Saturday, August 31, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 242 - Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
How perfect it is
Even with whatever is wrong
I am thankful
For my eyes open
My functioning limbs
For those I love
For my son
I am thankful for words
For heart
For art


So when people say, regarding us bombing Syria, that if we don't our enemies will think us cowards and will think that they can get away with attacking us, well, don't we have enough of a history of destroying other parts of the world to shut that theory down? And why now? Why is this the straw? Somebody tell me, please.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 241 - And so we wait

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer
This journalist whose name would be remembered
For good work and integrity
But then I realized
The more I read
That I am not a political person
That's the story I told myself 
Even way back then
I was always saddened by war
And stories of war
Any war
Even when Veronica was gon kick Michelle's butt
In the girl's bathroom on the little playground
I wanted to intervene someway
War was never a story
Where there were heroes and villains
Everybody just lost
Nobody ever won
Not really

I haven't changed much
After all this time
I wonder about families
Over there in Syria
So far away
Tonight how will they pray
What words will they say
Who will forgive first
Will grown sons and daughters sleep with parents and pets
Will fathers tell tales of better days
Will mothers cook
Will young women wash their hair early morning

There are better options
There just are
Maybe I am just naive
Perhaps I am not informed enough
If families die from our bombs 
Instead of his chemicals
Are they a better dead

I keep listening and reading 
And waiting for it to all make sense
How big brother we are
How our responsibility is to do more than watch and wait
And I remember Rwanda 
How we watched them die
And watching is not the answer
And bombs are not the solution
And poetry does not persuade politicians
But words and questions and a backpack filled with prayers
Is all I have to give 

Vincent Harding

“We need to remember that the anniversary of the March on Washington is not the anniversary of a speech, but the anniversary of a very important point in history to expand democracy, to deepen democracy, and to make democracy more faithful to its own sayings.” 

Breaking news. Awaiting president's remarks on Syria.

President Obama:

Syria regime carried out chemical attack.
Increases risk that chemical weapons may be used again.
Consulted with congress.
Not considering boots on ground approach.
Classified briefing with members of congress.
He has not made a decision on attack on Syria.


President feels he has to attack even though he doesn't want to attack.
The world is expecting this attack.
There's not going to be much left after attack except some poor soul guarding an empty base.
This strike won't be a regime change.

Me and hopefully you too:

Praying for peace.

Lamar/Syria news

I am sorry that we live in a world where Lamar Odom being arrested for DUI this morning is bigger news than people in line for gas masks to live and breathe. Not that it's not news. It is news. It is sad and a situation I hope will get better for Lamar and his family. Just, we are so star obsessed. So much so that what is happening in the lives of people who are not in front of the cameras on the daily seems to mean so little.

I am watching the news right now and there are reporters and paparazzi surrounding the police station where Lamar is just to get a shot of him. Listen, I understand, photographers gotta get paid too. I just can't help but to wonder the education we could give to the world by interviewing and taking pictures of that family in Syria nervously praying against a bomb on its home.

It is naive of me to think that every day news should just stop because bombs and missiles are aimed to kill other human beings. Perhaps. Perhaps it is very naive of me. But still.


I am thankful for this wonderful day
For all the heat
For the energy to dance to old school hip hop for an hour straight
In lieu of my morning walk
Thankful for my son
For friends and family
For art
For words
For poetry and stories
I am thankful for a clear head
For work
For love all around me

Dear Therman

Can we talk about Syria? Are you there?


Seeing people line up for gas masks is heart breaking. Don't bomb Syria! Don't bomb Syria!


Wow! Preparations for a strike on Syria taking place right now. Could happen this weekend! Why? Somebody explain this to me in a way I can understand because I just don't.

Ok, I'm done

Ok, at the L.A. County Fair they are selling a Krispy Kreme burger which has a Krispy Kreme donut on each end as the buns and not one but two burger patties and two slices of cheese on top of each patty.

Don't bomb Syria!

Don't bomb Syria! Don't bomb Syria! Obama, don't bomb Syria! President Obama, don't bomb Syria!  Barack, don't bomb Syria! Don't bomb Syria!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

At play

Zolah (5 years old) playing with her sister, Zy'An (3 years old).

Zolah: Za'Yn, while I put this together, you go and distract Mommy.


Mom: Yes!?

Za'Yn: I'm coming to be a distraction!

I love it

Zy'An (3 years old): Jaha.

Me: Yes?

Zy'An: (Walks toward me with a cup of...something) This smells horribly bad.

Me: Smells what, honey?

Zy'An: Smells horribly bad. Horribly.

Holland-Reid Photography. Boom.

Dogs. Past. Tense.

The other day on my walk I walked past an open gate and behind the gate were two pitbulls. For those of you who know me, know that I am greatly afraid of dogs. Almost all dogs. Size really does not matter. I think the fear comes from a moment when I was a child on a night walk with my mother and there was a dog on a porch. He seemed like he was going to stay put until I took off running. I remember my mother calling after me as if I was just going to stop running while a (moster) dog was chasing me. The dog grabbed my sweat pants at the butt part with his teeth. He did not bite me but that his teeth were that close to me was certainly enough to keep me afraid. Anyway, the other day. As I saw that the gate was open I just kept walking. I breathed through each step. I got passed them unscathed.

That moment made me think of other issues in life for which I have held fear. That the fear is of some moment before not the moment of the moment. That I can breathe through those situations and get beyond. That I don't have to be afraid of what I've been afraid of. This is not a new lesson. It just feels good to remember.

