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

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 14: Thoughts In A Mirror

I want to go home to my mother

in the land with my fathers rules benevolent

in lands that were wide and gold..

I want to go home where the sun

is a shade of black

I want to go home to

my cousins and my aunts

Uncles, my nieces and nephews

lost the time and chance and I want to embrace them

as only family can

So they can see their cousin

Their niece their daughter

from long across the sea

Through time magic

And will

has come home —

changed and weathered, yes

but home

and I am afraid the when

my feet touch shores that my grandparents

were stolen

from that they may not

know who I am

-JBHarris, 9.18.21

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 13: Mama’s Gun Is In Her Purse

My best friend told me to get a gun for protection

she said, “The world is crazy!”

she said it looking around,

I couldn’t help but remember exactly

how crazy the world was–

even as soon will be.

My sister told me to get a gun

to keep it in my purse.

keep it with me

like I do my lipstick, my mirror, and my car keys.

keep it by me with me always

so in case

I need to defend myself

from the world that itself determines

to superimpose itself on me.

my sister told me to get a gun

and keep it in my house–

keep it locked up tight!

keep it for when somebody

tries to break in on me

and I can defend myself

and all those who

I hold dear to me

my best friend–

told me to get a gun

realizing that it has to be

small enough to

fit inside my bag

and you can still be

small enough to hide

from my children,

and any grandchildren

I may have.

I told my love I was

going to get a gun and

he said, “you need to let me show you how to use it. “

because he doesn’t want me hurt.

my best friend told me to get a gun

because Brother Malcolm said

that the most unprotected person

in this nation are the women

who look like me…

at the intersection of Black and woman

with eternity at her back and future in her belly

I am both threat and conquest and prey.

But praytell where do the strong go with the stronger come after her?

Perhaps this is why my grandma meant when

she said, “Have a nice day”.

because peace indeed is steel.

-JBHarris, 10.2.2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 12-Cherry Pop

Note: This work will be in Next Lifetime Things. –JBH

I want him.

I want him deep inside me

Where breath becomes water

And oceans are born

Beneath you both.

The skill of being opened

And filled,

Plied by the hunger of his hands

Moving me into him,

Back on to him,

On top and underneath him…

Because I want him.

Badly.

I want the deep,deep places

Unlocked—

My mind and body linked

And willing following along

Gold tracks where touch

Is wanted…

Where fingerprints are

Etched deeper than kisses.

I wanted him.

I need more of him.

My love, Take me home again.

-JBHarris, 10.25.2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 11: Reflection From the Back Porch Swing

He got me thinking about next lifetime things

Quiet things

Things that you catch in Mason jars on hot nights things

Greedy things

Grown women things

Red lipstick and talking fastThings

Things that fast the girls do with their

Mouths and thighs things

He got me thinking about what it will be like to wake up to him every day things

he got me running around trying to stay fine things

He got me wondering in the sunshine things

He got me wondering if I can really love him like I want to love him things

He got me thinking about how different it would be this time things

He got me thinking I might just love him things

He got me thinking about “do I got the strength for an us” things

start over again things

Late night call things

Early morning things

Making love in the shower things

Kisses in the back of church services things

Sneaking off and nobody is watching but only he can see things

Thinking about what it would be like to call his name like the angelic host things…

Then I smile

and drink my sweet tea

Catching those

Butterflies in my

Belly both he and the

Night put there

like a good Southern Belle should

-JBHarris, October 2021

30 DAYS OF JAYE-DAY 10: All Whom Wander

Note: This work will also be included in The Death of Peter Parker & Other Fairy Tales. -JBH

He says that he will offer me himself hole in pristine this affection long lasting and deep to still be mine to slap upon when ever I need him. I needed him in the ways that I pleaded for him to be all of me and all of him and all of us in this thing called together between the waiting in the waiting in the world and the last with us this skitter of time in space and place converging over and over over the course of decades willing one of us to either let go or make a decision to stay and I stayed I stayed and I prayed and I gave and gave over and gave into until I was under underwater that was fueled by my own tears wishing that he would see me underneath the waves of my own agony bending and rebuilding and becoming what he whispered I could be to him… Perfect. Perfect and beautiful and sexy and his and open and spread and and and and he said that when sleeping beauty first woke up she blink their eyes because she could not believe she was awake and not dead. But they don’t tell you is that while she was sleeping the world was much more quiet and there was none to bother her.

JBHarris, Feb 2022