What I’m Reading

What I’m Reading

My brother gifted me We Are the One’s We Have Been Waiting For by Alice Walker a few years ago for Christmas and I’ve reread it 3 times already. It’s a book that continues to teach you lessons and gives you many “ah ha” moments no matter the amount of times you read it. Different lessons. Different words, thoughts, phrases that stand out depending on what I’m personally going through at the time. The book is set up in essays or talks that Walker has given.

One essay in particular chapter 4 titled “All Praises to the Pause; The Universal Moment of Reflection” stood out to me when I read it this time probably because right now my life is in a giant pause and I’ve been reflecting a lot on things. While also just being in the weird space of the middle. Walker says ” This is a time when a major transition from confusion to order has been completed.” “As a culture we are not in the habit of respecting, honoring, or even acknowledged the pause.” She goes on to talk about meno-pause which literally is a natural pause and shift for women which is quite often feared and talked about in a negative way.

“To me, truth, that is to say reality, is the only infallible guide. I would define Truth as God.” This quote has a whole backstory to it about censorship (but I want ya’ll to go buy the book and read it yourself). It is taken from chapter 10 How It Feels to Know Someone Died for You: Living with the Voice of the Beloved. There are gems like this one all throughout this book and she speaks on a wide variety of topics from 9/11, war, birth, blackness, her dog Marley, nature, the Earth like I said its a book that keeps on teaching and if you’re interested in growth at all. Read this book and other Alice Walker books.

I also read My Hero Academia Vol 1 , its a manga (which I’m gonna assume ya’ll all know what that is). I was into manga heavily in school as early as elementary. I remember reading all the manga that the little library had in Manassas, VA. I remember Ranma 1/2, Marmalade Boy, Fruits Basket, Inuyasha. I grew up watching Full Metal Alchemist and Sailor Moon. I had a full collection of manga and a full collection of Shojo Comic that my mom paid a subscription for me for years. I bought my first manga in years a month ago and I honestly don’t know why I ever stopped buying or reading them. My Hero Academia, is a really good anime that I recently started watching but I just wanted to buy a manga so I can start collecting them again – my daughter might find the same comfort in them as I did.

The Breakbeat Poets Vol 1 : New American Poetry in the Age of Hiphop, I’m currently in the process of reading this 350 page volume of poetry from writers born in the Hip-hop Age. All the poets in this book were born from 1961-1999. I recently found out about this newer version of the breakbeat poets and was interested. I decided to get Vol. 1 and not Vol. 2 (the black girl magic one even though I plan on purchasing it next month after I’ve digested this Vol.) because hip-hop and music has always been special to me. An avid Tupcac lover. And a writer that is sonically driven and always listening to how words flow and push against each other in my own writing I thought this volume would have a lot to teach me and I haven’t been wrong.

Here are a couple of my favorite lines so far from poems:

"she fast food     she                                                                                                                 buy one  get one free" 

from Quraysh Ali Lansana “crack house” There is a line from Joel Dias-Porter aka Dj Renegade “Turning the Tables (for Eardrum) that I really fell in love with.

"Lower it slowly 
let it tongue
the record's ear"

There are also poems by some of my favorites like Jamila Woods, Danez Smith, and Safia Elhillo that I haven’t gotten to since I want to read the poems in the order they’re presented first.

These 3 books I am in awe of. I am in awe of writers and illustrators and artists. I am excited to start reading more and taking the time and space to sit and read. I know with things like social media its easy to forget that an art and learning tool as old as reading can and should still be relevant and I’m making it a priority to be still and pick up a book everyday.

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Poem(s)

Poem(s)

I’ve been debating on if I want to post full completed poems (what I would say are edited and completed) here on my blog or on my instagram. Because the goal is that I want to of course write volumes of poetry and publish them and get people to buy them. I know of course I would need people to get interested in my work first and to do that they’d need to read my work. So, I am going to start posting more poetry here on my blog in hopes that it will get my name out there and get people in the creative writing community interested.

Art Scene in Chicago

Art Scene in Chicago

Besides trying vegan food while I was in Chicago I went to two art museums and to a spoken word event. And I honestly fell in love with the artsy scene that is in Chicago.

The first art museum I went to was the MCA where I saw Virgil Abloh’s exhibit and also saw the prisoner of love exhibit that has a viewing of Arthur Jafa’s ” love is the message, the message is death” which was mind blowing, sad and motivating all in one. I cried multiple times and watched the film at least 5 times that day. It’s just really moving and I suggest everyone watch the film if they can (I’ll try and post a link of the video). It was motivating cause lately I’ve been really into black films and doing these videos myself as a visual for my monthly playlist. And just seeing the mashup of all these images that are both positive/negative dealing with black culture just solidified my wanting to continue making these little films.

