Thursday, August 28, 2014

Untitled

These are the poems I performed at the 25 year anniversary of The World Stage. They are both old poems I reworked and blended with other poems. I did not give new titles to either one.

I know the world will not slow down
No matter how fiercely I stretch my fists to the sun

I know the fire next time is now
I know that all the babies are mine
That we are all homeless
If one is sleeping on the street

I know that I come from a people
Who will out walk a lie on broken toes
Who will fight back beyond the very end

And I know how to pray
I know that I am always praying
No matter the words you think you hear
I am always in conversation with Spirit

We converse like two old women
On a Mississippi wooden porch
Chipped paint
Head scarves
Sweet tea
Dogs barking at strangers
Flies at our feet
I know God like that
Don't you

I know there are moments
We have to decide to be as beautiful
As we really are

Because being beautiful is a decision
Kindness is a decision
Poetry is a decision
Getting out of bed is a decision
Love is a decision

I know that we are resilient
And fragile
And broken
And weak
And fabulous

I know that we are the strongest
Fragile, broken, weak, fabulous
History has known

I know that we are a denim people
Who clean up well in the wash
Who are focused and afraid

I know that we have swallowed
Our voices and fear and rage and joy
Long enough

I know that we do not fit in or out
That we are heavily hued and magical
Textured and raw
That we are roar and whisper and breathy
And intuition and fire

That we are body people
Drumming and bass people
Wood and sand
Flame and chocolate of all these hues

And I know the bravery it takes to hang on to hope

I know I will take my last breath one day
This is not an if
Before I do I'm gonna tell these stories
So shut up in my bones
I drag around like wet towels
Sopping up tears my grandmother's mother's mother
Passed down

Stories that come to me in the night
From folks I don't know
Ain't got nothin' to do with me
Except they know I know
How to get a prayer through
And a story straight

I know the further we separate ourselves from each other
Is the further we separate ourselves from ourselves
You think I don't know my own face when I see it
You think I ain't walking around on your feet
With your hands and thighs

Those are my knees and teeth
These are your lips and lungs
I know that we are all one

What does it matter
All this good I have
If heavy on your mind so muddy
You can't inhale longer than you blink
What good are fancy dresses and red bottom shoes
If they 'bout to cut off her father's feet

I know sometimes the clouds get low
I know there are days I feel stuck in a mass of
Sadness and fear and anxiety
Suduku my brain so math
I forget the numbers to dial

But I know how to reach
I know how to be still
I know how to rock and sing
I know how to cry
I know how to remember
How good God's been to me

I know how to wave hand
I know how to give thanks
I know how to close eyes
I know how to know that clouds pass

I know ain't none of this easy
So I know how to give you me
When clouds come to you

I know therapy sessions
Should be held at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
Over grits and eggs and fish
Prayed over by a greasy hand man
With a handkerchief cross his forehead
I know that

I know food ain't free
But I know how to cut mine in four
So we can all eat
I know it's up to you
I know it's up to me

I know I am learning how to forgive
I know that forgiveness does not mean
Stories won't rise
But I know how to let them out
The same one by one way they got in there

I know that we are wonderful
I know that we forget how wonderful we are
I know how to remember
The next time I do
I know to open my eyes
And look right into you




Poem 2:

I will be for love today
For honoring freedom
Honoring lives

For gospel and jazz
For rhythm and soul
For moans from the bottom of my belly
Hand claps and hallelujah

Living just one life
Through many incarnations
And the sanctified souls who hold my head
Will not ever allow me to forget
The lessons of my past

Drum, drum
Thump, thump
Ooh baby, baby ooh

But when I don't remember
And am pulled into the drama
Of my bygone

The great grandmother of my angel
A crackled black blue spirit
Gently sticks me with her crown
And I scream ouch
Don't poke me like that

I will lay my blues to rest today
Swear never pick them up again
Except to remind tomorrow
The hours that I fell
How I got this scar
And why some
Say all the right words
Graduate from all the right schools
But only get so far

Drum, drum
Thump, thump
Ooh baby, ooh baby

From today
Not the contents of my wallet
Or weight
Not my relationship status or work
My circumstances shall not decide my worth
I am flawless

Gaining understanding new on my journey
At every turn

I began in the mind of God
Who is beginningless
So I too am without a start

The angels up in heaven
The stars in the sky know it's true
So if you don't too
Then you are in the few
Because I am all right
With me

With freckles
Thick thighs
Nappy hair and big feet
And the grown woman way
My breasts hang and bottom pokes a little

I am more than woman
More than stories and poems
Than black and painter
I am more than water and daughter

I am drum hands
Pat, pat, pat
I am music toes
Tap, tap, tap
I am smile on my face
And focus on my brow
I am head side to side
I am mamas and babas speak through me
Do you know how Higgins I am

I am not just chest and blood
And bones and flesh

I am that I am
As all of you are me too
And I am you

So what is it to be
Christian or Catholic
Jewish or Muslim
Science of Mind or Bahai

It doesn't even matter
That some do not recognize the
Awesome outstanding of The Most High

My religion is truth
So don't ask me what I am
It should only be important to you
That I exist at all

So I ask
If all the things around you
Should quickly fade away
Who would you believe in
What would you stand for
Today
I had a conversation with a substitute teacher today who told me that there was a recent plot of a group of high school Pasadena students to kill as many students as they could. Thankfully the plan was foiled because a student told. I really didn't need to hear that. Well, not so much that I didn't need to hear it as I really hate that that's the world in which we live. As a parent, educator and human being it tears my heart even more.

Kamasi Washington and The Next Step at the 25 year anniversary of The World Stage at The Ford Amphitheater


So I haven't, in too long, posted any poems on this blog. Like maybe two weeks or something. But I'm fixing that soon. Like maybe some time tonight. Maybe.

Vanessa Ayala at The World Stage


Friday, August 15, 2014

Everything feels like a lot today. Showering feels like a lot. Brushing my teeth feels like a lot. Eating feels like a lot. Checking my email is for sure a lot. Making my bed is a lot. Conversing with my son is not a lot. It brings me joy. Thankfully we had the opportunity all day today. My body feels heavy. How am I going to recite poetry at this birthday party tomorrow when I can't even talk myself into a change of clothes today? I don't know how but somehow. Somehow. Thinking about what I'm going to wear tomorrow is a lot. Listening to the noise outside is a lot. Not being able to explain a lot is a lot.
sinking

A diamante poem a day for August 2014 - day 15 - Fix

                                                  Fix
                                             this hurt
                                        so I can breathe
                                   please assist my breathing
                                        feel stuck now
                                             I can't 
                                                 so