Tag Archives: truth

Dirty Window


An hour after I named my blessings
will, determination, and aint gone take but so much shit
I got up, opened my mind and the curtains
and sat with my pen looking out a dirty window
hoping for a muse
who could whisper purpose so eloquently
I saw a playground called
what big momma birthed
where 3 children played
like aint nobody profiling
like aint no sad songs on the tongues of
choirs dressed in shadows
like the sky been the only trusted blue
like the sun been spotlight
like that earth be stage
I saw those babies put on a show
with faces more animated than television
and smiles dancing between check bones
3 hearts, 2 bodies, 1 spirit
2 sets of footprints in the mud
and I knew a blessing was there
present where time ticks too fast
and yesterday can’t remember anyone’s phone numbers
and I prayed
prayed that insincerity would never wash my window clean
or I might lose my understanding of each beautiful smudge
might forget each dusty promise
each speck of why
that lets us know what tomorrow is worth
because this world makes us believe that a wash
is better than transformation but
I know only in the midst of darkness can you understand light
so only covered in dirt can your soul be cleansed
see these 2 young souls were playing free
with a friend teaching them to build with imagination
preparing them for when we tear this all apart
and I was thankful that guardians
come from up above with degrees in
engineering and innocence

I looked out a dirty window
and saw a couple holding hands
tears down his face
because what he held onto
couldn’t hold his heart together any longer
See he was tired
Tired of hoping strength would come tomorrow
Wishing he could shed the weight
of everything gone wrong before
The unwanted goodbyes that found
refuge in his gut feeling that the next
would be like that last
So he decided to workout
the hesitation he had been grappling with
Because faith without works
is a lonely affirmation that the dead of night
aint got no room for saints and sanctuaries,
only lies and lust
So as grace held his heart
and looked him in his eyes
He got down on one knee & asked
for the now and forever he planned 3 days ago
once he hung his worry on the star crossed love
God gave this lonely forgotten son
with only the blessed belief in his spirit
that the rock he moved along her finger
would resurrect the revelation
that happiness exists
As her tears joined his
I thanked the Lord for this miracle of sight because
It’s hard to see love when your blind to yourself
and he seemed to find the answer
in the reflection from the wet
along her cheeks
so cry y’all, cry

I was looking out a dirty window
and saw wings spread
saw the sun smile, the clouds blow kisses
and the wind clear the way
for a flight path to heaven
I saw eyes look towards me
and hands wave goodbye
felt joy deep and full
exhaled I miss you
holding fingertips to window panes
wishing to reach you once again
can’t we just talk for a moment
can’t you tell me what to put on this page
aint it supposed to get easier
aint the weather report supposed to love me
what I am supposed to do with these storms
Don’t just leave with me the words
I want you to read these stories to me
and put my insecurities to rest
so I can reach my dreams
see angels rise with the dawn
God’s arms welcome them
and it’s a wonder
to see his presence
where we need it most
in the midst of hard times,
where peace is waiting,
insight is available, and breakthrough is inevitable
I know it’s true now, tangible and within reach
but would have never been ready
to receive it
If I didn’t sit down
and look through my dirty window

Alchemy

the-alchemist

we are two alchemists
you and I
trying to purify, mature,
and perfect our lives
trying to turn dust
into wisdom
turn bruises
into rain forests
turn sidewalks
into flower beds

we managers of elixirs and emotions
paper and words
we blessed dreamers
adept at making miracles out of trash
ready to smile at those who believe
that we belong amongst the heap
we make breakthroughs
out of the roads less traveled,
pave trials and tribulations with asphalt,
and believe our destiny is
never the destination
but what we learn to bear
between the shoulders of the road

I have tried everything
to help you recognize
that there is glory in your presence
and not just your practice
that you can be seen for more
than what you do
and appreciated for more
than what you give
so now I sit amidst these sands
with elements in hand
trying to mix you a new horizon
and when dawn turns to dusk
I will paint the words of others
across the night sky
and hope that you read your belonging
in relative constellations

I have been reading the wonder in your smile
for some time now
held book clubs in recognition
of the amazing in God’s penmanship
I’ve given him a head’s up
for the good work
his nod back
is to the baseline of beauty
paced by the steps
you take into a room
style and grace perfectly placed
on beat
turning any floor
into a well versed runway

because of your past
you seem to think you are
disconnected from the dynamic
destiny colored your skin
not long after you were born
so I continue to think of ways
to remind you
that what you have dealt with
was never intended to be
your burden
it was intended to be affirmation
that you are so much more

It’s hard work
when this man’s world
puts so much effort in trying to
remind you rib
rather than value you magic
but you are so deserving beloved
so here I sit
with will and determination
hoping each additive
blends perfectly
like how your eyes, lips,
courage, resilience
insight, and compassion
blend perfectly

I chose these sands
to craft this revelation
because it is here that my tears
and desire for your happiness
can turn this into a paradise
of glass
where you will never stop
being reminded of
the wonder you are
for it seems my eyes
have not been enough

we are two alchemists
you and I
trying to purify, mature,
and perfect our lives
trying to turn wind
into affirmation
turn mistakes
into water falls
turn parking lots
into embraces

but what good is this ability
if all I can do
is watch this world
make you question
how powerful
of a blessing
you’ve become

“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the dessert, ‘one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’” – Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist”

Feet (a draft)

bare-feet-8750452

40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

A draft of a poem I’ve been trying to conquer for a long time now. More edits will come, but I decided to share it now.

