Not One Moe

Fierce Flow: Words on Fire
By Janeare Sanford
(C) 2014 All Rights Reserved to Original Author


NOT ONE MOE That was her slang, as she spoke to the man in a southern twang.
” dun heard my last lie, I dun had my last cry
dun felt my last pain, dun had it with the rain
I’m tired of being broke, I’m tired of crooked folk
I’m tired of being old, I’m tired of being cold”
She kept rattling, as the list went on, her woes she told, til just about dawn.

til the man held up his shadowed hand and picked up an hourglass filled with sand.
his voice a little rusty but deep and sure ” so you’ve come to me for my kind of cure?”
his words makin shadows that darkened the room, his eyes showing mischief that foretold of doom
“then give me your breath, your blood and your life and then I will get rid of your drama and strife”

she nodded her head and took her life with her hand, he then broke the hourglass that was once filled with sand.
He walk over to her “NO MOE” was all that he said, her body lied limp, broken and dead.
But with the dawn a stranger came by, he walked over to her with an audible sigh
He turned to the shadows anger shown on his face, causing the shadows to run from the place.

“Why didn’t you tell her, you said not one word, why didn’t you tell her of the good news you had heard.
Her change was coming, help was on the way, she just had to hold on and make it ONE MOE day”
The shadowed man spoke with a sweet deadly smile ” It is not for me to give her ONE MOE mile.
I only cut short what was promised to be long; I bring only discord to a sweetly sung song.

I don’t do faith that I do not abide, have you forgotten my name? I am suicide.
I bring only finish, I am the giver of the end, it is you who brings wishes and hopes my friend.”
The shadowed man went over and looked at the knife, then he left as he waved to the man named LIFE.
LIFE stood there looking at the coming dawn as his counterpart death slowly crossed the lawn.

My grandma slowly closed the small book; a knowing sadness was in her look.
A tear had formed and ran down her face, and happiness NO MOE filled the place.
She spoke very slowly as she took my small hand “No matter the problems child you still got sand.
No matter the ill that comes your way, just you remember they’ll be a better day.

I cannot tell you that things will always be good or that people will treat you as they should.
But still don’t give up without a fight; keep your candle lit baby all through the night.”
Grandma closed her eyes with her eyebrows raised and left me this poignant phrase
“See the very day you decide leave, Might be the day life brings reprieve”



Letter to My Unborn Daughter

I hope I have you. Is that selfish of me?

If you ever question, you were wanted. I stayed single for a reason– not because I did not want you, but because I wanted the best for you.

This world has such terror in it. It is wrought with knotted chaos, cast in a sea of struggle. Sometimes the ugliness blinds me, but it is never as strong as those moments of stolen beauty, when God’s light stretches over the paint kissed sky.

As of this date, you are not even born, though you could not colloquially be a called “a thought”. I always imagined you though– your laugh, your smile. I thought of you when I was in school, dreaming the fresh opulent dreams of youth.

Your name has danced across the terrain of memory wearing into the grooves. I dreamed many things;

I am writing this as a woman who could be your mother. Hard to imagine?

I wanted to be a rock star, pediatrician, veterinarian, singer-songwriter, radio deejay, event planner, screenwriter, politician, pastor, community activist, philanthropist, artist nurse.

I wasn’t confused, just ambitious. I wanted to try everything life had to offer. Travel. Fulfill my purpose.

I want to be the kind of woman you could be proud of. I want you to grow up knowing you are loved, mistakes and all, and having a dad that will spoil you for all men. I want you to embrace your inner warrior. Know your worth so that no one can shake the undeniable truth that is more earthshaking than any Richter scale:

You are made in God’s image with a purpose. I dream you will find out what that purpose is. Sometimes walking. Sometimes running– even backwards. Sometimes dancing and maybe flying.

I wish the world would wary welcome your divinely brown body with a beveled jeweled praise and Niagara Fall swells of applause. The world celebrates its own, but God has a way of doing the spectacularly large small moment. In truth the meager praise of your parents and the Lord ‘s divine appointment will be enough. In fact, you could not be more wanted.

I want to protect you, fiercely. Your curiosity. Your innocence. Your fire. I know you will have boo-boos and heartache. You will grow and one day be a woman of your own, with loves and purpose and passions of your own, too.

One day, I hope to have the honor to meet you, and tell you this one even later day face to face.

