She Chronicles 2017

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She Chronicles celebrates the feminine narrative through showcasing Her unique vernacular in literary contributions. “Women writing about other women responsibly.”

SHE CHRONICLES began as my personal celebration to women who have shaped my life as a woman and as an artist. In 2014, the series was entitled, “Sometimes I Feel Like…” and I wrote daily words of celebrations as well as acknowledgements by/for and about women for Women’s History Month. In 2015 I extended the series to guest bloggers and the response was AMAZING! It was so refreshing to read encouraging words and personal stories of inspiration from the feminine narrative.

The submissions for SHE CHRONICLES 2016 were international! We had two submissions from South African women and one from Australia. Well, it is that time again and we can’t wait to see where our guest posts will come from this year.

Please visit SHE CHRONICLES 2018 on for details on submitting. The most commonly asked question is, “can men submit?” YES! Anyone can submit as long the literary piece is in honor of the feminine narrative and is by/for/about women.

Enjoy selections from SHE CHRONICLES 2017 in the next few pages. Be sure to check out their artist bio on the blog

“On Being Black” Being Black is more than the vernacular you use to speak, more than stolen soul food recipes, more than begging the Sun to bake you, more than wrapping White legs around Black manhood to make you feel full and complete, however temporary the vibration may be Being Black is a generational journey, born of experiences of common ancestry and heritage all wrapped in various shades from caramel to cream and the bronze to charcoal color scheme. Being Black is NOT a train you can board whenever you can afford a ticket to travel in dark energy and dark matter. Those who so easily invite others into our genealogy have little respect for what it means to have a racial and cultural identity Being Black is Being real Being truthful Being honest About EVERYTHING EXCEPT OUR PAIN we tell white lies to mask our shame To be Black is a Continuum and in this time and space, folk need to know their place. By Jolivette “The Poet Warrior”


“wanted:love� i. we are spinning on a tilted axis. growth jilted like crashed jitneys. two clogged stacked chimneys with ancient rubble strapped pain packed along the vertebrae of our spines. we climb the wilted oak of offense, roots deeply selfish cloaked in the pretense of need. our greed fumbles for logic thru blunt smoke. sinks cheap bottlenecks into scarlet throats. falters, praying good head & a firm stroke can somehow beckon love. ii. but our lady, she is old. abused by untold lovers bold arrows covered & pressed firm against her breast. we cannot seduce this cupid with our feigning dance of devotion. she can smell our indifference, denies the golden offerings of heat stained sheets that reek of jealousy. we cannot tempt with lack of trust. there is no cover for our lust. & so she rejects us.

iii. we are young, stubborn & uneasy with the unrequited legends of life. we sharpen our knives with cutting wit. if luv will not have us, we will kidnap it, carve it, steal it, maim it even rename it. in the dead of night, stealth covered black, we creep. palms sweat heavy gripping 9s we storm upon love lungs livid as we shout--iv. we have no fathers & thus, we have no honor. our mothers tend the gardens of the tenement. our teachers are penniless their patience played so many hands of spades the jokers themselves are bent. we’ve been back bending for centuries. keloid whips still traced in our bitterness. we try & kiss but our soured mouths revolt with the stench of powerlessness. we are bitches who try & hold but we are hoes with unhealthy hearts. we are niggas love deemed unworthy. v. on this nite, we will have u love. we will take u in. our bones shall know affection & respect our crowns will grow with grace wild as lilies laced. rebuild our wings, love. plant acres of answered prayers. cash checks paid by timeless dues way past due. from your plate we consume new food, bask within enchanted gaze.

& if u evade, we will seek you out in every cave. blast you from the depths of every hell in every state. we will hunt u love, with a hunger that will never satiate. By Noni Limar


“For Mamas Who Considered Suicide While Loving Daughters With Open Wounds”

