Friday, September 15, 2017

Sailing Soul


Sailing Soul a poem by Elisa Wiah

Is any of this worth it?
Does any of this matter?
Alone on a ship
And the hull begins to shatter.
From the bow to the stern,
The pieces become undone.
The fires of shame burn
And the smokes of pain shun.
Tell me, why won't I concede?
Why am I choosing to suffer?
For a piece of Solace, I plead.
I smile, but my cries I buffer.
No one really wants to hear your sorrow.
No one has time to spare.
But your angst can't wait until tomorrow.
Your broken heart still has pieces to share.
So wake up and fake it once more.
Pretend it doesn't hurt
When faced with reality, ignore.
And with happiness, begin to flirt.
None of it will go away
But for awhile it is hidden.
No one will be bold enough to say
"Her farewell was already bidden."

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Chapter 3: Sweet Hot Tea

"All done! You know the drill; under the dryer for at least 45 minutes." Kassidy had finished twisting my hair. Normally, I would complain about getting under the dryer and how the settings are set on "fire and brimstone." But the shop was packed that particular day and I didn't want anyone to misunderstand our playful banter. Plus, I was tired.

My work week was the most hectic it had been since I've started. My team was creating the biggest campaign our department has ever had. Think interactive and futuristic all mixed in with geriatric health care. I know it sounds funny but that is the best way I could describe the hell my department head has asked me to lead. We somehow crammed 75 interviews into 5 days. Recording, editing, writing scripts, rewriting scripts, and praying for patience. In the midst of all the work my small team had to produce, we all had to take turns babysitting… I mean training our new intern, Ashley, the department head’s daughter.

“She really needs to gain a sense of direction, Keisha. She seems to learn better with hands-on experience. She is just obsessed with that insta-chat stuff and I thought that Public Relations would be the best department for her. Besides, since I had helped your parents when it came to their daughter, I figured you wouldn't mind helping mine.” Juxtaposed to her phone ringing and vibrating uncontrollably, my department head leans in and whispers, “although she is not a ‘Sister Girl’ like you, I still believe she can learn so much from you. Oh, well now. I have to run. Get on my schedule for a ‘Green Smoothies Brunch’ next week. Just us girls!”

Number One: Who is she calling “Sister Girl?” I’m Black, not a stereotype you think you’re “down” enough to comment on! Number Two: No one has time to watch your spoiled, bratty teenager. Stop acting cheap and hire a nanny! Number Three: Who drinks only greens smoothies for brunch?! It’s BRUNCH! This “Sister Girl” (signal air quotes) wants a BLT with shrimp and grits on the side.

I quickly snapped out if it. I have no idea what story my facial expression told in that moment. However, I am glad the strength of Coretta kept me calm enough not to slap her with the strength of Harriet.

So instead of getting on my sister’s nerves, I decided to be quiet and let the whirls of hot air lull me to sleep. As my eyes went low, the hustle and bustle of the salon began to rise. I could tell it was noon because the music changed from “Open My Heart” to “Beez in the Trap.” I faintly heard the wash girl, Shayla, taking orders of chicken wings, hoagies, and cheesesteaks for her daily papi store run. As the commotion began to subside and I fell deeper into sleep, I was suddenly awakened by a familiar voice.


“KASS!!! Girl, we have to talk. I just stumbled across some serious tea. Put the irons down! Head to the back. Where’s Keesh?!” It was LaChay.

“Keep your voice down, La! Keesh is right there. Are you sure this can’t wait?” As Kassidy snarled at LaChay, she flung her smoky marcels in the air.

“No, it can’t.” As I tried to ignore LaChay and act sleep as if I didn't hear her, she walked over to me and flipped the dryer hood up from over my head. “I said to the back. You heard me!”

As I got up to follow Kassidy & LaChay to the back, I could only imagine what LaChay had to tell us. LaChay always has the tea but it is never a tea too sweet or too hot that she doesn't mind sharing with the whole salon. This had to be serious.

“Ok La, you done ran up in my salon disturbing the peace. Something better be on fire. What is it?!” I could tell Kassidy was annoyed. This was her first day back in the shop after being in LA for three weeks working with one of her celebrity clients. So all of her regulars booked for her first open date, and were in the salon today. Kassidy had no patience for tea.

“Peep this. Reverend Slick Daddy offered Malik the Executive Pastor position.” Kassidy and I turned and looked at each other. I knew the look on Kassidy’s face mirrored my own: pure disgust.

“Wait… are you sure? how do you know?” she had just begun to spill the tea, but I needed more honey in mine.

