the rebellion

Writing Prompt: One at a Time
Today, write a post about the topic of your choice — using only one-syllable words.

To be stuck with words that have one piece, just one sound, is odd. It is like my life force is in jail, trapped by the word cops. They have held me with cuffs on my mind. No, you do not have the right to use more than one sound. One piece at a time or you will be locked up. I hear this and know I must find a way to share my thoughts.

So, I will write what I can, so the law will not seek me out.

one word
one thought
it rolls off my tongue

i am lost in this maze
of words with one sound
of the voice with one vibe

but i am not free
i do not like this cage
this hole in my soul

caught in the last
sound of my heart
that beats to the vibe

one vibe
one sound
one voice in the night

but i am free
and must free me
from this night…fright

the world needs sounds
it needs more than one
more than one beat

so i will be the one
to give up my soul
for the cause

i will be the one
to speak…in…

…multiple syllables that enhance the world and brightens the colors of days and nights and dances to the songs that remind us that music is soul and memory, music is poetry, poetry is the conjuring of history and thought and the past as cadence, as introspective sound that floats onto the air and lands on ears that hear the colors of words. Yes, glorious words with one, two, three syllables. The syllables, the movement, the ebb and flow of many parts of the melody of symbols…in sound, of ideas in sound, of memories in sound, of words…as sound. I…am…under…arrest. I know this. Because I have broken the rules. I have used the many parts of words, the syllables that were banned and are now rebellion carved into the sky and floating on the wind. I cannot take them back. Why would I? I am in love. Syllables and I have been lovers for all my life. Now we are freedom fighters, fighting for the syllable cause, the right to bear sounds and carry them with us across highways, in public places, on our flags and painted on our faces. We have the right to bear sounds, many sounds, in many syllables on the White House lawn and written across the sky. We have the right to bear multiple syllables of any kind, without permission from those who would tell us that multiple syllables are bad and single syllables are good. We have the right to bear words of our choosing. We must reject the rules of the establishment and take up multiple syllables and march across the world, bearing them for our brothers and sisters to see, so they too can realize that freedom is only a rebellion away, only a few extra syllables away.

the unseen future

Writing Prompt: “Good things come to those who wait.” Do you agree? How long is it reasonable to wait for something you really want?

How wonderful it might be to know the future, depending on what that future looks like. The universe houses millions, maybe billions of possibilities as to what was, is and could be. We are forced to wait for clarity that may or may not come. We hope that at the end of it all, we will emerge the victors in our lives. But the truth is we won’t know until we reach the other side of our living, examining it from whatever point we feel is the right point—maybe 40 years old, maybe 60. Maybe we won’t feel examination is warranted until we make it to 80 years old, if we make it.

We all want to look back at or lives and see that the many good things we waited for, we’ve gotten. After all, good things come to those who wait, right? Maybe. Maybe not. In this matter, there is neither agreement nor disagreement. It is all unpredictable to a great degree. In some cases, one may predict what will become of some people who follow certain paths. But then we must contend with what one thinks is good versus what another thinks is good. One may look at my life and see, based on their notion of good, that good things came to me. For me, however, the goodness I was waiting for has not yet arrived, and what they perceive as good for me, is in fact my nightmare. It’s such a relative statement that cannot be relegated to a discussion of agree vs. disagree. It is beyond our views and lives in a space that cares very little about what we think.

How does one truly assess this? Wouldn’t it take the end of a full life and the ability to look back on that life to give the true answer? Most people will never know the day of their death and therefore never have the opportunity to do an end of life assessment. If examined from a microcosmic viewpoint, the notion of good things coming to those who wait produces mixed results, even for a single person. In my life, there have been good things that have eventually come, but at other times, good things I’ve waited for that never came—at least not to date.

