Tag Archives: spoken word poetry

The Blood Of Womyn

I performed at an event last week to help raise awareness towards human trafficking and although it is often thought of as something that only happens in other countries, it is a huge issue amongst us here in America.  Sacramento in particular is one of the cities in America where it is a huge problem, and so this evening was an important way to raise awareness and to connect the artistry of the voices that speak against this injustice to connect with organizations that are already doing work for those that are getting caught up in these trafficking rings.

Anytime that I am asked to do a piece at these events I am torn between that fact that it is obviously not so much a showcase of our talents, as in other venues such as slam, but more so about using our art as a tool towards achieving an ends.  In this case, raising awareness towards an issue that needs the light to be shined upon.  And these are the kinds of events that keep me honest about what I am doing and why I do it.  I started out writing poetry with a lot of force behind the social justice aspect of it, and how poetry was often a powerful medium to speak out against the problems we see in our communities and how we can inspire others towards change.

This piece that I wrote in 2010 speaks so powerfully to the issues that we face as a society in this day and age.  Human Trafficking is a manifestation ,much like any injustices towards women and children (the list is too big to even begin) of the systems of patriarchy that are in place and the power of men becoming an oppressive and destructive force in this world.  And not because patriarchy is evil in itself, but more in the fact that the balance of masculine and feminine energy has become unbalanced and that in many cases, anything unbalanced is doomed to destruction if it cannot find  a way to right itself.

This piece is my attempt at speaking from the  side of men, and recognizing the imbalance that has been created from the structures of patriarchy running wild.  It is my hope, that the men of our society begin to realize the power that womyn have and the ways in which they are able to offer so much in the way of gift towards healing our society, but how can that happen when they are continuously  viewed as inferior to men? This is an invitation to revision of a world view that is so pervasive and intertwined in our dialogue that it often goes unnoticed.  This cannot happen any longer.  There need to be voices that begin to speak out against this imbalance in order for us to get right again.

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I can see my moment of reckoning fast approaching on the horizon
Night delivers darkness sooner than I can remember
Each day my steps slow going on the highways blend frazzled fractured memories
into recurring nightdreams and daymares of my vision
I feel weary from the burdens I have carried for far too long
Still learning how to wrestle with the monsters
Hidden under shadows of the darkest night of my eclipsed moon
Still trying to dance with the demons of my fear keeping my feet to the ground
THOUGH I know I have the strength to move mountains with the stomping of my feet
Still, Shaking the dust off my eggplant colored heart,
Some people say purple signifies bruising
Others forget our blood is both the color of water and fire in collusion with the air
maybe this is who I am? (play)
A solitary traveler saddled with baggage too heavy for me to carry
My eye fixed on the horizon in the near distance
I know something awaits ready to show me the way
Make no mistake, when that day comes,
I’ll be leaving those bags on the side of the road
And I will never look back

I’ve come to understand that the journey of my life
Resembles a path upon which I set out to discover
the reasons I exist in this world in the way that I do.
A Tender yet strong body,
A protected and vulnerable heart
Lungs mimicking the movement of my prayer
The Inhale and the exhale of breath summoning
Divinity in the subtle movement of hands
Letting go and Holding on
In the closing of fists and the opening of palms
I can feel my way to freedom like it was printed on my heart through psalms
But sometimes raising my fists means surrender
Sometimes opening hands means to resist
Deep in my chest I carry remnants of the bridges I have burned
Just trying to understand the difference
Still, This is the only way I know to how to walk
To Proceed with cautious abandon,
To throw reckless to the wind
Let everything else fall idle to the wayside
How can I be lost going somewhere I’m sure I’ve never been

The rebirth of a phoenix rising from the ashes,
Is a redemption story unlike many others
With fire blazing from its wings
In an attempt to return to all that it once loved
Turned everything to ashes in the wake of its flames
Even repaired bridges stand no chance at its fury
The Glorious Phoenix consumed in its own passion often rises never to be seen again
But the trees, The trees those burned bridges were once made of
Speak of a rebirth through the shedding of their leaves much like the color of fire
Blazing red, Bright tip flamed Yellow
Leaves glowing orange they mirror a reflection of the suns halo
Why would the wisest ones of all
Season after season ignite their beauty into ashes
Exposing barren branches left naked for the winter?
They’ve got secrets we are supposed to uncover
They tell me, Remember that spring is always around the corner
Trust deeply in the cycles of life you walk
Let the rhythm of your steps stomp into the ground a reminder that your rebirth is told
not only in the purging flames of a fiery phoenix flying into the sunset
but also in the Trees of autumn sacrificing their leaves to feed the soil in which you root yourself down.
So when the reckoning returns, maybe this time I will learn to blaze these wings fiercely without burning everything I love to the ground.

