Discussion On Assets Started By B. Sharise Moore

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood in Baltimore. It’s been a Black, middle class enclave for more than 50 years. However, many of the neighbors are older and dying. And according to my cousin, who’s lived in the neighborhood for over 50 years, many didn’t have children and their homes are going back to the state.

 

I don’t often see the discussion of how we manage assets and wealth when we actually have it. I know far too many instances of Black people who are either unable to maintain the homes they were left or have allowed the state to come in and take over their family’s possessions. Why aren’t more conversations happening? What’s going on?

A Poet’s Toolkit :: 20 Poets Worth Reading By B. Sharise

  • Ntozake Shange
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Tyehimba Jess
  • Harryette Mullen
  • Victor Hernandez Cruz
  • Larry Neal
  • Jayne Cortez
  • Quincy Troupe
  • June Jordan
  • Amiri Baraka
  • E. Ethelbert Miller
  • Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Rita Dove
  • Shel Silverstein
  • Sterling Plumpp
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Etheridge Knight
  • Camille T. Dungy
  • Elizabeth Bishop

A Poet’s Toolkit: POETIC FORMS from A-Z By B. Sharise

ABC
A poem that has five lines that create a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses while the first word of each line is in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and begins with any letter.

 

Acrostic
Poetry that certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence.

 

Ballad
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tail or legend which often has a repeated refrain.

 

Cinquain
Poetry with five lines. Line 1 has one word (the title). Line 2 has two words that describe the title. Line 3 has three words that tell the action. Line 4 has four words that express the feeling, and line 5 has one word which recalls the title.

 

Elegy
A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual.

 

Epic
An extensive, serious poem that tells the story about a heroic figure.

 

Free verse (vers libre)
Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern.

 

Haiku
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five morae, usually containing a season word.

 

Italian sonnet
A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba followed by six lines with a rhyme pattern of cdecde or cdcdcd.

 

Limerick
A short sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme and have the same rhythm.

 

List
A poem that is made up of a list of items or events. It can be any length and rhymed or unrhymed.

 

Lyric
A poem that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet.

 

Narrative
A poem that tells a story.

 

Ode
A lengthy lyric poem typically of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure.

 

Persona
A poem written from a perspective other than your own.

 

Quatrain
A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.

 

Rondeau
A lyrical poem of French origin having 10 or 13 lines with two rhymes and with the opening phrase repeated twice as the refrain.

 

Senryu
A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure that treats human beings rather than nature: Often in a humorous or satiric way.

 

Sestina
A poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.

 

Shakespearean Sonnet
A 14-line sonnet consisting of three quatrains of abab cdcd efef followed by a couplet, Shakespearean sonnets generally use iambic pentameter.

 

Shape
Poetry written in the shape or form of an object.

 

Sonnet
A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.

 

Tanka
A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the other seven.

 

Terza Rima
A type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line tercets.

 

Villanelle
A 19-line poem consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.

A Poet’s Toolkit :: 10 Poetry Prompts for Writer’s Block By B. Sharise

  • Write a haiku about a mirror. Your poem should express jealousy.
  • Write a shape poem about a skyscraper or city skyline. Your poems should express loss.
  • Write a persona poem about a candle. Your poem should express wisdom.
  • Write a list poem about your first kiss/intimate experience.
  • Write a free verse poem about a conversation between a rainbow and a pot of gold.
  • Write a four line poem about an amusement park using onomatopoeia.
  • Write a 14 line poem about the last serious relationship you were in from your ex-mate’s perspective.
  • Write a cinquain about your favorite food.
  • Write a 10 line, non-rhyming poem about the last dream you had.
  • Write a tanka about your father’s voice.

