Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Tag Archives: God

Black Skin

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Black Skin

 

Standing in the mirror where age confronts memory

Beauty hides deep within the stories of my skin

 

Sunscreens and night creams slathered with care

Melanin needs help to protect a woman’s brown skin

 

Finding shades of caramel without greens and yellows

In makeup never mixed for the depth of Black skin

 

Shea butter and coconut oil line her shelves

Natural soothing salves bear the moisture of Mama’s skin

 

Draped in hip-hugging dresses and snugging pants

Captivate eyes in the rhythm of sisters’ skin

 

Paintings on my wall call my ancestors in

Dripping their blue-black and coal-black African skin

 

Tender caresses to calm our silent grieving

Born from the resilience inside beaten skin

 

Pure cotton sheets cradle my worn tired soul

Where I sleep and remember God is

the skin I’m in.

 

Daughter of…

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Daughter of…

By Stacey L. Joy, © May 10, 2020

I am Stacey Lorinn Johnson Joy

I am the daughter of

Gloria Lee McPherson Johnson Cooper

Adored as Mommie

Purest of people

Pristine and popular

Someone everyone admired 

Connoisseur of words and puzzles

Follower of rules and righteousness

Smoker, Bowler, Badminton Champ, Legacy Delta

I am the daughter of

Mrs. Cooper

Neighborhood Mom

P.E. teacher

Career Advisor and Counselor

Respected educator

40 years in education

Who taught me how to be me

I am the daughter of

Patsy Ann McPherson

Culinary Queen Nana

Seamstress

Family matriarch

Sweetest heart of the family

Loved to party and hated to pay bills

Taught me how to cry and dance

How to cook and eat well

I am the daughter of 

Proud independent black women

Working in my village

Auntie Joyce and Aunt Frankie

Sister Pam 

Who loved me before I was born

Cousins who have my back

Who are my chosen sisters and brothers

Who teach me that blood and water

Are both thick enough 

To bind us together

I am the daughter of 

Freedom and survival

Feminism and activism

Educators who write and break the rules

Who don’t back down

Writers who inspire me

Whose stories tell

The power of sharing our words

I am the daughter of 

God

Who creates all mothers

Who sustains all struggling women

Who heals all hurting nurturers

Who empowers and ignites all the work 

We all do and have ever done.

Day 17 of 30: Write Your Own Lines for Fortune Cookies

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Fortunes for Survivors of Misfortune

For those of us who have survived abuse…

 

Survivors of abuse have an automatic angel of protection installed in every scar.

When you can’t sleep, the angels are busy around you.

Your abuser never sleeps soundly.

Your abuser suffers from IBS and incontinence.

Your nightmares mirror your abuser’s reality.

Your abuser has no friends, no joy, and no money.

If your abuser is your spouse, leave now, don’t look back, and take your kids with you.

If your abuser is your lover, love yourself more and leave now.

If your abuser was a stranger, your abuser is now insane.

As a survivor, your eyes will catch eyes of other survivors.

As a survivor, you will tell your story to save the next survivor.

As a survivor, silence is shaming, sharing is empowering.

Each tear you ever cried was collected in God’s palms.

God releases 100-fold blessings for each tear you’ve shed.

Don’t fear being abused again, all abusers are afraid of you.

Don’t fear falling in love again, but fall in love with yourself and God first.

I’m From (Day 12 of 30)

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Today’s prompt: Write a Where I’m From poem. I have been writing these for a long time, so it was refreshing to write a new one with different content.

I’m From

I’m from “Put your hands on your hips

And let your backbone slip!”

From my mother’s strong legs and thick thighs

To wide smiles and dark brown eyes

I’m from four generations of freckles and moles

To “Stop combing your hair so much and maybe it’ll grow.”

I’m from Gloria and Jay

Both graduates of U.C.L.A.

I’m from playing school and wanting to teach

To walking on the sink to get things out of my reach

I’m from Are You My Mother?

To Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret

I’m from creating a hidden reading room in a linen closet

To card-table tents and Barbie campers

I’m from a big yellow house on a hill in “The Dons”

To pool parties and Slip ‘n Slide scratches on my knees 

From backyard baby showers and Christmas Brunch

To classy Bridge players and domino dads talkin’ trash

I’m from Hopscotch and laggers on the side of the house

To a daring first kiss that made me shiver and spit

I’m from Nestle Quik’s chocolate bubbles floating in my milk

To Gogo Burgers and Tito’s Tacos with guacamole

From burnt cheese toast and El Patio Mexican restaurant

To sardines and crackers after Saturday morning waffles

I’m from Nana’s Monday night Russian Bank and Pokeno

To Mommie’s badminton matches on Sunday mornings in the gym

I’m from “Drive safely and don’t stay out too late”

To cheerleading at Friday night football games and Shakeys after

From “You will not be driving for 2 more weeks”

To senior prom and graduation parties past curfew

I’m from “Mommie, I think I’m pregnant”

To sedation at a clinic plagued with regrets

I’m from growing up and moving out 

To dorms, apartments and owning my condo

From married with two children and too many jobs too young

To divorced, grateful, and balanced 

I’m from the suffering of my mother’s and father’s cancer

To the resurrection of hope and joy after grief

I’m from struggle, suffering, injustice, and inequalities

To taking a stand, sitting in, and marching onward

I’m from knowing my ancestors had it harder than us

To trusting that God is still the same today and always

I’m from poetry, chalk, protests, and music

I’m from breath and spirit 

I’m from love.

Joy for Humanity (Day 2 of April’s #Verselove Writing)

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Today’s prompt: Write a Blitz Poem with 50 lines and follows the pattern of repetition.

Joy for Humanity

Honoring life’s complexities
Honoring grief and joy
Joy in moments
Moments of solitude
Moments of gratitude
Gratitude for life
Gratitude attitudes heal
Heal anxious doubts
Heal the broken-hearted
Broken-hearted grandparents
Broken-hearted students
Students missing school
Students who suffer
Suffer without interactions
Suffer at home
Home but lonely
Home isn’t safe
Safe is relative
Safe isn’t equitable
Equitable for whom
Equitable provisions fail
Fail education
Fail our children
Children within the gaps
Children starving for love
Love is an action
Love their teachers gave
Gave without expectations
Gave when exhausted
Exhausted is normalized
Exhausted rat-race life
Life prescribed in dosages
Life balanced on edges
Edges of insanity
Edges of faith
Faith to jump
Faith now wavering
Wavering into fear
Wavering back to God
God knows all
God sees all
All the wrong
All the grace
Grace during suffering
Grace for humanity
Humanity being tested
Humanity on hold
Hold for safety
Hold your breath
Breath is life

ElevenEleven (Day 4 of 5-Day Writing Challenge)

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ElevenEleven

I am born of the power and mystique

Of eleven

Born the eleventh day of the eleventh month

11 days before America’s great mourning

Before a ripped nation 

would forever be severed

Born in the eleventh hour and only 120 seconds 

After the eleventh minute

I am born of New Orleans 

Oklahoma and Los Angeles

Of struggle and success

Marriage and separation

Divorce and devastation

I am born of revolutions 

seeking solutions

To injustice and segregation

100 years after Emancipation

A nation steeped in sickness and hatred

Medgar Evers 

President John F. Kennedy

And Four Little Girls

Dead

But of a King who would

March

Speak

Stand 

For equality in our stead

He had a dream!

Will we let freedom ring?

I am born of a distant father 

fighting in Vietnam 

For a country that denied

His dignity because of his color

A father who sent letters

But rarely spent time

At the house he chose for my family

Where 3 bedrooms and 3 baths

Were as easy as warm waffles for us

With hopscotch and laggers

Barbies and Beany and Cecil

I am born of a gifted mother

Who balanced her cigarette on her lip

Like she balanced parenting and parties

A master of words, pools, and school

A teacher who never stopped learning

And made us beg for crossword puzzles

Boggle and Rummikub

A woman scorned but undefeated

Someone who lived with cancer 

Like a warrior 

Adjusted her armor and kept fighting

Until she was ready to be released

Into her ancestors’ arms

I am born of strong legs and working hands

Of bright smiles and freckles

I am born of tears that fall like rain

“As a joyous daybreak to end

The long night of captivity.”

