African American · Creative Writing · writing

I Pick My Hair Up #BlaPoWriMo #BlackHistoryMonth

afro by bruce mars
Photo Credit: Bruce Mars



According to May Sarton in Writings on Writing,

“A poem does not emerge off of a feeling alone. It is instead created when tension that is felt releases a stirring of words and images and  this kind of creativity could bring a sufferer from their grief.”

I picked my hair

Up before escaping to

the night to march;

it’s loose coils now untamed

hardened by picks,

up like antlers

up like storm clouds

Defiant against the system

Telling me to let go

and lay down and die out

I scream no! I protest no!

My hair will defy you and gravity

at the same damn time

My crown, my dark halo

an avenging angel to the


pale supremacy

over my people over their

people and the people’s people

I pick my hair up


Note**Thank you for reading. Nortina has opened BlaPoWriMo to us and wrote an amazing poem about Dark Girls too! Please visit her page. As Nortina says, “These blogs are not mean to discriminate, but to educate. You do not have to be black to participate.” 🙂


African American · Creative Writing · writing

When I Began to Read African American Horror #TheChocolateReadingExperience

CHOCOLATESThe Chocolate Reading Experience Presents…


Black Horror/Speculative/Fantasy Writers. My humble beginnings in reading their books, and where you can discover them too.

Instead of recreating information on black horror and sci/fi writers here on this blog, I will briefly tell you of how I came about reading them myself.

My first experience with horror books was pretty much like anyone else’s: R.L. Stine took front row seats along with my favorite “True Accounts” of ghost and alien stories I would buy during the school book fairs. Throw in the genius of Christopher Pike and that was pretty much my bookshelf growing up.

It never crossed my mind that black folks too, can write horror or science fiction. I knew we could write and that we are creative but I never really seen us in horror flicks unless we were dying after ten minutes of screen time, and the books I read in the genre did not have a black cast-at all. Pike and Stine are amazing writers, but where were all the black writers?

So around 2008(?), a kind librarian asked me if I have read Fledgling by Octavia Butler. I shook my head “no”. She pulled the book from the shelf and handed it to me. A white girl with red hair who knew more about black authors than I…

Ever since then, I became an Octavia Butler fan.

I read Fledgling and wanted more of her works. A black science fiction author- amazing! I filled up my days taking the bus to the nearest library, toting my blue Avon bag and once I checked out her books I’d place them in the bag and head back home happy.

I began with reading the Parable of the Sower series, Xenogenesis and I ordered Lilith’s Brood online. Amazing stuff since, finally the protagonist were black women trapped in new worlds and had powers. I needed much more…

Tananarive Due and her My Soul to Keep books kept me up at night and I eventually read Devil’s Wake and am currently reading one of her earlier books, The Between. Tananarive Due has a way of writing that steals your attention.

Recently, I reviewed Sycorax’s Daughters- an anthology of black women horror/speculative writers whose imagined works give new life and breath to Afrofuturism. There are many more African/African American writers who are genre benders and write wickedly great books. Every day I am amazed at the talent pouring out.

If you are seeking writers in the area of horror/speculative/science-fiction and fantasy, all you have to do is look or check out the links in this post which will eventually lead you to new black writers in the genre.

Thanks for reading and check back later for more exciting reviews within The Chocolate Reading Experience!

~The Write Web


African American · astronomy · Creative Writing · Uncategorized · writing

Without Shadows We Are But Ghosts, #BlaPoWriMo, #Slavery

curtain shadows by pedro figueras
Photo Credit: Pedro Figueras


A shadow is a dark area produced by a body coming between rays of light. Without the sun, we would not have shadows.

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the implanted pain of

Abel and the soiled happiness

Of forced religion-

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the blood of the dark, lynched angels

Forced from a land

To a land of aliens

Where weapons fire rapidly into the backs

Of skin, of babes, of moms, of dads…

Where the cat o’ nine tails

swish into the

Toned plump back of a “pagan”

Whipping the passion of Christ into

This Foreigner

Without the shadows we are ghosts

In bodies of burnt clay and high hair, wooly

As sheeps, puffed as clouds

Such strange beauty!

Scarred for life, the umbilical cord

Still hasn’t been cut

As we float and wallow

In shame and perpetual confusion:

How are we here? Why are we here?


Tough love passed down the placenta

And into the mitochondria of

New Mothers

Producing strong, built babes

Feeding from massa’s god

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Loaned to us from our Ancestors

~©Copyright Erica Jean Smith

*Check out more on BlaPoWriMo this month via Nortina’s blog!


Creative Writing · relationships

When You Have No Expectations

Image found on by Ericajean


This poem was actually an essay, but then I realized…

I was saying too much.


Synonymous with hope,

a submission to wills

and will hope return to me?

that sparkling lustrous  

gift of gold

leaving from my palms?

I love you because I can

Should I expect it back like

a business investment?

If I do this, will you love me

under the sun,

beneath the stars,

in front of the moon’s

peeping eye?

Should I…

expect it?

Will I lose my soul if we…

do this?





