Friday, June 18, 2010

MAFB (mothers against facebook bullying) No, it's not an official organization, but it should be

My cousin posted today that a girl made a remark on her (my cousin's) daughter's page. Now, my cousin's daughter is only 14. The girl said that my cousin didn't look cute in her braces. When Andreah (my cousin) told her to back off then the girl said that she would "murder" her and that she could because she is "hood and from da streets."

This hurts on so many levels. So many levels. So many questions. What the?? Who? Yes, my cousin, Andreah's mother did call the girl's mother, to inform her of what was going on. The mother responded by saying that Andreah needs to keep her mouth shut. Yes, Candy (my cousin) did call the police. Cobb County Police Department told her that they will get back to her.

I don't know their timetable but I say that if she hasn't heard anything within 24 hours then we, the mamas, the papas, the sisters, the brothers all need an answer. Online bullying has gotten more and more publicity lately. There are enough challenges to being a teenager.

When I was in middle school the big threat was that we would get our butts kicked after school. Even when the threats were actually carried out, the fight lasted just long enough for a mama driving by to tell us to take our butts home.

It's not the children. Not completely. I was talking to a sistefriend of mine who said something very profound on this subject. She said, "the children haven't changed. They come here the same way they always have. We've changed. The adults have changed."

We've changed. We are afraid of our children. We have lost the advice we used to give. "Use your words." Where are our words? Our words to our children? Our words to others in front of our children? What are our words about our children?

Is the answer more beatings? No, not in my opinion. Violence is the language our children know because violence is the language we speak when we run out of words. When we run out of time, strength, self love.

It will take God leading a community of us. It will take OUR voices. OUR VOICE. Our voice that rings questions and shouts answers. It will take the utterances of our hearts that pray until answers come. Until peace comes.

I'll keep you updated on the status of this.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In the news

In the news the other day, a reporter told a story about a woman who saw a man on the street who told her that he had run out of gas and had no money. The woman was moved enough by his story to give him a ride to the ATM and get money for him for gas. They never made it to his car. He forced her to pull to a deserted area and he raped her. She is at home now. I don't remember if he was captured or not.

I send prayers for her. I send prayers for every person who heard that story and finds it proof of why we shouldn't help others. It is not. Nothing in me can explain the purpose of that incident. But I do send prayers for her comfort. For his healing. For this world.

what's next (to St. Paul's Baptist Church)

i am not wise to the whys of us
that is not my business
mine is to know
moment by moment whose we are

connections cannot always be defined
with pen
on paper
through time
from memory
by scripture or song

there is a movement that has always been in motion
a message been preached
since before eden
before sun

it is our time now
to ride the whisper of God's grace
share miracles bigger than what we speak

Mother / Father / Creator of all
will breathe words into us
She will grow us wings
He will unfold us into the
strength we already are

the message is bigger than me
brighter than what my ego thinks it needs
greater than you

we are here to breathe
release breath
extend arms
lift him up
to help her on her way

let us dance the words
we cannot pronounce
hum the songs
we do not know
give away
what we think we lack

God will always provide
mother birds have no conversation
for not enough worms
we will grow like the birds
to trust Him more

we are all ways only
riding on the grace of
God's love

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stream of Consciousness - so much to be grateful for

there is always something to be thankful for
always something to take a picture of
to write a poem about
always something to sing
praise always praise

the birds
boston today, please boston

Dear Bubba

I thought about you last night. I miss you. I wonder what we would be talking about these days. What your views would be on the world. On Obama. Healthcare. I wondered if you would have had a blog and what you would write about if you did.

I am well. Some days I am happy by choice and some days I just wake up that way. Either way, I find my way to seeing clearly and smiling.

I talk about you a lot. I tell people about the books you used to get for me to read. Books about prison, about revolutions, books that made me think. Because that was the point, right? To make me think. I remember you used to tell me that "the truth is always something you have to search for." I'm finding my way with that. I'm learning new truth about the truth. I'm discovering that there is no "the" truth but many true ways of viewing almost everything. Mostly, I'm learning my truth about what I'm speaking on, taking a postion on.

My son, Uraeus is a thinker. I taught him to play chess too. Don played him and said he plays well. I know that you understand what Don's stamp of chess approval means. Uraeus plays his life like chess in many ways. In ways like you. Watching. Anticipating the other man's move. Weighing the options of his own. His sense of humor, thought processes and understandings are beyond his years. And he is still a kid. Lying about his homework. Doing just enough to keep grown folks off his back but not nearly his full potiential. And he is wise. So wise. His conversation is amazing. I bet you know all of this somehow. I bet you have followed him to school. Sat with him in class. Coached him in chess.

