Jazz Stanzas

Jazz Stanzas

The wolves may huff and puff
but they ain’t got nothing on
apple sized cheeks
that blew sounds just as sweet
as the juice.

It don’t mean a thing
if you don’t take the A train
and hear the lady from baltimore
with the sanitizing stench of bleach on her
from scrubbing those damn white steps.
From lady’s maid to lady day
from the whorehouse to
covering the waterfront
until finally
it was heroin, not her man
that had lady singing the blues.

A trumpeter walks in front of a horse
leading a perennial procession for you.
That’s the image that comes to mind
when I think of you.
Your smile derided.
Your character declared a caricature
but Ghana loved you.
You were pops to the world.

In a mining township
a hundred miles from Johannesburg
exposed to jazz, traditional music
and apartheid
a horn player was growing up.
In a jim-crow dominated township
it was designed to be impossible
to graze in the grass
but somehow
you did.

And now, it is said
we don’t love the music.
Our faces are not in the audiences
of those who carry it on.
Our dollars aren’t spent on it.
We have allowed it to leave
and because of that
it no longer belongs to us.

But this is simply not true.

© 2004 Tichaona Chinyelu

Personal Passion


poetry and photography
are lovers
they share the same imaginative
and body space
said to be worth a thousand words
well written, felt in the heart
they can be gazed upon for centuries
sampled and forged
recited in infinitum
analyzed criticized and even burned
those that escape censorship
bridge the divide between canvas and calligraphy
dispensing with margins
and discarding frames
are treasured from the heart
as something new

(c) Jesse Sharpe 2006

I Got A Man

At the bar having a drink minding my own business… This guy walks up to me trying to get his rap on…Says that he could take care of me…so I nicely told him no the fuck he couldn’t…and I was not impressed I got a man and he gives me nothing but the best…He says with a mouth like yours all you given him is hell… your mouth is too slick if I was you man I would fix it…so I said, why do you want me to shut up when I speak my mind…why would you want me broken with my head bowed down to the ground. Men like you want to dominate and destroy the spirit of a woman and I will not endure you trying to feed me your negative energy. Men like you say you want a strong independent woman but you don’t… you want us five steps behind not side by side…you want us to know our place to be seen and not heard….men like you feel insecure because we can handle our own…you see we are not trying to out do you…we are here to support you, boo. So while you trying to Mack with your wedding band take that shit somewhere else cause like I told you I GOT A MAN!!!!


I thought what we had was real
NO ONE can explain the feelings that I feel
I was kiSSed
and DISmiissed
How can what i thought was love lead to this?
Baby my love was true
I never knew that hurt and pain’s defifition would be you.
And you say you was hurt 2?
I’m not as stupid as you think.
Did you ever think of me?
while u were out doin wat u do best?
Jumping into your ex’s bed?
I REALIZED I was too good for you.
Even though love tried to stop me,
I REALIZED I had to go.
I REALIZED we were through.

Ménage a Trois

Man: It was evil.
Woman: It was insidious.

Man/Woman (together): We each thought it was the other until it spoke to us
in our own voices and then we knew we had a vampire.

It flew at us like the past, made a mockery of the future we

Man: Had me thinking she wasn’t the sky I flew in.

Woman: Had me thinking he wasn’t the rock I stood on.

Man/Woman (together): Had us thinking we were each other’s enemy.

Man: Loaded and cocked. My words were fists.

Woman: Stealth bomber. Appeared out of nowhere. Disappeared into pain.

Man: I lost my job.

Woman: I got a promotion.

Man: Attitude problems. I spoke a black man’s language.

Woman: There’s a time and a place. Mouths to feed.

Man/Woman: That’s when it bit.

Man: Damn mosquitoes…

Woman: …sucking our blood.

Man: I slapped at them.

Woman: I sprayed repellant.

Man/Woman: But it wasn’t mosquitoes. Our blood was being drained.

Vampire: The blood was rich. Full of love and life. They had no right to it.
I made it mine. Became big and strong. Starting eyeing the children.
Classic albatross.

