Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday morning inspiration

Rev. Jones asked me to write the Friday morning inspiration posts for her email listserve and I accepted. It's been going on, I don't know, I guess about nine months now. Maybe longer. I appreciate the opportunity each week to post because on many many Thursday nights I just don't feel that inspirational. But then, something comes over me after the first line of the testimony, the first stanza of the poem or whatever. And I got it. I am only inspiring myself, only giving to myself as I give to the world.

Here is a suggestion, as you see what you need within yourself, give it to the world and watch it land on you. The poem below is the post that came out today.

Thank you Rev. Jones and bless you all at Help Somebody Ministries.

I am inspired this morning
to walk slower
to breathe deeper
to love more closely

To sit still
speak with intention
rest with acceptance
embrace with forgiving arms

I am thankful this morning
for another chance
to express my love
to live my dreams

To praise God with my life

I take the opportunity today
to tell the truth
admit the lie
move on from yesterday
to encourage somebody

I wake up this morning

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Car update

So JT, my MacGayver of a friend fixed the car. Nothing big but too big for my knowingverylittleaboutcars self. A major bill paid but rent not. But watch it get paid tomorrow. I don't know how yet. But you watch.


New painting

Damn Georgia. White / Black slapinthefaceass Georgia.

This was posted about 3 years ago, but freaking still.

(Reuters) - The parole board in the state of Georgia spared a convicted killer from execution hours before he was due to die by lethal injection on Thursday and commuted his sentence to life in prison.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles made its decision less than three hours before Samuel David Crowe, 47, was to be executed, according to a spokeswoman for the state's prisons.

"After careful and exhaustive consideration of the requests, the board voted to grant clemency. The board voted to commute the sentence to life without parole," the parole board said.

Crowe's death would have marked the third execution since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty last month.

Crowe was not present at the parole board hearing in Atlanta. He had already eaten his last meal and was preparing to enter the execution chamber at the prison in Jackson, Georgia, Mallie McCord of the Georgia Department of Corrections said.

In March 1988, Crowe killed store manager Joseph Pala during a robbery at the lumber company in Douglas County, west of Atlanta. Crowe, who had previously worked at the store, shot Pala three times with a pistol, beat him with a crowbar and a pot of paint.

Crowe pleaded guilty to armed robbery and murder and was sentenced to death the following year.

"David (Crowe) takes full responsibility for his crime and experiences profound remorse," according to Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, an advocacy group, who welcomed the board's decision.

At Thursday's hearing, his lawyers presented a dossier of evidence attesting to his remorse and good behavior in jail, according to local media reports. The lawyers also said he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms from a cocaine addiction at the time of the crime.

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 16 rejected a challenge to the three-drug cocktail used in most U.S. executions, which opponents claimed inflicted unnecessary pain. Georgia then conducted an execution on May 5.

Georgia has executed 41 men since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1973 and this week it had 109 prisoners on death row.

Staying faithful

Everything is due and my check was way lower than I expected and there is nothing "they" can or will do right now. But I am choosing not to panic even though my rent is due tomorrow. Take the next easy step, is what I tell myself. Take the next easy step. I have no panic room in me right now. My mental and physical health take up a lot of my attention these days. And rightfully. Take the next easy step.

I prayed. Prayed to the highest expression of divine love that there is. Prayed for peace in the middle of whatever this is. Continue what you have to do today was my instruction. Part of what I have to do is my laundry. I don't have a washer and dryer in the apartment so I have to go to the laundrymat. I pulled the bag of a weeks worth of dirty linen and things out and carried the bag downstairs to the car. Put the key in the ignition and the car wouldn't start. It's not the battery this time. Not after I just spent a hundred something on a new one. No, not the battery. I called JT, who is always around when I need him. Thank God for good friends and good friends who are available and good friends who know their way around the inside of a car.

After lifting the hood and wiggling the wires he told me to check and then trying to start the car and failing he said he would come over. Thank you JT, really. A million bucks thank you.

I'm waiting. I'm breathing. He's here.

Where the magic happens

New painting

Good morning Thursday

It's 8:23 and I've been awake for a few hours now. On and off. In a good mood. Another day of a lot to do. That has something to do with being in a good mood, I think. When there's work to do I push aside whatever might be looming in the background and get the work done. But seriously, my things to do list is not the only reason for my good headspace, I'm cool today, because I am. Because God is good and there is never ever any separation between us.

The show last night in Pomona went well. George recorded it for me but the bright light directly behind me had my face completely blocked out and I choose not to post a video of me looking like the headless horseman. But I greatly enjoyed myself and Judah is one of my favorite hosts on the scene. He is young, funny, handsome and uber intelligent. Plus I like watching him on stage now because I kinda watched him grow up. I remember him being this little boy(like) and now he's all grown up. Love you, Judah.

I'm watching the news on ABC right now wondering if they are going to say anything about the (wrongful) execution of Troy Anthony Davis in Georgia yesterday. (Dear Geogria, you are awful. I'm glad I don't call you home anymore.) I just tuned in about six minutes ago but so far, nothing. Maybe there was a big report before I tuned in. Maybe, but maybe (likely) not. Sad about that, though I'm trying not to use the word sad today. Ok they must have shown it because now they are showing a Hawaiian band and really if they talk about Mr. Davis after that, then damn.

It's 8:38 and my get up time is 9 so I'll talk to you people later on today. Or not.

I love you all. I do. Love yourselves too.

Troy Anthony Davis

My heart is so heavy with this. I am sad for all of us. I am sad for those who rejoice in this man's death. It hurts deeply that we would kill a man with no evidence. Justice should look different from this. Justice should be sure. If it will not be fair, as its name suggests, it should at least be sure. I ache for you who felt like this is someone else's problem. I am sorry for those of you who feel like the battle is over.

