Tag Archives: poetry

The Space in Which You Exist

Have you thought about the space in which you exist? What about your environment impacts your day to day or what about your experiences impact your environment? Today I took a few minutes to create the space in which I would see myself living in if I were a character in a book or play.

I may be missing some categories but it was fun to think about the space in which my character would live. Please take a few minutes to look at my characters space and feel free to share with us your vision for your characters space; Add categories as you see fit!

Overview: a wide open space, apartment connected to a larger house

Feeling: Warm and casual
Colors: Yellow, Reddish Orange and purple,
Accents: Candles, picture frames- pictures of things and places and quotes- no people, throws, pillows, drapes, heavy drapes, big furniture, statues, sunlight surrounds spaces, big plants
Sounds: Music is always in the background, jazz, instrumentals, opera, sounds of water and laughter in the distance
Emotion: poetry, optimism and sex
Lives for: peace, intimacy, meaningful encounters, truth, fun and purity




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Community Asset: The Café

One of the ongoing challenges I have faced as a poet involve landing performance opportunities. Although I have performed at a number of open mics and several variety shows, I am always searching for a platform to display my talent for more than 3-5 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, I have attended a few disappointing open mics in Chicago, that more times than not, turned out to be a rap fest, where the singers and poets performed last. This is never a fun experience!

Recently I came across the website of The Café, a uniquely styled bar that hosts a weekly open-mic on Tuesdays, located at 5115 N. Lincoln in Chicago. While looking on the website I noticed that The Café had open slots for featured readings/ poets. Feature poets can read/ perform 20 minutes of their poetry on one of the open Tuesdays. This was great news for me because I desperately desire to build my performance stamina, introduce a crowd to my poetic story, and capture some great recordings of my talent.

That very day I contacted Janet Kuypers, the coordinator of the poetry readings at The Café. Janet was extremely responsive, and after viewing a few of my recordings on Facebook, she told me to a pick an open slot of my choice. After solidifying my date of August 9, 2011, I knew I needed to check out the venue and crowd. After rescheduling 3 times, I was finally able to attend one of the open mic sessions.

It was the day after Chicago’s horrible rain storms when I visited The Café. I walked into the bar and was surprised to spot 3 distinct sections, separated by furniture, each space with its personal touches. Walking to the back room, I finally met the spirited, Janet Kuypers. Happy to meet me, she explained that this day would not include a feature, but instead a series of 10 minute mini-features. SCORE!  The Café presented a win-win situation for every poet in attendance.

As an added bonus Janet video records first time performers and posts to YouTube; she also sends each performer a copy of the link! I am so glad that I stumbled upon this local platform. I believe it is important to create the platforms you seek, but I also like to support those that are already in progress. The Café and it’s loyal following, are truly a Community Asset for local poets and creative artists to display their talent in front of a welcoming audience.

For more information, visit


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HEAVY- Poetry for a Graduate

Some call this a milestone 

     I call it a monument 

It’s HEAVY….this achievement 

This collection of experiences composed of perseverance, multi-tasking, late nights, early mornings, group projects, train rides, miscommunications, one too many power points, department coffee, red bull cans, and all that we know as sacrifice 

This day is the output of all that’s been put in 

For some of us, this was a test we took to prove to others we were worthy

     Worthy of the accolades, the salary increase, credentials for promotion, and much more 

But for some, this day is all about you 
Passion for learning

Lust for knowledge

Infatuation with making a difference in the world

     It is HEAVY…this achievement 

This monument, that no longer makes it okay for your ignorance to be excused 

This mountain that demands you make a certain amount of money per year or the purpose of your further education gets called into question 

This statue that makes some idolize and congratulate you for accomplishments that they only dream of 

This tribute that you must balance with pride and humility, pledging to help those that come after

It’s so HEAVY….to big to hold

Too many words to describe how it feels,

The thought of carrying responsibility to this degree makes you sweat,

Makes you lose sleep, workout and eat Wheaties

It’s so HEAVY….intangible,

Feels like a figment of the imagination because tomorrow,

     You cannot rest 

Tomorrow you will be pulling the weight of this monument 

I don’t know, some may continue to call it a milestone,

But during my pursuit, I felt like boulders were on my shoulders 

I cannot call this a stone, and I definitely walked more than a mile to get here 

And will walk much further than that in the future. 

          It’s HEAVY…..this achievement.

