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: Enkindle

“..having a love experience…” -Sunni Patterson

This piece is found in Love Songs of The Unrequited, Volume 1. Click here to find it. –JBHarris

I lie awake in

Utter unholiness of

Thought and deed.                             

The love that I have

For you acknowledging

That you are not in my presence.

This feeling of love and

Passion in such a raw

And unnatural force.

It devours me slowly…

Savoring all of me.

This love has engulfed

The core of my very being…

Daring me to follow it

Wherever it may take me

Compelling me and calling

For me…

All of me heeds to

This enrapturing bewitchment

Breath quick and ragged…

Making the flesh that was

Once touched too hot

To lay upon…

Enlivened by only the

Thought of your touch

Upon my flesh…

Thoughts blurred and maddened

With thoughts of you,

Belonging to you only.

Dreams flooded with

Delicious and sensuous visions

Of lying entangled with you,

Cresting over waves of

Ecstacy that the humble shell that

The soul inhabits crosses into

Such a realm of delirium…

Drowning in you…

Never wanting to

Resurface until you

Allow me to…

Yielding to all of you

As you partake of

All that I am sumptuously

Take all that I am

I plead, deprive me

Of all thought and

Sensation except those

That are of you.

Calm the tempest

That rages in your

Absence and rebels

When your touch is

Taken…

Allow me to be

All the you desire

And all that you seek.

Permit me to be yours

And yours alone.

Swimming through oceans

Of need, and want flowing

Into me, guiding me through

Places that were darkened to

Love’s illuminance

Clinging to you

Existing for you…

Loving only you.

Maintaining one flesh

With you, to never be

Apart from you…feeding

Your need and mine.

Passionate loving, and greedy

Kisses, setting lips and limbs

Ablaze to the very sinews and

Arteries…infecting the lifesblood

Once more. 

Being yours evermore.

Jennifer-Phylon Bush (now Harris) , March 5, 2004

Flash Fiction: Creshendo

This pieces is significantly older, and from 2007-2008. It’s actually a favorite. And I’m sure y’all will also. -JBHarris

Unmade Bed Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

It had begun to storm.

I tried to keep my eyes closed, and the smile from spreading too far across my face. I rolled over, not surprised that he wasn’t there. There was so much on his mind lately. I called him name, almost as a reflex, waiting quietly for the echo from the hallway. He made a noise and came to the doorway of his bedroom. This was still his house after all…I could claim nothing in it as mine or ours.

He stood in the doorway, flushed and shirtless, smiling at me. I tousled my hair as I slowly sat up, wrapping the sheet around me. I grinned inwardly, I had no need to be modest, he has already seen all that I had and am. “Cleaning it?” I said, gesturing to his trombone and the rag in his hand. Clad only in dark blue boxers, he grinned at me boyishly. I lived for that grin. He walked over to me, the dim lamp upon the dresser being washing him in this pure bronze aura. He sat next to me, cupped my face, and kissed me. All of me that was female wanted him all the more. Yet, I knew I had no claim, no tie to him, and thought it rather foolish to have one so soon. He held me then, his natural scent comforting me. “I don’t want to leave. I hate leaving.” He kissed my forehead as if to scare away all the bad things I was thinking. He put a finger under my chin, and kissed me again. “For as long as I am here, and you want me, I will be here.” I wanted to cry. It had been so long since I had felt anything. I was more interested in savoring it, than deciphering it. “Close your eyes.” He told me.  I obeyed, as I heard him shuffle around his small room. Then I heard it, my favorite song by Norah Jones. I told him never to play it, because it evoked so many memories and emotions.

I heard him walk over to me again, placing something on my shoulder. “Open your eyes.” He whispered. I smiled, putting on this shirt. Standing not even five feet from me, eyes as warm as the sea, he stretched his hand out to me.I reluctantly climbed out of bed, and moved to his embrace. He held me so close, as if I were meant to fit. I slipped my arms around his neck, kissed him as we swayed. He whispered in my ear part of the verse:  “I’ll need no soft lights, to enchant me, if you would only grant me, the right—to hold you ever, so tight—and to feel in the night, the nearness of you.” I put my ear to his chest and remembered what it was like to feel and be special to be cherished, to let the world and its inhabitants be damned. To take a deep breath, and inhale him, and know I’d rather be nowhere else.

There Is Nothing But Time Now (Part 1)

Maria is a mood.

I have been in the house with my kids and husband for about 13 days. In the almost two weeks that we have been in self-quarantine, I have had nothing but time to think. And write. And be a mom. And a wife. And cook. And write. And pray.

