Friday, July 18, 2014

to the bottle boy

To the bottle boy 

Your soiled clothes gave it away
It was not the horn you blew
Like trumpets announcing the arrival of the king
Not a shofar but Shabbab
A young man with a shopping cart full of bottles
Who hoped in and out of dumpsters
As touring tourist rush to see the tomb
The garden trace the footprints of a savior
In your backyard
The political implications
The religious conflict that seems less real the longer I'm here
For the call to worship at 3 am reminds me
This is not a land of just one but of many who live
And breathe and love and worship even
Admist rocks and tank rockets and checkpoints
I wonder if the bottle boy dreams of peace
Wishes for passage free from any scrutiny
Could he aimlessly wonder over hillsides
Trace historic footprints
And drink in fancy hotel lobbies?
The interpersonal informing the systemic
The local informing global
I am a stranger in this land

Taking snap shots in my mind
I want to claim space here
Say my savior would see fit for a Christian presence
But space seems to Presious a commodity
To exert
I don't know what to do with the profound
The profane how to makes sense of it all
Learning and leaving
While you stay in soiled clothes blasting your horn so I
And you don't forget you are here and you are real

To the Palestinen children for whom home is unsafe and
Live in poverty and inequality

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

lessons from Maya

Lessons from Maya

Own your story
Mother Maya wrote the pain down
So it didn’t  consume
Turned hurt into passion
Anger into fire
That didn’t burn
But would push
Carry and convict with
A question or a poem

Queens shouldn’t run
From their stories
Hold them in the palm of
Our hands
Let them live and breathe
Squeeze and let go
Lest we be victims of
A world not meant for us
Not fair for us

We control what we do
With our lives
How we make them count
Give birth to the dreams
The world tries to beat
Out of bellies

Black woman brilliance
I would offer
You words

But you had so many
And you gave them

We don’t own language
We command it
Use it in service
To our people
Even though it has limits

I wish upon your star
That you knew
How bright you shined into my life

Just as you drove streetcars
Over streets
Danced to your own beat
Became queen
And poet
And the embodiment of
All about black womanhood
All that is complicated
All that is perfect
All that is worthwhile
All that is unknown

It is said that if a writer falls
In love with you
You can never die

And Maya
Our beautiful winged bird
Finally free

Will always FLY

Sunday, March 2, 2014

for Renisha McBride

For Renisha McBride..

I hope your name makes noise
Speaks loud and bold
Brave and clear
For every name like yours

Your name the one
That they make fun of
Call ghetto
And say will never allow you to
Get a job

We want you to be the lip popping
Gum smacking
Goddess you are
Or the only one we will allow you to be
In our memory

The one that we suit wearing
Professional house ladies
Detest because you remind us
That even we are disposable in all our upward mobility glory

We want to remember your name
Make it mean more
Than bullets to the brain
And front porches

We want every black girl body
To carry weight
Speak volumes
Make noise
Be loud
We want it to be more than just a whisper

For once in history
We want to tell the story on
Our own terms
Share our pain
Our grief
Be more than footnotes in black male profiles
And end notes in white women sympathy

We want every syllable to
Choke the speaker’s throat
Take up more space than commonly
Be fully human
For once can we shame
Big Mama’s steady strength with
A moment of weakness?
Can we love ourselves?
Can we stop pretending?
Can we love each other
Enough to say enough?

Can we have a collective moment in space?
A time for us
A time for you

We are because you are..

Re- Nisha

I want to say your name so
I don’t forget my own
I want to say your name
So I can love my own

Not just another name
Not just another black girl body
Not just another girl child
Whose life isn’t worth anything?
To not only white men
But black men
And other black woman bodies

We have been taught our lives
Are disposable
So we don’t value each other

Let us call you name
Like children of the dusk
Calling for the sun
Let us call your name like
Stars calling for the moon
Like trying be whole
When you’re told your half

And I can’t seem to shake the feeling
That you need your name
Known for more
Than wide lips
And car accidents
For more than being on the wrong porch
For more than Detroit

Along with the others
Sarah Bartman

Let us call your name
With those women
Who have been strange fruit

Jeenie Steers
Laura Nelson
Bertha Lowman
Mary Conley

Or ones who have died
Slow deaths on other trees

Shirley Sherrod
Anita Hill
Rachel jeantel


Welfare Queen

Like Baby Mama

Let us call your name

Renisha McBride
So we don’t forget our own
So we don’t choke
On our own voices
And think that
We are not already

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

B- Side

Black girl brilliant
Her brains will have you believe
She belongs on thrones
Instead of the belly of boats
Before she was brethren
She was broken
Busted and left out
By baller boys who faces turned blue 
Because of she made it hard to breathe
Boys who loved her bottom
So she trades blossoms for
Bags tried to break her bedazzlement
Bestowed her greatness on
People who could not handle the
Weight of her being
So they called it baggage 
Tell her A-side is B class at best
blasphme this butterfly 

