SMH… This Lenten

This Lenten season, I took a bit of a social media hiatus (tell me you didn’t think I was just here shaking my head) to focus more intently on various important matters, including my writing.  It was time well spent.  

I celebrated my dear friend’s birthday and thoroughly enjoyed being in the presence of her, and her friends––none of whom I knew, because I simply love her.  She’s my hermana.  Spent time with yet another friend, caught up on life, and exchanged notes on the challenges of managing our creative pursuits and desires, while being wife and mother.  She’s my homie.

Being more present during this time allowed me to reconnect with both friends in meaningful ways.  Not being distracted while doing so was a refreshing change.  Good conversation and time well spent with a few good friends is essential for the soul. No need for filters or preamble.  No judgement.  Connection in a real, no-holds barred kind of way.

At home, I had the opportunity to listen more patiently to my children.  When my son called home to bargain with me––he would stay outside and play ball with his friends and not come straight home, then pick up his sisters and walk them home––”to give you more time to write, Mom”, I couldn’t refuse. I listened more to the unspoken words from all three of them, and sensed their need and appreciation for my full attention.

I sat right across my sweetheart … more often. Even when he wasn’t speaking directly to me, he was still present, needing my presence.  Just knowing I was in the same space with him, undistracted and available should he need me, was all he needed, and I didn’t seem to mind.

And of course, I had more time to write. Yes!  

This time of Lenten just happened to line up perfectly with my need for introspection and quiet reflection.  Though I understand the importance of fasting and withdrawal, and a more turning inward of the soul, I generally do not “give up” any one physical item during Lent.  I am also mindful, and respectful of, many others who do not recognize or take part in Lent, so I’ll leave you with “Lend Ten“.  I believe it speaks more directly to the core of what’s important, beyond prescribed times and events on any religious calendar. (smh)

Lend Ten

Lend me your ten
Ten’s
All I need

Ten 
To do the handiwork you were called to do
That work which needs no assists

The making
The loving
The gifting 
The telling 

The touching
The caressing
The hold-me-close-because…
I just need to feel you
Stroking … me
Ten 

The revitalizing 
The restoring 
The covering 
You know what I’m talking about 
Those pretty ten
‘Dem calloused, rough-hewn ten
Those still very useful 
Ten

Stretch through those ten
With every bit of power, lady… 
Man
Lend me your ten
Let your energy soar
Through them ten

Fire breathes life from your fingertips
Burning deep into hollow places
Taking refuge where
Coals need stoking and
hearts need Ten…. ding
Lend ten





Enough

Cringing at the thought that what I pour into my 14yo Black son is not enough
That despite
The discipline with which I rear him
The love with which I affirm him
The pride with which I love him
The way in which I’ve taught him
Won’t be Continue reading

What Really Matters

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Writer SomerEmpress shares how a too-close-to-home event
crystallized her understanding of what matters most.

The sudden passing of the husband of a dear woman I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting, jarred me to my core this past weekend. He wasn’t much older than my husband. In addition to his wife, he left their two young children, a girl and a boy.

Though our lives don’t intersect as they would with closer friends and family, it has been difficult to go through the routines of my day without considering them.  As I prepare the children for the morning, make breakfast, and call up to my husband that coffee is ready, I am mindful of the small, yet Continue reading

Love Unmasked

mask-of-love1What I have for you is love.

An abiding love to
Propel you through your day,
Inspire you to new possibilities,
Awaken you to the infinite ability in you.

Done right,
Love is a most dutiful eraser and organizer, an equalizer even.
Unconditional and unrelenting in its pursuit,
Gentle in its gait, but determined in its duty.

Love shoves despair and destitution back into their respective corners,
Confirms and accepts the deciduousness of our blues.
Love knows, wants to know.
Forces us to ask and contend our most gut-wrenching and troubling questions,
Grows us…. somehow.

Love withdraws you from you,
Sheds you….
From that second skin you grew…. for what?

Pulls you from those places which served only to confine you,
Keep things dark,
Keep you in place.

Love exposes you and dresses you up,
All at once!
Replenishes you,
Gets you truly ready for the occasion of your gift-giving.

Makes you feel the kind of pretty not yet captured onscreen or in a glossy ad.
Yeah, that deep-down kind of soul pretty,
Same one that makes you feel….
Ready, poised, certainly capable…. again,
Indeed.

Lets you know you are worthy, beyond indispensable, amazing!