Graduation 2008- Columbia College Chicago- before the hooding


Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Poetry, Uncategorized


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Are You the Master of Your Domain?

Cover of "Creating Poetry"

Cover of Creating Poetry

Normally I write poetry as a form of catharsis or social action, usually to be spoken. I have some poetry that I would never intend to perform. I started thinking about submitting some of the pieces that I consider “reading poetry” into competitions or other sources for publication. After comparing some published pieces to my works, I realized that much of the published poetry had a very different sound and vibe than I am used to delivering.

I began reading a book titled Creating Poetry by John Drury. Creating Poetry explores the fundamentals of poetry, providing descriptions and examples of all poetic terms including prose, verse, iambic pentameter, sonnets, and more; formalities I don’t usually consider when writing. 

While reading, I recalled my experiences with sonnets- senior year of high school, theatre class. Each senior had to pick a Shakespearian sonnet to memorize. We completed a million and one activities with our sonnets. I enjoyed learning my sonnet and finding the beauty in each word as well as becoming familiar with the format. 

In Creating Poetry, Drury lists hundreds of exercises one can do to learn to create poetry in the numerous styles described. I was a bit overwhelmed thinking about the formalities of this art form, some of which I have taken for granted. Although one should not become obsessed with following the rules of poetry, I think that if I say I am a poet, I should know (most of) them. 

I would hate to be in a room full of poets and they begin tossing around poetry terms, and my self-proclaimed self could not add to the discussion. I would also hate for someone who admires my poetry, written and spoken, to begin asking questions about form and I could not provide any concrete information. 

Talents are not necessarily taught, therefore presenting a challenge when one seeks to become a master of their craft or talent. I have written poetry long before it was taught to me. I think it is important to know the rules of whatever “game” you play, so I am committed to re-teaching myself some of the basics. 

What do you think? Is it important to know the formalities of your talents or can you push forward without knowing them? 

By the way, I decided to play with a rhyme scheme using a topic I would not usually write about (the type of suggested activities in Creating Poetry). Can you identify the pattern below using letters or numbers? For example, ABAB or 123, 456, 123.

Find What You Are Looking For

Runny nose turned stuffy

I’m even having trouble breathing through my mouth

Chest filled with air

Throat hard to clear 

Where is the poetry in my being ill?

Nyquil tastes sucky

Spraying Lysol to keep germs from spreading through the house

Boyfriend handles me with care

He might catch my cold I fear

Why no poetry in my being ill?

Ahheeem, is the sound I keep making

I’m no good at just resting 

Eyes heavy, he said my face looked swollen

Yeah…..That’s really what a girl wants to hear

Even when I’m sick, I still want to be the finest thing near

No poetry in my being ill!

No milk, means no baking

Virus festering

Need to workout, trying to keep a schedule rolling

On my deathbed, still worried about the plump of my rear

Toward losing 25 pounds, I still steer

Looking for the poetry in my being ill…..


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Overcoming My Fears As An Artist

After reflecting on my post, “How Does My Talent Fit Into My Life Plan?”,  I have decided that the only way I would know how this relationship with me and poetry will end, is to again become an active participant with the art form. 

Since posting, I have re-engaged with poetry by performing, writing, reading, listening and watching others perform. 

I am going to make a decision about me and poetry using logic instead of fear. By stepping away from the art form, I have prevented myself from using sound judgement to make a decision. 

It dawned on me that I had not actually agreed on my personal idea of success as it relates to poetry. Although, I will always write and perform, I am at the crossroads of deciding exactly how much intentional time I will be giving to this component of my life. By re-envisioning how I want to be known in the world of poetry, I am able to develop my talent more efficiently. 

I realize that I was also isolating my experience with poetry to artist and audiences I was already familiar with. I found myself comparing my talents to only those that have performed on Def Poetry Jam or like artists. By not setting clear expectations for my idea of success, I deemed myself a failure. 

After performing at a local set (poetry event) put on by Students for Justice in Palestine at the School of the Art Institute (Chicago), I realized that I have not been exploring enough spoken word poets, nor have I been considering a diverse audience. At this particular event, there were Jewish poets, white poets, me, and a Palestinian poet. That night, we all spoke about justice and told stories about our tragic realities.

Ultimately, I have limited myself to a particular style of spoken word by not thinking of myself as an artist. There are several genres of music, pop, hip-hop, R & B, etc. There are also different styles of spoken word that is geared toward a particular audience OR even a different cause, which means, there is a place for me. 

