Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Friday, July 31, 2009

the journey--by mary oliver

my law school clinic professor just hipped me to this poem. i love it. SO applicable to me and my life right now. i'm sure others can relate. here it is.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Sunday, July 12, 2009


my brother uttering smothering almost mothering words
sending my heart fluttering like butterflies tumbling down to absurd
depths then taking flight
rooftop starry nights and the startling heights of flying eagles remind me i'm still free
and fresh mountain air in my lungs remind me i can still breathe
though i may drown
cuz you be way down deep in who i'm is
like from since back when we were little ashy knee'd grinning kids
so much a part of me that you're like my heart to me
or maybe a twin soul, living whole and apart from me
but still connected...
and don't you forget it

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ah, the sting...

ah, the sting, the angst of the first love. it took me years to get over mine. this was a poem i wrote when i was in the thick of the getting over of him:

you look at me and my heart is a dried butterfly wing in a windstorm
and my mind says i've known you since i been born
but i've also known pain forever
so any clever
retorts or reassurances may fail to temper the weather
and please know that whether
or not it does doesn't matter 'cause
it ain't cool, ain't breezy
and loving you ain't easy
no, it's a serious hardship

is it supposed to be? you ask, smiling and my heart is stone warmed in sun
and my mind says oh no, it's once more begun
but it's also already ended
so don't be offended
or put off if i fail to convincingly pretend it
were all good or suspend it,
my reality long enough to think it was, 'cause
it ain't warm, ain't sunny
and loving you ain't funny,
no, it's a serious tragedy

Friday, July 3, 2009

My re-entry into performance poetry

So last week I finally read at the Seattle Slam poetry night.

I've been going for a few months now, and lovin' it like no one's business. Pretty much everyone I've met has been super down to earth, crazy creative, and interesting.

After a positive experience reading my first piece a week and a half ago (which I'll write about a bit later), a few days ago I read another piece about music and my love for the drum. The drum just moves me in a different way than any other instrument does.

Performing the poem was great. But even better, afterward a young lady who is a drummer asked me if she could have a copy of the piece so she can put it in her studio. I was touched and inspired by this request. Even if just one person digs what I have done, writing and performing this stuff is a great opportunity to share it. So in that spirit, here is an excerpt from that poem:

the sax’s swoon sways me
the piano ticklish-ly plays on my ears,
the bass vibrates my spine down to my feet,
but my heart is only moved by the beat of the drum.

soft tings, bold bing bat,
that thing that the drum beat does.
i guess ‘cause it always was

since before we had ivory keys
and horse tail strings
and wind through pipes
making metal sing

we had that beat that we groove to
that moves, ooh, that soothes you
that moves through the flute winds
and flows thru oboes
and makes the soul slow down and smell the sweet
feel the completeness of beauty as simplicity
it gets to me
that maternal, eternal drum...

Copyright Kia Franklin March 1, 2005

Here we go!

Welcome to my new blog! I know, I know, everyone has a blog. But I begin this with very realistic expectations and, more importantly, an open mind about how this forum will evolve over time. This is not something I'm doing for any reason beside exploring myself, my art, my passions, and how to be true to these things as I navigate life. I hope that as others read it they will be able to glean some bits and pieces that are helpful to them. I also hope that I can get some good feedback on my creative pieces. But whatever the case may be, this is just a way I can hold myself accountable to writing and reflecting on a regular basis.

This first blogpost marks the beginning of a journey for me, off the paved road and into something unknown. For someone who has always done the "safe thing" and the "sensible thing," walking into a new space for myself where I give myself the leeway to explore what I want to do in hopes that I can discover what I'm here for, is a bit daunting. But it's exciting. And a blessing. And timely. Much more to this as I go. But for starters I thought I'd kick this blog off with a poem, actually the poem that inspired this blog's name. The piece itself is a work in progress, which is fitting, because it's about self-definition, and if that ain't a work in progress then I don't know what is. It's meant to be a spoken piece.

i am thinking and praying and asking who i am
and finding that the answer is a word
that's always been
since before beat machines or the record's spin
a word that is, that means, comes from within
i am finding that i am soul
i am learning i am whole
so i can't be bought or sold
and i'm worth much more than gold
oh, truly, there's so much more to me
the average just don't suit me
no, i'm groovy, i am grown
and i truly am at home in my own skin
i'm that shy, thin, fly kin, brown skinned, down when
i need to
be down for my people
but trust me i see through
them tricks you ain't think i would know
but i do, they ain't new
and i told you i'm soul
so i got that old wisdom
hear God's voice and listen
i cracks any system
my bredren, my sistren
my brothers, my sisters
i'm callouses, blisters,
on arthritic, cotton picking hands, and
i'm black feet, red clay, cool sand, and
i'm dressed with press and curl at black and tan, and
i'm Mommy, Pops, Mother Dear, Gram, and
i'm praise the Lord, that's my word, damn, and
i am soul
i am so
much more than black activist, poet, and catalyst for change
funky boho afro solo girl with the smile
my flow be thick like molasses that don't break for miles
and deep like the love between mother and child
and in me cuz i been doin this for a while
for so long that it's gone to my bones
world travelin yet my path again leads home
where my heart is
where my art is
where it's hardest
to avoid the truth
and the truth is
i am soul

Copyright 2007 by Kia Franklin