Saturday, May 31, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 31 - To V Kali

Will you say my name the way you say names
You know the way
Will you put your perfect lips together and throw my name to God
So that God will know for sure that I am loved by one like you
With all that memory in the crust of your elbows
You think I don't feel all that in your hugs
You think you can hide all that magic
You cannot friendmother
You cannot

These words are for you
For the ways you bless us with red
With purple with sky with green
You so rainbow
You so river
You so all them books
You so all that hair down to your back
You so Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
With silver buttons buttons buttons

You so poet

Did we thank you
For all the times you remind us to breathe
Did we thank you
For tofu taste just like catfish save our lives
Did we thank you
For juice like Jesus feet
For water turn gutter into Arrowhead
Did we thank you

These words are for you
For
You

Gratitude

I tell myself that it is okay to be thankful for the same things and people every day
And I know that it is true
I remind myself that it is true
I tell myself that God appreciates that I remember
Then I know that this is not about God
This is not about Jesus either
Not completely
This is about me reminding myself that I am alive again
That I have something to be thankful for
That there is a power higher than I who connects me to every other thing that ever existed
Perhaps that connection is also God
Because God is not a man with a white beard sitting in a chair in the sky
We all know that by now
Don't we
Don't we know that by now

I am thankful for mirrors
Isn't that odd
To be thankful for mirrors
But I am
Because there was a time I was not
I am thankful for my face and smile and everything the glass
Gives me in return
It is mine
Mine
For now it is mine

I am thankful for waking up today
In a bed
Surrounded by books and plants and art
Are you greeted by art when you wake
O it is the best

I am thankful for my son
For his voice and skin and laughter
For his fingers and toes and safety
For the wand of God that sprinkles his path
I am thankful for him

For my friends and my family
All of them
Every one

I am thankful for love that blooms in my brain my veins my chest and stomach
I am thankful for quiet and trees and sky
I am thankful for the moment
This moment
And this

Friday, May 30, 2014

In this moment I give thanks for my aunt and friend Valerie Bridgeman whom I called on to pray for me. To pray for my mind. For concerns swimming around. I give thanks for the love I felt oozing through the phone. Also for my friend, Dietra who also gives love and blessed words. We are black mothers and there is something to being a black mother. There is something to being a black parent. There just is. I give thanks for my son's father, whose name I keep separate from this blog (because he didn't ask for his business spread throughout Jahasworld, I did). But I give thanks for him nonetheless. For him and his wife, for everyone in his household who loves my son. Our son. I give thanks for my mother, sister, brother in law, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, his teachers. I give thanks for the village who loves him.

My beloved is at an age where we worry. We just do. For nothing. For everything. We the village, we the family, we the parents. We just do. We worry and then we have to let it go. We, and by we I mean I, have to remember that my son is not my son. He is God's son. He is at an age where I cannot Mommy right next to him every moment of the day. My son is born of two African-American parents whose opinions of this very racial society informs our parenting. Praise God though, we are also parents who know that God is real. That God guides and loves and directs. That God provides peace and ease. I am also extremely thankful that my son, our son, God's son is not one who gives us what any would really call...trouble. He is kind and thoughtful. He is funny and handsome. He loves to read and watch movies. He is a good conversationalist. He gives every time he can to strangers on the streets. Although he has his teenage stuff, he is a wonderful human being. Still, as I said to Valerie, Dietra and Dad tonight, there are always parental concerns. I remember when I used to ask my mother if I could borrow the car for the night when I was a teenager and she would pause (knowing how great a driver I was ;)). She would say "It's not you I'm worried about, it's all those crazy people out there." Well, now that my son is sixteen, 6'2", marble black, locks past his shoulders and some falling into his lovely face, it's not him, it's all those crazy people out there.

My concerns I know are not irrational. Quite the contrary. I know I have to be careful about the stuff I let into my mind. More news than I can handle is my newest no no. Law and Order, Criminal Minds and First 48 marathons however entertaining, are a deadly combination with a creative and concerned and black mama mind as mine. So it's time to chill. And I have to remember that I'm not the first black mother to be concerned about her boy and I won't be the last. So more meditation and prayer. More believing that there is more good in the world than bad, because I can not believe sometimes. More leaving my concerns on the alter of God, whose loving hand holds my head. My son's head. The world.

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 30 - To my sister on her 41st birthday

We ran to Daddy together when boots scraped up red steps
We hid behind the same couch and called his name
We yelled surprise together

We were reared by Mama's love together
Mama's kisses were work ethic and Vacation Bible School
She taught me how to drive a stick
Then I taught you

You were my doll I dressed for school
Laid out your clothes and combed your hair
Two ponytails
Three ponytails
Four

You looked like me
Had more book smarts than I
I am proud of you for taking wings
For being so fly

We Cameron St. together
We Taper St. together
We so St. Mark

We so praise
We so different ways
We so anyways
Together

We so don't never no mind
Long as you know
I love you like I
Do

Gratitude

It's 12:07 and although today is really tomorrow
Today is today because I am just getting in
And am ready for a good rest tonight
Tonight
This night
I am thankful for waking up this morning
For work today
Even for the small challenges at work today
I am thankful for love and compassion
I am thankful for God working God's amazing self out in my life
As God does
I am thankful 
I am thankful for last minute work
For surprise work
For thank You, Jesus work
I am thankful
I am thankful for my son
My wonderful son who came through me
Who is his own person
Who is God's awesome child
For me to rear and love
I am thankful for the entire village that rears him and loves him
I am thankful for my sister
For my mother 
I am thankful for peace and good energy
For food and shelter
For kindness and compassion
For work tomorrow I am so thankful
I am thankful for one foot in front of the other 
Every day
I am thankful for friend out of hospital
For her health and safety
For her whispered name from my lips reaching the ears of Most High
I am thankful
For friends
Family
For words and art and calmness in my head

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A: Your hair sure does grow fast.
Me: Yep. It took twenty hours!
Today in class I told a student to take the headphones off of his head during class. He told me that only one side was on and that while music was playing in the other ear he could hear me through the other. He had the nerve to tell me he was "multitasking." Ummmm...No.

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 29 - For Anna

For conversations over and over
About a yesterday so long ago
Over and over yesterday
Again and again
Hair gray
Fingers wrinkled and wise and beautiful
Bless you, Anna
Bless you
Thank you, Anna
For sitting and sharing
For talking and giving
To me
To me
Yesterday our elder and poet and storyteller and awesome woman, Dr. Maya Angelou passed away. Her passing is a loss for the artistic community and the world. She lived full out in such a mighty way. I celebrate and honor her. For all of the work she did to pave the way for me as an artist, a woman, a mother. Thank you, Dr. Maya Angelou. Thank you.
Happy

And with two bundles of yarn from Michael's, twenty hours and my two sore fingers, this happened


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

11:49pm. Home from The World Stage. As usual it was a blessed experience. Mahogany Wordsmith was featured tonight. She read more of her work than I had ever heard before and I was glad I was there to experience her. Dee Dee McNeil was there for a portion of the workshop. She was just in the neighborhood and stopped by. I was glad I got a chance to tell her how much I appreciated her email from the night we featured together at Maverick's Flat at the Still Water's event. She is such a legend and for her to remember me and personally take the time to message me about how she felt about my work meant so much to me. She said she would come back to The Stage, I hope she does. Alex read a poem tonight he has been working on for years, literally. I was proud to see him up reading it and being able to hear how much he had developed it. I love that young man. For years he's been like a little brother to me. My 6'4" little brother.

