Because 2in5 Black Pregnancies End in ABORTION

6 Aug

Requiem in Blue for the Death of the Little Women

Our mama’s apron

Becomes our own;

We must take care

In the kitchen.

the girls are killed

the killed are

too young

Our braids twist

shells and beads are taken,

Hot grease hurts

replace them

the girls are killed

the girls killed are

too young

our elastic bands tighten

we are learning

to train the breasts

we haven’t got yet

the girls are killed

the girls killed are

too young

a secret learned

a hung low glance

runs deep. looks chocolate

tastes bitter cherry

the girls are killed

the girls killed are

too young

when we love

or don’t

a man-boy

there will be another

wound to know

the girls are killed

the girls killed are

too young

burn the evidence papers

so it will be like

we never had


memory, i keep them all

the child was killed

the child killed was

too young

(c) 2012 by Joi Anna C Huff as published in Walks with Khalil

….a poem because I am a woman who has lost children. sometimes abortion seems to be a necessary evil. sometimes abortion has an aftermath that no one will admit to. especially not doctors. (more on that in the next post).

yet, this poem is not JUST about abortion. this poem is basically about growing up. girls turn into women in the blink of an eye. girls become women long before boys must become men…

I have two importantly visible scars:

three days of forced labor did not change my daughter’s mind. She would not subject herself to the kind of pain that was imminent at birth. The medical team prided themselves on getting her out in record time. After she was born, we were left alone to bond and heal for another 3 days. Mostly no one was there after her birth. All I can remember now is what seemed like endless nights of wanting to not be alone.  I was certainly no longer a girl once I became a mom.

the other scar is just a little lower than my daughter’s scar. you would never notice it if you didn’t care enough to look closely. the little half-inch line is my reminder that  I may have never have been a girl at all. There are many things I do not remember about my life before adoption. one of those things is how I got that scar.

Effects: or a meditation on healing

1 Aug

Effects: or a meditation on healing.

Effects: or a meditation on healing

1 Aug


the sound of forget is a quiet sound

is a silent sound

Does not make a sound

when it leaves, it re-organizes

re-memory’s music, which was beginning

to be abitbumbledby

the sound of your whisper

the pace of your breath

the tone of your words

meaning-less without the quiet rhythm of forget

the silence of not talking about the first time

we hurt

not just romantic love, but friend love and certainly

family love

we cannot keep all the hurt

by the ones we love, so we let go

those notes for a healing sound


those rests and commas, the sighs

we take when we listen alone

to the sound of wind breaths

the breaks of rain.

(c) 2012  Joi Anna C Huff,  as published in the book, Walks with Khalil

If I were to tell you why I wrote this poem, I should call this the beginning of an epic novel and not a blog.

I will instead say this: I have been hurt. It is safe to assume many of you have too. Some of us hurt more than others. Some, it would seem, live so-called perfect lives. If you were a “planned pregnancy”, from a loving two parent, mid-to upper class home, you married your best sweetheart, make at least a livable wage, and now have 2.5 children… I would probably struggle to relate to you. You may, out of some compassionate place, pity me and people like me. Please don’t try to help us with pity. You will just show your ignorance, grown from a life of privilege.

We, the real people in the world, we struggle to love. We may not flinch at a nearby gunshot; you can threaten us with the coming apocalypse and we do not blink an eye.  Profess love to us, and we run for the nearest exit, bobbing and weaving, taking cover along the way. You see, someone hurt us when we were too young to fight back. Some one that was obligated to love us, didn’t. Someone who said they loved us bruised or burned our bodies, and tried to take a  part our soul.

We did not tell you who hurt us and how because we knew you would not understand. If we had not spared you the gory details, we would have shattered your sence of stability. You who knows security from parent love, who trusts in romantic love, who is able to call on friend love…you are not as strong as us, you deserve our pity. Our souls are iron clad, bulletproof. (we hope)

Yet and still, our souls belong to The Creator, divine and infinite is. Our souls can still hear the music of an ethereal place, because that was our lullaby the nights we cried to sleep for want. The Creator must have seen fit to place a little bit more truth on us who have been hurt. Maybe because we are strong, maybe to make us strong.  Nevertheless,  we may have acquired PTSD. We have seen physical combat; we lived through emotional battles. To keep us sane, faithful, hopeful…we get to play the music that keeps us alive.

