A violent love

Had a friend
A gay man of color who came from a middle class family, made good money.

When Trump was elected he told me I was being silly for my fears He told me I was being over-emotional, the things I and other people were saying were not going to happen.

I’m horrified that we
Those who took to the streets
Those who started planning
Those who rushed to government offices
Those who broke in night and the weeks after are right.

I cut this man from my life on all avenues of contact.
I’m thinking of him now what his face looks like, what he feels if anything as these people and countless others are dead because of murderers getting fueled up under a false and blood-soaked banner of nationalism they call patriotism.

The white supremacist with the gun
The white supremacist with the bombs
The white supremacist who is your doctor
The white supremacist who is your lover
The white supremacist who is your teacher
The white supremacist who is your manager
The white supremacist who is your neighborhood officer

Killing you in literal ways quickly and slowly.

The entitlement of the white supremacist to our bodies, to our knowledge, to our history, to our lives

The white supremacist who expects to be met, told and taught about their present-day and historical impact by marginalized people with gentle smiles and open arms and love.

You’d be surprised how violent acts can be committed with a heart full to bursting of love.

I have a heart that has been broken by this, by the weeks and months before, by Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland, by rocks thrown at my head at a football game for being on the “wrong side”, from being denied access to a sleep over in kindergarten because of the color of my skin by the mother of a friend who was also the school’s counselor…

A heart so broken, enlarged by the size of it’s scars
And full to bursting with a violent love.

Mothering self

A few months ago I yelled at my birth mother.
Not raise my voice yelling
Lost my shit yelling

We’re Black and Southern and raised in the church and debutantes.
We don’t yell
We’ll Jenifer Jeanette Lewis each other to death but we don’t do yelling

I remember being simultaneously horrified and relieved. We said some pretty rancid and in hindsight hilarious things to each other.
I remember screaming “I’m so angry. We need space. This is just a moment mother. I love you Mommy Dearest but I’m taking my inner child and we’re leaving this conversation!” 24 hours later we were hella southern civil with each other even though it took weeks for us to come to center again.

As I seethed for a solid month I vowed to never be so idealistic again with her (that didn’t last ๐Ÿ˜‚) I held tight to the child she stung. I told her I was her fucking mother now.

This was the best thing to have ever happened.

It has allowed me a way to give myself the gentle nurturing my mother, our single black mothers working two jobs and dealing with systemic oppression and the church didn’t always have the space to give.
We chat now
This child I was and I

Today she tugged on my arm and said “Am I too sensitive?” The response came swift and easy
No child.
You’re also asking if you’re weak. If you’re too soft. You’re not weak and softness is not a bad thing. Consider that some people are fucking ass hats and cunt faces and that’s their cross to bear. Instead of being decent and doing change work these punk ass bitches will make you think you need to change.

Your sensitivity has given us access to compassion
It is a double edge sword and we bleed but we feel and we have joy even if all we can feel right now is sorrow.

Wield your sword child.
Don’t worry.
I’ll always be there to punch the people who fuck with you in the throat.
I love you.
I love me.

Tasting the sun

TW: Eating disorder

I live with an eating disorder.
I don’t talk about it because I’m not sure if I can keep my slap hand off of people who will inevitably respond “oh that’s why you’re fat”

Depending on the trigger I’ll either stop eating or won’t stop eating.

I’m struggling right now with the world but today I’m reminding myself that food can be medicine and I can think of it like medicine instead of good or bad or shame or congratulation points

I’m reminding myself of how smart my body is
I’m reminding myself to breathe before and after every bite
I’m reminding myself to taste the sun
I’m reminding myself to take in wholeness and not stuff down or silence grief sorrow or rage

I’m reminding myself that I get to feel the full range of emotion, that I don’t have to fear it or worry about being seen as less than because I have it.

I’m here in it.
And I’ll be here after it.


I can’t smell

It’s fucked up but I’m like that dog in “Lady and the Tramp”. Flowers and farts go unnoticed but I can smell important things
Not that flowers and farts aren’t necessarily important…

I can smell the dead
I can smell how they died or lived
I can smell when I need to stay somewhere or leave
I can smell connection

I’ve straight up fallen in love over the way someone hit my nose. My first crush was the approaching storm and dust being heated in sunbeams on an upright piano.

My first girlfriend bathed in Tommy Girl and Vanilla but under all that was carnival candy apples and black pepper

My ex, the big EX was a box being opened for the first time and for all of his awfulness a type of innocence. I imagine Peter Pan would have the same scent. Together we were coffee.
The expensive shit
Until it got bad
We became sour, mold and acid. I smelled like burning flesh without the sickly sweet
He never noticed the change

After that I stopped paying attention to my nose

Until last night

I couldn’t stop sniffing the air or touching places I forgot were there. Our hands, our lips sent up our scent like smoke for a prayer.

This aroma is sankofa.

I follow it back to a time when I regarded this body of mine as a sacred wonder and wanted nothing more than mutual worship with an other’s sacred wonder.

Then became now.

as we floated down a San Francisco street
our fingers twined like legs, a couple walked past us.

One of them turned his head for a moment to look at us. “Ya’ll smell so good!”
His boyfriend agreed.

