"Billie Holiday On Replay"

Dear Billie,
I apologize for disturbing you while you are asleep.
It’s just that your voice has kept my spirit restless, nights where I’ve wished that the curtain in front of my eyes would come down and cloak the realities of my blackness.
I have seen what you sing of…
Sanguineous leaves on the pavement from Autumns in New York right back to the sound of summertime in the South with Sam Cooke
But living still ain’t easy
in this skin that I’m in.
There are no holidays for colored folk.
Our brothers walk the street in full-time fear of nigger-hunters dressed in uniform.
Or any non-colored resident in the state of Florida who carries a gun with a silencer engraved in American law.

Billie,
We still sing the blues like you used to because we are in perpetual mourning.
The trees are not the only ones bare in the winter.
There are childless mothers with lips that are naked, chapped and dry, unable to kiss the oil from the face of her firstborn.
Plucked from the family tree
Left in the middle of the street
Blood puddling like the crushed grapes
In the bag of groceries he held on his way home.

They still see us as strange fruit
Food for them to eat
As if we all didn’t fall from the same tree
as Adam and Eve.

-Joekenneth Museau

Here’s a closer look at the book “Tales of a Troubled Romantic” by Joekenneth Museau which features photography from Andre D. Wagner.

In his first published work, Joekenneth blends poetry, prose and photography to explore the themes of conflict, remorse and renewal. The writings are based on observations and experiences documented throughout the course of several years.

Each book is printed and bound by Rog and Bee Walker of Printed by RW. Limited quantities are available.

Thanks to Dapper Lou for capturing these images.

Purchase here.

“Some people would use their freedom only to enslave themselves.”

-  Joekenneth Museau

“I am not my father’s sins. I am a new error. The troubled lover of a new era. The owner of hands who try to convince one another to do better.”

- Joekenneth

"7/.45"

Last night fireworks decorated Brooklyn skies for a sinister celebration
As a man’s eyes rolled back white And the blue blood in his body spilled like red stripes under the oversight of saddened stars.
This was all the product of barbecue brawls where men argue over the size of their sausages.
And beef is well done although the flesh appears raw.

-Joekenneth

“Untitled”
For an unknown radius, the streets of Church Avenue are a museum filled with sculptures of policemen. Who stand guard poised to rise like mythical gargoyles that come alive during the night when the uprising begins to brew. The smell of horse manure rivals the odor of decomposed bodies buried by bullets that served as undertakers. There are people with gunpowder in their lungs screaming in an attempt to pierce the conscience of men who’ve pledged to stop the violence. I am not one to judge. Only the skies know the story. No wonder they cry crystal tears when darkness supplants the light of day. Unseen in a smog stained city that continues ablaze…

-Joekenneth

“Heels”

Fact: Heels make women taller. An apparatus that functions as a pedestal for female pedestrians who resemble princesses strutting in procession. Women deserve to be elevated above ground at heights greater than the inches of their stilettos. And to be given understanding for their rainbow emotions in the same manner in which we admire the colors emitted by their prism of pumps. I’ve come to respect a woman’s gait because her feet have experienced tougher terrain than the slopes present in her shoes. She walks tall. Strides gracefully. Even on the days where her esteem isn’t as high as she seems.

-Joekenneth Museau

“Rebel Youth”

What are rules to the rebel youth who grow with a gusto for adventure?
They’re imaginary…
Like boundaries in infinite space.
The building begins from within.
Then out of skin.
Onto pavements.
Where you pave the way.
From corner store conversations to revolutionary contemplating.
It takes training.
It requires heart to acquire an absence of fear.
This ain’t no hocus pocus.
You can become potent when potential is embraced.
And your focus causes you to become colorblind to color lines; seeing that there is no mold.
The model for the future is for you to make new.
So spark the rebellion!
Do it with cause.
The power to change your surroundings is right there in your palms.
Go out and pound the pavement.
Pulverize any paradigms and leave no standards standing.
For success isn’t intended to be the possession of a select few.
Don’t ever let them see you sweat.
Just be bold.
Be true

Joekenneth Museau

Special thanks to Nike for allowing me to lend my talents toward a wonderful campaign for Black History Month.

Photo by Nick Onken

“Black Ivy Pt II”

Time travel has long been invented. On any canvas where words are written and thoughts are depicted through an artist’s rendition. Books are known to awaken latent photosynthesis. The growth of a garden in the mind. We can all sprout up like Ivy without degrees to prove it. Be Black in the sense that prejudice is absent in the internal classes of our development. Let us not neglect our soul’s soil. Cultivating the land within will reap to a betterment beyond the boundaries of self. And that, indeed, is worth every bit of toil…

-Joekenneth Museau

Pondering Amidst Precipitation

Friday, 9/28/12, 8:58 AM

It’s raining. And I’m in bed. Limbs languidly sprawled under covers from the sonic hypnosis of water flowing. The trees are having their fill and they slurp loudly. Stand stately. I’ve given thought to venturing outside just to keep them company. It would be like having tea during weekend sunrises with the person who pledged an alliance to your soul. Promising to hold their ground when every thing seems to be falling out of place…even the sky.

-Joekenneth

Night Shift

There’s some thing wondrous about a gradient sky. When the day clocks out of work and the Sun’s flares smudge the horizon as its eyelids sluggishly surrender to shut-eye. Leaving the moon to adorn herself in a silk white robe like a mother lovingly watching us in the unknown of the night…

-Joekenneth Museau

Tea

Nowadays, I find myself in the habit of boiling water for tea. Just like you. The whispering, creaking kettle sounds like the air from your lungs passing through the lambswool lining of your morning larynx. I leave the fire on for a while and listen to your daily dissertation detailing the benefits of drinking tea. Back then, I’d call it a myth and laugh. You would laugh too. Then we would spar with smiles. My eyes traveled the miles of your face. The plains, hills and valleys. Subdued by the divinity of its scenery. I saw this everyday. Now every sip that I take from this cup reminds me of kissing the earth, rather, kissing the warmth radiating from your cheeks. I sip slow and savor because there will always be tea for later…

-Joekenneth Museau

Packages

A package came in your name today. I guess the house is a dead letter office that offers no solace because this is still your home. And every thing—-pulseless, inanimate, unmovable—-knows you belong here.

-Joekenneth

Melodies & Maladies

It’s difficult for perfection to dwell in an imperfect space so love becomes our disease. Ironically. Although sonically pleasing. We’re victims of circumstance. Casualties of seasons…

-Joekenneth

Twin

My mother was a twin. Half of her still exist. I find myself clinging to my aunt like the last piece of fruit in a famine. The closest one to her DNA in the family. And yet, I hunger for a vanished love. Nothing can satiate this feeling of being famished…

-Joekenneth

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Created with love in order to love.
-Joekenneth
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