But this though

I am suddenly so incredibly queasy right now though. I am going to throw up all over the place any minute now. I know you wanted to hear that part.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 240 - Today

I will only speak words
That have been filtered through


Thankful for this day
For my eyes opening
For my limbs and my mind ready for morning walk
This beautiful day
Thankful for my son
My friends
My family
Thankful for a friend last night
Who called and prayed with/for me
Sprinkled Jesus throughout her whispers
I am thankful for those who love me
Thankful for those I love
Thankful for Thursday
For sun and clear sky
For the healthy plants in my room
Bless this day
This ordinary, special, kind of

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I am that I am and so are you

On my walk this morning I found a mirror. A large mirror that comes up to maybe my neck, my chin if I am standing and goes out from my hips to my calves if I am sitting. It was laying against a tree less than a block away from my home. Calling me. Calling me. At just the right time. A time like now when I am ready to love and appreciate myself as I should. Ready to remember myself for who I am. Someone loving and beautiful. Kind and generous. Imperfect and human and sincere. Gigantically aware of the oneness of all humanity. I carried this mirror home. It was heavy in just the right way. The heavy made it worth it. Like I worked for the right to see myself this fully every day. Like I get to stretch my vision of the world as I fall and rise more in love with myself. Because what can I teach you about love and my love for you if I refuse to see myself in the same crystal light? How you gonna believe me when I delcare my love for you when I am running from my own harmless reflection? I am beautifully scarred. Humanly afraid. Brave as an angel. Fly as someone born straight from God. That is who I am. That is who you are.


I am thankful for being thankful
Thankful for energy
For good good sleep last night
For waking up this morning well rested and loved
I am thankful for love
I am thankful for friends and family
For food and shelter
For clothes and car and job
For art
For my son
I am so thankful for my son
I am thankful for the entire community that holds him safe
Thankful for my mother
Thankful for medication
For feeling whole and beautiful
Thankful for the acceptance I have of myself
My whole self
Thankful for everything wonderfully flawed about me
Thankful for feeling wonderful and beautiful
Thankful for peace
For inner calm
For motivation to complete projects I have been stuck on
I am thankful for this new day

A poem a day for 2013 - day 239 - We. Now. Fifty. Years. Later.

Fifty years
A celebration
Time passed
Time passing
Let it rain
Umbrellas up
Pour rain pour
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A day like today
Five decades ago today
Barack Obama
A promise made
Self evident truths

Pursuit of happiness
After emancipation
Freedom ring
Freedom ring

Breaking news
The dream lives on
His dream
Our dream lives on
Our dream longs on

Black people

We remember
We remember
Booming voice
Ringing voice
Thunder voice
Prophetic voice

We remember
We remember

One people

We remember
We remember

We know injustice

Fifty years gone by
Years of prayer
Of faith
Of fight
Of nonviolence
Of peace
Of freedom
Of song
Of knowing
Of God

Freedom ring
Freedom ring

Freedom persistant
Freedom young
Freedom old

Thirty four years old
Brother Martin
Boy Martin
Man Martin
Father Martin
Husband Martin
Southern Martin
Black Martin
Live Martin
March Martin

Voting rights

Yes. We. Can.

Fifty years
Fifty years
Fifty years change

We owe
We owe

We are thankful
We are grateful
For patience
For liberation
For knowing that there is so much work to do
We are thankful for progress
Thankful for courage
Thankful for those before
Thankful for yesterday

We will honor our befores

Our history
Our freedom
Our pride
Our challenge


I will forward
I will stand
I will dream
I will fight
I will peace

Speak, President, speak
Family, Obama, family
Tell, Barack, tell

We, people, we
One, we, one

Fifty years, fifty

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I am thankful for this day
The clear sky
I am thankful for my son
My beautiful son
For completing a task
For being easy on myself
For getting a light for my car
For my mother
My friends
My family
For words
I am so thankful for words
I am thankful that I am a friend
I am thankful for those who love me
I am thankful that I get to love
For red
For television
For poetry and art and notebooks on which to doodle
I am thankful for love
For food and shelter
For clothes and a car
For kindness and connection
I am thankful
So thankful for
The meds are working amazingly. Except I should have believed the doctor when she said they would make me want to eat often. And how! Can we say morning walk?

Hear ye. Hear ye.

Went to court with a friend today. I wish we lived in a time when the law was set up to protect women. I wish there was ever a time the law gave a damn about the safety of women. I wish verbal harrassment was taken as seriously as physical harrassment. I wish judges did not tell women to come back if he puts his hands on you. I wish women were safe inside of their homes. I wish I could snap my fingers and it would all be different.

The case ahead of my friend's case was a young white woman who was there because another woman had broken into her home with a crow bar. Is that how you spell it? Is that what it is? A crow bar? Doesn't that sound evil? To barge into someone's home with a crow bar. The crow bar holder did not show up so the restraining order was granted to the white woman with the bun in her hair and cooking school uniform and black ugly shoes and checkered blue and white pants. I remember details. I just do. But not my friend's. Her order was not granted because no one damaged her property and threatened her with a crow bar. A crow bar. Crow. Bar. So now I don't know whether to celebrate that her order was denied or not.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 238 - Dear Uraeus

I believe in you
I will art for you
I will heart for you
I will love who you love
I will remember who hate
I will pray for you
I will hold and fingers and stomach and
I will toes for you
Tippy through dirt over gravel for you

I will space for you
Moon and ocean
I will write and paint for you
Bleed and sing
I will see
I will skin
I will destroy and build

I will midnight
I will morning
Dig up
I will dirt
I will clay

I will nose
Ear for you
I will shoulder for you
Whenever you need


Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.

When I'm alone in my room sometimes I...

Monday, August 26, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 238 - poem 2 - Loving me easy again

I am stronger than I thought I was
I am braver than before
I am more beautiful than I dreamed
I am courageous and forgiving
I am all these words
All this paint
These colors splashed easy up my skin
I am so much sun
Higher than I could climb
Look how far I fly
Way the clouds open up
See how red
How pink
How blue
Feel all this fight I have inside of me
I am so people
So one
So connected to Source so good

I am so student
So learn
So digest
How does that make you feel
That I study so well so much

I am so safe
So protected
So resting in the palm of God's hands

Need me
I want you to need me
All this love I have to share and give away for good

Let's verb together all night
Let's say all the words we have
Spill all out on the floor
The first to survive the night
Is the winner of the hearts

Can you see how easy it is for me
To fall in love all over again
With the woman I have become


I'm am back to myself again. I am so thankful I made it. I was a bit sketchy there, for a minute. But I made it. I did. God is good. All the time. God is good.


