Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 365 - This last day of the year

I honor myself today
For showing up as my word and committing to words
Every day words and stories
Poetry and songs
Every day
I give thanks for my community of artists
Of free thinkers and out of the boxers
I give thanks for family
For my son
For the sun
For friends who lift my spirit
Who hold my hand and carry me cross sea
Through valley and fire and fun
I honor myself for standing
For fighting for my life
For creating my way in the face of discomfort
I give thanks for all of who I am
For everything about me that is loving and kind
Is generous and forgiving
Is beautiful and calm
Is angry and incomplete
Broken and working on myself
I am thankful for everything I am not
I give thanks for my hands
My feet
My voice and arms
My heart and legs
I am thankful
I am thankful for this year
Every single day this year
Every tear and moment of joy
I am thankful for it all


Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For my health and safety
For my son and the children in my life
I am thankful for my family
For my friends
For a list even though repetitive of what I am thankful for
I am thankful for peace in my head
For art
For words
For my son walking up to me to hug me just now
I am thankful for life

A poem a day for 2013 - day 364 - Come. True. Again.

I wallow in it sometimes
I admit
This saponaceous sage scented lather
I dream of you
Make nebulous references of your arms and shoulders in my poetry
That you never read
How could you know
I still see you sometimes
You are there
Alongside my bed
Hear your voice on the phone
Smell your tea in my cup
Remember water
That night
Beach and sand and freeze between our toes
Remember how slowly you walked me home
I have to stop thinking about you
Stop missing you and seeing you in my everywhere
My friends keep telling me how gone you are
But what do they know
About how far into heaven I see

Art at Dysonna

I'm in one of my glad to be an artist moods. Though no matter the weather, I'm glad to be an artist. Just delivered my paintings to Dysonna City Art Gallery for a show with four other amazing artists, Seaton Brown, Erica Price, Virgina Vera and Lydia Parish. The art reception will be Saturday, January 4 at 5373 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-857-0030. The art will be hanging until January 24. Please check it out.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 363 - Family/friends

We lie complex and imbricate as if brick on a New York building
We will always be here
Arm to arm
Our feet touch like metal
Like fence
Our bellies bounce in unison at the glow of the moon
Our backs sweat from the sun at the same time by day
We are in this together
We weather storms and dance in the rain
We wash clouds and pray bows in sky
Together
We will be here
Like this

Gratitude

I am thankful today for waking up and being a witness to the awesome sky
I am thankful for life
For my son busying himself in the kitchen for breakfast
I am thankful for the opportunity to hold him tightly
I am thankful for my family
For my friends
I am thankful for art
For words
For stories
I am thankful for rest
For such good sleep last night
I am thankful for easy plans for the day

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 362 - One

My own head rests easily in my own hands
My back my feet my nose nestle so cozy in my bed
My own throat push out my name so proper and free as a witch
So fly
But wouldn't it be nice
If you were here too

Friday, December 27, 2013

My product for sale

1. Simple like a daisy - cd - $10
2. THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER - audiobook - $10

Orders may be made at www.paypal.com. Send funds to jahasart@yahoo.com.

Thank you to all of you who have ordered product! You are appreciated!

My present from my niece

My wonderful niece, Deja asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her I wanted her to write me a poem and then sign it for me to frame and keep. Today she gave me this, in her own beautiful, decorative handwriting. By the way, she calls me Aunties.

J is for joyful and full of energy
A is for amazing antes and over achiever
H is for helpful and always there
A is for admired by all and loving

Jaha is for unique

A is for all heart and blessed
U is for unselfish and welcomed
N is for needed and magnificent
T is for terrific and thankful for family
E is for enlightening and faithful
S is for strong and responsible

Auntes is for loveable

***I cried big tears reading this.

Selfie. I'm letting my hair grow. For now.


Free write

I am exhilarated by the thought of all of the photos to edit and art to create and deliver. Not exhausted, energized and excited. I keep telling myself. Though it is late in the evening and I worked well and long today, there is energy left to do what there is to do. I keep telling myself. Keep telling myself.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 361 - Dear Vanessa

I love music
And colors
I so love colors
I love dancing
I love singing along to anything Michael Jackson
Prince
Aretha
I spent time this morning
In Ecuador
Praise God for YouTube
I saw your face in the dancers
Heard your whistle in the songs
What a joy it must be in your head to hum along
To stomp your feet to the rhythm of the bandolin
To spin to the sound of home
How blessed we are to have you
To share our Luther and Teddy
Our rap and blues and country
Our dance and stomp
And know that our is only
One

Gratitude

This blessed morning I am grateful for sounds
The cars moving outside
My family moving about in the house
I am thankful for my son
For my friends
For good friends and good food and gifts and conversation
For laughs and music
For Vanessa
For Donny
I am thankful for the smell of the pine tree still in the house
For energy to get up today and make a new start
To define myself again
To co create with God who I will be
To let go of mistakes I made in the past
I am thankful for a new opportunity to swim past boundaries I set for myself before
I am thankful for imagination and forgiveness
For art and words and poetry
I am thankful for stories and songs
For my health and strength
I am thankful for love and opportunities to love again
To love new
I am thankful for past mistakes and the opportunity to start over
To do again
To achieve perfection
I am thankful for grace
For the opportunity to be easy on myself
To love myself again
To be kind to myself
To speak kindly to and about myself
I am thankful for the children in my life and God's loving arm around them
I am thankful today for waking up
To it all

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 360 - Play

We were twelve
We were hands and feet racing to tree
Back when safe base was easy to find
Remember
Remember my ponytails flying wild
Your shoelaces coming apart
My long legs
Your pants too short
What did we know about patty cake
About running into the wind
Our necks wet from damp grass
We lie for hours blowing wishes into the wind
Remember
Remember

What did we know about passion
About dreams
About the magic of our tongues
All this time
Gone so fast
Who are you now
Are you the same boy I kissed under the willow tree
My fingers crossed behind my back
Your knees knocking loud and free

Next

Next product: Get books made of THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER in January.

