Daring To Be (Poem)

Thump, thump, thump
I can hear them
Thump, thump, thumping
Knocking
Banging against the walls
Of my ribs
Knock, knock
Open up
Let us out
Let us in

Shall we write today?
Why not
It’s been weeks since the last poem

So many things
Swirling inside
So many feelings
And thoughts
Yet somehow
After all this time
I’m still afraid

Of how people
Will see me

I wanted to write a poem
About a man’s eyes once
Not necessarily in a romantic way
I just found them so intriguing
The pain
And the beauty in them

The art of life is at times
Indescribable
But we as artists
Try anyway because

That’s what we do

So many poems
Bursting inside
Ready to spring forth
And pour out

And meanwhile
As you sit there hiding
Waiting for this perfect
Most opportune moment
To come
It never will
And that poems decays faster
Than an adolescent’s imagination
You are putting your dreams in acid

And hoping they’ll come out whole
Again
Once you get the timing right,
Of course
But of course you know
That method never works

You do know that, don’t you?
Certainly you do

Certainly, yes

Do what you were created to do
Create
Write
Imagine
Dream
Inspire

Don’t let misinterpretations,
Misunderstandings
And future judgmental comments
And scrutiny
Stifle and smother out a flame

Before you even light it


If you enjoy reading my works, please be sure to buy a copy of my latest book To Whom It May Concern

TWMC_Front Cover(resized)

Tiny Thoughts (Poem)

(I wrote this poem in dedication to Child Abuse Awareness month, which is every year in April. I had originally attended on writing one piece each week until I realized that I don’t know enough on the topic. Child abuse is a serious thing, but I think once I read more on it then I’ll be able to do more pieces next year. For now, I hope that this piece will spark interest and initiative to step in and stand up for those children who are silenced.)

TINY THOUGHTS

I remember my niece
Telling me once
About a girl in her class
She had long scratches
On her back
And her hands, she said
She told me
Her classmate shared with her
That her dad was the cause
This little girl’s father
Apparently was abusive
Towards her classmate
And her classmate’s mother
She wanted her mother to leave
But her mother was afraid
And she had been warned
Not to tell an adult what was
—happening

This was in second or third grade,
I believe…

We assume
The only monsters kids worry about
Are the ones under their bed
Or in their closet
We don’t consider
That the boogeyman is their parent
A relative
Or a guardian

We assume
That every kid has a childhood
Full of smiles
When we know good and well
That this was not the case
For most of us

Daily
Children are being tormented
And even more
Are robbed of their innocence

So what do we do?
Who will fight for the fatherless
When no one will step up
To help the poor widow?
Ought of sight, out of mind
Is that it?

Ought of sight, out of mind
You didn’t witness that child
Being hit
So
It’s back to the hustle and bustle
Of every day life

But if you were that child
If that was your kid
Being assaulted
And battered
You’d want somebody to care,
Wouldn’t you?

You do care…
Don’t you?

Photo source: Google Images

Paying Homage (Poem)

PAYING HOMAGE

Scraping
Digging for the crumbs in order to piece
—together
Something
Anything
Just get it done
That’s the mission
Stamp your name on it
Make it your brand
You gotta make a name for yourself
Don’t you want to be the one
Who everyone’s talking about?
That’s the motive

As I watched a special the other day
On my favorite poet
And the woman whose art inspired me
I began to dream a dream
Of recognition and fame
I neglected to hear the pains she went
—through
The hard work it took her to get there
But I dream a dream of hope that day
I’ll be the next her
I’d be the next name in history
And possibly even go on
To do even more incredible and historic
—things

But somehow
I can’t even seem to get this poem right
Even while I write it
And somehow
I forgot
That having my name in the Lamb’s Book
Is more important
Than whether or not I’ll be remembered
Later in life

Chances are
They’ll all forget
Just the same
Just like I forgot
All those other names

That’s the thing about history
We only know about the few who made
Monumental contributions
Did monumental things
And it makes us feel
As though the little bit we do
Isn’t worth anything

At that same moment in time
As I pondered over frivolous dreams
I began to ask myself
About all the Black people
Who have ever lived and breathed in
—time
I wondered
How many of their stories went
Unwritten?
How many of them did things
That were pivotal
But didn’t even receive an honorable
—mention?
Does it no longer matter?
Do they not exist
If a historian didn’t acknowledge
What all they did,
Whether it be little or gigantic?

