Saturday, November 30, 2013


What I know about my son is that the more you back off the more he will do what needs to be done.


I am thankful today for my eyes opening and witnessing this day
I am thankful for love and hope
For my family and this long weekend together
For outings and good food
For long drives and movies
For conversations
I am thankful for friends
For safe travels

NaNoWriMo - day 30 - Bliss

Ending NaNoWriMo this year happy for my cousin, Ursula who got married today. As easy as that. Welcome to the family, Larry!

A poem a day for 2013 - day 333 - Clear

Did you sit on the porch today
And see the sky
Did the clouds turn red before your eyes
A dog bark at your feet
A car creep down your block
Did you hear the grass grow
Say hello to your neighbor
Rest your elbows on your knees
Your head in your palms

Did you count your breath in the silence of the day
Let a worm crawl across your toes
Sip tea and ginger
Count the cracks in the road

Did you live today
With your hands in your lap
Your head in the sky
With love on your tongue

Friday, November 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 29 - We lost. We lived.

I went to the Long Beach Poly football game tonight with my mother, niece and a friend of my mother's from the church. Poly lost against Mater Dei 30 - 0. Sucks but it provided a good conversation on the way home for my niece about being able to lose and dust yourself off and how losing is a part of winning. Life.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 332 - Exhale

I am thankful for this time
This time
This easy
Love blessed

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 28 - Random. Thankful.

I am thankful for a car and being off the bus. God is good!

I am still processing seeing a woman thinking about killing herself by jumping off a bridge last night.

I am thankful for my family being together today.

I am more in love with life than I have ever been before.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 331 - For her

While driving last night
Late in the night
Late in the night with my family
My mother
My niece, my son
I saw a woman
Standing on the railing of a bridge
Holding onto a light pole
Holding best as she could

I screamed
My niece
My son
My mother

We pulled to the side to say prayer for the woman
On a bridge
On Wardlow
Above the flood control
A black woman
With the saddest eyes I have ever seen

Wait, I screamed
I love you, was all I could think to say

My mother called the police
Who showed up
Thank God
In the name of sweet Jesus
Thank God

Wait, I said
I love you
Was all I could think to say

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 27 - Family

At peace in praise and thanksgiving for family. For long drives. Warm hearts. Shared blood. Us.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 330 - Praise

My heart open
These hands
Fingers spread
Head lifted
In love

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 26 - Sunny. Santa Monica.

An easy walk today with much inside my head and V by my side. Blessings abound. Peace is present.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 329 - Yours truly

Dear life:


I am thankful for this day
For my health and strength
For love
For my son
I am thankful for clean air and blessed walk in Santa Monica with V
I am thankful for busses that run frequently
For easy
For life

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 25 - Thinking about Catherine

Catherine who was most known to her family as NeNe passed away Saturday night. This morning and most of the day I thought about how she would say "Beautiful are the hands that do / things that are / honest, kind and true." She had more poems and songs in her head at eighty-nine then I do at forty-four. She will be missed and thought of frequently.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 328 - For Catherine

Sending rest in peace love to Catherine who lived her life and loved her family
Who kissed trees and flowers and hugged her pets
Who kissed my hands and cheeks
And loved coffee with sugar and cream
Rest well
Fly about
Know that you are in the hearts and minds of many

Messages about Red Stories last night

 "Dearest Jaha, what an amazing event that was. What a privilege to be there. Thank you thank you thank you. The high vibrations from Food and Socks are still in my field now. Their conversation was the glowing heart of the evening, and in itself would have been extraordinary. But what lifted the whole to even beyond that was the totality, and you as the weaver of it all, the spinner and weaver of words and stories and people, the rough, sad words of the everyday alongside the sublime, all there together on the program. As indeed, all of that, all of that, hums alive in your poetry and presence. (I know you have a poetry blog, which I haven't been going to recently, but will again. What is the link? And are the two poems you read last night there?) I don't think I've made New Year's Resolutions since I was a teenager, and am not going to start again now – but if I were to make a New Year's Resolution for 2014, it would be, to go to Red Stories every month without fail ... Congratulations and Blessings for the third anniversary, and for all that is to unfold in the months and years to come."