Simply put, moving forward, I am facing this battle head on. These are the steps I have taken to overcome my fear: 

1-     Identified the fear- Does poetry fit into my current life. Is it worth my continued investment?

2-    I decided to commit to exploring my relationship with poetry over the next 3 months. The only way that I can know HOW to continue with this art form is to perform in a variety of venues. I have already stepped out and performed at the Green Mill, a Chicago Gem that has been hosting open-mic nights every Sunday for 10 years. 

That’s it! It was actually two very easy steps, that in the long run, will allow me to make a decision I am confident with based on experience instead of fear. 

What steps do you take to overcome your fears? 

Below is a web entry that pertains to overcoming your fears. This entry provides in-depth tactics on how to look within and take the big leap.


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Unique Spaces for Making Progress


What is unique about your creative process?

For years, I have had jobs that required me to travel long distances to work, atleast forty minutes each day. After getting fed up with the radio playing songs on repeat and an inoperable car CD player, I began using my morning and evening drives to and from work as a time for meditation. 

Praying was how I made the most of these lengthy drives. I enjoyed my personal time; reflecting on the day’s successes and challenges was a must. I was working in stressful positions that forced me to interact with people soaking in negative energy and taxing personal situations. I needed to immediately cleanse myself of colleagues and clients energy. 

The prayer and meditation led me to begin creating spoken word pieces on the way home. Since eight years old, I have written poetry, but while driving, words were delivered to me and I would memorize each verse. 

One of my best spoken word pieces came to me. There is a particular section of the poem I can only remember when I am in the car. I have been unaware of this part of the poem anytime I am outside of the car, until now. 

My car is a poetry portal.

Recently I decided to start working on my spoken word pieces again. As I practiced my poetry in the car, this ghost verse started flowing and I was taken aback. I said it a few more times while in the car and thought I had it! A few weeks later I recorded the poem without any recollection of the ghost verse. It wasn’t until I was in the car practicing it again that the verse re-surfaced and I realized what was happening. 

My car is a poetry portal. There, words transform into poetry into life changing anthems for those that choose to listen.

Long story short, I want to know about your unique surroundings and spaces that push you to discover, create, and improve your talents and purpose. Please share in the comment section, you may inspire others.

Below is a link to a blog that lists 55 ways to find your hidden talents. Even if you have already identified a talent, you may discover more.


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How Does My Talent Fit Into My Life Plan?

As you may know, I have a personal statement that serves as the feeder goal for all of my actions. This statement is the sum of my soon-to-be life plan:

To creatively impact urban change by designing sustainable communities

In no way should this statement limit me, but instead it should help guide me. My personal statement helps decide how I use my time, energy, and resources most efficiently and effectively to meet my goals.

I am a firm believer in actively participating in your passions and talents. Throughout my life, poetry has served me. Poetry fed me hope, peace, and alternative perspectives. As an art form, poetry saved me by allowing me to cope when times were more tumultuous than I thought I could handle.

As I have discovered other ways to cope with personal issues, my focus has shifted from one of art and creativity to practical development and tangible assistance. I’m trying to determine how to fully integrate poetry and performing into my life as a resource and necessary component.

I am scared that my increasing practicality is decreasing my desire and will to work on my artistic craft. This should not be. This is not the example that I would want to set for others…..Yet, I think this is realistic and more common than not.

I also believe that, over the past few months, I have lost confidence in the impact of my words to improve. What does this stem from?

Poetry, expression, and creativity mean the world to me as I aim to remain relevant. I’m just uncertain about my place in this world of fast tongues, quick wit, and fancy word play. I know that my poetry and my style of expression have a place, but I struggle to visualize the details of the space and time that I fit in.

As I write this, I realize another reason this topic weighs heavy on me. Whenever I am engaging in a passion or career, my friends and family invest their time, money, and energy into what I am doing. I believe that I want to make sure I am not wasting my loved ones time, i.e. channeling their support into my lost cause…..

I think this is one of the hardest realities I have ever had to ponder. All in all, I am trying to discover if my passion or hobby is an integral part of my life plan and if I should push through or let go.

BTW, Happy National Poetry Month

Below is a link to a blog entry by Caitlin Kelly that encourages readers to think about, “Would you rather be creative or productive?”


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