Gratitude

I am thankful this morning for waking up again to family
To people moving about in the house
Cleaning and eating
Laughing and talking
I am thankful for my son
For this sunny day
For life and friends
I am thankful for my health and strength
For amazing people in my life
I am thankful for love

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 359 - Christmas Day

The glory of morning teens and testimony
Of grandmothers and parents
Gifts and giving
Then quiet and sleep and food
And every thing I need
All the love I can hold
Under this one roof

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 358 - Sadly this holy

We gathered over gumbo
With red wine and conversation
Cake and cookies
Spinach dip and chips
Dressed in black with ties
Long skirts and stockings
Boots and baby crying
Holiday laughter and cheer
Until I asked about Devin
Who will not see New Years
Because sitting in a car
In the city of Compton
Is a crime I suppose
Worthy of death

Monday, December 23, 2013

Good night random

1. With family.
2. At peace.
3. The teens playing and talking is so beautiful.
4. The dog is resting.
5. Meds taken.
6. I am sleepy again.
7. Law and order marathon.
8. I miss home in Los Angeles but this couch to be with this many of my family members under one roof is blessing.
9. Fish in the fridge.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 356 - Dear Jaha

Look how far you've come
How long the road
How rock, how bliss, mess, how treasure the road
Wouldn't take nothing for it all
Way yesterday and tomorrow sit down for supper
Talk about blues and stories today know nothin' about
Look how breath come easier now than before
Look at forgiveness at my door
Look at love
Look at God
Look at my own hands and feet so still

Product for sale

1. Cd - Simple like a daisy - $10
2. Audiobook - THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER - $10

Order via www.paypal.com and send funds to jahasart@yahoo.com.

Thank you to all of you who have ordered!

Blessing

What a difference a deep sleep makes. I needed every piece of nap I had today. Watching my son play with the dog right now is giving me life.

Free write

I am angry again. For no apparent reason. After a week of being off meds I am one night back on. I thought the time off the meds would have my hands stop shaking when I hold them in certain positions. I'm no doctor. Whatever. I could feel the anxiety starting to creep again. Or maybe my mind has been screaming for a few hours of alone time. I have been unusually heavily peopled the past two weeks. My son is happy and safe with my family so I took some time to dart home. For rest. Though now, of course, I'm not sleepy. Perhaps I just needed to write. Perhaps I just needed to shake myself awake from the wicked weird dream I had last night, that I will not discuss here or anywhere. Some things are mine. Did you know that? Did you know that I keep some dreams and thoughts and people and concerns to myself? Well I do.

Breathe. Perhaps I just needed space to breathe. Space to forget awful memories that replay in my head. And to sleep. I feel myself getting sleepy again. I woke up too soon this morning. The family was having breakfast. Everyone was being called to the table. As much as I enjoy a family breakfast, as much as I appreciate table and biscuits and eggs and grits and roof and safe shelter, I was not ready. The pills have me sleep harder than I would normally and I need to sleep it all the way out. I do. My body does.

And then there is my integrity. I have contracts to sign and send that are not complete. I have art to complete. CDs to pick up and send. More to sell. Photos to deliver. Photos to take. Stuff to do. There is always stuff.

Sleep though. For now there is sleep.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
I am not in the best of moods but thankful nonetheless
This is something to be thankful for
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
For my friends who are family
I am thankful even for my nerves
That keep shaking
I am thankful to feel at all
I am so blessed
To know how blessed I am

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 355 - poem 2 - Free write

I just wanna be quiet. I wanna say nothing. I wanna lie here and be still. I wanna wrap my brain around this moment. This nothing moment. I wanna listen to the trains go by. Do you have trains that go by where you live? Do you listen? Do you know that there is always a message in the whistle of a train? I wanna stare at my face in the mirror. And love that woman. Ain't she so pretty? Don't she love so free? Don't she know who she is by now? I just wanna write.  I just wanna tell stories. Stories about babies and ghosts. My grandmama saw ghosts. Did you ever see one? I did. I saw a ghost. We talked with our eyes and then he was gone.

I wanna tell stories. About water. About drowning in all these dreams. I wanna write stories about pictures that come to me in the middle of the night. About words yammering in my head the day long. I wanna sing songs. Songs about freedom and walking free so easy on the streets under the stars.

I wanna ask questions. Questions about hate and why. I wanna ask why we so scared of our own fool selves we hate our sisters. Hate our brothers. I wanna know all this why there is to know. All the wise there is to know.

Wanna read. Read all the tall tales ever been told. All the bold things ever been said. I wanna grow. Tall up to Orion. Reach way past the sky. I wanna come back down to earth. Listen to God as God speaks. On some riverbank far away from folks and evil. I wanna listen to God call the sun to wake. Watch the squirrels run so fast and play.

Then sleep. Don't sleep sound so good? Just close my eyes. Close my eyes. And open them way above.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 355 - Spiritness

Look at how space I am
Way my wings flap so free
How high above the sky I go
My body way down there
I'm so much more than person and flesh
More than blood and river
Way I can be cross any mountain
Anytime I choose

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this beautiful morning
For the energy and desire to get to my spiritual community
I am thankful for being there with my son and the boys
Thankful for Dietra and her sons
For Agape
For a good message
I am thankful for inspiration
For a blessed hangout with a friend
For encouraging conversation
For peace and love
For happiness and blessing

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 354 - In whose name

In Uganda they passed a law to jail and torture homosexuals
Because homosexuality is sin after all
You know
And sinners should be jailed
Sinners should know what it is like to be punished
Should ready themselves for hell
Right
Right?
Homosexuals
What with all the women raped
With poverty
With children abused and hungry
A law should be passed
Should be penned and voted upon
To torture a human being who chooses to
Love
Right
Right?

Gratitude

I am thankful this morning for waking up
For the sun
For my son
For my family and friends
For the reminder to be thankful and careful about my health
I am thankful for love

Friday, December 20, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 353 - Uraeus

I am swallowed up in how much I love
This human and spirit
Man and boy and child and wonder
Flesh of my flesh
With my blood in his body
This warrior who will grow
Never outside my reach

Away

Last night as I was walking up my walkway I saw a woman on the corner of my home. A man, I guess, her "boyfriend" was yelling and cursing as her. She looked at me and smiled. "Are you safe, sis?" I asked. Basically I was asking her if she had some place to go. "I'm ok. I'm ok." She responded.

