Who I am

My photo
Brooklyn, New York, United States
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I am a spoken word performer who strongly believes in the importance of deriving meaning from experience, knowledge of self, and understanding of others beliefs and cultures. My poetry is an honest pathway into my mind. I am always seeking to learn something new from someone, from somewhere and have an extremely open mind. So teach me something, perhaps I’ll write about.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

....

I wonder what would happen if I wrote what I really needed to write.

*sigh*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nuyorican National Slam Team 09

August 3rd 2009, I boarded a delta airlines flight to West Palm Beach Florida. I was accompanied by 7 incredible individuals in their own right. Together we composed the Nuyorican Poetry Slam team 2009.

They are as follows:

Coach: Mahogany L Browne
Co-Coach: Adam Faulkner
Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion: Ion
Poet & Author: Eboni
Poet & Author: Falu
Poet & Author: Jive Poetic
Poet: Rich Story

I had recently acquainted myself with them over the course of approximately 7 Sundays in June and July. The impact that these people had been making on my life was subtle. It never became more apparent than at the culmination of the National Poetry Slam on the Final Stage. We will get to that soon.

6/5/09
I made the Nuyorican National Slam team.
A week later we met in the attic of the legendary Nuyorican Poets cafĂ©. Dust particles swirling the air. Mahogany Browne sat at the head of the circle. This woman looked like Fairy and Brooklyn. I knew she was some kind of magic that only bed stuy-stoops could explain. I just didn’t know the extent of it.

We sat in Chairs formed in a circle as if some ritual was about to be performed. Mahogany began. She explained to us the importance of upholding a name, a tradition, a legacy that we now had earned the right to carry. Expectations were discussed like privileges. Contracts signed. I was proud.

Sunday after Sunday we practiced. I doubted my abilities some days when my words stumbled on each other like bricks refusing to be layered. I’ve always been the shy and proud type. I never wanted to quit. I needed to prove to myself I was worth this slot on the team. That me winning the slam that night was not a fluke.

Anyone who knows me knows I am the most critical of myself on every level. I worry about everything 10 times over. Question my abilities as a poet, mother, friend, daughter, case manager. I’m still working on it. One of my biggest fears was failing, on this team. Being that girl, the one that sucked, the one who couldn’t memorize shit and couldn’t write worth a damn.

I went through phases. I hated my poems. My team made me love them. My Coach made me re-write them. She told me to stop being hydraulic. I moved too much. Co-coach told me “Have you heard yourself spit lately? Recommended I listened to my intonations. The way my words would rise and fall. Ensure that my audience didn’t check out. We snapped through each others poems even @ practice. You know it’s magical when you can hear your team mates work 100 times over and it will still makes you go “damn”. These were my team mates. They were the pixie dust in the attic. I attended practice with my mouth shut a lot of the time but my ears open wide. I wanted to learn everything, everyone had to offer.

Philidelphia: Our first scrimmage out of New York. Coach says: I like that you are the quiet one. I was still too shy to be anything else. Afraid of my own opinions. My team mates made me feel like I was learning how to walk again. They held my hand through every forgotten line, every un-choreographed slip up. We played Taboo like a family of orphans. Bonding through words and lack of words, laughed at the strategies people used to play the game. From Mahogany’s sudden epiphany whenever she pulled a new word card “Ohhhhhhhhhh!” to Ion confusing the game with Karaoke and Dance Dance revolution “_______ like my daaaaddy”. We also can’t forget Eboni’s drunken Spanish lessons “Casa de muebles” (House of Sofa’s?) and Falu’s superb buzzing skills whenever Rich used EVERY word on EVERY card he wasn’t supposed to say. Oh yeah, and as for my self. I passed on like 7 cards in one round, but who’s counting?

Boston: A night of firsts

It was my first time meeting the wonders that are the Lizard Lounge Team.
The first time we discovered Falu’s poem “10 things I want to say to a black man” was 3:36 seconds long. The first time I made a dramatic pause on the LAST line of my poem because I completely forgot how it ended.
The first time Falu was informed that she had magnets for toes. The first time the audience was mad @ the judges for scoring my poem a 9.2.
The first time my good friend Jaisyn came out to support my poetry.
The first time Mahogany fell asleep on my lap in the car because there was no where else to sleep.
The first time Ion drove us back to New York.
The first time I began to realize. This is really real. We are off to nationals in one week and I am part of the Nuyorican National Slam team 2009.

