Monday, September 26, 2011

I Don't Even Feel Like It, But...

In re-dedicating myself to this blog (yeah, this one that you're currently reading. Hi.) I have self imposed a 1 post weekly, minimum requirement. Really, I should post more. More than likely, I probably will. But I have to, at the very least make myself accountable for 1 post a week, no matter what. No matter what's going on or how busy or sick or in love I am. And it doesn't matter what it's about, as long as it's something. Okay? Okay.

Well, today I don't even feel like posting. And it's not even because I'm just too daggone lazy. I'm actually really busy and more important than me meeting my 1 post a week requirement is that I memorize like 137 new poems this week. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. Five. But five poems is a lot! When is the last time you memorized that many poems? That's what I thought. So it might as well be 261. [insert hair flip here]

All of this memorization is in preparation for a duo of northern Cali shows that I am doing with a few of my fellow Boom Girls, Tamara Blue, Simply Kat, Judy Holiday, and Jimetta Rose. If I can get all these poems in my head (which I will, once I finish this post), they're going to be amazing shows. If you live in or near Stockton or Oakland you should definitely make it a point to be present at Pierced Ear Poetry Slam (Oct. 20th) and/or Golden State Slam (Oct. 23rd), as both venues celebrate their anniversaries and give a stage to a fly collective of women. Doesn't that sound like fun? Of course it does. And a night of high quality entertainment, such as the kind we're about to provide can be obtained for the low price of a $10 ticket at the door! Isn't that a bargain? Of course it is!

Listen. I'm about to go wad these pages of poems up into ear canal sized cannons and shoot them into my ears so that a river of poignant words can flow from my mouth at these shows. In the meantime, don't forget that I have an actual website that you can visit to learn about all of my poetry doings and writings. Feel free to help yourself to the open buffet of detailed info for the October Boom Girls shows, below.

October 20th
Pierced Ear Poetry Slam
Hosted by The Saint
Plea for Peace Center
630 E. Webster Ave.
Stockton, CA 95202
$8 in Advance, $10 at the Door

October 23rd
Golden State Slam
Hosted by Nercity and Jelal
Grand Lake Coffee House
440 Grand
Oakland, CA 94510
$8 in Advance, $10 at the Door

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Cutting Up is NECESSARY

I have so much things to say right now. And when I have "so much things to say", I intentionally try to keep it brief and manageable, or else, we'll both be here all day. By now, I'm sure you've heard all about the Troy Davis tragedy. Yesterday, justice was not served, in fact, the United States' criminal justice system continued it's campaign of victimizing and terrorizing citizens. This is literally like a terrible nightmare and this morning when I opened my eyes, I was sad that I hadn't successfully awakened from it. I sincerely feel trapped within the borders of this country. I feel abused by it. I just want to run away. I honestly feel like I can't live here anymore.

Where am I gonna go? I have absolutely no clue. Because the truth is that though The United States of America is brutal, ugly, murderous, wicked, and unjust, it is not the only country that gets down like that. The United States' behavior is just a reflection of the people that live in it and run it. And since people are people everywhere you go, I'm afraid I will not be able to outrun human nature.

I am often perplexed by our attitude toward and treatment of others. Why do we hate and kill each other? From the time I was a young child and able to have real, cohesive, logical thoughts, I've racked my brain trying to understand humankind's predisposition to malice, and I have not yet been able to figure it out. We mostly act like wild animals.

My feelings on the Death Penalty have vacillated over the years between support of the concept (ridding society of "evil", reserving resources for those among us who don't commit heinous crimes, "making things right", "bringing peace to the victim's family") and believing that there's no place in our judicial system for such an archaic practice. Throughout my adult life, as I've matured and learned more about the history of my people and the history of this country, I've steadily moved away from supporting even the concept of "an eye for an eye"; not because I'm some super peaceful, new age, yoga mat toting, liberal, artist, but because, in a country where institutionalized racism is, as I type this, digging it's roots deeper into all facets of our social structure, and corruption is common place, there is no possible way that a person of color or of a lower socio-economic class can truly, fairly be tried for any crime and sentenced properly. If a fair trial by a jury of your peers cannot be had, then the option of capital punishment should not exist. It is dangerous. Innocent people will inevitably die.

I do not know if Troy Davis committed the crime that he was executed for. I wasn't there. He says he didn't. There was no real evidence to say that he did and no reliable witnesses. In the years since the trial, most of the witnesses recanted their statements. More than one witness said that they were bullied by the police into incriminating Troy Davis in the murder of Officer McPhail. More than one juror on the trial basically said that knowing what they know now, they would have never found Troy Davis guilty. There was entirely too much doubt to execute this man. And yet, that's exactly what happened.