If I could rename her, I would call her Oya. She brought the rain/the storm/the thunder and lightening my heart needed. I thought my womb would stretch/hips expand/body open for all my children to breath life. I never imagined my teacher would come to me, age 11/a reflection of my brokenness/an unrelenting stare/unyielding hunger to be whole. There was no escaping. A time to heal had come, and so began the cycle of faith and fear. I never imagined my daughter as a savior. There would be nothing immaculate about her conception. How I became a mother would be by birth. But here she is, no marks to prove my body made room for her/to prove to my soul was given time to prepare for her. But she is here, breathing in all of my dreams as if I whispered them to her as she tossed and turned in my body. She is a sphinx. The fire burns but never destroys. I have witnessed her sift through her own ashes at least three times. For that, I do not take credit. I am only here to remind her she has been resurrected before. I relish in every raindrop/vigilant through every storm/faithful when the lightening strikes because I know rebirth is on the other side. She has taught me to bury the dead/to forgive myself. It is her grace I am most grateful for/her willingness to allow me to grow/to always allow me to hold her. Even in the darkest hours, when our arms can’t seem to stretch around our bodies, I hold her in my heart/in my prayers. I carry her like child in womb in my soul. “We will give you a daughter,” they said. “Raise her in remembrance of our bodies. Allow her to be complex/layered/emotion-filled. So when the rain comes, she knows, it is not the end, for she will be unafraid to shed. Show her how to listen to the thunder and give reverence to the lightening.” “They told us to bring a picture of a woman who inspires us,” she said. My daughter birth me into a goddess/able to be in two places at the same time/exist in two realms at once. There I was, hundreds of miles a way, yet next to her, on stage as she began,

“must be that goddamn raghead from the bodega/beau most beat her to death when she tol him/ …” Lady in red, again I have witness her sift through her own ashes…. By: Crystal Tennille Irby



I want her to know that she is beautiful... Imperfectly perfect...made in Gods image... Breathtaking as the shifen waterfall The Valley of ten peaks, the solitude in the Olympics.... Her beauty exceeds that of a rare blue morpho butterfly... She is the coolness in the breeze... She is the promise of tomorrow... Her veins bleed forgiveness... She is the very essence of love… The reminder that angels do exist... That prayer works... She is the light at the end of the tunnel... Trace her tears to find miracles... Her smile to find God...Her eyes to get a glimpse of heaven... Her faith is that of Job...she recognizes her greatness… She is the beautiful colors of the rainbow... She is Strength...she is resilience...she is kissed by the sun.... She is powerful...She is reason...she is life's whisper... She is Brave...She is a Conqueror... She will fight to her death for what she believes in... She is that feeling once you reach the top of a mountain...She is Dope...

She brings the thunder...she is a beast!!!... She is unstoppable... She Sees the beauty after the rain... She is courage....she is our children's keeper... She is the epitome of fall down and get back up every single time because failure is not an option.... She is my sister, my inspiration, my reason to keep going in spite of...She is simply phenomenal... She be WOMAN By: Felicitee Love


“the way, She”

Look the way she cares her self The way her self Cares and makes room For grace For power For forgiveness Look how she holds her own throne Inside her body— the way her spirit sits up high the way her legs enable her standing the way her belly follows the moon the way her mind weighs the Worlds that depend upon her spine Look see how she rules the World She embraces with time. By: Brad Walrond


“Running To Be Free”

It had been a scorching hot day with thick, humid air helping to carry the smell of cotton for miles. Running through the plantation fields for the last time, eleven year old Ellen knew at sundown she would be separated from her mother possibly never seeing her again. The mistress had become increasingly irritated that the young mulatto was always mistaken for one of her children and was a reminder of the master’s indiscretions. She would be taken to Macon, Georgia, as a wedding gift for her half-sister. It was in Macon that Ellen would meet her future husband, William Craft, also a slave. And it was during this period that the talented seamstress decided no child she might eventually bear as a mother would be separated from her as was her case when her mother was suddenly gone. Her bloodline would never live under the wretched system of American slavery and suffer that kind of agonizing pain. Fortitude, a tenacious resolve, quick thinking, suspicion, terror, and a major victory – all would shadow the gallant escape from slavery of William and Ellen Craft. It would be recorded as a thrilling tale of espionage, deception, and intrigue and one of the boldest, most brazen escapes from the institution of slavery ever. Knowing slaveholders have the privilege of taking their slaves to any part of the country they think proper, it occurred to me that as my wife was nearly white, I might get her to disguise herself as an invalid gentleman, and assume to be my master, while I could attend as his slave, and that in this manner, we might affect our escape, wrote William, once they both finally learned to read and write. They realized this plan could either succeed or fail which would mean freedom or death. Instead of fleeing in the midnight hour with the North Star; mailing themselves in crates and hoping the bloodhounds wouldn’t pick up a human scent; or devising clever ways to stow away on ships and wagons, the Crafts traveled out in the open during the day mainly by train in first class accommodations while also making connections on ferry boats and steamers. They dined with steamboat captains and stayed in the best hotels as they got closer to their destination of Philadelphia. Yet, despite the luxury settings, the four day journey was fraught with narrow escapes and heartin-the-mouth moments that could have led to their discovery and capture. Beardless and unable to sign in at hotels because she had never learned to read or write, she cleverly covered her face with a poultice, placed her writing hand in a cast, and donned tinted eyeglasses.

