All posts by nikki skies

Playwright/Poet/Actor/Author/Educator

Becoming Water for New Seeds

2014-10-28 14.02.07

You are
the idea the African saw through the cracked wood of
the Henrietta Marie
You are
the seed of the new woman
the ecstasy in the fire
the gospel after poetry venues
praised on sidewalks and parking lots
you are now a prophet amongst preachers
burdened with the beauty of the entire rose
pick the thorns or keep them
just stay in tact / you came prickly and prissy
with a rampant river under your feet
your commitment will be constantly tested
through people using revolution to work our personal
problems
they’ll say you don’t fit the role / don’t look natural / ain’t ready to fight
you’re not committed to the destruction of the system
and they’re right
because you are a Creator / never forget that
You are a Creator
and you destroy the idea of death in order to live.

 

from the book, “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”

a Prose for Fannie Lou Hamer’s

fannielouhamer2

 

She stood by the bedside of Jordan.  A lotus.  Feet grown from delta mud.  She was creation.  Exploded from chaos.  A holistic believer.

Ruleville, Mississippi.  Crooked state.  Chosen land.  Eternal cost.  Chosen woman.  Creased face.  Her memory wavers like an untuned church organ.

If you see her.  Tell her you remember.  Her protected skin that matched night.  Unafraid.  Sleep patterned to that of bats.  Called upon.  Like Nut and Shu.  To uphold the heavens.  Keep young mouths breathing.  When tempted to swallow swollen faith.  She followed the dust and escaped through the vents.

Continue reading a Prose for Fannie Lou Hamer’s

a Brown Girls Privilege

here is some of my privilege.
I believe they were thinking of me
wearing myrrh and adorned in silver
and that is not selfish
we share the same sun
– the kiss on our skin
we share a love of puzzles
– arrangements of letters
we turn into poems – plays – books – speeches
and laughs.
literary legends

nothing to manage

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Saturday afternoon truth
told by thick brown hands,
stories of survival and struggle until both
sound like all the names of the black mamas in the neighborhood

Hymns and laughter
imparted in between sections of greased scalps
that smell like coconut or yesterday’s frying oil

Here, little girls get to disappear
feel their mother’s heart beat
as her fingertips massage away her little girl worries
of
not turning the jump rope fast enough
getting picked last during recess for dodge ball

on the floor between her mother’s legs
the little girl’s father appears in a new light
fresh and foul
like discounted gizzards
she learns why to save
why the pulled out back seat of her grandfather’s Cadillac is a
treasure in the garage

safe Saturday rituals become
sanctified Sunday religion
and all this from sitting in between her mother’s legs
getting her hair
did.

The Thing about proof

I will not be the first to say it or prove it because of the legacy I claim. The legacy of black women’s intellect. The legacy to exist as a whole person as I breath this wind no matter how sharp or cold the inhales. A legacy of black women who have been pioneering theory and knowledge creation inside a world of balance and beauty.

In this PhD journey I am becoming more comfortable with the process of framing any claims I am wanting to make with theories. Luckily for me, I knew the sound and feel and of my art being embodied with a language that respected the ground my ancestors toiled and turned. Also lucky for me I studied Africana Women’s Studies at a HBCU and was introduced to a platform of scholarship that affirm the holistic agency of black women. So now that I am back in theatre, I am waltzing with a world that has no problem thickening the boundary of marginalizing me as an artist and budding scholar.

Theatre, you do not exist without drums. Or the quilted curtains that open and close a world designed from black women’s comfort and smiles.

I am in a program with no black people appointed on the faculty. No Professors to offer seminars on their research interests that would most likely be host to discourse on the borders of gender, race or class from a centered perspective. With no one to rally for the social and political interests of black students, the curriculum adheres to hegemony and the unwavering white imagination on blackness. So I have joined the “how do I sift through the compost of oppressive constructs and still have energy to find the same paradigm speaking my language?”

Theatre, you are not monolith. Don’t believe history or the curriculum. Turn off the spotlight until they all are voiced.

