comment. You are actually the first person to post a comment on my personal site. Sometimes we have to go through things in order to grow. There is a lot of power in being at a crossroads. I realized with my personal situation that I had to OWN my dreams. If I wanted change in my life, I had to make it happen. I am glad that this post helped you out.


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