Summer Wish List

Sheree may you offer yourself light

Sheree may you offer yourself grace

Sheree may you offer yourself rest

Sheree may you offer yourself love

Sheree may you offer yourself ease

Sheree may you offer yourself softness

Sheree may you offer yourself mistakes

Sheree may you offer yourself movement

Sheree may you offer yourself a deep clean

Sheree may you offer yourself hope

Sheree may you offer yourself deep breaths

Sheree may you offer yourself adventure

Sheree may you offer yourself surrender

Sheree may you offer yourself healing

I only saw his shine once it was too late to feel it

In the dream, he comes back to me, whole and young.

He was always young in my eyes. When I used to ask him at each birthday how old he was, Daddy would answer, 45.

He was always 45 in all the years I knew him. All the years I was living, he was dying.

In the replaying of images, I play it differently.

I keep my distance until he asks for me to bring his slippers or newspaper. I offer them with bowed head. I don’t throw them at him as I used to. Escaping his rage, escaping the beats.

I keep my distance, but I want to be close to him. To hold him. To feel his love for me. Then and now, still needed after so many years gone.

To serve, he brought me up, to serve. Instead of getting the vacuum clearer out, he had us on the floor picking up the bits of fluff and crumbs. To hear his pride at a job well done was enough.

When I enter the chapel of rest, it’s like I’m floating on air, light as the flowing curtains concealing a prize. I see him now, as then …

he‘a surrounded by gold satin, his mahogany black skin shines, relaxed and unlined, sea-black lips wave-curled and still.

He looks younger than 45. Even though the plaque on the coffin lid reads 1920 -1981 – he was 61. And the time he was dying. I was living.

Poem – An Act of Faith

Isn’t that what a poem is?
A lantern glowing in the dark.

Elizabeth Acevedo

Just as dusk is falling, I walk. Affected by the elements,

head in pain from the wind, I force myself out into the dim light,

believing moving my legs will strengthen my heart.

Motherly care, higher forces in radio silence. Walk

The moon pale blue and silent. But still there. Always.

Like the ancestors, guiding. Allowing me to find my own way. Tonight.

To falter, make mistakes and loop back. Remaining open.

Trusting these windows of silence as still inspiration.

Hope holds optimism. Optimism holds joy.

The touch of joy, fine-grained dark jasper, I search for along the path.

This spiritual path of putting pen to page, again and again.

Like one foot in front of another. An act of faith.

Black Aliveness


“We are not the idea of us, not even the idea that we hold of us. We are us, multiple and varied, becoming. The heterogeneity of us. Blackness in a Black world is everything, which means that it gets to be freed from being any one thing. We are ordinary beauty, Black people, and beauty must be allowed to do its beautiful work.” Kevin Quashie describes in Black Aliveness, or, A Black Poetics of Being.

A little list of gratitude

Sometimes we can be our worst enemy. Sometimes we allow thoughts and feelings to invade our calm, our peace. Why?

Something I fail to understand or have a handle on. All I can do is practice. Have faith and trust.

So this little list of gratitude is practiced with the intention of appreciating what is right in front of me instead of skipping to the end and getting all the wires and paths crossed.

Today I am grateful for rest.

Today I am grateful for coffee.

Today I am grateful for the page and pen.

Today I am grateful for the time and space to commune with myself.

Today I am grateful for hot buttered toast.

Today I am grateful for the music.

Today I am grateful for the dawn chorus.

Today I am grateful for the sea.

Today I am grateful for the earth.

Today I am grateful for the light.

Today I am grateful to love and be loved.

Confessional POetry Course


(Speaking about Robert Lowell’s poetry) “Lowell removes the mask. His speaker is unequivocally himself, and it is hard not to think of Life Studies as a series of personal confidences, rather shameful, that one is honor-bound not to reveal.”

M. L. Rosenthal’s article “Poetry as Confession.”

I’m taking a four week confessional poetry course with midnight & indigo. Founded in 2018, midnight & indigo is a small publisher and literary journal that provides a space for Black women writers to share their narratives with the world.

Tw weeks in and I’m loving the course, Tell Me Something Real: How to Write Confessional Poetry. Not only is the tutor, Schyler Butler knowledgeable, and thorough providing great examples for poetry within this genre all from Black women, but the group of writers signed up for the course bring it every week with their insight and feelings around each poem we read and discuss.

