3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Buddah Desmond

 

Welcome to the blog Buddah and congratulations! Your poem, “Claiming Victory” was so uplifting it won you the #2 spot. Please tell us, what inspired this piece?

This poem was inspired by the challenges many of us face in believing in ourselves and doing what’s necessary to fulfill our purpose and achieve our dreams. Too often we think we’re not good enough. Too often we think we don’t have what it takes to make it. Too often we allow the noise, conditioning, and all the junk we’ve been fed by external forces to negatively impact our outlook and our ability to act. When we’re able to change our mindset, own all of who we are, and shed all of which hasn’t served us, we’re unstoppable. That’s when we can embrace abundance. And claim our victory!

“People get caught up on the highs, peaks,
and successes
They don’t see what went down in the valleys
What it took to get up, get out, and rise again
It’s what we’ve been through—
the periods between life’s highs and lows—
that make us so resilient
We can’t concede
We have to keep on”

-Excerpt from “Claiming Victory.”

As one of the top winners you get a full interview so go ahead and get comfortable. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Water…wine?

Thank you. May I have water please?

Copyright©2019. Buddah Desmond

Certainly!

Now, let’s start from the top. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us your name and where you’re from.

My name is Buddah Desmond (aka BDez). I was born in Washington, DC. Was raised in P.G. County MD (primarily in Forestville, MD and Greenbelt, MD). I currently reside in Alexandria, VA.

That’s very specific Buddah lol.

LOL, yes. I know. I can’t help it. Just call me Mr. Specificity. LOL

Soo Mr. Specificity, are you employed outside of writing?

Yes, I am a User Experience (UX) professional with over 13 years of experience crafting timely, intuitive, and forward-thinking solutions to improve the overall usability / UX of websites, apps, and services for non-profit, commercial, and government clients. My specialties include user research and analysis, user-centered design, user experience design, usability testing, content strategy, and information architecture. I’m also a health and wellness coach. Finished my masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health earlier this year. I’m in the process of completing my hours and studying to become a certified Nutritionist, and in the very early stages of starting my health and wellness coaching practice.

Wow. Congratulations on all your endeavors! With all this, what was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream (and still my dream today) was to be a Renaissance man… To be able to pull from my many talents, do work that matters, and to make a difference. I’m striving to achieve this mission still to this day.

What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

A number of favorites here, but one show that continues to be at the top of my list is Queen Sugar. The writing, acting, cinematography, the landscape, and the issues that are addressed with each episode—it’s phenomenal. I love everything that Ava DuVernay has done. She’s a gem. A national treasure. The epitome of Black Girl Magic! In terms of film, Black Panther has been sitting at the top of my movie list since it’s opening weekend. What an inspiring, impactful, and empowering film. A classic. Ryan Coogler did that!

He did indeed. We love music on The PBS Blog. What kind of music do you like?

Music is my first love. I come from a family that deeply loves, appreciates, and respects music. A number of us, myself included, are musically inclined. I have an eclectic taste in music. I love Jazz, R&B/Soul, Hip-Hop, Gospel, Classical, Reggae, Dancehall, Afrobeat, Latin, Country, and Rock… Music is an undeniably powerful and universal art form. Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

We agree there. Speaking of the Universe, with a name like Buddah I have to ask, religious or nah?

No, I’m not religious. I’m more of a spiritual being. I believe in the Most High… The Divine Creator of our universe that ties us all together. I’ve always been fascinated by religion though, and learning about how people worship, where they worship, their sacred texts, and the similarities / differences between the guiding principles we abide by.

Let’s talk about writing a bit. Favorite writer. Go.

These questions are always tough because it’s a rarity that I can ever narrow down to just one favorite of anything. LOL!

I knew I’d get you eventually.

Okay. I’m done. Carry on.

I have so many favorite writers. Maya Angelou. Langston Hughes. Nikki Giovanni. Sonia Sanchez. Saul Williams. James Baldwin. Toni Morrison. Alice Walker. Terry McMillan. Yrsa Daley-Ward. Nayyirah Waheed. Lucille Clifton. June Jordan. Janet Mock. Ntozake Shange. Devon Franklin. Octavia Butler. Amiri Baraka. Haki Madhubuti. Zora Neale Hurston. I could keep going, but I’ll stop there.

What genre do you write in, why?

