Category Archives: actualization

be nobody’s darling by Alice Walker

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

Artists Must Remain Uncaptured

expansive / mystified like the flow of the Nile
we ran the dance of gazelles
unafraid to tempt the thunder / or route the flow of rain

we declared ourselves artists
and we spoke paint and poem / dance and drums
made HIStory and HERstory relevant next to fish and broccoli
fed and fast / we believed in beliefs.

then / we became responsible for others thorns
that bruised our bellies to disengage our content with imperfections
our crossbows captured
we inhaled common breath and put our rapid beating hearts asunder.
Dear Artists,
We all birth days of doubt. But we have to remember that what is known today is what we wrote yesterday. What we carved in tombs and tree trunks. What we buried in gravel and red dirt.
Messages we interpreted from shooting stars and scattered bones. We are the tendons for mobility. We must remain abandoned from group thought. Resilient to time. Familiar with the gifts of jasmine.

dream.believe in the flow of your blood.and the loud slurs in your garden.
we have stories to write.8counts to prance.rhythms to flow.
we must remain uncaptured.

When We Arrived presents: Educator/Poet Jolivette Anderson-Douoning


It’s not one story I can share because it is comprised of many directions.  Our story is a path of stones.  Some strategically placed and others tossed aside, not abandoned but hopefully forgotten amid the seasons’ change.  This is more than a friendship… this is a sisterhood relationship.  From “ridin” up on boyfriends (I’m not giving details but we could’ve been arrested!), to our mutual love for the antiquity of Africa, to calling each other to listen to new poems, to stories on love and love lost and rearing children.

We are time travelers.  She carries fire (Leo).  I hold the water (Cancer).  Her energy is bold and forthcoming and she gives it to you whether you want it or not.  My energy is quiet yet inquisitive and I’m going to make you work for it.  Despite her boldness, she’s really soft on the outside and only gets tough when pushed against the wall.  Despite me being quiet, I’m hard on the outside but once I let you in I’m all heart.  You see, this is more than a friendship.  And even though we pass no judgment on the other, we don’t allow slip passes either!  She makes me sleep in the bed I make and I make her eat the pie she bought.  We hold each other accountable and responsible.  This is a divine arrangement.  Jolivette and I, are on purpose.  My sister that time travels with me through this art thing we love and serve.

She is Shreveport and home gardens /with okra and dandelions
and southern charm and red dirt
with education first and self second
church all day Sunday /yes ma’am yes sir…



What question do you have for poetry? 

Poetry, how is it that you seduce me and save me within the same moment leaving me with no room to move.  Why are you so demanding?

What is the responsibility of a poet for literature?

The poet uses words to create an intellectual rhythm that can stimulate the brain to direct the body to move towards an action, towards solutions to problems, or towards joy and healing.  The poet is ALWAYS responsible to the humanity of the individual and the group.

The poet must write and speak their poetry.  The words on the page must be displayed in a way that allows the reader to find the rhythm, feel the mood, hear the tone and interpret the intent of the poet.


Jolivette Anderson-Douoning is an Interdisciplinary scholar whose research is grounded in the Humanities and Applied Professions disciplines. 
Also known as Jolivette Anderson ‘the poet warrior’, she is a Race and Culture Educator who uses “Third Space Theory” to develop teaching and learning experiences that facilitate greater understandings of Black cultural existence and experience in the United States.
She is a Phd student and research assistant in American Studies / Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. Her current research examines the purpose and relevancy of Black Cultural Centers between 1965 to 1995 and interrogates the future of BCC in a post – Obama United States of America.
She has four recordings of poetry and prose: Love and Revolution UndergroundAt the End of a Rope in MississippiJolivette Live: A Bluesy Funk Life Cycle, and She Energy.
For bookings and additional information or 

what a Shero knows by Proverbs

for many of us, there is a desire to be unhappy. we welcome toxic relationships, hoping to one day “fix” them. we accept the invitations to unhealthy discussions, hoping they’ll “see” things our way. we fall to the bottom of our list of priorities as if, somehow, taking care of everything and everyone else first will complete us.

