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By Trinette B. Vaughan-Sharpe
Copyright © 2008 Trinette B. Vaughan-Sharpe
All right reserved.
Unpackin' Within each soul lies a suitcase that holds Life's snakes and spiders and toads And the weight of the load takes a toll on the soul When there seems no end to the road. When the suitcase gets heavy, the soul bears the load And the weight and the pain slows you down And the cares of the world on your shoulder is hurled And is pulling you down to the ground. And friends say, "Be strong" though your sorrows are long Like the night as you toss in your bed And you're fakin' a smile and you're tryin' to style While knowin' your spirit is dead. "Hold your head up and smile", they will say "In a while all your burdens will drift on the wind" But the turmoil inside of your suitcase yet hides Bumpin', thumpin', and there is no end To the chaos inside, for the times you denied There was anything wrong, though you knew And you, who were strong, cut a step, sang a song Told a joke, forced a giggle or two. Oh, you can be revived, be renewed, made alive Dump that suitcase of creepers and toads. Just you muster the gall to sling snot, yell and bawl Crystal tears, blessed tears, Shed the woes of the years Ah, euphoric elation, Give your soul irrigation God made tears just to lighten your load.
Officially Woman Don't tell me! Bet you're all aghast! Did you think my gloomy nights would last? That some alien issue would take me out? Sure, I've had my bouts with chronic doubt, But while then, mentally juvenile And my then priority - tryin' to style, There ain' nobody I'm blamin' Simply, boldly now proclaimin' That tonight, I'm officially woman Don't tell me! You're mesmerized! An' didn't nobody tell you That my eyes still hypnotize? Don't get caught up in the numbers, The time I was conceived, Or the times I was deceived Or the times that I was grieved 'Cause you see, my eyes still sparkle And my face is still aglow An' whether natural or Black Opal Guess that's not for you to know. Does it matter? Don't be silly, 'Cause tonight, you see, I'm really Officially, woman Don't tell me! You're benumbed! Stupefied, and downright dumb! It's okay, today's my day I've earned the right to have my say Raised kids, and yes, a little hell, I laughed, I cried, (and you as well) Been up, been down, but cruisin' on An' I'm squeezin' life until it's gone So don't bug me, don't get uptight 'Cause on this night, (you know that's right) I'm officially, woman So, my hair's a little gray, yes, I've turned another page And yes, someone's misled you 'cause that's wisdom That's not age And don't think my brain is slow I'm much sharper now you know I don't take no wooden nickels Got no problem sayin, "no" Still I don't have all the answers Still there's much that I don't know Though there's lots that I could tell you I'm still learnin' as I go And do I take my Ester C, Soy, E, and Ginko, too? You can bet your life I do (You might need to take some too) And that's me, emphatically Officially, woman And tomorrow I'll hop upon my bike And as the gentle breezes caress my hair I'll boogie on down the boulevard Let the rhythm take me everywhere And I'll ponder on my journey And I'll smile through every mile While rememberin' how I made it (God's been with me all the while) Through the walkin', through the gawkin' Babies cryin' and Negroes talking! Givin', takin', sleepin', wakin' (when I knew they all was fakin') But I stand to say tonight To red and yellow, black and white That's it's great to be alive (And a tad past fifty-five) So don't hate. Appreciate! Celebrate my victory. We can be one. We can be free For I am you, and you are me, Our song, we'll sing in unity We are ... Officially, woman Suddenly, Again Hark! Do I suddenly hear Amazing Grace Fearfully sung in hollow harmonic tones In conjunction with, in reference to While simultaneously waving The red, white, and blue And chorus triumphant God Bless America? Oh, He's back, like Paris fashion In, like haute couture Just in time to save you (and your country) Oh, for sure Excuse me, but did He take a long vacation Or was He silently awaiting a nation's devastation A devious scheme of the evil-seeded Provin' once again that He is still needed? Ah, but He waited! Waited while you sprawled on Duncan Phyfe Admiring your Steuben glass Waited while you wined and dined And pined for greener grass Waited while your seething vicious gossip Crossed wicked picket fences Waited the return of your suddenly pious Patriotic senses Bet He wept when you chose to Deprayer our schools And now you crouch, cowering Like infantile fools Now you're standing in your rain Standing in your pain Pitifully singing, "God Bless America" Suddenly .......... Again! (On the events of 9/11/01) Mama Whippin' up a crum' puddin' A pinch of cinnamon soul thrown in Enhanced by her domesticness Lemon-glazed with bronze finesse Diggin' holes in wet brown earth (I dropped those tiny seeds in there) "This is where I'm close to God" She whispered as she tilled the sod Scrubbin' collars with tender care Blue-white bright - beware the glare Don't my baby look right cute In her brand new marchin' suit! Cautiously curlin' straightened locks Carefully avoiding awaiting ear Shirley Temple, get back, Girl! You ain't seen my baby's curls! Pinnin', caressin' silken folds Of scarlet taffeta and lace of gold My baby's recital's