Wednesday, August 21, 2013

cotton chase

They are just waving above
Just puppeteers in light shoves
Praying too dark to be ignored
Slight taps on the floor
While we are Bojangles with pierced toes
Sharp taps on our shoes
Knowing the only way to tame us was to claim the truth

Lets dress up like freedom
Watching them niggas come flockin
Cause you know how they love to believe that they got something
love to believe that words mean something
how ironic
with such a fear for books
such a love for instant gratification
lets dress up like dead white men on cotton
i bet they come flockin
i bet they dont know they be dyin for it
they dont know we still whippin them
still got them ensalved
braggin bout they paper chase
printed on the reaping of slaves
they claim they understand
because they finally learned how to keep they hands
we finally learned how to keep em dirty
street recipes for riches
street niggas turn snitches
and snitches get stitches
in wood boxes
lets help them kill each other
give them crack
colored bandanas
street corners
let them think they own it all
and watch them fall
as we take it back

©, 2013, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


"There's no money in poetry, but theirs no poetry in money, either"
                                                                      -Robert Graves

Art is for the poor and the broken
like Jesus
like salvation
like the only reason i'm living
like sometimes i scribble poetry across my skin and confuse it for veins
i confuse my scattered thoughts for breathing
confused my words for meaning
I guess im confused
I thought I used my tongue was used for saving

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wooden Staircases

my staircase smell like strange fruit
their voices creak as i tiptoe over them
i feel them breathing beneath my feet
and wonder if a negro hangs in the forest
does the tree remember his face

my staircase looks like my brother's skin
and swells like my grand father's tears
the wood in the south is stained
how many of us sleep on the blood of innocent men
How many Mary Turners were taught lessons
that threats to white men in the south
are like leaves on trees
they bounce like branches
struggling to support strange fruit

would it be accessory after the fact?
can we consider them guilty?
do they rot apart from ptsd
as they try to forget the lives they have held

©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack

Talking into fans

my words are broken
like slices of childhood
falling into unsturdy mirrors
stepping out of windows
my words are unstable
like when changing was as simple as talking into fans
and now i am someone else
inside of fans
smiles spread across my face
as words escape me
and i sit on a wooden floor
with a foundation that is leaning
i stare into a reflection that is leaking
at a girl that is leaving
and wish i knew who she was
my voice taste like kung fu chops
my lips feel like power cords
watch me break up with myself
there is a blade where my tongue use to be
forgive me if my sentences dont make sense
i was eating memories for dinner
nostalgia tends to stall me
and my lips become too dangerous
i was trying to change
i was looking for me
i forgot to pick myself back up
there were sentences i left in that fan
a time capsule
in a junk yard
i was chasing a quick fix
like when changing was as simple as talking into fans

©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trained in the ways of men

Trained in the ways of men
I do not belong here
that is why my walls have no names
and my face is only slightly more recognizable than my voice
in my grandmother's house i would be considered a secret God did not have time to know
in my mother's house her daughter that she did not have the courage to know
in the south we are taught children are to be seen and not heard
women are to be tucked neatly into skirts with legs crossed and frying pans for hands
spines strong enough to support broken black boys
in our homes we are taught to love our black men til the death of us because this world will only love them to theirs
so we breast feed them til our chest wither and they continue suckin til they draw blood
i watched my grandmother die for my brother
i am watching my mother die for my younger one now
and prayign that my sister does not follow suit
but we believe so deeply that boys will be boys that we have forgotten to make men
and wonder why there are more black males with drug charges than degrees
i believe we got confused by what malcolm meant by any means neccasary
i'm sure he was not refferring to stealing or drug sales or suicide
rather to hard work and protection
to men being men and im not sayign his philosphy was perfect but
black mothers if u never let ur sons hands go they will never be more than little black boys hopping from nipple to nipple
holding up corners in fear they may miss something other than their education
when will your backs finally get tired enough to break
my grandmother always said my big brother would be the death of her
i assume that is why i got the news of her death through a phone call at the scene of a totalled car my drunken brother was riding in
why my uncle and I never shared a sober birthday til i was 16
why the only thing that reminds me of my grandfather is liquor and cancer
and why my mother is always back crooked bent over to make sure my little brother does not fall on his manhood and be forced to taste dirt
because we raise cycles
we raise black boys and black women to take care of them
then lecture our women for accepting these "aint ish" men into their lives
but how can we teach them what they deserve when all we have to offer is broken
when when we've nevr showed them what complete looks like
never taught them that fathers do not babysit, they take care of their children
that a man should offer more than a source of income to be consindered "good"
because a woman can not be both putty and spine
both back bone and flexibility
black women do not have too much attitude
we have too much strength
because our mothers were too busy cradling black boys to remember to teach us to keep our spines mallable
soft to touch and easy to move
we were never credled hands, we were always balled fist
ready to strike at the sign of danger
too busy fighting to recognize our own struggle
my mother pulled bread from stones
making sure we never knew struggle til we were old enough to understand it
she stood manless
while cousins and uncles made talk of being male figures
tall shadows passing in the wind
now she bends
in attempts to hold up men
that never veer too far from her womb
©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Nappy Complex

