Thursday, December 26, 2013


I love when the season changes
to fall
with all of its colors
and layers...
leggings and boots
on running feet
hats and scarves
wrapped around to keep warm
in a cold world
where nobody cares
a coat is my best friend at anytime
it waits for me
holding me close in the rain
at midnight
deep pockets keep secrets
loose change
and a house key
fall with its dried leaves
exposed twigs
and open sky
everything moves faster
but I wish people would slow down
and enjoy the beauty of the daytime
orange to amber to brown
the colors of life
the colors of the earth
the colors of me
in the fall

Monday, December 2, 2013


to my unfinished poems

that take up empty pages of my life

with lines running through my head

conflicting like two ice cream trucks on the same street

playing the same tune on different corners

 passing one another without speaking

kids jaywalking to catch up with the one who passes first

like no justice for Trayvon

while a murderer walks

and tempers burn in the streets

on vacant stores

soon to be demolished

making the way for the blueprints to gentrify

like Brooklyn

Los Angeles

New Orleans



and by that time

my unfinished poems

will finish themselves

and find greener pastures

where they can bloom

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Domestic Violence PSA ... Get Out!

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month...but violence at the hands of intimate partners goes on every day. Please watch this video and feel free to pass it on...and if you or anyone you know is in an abusive situation, please get to a safe place.

Intimate Partner Violence can take many different forms. It involves physical, emotional, mental, economical, and sexual abuse. At first, the control and manipulation your partner uses can be very subtle. The abuse can and will increase over time.
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

  • Does your partner continually criticize what you wear, what you say, how you act and how you look?
  • Does your partner humiliate or make fun of you in public places and social situations?
  • Does your partner often call you insulting and degrading names?
  • Do you feel like you need to ask permission to go out and see your friends and family?
    Do you turn down invitations to be with your friends and family because your partner will be angry at you for going with them?
  • Do you feel you need to apologize to people or make up excuses for your partner’s behavior?
  • Do you feel like no matter what you do, everything is always your fault?
  • If you’re late getting home, does your partner harass you about where you were and who you were with?
  • Has your partner threatened to hurt you or the children if you leave?
  • Does your partner force you to have sex whether you want to or not?
  • Are you afraid to say no to sex?
  • Have you been repeatedly accused of flirting or having sex with others?
  • Does your partner restrict you from getting a job or going to school?
  • Has your partner hit you or threatened to hit you?
  • Do you ever explain away bruises, cuts, or other injuries as results of how “clumsy” you are?
  • Do you feel nervous or afraid for your safety when your partner becomes angry?
  • Are you afraid to disagree with your partner?
  • Are you frightened by your partner’s violence towards other people or animals?
  • Do you change your behavior or “walk on egg shells,” depending on your partner’s mood?
  • Do you ever think “If only I was prettier,” or “If only I cleaned the house better,” or “If only I had kept the children quieter,” etc., “then my partner wouldn’t have been angry?”
  • Has your partner ever pushed, shoved, kicked or slapped you?
If you answered "yes" to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.

How Can I Tell If My Partner Is A Batterer?

Does your partner have any of these traits? If he does there is a good chance that he is a batterer. This list is to give you a guideline to the signs of a potential batterer. Batterers’ personality traits are not limited to these.

Does your partner:
  • Have low self-esteem?
  • Lack knowledge of assertiveness skills?
  • Have few close friends?
  • Become obsessively jealous?
  • Have a history of failed relationships?
  • Have a problem with authority figures?
  • Come from an abusive family?
  • Become very possessive?
  • Use violence to get rid of tension?
  • Control finances?
  • State that he must know where you are at all times?
  • Leave messages on your answering machine, voice mail, or text obsessively if you are not home when he calls?
  • Check up on you to see if you’ve gone where you said you were going? (Follows you)
  • Have a bad temper or get angry easily?

 How Dangerous Is My Abusive Partner?

