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Showing posts from 2013

Spare Change

At the edge of the bed
Watching you sleep
Counting, again, all of your shiny pieces
Charting the haphazard precision
of our journeys to this space
Marveling at the perfection of God

dashaFEST 2013

It's here again, dashaFEST.  What started as a single event exactly 20 years ago has evolved (exploded?) into a month-long celebration of ME.

Wait, I know how that sounds.  Let me explain.

I've always enjoyed throwing parties. The theme. The games. The food and drink. Stirring around my divergent circles of friends and associates inside the same space.  I feel a small tug of pride when unlikely acquaintances can trace their connections back to my living room.

Over the years, that one, overstuffed birthday party has unfolded into a calendar of events. A women's only event. An artistic event. A group activity.  A party. Something for my daughters. Something for my immediate family. A performance showcase of some kind.

The enterprise is wholly ridiculous, and I am fully aware of this.  But giving myself permission to be absurd for a change is, actually, part of the appeal.  For what it's worth, I'm not obnoxious about it.  I don't keep tabs of who shows up and w…
Dear Deborah Brown Community School ~
It is quite a feat for a small charter to make national news.  It is perversely disappointing, however, to read that a charter school led by two black women is systematically persecuting students of color for celebrating the natural textures of their hair.
As an educator, I understand and value the impact of comportment.  Indeed, many ills of the contemporary school environment can be aggravated by lax guidelines on conduct and appearance. Nonetheless, your policies against natural hairstyles levels a much more serious attack against your students. 
Rather than teaching them how to be “presentable,” your policy forces the concept of “acceptable” at a disastrously early age. Yes, the school should vigorously mandate “neat,” “modest” and “respectable.” These are essential expectations.  Denying the option of neatly, modestly and respectfully showcasing the heritage of their hair, however, reinforces a wickedly pervasive narrative that black succes…

by Dasha Kelly

I’m not sure when it happened, when my words fell away from ordinary, peeling away sneakers to don ruby slippers, starting requesting lemon zest and garnish. I don’t know, exactly, when my words were made to hang back in the green room waiting for a green light to shine.My words don’t think twice about being seen without makeup, in sweatshirts and jeans. They miss racing one another down to sheets of paper, squealing and breathless until they tumble and fall into unexpected formations. My words spend too much time standing around these days, clustered into genres, waiting for invitations to arrive.  They are social creatures but miss their quiet time, too. My words need to sprawl across clean pages, even to find themselves crumpled and tossed away sometimes. They are not all destined for posterity, but each mark a heartbeat in this world.   This is the grandeur of…


Pigs will not fly. Not even with counseling. Or coaching. Or fancy new clothes. Or affirmations. Or cuddling. Or the last bite of your sandwich. It is not for lack of focus. Or prejudice or profiling. Or being tied up on the phone. Or having a broken heart. Or having things easy. Or some withering away of faith. It is because they are pigs. At best, they may hang weightless for a moment, defy gravity for a moment, suspend our understanding of hard earth and crushing impact ... for a moment. At the end of it all, we will remember how this truth had always been wedged inside the marrow of our bones. Pigs. They will not. Fly.

Keep Me

Keep me.
Nestle my core
into the plush of your hand
Wrist locked steady
Careful now
Careful now
Don't cradle me
bird's nest suspended
Keep me.
Canopy me with fleshy fingers
Keep me.

Thread yourself through all the letters
of all my names
especially those you whisper
over me when I sleep
(you do watch me when i sleep, don't you?!)
Loop my alphabet around your neck
Careful now
Careful now
Don't flaunt me
bauble shiny
Keep me.
Drape my charms closer to your chest than
the world

Keep me.

Tuck my affections
in the pocket of your jeans
Slip me deep in cotton corners weightless and constant
Careful now
Careful now
Don't stroke absently
at smooth surfaces
Carry about my devotion
As needed, reach in to trace firm contours Keep me.

Keep me
Keep me
with you.

The Ivory Bangle Lady

Dig my hole deep
Intern legacy with my bones
Coat my rich skin
with thick oils
olive, rosehip, pomegranate, shea
Even in death
Even in death

Dig my hole deep
Rest the most brilliant baubles
against the contours of my waist
blue glass, beads, cologne, ivory
Send me with greetings for God
Send me with greetings for God

Dig my hole deep
Entomb my artifacts of glowing and global truth
my inimitable and glorious people
power, wealth, intellect, melanin
History will not bury me
History will not bury me

The Ivory Bangle Lady
"This skull is particularly interesting, because the stone sarcophagus she was buried in, and the richness of the grave goods, means she was a very wealthy woman, absolutely from the top end of York society. Her case contradicts assumptions that immigrants are low status and male, and that African individuals are likely to have been slaves." ~Dr. Hella Eckhard, Archeology Dept., University of Reading (UK)…

Sky Lessons (from Anita Bee)

You recall looking up to summer skies A sheer filter of crystaline blue between you and heaven It looked even bigger to you then Impossible
Relaxed on a pallette of green grass Soft blades hugging your small body one at a time You remember the patch of Earth cool against your back tickling your neck an easy comfort for you to rest your head, so full of new thinking
You did not know how to to lasso the clouds with those fresh, new thoughts still awkward and unwieldy between your ears You were afraid to name those clouds with your soft, wet words Fastening monikers that might be too new might not be just right Your small lips pucker into a whisper:      Elephant, you say      Kitten, you say      Cereal bowl      Mama's good church shoe, you say
You learned to transcribe cumulus tales of summer Clouds scrolling like silent movies across your blue sky trust your untethered translations Even pointed your chin up to the darkness Tear-filled eyes behind sealed windows searching the sha…