Tag: relationships

He Called Me A Storm…

He told me I was a storm.

He told me my eyes always gave that away. He said  there was depth to me he found intriguing and sensual and irresistible. With that, in 2003, my 22 year-old-self was all his. *Alejandro told me this exact quote,

Being from Florida, I weathered many a hurricane. I know a storm when I see one.”

Matter of fact, this was one of his nicknames for me:  Hurricane.

Why? He called me a force of nature.

Furious.

Strong.

Beautiful.

Leaving nothing untouched after I’m noticed.

Effects long lasting after I’m gone.

In the years which have followed, I’ve thought about this, what it means to be a storm, and  how I embody this. I took notice of the young men that showed interest in me, after Alejandro, as well whom I showed interest in. I noticed how these potential suitors and paramours spoke to me, treated me, and when they couldn’t keep pace, I coined the phrase, “Don’t chase what you can’t catch.”

I still stay that, and even told it to my current husband. I still remember him staring at me like I was slightly off-kilter. But, I am slightly off-kilter.

Storms are powerful, beautiful and needed. They display this power, raw and unyielding having a charge to the very  air in  the existence indeed shows why people chase them.

There’s a mystic nature to storms; how this power channels things around their forming–it details, its direction, strength and ones preparedness.

Alejandro spoke to that…even in my new 22-year-old broken heartedness, I heard him.

Even thinking about it now, I grin. It spoke strength back into me from a place of utter despair, depression and self-doubt. His presence in my life pulled me back together, his voice was anchor when the words I had so easily written before didn’t come back as I commanded so then.

For him to see that in me, among  that space of believing I was beautiful or brilliant, with every door I threw up (and lock he picked), wall I built (which he walked around), let me know indeed I was worth all good things, including love.

In the now 15 years I have known of his heart beating somewhere in the wide world, I smile when it storms. I know that he thinks of me on those days–just as I think of him when the sky is clear. Why? His eyes are blue.

Thank you, *Alejandro.

*-Not his real name. If you want to know more, see Able Unshakeable.

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In All You Do

Power is to whom you give it. There comes a time in this life where you will be forced to evaluate whom has power over you, and why.

Outside from the agencies whose existence is based in protection, there those in your life whom will try and tell you their intent is of a similar ilk.

This power, this influence, for the most part is wielded by people in your life whom only wish to see you win. It is wielded in benevolence, with courage and boldness to remind you of whom you are and can become.

However, more often than not this influence roots and lingers in under the beds Shakespeare says are crowded. This is from the people closest to us whom have seen us at a point of weakness–rather than helping us, they tell is what we did wrong, always do or will never do right.

They become evil sooth-sayers, casting hexes of discontent, bitterness, jealousy and apathy over all those in their pathways. They will tell you these things as if you have no concept of your own self. They have not lived a life or had experiences where someone celebrated them, wanted to celebrate them or denied their existence.

These people can only give you what they have: nothing.

Every day you choose whom you will become. Each day you are given holds the potential to be life-changing. I don’t say this as if the world around you does not present or beset you with unique problems. I say this because no matter how big the problem is, you will always be larger than the problem. You determine what you determine.

Some things spoken over you may be hurtful, disguised help or frank opinion. You do not have to accept this, even from from the people you know or love.

You don’t have to accept poison as medicine or influence as a Gospel. You determine what will steer your life–nothing and no one else.

I am fond of saying the first 18 years of your life may not be under your control, but the rest of your life is. Uprooting the weeds in the garden of your heart and head is never easy, I assure you. It took me a decade to get over what my father had said about me writing as a career.

What helped me what the feeling I had when I wrote. The attention I got as a I wrote and now that feeling could not be replicated by anything else.

Choose what you will listen to that will shape and empower you. All you are exposed to indeed shapes you. What does not add to you will only steal and a chief thieves of joy ads competition and envy.

What shall you become once you decide who it is you are?

RUNITBACK FRIDAY-12/8/17

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I hear sleigh bells ring-ting-tingling, too! Let’s get it!

#AnthonyLamarSmith #BlackLivesMatter #Coverup#CorruptPolice #ChangeTheSystem #Resist#FightBack

There are times where I can say with metered rage that I hate St. Louis. Courtesy of  The Riverfront Times, this week, it was revealed there was a coverup during the investigation of the  officer involved shooting involving police murderer of the moment, Jason Stockley. This is an exercpt from the article posted on December 5th:

The missing lab reports would have been crucial to the family’s position, Watkins argues. They show then-officer Stockley’s DNA was on a Taurus handgun recovered from Smith’s car. The now-former cop and his partner chased Smith at high speeds before they rammed his car and Stockley shot him five times.