Some batterers are life-endangering. It is possible to evaluate whether a batterer is likely to kill his partner or other family members. The following are indicators to be used in making an assessment of the batterer’s potential to kill. Please pay close attention to the characteristics listed here:
  • Threats of homicide or suicide: The batterer who has threatened to kill himself, his partner, the children or a relative must be considered extremely dangerous.
  • Fantasies of homicide or suicide: The more the batterer has developed a fantasy about who, how, when and/or where to kill, the more dangerous he may be. The batterer who has previously acted out part of a homicide or suicide fantasy may be invested in killing as a viable solution to his problem.
Please don't take any of these things lightly. If any of these things even seem to be going on, it's time to get away. It could save your life.

If you are in danger, call 9-1-1. If you can get to a safe place, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1(800) 799-7223...or 1 (800) 799-7223 (TTY) For more information, please go to: if you can use a computer that cannot be tracked by the person who is harming you.

*Source: Women's Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County

Monday, October 21, 2013

For Robert

I felt the vibrations of your ink

your pen shook earth

shaking volumes of words

from off the shelf

I saw the pages falling

with letters scattering randomly like dandelion seeds

tapping the fertile soil

of my creative womb

and re-birthing poetically

into new cipher

moving gracefully

to an uncertain end

the muses from Langston’s porch

were pleased

they enjoyed the vibe

the pickled okra

and impromptu walks

the sweltering ride on the A train from

Lennox and 125th

to Nostrand avenue

the surprise mango tea

and baby red velvet

Brooklyn’s finest keeping vigilant watch

on surreptitious corner activities

where everybody is somebody

even the nobodies

even me




finally finding peace

when we sat on Langston’s stoop

and played

like children

running after verbs and adjectives

down the sidewalk

duck duck goose

you’re it

no more chalk lines

only pens to paper

writing our letters carefully

and sending  prayers up

to the universe

we climbed up Langston’s steps

playing hopscotch

with words that dreamed

of what tomorrow would bring

hoping for better

leaning on the patina rails

looking up into the heavens

as the grime from the sidewalk

settled on our shoelaces

and we remembered that day

on sacred ground.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Could…

I could bloom here

in this concrete soil

with its steel skyline

and endless waves of people walking the pavement

or going underground to get from point A to B to C

sometimes stepping on one another

making no eye contact

but connected at the root

I could get used to climbing several flights of old stairs

crossing the street to do laundry

alongside big butt women

with graying locs

people cussing each other out

in front of China King

and Ma’s old stoop

watching the cat who sleeps curled up in the barber shop window

in the afternoon sun

I could bloom here

in the cold

like a winter rose without thorns

trusting the universe to protect me

from danger

in this concrete soil


Friday, August 9, 2013

My Other Life

The other shoes you could have walked in

instead of the ones you chose

could have taken you to the ends of the world

taking bold steps

instead of small ones

walking through real seasons

and not phases of the whims of the moon

those other shoes were waiting

but you were afraid to try them on

too afraid of what others would say

not feeling good enough

strong enough

just not enough

settling to wear shoes that didn’t fit your life

walking in hallways you were never meant to travel

and cutting off your own air

but you still have a chance to get new shoes

and walk in the snow and rain

maybe the beach too

pick a pair and try them on

jump, run, dance, skip

in your new shoes

time has passed but it’s never too late

don’t be so hard on yourself

if you don’t try you never know

if those other shoes you haven’t tried

will fit today.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strange Fruit...

strange fruit

is rottening in the trees

and it’s starting to smell

the stench is killing


can’t breathe

our children are being suffocated on the streets

by passers by

who hunt them down like wild animals

against official orders

not to follow

lawlessness is stifling the cries

of mothers


and the unborn

with no names

sleeping in unmarked graves

wrapped in tiny hoodies

skittle covered caskets

and hip-hop elegies

prisons built for the illiterate to live in

for those who reach eighteen

if they don’t become the new crop

of strange fruit


in the trees

their stench filling the air





Tuesday, May 28, 2013

i would...

