When A Black Man Loves - a romantic journey

First off, I am a native son of Philadelphia, PA. My mother gave me the wonderful name that I have, which is Zachary Marcus Cesare (pronounced Chez-uh-ray) Harris.

I have been likened to somewhat of an urban Ernest Hemingway, having had a lot of diverse experiences ranging from the arts being a musician, an artist, and a photographer to the applied sciences and other technical areas. My mother always said that I was a jack of all trades and master of none, but in the past twenty years, having a varied set of skills and being able to relate things learned in one area or discipline to those of another have kept the money coming in.

It usually takes a long time to really know me and find out for oneself but on the other side I am upfront and honest; usually too honest for my own good. One thing that can be easily said, and agreed upon by many, is that you're not going to come away with a lukewarm opinion of me; whether you like me or not like me, it won't be a tepid response.

I grew up in West Philadelphia, in a section called Wynnefield from around when I was born until just under fourteen years of age; in 1984 we would move to the University City section of West Philly. Oh, and when you see the opening on The Fresh Price of Bel Air, I actually used to play at the basketball courts where his chracter gets beat up. I grew up with my mother and my older half-sister. As a child, most of my time was divided between my academic pursuits (bookworm) and playing with friends, if not spending time with my grandfather [on my father's side].   However, my sister and I would sometimes spend weekends with her grandparents and uncles whose house was less than three blocks away from that of my paternal grandmother.

While my father was rarely there in my life, I did have several other positive male role models in my life. Usually, they were the fathers of friends, or even bachelors who I wound up just having great intellectual conversations with (my buddy Frank Gihan will laugh and smile on this one). One such person, Mr. Jerry, lived across the street from me and taught me how to play chess around my ninth birthday (unfortunately, I would learn years later that he had become addicted to crack and somewhere down the line is no longer with us). And at one point in time, my mother had a wonderful boyfriend named Harry Butler who was a merchant seaman; he had a wonderful personality and left this world much too soon. The jokes he could tell, the stories he could regale you with, and the different dishes he would cook were wonderful. He used to take me with him when he was visitng friends and relatives, so I got introduced to a colorful assortment of characters. I also used to hang with my neighbors Butchie and Ricky and their friends, and being that they were on average three to four years older than me, in some ways it was like having a bunch of older brothers. However, I discovered at times that these guys also had very immature and misogynistic attitudes towards women; luckily I didn't pick up on, nor embrace, these thoughts and behaviors.

While I was young, I was more interested in knowledge than women, so those lessons [and opinions that many of them had] never were brought up nor passed on. I did, however, learn how men could mistreat women by seeing the things that my sister and her friends went through. Since mom worked a lot, my sister was tasked with babysitting me; this meant hearing all of the dialogues of her and her girlfriends in regards to men and relationships. I also used to hang with guys older than myself, who

I attended public schools (it's not so bad) and choose to be bussed out to a middle school in a predominantly white neighborhood.  For high school I attended a magnet school, the George Washington Carver High School for Engineering & Science.  From there, the military and college.

I guess when you get right down to it, it would behove me to say something about myself romantically, so you know it's not just any person writing a book who knows completely nothing about love or women. Believe it or not, I am chuckling right now thinking of another author's book which is supposed to be a guide for the single man; if you knew him, you'd get the joke. Me, I have loved a lot in my life, but nothing really worked out in the end, much of which I thank God for now that time has gone by and I have come across the paths of some of those women. The original book itself was split into sections, and each section dealt with a different romantic part of my life during the total of eleven years that it spanned. This including: wanting, heartbreaks, good times, and moving on. Luckily, two of the women who were the reason each for a different section contributed their own thoughts to the book, so instead of me saying something, I will reveal what each one said.

Zach and I were introduced about five years ago through a former co-worker of mine. She knew that we were both into music and thought we should meet. At the time I was learning some African music and learning to play African percussion. It was a brief encounter, however in that little time I was impressed by his knowledge of several African percussion instruments. Zach and I would continue little conversations from time to time in the office or during lunch. I found him to be very easy to talk to and quite humorous at times. I also found that if I was struggling with something in particular he had a way of getting to the very root of the subject matter and shedding new light or resolving it within the blink of an eye. You see that reveals something about his character. He definitely takes the "im" out of impossible and is willing to give $110% to getting something done.

To Love Zach:
As the song goes" To Know You Is To Love You". Well, I must say you do have to get to know him (if he permits you to)to really appreciate his goodness. I know of several people (myself included) upon first meeting him probably wonder "Who the Hell Does He Thinks He Is" only to, at a later date become captivated by this charm. He does have a way of keeping you at bay until he figures out your true intent. There aren't many that are close to him but the ones that are knows that he would do practically anything to keep you out of harm's way.