I am born of African kingdoms and royalty

Of the Bantu and the Congo

I am born of a long lineage of power

I am born of God.

“I Am” 30-Day Challenge #22

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I am enlightened

by morning sun

by favorite scriptures

by poetry

by words

by love

by God

The Last Day of The 30-Day Poem

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Day 30

sunrays

I’m giving myself a chance

to dance again

to smile

or cry

thawing frozen feelings

reviving dead emotions

I never meant to bury.

Finding my gift of happiness

where welts warped its golden shroud

bows untied

releasing quiet pleasures

once trapped and tangled

stifled in shame

hearing my own laughter

I’ll never be the same.

Holding my hands

in prayer

holding my breath

in fear

holding my own

in preparation

for the day when you

finally fly

solo.

In the spirit

of loving forgiveness

I always pray

because anger

begets blocks

to blessings

to peace

to freedom

And I refuse to be silenced

noosed

bound

or trapped

behind the roars

of the

wounded.

Somewhere between

love and time

I fell into

darkness

between tics

and tocks

we

muted

the truth.

But as scripture says,

“The truth shall set you free,”

I also believe

that lies will keep you caged

and muddle

your life

in madness

in anxiety

in chaos.

God

loves me

enough

to

uncage me

and

soothe me

in

His perfect peace.

He will never

leave

me

and will not ever

forsake

me.

Does my face

show

secrets you hoped

no one would ever

know?

Or have I kept your

rusted anchors

down

low

where

genuine, honest, compassionate, kind, forgiving

love

should grow?

Being honest

with myself

permits me to accept

each time

your words cut

each time

my heart cried

each time

I believed

your lies

and knew some day

you’d see.

With open eyes

and clarity

my steps

leave prints

on new paths

toward destinations

where no hesitation

no condemnation

no frustration

can impede

what is meant to be

for me.

Sometimes

I feel God in the driver’s seat

holding me under His wing

around every turn

every hill

up or down

Then there are those moments

when His silence prevails

waiting for me

to take the wheel

and I know

He trusts me

when I drive.

I’m taking care of me

designing my future

painting pictures

in vibrant colors

writing poems

with high-definition

emotions

and looking in my eyes

without tears.

No more black-out years

no more financial fears

no more eggshells

to walk on

no more

denying me

for you.

I can’t be what I once was

I can’t become

who I’m destined to be

unless I replace

the life I can’t live

with one that

I can.

My new normal

embraces mornings

smiles in sunshine

heals after prayers

and tucks me in

layers

of

love.

I never knew

the power of preferred silence

meditating on the moment

listening to musical heartbeats

and sleeping soundly

in my own peaceful rhythms.

Waking to prayers of gratitude

sparkles of dust

dance on morning sunbeams

reminding me of spirits

that moved

while I slept.

Hate when my dreams

still spit fire

because it means

my sanity sessions

remain mandatory

until I awaken

to white smoke.

So many anticipations

of uncertainties

of victories

of falling facades

and sandcastles I kicked over

rebuilding belief

in the power of loving

myself.

In my private womb

preparing

to push

way down

through the canal

where renaissance

awaits.

My heart will beat melodic rhythms

and new favorite songs

will color rainbows

on walls

where faded pictures

of my old story

once hung.

I won’t ever deny

28 chapters

of my truth

with plot twists

and characters

who change

amidst a climax

of unexpected endings.

My spirit thrives

while carrying burdens

while covering inadequacies

while choking back tears

while building walls

that eventually come

tumbling

down

my spirit thrives.

Like the phoenix

rising

like the sun

I ascend

in a pink-ribboned sky

of limitless

possibilities.

Like the innocence

of a child

believing

nothing could be better than

popsicles

cotton candy

and rose-scented

grandmas.