I am thankful for this day
So thankful
So thankful I can be so thankful and mean it so much
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
For love
For the day coming to a close
For an informative meeting
For goodness in the world
For the good all in my heart

A poem a day for 2013 - day 237 - New Chapter

This chapter new of my life
Turned page
Watch me keep this smile
Watch me be ok
I'm ok, I'm ok
I will leave a legacy of self love and care to my son
Watch these arms wrap 'round my self so squeeze
So rubber band
So bounce back to life
Like I never left before
So right
So good
So feel
Watch and see me
Left foot right
Again and again

Thankful for Red Stories

Red Stories blesses my life! It just does, every month. I am so thankful to all who came out. To Thea Monyee for being such an amazing feature. To Reverdia and Edwin for opening. To Food and Socks for letting me host the show at Vibrations. I am thankful for such a great night.

Already I am looking forward to next month. Nspire and I will be featuring together. September is my birthday month and I will celebrate by being a co feature at my show. I hope you all can make it.  It's at Vibrations 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA.

I feel so great. I really do. Part of me, that is. On another note, I heard some news about a friend whose name is and will be sewn into my thoughts and prayers. She knows who she is. I will keep her name safe from the spill of my life as her health is her business to tell. (But if you are reading, I love you and will keep you lifted high in my love and concern.)

Mentally I am feeling incredibly even. I love this me. Laura said the same thing about me last night. We went to get something to eat after the show. She said she loved the me I am now. I understood. I know that it hasn't been the easiest time for my very close friends lately. In addition to them dealing with their own lives they were available to me with ear and shoulder. Feeling helpless, I assume, much of the time. I am here because of their prayers too. Their love and friendship and dedication to my wholeness. I love them.

It's almost 2:00am and I am thankfully sleepy. Maybe it's the meds, maybe it's not, but something is working. I have a very full day later on. Enjoy yourselves. I intend to.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 236 - Moments

I saw El Rivera in Leimert Park this afternoon
We talked for a minute about life
We acknowledged how good it felt to see each other
How good it was that we have known one another since like 1994
How good it was to acknowledge the moment together
How moments pass before we even know it and all
We talked about relationships
And what she go and bring that up for huh
Then she said something I promised myself and her that I would remember
I'm glad I did

"Your mate should know you
Know you
Spend time getting to know you
Long before he thinks he can tell you what the fuck to do" El Rivera


I am thankful for this moment
This day
I am thankful for a clear head
For resisting the pull of the triggers
I am thankful for my mother
For my uncle
My sister
My son
For my friends my family
I am thankful for safety
For shelter and food
For my sanity
For tea
I am thankful for the love that surrounds me
For peace
For words
I am thankful for my life
My whole life

Happy Red Stories day!

Yay! It's Red Stories time again! Tonight at Vibrations 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA at 7:30, $7.00. Thea Monyee is the feature tonight! I look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 235 - Bed. Time.

White walls
Open windows
Sheep to count
In this room

The what's so

8:15pm. Home.

I went to the doctor on Friday. I was holding out for Friday for the last two weeks. I have been waiting to get medication. Some kind of medication. I don't swear by it. I'm not one of those people who thinks that all ails are cured with medication but I know I need something more than what I'm doing to manage the rapid cycling that I'm going through. I feel like I need a do over for the past two weeks of my life. I have felt like this before.

About two weeks ago I went to the emergency room because I was at enough is enough with all the crying for no reason, the ups too high and soon after the downs too low. So I went to the emergency room. I was determined that they would not keep me. They didn't. I got a referral to a psychaitrist at a mental health agency in Los Angeles and I went. Thankfully I had an appointment with my therapist before I went to the agency. Thankfully my therapist is awesome and a champion for my wellness and gave the information and encouragement I needed to go to the agency.

I sat there. Was called to the back. The back. Doesn't that sound scary? Questions, questions, and more questions to answer. Mental health professionals and mental health professionals and mental health professionals to see. And there is a folder. With my name on it. As if I'm not paranoid enough. A folder for the doctor to read. About me. My history. How I feel. Who I am. Then I saw the doctor on Friday who said she "knew me from the file." Nobody "knows" me from a folder with my name on it. But whatever. We talked. And talked and talked and more tests. Tests I guess I failed because she changed my previous diagnosis from bipolar 2 to bipolar 1. Which I cried about. Cried because I was already teary. Cried because bipolar 1 is a supersized version of bipolar 2. And I don't believe in labels and I'm not AN anything. No label defines me. But lowkey (highkey really) I didn't want that one.

In my mind bipolar 1 people were people who stood in the middle of the street and threw bricks at cars. Then I had to check my sterotyping. Had to notice my quick jump from being this woman who lives to erase the negative stigma people put on the mentally ill to a woman who sat in a chair and cried because a professional in a coat called her a THEM. Quickly I wanted to minimize the effects the ups and downs were having on my life. Wanted to take back the tears. To not be the jumpy and jittery ball of nerves I felt. I wanted to show her how cool I was. How normal, how together, how I needed meds to even out the slight mood swings I was kind of having. But there is no label for kind of mood swings. And even if there was, Slight, Kind of, Mood swings are not my symptoms. And while no, I'm not throwing bricks at cars from the middle of the street (or anywhere else), dealing with this (whatever this is) has been really challenging for me. Especially over the past two weeks. I haven't been able to work, complete photo projects I was under deadline for, concetrate on hardly anything, or sleep. I went three days without sleep! I wasn't even sleepy! I was so friggin' wired. By the third day I was loopy and paranoid. I was afraid to take business appointments because I didn't know what space I was going to be in. On one day I would be so in love with how beautiful the whole world was and then the next day I couldn't figure out why I was on the planet at all. That's no way to live.

Why do I talk about this? Because I know what a lonely place it is, living with an illness that no one can see. Blood and scars and high tempature for friends and family to measure is one thing, but anxiety/euphoria/depression/chemical imbalance is something else. I know what it is to feel like the only one who has ever felt that way. Folks have this one way that mental illness looks like and we make sure that that one way does not look like us. So yeah, the guy in the street. Throwing bricks. At cars. Yeah. Not the woman at home who has considered suicide more times in a week that most people do in a lifetime. Mental illness looks like me. And I look pretty great. That's why I talk about it. Here. So openly. That's why I am open about my journey to wellness. About how I cope. About the lows. About the ups. About what works. About what doesn't.