The ex-cop claimed that Smith was reaching for the gun and that he shot him in self defense.

Yet an analysis done by a St. Louis police lab technician in February 2012 shows that not only was Stockley’s DNA found on a screw head on the gun, but that Smith’s DNA was not present.

I wish I could be shocked. I wish I could be surprised. I wish I could stop wishing. St. Louis recognizes three deities as Almighty:  Money, The Cardinals and the police. When confronted with facts that the police are corrupt, tactics are terror based and you demand your humanity, you’re accused of being anti-police. Indeed, I’m anti-police as they are in the current permutation.They are still an arm of the kinder, gentler Klan. This is why we resist. We know what a lie looks like and refuse to remain silent. He killed Anthony Lamar Smith because he could. Why? There’s a good ol’ boy as a prosecutor whom can’t indict ‘a ham sandwich,’ unless a black person has one. I knew it. I just knew it.

Sponsor a future black lawyer. They are needed. The mentor to Thurgood Marshall was helped by Mark Twain. The $900,000 settlement doesn’t replace Anthony to his family and to quote Sunni Patterson, in her poem We Know This Place, “Not always have we had amnesia.”

Re-damn-sist.

#WalterScott #IsItJustice #Resist #DismantleThePolice #Resist

Michael Slager killed Walter Scott on cell phone  video shot by a bystander. He shot him as he was running away. He then planted a weapon on him. All on video. December 7th he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. I have no joy about this. I want him to understand that black is not weapon, and forgiveness hasn’t reached my heart for this. I am angry. I am beyond frustrated. I wonder what is in white officers whom wield the badge, a car and service weapon to see color as a threat. I wonder if when these scary officers wash their faces and repeat “I feared for my life,” like I teach my children manners. I wonder if there are enough  good officers that notice enough to care. I wonder how many graves are watered with the tears of young widows and broken mothers.

Hope is not something black mothers or any other woman of color is allowed to give up. We fight to remain alive, strong and to hope. My hope was this man be locked up because black life is greater than any settlement, any endorsement deal, any jersey or television appearance or concert ticket.We matter.Our humanity is not a stunt from God.We matte and we will keep hoping. And like Nehemiah whom rebuilt the walls and gates of his place of his birth, we fight as we rebuild.

#AuntieApril #AprilRyan #AprilDRyan #BlackWoman #BlackWomenWork #ChristmasParty #WhiteHouseChristmasParty

I follow Ms. April D. Ryan on Twitter. I love her. I have watched how this ongoing grease fire in Hell’s back acre perpetuating as an administration has treated her, my auntie April. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders thinks she can just over look her, not answer her questions, or answer them halfway…

Yet, April Ryan is not shook or scared or tripping off this! I spoke about the power of influence and strength of presence, April has been a role model for me as a woman right now. She’s shown me to keep showing up, and keep it pushing in the face of people who want you to stop, give up or tone it down for comfort.

April D. Ryan is goals as I pursue this writing. I admire her tenacity, her boldness and her dogged nature—I love that about her. I love that she ain’t phased by bullshit and still pushes to get her job done, make her presence known–seeing her puts steel in my back.

The fact she got snubbed for a Christmas by this madness masquerading as government only lets me know she’s doing her job. In doing that job, she ain’t got to go where they don’t pay her. Or don’t want her.

Washington has enough token negroes. Aunt April is not one of them–besides, words are how we get off the plantation.

I. Breathe. Fire.

I’m a writer.

A word alchemist.

I am well-read, with a hungering curiosity and the desire to continue to master this craft with these 26 letters. Make no mistake, I am fiercely protective of my gift, and don’t make that secret.

Which makes what happened to me all the more–infuriating.

In keeping with the theme this month about speech, words and voice, I would be dishonest not to share this. The situation has been rectified as of this posting, but I think it bares confronting for further edification of other writers and artists.

I was asked to write poem for The Awakenings Project , cycle 1 (A1) and I agreed. I wrote the first poem as favor to the artist,Marissa Southards. with the reception of that piece, which yielded the mantra for project: I Am She, She Are We, found in the poem First, Awakenings. It was most excellent to have my work well received. I am still in awe.

With the reception of that work, and the quoting of my work, I was elated. From that popularity, I got the invitation to write another piece for this project, this time for the second cycle, A2. I wrote a piece called *HOW I CAME TO BE, and read it at a celebratory gathering for A2. This piece was written from a hetero-normative, Judeo-Christian vision:  seeing as the author identifies as a Christ-believing cis-gender heterosexual woman.

Now, did I need to preface that? Nah.

But I did because I respected all those that were in attendance to the project, regardless of orientation or belief system.

