My soul is heavy with the burden of mistrust. How can I possibly trust myself again when I have failed myself so many times before? I often sit in prayer, as I have this morning, in wonder of why I was given this capacity to love, to hurt, to feel…
Why have I chosen the broken, becoming only successful in breaking myself.
LETTER TO MY EX HUSBANDS…
This is your grief. Your depression, your disappointing childhood. I have no right to it. Someone dug a hole in you and you’re no longer whole. Take back your nasty, dirty imperfections so that I can live my life without the remnants of you on my soul. I placed my desires into the wrong baskets. I didn’t see the holes along the bottom…or maybe I fooled myself into believing I was enough to fill them. My spirit woke me this morning with an undeniable desire to purge. I had successfully avoided this for so long…avoided this overflow, this pain. I knew that I was off kilter, but considering all you two put me through, I truly believed myself unscathed…until my world came crashing down this morning. Every nasty little thing you’d done to me resurfaced. Every little stupid decision I made trying to get our love to return to its former glory…but then I realized something…you both had sent your representatives. You were never the men you pretended to be. You just knew how to keep it up until I was utterly fooled into believing that that’s who you were.
Today I am taking responsibility for allowing my desire to be loved drown out the warning signs. The tell-tale signs that I ignored in the name of love. The proof of your aggression…the truth of your lies…the boldness of your bully…the fact that your violence was domestic.
Jill has done it again. She is singing my soul. She has no idea that she has ushered me back to God. My heart is singing without use of my mouth, beating steadily inside of my chest. I allowed you to feed on me. To the point where I was no longer me. I just want to return to the me I use to be. I have missed her.
I have risen at 5:01 am, beating the sun. My spirit is still walking in the night before. My weeping has put in overtime, joy has called in sick this morning. My life has had snippets of sun and endless midnight. I have grown very tired of trying to handle this on my own…in the words of Jill Scott…GOD, PLEASE HEAR MY CALL…
I have met someone. He feels like that life love every little girl longs for. He seems like that man for me. This morning, I cried at the thought. Could I be wrong? I remember feeling that for both husbands. My 1st husband when I was 25 and anxious to begin the fairy tale of a life I knew I deserved. My second husband when I was 36 and racing the clock to be a mother again…now at 41, here I am again…in love. But I do not trust me. To make a sound decision. To love and be loved fully. Because I’d been eating loves scraps, I am unsure of love’s full meal. Is he what I prayed for? Is he joy disguised in night-time morning? I am afraid for me. For the 1st time ever, afraid of love. Bruised and broken…Lord, I need your healing…
“Something Borrowed When You’re Blue”
is being performed at
Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios
244 West 54th Street (12th Floor), New York, New York
Tickets: $15, $20/ $30 – Sunday July 11, 2010 (includes reception following the performance)
For Ticket Information & Reservations:
(917) 741-2992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My Play is being peformed at the following times:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 – 8pm
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 – 6:30pm & 8pm
Thursday, July 8th, 2010 – 6:30pm
Friday, July 9th, 2010 – 8pm
Saturday, July 10th, 2010 – 1pm & 8pm
Sunday, July 11th, 2010 – 1pm
Thanks so much for your support!
Renee Michele Breeden
He blinked and she was there
He noticed her there
The slight grey in her hair
And laugh lines
Laying the path of her life
A map of her happy/ Even when she wasn’t smiling
She sighed softly
Her brow furrowed with dismay
Of long lines
And teenage clerks who couldn’t count
Beyond the broken register
Which couldn’t register the count
She feels his stare
And he wonders if she can feel his joy
Smell desire in his loins
The throbbing in his groin
The fact that
vintage pussy turns him on…
He is a man of 25
He comes alive at the prospect
Of learned lips
As his heart pounds heavily
Thinking on the new wine in those aged skins
The detachment of older women
The assurance of their everything
their younger counterparts lack
He loves that
And she radiates with an energy that screams
“take it or leave it…I’m thinking the same of you”
She is beautiful
Laying unknowingly in her regality
“are you going to gawk all day?”
He stood against the column of the convenience store
Watching my annoyance dance across my brows
Standing in line for 20 minutes or so now
One clerk; 17 consumers
and I am number 3
I have a good mind to retreat
But my feet seem the rational
Acknowledging there are things one cannot do without
He stood there
As though he’d gone inside himself
Pinning me under his gaze
his mouth is filled
And silent wishes, eating from the bounty of his thoughts
And I smell his fear
Faint compared to his desire to be
In places he could have been expressed from
Numb to the years that separate us
He is GLARING
At my aged thighs
My slow walk, what he may deem my nonchalant way
but today, it is not indifference
I’m just tired…and he has finally gussied up the nerve to ask
“Do you need help?”