Tomorrow at Vibrations A Kold Piece is featuring for Thursday Night Vibes. I'm looking forward to seeing that too. Gotta sell some more art because filling up my gas tank for the week is necessary like right now. But watch God work God's self out in my life.

I haven't been able to get online at home for a couple of days and thankfully I am tonight. I'm going to straighten up this room a bit, find an easy show to watch and curl up.

Vanessa, if you're reading this, hugs and prayers to you. You already know.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For the blessings and lessons I experienced
I am thankful for the stories and poems and words that washed over me at The World Stage tonight
For my teachers and mentors
I am thankful for friends and good conversations
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
I am thankful for my mother
For all of the village that shines a positive light in Uraeus' life
I am thankful for life
For nature and clean air
I am thankful for water and sun
For food and shelter
And time and opportunity to forgive and be forgiven and live
Another day
I am thankful

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 28 - To Alex

To the words that fall from your fingers
The draft after draft of your poetry
I honor you
The telling of your truths
Your stories
Way you let them out
Way you let them free you
Free us
Too

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 27 - To George and Alisha

To friends like you
Who keep me day by daying it
Who flesh and house and love me like family
To couples like you who make me remember love
Over and over
Again

Monday, May 26, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 26 - To humanity

To hope
To knowing
To wondering if
There is more good in the world than bad

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 25 - On forgiveness

Because letting go is life
Makes room for breath and sister moon
To shine
To grow
Inhale
And space
Exhale
Release
Me
You
Now

Saturday, May 24, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 24 - To play

Because jumping through grass and purple rings is necessary as breath
As living as sun
Because feet wet in puddles splash high to fingers is best freedom
Do you know how to play
Do you know how to laugh
So hearty and easy
Dance
Fall and fail and smile again so big
Twirl and leap so sky
And land again
Until work calls tomorrow

To black men - draft 2

Knees like you
Flexible and ashy
Ready to move
We bend together
We same song
We so blues
We so rock, gospel, soul, country, rhythm


You hear me sing for you
You hear this concert in my gargle
Sing for you
To you
About you
Hold these notes for you
Do re me
Do re me
Breathy and raspy for you
Always for you
Darling you
You send me
Send me


Sigh
Sigh
Selah
Selah


You hear my voice for you
You see my fists for you
You feel this fight I have for you


We womb together
We reign
We so thunder together


We feet in Sunday morning grass
In sand
We so swim together
We boat and land together


You win for me
I win for you
These tears
These poems
You ever read all these poems for you


We so crazy together
We ill together
We kill and create together
We so slow
We so swirl and sane together
All this dance we swing together


You think I'm going somewhere
You think I will ever leave
You hold my waist
I look you in your eyes
We rib together


We so coffee


We so free
America
Africa
We so global together
So Cuba
Asia
We so everywhere


We so sticks and stones
So struggle
So easy
So flesh and bones


You so fly
Blueblack and marble
So move
Silk
You so tell me your story
You so listen to mine
You so mine


You so I can't live without you
You so my brother
My son
Lover
Father


You so voice in my ear
Touch in my thigh
Squeeze on my chest
You so rub me to sleep


Selah
Selah
Sigh
Sigh


You my regular
My every single day


You so night
You so knight
You so ride in and rescue
So change
So same
You so hero
You so Psalms
So words
River
Deep
Deep
Ain't we deep together


Sigh
Sigh
Selah
Selah

Friday, May 23, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 23 - To the couples I know who have me remember love like that

To the ways you share whisper and scripture and bowed heads and prayers
Selah
To the Proverbs between you
I see you
I hear you
The ways you speak of him like hymn
And her like Most She
Baptize me in the knowingness of how you tread together
Along this path that can be bite and sour
Tell me the work and chore of love you do together
How you hold and remember to say names in the night before you sleep
I remember you
I do
The next time some of you see me I think I'm going to have stupid crazy long yarn braids in a gigantic bun on top of my head. It's going to be so big I don't know if I'm going to be able to balance myself walking. But that's okay. Because I'll be so cute it won't matter.
Oh, and Mr. Foster and Sundiata were there at Vibrations last night! Too long time and no see! Happy face!
1:11am. I am just getting in from Vibrations from last night. It was great. Food 4 Thot and Socks do some amazing work there and for the community. I am so thankful for them. Socks wasn't there tonight but I felt her. I feel her whenever Food is around. They are one of my favorite couples. If not my favorite. Their son, Future was the hit of the night for me. He is only eighteen years old and his poetry is so far beyond his years! Thankfully he is home for his school break. I'm so proud to know them.

Arch was in the house! I love him! There were a lot of talented folks and friends there. My buddy, Dietra was there. I was nervous until she got there. I was the feature and really wanted her to be there. Seeing her walk through the door calmed me down quickly.

Ronni performed also. She is a young poet and becoming my new young friend. She has such great energy.

And Divine Bliss Catering was there also. Their food is so good. Sometimes I don't eat on Thursdays so that I can have more of that food than I should. I did that today. That food is dangerous. I can get so caught up in that it's vegan that I'm not concerned with portions. Bad idea!

Anyway, I had a great time last night. Oh, also had a great time the night before last at The World Stage. Peter J. Harris and Marion were featured. I haven't heard them in a while. Especially Marion. She was simply heaven. There just is no word to describe her voice. No word. All that and she is a brilliant writer! She is. And of course Peter is one of my favorite writers and people.

