I read We’ve All Got Eyes, Man for #BlackPoetsSpeakOut

I wanted to get out there and DO something, participate in the change, lift the weight of the onslaught on justice with my own bare hands. But I didn’t know how. I kept asking, “What do I do?” and everyone kept telling me the best place to start was my talent, to raise my voice. In The Issues, Sharon Olds writes, “Don’t talk to me about Politics. I’ve got eyes, man.” That line plus the current state of our nation sparked this poem. So I thank blackpoetsspeakout for creating a place for us to make noise and demand change in a positive way. This is my voice, this is me saying I will not be silent. I will use my words to assist our cause.

I’m published online!

Hey! I’m really excited to share that one of my newest poems, Reasons Why Loving You Was More Entertaining than Watching Prime Time Television, was published by GERM Magazine and is currently on their home page!

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One of my goals for the year was to have a poem published and I am so happy to have accomplished it! I hope that you guys will head over to GERM and read this poem, leave some love and then check out some of the other content they have!

Read: Reasons Why Loving You Was More Entertaining than Watching Prime Time Television

In Response to the Upset over the Cosby Show Being Pulled from Syndication

I read this article and it really bothered me.

In response to the upset over The Cosby Show being pulled from syndication: I’d like to point out that TV land also pulled reruns of 7th heaven because of Stephen Collins. I support the pulling of these shows. Why should we allow rapists (proven or alleged) to have a place on our televisions, in our homes, available to be looked up to by those who are unaware of an actors personal life?

Has Cosby been found guilty of these allegations? No, but how many other men/women have not been proven guilty of a crime they’ve committed? The number of women coming forth with stories is ridiculous. Is there a quota that must be reached before it becomes real enough? If you’re looking for evidence, for a trial and a jury to give you a verdict to this then good luck. These cases are old, the statute of limitations is probably going to prevent that, although I’m not expert on law. It does not mean the allegations are not true.

As far as the other actors listed in this article as a reference, I get it. These men did bad things too, they committed crimes as well. Instead of trying to use them as an example of why The Cosby Show should still be airing (which is what I assume was the point of the article) maybe the desired outcome should be that we get actions taken to pull those other shows as well (which was mildly suggested by this article). The fact that the other men listed as examples are white has not eluded me. It’s unfair and racist and so on and so forth, to penalize Cosby and not the others, again, I get it. How about we figure out a way to handle these types of situations that covers all bases; race, gender and the nature of the crime. Why not push for a system to regulate situations like this in which a revered actor/actress commits (proven or alleged) a crime that is heinous, violent or detrimental?

I try not to roll my eyes when I read “…yanking reruns in which Cosby played a role suggests we can’t distinguish between acting and the real world.” Cosby is a REAL person who is alleged to be a rapist in the REAL WORLD. I don’t care if in the show he is just playing a character. In real life he is (allegedly) something else, something more vile and dangerous. It’s not that I believe The Cosby Show is “anything more than fictional entertainment” (that’s obvious) it’s that someone who was an integral part of that entertainment has been put in the spotlight (for years) as someone who has taken advantage of the bodies of women who did not consent. Again, I ask is there a quota, some minimum that must be met before we say enough? I watched that show  as a kid and enjoyed it like so many other people did. It saddens me to have such a negative accusation linked to it but I support the decision of TV Land to pull it.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you support the removal of this show from the re-run roster or do you think it should still air? Let me know what you think here or on twitter @talichaj.

Quotes from “Mitch Albom: Erasing Bill Cosby with the speed of light“.

I Watch Her Eat the Apple by Natalie Diaz (P.O.W.)

I was introduced to the poetry of Natalie Diaz while taking a writing class last month (more on the class to come in a later post!). We went over a few of her writings throughout the six week course and I really found myself loving the way Diaz phrases things. I admit, I had to read this poem a few times to really grasp everything which I think is okay. I’m learning that sometimes a good poem needs to be read over and over again because there is always some meaning that goes unnoticed initially or some connection that isn’t  made obvious right away. Anyway, enough chit chat by me, why don’t you go read the poem, just click the link below!

I Watch Her Eat the Apple by Natalie Diaz

 

I hope you enjoyed reading the poem! Here’s one of my favorite parts:

“She twists the stem, pulls it
like the pin of a grenade, and I just know
somewhere someone is sitting alone on a porch,
bruised, opened up to their wet white ribs,
riddled by her teeth—
lucky.”

Seriously?!?! Ah! I love it. That whole stanza gave me life.

 

Lana Del Rey and Birthday Wishes

It’s the talented Peter Z’s birthday today so let’s take a listen to his latest release, Lana Del Rey, shall we?

Let’s all wish him a happy birthday by downloading Lana Del Rey from iTunes! (Click image for iTunes)

Peter, hope you have great one buddy, in fact:

“I Want To Be Evil”-Eartha Kitt

“If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?”

