Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Author Archives: Joy

Dying to Live

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A Blackjack Poem: 3-Line Stanzas with 7 Syllables in Each Line

Dying to Live

She filed for divorce one day

But it took forever to end

Twelve dark months to be exact 


But twenty-nine years married

Ripped bloody holes in her soul

And bulldozed her emotions 


A woman dying to live

Will eventually choke time

To cocoon herself with God

Back to School Nightmares (BTSN)

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My friend said he’s still having nightmares

After 23 years teaching

I thought

Every year of my entire teaching career

Before returning to my classroom

BTSNs devour my sleep

I’ve misplaced my classroom

I can’t talk when the students say hello

All the preparation is suddenly gone

My shoes are missing

I wore pajamas instead of my new clothes

A boy hits me and I hit him back

The principal decides to fire me

My lunch is rotten

My car is stolen

My alarm awakens me

I’m thinking I’ve found my car

But all I find is it’s time to wake up

And I haven’t even

Fallen asleep

Narratives of a Black Woman: Unappreciated

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Narratives of a Black Woman: Sick

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That Kind of Mother

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Cleans the house with bleach while the children play outside kind of mother

Finds ways to make meals when her money is tight kind of mother

Works two, three, and four jobs when she’s a breadwinning kind of mother

Hides her pain to make cookies and cakes at midnight kind of mother


Cries at 2:45 a.m. when her child is struggling in school kind of mother

Prays to God at 3 a.m. for strength to carry her children through kind of mother

Takes her children to the altar kind of mother

Teaches them not to lean on their own understanding kind of mother


Knows how to use a needle and thread kind of mother

Asks for help when math gets too hard for her kind of mother

Tells the truth about why they can’t have new shoes kind of mother

Is never too proud to go without so her children can have more kind of mother


Looks in the mirror and sees possibilities kind of mother

Looks in the past and honors her struggles kind of mother

Looks her son and daughter in their eyes to ease their pain kind of mother

Looks at herself with gray hair, folded skin, tired eyes, calloused feet,

aching hands, broken heart, and prayed-on knees and says

I have been that kind of mother.


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who know that kind of mother, are that kind of mother, or hope to be that kind of mother some day.

Narratives of a Black Woman: Breadwinner

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Narratives of a Black Woman: PTSD

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Narratives of a Black Woman: Rage

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Narratives of a Black Woman: Triggered Traumas

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Narratives of a Black Woman: Wedlock

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