Archive for the ‘Poetry by Just Jewel’ Category

Earlier this week I had an experience that touched me. I went to the beauty supply store to grab a couple of things. As I browsed around I could hear the cashier (who was working alone) helping other customers. She sounded extra chipper. Her voice would go up a note per word in each sentence, and every sentence ended with a question mark lol. I, myself, was in a not-so-great mood. I found her voice annoying and I thought in my head, “what the hell is she so happy about?” I got in line and all the customers before me cleared out one by one until it was just the two of us in the store. It seemed so strange to me that she kept saying “thank you” to every single little thing but I appreciated the pleasant customer service. As she rung me up I asked her how she was. She replied “good, thanks for asking.” The next thing I knew she broke out in tears and asked me if I had any advice for a breakup. I was caught off guard and I didn’t quite know what to say. I was dealing with my own issues and my mind was totally somewhere else. Those who are close to me know when people cry it makes me uncomfortable, so I was really at a loss for words. I did stick around a few minutes and tried to say the most comforting things that came to mind but I left the store feeling like there was more I could’ve and/or should’ve said. I left feeling really sorry for her and bad that I wasn’t more help and it inspired me to write the below poem. But before I get to that, there’s a few things I was reminded that I want to share:

  1. Don’t be so self-centered and wrapped up in your own woes that you forget to aid those around you in need.
  2. Don’t pre-judge anyone. You don’t know what kind of pain a person is hiding behind their smile.
  3. When you don’t know the right advice to give, a listening ear is always a good replacement.

So, to the young, redheaded girl working at Empire Beauty, I dedicate this to you.

Redheaded Girl

To the redheaded girl

This one I write for you

There’s no roadmap to life

Only destinies determined, awaiting in our queue

 

I entered your store with purpose

Miniscule things like nail polish and bobby pins

Your voice ringing thru the aisles

so cheerful, so perky

Forgive me for I knew not of the pain you held within

Masked by a smile and repetitions of “thank you”

Offering up courtesies, information, services

My goal set at get in get out

Your pleas for help thru cracks in your tone went unnoticed

so sorry I never heard of them

You see my mind and attention elsewhere

I was so wrapped up in my own enchilada,

peppered with dashes of my own selfish bullshit and drama

My recent visit from karma had me whiplashed and backslapped

My head buried in the sand, hiding in a deep dark hole within

I dared not peek out for you or anyone else

So you see, I didn’t see your tear-stained face or watery eyes

If I had, my “how are you?” would’ve been more sincere

And your sudden breakdown would’ve been clear

Perhaps I could’ve given you better advice that you so openly sought,

instead of empty wishes served and plattered on recycled dishes,

lent to me by others’ thoughts

Generic remedies like: “Things will get better” or “Maybe you’ll get back together”

“You’re so young. Someone else will come along”

But I couldn’t because I don’t know those things to be true

Store bought expressions to make you feel better

Fact is, none of that shit helps get you thru

Or I could’ve said: “tough titty, that’s the breaks,”

“sometimes life hands you shit, not lemons”

“you have to play the hand you are dealt”

But my ability to relate wouldn’t let me be so cold

I’m not so good at thinking on my feet

So I served you poppycock and left you there to feast

 

To the redheaded girl

This one I write for you

Your time of need outran my speed

Sorry I couldn’t come thru

 

Redheaded girl,

Truth is you are young, barely a cub

You are in a moment that is hard to see beyond

Your world hasn’t ended, though it may feel that way

You may not laugh but some day you will look back on this,

and no longer feel the same

Your wounds will heal and be replaced by new ones,

and they will heal also

The days to come will eventually get easier

You will cry some more but crying is good

Emotions remind us that we are human

Go out, enjoy life, and do other things that make you happy

Why be around someone who is the cause of your tears anyway?