Michelle Gubbay

  • "Oh sweet Jaha... your Red Stories are becoming legend... we need you so much... thank you for me being that part that sits on the edge & wiggles my toes in the Red water checking for undercurrent integrity in spirit... ahhh, you know what I mean... xoxo"


Easy like morning


I am thankful for this day
Thankful for waking up easily and happily
For a wonderful evening celebrating the third anniversary of Red Stories last night
I am thankful for peace
For my community who supports me
For my family and friends
I am thankful for a new chapter in my life
Thankful for my son
Thankful that God guides and protects him
For my niece and nephew
For love and forgiveness
I am thankful that God has already worked it out
That there is no it too big for God

Red Stories 3 yr anniversary with Food4Thot and Queen Socks

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 24 - Love work

I am  honored today to celebrate the third anniversary of Red Stories. The work and love I put in. Not just me, but my community too. Thankful.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 327 - Red. Stories. Connection.

Red Stories
Our stories
This love of words and stories
Tales and family
Elders and memories
This is the energy

Of life and leaving

I'm feeling some kind of way today about life and how it circles. My favorite health care client passed away last night. I will miss her greatly and remember her stories and poems and songs. I will cherish the memory of the walks we shared and funny things she said.

Very shortly after receiving news about my client's passing, my very good friend had a baby girl.

Happy birthday Red Stories

Tonight we celebrate the third anniversary of Red Stories! I am so happy about this! If you are in the area and are available then come out and enjoy the show and celebrate with us at Vibrations located at 2435 Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA. The features tonight are Food4Thot and Queen Socks. I look forward to seeing you. 7:30, $10.00.

Kat with me

Part 1

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 23 - Friends

Because I love Kat and once a month conversations that last forever and ever and friends are my family my heart.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 326 - Day

Hold me
Like friend
Get me
Like love
Like lover
Like kiss
Like remember

Friday, November 22, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 22 - Yes.

Yellow candle (the color is not significant - I don't think)
Two incense sticks (scent unknown)
Ebony Magazine

A poem a day for 2013 - day 325 - Write. Now. Woman.

I know what it is like to be the kind of woman I am
A woman who waves her hands and hips under the stars
Into the wind of darkness I am an innocuous sapling in the forest
Waving magic wands that light up and diminish like a bic
In the back row of a poetry spot
Can you hear those elongated vowels
The scent of freedom balled up anyway between the pages
O how I love it
O how I love myself and artists like me
Debunking the stereotypes of what others think we should be

We know ourselves salient
Sanctioned by our venerable elders
We are necessary to the now
We are super heroes leaping the pejoratives in the daily news
Leaving editors deranged

Listen to the noises we make with our tongues
The clacking of our jaws to signal another
Smell the incense in our locks, our Afros and twists
Hair falling straight to the ground
Reach to Oshun
We are so beautiful

We are so water
We are so ocean
We are so fluid
So liquid so clean and life
Like pomegranate and coochie and moon and lilies
Don't that sound so free

My people are amazing
Look us in the eyes and see the places we've been
Planets have been named after us
We are everywhere
Standing on stages spilling life from our limbs
Come up and say hi
Do you want to put your hand in my shirt to see if milk will
Drip from my breasts
It will
It will you know

Listen to all these poets and sounds
Like lilies
Like tears
Like women giving birth
Do you know how that sounds
I know what it is like to give birth
To release to God something that was
Never yours to own

For Renisha McBride

So much work to do

I was a prosecutor in a case that used race-based testimony to sentence Duane Buck to death. Now, I'm calling for the state of Texas to spare his life and grant him a fair sentence.

robin -
In 1997, I was one of the prosecutors in a court case that used race-based testimony to sentence to death Duane Buck, who's black.
At the time, I was an Assistant District Attorney in Harris County, Texas and Mr. Buck was being tried for murder. During the trial, an "expert" witness named Dr. Walter Quijano was permitted to testify that being black increases the likelihood of 'future dangerousness'. That testimony in part led to the jury sentencing Mr. Buck to death.
Three years after Mr. Buck's trial, the Texas Attorney General actually promised that he'd get a new, fair sentencing hearing. This was along with six other men who were sentenced unfairly because of similar testimonies in their own trials. Those six other men have received their hearings, but not Mr. Buck.
I started my petition in the hopes that District Attorney Anderson will act to make sure that our justice system is not tainted by unconstitutional considerations of race -- and that begins by having a new, color-blind sentencing hearing for Duane Buck. Please click here to sign my petition now, calling on District Attorney Mike Anderson to grant Duane Buck a resentencing hearing.
Thank you.
Linda Geffin
Senior Assistant County Attorney
Houston, Texas


