Category: From The Crates

From The Crates: Black Writer Poem (August 2022)

They would’ve killed me for what I do now.

the knowledge of the Bible

read, both in person

and on paper

with ink being

the same color as blood

before the fire of oxygen

hits it–

They would’ve killed me for what I do now.

Tongue cut out

hung from trees

as a warning–

as the barbaric English forced

On my ancestors

but demands your English

Be my first language.

When I first was able

to communicate pain

Or how I call my mother

how I wait for my father

it is always been words

that have kept me,

Yet at the same time

I have kept them–

I have grasp them

hold them tightly in

my dominant right hand–

subduing the same language

which has always yielded

strange fruit.

They would have killed me for what I do now.

-JBHarris, August 2022

From The Crates-Thanksgiving 2015

This is Thanksgiving.

As a young girl, the thrill of the holiday was never the food…but the sounds. I was excited because I would get to hear and see all these people that I hadn’t seen all year, or not often enough. I would get to hear stories, hear dialects and Englishes, and ruckus laughter. There was always laughter at Thanksgiving.

In my 34th fall, this is the first holiday that have not cooked and incorporated my own family into the greater of my family at large. As I wrote in the effigy at my grandmother Arceal Williams’s funeral, I wrote that her home was a place you “gathered strength and peace and prepare for war, before going back into the wide, wide world.” Her house was a focal point, my steady place, my rock when all else seemed questionable.

I visited this same place not even two weeks ago, and it was akin to a cemetery. There were relics, dust—the ashes of love—everywhere. There was a quiet there I had not known until that moment. It was the stillness one could only see and on the other side of the grass where eyes to be opened in soil. There was no stove, no fridge, no evidence of the life which was there, the lives grown there like same soil of her garden inundated with vines now.

On this day of Thanks,I am thankful for being able to be a part of the greater, to become the greater, to relay the greater. I am thankful for being able to see on THIS side of the grass. I am thankful for the amalgum that is my family…it is beyond blood now–I have been adopted, redopted and engrafted all before this time. I am thankful for this legacy that I now call love and family.May we all continue to laugh.

-Jenn Harris, age 34

From the Crates: 2014-Confidence

I love this picture of me. This was last year. Stepping into this writer-voice role. Get into this melanin!

Confidence is an intangible, invaluable tool for navigating this life as a woman. With all the uproar over Gabourey Sidibe and a dress she wore to the Golden Globes on Sunday night, there have been mean comments via Twitter, Facebook and countless comments riddled with venom, or what the glamorous refer to as “shade”.

I sat, thought and wondered this…is this why we as women can’t unify? Is this why? We are still caught up on how someone LOOKS in something? Nevermind the fact of a woman being talented, driven and visible, operating in all facets of her talents regardless of station in life or situation she may find herself in. We as women have to learn how to get OVER ourselves. We really do, and learn to celebrate each other, and be an ENCOURAGEMENT. Granted, it can be a struggle to shift focus from the exterior to the interior of a person, seeing that the exterior is the thing that is most of us are taught to dress up, doll up and play up with the latest fashion, or mascara.

Whether it be Christian Louboutin’s she wears, Nine West slingbacks, Nikes or Payless flats she wears, why should it matter? If a woman is famous, infamous or anonymous there are some things that are synonymous to the human experience. As women, I believe with have this vision about our ideal selves, and what we wish to be or change. We confront insecurities, issues, and pains only the Lord knows of daily. Why make a day in the life of another woman harder than it must be? Each of us as a past written, present we live, and a future we are creating. Let us decide to do better.

Not just for ourselves, but for those whose lives we effect. Let us teach our daughter to be better women, sisters and friends. So at the time when purpose and destiny intersect, the sons of the Most High may have better wives to assist with the changing of the world.*-All of us, the writer included have been guilty of “sizing a woman up”, as if her worth is attached to what she wears to bare to the world. We have no idea what each of us has been divinely assigned to bare and conquer for the sake of our destiny. By design of the Creator, choice is the most incredible source of determination, compounded by the choice of words. Endurance in a choice. Confidence is a choice. Quitting is a choice. Running from what you have decided to do is a choice. To have your destiny stopped by what someone has told you is a choice. Being distracted is a choice. I am choosing to use my words to bless and edify.

