Monday, June 13, 2011

City Ride

Now Playing: Ain't No Thang – Outkast
Location: Rosa Parks Transit Center

City Ride

Detroit is so hard, and not just in the aspect of hard times, but it's core is like the steel once used to manufacture it's American autos. Something about this place is amazingly unbreakable. In the face of some of the most furious social, political and financial upheavals it has a throbbing pulse felt in the pissed stained concrete, beneath the worn soles of the unemployed, and the crispy white kicks of those dedicated to dressing fresh in the face of poverty. I always describe the connection between this city and it's natives as love hate. To know Tha D is to both adore and loath it. There is so much to treasure: the history, the long striving communities, the music, art, culture and food and then there is the disparity and ruin, political corruption, and soaring obstacles. Still, Detroit like a broken winged phoenix erupts in fires beyond Devil's night and smolders into ashes, always waiting to catch fire again.

The most picturesque intake of my city can be found while riding the bus from East to West, to the fringes of the suburbs and back downtown. The most colorful routes I have found are Woodward, Dexter, Grand River and Linwood. I have witnessed everything from a demented revolutionary to a spazzed out brother covered in blood ready to box everyone on the bus. Sometimes exchanges range from community furor over the latest unjust policies from our incompetent mayoral administration and foolish city council to just plain ignorant confrontations between irate riders and disgruntled bus drivers. On the best days there is the cool brother bus driver that passes out fist pounds and smiles with an infectious “Booyah!” or the bus driver who waves off you paying bus fare when the fare box is working! When all your bus rides and transfers happen on time then the day becomes pretty freaking magical.

In moments like this you appreciate the funky trick Detroit is. Ghetto as hell, house parties, and block barbecues. Country as your Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi roots and the Upsouth drawl of our words, . Slick as gators and the intricate hairstyles artfully coiffed in salons across the city. Eclectic as indy rock, organic gardens, hippies in Cass Corridor and street festivals happening in cool neighborhoods. Sophisticated as art museums, wine tasting, independent films and literary circles. Broken as the lines in the faces of the dejected and struggling. Spiritual as saints and Muslims gathering in churches and mosques with sincere prayers for the future of our city. Detroit is not just one thing, but all of these things.

Take a ride through my city and get to know the real Detroit.

Closing track: Hard Times - Ludacris

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

P.A.D. #5: Journey Back Home


He smiles at me in the dark

as if well pleased with his conquest.

Naked, intertwined in moonlight

Original Black to American brown.

He tells me stories of places

I only dream about.

Africa lives in his tongue.

His mouth tastes sweet.

Each kiss is a path to the unknown.

We find our way home in the fit of our bodies.

As if the nap and curl of my locks tangled between his fingers

Reminds him of the clinging Earth in Nigeria.

I trace maps of longing for the Motherland down his spine.

Embrace him like the Atlantic.

Until memories of the Middle Passage are dissolved

in our coming.


I am discovering what it means to be an American girl

through his eyes.

This life I have taken for granted.

These blessings I give no daily thanks for.

The freedom I disdain, and clamor about political injustice.

Pale in comparison to corruption, wars, slain heroes and the

struggle of our people across the water.

Still he smiles, flashing ivory, as if invincible.

My heart sinks into despair.

Surrendering my romantic vision of Africa, against his living testament.

He reminds me there is still beauty in the land of my ancestors.

Our people are survivors on both shores.

We speak hope, and wrap love into hard words, wanting so much more

for our kindred.


72 hours ago

We did not exist to one another.

God shines on the unsuspecting.

I have come to appreciate Sundays

in a new way.

Yearning to find a piece of myself

in the lilt of his Yoruba accent.

Discover the history hidden

in the glide of his hands down my hips.

I am no mystery to myself

when reflected in his eyes.

There is comfort in the curve

of his arm.

Holding my heart in my palms.

I wonder if this is what it feels like to find


P.A.D. #4: A Place Called Nowhere

I am the queen of no destination relationships

Lingering long after good byes should be spoken

Logic does not dictate my course of action

I am a crash course of follies

The princess of impracticality

Skipping pebbles like possibilities

and random lovers.

If the moment feels right

I am along for the ride

Until metal crunches into burning corpses

I weep in the ashes

Already knowing the atrocity that awaits

My inability to be alone.

Foolish to be such a smart girl.

Grown woman with the need

to spontaneously combust her heart

into crimson confetti.

Repeatedly picking up the pieces like record scratches.

Text book definition of insanity.

One day I will honor myself

with more than this martyrdom.

Stop sacrificing in the moment

with no long term reward.

Love responsibly instead of recklessly.

