Author: Jennifer Bush-Harris

I am female, fiery and unapologetically Black. I'm in no position to mince words, so I don't. This writing, this craft, is what I delve in, drown in, and seek to master. From that mastering, comes portions of the divine through light and screen or ink and paper. I invite you all on this journey of thought, conversations and other benevolence life has to offer. You can also follow me on Twitter (@authorjbharris) and my networking page on Facebook (Jennifer P. Harris). Thank you for stopping by and remember to live, love, write and repeat.

Movie Night

The first time your heart

Will break in front

of your daughter

It will be to your silence

And eyes that betray

Neither age

Nor suffering.

You will smile.

You will talk to her.

You will keep watching your movie.

You will remember.

You will swallow his name

To put it back into

Your heart,

Hoping it for not

To rise again.

-JBHarris, 6.2023


Due Mercy

Written after my ex-husband’s wife threatened to call the police on my daughter for screaming at her brother, making a bad joke, and her stepmother of a decade became Carolyn Bryant.

The incomparable Zora Neale Hurston.

To the White woman
who tried to call
the police on my child—

The prophets tell us
that there is
nothing new under the sun,
and because there is
nothing new under
the sun,
It is of great
and grave expectation
that Black woman
are never dumb.

But you
like me
who hold life
on the inside of you,
yet you pull death
from your mouth,
aiming at a child
who is defenseless
in this world,
whose only
recourse is to
Call the only name
she knows other
than God—


And her roar be but
whisper to you
and hurricane wind
to me
and I will sprout up
as wings as eagles
as Isaiah spoke
about to see
where the tears
have come from.

hiding her behind me
I stand in front of her
and death daily —

You do not scare me.

I push death back
into your mouth
that you may breed
and birth it as you
and all your kin
have known to
do for centuries.
you will not devour mine.

She knows who she is
to whom she belongs
and she knows
that she is part
Of Maya’s 10,000.
Plus 1.

She has my blood in her
Divine Father on the inside
of her
and how dare you
try and stifle life
in her that has
already begun!

Because when Black women cry,
even in girlhood,
they summons
the 10,000 who will
protect her
arm her
show her the faces
of enemy from a long way off.

These ancestors which
she will take with
her always,
and as the prophet said,
there is nothing
new under the sun
In life and death
is in the power
of the tongue in
those who choose
we eat the fruit of it.

Your fruit is chosen—
curse is already on your line.

Me and mine?

We gon be just fine.

-JBHarris, 5.25.2023

River Deep, Mountain High (Elegy for Tina Turner)

It is of the rolling of

Water in muddy rivers

That give the rebel

To the Belles along

Mississippi banks–

Give roar to what

Should have been


Gave power in havoc

Passion in chaos

And Anna became

Tina to tell us

How to get over

And the end of

One life is the

Gift of another.

The ancestral is God’s memory after all.

that is memory

Is gifted as


-JBHarris, 5.24.2023

Written after the passing of Tina Turner at age 83. STL KIDS CHANGE THE WORLD.

On Mother’s Day

Note: The line “No Black boys die on Mother’s Day” is taken from the poem of the same name from the book A PECULIAR PEOPLE by Steven Willis.

On the Internet,

there’s always

a thread going

that wishes mothers

happy Mother’s Day.

the one day

of the year

that the women

who are charged with

running the world are

supposed to put their feet up–

and yet the feet are up

and at’em

making sure kids

faces are washed

Breakfast is made

and coffee may be

sipped cold–

if at all.

on Mother’s Day,

we celebrate the

mothers of queer children

Disgarded and forgotten

By family of their births

the mothers who

are aunties by blood,

mothers who do

the job of mothering

when no one else would

whether it be in classrooms,

boardrooms, or in laundromats.

mother is both

noun and verb–

and because it is both-

–a thing and an action–

it is constantly needed

I know there was a poet

that one time that said

“no Black boys die on Mother’s Day”

because life is present

wherever a mother may be

Or lay their heads.

Happy Mother’s Day

to the women who

decided to mother,

even when they did

not know how

happy Mother’s Day

to the women who

stand in the gap,

and fill the gap,

and know how

to slap

away all things

by which attack the

children that are

in their charge.

Because trust and believe

no village is complete without a mother…

It is the women of your blood

that have gotten you this far.