Last night was my first night on the new meds. I slept well. Very well. Probably too well. I felt a little sluggish this morning but maybe that's because my body is going to need to adjust to the pills. I'm going back to work next week. I'm still promoting my audiobook and still doing me. A little slower than I usually do me, but I'm getting it together.

That's the update on me. Love yourselves, yall. Love yourselves so well.
Deleting people from my Facebook friends list is my new favorite hobby.
So thankful that my phone is back on!


Look at this beautiful day
This clear sky
I am thankful for these seeing eyes open
For these legs ready to walk
I am thankful for love all around
For sleep
For meds
For doctors
For silence
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
For my life

Friday, August 23, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 234 - Thanks giving

Sometimes I forget that I walk around with so much privilege with my multilimbed self, my sighted, my hearing self, my heterosexual self. Yes, my black WOMAN self. My middle aged self. My artist self. My traveled and read self. My sheltered and fed self. I forget. My privilege gets lost under my complaints of nothing to wear.


I am thankful for this lovely morning
For my eyes opening
My limbs functioning
For my spiritual, mental and physical health
For my appointment with the doctor
For my bus pass
For pen and notebook
For a book by Alice Walker to read
Thankful already for the stories on the bus
That go round and round
I am thankful for my son
My friends
My family

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Alone in the guest room

A poem a day for 2013 - day 233 - Off Riverton

remember we sat at the table
all those years ago
and i told you how toxic this was
our this
the this that we had
and i told you this
our this that we had
was unhealthy for me
how time it was for me to go
to leave
remember you responded like i was asking
for your permission
like i needed your permission for my life
my life
my life
not yours
and you told me that this
our this that we had
was not unhealthy for me
but that i was a runner
who couldnt keep still
and maybe thats true and maybe its not
our this that we had
i am thankful for feet
for my feet
for shoelaces i tied
readying myself to leave

It's Red Stories time again!

Red Stories is this Sunday at Vibrations located at 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA at 7:30 pm $7.00. Thea Monyee is the feature this month. I do hope to see you there!

My audiobook! Yay! Order now!

My new book is called THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER. I am pleased to announce that I am selling the audiobook first. Read by me! Yep.

You can order your copy now for $10 through Send money to Orders will be shipped on September 15.

Hope you enjoy it.

Oh, please be sure to include your address.

Writing prompt

Write out a prayer. Spill your thoughts and thanksgiving, your confessions and dreams. Let your mind, your wishes, words express as best as you can, your most honest heart language. Create words if you have to. Write as if you and whomever you pray to are the only ones who will read your prayer. Pray erasing your rules about right words to say. Communicate. Share. Trust that the one you pray to already knows you.



I am thankful for being a witness to how beautiful this day is
I am thankful for my health
For shelter
Food, water, clothing
Thankful for my son
For family and friends
I am thankful for my plants
My mind functioning
Thankful for love
I am thankful for space
For kindness around me

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Antoinette Tuff

A man walked into a school with the intent to kill and be killed. Antoinette Tuff, the school clerk, talked to him. Showed compassion. No one was killed. Thank you, Ms. Tuff. Thank you so much.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 232 - Time taken like balm

I took a walk
I hopped on a bus
I went for ride
I listened to strangers
Recorded the timbre of their laughter
For later
I ear hustled their stories
I sat in a library
In a coffee shop
I opened my notebook
Let the sun ooze on my back
I took time off to busy myself

Watch me be bigger than this
Watch me survive
Watch me escape the clouds this time

I get it
I wish didn't get it like I do
But I do
It is not the mania or depression that most thistles my nerves
I will grow wings
I will burn if I have to
The ups and downs are painful but predictable
I am too euphoric or too drowned in worry/tears be dangerous
I think
Do not worry about me then
(Do not listen to me now)

It is the times
Just before the slip into sinking
When I have energy enough
When I am creative enough
Hopeless and sleepless enough to believe the voice in my head
That bitch was never my friend
But she is convincing as fuck
She will fool you too

See how pretty I am
See how together I am
Hear all this confidence in my voice
Watch my hand on my hip
How I got my shit together
Ask me how I'm doin'
I will fall into my together
Quicker than your last Twitter post

That bitch will fool you too

Aint that what you said
I just saw him at the movies
With friends and popcorn
A hot dog and smiles
And now he is gone

I sat next to her at the poetry reading
We laughed at the same lines
I looked into her eyes
I know she was fine
And now she is gone

That bitch fools

We hold our secrets close as boiling water
We need love
We need ears
We need shoulders
We need a couch
We need eyes
Some something to balance the chemicals
Bouncing back and up
Forth and around

Remember when I fractured my skull
Climbing too high
Playing unsupervised
Remember when I broke my leg
Twisted it at tennis
Remember a hospital was the obvious choice
Remember you did not scribble a scripture for me to read and be healed
Remember the space there was to pray in the exam room
This is not different
This is not easier
This is not sleep on it

Give him your hands
Give her your space
Offer your trust and mean it

Why do you have to see blood
To believe


I am thankful today for waking up this morning
I am thankful for my son
For my mind and limbs
I am thankful for knowing that I must take a walk
Thankful for knowing when the clouds are forming
For not being willing to subscribe to the hopelessness
I am thankful for one step in front of the other

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I am thankful for feeling happy
For happy just because
Because just because happy is the best
I am thankful for this day
For ease
For errands to run
For friends
I am thankful for hugs and conversation
For Laura
For love
I am thankful for long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles
For space to people watch
For the clerk with the bright purple locks
Because bright purple locks is a hairstyle too
For the old man who trusted me to help him
I am thankful for not knowing how any of this is going to work out
Any of this
I am thankful for knowing that it will

It's free write time again

So if you have been following this blog at all, what you know about me is that pretty often I get stuffed with words and stories, many of them quite boring (but whatever). And I have to cough them out of me. I need things to do with my hands. I need to see tiny and larger stresses in print and out. That makes them smaller somehow. Don't ask how. But it does. I like to see tiny and larger successes in print and out because that makes me smile. Ask me why. Do not ask me to make sense of my free writes. Please do not. Please just let me blah blah all over this page.

As if you have a choice about what I do.

1. My phone is off. That sucks. It sucks that my phone is off. But the tiny cool thing about my phone being off is that I get to remember that my life and my whole world does not fold into itty bitty confetti pieces and flush down the toilet because I don't have my phone. Remembering aside, it sucks, still.

