World Poetry Day 2017

I have a number of unfinished poems in my notebooks that I wish were in shareable condition. But they aren’t, so I can’t share them (yet). But there is a poem that is I want to share by Langston Hughes…two poems actually. I found these two poems in  school library books many years ago. I made sure to add the anthologies I found them in to my bookshelf.

The first poem is from a collection called, “I Am The Darker Brother.” (The book is still in print. I highly recommend adding this to your collection!)

Me and the Mule

My old mule,
He’s got a grin on his face.
He’s been a mule so long,
He’s forgot about his race.

I’m like that old mule –
Black-and don’t give a damn!
You got to take me
Like I am.

This is a short, sweet, and to the point poem, but it has so much attitude it makes me smile every time I read or even think of it. If the mule is free to be his authentic self, why shouldn’t a black man enjoy the same liberty?

The second poem is more poignant. This poem can be found in a collection called, “American Negro Poetry.” I also recommend this collection for your bookshelf.

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now-
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

This is a message that every parent has for their child: Do your best; Don’t give up; If I can do it, you can do it and do it better. You find in this piece that the mother may not have a great education – indicated by her broken english – but she pressed on in the hopes that her son would witness her efforts and follow her lead.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. His full name was James Mercer Langston Hughes.  He was one of several key figures of group of black writers called The Harlem Renaissance. Hughes died on May 22, 1967. Click the links to read more about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance.

Photo credit: Portrait of Langston Hughes. Photo by Gordon Parks / Library of Congress.

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Ipseity

Hello, there!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been busy working on an upcoming anthology. Take a look at the teaser under the “Books” option on the menu above. I’ll be sharing more about this anthology project in the coming weeks! Stay tuned!

i-belong-here-sadiq

 

Whippersnapper

I really enjoyed this piece of flash fiction. I want to know more about the old man!

Don Miskel

“I hate when it rains. Reduces visibility.” That was my uninformed, upstart of a partner running his mouth again, not knowing a damn thing about anything that mattered.

“You talk too fuckin’ much,” I said gruffly. Stakeout tête-à-tête made the time go by, but it was only when that conversation wasn’t for the sake of creating carbon dioxide. “What’d I tell you about that?”

He sighed like a frustrated little brat that’d been relegated to the nearest corner when all he wanted to do was play.

“Rain is a good thing,” I informed him. “Reduced visibility makes it harder for witnesses to make out detail…and it washes away evidence, too. Lemme see your piece.”

I didn’t particularly like breaking in the new guys, tagging along so they didn’t make the stupid mistakes not covered in class. However, it was us older cats—me being one of the most ancient still able…

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Maya Angelou

I needed a day to process the news that Maya Angelou passed away. Of course, I know that nobody lives forever, but it didn’t stop me from hoping she would always be around. I wanted to meet her and sit at her feet and listen to whatever wisdom she chose to bless me with. That opportunity is gone.

I regret that I wasn’t able to make it to the University of Delaware last year when she came to speak. I loved listening to her speak! She chose her words very deliberately. She didn’t rush. It seemed to me like she saw all the possible words she could use hovering in her mind, and would pluck the perfect word and drop it into her sentence. I marveled at her ability to say things in the most perfect way. She had a brilliant mind.

I read her books and poetry as a teenager and was amazed by her story. I thought she was bold and courageous. It takes a great deal of courage to share the deepest details of your life with people you know. It takes a greater deal of courage to share, not just to good times, but some of the darker times of your life with the world, in writing. That’s bold. (Memoirs are not an easy thing to write, especially if some of the key players in your life story are still alive!) I appreciated her openness.  I was amazed that one person did so much in her life. She travelled, she sang, she acted, she danced, she raised a child, and became a teacher. She was open to life! She LIVED.

I cannot recall which book the quote below was in, but I adopted it as a good way to handle life.

“Hope for the best, be prepared for the worse. Life is shocking, but you must never appear to be shocked. For no matter how bad it is it could be worse and no matter how good it is it could be better.”  – Maya Angelou

Her passing isn’t a total surprise. As I said, nobody lives forever. I’m glad to hear that she still writing, her mind was still working and she was still active until she passed. She lived, and I am so grateful for that.

