It’s really a great joy when you can look up from your life, in the midst of work or family or any mundane daily chore and realize that so many of the things you hoped for are actually apart of your life. Even though most days it seems like you don’t know what the hell is going on. Or aren’t sure how you’re going to make it. But you look around and see creativity. Friends whose dynamic energy causes yours to soar. Beloved family. And a home that makes you feel good and protected. That is the proof of karmic flow and God realized prayers. And you can say Thank You. And sleep well at night.

Shots Fired: Eros Strikes Back

Artwork by Clarina Gonzalez

Floundering & flailing
beneath so many failings
How could I have been so blind?
If Justice be sightless
and Eros be an archer
betwixt them
I am
misled
injured
&

 dying

*NOTE: Super technically speaking Cupid is the god who shoots arrows with his tiny bow. Eros is also a god of love but so far as I remember he was not packing.

Songs to Sing of the Night and the Rain

barely there
wispy murmurs upon the air
soul sounds softly cooing like doves
too low to seduce the ear
attracting little attention

yet requiring awareness
and deep intuition

though it is knowledge that cannot be obtained
outside of the whirlwind
for those trapped in the funnel cloud chaos
alone, frightened, riding the eye to its destiny
within the storm’s relentless violence
there is in this experience
clarity now– made plain–
numerous mysteries
conspicuous in that time, in that place, in that state
when the mind bends low, kneels to fate

an unfamiliar encounter
evidence leaves its mark
like a cattle brand
upon the insubstantial
the intangible
it is one’s spirit that whispers
its joy and its pain
pleads with you to acknowledge
to listen
to sing the song of the night
and the rain

Mind Prism

snowy white starry bright
is the vast canvas inside my mind
constructed in mine own image and sensibility of right
blanket of glory
unsubtle white light
which eclipses all shades by my perception and my might
like a marble statue with smooth blind eyes
whatever I command stays hidden from sight
monochromatic oneness is all that I dream
a color with force
light like a beam
which is not to say: mote
nor to say: trance or hallucinogenic imagining
I choose not to illuminate shades that I would not see
within this prism of whiteness
is a prison of what seems
too destructive
too instructive
to erase all this fantasmagoria within my reverie
why should I shed light upon
that
which
I don’t wish to
..see

la Neurotique

Your absence is my jail

this dis-ease
this separation 
traps me inside you
but the distance is real,
a secret my heart hides from my mind….
 
…without you I am neurotique 
a body aching from enforced freedom, 
desiring the chains locking  me to you to unite us 
together for all time

For Mommy: A Prayer

The Universe ~ God’s body ~ is pregnant with love
that is stronger than pain
than hunger
than nihilistic darkness and absence of  hope
His Love escapes Time, prances and capers across the conscious Universe
dusting us, His creations and image, with the power of light
the powdery stuff of stardust to blanket us
and protect from sorrows in dark of night
Within His luxuriant embrace we are sheltered from hollow despair

Surrender and abundance are the ecstatic destiny awaiting us all
transformed through each lifetime
if you would but travel his roads
for you should discover the finale to toil and sweat soaked years
and the infinite shall enfold you to bring you home again
to grace and mercy beyond the veil of tears.

The Nutcracker Sweet: The Lady Baller’s Anthem

He desired proof what truly was up
That you, indeed, were the one rocking biggest nuts
Now this is how you play a fool who don’t believe
that fat meat is greasy
Fuck his mind first, good & deep
Drop to your knees & suck like it’s nectar sweet
Don’t even let him come til he 
calls out and pleads your name
“I love you Mama Goddess! Please! I repent! Forgive me for tryna run game!”
Then spank his ass quite harshly and send him on his way

Make that fool remember:    
      that you balled him for (your) pleasure
      you balled him for (his) pain                                    

 that you balled him for power
 and you balled him for play
You balled him up & down all night long
     on & on for days
Quite frankly he will always recall
A Great Lesson and Mighty Moral:
Woman is Creator 
Earth Mother
She is the Queen in charge and always, everyday
She is the one rocking the hardest balls
with the power and sense and aesthetic principle
to keep them hanging neatly inside pelvic walls.

