The Water

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The water heals
so, I swim deep

the depth of it all
just seems so out of reach

so I fetch, dig deep in my memory
the spirits rise, so again I can see

at the bottom of the ocean
in Labadi beach
The horses, they come for me

I am the master of this ceremony
new life, new mind
3 dollars and 6 dimes
Cause the woman that knows something,
knows that she knows nothing at all
Change

-by Shila Iris

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My Introduction to Nina Simone

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Back in 2009, my girlfriend and I met each other in Atlanta, Georgia for a weekend of fun and to get fitted for bridesmaid dresses. One afternoon, we stumbled upon the art district, Little Five Points and wandered into an attractive shop called Moods Music. I got really excited. This was the first music store I had ever gone to, that catered to my personal tastes. It was amazing! I wanted to buy the entire store, but settled for a really wonderful CD by Quadron and a copy of Wax Poetics Magazine that I cherish to this day with Gil Scott- Heron on the cover. Since I liked this magazine so much, a friend of mine, who has always gotten me the best and most thoughtful gifts, decided to buy me a subscription to Wax Poetics for my birthday. On the cover of the 1st issue I received was Ms. Nina Simone. Reading the article, I fell in love with her spirit. They dubbed her “the Black poetess of protest.” I learned that she was a child piano prodigy, was great friends with Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Richard Pryor, and Lorraine Hansberry, and that most people who came into contact with her thought she was fearless and revolutionary. They say, Nina Simone didn’t give a fuck, meaning, she was going to do her thing no matter what. I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do on this woman who had an attitude that I could relate to. I wrote and performed a tribute to Nina Simone soon after I read this, and I have listened to her music since, mostly adoring the unconventional sound of her voice and her unapologetic lyrics. We are forever connected, Ms. Simone.

Peace & love.

Thank you for reading,

Shila Iris

My Introduction to Imhotep

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black-history_feb-16_copyright-shila-iris-2017A few years ago when one of my good friends was a med student, he changed his online alias to Imhotep. I didn’t inquire about it, but in my heart, I acknowledged the change. Then, I realized that instead of taking the Hippocratic oath that students of medicine are required to recite, perhaps he decided to invoke the spirit of the true Father of Medicine. If you’d like to know about him, I encourage you to research the greatness of Imhotep, the world’s first physician, who laid the foundation for the healing arts. I’ll say this: we are forever connected to the past and to our ancestors, each and every one of us. We value their traditions because it makes us stronger. We stand on their graves and ask for guidance and offer our devotion. Imhotep, I honor You, for I am You. My heart told me to dig deeper, and I found jewels, gold, stories, hidden colors. I went above and beyond mainstream education, to find out who I really am, and now I know my worth. I value history. In this age of information, we can uncover truths faster than ever before. This is necessary, because being Black is tough. This is not rhetoric, it really is. That double consciousness that W.E.B. DuBois taught, that invisible man that Ralph Ellison described, is a part of our everyday realities. It can be exhausting, and it can drive you crazy. But, I learned, through a Master Teacher, not to give up, and settle, and make excuses for my ignorance. I need to be healed. We need healing. My ancestors look over me. I swear by Imhotep. That is my oath. Peace.

Thank you for reading,

Shila Iris

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My Introduction to Esperanza Spalding

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My thoughts, my dreams,

by Shila Iris

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I got this Need for You…

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I got this thing for you
If you come closer I can whisper in your ear
And if you wanna walk away
I’ll tell you all the things I know you wanna hear…

I think I may love you, if you give me some time, maybe you’ll love me too

Peace and love,

Shila Iris , Find me

 

It’s So Easy to Love Her, Selah!

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Since the first time I heard her voice, I have been in love with the sound of her. I don’t care how she looks, or how she wears her hair. I don’t care how crazy they say she is, or how many kids, I just love to hear her speak. I see myself reflected in her eyes, and I get weak. Her art is ministry. Her words are from the most high, she is god. And sometimes, I kneal, for, I am thankful for the gift of her experiences, revealed, through her poetic verses, Lauryn Hill… I hear you, as your soul transitions into happiness, keep blessing the best of us. I hear my ancestors speak through you, triumphant woman of the moon, peace to you.

It’s national poetry month ya’ll… Selah… and then he came…

Nothing can be done against the truth
No matter how we remain in denial, yeah
Wasting time, replacing time
With each empty excuse
But that’ll only work a little while…

Coping with despair
Knowing you’re not there
Ashamed to just admit I’ve been a fool
So I blame it on the sun
Run away from everyone
Hoping to escape this ridicule

Trapped in misery
Wrapped so miserably in this deception I wear it like a skin
Dying to maintain, oh I keep trying to explain
A heart that never loved me to begin

Oh I’m such a mess, I have no choice but to confess
That I’ve been desperately trying to belong
Lying to myself and everybody else
Refusing to admit my right was wrong

And then he came, selah
Oh and it means praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means, did ya think about that
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means, praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means that it is sieved

How beautiful his fruits, still in denial of its roots
My guilty heart behaved so foolishly
This treason from within that reasons with my sin
Won’t be happy til it sees the death of me

Selfishly addicted to a life that I’ve depicted
Conflicted cause it’s not reality
Oh what’s left of me, I beg you desperately,
Cause me to agree but what I know is best for me

Please save me from myself
I need you, save me from myself
Please save me from myself so I can heal

The choices that I make, oh have been nothing but mistakes
What a wasted use of space
Should I die before I wake?
In all of my religion, I’ve fortified this prison
Obligated to obey the demands of bad decision

Please save me from myself
I need you to save me from myself
Please save me from myself so I can heal

And then he came, selah
Oh and it means praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means did ya think about that
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means that it is sealed

And then he came
And then he came, then he came, then he came
And then he
And then he came

PRAISE & MEDITATION

-Shila

P.S. Nothing can be done against the truth.

Sa-Ra and Bob Marley Awakening

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Waking up in this space, it’s hard to get out of bed…

Bedroom MannerWould you want to rush off?

My early morning rising was that of a Queen. Listening to the sounds of Sa-Ra, eating this space fruit…

As I sip my hibiscus, Bob Marley sang me a song…

And then back to Sa-Ra…

I’m ready for the world now!

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Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned. If your knowledge were your wealth than it would be well earned.

I am Shila, come play.