Present | Sonia Sanchez

This woman vomiting her
hunger over the world
this melancholy woman forgotten
before memory came
this yellow movement bursting forth like
coltrane’s melodies all mouth
buttocks moving like palm tress,
this honeycoatedalabamianwoman
raining rhythm to blue/black/smiles
this yellow woman carrying beneath her breasts
pleasures without tongues
this woman whose body waves
desert patterns,
this woman wet with wandering,
reviving the beauty of forests and winds
is telling you secrets
gather up your odors and listen
as she sings the mold from memory.

there is no place
for a soft / black / woman.
there is no smile green enough or
summertime words warm enough to allow my growth.
and in my head
i see my history
standing like a shy child
and i chant lullabies
as i ride my past on horseback
tasting the thirst of yesterday tribes
hearing the ancient/black/woman
me, singing hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-ya-ya.
hay-hay-hay-hay-ya-y a-ya.
like a slow scent
beneath the sun
and i dance my
creation and my grandmothers gathering
from my bones like great wooden birds
spread their wings
while their long/legged/laughter
stretched the night.
and i taste the
seasons of my birth. mangoes. papayas.
drink my woman/coconut/milks
stalk the ancient grandfathers
sipping on proud afternoons
walk like a song round my waist
tremble like a new/born/child troubles
with new breaths
and my singing
becomes the only sound of a
blue/black/magical/woman. walking.
womb ripe. walking. loud with mornings. walking.
making pilgrimage to herself. walking.

– Sonia Sanchez

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Alone | Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

– Maya Angelou

Writer’s Wednesday: Renaissance Sneak Peeks

“Alright, girl, here’s another one. This here from Caroline down the road”, said Pearl.

Molly rolled her eyes, “Alright, put it on the table.”

“Whew, child. You mind if I oblige myself to this here sofa? All this running around, can’t be healthy.” Pearl heaved in and out as she sat down, lighting a cigarette. She closed her eyes, savoring the nicotine in her throat before releasing it into the air.

Molly chuckled, “Did you just say running can’t be healthy?”

Pearl cut her eyes at Molly, smiled, and answered by taking another long pull from the cigarette. Pearl was a big girl, and proud of it. She had a plump backside, wide hips, thick legs, and big breasts. So is the make-up of all the Tate’s.

“Girl, you know I can’t be losing no weight. Charles will have a fit. Have me walking around here looking all sick like y’all skinny heifers,” said Pearl as Molly laughed.

“I’m serious. Shoot, the bigger the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

“No you didn’t!” laughed Molly. Pearl joined in. She cracked herself up.

Molly glanced over the table, almost completely covered with German Chocolate cake, sweet potato pies, greens, macaroni and cheese, yams, baked beans; you name it, it was here.

“She’s not dead, you know,” Molly spoke from nowhere.

“What?”

“All of this support. It’s like everyone’s acting like this is some kinda repass. Like my daughter is dead or something.”

Pearl let the cigarette die out in the ashtray. Whatever kinda buzz she had, Molly just blew it.

“They just tryna be supportive is all. You know how country folk are. Your child is their child. The men folk are out looking and the women folk are at home cooking. That’s how it is.”

“They will find her.”

Pearl shrugged, “Humph, I know they will. Got the dogs, NAACP and everything else. They better find her.”

“I mean alive. They’re going to find her alive. I can feel her, Pearl.” Molly thought about the last time she saw her very own mother that night on the porch, cold and tired. She wondered for a moment if that’s how Nora felt right now: alone, cold, and tired. Molly wanted to feed her. To give her all this food that was made for her.

Pearl sat back on the sofa, Here we go again. She wasn’t entirely honest with Molly, but everyone wore the same consensus on their hearts. There was a strong possibility they were not going to find Nora alive. No one wanted to give her credit because she talked too much. Miss Irene talked entirely too much and spoke with an unfiltered tongue, but what she said was true. Children in 1922 Mississippi didn’t just run away.

