Sunday, March 31, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 90 - Day

Because I blamed you
When I turned my own head
Away from the trees
Afraid to see the field
Tip toed to not feel
Dirt under my feet
Held my breath to
Ignore the stale and sticky
Truth in my face
So clean
Like ginger and kale
Wipe my tongue
Of every lie I would tell myself
You cannot unsee what you saw
I played my favorite fool
The one who pretended not to

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 89 - Saturday with Kat

We talk the best shit over pancakes and blueberries coffee cigarettes easy parking secrets mommy stories men women and laughter. Your voice knife and thick with what the fuck with your bell hooks and Alice Walker ways. These are the best moments. Sneak away to private gardens don't nobody know. Ginger tea girl talk woman wisdom like we need sometimes. Alone.

Me with Kat Magill 3-30-13 / Los Angeles

Today I had breakfast with Kat Magill / Simply Kat. She is a poet, performer, teacher, mother, and my friend. I love this woman! She is one of my good shit talk homies. I won't give you her full bio. Google her for that. But if you really wanna experience a ride, sit in the audience and listen to those stories come from that voice. Watch those arms and hands wail. Watch that hair do what that hair is going to be doing (take a picture because it won't be doing the same thing twice). Learn. And enjoy.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Seeing my son happy and listening to and watching him make me laugh - priceless.

Conversation with my nephew

Me: So you gon be drivin' on your own soon. You tryina save money for a car?

Reuben: Ummmmnnn... But I already have my pick up line ready for when I see a woman walking.

(We laugh)

Me: What is it?

Reuben: Imma pull up next to her and say "Hey beautiful, you too pretty to be walking around" then Imma open my door and say "now get in."

(We laugh again)

Reuben: But that's gon be a test. 'Cause if she falls for that...

Me: Then you better take her home.

Reuben: Yeah if she falls for that then that means she ain't for me. 'Cause that ain't too smart.


Thankful for this day. The opening of my eyes. Heart. Arms. Thankful for dreams. Quiet. Resolve. Easy. Another step forward. Determination. Talk.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 88 - Present

I am this fist of nerves and jerk flitter and stutter blink and loud darting eyes and pacing feet irregular breath and this grateful heart to be feeling at all a head knowing that this will pass and a want to be some other way.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 87 - Toast

Mostly I like people who love what they do, even in the face of all of the challenges. Folks big enough to throw themselves into projects even bigger than they. I love the delicious energy sticky in the air after artists leave a room. Talking about all those stories and poems. Paintings and dances. All the stuff and the ways we stretch ourselves. Tire our bodies and minds and purses. Rest, if we do, then ready again for the next.

BessKepp at the World Stage 3-27-13 / Special Ed

Dear Therman, I miss you so much. I'm a little girl waiting on the porch for you to walk down the street. Just so you know.
I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hyper right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me at the World Stage 3-27-13 / Dear Poets

Me with John Hensley 3-27-13 / Los Angeles

Me with BessKepp 3-27-13 / Los Angeles

Me with Conney Williams 3-27-13 about Red Stories

Red Stories
March 31, 2013
2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305
Features: El Rivera and Conney Williams

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Me with V Kali 3-27-13 / Los Angeles

A poem a day for 2013 - day 86 - Here

Whoever said we had all this time
To paint and pray
To write all these poems
Tell so many people we love them
Hold all those hands
Kiss every face
All of all of our time
Is only what we can fit into now
My every I love you
Is for everyone I love
A story dreamt or thought
Is a story to be set free
A tree a flower a leaf in the gutter
Is posed for me now
Not some tomorrow I fancy
Is crossing her legs
Waiting her turn

Me with DJ S.O.U.L.O. 3-27-13 / Long Beach

Me with Deja 3-27-13 / Long Beach

Dear Uraeus

Me with Kahlil 3-20-13 / Los Angeles

Me with Zuri 3-20-13 / Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Dear Uraeus 1-1-13

This is our America

Me with the brothers Mark and Kahlil 3-20-13 / Los Angeles

Me at the World Stage 3-20-13 / Los Angeles

Conney Williams opening the open mic at the World Stage 3-20-13 / Los Angeles

Me at Le Boule 3-22-13 / Los Angeles

The story goes:

Jane and Josh got married
Jane and Josh moved in with her mother and stepfather
Jane and Josh slept in a pullout bed in the living room
Stepfather used to come into the kitchen early morning for coffee
Stepfather never made a sound there in the dark
Early early
Earlier and earlier
(Accusations withheld)
Jane and Josh moved away
Nobody ever said a word

A poem a day for 2013 - day 85 - Remembering

I woke up this morning
At the God hour of three
Thinking about my friend M
And the days we sat in her kitchen
She smoked cigarettes
I drank wine
While she edited some book at her desk
Blew smoke out the window

She had stories to tell
That would go on forever
I listened and laughed
As long as she spoke

She and her family were from New York
M came out first
Then her sister
A cousin
A brother
Her mother

Her mother moved into
A convalescent home nearby
She hated LA
Escaped from her bed
Fought with the staff
To stand in the hall
In the middle of the night
To call New York
No one in particular
Just hold the phone to her ear
And talk to New York

Her mother died months later
Still wanting New York

One day M was alone
And her nephew came by
For money
For coffee
To stay through the night
She got a bad vibe
And turned him away

Later, weeks later
Nephew came back
They sat in her kitchen
Talked while she smoked
As he stood to say goodbye
She got that vibe from before
He walked close behind her
And pulled out a knife
Stabbed her eleven times
In the back
Under her neck
Close to her chest

This is for not letting me in before
You bitch
You bitch

And then ran away

Nephew is still in jail
M did not die
Till six years later
Not from the knife
But cancer
The cigarettes
The smoke she blew out the window
The smoke trapped in her lungs
With her stories
That laugh
All those poems

