Another documentary on the color complex of African Americans, once again… necessary.
I finally saw where you ran. I finally saw where you climbed. I rode on the freeway you slept.
I saw your cobble mixed streets and humidity strangled window panes
the markings on your porch remain / your neighbor remain refrained from returning
and we partied on Bourbon Street.
I saw how you thought it’d be safe to stay / I saw where the levee gave way
…the Mississippi lived up to her name, Mighty.
like yellow stained teeth from coffee and smoke / I saw
the flood stains that remain against your doors and fences and house panels
up to 6 feet / too deep for grandmother and her 55 year old niece
and we partied on Bourbon Street.
and I saw the roofs where you climbed / the shot gun houses with attic crawl space
for the young to cling to who were small and few
I know how you pray / so I know you thought it’d be safe to stay
forgive us for not pouring some spirits on the streets for your soul of mind.
9th Ward, I Saw You. I saw where you met Katrina.
inspired by a New Orleans visit 6/2013 -copyright nikki skies 2013
As clear and high standing
as that evening table chandelier
be that woman’s candle of insecurities if she be
pssssttt at again / or danced about to a funky beat
And then this woman / who agreed it would be ok to die quickly
if she could be beautiful for just 10 years
no vegan / no fast
keeping everything out help her skin stick to her bones at last
caged inside foul swallowed down upchoke
she dare not speak out in skin cancer’s name
cause she don’t like her skin tone either
but she agreed it was okay to die quickly if she could be
beautiful for just / 10 years.
Even though I love my mama to re-birth and heavens
some love the white woman enough to vacuum out the fats that God gave
to protect the baby in the womb and the hips to carry them bye bye.
But we continue to eye each other down
cause you’re sick and tired of me and my sister girl walk / like
I’m sick and tired of you and your valley girl talk
now / we begin to eye down Asians and Latinas but quickly dismiss them from the game
cause this war be ours / black woman against white woman
you love the way I look / I love the way you look
so who said we had to hate eachother?
you love me thick lips / like I love your thin waist
so you shape your new breasts to be as perky as mine
and I straighten my hair like yours time after time
…. if we love each other so much
maybe one day /
I’ll love me enough to help you teach men and the world that you are a
beautiful white woman / short legs, long torso, flat ass, thin lips, thin hair
beautiful / beautiful.
and maybe one day you’ll love you enough
to help me teach men and the world that I am a
beautiful black woman / long legs, short torso, fat ass, thick lips, thick hair
maybe one day / white woman.
excerpt from One Day White Woman copyright 2005 Nikki Skies
left her husband because of his fears
no going for cigarettes or bread story
she simply said,
You keep the banjo and the bed, I’m out!” -for Harriette Tubman by Nikki Skies
You drink moonshine with the honest intentions of getting drunk. Drunk with good memories of thigh slapping laughter and fistfuls of sticky dish candy.
You drink moonshine with grown moments. Not shallow kisses or store bought espresso shots.
You drink moonshine with album covers laid across your living room floor. With cheap candles burning against 24 year old wallpaper inspired by a Barbara Streisand movie. Moonshine is ancient.
You drink moonshine from a frosted green glass, by yourself, upon the smell of the Saturday rain. Get drunk with solitude and independence and darkness and patience. The same way it was brewed away from company.
You drink moonshine with open toe mary janes and slightly chipped purple polish on your big toe. Living fly. With a summer strapless dress wearing a too little bra. Carefree and comfortable. Cause hell, the bra is holding half of ’em in.
Me time. Moonshine brings precise direction of tomorrows paradise and yesterdays error arrows. You drink moonshine in the morning shower with singing alongside the radio.
You pass moonshine times to the ones you love. Hot, steady nights saving on the electricity bill with wet white sheets atop floor fans. Moonshine banjo. Moonshine phone dimes.
You drink moonshine when it’s right
to get it right.
You drink moonshine by yourself, upon the smell of the Saturday rain.
