Sunday, April 30, 2006

Recording Artist?

I cut my recording teeth and I think I like it!

My partners in crime, Janeare Ashley, Tousant Salcido and I worked with the City of Richmond's Employment and Training Department and recorded a Christian Floetryeque version of the classic spiritual "Wade in the Water". I will try to get a snippet posted for those of you interested in taking a listen.

Creating this piece was a life altering experience. I'd been (as usual) pushing to try and coordinate the piece. Everything went wrong. I couldn't think of what to write that we wouldn't need permission to use so I settled on Wade in the Water. We tried to get our pianist to play for us because he plays back up for the Hawkins and he was unavailable. The same with the second organist I asked. The bassist from our church (Tousant) was so sweet he said he happily agreed to work with us, even when we revealed that it was for a charity project.

Then more drama---Janeare and I couldn't find a time to practice because of family, jobs, and kids.

I finally just prayed to God that it wouldn't be a failure, because the sales of the album go the the summer youth program. We didn't get a chance to practice the piece in its entirety until the day of the recording.

It just goes to who when God moves, He moves. We did it two times, and nailed it in two takes. Even more eerie: When we got into the studio, Janeare and I couldn't see each other, but it was like we were one person. She knew what I was saying and how I was going to say it before it happened, and I could feel her energy. And the Holy Spirit was there in the midst. There is a part at the beginning of the song where Toussant is strumming, and Janeare is singing the traditional version of wade in the water, and I'm reading the scripture from Exodus.

After, Wayne Organ the producer said that he thought it would be neat if we whispered over that part things we thought the Israelites would be thinking while standing at the Red Sea. When we played the track back Wayne was in shock. There was a part where Janeare and I were whispering "Father, help us, father" and someone replied in a different tone "Children" as if the voice was answering, and it was not either one of us. The whole room was in shock. The tone of the music changes, and it is very sweet and light like waves. It was amazing. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was in love--with the Lord! I felt close to God, singing his praises. I would love to do that all my life as a ministry. Everything went wrong, but if it didn't go wrong God would've never got the glory.

Many thanks to Wayne from Contra Costa College, Malinda from E&T, and of course Janeare and Tousant. There are many wonderful local artists on the CD. Hope that should the spirit move you check it out.
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Monday, April 24, 2006

Loving the Brother We Can See

And Jesus said," Let him without sin cast the first stone.."

mr/ms upstanding
decent good
God abiding
person of God

we wear
on our sleeves, don't we?
self is sacred
a badge
billy clubbing others
in the name of
what is right

we break
picket fences
to make picket signs
for the sinners

a sign that we are powerful
a sign that they are weak

We desire to see our enemies crawl
through the muddied
the countenance of our sullied spirit
drenched and dirtied
their weakness
is the sum total of our loss

Yet a chill enters every room we inhabit

She stood there waiting and wanton
her knees scraped and reddened
her eyes pleaded

Word around town
was that she was
she was down
down trodden
down low
down for any and every

we shame her
we are her
all of us
lay in the twisted sheets of her bed
the scent of our rage fresh
and fragrant

She needed our love
and we gave her our lust
needed our hand
and we extended a fist

all in the name of what is true
and right

but if the light in us is darkness
how bright it shines

victory is in the moment
born after the shame
and nursed with the truth
when like a splash of magenta
God reveals his face

and the hand he extends
does not retract
from ours, even when they are stained
in our own truths, caked in our own

His love commences
even though
not a one us above the sin

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Beautiful Struggle

When the wait is longer than the hope
the hope is deeper than the desire
and the desire, a scar
which recalls the wound

God remembers all

When beauty is contained by jars
And life is hidden in living
and living’s in search of peace
that seems intent on war

God remembers all

When love is no better than the lover
And the lover is a song
And the song is filled with sparrows
That fall from horizon to earth

God remembers all

When there is no beauty in the suffering
And suffering is a struggle
The struggle is holds a beauty
And the beauty has a name

By which each one of us is called—

And God remembers all…

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Every Morning

Kathleen A. Wilson Dawning of A New Day

Thought of the day-- Remember when people failed Christ, his character remained constant. God remains unfailing even to our changing nature.

We learn to walk
step to stumble
The sun rises, and we are another day from death
and yet
we love tenderly
walk gingerly

The content of our characters is
filled with the substance of our fear
the darkness of our desires
Yet possibility
crosses our faces like a new morning
souls caught between earth, horizon and sky

Constant and luminous,
beautiful and stoic
mercy fresh and smarting
and ultimately,

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Egg Eaters (An Easter Poem)

The children whisper with chubby fingers
pressed against pursed lips

"They eat eggs whole,
you know.."

Drop the smoothly covered creations
into boiling silver pools

like pipes....

One man's dinner
another man's future?

