Tag Archives: community

Speaking for a Cure

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A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

Leaves turn and fall in autumn
We rake the ground clear
and wait for Mother Nature
to begin the process again
To restore the forest in what was there
But what happens when the trees stay bare
When a winter’s cold
Springs into a summer’s heat
When deficiency in your immune system
keeps the cycle from being complete
Each infection or complication
Takes it’s toll
T cell count lowered
until trees weaken
Decaying at the root
When they touch ground
With no one but their loved ones around
How does the pain sound
Is it jarring enough to face the truth
We need a cure
Support for those dedicated to an answer
Awareness raised
Initiatives backed
Stories heard
Until lives can be saved

A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

More than 1 million in the US affected
So many more around the world
Developing nations struggling
for necessary medications
Minority communities here juggling
the rise of new cases
I just see the faces
Heaven made amazing
that will be lost too soon
They are the reason we seek
Optimism held
Berlin, France, Mississipi
It’s the reason to be in these streets
Passion ignited
Courage to persevere and endure
Inspires our search for a cure
Antiretrovirals maintain
Vaccines and topical treatments
being sought to prevent
But those faces
They shed tears for a cure
So we push
we learn
we test
we examine
until we win
restoring the fading light
that make the smiles
on those faces shine bright

A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

Piece submitted for the 2BeatHIV’s Innovation Challenge http://www.2beathiv.org

Video submission

Signs – A new poem

WarningSigns

Signs

She said she enjoyed suspense
Looked me in my eye
Smiled
It took every thing in me not to run
Because hesitation
Is often a respectful and compassionate billboard
Letting you know that what you need
Might be waiting at the next exit
But I don’t heed warnings well
I’m not too good with signs

Like the one
Neon lit between her lips
Juke joint juxtaposed
With the temptation on the tip of his tongue
He made her want to discover the poet inside her
But the time between inspiration and insatiable
Can come and go so quick

That by the time she realized
The truth of the poet inside her
They’d both lied
Her still laying
With tears in her eyes
Him with new conquests in his eyes
I wished I had known before I booked him
For the show

I understand though
Optimism can become desert deceit
When you’ve become parched
Since the last wet taste
Dehydrated
Facing decisions like segregated designations
Marriage like bright light over horizon
Indulgence like dark degradation
Seems like white only and colored only
Water fountains

Hallucinations can happen
When Road Closed
Look like Rest Stop Ahead
Have you crash test dummy desperately
Diving into accidental embraces

I’m no better
Show me a danger zone

And I see an area under construction
An optimistic land developer
Who’s been an indecisive bulldozer for too long
Never knowing whether to dig or bury
I’ve got a hard hat and a lunch box
Because it’s a long days work being this beautifully broken
Fenced into construction sites
With lovers wearing orange vests and steel toe boots
Then wondering why all I have are stories
of things falling apart

Ask me if I can memory a blueprint of love working
I’ll answer
What examples do I have of building to completion,
Joyous occupancy, effective and efficient maintenance
Death and divorce has robbed me of a semblance
Of certainty that it’s possible
So I’m making it up as I go along
Plans are just pages of passionate principles
But no context
It’s all imagination
Ingenuity
Dammit I’m drawing this shit in crayon

Life is just a School Zone
Full of lessons
A roadway full of decisions
and speed limits
A lot with instructions
to Park in Designated Spaces Only
I’ve paid a lot of fines
Learned a lot from my experiences

But I’m gone be ok
God granted the peace
that likes to dress up as patience
and play trick or treat with elitists and enigmas
It’s just a matter of reading the signs
Closed
Out for lunch
Private
They’re just all defense mechanisms
Just steps along the path to being comfortable
Open 24hrs A Day

That’s why I’m good at doing this work
Service entrance above my apartment door
Where the exit sign should be
Means I signed up when I step out
To face the day
Even though my choice got me asking questions
Like why me
When them others got diamond encrusted
Out of Order pieces
Wood carved Out for Repairs medallions
We Reserve the Right to Refuse tshirts
And Try Back Later four finger rings

But I tried to turn my back on my calling
God taped a kick me sense of responsibility
to my back
Now I bear the weight of the world
Between my shoulder blades
And spend my days
With life’s foot in my ass
Trust me, I got the message

See there’s no turning back
Once the door has closed behind you
Your vision, beliefs, and sense of purpose
Waiting on the other side
Every day in the world is a meeting
With the primary stockholders of all that you are
They knew the best course of action was going public
Too late to say you aint ready
When it plainly said
Authorized personnel only

I just answer the call
I’ve tried to manipulate my destiny
Ignorant
That a gated community
Can quickly become a prison yard
That when the hands of the clock
Begin to believe they dictate the time
It will be too late
When they realize they are outnumbered

She said she enjoyed suspense
I’m looking for what’s suspended in her eyes
Then let the moment pass by
With no reply
Because hesitation
Is often a respectful and compassionate billboard
Letting you know that what you need
Might be waiting at the next exit
But I don’t heed warnings well
And I’m not too good with signs

I Was Taught By Warriors (valuable lessons pt. 1)

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40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

I want to take a moment and thank the amazing advocates, activists, and survivors that have educated me, allowed me to be an ally, challenged me, inspired me, and modeled the strength, vision, and compassion it takes to do anti-violence work.

Durham has been a special place for me because of these freedom fighters, these women. I carry them with me when I move and I try to hold their lessons dearly. I owe a lot to the NCSU Women’s Center and the Duke Women’s Center for their leadership and support in the work I got to do. I thank Bryan Proffitt for being the brother and spark that changed my politics, understanding, and sense of purpose. Thank you to the men who joined Bryan and I in pushing to be better and worked to help other men be better.

Men Against Rape Culture (MARC) was one of the most transformative things I was ever a part of. We talked with lots of men about ending violence, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault. Helping to start it at NCSU and moving it from that campus into the community with Bryan was work that wasn’t just needed, it was what I needed. The 6 years working with the state coalitions against domestic violence and sexual assault taught me so much. The work with various organizations and institutions was eye opening. I cried, shook, panicked, grew, learned, shared, and fought.

As I became more rooted in the arts community, my activism became part of my artistry and my role as an arts educator and mentor. I wasn’t able to continue my work with MARC as actively as before. I have not forgotten what it stood for or why it was necessary. I have not forgotten the fighters we aligned with and supported and how they shaped us.

I am so thankful because all of the work I was apart of and supported was done with thought and care. There were missteps, disagreements, and challenges. Still, there was a vision. A vision that included a multi-pronged approach to fighting, healing, and sustainability. A vision that made room for various voices and experiences and fought identity politics. We saw the way women leaders worked and followed suit.

I was able to be involved in helping secondary survivors like myself. I was able to create resources for survivor support. I was on campus at Duke last year and noticed they were still using resources created by Ubuntu and MARC. I got teary eyed.

I know my work is not done including my work with myself. Everyday brings new challenges and new insights. I am honored to have stood beside the folks I have stood beside and everything they have imparted on me. You have no idea how much I owe you.

In Love. In Solidarity. In Peace.