2. I went to the DMV today to pay my registration and get my tags. I had $700 and my fees came to $529 and I gave the clerk $530 and when she didn't give me my $1 I was lowkey mean mugging her like yep, you forgot something. Judge yourself. AND I had to get a smog check this year and who has time for that? I went to get it checked and the guy told me that because my check engine light was on the car automatically would not pass. High five to him for telling me before he did the test because I would have had to pay the $55 even if the car did not pass. That would have what? Sucked. So now I still don't have tags...or the $529 I gave the DMV. But it's cool because at least my registration is paid for.

3. Went to Jiffy Lube on some Yo, what can we do about this engine light situation? He was all Sure, Ma'am we can check that out. I don't mind being called Ma'am. Ma'am me and give me some good news. But he told me that my car needed maaad work and gave me a grocery list of codes to give to my machanic then frowned a little bit when he said the part for one of the repairs needed is gonna cost about $400. I said thank you and folded the paper and put it in my Ma'am purse and drove off.

4. This is not bigger that I. This is just money. This is just a car. This is just a car that I need to get to everywhere I go. Most importantly to get to Bakersfield to get my son. Bakersfield is three hours away. This is still not bigger than the gigantic woman I am. This is just this.

5. Watch me not stress about this.

6. In other news, kinda, when I looked at myself in the window at the DMV I had an awful moment (moments really) because the only thing I saw was a woman I wanted to fix. A woman who would be beautiful if...

7. Then I changed my mind! Because I get to do that. And I saw a beautiful woman who I would want to be or at the very least, be great friends with. And that made me happy. And in the space of that happiness I was able to be a blessing to an old man who really appreciated my assistance.

8. Because THAT'S who I am.

9. Red Stories is this Sunday! And THAT'S who I am too!

A poem a day for 2013 - day 231 - Dear Uraeus

If you should become a writer
Or storyteller of any kind
I wish you space and freedom to tell your story 
As open and free as the sky
Even if you are just telling yourself
Say everything
Empty yourself of words
Protect no one from your truth
You have my full permission
Not that you need it granted 
To tell our stories
The ones that were created by us
The ones between us
Say what you will about me
Just free yourself
All the stories inside you deserve air
No human worth her DNA has lived a perfect life
No mother has gone without making mistakes
I have made mine
In the effort of my life
In the struggle to stay alive
To keep us alive
For your happiness and mine
For my own self
I am satisfied with this
With the immense love I have for you
That has never and will never disappear
Let your story spill
All out past the formality
Cross the red lines into the margins
Write on the desk if you have to
Write on the wind
The stars
Write right through the heavens you were named after
Keep writing 
Keep speaking your truth
Keep living and creating your life
With your words

Monday, August 19, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 230 - Manifest

There are all these words
Swirling around in my head
Phrases about stuff to do and time
And what time
And how
And all these questions
What does it know
What access does it have to even shut down
I am the spirit here
Not it
I am the human
I am the fingers
I am the brain
I am the body
I am the imagination
At the top of the mountain
Thin air and clouds
Crossed legs and oversized sweater
I am the closed eyes
The head raised in prayer
This is where worlds are created
I tell myself
In this quiet
This dew on my nose
I am the possibility
Working here

At it

This is pretty scary
Ain't none of it easy
But what am I gonna do

Thank you Holland-Reid Photography for taking my picture

Lee Thompson Young is dead at 29

Lee Thompson was a young black man. An actor. A human being. Apparantly he committed suicide. This is tragic. This is sad. This news is not platform, however for people to voice their opinions about the emeny. About the devil. About if we do x then y won't happen. This is not space to say that he, or anyone who makes this choice is selfish or weak. You were not there. He was there. He was there by himself. You were somewhere else. You are not a doctor. You are a whatever you are. If you are a doctor, you are not him. You are you. Illness is real. Pain is a thing. Depression kills. I do not know if he was ill or depressed. I was not there. I was here. I will only send love. I will care. I will wish his family and friends some kind of ease. I will take the opportunity to be a better human, friend, family member, listener, giver. I will take time to remember, when my own clouds form, that morning will come. That sun will show its face. I will sit in my own life. I will not judge his.

Why ask why

"Pastor A.J. Aamir recently told his leadership staff at Resurrecting Faith, DO NOT wear weaves. Pastor Aamir feels women wearing weaves presents a false image of themselves and are associated with women who have low self-esteem.
“Our black women are getting weaves trying to be something and someone they are not. Be real with yourself is all I’m saying” said Pastor Aamir.
Pastor Aamir admits he was raised in a strict household. His mother and father are members of the Islamic faith. At 39 years old, he leads a congregation whose average age is 22."

Ok. Really? Why, Pastor Aamir, are you singling out women? And women wear wigs and weaves for many reasons. Are the men in your congregation keeping it that one hunnit? Mother/Father God is not asking this of us. You wanna know why people are leery of religions, well, because religious leaders start making shit up like this. That's why.


So proud of my son for starting 11th grade today! I love you so much, honey!

Yay!!! My new book is (almost) out!

My new book, THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER will be released at the third anniversary party of Red Stories on November 24. I am selling an audiobook accompany the book. You can order  audiobook now via PayPal at Orders will be shipped on September 15. All orders are greatly appreciated. Please tell a friend!

Plenty good room

I wish we could see that there is so much work to do on this planet and that we don't have to all fix it in the same way. I am tired of people trying to out revolution someone else. There is room enough for us to work where we are called. Go and fight injustice where you will be served best, is how I feel. We do not all belong in the streets with guns. We just do not. We do not all belong behind pulpits or podiums or ink pens for that matter. Who am I, as an artist, a woman, a mother who uses her voice and art and heart to further love, forgiveness and healing, to end separation, violence and stigma to say that your work is not enough, because it is not mine? Who are any of us to measure? Heal and let others heal. Some will cause positive change for masses of people at a time and others will impact one blessed soul after another. Go, beloved and do your thing. Fight your fight. Feed hungry, house the homeless, write a book, cure a disease, build a bridge, educate a child, donate to a shelter, help an old lady cross a street, stay on the phone with a friend who feels hopeless, save the whales. There is room for all of us to build a better tomorrow.