First, no one would let them. Besides their parents, there were just too many eyes watching, which is what makes it hard to believe no one saw anything. This was the South and you had not one parent or two, you had forty, fifty, and sixty. The whole colored community. People looked out for each other and someone, somewhere was always watching.

Still, she didn’t know how to break the news to her friend that she should prepare her heart for the unthinkable. Besides, she had her Marie to think about and she didn’t know what she’d do if something happened to her. If there was one thing her parents taught her, it was putting yourself in other people’s shoes. “That the onliest way to sympathize wit ‘em,” her father would say. “You gotta be able to feel where they been, where they walked, and then you can help ‘em ‘cause you knows. You knows in your heart what they been through and where they is.”

“She gone be alright, Molly. She gone be alright.”

Pearl lit her cigarette again, leaned back on the sofa, looked at the table, and prayed her words were true


Grab your copy of Renaissance today. Part two is on its way!

My Independent Bookstore Journey – The Purpose Beneath the Surface

Me at the MLK Historical National Park Bookstore, next door to the MLK Birth Home, Atlanta, GA

As you all know, I have been spending less time on social media and more time getting out into the community and networking with local Independent bookstores. I am doing this as part of my goal to try things out for myself and to be a witness to the experience so I know what works and what does not work. I am calling it My Bookstore Journey. Currently, I am working with three stores at the moment in the Atlanta-land area with one that has already stocked me on the shelves. I thought I’d share a little bit about why I am doing this. I am also using this as an excuse to update this blog (lol).

My Bookstore Journey is not just about getting into stores. In fact, I do not desire to get into every store. My Bookstore Journey is about learning more about this returns-based industry, how to negotiate, set discounts and experience all of this on my own. I don’t just want to read about it any longer, I want to experience it. In this way, I can help others and offer insight based on hands-on experience. There is a lot being said about Independent Publishing that is just not true (one of them being that Self-Publishers can’t get into bookstores…I’ve already proven this to be false.)

I’ve been spending less time online because 2018, for me, is about stepping outside of my comfort zone (selling my books online) and getting out to talk with people face to face. As an extremely shy person, this is a big step for me. I’d much rather stay at home and speak to you this way. (Am I the only person who thinks she writes better than she speaks?)

This is a journey of learning and discovering so not every place will be for me. (As the saying goes: “Never drink from every cup handed to you, that’s how you get poisoned..”) That said, here’s the latest update on my Bookstore Journey:

Atlanta has been cold but this weekend was a beautiful one so I took advantage of it. The bookstore at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site is currently reviewing my latest poetry release I am Soul. The store is next door to the MLK birth home and if they like my book we will see about getting it on the shelves if everything is everything. If I decide to go through with it, this will be a major milestone as the historical area brings major traffic, tourists, and city officials.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matt. 7:7-8


Yecheilyah is an author, blogger and poet. Be sure to pick up your copy of I am Soul, her latest collection of poetry on Amazon.

MASTER LIST of Facial Expressions for Writers! – Bryn Donovan

Awesome. Authors, check it out. Very helpful list.

I created this list to address that challenge. The expressions are broken down by the part of the face. Note that some of them work for more than one emotion—a person might narrow their eyes out of vindictiveness or skepticism, for instance, and their face might turn red out of anger or out of embarrassment.

Some of them require a little more explanation on your part. You’ll have to say what she’s glaring at, or if his face is contorting in rage, or grief, or what. And not all of these will work for every character—it depends on what they look like and how they generally react to things.

Some of these aren’t exactly facial expressions, but useful for dialogue tags. In many cases I’ve given several ways to describe the same thing. While I have included some longer phrases, they are not proprietary and it’s fine to use them.

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the facial expressions. I am sure you’ll find a few to put to good use.

No Whining Wednesday – Don’t Drown Your Own Voice

Welcome back to another No Whining Wednesday! If this is your first time visiting this blog or if you are new to this segment, please visit the original No Whining Wednesday post HERE to learn more OR the No Whining Wednesday Page to access all previous episodes.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Those who screw up and keep going have failed so many times that they are equipped to handle disappointment and therefore have the maturity and resilience to get back up and try again. You got this.”

