A World To Save

‘…this broken world needs you much more than it does us we’ve cause her too much damage squandered all her trust…’

A World To Save

This musical piece is one created by both Sandy & I. I love this song with all that’s in me. Writing the lyrics and having Sandy bring them to life was such a blessing. It still is. Coworkers at my previous job heard it and wanted their copies on CD which Sandy happily provided.

I hope this moves you. I hope you feel what we felt when we created it. Please click on the original post to hear “A World to Save.” Happy New Year, beautiful people!

Featured Poem of the Week

Florence Wanjiku is an exceptional writer with a voice that cannot be matched. She is purposeful in her presentation with her work and she is also rather explicit with details. When she emailed me finally (we’d talked previously about her being a writer for A Cornered Gurl) to say she was ready to jump aboard, I had to hide my insane amount of giddiness. I mean, truth be told, I’ve got a writer’s crush on her words, so I am happy to host them in ACG. Florence’s debut piece, “A black woman’s body” (is vogue) is killing it on Medium and I am sure it’ll do the same here as well. So, without further ado, Ms. Wanjiku, everyone . . .


A black woman’s body

is vogue

They manufacture parts 
of a black woman’s body.
Place her under knife and chain
and watch how naturally anesthetic she is.

A dose of her melanin eludes pain, suffering,
and loss

The attraction to her otherness 
has always been so intoxicating
Her soil forms the earth 
making mountains, deserts
and streams places in which her 
body has traveled 
or being left to dry when she can’t
ward off bees for wanting to colonize
and steal her nectar.

Her body will put women under knife and pain 
just to look like her

Her lips didn’t always seem so appealing 
but of late they make billionaires out of lip kits

Her skin didn’t always seem so appealing 
but of late makes economies 
out of spray tans and tanning salons.

Her body has been hated, paraded, used and abused
It was once used to justify why black women
don’t make Vogue 
but now, they are Instyle,
they are the Covergirl.

Now, they manufacture parts of a black woman’s
body and place them as crowns on others.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Reflections of a Lost Love that Will Never be Found

Flash Fiction

Readers: This fictional piece has content that reflects upon depression and briefly mentions suicide.


I don’t know where we went wrong — don’t know what I could have done. I thought everything was fine — everything was okay. She’d been hurting, I tried to step up. It was hard loving her — hard trying to constantly fill in the spaces that had holes bigger than my heart. There were locked up voids — galaxies of pain unfit for undoing. Everyone said, “Don’t do it. She’s damaged goods.” I wondered what in God’s name would make people say some of the things they said about another human being.

Everyone needs love. EVERYONE! That was my response — to all of them who thought they were going to shift my position or move me toward a different path, I never flinched. I stayed until she left. I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew she was hard to love.

She was a wall — brick and mortar, impenetrable, but I broke through. Years of listening to her and learning her ways and loving her and being there for her got me through the thickest wall I have ever met. But she left. Six years — six long, sufferable years — she left. I feel fine. I am fine. I will be fine.

I AM OKAY! I say this to my younger sister who never liked her. She asked if she could stay with me for a few days or weeks or months, just until my eyes looked normal again. Just until I got up out of the bed without any coaxing from anyone else. Just until . . . She’s not a nuisance. I know she means well. I would probably want to be around her too if her heart had been plucked from her chest, flaunted in front of a hateful public, and stomped on.

She was a wall — brick and mortar, impenetrable, but I broke through.

I know I would want to protect her. But I would give her space. Would I give her space? Did I give her space? She used to say, “You know all the right ways to love me without smothering me. You grant me peace. I need that. I love that.” I thought I was in the clear — I was making headway. She didn’t even say goodbye. I got up on a cold, Saturday morning, rolled over to her side of the bed, pressed my hands into the space she used to fill, and lied there. She never returned.

Two days later, I received a text message that said, “I am holding you back from finding a partner who can love you much better than I can. I won’t do that anymore. Deena, I won’t be your burden — I won’t wear your shoulders down. I love you. I always have. I always will.”

And just like that, I found myself listening to Anita Baker, Michael McDonald, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and a list of other artists who have a plethora of open up your heart and come back to me songs. One thing was certain — she wasn’t coming back. I could tell when I read the message — she definitely wasn’t coming back.

My mom came over on a Monday morning while my sister was at work. She called herself tidying up the place — but I’m what they say is “a neat freak,” so there wasn’t anything left to tidy up. She opened up the curtains and blinds in my bedroom and implored me to get out of bed. I turned to my right side and continued to lie still. I wanted the comfort of my covers. I wanted to pretend I was being shielded by her — loved by her.

I got up on a cold, Saturday morning, rolled over to her side of the bed, pressed my hands into the space she used to fill, and lied there. She never returned.

No one prepared me for the day the dam would break. No one told me heartache would feel this tormenting. Everyone thinks you should move right on past the pain and get back to living. But, shit . . . don’t I get time to mourn my failed relationship? Don’t I deserve my grief? Don’t I get to say when I am ready to move the hell on without being told to?