We all want good things to come after our earnest waiting. Some days good things will come. Other days, we’ll find ourselves still waiting and endlessly wondering when or if the good thing we seek will arrive. There is no right or wrong answer, only the unfolding of life that produces a micro response in the moment. As for the macro of it all, we may never know.

looking back in time

I was 15 years old when I took my Junior High School graduation photo. My graduation gown felt frumpy and too large for my frame. I smiled a big smile in that photo and later looked at the proofs wondering why I smiled so big. My fangs were showing bold and unbeautiful. My baby teeth had refused to come out, so my adult teeth grew in on top of them. They were firmly rooted to my gums, with not even so much as a shake to indicate they might be ready to leave my mouth. My dentist said they had to be pulled. He should have pulled them long before my adult teeth grew through the top of my gums, making me look like a vampire. My baby teeth would not be easily moved, however. He had to put his back into it. They decided they would not go down without a fight. After what felt like more than an hour, they final relented, against their will. So at 15, I had to wear retainers to push down my adult teeth. I hated my retainers. They made me look uglier than I already looked during my ugly years. I believe we all go through ugly years as a teenager, don’t you think? My ugly years lasted through all of Junior High School and the first year or so of High School. But I made it through, retainers and all.


mistakes galore

Mistakes. What can be said about them that hasn’t been said a dozen times over. We make them, we make them again, we don’t learn from them, we learn from them, we move on and make many more mistakes. It’s all a part of life.

I’ve made many mistakes in life. There is no single lesson that has made me a better person or taught me a great lesson. All my mistakes, collectively, have contributed to the person I am today and have given me invaluable lessons that will forever be a part of my growth and unforgettable memories.

Over the years, I’ve intentionally and unintentionally said things that hurt someone. Who hasn’t? I’ve befriended those who were not worthy of my friendship. I’ve copulated with men who should have never seen the color of my underwear. I’ve married. I’ve divorced. I’ve dated for far too long someone who was unable to love me because he didn’t know how to love himself. I’ve been in accidents. I’ve said and done many stupid things. I’ve judged wrongly. I’ve spoken when silence was in order. I’ve stayed silent when my words were necessary. I’ve walked when I should have run and run when I should have walked. I’ve disrespected my body temple. I’ve cursed. I’ve screamed. I’ve been less than lady like. I could go on. But in the end, mistakes are a part of life and we’ll continue to make them until the day we die. What makes us better than we were yesterday is ensuring we don’t make the same mistakes twice. I try not to be a repeat offender. My mistakes have taken me this far, to this place where I am able to look at myself honestly and realize that I am not perfect, and that’s fine with me. I’ve learned many things along this mistake laden journey. I’ve learned to love more fiercely and speak more passionately. I’ve learned that my truth doesn’t need to be anyone else’s truth. But no matter what I believe, I should be humble and realize that there may come a day when I discover I am wrong. And that lesson should keep me humble and ever learning new things and new ways of seeing the world around me. I’ve learned that everything we think we know is fluid and ever changing—mistakes allow us to see the truth of this. My mistakes are my stepping stones. I won’t try to hide them away from others. They are a part of me.

what i leave behind

Reading has always been a part of my life. I can’t remember ever feeling as though I disliked it. Words leave lasting impressions on us, depending on the mood we are in, our outlook on the world and our personal experiences. Everything influences how we will view the next book we read. This is why I love to read. It as an adventure to delve into a book, not knowing how I will be affected by it.

I will leave my words, my legacy, for the world to hopefully enjoy. So that someone, anyone, will be affected in a powerful way. My writing is my greatest legacy and the one thing that leaves a piece of me behind. Readers will have the opportunity to discover who I am through my work. My daughters will have their mother’s words of wisdom always within reach. While the books below are not my novels, they are works that are a part of my personal library, a library that also represents an important part of my legacy. I also leave for those I love, knowledge. For me, there is no greater gift and show of love than to freely give knowledge to the future generations. Books are an ocean of knowledge.


Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

what i do for love

The island of Jamaica is small. When I was a little girl, however, it seemed large and imposing, a big place filled with adventure–it was the world to me. I was less than five years old, but I remember the feel of the small rocks beneath my toes as I walked barefoot down the long hot country road. Now, to walk barefoot on stones leaves me wincing in pain. I’ve become soft. But I remember what it was like to feel skin to ground, comfortably warmed stones, and freedom. The freedom stays with me.

