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...

(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)
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, money, a 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


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

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
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


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