To: M’reld Green.
From: Tameka Haywood

Written by: eZv

POET’S KID

He holds a girl child on his right hip
His stage name must be dad
Because he has entertainment of an infant
Down to a science
Making sure she isn’t overly absorbed
With her reflection in the mirrored ceiling
He makes his girl child watch her mom
Read a poem about her big brother
From a page full of
Red inked stanzas.

She writes blank verse
In baby gibberish
About household pets
And plants that make her feel she’s
In a jungle every time she crawls
Into the dining room

How amazing it must be to know that
You’re a poet before you can walk.

To know your parents might be cool enough
To let you get your first tattoo at sixteen
As long as you showed them the design
Complete with a written explanation
As to why this ink must permeate your skin
At this moment

She’s a girl child spawn
From a love that most say
You shant indulge in…
“Never. Fuck. A. Poet.”

Should we not have our own breed?

Breastfeeding newborns with limericks
And giving them block puzzles of Shakespeare’s pentameter.
They could be scolded in assonance
And praised in free verse

You would know how their day of school went
From the use of their stressed syllables
And when she turns 12…
She will perfect the hyperbole.

All grievances will be submitted verbally
In three minutes or less
Void of any grace periods.

A P.K. (…a poet’s kid)
Will be much like a preacher’s kid.
Reckless. Flippant. Quick to fuck.

They will explore sexuality
While claiming to hate poetry out of spite.
And by the time she turns seventeen.
She will write love notes in seventeen syllables
That teachers won’t be able to decipher

My locker is closed
You have the combination
Unlock it tonight.

eris.zion.venia

all rights reserved.

By: Eris Zion Venia Dyson
Twitter/IG/Tumblr: @eZvenia

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I was devastated last night. I laid in my bed, fighting back tears, to frustrated to eat, watch the All-Star Weekend festivities, or even conjure up enough strength to get an episode of House of Cards in. My fiancé saw that I was inconsolable. I had to sit with the Michael Dunn verdict on my heart.

Today I sat in the car in the parking lot of a grocery store with my sister after church. She told me that she was waiting to hear about my reaction to the Michael Dunn verdict last night. She wasn’t sure if I had heard the word or not… until she saw my post that said:

  1. I’m angry.
  1. I’ll probably never participate in a march again. They’ve out-stayed their welcome, are ineffective, and rarely solve anything in the 21st century.
  1. I just had a conversation with my womb about ‘Y’ chromosomes. And to think twice about bearing black boys on this soil.
  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to scrub the blackness off my flesh. I may try tonight.
  1. I rarely approach things I fear.
  1. I’m not changing my profile pic. (Refer to #3)
  1. White people should talk to white people about how they as a community innately fear blackness.

We spoke candidly about our confusion, about our fear for my nephew (her son) who was sleeping soundly in the back seat. We rolled through the verdict out loud to see if we had missed something. Dunn had been convicted in three counts of attempted murder, but when it came to Murder in the First Degree, the jury could not come to a consensus.

So my sister, Eriane Dyson, said, “he’s going to jail, not because he killed Jordan Davis, but because he DIDN’T kill the other three boys in the car.”

Well I’ll be damned. It makes perfect sense. Michael Dunn is going to jail for doing a half assed job of executing Black youth. Had the other three died, Dunn would be a free man right now!

Dunn said…  “My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life, it just worked out that way.” I keep staring at that phrase “ not necessarily.” Some of the synonyms for necessarily being:  unavoidably, inevitably, certainly. But when you pick up a gun, decide to fire it, the inevitable indeed happens.

Dunn didn’t shoot warning shots into the ground, or into the air. Dunn didn’t engage in fisticuffs. He sprayed a vehicle with bullets, gingerly left the scene all the while patting his self on the back for teaching those Black boys a lesson.

The lesson “worked out that way” because the American curriculum states that Black bodies have no value.

Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams makes it plain by saying “[Black men are] victims of a fantasy. This fantasy of what the Black body does and can do has become more importantly than the reality and we pay for it with our lives.” He goes on to say: “The idea of feeling threatened is not the same thing as being threatened. We pretend that it is, but it’s not.” And finally for those who keep saying this isn’t a “race thing” Williams states: “This idea of having to explain why it’s racial, while we’re standing in our own blood is silly. It’s racial because it doesn’t happen to White people.”