He saw us talking and stopped yelling and cursing. I just stood there as she walked. I pray she arrived at her destination safely. Sometimes maybe that's all it takes. The slightest intervention.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For the sun in the sky
For being with my family
For love and patience and kindness
I am thankful for a good workout this morning
I am thankful for my health and safety
For food and shelter
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for connections and love and ties
For conversations and history
I am thankful for friends and easy
I am thankful for making a difference
For change
For same
I am thankful for art, poetry, beauty, sound, music, words
I am thankful for quiet
For parks and beaches
For water
For still

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 352 - Hold

All you have is family
She said
With wrinkled brown fingers
And folded knowing arms
Family
No matter who you think you are
Or what you think you have
Better than the next
Family
She said
Family

Dale Clinton


Me with Ms. Rubye Williams Bell


Gratitude

I am thankful this morning for the rain
For waking up to the sound of all the drops
For being with my son
I am thankful for being with my family
I am thankful for my friends
For love
For peace
I am thankful for growth
I am thankful for the ability to declare myself riding on a high frequency of abundance
Of health and happiness
I am thankful for art and words and poetry
I am thankful for my new project
For kindness and safety
For food and shelter
I am thankful for easy

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 351 - Release

I give myself permission to live abundantly
To prosper
To actively forgive
I give myself permission to be healthy
To love freely
Easily
I give myself permission to be bigger than I know myself to be
To be artistic
To be more creative than I know myself to be
To be complete
To be whole
To be loved
I give myself permission to be happy
To partner
To hold
I give myself permission to let go
To remember
To forget
I give myself permission to build
To tear down
To repair and give thanks
I give myself permission to love myself more than I have ever before
I give myself permission to fly
To be more of an entrepreneur than I have ever been before
To be a better writer
A more creative painter
Photographer
I give myself permission to be more self expressive
To use more of my voice
My body
I give myself permission to be thankful
To be in every moment
Every moment

Gratitude

I am thankful for my eyes opening
For unpleasant and confusing dreams that I am not stuck in
I am thankful for shelter and food and clothes
For love, peace and understanding
I am thankful for my son
For my niece and nephew
For all the children in my life
For my mother
My brothers and sisters
I am thankful for art
For the invitation yesterday to be in a gallery show
I am thankful for poetry and my community
For patience and water
I am thankful for this quiet time
Now

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Good night

I must clear my head of the negative thoughts about hate and struggle and fight. There is good in the world. There is good in the world. There is good in the world. You see how I remind myself? I will pray and rest and know and be still and let God God.

A poem a day for 2013 - day 350 - Daily. News. Daily. For Dione Payne

I must not allow myself to be swallowed up in the sadness of news
No matter how horrific
No matter that two grown white men raped and beat and killed a sixteen year old black boy
Dropped his unconscious body off at an emergency room
No matter his death shortly after
And his mother's tears
O his mother's tears
Have you ever heard a mother cry and scream for her boy
O his friends
His father
His teachers
His block
I cannot be swallowed up
I cannot not be
My prayers for all of us
My prayers for my own angry self
He had a troubled past they said
The boy
The boy who was raped and beaten and died
A troubled past
They said
Like a troubled past means we deserve to die
To be raped and killed
A troubled past
We live in a world that tells girls not to get raped
We live in a world that tells boys not to get killed
We live in a world that tells us to smile
Do you know how to move on
Tell me about that
That kind of moving on
I am angry and tightfisted and afraid
It is outrageous the attack on our boys
Our girls
Our bodies
Our lives
Soon come though
Soon come
Our big eyes opening every day


Workout watch!

Tonight I got a good workout in with the McDonald family! And they GET IT IN! I was truly inspired  and plan to continue to grow my workout pattern. If I have a New Years goal then that's it, to stay consistent with my workout. I know I can do it. I made a commitment to write a poem a day for this year and here it is December 17 and I haven't missed a day. Some days I even did more than one. If I can do that, I can keep a physical commitment to myself. I know I just have to schedule myself into my own calendar. Watch me do it. Watch!

New project update

I need five more orders to get CDs pressed and shipped. My new project is an audiobook called THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER. Please order today and tell your friends. It's only $10 and can be ordered at www.paypal.com. Send money to jahasart@yahoo.com.


An open letter to members of the shift - by Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman

Open Letter to Bishop Joseph Walker III and the Members of SHIFT

December 12, 2013

Open Letter to Presiding Bishop-Elect Joseph W. Walker III and the “By Invitation Only” Attendees of the Inaugural Meeting of the SHIFT

Brothers,

How an initiative begins significantly affects how it goes forward.

We read with interest the well-crafted December 9 press release of the coming “SHIFT,” a new initiative spearheaded by Rev. Joseph W. Walker III, Presiding Bishop-Elect of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. We paid special attention to the quotations and looked at the pictures. What a curious title: “Rebranding in the body of Christ: The Ultimate Leader Shift.”

As we read the letter, we became increasingly more disturbed and troubled. Although our first response was “no women were in the room,” in fact our concerns are deeper. It was just sinful and wrongheaded for a group of men to gather without active, real participation of women. We want to be clear about what disturbs us in this moment. Generally, we ignore lists of “100 most influential,” “10 best preachers,” etc.—how could we know who are the 10 best preachers, given all the powerful preachers who will never have a stage? So we read “chosen ones” and “greatest movement” with a grain of salt. But if those gathered intended to communicate an inclusive, progressive, dynamic, forward thinking agenda, your images and rhetoric failed you.

The post-letter from Bishop Walker—apparently written in response to comments made about the absence of women—said “a number of women who were invited… many were unable to attend” (though there were NONE present). We are hard-pressed to believe that all those busy men could come to the SHIFT meeting, but not one woman was available at the time. Quite frankly, if scheduling the meeting proved to be that problematic for women only, then one would be forced to rethink its planning strategies and organization. In the interest of being in solidarity with your womanist sister clergy, if this initiative really intended to be “new,” “progressive,” and “bold,” we think our Womanist/Black Feminist allies in the photo ought have refused to meet or release anything without a critical mass of sister leaders present, not as tokens, but as full participants. If there were men in that room who were in fact appalled by the lack of female representation because they did not know beforehand who would attend, we would hope that our brother allies would publicly declare their disappointment that a meeting with no women present was not rescheduled.

That’s what solidarity and ally-ship look like.

We’ve been chastened not to call black male church leaders out in public. We’ve been told that we have misunderstood. The rising bishop responded in his follow-up letter in what he called “a teaching moment” that we should “ask questions” rather than assume, presumably to correct his errant critics. We say that the gathered brotherhood of clergy should make their commitments clearer. What exactly do they hope to accomplish on behalf of the church? Does it matter to anyone other than women that women are invisible in a gathering of putatively this import? The Bishop’s letter read like a justification for male privilege. The usually “invisible cloak” of arrogance and male-only leadership was visible. All the rhetoric sounded like everything we’ve ever heard from male-dominated meetings.

As Womanists-Feminists-preachers-scholars-activists our responses come from several places. We are not making assumptions. Your press release and its attending images speak volumes. You are not interested in iconoclastically breaking from tradition. You’ve made clear that even if women were invited their insight, input, or wisdom was not considered significant enough for the group to wait. Indeed, the notion that women have to be “included” is itself a male privilege power move. Surely, you are aware that most black churches are comprised of as much as 80% female membership. We also know that women do the majority of the work of the church, without whose labor the organization and mission would fail. To be crystal clear, women’s gifts and capacities in all aspects of church leadership are as critical to the survival, relevance and progression of the church as men’s. Are women not already included in God’s plans?