I am not ready to write this poem
this free write
this free style
this sad story

about us
and Georgia
and death
and this is about all of us
whether we see ourselves in him or not
whether we believe in the system or not

Troy Anthony Davis
Troy Anthony Davis
no matter how many times you say his name
his body is dead

it is hard to believe in a system like this
killing a man under the law
lack of evidence
and truth
and trust

color lines and class lines
and lines I can't see
you wouldn't do this to your own
you wouldn't
not like this
not like this

not without absolute
not without knowing

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What a life

So yesterday I worked with a new client, Gina (fake name like all the other fake names) and she is 86 years old and is all fancy and shit (and I never used to curse this much on my blog but whatever). When she finally got up at 1:00pm she got all dressed up in this real cute ass dress that even the Easter hat ladies would look at her and turn their noses up because they didn't think of it. And she puts on stockings and high heels. For real, she put on high heels. And for real stockings. I don't think I've worn stockings since my senior prom. But anyway.

So now she's all dressed up and shit and I'm like, did I miss the memo? because I just have on my stupid looking company polo shirt and some black slacks (and do people say slacks anymore, what do I know?) and some black almost nursing looking shoes. She's all dressed up and her boyfriend, yeah I said it, you young single sallies, her boyfriend (her boo) comes over for lunch with his own caregiver and then I was like, that's hot. But I said it in my mind in a voice better than Paris Hilton's and she shouldn't get credit for "that's hot." I mean, come on. I'm getting off topic but that's mostly because I need to get up and get dressed and figure out this set for the feature tonight but whatever.

So what I didn't mention was that she has an oxygen tank that she needs. Which, I mean, it happens. That's not the story, only a piece of it. The story happens next. The story is on my stupid looking ass. Because her boyfriend's caregiver suggested that we go to the store because they were running low on food. Of course at that point I was thinking, damn damn damn, yall couldn't have done this yesterday, or do it tomorrow? But nooooooo. Store day has to be the day I'm there. So we allllllll pile in the car. Yes, she still has on her fancy dress and high heels and now I'm pulling the oxygen tank behind her while the tubes are in her nose.

This would be the client that's close to my house. At first I was all cool and happy that she was so close to me. But there's always fucking something you know. So we get to the store, Ralph's. Yes, the Ralph's where I shop. We get to the store and now I'm following her and dragging the oxygen tank. We are in the store and I go, hey, yall wanna just sit here in the front while we (the other caregiver and I) go and get the groceries? She said yes, but nooooooooo, he wanted to go to the bank located in the back of the store and she can't sit there by herself and she didn't want to be without him. So because she's mine and he is his I have to go to the bank with them while he (other caregiver) goes shopping and I was jealous of him a little bit. I don't want to admit it but yes, yes dammit I secretly hoped that I didn't run into anyone. But you know I'm not that lucky.

She and her boo talk so loudly and they're like going through the isles going "Do we need some towels!" And then he says "Huh!" And that keeps happening. And don't forget that she still has on those freaking high heels and that I'm wearing that stupid ass company shirt with the ugly logo. I freaking looked like Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple when she was in the store with the white woman.

They finally go and sit down and I leave to help the guy load the cart with shit they don't really need. I'm going down the bread isle because even though I'm not shopping for myself my body doesn't know that and its drawn to that isle. I turned the corner and bumped into a guy I know. Not a guy I dated or anything like that, a singer I know from Leimert Park. Anyway, we shot the shit for a minute and I was thinking the whole time that I was glad I wasn't dragging an oxygen tank behind me standing next to a white fancy lady.

When I went back to get the white lady to pay for the groceries she was sitting by herself. He had gone to the "washroom." That's what she said. Now I know for sure that people don't say washroom anymore. She was worried about him and I was like, ok, just pay for the groceries and he will be back by the time we are done.

But nooooooooooo, now we are done and he's still not back and his caregiver has gone to look for him and they've been gone a long time. So we are standing in front of the store and my friend is in line looking at me like, "huh?" But I didn't say anything to him except, "ok, good to see you." But really I know I looked stupid with my 5'9" self standing next to this really short white fancy lady with heels on. And we were standing in the front with a cart of groceries like we sole something.

Finally the man and caregiver arrive and I was hoping we could just get in the car and go. Thankfully he didn't announce that he had bad diareaha (I don't even know how to spell that right now) until we got in the car.

I know you think I should have been mature enough to have not been a little embarrassed by that but you're wrong. At least I found the whole fucking thing funny. And I have to curse a lot to keep myself laughing at it.

Ok, I know this is really messed up to say, but when we got back in the house she takes the tubes out of her nose and leaves the tank in the room and said she didn't want to use it. Get the fuck outta here! I was thinking that she HAD to have it at all times. So you mean to tell me... never mind. Forget it.


This mind roller coaster

Up Up Up
down down down down down
need something to make this even
don't want food
can't sleep
have to smile
self pressure to inspire

when I'm finally sleepy
it's freaking time to wake up
like I'm finally sleepy now
and guess who has to get up

sall good though
and who started the phrase
it's all good
some loser
some piece of a human being

jaha get your ass up
and get dressed
and find your poems
find your stories
find your freaking voice
and go rock the fucking mic
and stop saying fucking so much

I said it

Happy Wednesday family

Good morning family! I'm on my way out but am pausing to say hello and I wish all of you a great day. I wish you peace on your journey to yourselves.