Let the weeding begin.

THINGS I PONDER:(c) JPHarris, 2014

30 Days Of Jaye: Enkindle

“..having a love experience…” -Sunni Patterson

This piece is found in Love Songs of The Unrequited, Volume 1. Click here to find it. –JBHarris

I lie awake in

Utter unholiness of

Thought and deed.                             

The love that I have

For you acknowledging

That you are not in my presence.

This feeling of love and

Passion in such a raw

And unnatural force.

It devours me slowly…

Savoring all of me.

This love has engulfed

The core of my very being…

Daring me to follow it

Wherever it may take me

Compelling me and calling

For me…

All of me heeds to

This enrapturing bewitchment

Breath quick and ragged…

Making the flesh that was

Once touched too hot

To lay upon…

Enlivened by only the

Thought of your touch

Upon my flesh…

Thoughts blurred and maddened

With thoughts of you,

Belonging to you only.

Dreams flooded with

Delicious and sensuous visions

Of lying entangled with you,

Cresting over waves of

Ecstacy that the humble shell that

The soul inhabits crosses into

Such a realm of delirium…

Drowning in you…

Never wanting to

Resurface until you

Allow me to…

Yielding to all of you

As you partake of

All that I am sumptuously

Take all that I am

I plead, deprive me

Of all thought and

Sensation except those

That are of you.

Calm the tempest

That rages in your

Absence and rebels

When your touch is


Allow me to be

All the you desire

And all that you seek.

Permit me to be yours

And yours alone.

Swimming through oceans

Of need, and want flowing

Into me, guiding me through

Places that were darkened to

Love’s illuminance

Clinging to you

Existing for you…

Loving only you.

Maintaining one flesh

With you, to never be

Apart from you…feeding

Your need and mine.

Passionate loving, and greedy

Kisses, setting lips and limbs

Ablaze to the very sinews and

Arteries…infecting the lifesblood

Once more. 

Being yours evermore.

Jennifer-Phylon Bush (now Harris) , March 5, 2004

30 Days Of Jaye: Always En Pointe Black Girl


she has been the chic,

the sturdy,

the fresh, 

and fly one–

trendsetting and sunsets,

as bold as full moons.

Never stopping to check

for whom is not checking

for her.

In this body, walking

through this world as 

magic, melanin, and millenniums

the rocks cry out for us,

for me, for us, and the we

hidden in the magic 

of our wombs.

It is the grace of our feet

and the rhythm in our sway

which carry us towards destiny

and the legacy meant for us.



Believing in us and each other. 


-JBHarris, 10.15.19

This poem will be included in the new book–For A Black Girl, release for June 2020.

Flash Fiction: Creshendo

This pieces is significantly older, and from 2007-2008. It’s actually a favorite. And I’m sure y’all will also. -JBHarris

Unmade Bed Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

It had begun to storm.

I tried to keep my eyes closed, and the smile from spreading too far across my face. I rolled over, not surprised that he wasn’t there. There was so much on his mind lately. I called him name, almost as a reflex, waiting quietly for the echo from the hallway. He made a noise and came to the doorway of his bedroom. This was still his house after all…I could claim nothing in it as mine or ours.

He stood in the doorway, flushed and shirtless, smiling at me. I tousled my hair as I slowly sat up, wrapping the sheet around me. I grinned inwardly, I had no need to be modest, he has already seen all that I had and am. “Cleaning it?” I said, gesturing to his trombone and the rag in his hand. Clad only in dark blue boxers, he grinned at me boyishly. I lived for that grin. He walked over to me, the dim lamp upon the dresser being washing him in this pure bronze aura. He sat next to me, cupped my face, and kissed me. All of me that was female wanted him all the more. Yet, I knew I had no claim, no tie to him, and thought it rather foolish to have one so soon. He held me then, his natural scent comforting me. “I don’t want to leave. I hate leaving.” He kissed my forehead as if to scare away all the bad things I was thinking. He put a finger under my chin, and kissed me again. “For as long as I am here, and you want me, I will be here.” I wanted to cry. It had been so long since I had felt anything. I was more interested in savoring it, than deciphering it. “Close your eyes.” He told me.  I obeyed, as I heard him shuffle around his small room. Then I heard it, my favorite song by Norah Jones. I told him never to play it, because it evoked so many memories and emotions.