I have such a huge fire knot in my stomach. What the hell?

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Tonight I shot the Still Writer's event at the Event Center in Inglewood. As always there was so much love. Good good food. Lovely poetry. And hugs all around. My favorite part was at the end when all the lights came on and I sat at a table, out of the way and watched people through the lens of my camera. Watched them kiss and hug and say so long. Watch them relax and laugh those great big laughs. Those are the shots I like to take the most. I like people. I like faces and bodies that are relaxed and sunk into easy. Those are the stories I like to tell.

The truth is

I have no long stories. I have pages though, that make me look ugly. Pages I would rather leave out. But then, what am I gonna do with all those gaps?

A poem a day for 2013 - day 229 - Movement

Because peace can be celebrated
And easy ain't no punk
There is good in the world
To document and share
There are hugs that go around
There are tears wiped from faces
Smiles given
Here are ears ready to listen
Fingers standing by to separate clouds for you
For calm in your head
Take these shoes
This food
Come indoors
Put up your tired legs
Let me rub your back
Brush your hair
Let me hold you like you need
Ain't love a revolution too


I slept so wonderfully well last night!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I do.

While I was on my walk yesterday for some reason I thought about Walker (fake name). Why him after all this time? I don't know, I guess because I realized I wasn't so far from his home. Maybe because I had just had a conversation about him with a mutual friend who was still friends with him. Maybe because I'm trying to do all this work on forgiveness and forgiving myself and getting past stories and seeing people as people. Because that's what we are, no matter how we try to demonize someone else. We are people who are doing what we know to do. And sometimes we do what we do because we don't have access to doing it any other way.

Laura and I sat in her living room until late Monday night and talked. She suggested I get a notebook and write down stories that come up and then forgive. Not like POOF but like celebratorily let the stories vapor into the nothing from which they had come. At least they would be the hell out of me. And if someone got a free pass, so what. Bye bye.

Maybe that's why Walker came up. I still have stories about him that come up from time to time and that I accidentally see him every so often doesn't help. I held hatred for him. Hatred for myself for being inside of his slow water drop of abuse. Even now, I'm letting it go. For myself mostly. For myself only. Perhaps he comes up in my head because I have been having such trouble sleeping the past few days. Big trouble sleeping. I am even having trouble being sleepy. Fuck! I get like this sometimes. I can literally go days without sleep. Anyway as hard as it is to get to sleep I remember by the time I would finally drift off I would feel him undress me. I hated that. Or if I was already naked then feel him trying to enter me while I was asleep. I hated that even more. Even more than that I hated that he knew I hated it. Hated how he spoke down to me. So many years have passed and I have used hate so many times in this paragraph. Then I hated his shock and awe when I left.

He did what he did. He did a lot of things. I did some things too. I didn't love him. Not like that. But I stayed. Not long, but one day is too long to stay with a person you like well enough but not love, but continually say that you love. He knew. Maybe there was this part of him that felt I owed him sex in the precipice and dead of my hard to achieve slumber. In retrospect I don't think the fights were ever about sex, but about my no. How fucking dare I say no.

He did. I did. Whatever we did we did. Not TO each other. I can human him. As I human myself.


I am thankful today for the moments
All of them
The ones filled with anxiety
The ones that were peaceful
Moments I spoke with loved ones
Moments I felt and saw the sun
I am thankful that I was witness to this day
Thankful for my son here with me
Thankful to hear his stories
Funny as they are
Charming as he is
Thankful for being pulled over by an officer who was kind
Who gave me warning on expired tags
I am thankful for seeing my family
For good food
For Scrable games and card tables
Thankful for friends I can call early and be afraid of whatever
I am thankful for all the love in my life
Thankful for the moments my eyes closed for nap
I am thankful for prayer
For honesty
For the space to be as weak I need
I am thankful for love
Love all around me

A poem a day for 2013 - day 228 - Pull

Overwhelm is my focus on a
Moment too far away from
This right now

Good morning

I mean that. It is a good morning. It will be a good day and good night too. I mean that too. I didn't get much sleep last night. But then lately I haven't been anyway. Nothing like a morning free write after prayer to get me started. It's better than coffee. Really.

I was so afraid last night. Not so afraid, but afraid. I don't know where panic attacks come from but they come sometimes. I felt afraid of losing it. Of my mind slipping. I'm not in this fear now, but I was last night. I don't get meds until the twenty-third. According to the mental health office if I have to have them before then I have to go to the other place where I went last time and I don't want to go through one more other place. Mostly I'm afraid of being hospitilized. I really don't want that. So I'll hang on until the twenty-third. The fear and racing thoughts only lasted a few hours and eventually I did fall asleep and I did wake up.

And here I am. Awake and thankfully a little sleepy. It's Saturday and I am behind on some photo editing and am still editing my new book, but I don't have to leave the house today. Except for the walk I intend to take. I sleep better in the day than I do in the night so I am going to take the opportunity to get a little nap.

My mind feels easy right now. I am thankful for that.

I had a dream last night, rather, early this morning when I fell asleep, that a stranger chastised me for posting personal things about my health on this blog. I don't know who she was but she was a black woman about my age. She walked up to be and grabbed my hand and began pointing at me like I was a child who had run out in the middle of the street.

So why? Why do I? Mostly because writing, journaling, blogging eases my mind. It gives me something to do besides counting and praying. But also because I know that I am not alone in restless nights and mental health issues and everything else I post here on this blog. I promise you I'm not alone. There is such a horrible, horrible stigma on people with mental illnesses that many people just don't want to get help because they don't want to be labled as crazy. We have incorrect images of what we think all mental illness only is. Like anything can only be one way. Well, dear friends, it looks like all of us. Hello. It looks like me too. But it is not all of who I am and does not define me. That's why I post so much of me. I post my good days. I post about my shows. About work. About my relationship with my son. About relationships. Friendships. My family. About how I function in society. About stress. About menopause. Fibroids. Bills. Being a woman. Being black. I post about being. I am a whole, complicated, loving, beautiful being.

I hope that answers it for those of you wondering (judging). And if that doesn't I hope this will: because it's my blog and I can post what I want to. Go get you some business.

