100 ideas - the beginning

i have this tendency to come up with ideas, most of which i have no actual desire to execute.

so, i figured maybe i could bother you with them, thus clearing my head and assisting in keeping my own creativity flowing.  everybody wins!

beginning with the december 5th new moon and ending on the march 4th new moon, i will be posting an idea a day, for a total of 100 ideas {for folks paying attention, technically that's only 91 days, so there will be some doubling and tripling up}. 

it might be a writing prompt.
it might be an outline for something larger.
it might be a link to blog, website, or tweet. 
it might be a reminder of ideas you've heard before.

these ideas are meant to act as seeds, encouraging growth.  some you might want to plant yourself. others you might want to share with someone else.

take on 1, 20, 40, 99 of them...or none at all. it's all up to you. 

why do this from new moon to new moon? traditionally, the new moon is used as a time for planting and/or new beginnings, so that the seeds/notions can grow with the waxing moon. the waning moon (from full to new) is best for cleansing, purging, and pruning.

i hope you'll enjoy reading the ideas as much as i hope to enjoy posting them.

let's go! (c) casamena

...with many thanks to the sistafriend who suggested this notion and planted a seed herself.


sustenance & starvation

currently sustaining:

the moon
and this.

i am particularly drawn to the story of golden hair...
Golden Hair was her name; a woman so beautiful of soul and so gifted of spirit, with such a lovely singing voice, that all the villagers wanted to be near her, and all wanted to be like her. No one gathered to her out of deference, but out of true love. And that was returned to them by her a thousand fold.

Whereby some in the village were always pointing fingers at whomever they thought were sinners, she gave love and encouragement to the goodness in all, including those designated by scowlers as “sinners.” Her way of being was to lead by singing of the ways of love, and by giving others time enough and reason to grow and develop and learn, through errors and through inspirations, both.

But a giant of a brute saw her lovely golden hair, heard her lovely singing, and noted her beautiful hands that wove cloth so fine it could be passed through a golden ring with ease, and he coveted her -- not just her body, but her mind, her spirit, her very soul for it was so filled with life and vision and love. In contrast, he had made his life self-important, darkened and harsh. He was given to punitive judgment, and he wanted to somehow devour the golden haired woman, as though by so doing, he could somehow take on her light inside his own dimmed self.

And so he courted her, but she refused, preferring to follow her own visions of weaving and being, of ministering to the people who flocked to her to just be near and hear her songs.

The brute became wildly jealous of the love others had so easily for this woman, for no one cared for his stern visage. He became enraged. Who did this woman think she was to turn him down, he who had pillaged gold and jewels unlawfully from others, he who lived in splendor but surrounded by a sterile land, he who was the biggest condemner, criticizer and fault finder in the valley. Shaming and blaming, blaming and shaming, those were his power madnesses.

And so, he laid in wait for her one night, and when she passed by alone on the road, he sprang out and killed her. Down to the road she fell, her blood soaking into the earth. He dragged her body into the forest and there grunting with sweat, buried her body, believing this would hide his crime.

The villagers grieved terribly, but as time went on, an uncanny event occurred: her golden hair continued to grow in the grave. It grew in the soil of the forest, a small field of golden reeds swaying in the dappled light and singing ever so softly in the wind. Upward and upward it grew until it pierced the earth overhead.

One day, along the road came women and men musicians. Upon seeing the golden reeds swaying near the road, they tramped into the forest and cut the beautiful reeds and fashioned them for pipes.

Thinking how fine a music these unusual reeds would make, they tied them together with raffia and cut their stops, but when they lifted the flutes to their lips, the oddest song came forth, the same song for each of the pipes and the only song the pipes would play, a song that told over and over again who had killed Golden Hair and why.

The brute and his horrible deed were revealed. And the villagers, now seeing the brute down to his cunning and rotten core, shut the brute away and gave away all his ill-made booty.

In our family, the old people say the only song the golden reeds would play, went something like this, my translation of a translation from the Magyar:

Here I am, woman golden hair,
killed by a brute who gave no care.

Lonely hatred is more base than lust.
And so he killed to still my holiness.

