The Escape (from ‘Exotic Shifter’)

When you started calling every 5 minutes and
demanding every beat of my time,
I should’ve known you were another brotha beyond
the OCD tip.
Possession’s only sweet to those committing the act.
It’s one of love’s nut job rellies that
shouldn’t share a bloodline.

When the life you live isn’t enough that you have
to encroach upon and suck the essence out of another’s—
it’s way past your meds and time for an intervention
They don’t make straightjackets tough enough for
the pained love you inflict on your prey.
A love that needs to be checked
by family, your crew, or law enforcement is a love
I wants no part of.

Thank goodness I woke up in time.
Cause there’s no guarantee that a kiss from
Prince Charming would’ve saved me
if the entrapment lasted one moment longer.
Thank goodness I got away.

Exotic Shifter can be purchased through the 2 Pens & Lint website on the BuddahDesmond author page.

“Exotic Shifter,” a Chapbook, is Out Now!

exoticshift_samplecover(adjusted_2)

I’m happy to announce that my latest project Exotic Shifter is available for purchase! Published through 2 Pens & Lint, this chapbook features 20 poems primarily about love and relationships.

As described in a previous post, “Love changes things… Well, love changes everything. It’s impossible that we go through life loving anything or anyone (ourselves, others, our communities) without being changed. The poems featured in Exotic Shifter examine the transformative power of love (and/or how we can be transformed once we learn to love ourselves and others better).”

Exotic Shifter serves as a prelude to my next full-length volume, which is tentatively titled From the Inside Out. This project will take an even deeper look at love and relationships. I’m pushing to release this project in late 2015/early 2016.

Exotic Shifter can be purchased through the 2 Pens & Lint website on the BuddahDesmond author page. The chapbook is $5.

If you like/love Exotic Shifter, please tell a friend or two (or three or four) about it. And if you have feedback, please feel free to share it with me!

Thank you for your support. Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

Surrender (From the Forthcoming Chapbook, “Exotic Shifter”)

come to me
let me show you the way to my heart

come with me
let us escape to an intimate place where we can express
our love without restraint

stay with me
never let me spend another night alone

lay with me
so that our bodies, souls, and minds can unite as one

let us let go and let the wonderful beauty of this
bond take us where it may

let us go deeper than any lovers in the history of loving
have ever gone
let us go beyond giving each other our all
let us surrender
to the unwavering, insurmountable power of love

© 2014 BuddahDesmond

“Exotic Shifter,” My New Chapbook, Coming Soon

BuddahDesmond_ExoticShifter_SampleCover
Good news: my latest project entitled, Exotic Shifter, will be available soon! In a previous post, I mentioned that I’d been working on two new projects. The first being a chapbook, Exotic Shifter, and the second being my next full-length volume of poetry (with a tentative release date some time in late 2015/early 2016). Well, we’re in the final stages of the editing process and the chapbook will be heading to the printer any day now.

Exotic Shifter is primarily about love and relationships. As my grandmother says, “Love is a metamorphosis.” Love changes things… Well, love changes everything. It’s impossible that we go through life loving anything or anyone (ourselves, others, our communities) without being changed. The poems featured in Exotic Shifter examine the transformative power of love (and/or how we can be transformed once we learn to love ourselves and others better).

Exotic Shifter will be published by 2 Pens & Lint, whose tagline is, “A New Direction In Poetry.” As their website states, “2 Pens & Lint strives to create an atmosphere where poets can build and maintain financial stability through the art of poetry while simultaneously using their poetry as a catalyst for change in their communities and broader society.”

2 Pens & Lint is a company that is completely supportive of the art of poetry and ensuring that poets have the resources they need to continue enhancing their artistry, their platform, and their business (which in essence will impact their communities and the world). This is why I decided to pursue publishing my chapbook with 2 Pens & Lint.

Exotic Shifter will be available for sale on the 2 Pens & Lint website and from me at upcoming events. Stay tuned for more details!

As always, I thank you kindly for your continued support. Much Love!