“So I’m working the front desk in the boutique today, right? Two chicks I don’t recognize walk in. They look hella basic but a sale is a sale, feel me? They basically ignore me because they think I’m just a cashier. Well, that’s fine too. So they get real comfortable and start spilling tea everywhere, honey. As they are talking about everyone they know, I overhear them say Holy Cross Covenant. I realize I do know these bum chicks. Madison introduced them to me last time I was at the church. So I start ear-hustling even harder. Then the manly looking one says, ‘You know Pastor Hamilton asked Elder Malik to be the Executive Pastor. I wonder how his fiancée is going to feel about that. Hmph, she thinks she is too good for the church because she has her little business. The prices are too high and the food’s not that good anyway. The best thing she got going for her is Malik and her parents having the church. She better stop fronting like she’s some mogul and just be the first lady. There are women who’d love to be in her position and she’s going to throw it away for a business that’s not gonna last. She don’t even deserve Malik.’ As they are walking towards the register the smushed-face one says, ‘She sure doesn't; he can do way better. Girl, they not married yet. Once she sits up on her high horse and tells him not to take the job, he is probably going to take it anyway. All she wants to do is disappoint her parents. She keep on, she’s going to be single and I’m going to be the first lady.’ So they pass me their clothes and I ring them up.”

“You know who she talking about, Keesh?” Kassidy had an epiphany, “Linda and Elaine.” LaChay’s description of them was funnily accurate and identifiable.

“Yo, you are probably so right! Linda does work in the church office. That’s probably how she found out.” I made a discovery of my own that made LaChay and Kassidy delve even deeper into thought. “Well, I’m glad you ended it right there. I’m proud of you for not turning up.”

“Don’t throw me a parade yet. I’m not done. I made sure I rang them up and handed them their receipts first. Then, I ran them my receipts. I said -”

“Omg.”

“Girl, no you didn't.” Kassidy and I just shook our heads and placed our faces in our hands as if our disapproval could magically change the ending of LaChay’s spiel.

“I said, in my professional clapback voice, ‘Ladies, this is a classy establishment. You shouldn't be gossiping at all. But if you insist, you should one: keep it quiet so that others can’t hear you. Two: keep my best friend and her man’s names out of your mouths. Lucky for you, I am the owner of this boutique and I value your business. Therefore, I won’t throw these hands and drag you out the doors by your hair. Instead, I’m going to let y’all live. But don’t let me hear you been talking about my friend again. I will meet you outside of HCC in the parking lot and I won’t be so generous. Thank you for shopping Voleur! Have a blessed day.’”

I wasn’t shocked but I was amazed by how this encounter has now spiraled very close to home. “Why did you do that?! Maddie still has to deal with these people on the regular. They are just going to add that to their list of things to talk about. They are definitely going to tell Pastor Hamilton.”

“So, let them tell it! His old behind know better. Always startin’ some mess.” LaChay was officially in her bag now.

“La, I told you about your mouth! You gotta chill out. We are getting too old to be running up on folk, fighting, and carrying-on.” Kassidy was beginning to look anxious as her eyes shifted back and forth from us to the clock on the wall. “I’m not rolling out. I’m not fighting no one for you. I’m not doing nothing. We are grown-ups with businesses and responsibilities.”

LaChay was offended by our reaction. Our rider couldn't believe that she may be riding alone on this one. “And?! And?! Why not?! You always did before. Don’t be giving me that soft stuff, Kass. These birds out here still running their mouths and we still got these hands. I can be blind in a wheelchair rolling to the mailbox to get my social security check. I ain't never gonna let nobody come for y’all.”

Knowing that LaChay was right in her own special way, Kassidy let go a deep breath that instantly relaxed her anxiousness away. “I’m surprised they didn't ask for a refund after you told them that.”

“They were too scared. They ran out of there so fast!” We all laughed together at LaChay. Yet, no amount of laughter could fully distract me from the matter at hand. I quickly circled the conversation back around to the underlying question.

“What are we going to tell Madison?”

“Tell me what? Shayla told me you all were back here. What’s wrong? Why are you all looking at me like that?” Madison urgently busted through the door with a smile plastered on her face. As our glances went from her to each other, with no words at all, we tried to decide who was going to be the one to erase her bright smile. Once again, Kassidy stepped up to jump first.

“Your dad offered Malik the Executive Pastor position.”

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Artwork: Destiny's Child - Bills, Bills, Bills Video

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Veil


Veil a poem by Elisa Wiah

I've been covered.
For a while now, I just haven't been found.
But Lord, I'd rather be safe in your arms than in the arms of
Someone who you haven't ordained me to be with.
Someone whose heart doesn't look like yours.
Whose heartbeat isn't the same rhythm as mine
I'd rather be looked over.
Passed by.
No looks. No stares. No attention.
But covered.
Graced.
Loved unconditionally.
Set free.
Anything you give is cool with me.
So as long as I'm covered,
I'm yours
Until my match I meet.
The one of whom I'm to help.
A holy covenant.
A bond of oneness.
A bearing of godly seeds.
But until then,
I'm yours.
I've been covered.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns by J. California Cooper



Hello, Stars! Let's talk about the very first book on My BookshelfWild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns by J. California Cooper. Although I randomly chose to this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I was about to read reviews but I read one and decided I didn't want my original opinions and review to altered by anything I read. I will try not to spoil anything for those who may not have read it yet. If you have read and want to discuss, be sure to comment below.

