He Is My Man; Bob’s Southern Bistro; NaNoWriMo 13

While going through papers today, I found the following poem from a series that I add to from time to time called “Songs Somebody Should Sing.”  Last year, a blues song/poem from this series was mounted in City Hall after I was selected for the Mayor’s Prose and Poetry contest.

It’s funny, when I was in my teens and early twenties, I wrote poetry pretty much exclusively.  Then I switched to stories and children’s text.  In the past six years or so, poems and lyrics have come to me intermittently.  Sometimes I actually get them written.

He Is My Man
copyright 2005 by Candelaria N. Silva

He is my man
you’ll understand
there was no plan
He is my man.

He is the sun
we’re having fun
no need to run
He is my man.

He fills the day
what  more to say
it’s all okay
He is my man.

He is my song
it took so long
there’s nothing wrong
He is my man.

He rules the night
it feels so right
we’re hanging tight
He is my man.

He has a voice
gives me no choice
you’ve heard of course.
He is my man.


Enough gushing.  (I can hear you thinking that.)

Other quick stuff:
I was  sad to hear that Bob’s Southern Bistro is closing at the end of November.  This is one of the last Black-owned restaurants in the neighborhood.  (Thank, God and the Walcotts, that Wally’s is still going strong.)  With the purchasing of Bob’s a major force of Black culture in Boston is gone and the presence of Blacks in the Lower Roxbury/South End neighborhood is slowly being erased. While the churches are holding on strong and many of the artists left in the Piano Factory are very active in programming the gallery, Black-owned entertainment establishments are nearly extinct.

About four years ago, I had an intern from Florida working on the Roxbury Film Festival.  She wanted to go have some soul food.  We went to Bob’s (not sure if it was still Bob the Chef’s or had been changed to Bob’s Southern Bistro).  We ordered food and it was pretty good.  A few bites in to the meal, she looked at me and said, “I thought  you said this was a Black restaurant.”  “It is,” I replied.  “But we’re the only Black people in here,” she said.  I looked around and it was true.  There was a lone Black waiter on the wait staff.  A lot of Black people I know who used to go there in  the old days of the “surly/nice and slow” waitresses, stopped going pretty soon after the changes began to settle in.  Fairly or unfairly, Bob’s just wasn’t speaking to them any more.  By accident or design, a lot of the clientèle became white.  And I won’t mention here an unfortunate incident involving Billy Dee Williams and the Roxbury Film Festival.  Oops…I mentioned it.  I won’t go into detail.

The owner of Bob’s has the right to do whatever he wants to with his restaurant – and he did… like change the atmosphere from family-friendly, to more couples, singles, small groups; he changed the decor; he eliminated lunch in the restaurant (except for a small take-out counter).  In all of that, some of the soulfulness of the place was lost.  This got to thinking about all the Irish-owned places in Greater Boston that I’ve been to.  While some of them welcome everybody and have become quite multicultural, they never change their Irishness.  They are who they are, and if you want some food there, you accept them as they are – with their Irishness on proud display.  Sylvia’s Soul Food and several of the spots I’ve been to in NY, Chi-town, DC, Charlotte and my hometown, the ‘Lou have significant white clientèle but not at the expense of Black patrons or offering a Black American soul food experience.  No other soul food restaurants here have the space or atmosphere that Bob’s did.  This is a real lost for the Black community especially.  Sometimes you just want to get your comfort food in a nice setting with the rhythm of other Black people.  I guess it’ll have to be forays through Slade’s when I want to get my soul food grub on but don’t want to cook.

NaNoWriMo (This is short for National Novel Writing Month.)  It started today.  Thousands of writers around the world commit the month of November to write 1500 words a day so that by the end of the month they have a 50,000 word novel.  I’ve been trying to upload my writing for today but am having no luck.  I will persevere, however.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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13 thoughts on “He Is My Man; Bob’s Southern Bistro; NaNoWriMo

  • cheryl j

    Hey there,
    I’m not much of a blog participant but had to comment about Bob the Chef (a throwback to the ’70s). Coming to Boston from DC was culture shock for me. Bob’s was my “safe haven.” I truly loved that place. I particularly relished the wait staff with their consistently surly attitudes. It’s how we do… Great blog, Candi (another throwback to the ’70s). Peace,

  • Rachel

    Greetings, I so enjoyed your writing and connected to it. I am going to continue with it and just started your essay which resonated. Look forward to sharing your journey. Great and thoughtful site…you are a creative writer with great insight wisdom and wit!

    Best regards,

  • Haywood Fennell

    I read a lot of “social comment” that needed to be said in the Bob’s Bistro piece and I just think it is so important that WE have places that reflect our heritage, neck bones, butter beans, okra and all that good stuff that many of us ate until we became “up scale.’Thanks for writing about it and I hope it sparks folks to remember our greatness of having our own and get back on track. Long live the sweet potato pie!

  • dayenne

    #1 This blog is a really big deal, OK? I’m emailing the url to all my best friends.

    #2 on the one side i’m happy to have gotten a last sweet potato pie out of the kitchen. and it was actually cooked all the way through — it wasn’t the kitchen’s crust, the potato may not have been from scratch, but it was a pie that i would have been proud to set on a table and say, i made this for you. correction: i actually bought 2, and gave one away. woe.
    i think that a major problem with bob’s was the connection between the kitchen and the customer was pretty tenuous. sometimes they hit a home run though. don’t get me started on the (horrible) peach cobbler i got out of there last year. or the half-done macaroni/cheese. any way. yay for the live jazz!

    #3 looks like bob’s owner is a partner in another restaurant with the owner of pho republique (which is a really good place btw)just down the street. i don’t know if the food’s any good (it is not another soul food place) (it’s pretty well publicized on the bsb website, if you’re interested) so i made a reservation (live jazz there too). let ya know what i find out, ok?

    #4 peace.

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