Whats All The Fuss About?


….is what someone essentially asked me, in regards to Midtown closing.  As usual, it takes me a minute to realize the impact of people’s statements sometimes…..so allow me to take a delayed reactive moment to explain, for those who may not  fully understand, what all the fuss is about….

Gonna attempt a short story. 

unlike  today, where on a good week, you might find poetry every other day, years ago some of us were trekking across Indpls in search of somewhere to spit poetry.  The closing of downtown open mic staple, The Cozy, wasn’t just abrupt and heartbreaking, it left us with a gaping hole.  There was no where to do poetry.  For a newcomer like myself, who was still in the spring fever beginning stages of my relationship with the mic, I was at a loss.  The place that was giving me my newfound freedom was gone and there was no where to take its place.  Over the next couple of years, countless places and people tried their hands at it, but it hardly ever lasted longer than six months before we were back without a venue and no where to go.  Writeon opened and gave us new hope.  A new family was built on the back of fear of letting our poetic guards down.  But still, for quite sometime, there was no where else to go.  And then Midtown came along.  Centered right in the heart of Indy, classic weekend, 2007; it was one of the hottest days of the year and there was no air.  But the place was packed out.  We vibed and rocked out to a set featuring some of the upcoming bests, myself included, and had a great time, unaware of what was to come. ….

for weeks, maybe a few months, it was just us.  Some of the regular poets, a new chick from Brooklyn and a few audience members.  We would rotate the mic, going up 3, maybe 4 times because no one else was on the list.  We would sit there and laugh about  the low audience and act silly on the stage, unknowingly building foundations of friendship that resembled that of family.  And in a flash, we went from strolling in at 930 to needing to be there at 8 to get a seat.  New regulars became old friends, the open mic list got long and the poems got better!! Sayings were crafted such as “stack that cheese” ….we became more than just an open mic full of poets and spectators.  We became a family.  We traveled together; people who were once strangers were now rolling highways packed in vans.  We grew to lean on each other.  We lost people and then came together to celebrate their lives.  It wasn’t about knowing someone’s business, it was about being there for our family.  From bucket collections to Violet Projects to the birth of Fighting Words and the development of nSAYchable, you didn’t just get entertained at midtown; you watched life in action.  Raw emotions.  Tears were dropped during countless unexpected stage moments from various people.  Love was shared in front of audiences.  Newbies got cherries popped as we watched the live action poetry porn.  

Who remembers when there was wine and beer at midtown? And the Death By Chocolate??? Who remember’s my mom coming to midtown, or my boyfriend sitting in the audience while I did a love poem directed to him? WHo remembers hearing allen cussing for the first time, or the surprise birthday parties for everybody from me to stacy, matter a fact, what about the Upper Deck?? THe VIP?  Remember when there was no VIP?  Remember when Taalam Acey came back to Indy for the FIRST time in years!!!!?? How about the first time you saw Naz & Shaunette?  Or heard “I’m Coo” ??!!  Or when Tony passed out Chocolate Covered Strawberries to the ladies ?  Remember “This Poem” ?  How about all the collabs on stage from FWP featuring Greg, how about greg!!?? And Styxx & Victoria….Or watching Steff grow from a shy poet to a NY Beast!!!

I grew at midtown from a small shy girl to a confident and ready to fight with words woman.  I had a 14 year old come up to me in tears, glad to meet me, at midtown.  Gabrielle released her first cd at Midtown.  I could go on forever with the memories, but the point is not the memories, the point is the bond.  THe family.  When our audience was hurt, we were hurt and  vice versa.  There was a point when no one apologized for reading from paper at midtown.  You weren’t expected to be the best or have the greatest, you were accepted as honest.  People weren’t texting or facebooking while someone was on stage.  Folks didn’t walk in front of the stage while a poet was spitting.  It was a house of respect that some of us may subconsciously fear is so far gone, that we will never see again.

Midtown closing isn’t about “old” poets stepping aside for new ones.  Its not about egos or arguments.  Its not about who’s down for who and who doesn’t support who.  Midtown is about the end of an era.  An era where audiences and poets collided and became one collective; we were every bit the community we claim to be.  We were there for each other, loved each other and cared about each other.  It was more than entertainment.  It was life.  Shared.  Collectively.  Lovingly.  Honestly unconditionally.  New beginnings will definitely arise from this.  And I think we all embrace them.

