30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 24: Graveyard Love

In the quiet of my nights

I get out of your ashes

I got the pieces of you

the time or lies

couldn’t take every dress

towards marvel at

how deep they are

and how I have not

died more than once

over loving you over

waiting for you aching

for you through

open dried envelopes

and all text messages

and emails

still the way

with I love use

written all over them

and threw them

the deepest parts

of my hungry as

desired late beer

in the language of

my mothers and

I wonder how

and wonder

why this love

didn’t kill me

when you have a chance

-JBHarris, September 2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 23: Garden Poem

There was a wise man

who said

I would rather be a warrior

in a garden

than a gardener in the war

when I was a young woman

a little little girl

we were taught

the nursery rhyme of

Mary Mary quite contrary

how does your garden

grow

well they don’t tell you

is that Mary had to be

contrary to make their garden grow

so well

she had a break up ground

she had identify

and dig out Weeds

And some thing

she had to let grow

together in opposition

before she ripped up

what might’ve been good

a woman’s heart is the same

to be contrary in order

to grow

nowI being a love poet

in the time of war

a warrior in a garden

whom is constantly

at war I put down

The ho to pick up

the sword on a daily basis

I wonder what seeds

can grow from the soil

as I go through the narrow

barefoot

hat down to keep

the sun out of my face

light colors to reflect

the heat of the sun

like my grandmother

and her grandmother

and her grandma

before her

knee deep in the dirt

and all the other ugly things

that the world has thrown

upon me and inside this garden

by which I now have control over

fencing put up

the scarecrow put up

to ward away all those

who wish to feast on

what I have put time

And love and blood into

then I see the tomatoes

come up

the hot peppers

Soon after

they change color

from green to red

and then I see

the roses that need

tending to the need

the most love and

I wonder if I have enough

in me to make them bloom again

-JBHarris, April 2022

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 21: Ain’t No Lemonade

I find it funny when men say

that I’m bitter.

I’m not bitter, I’m tired

I’m tired of

having my time played

with, my body use

my heart exposed

my body betrayed–

I’m not bitter, I’m tired.

I’m tired of the

assumption being that

I’m always gonna

be there for you

and you never there

for me but if you are

there for me it could

only be in these

capacities by which

you can count

between your index

and your thumb

I’m not bitter, I’m tired

I’m tired of phone calls

that don’t come

dates which never arrive

and children you never see

I’m not bitter, I’m tired

I’m tired of the rebuilding

I’m tired of telling my heart

that we can’t do this again

I’m tired of my mind

to be like Mrs. Smith

on that one couch

in that one movie

where she looked

at the ceiling with tears

she sucked back into her

soul when she said

you don’t love him

I’m not bitter I’m tired

I’m tired of having

this love inside of me

so deep

so rich

so real

and I have no one

to give it to other

than pen and paper

my children

for the love of my God

for the protection of my people

I’m not bitter, I’m tired

and like any other girl

who listens to her mother

with the wisdom

of her father

I have learned to go

Where I am wanted

Lusted and celebrated.

I don’t have enough

Sugar to make lemonade.

That’s a sugar only

Beyonce has.

-JBHarris, April 2022

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 20: Cape Burning At The End Of The World

I am a Black woman

mother-Black

father-Black

past present and future

all draped in Black

In the mundane reality

from being one of the 91%

to stop the world

from burning down

to being seen

as the attack dog

of all oppressors–

I often wonder

what would happen

if black women

stopped coming?

If we stop

being the ones

to lay track only

to be hit by the trains.

if we were

to stop being

the gas

To power trucks that

Pass us

The wind which powers

the ships to sail

being the coal that

you burn

in order to get the oil–

what would it

look like for black women

to…stop?

to let the comet hit

to let the bomb blow up

To let Yall bleed out

let the bills Go unpaid

the children be unfed

Unprotected,

unloved

strayed

and dirty–

what would happen

if black women just…stopped?

just quit —

without explanation

to do the thing that

Our slave mothers

and Recent grandmothers

could never do —

quit without apology

or fear of death.

