first corinthians 11: 2-16

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. 
In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

i will
read shells in my house
any way i please

nothing moves without my ase
nothing breathes that is not first housed
in a womb

space itself is the uterus of the universe
the planets her constantly-evolving babies

how dare you presume to know
my place in the temple?


reasonable silence

i've been more concerned with experience than words. i'm ruled by my senses...the touch, feel, taste of things.

when i'm thrust into something new, i have to feel my way through. my capabilities for speech are diminished during the adjustment period.

i have only been able to write enough to achieve understanding of the reasons that i am not writing--if that makes sense.

my exposure to him is probably a factor as well.
our experience of each other is largely one of pure sensory overload. his presence is catalytic...

among other things.

the moon is waxing. seeds are growing.
hope you've got a bountiful harvest to celebrate once she's full.

the goddess & her consort

this vision will haunt me until i can put it into words.

a blink, the space between an inhale and an exhale...
all are enough to bring it back to me.

but what can words really say?
there are volumes about this already.

no wonder enlightenment
(i.e., reproductive rights to the experience of divine union)
is such big business
there is no other way to know it
except to know it.

just the promise of a dream of a taste will have you selling your soul for more.

your adoration is the reason i can translate kundalini's hiss.

i am willing to speak the words
that become the images you create
if you swear loyalty to our union.

we are selfish.
we are indulgent.
we are dangerous.

that is why the west has tried to remove us from memory.

it has not worked.

we remember
we converse.
we build.
we touch.
we create.
we love.

nothing else matters.


~to be continued~


abbreviated autumn

i was outside earlier, and i could smell winter.

not autumn.

full blown, icy, frosty, foreboding winter.

just that fast.

a week or so ago, i could barely stand to wear long sleeves,
now i'm chilled to the bone.

i can almost see snow on the horizon.

the strange thing is that i'm almost looking forward to the cold
and the dark
and the disappearance of the sun.

it seems i'm determined to glimpse what crone-hood is like.

it justifies my search for

i've been nesting with no promise of a baby--
at least no physical one.

hopefully this means true rebirth in spring...



"...the holy ghost / and all those other covered women" ~saul williams

something in me wants to speak to that, but the words aren't coming.

there are so many "covered women" in the faiths of the world. so many goddesses made into sanitized saints.

fear of the womb is killing the planet.

this needs to be more than it is...


praying the wolves away

while on a pilgrimage, i had to pray the wolves away.

clear my mind
show no fear
hold on to the baby
(she didn't cry. not once.)
kneel, heartbeat steady
imploring babaluaiye
to keep his messengers from harming us

they were not hungry
or murderous
but searching for falsehoods and arrogance
somehow i seemed to know
and kept calling on sakpata

they passed us by...



i have a serious thing about fulfillment. i am not a pleasant person when i am unhappy or dissatisfied.

i don't expect to be free of desire, nor do i see the absence of desire as a natural state--unless your desire is warped into addiction.

if and when i begin to feel dissatisfied or distressed, i'm learning to shift reality, to make things look, sound and feel the way i want and expect them to.

i think people get caught up in understanding that process in a negative sense, i.e., you have to hurt or harm others to achieve that goal.

you don't.
you do not have to universally impose your will to achieve your bliss.

the universe has created a space for you--you do the work to find or open that space.

the need to bend others to your will is a sign of weakness and laziness. conquering isn't the same as mastering.

i don't need to make over anything not worth my ashe.

i voice the desire, i move towards the space.

the worlds of work and drudgery will never act as mother.

the earth and the universe will.


jesus, mary and...

something from last september. just found it again...there are entirely too many notebooks lying around my house...

i, mary magdalene
seven sinned slut
of red hair and impossible curves
showered with my jesus' gifts
fragrant timber
honey jars full of
anointing oil
and a map
to lead me
back home

you don't have to crucify yourself
and i don't have to hide my divinity
behind ill conceived notions of purity

we can build a villa
on the shores of the dead sea
bless the bathers from our porch
lay the foundation of new myths
when visitors attempt to classify
the sounds of our lovemaking

i can shake my shekere
while you learn the drums
wind my hips to your other rhythms
in ...inbetween-thighs time

