He Said, She Said

He said:

Pain ignites our hope.

Hope denies Death through blind faith.

Faith promotes our success.

She said:

Pain tried to birth us.

We existed already.

An enigma. Faith.

His poem is about overcoming the past to make way for a future that has been the substance of his dreams for so long. Blind faith assures him that all will fall into place for him. Sometimes we believe that the desires of our heart will never manifest and so we settle for what is there before us. That’s life. It’s why things and people are always changing. Life is about trying to discover what fulfills us and if you’re in a place where you’re being drained and used up, instead of filled, step out on faith and believe that there is something better waiting for you.

Her poem is about the battle to shed the skins of one’s past in order to embrace one’s true self. One of my favorite quotes is “If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.”  As long as there is breath in one’s body, there is always the opportunity for change, especially when the change is embracing your true self and not the labels others try to brand you with, your past mistakes, or anything that goes against your most basic and true self. Don’t silence your voice so that others are more comfortable and don’t become a chameleon to make other’s more comfortable in your presence.

So often, we hear that we are not our past. Meaning even though we are a product of our past, we don’t have to continue to wear the brand of our past. We cannot go back and change the past, but we do have the power to change the future. But, change is hard even when the change is positive. So some knowingly hold on to and fight for things, jobs, people who are not in alignment with the desires of their heart. That’s not an indictment or judgment, just an observation. I have knowingly held on to situations that I knew were not good for me because I was fearful of what would be on the other side. I’m trying to learn to let go of that need to control and accept that some things happen and there’s nothing I can do about it. In the end, all I can control is my reaction to a situation. I cannot always control the situation.

Today’s post isn’t really about my writing because I’ve been distracted today and I haven’t really gotten any writing done. But, now I’m going to attempt to work on a creative nonfiction piece for an upcoming contest. I’m usually pretty good at silencing the critical self when I’m engaged in the initial writing of a piece, but that’s not what I’m worried about today. Today, I’m worried about the noisy distractions that I’ve had a hard time ignoring today.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Street Level Drug Dealer

Just a little something I’ve been toying with today:

Words bleed from my pores,

staining my skin and my clothes.

No amount of sass to scrub clean

the words you dirtied my soul with.

You told me I was a failure,

so I strived to be much less.

You told me I was unloveable,

so I always settled for less than I deserved.

You showed me I was worthless

so I learned to seek the best, holding on to

nothing.

You pumped me with words as poisonous

as any street drug. Like any street level dealer

you knew how to control me: tempt with a taste

and you’d soon have control over me.

Like a drug-addicted scarecrow seeking to be filled,

I kept coming back trying to get my fix.

You never let me down either.

You chained my soul, filled my arms with

hypodermic needles too strong for me to remove.

Alone.

Love finally freed me. Love found me &

I found healing in the rehabilitative waters

of self. I pulled the needle of your words

from my arms so I could be free.

Now you hate me because I stopped allowing

you to teach me how to hate me. But that’s OK

we both know there’s always someone else,

somebody who’ll accept your drugs

cuz the war on drugs is not one we can win.

There’ll always be someone disgusting enough

to supply the poison and someone desperate enough

to need the fix to try and fulfill something within.

I’ve been working on my WIP, Micah’s Falls, but this poem is something that came to me while I was writing. I stopped to get down what came to me initially; I’ll come back to this poem later because I need to get back to work on my WIP. Hope you are doing something today to fulfill your wildest dreams because maybe they’re not so wild and maybe it’s possible for it to be more than a dream. Maybe one day all your dreams can be reality. Right? Right.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Offering My Words with Courage

Maya Angelou once said there are three things needed in order to be a writer: 1) you have to have something to say, 2) you have to possess the ability or talent to say it, and 3) the courage to say it.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is (listening to) the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

“This is really sad.”

Those were the firs words my friend said after she finished reading one of my latest short stories. Her words deflated my confidence, though she didn’t know it. I was truly proud of the story that I’d sat up the previous night to finish writing. It’s a story that came to me about two or three years ago. It didn’t come to me as a story, but rather as an image. A mother staring into the rearview mirror seeing her son’s face. The son was dead though and the mother just couldn’t accept that. This was a story I needed to write, but it took several years for me to finally write it.

“It’s not sad in a bad way,” my friend added. And she went on to describe some of the images she had as she read my words. Images I had not seen myself as the writer. When I wrote the story, I was fully inside my main character. I became her so that I could tell her story. And for thirty minutes we discussed my protagonist, Rayna, as if though she were a really dear friend of ours who’d recently lost her child. In the end, my friend said,”You should enter this in the competition.”

Well, she didn’t know I’d already talked myself out of entring the contest because I anticipated receiving another rejection. And I didn’t want another rejection. I wanted someone to read this story and be carried away with Rayna’s story like my friend was. So I offered my friend the excuse, “It’s 3,500 words long. And the contest calls for stories 3,000 words or less.”

“Well go through and cut some stuff out. Send them the condensed version. And save the full version for your book of short stories.”

