Category Archives: prose

Remembering Medgar Evers Today – “A Prose for Medgar and Myrlie” by Nikki Skies

It landed on the kitchen table next to the watermelon.  Like a Sunday newspaper on Thursday.  Set aside for recycling.  Or an abandoned spoon after dessert. It sat there foreign but familiar.  Like an African American in America.

The carousel sang loudly. Drowned out the relief of parental duties.  Playful screams resonated the atmosphere.  Cotton candy decorated white faces pink and blue. Mustard stains on white t-shirts. Scraped knees caused by unattended shoelaces. The day was glee and the night carefree, as flying gravel spun under running feet.

Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s.  She watered the ground with chocolate auburn.  The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets.  She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit.  He kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words.  His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head.  The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors.  He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time.  He told them not to be afraid.

myrlieandmedgar

The first season spread the hours like a bridge. He supplied water to dry, fallen branches daily.  Believers of the unseen.  She carried unicorns in her pockets.  They wore audacious yellows and greens in a black and white world.  Demanded freedom like 8 a.m. school bells.  Unbalanced as thick as unjust.  At night she placed sweet onions on his eyelids. He remained rooted.  His tongue poignant from the aroma.

Dog’s were death’s best friend.  Hydrants absent from fires.  Hoses present at protests.  Tilted buses full of spiritual songs.  Northern boys with fresh fists. Southern boys with patched will.  Northern girls with golden intuition. Southern girls with ancient maps.  Laughter extinct.  Spit like rain. Freedom rides. Spirits flew. Red summer. Blue years. Freedom wide. Hatred tall. Black bodies hung/ burned/ mutilated. Daylight tardy.

Soprano saxophone accompanied her screams.  Vibrato in her hands.  His head in her lap.  His eyes meeting her’s was the prize. “Sit me up, turn me loose.” Abandoned from forever. She sat him up. Erect as pillars.  Baroque rocked. Down. She sipped tea in China.

Scores for his name. His verses rhymed her forward.  Her passion sweet as fruit. Seasoned. Made days wet cement. For imprints. Slops. Hills. Concrete with purpose. His remembrances sleep at our feet.

 

a prose from the book,

Mississippi Window Crack

Autographed copies available here

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Gifts for Mother Maya by Jolivette Anderson

 

 

Maya Angelou’s works have been criticized as works of “uplift” and not genuine art. What are your thoughts on this?

Jolivette:  Art must be functional. Artist must be critical thinkers who observe, analyze, interrogate, and offer solutions to the problems within their (our) communities. As a poet, Dr. Mother Angelou observed the pain of her people.

She analyzed the conditions of her people. She interrogated herself to see how she could best contribute to the ongoing work, begun before she was born, to help heal the hurt and pain of her people. It is obvious that her answers came in the form of ‘be positive’ and ‘uplift’ your people with your work and words and your work-in-words. There is nothing more genuine than seeing ones own humanity and the humanity of others and being positive in the face of treacherous negativity.

How would you characterize Angelou’s style—her language, her tone, her choice of metaphors, and so on?
Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Jolivette Anderson

Gifts for Mother Maya by Reverdia da’ River Woman

 

 

1) Although Angelou writes almost exclusively for African Americans, she has a huge following from other races.  Why do you think this is?

The Honorable Mother Maya writes from her experience as a human being first.  Yes, I know that sounds cliche’-ish… “same-ing”, if you will, the initiation of a struggling explanation, but if one listened to ‘Mother-Sister’, you can sense what was an insistent appetency to set right and at the same time comfort in her addressing us… all of us. Although her literary gifts to us were addressed from a woman’s eyes, simply because she was one, she was the glowing and towering, vibrant, flowing seductive and insistent, yet sweetly confident member of this human race first and wanted us all to feel that same sublime rendering of naked and free’d expression of self.

Little girls, givers of life- [where her story and destiny begins] come in all colors and influences and each deserves love and encouraging and protecting.  If the opposite is present, the difference dissipates and only the commonality of pain and tragedy, joy and ascending, remain- none of which is specific to any particular race, opinion, or culture.  Her living is / was certainly on common ground with the human spirit set in each of us regardless of  our location or station or not; as well as her truths. That kind of naked, bold, unencumbered, raw, vivid, biting and sometimes seducing caressing, and loving truth in her writing, sets us all on common playing ground.

