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theblackertheberry

words and vibes by kiara

The Heaviest Burden

For the nights when our love don’t love us back.

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The heaviest burden

The most urgent concern

Is when tears burn your face from the words of others because 

The worst sounds come from sobs in pillows smothered with covers undercover

Doused in brokenheartedness 

The hurt that our mothers vowed to protect us from

The heaviest burden

When you feel like a burden

unwanted and unappreciated 

Don’t you hate it?

When somebody rather drag you out like last night’s trash just because 

You and your crown are too heavy to lift?

But don’t you hate it even more when

You put your own self in that trash bin?

The heaviest burden

When you feel sorry for yourself and 

You start to tear yourself down just like everyone else did 

As if they really needed help with it

You take in the words and you start to believe 

The alibis and the lies 

Against your spirit 

You can see you falling out of love with yourself so loud and so clear you can hear it

A car crash, a tree fall, a falling apart

Damn, it wasn’t like that from the start

Damn, has an artist ever been more dismissive of her own work

Of her own art?

The shit is taught. And she listened.

The heaviest burden

The rising from the fire

The guilt of a liar that

Only lies to herself 

She needs some help she

Needs some medical attention 

Did I mention that wounds cut the deepest 

From self inflicted

Injury?

Well tell me where to start because

The heaviest burden is me

Somebody tell me where to start because 

The burden is too heavy 

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I Still Don’t Like History

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Me, at an overlook of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 2016

I pass by the house

The childhood of my dreams

All the love I could ever want or need

Was in it

Y’all did it

The Black American Dream

Y’all did it

And I like to look back but

That doesn’t change the fact that

I don’t like history

I hated that class with a passion

The past

Because it’s almost worse than math

Because the numbers say the odds are against me

What’s worse than that?

House on the lake south of the river

Apartment building downtown

Still reppin for the hood

Y’all did like the white folk

I guess to some people that’s supposed to mean you done good

The perfect home torn asunder

By the perfect storm

It was warm

But I knew something wasn’t right

My tears burned when I would cry

When y’all would fight

But it was still warm

Forehead kisses in the middle of the night when y’all used to check on me and

tuck me in tight

Under my skylight

Under the stars

The tension was so thick between y’all I could cut it with a knife

But what does an 8 year old know about knives and

What does an 8 year old know about life?

You went your separate ways and it had to be done

It was for the best

Y’all had a good run

Somebody dropped the ball

The last inning, the end of the game

I was in the crowd, I was your biggest fan and

I still am

But I still don’t like history

Now I’m grown and

Whenever I’m alone

I am haunted

As yesterday whispers in my ear today is in tears because the what ifs of tomorrow burn

Like the tears from when I was 8

I am worried and afraid of

The childhood of my dreams and

All the love I could ever want or need

Worried and afraid of history repeating itself

Red

red

The school pays no mind and makes a little girl pay the ultimate price because the school clock says there is no time

No time for a woman to be a woman

Because outdated textbooks and sentence structure mean more than the period at the end

Of the day

There’s more than enough time they say but

When she rushes back to class, everything is

Red

The flow of life

The greatest abomination

Drips down her leg

It makes no sense

The thoughts placed in her head like

All the things her teacher should have said

It makes no sense

No time for a woman to be a woman

When everything is red

My Room

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It don’t have to hurt if

I stay in here with my thoughts and with

My mind because sometimes

I rather spend time with them because

Sometimes it hurts too much on the outside

It hurts so bad when reality hits me

It hurts and I

I lie and

I say “I’m fine, I’m fine” but the truth is

There’s a very thin line between the lie I tell and the tears and the fears that lie on the inside

It don’t have to hurt if I stay in here

If I stay clear of the news and the television and

If I don’t hear about more Black children gone missin or

No longer livin

If I don’t have to let my cup drain dry from the alibis of people always gettin and never really givin then

Maybe it won’t hurt

If I stay in here I don’t have to be misunderstood and if I stay in here

I could get to know me better because

In here she doesn’t have to be censored or assimilated or inundated with masks or with doubt

In here I could really learn what she’s really all about

Too loud, too dark, too I-don’t-really-look-the-part out there but in here

the part is all mine

And the time is my time, because sometimes there ain’t no time for me on the outside

All the while I reclaim my time while the outside still has the nerve to still say it still ain’t all mine

Corporations make money off the sick

While we all chokin’ out here on air that’s too thick while they tell us that

Global warming “doesn’t really exist” and

We all play the part, but the lies

They really don’t stick

It’s sick

But as the ways of the world smolder outside my door

I look over my shoulder and turn my back to the fire

It’s far too much to bare

It don’t have to hurt

So until the smoke clears

I’ll be in here

Little Black Girl Armed

me microscope
Me, circa 1997

You

Can see the spark in her eyes when

She raises her hand and

When she writes her thoughts out

Or when she opens up a book

Meanwhile the others look

Down on her, the others think less

Of her because they’re shook

By this little Black girl armed

with a mind and a book

They

Don’t know what to do and

They don’t know what to say so

They cover their papers as she looks

The other way on test day because

they wanna say

She is copying their test knowing

Damn well she isn’t

Knowing damn well she knows

The answers

Knowing damn well the answer is

To never question the intellect of the

Precocious little kid

Because she is Black

While fighting what their parents taught them

About who is who and

What their parents taught them

About colors

She

Has it hard in high school

And so do her body, mind and spirit too

Too good for JV, too dark for AP and

Too “white” for the step team, so it seems

She

Doesn’t really know what all this means

Until she met this boy on her way to the bus

He approached her and he read in between the lines that

She was focused on something different

So he said “Listen.

