Tag Archives: #feminism

“Reverse Opinions” a poem for Rebel Yell

You call me angry
But you, have a million ways to hate me
So this isn’t anger / this is my confused face.

these lines on my forehead are
glass ceilings / eulogies / sexism and sermons
these lines are 400 year old collection notices
these lines are me not wanting to compete for every corner of my existence
this isn’t anger.
this is proper placement privilege
this is / been here    done that    and steady grinding
this is you mistaking me swallowing whole fruit for breasts
this is my lipstick protecting my smile when I kiss the moon at night
it’s not magical all days
sometimes I can’t abracadabra away feeling… “other”
sometimes it’s real survival tactics needed
these lines remind me where I hid bail money
where I’m safe to unbraid my fears and wash my past
this is an emotion you can’t repeat
cause you damn sure duplicate everything else about me
but this isn’t anger.
this is for my pushed back knuckles from
fighting traffic, hunting for low gas prices, scrimmaging through too ripe produce in my local grocery store,  you know / regular stuff
this isn’t anger
this is me demanding you stop displaying to the world there are exceptions to me being human
being woman / being protected /  be-ing loving / be-ing loved.
this is I don’t want the crime solved 30 years from now when the killer is probably in my breathing space

I’m not supposed to be offended when you call me angry?
But you,   -have a million ways to hate me
this isn’t anger.
this is my stay ready face. – by Nikki Skies for “Rebel Yell” on BET.com
rebelyellowbckground

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20 observances i’m taking into 2016

Well, 2015 is wrapping up here folks and there are some things I want to share along my many discoveries and self reflections.  Here we go:

  1. The power of blogging. – Blogging has to be better than buying a website these days!  Blogging is like your own personal newspaper or public journal that links you to like minds.  The connections I have met on wordpress have culminated into several speaking engagements and book sales around the world.  Unlike social media sites, a blog requires work.  You have to put in a decent and consistent amount of writing time and you must network with the audience you are trying to reach.  Building this comradery can yield amazing results!   Your Facebook friends/followers WILL NOT SUPPORT your work on a level that allows you to pay a bill or two.
  2. The saying, “Write what scares you” is true. – You take a chance with ordering a new dish at a restaurant.  You take a chance in new relationships.  So take a chance with writing the stories you are afraid to be linked to.  The subject matter of my novel, The Town Dance, has frightened me for years.  At readings, I speak about what I had to confront on a personal level for me to write characters with depth and meaning.  Characters that ‘belonged’ in the story and not just placed there to move the chapters forward.  The Town Dance has had an amazing year!  In addition, my play, Hope’s Return, handles the subject matter of women in the military, a crime committed on base, the government cover-up and a small town African American family dealing with the mental illness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I took a chance with this material and it has paid off as big as I had imagined in my dreams.
  3. I like living in Atlanta.  I must admit, it took over six years for it to happen but there are a lot of opportunities in the arts.  Perhaps in the sense that there is still work that needs to be done for diversity within nationalities, gender and age. (then again, that’s probably everywhere!)  The art funding is definitely geared toward younger poets who are taught slam poetry and older Caucasian writers. The quote, “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re art”, took me a looooong time to accept that.  But over the past 13-15 months I have grown to like Atlanta.
  4. Acknowledgement of women writers still needs to be written in art and historical culture/documentation.  Even the critical and independent male thinking minds are blind to this, or conveniently accept this part of patriarchy.  A recent example I saw of this, there was a Black Lives Matter banner created that spelled out the names of the victims fallen from murder by the hands of the police and only one woman was listed.  Instead of researching women to include, the list repeated with the male names.
  5. African American art is viewed as sociology or psychology instead of art.  Instead of being asked on various creative decisions I made for my art, I was asked questions like, “is this due to your community?” “is this a result of your upbringing?”  After reading more on the basic history of African American literature in western culture, the sensitivity of critique or criticism is still not where it should be as the literary giants before me have written the same observances.
  6. There is a desperate need for black book stores for all of the above reasons.
  7. There is a desperate need for African American book review groups/circles for all the above reasons. (Story Sellers Book Reviews coming soon!)
  8. The personal positivity movement has turned into a sensationalistic  movement that is cultivating a strew of motivational speakers and life coaches.  It is imperative for people to understand that avoiding or becoming addicted to a fantasy life of no turmoil stunts growth.  In addition, naming life’s detours ‘negativity’ instead of lessons and self reflection stops/halts life.
  9. Ph.D’s do not hold the same creed they once did. Experience and activism can get you on the same panel discussions as PhD’s and persons in academia. In fact, trust is built through personal testimony versus book study (new age wave expectations); same as travel expert equals trusted experience. I believe their in depth studies are still imperative but the panels and workshops I observed over the past year in regards to art activism and community social activism had very few PhDs.
  10. The poetry audience is gone. No matter where I traveled, the audience was a unanimous crowd of other poets.  The study of poetry 101 has been replaced with being a champion or being on a ‘winning team’.   Poetry is seen as entertainment instead of art.  In my opinion, the communication aspect is absent from the art form and it is a strategic political move.

