Shea Butter and Happiness

Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with National Book Award Winner Nikky Finney.  She was generous and beautiful and humble when she has every right to strut around like a peacock.  I was invited by one of my instructors of Women’s and Gender studies to have lunch with Ms. Finney before her flight out after she was the keynote speaker for the South East Women’s Studies Association conference.  Unfortunately I was not able to hear her speech.  I had to work.  I couldn’t sleep the night before, much like the excited insomnia i had the night before Nikki Giovanni came.   Nervous energy in me creates art and so I wrote this poem:


it’s 2:35 and I’m up
like my blood pressure when I eat pulled pork barbecue
like that one piece of hair in the back with a mind of its own
like a seventeen year old’s libido like the night before
I met Nikki Giovanni.   I’m up cause my mind is excited and
my thoughts are racing and I can’t imagine what I will hear
as I sit and break bread with national book award winner
national treasure best acceptance speech in the world giver
South Carolina native Nikky Finney, so I’m up. See she does
that thing that I do the way that I wanna do it and I realize
that I came to the game late and starting out at this age
leaves me way behind so I’m up. Not because I think
I can catch up or that my skills need to match up, but I’m
up because I know that no matter what she says, I will be
elevated…and I’m excited… so I’m up


I asked her if I could read it to her and she used that as a teaching moment, telling us that when the opportunities present themselves ask   “can I?”, otherwise you’ll live with regrets.  She was so encouraging.  By the end of the lunch, she was calling me “D” like my close friends do.  It was a wonderful informal lunch among friends.  I talked with Asia and Josh and everybody at the table enjoyed each other’s company and the differences of gender and sexuality and race and privilege and oppression evaporated.  It felt like freedom.  It felt like love.  LeTriece put it best:  “It’s smells like Shea butter and happiness”


~ by Diva2de on March 29, 2014.

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