Wednesday, December 05, 2007

bless his heart...
he must have been an ugly baby

my life has been going at its usual hectic pace. kids. jobby jobs. freelance work. writing. car trouble. and everything in between. i’m not complaining. just testifying because i am shaking my clothes dry and now feeling the warmth of sun on my face.

this week, my jobby job has been the usual reception/admin gig at an office with heady types, mostly white men, who have been very kind and accommodating to the “temp.” (“you’re so good. very professional,” they remark, surprised like the job is… hard. some hover with eyes that languish in their bland other lives, in exchange for pleasantries with the new “pretty” face in the office.) i was supposed to be with the firm through the end of the year. but yesterday morning, i got an email offer to work on a dream of a project that is most certainly more interesting, more worth my time and a more dynamic career opportunity. (don’t get me wrong… i am humbled and grateful for all of the places and spaces i have been. i appreciate all of the kindness and the “friends” i’ve made.) but this… this is the one i’ve held out for. (allahu akbar. thank you universe!) but here’s the kicker-in-the-asser… at the height of my internal celebration, i shared with a few of the guys that i would not be here next week.
yt: well, congratulations but you have demographics on your side.
i hesitated, knowing full well what he meant but not wanting to go there.
me: you mean because there are so few people in the field?
yt: no, because you are a Black women.
he goes on to say that he’s basically just a white guy and that technology is filled with asians and white guys.
yt: so you should be a shoe in.

(i pause.)
me: oh, yeah… and because i’m qualified.
i made as graceful an exit as i could but i was suddenly nauseas and sweating under my clothes. in my "temp" skin, i couldn’t find my activist spiel about the changing face of racism and how his certainty about this "affirmative" action negates all of the work and study and natural talent i have as a writer and as an industry professional and that i was insulted at the insinuation, at the implication that i, a Black woman, did not earn/deserve my new position, that i was somehow chosen for reasons other than the one that mattered. i wanted to go against all of my positive energy training and call him out of his name. but i resigned to a “bless his heart” (what myval and i say when we see babies who unfortunately aren’t edibly cute and to people who can’t help their ugliness). so bless his heart.

the hater-guy's mexican counterpart came to me later, after overhearing the conversation. he congratulated me and shared that he would experience "the same thing" when he was coming into his own as a business man. "next time one of them says something like that to you," he smiles and says, looking me more square in the eye than even my father has, as he raises both fists in victory, "just look at him and say, well, yeah! and it's about [damn] time!"

anyway, i start monday! i think i'll take the kids to a movie to celebrate!

Friday, November 30, 2007

life is still a dream...

tomorrow begins the last month of 2007. it’s all gone by like wind; blustery some times, breezy at others. with this end, there are various beginnings and some really painful endings.

i was in california for the thanksgiving holiday. it would have been an amazing and deliciously blog-worthy trip filled with family, Love and ridiculous amounts of beef bacon (my fav), homemade macaroni and cheese, stuffing, turkey and CJ’s hot-water cornbread. instead, it was a weird mix of joy and devastation due to the sudden death of “Cousin” Erika.

hers is the third journeying i learned of by people under 40 in the past two months, two of whom died of “natural” causes. (there just seems something unnatural about dying that young.) after 2+ days of complaining of chest and leg pains, i am told erica passed as she prepared to go to the hospital for evaluation. it makes me frustrated that information and access to such basic information – that these are historically signs of stroke or heart attack – eluded her and the people around her the morning after thanksgiving when she passed. the drama that ensued after her death has yet to sort itself out but we are praying it will soon. she deserves prayer and memory. the rest at this point…

the final night of my visit was spent at KPFA radio in berkeley where legally blynd members (jubu and ronnie) and “fam” paid tribute to the late jimi hendrix. it was off the chain! the slide show below captures a little of it but the energy in the room was amazing... all of the talent... MAN! from there, sweetie and i grabbed my bags and headed to the airport for my red-eye back to my life in austin.

my graphic design jobs are slow going and present clients are slow paying this time of year. so, these days, i am working temp jobby jobs as much as possible. someday soon i hope to recover from unexpected expenses related to my aging car... not to mention rent still has to be paid, we still gotta eat, gas prices are still rising and my children who still NEED. so amid the 10 hour days, the 3-4 hour family time and the 4-6 hour freelance nights, i am also trying to return to the space of positive energy and intention that led to movement in my career. i haven’t read a book in weeks and i feel starved for creative time and attention. (where is my MUSE?!?!?)

this month, i have to start planning for the SAAW 2008, and get to working on my show. (yes, y’all, i have a show coming up.) i will be working with to create a custom blog to document the progress of it. picture it… me under the skilled and strict direction of florinda bryant and the constructive guidance of amanda johnston… my words… dance… percussion and strings… ahhh… THAT’s a dream. stay tuned…

so much Love,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

life is but a dream...

moments ago, i clicked away arduously at an entry that detailed my more than fabulous trip to cali (LA and Oakland, with sweetiebubu, my dad and brother, my nephew, Aya DeLeon, James Cagney, Amiri Baraka, the TV pitch, the screenplays and every other larger than life experience). but about a paragraph away from "send," iExplore had an error and sent all of that language into cyber-oblivion.

so i took a moment to realize that that was not what i was meant to post then i reorganized and added a bunch of "Skegee" folk to my myspace "top" friends. (those that i am in contact with anyway.) i learned within the bliss of the past 2 weeks, the end of my 37 day birth-day celebration, that two of my CLOSEST guy-friends from Tuskegee class of '93, left this life for the next. so rather than prattle on and on about the somethings and the nothings that have filled my life with such joy and pain, i dedicate this last in my birthday celebration series to the memories of Christopher Talib Price and Julius "Jules" Whaley... who filled my life with joy and pain. i am SO grateful for the memories that they left me with. Chri-is was COOL people. always made me laugh. and i was the only one he would let drive his bug because i could drive a stick. JULES, which i remember saying in the same way they said NORM when the character enteres "Cheers," was our emerging revolutionary. he was gentle and kind. both brothas were just BEAUTIFUL people. Jules and i had reconnected through the magic of myspace within the last six months (i think) but i was elated to have shared a few more smiles with him. i never ran into Chris beyond Skegee but i understand he was absolutely the man i imagined he'd become.

