A Passing Friend

For Fourteen Years Nothing Had Changed.
Fourteen years, and it all stayed the same.
For fourteen years she had been my friend.
Through the good and the bad,
Through the tears and the laughs,
For fourteen years, I never thought it would end.

We Were Always Happy, Always joyful, Always Gay.
When I was lost and couldn’t find my way,
I knew there was no need to fray.
She’d let me know it was okay,
then she would always tell me,
“The world will go on whirling and twirling anyway. Just hold on ’til another day.”
…or something to that effect, for I didn’t listen anyway.

We Planned For The Future But Remembered The Past.
The years went by; they came then they left.
We were always happy,
Always joyful.
And the world kept on twirling.
But soon things would begin to change…

I Saw Her With That Look In Her Eyes.
I saw her look so distant.
I saw her so far gone.
Then she’d start to smile and she’d laugh at me when I’d ask her what was wrong.
Some days she was happy.
She’d be joyful, she’d be gay.
Other days she was so sad,
Depressed, seemed astray.
Sometimes she would cry.
I’d ask her why and she’d tell me a lie,
Say, “…Wasn’t important, besides, the world will go on anyway until the day I’ve died.”
…or something to that effect, for I wasn’t listening anyway.

So The Years Went By,
Some days good, some days bad.
She’d be happy, she’d be sad…but she was right.
The world kept spinning, kept whirling.
It kept on twirling.

Some More Years Went By And My Friend Was Not My Friend.
She would drown her days in sobs and cries.
I didn’t ask her why.
I didn’t listen to the cries.
She knew that I  would wonder but she knew I didn’t care.
All these years, all her crying!
How could I continue to care?
but then, one day…
she took her life.

it stopped going, stopped spinning…

slowed its whirling and its twirling.

Then My World Stopped.

I wrote this poem when I was 13 years old and it mostly came out of my ongoing struggle with major depression. It was meant to be a fictional scenario from the perspective of my best friend in the event of my suicide, which at the time seemed like an inevitable future. It’s interesting to look back and see how even at such a young age, I was already struggling so much. Life is simply unfair sometimes. Suicide and mental health issues once again became a hot topic with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Hot topics, especially those of such a sad nature, have a shelf life, and as I see the conversation begin to phase out again I ask only this…please cherish the important people in your life. Hold them close and always, ALWAYS care for them! We never know how long we may be together. I simply ask that we all challenge ourselves to Love Better.

-Risa

Cowardice

She was born with a mighty battle axe,
Divine power bestowed by omnipotent hands.
But like a moth to the flame, she abandons her claim,
Knowing that future is left behind her.

There is no way to mend this rift.
She’s fallen prey to the ball and chain of greed and lies.
As her footsteps begin to fail, her feet become anchored.
Her courage dies, and she releases painful sighs
at her loss of valor.

Yet still no sense of virtue or empathy will force her submission.
While the innocents suffer, she will turn a blind eye,
feigning their screams rest far beneath her.

-Risa

Yourself Last

If God descended from heaven on high and he offered me the world,
I would try to give it back and turn away,
unaccepting of what I don’t deserve.

If God appeared to me in my sorrows to grant my deepest desires,
I would say, “I cannot take so much from you,
not while desperate others plead, ‘…in Jesus’ name’.”

Trust, I am no angel nor a saint.
I’m not Mary so Full of Grace.
Yet, SELF at times is far less paramount
When those around you are in dire straits.

-Risa

And Isn’t It Wonderful?

Humans lost their connection to the world. Some fundamental link has all but totally disintegrated.

There was a time when man was no different from the creatures of the wood. We were exactly where we belonged, and we knew this to be true.

A tree or bush wasn’t just something to be chopped and carved to our liking, used to decorate our lawns in different patterns that all look the same.

There was a time when you could breathe deep…smell the wind. OXYGEN. The clear, God given air could fill your lungs without fumes from buildings, exhaust from pipes, or your cancer-loving neighbors secondhand smoke incessantly swirling in.

We could drink the water from the earth, and it was clean, reviving. It brought us life, not sewage and wastes. Not sugar. Not caffeine. No treatments necessary…

…it was clean. So were we.

And just to believe we created this thing called “progress”, we destroy all that is natural to replace it with something New. Because we humans are so smart, you see, we Adapt and become Advanced, more amazing day by day.

Now we dwell in roach infested apartments. Swim in chemically treated pools. Drive our air contaminating cars…what is progress, really?

We go to our toxic desk jobs that we describe as fulfilling careers to anyone who’ll listen, just so we can avoid what’s really meaningless work and scroll the twitter feed on our cell phones so we won’t notice as much, just how much, our lives are drained and sucked away. Day by endless boring day…But this is Happiness?

We all need xanax. A painkiller, or 3… 4?

This is the dream…even though we’re low key lost.

And when I sit and think of all this, How wonderful would life have been if we’d just stayed where we belonged?

-Risa

Only Black Girl

I walk into my job and turn the corner towards the offices, of which mine is last.

In one office I spy all my co-workers.

What is this? A meeting? No one told me…how typical.

