Guilty

I vomit kindness from my gut
And I am overflowing
(drowning)
in compassion for people
who have none
for me.
Guilty
I let them swim here
for free.

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Confession and Cover Reveal

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Many of you know that I have pushed my two bigger projects back but I’ve been low-key working on another one and yesterday, I revealed the news to my email list.

I have wanted to publish many of the poems featured on this blog (by featured I am referring to my own poems) in a book for a long time. I tried it with my third collection but since then I’ve written a lot more poetry. To make a long story short, I’ve finally submitted the final copy of I AM SOUL in to be edited last week and we’re looking at a release date as early as December 20th, my mother’s birthday.

COVER REVEAL – I AM SOUL

 

Inspiration Behind the Title

“You have an old soul.”

I don’t particularly like this phrase and I cringe when people tell me this. But, it is a fact that I’ve heard this many times over the course of my life, disguised in many different ways.

“You act older than you are.”

“You’re mature for your age.”

Or as my big sister so elegantly put it: “You old.”

So, I decided to drop the “Old” (because I’m young shooo lol) and just go with Soul.

Personal

I read something once that said, “The best writing is vulnerable.” I kept rolling this around in my head. It’s so true. I am extremely shy when it comes to my own personal feelings and I admit I am embarrassed to reveal too much of myself because, well, I think it will be too much. I’m too much yall (lol tee hee). But, the person was right. We connect deeper with people who we can relate to. People who are just as human as we are. People who make mistakes and are dripping with flaws. They may not always be this way, but they help us to see there is still hope. Their testimonies make redemption real. They are not somewhere in heaven while the rest of us are here on Earth. Their mistakes are a bridge of commonality that connects them to the rest of mankind. It is why we connect with people who are real.

This book is also a compilation of the Black History poems published to this blog which is another inspiration for the title. We have always had a unique way about us from our rich history to our style of dress to the way that we speak. We are the salt of the Earth. We are flavoring. We are Soul Train and Soul Brothers. We are soul.

I AM SOUL is personal in more ways than one and seeks to tell the truth. To be honest. To be vulnerable. To be weak and in that weakness, to be strong. ( 2 Co 12:10) This book is all things personal. This book is all things, soul.

So, there you have it. I’ll have more details and developments as we get closer to release but I am excited and I hope you will enjoy this collection just as much as you enjoy the poetry on this blog.

I AM SOUL- 3D

Coming Soon

I Was Not There

I do not entirely agree

with the actions of my ancestors

cannot say with a straight face that I would have stood there

In the crossfire of oppression, falling

while being bit by dogs

smiling

while being spit on

not with a straight face will I say

that I would have been there

to ask my oppressors their permission

to walk down the street

but I was not there

and me not being there leads me to do nothing

but honor their legacy in humility

I do not know the taste of their humiliation

as closely as they experienced it

my young palate is a prejudiced mixture

of what I’ve seen in footage and read in books

I did not feel the lash

or salt in-between their wounds

know nothing of the seasoning

of stripped identity

of throats closing in on tongues

I know only of gentle waters

the kind that bathes, and cooks and quenches the thirst

I know nothing of the kind that pierces

the skin on contact

I do not know because I was not there

but I can write

like Baldwin did

as a witness

I can write the stories

and un-fairy tale the tragedy

of being colored

to make alive again

a history left virtually unknown

because I was not there

not when Moses died or Malcolm slain

but I can write

articulating the suffering

of the now silent

 

Copyright©2017 by Yecheilyah Ysrayl. All rights reserved.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her soon-to-be released short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

New Beginnings

What happens when the words

are carried on the backs of angels

and thread themselves like strings from your heart

to the edge of your fingertips

like consciousness translated into poetry

a spiritual essence poured out only to be confined

and restricted to the page that binds them

what happens when newness fills you to the brim

forcing you to walk into new beginnings

that this flesh has yet to verbalize properly

I have not the answers to these questions

not yet

just inklings of miracles

from black colored ink

and fire coated passion

on white paper.

Yecheilyah’s First Annual Poetry Contest – Grand Prize Winner!

Hey Guys!

I am honored to introduce to you our Grand Prize Winner of my first poetry contest!

First, a special thank you to Colleen and Lisa for helping me to put this together. With my schedule, I could not have done it without you two! Family, please go ahead and follow their blogs. You WON’T be disappointed!