Treat my heart as blue chip stock


Allowing no money changers in my temple

Unless your portfolio has proven you

worthy beyond all reproof.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

P.A.D. #3: A Queen's Abdication

I have become impatient

with being your lady-in-waiting.

This love is no royal court.

I find your throne unoccupied,

and I tire from your wars.

Waiting for blackened roses to be cast

at my feet.

You dangle vines of possibility in their place.

When I have accepted the death knell.

King amongst men,

but absentee husbandman.

How is a Queen to survive

40 days and nights on promises broken?

Let us die in this wilderness,

so that I am free to return to loneliness.

That blessed empty solitude

I am accustomed to.

At least it does not deceive

with visions of happiness often abandoned.

I fear you will not take notice of my leave.

The crown of thorns by the bed side.

The scent of tears and my imprint

on sheets that is foreign to our infrequent lovemaking.

Farewell to these arms.

An embrace half endured.

May the streets be lined with feathers

for your footfalls always away from me.

I have nothing to offer

but stained glass memories.

These will never be dusted by broken into pieces.

Placed in a black box and remanded to a pauper's grave.

You will not visit, and I will bless you for this.

Not to taint the one resting place

where we finally are at peace.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

PAD #2: Friday Sunday

God has a sense of humor

Answering my infrequent requests with quirky replies.

Such as sunshine and a brother

named Sunday.

He knows I don't observe holy days

Yet he reminds me good things can be observed

Any day of the week.

No walls of stone and tongues of brass necessary.

Just a simple thank you for a glance my way,

and a reason to smile.

Friday, April 1, 2011

PAD #1 Haiku - Cheap Booze, Bad Woman

Don’t trust bitches
Named after cheap liquor
It’s bad taste like their name sake

Thursday, March 31, 2011

National Poetry Month Etiquette

Greetings Fellow Poets,

In the last few years I have moved from sharing my NPM/NapoWrimo/Poem A Day poems on Blogger and Myspace accounts to Facebook. The problem with sharing on FB during the 30/30 challenge is that every one seems to lose their minds in an ecstatic attack of tagging. I tried in vain to keep up with the many poems and to leave responses, but at some point my strength failed me, and honestly there were quite a few people who tagged me, that I was deeply uninterested in reading. The creative rigors and demands of National Poetry Month are already exhausting with out the added irritant of a "tag attack."

You and I can't possibly write a poem everyday AND be expected to respond to the hundreds of other poets posts too. Therefore I propose The National Poetry Month Etiquette. This year for the sake of your sanity and mine, and please feel free to pass this along to other poets, here are a few rules of thumb to manage and survive NPM 2011 on Facebook:

1. An-tag-onization

With 30 days and 30 poems at your disposal don't feel the need to tag people daily. Every poem does not need to be tagged. Instead of drawing attention to your piece and attracting responders you are actually annoying and repelling them with excessive tagging. Show a little restraint, and you will make Facebook and your friends happier during NPM 2011.

2. Tag with caution

While we may think every last one of our pieces are epic masterpieces in the making, let me assure you they are NOT. If you must tag, then be choosy. Pick your best piece to share and tag those whose feedback and opinion you value. It's not very likely that you will get a response from a random FB friend that you ignore the other 11 months of the year. Be kind and considerate to your fellow FB writers by rotating tag detail. Tag one set on select pieces, and then tag other friends on other pieces, that way everyone get's a chance to partake of your creative offerings.

3. It's called Read a Poem, Write a Poem for a reason

No one likes a tag attention whore. Share the love by reading and responding to other people's poems before hitting them with a barrage of your own. Take some time to check out new writers besides your standard favorites. You might be pleasantly surprised and come across some finger snapping dopeness or receive inspiration from an unexpected source. One of the great pleasures of NPM is the awesome outpouring of diverse writings from different people. People are more inclined to respond to your work if they see you have taken the time to read theirs.

4. Shallow responders need not reply

"That's deep" and "Dope" are typical and banal replies. You're a poet, I know we can do better than this. No one expects you to write a testament or critical analysis in response to their piece, but more invested responses are appreciated. Try to give fellow writers respect by offering constructive criticism, genuine praise, or props for a well written poem. If you don't have time for extended replies, that's cool, but leave a little love after reading. It means a lot to me and your fellow posters.

5. Tag Reaction Time

Just because you tag a person, does not obligate them to read or respond to your piece. With news feeds racing at a million miles per second on FB, your post might just get missed. Don't take it personal. Give people some time to make it over to your post. If you don't get a billion responses consider quality replies over quantity. And if you don't get any at all don't let it break your brilliant streak. On to the next one. You have 30 days and 30 poems to write someone's socks off so be patient.

That being said be creative and have fun! I look forward to reading many great poems!

PS. This is the most excessively tagged post you will receive from me this month. Promise! LOL!