Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My conversation with Ann

I called Ann on Saturday because I had been thinking a lot about her and because I couldn't let the year end without talking to her. She asked how I was doing and I answered her honestly in the moment. "Angry, evil, mean, frustrated."

"Oh, great." She responded, in her soft breathy voice.

"Did you hear me?"

"Yes, Jaha. I love it. See, all the voices in your head deserve a voice." And she meant that. "When you only allow the peaceful voice to speak you are like a painting that's only yellow."

Now that's what I call a friend.

Handbook 2010 - email from Shirley

HANDBOOK 2010

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:
11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.. Instead
invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18.. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her
mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are
simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class
but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will.
Stay in touch.

Life:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cleaning house

Dust bunnies
Cobwebs
Clothes
Friends
Bridges

Memories
Magic
Yesterday

Clearing the space

For love

What goes around, comes around - an email sent from John

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.

"Leave me alone," he growled... To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.

"Are you hungry?" she asked.
"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president.. Now go away."

The woman's smile became even broader.

Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone.

Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked..

"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"

The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"
"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile."
"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.
"Let me go, officer. I didn't d o anything.."

"This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow it."
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.

The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked."What is all this, is this man in trouble?"

"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.
"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place.."

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"

"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."

"And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?"

"What business is that of yours?"

I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."

"Oh.."

The woman smiled again.. "I thought that might make a difference."

She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a laugh. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"

"No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."

"Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"

"Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."

The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.

"That was not my intent... Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this."

She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.

"Jack, do you remember me?"

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar."

"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."

"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

"I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment.. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I
saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."

Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."

"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right."

"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.

"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office."

She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always open to you."

There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he asked.

"Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. He led me to you."

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways.. "Thank you for your help officer," she said.

"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget, And thank you for the coffee."

Have a Wonderful Day. May God Bless You always and don't forget that when you "cast your bread upon the waters," you never know how it will be returned to you. God is so big He can cover the whole world with his Love and so small He can curl up inside your heart . . .

The power of one sentence! God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor. If you believe, send it. If you don't believe, delete it.

God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close..
If you need God to open some doors for you....send this on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wake up freestyle poem #234a

because human beings are funny fickle beings you know
remembering to remember what is missing
thinking about what we dont have
things that dont have anything to do with keeping
us alive
not really
all the bills all the cars all the toys all the clothes

this morning i am remembering to be thankful for you
releasing and letting go all of the junk i held onto
the words the anger the ego the fear
remembering to remind you that i understand the journey
on the path myself

not resisting the wee hours
dedicating them to prayer
to poetry
to being

free

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wake up freestyle poem #234

because waking up posting poetry is makes me feel good
and isnt life easier when you feel good
because i am unfolding to all the answers
because i am loving the folks in my life
because all of you are my lessons my blessings

and freestyle poems are always bad
and arent they supposed to be
and whats the point of writing just to write
poems just for poems
poetry is the point

releasing is the point
letting go is the point
forgiving is the point
life is the point
health is the point
living my life like its golden is the point
even if that is a line from jill scott

a good line is the point

love is the point

Good morning

Slept through the night, mostly. Was glad to wake up at 7:30 instead of pre crack of dawn. Time to leave Chicago. Work was a blessing and great learning experience. Spending time with Genevieve and her family (my family) was priceless.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Uraeus #13

The lesson is to breathe and keep breathing
To know that the answers are already there
To stay right in the moment
To use what God has already given you
To keep developing the idea
Keep moving forward
Keep visualizing
Keep seeing it bigger than it is
Keep taking the next small step
Keep smiling through it
Keep claiming the victory

Know that this is your lesson
This is your blessing
This is your choice
Keep God in it completely

Keep being a blessing to others
Stay on the path that God has laid out
Recognize God's voice when you hear it
Find your quiet place
Listen for instructions

There is only one you
You and God are the majority
You only need God's approval
You only need God's blessing

What looks like a problem is an opportunity
You will move beyond it
Always be in prayer

God is always with you
Trust that
Eat well
Drink water
Rest well

Love, Mom

Because

because this is a freestyle poem
on a sunday morning early
i did fall asleep
but i woke up
i always wake up
before i am sleep for too long
why
i dont know
i dont know

my mind is always busy
i am a virgo
what does that have to do with
the price of tea in china
like i really care
about prices and teas and china

because poems titled because are boring
but this is about you
because poems with the word because are boring
but this is not about poetry
this is about you

because this is not about you
because this is really about me
because i am growing and it is time
for the next level
because the next level is the test
you are the test
because you are the test

the question is whether or not
i am big enough to be bigger than
your pointing fingers
bigger than your mouth
bigger than your criticisms
bigger than your ego

the question is whether or not
i am strong enough to be silent
strong enough to stand still
faithful enough to know that
God has already handled
it all

Who/Why Me 5

My name is Jaha Zainabu.

My favorite color is red,
sky,
Lucy,
love.

I write poetry,
life,
trees,
me.

I am here because I have stories to tell,
words,
pictures,
paint.

Who/Why Me 4

My name is Jaha Zainabu.

My favorite color is red,
like sky,
like Lucy,
like love.

I write poetry,
about life,
about trees,
about me.

I am here because I have stories to tell,
with words,
with with pictures,
with paint.

Notice

Your complaint about me only tells me about you.

Notice

Every time you judge others, you find them guilty.

Horoscope

Virgo

A healing breakthrough is coming your way and you've done what you needed to do to prepare yourself to recognize it. You can spend years looking for remedies and failing, and then one simple change exposes how the cure was obvious and right in front of you all along.

Who/Why Me 3

My name is Jaha Zainabu.
My favorite color is red,
like sky,
like Lucy,
like love.
I write poetry.
I am here because I have stories to tell,
with words,
with pictures,
with paint.

Who/Why Me 2

My name is Jaha Zainabu.
My favorite color is red.
I write poetry.
I am here because I have stories to tell,
with words,
with pictures,
with paint.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why? When being up at 2am is more than a choice

why am i up watching pelham 123 for the millionth time?
why am i typing a why poem?
to fall asleep?
freestyle or rewrite?
plastic or paper?
married or single?
black or white?
how much money will i get on tues?
is the check in my mailbox?
find a new home for the dog?
sex or celibacy?
the book or a movie?
did i eat too much chicken tonight?
white wine or red?

am i crazy or not?
what is crazy?
how do you know?
does it matter?
go to bed or keep writing?
does it matter to anyone?

will tigers wife stay?
probably
is the grass greener anywhere?
is greener real?
whats the difference?
fate or choice?
is heaven on earth possible?
hell on earth?

how is john?
why is the check engine light on in my truck?
which poems will i do on tues?
how many books will i sell?
hair or bald?
red or black or gray?
foster?

will my period start tomorrow or what?
cramps or crying or crazies?
or what?
laugh or cry?

where do women tell the stories we need to tell
without black men getting so angry about them?
sometimes the bruises hurt worse than the roses smell good
so?
am i a bitter old woman because i remember?

nappy or straight?
green eyes or brown?
ginger ale or tylenol?
kiss or cuddle?