I would follow you anywhere

be your queen in shining armor

ready to defend your honor

when you think no one has your back

in this upside down world

riding on my horse ladystyle blazin’

like maid marian

with locs flowing behind me

coming to your rescue

in medieval fashion

as you gaze in wonder at my bravery

your wonderful wonder woman who

knows everything about you

keeping your heart

safely in my hands

and I know I’m dreaming

but just in case you wanted to know

I would follow you anywhere

be your best friend

who stays in your corner

always having a listening ear

and a shoulder to rest on

stay at your side no matter what

your ride or die chick

your honey over the moon

and the stars

your forever and a day


I would follow you anywhere

if you would only


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wisdom From an Old Woman in a Window


scattered hopes

and shattered dreams

her life passing before her

in milliseconds

remembering time wasted

on worthlessness

too many tasks left undone

and hopeless regrets

if she could do it all again

it would be different

no one would distract or discourage her

or take her off the path

she would stand up

and speak up

even if they didn’t respect or support

or validate her purpose

exchanging her life for theirs

and watching them all prosper and proliferate

at her expense

if you and she were to ever meet

she would tell you

to live your life

sing your own song

and dreams are never too big

they just need to be relocated

don’t stay too long

and don’t leave too soon

always have $20 hidden someplace

where no one else can find it

and always find time to pray

before sunrise

watch your friends

and let God watch your enemies

because sometimes they are identical twins

follow your heart

and listen to what it tells you

because it will never lie

drink half your weight in water every day

and fast every once in a while

to keep your soul balanced

be kind to stay cats

they keep the mice in check

and dance in the rain

when it pours

the grass is green on your side too

and it grows faster when you don’t stand on it

be grateful for small things

and put big things in their place

learn from your mistakes

without repeating them

and most of all

find another young one

and teach her how to be

the best that she can become

because of what you learned from me. . .


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


when strange men

touched my afro

i felt helpless

and wanted to run away

it was so violating

to feel hands in my hair

that I didn’t want

fondling and feeling

through my curls and kinks

they said it was so uncommon these days

to see a woman with a natural look

and they were fascinated

couldn't help themselves to bother asking my name

or where i came from

they just wanted to get off

in my hair

one of them wanted to know

if it was virgin

because he had never had one of those before

the other one said

that he was turned on by the smell of coconut oil

it reminded him of being on a deserted island

with just me and him

i didn’t answer

just kept quiet

hoping they would go away

but inside i was angry

wondering why a woman

has to always be subjugated with this brutality

and can’t be herself

without somebody

wanting to touch


and taste

without permission

Saturday, April 27, 2013


my grandmother

always kept a pot of boiling water

on her stove

at all times

she wanted to give a warm welcome

to anyone who came intruding

at odd hours

through a shut window

or a locked door

that pot of water

was her assurance

that whoever showed up

would never forget

what it was like

to go to somebody’s house


and next time

be sure to knock

and wait

to be



Thursday, April 18, 2013


They twerked at church
And their father beat them
with an extension cord.
Extension cords
Five things that don’t belong together
in the same space…
where is the village
where are
the church mothers
the elders
the love
the holy examples
the prayers
where is the family
where is God
we are so preoccupied
with trying to escape from the real world
that we have left the children behind
they don’t know
that their bodies are sacred temples
because nobody told them
so they have nothing else to do
but twerk
at church
who is teaching the fathers
to talk to their daughters
and treat them like queens
instead of choosing to beat
with extension cords
as the beat goes on
and on
please find a young girl
and tell her that she’s beautiful
as womb-man
God’s last creation
and so much more than what she sees on BET
please elevate her consciousness
teach her how to love herself
and her life
please find a father
help him to put down the extension cord
and find peace within himself
please help the church
to be the sacred space that God intends
a place of change
and revelation 
no more
and vicious cycles
only light
where only sacred dances
are done
in peace…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Twerk Show

Little girls too grown
shakin’ and rollin’ and dropping like it’s hot
doing all kinds of tricks
waiting for a real woman
to teach them the way 
to be…
never knowing that
respect is learned by observation
and not by verbs
so these girls 
don’t have a chance
in this world
without a guiding light
to show them
due to lack of demand
and an unsustainable supply
& dignity
the four most important parts
of a woman
are slowly
but surely
being eliminated from the general population
and skank
is becoming the 
new black