Aborted Purpose

Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash

 

I know too many women aborting their purpose

Manipulating our daughters so that their dreams are tied to two horses

And the black family unit is pulled apart in both directions

And our sons are Willie Lynching their seed

On Fallopian tubes

And walking away

They forgot what grew there

They forgot there are trees with their DNA

and we gave birth to boys who never became men

I know too many women aborting their purpose

We forgot the generations of women we carried in our ovaries

at conception

So we miscarried Eve’s redemption

now the hand me down fabric of expired womanhood

dangling over the degrees of our bedroom walls

we traded our integrity for dried ink on top cream colored paper

the folded crease and stained remembrance

of what we used to be

before the glass ceiling defined us

the faded glory of the black family unit

before we were Diva’s

and Bosses

back in the day when we were content

being Queens

we traded our crowns

in exchange to do bad all by ourselves

now the stress

and the guilt

of 70% of black women

whose descendants will stare down the barrel of a gun

cause she couldn’t admit

that it takes more than a black mother

to raise a black son

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YouTube: New Poem Added! Listen to “Grief” #Poetry #Spoken Word

I wrote this poem in honor of my dad last year, inspired by a real experience. I was listening to Pandora and Yolanda Adams “Open My Heart” came on. I usually turn the station because the song reminds me of my dad who died of cancer in 2000. This time though, I allowed myself to feel. I allowed myself to grieve. I put this video together when I first published the poem to this blog but I am just now getting it uploaded as I am getting my YouTube grind back! Listen to the poem below, read the poem here and be sure to subscribe for more poems!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

 

Flesh vs. Spirit

Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

My anxiety is loud

but so is this victory

so is this freedom

so is this awakening.

My mind is a Warzone

where black and white spirits roam

both demons and angels alike

where sorrow and freedom are both soldiers

fighting for the opportunity to possess me

to take up space

that is the residence

of my conscious.

My body is a battlefield

that society tries to sacrifice to its traditions

and I try not to bleed out

on people who never cut me

since I am both spiritual

and fleshly

like you

So I shackle myself to my integrity

being both in chains and free

enslaved to nothing but truth

a special kind of liberation

submitted

as I strive to overcome this war

between my flesh

and my spirit.

Grief

 

it came in waves today

grief did

the sound of Yolanda Adams opening her heart

did it

I was wrong to listen

her voice was a gun

her lyrics, a trigger

me, the victim

she was thunder

my tears

rain

Yolanda knows I can’t listen to that song

it hoola hooped on the radio in ’99

the year we lived with him

and I combed my Barbie’s hair to her voice

as my Dad’s memory rode on the backs of those lyrics

a warrior

the knight and shining armor

of my adolescents

invisible crown on his head

he is bald now

cancer ate away his hair

and I rubbed Witch Hazel on his foot

I kissed his forehead

I am thirteen again and my heart is inexperienced

I am not ready for the lightening on its way to me

My hands are too small to hold the weight of what’s about to happen

“What if I choose the wrong thing to do?”

she sings

and in my warrior walks

the cab driver in nice suits

his words are “hip” like his style and his commandments

“don’t sleep ready rose,” meaning,

“don’t sleep in your outside clothes”

“I feel so lost, I don’t know what to do,”

in he walks

tight-roping Yolanda’s lyrics

In those sharp suits

riding on the back of my preteen memories

and I curl my small fingers into a fist

and fit them inside the center of my Dad’s palm

the way we used to do

the way his hand covered my entire fist

the way he’s tight-roping on my heart strings

the way memory crawled its way into my throat this morning

“I just need to hear one word from you,” 

Yolanda’s voice penetrates the clouds

the thunder growls

the lightning strikes

and I am thirteen again and the year is 2000

the final moan of a passing storm

and James walks out of the door

his name planting kisses on my forehead

and anointing my eyes

with grief

YouTube: New Poem Added! Listen to “Cheap” #Poetry #SpokenWord

This started out as something I wrote for myself. It wasn’t necessarily a poem. But I decided to turn it into something for you as well. I rewrote it in third person instead of first person. Do not be cheap with yourself. Know your worth. Know your value. Be you. Love you.

