Poetry

All posts in the Poetry category

Mommy’s neck

Published June 8, 2017 by hrhdana

My Mother smells like everything is okay.

She smells like happy.

She smells like peace.

She smells like the emotion you feel when you see puppies.

Her scent grounds me

quiets my active mind immediately. 

Her scent is all the good things.

My nose,

 deep in her neck

is my happy place.

She smells like everything is okay. 

Priceless

Each deep inhale savored

aware that one day…

My mother smells like everything is okay 

Her scent makes me better

beautiful and weird.

I love my Mommy.

They saved me

Published March 8, 2017 by hrhdana

There was a time when I was so lost

I didn’t know who I was.

I played at princess

gave myself to peons.

Wearing a tiara

sitting in the dirt.

Filthy.

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I thought a man was the answer to everything.

If I could just get one man to

see me

love me

validate me

then I would be complete.

And I tried

guy,

after guy

after guy.

I hurled my love like a weapon

consuming them.

I wrapped my legs around

bodies with no soul inside

gave all I had to lie after lie.

I cried

a lot.

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And each rejection

was confirmation

that who I was wasn’t working

broken, undeserving.

More lies.

More cries.

But my sisters.

Baby, my sisters

saw through my foolishness.

Shared life lessons I could not resist.

“Sis no one can love you

until you do.

Forgive yourself. Start new.

I see you.

I’ve been there too.”

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I sucked my teeth.

They didn’t understand my love.

Couldn’t understand that if I would just shut the fuck up

He wouldn’t have to…

They called bullshit.

Refused to quietly sit

while I ran towards my destruction.

My sisters showed up with garbage bags

packed all my shit and took my hand.

We out!

YOU are out!

Threatened the man

If he laid one more hand

on me

they would find his body

floating.

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And I wondered

How can they love me more than I love me?

Want a better for me that I can’t even see?

How can they deem me worthy?

But they did.

In thought

word and deed.

My sisters,

they saved me.

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This is not the dream!

Published January 18, 2016 by hrhdana

This is not the dream.
And I can no longer be content
to clap for scraps
thrown to people who look like me.
We are deserving.
Not 3/5ths!
Whole people.
Still auditioning
For our humanity
to be recognized.
Citizens of this nation.
This is not the dream!

When people in Flint are being systematically murdered
by unclean water
laying generational curses
while politicians tell outright lies.
Convince them not to believe their own eyes.
People die.
Their babies will reap the impact
of poison
ingested
bathed in
breathed.
Purposefully poisoned
This is NOT the dream!

When griots and record keepers can’t even keep all the names straight
of innocents murdered in police “mistakes”
When the system investigates
and finds itself not guilty
time after time after time after time after time.
This is NOT fine.
This is NOT the dream!
Not why he died.

When the leading candidate for the Republican Party is unapologetically anti.
Anti me, Anti you,
Anti truth.
And he fills stadiums
with hate.
This is NOT the dream.

And I weep
for the man, the reverend
who sacrificed his life
believing we would make it to the mountain top.
But they just keep moving the fucking mountain.
And we?
We clap for scraps.
Indictments
with no teeth.
Not living on the street.
Having enough to eat.
This is NOT the dream!

This is not the dream!
Oscars so white
Trending
People of color raging
Begging
To be acknowledged and seen.
Conforming
only to realize
you lost the best parts of you
and gained
nothing.
This is NOT the dream!

And some will read this
comment with words like progress.
And I’ll shrug.
I guess.
But in my heart I know they have acquiesced.
Believing the party line.
Look how good some of you have it
You’ll be fine.
Exceptions dangled to make you blind.
This is NOT the dream!

When Black parents are still educating their children
on how to NOT get killed by the wrong officer
Sons AND daughters.

I ask you,
How could THIS be the dream?
When shoes are worn out from marching,
calluses from letter writing,
fatigue from voter line waiting,
new Poll tests passing legislatures.
How could THIS be the dream?

This is NOT the dream!
I won’t pretend it is.
Keep your celebrations.
I have
letters to write,
marches to attend.
trials to protest.
I’m dreaming new dreams
based in reality.

Dreams of
Safety.

Because this?
This is NOT the dream!!!!

 

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My Confession

Published December 29, 2015 by hrhdana

When I heard about Tamir getting murdered my first thought was,
“What Black parent lets their little boy play with a toy gun outside?”
I am ashamed of that thought.
I have held it inside for over a year now.
Afraid to admit it out loud.

I am well trained in the ways of my birthplace.
America.
There are places inside of me that are well colonized.
Black children can’t be children
if we want them to live.

Black parents can’t let them play outside with toy guns
these babies are already wrapped in that scary melanin.
I blamed his parents.
It didn’t last long.

The facts were clear even BEFORE the video was released.
He was a boy, playing with a toy.
And even if he wasn’t
Ohio is an open carry state.
He was breaking no laws.

American boys have played with guns since there were guns.
Playing grown up games with a childhood spin…
pretending…
to shoot the bad guys
or be the bad guys.
It’s as American as apple pie
to see a little one pretending to shoot.

We play along.
We clutch our chests.
You.got.me.
We pretend to die
dramatically.
Neglecting
to tell them
that this play
is not for them.

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Not for Americans
with melanin.
One more American experience denied
You can not play like your friends.
You can not be rude.
You can not talk back.
You can not stand up.
You can not be 12 years old
in a public park
playing with a toy
found in most homes in America.

And if you do.
If you dare to be
an American boy
playing with a common toy
you will be murdered.
Your family will be denied justice.

You will bleed and scream and cry alone
for FOUR agonizing minutes.
Your big sister 2 years older than you
will be tackled to the ground,
handcuffed and placed in a police car
for trying to hold you
for fighting to get to you
for responding to your pain.