This morning I am grateful for the easy movement of my back
For massage I had yesterday out of sheer necessity
Because I could not walk another block
I am thankful for friends with gifted hands and professional tables
I am thankful for love and how it shows up in my life
I am thankful for my eyes opening late on this sunny day
Though early and rain would have been ok too
I am thankful that my mother spent her birthday in fun and laughter with friends
I am thankful for my son
Whom I am always thankful for
I am thankful for hearing my uncle's voice yesterday
Though the conversation was quick and in the throws of my work time
I am thankful he spared a moment
Thankful for small moments because none are small
I am ever grateful for WomanPreach and the ways women's voices are
Discovered, uncovered and developed
I am thankful for my friends and family
For my home, food, bed
I am thankful for this one more day to live all

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 324 - I. Hope.

The board of education in Texas decided that no longer would they teach students that African people were stolen from their land, our land, kidnapped and killed but were "unpaid interns" instead. There are no words for such a shame as this except shame on us for not educating ourselves and our own children. Shame on them for the lies that they tell. There is good in the world. There is good in the world. I keep telling myself. Good in the world. Even Texas. Somewhere in Texas there is good. To be found. I hope.

NaNoWriMo - day 21 - Great things

I was having waiting at the bus stop at the same time conversation with an elderly black man this morning who was sitting on his walker who said to me, "This rain done let up but it look like it's gonna start back again." And I replied," Yes it does. You be careful out there." Then he said, "Oh, I'm gonna be all right, I got family out there."

I thought about that. I wasn't suggesting that he didn't have family or was literally out there. His response had me think and send prayers out to people who don't have a place to go or "family out there." I give great thanks for my friends and family. I give praise for a place to live and food. Things that many of us can take for granted during this time and all time.


1. My friend rolled up on Jack, my car guy, last night and Jack tolled him that all he had to do now was put some fluid in the car and then I should have it today.

2. It's raining now so I actually would like love my car right now.

3. Yeah.


I am thankful this morning for waking up to the sound of raindrops
For a good rest last night
For warm clothes and covers
For love
Good food
Peace and friendship
I am thankful for my son
For his health
For my niece and my nephew
For all the children in my life
I am thankful for happiness
I am thankful for my mother and today being her birthday
Her 64th birthday
I am thankful for her

My dream last night

I had a weird dream last night that I will not go into great detail about here but let's just say I will be much more cautious about the next romantic relationship I get into. That's all about that for now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 20 - You know what's important?

Family is important
Boots are important
Stories are important
All the stories
Even those
Those stories are important

A poem a day for 2013 - day 323 - 210 Crenshaw north

The crying baby in the front
The crowd standing in the isle
Smell of chicken, butter, bread
Raindrops fall easy on the windows
The man across the isle screaming jibberish to the moon
No one will sit next to you if you scream random, consistent jibberish

The screaming baby in the front
"Move back! Move back!" The driver yells
The teens kissing
I remember kissing
Soft and silk kisses
To be a teenager kissing on the bus

The smelly old lady gets off
The man with one shoe
Incense, Lakers t-shirts and bean pie for sale on the corner
Gas is $3.89

The yelling baby in the front
The yelling baby
The fidgeting baby in the front

"A black man can't catch a break!
Gon' work a muthafucka til he die!
All these people in this big ole world
All this shit goin' on"
Jibber jibber
Jibber jibber
He has drumsticks
Who gave him drumsticks
Clack clack
Clack clack
Clack clack
Clack clack

I am no better
I am the woman under the hat
Bell bottoms and KSwiss sneaks
Do not trust a woman wearing KSwiss sneaks in 2013

The screaming baby in the front
The screaming baby in the front

The kissing teens get off
The blueblack man gets on
With locks to the floor
I want to know him
I want to write his story
I want to paint his picture
I want to touch his smooth skin
He looks soft and strong as a red candle to Ogun

Suddenly the jibber man is quiet
The screaming baby in the front

The check cashing place is still open
Taco Bell
The pawn shop
The screaming baby in the front

Starbucks is crowded tonight
The one just before Rodeo
Rodeo not Rodeo like Ro-day-o
Rodeo and Rodeo like Ro-day-o never cross
Never connect
Never look each other in the face and say let me love you
Let me kiss you like sun ray

The screaming baby


1. A older, kempt, white man approached me on the corner of Crenshaw and Washington and asked me for five dollars for something to eat. "How much?" And then he repeated, "Five dollars."