Robin is as beautiful as ever. I saw her at the last family reunion in Chicago. She looks more and more like you. I never noticed it before, but I see you in her face, her smile.

I published some of your letters and journal entries here on this blog. It was my way of sharing you with the world and with family members who didn't have a copy. Therman printed a copy years ago and sent it to the brothers and sisters. I got my mother's. I am the keeper of valuable family jewels. Your journal is my favorite.

I wish I had more pictures of you. I wish there were more pictures of you. I suppose there are. Somewhere. There's the one of you on the edge of the white and green couch with the cigeratte in your mouth. The one of you with the family where you seem so lost in thought (or something) you almost look pasted into the photo. I bet that's how you felt often. Cut and pasted into the family. The world. I feel that way too. Often.

My dad and grandfather passed away last year. I bet you know that too. My grandfather is finally reconnected with my grandmother and I know that he is happy. You and my dad have always been cool. Too cool for school sometimes. He has you now. Show him around the skies. I miss you both so much. I am still crying over my dad. I'm crying over myself missing him. It comes at the oddest moments. I am reminded of a smell. A joke. A funny story of his, as you know there were many. I'm still going through it. I was that way with you. I cried all the time. By myself in my own corner. I don't cry so much about you anymore. I am able to hear your voice in my life now. Hear what you would say to me. I feel you. Around me. Listening. Guiding. I will grow to feel this way about my dad. Although I always feel him. I'm still sad about it.

Well, I love you. I know you love me. One day, Bubba. One day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dear Jaha

You don't always have to tell your side of the story. Let your life be your defense.

Choosing again

I was reading in the Course in Miracles where God gives us an opportunity to make a choice about something and we make the choice we make. Sometimes, often in fact, we don't make the best choices for our lives. But they were our choices. Life is a lesson and sometimes the proof of whether we learned the lesson or not is how we choose when we get the opportunity to choose again.

My job these days is to keep my side of the street clean. And it's a full time job. I have no room in my life to put my broom down and tell you what you should be doing. I pray for God's annointment of ease and His grace and strength as I put integrity in the areas of my life where it is missing. Like I said, it's a full time job. Working to get caught up on bills I'm past due on. People I'm past due paying. Relationships I'm past due mending. Pictures I'm past due painting.

A big weight that has been lifted off of me is the desire, although it felt like a NEED, to vindicate myself. What I mean by that is this. If someone did something wrong to me in the past I felt like I had to spend so much time fighting my battle until the wrong was made right. Well, what that got me was a lot of energy spent and time wasted. And in the end, God ALWAYS showed up and worked it all out anyway. He didn't need my help at all.

Now, I'm choosing again. The only thing that is there for me to do is state what I know to be true, keep my broom in my hand and keep sweeping my side of the street until it's clean. God is fighting my battles as I type this sentence. And this one. He is already working things out. In fact, everything is worked out right now.

This is not the best time to play decietful games with me. Lie to me. Try to hurt me. It was different when I felt like I had to assess whether or not I had the energy to fight that particular battle. But now I know that I KNOW, that I am not in God's way and He can freely turn whatever is meant for my destruction to be used for my good and His glory.

I even have a different outlook on the thought "someone is doing something to me." No one ever does anything to me. Anything anyone "does" to me is something he is only doing to himself. Every time. The same applies to me. If I attack my brother, I am only attacking myself. In fact, when I attack my brother, I am attacking my brother BECAUSE of myself. As human beings, when we are in pain, we have a desire to see others hurt too. And we try to get our moneys worth. We don't want to see just anybody hurt when we are hurting, no, we want to see the people closest to us hurt, which only keeps the cycle of pain going. But when we love ourselves, we have a desire to spread the love. You can see this theory in action everywhere. When a man finds out he is having a son he shows up at the hospital with cigars. Or so the tradition says. When you allow yourself to fantasize about winning the lottery you mentally list the people you are going to help, organizations you want to contribute to. Here, the cycle of love is going.

I said this to say that we think that we are hiding our true feelings about ourselves but we can't. We show the world how we feel about ourselves by how we treat others, especially those closest to us.

So, I'm choosing again. I am breathing more. Praying more. Trusting completely.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Willie Brown and Woody in Atlanta! by Jaha Zainabu

Comedian / ventriloquist Willie Brown is always on the go. He travels with his partner, Woody, who doesn't seem to know that he is a puppet. Shhh, don't tell him he's not real. But when Willie brings Woody out of that suitcase, you forget too. This duo will have your jaw open.