The second art museum I went to was the Art Instivute of Chicago which always has the paintings of greats that I studied in art school and just seeing those paintings in person is moving in itself.

The spoken word event I went to was the red talk put on by red taps theatre. This event made me realize how much I love poetry and words even more than I was already aware. It also made me feel deeply it made me want to take writing seriously again and put in the time and commitment seeing so many black people perform and be okay in their selfness it was inspiring.

I would move to Chicago just for all the artsy things I’d be able to witness and experience and be apart of too. Already trying to figure out how to get back. Chicago truly is my happy place.

All photos from Virgil Abloh’s “Figures of Speech”

I can’t remember exactly what exhibits these photos were from but artists are (from first to last) Nicholas Africano, Deana Lawson, David Hammons and Ana Medieta.

Photos from The Art Institute:

tbh I rushed through this museum because for some reason we went on a Friday @2:30 I think it might’ve been later and the museum closed at 4. So I don’t remember every single artist from these photos. I know there’s a Dali, Rothko, Curin, Koons, but that’s all I remember.

I tried to upload a video from the spoken word event but the video I have won’t upload for some reason.

however here’s the flyer that was for the event.

Now I’m going to add in some links to stuff

Arthur Jafa:

Arthur Jafa Art News

Love is the message, the message is death

Red Table Theatre

Red Table

also thought these were cool.

Writers Block

Writers Block

I haven’t wrote a decent poem in 2 years. That’s real writers block. After I had my daughter I know for a fact my writers voice changed and instead of forcing myself to write or create I just chilled all the way out but would still feel instances of down emotions about not writing. I’m finally starting to feel little instances of words forming in my thoughts that string together into poetry. I haven’t written anything down. Nothing’s solid. But I can feel creativity and inspiration and my voice finally starting to creep back in. And it’s a good feeling. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to acknowledge it out of fear that it might go away. It was a tightly lodged feeling that I can feel deeply in my heart. But it’s here and I’m thinking (hoping) it’ll stay awhile. And something solid will come from it.

Until then here’s a lil sample of the poetry I used to write. Cause what I know will come from me now won’t exactly be the same.

Highlight: Harmony Holiday

Highlight: Harmony Holiday

Starting a series of posts where I highlight my favorite artists cause why not. Art is a big part of my life from poets, writers, music video producers, photographers, painters, music artists and more. I really want to just highlight some of the ones I think are pushing boundaries and make me feel and think.

First up is this amazing poet I found on poetry foundation.com (one of my favorite sites tbh) named Harmony Holiday. I’m going to link my favorite poems of hers in this post and also talk about some of my favorite lines and word mashups that she effortlessly delivers.

I know myself. Or so I chant in the mirror right around discovering that trap music is all the new negro spiritual / righteous delirium try to defund the clown in the en in negro say it a little less enter the New Yorker in Desdemona’s scarf and be this generative productive whistle blower for radicals/

This is an excerpt from Holiday’s Dear Babylon, that first line is really what stands out to me. Holiday writes these poems that themselves seem like rap lyrics the way they run on – the paragraphed structure of the poem the spaces the use of words that normally don’t fit together. Jumping from one subject to the next never knowing the next move or where she is going and being in awe of the truth and the hardness the strength in the words.

The mention of Desdemona from Othello. It’s just so effortless but calculated the movement from line to line.

From her poem Do you find it hard to live?

Thank yourself for making it for being present for the cold ache you sit with and rock into situations for the way you exploded in nuclear winter and thought you had dreamed it and made a new world bent as your denial reached forth to caress it all and it shocked your fingertips this is the bravest numbness.

This spoke to me in volumes it’s almost like everything I’ve been feeling put into words. It’s hard out here being soft around people who could careless about you- about black bodies about black women. The bravest numbness is living.

What I get from holiday is she’s cultured. She knows her stuff. She’s lived through some stuff too. She’s able to use pop culture and sport references and book references and tv references and it all works well together. She knows the struggle artists fight between feeling too much of everything but she’s able to put it into words and weave them through subjects.

Poems that I loved by Holiday are here:

Coin Coin, Run

Eurydice, Run

She has a book of poems coming out this year tilted M a a f A so if you like any of her poems check this book out and her other books she’s published.