Chains of belief (When self doubt whispers)

The world echoes self belief.

Life’s choir choruses in unison to

this allegation.

But these feelings evade me.

Opportunity dodges me like a bullet.

I am only a nomad in this journey.

Retiring every night to the universe’s

leaking roof and squeaking bed.

 

It’s hard to believe in yourself when

your back is pinned to concrete while

the cold tickles your feet.

When your head is as heavy as sand

and your faith is as fragile as a house

of cards.

When your dreams turn to specters in

the dark and your fears chase you

around the room.

When your bed becomes a crypt and

reality provokes your conscience.

When your thoughts scatter in the

fields in disarray and you feel like

you’re losing your mind.

When the gossiping walls mock you

and the clouds rain insults on you.

When the wind puts you down and

the sun’s rays dim your vision.

When you feel like a bench wench

massaging the pride of conglomerate

society daily on a 9 to 5.

When hope flees and your strength

retires to an island of abandoned

dreams.

When the bite of reality stings like a

bee and all you get is your mind’s

rhetoric questions and fate’s

accusatory look.

What’s a black woman to do?

 

It’s hard to defend the integrity of

this system with a rioting belly,

rheumy eyes and tired feet.

Walking the judgmental tight rope

with chains around my neck.

A slave to society! Believing in the

whims of this twisted map.

Not good enough to paint the sky.

Not fit to ride in the matatu of success.

Not talented enough to compete in life’s

tirade show.

A poetic minuscule stowed in the boot

of plight with forgotten dreams.

 

See, it’s hard to plan your future

with shaky hands.

Balancing on the bridge of doubt

and  uncertainty.

Married to society-mentally divorced.

The world whispers a sweet melody

of self belief in my quiet.

Perhaps…I’ll listen this time.

The music slowly blankets my

unruly thoughts and strokes my

meditative mind.

Sense ditches nonsense.

Possibility suddenly looks attractive.

Liberated! It feels great believing in

yourself sometimes.

 

©FloetryC 2017

i love ittttt

 

 

 

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Hypersexualization of Afroetry ( The black female body)

Fetishized; my worthiness is measured

in cup sizes and big booty.

Integrity is compromised and dismissed.

Body parts named- policed and sexualized.

They say; “it’s the sway of my African belle

derriere, the clumsiness of my breasts, the

thickness of my lips and the arch of my back”.

 

Objectified by the media, my nudity is

plastered on billboards, social media and marketed

in raunchy music videos and sex magazines.

Bartered in foreign currency for a bit of the

exotic experience.

Perceived as promiscuous- sold for consumption.

My body is just entertainment and a peculiar

scientific breakthrough.

 

I am a product of disrespect.

The streets mock my pride, patriarchal

society trashes my name with a twisted

perception of my body.

Lewd; incapable of love- a belligerent

woman with an insatiable sexual appetite.

My tinted shade is salaciously appreciated

with sexist comments, but not pursued.

I am only good enough for an experiment.

Grope me in public- bring me to my knees because

somehow my history conditioned me to be a sex

slave and the rape culture is nothing but a myth.

His ego must be massaged.

 

Stereotyped; I am the proverbial angry black

woman waving the blood stained banner and

cussing out at everyone- like the world owes

me something.

Baptized with sperm as “Jezebel”- promiscuous

and hyper-sexual.

Archetypes of my history are smudged on the

walls of public lavatories as a legacy of colonialism

and imprinted on my consciousness.

Voyeurs of my ancestors lined up on the auction

block come back to me in sepia each time my black

femininity is masqueraded on the stripper pole.

I am a symbol of trauma and degradation.

I wear the shroud of shame that Sarah Baartman

wore when she was paraded in the freak shows in

London and Paris.

 

Too much”, they say- My body is too much!

“Afroetry, that dress is indecent; it doesn’t

flatter your body size”.

“Your hair is nappy; you need a few lashes of

lye on your scalp”.

See, i can’t control the way my rebellious curves

riot inside my dress.

I just can’t stop my belle derriere from bouncing

when i walk.