I heard him walk over to me again, placing something on my shoulder. “Open your eyes.” He whispered. I smiled, putting on this shirt. Standing not even five feet from me, eyes as warm as the sea, he stretched his hand out to me.I reluctantly climbed out of bed, and moved to his embrace. He held me so close, as if I were meant to fit. I slipped my arms around his neck, kissed him as we swayed. He whispered in my ear part of the verse:  “I’ll need no soft lights, to enchant me, if you would only grant me, the right—to hold you ever, so tight—and to feel in the night, the nearness of you.” I put my ear to his chest and remembered what it was like to feel and be special to be cherished, to let the world and its inhabitants be damned. To take a deep breath, and inhale him, and know I’d rather be nowhere else.

30 Days Of Jaye: First, Awakenings

First, Awakenings…

In this daily grand unveiling
Between mirror and man,
I present as goddess, mortal, and woman.

More invulnerable than I would like
The woman is choked out,
Voice stolen in the awakening of
Constant responsibility,
And the duty of the service to others.

In this moment, both bare and naked,
I embrace the most excellent now.
I see me as I wished I could
When girldom and life we before me.
I seize and reclaim all that is me and you
In the legacy of all whom are female
And woman to follow,
To be resilent and thankful.

From my crown, I see hair of
Free and authentic as lion’s wool.
Indicative of the she-warriors before me,
And to be descended from me.

Eyes as clear as summer blues
And regal and brown as earth,
Housing passion, hot and molten
As moved by the whims of God Himself
To Gaia in love and justice.

Skin as luminous as clear moons,
To the luxe shades of ebony alabaster.
Because you see, I too am
And am made by sacred fire.

I stretch hands, open and warm
Towards sunshine, surrendering to
All the day will wield and hold.
I remember the strengths of
Them that bore and shaped me.
Proud of my blood—beyond family.
Sharing wisdom beyond years
And years lost.

Those forces both male and female
Whom have poured into my
Mortal divine,
Have given ear to unapologetic secrets
That make girl-women invincible
In times proven to try our souls.

I house, we house courage limitless
When none are left,
But we who see and defend
Them, too, whom bare the
Weight which is accustomed
To the bold-believing to effect change.

I am she.
She are we.

In this light, in this place
Before one but my Creator,
Whether in locker rooms, offices,
Beaches or quiet nights,
I can at last admire His complete

The deft of the skill of
A sovereign power, that
I be made oracle, over this life
Given, without hesitation,
Chose to live.

I am a vessel divinely written
And breathed that exudes
Joy and hope unspeakable.
The creative power of the
Almighty is infused in every
Sway of hip, slight of hand,
Full use of tongues and dialect
I seek and speak.

The worthy harmony of my voice,
Our voices, together remind the world
Of the tenacious beauty harnessed
In the presence of the impossible.
These things hidden in my, our, souls.

I am more than breasts,
And curve of hip, plump with oh’s and ah’s.
I am more than the hunted and unconquerable pussy.

I will not be stifled by boxes
Meant for those without truth.
I am human, I am present
And I will not fade away.
My voice, my sound, as echo
Is joined with heavenly choruses
From my belly that sing in
Ancient tongues, fit and fluent.

Ancestoral wisdom I greet
In my reflection, reminding me
Of all that is priceless to those
That listen to the whispers of
The aged:
IMANI (faith)
KUJICHAGULIA (self-determination)

I embrace the non-smootheness,
Thickness of my thighs,
How they gape, tough or rub,
As they end and become calves,
That attach to feet,
Fearless as thunder.

I am aware of curses sent by
Conjurers of this world,
Conspiring to weave a shroud
Around the path of whom I will
be, in favor of the steady seducing of
Whom it is easier to become.

I embrace that sentient
Autonomy that has made me
Unstoppable as water.
I own all that has been owed to me,
To be able to transcend this
Shell that the soul inhabits
And let go of all weight and waiting.