I just looked at her. Because she just didn’t know how I was feeling inside. I was terrified. I am growing tired of being told no. Even when my rejections come with sweet words of encouragement to “Keep writing” or “This is a really good story, but just not for our market.” These are still rejections.

I left the meeting with my friend having every intention of holding on to my story until I have finished the other stories for my book of short stories, She’ll Never Tell. But I can’t get her voice out of my head. I have heard her since yesterday saying, “This is really good.” “I couldn’t stop reading.” “You just have to know what happens to her.”

Then today on Oprah’s Soul Sunday, I heard Sue Monk-Kidd talk about acting on that desire at the bottom of your heart, your deepest desires and I cried. This is my deepest desire. I don’t care so much about money. I want people to hear what I have to say. And, so I offer my words to you with courage. I feel that there are people who can identify with things I’ve felt or things I’ve just written about. I believe it’s my calling to minister to the spirit of those who feel they don’t have a voice. That’s why I wrote Tattered Butterfly Wings. I’ve listened to my students and I know they feel that no one ever listens to them. And this was my way of saying, “I hear you.” I may never become a blockbuster, list topping author, but I will always respond to the longing of my heart. So, I’m going to condense the story and I’m going to enter it into the competition. And I’ll hope that I win this time. But if I don’t, it won’t be the end of the world. I will continue to say, “I’ll get up and try again tomorrow.”

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Kill Me

Smother me. With your eyes.
Drown me. In your arms.
Kill me. With Love. Over. And. Over. Again.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Love

I feel her heart quickening
inside of me.
She is rearranging my life,
stripping me to my most basic self:
love.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Sleeping with Ghosts

She claimed to not believe in ghosts
even while she slept with the remnants
of corpses of loves that never should have been.
She made pillows out of the faces of men
who fed her candy coated drops of sin:
failing to love the woman within.
She covered herself with the blanket of lies
used to help her forget the value of her life,
causing her to forget the miracle of she.
The miracle being that she existed.
She closed her eyes and swallowed the nightmares
they had dumped into her mind, so
she would toss and turn all night.
They loved what they could see with eyes
blinded by their own needs to be desired.
Their own needs of such a towering size.
They took, took, took, offering nothing
in return until it was safe to finally leave.
Now she’s left with the daunting task
of learning to love the woman within &
knowing that ghosts can be exorcised
and she will one day be able to love again.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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Hump Day Haiku

She ripped back flesh from
painful wounds and memories.
Mother Earth. Sun. Moon

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

sun goddess 2

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He Carried the Moon, She Carried the Sun

He carried the moon wherever he went.
She carried the sun. Some days she lost all
strength and will and forgot to hold on to
the sun. He used the moon to split her darkness
in two. He stole the darkness away from her. Left it
on the sidewalk where passerby would sometimes
stumble, trying to get over it, anything to keep
from having to stoop to pick it up. He carried
the moon. And split her darkness in two. She
was so grateful that he shared the moon with her
that she agreed to become the stars.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

moon eclipse of the sun

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Thin Love

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.” – Toni Morrison

She carried a dangerous storm inside
where her heart should have been.
Her eyes were spears, able to tear into
flesh, pierce it deep. She felt the things,
awful things crawling underneath her skin,
words they had been trying to tell her since birth.
I love you tried to pierce her skin, but she’d
grown a shell of protection, locking her in &
keeping her separate from everyone who tried
to love her. She destroyed what she didn’t
understand. And that was her truth. That
was the storm that was brewing within.
She didn’t want love that tried to make her
pliable, she craved a love to make her free.

Peace & Love,
Rosalind

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Enough

Words have power.
Yes. No. Hate. Love.
Words have power.
Ni****. Nigga.
Words have power.
Let. Go. Wait. Wait. Wait.
Words have power.
You said you’d never let go.
Words have power.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Words. Have. Power.
Promise you’ll always love me.
Words have power.
Get that bi***! Get that ho!
Words. Have. Power.

Words will never hurt me. I remember saying that as a child. A simple childish comeback in response to being called ugly, dumb, or fat. Yes, that’s childish logic, to think that words can’t hurt. They can. Words also can heal. Words have so much power.

I recently finished reading “Stand Your Ground,” a novel by Victoria Christopher Murray. At the beginning of the book, Murray explains why she wrote the book. She said she wrote the book because she wanted to “do something that mattered.” She also wanted to write truth. In the fictionalized account, Murray tells the story of two families caught in a tragic incident much like what happened the night George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin. She tells the story beautifully and she allows her characters to speak from their souls and to tell their truths.

There were times when I was reading this book and the words angered me. There were also times when words pulled tears from my eyes. And there were times when the words caused my lips to curl up in a smile. The most important thing is that the power of words is shown as truth within the pages of the book.

As the protesters in the book chant, the word they say over and over again is “enough.” And that is the truest word spoken throughout the book. America has seen enough of black boys being seen as threats simply because they are black. The young man in this story is a typical teenage boy; he’s a truly smart and well-rounded kid. But his one mistake is taken and used to criminalize him even as his cold dead body is buried in the dirt. He could just as easily be either one of my sons and that scares me. So, yes, words have power. Enough. Enough. Enough.

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

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