And to white people, and maybe some people of color who may be seething at this particular narrative, the solution is not being “color-blind”. I need you to see us. See these young Black boys with their black skin who wear their pants off their asses, blasting their music, freaking their black & mild’s, standing in line for Jordan’s, head phones on, rattling off curse words and “nigga” as they please… I want you to see them. Acknowledge them. Love them. Lift them up. Let them be who they are.

Believe it or not they are not, nor have they ever been the problem.

Imagine the outcome had Michael Dunn walked up to the young men and said, “Hi, excuse me. Could you turn your music down a little bit, I’m having a hard time hearing mine. Thanks so much! Have a great day!”

When you acknowledge the humanity of a person, chances are their humanity acknowledges you as well. And if your idea of humanity doesn’t include a person because of characteristics that you deem “uncomfortable” maybe it’s you that missing the humanity.

Hey Everyone!!

I’ve decided to take my morning saying and give it to the world to have something to wake up to! This is one of a few ideas that my Fiancé and I had to help support having the wedding of our dreams. And since we both know that money doesn’t grow on trees, we’re stepping out on faith with this small fundraiser. If all goes well… we will do more and more!

Thank you in advance for your support!

#GetYours
Love,

Eris & Terrance

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Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston

By: Eris Zion Venia Dyson

A letter to my future daughter…

Dear Zora Venia,

The year is 2014, and it’s Zora Neale Hurston’s 123rd Birthday. As a cultural critic, playwright, and poet, Hurston was and still is the epitome of radical self love. A love that is difficult, not always pretty, but always beautiful. Hurston gifted light to a space of America that was often deemed too treacherous to explore.

Posthumously, Zora continues to say the things that we often don’t have the courage to conjure up and let slip from our lips. Her relevance in this “post-racial” society is even more crucial than ever. I, as a writer often times find me having a revolutionary thought or feeling, and come to the realization that it was something I read and ingested from Hurston. In her time on this earth, she covered so much ground; from friendship, to faith, to fascism.

My mother, your grandmother (who’s middle name you also have), named me Eris. This name, in Greek mythology, is the goddess of strife and discord. I resented that name for so long, before I realized that my name had extreme power, and strife wasn’t who I was, but it was what I endured. I knew then that I wanted to be intentional about what name I would gift my legacy.

In a letter  Zora wrote to Countee Cullen in 1943, she said “I have never liked stale phrases and bodyless courage. I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.” And that’s what I spend my days doing… finding my nerve to walk my path, no matter how difficult. I encourage you to do the same.

What made her timeless was her ability to use “plain speak” to say what she meant, in a way that was accessible to all people no matter who you were. Her words resonate in the deepest corners of our beings. Corners that we long forgot could be occupied. Zora shows up in bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, and undoubtedly Alice Walker. She is at the base of my literary family tree.

I gave you the name Zora because I wanted her ancestral fire to dwell in your soul… I wanted you to know that no matter what history books may say, that we as black women are the Original Woman, and that often times the courage of our voices is scrubbed from history, but no matter how many times we’re erased, we are rewritten over and over again. I gave you the name Zora to know that you can write and rewrite your life however you choose to see it and be it.

I gave you this name so you knew that you had permission to never ask for permission.

Below are just a few quotes that have carried me through that I want you to internalize and know… Zora Neale Hurston will always be the soil in which Black Girl Poets & Writers sprout from, and no matter the path you chose to journey, know that you are cut from this cloth. That you are powerful, loved, gifted, beautiful, and black.

Zora on prejudice and discrimination… “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

Zora on patience and understanding… “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Zora on friendship and sisterhood… “I have known the joy and pain of friendship. I have served and been served. I have made some good enemies for which I am not a bit sorry. I have loved unselfishly, and I have fondled hatred with the red-hot tongs of Hell. That’s living.”

Zora on good love… “Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

Zora on truth and pain… “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

Zora on self love at all times… “I love myself when I am laughing. . . and then again when I am looking mean and impressive.”