2. Two men on the bus were making bets as to whether or not Phillip's Bar-B-Que accepts EBT. For the record, my brother works there, they don't.

3. Last night on the phone with Marlow, after quick but careful consideration we decided that yes, "You must not know 'bout me" is, in fact, under very particular circumstances, correct grammar.

My nephew, Reuben at Sky Zone


I am thankful for waking up easily this morning
Thankful for an early conversation with a friend
Thankful for being appreciated and good news
I am thankful for love
For my son
For my family
I am thankful for this day
For my limbs
My beating heart
I am thankful for the request for my art
For peace

Dream last night

Last night I had a dream that Oprah Winfrey hired me to work with her and her team. The work place was in a big field, it looked like a baseball field or some old park. Everyone was busy and happily doing their work except for me. There was a dog on the field, and anyone who knows me knows I am afraid of dogs. The dog was a big, rowdy, scary German Shepard who ran freely. No one seemed to mind the dog, Oprah, of course, loved him. I was terrified. So afraid I couldn't stay on the field. I noticed that the more fear I displayed, the more attention the dog paid me.

In the dream I never actually left, the dream ended with me at the fence giving myself my favorite pep talk. Now that I'm awake I know that dreams don't happen by accident. There is always a message, even if the message is don't have burritos for late night dinner. And seeing is how I had no spicy late meal, I knew Spirit was telling me something deeper.

I have a few projects growing manifestation right now but the only one I am on the fence about is the novel I'm writing. I know I can write it but I'm scared to tell the story. My own fear is actually the dog on the field. How was Oprah connected? I don't know. Maybe book club or something. And the baseball field was probably a symbol of me choosing to show up suited ready to play the game or sit out. It's a line in my favorite self pep talk.

This was my dream, that could really be a dream or I could let it be a nightmare by running from it. This morning I am thankful for the dream. Thankful for the reminder of choice. I am thankful for renewed excitement about the project. I am packing my bag for work now and included, thankfully, are my novel notes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good night

I am blessed to have good friends I love and trust. Tonight I spent hours on the phone with a very good friend. We laughed like little girls and shared intimate stories about our lives. We haven't seen each other in almost a year. She has been in working in Ghana building brighter futures for young girls. I am honored to know her. I am blessed to know the value of friendship and have ones I love and adore.

Good night blessed Marlow and congratulations to you. I wish you incredible blessings on all that you do.


1. There is some kind of knot in my back that hurts so badly. Thankfully, I only feel it when I walk. But when I feel it. I feel it.

2. I am off again today so I will have to do some extra work to make up for these two days. Watch God provide.

3. I mailed off an overdue photography project today that should arrive tomorrow.

4. My computer is still not working.

5. My fingers are crossed for my car to get out of the shop tomorrow, but really, who knows?

6. I have to lose weight before I see my doctor and that hasn't happened yet, so um, hmmm...

A poem a day for 2013 - day 322 - For Renisha McBride. For Me. For You.

If I am shot in the face in wee hours of the morning
My African and American brown freckled body dragged onto the table
Will the doctor cut me open and see that I failed geometry in the tenth grade
Will she lift my guts and know
I sexed a man in the back seat of a car
I never married the father of my son
Will I be a sinner
If she finds merlot, weed brownies and Trayvon stickers spilled down my blouse
Will I be a cunt who deserved to be put out of her misery
If the doctor runs my credit score and finds my rating poor
Will it justify my slit throat
My teeth gnashed and bloody jaws

Will the doctor see scars from my abortion
Know that I was bipolar
Overweight and wore a ring in my nose
What will she say about my penchant for cheese and bread in the middle of the night
Will she peruse my journals, my blogs and find bad punctuation
Words against the government
Will she look for Obama posters under my bed
Oscar Grant petitions on top of my bookcase
"This is for Assata" doodled in the margins
Will she turn her smug nose up to the writers on my wall
Baldwin, Morrison, Walker, Shange
Will she decide that the world has had enuf of women like me
With our fist balled up and hair all kinky

