My Poem “Fragile States” appears on :-D

The New York Times
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911 : What is your emergency please ?

Every American’s genes are programmed to recognize this three-number combo : 911.

When nine, one, one must be dialed, hands tremble, hearts pound furiously and stomachs churn.

After a certain lapse of time, which is never as long as it always appears to be to the person with the emergency, sirens in the distance approach until suddenly they split the eardrums of the person waiting, the one who’s dialed the number…
… and finally, feet come a running or quickly striding to bring the needed help.

If you were born in the States in the late 1960s, nine one one was ingrained in you throughout your childhood, and for those born prior to 1968, it’s probably become even second nature.

What’s the history behind these three numbers that are associated with help, knights in shining armor, security and safety ?

In 1967, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met with the nation’s telephone entity, American Telephone & Telegraph, to establish a universal emergency number.

They wanted a number that was short and easy to remember. More importantly, however, they needed a unique number that had never been designated as an office, area or service code.

Nine, one, one was just that, and it became accepted as the way to inform America of any and all emergency situations, nationwide.1

But today, those three numbers are pronounced more often than not as nine-eleven in relation and reaction to the terrorist attacks which took place in the US on September 11, 2001. Folks living in the United States of America got rocked hard and the core of that country’s fundamental beliefs crumbled just like New York City’s twin towers. It was first time that such a horrific event happened on US soil. Unimaginable for Americans to believe they could be reached at home and it’s taken years for this reality to become accepted.

And then, just as Americans were finally dealing with this reality, the country gets hit with a new nine, one, one combination : eleven-nine.

Eleven-nine. I certainly will never forget it. I went to bed in France on November 8th 2016, never believing I’d awake in a world where the American electoral system would place a man named Donald J. Trump into the oval office as the nation’s 45th president !

Ever since I awoke that day, it feels as if I am starring in a new TV episode of the Outer Limits !

I keep thinking that I will open my eyes and discover I was just dealing with a nightmare concocted by my subconscious. That I will then be able to shake of the fright just in time to tune in to a newscast where I will discover who was REALLY elected.

Yet, it seems this nightmare is running amuck, like some sort of prolongation of a prolongation. It keeps getting worse in ways my subconscious mind could never ever conceive.

So, now, I must face the reality that I am not caught in some nightmare. That this will not end as soon as I receive whatever message my subconscious mind wanted me to receive.

The repercussions of this realization are mind-boggling !

With all my questions about how in the world could this have happened, where to begin ?

No matter which querying direction I take, I get no further than my first « but how… ? », before my mind becomes entangled like a centipede whose feet do the same thing when it tries to figure which foot it puts forward first when it advances from one space to an other.

This being the case, I turn from the mind-boggling question in search of one which my mind could address. That’s how I came up with my nine, one, one query.

One aside, to give some background information : I relocated from the States to France. That’s how I learned that folks outside of the US write their dates differently. Americans write 9/11 and refer to what happened on September 11th as what happened on nine eleven. Europeans, however, take the same date as being the 11th of September then write it as 11/9. My guess is that if something memorable transpired on that day, they might just refer to its date as eleven-nine.

Do you see where this is going ? A little recall perhaps?

In the States, when you dial 911 the operator will respond :
« 911, what is your emergency please ? »

9…1…1… First earth-shaterring emergency for the US.
Terrorists tumble New York City’s twin towers.

1…1…9… First earth-shaterring emergency for…THE WORLD !

Trump tumbles US citizens’ voters’ tally.

I do not EVEN want to envision what universe-shattering emergency will occur when someone dials 911 on  19/1 or nineteen-one!

With all that has already come pass , that my mind still cannot fathom,
nineteen-one may just be the day when our physical world comes to an end.

Someone will dial the three number combination, but the call will come to late…

…the operator will reply : « Nine, one, one, what is your emer– »

…only to be cut off mid-stream as bombs explode across the planet.

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On Trump: Senator Harry Reid to Republicans: “He’s their Frankenstein monster, they own him.”

