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.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Black Boy

Yo, n*gga
Your swing's too slow, n*gga
You got to grow bigger
You can do much better than that

I know you...
I know your sweet smile that reveals a shy, ashy kneed, one-tooth missing, cotton-haired, mischievous, sun-brown, giggly, bike-riding, rock-throwing, ledge-hopping, elbow-skinning, eye-shifting, brave acting, book reading, dream having, love needing, pretend playing boy you

Dream, homie
Rip at them seams, show me
You got the steam, go be
That man you're destined to be

Live your potential
Live out what your mother saw when she first held the little you, kissed your face, your little feet, grinned at the fire in your eyes
What you imagined for yourself before
Before you were told that having dreams was square or soft or unrealistic or pointless or comical or for white boys or treason or reason to get your black ass shot

Go, baby
And break that mold, maybe
You'll find that gold, crazy
is you not taking the shot

Take it
Don't ask for it, it's yours; your life
Forget what people tell you about staying in place or on track or quiet or put or home when you need to roam, when you need to own your place in this world, in this big vast world of yours

Fight, soldier
Against the night, hold your
hands up, fists tight, don't you
dare think you're yet done for this world

You're not done til God says so
So when you want to stop make sure your heart says no,
No to giving up, or settling, or believing the false stories about you, your worth, your values,
No to anything but you living relentlessly, fighting unrepentantly, be aggressive about your right to give yourselve to yourself and see a beautiful return on that investment

Yes, spirit
Refuse to let fear get
it's way, just press near it
Whatever your finish line is

I'm standing on the other end, holding my breath, then cheering, cuz I know you, your determined eyes that reveal, like a flash of brilliance, the beautiful struggle you've been through to reach this moment, reaach your hands up, reach your goal, reach beyond what was set before you

My brother
I see you smile, hover,
and then you fly over
Soar above those artificial limits

Those fake boundaries, some you build yourself
that say you can only be x or y and not q
that say you ain't even part of the equation
But there you are, blazing past those limitation like a
lion-eagle-warrior you
And you're happy now, cause your swing ain't slow and your wings they throw themselves straight out, cutting the wind and lifting you higher, higher, higher than anyone thought you could ever, ever fly

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Seeds

So... I have always had a passion for working with youth. I love the kids! All ages, but especially teenagers, adults in training trying to figure it all out, learning to accept who they are, who they are becoming, and learning to question who they are told to be. But along with that love comes soooo much frustration: frustration with seeing their immense potential and wanting them to see it too, to stop fighting against it, to let go of the fear, or wanting them to stop taking it for granted. Sometimes it's frustration with knowing that for some kids this will never happen. Sometimes it's frustration with seeing kids who've been burned for so long that when positive people come into their lives they push them away. Okay, I'm getting all worked up just thinking about it... Deep breath and sigh. Mmm. Well, I wrote a poem about it. Wanna hear it? Here it goes:

Seeds
Our seeds choke off weed smoke,
speed, coke, we bleed broke
greed smote us
we don’t know who we are so we just blow dust into our own eyes
and disguise our insecurities behind puffed chests
and what’s left of ourselves we quietly lay to rest
burying our potential in a legacy of neglect
cloaking over what we know about the strength we possess
we turn to distorted images and pretend to respect
what they want us to believe we’ve become:
kings turned pimps, thugs, victims and chimps
who catch a glimpse of our purpose and run the other way
but as they say, monkey see- monkey do
as for me, i can do much more than what i see
can you see, black?
do you know?
what you can do, who you can be if you would just see past all this?
but ignorance is bliss
so just piss on my parade and tell me it's rain
and tell me not to complain that my seeds need water
our seeds need water
and their reign is our slaughter
and our daughters find their only solace in our sons’ wicked remarks
and our sons find no solace beyond the spliff that they spark
and the sh*t that they bark out to each other
standing in gutters in the darkness cuz don’t nobody want to
acknowledge the work we got to undo
the truth we need to come to together
it looks like cloudy weather
and from low down dirt
our seeds can’t see their worth
so instead they soak in these lies
no dreaming of fly blue skies
no my seeds, our seeds find a high
in that weed smoke
and our seeds choke
and we still bleed broke


Copyright Kia Franklin, 2002

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

green thumb, soul tongue

here's that aforementioned diary entry:

july 1 2007

my mother dear
(my dad's mom) had a very green thumb. she loved plants and her spirit was so naturally gentle it had a nurturing, regenerative quality that induced growth and inspired living. no wonder her mint leaves were so wonderfully sweet and green that at age seven i preferred them to bubble yum! no wonder her collard greens practically cooked themselves. no wonder her tiny two bedroom house in the projects had such an air of beauty, all dressed up with colorful, joyous flowers and fruit that i didn't even realize it was the projects til i was too old and too proud of it to consider whether that even mattered anyway. no wonder she herself was such a flower. a lily. lillian.