Order your copy of THE CORNERS OF MY SHAPING

www.poetcd.com

Horoscope

Virgo

Although you have high hopes about what you want to do this weekend, you might decide to cancel some of your plans so you can catch up on your rest. You could resist your normal tendency to make a list of what you want to accomplish because you believe it will give you more flexibility to relax. However, scheduling your activities is still a smart idea, for creating some structure will enable you to have more time to yourself.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who/Why Me

My name is Jaha Zainabu
My favorite color is red.
I write poetry.
I'm here because I have stories to tell.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My horoscope today

Virgo

You may be struggling with your own need to analyze your way through a crucial issue now, but your intellectual gymnastics may just be a way for you to maintain the illusion of control. Unfortunately, you could run into a wall if you are unwilling to consider information that comes to you through your imagination. Obstacles will be easier to overcome once you accept the importance of your dreams, even when they defy logic.

untitled by Rachel McKibbens

To my daughters, I need to say:

Go with the one who loves you biblically.

The one whose love lifts its head to you despite its broken neck.

Whose body bursts sixteen arms electric to carry you, gentle, the way
old grief is gentle.

Love the love that is messy in all its too much,

The body that rides best your body, whose mouth saddles the naked salt
of your far gone hips, whose tongue translates the rock language of
all your elegant scars.

Go with the one who cries out for his tragic sisters as he chops the winter’s wood, the one whose skin

Triggers your heart into a heaven of blood waltzes.

Go with the one who resembles most your father. Not the father you can
point out on a map,

But the father who is here. Is your home. Is the key to your front door. Know that your first love will only

Be the first. And the second and third and even fourth will unprepare you for the most important:

The Blessed. The Beast. The Last love. Which is, of course, the most terrifying kind.

Because which of us wants to go with what can murder us? Can reveal to us

Our true heart’s end and its thirty years spent in poverty?

Can mimic the sound of our birdthroated mothers, replicate the warmth of our brothers' tempers? Can pull us out of ourselves until

We are no longer sisters or daughters or sword swallowers but, instead,

Women. Who give. And lead. And take and want

And want

And want

And want

Because there is no shame in wanting.

And you will hear yourself say: Last Love, I wish to die so I may come back to you new and never tasted by any other mouth but yours.

And I want to be the hands that pull your children out of you and tuck them deep inside myself until they are

Ready to be the children of such a royal and staggering love. Or you
will say: Last Love,

I am old, and have spent myself on the courageless, have wasted too many clocks on less-deserving men, so I hurl myself

At the throne of you and lie humbly at your feet.

Last Love, let me never roll out of this heavy dream of you.

Let the day I was born mean my life will end where you end.

Let the man behind the church do what he did if it brings me to you.

Let the girls in the locker room corner me again if it brings me to you.

Let the wrong beds find me if it brings me to you.

Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves if it brings me to you.

Let me pronounce my hoarded joy if it brings me to you.

Let my father break me again and again if it brings me to you.

Last love, I let other men borrow your children. Forgive me.

Last love, I vowed my heart to another. Forgive me.

Last Love, I have let my blind and anxious hands wander into a room and come out empty. Forgive me.

Last Love, I have cursed the women you loved before me. Forgive me.

Last Love, I envy your mother’s body where you resided first. Forgive me.

Last Love, I am all that is left. Forgive me.

Last Love, I did not see you coming. Forgive me.

Last Love, every day without you was a life I crawled out of. Amen.

Last Love, you are my Last Love. Amen.

Last Love, I am all that is left. Amen.

I am all that is left.

Amen.

11/10/09

My friend Rachel McKibbens' cranberry sauce receipe


(Don't say I never gave you nothin')

1 pkg. (12 oz) actual cranberries
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. water
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 granny smith apple or whatever (chopped into hash-like bits)
1 cinnamon stick (or you can just dump in some regular cinnamon, to taste)
an orange
a cheese grater, or zester if you're a dork

in a medium bowl, mix all the shit I just wrote, except, of course, for the cinnamon stick, orange and cheese grater and/or zester.

pour it into a medium saucepan over high heat. grate the orange over the stuff, making sure you're only getting the ORANGE part of the peel, don't get the nasty ass bitter white part.

grate the cinnamon stick as well. or, dash the fuck out of the sauce with some regular old cinnamon. mix around until the smell punches your babymaker. once it starts boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to fifteen minutes. do some sit ups to pass time.

put your finger in the burning glory, tasting to see if it needs more sugar. it's gonna be tart, but it's also gonna be the realest shit you'll ever smear onto a biscuit, bootie or turkeymama.

remove from heat and let it cool off to room temperature. cover and put in the fridge. chill for however long (the longer the better for coagulatory purposes)

this is about 12 helpings.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements is a book I want my son to read one day. The subtitle for the book is "A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom." Perfect. Who wouldn't want that for their child? For themselves?

I went to bed in a bit of a funk and grabbed a book off the bookshelf to rock me to sleep after my prayers. I didn't open the book. Fell asleep with it in my arms. But this morning at 3:30 when I woke up I opened it. Right there on the flap was enough of what I needed.

I have read this book many times. But it keeps showing up when I need it. I am working in Chicago and am staying with my cousin Genevieve and her family. When I walked in the door, in my space, my mood, my self-pity, my forced optimism... I saw it on the mantle. Perfect. A reminder to me that I had broken one if not all of the agreements and sure enough, I had.

In a nutshell these are the agreements:

1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

So, you see why this book pops up in my life every now and again?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Uraeus # 12, Books I want you to read one day

01. Holy Bible
02. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
03. The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
04. Just Above My Head by James Baldwin
05. Wish You Well by David Baldaccui
06. Eat Pray Love
07. The Corners of my Shaping by Jaha Zainabu
08. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
09. Do You by Russell Simmons

Friday, November 27, 2009

In response to Regarding Bridget Gray, regarding ourselves - Red stories 14

(Elizabeth Multer)
so true. thanks for posting this. it seems as though we think we are out of danger, but more and more women i know are reporting this - either themselves or close friends - going through this violence.

it's time we did something bigger than this, though. and we are powerful together...

FOR ALL GIRLS WHO'VE CONSIDERED SILENCE WHEN VIOLENCE IS TOO MUCH...
(and make no mistake tyler perry be not directing the film version of that...)


(Brad Sanders)
Wow.... If only we knew how to value our women for what God created them to be...God Bless you Bridget. You too Jaha. This is why seven year ago we, Deya Smith,Rev. Clyde Oden and myself under the auspices of On The Phone With Ti-Rone, started Be Good To Women Day. The next is Tuesday March 23, 2010 Let's use this and all of our combined resources... See More to increase awareness. Humanity can not move forward unless we respect women world wide. However, we must all begin this process in our own relationships. Peace




(Imani Tolliver)
Oh my, Jaha. Blessed Bridget. Thank you for telling her story, for being a witness. For being her friend and mine. I will re-post too. Thank you for breaking the silence of Bridget's horrific experience - you stand with her, I stand with her, so many more now will stand that you have spoken her truth as a sister, comrade, friend. What matters... See More most is not what we did, or didn't do in our past, what matters most is what we do when when have learned how to unfold to the strength we are, to the beauty we are in our present. And speaking, standing for our sisters and friends, oh love, is a beautiful breaking of the silences that quieted my mother, myself as a girl. Again, thank you for speaking for and loving Bridget so beautifully. My heart and prayers go to her, now.



