Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sen. Mitch McConnell is the jerkiest jerk.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 211 - Things to do today

I will love
I will wake up and stand
I will stretch and I will smile
I will tea
I will grits
I will eggs
I will toast with strawberry jam

I will paint
Black families with too long limbs

I will write

I will pray
I will sing
I will dance
Wailing arms
Bouncing buttocks
Flying elbows
Criss crossed feet
I will move

I will remember
I will speak

I will wait
I will watch
I will believe
I will keep my side of the street
Clean as I can
I will breathe
I will laugh
Mouth so wide open
Belly shake so funny
Hands slap knees
I will happy
I will cloud
I will walk
So far and so long
With so much work to do
So much easy and free on my mind

Edwin Bodney

How it goes 101

When you make friends with my people and talk badly about me and tell them not to tell me, what happens is, they tell me. You didn't learn that in third grade?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


If I have a conversation with you and you say it's cool and then tell someone else it's not but never discuss your discomfort of the temperature with me, then who is responsible for your heat?

Got a second?

On an episode of Criminal Minds once, there was a woman whose son had been missing for about eight years. As she spoke to another woman, who authorities believed had both of their children, the woman said that there was a moment early in the morning, when she first opened her eyes when she didn’t remember her child was gone and she was at peace. The feeling, on days that it came, only lasted a few seconds. Then it was back. The nightmare she knew.

I cannot imagine the pain this woman lives with every day. I know that Criminal Minds is a television show. And I know that her story is a story that many live with. We can only dare imagine the pain. And the bravery? Do we acknowledge the bravery of folks who look forward to the few seconds a day (some days) when their bodies did awake before their memories of the thorniest parts of their lives begin to play and then repeat all day and all night?

What can we do, as human beings, I wonder, to help our brothers and sisters have more seconds? We all need each other. This is what it means to me, to need more time. There will never be more than twenty-four hours in a day. No one is asking for thirty. People are hungry for time outside the prison of mind misery. We all become prisoners at some point. Whether the cause is some tragic event, illness, a phone call, death, (the list is endless) the gates close. Small acts of love and kindness are the keys we need to set each other free.

We choose. There is always a moment we know we can lift or crush someone. The state of our homes, communities, the world, is our collective choosing. We are all guilty of caging and freeing. What if we actively pursued love as simple as smiling, touching? What if even in the space of our own fears and illnesses and circumstances we sought ways to add easy moments to someone else’s life? What if we really believed that we are all one and that what we do to another, we only do to ourselves?

A poem a day for 2013 - day 210 - Morning prayer

Thank You, Mother / Father God
Who is merciful and kind
Who is forgiving and knowing and remembering
Thank You for life
For sun
For grass
For wind
Thank You for morning
For home
For friends
Thank You for family
For my son
His smile
His loving heart
His compassionate spirit
His easy way
Please bless him this day
With joy
With Your protection
Your grace
Thank You for blessing me to be of service to others
And so in service to You
I am never outside of Your reach
Outside of Your knowing
Of Your forgiveness
I call on You now
To guide my tongue
To water my anger
Thank You for this new day
This chance to again again
To love where I held hate
To change where I stayed the same
To be thankful
Thank You
For knowing my heart
Enough to see
Yourself, the trees, the sea, all of Your creation
Inside of me


I don't know what to do with black people (especially) who say they don't like dark skinned black people. Like, when they say that, I'm all...mmmkayyy??? Then I go into how crazy and self hating that is and then I'm disgusted by that blank look on their faces like we are talking about shades of coffee.

Jiffy Lube restroom selfie - yep

Monday, July 29, 2013


Prayers and love for my son
Who has the kindest heart I have ever

You should know

This was just a this. This did not break me. This was just one small moment in time. Already passed. You cannot do anything to me. You can only do to yourself. You can only waste your own time. You are only showing yourself how much work you need to do. You will never stand in my way. You can only exist for my good. My good has blessed your life. My forgiveness has kept you alive. My prayers have kept you covered. My word has kept you safe. My kindness is gift, not guarantee.

I love words

  1. 1.
    feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).