You’ve communicated—loudly—that (male) “Generals” would strategize and tell all the foot soldiers what to do. A clear inference one gets from your invitation to meet is that God only calls “Generals” who are notorious and already “celebrity” preachers, i.e., those considered “important” and “special” people. Only those with thousands of members know anything about impact or leadership. We understand. That presumption makes sense in an entrepreneurial understanding of the church, where faithfulness is measured only in dollars and size. It smacks of religious elitism. What could an inner-city pastor with only a few members who’s faced gangs and helped people who are poor and struggling to thrive possibly have to offer? You’ve communicated that the hierarchical, “Fathers-know-best,” male-centric table works for you and you’ll scoot over and cram in a couple more of some you deem “worthy.” It is presumptuous and ill thought-out.

We will take you at your word that you didn’t intend to communicate most of the above, if you’ll take our word that’s how many people who care equally about the future of the church received it.

Intent and impact are two very different things. Be clear. Images matter. Rhetoric matters.

In this climate in which the black church finds itself on the brink of becoming irrelevant in the public’s eyes and where black preachers are portrayed on TV as money-grubbing pimps in the pulpit, it would seem that preachers serious about redeeming the times and restoring the reputation of the black church would be committed to justice that reflects genuine shared leadership with women. More than 27 years ago, Rev. Prathia Hall challenged the black Baptist Church on its rampant patronizing exclusion of women, and we find ourselves having to do the same. Dr. Renita Weems once asked, “What will it mean in the history of the church if record droves of women experience and accept their call and we go on with business as usual?” By your omission, you dishonor the legacy, ministry and lives of the biblical general Deborah and prophet Huldah; the church house leader Chloe; and deacon Phoebe and co-workers in the gospel Euodia and Syntyche. You dishonor the work and ministry of women such as Jarena Lee, Septima Clark, Ella P. Mitchell, Brenda Piper Little, Shirley Prince, and Bishop Barbara Harris, and countless of notable and unnamed others.

The challenge with critiquing SHIFT and movements that exclude more of God’s people than they include is that onlookers immediately think it’s personal. Religious male-centered leadership is “normal” and “sacred” and any attempt to question it is deemed perverse or personal. Our call is not for women to have access to patriarchal power, but that we all work together to create new, healthier, more humane—and therefore more godly—systems. We ask you to consider, not only those at the table you’ve spread, but those who are not present. We believe such consideration is central to the ministry of Christ. Women are invisible at the table,

but so are many others, including, self-identified same-gender loving Christians. As you consider what or who has their feet on the necks of those you want to liberate, consider whose necks your feet may be holding down. Self-reflection and self-critique are deeply important in justice work.

In response to your invitation for dialogue, here are a few questions to get the dialogue going: How do leaders who claim to fight for justice not know that sexism—excluding women or only including them as afterthoughts—is just as vile and sinful as racism and that it takes intentionality to transform, if in fact you intend to do so? How do self-proclaimed Womanist allies not include women and men who are Womanists and/or Black Feminists in the shaping of vision? Womanist/Black Feminists are not concerned only with the “inclusion” of women in public religious life. That’s about numbers. As people of faith, committed to the cause of radical inclusion, justice and love, we would be remiss in our integrity and derelict in our respective vocations, if we did not speak to injustices and oppressions as evidenced by this introduction of your initiative. We are interested in vision and shared influence and the building of the Commonwealth of God, beloved communities where everyone is valued, heard, protected, and helped to thrive, even if we disagree with them on a number of fronts. Jesus modeled this expansive community best and thus was persecuted for it by self-styled religious movers and shakers of his day.

One last point. You can understand, can’t you, why talk about “core family values” by a fraternity of male preachers raises concern for many of us? We have seen from this last election cycle what happens to women, poor families, and same-gender loving people when right-wing conservatives draft laws and draw up policies in the name of God and family values. Is SHIFT an initiative of black men merely reflecting the same toxic politics and policies? In other words, who is permitted to sit at the table and to fully participate as self-possessed people? Are single people okay as single, or are they people who need to get married? What about single people who’ve adopted children and built families on the village model—a very African approach to family? Is there room for LGBTQ families already among your ranks, or is yours a movement bent on silencing, demonizing, or maligning them? Is there enough emotional, theological, and intellectual bandwidth within the organization to partner for social change with people with whom you don’t agree? I wonder what would happen if you thought Dream Defenders, New Black Man (in Exile), Moral Monday activists or Black Youth Project members, leaders of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, for example, were just as important collaborating partners FROM THE BEGINNING?

Bishop Walker noted that women’s full inclusion is a key priority. If so, one social justice organizer said, “If you say it’s for ‘us,’ don’t do it without us.” A noted activist once said that if you’re comfortable with everyone in the room, you’re not leading a revolution.

Finally, you may ask: “What do you want to happen?”

We want this group to commit that all future SHIFT meetings will include women religious leaders around the table, clergy and lay, pastors and academics—the presence of women whose voices you admit are critical and crucial to participating with male religious leaders in redeeming the times and redeeming the future of the black church.

We want members of the group to publicly acknowledge that, though you may not have intended the slight, this first gathering was sinful and flawed by these exclusions. If this exclusion was not the intended message, take a good faith opportunity to correct that error.

We raise these concerns and questions because it is faithful and just to do so. As catalyst for this letter, Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, along with any number of the undersigned are willing to be in an open dialogue with Bishop-Elect Walker and any of those in that first meeting.

In the Struggle and in the Spirit,

Rev. Valerie Bridgeman, Ph.D. Biblical and Homiletics Scholar President & CEO of WomanPreach! Inc.