Now, I'm always slow to shout, "RACISM" whenever something dumb happens. However, sadly, in this case, I must. Because, how is it that after all of this non-evidence was presented and these shady witnesses were cross examined, and the jury, eager to return to their regularly scheduled lives found Troy Davis guilty, did the presiding judge actually get it into his legally professional, logical mind to sentence him to death? If no one in the courtroom has an ounce of sense, at the very least, wouldn't a judge? This leads me to believe that there were other factors that influenced the judge's decision. I suspect that other factor may have been Troy Davis' color.

Then I read about a case just three years ago in which a white man was sentenced to death in Georgia after shooting an individual three times, beating them with a crow bar and a can of paint. He admitted that he did it, probably did the Harlem Shake while confessing, and then managed to have his execution halted 3 hours before it was to be carried out. This man, David Crowe, was spared and had his sentence commuted to life in prison. Oh. Okay. See.

But Georgia couldn't do that for Troy Davis.

And I'm not really in support of setting fires and turning cars over, but...

It is definitely time to start some fires and turn some cars over. Because, I for one am tired of the United States killing my folks. And if the judicial system and it's police officers will mercilessly murder Troy, and Amadou, and Suzy Pena, and wrongfully imprison Assata, then they will do it to my children, me, and you. And they won't stop there.

The conversation since last night has been about exactly what to do. I don't have that answer. I'm still trying to figure it out. Petitions are nice and are helpful in effecting some kind of change, but I'm really not interested in being polite about this anymore. I am dedicated to figuring it out. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe I will see you and celebrate alongside you in a place where our paths converge.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seriously Folks...

'Member when I used to do all that great blogging back in the day? Yeah. I'mma do that again. Starting now. Seriously, folks.

Okay, listen... Don't look at me like that.

I been busy! I'm sorry, okay? I promise to make it up to you with lots of introspection, observation, verbatim text message, copy and pasted email conversations, and tomfoolery. Just watch. You'll see.

Okay, so let's start. "What has that maniac, Nikki been up to?" you may have been wondering. Well, I lost my job, ended a 5 year long on and off relationship with my best friend, rode some planes, got swept off my feet, fell in love, coached a slam team, went to Nationals, hosted a weekly open mic, continued the daily task of staying fly till I die, raised a black girl to the ripe old age of 12 years old, had a girl steal my house key, and got proposed to. Currently, I is gettin' married, lookin' for a job, growing my hair into a glorious, awe-inspiring mane, tryin' to get my stolen house key back, and writing, writing, writing. Oh, and serving the Lord with gladness. This here blog is going to be a part of that "writing, writing, writing" I just mentioned. It's gonna be so good. Mmmh, mmmh, mmmh!

Banner near Harvard Square in Cambridge Massachusetts, advertising the 2011 National Poetry Slam

So, now that we're back to being friends and you don't hate me for abandoning you anymore, I'mma letcha know... I'm old. I've been observing this lil' trend in blogging where everybody is tumbling all over the place. Listen. I ain't got time. I don't know nothin' 'bout none of that. I'mma stay put right here and push these blog entries out of my nether regions the old fashion way. 'Kay? I tweet. I Facebook on occasion. That's about all you're gonna get out of me.

However, I digress. What I really wanted to say is that I'm about as happy as a preggo Beyonce and I'm really excited to be blogging and sharing my life with you again.

On another note, one of the reasons that I felt that it was important that I return to blogging was because of the many social and political happenings of the past few months. There is always some mess poppin' off. I am by no means an expert in the fields of political science, economics, government, or sociology, but I do often have opinions, some of which might be interesting to folks other than my friends and people that I talk to on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm the only person who feels or thinks a particular way about what I hear and read, and writing is a really productive way to process all of the information and [attempt to] make sense of the world.

For that reason, I find it very fitting that I am re-dedicating myself to my blog on the night before the scheduled execution of Troy Davis. If you don't know who this young man is, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with his case, develop an opinion, and perhaps find ways to be vocal about what is going on. It only takes a minute to sign a petition or make a phone call. You can contact the Chatham County's District Attorney's office at the following numbers:

Telephone: 912-652-7308 Fax: 912-652-7328

Hopefully, I'll be boasting about victory in my next blog post. In the mean time, let's all call, petition, tweet, email, pray, and make some noise to save this man's life.