Category Archives: the writer’s eye

The Anniversary of Silence

As we continue our series SHE…

 

I am often asked, “How long have you been writing?” My answer usually ranges between the ages of 17 and 19, but the truth of the matter is I have been at it since grade 5. I was in a talented and gifted program (TAG), and I was tasked to create a book of poetry for a class project. This project introduced me to my love for words being eloquently linked together to tell stories. Not just any stories, but stories that my imagination birthed.

Over time I became more enamored with the multitude of pictures I could paint with words. It became an addiction for me to see how many people I could touch; how many women I could woo; how many of the fellas I could inspire to be more creative in their approach. I guess in a way I felt like writing was my mutant power (LOL). It was something about that pen and pad in my clutches that made me feel invincible. Writing gave me a power, an unequalled high, and a borderline sense of superiority. This craft has taken me on an amazing journey. I have been on stages with gifted musicians. I have headlined open mics with some of the most talented wordsmiths. I have been adored enough to be called a mentor to some of the most creative minds one would ever want to know. I enjoy the creative process, I really do. It’s like breathing the freshest of air. I cannot wait to inhale and exhale again.

The Anniversary of Silence

Facial features disguised

But she couldn’t hide the pain that outlined the unrest in her eyes

Untruths buried… Fed far to many lies

Even her tears had tears, drowning in cries.

Scared to be alone, so she couldn’t find the strength to leave him,

Unable to see past the blurred lines of hate wrapped in love, overwhelmingly deceiving

Because he loved her so much in that right eye that she hated to see thru her left

Thieving her self-esteem which each punch and kick, last breathes

Mommy I try to remember you,

But I pray to forget

The way that temperament changed when his empty bottle tipped

Liquor infused with the devilish spit

Massacre ensued, how fatal the script

Baby brother cry’s still echo with pain

Blood soaked denim still clutters my brain

No longer enjoying the beat of the rain,

Crazy how GOD’s music conjures up so much disdain

I just want to be plain,

A regular man who sleeps at night without the shakes and shivers

Without the cold sweats that my memory delivers

Without the eerie vision of a canvas painted in a nauseous river

My breathing is hampered

My legs are wearily weak

My arms don’t move

My mouth doesn’t speak

A victim

A witness

A murderous cowards retreat,

I try to drink the pain away

Smoke out the guilt

Purge the details from that night she was tragically killed

Silenced by Daddy

 

#TamirSaidIt

 

ts Tamir Salaam is a Dallas resident and a master composer of the written word. You can connect with him on facebook or blogspot to read more of his work.

 

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Stretching…

I am the proud alum of the University of Houston. I was blessed to work in downtown Houston and my mother made sure I had a humble heart. I was blessed to speak Spanish and understand the language of poverty.

During my stay in Houston I learned about the worker’s will to unionize and of the incredible push back they were receiving. The janitors that worked downtown after hours only earned minimum wage, which at the time it was $5.15. They also paid for their own parking. When I worked late hours, I saw kids, not that much older than me, taking out the trash, vacuuming and covering the square footage of this twenty floored sky high building. I decided to join them for the march that would not only change the earning ability of Houston janitors but ultimately the minimum wage of the country.

They won their campaign and I went to law school. Through life’s journey, I did not become the lawyer I dreamt of becoming since the 6th grade. I instead became something better (it is my interpretation, so to my lawyer friends, don’t get offended) by quitting law school and become a (self proclaimed) epic organizer. Giving a voice to the voiceless or ignored, I facilitated an organization of janitors in negotiating their pay just like lawyers, doctors, and business professionals. I organized over 500 janitors to go on unfair practice strikes because they were not being treated fairly, and getting taken advantage of.

I had to have tough conversations with families who shared a one bedroom apartment to prepare them for the aftermath of a strike. I had to prepare them for worst case scenario and give them hope for best case scenario. I had to talk to people who were making decisions for their children based on their minimum wage and had 16 hours of sweat and tears, emotional roller coasters. This was the biggest growth and stretch of SHE.

 

 

 
–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.

 

 

 

From the Earth

(Our continuation with the series SHE..)

 

Seed to Flower to Tree

Ink to Words to Me

I Was

I Might Just Be

Birthed in the womb of the struggle

Reared in the tight grasp of the hustle

Came of age in a lane that keeps me respectfully humble…

I reach for stars with the lengthy limbs of a Poetic Goliath

Never touching, but that doesn’t stop my mind from aspiring to breathe new being into my plight

Profusely drawing my life in pictures with hieroglyphs and scriptures that speaks to my ancestral mixture

You see my people were kings like Askia Muhammad long before they were forced to rebel like Nat Turner

Read about it…

I am cut from a cloth that has a certain string about it

I am encrusted with a sense of pride, and I refuse to live on my knees about it

I am willing to scale the highest mountain and vigorously scream about it

I came

I saw

And I am not yet satisfied with my current state

So where to start and when to stop is a steadfast debate

Those that love the arts can surely relate

Enough is never enough

A collection is never complete

A poem is never expressive, descriptive, or polished to the point of perfection

So all that’s left is, to turn the page and make yet another valiant attempt to be that Tree

That matured from that Flower

That was birthed from that Seed

And again allow the Ink to formulate the Words that represent Me

TamirSaidIt

 

 

 

ts   Tamir Salaam is a Dallas native and a master composer of the written word. You can connect with him on facebook or blogspot to read more of his work.