my creative impulse, my soul tongue, is as natural to me as mother dear's green thumb was to her. by nature, i can only plant my words down in an attempt to connect to other souls. i can only pour my emotions into those words, feeding them until they take on their own spirit and meaning, blossom into something that's part of me, product of me, but no longer just mine, now something to share with others. i want to surround my dwelling place with the soul of my words like mother dear surrounded hers with the green of her nurturing hands.

Monday, September 7, 2009

in my garden...

this week my horoscope tells me:

"let's take inventory of your harvest, scorpio. what blossomed for you these past months? which of the seeds you planted last march and april sprouted into ripe, succulent blossoms? which seeds grew into hard, spiky clumps? and what about weeds, pests, and predators? were you tireless about keeping them away from your beauties? finally, what did you learn about growing things that could give you a green thumb when you cultivate your seeds in the next cycle?"

this is so relevant right now for many reasons. for one thing, for the past month or so i've been really meaning to write a post or series of posts on the things i've learned in my garden. my garden is very small--three tomato plants, a bell pepper plant, and some spearmint. i also have some flowers growing, the names of which i could not tell you. all i know is "the purple ones, those pink guys, the grassy looking stuff, etc." while i don't yet know the names of all the plants or even have a knack for growing, starting this little garden has been a learning experience. it has given me lots of time to reflect on life.

one time, while pruning, i had some revelations about a loved one who is going through some tough times. i realized that sometimes people need pruning--need to cut off the bad stuff in order to grow bigger and stronger. but i also realized that her parents, and not i, were the proper pruners. my role could be more akin to that of water, or sun, or even of the person who talks to the plants and encourages them to grow. it gave me insight into how i could be supportive of her without overstepping my bounds or taking on too much responsibility.

another time, while watching the progress of my snap peas, i feel like i was being told, by myself, God, or both, to mimic this plant in its attempt to stretch toward the sunlight. funny thing, i later transplanted it into too much sun and it died. so there too is a lesson about over exposure, isn't it?

anyway, there are other little insights i gain while gardening, and maybe i'll share more from time to time as the seasons change and show me new things. but the broader insight i learned is that life is constantly providing you with lessons--we just have to quiet ourselves and open our eyes long enough to take in the information and process it.

the horoscope also reminds me of something i wrote in a journal entry a couple of years ago. i was describing my Mother Dear's (my dad's mom's) beautiful garden and her green thumb. i'll post the full entry next. at the end of the entry, i wrote:

"my creative impulse is as natural to me as mother dear's green thumb was to her. by nature, i can only plant my words down in an attempt to connect to other souls. i can only pour my emotions into those words, feeding them until they take on their own spirit and meaning, blossom into something that's part of me, product of me, but no longer just mine, now something to share with others. i want to surround my dwelling place with the soul of my words like mother dear surrounded hers with the green of her nurturing hands."

if this is something i want to do then like my horoscope says i've got to take inventory of my harvest. my renewed focus on my creativity has been an act of planting. and it has created a pretty good crop so far. but i know that i'm definitely still working out many kinks in the process. this can only make next cycle yield an even more abundant harvest.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coffee Shop Series, pt 2

More from the Coffee Shop Series. Excuse the entirely unoriginal poem titles.

Starbuck#3
I got this itch that only my pen can scratch
I got this itch that only my pen can scratch
only my pen can scratch rough over smooth paper
and spill out words the way the
hot coffee spills down my throat
warm reaching and healing weariness

Starbuck#4
Poetry
it’s so in me I could live without blood first
clinging to my spirit both a blessing and a curse
searching through my mind to find the perfect line or the next verse
to give birth to what’s felt but what’s unsaid and unrehearsed.

Starbuck#5

Closed eyes and open mind
Trying to find solace in words
But I lose myself in cloudy blurbs of the absurd
Like birds my verbs are fly
My imagination high,
A blue canvas ready to paint an open sky
I’m hopin my
Spoken cry
Can tell truths the shy me won’t admit to
All the shit I been through
Too sick for you to sift through
I sit blue and black in gray and white surroundings
My voice slips through sidewalk cracks,
Melted colors confounding
The muted chaos of my mind.

(c) Copyright Kia C. Franklin, 2003