A Poet’s Toolkit :: A Brief Glossary Of Poetic Terms By B. Sharise

Alliteration:
the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words
Assonance:
the repetition of vowel sounds at the beginning of words
Figurative Language:
Language that is not meant to be taken literally
Hyperbole:
an exaggeration
Imagery:
the use of descriptive words or phrases that re-create sensory experiences for the reader.
Metaphor:
a comparison between two things without using the words like or as
Onomatopoeia:
the use of words whose sounds echo their meanings
Personification:
giving human qualities to inanimate objects or ideas
Repetition:
technique in which a sound, word, phrase, or line is repeated for emphasis or unity
Rhyme:
the occurrence of similar or identical sounds at the end of two or more words
Rhythm:
a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry
Simile:
a comparison using like or as

For Those Who Find Yourself Embarrassed By “Riots” In Baltimore By B. Sharise

For those of you who find yourself angered and/or embarrassed by the “riots” in Baltimore:

 

your indignation is no loom.
it will not stitch together the broken
of that Black man’s spine
nor will it make him stand.
your disgust is no potter’s wheel
it will not shape him warm-blooded
laughing and living anew.
your shame is no Messiah
it cannot resurrect
then rise on Sunday.
Black bodies are not permitted
to play Lazarus
on White Supremacy’s watch.

Tetsuo and Youth: A Dictionary-esque Album Review

Lupe Fiasco:

 

(noun) a West Chicago raised, enigmatic, often polarizing, skateboarding, ever-ranting, rapping rubix cube.

 

Tetsuo and Youth:

 

(noun) Lupe Fiasco’s 5th studio album, named such because Fiasco “likes the way it sounds.”

 



 

Stand Out Tracks

 

Mural

 

a hook-less, 8:45 epic poem accompanied by angelic voices and repetitive keys, Mural could very well be a stream of consciousness freestyle that can stunningly hold the attention of any fan of lyrical mastery.

 

Prisoner 1 & 2 (featuring Ayesha Jaco)

 

a cinematic pairing of strings and keys in 2 distinct movements where the perspectives of an inmate and CO are exposed. Briefly interrupted by rattling chains, a poem entitled “The New Jim Crow”, and screeching crows, Prisoner 1 & 2 paints an eerie description of how mass incarceration tragically alters the psyches of those employed by prisons and those behind bars.

 

“Love is looking over various errors/And hate is habitually accelerating terror/ Everywhere but the mural/ I just wanna be collected when I call god damn/ I don’t wanna be accepted; not as all as I am/ Visitor, visitor, prisoner, prisoner, land.”

 

Chopper (featuring Billy Blue, Buk of Psychodrama, Trouble, Trae tha Truth, Fam-Lay, & Glasses Malone)

 

a gritty banger outlining Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem, Self Actualization) from a hood/impoverished perspective.

 

“That’s why I look at God kinda odd/ Cuz these are the cards that he deal us/ Ramen can’t fill us/ Medicaid can’t heal us/and the mamas can’t stop us/and these choppers might kill us.”

 

Deliver (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)

 

Deliver oozes over a sizzling bass line and examines the root causes of violence, drug addiction, and urban decay that have led to the specific refusal of pizza chains to deliver to urban neighborhoods.

 

“The ghetto is a physical manifestation of hate and a place where ethnicity determines your placement/a place that defines your station/reminds you niggas your place is the basement/white people in the attic/niggas sellin’ dope/white people is the addicts/white folks act like they ain’t show us how to traffic/all that dope to China ya’ll don’t call that trappin.’”

 

Madonna (And Other Mothers in the Hood) (featuring Nikki Jean)

 

Just as Mary lost Jesus on the cross, Madonna captures the unmitigated grief and unanswered questions of mothers who have lost children to violence in the streets.