I just LOVE Hue-Man Bookstore. I love what it represents for me as a daughter of Harlem and an author. The warmness and welcoming spirit that envelopes you is not like anything I have every experienced; the feeling is one of inclusion, intellect…family.
“The Little Book Store that Does” has hosted many a celebrity book signing, and last evening they hosted Mrs. NeNe Leakes, of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fame.
NeNe was a delight to watch as she answered questions and discussed various topics that took place on and off the show. She definitely makes you feel easy with her “around the way girl” conversation. She didn’t engage in the kind of conversation that would suggest her to be a chicken-head or ghetto, but in the sort that makes you think of your “street smart” sister or best friend who utilized her life experience to move her into a lifelong dream deserving of the spotlight.
My desire to be in this industry has allowed my path to cross with plenty a celebrity, and much to the chagrin of this little brown girl, I have had plenty an image shattered by what they were REALLY like. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for NeNe.
To be frank, I don’t think that NeNe gets a fair break because of how she is portrayed on the show. Being outspoken, of course there would be tons of footage displaying her in a negative light. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is she is the girlfriend you hang with after work, the sister who congregates with you in your mother’s house while you’re getting your hair done and eating chicken wings and French fries from the Chinese restaurant. She is the aunt that makes it out of dire situations, despite the circumstances she was born into.
In the back of the book store where readings/signings are held, NeNe sat at the authors table and tore down the invisible wall that exists between most authors and their readers. She spoke of the difficulties surrounding her fame and the reality of the infringement that fame takes on your life. Harlem loved her, and she appeared to love Harlem as both faithfully trudged out in the misty/rainy weather to meet.
I ran in close to 7, having gotten off work at 6pm and traveling in from down town Brooklyn. I knew since last week NeNe was coming and I was going to go home and go to sleep, but the closer the 3 train got to 116th Street, the more anxious I got to attend. I ran through the door, threw down my excess bags and grabbed my camera (I didn’t even get time to take those damned OVER POWERING lashes off, but I didn’t want to miss it). I grabbed a cab and caught NeNe mid-sentence answering a question posed by Harlem Radio. I raised my hands a couple of times and finally got to tell her (author to author) what an inspiration she is. The “no-nonsense, I do it my way” she has that inspires women like me every day.
“You’re a writer?” she asked.
To which I responded yes. She wanted to know if I had a ghost writer and when I told her that I wrote it myself, she curiously inquired about the cost of self-publishing and the subject matter.
Then she applauded me. Right there in the middle of HER signing, she congratulated me on having the courage to write and put out my book. She asked if I was interested in major publishing and I answered that I was but I wasn’t going to wait until someone made the discovery that I am actually talented. I told her it was the NeNe’s Leakes of the world (having their say), the Mo’Nique’s of the world (putting the joke elsewhere but on themselves), the Gabourey Sidibe’s of the world (showing the talent is not limited to a size two), the Velvet D’Amour’s of the world (who walked the Jean Paul Gautier fashion show in a size 28 – proving that beauty comes in all sizes), that women like me can pass the stars and grasp the moon.
Would you know in the middle of HER signing she told me she’d do everything she could to get my book out there? I walked out of Hue-Man feeling like most of us should, accomplished, heard…appreciated. More than any of those things, I know that granted the chance given by the Universe, I walked out with a new sister, new cousin, new confidant, but most importantly…a new friend.
If you haven’t already, check out her new book “Never make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love & Life Learned the Hard Way” by NeNe Leakes with Denene Millner.
I was only 8 years old when my grandmother would take me down to that wonderland on Horatio Street. Not a toy store that one would expect an 8 year-old to be enamored by, but to the apartment of the screenwriter, Horton Foote. We’d take that bus all the way down the long New York Avenue of which I could not remember by name. I only knew when we’d turn the corner and the street sign would declare that we’d reached the block where writing royalty resided.
My grandmother was a modest yet regal woman who had acquired the job as the cleaning lady for the NY apartment for the Footes’ when they were visiting from Texas. This weekly ritual was one that my grandmother and I shared; the soul talk that existed between she and I; she’d bore witness to the affinity I’d developed for those marble note books and the way I’d stay within the lines, playing scrabble with my lexicon and being so hungry for words. Mr. Foote’s place was always alive with words. They floated off the air, bounced off the walls; they strengthened the floor boards.