It is the women of

your understanding

and of your ancestral forgetting

who have gotten you

to a place

by which you,too,

can step into the realm

known as mother.

Whether your womanhood be new

Forming, learned or Ancient,

because we know the ancient of days is also an us…

Happy Mother’s Day

is the whisper of breezes

through open windows

on summer nights

is why we fight

it is how we rage

against the dying

of the light…

go on mother we see you.

-JBHarris, 5.14.23

Final Reflection

This year was introspective for me.

I was forced to think about things I was scared to, while making room for myself. I think the presumption is poets will have this never-empty, never-ending reservoir to soothe or settle those that read our thoughts.

I’m always humbled for it by anyone who reads my work or is inspired by it. Sometimes the wells we pull from for others, are dug by our own hands–watered by own tears!

Yet, we write.

We create.

We serve. Make no mistake: a poet is a servant. Perhaps this is why Baldwin said it is a horrible tragedy when a nation ceases to produce poets.

The poet remembers what everyone else forgets—and gives light when all is lost. On this, perhaps, hangs humanity.

30 Days Of Jaye – Day 30: #35

This piece will be in the work VENGEANCE IS THE BODY (June 2023).

Where do you want it?”

He said watching

The portion of my sepia skin

Unveiled in the mirror

Freed from the cotton prison

Of shirt


I whisper

Heat inside of fingers

That trace above the

Collarbone that Lauryn Hill

said kisses go above.

Smile matching his own

As sepia skin tingles under

Gloved hands the color

Of kings eyeing

The final resting place

Of him who loved me

Saw me

And could find me

Wherever I was.

It is fitting

Blood and ink mingle

To make this love immortal.

There should be no negative space

The lettering should be done

So it is seen by whom

It needs to be seen by

Memorialized what we are

And shall always be

Young, gifted and Black.

The buzz and shock of

Skin gripped tight under

His hands

As skin breaks to

Receive desire—

Overriding pain

That causes my eyes

To close

Pulsing under his hand

Body easily drinking in

Pain and pleasure

Making all things

New and his

His words etched

Deeper as the

Ink and blood

I just want to hear you say it baby.

Fuck yeah you mine.

So say it.

In the middle of the ocean

Of sepia skin

cherries pop in between

Letters that I will

Take with me everywhere

Pieces of him and me,

Me and him

Taking memory and body

To back where memory began.





Then the pain stops.

“How you feel?”

He wipes wetness away

Admiring the work

Of his hands

And his hands on me

Giving me back

What only memory

Can preserve.

Time and love converge

With ink into

Sealed to the

this clay vessel

Who houses fire

within her.

Let the fire remain.

And let a piece

Of that fire

be his name.

-JBHarris, 3.2023

30 Days Of Jaye – Day 29: When Queens walk down the street when the sun is out

He tells me “Hey, Queen!”

as I walk across the street,

bag in hand

Big sunglasses on

melanin Poppin

he looks at me

as if I’m supposed to

acknowledge him

that he noticed

the divinity right

in front of him!

The regal form

dressed in the color

of honey mahogany

in a pair of bad heels —

they make me feel

as if I indeed can

conquer every space.

he looks at me—

and I look at him.

then he says,

“well fuck you then bitch!”


I turn.

I look at him,

Feeling my eyeballs become heat rays

as a beam into his chest,

wishing the sizzling

would come from it

some kind of wound

that would open up

and let me see exactly

why he would call me–

something eternal and celestial,

as a monarch–

and then call me a female dog,

when I do not respond

I focus eye heat right

on his chest and

then hearing all

the women of my blood


Images of all queens

killers, sharecropers and

Students, them being

Magical and malicious

running through time

taking me with them.

You ain’t gotta respond, but never forget who you are.

I open my mouth

which houses lions

red lips shapely and deadly

The Immortal-Invincible

Answering with assassin speed

Shots never missing.

I am a queen from

parking lot to penthouse.

I am a queen from Barbershop

to bedroom

to board room.

I am a wholeass queen and wholeass problem.

Then, I go to my car,

and slam my door.

breathe deep-

heavy exhaling

so that my crown

can sit on top

of my head

where it always

needs to be.

I don’t leave my throne for peasants.

-JBHarris, 2.2021