Tag: legacy

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!

NEW WORK-50 DAYS OF NIGHT (Coming soon!)

I know we are about 4 months from Halloween, but as the benevolent being I am, I wanted to announce this work soon to come starting September 12, 2022!

As a horror fan who desires more representation of the melaninated, this project will be a set of 50 short stories—one story per night for 50 nights. The 50th night ending on Halloween—as my writer girlfriend Tonia says is Goth Christmas.

For this project there will be vampires, Reapers, werewolves, witches and all matter of other mischief of my own making.

I will give you this teaser—you will need to follow every night, otherwise you will be lost! Remember, I wanted you.

I am excited to bring this work to you, I am so proud of it, and I believe you all will love it too!

Stand As Ten-Thousand

white women we see you

from how you touch our hair as if we are some foreigner animal and then tan to have skin like us, and call us dirty?

white women we see you

we see you on how you teach your sons to never to touch our daughters but yet your fathers have children who look just like us

white women we see you

we see how you go to voting booths and claim sisterhood and then vote for interest in power that mirror the power that you have been so accustomed to that you are afraid to be without because then that would make you not special-

we see you how you look at our sons

and then cry when they have done

nothing wrong except exist in a space that you thought a black child should not be in-

white women we see you

we see how you excuse your sons to take the rifles of their fathers and grandfathers and then exterminate people as if they are roaches in the kitchen.

White women, we see you.

and then you are mad because we are loud, and yielding in equality of both fought and promised, but you have contempt for us?

white women we see you

we see how you have disgrace the memory of our foremothers whos milk was in forefathers mouths miles as if she were some dumb cow-

White women, we see you.

you see, we have always seen you

we have always been taught of your monstrous natures and to be told or seen

You see this allyship that you want?

Is not easy—wounds generations deep and you all have banded together at every turn for the sake of your own power-

like your fathers and grandfathers and patriarchs before you too desire to write your face across everything that has color in it thinking by doing so do you indeed have conquered would they have not.

And in true fashion

and a true form

we see you

from from ancestral bloodlines

Heavenly windows

Over office cubicles

to the way you cry to HR when we don’t speak to you when we come in in the morning because you cannot conceive that life has not always been subject to you

white women, we see you

It was the mothers of our mothers who taught us her daughters—the real witches who survive being burned, who survive being lynched, skinned, sexed, sold, in and made to be wench and Mammie-to talk to smile while dying on the inside—the matches struck so the heat can pass through time and blood to the unnamed us whom where coming—and now here.

Fend for yourselves.

-JBHarris, 9.5.2021

The End Of An Era

Please pick up a copy of THOUGHTS IN A PANDEMIC on Amazon. Click here to grab it.

Grimy shoes, warn out badge and a global pandemic. But I made it. TGBTG.

I am the daughter and goddaughter of nurses. I am a writer with a day job as a CNA. I am a mother who is a writer, whose day job was a CNA. My last day as a CNA was May 26, 2021. My last position was at a local hospital, and I started there at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I can tell you this–I have worked in Level 1 Trauma Hospitals and Medicaid facilities. I can tell you this was something I never would have believed had I not been thought it in these cranberry colored scrubs.

When I started, I thought I wouldn’t survive it. Honestly, I was scared. I had children that needed me, and a marriage that was ending. All I could do was call my mother–whom was as nurse when AIDS hit. I was meticulous about my house cleaning, laundry, and wearing my masks at work and when I left work. I even thought about nursing school again! I even got accepted.

Then, the aches started. The pains were more insistent. There was no staff on my floor. There was management that didn’t care, and I heard management talk about how they ‘were tired of all these protests’ , and ‘I’m tired of hearing about Black Lives Matter.’ Then, my heart flutters started. Again. And the stress of this job was getting to me. Being the supergirl at work was making me tired–and making me ill!

I wasn’t here for my kids, and for the want of money–I was going to try to do nursing again. For them.

My final nights at work…whoo whee.

My best friend has been trying to get me off the floor for the past 5 years, as of this month, I have been a CNA for 7 years. And through her tenacity, and my education, I started a new gig.

At a desk.

During daylight hours.

And my kids see me when I am awake and aware! In moving into this side of healthcare, I am humbled. I am scared. I am now at a place where I can work on my writing and have a life as well. I can say now, with confidence, I am a retired CNA. I am a retired CNA.

This profession–and it is a profession!–has taught me more than people think it would! I have seen people at their worse, them dying, and at their absolute worst–and still have to care for them. It’s thankless, back-breaking, and we are not paid enough. Not nearly enough. For what it is I want to do, nursing can’t hold that. It cannot, and will not!