 

“They sent them all to the slaughter/ Baby mama, no father/ He was hanging round them murderers/ And them prostitutes and them robbers, yeah/ Them dope fiends and that water, yeah/ Wit’ angel dust in they nostrils, yeah/ They hit em up wit’ that chopper/ She was holdin’ him, in her hands/ Just like Stigmata, yeah/ Said you gon’ live here forever/ Salvation and treasure/ You gon’ live here forever, yeah/ Died like Ricky on his mama couch/ Right there in his mama house/ Only child, the holy mama’s your mama now/ Mama said my son never been no killer/ Mama said my son never been no gangster/ No drug dealer, no gang member/ Mama said my son never been no trouble/ Mama said my son never been no trouble.”

 

Final Thoughts

 

Mighty:

 

(adjective) great in amount, extent, degree, or importance; exceptional. “Tetsuo and Youth” is singularly one of the most complete studio albums released in recent years.

Necessary:

 

(adjective) being essential, indispensable, or requisite. From its acrylic on canvas cover art to the odes to double entendre, symbology, and subtleties not seen since “Food and Liquor I” and “The Cool”, Fiasco has created a kaleidoscopic observation of urban violence, racial profiling, mass incarceration, lust, depression, and the possibilities of growth and redemption.

 

Complete:

 

(adjective) having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full. This album is a tapestry of thought provoking subject matter and stellar production that can only be described as cohesive abstraction.

The Plastic Gate: Thoughts About Last Night’s Pacers/Wizards Game, Celebrity Worship & Extreme Poverty

America’s entertainers (professional athletes, musicians, actors/actresses) are a version of British royalty; I’m convinced of this.

After the game, Joe and I went down to the family and friends guest area to slap hands with David West and the other Pacers players. There’s a small, 3 foot high plastic gate there that separates invited guests from the players, it forms something like a receiving line. I never really questioned the gate before, but Joe’s reaction to it made me think about it while waiting for David to exit the locker room. (Joe is extremely observant and analytical, his eye for symbolism is more keen than most.) The gate was grungy and flimsy. Several of us joked about it collapsing under our weight (about 50 people were leaning on it while waiting for the Pacers). But when the players began exiting the locker room, I noticed something different…for the first time since attending David’s away games, I saw the players physically moving the gate aside so that they could really hug and slap hands with their families and friends before boarding the bus. This was rather symbolic, like a rejection of the perceived hierarchy that this grungy, filthy gate imposed. Paul George and Rasual Butler took the time to talk to us at length. (lol Paul promised me again that they would beat the Heat) Rasual asked me to take a picture of he and his brother. Roy appeared happy and jovial while laughing, hugging and joking with friends. Lance made it a point to acknowledge everyone, whether he knew them or not. (Lol he said he remembered me from the Portland game, but I don’t think he really did David spoke highly of me when introducing me to two of his close friends. There was a warmth there that again rejected the notion that they are in fact deserving of some kind of worship, i.e. the gate was pushed aside.

It’s always good to see David, he’s an intelligent, thoughtful and overall great dude outside of being a gifted professional athlete. He and Lesley West make it a point to stay grounded and the two of them give back to their communities in countless ways. I am proud that they are a part of my family.

After some introductions and goodbyes, Joe and I immediately exited the arena and passed 2 homeless men wrapped in tattered blankets. They were both hemmed up against the Verizon Center’s walls, so close yet so painfully far from more wealth than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. So close, yet so disgustingly far from the meager wealth I’ve managed to accumulate in the past few years. We’d stood in the midst of hundreds of millions of dollars and horrific, rock bottom poverty within seconds. What a tragic irony…

For Richard Sherman: A Sermon On Centerfield

I pledge allegiance
to the fans of the
united states of america
and to the hypocrisy
for which we stand,
one scoreboard
under a mob
with trash talk
and concussions for all.

