Friday, November 15, 2019

TABLE FOR ALL

There's no room left
at this table
cuz all the women
and girls too
are sitting here

I am
she is
you are

The ones who are positive
it happened to them
the ones who
aren't quite certain
so they came to hear
the myriad stories
and get confirmation
the ones who are sure
it never happened to them
so some came to support
others came to judge
shame us for letting it happen
letting them get away with it
but
when they heard
among the tales
a familiar tune
with explicit lyrics
that triggered their memory
they realized
me too
is them
too

We're all here
listening
commiserating
stunned
ashamed
confused
learning
remembering
dismayed
healing
praising each other
for our courage
our strength
shedding tears
of relief
when we learn
that her story
hers
hers
and theirs
is ours

All this time
we thought
we were the only one
cuz when we tried
telling someone
not at this table
we were scorned
dismissed
laughed at
called too sensitive
accused of "trippin'"
or lying
everything but
validated
understood
embraced

Sexual violence
often begins
as sexual harassment

It's as much verbal
and silent
as it is physical

It's all the things that happen
pre-rape
even if rape
is never the intention

Catcalls
unwanted verbal advances
from a boy
or a man
love notes
you don't love
that never stop
from the one
you don't love
who doesn't care
that you don't wanna
love him

Being badgered
about dates
inundated with calls and texts
when you've already said no
clearly
repeatedly

Inappropriate comments
about your body
that make you feel
stripped
and felt-up

Lewd glances
long, lascivious stares
a crooked
I-just-licked-you-from-head-to-toe-in-my-mind
smile with
peekaboo flickering tongue
accompanied by
eyes
steeped in a salacious glint

Being called
every outta-pocket name
they can think of
when you rebuff
their advances
maybe even
being spit at
or on
having items
thrown at you
whatever their pleasure
at your expense

Just because your body
has never been raped
doesn't mean
your mind and spirit
haven't

Wait
where you goin'?

Come back
this seat
has your name on it

Don't you see it?

I don't mean
to sound insensitive but
you belong here
with the rest of us
I saw your eyes
go dark
your soul
flatline
when I spoke
your experience
stay
acknowledge
accept
heal
we're here for you

I hate
that this fucking table
exists
that it's teeming
cuz none of us
have been exempt
not even these little girls

Why they gotta fuck with the little girls?

Bitter
that the space between us
is so minuscule
that our elbows graze
and we can smell
all of our offenders' names
on each other's breath
despaired
that we need more seats
for those
who haven't arrived

This isn't the way
I want us women
to be bonding
finding commonality
connecting our hearts

This shit ain't fun
these tears ain't joyful
our stories don't have
happy endings
what we have here
is a failure
to be respected
so what we do here
is find ways to love
and forgive ourselves
for the ways we've laid blame
on ourselves
for being women
who just wanted to make it
through the day
without their eyes
minds
and hands
on us
but didn't
so instead
we're here
holding each other close
holding each other in prayer
holding each other in high esteem
learning how to hold them accountable
learning how to hold ourselves
up

If this table
is the only place
you feel safe and heard
seen and appreciated
if it's the place where
you can assess
the mileage on your heart
from all the detours
they told you
were par for the course
deviants—
I mean deviations—
you shouldn't be
complaining about
if you can
unpack and sort out
the fear
that keeps you from
speaking your truth
seeking justice
and taking back your power
then
as much animosity
as I have
for this tainted pulpit
I say

come through
don't hesitate
we will always
make room

©2019 Charlene E. Green

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Her Winning Life

Next to your fighting spirit
Your smile was the strongest part of you

The sprawl
Of your beam
Held a gallant celebration
Of life
Even amid your worries
When your mind
Played sad songs
And your body
Sometimes tried
To stop dancing

Though your frame was small
The prayer and perseverance
You constantly fueled it with
Made you a giant champion
And with that glowing smile
Lighting the path
Along your journey
You always saw a way
To tackle any obstacle
Trying to keep you
From the joyous life
You intended to live
And the people
Whose hearts you planned
To soften and heal
With its warmth

Although your visit
To this realm
Is now over
You left your smile behind
To remind us
That no matter what the road
We're traveling looks and feels like
No matter how many sad songs
May play as we travel
Or how often our bodies
Get low on spiritual fuel
Or even try to stop dancing altogether
If we too
Prioritize our grin
Use it to soften life’s blows
People’s hearts
And light the way
Along our own path
We will
At the end of our trip 
Have successfully guided ourselves
Into the next realm
As victors
Who loved
Inspired
And completed our mission 
With no regrets

 ©2019 Charlene E. Green
For Curita Harris-Harper





Sunday, April 21, 2019

NaPoWriMo #1: OVERKILL (Haiku)

You don't have dimples.
That's cool, cuz your face has reached
its perfection max.