A poem a day for 2013 - day 209 - Gratitude

I am thankful for space to heal
Thankful for knowing that everything comes to light
In divine time
In perfect space
I am thankful that I only need remain open
And truth shows up
Is showing up
Because now I am ready
I am thankful for ready
Some things are supposed to hurt
How spirit
How human would I be if they did not
I am thankful that I am responsible for
What I am responsible for
And pain in another one's lap
Kept away from my knowing
Is not my lot to seek and to find
Mine is to be present for conversation
To be available for healing
I am thankful for correction
Thankful for knowing that gossip about me
Is not about me
I am not finished
The pain is not gone
This story is not complete
I am thankful 
I honor myself
With process

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 208 - Tag

My feelings are hurt mostly
I thought this friendship meant something
I thought it was a something that was real as ocean
As moon
As tide
That would swell and fade
But at least always be there
This is not a loss I am used to
This will take process
And then I will be over it
This is not boyfriend, lover, sex loss
This is friend, sister, confidant
This is vault loss
I am numb
I am naive
I am not understanding
Even still
The quiet and concern in your face
The love in your hearing
The wrap in your arms when I tell you
My day
These moments
My life
And then the cruel of your tongue
How my secrets slip easy from your fingers
I do not understand your teasing lips
About me
About my family
That was the word
Between you and your sons
It's my fault
For not seeing this before
I see you
Now I see you
You could have come to me
I could have handled your anger
You were messy in my life
You were sloppy with my loved ones
I didn't know I had to protect my circle from you
I didn't know I had to protect my family from you
I see you
I see you now
And I am sorry that
This is who you are

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 207 - Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For the love, friendship and connection I have with my son
For good health
For laughter
Long rides
I am thankful for friends
For good conversations that last beyond remembering time
I am thankful for clarity
For truth
For truth that hurt
I am thankful for being ready for honesty
For friendships that end
For good riddance
For moving on
For time I trust to heal wounds
I am thankful for loving myself enough
To let go

Friday, July 26, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 206 - Time

Because my fingers twisting my son's locks
Is the best poetry
His head sleepy between my knees
Hair wet and thick ropes down his neck
His voice heavy and rasp
We talk stories
True and wide
This is what I will forever
Hold easy
And free round my heart

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 205 - Dear Uraeus

The world is heavy with people ready to direct, advise, should you on path to tomorrow / this is your life / your way to carve / space / make / be / yours / I am shadow to your fall / I am cheer / clap / I am stomp at your joy

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 204 - When

Not one in particular
But words
Over melody
Long drives
To nowhere really
Then back home
Like that

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 203 - Title intentionally left blank

Tonight I can only rainbow and butterfly
I can son and nephew and niece
I can laugh (a little)
I can sleep tonight
I can be all the cliches about love
All of them
But I cannot war
On any level


I am thankful for this day
For good friends
For family
For a funny conversation about a serious matter with my mother last night
I am thankful for a therapist who gets me
Thankful for my son
Thankful he is on break from football practice
Thankful to be able to watch him sleep
Thankful for his beautiful face
His kind heart
His patience with the world
His long healthy body
The locks on his head
I am thankful for life

According to the Sharia Law

•  Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
•  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Allah, the moon god of Islam is punishable by death.
•  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
•  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
•  Girls' clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad's words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
•  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
•  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband's consent to divorce.
•  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
•  Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
•  A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
•  A woman's testimony in court, allowed only in property cases, carries half the weight of a man's.
•  A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
•  A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
•  A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
•  Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah - i.e., be Halal.
•  Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
•  The list goes on.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 202 - Allegiance

This is the journey I travel
Framed by my love for humankind
For my belief in freedom
In justice
I call loudly for the safety of children
I cry in great despair when fear becomes hate and hate murder
I celebrate the simple courage in all of us for living every day
For showing up as word
As honor
As friend
I believe in band aids for our falls
I believe in falling
In learning
In forgetting
In learning again
I am all about hands
Hands holding other hands
Hands reaching in deep dark spaces
To rub feet
And braid hair
And fingers
I applaud fingers
Pointing to self in answer to 
Who will clean this mess

Me with Nspire

Nspire is a poet, mother, friend and so much more. I met her on the Los Angeles poetry scene years ago and now know her as a friend. I use that word in the realist of ways. We talk often. Our sons hang. We encourage each other. Last night we went to see Fruitvale Station with my son, her son and his friend. Tears. You already know. Side bar here, she almost had to issue some backhands to a few folks in the back who, somehow, found something funny during the hardest part of the movie. Poor souls back there didn't even know they were in danger. I don't know, maybe watching Oscar's mother walk the longest walk any mother can walk, that walk to view her son's body on a cold hard table, is too confronting and heartbreaking. Maybe giggles come to mask the tears. Again, I don't know. But she spared them the mama tongue whip they were due for interrupting the movie.

