Tag Archives: #poetry

a Meter for Matter

Matter Matters

….

Catch the memories like fishnet

too many to hold in my palm

and too capacious for the thesaurus description

Matter Matters

Now that I carry the tales behind my 100 year old cheekbones

and my cheap heart you repeatedly bought with

sincere laughs

yet made strong with your explosive hustle

Matter Matters

When the matter is your Dad in the wind.

For Kenny, transition 2/20/09

A Poet’s Handbook by Haki Madhubuti

nikkiholdingbookI 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,

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

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

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

those trees are/ours

We have to take back the trees.

Arouse the hyenas to distract the thunder so we can scratch our backs on the blades of grass.

Rub baby powder on the chest of slumber so they can dream pure.  Denounce titles and all this other foolery you have adopted to be our family structure. 

That silence is not mine!  I am the threatening crashes of waves you belittled to sand. Because… because I believed them too.  I bought the lemonade recipes and choreographed a dance to sour times.  Framed my “S” shirt for company to count the stripes I’ve endured and marvel at brown brave.  Outside of ourselves we have once again been led to puppetry.  And I hate you too.

This is not us.  There is no book.  Only 81 of those songs are ours.  Come unprepared with bread so we can dip away the excess.  It is me.  Re-member…

Listen to him no more.  Let her voice be of distant space.  We have to take back the trees, we have to take back the trees.