But for some of us, those of us who have been there for the beginning….those of us who you may not see often or at every special feature, but still spent a lot of time there…..we remember something that is hard to put in words.  And no matter where our paths may  take us in life, we will each hold something dear to our hearts that is hard to imagine ever happening again.  That’s beautifully hurtful in a way. 

So what is all the fuss about?

I guess you just would’ve had to be there to know.



***Note:  Let me correct myself in saying during this time of “no where to go”, Kafe Kuumba was still open and going on.  And since this is MY blog, I can say that the connection between the “elder” poets and the “my generation of poets and beyond” was, in my opinion, at that time (and possibly still) broken and for some of us, didn’t translate to “welcoming”. …leaving us back at square one….no where to go. 


SAY Something....Don't JuSt Sit There and whine....

On my passenger seat was a stack of Say Something cd’s that I had pressed up for The Signature Show.   On my lunch break yesterday, I decided to pop one in to see what I thought of it today.  If you are an avid reader of this blog or if you have read most to all of the entries over time, then you know that I have had some choice feelings, so to speak, in regards to my first cd.  I always said I wasn’t connected to that cd.  On this journey of mine, that has been one thing I realized I always needed in order to stay afloat: connection.  To whatever it is, be it performing, writing, recording, etc….i am in need of feeling like I am connected to what I am doing, which I think is fair.  So feeling a lack thereof towards my first cd made me really push to have this new one a part of my soul.  I never wanted to feel that again. 

So with that thought, I put the cd in my radio player to see what I really thought about it, now that I was in a moment of solitude that didn’t seem breakable.  I felt like I could offer myself constructive criticism.  I kind of wanted to know what made me think I wasn’t connected in all ways possible to my own work.  I knew my reasoning from before, but this being a new day and new year, I was curious in that instant,  what I would think about hearing myself and what I was saying.  So I popped it in.  And from the instant the music started to play, brownstone in Brooklyn was first, I was taken aback.  I kept trying to hold back my cheeseball effect, aka tears, but  as the tracks played on, they came closer and closer until the cd reached Say Something, and I was in full pretty crying mode. 

Pretty Crying Mode: adj, Definition: to cry with ease; to not make faces but still have an emotional cry, good or bad.

The cd took me somewhere….matter a fact, the cd took me a lot of places in one small frame of time.  I am not really that comfy with listening to myself.  Actually, I hate listening to myself and I really hate to hear myself around other people.  It was one of the biggest hangups I had about recording.  Having to listen to myself and not be by myself when doing so.  Anyway.  Something I realized while listening to Say Something is that I am not only connected to that cd in many ways and forms, but I am PROUD of myself.  In a previous blog, its possible that I may have mentioned my stepfather telling me my cd was garbage and I could have it back.  I wonder today if that had something to do with how I started to feel about it.  That was kinda very hurtful to me, so I can’t help but think subconsciously he may have planted a small seed in my head that lead me to other thoughts, of which appeared to come from my own thinking.  Idk ….shruglife like rusty r. says…..

But today.  As I prepare for the release of my new cd, which I am going to work on tomorrow, I am proud to report that I love my first cd.  It was exactly what it was supposed to be.  It was done the exact way it should have been done.  It has been passed, stolen, circulated, listened to, complimented, disrespected, loved and cherished just to name a few.  So what do I have to complain about. 

Dear nSAYchable,

You did a wonderful job on SAY Something.  Congrats. 

in leiu of this new found appreciation for my old work, I would like to blog my where my head was at when I wrote each piece.  The original Say Something featured four tracks.  It was rereleased to include an additional three tracks, and has since been at home bootlegged to include ten tracks…..this particular bootleg version I was listening to had ten tracks, two of which were teasers from LDE.  So my next blog will feature the tracklisting of what is on the cd I was listening to and a track by track breakdown.  Maybe you’re interested, maybe you are not, but I need something tangible to re-read on those down days where I think all I do sucks!!

Because the longer I continue, the more I realize, all I do is accomplished, beautiful and uniquely me!

I cannot ask for or to be anything else.  And since I’m so comfy with just being me, I think that deserves a toast!

See you at Can I Kick It!


The Dayton Finale: R&B...the stuff songs are made of.