August 3rd 2009, I boarded a delta airlines flight to West Palm Beach Florida. I was accompanied by 7 incredible individuals in their own right. Together we composed the Nuyorican Poetry Slam team 2009.

Marriot Hotel.
Beautiful view.
2 very small rooms.
4 girls. 4 boys.
Time constraints.
Pigeon showers.
Poetry. Poetry. Poetry.
Rollerskates.
Sex in Jacuzzis.
Sex on balconys.
Mindless flirting.
Mindful flirting.
Meeting other phenomenal poets.
Too many to name. You know who you are.
Watching the teams bring out their best poems.
Un finished wine bottles.
1st prelim bout. Asshole Judge. We took 1st anyway.
2nd prelim bout. We took 1st again.
Semi-Finals- “You lie.” We took 1st again.
Final Stage- (Insert frantic ramble here) 10!
It was endearing and frustrating all the same Eboni.
End result: Nuyorican Takes 4th place in the nation.
After party: Watching Jon Sands sing “I’m on a boat motha fucka”!

I have grown so much as a result of this trip. Listening to bad poetry. Soaking in great poetry. PoetCD showcase the best showcase of the whole trip. Watching Eboni’s heart break when she found out it was indeed not Damien Marley performing in the park.
Listening to Rich Story say “whateva” 50 million times while simultaneously reminding me that we were in this together. Rookies Unite!
Not listening to Ion for the majority of the trip.
Learning that intensity does not mean yelling.
Making sure Eboni was not randomly fondled by anyone who was not already on our team.
Laughing uncontrollably @ 3 am in the morning in the hotel room at something only I find hilarious.
& so many other things I will need to write about in my next blog “Things I learned @ Nationals.”

I love my whole team. This was incredible for me. I can’t take it back. I wouldn’t.
On to the sappy dedications.



Mahogany L Browne:
What the fuck can I say? You are genius. Strong, beautiful possessing a will power and tenacity unmatched, you are an inspiration to strangers, friends, lovers, poets. I have learned so much about you, from you. I could name them all I’d be here all day. #1 lesson being, you don’t take any bullshit. Go hard or go home. We went hard. Thank you for believing in me. For making me do shit I didn’t want to because you knew it was for the better of the team. I hope I made you the tiniest bit proud. You are an incredible coach, and a new friend indeed.

Adam Faulkner:
Damn you for making me cry AGAIN at the after party. Your patience with the team is admirable. You worked so hard along with us and we did it. Final Stage 09. Thank you for being there @ every practice, for reassuring us every chance you had that we had this. There are not enough Thank You’s to place in your straw hat. You are a genuine spirit. Thank you for allowing me the chance to know you.

Jive “I cant have my back to the door” Poetic:
Always the voice of reason. Unbiased. Fair and balanced. In Mahogany’s words “The one to hold it down when shit goes down” This is you. Your Spanish is phenomenal…please practice. LOL. I still stand by the fact that the woman was not flirting with me; she simply had a thing for eyes. Thank You for encouraging me to come down to Wednesday nights, to slam. Look @ me now son! I’m on a national team! Lol. Thank you sooo much.

Eboni:
. After all the alcohol, and fondling, bi sexual dancing, suicide bed leaps and random 10 minute disappearances…you are fucking awesome. Here’s what is beautiful about you. You fuck up on final stage and people STILL come up to you and tell you it was adorable.( Well, besides MO) This is a testament to how dope you are. You were drunk once, and you told me “you are an amazing addition to the poetry world” I almost cried. Almost because you were drunk, and you also told Falu she was your heart during one of your stupors lol. Thank you…thank you…thank you. <3

Falu:
I love everything about you. The fact that you don’t have a poker face. Your emotions are painted on your face like stained glass windows. You don’t have a poker tongue either. Brooklyn Jumps from your pores. We were Walmart girls, horrifying the local Floridians with our “hood” accents. For making me wear the mariachi skirt with the red nuyo tee shirt. For teaching me that internal beauty needs to be shown on the outside too. So, “Bitch change!” For teaching me how to spar with the best of them. You are beautiful. Thank You.

