Crossing Muddy Waters (For John Lewis)-#2

This is one of the most shared pictures of Congressman John Lewis, when he was a young man causing ‘good trouble.’

Has indeed become the door,

the standard, banner and cause.

There are bridges that have now

been erected which have the blood

of the elders, seeing us in them,

now we can see them in us.

We have a charge to keep,

and a God to glorify,

so we will be catalysts

for change and the manufactures

of Good Trouble.

We are trouble makers,


jail breakers,

and believing that we

have come this far

by faith because we

cross over the waters

in and on moonless nights

because he is with us.

(c) JBHarris, August 2020

Shepherds By Other Names (for Cori Bush)

Written in the celebration of Pastor Cori Bush, in her defeat of long-time Congressman Lacy Clay on August 4, 2020. She is the first Black congresswoman from Missouri! Activist. Mother. Warrior. Servant. Thank you for everything, Cori. We love you. -JBHarris

Cori Bush Ousts Veteran Congressman From St. Louis, Says Voters Saw A  Candidate 'Willing To Fight' | Here & Now

It is the shepherds

whom protect the flock.

Some inherited, some stray

some lost from owners

who valued not

what they had,

but always…there are shepherds.

Guiding with wisdom, light and staff

they, have made protection a duty—

with humility, fueled to do

all which is is good,

to honor He whom sends,

appoints, such help.

It is the shepherds

who tend when none

are watching,

feed when no one

is able,

and stand when

all and every

falls around them.

They guide.

They cry.

They hold.

They assure.

They become pillar—

both wall and window,

able to sustain

the weight and light

of vision.

To shepherd is to be a hero.

A shepherd is a hero.

(c) JBHarris, August 2020

[image from]

In Remembering John Lewis

I as well as the rest of the nation, are reeling from the loss of Congressman John Lewis. And after doing so, I feel now that I can put words to my mourning. I can put feeling behind action. I can begin to unpack the loss, so that hope can be repacked. So, over the course of the next three days (starting Monday, August 10th), I have made a three-part elegy for him.

Part 1: In Remembering Lions

Part 2: Crossing Muddy Waters

Part 3: This Bridge Called His Back

It is my hope in celebrating his life so publicly on this platform, all that follow after this thing called ‘good trouble’, will be reminded of the legacy laid before–which is now both map, light and path. The reward for a hero is rest.

To that, I say rest easy, John.

What Do You Do When The Sun Is Gone?

For THIS Debra. -JBH


The ancient texts tell us that she, this woman.

this warrior, this guide, this light was

placed between two palm trees.

She was to be sought out and after for all matter

of wisdom, accompanying warriors and soldiers

on battfields–at her coming, at her presence

victory is assured.

What does one do when the sun has died,

and the moon has not yet come,

and we must still go on in this night?

What do you do when the sun has died…?

In the rustle of leaves,

inside the rain hides the thunder,

and from under the belly of the shadow

of death, we will fear no evil.

For thou art with me.

The sun has not died, it has only become the fullness of the moon…

so at night, we, can see the palm trees, and remember to fly.

-JBHarris, June 2020

No-Knocking In A Rose Garden

Thunder and lightning came in

the morning while in the

arms of her love.

When safe, only moment and minutes before.

Life before, sweet and deep

after being loved as

deep as the ocean caresses beach,

making 2 into 1 and 1 into 2

before falling into the arms

of safety in those arms–

held there by breadth and depth of love.

Thunder and lightning flashes come,

breaking the peace of twilight with

the battering ram of noon sun, taking

this rose for her garden, snatching bloom

and stem, leaving thorns while the garden burns.

White the thorns pierce…

While the fire burns.

While the thunder and lightning

leave and suddenly as it has come–

leaving love to try and save the

roses before the life in it fades.

Needing the rescue of rain,

Only to be embraced by

The rush or tears in the soil of what was.

But there are seeds,

There were seeds.

Where there was one rose lost,

there are more coming…

Yet, the rose planted, is still gone.

Lost, found and irreplaceable–

and ignored bu the weeds,

fed by the tears.

-JBHarris, June 2020

(*-For Breonna Taylor. We remember. We will never forget.)

30 Days Of Jaye: Final Reflections

This month has been catharic.

