Death Doesn’t Discriminate

Photo Inspiration: Leslie Odom Jr in Hamilton

Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.

As Leslie Odom Jr. sings the words on stage

during Hamilton,

I am filled with questions.

If death does not discriminate,

Why do we hate it so much?

In death eyes there’s equality in all lives,

But in the churches filled with our cries,

We can’t help but to ask,

Why?

Why didn’t death wait for this one?

This life that was so pure and innocent.

Still with years to grow, lessons to learn, and a few heartbreaks.

Why didn’t death wait?

Even if it was just one more day.

A day that could be spent showering with

Love and affection.

Promises and held back tears.

Until the time to say goodbye and once again be filled with questions of why.

Awaiting a satisfactory response, but

the response will always be the same.

Death doesn’t discriminate.

The Lady At The Savoy

Photo Inspiration: Josephine Baker

I remember the first time I heard her sing

She walked on stage with the confidence of a Queen

Her skin was the color of coffee mixed with the right amount of cream

Finger waves graced her hair giving us a different version of Josephine Baker

The red dress she wore fitted her perfectly and stopped just at the ankles with matching heels

As her hand wrapped around the microphone, everyone silenced to hear her speak

The lights dimmed and the spotlight was on her

Witn a smooth sultry voice she welcomed us to the Savoy

The teasing of her eyes let us know we were in for a treat

The sway of her hips showed she was no stranger to a beat

And the singing reaching our ears had us all on our feet

We danced song after song

Until all too soon she thanked us for coming out

I left that night memorized by the beauty in the red dress and sultry voice

Years later it still brings me to my feet 

Every Sunday after dinner in the middle of the living room floor

I put on a tune

Hold her close in my arms

And she sings to me

Just like she did when she was

The lady at the Savoy

Admiring You

As the sun begins to rise

I take this time to examine you in the

Quietness of the morning

Dark hair cut to precision with a bevy of waves

Smooth dark brown skin that reminds me of

The homemade chocolate candy I made with my grandmother

Dark thick eyebrows with cocaine slits showing your down south side

Slim nose that flairs out into Jackson 5 nostrils as Beyoncé calls them

Heart shape lips that look not only delectable, but reveals the most warming smile I’ve ever seen

And as I look up my heart skips a beat at my favorite part of you

Dark piercing eyes stare back at me

I’m in love all over again

Loving A Blues Man

Photo Inspiration: The legendary Robert Johnson

Black like licorice

Which I hate

Except when it’s in the form of you

Black like the berry

Which I think are so tart

Except when I get a taste of you

Black like the bruise on my heart

The same bruise you created when you left

Something you said you would never do

You and I were meant to be

A forever kinda love

Dancing through life to the sound of

Your guitar and down home blues

In the French quarter at the stroke of midnight

With the Baron playing his wicked tricks

On unsuspecting tourists

We’d pass by laughing at his naughty ways

Those days are long gone

Now there’s countless nights where I whisper your name on a falling star

Tears cascading down my face

For a love never to be returned and never replaced

A love that is loss from a cruel sickness called fame

That reached inside and took ahold of your very being

Causing you to make a deal that

Would sacrifice everything we believed in

Legba’s hold on you is something I just can’t fight

He took your soul and my promises of forever

Breaking my heart

As I watch you run off at sundown clutching your guitar

With the sound of hellhounds chasing you into the night

Daughter To Mother

Photo obtained from Pinterest. Artist Unknown

Can I talk to you for a minute?

I mean really talk to you.

And for once just listen.

Listen to the words as they flow from my lips.

Hold them to the highest priority like an alter to the ancestors.

May they bless our bond after this moment.

A moment that is a long time coming.

There is so much I have wanted to say to you.

I’m sorry life has not always been kind to your feelings.

I’m sorry it made you shut off your love from the world.

As a child I needed that.

I needed it badly, but you could not give it.

At least, not in the way that I needed.

