Westernisms

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In the land of

lifting

waxing

sucking

where the beautiful people

wear sizes 0-3

have no scraped knees

place where size 16

once reigned queen

and curvaceous definition defined you

roots bleached

teeth bleached

skin bleached

pale

liver and lungs

tainted brown with

liquor and cigarette intake

trading stocks and

womenstock

with foreign lands

prostitution spit-swap

open-palmed handshakes

geisha girl bound foot scoots

parallel

sweaty hooker desert nights

offering

misogynistic

back rubs

in the counterrevolution

of the revolution’s counter

we dissolve laws

to our liking

and let the troublemakers kill one another

over territory that is really ours

and hide behind the metal skirts of matriarch

beckoning freedom

with

ties and gags

trapping the innocent in our world.

© Joi Miner

Poverty Line

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She doesn’t know we’re poor.

Oblivious to the fact that the window is taped up and the car overheats.

Some nights, her dinner may be the last hot dog in the house,

Or a sandwich made with the crusts of the bread,

But she doesn’t know the difference.

Her father and I always make a way.

Make sure that she is never deprived of Hannah Montana or computer games.

There is always a piece of a sweet or some green tea for her to drink and,

even though we’ve run out of her Shrek toothpaste, she doesn’t make a fuss, just reminds me every time I mention a grocery list.

7 years old, the finer things are having her own room,

Food for her feline,

A Betty Boop fleece to sleep beneath,

kisses and bedtime stories.

These things, we have an abundance of.

Love remains a full tank within our home’s walls.

Clean clothes and plates all we can give her some days, kisses and hugs make up for the absence of funds.

He hugs her. I kiss her.

He fills her to the brim with knowledge of asteroids and clouds foretelling rain and I wear down some of the heftiness hugging her hips from the brain food with runway walks across hardwood floors and playing dress-up.

This makes me less tired after work, motivating my overtime shifts in preparation for the day when she asks for seconds. The day it’s freezing out and the heat does not work on the way to school. The day she realizes that all the military brats at her school have more than she does.

I pray, that on this day, his hugs, my kisses, his knowledge, my ambition,

will be enough.

© Joi Miner

Dear followers…

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Save my ovary campaign…please take a moment to view my fundraiser

Ode to my Ovary

No one heard the screams but me…
Agonizingly begging for life,
A future,
Their turn on the turnstile of ovulation,
Even if unfertilized.
All the doctor said was that there was a growth, benign it seems, on my left ovary.
I heard him. My husband heard him.
But only I heard the bone-chilling pleas.
My femininity pleading like murder victims in slash films.

Mind racing with inquiries.
What did I do to cause this?
Was it hurt internalized, held on to for too long that had irritated the tissue?
The seed of so many undeserving lovers missing the mark coating part of my womanhood 5cms thick?
All those years with permed hair when I was too young to defy it? My preciousness 5 times ripped from me?
Fighting my mother for child’s custody?
I thought back on the things I had endured.
What others call strength that was merely suffrage cloaked and squelched silent because my experiences were drenched in taboos.
They had all convened in a central location, causing pain unrelenting.
A few simple surgeries would do it.
More hormones could regulate.
Simple fixes to an otherwise painstaking reality. But, I heard the screams.

At puberty I learned what made me different from boys.
Took pride in my ability to create and incubate life.
Accepted my monthly curse as Godly fashioning for the trials of vagina-born existence.
And now… screams.
No, I had no plans of using them again
But they are still mine.
And I wanted them, intact, as supple and ready as they were in my youth.

A mark of age, a mark of pain, a common thing.
Women have these issues all the time.
Women, the mothers of creation, carriers of generations within our beings, know, that every month, from the moment of first menstrual bleed, their ability to bring forth life is depleting.

Taught not to cry.
Never to complain.
Accept our lot in life and what is issued to us at the hands of a good man… have these issues all the time.
This is just another rite of passage, I suppose.
I have reached another female plateau…
And the screams… are war cries of the sisters who have…
Had these issues all the time…
Welcoming me home…
© 2014 Joi Miner

Hi. My name is Jamesha (Joi Miner) Henderson. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful, vibrant, inspiring little girls, Qadira and Phoenix. I am a poet and activist who works with sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors. I also work a great deal in my community writing, performing, and teaching poetry as a basic life skill that can assist with everything from coping with life’s woes to finding oneself. I am a high school dropout who is now a Junior in college getting my degree in Creative Writing/English at Southern New Hampshire University online (because I cannot expect my children to further their education if I do not lead by example.) 

