POETIC FORMS: MISC SPOKEN WORD / POETRY

mother prayer

published in Gumbo Magainze, Feburary 2020

buried in the deep

the resting bodyseed

of an old Negro woman

black skin

black earth


she was my mother

I was her wound

resting on the tides of men and women

scarred backs and bloody feet moving over water

white palms raised toward heaven

the wash of dark waves

carrying me in


I was she

the body Africana

a woman shaped by blackness

like the heavy fruit of hungry soil grown ripe at midnight

she lingers among the furtive green

flaunting her eyes of plenty

to the wanting masses


descend now

her roots go deeper

and I am in her trenches

I am she / a new Eve / the Dark Queen

carrying an open womb

what I touch

touches me


I know this

her last confession

was a battle cry calling out my name

and so I have been born into this skin

my banner of war

is a blanket

of scars


she asks the question

I have the answer

come and read my palm

these are the last revisions of an unwritten history

the lines drawn over and over

hands furrowed and

fortunes told


bury in the deep

the resting bodyseed

of this old Negro woman

black skin

black earth


she was my mother

american dreams (wake up call)

(–2020)

We are each of us expected

to buy into the commercialized dream –

The one pimped out with glitter and gold,

and all 'em fancy, finer things.

You know – the one that 99% of us

will never be able to achieve.

The one that's a busted up, broke down

fairytale fallacy,

that's got everybody perpetually filing

for moral bankruptcy.

But now it’s time for us to face

a new reality:

That we can give it up and let it go,

and divest ourselves from that American Dream.


Cause here's the thing...

it's a grand master scheme.

Real jobs, mad money, phat livin’, hot lovin’ –

It's all part of the fantasy.

Tryin' to sell us on what's up

or how it’s supposed to be.

But if you’ve got eyes to see,

there's a vision to penetrate the smoke screens.

It's easy to be captivated,

but if you are ready to be free,

you gotta give it up, let it go,

and cash out of that

American Dream.


It may intoxicate, it may ameliorate,

but it will never play it straight.

The human hunger it cannot satiate.

So I’m calling for a new day (get yourself awake).

I’m saying this ain’t the way,

playin’ games of masquerade, living’ life like a charade.

Get up, get out –

be roused from this deathless sleep.

If you want it real we gotta go high and we gotta go deep.

If you hear it, then take it and scream.

You gotta give it up, let it go,

and quit gambling your hopes on that

American Dream.


It’ll reel you in.

Drown ya, drug ya, luv ya.

It’s got your number.

Everything you want, my friends,

everything you need.

All this and more can be yours,

satisfaction guaranteed.

Hot on the plate, it’s yours to just take:

crack that’s never done,

sex that’s just for fun,

gold cards by the ton,

(suicide without the gun).

Yes this is how the end’s begun.

Everybody listen! Everybody take heed!

You gotta give it up, let it go,

don't give in to that

American Dream.


Look closely because it’s not what it seems.

It charms but it deceives, steals but says please,

takes payment without delivering.

Gives you what you want and confiscates what you need.

It just ain’t what it’s made out to be.

It’s a liar, a criminal, a scoundrel, and thief.

It’s bad medicine, my friend,

bad medicine indeed.

It cures the symptoms as it quickens the disease.

You hear what I'm saying but do you follow me?

You have to give it up, just let it go,

don't be fooled by that

American Dream.


So my brothers and sisters,

let’s re-evaluate –

what it is and what it ain’t.

If you want a dream,

then you’d best go get your own,

or else you’re just taking the same shit from the same hand

that never gave you back none.

A classic bait and switch,

cause that's how it's done.

It looks sweet,

but it’s bitter on the tongue.

Just another handout to feed you into addiction.

Strangers with candy: we all know the theme.

Give it up, let it go,

just say no to that

American Dream.


It’s time to open your eyes, WAKE UP, and see –

THIS is your life,

and there is no grand prize to be redeemed.

In the end only you can break the cycle of greed.

Save yourself from yourself –

stop wanting the need.

If you can hear me, it’s time to believe

that we can give up it and let it go,

we can redefine our own

American Dream.


So good morning, good people –

have you heard the good news?

Cause this here is a wake up call,

and you got to stop hitting the f-ing snooze.

Yeah, I know you're awake,

but have you been listening?

Are you finally ready

to fully open your eyes

to the dawn of a new

American Dream?

why Black women make scary movies

(An Afrofuturistic Survey of Black Female Horror Filmmakers in the US)

(2019–2020)