Banana hand hugs

Touched by an angel

About sixteen years ago I was living in a studio apartment with an ex boyfriend. One night, or was it morning, he was in the shower and I was sitting up on the bed reading a magazine. The bed was facing the front (only) door. Remember, it was a studio apartment so there was only a bedroom, a kitchen, a closet-ish and bathroom. The door was locked. All the locks. The chain, bolt and door lock. It was Hollywood. Why is this important? Because as Ex Boyfriend was in the shower the door opened. The front door. A man stood in the doorway. An average to handsome looking black man with a short afro and one dimple. He just stood there and mentally told me that his name was Mark and that he was my guardian angel. Then he closed the door and left. I kept reading the magazine. So the male voice never scared me because well, I have a guardian angel named Mark who was there dunno, I guess protect me? Besides I've only heard him call my name to wake me up. "Robin. Robin!" He calls me Robin. Still. It never bothered me before. What's wrong with that? My own personal angel to wake me up? Not often, but every now and then.

Mark's voice is not the first. From the time I was a very young girl I used to hear a voice that called me. It sounded very much like my mother. I always thought it was. "Robin. Robin!" She calls me Robin too. Still. Only to wake me up. That's all. We don't converse.

Then I became obsessed, not about my Aunt Mary. Mary was the first child my grandmother had. She only lived three days. Three days. My grandmother held her in her arms and rocked her not knowing she was dead. Maybe she just didn't want to know. Throughout the years I would fantasize about who Mary would have been. What our relationship would have been had we had the chance to know each other. Then I decided that the voice who called/calls me to wake me up is hers. That, to me, explained why she sounds so much like my mother. Maybe she knows Mark?

This has always been so real to me it never scared me. It just makes perfect sense that I would have a guardian angel and a Baby Aunt Mary to call my name from time to time. It made sense until I was sitting in front of a psychaitrist who asked me "So, do you hear voices from time to time?" And I quickly had to determine if Mark and Mary qualified.

Tick. Tock.

12:33 am
I was happy to be sleepy at 10:30 because maybe that would mean I would close eyes and wake up some time with the sun tomorrow. But now it is only 12:30 plus a few minutes and no sun is up only two hours have passed and I am wired as live wire.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 227 - Lullaby

Sit with me and let vowels elongated and raspy
Fall bass out your crooked full lips
Sing a song you know
Let your body wave back and forth
Like it used to
Remember how time didn't matter
When our fingers touched so easy
Remember you would make up songs
To make me laugh
Even now
I think about how we sillied ourselves to sleep with your songs
So easy and nothing and air
So ooohhh ooohhh ooohhh
Ahhh ahhh ahhh
So melodious in my memory

What's up

The last two weeks have been The Revolution, not the black one that will not be televisied (but Instagramed) but the actual roller coaster at Six Flags. Up down up down down down up low low low. The cycling back and forth is bad enough, what is painful and mostly exhausting is pretending to be ok. That's almost the worst. Having emotions be ignored because I present well. And I do. Usually. But then sometimes...I don't. Friday was emotionally hard. The most challenging it's been in a long time, in fact. By Friday night I was on an upswing. Saturday morning I woke up so up up up the whole world was a box of crayons that tasted like chocolate. Everything was beautiful. Too beautiful. But I calmed myself, in the ways that I have learned. I counted. That's what I do. I count. I count everything. My heartbeat, clouds, cars passing by, whatever. All in the rhythm of my heartbeat. Don't ask. It's relaxing though. Except when it isn't. See the problem? Started sinking again on Sunday, then hit the floor Sunday night. The best part of the weekend was being with my son. Laughing, eating, sharing stories how we do. I had a shoot on Monday that ended at noon. I had some time and was still feeling a way. I knew I couldn't go into the week doing the Space Mountain (Disneyland) dance.

I need to be back on the meds. I need to sleep. I need to even out. I went to the emergency room Monday evening after I put on my best "Look, I'm not checking in. I am not going to hurt myself or anyone else. I have a place to stay. I just need a prescription" face. I went in. Oh, on Sunday night I sent my therapist a long list of the words and phrases and what's goings on in my head. Yep, I pushed, send. I think it was my way of committing to take some real action the following day. She's the dopist therapist ever, at least for me. And I knew I couldn't send her a loopy message and then the next day say "Whew, I was just having a moment. I'm good now."

I wasn't admitted on Monday but was refferred to a psychaitrist at a mental health office the following day. They and I trusted me to go. And I did. Before that though, I met with therapist in the morning for an hour then went to mental health office. It was an all day thing. Then I had to go back the next day (Wednesday), then again on Thursday. Taking care of yourself aint a punk.

So today was my first day I didn't have some medical professional evaluating me, which was lovely. I need a break. Like a real break. Like a rest as long as I can, go take a walk, breathe baby breathe break. Yesterday after I left the office my uncle and I went to the beach and walked in the sand. I got my feet wet and sucked in that good good air and sun. Like that kind of break. I didn't beach again today but I got up early and took a long walk. It was long enough for me anyway. I am about to publish my third book of poetry and musings and so I spent the day editing that. Sidenote, please buy it and like it and buy another copy when it comes out next month ok? It's called The Soundtrack of my Together.

Anyway, it's 9:11pm and I still haven't posted my poem of the day yet. I'm on this A poem a day for 2013 journey and I'm like on day 228 or something like that and I need to post before midnight soooo... I'm off for now. I'll connect soon.