MetamorFROsis

image1

Inspired by your idea of the human metamorphosis, I explored the physical appearance of women, specifically black women! Going natural is a process that not only takes a great deal of patience, but it also challenges one’s self confidence, will power, dedication. I feel that black women who decide to take the journey of transitioning possess high self esteem, accomplish more, and seem to be more in tune with who they really are! As a man I admire I truly admire all those traits in a women.

–Thaddeus Arvie, Creatively Insane Art

A Louisiana native Houston based artist, Thaddeus creates custom pieces of art for showcase and sale. For more inquiries on his work, you can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or IG:_creativelyinsane_.

The True Beauty of Words

I was in second grade, a little older than the picture below when my parents announced they would be getting a divorce. To be frank, my parents never married for love. My mother married to have the freedom to fly, to be a butterfly. My father married my mother because she was beautiful; she had long dark hair that would make any color bolder and brighter. Their marriage was peaceful. It was exactly what it needed to be to raise a little girl full of love and joy. My mother was a joyful creature. My father was full of peace. Together they created the epitome of yin and yang.

Lia

My father left shortly after they completed their divorce. I locked myself in a closet with a roll of toilet paper because that’s what I had seen on TV. I sat there and waited to cry. I never shed a tear, I wasn’t sad. I was happy for my mom. I was happy she would have a second chance to find “true love” and I was thinking that my father would always be around. I was the only biological child he could have so how could he forget about me, right?

It was October twenty something, a few days after my birthday in 2nd grade. My father had called me and told me to get ready to go to the mall so that I could have those lights-up shoes they sold at JcPenny, I cut the picture out and everything. I waited by the street light to see if I would see him drive up. I waited I waited for hours as the street lights turned on and my mother made me come inside. I waited on the couch and I called to make sure he was okay. I waited and never saw him.

My mother called him and let him know his biggest mistake was to get my hopes up. I went to my room to reflect. Was I sad because I was left waiting, I was in 2nd grade; I had plenty of time to wait. Was I sad because I was lied to? No, I was mad because he lied to me. Was I even sad at all? No, I was mad because he lied to me and thought it would be okay.

It was that moment when I learned the true beauty of doing what you say you will do. It was that moment that I saw the value of letting your words mean something. It was that moment that I understood the concept of integrity. It was at that moment the birth of greatness in my core values occurred.

–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.

Unlocking Purpose

The 9 Questions That Unlocked My Purpose and My Gift

I make my living by communicating. My voice is my hammer and ideas are the nails.

They say the thing you were meant to bring to this world is the exact thing people try to beat out of you, and my life followed that adage to the letter. One of the first compliments and one of the first insults I ever received revolved around my voice.

“You speak with such power for a young person, what an amazing gift.”

“The way you talk intimidates people. You are too bossy. You make people feel bad.”

I’ll give you one guess which statement I internalized until adulthood.

For 30 years, I hid my mind for problem solving, my knack for turning a phrase, my ability to bring people together through sharing, and my love for questions under a rock hoping no one would happen upon them. I allowed the idea that my God given talent would eventually chase people away burrow a whole in my heart so deep the excavation took three years. I spent thirty years pretending to love the acceptable life I had created for myself, then the floor fell out from underneath me and I was forced to admit I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.

The only way I could figure out who I was, was to ask myself the big questions and allow only my inner voice to give the answer. After all, I would have to live out the findings of this expedition, so it only made sense that I have sole input. So I began…

What makes me special?

What talents do I bring to this world?

What could I do for the rest of my life and be satisfied?

What fills me with joy?

What steals my joy?

What does love look like to me?

How do I define success?

Where do I place my faith?

Who do I trust?

I followed each with the universal and all important question…why?, which, in most cases, is the tiny word holding back the floodgates.

Each question was a stronghold I needed to pull down, a lie I needed to dismantle, or a curse needing to broken. For three years, I felt my feelings and thought my thoughts completely removed from the fears, hopes, dreams, emotions, and intent of others.. I dared to reawaken my voice. Then, I set about learning to use it.

 

 

 

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. Learn more about her at about.me.

Coming Soon! Coming Soon!

Coming to The Provocative Eye: A new series:

SHE.

Who is She?

Infinite Kairos
Magnificently Magnetic
Powerfully Evolving
A force to be Reckoned with
Peaceful Agape
Defined Vulnerability
Spoken Agility
Gracious and Humble
the Heart of the Universe
The Evolution of Woman illustrated through the eyes of guest contributors.
Stay tuned.
11.17.2014