It's late, well, early and I'm tired. I have taken my meds and soon I will be so sleepy I will drift off. Thankfully. I'm staying positive and loving myself and others. And that's a good thing.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 22 - To the moment

Even this moment
Circled in the smoke of vanilla incense
With pennies and quarters and nickels in my bank
On the bookcase that holds the oils
Scented with pear and sage
Lavender and rose
Stacks of books and note paper
I scribble my secret musings

This moment
With art that surrounds me
Women in red and and black
With Afros and braids
Leg women
Fingers women
Remembered women
All cross my walls

These mirrors
Reflect the face and body
Whether I will or no
There is tea in this moment
This Thursday moment
This prayer and purple moment

These flowers and plants
Anchored well in my surrounding
Give me breath
Give me live again tomorrow

Look at those cards
Posted there on my board
This friend moment
This tell me you love me moment
Calligraphied notes to remind me my loves

This moment so sacred
This moment so music

I am so statue

Hear plane flying above my head
Where would anyone be going
Moment sacrosanct as this
Neighbors playing music
Like nobody on the block but them
Ain't that something
In this moment all my own

Anthony Hamilton-The point of it all

To the village who holds my head - draft 2

To the women who lift my arms
When I have no strength to raise them above my waist
To red clay women
Head scarves
Praying women
Fight women

To men who love me close and from afar
Sage men
Water men
Lips men
Fingers and touch men
Who whisper words and share
Art and stories passed down

To lovers of yesterday moon
Who remained as friends

To circles unbroken
To family and unity so rock
So ocean and mountain
So stare
So galaxy
So always
To sun
To son
Who lights so laughter and gentle
To village who I am nothing without
To prayers screamed to the heavens within
To all fingers and nails
Elbows and palms
Grab me so safe
Hold me so ready
Make sure I see tomorrow
To connection so real
Only God can know

Gratitude

I am thankful today for plants at my wake up
For music in my ears
I am thankful for my son and all of his positive teachers
For my friends and family
I am thankful for thankful
For the ways water returns to earth
For the waves in the ocean
I am thankful for the animals that roam
For sweet sweet dreams
I am thankful for dances
For the memory of lovers
Of hands tracings backbones
I am thankful for songs that port me to yesterday and tomorrow
I hear you drums
I hear you bass
I am thankful for you
I am thankful for goodness
For kindness on my path
For my hair and feet
I am thankful for freedom
For delight and my hands
For swinging easily in the air
I am thankful for the men in my life
For the women who hold my head
For prayer
For the always prayer
For a Mother who listens
For a Father who knows
I am thankful for the delight of knees bending
For spinning around
Around
With fingers spread open wide
I am thankful for my friends
For my family so wonderful
For the good in the world
For the world
For time
I am thankful for time

Way we

Love me in the parenthesis
In the hope of our forever
Do you know I watch your lips river
From way across the room
Dance with me still
Before our blessed this becomes a thing
That others dare to know
I will hold our secrets
In the silence of my palm
Pull me close
Swim me in the current of
The connectedness where you know Creator
Do you call Him, God
Do you look Her in the face
Can you love me more than the stars that reflect
In the whiteness of your grin
Will you need me more than sun
Will you worship me like you do the moon
Will you rest your head on my thighs
While we name each angel one by one
Love me in the space between each breath
Each one before the last

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 21 - To my poetry family at The World Stage

For the twenty-five years you have been on the block
In the Village
In Leimert Park
In the park
You have been the village
My village
Telling stories
For me
To me
Healing me
Brother Daood
Brother Higgins
Brother Poet
Brother Drummer
We hear you
We hear you
I hear you
All those words and rainbows
All those healing sounds
You make
We shout
Those lights you turned on
Inside us
Inside me
Me
We
So free

Gratitude

I am thankful today for my eyes opening and seeing the sun
For my functioning limbs
For my fingers in my hair
I am thankful for my son
For all around him who love him
I am thankful for being connected to others
For a great conversation and lunch
I am thankful today for being able to be of service
I am thankful today to witness a smile on a friend's face
I am thankful for love all around me
For the positive thoughts in my head
I am thankful for an easy rest last night
For the preparation to go to the World Stage tonight
I am thankful for words and art
For poetry and water and food and shelter
I am thankful for being thankful
I am thankful for my friends and family

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The good thing about being hella late on the Grey's Anatomy freight is that there is all this delicious and sexy and slushy catching up to do.
Uber exercise starts again tomorrow. I keep saying that. But for real. The medication makes me super hungry all the time. And for that, I hate the medication's guts.
and so I am watching God work God's amazing self out in my life / and I don't know what this will look like / but I will trust / watch me trust

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 20 - To the village who holds my head

To the women who lift my arms
When I have no strength to raise them above my waist
To men who love me close and from afar
Who whisper words and share art and stories passed down
To lovers past who have remained as friends
To friendships unbroken
To family and unity so rock
So ocean and mountain
So stare
So galaxy
So always
To sun
To son
Who lights so laughter and gentle
To village who I am nothing without
To prayers screamed to the heavens within
To all art and creativity
To fingers and nails and veins and elbows and palms
Grabbing me so safe
Holding me secure
Make sure I see tomorrow
To connection so real
Only God can know

Dear Jaha

Breathe
Be happy
Feel
Tell
Say
Speak
See
Know
Accept
Forgive
Ask
Be forgiven
Sleep
Dance
Play
Have fun
Exhale
Write
Go
Be on time
Wonder

Last night I had a dream about water. Water dreams for me always predict some kind of change. The dream was peaceful and so was the water. Which is a good thing. In the dream, I was watching a woman step into a deep pool, then before I knew it, I was on the diving board and the woman wasn't there. It occurred to me that the woman was me the whole time. I easily and peacefully stepped off the board and landed in the water just as poised as a professional swimmer. The dream was so real I felt inspired to purchase a new swimsuit and go swimming. I love swimming. I love taking my son and niece swimming. And summer is fast on its way so we may just do that. And these ninety to one hundred degree days aren't pushing me away from the idea. Hmmmm.
And so I woke up with an interesting question on my mind. If Donald Sterling's girlfriend is not his girlfriend, but his "whore" because he is a married man, then what does that make him? He's the one married. His status as "man" never changes?

Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for all the happiness I feel inside
I am thankful for waking up refreshed and renewed
For my son, his friends and family and teachers
I am thankful for my friends and family
For art and poetry
For words and rivers
I am thankful for clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe
I am thankful for ease and plain
I am thankful for my doctor's appointment today
For medication and meditation
I am thankful for a dream last night of swimming
I am thankful for the desire to swim
To jump off of diving board and leap
For the desire to submerge myself into daring of God's will for my life
I am thankful for the connectedness between myself and all beings
For the sheding of layers of anger
I am thankful today for being thankful

Monday, May 19, 2014

Life and Death of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath Interview.

Sylvia Plath Reads 'Daddy'

Sylvia Plath Reads 'Daddy'

Malcolm X's Daughter Exposes Farrakhan (The Extended Clip)

Malcolm X Make It Plain (Full PBS Documentary)

MALCOLM X: Wake up, Clean up and Stand up!

MALCOLM X: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

MALCOLM X: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

MALCOLM X: OUR HISTORY WAS DESTROYED BY SLAVERY

Wow, I just took one of those online personality what kind of job should you have tests and as it turns out I should be a writer. Hmmm, tell me something I don't know.
Happy birthday, Malcolm X!

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 19 - To self care

Because palm tree arms wrapped round myself is breath
Because I cannot live without saying my name
Out loud
To myself
To sleep
Over and over
To know who I am
Again and again
Because there are times to paint my own nails
Blue and purple
And red days too
Time to cuddle in my words and hymns and softly
Cradle my brain to mush
To dream
To feather
Because love notes to myself are scripture to obey
Sticky notes around my room
Pictures of flowers on my phone
To remind me to care
To fly
To be this me I am

And then this happened

So after Red Stories last night a group of us went to eat and Edwin put his hand over the food for grace and said "Hash tag, blessed." I so can't stand my friends sometimes!