This morning at three
I was back in her kitchen
With wine
With tea
While she edited some book
Blew smoke out the window
Told her stories to me

Monday, March 25, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 84 - Wear

I am looking for the perfect pair of jeans
I will wear them every day
I am tired of changing pants anyway
I want them long enough
To cover my ankles
And just scrape the ground
Worn and faded already
With belt loops big enough
For the brown leather
I already have
The one I will wear every day
Till death do us part
I have a pair of jeans
That I wear often enough
On Monday they are God sent
By Wednesday they are too baggy
Too short
Don't go right with my shoes
So I put them away
In the back of my closet
The trunk of my car
Then it rains
And the smell of the water on concrete
Makes me remember those jeans
The ones right for me
That I put away
Now it's awkward
Because no jeans say those things
That those jeans whisper
Sometimes a woman just wants a pair of jeans
To be there and rub her back when she cries
To understand her moods
And just cover her ankles
Just scrape the ground
New jeans are not the answer
I know
I know
I am afraid to forever these jeans
I have never forevered jeans before
I am full of what ifs
Concerned about my wishy
My washy
That thing that happens in my head
Between Monday and Wednesday
Every morning though
I commit to the day
I left leg
I right leg
I keep my belt in the loops

Facebook conversation with Joshua

Joshua Silverstein
Jaha! Are you available to Judge a youth slam semi finals on April 26th in the am?

Jaha Zainabu
I am but I am the worst judge ever. I can never bring myself to give anyone anything less than a 10. Seriously. But if you need someone to sweep the floor or set up punch and cookies, I'm your woman.

Joshua Silverstein
Hahaha! I feel you! Yeaaah, you'd be the judge that pisses off all the other competitive parents.

Jaha Zainabu
I really would. I'm the grown up at my niece's basketball games who screams NICE TRY when ANY kid misses the ball.

Joshua Silverstein
hahahahahahaha! I love you Jaha!

Jaha Zainabu
All my love to you.
May I post this on my blog?

Joshua Silverstein
of course!

Jaha Zainabu
Sloppy mama kisses on the forehead.

Joshua Silverstein

A poem by Yesika Starr - Eclipse

I am the woman
Whose grandfather
Hung himself from
The highest branch
Of a mango tree.
My father
Had a well
For a throat
Full of the cheapest
Vodka in a liquor store
Each weekend
He took to
Drowning in
His own voice.
I own a mouth
Like a highway
No traffic
Had ever been
To make me
Feel safe
Until I
375 pounds
Of gridlock.

When moths
Come in groups
They are called
An Eclipse.

This is my family.

We seek
The fire
That will end us.
Chug down the darkness.
Devour all light.
It is our instinct
To crave
Our own scorching.
The impulse wired
Into our wings.

Moths usually don't make a sound.
And so our slow dying
Was never made common knowledge.
This is how I spent
My first twenty four tears
Not knowing that
My grandfather
Had killed himself
And by the time I found out
My father
Was almost done
Taking his own life.

I was next on the totem pole

But I was blind
To the way I was coming

I couldn’t see
How my obesity
Was claiming
Every part of me

My spirit
While I stood
Naked and weeping
In a shower
While my mother
The parts of me
I couldn’t reach any longer

The shame
So thick
In my veins
I took to the internet
Wearing another woman’s
Picture as a mask
Tricking men
Into loving
The tender of my voice
The curl of my laughter
Begging someone to see past
The parts of me
I couldn’t look through anymore.

Always pretending
I wasn’t jammed full
That I wasn’t rush hour
With a pile up of cars
That I wasn’t a passenger
Hurled through some windshield
My spine a question mark
Splintered and bleeding on the road

I was tired of
Of depression
Being my heirloom
Of having to drag its wings
I went
Of everything
that called my name
the loudest
burning me
the most

I decided
I was not going to be a moth
Nor darkness
Nor highways
Nor pounds
Nor the rope around my grandfathers neck
Or the bottle beneath my father’s chair

And that this thirst
For death
Was not going
To keep me
From being alive

That the night
To the sunrise

And this is what I did,

I laid myself out
Like a horizon

Begged God
To flood me with light

Asked him to send me
Someone to love
And love me back

Over and over

Until finally
One morning
The mist cleared
And I was opened
To myself

This is the kind of eclipse
That comes
During the brilliance
Of day light

I am the woman
Who chose to live
Despite her


I love Yesika. I love her work. Her smile. Her who she is for the world. This is poetry. Words that make me feel and grow. Words that make me want to write. To reach deeper within. Be vulnerable and weak and tired. And inspired.

Thank you Yesika for letting me share your words.


Good morning all. I am thankful for so many things and for so many people on this day. I am thankful that my beautiful son, with his taaaalll gorgeous self, is on spring break and is in the kitchen cooking breakfast.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 83 - You know who you are

I keep checking on you
Like you are this broken thing
I found on a beach
Turning you over
Looking for cracks underneath
Behind your eyes
Listening for gaps in your voice
Reading between the lines
Of your art
Your stories
Your songs
Seeing/hearing something
That maybe you said
How can I help
Fix what you need
You are not made of glass
You are not made of glass
I am only talking to myself
Do they know
That your shoulders
Are only made of flesh

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I am lovingly loving myself enough to take myself to bed. Now.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 82 - Untitled because why

I will remember to love myself and be gentle and easy with my mind my body the goddamn thoughts and sinking elevators and clouds and ceilings and all the metaphors for feeling like shit will not swallow me tonight I am not the same woman who woke up this morning with her journaling and prayers for the day I am a woman who needs to remind herself to love herself and be easy with her mind and all the chatter it holds

The brothers Mark and Kahlil part 1

Jackson wedding