Your smears and sketches

I didn’t know that I could see in

Your sketches: torrential rain and fusion upbringing

Through paint strokes and finger-smudged corners

The clarity from adoption

Puckered through the wholeness of a mural.

It was new to me that I could sense

The rage and indulgence from your

Sobering peek at motherhood.

And here is your art.

Amongst pencils, canvases, spray cans and a foolish yet purposeful

Douse of glitter.

I am so proud of you, Sister.

This beautiful piece you have drawn.

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“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..?
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.