as american as apple pie
football is religion

with its’ opening day kick-off christmas
and superbowl like easter’s resurrection
all praise ye saints of hard hits
and sacred pig skin ritual

communion of cold beers
like lombardi’s blood
may the barbecued wings represent the flesh
of your team’s turnover on the 1 yard line
with 10 seconds to go

lift up the name of sacrifice
to the grid iron gods on high

on this day
let there be wins
as all sins are forgiven

let there be gatorade and fist pumps
let there be pensive glares
let there be chartreuse sewn in the veins of navy blue
let there be unlimited spitting on sidelines
let there be coaching, headsets, grunts
x’s and o’s
let there be limbs bent unholy
let there be prayer
let there be martyrs carried away on carts
let there be thumbs up
let there be monumental cheer
let there be more carnage before the next commercial
let there be billion dollar stadium measured in decibels

(oh thank you grid iron god for the twelfth man)

let there be owners peering through binoculars
in their billionaire boxes
let there be high definition replays of the play
with the sickening crunch
let there be missed tackles face masks sacks for a loss
intentional grounding
let there be trapezius muscles
bruised battered clenched
let there be a numbing from needles

let there be halftime analysis
let there be calls for “aggression believing harder hitting
he better hit him in the mouth too much time in the pocket”

let there be sideline expletives antics
tantrums towels twisting turning pile-ups
fumble
fuck the refs
let there be blown calls
let there be electric electricity
let there be power
fire works
red faced fans in extreme
sleet cold snow rain
let there be 3rd and forever
let there be tip in the end zone interception

but not you.

ye though thou made play of the game
play of thou lifetime

not you

ye may not shout
nor smile
not wince
nor seek glory
not embody confidence
nor jeer
nor pounce
nor commit cocky personal foul
even after the game is over
not celebrate
when asked opinion by interviewer
not release guttural outburst

at this,
your mountaintop
at this your pinnacle
at this your moment inside end zone
as your heart pumps
one thousand beats per second

ye compton
ye archetypical black male threat
ye gladiator
ye passion for bloodsport
ye exception (or not)
ye second in high school class (or not)
ye standford grad (or not)
ye young melanin man

without wrap sheet
without shit. damn. fuck.
without pistol or murderous intention

not you, Richard Sherman.

You
Are
Not
Allowed.

© 2014, B. Sharise Moore

Miguel & The Mosh Pit Of Rapey R&B

I’ve been a sucker for a good falsetto since El Debarge. There’s something about the heavy treble and melodic keys in “Oooh, I Like It”, “Time Will Reveal”, and “Love Me In A Special Way” that always manages to trigger an 80s nostalgia like nothing else can. Thusly, I became somewhat of a casual fan of Miguel after the release of his sumptuously smooth mega-hit, “Adorn.” I sang it in the shower, blasted it through the speakers of my Toyota, and jammed to it while doing laundry. “Adorn” was just THAT good.

 

And then the record skipped, scratched, and teetered dangerously on the precipice of hell.

 

Being the casual fan that I was, I never purchased “Adorn” or the Art Dealer Chic, Volume 1 EP on which it was featured. I sang along then paused in shock as he precariously leapt into the mosh pit of screaming fans on Sunday’s Billboard awards. But until recently, I was truly oblivious to the existence of “How Many Drinks”, the rapey companion piece, the anti-“Adorn”.

 

Miguel begins “How Many Drinks” with the lyrics:

 

Frustration, watching you dance

Invitation, to get in them pants

Come closer baby, so I can touch

One question, am I movin’ too fast?

 

Umm…creepy.

 

A few questions/observations if I may:

 

1. Why is Miguel experiencing frustration while watching this woman dance? Does he feel entitled to her? Is it merely lust?

 

a. Seems this lyric singlehandedly reinforces the caveman meme which implies that men are nothing more than inherent sexual beasts who don’t have the ability to control their erections/desires, even in the confines of public nightclubs, lounges, bars, parties, and/or meet and greets.

 

2. Who exactly is inviting Miguel to “get in them pants”? The woman? Miguel, himself? (see entitlement above)

 

3. Is the dialogue between Miguel and this woman real or imagined?

 

a. At this point, we have yet to hear a single yes, no, or maybe from the woman in question; her thoughts are unknown.