Gratitude

Today I am thankful for waking up this morning
I am thankful for love and acceptance
For kindness and peace that surrounds me
For the good in the world
I am thankful for happy energy
I am thankful for my son and all of his positive teachers
I am thankful for my friends and family
For art and words and poetry
I am thankful for Red Stories last night
For a good rest last night
I am thankful for the ability to choose my thoughts and actions
I am thankful for food and shelter
For clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe
I am thankful for the love in my heart today
This Thursday, May 22 I will be featured at Thursday Night Vibes at Nishati Vibrations at 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood at 8:30, $5. Please come out and enjoy. There will be an open mic immediately following!
12:05am. Red Stories went well last night. I'm happy about it. The Say Word Youth Slam Team were there except for one member who is finishing up with school out in Chicago. Kat was great as well as Donny, Kai and Edwin. But then they always are. Donny opened the night with his piece Sad Girls which I thought was perfect and ushered in the topic of depression and how it's handled. I always love that piece by him because it handles the topic from the perspective of a man, a doctor and a poet.

Anyway, a group of us went out after and now, thankfully, I'm home.

All that and super yay for Vanessa bringing her little sister to her first (hopefully of many) Red Stories!

I have to work in the morning and am all the way sleepy now. Night y'all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 18 - To Red Stories

You know how we bleed
You know how we tell
You catch all this ooze we don't want to say
You stage
You cage
You protect
You safe
You house
You home
You remember
You forget
You tell
Flesh our remembering again
Save our lives again
Blue us back again
Listen us whole again

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this morning
Even with the headache I woke up with
I am thankful for my body talking to me
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for the positive influences in his life
I am thankful for an easy rest last night
For love that surrounds me
For happiness in my life
I am thankful for Red Stories tonight
I am thankful for peace and ease

Saturday, May 17, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 17 - To the sisters in the circle

Way we write
We share
We cry all these tears
How we laugh together
These stories we mend
Over hummus and bread
Over grapes and coffee and tea with milk
Look at all this blood spilled on the page
All these ovaries on the floor
My mama
Yo mama
She remember
I remember
We bare feet
We incense and closed doors
We safe space and head scarves off
We titties hanging and panties showing
What shame we got among ourselves
What stories we got that can't be told
This is for us
Way we inhale then let it out slow
All the living we been through
To get this far
This is for sore backs and and twisted necks
Sucked teeth and smacked lips
To us and all the lives we lived
To come of age right now
12:32. I feel wonderful right now. I feel ready for the day right now. I am showered and dressed and soon I will have on make up, the small amount I wear and if the mood hits me I will have on earrings and a bracelet or seven. I have prayed. I have sent blessings up for my son and everyone who surrounds him. I have spoken with my very good friend and aunt Pat. I have breathed deeply in and have let out my breath slowly. I exercised a lot yesterday. I allowed myself a Criminal Minds marathon last night. Most might not understand. Work is calling. Class is calling. Peace is calling.

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this morning
For a good rest last night
I am thankful for love and peace that surrounds me
For my son and the love all around him
I am thankful for the work to do today
For my family and friends
I am thankful for life and ease
For food and shelter and water
For a bed on which to lie my head
For creativity and art and words

Friday, May 16, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 16 - To knowing who I am

To accepting the choices of my past
To knowing nightmares will not last
To waking up
To dreams bigger I than know
Creating myself again
To being built from pieces I can't see
The atoms I can't feel
The petals I can't smell
To these hands that hold and mend
To being whole again

Gratitude

This morning I am so thankful for being alive and well
I am thankful for love and peace that surrounds me
I am thankful for knowing that there is good in the world
I am thankful for my son and the positive energy around him
For my friends and family
I am thankful for recognizing the oneness and connectedness of all humankind
I am thankful for knowing that energy I send to others I am only and always sending to myself
I am thankful for knowing that people who try to hurt me are people hurting themselves
I am thankful for the love I have in my heart in the moment
I am thankful for art and words
For poetry and stories
I am thankful for the ability to take a deep breath
For food and water and shelter
I am thankful for being careful about what I take in mentally and physically
I am thankful for rest
I am thankful for being today

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 15 - To all the ways I love

To all the dessert ways I reach with my sticky berry fingers to know you better
All the grape and juicy ways to grab you in my hold
I and the army of this whole field
Do you smell us in the air
Can you smell how much I love
Can you feel the ways I give
Taste these pokey nails bloody down your spine
I will never let go
The sweetest song you are to sing
The way you hold me back
Dance with me
What do we care
Way the world does stare
All this pain and courage between us
All the ways I love you
All the ways I cry
The ugliest cries for you
My eyes all tight
My chin and nose so stiff
Look at my palms
How these lines say nothing and everything so loud
Tell all the places that we've been
I'm sorry
I really am
There are no roads
Without bumps in the middle
It's okay
It's okay
Long as you know how much
Long as you know the ways
I love you the way I do
and then there are things i cant work out on my own / those things i can only pray about and leave them on the alter there / for God to solve and know / and i can only back away slow / from the worry of it all / and how it will turn / and these are things i have to accept are none of my concern
The thing is, there is no the thing. There are all these things and all these people who think their thing is the thing.
In other news, it was one hundred fifteen degrees today.

Gratitude

I am thankful today for waking up easily and happily
I am thankful for my health and strength
For love and compassion around me
I am thankful for my son and the village that rears and loves him
I am thankful for my friends and family
For peace and ease
I am thankful for Red Stories and The World Stage
For poetry and words
For art and creativity
I am thankful for stories and books
For my class and the new student who brought new and wonderful energy
I am thankful for love
I am thankful for a new day to start over

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tonight is a good mirror night / I took off all my clothes / which really was only a full length dress / and I stared at myself  / and said nice things / and I meant every word

Dear Vanessa

Of course I'm talking to you.
That moment when you need new head shots because you have new hair!

Oh, and I finished MAMA'S GIRL by Veronica Chambers today and loved it.
11:14pm. Back from The World Stage. The feature, Paul Manchester, was really good. I had never heard him before and was glad I went tonight. I started to stay home truthfully. He used to work on the show, Mad Men, which I've never seen but apparently it is popular, then left the show and is working on other projects I suppose but has also found joy in writing limericks, which is what he shared thirty minutes of tonight. He really was great. He reminded me a lot of Dr. Seuss. He even had some poems about house cleaning, which I super enjoyed because house cleaning is a particular joy of mine. Don't ask why. And by house cleaning I mean my own stuff. I don't get a thrill wandering around cleaning folks' houses. Though I do have experience. I'm rambling. But you already know me. You already know these are just the almost midnight words I need to release before I can sleep well. You know. Don't you? Oh, and it's like really really hot. It was one hundred two degrees today. It's like seventy degrees right now. And it's 11:21. Okay, I'm going to bed now. I have a class to teach in the morning. Oh yeah, I'm taking a bit of a break from Facebook. Every now and then I need to. You know, for my own self care and all. There is just so much junk I just don't feel like hearing and seeing right now. So many people's comments I don't want to stomach right now. I haven't even been posting the links to my poems like I usually do. Of course I'm still writing them every single day. They are here on this blog. Mostly I post pictures on Facebook and advertisements about Red Stories which is coming up this Sunday and other shows I'm either in or supporting. I'll be back though. I just need the break for now.