Ion:
My favorite nerd mime. Even though you couldn’t speak half the time cause your ass was too busy cheering for another team… I still luv ya. Your random jokes. The endearing awkwardness. The way you have the ability to nerdify any poem. You always made me smile. This is an ability few people have Ted Kord. =) I look forward to always knowing you.

Rich:
“Whateva”
My favorite passive aggressive Harlem boy. We are rookies. Under dogs. We did it. See how crazy that is?
Do not stop writing. All of this would have been for nothing if you do. Throughout it all we made final stage. You always told me I had it in me. Your winning spirit is a beautiful thing, don’t let it over power you. We did it! You always cheered me on. Supported me. I appreciate you for that. Thank you a million times over.

John & Louis:
I love you guys so much. Thank you for every phone conversation. For every honest opinion. For all your support. For every open mic we shared. Every show you guys came out and supported. I could not have done this without either of you. Point Blank.

To all the new friends I have met. Thank you for being you. I know I will continue learning from each and every one of you.

Wendy, Odalis Alex, Geo, Jesus, Jay Boogz, Helen, Valerie,Lizz,Maya,Benny, Chris Styles, Devon (Sin city), Cynthia, Lety, UNpredictable, Lakeya, Ka'mone, Beanpie, Shay, Shaun, GSPoetry and anyone else who has ever inspired me, come to one of my shows or belived in me. You mean the world to me.If I forgot you please forgive me.

Juni, Anna
My best friends in the whole wide world. I Love you more than anything. More than words can ever express. You have your own blog coming.

To my daughter:

Mommy missed your birthday, but your mommy made it to final stage for you. Mommy did your poem in front of a lot of people and I know you don’t understand how much that means now, but I know some day you will. I love you sooooo much Kalie. You are my favorite poem.

Thank you to anyone who has ever read my work. You are loved.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pedro Keep Writing: The children @ P.S. 59 In Brooklyn

3RD SIGHT Pictures, Images and Photos


This week,I was fortunate enough to accompany a fellow poet Advocate Of Wordz to a school to give a writing workshop to 4th grade students @ Elementary School PS 59 in Brooklyn, New York. This was my first time ever dealing with children and poetry. I was to perform two poems and Advocate would then give the children a writing prompt.
I wasextremely nervous because most of the time I write for adults and on adult topics.I have a tendancy to overthink things and was becoming extremely worried that the kids would call me boring and throw their pencils @ me. My awesome Slam Coach Mahogany L. Browne (ask about her) gave me great advice, "Write something that you would find suitable for your daughters ears". This kind of sort of helped, but my daughter is 8 going on 21 so she really is not a great help. Nevertheless, I ended up writing something after all and off I went to the school with my two brand new PG-13 poems.

The children were learning about the History behind the Nuyo-Rican poets cafe and the Lower east-side. Advocate was amazing with the children. When he performed his pieces I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had touched on tough subjects, speaking on everything from the homeless man on the train, to the loss of his grandmother, to revolution. Here I was at home, trying to write poems for fourth graders that were as innocent as possible and totally forgot to include the realness and rawness of the world, and especially all of things we encounter living in New York City. I felt so stupid.

As a parent, I tend to be overly protective of my daughter. While I understand that we live in the 21st century and I am usually open and honest with my daughter, I usually ease into tough subjects when speaking to her. I am the "treat everything with kiddie gloves" kind of mom. I would like my daughter to stay as innocent as possible while at the same time teaching her the dangers of the world. This is a balance I am still learning to maintain, and I often find myself on a very thin tightrope, with the rough realities of the world on one side of the rope and the wonderfulness of the world on the other.

Anyhow, after we read our pieces to the children, Advocate gave the kids a writing prompt. He told the children to imagine they had a 3rd eye on their forehead. The deal with the 3rd eye was that whenever your two regular eyes were open, the 3rd eye would be closed, and when the 3rd eye was open, your two regular eyes would be closed. The 3rd eye gave them the ability to see what the two eyes could normally not see.

The stories/poems that these children came up with were amazing to say the least.