Board of Trustees, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Dr. Iva E. Carruthers General Secretary Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Rev. Carolyn Ann Knight The Seminary Without Walls Smyrna, Georgia

Bishop Yvette Flunder
Presiding Prelate, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Pastor, City of Refuge
San Francisco, CA

Rev. Leslie D. Callahan, Ph.D. Pastor, St. Paul’s Baptist Church Philadelphia, PA

Jaha Zainabu, Poet

Rev. Maisha I. K. Handy, Ph.D. Pastor, Rize Community Church Associate Provost Interdenominational Theological Center

Robert Hoggard
Founder & President American Baptist College Affiliate of S.C.L.C

Matthew Wesley Williams Lithonia, GA

Rev. Donna M. Vanhook Burlington, NC

Rev. Marsha Foster Boyd, PhD Englewood OH

Brittney C. Cooper, Ph.D. Departments of Women’s & Gender Studies
& Africana Studies

Rutgers University

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright Board of Trustees, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Myia Williams-Sanders

Rev. Martin L. Espinosa Senior Pastor
Ray of Hope Community Church, Nashville, TN

Rev. Vivian Nixon, Chief Executive Officer
College and Community Fellowship and Founder Education Inside Out Coalition

J.T. Thomas, Cleveland, OH

Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson Senior Pastor
The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn NY
Associate Professor of Homiletics, Drew Theological Seminary

Keri Day, PhD
Professor of Ethics & Director of Black Church Studies,
Brite Divinity School

Rev Toni DiPina, Pastor Rockdale Congregational Church Northbridge, MA

Rashad D. Grove Rev. Carla A. Jones Jeralyn B. Major

Renita J. Weems, Ph.D. Biblical Scholar Nashville, TN

Pamela R. Lightsey, PhD Boston University School of Theology

Rev. Asa J Lee Arlington, VA

Rev. Carolyn Hutchinson Temple Hills, MD

Rev. Rashad D. Grove, Pastor First Baptist Church of Wayne Wayne, PA

The Rev. Dr. Violet Lee

Tamura A. Lomax, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Virginia Commonwealth University

Darnell L. Moore writer and activist

Estee Nena Dillard

Rev. Tawana Davis
Executive Minister
Shorter Community AME Church Assistant Coordinator, Rocky Mountain District Women in Ministry

Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie Atlanta, GA

Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt,
Chicago Theological Seminary Chicago, IL, UCC

Karlene Griffiths Sekou, MPH, MTS

Rev. Cedrick Von Jackson

The Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD Chair of the Biblical Area and Associate Professor, Hebrew, Jewish and Christian Scripture The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

Min. Jamie Eaddy

Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson Executive Pastor
The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY

Rev. Andrea Clark Assistant Pastor Antioch Baptist Church Tulsa, OK

Rev. Quincy James Rineheart, M.Div., S.T.M.

Rev. Dawnn M. Brumfield, Associate Pastor
Urban Village Church Chicago, IL

Ashon Crawley

Pastor Michelle E. Freeman, M.Div., Houston, TX

Min. L. Proverbs Briggs, Atlanta, GA

Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey, MACM, MTS
Pastor, St. James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Jasper, Alabama

Rev. Catharine A. Cummings, M.Div.
Pastor, Wesley UMC Church, Springfield, MA

Rev. Earle J. Fisher, M.Div. Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church (Memphis) Adjunct Instructor of Contemporary Theology at Rhodes College

Rev Dr Mitzi J. Smith, Ph.D

Charles Bowie, Ph.D

Rev. Carla Patterson Associate Minister
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC

Rev. Vanessa M. Brown

Karlene Griffiths Sekou, President
Dignidad International Cambridge, MA

Rev. Felicia Y. Thomas Rev. Carla Patterson

Rev. Alisha Lola Jones, M.Div. CEO & Founder
InSight Initiative, Inc.

Rev. Margaret Aymer, Ph. D. Associate Professor Interdenominational Theological Center

Min. Brenda Summerville, M.Div. Chicago, IL

Roger A. Sneed, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Religion Furman University

Rev. Andre E. Johnson, PhD. Pastor, Gifts of Life Ministries, Memphis, TN
Dr. James L Netters Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Religion and African American Studies, Memphis Theological Seminary

Rev. Althea Bailey

Rev. Yvette A. Assem, M.Div. Womanist Missionary Language of the
Black Woman’s Touch

Min. Robin P. Sessoms, M.Div.

Rev. Dorothy Harris, J.D., Pastor Unity Fellowship Church of Columbia (Maryland)

Carla E. Banks

Jamall Andrew Calloway, S.T.M. Associate Minister
Mt. Aery Baptist Church, Bridgeport, CT

Rev. Benjamin Ledell Reynolds, PhD student
Chicago Theological Seminary

Fallon Wilson, M.A., ABD University of Chicago

Rev. Karyn Carlo PhD

Rev. Dr. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes
Assistant Pastor for Special Projects

Union Baptist Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor

Colby College, Waterville, Maine

Rev. Charisse R. Tucker, Minister of Administration St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA

Terry T. Hocker, Sr. Pastor/Founder
Bound By Truth And Love Ministries, Cincinnati, OH

Rev. Jamie D. Hawley, Chaplain University of Michigan

Rev. Kendal Brown
Dean of Students
Lancaster Theological Seminary

Rev. Melva L. Sampson

M. Brandon McCormack, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Departments of Pan-African Studies and Humanities (Religious Studies)

University of Louisville Charlotte Caldwell

Rev. Brian Foulks Lexington, SC

Lisa Ann Anderson

Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D. Professor, Biblical Interpretation New York Theological Seminary Visiting Scholar of Religion & African American Studies, Columbia University

Min. Hazel M. Cherry, Oakland, CA,
M.Div. Candidate
Howard University School of Divinity

Bishop Andre L. Jackson Founding Pastor, New Vision Full Gospel Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ
MA in Practical Theology/
M.Ed Candidate
Regent University, VA

Rev Candace Lewis, United Methodist clergy

Rev. JoAnne Marie Terrell, PhD Associate Professor of Ethics, Theology, and the Arts
Chicago Theological Seminary

Rev. Dianna N. Watkins- Dickerson
Chaplain, USAF

Larry T. Crudup
M.Div. Candidate
Perkins School of Theology

Rev. Rosalyn R. Nichols, D.Min. Organizing Pastor, Freedom’s Chapel Christian Church (DOC) Memphis, TN

Min. Guy Sebastian Johnson, Leesburg, VA, M.Div. Candidate Lancaster Theological Seminary

EL Kornegay Jr., Ph.D. CEO/Founder
The Baldwin~Delaney Institute Chicago, IL

Liz S. Alexander, Seminarian Chicago, IL

Candice M. Benbow Durham, North Carolina

Rev. Toni Dunbar, D.Min. Associate Pastor & Dean
City of Refuge United Church of Christ, Oakland, CA
Executive Director, YA Flunder Foundation
Founder & Director, Refuge Leadership Development Institute

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou
Pastor for Formation and Justice The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain (Boston, MA)

Rev. Dorian Mendez-Vaz, President & Founder Within Her Reach, Inc.

Min. Ryan Hawthorne, M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary

Rev. Kimberly Henderson Philadelphia, PA

Rev. Raedorah C. Stewart, MA Preacher, Poet, Mother of a Son

Rev. T. Renée Crutcher, Founder/President
Sankofa Ministries & Tellin’ Our Story Publishing, Inc.