Redheaded girl,

I don’t know much about you except:

You are beautiful

You are pleasant

You are great at your job

Those are three things you have to offer the world in a way that only you can,

and I’m sure the list gets longer

It may sound crass but something you should know,

Men will always be there

Some may come and some may go

Remember the good experiences and let go of the bad

Their only purpose is to provide you with life lessons

Gaining all the wisdom some may never have

 

To the redheaded girl

This one I write for you

Just as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West,

Blue skies to stormy clouds will bid adieu

– Just Jewel

Howdy folks! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done a poetry video so (drumroll)……Here it is!! This poem is about the black entertainment industry, all that’s wrong with it, and those who aspire to be a part of it. Feel free to stop by the poetry lounge to see the written form.

 

Am I Wrong? 

I lay the facts out for you as I seem them to present my case

For I need to know, am I wrong?

Am I wrong to want to spend the rest of my life with a black man?

To grow old with him? Share our mortal eternity together?

Am I wrong to desire this to an infinite amount with my whole being?

So much so ‘til it washes over me, fills me up and tears well up in my eyes at the very thought of it?

 

Am I wrong to only have eyes for a black man?

Not because I can’t or don’t want to see the others

But because when I look at him I see a reflection of myself, our ancestors and all their beauty

Because I am so in love with the unique way God created me, my skin, my hair, my nose, my lips, my cheekbones, my talk, my style, my courage, my strength

That it feels only natural to be attracted to a man designed of the same fashion.

Am I wrong for this?

 

Because I know that you will understand

When I come home and tell you how I was followed around a department store because of the color of my skin

You will know what it’s like to jump through hoops and play these charades just o get an interview and still not get the job even when you’re qualified…or being passed over for a promotion

Because you will know what it feels like to be lost in this America with no roots to trace

We will share the pain and sorrow of losing a loved one to the streets

You will relate to not having a father and know the importance of your presence should we have offspring

Am I wrong?

 

Am I wrong to want to prove to myself and our world that the black family can stand firm and united?

That not all black men create babies and leave the mother to play both roles

That not all black men will flee from homes to succumb to drugs, violence, or crime.

That not all black men pro-create six children with five different wombs becoming the center of baby mama drama

That not all black men sit around polluting their lungs and liver listening to so-called musical content about nothing while they wait for the welfare check

That not all black men leave traces of abuse, bruised, beaten, battered women and children.

Am I wrong?

 

We, as humans, are the only beings that walk this earth and consistently try to defy, change, or live around the laws of nature.

Stop and look!

I have yet to see an elephant pro-create with a giraffe.

The lion, big, strong, fierce beautiful king of the jungle mates with the lioness to produce cubs who too will become big, strong, fierce beautiful kings of the jungle.

Am I wrong?

 

This is not a hate speech to other races.

This is a love poem dedicated to my black men.

Black man, you just told me last week that I am attractive and you love black women

You love my skin, hair, and curves

This week that statement has changed to “Baby I just love all women period” as you skip off with your new Latino upgrade

I guess you did not share the same passion on the deep-rooted level that I shared for you as I gave myself to you.

Am I wrong?

 

I love my sistahs – black, Asian, Latino all the same

These are my sisters through the eyes of my God whose image I am created in

As were they

So I see them as my equals and love and embrace them as such.

Why is it black man that you do not see it the same?

I am the regular gas you use to rev up your Buick

All others are the premium grade level you save for the Jag

Am I wrong?

 

Even the aloe plant will produce more of itself and nurture and feed the new buds that blossom

Black man how come we are not doing the same?

We are dissipating – the black race that is

Am I wrong?

Perhaps that is the goal

Perhaps there was some secret black men’s meeting where it was agreed upon that we will wipe out our race

Because we hate our mothers and our sisters and ourselves so much that we must not come together and bring more who look like us into this world!

Oh heavens no!

They are already killing us out there just because

Why not get the ball rolling and help them expedite the mission?