Man/Woman: We stood looking at the couple in the mirror.

Woman: Lean.

Man: Fighting lean.

Man: Fuck this shit.

Woman: My name’s not Kendra.

Man: You love me?

Woman: I love you.

Man: You ready?

Woman: I’m ready.

Weaver Woman

I weave words
like a west african market woman
selling you my vision, my mangoes, my papayas
even my coconuts.
My finished product can be held up to the sun
illuminated, made to shine.

The skins of my poems have been submerged in mud
then laid at the bottom of the baobob tree to dry
like mudcloth.
The blood of my poems can be as dry as the sahara
as wet as monsoons
as cutting as a machete in the hands of the mau mau.

I weave blood into my words:
red blood, dried blood, young blood.
An oversaturation of blood decorates my words
makes them pulse red.
My words hang from trees
like the bitterest kind of strange fruit.
My words find the peruvian revolutionaries
murdered while hogtied
and then buried in criminal secrecy.
My words were inspired by rigoberta menchu.

I roots rock reggae with my words
have them jamming to the heart beat rhythm
of the warmest music.
The fabric of my words is at its lightest
when they’re in the dancehall or the yard.
My words sweep over people
like the softest caribbean breezes.
My words will have you dreaming of blue skies
white sands and coral reefs

and while you’re dreaming
i weave black people into my words
and i am done.
My finished product can be held up to the sun
illuminated, made to shine.

© 2005 Tichaona Chinyelu

God’s Favorite Color

God’s favorite color must be black &
the many variations thereof
Take a look around the world…

The real Miss Universe
is the mocha-colored maiden
w/nappy hair, slender arms & a shy smile
She is from Tanzania
& is the mother of all men

Angelic is the honey-colored girl from Alabama
w/ green eyes and thick lips
a wide nose & wide hips
or skin painted bronze by the sun
w/charcoal eyes, lips persimmon
& curves sculpted by the steady hand of the Lord

Brown as desert sand
or the color of newly-minted pennies
dark as a fig
or as light as butter
sepia, red-boned, café au lait, mahogany
humankind’s rainbow
big thighs / ass 4 daze
or skinny as a rail
bald, permed or giant afro
young, old and all that in-between
She’s a queen
In a dashiki, muu-muu or skin-tight jeans

She’s alluring even when she’s not trying to be

Beautiful & BLACK—
God’s favorite color.

Timothy N. Stelly, Sr.

Women Have Needs

Finally, an answer to an age-old question…
What does a woman really need from a man?
Dedicated to those who just don’t understand.

A woman needs a man
To hold her in his arms,
Whisper words of affection,
Shield her from the storm.
And if her world should crumble,
He’ll be the foundation still standing,
Leading her, and yet sometimes willing to follow,
Confident, yet not demanding.

A woman needs a man
Not a boy in diguise.
Opening the doors before her,
Treating her as his prize.
And if he sees that somethings wrong,
He’ll step up to make it right.
Penetrating her mind throughout the day,
Her soul and body throughout the night.



Today is the day where I shine-hips as wide as gods eyes and lips as sultry as the way the sun may rise-hints the word shine-So today is the day where I shine-Accepting me for me and putting shame behind-Walking through doors and stopping traffic not because of my figure 8 but because the way lights grow brighter when I walk in the place-Smile is flawless leaving them speechless-So like I said today is the day where I shine-From the arch in my back, the sway in my swagger, the rise of my breast-Not cocky, but sure of myself-When I say shine I use it as a simile or metaphor-To shine as bright as the sun or sparkle like a diamond-Be sure of yourself and confidence you will find it-To know who you are and where you are going-To shine on your own and not give yourself to many-That’s where some get it twisted and there mind is sercombe to hindering-Today is the day where I shine and can’t be compared to any-Not making that mistake by saying any and meaning many-My light shines too bright so therefore I can’t have a clone meaning plenty-Today is the day where I shine if you didn’t hear me clearly-Look deep into my eyes confidence you will find in ME!!!!!

By: Brittany”BabyGirl”Phifer