Tag Archives: brad walrond

SHE CHRONICLES: the way She, a poem by Brad Walrond

Look the way she cares her self
The way her self

Cares and makes room

For grace
For power
For forgiveness

Look how she holds her own throne
Inside her body—

the way her spirit sits up high the way
her legs enable her standing

the way her belly follows the moon the way her
mind weighs the Worlds that depend upon her spine

Look see how she rules the World
She embraces

with time.

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Brad Walrond is a poet, author, activist, and mixed-media performance artist born in Brooklyn, New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad received his MA in Political Science from Columbia University and his poetry has been published in the New York Times, African Voices, Moko Magazine, and Eleven Eleven. His first collection of prose and poems every where alien will be published on Moore Black Press later this year. Follow him @bradwalrond on instagram and facebook.

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When We Arrived presents: Twist the Honey Jar by Brad Walrond

Great sex moves time out of place
Metronomes shift into fibrillate
Hell No! I am not breathing
right now!
Focused: if only I could unravel
the stardust and rainbow rolled-up
in the back of my head

eye lash @ any living thing on its way back out
Can you see this shit?
Ran into a flock of bees up in there
falling in to stars in search of your pollen
STAY! RIGHT! THERE!
I’m on my way back back to the honey jar
twist. See? We stickin’ to it—stickin’ through it
Like we got wings strapped ‘round our waist—
hover in to each other until we find
the guts to breathe again—
the balls to open our eyes again and
make believe…

Make believe!
the dark nest we just loved our way through
wasn’t the Got damn light of the world!
Make pretend that tunnel was not our vision and
that friction! did not make our earths quake
into a trillion spasms of too little time
Ticked off at how easily we lost track
On our way back home passing through middle earth
We stuck to our own rhythms all the way there
until we shook
the hand of G_d and
She He Whomeover
made us believe
in a heaven carved of
sheets and sweat and wet and perfect perfect peace!

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BIO

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 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. He is more than just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.

http://www.bradwalrond.com

When We Arrived presents: banished! a poem by Brad Walrond

banished!
to the junkyard of the Gods

i will build my temple there
inside a sanctuary of words
raw material
scrap and metal

i have stolen the steel of God
And tucked it in
the whetted inside cheek
of a humbled tongue.

Dear God Help! Me
if i ever get the opportunity
i will pay for these words with my life

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BIO
“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.

http://www.bradwalrond.com

When We Arrived Presents: man banter a poem by Brad Walrond

i’ve grown weary! of the primate banter
i will not! let every anxious moment off-script
fill up with that obstreperous man-chat chat clang
an impervious silence carved out of left over testosterone
chock full of sports nuts girls and cars and ass

reflex is devoid of reflection high on habit

i need to hear you finally unzip—
drop that brief Boxer façade.
chances are you are not a pugilist

in your real life.

you have the kidnapped print of weeks if not years
of anguish and uncertainty folded into your brow
your ego choked soul will not be convinced
of the love your wife has so long professed
behind your hyphenated name

there is misery and insecurity and
a terror long and standing
that you! yes even? you!
have made all the wrong decisions
in your man made breast
you! long for touch and tender—
a whole replacement for that unuttered heaviness.

tell! me! all your god damned secrets please!
shit! i will tell you mine first
lest we wallow incarcerated forever
in that gender isolated prison
with racy calendars on all our walls
and no release date in sight
for the men we wish we had become

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BIO

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 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. He is more than just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.

http://www.bradwalrond.com

When We Arrived asks, “What can poetry teach us about life?” with Brad Walrond

Who inspires you to be a better poet?

The most venerable and dearly missed Amiri Baraka inspires me every day to become a better poet. Two words come to mind when I think of Amiri: Craft and Courage. He was a relentless and prolific craftsmen. We as Black contemporary poets owe him a portion of every word we will ever speak write record or publish. As a poet once you have surrendered your words to your craft and its urgent and unending demand for excellence and refinement you are well on your way. But still there are many excellent poets who in ways large and small have not had the courage to follow their conviction into the costly controversial arenas their words wished to have taken them.

