Shout from Miomboyour Profile Photo, Image may contain: one or more people, eyeglasses, sunglasses, smoking and closeup– The New Year Journal  of the Time of the Poet presents the Queen of long verse Sistran Ayodele Nzinga.She is an accomplished personality in literary arts , theatre , scholarly interventions and cultural diplomacy. Nzinga lives is an amazing   and widely published VerseQueen. The MiomboPublishing is grateful to associate with such a powerful global  literary voice . Whose verse mesmerizes many in the local and international fora.send your comments on the comment box and follow our blog , email miombopublishing@gmail.com.

The Death of Innocence

 

the innocence that wrote

love poems and captured beauty

like life could be kept

fire-flied in a bottle

fled slowly/ leaving pragmatism

on the dresser in a shade of

clouded jade there is little

to say of love or beauty both

fade or die loud or silent deaths

suffocated under life/ which is

funkier that you imagine in

innocence where optimism lives

precariously perched on pearly possibilities

possible always looks smaller in rear view

mirrors/ the reason appears larger

in rooms where torches have passed

memories demand attention guiding

action and inaction where is

innocence we are all baptized in the blood

we are Emmett Till, we are Amadou Diallo,

we are Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown

we are legion too many names

for innocence to remain

we know/ someone must speak

the blood the teeth with swords

screaming vengeance balancing scales

sand weighed against blood

no ink can hold this travesty

this cotton fueled feud sprung

out of the ocean raids that

made warriors slaves no ink

can hold the truth bound twisted

buried invisible/ we know because

we remember we do not have

to be told any more than the bones

say we need know no more than the

dust knows the dust knows all it

says there is no innocence just

blindness we know/ knowing

writes different poems it knows

the salt of the tale refuses to

be distracted it knows listens to

the bones remembers

struggle it knows sweat persistence

ingenuity longs for even ground on

which to stand knows forward knows

storm knows blues

knows it knows so it breaths fire/

wont be quiet or still no harmonics

in chaos three eyes on the prize

fire on the water poems

dust and bone poems that talk

back to cotton vowing to un-write

ink and remember being born

free with dignity and everything

poems that sing harvest songs

written by old women who

dream the bones remembering

knowing so we know

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

Crossroads

 

I am grateful for the crossroads

here is where change can occur

choices and consequences

here is where we walk our heart

religion is what you do

the crossroads reveal character

intention, mettle, and upbringing

what you live for reveals more

that what you would die for

crossroads no right or wrong

but don’t get left in the liminal

gotta go

you going even if you standing still

you just not going to get nowhere

all praises to the crossroads

where princes become kings

and princesses are separated from queens

I am at a crossroad

I got the dice in my hand

I am grateful

 

Where are my Weapons

sitting in the middle

of disarranged diminishing

potential having passed

torches hard to see so

it seems light is fading

life burns as fast

as clips empty in drive bys

I wait on the future

to deliver what I failed

to procure I have passed

on the debt that has become

our all and all in the land of cotton

become the foundation under

which we are buried contained

un-purposed confused and beguilded

where are the futures weapons

i have made them my defense

what weapons will they use

to carve what I could not

what blueprint will they use

to build the new as we hold the

crumbs of the old like ragged

overcoats in a storm we teach

tone test to soon dead boys

who are shot with their hands

in the air surrendering what

weapons besides civil tone

in uncivil engagements can we

offer the future become what

pleases our oppressors so they

can become grandparents who

pass torches to the fragile future

made more fragile by the fear

eaten by those who pass torches

as if their portion was done

complete freedom done come

we are undone by passing torches

to youth we de-fang to help them survive

we instruct them to go further into

the matrix as if it had served us here

in the land of cotton from the holds

of ships to the holds of prisons

bound by ink and things undone

passing torches to the young who

perpetually discover discontent threatening

revolution signaled by new dances

new music new regalia but we shake

our heads hug our fear for them close

and talk about our day as if we are

dead and gone as if we are without weapons

in the war we understand better than

the young because we have seen it eat our

passion and distill it into despair at the

sharpness of wolves teeth and the sureness

of infection in wolf bites no wolf bane

wolves everywhere they will eat your

young you know this like

you know Emmett Till’s name

you did not need to learn Oscar

Trayvon or Mike’s name

they are your children’s names

your grandchildren’s names

the names of boys on corners of streets

you won’t venture down

they are the tribe of the burning eyes

and streets of fire

they have forgotten your name

and their grandfather’s fathers name

they are now

maybe not tomorrow

but they are all tomorrow has

fragile with dim torches

instructed by our fear

hobbled by our insistence

they survive go further

but survive

no matter how

even if you wake up in

the same place

for centuries

survive that is

our prime directive

to help them survive

even though they don’t

if they are our weapons

where are their weapons

what will shield them

from the madness we did

not end from the greed

we allowed to grow from

the fear grown in the space

of an un righted wrong

as big as the transatlantic ocean

what will they use

we have forgotten the rituals

what will they use

we will not let them do

what we did not

where are their weapons

we can not hear their music

by the time they understand ours

they are ready to pass torches

to a future that

is already composing a song

we have not heard

but will find hard to like

we are dulling its point

before it is conceived

where are our weapons?