With the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 threatening their impending freedom, the Crafts were moved around Boston and then ushered safely to Liverpool, England, thanks to the abolitionist work of the Committee of Safety and Vigilance. After giving birth to five children, four born in England, the Crafts returned to the United States in 1868, opening an industrial/agricultural school near Savannah, Georgia, for freedmen’s children. By: Jetta Dya Jones


“Story #2,262,017”

Story #2,262.017, Week 8 Reflection – In this calm after last night’s storm, I am reflecting on Mother Earth, Mother of the Water (Mami Wata) and Mother of the Wind (Oya). Much of the conversation this week has been weather-related (the warm winter in the Northeast, the torrential rain in California, the powerful wind whipping across the globe, the summer snow in Hawaii, etc.). In the name of greed and expansion, the Mothers are being subjected to abuse and misuse daily. They warn us in their own beautifully unique and expressive ways, of consequences. A (s)hero of mine, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, professor and political/environmental activist, Dr. Wangari Maathai, understood the language of nature and heeded the call of the Mothers. She founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977 after witnessing the severe ecological effects of deforestation in rural Kenya. The water sources were drying up, the land, no longer bound to the earth by the roots of trees, was incapable of holding seed, and food (and by extension, medicine) resources were diminishing. The GBM, under the leadership of Dr. Maathai, worked with the women of Kenya (the cultivators of the earth) to grow and plant saplings. They essentially reforested the land and restored the food and water reserves. Today, the GBM continues to provide income opportunities for rural Kenyan women. To date, more than 51 million trees have been planted in Kenya and there are GBM tree nurseries thriving throughout the entire country. Current projects include the preservation of forests and rainforests globally and climate change programs, protections and policy. Mother Earth, Mother of the Water and Mother of the Wind are sending us messages in their beautifully unique and expressive ways. Are we listening? By: Alice The Poet “ATP”


“Being A Woman�

I can make cars slow down and eyes glance out of side windows. I can make a man's mind wonder the contents of my thoughts. I can make you want to kiss my hand and not even have a reason. I am woman, the object of your desire. I can make 12 tasks mold into one without breaking a sweat. I can manage and supervise a group of people without them feeling inferior.I may not change the entire world but my world is organized, stylish and complete. I am woman, the master of my success. I can understand anyone through the content of my emotions.I can quickly tell a liar from the flicker of sarcasm in the eyes. I can see right through a fake smile or a kiss with no feeling. I am woman, my heart is more valued than gold. I can be royalty to the man I've chosen to be my king. I can be everything to those who are worth my time. I am always aware of the infinite power of my femininity. It is up to you to take notice and give the ultimate respect. By: Lady Vee Da Poet


“I Am�

I am... grace and beauty sublime, love and life refined; one with body, heart, and mind. I am... triumph over great odds. I am all the love there ever was; every good thing ever done. I am ... the sex and passion and heat, in every man's dreams; soon you'll know what I mean. I am... civic obligation, motherly negotiation, and wifely adoration. I am... an intellect so sharp and keen, truly the toughest player on the scene; with thoughts so crisp and new and deep.

I am... strength and honor and pride. I am the light emanating inside. I am what it means to truly be alive. I am woman... By: Susan “Spit Fire� Lively


“But – I Fly”