A perfect human food it seems...

and what of dreams? Well they are

A child
watching them step over the
aftermath of rage
yellow and wasted
a line in the road
that babyboy walks
like humpty dumpty

while we
in the tall grass

And what of dreams?

Dreams are
Babygirl watching
of people become powder
in shock

as each one takes one
to feed another
as each one
crowns with thistles
a brother
word for word mortal combat
pierced in the side where
our missing rib should be

nailed the hands that prayed for us
spat on the gift
Saying we have no brothers but us

So full of us that we can't see You, Father

Help us we're
falling, swiftly, ubiquitously and deliberately

It weighs heavily
as your highly favored people
again sink
to a new low

What is truth? Pilate asked
To what name does it answer?

the truth is
We pray with pick axes
send each other long stemmed mirrors
and blind each other
with our own shards

the truth is our emptiness
is a misdirected bullet
pointed at our own hearts

Perhaps in our worst moments we are
no better than animals
eating our own eggs
to spite a rival lover

Maybe the truth is
"If people lie to God everyday in their prayers
and thoughts and actions
what makes you think they won't lie to you?"

Maybe our hearts are really
white walls
screaming on the inside
as screams
in whipped steam
and dreams

Maybe in every hateful heart is a
a song of sixpence
dying to sing
My God,
My sweet God
have you forsaken

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Sand Lily

For the risk of life...

As a hostess,
I serve you nice things
in china cups
by beach sides
fight you all the way

a heart
cupped star
pools of drift
copper fresh
dressed in fear
green and grassy

but I am
the blues

My dreams do not understand sheet music
they are eclectic jazz
playing risk by ear

You call my name in
a language I do not speak
but know by heart

You apply my wounded parts with lilies
and beaches
and equal parts of dropping heights

I abstain from the truth
taking twelve steps
to tea time
serving and steaming
stay sober from
the kisses of your brilliance

that leave greedy marks
on my mind


my heart will stop
being jealous
of the risk

Monday, April 10, 2006

He loves me despite myself

He loves me despite myself

That is what I love about him
I have strayed, played, have been negligent in my treatment of him
Yet, whenever I call, he answers
I hang my heavy head.
Without questioning he forgets
each irresponsible thing I've said or done

He's the one.

When I cried in the night for hours and hours,
just thinking about the heavy weight that is life,
when it pressed so hard I could no longer stand
without suffering,
when I had lost all of the me in my life, he reminds me

You are more than this--

He makes up for everything
that the others could not be
because of their own humanity

I fit with him

I step outside my black woman fighting,
loving, breathing pushing, hoping,
moving, seeing, knowing, reality and
I can just feel free

Don't need to
be somebody's mama
Don't need to pick up the plate,
or close the door,
or write the memo,
or sing the song of my heavy heart
I just need to be the me I like

Doesn't matter if my favorite jeans
are loose or tight,
he loves the way I walk
He dresses me in fuchsia and white,
and touches my heart with a strumming tune

The poetry of his largeness fills the widest room
When he sees me, he stops, and smiles.

His love hangs high above the mundane
The get up and go of life is extraordinary
It bursts with the lush ripeness of his kind eyes
And everything he touches becomes more beautiful each day

He's known me since I was me
Admired me from afar in my ashy
knees skinned from climbing tress
and looking for ladybugs in tall grassy school yards

He waited as others lined up
as I looked for my own heart in the broken ones
of big men with small love.

And when I get angry and walk away, he doesn’t let me go to far, like the others, scared of my shrinking shadow.

I don't have to be invincible,
but with him I can do all things

I can mold and make and break, and uncover and birth and behold
I can tell the story that no one but me can tell
I can dream
I can think
I can be
That's how he loves me

He is deep, entrenched in the spirit
that is in the soul of song deep in the Mississippi popular trees
and he soars above the rivers of the Euphrates
He is my destiny knocking,
calling me out on the street by my whole name

He gave up himself for the darkest part of me
so that the light may live in my eyes

He is my Heavenly Father
And with him I can do all things woman

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Girl Got So Much Heart (2006)

(A Woman's Work By WAK)

The girl got so much heart
that there is no room for halfhearted love.

and that is what you love about her
and that is what you hate about her


You're not ready to handle it.
Yes, you.

May I recall in the words of a defiant halle berry
in february of 1992

I may not have hair weaved all down my back
but I've got a heart

that was the black woman's anthem.

we applauded because
we love
love hard
and lose often

and you ask why I'm so stingy

I've got so much heart
I don't have room for half hearted love

But the question is,
can you handle it?

You wince as if hit
with an elliptical
bit of history

Yes, gentlemen we have been boomeranged.