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We are all a collection of the people that inspire us.  As a spoken word poet we will always be part of a special group of writers and performers that have given ourselves to creating and performing from a place so sacred and vulnerable. It’s almost as if we are forced to look into the mirror of the eyes that watch us, with the deep words we chose we must learn to let the well of water wash over us, remembering our pain, or igniting our hope.  It is not an easy craft to learn, yet it is so inspiring when we capture it.

The most beautiful thing about this art form is that the “it” one must capture as an artist is not framed within any kind of rubric or cadence.  Though many artists have similar styles, the boundaries are being pushed further out and spoken word artists are becoming one of the many places we can find our new generations storytellers.  As humans we have always been drawn to stories, and every single person has a story to tell.  We are all travelers on a journey finding ways to tell our stories. This has been my chosen medium for the time being, and I am striving to learn how to craft a masterful voice with inspiration of those that have gone before me and the history of the art form in days gone by.  We are a collection of the people that inspire us, and I just wanted to share with you all, the poets that have inspired me along my journey to tell my own story with passion and love.

So these are some of my favorite poets in no particular order, but just some amazing artists that have inspired me and given me hope through their words and actions.

Andrea Gibson: “We need to Create, Creation is the only thing louder than destruction”

From Boulder Colorado Andrea Gibson has been an inspiration to me with her powerful words that focus a lot on breaking the gender norms and speaking power into the LGBTQ Community.  She is an activist and poet that speaks with so much force that anyone who listens to her words are taken into a whirlwind of emotion.  From her anger, to her compassion, to her pain and humor, she really captures the spectrum of emotions that we feel, and most of the time are scared to express. She teaches me how to find power in vulnerability and to find strength in broken pain.

Andrea Gibson Performing “Yellow Bird”


Besskepp hails from Stockton Ca but now lives in Southern California and hosts a weekly venue in Pomona called “A Mic and Dim Lights.” This is the place that I discovered my love of spoken word poetry and feel most at home.  He has hosted this venue for almost 8 years and is an amazing writer, poet, and human.  He does poetry by night, but teaches special education at Nogales High School in West Covina Ca and instills his love for poetry with high school students and inspires them to tell their stories by writing.  As the host of “A Mic and Dim lights” his poetry was the first that I was ever exposed to as a 18 year old kid fresh out of high-school.  He is a master of words and his style and cadence is unmatched in its unique movement and symmetry. He has recorded an album of his poetry, written a book and has appeared nationally on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam”

Besskepp performing Rotten Pomegranates on HBO’s Def Poetry

Suheir Hammad:

Suheir is an American-Palestinian from Brooklyn New York.  I have only seen her here on Def Poetry, but all the performances I have seen have been packed with political and passionate desire for healing and love.  She knows the pain of being a Palestinian and she draws from this emotion to convey her message of love and peace. This is one of my favorite spoken word pieces of all-time. She delicately mixes the passion of love  and sex with the awareness of political action and struggle. Not your normal everyday poem.

We Spent the 4th of July in bed

Rudy Francisco:

I first saw Rudy as a feature at “A Mic and Dim Lights” and he was the first feature that I have seen the blew me away with every poem he recited.  His words are so cleverly crafted and tell such rich stories that weave delicate tapestries into a well-woven narrative.  I am inspired by his style and the way his actual voice resonates through the mic.  His poetry focuses on so many issues and force the listener to ask tough questions to themselves and others around them.  In terms of style and wordplay he is one of my favorite poets, and easily one of the artists that I try to pattern some of my rhythm to.

Rudy Franciso performing Promise from God/Flowers.

Kat Magill:

Kat has always been one of the rawest poets that I have known.  Her power is in the force of her words and the belief that she throws behind them.  I have seen her perform at Dim lights, poetry lounge and many other LA open Mics and everytime she performs I am simply captivated by her energy and emotion.  Of course I was immediately hooked when she wrote a poem title “Purple” and as many of you know purple is my favorite color and imagination.  This is her performing “purple”

Well those are just a few of my favorite poets out of the many that have always inspired me to create and to continue fighting the good fight.  The common bond that runs through all these artists is their love for humanity and the belief that comes with words and change.  We all become passionate about finding new ways to let our stories run into the narrative of our imaginations and break through into the world as a force of change and hope.  May we continue to imagine and speak, and may the prophets of this generation rise from the ranks of this movement.

Peace and Love.

Poet John Paul the Third.

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