(Mary Campbell)
We must assist those who are receiving the abuse. AND for the abusers, they probably have been the abused in the past. Thanks for the stand you are. All of us can look back on times when we didn't stand up for something. Your shares give us all courage.



(Evy Trezvant)
Bridget We admire you for your bravery mama!



(Daron Woods Davis)
When it came to a Man I was slow to fight, when it came to a Woman I was quick to strke! Manhood was missin but I still tried to hide...A Coward, no self-esteem or pride! I have been the Abuser (I say that with Humility, not Haughtiness) but through years and tears, jail-cells and livin hell I have learned my lesson! As bold and courageous as it is... See More for the Victim to speak up, we the Victimizers should step up! We can reach and teach and share our stories as well, and help to stop the Madness! To Bridget Gray (and all others) I apologize! As sure as you didn't deserve this...I assure you that GOD and the Universe will WHOOP THAT ASS FOR YOU!!!



(Michelle Gubbay)
thank you Jaha and everyone for the words of healing that go out far and wide. from the bottom of my heart. Jaha, your posting touches a deep personal place in me, as in so many ... Bridget, oh Bridget, you are embraced for your courage where you were told you should be ashamed (and I have known what that shame is, many years ago, now healed -- ... See Moreor almost -- but knowing the world is not yet healed, women and men together are not yet healed, or lovers whoever they may be) -- ah, Stevie Wonder, "Love's in need of love today" ....



(Shirley Rodgers)
My heart goes out to Bridget. You are right,silence gives power to the abuser. There are not enough shelters for batterd women. It is time we open our homes as a place to rest and heal.



(Rhaine Waters)
What it's ashame that women go through these things and to think there are still men that say" what did she say or do".....There is no reason for the abuse of a living creature....I repeat!!!



(Ursula Campbell)
I have been looking at these pictures since she posted them. You know We are all friends connected by a beautiful strong past. Young people, on fire with the passion that burned so hot inside we had to shine, and we did that together in Los Angeles. You sisters of mine do not know how you saved my life. That was my life before I met you all. You made me brave enough to ever get on stage and work through my pain. Seeing you, being honored by your spirits and courage. I'm so glad my daughters have known women like you. Women who can't be shut up or shut down. Women and men who fight to take us all the the next level. Thank you.

Anger, and so many emotions when I see Bridget like this. I know this woman. We used to hang out. I considered her one of my best friends and I always wonder how she is. Seeing her on stage and in her own home and going through the experience of her learning who she was as an artist and how amazing she was and is...being an artist myself I know. You look so confident and beautiful and shit on stage. People want your autograph and become your fan, but you still have insecurities and you don't always believe your own hype. You're still a girl.

I was just talking about the abuse I went through to someone last night. It happened 14 years ago, and I still feel where I was hit, choked, and stunned, saddened, so very saddened, especially when I didn't leave right away. I waited a week or two after I was raped while pregnant before I left....

These things happen in our lives and it's not easy. There's all kind of pain. There's levels of overstanding, fear, and courage. We are 360% of experience.

Men don't really even raise their voice at me anymore. I learned more about myself and try not to take the good things for granted.

I would just ask all of us who have been moved this to allow this experience to raise our vibration. Bridget going through this threshold of pain can usher many more of us to the next level. Thank you.



(Sandra Loraine Coleman)
I can relate as a victim of 15 years of domestic abuse myself, my heart, my prayers, and my love goes out to Bridget. I have no pictures except the ones that my mind snapped, looking at my self and then hiding in darkness until the bruises could be managed with a believable lie. That "fear" is a slick one, fear of anyone finding out, fear of what... See More he will do if anyone does find out. I often wondered why no one ever called the police when a 7 ft man was beating me so severely ... imagine being punched, kicked, slapped and thrown around like a rag doll. In time the bruises heal but the mental and emotional scars linger for years.

Jaha, Bridget is brave but so are you for standing with her and sharing her story ... and let us pray that your neighbor decided that being beaten was not going to become a part of her life and she removed herself from that situation. It sounds to me like in your silence you found a voice for justice of your sisters and we thank you! To Bridget, sis your are precious, strong, beautiful, talented, loving, giving, etc., even when you are bruised, that only changes the outside temporarily ... the inside if you let it. Trust me when I say you can turn this tragedy into treasure it is up to you to fingure out how ... personally I think you did when you became a voice for those that are not saying. Bless both of you and feel free to call me anytime for I am in full support of your cause. I am so luv'n u!!!



(Bridgette Feltus)
ursula, you speak truth. we are not only sisters, we are all one. transcendence takes courage and unity...



(Mary Campbell)
@Daron,
Thank you for making yourself vulnerable in the face of our wanting to point fingers. Victims and Victimizers are the flip side of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. When we get that ALL of us are capable of ALL of it, real forgiveness can occur.



(Ariel English)
2 years and one gorgeous baby boy later and i still am overcome with a fear i can't explain some days, it's a classic symptom of PTSD, having a name for it eases the anxiety and yet i am still captive of the man i made my husband. i fear his reappearance, i fear his legal hold on my son, i fear my own inability to love anyone because i have loved ... See Moreso foolishly for so long. i got out because i had amir to think of, bridget if you hear this, i remember you, fierce in the spotlight of many an LA event, i was there too, usually in the same capacity. i remember those women we were and the women we are, the wounds heal but we are forever changed. you are not alone. none of us are. thank you jaha, hermana de alma



(Jaha Zainabu)
all of the fierceness on the la poetry scene. we, the big, bad, bold, beautiful women with so much to say. and we didnt know this about each other. sigh. we hid scars, physical and emotional, we ran from lovers, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, we got on stage...and said everything else. i was talking to v kali, yes, dear poetry mama v, and asked her why we (poets, artists) keep going through this...stuff. she replied, "because you will tell it."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dear Uraeus #11

In life, you never know why you are where you are. Stay in the moment, be thankful, listen for the lessons before you leave.

Love, Mom

Regarding Bridget Gray, regarding ourselves - Red stories 13

I wasn’t there. Neither were you. But as sure as the red, black and blue bruises spread over Bridget Gray’s face on November 13, it happened. Every day a new face with new bruises, new stories go ignored. “Be quiet.” “Be a good girl.” “Girl, don’t be puttin’ yo business out there like that!” “He didn’t mean it.” “Get over it!”