Rest well, y'all.

Red Stories new line up!

Say Word Youth Slam team - May 18

Sage Gallon - June 15

Pam Ward - July 20

Michelle Majors - August 17

Donny Jackson interviews Jaha Zainabu - September 21

Kiaytana Sapp - October 19

Food 4 Thot and Queen Socks - November 16
FOUR YEAR RED STORIES ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!

All shows at Vibrations located at 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA
7:30pm, $10

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 14 - To being a black girl

Being a black girl is the best thing in the world
Being a black girl has crazy complications
There is nothing like hands on hiping
There is nothing like back bone slipping
What you know about shaking it to the east
What you know about shaking it to the west
What you know about being the one
Nobody loves the best
Being a black girl is double dutch
Being a black girl is to be afraid
Of boogie men and booty snatchers
Cheers to being a black girl
Cheers to being a proud black girl
Unless you are a black girl
You don't know how hard it is to be a black girl
Do you know what it is to be something so Sunday and sinful at the same time
Do you
Black girls know
Do you know what it is like to be looked upon as a sin
Ask a black girl in the middle of her jump rope song
...a one
...a two
...a three
Ask a black girl's mirror what she talks about
Ask a black girl's journal why she moans
Have you ever been pretty but...
Have you ever been would be cute except...
Being a black girl is talking to yourself
Being a black girl being your best cheerleader
...a one
...a two
...a three
Clap hands
Stomp feet
Slap knee
Being a black girl is all this quick wit
Being a black girl is knowing how to cuss muthafuckas out when they get too close
Being a black girl is knowing when is too close
Shout out to my black girls who will cut themselves free with a stick of gum and a nappy ponytail
Being a black girl is using what you have to get what you want
Being a black girl is seeing freedom at the tunnel
I see it
Don't you see it too
Being a black girl is crying
Being a black girl is laughing and resting and resisting and fighting too
Being a black girl is being ready to do what there is to do

Happy Just Because Day to me

I found Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR for ninety-nine cents at a Goodwill yesterday. I'm looking forward to diving into her words later on this evening.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up easily
For life and my health and safety
I am thankful for my son and for the village that rears and loves him
I am thankful for my friends and family
For food and shelter
I am thankful for art and words
For Red Stories coming up this Sunday
I am thankful for the Say Word Youth Slam Team as my guests
I am thankful for peace and generosity
For time to create
For my growing plants and plenty of water
I am thankful for fruit and fresh air and water
I am thankful for being thankful

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 13 - To old school days when we jumped rope on a corner

To Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black black black
Tat Tat Tat
To rocking back and forth to get that good good jump in
To long telephone cords that worked best as jump ropes
To Vickie who always had good good jump ropes
Tat Tat Tat
Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
We could touch the sky sky sky
We could bend down low low low
We could touch the ground
We could get up real quick
We could tat tat tat
Until the street lights came on
We could go on forever
We could turn around on one foot
We could hop up so free
We could close eyes
We could lock arms
We could turn
We could jump
Tat tat tat
This is how I remember growing up
By touching the ground so fast
By jumping so sky
Turning around so free
To days on the street corner and
Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack

Red Stories line up!

Say Word Youth Slam team - May 18

Sage Gallon - June 15

To Be Announced - July 20

Michelle Majors - August 17

Donny Jackson interviews Jaha Zainabu - September 21

Kiaytana Sapp - October 19

Food 4 Thot and Queen Socks - November 16
FOUR YEAR RED STORIES ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
So recently after some ceremony, I don't really keep up, Solange Knowles, Beyonce and her husband Jay Z were in an elevator and it was caught on tape that Solange hit Jay Z a few times and even kicked him. Folks, especially women, were and are all over Twitter and Facebook cheering her on. It's said that she was protecting her sister. Okay, I get it. But violence is still not okay. The cheering is coming from the same folks who would be up in a roar if violence on any level was directed at a woman. I get it. Solo did what she felt like she had to do. I don't get us cheering about it. And no, I'm not a Jay Z fan and this isn't even about that. It's about us being about our word and commitment to non violence. My two cents.
Go at your own pace.

Gratitude

I am incredibly thankful for this day
For waking up easily this morning
I am thankful for my son
For the entire village that rears him and loves him
I am thankful for peace and grace
For forgiveness and the willingness to forgive
I am thankful for words and art and stories
I am thankful for the work ahead to do today
I am thankful for my family and friends

Monday, May 12, 2014

Totally looking forward to this good rest I'm about to get tonight. And I don't have to be up early in the morning. I was ill all last week and was also on the move every day. While I do have work to catch up on (story of my life) I don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn. It's about to be on! Good night all. Huge hugs.

Red Stories

It's Red Stories time again! This Sunday at Vibrations 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA at 7:30pm, $10. Come out and experience the Say Word Youth Slam team under the direction of Kat Magill and Rudy Francisco share their stories and poems before they head out to Philadelphia to compete in Brave New Voices! I look forward to seeing y'all there!

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 12 - To Dietra

On the eve of your birthday
On the day after Mother's Day
On this day of life
I shout you out
Sister
Friend
Poet
Artist
Keeper of secrets
Thank you
For all the ways you you
All the ways you purple
All the ways you butterfly
All the ways you beautiful
All the ways you family
You are so mother
You are so fly
You are so necessary
Do you know how necessary
Do you know how cherished
Do you know how friend you are
Thank you for all the ways you inspire
All the ways you Nspire
All the ways you give life
All the ways you words
All the ways you wrap
Ways you care
Do you know that we know
Do you know that we notice
Do you know that we hear
That we see you
We see you
Do you know that we feel those prayers of yours
Reach all the way to here
Do you know that this is to say
That we know
That we care too
That we wrap too
Our arms
All these fingers and elbows
'Round you
9:49pm. I feel really good right now. I went to my mother's house after work today. We rested in her bed and listened to an audio book, which is one of our favorite things to do together. We ate and then went for a short but very helpful walk. All of the time is important. All of the sharing is a blessing. I'm back home now. It's almost 10pm and I haven't posted my ode for the day yet. I haven't been sharing the links on Facebook lately because, well, I don't really know, I just haven't felt like it. Mostly I'm writing these to get the words out. I haven't spent a long time on them. I've mostly been posting the first drafts of the poems. That's okay though. I'm being really loving and generous with myself. Even right now, I don't know what I'm going to write about. But watch something come. Watch.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up from a great rest last night
I am thankful for a safe trip to and from Bakersfield
For love, peace and understanding
I am thankful for my son
For my mother and the walk we shared today
I am thankful for my friends and family
For the wonderful people in my life
I am thankful for loving myself today
For embracing myself, my whole self
I am thankful for mirrors today
For my reflection and my smile today
I am thankful for work today
For the students who participated in the work
I am thankful for ease today
For words and art and memory today
I am thankful for being alive today