 

*Sexual Harassment is any unwelcomed or unwanted sexual behavior or pressure which embarrasses, humiliates, or intimidates an individual. Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal, and even nonverbal and visual (such as staring or gestures that are suggestive or sexual).

 

 

 

Miguel continues:

 

Cause I ain’t leavin alone, feel like I could be honest, babe

We both know that we’re grown

That’s why I wanna know

How many drinks would it take you to leave with me?

 

 

Once Miguel asserts that under no circumstances will he leave alone, the song dissolves into a predatory quagmire. He uses the words “honest” and “grown” to infer that their supposed maturity green lights his right to intimacy. And if the manipulation weren’t transparent enough, he asks how many drinks it would take for him to convince this woman to leave with him. The lyrics identify alcohol as the primary tool/weapon of choice for coercion. It can also be inferred that were alcohol NOT involved, the woman may not consider leaving with him at all. This woman is never given any agency. She has no voice, no say in the matter. She is only permitted/expected to dance, accept as many drinks as it takes, leave with Miguel, and have sex with him.

 

*Drug Facilitated Rape typically involves the use of the “date rape drug” (Flunitraepam, Rohypnol, GHB (Liquid E or Liquid G) and/ or alcohol.

*According to recent studies, alcohol is the #1 drug used to facilitate a sexual assault. For rape which takes place on campuses, alcohol is being used in 90% of cases.

 

He croons further:

Yeah, you look good and I got money

But I don’t wanna waste my time

Back of my mind I’m hopin you say two or three

You look good, we came to party

But I don’t wanna waste my time

 

 

Miguel’s declaration that he has money infers that he believes this woman, and possibly women in general, are commodities that can be bought, used, and discarded. There is also an implication here that women are ready and willing to have sex with men because they have money and thusly, he is entitled. His ducks are in a row; all that’s needed is a bit of persuading.

*In a research poll for the American magazine, Ms, one in every twelve men interviewed admitted to having forced a woman to have intercourse or tried to force a woman to have intercourse through physical force or coercion; that is, they admitted to raping or attempting to rape a woman. However, hardly any of these men identified themselves as rapists.

 

And finally, he coos:

Temptation, is calling your name

Sweet persuasion, baby this is a game

Come closer, baby, if you like what you hear

Impression, is what I’m makin you feel

No, no, no

I ain’t judgin

If you do decide that you might be fuckin’ tonight, what?

More power to you if you do decide that you might be fuckin’ tonight

 

 

It is unsettling that Miguel compares his advances to sport, a game to be lost or won. He repeats endlessly that his time is of the essence and fucking is the endgame. Alarmingly the word “persuasion” is used explicitly. Persuasion is premeditated, and in this case, predatory. Miguel muddies these crude advances with phrases like “If you do decide” and “I ain’t judgin” to make it appear as though this woman has been given a choice. However, the initial harassment, incessant coercion, and introduction of alcohol make her ability to truly consent impossible.

“How Many Drinks” isn’t just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous tumble into the gaping mouth and jagged teeth of rape culture.

 

*California Penal Code clearly states that having sex with a person who is intoxicated is illegal and may be punishable with a prison sentence.

*Legally, an individual cannot consent to sex if they are drunk; having sex without consent is RAPE/sexual assault.

 

*Alcohol impairs the victim’s ability to recognize a potentially dangerous situation. When drinking, one may not notice someone’s persistent attempts to get them to an isolated location or to get them to consume more alcohol. Intoxication also makes it much more difficult to successfully resist a sexual assault – alcohol produces a slow and ineffective response to an attack.

 

*In a study of students who had been victims of some type of sexual aggression while in college—from intimidation and illegal restraint to rape—the women surveyed reported that 68 percent of their male assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack.

 

For further reading on the topic:

http://www.cwfefc.org/svfacts.html#svtstats

http://www.fullerton.edu/alcohol_drug_info/drunksex.html

www.survive.org.uk