I have a performance tonight out in Pamona so I will be home late but really want to blog about my day yesterday. Funny. Of course I'll let you know how it goes tonight. Maybe I'll even post the performance. George is going to go with me and record it. We will see how that goes.

We will also see how it goes getting gas to get out to Pamona, but that's another story, but not really.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday at Clara's (from journal entry 9-19-11)


At Clara's today. I haven't been here since the 11th. She is sleeping now. What the fuck is that smell? It smells like a toilet full of shit spilled all over the floor. Seriously. I can't find it. I'm walking around the house like I'm on an Easter egg hunt looking for the prized shitty egg. My life has come to this. Me looking for the shitty egg. That's kinda funny to me and I'm glad it's funny and not something that sends me spiraling into whateverhood.

C: Help! Help!

Here we go.


She's in the living room on the couch reading her newspaper and eating the breakfast I brought her.

C: All the comforts of home with half the abuse.

We laugh. She tells that joke everytime I bring her food. It doesn't cost me anything to laugh.

C: Regis died his hair a different color. Hello! Hello!

Me: Yes.

C: Well, someone bought Sears.

Me: Oh yeah?

C: Yes.

Me: Who bought it?

C: Some Armenian name I don't know.

And then it hit me. No one bought Sears. The Kardashian sisters have a new clothing line they are selling at Sears and they have been putting out these "Kardashian's take over Sears" ads. I didn't bother to explain know.

In other news, I've been going back and forth, thinking, praying and regarding the fibroids I'm going to go ahead and have the surgery. I have to have the consultation first of course. I'm going on Thursday. I was going Tuesday but I'm shooting the Tree People at noon out in Beverly Hills and yes, shooting before consultation. Anyway, it works out because my hours have been cut like crazy. Praise God my photography events have been building.

Suddenly I am so crazy hot and sweating. Hot flashes are starting again.

Also, I'm featured at Lion Like in Pamona on Wednesday. I think I'll record myself because I never do. Record myself that is. Oh, and Red Stories is this weekend. Yay! Red Stories always makes me happy.

I've been in this space where I don't feel like talking to anyone. Well, I shouldn't say anyone because I always feel like talking to Uraeus and my visit with Laura on Saturday definitely fed my soul. My therapy session also went well. I don't talk about my sesions because, well, they're mine and not yours. I will say though that the sessions provide the safest place for me beside my own prayer time to peel away yet another layer of the shield I've built around myself. There I can see the pattern in which I've lived my life from a different perspective. Kind of me outside of myself, still me knowing myself as myself. If any of that makes sense.

What the hell is Whoopi wearing on her head? The View is on and Clara likes this show so this is her quiet hour. Unless they start talking about something she doesn't understand. Then it's on.


I've created a 30 day writing assignment for myself and anyone who wants to challenge themselves with the essays.

Day 1: Imagine that there is an angel beside you every moment. Write a letter to your angel talking about whatever you want, but in the letter mention three wishes you want granted.

Day 2: Remember an uncomfortable moment in your childhood and write a letter to someone who was either involved in the situation or knew about it.

Day 3: Write a letter to someone who has bullied you in some way.

Day 4: Write an article to be seen in your town's newspaper expressing your views on corpral punishment.

Day 5: Write a letter to your parents expressing where you think they would want you to be in your life right now and describe where you are.

Day 6: Describe a moment when you stood up for yourself.

Day 7: If you were an actress/actor, describe the role you would like to play in a movie. Why?

Day 8: If you had to be on stage in front of a thousand people for an hour, what would you talk about?

Day 9: Describe the area of your life you consider to be working the best. Why is it working? When was the moment it began working? (Examples of areas of your life are finances, health, family, romance...)

Day 10: Describe the area of your life you feel is working the least. Why is it not working as well as you would like? Has it ever worked?

Day 11: Describe a fight you lost. A fight could be physical, spiritual or mental.

Day 12: Describe how you handle conflicts in your life. Give examples.

Day 13: Write an article explaining what you love about your life.

Day 14: Describe how you have grown mentally and spiritually in the last twenty years.

Day 15: Write an essay about the one thing you said you would never do and then either did, witnessed someone you know doing, or could imagine yourself doing if and only if...

Day 16: It is said that the occupations we hold in our adult lives is in some way inspired or triggered by something in our childhood. (Example, a child lived with a sick sibling who eventually died and the child grew up to become a doctor/nurse.) Describe how this relates to you.

Day 17: Describe a way that you could have your favorite hobby be your full time job. What would you have to give up? What would you gain? What would be the costs and benefits to your family?

Day 18: Think back and describe a moment in your life where if you had done this instead of that then your life would be totally different. Or if this had happened to you instead of that happening.

Day 19: If you indeed reap what you sew then look around yourself and describe what you are reaping right now in your life.

Day 20: Describe ways that you would suggest we fix the American economy.

Day 21: If you were leading a writing workshop what would be the 30 day writing exercise you would give to your class.

Day 22: If you live to be 99 years old, describe where you will live and how you will be living.

C: Help! Help!

Me: Yes.

C: Is Oprah finished yet?

Me: Yes. Her show is.

C: Well she oughta be finished. She's the wealthiest woman in the country you know. She should give someone else a chance. You know, she probably started as the poorest woman and now she's the richest.

Me: Yep.

C: But she can't lose the weight can she?

Me: She looks good though.

C: Yes, but no matter how much money she makes, she can't lose the weight. She's either that much or more.

Me: Well...

Day 23: Look among your friends and family and describe the life of someone you know whose daily activities would be hard for you to do.

Day 24: What cause would you be inspired to dedicate your money, time, energy and much of your life to?