I have pulled from Facebook for a time, because it was time. Social distancing from social media is a must for me–and it seems to happen around this time of year. But this year, when COVID-19 hit? It seems all the more needed and necessary. I have had time to reflect and to think and to process just how effing crazy life could become! And has become!

I have nothing but time now.

I have read, re-read and refuse to start worrying. I have written like Alexander Hamiliton (think ‘NonStop’ from the Hamiliton soundtrack). I have limited my time listen to the news, and decided to only watch the news for like 1-2 hours at time and that’s it. I do that because I cannot handle being inundated with panic. I can’t. I won’t.

There is nothing but time now.

Time to think. Time to plan. Time to see the world as beautiful and dirty as it is. I have had time to realize just how good I am at these words, and how needed those words are, and realizing just how much harder life just got.

Yet.

I am at a peace. That peace is not dependent on Fox News. Why? My source is not the news. Let me help you right quick.

Charles Blow said on Twitter that he can do this quarantine–his ancestors (read: our ancestors) traveled to this country kidnapped, not speaking the language, surrounded by the sick, dead and dying for months. Months! I can do self-quarantine. I can do being alone with my thoughts and getting to know my children. I can handle cleaning off my professional desktop and building that which I know I can do–what I was meant to do. This is nothing.

Survival is what Black women do. And we do it at all cost.

With An Heir (Narmon)-#3

I had her.

She was still mine, so close and supple. I knew that the Elders would know she was imprinted wrongly to my brother.  I knew with the death of the Alpha, there would be no one aged enough with the discernment to oppose this. Tzipporah, as an amshun could only be with an Alpha. I am the oldest. I was the stronger of the four of my brothers.  I had been here with mother, and father. I had fetched water, listened to stories and learned how to lead. I knew of the legends of our people, of the land we were birthed out and from.

I knew that there would only one Alpha. Father had been grooming me for this for a century and more. There was an affliction that come over both he and his brother. There was this virus that had killed his brother, my uncle. No one knew what it was, where it had come. I felt kisses along my shoulders. I looked at my walnut brown face in the mirror.  “Lana, please.” I heard a low chuckle along my shoulder. “You always tell me that, I didn’t think you would be so distracted now.” I turned to face her, her ebony skin and dreadlocked hair enticing me all over again. I kissed her, bold and slow. Tasting the inside of her mouth my tongue. I needed the distraction. I needed her. I need not to think. My thoughts kept swimming with thoughts of Tzipporah and how to win her heart again. The fact we were still connected meant I had a chance. No matter now minute, there was still a chance.

I moved Lana against the wall, cupping her breasts as I moved my mouth from hers. Lana moaned as she had nights before. She wanted  not to think as well. Lana had let me read her thoughts, hear them as Tzipporah would never let me. I growled in her ear as she moaned name as I marked her once more. I bit into her neck, licking the wound so it would heal. She yelped as she moved my hand between the wetness of her thighs. Lana grinded into my wrist and I held her against the wall by her left shoulder.

Farron had marked Tzipporah, weakening the bond we had. He was erasing me from her memory, I could feel it. I fought it. I still called to her when she called to me in the vulnerable moments. She would be home soon. She would be mine. Farron would not take her from me again. I scooped her in my arms, kissed her on the way back to my bed, and make the stars witness the ache within me I had to subdue. I lay Lana on the cream colored sheets and she squirmed as I scratched at her thigh. “Please, Narmon. Make the ache stop.” I crawled on top of her, sliding my length inside as she kissed me. “Make the ache stop, love.” I pulled myself from her mouth, and nipped at her bite. I felt her body open and the climax ripple from her ears. Indeed, the ache would be sated for now.

*******

I watched Lana breathe, with her back towards me. I traced her spine with my finger, watched her body recoil. I thought about speaking to the Council about Lana. I knew she was a hybrid. Her mother was human. It was a miracle she had survived as long as she had. When I met her years before, she was betroved to the second son of an Alpha in Zaire. She had run away and been dehydrated when my father, The Second, found her. The Council wanted to kill her because she was a hybrid. I defended her. I loved her then. I had taken her as a Chosen as soon as she was healed. Lana was the closest thing to a true love that I had. This was one of the reasons why I needed to have Tzipporah. My mother had told me there was a way to break the bond. “Dangerous, yes. Impossible, no.” But I needed an Alpha to do that! They were strong enough to channel and shield the energies that would manifest from the breaking.

