Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sugar's baby (in loving memory of Baby Mary) - From Women in the Village go 'round and 'round - draft 2

I been waitin' forever and a day to tell my story. Guess you say this better be a good one huh? Well it ain't nothin', that's what it is. It's a story about my nothin'.

My Mercy sure was one pretty one, wasn't she? This is a picture I drew of her. It ain't all the way right on because I'm not a professional artist or nothin' like that, but you can still tell how pretty she was. She was only three days when she went on and left. I had her right here in this house. Right here. My sister helped me deliver her. We were in my own room on my very own bed. Buford was fightin' over seas and couldn't be here. But he was here. In his own quiet way. All my brothers and sisters came and waited in the living room for the baby to come. All of them, and me of course, and Mama. Daddy wasn't here because it was Sunday and he had to preach night service. It wasn't nothin' that was ever gon keep him from night service. He didn't even miss it the Sunday after he passed. He said the Lord told him he was gon take him away and to get the service together. So he wrote it down on a piece of paper and had my oldest living brother, Theodore read it to the crowd while his body was layin' right there.

I laid down on the bed after my water broke and Happy came in and took over. I just did everything she said. She said push and I pushed. She said breathe and that's what I did too. I guess it took about ten hours. But after it was over I didn't even remember the time. What time? I just held her in my arms. Rockin' back and forth singin' to her. I knew she was gon be a girl because Happy been dreamin' 'bout me havin' a girl. Happy even knew what she was gon look like and what she come here to do. New babies always come to see Happy. They always do. Happy even told me what to name her. Mercy. I pretty much do whatever Happy tell me and it so happen I like that name too. Mercy.

After Mercy came through, everybody came into the room with us and took turns holdin' her and kissin' all over her. Everybody except Rufus. Rufus didn't touch babies. Every since his own boy, Booty passed on in his arms. He stayed away from babies. It wasn't his fault or nothin' like that. The angels got ready for Booty to come home that's all. He came in the room though. Sat over in the corner wantin' to smile. Rufus never did smile much either. He wanted to though and that's what count. So, there was Marvin, JuniorBoy, Theodore, Rufus, Happy, BabyGirl, Sister, Ruth, Amos, Paul, Simon, Ezra, Joseph and David. Esther, Nehemiah and Leviticus had passed on by then. I was the baby.

That was the happiest day of my whole life. Holdin' Mercy in my arms all night. I didn't even want to go to sleep. Happy told me to sleep when the baby was sleep so I could be well rested for her feedin'. I loved feedin' my baby. Seem like she knew better than I did. Mercy would wrap her little bitty lips around my nipple and go at it. All the way till she was full. Seem like she would drink all the milk from one breast and move herself over to the next.

Happy told me to go out Tuesday evening to get some fresh air. I didn't want no fresh air. I just wanted to stay inside and kiss over Mercy. I did what she told me to do though. I went in the back yard and sat on the tire swing Amos built. That was my dream place. I could stay out there all day and never know what time it was. I would swing on that swing and dream up some good ole dreams. That day I dreamed that Buford could be here with us and see Mercy. He wasn't gon be able to come until the end of the week. Seem like that was takin' forever. I stopped daydreamin' long enough to hear Mama and Daddy in my room singin'. They didn't never sing together. They were barely in the same room together. Daddy was always in the back room workin' on his sermon for the next Sunday. That's what babies do though. They bring folks together. I was tired of swingin' and dreamin'. I wanted to feed my baby.

I went in the house and Daddy walked out as I was comin' in. He didn't say nothin'. But then he barely did say somethin'. I picked up Mercy and there she was, just as beautiful as ever. It wasn't no baby born in this world as beautiful as mine. Mama heard me say that one time and she told me don't never say that again 'cause it was a disrespect to Baby Jesus. I guess so.

Happy told me to gon and lay down and take a nap. I told her I didn't feel like takin' no nap. I wanted to hold Mercy. Even if Mercy was sleepin' I just wanted to hold her and look at her while she slept. I could tell that Happy didn't want me to hold my own baby but she really couldn't say nothin'. She was my baby, not hers. She and Mama left the room not sayin' nothin' and I did what I wanted to do. I kinda started thinkin' that Happy was a little bit jealous of me for havin' my very own baby 'cause now she was the only one of us that didn't never have one yet.