Like the love story

with an ending happier

than I imagined

Like my favorite song

playing in rotation

forever

Like cookies baking

and I never have to hide

any

for

me.

Taking back

what is rightfully mine

looking back

only to smile

pushing back

worry or fear

standing back

as you go.

I deleted

pages

chapters

stanzas

that bled through bandages of lies

to write my new song lyrics

after our last goodbyes.

Magical melodies

resound

on the wings of my heart’s hope

on sighs of a quiet wish

on halos of light

now dancing

all around me

in

victory.

Day 29 of The 30-Day Poem

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Day 29

_DSC2021

I’m giving myself a chance

to dance again

to smile

or cry

thawing frozen feelings

reviving dead emotions

I never meant to bury.

Finding my gift of happiness

where welts warped its golden shroud

bows untied

releasing quiet pleasures

once trapped and tangled

stifled in shame

hearing my own laughter

I’ll never be the same.

Holding my hands

in prayer

holding my breath

in fear

holding my own

in preparation

for the day when you

finally fly

solo.

In the spirit

of loving forgiveness

I always pray

because anger

begets blocks

to blessings

to peace

to freedom

And I refuse to be silenced

noosed

bound

or trapped

behind the roars

of the

wounded.

Somewhere between

love and time

I fell into

darkness

between tics

and tocks

we

muted

the truth.

But as scripture says,

“The truth shall set you free,”

I also believe

that lies will keep you caged

and muddle

your life

in madness

in anxiety

in chaos.

God

loves me

enough

to

uncage me

and

soothe me

in

His perfect peace.

He will never

leave

me

and will not ever

forsake

me.

Does my face

show

secrets you hoped

no one would ever

know?

Or have I kept your

rusted anchors

down

low

where

genuine, honest, compassionate, kind, forgiving

love

should grow?

Being honest

with myself

permits me to accept

each time

your words cut

each time

my heart cried

each time

I believed

your lies

and knew some day

you’d see.

With open eyes

and clarity

my steps

leave prints

on new paths

toward destinations

where no hesitation

no condemnation

no frustration

can impede

what is meant to be

for me.

Sometimes

I feel God in the driver’s seat

holding me under His wing

around every turn

every hill

up or down

Then there are those moments

when His silence prevails

waiting for me

to take the wheel

and I know

He trusts me

when I drive.

I’m taking care of me

designing my future

painting pictures

in vibrant colors

writing poems

with high-definition

emotions

and looking in my eyes

without tears.

No more black-out years

no more financial fears

no more eggshells

to walk on

no more

denying me

for you.

I can’t be what I once was

I can’t become

who I’m destined to be

unless I replace

the life I can’t live

with one that

I can.

My new normal

embraces mornings

smiles in sunshine

heals after prayers

and tucks me in

layers

of

love.

I never knew

the power of preferred silence

meditating on the moment

listening to musical heartbeats

and sleeping soundly

in my own peaceful rhythms.

Waking to prayers of gratitude

sparkles of dust

dance on morning sunbeams

reminding me of spirits

that moved

while I slept.

Hate when my dreams

still spit fire

because it means

my sanity sessions

remain mandatory

until I awaken

to white smoke.

So many anticipations

of uncertainties

of victories

of falling facades

and sandcastles I kicked over

rebuilding belief

in the power of loving

myself.

In my private womb

preparing

to push

way down

through the canal

where renaissance

awaits.

My heart will beat melodic rhythms

and new favorite songs

will color rainbows

on walls

where faded pictures

of my old story

once hung.

I won’t ever deny

28 chapters

of my truth

with plot twists

and characters

who change

amidst a climax

of unexpected endings.

My spirit thrives

while carrying burdens

while covering inadequacies

while choking back tears

while building walls

that eventually come

tumbling

down

my spirit thrives.

Like the phoenix

rising

like the sun

I ascend

in a pink-ribboned sky

of limitless

possibilities.

Like the innocence

of a child

believing

nothing could be better than

popsicles

cotton candy

and rose-scented

grandmas.

Like the love story

with an ending happier

than I imagined

Like my favorite song

playing in rotation

forever

Like cookies baking

and I never have to hide

any

for

me.