This is the stuff that good rhythm and blues songs are made of.  Remember back when you were a kid and you would sing along to a host of songs that you LOVED but didn’t have the slightest idea of what they meant.  The one that comes to mind for me first is Karyn White’s “Superwoman.”  Me and my friend Shakira (who ironically is the person who introduced me to poetry) used to sing that song at the top of our lungs, word for word, but it wasn’t until I found myself as a 24 year old young woman attempting to be the world’s best superwoman that I finally understood those lyrics.  Good lyrical content comes from experience.  It comes from living, from life and from observation.  But the best always come from experience.  As spoken word artists, part of our culture is writing and performing a poem that is for lack of better word, braggadocios.  Almost like rappers but not really.  Rappers all claim to be the greatest that ever did it.  Poets just write the hype around them so well that people buy into it.  We do poems about how our poems come from the center of the universe’s baby daughter or how when we spit, our voices reverb will touch soles and souls of people as far and wide as the lost and forgotten island that Columbus should have trekking for if he wanted to “discover” something.  Yeah….thats us. 

And this story, this experience is the stuff R&B is made of. 

As I stood from the wobbly stool I tried to catch my breath on, the MC, who looked a lot like Cedric the Entertainer, was introducing me as a World Renowned Poet who has performed alongside side Def Poets.  That sounded great but I still trying to surpress my anxiety.  Given enough time, I could have forseen a panic attack where I would be sitting someone on the side with an elevated heart rate and sweating the sweat of a marathon.  But now, there was nothing left to do but stuff all these wild emotions inside of a box and walk out on that stage with confidence.  So when he said “give it up for januarieYork”, that’s exactly what I did.  I was on my own on this one.  I knew Anitra would not be there for most, if any, of the performance because she was parking.  Like I said, although this has taken place in three blogs, this whole thing happened a lot quicker than the word count will have you believing.  I walked out to the mic to one of those “who is this chick” rounds of applause.  I had switched my new piece “Parked Cars” out for my default piece “Poem Cry” because I knew that like the back of my hand and although I knew P.C., there was no time for mess ups at this point.  Anything negative would make me look bad and would be counterproductive to the buzz around my name I was hoping to create.  I was hoping to prove myself to my contact that I deserved to be here and she made no mistake in inviting me. 

So my line up was: Poem Cry, which if I had more than a split second to rethink, I might have thrown Brownstone in Brooklyn in its place, The Definition and The Architect (beatboxing poem).  I was confident in each of the poems I picked and I opened with Poem Cry as an introductory.  I tried to spit it as hard as I did at IMA but I couldn’t because I hadn’t warmed up to the stage and I hadn’t planned on doing this piece.  But I got thru it and the audience seemed pleased.  The next two poems went off with no problem and for the record, I messed up in both Poem Cry & The Architect.  Forgot a couple lines out of PC, and got turned around with some of the final lines in The Architect, but the conversation in my head went something like “BITCH KEEP GOING”!!!! …..so I did.  I reckon that no one noticed I messed up because I didn’t miss a beat or a line. 

By the end of performance, I walked away to a more hype applause and walked passed my contact and heard her say something to the nature of me killing it!!! I don’t know exactly what she really said, but that’s what it sounded like and that’s what I’m rolling with.  I just leaned in and hugged her.  

During the intermission, which followed me, I greeted by several people who wanted share how much they appreciated my work or loved what they heard.  I gave out my new business cards that arrived just in time for this show, talked and laughed and as I was talking to one person, Anitra walked in, having missed my whole set due to parking.  She told me later that when she got to the third floor, people were standing at the cd table talking about me in a great way.  My job was done.  All that stress, all the days leading up to it, all the excitement, worry, etc etc was done.  This turned into the most stressful trip I have had in regards to featuring.  But it made it full circle.  Could I have done better.  Hell yeah!! It by far was no IMA performance and my performance of The Architect probably paled in comparison to when I did it at Midtown a couple of Sundays ago, but I was proud.  I did just what I wanted to do.  I touched people that night, even if it wasn’t each and every one of them.  They were a relaxed crowd, so to speak and at after The Definition, I few were on their feet.  For me!!!!! For MY words.  That feeling itself is so astonishing and amazing!!!

I sold a few cds, shook some hands, took some pictures and got the chance to speak to Shihan.  I didn’t do a lot of picture taking with my camera that night because I just wasn’t in the mood, but I did take a pic with a Def Poet. 