Obesity – murder

Diabetes – murder

Drugs – murder

Gangs – murder

Abortions – murder

Laziness – murder

Ignorance – murder

All these and more are the blades of suicide that we bring down swiftly and slice our wrists

Am I wrong?

 

This is not another angry black woman’s rant

No.

Because I know we walk around angry

Scowls grace our face instead of smiles

We are always angry about something right?

So easier fly the coop than stay and try to understand why

God forbid the black man and black woman come together and work out their issues

Can’t have that now can we?

No.

This is not an angry black woman poem

For I know there are enough of us walking around angry, hurt, and just plain bitter

I come in peace and love this day

For a moment I let my black woman anger turn me mad, insane

But I have worked on myself.

I took time-outs several times of this lifetime, years at a time

I took time out from you black man and all men

I have worked on myself

I dug through my bitterness and anger casting those spirits out of my soul to make room for only good things

I have worked on myself

I have consciously decided to flash you a smile when I see you in the store, street, or gas station instead of a frown because you are my brother whether you know it and accept it or not

I have worked on myself

I have emptied my body of all junk and eat only healthy things to feed my temple

I have worked on myself

I have started a regiment of intense exercises to keep this flesh body in tact and pleasing to the eyes – first for me and second for you black man

I have worked on myself

I have peeled off all those phony layers of plastic attachments and allowed my natural beauty to shine through because I know you want a real woman who is proud of who she is

I have worked on myself

I have turned off the reality shows and picked my books back up so we can have more to talk about than the nonsense of Hollywood

I have worked on myself

I learned to cook something other than Ramen noodles and grilled cheese so I can feed you well and offer you options

I have worked on myself

I have developed a new career and built my finances so I have a life of my own and can bring something to meet you halfway at the table

I have worked on myself

I am an independent woman because I’ve had to be

Maybe overly independent so I have stepped back some to allow you to be the man in the relationship and the head of the house as you should be

I have worked on myself

I have developed a stronger, deeper spirituality and relationship with our creator for he should be our first love

I have worked on myself

I have worked on my communication so I am not a nag and we can talk our differences out instead of using limited, ill vocabulary to hurl at one another

I have worked on myself

I have subtracted from this list that I called “standards” to make room for you and your growth

I have learned that sometimes you need my support to back you more than you need my reality checks

I have worked on myself

I have rid myself of loose ideas and shut down this temple to any who don’t deserve to enter

I have worked on myself

I have studied the art of lovemaking and make continuous small deposits to my bank of knowledge in this area because I want you to be satisfied in all ways

I have worked on myself

I have studied our positive and strong effective leaders of our people who came before us because to get where we’re going we need to know, respect, and understand what we come from

I have worked on myself

 

I have worked on myself

I have worked on myself

I have worked on myself

I have worked on myself

For myself!…and for you black man

And a bulb flashes above my head as I stare at my reflection in the mirror

A teleprompter scrolls thru my brain and it reads: “THE TRANSFORMATION IS COMPLETE”

The message computes and is translated as I stare back at me

I am everything I want to be

Everything I need to be

And everything God has called me to be

So on my end the transaction says complete

For some reason on your end black man it’s still pending

Am I wrong?

 

Some tell me stop holding my breath

“Niggas ain’t shit!”

Yes this is what they say about you black man

I need to broaden my horizons, try something new, different

And sure I could go out here and get a man of another color

Because frankly they seem to want me more

But I’m smarter than that

I am smarter than being bought for sexual experimentation masked as better living in the big house

I can identify the difference between being loved and adored and just paraded around like some prize cattle

I know the essential part you and I both play to the survival of the black family, our people, our race

 

So I express this not thru anger, not even frustration

I just have a simple question that I think requires a simple answer

Am I wrong?

