Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I did a workshop today and had a blast!

Making the Invisible, Visible.
If you are an educator pose the question, "Give me an example of an invisible worker." to your students. The responses will be interesting. Check out the work of Martin Espada, the poems I used for this workshop were, Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits and Imagine the Angels of Bread. Powerful stuff. Also his response to Nike when they wanted him to write poems for their product.
"you must be totally and insultingly ignorant of my work as a poet" ~Martin Espada
Here's my poem from the workshop.

No Vacancy
in the hours after your departure
or before your arrival
I ghost through
take away what was left behind
the mess and bother
the unflushed and thrown to the floor
bulldozing the refuse of your
affairs illicit or otherwise
I make right and ready
wash, wipe and fold
the discarded made tidy again

a visitor in some strangers house
a specter in the closet
next to the iron on the shelf
an extra blanket to throw off the chill
no one thought to tip
no hush money for the mess
for the detritus of forgotten food
or what was left on the sheets
no point to complain aloud
no one will hear over the whir of vacuum
over the secrets hugging the walls

there are beds I will never sleep in to make
a room that must be picture perfect
just the right temperature
so the chocolate never melts


Saturday, January 07, 2017


the sky never blinked
worked itself into a frown
hung on all the faces around her
in that flat way of disappointment
lost dreams
of special circumstances

it could not work the locks
had no hands for the job
shrugged in defeat
spoke of never, ever after
shook what would have been a fist at the moon
a banishment with no conviction
retreated in search of higher ground

no words escaped tight lips
and sweaty palms never existed
in any way that was real
living so far away
loving so far away
only sighted
if her heart lifted
if she would only

look up

Saturday, December 10, 2016

August 2

I don't know if it was the insult or injury
or both
I only know that they happened
I only know that I wasn't there

probably a good thing
or not

maybe I would have done headlines
maybe I would have done worst'
maybe it wouldn't have happened in the first place
or second
I could have saved you from yourself
or at the very least from me
time will never know


this could be a tale
or a story wrapped in a tale
or a testimony speaking
of what is happening right now
in front of all of our faces

or maybe it is a tale
made story
made testimony
turned eulogy
because the teller is no longer  
even though she wears that body  
a mask
a premonition of what is to come

maybe what has happened
would have happened anyway

there was no other outcome
no other foothold safe haven

maybe broken is a noun
that wears her name

maybe she never knew
what her name meant
if she did
maybe that
could have made the difference
and maybe she didn’t care
never could

biology or circumstance

maybe there are too many factors
to factor
and maybe the sound of family
on her tongue hurt too much
to taste
and in her regret
the only thing she felt
was fist and slander
and not you,
not anymore

the tale told wrong
the story without
a believable happy ending
the testimony told through
clenched teeth
the obituary written
before the death
before the killing
before you knew
what it meant
all of it

before you realized
that you couldn’t hold the love
so you had to rid yourself of it
of us
bury it all
call it a goodbye

call it a crucifixion

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The History of Storms

there are thing that cannot be known
by those who do not a know


so gentle 
seizing of all that was once innocent 
once sweet turned sour in the unknowing 
that can never be known
unless we were there
we were not

there is a softness 
a sickness there 
one turned malignant


one longing for cure 
but not knowing how to ask

there is always a way to ask
there isn't

there is a table there

one flipped time and time again 
in a breeze 
disguised as soothing 
as knowing 
as invisible as the wind


ruffled your hair
that time

the thing about air

about wind 
about breezes

is that every one needs it
even as it cannot be seen by eyes 
focused forward 
in a war no one enlisted for 
none the less 
no one can win 
because that is not the goal 

burn it all down 

in the ruin of it all 
the temperature risen so high 
it calls for emergency rooms 
for evacuation
for oceans 
moving in the wrong direction 
shots fired
there are always shots fired

condensation has no choice 
it lands on our faces 
a failed attempt to wash 
something so dirty 

there is no right answer 
there is no next time or tomorrow 
there is only rain and questions 
only windows 
forced open 
and and paperwork 

only debris and broken boys 
only answers not asked for 
only band aids where surgery was required
only questions we will never know the answers to

truth no longer resides in your tongue

your heart turned detritus 
turned vengeful 
cloaked in revisionist history

there are things that cannot be known 
answers that were never questioned 

a fish that took on to much air 
found it was unable to float 

decided fuck it 

if I drown in my home
we all drown in my home

despite the wet
it will all burn
the flames will burn it all

there is always
air to feed the flames


Monday, July 25, 2016

A Conversation That Should Not Exisit

My son initiated no radio for the drive home just talk. We talk. About girls and confusing signals, I can relate, tell him this and the conversation deepens. We talk about plagiarizing and black lives mattering and about how I've taught compliance but that doesn't work anymore so what now.
My chest aches.
He pretends places his hands at ten and two on an imaginary steering wheel says, "OK. I'm being pulled over."

Me- Can you be not pulled over?

Z- Well yes Mom, but I'm being profiled

I don't burst into tears. I want to but I'm driving and he is really trying to figure this out. Only a parent who has had to suffer this type of conversation knows the twist and clinch of spine and heart.

Me- I guess you keep your hands on the wheel.

Z- Where's my id? I figure I'll take it out of my wallet and leave it on the seat or at least in plain sight, that way they can reach it themselves.

I live in a world where my sweet, funny boy is planning survival for a traffic stop.
This shyt is not normal.