Gives you that glow that rests atop your shoulders,
Kisses you gently,
Whispers deliciously and all breathy-like into your ear.
Reminds you of just how beautiful you are,
Brings to light the brilliance of your gifts.

Yes, you!
Most worthy, beautiful, indispensable, radiant, amazing someone,
You!
Your gifts,
Your very concentrated essence, the extract that is you!

At its epicenter is love.
Unyielding and uncompromising…. Love.

In Other Words, by James Baldwin:

Musical Inspiration:

Don’t Talk to Strangers?

The more I write, the more aware and appreciative I become of my voice and the less validation I need from others.   I do have some wonderful folk in my corner, but there are others whom I have never met that continue Continue reading

So What … Of the Meantime

In the meantime,

I’ve been….
Writing
But, of course!

Watching
My babies grow.
Enjoying
Summer.
Investing
In….
Loving
him.
“He loves me…. he’s special…. ly different”

In the meantime
I’ve been
Working
On a masterpiece–
“Thinking of a master plan/’cuz ain’t nuthin’ but sweat inside my hand”

I’ve been
Affected
No doubt
Inspired
By
Little, but Tuff lights
Glowing in a dark world
But back to
In the meantime….

I’ve been
Recharging– everyone needs a respite
Reprioritizing
Settling
Into my new
Physical places, and
Metaphorical spaces
Tying up my literary shoelaces….
Getting acquainted with
Folk,
Fictional and otherwise.

Shedding
Clothes that don’t fit,
Pounds that won’t sit.
Lifting!
Them

Yes!
Lightening the loads.
Can’t nobody walk tall weighted down!
Ah….
Quiet, personal victories.

Accepting….
A New Season.

In the meantime
I’ve prayed.
For….
Our children,
My sisters-
Several of which,
Though new to me,
Lived in me–
My very nerves and sinew
Long ago
From the start.

My brothers too….
It’s complicated.

In the meantime
I’ve been
Writing
Speaking…. Greater
Life
Into my own Life
Reveling
Quietly
Yielding
Humbling…. to my own gifts
In the meantime….

I’ve been praying for–yes again,
And receiving too,
Divine inspiration
In my….

Writing
Healing
Encouraging
Reading
Engaging
Submitting
Connecting
Loving
Acknowledging
Spoken Word-ing
Injecting
Real…. Meaning
In the time-ing!

I’ve been
Still…. Present
Yes!
Me
In the meantime

Loving
Me.

Now What?

A Not Guilty verdict… returned sometime between my bedtime and this morning. Truth is, I am not entirely shocked by the outcome. Though I was hopeful, I had little expectation that the justice system would indeed serve justice. The brutal reality is that Trayvon Martin’s death did not have to happen, and “not guilty” appeared fixed from the start.

Regardless, we must give rise to our voice while we are still very much alive. We must speak for social justice for all murdered children and act courageously when any child is killed.  Our community’s issue is bigger than Trayvon. I wept for Trayvon but I am sickened when discussing murdered children in New York, Philadelphia, Trenton, or my second city Chicago. Though we profess innocence, many of us are found guilty, even in conscience–sitting idly by, simply nodding our head in disapproval when it comes to the rampant violence that is wiping out families and communities.

Ironically, there will be more cases which call us to respond. The name will not be Zimmerman, but perhaps one more familiar. Though the names of the criminals might be known, we won’t dare tell of their deeds though our very freedoms are compromised.

We must use our grief and outrage to ante up our courage and ask of ourselves whether we are really doing all that we can to stop killing in our communities.  This is a challenge for me and I will not assume that the next generation will handle it. Moreover, we cannot simply pass the baton to politicians, legislators and court systems, while huddling in our private circles to just pray about it.

I am a woman of faith, and I know that my God is one of justice, but a worry-free world was never promised. I will pray, then act, speak, and fight for those who cannot. I will not let George Zimmerman cause me to grow bitter, but better.  The community needs better.

So this Sunday, I draw strength from my faith, and from a modern-day hymn by the ministerial Chuck D.

”Kick it, Chuck!”

This part of the bridge is most convicting, yet it provides a perfect close to the urgent question: “Now What?”.

Feel the people
Heal the people
Need the people
So heed the people
Help the homeless
Underfed…
Where’s your groove?
Check your heads
I shall not be moved
I shall not be moved
Uh come on.”

Feel, heal, need, heed, help. Amen.