©2019 Charlene E. Green

NaPoWriMo #2: SKIRMISH

Just because
I haven't written about you yet
doesn't mean I'm at a loss for words

They're tangled up
in a long line
of confusion
rioting
many of them aggressively
cutting in front of each other
pissing off the ones
that think they're more knowledgeable
then
getting elbowed
punched
drop-kicked
back into their rightful place

Thing is
they're all arrogant
think they got this sitch
on lock
assured of their preparedness
to be at the forefront
speaking about you
us
but they're mistaken
they don't know shit
about what this is
cuz it changes
with the SoCal weather:
every. fucking. week.
you and me
we be full-on heatstroke
one day
clouds-fog-rain-sun
the next
I be sick sometimes
from this constant climate change
don't know why
I fail
to step into your element
prepped for its inconsistency

Yes I do...

But lemme go bust up
this fight first
find out what all
the commotion is about
wrangle the truth
from the most credible snitch—
I mean—
source
in line
and I'll be right back
to fill you in

©2019 Charlene E. Green

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

YOU BETTA WRITE!

Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a safe and fun one! Let's get this year started "WRITE!"

Speaking of writing, my new poetry book, You Betta WRITE!, is coming out at the end of January! I'm so excited about this project because, in addition to my signature free verse, and my recently included haiku work, it will feature a new element of poetry that I haven't added to my books before now: Shakespearean sonnets!

I would love to have you all on board! Below is the order link; but first, here's the back-cover summary, so you can get a feel for the book's theme:

Adverse change in social climate often warrants a shift in tone when addressing it—one with a higher decibel than before. The level of anguish and overall chaos in our world has taken its toll on many. In You Betta WRITE!, Charlene E. Green gives readers a deeper, grittier poetic look at the challenges we've faced in recent years, using free verse, haiku, and sonnet to paint her picture of inspiration, justice, and resolution.

In "The Suffering," she boldly declares that we've "got hella PhDs in the suffering of others, but ... some of us still don't have a degree of comprehension about how to master our own." In "Accident Forgiveness," she shakes the abused awake by asking how many more "fist-on collisions with your face will it take for you to finally admit that this man is not accident prone, he is purposely reckless with your life?" "Curfew" is a heart-wrenching, parent-focused narrative about the more than 200 missing Nigerian girls, at the hands of Boko Haram. But since Charlene's work is never complete without the inclusion of wit, love, and fantasy, you can be assured of just the right amount of gentle to balance out her firm voice.

You Betta WRITE! is for the grown and mature, and for those whose lives are ready for a deep cleaning, upgraded perspective, and new direction.


For those of you who haven't read or heard any of my work, I invite you to check out my blog a little further; many of the poems that will be in the book are housed here (but will come down shortly after the book's release), so you can get a glimpse into the project.

If you'd like to put in an order, here is the link: You Betta WRITE!



Thank you for your time and support! I look forward to delivering to you a project that you'll be inclined to read again and again, and to share with others!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

30-DAY NOTICE

There's a vexed boy
Living in his grown-man torso
Who poisons his mind
With perceptions
That have blinded him
To the greatness
He was born with

The boy was there first
Feeding on hazardous
Outside commentary
Filling him with unrest
Stunting his spiritual growth
Leaving him confused
Stumbling around
In the hollow he has formed
In the man's heart
Breaking pieces of him
Every time he falls
Feeling cheated
Out of happiness
No one told him
He could have

Wounded
Skittish
Soul on fire
He's indignant
And refuses
To pack up his pain
And move out

Cuz how does a blind boy
Navigate the world that maimed him
Without a guide?