Rest In Peace, Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Excerpt: Orange Butterfly

smiling in the mirror

Katherine Simmonds stepped out of the shower, with a bathrobe wrapped around her. She whistled to the sound of the music coming from the next room. Between both rooms, the walls were paper thin.

Joe Cocker’s, “You are so beautiful.”

She sat on the chair by the dresser table and looked at her expression in the mirror. She smiled, and shook her head to the slow rhythm of the beat. Her sister Daphne always said she looked like Mum, so did Mike and Liam her brothers. Though she never admitted it to any of them, the thought of looking like her mother scared her. Looking like her mother meant she looked weak, and vulnerable and big and unattractive.

The thought of being like her mother scared her. She loved her mother, but she didn’t like who she was. Her mother wasn’t a strong woman. If she was strong, a lot of things would have been different. She slowly began her beauty regimen, slowly shaking her head to the rhythm of the music from the next room.

Her husband’s room.

Her husband.

Brian.

Once upon a time, he was the love of her life. At one point, he was the sunshine in her world, the air she breathed and everything to her. At that point in her life, she would have given anything and everything to make him happy. She loved him so much. She had never loved anyone that much. Not before him, or after.

He came into her life unexpectedly. She had been a big girl, a replica of her mother, and who was suffering from low self-esteem. She met Brian in a mall, and he liked her. He liked the big girl with bushy eyebrows and plain face. One year down the line, he transformed her. He put a ring on her finger and put her in the spotlight. She fell in love with him more each day, until he wanted more than she could give.

The first four years of their marriage was bliss. They would sit listening to the Beatles, and Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. They would have candlelit dinners in the dining room, or out in the city with Christopher Layton, Nathaniel Redman or Edmond Flanagan. They would go pool dipping, or sky diving and come home giddy with laughter and joy.

How did everything change so soon?

Excerpt from

Orange Butterfly

By: Lily-Anne Longjohn

© Copyright 2013

Published by Authorhouse

Website:

www.redrosesandlilies.com

Blogs:

stories-mamatoldme.blogspot.co.uk

modelaposh.wordpress.com

Jericho

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Jericho laughed. It wasn’t a happy sound.  His laughter dripped with pain and anger.

“He needs me? That’s not what he said when he threw me out!”

I really didn’t feel like participating in his bout of emotional constipation.  His bitterness was not my problem.

“Listen, Rico, you have to let that go.  He did what he did for your benefit. You probably wouldn’t have all of this if…”

“Cressida, don’t,” his said in a warning tone.

“Don’t you take that tone with me, Rico! Own your mess! You made the choices that got your tail tossed out.”

“Own my mess? Own my mess? He did the same things I did, and worse, and tells those stories with great pride! He just didn’t get caught! He didn’t have to worry about his life being on public display because of who his daddy was. He wears his sins like a badge of honor, but judged me publicly for every one of mine. Everything I have, I worked for! He gave me nothing! I owe him nothing! He gets no credit for what I’ve accomplished.”

“If he didn’t throw you out of the house, you never would have grown up! You would have continued to do the same dumb stuff! You have what you have because he loved you enough to say ‘no’ to your foolishness!”

“Don’t give me that after-school-special crap! I was never good enough for him. He hated me because I reminded him of my real dad. He assumed I’d turn out just like him, and treated me like I was a damn criminal from day one!  He was more concerned about his reputation in the pulpit and in office than he was about me.  He had an opportunity to have me in his life.  He made a choice. He chose public opinion over family.  Go tell him to own that!”

There was fire in Jericho’s eyes. I knew my brother well enough to know that he wasn’t moving.  He was not going to leave his office to say his final goodbyes to his step-father, the only father we ever knew. Even though I knew my brother wasn’t attacking me personally, it still felt like he might be angry with me for being the messenger.

“Jericho, he did the best he knew how to do raising us. He wants to see you before he breathes his last and try to set things right between you two. Go hear him out, and if you still feel the same way you do now, after talking to him, then ok. You were right and he was wrong. But go. See him. Do it for me?”