...all the things
i miss most
when we're between incarnations

come and kneel



goodnight, moon...

it must be past my bedtime...

i need to rest, but i'd also like to travel.

drift into another level of being, something simultaneously separate from and intermingled with my self.

wander through rich, jewel toned dreams full of sweetness, kissed by the breezes outside my window.

maybe i'll get to fly.

those kinds of dreams need a soundtrack--stairstep voices facilitating travel between visions. sound and symbolism.

or maybe an old fashioned feather bed...high off the ground, set in mahogany, draped in snowy gossamer sheets of cotton and silk embroidered pillowcases. situated in an eastern bedroom filled with morning sun that eases through delicate french doors.

what would it mean to be wrapped in strong, brown arms on that morning, in that room, in that bed, after those dreams?


what i get for carrying on a conversation with u...

you travel my soul

exploring terrain with

emboldened by the wisdom of creation.


about me...

there is something about me
that cannot be easily explained away or justified...

too human to be mystifying,
i am growing into an unrooted tree--
all the wisdom, none of the entrapment.

my energy flows in fits and starts,
'cause this place doesn't always give you what you need to run right.
but i'm remembering that i was meant to live with open eyes,
fully vetted in the ways of spiritual humanity.

there is no need
to train me
or point me in the right direction--
i will swim my way home, thank you.

my father is the bearer of lightning.
my mother is the sweet hush of the river.

the masculine and feminine meet in me.

heaven lies behind one of my mind's doors.



there's so much to say,
and nothing at all.

speculation is pointless,
and so are the visions that haunt me when i look at you.

you don't need me on your conscience.
and i don't need you on mine.

...the little lies i tell the part of myself that always wants a little more. the strumpet who's never content with just one.

there are so many dull, inconsequential meetings in life. it's a shame to waste the ones that could mean something more.

...that doesn't mean i don't enjoy monogamy. i do.
but i have a lot of love to give.
i want to share. it's a compulsion.

sometimes, one person's not enough to hold it all.

it'd be invigorating to have the freedom to say, "wait for me a moment, please, while i love this person a little closer to divinity. i'll be back directly. i promise."

i don't break my promises. i would return--and allow you to love as necessary in the meantime.

i'm sure it would only happen once every few years, at most.

but who could stand that?

i have learned that most people have just enough love for themselves--if that--and that, sometimes, they're able to squeeze out enough for the mates that come along. or the children that come along the way.

a paucity of love makes beings selfish, insecure. believers in lack.

i hate that fact profusely. it limits my movement in the world.



i seem to nullify creativity, suffocating it in layers of bills and responsibility.

an artist with no art, no fire under my feet.

leaps of faith seem to be beyond my understanding.

i keep wondering what it's going to take for me to be me.

how can i define my dreams? does a medium exist that can make sense of my visions and voices?

what's holding me back?


peacock feathers

still workin it...but i like it so far.

sippin on sweet tea
swoonin in july heat
driftin in and out of altered states
contemplatin my latest inspiration...

i'd be very nearly
blissed out
if i didn't have to face work in the mornin.

tired of deadlines
playin dumb
and actin like i care

i wanna be
what i know i am
not what they
expect me to be

what they know about
we who act as consorts of the spirits
and vessels of the ancestors

pleadin with esu like sunni
baba please
open me a road
open me a road
open me a road
so i can get closer to you
find a way to let me
sidle up next to osun
so she can feed me handfuls of honey
while i fan her with peacock feathers
and shower her with cowries
so maybe just maybe
she'll show me
how to ripple the river water in my hips

ore yeye o
yeye laketi
mother who has ears to hear
wash away my fears
bless me with your sweetness
illuminate my gifts with your mirror
so i fall in love with myself...

bliss me out
so my reflection
is the shortest route to a smile.


feelin like

feelin like
brown sugar bubblin up into
sweet sticky caramel

full of
sweet things and





je souhaite que je pourrais ecrire en francais.*

maybe it would make something about us
just a little more romantic
just a little less work.

it's become a chore,
lugging around the steel door
i've substituted for my vulva.

the heaviness settles in my womb
closing it to you.

oya's winds
have rubbed me raw...

i'm ready to surrender
to the peace of the ocean.