You would think with this natural hair movement going on in America I would finally stop hearing stupid questions like: "can i touch your hair?"
or even more annoying: " Girl when you gone do something with your hair?"
or most annoying of all statements from black women about how they cant quit the creamy crack becasue they hair too nappy,
thats like black men sayign they dont date black women becaus ethey have too much attitude,
we just weren't made to lay down
Fuck what ya heard
because i am my hair
this disorganized chaos is me at my best
twisted, picked and pinned up on the left
braided, plaited or all over my head
even when im hungry my hair get fed
mayonaise, honey, eggs, coconut oil
cinnamon and oats stretch from curl to curl
or should i say strand to strand
cause my hair be just as confused as the curious hands
that flock to my fro like flies
oblivious to my rolling eyes
but most of the time, i dont really care
even i cant stop touching my hair
especially since i tend to be a product junkie
shea moisture, cantu shea butter, my hair is my personal little lab monkey
and im rarely afraid to experiment
whether with avacado guts or some electric blue tint
youtube has become an educational source since dec 210
before that it was low fades and earrings bigger than big
now its afro that reach our for God
3 strand twists and bantu knots
its like my hair embodies versatiility
and an uncanny ability
to display the defnition of just chill
a mind of it's own, it does whatever it feels
and i just get to accent it
im usually quite meek but bring up my hair and it gets passionate
so many reasons a woman of color should never be ashamed of her crown
when they get to be preaching bout they naps i cant help but frown
aint no such thing as bad hair just hair thats misunderstood
we just need to rethink our definition of good
cause too many women with the bone straight be wishing they hair stood proud like ours
be wishing they could make fros that looked like chocolate clouds
now im not bashing the relaxed just saying if they wanna know the meaning of undisturbed
they should kick that creamy crack to the curb
and come rock with this real stuff
this shocking face at how good it feels stuff
this hop out the bed and fluff it out swag
wash and go, smelling like a fruit snack
its a lesson in patienece but a bigger lesson in self love
a test of confidence and just when you've had enough
it helps u find a friend that can pry from ur hand the box of creamy crack
understand the criticism and helps u snap back
so despite my love for india i just cant agree
cause my hair says almost everything there is to say about me
©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


did you forget the taste of broken english mixed into your first meal?
the scrape of misplaced adjectives from your mother's lips
you always failed to hear the music in the dichotomy of your tongue
always mistaking your stained glass for broken pieced together windows

these are my grandmother's feet
walking in shoes too big
pretending not to notice
because real women know how to save face
toes spaced out
tryin to keep grip of the world running beneath me

these are my grandmother's feet
walking in shoes too big
pretending not to notice
because real women know how to save face
toes spaced out
tryin to keep grip of the world running beneath me

i came looking for breathe in lungs
full searching for missing ribs to hold them

Dear Life,
you taught me to never build bridges so i wouldnt learn the pain of learning when its neccesary to burn them. now i stand here on the bridge to nowhere watching Russia and feeling lonely. wondering why you just didnt teach me to save me from myself. forced me to admit when i need help instead of just taking leaps of faith into my future.

©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack