I don’t know that I was made to stand poised
in the storms eye like
Myrlie Evers or Coretta King or Cherry Turner or Betty Shabazz or Winnie Mandela or Mamie Till.
I don’t know if I’m made of the same
language in prayers and cloth to covet.
I can’t decipher the whispers from the flames
or control the fahrenheit of the metal
without getting hot tempered and sour /
not quite like they could.
But I am from the same dish. The same dirt. The same pot stirrers.
I am standing on shoulders strong.
– for Winnie Mandela
Get your copy of my new collection of poetry/prose, yardwork, today.
the idea the African saw through the cracked wood of
the Henrietta Marie
the seed of the new woman
the ecstasy in the fire
the gospel after poetry venues
praised on sidewalks and parking lots
you are now a prophet amongst preachers
burdened with the beauty of the entire rose
pick the thorns or keep them
just stay in tact / you came prickly and prissy
with a rampant river under your feet
your commitment will be constantly tested
through people using revolution to work our personal
they’ll say you don’t fit the role / don’t look natural / ain’t ready to fight
you’re not committed to the destruction of the system
and they’re right
because you are a Creator / never forget that
You are a Creator
and you destroy the idea of death in order to live.
“It is not enough to be a woman writer. It is imperative that we are women writers who write about other women, responsibly. Otherwise, we’ll continue to write rebuttals on misrepresentation or the utter absence of our literary presence.”
Recently I returned to the city that grew my art, Los Angeles, California. It is not the city I was born and reared in, however; it is the city that I consider home. Where I grew into a woman and an artist.
Not expecting anyone to write my story, a few years back I had the audacity to write a piece of Los Angeles poetry HERstory that was not talked about. What prompts this post is, during my recent visit to Los Angeles when I spoke about this information in front of a crowd, I was asked to be mindful and tell the “whole story” of LA women in poetry. Interestingly enough, I’ve never seen the “whole story” written by my male comrades nor during my visit did I hear any conversations that announced the “whole story” of women in poetry. The four day span I was in Los Angeles, when “the good ‘ole days” conversations came up, there was a repeated rundown of the male figures that were prominent in the foundational game but the women were harmoniously absent from the listings.
Continue reading Keeping My Nose This Time
This poem is from the book “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips” available for purchase on Amazon.
He said, “as sure as I’m sitting here / I shouldn’t be”
Playing on the devil’s playground / He had 3 bullets with my name on it
1 still in me
scratching his goatee & lifting his chin / he said he know why he’s still here
And it was because of something higher than the roof of that burrito joint
It was higher than the lamp post that shone on us through the tinted windows
It was higher than the billboard telling us what to drink to enjoy our evening
It was higher than the ghetto bird shining on it all
Higher than his weekly 3 g salary
Even higher than the overpopulated heaves of black men that are now angels
It was high enough to take away his foul ways of breath & pump his blood pure enough to unite with his original
Now he knows what being a G is all about.