Black girl beyond 
not basic
not bruised 
love her 
know her 
befriend her 
because before she was understood 
before she could be the balm 
before we study the biography of her 
she was beloved

Friday, August 9, 2013

love this

its hard to love this flesh
that everyone curses
people poke and prod 
and open wide up 
to examine
if your really made of 
tough stuff

we mules of this world
who carry it 
all on strong backs 
with clenched jaws

dont tell me about any other 
i only know my own
how successful you 
are is related to 
how anti black 
how anti woman 
you become  

and hear i stand at all those
cross roads
wondering if my adhd 
mind will be silent 
or my hands will stop turning over
pages of text and scriptures
and find respite 

where is the well spring
the water
when your to tired to go looking
and to thirsty to even admit 
you have want relief

dont make my 26 years tomm 
try to mean something 
package all my shyt 
in a nice box with a neat bow
just need to be burned
lets the ashes
be scattered
as sacred 
an atonment 
an offering to a god 
i soemtimes question

let me be enough as it stands
in all its confusion 
and brokenness
all its want 
and need 
let it stand alone 
be enough as it is

so that when it comes out dancing 
it will count for something
it will be tangible 
and quantifiable 

let it live so 
it may make its own memories
out of its own dreams
and for once

know it is good  
it is complete 
it lacks nothing

so i may know 
so she may know 
it is good 
it is complete 
even in its mess 
and crazy its enough 

Friday, July 5, 2013

napkins and names

I write your name over and over on a napkin as I sit in a bar drinking cold beer and eating colder wings
Every stroke of the pen makes me more aware of the ache in my heart
It started off as an absentminded type of thing
A way to pass the time since you left and now with every pen stroke and L my heart bleeds
So I keep writing your name because at least now I know why the ache is there 
For the first time is months I feel
And although it pain I settle for it
Because your name on a napkin makes my heart remember its alive
I wish I had some resolution
Some neat lesson I could summarizes and make sense of something
that make my fingers remember to write or my eyes dance
you were that
A incarnate reminder of my own beauty reflected back to me
Now your just a name on a napkin in a empty bar
A broken promise
A memory of all I had stopped hoping for
There is no space for my name on this napkin
You take up every crevice a urge I fought against when we were dating
It's funny when you were here I wanted space
Your gone and I long for some proof that you were real
That you existed
That I didn't just conjure you up
I need to know it was flesh and bones
Heart and head
Not just imaginary dinners
And long talks
I need to be reminded of mountains
See your name sketched in grand cannons 
But your just names on a napkin
Where there is no space for me.
I wonder if my name was smaller could it fit
If I was smaller if I shrunk would I fit?
What if my name was more powerful more demanding
Would it leave space for both of us
Maybe there is just no room for both of us
No room for mistakes
No room for missteps
No room for two people on a small napkin
So I wrote yours because mines seems wrong right now
It seems like all of the we didn't work
I called it to fast
I am too emotional
Insecure didn't ask enough questions
Rest on my name so I write your trying to understand breaks and breakups
Death and loss
Most of all just trying to see if one day I will ever write your name so much that I forgive
And move on
And remember the syllables of my own broken sound
Unabashed and imperfect
But always my own name
My own being
Always my own power
And length
Never tucked into neat packages
For wrong men
Who never have space for mistakes
Or anything that illogical
Never room for me
One day hoping that my name too
My feelings too
My ideas
My thoughts too will matter

Saturday, June 1, 2013

built houses

Why don’t you believe in second chances?
Its easier to walk away
Then fight for worthwhile lives
I too used to take my bruised ego
Lick wounds in lonely places
And wish someone loved me enough
To come find me
But it was never about them
It was always about me
I needed to come to a place of
Where my own healing wasn’t tied to what
Someone did or didn’t do

I wish for that for you
that you see your own beauty
Your own greatness
Your own healing seperate from the mistakes and
Mishaps of others
Then maybe you would believe in second chances

Maybe then you could build dreams on unpractical ground
Build houses of brick and motor
and permanency

I'm trying to build houses 
16th street style
Victorian French doors
Spanish adobe style
Cottage quaint
Southern big post columns with
Expansive memories
And enough space to breathe and move
With someone else
Someone not you
Someone who only wants me to occupy his house
Likes me for how he feels around me
But he is not home
He is not you

You are mow the lawn
Run through the sprinklers
You are BBQ and backgammon
You are the things love stories are build on and hard times lean on
You are how houses are built
Over time
Brick by brick
Moment by moment
Every overcome Argument
And late night convo
That makes us remember our humanity
And maybe your my Romeo
And I'm not your Juliet but atleast I know how I want my house built
how i want it to look
what i want it to feel like
i will always rearrange furniture
i will always change the energy
to make it better
but the foundation will always be reconizable

dont be scared of second chances
of big houses
with poweful women
and big dreams

women who like you used to run