Feet

I’m sorry
I don’t know what happened
I promise I was paying attention 
They were right here
I’ve never been forgetful 
Just optimistic
Probably to a fault
I can’t stand to lose anything
But I promise I’ll find them again

I mean
Harriet don’t leave me
I’ll crawl if I have to
It’s not groveling
If it’s for a purpose

I been following the drinking gourd
Wading in the water
But lord knows I ain’t never needed a sweet chariot more
To carry me home

Maybe I left them by the cotton gin
Standing idly by while black intelligence
Became intellectual property
Became patent
Became passage of fugitive acts
Did I abandon them
Cuz the system keep knocking me on my ass

Nat I wish I had found them earlier
I’d have ran with you
Stood with you
Fought with you
But I misplaced them along the way
Got me still searching for them now

I know I was supposed to take care of them
Must’ve got comfortable on this train ride north
But Harlem look like a runway
I’m fashioning optimism 
Gone walk head high
Get em spit shined in resilience
Gone step it up a notch

Gone get all Bojangles dynamic when I find em
But they all milk box missing now
I’m sorry Savoy
Can’t dance my blues away
I didn’t forget the steps
Just don’t know where my freedom is

Washington and Carver say they in them fields
DuBois say they pounding them streets
Garvey say they waiting to touch African soil
Jackie Robinson say they touching bases
Oliver Brown say they was left in court
Someone said they floating in the Tallahatchie river
But aint nothing there but ghosts and guilt

I’m sorry Mr Louis
I thought I was ready to fight
Wanted to move light on em like Sugar Ray
Swing like Sonny Liston
Tell Ali I lost my rumble in these concrete jungles
I don’t know how to get off these ropes  

I’ll be here when you get back Martin
Can’t make Selma on my knees
Even the closest new day 
Is a hop, skip, and jump away
Aint gone be no crawling
Don’t want no wheelchair
Unless it feels like Bus Boycotts, Freedom Rides

Couldn’t make it to the lunch counters
Wasn’t able to sit in
So I guess I’ll sit here
Trying to figure out what I’d stand for
Die for

I’m sorry Gregory 
I know they’re still here somewhere
I can hear them tapping
They calling for rescue
The staccato is sobering
Reminds me that marching can look a little different now

Tell James I think I got it
A shuffle can say it loud
Be black and powerful
Let the world know you got soul
Double entendre to a funky drummers beat

See Bootsie I had it all wrong
Now I got it funked up
Found my platform
Kneehigh in the thick of things
I’m high stepping to the rhythm baby

Bobbito
Check the footwork
Some say I’m insane to step up
I say I got Crazy Legs
But they Rock Steady
Don’t my passion look fly 
In Diadora’s and Shell toes

Tell Mike I found my wings
Renewed my faith
So these airs and this cross I bear
got me ready to make something happen
Aint gone be no more sitting and watching
Courtside seats aint as exciting as I thought
I want a piece of the action

These feet 
Want to walk down an aisle and promise forever
Step up to a podium and promise change is possible
March side by side with hope
Plant themselves in front of a classroom

These feet
Want to play footsies with love
Line dance at my daughter’s wedding
Draw a line in the sand
Fight for a future fitting for her

They feel comfortable on stage
Feel comfortable on the neck of stereotypes
Feel fancy in hard bottoms
Feel fancier in sneakers
Understand what it means
To be outfitted for the moment

For every ancestor
For every struggle
For every visionary
For every intellectual, fighter, teacher
Leader
These feet
Will never stop moving, working, dancing
Until my last breath leaves
And they put me ten toes up

I Am Inspired By Warriors (valuable lessons pt 2)

The logo for Men Against Rape Culture (MARC) founded at NCSU.
The logo for Men Against Rape Culture (MARC) founded at NCSU.

40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

Men Against Rape Culture (MARC) was one of the most transformative things I have ever been a part of. Bryan Profitt is the person who got me involved. He was a young activist that I kept running into throughout the community. I was being mentored by elder organizers who were also mentoring him. We had been involved in organizing at NCSU in Raleigh and in organizing young folks to participate in other actions happening in the city. We had worked to start Hip Hop Against Racist War (HHARW) and joined with other young activists to lend our hand to the organizing around a number of issues.