But kill me once
and 10 will rise to ring,
for I am not the singer of the song
I am the song the Singer sings.

it makes me think of how i was "killed".

how he always praised my wonders while remaining unable to hold, love or care for me properly...unconsciously draining my light, my love.

unlike golden hair, i was not content to remain alone. i wanted to love him.

he wasn't as obvious as the brute. i thought he was safe...

now, i am here.

in this moment, i am acutely aware of my bruises and scars. aware of my loss of faith.

i will never be who i was before the pain.

but i can emerge anew.

some days i know what that looks like...or at least what i want it to look like.

other days, i have no idea.


sunday morning

remembering the beauty and value in heartbreak. the wisdom that comes from pain not merely experienced, but learned from.

Maman Dantor knew i needed to see her yesterday.
heeding Oshun's gentle whispers.
Mami used those rose petals to soften the blow.
even Pomba Gira waved at me, blowing fiery kisses.

my fierce, healing, raucous, loving Mothers.

the Ones who forced me to live with eyes open, head high, and chest forward, belly laughing all the way.

thank You...


fire & water

my prayers often begin as a catch in my throat.
a certain, specific confusion.

eventually, the words come...
torrents of joy, pain, hope, thanks, healing...

i'm feeling that way now.

caught between
a scream and silence
frustration and satisfaction.

sometimes i get caught up in the specifics of ritual
wonder if i'm "doing it right"
and i have to stop myself
remember that all genuine entreaties are heard
and answered.

lately, i've been focused on power objects
searching for the meaning in my names,
my date of birth,
patron spirits,
favorite symbols.

emotional rollercoasters have become an unwelcome norm.
longing for balance
something stable, reliable.

then i return to the problem of prayer...
remembering all is heard,
i try to get it right before i ask,
untangle my thoughts,
strand by strand.

sometimes it feels like caution.
other times, procrastination.

then i hear orunmila's constant chant:
balance, balance...

i'm trying, baba.
i'm trying.


the rainbow is enuf.

there's pain on all sides.
there's drama on all sides.

we've hurt, maimed, and damaged one another in many ways.

still, we retain the power to heal, dream, love, and uplift ourselves and each other.

i am afraid we are allowing the pain to cloud true wisdom and deeper guidance.

the hoopla over for colored girls seems to be unearthing a lot of old feelings and illuminating the still-open wounds and still-wide chasms that separate us.

there is wisdom in saying we must protect our hearts,
but protection is not the same as closure.

i feel like we're swinging to extremes, aching for balance.

maybe the pendulum just has to do what it does and settle into a softer rhythm over time, finally settling into center.

if so, is patience the lesson we need to learn?

are we trying to rush a process that cannot be rushed?

we need to talk about the ugly.
but we should not turn each other into stereotypes and monoliths.
we have to resist its tendency to dominate our minds and spirits.

we need to take responsibility for our own, personal wounds.
know ourselves, deeply, halting the wheels of futile, painful cycles.

there should be no unearned, blanket support without proof of progress and growth. we cannot allow romantic, unrealistic notions to erase or underestimate the challenges that exist.

still, we can learn how to deeply support one another as we tend to our collective wounds.

it is complex.
we cannot make it simple.

there is beauty in that complexity, if we can open ourselves to it.

there is not one way to love, to be loving, to receive love, to be loved.
the ways are so plentiful we cannot count them.

who taught us there was only one way to be satisfied? to be whole?

art, analysis, psychology...these are conversation starters. light-shiners that give us frames, language, concrete foundations to build on.

a means to an end.
a way to name.

but what's your soul saying?

now that we've unearthed the pain
we have to go deeper
unearth the healing
roll in the dark, fragrant, fertile soil that feeds the world
study star-shine.

all of that is part of us.
we are part of it all.

don't let the fear win.
or the shame.

cry the tears...just don't drown in them.

i love my brothas.
but i need you to learn how to love yourselves
so you can love me back.

can you do that for me?