Re-Membering Katrina, “When Chris Met Katrina”- a short story

The boat whistled its’ way through the waters and soon the screams of the women faded. The air was now filled with the constant yells of families sitting on roofs screaming for help.  They approached Memorial Medical Center and Chris decided to seek refuge there.  As he got closer, he could see through the lobby window hundreds of people camped inside.  Every seat was occupied and people were sprawled out on the floor with blankets.  Police were patrolling the doors.  Chris knocked but the policemen just stood and shook their heads in the negative.  Chris trudged through the water to the other side of the hospital and policemen were standing heavy guard at those doors too.  He knew besides the sore bones and loose teeth, he had no serious injury and they were not going to let him in.

Chris double tied his bag of food and treaded through the water on his tippy toes.  He began to reminisce on the summers growing up in New Orleans.  His father worked as a mechanic in a neighborhood shop and in the summer Chris would help out by washing the cars once he was done.  Afterwards, instead of joining his cousins down at the local swimming pool, he hung out with the neighborhood knuckle heads and smoked weed.  Or they convinced one of the older drunks to buy them liquor.  He was all of nine years old.  With the water slapping up against his chest and occasionally splashing in his face, he wished he had taken those swimming lessons instead.

A few blocks from the hospital, Chris found himself pacing in the water side by side with a dog.  The dog was a dark brown cocker spaniel probably looking for a dry place to rest his feet.  From atop, the dog seemed to be relaxed.  But he knew underneath he was probably  paddling his legs wild as the devil!  Chris remembered how easy it was to tread the dog paddle when he was younger so he picked his feet up to give it a try.  He quickly dipped in the thick, murky waters and emerged panicked.  He struggled to get his stance stable but soon regained his pace and continued down the street with the other stranded people.

A little ways down, Chris spotted the small boat and whistled to get their attention.  They acknowledged him by waving.  Other people began to whistle and try and make their way to the boat too so Chris picked up his pace.  The eyes of the dog swimming nearby were showing signs of exhaustion.  There was no telling how long the dog had been in the water.  The dog let out a bark, then went under the water.  Within seconds, his head reappeared and he began to bark in desperation.  Chris was mindful to stay as far away from the dog as possible to avoid being bitten.  The small boat reeved it’s engine as they waited for him.  The dog’s bark now became aggressive as he continued to swim towards Chris.  The men on the boat splashed water towards the dog to slow him down and distract  his concentration on swimming.

“Come on man!  Dat dog look mad or summin’!,” one of the men said.

Chris turned his head to witness the dog go under again.  He started to run on his tip toes because he knew he would get sprayed with the dirty water when the dog came back up.  He reached the boat and threw his bag of food aboard.  He could feel the water spray on the back of his neck as the dog shook its’ head.  The men reached down and pulled Chris on the boat.

“They wasn’t lettin’ nobody in down at the hospital huh?,” Gunner asked.

“Naw,” Chris simply replied.

The boat pulled away and the dog continued to swim behind it.  His eyes were bulging as he barked pleas of help.  There was nothing in sight for the dog to take refuge on.  The dog’s shiny, brown coat disappeared under the water a third time, not to emerge again.

a snippet from the short story book, Mississippi Window Cracks.

Purchase your copy today

Mississippi Window Crack

after all

She said all it would take is $10
to sense the spirits around me
and read my future.

voodoowoman

But I tried to tell her it wasn’t me I was worried about

my prayers are blown to the
sunset gray ridden waves
that have washed my wishes and haunts

my prayers are for the
street prophets freestylin’

thinking they showed me love and let me slide
ignorant to the active place of genocide
in his backyard and her bosom.

I pray for abandoned children with two parents

I pray so long sometimes I fall asleep
and dream of the ancestors

I dream of heaven

I pray for women with deep
uterine itches
that only her missing child can scratch.

I pray poets with purpose
plant potent seeds for
progression with poise

I pray the baroque docks
so other poets can simply stop.

I pray this teaches those that know
that they don’t
so we can hold each other.

The incense hypnotized the seconds
as she checked her clock

she ended up
giving me $20.

  • nikki skies, from the book, “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”