Continue reading 20 observances i’m taking into 2016

BIBLIOGRAPHY for Cal State LA! THANK YOU

Thank you to the Cross Cultural Center at Cal State Los Angeles for allowing me to share my artistic journey with writing my novel, The Town Dance.   I was pleased to meet with the students and encourage all the writers in the room.

As I discussed while I was there, as a writer, it is imperative to maintain an active bibliography.  Reading is the BEST writing prompt to keep you active.  Your bibliography should keep you abreast of the writers in your genre and in tune with what your audience is interested in.  Keep in mind, it does not have to be novels you are reading.  It can be a book of poetry, your favorite magazine or reading through your favorite blog.

In regards to our conversation today, I want to share more of the books and authors that were vital resources and tools as I wrote The Town Dance and some literary works I re-visit to study for my writing journey:

Absolutely anything by SONIA SANCHEZ, BELL HOOKS

“Homeade Love” by J. California Cooper

“In Search of Our Mother’s Garden by Alice Walker

“Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Ann Collins

“Salt” by Nayyirah Waheed

“But Some of Us Are Brave: All The Women are White, All the Blacks are Men; Black Women’s Studies by Aksasha Gloria Hall

In addition, the organizations I referenced were RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape).

If you weren’t able to pick up a copy of The Town Dance you can do so here 🙂  Thank you again and keep reading and writing!

Speak on Love,

Nikki Skies

New Author Listing

Greetings All!

It is great to be included in a listing with other authors! Check it out:

Women of the African Diaspora

Black Female Authors

Get your copy of my new novel, The Town Dance, today!

Purchase an Autographed Copy!

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase the Kindle Edition

TDcoveronly

My name is Nikki Skies, I am an emotional writer…

AUTHOR’S NOTES from the novel, The Town Dance

Almost 15 years ago, I worked the front desk at a company, with another woman, as the assistants to the director. We both knew this was a passing job for us so we formed a bond and created a friendship through recapping our favorite television shows from the night before, bringing in leftovers and sharing recipes, covering when the other was going to be late for work and of course discussions on relationships. She almost immediately shared with me she was gay, yet we found what we had in common and became friends. One Monday, while enjoying our coffee and getting the office ready for business, we shared our mutual relationship updates from the weekend and she shared something she immediately regretted.

She told me she had been with her girlfriend and before she could stop the words she said, “I told her no, I did, but she’s so strong.” I stopped what I was doing to ask her for clarification but when our eyes met, her stare was already frozen in time. Even though it was a quick 3-5 second glare, her eyes told me an entire conversation she did not want to have. I heard her correct. I heard her say, “I told her no, I did.” From previous discussions I knew they used sex toys and she said shared with me once that her girlfriend, “hurts her” during intercourse. But this time, there was not going to be a discussion. Her words did an accidental escape and her expression was a mixture of frightened, embarrassed and please don’t make me repeat it. She turned towards her computer and the morning went by unusually quiet. We started speaking again just in time for our lunch break and we routinely ordered the Monday special from the diner across the street, tuna melts on rye bread.

I had this plummeting feel in my stomach all day. I was angry, very angry at her girlfriend for hurting her. I was annoyed I didn’t have the courage to gather words of support. And I felt so powerless. Who else was she going to tell that her girlfriend raped her? Her mother and sisters didn’t accept her life and her choice in a partner alienated her from a lot of her friends. The closest we every spoke about it again was when she broke up with her a few weeks later. She gave an awkward smile and said, “Now that’s a story for you!” But that story would take some years for me to write. I had to get to a place where I no longer needed permission from my fears to write it.
___________________________
I know… interesting right?… True story that took me almost 15 years to get comfortable enough to write. She and I are still friends and even after her knowing I finally turned those emotions I felt into a novel, we have not discussed “it”.

Based on real emotions I never forgot. The Town Dance, a novel…

You can pre-order from Kindle at
The Town Dance on Kindle

or, pre-order your autographed paperback copy at *(unfortunately, I am not shipping internationally at this time)*

Autographed paperback of The Town Dance

**A link to order directly from Amazon will be available next week**