the end. {napowrimo '11, # 30}

this year didn't flow like last year...

for one thing, the month went by much faster. i wasn't able to queue poems as readily. and the other work i'm doing right now forced quite a few stops and starts.

however--similar to last year--it was an interesting exercise in creativity. it got me journaling more and pushed me to be present with my emotions. sometimes they were my only source of material.

who knows if i'll do this in 2012. i can't say where i'll be, or what other obligations i'll have. but thank you for reading, congrats to all those who made it through another year, and i look forward to catching up with the stuff folks wrote that i didn't get to read during the month.

all praises to the word.


a thought {napowrimo '11, # 29}

endings don't get enough credit.

they are just as deep and wide
as beginnings
and lead to
just as many
interesting places.


spring {napowrimo '11, # 28}

the earth
offers her gifts,
sending visions
of fragrant,
green things.

who am i
to refuse?


living deliciously {napowrimo '11, # 27}

i don't know if i can explain
the many ways
pleasure has saved me.

this is not a treatise
on hedonism
or naivete;

pleasure permeates
every bit of air
we breathe,
for conscious inhalation.

it is inviting the sun
to play in your skin.

it is
loving children
and music.

the flavors
and scents
of food.

it is dancing
for no reason at all,
anywhere at all
...even while sitting still.

smiling sweetly
at myself
(or a lover)
in the morning.


untitled {napowrimo '11, # 26}

inspiration's short,
but sleep is long. the struggle
continues. four days.


something sweet {napowrimo '11, # 25}

in lover's honey
for warm moments
to crash over me
like ocean waves.


mercury retrograde {napowrimo '11, # 24}

retrograde shatters
illusions; we make room for
new realities.


sista {napowrimo '11, # 23}

a tanka

mami wata hair,
knotty like tree roots. lagoon
eyes, black, reflect your
image, not color. she is
proof: beauty's diversity.


untitled {napowrimo '11, # 22}

i've been
one of those women
weeping in your arms
helpless against
your particular enchantment...

but in the end,
your ice
cooled my core.

you could
lust after
but not love.


lost signal {napowrimo '11, # 21}

for twin flames & linked destinies

a lovesick morning
punctuated by
cool clouds
we're on that
universal telephone again
struggling to connect
across crossed stars...

i've grown tired of seeking reasons
for this lifetime's meeting;
what i need now
is a balm
for your absence.


untitled/incomplete {napowrimo '11, #20}

i was fine until
you cried.

don't fall down
in a mere breeze.

sap-tears run down my arms,
too sticky for kleenex.

i'll have to bathe
in the river
to wash away your sorrow.

doesn't repair


artistry {napowrimo '11, #19}

for mama beah

limitless black beauty
so often shoved into
a pigeon's place
left to rot
under false representations
and sexless muumuus.

but we know better.

we understand
the luminosity
and depth
of brown.

we know the origins
of our ochre, cream and saffron highlights
and can trace the lineage
of the untamed strut
carried by heads held high.

and we know you.

we know
your envy
can maim
but it cannot kill.


pet {napowrimo '11, #18}

my only "child"
is a fussy black tomcat
full of
various and sundry meows
and hug-like head butts.


ecosystem {napowrimo '11, #17}

if, as he said,
women are like ecosystems,
i'd be tropical:
a volcanic island,
black sand greeting cerulean sea;
green trees bearing greener coconuts
populated with beautiful people
and brilliantly colored birds.

everything about me
would inspire life, love
and gratitude to spirits and ancestors
for having the good graces
to be incarnated here.


hospital waiting room {napowrimo '11, #16}

bodies succumb while
the spirit remains high: a
prescription for joy.


costume change {napowrimo '11, #15}

home means
wrapping myself in a sarong;
moonstone beads hanging
between warm breasts.


in a name {napowrimo '11, #14}

a gray fortress
by the sea
with a garden of hollies
and a garden by the pool.

merciful waters
wind their way home.

born in honor
full of prayer
and grace.


untitled {napowrimo '11, #13}

help me
gnash my teeth

let it out

i gotta tell somebody.

i don't give a damn about my throat
i'd rather lose my mind.


i am
sliding down a wall
no one made

the floor
is far away
like you

by some twist of fate
(possibly several)
you're not mine...

centuries old conversations
assault my ears

before i know it
i'm thrashing around to shake them off...

and all you've done
is say hello
and ask how i'm doing.


blah {napowrimo '11, #12}

fatigue and grumbling
tummies make for listless poems.
tomorrow, hope floats.


sex {napowrimo '11, #11}

auburn topped
blackberry triangle
framing fluttery petals

tasty, textured wonder

love incarnate.


thief {napowrimo '11, #10}

for beni

he's convinced
i'm made of honey and
sneaks into my dreams
to grab sticky kisses
and handfuls of flesh.

he snatches breath, speech
with quick hands and tongue;

the soft, sweet mouth
renders me helpless.

no need
to hurt me...
take what you want.
i'm yours.


why i write sad poems / triple tanka {napowrimo '11, #9}

in self defense, a
broken 16 year old sought
meaning in her pain;
a struggle to become whole
after the splitting apart.

later, rebelling
against misplaced love and rage,
poems became condensed
emotion; ways to speak my
soul in small, unsafe spaces.