Jesus Christ
The Ultimate Record Keeper Supreme
Ruler over everything
He has not forgotten
He does not forget
He watches and He knows
What all a person has done
He knows this

I heard Him ask me this morning,
“Isn’t your name showing up
In My Book,
More important
Than being a temporary name
In time?
You are making history,
But what good does it do you
To do all these things in My name
And still go to hell anyway
Because you lived to die
But didn’t die to live?”

Are you living to die
Or dying to live…?
What are legends, anyway?

But what a shame
What a pity it would be
To not consider every person
Who has ever come before me
The same people
Who are the very reason
For why I am able to do what I do
Live how I live
And have helped to influence
These things I write

Lord I thank You
For reminding me of what’s important

Time to pick up the plow
Like every African American before me
—did
Time to pick up the plow
Toil the ground
There’s not time to be afraid
Of getting sweat on your brow
Time to get to work
Put your back into it now

With the help of Christ
They’ve paved a way for me
This far
I can’t afford to let them down
I can’t afford to let Him down

Not right now, no
Not now

Eye of the Beholder (Poem)

Here’s another piece I’ve written. This will be in the Safe Haven later today. I never imagined how hard it would be just to find a decent picture with a group of women, all women of color, with all the races represented in this poem…I still wasn’t really able to achieve that, so please forgive me. I do think this poem does get the message across however and I hope it encourages all my women of color to know: you’re beautiful, too.

beauty_fade-out

Photo source: Google Images

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Silky hair that cascades down
As if it were a golden waterfall
Ivory skin
Resembling the purest, the finest
—there is
Dainty lips
Refined nose so ever slender
She’s so ever slender, you know
In all the right places,
You know?

Eyes icy blue
The kind that pierce through
And penetrate deep into your soul
When you gaze into them
Why,
Just look at her
Why wouldn’t you think
She’s beautiful?

She has literally become
The definition of it

Somewhere along the way
She became the definition
For a lot of things:
What a woman is supposed to look like
What an American is
What happens when beauty is born
And shapes itself into human form,
Is that right?
I think so, I think it is

I see her
And have been seeing her
In every film and TV screen there is
I see her
In all the makeup ads
In the lusts of men
Who say
She’s so charismatically sexy
She’s just too good to pass up
And yet
Somehow
They pass up on me

You see
I am Black
And I was taught
At a very young age
That all of us
Are beautiful
Unique in our own way
We’re like God’s human rainbow
Displayed in various arrays
Of skin tones and hues

Then you grow up
And you discover you live in a
—world
Where that is just simply
Not the case

I felt like somebody lied to me
As I continually wipe the spit
Off my face
“What about a Black woman?”
He asked
“Would you take her out?”
The hesitation
And the silence
That surfaced
Only seemed to perpetuate
What the world has been telling me
It thinks of me

Here at home
And all across the seas

I remember once
A man
Who looked like me
Telling another Black girl
He didn’t bother with Black women
Because to him
Dating us
Would be like sifting through
—garbage
To get a rotten piece of meat
Well
I have news for all of you

My Father who art in Heaven
Created me this way
And everything
EVERY THING the Lord has made
IS beautiful

So yes,
That White woman is beautiful
There is no denying that
But
That Brown woman there?
She’s beautiful
That Red woman there?
She’s beautiful
That Yellow woman there?
She’s beautiful
That Black woman there?
Oh yeah, she’s beautiful
And you better believe
This Black woman right here
Most certainly is
Beautiful

Does beauty have a name?
Does beauty have a face?
Does beauty have a race?
Is that really how it is now?
Is that really how it is?
Because that seems to be
How it’s always been

Excuse my Southern talk
But there ain’t no magic to this
Just God gifted, God given
Blessedness
No matter how ugly you tell me I am
No matter how ugly you make me feel
No matter how often you take
That same woman
You just called beautiful
And knock her right off the pedestal
You put her on
To throw her on a pole
And yell at her to take it off

Yes.
She is beautiful.