Why do I love Zach?
First, because of his honesty. There are no guessing games with him. He will tell you exactly what's on his mind even if it does sting at times. There are so many different sides to this brother that tends to keep my interest. His intellect keeps me impressed. He is very serious about life and what he wants to accomplish. There is the funny side of him that keeps a smile on my face. Then there is the romantic side. I won't go into detail because I don't believe in advertising the goods(smile). Let me just say that there is a lot of passion wrapped up in that "Leo" and he loves to cuddle.

To Be Loved By Zach:
Zach makes his presence known and his love felt. He is very giving. He shows his affection not only in the traditional way of flowers, long romantic walks candy, and etc but he feels that he would be far more valuable to you by helping you realize and manifest your highest potential.

Etta Purcell - Phase V: The "Gitback" Section

Chapter 1 - Zachary Harris The Attraction: Strong, Sensitive, Smart and Sexy

A. Strength

That is the attraction. You come across as not only strong physically, but strong in your spirit and in your soul. A strength that is not measured by things you own, but by who you are and who've become. A strength that is actually more important to most women than even, believe it or not, a man's bank account.

B. Sensitive

A man who will write poetry, bring you flowers and give you a massage!!!!! The attraction elevates to a whole new level. The idea of cloning crosses your mind for a moment that all of your sisters should be able to share this aspect of man RARELY if ever seen by woman.

C. Smart

Someone who actually can speak and you aren't saying to yourself "what an idiot!!!"

D. Sexy

That needs no explanation.

Chapter 2 - Zachary Harris The Lover

I once told my sister that someday you will make some woman incredibly happy. I am speaking only from my own point of view. I believe that as you get older and mellower, your strength and sensitivity will combine in such a way that you will be the essence of what a woman wants and will complement her in every aspect of her life. I have come to realize that we as women too often seek validation from our men. Whether we grew up with a man in our household or not. I was a addy's girl and no matter what, I was always Daddy's girl. Regardless of how I wore my hair, regardless of what style of clothing I chose to wear; whether I was fat, thin, short, tall, I was Daddy's girl. I distinctly remember my mother and father having an intense discussion about straightening our hair. My father was totally against it. Renee and I have always had a head full of hair and we wanted it straightened so combing wouldn't be such a challenge for mom or for us. Dad let us have our way and we were still his girls.

Karen Moore - the reason for chapter three of the book

What I am is both the product of failures and successes; like they say, you learn more from failure than success and honestly it is because of some things not working out that I developed into the person I am today. I can say that at least in two major instances in my life, I was that guy who when you turned left and right and saw who was on either side of you, wasn't the person who completed the program. But sometimes, you have to be brought down in order to rise.

I am a person who inspires others and is willing to challenge people. I am a romantic who still yearns for the ultimate in a woman. While there is a lot more that could be said, the simplest is to say that I am person who hasn't given up. In some things, I have taken a quick sabbatical but I am coming back and catching a second wind. God-willing, this will not only reinvigorate me, but any and all profits can not only pay off debts, but also back some dreams of mine and some dreams of others. My current moves involve my own wine and food television shows, my own wine label and my own creative agency focused on the wine and spirits industry.

What I can say is that I am thankful for all of the experiences that I have had; good, bad or irrelant. I am thankful for all of the people who have come into my life, whether friends, lovers, and even enemies. One thing about me is my ability to make friends, if not build new bridges easily.

True story: my buddy Al (Chef Al Paris, also a Leo like me and most interestingly shares the same birthday with my paternal grandmother -- a woman who I didn't get close with until probably the last year of her life) had two restaurants and he was having an election party at one of them. This was the first time President Obama got elected. So, I stop down and bring with me a bottle of Amarone and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Well, one of the patrons there was "connected" and his last name ends in a vowel. As the manager/bartender knew me, and I shared some with them, and a couple other people at the event, he remarked, "a Black man with a Blue Label, Al your friend has class." He actually always refers to me as Mr. Blue.

For me, life is a wonderful journey, and there is nothing better than good times with good people, great conversation and even better wines [and Grappa] to enjoy it with. The only thing that makes it better is great song and someone special to share it with. I continually look back and am thankful for all of the sacrifices that my mother did for my personal happiness; she didn't have much, but we never wore tattered or dirty clothing and never missed a meal, nor had to have a "questionable" meal either. She also does make a mean shrimp fried rice!

That's it. May you enjoy the book and support me, and hopefully I can support you and/or yours as well.