The alarm goes off on your nightstand. You hit the snooze button, stay in the bed and begin to race your entire day through your head. ‘Take a shower, the iron is in the basement so wear something that doesn’t need ironing, wear sandals today (wait, how is your toenail polish?), gloss or lipstick today?’ All these thoughts come to the front of the day and then a knock on your bedroom door… ‘Can I come in? Can we have French toast for breakfast? Can I use your phone charger? Do I have to go to swim class today?’ Now your priorities have shifted once again… and you still aren’t out of the bed.
This is the typical day for any single working mom. And in my case, a writer/artist and newly active aunt of five. My life became guided with demands and needs from other people. I had to abandon my “in the spur of the moment” lifestyle and be more proactive. I now had to plan meals (actually write a grocery list), wash loads of clothes, comb four heads instead of one, add teachers, guidance counselors and coaches to my speed dial and so much more.
I recall one of the first days a cousin of mine volunteered to get everyone out of the house. I sat on the couch and couldn’t think of the first thing to do for myself. I could’ve written two pages worth on what I needed to do for the kids. Believe it or not, it actually took me some time to figure out what I should do with myself while the kids were away and I found myself writing some of my former past times in my journal.
So, when you get that afternoon or evening alone and want to clear your head and escape all of your “to do’s” for everyone else, try these five things to re-member yourself.
(5) Pay back to get back! Be conscious and in the moment and give sincere compliments to total strangers. Their immediate and genuine eye contact with you will be very connecting. Additionally, on the back end you’ll get compliments in return when you least expect it.
(4) Get lost in a bookstore or even the local library. Look through the pages of your favorite authors new book. Pick up a magazine and be entertained with the latest fashions and/or entertainment news.
(3) Find a bench and people watch. You still get a lot of motion around you but you are not involved. Enjoy some ice cream while doing this!
(2) Take a long bath. Make it aromatherapy and add your favorite oil. Pop in your favorite cd to add to your relaxation. And don’t be afraid to put your head under the water!
(1) Call a friend and talk for hours. Share what has been going on in your life and seek advice. And don’t forget to laugh and drop the phone and pick it back up and laugh some more! 😉
This blog was created some two years ago. I had incredible intentions to express myself as an artist and newly formed parent of my nieces and nephews. I wanted to share with other people the newness that I was experiencing and hopefully get some insight as how to handle certain situations. Now, I have been either writing or performing for years now. If I’m not performing then I am writing and vice versa. So the discipline that is needed and where I need to go with myself came easy but what stopped me were the reactions. The consistent and earnest support I began to receive. The love that surrounded my situation.
As an artist, we receive stories from within (the Most High) and they always connect with somebody. And that somebody has been waiting for you and when you arrive they have a genuine love for you. They keep you connected with that unselfish, free feeling. That plentiful emotion with the Most High continues if you deliver the message. So you stay there as an artist. When in fact, you are only delivering the same message to different people and not growing your spirit. Because how dare you change and contradict yourself!
I sat in my theatre performing for years with the same emotions and only got out because I graduated with my degree. I sat in my writings for years with the same emotions and only got out because people began to perform my works without my consent. I then sat in my performance of theatre and poetry for years and only got out through a relationship. I had been a captive to my art for years in fear of growth and because I feared what people would think.
So when people became affianced with my blog and my situation, I stopped. I stopped in fear I would be held accountable to stay in whatever mood I was experiencing at the time. Now being responsible for children, I knew this was not the time to wait around to be saved through a situation or person. I knew I could only come back to my art with an unabashed confidence and a solid buoyancy about myself.
So, here I am. Nikki Skies, author/performer and active aunt of five. No longer afraid to be my perfect companion and grow amongst minutes.
my hand ached. my right hand gripped the pen with mission. I had to write down everything he was telling me. can’t miss a single adjective because I had not been there and he would not be here. /soon
jake or jacque? what tribe in Oklahoma? who is still there? do we have land? where is your mother buried?