Day 25: Write a letter to your kindergarten teacher describing who you remember yourself to have been when you were in her class and who you are now.

Day 26: Think of a lie you told and write a letter to the person you told the lie to and tell the truth. And tell why you told the lie.

Day 27: Think of an animal or insect that you don't like or are aftraid of and describe a day of yourself as that animal or insect.

Day 28: What product would you not advertise for no matter how much money they would pay? Why?

Day 29: Write a letter to yourself as if you were 100 to yourself as the age you are now.

Day 30: What can we do as adults to prevent school bullying?


I put thought into these questions and topics and will try to complete this exercise myself although maybe not in 30 days. But then again, maybe I will. It would be a good challenge for me.

I have less than 5 hours to go. The day has gone by pretty easily.

C: Wow, look at the size of her! Are you sleep?

Me: No, I'm right here.

She is often pointing out overweight people on television. My grandfather did that too. Except not just on televeison. "Ooooh wee! She's a big one!" Was the phrase he repeated often. Even if the person he was talking about was right in the same room.

C: How cold they possibly eat that much? You tell me.

4 hours and ten minutes to go.

3 hours and 40 minutes to go.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

A dream about him but not him

Last week some time I had a dream. A dream about a guy I know. But the dream wasn't about the guy I know. It was about his type I think. God speaks to us in the language that we know. The language we understand. Tall, very dark. Super dark. My type, men cannot get too black for me. My favorite chocolate. Anyway, he was there but it wasn't him. Don't ask me how I know but I do. He was there I think, as symbol.

We were all in a park. A bunch of us. Everyone was so busy. Busy busy. A good busy but a busy that made me a bit uncomfortable. Nervous really. Jumpy really. Like the tone of this entry. So he called me to him and he was at a grill with a red apron on. Who wears aprons anymore? But he had one on and said "Come here" in a tone so soft it felt like his voice was merlot in my veins. "Let's make chicken" he said. And I stood in front of him and as if in slow motion, we made chicken.

Dear people who use the word yummy

I don't know why but it bothers me a little bit. You don't have to stop of course but I just want you to know that I think differently about you, a little bit. Just ignore this message if you don't care.

Thanks. Have a nice day.


New masks for sale

I'm selling the four new masks for $75 each. They are each 16" x 20" acrylic on stretched canvas. You can Paypal to

Enjoy yourselves today.

Eye to I

Red man

She tree

Play day

A quote from my friend Tara Prowell Thompson's Facebook post

"(I) love Sundays ( all days ) truth be told! So, with that said. "don't come by here, or anyones page" judging folks. After you get Saved, AGAIN this Sunday. None of us are perfect. I love the Lord. He woke me up at 6:13. I prayed, and by 7:00 I'm sure I cuss my whole family out, even the handicap kid. Toys everywhere, dishes where they shouldnt be, etc....And he still loves, me!"

Love it!

Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday, family. It's 9:20am and I am up ready to continue my painting groove. It's been so long since I've painted that I am so excited about it. And I have all these brand new canvases. Yes. I'm telling you, something about painting that helps me return to center. And I really need to.

Yes, I'm happy this morning. Just because. That's the best reason. Also I just checked out my website and my new slideshow is up on the home page. I like it. It's playing to Joe Crocker's "You are so beautiful." The site is still being redeveloped so hang in there with me, but I do like what's going on and I hope you do to. The address, in case you don't know it is, You may also get to this blog from there.

As much as I try to stay away from painting masks they call me. They scream, "let me out!" from the canvas. So I just may do that all day today and have a series of masks. A couple I will keep but most I will sell.

Today I seriously suggest that you find something that helps you return to or stay at your center, your peace, your calm space, your happiness. That space where you recognize that God, who is the higest expression of divine love, is right there inside of you. There is never ever separation between you and God. Between God and me. I know that where I am, there He is also. There She is also. Loving me. Waiting. For me to recognize.

I love you all. I do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Art is a process, 16" x 20" untitled and unfinished

It's still a beautiful day. I stopped by Laura's house on my way home and as usual we had a great conversation. She, not even knowing about my desire to paint today said, "You know, there are some canvases in the garage do you want some of them?" But of course I do. See, that's how God works. Love it. I don't even know what I want to paint, but then I never do. I painted a mask at first then decided I didn't want a mask so I painted over it. I usually do that, paint over the first thing I paint. So now the canvas is painted black and I'll create something on top of that later.

I feel ok. Besides the time I spend with my son I am most at home when I am painting. I love the solitude of painting. I like the television on in the background. I like to have something on that I can stand in the background. Not a movie I'm really interested in. Right now they are introducing the cast of Survivor. I've never seen that show and it's only on this long because they said that one of the cast members is a slam poet and I wonder if I know him/her. I don't think so because if I did then I think I would have heard about it by now. We'll see.

Mostly, I'm happy about the canvases. Find out what makes you happy and at peace today and do it.

Love yourselves today loved ones.


I just added step two to the painting. I guess I am led to a mask after all.


Step 3 is pictured in between 1 and 2. It's the one with the red addition without the face. So you see, art is a process.


Step 4 is the first picture on this entry. I can't seem to load them in order and trying further will take more time than I feel like. So it seems that less is more. I'm editing out.


I need to leave this alone for the night and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.


Step 5 is the second picture on this entry. Now I'm getting to where I like the painting. I usually start with thin lines but I'm never satisfied with them. I love very thick bold lines. It's close to being finished. As if any painting is ever really finished. I will fill in the lines a bit more and then that may be it. May be.

Good morning family.