Will she know my dental work and c section were paid on the county's dime
How her brows will frown
Will movie tickets from 12 Years a Slave be stuffed down my throat
What will she think of me
In my Malcolm X shirt and fitted blue jeans
Will she imagine sweat and hate and fire drip down my nose
As Soloman is beat with a stick
Skin fall from his bones

What will she think of my mother, my father
Who taught me no better
Than to wide hip, thick lips
So black in the night

NaNoWriMo - day 19 - About last night

Last night I had an awful dream. I was working with a team of people in an office. My job seemed to be quite easy while the others busied themselves at their various desks, I was assigned the task of delivering supplies from floor to floor in a large building. As time went on I could feel myself become more and more depressed. For those of you who have read other entries of my blog, you may have read me describe my depression as a sinking feeling. Well that's what was happening in the dream. I was sinking.

By the time I arrived at my mother's floor I was as emotionally as low as I could get. For some reason, I was also half naked. She kept berating me for being sad for no reason. This is a common song sang by people who have never experienced this feeling. Depression is not necessarily sadness over something. It is more a heavy that happens over you that is hard to come out of. Anyway, my mother kept telling me about how foolish I was acting and that I needed to get my act together. I kept trying to tell her that it was more than me snapping out of it. I kept telling her about the flood of suicidal thoughts and I cried out for help in every way I could. Finally, she looked me in the face as she held a stack of folders in her arm and said, "Well then, if you're going to kill yourself, then do it." I turned and walked away like I was walking into a dare I didn't want to win.

When I woke up this morning I knew that the woman in the dream was not my mother because thankfully I do have a mother that would have been more sympathetic than that. I think the point of my mother being my nemesis was to experience what it is like in many households when someone cries out for help with mental illness or support in other ways when pain is present but no visual signs  of injury are seen and the cries go ignored, or worse, punished. My heart goes out to people who have to keep their pain to themselves in the name of protecting family secrets.

Perhaps you are a family member or friend who wants to help but have become frustrated with not knowing what to do. Sometimes, the only thing your loved one may want is for you to do is to be there. To listen. Don't fix. Don't preach. Be there. Be family. Be friend. Listen.


This morning I am thankful for my life
I am thankful for my body
For my eyes opening this morning
For the quiet
I am thankful for my son
For the children in my life
I give thanks for protection and love
I am thankful for God's hand covering my son today
I am thankful for his heart
His spirit
His mind
I am thankful for guidance along his path

Monday, November 18, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 321 - Wish you. Wish me. Well.

I am a mother and artist, poet and lover and creator of beautiful and cowardly sounds. I am so brave, way I walk this dirt with these two feet. Don't you want to know me and say nice things to me and wish me well? That is all I want for you, to wish you well in your own skin, happy and free to move about, why are we so push to pull our sisters our brothers this way and other? If I see you along your way I will give the biggest kiss I can blow. An embrace so God we ready one hundred more miles to go.

NaNoWriMo - day 18 - Random

1. This past weekend was one of the best weekends of my life. I said that already in another post, I know. But still, it was.

2. I am still so tired my whole body hurts and I have not returned a call or text in almost the whole weekend. Lovely Vanessa, I saw your sweet text and was on the road and couldn't respond. You are a blessing in my life. I hope you read this. I don't even know where my phone is right now.

3. Jack, my car guy, said my car would be ready by Wednesday. Please pray. Seriously.

4. My mother gave me a ride to L.A. this morning and the 110 was crowded at Manchester (as usual) so we rode up Western (where all things hood can happen). My mother saw a woman wearing the shortest pair of shorts EVER with a tank top to match (of course) and tall pair of fury boots (of course), to which my mother asked "What? Is she hot or cold?"

5. I didn't know if I was going to have to work today but didn't want to call off. As love would have it, I didn't have to go.

6. I napped so hard today I scared myself.

7. I got up to eat dinner and now it's bedtime again.

8. Yep.


This morning I give thanks for waking up and witnessing this beautiful day
I am thankful for an incredibly memorable weekend with my family
I am thankful for my son turning sixteen
For Agape and my spiritual community there
For lying in bed with my mother watching a movie and falling asleep before it was over
I am thankful for being back home in Los Angeles this morning
For spending time in conversation about race with my family after the movie 12 years a slave
I am thankful for the tears and the laughter we shared together
For friends
I am thankful for Nspire being out of the hospital
I am thankful for a moment
This moment to breathe
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for a safe journey on roads this weekend
I am thankful for protection, guidance and love

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 17 - The day

Went to Agape with my mother, son, nephew, niece to celebrate the 27th anniversary and for youth Sunday. Dodrey, one of my favorite youth, preached one of the sermons and blessed my life. After, we went to dinner at La Louisanne and then to movies to see 12 years a slave. More on that later. Now on my way to Bakersfield.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 320 - Merry. Go. Round.

