Tag Archives: #freedom

Missing Rifle / Missing Woman (for Harriet Tubman)

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sky readers / moon believers
before the sunrise prayers
Wisdom Born Mamas sew star, sun, earth, heart shaped
patterns on
quilts to warm babies
and free souls
hearing from the wind when to hang ’em
high on the clothes line
Before rooster crow / before master know
patterns on quilts mapped out which way to go
to wade in the water
Missing Rifle / Missing Woman.

**Dedicated to the courage of Harriet Tubman and the slaves and quakers that made quilts and hung them to slyly map the way to freedom**

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harriette tubman

from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips

 

learning audacity

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(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 ūüôā The audacity of learning from poetry!

50 Years Ago Today

On this day 50 years ago, one of the greatest leaders this world has every known, delivered his last speech.  Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today.

Here is a snippet of his last speech, “I Have Been To The Mountaintop”:

on Urgent Avenue

like when,
you can’t¬†sleep until Friday night’s party upchucks out of your system
you have to get it out

when you understand the sunset songs of the locusts,
the patchwork of honeycombs
and the bend of grass blades point you to the direction
of Going Way, Wait No More Lane or Urgent Avenue

it’s natural for,
people to reach through fire
pray to moving clouds
wrestle with concrete
and climb flag poles

because this keeps the lights on
the corn liquor golden
the heart pumping
don’t put the fire out

fan the flames.
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for Bree Newsome

water the trees today.

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You don’t have to take a literacy test.

You don’t have to take a brown paper bag test.

You won’t be followed to the polling place by klansmen in sheets.

Give thanks.¬† Thank you Medgar.¬† Thank you Fannie Lou.¬† Thank you Freedom Summers.¬† Thank you Bob Moses.¬† Thank you to so many people and souls…

I choose to be a gardener today and make the ground and trees proud by Voting.

She Isn’t Who Appears

You can smile in the face of opposition when you know they are simply there because of a prayer being manifested.  And the yang of the situation is whatever their mission is.  When you remove yourself, detach from emotions, this very moment is what you asked for.  It is what you have imagined in your head, it is what you need.

I announced months ago to friends and family that I would be leaving the field of executive management.  In my journal I write what I want, I meditate these words to white candles and at the gym on the stair climber I imagine what I want.  I have to accept everything that appears in my life from this moment forward is needed to get me there.  Perhaps it will serve me as food or maybe a tack that stuck my in the side to help me later post a reminder message to myself.  Right now,  it has come in the form of another manager on her journey and ours have crossed.

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She stands around 5’8 with horribly applied eye makeup.¬† Hair to no particular season or fashion.¬† We’ll call her Ms. Eyeliner.¬† Ms. Eyeliner¬†can be labeled as a control freak or even incredibly insecure.¬† She is¬†known to be vindictive.¬† She leaves her family every week to work with a group of women who could care less of her conversation or existence.¬† And she has it out for me.¬† Or does she?¬† In the moment of things, emotions attached, one can concretely feel this way and express it.¬† In silence I wonder if my father sent her?

Continue reading She Isn’t Who Appears

Mind Mob

Years ago, when I began to read about the ancient African¬†science of yoga and study Buddhism, there were exercises I practiced to silence my inner chatter.¬† I remember two of these exercises¬†specifically.¬† One¬†being to smile at everyone I come in contact with and the other was to give compliments.¬† I remember being hesitant on doing these because I didn’t want to be looked at as ‘weird’ and¬† because up until that point I felt like people needed to earn my trust or friendly demeanor.¬† My inner chatter told me¬†that I have to put someone through the fire to share in my happiness and I had to struggle with them on almost every emotional realm before I could enjoy them.¬† Wow!¬† What was I thinking?

At the time, I was working at a bank in downtown Los Angeles.  On a daily basis, I came in contact with high profile persons with  only a short amount of time to do business.  They were usually very canalized with stern body language and no eye contact.  No matter how good of a work out at the gym I had the day before or the healthy meal I cooked the night before, after eight hours of discourteous interaction, I would behave the same way.  I would initiate road rage!  I created stress as soon as I left the office!  I would run to the elevator and stand by the control panel to be the first one out so I could beat the traffic coming out of the parking garage.  When I finally calmed down in the evening to write or bring out my creative side, it was time for me to go to bed and start the madness all over again.

Continue reading Mind Mob