Amiri Imamu Baraka
Poet Laureate, Playwright, Speaker, Activist
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.
from the book, “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”
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’
glossy lipped and eyed
Nike “just do it” wearin’
county children raisin’
they like ’em like that.
nikki skies from the book “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”
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
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 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.
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
i am broken reborn
broke is a fixed state
they tell me my wounds are lessons in healing
i cry because
it sure does not feel like it
i cry because
i am ever a wound in progress
a wound with a past tense
a slim jagged future in sight
this scar is a ruse
and i cry in ink because my tattoos
are all i have left to prove
i was here
“The voice is where the magic begins. It is with this sound that the spell is spoken and sent across the universe.” ~ Brad Walrond
Poet, writer, performer and activist Brad Walrond was born in Brooklyn New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad began writing and performing at the age of 24 when he was asked to participate in a theatrical production curated by the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte.
Shortly thereafter Brad discovered a thriving community of artists, writers and performers at the Sunday Tea Party at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn. The Tea Party was an instrumental incubator as Brad honed his craft soon becoming one of the foremost writers and performers of the Black Arts Movement of ‘90s. It was at the Tea Party and other venues like the Brooklyn Moon Café, the Nuyorican Poets Café and numerous venues in and around NYC that Brad had the pleasure of sharing the stage with renowned writers, poets and artists including Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, legendary actress/writer Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Mos Def, Liza Jesse Peterson, Universes (Then: Mildred Ruiz, Stephen Sapp, Flaco Navaja and Lemon Anderson) and Craig “muMs” Grant.
Brad’s creative voice is rooted in an activist tradition. While pursuing his creative path Brad also served as Assistant to the National Program Director of Pathways to Teaching Careers and as Director of Education at FACES—the historic non-profit in Harlem New York first to respond to the HIV pandemic targeting at-risk populations of color.
Brad received his BA at the City College of New York and received a full scholarship to pursue is doctoral studies in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. Brad’s battle with major depression upended his studies and he chose to pursue an alternate career in the culinary arts. Brad has had the privilege to cook at some of the finest world-class kitchens in New York City.
For nearly a decade, due to a demanding work schedule, and a persistent depression Brad became disconnected from his creative voice. Fortunately with what he attributes to much prayer, perseverance and professional medical care Brad has found his way back to the rich echoes of his creative voice.
The voice is to a poet what point of view is to a visual artist. It is your signature footprint on the creative landscape. Brad has returned with fervor to his prodigious creative terrain and is claiming his rightful place in it. He has been missed. He is more then just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.
Blame it on the trees if you thought
I’d continue to campaign for his dreams
and live off his land of fear verbed chatter.
Cause he’s not what he should be after all these seasons
point the finger at the sidewalk leaves
and stormed cracked branches
that allow me to conceive a
Soloman like thirst for honesty.
Blame it on the trees
the bare December influenced branches that carries
everybody’s voiceless intentions
to a generation searching for a