My primary genre is poetry. I also write prose, essays, short stories, song lyrics, and blogposts. There’s a universality and musicality to the language of poetry. I couldn’t deny it when I first started reading it. And definitely couldn’t deny it when I started writing it. I think Amiri Baraka said it best, “Poetry is music, and nothing but music. Words with musical emphasis.”

I absolutely agree. It’s like poetry has this ability to bring out the depth in us in ways nothing else can.

YES! Poetry gives us the freedom to get soul-deep to tell our stories in such extraordinary ways.

Soul-deep. I like that. Yess.

The beauty is that we can each write a poem in any form about the same topic, emotion, or experience, and it can be embraced and interpreted quite differently by readers. What we as writers get out of it may be worlds away from what our readers get out of it. And that’s amazing. Truly amazing. Poetry has the power to change minds, and change lives.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I self-published my first volume of poetry, Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics, in June 2012 through iUniverse. The experience was exhilarating, rewarding, frustrating, so many things. When I made the decision to publish my manuscript, I had a “no turning back” attitude. I was at a point in my life where it was imperative to go all in for the things I wanted. I couldn’t be mad at anyone but myself if I didn’t put in the effort or work to make my dreams come true. And I’m grateful I did. Publishing Prevail afforded many opportunities for growth and development, reading and speaking at a number of events, and connecting with other writers, creatives, and readers alike. Not to mention, many learning lessons about building a platform, social media, and book marketing and promotion.

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available now on Amazon.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

That’s a great question. Hmmm… The most difficult thing would be pushing through writer’s block. Or periods when you really want to write, but the muse, inspiration, or motivation is sorely lacking. The most exciting thing is the freedom of expression. Being able to create you own world or worlds. New possibilities. And the blessings of your work opening minds, speaking for those whose voices aren’t being heard, and making deep, meaningful connections with a larger audience.

Nice. Buddah, what is humility?

Humility is quiet confidence. It’s being comfortable in who you are, your abilities, and what you bring to the table without being rude, brash, egotistical, or narcissistic. It’s also about being open to change and possibilities. And knowing that your way, whatever it may be, is not the only way.

What is love?

Love is one of the greatest emotions. It’s more than just deep feelings for something or someone. It’s in the actions. It’s all in what you do (or don’t do). Love can be life changing. Life-saving even. It’s unconditional. As I wrote in a recent piece, “I am nothing without love. I am everything with love.”

Beautiful. Thank you Buddah for spending this time with us. We certainly enjoyed you.

Be Sure to Follow Buddah Desmond below and look out for his piece, “Claiming Victory” in the 2nd Edition Lit Mag Literary Magazine, 2020.

Copyright© 2019 BuddahDesmond

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buddahdesmond/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuddahDesmond/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/buddahdesmond

Website: http://buddahdesmond.com/

Get the Book: Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics


Stay glued guys! Our first place winner is coming up!

Hit subscribe so you don’t miss it!

 

The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 17: Humility

Humility is an important part of leadership. That ever-present feeling of needing to do better, to be better, to try harder. To be firm, to speak up for yourself and to establish boundaries but to also believe there is always room for improvement. To look down on others only when we are lifting them up. To accept that we don’t know everything, to be courageous enough to admit our wrongs, and to constantly push ourselves to rise to the next level.

Listen to “Humility” now on Soundcloud or iTunes

 

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-573689310

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-pbs-blog-podcast/id1344901312?mt=2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbsblogpodcast

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thepbsblog/

To follow my personal IG page @yecheilyah


Remember that you can catch all 17 episodes by visiting the podcast page HERE.

Cheap

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

You will not shy away from the sun. Your melanin is a gift, do not fear a darker complexion. You will not tuck your stomach in for pictures. Work it off or show it proudly. You will not hide your smile from laughter. Let the joy crawl its way out of your throat and seep its way from behind your teeth. You will not ignore your gut when it hurricanes its wrath. Listen to it moan of unpleasant vibes and wait for it to prophesy your next steps. Wear discernment like a cape and superwoman/man yourself to the next step. You will turn not a blind eye to boundaries transgressed. Let the world know when it’s in danger of tainting your integrity, of shattering your kindness, of disrespecting your soul. Do what makes you happy without regard to how that happiness looks to others. You are a diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece unknown, a treasure to be dug up and valued. A precious stone. You are a rarity, something to be searched for. Something to be honored. A bumblebee may be the smallest among the fly, but her honey is the sweetest thing. You will be honey. And you will treat others as you are. You will be to others as sweet as honey. A diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece, a treasure. Treat those who love you like treasures and turn away from those who do not. You will not be meat. You will not be snack. You will not be feasted upon by those without palettes and cannot taste. Do not rob yourself by forcing friendships. Do not force connections. Do not smother them into loving you. Love liberates. Love them into freedom. But do not lower the price of your worth. A mountain does not become small for those who refuse to climb. They will climb or they can remain on the ground. You are search-worthy.  Drink humility like water and taste its fruits on your tongue but do not clip your wings. Do not be cheap with yourself.

