Charlottesville, 2017

“The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”
Proverbs 13:9

Jesus tells me I am the light of this world;
so let my light shine.
There’s a glow outside my dorm room window.
I dare not go to it—
won’t be a moth to the flame.
The spirit of fear consumes me.
I cower in a corner, wedged between bed—
sheets damp with sweat—
and wall—cool to the touch.
I hear their voices rising — “White Lives Matter” —
demons behind them chanting, White is Power.
These are not lights of salvation;
theses torches seek to light crosses in front lawns,
to set ablaze nooses that string up bodies,
bodies broken like my Christ’s, and I pray—
God, why have you forsaken us?
Sealed us in a world so consumed with sin and hate
that even at high twelve noon all I see is darkness;
my own hand, extended in front of my eyes, becomes invisible.
A lake of fire flows outside my window.
Skin white as alabaster turns blacker than my own.
Hearts hardened like stone.
There’s no pumping of blood, no echo of life.
A flat beat, a solid stomp, a marching in unison,
like the rigid motions of a rusted metal machine,
like the recurring lashes of the whip.
In my corner I hide, like a lamp doused by shade.
Tested by fire, my works amount to nothing
and my world will be encased in a blackness more
cursed than the skin I wish to shed to the knocking
at my door. The devil and his angels wait for me,
beckoning with their false light
too dim to pass the crack in the threshold.
Today is the day I decide whose shame I will bear;
if I will pick up my cross and
deny my life for light’s sake.
Planted on the top floor where all can see,
I lift my covering off my Head and release
a brightness so incorruptible it expels the darkness
from my door, my window, my campus, my town—
miles away. Blinding like sun reflected
in glass, even from space.
Let it shine, I hear my Jesus whisper,
Let is shine.

—Nortina


Some words I strung together in response to the horrific scenes coming out of Charlottesville, VA this week.

I Prefer My Body in the Morning

I prefer my body in the morning,
when there’s a faint taste of
last night’s dinner on my tongue,
when my stomach is leveled flat
like measured baking flour, and
growling from the calories
it burned in sleep.

I prefer my body in the morning,
when my thighs haven’t swollen
from too much salt, and my panties
glide over my hips like silk,
when the water that hugs my
waistline has receded, and the
stretch marks aren’t taut from
menstrual bloat or Mexican gas.

I prefer my body in the morning,
when I can turn to the side and
half see a figure in the full
length mirror, when I can breathe
in my gut and it not appear
too obvious, when I can squat
and a round buttocks starts to
take form, when I can tuck the
fat with the tails of my blouse
into my pants and not morph
into the shape of a pear.

I prefer my body in the morning,
when I can strut with confidence,
when men turn their heads, when
caking makeup becomes an
accessory instead of a mask,
when I’m three pounds lighter
than I will be after lunch,
before I skipped breakfast,
and binge ate dinner.

In the morning when I wake,
when I stare at my naked
reflection, cup my breasts
in my hands and push them up,
it feels almost enough—I feel
like I could be . . . enough—

—Nortina

No Holds Barred Poetry Writing Challenge: Day 4

I woke up dying—
tiny fingers clamped
around my throat
I couldn’t breathe.
It was her—
my unborn child
returning from the hell
I cursed her to,
sealing my fate with
one fatal promise—
our reunion in eternity.

—Nortina

I apologize for the brevity, but with this type of content, shorter poems have the bigger impact. However, I may come back at a later date to add to it if I think it needs more. What are your thoughts?

By the way, is anyone else guilty of posting old, recycled poems? If you’d like to participate in this challenge, writing a brand new poem everyday, join the party! There are no rules . . . well, maybe one—that you sit down and write with little to no planning. Stream of consciousness poetry, perhaps? My poems so far (with the possible exception of Day 3) have been written on impulse. I sat down, had a great first line in mind, and allowed the poem to take me from there. That’s the beauty of poetry writing, I think.

You can write your poem in the comments below or Pingback to any of the poems I’ve written for this challenge so far. I don’t know how long this challenge will last. I’ll let the wind deposit me wherever it blows. Follow along if you want to ride.

photo cred: Funlava http://www.funlava.com/sunset-pictures/)
(photo cred: Funlava http://www.funlava.com/sunset-pictures/)

This post is also part of JusJoJan.jjj-2015