|Performing at International Women's Day celebrations in Arusha - 2013|
Yesterday, I was interviewed by journalist Thembi Mutch after she was,in her words, blown away by my performance on International Women's Day at Alliance Francaise, Arusha. During the interview, we discussed and bonded loads. As usual the 'who inspires you question' popped and I have a whole list of activities and pieces that inspire me. After I had mentioned who came to mind at the time, she asked if I knew about Ntozake Shange...my heart lit up. I had watched the movie, For Colored Girls, after reading the poetry thanks to a lovely pal. The movie was ok but I think I would it should have stayed in a theatre hall. The pieces are beyond and I particularly loved the piece done by Juanita Sims played by Loretta Devine someone almost ran off with all of my stuff which speaks of when she gives herself to Frank yet he does not value her and leaves her over and over and each time he comes back, she takes him back. She runs a mentorship club of sorts at the hospital she works in and tells herself that she has to be strong for her girls, set a good example so the last time Frank walks out and comes back a few days with flowers, she says this amazing piece;
somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin this is mine/this aint yr stuff/ now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self
somebody almost walked off wit alla my stuff ; didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin i was late for my solo conversation or two sizes to small for my own tacky skirts
what can anybody do wit somethin of no value on a open market/ did you getta dime for my things/ hey man/ where are you goin wid alla my stuff/ to ohh & ahh abt/ daddy/ i gotta mainline number from my own shit/ now wontcha put me back/ & let me play this duet/ wit silver ring in my nose/ honest to god/
somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of it the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs this is mine/ ntozake ‘her own things’/ that’s my name now give me my stuff/ i see ya hidin my laugh/ & how i s it wif my legs open sometimes/ to give me some sunlight/ & there goes my love my toes my chewed up finger nails/ niggah/ wif the curls in yr hair/ mr. louisiana hot link/
i want my stuff back/ my rhythms & my voice/ open my mouth/ & let me talk ya outta/ throwin my shit in the sewar/ this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss/ i gotta have to give to my choice/ without you runnin off wit alla my shit/ now you cant have me less i give me away/ i waz doin all that/ til ya run off on a good thing/
who is this you left me wit/ some simple bitch widda bad attitude/ i wants my things/ i want my arm wit the hot iron scar/ & my leg wit the flea bite/ i want my calloused feet & quik language back in my mouth/ fried plantains/ pineapple pear juice/ sun-ra & joseph & jules/ i want my own things/ how i lived them/ & give me my memories/ how i waz when i waz there/ you cant have them or do nothin wit them/
stealin my shit from me/ dont make it yrs/ makes it stolen/ somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i waz standin there/ lookin at myself/ the whole time & it waznt a spirit took my stuff/ waz a man whose ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow/ waz a man faster n my innocence/
waz a lover/ i made too much room for/ almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i didnt know i’d give it up so quik/ & the one runnin wit it/ don’t know he got it/ & i’m shoutin this is mine/ & he dont know he got it/ my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year/
did you know somebody almost got away wit me/ me in a plastic bag under their arm/ me danglin on a string of personal carelessness/ i’m spattered wit mud & city rain/ & no i didnt get a chance to take a douche/ hey man/ this is not your prerogative/ i gotta have me in my pocket/ to get round like a good woman shd/ & make the poem in the pot or the chicken in the dance/
what i got to do/ i gotta get my stuff to do it to/ why dont ya find yr own things/ & leave this package of me for my destiny/ what ya got to get from me/ i’ll give it to ya/ yeh/ i’ll give it to ya/ round 5:00 in the winter/ when the sky is blue-red/ & Dew City is gettin pressed/ if it’s really my stuff/ ya gotta give it to me/ if ya really want it/ i’m the only one/ can handle it
-----By: Ntozake Shange.
After the movie, I was provoked to find out more about the brains behind For colored girls who considered suicide/ when the rainbow wasn't enough; Poet and Playwright Ntozake Shange. Being a rape survivor, Sunday 15th, I just wanted to wallow in her brain for a minute. So I made a date with Google and I loved the time spent.
For like me, she is a person living with a mental health condition. Growing up I had heard that poets are people with issues, real poets like real artists have funny mannerisms, stranger diseases and it took me a minute to actually say I am a poet, maybe I love this lady because we are in the same 'misery' boat, maybe just maybe but no one walks with this earth without issues, what matters is how we deal with it, how we look at our brothers and sisters and love them so much and not want them to go through the same, love them so much irregardless of not having any relation not to have them curse and suffer and I do it for both colored and uncolored girls and boys with or without rainbows.
She tells us about her suicide attempts and strokes. Her story is one of strength and overcoming great adversity.
All this and much more is what made my heart light when Thembi asked about Ms. Shange. Someone almost ran off with my stuff speaks to me because mental health disorders and the rape almost ran off with all of my stuff but I got it all back. VIM!!!