Category Archives: actualization

A Poem

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It’s a poem if the words can live without you.

If the allegory can make blinding light shine from tombs
awaken memories
breathe them back to – reality.

It’s a poem if,
there are possibilities for similies linking people
universally
from fallen walls to picket signs
drawing scents of lemons
shake hands of farm girls to vegetarians
likening poetry to biblical days
with your comrades
logging different chapters
forcing the community for just one night
to look
directly into the sun
That’s a poem.

from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips

Has It Really Been 10 Years? Ok, especially for today…

Ten years ago today I released my first book, “Mississippi Window Cracks”.  Wow!

Mississippi Window Crack

I literally drafted the book after spending a few days visiting a friend in Jackson, Mississippi.  From the energy of the historical places to the scent of the zesty magnolia trees to the delicious southern cuisine… I had a lot to write about!

“Mississippi Window Cracks” is a collection of six short stories and three prose pieces.  Here is a breakdown of the book:

The Untimely Flight – A story of two women with a chance meeting in the airport traveling to different locations.  One is on a business trip and the other reuniting with her family after abandoning them to follow her dreams some ten years prior.  Their meeting is purposeful yet brief. Just as life would have it.

The Auction – “For Mothers of wombs that drum life and dance the promise of tomorrow, I pour this libation.  For the victories of liberation and paths of freedom you laid before me, I walk today for you.”  As a child, one of Angel’s childhood stories told by her grandmother was that of Hathor and Tehuti.  An ancient Egyptian story told about the Goddess of beauty and the messenger of wisdom.  It has been whispered that the legendary Odu family in Mississippi carries the spirit of these deities, Angel and her brother Country.  She is here to persuade her brother to come home to his god-like self and maintain the balance in the world.

Return to Ruins – A prose piece in reference to the slave plantation called, The Windsor Ruins.

Summer Love – A steamy love story about a young woman working as an intern in Yazoo City, Mississippi.  She falls hard for a local radio DJ who spins more for her than the hottest tunes.

A Prose for Medgar and Myrlie – “Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s.  She watered the ground with chocolate auburn.  The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets. She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit.  Her kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words.  His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head.  Her fears poured from her spine like pureed apples.  The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors.  He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time.  He told them not to be afraid.”

The Grass is Simply Green – Nia and LaDonna are best friends who have ventured lessons in life together.  Now, together they face reproductive injustice as one yearns to start a family.  Together they stand as long as one of them holds a secret from the other.

A Prose for Fannie Lou Hamer – “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 vents.”

Southern Betrayal – The  story  of a woman scorned by love.  She travels to a voodoo/root shop to see if the potions really work as she seeks revenge on her ex-love.

When Chris Met Katrina – Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and parts of Mississippi.  Like thousands of people who stayed to “wait this one out”, Chris does not evacuate his childhood home.  The storm passed as he suspected but the waters began to rise from the storm drains and flood the streets.  This is the day Chris met Katrina.

I suppose authors do something special when their books have anniversaries and what not :- /  so I am offering  autographed books  with FREE shipping of “Mississippi Window Cracks”. I only have a few sitting around my house.  I hope you enjoy it!

20 observances i’m taking into 2016

Well, 2015 is wrapping up here folks and there are some things I want to share along my many discoveries and self reflections.  Here we go:

  1. The power of blogging. – Blogging has to be better than buying a website these days!  Blogging is like your own personal newspaper or public journal that links you to like minds.  The connections I have met on wordpress have culminated into several speaking engagements and book sales around the world.  Unlike social media sites, a blog requires work.  You have to put in a decent and consistent amount of writing time and you must network with the audience you are trying to reach.  Building this comradery can yield amazing results!   Your Facebook friends/followers WILL NOT SUPPORT your work on a level that allows you to pay a bill or two.
  2. The saying, “Write what scares you” is true. – You take a chance with ordering a new dish at a restaurant.  You take a chance in new relationships.  So take a chance with writing the stories you are afraid to be linked to.  The subject matter of my novel, The Town Dance, has frightened me for years.  At readings, I speak about what I had to confront on a personal level for me to write characters with depth and meaning.  Characters that ‘belonged’ in the story and not just placed there to move the chapters forward.  The Town Dance has had an amazing year!  In addition, my play, Hope’s Return, handles the subject matter of women in the military, a crime committed on base, the government cover-up and a small town African American family dealing with the mental illness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I took a chance with this material and it has paid off as big as I had imagined in my dreams.
  3. I like living in Atlanta.  I must admit, it took over six years for it to happen but there are a lot of opportunities in the arts.  Perhaps in the sense that there is still work that needs to be done for diversity within nationalities, gender and age. (then again, that’s probably everywhere!)  The art funding is definitely geared toward younger poets who are taught slam poetry and older Caucasian writers. The quote, “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re art”, took me a looooong time to accept that.  But over the past 13-15 months I have grown to like Atlanta.
  4. Acknowledgement of women writers still needs to be written in art and historical culture/documentation.  Even the critical and independent male thinking minds are blind to this, or conveniently accept this part of patriarchy.  A recent example I saw of this, there was a Black Lives Matter banner created that spelled out the names of the victims fallen from murder by the hands of the police and only one woman was listed.  Instead of researching women to include, the list repeated with the male names.
  5. African American art is viewed as sociology or psychology instead of art.  Instead of being asked on various creative decisions I made for my art, I was asked questions like, “is this due to your community?” “is this a result of your upbringing?”  After reading more on the basic history of African American literature in western culture, the sensitivity of critique or criticism is still not where it should be as the literary giants before me have written the same observances.
  6. There is a desperate need for black book stores for all of the above reasons.
  7. There is a desperate need for African American book review groups/circles for all the above reasons. (Story Sellers Book Reviews coming soon!)
  8. The personal positivity movement has turned into a sensationalistic  movement that is cultivating a strew of motivational speakers and life coaches.  It is imperative for people to understand that avoiding or becoming addicted to a fantasy life of no turmoil stunts growth.  In addition, naming life’s detours ‘negativity’ instead of lessons and self reflection stops/halts life.
  9. Ph.D’s do not hold the same creed they once did. Experience and activism can get you on the same panel discussions as PhD’s and persons in academia. In fact, trust is built through personal testimony versus book study (new age wave expectations); same as travel expert equals trusted experience. I believe their in depth studies are still imperative but the panels and workshops I observed over the past year in regards to art activism and community social activism had very few PhDs.
  10. The poetry audience is gone. No matter where I traveled, the audience was a unanimous crowd of other poets.  The study of poetry 101 has been replaced with being a champion or being on a ‘winning team’.   Poetry is seen as entertainment instead of art.  In my opinion, the communication aspect is absent from the art form and it is a strategic political move.

Continue reading 20 observances i’m taking into 2016