If you keep your nose in them books like that you ain’t ever gonna get no man.”

Words meant to change her course and her plan did no such thing

She walked away and he was shook

By this little Black girl armed

With a mind and a book

She

Grew up and saw the spark

In another young girl’s eye and

She shed a tear and held in a cry because

It took her back to a time when

Being a little Black girl armed

With a mind and a book was

Revolutionary

Then she looked the girl in the eye again and it was a little scary because she

Realized the revolution is far from over for

This little precocious kid

Because she is Black

5 Things I Refuse to Take With Me to 2018

newyearsstairs
Me, New Years Eve 2017

Happy New Year! So many people I know are talking about what they are going to do this year. Some people plan to work out more, others want to save money and so on. We always talk about New Years resolutions and the new beginnings we hope they bring, but why don’t we spend as much time addressing things we want to leave in 2017?

After a lot of reflecting these last few days, I’ve come up with 5 things I refuse to take into this new year to live my best life.

I refuse to…

  1. Worry incessantly: I have spent a great deal of my time worrying. Will this be okay? Will that happen when I want it to? What if the worst case scenario is my reality? I’d be lying to myself if I said I’ll never worry again, but this year, I won’t let it consume me. I have a lot of irons in the fire this year, and the more goals you have, the more room there is for error, and I have to accept that possibility. I’m also a spiritual person who knows the power of prayer. Doing my best and staying prayed up is my mantra this year.
  2. Believe everyone is happy for me: As much I have worried over the years, I’ve been blessed just as much or even more. Some of these blessings I’ve shared and others I’ve kept quiet. In the process, I’ve seen who’s rooting for me and who isn’t and even some of the ones “rooting for me” ain’t really rooting for me, if you know what I mean. Nothing to harp on, but definitely something to take note of. In the words of my momma, “everybody ain’t ya friend.” Put the fake cheerleaders on the bench; sometimes you have to be your own biggest fan.
  3. Skimp on self-care: For the most part, I keep my hair done and nails done (unless you catch me on a hot mess day, which is more probable than not these days), but self-care is beyond surface level aesthetics. I typically don’t get enough rest, on busy days I don’t eat like I should, and on some gym days, stretching and adequate water intake fall by the wayside. Sometimes, I let the little stuff knock me down and forget who the bleep I am in the process. Addressing THESE things and more are also part of self-care. This year, I vow to step my game up.
  4. Stretch the circle: We learned how to color in the lines in kindergarten, and to say the least, some struggled more than others. In hindsight, maybe I was one of those kids. Although I’m not necessarily referring to coloring circles with markers and crayons, the message is relatively the same: stay in the circle. I have a circle of family and a few select friends that I trust through and through, but at times, I’ve looked at other people who could possibly join this elite team that aren’t qualified for the job. Not a good look. Don’t get me wrong, making new friends and spending time with others isn’t a bad thing, but I won’t go as far as stretching my circle into an oval.
  5. Seek validation outside of myself: I have come far on this one, but I still have work to do. When I was younger, schoolyard trials and tribulations had the power to influence how I felt about myself. As I grow more into adulthood, the ups and downs of relationships, my career, life changes and other things have played a major role in my self-concept. I feel that this is healthy and natural, but only to a certain extent. I have to make sure people and things don’t define who I am. If someone feels some kind of way about me, I can not internalize the negativity. If I don’t achieve the goals I intended to slay, I can not own failure. Why go broke on the account of people and things when you can stay rich off of self love, the gift that keeps on giving? I simply can’t afford to keep going broke.

I plan to stick to NOT doing these things and for real for real, I hope you will too.

On Her Way to School

car

Before she pulls off

He makes sure she’s safe and

Buckled in before they begin

Their conversation

The stimulation of his listening ear

The way he listens is

Not of this world and

Neither is she

The people in the other cars be

Lookin

They be looking at them half crazy

Crazy Like the crazy type that be talking to themselves

But she is never alone and

She knows it

And maybe they do too

As she drives and

As she stops talking she

Be listening and he

Be telling her everything she needs to know but

The silence is loud as ever

So loud that the people on the street

Are overcome by his words

The power of these words that

They haven’t even heard but

If they listened to him like her they

Too could have this stimulation and

This conversation

Some of the people called her a loon and

Some of the people called her a fool but

All she was doin was talking to God on her way to school

Stop Looking

oncar

Because we women too often look to everything and everyone else but ourselves…to find and define ourselves


Stop looking for her

In between the lines and

Squeezed behind the confines of

The words of others

She feels no need to hide her unfinished pages

Her book is still in progress and

Writing is a process so

She takes her sweet time

Stop looking for her

In a man’s lustful gaze

In his validation, in his temptation and

His inclination toward what’s on her outside

He can go sit down somewhere because trust

She’ll be just fine

And if chivalry don’t pull out her chair before he pulls out his or if

Chivalry don’t give her no goodnight kiss she’ll

Pull out her own chair and sit where she wants to sit

Chivalry died but she still sleeps at night and

Before she closes her weary eyes

God always tells her He loves her anyway

Stop looking for her

In her accolades or in her titles or

In her degrees

When the dust settles underground and

When she is no longer around, what does a piece of paper in a pretty frame really even mean?

In life, all that forms above ground will eventually cease

Only to return through the trees and

Through the breeze and the dirt but

How she gonna enjoy her stay if she’s too high on hierarchy to come back down to earth?

Stop looking for her

In other places other than

Where you should have looked already

Just because you think you’re not ready for

Who you may find

Dig deeper

Some extra help

Something like a search and rescue mission

but this one’s for your damn self

An Amber Alert, a missing person’s case

You better do something different before it’s too late

me

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