i hope they both know now what i hope they knew then. that i am grateful to have loved them as friends and as human beings. my prayer is that the people they left behind find as much celebration in the memory of their lives as they might feel in the pain of their passings.

if you are reading this, know that i love you for it and that i am grateful for your time and attention. there are no promises that we will ever meet or meet again. but we should experience joy in each interaction. and walk away with a little more love than we walked in the room with.

love and love and more love to Chris and Jules and their families...

to my Skegee folks

to my Oakland Tech folks

to my family... to my communities...


always LOVE,

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting." --Kahlil Gibran

(also posted at

Monday, October 15, 2007

37 Days/ 37 Ways!!!
Birthday Celebration Week 2

so my 37-day birthday celebration has rounded out it's 2nd week and it's been wonderful. when you walk around saying that you are celebrating your birthday, people are so nice to you. and i think i am a bit nicer too. i bought myself some roses that were on sale one of the days and ended up at my fav coffee shop reading and writing for a short spell. a guy in a nearby chair looks up from beneath his "hollywood" baseball cap and asks if they were for him. i tell him that i bought them for myself in celebration of my life. he admired that but feigned disappointment that they weren't for him. (long story short) as i packed my car to leave, i sped back in to give him one rose, with it saying, "this is not a pass, it's a gift, have a good night." he was speechless and looked to want/maybe need to say more, engage me more. but i sped out as quickly as i did in. my gesture was not to ask anything from him. nor to conjure neither ill-fitting nor comfortable conversation with him. it was late. i was tired. i wanted to gift him something beautiful. then i went home and made small vases with single roses in each, leaving them in my children's room and my mother's room. hoping they woke up to something full and beautiful.

Eid Mubarak!
Ramadan ended (for some on Friday, others on Saturday... controversial non/sighting of the moon) and Eid in austin was a beautiful collective of multi-ethnic Muslims praying together. the Imam gave an EXCELLENT kupbah (sp?) on the need for Muslims to be examples for what Islam is really about, even for other Muslims. that though hitler was Christian, he did not become the symbol for what Christianity looked like and that it was unfair for the world to do that because of Muslims with extreme views. (Allahu Akbar!) starting today, i am making up the days where fasting was thwarted by agruments or my "moon cycle" or brown rice before sunset. so i intend to feed some families and fast until my heart and soul (and Allah) are satisfied (not in that order) that i have fulfilled my obligation. this Ramadan came filled with blessings which i will share when the lights are green. Allahu Akbar!

i am organizing for my trip to cali just more than a week from now. i can feel, in this moment, ow amazing it promises to be. weeks one and two were amazing. i can't eve imaging what the Universe has in store for this week and the weeks to come.

(also posted at

Monday, October 08, 2007

October 1st... It's my birfday, it's my birfday!
and i'm celebratin' for 37 days... (see pictures below)

so on october 1st, i turned 37... yeah, i said it. cuz i'm proud of this journey and that i am so alive on it. so much more to learn and love. so each day, for the next month +, i will be doing something in honor of the life i have lived, the lessons i have learned, and the joy i hope to continue to find and create along the way. on the day that you read this, i invite you to celebrate yourself as well. (my gift to you.)

check out the slide show from my first week. the weekend before my birthday, my children made me breakfast and we baked a cake together. then, on monday, my actual DAY, my sweetie called, woke me at midnight with a serenade then later sent me to the nail salon for a moment of pampering where my val (and lil harris) met me with cookies and smiles. then thursday, manda treated me to drinks and dancing at the studio. (never mind that there was barely anyone else there. it was all about buttafly!) then we went to samiyah and kiana's to further uplift the evening. friday i volunteered for the ProArts BAM, saw inspired performances by zell miller and chandra washington, which was a gift in itself. and i rounded out the celebration week with the soulfest at the millenium center. i'm trying not to bore you with narrative cuz i got pix!!! say tuned for next week's post. (week 2)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

free will + astrology
your choice, your Universe...

so if any of you are like me, you are at least moderately interested in what the cosmos is doing/has to say about you. and you may or may not know that each week, a new horoscope is posted on where writer/author rob brezsny poetically educates, entertains and informs that "higher," cosmically connected you. i like this rendering because it is in a language that i understand/that speaks to my most creative/spiritual/intellectual sensibilities.

well, this morning when i checked out my horoscope (libra... october 1st... eh-hem... *cough*... birthday coming up... *cough, cough*... on monday... *cough*... *sneeze*... WHEW! please excuse me. darn molds and ragweed!) anyway, as i was saying... i usually disregard the homepage as the necessary cyber front door to enter into the space i really want to be in. (no offense mr. brezsny.) but today, after reading what's going on in Libra astrologically this week and affirming my planetary quest, i mistakenly clicked back to the hompage. (shrug) i figured it was a gift, so i read it. i was so inspired by the page, purposefully called Liberate Your Imagination, that i pasted it below. if you have a moment, READ IT! really. it is a gift.
abrazos y besos,

Liberate Your Imagination
Lately, I must admit, our work has seemed almost comically impossible. Many of our brothers and sisters believe that everything is upside-down and inside-out. Is war really peace? Is slavery really freedom? Is ignorance strength? How did it all get so insane?Even many of the smartest among us seem to have lost their vision. Cynicism has become a supreme sign of intelligence. Compulsive skepticism masquerades as perceptiveness. Mean-spirited irony is chic. Beautiful truths are suspect and ugly truths are popular.

At this peculiar turning point in the evolution of our 14-billion-year-old master game, it ain't easy to carry out our mission. We've got to be both wrathful insurrectionaries and exuberant lovers of life. We’ve got to cultivate cheerful buoyancy even as we resist the temptation to swallow thousands of delusions that have been carefully crafted and seductively packaged by those among us who bravely volunteered to play the role of deceivers.We have to learn how to stay in a good yet unruly mood as we overthrow the cockeyed mass hallucination that is mistakenly referred to as reality.

Maybe most importantly, we have to be ferociously and single-mindedly dedicated to the cause of beauty and truth and love even as we keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free. We have to be both disciplined and rowdy.That's especially thorny because of the fact that a genocide of the imagination is raging world-wide. It threatens to render our imaginations numb and inert and passive and tame.

I know you know what I mean.

