Tag: Reflections

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!

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!

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

Left. Right. Front. Center.

“My authenticity comes the street, whether I’ve been there or not.” -Toni Morrison

One of the things that I love about writing as a Black woman is that I am writing as a Black woman! I have an eye that few people in the world do, or could ever conceive of having. Yet, for that cause, I am often overlooked–either because of race, gender or both. Yet, I am encouraged by the words of Shonda Lynn Rhimes–if I am a writer, I have to write. There is no other way around that! And if there is no path set, I make it!

I mean, my background for the social media was a tweet from her about “writers being lured” and her refuting that. Shonda said, “I am the candy.” And, I live and direct my writing life by that quote. I understand, uniquely even, that when I say something, three things will happen:

1.) It will be held as aggressive.

2.) I will be seen as complaining.

3.) I will be asking for attention I perhaps didn’t ask for.

As a Black woman that writes, I have had to develop a level of toughness backed by the acronym ISWIS: I Said What I Said. I have given myself the permission to “have the audacity” to say exactly what I said, like I said, when I said it. This does not mean that what I express is meant to wound, or vitriol and venom is all that I have to give to a situation. No, not at all! What I do know is when I say what I say, I need to mean it, while measuring my words if needed.

Yet, I write.

Yet, I hold space.

Yet, I will not be silent.

Yet, I STILL said what I said.

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.

Godmothers

I will summon

The queens of my blood

And the Father who made

Them strong—

And I will not fail.

-JBHarris, December 2021

Mood Forever: #IAmABlackWriter

Language is legacy.” -JBHarris


This is my mood forever.

My call, my job, my power, as a writer—a writer whom is Black—is to create in a place that does not wish to see me. Does not wish to see me rise, and thrives on me defaulting.

I will not be robbed of my pen, my power, because the mediocrity of whiteness cannot suffer the power and color blackness provides. I do not need whiteness to confirm my blackness!

I need my blackness to be seen just as readily, with just as much ease as whiteness. I will not bow to be seen by what is determined to erase me.