Gray Saturday morning

Good morning family. My post these days are starting that way, "good morning family" but that's ok because I really mean it. It is a good morning. I am in a good space and I hope that you are too. It's 8:00 and I am watching an infomercial about some omega somethingsomething product and how it healed this woman's daughter's skin "like no medication she's ever been on." I'm watching this because I don't have a remote control for the television in my room. Yes, I admit I have a television in my room and I watch it and leave it on all night sometimes. Omega XL that's what it's called. But this entry is not about my television or Omega XL. But lightweight it is because this entry is about everything in my head.

The sky is gray today and I like that. I hope today will actually be the art day that I plan it to be. I really want to paint today but I may not because I have paint but no canvas and the money at the bottom of my purse needs to go in my gas tank and not on a canvas. Although I do have a dress I intend to paint a mask on. Perhaps I'll do that today.

Dear reader,
Please keep in my that this is my first post of the day and this is the process. There are words and sentences and stuff in my head I don't have words for and they get splattered on this entry like an artist spraying paint on a wall from six feet away. That's how it is the first post of the day. So don't waste your time pulling out your red pen and circle where my thoughts are abstract or out of focus, not on point, away from the topic. Those are comments from all of my writing teachers in elementary and middle school. By high school I learned to keep a journal and keep my creative writing to myself and play the boring writing game my teachers wanted me to play. All it taught me was how to keep the boring big people off of my back.

So you see reader, just bear with me. Or not.

I'm about to get up and showered and dressed and out of this apartment. I see my therapist at 11 but I need to get out of here much earlier than that and take some pictures before the sky changes from this gray I like to something else.

My writing and blogging is stiff because there are things I am keeping to myself. Does that surprise you? That I keep things to myself. Well, I do. There are concerns I don't express, and other relationships that are hands off for the blog. I still have journals. Oh boy do I have journals.

It's time for me to get up. Time on many levels. I'm slipping. My mind is slipping and if I stay in bed it won't be good for me. At all.

I love you. All of you. I do. Know who you are and be a great day today.

Jaha Zainabu

Friday, September 16, 2011

My mom

The Birds

I was on Crenshaw and Adams one day and I saw these beautiful birds. I heard them first and I wondered what a flock of parrots was doing on Crenshaw and Adams. I couldn't resist taking these wonderful pictures and I was taking them this brotha was standing next to me and kept asking why I was taking pictures of birds. Dude? If you have to ask...

Alphabet games


This is how I destress. Saying words in order a words b words c words... see where I'm going. This is how I keep the noise away. It doesn't help. For a little while it does. It eases my mind so that I can rest. And then I get so involved with my alphabet games that they keep me awake. Then I switch to number games but they only frustrate me because I was never that great with math. It's not that I wasn't great, I was just slower with numbers. It's why I don't play dominoes. One of the reasons anyway. Alphabet games are better. Except there aren't enough x words. That bothers me. I find myself collecting x words and z words and tuck them away in mind, in my bra, my front pockets, anywhere so that I will remember to pull them out later when I need to rest and can't.

How long? Well, I've always been this way. For as long as I can remember. When I was a small child I would recite Bible verses. Count the letters in sentences. Recite song lyrics backwards. Alphabet games have always been a part of my sleep. Or not.

Just some boring or not random facts or not about me

01. I like to write.
02. I like to paint. Sometimes. Lately I have to be in the mood to paint.
03. I don't like it when I see the insides of people's mouths.
04. I have big feet.
05. I don't like for people to see me brushing my teeth. That's private! However I will sit on toilet and pee with the door open in a heartbeat.
06. I love my breasts but I don't like to show cleveage. Is that even the correct spelling of clevage? I don't know. See how far removed I am from it.
07. Yes, I tend to shut people out who I don't want to share myself with.
08. It's not me, it's you. Well, first it's me and then I go through that for a pretty long time and then it's you. And then it doesn't matter anymore.
09. I am a poet.
10. I love to sing but I don't sing very well so I don't sing in public and I don't like group singing.
11. I rarely use the term "best friend" or "bff". I do have very close friends and they will probably be around forever but something about that label is weird outside of middle school.
12. Misspelled words bother me.
13. Incorrect grammar is irritating.
14. It really bothers me when people use the word your incorrectly. Like "your welcome."
15. Hearing the word "like" overused in a valley girl sort of way turns my stomach.
16. People who judge other people bother me. That actually should be number one on my list. As if their lives are so fucking great!
17. "Take a picture trick!" is my all time favorite phrase from Ice Cube.
18. I love old school rap music.
19. I love merlot. But then you already know that about me.
20. I should be doing something else right now but I don't feel like it so I'm typing this boring ass list. But then you already know that about me.
21. I'm sure there is more I could add to this list but even I am bored by it.

I have to write

Good morning family. It's 5:07 and I am up posting on this blog because...I don't know why really, but I am. I do. I do know why. Because I usually wake up early early. To pray. To breathe. To remember what bill is due. To see how far away from the rent I am. To pray for my son. Uraeus. My favorite person on the planet. I post on this blog and I write often because it takes this kind of work to stay positive. What does that word even mean? Positive. It sounds stupid. But the work is not stupid. It is necessary. You don't know this about me or maybe you do but believe me, without the constant prayer, writing, singing (however badly), painting, drawing, cleaning my closets, washing the dishes, redecorating the house, I can easily slip into a sadness you wouldn't believe and getting out of that is too hard for me sometimes. I know this about me. I'm not on any medication so I keep the sadness away with constant exercise. Not just walking and swimming, but that too. But the exercise of every moment paying attention to myself.