But even if I never become your mother– biologically or ever, I know you exist. Girls like you were born to exist. And I thank God for you, when I see you walking by in the world.

Until then, my love for you, my faith in the promise will stay alive in this heart.

Fierce Flow: Featured Poet

By Anonymous
(C) Original poster reserves all copyrighted privileges 2014

Close calls of the heart. Ever felt close enough to have been close to falling in love? Check out our guest poet’s feature. #fierciosity #fierceproject #fierceflow


THEY say it heals all
but wasn’t time also the one that helped you fall?

It seemed I had no name
he called me attractive
it bothered me but the soft caress to my ego
lets just say it was enough
I honestly never thought I’d feel how he made me feel
nothing physical
I was infatuated with his mind.
Oh yes, I was tuned in.
My brain would tell my heart not to get too close because I knew he wasn’t ready.
Did i have something to prove to myself or
did I truly still believe in fairy tales?
the little girl in me thought it could be something more than a breeze
but it was just that
as quick as it started
it was over.
lump in my throat
traditional symptom of heartbreak
“holding back the tears”
was it love? did i fall?
No. I may have not fallen for him…
but I was close enough to have felt.

Bio: California college student who
loves makeup and fashion.


Simple Manners in America

By Michelle Denise Milam
(C) 2014 All Rights Reserved


#fierciosity #fierceproject

Men often feel the need to touch me in public. I have mixed feeling about this. I generally am fine with touching I initiate, touching in a professional environment, and touching from people I feel comfortable with. People who I really *want* to initiate more touch with me never do, while those who I don’t want touch from have an uncanny knack for finding me.

Every now and then complete strangers, and other odd assortments of people touch me. People touch my hair — mostly those who are fascinated. Last week a woman stopped and took a picture of my Havana twists to show her presumably black granddaughter a new style, but I digress.

Waiters always touch me. I was once told it is because I have a face that looks like I will listen. Friends have joked that I have “it” –the goddess effect and people feel the need to serve me. I feel a lot more like an ordinary broke-down Cinderella before the ball most days and not so lofty–so I never quite can believe their adamant insistences; still according to my companions “it” whatever “it” is supposed to be has gotten us freebies when we go out to eat.

I think it is merely manners.

Today I decided to take adVantage of the rare delicacy of time alone, and read the last part of Chimamanda Ngozi’s “Americannah”. Craving four odd things– a watermelon, strawberry, salmon and spinach salad I found a nice little place by the Marina that had all items.

I have dined by myself many times and enjoyed it. I greeted my server as I always do– “Thank you, sir.” This older olive skinned man immediately begin telling me how “special” I was and talked about his home country. Ironically, I realized he did not think I was American. In fact, when I told him where I was from, he insisted “No. Where are you from, originally?” His words were soft, as if to consummate a special kinship of immigrants, a bond that while I respect, I cannot share.

Do I look American? Well, not to customs, where I am routinely asked my “home”country despite the fact that I display an American passport confirming my citizenship.

“Michelle — French. Must be Haitian.”

Most certainly I have many of the privileges and benefits of citizenship, but traveling abroad as a Black American opens a different world. You are American– privileged, but Black — either celebrated or stereotyped sometimes fitting in unnoticed depending on the country. And at home, of course is another history.

I was not offended by his assumption. In many ways, it confusing to me, too.

Maybe today it is the hair or the blue leather earrings the woman from Cameroon sold me, but I had to break the sad news.

I kindly told him I was from Richmond, CA.

“Virginia?” He said hopefully.

“No. California. ” Like Nazareth, I added silently.

“You are special, ” he declares again.

He continues to come back every five minutes touch the left most part of my shoulder and ask me if I needed anything. Then he shook my hand and kissed it– European style.

Until recently, I had no idea that men touching your shoulder meant anything until my best friend said, “It means they like you, dummy!”

It seemed like an “Attaboy” pat.

But it was clear he was doing more than serving food. Finally, as if out of a movie he says,”My name is Jose. I like you for you. I will always serve you. Do you have a boyfriend?”

I hate this question, because there is no good outcome. Unlike men of my generation, older men have something I admire. Conviction. They don’t evade their eyes. They tell you when they like you. When I was in school and boys cared less about rejection it was not uncommon for men to be direct. This is a spoiling environment. After 25, it is a novelty, and in some cases they seem more afraid to approach women then when they were 15. My mother’s generation warned us not to chase a guy because men don’t appreciate unearned attention. Now men feel they have their pick of women so they don’t need to try and get to know someone.