Bridget is a good, long time friend of mine and so seeing the photos of her face surely brought sadness to my heart. Here is the paragraph where I am tempted to insert in detail what an awesome and powerful woman she is. What a talented performer, poet and artist she is. How she has been so outspoken against abuse against women. What a friend she is to so many. Does any of that matter? If this happened to any other woman, would it be less tragic. No.

Bridget Gray, now residing in Hawaii, was traveling through Puna with her then boyfriend when an argument ensued. I won’t go into all of the details but in the end a physical confrontation occurred resulting in the bruises on her face. And the emotional scars she is carrying. That’s the story in a very small nutshell.

I don’t know all of the whys and how comes of this specific case. What I know for sure is that the bruises keep showing up. On too many faces. Keep getting swept under too many rugs. I don’t know THE solution. I do know that silence is not our friend. I honor Bridget Gray for speaking out. I honor her for standing, though tears silently falling, in the center of the whispers, the negative comments posted, the women who would come forward and support but are too afraid, too ready to move on.

I’m not insensitive here, I understand the fear. Years ago I listened to a woman get beat in her apartment, and I did nothing. Because I was afraid. Afraid. I don’t know what happened to her but I never saw her again. I never heard her through my walls again. I don’t know what happened, but sometimes my mind thinks the worse. Where did my fears get her? She, I never knew her name, will always be with me. When will we realize that there is no going forward while we have a sister with ice packs on her cheeks? Our brothers, our sisters, we, have pain and anger we don’t know what to do with. There is no moving on with all of the suffering in the air. There is no stepping over it. Not really. The bruises on her face are OUR bruises.

That night in my apartment I told myself not to get involved, because I was afraid. I am not alone. There were times that you could have done something. You could have stepped forward. What did you tell you?

My prayers to you Bridget, and many many others.

Jaha Zainabu

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
Anonymous and confidential help 24/7

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red stories 12 - Bridget Gray update

I talked to Bridget this morning and while physically she is healing there are of course emotional scars. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Please also know that it takes a great deal of courage to make an issue like this public, especially on the small Hawaiian island she is living on.

She told me that it is a very common practice on the islands in Hawaii for domestic violence cases to go unreported and just get brushed under the rug. But she is not ignoring it. Because her ex-boyfriend and his family are very well known and respected in the community adds to her emotional stress. While Bridget has a large community in Los Angeles and other major cities, her circle is not as wide on the island of Oahu.

Again, please send her love and positive energy. You can send words of encouragement on Facebook under Bridget Gray.

Red stories 11 - He said he didn't do it - by Bridget Gray




(Bridget Gray is a very good friend of mine and I'm sorry to post this, sorry that this has happened to her.)

First, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has reached out with open and loving arms. I am so grateful that my support system travels so far and wide. I am blessed with amazing friends, family and fans. I have gotten hundreds of emails and phone calls this past week and understandably a lot of you have questions about what exactly happened. For the most part, I have let the pictures speak for themselves yet I understand my friends and family need more information to try and comprehend this fully. Here are the facts I can offer you as they are now on public record.

On Friday Nov. 13th I traveled to the the Big Island of Hawaii with Jerome James for the wekend. That same evening we got into a disagreement while driving through Puna. What started as a verbal altercation, soon escalated into him stopping the car leaning over into the passenger side and yelling profanities at me at the top of his lungs. He then spit in my face. He continued to advance by pressing his face into mine while screaming. He seemed to be in a blind rage. At this point I felt very strongly that I was not safe. Being it was storming and we were on a rural, unpaved, unlit road, deep into the jungle, and I was without phone service... exiting the car did not to seem to be my best option. I decided to push his face away from me attempting to create space between us. A physical confrontation then ensued. He proceeded to use his upper body strength and size advantage to overpower me. I most definitely did everything I could to to defend myself, however, in the end I suffered several injuries.

The next morning on the phone he begged for my forgiveness but said he couldn't remember exactly what happened. When I told him what he had done he quickly changed his story to he did not do it. Now, after we have returned to Oahu, separately, he is claiming I attacked him without provocation. I have posted pictures in response to this in a photo album titled "He said he didn't do it." View the pictures and judge for yourself. I have more injuries than those shown here including several large bruises on the outside of my left thigh and on my forearms. The police believe my injuries are evident of me balling up to protect myself. They also took note that all of my major injures including the black eye where sustained on my left side. This would be evident of someone on the driver side attacking someone on the passenger side. The police examined my injuries, took pictures and classified this as an Assault/Abuse case. They assured me and my roommate that he would be arrested however he has evaded arrest thus far. The 2 reporting officers strongly advised me to file for a Temporary Restraing Order in the meantime. I have done so and was granted that order of protection by a Judge in a court of law as of yesterday.

I know this is difficult for some to digest. It is hard to believe that a brother in their community could do this. I certainly did not believe Jerome was capable myself. I am concerned that drugs may have played a role as he confessed to me the day before over the phone that he was having hallucinations of... and I quote: "murders and rapes" after he took an excessive amount of mushrooms. Sadly, after I went public, I have had other women who were involved with Jerome in the past reach out to me and share their abusive experiences. I found this extremely disturbing as there seems to be a pattern. I believe he needs serious counseling and help right now but can only get it if he is willing to admit he has a problem and he is held accountable for what he has done. I am not suggesting anyone take the law into there own hands here. I do plan to proceed with legal action and leave whatever repercussions for his actions there are up to a court of law. As for now he has to answer to a higher power.

Thank you all again for your continued love and support, Bridget Gray

Five reasons God permits problems - Sent to me from Rev. Kim Jones of Help Somebody Ministries

The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you--depending on how YOU respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring. Here are five reasons God May have Permitted the problems for experience in your life:

1. God permits problems to DIRECT you. Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God allowing this situation to get your attention?
"Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. " Proverbs 20:30

2. God permits problems to INSPECT you. People are like tea bags ... if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith by allowing a problem or two into your life? What do problems reveal about you?
"When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience." James 1:2-3

3. God uses problems to CORRECT you. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something...health, money, a relationship...by losing it.
"It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws." Psalms 119:71-72

4. God permits problems to PROTECT you. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. (example: Someone was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem-but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management's actions were eventually discovered.)
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good"... Genesis 50:20

5. God permits problems to PERFECT you. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity.
"We can rejoice when we run into problems...they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." Romans 5:3-4

** Here's the point: God is at work in your life-even when you do not recognize it or understand it. But it's much easier and profitable when you cooperate with Him.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Our Father in heaven, God we praise You because we know, through it all we're learning to trust You more; we're learning to depend more on Your Word. We thank You Lord because we know, You are working all things together for our good, because we love You and are the called according to Your purpose. We give You praise for a wonderful day today and we thank You in advance for the favor shown to us today, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Mom, on your birthday

Under this pearl moon
I lift up memories of movies and afros
Volkswagons and beans and long long walks
to nowhere and back home

Home

Shag carpet and pomegranate trees
tether ball and slumber parties

I remember the hustle
the struggle
but what struggle really
when we had you

Remember the birthdays and biscuits
the bike rides and books
always the books

I celebrate you today
wish you belly laughs and hugs too long too tight
just a little
wish you deep easy breathing
shoes with soles that keep up with you

