In the courts, in the pavilion

In the courts, in the pavilion

in the center with my God

Behind the gate, as His daughter

Sings and sighs, with letters and

chatters to her Father.

I am telling Him stories

and He listens patiently

Allowing my laughter and

Amazement fill His room.

He talks with me  in a steady

gentle voice called Forgiveness

and wipes away my tears with Grace.

I contend.

He corrects me in His Mercy

and I sit up to play a new song for Him.


My Beloved – Contemplation of Honor

My Beloved,

Is it passing your belief that God led me to cross the ocean at such a young age, to expose me to the love and art of sound that you know so well?
Was it only the angel’s clumsy coincidence that I swim through turbulence, only to immerse in books and stories that equal my conversation with you now?
Even recently, do you overlook the orchestrating of the Great Conductor, who removed things that served as my distraction, only so I could focus on our own wandering thoughts?
Have I come so far, to be devoured for one weekend and be delayed in time?

Would I wait, Beloved, until your work produces enough satisfactory paperwork for you to file? Would you wait, Beloved, until I am equipped to make the same drive you do?
All the while, are we busying ourselves with sensibility, and sacrificing the life that is “ours?”

How much longer do we have?
How many points do we each need to earn?
How much of each other’s cares must we take seriously, before we act?
Have I already made the promise and not told you?
Am I so foolish or faithful to do so?

What is Honor to me, Beloved? Or status? Or title?
Haven’t I grown beyond that?
Haven’t I grown to fill it?
What are presents and rings, flowers and chocolates, that show me my importance?
Would it be knowing you breathe deeply in the night and your knowing that I wake slowly in the morning?

What have I to study but righteousness?
What have I to sing but patience?
What have I to plant but devotion?
What have I to write but love?
What have I to listen to but your promise?

You choose how to honor me.


[Originally written 7, September 2009]

“If I Were A Beat” and “Change Your Clothes” – Slam Poetry Performance

Kadan Martial Arts Studio – Garden Grove, CA

Watch the performance here. 
Change your clothes, Baby Sister
You can’t go out like that!
People will notice the hurt on your sleeve
And the wilted flowers on your hat
Your top’s too low
That skirt’s too high!
While you’re walking,
They’ll call you a flirt
I know you already gave in a few times
But clean your face now
You gotta stay pretty,
Even if you’re hurt

Change your clothes, Baby Brother
You’re all covered with mud
I hear superheroes eat their vegetables
And soldiers wash off their blood
Wear the clothes that fit a young man
Uncle already told you
You go through more than one spurt
And watch your words you throw at your brother!
He’s bigger than you,
And he got here first.

Change your clothes, Uncle Sideline
I’ve heard you coaching me from there
When I went to that party anyway
You bailed me out of that high school dare
Roll up your sleeve of decision
Tighten the belt with quiet pride
We won’t know just how much you went through
So your nephews don’t need to “stand to the side”

Change your clothes, Aunty Careful
You stay longer against your will
Always picking up other women’s messes
And they still won’t get on the pill!
You got a stressful job
Wrap around that scarf of straightenin’
You walk tired but you’re clean now,
It’s no wonder you did a little drinkin’

Change your clothes, Daddy Absent
Hang up your jacket
We haven’t seen you in a while
It doesn’t really matter what kept you from us
What we need most is order, Daddy-style.
Dust off that guilt and distance
Clean out your pockets to lay down the law
Those support payments will be current soon
Your boots of fatherhood will stomp on strong.

Change your clothes, Spouse of Spirit
You’re what I really need to put on
Throw out those drab garments of arguing
And I’ll show you my black, lace thong!
Don’t our outfits go together?
See how the colors match our love?
Your reassurance is my warmest blanket
Your fidelity is my custom-glove

Change your clothes, Cousin Progress             
We’re tryin’ to keep up with you
All that bling and online chatter
What do your gadgets really add up to?
Your beeps and blips become our underwear
Feels like we put those on, first thing
We treat accessories like essentials
Interrupt our quality time when our phone rings
Now I understand it’s a way of doing things faster
These websites are the “new way to share”
Just make sure your intent is in line with your pace
And never forget the basic use of prayer

Is that everybody?
Mama, get ready.
Change your clothes, Mama!
You gotta look nice too
You pull back your hair in humility
And wear your sweater of strength and solitude
You were probably up late last night
Mending the holes in your children’s choices
Stitch of forgiveness and a button of hope
With a song to drown out the world’s cruel voices
Let me see what you’re wearing, Mama
Your dress is wrinkled with sacrifice
Iron it out, working lady
Because thanks to you
This family is dressed real nice.

Better Absent at Reggae Fest

Sun on my skin, breeze blowing in the outfield.
Lying in the warm, kissing light of the festival.
I couldn’t have him here. He hates the sun.
The familiar rhythms oozing out of the speakers, that steady beat and shake of dancehall. It’s monotonous to him. He probably hates that, too.
That’s why he’s not with me. That’s why I don’t take him places that I enjoy.
Then he’d hate everything if he’s uncomfortable.
Then I’d hate him for having to listen to it.

It’s a manageable scattered sea of people, vibrant summer colors, tank tops and dark Rasta shirts. Licorice root vendor and the recycling volunteers, wearing a lei of plastic bottles around their bodies. Go green, Rasta.

The women, strut their tightest festival gear, with open-toed sandals, dancehall high heels and Caribbean earrings.
Signature midriff shirt.
Ankle-length, halter top summer dress.
The delicate fusion of appearing “earthy” and “available.”

The men, parading themselves and sometimes their women.
Stylish shirts that might be new, gathering with their friends as if they had someone to choose, a decision to make, a mating dance, all done in the festival sun.

You can tell a lot about a man from his walk.
And here they were, gliding down the path from the stage.
Through the maze of blankets and last-minute picnics.
And they stroll.
Broad shoulders and wavy hair.
Strong jawlines and working hands.
But they are empty steps – with no purpose or standing.
Energetic bodies of vain promises.
An arena full of nothing.

No wonder the women are vigilant, alert in their feminine fashions to signal the parading male who will parallel a good life with the fierceness of his stride.
No wonder the men are frustrated.
This is where their women go – looking, window-shopping and exposing.
No wonder the women are suspicious.
To see their men, congregated in observant clusters, watching and studying the sea of listeners and availability, as if they had a course to chart, as if they had a village to protect, as if this is where their manhood boomed.

And I think of him and his complaining.
His sun too bright and the music too monotonous.
And how I’d never observe the ridiculous parade, if he were here.

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33