Lessons learned and cherished
Hard swallowed memories
Cactus pulling gnashing teeth
Easy cotton playground memories
All swirling

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 319 - Black in red white blues

My black is thick
It is wide
Hips and coarse hair
My black remembers
Remember Roots
Remember running home
To see what Kunta would do next
My black is now
It is afraid
My black praises God
For every single day
My black takes time
To know that my black is

NaNoWriMo - day 16 - My 14 things

Ok, there is a game on Facebook where folks list a certain number of random facts about themselves. The number is assigned like this: if you like someone's random facts status then that person assigns you a number, and then you assign a number. Get it? Of course you do.

So Myshell Tabu assigned me the number fourteen two days ago so here goes:

1. I was a voice over actress on the radio soap "It's Your World."

2. I was the  voice of "The G Spot" on the G4 network.

3. I was a phone sex operator.

4. I dated a ventriloquist who dumped me and married a mime. Maybe it was something I said.

5. I live with a disorder called bipolar 1. On my high days I swear I can fly and during lows I have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf. But with an amazing team of doctors, a gang of pills, a bunch of prayer and one God, I make it through the day.

6. I know that God is bigger than any pronoun.

7. I am a kaztrizztilollion dollars in debt. Mostly hospital bills. And others.

8. Every year "I'm gonna let my hair grow out."

9. My favorite songs are "Just the two of us" by Bill Withers and "Closer to my dreams" by Goapele.

10. I really wish I had even a passable singing voice. I don't. But I love to sing. The song I sing when I'm pretending to be on stage is "Beautiful Anyway" by Nailah Porter.

11. As a photographer, the poet I love shooting the most on stage is Donny Jackson. I love fingers spread, arms everywhere.

12. My favorite hobby is posting random things in my blog.

13. My car has been in the shop hella long so I have maaad stories about the Crenshaw bus.

14. My son is my favorite person on the planet. But then you already know that so here are these facts as bonuses: a. I love Country and Western music. b. I love the Blues. c. I want Questlove to be a guest at Red Stories.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 15 - Angry bird

A bird pooped on my head and I am starting to believe Vanessa when she says they are not the friendly creatures I thought they were.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 318 - Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for waking up
For conversations with friends last night
For my son, my family, friends
I am thankful for peace and ease
For God and all God's love and forgiveness
I am thankful for freedom
For art
For gifts given and received
I am thankful for God's grace disguised as coincidence
For stiff bones reminding me to drink water
For poetry
For fun
I am thankful for laughter
I am thankful for the protection of my children
My son, niece, nephew, cousins, friends
I am thankful for their safety
For God's hand over their heads
I am thankful in advance for an easy journey tonight
And blessed and safe return
I am thankful for joy
So thankful for joy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 317 - Happy Birthday Uraeus

Today is my son's birthday
He is sixteen years old
He is my favorite person on this planet
He is
To have a child is to know that your mind
No longer belongs to you
It does not
I am always in prayer
Following him around in my mind
What is he doing now
Praying for his safety
His happiness
Thanking God for his life
I am so blessed
So in love with this child
This young man
This king

NaNoWriMo - day 14 - No. Strangers. Here.

Everyday I walk past a few old men working in a shop. The shop belongs to Bennie. Bennie is beautiful and shiny black with white teeth and perfect old man skin. He is bald and was quite the looker in his younger days I bet. He is older than my father would be (if my father was here). He is kind and goes out of his way to say hello as I pass his shop and home. Today as I passed he said, "Jahad!" Because no matter how many times I correct him, he adds the d. "Jahad, I need to give you my number."

"Why?" I asked.

"I don't know! In case somebody knock you over the head or somethin' and you need somebody to call." So I took his number and put it in my pocket. "Don't lose it now, gon an' put it in yo phone."