*i wish i could write in french


litany of an unreformed magdalene

it may sound silly to say that being violated made me who i am, but it's true.

all i wanted was a big brother. i'd tried to please without reservation, against my conscience, against my better judgement...sacrificing myself on a golden flame of my own making.

but all i got was a broken heart.

when i was ready to fully express my sexuality, there were no virginal hang ups (i lost the title before i could even understand what having "the prize" would mean), no religious dogma to combat.

i was just a girl who got a little too much information a little too early about sex and its emotions, misplaced, unwanted, and unrequited feelings, and the thoughts of men--well, boys.

i was never damaged goods, tainted, or some kind of tart.

i just wanted to be left alone behind my long, layered, loose-fitting clothes to ponder the weight of the love i'd lost.

point is, this sexy ain't free.

i did not become a practically minded, chilled out, emotionally secure woman overnight--although it has always seemed natural that my heartstrings existed completely independent of my pussy.

i had to claw my way up the side of a mountain, learning to love again at each step.

oshun has walked much of the way with me, illuminating the life lived with sensuality as a living, breathing tool.

i read about the ancient ways of sacred whores, and they made sense to me. my dreams suggested that i'd been a courtesan some centuries ago, maybe almost as many times as i'd been a priestess.

it was all natural, and right, and within me to be.

so despite the almost-cut arms, the nights i stared down the gun, and all the bitter tears--i can't say who i'd be today if i hadn't lost what i lost, worked through the pain and healed the wounds.

hell was my cocoon, but the fire tempered a beautiful butterfly.



so concerned about
clusters of formless matter
you can't see what's the matter
with fully half grown human beings
languishing on corners and
atrophying in prison cells...

there are children
long left behind
that can't read
can barely write,
yet you're keeping vigil
over the twinkles in folks' eyes
the vague possibilities of what might someday be
blond hair and bluish eyes
getting whisked down
sewer drains
'cause the re-browning
of america
has blinded you

...or maybe it's awakened you.

"for the love of god!
don't kill your white babies!
despite the drugs,
tainted food and water,
hellish living conditions,
and god knows what else
they're still
and many of the babies are still
bright eyed and
despite it all...
and that's just here!
let's not delve into
the cesspool of the '3rd world'...."

you can't build prisons
fast enough
but you'll sink your talons
into my baby's umbilical cord--
to deter
even the notion
of my healing...

your preemptive
death squads
masquerading as
bastions of life
insult my intelligence.

if you're gonna try to seduce me
at least learn some new tricks...


sensual deprivation

i've missed the rush i get from flirting.

the feeling of being watched that leads to the first greeting...

first level of attraction, light banter...sharing just enough information to determine whether or not to proceed...

feeling out how proficient he is at wordplay, his sense of humor, intelligence.

(wisdom makes me wet)

the stares in the almost-awkward silences,
light touches,

becoming acquainted with body language and subtle hints of cologne.

the jolt that comes with an unspoken connection.

...see, it's rare that i find a man truly interesting. my 6th sense often tells me more than i want to know before i even know his name.

even rarer is the definitive tingle between my thighs that tells me this one has something worth keeping--or at least exploring.

my sensuality is my soft spot. electrify my senses, and you can probably have me at least once. intrigue me and it will win you nothing less than a kiss.

the tingle never seems to be caused by the same thing twice.

with one it may be a voice.
with another, our first true eye contact.
his gait.
a well-placed scar.
the movement of his lips as he speaks.
the quiet strength in his hands.
a quick brush of his fingers on some innocently bare skin.

could be anything.
and i haven't been wrong yet.

