Category Archives: extended family

best of both worlds

My mother taught me how to make a living.
My father showed me how to create a life to live.
She was deemed responsible.
He was deemed selfish.
… I want to be selfishly responsible from here on out.

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Gathered Around Fire (a prose piece for roux makers)

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I was cold.  I didn’t know too much about The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin) or that it could be easily identified as the return of the spirit of the movement.

The presence of our ancestors to re-connect the seven sciences that we all represented.

I just know that of the several bonfires that appeared    /I chose the one closest to my home.  A few others had come to get warm.

We dared to stare down the center of this chemical process to identify what was causing the combustion.  And nothing was there.  Not with the naked eye at least.                                                                         It was simply a fire and I was cold.

Continue reading Gathered Around Fire (a prose piece for roux makers)

just cause it’s Nikki Giovanni

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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.

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future woman leader, my sister Erika

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My sister Erika loves to dance. I like that some of her hobbies are to play, dance and sing. When she grows up, she will give the world her gift of dancing. Everyone should have a sister like her because she’s fun, she doesn’t give up on anything, she’s smart and listens to what people has to say. And that’s way I love her.

Written by Kayla:
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some days i feel like water, like erika

all month I have been writing prose to acknowledge women that have directly influenced my life and perception on living as an artist. this week, I have decided to let these little women that are living in my home to write and express for one another and for women that they want to share information on.

last but not least, my eldest, the first one out the blocks. my scorpio. the fire and water supplier, Erika.

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where do I begin? my pre-teen… who would now rather be on the phone or in front of the television than bonding with her aunt. let’s see… the messy room, the junky school back pack, the fearless one… yes, let’s start with that. the fearless one.

not afraid to turn an event into the “Erika show” if she needs to! she has always been the popular one, ever since pre-kindergarten. you ask, “pre-kindergarten? she was only 4 years old?” I know! her theme song should be, “I AIN’T NEVER SCARED!” until she sees me waiting for her at the school bus stop or standing in the doorway at home. then that changes until school the next day and then it becomes her world again. and how does one maintain a healthy balance of that for a little girl? a little black girl?

she is a leader. she is the organizer. she’s cautious enough not to make the first move all the time. oh, she’ll send someone out ahead of her to test her plan! she’s strategic. she studies you. she’ll stare at me while driving. so, I study her back. I show just as much interest! where? who? why? I let her be the first to try things. the first to go to the theater with me, the first to go to the hair salon, the first to get a bedroom makeover, the first to try ballet, the first to play soccer… she’ll be my first out the gate. I have six more years to panic over that but like most parents, I wonder if I’m preserving as much of her fearlessness as possible? After all, God sent her this way.

she is the popular one at school. she is witty and going through her goofy 6th grade phase. she is an honor roll student and the one that the teacher’s say, “she could easily be an all A student if she just…” she is my fire starter who carries the water in her bag to extinguish it out when she’s done. get it? she’s feisty and “ain’t never scared”. she’s easy going with me, she understands I’m still figuring this parenting thing out but I’m in it for the long haul. with that, for me she stays true to her scorpio sign with water and flows with me.

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some days i feel like air, for kayla

all month I have been writing prose to acknowledge women that have directly influenced my life and perception on living as an artist. this week, I have decided to let these little women that are living in my home to write and express for one another and for women that they want to share information on.

next up is the middle girl, kayla. my mini me. my virgo. my cuddler.

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kayla is about patience. to love her you need it. she requires it. my sensitive, emotional little lady. she has always required attention, never the one to watch Dora the Explorer alone while you washed dishes. if you were in the kitchen, she was in the kitchen! if you were in the study room, she was in the study room! if you were in the bathroom she was waiting for you in the hallway! I usually stay up late to write and she would get up early, like most kids, so I would lock my bedroom door to get some extra sleep. this chick picked my lock one morning and got in! YES YOU HEARD ME! (haha)

I don’t recall kayla every drawing outside of the lines when she began to color. if she did color outside, it was her creating a totally different picture. she has always been meticulous. my mother hums and sings all the time and kayla has picked this up. she sings walking down the hall, in the shower, riding her bike… and she is a dancer. kayla is no doubt my artist.

she is also my follower. remember, she has never liked being by herself. God made her this way so I just have to continue to encourage her to trust her talents and what her heart is telling her. I believe she is so talented, she doubts herself just to fit in with everyone else. she is a gentle little woman, very giving and shy. not to toot my horn, but I really feel she mirrors me in a lot of ways. she is my art show award winning, talent show singing, honor roll having middle girl. not to the left, not to the right. just in between flowing to and fro, kayla.

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future woman leader, my sister Kyra

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My youngest sister, Kyra, loves to sing, run and play with us. I like that some of her hobbies are dancing, singing and mainly running. She runs everywhere she goes! When she grows up, she will give the world the gift of being a famous, fantastic Olympic track and field player. She will be in the 100 meter race and will be able to compete in the summer Olympics in 2024.

Everyone should have a sister like her because she is very playful, smart, fun to be around,and she acts like the big sister when I’m feeling blue. I love my sister very much. I would do any thing for her. I hope she makes it to the summer Olympics.

Written by Erika:
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