I wish the wind in your hair and pink on your nails
I celebrate you today
Thank you for life
for love
for peace
for wisdom
for love

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miss Lady

A wrinkle shows up
On faces of single women
Not a frown
Don't you dare confuse it with a frown
'Cause it aint one at all

Crease
Kinda facefold if you will

Where we keep baby wipes, toy cars, and old mint candy

Not quite deep as the titty pocket
Cover lies we bought, lies we sold

Aint near sturdy as the coochie basket
Carry Crisco oil for chicken and ashey knees
Got Mama's secrets and baby's first teeth

Just a thin lil wrinkle I tell you
'Bove the eyelids
Sometimes go down between the cheeks
Circle the mouth like a trucker's hand
Barely grip the wheel early Sunday morn

Like it almost say

See, don't be 'fraid a me
I still a sweet smile

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Uraeus #10

One day you will be old and I will be older. And you will remember and I may forget. But we will all ways know.
Love, Mom

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Uraeus #9

I don't remember what I was thinking at 12
Maybe boys, maybe math
Surely in the swirl of my insecurities, the lot of them

Not as centered as you
Not at 12
12
12
Where did the time go?
Where did my baby go?
My little baby

Who needed me to help him walk, eat, run, ride

You are salt to this world
To my world
To our world
All of us

Salt we did not know we were hungry for

I don't expect you to understand this right now
Not right now
Soon though

There is never distance between us
Never time
Never space
Never lies
Never loss

Only love
Only everything I can ever have to give

To you

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Uraeus #8

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and keep it moving.

Love Mom

Sleep

All of my adult life, no matter where in the world I am, no matter what time I go to bed, no matter if I have wine or tea or bath or shower, no matter the nothing, I ALWAYS wake up at three in the morning until six. What is that?

I think too much, my friends say. Maybe I do. Overanalyzing is a virgo trait. And I am a virgo virgo (sun and moon). I don't know what that means. Not really.

I am wired at three. I pray, write, read, make up alphabet games, spell words backward as fast as I can, count down from one million (I never make it to one). God has something to say to me that I won't hear during any other part of the day, I surmise. The ancestors, the spirits. I dunno.

Dear Uraeus #7

The poem I am writing in honor of your 12th birthday has been brewing inside me for centuries/ Stanzas and lines/ Questions and causes/ Memories and matches and bridges burned and built/ Flashing through my mind/ Everywhere I am

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dear Uraeus #6

When you don't know what to do: breathe, pray, breathe, listen, then take the next small step.

Mom

Isn't she lovely, isn't she wonderful






My Atlantic Station shots







Atlantic Station is a pretty new area of Atlanta. I remember it being built when I moved here almost four years ago. It's an area where there are plenty of places to shop, eat, meet, greet, read, see art, buy jewelry, have a drink, dot dot dot.

For me, it's also an excellent people watching spot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

want skin care products?

Order your Mary Kay products at www.marykay.com/jaha

Health update

While having lunch yesterday at Golden Coral I had a sudden attack. Could barely breathe, began sweating a lot, couldn't walk or sit straight, the right side of my upper body up to my right shoulder was in much pain. I was taken to Henry County Medical by ambulance. After many tests, they found that I had a gallbladder attack. My body is rejecting certain foods. Now I have to stay away from all fast foods, all dairy (and if you know me you know I loves me some eggs and cheese!), and all fried foods. The doctor said that I will continue to have the attacks when I eat those foods unless I have my gallbladder removed.

Sooo, I'm choosing to be much more rigorous with my diet.

I am so thankful that I was having lunch with a friend instead of being home alone! I am thankful that it happened when it did, instead of in a couple of weeks at Janice's surprise party (shhhh) when I would be eating everything.

I am fine and up and about.

Please remember to love yourselves by being careful of what you're eating. I sure will.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dear Tasha

I wish you love and peace, flowers and blessings on your 40th birthday today. I love you so much and thank you for being such an awesome friend. Supportive, listening, kind, funny, sharing, giving, uplifting, cousin, friend, sister, homegirl. Thank you for being a woman I can look up to and be proud to call cousin. Thank you for being the beautiful spirit you are. I love you dearly and look forward to the many many more years and conversations, stories, energy we will exchange.

Wishing you all of the laughs today,

Jaha

My Clark-Atlanta shots












I had a wonderful day today. Went to church at New Covenant. After church I went to visit Courtney, Tara's daughter at Clark-Atlanta. Courtney has grown up so much. She looks just like Tara and Dee at the same time. I remember when she was born and now college. My goodness.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My mission statement

It is my belief that we are each blessed with specific talents. With these gifts, it is our oppurtunity to bless the world and make it a better place. I have always been an artist. I am a visual artist as well as a poet, which is why I use inspirational messages on my canvases.

It is my mission to continuously say yes to God's call and produce art that inspires, educates and challenges. What is art it it does not at least do that? The challenge also to me. I call myself to see the world through filters of love. By doing this, I agree to release judgments, move beyond any feat that may arise and soar to the heights I see in my dreams. I am constantly visualizing the world and my art in a better place. When we all see hope, freedom, love and the realization that it is not our job to do more than we are doing, rather, be all of who we already are, then I have fulfilled my mission.

In responding to the call to be who I am, I had to recognize that the Most High Spirit is always living through me, even through my art. It is in this light that I say my art is alive. I had to remembe this through my daily, monthly, yearly challenges of the very everyday of life. And yes, there are times that I fall prey to times that seem hard. Then I remember who called me and what my job is. Through each adventure, I find myself on the other side of the mountain. I recognize that there are no obstacles, only lessons for me to learn.

My art is from the heart, the spirit, the flesh, the bones, blood, yesterday, the now.

God is the Source of all of my supply
All of my needs have already been met
I am art and poetry
Music and mother
More than water and daughter
Beyond lover adn breath
I am that I am
Teacher and student
Mountain and tears
Laughter and valley
I am the abundance that God is
As God is God through me
And always always I am beautiful
I live in the glad surprise

Jaha Zainabu

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

THE CORNERS OF MY SHAPING

Im expecting a new shipment of books today. If you don't already have a copy of my book THE CORNERS OF MY SHAPING, let's make that happen.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Covenant

Today I joined New Covenant Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA. more on that later. Getting ready for art sale.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Centennial Park (Atlanta) shots















Remembering Nenya Coleman


Yesterday I went to my friends funeral. She was thirty-nine. 39. Something to do with her heart. Her heart. 39. Heart. She used to come over my house and sit on my couch for hours reading me her poetry and stories. Sharing her life, love, family. Hers was face I could look to while I was performing and know someone in the audience was feeling it.

I will remember to be beautiful because of Nenya. She was always together. Boots, gear, make up, belt and the smile that topped off everything.

This is a poem of hers that was printed on her obituary.