still, that can be difficult to find on bar stools and in random street encounters.

but every now and then, i get lucky.



it doesn't

i'd like to hug you
hear your voice
see your smile...

my words for you
often get caught in my throat
only now they're not made of lemon juice and vinegar
instead it's like
a not-quite-sweet-enough wine or
an unripe slice of peach;
...the flavor of missing you.

our laughter eludes me.
i cannot remember
what your hands were like,
or your mouth.
yet somewhere
deep in the pit of my stomach
i remember
i feel
i know
there was more
to us...

as i blossom,
i seem to need you a little less
but i never seem to
run out of love. 

the love that rained and dripped and spilled
down those steps
in that bed
on that street
along that hallway
by that window

it etched you
into my soul

your cree sings heartsongs
to my chickasaw

we are still

but we've replaced the
long nights and
wrenching conversations and
passive aggressive arguments and
unrequited magnetism
with something softer
if not sweeter...

we've given our unity
to the universe
and she's used its strength
to hold up the world a little while longer.


can't let go...

i think i love him
'cause he's the only man
brave enough to admit
that my mystery
is obvious.


uncomfortable silence

i seem to be chained
to an uncomfortable silence.

my mind houses unholy echoes
that bounce off sterile thoughts.

love-lack stifles expression;

touch deprivation
has ruined my senses;
i am blind
without my orgasms.

caught in a vice
between non-endearing absence
and total omission,
i'm beginning to bleed
ever so slightly...

for inspiration
i gaze at the shade of purple
immortalized by the underside of my bruised fingernails.

i'm screaming
in a vacuum...

and so is everyone else...



you snatched me from the arms of my soul
now i'm lost
and can't tell you how to find me.

but you try anyway
a merciless trial and error
that almost always seems to make things worse for me.

yes, sometimes i want
easier lovers--
men more sensitive than
your life has allowed.
your erratic nature disturbs my peace.

you force fire out of me,
kick my cool down rambling staircases
break its neck
leave it bleeding...

the unexpected has become my life
and uncertainty rattles my bones.

still, i'm not always gonna tell you i'm hurting.

there has always been a haze over you and i...
no clear cut answers,
no whispers through the veil.

better speak up
show me what you've got
'cause it's all i have to go on.



burning spear say,
door peep
shall not enter

you refused to move from the door jamb
taking advantage of my hospitality
waiting for an offer
of anything i seemed willing to give.

and i gave--
mainly out of love
sometimes out of loneliness and confusion
but i gave til it bled

til my children went hungry
til my mouth was too dry
to ask you to please return the favor
when you could.

those days i didn't see you,
you think i didn't know
you had somewhere to go?

a kitchen of your own, a bed to sleep in
when the demands of relationship-working
became too much;

when you couldn't seem to find the honey
my lips begged for,
and the hunger in my eyes terrified you
because it matched your own.

you are not my child,
so my lifeblood
cannot sustain you.

you can no longer
ride the coattails
of my asé.



you can't run
from your past

can't straighten out
all the kinks
with that electric heat

you need the sun
to kiss your scalp
every now and then.


good like summer ice cream cones...

tempting fate and
hidden secret parts
of each other

you radiate
like sunlight:

touch my hand
and i feel it
all over...

kisses creep across my soul
manifesting as explosions of color
across my eyelids

you snatch my voice away,
then use it to speak to me
so i can understand you better.

you waste nothing--
condense yourself
into fingertips, lips
drip into my veins
with perfect timing.

use your beauty against me.

hold me hostage with memories
so we can make new ones...


a family story (part of an unfinished whole)

spoken by a female elder

"abeomaka was born beautiful and mad.

"one night, father had been sent away on an errand several miles away. maybe purposeful, maybe coincidence. who knows.

"we were between mistresses. massa paul was sick with loneliness and anger--he'd never wanted any white woman anyway. his father had taken him around the world--no small feat in those days--and he'd seen all kinds of colors. smelled the coconut oil hawaiian women combed into their hair and the pineapple on their hands. samoan softness. the grace and porcelain skin of chinese women. and he loved cherokee, hopi, and seminole most of all.