Tamir, little brother.
We failed you.
And I blamed you.
I blamed your parents.
I am ashamed.
Well trained.
Complicit in my own inequality.
Participating.
Acknowledging.
Supporting
that OUR children
should be denied parts of the American dream
because we want them to live.

And sorry
is bullshit!
Doesn’t begin to cover it.

I want MY little girl
to be free
but even more
I want her to be
alive.

So I sit
sick
complicit
indicting myself
serving time
reading books
searching for answers.

I wipe tears I didn’t know were falling.
Tamir, Mother Samaria I have no words.
I offer
my heart,
my confession,
sincere blessings.
And I promise
I will never stop speaking his name.
And I will honor his memory all of my days.

He was murdered.
His murderer is free.
No indictment from the grand jury.
Hard to speak.

Black lives matter
in more than theory.

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I’m sorry Sandy

Published December 22, 2015 by hrhdana

Her name was Sandra Bland.

Those who knew and loved her called her Sandy.

And I can tell you honestly

She is me and I am she.

Outspoken about the injustices happening to our people

Sandy couldn’t sit quietly

nothing meek about she.

She spoke

loudly,

intelligently,

passionately.

Sandy speaks

she still speaks to me.

 

Her life mattered.

And I won’t recap the details

all of the things absolutely wrong

with her traffic stop and arrest.

But I will say this

Her life absolutely mattered.

Black women’s lives matter.

And

I won’t

I can’t

force you to care.

We were born here.

As much claim to this land as my unmelinated neighbors

but the point can’t be belabored

justice is not equal here.

Black citizens live in fear

of flashing red lights

of cops whose minds ain’t right.

And no, not all cops.

Not by a long shot.

But it only takes one to take all I’ve got.

 

And me

Being a woman.

There will be no universality

Among those who fight against the injustices done to those who look like me.

No national Trayvon level galvanizing.

So I will continue to scream

Black women’s lives matter.

And I will speak their names

Again and again and again and again.

 

Sandra Bland, 28 in Texas

Kendra James, 21 in Oregon

Shereese Francis, 29 in New York City

Tanisha Anderson, 37 in Cleveland

Yvette Smith 47 in Texas

Natasha McKenna , 37 in Virginia

Rekia Boyd, 22 in Chicago

Shelly Frey 27-in Houston.

Darnisha Harris was only a teenager in Louisiana

Malissa Williams, 30 in Cleveland

Alesia Thomas 35 in Los Angeles

Shantel Davis 23  in  New York City

Aiyana Stanley-Jones  only 7 years old in Detroit

Tarika Wilson, 26 in Ohio

Kathryn Johnson  92 in Atlanta

Alberta Spruill 57 in New York City

I could keep going but I feel sick.

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Black women’s lives matter.

I will tell their stories

I will nurture the light of their memories

all the days of my life.

Black

LIFE

matters.

New fairy tales

Published November 24, 2015 by hrhdana

When I was a little girl my Mommy read me fairy tales.
Princes on horses who would come and save me.
Brave men who traveled great distances
to save princesses.
The princesses were always blond
blue eyes
thin thighs.
Nothing like me.
But I believed.
And I wanted desperately
to be saved.
No decisions to make
no battles to face
a brave prince
that would cover me
ride me in to my happily
ever after on his brave and reliable steed.
I kissed frog after frog after frog after frog
waiting
believing
He was coming
to absolve me
of decision making.
I put the responsibility
of me
in the wrong hands
time after time after time after time after time.

And do you know who saved me?
Sisters.
Blood and by choice.
Helped me find my voice
cleaned my wounds
pointed me at the mirror
YOU ARE CAPABLE!
BEAUTIFUL!
POWERFUL!
YOU ARE ABLE!
And I didn’t believe them.
Kept looking on the horizon
for the prince I just knew was coming.
But my sisters
they were there.
Showing up. Reflecting care.
Loving me more than I did.
Cleaning tears
biting back the “I told you sos.”
Nothing but helpful.
They understood.

I’m writing new books for my daughter.
Princes are amazing.
But your sisters?
Babygirl your sisters
are EVERYTHING!
Choose them wisely.
Listen earnestly.
They give selflessly.
And they never leave.
My fairy tales for my princess girl
are about sisters who stand by her side
eyes open brimming with pride.
Brave and true.
Slaying dragons AND looking fly.
Scared but brave
not afraid to cry.
Look to your sisters babygirl
leave the frogs for the other girls who do not know.

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Dearest Mother Samaria

Published November 23, 2015 by hrhdana

Sister Samaria

I wish I could hug you

my arms

wrapped around your body

heart to heart.

Mother to mother.

There are no words.

Nothing that can ease the burden you now live with

Nothing can fill the emptiness in your household.

I’m so sorry.

Lord knows I am so sorry.

But those words are insufficient.

Living in a country

that can justify

the unjustifiable.

A court system that says no wrong was done

And yet you live without your son.

12 years old

And gone.

My heart weeps.

I wish I could hold you.

Mourn beside you.

Form a fence around you.

Burn shit down for you.

He was a boy

playing with a toy.

He didn’t have a chance

to comply.

And the fact that the entire nation

doesn’t rage

doesn’t grieve

doesn’t open their arms

doesn’t stand in solidarity with you

is a secondary crime.

The fact that your boy was denied

comfort in his last moments of life

another crime.

I wish I could hold you.

The whole damn system is guilty!

And Tamir

is gone

There is NOTHING justified about it.

NOT

ONE

THING.

Mother to Mother

I wish I could hold you.

I’m thinking of you

lending you all of the love and light in my heart.

This Thursday when I sit down with my family

I’ll be thinking of you and of yours.

I’ll be setting an extra place at the table

to remind us all.

We all we got.

It’s not enough

and everything

all at once.