We were UBER ready to get back to the crib.  They all went to dinner after the show but as proud of myself as I was for handling the pressure like a G (lol), I wasn’t in the mood to be a stranger.  I had a funeral the next morning, of which I winded up missing, and I was SLEEEEEPY!!!!!!  We hit the road home.

This is the stuff life is made up.  Ups and downs that don’t make or break you.  They just help to continue you.  By the second poem, I had found some comfort in my zone and delivered my pieces with ease and relaxed posture.  It had become second nature and my heartbeat stabilized again.    And still, despite that, I felt bad for being so late.  I was still embarrassed.  I heard someone else talking about being stuck in traffic on the hwy as well, so that made me feel better.   The people backstage were all really nice and hospitable.  Nothing like those who were walking the streets with attitudes and pototo chips on shoulders.  Shihan complimented me on a great show and let me know he came back into the theater just in time to hear my poems. 
Then yesterday I received a phone call.  It was from someone in Dayton, a fellow artist whom I traded cd’s with, who called just to tell me how much she loved my cd !!! That was the best.  That just iced the cake.  It may have fallen in the middle but it was still fluffy, delicious and edible.  This is the stuff R&B must be made of.

“I thought I lost my footing and became rythmless.
Then my lack of balance forced me into the blues.
But out of the ashes comes the rainbowed phoenix.
Performing still with grace and using life as her muse.”


The Dayton Experience: Blues

And I’m STILL en-route? ?!!!! I’ll never make it.  I’m going to bomb if I do make it.  This. Is. The. Worst. EVER!

That is just a sample of what was going thru my head, although I was verbally speaking little to nothing.  I was too flustered.  Things had gotten complicated in my head on a serious note.  I went from excited and ready to kill it, to nervous, excited and ready to stand up to the pressure of setting a bar for myself in a new city, to nervous about getting there on time, to feeling like I wasn’t going to make it, to just overall, damn near throwing in the towel.  At some point, a winner wins and a loser loses.  I didn’t know which I was anymore.  I left Indy feeling like I was TeamFirstPlacing, but suddenly, it was as if I had fallen and people were stampeding over me.  To say I was worried was an understatement.  The wimpy side of me that is still working on her toughening up skills, wanted to cry some more, but I had only shed a few tears in hopes that it would relieve some of the negative pressure that had formed around my poetic grace.  And it did.  But tearing up now didn’t seem like the thing to do.  We were passing “Convention Center” signs that we used to guide us the rest of the way, but I still had no idea were it was and with this additional pressure of being NEXT and still having to make it out the car, up to the third floor and backstage all in time, AND WE STILL WEREN’T THERE, I didn’t have the time to unnecessarily cry.  I needed what time I had left to clear my head of all the noise that was now occupying it.

Five minutes was all I could hear.  It was as if all around me had been muted and I was forced to listen to the replaying of “five minutes, you’re next” over and over again.  But somewhere, somehow, I mustered up just enough faith to whisper back into my head, God would not have brought you all this way to drop you from the sky with no wings.  Well it was something like that, I just added to it now.  It went more like God would not have brought me all this way for nothing.  Same thing.  Afer boldly running a few red lights, we made a turn and found it sitting on the corner.  Shout out to Anitra Malone for being my driver, dealing with the insanity that came over me while lost and doing all she could to pass uplifting and encouraging thoughts until we made it.  At one point she had to take some hits from her inhaler from us walking so much and so fast.  And running the red lights.  Boldy running the red lights I might add.  That’s love.  She put me out at the door and I hopped out, ran in as fast as I could in my 6 inch wedged Michael Antonio’s that were brand new and putting a brutal hurting on my foot life.  There were no elevators, or at least no time to search for them.  The cascading escalators it was.  And they were full of people, older people mind you, dressed to the nines and moving slowly.  I brushed past them all as I ran up the escalator and tried to do time in my head, pray AND clear my head all at the same time.  I got to the table on third floor and told them who I was, then went in to the back.  Everyone knew I was late.  It was on there faces.  The young lady that escorted me to the back was really nice.  We had to walk thru the auditorium, and even though it was dark, I just felt like I reeked of unprofessionalism.  How nice.  As I attempt to make this grand return to the stage and the mic and the life of a poet, here I am, and hour+ late and everyone knew it.  I got to the back and was greeted with enthusiasm to say the least.  Shihan was standing back there and it just added to my embarrassment.  It was like “look at the amateur walking in late” …..yeah I know…I created a thousand scenarios about what people were thinking of me, even though what happened was totally out of my control.  I couldn’t even remember what my contact Sierra looked like.  My mind was in between space and distance.  There was nothing moving in it but erratic thoughts, letters that used to be poems and sweat.  I was SO hot.  Mouth was ridiculously dry.  There was no water.  My heart was beating so fast, I didn’t know how I would perform.  Honestly.  All these factors worked together against me.  What if I got onstage w/o having the chance to calm down.  That meant I would run out of breath too much or have to swallow the nothingness that my saliva had  turned into, too often.  I was offered a prayer and accepted.  We went to the back, hand in hand, and did breathing exercises that turned into a call unto the most high for help and ease.  I had made it.  The hard part was over now.  Or was it?

