Tag: Black poets matter

Racism Killed Jackie Robinson

If Ms. Rachel Robinson ever sees this, we remember. We remember, Ms. Rachel.

42 is my birthdate backwards
just like it takes
four minutes for a man
to survive without oxygen
just like you have two hands
and one mouth so
you’re supposed to listen
twice as much as you speak
and you have 2 feet
and with the speed of the black panther played by a black panther,
gave us the immortality
that is number 42.

The husband of one woman,
the father to his own to his own son, and the leader ship and dignity of a people on broad black shoulders—
John Henry ain’t got nothing on Jack.

That Jack.
That Ebony, black Jack
Jack with the blue cap
with the B on it because
he knew he knew that the
baddest ones always come
from Brooklyn—

Be like the heart that
Was in his chest that
beat for us
that lifesblood
that came from every cut from
every slide
every name not his own
from from every sling
and arrow of
outrageous fortune
that he had to endure
in baseball cleats.

Just like the hands
that gripped bats,
that gripped pens
in order for him to
graduate from UCLA
in the 53 years that
he was able to walk
on 2 feet here
Head held high
like his mother Mallie
told him—

looking like
everything that we could
wish and hope for.

it was the invisible wall
that kept falling on him
that sped the clock faster
than his feet could
that took him from us
like wings of Eagles
that Isaiah talked about

and now in the shadow
of all things now,
and yet to come,
we remember,
and we would
also remember
what took him
we fight to not take us.

Racism killed Jackie Robinson.

-JBHarris, September 2022

As I Go

When I was

Called from

Eternity–

I was

Baptized by water

Then, fire.

-JBHarris, July 2022

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

Yessa…Massa.

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

Run–

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

NEW BOOK-Next Lifetime Things

Grab a copy on Amazon! The Kindle version is coming!

Thank you to Erykah Badu for Baduizm.

One of my favorite songs is, and may always be, Next Lifetime.

There is a honesty to this song, a wondering, and a realizing that while life is changing–so are you.

This collection of poetry was written about a year ago, and started with the work Reflections From A Back Porch Swing. This poetry collection tells of how my own body is aging and betraying me at points. I talk about the new relationship I accidentally fell into, and even the shifting nature of motherhood now.

Everything is happening, and I am in the everything! In this shifting levels of amazing, there is a peace I have found in these pieces. There is more of me in this work, as a realized, happy 41-year-old woman, than I ever had before.

This lifetime, this lifetime and next lifetime, is amazing!

National Poetry Month-2022

This will be the third year of doing this, and I get hype every year for it!

The work this year may be a little different, some published some not. There will also be the bonus of some work on my writer focused TikTok page: @shesgottapen2.5.

30 pieces here. 30 pieces there. Whew!

This year will be more intimate than the proceeding years. So much more has happened in the world, to me, and happening within me as I age.

All work can be found on Amazon by searching me as: Jennifer Bush-Harris and Jennifer P. Harris.

This will be most amazing, and I am here for it.

Here goes everything and Enjoy!

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

In The Meantime…

There is a writer girlfriend of mine, Jessie Sandoval, who said this: “St. Louis will either make you a warrior, or a poet.” Being one whom is a native of this town, this is absolutely correct.

In being raised in a city that is blatantly racist, that operates in systemic oppression where #FergusonIsEverywhere, writing was always my outlet. It was always my weapon, my tool, and my way out. The fact that I happened to write a good love poem every now and then, didn’t mean that my desire to burn down every oppressive tool and idol in Missouri went away!

At this point in time, I realize that both portions of my creativity are needed. With the most essential thing being that my heart needs to stay soft. That is the most revolutionary thing that happens to activists, and it feels like a magic trick! You have to be prepared to fight, and at the same time, protect your heart enough to see what is wrong around you to not become cyclic or apathetic!

That is what I am doing, dear ones. I am sure you may have heard the term “the iron fist in the silk glove”. I believe this applies to me more than I thought it would! I am learning that I have to be soft enough to draw in the people I need to protect, to love, and to serve, and strong enough to protect them.

I know I won’t get it right all the time, but I can’t quit. There is entirely too much at stake. James Baldwin reminds all writers to do their work so that, “When I am needed, I will be there.” This iron fist in a silk glove is just part of that work.

When The Pen Is As Sharp As The Sword

“Women are powerful and dangerous.” -Audre Lorde

What I have learned in this Level 40 of being Black and woman my heart is both a liability and an asset. I am loyal to a fault, and when I am done with a person, I am completely finished. What I find interesting is when people hear or know that you are a ‘love poet’, they assume you have no other passions than love, lust or sex.

No, not at all.

Through my maturity, aging, and personal activism, my concept of love has done two things: strengthened my ability to love and be reminded that be being passionate means I need to be able to confront what I see around me that is wrong.