Some say memory is fleeting under five years old, yet, I remember even a time of darkness; before the face of my mother, grandfather and favorite uncle; before Jamaica. To be aware of darkness and my existence within that darkness has always been a strange thing for me to carry. It sits inside me, like another life lived somewhere in a place I can’t remember clearly. But I remember a drive-in movie, a memory that stayed with me so deeply and so persistently, that after finding no clues to lead me back to the origins of the memory, I began to think that maybe it was my imagination and not a memory. I wanted to open a drive-in theater, dreamed of the day that I could bring my experience to others, so they could feel the joy I felt on that day long ago. It was like a relentless dream that would never leave me in peace. Forty years later I would mention this memory to my father. With wide eyes, he told me that he was the one who took me to the drive-in movie in Jamaica. He still wonders how I remembered that. I was not yet four years old.

My grandfather built the house we lived in. He was a beekeeper, farmer and a fierce protector of his family. He’d watch as I sat on the hillside playing with tiny red flowers, the name of which I cannot recall, and string them together to make necklaces and bracelets. They were the most unique and interesting flowers I’d ever seen. I don’t remember who taught me about their interesting qualities. But to be able to string the stem of small flowers together with the tops of the flower itself, connecting one to another, is something I have never seen again. They were beautiful and I would spend hours adorning my tiny body with them. I would never see those flowers again.

Shortly after, my mother migrated to America. She carried with her an education, a nurse’s license and two daughters, one who could read at four years old. While other children were dragging blankets or dolls through the house, gripping them for dear life, I would have a book in tow. Many doubted I could read. But after reading through a few books, those who couldn’t believe it quickly discovered that I was in fact reading, and reading well.

Writing followed close behind. While I would take short breaks from writing during my years in primary school, it never left me. By the time I entered Junior High School, I was infatuated with poetry. One day, a few years later, I would accept my destiny and step into writing as a career. I realized I was passionate about storytelling and sharing my ideas about the world. I wanted to bring readers into my mind, my experiences and my way of seeing our existence. I wanted to become a griot, but knew I couldn’t reach as many in that role. In lieu of becoming a true griot, I decided that ink and paper would be my voice box, my oral tradition to spread far and wide. I would pass my words down to my children and grandchildren and help them to imagine us sitting around a fire as I fastidiously recounted stories until sunrise. The written word would be my sound and echo, vibrating on the hearts of those who read my creations.

Writing has for many years now become a dear friend to me, a warm cup of tea, a walk on the beach, a talented lover, a heartfelt laugh, a sunny day, an intellectual debate, an unfolding of memory, thought and the unfailing wisdom of imagination. It is my passion, my first love. When you love something, it needs nurturing and requires us to give our time to it, generously and without complaint. We do it unconditionally. We do it because it is all we desire to do. Anything else would be a source of discontent. We hone our love, making it better and stronger each day. We recognize our shortcomings and work to improve with each word.

I believe that when you’ve found a thing you love, it should be less a dream come true and more a life you’ve decided to nurture through doing something that is, and has always been, your passion. When you are passionate about a thing, you have no need to dream. Your passion will be all you know and will ever want to know, and never something you wasted time dreaming about. I’ve never had to dream of becoming a writer. It has been my whole life, leaving no time to dream, only time to be.

Daily Prompt: Money for Nothing

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on the green beach chair

The music started. Emanating from the office were tunes meant to soothe the inner beast. I walked to the doorway. His back to me. Moving slightly to the beat, tunes dancing around the room like fireflies on a warm night. He moves.

I walk in, notice the green beach chair. Again. It sinks to the curve of a body, any body. I sit, slide back, both legs up. I watch. He moves, gently nodding his head, slightly rocking, no intrusion to the air around his head, he rocks. I watch. His back to me, smooth and clean, freckles smiling at the sounds that invite them to move in time, they move. I watch.

He listens. I smile, wondering what he is thinking at that moment, his handsome form soaking in the electrifying beats that fill the room. Only hours before, his sensual body writhed in time with the beat of my heart, our skins melding, folding, unfolding, a symbiotic melody that churns to the tune of our moans. He moans. We meld. A symbiotic life form is created between us. Forgetting where he begins and I end. We moan.