Aren't you psychically assaulted by dangerous images every day? Don't the media relentlessly blast you with their trendy doom and gloom fixation, barraging you with messages about how bad life is? Doesn't the entertainment industry force-feed you insipidly paranoid scenarios in the same way a French foie gras farmer crams eight pounds of corn down the gullet of his prize goose every day? Aren't your eyes and ears constantly scalded by blistering harangues to buy stuff you don't really need? Isn't the sacred temple of your imagination pounded ruthlessly by smart bombs whipped up by evil advertising geniuses in their Madison Avenue laboratories? Hasn't your ability to envision the astounding intricacy and richness of the web of life gotten hijacked and hooked on decadent fantasies about new possessions that would allegedly make you happier?

Your imagination is supposed to be the engine of your destiny. It is the wizard's wand you can use to design your future. Your imagination is your power to create mental pictures of things that don’t exist yet and that you want to bring into being. Every human creation on this earth has begun as a vision in someone's imagination.Your imagination is also your very own all-purpose joy stick, your snakeskin bag of magic tricks. It's your remote-control channel-changer, and the only reliable rearranger of anything anywhere anytime. It's your X-Factor, your wild card, your wicked funny instigator, your Goddess-sanctioned trouble-maker -- your swarming, terraforming, always-morning brainstormer.

Love desperately needs your imagination. As psychologist James Hillman says, "For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, and boredom. Intimacy fails not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining."Your imagination is the single most important tool you have in your daily fight to be free. It is the source of every act of liberation you will ever need to pull off.

But how can your imagination flourish--how can it dream up scenarios that energize you to create your own version of heaven on earth--if you are forever deluged by dazzling psychic toxins that sting and sap and wound your lust for life?

Too many of our brothers and sisters have fallen victim. Their swarming terraforming always-morning brainstormers have been cruelly fooled into acting as if their deepest desires are impossible lies. As a result they live incoherent lives corroded by chronic anxiety.I for one am no longer willing to tolerate the epidemic obsession with big bad nasty things and flashy trite empty-hearted things. I say it's time for us to re-consecrate and regenerate and lubricate and liberate and take back our imaginations. Here are my demands.

DEMAND #1: I demand that Amnesty International launch a crusade against a form of terrorism I call the genocide of the imagination.

DEMAND #2: I demand that you periodically go on a media fast. For a week at a time, once a season, avoid all TV, movies, novels, yalk shows, newspapers, magazines, and Internet.

DEMAND #3: I demand that you learn to tell the difference between your own thoughts and those of the celebrities who have demonically possessed you.

DEMAND #4: I demand that People magazine do a feature story on "The World's Fifty Sexiest Perpetrators of Beauty, Truth, and Rowdy Bliss."

DEMAND #5: I demand that you wear underpants on your head and dance naked in slow motion whenever you watch movies on TV about tormented geniuses who create great art but treat everyone in their lives like crap.

DEMAND #6: I demand that you refuse to be entertained and entranced by bad news--by stories whose plots are driven by violence, abuse, terrorism, bigotry, lawsuits, greed, crashes, alcoholism, disease, and torture.

DEMAND #7: I demand that you seek out and create stories that make you feel that the universe is friendly and life is on your side. You could hunt down stories about how, for example, rising rates of intermarriage are helping to dissipate ethnic and religious strife worldwide; how the violent crime rate in America has been steadily declining for 30 years; how death rates from cancer are shrinking; the birth rate among teenage mothers is the lowest it's been in six decades; acreage devoted to organic farming is increasing rapidly; the number of refugees and weapons sales all over the world are way down from the level they were 15 years ago, and how the actual bare naked truth is that levels of literacy and education and political freedom and peace and wealth are steadily growing all over the world.

DEMAND #8: When you're too well-entertained to move, screaming is good exercise. Which is why I demand that you scream now and then whenever you're soaking up slick crap generated by the imaginations of people who are devoted to money, power, and ego instead of love, reverence, and play.

Friday, September 21, 2007

every AMAZING week...

this week i realized how many people mean well. but when it comes down to it, you can't count on good intentions. i learned, in various ways, that i can only REALLY count on myself, my own resourcefulness, wit, instincts to push beyond where i am up/through/over/around the mountain to the other side. people, who i had hoped would actually follow through in some possibly career altering ways, just *poof* disappeared. and i do understand that we are all busy with our own lives. but silly me... i keep counting on people who appear to believe in where i am going... then offer to help in VERY specific ways... then bail. (what's that?) anyway, it makes me more conscious about over committing my own time and intention. so maybe i will be a better person for it. because, broken spirits and promises aside, this week was amazing... worth celebrating!

so i mentioned that i have been working jobby jobs and, while the idea of that makes me wanna hurl, i actually have been working in some really cool places and spaces. this week i've been in the austin field office of a civil engineering company where i was encouraged to bring a book or any other activity that might help occupy my mind. (for those who know me, they probably should have watched what they asked for.) this week, while web-streaming kksf (my favorite smooth jazz station in the world), i managed to create and register--not one but TWO--tv show pitches, write 3 poems, edit a PSA, submit a contest entry, blog!, read and surf, surf, SURF the web at my leisure!!! and none of my activities had to be covert!!! (you know what i mean. i didn't have to minimize my email or my blog or when my boss came around.) as long as i answered the 4-5 calls the company got per day and helped the 1-5 customers who might actually drop off or pick up equipment, the world was my oyster and i sucked even the pearl from the shell! in celebration (of mailing my entry and completing such a productive week), i bought my absolute fav dark chocolate truffle... SXUL chocolate! (yes that's really the name... SeXUaL chocolate.) next to sweetie bubu (the OTHER kind of sexual chocolate), it's the best chocolate in the world!!! (check out i would tell you that if you don't like it, i'll reimburse you myself but i can barely afford my own chocolate habit. so get your own box with my word on its excellence. tonight, just after sunset, i will break my fast on dates and mixed nuts, followed by a smart meal, something junky... then... ahhh… indulging in the blissful, spiritually restorative properties of chocolate in a SXUL truffle!