The man needs free reign
To find peace
Use his adult eyes
To see his value
But the boy
Desperately claws at them
Scratching distortion into his vision
Intending to fully blind him
To his worth
So he'll be too crippled
To carry on without him
And find contentment

They brawl every day
The man not realizing
His size and power
Over his vindictive kin
Who can't see
The truth about him
But he still has
Enough sight left
To detect it

The boy was there first
But the man
Deserving of serenity
Pursuing healing and wholeness
Moved in years ago
And there's only room
For one of them
In his body



©2018 Charlene E. Green
from my upcoming book You Betta WRITE!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

HOME TRAINING

Prayer
will not save you
from the fate
of your last breath

Your wings
are date-stamped
the worst day
of the saddest month
in the year of inconvenience
for people who love you

And on that day
and those that follow
you'll have plans

You'll carry on
as if your plans are solid
as if when you made them
you had no doubt
that you'd be here for them
for those involved
for the experience of it all
for the storytelling after

But when your wings arrive
on schedule
the story will change
and no one will truly be ready
for the alternate version
even if they planned
or wanted to

You may never be
in charge of
or prepared for
your destined wings
but you can regulate
your soar through this world

You can embrace
love
laughter
altruism
appreciation

You can pursue
purpose
truth
justice
victory

You can choose
LIFE
your best life
even when it's hard
even when it feels unfair
especially when it's messy—
because if you can master
finding the message
in each mess
and share your discoveries
along the way
you'll inspire
people around you
to choose life, too
possibly at a time
when they're tired
of trying
of hurting
of being
at a time when
they're considering
making their own wings
and taking an earlier flight

And what better way
to be armed for your departure
than to ensure that you
have secured your spirit
and helped others equip theirs
for a peaceful trip home?

©2018 Charlene E. Green
You Betta WRITE!






Friday, July 27, 2018

TALLY

That one time
he stood you up
missed your birthday
ignored your feelings
criticized your hair
your friends
your goals
your body

That one time
he didn't support
your dreams

That one time
he called you dumb
stupid
crazy
weak
incompetent

That one time
he said
you'd never accomplish it
without him

That one time
he said
you'd never be shit
without him

That one time
he said
you were lucky
he wanted you
cuz no other man
would

That one time
he said
she was nobody
meant nothin'

That one time
he declared
with concert-level bass
in his tone
you couldn't go
couldn't wear that
couldn't be that
better not
do that

That one time
he promised
you'd regret it
if you did

That one time
he purposely punched
the door
the wall
the window
but unintentionally
punched you

That one time
he said
you made him do it

That one time
he forced himself on you
in you
when he was drunk
while you said
no
the whole time
but since he was your man
you hesitated
to call it rape

That one time
he took the rubber off
without your permission

That one time
he sent you
to the clinic
to "get it taken care of"

That one time
you were sick
and he was a ghost

That one time
he threatened bodily harm
to you
or him
if you left

That one time
you deemed it unwise
to test him
so you stayed

That one time
he affirmed
you were a bitch
a nag
a problem
a disorderly mouth
a blasphemous tongue
an answered prayer
turned calamity
an unforgivable
act of God

That one time
you realized
your calculations
were way off—
it was never just
one time

That one day
you conceded that
like your blood pressure
the numbers were far too high

That one moment
you stopped
counting his infractions
added up your worth
divided yourself
from your fears
multiplied your faith
and subtracted him
from your life

©2018 Charlene E. Green
You Betta WRITE!
www.hustledivaspeaks.com










Sunday, April 22, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, DAY FIVE, NUMBER TWO


ACCIDENT FORGIVENESS

How many more
Fender-benders to your feelings
Sideswipes to your ribs
Rear-ends to the back of your head
And fist-on collisions
With your face
Will it take
For you to finally admit
That this man
Is not accident-prone
He is purposely reckless
With your life?