Zora on benevolence and service… “There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.”

Zora on patriotism… “I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her.”

Zora on truth… “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.”

Zora on… well… being bad ass… “You heard me. You ain’t blind.”

Love,

Eris a.k.a. Mother, Ma, Mama… or whatever you’ll end up calling me. <3

So… I’ve seen this picture circulated around for a while now.
But this time it reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago, and decided to share.

I dedicate this to all the women who carry the little girl they once were… a burden so personal, yet so universal.

All my love:
-eZv

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Failure.

there’s a little girl living inside this grown woman
hymen torn, kinda like mines
her tantrums are my menstrual cramps.

she sits Indian style at the base of me
bathing in my unshed womb
blocking my cervix with her toes

only she can remember our hurt.

as the keeper of my sorrow
she relinquishes it piece by piece
pushing pain thru my pores with her palms
the surface as white heads
carrying the seed residue of forgotten ejaculations

on good days she jumpropes  with my bowels and naps
because i am busy forgetting about her
belief making that my molestation toxins
didn’t stunt her growth

she yanks at my rib cage every time a penis lay in my vagina
my kidneys… her ear plugs to muffle my orgasmic screams

and to love her… is to fail at everything

she’s too old to pacify.
her terror lay dormant flaring like herpes.
she clings to my chakras for deal life
crying tears that secrete sweat under my arms

do you know what its like to have an inconsolable
seven year old dwelling in the crevices of you?
unbirthable.

i drink wine to calm her.

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Black girls fight for their lives every day… 

we keep breathing even when we’d rather stop because we don’t want to inconvenience those we’d leave behind.

We live because folk might not care that we’re gone.

We refuse to take pills… or slit wrists because the pain may feel too good.

Black girls have been there… staring death in the mirror… but not having time to give their lives away.

’cause if I’m not here to do it… cook it… clean it… love it… who will? 

While we’re living on this earth… our souls are a fist full of sawdust. 

Alive and bound… too strong and too proud to admit… I’d rather not live.

-eZv

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay

Dear Trinity,

These are all the things I needed to hear and to learn at your age…

1. Don’t rush.
Be a child for as long as your mother will let you. Because once it gets real… It never gets unreal again.

2. Love who you are.
It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. And I have to learn how to love me every single day. It’s a battle I don’t always win. But every day I fight for it.

3. Honor who you were.
You won’t always be proud of your past. But honor it. Learn from it. Grow from it.

4. Welcome who you are becoming.
It’s a beautiful adventure coming into your own. You have the opportunity be exactly who you want to be whenever you want to be it.

5. Take the best. Leave the rest.
The world can be a gorgeous mess… Take from it only what is meant for Trinity.

6. The more irrational your mother sounds. The more right she is.
You don’t understand their craziness for about another decade or so. Just nod your head… Do what she says. And know that it’ll make sense down the line. And when it finally becomes clear. Call her and tell her thank you.

7. Start saving money now.
Even if its $1 a week. Put it away and don’t touch it til you’re 30.

8. Get a hobby that will keep money in your pocket
If you don’t do anything else. Make sure you can always make money. Jobs & student loan refunds come & go. But your hands will sustain you when all else fails.

9. Don’t let people borrow money.
Period. Ever.

10. Figure out what you are passionate about. And live your life for that passion.
Knowing what you love. What you’re good at. What you’re great at now will save you time down the line. Walk in the direction of your dreams.

11. Your first love won’t be your last love.
Your 2nd & 3rd probably won’t be either. Know you will never have a broken heart. Your heart will hurt and it will bend. But you are built so strong… It will never break. I promise.

12. Your body is yours and yours alone.
It is your fortress. It is your home. Be smart about who you let in.

13. Serve those in need.
The greatest gifts are received are when you are helping others.

14. Be the best.
Think like a winner & do what you know is right to do.

15. Your family is always near.
And we love you to life.

16. Trinity. Remember your name.
Know that when someone speaks your name they are honoring the Father the Son & the Holy Spirit. God above all will be your refuge. Live in purpose.

Happy birthday baby girl.
Love,

eZv

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