By right, I was supposed to be the Third. Not Farron. He did not hold father’s hand, his Alpha’s hand as he died. What right did the Council have to usurp millennia of succession and ritual! I was supposed to be the Third, the Alpha. Not the Beta. I was the first born. Tradition said I should be next.

I leaned over and kissed Lana’s shoulder. Her warmth settled me. I closed my eyes, hoping Tzipporah wouldn’t be there again.

With An Heir (Farron)-#2

I felt him before he called her.

Tzipporah was mine. She had been since we were so much younger. I had phased in front of her. I had marked her. She was mine. Who did my brother think he was. I splashed river water on my face, thought of her cinnamon brown face. I thought of her hair, how she smelled always of jasmine. I though about the night I had counted the eyelashes on her right eye. She was mine.

I remembered the conversation I had with my father the week before. “Farron, I know he is after me. I want you to know the mantle is yours. I know you are the younger, but the mantle was yours.” I remembered how week he had sounded. The age then evident in his voice. I could  only picture him, attended to by his second wife, haunted by visions of my mother, Ariah. He sounded far away as he continued to speak. “Come home son. Come home.” I walked back to my cabin, the hallow, as Tzipporah called it. I wanted her near me.  I wanted the comfort of her body. I wanted her taste, I wanted to be inside her again. I needed her.

I tried to connect with her two morning ago, and I couldn’t get to her. I sent my essence form to her as a comfort.  I knew she could feel my pain. I needed her to know I was okay. The Open Plane was the only place I could have her, keep her safe from Narmon. I had to keep her safe from Narmon. “Not this time!” I felt the wolf inside of me shift and groan. I placed my hands on the ground, felt the heat radiate from my belly and down my arms. I closed my eyes, ready for the wolf to take over. I couldn’t handle the loss of my father, the Second–my Alpha as well as my Chosen.

I knew that Narmon still had attachment to her. I knew that with what she carried she was more  susceptible to that connection. My body began to phase, the hands that caught footballs, and freed slaves became paws. My nose a snout and heard my voice quiet and the growl come from my throat. It was easy to think in this form. It was easier to plan and think when I was hunting. I had noticed a group of rabbits along the other side of the river, and once I was fed. I could think.

******

I sat on the side of the full-sized bed. The bed Tzipporah and I picked out. I thought about the last time we were together. I thought about how ample her breasts were. How sweet her lips were. I thought about how she was on top me, all of me impaled inside her. “Tighten.” I had growled. I kept my right hand on the small of her back. I nipped at her chest. I felt her body open and her release imminent. “Please, love. Please!” With a firm swat on her rump, I heard her sing my name through the walls of this cabin. I knew what Narmon would try to do when we got home. I knew what the elders would say.  I knew that the mantle ritual would take one week.

I stared at light of the setting sun on my feet, still covered in grass and dirt. “Not this time brother. Not this time.”

With An Heir (Tzipporah)-#1

The Second was dead.

The mantle is was to be passed to Farron was to be made the Third on the next full moon. This was custom for weres of my land. The Second was the Alpha, and had been for a century and more. There was no disease or illness in him. The fact that he was gone from us, so soon, and so suddenly was devastating.

I felt his death, the weight of his loss before my phone rang in my house in Myrtle Beach. I knew who it was before I picked up the phone. I felt rocks settle into my stomach as I picked up the phone in my bedroom. I heard his voice, and all of me roared. “Love.” His voice was low, hungry. I felt heat wrap around me, like his arms were around me. I swallowed. “Narmon.” Silence. I heard him sniffle, and breathe. “What is it?” I forced my eyes open, the warmth of the connection was lulling, dizzing me. I sat on the side of the bed, willing myself to keep breathing. “You shouldn’t be calling me.” He didn’t answer me.

“Tzipporah.” It was a growl then. The same way he growled the first night we were together. The night where he found out I was his, I was his Chosen. The imprinting is always made stronger with lovemaking. I closed my eyes and laid back, the warmth caressing my neck. “You need to come home. You need to be here. You are an amshun.” I felt my eyes water. “The Second is dead. The Third is to be crowned. As the amshun, you need to be a part of the Council.”

I couldn’t breathe. I listened to him go on about the history of amshun, and weres. I heard him plead for me. The tears flowed down into my ears. His voice faded, as my mind went to the Open Plain. I saw Farron, focused on him and his dark skin, and his over six-foot-tall frame. I saw his beard, his gold eyes. I heard his voice louder as Narmon’s faded. “Tzipporah.”