I really think it would be enjoyable to sit down with the one and only Eartha Kitt.

earthaI’ve read some articles and watched a few interviews and music videos of the late Ms. Kitt and I have undoubtedly been pulled in by her charm. She seems to have been a force when it came to speaking her mind and I think we could use more women like her. I know I could benefit from being more vocal about certain situations.

This is one of my favorite Eartha Kitt moments:

I love Kitt’s energy and how unafraid she is of looking a bit crazy because that’s what the character calls for in this song. I often find myself thinking of this video, of the lyrics and understanding all too much the meaning of it. Or at least the meaning I glean from it. Sometimes you don’t want to be so inside the box and exactly what you are supposed to be (which is nice and in line). And this song attests to that, it speaks up and says (in an absolutely wonderfully exaggerated and fun way) that it’s okay to want to be something other than “good” or “sweet” sometimes. It’s okay to make your own lines.

You can read more about my thoughts on being “sweet” in a past post called Braving Up. Anyway, I just felt like sharing one of my favorite Kitt videos with you guys, I hope you enjoyed it!

Concert for a cause!

So much has happened this year that has kept me from updating this site but now that we are approaching the end of it I have more time to sit down and create content. I look forward to sharing some of the amazing experiences I’ve had with you in the coming weeks. One of those awesome experiences is happening today actually:

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I will be performing a set of poems at the Annual Concert for a Cause  hosted by Faces of Media Inc. to benefit youthSpark, a non-profit that “works to end child sex trafficking”. I think the organization is a great asset to the Atlanta Community and am proud to be participating in an event that supports them. Make sure you go to their website to find out more about what it is they do specifically and to find out how and where you can help out the most. Child sex trafficking is a serious issue that calls for all hands on deck.

Find out more about youthSpark at their official website: youth-Spark.org
Like them on Facebook to stay up to date with the organization: Facebook.com/youthSpark

Images courtesy of Faces of Media’s Facebook page.

Free write Friday!

This week we had a pretty interesting photo as the prompt for FWF, I hope you enjoy my take on it! This is how I’d feel about my wedding dress/day (if I believed in marriage, but that’s a whole different post I suppose).

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I’m supposed to be dainty
And fragile.
Laced bodice
Silk sleeved

Pristine blanched fabric draped across shoulders
that he is appointed to keep weightless
hugging hips he is supposed
to keep bearing the weight of his blooming seeds

I am supposed to be smooth curves
Softness
A place to sink  into
But I am so much more

I am the land he will build his home on
I will share his burdens
and the weight of his struggles
will rest equally on my shoulders

I have sharp edges
and fierce-ness pouring from the depths of my eyes
I am powerful
save the fragility for moments that call for it

I am unbreakable
No lace bodice
Silk sleeved
pristine on my body

I will wear my backbone on our wedding day
Pearls along each vertebrae
Demonstrating that wife is not synonymous with weak
Showing how beautiful strength really is

FWF! And my 300th post!

So I’ve been absent from Free Write Friday for a while now but I’m glad I had a few minutes today to sit down and write! This is also my 300th post oFWF! And my 300th post!n this blog (whoo hoo)! Anyway, the prompt was:

My attempt:

Some days it just doesn’t make sense.
Not any of it.
How we threaten with palms tight around unlit matches
And eyes falling in love with gasoline canisters
Without hesitation

We forget that we are forests
We are branch limbed
And wildflower tongued
We are all too willing start something we cannot contain.

 

So that was my contribution to the prompt, hope you enjoyed! 

Something has tried to kill me and failed…

Earlier this year I had the privilege of competing in the Women Of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) and it was an amazing experience. One of my favorite aspects of that weekend was the workshops held by amazing poets like Gypsy Yo, Denise Jolly and Mahogany Browne. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it to all of the workshops, just the ones by the poets I mentioned. The poem I am sharing with you all today comes from the workshop facilitated by Mahogany Browne. We covered a lot of ground in her workshop and I wish I had even more time under her wing as she is a phenomenal inspiration.

The prompt we were given was to use this as our muse: “Come celebrate with me today. Something has tried to kill me and failed.” After we began to write Mahogany would toss out a random word every now and then that was to alter the path of our thoughts and it was our job to mold our words around that and make it coherent. Here is what happened (words in highlight were the words she tossed out if I remember correctly).

He took my heart
left me gasping for breath.
I was nearly buried in the spot
he abandoned me in. 

He was savage 
I swear he was
in the way he reached into me
and twisted until my pulse was his to control

When he told me it was over
I swear, 
He was savage

Must have been out for blood
Used to be the cave I dwelled in 
he was the place I’d go to 
when things weren’t or shouldn’t have been

Now he is the place I am held hostage
he is the unsafe space 
I thought was home.

He used to be the warmest blue
now, I swear it, 
he is silver cold,
winter white has got nothing on him

His love was once a roar
I couldn’t shut out
now he only sounds like an incessant hum of
It’s over. It’s over. It’s over.