I am thankful for this gorgeous day
For a lovely morning text
For taking time to take care of myself
For taking a walk
Moving and stretching my body
I am thankful for the ease in my head
For a new project to complete
I am thankful for my home
For family and time yesterday on the beach
To sit
To walk
To feel water on my feet
Thankful for my son
My friends
For art
For heart

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 226 - Hallowed be thy name

Free writing is prayer and poetry is spirit
It is space with ears ready to listen
It is wrinkled reaching fingers daring me to love
Anyway always because
It is everywhere and forgiving
It whispers and reminds

Poetry is vault that will hold my secrets safe
Until I am ready to unshatter the slavery of my remembering
I can say anything
Do you have a friend like that

My grandmother used to end her prayers in the sweet name of Jesus
To ensure they broke the clouds
I understand
Why waste blood words of whispered chatter
Only for God to turn a deaf ear
We feed the mouth of our devotion with practice
I get it
Poetry will hear me if I end my stanza in the name of Alice Walker
And so will God
I know

Goddess bless
Goddess forgive
Goddess keep me near the cross
Forever connected to knowing Your will
To speaking Your love
Father correct me
Father save my life
Mother rub my head and strenthen my feet
How You wipe 'way my tears and curl my mouth into smile
You happy my heart and pretty my face

O Mother/Father thank You for words
To shapeshift into prayer
Thank You for thump
For pound inside my heart
Turn these verbs into vapors
Sprayed 'cross my bed
So I sleep
So I dream
So I write
So I alive like You created me to

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

At 7th and Fig

A poem a day for 2013 - day 225 - Forward

I took the sweetest walk today
I am a poet
It was not the sweetest
Though it was sweet and a walk
I felt joy
Or some kind of happiness
Feeling my legs move
Stretch out one in front of the other
The air feather easily down my lungs
My eyes my fingers my whole body
Keenly aware of my surroundings
The children on the schoolyard
The old Mexican woman on the bus stop selling food
I wish I could remember what it was
I should take a Spanish class again
I did pretty well in my classes so many years ago
Learning vowels and requests like
Time and food
Donde esta la biblioteca
Ella es mi hermana
A dog passed me today
I kept walking
I felt some kind of love for the dog
That is odd isn't it
Some kind of love
I have always been so afraid of dogs
All dogs
Size and bark never did matter
Today I was not afraid
I kept walking
I kept hearing sounds and smelling morning air and food
I kept adjusting my shoulder bag
From one arm to the next
I like my things with me
In case I choose to read while I am out
Perhaps take a picture of something peculiar
Write a note
Gloss my lips
Send a text
I don't know
Some poems about nothing
Are the sweetest poems I have

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 224 - poem 2 - Sister. Friend. Space.

I can love
I can see you as the human being you are
With lessons to learn
With love to give
I can forgive
I can know that you have no access to be another
My heart can stretch out to you
Those windows tinted
Dark as they are
Your world is the box you built
With the locks you bought
I can care
I can reach
I can see

A poem a day for 2013 - day 224 - Time change

I am spending this week being as quiet as I can
Writing out old stories that no longer serve me
Stories that never did
I am spending this week loving myself
Spending time forgiving
Forgiving myself and others
I am the victim of nothing
I am spending this week being in love with myself
I am spending this week letting go
Being happy
I am spending this week changing my mind

I am thankful for being home

Monday, August 12, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 223 - Mental health day

Because taking care of myself
Is the full time job I have
For my son
For the sun
And all the moons I have left

In the back


Every woman has her thing. And if you are a woman and you don't have a thing, get one. Mine is blogging. It eases me. It gives me something to do with my hands. My somewhat nervous hands.

My blood pressure is usually alarmingly low. So low that at my last visit to the dentist she wouldn't put me to sleep because my pressure was so low and didn't want to risk it. That's what she said, risk it. Is that ok to say in front of the patient? Today it was not high, but higher than usual. So it was good. That's good.

I ramble. I word on and on when I am waiting. I write. I write words and lists and phrases. When I am waiting. When I am somewhat nervous about waiting. Nervous about whatever.

It's my blog I can write what I want. I'm so glad my family doesn't read my blog. Well, some but not the ones who would have something to say about me posting the personal things I post.

"Love me or leave me alone." Who sang that?

Back again

My mental ups and downs lately, the heights and depths and frequency, have me on enough alarm that I am in the waiting room at Hospital again. I told myself two years ago that I would never be back. I also told myself that I didn't need the medication. So I tossed the pills into the ocean or left them at an airport or something. But right now I do. I need something to even out the wires in my head. So I'm in the waiting room. I'm a bit paranoid. Afraid of being "taken." I'm even enough today. I present well enough in general. I need something to help me sleep. I rarely sleep. Lately, I have been sleeping even less than rarely.

The volunteer just told me that they were going to be calling me soon. It's 4:32pm. Lets see how soon  soon actually is, though I'm in no hurry. I am thankful for iPads and free wifi. And volunteers who come out to give advance notices.

4:36pm. Calling me now.

It's official is my new blog obsession. These photos actually make me ooooooohhhhhh out loud.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 222 - Pause

When all this stops
We can play then
Sing songs on the radio
We can dance all night long

I'm too afraid now
All the stuff going on
Noise in my head

I need more time
For the roller coaster to slow
For sleep to catch up
For ease to be easy

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 221 - Awake

Yesterday was the worst and the best
It was sinking and brain crashing
It happens 
It seems to be the cycle of my regular
Sky ups and I am wide arms and fingers spread
I am love and every way of happy
I was not every way of happy yesterday
I was afraid
I was tears
I was not this again
I was heart crumble and fire
I am tired 
Of that kind of way
Of those kind of days
I am thankful still 
For yesterday
For the best
For a long drive with my son
For the laughter he brings to me
For honest chatter
For talks about the whatever
For the 11pm stop at the local taco truck
For the absolute best chicken quesadillas and cinnamon horchatas ever
For the easy that finally landed
I was one of those women
You know
Who could do it on her own
Without the meds who could bypass the downs
I am not one of those women
Not now
I am thankful for clear days like today
Yesterday was not today
I get afraid sometimes
That I will get stuck in one of those downs
My son deserves his mother
I have work to do
On this planet now
I am thankful 
For friends I can call
Who listen and know
Who care and hold space for me
How ever I am

Friday, August 9, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 220 - New again even still

I will sit
Right here
In this knowing space
How love I am
How loved
How held
How God's breath I speak
I am never alone
I always have the moment
Even when I forget
I speak life
I speak safety
I speak words wrapped all around my belong
I speak myself here
I plant myself in this now
I am connected to this world
To this wind
I am here
I am stay
I am walk
I am smile
I am thankful
I am forgive
I am forgiven
I let go
All grudges
All hate
Every stone
Watch me move so free
You won't even know
This new me I will become
Watch me flower
With all this forgive I have for you
You can't do nothing to me now
Look at how much I know
Look at how much I love and grow
Look at how much smile I have
For how love I am