Atlanta, GA

Min. Kamilah Hall Sharp, J.D. M. Div. Candidate
Memphis Theological Seminary

Bishop Dwayne D. Royster, Senior Pastor, Living Water United Church of Christ General Secretary, Higher Ground Christian Fellowship International

Dr. Donique McIntosh Associate Pastor
Namaste’ United Church of Christ

Minister Kelli X, M.Div Madison, TN

Rev. Sharon L. Bowers UMC Pastor
ITC Alumna

Rev. James A. Hardaway, M.Div., MACE
Pastor, Mount Gilead AME Church, Columbus, GA

Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D.

Keith Crawford, Jr.

Rev. Gwen Thomas, M. Ed. Author, LGBT activist, & Huffington Post blogger

The Rev. Canon Terence Alexander Lee, Rector
St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, Hollis, NY

Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Executive Director
Hudson Pride Connections Center, Jersey City, NJ

Evan R. Bunch

Pastor Genetta Y Hatcher Detroit, Michigan

The Rev. Fr. Marcus G. Halley, Associate Priest
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Kansas City, MO

Rev. Dr. MarQuita Carmichael Burton

Rev. Don Darius Butler, Pastor Tabernacle Community Baptist Church
Milwaukee, WI

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, Ph.D.
The Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Tony McNeill, DWS, Director of Worship & The Arts
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church – Atlanta, GA

Rev. William I. Spencer

Min. Davica Williams-Warren, M.Div., Miami, FL

Dr. Irie Lynne Session
Senior Pastor
The Avenue – Warren Avenue Christian Church | Dallas, Texas MDiv. Black Church Studies Concentration
| Brite Divinity School
DMin. Transformative Leadership & Prophetic Preaching | Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Rev. Dionne P. Boissiere, M.Div. Consultant, WomanPreach! Inc. & Director, Women’s Center @ New York Theological Seminary

Rev. Stephanie A. Duzant, MSW Hollis, Queens NYC

Min. Louis J. Mitchell
South Congregational Church Springfield, MA

Minister Rhonda White-Warner, M.Div., D.Min. Candidate, SF Theological Seminary
Founder Alabaster Jar Ministries, Oakland, CA

Toby D. Sanders, Pastor Beloved Community

Rev. Reginald W. Williams, Jr. Pastor, First Baptist Church of University Park
University Park, IL

Bishop John Selders Pastor Amistad UCC & Bishop Presider Interdenominational Conference of Liberation Congregations and Ministries

Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton, Director/Campus Minister
The Wesley Foundation at Fisk University, Nashville, TN

Rev. Wm. Jermaine Richardson

Dr. Safiyah Fosua Assistant Professor Congregational Worship Wesley Seminary @ IWU

Rev. Frank A Thomas, Ph.D. Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration
The Nettie Sweeney and Hugh T. Miller Professor of Homiletics Christian Theological Seminary

Min. Kymberly McNair Social Justice Coordinator Antioch Baptist Church Bedford Hills, NY

Dr. Teresa Fry Brown Director Black Church Studies Program and Professor of Homiletics Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Director, Black Church Studies Princeton Theological Seminary

Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis
Director of the Center for African American Ministries
& Black Church Studies and Adjunct Professor
McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
UCC Pastor

Rev. Kimberly G. Walker, Pastor Village of Hope CME Church Stone Mountain, GA

Joshua Crutchfield Nashville, TN

Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings
New Covenant Christian Church Nashville, TN

Rev. Dominique C. Atchison M.Div., Associate Minister Brown Memorial Baptist Church Sacred Conversations on Race Coordinator, Connecticut Conference UCC

Rev. Chaka S. Holley MSW, M. Div.

Dr. Lynne S. Darden
Assistant Professor
New Testament Interdenominational Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA


Gratitude

I am thankful that I have been consistently posting a gratitude log in my blog
I am thankful to be thankful in the moring when I rise
I am thankful that I take no day for granted
I am thankful for my son
For the sun
For my family
For my friends
For all the children in my life
I am thankful for art and words and creativity
I am thankful for love and peace and understanding
I am thankful for ideas that come in my dreams
I am thankful for an easy rest last night
For good conversations
For good food
For clean water to drink
I am thankful for my mother
For the memory of my father
For WomanPreach and the work I am blessed to do
I am thankful for the quiet in the moment
I am thankful for the moment

Monday, December 16, 2013

Good night random

1. I am thankful for the folks who have ordered my new audiobook.
2. My home health client has passed away and I do not want another client in that field. I am considering taking on some clients in the field of de cluttering. I'll sleep on it. You know I'll let you know. (Insert happy face here).

A poem a day for 2013 - day 349 - Web

How easy it must be to
Sit back and hate and judge
The circle of your surroundings
Your finger pointing
Doing nothing
While the artists and thinkers
The risk takers and lovers
The builders and creators around you
Keep
Spinning

Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for waking up
I am thankful for this quiet
For a safe and easy drive last night
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for time
For love and peace
I am thankful for the blessings bestowed upon me
For my mother
My sister
I am thankful for my health and strength
I am thankful for the mindset to be thankful in the morning and throughout the day
I am thankful for this blog where I deposit my thoughts
I am thankful that I have the finished copies of my audiobook
I am thankful for my clothes
My shoes
Shelter
Food
I am thankful for the children in my life
I am thankful for their protection and care
I am thankful for sun
Today

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 348 - Dear God

Cover our boys
Our black boys
Bless their paths
Their days
Their very every day days
Their single moments

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this wonderful Sunday morning
This amazing day that God has made
This day I will rejoice
I am thankful for my family
For my son
My friends
I am thankful from my mother
I am thankful for the creative process
For art and words and poetry and stories
I am thankful for time to create
For space
For easy
For enough

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 347 - In ready

There is more to do than knowing the cruelties of the world
There is educating our young
Speaking truth in the face of hatred and fear
There is loving anyway
As armor
Just because

New project news!

Yay! I am so happy to announce that my new project, an audiobook called, THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER, is ready! You can order copies at www.paypal.com and send $10 to jahasart@yahoo.com.