"Yes, Sir." And I smiled and kept goin'. I appreciate the people in my life. I really do.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 316 - Beat. Pump. Bleed.

What muscle this heart I have
To break so shatter over the unjust of babies
Hunted down like dogs
And love so welcome wide open
At the same time

NaNoWriMo - day 13 - From the Facebook page of Valerie Bridgeman


November 13, 2013 at 4:15pm
In one of my posts about the "criminalization of black corpses," re: Renisha McBride, a conversation generated that I'm going to post here. I get accused of being "negative" and posting "racially charged 'stuff' to agitate racial animosity" (no, really--someone said that about me). I post so that we know. REALLY know that this #blackmamatrauma is real. And so that we put our hands to the work of community- and relationship-building, which is at the core of what it means to be Beloved Community, fueled by G*d's grace. But if we don't "stare into the abyss, we will continue to lie to ourselves about "reconciliation" and "post-racial" realities. Of course there is MUCH to celebrate. Like this conversation:

Renee Roederer: I just cannot fathom how it is possible that a person can kill a human being, admit to it, and not be arrested right away. If he is going to claim self-defense, isn't that for a trial and jury? Renisha McBride has been killed… Doesn't that require an arrest?

Jaha Zainabu: Unfortunately Renee, people of color have become resigned to fathom it and anticipate it. This breaks my heart. Every single time.

Valerie Hugsy Bridgeman: Renee,.... what Jaha said....

Renee Roederer: I suppose I sit in a mix of "this should not be!" shock and "it so often is. . ." resignation. And I know that I say that from a place of privilege. I cannot assume to know or imagine that it feels like to wade through these traumas as a person of color. . . . Prayers.

Valerie Hugsy Bridgeman: #blackmamaTRAUMA

Jaha Zainabu: Thank you, Renee for your prayers and for your shock. We need shock and should not be. We do. We have our hands full with dear God, please not another. And then there is another. There are so many funerals. More than you read about. Please feel the tremor in the hands of the next black woman's hand you shake. It is that serious, sister. It is. Please imagine getting dressed every day and included in your morning prayers are, mother, father god please don't let my baby get shot today.

Renee Roederer: That is a fear that is hard to imagine, and I know people who live this each day. I will think of you and others when I shake those hands.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


today i woke up and left my home and i have returned again safely and that is reason enough for thanksgiving

A poem a day for 2013 - day 315 - Soul. Food. Man.

An old black man on the 210 bus today took time south on Crenshaw
To explain the difference between Texas pumpkin pie and California pumpkin pie
And how sweet potato pie ain't like neither one
And bean pie can't compare
Imitation crab meat is for salads and don't cook well in gumbo
And rue is only for thickness
Soupy gumbo taste just as good
Depending on how you stir
And there is a special syrup for yams
I listened and imagined him in the kitchen as a boy with his mother
He quieted the bus with his words smell like collard
Like turnip
From Washington Ave
To Vernon

NaNoWriMo - day 12 - Prayer for my son

2:51 pm
Sending prayers for my son
At school
While black
Prayers of peace
Of protection
Prayers of easy breathing
Of laughter
Exercise and play
Prayers of dreams
Of rest

Monday, November 11, 2013

This far

I know most of my daily poems have been my gratitude posts. At first I was feeling guilty about that because I felt like my gratitude posts aren't really, well, poems but I got over it. They are my words and I'm thankful for the moments of being thankful and three hundred sixty-five days of poetry is a lot. Plus, the gratitude posts balance the posts when I was wailing over the babies dying, being bullied, prison industrial complex and so on. I have a little over a month to go and no promises. Perhaps there will be more of the same and maybe there will be some new stories. Please stay tuned and thank you for reading.

I love and appreciate you. I do.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 314 - Gratitude

I am thankful for life today
For nature
For the voices on the train, the bus
For my son, family, friends
I am thankful for work
For people and conversations along my path
I am thankful for time out to be thankful

Dancing Zolah

NaNoWriMo - day 11 - On letting go

Me: She did not do anything to you. She was just being herself in your space.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 10 - Bless

today i went to church
sang along with the choir
lifted my head in prayer
kissed a cheek
hugged a neck on my way
wiped tears cross my face
held my heart on my sleeve
steadied my feet for the day

A poem a day for 2013 - day 313 - Connect. We.

tether me double knotted by thick rope to the back of your tongue / and when you scream / for anything / i will know because no note will pass your lips / without my understanding / because that is how close and choir we are / together

My niece, Deja Williams, Long Beach Gold / Game one

My niece, Deja Williams / Long Beach Gold

Saturday, November 9, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 9 - New project

This year my project was to do a poem a day for the whole year. I figured out today that for next year I will do some kind of interview a day. I will focus on my family but I will inlude other interesting people.