Just Because

I would love to have the outspokenness of Jill Scott
The eloquence of Maya Angelou
Or the fierceness of Nikki Giovanni
But I am plainer and simple
I just let words roll off my tongue
With no design

I could quote Shakespeare or even a sonnett
I could plagiarize knowing that the words
Would sour once released from my tongue
Because I wasn't their keeper

Talking about love, insecurities and pain
I may be a novice
But it doesn't make it less real
Doesn't mean the paper doesn't bleed
As I write my own personal experiences

Accepting, I am not Jill, Maya or even Nikki
I ask my pen permission to write my own style
Of outspokenness, eloquence and fierceness

After all the laboring and toiling
I will give birth to someone
Who has no labels
That JUST writes BECAUSE
It feels good!

Nenya Coleman - June 2009

I miss you Nenya! Thank you for sharing you with me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Describing Who I Am by Don Davis

I think ones life journey is in describing who he or she really is. All of us are more than we think we are, less than we take pride in, and a lot of what we ignore.
THE PROBLEM IS ...
How do we put this paradox in a format that adequately describes the enigma of Who We Are?
The only one besides the Creator that has a clear view of all of your life is YOU.
When your family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even your enemies paint a picture of you, it is only a snapshot of the you they see even if they say "I've known X for a long time." Yes, it may even be a video but even those are time shortened.
When I hear family and friends giving images of me I think about the poem "The Blind Men Of Indostan" in trying to describe an elephant. "Though all them were partly right, they all were wholly wrong." Most of them are right "in the moment', or right "to the moment", and maybe haaave a clear assessment "of the moment", but I have never known it to be a clear definition of the "time evolved" me.
I am a book still being written. A tale of those things I haave forgotten that hold the key to the treasure of who I really am. Bad to those who think I am good, good to those who think I am bad, and moving back and forth on the seesaw of life to those who are teetering in the area of no opinion.
The conclusion after I scan the current film is that I am still discovering who I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art show Saturday

I'm getting ready for my art show on Saturday evening. Glad it's in the evening. I love evening art shows. Don't know why. I'm not hosting the show. It's being hosted by Wendy Tonsits who is a jewelry maker. The show will feature my work, hers and the paintings of John Carpentier.

Right now I am building frames for the show. I have the art finished that I'm going to show. None of it is framed though. My shoulder is a bit sore from the sawing but the work looks good. I'm due for a hot bath and massage. I'm going to settle for the hot bath.

I'll keep you posted and let you know how things are progressing and how the show goes. Send you prayers. Love yall.

Ps. thanks for your calls and email messages regarding the storm in Georgia. I'm fine. The storm affected the counties east of me. I heard that Six Flags was under water. Please continue to send your prayers and support to those in that area.

Ark. player ends game with noble gesture by Luke Matheson



Thamail Morgan took the kickoff and headed up the field.
He was at the 20 ... 30 ... 40

He had been avoiding, dodging or just simply running through tacklers on the way. Football always had come easily for Morgan. This game was no different. By the time he hit midfield, only open space was ahead of him. The two-time Arkansas all-state selection was headed for a touchdown.

40 ... 30 ... 20

He glanced at the clock and saw the final seconds ticking away. He realized his team, Cave City, was on the way to a victory over Yellville-Summit, comfortably ahead, 34-16. He also realized two other things: This wasn't an ordinary game. And he wasn't the same Thamail Morgan.

When he reached the 2, he stopped. He took a few steps back and took a knee at the 5-yard line.


******
Yelleville-Summit is a co-op program, a combination of two small rural schools in the northern part of Arkansas, near the Missouri border. Combining the schools allows them to field a football team. But even then, the squad is so small that coach Calvin Mallett has to bring extra uniforms in case a lineman gets hurt and someone needs to fill in.

On Sept. 11, before a game with Salem, the schools came together for a pep rally. Afterward, four of the players piled into the bed of Kymball Duffy's truck to head to his house for a pre-game meal.


According to Marion County Sheriff Roger Vickers, this is what happened next.

As Duffy came over a hill, he quickly came upon a brush pile in the road. Duffy swerved into the other side of the road, attempting to avoid it. He lost control of the truck, sending it into a tumble.

The four players in the back - whose names are not being released - were thrown from the vehicle. Miraculously, three of the players in the back suffered only minor injuries. A fourth remains in the hospital but appears to be headed for recovery. Duffy was killed at the scene.

The game with Salem was cancelled.

The town held memorial services for Duffy, then decided they needed to continue the season as part of the healing process.

Before taking on Cave City, the most seriously injured of the four players in the back of the truck, spoke to the team from his hospital bed.

Players from Yellville-Summit and Cave City met at midfield before the game for a moment of remembrance. Players on both teams were a No. 72 decal - Duffy's number - on their helmet.

The game began and Cave City quickly scored. Minutes later, it scored again. And again. All hope for a storybook ending appeared lost.


******
Thamail Morgan is the type of player who can dominate a high school game. On every play.

Last year, playing for Newport in a state playoff game against Heber Springs, he had 15 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles on defense. He had 145 yards receiving and two touchdowns on offense.

He was coveted by most Division I programs in the South. Then it all changed.

In January, he violated an unspecified school rule that banned him from athletics for a year. Morgan would be eligible for basketball during his senior season but not football.

A year away from football would hurt his chances of gaining a scholarship, so - after considering a number of options - he transferred roughly 40 miles away to Cave City. His scholarship offers did not travel with him.

"Before I screwed up and got myself into trouble, I had some schools like Arkansas, Florida State, Ole Miss, and some other big schools looking at me,'' he said. "Now they are not looking at me, but I have no one to blame but myself for that. Hopefully I can get on someone's radar, even if it is a lower level D-1 or D-2 school."

Cave City coach Jon Bradley was willing to take a chance on Morgan. But only if he met certain conditions. He not only is required to attend extra weight lifting and conditioning exercises, he is required to participate in after-school activities with a local church and meet with a pastor on a regular basis for counseling.

"Everyone makes mistakes," Bradley said. "Thamail made some mistakes that did not allow him to play football anymore at Newport, and we knew what those mistakes were when he came here. I sat him down and talked to him, and let him know I was willing to give him a chance, but there were certain things that he would have to do in order to play for our program.

"So far, he has accomplished, and continues to do everything he has been asked to do, and then some. He has transitioned well and the kids here have accepted him. He is doing well in class, and is a leader on the football field and is a great athlete. We feel fortunate to have him."


******
Bradley said he didn't get word the game with Yellville-Summit was going to be played until Tuesday. He then wondered all week how it would play out.


"I did not know what to expect due to the tragedy,'' he said. "You go into the game wanting to win, but then, you feel bad doing it. When we went up 21-0 in the first quarter, I just can't explain how I felt. The atmosphere was so weird. I just can't explain it."

His players sensed it too.

"They told me on the sidelines that Yellville-Summit was not into it and they did not want to pad stats or run up the score,'' he said. "At that time, I started substituting our kids in and out of the game."

At this point, what the game represented became clear to Bradley.