There was no water and no time to run find a fountain.  I was about to perform as is.  I was dressed comfortably chic in a plain white thermal with a vintage dress jacket, some ripped jeans and my 6 inch heels that were giving my feet the blues just because.  I felt played down and chic.  I felt beautiful.  I also wore my gray hat to the side and of course some dope earrings that probably didn’t match but in my NEW IMPROVED non-matching way.  All in all, I got back stage with approximately 3 minutes, mayyyybe an extra 30 seconds, before my name was called.  It seems long in word form, but trust me when I say it was three minutes before showtime when I got backstage.  The guy asked me what I wanted him to say and I really didn’t know.  Although I prayed, I was still worked up….u know how they say “He may not come when you want Him to, but He’s always on time?” Well such was the case.  I believe in the power of prayer so I knew He was there with me and wouldn’t let me fall, but I was still worked up.   My heartbeat was still out of calm sync.  So I grabbed a seat for about 20 seconds and next thing I knew, he said “Give it up for januarieYork” …..it was showtime.

Nothing left to do but walk out now. 


Dayton Ohio Rhythm

Sound check was at 7pm.
Show started at 8pm.
I didnt know what time i was scheduled to go on, but i had already forewarned my contact that i would arrive shortly after 7pm due to my day job.....I think I had tweeted or maybe facebook’d the eery calm I had over me that day.  Usually I’m butterflied up and super nervous, but this day, I was chill the entire day.  I was excited, I was ready but I was calm.  unusually calm.  That kind of calm makes me nervous.
We got to Dayton right at 8pm.  I wasn’t too worried about missing soundcheck because I’m a poet….I don’t really NEED to sound check.  I can just back up or scoot closer to the mic; depending on which is necessary.  I had let my guard down.  We were ten minutes tops, and that includes time getting lost, from the venue.  I knew it was being held in the Dayton Convention Center.  We were on our way…until…..
red lights.
left lane…..right lane….both middle lanes…..there were red lights every where…..as far as the eye could see around the bending highway, brake lights were at a standstill.  This was unbelievable.  We were stuck in non-moving traffic.  I franticly begin to txt my contact to keep her posted, as this was my first trip to Dayton.  This was her first time seeing me perform live, and she was going solely off the word of a fellow poet.  Although she had been able to view a few videos online, I think she was still a little worried about bringing someone she didn’t know and hadn’t heard of, to a show as big as The Signature.  So I can’t say I blame her.  But on my end, the traffic was starting to stress me out and unravel my poetic confidence that I had managed to hang on, despite a semi-troubling conversation I had about messing up my poems.  That has always been a weak point of mine. 
In the car, we kept the conversation moving and laughing, while trying not to go too far in depth about the fact that we were not moving.  An hour later, after going approx. ONE mile, I convinced my “driver” to get off on the strange exit we were in front of.  We took it, found a main street, and I became relieved.  I sent a text and let my contact know I was back in route and things were looking up.  we got all the way downtown and missed one turn, according to GPS, and spent the next hour and half lost. 
Every time we asked for directions or sought help, we seemed to encounter only the non-hospitable people of Dayton, who would respond in ways that let us know if we were going to find where we were going, it would not be because of them.  One guy, after ignoring us for a few minutes, told us straight up, “I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, and I ain’t telling you nothing.” Nuff said. 
We went to the wrong place twice.  The one person that did offer us help, helped us to the wrong building, but it wasn't her fault and at least she tried.  We got turned around, rerouted and confused.  In the doorway of one venue, which turned out to be the usual venue for The Signature, just not THIS night, I had to break down and cry.  I was embarrassed.  I didn’t want to make the person that brought me feel bad or feel like any of this was her fault, but the stress had hit a level inside of me that had me wanting to turn around and go home.  I had to let some of it out.  I just sat and cried real quick, stood up and left.  After speaking with my contact, whom I had just sent the text "we're here", we found out we were STILL about three streets over from where we needed to be. 
We tried again.  But once again, we were turned around and lost.  Come to find out, I had the wrong address in the GPS the entire time.  But even when I put in the Convention Center, we were taken thru a residential neighborhood, over a highway and back on the street we had ORIGINALLY arrived downtown from.  By then my contact was calling and she was frustrated and I could tell thru her voice.  I tried to keep my business face on, and to sound unlike the dumb blonde I felt like I looked like and told her what streets we were passing.  She suggested I ask someone for directions and it was all I could do to keep from screaming in the phone.  I’m so happy to be a mild mannered person who usually attempts to think about what she says before saying it.  In my head I was thinking “I’m not asking any more people from here for a damn thing!”….I was frustrated, I had broken down and felt defeated.  I expected to either wind up coming all this way for nothing or making it and bombing miserably on stage.  My mind was in a break fast scramble. And just when I saw signs pointing us towards the convention center, she told me I had five minutes to get there because I was on stage next.  Unknowingly, we were still about a mile away from the venue. 
It was official.
I had been thrown completely off my rhythm. 
And the blues were written all over my face.