I don’t like the rules, and the pretension. I prefer the sandbox philosophy– Hi? How are you? Can we be friends? Uh- sure!

But that defies the adrenaline of the chase, though for the life of me I don ‘t know why everyone is moving so fast.

But in this case, though this gentleman was nice, he seemed more interested in the idea of me than getting to know me. It is far easier to say you have a boyfriend than to say you are a single woman and you are enjoying reading a book by yourself. The assumption even if you say no thank you to a direct person is that the only legitimate excuse to say no is male companionship– a generational downside to directness. There will be a rebuttal, one that I am not in the mood for today — or more shoulder touches.

Sometimes people’s attraction to you has nothing to do with you. It is simply God’s connection through his holy spirit, offering warmth. I am special, but not really. What makes me special is God made me human. And because we are human, we treat others like humans unlike many of the rude patrons he serves. I smile.

” I have someone special. ” I say truthfully.

He smiles, eyes sad, telling me he does not want me to go, but he understands.

I wait until he is gone and leave trying not to make a simple afternoon more complicated.


Fierce is an Attitude

Fierce. It is not about simply giving flawless face.

Or walking with the sashay bounce on the tip of the heel giving the world the forget-you-and-your-mama-blues.

Not about “divadom” – because let’s face it, do we really need to be dragged into yet another brown-girl-gone-bipolar reality television tantrum, complete with silicone injections, baby daddy drama, hair weaves and cat-fights?

I’m talking about unabashedly secure “knowing-full-well-thank-you- Lord” that you are not a mistake. That you are enough. That you are confident in your God given abilities. Your confidence does not listen to the hecklers in the cheap seats of life, or the haters who take after Cinderella’s stepsisters.

It is a deep unmovable delicious awareness that there is something you bring to this planet that nobody else is equipped to do like you.

This “fierceness” is not arrogance. It doesn’t live in the land of little girl hubris, looking down at others to pump itself up. In fact, if your fierceness needs acknowledgement or announcing, it’s probably a poorly made knock off.

When a queen enters a room people bow without coaxing.

Fierceness gives as much as it gets. Great leaders are first servants. With the persistence of a Marvel comic heroine it will fight when called, be still when needed, and soldier onward. Fierceness recognizes the needs of others and works and fights for it with mothering, earth shaking fervor. The kind that topples institutional repression, but sows love like a gentle seed in a thumb.

Fierceness owns itself. In the face of the hands that abused it, the lips that attempted to silence it, the trials that threaten to unravel it, the darkness that violated it’s delicate parts, and a world that shuns it.

What does it mean to be, “Fearfully and wonderfully made”, as the psalmist writes in Psalms 139?

It means learning your own worth and owning it. It means understanding that God endowed you with a giftedness that defies your small understanding of life. It means being humble, because you are a reflection of His beauty.

Particularly for Black women, this is a Feat for Storm and her superpowers. Because even in our so called post racial society, the world is content to devalue us, while using us while insisting we were exploited with our consent. Our bodies, hair, work, achievements are commodified until we are reduced to reality TV characters, strong to a fault, unrestrained, unlovable and undesirable. It is to society’s benefit that we devalue our inherent God given worth because then we will sell it cheap or be lackadaisical when it’s stolen.

By the way, for those who doubt the revolutionary feministic prowess of psalms 139– reread it. It is an affirmation that speaks to women which even non-christians will find fascinating.

Fierce means acting on this knowledge that you have worth. No more staying in abusive relationships relegated to side chick status because deep down you feel that you will never be truly loved. No more telling yourself , “I will do it tomorrow”, for ten years. No more investing in the bank of self hatred and envy rather than investing in your purpose. No more walking backwards, having no clear sight of the future– no disrespect to the Sankofa bird. No more doubting that you can. No more berating other women so you can avoid the chaotic mess of your own existence. No more living out of suitcases in your past, like a circa 2001 Ms Badu Bag lady. No more staying in a job not aligned with your purpose. No more putting the voice of God on mute while having negativity on speed dial. No more.

Because when you know your fierceness, you act.

What then, are you waiting for?