Friday, February 27, 2009

A Poet In Motion

"if i can't do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don't want
to do
"it's not the same thing
but it's the best i can

"if i can't have
what i want then
my job is to want
what i've got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more
to want

"since i can't go
where i need
to go then i must go
where the signs point
though always understanding
parallel movement
isn't lateral

"when i can't express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
i know but that's why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry"

As a writer I've always admired poets like Maya Angelou, the late Langston Hughes and e.e. cummings and Sonia Sanchez. These were and are the men in women who inspired me to write. But no one, and I mean no one, writes like the queen..the great...Nikki Giovanni. Ms. Giovanni is more than just a poet, she's an educator, activist, and heralded author of a number of poetry collections that span as far back as 30 years ago. Yet, her work is timeless.When I was young I used to read her poems over and over again trying to figure out a way to make my words sound like hers. Of course, I couldn't because she wrote from experience and a depth that was tapped from something deep down within her soul. The first poem I ever read from her was "Ego Tripping" which made me see the beauty within myself as a black woman.

"I was born in the Congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light, I am bad......"

Yesterday, I read an interview with her and award winning journalist Bill Moyers from PBS and was reminded yet again why I love her so much. I could care less if she wrote a poem that was 4 or 40 lines because I know that whatever it is it will move me. Like her poem "Balance."

in life
one is always

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth

our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street

and lately I've begun wondering
if you're trying to tell me something
we used to talk all night
and do things alone together
and i've begun
(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

Her words express truth and power, it is the essence of who she is. A strong, courageous, beautiful black woman of talent. May her poems continue to dew for others what they have done for me all these years. For some reason Ms. Giovanni I know that they will.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Oh Brothers, Where Art Thou"

The other day I was so excited by the notes I got from a few people who read my blog. It was the first time I felt that folks had actually connected with something that I think, is a serious issue, in the black community; the lack of support for "good" black men. The dedication I wrote was my way of saying, I know that there are good black men out here but, when will we be able to work together and grow as a strong unit? Yet, just as I was beginning to feel the snaps and hand claps of followers, I received an email from a friend in New Jersey referencing an article from Christianity Today. When I read it, I was at a loss for words. The article was entitled, "Oh Brothers, Where Art Thou." The author was sharing her views on the difficulty of finding available(Christian men) in a world filled with erotica and sexual exploitation. Finding a good man was not just limited to the general population but even more challenging in the Christian community. While this may not come as a surprise to some this story, could not have come, at a better time. Oh the irony! And here I was professing all of my love for black men who are in many ways hard to find. Of course that would be based on who and what you're looking for but nonetheless a truth for many of us. As I continued to read, I found her insights to be quite interesting. It wasn't just our culture that was experiencing a shortage of men, there were others. Like the 40+ something-year-old Russian woman who had never been married or the 2 Bulgarian women she also spoke to. In a nutshell, this is a global issue. And while I am not passing judgement either way this reality is a reality. Solid, committed relationships are just not that easy to come by. And while there are countless churches that offer singles ministries and small groups, the lack of men who actually participate is another story. Now I'm sure that for some of my male readers this is a touchy subject. Yet, I chose to challenge one or two of them with helping to create a solution. Why should we (women) bear the responsibility of supporting these avenues alone. Don't they want the same things that we want? And if this is the case then why aren't they showing up? Is it the pressure to be married when you're not while going to church that keeps men away as mentioned in her story or perhaps because some "just ain't living right," or could it be something else? Finally, I got an answer and while it may not have been the answer I was exactly looking for, it was an answer nonetheless. I'll share his words:

Hillary, while I understand the article and think it is valid, I choose to focus my attention in a different manner. My way of dealing with that dilemma is investing the largest portion of my single time to work on me especially as it relates to building my relationship with God, my personal character, and my profession in a healthy context. As I get myself together, other people will follow and one of those people will eventually be my wife. All of my friends want what I want, but they're not going to stop what they're doing until they see somebody who has actually done it and who can clearly articulate that path. People have to apply themselves differently in order for things to change. It's not a reality that's inherent to men alone. It's inherent to women as well. People are messed up in general and women aren't excluded from that demographic.

The thoughts of my friend are undeniably true, how can we expect to have anything different if we haven't decided to be different. Perhaps in dew season this difference will come for all of us. Let's pray that it will be so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dear Brother: A Letter of Love

Today I woke up, and thought about the gifts I'd like to share with people that I love for Valentine's Day. For me, it's never been about the present but rather the presence of love and today was no different. Yet, the kindness of a talented author and new found friend was more than I ever expected. Larry Wilson's life, is an example of the dew seasons that I talk about in my blogs each week. His story exemplifies how a single human being can be transformed by the divine spirit that lives within. Larry was in prison at the age of 19, once out, he did his best to change his circumstances but ended up on a path of homelessness, contemplated suicide and by his own words loss himself. Yet, just like Job in the bible he was stripped then restored by God's grace. What started out as a simple email from one stranger to another turned into a Valentine's day blessing for me. Today I share my gift of love with you..a dedication to Larry and other black men who have stumbled but are trying their best to rise up. I pray that each of you enjoy it and support this rising star. To learn more about Larry Wilson please visit:, book search- dapharoah69.

Dearest Brother,

I love you more than you’ll ever know. I feel your suffering, your losses, and your burdens. Believe me when I say that I appreciate all that you do. So many nights I’ve kneeled down to silently pray for us to be unified, solid and strong. I am praying that we are able to fight the battles of life one day at a time. This dear brother is no journey you need to face alone. You need me to help you carry the weight of the world. Even when your instinctive, macho spirit tries to trick you into thinking otherwise. Don’t be intimidated by me because my paycheck may have a few more zeros than yours or because I have the title of doctor or esquire attached to my name. Never let this stop us from rearing beautiful black children together. And if ever there are days that I’m a little hostile toward you or insensitive to your needs, know that I am not questioning your ability to handle your business. I’m probably just P-M-S-ing. I know what you are capable of achieving. I also know that you are made up of a divine and perfect spirit which resides in you. It is that same life-force propelling me to share this message of love. Always remember my promise is sacred to you. Put trust in my words this day and know that together we’ll make a way.


Dedicated to the men in our lives that we love. Let us honor and cherish them for who they are and what they have been to us...beautiful, strong and supportive. An early Valentine's Day dedication for you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Steel Supporting The Ladies"

It's official! Oh yes, it's official! I, Hillary Roy, am an official believer. A believer in the power....the power of, the Pittsburgh Steelers! My dew season is here! Yes I, the one who said, that she would never watch a football game in her entire, sports deficient life but would supply all of the snacks and goodies for her friends and preferrably her husband have now been converted into a fan! I don't know what's come over me, maybe it's the hype of the former ex-drug dealing lineman turned golden child or maybe it's the fun I had screaming back and forth at the T.V. set, or maybe it's the pico de gallo and pasta salad that got me all wired up but whatever it was, it worked and I am no longer a subscriber to the "I'll support my man while he watches football club." Nope, no longer will I be a slave to "Football for Dummies" because by golly I finally got this game! With 4-inings..I mean 4 quarters and 2 teams racing across yards to complete a homerun..I mean a touch down..I have now mastered this game and I am ready. So bring on the Super Bowl next year baby because this lady is ready to win! Bring on the football pools, the countless bets with coworkers and yes more ESPN sports talk because I'm ready! I'm committed to this game! Hey,does anybody know when the next season of Project Runway starts?