My favorite room, the one I’d beg to dust was the study. There in the window were two Oscars, shimmering in the sun. I’d spend hours in the room dusting them; too excited to eat the motzah ball soup grandma had made, too afraid to use the bathroom because at 8, this was surreal for me and I didn’t want the Oscars to disappear. It was on my 16th visit that Mr. Foote walked through the door and observed this 8 year old moving this dust cloth across the golden plaque that read: BEST SCREENPLAY, HORTON FOOTE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
“You like that?” he asked scaring me so bad I nearly jumped out of my skin. I nodded my head slowly, afraid that he’d be angry that I was handling what my young mind deemed to be his prized possession.
“It’s okay.” he said. Then he smiled at me. I immediately felt easy.
“You got these for writing?” I asked, excited that words could actually make money. “Yes,” he answered. “I’ve been writing for a long time.” We sat on opposite chairs in the room and I told him I liked writing too.
“Do you, now?” he asked. I shook my head quickly for the affirmative. I looked quickly back at the twins, both named Oscar with a certain longing in my belly.
“I want to win one of those.” I said looking longly back at the golden men with their erect posture. I turned back to see his encouraging smile.
“You can do it. Just keep writing.” He spent the next hour in that room telling me how he’d fell in love with writing and it had taken him to Hollywood and back.
I had was blown away by him; by his adventures in writing. I had begun leaving little poems and pieces around his apartment. On days when grandma would have to go, I’d awake before her and be ready for the bus ride, just for the opportunity to leave another poem or letter.
It was 9 years later when my grandmother had taken ill and unable to take the bus ride anymore. I had gotten use to my connection with Mr. Foote. He’d retired to Texas for the most part, his visits to New York had begun to trickle. Going through my grandmother’s phone book, I found the number and address to my mentor. I wrote him a letter telling him that I’d be honored to take over for my grandmother, to clean his apartment. I scribed my contact information and my name and waited for what I was sure would be an enrichening experience.
Two weeks later, I received a phone call from Horton Foote himself. The kind voice from my childhood floated through the telephone lines.
“Hello, Renee,” he said kindly.
“Mr. Foote?” I asked knowing what I was already sure of.
“Yes.” he said “I received your letter.”
“Good.” I said “I just wanted offer my services to you since grandma is unable-“
“Renee, I think I am going to have to decline.” he said matter-of-factly. “You were never meant to be someone’s domestic. You’re a writer, remember?” I got really quiet and reflective on the little girl enraptured by those Oscars that gleamed in the window. “Keep writing Renee. You’re a writer. Now, go bring me your Oscar!”
I was 17 then, and just like when I was 8, his presence, even on the phone returned me to the glory and wonderment of Horatio street. Renee was back in Wonderland. Everything I wrote from that moment on was my advancement toward the Oscar with my name on it. He told me he wanted to hold my Oscar like I held his…
While watching the Oscars tonight, they did a memorial for those who have transitioned. The air left the room as Horton Foote’s name flashed across the screeen over splashes of TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, A TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL & TENDER MERCIES. It took a moment to breathe. My eyes filled with tears at the realization that I’d never be able to physically put my Oscar in his hands. I never got to say goodbye.
Mr. Foote,wherever you are, I am still writing…and I am going to keep that promise, you will get your Oscar with my name on it…
From the bottom of my heart and with everything that’s within me, thank you for calling me a writer…
After close to 2 years on the air, we are elevating. I have given classes on air, homework, grant information as well as invaluable critique. So many of you have developed books, released CDs performed on shows as the confidence within your own work has increased. Now I’d like the world to know what you’ve been doing.
June 2010, I will release an anthology entitled: “The Language of the Living Room.” The Book/CD compilation will include the works of poets/spoken words artist that have had any interaction with The Living Room. All entries should be submitted by 4/30/10 at 12 midnight, EST. Entries will be notified by 5/15/10 if you have been selected for publication. There is a $10 entrance fee for up to three poems in written form (should not exceed 20 lines each) and $15 for audio entries (which should be submitted in MP3 format). If you wish to submit for both audio and print, the cost is $25.00.
Both your entries and fees can be paid to: email@example.com.
Written Submission $10.00
Audio Submission $15.00
Written & Audio Submission $25.00