 

She who holds up the Sky

holding up the sky is

dangerous business

but someone has to

how will the sun set

where will the moon rise

if the sky falls

she who holds the sky above her

arms extended neck craned

to make sure the stars are

properly placed that there is

water in the drinking gourd

the north star pointing to

freedom the twins boxing

someone has to do it

so that those who won’t

can go forward in the storm

sometimes stars fall

hard to distinguish them

from her free flowing tears

bodhisattva for the world

for the unknown and

the unknowable

for the known

and for those who won’t

know the knowable

for the blood

singing her reality

for the dreams for the bones

for the bones

she who holds up the sky

feeding the ocean with her

tears sacrificed to Olukun

dedicated to Yemonja

who washes her feet

as she stands taller

than she should

her breast bared

her arms extended

above her nappy head

holding up the sky

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

Child of the Horse Eaters

 

I am a horse eater

I am dungeon seed

my pantheon divided

6/10’s on the other side

of the water 4 generations

walk after crossing

the graveyard in the ocean

exiting doors of no return

I have not returned

in flesh

spirit is more stubborn

memory is everything

then it is more

it is life before life

illumination

in a time of dark lamps

a map leading you

a reason

the way out of no way

it is horse meat cooked

served eaten to hold on to

land sweated bled for

we ate the horses

we kept the land

we had teaspoons in a

land of bulldozers

we used our spoons

used stones to plug

the hole in the bucket

that was only half

full of water in the

first place we

grew out of the land

like promises tumbleweeds

on route 66 on trains west

looking for dreams

dreamers with teaspoons

carving the path they

walked on walking away

sometimes

when it melted sometimes

daring to fight sometimes

sometimes

able to rise

from the battle field

whole enough to know

how to win

stop fighting

taking the loss moving migrating

fleeing refugees with a teaspoon

and buckets with holes

the memory of the taste

of horse flesh pushing

us forward with hope

on our breath

 

Hunger

 

The Babalowo said:

if your grandfather is a hustler

the son will be a businessman

the grandson will be a beggar.

I am the hunger

refusing to beg on the road

I build roads to other places

my hands move prayerfully

creating whats needed moving

forward on the path walking

where others will not holding

broken things on my way to

the ocean where dreams

sink swim or drown there is

no crown but there is bread

crowns are heavy

bread can be shared

sometimes

the road disappears

we must begin again

uphill with a bucket of water

that’s got a hole in it

add a stone to plug the hole

on we go singing in the storm

the child of horse eaters

looking for mountains to climb

 

Line of Old Ladies

 

when i line up

with the old women healer ladies

the sages hags grammies

sorceresses witches great

granny medicine women

when i line

up with the old women

with stars falling from my hair

my robe shall be shot with

moonbeams my heart will become

water mothering holding knowing

when i line up with the old women

by the river washing souls

singing life like a hymn i will

lay down my sword and shield

until that time

stone

sharpens steel

 

A Deeper Shade of Black

 