Such vulnerable, soft dignity
To live life embracing scars from
Wars future and past—capable, compassionate.
Yet, I smile, still beautiful, with
Healing presence offered to those
Found weary along street corners,
Bar stools, and the Jericho road
Fallen among thieves.

It takes a survivor, to know a survivor.

After I have imbibed perseverance,
After earnestly suffering awhile,
I can breathe deep and easy, as naturalists do.
When the new, fresh journey is set before them.
The world outside is home,
Carpe diem it’s theme.

Now, peace for the life after,
For now, always now,
I can awake, and look at whom
I always was, to whom I will become
And know I matter.
Know I am special.
Know I am engraced and equipped to journey.
I know to this world, I belong.

-JBHarris, 4/1/17

(This piece is written for the First Cycle of The Awakenings Project in 2017 by its artist.)

Leave the 1990’s Alone: *The Baby-Sitters Club Remake Is Trying My Patience! Where Is Jessi?

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and shoes
I know I haven’t read this series in about 20 years, but there is something not right about this photo. Namely, where is Jessica (Jessi)? The BLACK girl…

I am now a woman of a certain age. This means I can now employ this phrase with elegance and discretion as I inch closer to 40. With and from that vantage point, I can finally stand with my hand on my hip–not on my ‘imagination’–all while watching my kids play and trying to beat a hard level on Pet Rescue Saga. I am young enough to embrace change, and old enough to remember what it was like to be the age of my oldest child.

So, when my oldest daughter told me she started reading The Baby-Sitters Club, I didn’t believe her. I asked her if it was the same author, Ann M. Martin. My daughter said that it was. She said that she was enjoying the series. Okay, awesome! This is a win! A few months prior to The Baby-Sitters Club, she asked to read the play I was reading for class by August Wilson (The Pittsburgh Cycle-King Hedley II). So, everything in moderation. My daughter told me to tell her about the series I grew up reading, and I told her all I could remember.

I told her that her aunt and I read this books! I told her that her aunt and I raced through these books; stalked them through library stacks; told her the book series was a serial! In order to know what was happening in the current book, you had to have back story! One of the worst things you could have happen is to be lost in a BSC book!

You have to know who the main characters are: Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne, Dawn, Mallory, and Jessi.

You have to know that Kristy was a single mom and the BSC was created because her single mom didn’t have a sitter for her little brother, and didn’t think she could watch him. You have to know that Mary Anne is her bestie, and Stacey’s parents are divorced and she’s a Type I diabetic. You have to know that Dawn’s parents are divorced–but her divorced mom married Mary Anne’s widowed father, so they are now step-sisters. You must know that Mallory hates gym, is the oldest of 7 (it’s at least 6 siblings Martin gave her), aspiring writer and is the best friend of Jessi.

You have to know how dope Jessi is! She is brilliant, and pretty, and a Black ballerina! Her parents are married, she’s a good student, and she dances en pointe–like Misty Copeland would years later! She learned ASL for one deaf child, and she was a fully developed Black character. And it was amazing. It IS amazing.

Image result for baby sitters club book covers
See? This is the Jessi I remember…why can’t we have her too?

When I look at this picture of these happy, smiling girls–my heart breaks. I don’t see a girl that could even resemble Jessi. I feel heartbroken, livid and unseen! The most dominant feeling I have is unseen. I hate that feeling because it is insidious–it makes me feel like a ghost haunting a house! I know I am there, I know there other people in this space that feel my presence–and ignore me! I am then forced to make my presence known how every I deem necessary!