Last night they performed at St. Philip AME Church in Decatur, GA, just outside Atlanta. St. Philip is a beautiful, immaculate church. Well, much more than a church. A huge campus with a full gym, many meeting halls, a bookstore, and even more. As I walked into the Marcia H. Moss Fellowship Hall, I expected something great to happen. It was the perfect date / family night outing.

The show was produced by Roc Steady Entertainment. This was the second of their many shows to come. Comedian Ms. Elaine followed by Yohance powerfully opened the show. When the host introduced Willie Brown and Woody, the crowd, clearly familiar with the team, cheered and gave great applause. Willie performed solo for a bit before he brought out Woody. He was as funny without Woody as he is with his partner. He had the crowd rolling as he told his personal stories in such a funny way. He told stories about his mother who moved in with him and how she makes it clear that she is not nosy, she just "wants to know." Stories about his father and how he used to refer to his wife (Willie's mother) as "them people" in an argument. "Them people that don't wanna cook, don't wanna do dishes, don't wanna take out the trash." Stories about his son having allergies. Being allergic to looking for a job that is. Then he opened that red suitcase, currently home to Woody.

Now, if you haven't seen Woody, trust me please, you are missing an absolute treat! How Willie brings Woody to life like that is proof of his awesome talent. No matter how many times I see him, I still get lost and trapped into Woody's stories, expressions, impressions, and yes, even his songs. But that's not all. Willie had another guest with him. After he put Woody back into the suitcase, and Woody did not go without a fight, he pulled out Uncle Rufus! Believe me, you are not ready for Uncle Rufus. A curmudgeon old man who serves on the "ursher" board at his church. Uncle Rufus didn't seem to be happy about anything. He sure made the crowd happy though. Hands were slappin' knees, bellies were bouncin', fingers pointin' and laughter filled the room. Last night was a treat! Willie Brown lives here in Georgia but is on the road so much it was our blessing he was here.

Also on the show was Chinnita Morris, formally known as Chocolate. As always, she brought her talent to the table. That sista is crazy! In a very good way of course. She kept us rollin' out of our seats as she gave her interpretations of scripture and funny things that go on in the church and in the lives of single women.

I said all of that to say that if you weren't there, make sure that you are there next time. Oh, I don't want to leave out that Shelly Garrett and his wife, Doris were in the house. Shelly is the author and director of the play, Beauty Shop. Yes, that Beauty Shop from back in the day. Well, it's back again and Willie Brown and Woody play a very big part. Check them out as they are rolling all around and to a city near you soon!

Look forward to seeing much more of Willie Brown and Woody. To find out more, please visit


I begin this blog by stating that I am watching the basketball game. The finals. Boston vs. Lakers. I'm rooting for Boston and right now they are winning, 52 - 40. Now 41. I said that to say that my attention is here AND on the game so I would like for what I'm going to say to sound very well thought out, but it probably won't. But it's on my mind so I wanted to post my thoughts on this tonight. Perhaps I'll come back and edit later. Perhaps not.

Today at church the preacher talked much about people stating that they are "spiritual" and not "religious." As I have used that phrase myself I listened carefully to what he had to say on the subject. He stated that people who make that statement are "taking scraps of different religions instead of committing to one." Well, I consider myself to be a very spiritual person but not particularly "religious" and not because I'm taking scraps of other religions. Now, I was brought up in a Christian church and still attend a Christian church. So I say this with a great background of the church. I am always in awe of other people. How similar and different we are made. The many different ways we act and think. How we come up with solutions to problems. How beautiful we are. In my study of human beings, I also enjoy studying different religions. I look at the peace of Ghandi and the dedication of Mother Theresa. The practices of Muslims and the meditation of Budhists.

I believe that God speaks to all of us. Yes, all of us. Now, please don't misunderstand, the minister was not saying that God does not speak to all of us. By the way, I am not mentioning his name here because I don't want folks to think that he was bashing people who claim to be "spiritual." I believe his intent was to speak to the people of his church about dedication to the path of Christ.

Truthfully, that is what has me writing this blog. I consider myself to be a Christian in the purest form of what that means to me. Because I strive, daily to follow the path of Christ. Loving others, speaking truthfully, honoring others, giving honor and glory to God with everything I have and everything I am. I am posting this blog because I believe that there may have been people in the audience who may be like me, not in question of salvation, but on a quest to further understand the thinking of fellow human beings who worship the One God Almighty differently than they do. I believe that they may judge others who use the term "spiritual" as not in alignment with God.