When I saw her this morning I had the good sense to bring my notepad and she agreed to this printed conversation.

J- Why poetry?

N- Why poetry? For me, it's not just poetry. Poetry is just a form of what I do. I wrote short stories before poetry. I didn't land on poetry. Poetry landed on me. I've been writing poetry. I didn't slam though. I'm too scared to slam. I never slammed. My shit is real. I mean, I do this piece from my heart and somebody give me a 4.7... no... Don't be judgin' me.

J- What do you remember first?

N- 'Bout what?

J- I don't know, your first memory.

N- Just being free, rolling around. Being a child and rolling in the grass. Being sensitive to other people's needs. If that makes sense.

J- Sure.

You mind talking about last night?

N- No, I don't mind.

J- Obviously it was touching but...

N- Why was it so touching to me?

J- Yeah.

N- Um, it was touching not only because I'm a humanitarian, but more because I've been in that space before. Being in a hospital room praying for change and it doesn't happen. Death is so permanent. It doesn't just affect the person killed. It hurts the family, friends...

To just kill him like that, I mean, yeah, there are bad people out there, but not all of us are bad people. It gave me a visual of what my godson looked like when he died. 

J- He was killed by the police?

N- Yeah, shot in the back of the head. 

J- How old was he?

N- Twenty-one. He turned twenty-one January 1 and was killed January 20. 

J- What happened? 

N- He and his friend were walking home and Kazi decided he didn't want to be harassed by the police.

J- He was usually harassed by police?

N- Yeah. He had gone the up and down path. He went from playing basketball, then feeling the peer pressure of being affiliated with his hood, had a baby. Baby was only eighteen months old. He now plays basketball. He's eleven years old. Kazi had gotten his forklift license and just got a new job. 

So many similarities to Oscar Grant. He got back with his baby's mom. Moved her into his place. Decided to make a change.

J- What time was it when he was walking home?

N- 2:15am. He was coming home from a friend's house. He was right around the corner from his house. 

J- Then the police stopped him. 

N- Yeah. They saw him and made a u turn. (Pause) Honestly, I don't know if it was due to my stroke or all the stress, but I can't remember exactly what year that was right now.

I have experienced so much death around me. From '98 to 2008 I experienced death every year. That's ten years! The last one was in June.  I was with my ex husband closing his grandmother's eyes. Then the very next year, it was my grandmother.

I lost a guy I was dating January '03, my godson... (Pause)

J- What happened that night with Kazi?

N- They flashed the lights on him. This is the account of his friend. He told his friend, 'Man, I'm not about to be harassed tonight.' He was like 'I'm about to shoot left.' 

J- To head to his house?

N- But he didn't make it. When the officer noticed he was taking off he hopped out of the car and said "Stop or I'll shoot!" Then he immediately just shot. Then his friend just dropped to his knees and screamed, "Wait! Wait! Why are you shooting him?" Both of the officers shot at him because he was shot multiple times. In the head and the back.

I don't know how long it took for them to call the family. By the time I got over there, daylight was breaking. It was over on 125th and Vermont, by Helen Keller park. Right in the intersection. 

When I got there, they had removed his body, but his hat, brain matter and clots were still in the street. I never liked chittlins but I really don't now because that's what brain matter looks like. 

J- What did you do then? 

N- His brother and sister were in the crowd and I went to hug them. Wow, I used to babysit them. Then I realized what was in the street and I asked the neighbors for Clorox and water because cars were driving through the crime scene and I didn't want him left there like nothing. 

I rinsed off the ground and just watched what seemed like forever a red river flow into the drainage. It felt like my tears were flowing through the water. His friend picked up his hat, then the others started up all the hood garb.

J- Hood garb like what?

N- "Aw cuz, nigga fuck this!" A lot of menacing. But that to me felt like part of the problem. Because they don't just bang on the police. They bang on each other! They bang on folks from other sets who they don't even know. I mean, you can't just do shit and nothing happens. They were as much of a reason why he was dead as the police. 

J- So what did you do?

N- I sprayed at them with the water hose. Not disrespectful but just to get their attention. I spritzed they ass. I told them they were a part of the problem like the police. I told them they should do better. I told them that the hood would forget about him but his family will never forget. His son will never forget. 

J- Did you get help for yourself? All those deaths?