Black women make scary movies

because: this is where we find ourselves today

because: Black people survived mass kidnapping, enslavement, and torture

because: slavery was a living nightmare

because: US history is a horror story


Black women make scary movies

because: Black people still fear for their lives

because: white people are still afraid of their shadows

because: most people won't look in the mirror

because: everybody wants to pretend they live in a fairytale


Black women make scary movies

because: we have to exorcise the demons

because: it isn’t just all in our heads

because: the monsters we face are real

because: this country fed on our blood to bring itself to life


Black women make scary movies

because: Black women have seen some scary shit

because: it isn't safe to be black or female

because: the past isn't really dead or buried

because: the future could be even scarier


Black women make scary movies

because: these are the things that Black kids need to learn

because: what you don't know will kill you

because: happy endings don't always tell the truth

because: there’s no sense in lying about it


Black women make scary movies

because: we are the hopes of our mothers

because: we are the mothers of hope

because: we know how to find our way in the dark

because: we’ve done this before


Black women make scary movies

because: we want to make it out alive

because: telling our stories just might change history

because: we are our own greatest heroes

because: we will be the ones to decide what happens next

lullaby

1945 - The United States drops "Little Boy", the world's first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima, Japan

(~2000–2020)

You were too full in our hands

So gently swayed but, now born, you were restless

Oh the nights spent awake

Wondering, dreaming, fearing

What you might become


But that first night we should have known

You were screaming, even then, screaming but the world did not hear

Torn right out of the belly

Wide-eyed

And staring straight back out of the darkness

Your mother laughed as she held you

She knew that you were so very special

It was only in time that she ever imagined

How terrible your story would be


But you were always such a lovely baby

Our pride and our joy

Men would stand over you in awe, smiling

They sung your praises and winked their eyes

It was you who cooed to them

As a firstborn this beauty was your birthright

And we were mesmerized by it

But could not fully comprehend

(You took your secret with you to the grave)


Then it came that we could no longer hold you

You were too heavy in our arms

So we tossed you up to heaven

Made you our sacrifice and prayed to God

But you were caught on a branch high up in the air

For a moment rocking contentedly in the gusty winds

When the bough broke

You came crashing down


There is no grave deep enough to bury you

Yet through a thousand fields

Of broken cradles

We still try to whisper you to sleep


Rest in peace, little one

patience

(~2000–2020)

All my virtues once made for a precious golden vase,

within which a perfect bouquet of flowers was placed.

‘Twas a sight of such beauty! A sight of such grace!

But such fragile things are never really truly safe.


For this vase was to be like an angel condemned,

by way of a careless gesture of an unseen hand.

That it must fall to earth, from heaven descend,

and be subjected to the fate of mortal man.


Perhaps it is that only God knows why,

and I am left looking for answers I may never find.

It seems the truth from the seeker shall forever hide.

Alas, the guilty party offers no reply.


And so I wilt like the flowers strewn across the floor,

and dissipate like the water on that cold strange shore.

I have been broken like the golden vase that is no more,

but from this vantage point I see now what patience is for.

love's door

(~2000–2020)

Standing outside my true love's door, I wait.

Strange, having followed capricious Fate,

that in all the world I should find myself here,

directed by stars to I knew not where.

Now awaiting your hand on the knob of the door,

that I may look within and beseechingly implore:

Let me in from this cold harshness of night!

Make a space for me by your fire's warm light!

Give me shelter and keep me as long as you may,

but I pray thee, Love, do not turn me away.

kissing a thief

(~2000–2020)

What treacherous villains do offend by virtue of their mouths

that same nature which distinguishes them among men?

For surely to give that which by all means is rightfully stolen

is to be disarmed when one is meant to be disarming,

or rather to surrender oneself wholeheartedly to a surrendering foe.

hope (in a technologically challenged world)

(~2000–2020)

Double-clicking on a blank screen,

waiting for a message to appear:

[The green light flickers but does not fade]

DO NOT CLOSE THIS WINDOW

same time, same place

(~2000–2020)

It's so hard to escape the inescapable.

To go beyond what is beyond.

To run out into the periphery

and just jump off...


Because all you have is a bungee cord,

like an umbilical to replace the one you lost,

that’s ready to snap

your ass right back.

the flow of things

(~2000–2020)

Receding,

like water

from rocks

along the shore.

I am holding the world,

always letting it go.

found

(~2000–2020)

The mystery of the other

is round and conclave like the moon,

sweeping up the tide in eager handfuls.


Moonbeams diving in deeply,

holding their breaths,

their eyes wide in the darkness,

stealing upon treasures unseen

from the surface above.


They are the secret softly spoken

questions long sought after,

precious exclamations

of the unknown.

the guide

(~2000–2020)

this way, this way!

she whispers

her voice is candlelight

flickering in the silence

echoes

hurry!

that thread of urgency

pulled taunt

she plays over skillfully

concertos in three-fourths time

rising allegro

she leads through mountains

and valleys

careening over cliffs

and falls

the sound of branches breaking

the hiss of the wind

as it whips across your ear

and rushes on by

skirting the edges

hurry!

she flies off into the morning

voice fading over the next rise

fragments of songs

trailing behind

like a long dark cloak

still fluttering

in muted shades of sunlight

a certain mystery

(~2000–2020)

I stood there in my own shadow


Watching,

As my own darkness turned into

A horizon of fire, spreading beneath the sky,

Peeling back the layers to reveal

The subtle revelations of dawn.


I wonder at it like

Those religious men, inspired by stars,

wondered at heaven.


I follow their silent prayers,

Looking in places not so faraway,

And find


I know this.