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Lines

I call them tiger stripes,
battle scars,
a badge of honor.
Their tendrils reach around my waist,
across my back,
down my hips,
and over my belly, like vines.
Each line reminds me of
the life I once carried within me.
Each stria reminds me
of every meal I could not hold down,
and every kick and punch
my ribs and bladder endured.
The single dark stripe
that trails down the center of my belly
reminds of the times I wondered when labor would begin.
The ripples that remain, like accordion folds in my flesh,
remind me of the day you finally arrived.
I look at these stretch marks
and recall faithfully massaging cocoa butter into my belly,
attempting to erase any visible evidence of the experience.
But the flesh insists upon memorializing the event.
I’m no longer ashamed of these scars.
I’m reminded that not every woman has been blessed to receive them.
Maturity has taught me how to wear these welts
like a string of diamonds around my waist.

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Featured

Winter So Cold

Have you ever wondered why winter is so cold?
It’s Spring’s fault.
Let me tell you why.
Everyone celebrates Spring’s warmth and beauty.
Everyone celebrates her gift of renewal.
Everyone celebrates the way she ushers
Color and light and sound into the atmosphere and environment.
No one thanks Winter for preserving the ground
and giving the earth rest.
Not even humans can stay awake for 24 hours.
Spring is celebrated when she shows her face in the middle of earth’s slumber,
As if she is an unexpected gift,
When she is really an alarm clock that went off too soon.
But when Winter extends her stay,
She is admonished and told to go away.
And so after Spring, Summer, and Autumn have had their chance to play,
Winter enters silently with a cold and icy demeanor.
Without a backward glance,
She blankets the earth with frost to protect the seed and the bud.
She ignores the demands of a white holiday.
She only snows if she feels like it.
And when Spring comes in with all the fanfare and flourish,
Winter, most often, leaves with silence and grace,
Having set the stage for her sister’s arrival. 


No More Pants

Tres Blah by Torley

Once a year (usually around November) the question comes up, “Are you a ‘pantser’ or a planner?” This question is usually a reminder that I need to work on my writing organization style. I’m a total ‘pantser.’ I sit down at the desk, and create “by the seat of my pants.” No outline. I let the story wander where it will, and then go back (while I’m still writing) and fix the noticable loopholes. This is a HORRIBLE writing habit. It slows me down and leaves as many holes in my story as there are in swiss cheese.

One of my broad goals is to plan (and execute) better. I have two coaches in my life challenging me to do so. (The funny thing is, I didn’t go looking for coaches. They “happened” to me! LOL! #TheLordProvides!) And so, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to plan, then write. Let’s just say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is going to take some work, and getting used to! But I’m determined to become better at planning and executing. My writing life depends on it!

I’ll be sharing more on the process I’m using in coming posts. Stay tuned!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I won’t state the obvious about time passing, days on the calendar, etc., blah, blah, blah…but I will greet you with good tidings, great joy and many blessings for the remainder of 2019! 😀

As for me, the new year started several months ago – at least the emotional and mental prep-work did. I was warned of specific changes coming to my life. Some changes dropped into my lap, forcing me to adjust and be graceful and grateful. (I wasn’t always. I don’t like being pulled out of my comfort zone.) Other changes have been more methodical and deliberate. I do periodic self-evaluations, and determined it was time to let go of certain things so I could move on to better things in life.

I have a few new things in the works. I’ll share those in upcoming blog post. Stay tuned! And I’ll be making some changes here, too. (New window dressing, a little dusting…ya know…clean the place up a little!) So far, 2019 is off to a great start! I hope the same is true for you!

Happy New Year!

They Shut Me Up

They shut me up…
or at least they tried.
Don’t they remember?
I was born wailing.
I came into the earth
with a God-ordained purpose.
My lips will not be sewn shut.

I’m not a ballerina in a music box.
You can’t close the lid and hide me.
You can’t bring me out for a moment of delight,
then shut the lid and hide me away.
My melody will haunt your imagination.
And long after my demise,
my words will linger.
Someone will remember,
and repeat,
and pass my words on to the next one.

They tried to shut me up.
They tried and failed.

Photo credit: Music Box by Tilemahos Efthimiadis

See Me

Don’t just look at me.
Don’t look past me,
or through me.
Don’t hear my dialect
and judge it as ignorance.
You speak one language,
I speak at least two.
See me.
See the entire person that stands before you.
Don’t see the locs,
the head wrap,
the melanin,
the beard, the tunic,
and dismiss me as “other,”
or less than you.

