henna tatoos decorate the stretch marks
across her chest
from loving many ways.
and they like ’em like that
scratchin’ hipbones with no itch
they like ’em searchin’
glossy lipped and eyed
Nike “just do it” wearin’
county children raisin’
they like ’em like that.
Blame it on the trees if you thought
I’d continue to campaign for his dreams
and live off his land of fear verbed chatter.
Cause he’s not what he should be after all these seasons
point the finger at the sidewalk leaves
and stormed cracked branches
that allow me to conceive a
Soloman like thirst for honesty.
Blame it on the trees
the bare December influenced branches that carries
everybody’s voiceless intentions
to a generation searching for a
She said all it would take is $10
to sense the spirits around me
and read my future.
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
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 for National Poetry Month
The rally in his mouth no longer
His ante dotes no longer describe / how I feel
the flavor in his analogies offend me
cause he’s naked and happy,
I’m fully clothed and ready for another love war
I no longer desire the rhythm of his walk,
the gutsy bass of his laughter.
Our relationship is no longer melodic.
No more poetry.
We need to talk.
from the book, “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips” – nikki skies
After the fall storm
comes a rainbow and the smiles
stay / don’t hide from us
Laugh at what they taught
hear my verbs and protect us
be father to all.
Stop gambling your seeds
for a night to feel human
let divineness shine.
Open / not enter
love your womb and its’ future
don’t be forgotten.
I preserve my world
in journals so my children
can eat without me.
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
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
moon face full of stars.
little woman / soft voice with cursive connotations.
and universe hugging
woman of literature.
my love for her is beyond words.
adoring / fond / attached like a new lover.
even though she is associated with the black arts movement, she is one of those artists who have walked through hip hop with us. her words have survived the linguistic flips and inspire/challenge writers today. she joined blues music with her poetic styles of tanka and haiku. she is the key of b sharp.
she is award winning and legendary and highly sought after for lecturing on women’s rights and literary topics.
I am writing this as if everyone knows where she was born and who she was married to and how many books she has, etc. if you don’t know… look her up and land in love with poetry and prose. over. and over. again.
sonia sanchez, one of the reasons I have realized/actualized I must write.
One of the roles of the artist is to re-create life’s perception within a societal context. Some say the conditions of the moment define the creation of art through political, cultural and religious/philosophical terms. With that, there will always be an audience for our voices, so why do we torture ourselves with endless edits and insecurities of not being artistically accepted?
So many of us sit surrounded by genius pieces of art inspired by our immediate communities. Award winning poems and best selling novels. We have garage spaces and storage units full of paintings and sculptures that depict an opulence of emotions. And the fear of our vulnerability being labeled as weak disables us from sharing. And the masses of our culture in the states does not support our profession so we get a “regular job”. And turn our passion into a past time or extra way to make money.
Everyday of the week. In every situation in life. The individual in the position to persuade or that perceived the story will always have an audience that understands and supports them. As artists, we have to identify when in our lives we began to believe no one would appreciate our art and stop this. Because no matter what the discourse is from the expression, it will be perceived by someone that understands and folds our endless nights.
Artists can be inspired by the simple things. The sudden swarm of birds on branches to a nostalgic smell of perfume or cologne. When I abandon concerns of the world, I am able to be inspired by almost anything because my senses are without judgement and I can apply optimism to everything! Perhaps this was the process Lorraine Hansberry encountered when she created the timeless theatrical masterpiece, A Raisin in the Sun.
She was inspired by the poem entitled, Harlem, by Langston Hughes. This was one of the first poems I memorized and one of the first I made my nephews memorize! This poem inspired her to write the play that put her in the history books. With her play, Raisin in the Sun, she became the first African American woman to write a play performed on Broadway and the youngest and fifth woman to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The success of this play led to it being translated in 35 different languages and inspired the talented Nina Simone to write her song, To Be Young, Gifted and Black. After Hansberry’s death, her husband was inspired to adapt a remaining collection of her work into a play with the same name of Simone’s song.
Art is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy… The origin of art derives from the antiquity of documenting life or scribing so it is not surprising that this string of inspirations are connected. Some days I feel like Lorraine Hansberry when I pick up a pen and begin to write after hearing a song or note on from a saxophone or analogy from a poem. I get inspired by people and situations around me and of course I hope I will leave inspiration to others.