This would not be the first time

Still sometimes it’s hard to admit

But yeah…I guess maybe I am

Mind boggled, brain juggling

Thoughts whirl, emotions bubbling

Body tired, tongue hustling

Mixed feelings, intentions tussling

 

This is the disarray that is I,

breaking on down by and by

 

Endless list of things for which to fret

Take your pick and place your bet

Which straw will break the camel’s back?

Ups and downs govern this and that

 

No control over this life belonging to me,

least that is the way it seems

 

Head above water, just to my chin

Expecting to lose, no hope to win

Realism fighting optimistic faith

Pessimism champs and steals first place

 

The chips they always seem to fall,

and bad luck’s a never-ending haul

 

If I didn’t know any better,

I’d think we were all one-eyed creatures

‘Cause we only catch one half,

of the movie being featured

The dark, the dank, what’s bad and wrong

The blues are the lyrics which grace our songs

 

We play hide and seek with all that’s going well

Things we should be thankful for, our lips will never tell

 

Why would we when it’s way more fun

to complain and sulk and pout?

Let’s unravel, unfasten, become undone

Gas up on negatives and fill up on doubt

 

Who are we to think directions can change?

Flick on our signal and switch to a positive lane?

No, don’t say anything good or anything nice

Let’s speak bad things into existence and over our lives

 

Let’s forget about all of the simple things,

of which we’ve been given and blessed

And conveine only with other simpletons,

who revel in problems and stress

 

Matter face, why not just have a national convention?

Where every single hiccupped faced can be documented and mentioned

We could have a contest of misery

Team Woe is Me versus Team Dysfunctional Family Tree

We’d sit and trade stories, soaking in each other’s negativity

 

Place the big girl next to the skinny girl,

and let them battle out who’s worse off

Put employee A in a room and B in another

Switch managers and decide who has the worse boss

 

Man just laid off with that severance package

Let’s play trading places

With the homeless man who has no jacket,

and shoes but no shoe laces

 

Lady complaining your kids take up all your time

Go have a sit down with one who can’t conceive a child

Let’s tear each other down, saying we won’t make it

Camp beneath gray clouds, get comfortable and complacent

 

Or…Or…

 

We could say things to build each other up

Know in our hearts things will work out for good

Manifest change and say later for luck

Test our faith and hope the way that we should

 

You see, I was in the captain’s seat

of Ship Destiny, but didn’t even know

‘Cause life’s storms kept testing me,

each time a gusty wind would blow

Thought it’d be the death of me,

but each time it wasn’t so

Then I came and rescued me,

And let my vessel flow

Positive people have a simple recipe

Ready? Here we go

 

Think positive

Be grateful

Say kind words

 

What you say starts with a thought before spoken and heard

 

Be mindful of what you listen to, what you watch and the company you keep

That thing called bad energy is a parasitic beast

Sucking your blood just as thirsty as a leech

Latching to others, spreading like a cancerous disease

 

Smile sometimes, who knows might cause a domino effect

And remember things are never really as bad as they could get

“What Would You Do?”

Right is wrong and wrong is right

No room for grey, it’s black and white

Morals bounced on a first class flight

Honesty left, caught the red eye overnight

So what would you do? Ahh the conscience’s plight

Bickery, trickery, charms and deceit

Mr. Wendal needs a dollar but you ain’t beat

Old lady hops on the bus, do you give up your seat?

Nah you stare straight ahead like you don’t see

What you would do is crystal clear to me

Peeping, sneaking, and creeping around

Saw what you shouldn’t but don’t make a sound

Pretend like you wouldn’t but you know you’d be down

To play hopscotch on the devil’s playground

Giving your word as bond but you ain’t bound

You take a yard when given an inch

Stealing a pound when offered a pinch

Not a second thought, not even a flinch

Helping yourself like a modern day Grinch

What wouldn’t you do to have that thirst quenched?

The mind flip-flops playing tricks

Better judgment walks and temptation sits

Good and evil reps go lick for lick

Nice guys finish last and take the hits

What will you do? Flush the Kool-Aid or take a sip?