I like it. I hope you will too.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this beautiful day
This blue sky
I am thankful for the completion of my latest project
An audiobook
THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER
I am thankful for pre sales
For being an artist
For words and joy
I am thankful for late night studio sessions
For a product I am proud of
For engineers and producers in my life
I am thankful for my son
For my family
Friends
Sisters
I am thankful for visiting family and love
I am thankful for not knowing how things will work out
I am thankful for know that things will work out
I am thankful for easy
For rest
Peace
I am thankful for thankful
For this gorgeous weather
My health and safety
My limbs
My strength
I am thankful for being with my son
For time
For conversations with my son and nephew
I am thankful for their bright minds
Their listening ears
I am thankful for sky

Friday, December 13, 2013

Random musing of a southern baptist girl (in California)

Who knows why we remember what we remember, but today, several times in fact, I remembered a moment of my childhood at church. It was a special night service where a group came to our church. The group was called Jews for Jesus. The children, my age and younger, sat in the first two rows. I was in the second row on the very edge near the middle isle of the church. I don't remember why, but for some reason the guest speaker asked the girls to raise our hands if we dreamed of getting married and having a beautiful wedding someday. I was never that girl. I don't know why, I just wasn't. I dreamed of being a writer. Over and over I dreamed of writing famous stories. That's what I called them, famous stories.

I was never attached to the idea of getting married and even if I thought of it, I certainly wasn't connected to the dream of a big fancy wedding. So I didn't raise my hand. As it turned out, none of the other girls raised their hands. The guest speaker was surprised and said so. The deacons, who were on the other side of the isle closest to me seemed embarrassed that this good Jew done come all the way to the ghetto and couldn't make his point because some gals wouldn't raise their hands. Deacon (I do remember his name but will not say it here) yelled, "All of them have dreamed of it. And if their hands aren't up, then they are LYING!" So what were we to do but put our hands in the air and wave 'em like...we had no minds of our fucking own?

Nobody asked why our hands weren't up. Why no hand went up nobody wondered? There was just no discussion. Point blank, we just had to be "lying." In not one single adult's mind did that not ring strange? What did the adults really know about us anyway? I mean except that we were little liars who obviously spent an enormous amount of time secretly planning our weddings? Again, I will not mention names here, because that's not what this is about (not this one anyway). But one girl had a mother who was an alcoholic. My own father was also an alcoholic. Another girl was dealing with the public divorce of her parents. Come to think of it, I could go down the line with issues we were carrying as little girls. So no, we were not privileged Jewish girls who sat around scrap booking our future weddings. What did marriage mean to us anyway except that it was the only time we could have sex or we would go to hell and burn forever. How many of us may had already been sexually abused by that time is also a whole nother essay. So what did we care about sex?

What did the assumption that all girls of course aspire to wife hood say about them? Not that there is anything wrong with being a wife. Please don't read that deep in between the lines. I'm saying here that girls can have a dream that does not include being married and there not be anything "wrong" with them. I'm saying why didn't the Jew for Jesus how many boys sat around and dreamed about being husbands?

A poem a day for 2013 - day 346 - Your honor

I have this horrid truth about the sixteen year old white boy
Ethan Couch
Who stole liquor from Walmart
Who killed four on June 15
Youth pastor, Brian Jennings, 41
Mother and daughter Hollie, 52 and Shelby Boyles, 21
Breanna Mitchell, 24

Say their names out loud
Crack your jaws at the consonants
Slit your lips on the vowels
Scream to the gods for justice
To God for understanding

Ethan Couch
Ethan Couch
California
My state
My home

Remember his name
He may be president one day
He may own a local network one day
And he will be more known for that than that he
Injured others
Was three times the legal limit of alcohol
Had Valium in his system
Was driving thirty miles above the speed limit
Was sentenced to probation

He had seven passengers in the Ford F-350 he drove
Where was a sixteen year old boy going with seven others
Lord lead me not into the temptation to judge
Four were tossed
Two critically injured
One still paralyzed who communicates by blinking his eyes

Where is the outcry from the Zimmerman supporters
Who criminalized the dead body of Trayvon
Where is FOX news
Why is this not still news

Why has he been driving since he was thirteen
What happened at fifteen when he was caught with a
Passed out naked fourteen year old girl in a truck

My heart bleeds for everyone

Ten years probation
Judge Jean Boyd
Judge Jean Boyd
Probation
Say probation with your whole mouth
See if it makes sense to you
Probation

Because this young man
This boy
This human being
This baby was never disciplined
By his parents
He does not know what it is like to be punished
He is rich after all
And who had time for that

Who had time for instruction and conversation
Who had time for the word no
What lawyer would fix his mouth for such defense
His did
His did
What judge would buy being affluent as a disease
His did
Ours did
Yours did
Your American judge did

Tell me again about America
About these United States
Tell me again about railroad tracks
And the other side of town
Tell me about the Mason Dixon
Tell me all about truth and forefathers
Speak to me again about standing still during the pledge of allegiance
With my hand across my heart
Say it again
So I can hear

Random

I am meeting with one of the engineers for new project, my audiobook called, THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER tonight. Prayerfully we are finishing things up tonight and I can start shipping copies. Fingers crossed.

Gratitude

I am thankful for my eyes opening this morning
For my family around me
I am thankful for my mother
For my son
For friends
I am thankful for being back home
Thankful for the joy of family visits and sleepovers
I am thankful for visiting family members
I am thankful for a positive work day
For the brilliant team of women and men I know
I am thankful that I easily resisted the cake and bread and meat at the luncheon today
I am thankful for being satisfied
Thankful for love and art and words
I am thankful for THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER, my audiobook
I am thankful for the process it is taking
Thankful for peace and easy reminders to love myself
I am thankful for easy breathing
For joy, happiness, beauty, success, shelter, education, food
I am thankful for this quiet moment
To be still

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 345 - This warm cozy

We are here
In this house
This laughter and food
Game shows and good conversation
Dog barking and
Family time
Again

A message from Teal last night

"Salutations Mademoiselle, just had to share. Thea Monyee gave you the BIGGEST compliment tonight at the NAACP / Verses and Flow event."

I love the people in my life.

Random

A lemon glazed cake just came out of the oven and I acknowledge myself for not having any.

Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for my life
For everything I have
For everything I don't
I am thankful for love and all the ways it shows up
For peace and an easy rest last night
For kindness and friendship
For witnessing a great show last night and being among awesome people
For art
For words
For people who love me enough to say good things about me
I am thankful for my son
For the entire community who rears him
For God's loving hand on him
For forgiveness
I am thankful for my mother
For my family
For all the blessings that are present in my life
I am thankful for my audiobook
For other projects
I am thankful

Dear Vanessa

I hope this post finds you smiling. It's forty-six minutes after midnight and I just got home. I have talked myself out of a late night snack (not that I didn't do enough cheating today, but whatever...). I thought of you and just wanted to send you words and doodle in my blog at the same time.

I think you are so courageous. You are honest and gentle and funny and the best kind of sweet. Sweet with street undertone and home girl tendencies. Maybe that's why we click. I love sisters with whom I don't have to share too many words. Because we just know.

I wish you happiness, dear heart. I wish you easy and bliss. I wish you all the ugly Christmas sweaters your closet can handle. Get well, ok? Promise me.