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“I Am Not Your Average Black Girl, I Can Only Aspire To Be”

They say I’m not the average black girl because I’m so well spoken
Poised, full of etiquette, a white man’s token
You know I remember my ex’s mother telling me, “I didn’t know how I was gonna react when he brought a black girl, but I like you because you talk so white.”
But when did me talking right equate to me talking white?
They say I’m not the average black girl

No! No! Not the average black girl because the pigment of my skin is just a shade lighter than that black girl over there
You know, the black girl over there
The black girl with the nappy hair
The black girls whose elbows can’t skip a day without lotion
Whose hearts and heads are filled up with self-hate and bottled up emotion
The cocoa brown girls who have to face society every day and be tough
Because no matter how good they straighten their hair, their good is still not good enough

Oh, but see. Luckily for me, see
I don’t fall in that category, see

They say I’m not the average black girl because I speak with so much class and
I don’t have too much but just enough ass and
Not too much but just enough pizzazz
You know, just a little bit of attitude
Cos you don’t wanna come off as one of those average black girls and come off as rude
You know, popping their gum and shaking their neck
Yeah, cos those black girls get like no respect
But see luckily for me, see I get pass
Cos the melanin in my skin matches that brown paper bag
And my father, brother and men that I date pants don’t sag
And when I speak, my tongue pronounces every syllable
And the combed part down the middle of hair is naturally visible
Oh! Oh!
It must be a weave or she must be mixed
Cos we all know the average black girl ain’t got that good *#@!%

Or when I walk in a room full of white men, they all stare
It must be the long lengths of my un-average black girl hair

See! See, they say I’m not the average black girl because I corrected the professor when he used the word conversate
Converse! The word is converse
And in case you didn’t get the memo, there are now eight not nine planets in the universe
And when you’re watching the numbers on your stocks move up and down
Remember Oklahoma, in a small town
One of the first Wall Street was a Black Wall Street that got mysteriously burned down

Oh, they say I’m not the average black girl
Well let’s flip this script and rewind this *#@!%
Repaint the lines and have them blurred over time
Because the average black girl that I know…

See, the average black girl that I know made 19 trips through the Underground Railroad to free the slaves
Sat on segregated buses, refused to get up and paved new waves
See, the average black that I know…

The average black girl that I know were Egyptian queens like Hatshepsut and Nitocris who were ruling dynasties and whole armies of men
Excuse me, why I set fire to this poem on my pen cos I am tired!
Tired of the stereotypes black girls have fallen into because of American mentality
But not half as tired as Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Septima Poinsette Clark
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired
Miss Fannie Lou Hamer, Daisy Bates, Anna Arnold Hedgeman and Dorothy Height are far more tired than I am
But do you think the ones who say I’m not the average black even give a damn?

So pardon me if I can’t openly accept your compliments
Pardon me if I can’t openly accept your compliment
It’s just the average black girl that I know…

The average black girl that I know had courage that surpassed her every fear
And fought for justice and equality year after year
So as I construct these words, pardon me as I shed a tear
Because I’m not half the black girl she was!

I am not half the black girl she was! See, there’s a minor clause
She was out there fighting, breaking and changing laws
So I bow down to my black queen standing in the merit of her work

And as America society continuously throws these super silliest words onto me
I say, “No!”
I am not the average black girl, I can only aspire to be.

Text copied from:

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Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam Week n° 37

The Bluebell Book’s short story slam week 37 got me sparked to write-up a rough short story. Before procrastination steps in, I decided to post it as is.

So, here we go:

Camping Confidence Canned

By M. Anita Bailey for the Bluebell Book’s Short Story Slam Week n° 37

My friend David  has a wonderful home with lovely back yard. As I live in an apartment building, on an upper level, being in such a yard always makes me homesick for my mother’s place back in the States. For some reason David’s yard also made me nostalgic about camping.

Across the years, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of camping out in greener spaces. I did go camping as a teen, and even once in later years, after I moved to Europe.