To walk away

from everything

that business which

Never service us

love unreturned

job unrequited

the being underpaid

as well as overlooked

Being the stabilizers

of all things

in the universe

being both black

and woman–

being both seen

and unseen

what would happen

if we just let everything go?

Like the balloons

From tired, cranky

Children at that

Are too tired

From a fair

Too tired to walk any further

what would happen

if we let you all

wish for us

only to hear us

drinking from crystal

Glasses with red lipstick

Our mothers told us

To get grown enough

To wear,

Drinking top shelf liquor

To hear our voices

in the wind

when we say

I told you so

JBHarris, April 2022

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 19: Cape Burning At The End of The World

I am a Black woman

mother-Black

father-Black

past, present, and future

all draped in Black

In the mundane reality

from being one of the 91%

to stop the world

from burning down

to being seen

as the attack dog

of all oppressors–

I often wonder

what would happen

if Black women

stopped coming?

If we stop

being the ones

to lay track only

to be hit by the trains.

if we were

to stop being

the gas

To power trucks that

Pass us.

The wind which powers

the ships or boats to sail–

being the coal that

you burn

in order to get the oil!

What would it

look like for Black women

to…stop?

To let the comet hit!

to let the bomb blow up!

To let y’all bleed out!

let the bills

Go unpaid

the children be unfed

Unprotected

Unloved

Strayed

and dirty–

what would happen

if Black women just…stopped?

just quit —

without explanation

to do the thing that

Our slave mothers

and recent grandmothers

could never do —

quit without apology

or fear of death.

To walk away

from everything

that business which

Never service us

love unreturned

job unrequited

the being underpaid

as well as overlooked

Being the stabilizers

of all things

in the universe

being both Black

and woman–

being both seen

and unseen

what would happen

if we just let everything go?

Like the balloons

From tired, cranky

Children at that

Are too tired

From a fair

what would happen

if we let you all

wish for us

only to hear us

drinking from crystal

Glasses with red lipstick

Our mothers told us

To get grown enough

To wear,

To hear our voices

in the wind

when we say

I told you so

-JBHarris, April 2022

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 18: Sisyphus Was A Black Woman

Mama Pope said, “Damn shame being a Black woman…”


I just I just want to know dear world
And the inky black universe
how is this all black women’s fault?
us being the mothers of creation
the kings of our on making
the bread winners
hog slayers
world righters
Those who save the superhero
Without hairs out of place
—how is all of this our fault

As if we hold keys to
all the gates, opening all nine realms of hell —how is this all our fault?

How is this our fault
When we we have hidden bruises
Pay stubs,
Past due bills and degrees
masked egos sexed you back into power wipe the crust out of your eyes and put a pep back in your step—
how is this our fault?

Was it not good enough
for us to lighten our skin
Change eye color
Hush when your spoke
Cum when you stroked
straighten our hair
to hold on for ten years promises
and for 20 year old lies
was it not good enough for us to sacrifice all that we were
for all that you will become
only for you to wipe your feet
on us to tell us we are not enough!

To curse the daughters of your own making, abandon the sons who never
Know the word father
to leave us in beds and alone
to have us only remember
the whisper of:

if you just try hard enough and choose better this will stop happening to you.

How is this our fault?

how how is this our fault when we are the most educated group in the entire nation!

How was this our fault
when were thrown the fire,
how is it our fault that we did not die?

From the ancestral to the modern
to these continuous
dinosaurs of white supremacy that we continue to fight
And survive bullets by night
the world seems to be remarked
and dumbfounded when the rock that we have pushed up the mountain goes down the other side— and crushes all those in our path!

