Amiri Imamu Baraka
Poet Laureate, Playwright, Speaker, Activist
Their words inspire internationally. Boldly illustrate the colors of political change and voices options in curing our societal ills. Our fractured diction has been preserved through early works of Sonia Sanchez’s, “We a baddDDD People“. Maya Angelou spoke honestly for being sexually irresponsible as she grew to conquer her mystery as a woman in “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie“. And Ntozake Shange and June Jordan re-defined the writing style known as prose with lengthy poetic pieces. These two could quite easily and possibly be credited for the birth of “performance poetry.” I dare say we unanimously agree that these women join the ranks of men who taught us through their works the tools to envelop a devoted love for our community, children, and self love. Now, as I take on ownership of their continued path, I get lost for direction when it comes to being a selfless artist and balancing a successful relationship simultaneously. They didn’t write that down for me! Is it perhaps because they are all divorced and never remarried themselves? Do they know the answer? So… I wanna’ talk about it…
Why are all my sheroes single?
I have not found the poem or story that tells me how to be a vulnerable artist for a voice of people and then sincerely transform into his confidante and lover. The consistent downfall of my relationships are me not being afforded the space and freedom I need to be an artist. The process is very selfish and my partners understand that only 45% of the time. The other 55% is spent with their conscious or unconscious repeated attempts of trying to get to the root of my creative power. If I can’t practice my art with the space I need, I’m half a person. Which means he’ll only be getting half too, then we’re both unhappy and it ends.
sky readers / moon believers
before the sunrise prayers
Wisdom Born Mamas sew star, sun, earth, heart shaped
quilts to warm babies
and free souls
hearing from the wind when to hang ’em
high on the clothes line
Before rooster crow / before master know
patterns on quilts mapped out which way to go
to wade in the water
Missing Rifle / Missing Woman.
**Dedicated to the courage of Harriet Tubman and the slaves and quakers that made quilts and hung them to slyly map the way to freedom**
She say for her family
she do what she can
when in reality it be for her man
who wants another mother like her son
so she wipe both they asses / and then her tears cause it be from the same shit
too tired more / more tired than / her mother who
taught her how to stay
who lived and died the same way
the palm reader etched on her palm.
now that she know,
she can remain calm
when he comes to bed
smelling like fuck nut and dried saliva
he’ll say it’s all in her head
so she close her eyes and have nightmares
of forever being a fool.
from the poetry book, Pocket Honey Wind & Hips
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
There’s something intensely intimate about cooking a meal for a man
then having him hold your hand across the table and say / grace.
In between the “I love you’s”
this is how we reconnect:
I straddle and clutch on to him
for my dear life and he /
recharges himself inside of me with all I have to offer / then
me and my man we go out and change
from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips
“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.” -Toni Morrison
As a young girl, my mother had to chose what utilities she would keep on and which ones she would let go to keep my sister, brother and I fed and clothed. Phone service NEVER made the “stay on” list and gas service was optional during summer months. Cable television was not discussed in my home because we only had two televisions and they were black and white. (yes, color televisions were available and no I won’t tell the year or my age). My escape was reading. The easiest series of books to find in sequential collections at thrift stores at the time were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. And I read them all! Continue reading a Higher Re-Education Program (Writer’s Edition)
The merlot on my tongue
won’t allow me to speak.
I stain my pillow with attached prayers of something
betwixt the Ghana of my mane.
I walk with a cane looped to my belt to beat a fall
design distance from cerebral lessons
I wear tight shoes to ensure carefully calculated steps
and disavow chances and dances with love.
taken from the book:
She left this morning.
conveniently smooth like tap water /
Promises taped to her right palm for her to befriend the wild with food
She just wanted to be great.
Capsize time and defend her sister and brother
Look her father in the eye with familiar
Write down her Grandmother’s genius words
Learn the earth at the expense of her Grandfather’s back
She came. / throttled tone with soprano cheeks
social as corners
Intimately speaking is how she preferred things
but stories pierced her earlobes
diamonds to shine / hoops to dangle
pages to escape poverty
Like you / she survived through chances
stand offs against never and silence
She left this morning
after a cup of coffee
but prepared these words for you.
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.