– Yecheilyah

This was an inspirational word I posted to my social media early this week. I love quotes, inspirational, motivational and overall uplifting. There is something about the power of a positive word that can make you feel like you can conquer the world. When someone compliments you or gives you that good advice, something in your heart flutters and for a moment, all is right. This feeling may only last a second but in that time, all is right in the world. Or at least, in your world. This is so vital and so needed because there are not a lot of people investing good into the world. There are not a lot of people building up.

But, despite how much I love inspiring quotes and how much I read them, something struck me this week. While inspirational quotes from others is nice, there’s nothing wrong with using our own words to inspire others as well. Your experiences are unique to you. Your pain is unique to you. Your happiness is unique to you. Your life is your own. That is not to say there’s no power higher than you (ya’ll know better) but you have to walk these shoes is what I am saying. You have to plant these seeds.

That said, don’t sleep on yourself. You have the wisdom that comes from living and with that something to offer the world but if you never allow your voice to be heard, it can be drowned out by the voices of others.

What if I don’t know enough?

That has nothing to do with it. You don’t have to be perfect to share something that may help others. Personally, I am moved by realness. I want to know about real life situations because your struggles and how you overcome them is what connects you with other human beings. People who talk about their issues and how they’re dealing relate more to others than those who are somewhere in heaven.

Instead of relying so much on the words of others, sometimes it’s OK to give of our own pearls.

Every now and again, use the power of your own experience to inspire others and to lift yourself up. After all, it is what the people we quote have done themselves. They didn’t speak thinking we would quote them. They spoke because it was necessary and now their words have lived on throughout the centuries.

Writer’s Wednesday – The Men with Blue Eyes Chapter 5

New? Start from Chapter One HERE.


Chapter 5 – Angel of Vision

Byron watched as the woman’s booty swayed from side to side underneath the silk blue skirt as she walked into the kitchen. Baby girl was all body. He cleared his throat.

“So, like I said, it’s a fairly smooth process”, he yelled into the kitchen. “You let me know what package most interests you and it’s pretty straightforward from there.”

The woman returned with a large pitcher of tea and a glass. Byron wondered how she could hold both with one hand. Damn she strong.

The woman smiled, handing him the glass and holding the pitcher with both hands as she poured the sweet liquid. Her breasts dangled in front of her guest. “Wow, that easy huh?” she said licking her lips and smiling.

Byron watched the show. He wasn’t much of a breast man. They weren’t as much fun as booty and thighs. Titties for babies, he’ll tell his friends. But he damn sure wasn’t complaining. He watched them jiggle when she sat down as he gulped his drink.

“Yes, ma’am. You choose a plan and sign the paperwork and we are good to go.”

The blue-eyed woman moved closer, staring into his eyes. Her hips practically touching his.

“No, please. Call me Pas. Ma’am makes me feel old.” She laughed and watched the red spots on the internal screen of her eyes as Byron’s temperature rose. He loosened his tie and cleared his throat, pretending to focus on the paperwork scattered on the table.

“So, like I said, we have three options for you to choose from.”

Pas smiled and continued to stare.

“STOP.”

Startled, the woman turned in the direction of the voice and back to Byron. His mouth hung open and his body was stiff. She turned back to the man who spoke, her eyes flames of fire, her teeth gritted.

“You froze him?”

“He’ll snap out of it in a second. Won’t remember a thing. I need to talk to you.”

The woman sighed. She hated when they froze time. She folded her arms. “What are you doing here Az? This isn’t exactly your jurisdiction.”

“Pas, you don’t need to do this. Let him go. He’s a good man.”

Pas stood and approached her enemy, “Good and man is an oxymoron. I know how badly you want to be one of them. Are you a good man Az?”

“Stop playing games. I have orders from the master. You can’t touch him.”

Pas circled the archangel “See Az, that’s the difference between you and me. You are a sheep, blindly following his master”, she laughed, walking back to the sofa and waved her hand in the face of the stiff man before her. “I mean, they’re so weak. I tell you what. You can have him if I can have her.”