Follow Lisa Here

Follow Colleen Here

Next, I would like to thank everyone who entered as well as those of you who shared this contest. It is not easy to “stand” up here and do something like this so thank you for your support.

Drumm Rollll…

Congratulations to Merril D. Smith for her poem “Zora Neale Hurston.”

Not only did it touch on our theme, but it embodied so much of Zora that I felt like if I didn’t know who she was before, I did now. Here’s what Colleen had to say:

“The author captured the essence of Zora and her strength to fight for the rights of African American women as if she was able to channel her bright spirit through the written word. Splendid imagery and descriptions. When I close my eyes, I can see Zora in all her glory!”

My favorite lines are:

“…her soul crawls out

from its hiding place

time and distance cannot shrink

her words…” – Colleen Chesebro

Whoop! Merril, here’s what you’ve won!

  • Amazon Giftcard
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (hardcover)
  • From When I was a Black Girl by Yecheilyah Ysrayl (paperback)
  • And Still, I Rise by Maya Angelou (paperback)
  • Your Poem on this Blog
  • Social Media Support

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

Author Photo: Merril D. Smith.

MDS: Thank you so much, Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Colleen Chesebro, and Lisa W. Tetting! I am honored to have been selected as the Grand Prize Winner for this poetry contest.

My name is Merril D. Smith. I live in National Park, NJ, which is a small borough right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. I’m an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in American history, but my blog is mostly a poetry blog. Poetry is my creative outlet, though it is something I’ve come to only within the past few years. Perhaps I needed some life experience and time to reflect, but now my muse says, “write poetry.”

Do you have any poetry collections out Merril?

MDS: I don’t have a poetry book out yet, but it’s coming! I’m currently finishing up two reference books on rape. My other books are available on Amazon and other sites.

Before we get to your poem, please tell us a little bit about it. What inspired this piece?

MDS: The theme of the poetry contest was the Harlem Renaissance. I chose to write about Zora Neale Hurston because I think she was a brilliant and fascinating woman. She lied about her age (saying she was younger than she was) so that she could finish high school. Then she went on to study anthropology with Franz Boas, and she chose to do fieldwork on Afro-American folklore. She was said to have made an entrance when she entered a party, and in the photos, I’ve seen of her, she’s often wearing a hat. She definitely had a way with words, so I used some of her lines within the poem. Though she won some acclaim in her life, she did not earn wealth, and she died in poverty. Alice Walker is credited with “rediscovering” Hurston and paid to have a grave stone placed on Hurston’s unmarked grave.

Once again Merril, thanks so much for participating in our contest and sharing your heart with us. Without further ado, everyone we give you:

“Zora Neale Hurston”

by Merril D. Smith

 

She makes an entrance

(not tragically colored)

hat on head–

red, blue, black—

she sets back,

ready, life of the party,

her oyster knife sharpened

dissecting, uncovering

(rediscovering)

life

in tales of people, animals,

the divine, the devil,

people without souls

animals who talk,

eyes watching God

she writes of birds and bees

and peach blossoms in the spring,

of love, romance,

women and men

of rabid dogs

and jealousy,

she dies in poverty

almost

(not quite)

forgotten,

her soul crawls out

from its hiding place

time and distance cannot shrink

her words,

those she left behind

to flow like the sea

to meet our shores

 

©2017 Merril D. Smith


You can reach Merril at the social media links below. Go show her some love!

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Merril-D.-Smith/e/B001HOHXH6

Blog: https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @merril_mds

Instagram: mdsmithnj


 

 

This poetry contest is sponsored by Yecheilyah of Literary Korner Publishing and the release of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One). Pick up your copy of Renaissance today. Click here.

The Right Poem

When the right poem is born it is all feeling. Taste and touch and nourishment. All heart and aching and lifting. Poetry is a revolution with a profound sense of strength. When the right poem arrives I notice it instantly. It is all moving like earthquakes so powerful that it breaks down mental barriers and knocks ignorance off Richer Scales. The right poem is not merely the ability to paint pictures with words. The right poem is a full manifestation of the heart. A complete contextualizing of the soul. The right poem is my entire body into words. Every piece of flesh, every tingling nerve. A spiritual essence poured out on the page.