Yes, I know that Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the light." To me, the word I is all of who Jesus is. I is love, I is peace, I is understanding, I is God, I is respect. I is all of who Christ is. So yes, I am the way, the truth, the light.

God speaks to us all. He speaks to me, I know.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I was coming out of the movies and I saw a man and a woman, a pregnant woman that is, arguing. At least it looked like they were arguing. More, it looked like she was being argued at. If that makes any sense. I walked slower and slower to the car. I wanted him to know that I knew. What he looked like. The rhythm of his voice. The color of his eyes. White woman, black woman, rich woman, poor woman...

We are bound by moon
Held sticky by our silence
Cries for help of passing sister
With a look
Slow blink
Pursed lip
I know a "girl come hold my tongue 'fo I go to jail" when I see it
We all know

Every threat falls like
Grandmamas good dishes
We know
We always know

We are carrying bigger bags these days
Have you noticed
In our hips
On our backs
In our hair
Behind our eyes

I would think twice before I hit her
If I were you

There are witches you cant see
Born before Voo Doo
More crafty than Rain

If this was just a poem
I would have already told you so

This is an invitation to knowing
We are watching you
We are always watching

IT'S YOUR TIME by Joel Osteen

I'm reading another of Joel Osteen's book. This time it's IT'S YOUR TIME. Like most books I'm supposed to read, it just appeared one day in front of me. It was laying, lying?, ok sitting on Willie's nightstand and so I picked it up. I am pretty familiar with the format of his writing. Inspire, encourgae, entertain, make me feel good, inspire. I say that lightly and sarcastically because I was feeling a bit resigned and sarcastic when I picked it up. Resigned to that life would always be this way. In the middle. Not bad, not great. Just here. In the middle. But honestly I don't even have to dig deep down to recognize that I don't have an in the middle life. It's actually awesome. Yes, I have my concerns and goals I haven't met yet. But isn't that life? When I make out a list of what I have next to what I need, my haves heavily outweigh my needs. That I have my health, strength and mental capacity to keep on moving forward (the corniest of phrases and applicable here). I'm good.

Anyway, I claimed to be feeling sarcastic and resigned but truthfully I was looking for something. Looking for a way to encourage myself in the moment. I am an artist full of ideas and sometimes I can be weighed down by them as well. Ok, not weighed down by the ideas as much as the seeming contrast of what I know the possibilities to be and what reality seems like. Every relationship takes work. Even the relationship between myself and Myself. It takes work sometimes to maintain a positive attitude in spite of that negative voice inside my head.

So I picked up the book. It's an easy read, one I would reccommend to my son who will soon be thirteen. His narrative is easy and free flowing. Story after story he gives examples of how someone was on his path trying to make it and not knowing how it would work out. Then, and because of his faith, because God is that good, the winds turned in his favor. I've had many examples of this in my own life, so I know this to be true. That call for a gig that came just in time, that painting that sold right when I really really needed it to, because God is just that good.

What I particularly liked was the passage where he spoke about how God knows, and has always known about everything about us. I liked that so much because we can forget, if we are not careful, that God is really right there. Right here. Nothing can throw God off His plan. Joel Osteen says, in His wonderful humor that God is not thinking "I had a good plan for you, but your parents really messed it up. Nor is God thinking: That first husband of yours who walked out on you, he just ruined everything." I love it!

I haven't finished the book yet. Perhaps tonight. But if you haven't read it and need a quick pick me up to, dare I say, keep it pushin', then I suggest you get this book. Then pass it on.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I got up early this morning. In prayer. Always in prayer. In poetry. Always in poetry. My life, my friends tell me, is a poem. One long poem. This blog, I'm sure, is a reflection of such poetry. It's rhythm and choppy sentences. This space for me serves many purposes in my life. To clear my head in the morning, to keep me writing to the world. My journals for now are off limits, at least to the whole world. This space also serves as the hole in the ground I reserve to put my thoughts, concerns, cares, worries, expressions of joy, expressions of the whatever. These expressions may be what is left of me to hold to a light and be viewed by my great great grandchildren, should I be so blessed.

I mean, really, imagine being able to go back and read your great grandmothers journal or some other capture tool of her thoughts. Pretty cool, huh? Well that's what I want to give. Perhaps someone is inspired, encouraged or even at best entertained by my musings. Perhaps my son, or his son will see a new take on a failed venture of mine and succeed. Perhaps. Perhaps. Who even knows?