“That’s not how this works. You know that.”

“Oh”, Pas bit her lip in a fake pout, “that sucks.”

“I am not playing games with you Paschar. Stop digging or I disintegrate you.”

“Oooh. Ouch. Pulling out the big guns huh? I can do stuff too you know.”

Az spoke with his hands, “This isn’t a competition. These are people’s lives at stake here.”

“Exactly. People. Ungrateful, weak-minded human beings who care about nothing but themselves, their fancy cars and worthless money. They can’t even breathe on their own let alone ‘control their own destiny.’ Bunch of weak minded fools are what they are.”

“You stop digging and I bring you, Tina. That’s the deal.”

Pas tapped her feet against the carpeted floor, “Hmmm. That may work. Fine. You got forty-eight hours.”

Az frowned, “What?”

“You have forty-eight hours to bring me the girl.”

“That’s not a lot of time.”

“It’s an eternity”, said Pas, “two thousand years to be exact.”

Az rolled his eyes, “As if our time is the same as theirs.”

Pas pointed to Bryon in a fury, “Forty-eight hours or the deal is off and I snatch this creatures’ soul right off his bones! Four. Eight.”

Az jaw tightened and his fingers curled into tight fists, “Fine”, he said before snapping his fingers and vanishing. Byron shook his head and continued as if he’d never stopped talking.

“It says here that the…”

“I change my mind”, said Pas walking to the door.

Byron noticed the woman was breathing heavy. I could have sworn she was sitting right next to me, he thought.“ Are you OK, is everything alright?” He was sure he would get this contract. And a little something extra. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t want your damn insurance. Beat it.”

***

“OK sweetie but you’re going to have to let the woman do her job,” said Tina into the receiver as she got into the car. She settled in, sliding on her seat belt. “I don’t care…” her body froze as she put the key in the ignition. Az held up a hand.

“It’s me.”

“Niyah, lemme call you back.” Tina  tossed the cell and reached for the pills. “I know who you are. The question is why the hell are you in my back seat? Did anyone see…”

“You’re the only one who can see me. We’ve been over this and put down the pills.”

Tina threw the bottle into the passenger’s seat next to the hot bottled water. “Fine. I’ll entertain this. What do you want?”

Az handed her a black folder, “Her name’s Paschar, angel of vision. She’s a nasty entity who sucks the souls of men right out of them using nothing but her eyes.”

Tina stared back at the photo of the woman with the dark chocolate skin, thick curly hair, and round face, “Wow. She’s beautiful.”

“Exactly the problem”, said Az shaking his head, “she kills more men than anyone of her kind. She’s high up there. But I made a deal.”

Tina looked at him through her rear view mirror, “What kind of deal?”

“She’ll leave Byron alone if she can have you.”

“What? Me? Are you selling me out? What the hell Az!”

“I am not selling you out, whatever that means. I think we should take the deal.”

Tina started the ignition “You might as well vanish or do whatever it is you do cause that ain’t happening. And what’s this we shit? Was I up in there with you when you sold my soul to the devil?”

“Tina, you have to trust me. I have a plan.”

“A plan? You want me to let some angel chick suck my soul and all you got to say is you got a plan?” Tina stepped on the gas and began to drive off. “Please leave.”

“Paschar can’t be trusted. She’s gonna cross me and when she does, I’ll be ready for her. She has a weakness. Every Watcher angel does. But I’m gonna need your help.”

Tina sighed and grabbed the bottle of pills and the bottled water.

“Tina, wait…”

Tina held the bottle to her lips with a tease, “Yes?”

“Children. Paschar’s weakness is childr….”

Tina popped the pills and gulped down the water, barely listening to Az’s last words as  he vanished from the back seat. It was her first mistake.

***

Byron stood, dumbfounded at the woman’s sudden change of mind. Embarrassed, he gathered his papers and put them into his file folder.

“On second thought”, said Pas, her blue glassy eyes shining bright, “stay.”