Claim To Fame: Why I Breathe Fire

Reflection:

The same thing I am praised for, is the same thing people try to snatch me for—this thing I do with these 26 letters.

In the face of abject crazy which is the current world, I would be remiss in my duties as a writer not to speak or record it. When I decided to lean into writing, being a writer as a career, I knew what I was getting into—what it would cost, and what I aimed to do in it.

This is the thing I love, communication and the art of word play. It’s what I do. It’s legit what I do. And for the love of it, I happen to write down my imagination to sell to people. I keep pens on hand, my desk is covered in papers and my laptops are always running out of space.

This, indeed, is my sweet spot.

Love and blessings,

JBHarris

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Racism Killed Jackie Robinson

If Ms. Rachel Robinson ever sees this, we remember. We remember, Ms. Rachel.

42 is my birthdate backwards
just like it takes
four minutes for a man
to survive without oxygen
just like you have two hands
and one mouth so
you’re supposed to listen
twice as much as you speak
and you have 2 feet
and with the speed of the black panther played by a black panther,
gave us the immortality
that is number 42.

The husband of one woman,
the father to his own to his own son, and the leader ship and dignity of a people on broad black shoulders—
John Henry ain’t got nothing on Jack.

That Jack.
That Ebony, black Jack
Jack with the blue cap
with the B on it because
he knew he knew that the
baddest ones always come
from Brooklyn—

Be like the heart that
Was in his chest that
beat for us
that lifesblood
that came from every cut from
every slide
every name not his own
from from every sling
and arrow of
outrageous fortune
that he had to endure
in baseball cleats.

Just like the hands
that gripped bats,
that gripped pens
in order for him to
graduate from UCLA
in the 53 years that
he was able to walk
on 2 feet here
Head held high
like his mother Mallie
told him—

looking like
everything that we could
wish and hope for.

it was the invisible wall
that kept falling on him
that sped the clock faster
than his feet could
that took him from us
like wings of Eagles
that Isaiah talked about

and now in the shadow
of all things now,
and yet to come,
we remember,
and we would
also remember
what took him
we fight to not take us.

Racism killed Jackie Robinson.

-JBHarris, September 2022

In The Catch Up…

Feeling like Ida B…

This summer has been an emotional rollercoaster!

I have gotten such highs, and lows, and nights where I cannot believe this is currently my own life! Over the next few days, I get to refocus, publish, post and bring you beloved people up to speed, as I regain strength, stamina, belief…and organization.

There are so many things happening and coming, dearest ones!

And I have missed you all so much!

Here is to the second (or third) round of catching up!

Love, J.

As I Go

When I was

Called from

Eternity–

I was

Baptized by water

Then, fire.

-JBHarris, July 2022

Ghosts In The Talking Boards

Be content the great cloud of witnesses say.

All the mammies

Are dead

But they still speak

Reaching from ancestor

Planes, with burns

On their backs,

Limps, unwhole missing

Skin, Teeth and Limb

From the word no.

It is their strength

To survive they

Provide, while warning

Us of what it

Cost them to

say no–

And yes is better.

Yes to your will

Yes to your way

Yessa…Massa.

Warning us in dreams

Of the 2 faces of this

Life–peace and war.

Yet we war for peace,

And for our peace those

Who value nothing

War for everything!

Be danger of your

Fire because they

Liable to beat it outcha!

Cool yuh in the dark

Of the earth

Or make you new

Branches in juniper trees

Just do what they ask ya

Like they ask,

Yessuh, juss like that

Not everyone can

Run–

But not everyone

Can stay!

They died for our bravery

Bc no greater love

Has no man than this

To lay down his life

For his life for his friends–

Those whom

are alive and remain

And remain to be alive…

This bridge called

My back remembers

The lash,

And feet made flat

To go through grass

And swamp

As eyes water as the

Last memory held

Is being told not

To leave.

We have counted

The cost of fire

And bravery and

Bending the tongue

Of owners and masters

With the lips given

By The Word.

If He is always speaking–

Then so will we.

So will I.

-JBHarris, July 2022

All The Mammies Are Dead

All the mammies are dead
they said as they walk toward freedom with their rifles and Bibles in their hands summoning thunder with each clap
with blood of their fathers
and the features of their mother‘s as they advanced toward everything they were told they could not have.

all the mammies are dead
they chanted
as they charged Citadel‘s
and burn plantations
and overturn systems and tables as their Lord and Saviour who through the support and love of his own mother
and power of His father endured the cross to the end.

All the mammies are dead they said
as they threw down the babies of their oppressors to the dirt by which they are destined to return
nothing more that is vital
will be pulled from our body
for you to only swallow to greed
Spit up because there is no chaser
Or reject because it is not sweet enough.
because it is expected
of us to die dry!