Poet Spotlight – 2-Day Special: Grand Prize Winner | Jahkazia Richardson Part 2

Today concludes our spotlight of the runner-ups and grand prize winner of our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018. Choosing winners from such talented writers was not easy so we hope that you have enjoyed our spotlight series on these beautiful sistas. Brothers! No worries, there are poems written by men that will be part of the magazine, no doubt.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to look out for the coming Magazine which will not only feature the ladies you’ve seen this past week but also our poets who didn’t place but whose poems also struck a chord with us. As badly as we want to profile them, we can’t give away all the goodies! But trust, these poems will blow your mind as well.

Introducing Jahkazia Part Two

 

Okay Jae. Go ahead and reintroduce yourself for those who didn’t meet you yesterday. What is your name and where are you from?

Hi! My name is Jahkazia Richardson, and I am from Bull City (Durham, NC).

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Ugh, I feel like I collect everything! I have a problem with throwing away things with sentimental value. I have more clothes and things in my apartment that I care to mention for that very reason.

It’s hard to throw stuff away for real. Any siblings?

I have one little brother who is 20.

Awwue.

We know you can write but what was your childhood dream?

When I was 10 years old, I wanted to open a restaurant called “Big Momma’s Kitchen.” I believe I wrote out a business plan, menu, and everything. I still want that restaurant actually – just under a different name. Coming soon! Send me some juju, please!

Lol. Okay. Speaking of food, what’s your favorite? (I like “Big Momma’s Kitchen” by the way!)

I am an EXTREME foodie, so everything is my favorite. If I had to choose just one thing, I would say Jamaican Jerk Chicken – extra sauce.

Yaass. Love jerk. That’s favorite food, color?

This is so easy! Yellow. It’s the same color as my favorite flower – the sunflower. Oh, and it looks good on my melanated skin so that is a plus.

If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?

Jill. Scott. Jilly from Philly. She has inspired me so much from her transparency, style, and confidence. There were not many artists that looked like me growing up, so looking up to her as a 5 years old felt like a dream.

I can so get a Jill Scott vibe from you! Speaking of music, what kind of music are you into?

My music taste is definitely a melting pot! Most of music playlist consists of mostly R&B, Neo-soul, and hip-hop. I think that’s why I’m always in my feelings. *haha*

Lol. Single? Married? Do we see children in your future?

I’m in a relationship right now. Yes, I cannot wait to be married one day but no, I am nowhere ready for a little one right now. Sometimes I have a little baby fever. Then, there are times when I see a child and want to run, so it’s a tossup.

Lol. Jae, we like to be informational on this blog so tell us, what do you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about music. I have such a deep appreciation for the craft, but I sincerely wish I could turn back the hands of time and learn how to play and read music.

Do you have a favorite TV show?

I love “Chopped” which is the show where you get a few random items and have to make a marvelous meal.

I can dig it. I like Top Chef myself. Religious?

I have tried all my life to me a religious person, but I haven’t found a good fit yet. I am very much a spiritual being. I have healing crystals and sage everywhere.

Be careful with that. I’ve heard some bad things about those healing crystals and sage. Let’s switch things up a little bit. After all, we are here because of your writing. Why is writing important to you?

I grew up extremely, extremely shy and insecure. Writing was my only outlet in order to deal with my mental health issues. Writing was how I processed my worry, pain, and suffering in a way that turned chaos into beauty. In eighth grade, I became an entirely different person when I started reciting in slams, and it built my broken confidence. Being able to have the opportunity to express myself in that way changed my life forever.

Your poem is about knowing your self-worth so tell us, what is it that you love about yourself?

Even with my past self-confidence issues I have always appreciated and loved my loyalty to other people. No matter how folks treated me, I have always been there for them and loved them through it all. I guess it is a double-edged sword, but I love loving others.

That’s what’s up. Jahkazia, thanks so much for spending this time with us!


Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson

To read Part One of this feature, CLICK HERE.


Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:

Click Here for Kiyana Blount

Click Here for Nia Elise

Click Here for Nailah Shami

Poet Spotlight: Nailah Shami | Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 2nd Place winner.

