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