I went to Callaway Gardens and visited the Butterfly Garden. It was so amazing, peaceful, delightful and breathtaking. I found myself mesmerized by this one butterfly, so much that I followed her around the garden at least three times, before she settled down and allowed me to get a closer look at her. There was something about the color of her wings, they were a bright royal blue and stood out from all the other butterflies. I was immersed in her beauty. I found myself going on her journey, because I was taken in by her beauty and her flight – it seemed as if she was on a mission. It was like she was handling business – had something important to do. This butterfly didn’t have time to sit around- she had plans, purpose, goals, and if I wanted to be a part of it, I needed to follow her. Ladies, this is how our lives should also unfold. We need to be immersed in our purpose and allow our beauty to shine from within. It is then that our purpose grows, people see our determination, our vision and they want to be a part of it – to hook their wagons to ours. They begin to talk to us about it, follow us to and from our destinations, they want to get closer to us so that they can truly soak it all in. They want to be able to say “But – I Fly”. They want to release themselves from the cocoon and fly into their destiny, because they were inspired in and through us. Why crawl when you can walk. Why walk when you can run. Why run when you can fly. When they tell you “You can’t do it.”- tell them “But-I-Fly. Tell them “But-I-Fly on the wings of expectancy, and I expect that my dreams will come true; because I believe in the dreams and goals He (God) promised me.” You will then see how they begin to watch you fly, how your positive energy draws them in. How you will have a positive effect on others and propel them into their destiny, because you said “But – I –Fly”, and then you demonstrated to them a life lived in purpose and on purpose.

Your wings are so beautiful they draw other into your world. Once in your world they see your tenacity, determination and drive. You give off energy that empowers and them to fly, to sail, to soar and to be what God called them to be simply, because when they said “You could not”; you responded by saying “But – I Fly” and you took a leap of faith, spread your wings and entered your destiny and your purpose. “Write you story on the backs of Caterpillars, Live your story on the wings of a Butterfly. Sail across the oceans, set your purpose in motion. Give birth to your worth. Fly Butterfly fly! By: Evelyn T. Keener



They say iron sharpens iron discovered gratitude for the wrong way you grind against my existence Just right enough to render me sharp samurai sword like against the white meat of discontent I am a dull blade on purpose with you Never understood the attacks festering beneath my tears Never knew the demise i fathomed Come true of our union I protect you fervently Pray for the same incessantly Ingesting disappointment like Tequila shot Jaws tight, teeth clenched A familiar burn They say Constant bashing cracks the hardest of stone I am a hidden vulnerable with you Crepe paper under metal plate i cringe at the site of stones Fists for stones Tongues for stones Eyes for stones Your judgments span the entirety of senses Sticks and stones crack Windows and souls You are toddler clumsy with my emotions... Thrash about apologetically within my feelings then Question my depression Raging bull in a fine China boutique I am floored Every time you open your mouth

Ravaging polished hard wood for scattered pieces of self esteem like drug addict Stuffing pockets full of self i cant possibly puzzle piece together by myself You are toddler clumsy with my need for you Your love Your understanding Your support Head against brick wall bleeding Fists pounding, feet stomping Swallowing question marks like razor blades... How can i expect something i have never received Insanity... Forgive me, For my insanity Again... By: Deana Verse


“Crooked Room”

Welcome DISCOVER MORE HERE Black Women’s Crooked Room Collection Museum Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10am-9pm Friday – Saturday 10am – 6pm Sunday - Closed for praise and worship services Monday - Closed to the public General Admission is free Explore Black Women’s Crooked Room Collection your way. Over 400 hundred years of creativity at your fingertips! Download the BWCRC app for free. No food and beverages allowed in the galleries, please. Nada comida y refrescos permitidas en las galerias, por favor. There, I think I’ve covered the masses. Behold our collection of African females of The Middle Passage: Mapping Women’s Lives Much attention is given to: their vulnerabilities, survival and resistance They were the revolt, like Hives. Enjoy your visit. But first, we want to make sure that You understand the Crooked Room guidelines. Warning! @ Times you will have to tilt or bend. You will be placed in a crooked room and forced to sit in a crooked chair And align with the distorted images of Black women on the wall. Careful, don’t fall. There are miles of galleries to explore So, I hope you brought your walking shoes All galleries are wheelchair friendly.

Black women don’t expect you to understand How the Crooked Room has become grand Give it time Too much? Come back today, tomorrow, or another day. If not, stay Spend time with the images that captures your eye. Warning! Some of the collections will make you cry. Hungry? You may eat in the kitchen where we use to eat. It’s only fair; you have to play by the rules. Sorry, but once upon a time, Black people didn’t have the right to choose. STOP! Feel free to look but not touch All works of art in the BWCRC are fragile. Keep a safe distance; at least three feet. Want to know more information about the Crooked Room? Just ask any Black female For their story, they’ll tale. Again, welcome to the Crooked Room. By: Dessie Sanders