"he'd never quite believed the bull they spread about african women. he'd never been to the continent himself--it was one of the few places he had no desire to see--but he didn't trust for one minute that africans were simply climbing on those ships. if they were, why'd it take so long to break 'em once they came?

"in any case, he found african women were striking. the mixed ones were all right; pretty much looked like all the other women he'd seen, except in the spanish and portuguese colonies where their colors defied all category.

"when he went to the auctions and saw 'em fresh off the boats, clean as they'd ever be again, he could see their spirit shine through 'em. felt like he could just about touch the very faith he felt he needed to understand the world. a lost thing he didn't know he was looking for but, once noticed, he had to have.

"many of them exuded dignity, condensed royalty. blue-black skin and lips like pillows. hips and thighs conditioned by lifetimes of dancing and celebration. if he treated his people well--as was often said--it was because of their beauty.

"mother--of course he might've known her name, but it's lost to us. 'sarahjane' is something of an insult--was one such woman. maybe even a sort of dutchess or reverend in her homeland. somehow--this came in a dream--she'd made it over with husband and brother. brother was out of reach, maybe on the next deck down. husband stayed close enough to hold her hand. i like to think they were cunning: acted like strangers to stay together. or maybe god allowed it.

"mother was rather tall, nut brown. walnut. full everywhere, but not fat. soft features. warm smile. no scars--i guess our people weren't into such. she was probably jeweled, but all that would have been snatched away.

"for whatever reason, it was easier for the men to keep scraps of clothing and other items. husband had hid a blade in some cloth. story goes: the morning they were to go on the block, husband slit his throat, praying for another man to come and care for mother. and you know prayers that come with blood or tears are always answered.

"mother decided she had to live on. she was ready for her life in the new world, despite its horrors. but she knew husband was too proud. he'd have run away and been hunted and killed anyway. she smiled as she mourned him, loving his knowing. auction over, the man who bought her bought no men. he and mother would have been split up anyway.

"seems mother's owner needed house slaves and planters. a few breeders wouldn't hurt, either, seeing as the men were rowdy. many had forgotten the old ways by then--their minds were broken from childhood. no one from home before grandparent, and most didn't live that long. rape was no longer taboo or punishable.

"mother met father--the man who helped her start our family--her first day at the plantation. his mother was from an area near mother's people and he spoke his mother's language. he taught her english. she understood quickly, refused to speak it. told no one--besides father, maybe--her true name. her records from the ship had been lost. 'sarajane' was all.

"only thing was, massa paul saw mother and fell in love. just like that.

"he was the only white person mother showed even the slightest regard--she'd even say hello to him in english. story goes: she could see he knew enough to appreciate her as a person, more so than his ignorant, untraveled peers. she sensed she--and the rest--were human to him.

"the night father was sent away mother thought nothing of letting massa paul in. figured he needed to give her instructions for the next day, as he often did. instead he tied her down and raped her. three times. each time a little longer than before. mother cried and fought at first. then prayed and left her body. tried to see home but couldn't get that far.

"she went to the sea, since the coast was just a few miles from the plantation. see, her people worshipped the river goddess, but there were no rivers (that she'd seen yet) here. even so, the sea welcomed her. mother told her troubles to the water, and the sea told her she wasn't alone. that these men were mad and did mad things.

"paul left her, weeping uncontrollably. still wanting more. next day he hung himself.

"father came back from his errand and helped her heal. he knew the herbs and incantations--his mother had taught him how to revere earth, sky, and water. he also presented offerings to the sea as thanks for sheltering her.

"mother knew she was pregnant with paul's child. father could have rid her of it, but she said it was the will of the ancestors.

"abeomaka came in with a hurricane. bit mother, kicked father. gray eyes, pale honey skin, black hair with a slight wave. more animal than child. never learned to speak--or at least didn't tell anyone he knew how. he'd hide in the woods for days at a time--from at six years old!--and return as clean as when he'd left. mother said he was a sorcerer, not a child. something from home angry at the new place he found himself in. crazy with his mother's pain and the pain of his people, intersected with the greed of his biological father's race. rage incarnate.

