The Poet

“The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen…perhaps it can’t be done without the poet, but it certainly can’t be done without the people.  

The poet and the people get on generally very badly, and yet they need each other.  The poet knows it sooner than the people do.  The people usually know it after the poet is dead; but that’s all right.  The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.”

– James Baldwin, 1986

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Lip Service is a Poetry Open Mic hosted by L’Monique.  It’s an uncensored venue for mature folx (both new to poetry reciting and experienced) interested in sharing their thoughts at Charlotte North Carolina’s only LGBT Poetry Open Mic.  It’s where the creative go to EAT DRINK & SPIT.  Beginning Thursday, February 20th, 2020, Lip Service is being held at Banquet 49  @ 4949 Albemarle Road; 28205 , (Every 3rd Thursday) of each month with themes selected by audience members.  DUE TO COVID-19 LIPSERVICE IS ON HIATUS.  For up-to-date info, follow L’Monique on social media or stop by the Lip Service Facebook page.

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Before relocating to North Carolina, I spent 40 years of my life living in New York, where I was born and reared.  In elementary school, I ghost wrote love poems for my friends….many of them ended with check boxes, “do you like me? check yes or no.  As an adult I have brought my love for writing and poetry into everything that I do.  And I mean everything, I’ve performed for weddings, homegoing services, Juneteenth celebrations, divorce parties and LGBT Pride events.  I’ve organized open mics, poetry slams and full theater productions.  When I wasn’t performing, hosting or organizing poetry events I was teaching others how to write and use poetry as a creative and therapeutic release as an alternative to violence and suicide, my students ranging from primary school students to maximum security prison inmates.

One of my most memorable poetic experiences was facilitating Poetry Wordshops for New York State’s prison population.  Behind the walls of those prisons were (and are) some very talented folks, some guilty of nothing more than not knowing how to constructively channel their love of the written and spoken word.  During one such 12-week long Wordshop at Woodbourne Correctional Facility I wrote and performed for over 400 of the inmates and correction officers the following poem, co-authored by Dre Dickerson. Dre is one of the most talented poets I’ve ever met.  Today, Dre continues to write…beyond the walls of prison incarceration (after 14yrs he was released in 2012) – though still seeking the freedom many Black men in America are consistently denied as a result of having been born in the skin they’re in.

 

THE LOVE

written by Dre & L’Monique 

It’s been a long time since I’ve cried
I mean really cried
            Cried?
Lying here between lines designed to strangle love
Break hearts
Capture secrets
Silver razor-wire that sever ties
Turn warm hearts cold
            And strong men weak
            As I lay my indelible imprint
            On your skin
            Casting shapes and shadows
            You’ll want to memorize
            As you absorb me, drink me in
Caged emotion
The need to be touched
Stroked
Cress me with your smooth grip round stick Bic
Kissed with passionate script
            Kissing you with dots, dashes and quaking strokes
Seduce me
            Seducing you
            As you lay in wait for me to complete you
            With me on top
Embrace my nakedness in mixed emotion of love and lust
            Embracing how you complete me
Orgasmic flow quenching my unquenchable thirst as I inhale you
Hold you as you whisper confessions of your affection on my skin
Until my composition stiffens
            Without you I’m nothing
            Together we can change the world
            Breath life and wreak havoc
            Our union is immortalizing
Like Rosetta Stone
Poetic Rhythm that traverse U.N.I. Verse and wisdom was our first
Born
Soul searching
Digger deeper than Africans mining for blood diamonds
Arousing a life force hot like Sub-Saharan nights
Hotter than the passion that bore me
Under serpent skies
I tried to find the essence of your beauty between
Loose sheets of loose leaf
            Ohhhh, baby
            You should have been looking on the walls of
            Hatshetsup’s Tomb
            Or within the pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls
But I remained shackled within the restraints of
Contemporary prose
Thought your fine points made it clear to me
That you’ll always be there
            Always be there for you baby
For me
Carefully weaving emotion into Spoken Word
And what was left unspoken I kept tucked away
On the black pages of my mind
Until time
Permits kindred spirits to emit
            Kindred Spirits ~ Secret Practices
Secret practices of kemet
Auset
Ausar
I conquered you through Kundalini mind spells
Thought it was magic
But it was love
The Love of The Written Word

More from L. Monique

Beyond The Middle Passage

so she dances in her head to her own
drum beats – resound – time is kept – 1,2,3
she moves in her own time – dancing alone
Djembe singing her song – hands tell history
time talks of people sitting upon thrones
before a day when they are leaving by a sea
which shakes souls – destined to’ward lands unknown
none know what life will be
arriving light – yet their souls are so dark
when yellow suns seem to cease in shining
remembering culture is fire’s spark
against all odds – they await – good timing
behold the thoughts of revolutionaries
seek still the knowledge in the libraries

In the wake of this global pandemic, let’s talk about Normal.  Check out this new poem, debuted for Charlotte Pride’s Virtual Festival on Aug. 1, 2020

 

Click below to see, hear and feel L’Monique recite “I Am The Little Girl” – for Dr. Angela Davis at UNC-Charlotte (2/12/20).  

Call Her Mary

What do you call a woman
who despite childhood adversities
has not only grown up and blossomed
but thrived?
because from the alter to the garden…she gives

what do you call a woman
who bore and raised 5 children – sent them on their way
but once her nest was empty – took in the offspring of others
opening her heart and home – providing for them
a safe and loving place for them to stay?
because from the alter to the garden…she gives

what do you call woman
who can willingly anticipates her lover’s needs
extending her hand and taking her partner’s
offering her strength to steady her lover’s steps
anchoring them both indeed?
because from the alter to the garden…she gives

what do you call a woman, who can take practically nothing
and turn it into something
turning beads and baubles, into earrings and accessories
scraps and dinner left-overs into puleeeeez
this ain’t the time for worry about a rhyme scheme
the point is – on her worst day
with the oddest and skimpiest of ingredients
Miss Mary can put her foot in it
and create a gourmet meal – a culinary dream
seemingly out of thin air
These thoughts I’ve penned
these words I share – have all come down to this
a celebratory diatribe
a loving dialogue
a review and recognition of
a phenomenal woman
mere adjectives do not suffice to captivate
a woman we know, love, honor and cherish
because she is – Mary
because from the alter to the garden…she gives!

Recently released CD [June 2020]    Get yours, Get Woke!

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