“Raised under the protection of her mother and the field hands, Stella is unaware that she is a slave. Not being accustomed to hard labor, things change when Mama dies and she falls into the cruel hands of Marse Saddler. Years later, when The Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1864 allegedly abolishes slavery in the state, Stella learns of Saddler’s plan to keep her on the plantation. She then agrees to accompany Saddler’s daughter Miss Carla and her husband John, to The Windy City {Chicago} and learns the hard way the difference between slavery and freedom.” 

(This short story will be published to The PBS blog and is free to the public. Anybody who follows The PBS Blog can take part in the reading of the series every Friday beginning January 23, 2015).


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Never Having Been a Girl

This poem is based on a true story. A sista I know  requested I write a poem based on her childhood. And after hearing her testimony, this is the result.

Silence lingers on every street corner of her heart
surrounded by the sounds of her own heartbeat
the only child
who knew that loneliness could be so loud?
Never remembering ever being a girl
womanhood emerging from her mother’s womb
responsibilities following her home wrapped in soft blankets and warm booties
yet infancy is kicked off too soon
and replaced with scavenger instincts
tearing away at empty cupboards
hope falling asleep like heroine nods
quickly replaced with the tears of a three year old
silence tearing away at the soft eardrums of a toddler’s pride
never remembering ever being a girl
Quick paces of little feet turned nine
gotta get the cigarettes on time
crowded streets
little feet
unknown eyes that are watching me
(at least somebody’s watching me)
careful now these little feet
having never been a girl
Twelve times twelve,
twelve arrives
sadness in mommies cancer eyes
watch him do it and do it right
gotta give the medicine exactly right
the internal cries of that youthful voice (never really having been young)
somebody please tell me,
where is mommies tongue?
gotta carry cause mommies gone
will someone sing her daughters song?
The woman with the pink ribbons in her curls
the woman never having been a girl
Restaurants to wash myself
weed and drinks cause I watch myself
who cares for cute sinks when nothings left
seems like childhood just up and left
me sitting beside myself
empty benches now colored with the stench of my pain
smelly armpits reach out to beg for change
while relatives sit at home and count my change
whose willing to see this woman change?
Never having been a girl
Hustle proved its source of love
where does an instant woman find true love?
inside the arms of an abusive man she seeks her refuge from lazy hands
money giving light to dark places
apartment buildings giving substance to misplacement’s
where has it gone? My love? Where’s your part?
where oh where have you hidden my heart?
Numbers fade away like living water upon dirty dishes
this daughter of mine the result of these stitches
Entering the world as if she owns it!
Gotta hope another woman has not entered this world
praying my first child has the chance to at least,
just be
a girl.

DIY: Crisco and Butter Candles

It’s Sunday again and that means another exciting recipe here on The PBS Blog. We’re gonna switch it up a bit for you today though. Instead of cooking up a delicious treat, we’re going to take a look at two ways you can keep your light shinning in the event of an emergency.

How to Make a Candle using Crisco


Did you know that the Crisco Company used to be a candle company? Which means you can use Crisco to make candles.

You will need:
• Any sized tub of Crisco Vegetable Oil (I recommend the large 48 oz tub)
• Candle Wick (10 inches for a 48 oz tub)
• Stick
• Lighter

Take your stick and pierce a hole in the middle of the Crisco all the way down.
Next, take the Wick and use the stick to help stick it down to the bottom of the can. Hold the wick with one hand, and use the stick to work it down the hole with the other hand.
And finally, light the candle.
Yup, it’s that easy. But before we move on, let us establish some safety rules:
If you Google or YouTube Crisco Candle you will get loads of information about it since everybody and everybody’s mothers pretty much know about this by now. But one of the primary pieces of information you will also find in addition to how to make the candle itself is that this candle will burn for 45 days. Stop Here.
First of all,  I’ve never tried to burn it for that long, nor will I attempt to, and nor should you try to either (didn’t ya mama ever teach you not to believe everything on the internet? lol, joke) but seriously, here’s why:
The Crisco Candle is an Emergency Candle for a reason. It is not designed to be a long term source of light, but it could help in emergency situations. The Crisco container is a foil-lined cardboard tube which can definitely catch fire once the melted oil makes its way down into the paper. In the event you must use this option, it’s a good idea to scoop some of the Crisco into a more stable container that has less of a chance of burning through.



As seen in the picture, I collect Candle glasses after the wax has burned down specifically for this purpose—so I can use it in the event I must make my own candle. The Crisco Candle is a great creative source of light for an emergency, but it is not something you leave burning for an extended period of time or that you walk away from.


Butter Candle


This one comes with the same Caution label as the Crisco because of the paper wrapping, but we’ll get to that later.
You’ll need:
• 1 Stick of Butter
• Knife
• Toilet Paper
• Toothpick
• Lighter

Take the stick of butter and slice it in half, that’s right, right down the middle (horizontally of course….please don’t slice the butter down the middle from the top, vertically in other words. It will be no good).
Next, with the toothpick, make your hole in the middle by sticking it down in the middle; this is where your “wick” will go.
Now, you can buy extra wicks for emergencies, but if not, you can make your own. Tear a nice piece of toilet paper, and roll the toilet paper into a tight roll like your rolling a blunt (don’t lick it though).

Now, twist the rolled toilet paper so that it’s nice and tight, and bend it at the end as seen in the picture.
Using the toothpick, stick your toilet paper wick into the butter (the bended end will make it easier to stick it down). Make sure to rub the top of your toilet wick around a bit in the butter before lighting it.
Light it and there you have it, a butter candle!
Now, this is an emergency tip. Like the Crisco, it is not designed to last for long periods of time without taking extra precautions. Instead of having it just in the butter like on these pictures, you can just take some butter and put it into a better container to ensure a longer burn.

Every Tablespoon of butter burns for approximately 1 hour. That means one stick of butter will give you 8 hours of emergency light. Use your time wisely.


warning_answer_1_xlarge WARNING: This post is not from a professional perspective and is not a recommendation from any Fire Department or Medical Professional. Candles should be handled by an adult mature enough to take the precautions necessary to handle fire.