Z- So, if they ask to search my car do I just let them because I have nothing to hide, or ask why I've been stopped and tell them I'll sign the ticket.

This comment phucks me up extra because he is thinking rationally and so much rational is not happening now. Would they even get to the part where he gets to speak?

I remember that me at 15, pretended being a teacher, a fashion designer, a reporter and so many other things. I never practiced staying alive while wearing dark skin in America.

I've been sitting on the porch for hours unpacking this conversation and crying. Last night, I dreamed of losing teeth and fish and walls to tall to climb. I know what those mean and, well, ominous. My son is afraid and oddly calm about it. I am not OK with this. 
Thanks a bunch American Dream Deferred! It's not like black mothers don't have quite enough juggling of lessons to teach that should not be apart of the fucking curriculum. 
I'm going to get it together.
I need hugs.
I need poems.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Slumlord Cheap as Hell

I guess one should really never ask how much worse can it get? Because it can get a hell of a lot worse.

Where to start.

Well, about 3 years ago I moved in my my bestie KG. I need to move fast and when her then roommate, a mutual friend, moved away to be with her lady love I no longer had to think of living in my car. I signed a lease with the landlord and it was a done deal. I was moving around a lot so KG took care of most of the house stuff because I was on the road. Also because dude would say the most borderline sexist bullshyt to me, licking his lips and wearing his Kangol hat and gold chains. Creepy. He once said to my son, "You not as pretty as your Momma." My son's response, "Mom, that old man just tried my whole life."

When I started traveling less, I would contact the guy about things that need to be done. The first major thing was the mysterious case of the wobbling toilet.

I called, stated the problem and over the phone he diagnosed that the toilet was not in fact broken. I tell him that the ring that holds the toilet in place appears to be warped and the toilet runs and the handle part needs to be replaced. He said, still on the phone, that it was not warped, that's not how it works and there was nothing wrong with the handle I just need to jiggle it. I jiggled it for a month, meanwhile our water bill triples. I call again ask him to send a plumber over and he decided he will come over to look at it. He decides that I must have done something for it to wobble and does a duct tape type job on the handle. Our water bill climbs even higher. Then the sink faucet has a problem, and my roommate calls and in a day or two the plumber comes to fix the faucet, I ask him if he would look at the toilet. He says the ring is warped and the toilet is ancient and should be replaced. I ask if he will tell the guy. He calls and the guy says he can replace the handle.

A month later the handle is not working and the wobbling is worse and there is a problem with my roommates bathroom as well. She calls him and then calls a plumber. The guy shows up and again replacement is suggested and he says he'll get his guy to do it. Weeks later the guy and his plumber replace the toilet. "Y'all better take care of this, I'm not replacing it again."

Wait. What?
Fucker this is your house. You are keeping your house up! You are not doing this shyt for me. Pun intended.

Oh, and yes it gets worse.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Must Do Better!!

The last year and a half were rough. I hit a really low point and the people I thought I could depend on taught me some hard lessons on top of the low. I have my steady handful and plan to keep them, they also, ironically, knew me before all this. It's the afters. I had to come to terms with a lot of things that shook me and made me want to re-evaluate how I relate to people. My loyalties were tested and found to be one-sided as I realized that there were people in my life that I considered priceless while they considered me optional or after thought. It messed me up more than I thought. Like abandonment issues weren't enough here's a nice big ass dose of trust issues, oh and here are some more ghosts to go with the others. So I took to the road as much as I could. Never in town long enough to be lied to, taken for granted or worse, a joke.

So I don't trust my judgement these days or maybe it's my heart I don't trust. As a result I am watching my life go by from the relative safety of the edge not even daring to jump in to the pool. I met someone a several months ago and after a few dates I caught myself running through the various scenarios, the hierarchy of friendship,  the lying about unnecessary shyt, the making up unnecessary excuses, the promises made just to be broken and what I might do to the next person who hurts my kid. That date ended badly. Not rudely, I'm rarely rude, just me disconnecting from the grid and making sure "Welcome" is not tattooed on my forehead.

I have recently been tempted and am standing in the shallow end of the pool. Just ankle action. I want to believe she won't hurt me, but I can't trust it completely. Not yet. She will have to come to me, that makes me nervous because, well, what if she doesn't?

I remember saying, years ago in response to someone who asked when I would settle down again, maybe in my 50's! Well, 50 is approaching and maybe uttering the words so long ago, manifested them at the time I defined when I put into the world. Or not. Until then I am on the move, busy getting my ankles wet from time to time.

I started this blog as a recovery journal when I had my partial hysterectomy in 2005 (I was having many moments back then). Since then it has been a repository for rants, heart to hearts, poems and can you believe this shyt stories. I stay busy to keep the loneliness at bay and I have very few folk to use as soundboards that haven't rendered me out of sight out of mind. So, I think I will use this space more in the future to recover and get through some of the lonely along with the occasional rant, heart to heart, poems and can you believe this shyt stories.
You know, like usual.

I am going to start a new blog for National Poetry Month. I'll try to remember how to link it to this one, or watch a You Tube video to figure it out.

This weekend all my kids will be home so I'm gonna love on them extra to stock pile the hugs, Zion's gonna hate that, but deal he will. My actor has auditions and this mommy knows, my baby is going to kick much artistic ass. She is just like her mother in that department.