tomorrow night I want this dress to be just right! Pacin' floor, it's midnight now I told her not to stay out late I hope she remembers all I said She knows I cannot go to bed! Somethin' borrowed, something blue My little girl's all grown up now I hope you treat her like a queen I pray you never treat her mean! Standing tall in choir loft, scarlet hymnal in weary hand Farther along, we'll know all about it Farther along, why, we'll understand. Did I see a tear, did I see one, Mama Oh, it hurts me so to see you cry Are you cryin' 'cause life never goes as it should Or cryin' 'cause all the time God's been so good Or 'cause maybe a friend that you loved now is gone And you pray for the strength, somehow to go on? She, epitome of perfection Branded now in my reflection ... I hear her spouting poetry, Poe and Dunbar, Frost and Hughes How she remembered all those lines I knew not, then, but now I find Them written in my soul, my heart And words that never shall depart Whispered from angel who hovers above "Baby, you teach them how to love!" Yes, my God of perfection, my eternal protection Implanted your soul in my reflection, Forever your soul in my reflection ... Mama In memory of Mrs. Virginia D. Flood Burford (Mama) Fan the Flame You say the fire went out, that it just ain' the same An you're lookin' around, you need someone to blame? Better look in the mirror, bet you remember when You used to jump in that car with that big wide grin And you'd call to say that you were on your way 'Cause you knew that tonight was gonna make your day. You say the fire went out, did you fan the flame In the midnight hour, did you call her name Or did you just sit and wonder why it wasn't the same? Surely somebody told you, you had to fan the flame! Oh, you're so complacent, got it all in control And furthermore, you say, "We're just gettin' old" Better take her to a movie Better buy a rose or two Better splash on that Herrera like you used to do 'Cause the embers are smolderin' an' without a doubt While you're shuckin' an' jivin' The fire ... is going ... out!
On Faith I know you sit there waiting And you say you've prayed for days That faded into months, then years And your mind is in a haze If I answered every time you called You'd do it selfishly If I always quickly came to you Why would you trust in me? I need to know your faith is strong Although life's bleak and dark You wait, and in the dawn you'll see A flicker, then a spark And as you grow in faith that spark Becomes a brilliant light That glows within your soul And then you'll know your time is right So reach up and grab your blessing! Oh, it's been there all the while But I had to make you lean on me My sweet, impatient child And now's your time to blossom You were true-you held your ground For you knew I would not leave you That I'd always be around Yes, good things come with waiting That is where the trust comes in So when things look dim Still trust in Him He's your dearest, closest friend. Of Black Gospel Born in tall cotton fields of ghostly white Breathed into our souls from birth, that's right We sing opaque oppression of drab shade and hue Dark azure, dark royal, and midnight navy blue You see, they sang allegro while we sang "Ain' got no" They sang allegretto, we sang "Lord I cain go" And while they sang largo, we sang "Massa no mo'" And such was the fact - in shades of blue black That's why we sing real sing, yeah we sing the real thing Oh, nobody knows the trouble we sing - Swappin' our chil'ren like they was baseball cards Toilin' their fields - tendin' their yards But Mahalia - she knew - wailin' soon we'll be done With de trouble o' da worl, yeah, she was the one Put the G in the gospel - the B in the black, The song in our souls, Oh the scars on the backs Of those maestros of pain, who sang sad refrain, Again and again through the storm, through the rain Hear the chop of that hoe, hear it break that hard ground And the rhythm still pierces our souls, Oh, the sound! But He gave us a song that belongs just to us. "It's your gift", He said, "Take it - but share it - you must" So we sang and we sang 'til our heart's 'bout to bust 'Cause a prayer's in our music, it says, "Lord, you we trust". An' we feels no ways tired, we been up the rough side Through the maze, through the haze, so we raise Total Praise Yes, gospel it comes in all shades, this is true But Black gospel reminds us how we made it through It's the song in the souls of the strong, brave- the true, It's our journey, our story, and it's me - and it's you. Procrastination Chiseled words upon my headstone I will never, ever see So take the time, tell me today Just what you think of me. I've heard it said so often When someone's no longer near, "She was such a lovely person, So good, so kind, so dear" And I wonder if she knew Did you take the time to say, "You're a jewel, and I love you" Some kind words to make her day? Or did you just sit there silently Thinking to yourself That she'd be here forever And put that thought back on your shelf? If you cannot express it Send a card, for goodness sake And create a little sunshine When someone's world begins to shake. Let them know you care about them Tell them now, while they can hear Don't wait and wish you'd said it When they're no longer near. Sing their praises in the morning Send them flowers, make it known! If you care, let it be shown, Tell them now before they're gone!