All the mammies are dead
they said as they took their rightful places at tables cut by
the hands of their father in woods
their great grandfather’s had planted… and sons hung from

all the mammies are dead they said as they ruled and reigned
crowns adjusted putting 10,000 to flight

all the mammies are
dead they said
knowing that freedom is now
freedom is present
and we never ever going back

Indeed—

ALL THE MAMMIES ARE DEAD.

Those who are alive and remain

are warriors.

-JBHarris, June 2022

AND THEN…PODCAST!

Follow this space on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify.

I never intended on this…but here we are.

After the urging of the adopted family on TikTok, this space now exists. As a celebration of my 41st year of life, and to process out what goes on in my life and head, this podcast exists.

On this side of the internet, it is a continuation of what I do on my TikTok account, @whatjayesaid2.0.

I already have my first season planned out! Follow it here!

Mark your calendar for the scheduled shows:

HERE WE GO!

NEW BOOK-Next Lifetime Things

Grab a copy on Amazon! The Kindle version is coming!

Thank you to Erykah Badu for Baduizm.

One of my favorite songs is, and may always be, Next Lifetime.

There is a honesty to this song, a wondering, and a realizing that while life is changing–so are you.

This collection of poetry was written about a year ago, and started with the work Reflections From A Back Porch Swing. This poetry collection tells of how my own body is aging and betraying me at points. I talk about the new relationship I accidentally fell into, and even the shifting nature of motherhood now.

Everything is happening, and I am in the everything! In this shifting levels of amazing, there is a peace I have found in these pieces. There is more of me in this work, as a realized, happy 41-year-old woman, than I ever had before.

This lifetime, this lifetime and next lifetime, is amazing!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

“Compromise for what?” -Eartha Kitt

Mood forever. Picture taken by my best friend, M. Southards.

I am 41.

I am now almost half of my grandmother’s age, and 1 year younger than Dorothy Dandridge was when she died. I am also the age my murdered cousin would have been had he just listened.

Had he just listened.

For this completed trip around the sun, I am more confident than I thought I would be, and yet more resilient than I thought I had to become! I am writing more, tolerating less, and aware that the person I make my life with cannot be intimidated by my light.

I have decided to proceed with getting my MFA, at my dream school: New York University! I am raising daughters to negoitate the world, and not just survive it.

At age 41, I refuse to shrink. Why should I?

I am learning to own every space I am in, because my presence is a present! My talents in any situation are assets, and I refuse to have anyone around me that desires me to shrink or be mediocre!

I have been gifted with more opportunities to be great, trusting God in a way I’m sure will leave legacy, and in a relationship that both strengthens and scares me. Part of me believes that I cannot be a wife again because the vulnerability it would require—I don’t believe I can. Yet, I cannot help but to want that again.

I have decided before at the completion of my divorce, to keep my maiden name. The crazy thing? I have to ask the state for that privilege to ask for what I was born with back! As I started writing new work, I began hyphenating my name. The ex didn’t give me the name I needed to move in the world, not really.

My father did. The only man who could ever be bold enough to tell me what to do!

I am learning that joy is a choice. Daily. Sometimes hourly! My good girlfriends (whom know have crossed into the realm of ‘grown’) tell me how fabulous these 40’s are–and I am glad I listened! As I reflect on the 4 previous decades, I am in awe of God! I am in awe in a way that proves just how fragile life is, and the times when I thought not being in the world was the right answer.

This birthday is more than cake, more than presents–it is readjusting my crown. It is realizing that I deserve everything I have earned…every joy, every achievement! I am now at the point where I can look at the woman in the mirror and tell her, “We made it! Let’s see how this ends up.”

I will not just exist, I will live.

Happy Birthday to me.

And It Starts…

Oh my!

Family, I must tell you that I know I have to catch things up. Bare with me while I do! There are pieces I scheduled and didn’t complete, poetry I have to post, and things I have to do for sanity and business sake.

The inundating of posted work and think pieces is coming.

Trust me…it’s coming.

NEW WORK-50 DAYS OF NIGHT (Coming soon!)

I know we are about 4 months from Halloween, but as the benevolent being I am, I wanted to announce this work soon to come starting September 12, 2022!

As a horror fan who desires more representation of the melaninated, this project will be a set of 50 short stories—one story per night for 50 nights. The 50th night ending on Halloween—as my writer girlfriend Tonia says is Goth Christmas.

For this project there will be vampires, Reapers, werewolves, witches and all matter of other mischief of my own making.

I will give you this teaser—you will need to follow every night, otherwise you will be lost! Remember, I wanted you.

I am excited to bring this work to you, I am so proud of it, and I believe you all will love it too!