African American · Creative Writing · relationships · Romance

Upcoming February Theme: The Chocolate Experience

Image designed by Ericajean using Canva


Thank you everyone for your participation in the Haiku Challenges. I had fun reading your comments and posting information.

The theme of February will be on love of the chocolate variety.  That’s right! I have been reading and reviewing magnificent books by African American writers and many of their books receive high praises!

African Americans are writing books and finding success in many genres:

  • Memoir
  • Science Fiction/Speculative
  • Romance-including historical!
  • Horror
  • Teen/Young Adult
  • Thriller
  • Urban-the infamous “street” fiction!

If you are trying seek out books that have more action, more HOT romance, and finally  books that will educate and uplift, then stay tuned because I will hook you up with information on books that are scrumptiously good and then some!

Drop your comments below, like and share if you are as excited as I am!


Creative Writing

Week 5 #HaikuChallenge2018, The Most Challenging Part of Writing a Haiku Is…

woman in city
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Is it the constricting 17 syllables that’s hard for me?



The brevity of it all?


Finding the Kigo and Kireji?…No way.

The hardest part of writing a haiku, for me, is that freaking Ah-ha moment. The part where you feel as if you slipped on ice at the edge of a cliff and is thrown off into space for that fleeting moment.

Yeah. That part. Typically the very last part.

Let’s look at it further using examples and information from haiku experts- shall we?

The Haiku of the Ancients

According to, Haiku Writing Rules:

“[the Ah Ha moment] is a very short, fleeting moment,a  glimpse of ‘world harmony’…or a moment of awakeness that can be viewed like laughter. Not exactly a Zen moment because with haiku you observe things a priori- just as they are.”

Haiku of the ancients adhered to the 17 syllables with the “seasonal word” or kigo and the “cutting word” or kireji. With those three things in place and in balance, you have a pretty decent haiku.

Alright, so now we know that haiku is built off of straight up observation. No additional opinions or abstractions.


Ezra and a Pound of Haiku Spirit

Here’s one of my favorites by Ezra Pound, “Station at the Metro”

“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.”

This was once a 30-line poem but Pound shortened it to two lines. Two!

Now, even though it is longer than 17 syllables, the spirit of haiku is still there. Let’s find our ah-ha moment by scaling down each part of a haiku, shall we?

Is there a kigo or seasonal word? If I were to guess, it would be apparent that it is rainy or perhaps Spring because of the words “wet, black bough”. I picture rain falling heavy outside while people are at the metro holding umbrellas, rushing though the pelts of water.

Is there a kireji or cutting word? A kireji is indicated usually by punctuation in English haiku so I would say the semicolon after crowd would suffice.(please post your comments below if you found something different. I love learning from others!)

A Moment of Clarity…or Something Like It

Lastly where is the ah-ha moment? Do you see it anywhere?

When I first read this poem, the part that threw me and made me say, “Yes! This is beautiful!

It was the last line:  “Petals on a wet, black bough”. It kind of cinches the deal right? It paints an even clearer picture. Just like Basho’s Frog in a pond poem– the part that says “And the sound of water” at the ending is just so freaking awesome.

How does one get an ah-ha moment?

No one can teach you how. But if you read enough ancient haiku you will see it and can incorporate it in your own poems. One piece of advice? Meditate often. I hear that it helps too with writing haiku.

Well, that’s it folks. I really enjoyed the five weeks of haiku with you and please visit the Haiku Challenge link above to go through the challenges/lessons. Share your poetry and comments and share the blog posts with your followers.

~The Write Web

Creative Writing · Decoding Poetry · writing

Decoding Poetry: Socho’s Dilemma in Haiku

When you’ve read a poem that punches your gut, you know you’ve found treasure.

I have  one I’d like to share and give commentary on here. The Haiku below is taken from The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology Edited by: Faubion Bowers. artwork

What could be the cause of it-

That I should feel such love again?

                        While I still have you,

                        Why think of anyone else?

Why this discontent?**

But Socho doesn’t stop there. He continues:

For what reason

Can it be

That you should

Seem so dear


From you

Who else



            And holds

            My love


There are probably a few things you’ve noticed. First, there is no 5-7-5 syllabic form here. However, in Japanese it is close to it.

Second, check out the final line in the first part. Socho asks: Why this discontent?

Interesting, because the first half of the poem is an internal dialogue about the one the speaker already loves. They ask, “why am I falling in love when I have you?” Then the kicker: Why do I feel discontent (or worried?) He/she wonders what is causing this feeling?

Is the speaker really falling for someone else? or hopefully he/she is falling in love all over again with their significant other(fat chance).

The second half gives us more insight. The speaker realizes what they have at home and concludes that no one else holds their love.

This illustrates how powerful a haiku can be with only a few lines. In such a brief moment, we capture the confusion, the awe and the relate-ability of someone who has enduring love for another.

Even though temptation waits on the horizon.

In the next post, I want to delve more into the anatomy of a haiku including the infamous ah-ha moments and why it is difficult for me to write my own haikus without much practice.

~The Write Web