Introducing Nailah Shami

Nailah Shami is the author of two non-fiction books: Taking the High Road: How to Cope Your Ex Husband, Maintain Your Sanity, and Raise Your Child in Peace and Do Not Talk To, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs: How to Find Prince Charming by Finding Yourself. Continuing to fulfill a personal mission to inspire, encourage and entertain others, she blogs on Better for That, a weekly platform of uplifting micro-essays, vignettes, self-care streams and poetry. She is also working on a series of contemporary women’s fiction novels and a volume of poetry. Nailah lives in Washington state in the shadow of Mt Rainier and loves travel, festivals, music, comedy, cooking, pampering, all things lavender, hanging out with friends and family (or interesting strangers) and, of course, writing. She is always writing.

Welcome Nailah! So nice to meet you beautiful! I have to say we loved your poem.  Please tell us what inspired you to write it.

Nailah: My childhood was spent in an abusive, alcoholic household, so it took a while to come to the concept of self-care, or what I have come to describe as intentionally loving and mothering myself. But once I did, it became the perfect antidote for undoing that early trauma. I am fascinated, even addicted to, the power that self-care has to enhance every area of my life. It’s me saying to myself over and over in so many ways, I got you. This is a sacred obligation that I trust completely. Shortly before I wrote this poem, my BFF {Best Friend Forever} complimented me for being the most resilient, self-sufficient person she knows. Extreme self-care is the reason and I wanted to share that in a poem.

And share you did! Loving Myself Full is a beautiful poem. I mean, we loved it. There are several lines that spoke to us, one of them was:

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Can you explain a little bit to our readers about this line?

Nailah: What I was trying to convey there was that there is a certain mindfulness about knowing what it will take for me to burn out, and a wholehearted willingness to counteract that by making small, deliberate contributions to my well-being. Could be taking 10 minutes to choose just the right bouquet of flowers, 30 minutes on my yoga mat, 90 minutes on the massage table, making sure I’m eating right and getting my zzz’s or happily saying no to a swarm of demands on my time.

Very nice. I think that’s a nugget of wisdom we can all take with us. 

Now let’s get into this poem!

 

Loving Myself Full, Copyright©Nailah Shami

2nd Place

 

I turn off the phone, turn on the sauna

Dial down stress, dial up serenity

Gather my wounds in a circle,

Sing them the tender lullaby, years cultivated

And love myself full

Hush, I whisper

Until they trust me to gently paint over their grievances

With a mosaic of sunshine and light

They vary in age

Strolling through a lifetime, I nod to each me

Spending extra moments with Inner Mother me

She knows how all of this tenderness will play out

My eyes close when a melody from another world caresses my ears

The massage therapist pulls tension out of shoulders, arms, legs, spirit

Hot stones, aromatic oils, mindless bliss

I am AWOL, refusing to be needed

Lost in the valley of me, myself and I

Vowing to return to more simple things

Coloring, skipping, daydreaming

Hula hooping for breakfast

Beach dawdling for lunch

Lovemaking for dinner

Months before I am raggedy meat on a bone

I reverse-engineer my collapse

With unhurried tithes to myself

Casually buying roses with the groceries

Spraying lavender on the sheets,

Rose water on my face,

Wonder in my heart

I practice forgetting disappointments

And I do not have time to doubt the power of this spell I am casting,

The voodoo poetry of peace, stillness, and self-care

Of vowing to do the hardest things in the softest fabrics

And then have someone ease the memory of the fight from my muscles

With Zen music and hopeful scents

I lose time, but do not miss it

A fair exchange to put stars back in my eyes, silken my soul

From far away, I hear the massage therapist tell me to take my time getting up, and I do.

Oh, I do.

Be Sure to Follow Nailah Online!


https://betterforthat.wordpress.com/

 

Books by Nailah

 

CLICK HERE to learn more about Taking the High Road.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Do Not Talk to, Touch, Marry, or Otherwise Fiddle with Frogs.


Stand by for our 2-Day Special Feature of the Grand Prize Winner taking place tomorrow (Mon. 8/27, and Tues. 8/28)!

Who took home the grand prize and why?

Stay glued, Jahkazia Richardson is next.