We went around helping the children.

A little girl told me her 3rd eye gave her ability to see ghosts. I asked her to write down on her paper what the ghosts looked like, what they were doing etc.
She looked at me dead in eye and with the most serious face said "No really, I see ghosts." I was taken aback and insipred all the same by her blunt honesty and innocence. She did not care if I believed her, she did not care if I thought she was a crazy little girl, she was just blatant and unaware of any consequences her statement could have caused her, and this was so beautiful to me. As adults we often hide what we really feel, or what we really believe in, like there is a shield that covers our mouths from exposing our true selves at times and this little girl, bold and unabashed made me think fuck what the world thinks,I am going to write like I never knew the meaning of the word censorship. =x

Another boy named Pedro had the most revolutionary 3rd eye. His 3rd eye saw the gangs in his neighborhood, his 3rd eye saw the innocent people in court. His poem was just amazingly insightful. Sometimes, we think children do not understand the ways of the world, but they are so much more savvy than we give them credit for.

Another little girl that stood out to me, said that her 3rd eye was evil. Her 3rd eye told her that she would never be anything when she grew up. Her 3rd eye told her that she would not finish school. She used her two eyes in her poem as well, they optimists. They told her that she would suceed in anything she put her mind to. Her poem reflected an ongoing battle between the 3rd eye and her two eyes. Good and evil. I was happy to listen to her read at the end of her poem that her 3rd eye was destroyed. This made me wonder about the driving forces behind her inspiration. Was there an individual in this 4th graders life who was "the evil 3rd eye". Who told her that she would not be anything when she grew up. I wondered all this and more.

I left the school inspired @ the honesty of the childrens writes, and I learned so much from them all. Imagination is a wonderful thing. These children are seriously our future EVERYTHING, and we must cultivate their passions and support them in anything they want to do.

At the end of the workshop, the students were leaving the classroom and Pedro came up to me at the end of the workshop and asked me to read a notebook that soley contained all of the poems he had ever written. He hurridly read me another poem, before he had to follow his classmates. The little boy was seriously talented and his poems were so real, and reflected "the hood" and "the struggle" from the eyes of a 4th grader. I wanted to continue hearing him read ...and I was so profoundly affected by the rawness and the reality of this poetry that I didnt know what to say except,
"Pedro Keep writing, you have a gift in you that you can never give up on"

I can only hope to see him at the NuyoRican Poets cafe one day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Made NuyoRican National Slam Team 09

Dear faithful readers: All 8 of you lol

I realize that I have neglected my blog and for that I am sorry. I find that writing things honestly and candidly help me out a lot so, let me update you on what grand things have been happening. For starters I have quit my job. For those of you who do not know why, I recommend reading the first blog. There is a strange kind of liberating feeling that comes over me whenever I think of the fact that I am unemployed but at the same time I feel like I am being some kind of irresponsible. I have a love/hate relationship with responsibility. I fear it immensely and embrace it all the same. I chalk this up to the fact that responsibility found me early. I have been working since I turned 14 non-stop with a few one week vacations sprinkled in between.

I find it incredibly ironic that I left my job @ a time when I just made the NuyoRican National Slam Team (yay me) which requires an immense amount of time and dedication. For this, I am excited that I am no longer working, because I can concentrate on the poetry. Honestly I do not know how I would have balanced finding housing in NYC ( Which is NEXT to impossible) for my clients and attempting to memorize 1 billion new pieces for Nationals. I am extremely grateful that I made The Nuyo Slam team, realizing that a lot of people compete for a chance to be on this poetry team every year. I am proud of myself, I am amazed, I am surprised but most off all I am inspired to be better. I am extremely critical of myself, to the point where it sometimes teeters on psychotic. Do not misunderstand me I am no where near a perfectionist, I am many flaws rolled into one great big ball of mistakes, I just always find the need to push my self to the next level of what I perceive to be a great achievement. This abnormal behavior of beating myself up until I am who I want to be can have one of two affects on me. I can either succeed immensely or fail terribly.