During the reading, I was fine. The poem sounded just like I wanted. In the aftermath, however, there was coup brewing. There was participant, Marcia, whom identified herself as a queer atheist. Okay, fine. She told the creator  of the project, and I quote “she was a fan of my work, but she felt that my poem did not represent her, and she didn’t like how I used her word–Amazon.”

By now, y’all know that I am black woman.

Marcia is not.

She wanted me to change  my work, and she wanted to see the revision going forward.

Yes, I’m deadass serious.

She didn’t any make effort to speak to me personally, but the artist–whom is a dear friend whom happens to be white. Before I explain the resolution, let me tell you why this is a problem.

No one, and not NO ONE, takes my voice from me. If you take issue with what I said, or how I wrote something, come see me. I don’t need a handler, and I ain’t never been a mammy.

She pulled her white privilege on me, and circumvented me–with the same erasure that she perecieved she had been given. Marcia, I can only persume,  thought by doing that I would change my work, or be manipulated to change it. The worse thing? She said she was a fan of my work.

Really?

Aight.

Backhanded compliments do not work. I remember I was insulted and beyond pissed. I felt as if someone had watched me open my mouth to reach in and snatched my voice from my throat. With shock and rage, I called my husband and told him what happened with my immediate thought and quote  being:

Who does this bitch think she is?!”

 

I come from a people where everything we have and had is fought for–even the right to tell our own truth. So, I was comfortable in telling the artist, and I quote, “I am not changing a damn word of it. I can write something else, but I am not changing a word of that.” Some indignities go beyond, “How dare you!” This was one of them.

I was ready to fight!

As long as I have been reading–since 4, writing–since 8, you don’t get to dictate my imagination. You don’t get to pull offense as rank over something I wrote. I have fought too hard to get back to this gift to be punked to change anything.

I thought about that episode of Good Times, where Thelma won the contest but the contest sponsor wanted her to change the phrase black woman, and she wouldn’t. And because she wouldn’t change it, she lost.

I thought about how Phyllis Wheatley. I thought about how brilliant, versed, and enslaved existence– and how she died penniless when given freedom. I thought about Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Sallie Hennings, my grandmothers (Mollie and Arceal)  and my beloved Oracle Grandmother, Maya Angelou.

I thought about the women and men of and from whom I am descended and how they may or may not have even known how to spell their names. I would not change a word. It was my work. I made the decision to not be dictated regarding my work. Nall.

Resolution?

The artist sided with me. She put Marcia in her place (before I had to). As a result, Marcia pulled her photo from the project, and my work stayed in tact.

Marcia didn’t apologize to me, and neither did I. I expected what I got–nothing.

I snatched my voice from being stolen.

For my sake, and the ancestors.

*The poems listed are featured in a compliation book for The Awakenings Project–click here to order.

With Good Measure

There’s a real distinction between talking and speaking and actual speech.

The problem is there are too many people whom think they know everything, whom say everything they think, and there are people that who know more than you believe they do…but often say nothing.

The difference?

When you talk you are using your voice, and what you say is heard.

When you take the time to measure what you say which changes what you say from merely talking to speaking, people are apt to listen.

Therein beloveds, lies the difference.

As a writer, my job is to measure words, distinguish speech from talking and sometimes talk to have people listen–which is a constant balancing act. This requires the ability to recognize what it means whenever or wherever I open my mouth. This means I go from being a noisemaker to a voice.

In the English language, there are 23 definitions for the word voice, the ones that are most applicable in this context are as follows:

6.something likened to speech as conveying impressions to the mind

8. the right to present and receive consideration of one’s desires or opinions

12. the person or other agency through which something is expressed or revealed

I choose to be a voice. I choose to be present and engaged and sometimes make noise. I choose to go through this life with metered measure…so when waves need to be made, I indeed will make them.

P.S. You always know a fool because their mouths are always open: you can’t tell them anything, and they don’t listen.

Ache


The sleeping hours are
As mornings,

Quick and unexpected.

Here in the fullness

Of time together,

No rhyme or reason

But heat as one would

Expect as the temperature

Of the blood that rushes

When you touch me.
Ooh, when you touch me…
Fire answers you.

Mouths sweet and volcanic…

Drowning in the under of you.
Time stands still, willing my sleeping self

Awake and willing for you.

Those hungry, slick and open spaces.

Those spaces that when I wake

Won’t be stretched or open or

Have the remainder of your love there.
The sun greets me as your eyes should

Gentle and subtle, warm and knowing

What I held inside…
I shut my eyes and remember the us,

The warmth I belonged to when I was yours

And you all mine…
Love too small a word,

And lust cheapens it.

I am yours…even when light comes.
(c)JBHarris, 11.4.2017