How would you characterize Angelou’s style – her language, her tone, her choice of metaphors, and so on?
Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Reverdia da’ River Woman

SHE CHRONICLES: Video Post, Jaha Zainabu

“Stories that come to me in the middle of the night from folks I don’t know.  Don’t have nothing to do with me except they know I know how to get a pray through and a story straight.”

Advice From Inside -a poem by Rachel Kann

Be you, unapologetically.
Celebrate and embrace your humility,
And yet, do not forget:
Being humble is not equivalent to being tiny.

You are nothing to be sorry for, my glorious sister.
As a matter of fact, you are fabulous.
You sparkle and glimmer.
The true nature of a star is to shine.

Embrace every facet of that which you embody.
You get to be complicated and contradictory if you want to be,
That is your natural-born right as a card-carrying member of humanity.
This body you were born in is yours for the exploring.

Permission granted to dance,
To run through open fields of sourgrass blossoms,
The true nature of a star is to shine.
To laugh until you can hardly see,
To love thunderously,
To cry,
To grab your own two thighs in your own two hands, and squeeze.

Permission granted to feel,
To be intimately acquainted with the full spectrum of sensation
Flowing through you:
This is your inner guidance.

Permission granted to move through the material world however best suits you:
Step out in stilettos
or combat boots or ballet slippers or clogs,
Shave your head or rock pink foam rollers,
Scrub your face with Ivory or slap on the latest MAC Viva Glam.

You get to decide and define your own divinity,
Your own feminism,
Permission granted to change your mind.
Permission granted to receive.

Permission granted to be ever more expansive,
To be a gracious providence to your own truth,
To be reunited with your intuition,
She’s waiting to meet you,
Let the glorious courtship begin.
rachelkannbiopic

TEDx Poet Rachel Kann is a modern-day mystic: irreverently reverent and exuberantly human. She’s a Write Club Los Angeles champ and resident writer for Hevria. Her poetry has been featured on Morning Becomes Eclectic on NPR and as The Weather on the podcast phenomenon, Welcome to Night Vale.

Her poetry and short story collection, 10 For Everything, is available from Orange Ocean Press. Her writing (poetry and fiction) also appears in journals such as Eclipse,Permafrost, Coe Review, Sou’wester, GW Review, Quiddity, and Lalitamba. You can find her work in anthologies including A Poet’s Haggadah, Word Warriors from Seal Press, His Rib from Penmanship Press, and Knocking at the Door from Birch Bench Press.

Her work has received accolades from the James Kirkwood Fiction Awards (short story), Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Awards (micro-fiction), LA Weekly Awards (best supporting actress) Backstage West Garland Awards Critic’s Picks (best supporting actress) and both the audio and video award for the International Slam Idol (poetry).

Rachel was invited to perform her poetry at TEDx UCLA and in Flight 18 (where she was the DJ and Dance Captain at 3LD Technology in New York City. She teaches poetry and fiction workshops through the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.
WEBSITE: http://rachelkann.com http://rachelkann.com

22:30 A.D.

If you could talk to one person from the past/present for one hour, who would it be?

benchbywater

I would take just one hour with you, Dad.

.03 minutes
and memorize your knuckles
and count the pace between your jokes
look at the stance of your earlobes

.18 minutes
allow the electricity to race through my veins as we touch hands
and allow my eyes to connect your pores that capture your
favorite after shave
attach the scent of your breath

.32 minutes
have you explain.
ask you the really tough questions
in this softly short period of time
tell you why I chose this place. next to this tree. I love silver dollar trees.

.45 minutes
answer more. give me more detail. this is when you’ll see yourself. and know I am so much of your explosive hustle.

.58 minutes
and then I’d let you see me cry for the first time ever. for two straight minutes. until your eyes that are mine meet again.

 

07:30 A.D.

womansideways

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’
movin’
grindin’

glossy lipped and eyed
Nike “just do it” wearin’
southern cookin’
Sunday swearin’
county children raisin’

so much
too much

they like ’em like that.