They say you can't go home again, but you can. I got the confirmation of that this weekend. It started with the Coast 97.3 Poetry Jam in Wilmington, NC. The Poetry Jam is sponsored by the radio station and the Black Arts Alliance, which also sponsors the NC Black Film Festival. It is held at the Cameron Art Museum and is a well attended event. When I first moved back to southeastern NC, I tried and tried to get on the list for the Poetry Jam. I had been doing spoken word before I left the Charlotte area and had featured at a couple of venues and was known in those circles.
It wasn't until I was doing a play with someone who was on the radio station's street team that I fenagled my way onto the show. When I signed in and introduced myself to the director of the show, Sandra The Midday Miss, she emphatically reiterated that I was to do one poem, and that's it. I hit the stage and did my signature poem that contains a lot of alliteration and other sound devices and I knew that if I was only going to do one poem then this is the one that would shut it down! I decided I would drop my poem like it was hot and walk straight out the door to my car and go home. I never made it to the door. Someone stopped me and Sandra said I would be one of her poets from then on. That was in 2010. Over the years the poetry jam has embraced me and accepted me. It fostered friendships that are family.
I went back because I felt like I never got to say goodbye to the institution that turned me into a public figure (so to speak). I went back to tell them that I love them. I went back to show my appreciation to the people who saw beyond my insecurities and fears to the gifts that live inside me. Not only did the poetry jam put me on the map in Wilmington,
it put me on the radio. For seven years, I had an early morning radio show called Morning Coffee w/ Diva. So I went back.
I hit the stage with the goal of encouraging my sisters to love themselves and keep their standards. I wanted to encourage everybody to never give up on their dreams. I told them of my love and of my pain. We sang together and we celebrated our beautiful blackness together. At intermission a few people confirmed to me that I was successful in my goal to inspire. I am elevated by the atmosphere and the spirit of the poetry Jam and all who shared their gifts.
I also went to my church. Not the church I grew up in but the church that I grew the most in. Warner Temple AME Zion Church where the pastor is the Rev. Dr. Clifford D. Barnett Sr. It was ugly sweater day. Like the spirit of the poetry Jam, the spirit of that church embraces me with acceptance and love. So I'm sitting there enjoying the music and the choir director keeps looking at me and giving me head nod. That mean come up here and sing. And I sang with my choir again. In the tenor section. It was good to be home.