My eyes opened. “Either I am getting you a plane ticket, or I am coming to throw you over my shoulder and bringing you to Nambia.” I stared at the ceiling. “Narmon, I will talk to Farron and we will be on our way. Give me a few days.” There was a low growl. I rolled my eyes. “I need a few days. I’ll be there.” I put the phone on the receiver. I rolled on my left side, closed my eyes searching Farron and the warmth again. I knew who I belonged to. I knew Farron felt what I did. I had no idea if he would confront me about it later.

I knew that he was out at his hallow, he had been since the death of his father. He had left me a note the morning it happened. No warning. No kiss. Just a note. I felt my chest ache. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to see Narmon. I didn’t want to melt in his gold eyes.  I didn’t want him to touch me, see me or feel my presence on the plane.

I had to go home. And I had no choice.

The Matter of Blue Ivy Carter

Before anything else, I need y’all to understand she is a Black girl. And I will not tolerate any disrespect or denigration to her or her mother, or her father. You will be put off this site. -JBH

Image result for blue ivy carter

I have never understood why the world hated this little girl so much. I mean to the point that the world had something to say even about how her mother styled her hair. I have never, ever understood that.

I, having grown up as an ABG (Awkward Black Girl), I was teased for being smart, tall, too Black, too quiet–everything. And that type of thing is not easily conquered (that God for these 26 letters–they have been salvation more than once). But as it relates to Blue, Shawn and Beyonce’s daughter, the world cannot seem to shake the expected aesthetic it wants for this child.

Enter the fetishism of Black women and girls.

As of this month, Blue Ivy Carter is 8. She’s eight.  I have stayed away from this internet debacle because I thought is drivel and stupid! The ability for a Black girl to be aesthetically pleasing to the world around her allows her safe passage through it. What does this mean you ask? If so, I am so glad you did.

The world does not like when the monolith it constructs for Black women and girls is challenged. It does not like to be both sientent and flexible. As Dr. Brittney Cooper says in her book Eloquent Rage, “Sass is an acceptable form of rage.” The world loves to see us either as model gorgeous like Iman (whom is riding age like nothing known of this world) or like Fannie Lou Hamer. There is no space to differentiate. No space to just be–you are constantly picked at, prodded and told with a smiles on faces exactly what you are not. Or can ever hope to be.

Blue, sadly, is not an exception to this.

Image result for blue ivy carter

The thing I hope, the thing that grants me such a hope, is the fact her mother and father know exactly who they are–and will not allow her to be anything less than what she is. In a side by side comparison, she looks like her mother–as most daughters do. How dare Blue’s genetics not make her a pretty Octoroon or gazelleesque Creole Barbie? How dare Blue’s genetics produce a phenotype that look like her father first!

To me, I think that’s who she looked like first–and now she looks more like her mother.

From her hair, to how she dressed to how she looked–the world had something to say. Only now, is that beginning to calm down. That calm, quite frankly, is unsettling to me. It’s almost like the wolves have gone further down the path, waiting for her to turn 15, 16–that’s when the extra lewd, trifling comments will come. On queue.

Ask me how I know.

But the difference between myself, my daughters and Beyonce and hers are exposure, visibility and money. I am of the insistent persuasion that raising a child, whom navigates this world as Black and female, is to have a hypervigilance paired with a empathetic compassion.

You have to both shield, protect all while you equip her to deal with a world that may never accept her as she is–and be okay with that. That is hard. I cannot imagine how had that is when you have cameras, bodyguards and the paparazzi is a daily an occurrence as pouring cereal.

Let Blue be. Just let her be.

Her parents allow her to be seen when they want her to be seen. They understand their role as parent and protector. They also understand (or should understand) that precarious position of being uber-visible in and around Black culture:  everything they do is monitored or scrutinized. Including the kids.  What I love, what grants me hope, is they give and have given her space to be herself. She has space to grow, and do, and be and it is glorious. They are raising her, and radically loving her. These elements will ensure Blue will have a sense of self that is not determined by likes, shares or other articles shared on blogs or other social media platforms.

In 2020, can we resolve to love all Black girls the same way? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[first image from PageSix.com, second from eonline.com]

Dear Karol: This Ain’t It Sis.

Image result for karol sanchez memes

Dear Karol:

Dearest one, I am glad you are safe and well. I am glad this was all a scam, a caper of sorts. I am glad–for what its worth–you were safe. Also, I am glad that you came back. With that said, allow me to say what I’m sure no one else has been able to–calmly.