 

Anecdotes of my femininity now catalyzed

by stereotypes leave shards of my identity

dripping over my thighs.

Affecting the way that i see myself in the

presence of the hegemonic depictions of my

Afrocentrism.

I am not a object to be fetishized- or apart of

the body shaming brood in twisted society’s

hypersexualization of the black woman.

I wear this beautiful body with pride.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

body of woman

 

 

 

 

Cemetery of Love (Literally)

Here, written in bold conclave lettering

lies the love that we had.

Etched with an epitaph that reads,

“Beloved, Cherished- not forgotten”.

Memories of us fade away like an obituary

message in a local newspaper.

The remnants of our fleeting romance

and mind blowing sex waste on a

weathered stone.

 

Decorated with overgrown weeds and

wilted flowers, our passion is entangled

around a sticky spider web.

Visions of a shattered future- daunting

reality of wasted time in your cold

embrace come to me in sepia.

Recollections of bliss and ardor dissipate

to nothingness.

Scalpels of your deception created

incisions in my head and declared me

paranoid

 

I was too blind to decipher the impeding

attack on my consciousness after the

unsuccessful lobotomy.

The deceitful proclamations that died

between clenched lying teeth and

pouty lips branded me insecure.

Battling the pain from the abrasions on

my tired body, i enabled your cruelty

and took the blows of your twisted

love like a champ because i was so afraid

of losing you.

Damn! You still left anyway…

 

For you, i proudly wore the dummy

crown of reproach on my burdened head

while a duplicate of me strutted through

the busy streets adorned with semi precious

stones and a crown befitting a Queen.

I smudged layers and layers of makeup

foundation on my face to conceal my

fake tirade show.

Stabbed in the heart, violated and abused.

Our relationship was blown to smithereens-

pieces of what used to be lingered mid air.

 

A silent aura enshrouds the cemetery

of wounded love once more.

The weight of your hypocrisy makes

me roll inside my grave.

You brought that woman to mock my

demise with a fake eulogy!

Don’t stain my white marble tombstone

with your contaminated tears.

Let me bask in the goldmine of lost dreams.

I’ll smoke shisha with the dead, throw

dirt at the wind- catch forty winks with

the ghosts of past lovers.

 

Here, buried within your conscience

lies my funeral mound.

Words carved out in cursive.

“You destroyed me”.

 

©FloetryC 2017

death

Education System

The skewed education system baptized me a

conformist and sentenced me to the prison of

endless graduations.

Taught me an alien history whose pencil drawn

borders are aligned with bureaucratic immigration

officers and travel restrictions.

Made to admire Europe and America but loathe

Africa- disarming my ethnic pride in the process.

I ventured into the world with my degrees- lacking

practicum, equipped with enough theory to preach

to the streets and roam from one building to another

like a beggar hoping to snug a corporate seat at the

high table.

 

The rigged education system waves the blood

stained banner, “Education for all” while others

languish on the uneducated corridors.

Knowledge is shoved down the throats of students,

evaluation is based on mugging up aptitude but not

on knowledge.

Joy of learning dissipates with time- a haunting

through the corridors of academia.

Students are threatened with the formal passage

of excellence; also the dark alley of failure.

 

The dishonest education system promised him

that knowledge is power.

Wrapped the graduation noose around his neck

and pushed him to a world where it’s no longer

about transcripts and certificates but strong ties

and connections.

His parents beamed with pride because he didn’t

end up like the stereotypes that they painted

with the colors of disparagement.

“Uneducated black man” or “College dropout”

He was their prodigal son of academia.

 

The modern education system awarded me a

special accolade on the world stage- a life time

achievement in unemployment and rendered

me docile.

A robotic 9 to 5 with papers stapled on my

corporate skirt like a leash…

i stood amidst the proverbial stereotypes whose

business knowledge superseded my textbook

knowledge- owners of companies far more

prestigious than the institutions i attended.

I found a new mentality under the scorching sun.

I wrapped my degrees under my arm and embraced

a flexible, non-conformist type of education that

encompasses research, passion and self employment.