(S)He Speaks: The Finale

(S)he Speaks: Hard Truth Thornton Dial Exhibit Cast (from l-r) januarieYork, M'reld Green, Georgia Me & Tasha Jones

It's been weeks now since the show....about two to be exact...funny...you work for so long, so hard on memorizing the poems and getting prepared for the show, both mentally and physically, and then BOOM! It happens...it goes so fast....the time speeds by, whereas only hours before, it seemed like a thousand days had passed while in anticipation.  But no matter the speed or the time stamp or the pumping adrenaline that shoots us thru the night so quick, it takes days to realize its all over, some of those moments are -

I was a bit melancholy about the Thornton Dial exhibit closing.  It was the final slice of cake; the topper or in otherwords, game over, operation: rely on memories time......it meant that the moment i was still beaming off of days later had actually come and gone already.....but that was true....somewhat....if some people are able to leave footprints on our souls, isn't a fair assumption to say some moments outlive us by lifetimes?  That night chart topped my list of "moments that will forever stick out", play by play mind you....i will never forget it....and i knew it....i felt so much pressure to nail this night.  Unlike I had ever experienced, i don't remember if i mentioned it or not in the other blog, but this night would mark the first time i had all of this in one place:
-people who i want to book me
and ....people i looked up/admire/was excited to meet