Ultimately… life is good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

grumble grumble...

today, i am preoccupied with my hunger. with the rumblings of my shrinking belly. until today, my fast has been relatively pain free. i am working in an office where there is literally no one around to tempt me. my children are no longer fasting but they wake up and eat with me, support me in the ways i need encouragement. but today. today i am feeling slightly headachy. sleepy. i am trying not to give in to the promise that i can make up this day should i lose it to the iced coffee in the fridge down the hall.

i've written 2 poems today, and one yesterday thanks to ric williams. he writes a poem a day. he sent me one on email and i took it as a challenge. (i never realized how i refuse to back away from productive challenges.) anyway, i don't know if they are good. but i wrote and that's what matters, right? maybe i'll post (one of) them. hmmm...

i didn't want anything. just biding my time. thanks for listening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadan Mubarak!

So Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month of fasting, began today and it was... rather easy. maybe the "master cleanse" training i did several months ago helped. maybe i am just a more mature, more focused, more disciplined, more faithful person this time. (maybe this is just the first day and everything feels easy on the first day.) who knows? whatever it is, i am grateful for the ease and i look forward to what i learn in the days to come. (and i do look forward to breaking my fast at 7:39 this evening on something delicious and nutritious that i will most certainly be grateful for.) this Ramadan, in the wake of "the america project" and Sekou's 51st dream state, i feel so much more aware of myself and Islam and america. funny, now i am reading the Qur'an with all of my Buddhist books. with the secret. this processing. this search. this cleanse. this life. (Allahu Akbar)

i wanted to write post tribute to Sekou Sundiata on the 11th but i was emotionally and physically exhausted. (how do you jump out of real life, experience something so painful and beautiful, and jump back in where you left off, seamlessly?) i had worked all day (filing documents that will in NO WAY affect the necessary changes in the world) and hustled home to freshen up, to get my mom and the kids then on to meet with Samiya to rehearse the piece we were to read at the gathering.

neither words nor silence can convey the beauty of the evening which opened with a recording of Sekou talking about his work. maybe from an NPR interview. i don't know. but to hear his voice somehow made it all feel "okay." and it put him so in the room. that felt reassuring. then one by one we, the participants -- members of Sekou's austin affiliations like the austin project -- read works of his and of our own, in tribute. Samiya and i read "Urban Music" and it was alive. i have been wanting to play his cd over and over since, but i don't think i am ready. Helga Davis sang us to closure and in the wake of her song and his words that filled my heart and soul, i was a mess of memory and tears. and though i am back to functioning in the world, my heart is still processing it all. i am grateful for seeing so many faces and hugging so many people i haven't seen in far too long. my prayer is to move forward with love and reflection and intention.

i ain't seen much but i've seen a few
and a few things have seen me too...

As Salaamu Alaikum,
peace out, Sekou...


Monday, August 27, 2007


so the days have been full and getting more and more wonderful; more and more balanced. i feel the universe opening up for me, rather than swallowing me whole. life is progressing and that is a blessing. i am grateful.

and for my children, i am grateful. really. all of you, dear readers, know that i LOVE my children. i do. but summer feels endless (and not in the best way) for all parties involved when it's too hot to do anything but swim or stay in the air-conditioned house all day. (and ain't enuff love in the world to cure suffocating-cabin fever.) that's what the last few weeks of summer felt like for me and my sweeties in the lethargy of texas in august. what i wouldn't do for a bay breeze or a snow bubble. but school started today and we are all the better for it. after hunting for what was left of the school supplies in 3 stores (i know, i know... the early bird and all of that), we made it home sunday night just in time for baths, a good dinner, the teen choice awards (which is no longer for the early teenagers), nubian knots and twists for my daughter and our nightly meditation before bed. they were antsy and excited about the first day so there were no qualms about teeth brushing and early bedtime. they actually woke up on their own alarm and dressed according to their pre-determined list (wake up: 6:00... brush teeth: 6:01... get dressed: 6:02... put on "deoterint": 6:03... they obviously have no real concept of time, but it was so cute...). they checked off their list and were ready to go to school by 6:40, even though school doesn't begin until 7:45am. when i picked them up from after-school care, they both reported that their days were GREAT and they looked forward to the next. like i said... i LOVE my children...

i trained at a jobby job today (excuse me while i vomit) where i will work, through a temp agency for the next few days. the job itself is actually pretty cool. for those who have seen "the devil wears prada"... well... the woman i am working for came into my area and said in a hauntingly familiar voice, "so you will be the new emily?" yes, yes... the irony is that the woman i am filling in for is named emily and her boss is quite persnickety, hardly the devil, though i've only experienced her for a half of a day. but i will say that i am glad to be in the company of adults and missing my children long enough to look forward to seeing them and sharing the gems of our day with each other. the great thing is that we each look into the summer days (in hindsight) like we had the best summer ever.

onward and upward...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

but you have the right to remain optimistic!

so i am sitting in my favorite coffee spot clicking away at the keys of my laptop, terrance blanchard on iTunes in the moment (Diana Krall coaxing me to "Get Lost") with my fellow WI-FIers, nibbling what's left of the flakiest cinnamon roll in town and drowning my blues in iced coffee. what blues you ask? where do i start.

upon our return from cali, and subsequently hearing of sekou's passing, i felt this urgency for living. like transforming life beyond my mere existence of late and actually blazing a new trail. as my long-distance relationship moves into it's 3rd year and my longing to be with my aging grand/parents intensifies, i made the decision that there was no time like the present to make the move. furthermore, my ex and his significant other are newly expecting, my mother has finally found her groove in austin and the kids are mature enough to understand that there is more to this world than this little piece of life we've managed in on the outskirts of anything with a pulse. (that's not to call where we live "dead," it's just never quite felt full of life we haven't breathed into it. i digress.) we are all ready to experience "more." so why not make the move, right?

well, apparently, though i have the right to determine where the primary residence for my children will be, i/we are "geographically restricted to williamson and contiguous counties." what the hell???? what that means, dear laypersons, is that until my youngest (who is currently 8) turns 18, his father and i must live in central texas. had i known texas would become my life sentence, i would never have agreed to moving here. (though i BEGGED for us to move before now, and, well...) but c'mon y'all... how many things do we agree to in youth that end up fucking us up as adults?