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 11 - To family and being together

Because days like these
With all of us
Together
In hold
Love
Holding
Laughing
Are more diamond
And gem
Than diamond

Saturday, May 10, 2014

staying healthy is a lot of things
its getting rest
plenty of it
its drinking water
its walking
even when / especially when i dont want to

its taking time for myself
its enjoying myself
its laughing

its taking my medication
for now
maybe there will be another method in the future
but for now
its taking my medication
regularly
its keeping my appointments with my doctor
its following instructions
its losing weight

its knowing how wonderful i am
its a lot of prayer
its a lot of faith
its a lot of art
a whole lot of art
its honesty
its a lot of honesty
its a lot of ugly honesty
its a lot of ugly
its a lot of pretty
its a lot of creating space in my head
its knowing when my head is crowded

its constantly creating freedom

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 10 - To being dedicated to getting through it

To allowing my fingers to move as much as they need to move
To showering myself with affirmations
To forcing myself to look into mirrors
Or to look away
To hearing whispers and ignoring them
To sleep
To picking up stuff off of the floor
One by one
To one by oneing it all the way through
To knowing that I never know how it will work out
To knowing that even the next breath is a blessing and gift
And a mystery
To knowing that those time I think I know how it will work out
Are the times I am in an illusion
To knowing that to live is to not know
And to keep moving anyway
To anyway
To anyway every day
To feel
To allowing myself to feel
To feeling when happy does not describe the tone of the moment
To knowing that happy will come
To knowing that joy is
All ways
Always
Even though
To honoring myself enough to feel and fall and get stuck and get up
To being brave enough to write
Even in the face of what you might say
What you might think
What you think already
To knowing that someone feels this too
To honoring you too


Gratitude

Today I am thankful for waking up
I am thankful for being able to sleep last night
I am thankful for going through it last night
And not staying stuck in it
I am thankful for peace and grace
For space in my head
I am thankful for life as I ready myself
To pick up my son
I am thankful for a vehicle
For gas and love
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
For patience and fun
I am thankful for my health and safety

Friday, May 9, 2014

and now good people
after some good room cleaning
and prayer
and loving myself
and patience with myself
and allowing stuff to stuff
and life to life
i am going to bed
finally fine
and then just like that
a slow that
a process that
a step by step that
a one thing at a time that
my room is spotless again
and there is space in my head
and there is room for more gratitude
and there is breathing again
and there is less worry
and mirrors are easier
and the knowing that rest will soon come
is ready
when getting stuck is not an option
when there is too much to do
where there are too many to love
when my fingers still have to move
when typing is the only solve
when i am always praying
when i am all ways praying
when taking it slow is possible
the only possible
i turn on the computer
to some show ive seen a zillion times
i pick up one something off the floor during each commercial
i think thats a big deal
sometimes mirrors are a problem
there is too often something to fix
fix
fix
broken
broken
then remembering i am not a broken
not a broken
i am a beautiful
a beautiful
a cliche
a cliche
an overused word
and that is okay
because when your fingers need to move
overused words are okay
words from your fingers are better than
words in your head
words in your head are like swallowing knives
knives
doesnt matter the words
even prayers are best out loud
as out loud as possible
possible
and you know you are a poet
and you know the rambling posts are not poems
but they help
help
the help
the rambling words help you make the bed
they help you count commercials
they help you one by one
and you will be forgiven for badly written musings
people already know
people know
and so what if they dont
and you remind yourself that this is just a phase
that this happens
that this will go away
away
away
you will stay
you will stay
you will not go away
not yet
you will not go away yet
you will not go away yet
yet
yet
but this will go away
sleep will come
sleep will come
meds will kick in
kick in
and this is just a name
it is just a name
you are not it
you are not it
you keep reminding yourself
yourself
and episodes like this dont happen all the time
but they come
and you are not a bipolar
and a bipolar is not a you
you are not each other
the two of you just are
and you work it out together
and you do what you have to do
and if moving your fingers and typing crazy posts
is what you have to do
then oh well
this is your blog
yours
this is your healing
yours
this is your method
yours
and if this doesnt work
then you will do something else
but isnt the thing doing something
some thing
isnt that the matter
isnt that the point
a poem is not the point
you are the point
seeing tomorrow is the point
and you are two commercials behind
and you will fold two towels
and do something else
something else
theres a lot of hiding
theres a lot of pretending to be okay
theres a lot of debating about whether or not the fucking meds have ever done any good
theres a lot of needing to do something with your fingers
theres a lot of crying
there just is
theres a lot of not being able to explain anything to anyone around you
and so
theres a lot of hiding
theres a lot of wanting to reach out
but then
what would you say that you havent said before
theres a lot of knowing that this is not the right time
to break down
to rest
to sleep
to sleep sleep
theres a lot of wanting to explode
theres very little sleep
very little
and so
theres a lot of time
time
time time
time to remember all the time
theres a lot of time to count
theres a lot of counting
theres a lot of rushing past mirrors
there are a lot of covers on the floor
there are a lot of clothes on the floor
there are books on the floor
theres very little cleaning up
theres a lot of wanting to be able to sleep
there are so many hours
there are so many weird awake dreams
about flying
about rats
about mice
about fires
about hands
there is a lot of being afraid to go to sleep
because there are so many monsters
there are all these fingers
moving fingers
theres a lot of wanting to stop writing
poetry
stories
words
musings
blogs
stuff
stuff stuff
journal entries
letters
email
theres a lot of wanting all the stuff off the floor
theres a lot of wanting help
theres little actual asking for it
there is absolutely no desire to go into the hospital
again
there is a need to
there is all this this
there is all this that
there is all this down down down down
there is all this smile when someone says how are you
there is all this i am okay
there is all this nowhere to look
there is all this need to change the furniture
there is no energy to do it
there is all this want to tie yourself up
there is all this staring at stuff
at pills
at plants
at photos
at pills
pills
there is all this talking to yourself
there is all this knowing that this is the wrong time
there is all this gratitude that this is the wrong time
there is all this nothing to say
there is all this wanting to say
there is all this wanting it to go away
there is all this knowing it wont
there is all this waiting
I am exhausted. Physically and mentally. I am.

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 9 - To the audience

Because if I speak
And you are not there
Listening
What good are the words that fall

3:39p. This morning I witnessed a friend of mine, Paul Mabon, give his mother such a beautiful Mother's Day experience it brought me to tears. I could describe it. I won't. It was special is all. Special is all. And tears.