"Everyone was glad that they were out there playing, getting some sort of return to normalcy,'' he said. "But everyone was going to be glad when it was over."

Yellville-Summit eventually scored in the second quarter, after Cave City had replaced many of its regulars. Bradley did not have a problem with that.

"I talked with Coach Mallet earlier in the week and before the game," Bradley said. "He let me know that if the game was to get out of hand, he simply did not have the players to substitute due to his numbers. So, I knew that when I pulled our guys, that there was a chance they would score."

It was 28-8 at halftime. Then 34-8 at the end of three quarters. Yelleville-Summit scored a second time with little time left to make it 34-16.

They had to kick off, sending a line drive that bounced its way to the back. To Morgan.

"We didn't even think they would kick off," Bradley said. "And we had him (Morgan) all the way back. It was our top return team, but we only have one return team."

What he did next surprised Bradley.

"I did not tell him to kneel down, he did it on his own," Bradley said. "I did not expect them to kick it to him. I figured they would kick away, because he has the ability to break away. I did not know that he was going to do what he did. He broke tackles, ran sideline to sideline, and got to the 2, and just stopped. That is when he backed up and took a knee on the 5-yard line."


******
Morgan did not do this completely on his own.

"We were on the sidelines yelling for him not to score," Bradley said. "Some of the players on the field were saying it, too. But I'm not sure how much he could have heard all of it."

He heard it, Morgan admitted. But he didn't need to.

"Before the game, we as a team talked about being classy,'' he said. "We did not want to come out in a game like this and not show any class.

"As I was running, some of my teammates told me not to score, and I knew that scoring was not the right thing to do."

He was glad to be a part of what happened.

"I just want to thank my teammates for not only being classy all night, but pushing me to be classy as well,'' he said.

The gesture was well received.

"We weren't sure how gloomy they would be before the game,'' Morgan said. "They had gloom, but it was not as bad as we thought. We met before the game, and they told us that they did not want us to feel sorry for them, and they did not want us to back off just because of what happened. They wanted us to play them like we would have if Duffy has still been there with them, so we did.

"After the game, they complimented us, and even thanked us for the way that we played them. They are some really cool cats, and I wish them the best of luck with their healing process and the rest of their season. I hope they make the playoffs."


******
What becomes of the rest of Morgan's football career remains to be seen.

He is getting interest from Arkansas State and Central Arkansas. Bigger schools such as Southern Miss and Texas Tech are starting to re-enter the picture.


At 6-1, 195 with a 4.5 time in the 40, there's no doubt he can play. It's the other issues that are a concern. Bradley is doing his best to make those go away.

"I send things out to places and I tell schools, he's had some off the field issues, but if you're interested, please call me because it's not near as bad as what it sounds,'' Bradley said. "They assume his grades are bad or that he's done something really, really bad. Everyone deserves a second chance. He's doing the right thing."

Bradley said he and Morgan have had many talks, but none of them have been about behavior.

"He's not a discipline problem at all,'' Bradley said. "His grades are getting better. He'll have an opportunity to play. He's too good of an athlete and too good of a young man right now."

Bradley admitted he had concerns at the beginning but they have proven to be unfounded.

"I've never seen anything negative out of the kid,'' he said. "He's the most polite kid. He works hard. He knows he has one shot to get his education.

"He's showing people he's doing the right thing."

That was never more evident as when he kneeled down on the field.


Luke Matheson is the Publisher for ArkansasVarsity.com.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anybody else?

Ashilita sent you a message. Re: hi "i realy love yr pics..if u blow them up and want 2 sell, i will b 1 of yr buyers...continu with yr grate work."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

From Walter Mosley BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN

"Music don't hab no color," Arty said.
"Not when you're a boy," I replied. "But when you grow up it will be blue that you see when the music makes you cry."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Uraeus #5

Remember that no one will ever really know your journey but you. It's up to you to learn from the lessons and cherish the blessing along the path. People will say what they will say. People will be what they will be. So. Stay focused. Right foot. Left foot. One in front of the other. Head up. God will guide you. When you need an opinion that matters, God and you are the majority in any size room.

Mom

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friends

Me and him never was really all that close
Guess ‘cause I never was really all that cute
But Talanda
She was more

Been friends sixty years and I won’t try to
‘Splain her kinda special
But that what I called her
More

‘Cause she was more than the better
What thought they was something ‘round there
Only thang
She thot bein’ more meant
She had to put up with bottom

So quite natural like
She married the biggest asshole she could find
Who confused real life with bullshit on the daily
I guess on the other side of thangs
He was more too

He was the most
Yeah I did everything I could to stop that weddin’
‘Cause I just knew
A monkey knew
Yeah I was one of playerhatin’, cock blockin’,
Jealous at the same time
Protectin’ best friends

I know what you thankin’
Here anotha story about anotha brotha don don
Anotha sista wrong
Not this time
Not from me

Yeah he had everything to do with the
Technical parts of her death
But dammit now she did it to herself
May as well gon call a lie a lie
And let the livin’ live
What I always says

I told her
Time over time
Talanda a woman’s gotta love herself
Enough to love herself all by herself
If she got to
You gotta go
‘Cause you’s a dead woman in this house

Every time I tell her she just look at me cross
And tell me shame on me for not showin’
Family respect

I never did tell nobody but Talanda
But me and him is first cousins on my daddy side
But that don’t never no mind to me

Woman is thicker than blood

Always has been

Besides…Talanda was my friend
My very good friend

Now I need y’all to ‘scuse me
But I had to tell y’all that
Before I could begin this story right

I saw her blood all over me before he even shot her
For years she put up with senseless beatin's and name callin's
Some stabbin's and gamblin's
And cheatin's was a given ‘cause it was the time we lived in
Time we livin’ in now
So quite right he was a liar too
To this day I’ll never know why he bothered with that
The truth was right there in his drawers
And she washed them out every night for
Forty and nine years
But habit is habit I guess

I was sittin’ right there where you are
He was over there about ten feet from us
And Talanda was standin’ above me to my left
Course the room was facin’ a different way

Me and her had been in the house alone at first
She was still prancin’ around in the dress
She bought that day
I didn’t too much care for it
But I was glad to see her proud
With her head up finally
Some strength about herself

Talanda was a tall woman about 5’9”
Thin too about 125
Lil ole waist and ok breasts and hips for a
Woman our age
Course she never did have no kids she was
Allowed to keep

The dress was red
Not really blood red
But I bet it usta be when it was new
In good shape though
It had small small blue and yellow flowers
Or somethin’ all over it
A long dress
With red buttons goin’ all the way down
‘Cept the one at the waist didn’t match
Not by design though
Like somebody did best they could to
Replace it before they passed it on

It had short sleeves
A swoop neck collar
An elastic band on the back
Rayon?
Rayon.