Sit Down

27 Jul

Sit Down

Let’s tell the poem of tomorrow

Let’s have a poem for the dreams

that only old white men could o.k.

to dream in America

Is to build from nothing, skyscrapers

do not stop there

it is to write

when bills and Uncle Sam say

it’s wrong

Is to finish what you’ve started

And started over again and started

one more time just because

you would not let dreams die

to dream in America is to love

Black strong men who must always


and until these men thrive

to love in America must always be

War Love

to dream in America is to teach

Small black dreamers who will always give

more than they take

but must first have

Understanding, freedom, knowledge, and justice

so until we fight

to give them real building tools

We cannot realize the fullness

We cannot realize the future

of Black Dreams

(c) 2012,  Joi Anna Huff from the book entitled Walks with Khalil

The first time I shared this poem was when a friend asked me to speak at a young person’s funeral. The boy was a teenager who was killed without reason in front of his high school, he was also the son of a political worker.That year, there seemed to be at least one murder a week. America, deep in a war for oil, had not lost as many soldiers as we had lost children on the south side of Chicago.

I wrote this poem because I was frustrated with the killing of children (chronological age doesn’t matter, because all people are someone’s child). I was frustrated with the media’s representations of people of color.  I was frustrated with teachers in the Chicago Public School system.  I am still frustrated at these same things. I have heard of too many teachers who REFUSE to educate, let alone respect, children of color.

Sit Down was, and will remain, my stand against the teachers who are paid not to teach our children. I will tell you a true story; and then, you tell me what we should do to educate our children.

I was new to teaching, enrolled in a popular teacher training program at one of the first “turn-around” schools in the city. I was assigned to the coveted Special Education Middle School classroom for my student teaching hours. The classroom teacher was nationally certified, she had won a few awards. I was certain to learn a lot from her. After a summer of teaching classes, the school year finally began. I was  young, naive. I mistakenly thought I could use all the techniques I had learned from my mother-teacher, and multiple intensive summer learning experiences to really make a difference. I was dismayed to find most of my time was spent getting children to line up, completely silent, in little squares.

I was undeterred. The children in *room 203 were amazing. They were artist, poets, musicians, engineers. They had so much unlocked potential. Like myself at that age, they had millions of questions. But no answers.

I was assigned the group of readers with the lowest test scores. I broke out my Hip Hop Speaks to Children  book,  compiled by Nikki Giovanni, and picked a poem. I wrote it as big as I could on a poster board and we played games daily around the weeks target words. We read the inspirational words together each day, and I saw 5 pairs of eyes light up brighter than the fluorescent glare in the hall way. (The classroom teacher insisted that the lights be turned off in the classroom). Although they were learning to read polysyllabic words independently, the meaning of the poetry was easy for them to comprehend. These boys were in their early teens and had lived experiences far beyond the scope of a standardized test. The young white female teacher (typical of a Chicago Public School classroom) insisted that I was giving material that was too difficult for them. Perhaps she was intimidated when she saw them believing in the power of their dreams. I changed poems every week, but never changed my technique. To suit her ludicrousness, I’d find the shortest poems that said exactly what the boys needed to hear: they were important, valuable, intelligent, POWERFUL.  I should have known then, I wouldn’t last long in the program.

The lesson that broke the contractual agreement wasn’t Black Power Poetry 101, it was “a Child’s Guide to the Dictionary.”  If you’re reading this and comprehending most of the words in it, you probably were exposed to a dictionary. Be grateful that you were not victimized by a racist (or some other kind of -ist) education system in your primary years. Recall if you will, my students were all in 5th grade or up. This was a special education classroom; but the students did not suffer from mental handicap, not one of the 16 or so students was brain damaged. I decided to not only teach the children to use the dictionary, but gave the entire class pocket-sized notebooks. I hoped they would be able to create their own personal dictionaries. My example words: “social,” and “justice”. The young people used a variety of dictionaries from beginner to intermediate to define these words along with  a few other simple words they had been wondering about.

The classroom teacher pulled me aside mid-lesson. ” I don’t know why you’re bothering teaching them to use a dictionary; they can’t read anyway”.  This young, privileged woman from the dominant culture couldn’t solve simple fraction or conversion problems herself. So, she didn’t want me to waste valuable classroom time teaching the children she was entrusted with something as “complicated” as using a dictionary.

Hello world!

10 Jul

Welcome to! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!