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this morning
For love and peace around me
I am thankful for a wonderful time last night performing
For the ability to perform through aches
I am thankful for life and family and friends
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for the entire village that rears and loves him

Thursday, May 8, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 8 - To red

When I was a little girl
I had a red coat I wore everywhere
Everywhere every where
It didn't go with anything
I was safe in that coat
I was invisible
I could fly
I was Robin
I could Fly Robin Fly

In the house I grew up in we had a red porch
I was safe on my red
In my red

I would play pretend grown up in red lipstick
With a red scarf
In my red coat
On my red steps

Since then it is always my go to
The red bag
Red rug
Red stories
Red paint
Journals
Pillowcase
Comforter
Broom
Whatever

Last night I had a dream I could fly
Fly
Fly
And I had this big red cape
That covered the sky
And I was invisible
Again
And I could fly
Fly
Fly

I'm so magic
I'm so fly
Every time red
All the time
How red made me smile
I am thankful I slept through the earthquake last night.

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this morning
I am thankful for my son
For my friends and family
I am thankful for feeling better today than I felt yesterday
I am thankful for love that surrounds me
For the love inside of me
I am thankful for forgiveness and the willingness to forgive
I am thankful for peace and space in my head
For a class to teach today and for a show tonight
I am thankful for safety
For freedom
For my health and safety

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm teaching a class in the morning and have a poetry feature tomorrow night and right now I'm not ready for either one. But watch me BE ready! Watch.

My new writing workshop coming this month

The writing workshop I'm leading starts on May 26. It will be at Vibrations from 7p-9p. The first class is free. The class is $25 per month. Classes will be every Monday. Vibrations is located at 2435 Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA.

The class is focused on unlocking yourself. Allowing yourself to freely write. There will be guided workshops and time to read created work. Please bring whatever device you take notes on and write with. Please bring an open mind. Please bring willing spirits.
I'm all kinds of loving myself today. Are you?

Gratitude

Today I am thankful for life
I am thankful for waking up
I am thankful for being ill all day and having a bed to rest in
I am thankful for every time I threw up and having a toilet to throw up in
I am thankful for my health even while I feel ill
I am thankful for friends who bring medicine
I am thankful for love and life and freedom
I am thankful for my son
I am thankful for my friends and family
I am thankful for the entire village who rears my son
I am thankful for words and art and peace and patience
I am thankful for love
I am so thankful for love

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 7 - To black men

Knees like you
Flexible and ashy
Ready to move
We bend together
We same song
You hear me sing for you
Sing for you
To you
About you
Hold these notes for you
Breathy and rocks and raspy
And always for you
Sigh
Sigh
Selah
Selah

You hear my voice for you
You see my fists for you
You feel this fight I have for you

We womb together
We reign
We so thunder together

We feet in grass
In sand
In water
We so swim together
We boat and land together

You win for me
I win for you
These tears
These poems
You ever read all these poems for you

We so crazy together
We difficult together
We kill and create together
We so show together
We swirl and sane together
All this dance we swing together

You think I'm going somewhere
Where I got to go
You think I ever leave you
You hold my waist
I look in your eyes
We rib together

We so coffee

We so free
We so America
We so Africa
We so global together
We so Cuba
We so Asia
We so everywhere

We so sticks and stones
We so struggle
We so easy

We so flesh and bones
We so Spirit
We so fly

You so fly
You so blueblack
You so marble
You so move
You so silk
You so tell me your story
You so listen to mine
You so mine

You so I can't live without you
You so my brother
You so my son
You so my lover
You so my father

You so voice in my ear
You so touch in my thigh
You so squeeze on my breast
You so rub me to sleep

Selah
Selah
Sigh
Sigh

You my regular
You my every single day
You so night
You so knight
You so ride in and rescue
You so change
You so same

You so hero

You so Psalms
You so words
You so river
You so deep
Ain't you deep
Ain't we deep together

Sigh
Sigh
Selah
Selah

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I look in the mirror and say really kind things and then I say "if I do say so myself" and that makes me smile.
I'm not walking seven miles tomorrow but I'm gonna do the Cupid Shuffle at least eight times. Then I'm gonna Running Man to Fight The Power!
6:46pm. I wanted to go to Da Poetry Lounge tonight but it's not gonna happen. I am behind on some writing that I need to catch up on so I'm at least going to put a comfortable enough dent into that. Then I'm gonna read the last few chapters on a feel good book. Then work on the feature I have coming up in Pomona. Then do some work on the workshop I have coming up. Then clear my mind and love myself in the whole process. Well, that's the plan at least.

What is the deal with people requesting Facebook likes? Can we cash likes in at the end of the month somewhere and no one told me?

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 6 - To the artists in my life

Ways we weave words from restless sky
Turn them into fruit and green
Stand on tippy toes
Raise arms reach fingertips to sun
See how we dance
See how we write

I see you
I see you

Scribble rough draft musings early in chocolate dark hours
Till characters make sense
Or dollars
Stanzas come crawling from the gutters of our brains
Leaky pens blue up palms
We write
Like right and wrong don't matter

You are appreciated
You know

You painters
You cloud chasers
You photographers
You drummers

I hear you
You think I don't hear you

You candle makers

Look at this hair
Look at this make up
Look at this dress

Look how we werk

Who's tired
What tired
Give up when
What

I feel you
I know you
I look like you
I am like you
I am you
I you
You
Us

Way we keep revolution
Revolving

This month I'm writing ode poems. There are many forms of odes and I admit I am writing the one easiest for me and probably will for the rest of the month. Giving myself a little break.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up easily
For love and peace
For my wonderful son
I am thankful for the entire village that rears him
For my family and friends
I am thankful for great conversations and time spent with friends
I am thankful for work
For words and art
I am thankful for gray skies and prayer

Monday, May 5, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 5 - To quirky brown women like me

To women who have swallowed their voices long enough
Who have cleared their throats of contradictions
To women who are awkward and quirky
Women like me on the unfunny end of the joke
Women like me who grow like orchid
Crooked and ready
Women who bend
Women who do not fit
Who do not fit in or out
Women who are brown and magical
Denim women who clean up well in the wash
Who are focused and afraid
To women who hear voices
To women who choose when to obey
To women who see lights
And feel colors
To women who sound like ourselves
To red clay women who are textured and raw
To women who fight and lose
Who get up and fight again
To women who win
To powerful women like me who are eyes and travel
Who are wish and bones
Who are hotel and backwoods and off road
Roar women like me who are whisper and breathy
To water women like me with intuition and burn
Forehead and fingers women like me
Feet and elbows
Legs and teeth women
Body women
Licorice and lovely
Wood and sand
Flame women
Chocolate of all these hues
I just read a very disturbing report about one of the young women who escaped from kidnappers in Nigeria. She said the girls are being raped up to fifteen times a day. Nothing we didn't suspect. But still hard to hear. This is so sad to me and has my emotions spinning everywhere. It is even sadder to me that the effort to find these girls is not given the attention it should be given. Not even close to the attention it would have if these girls were rich or white.

