Thursday, February 8, 2018

In Me, Of Me

As a poet and writer, there is always something that inspires me to put on paper what's in my head. The bulk of my inspiration has come by seeing and listening to the works of some of our most renown Black Poets, namely Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. This is Black History Month, so I think it nothing short of appropriate to honor unparralleled writers and authors. 
I truly believe most writers write through inspirations and experiences. Our heritage and experiences are the stepping stones for us as black poets to articulate our movement; convey our thoughts, and construe them in print. No matter what race, color or creed, we all express ourselves… each in his/her own way; each in his/her own time. BUT writing is timeless.
I say that because in my research, I found that as a people, we may have been down in time of slavery, even the depression, but we were not out!! A prime example is Phillis Wheatley; a young girl in the late 1700’s who was sold into slavery, after being kidnapped. She was bought as a personal servant for the wife of John Wheatley, thereby customarily taking on the Wheatley name. Considered to have quick intelligence, she was taught to read and encouraged in literary pursuits…thus world-wide acknowledgement of her works. Phillis Wheatley holds the esteemed honor of being the First Published African American Poet.
I desired to know more about Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis Wheatly, because as a child, I attended a school named in her honor, as are many. And as an adult, I began writing when my kids were little; reflecting on those who were before me and during my era... their styles, techniques, etc. 
I've spent countless hours alone with a Cup 'o Joe, my Bible or journal and my inspiration-Thee. My thoughts utter via pen, whatever creeps into mind at that time...
I Write

Sometimes I feel 
as though I have 
so much to say and 
if I didn't have a outlet
I'd burst wide open...
so, I Write 

My brain goes much faster 
than even my fingers 
can wrap around a pen, 
or type on a keyboard, 
or even my body can move 
to a position, to a point whereas 
I can regurgitate 
what is stirring inside
so... I Write

PJ Payne

Thursday, February 1, 2018


“It was right before my eyes and I couldn’t see it.”
Have you ever been oblivious of your surroundings? Have you ever searched for something and found it was visible to everyone else, but you? That’s a sign of having too many ‘irons in the fire,’ too much on your plate, a deficit in organizational skills, not prioritizing, or just not being focused. Basically, you’re SWAMPED!

For instance, a few weeks ago I was searching frantically for my keys. Because of my sometimes hectic schedule, I tried to develop a pattern of what I do from the time I walk through my front door…e.g., keys on the counter, purse on the chair, take off shoes in the bedroom, etc. Unfortunately, the new pattern doesn’t always fit 'my' pattern, Lol. So, I continued to search for about 10 VITAL minutes of my schedule to find those keys. I retraced my steps from the time I walked through the door earlier until the time I had to leave. Nothing!! No keys to be found! On the bright side - I was even able to locate a favorite earring, which had been ‘lost’ for weeks. But the keys, NOWHERE! 
I thought about what my mom used to say “they are sitting somewhere laughing at me.” So after a while, I exhaled and regrouped my thoughts. “It didn’t help!”  I decided to make that dreaded call, stating I could not make the appointment. I walked over to my purse to retrieve my phone. As I hurriedly picked up my purse, I heard a jingle… my keys! Wow, unbelievable! Of course, I had previously checked my purse. Yep, the keys were looking and laughing.
I proceeded to make the call, as I would have had to rush to get to my appointment on time. But this extra time I had unexpectedly been given, gave me a moment to reflect on my life. I thanked God for it and thought about the things I deemed important. Why was I always so consumed with things to do?
I told you about that experience in order to tell you this. Don't get so busy in life that you can't see what's going on around you; that you can't understand something that's right before your eyes; that possibly you're being misled, you're being overlooked, or you’re being used. So many things can happen if your focus is off and you are too busy. And last but not least, don't always view things with ‘rose-colored glasses.’ Just use good judgment and clarity in your decisions.
On the other hand don't get so busy that you don't enjoy the simplicity's in life.  Just relax and enjoy sometimes! 
Side-note - my kids purchased me a Keyfinder! "Ain't God good!!"

PJ Payne