Fun Fact:
Prose’s worst fear:
- Failure

I have many, but this Fears drives me BANANAS. Everyday I have watched people have nothing but the clothes on their back, have no one but me to rely on as an emergency contact. Everyday I see what one mistake can lead to and it makes me absolutely critical of every step I take. I challenge myself, and then I fear I haven’t challenged myself far enough. I am seeking help in my poetry lol I promise I am.

I am grateful to every single person who has EVER believed in me through this process, Every Single person who has ever listened to my poetry in a venue, read my poetry on line, or listened to the rough draft versions over the phone esp. (Louis & John). I am grateful for the people that are in my life at this present moment who will help me write even more beautiful stories, and will assist me in taking my work to a level I could never imagine it going in a million years.
Thank you. For those of you, who pray, pray for me. I am a work in serious progress & there are so many more hills to climb before I can even get to the base of the mountain.

Word.

-Prose-

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ms. Sick Prose -Origins- - Warning Deep Content-

So, I know alot of people think my name is a tad bit conceited. After all, adding the adjective (sick) that according to the Urban Dictionary is "a secondary word for awesome", before "prose" is not exactly a humbling stage name. However, I beg of you to stay with me on this one, believe it or not there is indeed a deeper meaning.

I don't know how people truly do feel about my name, I've heard it all.
"Who are you to say your prose is "sick", that is a matter of opinion."
Then there is the "You live up to your name, your words truly are sick."

I have never really said anything to anyone really on how I came upon naming myself this for stage. I am truly a believer of leaving things to opinion and interpretation.

But, since I am on my whole, "blogging honestly" vibe. I will give you the name's origins.

Disclaimer:
I understand and am fully aware that some of the things that I will post on these blogs, will be raw information, unedited and open to whoever reads it to scrutinize, judge, and deem this information however they may see fit. I have always found it nessesary to hide where I have come from, because of how people will percieve me to be, simply because of my background. I am realizing day by day, that I need to embrace this. It is not an easy task. I have just recently begun to scribe deep & personal pieces about my OWN background as you will read @ the end of this blog. Writing has always been an easier way of expressing myself mainly because I am an extremely observant person, and writing provides me the same outlet of giving you need to know information without having to study your face for your reaction as I give it to you. But I digress, On to the name.

I come from a single parent home. Raised with my mother. Met my father a few times in my childhood life. Tried to bond as an adult. Never really happened. I have 6 siblings. 4 of them of the same father as I.

4 of my siblings are also mentally ill.

My oldest brother is 38 years old. He was born mentally retarded and has the mental capabilities of a 6 year old. He resides in a group home in Brooklyn, and since he was removed from the home way before I was born, I never got a chance to know him, and he does not know who I am when I visit.

My Older sister is 29 and was diagnosed with Depression @ 14, which turned into Manic Depressive Disorder, which turned into Schizophrenia. She currently lives in and out of mental wards. I witnessed her mental Deterioration before my eyes. The poem @ the end of this blog is for her.

I have a younger sister who is 20, she is developmentally delayed, and a younger brother 19 who is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, this is a form of Autism, which impairs him from being able to socially interact correctly with peers of his own age group. He says he will be president one day. I believe him.

Recently I have found out, that my mother too suffers from mental illness although her diagnosis is unknown to me @ this time, she has struggled with this since I was a child, which explains alot of the dysfunctionality we experienced as children.

So, all of that being said. The household I grew up in was insane. (No pun intended)

My sister was a creative soul, and she would often write in her diary about her depressive episodes. She would read them to me aloud and I used to think that her way of expressing herself was so beautiful, the way she wrote about her pain so vivdly, her hatred of boys, and rules, and the popular girls in school.

I too wanted to write about all the things that bothered me , so I started writing, and writing, and writing.
I wrote about, the attention my other siblings got because of their diagnosis', I wrote about the pain that I felt because I couldnt have normal conversations in school about my family.

I mean I wrote about everything.

