Category: Uncategorized

30 Days Of Jaye – Day 16: Hope

This piece is in the work THOUGHTS IN A PANDEMIC. I was a Patient Care Tech during COVID-19’s initial onslaught in 2020. I had to write in hope. I had to write hope. -JBH

My shoes have

Hard soles

Inserts and memory foam.

The floors are concrete

And my feet and legs hurt

Without the comfort

Of the leopard print

Compression socks.

Body made hard and

Soft at the duty of

Being guardian of

The living, the quick and the dead.

Life is coming

In the rolling thunder

Wrapped in coalition

Of color down a hall.

Beautiful are the feet of those

Who bring the good news.

Life is coming.

Life is here.

Life is on the way.

-JBHarris, July 2020


To The First Work-Day 25

Eartha Kitt said that she has fallen in love with herself, and wanted someone to share that with. I identify with that more than I did when I was in my 30’s. So much so, that I try to model that self love to my daughters. I want them to know the divine on the inside of them is not an accident. That their light is beautiful, they are more than their own beauty and they are worthy of all good things.

I am planting treasure where they will always find it.

To The First Work-Day 15

Read ROMEO IS NOT COMING on Amazon and Kindle. -JBH

It’s Love Hangover Day.

Where you are basking in the glow of being well loved, or realizing you are the secret. This day is symbolic of either the best hangover or the most devastating hangover you have ever had.

There is time for regret. Reflection. Reconciling and remembering.

My Valentine’s Day? It was quiet. I reflected. I reconciled. And I decided–in my heart–that I might not be as ready as I thought I was to give up on love.

For The First Work- #14

Reference Sweethearts & LoveNotes, published in October 2022.

“Perhaps this was always love, and he was it…”

In October of 2022, I got the most excellent surprise. I found my childhood sweetheart. I found him! Now, wasn’t looking for him–like honestly searching? No. Not I wasn’t.

For the want of my daughter wanting to know more about her mother’s paternal family, I found him. I won’t lie to you, he still makes a girl feel 16 again. With that feeling, I wrote.

I kept writing. I wrote a book dedicated to him and us–and it was therapeutic.

When I wrote it, I wrote the last piece first (When Beale Street Talks), and then went back to the beginning. I had to admit to myself that love is still my first work. It is still what I desire to leave in the world.

I mean, being able to go back into my memories and remember…without trauma or heartache or fear.

I was able to remember what that meant to me–and conversely, I could put that in a place where I can honor that. I can now look back on that experience, and remember how innocent we were. Yet, it is as real as any marriage I had!

He, for the 30 years I have known him, reminds me that love is in the world. In finding him, my heart started again. It was a reminder that love–it’s still real.

With love being my first work, I cannot forget the one that made it to be so.

He still grins when he thinks of me, and I bit my lip when I still think of him.

I think that is as it should be.


Had you sought me

When I might have

Been found–

I could have been yours

This love be ours!

Yet, you are sated

By my impostor



as you

Breathe my name

To sleep.

-JBHarris, February 2023

To The First Work-Day 1

“I pledge allegence to my pen…”

What the last two years of my life has shown me is the man who is truly going to be may forever is going to have to share me with words. He is going to have to respect these three immoveable things:

1.) I am a writer.

2.) I am an artist.

3.) I am going to seek after this talent. Full force.

There is a love that powers this craft. There is a mysticism to what I do, like I do, love is there. I cannot walk away from this talent, this gift, and this call. It is impossible for me to let it go?

Love was there for me to find this talent.

Love is going to be here for me as I go.

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 2): “Follow All Backups”

If you mention the phrase follow all backups the appropriate answer is, ‘Drop them in the comments!’

On TikTok, this is common. In the 12 years I have been on social media (among 4 platforms–in March 2023 I will have been on Twitter a DECADE!), I have seen how racism, white supremacy, and misogynoir converge to rip down platforms for anyone whom may want the world to be better.

The idea of having a backup page occurred to me after my first few bans and video reporting became more prevalent. From COVID-19, to racism, to sexism–how could a cis-het Black woman writer be unscathed?