For a while I was angry.

I wondered if I was just unlovable. Now that I know it wasn’t my fault, I forgive you.

I forgive him too.

The man that hurt you.

My father.

You both knew no better,

And in order to heal

I have to let go.

Let go of the doubt and self destruction.

Now I am happy.

Happy that I can say the things and feel the things I never felt.

My children are happy as well.

They deserve that.

Happiness.

Love.

As my mother, you do too.

But you continue to reject it.

That’s okay.

If no one ever tells you or you continue to

Harden your shell.

Just know that how I felt back then

Is how I feel now.

I love you….

Short Story: Juneteenth A Story Of Love and Freedom

Happy Juneteenth! Please enjoy this short story I created in honor it.

June 19, 1865

The people lingered on the plantation unsure of what the day would bring. Many fidgeted with uneasiness and others were planning on the best way to escape should the day bring about terror as done before. They had been told early that morning that there would be an announcement come noon.

Neva, a young slave girl, stood holding her daughter close to her body. Her skin was the color of dark chocolate, her body was short and petite, she had a long braid going down the center of her back, and dark eyes filled with strength. She prayed that this would not be the last day she would see her daughter. Each day they had together was a blessing from the universe. Many of her children were sold long ago. If the day should be their last, she had prepared her well to survive, but that would not ease the hurt.

“What’s happening, Mama,” her daughter Betty asked, looking just like a mini version of her. 

Just then, a man rode up on a horse bringing many others with him. The slave master stood on the porch with his wife, both faces were twisted in anger. 

“Shhhh baby, let’s hear what’s going on,” Neva ordered. 

The man got off his horse and looked at all of the people. It was a shame that even after being free for over two years, these were the last to find out. It was terrible how that information was withheld from them. Some say the messenger was killed and others say it was done deliberately to get another crop of cotton. Either way it was just plain wrong. 

“I come with news from General Granger,” he spoke loud enough for them to hear. 

Murmurs could be heard throughout the crowd. What could he possibly have for them to hear?

“As per General Order 3, The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” He began to read off the paper.

Gasps could be heard throughout the crowd. Many cried, many shouted, and many stood in disbelief. Their dreams and prayers had finally been answered. 

“What’s going on mama,” Betty asked her mother. 

“We’re free baby,” she lifted her up as much as she could with tears falling down her face.

People started rushing off to get their belongings. Many unsure of where they would go next, but knew the plantation life was not for them. 

“Where are you going,” the slave master yelled, “There’s nothing out there for you people!” 

“That may be, but there’s nothing here for us either,” a man named William yelled before walking off with the others. He was a large muscular man with skin the color of molasses. 

As Neva and Betty gathered their belongings, they heard music playing. Stopping to look outside of their shack they saw people gathering around in celebration. Food was being brought out of houses and combined to make a big spread for everyone. 

“Can we join them mama,” Betty looked up with hopeful eyes. 

“Of course, they’ll always be our family,” Neva smiled down with tears still in her eyes. 

They both ran out and joined in the laughter and dancing. 

Soon Neva felt strong arms around her. Turning she saw William with that smile she had come to love. They had been quietly seeing each other for quite some time now and shared many meals together as a family. 

“We’re free now baby, you know what that means,” he asked. 

With her words lost, she merely shook her head. 

“Today we finally get married and then me, you, and my new daughter is headed north to start our new lives.”

And get married they did, surrounded by all of their newly freed brothers and sisters. 

When it was time to leave, William stood embracing Neva and Betty. 

“We’re finally free,” she whispered. 

“So we don’t have to live here anymore,” Betty asked fearfully. 

“No baby, we’re free,”William lifted her up and tickled her, “but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

With one last look, they then joined the others walking up the road to a new freeish way of living.