some things can’t be given back

your father’s chin

your mother’s knees

the kiss of melanin

the fullness of your lips

the curl in your hair

somethings define you

whether you want them to or not

you can reject the burdens

packed for you before birth

they will weigh you down anyway

like wolves eat sheep

even if they don’t know

they are sheep

somethings are yours

you can lay them on the

sidewalk hoping someone picks

them up but they are yours

they will not go with the buyer

they are your song of self

even if you refuse to sing

I have hunkered down

in the pile of burdens

lifted them up

shook them off

followed the threads to find

the places they come from

I have smothered some to death

others I have breathed life into

painted them blue repacked

them into the bags that came with me

I am on the road singing the song of

me in the land of cotton

the mistress of midnight ink

rising after falling falling to rise again

still standing remembering

before the ships

the ships

the fields

how the bags of burdens are packed

where the ocean turns into a graveyard

& where the center of the whirlwind

touches down on desolate street corners

where Oya howls the possibility

of transformations to young warriors

off the path burning possible to survive

the night as Oshun whispers to broken hearted

mothers consoling them over spilled honey

promising the return of love the end of trauma

Ogun walks before me Shango got my back

I have become a deeper shade of black

singing loudly shining in the dark

black thoughts a full black heart

dreaming black dreams of oceans

rising after falling to rise again

black as a raven’s wing

black as crow song

black as night sky

black as the inside of the

thing & then some

growing blackness like

the precious fragile thing it is

like a place to stand in the storm

like being on your own front porch

somethings are yours

owned from within

inherited

like your mother’s knees

your fathers chin

where you start

the story of the genesis

the very all & all of it

not to be wished away

squandered

misunderstood

or frighten of

they are

the song

of

you

where you been

where you going & probably the why of

it there are things that even if you try

you can’t really forget so I embrace it

lean into it rest on it grow from it will always

default to it I am it wrapped steeped immersed

joyfully reverently bottom of the ocean with it

deeper in the deep than you can imagine with it

a deeper shade of black

than indigo shaded drum slapping

past midnight into the dawn

& back

Esu bless you

open the road for me

Olukun guards my legacy

Yemoja mothers me

Ogun walks before me

Shango got my back

I am a deeper shade of black

 

God as a Wild Woman wtih Stars in her Hair

They told me God was a wild woman with stars in her hair

I have seen such women sun glowing in their eyes

wind pouring from calloused finger tips still soft as the love

burning in their oversized hearts

big breasted Yemonjas feeding a world

starving themselves sometimes in the process

yet they are rounded and curved life overflowing abundant

hands open always enough for one more and another still

all welcome at the table

prayer on their lips

upturned eyes in conversation with the unseen

flowing even when the river is dry

if you see one of these women be careful

not to be burned by the stars that fall from her hair

she is not aware that love sometimes bruises as much as it heals

or perhaps she does know and gives the burden of loving her freely

to focus distracted travelers on their true worth

she has seen it

smelt their potential for human beingness so she waters their dreams

praying they grow tall enough to carry the thorns in the bag

with the blessing that is life

she dances late night under the moons faint light

grinding the blue in raindrops and old thoughts

to grow new medicine for the sick at heart

she lives in tomorrow where she is waiting for the lame to walk

to their races and win

she knows what is possible

and most things are so

she continues baring her breast for the world to suckel

stars dropping from her hair

crying out todays

pulled out of endings

weaving new beginings for those who have forgotten the

taste of hope which can be bittersweet

she has heard

the earth sigh and she knows pain is endless but there

is joy in walking even when the path is rocky

she belives in transformations

she has seen the wind blow everything away

realized how much nothing weighed

stood on the path waiting

drowning in her patience to be reborn as fire

returned to the path her hand outstrecthed

she is bounty

she is abundance

she is grace that does not retire in the funk of it all

she is taller than she should be

they say she should bar her breast

keep them for herself

she can not

it is not her story

her story is one of giving to receive

of passing what is received to those who need

so that she may be filled again

she is endless

she is a wild woman

with stars in her hair

crying out todays

so there will be tomorrows

bittersweet hope on her tongue

sun shining from her eyes

They told me God was a wild woman with stars in her hair

Crows

In conversation with Crows

ancient obsidian

sentries of the gate between worlds

they remind me to stand

in my integrity to know

what I know and stay the path

WolfHawkJaguar told me

“Don’t give up

before the miracle

happens”

I have left the door open

expecting Olokun to fill my plate

I am empty

all paid for sacrifice

I am open f

Ayodele NzingaNo automatic alt text available. is a multi-talented West Coast based art visionary, who in the tradition of the Black Arts Continuum, uses performance as a method of inter-intra-group communication.  Nzinga, also known as “The WordSlanger” has worked with some of the most talented performers in the Bay Area in various capacities to bring life to a long list of creative endeavors.

She is the original Artistic Director of Recovery Theater, and it’s cult classic Marvin X’s  “One Day in the Life,” billed as the longest running African American Theater Production in North America.

Nzinga is the creative driving force of The Lower Bottom Playaz and was the founding director of The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater.  The Sister Thea was built to facilitate Nzinga’s desire to use theater as a form of engagement for the community of West Oakland, has housed Nzinga’s troupe since the theater was founded in 2001. Nzinga continues to focus her artistic practice on underserved audiences in West Oakland CA.

In 2010, Nzinga committed The Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc to the chronological production of The American Century Cycle by August Wilson. In 2015, Nzinga and The Playaz became the first director and troupe anywhere to formally stage the entire Century Cycle in chronological order of the decades presented in the massive work spanning the 20th Century in North America. Nzinga continues to focus her artistic practice on underserved audiences in West Oakland CA.

In 2013, The Sister Thea went dark. Nzinga staged Fences at The African American Museum and Library at Oakland. Becoming the only director to ever stage a full-length play at the museum. In 2014, Nzinga and the Playaz took residence at The Flight Deck in uptown Oakland where they completed their historic march through Wilson’s Century Cycle.  Nzinga continues to focus her artistic practice on underserved audiences in West Oakland CA. as a way of engaging in conversations that affect the thriving of marginalized spaces everywhere.

Please find the Wordslanger at

https://anzinga.com

http://www.facebook.com/ayodelenzinga

 

 

 

 

 

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