‘nik, memorize the smells and sounds’, ok… slight hint of ben gay is embedded on his heating blanket, his body reeks of medicine excreting from every pore, … I smell water…
his face / his face, looks so worried when the doctors enter the room. his eyebrows raise with storyline spaces for someone to hear him until the end. he wants his bible near by and his playstation on the television screen. (some army game, the name escapes me right not) still so tender towards me, he entertains everything except my conversations of him barbecuing in the summertime. he never says it from his mouth, but his eyes tell me / beg me… accept he is leaving soon.
so I write the secrets he kept even from his brothers. I write about the alcoholism. I write about the child abuse. I write about the abandonment. I write about his mother’s beating with a black jack. I write about the robbery. I write about the players ball. I write about the love he never lost for my mother. I write about his fears of being a father to me.
I write about his girlfriend with the snake. I write about Tall Mike. I write about his grandmother’s pet ducks. I write he never speaks of his father. I write he never speaks of the shooting. I write about the look in his eyes when I finally mention his father’s name, Big Kenny. I write about him overcoming paralysis and living a life he loved. I write about his voice cracking when he mentions how often he thought of me. I write the definition of dead beat dad. I write it doesn’t fit him. I write he was afraid I would be mad at him. I write how proud he was of my books and poetry cd. I wrote until after his funeral… then stopped. and cried.
my dad was true to his word and true to his heart. viewed selfish by some but he passed with no fear or regrets. he has given me a great story. he has given me beautiful cheek bones. he has given me a golden smile. he has given me an example to live true to my heart. Kenny the Leo.
Catch the memories like fishnet
too many to hold in my palm
and too capacious for the thesaurus description
Now that I carry the tales behind my 100 year old cheekbones
and my cheap heart you repeatedly bought with
yet made strong with your explosive hustle
When the matter is your Dad in the wind.
For Kenny, transition 2/20/09
I have been asked so often various questions on how a poet is supposed to act, where they are supposed to perform, who they are supposed to support… I answer the question and conclude with, “this is my perspective.” I try to remember my conversations and dialogue with various artists and crowds at educational institutions to be better prepared for these “life of a poet questions”. Recently as I was browsing the shelves of the poetry section of a used book store…
“Run Toward Fear: Poems and a Poet’s Handbook” by Haki Madhubuti
An elder, award winning poet, essayist, educator, founder & publisher of Third World Press and founder of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State. I suppose he too became bombarded with questions from our generation on this art form now once again prominently (cause this ain’t new people!) in the forefront called poetry and wrote words of refreshing encouragement and guidance.
Pick the book up! Writers and performers PERIOD not just poets! I have to share a few things until you get to the bookstore!
“You may not be able to earn a living exclusively as a poet or writer, but if you persist, work hard and nuture your talent; it is almost guaranteed that you will earn a life. To choose to be a “poet” as a professional endeavor is not very high on the preferred or most lucrative career path in our nation, therefore as a poet, you must adhere to a few standard and not so standard rules.”
ONE Learn to run toward fear. Understand that-even with the emergence of performance poetry and poetry slams and the increasing number of individuals who profess to be poets–few people actually read poetry. Understand that although smallminded individuals rule the world, it is always right to question, challenge and hold them accountable for their actions.
TWO Think about, read, and study more poetry than you write.
THREE Repeat number two.
FOUR Minimize the praise given to your poetry from parents, friends, lovers, siblings, spouses, running buddies, cheerleading squads, creditors and former lovers.
TEN Write your truth and you will seldom have writer’s block.
ELEVEN Most people think that they can write poetry. Many of them are right and need encouragement.
THIRTY-NINE Poets must be acutely aware of “fame” which is like a flame in the brain and will cut serious writing potential by 85% and turn most of the poets it consumes into game show participants and other cultural embarrassments.
In total he offers his golden wisdom in 40 rules. I am positive this book will help any writer/poet in their endeavors. I know I will use it as a resource for my performances/lectures!
just passin’ some water along for the ’forever thirsty’!
speak on love,