Don't wait for him to stop
Make your move
When he pauses between hits
Eject yourself from his joyride
And find a safe companion
To travel with
On your journey to love
Before riding with him
Makes you a casualty

©2018 Charlene E. Green
www.hustledivaspeaks.com

DAYBREAK DECISIONS

When the sun is ornery
As it wakes
Cops attitude
Its warmth a blank stare
Shine selfishly tucked
Behind its frown

When the morning air is catty
Picks a fight with you
Pimp-slaps your face
With its icy breath
Before you've even
Negotiated with yourself
About how many more
Snooze-button taps
There will be
Before you'll have the capacity
To untangle yourself
From the all-night caress
Of your covers

When yesterday's balmy breeze
Is now a gale
In the throes of tantrum
Assailing trees
Fracturing branches
Hurling leaves
Flinging dust

When the clouds are murky
Heavy
Weak as a tattered bladder
And their untimely incontinence
Puts a damper
On your carefully thought-out
Wardrobe selection—
The one the weatherman said
Today would be perfect for—

Remember:
The day is still yours
For the winning

Resilience has extended its hand
Hopes you'll take it
And unleash its power

Your favorite activities
Still await
Your enthusiastic participation

Loved ones
Anticipate your wit and cheer
Smiles and encouragement

Unmet goals
Anxiously predict
Your continued fight
For their achievement

So no matter
What side of the bed
Mother Nature wakes up on
Don't let that
Impede the control
You have over your fulfillment

Don't forget
That you're not
At Her mercy

She's allowed
To start the day
Throwing shade

And you're allowed
To make light of it

©2018 Charlene E. Green

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, DAY FOUR

(After Ollie Woods's day-three poem "Free Write for Queendom")

BLACK LITERATURE 

You're my favorite free verse
Been studyin' you my whole life
Amazed at your levels of fortitude
How you wield your brilliant mind
Over so many matters
Ones that have killed others
But only made you stronger

Been watchin' you work that secret ingredient
In your DNA
Making you phoenix
Hugely sought
Flavor and favor unlimited
They all want it
But it can't be bought
You're no longer being sold
You're a free verse
Striding uninhibited through life
Sporting your melanin
Like the finest African couture
Telling the kinds of stories you want
With the endings you deserve
Baptizing souls with your zest
Stardust, they should call you
Cuz their systems call for you
Cry and reach for you
Yet they can never get high enough
To reach your heights
Can't get your potent effect
Anywhere else

Neither can I

Your embrace
Organic
Robust and consoling
Pure in its intention
To showcase love
Your gentle graze a light sweetener
Your aroma arousing my senses
Your steady breaths
A mood elixir
I wanna savor
So my pores sip your clutch slowly
Consume all your medicinal properties
Make sure my spirit is quenched and healed
Before you're gone

Your laugh
A djembe rhythm
Pulsating in your throat
Powered by generations of triumph
Ancestors Zulu dancing
In your belly
Stomping out your stress
Making your roar
That much more vibrant
Your joy contagious

Your smile
An eighth-grade dance
Filled with mystery
Mischief
Chance
Serving me all the feels
Giggles and butterflies
Baiting me
Luring me closer
Urging me to relax in your space
Your eyes
Strobe-lighting my path
Inviting me to engage
In your lively offerings
And enjoy my stay

I accept

You're my favorite free verse:
Uncensored
Unpredictable
Perfectly unstructured
With a message of omnipotence
Made clear

©2018 Charlene E. Green
You Betta WRITE!








Tuesday, April 3, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, DAY THREE

THWART

Always bring love to
a hate fight; shift bitter hearts
with spite Kryptonite

©2018 Charlene E. Green

Monday, April 2, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, DAY TWO

SURROGATE

Nourish your heart via
mine; feed on its beats when yours
needs strength to push through

©2018 Charlene E. Green

Sunday, April 1, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, DAY ONE

GARDEN

Scorned my growth process,
now wanna reap my beauty
and favor? DENIED!

©2018 Charlene E. Green

Friday, March 30, 2018

FRONT STREET

You know what people say
when they want you to leave
and not be seen:
"Go out the back."

You know what people do
when they too chickenshit
to bring their issues with you
to your face:
talk behind your back

You know what part of the
shelf
cabinet
drawer
closet
people tuck secrets
they don't want
nobody to find:
the back

You know where
in people's minds
they purposely escort
information they don't intend
to deal with:
the back

You know where
blue rogues
shoot unarmed men
whose eyes
facts
and hands
they refuse to search
for innocence

whose black skin
is a tripped panic alarm

©2018 Charlene E. Green
You Betta WRITE!