“Let him die without me,” Jericho said, flatly as he glared at me.

“Fine. I tried. I hope you don’t regret this decision. Our real dad is long gone. This man raised us. He’s dying and he’s waiting for you. He’s holding on for you. He’s always held on for you, but you are too blinded by anger and hurt to realize it.”

Dad cried as he took his last breath that night. Jericho never came.

Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall

Daddy’s Girls

Today we are taking a little break from Flash Fiction Friday to share an article from guest blogger, relationship coach, Katrina Gurl!

Take a Lesson from a Daddy’s Girl to Boost in Your Relationship

by Katrina Gurl

Katrina Gurl Daddys Girl pic

Have you ever wondered how some women seem to find the best guys?

Guys that:

  • Really love them
  • Genuinely treat them with loyalty
  • Respects them with complete honesty

During a little research I’ve been doing with 5 women from my church, they’ve seemed to master making a man love them unconditionally (and way past the honeymoon stage too) are those that were also daddy’s girls.  Now, I am in no way saying that ALL daddies’ girls get good men, but what I am saying, is that the behaviors of the women with loyal husband’s crosses roads drastically with the way daddy’s girl behaves.  This study is being conducted for the Kit Kat Coaching Series.

Daddy’s Girls feel as though their fathers can do anything, move mountains, if you will.  They are always concerned about their dad’s well-being and know they can count on him; no matter what.  The one thing that all daddies’ girls share is that the fathers are the apple of their eye.  Their whole world lights up when daddy comes home.

Women that have husbands that show them undying, unconditional, loyal love are the same as daddy’s girls towards their mates.  Their husbands are the apple of their eyes, they always put their man first and they really know how to nurture and bring out things that a man needs.

All men need these three things from his woman:

  • Appreciation
  • Acknowledgement
  • Affection

Have you ever noticed that most men have rather fragile egos? A daddy’s girl unknowingly makes her father feel proud to be who he is just the way he is.  When men become married, they crave praise.  Not in the ‘act of worship way’, but in a showing appreciation for him way.

Most everyone I know needs a little acknowledgement and as far as a daddy’s girl, when dad walks in the room her entire face seem to lights up simply because she love her father.  During my time of research, I have come to believe that our facial expression should look glorious, happy and in awe when our man has entered the room.

Also, never underestimate the power of Affection. Men love that too!  Affection does not always have to be through sex (even though that is more than welcomed), your affection for him can be shown through encouraging him and believing in him.

Daddy’s girls feel as though their fathers are superheroes, and although we know that as adults in a relationship or marriage there is no such thing, there is nothing wrong with making him feel BIG to us.  (Not that kind of big…gets your mind out of the gutter)!  Big in our life and heart….men love that stuff!

When a man has a woman who believes he can do ANYTHING, he is more apt to trust her with his heart and will do all that is in his power to make sure that he never lets her belief in him waver.

Take a lesson from a daddy’s girl for a boost in your relationship.

A special thanks to ‘Nike Writes’ for allowing me space to share.  If you’d like to find out more about me, my books or blog – visit www.katrinagurl.com and www.putawedgeinit.com

Flash Fiction Friday: Meeting a Stranger

I have dubbed this day: Flash Fiction Friday.  I will be sharing original Flash Fiction pieces (short stories between 300 – 500 words in length) written by myself and some of my fellow writers on Fridays.  Today’s piece is called, “Meeting a Stranger.” I hope you enjoy it!

Meeting a Stranger

Image

All I wanted was the truth and a piece of it was finally coming to meet me. I sat at a wooden table pretending to read an article on my tablet. The words and images were fuzzy.  I couldn’t focus. My palms were sweaty and my stomach was turning.  The smell of coffee and danishes should have relaxed me a little, but the fluttering in my stomach increased every time someone walked through the door.  Mom told me he died in a workplace accident shortly after I was born. I found out a few weeks ago why she lied. I felt betrayed. I was furious about being lied to, but I didn’t confront her. I saw my step-father in a new light. He’s not the man I thought he was.

“Amelia?” I looked up.  He was dressed in black sweat pants and a red t-shirt with black trim. His skin was carmel colored, he was tall, clean-shaven, muscular and handsome. I understood my mother’s attraction to him. This was my father.