I am thankful for the new position. I am thankful for the new opportunities, and I am thankful that the Lord has freed me up in this manner to do what I need, what I must. Besides, I had ‘office hours’ for the hours between 10p-4p anyway! And now? I can have a writing schedule…like normal people.

Besides, there’s a story in this. Sure is!

For The Culture—Why DMX Matters

“To live is to suffer.” -DMX

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t wanna write this piece. Because I’m still quite upset that Earl Simmons is no longer in the world. I was a fan of DMX starting in high school in early college (late 1990’s, early 2000’s). I liked his gravely m voice, his linguistic dexterity, and he said exactly what he wanted to say! A trait every writer can get behind. But remember: rapping is still just poetry in its elements in at its function. Poems are just a form of quick storytelling – – so why would rap be any different?

And losing him, the world has lost something precious. We all know about the drug abuse, we know about all the kids, we know what the drama with his babies mothers—but he was talented!

He was worthy of love and to be appreciated just as he was. The one thing that makes me so irritated, that is so heartbreaking about his passing, is the world wanted to focus on his drug use, not his work. But this is always the case with Black artists who die before their primes—before truly realize their potential.

They are remembered for the tricks and traps of fame and fortune; those being used in trying to fill holes that they never fill, and didn’t cause. These traps are worse than anything the SAW universe could dream up!

But the one thing I can say that I miss about Earl Simmons, about DMX, is that they won’t be another one like him. And I’m glad things are being put in place now to put his work out. To release or we release songs in certain cases things to Swizz Beats.

Black artists matter. Rest in peace, Earl.

Did I Tell You About The Time I Almost Got Catfished?

Dating is dangerous, family!

In February 2020, I talked about how discouraged (read: afraid) I was to start dating after the ending after of this last relationship. Then…I got on Facebook Dating on a whim. Your favorite was (almost!) the victim of a catfish. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I got brave and made a profile on Facebook Dating. I made one before, starting trying to date someone—and that fizzled as quickly as it started. After random men offering lackluster and fervent sexual favors, this guy calling himself Kenvy inboxed me.

This handsome somebody I am positive didn’t inbox me.

I admit it:  he was handsome. He was sweet! But something wasn’t right. Now, I am a fan of the Alice In Wonderland live action movie. There is a portion of the movie, near the end, where before Alice can defeat the Jabberwocky, she has to believe 6 ‘impossible things’. Now, I had to notice those same impossible things in order to not be swept up in nonsense.

This dude, Kenvy, told me that he was a “USA Marine” and he was in Africa at the moment (Impossible Thing #1). No Marine I know says he’s a USA Marine.

This dude told me that he had a daughter named Berry (Impossible Thing #2) and her mother was not in her life. (Impossible Thing #3). We talked for two days, and he kept repeating himself (Impossible Thing #4). He sent me pictures, and asked me to download WhatsApp—I did. I mean, my best friend is on it! The app is free, too! So, I acquiesced because he was cute.

Aside A: This is the fly in the ointment, with me and ‘Kenvy’. I’m a writer. I am a student of history. I also have been researching romance scams for the past couple years. I am also fan of the MTV show Catfish. I am also a year from 40. I am not that easy to fool.

Harpo, who this man?!

Note: The pictures sent to me include a child who is probably his daughter. I don’t feel comfortable sharing them. He might be an active Marine. I pray his safety for him and his daughter.

We exchanged pictures. He told me after talking to me two days that I was what he wanted (Impossible Thing #4A). Kenvy told me that I was beautiful, and he could see himself getting serious with me (keep in mind, we were only talking like 2 days—Impossible Thing #5). In sending him pictures, he even started dedicating songs to me! Bruh, slow up! One of those songs being Perfect by Ed Sheeran (Impossible Thing #6)!

Curiouser and curiouser…

Keep in mind Perfect was a song that has significant meaning—by someone incredible (It’s a Peter Parker song, but let’s move on.)! But let’s keep going. The whole conversation felt rushed! I asked him when his deployment would be over. He said, “Next month.” At the time it was late April—the month of May was in literal DAYS. When I pressed for details, he couldn’t give any (Impossible Thing #7). I asked why I couldn’t hear his voice—he told me some BS reason that was so convoluted that even I can’t match it (Impossible Thing #8). He said the reason why he couldn’t call me was because it wasn’t safe or secure (Okay, maybe.). Then, he asked if I would be willing to give him my number to give to his commanding officer to have it be verified (Hell Nall! Impossible Thing #9 and #10). WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE?!