I am myth and fact
in a syncronized swim
beautiful isis-ish royal lineage
but still required to polish my own crown

you say you love me
but your love wears me down

you sit at the foot of my sick bed
but never offer me a cold glass of water

you see me walk five flights of stairs
and never offer to help

you say my name like it is silk
but treat my soul like polyester wash and wear

you watch me wait for my bus in the rain
never offer me a ride

you pull out the chair from under me
instead of for me

Thank God
I am able, through my maker
to do all things

can make strings into silk
and water into wine
and rain into rivers
and grits into groceries
and a chair for a table

set for us
and check
I will fix you a hot plate
of my own sweet confidence
before I take a bite

But I cannot create
in you the sense of inspiration
in the me of us
and trust
is sinking in quicksand passing

a hot pain
with no antipyretic in sight

I need you to understand
that i am not invincible
neither am I without defenses

I am a woman
and I have a unrepentant

for you

and I expect you

handle this heart
like history

a dynamic, but
delicate heirloom
that has survived
in spite of

I expect you to handle it
like your health
consistent in your care

I expect you to handle it
like the man
I know you are
when you
trying to act like one

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Recall your Purple Rain (2006) (The Love/Art Series Part II)

(Ms. Mimi Drawing inspired by "Love Jones" circa 1997)
i had no intention of being bewitched
relive my purple rain moments
become captivated by the contrived
get wrapped up in pop the question culture
happy endings
skewing reality like 3d glasses in the light
in the darkened theater
a question arose
played in a b flat
posed a minor
settled in major chord
we're awash in warm purples
plum and wailing long notes
that talk in tongues
major and minor love affairs
then return,
and return
like the the coolest black man since purple rain
reminding us
of us
and every-once-and-awhile
amidst the high fare of ticket prices
and the yellow alliteration of
popcorn cinema
relive your purple rain moments
they just may come true

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stay and Kiss the Sky (2006) (The Love/Art Series I)

("Stay and Kiss the Sky", Drawing by Ms. Mimi, 1996)

(summer '96)

how I wished for
a hendrix note
a sullen base
lush green grass, remembering bare feet
the first time you called my name
letters, on smiling lips forming perfect "ah's"

smooth led on creamy white paradoxes
sunshine grazing on a rain oasis
feeding a reflective moment

the taste of our laughter like taffy
bittersweet on the tongue

an uneaten chocolate kiss, offered
a spray of broken treble and bass notes piled in the corner of a page
the scent of your freshly laundered sweatshirt

the sound of your prodigal voice
the freedom of the wind
soaring into heaven
returning as song

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April is National Poetry Month!

Whether you like yours traditional, free, in protest,
spoken, stirred, allegorical, narrative, or in iambic pentameter,
poetry is best served hot.

I had a teacher in the fourth grade that used to require us to memorize
a poem a week that we had to recite in front of the whole class.
Amazing how nimble the young mind is. I remember reading over poems
3-5 times and learning them by heart. Now a days it takes a bit more
practice, but I find myself piling the staple of the oral and written
poem on my plate frequently.

Sadly, outside of the traditional Easter Poems, and occasional class
lessons, it seemed the poem may die a bitter death as it competed
with novels, technicolor television frequencies, and music videos.

Thank God, the poem is back! Folks are doing some really interesting
stuff as spoken word and free verse are fused with musical genres.

The question begs to be asked.. Has poetry influenced your life? What poet
influenced your life, and why?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Miss Rock-It

Beauty in Black I
by Jay Allen Bakari

and rock.

She walks like she's two rivers

pancake on smooth sable skin
a mirror thin image
covered by provocative eyes
with lashes so long
they whip her cheeks

she prides herself on having the fiercest face on the planet
She has them all
mango melange
seductive sultry
and indigo moon
crush groove
and sea mist

her eyes are slopes for shimmering
shades of sparkle

she walks with a rock
like she's got otis redding and johnny cash
up in her jimmy choo's

while others peruse and use
she's powder set midnight hues

because after all, she is still a southern lady.

healthy and heady waves of black thunder
chorus down her back
in coal black
and yes, she will tell you, she bought it--

the only woman on the plane in a white linen pantsuit in November

the flash of her face catches the eye
like golden glints in a riverbed pan
and everyman in fantasy land gives her a standing
ovation with his gaze

and yet, this one, she does not
know the beauty that she craves
and this life does not save
her aching soul

a life of unfulfilled dreams
lay shattered in shards on
a staircase
as she tiptoes over the image
of her five year old self
in her mother's shoes
as he coos
makes her dress up like
vanessa williams

But today, her face is fierce
and her walk rocks
lowlifes in high heals

buying little bottles of light
to warm the inside
hoping that she may catch a glimpse of herself
in the glow

but she doesn't know
that God will heals scars, even covered ones.
And she is still fierce despite her flaws