Tell us—we’re sitting up now
straight hair and Afros
beaded or braided or
slick down and Bob cut or shaved bald like the Dora Milaje, mouths painted
Red with our mothers blood in us
And empowered by the fathers
Who knew we would meet boy-men
Like you…

we are listening because we got to hear this.

Again how is this our fault?

-JBHarris, April 2022

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 17-When They Call You A Bitch On The Internet

When they call

You a bitch on the

Internet they always

Do it from screens

With emojis or tactless gifs

They seek to ruin your

Day with a word

Designed to identifying

An unruly fox, dog or a

Wolf.

They seek to occupy

Space in our head you

Cannot afford to rent

And reopen wounds

Under skin tougher

Than under your feet.

These mobs of

Faceless beta males

And even more co-signing

Women complicit in their own

Oppression have no idea

What it means, what it feels

Like to be called a bitch.

A dog.

Less human.

More primal.

More loud.

More controlled.

What the world wants

Is more quiet moment,

More subdued women

The one who will

Smoke and curse when

No one will

See it,

Eat to soothe

heart deep aches

And spend wallet

and body

On what

she cannot afford.

Her voice is a rude

to people who think

she is too loud

to be heard

is to present–

to be respected

in a way too big

for the for the

space that she occupies!

so the way

that you knock her down?

is to call her

The thing which

crawls on four legs.

the thing that scavengers…

rather thing that hunts.

when they call

you a bitch on the Internet

that means that

they have no power over you–

No power to stop you

In your every day life–

so since they

cannot stop you,

they will humble you

and from humbling to

hobbling you …

But in the hobbling

you learn to walk

on your hands

because you cannot

be stopped and

will not be stopped

And your roar is just with they fear

(c) JBHarris, January 2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 16- Lie In The Lullaby

This piece will also be included in The Death of Peter Parker & Other Fairy Tales (June 2022).

Lie In The Lullaby

I loved you even

when you lie to my face

I loved you when

I waited for dawns-

the mornings that never came

I lied when

I told you I slept well without you

I lied when I told you that I never loved you

Drinking vinegar as honey

knowing that the hands

I craved wrapped around and under my body

Would no longer want me

Longing for the impostor

who could never be me

Betrayal most perfect–

Having her body

With my face.

Such dark tricks

are the favorite of demons

I looked for the water in the rock

because you were the God of my body

Lord of my flesh

I willed any other diety from me

because I wanted all space

to belong to you

I was all yours.

and disciple

and wife

and lover–

mother of the world

that we were creating

Unlike the God of my soul

Whose Son walked

on water for me

will leave the 99 for me

you were the one who ate the sheep.

-JBHarris, 2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 15: Altar Call

Normalize the Divinity of Black women

normalize the struts

the color and shape of

Lip, mouth and hip

normalize what it means to be Black.

Black, brown and honey-colored

in the color of walnut

and even the color of midnight sky–

normalize what it means

to speak when spoken to

and needed to–

Things which must be

changed, may only be

because of her presence: things seen and unseen

Normalize what it means

to have your swag be unstoppabl

and you’re code switch impeccable

but in a place by which

Black is clearly king

normalize space looking like you–

filled with people like you–

and the doors open for more people

like you and normalize

what it means to

turn the world upside down

And in to make it Black!

normalize what it means

to be in Melaninated skin

with hands up for worship

and praise break.

Change legacy,

Change stations and

to be on every station!

Normalize what it means

to be Black because

to be Black is to encompass

all things from

mathematical tools to

the greatest inventions to

the greatest notes from the

13 that are given

and the most dope phrases

any emcee could ever utter

No–

whiteness has no place here.

It does not have the strength.

It does not have the weight

it does not have the

swiftness of thought

to encompass all that Black contains!

We have been the beginning

and will be at the end

for our children are

seeds, our tears have been

rain and our range

has become ocean and storm

cleans a land of what no longer

needs to be there you say

we are ancestral

we are the

I am in the I am is within us.

JBHarris, April 2021