The images clear as he turns to place a CD in the slot. It is only then that I realize he does not know I am there. He rocks. I smile. His body moves in time, he tilts his head, wondering, wondering what? What is he wondering about the tune he’s just selected. He tilts his head, twitches his mouth to the right, changes tunes, sits back, listens. He does not move.

Then, my captivation is shifted from him to a song that begins to slide into my soul, distracting me from the beautiful form that sits before me, quietly enjoying his space. A space he doesn’t realize I also inhabit. It is the symbiosis. The thing between us that does not speak. It is quiet. He leans back, no movement, just listens. I listen. The tune is slow, easy, instrumental, but words float off the notes like a siren calling to us from the sea. We listen. He still doesn’t realize I share the space, and the pleasure of the tune.

Nearly twenty minutes have passed. He turns, picks up a paper, begins to flip through it, his full form nearly facing me. He reads, and listens, but does not see me, sitting there, in the green beach chair, unmoved, but moved by his presence. He does not see me. Yet, with a mere upward glance, I am easily seen. He does not see me. His space is uninterrupted. I smile. I shared in a moment, a natural moment, him being him. Him being his whole self. I captured that moment. I speak. “What was the name of that song?”

He glances to the doorway, realizes I’m not there, then searches for the source of the sound. He sees me, sitting there, unmoved, but moved by the sound of his voice. “Wow, I didn’t know you were there. How long have you been sitting there?”

Moved by the sound of his voice. Moved by his form, his smile, the easy way he speaks. His easy way of being. His light-hearted surprise at my presence. I smile. We talk. The space remains calm and easy. But something stepped away. His sense of alone stepped away. It walked out the room when my voice entered the space. It’s still easy, but different. We talk. I smile. And sit, on the green beach chair.

the sands of time

hourglass-620397_1920The sand was pink and hot. It moved between my toes with each carefree step I took. How many other feet trod across these shores? How many memories live here, like ghosts, each one a grain of sand, intermingling for all time, leaving behind a piece of us all. Will my grain be remembered? Or will the waters of time pull them into the ocean? To float to the bottom of the vast seas, deep and dark and far from the sun that once warmed the grain that was a memory of me.

a dime bag

i remember a time when
meditation was free
now the stolen moments
cost dearly

i lean back and think

a memory is worth more
than a dime bag
but no one buys memories
they want weed to get high

meditation won’t
take them there
too expensive
too much time to collect

a dime bag is easier
time costs too much

no, meditation won’t get you high
stolen moments won’t pay the rent

– zaji


the ocean and i

Today I went to the beach to watch the waves rushing in from the ocean, and to find peace. Families lightly speckled the sand. Children splashed about in the water and others built snowmen with sand. It was, after all, nearly Christmas. What’s Christmas without a snowman, even if made from sand. Children of Florida may not have snow, but they know how to get into the spirit of the season. I don’t celebrate holidays anymore. I try at all times to celebrate each day that I’m alive. Listening to the children’s laughter on the beach reminded me, yet again, that everyday is special. The moment, now, is all there is. Nothing else is guaranteed.

The photograph is of me looking out at the ocean. I watched as surfers struggled to ride the too tiny waves that weren’t enough to give them a decent ride. Beach bums sat on their chairs looking off into the distance, coffee mug by their side. Some with a book in hand. What were they all thinking? Were they wishing for the same things I want? Freedom? A culture void of the violent madness that plagues the planet? What lives in their daydreams?


The problems of the world cannot be solved by day dreams. They must be solved by action. What did we all hope would happen out there, in the ocean? Would it give birth to something new? Would the cries of a new birth rise out of the water and travel to distant lands for all to hear? Who would cut the cord of this new life that we all would share? Who would fearlessly join the revolution and usher in a better world? Who would join the cries of rebirth? I don’t know. It’s all just our imagination–thoughts unformed. But in that moment of deep contemplation and introspection, time stopped. The sun was setting. The sky began to turn hues of red and pink. The birds were making their last rounds in search of food and shelter.

I kept looking out. I wanted something to happen before I left. But nothing did. Maybe nothing would ever happen. Maybe this is all there is. Me, the ocean, the moment and thoughts that turn to dust when the sun fully sets.