And then we get to trial out what we’ve learnt through these close writings within our own writing, as the sessions finishes with time to write a first draft of a poem and then share it with the group. I’m enjoying what I’m coming up with after being inspired. Because in all honesty, from time I’ve been a confessional poet but have never smashed the term on it.

Confessional poetry in essence can be distilled to 4 main components.

  1. Be of an intimate subject matter.
  2. Use the first person.
  3. Be autobiographical or seen/ appear to be.
  4. Use skilled craftsmanship.

I’m working on a new body of work now. So still in the draft stage but I’ll share a poem from time here, as evidence of my appreciation and dance with this form of poetry.


White Women

Within my family, there are white women.
White women who married black men. I forget,
neglect the fact that their blood flows through mine.

Trace the past, a sea of faceless white is mine.
The black men forefront, a mist of women
behind. Their names, I don’t know or forget.

They are the enigma, shadows. Forget
the cleaning and cooking, their duty and mine,
they went against the grain, steadfast women.

In the corner of the frame, you white women
are not forgotten. Your spirit is mine.

Family Album, 2011

End of week gratitude

The Earthcraft Oracle

When life throws you curve balls to knock you off your feet and forces you to reassess everything in your life, this is when you lean into the practices which have seen you right.

Those practices which keep you buoyed when it appears you’re drowning or about to go down.

Those practice which you practice everyday but really come into their own when the chips our down.

One of those practices is keeping a gratitude journal. And it doesn’t have to be something major or time consuming.

Thinking on one simple thing is enough to switch my thinking, to get me to count my blessings and step up again. Renewed, restored and ready.

This week has been a week of happenings and announcements and shit hit the fan moments. But I’m alive and here to live another day. So all is not bad.

I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Maybe to test us. Maybe to move us into a better situation. To gain clarity and perspective. To live a better life on my own terms.

This card ‘thunderstorm’ signifies tremendous upheaval and change, happening or about to. And it is out of my control. But I must keep the faith, trust in Mother Nature that these things are happening for the best.

Things are out of my control. But how I respond to this period of upheaval is within my control.

I’m choosing to count my blessings, lean into my practices and give thanks. Give thanks for all that is going right or is good in my life right now. Here and now.

I’m grateful for the light. I’m grateful for rest. I’m grateful for a warm comfortable bed. I’m grateful for morning coffee. I’m grateful for time spent with the people I love. I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful for my creativity. I’m grateful for all the opportunities which have and are coming my way. I’m grateful for food in the cupboards. I’m grateful for the roof above my head. I’m grateful for the air I breathe. I’m grateful for the earth between my toes. And I’m grateful for the water that holds me.

Dark Morels

dark morels

clustering

against roots

of ash trees

moist

in gathering dark

night air leaning

into a textured silence

well-earned through

a receding wall of trees

night’s skin

seeping cold

under ringing mist

the water knows all.

i rise into quiet

softness melting

pour words out

of the page

the book

the room

conjured

with imagination

and howling dogs

what do I know

about vibrating

at a different frequency?

yolk yellow lichen

scattering over boulders

like blossom/ green hope

nestling under

humming black sky

i know nothing

of the night sky

as compass or map

but i stuff my heart

with fruitkeys and shells

and blood and root

to grow closer

to this land

and the water

the water knows it all.

I’m thinking of creating a fungi zine …

dark morels

clustering

against roots

of ash trees

moist

in gathering dark

night air leaning

into a textured silence

well-earned through

a receding wall of trees

I have a little series of poems inspired by fungi: mushrooms, toadstools and the like.

I’ve always enjoyed looking at pictures of fungi. I’d draw them from books and colour then in with coloured pencils. I started a collection of them, when a child. In real life, I’m not too sure, I like fungi up close. I think something the way they feel puts me off. And that they are alive!

Also the idea of spores frighten me. Obviously, the fear comes from a lack of understanding and knowledge about them.

What I do know is that they are vital to life. And that whole underground system they have going on of passing nutrients and messages between plants and ecosystems and other organisms is truly remarkable. And has to be respected.

Anyway, I was thinking of pulling these fungi poems together into a mushroom zine. I do love my zines. What do you think?

Of course I have to find the time to create it. But now I’ve stated it here, it lends some kind of accountability to completing the task.

Anyway, above is a brief extract from one of the poems. I think I have about 5 or 6 of them. So I’ll keep working on them and start thinking of some cool design to go with them.

Of course being here now, saying all this, is me thinking out loud. Making some kind of commitment to a dream and making steps to seeing it through.

I’l share some more of the poem in the next post.