 

©FloetryC 2017

book-book

The many faces of Struggle

i

Trialed at the fetal stage, fate baptized

him a child of struggle and sentenced him

to the streets without parole – to roam

the earth like a stray dog.

 

He is the destitute child tottering through

the insomniac streets with heavy feet and

a hollow belly.

Weary from the doldrums of life- homeless

and braving the blistering cold amidst harsh

conditions.

Scavenging for food with the marabou storks

in the garbage dump.

Uncertain about tomorrow- living for the day.

 

He is the street pharmacist perched in the

corner handing out shady prescriptions to the

desperate and needy just for a little cash.

Playing police story with the cops by night-

living dangerously, braving the blows for

a life embroidered with turmoil.

A hustler, life’s own storyteller.

 

He is the beggar squatting on the side-walk

with hands laid out for some pocket change.

Hands are shaky, voice is brittle – stomach growls.

He went to bed hungry last night.

His soul is scrapped raw, hope falters.

 

He is the black man strutting through

the cold streets of prejudice and

bigotry.

Segregated against because of his

deep melanin- a victim of racist attacks,

societal labels, stereotypes and injustice.

 

ii

Stuck inside a big empty bubble-

Struggle rewrites her life with a new story.

Labeled a freak, society declared her an

outcast to be repressed.

Every day is a struggle.

She deals with trials and tribulations with

pain etched on her face.

 

She is the single mother with tired bones

and muscles trudging down the staircase

of hardship with the make-up of distress

plastered on her face.

Stepping into hell’s kitchen to brave

the wicked sun’s disdain, the children

must feed.

Tragedy is plunged beneath the surface

of her thoughts.

There is no humanity for this face of hardship.

 

She is the young woman with unfulfilled

Dreams.

Wears the debts of society- and the plight

of every unemployed woman.

She is Academia’s prodigal daughter with

refusal  letters smudged on her forehead.

Not good enough for any job.

Opportunity evades her.

 

She is the teenage girl dealing with cyber

bullies on social media.

The silent voice of pain- a victim of constant

harassment because she is different.

Depressed; numb from the pain-

struggling to be heard.

 

She is the sick old woman seated on the

reality’s porch.

Crippled by distress- recalling past pain.

A woman haunted by the past, living

in a society plagued by evil.

Tired of the world-  waiting on death’s

welcome party.

 

iii

Connected through the strings of

Hardship- struggles are shared all

over the world.

Clutching on the strings of faith

freedom wails in every core.

Everyone is dealing with something

and hoping for better days.

 

You are not alone.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

struggle 2art struggle

Ode to a Narcissist

“Mirror, mirror on the wall- which is the most

attractive visage on this ethereal body?”

Nurtured by Narcissus in a house of vanity- his shady

demeanor screams Dorian gray.

He is a man-whore whose biggest customer is himself.

He is a fake impersonation living in a modern gilded cage.

A soloist in a life lyric theatre production- his castle is

built on a foundation of lies and fortified with mirrors

to flatter his over inflated ego.

He Sits on a celestial throne with a godly illustration

of himself.

He gravitates towards vanity’s caress- walks from

mirror to mirror like a ghoul with an illusory sense of

self importance.

Drowns in his own essence- believing that the world

owes him so much because he was born to shine

brighter than Sirius in the night sky.

His hue is beguiling- like gravity, everything is drawn to him.

He wears a mask to conceal the narcissism that his soul

reflects inwardly out.

His aura is embroidered with disdain- his hillock of trauma

is not comparable to anyone’s Chimborazo of tragedy

and pain. He struggles to remain the focus of discussion.

Like an empty shell, he regurgitates towards deception.

Stomps on fleeting emotions with a hope that someone

can see his devotion.

Projects words into her psyche in a bid to legitimize

her existence. He is some sort of genius with a high IQ

and other opinions don’t matter.

He is the grumbling enigma hiding in the basement of

inhibition with lines of insecurity smudged on his skin.

The weight of delusion falls when the mirror cracks

and he is left to smother his pride and vanity in the

arms of loneliness and frustration.