Why does everyone look so emotional?? One is sighing with a look of perfect contentment.  Others make exclamations…”Wow…”  “How?…” “Why?…”

Has something happened? Is this a private intimate moment between friends? Has something miraculous occurred and I missed the memo?  Why am I the one always left out?

I walk closer.  Another co-worker bursts into hysterical laughter as the conversation continues in muted tones.

Perhaps this is a happy occasion.  Someone has good news?

I walk up to one of the group, a grin on my face, eager to join in the camaraderie, wondering what event impacted this weekday morning so much more than any other.

I whisper to him, “Hey, whatcha talkin about?”

He grins at me in sheer delight, “Paul McCartney :D”

……”oh”……..

*pops tongue and keeps it moving down the hall*

Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black

So, this was NOT WRITTEN BY ME. This poem was going around social media and I just thought it was so beautiful it was certainly worth sharing…

Why Did You Make Me Black Lord
Lord .. Why did you make me black?
Why did you make someone
the world would hold back?…
Black is the color of dirty clothes,
of grimy hands and feet……
Black is the color of darkness,
of tired beaten streets…

Why did you give me thick lips,
a broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did you create someone
who receives the hated stare?

Black is the color of the bruised eye
when someone gets hurt…
Black is the color of darkness,
black is the color of dirt.

Why is my bone structure so thick,
my hips and cheeks so high?
Why are my eyes brown,
and not the color of the sky?

Why do people think I’m useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do people see my skin
and think I should be abused?
Lord, I just don’t understand…
What is it about my skin?
Why is it some people want to hate me
and not know the person within?

Black is what people are “Labeled”
when others want to keep them away…
Black is the color of shadows cast…
Black is the end of the day.

Lord you know my own people mistreat me,
and you know this just ain’t right…
They don’t like my hair, they don’t like my
skin, as they say I’m too dark or too light!

Lord, don’t you think
it’s time to make a change?
Why don’t you redo creation
and make everyone the same?

God’s Reply:

Why did I make you black? Why did I make you black?

I made you in the color of coal
from which beautiful diamonds are formed…
I made you in the color of oil,
the black gold which keeps people warm.

Your color is the same as the rich dark soil
that grows the food you need…
Your color is the same as the black stallion and
panther, Oh what majestic creatures indeed!

All colors of the heavenly rainbow
can be found throughout every nation…
When all these colors are blended,
you become my greatest creation!

Your hair is the texture of lamb’s wool,
such a beautiful creature is he…
I am the shepherd who watches them,
I will ALWAYS watch over thee!

You are the color of the midnight sky,
I put star glitter in your eyes…
There’s a beautiful smile hidden behind your pain…
That’s why your cheeks are so high!

You are the color of dark clouds
from the hurricanes I create in September…
I made your lips so full and thick,
so when you kiss…they will remember!

Your stature is strong,
your bone structure thick to withstand the
burden of time…
The reflection you see in the mirror,
that image that looks back, that is MINE!

So get off your knees,
look in the mirror and tell me what you see?
I didn’t make you in the image of darkness…
I made you in the image of ME!

by RuNett Nia-Ebo

this poem was inspired by Genesis1:26-27

Genesis 1:26 and 27
And GOD said, “Let Us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness. So GOD created man in His own image, male and female He created them.”

Rejoice

This poem was written in 2008 right after I found out that President Obama had won the presidential election.  I was 18 and had just started attending an HBCU, Hampton University, and it was my first time voting.  I’ll never forget that moment the announcement was made and how the street in front of my dorm building filled with Black students in celebration that their president was Black, that feeling that something historical and incredibly monumental had been achieved.  Every once in a while, I come across this poem and it always gives me a sense of pride and hope….Because thats exactly what I felt back then. I’d like to feel that way again right now. So, I thought I would post it here, a permanent reminder for myself and others that HOPE is always right there.

Lift every voice and sing,
Lift every voice… and sing.
I never understood the meaning of those words until tonight.
You see those words signify that we won the fight.
It means that when I feel my heart wrench and tears swell up in my eyes, that for the first time it’s out of joy and not despair.
The joy in the knowledge that we’ve won the fight.
The joy in the knowledge that when the young black people came running by the hundreds chanting and screaming, OBAMA! OBAMA! That they weren’t just screaming for Barack but for every one of us.
For every African princess torn from her homeland,
For every child born a slave not knowing their worth,
For every man who fought for his freedom and that 40 acres and a mule,
For every grandparent who marched beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
For every Black boy who followed the wrong path believing he could do no better…
Our rejoicing is for you…And I cry, I cry.
I cry for how far we’ve come, out of the depths of oppression.
I cry for what we are, a people who cannot be chained down.
I cry for where we will go, into a world of equality…
A world where Black, White, Purple, Blue all come together and are one,
and I cry…
I cry, I scream, I shout, I stomp…
I lift my hands to the heavens and I rejoice,
I rejoice that my children will open their books and see a black face amongst endless clouds of white,
I rejoice that we have received the proof that our people have overcome, and will overcome every obstacle in our paths,
I rejoice,
as I lift my voice,
and I sing,
until the Earths and the Heavens ring…
FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST,
THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, WE ARE FREE AT LAST!

-Risa Llanah