I held Mercy for a real long time and she never did cry or fidget or nothin'. She just laid there. After a while Rufus walk in and took Mercy right out of my arms. Didn't say nothin'. Just took her and held her. I didn't say nothin' 'cause it ain't like Rufus to even hold a baby. I started to think about all the miracles Mercy was brinin' to the family already. Mama and Daddy singin' together. Bein' in the same room. Rufus pickin' up and holdin' a baby. He put his lips to her cheeks and started to cry. I did too. I guess he was rememberin' Booty.

It looked like Happy was right after all about me layin' down 'cause I shol did get real sleepy after that. I went on and took that nap. Guess I was even more tired than I thought because it was early the next morning when I woke up. I didn't see Mercy so I went to see who was huggin' and kissin' all over her. Seemed like I couldn't find nobody. Then I heard that ole piano playin' in the living room. I couldn't race in there fast enough! Didn't nobody play that piano and make it sound like that except for Buford! I stood there watchin' and listenin' to him. There he really was. So handsome. He looked at me and told me to come over and sit on the bench with him while he play.

"Where everybody at?" I don't know why I asked him like he should know.

"They out back gettin' ready. You gotta go get ready too."

"Get ready for what? I ain't goin' nowhere. Come on, baby. I got to show you yo very own baby girl. She the most beautiful baby ever been born in the world except for Baby Jesus. Where she at?" Then I went in Mama and Daddy's room and there she was. Sleepin' like an angel. Somebody had got her all dressed up for me. She had on all white with a little bonnet. I picked her up like I always do. She felt...heavy. The kinda heavy that just a few days cain't do to nobody. But what did I really know about babies? I kissed her and her skin felt like a doll skin. "She so soft, Buford. Ain't she just so pretty?"

Buford looked at her but he didn't want to hold her. Then Rufus came in and took her from me again. "Mercy gon on, Sugar. Get dressed and come on out back with us."

"Gon on? What you talkin' gon on? I knew. But I didn't wanna know. Then I heard Mama and Daddy and all my livin' brothers and sisters at the far end of the yard singin' and I knew I couldn't not know no more. Mercy had her white dress on so I put my white dress on too. Buford had on his uniform and we walked out together. My Mercy didn't have no shoes on so I didn't put none on either.

They were all there finishing up the song. Daddy was holdin' her over the hole about to pray. I didn't wanna pray. I didn't close my eyes or nothin' neither. I just looked at my Mercy one more time.

My niece Deja "Rim Rocker" Williams!

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - day 31 - Home


26 x 28 acrylic on canvas. This can be yours! Highest bidder at midnight gets it (after payment). If you live outside of southern California there is a $30 delivery charge. Start bids at any price.

Los Angeles, California

Peter J. Harris at The World Stage

Conney Williams at The World Stage

Hillard Street at The World Stage

Me, Peter, Ruth, Nailah at The World Stage

Nailah and me at The World Stage

Nailah and me at The World Stage

Nailah and me at The World Stage

Proverbs and me at The World Stage

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

24 x 36 acrylic on canvas. 8 hours left to bid on this painting. If you live outside of southern California please add $30 to the amount you post for delivery. Highest bidder by midnight gets the piece after money is posted to PayPal ( Do not post money until I tell you painting is yours.

This piece is up for auction today, Wednesday, July 30, 2014 until midnight! If you live outside of southern California please add $30 for delivery. Start at any price!

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - day 30 - Doing what I love

Days spent working
On stories and shows, art and essays
I am in my element, enjoying my life, even tasks
Not so enjoyable, I am loving this life
Growing every day

Who, what, when, where, why, how all the questions to answer and how
Holy this journey how
Awesome this path
That I choose

Interesting this way that I wallk


Jaha and Friends!