since this discovery, i realized my membership into the sorority of miserable women inhabiting the hill country against their greater dreams, wishes and wills. in the blur of fairytales, they married some prince (or frog) and moved to the lone star state because of a husband's job/career/leadership/family/controlling ways/dreams, only to realize--post divorce--that they will be stuck with in the fires of this hell (and all that that implies) for what feels like an eternity. and it's not REALLY the "Law." the actual law allows for modifications of the decree "if the circumstances into which the parties are moving are better than those in the current living situation." but the interpretation of the law is left to the considerably conservative judges of the--in this case williamson county--courthouse. so, despite the fact that i have gotten TWO (MUCH BETTER PAYING) job opportunities in california, that i am currently receiving no support and that my familial support is entirely based in california, i have been warned more times than i care to mention that unless my ex agrees to allow his children to move out of state, a judge will likely rule against it because their father is present in their lives. (and he's made it clear that it will be a cold day in texas before he'll let them go.) you'd be amazed at the ridiculousness and fear that lives in our legal system.

the activist in me is writing this for your insight and support. while i understand the state's desire to create a cohesive co-parenting relationship for the children, it also leaves women unsupported and vulnerable to the well-meaning but often disabling or disruptive antics/ill-support/dysfunction/flagrant foulage of ex-spouses. (there is a reason the divorces happened, eh-hem!) under terms like these, men can marry and remarry and divorce and support their children--or not (because there is no real enforcement system)--and restrict maternal rights all together. repeatedly, i hear cases like mine where the mothers are the primary caregivers (who are responsible for the daily well-being of their children; through sickness and health; to the doctors, through co-pays and prescriptions; managers of all in and out of school activities) and they are living with more struggle than they should have to because they are not allowed to move to places, spaces and people that could help them better provide for their children.

not a word of this is to imply that my ex is a bad guy or that i am some kind of saintly martyr. we both have our faults. but i think our selfish needs get in the way of what is really best for our children. we should both be allowed to move on with our lives in whatever directions we are taken to create better lives for our children, so long as we continue to make efforts and take responsibility for staying connected.

i miss california too much to give up on the idea of being there. the dream of the day when we can return to seeing all of my parents, my aunts and uncles on a regular basis; spending our days in a family support situation with sweetie bubu and Q; being sweat-drenched and pretzeled at funky door yoga; and slurping snow bubbles. i wish for my children to grow up with their "Papa," uncles and cousins the way i did. (isn't extended family important?) with pause and apprehension, when i told my children of the possible move, they actually lit up at the thought of the adventure, these brilliant children of ours. they were more excited than i'd ever seen them. but i guess none of that matters in this moment because we are here until further notice.

i am spending this day like i spend many other "free" weekends in austin. praying that my children are having a good time with their dad while curled up with a book or online looking for work that might actually pay all of my bills. but more often than not, like today, i am alone with my coffee, my music, my memories and my hope that better is coming soon.

i'm getting a headache. it could be the caffeine and all the sugar. it could be the bright sky flooding the room around me. it could be that my eyes are aging and i should stop refusing to wear my glasses. it could be this issue. this exhale helps. as will a nap, i am certain.

prayers and positive energy, y'all. that's what we need. (and sound legal advice or options to explore if there are any offerings.)

i am grateful for my coffee and my music and my memories and my hope. and for you, dear reader.
in search of freedom...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goodnight to/Good Mourning for
Sekou Sundiata

"...And what if we could
show that what we dream is deeper than what we know?..."

--Sekou Sundiata from the 51st (dream) state

i google him when the news first comes. i need something, someone, somewhere to tell me that elmaz is mistaken. that her information is somehow wrong. that sekou is not gone.

but there is nothing. and i cannot find the pictures we took with him the last time he read/worked with the austin project. i hold the memories of meeting him and walking in the dream state of his work. i don't think there was a time that i felt i was not enriched/changed by his presence. for that... thank you, sekou.

so many words swim in my head, so many poems creating themselves. but i don't want to fuck them up by writing them down. i want them to keep living. i don't feel equipped in this moment to express what i am feeling in an exquisite, deserving way. it is all too overwhelming. and i have no space for ascent into the beauty of what i learned from sekou nor the decent into the places of anguish that are lurking in the periphery of this day, this mourning of his passing. the kids in my house, mine and other people's, will not stop needing and the phone will not stop ringing. my knees are shaking under it all and i want to buy a candle in memory of his light. i need air. all of these children will not fit in my car so we walk to the park. i want to pick flowers on the way there but then i would be no better than the thing that clipped his life. so i admire them and look forward to seeing them on my journey home. i am overly aware of life and living. the trees. the birds. these flowers all reaching for/looking to the sky, face to the sun. these poems in my head are demanding attention but there are a group of shirtless, football passing Black boys in the park that are laughing and calling each other nigganigganiggabitchassnigga and i can't concentrate. i scribble a few words in my journal, even graffiti sekou's name because it's all i can manage. the boys, whose mothers (i am certain) would not appreciate the joy and volume of their words. i want to scold them or hold them or take them somewhere safer than this park where gavels sound in the eyes of all of homeowners and their white classmates parents. my daughter notices my annoyance with them and the sorrow just under my skin. she frets, "are you going to say something? please don't, mom." and i don't. and i take her and my son and my nephew and my niece and three neighbor girls away before they witness the ugly and the nigganigganigganiggabitchassnigga coming from these beautiful mouths.
i am in search of the journal filled with notes form his talks and the poem with the line about pigeons being better politicians (because they indiscriminately shit on everyone). i am grateful for it all. so much in so little time. so much. i hope he knew. i hope he knows.

if you've never heard (of) him or experienced his work, go to
or go to and search for the video of him from his appearance on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

with gratitude and profound respect... (sekou, thank you. i wish you infinite joy. i pray for your family. i am changed by your mentorship, faith, activism, commitment, love, humanity, example.)

shia shabazz
i invite your comments/memories/experiences of Sekou and his work, in tribute...

Thursday, June 07, 2007


thank you, val and nina for your wonderfully encouraging words. i am, in fact, back on the horse and feeling very good about it. i can do this. i can do this. i can, i can, i can!!!

since i missed the saline wash yesterday morning (each morning this week, in fact) i took it last night at like 10:30pm and WHOA!!!

Advice: if you drink the salt water at night, do it at least 3 hours before bed so your system can completely flush and find rest again.

Shia positions herself upright, reads books, paints her nails, and does everything she can think of to stay awake. Nothing works. She drifts off.