I will say it again

Yes,
She IS beautiful

And I
Am beautiful too

All of us
Women of color
Are beautiful TOO
And if you can’t respect that
If you cannot appreciate
These different levels
Of beauteous imperfections
Perfectly created by the Savior

Then you
Yes, YOU
Are a fool
And you were never meant to
—have
Such a treasure
As she is

Respect us all
For who we are individually
Love her for who she is
And stop defining us
By what you behold
Only solely to be

Beautiful

woc

Photo source: Google Images

The Telephone Game (Poem)

(I decided to write poem in the Safe Haven for BHM like I did last year. Thanks for reading and let’s work to keep Black history alive.)

THE TELEPHONE GAME

Ancestors
Passing down stories to ancestors
Passing down stories to ancestors
Pass it down, pass it down
Gather all the children
Gather them all around
Great great of great great of great great
He’s going to tell it now

Who we are
And who we were
How do you know
Who you will be
If you don’t know
Who you are and
Where you came from?

Ships and chains
Sickness and disease
Bodies on top of bodies
Packed in like sardines
Bodies on top of bodies
Cast off into the sea
Land ho
New home
Gather all the children
Gather them all around
Gotta pass it gotta pass it
Gotta pass it down
Pass it down down down

And down, down, down it went

Continue reading

New Year, New Poem

ekg-flatline

SHALLOW BREATHS

I said I loved writing so much
That to tell me to stop doing it
Was as if to order me
To stop breathing altogether

I stopped breathing

I stopped doing everything
For quite awhile, in fact
But the pain that comes from
—the loss of life
Keeps bringing me back

I want to continue
So consider this my second try
At many first attempts
To take in oxygen

Inhale
Exhale
Let it all out
Then take it all back in
Again

What do you do, I asked God,
When your book’s not selling?
God,
What do I do
When the book won’t sell
And it seems as if
Everything I write
Goes unread
And I am told
To remember the real reason
For why I write to begin with

This passion seems to be dead
Because I used to be all self-righteous

“I do it all for the art! The craft!”

No, in reality, you really did it
For the money

“I do it for the love of it!”

Nah bruh,
You really did it for the money though

And when the money doesn’t seem
To be coming in
The passion dies
Because your heart wasn’t where
It was supposed to be
In the first place
So…Lord,
What do I do?
What do I do with all of this?

I thought it was to show people
—up
To prove to them that I could make it
I believed it was to pursue this
Unrelenting, endless drive
To show that I was so talented
I could make bankrolls
On top of bankrolls
Doing precisely what I loved to do
I thought it was to see my published
—works of art
Be played out across movie screens
Become a television series
All while sitting pretty for cameos
And interviews
Signings…

And other ridiculously useless garbage

I was dealing with my own pain
And I couldn’t write about it
I was seeing and experiencing
So many things
And could not find the energy
Nor the strength
To put it all down on paper
One time
Total function of my hands
But I turned into a paraplegic

Although to be honest
I think I became happy
With being miserable
I was starting to enjoy
All that misery and grief
Eating away at me
Eating me alive
Corroding me from the inside
Slowly
Like an acid

My sadness, my pain and my tears
They became my new passion

Then
I got another one of those
Reminders

She had just lost her grandfather
And I felt all the things
I had been keeping to myself
Begin to bubble up inside

I was reminded
Of a little girl’s desire
Before she even thought to dream

All she ever wanted
Was to be heard
Writing books
Performing for mass audiences
Reciting pieces, that yes, she had
—written herself

All those things didn’t matter
She just needed someone to listen

And what was most important
Was that she wanted other people
—to know

She was listening, too

Time goes on
And several years have passed since then
And as those emotions
Bubbled over
I began to recall
The real reason
For why anyone does this
Why it is that I do what I do

To sympathize with broken hearts
To lend my empathy
And an ear to those
Who feel as though their lives have
—been shattered
To lend a shoulder
And a hand
When there is no one to comfort
—them
To remind them all and all of those
—that I am there
When they feel
As if they don’t have a friend
As if…they are all alone

Because I remember those things
And I know it all too well

To give them hope
When they begin to think
That life simply is just not
Worth living
And to know
That I will never
Ever
Get tired of listening
Even
When I’m tired of listening
Because
I’ve been there

I think it is also
The primary reason
For why I listen so much
And talk so little
People need to know and feel
That they are heard
And be assured they are loved

And that is what Jesus
Has been trying to show me
All along

30-something odd letter poems later
Hundreds of works down the road
And finally
I’m starting to get it now
It’s all beginning to clear up

Focus on the hearts
Listen with your ears
And jot it all down
With that Almighty Pen
Let God flow through you
He’ll always show you
Where to start

I am hurting right now
But I still have a mission ahead of me
I posed the question to myself
Jacqueline
Suppose you had stopped breathing
Way back then
Imagine all the people
You wrote those letter poems to
Who wouldn’t have received
A single word
From the Lord
Imagine all the lives you wouldn’t
—have been able
To touch
Because you stopped focusing
On what was most important
What then?
What do you think would’ve
—happen?