I am under my skin naked
gasping for the air I gave his name
as if my lungs, gliding over and under, 
could tell my esophagus to call him back to me

I am covered in rust 
the way I cried for him
the moment he walked away from me
turned me tarnished

I wonder if it’s because she laughed more
smelled like something prettier,
like lavender.
Sustained him the way water sustains,

I wonder if she knows how he will take her love
and rip it, bend it, make malleable of it
as if it is not supposed to be stronger than steel
I swear he will, I swear it.

He tried to kill me, my heart, with his love.
He failed. 
I wailed
maybe like a banshee for all I know

I gave him hours he didn’t deserve
but when dusk came,
when it settled in around me like dust
I was still here

Breathing air I gave a new name,
my own name
as if my lungs, over and under, 
could tell my esophagus to call me back to myself. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this. I thought that prompt was awesome because it takes what you are writing onto a completely different path! Hopefully I will get the time to edit this and clean it up a bit as it is in its original form. Thanks for reading! 

My possibly unpopular opinion on social interactions…

A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday about something that bothered him so I thought I’d share a few of my own thoughts on the subject. His post was about his opinion on the “fad of people popping in headphones the second they get up from their desk, in the elevator, etc.”

I read through the comments and made my own as well on the topic but here I want to fully invest in my opinion on the matter, so let’s go.

To start, I think that it has completely become the norm to pop in headphones at any random moment, be it walking to the bus station, heading to the break room or moving through the line in a grocery store. We all have our reasons. For some it is an easy distraction or a way to pass time and for others it is a way to let people know that you are not open to conversation without actually having to be a butt and say you are not open to conversation.

After reading the post my friend wrote as well as the comments that people made in response I became bothered by the fact that this “anti-social” act seems to offend or upset others. To me it seems silly that people are frustrated with their peers decision to abstain from socializing on their own time.

I personally am “that person”, the one who will put on headphones the moment I am on break because it’s my break and that’s the way I want to keep it. Is that wrong? No. Socializing is supposed to be a positive and fulfilling experience, in my opinion that means that all parties involved are there because they WANT to be.

I have more introvert qualities than extrovert. I can be social and the center of a conversation when I choose to be but most days I like to lay low. Why should I be looked at with annoyance because I don’t want to engage with my peers? I shouldn’t. No one should. Interaction for some takes more energy than can be imagined by those who are ‘social butterflies’.

Another issue I have with this whole topic is this; I have had days where I didn’t pop in headphones the instant I stepped away from my desk and hit the break room and still never wound up engaged in a scintillating conversation. Why do people think that the headphones in everyone’s ears are the real reason conversations aren’t happening? If someone wants to talk to you, it will happen. If not, it won’t happen…simple as that, headphones or not.

My main problem though is that it seems as if some people feel like they are entitled to a social interaction with their peers strictly because they are in the same place at the same time. No. It does not work that way. Social interaction is a two way street, there must be give and take. If my attention is not given then that means it is not your right to be offended if it does not become yours to take.  

I’m going to stop myself now because I can feel this post is only going to get longer and longer with my thoughts when I’m really eager to know your opinion on this. Does it bother you when you see your co-workers/peers choose their headphones over chatting? Do you think it should matter to others if you slink off to the break room with your music as your lunch date? Are you someone who always slips headphones in when you have a spare moment or do you hate when you witness this action from your peers? If I’m not the only one with an opinion on this, let’s discuss!

Poem of the week! “My Body” by Lisa Shaffer

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I randomly came across this poem and I loved it so I figured I’d share it with you guys! Just click the link below to view the poem and leave the author a comment!

Read: My Body

Reading vs. Watching (The Fault In Our Stars has spurred this post)

This is the thing, reading a book versus watching a movie based on the book will always be a different experience. I believe that a book can be adapted into a great movie. However, I don’t know that the feeling you will leave with after watching the movie will ever compare to the feeling you have after reading the book.

Think about it: when you read a book you spend hours, HOURS, with the characters. You can’t sit down and read a novel in two hours. You invest time into getting to know and understand the people that you are reading about. You get an inside look into their thoughts and opinions. You get personal with them. With a movie, as lovable as they try to make the character, you still lose the depth of that bond.

Last night I saw The Fault In Our Stars (loved it!) which I had also read the book for. The movie was brilliant, they kept so many of the great lines that made the characters so like-able (although there were some things that I would like to have seen included but were left out, understandably) and overall just did an amazing job of bringing the characters to life. As I stated before, I loved the movie, but I enjoyed the way I connected with the charecters more while reading the book. I want to know what you think, do you prefer reading the book or watching the movie versions?

New song! “Let it slide”

So I’ve been trying to figure out this whole music thing for years. I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to making a song, all I know is that I like making them. I hope you enjoy this latest song, it’s definitely a work in progress but I feel like it’s off to a good start.

I can’t believe I actually released an album!

In case you missed the news, my album has been released! I am so happy that it’s done, it was a lot of work but I loved making it. The album is not perfect, there are a lot of things I think I would have liked to have done differently but I think that it’s still pretty awesome! I hope you will go check it out and support me by purchasing it or even just by sharing it with someone you think may enjoy my work! Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy already, you guys rock! I can’t wait to create another!

 

Purchase “In the making”!

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