applaud Her broken heart poetry
then pass Her a notepad and fresh ink
She dies when rape is spoken of so desensitized.
Like a chipped fingernail or
wrecked car She can call and get
a claim number for
It doesn’t get renewed!
She just let it get used and disown its’ power
so next time he wants to
or break her back
or dig in dem guts
It won’t hurt
She chose to be one of the “unreported” stats.
I confronted my homophobia.
I re-defined my definitions of rape.
15 years later, I wrote The Town Dance.
PURCHASE AT The Town Dance Paperback and Kindle
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.” -Toni Morrison
As a young girl, my mother had to chose what utilities she would keep on and which ones she would let go to keep my sister, brother and I fed and clothed. Phone service NEVER made the “stay on” list and gas service was optional during summer months. Cable television was not discussed in my home because we only had two televisions and they were black and white. (yes, color televisions were available and no I won’t tell the year or my age). My escape was reading. The easiest series of books to find in sequential collections at thrift stores at the time were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. And I read them all! Continue reading a Higher Re-Education Program (Writer’s Edition)
Many people who say they want their work, writings, critiqued really don’t. They just want to include your stamp of approval on it. They want to include you in their circle of same friends, same crowds and same stages where they receive recycled applause. Unfortunately this will keep them exactly where they are, using their art as a part time hobby and working someone else’s dream full time.
The only thing safe in this game is your vision. What you ultimately want your work to be regarded as or categorized as. The voice or narrative you want to represent is the only thing you can control. But that is the opportunity with most writers. They don’t know who/why they are writing. It’s as if everyone is falling into the “I write for therapy” “I do this for me” reasonings. I don’t believe that. In fact, you will have a hard time trying to convince me of this. What I do believe is that due to a lack of reading and developing of worth or value for oneself a lot of writers cannot express why this art form has become so tangibly easy for them.
Before I could perform on stage or even write my own work, it was required that I read and memorize the literary greats that had come before me. I had to memorize and know the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, etc BEFORE I was allowed to share my own work. These were my dues so to speak. I am finding that nowadays writers are simply encouraged to write and express. “Write what you feel and then get on stage and kill it!” There is no base, no foundation. Just quickly constructed brick walls and rubber windows. Then artists stand hostage inside defending everything they write or perform.
Specifically poets often ask me how to be a full time artist. I always ask them to identify another poet who is working FT in their craft. Some of the usual responses are Saul Williams and Nikki Giovanni. Well, Saul lives in Europe and makes an incredibly living from his music and Giovanni is an educator and speaker in addition to poet. So I ask them to give me someone else they could contact to be a mentor for their poetry career that ONLY does poetry. I am still waiting on responses from the majority of them. See, this art thing is medicinal. It is not an individual thing. If your mantra is, “I do this for me” you’re on a paved road, a safe path with lots of company and acceptance. Not the wild road to discovery with silent strange faces and a million “no” responses. With that being said, poetry cannot be isolated. Poetry is the word. Poetry is the color of the sound. Poetry is the taste of the wind. Poetry is an integral part of the seven sciences connecting to “it all”. This understanding is how FT artists sustain.
I don’t know any FT artists who at some point do not incorporate education into their lifestyle as a workshop facilitator or speaker. But what are they talking about? They are talking about that base and foundation from which they developed their art from. They are protecting the vision, establishing the livelihood of their narrative. They are doing something most poets/writers cannot do these days.
So what are you saying? I’m saying, you need to read twice as much as you write. You need to study. You need to know your art form and the cause behind it better than anyone else. You must let go of the criticism that will come with your art and be more concerned with the status of the people holding together the foundation. With that knowledge will bring a security and confidence that will open doors and opportunities to you as a writer/poet.
She say for her family
she do what she can
when in reality it be for her
man / who wants a mother like her son
so she wipe both they asses and then her tears cause it be from the same shit
Too tired more/more tired than her mother who taught her how to stay
who lived and died the same way
the palm reader etched on her palm
now that she know/she can remain calm
when he come to bed smelling like fuck nut
and dried saliva.
He’ll say it’s all in her head
so she have nightmares of
forever being a fool.
from the book,
The secret DNA behind bestsellers
Today is the official release date for the first part of my comedic ebook series, Grace in Retail. Enjoy a snippet of the book here:
“Today started like any other day. My usual routine of sitting in the parking lot of my job praying that God moves my feet to go inside. Another day another dollar, right? Well actually not today. Today is the day I find out if whether or not I will get the bonus check I so well deserve. And I say deserve because I was tricked into taking this damn job! I was told it was easy to move up in this company so I took a serious pay cut in hopes of moving to district level within six months. But once I got in, I saw it was store managers that had been with the company so damn long they were part dinosaur! I messed up… that’s all I can say, I messed up big time coming to Deal World.
It’s the end of 4th quarter, and I’ve survived another crazy, hectic holiday in retail. I outperformed my colleagues in overall sales, comp sales and conversion. I’ve been a store manager with this company for nine months so I’m the newbie coming in winning product prize incentives and scoring above company average on various store business audits. My performance definitely sent a message to everyone that even though I am new to this company, I am not new to retail. I’ve been in retail management for over eight years so I know what I’m doing here. The number rule to this retail game is building a strong team. A team that trusts you as their leader and is committed to perform as they see you demonstrate. That is exactly what I’ve been able to do in the short time I’ve been here. But if I don’t get that bonus they will see a different me today. I deserve this bonus. I need this bonus to add to the financial cushion I’ll need when I resign from this place. You know, have a little extra money in the savings to take my time with finding another job. I better get this bonus. Continue reading RELEASE DATE! Today for Grace in Retail