Exotic Shifter Cover Illustration: Patricia Swann (my grandmother, who also created the cover illustration for Prevail)

Janet Mock and The Power of Defining Ourselves For Ourselves

janet-mock-amos-mac-opmagImage courtesy of Amos Mac of OP Magazine and janetmock.com.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. ~ Audre Lorde

There is freedom in knowing ourselves and defining ourselves for ourselves. There is freedom in living in our light and telling our stories–oft stories that need to be told. When we allow ourselves to be defined by others, our lives are muted, shortchanged, and disregarded. There is no power like that of naming yourself and claiming your truth. This is what Janet Mock has done and continues to do as a fierce writer, advocate, and creator of #GirlsLikeUs, a movement which encourages trans women to live their lives openly and visibly.

In late February, I had the opportunity to attend an intimate talk by Janet Mock at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. This event was part of a book tour in support of Mock’s New York Times bestselling book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More. The ever-engaging Helena Andrews, journalist, pop culture critic, and author of Bitch Is The New Black, facilitated the talk.

In 2011, Mock came out as a trans woman in the misgendered Marie Claire article, “I Was Born A Boy.” At a very early age, Mock knew what her identity was and that it did not match the sex she was assigned at birth. She always knew she was a girl, even though the world tried to refute, devalue, and silence her true identity through gender policing, heteronormativity, and transphobia. It was a struggle, but Mock was adamant about who she was and was determined to live her life authentically. In no truer words, Michaela Angela Davis told Mock, “You got your girl. You saw who you were and you got her.” And that she did!

Aside from an affirming family, Mock credits community as being pivotal in her path to womanhood. In seventh grade she met her best friend, Wendy, who was also a young trans woman. Mock says Wendy connected her with a community of older trans women who she bonded with. Through them she had examples of what trans womanhood was, which further shaped her identity and what she wanted her womanhood to be.

It was in this community that Mock says other trans women began calling her “Baby Janet” because of an uncanny resemblance to Janet Jackson. During this time, Mock admits being completely enamored with Jackson’s critically acclaimed album The Velvet Rope. The Velvet Rope is a collection of deeply introspective songs, many of which unveiling pain that Jackson held inside for many years. The album touched on depression, self-love, self-worth, sexuality and social issues like homophobia and domestic violence. Mock saw many parallels between Janet’s heartfelt music and her own life. So how fitting is it that she, too, would ultimately name herself Janet.

During the talk, Mock also discussed the notion of privilege and “passing.” In this society, we often place too much emphasis on beauty and attractiveness. Often times, beauty can overshadow a person’s skills, gifts, talents, and experiences. Mock acknowledges privilege in being attractive, but she does not let that define who she is. She says, “I do the work. I will not let people reduce me to a pretty face.” Mock also scoffs at the notion of passing, for she is a woman who is simply being herself.

When it comes to telling your story, Mock says you have to do it first and foremost for yourself. Tell yourself the truth about your experiences. She recommends finding someone you trust to share your story with. When you feel ready, share the story publicly. For young trans women, she says “Shut out all the noise. Tap into your own truth. Find your advocates.” For many of us, it’s crucial that we find our families in the spaces we’re in.

As her journey continues, Mock hopes that her work speaks for itself and that her story is one that opens minds, shifts language, and inspires others to be their authentic selves. When asked by Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPost Live about the message she hopes people take away from Redefining Realness, Mock said, “I think my biggest thing would be to empower girls who grew up like I did. To give them language and access to explain and understand their experiences. For so long, I…blamed myself for a lot of the hardships that I went through and I would like to free them from that. And I hope that the book frees a lot of people to understand these issues more.”

And what can we expect from Mock in the future? More writing, of course. She’s planning to write a book which addresses the beauty myth from the perspective of a black trans woman. She’s also looking into TV as another platform for storytelling.

Janet Mock, thank you for doing the work. Thank you for being the beautiful spirit that you are and for sharing your powerful story with us. Trailblazer, keeping shining!