This novel is a collection of short stories. Each short story has at least one "Wild Star," a character who is living life boldly, wildly, and not thinking of the consequences. On the other hand, each Wild Star is balance by a character seeking midnight suns. These characters were trying to find their bright light in a their world of darkness. Thankfully, they always found it. Unfortunately, all the Wild Stars lost their lights after they swiftly began to dim.

There were a few common themes in each story.

SEX. This book really pushed the limits of sexual freedom and sexual consent. I don't feel the stories were graphic. Cooper gave you enough detail to understand how the characters felt and it was tastefully written. I loved that it was openly discussed because the sexual relationships and situations these characters had are very similar to the real, non-fairy tale stories that many women have. Sexual suppression was also shown. Sex, sex, sex. Before reading this book, I didn't really want to discuss it at all, let alone say the word. Now, I feel like in order to have a healthy thinking around what sex means to me, I have to talk about it. I'm not going to suddenly become Carrie Bradshaw, but I will no longer run away from the topic.

GOD. As a Christian woman, I am glad she put God in the stories. In real life, when I have life changing events, I turn to God for solace or answers just as the characters did. The way Cooper included this into a woman's healing process was very accurate especially, for Black women. Now if you don't believe in God, this is not a Christian book and you can look at it from a historical or statistical point-of-view of the Black Church. She adds enough God for you to relate or to just simple understand where the characters are coming from.

FREEDOM. I found it most interesting that freedom was shown mostly as the aftermath of being bound. I don't believe any or the characters really started off free. There was so much false freedom. Characters acting freely in their choices only to feel bound during or after dealing with consequences. many characters struggled with not being free mentally as well. If only they could've freed their mind, they could freed themselves from what was keeping them bound.

FINDING LOVE. Each character was seeking their own midnight suns. A common sun for each character was real love. Whether it was love of self, love from someone else, or both, it was evident that love was the characters' underlying end goal. Some found their love and others did not.

FINDING ONESELF. What I loved most were the characters who sought out to find what their true purpose in life was. The journey of finding yourself  and what you want to do with your life is a real process. There's just something inspiring about a woman who learns all that she can by working tirelessly and it eventually pays off. But I also loved how Cooper showed the real drawbacks of working to find oneself first. In some cases, you find love later, you find "success" later in life, and you are badgered  for not having the same priorities of most people around you.

I believe that all women could find themselves in these characters. However, if you are twenty-something Black woman, I think this book will inspire you to go get it. It will inspire you to reach your goals and to aspire to greater. It will inspire you to leave your past in the past and to focus on living now. Because I saw realism in the characters, I was giving the characters advice as I read along. Not realizing the realism I saw in the characters is my own life. Reading these short stories made me realize I need to take my own advice, since I can now see my decisions clearly. Millennial Black women, people think we have it so easy. But the way life is hitting me (so I know it is hitting you), I know that not enough has changed in society for us to truly walk in who we know we are without any limitations. Yet, we do have more opportunities, more education, and more money. We now have the opportunity to focus on self-care, self-love, and self-purpose. While we often feel obligated, you are not required to hold it all in and to carry it all on your back. Let the things you can't change go and make a bright future for yourself.

I personally loved this book because it came right on time for me. My life right now is weird because I just want to live my life to the fullest. However, for years I have felt bound and not very free at all. This book helped me to define what freedom is for myself. Freedom is simply doing whatever you want to do and attaining whatever you wish to attain however you choose to do so. The world will make you think that the only freedoms are partying, having plenty of sex, being carefree, not working very hard, having money, and/or stumbling across the love of your life. If that's what you aspire to do, then doing so is your freedom. But if you desire to work hard, make an honest living, save sex for marriage, help others, and give yourself boundaries, you are not bound, if that is your choice. You are being free. This book made me realize every life choice has good and bad consequences. You have to empower yourself to choose the life choices that are best for you. You can be a star shining brightly. You can live in the darkness of your mind. It is your decision to make.

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts and opinions by commenting below. Thank you J. California Cooper! SMOOCHES XOXO

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Perfection


Perfection a poem by Elisa Wiah.

Change me.
I am broken without you,
So hollow.
But I try.
I try really hard
To live for you.
I know.
I know there is nothing
I can do to win
Your Love.
Nothing I can do
To cut off this sin.
Nothing I can do
To stop the tests.
Nothing I can do
To bypass the trials.
I want to quit
And give up on
You.
Because I can't live up
To your word,
I can't live up
To your standards.
Even though You know
I can't.
I never will.
I am still convicted.
I still want to please you.
I still want my heart to bleed
For what makes you cry.
I can't be perfect
But make me new.
Change my heart.
Set me free from
Me.

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