I'm looking forward to all the work it's going to be already.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 312 - Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
Waking up this morning in my mother's home
Her bed
We listen to books
We share ideas about our own
We hear characters and match them to actors
Who should play the bad wolf, the naughty child
The fat man with the whiskers
We have a part for everyone

We know how much our weekend words matter
What face time means
Do you
Do you know what it means to forgive
To friend
To love
To mistake and move on
Do you know
Do you know how to family
To tether yourself to love

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 8 - She's our kicker

Went to the Long Beach Poly game tonight with my mother. Poly beat Wilson 57 - 0! I was happy to see that Poly has a woman kicker!

A poem a day for 2013 - day 311 - Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For the walk to the bus stop
The crowded bus
My car still in repair
I am thankful for my son
For his health and safety
For family and friends
For extended family and
Friends of friends
I am thankful for my body
All of my body
For my mind
The pleasant thoughts I have of myself
I am thankful for finding good in the world
For the birds chirping
Making it to work on time
For a job to get to
For nature
The dogs quiet across the room
A good rest last night
For celebrating a birthday with a friend last night
For good food
All of my senses
The sun
I am thankful for water
For my health
For my protection
I give thanks for my ancestors
For Vanessa's cancer being in remission
I am thankful that the cancer never belonged to her in the first place
Thankful for breath
For my mother
My sister
Niece and nephew
I am thankful for all this love in my heart
For my aunts and uncles
For stretchy pants and fury boots
For medication
I am thankful for all this life I have
All the life ahead of me
I am thankful for couples who show me that coupling is possible
For my mother's smile and happiness
I am thankful for laughter
And love
I am am ever thankful for love and being thankful
At all


I am thankful for this day
This night
My son
For everything I have
For everything I don't
For my life
My beautiful beautiful life

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo - day 7 - Happy birthday, Socks!

Tonight I went to Vibrations to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend Socks. A woman I deeply love. A woman of courage and integrity.

I love you, Socks. All the stories we have shared. All the stories there are to create.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 310 - Good. And.

I am thankful this morning
Even still
Still I am thankful
There is news
So much news about murdered children
Brown faces
Bodies missing
I will be thankful this morning
I will
I will hold on
For the mother
The father
Who cannot today
I will lift my head
Will spread my arms
And still my heart
I will bare feet in grass
Breathe in new air
Renisha McBride
Renisha McBride
I will whisper her name on my walk
I will pray strength for her family
Car accident
Dead cell phone battery
White neighborhood
She knocked on a door for help
Was shot in the head
It is too early for my heart to break
In this many ways
There is good in the world
Haven't you heard that before
Haven't I said that before
There are flowers
There is still ocean and moon
There is good in the world
There are things and people to be thankful for
And there is this too

Dear God

This morning I logged on to Facebook and one of the first pictures I saw was one of a beautiful African - American young woman and then I read this:
"Last Saturday morning at around 2:30am 19-year-old Renisha McBride got into a car accident in Dearborn Heights, a predominately whiteDetroit suburb. Because her cell phone battery was dead, she went to nearby home for assistance. That might seem like the reasonable and understandable thing to do, but it was the biggest mistake of McBride's short life.
The unnamed person who answered the door didn't offer to help the stranded teen out, instead the Dearborn Heights resident fatally shot McBride in the head.
Weirdly, Dearborn Heights police initially told McBride’s family that her body was found dumped in another area of town, but they've since changed their story, saying she was shot in self-defense on the homeowner’s front porch. Naturally, Michigan is a Stand Your Groundstate — sound familiar?
As Rania Khalek points out:
Even if that’s the case, and there’s reason to believe it’s not, the shooter still failed to call 911 after shooting an unarmed woman in the head, instead leaving her their to die. Does that sound like the behavior of a law-abiding gunowner who made a tragic mistake?
No. No it does not.
Police have asked Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for charges to be filed against the unnamed resident who shot McBride. We'll see how well that pans out.