As one whom is Black and woman, my concerns for my community, my family, the world at large fuel my activism in a way that love makes one bold, vulnerable and strong. The trickiest thing I have to keep in mind as my healing of mind and heart continue, is to keep my heart soft.

Again–my heart is an asset. It is a liability. It is mine.

I love hard. I am not afraid of commitment. I am afraid of becoming impervious–unwilling to be vulnerable again, because there is no safety to be such. That warrior in me and the lover in me take counsel in the words of another warrior-scholar, “Remember to use your genius, soldier, when nobody is around.”

February 2022 Overview

I am a love poet. What does that mean, exactly: It means that the subject of most of my poetry (which you can find on Amazon–click here) is about love and relationships. I’m a love poet!

I accept that. I’m cool with that.

Then, there is that matter of wanting to change the world, fight injustice, dismantle white supremacy, protect Black women and girls, speak to the king in Black men and boys, and wants to see the world better by the time I leave it! Some of that requires me to put down love and pick up sword. But, that is the trick!

It is because of love that I am able to pick up the sword.

It is because of love that I speak truth to power.

It it is because of love, that I believe the world can be–should be!–better when I leave it.

Yet–I am aware that because love is a power source, I cannot be limited to it’s ‘softer’ more romantic nature. The world I know maneuver through, raise my daughters in, and work in, is at war! The wars are on multiple levels, on multiple fronts, with continued loss of life.

February is a month that I get to examine this, and maybe we can all get free together.

Stop Weaponizing Non-Black Children To Gaslight Black Mothers With Their Children!

Anti-Blackness is real.

With this new found ‘success’ on TikTok (@whatjayesaid2.0), people seem to think that the same thought-provoking commentary was going to ease up! No, not at all!

This week, with seeing a mother whom I thought was White (turns out she was Mexican–and very fair), with her child crying on her lap crying, about how her classmate/friend, couldn’t come to her birthday party. Why? Her classmate was Black girl–with a vigilant Black mother!–was not going to be allowed to come to her birthday party.

While that is sad, as the mother of Black daughters, in a world that leaves a 23-year-old Black woman in her house dead, trying to protect them in world that either wants to kill/mimic/erase them? In a pandemic? I would have said the same thing! And what is that, you ask:

No, you cannot go over the house of a little girl (Black or White, but especially not White), whose mother I do not know. No, and do not ask me again.”

But in looking at this video of this little girl on her mother’s lap, something else struck me about this. Rather than taking the time to reach out to this girl’s mother, it was more advantageous to embarrass her daughter’s classmate and gaslight her mother. Which…only proved this little Black girl’s mother’s point!

This woman weaponized the tears of her daughter, to ‘get’ back at a Black woman! It was important for this woman whom weaponized the tears of her child–for what, exactly? To the point that she went to the school board to tell on this Black girl’s mother (Follow the TikTok account @gordacorajuda for her breakdown–I shared the video on my account as well)!

Tell me you got drunk on White supremacy without telling me you got drunk off White supremacy.

The girl’s mother used her child to advance the cause of white supremacy using Karens’ number one tool: gaslighting.

It was never about any kind of racial harmony, unity or trying to stamp out racism! This is stems from the fact non-Black people trying believe they have the right to all aspects of Black people! This includes time, culture, and personal space.

A Black woman set a boundary. A non-Black woman didn’t like it, and tried to bring the world down her to hurt her. But I promise you: as this continues to play out, she will say she’s not the one who is racist! She has Black friends! How dare we say that about her!

Then, she’ll cry.

It never fails.

She has tasted what whiteness tastes like and cannot be trusted.

Book Project: TRADITIONAL WOMEN

If you haven’t already, follow @whatjayesaid2.0 on TikTok.

Whew! This book here!

In the year that I have been on TikTok, I have been a part of this social justice, pro-Black, womanism, and anti-racism.

I love it here. Sometimes.

But, it was when I got embroiled in relationship/Pick Me TikTok? Oh, baby! The talk of how bad women are, how we (as women) don’t love men, and how we (as women) need to be more ‘traditional’.

Hmph. Then, I thought of what exactly is a traditional woman. Why? I didn’t know any! From that conversation, came stories like this:

Oh, this is a mild one! Trust!

WHOA!

If anything, stories like this remind me that (1) the idea of a traditional women is steeped in white supremacy and (2) women are completely incredible! There is nothing traditional about women.

From that, came the LOVE OR WAR series on my page. It is 130 stories…and growing! Stories from or about women from all walks of life—told by the children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of those same women!

As of December 31, this book will be compiled into an ebook available on Kindle!

In doing this, I believe I am honoring their maternal ancestors. Besides, some of these stories are too good not to share.