The rumblings of her stomach sound like a small monster encaged under her bed. She suddenly jumps up, runs to the toilet, just in time!

again and again, that’s what my night was like before i crashed.

the kids are with their dad this weekend so i’m sure it’ll be a lot easier since i won’t have to prepare food for them. as long as i can make it through these last two work days (of leftovers from meetings and the fluffy, iced baked goods coworkers have made) i’ll be all good. i think i’ll continue the cleanse through thursday next week. cuz friday… (at the Salute to African American Writers: Celebration and tea event []), i have a date with a nice decadent slice of fudge cake.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Master Cleanse: Day ??? insert... foot... in... mouth…
does that count as food?

so… what had happened was…

the cleanse was going great… my energy has been up… my skin looks good... i can fit in that pair of pants again... but 5 days in, my body had the definitive week that, on a monthly basis, defines me “woman”… and the cravings went wild and the discipline was out the window! and there were plenty of sympathetic women who understood that the salad and the tiramisu were necessary for my sanity… never mind cooking the fish sticks and the french fries, the broccoli and the spaghetti and the tacos and the roast beef sandwiches and the pancakes and the etc's every night for my children while restricting myself to morning saline solutions, sucking down lemonade for lunch and snacks and knocking back smooth moves tea every night… because when chipotle, your favorite burrito joint, says to bring in a can of food and they’ll give you a free burrito, you go… no questions asked… and you get a burrito bol (a burrito sans the tortilla)… and you get burritos for your kids and you eat with them like a family should… even though you learn that evening that all this means—this, the grapes and crackers and salad and burrito and tiramisu—this means that you have to do the entire cleanse over again because you can’t clean this new food out of your system in any less than the ten days, even though you’ve already lost six pounds and your mind!

breathing… breathing…

on the road again… i need to go back and read my own encouraging words. interestingly, though, i’ve gotten so many compliments on how great i am looking and how my skin is glowing. no coffee and i actually have energy. (imagine that.) of course, i just now look up and see a woman with a disposable starbucks cup. see how i attracted that cup of coffee? i feel good. i just want to do my body good and prove to myself that i am actually capable of 10 days of discipline.

oh! i have been participating in script frenzy which is a challenge for screenwriters to pump out a 20,000 word screenplay in 30 days. if you want to check it out, go to i am a few words under 3000 into the task (almost done with act 1) and feeling extremely proud of myself. maybe my cleanse hasn’t been completely successful to date (until now) but i’ve been writing on this new script every day and it feels amazing!

and the countdown to my 2.5-week vacation in cali is on. 12 days and counting

onward and upward…


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Master Cleanse: Day 3
Still Grooven!

okay... per nina's comment on my previous post, and those of a bunch of other people who've unsuccessfully attempted this cleanse, i feel blessed to report that i am having a perfect time and i'm not sure what to make of it. (GO ASHLEY! i wish you and your friend all the best. believe you can do it and you will.)

i skipped the internal saltwater bath this morning because the temp agency called and i had a job today. (i'd hate to go in and be running to the bathroom all morning... or WORSE.) anyway, my plan is to do the gruesome deed shortly, intake 1-2 more lemonades, and drink my Smooth Moves before bed. my energy is great. last night, i battled a headache but i think that's been the worst REAL challenge of it.

the rest has been psychological. the foods i smell that inspire desires and cravings. the times of day i would usually eat this or that. cooking for my kids and not tasting or eating any of their leftovers. i never knew i had such discipline! but sipping tea all day makes it so much easier. it makes it hard to rationalize why i'd eat anything when i am really not feeling hungry. so now, i realize all of the lies i've told myself about what foods i need and when i'm "starving." in fact, i'm not sure i'll ever use that word again.

in this moment, i'm grateful. for strength. the focus. for food. for the blessing that this cleanse, this non-eating is a choice.

a bit of advice, post day 3: STILL don't trust anything that feels like gas. It's likely more than that.

all Love, from an internally CLEANER...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

bodylicious! the master cleanse
lemonade never tasted so good!

on sunday, i celebrated the victory that i had been a finalist for the moviemaker "big money" scholarship. i also mourned the ultimate loss in that i was not the winner. (who needs canada anyway.) i had brunch with manda (one of my favorite people in the entire world) at our favorite french spot. (crepes romanoff... magnifique!) later, i ate my favorite peanut butter cookie from whole foods and had my last cup of cafe au lait at genuine joe. that night, i came home and wrote the following affirmation as i drank my first cup of Smooth Move tea in preparation for my 10-day Master Cleanse:

"in the space of 10 days, as i perform a Master Cleanse of my physical body, i intend to manifest wonderful things in my physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, career and intellectual worlds. all things will come about with undying Faith and Joy, effortlessly, consistently, graciously, abundantly and in ABSOLUTELY perfect ways."

a few bits of advice should you decide to take this journey:

  1. write an affirmation or find a scripture, inspirational text or quote that you can read for support and empowerment through this. it really helps.

  2. do plenty of research. maybe start with a google search on "master cleanse" like i did, where you can find sites like my faves:, and

  3. finally... if you ever run into my bestest friend charla, don't ever refer to it as the beyonce cleanse, considering the practice has been around long before beyonce and her bootyliciousness were conceived.

so far, it's been pretty easy. the internal salt water bath which preceeds each day's strict lemonade diet is the worst part. but once i made it through the initial intake and repeated release--yes, i said REPEATED release-- (which all happens in about the first hour of the process), the rest of the day was a breeze... physically. my only real angst has been getting to sleep these last couple of nights (maybe havin something to do with the tea moving in my system) but my sleep, once achieved, has been very restful.

this is (obviously) MUCH easier than Ramadan (Al-Humduli-lah) but i had the same psychological/emotional, hand-to-mouth, chew-your-food challenge. i keep smelling all of these smells that i associate with other sensations and satisfactions. so now, i am using those times for playing with my children, meditation, focus on clarifying goals and my intentions in the world, on screenplays and poems i have yet to write.

i am just finished my second day's first 10oz cup of lemonade. (it's very good.) on to mediation and the day's work.

onward and upward!
also posted on

Sunday, May 06, 2007

no enemies, no friends...
(integrity? what's that?)

i met a man who proudly said once that he didn't have any enemies. but when he relaxed his grin and rested his arms from patting his own back, he looked about and stood alone.