Being, mentally ill in my household became such a staple for me, I sometimes wondered why God didnt give me a defect, I would take anything, a crooked finger, a cockeyed, a speech impediment. I wanted to fit in with my family so bad, and at the same time I wanted to fit in with my friends families, even badder. (LOl @ Badder)

I had a teacher, I will never forget her, she explained to us that writing is a form of escape, I took this and ran with it. I never really wanted to accept that fact that my family was not "normal", so I wrote myself into a normal family.
Wrote myself hugs, wrote myself food in the fridge, wrote myself that new columbia jacket everyone had in school. I wrote everything I knew I could never have.
I grew up watching everyone around me get "sick'', taking pills was as regular as drinking coffee in the morning. I began writing angry poetry. Dark things, that I thought were beautiful.
I still keep these notebooks. Here is an example :

-Behind the Mask- 19 years old. 2003

Tears that fall like Streams & Rivers
Down a face that once was dry
one that once was filled with laughter
finally breaks down & cries
at the harsh reality
life's not what it seems to be
take off the mask and let me see
what you've been hiding from me
behind the smile here comes the pain
like after the sun
there comes the rain.

So when I started performing a few years back, I wanted to think of a name that would best decribe what I did, who I was. "Sick" was the best way I could describe where I came from.

And if you have gotten this far. Kudos to you for not falling asleep, and now you know. LOL

Again, I know people will judge, and critisize me.
Some will say, why are you putting your business out there, some would feel this information is on a need to know basis.

I say, God gives people stories for a reason. This story does not make me, it defines me. I am who I am today BECAUSE of this.
What makes me is what I choose to do with my story, with my life. I choose if I want to tell it. I choose if I want to write about it. Today I chose to share it.

By the way if you were counting the amount of insane siblings and only came up with 4, with myself being the 5th and are wondering where is the 6th??

I have an older brother, 32 years old and "normal", or not diagnosed with any mental illness, who was born after the eldest. He left the house when he was 17, joined the marines to escape the madness. Again, I was extremely young when he left, so I dont remember him much as kids. Now he lives in California and, its always a beautiful thing to call him and talk about our "crazy" family and how lucky we are to have escaped the madness. Him through, military training, and me through poetry.

Questions I would ask my sister if she were "Normal" - A poem for Marilyn.

Growing up,Everyone always told us,
beautyWas skin deep
Your razorblades?
Did they ever find out how deep your beauty ran?
Was it deeper than the red pools my feet stepped over, when I ran to get you tissues ?
How sad was your blood that it cried from your skin, Dripped
Lonely in a corner Until you were convinced That you felt better ?
What ugly was hidden underneath your pores
That you insisted on carving yourself pretty?
How does your soul feel on Ambilify & Zyprexa?
If your eyes are the window to your soul
I imagine your soul a Piano
Being lowered through Your eyelids on a string, that
is yet to be broken
There is still music in your keys
Still miracle notes on your fingertips
Touch your ivory skin and know
You are not falling
You are waiting in mid air
For someone to notice how beautifully scratched you are
I heard cages and birds make the most beautiful songs
Sing it to me
I’m curious to know what sounds come from a broken beak
How do clipped wings sound when they flap?
If I snap my fingers like hypnotists Will you come back to me?
Come back to me like you were before your eyes swirled emotionless?
Before you learned how to spell your name damaged
Ropes still remind me of your neck
I bet you never knew That whenever you fought with me,
Like sisters do
I never tried to hurt you
Just scratch you normal
I still check underneath my fingernails
For traces of your blood, RED
These broken crayons memories haunt me colorful
Bleeding BleedingBleeding
Until u made red my favorite color
Soaking white towels in alcohol
So that I could heal your pain, Blue
Blue means that your bruising
Purple means that it hurts
Yellow means that your healing
We never saw daisy’s blooming on your skin
Only dying roses, Red
Orange was the fire you never saw in his eyes
I wish you saw the green in mine
I envyd your creativity
And maybe if I told you
That the way you wrote poems until your fingers calloused
Is what made me start writing in the first place
That I never understood
why after you would read me your beautiful pieces
Your pen would go back and revise
Like the blade revised your skin
Crossed out your words
Like you crossed out your pain
Maybe if I told you that you were Prose
You wouldn’t be sick today
Maybe you would be sitting here with me
Watching me perform Instead me in the psyche ward watching them perform
Miracles with their needles
Watching them sedate you
They diagnose what they don’t understand
These doctors say you are schizophrenic
I refuse to call you another synonym for crazy
You are wonderfully different
And if the razorblades never told you,
sister
You are beautiful.