A long-time friend, part-time lover called me one day when I was sulking. I looked at the name and number as they flashed across the screen. Something deep within me told me not to answer. I did.

“Hey . . . If you want to talk, I’m here. I know you — I know you’re over there thinking it’s something you did and it isn’t. You only know how to love all parts of a person even when they’re truly hard to love. Sometimes, people just have to find their own way and it has to be without anyone else tagging along.” I held the line. It was so good to hear her voice — to sit with her words and remember who we were. She had a point, right? It wasn’t my fault. I thanked her for calling and found my way to the kitchen.

I splashed my favorite bowl with some homemade chicken noodle soup — filled it to the brim. I slurped every mouthful, enjoying the flavors — deeply experiencing the calming powers of comfort food. The phone rang as soon as I licked my lips and wiped them clean. An unfamiliar number . . . A call I probably shouldn’t take. I did.

A long-time friend, part-time lover called me one day when I was sulking. I looked at the name and number as they flashed across the screen. Something deep within me told me not to answer. I did.

“Deena! Deena, you there?! Please, say something!” I couldn’t I just sat there. A hollow space in my soul sunk even deeper. It was as if I’d known what would follow next. “Deena! *sighs* You’re listening to me, I can hear you. Parker was found dead this morning — slit wrists, in the tub, by her next-door neighbor. I’m coming over.”

Why’d my sister call me from a number I don’t know? Did she say Parker is dead?! Is she coming over? I slapped the spoon from my bowl, turned on the water from the faucet at the kitchen sink, and slowly — the tears began to fall again.

I knew she was never coming back.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium

Sometimes, I Feel Like I’m Losing My Voice

A Writer’s Lament

Photo by Arantxa Treva via Pexels

And I know it’s the overwhelming year that’s nearly behind me and feverishly thinking about the one ahead of me but as a writer, I cannot lose my voice. I am not talking about the physical sound from the use of my vocal cords but my writer’s voice — the authenticity that is me.

There’s pressure all around us. As creatives, we strive to pursue a place in the artistic world where we can be heard, but in a sea of sames, how can our differences stand out? The one thing I do not want to lose as it pertains to my craft is my uniqueness.

I do not want to lose myself in the sea of sames. I have worked hard to carve out space in this world for myself and my way of giving people the ideas that come to me as I toss and turn at night.

This — this writing thing is my freedom song. I write about my life. I write about what I wish my life was. I write about the beauty of the lives of others. And I write about the untruths and could-bes and would-bes of this world. There is a space of peace that shows itself when I am writing.

There’s pressure all around us. As creatives, we strive to pursue a place in the artistic world where we can be heard, but in a sea of sames, how can our differences stand out?

I lose myself in the words.

Of late, I have felt as if I am pulling words from the pit of my stomach, stretching them out to their true length, and delivering them to a wholesale warehouse for direct manufacturing. What I’m trying to say is, it’s been hard.

If you’re reading this and nodding your head in agreement, I wish I had the answer. What I have told myself to do is, “Practice more. Stress about things less. Just write, Tre.” It’s working. Little pep talks have become my friends.

Every so often, I have to remind myself that no matter how many clones there are touting the same advice, using the same template, and running around after each other to see who can push out the most articles per week, I must remain who I am.

Of late, I have felt as if I am pulling words from the pit of my stomach, stretching them out to their true length, and delivering them to a wholesale warehouse for direct manufacturing.

And who I am is my voice.

I have lasted five, almost six years on Medium and fourteen on WordPress, growing each year and giving a little bit more of myself at the same time too. I refuse to follow a cookie-cutter pattern or waddle behind a crowd chasing too-good-to-be-true outcomes.

I want to stand in line by myself, but I also want to share that line with others who will not strip the beauty of themselves away to put on the skin of those who lose themselves just to get ahead. I am here. I work hard to keep my presence pure. I don’t want to be like anyone else.

But sometimes I feel like I’m losing my voice. And should it seem like I have dear reader, I urge you to tap me on the shoulder and bring me back to earth.

Please.


Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.

Featured Writer for November

SP Reis reached out to me just this past week and after I reviewed her profile on Medium, it was a no-brainer to add her to A Cornered Gurl. She is direct, concise, poignant, and rhythmic in her delivery. Her debut poem has all of this and more. You’ll see why I did not hesitate to add her to our community as a contributor. Opening, her first contribution to us, is below.


POETRY

Opening

How to speak of sexuality

Every beginning
comes from an opening.
The bravery to
trust in creativity and,
give love
sacredly.

If Moses parted the Red Sea,
then the watery space in between
found home in the
opening of women
from which life gives
and receives
freely.

If the earth was born of explosion,
then it was born from conspiracy
by chemicals to dive
at a chance encounter
with an opening of
trust.

So if you talk to me
about sexual wanting
do not speak
without the words
open,
sacred, 
trusting and 
free.




Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.