“Um, yeah. I mean, yes, I’m Amelia.”

“I”m Reynard, your father. Hi,” he said a little awkwardly.

“Hi,” I said with equal awkwardness. Then, we just looked at each other for a long moment.  I thought I knew what I needed to say, but now that he was here, I didn’t know where to begin.  He sat down across from me.

“This is strange,” he said, “I guess I should apologize for not trying to reach out to  you, but under the circumstances, I thought it would be best not to stir the pot. It really isn’t a good reason not to have a relationship with your own child, but I had to respect your parents. The relationship with your mother caused enough problems.”

I nodded. I couldn’t blame him, not entirely anyway.  I guess there are no written guidelines on how to raise a child conceived as the result of a marital affair.

“Mom and dad are still together. What about you and your wife? Are you still together?” His expression reflected a multitude of emotion, hurt, guilt, shame, anger, regret, embarrassment. He looked down at his coffee cup.

“No, we didn’t last. I’m sure you’ve done the math and figured out that both she and your mother were pregnant at the same time. Your sister was born the day after you, same hospital.”

I nodded. I met my sister, Delora Zina Mason, at school district function. We look alike, like twins actually. She knew the story, at least, as much as her family shared with her. She was the one who told me about our parent’s affair and put me in touch with her father, our father. “She told me,” was all I said to him.

“I know it’s late, you are both about to graduate and go off to college, but maybe you two can start building a relationship.”  I nodded again, but knew it wasn’t likely.  Delora had made it clear that she and her mother saw me as part of the problem, and a reminder of Reynard’s betrayal.

“I’m hoping,” he continued, “that we can start building a relationship.” I bit my lip and looked away.  I thought the truth would be enough. I wasn’t sure if a relationship with this stranger was what I wanted at all.

Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall

Rest Well My Friend

Even though we all understand that we will not walk this earth forever, it’s always a shock to the system when you hear about the loss of one to whom you are connected.  I found out on Saturday that friend from my social network passed away.  He crossed my mind just a few days before I received the bad news.  I intended to contact him and see how he was doing, if he was working on anything new.  It wasn’t meant to be.

He was one of the first people I met online when I began blogging and social networking.  Although I never met him face to face, he left a wonderful impression.  He was a kind and gentle soul.  He was very proud of his family.  He expressed how much he loved his parents, his kids, grandkids and friends often.  He loved jazz music and was absolutely passionate about poetry.  He was an amazing writer and an encouraging teacher.  He taught me a lot about voice and flow and introduced me to new styles of poetry.  He was always willing to collaborate and connect with other writers and authors.

I’m grateful to have met him, collaborate with him on more that one occasion.  I am even more grateful that he left pieces of himself behind, in volumes of poetry, for us to enjoy and remember him.

Rest in Peace Gene

You Are the Reason
Collaboration by Nike & EbonyPoet

I watch you silently as you sleep
And consider what has brought you to me.
I never thought that we could be
In this place again.

Friends for so long, but kept far apart
You always had a place in my heart.
It seems we have a brand new start.
Is this really our destiny?

Your very presence gives me hope
In a time of life when such thought seems remote.
Your very being is like a lifeboat
Sailing me to safety.

You are the reason I dare to hope
I dare to dream
I dare to feel
I dare to imagine that love is real.
You are the reason I dare to hope.

~~~

When love brings me doubt
You give me hope again
To share, to give, to embrace love
To give my heart and soul to only you

We make love, we share love
We give in to all the possibilities of love
Like two ships sailing in the night
Destination love’s elegant shores

What is desire?
If I do not have you next to me
What is passion
If it is not you that awakens my senses

You turn my doubts to hope
You give meaning to love
And as long as I have your heart and soul
Love will always blossom for us

You are the reason…

©2008-08-17 Collaboration by Nike & EbonyPoet
All rights reserved

Six Months – A story snippet

This is a snippet of a story that I am working on. I decided to do it as a video just to mix things up a bit. Mixing things up – that’s ok, right? Here is the story. I’m looking forward to your feedback!