N- (Laughs) Well, how can I phrase this poetically? 

J- It ain't gotta be poetic. 

N- Let's say...turned to medicinal assistance.

(We laugh) 

That, and I had the support of friends and family who I probably drained the hell out of. I went into a deep depression. I felt like I didn't want to be here. And if it wasn't gonna happen naturally, then I was gonna help it out. 

I had some really solid family and friends who prayed for me until I could pray for myself. I got in touch with my spirituality. And the meaning. I had a hard time with the why. Then I just got into what happens after it happens. If I can't ask why it happens then I go into what the purpose is and what I'm supposed to do. 

You know what's interesting? After all the deaths, I didn't want any new people in my life. I didn't want to get close and then lose another person. You know? I lost different kinds of people. I lost my father, a boyfriend, a brother, godson, best friends, cousins, children of friends...

(Throughout our conversation her dog, Buddy, kept trying to come into the room.) 

J- Did you name your dog, Buddy?

N- No (she laughs). Buddy is a gift from the kid's father when he was making graces to get back in. Buddy was disowned from his family because he impregnated his mom. We all wanted to change his name! All of us put two names in a hat and the name Buddy was in the hat twice also. We shook up the hat and my oldest son pulled out the name Buddy. My youngest then was like "No, that's not fair" so I let him pull. So we shook the hat again and he pulled out Buddy too. After that I was like, "Come on, Buddy, let's go." 

J- I love it! I love the name Buddy too. Plus you needed a buddy at that time. 

N- I know! (Pause) I learned about physical death and spiritual death in this whole process.
When we first got Buddy, he only took to me. Not my ex, not the kids, just me. And he is so needy. He needs all this attention and sometimes I do too, you know? But he was my buddy. When I lost all the weight, 115 pounds, Buddy was my walking buddy. 

(Short break)

N- When I lost my brother in law, and I only say in law for the record, but he was a brother to me. It was an earthquake. He was the tenth death. I'm just now finding my way in the pieces of this rumble. 

J- How did he die?

N- A stray bullet went through the window of his house as he was putting on his shirt to go shopping for our Father's Day barbecue. It was the day before Father's Day. His two youngest children and wife were there. 

J- Wow. What are you doing to take care of yourself? (Again)

N- Well, besides the medicinal assistance (smiles), I died. I. Died. And now I'm in my Lazarus stage re recognizing myself. What was that movie...The Terminator... when they kept beating him up and he kept getting back up. I feel like the Nspironator. Right now I feel like there's not much more that can hurt me, as far as death is concerned. I feel like you have to learn to live with it and take all the positives out of that. 

You know I was just thinking. Thinking about marrying my names. Marrying being an inspiration. Like that's my God given last name. I'll be Dietra Walker Nspire. 

I always try to have a good heart. People like calling me Nspire because they say my message shows that name.

I was walking down Venice Beach and I saw a picture of Bob Marley. I love Bob Marley and I really connected with this picture. I hung it in the boy's room. 

The picture says: 
Get up 
Stand up
Stand up for your rights
Don't give up the fight
Get up
Stand up
You have a right to life

I know people are like "Why would you hang that in their room? He smoked weed!" But he was more than weed. He was a philosopher. Get up. Stand up. You have a right to life. At the end of the day, that's my message. 

Red Stories

It's Red Stories time again! Come and join us this Sunday, July 28 at 7:30pm at Nishati Vibrations 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA $7.00. Sekou Andrews is the amazing feature this month. You KNOW he has stories! I'm looking forward to seeing you all Sunday!


I am thankful this morning for being alive, awake and up
Thankful for an evening out with my son and friends
For sharing thoughts and tears
I am thankful for easy rest
For further clarification on my plan to forward Red Stories
I am thankful for Red Stories
For the cool sky
For the moments
My health
For energy to keep moving

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dear Chas

I love you. I just came from The Rave in Baldwin Hills with my son, a friend, her son and his friend. We saw Fruitvale Station. It, of course, was hard to watch. I thought about the men I love, out that way. Keep your head up, black brother. Keep up the good work and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.


A poem a day for 2013 - day 201 - Numbers

I move furniture around
Dust bookshelves
Add books
Buy plants
A new table
I tape artistic postcards to my file cabinet
I need something to do with my hands
I need something to do with my heart
With the fear and anger curling in my blood
Another black man killed
Another cop goes free
Another baby dies
Another drive by shooter gets away
Another day
Another .44, .22