{note: this is a pre-screening stream of consciousness. i'm sure there will be more once i've actually seen the film...but these are the vibes i'm picking up as i'm hearing/seeing folks react. i worry that there are countless, unexamined opportunities for growth, beauty, and strength beneath the surface. all my life i have heard the whisper, go deeper...i suppose i'm praying that everyone - in their way - gets that same message and gains the courage to do so.}


baby wisdom

my inner child half smiles at me from my ori altar.

in her thick pigtails and striped shirt, she could either be entering a fit of giggles or preparing to ask some profound question in the way only a 4 or 5 year old can.

i have no way of knowing for sure, but i am fairly certain she is a more innocent version of me. the sweetness before the pain.

my last therapist was also a shaman. once, near the end of a session, she asked if i knew someone named anne. when i told her no, she asked me to think about it. anne wanted to teach me, needed me to listen to her.

i became still, and it dawned on me: anne was part of my own name.

full of grace, mercy.
god favors me.

my inner child was speaking. she remembered why i came.

and now, finally, i feel like i might be catching on.


reason #455 i don't read/perform/slam

in responding to a friend's comment on facebook, i wound up articulating precisely why i gave up on the notion of performing pieces--and it felt far more concise than my explanations here and here. so here's my third angle:

typically, poetry comes to me because there's something i need to speak, then let go.  i would not want folks asking me to perform or repeatedly recite the majority of my poetry. even some love poem inspirations have faded into a sort of blurry collective memory. i don't want or need them lingering in my mind--that's why i write them down.

put another way: my poetry is usually an intense emotional experience manifested in words. once the moment's over, i'm done with it. there are times when i feel compelled to share those moments, so i do.  but tomorrow i'll be somewhere else...and trying to hold on to these lines or being tied to a "signature piece" would prevent the level of progression and evolution i enjoy.

afterword: i adore performance poetry, and the people who do it. this is in no way meant as a statement on the progression of those artists--personally or collectively--or the art form itself. this is just me talkin. as usual.  and something i can point folks to when they ask me questions & shit.


the constant challenge of empathy

full. overwhelmed. grateful. questioning.

there is, at once, so much joy, grief, tension, cooperation, splintering.

confused wisdom. glimpses of bliss, connection. collective frustration, pain.

i am trying to let it pass over and around rather than through me...keep it just outside my consciousness instead of allowing it to take over completely...

sometimes i forget to shield myself.

sometimes i can't do what "everyone else" does.

i need extra space to breathe and dream in.

sometimes i forget to take it.


more scorned woman ranting...

{maybe there will be a better title eventually...}

there are days i wish to see you bleed...

when i hope
a smile never crosses your face
and you never know the warmth of another woman.


i can't and don't always wish you well.

i am not always the "bigger" person.


some days,
i'm still pissed
to the heights of pissivity.
and i wanna throw acid in your face
or stomp on your foot
or slap the black off you...

anything to repay you
for the redness in my eyes
and the soreness in my chest...

i can still fking hate you sometimes.

(just being honest)

and i can just hear you saying
"that's unfortunate..."
and i want to
you still

one day
i'm gonna get over this hump
recall i'm 20 feet tall
and step right over you,
crushing the fear you passed on to me
and shoveling away the bullshit
you taught me to put up with.

i'm gonna remember
the love i give
is an asset, not a liability
remember the ways
it was reflected back to me
before you...

i will be presented
with your complete and utter opposite:
one who knows how to heal
instead of hurt
instead of take
instead of deflect
take responsibility
instead of blame.

and i'll be happy again
loved from my hair follicles to my toenails
not feared
not put on pedestals
not made artificially perfect
but loved
for my own sweet self
and seen
through loving, courageous eyes.

when that happens
i'll have no need for gruesome fantasies
and you can go on your merry way...

a mere footnote
in the epic story
of the true and living love of my life.



remembering that healing is a journey...

reminding myself of what's true, shining light on fear.

my love is too magic to have thrown back on my face.

mama shange's words resonate with me today. deeply.

there is a constant effort to recall that my magic is not the problem...the lack of wizardry and reverence for the Feminine in the present male population is.

needing to reread sassafrass, cypress and indigo...retrace the steps of sassafrass' battle for her soul as she tries to snatch herself back from a no-good man whose best just ain't good enough.

remembering whose i am
who has my back
and what's been promised.

i can be loved.
it is not difficult.
i will be loved.
properly and well.

it is possible...