As Black History Month draws to a close and Women's History Month knocks at the door, I feel compelled to share a piece that I wrote in 2014 after Dr. Maya Angelou passed away. She had always been a powerful voice for the African American community, but as I've matured, I have come to see her as a voice that transcends the boxes and borders that we love to assign. Maya Angelou and many others like her seem to be forged from a uniquely American experience. The strength, wisdom, and love blows my mind, and I feel silly sharing this because it feels so dated. The intro has been changed, but the crux remains the same. In many respects, this post was inspired by wife. There is always so much more to be said, but Lord willing, we'll get there. Love.
"There's something magical about the way poets melt our lives down to short riddles. Their disregard of our confusion is almost as mind-boggling.
Nevertheless, Maya Angelou was not always that kind of poet. She made herself accessible. She made her supporters bold. She was phenomenal. Her words were soothing, moving, brooding, full of truth. They dusted us off after the tough days, and steered us in the right direction when the only answer was too close to our faces to see. 'Be Bold,' she might say.
Truthfully, I could never capture exactly how important Miss Maya has been to a world of women, African Americans, men, and a cross-section of humanity that she rendered equal. The date was May 28, 2014. Five short months after losing Nelson Mandela, the world has to cope with the loss of another uplifting spirit. And while these two individuals were assigned two very different burdens, no one can erase the fact that we looked to them for inspiration. They taught us how to love enemies. They told us that the road wasn't easy, but reminded us that it was shorter than it appeared. They gave us lights to shine through songs, stories, and experiences that will continue to help us through our darkest hours.
Yes, I love love. I love poetry. I love love poems. I dislike loss, but I love how much it makes us reflect on Love."
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"Birds and Butterflies Endure" ~ De'Juan
We, caged birds, sing for you today and tomorrow. Morning
Will come with dismay and tears, but still, we will rise,
Tearing ourselves from the bitter, selfish wishes
For you to come back. I, Miss Maya, see nothing will work to cure
Ache, but understanding the foundation of transition is
Love. I can hear the song you sang, before you were a butterfly -
It told a story of selflessness, wisdom, strength. Phenomenal woman
Slinging my favorite rhymes to heal wounded hearts and bruised egos -
Educating us in the ways of nobility, showing the importance of spirit, telling us,
Rise, Work, Dance, Love, Endure.