The Survivor’s Tale

Survival has no mercy
it only cares for itself
it destroys every barrier with a wrath
it demolishes emotion
and upon such weakling nonsense
casts a pall, eliminates softness
takes the hard road for its path
Survival has one single motive and only loyalty to itself
and its power is selfishly devoted
and after serving for its sake
often one finds  oneself alone
when the greatest need and desire of every survivor
is just to find and hold her own home

Pray for the Survivor
Pray for her Cause
Pray that she finds her way
and that her survival superpower soon and soon decays
for peace comes only to the one who knows
how to relinquish control

to she who can lay down the sword 
to at last end the war

The battle waged for survival
is that for her very soul
which brutalizes every survivor
for, if too long and fearsomely engaged
she dies – loses more than life – never tasting
peace comfort or rest
found at the labyrinth’s end

Yet when the brutality of Winter is passed away
Spring greets the Warrior with the key to her peace:
the blessing of the precious gift of Grace
the Survivor is freed from her battle of subsistence
liberated she has endured and outlasted
now safe in the Promised Land
far from Survival’s bare life in death,
no more to suffer that twisted & wicked maze

~The Survivor’s Tale~

The Struggle Epic: Black Women Embracing the Enemy Inside

Artwork by Jnell Jordan

Struggle and poverty are NOT in the black woman’s DNA, they are NOT a part of her lineage or legacy. So why do so many of us AIM to struggle? Is struggle a rite of passage to black womanhood? Why deliberately make your life harder than it needs to be?
Why have children before educating yourself, building critical skills for the marketplace, saving up money and establishing a safe family environment?
Where does this attitude of “we gon’ make it” come from? And why are we keeping this message going?

This morning I came across an excellent question posed by the bloggers of the Facebook salon For Black Women ONLY.

I think that every black woman who is in the process of escape from these demons of tradition is haunted by this question.
Further, I think the “we gon make it ” attitude stems from the fact that so many black women are born into a family and surrounding world of poverty and ignorance that for many the attitude of surviving the Struggle is itself a kind of positive outlook.We see our mothers and sisters and grandmothers struggle under these burdens and considering how little they have, many women often make what seems under those circumstances to be “the best of a bad situation”. They support families after all and on occasion manage to scrimp and save just a little bit of something to have something nice when they can.

My grandmother used to say that some folks don’t know and they don’t know what they don’t know, which I think applies to so many black women in America who are shut out of participation in the American Dream through systematic structures that are designed to keep black women poor, uneducated, unable to access even the meanest of available resources like grocery stores that sell fresh food. When was the last time you saw a Whole Foods in the ghetto? Exactly. NEVER. This is not accidental. Michelle Obama works to fight obesity but why is it a problem? Do these people just sit up and eat like nasty pigs? What is wrong with those people? Well, for one, black neighborhoods do not have access to many of the most basic resources that are taken for granted in better neighborhoods. While there are many and many liquor stores, check cashing and payday loan businesses, pawn shops and mini-mart gas stations full of sugary soda, and junk food you’ll be hard pressed to locate a decent grocery.

On tv black women see sitcoms, dramas, and rom-coms about white people who pursue fulfilling careers and professions that require extensive university education. They live is fabulously plush homes that are large and airy and beautiful in neighborhoods that filled with wealthy, pretty people who own multiple luxury cars. But look at Detroit and Flint Michigan, the Cities that God Left Behind, residents have no clean,running water for weeks since the city cut off water due to financial strain on the city’s empty coffers. Does your city have running water? Don’t worry, that is a rhetorical question.

On television, impoverished black women can witness white men on golf courses discussing their stock portfolios and how they intend to produce more wealth for their personal disposal, and to black women born to ignorance, poor education and poverty it’s as good as watch aliens from another planet. I’m a black woman who is frequently  called “over educated” by other black women who’ve had to labor from young ages without the benefit of being educated at fancy East Coast universities, women who have worked all their life….but don’t you know that even I don’t know many things about how white people obtain their wealth  beyond my understanding of well,  the old boy network, corruption, coded rules to keep out brown folk….

