inspiration confirmation

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I remember the day I got this letter!  I stood in the post office and the world stopped… then I sat in my car and let the world stop again…

I was working on my first play and wanted to use a snippet of Lady in Purple from Ntozake Shange timeless piece, “For Colored Girls…”  Out of all the things she could’ve been doing, out all the business she was tending to, she wrote me a letter of approval.

This letter meant the world to me!  Everyone wants to write the classic piece that can live without them.  And Shange taking the time to read my material and send this letter confirmed I had true passion for this.

I want to inspire someone someday.  Provide that encouragement when they want to run for security to plan B.  I hope to keep them on track to want to perfect their craft and believe in it.

Thanks Ms. Shange,

passing it on…

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Together Again

Her conversations wrapped around hope like a Kentucky porch

dreams drenched in newly released fiction

she pinned her children’s dew to her shoulder pads to stand tall

yet

convinced her eyes to swallow intuition.

She simmered her saucy sway to disappear in his abandonment

But the thunder crashed her calm

and streaked her breath wild and array like cheap paint.

She prayed she hadn’t just birthed her seventh child for the third time

as dubious matter surrounded her conversations with God

and gasps soiled her pillows.

Move

Blue shelled tortoise
caught me crying really hard today
Wrapped in humid cypress tree breath
     / caught me
Ripping through history books trying to remember the beginning of divide and conquer
the meaning of integration

I got the paper cuts to prove it
I was ripping through history books trying to remember
why
was it so important to move out
the hood.
Nikki Skies

Move

Blue shelled tortoise
caught me crying really hard today
Wrapped in humid cypress tree breath
     / caught me
Ripping through history books trying to remember the beginning of divide and conquer
the meaning of integration

I got the paper cuts to prove it
I was ripping through history books trying to remember
why
was it so important to move out
the hood.
Nikki Skies

The best of my Mom, I am taking with Me

She is a first generation city girl. The advantage is she is the beginning. The disadvantage is she is the beginning. No one ahead to show her how to make a sharp turn left or that stop ahead doesn’t necessarily mean to quit. This is the personal genius she created from Mounds City, Arkansas to Kansas City, Mo. The mistakes she hides behind stones in the garden. The best of my mom I am taking with me. Indeed, all of her.

There are parts about her that are silently me and other parts I defy loudly. I am her history and sense of being. We both long to feel we “belong”. She is avid in knowing the parents of her parents parents and when and how and why. I love history. I have always been intrigued with before, the first and alpha. She is an artist. She is a writer and singer. Characters and voices move about in her head. She can differentiate them into various connotations and dictions. She is the inner shell, poked and laughed at. Mocked at for “thinking” she could be a singer. However, she is my outer shell. Protected me from these family discussions that killed dreams and independent thinking.

She signed me up with free modeling lessons at the community center. She helped me with my lines for the black history shows in elementary. She went outside her budget and bought me stickers to visualize my second grade poetry book. She allowed me to pretend and be “Coco” when I needed to escape my reality.

I defy her silence. For never speaking out just keeping me away. Keeping me separate from courage or confrontation. Keeping me safe but not protected.

I am her fear of not trying again. I am her fear of “once burned” so don’t do it again. I live her fears because I was taught to follow someone’s example, literally. I live her fears because I was taught how to live religiously not religiously live. And I was taught how to cope and cover pain and carry brick buildings on my back. At 20 years old I vowed to “not be like her.” Now 20 years after 20 years old, I would be an insane person to not embrace all of what she is… for her to be whole. For her to know I love all of who she is.

With three nieces looking to me and two nephews listening to me, I pray I give them the tools to accept my duality and love me 20 years from now. Love me through my contradiction. Love me past my fears. I pray they continue to break shoddy family traditions, take the best of me and grow themselves closer to God.

roadpic

for You on Our day

I’m with you swaying

standing next to you during that moment of silence

seeking to find me in Martin Luther King, amongst Garvey, between the Panthers so I

collect afros and scraped down

heels from marching

surrounding myself with titties and thighs

cause I know I did something more in the movement than take notes and mix lemonade

Where’s my day?  My stamp?  My park?  My street?

no building/no parade/no libraries

but I know the shoulders I stand on

and today is our day.

 

 

angelaandalice

Wave Jumping

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After hours of wave jumping and being captured and tossed by the tides, the kids are still wrapped in bed sheets and comforters clinging to sleep. I pray the days memories keep them warm and connected. I pray these times sustain a smile in their hearts when they really need one.