August 23, 2014 - Los Angeles, CA - Alyesha Wise, Donny Jackson, Jaha Zainabu

September 27, 2014 - San Diego, CA - Marion Cloete, John Byrd, Jaha Zainabu

October 25, 2014 - Oakland, CA - Food 4 Thot, Jaha Zainabu

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 29 - Laughter

Laughter is necessary
And my way of connecting
Unless we can genuinely crack up together we are not
Going far
Hear my stories I listen
To yours
Each one
Reach one

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 28 - Journals

Just being easy
On this peaceful afternoon
Unleashing my
Rants between these hard covers
Nobody knows these stories but me
And my angels I
Let go and
Set myself free

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 27 - Alice Walker

Always showing up powerfully in the world
Loving yourself
Creation creating
Easy spirit

We are watching you
Long peaceful days reading your work
Keeping me sane
Eager to move to the next story

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 26 - Beautiful

Answering my call

Sunday, July 27, 2014

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 25 - Voices

Victorious sounds of
Ours rising higher and higher from
Inside to beyond the sky we
Create world with our words we
Erase pain and move through
Sorrow with our moan
Today is the day! Venela Flagg (V Kali), Tchise AjePam Ward and I are looking forward to seeing you at 4:00 at The World Stage Art, Education & Performance Gallery.

All the bombs dropping
All the warnings to run
All the nowhere to go
All the scriptures used as weapons
As excuses
All the excuses
To not love
To not feel
To not understand
To not help
To not reach
To not hear
All the name calling
All the fingers pointing
All the bodies
All the no food
All the blood
All the history
All the lies
All the refusing to see other human beings as human beings too
All the allegiance
The tears
The no more tears to cry
All the genocide
All the women
All the children
All the men
All the
All the
All the
Adds up to
Zero bodies left
If we keep

22 x 28 acrylic on canvas

16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

22 x 28 arylic on canvas

Jaha and Friends - Los Angeles, CA - August 23


I am thankful for this day
For witnessing this moment
I am thankful for being with my mother and son
For hearing their stories
I am thankful for my family and friends
For Internet conversations with Therman
I am thankful for peace within
I am thankful for a show today
I am thankful for life

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jaha and Friends!

I'm super excited! I'm producing a new live show called Jaha and Friends! The show will feature me (sometimes) along with two of my ridiculously talented friends in the world of poetry / music. It will be the 4th Saturday of each month in a different location each time. Show guests and location will be announced the 1st of the month. I am looking forward to seeing you there, and there, and there...

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 23 - Money is energy

Minds wreck themselves chasing coins and paper
Over stress of who will win with the most toys
Never stopping to realize toys will not last / money is not running / money is 
Energy and money is worth what we say it is worth
You dig

I ready my body and brain for the day and 
Say prayers and affirmations to make me remember who I am 

Easy and mountain and fierce and rain
New and yesterday
Exact and abstract / see how 
Great I am / how big I become without worry over paper and silver and gold
Recall how precious I am to Spirit
You know how provided for I am

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 22 - Passion

Poetry, rhythm, art, way words placed on pages and float
Across my dreams I
See conversations and images conjure
Scenes lifetimes ago
I know mysteries
Of the world I am lost in the power of writing and creating
New space

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm so WomanPreach!, Inc. I am clear that if God can be my father, lawyer, doctor, then God can be my mother too! Yep.
I'm so Earth blood shed anywhere is blood spilled on my front porch.


16 x 20 nothing on canvas. Yet.

I'm so spoken word I remember sending out tapes because YouTube wasn't born.
I'm so World Stage my son was in Billy Higgins drum class on Monday nights.
I'm so spoken word I remember when George McDonald hosted a poetry night in L.A. and all the performers were given stripper names. I don't remember mine but Rain Wilson was "Drip Drop!"
I'm so spoken word I remember when Jennifer P Bowens used to kill the room (any room) with "I am the reason for the muthafuckin season!"

An acrostic poem a day for July 2014 - for day 21 - I didn't survive slavery for this

I am here / see my body / see me alive / I

Did not survive to surrender my voice
I did not survive forgetting my fight / I
Did not forget who I am / I did
Not forget who you are / I know why I am here
To remind you of who you are / I

Survived slavery to remind you that we were not always slaves / I survived to remind you to
Use your minds and stretch back to yesterdays beyond what America
Remembers / remember royalty / remember trees / remember land / remember roaming freely
Violently captured from our home
I did not survive slavery to forget
Violet skies and baobob trees / I did not survive to forget my tribe
Easy morning lessons with my mother / night kisses with Baba

Slavery interrupted my
Life for generations
Angels and guides remind me in my sleep
View world from my perspective
Every truth to be searched for
Reading, writing, teaching ourselves / we have no faith in their system / their laws
Youth, babies, elders learning, remembering together


Today we build for tomorrow
His, hers, we build for all of us
I know we can do this
See us, hear us, we free us

In progress