Stop running after men. Stop. Stop it now. If you don’t stop now, you will do this your entire life. You will look for affirmation, comfort, adulation and praise from outside sources. Your life will remain a coup of the saddest sort.

Stop. Stop it, Karol.

I know him being inside you, flipping your body, pulling your hair and taking your body to an ecstasy your 16-year-old can barely hold  is intoxicating.  I know it is! Any woman that was ever a girl knows.  The sweet nothings, the thoughts of forever as you hang on to him as he does as best as he wills his body to give.

But this? What you just did? My dearest one, this is not how you craft forever. You are young, and these mistakes are expected of the young. In that respect, I can forgive. As a mother, I am defiantly angry at you. I am disgusted at this perverse plan you either orchestrated or co-signed. Yet, I can understand it. There were other ways, dear one. There were other ways–yet, here you are.

Mothers do not have the programming to be your friend before the age of 25. As daughters, we need all their wisdom, clarity and influence to live and survive! Female children need mothers equal parts satin and iron. We need their softness and comfort. We also need their strength and steadfastness! Your mother is not your friend–stop looking for her to be.

What you have done? This is a stunt. This is a tantrum. With girls that look like you vanishing every other day–whether by stunt, bad decision, fake friends, immigration–what made you think this would be ‘cool’ to do? What you have done is kicked a hole in the relationship between you and your mother. The relationship you wanted ain’t possible right now. The time she will need to get over what you did–will not be quick. Not at all. This is not the kind of lore your family will laugh about until your mother is dead.

The consequences of your actions will go beyond being talked about on-line, blogs or other forums. You need to understand their are consequences to these types of capers:  you cannot go through life raging through it!

This was wrong, Karol. I cannot even express how wrong this was. Bad thing is you won’t see just how wrong this was until you have a daughter. The lore is when a woman has a daughter, however she was to her mother, she will get a daughter just like she was–3 fold. At this point, Karol, I’d pray for a son.

 

The Day Harriet Tubman Died…

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“I go to prepare a place for you.”

 

In the most excellent now,

The journey of 300 trips,

From North to South.

Thousands of nights

And the guided by moons

And Suns,

Our greater mother

And greatest protector

As awoken to see her last

Sunrise.

 

On this day,

Answering questions,

Giving smiles and self

Her body slows

Eyes heavy.

 

But she fights.

She waits.

The air in her body heavy and laboring.

 

The world around her,

Apart from her,

Will ask for her

Need her,

Seeing her as superhero

And angelic.

On the end of this day,

When beans picked,

Visitors and family fill

Spaces, furniture and hours.

Windows are open,

Only to shut again, as

She goes to her room.

Body and soul,

Matching cadence

Of those needing rest.

 

Step by step,

She lays on the clean bed

Made and kept for her.

 

The breath that tasted

Possession by force,

Seeing death, chaos around her

Immeasurable grief,

Called to the law of the Lord

For strength and guidance…

That breath slowed.

 

Her eyes heavy.

The rest is coming.

The rest that is needed.

The rest that is owed to her.

 

The murmuring of the house

Loud in the ears which are shutting,

As her breath,

The same breath she held to swim

To hide,

To gather strength for the journey

That breath is fading.

 

In that body,

Cared for, carried by

Breath for 9 years

Less than a century,

Seeing the fall of a institution,

Which thrived, fed on

Blood, life and bone

Of a stolen people.

She saw the

Dividing of a nation,

Still, and now, trying

To find it’s way back

Together.

The breath, this dynamic cadence,

Was giving way.

 

Her eyes shut,

The Great Chariot wheels

Louder, beckoning for

The Conductor to come.

Yet, she is held by the love in the room.

The ancestral core, shedding, stirring

Ready for the last sojourn, to follow

That same North Star,

In the same endless sky.

 

She is leaving.

She was, leaving.

And in the leaving,

The comfort is still coming.

 

The Comforter still in the room,

The rushing mighty wind

Filling the same space,

That held her by love,

Kept her by power and duty.

That same breath tells all those

Waiting for the last blessing

The last words,

The last right to her,

She does what all

Black women do.

 

She gives herself before she leaves.

 

“I go to prepare a place for you.”

 

This place, this place

Giving from mother to daughter

Given from daughter back to mother

To be held by mothers to give to the daughters

To be carried by wind and earth

To remind those whom are to come,

Are here, will come after

That someone will be there

When we got there.

 (c) JBHarris, 2019

This piece will be included in For A Black Girl collection, to be published in June 2020.