Love you

Jaha

Dear Mom

I want you around forever and ever. Promise me that. Ok?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 344 - Will we...

There is all this to say
About what is right and wrong
All this talk about sin and God
About Jesus and Mary
All this wisdom about Job and his friends
All this pontificating over five dollar tea at Starbucks or so
Next to the man
Who will sleep in the snow

Gratitude

I am thankful this morning for life
For the blessing of good health
For strength and love
For family and friends
I am thankful for art and words
For my son
So thankful for my son
I am thankful for this day

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 343 - Clean

This is for times when memories come
Of friends who were never friends
When pieces of their hate words are still scratched on my walls
To be washed and saged again
These times remind me to be bigger than I know myself to be
To give more love than I ever thought I had
Again


It could be you. Will you take a Stand?



This piece will be donated to THE GIRL BLUE PROJECT for "It could be you. Will you take Stand?" A staged reading and art auction at Stage 52 Theatre for people with HIV/AIDS Dec. 11 @ 8pm.www.tofighthiv.org/goto/Shawnet

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For love and forgiveness
For peace and ease
Good ideas and dreams
I am thankful for art
And process
Thankful for grace and friends
So grateful for friends
I am thankful for family
Thankful for my son
For his safety
I am thankful for my health
For God's love
Spread

Monday, December 9, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 342 - Mind business

Life is a continuous cycle
Until you're dead
Said the old man in the mental health office
Next to me
And he went on
About Egyptian and Greek mythologies
About war and hell
God and race and names and truth and the devil
Yes the devil too

But you know man can't tell a story
Without changing it
He said
And I agree

He is blind
This man with so much wisdom
So much talk about seeing in the dark
About what God said to him

I have no choice, he said
I can only walk by faith

And what about me
And my sighted self
And my faith
And when I
Forget

Gratitude

I am thankful for home
For my eyes opening again
For new friends
I am thankful for health
For ideas
For following through
I am thankful for art
And words
I am so thankful for words
And rest
And good good easy rest last night
I am thankful for new day
For my son
For my whole community
I am thankful for songs that bless my life
For food and money and shelter
For clothes
Energy to move and shout
I am thankful for technology
For iPads and phones
For communication
I am thankful for the path being paved for my son
For his protection
For my niece and nephew
For my mother
Sister
Sisters
Brothers
I am thankful for love
All day

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dr. Valerie Bridgeman


Gratitude

I am thankful for being back home
For an easy flight
For productive work
Good food
Truth telling
Soul worship
I am thankful for many perspectives
For love
I am thankful for my son
For my reflection
For smiling
I am thankful for easy
For peace
I am eager for work
For family
Friends
Sleep
So good rest
Tonight

A poem a day for 2013 - day 341 - Say sister

These women
Brown and bleeding
In sacred circle
Prayer and praise
Can you hear how loud we sing hallelujah

These hands lifted
See this dirt under these nails
This clay, this flour, this brown sugar
Tongues shouting, clicking
These feet knocking
O these rebellious women
Who dare speak
Who leap to live their lives fully
Spill secrets about yesterday
Who said we can't tell the truth about our own lives

Friday, December 6, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 339 - Called to carry

I know what it is like to feel a baby kick inside the womb
To be unwed and unknown
I thank God for the rainbow the day my son was born

Our blessed mothers
Our mothers who believed
Our mothers under mercy
Once barren mothers
Fertile and faithful wombs

Blessed wombs housed our babies
John and Jesus
Oscar and Trayvon
Emmit and Tupac
Hadiya, Phoebe and Renisha
Our bold babies
Nelson, Nat, Bob
Our Martin and Malcolm
Assata, Angela and Maya
All of our babies
Yours and mine
You and I
Were home in sacred womb

I know what it is like to pray bent knee prayers
For our infant warriors in the face of
Rape culture and bully nation
Our head raised babies
Hands lifted babies
Our screaming, shouting, singing babies

Our blessed mothers
Called to carry history and story
Ain't they so beautiful

Joseph, being a righteous man
Planned to send her away secretly
Until an angel intervened

Did you, Joseph
Was Mary in trouble
Was she a sinner
Was I Joseph
I know what it is like to have a finger pointed at my belly

Joseph, did you have a favorite Alabama auntie
Who would grits and eggs her for nine months
And rub her swollen belly
Send her away secretly
In secret
In hush

Stories will come from our wombs
They will ooze from our bodies
Men want to control

An angel of The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream
Flee to Egypt for Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him
An angel
An angel
An angel appeared

Flee America
For Herod
For Zimmerman
For Limbaugh
For stand your ground
Cocaine
Bloods
Crips
Detroit
Los Angeles
Philadelphia
D.C.
For slavery
For privatized prisons
Racism
Homophobia
For the tea party
For the klan
The cross
Will seek to destroy

I know what it is like
To pray your son's safety
To pray his protection from the very everyday
I know what it is like to birth a brown boy
Speaking truth and power

O Mary
O Elizabeth
I honor your sacred wombs
Bless you for your faith
For your worry
For your warm fingers and hands to hold and feed
The babies you gave to us

Dear brother

Nelson Mandela made his transition yesterday. Rest is love, venerable elder. Rest well.

Smooches

There is an old British man sitting next to me in the airport on the phone who just ended his conversation with "I love you to bits." I thought that was cute.

Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for waking up
I am thankful for my health and strength
For my family and friends
For being at the airport early and an easy check in
I am thankful for the gift of poetry
For WomanPreach
For an audience to hear my words
I am thankful for my son
For books
I am thankful for love in my life all over

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scared straight

I went to the doctor today and she told me that I was pre diabetic. And by pre, I'm way too close for comfort. Dear carbs and sugar, it's been really great knowing you but...

A poem a day for 2013 - day 338 - Sea. See.

I look God
To God's face
And I ask God
And God answers
Then
I
Just
Wait

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 337 - Hallelujah

I will worship
I will praise
I will remember
Will cherish
I will grow
Blossom
I will teach
I will house
Feed
Build
I will read
Plant
Cross over
Return
I will clap hands
Stomp feet
I will water
Rest
Wake up
I will run
Play
I will play so play
Think
Swallow
Truth
So truth
I will easy
Shout
Sing
Glory

Edwin Bodney at DPL last night


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 336 - Life

The joy and complexity of womb / of womanhood / of being called to carry

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A poem a day for 2013 - day 334 - Sun. Day.

Under this roof
This together
This family
Braiding hair on the couch
Video games in the back room
Dog barking
Food cooking
Slowly
Hot kitchen
Church
Wine coolers
Blue sky
Sunday