Note:

This short contains the exact beginning of General Order 3 that was instructed to be read announcing the end of slavery in Texas. Also, the names listed in this short, Neva, Betty, and William are all relatives of mine. My grandparents and mother. Although they were not actually there I thought it would be cool to incorporate their names in the story. Let me know in the comments what you think and if it interests you enough to want to see more shorts like this on here. Thank you for reading!

Window To The Soul

They say the eyes are the windows to ones soul

I believe it every time I look into yours

That steely gaze that has the ability to stop me in my tracks

So dark I get lost in them as I dive in a dark pool of onyx and drift away

Slowly, with the vision of love that both you and I create

A love that has transcended the test of time

Through our many resurrections

Resurrections I am reminded of through your eyes

We once laid under the stars next to the Niger River and fell asleep in each other’s embrace

You held my hand while I prayed to the ancestors as Harriet led us to freedom

We were there in Virginia, by Nat Turners side when he led the revolt in 1831

And when the bombs dropped in Tulsa, you helped board up windows and keep us safe from those seeking to hurt us

I remember when we sat in the restaurant and was star struck when Malcolm had his date with Betty. You know the one where he taught her the history of the pig right after.

The party on Juneteenth, was one of the best we ever had. You sure did have some good moves for an old man.

We really had some good times

Times I see on repeat just like now as I stare in your eyes

My heart skips a beat as you sweep me off my feet

Holding me closely while placing your forehead on mine without breaking eye contact

Your eyes, the window to your soul and the gateway to my heart.

Another Round For Kai

Photo drawn by Patrick Curlin Jr (my 11 year old son)

She told me I was mean and my heart broke.

She looked me in my eyes, folded her tiny arms, and told me I was mean.

Now the reason for this is that I had just informed her that she had to vacate my room.

It was time for her to enter full toddlerhood by sleeping in her own bed.

This warranted the mean mommy award. Normally I would fold, but tonight I will stand my ground.

A battle of wills is where we both are now.

I will not back down.

It is now bedtime and bittersweet. This is her last night, but she’s not done with me.

She crawls in my lap, wraps her arms around my neck, and says the four words that get to me every time….I love you mommy.

And my heart melts.

Maybe one more night won’t hurt.

Round 1,046,388 goes to Kai.

Artwork by: @patcurlin21

#creativewriter #storyteller #beginnerwriter #spokenword #writer #writersofinstagram

The Woman Under The Tree

I once saw a woman sitting under a tree

She just looked and listened

No words slipped through the crevices of her lips

I watched her as she watched them

Some would get smiles while others got frowns

Then one day she cried

She cried watching the little black boy explain to the policeman that he was just going home and wasn’t suspicious as the people had labeled him

She cried for the little black girl that got snatched into a van but no one heard her cries

She cried as she listened to the black man explain to his wife that he got denied another position because his past just wouldn’t let him go

She cried for that black woman who told her friend forget her child’s father she didn’t need him just like she didn’t have one as a child.

As her tears ran down her face, her sorrow filled the earth, and the world felt her pain.

And as the world felt her pain, my heart began to hurt when I looked at her and she looked at me.

“Do you see,” She asked, “Do you see what we have become?”

Her words drawing me closer and closer until we’re face to face and her hand touches my cheek with her tear filled smile and I realize who she is.

The woman sitting under the tree

The woman taking all this in with much pain and sorrow

The woman disappointed in the world

was me….

At The Bottom Of The Sea

She dwelled at the bottom of the sea
Heartbroken from what they had done to her
They came like a thief in the night
All that she knew, they took
Her children were gone and so was her home
Placed on a strange boat to a strange land
They took everything from her except her pride
Her pride would not allow her to cower and hide from them
She would leave this world before she gave the last of her to them
Just as they came is how she left
Into the water and away from it all
She gave herself freely to a body that asked for nothing
Mother Yemaya could take her; those strange people were not worthy
Last breath taken when new life began
She dwelled at the bottom of the sea
With her arms stretched open wide
Embracing all those who wished to be free.