"one day when he was about thirteen or fourteen years old, he disappeared. no body found, none buried. never tamed, never broken.

"as mother loved father, the line began. her true firstborn, jamaal (john to the whitefolk), was snatched away and sold early. after that, prayers were sent up asking that girls always be born first since they were more likely to stay with the family.

"our family's men were given spiritual sight to help protect their sisters, mothers, aunts, and wives. as you know, they'd be killed if they actually fought on their behalf. in the worst times, abeomaka would return to guide our hands.

"and that's how we began."



i want to say
something like
"i don't use
...i bleed thru penstrokes and
make pages drip lifewater!"

but it sounds far too cliche.
and these days
i fear those
more than anything.

the world is in serious need
of innovation--
there are already
too many cycles
too much history
too many people

i always wonder
if i'm part of the solution
or perpetuating the problem.

i mean,
def poetry
makes everyone old enough to
stay up past midnight
wannabe a poet.

every hustla's the next jay-z
get shot and you're an instant ja rule
maybe even a pac or biggie-style martyr

i write 'cause i have to.

there's no goal or destination,
no record deal or basement studio cd--

i just do this.
universal ticker tape machine
running off emotional dividends
and updates on the worth of the ancestors
(refreshed daily for someone's convenience)

so i won't start in on
the beauty of my nubian people
the merits and/or detriment of pussy poems or
late night thoughts of wrist-slitting and angst.

i just want to know
if any of these words have a purpose
and constantly consider
the validity
of the messenger.


a shout out (originally titled "manifesto")

…there has to be a better way to live, a better way to manifest our humanity. what is going on around the world right now is indicative of the worst of human behavior. on the other hand, there are miracles in the chaos. there are many testaments to the human spirit being written…even if they are being written in blood.

it's not going to end any time soon, but it's possible to end it. maybe everything has to fall apart first, be put back together. i don't know the details. i have a few ideas, but that's about all.

however, i'm tired of feeling like—no, knowing—that we are failing all the tests we're being given. history isn't repeating itself in the normal way; we are aiding and abetting it--and not the good history, either.

we're opting to follow the money trail versus going into the light.

something has to give, and soon.

otherwise this society will implode of its own arrogance and stupidity. there are people all over the nation and all over the world saying this, but the ones in the best positions are the people doing absolutely nothing about it.

it will take years for any of this to affect them, so they are willing to take their chances.

the rest of us don't have that kind of time. and, apparently, as long as we're "kept" people, we don't seem to care.

go on and brush your shoulders off….yeah. that's cool for a minute or so, but what are you gonna do in the long run?

when the people come crashing thru those gated communities and loot your palace instead of the one hundreds of miles away?


thought #1

sugar water raindrops
and the smell of
freshly cut
honey-coated grass
still couldn't be as sweet as you.


tattoos & birthmarks

we are still scarred.
wearing tribal marks in
permanent ink and
ancestral kisses

we know them as moles
or patches of odd-colored skin
shaped like birds
and butterfly wings.

the rites of passage
have been inverted
impaled on
upside down mcdonald's signs and
burned in the glow of televisions...

car stereos deafen the drum beat
and the children lose their way...
this has been said so many times
by so many people
i wonder if it's even worth repeating.

there is nothing new under the sun
so why do we act like 3 year olds
and pretend we don't remember
what we did five minutesdaysyearscenturies ago?

consistently actin brand new
as if each dawn
is an excuse for absentmindedness...

do gasoline fumes
cause collective amnesia?

is it the money?
indoor plumbing?

maybe walmart supercenter theft sensors
steal a bit of our collective subconscious
each time we go to pick up
paper towels and
toilet paper.

but i'm tired of making excuses

it's like they say--
betta act like ya know
ya betta ask somebody
betta recognize


cognizance is an asset,
ignorance a liability.