Truth

Truth is not debatable

for integrity defends itself

it is not held captive to the dogma of religion

or held bondage within the framework of theology

it is not trapped inside the walls of College classrooms,

or oppressed by the lips of Baptist ministers,

It wears no stars of David

Sings no Islamic melodies

Truth is not religious

And yet is no atheist

Truth has always been

And always will be

It is neither canonized

nor done away with

not stolen away

or traded amidst the bowels of slave ships

truth is not lynched,

nor shackled against the cages of fear

it refuses to shake hands with deception,

and will never embrace the arms of uncertainty

because truth is always certain

It is sure to be like nothing you can ever imagine

but be everything you’ve ever hoped for

Truth is limitless

And humble

Needs no acknowledgement

And yet wears a crown

Truth needs no confirmations

and yet rules

wears no flowing garments

Is lowly

and yet royal

accepted by the faithful

and resisted by those who are afraid.

A Writer’s Responsibility

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Writers must understand what their responsibility is as a voice. As a shofar to the world. Low self-worth, ignorance, and low self-esteem can be smelled from miles away. The stench of give up is not something that is difficult to discern. If you dare to write, then dare also to own it. Your words, your message, and your purpose is something that must not be shared timidly. It’s not about arrogance, for arrogance will surely destroy you. What it is about is writing with authority and making yourself responsible for every word, every syllable, and every piece of heart contextualized. Humility is understanding who guides you every day and who came before you. It is not thinking less of yourself. Every blog post, every email, and every book demand from you a responsibility. You are responsible for being professional, exact, kind, and factual despite how inappropriate others may be. You do not have the permission to curse people or spew opinions that are not rooted in fact. You are a writer and this is your responsibility. When it comes to writing, there is no modesty for the words that you put on the page. If you cannot strip yourself down to the bare minimum and expose your gift for what it is then what are you doing writing? In the words of Maya Angelou, “Life will knock a modest person down faster than a G-string falls off a stripper”. If you cannot take advice on how to better your work, what are you doing writing? If you cannot take it the same as you dish it, then what are you doing writing? What you do will come back. If you can give constructive criticism then be able also to take it. So what people think negatively about you. Their loss. Accepting correction is part of your responsibility as every artist or professional is told what they don’t want to hear at least some of the time. If this is something you can’t handle then again I ask you, what are you doing writing? The same applies to every profession. Dare not put your trust in man for man will always disappoint you. Instead, see every critique, every negative, every mistake, as part of the gift and the growth. You don’t have to agree with me but you will respect me and I will respect you. Not for you alone but because it is my responsibility as a person and as an artist to do so. Authors, you are a fountain of information. If you cannot hurricane Katrina, or tsunami this with the world and be confident and open about it, then what are you doing writing? To be courageous is not just a choice, but it is your responsibility. Every word I stitch into this blog, every piece I spit on stage, and every book I publish comes with trembling fear. But it is a fear that I must use as energy I need to push on. Always forward. Despite those looking for grains of fault in every post I publish, hoping to catch me in a trap as to accuse me of not being the person I’ve always shown myself to be. Despite this, I must write. Even if I do not speak (muteness is addictive. I’ll shut down with the quickness and write you notes as Maya did), I must write. I must do so because it is my responsibility. What’s my point here? Stop complaining. Are you a writer? Then be strong. Own it. You are here and you have something to do.

The Second Thursday of Every Month

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Be sure to tune into your favorite Ape the second Thursday of every month starting next month for my articles. Coming Up: “Enjoy the Journey”, Thursday, February 9, 2017 @ 01:100a London, UK Time.

Sometimes we need to slow down and capture the moment for what it is. Step outside of ourselves and see things play out as if we are not there. Then we can see our actions in their most genuine form, identify our mistakes and most especially, acknowledge those things we have accomplished. We spend a lot of time on what need to be done or should be done in order to reach that level of (place your career goals here) that we envision is representative of success that we do not take the time to appreciate the success we already have. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything. Just be still. Take the time to truly love what it is that you do. Enjoy the journey.