a part of me wishes i had never read bell hooks (all about love) or richard bach (illusions: the adventures of a reluctant messiah) or listened to anything bill harris (centerpointe/ "the masters of the secret") had to say. then i wouldn't know the possibilities. then i wouldn't have to live with the realization that so many people aren't living to be better people at all. it is painful to watch/see how many people opt for survival (of the "fittest"?) over living and loving to the fullest. it's like being among the dead. ("i see dead people!") dead from cut throats and broken hearts. slit wrists and broken claws of crabs boiling blood-red at the bottom of the barrel. men who think swords and shields are appropriate attire for dinner tables and family gatherings. (there is nothing brilliant or musical about that.)

i KNOW i live in a glass house so i am definitely not judging. but with this (most recent) awakening to loving and truth and walking with (com)passion, i am weeping. weeping for humanity. for people who deserve love and don't get enough of it. but also for the people who take love and strip it of all that it's worth... and none of what it's worth. those people who think words are fillers to use between reality shows, "i love yous" and the other lies they tell. people who serve promises like appetizers for a meal that never follows. people who might arrive at their destination, pop the cork on the champagne, with no enemies (that they know) but who will (most certainly) drink alone.

(PS-- no, this is not some cryptic message about my own broken heart. the love in my romantic life could not be more perfect, save the distance. this is, truly, about the inhumanity i've seen from the takers of the world. challenge #1--give something without wanting/needing/expecting anything in return. challenge #2--mean what you say.)

also posted on

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jogging for Jesus?

We live on the street along the back gate of my children's school. On the best of mornings--post our usual in-house haste of getting dressed, combing hair, brushing teeth, and gobbling pancakes and fruit--I open the front door and watch my children mosey/walk/jog/sprint (depending on the time) the short distance across the street, through the jogging trail, across the yard and into the school.

This morning, as with most mornings, there is a couple jogging on the track. When my son crosses the woman's path, her husband half a track behind or ahead of her, she hands him something that he reads to slow his gait. Before he can make it into the school door, my shoes are on and I've sprinted across the street to see what she gave him.

Worry #1... that he actually accepted the small comic strip from the woman

As I left my son, stomping back across the yard and onto the track, I stand in the woman's path as she approaches. "I have no problem with you offering this to me but do not approach my children or any other children without their parents' permission." She replies with a vigorous nod of her head, as if she doesn't care to listen, "Jesus loves you!"

Was that ever in question?

As she jogs on, I contain my desire to shake her. I think of the words I will give my children when I pick them up this afternoon about remembering not to talk to strangers nor to accept ANYTHING from them.

The front office of the school promises that the Principal will confront the woman and remove them from the grounds that we all take for granted are safe. And not that the woman necessarily meant harm. But, it was her entitlement that incensed me; that she thought she had the right to approach my son and impose her literature on him. Or that what his parents are giving him needed a supplement that she felt she COULD... no, that she NEEDED to give directly to him without my/our knowledge or consent. What is that? Because I am BEYOND CERTAIN that if I had chosen, upon my morning exercise, to offer her child or any other some colorfully animated leaflet that said, "Are you a good person? Allah thinks so," I'd be more than excused from the school track.

(also posted on

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

this is an excellent life.
i am grateful for all of the opportunities to witness/participate/journey and find that it's all love anyway

admittedly, i've been running from this space like a debtor from a lender. so much time has passed since my last entry that this coming to the keyboard feels more like a confessional than entry. (forgive me blogger, for i have sinned. it has been nearly 2 months since my last entry.) suffice it to say i need to be writing more... here, anyway. the good news about that is that (1) i HAVE actually been writing more-just not here-and (2) maybe i am just busy living life than writing about it. but i have missed coming here with all of my sweet somethings and rantings; with that "y'all know what i did last week?" excitement in ever keystroke. ah, the rush!

so what's been going on? or what hasn't been going on? thanks to denea's and ahmad's generosity, last thursday thru saturday (EARLY) i was in atlanta for the 2007 AWP conference. (i am hoping manda-manda and frank x and dante and remika and others with cameras will forward pix soon. dam, i need a digi-camera!) anyhoo, it was really an amazing couple of days, topped off by the fact that we stayed at my old college brotha-from-anotha-motha's house. before then, i hadn't seen ted since i graduated from "Skegee" in 1993. THAT, my friends, is the magic of myspace. don't have an account? GET ONE!) but i digress... is it enough to say that we had a CC reading on thursday night at the art gallery in the cosby center at spelman college? i was full from the gate! THEN, i sent 2 nights eating GLADYS KNIGHT & RON WINANS CHICKEN AND WAFFLES (grits and buckwheat waffles, man!). i did FINALLY actually make it to conference stuff, and attended some EXCELLENT panels. the best part was getting loved up by my favorite writer-peoples. (after writing a list and deleting it, i decided i will not mention names. you know who you are cuz you can feel me thinking about you all in the telling.) i am PARTICULARLY grateful to a few PARTICULAR people for thinking of me and including me and the huggings and kissing my cheeks and talking to me and breaking bread with me, for making my people your people and not making me out to be a liar about what amazing people you are. you all made my trip so much more memorable. overall, the atl was the isht!

sekou sundiata was in town performing in his show "51st dream state" at the hogg auditorium on ut's campus on the 29th of feb. AMAZING!!! i took the kids with me. it was too much for them on a school night. but i am glad they had the exposure, if nothing else. they were troopers. (did i mention that sekou is a genius?!) his poems. the muses/singers. the dancer filmed and projected on the large fabrics behind the full band. important work! it was beautiful!

the week before atl were the SAAW events in austin. that weekend was amazing but i was PRAYING all the way through it. roger bonair agard brought his show, masquerade: poems of calypso and home. (just when you thought he couldn't get any more amazing, he does a one-man poetry concert.) that was thursday, feb 22nd. friday, ana lara, curtis crisler and roger read and signed books at follett's intellectual property. i hear that went well. (my son was VERY sick that weekend so i was actually unable to make it to that one. but it was hosted in excellence by dr. joni jones/omi oshun olomo, as it was in conjunction with a conference and reception through the CAAAS.)

PHEW!!! see... this is why i run. my fingers are cramping and my mind is scrambling for the next remembering...