I have decided to keep the children here for the summer.  Yes, yes… I will relinquish my silent days and just have my sister come visit them sometime during the summer.  I am buying another home and I just won’t be able to juggle all the tasks that comes with that and getting them ready for school. If you haven’t done the “buying a house” process… it can be a BEAST.

So, I really needed to get away. Originally, my middle niece planned a trip to Chattanooga but then I got an inkling to be on the beach.  We’ve done Savannah twice before, we’ve been to Folly beach in Charleston, SC, and American beach in Amelia Island, Fl. I’ve heard people talk about Panama City Beach, Fl but had never gone. They were excited to go to Chattanooga but the mention of a beach sent them in overdrive! The drive is about five hours out of Atlanta which I told them we would do as an overnighter from Sat morning through Sun early evening. The timeframe didn’t seem to bother them one bit! All they heard was, “out of Atlanta” and “go to the beach”.

Panama City Beach… had beautiful ocean water! You could clearly see the three rip tides of various blue water. Not too crowded and not many children. And parking was easy and free, I like free! I like to eat what the locals eat when I go to a new city but I gotta’ tell ya’, the pickings were slim where we were. We stayed on the hotel strip near highway 231 and shopped and swam on Front Beach Rd. Not too many “local” places to choose from to eat and the one place we went wanted a RIDICULOUS $29.95 for my nephew and myself only! (I had them stop after that quote so I don’t what the cost for the girls would’ve been.)

We went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the kids enjoyed some go kart racing and an adventure with a haunted house. The haunted house will be a separate hilarious story for another blog! They SHUT IT DOWN! Literally… THREE TIMES! (hahahahahaha!)

Anyway, being with the water was just what this single aunt/mom needed! Some time away from my routine city and quality time with the sun. Visions of my communication and relationship building with them became more clear. A summer bucket list for me became even more clear. Beach ballin’ on a budget, ask me about it 😉

How to Grow Air

she was in my shadow. the shadow of an overachiever. she rebelled because of that/because of me.

you came in 1993, in the morning.  the winter snow had not yet come but scarves accompanied our turtle neck shirts.  you may have brought about the first time we communicated, your mom and me.  or shall I say, she listened to my advice.  better than that, she asked for my advice.  she asked what should she name you.  I was in my senior year of undergrad and I sent her a list of names that I thought would be different and memorable.  she chose Tajh Jelani, (Prince Almighty).  why?  because it’s easier for God to find you with a name like that.  ashe.

I remember seeing you in the nursery.  you were the only baby not crying and looking around at every noise you heard.  I couldn’t wait to hold you.  I couldn’t wait to show you off to everyone.

I wanted to make sure you knew where love lived.  I wanted to show you how to grow air.  I wanted to make the world appear like sugar for you to place in your pocket.  new places to eat, activities outside of our neighborhood… I wanted you unafraid.

creating an everyday home with you was nothing like our 40 days of summer we were routine to.  you were now 15, with experiences of your own.  some I will never know.  ask God how much I prayed.  ask God how purposeful they were.

fear stole my sleep when I realized my words were no longer reaching your altitude of 6′ and then some.  but you would stand there because you knew something would stick. you now had discernment. your eyes were begging I could reach your soul as I did when you were younger.  you were a young man, living with his aunt, and younger brother and three younger sisters.  in a different city.  ask God how purposeful my prayers were.  ask God how I asked to find a way to reach you.

20 years old.  ask God how purposeful my prayers are now that you have moved out.  now that your darker skin has given you doubt.  now that your natural leadership serves you alone.  Almighty Prince, keep your eyes open amongst all the noise.  remember, your life extends outside your neighborhood.  I always have a pillow for you.  your name makes it easier for God to find you so pray.

call me if you forget how to grow air.

tajhwithglasses2

love ya,

aunt nikki

Girlfriends

girlfriendart

If I could take a moment and tell you how I still hated me after the

nights of building / and black power audio tapes

maybe you’ll understand

why I anchored your blues / and never questioned your intelligence.

Allow me to explain how being fitted your friend

meant cooking link sausages to connect us with nothing more than / flesh&bones

Ascension not attainable to neither one of us who recognized and loved

a good argument

some hot gossip.

My cotton pillow ironically enslaved my thoughts on what could have / should have

been said                                                 sorry

I stepped from the ship to walk the land. Girlfriends

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

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