i was nervous....my outfit was long, too long in fact, so i had to grip each of the legs slightly when i walked to keep from tripping....i was nervous about tripping....but not as much physically as mentally...i had gone over and over and over this poem as much as humanely possible...i was disappointed in my meltdown, but i was more disappointed in the fact that i remembered a poem entitled "Parked Cars" that i was NOT trying to memorize better than i knew this poem....but i didnt have much time for that....i was second after tasha on the second go around....did i explain previously about Sunni Patterson???  Long story short, she wasn’t there and M'reld Green was….to say I was disappointed would be a bit of a lie because I was too excited and nervous to be disappointed about anything….i’ve learned the hard way that the show must go on, so I really didn’t possess the power to sit and be melancholy because Sunni wasn’t there….i just said to myself, we’ll perform together right when we are supposed to and kept it moving…fast forwarding:....it was my turn....
i walked out.....
i heard slight whispery cheers, which i took as the spirits of my people throwing all this wonderful energy to the room…I had already been out there once and left them pleased, but I did a no-brainer poem….it was time for the grand finale of my performance…the poem that had given me the blues, that I started writing randomly about 3 wks before the show….it started with one line: they say we are not artists, and my pen just took off….i hoped this poem would bring together two worlds, poetry and artistry, and mesh them into one piece about us being given the short shoulder when it comes to praising our work….i knew the poem…the entire poem was in my head….but …since I had been messing up every chance I got to rehearse, I feared the worse… i had to take it off my face that i was nervous, scared even...i couldnt let it show, couldnt let my legs wobble , didn't want to fumble the mic....but i did take a lil extra time messing with the mic....the acoustics were great, i didnt even need to be in front of it, but i ...i needed to be in front of it ; )
it was on....i rose my head up, as januarieYork, poet extraordinaire and took my place amongst my co-stars…..i inhaled, exhaled and slowly said: “they say we are not artist” …..i couldn’t see the poem in my head, which I usually can if I know it well enough…I can see it on the page as I go line for line, which can be a good or bad thing for my memory….this time, I saw nothing….i just kept it at a slow enough pace to be able to allow my memory to keep up with my lips, and fast enough to be delivered with power….as I got past each bump that had become my “troublesome” area’s, I internally heard a thunder of applause…..and then….i got to the end of the poem….the last few lines, the last stanza’s….piece of cake!!! Or so I thought....the line when:
“V for the Victory….we are displays of red splashes, yellow bursts of luminosity, burnt high heels and Mercedes benz emblems on fire, on canvass, we are artist, there is no more need to wonder….we are Hard Truth….ink rings on all ten fingers, and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
After speaking “yellow bursts of luminosity” my mind pulled a blank out….i couldn’t remember it and I was NOT about to show it….i didn’t know it….and I was frustrated because it was the end of the piece and my favorite part of the poem….but it was blank….so I kept repeating we are Hard Truth in hopes that it would bring any one of those last lines back, preferably “there is no more need to wonder”…If I could have gotten that line back, I would have remembered the rest….but I couldn’t….and I wasn’t about to continue to mess up my poem with this freestyle rendition of repeating the same line, so I mentally gave up and shot straight down to “what God has joined together”….it was sad for me because I REALLY loved the line about ink rings being on all ten fingers, but it was gone as well….i scurried off the stage, fighting off my anger at my memory, caught a high five from one of my co-stars and caught the tail end of the cheers….seems like no one knew or loved it any less…..i was happy about that….but pissed about the fact that by the time I got to the green room, I remembered each line….but…such is life….it would NOT stop me from feeling what I was feeling….

Which was AMAZING…..GeorgiaMe complimented me again and butterflies went everywhere….the show was over shortly afterwards….Tasha introduced us all, explained what happened to Sunni Patterson, and brought me out first….it felt great….the room burst with applause and if you could have seen little Mario inside my eyes fighting the tears as I walked back out to take my seat on stage for the Q&A, you would surely call me a cheeseball…..we answered questions for about 20 mins…..and it was over….the blog is so long, I wont go into play by plays on the Q&A or all the hugs and power I received after we came off and even before we left the stage….but I will say this:

There is NOTHING in the world like knowing what you were born to do…
..there is something freeing about knowing your purpose…..but I’ve always been the underdog….in school, in friends, in life, just in general…I’ve often played the background, got the “well since she’s standing here” compliments…..i wanted to be friends with the cool kids, but I hardly was….i had my people and most of them were cool with the cool kids, but that hardly ever meant anything for me....i got dealt some interesting cards....always had just enough spades to win, but never knew how to play them and i dont mean people, i mean LIFE.... I’ve always gotten the last of the best so to speak….then where this poetry thing is concerned, I’ve played black light a lot….tending to only shine when other people turn all their lights off (or down)….but this night….was the night I was reborn in poetry ….i found my place…..found my rights….found my love again….geez it had been so long since I just FELT IT…..that night….i did…I felt covered in the essence of words, art, people, love and most of all, God…..it was priceless….i could keep going and going….but I’ll stop here by saying: (S)he Speaks: Hard Truth broke the IMA’s Saturday exhibit attendance records TWICE! We have been invited to N.Carolina’s exhibit as well as Atlanta’s exhibit.  ….its only the beginning…..

If I were the woman this year that I was last, I would blow this opp….but I am new woman every day….but this time, I am a determined woman….i am surrounded and ONLY want to be surrounded in successful people who know how to fall down and laugh their way back up…..i want to spend as much of the rest of my life smiling/laughing/living…..this one right here, catapulted me thru the end of the year in internal joy…..i thank the Lord above for my life, ups and downs….w/o it all, I wouldn’t know how much that night meant to me.
Its hard to believe it has passed already.
But luckily, its only the beginning.  Again.
To the top my lovelies!!!!