Amiri wrote fearlessly. He told it like it is at great risk to himself and others. We are all the better for his sacrifice. I pray everyday I will be as brave.

What can poetry teach us about life?

Poetry teaches me to practice my purpose every single day. God has asked of each and every one of us to make the most out of what little we have.

bradbiopic

BIO

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 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. He is more than just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.

http://www.bradwalrond.com

When We Arrived presents: born black a poem by Brad Walrond

History. born. black.
conscious. beautiful.
it was hot. down. there.
fresh out a Gods oven.
we was kneaded.
bred. humble from heaven

bradbiopic

“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.

Gifts for Mother Maya by Brad Walrond (Part II)

I was wholly unprepared for this Maya who wrote the Blues. I suddenly felt the down home Delta Blues everywhere in her work—the syncopation embedded in her lyrical style and in the movement of her phrases from line to line. Now I was absolutely hooked. I know everyone doesn’t like the Blues. But what man on earth cannot understand a Blues lyric. The power of the Blues is in its simplicity; it latches onto the utterly human lust for something—anything—better when faced with an unrequited ambition.

The courage of Maya’s confession played the front man in her Blues band. The more I read the more I was forced to re-imagine her as she walked up to the microphone all regal and southern like a black church lady. Then she got to telling her testimony and I could feel the honky tonk in the fresh sweat glistening on her brow. Like here in an excerpt from the signature poem from her Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? collection:

Evicted from sleep’s mute palace,/ I wait in silence/

for the bridal croon;/ your legs rubbing insistent/

rhythm against my thighs,/ your breast moaning/

a canticle in my hair./ But the solemn moments,/

unuttering, pass in/ unaccompanied procession./

You whose chanteys hummed/ my life alive, have withdrawn/

your music and lean inaudibly/ on the quiet slope of memory.

I’m not entirely sure I was ready to see the venerable Dr. Maya Angelou this way. But this Maya was a poetic genius. Her steady unrelenting persistence that only the cleanest and most unadorned words follow behind and make up the ground her defiant truth-telling had so desperately prepared made me into a wanton fan. Long before the advent of Oprah Winfrey and well before it was honorable for women of any stripe especially African-American women to speak publicly about the terror and shame induced by rape and incest and prostitution Maya told us her story. Maya’s story was complex. She was not only a victim of white racism but she was made to be a victim at the hands of her own Black uncle and the neglible parenting exhibited by both of her very African-American parents. Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Brad Walrond (Part II)

Gifts for Mother Maya by Brad Walrond (Part I)

Call me dumb! But The Maya Angelou I knew in the 90s was more like a particularly well-spoken television personality. It was more like I had an attachment to the comfort I felt when I heard her voice. I vaguely remember excerpts of her breakout autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. For some truly great artists TV’s penchant for 10-second sound bites and 30-second clips has the odd effect of turning down the bling on their otherwise stellar and legendary career. I knew she was really good friends with Oprah Winfrey and that young black girls especially loved her because of those cutesy self-esteem poems like Still I Rise and Phenomenal Woman. I feel like I’ve heard those poems one time too many at a graduation ceremony somewhere or at a Sunday School children’s recital.

But reading her work—particularly her poetry collections—whatever I thought about Maya Angelou changed. I quickly found out Maya is absolutely a wordsmith of the highest order. I will not say everything she wrote was golden. I will say as a writer she’s worthy of far more street cred than I previously thought. Anyone who believes her literary legacy can be reduced to the stylized limerick of a positive-thinking performance coach either simply has not truly read her work or they have completely misunderstood how precisely and purposefully she deployed her gift.

First Maya Angelou was an activist to the bone. Remember this is the woman both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X personally charged with significant leadership roles in their respective organizations at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

A writer’s best defense is their own words. As soon as I started reading her very first book of poems, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie I kind of had to let go of the deified Sunday morning image I had stuck in my head. She always reminded me of one of the church mothers on the usher board. In her poem A Zorro Man she writes: Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Brad Walrond (Part I)