as healing flows, the
habit remains. poems, my blue
; slow burn jazz riffs
contrasted with life's joy. sad
poet with a blissful heart.


the brokenhearted qadishtu* {napowrimo '11, #8}

who heals the healer when she breaks?

they say the wives
envy us.

well, i envy the wives.

all this sacrifice.
morphing our bodies into shrines,
enduring the glares of the so called civilized...
for what?
we appease a spirit we never see.

i have seen Her.
once, the radiance of Her smile
saturated my dreams,
granting gifts many never realize.

but now
i'm not so sure
this isn't just an elaborate farce.

i believed...
before he came.

a beautiful man with Her sweet smile
and sad eyes
he begged for help,
weeping on the hem of my skirt.

my heart filled
as it always did with sincere seekers.

for months,
i cradled and taught him;
raised his energy,
fed his soul...
all so he could plant a seed
in his wife's womb.

he spoke of her often.
(the only words of his i ignored)
i used every trick i knew--
and some i said i never would--
to make him mine,
but his heart stayed with her,
no matter what his body said to me.

and when it was time,
he left,

i was fine
in my anticipatory denial
until the day his woman entered the sanctuary,
resplendent with new life,
daring...to give...thanks.

i promptly destroyed my rooms.
i would have gone for the altar,
but i wasn't completely mad...yet.
so i contented myself
with demolishing the last alabaster jar.

why was my love only meant
for the intangible,
the unseen?

what is my reward?
where is my solace?

in desperation,
i ran to the sea
and wept in it.

She pulsed,
but remained silent.

where were Her abundant arms?

in Her infinite mercy,
why didn't She come
and swallow me up?


that's when my heart shattered
and my magic turned against me...
i lost all my senses;
the light of Her love went out.

my prayers became empty ministrations;
my blessings vapid.

i will remain faithless
the rest of my days.



spin cycle {napowrimo '11, #7}

once again i find myself
scattered to the 50-11 winds
wanting to be 5 places and
do 10 things
at once...

but, for now,
i have hours when i'm relegated to work
and hours that i'm not.
keeping them straight
is a(n) (arbitrary) priority.

i struggle to keep up with calendars
and other piscean torture devices
smushing food and (real) life
somewhere in the middle.

wild ideas
crash into walls
and deadlines...
even my dreams are rambling.

the being overwhelmed
leads to blame and shame:
"you know this is what happens
when you let yourself out to play!
it's altogether too confusing, too consuming!
grow up. focus.
get yourself together, girl.
stop dreaming all the time!
where's it gonna get you?"

that nasty voice
the constant fight
between soul-work
and what needs to happen
to put food on the table.

then, oblivious to my confusion and dissonance,
a cycle shifts
and sense is made.
pieces fall into place
with a word
an image
or flash of inspiration.

and so, i begin again,
until the next time...


melancholy herb garden musings {napowrimo '11, #6}

watching seedlings emerge from dark soil
i wonder what their growth
will say about my own.

do my flowers lean because i'm unsure?
does the basil droop when i'm sad?

i know they need more heat and sunshine than i can offer.
but i can't rush the cool, reluctant spring.

even as trees bloom and daffodils wave outside,
it's a harder year for those
relegated to the hands of amateur, indoor gardeners.

i remain open to their teachings
as they reveal themselves to me
praying for a patio
overflowing with expressions of my care
not the forlorn corner of misfit pots
i left in my old apartment.

{i really don't know why this came out sounding so forlorn. lol. actually, most of my nascent plants are doing fairly well. just this morning i saw a chamomile seedling starting to emerge...}


overdrawn {napowrimo '11, #5}

i go insane / crazy sometimes / tryin to keep you from losin your mind...

my love
has never saved you
from yourself.

i gave up the saving
but never the loving.

open your eyes / see what's in front of your face / save me my...

save me...
just save...me.
forget about the tears.

i've already shed
an ocean's worth,
and i'm not done.

i shoulda
been bought stock
in kleenex
foolin wit yo ass...

was i a fool?

will we ever
get this right,
or are we destined
to silently scream
into magic mirrors,
praying one day
we won't hear each other

we always will?

save me my...

{*italicized lyrics from maxwell's "fistful of tears"}


untitled / stream of consciousness #1 {napowrimo '11, #4}

grateful for challenge,

new eyes
guiding new hands
soul journeys.

feeding purpose,
gathering strength.

listening for messages
in ordinary rhythms.


haiku {napowrimo '11, #3}

sleeping my way through
weekends, bracing for the week.
fair exchange? not sure.


bembe {napowrimo '11, #2}

bare altars
rivers of yellow and blue cloth
topped with elaborate soperas
stare back at me, beckoning.

i reach for them when no one is looking.

the sink is full of dishes
i say i intend to wash
a sheetcake awaits decoration
i can already see finished.

this will be an interesting party.

i keep falling asleep in a small room
where at least three other people
are waking up.
why did i think i was alone?

spain lilts on their tongues
but i am still myself.
who invited me here?

the last time i struggle to wake
my eyes don't work
i know the dream is ending.

my gratitude for the message
is nearly eclipsed by my confusion.

the ever winding path
my ancestors walked
gets longer with each vision.


beginning {napowrimo '11, #1}

the opening
is difficult.

the violent but necessary splitting
pushes me into the world

i want to say stop
but cannot.

this is mother's wisdom.

it is time.
i have to let it be time.