For those black women who don’t know and don’t know that they don’t know they see the Struggle as almost an optimist’s outlook – the glass is half, well not full, but it’s got something in it at least, even if the liquid in there supposed to be water isn’t looking so clear at all… But not knowing also produces the tragedy of merely SURVIVING  which of course is not anything similar to true living. Subsistence level  existence is not equal to thriving.

Furthermore, poor schools, poverty and the absence of  other institutions of human necessity within the  structure of “blackistans” and “chiraqs” – black communities of high violence and low resources – insulated from the rest of civilized America which possess basic necessities such as clean water, grocery stores stocked with healthful food and thriving businesses to serve the communities needs – merely perpetuate this extremely harmful, dangerous existence characterized  by The Struggle that is so vaunted and revered among black women surviving in America.

But The Struggle is also responsible for destroying black women – their health, minds that are troubled by depression and other untreated mental illnesses, their bodies struggling with excessive weight from nutrient poor foods. And, finally when one’s health is gone, the mind under siege, the body suffering, it is only reasonable and tragically logical that the soul itself becomes threatened.

And these are the dangers inherent to the cultural embrace of the very principle of survival that in the end has proved most destructive of all the troubles and struggles facing a woman with black skin within a white world that coldly blames the victim for her inability to thrive beneath the boot of the victimizer.

As I write this, the lyrics to the song Get A Life by Soul II Soul keep running through my mind, the refrain sung by high piping children’s voices ask What’s the Meaning of  Life?:

Dreaming of your goals, ambitions and feeling free

I’m on this mission to achieve

Achieve what? What’s in your minds eye? This is what you believe you should gain
What’s the meaning? What’s the meaning of life? Elevate your mind and free your soul 

So there it is, work it out for yourself. Yeah, be selective, be objective. Be an asset to the collective As you know, you gotta get a life

Subsistence is only the most base level of survival; survival is not thriving; and The Struggle, endurance is merely existing. Our history as black women in America has infused our culture with the belief that black women are the least of these, and we ourselves have reinforced the idea and this anemic spirit of sufferance to our daughters; we have obediently followed the rules of hard labor with a perverse sort of alacrity even competing with one another to prove who can be the strongest, the hardest, the most run down yet still functioning; it is almost a source of shame in the feminine black culture to admit to weakness beneath the burden. The conditions that change at glacial pace have entrapped so many within a sort of volunteer slavery notwithstanding the conditions imposed upon us by a system devoid of compassion which pays only lip service to the ideals of Freedom, Civilization, Equality and Prosperity.

Those who escape do so like our ancestors who coveted freedom so desperately that they ran from their captors fearful yet disdainful at the risks, instinctively understanding that any freedom was superior to the wicked stability of enslavement.

Are we now enslaving ourselves to the principle of Survival and Struggle? And what meaning does life have once one accepts the principle which has been fed to us with our mother’s milk? Is it betrayal to utterly defy and reject the lesson in pursuit of realizing the true nature of our soul’s potential?

Or are betrayal and defiance the only tickets that will gain us passage to a sort of Underground Railroad to a new, fulfilling life of choice, health, opportunity and the tantalizing luxury of possibility, which is only second in by the ultimate goal: the  sumptuous extravagance inherent to the chance of having a Dream, pursuing the Dream of having more…more life, more love, more joy once the shackles of our destructive inheritance have been sundered forever

My militant Negro side grieves for what black, brown, gay, trans, disabled people etc will suffer under Trump. And my soft feminine side grieves for Hillary even though she was never going to be anyone’s savior… but I feel for her. When I was a teenager in the 90s there weren’t many women like her in the public eye, black or white. I grew up listening to her and watching her and respecting her.

If you believe that sexism has no power just remind yourself that we live in a world where for all practical purposes the depravity and stupidity of Anthony Wiener lost her an election to be President of the United States.