Since I am a writer, the best way I can make my presence known is to write, analyze, and hold space for writers and reader that look like me. From that space, I can take a deep breathe to scream:


Get into this (from Wikipedia):

Jessi moved to Stoneybrook from Oakley, New Jersey at the beginning of the sixth grade; her family moved into Stacey’s old house. She has an eight-year-old sister Rebecca, called “Becca”, and a baby brother named John Phillip Ramsey Jr., whose nickname is “Squirt”. When Jessi and her family first moved to Stoneybrook, some people were racist toward them because they were black, but this improved.[19] In Hello, Mallory, Mallory meets Jessi, and they instantly bond and form their own babysitting club, “Kids Incorporated” before joining The Baby-Sitters Club. In Jessi’s Baby-sitter, Jessi’s Aunt Cecelia moves into Jessi’s house. Jessi calls her “Aunt Dictator” and at first hates her, but at the end of the novel they become friends, and she is part of the family for the rest of the series. Jessi learns American Sign Language in Jessi’s Secret Language, when she babysits for Haley and Matt Braddock, because Matt is deaf. Jessi is a talented ballerina and has had the lead role in several ballets; she takes ballet classes at Stamford Ballet School with Madame Noelle, her ballet teacher.

I could expound on how thankful I am Ann M. Martin had the literary sensitivity to create Jessi. I could go on ad nauseam about how as a White writer, a White female writer could not fully write a Black girl’s experience–but she gets an A for effort! But, here we are now–20 years later, and the revamping of this series for Netflix doesn’t include Jessi. I’m beyond livid. The only way to cure erasure is to write in pen.

I’m a writer, I do life in pen–there is no other way!

As Beyonce says, I was here. Jessi was here–she is here!

The casual erasure of Black girls stops when Black writers continue to their storytelling in pen.

*-I am keeping my eye on this remake. My antennae are up, and I am no here for erasure culture. At all. Not ever.

[image from Entertainment Weekly and Pinterest]

From The Crates: 2014

Things I Ponder:
(c) JP Harris, Feb 2014

It is no secret lost my grandmother three months ago. She was 84. I was asked to help with the program arrangements, and my grandmother’s entire life was reduced to less than a page. Amazing.

I don’t want to leave this life with secrets to be sanitized on pretty paper. I want my children, grandchildren to know my life in scope. I want my experience to be gleaned from, and exercised. I want no unneeded mystique or pretense. silent in what dreams will come says Hamlet, but I want my loved and dearest to benefit from my years, not be mystifed by them. I wish to bridge the gap time produces between families.

I want to pass into eternity holding on to nothing but the Lord, protected by His grace. I don’t want to have folk police my legacy for fear my.links to another’s life to my life will tell on theirs.

Let my works speak for me.


Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

The dirty secret about all that I do, what I do, is there are people that think that what I do has been easy, sort of nebulous, and that ‘anyone’ should be able to do. Yet, the great thing about all that I am doing is that no one that I know is doing it on such a scale. My brother’s nickname for me is Shonda Rimes.

Great compliment. Fantastic comparison.

And with quiet reflection, I examined the last decade of my life, with a professional lens. With full candor. With disclosure. With the desire and happiness for the future. It is with the complete childlike happiness that I anticipate what is to come–and what is already in the works.

At the beginning of the last decade, I was a 28-year-old single mom, whose ex-husband was aloof at best and narcissistic at worst. At the end of the decade, I am a locally known indie author; blogger; started a podcast; creating a working professional network which consists of  college professors and 1 mentor,  Dr. Kimberly Welch.

Come walk down memory lane with me:


2010-first marriage left me destitute with 2 children under 3.

2011-Went back to school; divorce final

2012-not writing, trying to be a nurse

2013-lost my grandmother, a 3-year relationship; left school because I couldn’t pay for it

2014-Murder of Michael Brown, Jr; activism galvanized. Writing begins as a career. 3 books published.

2015-more writing; forgoing nursing as career; met Marissa Southards (now the founder of The Awakenings Project-STL) via Twitter.

2016-The Ideal Firestarter created more writing; sat for The Awakenings Project; met Winnie Elizabeth as a blogging mentor

2017- first novel done; writing is now a career; started editing professionally  through JBHarris Writing Services ;writing mentorship starts; first company started.

2018-RUBY published; professional network grows; writing workshops begin; book count stands at 10; started I Breathe Fire, met Amanda Wells, founder of FLOW STL.

2019-The Writers’ Block podcast begins; The Ideal Firestarter staff is at 4; 2 companies started; graduated college. Three professional mentors, with plans for grad school. Writing Mentorship starts 1.15.2020.

I am not playing with this next decade.