Category Archives: civil rights

“Seeds” a poetry video performance

 

This poem is from the book “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips” available for purchase on Amazon.

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The Making of Mississippi Window Cracks

(the prologue to Mississippi Window Cracks written in 2006)

A few years ago I decided that after all the books and movies I had read and seen related to the civil rights struggles and the state called Mississippi, it was time to take a visit.  I arranged to spend a few days in Jackson, Mississippi, with a colleague of mine so I could walk the land that enveloped the energy of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Margaret Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Emmett Till and the streets of the infamous “Freedom Summers”.  My time there was filled with meeting civil rights heroes that are still alive, pouring libation on slave plantations, visiting museums and other historic sites, relaxing on the porch fanning flies until the sunset, and of course the southern cuisine.

One morning, my friend declared she knew the best place in town for a good bowl of grits.  Upon arriving at the cozy, corner diner downtown, she turned the car off and told me to put a crack in the window.  I told her that living in Los Angeles, people really didn’t do that but I remember it from growing up in Kansas City, Mo. Effortlessly, she rolled a crack in the driver’s side window.  I followed hastily already tasting the buttery grits in my mouth.  She turned and looked at me then spoke with hesitance in her voice.

“What’s that?”, she asked.

“What’s what?”

“I thought you were going to put a crack in the window.”

“I did.”

“That’s a crack?,” she asked sarcastically.

Now feeling totally self conscious I affirmed, “Yeah, this is the kind of window crack I used to do in the summertime in Kansas City.”

“Well this ain’t Missouri, this is Mississippi!  You better put a bigger crack in that window as hott as it is out here!”

I gave the handle on the window a few more turns to open it up.

She encouraged me, “A little more.”

I carefully cranked it until I gained her nod of approval, “Like this?”

“Yeah!  Now that there is a Mississippi window crack!”

The funny part about this story is how serious it got!  It was almost a borderline argument.  But as we walked in the diner, we laughed and joked how that would be a good title for a poem and who was going to write it first.  Well, here is my book of short stories that chronicle the tales fed to me through the trees, music, and people I met during my time spend in Jackson.  Instead of vacationing in the Bahamas or Paris, take a visit down in the deep south to a part of history, your history, our history.  You ever heard the saying, “There’s the United States and then there’s Mississippi?”  It’s the truth!  Go feel it for yourself!

with love,

nikki skies

PS – The grits were delicious!

Mississippi Window Crack

Get your autographed copy here!

alpha to omega, Happy Birthday Dr King

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Speak up
Write up 
Sing up
Dance up
There are no safe places for artists to hide when inequality and injustice exist. Let’s continue to create and present the world with “the possibilities” of love and freedom.

Dr. Welsing…You too shaped me

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I’ll listen for you in summer seashells
Maybe the small ones with cracked corners
from adult play of wave jumping

Slide cups alongside walls anticipating your
metered tone that started slow
but always stirred brown gravy right with potatoes
or mashed breath

Just Return.

My path hasn’t fit my shoes since
You labeled my questions of “why” as
Brilliance.

Since you encouraged my genetic pool
be developed 2nd to none
My broad back makes swimming easy
it’s the walking with familiar faces with forced tongues and
foreign feelings of living that’s hard

And you promised you’d never rest until
“black children are taught to love themselves as themselves”

Well… we still dance around the pain
And sing above the screams
And get high above the clouds
And fall below the bedrock
And you left like all the rest
without a formal goodbye or wave of the scarf
while the system is still electric with
hidden hands and privileged referees

Just Return.

for one more cooking lesson and hands in the dish water
and a soothing stare to still these fears
of polishing your legacy with highly functional thinking

toothbrush details of the Isis Papers and Keys to the Colors

Dr. Welsing   Mother Frances

We   We   We    stumble with this
stutter with the thought of your walk
to have your heart weighed to a feather

cause you promised you’d never rest until
“black children are taught to love themselves as themselves”

so I suppose…as long as the system maintains
itself against the thread of our fabric

You are here    

I’ll listen for you through my cups on the wall
and inside summer seashells with cracked corners.

  • For Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, 1/3/16

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some days i feel like, Amelia Boynton Robinson

**I ORGINALLY POSTED THIS IN MARCH 2014. I just learned this civil rights leader passed this morning at 104 years old.  I appreciate what she did for humanity, civil rights and women. Rest In Peace Amelia Boynton Robinson**

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There are some terms that I believe society would love to be eliminated from the vocabulary and one of them is suffrage. Other terms or movements have taken significance over the once very popular term of saying women’s suffrage. This plight was simply blended with other movements. But some days I feel like there is more to me than just occasional recognition.

There are so many photos of African Americans who dared to change society during the Civil Rights Movement that go without being named. Like this woman:

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Perhaps the photographer knew of her importance and that is the reason why this photo was taken. Maybe as a message of intimidation for anyone who dare let her inspiration move them. Her name is Amelia Boynton Robinson, and she was pivotal in the planning of many of the civil and voting rights protests in Selma, AL. As a matter of fact, her home was used by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and James Bevels just to name a few, as an office space to organize Selma’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. On Sunday March 7, 1965, protestors attempted to make a trek to Montgomery, AL for a demonstration on voting rights for African Americans. The above photograph illustrates why this day has been termed, “Bloody Sunday”. Around 600 protestors were choked by tear gas and beaten with billy clubs by police waiting on the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they crossed the Alabama River. For many years, she was the unnamed woman in the photograph that was beaten unconscious. Once again, her name is Amelia Robinson Boynton.

Prior to becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement, she was active with women’s suffrage. She also went on to become a playwright and lecturer. Some days I feel like Amelia when ALL I do is a part of everything, yet goes unnoticed. Today I recognize Her and give thanks for Her nurturing contribution to the movement that has granted me many opportunities.

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