Yet, now I feel an underlying fear any time ideas of camping alone cross my mind. As a woman who used to eagerly embrace the idea of solitary camping experiences in exotic places, it’s awfully bizarre to feel that I can’t seem to muster up courage to do so today. Even the very THOUGHT that I would HAVE to muster up my courage is bizarre.

Oh, I still have my one-person tent that I bought about five years ago and some of my other camping gear is still pretty functional, like my sleeping bag and its protection mat. But in today’s world I’m pretty reluctant to plan a camping trip even with friends.

Funny though, one day, last summer, my friend David asked me to housesit for a couple of weeks. After the first week, an overwhelming urge to camp in his back yard began to blossom. My soul seemed to long for the garden as Rapunzel’s mother must have longed for the salad that grew in the garden that belonged to her next door neighbor (yeah, I know it was the witch’s garden, but not everybody else may know it! LOL).

When I asked if, one of these days, he would allow me to pitch a tent in his garden David was really surprised. He told me he’d prefer that I sleep in the comfort of his home as a house guest. But once I explained my camping anxieties, he readily agreed.

The picture you posted of the camouflage tent sent my mind flying back to David’s garden.

Even though it’s winter here, I think I’ll just give him a quick call.
You never know, maybe I’ll have my tent pitched by early evening!

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After Charlie

After Charlie*

After Charlie,
folks will look at folks’
differences, perhaps
not even aware what they are doing.

Folks will look at folks…
Mistrust & fear
not even aware…. What are they doing?
Apprehension–  Apprehension,

Mistrust & fear
will drive hesitant (clandestine?) reactions.
Apprehension. Apprehension.
The “Are we Charlie?” question

will drive hesitant (clandestine?) reactions.
Are you Charlie? Am I?
The “Are we Charlie?” question,
I cannot answer.

Are you Charlie? Am I?
The right of it all?
I cannot answer.
Perhaps I think differently.

The right of it all?
Differences?  Perhaps…
But a lot will change,
after Charlie.

*Charlie Hebdo

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Indescribable Instant

Indescribable Instant

All in one indescribable instant, everything changes.
The instant just before that delicious sparkle,
the one that sets off the sharing…
That instant that can never be caught or identified;
the instant, after which nothing is the same.

In that instant, your world has changed.
You won’t recall how, not exactly–
You may recall why, or perhaps just almost…
but one thing is certain:
after that sparkle, after that instant,
know, there’ll be no going back.

And, if that instant ends in the near or distant future?

The instant just after… the difficult extinction….
the one that starts off the ending?
That instant, that can never be caught or identified;
again, that instant, after which nothing’s the same.

In that instant your world has changed.
You won’t recall how, not exactly–
You won’t recall why, or perhaps just almost…
but one thing is certain:
after that ending, after that instant
you’ll never ever be the same.

Perhaps there’ll be another instant.
And, what happens if that instant ends?

Yes, what?

then in one indescribable instant,
everything changes.


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Keep Your Light Burning

Keep your light burning in times of darkness…

2014-08-26 03.46.52

…for dark moments are the backdrop for future enlightenment.

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On Publishing: Mainstream vs. Do-it-yourself (Re-posted with some difficulty…LOL)

Why I Went from HarperCollins to Indie Publishing

Becky WicksSigning with a mainstream was my breakthrough, but it was also my downfall. I was signed to a three book deal with HarperCollins. A dream-come-true you might be thinking? Well, kind of.

I was young and naïve, with no clue about book marketing at all. I thought HarperCollins would make me a superstar. Not much happened. I waited some more. The international rights were sold but still, not much happened. Because no one did any marketing.


Becky Wicks wrote three humorous travel memoirs for HarperCollins (Burqalicious, Balilicious and Latinalicious) before going indie with her young adult fiction Starstruck Series. She’s travelled the world, writing, since the age of twenty-one and currently lives in Bali. Follow her blog and check her out on

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Fresh Inspiration from Botlhale Boikanyo

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