Tag: life

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!

WEAR RED

May 5th is MMIW Day. I am not a Native/Indigenous woman, but I support Native/Indigenous women. This piece is dedicated to Native/Indigenous women who survive, who thrive, and whom we are all looking to bring home. -JBH

Image taken from Vogue.com

If oppression

had a color

it would be red–

to tell you when

to stop,

how to be,

to tell

you where you

cannot go–

to erase you.

By making you

unapproachable.

There are women

whom are

my mirror on

this land that

was both stolen

from them and

was chained to me.

I look for them.

Remember them

because their face

is my face!

Being seen and unseen.

I will wear read

to be seen!

I will wear red to look.

I wear red to

remind myself

that they, too,

are my sisters.

I will never forget.

Neither will I

abandon them.

I will always wear red.

-JBHarris, May 2022

The Miles Matter-Part 4: Why This Cannot Wait

Addendum: For more talk of Miles, the MCU, representation and all matters of hero support (if you know, you know!), please follow the Don’t Make This Weird Podcast hosted by Greg Howard, Jr. The show airs April 20, 2022. The title of the show is called (funny enough) “Hero Support“. Thanks for everything, Greg. -JBHarris

For the past four weeks, I have asked for your attention as it relates to my campaign for representation. For the last four weeks, I have poured my heart out (and some of my rage) towards why it is so important to have Miles Morales be more than a ghost in the MCU. He deserves to me more than something whispered about in forums, living through hashtags and spoilers on the innerwebs.

Miles Morales deserves to be more than something that we can say, “Well, one day it’ll happen.” That one day is here! Why? If there can be 3 Spider-Men in a movie, 5 actors to have donned the Cape and Cowl, and a redemption arc for Tony Stark, RiRi Williams about to headline Disney+–Where is Miles Morales?

I don’t want to hear anything about the name throwing people off–that is semantics at this point. There are Spider-Men, Spider-Girls, Scarlet Spiders–even Spider-Carnage!–in this world known as Marvel Comics!

It is not longer good enough to relegate the Black fandom to scraps to silence us! We cannot be, and we will not be!

All I have seen during my time as Black, Black woman, cis-het Blerd, is that characters whom are usually DAW (depicted as White), moving from that source material where whiteness is centered to the dimming and erasure of all others–they (the racist fandom) don’t want to have that worldview challenged! It’s selfish! That selfishness if reflected in the culture: centering of whiteness, minimizing of the opinions of other people, false sense of superiority where mediocrity is seen as grandeur.

It is in hope, I say this:

We of the Black fandom are tired of being erased, dimmed, and told to stop complaining. We know representation is equality, it is fairness, it is just and we are owed it! For those of us whom have to piece together their history, you will not minimize our effect on culture. Miles is as much ours as he is Marvel’s! He belongs to us too–so give him back to us.

Give him to us NOW.

The Miles Matter-Part 2: Value

I have a had a long-standing love affair with this character–this dichotomy of Peter Parker and his hero alter, Spider-Man. I mean, in following the timeline of my own life, I was dating the most horrible man when the first Sony Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire was released in 2002. I was 21 then. At the time the third installment of Spider-Man was released, I was married, and pregnant with my first child. And what better way to bookend this love affair than with my teenage daughters, as a twice divorcee.

From Tobey. To Andrew. To Tom.

And Tobey is still a favorite–for obvious reasons.

As much as I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, I still left much like an aunt looking for her nephew. I felt like a sister looking for her brother. And now–I feel like a mother looking for her son. That part roars because it is much less about me, and my desire for representation–it is for my children, grandchildren and other children whom still don’t see their faces on screen.

Representation still matters! Having one incredible Black-centered movie isn’t enough when cinema has only be around for about 100 years! I mean, as of next year the ‘prestigious’ academy is only 95 years old! And how many winners of those Academy Awards have not been White?

G’head! Google it! I’ll wait!

If there can be hashtags created in favor of Andrew Garfield being Spider-Man again for the Amazing Spider-Man 3 (I think the hashtag is #ASM3), where is the hashtag for Miles?! Where is Miles Morales?!

With this movie kicking open the door for the multiverse (clearly there are three Spideys!), and clearly the source material offers many other Peters (any BOY are there alot of them!), is making a Miles Morales movie a…risk?

There are a generation of children whom look like Miles, whom are waiting on Miles.

So, where is he?

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 10

I am an avid lover of fruit, and trying my best to eat better and take care of myself. But, here I am hating kiwi.

I don’t like kiwi! I don’t like kiwi because it confuses me! It is brown, fuzzy, and green on the inside, only to be full of seeds! What is this, Lord?! And you want me to eat this–WHY? No, I cannot commit to eat a fruit that I cannot be sure should not be used in an ancient summoning rite?

No.

I will stick with my strawberries.

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 9

My mother told me that “you have good genes.”

As a Black woman, I expected nothing less. No one looks at me and thinks that I am 40, soon to be 41. I drink my water, I have now committed to skin care, and a good night cream. I wear sunglasses, neither do I drink or smoke. I laugh often, and enjoy sex (it hits different after 40, trust me).

But, with all this new confidence in and at age 40, I understand that time is precious, and also because of my age, I am no longer considered young. Or youthful. And I am old enough to have a daughter 20 years younger. It’s weird though! I don’t feel old. So, I don’t know what it will be to be old.

I think that all the ‘old women’ are some of the most incredible people I have ever known! The fact that I can be discriminated against because I have lived?! That seems beyond unfair! In a culture that values everything instant, readily available and renewable–it would make sense that it doesn’t value time or age.

I am aging. I accept that–with deep sighs though! But there is that love hate relationship there! I am humble enough to know I don’t know everything, but confident in what I know because I’ve lived through some amazing nonsense! Ageism isn’t a wise believe pattern–it really isn’t.

I refuse to fault a woman (or a man for that matter!) for living…that seems dumb. Why would I fault someone for something that I, myself, do every single day–age.

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 8

I am a bibliophile.

Dedicated. Bibliophile.

My library is in three places–physical books, Audible books, and my Kindle. So when it comes to books, I am thinking of what it means to say “I didn’t like this book.” But if I had to define that, it would have to be Merrick by Anne Rice. The reason why I didn’t like this book is complex! I love that Anne Rice included BIPOC people in her expansive universe, but I hated that she just abandoned Merrick!

As a Black woman whom is a horror fan, for her to see ME in this universe, only to have Merrick as powerful as she was, to just GO AWAY? That is a deep hurt and injustice. With her passing away in December of 2022, I never got to ask her why.

A book that I love is by Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother To Give Birth. I love this book because of it’s honesty, and the crafting that Shire gives in her poetry. There is a power to a poet who can do this–I see this in Sunni Patterson’s work as well. Being able to draw you in, keep you there, remind you that you never need to leave.

I love this book because Warsan’s honesty is as melodic as it is beautiful. As a Black woman, that is always needed and necessary.