I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you. ~ Janet Mock

PicWithJanetMockII(2252014)

I Was Too Blind To See – Latest on MUSED

Young man thinkingImage courtesy of MUSED Magazine.

Ever been in a situation, be it a relationship, friendship, or job, that was no good for you?  Everyone other than you knew you could do better and encouraged you to move on.  But for reasons that were oblivious to you at the time, you remained.  I’ve had my fair share of experiences such as these.  In my latest article for MUSED, “I Was Too Blind To See,” I talk about a past relationship that had run its course.  I ignored all the signs.  Yet, I stayed… And paid dearly for it.  But as I say in the article, “I’m grateful because that experience was crucial to bringing me forward.”  To learn more, read the article on MUSED.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels, Neo Huxtable and the MUSED family for featuring the article!

Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter
Follow BuddahDesmond on:  Facebook | Twitter
Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 14

 electricity

After a long break, here’s are my latest musings on life, love, and politics.

  1. Sometimes we need to be quiet.  We waste a lot of energy filling the space up with our critiques of others and our feelings of how they do things.  If we exchanged the time we spend focusing on others and what they do and applied it to ourselves, there’s no telling what we could do.
  2. Our desires can overrule our frame of mind, judgment–really our lives.  What we deem as commitment and sacrifice could really be selfishness in disguise.  It’s the “I’m-going-to-do-what-I-want-to-do-no-matter-what” syndrome.  While we’re working to achieve our dreams, we must be careful that we don’t push away and alienate the people who’ve been there for us every step of the way.
  3. One of the reasons I believe Zombies are so popular is because of how close our lives relate or resemble theirs.  So many of us are like the living dead (or the “undead”).  We work ourselves and worry ourselves to death.  We’re scared to live the lives we desire.  Complacency brainwashes us.  We’re like machines on autopilot.  Can we really say we’re alive when we’re living a robotic existence?  Can we really say we’re alive when our zest and joy for life is constantly in retreat?
  4. Placing expectations on leaders that are impossible to sustain is foolish.  Leaders have limited power.  Leaders can only go so far if their teams, governing bodies, and/or constituents are unwilling to work with them.  The battle is a losing game without the support of the people.  How soon we forget, support and accountability go both ways.
  5. The stronghold of anger can be deadly if not channeled into positive energy.  Anger is the worst motivator for change that results from vindictive, vengeful, and envious behavior.  Sure, actions resulting in anger may bring you relief.  But the relief is temporary.  We must not succumb to anger’s dictatorship.  Redirect its path into something truly uplifting and positive.
  6. Some of the President’s harshest critics and opponents can come together when the threat of war is looming.  However, when issues that directly impact the livelihood of the people are at the forefront, there’s a standoff.  They stall.  Start pointing fingers.  They play politics and prevent necessary legislation from moving forward.  How comforting it is to know where our elected officials allegiance lies.
  7. No relationship, whether business or personal, can thrive without trust.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

***Image courtesy of Charles Koch’s website.

Spirit Women

Sisters In Spirit_synthiasaintjamesImage courtesy of Synthia SAINT JAMES.


Spirit women,
Singing songs for the world,
Baring gifts for our hearts and souls;
Moving nations,
Changing minds,
Fueling enough power to shift our place in time.

Spirit women,
Rich with love, wisdom, and experience;
Exposing your scars,
Standing in strength,
Encouraging forgiveness,
And enlightening minds on the importance of letting go—
     so our souls can be free.

Spirit women,
Natural humanitarians;
We’re grateful for you and your gifts.
We’ve found blessings in your blessings,
And relish in the deep connections we share with you.

Spirit women—
When we honor you we honor ourselves
     And our collective beauty.

Spirit women—
We celebrate you eternally.

© 2013 BuddahDesmond

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 13

Image courtesy of the IISC Blog.

