For Gramma on her birthday

In the end
she faced death
a warrior
hair braided
jeans pressed
determined to look ready
for anybody
in the end
she woke each morning
when she could count
her days
on two hands
then one
with only fingers
she still took her coffee
the way she liked
with lots of cream
spent her day
talking with friends
as she sat in the kitchen
in the end
when she expected death’s call
she did not hide
she turned to faced the end
with a smile on her face
a cigarette in her hand
and laughter
always eager
to escape her mouth
and where others might tremble
she laughed
where others might cry
she sang
where others would choose
to remain in bed
she woke each morning
a smile on her face
a song on her lips
with love in her heart
in the end
when death came
she did not cower
she greeted it
on her terms
upright in her home
no longer an adversary
but the homecoming
of an old friend
in the end
she would pass
on her own terms
a smile on her face
laughter in her throat
surrounded by love
the same way she lived

Blog Post

I’ve taken a break from Facebook.  It wasn’t a particularly difficult decision since I’m on there almost exclusively because of my wife.  When I’m old, Facebook photos will tell stories of our lives since we met, and I think that’s pretty amazing.  After the election, my feed blew up with all types of arguments for and against Donald Trump. And then they’d blow up with arguments whenever a black person got shot by the police.  My opinion on both of these topics is:

  1. If you support Donald Trump, you’re racist.  You might not think you are, but you’re okay with ignoring it and supporting a racist for whatever personal reasons you might have, and as such are enabling racism.  So, ya racist.
  2. Cops in America are a gang with too much power and kill way too many people.  Nine out of ten times, there’s no excuse for it.

I weeded out the people with these opinions on Facebook by unfriending and ignoring them (on facebook, so that I wouldn’t see their comments). But recently more arguments have been popping up.  It probably has something to do with the new concentration camps popping up.  I don’t know.  Anyway, that’s not what I’m trying to write about here.  I’ve also taken a break from poetry.  These two things are related.  And because I’m an academic, I feel like I have to have some sort of flow and purpose to the blog even though it’s just a blog and I can really do anything I want.

Anyway…I’ve been doing writing poetry and attending open mics for a year and a half.  I have met many amazing people, several people I’m proud to call my friend.  For a year and a half I’ve put my pain on paper and listened actively as other poets shared theirs.  For a year and a half, I’ve been a sponge for the trauma I’ve witnessed.  The poetry I produced would wring some of it out, but not enough, and recently I’ve reached the saturation point.  I can’t hold anymore, and when I try to write, all I can think about is how terrible everything is.  And you know, lots of shit is terrible.  You can just look at the news and see that.  But my life is pretty great.  My wife is amazing, my kids are whole and healthy.  I’ve got a black panther shirt for every day of the week.  It’s awesome.  I realize I’m privileged, even if being a black man induces stress on the daily.

But the only poetry I’ve written has been based on this trauma, so lately when I try to write, it’s just made me immensely sad.  The feeling goes away as soon as I stop trying to write.  Because of this, with facebook, I’m taking a break from writing poetry and I’m going to scale back on attending open mics.  I’m still going to go out, but I’ve been attending 4-5 open mics a month for over a year.  My mental health needs to draw back.  One thing that I did constantly while writing fiction and nonfiction is take note of my writing, where I’m excelling, where I could improve.  I would note things I liked and didn’t like about my writing.  I have never done that for my poetry.  I have grown and changed as a person and a writer over the past year.  I’m going to take a few months to think about why I still want to write poetry (because I do), and how I can grow from here.

Facebook and the arguments were contributing to the general malaise I’d felt, so I felt a need to draw back.  See, it’s all connected.

I’m still writing in the interim.  I’ve gone back to some fiction stuff that’s been brewing.  It feels really, really good.  I’m reading a lot more.  I’ve finished TWO books in the past couple weeks (The new Stephen King book Outside (not my favorite) and a fantasy book by a black woman fantasy author NK Jemesin…the first book in The Inheritance Trilogy (pretty good!)).

Right now as I write this, I’m in the Youtube pigeonhole of listening to a bunch of spoken word poets.  This is also enjoyable.

It makes me want to write poems…which is how I know I’m okay and that I will heal.

PS.  I made myself not correct the different punctuations of facebook because it’s a blog and not a paper.

PPS.  A blog post titled blog post is fucking funny.  We can’t be friends if you disagree.