Requiem for Antonio I saw you pass his coffin, can you tell me why you cry, As you're twirling on you hair. Bet you wonder why he's there. And now you have the nerve to say that he was good and kind Did you try to get to know him, try to crawl inside his mind And in your conversatin' with your homies in your cliques, Did you ever stop to wonder if his mind was playin' tricks, Tellin' him, "You don't belong, you have no friends, You're better, gone." (Oh, he was so alone.) And now you stop and stare, Pretending that you care. So now you weep and moan, you have the blues Surely you were not the one, laughing at his shoes Telling him his clothes were wrong, his feet too big His nose too long (I heard you sing your little song) And now you stop and cry While you're chokin' on goodbye How dare you weep and moan, you fickle friend! You all went to the movies and you left him out again He was a geek, would not fit in You could not have a geek as friend He, furthermore, was not your kind You have finesse. You're much too fine. (Too bad you could not read his sign) How dare you hang your head! You're the reason that he's dead! (the tragedy of teen suicide) Reality I am a little girl in stiletto pumps and crimson taffeta Who knows Victoria's secret. Who longs to wait in the light for you Fully clothed, Caressed only by warm, gentle phrases from sensuous lips For only in my dreams do I know of virtue Of love absolute In white fluorescent In sunlight blinding In starlight indigo Perhaps even In darkest night But In cotton, not silk Or satin or lace For I am a little girl in black chiffon Who clings to a dream And in the dark Alone I weep ... Soliloquy Today, I sat down and cried I sobbed for wretched, calloused, hearts Slung the snot of oppression and pain Gagged on disappointments Choked on the smoke of bridges, burned As I inhaled the stench of decayed promises Wiped the tears of hostility to fate for Cruelty and injustice Expelled the mucus of sin Sank deeply into my couch and wept Caustic tears of treachery and confusion Salty, from the brine of time ... Shoes Sitting here lookin' at these ugly brown shoes! Keds mules with the seventies' blues Been pushed under the bed, Been shoved in the barn, Hauled to the attic And the suede's done gone. Lord knows they ain' cute In fact they downright bamma But Chile, I'm here to tell you These shoes fit this hammer! They got grooves from my toes They can stop on a dime But the soles, they be livin' On borrowed time. They got terra cotta paint 'Tween the e an' the d An' the more I look at em' The more they look like me Brown an' worn, soft an' torn Hangin' tough, rugged an' rough From walkin' tall, to strollin' the mall Through time, through rhyme Through climbin' the wall Done weathered the storm Been lost, been found Still soft, still tough Worn down an' brown Still walkin', still runnin', Still easin' on down Yeah, the road's been rough But we still gainin' ground!
Of Judgment Be careful walking in my footsteps Lest I trip and fall Be cautious in your praise for me Mere mortal soul, not God at all I have not been a saint, you see Much better now is what I be And if you search, you just might find Some things I've done could blow your mind. Oh, depths and pits wherein we dwell Anticipatin' fires of hell And hell is here; our friends, our foes Who revel in our secret woes Forgetting where they too, have been The droppings that they too, stepped in Yet here we are, none free from sin Or how, or why, or what, or when And who should choose who'll lose or win None free to build a prison pen Glass houses do we all dwell in So pray for me! So be my friend! Resurrection In the palm of her hand, a jewel she held. Gently squeezed-a monarch fell Crushed Heat froze, hell rose Psychosomatic death. Summer sweltered, winter sheltered A broken mass of pain and shame Finally Spring came, torrential rains Then you, Finally Drenched with reality But Dripping with neither guilt, nor pain Finally, Found my eyes ...
Excerpted from Unpackin' by Trinette B. Vaughan-Sharpe Copyright © 2008 by Trinette B. Vaughan-Sharpe. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of ContentsContents
Fan the Flame....................7
Of Black Gospel....................9
Requiem for Antonio....................11
The Final Say....................18
The Preacher's Wife....................19
The Sun Shone That Day....................20
On The Edge....................21
Defamation by Catharsis....................24
New England's Splendor....................25
The Last Mile....................26
The Flood Divas....................27
Ode (Owed) to Doctor Joe....................29
Never Gon' Forget....................31
Just When I Think It's Over....................33
Lookin' for Cookin'....................34
I Remember You....................35
Lest I Forget....................38
My Gift, His Way....................39
Cross Before Crown....................40
Come, Cry With Me....................42
A Sister's Pledge....................45
All This, For Me....................48
Message from Martin....................56
Miss Vancie's Ways....................57
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
These poems speak to so many people in so many different circumstances. They are profound, lyrical, and as comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans. With wit, warmth, and southern charm the author has compiled a collection of poetic gems guaranteed to make the reader smile, sigh, and say 'Girl, I KNOW that's right!'
These poems reflects on so much on my life. It's unbelivable.