I know when I am not living in my calling. My calling. My God calling of art, poetry, sharing, painting, photography. I know when I am not and if you know me, then you know it too. Except you don't call it me not living out my calling. You call it me tripping. Because you don't know. Because you are not me. Because you don't enjoy your own life enough not to judge everything about my life. I'm going too far. That comment was meant for a few. You know who you are. Or maybe you are too caught up in yourselves to know. Stay on track Jaha. Focus.

I don't know the purpose of this entry. As if I know the purpose of most of them. I am pretending that I don't usually just start typing and just see the story that these sentences will reveal. The purpose of this entry is to get the words out. To release. It's like when I go to the bathroom in the morning and let out what's inside. Same thing. I can't let it build and build. I would explode if I did. And you would too.

At least I know. At least I know this about me. Get to know yourselves and see what you need to do to release. To create space. I need art. I have to write. I have to take pictures. I have to create. I have to praise God. I have to. I have to draw. To breathe. Seriously. The next time you see an artist try to understand that she is living her calling. Don't fix her life with your thoughts. Don't fix her life with your shoulds. Buy her art dammit.

It's 5:27 now and I'm going back to bed for a little while. I love you. All of you. I do.

Jaha Zainabu

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You choose

Good morning friends and family! I'm feeling great today. Stiff as all get out but great. Need to stretch, shower and get on with the day. Remember, every moment we gotta keep making the choice to keep our sanity or lose our minds. Every moment we choose life or death. Ours or someone else's . When we give hate words to the driver in the next lane, the clerk at the store, the mailman... we are sending energy to kill. It is that serious. And when we take the second it takes to smile, say I love you, thank you, please... we are sending love and life. Corny? Maybe. But so.

Today, be a great day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

At Grooveology last Saturday

At the stage tonight

An entry about whatever

I don't usually post this much in a day but this new diet/lifestyle has me replacing dairy and meat with something and for the moment it's blogging. I had a lot of running around to do today and then assignments to catch up on. Finally I edited the photos from the last shoot. It's taking me longer to get stuff done than it used to, but whatever. My thoughts are scattered like crazy but bear with me, or not.

I've got to go to the hospital to schedule surgery to remove the fibroid tumors in my body. Gross. The doctor said that they are covering my uterus. Nasty. He couldn't even see my freaking uterus on the ultrasound. Have I shared this on the blog yet? I don't know, probably since I share so much. Anyway it was in my head so I thought I'd share. Even if I'm sharing again. I'm kinda acting like it's nothing but the thought of tumors growing and existing in my stomach and then having to be cut out is pretty...ugh. But I'm taking care of it. Now finally all of the bleeding from out of nowhere can stop. That part sucks. The other part that sucks is that I feel so drained sometimes. Actually often, but I pump myself up mentally and snap out of it 'cause I've gotta get done what I've gotta get done.

Speaking of being tired here's something funny. At least I found it kinda funny and I don't really need you to laugh because as I've said before, I cracks myself up. Anyway, I shoot the Grooveology parties every month and last Saturday night I was so tired. I had been working Mr. Milk's case since Thursday morning and didn't get off until Saturday morning. His case is sooooo hard. Too much mentally for me. Anyway I shot the party and had a good time but at about 1:30am I was pretty wiped out. When I told Patrice I was leaving she asked me if I was upset. I told her that I wasn't and that I was just tired. I got my pay for the night and said good night to the folks I would say that to and was out. Finally to sleep.

The next day Patrice sent me a text and said she heard about the guy who touched me and how out of line he was. I was like, "What guy? What touch?" I mean, you know, did I like it? Was he cute? Single? What's up? She heard that some guy touched me and I got upset and that's why I left early. That was the very long version of the story and you probably had to be there but still it was funny to me. See how stuff gets started. Out of nowhere.

I'm going down to the stage tonight and shoot Edwin Bodney who is the feature tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing him. He's like my little baby. Except he's not little or a baby. So he's more like a baby brother. Well, I've got to get out of here 'cause the workshop starts in like four minutes.

Take care beautiful people.

The choice is yours

So the day before yesterday I did an exercise where I ripped out a sheet of paper from my notebook and wrote down a list of the awful things I say to myself. I wrote as fast as I could so that I would not censor myself. Because of course I wanted to. I didn't want to admit to myself in my mentally awake state that I put my self down so badly. 1. Fat 2. Ugly 3. Stupid 4. No one wants to hear your poetry and stories so shut up. And the list went on and on and the longer it went on the funnier it got. I know that these are lies. I know that it is my calling to be an artist because I know that God uses my art to touch the lives of so many and I am thankful for that. Still, knowing this doesn't stop me from going at it. Especially when I am in the middle of some random swirl. Thankfully, I'm not in one today.

I continued the exercise and wrote out a prayer when my wrist and fingers hurt from the destruction spilling from my fingers. Then I wrote out a list how I love myself and what I love about myself. This isn't something I do often and so I tried to be consistant with the exercise and write as fast as I could and not censor myself. 1. I am a talented artist 2. My poetry and stories touch many lives 3. I am an engaging host 4. My paintings are beautiful and unique. I allowed myself to be inspired by this list.

What it comes down to is that in every moment we all have a choice. We can believe the put downs we tell ourselves or we can be inspired to move and continue to create and lively up our lives with what is true and good about us. As for me, I ain gon lie, I make the wrong choice some days and I pay for it. Believe me I do. But then sometimes, sometimes I choose me. The real me.

