Tag Archive | heart


I was going through some old pictures last week when I came across one I had not seen in some time.

Someone decided to bend the top portion, perhaps to put into a wallet, I don’t know.

I thought, “I will have to get it restored because of that crease that runs right through the  face of the person in the photo.”

It is a picture of my grandmother. She died in 1964. It is the only picture I have of her, full body.

I loved my grandmother. I still think of her often. My sister and I lived with my grandparents for three years.

It was the country and the living was neither easy (for them) or fancy.

I loved it, was not even mindful of what they did not have.

I just loved being there, being with them.

Well, more my grandmother more than my grandfather who was rather taciturn and rarely interacted at any length with us kids.

My grandmother was not beautiful. She was not pretty. I’m not sure you would even call her handsome.

I see that now. I did not see that then.

I only saw her, only heard her laughter, enjoyed the food she cooked, especially the steak and gravy with rice or those fat red sausages served for Sunday breakfast after Grandpa’s Saturday trip to the  market.

They lived in the country with very few modern conveniences.

No indoor plumbing, no electricity or gas, chickens on the yard, wood stoves, tin roof, well water.

I do not remember ever being bored.

This picture takes me home.

After all, home is where the heart is.

All these years later, my heart is still her home!




I usually have at least one opinion about Black History Month, mostly based on my personal history and experience. I always made it a point to discuss this February phenomenon when I was a talk show host on RMG radio.

While going through some old papers, I discovered a poem I created from the thoughts I scribbled in a dark theater as I watched Tyler Perry’s movie adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s play, “for colored girls who have considered suicide /  when the rainbow is enuf.”

I remember the uproar that surrounded Ms. Shange’s work when it first came out. The movie, from my perspective, brought the same intensity to the movie screen. This poem was my attempt to capture my raw visceral response, the emotions raised as I watched the story line unfold.

This is one of my Black History moments.


I do not know

what to expect

I walk into the theater

sit down



for what?

I know of the play


Ms. Ntozake Shange

its playwright

I remember the turmoil

that swirled around her

around the work

of her hands

and heart

back then

my generation’s un-uttered angst

written in plain view in black and white

I do not know

what to expect

when I go in

and take my seat

when I leave

I wonder

what do I do with


make of

these emotions

put on blast?

the movie unwraps itself

and the stories

of the women

begin to wrap around each other

I hurriedly write

snatches of lines

thoughts that rush me

I write

in darkness

out of the darkness

illuminated only by revelation

this community called woman

must pay attention

to each other’s


“A deliberate coquette”

the line startles me

though it is strangely beautifully lyrical

a deliberate coquette

in street language

“I choose to be a whore!”

what pain can drive

a soul to self-inflicted despair

Promiscuity on Purpose


what am I do to

with that woman who has yet

to identify her

deliberate coquettish-ness


as she recoils at the thought

“another anonymous lay?”

“Raped by Invitation”

an oxymoron spoken

by a wounded soul who wraps

herself in a shroud


silent despair

rather than reveal her wounds


she laughed and smiled and sat down and dined and dared

to invite a stranger-friend

into her sanctuary

because she trusted the message


he violated



My fellow theater voyeurs


in the wrong places

I think

mostly women

they laugh


inexplicable scenes





bitter tears

too often

greeted with




how many women laugh


in the dark

because of unspoken connections

to the object

of that laughter?

The desperate girl child

seeks the back alley abortion


the naive excitement

of a back seat sexual encounter

vanquished by desperation

unwanted life planted in her

that which her broken


possessed mother


“that growing inside you is sin”

so many stories tangled together

even as we women believe

we walk a solitary path


if we would just look up

we would discover

we are surrounded

by sisters

whose stories

mirror our own

“how are we still alive?”




hiding our scars

lest someone ask

“how did that happen?”

separate lives

connect through pain

connections forged

in the conflagration of life

connections that link us

to the next heart

that beats in sync

to the inequity

called LIFE

it is the pain

that makes us one

in the healing.