I felt my heart sink
I need a reminder for myself
So I re-read the piece I sent
Two actually
The one I wrote for that young lady
And another I had written
Two years ago for someone else
And as I read them
The tears welled up once more

As I asked myself,
Do you think if people knew
How many tears I poured into this
How many drops were spilled
As I wrote and toiled on some of
—these poems…
Do you think that would make them
—buy the book?
Would they even bother to listen?

In that instant
God reminded me
He had listened
And He was always listening

I may not ever get to experience
What it’s like to be a rich man on earth
But by God
I do declare
I will be a rich woman in heaven
There my Father has many riches
And He will share all the spoils with me
And all those things
That I just thought I needed
Will be the very stuff I walk on
Right under my feet

God listens
And He sees me
He hears me
Even when nobody else does
And I cannot tell you how many times
Jesus has instructed me
To be patient and hold down the line
“Daughter, you’ll be fine.”

(Taking a breath now…)
(This stuff becomes easier,
The more you do it)

It’s almost as if
I never stopped

I am so sorry, everyone
I’m listening now

Please,
Tell me your concerns

And I will share with you
The Word
That God has for you

 

sukuyomi-vari_change-wind

Artist Unknown

Strangled (Poem)

Rather than write a post, I decided I’d write a poem instead. I hope you all receive something from this.

strangled

STRANGLED

“Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8

I had a dream about you
The other night
And in it
Was a grieving woman
Crying over the loss of her son
She was talking to someone
And then she called me over
And she told me,
“It’s not worth it.
Your father, it’s not worth it.”
Somehow
Tears began to run down

I remember waking up
Feeling light in my spirit
Happy in my heart
As I thought to myself
I should call him
I’ll call him today

Then I went back to sleep
And when I woke up again
Little by little
I recalled every argument we ever
—had
Every time I forgave you
Only to end up hating you
All over again
By noon,
I was strongly against it
Very adamant
That anger seeped back in
And just like that
My heart hardened

Truth is,
I’m tired of fighting with you
But I’m also sick of making nice
At this point of my life
I don’t even care about getting
—along
I just want to be over it
I’m begging for cordial
And praying for miracles

Most people in my situation
Who have tumultuous relationships
—with their fathers
Usually don’t find reconciliation
Until their father finally comes to God
And they’re both much, much older
And shortly after
It’s time for their father to go on to
—glory

I’ve accepted the fact
That it’s highly likely that you
And I
Will never get along
We can’t get through the rest of the
—album
For being stuck on the same song
Always the same song

Heh…
I can feel the anger surging
Right now

And yet
A great sadness as well
Because you may die
Never becoming the man
God created you to be
You may go to your grave
Blaming everyone for why things
—are
The way that they are
But never looking into the mirror
And examining the person
Staring you back in your face

When I think this
All I hope for
Is if that should happen
I can find solace
And peace in my heart
At least
I hope I can find those things
Before something like that happens

Perhaps that dream
Was trying to tell me something

It’s not the first time I’ve dreamt
About you
Before
The one I had before this one
You were sick
You looked terrible
And you were angry
And we were both doing everything
In our power
To avoid each other

So
As I read the verse for this month’s
Monthly Tidbit
For the church newsletter
I hear God speaking now to me
As the words to this poem come
Whispering

Can you see God with a black heart?
Can you bear to look Him in the face?

“Daughter,” He told me the other day,
“Daughter,
You are killing yourself.
You are slowly killing yourself.
Give it to Me.
Let it go,
And give it to Me.”

One day
I’m going to have to talk to you

And one day
I will let it all go once again
And no matter what you say
Even if you should choose
To play that same tune
Over and over again

I will not pick it back up

Even when you do