Hello beautiful people

Good morning friends and family. So much tings to do today. In a spirit of praise and thanksgiving and ready to get them done. Praise God they found the boy who was lost in the mountains yesterday. God is good all the time. Running out and wishing you all a great day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

8 yr old autistic boy lost in Twin Peaks

Good morning friends and family. I'm up this morning sending prayers for the 8 yr old autistic boy lost in Twin Peaks. I know that it is impossible for him to be anywhere that God is not and I am holding on to love, holding on to faith, holding on to unchanging hands. Bless him, Mother/Father.

I am uncomfortable using the words lost and found because I know that God knows where he is. I don't know God's plan. I am praying for the hearts of his family, friends, community. Praying for all of us.

I woke up listening to this story this morning. I understand the business of reporting but it's still a trip to hear a story like this and then hear the reporters move on to the best and worst dressed in Hollywood.


In the moment

I miss my dad so much today. So much in this moment. So much in this memory. Too much too say. No words to speak. And I am ok.


because loving myself enough to love myself and care for myself is important like breathing in and out and in and out again easy easy deep deep breaths i shouldnt have to remind myself but sometimes i do and thank god for friends and family and hugs and food and love and hot showers and my precious son and life and art and poetry and the energy to remember to love myself enough to love myself enough to take myself back and give myself back to the work i am called to do and trust god in all things in all ways and this is just the way i breathe

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm going back

So I'm going back to being a vegetarian. Seriously. After spending all day in the emergency room yesterday dealing with my gallbladder and these freaking fibroids, it's about time. What we take in!!!

Quote from Henri Nouwen

Valerie Bridgeman posted this quote on her Facebook wall today and I loved and so posted it here to share with you.

"Writing can be a creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them." ~ Henri Nouwen

And while I was on her wall I fell in love with her words, as I always do.

"So, people keep asking; here's my answer: I'm in LOVE with living, not because it's all good all the time, or because there isn't drama or trauma in uncontrollable/inconsolable moments. But because I face each situation--good, bad, indifferent--with the SURE KNOWLEDGE that Love attends me." Valerie Bridgeman

My mother

I was in the hospital yesterday. Gallbladder, fibroids (at the same time). I didn't want to tell my mother because I didn't want to worry her. I didn't want to tell her until I knew all of the details and the answers to the the questions I felt she would ask. I had another gallbladder attack the night of my birthday. Then I was a little ill at the party.

Finally I told her where I was and as I was leaving I saw her pulling into the parking lot. I blew my horn and told her I would meet her at her house. There was something in her face. "What's wrong?" I asked her. "I feel sick." She responded. She didn't want to go to the hospital, just wanted to lie down. "You sure?" "Yes."

I followed her to her house and appreciated her love. That she would leave where she was and put her not feeling well self into her car to be where I was.

Thank you, Mom.

I love you.

Quotes that inspired me today (from journal entry 9-3-11)

"An artist is someone who is trying to find beauty and create beauty."
John Legend

"There is a magic to great art that lifts the spirit."
Jason Alexander

Dear Jaha (from journal entry 9-3-11)

Happy birthday, dearheart. I love you so much. I am so proud of you and I am honored to call you self. I know you. I see you. I acknowledge you as strength and kindness. As love and generosity. I recognize you as friend and mother. I honor you as child of God.

Thank you for hanging in there. Thank you for remembering to know that God is all ways with you. Always. Thank you for knowing that the rough times only seem rough. I love you for getting that there is nowhere you could have been, could ever be, that God was not, that God is not.

At times when you strayed off of your path, you got back on. You grabbed God's hand and continued on your journey. Held your head up when others talked badly about you, lied on you, judged you and put you down. You are dignity, Jaha. You are and it is ok to know about yourself.

Praise God for your courage and dreams! Praise God for your praise. Happy birthday, Jaha and go on with your journey. Stay on your path. Love yourself more than you ever have before. I love you dearly.

Jaha Zainabu

It's my birthday! / Build your boat (from journal entry 9-3-11)

It's 7:26am and I am at Clara's again. We had a good day together yesterday. A good day considering... And I see today being another good day. She is sleeping on the living room sofa right now so I have a little time to write.

Today is my birthday! Yay, I made it to see 42. Thank You, God. Sekou called me at about 1:30 this morning to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. We talked for just a minute and it was really nice to hear his voice. Janice called a little while ago and sang I just called to say happy birthday to me. I loved it. I'm happy.

In the moment I am thinking about the conversation that Therman and I had while on my way to work yesterday morning. We talked about legacies and what we will pass on to our children, to the children of the world, to the world after we leave. We discussed the relevance of leaving our thoughts and ideas.

It is easy for one to take the attitude, "Who me? The world doesn't need my two cents." Yes, your cents too. It was Anne Frank's two cents that she the best light on what she and many Jews experienced during their persecution. As a seventh grader, reading her words, I hid in the basement with her. I heard the footsteps she heard. Cried when she cried. I believe that all of us have a story to tell a particular way to a particular people. Now, we may not know

C: Did somebody get my teeth?

(It wasn't until I got back from her bathroom that I realized she was talking in her sleep.)

Many of us may not know who our audiences are, for some of us, the audience may not even be born yet, but that's not our job to worry about that. Our charge, I believe, is to put the work out there. Take the pictures, tell the stories, write the poems, build the houses, sew the clothes, find the cure. Each one of us is charged as Noah was, to build the boat. Whatever your boat.