OH!!! that would be my trip to cali! i went to cali february 13-18. orchestrated a surprise birthday party for sweetiebubu that went off swimmingly! california was too good to me, i tell you. he had no idea i was coming, which was the first surprise. then, when i bamboozled him to coming to dinner, only to find out there were 25 other people at the table waiting on him... THAT was priceless! but being with my dad and my brother too. i didn't realize how much loving masculine energy i have been REALLY missing in my life.

oh! and my bestest friend, charla, came to visit just in time for my daughter's 10th birthday party sleepover. she and i proclaimed ourselves "bestest" friends nearly at the same age my daughter is now. we have been up, down and through it, and i STILL feel like we are learning so much about each other. my son's birthday is this friday. he'll be 8. GOSH they are growing up so fast. both will have topped my height, i am certain, by the ends of their fifth grade years. compassion, sensitivity, creativity, feet, chins and dance ability... they might have gotten from me but height!? it's all "they daddy." anyway, charla will be back later this month. we are going to do something fun with the kids and hopefully laugh until our guts hit the floor like we did last time. THAT was priceless.

other than all of that... i've been actively engaged in understanding "intention," as per my intention coach (props to sheree ross) and doing things around "the secret." if you don't know, where have you been? life-changing stuff y'all. (also check out "what the bleep do we know" on DVD.) all of that is to say that these days i have been busy espousing to the universe what i intend so that it can deliver. it really is amazing how the law of attraction works. i have been balancing that with prayer/meditation and reading. right now it's bell hooks's "all about love." life work is so necessary y'all.

funny thing is, even with all that i have written here, there is so much more going on. good things simmering beneath each word. but no real words to articulate it all. i am looking forward to lots of things to come. the international women's day readings at resistencia bookstore (7-9pm), though that is also my son's sleepover night so... here we go again. sharon bridgforth is hosting SEXY SUNDAYS at cafe mundi once a month (next one is March 24th). if you just want to go have a good ole time, i HIGHLY recommend this event. good people, good music (thanks to DJ Wu).

that felt like diarrhea! (you know how it all just starts coming out and on the other side of it you feel slightly nauseated but a little better because you got it all out?) forgive me y'all. this is what your similes turn into when you've been away so long. i will REALLY try to write more often so i don't have to subject you to foul-smelling similes anymore.

you KNOW i love you. and that's it.
shia SHABAZZ (fa-evah-evah!)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


hopefully not outta sight, outta mind. i've been myspacing mostly these days. not long-winded blogging much. but i am here because the following info needs a stage and what better place, right? if you can manage, these are EXCELLENT classes and events to attend. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
ciao for now...


NOTE: Class sizes are limited to 20. For more information and details, go to...

Saturday, February 10
10 AM - 4 PM
@ WLT Office (1501 W. 5th Street, Suite E-2)

Why do we write what we write? Is there something missing from your poem, something hinted at but not quite captured? "Writing a Path to Truth" is a workshop where participants explore the gray areas in their poetry, the parts unspoken or left undefined. Writing exercises used in this workshop are designed to create balance between the poet's personal truths and the technical aspects of their poetry. Participants may bring previously written poems to workshop; however, new work will be created and discussed.

Cave Canem Fellow and Affrilachian Poet, Amanda Johnston has performed across the country for various causes and events. Honors include a 2003 and 2004 Artists Enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the 2005 Austin International Poetry Festival's Christina Sergeyevna Award for best poem in their anthology, di-verse-city. Currently, Johnston serves on the board of directors for the National Women's Alliance and the African-American Arts Technical Resource Center of Austin, is a member of The Austin Project, a co-founder of The Gibbous Moon Collective, and is the founding editor of Torch: poetry, prose, and short stories by African American Women.

Cost: $89 members / $139 nonmembers To register, email or call 512.499.8914.

WRITING / FROM THE BONES with Sharon Bridgforth
Saturday, February 17
10 AM -1 PM
@ WLT Office (1501 W. 5th Street, Suite E-2)

During this session, Bridgforth will employ a creative writing facilitation method that she has developed called "finding voice." The finding voice method helps participants use: identity-culture-memory-family histories-dreams to articulate and examine the spaces between and connecting autobiography and mythology/memory. This method uses guided journaling, movement, writing exercises and dialogue as a way for participants to manifest opportunities to move through and beyond blocks/issues that stifle full belly writing/Dreaming.

Sharon Bridgforth has developed an innovative style of teaching creative writing that she calls Finding Voice. The Finding Voice method walks participants through the process of using the personal: identity-culture-memory-family histories-dreams to articulate and examine the socio-political realities of their lives in a form that is based in oral history. Bridgforth has facilitated the Finding Voice Method as part of long term residency programming for companies and institutions around the country including: Hamiliton College~Clinton, NY; and The Austin Project (sponsored by The Center For African and African American Studies, University of Texas at Austin). Bridgforth is Executive Producer of the Finding Voice Radio Show, which is funded by the Funding Exchange/The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media. You can listen to the Finding Voice Radio Show at Bridgforth's work is available in many anthologies. For more information go to:

Cost: $49 members / $89 nonmembers To register, email or call 512.499.8914.

Saturday, February 24
10 AM -4 PM
@ WLT Office (1501 W. 5th Street, Suite E-2)

This workshop is for fiction writers interested in exploring the craft of fiction as an aspect of oral storytelling. We will explore narrative voice, character development and plot as key elements in the craft of writing. This workshop is designed to be used both with writing exercises and/or as working sessions on participants' own work. "Tellin' Lies" is geared to emerging - mid career writers who are interested in looking at craft in a different way. Participants should submit up to 10 pages of work at least 2 weeks prior to the workshop so that the course material can be matched to the level/needs of the participants. (You can email work samples to, or submit hard copy to the Writers' League office.)

Ana-Maurine Lara is an AfroDominican American writer and organizer. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in East Africa and Mount Vernon, NY. She received her BA from Harvard University. Ana-Maurine's poetry and short fiction has appeared in several literary journals including Tongues Magazine and Blithe House Quarterly, among others. She has received awards from the Puffin Foundation, the Brooklyn Arts Council and PEN Northwest (the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency). She is co-author of a website dedicated to addressing binary thinking in U.S. based social justice movements.

Cost: $89 members / $139 nonmembers To register, email or call 512.499.8914.