I think we laughed

I think we said “that’s because we smell like each other”

I think

I don’t know… I don’t remember if the words actually made it out. But I do know they were correct.

We smelled of new earth, a hatching egg, a spark, the first page in a fresh note book, sunrise orange and Lilith making love to herself.

A perfume that should be bottled and labeled “thank god” and “finally”

We smelled like hope
and depending on your demographic

Dear Aretha

I was raised in your voice

Precious Lord on the ride to church while I tugged at itchy crinoline and tried not to mess the perfect plaits my mother made

Feet swinging off the floor in spinning salon chairs while Ms Reed scratched out my scalp… humming Until You Come Back to Me right into my head

We thought we were so cute
so chic
Angeline, Erica and I in our pink turtle necks lip syncing Respect in the elementary school talent show

When we finally moved into a house with a shower I would open the window, lock the door (the only door mama would let me lock)and sing Natural Woman until my brother’s banging became unbearable.
I’d wipe the mist from the mirror and stand there wrapped in a towel pretending to be grown even though I couldn’t even fill my bra.

Someday I was going to be a Do Right Woman for a Do Right Man

Nearly a decade later I realized I was just a fool.
I was washing dishes in the sink after Christmas dinner and I kept singing
You told me to leave you alone
My daddy said come on home
My doctor said take it easy


My heart would start pining
My brain would start questioning
My pussy would start aching


and then I’d be dancing around the living room screaming Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freeeeeedom! with my new roomies pitbull

I eventually found myself and that freedom ontop of black go go boxes, under a red and blue Hard French banner, in a tight dress with a belly full of El Rio margarita dancing to Rock Steady

You were
You are
You will always be rock steady
a rock steady bridge over troubled water

Like on the day they shot up that church
Or the day that baby saw her father murder by the police
On the day they drug her from her car over a signal light
And the day they marched in Charlottesville

The days I lost hope

Your voice reminded me that a change is gonna come

Rest in power Black mother
mother to a million black babies who were raised and raised up in your voice
We salute you and add your name to the list of our Magnificent Mighty Dead.

I don’t usually hire fat chicks but…

A while ago a producer said my voice inspired him to create a show. He said it was going to be a jazz show ,live music was going to be a focus.

I noted that his main singer, main musicians, main performers were white and slender. Iโ€™ve only performed there once.

Since then he’s said he wanted me back but money… then he’ll turn his head a few degrees to the thin white performer next to me & offer them a date. I take the same pay as everyone else in the show for the most part. He knows it.

He reminded me of those guys who wanted to fuck with me but didn’t want to be seen with me. He kept doing this until I called him on his shit and then activated Virgo Superpower #14 “The Elsa”:
You are so dead to me that you never lived (because ewww bridge burning is so messy)

I finally valued myself more than I valued an opportunity to come play.

So when a producer and creator I greatly admired wanted to have me come sing and have a white person be the face of my voice I was hurt but I was ready.

I explained the historical erasure of fat black femme bodies, I explained that my voice and my aesthetic are inseparable.
Visibility is resistance.
We’re cool now
Not Frozen

There are people who say they are going to hire me to sing because my performance inspired them, made them feel, made them cry.
Then silence
Then I see a smaller bodied singer on their stage
Then they see me and say they want to hire me
Repeat repeat repeat
You looking all uncomfortable because you’re sizest and maybe racist and it’s not cool to be that way in this industry but you are and we both know it.

I’m used to the discrimination
It’s made me creative
It’s made me branch out

It’s also made me hypercritical of myself
It’s made me feel unsafe, unwanted and unloved
And that is a gift because I’ve had to forge better armor, learn to want and love myself.
I’m struggling through this now
Wanting and loving myself
But I know that this will turn into the best relationship I’ve ever had.

I see you and I’m laughing
And I’m not going to comfort you by participating in a guilt inspired false conversation
There are plenty of stages that do hire me, all of me and you’ve been Elsa-ed AF โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’™โ„๏ธ

Photo by Patric Carver
Taken at Monday Night Hubba Hubba Revue

DNA Lounge SF

I find my lack of faith disturbing

A friend reached out to me today. Someone I’ve known for over a decade. We don’t talk often but when we do it’s always been a bit transformative. She has a way of hitting the nail on the head with precision and a gentleness that I’ve only seen in people who are truly strong.
I admitted that I felt like something was missing
It took awhile for me to realize it was confidence

I have a very tenuous relationship with confidence.
It’s why I laugh every-time someone tries to tell me I am confident as if it were a compliment. I’ve considered the assumption to be an erasure of how much work I have to do in order to do anything. I began to think of it as a contemptuous word because it was a currency I couldn’t deal in.

Defiance I have in spares but confidence?
Truth is I want to know what confidence feels like beyond 5 mins in a spotlight
Truth is I’ve been running away from some brilliant things
Truth is I’ve been running away from myself

So she told me the story of the Runaway Bunny
She said
You have to be your own Mama Bunny.
When you run away, run back to yourself and love yourself enough to be your own safe place.
Be proud of yourself.
So proud that you want to see yourself happy and fulfilled.
You give that to so many people… You deserve it too.
Don’t be Vader… Be a bunny.

Thank you Tara ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ’œ