Yes indeed
She was somebody new in that dress
Somebody I didn’t even know
And I knowed her a long time

She bought the dress from a secondhand store
And I like to believe that the woman who owned it first
Was some kinda kin to her
And was sendin’ her some kinda strength through the dress

Me… I was just sittin’ there drinkin’ wine
I keeps me a short dog in my purse you know
Then he come pushin’ right past us like
He high offa somethin’
Walk straight to the room mumblin’
Somethin’ loud don’t nobody know

The woman I usta know would be shakin’ in
Her slippers by now
But this new Talanda with the dress
Didn’t pay him a bit a mind
And I told you
I had a little ripple in me

So I starts laughin’ at him
And what I do that for

I shol wish she had left him like I told her
Like she knew she wanted to
Just scared is all

Once I even offered her five thousand dollars
Of my own funeral money
As I will have me a very nice funeral
With a fine cherry wood casket
And plenty of ‘spensive wine to go around you know

I offered her the money to just go
Go somewhere far away
Somewhere and have a better life for the both us
I shol wish she took it

He came home marchin’ in the room with all
His man on
And goes over and slaps Talanda in the face
Real hard too

I have told you that
Talanda was my very good friend
But I spent almost my whole life in the
Middle of her and him
You can’t see it but
Right here under my right breast where he
Cut me once
Tryin’ to kill her

For a while I thought I had done somethin’
Honorable like
But aint no honor in riskin’ yo own life
For a woman lookin’ to git on the death train anyway
Leastways aint lookin’ to stop it from comin’

And I gots kids!
Um ummmmm!

I told her after that
That was the last time
And like my daddy says

I keeps my word like I keeps my money

I kept right on laughin’ too

He slapped her again
This time she look at me
Like I’m the one crazy
Like I’m the one spent my life up under
Somebody call me ugly
And do me wrong

Come to think of it
I kinda got mad at her for lookin’ at me that way
And I started to git up and git in both they faces
But I didn’t
I sought right down there and didn’t say a word

You would think that would be enough
Then from nowhere he is holdin’ a gun to her head
Lookin’ straight at me and says

Laugh again and I’ll kill yo friend

And dancin’ wit it too
Like it’s some kinda jump rope song
I just didn’t know which to do

Until I looked at Talanda in that dress

I thought about the woman who was
Her great great grandmother
Who maybe usta own the dress
Holdin’ her real strong and real proud
And I thought
One day he is gonna die
And it will shol be nice if he meets her
In that other world
While she is wearin’ that dress
So she could whip his natural ass good

Then I looks up at him
And I laughs the meanest coldbloodnest laugh
I could muster

I laughed for what she was gon do to him one day
And if she was gonna die
‘Cause everybody is
Then she was gonna die in that dress
I would see to it

Like I have already told you
Talanda was my very good friend

And so I laughed and laughed
Laughed right through the gunshot
Laughed while she fell slow in my lap
I didn’t stop laughin’
I laughed when he dropped the gun
I laughed when he walked out the house
I carried her bloody body to my car
And drove her to my house
And buried her in my own backyard

And now every year on September the twenty-third
I sit on his porch with a candle all lits up
And every year when his new wife ax
When I’m doin’
I looks up at the sky and says sadly and
Happy at the same time

I’m laughin

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Woman is thicker than blood" by E. Amato

This is not so much a review of Jaha Zainabu’s The Science of Chocolate Milk Making as it is an attempt at a rhapsody that will fall far too short of telling you why you must know this poet and her words.

Jaha Zainabu is a gift; and now she is a gift you can give to yourself, anytime, in her new collection of poems. Read it out loud, if you can, in a voice tinged with chocolate and burgundy, with some candles lit, incense burning and something real nice on the stereo. Her voice leaps off the page from the font to the line breaks. This is Jaha doing what she does best—telling you how it is, like it is, no holding back.

When Jaha stands on stage and rubs her hand back and forth over her scalp, looks at the audience and speaks,


I will be for love today


there is an audible sigh in the room. “I Am” is a poem beloved by many, not only for its beauty, but also because it is filled with so many things we all need to hear, think, and know more often:



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



In that moment of hearing, you will agree completely that Jaha is flawless, and more, you will know that you yourself are, too. For Jaha’s greatest gift is that she can give yourself back to you. All those little pieces you’ve been holding back for fear of not being understood, the ones you pimped and the ones you ho’ed, the ones you loaned out and didn’t get back and the ones that were straight-up stolen, Jaha will give them back to you, until you are the only you that you truly recognize and honor. That is the gift to inspire, the one that makes us all better, even if sometimes it is only momentary.

All of Jaha Zainabu’s poems contain an undercurrent of the same thing: reassurance. You are not alone in the struggle, each poem seems to cry out. The struggle yields beautiful fruit, the lines say. Stay engaged and you will witness miracles, until you exist from wonder to wonder.

In “Jeans,” it is the voice of a woman not afraid to be one:



These jeans will not ever kiss these lips or

hug these cheeks again

And the beauty finally

Is that I don’t want them anymore

They are not big enough to

hold the woman I am today



These poems take you to that place in yourself that will be so happy to see you when you get there, and hope you’ll stay awhile, ‘cause you just don’t visit often enough.

One of the strongest pieces in this collection is “Friends”. The narrator of the piece is an older woman, looking back, telling the story of her best friend Talanda’s death. In this piece the promise of Zainabu’s writing is revealed. She weaves a tale worthy of a literary descendant of Hurston and Morrison; she glides us in and through a narrative tinged with love, sadness, emotional regret, bitterness, revenge, and violence, and she does it expertly without losing her distinctive voice:



I told her time over time
Talanda a woman’s gotta love herself
enough to love herself all by herself
If she got to
You gotta go
Cos you’s a dead woman in this house



Every time I tell her she just look at me cross
And tell me shame on me for not
showin family respect
See I never did tell nobody but Talanda
But me and him is first cousins on my daddy side
But that don’t never no mind to me



Woman is thicker than blood



This is a love story between friends. It is a cautionary tale veiled as a down home, good old-fashioned juicy story.

It is the small things, Zainabu shows us, that illuminate the goodness of continued survival, even in the daily face of extinction, even when we are so far from thriving. In “Times,” one of my favorite pieces, she illuminates what really holds us back from that moment of complete suicidal despair:



Ain’t that really the struggle
Seeing the rainbows through the smog
And how would you know it was winter
if you never felt the fog
You see it’s all about the goin through it to
the getting to it



One of my teen heroes, Abbie Hoffman, wrote Steal this Book. Well, let’s not steal from anyone. Let’s put art and spirit where it deserves to be: on a pedestal. Buy this book and buy it knowing that however much you may pay for it, you are not paying what it is worth. You cannot pay Jaha what it cost her to live, experience, process and then turn into art this life she is inhabiting, and you cannot pay for what it will mean to you as you read it and hear her voice come to life, wrap itself around you like the afghan knit by your auntie that’s a little worn and doesn’t match your new couch, but is all you ever want around you on a night like this. This book is your best friend on the phone after a bad day, it is your Sunday Church when you are too lazy to get out of bed, it is the lover you wish were next to you on a Saturday afternoon, it is the hot bath ready when you come home tired. This book loves you, the best in you, even if it hasn’t met you yet.