21:30 A.D.

slavesonbeach

I forgave my ancestors for not defending the shoreline
and I occupy their transgressions consciously
through poetry
and I know the tears of disclosure from the Creator
so I sit beside you all night and won’t speak
in fear you’ll find me out
or laugh at the songs that escape my vagina and armpits
but I do love you.

 

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the memories in February

My father died in February. Around the 22nd or so. I purposely misplaced the obituary and forgot the date.  It was the year 2008 or 2009. It was such a blur but I know I was living in Atlanta at the time.

He was my biggest fan but I didn’t know. He was consistent with inconsistency. Or maybe it’s “we” were consistent with inconsistency. But usually the child is allowed to blame the parent so I said “he”. We weren’t consistent like the hurricanes that you expect every year. We were more like tornadoes in the south. It can happen but it would be a surprise. Except we never made the news. Not together at least.  So that was the weather of our relationship.

I called in December, around the holidays cause that’s what you’re supposed to do. His girlfriend answered and told me he was dying. They had given him a few months to live. He told me he was dying a few years before that, so I kind of didn’t believe her. I can’t remember where he was or why she answered the phone. But then he picked up and said, “hello”.

dadblog

Continue reading the memories in February

13:30 A.D.

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
of corn
and collards
and courvoisier
point the finger at the sidewalk leaves
and stormed cracked branches
that allow me to conceive a
Soloman like thirst for honesty.

bare trees

Blame it on the trees
the bare December influenced branches that carries
everybody’s voiceless intentions
to a generation searching for a
Messiah.

 

after all

She said all it would take is $10
to sense the spirits around me
and read my future.

voodoowoman

But I tried to tell her it wasn’t me I was worried about

my prayers are blown to the
sunset gray ridden waves
that have washed my wishes and haunts

my prayers are for the
street prophets freestylin’

thinking they showed me love and let me slide
ignorant to the active place of genocide
in his backyard and her bosom.

I pray for abandoned children with two parents

I pray so long sometimes I fall asleep
and dream of the ancestors

I dream of heaven

I pray for women with deep
uterine itches
that only her missing child can scratch.

I pray poets with purpose
plant potent seeds for
progression with poise

I pray the baroque docks
so other poets can simply stop.

I pray this teaches those that know
that they don’t
so we can hold each other.

The incense hypnotized the seconds
as she checked her clock

she ended up
giving me $20.

nikki skies for National Poetry Month

At The River, from the poetry cd “Moody”

“She received the fruit of the rain at the beginning of God’s mouth
and rubbed her belly for a sense of serendipity
you can’t tell me she ain’t fierce the way she always
embarrass you with the truth.”

“Women of warrior blood
a ritual of stares for superiority
and one word never needs to be spoken

It’s in her eyes
that reflect a promised lake of fire
to toss her divided soul
that pulls at her like a chariot with two head strong horses.”

learning audacity

image
(my autographed copy of “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni”)

I was introduced to Nikki Giovanni through the poem, “Ego Tripping”

“I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended
except by my permission”

“I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels”

I was maybe a senior in high school when I found Giovanni through this poem at my local library. And I remember the embarrassed feeling I got after I read the poem. I thought…”who is this woman bragging on herself?” “who does she think she is to be referencing herself a Queen and being the mother to Hannibal and Noah?” I remember it felt great but it was also foreign. I almost didn’t want to be caught reading it.

What I realize now is that may have been my first time being introduced to an African American feminine narrative.
The poem wasn’t about doors or boats from Robert Frost.
The poem wasn’t about hope and feathers from Emily Dickinson.
It wasn’t the blues from Langston Hughes.
It wasn’t Walt Whitman or Anne Sexton or Paul Lawrence Dunbar…
or my beloved Maya Angelou and her Caged Bird…

Nikki Giovanni was the first time I read an African American woman refer to herself as beautiful and being directly connected to all things beautiful in the art world of poetry.

I remembering sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle at the library and reading the poems in her book and imagining a Tennessee cloud looking like cotton candy… women being judged for the length of their Sunday school dresses… summer love… and even to this day when someone mentions her name… it makes me smile and remember meeting her in the library that afternoon.

When I walked across the Pettus Bridge in Selma for the 50th anniversary earlier this year, Rev. Al Sharpton said something in a sermon that struck a cord with me. He said, “We praise our dead and condemn the living.” It made me want to acknowledge everyone that has served as inspiration to me before they left this planet!

So today, I acknowledge Nikki Giovanni! I speak her name for inspiring me and making me feel so embarrassingly, wonderful and warm about myself one afternoon at the library 🙂 The audacity of learning from poetry!

I am a lover of perseverance. I am folklore. I am consistency and contradiction.

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