After returning to NCSU for graduate school, Bryan got a job taking over a program at the Health Center that worked in conjunction with the Health Center and the Women’s Center. He came up with an idea of how to restructure the program. He looked at Men Can Stop Rape out of DC and other initiatives across the country. He asked me to help. I started working part time at the center and soon we recruited students on campus to help us build what would become MARC. Not too long after he finished grad school we started working with the statewide coalitions against sexual assault and domestic violence. We got to work with institutions across the state. We got to work with organizations in various communities. We got to work with men around this issue. We also learned how to support survivors and how to communicate and heal as secondary survivors. I learned feminist politics. I grew as a person. I was shaped forever.

There are truths that I hold to because of the experiences I had with MARC. I tell the women that helped me grow so much that I think of them as I do work in the community. I say the same to the men who helped mentor me. The warriors who have struggled, fought, taught, and advocated for change. I can call them friends and allies. I can call on the lessons they gave me when I need them.

Because of them…

I will believe the survivor. I will not defend a perpetrator.

I will not blindly accuse. I will not demonize. My commitment is to the safety, preservation, nurturing, and growth of my community and not the destruction of a person.

I will challenge patriarchy and heterosexism. I will listen to learn.

I will follow. I will work.

I can not enter or remain in a space that is reckless. Reckless is destroying to vindicate. Reckless is ignoring that the numbers say that we rarely know who is a survivor around us. How we hold a space includes having a plan for those who haven’t spoken up. We do not take them along for the ride. Reckless is saying “Oh well” about those caught in the crossfire. Reckless is not having the proper resources in a space.

I can not be part of a process that doesn’t recognize the influence of privilege, class, and race in decision making. Even within feminism there are debates about ideology and focus. Many voices that have expanded the understanding of feminism have been voices of color (especially queer women of color). They have expressed that there are complexities that exist.

I can not be a part of a space that doesn’t establish a way for men to work with men. Or understand the value of proper facilitation of certain conversations. How we hold a space is very important. Allied men don’t always know how to be effective allies. Problematic men don’t always know how not to be problematic. We don’t wait for them to be checked because then responsibility is placed on the wrong person. The men in the community should actively work to grow the capacity of those men.

I can not be a part of a space that does not include love and healing. For sustainability. For preservation. For growth. For so many damn good reasons.

I can not and will not stop working.

Conversation with The Sky (in rhythm)

20140427-203450.jpg

40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

I been hoping for a lil sunshine in my life now
That blue sky where my dreams fly
And I’m focused 
Praying for a vision asking God to make it clear
So I can pen it down let it be my opus

A ballerina plied and I just smiled
No audience to clap cuz this was just practice
Left ink on stage it’s was oh so beautiful 
This is what it is when my pen gets active
It’s a demonstration watch for the signs
A theme comes I pick it and just put it in lines
I’m paper clipping images
Showing you my penmanship
Enveloping metaphors
Addressed in these rhymes
I’m at the fresh market and I’m picking out fruit
My labor to the paper is just speaking the truth
Painting pictures with my wordplay
Doing what the verbs say
Lyrics are photographic when I step in the booth 

I asked a star why does he shine there
He said you purpose is your own and mine is right here
Teach me what you know
So then He replied
If your pen is the light then you beam bright there
I hit em with the dueces 
Lost my excuses
No time Iike the present for me to just shine here
Inspiring our sons
Some claiming a set
I want em to rise
Eyes on the prize there
Forget the dark there’s a new day to come
That’s why I’m serving lyrics laid over these drums
Turn the volume up
Look up at the night sky
And let the star tell me that’s a job well done
And I’ll reply back as I’m playing the next track
Stay on the lookout there’ll be more to come
Cuz I ain’t done beaming
My pen still beasting
So imma keep spitting while theirs breath in my lungs

The Anticipation

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40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

You’re waiting for me
Heaven is what I call you
I live again here

I am this theater waiting for the show to start. As I look at the setup I start to think….isn’t that moment of anticipation the greatest feeling for an artist. It’s a mix of anxiety, anxiousness, and adrenaline. You want to touch that stage. You want the people to love what you offer them. You can’t wait to share with them. You can picture it. The excitement. The instant response. The rising energy in the room. That waiting stage is everything hope is. It is untampered possibility. Self Determination never had a better bedfellow than the waiting stage. Revolution is possible there. Freedom is possible there.

Some may call it romanticized. Those people don’t know that love affair. They don’t know the risk. The leap. The courageousness. Of course it’s a romance. Much like a blank page, a waiting instrument, a blank canvas, an empty dance floor, a blaring break beat. It’s a longing hand waiting for your touch.

This is what consistently reminds me of what love can be like. No matter what happens to me in this crazy world of dating or whatever people think they are doing, that waiting stage says, “it’s still possible. Just let me keep you in training for her.” No matter what I face working in the community it shows me the transformative power of purpose. No matter where the hate is coming from it reminds me that the work, the art, the message is more powerful that people’s opinions, perceptions, or sour dispositions.

That anticipation. It keeps my soul alive.