Taking back

what is rightfully mine

looking back

only to smile

pushing back

worry or fear

standing back

as you go.

I deleted

pages

chapters

stanzas

that bled through bandages of lies

to write my new song lyrics

after our last goodbyes.

Day 28 of The 30-Day Poem

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Day 28

standing tallflower

I’m giving myself a chance

to dance again

to smile

or cry

thawing frozen feelings

reviving dead emotions

I never meant to bury.

Finding my gift of happiness

where welts warped its golden shroud

bows untied

releasing quiet pleasures

once trapped and tangled

stifled in shame

hearing my own laughter

I’ll never be the same.

Holding my hands

in prayer

holding my breath

in fear

holding my own

in preparation

for the day when you

finally fly

solo.

In the spirit

of loving forgiveness

I always pray

because anger

begets blocks

to blessings

to peace

to freedom

And I refuse to be silenced

noosed

bound

or trapped

behind the roars

of the

wounded.

Somewhere between

love and time

I fell into

darkness

between tics

and tocks

we

muted

the truth.

But as scripture says,

“The truth shall set you free,”

I also believe

that lies will keep you caged

and muddle

your life

in madness

in anxiety

in chaos.

God

loves me

enough

to

uncage me

and

soothe me

in

His perfect peace.

He will never

leave

me

and will not ever

forsake

me.

Does my face

show

secrets you hoped

no one would ever

know?

Or have I kept your

rusted anchors

down

low

where

genuine, honest, compassionate, kind, forgiving

love

should grow?

Being honest

with myself

permits me to accept

each time

your words cut

each time

my heart cried

each time

I believed

your lies

and knew some day

you’d see.

With open eyes

and clarity

my steps

leave prints

on new paths

toward destinations

where no hesitation

no condemnation

no frustration

can impede

what is meant to be

for me.

Sometimes

I feel God in the driver’s seat

holding me under His wing

around every turn

every hill

up or down

Then there are those moments

when His silence prevails

waiting for me

to take the wheel

and I know

He trusts me

when I drive.

I’m taking care of me

designing my future

painting pictures

in vibrant colors

writing poems

with high-definition

emotions

and looking in my eyes

without tears.

No more black-out years

no more financial fears

no more eggshells

to walk on

no more

denying me

for you.

I can’t be what I once was

I can’t become

who I’m destined to be

unless I replace

the life I can’t live

with one that

I can.

My new normal

embraces mornings

smiles in sunshine

heals after prayers

and tucks me in

layers

of

love.

I never knew

the power of preferred silence

meditating on the moment

listening to musical heartbeats

and sleeping soundly

in my own peaceful rhythms.

Waking to prayers of gratitude

sparkles of dust

dance on morning sunbeams

reminding me of spirits

that moved

while I slept.

Hate when my dreams

still spit fire

because it means

my sanity sessions

remain mandatory

until I awaken

to white smoke.

So many anticipations

of uncertainties

of victories

of falling facades

and sandcastles I kicked over

rebuilding belief

in the power of loving

myself.

In my private womb

preparing

to push

way down

through the canal

where renaissance

awaits.

My heart will beat melodic rhythms

and new favorite songs

will color rainbows

on walls

where faded pictures

of my old story

once hung.

I won’t ever deny

28 chapters

of my truth

with plot twists

and characters

who change

amidst a climax

of unexpected endings.

My spirit thrives

while carrying burdens

while covering inadequacies

while choking back tears

while building walls

that eventually come

tumbling

down

my spirit thrives.

Like the phoenix

rising

like the sun

I ascend

in a pink-ribboned sky

of limitless

possibilities.

Like the innocence

of a child

believing

nothing could be better than

popsicles

cotton candy

and rose-scented

grandmas.

Like the love story

with an ending happier

than I imagined

Like my favorite song

playing in rotation

forever

Like cookies baking

and I never have to hide

any

for

me.

Taking back

what is rightfully mine

looking back

only to smile

pushing back

worry or fear

standing back

as you go.