Tag Archives: #spoken word

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)

Soulmates by Yawo Watts

I think tonight we should sit with the
think about this love we share so
I’ve been
living and loving is
my sunshine awakens
connects me with my real true
ignite my nights and dazzle my
rewrite destiny in just one
love maybe the only power worth
makes every hour
I’m living worth every hour
to love
someone’s been smiling down on
waiting patiently as we realized we’ve gone beyond
fate is discovering what’s best for
if you ask me I’ll tell you I meet my fate when we became open actively
in love
two kindreds from the same
twin spirits who share the same


When did you know you were a poet?

I first knew I was a Poet from my best friend in High school.  I use to write raps all the time, and she would challenge me to write something nice. That’s when I wrote my first poem.  It was titled “Beautiful.” I wish I still had it.  It explored beautiful as a feeling.  I was so amazed at he reaction she thought it was simply, Beautiful.

How important is accessibility of meaning for a poem?

I think that it is extremely important as a Poet for the audience to receive the message in which we are conveying. Poetry is the language of the emotions. It is our job as artist to articulate these thoughts, feelings, moods and experiences with exceptional skill and care. Speak to the people in the language they can understand.  Most importantly is to be universal.   At any time any where a true poet can capture entertain and educate at a moments notice in a short amount of time.

 30 years from now, how do you want somebody to describe your body of work as a poet?

Thirty years from now I want someone to describe my body of work as a poet to be Phenomenal.  I want someone to describe it as true to life.  Appreciate my style of writing see the love and beauty in each stanza.  They will say I am a gifted In Verse with morals and fables together to deal with life love and happiness.  That someone will fall in love with me through Poetry.

Yawo Jandwa Watts is a Poet and Social Service Worker in Los Angeles, Ca.  He is a creative Artisan, with a strong desire to serve the world with creativity and kindness. 

Yawo has been a writer since he was in high school. He writes short stories, songs, poetry, and blogs. He is also a Djembe Drummer, and Promoter. In July of 2011 Yawo made a lifelong passion come true by self publishing, “Lemongrass”-True Emotions Of You and I in Verse. Lemongrass is Yawo’s first volume of poetry. It showcases a collection of poetry that has been written over the last 15 years, which has been inspired through life’s love, loss, and lessons. Yawo has taken many workshops but studying Poetry  at The World Stage Performance Art Gallery In Liemert Park Village has been a beautiful blessing.

Yawo created The “Oralgasm” a night of poetry and music with love and romance as the theme.  The Oralgasm is recognized as “an ideal showcase for anyone who wants to feel good. It offers a sensual something for everyone, and is truly a sexy and sophisticated showcase. As usual, Mr. Watts pleases all of my 5 senses”. Over the years of performances Throughout Southern California, Yawo earned the Moniker  of “The Marvin Gaye Of Poetry” by his peers- Meaning his style of poet delivery is akin to the Soul Crooner’s Music.  He Is currently working on his second volume of poetry.  He is excited and inspired to start connecting with you through social media. Please reach out to him at  yawowatts(at)gmail(dot)com.  

somedays i feel like, toni blackmon (by Kyra)


she is music. she is hip hop. she started free style rapping as a child growing up in washington dc. she has now traveled around the world. she also started her own organization. she is an artist with a lot of talents and worked as the first official hip hop ambassador working with the government. blackman has art as a way to prevent violence against women in the congo and other war-torn countries. the end


some days i feel like a skyscraper (part II)


Somebody had to do it. And somebody had to re-member. I was there. And it’s not that I want to be given some glory or plaque. I just want artists to know that it wasn’t 1961 when the Los Angeles poetry scene displayed this disproportionately approach to female poets. And now it is so natural for females to get features and travel but not too long ago we were blatantly denied this. And Jaha, Bridget, Rachel and I really changed the perception of when female poets should be allowed to eat.

Did we pave the way? Call it whatever feels good to you. But I know I was there when humiliation and doubt was given to us from our male peers. I was there when the men performers would get paid a different amount than us at the very same show. I was there when our male peers thought the best position for any of us would be next to them in a relationship and when he was denied he campaigned a “she’s gay” rally to save his reputation.

I saw Roni take poetry to the Hollywood comedy clubs.

I saw Sandra, Alice the Poet and MstMuze operate the longest running all female poetry venue in Los Angeles to date.

I saw Deana produce/host sold out poetry shows inside restaurants on Sunset Blvd.

And all I’m saying is, this happened after she/we shared stories and almost cried because we thought we were alone in feeling so indigent for expression. Some days I feel like a skyscraper in the Los Angeles poetry scene. Standing bold, cold and razor sharp with the moods of mother nature, not being erased from the series anytime soon. My love for Jaha, Rachel and Bridget is beyond an ordinary means of measurement. We were there, when it felt like 1961.


One Day White Woman

As clear and high standing

as that evening table chandelier

be that woman’s candle of insecurities if she be

pssssttt at again / or danced about to a funky beat

And then this woman / who agreed it would be ok to die quickly

if she could be beautiful for just 10 years

no vegan / no fast

keeping everything out help her skin stick to her bones at last

caged inside foul swallowed down upchoke

she dare not speak out in skin cancer’s name

cause she don’t like her skin tone either

but she agreed it was okay to die quickly if she could be

beautiful for just / 10 years.

Even though I love my mama to re-birth and heavens

some love the white woman enough to vacuum out the fats that God gave

to protect the baby in the womb and the hips to carry them bye bye.

But we continue to eye each other down

cause you’re sick and tired of me and my sister girl walk / like

I’m sick and tired of you and your valley girl talk

now / we begin to eye down Asians and Latinas but quickly dismiss them from the game

cause this war be ours / black woman against white woman

you love the way I look  / I love the way you look

so who said we had to hate eachother?

you love me thick lips / like I love your thin waist

so you shape your new breasts to be as perky as mine

and I straighten my hair like yours time after time

…. if we love each other so much

maybe one day /

I’ll love me enough to help you teach men and the world that you are a

beautiful white woman / short legs, long torso, flat ass, thin lips, thin hair

beautiful /        beautiful.

and maybe one day you’ll love you enough

to help me teach men and the world that I am a

beautiful black woman / long legs, short torso, fat ass, thick lips, thick hair

maybe one day / white woman.

excerpt from One Day White Woman copyright 2005 Nikki Skies


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
was it so important to move out
the hood.
Nikki Skies


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
was it so important to move out
the hood.
Nikki Skies