It has allowed me to explore further my love of writing, especially poetry. In my personal canon, there are about 300 poems. Some haven’t seen the light of other screens or been published. There was a time when I thought this gift was gone, so it is amazing and humbling to share a portion of my work with you all! I hope that you enjoyed it. I hope that you quoted it! I hope it reminded you of your own desire to write, or reignited a love for poetry. I hope my works were added to your personal library and conversation. I hope you loved the tour around this portion of my writing world, and I hope you will stay. while.

You all are now members of this corner of the universe, and shall always be welcome.

Fare well, dear ones.

With Love & Ink,


30 Days Of Jaye: Firestarter

For the other side of my fandom, I founded the site The Ideal Firestarter in 2016–12 years after this poem was written. Click here to follow that portion of Black Girl Magic. You won’t regret it, I promise! Be a cool kid and become a Torch! -JBHarris

she in her essence is

a force of nature,

it cannot be explained

nor contained

she is as sleek

as a fox and faster

than light, she is

a breathing phenomena

heartbreak, pain, and

disappointment engulf her

and she smolders in the

embers and ashes

flames seem to have

engulfed her and made

her no more…then the

stirring begins

seemingly benign breezes

ruffle the ashes that linger

in suffering’s wake…

They begin to enkindle

all the lies lifeless there

the sparks begin to

burst into lingering

lapping flames…these

are fed lustily by breezes

that turn into vying winds

that fuel such flames

the heat begins to restore


these combusting forces

renew her, restore and

heal her….

They clear her mind

and enliven her blood

her eyes become sharper

and her form more chic

than before

the resulting inferno

causes her to become

stronger than she once


while immersed within

this blaze, her faith

is confirmed and concentrated

arms outstretched and eyes

closed she allows the element

to do its work, for she is a

part if it, as it is a part of her

once she moves from this

cocoon of simulated hellfire

she will be more formidable

than she was before

make no mistake,

she cannot be destroyed

or extinguished, she

will arise as long

as there lies the spark

within her, deeply rooted

she will never be conquered

-Jennifer Bush ((now Harris) age 22) June 16, 2004

30 Days Of Jaye: Elicit

Sleep be stayed…

Give me more of this

that I have wished and given

my soul for,

let the angels bare witness

to my devouring

let my pleadings coat his ears,

my taste on his lips and

rest on all of him that is utterly

male and in defiance of my

moans of cessation

let my no’s be his yes and

take me as I am, as I wish to always be

make me his

let me remain here

let me stay in this inferno that we

have created in these moments and in the ones

that follow

let sleep ever be elusive from me

let me be subject to him

and belong to none but him

let his desire and his lust for me

be my healing balm

let his hands be ruthless in his pursuit of me

in his thrusting in and out of me

let me be his

prayer cannot be used to soothe

such aches and neither will I permit it to

he is all I need

Jennifer Bush (now Harris) age 23, January 26, 2005-personal canon

30 Days Of Jaye: Empty Eyes of Longing…

This one is a favorite as well–haunting and sweet. I was told at this time (a decade and some ago!) to start submitting my work. And I was too scared to do so. Perhaps it wasn’t the right time. But now? The kid is shopping for an agent. This one is found in the Love Songs Of The Unrequited, Volume 2. Click here to pick it up on Amazon and Kindle. -JBHarris

Try as I have to

forget the love that

I no longer possess

it seems that I never

will be able to

such ambitions drive

me to thoughts of what

was, and what the future

may hold

when I think that I have

found solace and the

nuance of and old love

remenants of what my

heart holds dear appear

wishing this suffering

were to end, and it will

only end when I am

in your arms, safe with

you once more

the core of me stirs

at the mentions of

you and my spirit

embraces every new

moment I am fortunate

to have with you

who is before me

is not what my heart

enjoys, I have drowned

in these familar oceans

before…the torrents were

enveloping and unstable,

and the more passionate

the strokes were to free

myself…the more I was

swept away into beckoniing


now that I have felt

firm shore, and the

gentle waves that

have carried me to it,

I have no desire to return

to the treacherous waters

that I know all too well

I have felt the warmth

of the sun after it being

hidden from me in murky


I have embraced this

fledgling stablily as well

as the one that led me

to these healing waters

my mind has not grown

weary, but sharper as

I wonder in this new land

with renewed strength and


I want the one

that has given me

such vigor and

passion, and desire

again, and I will

not settle for less.

-Jennifer Bush (now Harris) age 22–June 20, 2004