It is common to have backup pages; pages to go to live from; pages to comment or spy. With the algorithm determined or deterred by racism, backup pages are necessary!

Yet, I forgot one thing.

Before the first inneration of whatjayesaid was banned, I had gotten my page kidnapped.


I would be banned 3 days, 5 days and 7 days–but access would take a day or more to return to me. I remember one ban took another week to release back to me despite emails and contacting the app directly!

Seems legit.

It was at the knowledge of knowing my account could be kidnapped (as well as mass reported!), I made it my mission to stay on the app…for spite.

Yeah, spite. I’m not above it.

At this posting there are 3 back ups: @shesgottapen2.5, @theecaramelgriot, and @stillwhatjayesaid.

I refuse to let an app that will ban me (a cishet Black woman) and praise real Nazi’s, silence me.

These Days Of Night #4: Lia

Lia made a habit of cleaning her grandfather’s house since his stroke, 3 years ago. It pained her to see her her 89-year-old grandfather vaccuuming while holding a cane. 

“Chere, go stack those boxes in the attic for me”. Lia nodded, kissing his cheek, inhaling his Royal Crown shaving cream and graying beard out of his deep brown face. “Sure, Papa.” Throwing her red and microbraids in a top knot, smoothing her purple NYU sweats, leaving him to the Price Is Right on his blue couch. 

Taking the stairs 2 at a time, she counting the landings as she made her way to the last bedroom on the second floor. Lia began sneezing as she walked past her reflection on the large mirror in the cherry oak mirror, nerves soothed by the laughter coming through the floor. 

Walking to the back closet, a chill coming over her as the branches tapped the treat like a knock. Rubbing her forearms, she went towards the closet, to the attic ladder. 

Pushing open the small door, Lia almost fell back from all the dust. Fighting her allergies, she climbed up the last rung, putting her face in the neck of her sweatshirt. “For Papa, for Papa!” She shouted as her eyes watered, biting her lip to keep from sneezing. Looking around, there weren’t a lot of boxes and she grinned. “Fifteen minutes, at the most twenty.” 

Sneezing fits took over as she moved the boxes from the left side of attic to the other. In moving a coatrack, she tripped over a small rug and floorboard. After banging her knee, she saw something stick out of the floor, like a flame. 

Still on her knees, she picked it up. “It’s…” Lia, holding fast to it, eyes unbothered by the dust. 

The journal was red leather, bound with black ribbon. Inside of it she found yellowed pages, fading black ink with the words which read : 

I watched his change closely. 

Completely frightened, Lia jumped to her feet throwing the journal against the attic wall, screaming. Without her curiosity in all her 30 years of being, she knew exactly what the book was! 

Her family were hunters after all. 

Vampire hunters. 

In a day and age where no one believed black women, let alone believe the supernatural existed, her family had kept a log— intricate in the ways of the undead. 

Lia’s breath was tight in her chest, palms slick. That journal was part of an enclopedia  set of sorts— before the Internet. 

In finding this red journal bound with black ribbon, she had been discovered exactly what her mother on her deathbed told her we told her existed:

“When you find this read journal in the house of your grandfather everything will make sense. Inside of it the men in our family catalog exactly what happens when the change takes place. How their eyes change skin skin in the case of us the people of color the people of the Sun house nothing changes for us our eyes only light. It is always been that difference between us and them black vampires can walk in the sun. In our living lives the sun is with gave us our skin color with us being now condemn tonight only our eyes change. This is what makes black vampires harder to find, and harder to kill.”

Her mother was the fiercest of her tribe,  now made civilized by suburban life, the old ways still resonated with Lia. 

The secondary hearing.

The razor-sharp wisdom, and an infallible intuition. In finding the book, she knew that the 50 days of night was coming. The dreams were not nightmares—but premonitions. 

If she would not have long to prepare. And she could hear her mothers voice in her head saying, “Now you know. So what will you do?”

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


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


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



Those who are alive and remain

are warriors.

-JBHarris, June 2022