This isn’t an egotistical demand.
It’s humanity’s expectation.
It’s every soul’s cry.
My presence here is normal.

Look past the hoodie,
the iced tea and the bag of candy,
the life-threatening cell phone
or wallet in my hand
that you believe has the potential
to shorten your days.

See my child in the back seat.
See my fiancée sitting beside me.
See me without requiring additional justification
of my worthiness.
I’m supposed to be here.
My child’s life, my husband, wife, or intended’s life
is equal in value to anyone’s life in your world.

See me, but don’t demand I fit into your limited mold.
I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
God broke the mold when he made me.
Therefore, I won’t play small for you.

And if you choose not to see me and mine,
I will not take accountability for your blindness.
It’s up to you to remove the scales from your eyes.
I can’t lead you to water if you dig your heels into the dirt,
and I certainly will not bring you water and force you to drink.
Because, the limited view
in which you choose to see people like me,
is how people will choose to see you.

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All of a sudden…

I actually had a good and productive Monday. (Most people don’t celebrate Mondays, which is kind of sad. The day is what you make it, but I digress…) Tuesday was a doozy. That’s the point when my week went to crap, and I’ve been trying to recover it ever since. All I can do is roll with the punches. Hopefully I’ll be fully up and running again in a few days. I’m determined to finish this #NaPaWriMo Challenge!

Spirit Song

Today is day 16 of NaPoWriPo! We’re just beyond half way through the Poem-A-Challenge! (This is not an easy task! But I must say, it’s loosened the creative muck a bit!) Today’s post was inspired by yesterday’s Daily Prompt word of the day: Song.

Only I can hear the song.
The melody tugs at my center,
and what looks like
madness to the outside world
has a beat
a rhythm
a range
a harmony.
Only I can hear the song,
and every kick,
arch of my back,
raise of my arms,
twist and twirl,
is my praise offering to God.

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Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

When Forcing the Words Just Won’t Do

On this day of rest
my soul was overloaded
with thoughts
with words
with emotions
that congealed at the end of my pen.
Nothing would flow
in a steady
organized direction.
Nothing desired to
fall
into
place.
So, I didn’t force the mood
out of its place.
I let it be.
Sometimes, that’s best.
Let it be,
and let the soul rest.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The Understanding

It was time for us to come to an understanding.
The conflict between us had been brewing for far too long.
It was time for us to have a face-to-face
and break down the wall between us.
We live in the same space,
sleep in the same bed,
but couldn’t even look each in the eye.
That ends today.
I’m disconnecting from the outside voices
that only wish to shame and condemn my form.
I’m disconnecting from the inner voice
that spouts and reinforces negativity.
I’m calling out the best of myself,
I’m going to appreciate and celebrate
every wrinkle, line and blemish.
Me, myself and I are going to come to an understanding
that loving each other first
is necessary
and a matter of survival and self-care.

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Flashback Friday: Poetry Edition Week 2

Today’s Flashback Friday Poem is called, She. It’s one of the poems featured in my book, Persistence of Vision. The poem was inspired by artwork of Clint Brown. The image on the original post (and below) is a part of a series called The Plague Drawings. Be sure to take a moment to view the entire series. It’s amazing!

The Plague Drawings by Clint Brown 1
Image from The Plague Drawings, used with permission.

She

What began as exploratory curiosity
eventually led to a single rendezvous,
in a room hidden from
the light of day,
but quickly
turned into frequent assignations,
and innumerable stolen moments
of explosive passion and lust
only to abruptly end
with final breaths
of regret.

If She gave too much
he took more than his share
and demanded more still
to feed his ego’s insatiable
appetite for her tender flesh.
Shameless suppliant,
foolish guttersnipe!
She bathed him with amorous
words and lofty immemorial fantasies
of him being Her first and evermore immorato
and Her being The One his soul long for.
Yet, was not his soul,
but his loins alone
that longed for Her.

She believed his lies
of the time being too soon
and his desire to know
Her deepest thoughts
and emotions before
he could present Her as his
crowned jewel
until
She saw him in the arms of another
who did not love him as well as She.
But he courted her
and presented her to all he knew
and flaunted her
as though she were new to the world,
but she wasn’t worthy,
there was no way
she knew how to speak to his soul
as She had done
in their clandestine encounters.

Could She be so easily replaced?

Truth settled in Her heart
and shattered its walls.
He was never Hers
and never intended to be.
So, She went back to their hiding place
and cried over the cessation
of his attention
and welcomed Quietus
as if it were Her next
romantic pursuit
and clung to it
wishing it was he
taking her to rest.