WRONG, Sista! there is no such thing as a self-sacrificing Shero. you don’t have to be a martyr to be a marker.

a Shero knows when it’s time to say, “I’d love to, but I can’t.” affirms herself when those twangs of guilt (after saying, “no”) begin to twinge. goes on a date night instead of heading to a Scandal watch party (and I’m, a Gladiator, so don’t trip!).
Continue reading what a Shero knows by Proverbs

CCC (Commemorate, Celebrate, Continue)

“This is not just a commemoration or celebration, it is a continuation.”
Reverend Al Sharpton, March 8, 2015 – Brown Chapel in Selma, Alabama

Fifty years seems like so long ago. But as long as my mother and her siblings are alive, I must consider it to be this lifetime. It is still this lifetime as long as we still have provisions that need reauthorization by law officials for all racial minorities to vote fairly. Today, fifty years can be five years ago or easily five nights ago. March 7, 1965, or Bloody Sunday, is the day I imagine they went home and re-thought this demonstration and protest lifestyle. Perhaps some quit while others said, ‘I won’t stop until I have the right to vote and walk this bridge without being harassed.’ And that night, just as Nat Turner saw it written in the sky years earlier, all of their dreams and all of their wishes were of me. Of us. What are we going to do? Continue reading CCC (Commemorate, Celebrate, Continue)

Life is Not a Problem


Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

Somewhere in this road of life, I picked up the notion that everyday I would be presented with problems and my day would be based on “how I handled it.”  So every morning I expected some type of grief.  It was an anticipation I would stir into my coffee and sometime initiate on the drive to work.  Or maybe I waited to start the “problem” while standing in line for the elevator at work.  Or maybe I  waited until lunch and picked the longest line to get in so I could mean mug the cashier when I got to the front and make her my daily “problem”.  This theory could’ve been passed on to me during school problem solving, conflict/resolution discussions from the bible during Sunday school or my mother.  But I inherently did not grow up thinking life would be beautifully handed to me everyday.

Changing this behavior has to be part of my everyday routine now.  I have to consciously remind myself that I deserve goodness and the universe will align with my mentality daily.  I have to remind myself:

You don’t get what you want, you get what you expect.

Change your expectations today!  Accept and expect greatness!  Have an amazing day!




when does sugar become sweet? by nikki skies

from the root? from perception? from the experience? when does sugar become sweet?

For me it is from the experience. And it is probably this for most others since we are not physically sugar canes. Be that, when does art become good? When is a love affair over? When is enough enough? When am I a bad parent?

These are all boundaries I have created for myself. My own little box I keep painted and maintained to look like my body with smooth brown skin. Perhaps like my mother felt when rearing my sister, brother and I, she was doing the best she could. She was doing what she knew and felt best at that time. And at times her decisions were based on her personal needs and I encountered moments of disappointment. However, what made me feel this way? The root, the perception or the experience?

It is all.

My oldest niece lives with associate disorder. (I have accepted this is the nice way of saying early stages of schizophrenia.) She dissociates herself with authority. She is bold and impulsive and therefore dissociates herself with effect. I am her guardian and have experienced bouts of fear and anger and sadness with this realization. Even though my sweetheart is an honor roll student in middle school, she does not understand these conversations I have with her. I can tell by the narrowing of her eyes. She just knows she is being scolded for “something”. When does her sugar become sweet? At her root? Her perception? Her experience? Is there truly an impact for her to acquaint with when she, like everyone else, is simply living out her karma?

Fear is the unknown. And like any parent, I send myself in frenzied panic attacks over her future. But when free from ostentation, I can empty my mind and live with her sugar being sweet under all three possibilities. Therefore declaring her a whole person.