Fading away like his mentor, Narcissus.

©FloetryC 2017

Narcissus (Greek Mythology), was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty.

He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him especially a nymph called Echo who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He pined away until he died.

Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance and/or public perception”.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Art by Cluade Martin

Narcissus-Cluade-Martin

Reliving the Harlem Renaissance (Imaginative Poetry)

“Art must discover and reveal the beauty which prejudice and caricature have overlaid.”
―Alain Locke

A bluesy drenched the old south.

The roaring twenties hummed a woeful dirge-

ushering in the great migration.

The north looked attractive with an artistic hue and

literal jazzy paradise that I just wanted to soak in.

A perfect haven for an African poetess to thrive.

Harlem sat seductively on an intellectual bed of cultural,

social and artistic reformation.

I felt the refreshing breeze filled with epiphanies from

the Harlem river.

The tickling caress of freedom ushered in a new

black culture.

 

A cloud of artistic magic covered Harlem.

My eyes feasted on Aaron Douglas’s silhouette like

painted murals on public buildings- exemplifying

the “New negro”.

“Migration series”  sent nostalgic shivers all

over my body- reminding me of my history and heritage.

I felt at home.

I run my fingers all over Meta Warwick fuller’s sculpture,

“Ethiopia awakening” which depicted the essence of

re-birth.

Archibald J. Motley’s 1929 painting of the blues tickled

my musical mind. I fitted right in!

 

The flowers of literature, philosophy and activism

bloomed across Harlem- igniting my poetic flame.

I witnessed Alain Leroy Locke birth the Harlem

Renaissance with his compilation, “The new negro”.

I met Claude McKay at the edge of my consciousness.

He became my mentor amidst injustice and molded

me a fighter.

His poem, “If we must die” became my inspiration in

the presence of social injustice.

I fell in love with Langston Hughes- quietly stalked him

in blues and jazz clubs.

His well crafted Jazz Poetry bribed my soul with the

“weary blues”.

His travel experience and knowledge took me back

to Africa with his poem, “The Negro speaks of rivers”.

I got hooked to his vibe like glue after the 1926 essays,

“The Negro artist and Racial Mountain” where he

said; “One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said

to me once, “I want to be a poet–not a Negro poet,” meaning,

I believe, “I want to write like a white poet”; meaning subconsciously,

“I would like to be a white poet”; meaning behind that,

“I would like to be white.” And I was sorry the young man

said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself”.

This enlightened me deeply and made me understand the kind

of poet I want to be.

Langston Hughes’s torch still lights inside the mansion of my heart.

I celebrated with my girl, Zora Neale Hurston when her Novel-

“Their eyes were watching God” became a success.

Worked with Alice Dunbar Nelson for a considerable time.

Campaigned with her for the passage of the dyers anti lynching

bill amidst challenges.

Her articles, academic journals re-awakened the activist in me.

I cheered for Arna Bontemps  when his first novel, “God sends

Sunday” got considerable attention. I was so proud of him!

I had dinner with W.E Du Bois and he took me for a long ride

through history and Pan-African concepts.

Initiated me through the “Crisis” and taught me how to use

art to promote black causes.

 

The sound of jazz created a heavenly concert in Harlem-

A combination of the boogie blues, ragtime and minor

chord sounds.

I danced the jitterbug to Duke Ellington’s swing feel at

the cotton club.

Got lost in a day dream as he romanced the chords and

his bassist lay down a great groove.

I grooved to Louis Armstrong’s hot jazz- a mind blowing

mix of drums, bass, banjo, and the guitar- creating an

amazing crescendo.

See, I was the flapper doing the Lindy hop at the

Savoy ballroom.

 

And right now, I am the poetic globetrotter, the griot,

the time traveler peering through the Harlem

Renaissance portal-

Reliving the 20th Century- a period where black poets,

artists, musicians, actors, and intellectuals

flourished.

A period, a poet in these times can only imagine.

 

The world needs more writers, poets and artists.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

***Langston Hughes Citation: The Nation, 1926***