So, all my antennae are up at this point! I can’t hear his voice, sentence structure is off, he’s repeating himself, and the pictures he sent don’t jive with where he is supposed to be in the world. My immediate thought: I am being catfished.

Wanna know what I did next? I waited on him to ask me for money. I felt that was coming and my intuition rarely fails. In two days, this cat is talking about marrying me, kids, and wanting to always be here for me.

Aside B: I am secretly fascinated by romance scams! I have been researching them for a while, because I wanted to know just how victims are sucked in! From that research, from that second hand knowledge, I was prepared. I. Was. Prepared.

He texted me through this shady ass app, and the dread was in my belly. I knew it was coming—this man only an illusion. But then, I realize what hooked these other women—attention. The overwhelming attention when there is nothing else granting it to you!

Then, he had it: the audacity! He asked me to send him $200 on a eBay gift card to pay his Wifi (Impossible Thing #11). He said he would pay me back “when I get home (Impossible Thing #12).”

I told him to never contact me again. I told him how dare he ask me to send him $200?! He seemed hurt and confused, but he left me alone. Then, I felt the dread. Wondering about the pictures I sent, about whether my picture will be in this scam next time…and that person not be as smart.

Feeling stupid has a frequency, and other consequences…beyond screens.

In The Letting Go

For the sister I didn’t know I needed—Jahaira Balenciaga (DeAlto).

It took me a week to write this. It took that long to write this because I am still processing all of it. I am actively, equally outraged, heartbroken and in rolling disbelief. The woman I had watched on YouTube for the better part of a decade, who I connected with through the gift of social media–for the better part of a decade–was murdered in her house because she was helping a woman leave her husband.

I am devastated. And here is why.

I was introduced to Jahaira through the YouTube channel MuchLove From KY (Ms. Nina!) who I love like an Aunt also. I liked Jahaira because she was funny, smart, and she changed her hair like I did! I didn’t even know Jahaira was trans until disclosed that. Now, was I raised to be homophobic or transphobic? Not at all. So, Jahaira being trans, was a small part of who she was. What endeared Jahaira to me was her authenticity, her love for the people around her, and her steady committment to make the world a better place.

I followed her YouTube channel (JahairasMission) for years! I celebrated when she got her associates degree. I rejoice when she enrolled in Simmons University to finish her bachelors degree. I was so happy we won her award! She was doing so much good in the world and to have her life snuffed out like this? It is so unfair.

I am reminded of the statistic that she gave when excepting her MOVA award about 3 years ago now. She said that the average age that trans women get to especially transwomen of color get to, is only 35. At the time of her passing, Jahaira was 42,43 years old.

Foolishly, I thought that she was passed that danger point! I thought that she had made it over so to speak. And that all the good in the world that she was aiming to do, the children that she helped raise, the love and legacy that she left—she was going to be able to be one of those trans women they got to see old age and seen the reward of all her hard work. I wanted that for her…

It is being reported out of Dorchester, that The person that murdered her was actually staying with her! He’s now in custody, and I am enraged!

I have been watching her videos on YouTube for a week because my mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that this woman that I knew, who had gone through so much, who was destined to do so many good things is GONE!

It is being reported out of Dorchester, that she was murdered by the estranged husband of the woman she was trying to help to leave him. He wound up killing Jahaira and his estranged wife!

This ain’t right. This isn’t fair. And I don’t know how I’m coping. I can only imagine how her mother feels! Jahaira DeAlto is the 21st trans woman to be murdered this year. Yeah, even in all of my grief and anger, I’m choosing to do the very thing Jahaira reminded us all as her sub tastics told us do: LIVE.

And with that four letter word, let that be her legacy. She encouraged us all to live and live unapologetically. Owning every last piece of our truth, embracing every flaw that we have, and celebrating every victory!

See you one of the other side, Jah.

Deep, Still Waters

There’s magic in the water

I’ll make you hunger and thirst for righteousness you have never sampled

for a goddess is who is brown as earth

and loud as thunder once you master crescendos who hides orchestras inside of her belly as you begin to be key in her lock

I will show you the world

with your eyes closed

and just how marvelous your world

can be once you find the right tempo

I can give you

what you’ve only dreamed of…

what you thought you could never have…

I can give you all you see…

I am night

I am power,

I am rhythm and blues,

I am hives of honey,

With all lips made from sugar.

There is no need

To give the unworthy

Or lazy such access to

Attention for my blessings…

Thick and rich as sunsets and moonlight.

No need to give samples

When ownership is what

Is called for…

because such power cannot be left unchecked

I am desire

I am more, and

I am comfort

I am storm.

I am all the ocean it washes away the cares of the day and yet I have chosen you…

-JBHarris, 1.3.3021