A month ago, I became very ill. I found out that I have gall stones and a 5cm large cyst on my left ovary. I have been paying for insurance through my  job but found out that they will not cover the cost for the surgery to have this cyst removed. The only option that I have is to get my tubes tied and get the ovary removed then (because my insurance will cover that procedure). I am 32 years old and, although my husband and I have chosen not to have children at this point (so that we can prepare the ones that we have for a bright future), I am not ready to say goodbye to that possibility altogether. 

I am a very proud woman, so, this is difficult for me. I am usually the one to help. The one that would offer the shirt off of my back if you need it, even if it’s cold outside. But, we all need help. So, I am humbling myself to ask for it. The procedure is outpatient, but that is still costly. I work from home so I do not plan to miss any work, as I will be scheduling the procedure for my off day. If you can find it in your heart to spare anything to help me pay for this, it will be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you for even viewing this page. 
Joi

First Friday Fix: Steve Reynolds

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If all else fails, you can always get it on your back. ~Bonnie Jones

A handsome car dealer from Tuscaloosa, AL who frequented the Deanco Auto Auction where Bonnie works, Steve Reynolds has had her in his sights since she began working there four months ago. She always had a wall up and never let anyone get beyond basic, professional pleasantries and simple flirtations. He was a patient man and knew that, at some point, with some effort, he would be able to get her to give him more than her “polite smile”.

One day she came in and there was something behind her eyes that showed her mind was elsewhere. When he got her alone in the office to finalize his purchases for the day, he could smell the fear and desperation permeating from her. He took the opportunity to pounce. He invited Bonnie to join him for the weekend, because he was staying in town to catch a Biscuits game and enjoy the City. As always, she declined. But he may have caught her attention, when he made her an offer that he was sure she can’t refuse… or can she?

The Man Who Beat Me’s Mad Because I Left Him

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Jupiter eyes

got so many rings

underneath

she decided to pawn one for some confidence

but

couldn’t let him find it

so it’s tucked in a sock

far back in the drawer

next to what’s left of

the love he threw against

the wall and broke.

Everyday she searches

the clouds for the self that

evaporated through her skin

quietly

so he doesn’t see she misses it.

At night she scours the walls

to erase the beauty he’s

slapped from her face

onto them,

pouring the water into

perfume bottles she dabs

her pressure points with,

hiding the rediscovered

attractiveness beneath

blood and bruises.

Regularly

she picks up strands

of her hair

snatched from her pores

during ravaging sessions

and has braided them

into a remembrance bracelet.

Her prayers now

silent hexes to séance

her murdered spirit back

to existence and in her

sleep she breathes the

vapors into her dreams.

Awakened by the sweet kiss

of frustration that lingered

on her lips just long

enough to stir the life that

was left in her soul,

she tucks the essentials into

her hips,

pain into her breasts,

and sashaying her newfound

booty past his

disinterested eyes,

even allowing him to

smack her

on her sorrow

wiggling jubilantly by

she jiggled out of this

situation that for too many

decades was her home.

© Joi Miner

Untitled

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There is happiness in solitude. The fleeting moment when self can wrap solely within self.

The simplest of seconds, not accessorized with life, when appointments have been removed from lobes, daily tasks unclasped from neck, and responsibilities unwrapped from wrists.

The sequined corset holding demeanor in place, unstrung and hung carelessly across bedroom chair, allows room for a full-bellied laugh or a bawling chest-heave release.

The box of nothingness falls from top shelf and sprinkling tucked away joys like pixie dust: dampening hair, ruining business suit, and filling lungs with laughter, released in wall-shaking shards, shattering two-sided mirror of precision and opening a forever of promise.

The purest joys found in the 10 extra minutes of snooze button sleep, the taste of rain on tongue, deep inhalation and a full circular rotation in rose gardens.

Newborn hands learning to clasp worn, wrinkly fingers, counting the lifelines around 98 year old eyes, the change in facial structure when random personal memory brings a smile.

So many treasures, tucked away in shame, have been dismissed as nothingness; Irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Existence stuck at rush hour speed, soul starving for deliverance from the prison of swiftness.

Missing the days of childhood, when boisterous laughs and spirit-filled cries released feelings into the heavens, freeing space for healthy growth.

We now learn to toddle into delightfulness holding firmly to the extended hands of happiness. Each step more meaningful than one before. Until trusting of self-enjoyment, embrace solitude. Lingering as self engulfed in self. Finding cause for laughter in each breath.

© Joi Miner