Gratitude

This morning I am thankful for a good rest last night
I am thankful for waking up
For my son, my friends and family
I am thankful for my health and safety
For the village that rears my son
I am thankful for life

Sunday, May 4, 2014

In a perfect world I would have brand new cotton pajamas and jasmine tea in a strawberry shaped cup and Tracy Chapman and Maxwell would drop by and sing songs to me until I fall asleep.
It's 11:41pm and I'm just getting back from taking Uraeus back to Bakersfield. As long as the drive is I count it a blessing. It's the time I get to spend with him. It's when he makes me laugh the most. And my son cracks me up! I am always tired when I get back but truthfully I am glad and praise God tremendously that my son is safe and free and healthy. This drive is...nothing. Praises up!

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 4 - To my son

Your face mostly
And those eyes
And all that hair that falls in your face
Your small mouth like mine
Your cheeks and teeth
Legs and voice
This flesh of my flesh
This blood of my blood

Do you know what it is
To have your mind walking around
Outside of your own body
To have all the blood you have
Flowing through someone else
All the worry
All the happiness
All the sanity you can muster
Be for someone else
All of mine is for you

All these years
These sixteen years
Almost seventeen

Do you know how fast seventeen years go by
It flies
It disappears
It leaves its whisper mark
Do you know how precious time is
Do you

I do
I know
Time is your long body
Time is your reach above mine
Time is me picking you up from your SAT
Time is you preparing for college
For life

I hope you know what it is to love like this
I hope one day you feel your own thumping chest
Beating in someone else


I had an uncomfortable memory this morning about a conversation I had when someone told me I was living my fantasy life. As if he really knew my life. As if my life is so easy. I remember being so stunned that I couldn't even respond. I also remember knowing that he couldn't live a day in my shoes. That's the thing, none of us could live each other's lives and we should stop pretending like we could. We get all "knowy" about the business of other folks and don't spend enough time taking care of ours. I let the memory play and then I just let it go. I let. It. Go.

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up healthy and sane
I am thankful for my son and friends and family
For peace and ease
I am thankful for the blessings in my life
For words and art and poetry
For travelling grace and good mercy
For loving and forgiving thoughts
I am thankful for prayer and meditation
For deep breaths and space in my head

Saturday, May 3, 2014

On Thursday in class we were having a conversation about people, specifically celebrities, being accountable for their actions. Someone mentioned the rape case against Kobe Bryant many years ago. One of the young men said "Man, you think Kobe would rape someone?! As many women Kobe can get, he don't gotta rape nobody. She wanted it."

What was interesting in the conversation was that they didn't bring up the fact that if he didn't have her in the room in the first place it wouldn't have happened. The only way he was "set up" for that is if someone else placed his penis inside of her. No one else did. He did. No matter how many other lovers she had actually didn't matter to the case.

Included in this conversation is the truth of what no means. Even if a woman is agreeable to one type of sex, she does get to disagree with another type, as in anal. And guess what, her "no" has to be respected. Yep, these are the hard conversations we have to have with our youth. But they are not hard when we are not skiddish. The young people are ready with their words. Ready. They need willing adults to have these conversations with. These talks that may keep them out of jail, even save their lives.
Dear everyone. Over two hundred girls are still missing. Except they are not missing. They are somewhere. They deserve our prayers and attention. They deserve the prayers we would pray if these were our own daughters missing. Because they are. These are my daughters and your daughters too. Black women don't make a distinction when it comes to throwing bricks and swinging broomsticks because we know that all of the babies are ours. All of them. Well, these are your children too. Don't preach to us. We cannot hear you. Don't tell us the proper way to mourn. We know how to mourn. Do not talk to us about moving on. Do not ask us what Jesus would do. Jesus would fight. Do not send us pictures of little lambs and cucumber grass. We are angry. We are so angry. You know the kind of anger that comes over a woman when she is just so mad she can only get really quiet? Well, that's where we are. It is all bubbling up again inside of us. We have been through this before. We remember, you know, not just mothers, but fathers too. We know the noise you can make. Because we heard you shout before...when your daughters were missing...when you wanted your sons home. We know the signs that you can paint. We know the money you can spend. You think we don't know? We know when we are being ignored. We know when you want us to just cool down. We know. We know the voices that we hear, and the voices that we don't.

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 3 - To my mother

There are all of these ways I cannot say thank you
Knowing how small my words will sound next to your pumping veins
Giving me life
Always giving me life
I am thankful for you
For the way you mothered
Way you cared
Quiet and sure
Easy and forever
Rooted and watered
We are the same fruit
We are cloud together
Present and transparent
We are friend together
We are this has never been easy together
We are nothing worth it ever is
We are worth it together

Did I tell you I am beginning to understand
The hushed arm fold
The polite look away
The just keep living stare

I could not create a better mother
I would not if I could
You gave me everything in your tool box to give
All of your wisdom
All of your laughter and play
Your work and memory
All of your stories and what you have forgotten
Is all right there at the point of your chin

All of your permission
To write and fly and land on the sun
You wanted me to fly
Though it was hard to let go
You wanted me in air
In space

I have my wings now
My own wings
Mine
To fly
Because you believed

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up easily and comfortably
I am thankful for my son and friends and family
For space and dreams and healing
I am thankful for pleasant memories
For laughter and good fun
I am thankful for my health and strength
For lessons learned and love given
I am thankful for words and art and peace

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 2 - To the 234 girls stolen from Nigeria

You are my sisters
You are not forgotten
You are not property
You are golden

You have faces and smiles
You have lungs and teeth and voices
Scream with your voices
We will not stop looking for you, sisters
We will not
You are not slaves
You are not to be purchased
You are not to be owned
You are precious

We are crying and wailing for you
We are aching and peeling flesh for you
We are mourning and gathering strength
To look for you
To stay on your trail
We will find you

Someone knows where you are
Someone saw you go away
Someone will be punished for your missing bodies
In bed and safe where they belong

O daughters
O daughters
O daughters

Who sold you
History is repeating itself
At your expense
O daughters
O daughters
O daughters

You will never be forgotten
We will not stop looking for you

Thursday, May 1, 2014

An ode a day for May 2014 - day 1 - An ode to Creator

For all blessings and way You shower me with love and forgiveness
How You protect me when I am not aware
How thankful I am for Your fingers waking my eyes
Pushing air through my lungs
I am grateful

With these raised hands
With this lifted voice I sing
Dance and worship and praise
Because You are
Because You live and breathe in me
Because I see You all around

Because I see You in the breeze
In trees
In mountain and water
In winter and spring
I am grateful

Grateful for my son and friends and family
For peace and understanding and trust
Grateful for time and space and laughter
I am grateful for You
For all that You are
For all the power You have
All the wisdom You give
All the memories You grant
Thank You

For words and art and flowers
For sea and sky and birds
For poetry and the way You weave the world