Greetings!  Hope everyone is well.  Here’s the latest batch of weekly musings on life, love, and politics:

  1. What’s on the surface can fool you… For it may be in stark contrast with what lies beneath.

  2. There’s a rare breed of folk who are unresponsive to “normal” methods of communication.  You have to get down to their level to truly reach them.  Sometimes this involves getting out of character, i.e. being overly aggressive, shouting, cussing, and carrying on…  In all honesty, isn’t it a shame if you have do all of this to reach common ground with others?

  3. Give people and things a chance.  Don’t be so quick to give up on them before they’ve had the opportunity to prove you wrong.  Let the judgment go.  Give in a little, you just might be surprised.

  4. If you can’t find the hero within, the chances are minimal that you’ll find the hero anywhere else.

  5. The heart is resilient.  It can overcome anything.  But not when we put roadblocks in its path to healing.  Release the pain and let your heart lead the way.

  6. A country can’t call itself “land of the free” when all of it’s people aren’t free.  A country’s failed itself and its people when conditions are put on human rights or when they are not granted or available to all.  Granting these rights to some but not all further perpetuates inequality, injustice, and inferiority, and blocks any chances of real progress.  

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

    A Personal Reflection on Father’s Day

    Father’s day has always been a strange day for me.  I grew up in a single-parent household with a mother who was more than capable of holding down the roles of both parents.  My father did not take an active role in my life.  With the exception of visits and phone calls here and there, he was a quasi-presence, an oddity, an elusive figure (still is).  After 31 years, I must admit that it’s a shame when you still don’t know your own father (and he doesn’t know you either).

    I’m at a point now where the hope of any real relationship or bonding with him is somewhat faint.  If it happens, great.  If it doesn’t that’s fine, too.  Sad, but fine.  Guess when the child grows up it becomes harder for the parent to relate after being away for so long.  Or maybe they’re apprehensive or scared to connect because they feel you may reject them.  Maybe it’s guilt.  Or the scars that linger from their own father’s absence and abandon that prevents them from doing the right thing with their own child/children.

    I’ve had countless discussions over the years with my mother about why my father was rarely around.  And she always gave me her honest answers, without bashing my father in any way.  Most importantly, she did not want me blaming myself for his absence.  As a child, it was still hard not to feel this way because I didn’t yet understand all of the reasons why.  No matter what, a bit of pain, sadness, and anger remained.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my insecurities, feelings of rejections, depression, and thinking I wasn’t “good enough” stem from my father not being around.  I’ve spent an extensive amount of time working on this over the years.

    The last time I spoke with my father was about three years ago.  He began telling me what he thought I wanted to hear about why he was never around, but not what I needed to here.  He said he wanted to try to have a real relationship with me, or in other words “start fresh.”  Honestly, I was taken aback.  First of all, the phone call was out of the blue (as they always are).  And second of all, the whole scenario was giving me the “here we go again” feeling.  While I was open to the possibility, I wondered if he actually meant it.  Did he truly want to reconcile?  Would he actually follow through?

    The memories of my father saying he was going to do something and never actually following through with it are the ones that cut the deepest.  I remember how I felt during those times, and I knew that I did not wish to go back to feeling that way ever again.  And now three years have gone by, and we’re still right back where we were three, five, seven, ten, fifteen years prior.   

    Maybe one day, things will change.  Maybe they won’t.  Maybe I’ll have to extend myself even more (than I have over the years) to try to move things along.  Sometimes people do need the extra push and encouragement to make change happen.  But one does have to ask, at what point is enough enough?  I welcome the chance to reconcile as long as my father is serious about it.  I have no intentions however, of being strung along anymore.  That’s pain I don’t need.

    Whatever happens is destined for reasons that only divine knows at this point.  Realize, I hold no grudges.  I’ve forgiven my father (and myself) for it all.  I wish nothing but the best for him in all things.  And I just wanted to say, Happy Father’s Day!

    __________________________________________

    Happy Father’s Day to all fathers!  Never underestimate the role you play in your child’s life.  Never take for granted how pivotal you are in your child’s growth and development.  Your presence (physical and emotional), involvement, guidance, and support is more powerful and significant than you may think.  Be engaged.  Be committed.  Be present.  We need you.