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

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Throwback Thursday Jam – You Rock My World, Michael Jackson

Yes, I know. This came out in 2001 but I got a funny story with it….

My mom’s birthday was this week and she loves MJ, matter of fact I think it was her bday when I was listening to it. I have this song on my phone right, and when the beat started up, you know how everybody got that one MJ move loll. No, not the moon walk, ya’ll know what I’m talking about. When your head do that lil irk and then the roll before you throw it back and then your arms and legs cock to the beat. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about. I knew then I wanted to post this for our Throwback. So what Imma need ya’ll to do is get up and dance. Yes, you. Come on now, don’t leave me out here by myself.

Yaasss, there you go…. hey…we not ready for you huh? Lol. ☺.

Her Song

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Her fingers girdle themselves
around the microphone
like blessings wrapped in silk
prepared to sing poetic melodies
in front an audience too deaf to hear the angels
playing on the strings of her vocal cords
to witness the flapping of wings against their skin
too blind to see the messages dancing on her collar bone
but she sings still
and smells too much like happiness to be broken

Guest Feature – Exerpt from Ntozake Shange

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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf Copyright © 1975, 1976, 1977 by Ntozake Shange

i can’t hear anythin

but maddening screams

& the soft strains of death

& you promised me

you promised me…

somebody/anybody

sing a black girl’s song

bring her out to know herself

to know you

but sing her rhythms

carin/struggle/hard times

sing her song of life

she’s been dead so long

closed in silence so long

she doesn’t know the sound

of her own voice

her infinite beauty

she’s half-notes scattered

without rhythm/no tune

sing her sighs

sing the song of her possibilities

sing a righteous gospel

let her be born

let her be born

and handled warmly.

 

Let’s Make Music

Retro microphone on stage in restaurant. Blurred background

I wanna make music
tonight
I wanna sing
for you
Don’t ask me to metaphor into bunny rabbits
cause I ain’t up here to do tricks for you
I am up here to sing
for you
I am here
to make music
to make
melody
you ask me
why I don’t show my face
why my performance can’t be seen by yo physical eyes
but this here aint no show
I got no tricks of the trade to show you
these words aint cropped to fit your opinion
they aint photo shopped to enhance your feelings
but I know how visual you people are
how you wonder about signs and wonders
so you wonder
why I won’t baptize my poetry
behind the lens of your cameras
have I fallen from the horse of couplets and closed forms?
maybe
I’ve just C-sectioned my Spoken Word to reveal my insides
besides
I’ve got to have some kind of gut
to stand up here and strip for you
just let me be real for you
let me calm you
let these words heal you
and let’s make music
a cleft
a time signature
a note
a rest
a song
a stepping stone
to play just the right scripture
to guide us back to the music sheet
just let me stand here
let me be here
and
just let me sing
for you