Tea Stations and Writing Spaces

Whether I’m reading, writing, or grading, I find that having mugs of tea helps immensely. I mean those 16 ounce mugs! Although I have some gorgeous smaller teacups that are perfect for ginger or sinus soother tea. 

I realized that I needed a tea station and have been working to create one at home since I have a mini station at work. I’ve seen so many that I loved but have been working to find the right base for the one in my writing space. One of my favorites and my inspiration for the one is my office is this one from Baked Bree http://bakedbree.com/things-that-make-me-happy-my-coffee-station but I also have a mini one where I store my tea which can be seen in the picture above. I’m slowly developing a little corral for some of my lesser used cups and teapots that I’m keeping in my office. 

Do any of you have tea or coffee stations? How did you decide to put yours together? 

Have a great weekend!

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Another Elegy [“This is what our dying looks like”]-Jericho Brown

This is what our dying looks like. 

You believe in the sun. I believe 

I can’t love you. Always be closing, 

Said our favorite professor before 

He let the gun go off in his mouth. 

I turned 29 the way any man turns 

In his sleep, unaware of the earth 

Moving beneath him, its plates in 

Their places, a dated disagreement. 

Let’s fight it out, baby. You have 

Only so long left—a man turning 

In his sleep—so I take a picture. 

I won’t look at it, of course. It’s 

His bad side, his Mr. Hyde, the hole 

In a husband’s head, the O 

Of his wife’s mouth. Every night, 

I take a pill. Miss one, and I’m gone. 

Miss two, and we’re through. Hotels 

Bore me, unless I get a mountain view, 

A room in which my cell won’t work, 

And there’s nothing to do but see 

The sun go down into the ground 

That cradles us as any coffin can.

Writing Without…

Early February is a hard time for me to create or to focus on what I want to accomplish. I know why it happens and I’ve accepted that it’s going to happen every year. But that doesn’t make it easier. So I have been very sluggish for the first half of this month, writing very little and worrying about how I can re-commit myself to my writing.

Right now, I am looking forward to a well-deserved break in a week and I expect to return with my batteries recharged and ready to share some new poetry and hopefully to have a rough, rough draft of one of my stories in the hands of its number one fan. That’s my plan at this moment so hopefully it won’t get thrown out once I start having fun. 

While I’m in the airport on my way to my getaway, I am going to start blog planning for the next month or so. I recently stumbled across a post from the site byemilyscott.com about batch blogging and decided that I want to give it a try. Hopefully, that will work out. 

I hope you are all having a successful 2017 so far or at least a great weekend. 

The Gift to Sing-James Weldon Johnson


Sometimes the mist overhangs my path, 

And blackening clouds about me cling;

But, oh, I have a magic way

To turn the gloom to cheerful day–

I softly sing. 
And if the way grows darker still,

Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,

With glad defiance in my throat,

I pierce the darkness with a note,

And sing, and sing. 
I brood not over the broken past,

Nor dread whatever time may bring;

No nights are dark, no days are long, 

While in my heart there swells a song, 

And I can sing.

Power-Audre Lord

​Today I’m sharing another poem by the amazing Audre Lorde. Last Friday, I taught a workshop on the power of poetry. I was really excited in ways that I can’t explain but also a bit nervous. While researching for the workshop I ran across a bunch of statements that I wanted to include in my presentation. 

A bunch of them were related to Audre Lorde. This is just one of the amazing things so I decided to share. 


The difference between poetry and rhetoric

is being ready to kill

yourself

instead of your children.


I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds

and a dead child dragging his shattered black

face off the edge of my sleep

blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders

is the only liquid for miles

and my stomach

churns at the imagined taste while

my mouth splits into dry lips

without loyalty or reason

thirsting for the wetness of his blood

as it sinks into the whiteness

of the desert where I am lost

without imagery or magic

trying to make power out of hatred and destruction

trying to heal my dying son with kisses

only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.


A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens

stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood

and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and

there are tapes to prove it. At his trial

this policeman said in his own defense

“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else

only the color”. And

there are tapes to prove that, too.


Today that 37 year old white man

with 13 years of police forcing

was set free

by eleven white men who said they were satisfied

justice had been done

and one Black Woman who said

“They convinced me” meaning

they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame

over the hot coals

of four centuries of white male approval

until she let go

the first real power she ever had

and lined her own womb with cement

to make a graveyard for our children.


I have not been able to touch the destruction

within me.

But unless I learn to use

the difference between poetry and rhetoric

my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold

or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire

and one day I will take my teenaged plug

and connect it to the nearest socket

raping an 85 year old white woman

who is somebody’s mother

and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed

a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time

“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”

Black, Poured Directly into the Wound-Patricia Smith

This poem popped in my inbox today just as I was lamenting the late arrival of Timothy B. Tyson’s most recent book, The Blood of Emmett Till. If you don’t know about it then please Google his name. 

It is a story that I have known about since I was probably ten. I saw the pictures of his distorted, bloated body and became obsessed with knowing everything about his murder. The same thing happened when I found out about Medgar Evers. Until the arrival of the book, I will just satisfy myself with the words of Patricia Smith. 

Happy Thursday! 

Prairie winds blaze through her tumbled belly, and Emmett’s

red yesterdays refuse to rename her any kind of mother.

A pudge-cheeked otherwise, sugar whistler, her boy is

(through the fierce clenching mouth of her memory) a

grays-and-shadows child. Listen. Once she was pretty.

Windy hues goldened her skin. She was pert, brown-faced,

in every wide way the opposite of the raw, screeching thing

chaos has crafted. Now, threaded awkwardly, she tires of the

sorries, the Lawd have mercies. Grief’s damnable tint

is everywhere, darkening days she is no longer aware of.

She is gospel revolving, repeatedly emptied of light, pulled

and caressed, cooed upon by strangers, offered pork and taffy.

Boys in the street stare at her, then avert their eyes, as if she

killed them all, shipped every one into the grips of Delta. She sits,

her chair carefully balanced on hell’s edge, and pays for sanity in

kisses upon the conjured forehead of her son. Beginning with A,

she recites (angry, away, awful) the alphabet of a world gone red.

Coffee scorches her throat as church ladies drift about her room,

black garb sweating their hips, filling cups with tap water, drinking,

drinking in glimpses of her steep undoing. The absence of a black

roomful of boy is measured, again, again. In the clutches of coffee,

red-eyed, Mamie knows their well-meaning murmur. One says She

a mama, still. Once you have a chile, you always a mama. Kisses

in multitudes rain from their dusty Baptist mouths, drowning her.

Sit still, she thinks, til they remember how your boy was killed.

She remembers. Gush and implosion, crushed, slippery, not a boy.

Taffeta and hymnals all these women know, not a son lost and

pulled from the wretched and rumbling Tallahatchie. Mamie, she

of the hollowed womb, is nobody’s mama anymore. She is

tinted echo, barren. Everything about her makes the sound sorry.

The white man’s hands on her child, dangled eye, twanging chaos,

things that she leans on, the only doors that open to let her in.

Faced with days and days of no him, she lets Chicago — windy,

pretty in the ways of the North — console her with its boorish grays.

A hug, more mourners and platters of fat meat. Will she make it through?

Is this how the face slap of sorrow changes the shape of a

mother? All the boys she sees now are laughing, drenched in red.

Emmett, in dreams, sings I am gold. He tells how dry it is, the prairie.