I don’t need to smell like Indian Fruit incense, wear backpacks, walk instead of drive, or have some sort of visible plight to be a poet
I can straighten my hair, drive a high end car, eat caviar every night with a glass of dry red wine and be authentic.
A poet is a prince or princess ordained by explanation of circumstance
Ordained by the ability to paint with words
Ordained by articulation
Ordained and maintained by the exercise of mental physique
They are strained and stressed by the mundane
A poet is irritated by imbeciles decked out and camouflaged by struggle.
A poet is favored by the gods of resilience and chosen by God to tell a story
A story that brings tears
A story that causes laughter
A story that strengthens
A poet is the shit
A poet doesn’t know how great they are until they see others struggle to do what they do effortlessly
A poet eases others into their heart and absorbs their pain
She opened her eyes and it was the same beaming light from the dream. Piercing. The light was painful and abrasive. Blinding. Where was it coming from? It was relentless. She tried to rub it away. She tried to blink it away but it was strong and impenetrable. Now she was getting a headache. Unable to focus, she stumbled out of bed.
Her legs buckled and she fell to the floor.
She decided to call him. The phone seemed to ring for hours.
He answered. “Hi.”
She said, “I can’t sleep. I can’t see. I’ve been blinded. My legs are useless. Now I am laying here on my white carpet with the blood of my heart spilling out of me. I’m in a pool of blood. A puddle of crimson all around me. I’ve screamed but the neighbors are unmoved. I’m in a cage of vulnerability. I cannot be released by anyone but you. I’m alone. I’m getting weaker. I can feel my body getting colder. I’m afraid. When I bang on the walls with my right hand it slowly disintegrates. I will soon be a pillar of salt encapsulated in a puddle of blood. My heart bleeds for you. Please…please…help me.”
She hears the dial tone after he mutters to himself, “crazy b#!&h.”
The light begins to flicker. “I’m dying”, she definitively states. She begins to imagine what God must look like. She prepares all the questions she has for him. In all her pain, she doesn’t cry.
Then she hears the familiar sound of bongos. She sees something tall, slim, and solid. Most importantly. . .it stands alone. She squints and she can see. It’s a microphone.
The light is a spotlight.
She gradually crawled to the stage.
This excerpt is day 1 of a 30 day writing challenge. Comment, share, like. Tweet your feedback @shutyamouthnow. Happy holidays!
I was raised in a place where “word is bond” and loyalty outweighs logistics. I was raised in a place where crackheads were your neighbors but that was just “their thing” and you knew never to pass judgement. I was raised where basketball hoops had no rims…just backboard (if you were lucky.) I was raised where you were bourgeois if you went to private school. I was bourgeois because my mom dropped me to school in her company car. People assumed what they didn’t know because I was raised by a rule of never “airing the dirty laundry. ” I was raised with the social standard : “children should be seen and not heard.” So since I couldn’t be heard, since I could only be viewed by the eye, since perception was skewed, since my feelings would have no bearing on my reality…I wrote.
I was published in an anthology at age 12. Since I was a middle class awkward black girl who could write I was often referred to as “the next Maya Angelou. ” Although, no other female colored poet had that kind of notoriety, I didn’t want to be compared to anyone. I read “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas” and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” I thought Maya’s writing was so beautiful despite the difficulty of her life. However, I wanted my writing to evoke the pain and anger I felt. I wanted it to make people cry. I wanted to be responsible for pieces that tear away at the souls of others and force them to deal with the parts of themselves that they hide away.
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”~Edgar A. Poe
Dr.Maya Angelou had friends like novelist James Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr. She met with Malcolm X in Ghana in 1964. She was buddies with Oprah Winfrey. She was classy, respected and profound. I’m still in awe of her career that grew up with me. I’m in awe of poise that doesn’t expire. I’m in awe of a legacy that will be difficult for anyone to match.
May you rest in eternal peace, Dr Maya Angelou. Stop in on the writers block every once in awhile.