Telling your story, as you know if you have read more than three of my posts on this blog, is something I am passionate about. As Therman and I discussed, we, black Americans especially, come from a people who kept quiet about such things as domestic violence and sexual abuse, even a lot of the racial prejudice they experienced. I do understand that the silence could have been the best way they felt to protect themselves and their families. But we can use our voices now to help someone going through what we went through. We can use our voices now to gift the world with our view of the elephant. I invite you now to push beyond how insignificant you think you are or your story is. I invite you to get so busy living your life and taking in your story, so busy building the boat you were charged to build, that when others cross your path you have headspace enough, decency enough to see that she is just building her boat. He is just leaving his legacy. Appreciate the courage it takes to fully live a life. You living your own leaves you little desire and time to judge others. In fact, consider that every judgment of someone else is you physically taking a plank of wood off a boat they are building. Imagine the time and energy it takes to literally do that. And at no benefit to you. At no benefit to the world.

I think about people who have produced popular movies and written popular books and the many many people who came along later to criticize the work. The critiques are often very well written and thought out and so I wonder why the critic just doesn't spend time creating his or her own art. But then that is my judgment, I guess, on them.

Awwww, Michael Datcher called and sang, rapped, spoke me a birthday song! I do love my community.

A few months ago I was listening to a friend and awesome poet, Nyasha Khalfani, also called Shonda Buchanan (now professor at Hampton University). She read a poem she wrote about us caring for other human beings, being concerned about something outside of ourselves. In the poem, and I wish I had it in front of me, she said, when a woman comes up to you and needs... "have the decency to stop the world." "The decency to stop the world" I love that line so much. It inspires me to care enough about another man's, another woman's journey to give more that I take. Whether or not I am going where he or she is going on their path.

Ghandi was lying ill from malnutrition and dehydration from his own hunger strike. A man bent before him and begged him to eat, asked what he could do to get him to live. Ghandi told the Hindu man to go and find a Muslim child whose parents were killed and raise the child as his own. The Hindu man agreed and Ghandi added, "And raise him as a Muslim." The decency to stop the world.

Friday at Clara's (from journal entry 9-2-11)

It's 10:11am and I'm at Clara's. I'll insert here that I'm happily at Clara's. As much work as I do with her, her case is a breeze compared to the mental exaustion from some of the cases I've been on since her. As usual, when I'm here, I'm on a twelve hour shift. I've been here since this morning at 7 and am scheduled to get off at 7 tonight.

Clara is still sleeping. Normally I would have tried to wake her up by now but she looks like she is in such a deep sleep I want to let her rest. In fact, the three times I checked on her I stood next to her much longer than usual to make sure she was breathing steadily. Obviously she was. But each time I stood there it was a little weird. She was so still. It's 10:21 now so I'll give her until 11:00 at the latest and then wake her up to at least change her. I'm usually pretty rigid about the clients who are wearing briefs being changed every two hours. Especially if they are lying in the bed a lot. One of the best ways to prevent bed sores is to reposition and keep the skin clean and healthy and of course dry.

I'm going to take this half hour to breathe.


At 10:30 Clara called me. She was given a bath and prepared for the day. She's having breakfast now and is in a good mood. I'm laughing to myself now because I read in the notes from another caregiver where she wrote that she (Clara) was in a good mood and the she wrote "thank you Baby Jesus" next to that.

On another note, tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be working and that's cool. Sunday after work I'm having a party at my mom's house. She's really excited about it and I'm happy she's happy. The party is not just for me. There are many celebrations going on in my family right now. My mom's new retirement, my brother in laws birthday, my sisters graduation (yes, shes's a doctor now), my cousin and her family are here and are having their youngest child formally dedicated to God, with my sister leading the ceremony, and last but not least, my birthday. So needless to say, the house will be filled.

Again, on another note, this entry, clearly will jump about quite a bit so dear reader, please keep up with the telling, I've been thinking a lot about what's next for me. The artistic part of me is a constant in my life. I've been thinking about new levels of it. I'm in the inquiry of how to upgrade what's working and shift from what's not.

C: You wanna add years to your life?

Me: Yes.

C: Watch Oprah today.

That's funny because we are watching the news and a promo for the Oprah show came on. The announcer began by asking "You wanna add years to your life? Today on Oprah Dr. Oz..."

I'm listening.

C: Three dollars and ninety cents a gallon! Just boycott the gas!

Of course if we "boycott the gas" we wouldn't be able to get to her home. I'm sure she didn't figure that. I'm laughing again to myself because I can see her saying "Well just walk to my house." As you can see I cracks myself up.

I'm listening to God. I'm praying. Following the path for me. I'm trusting. I am knowing that all of my steps are protected.


This has been an amazingly peaceful day. Easy. Easy is good.


C: Has there been any news about Nancy Regan?

Me: No, nothing.

C: And there's no news about Chelsea Clinton?

Me: No.

C: Well what about Zsa Zsa? Did she get her legs cut off?

Me: I don't know.

C: Well I'll tell you. When they don't want the world to know something then they just pay the press a bunch of money. Lots and lots of money.
And I'm concerned about my car collecting dust down there. I'll have to write another letter to the company. Except I don't like to write anymore. I used to write all the time. I would send cards and letters at Christmas. And I didn't just sign it, "Love, Clara." No, I wrote a note. I hate it when I get those cards that just have two words. It's like they're just brushing you off.

And now they're trying to get the college tuition reduced for Mexicans. That's not right. Here we are helping a country like Lybia and Mexico right next door to us is going to hell and now they're over here sending our country to hell. They're illegal. That means a crime you know. So that means they're criminals. When Canadians come over here they have their own money. Yes, they know what to do.
So do you have any property in the line of that fire.

Me: No, I dont.

There is a big fire along the Cajon Pass and the 15 freeway is closed for the day. The news said that over 800 acres have burned so far.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dear God

This season as a home health aide has been a blessing. Thank You. And I'm ready to move on to the next chapter. And please let it pay more.