Clean and Sharp Tanka

paste stubbornly stuck

rip away reveal the new

clean, apply pigment

no sentiment, lose it all

sharp construct blooms, settles soul

©2017 E. R. Smith




©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

There for you to hold your hand

Wipe your tears, and understand

Above and beyond in relation to you

Now I need, but who?

Always being my brother’s keeper

Selfless, never looking deeper

Above and beyond in relation to you

Now I need, but who?

Lying silent still on hospital sheets

Devastated, staring at texts and tweets

Above and beyond in relation to you

Now I need, but who?

None emanating sympathy

None gives time for empathy

Holding my head like Jesus

Knowing goodness holds no guarantee for us

Above and beyond in relation to you

Now I need, but who?

Graffiti Speaking

© 2017 E.R. Smith All Rights Reserved

LiZ a piece drawn for me years ago by my brother artist Joseph Rodriguez.

“Graffiti Speaking”

Paint in the hands of poverty

sprays  loose on the demographic

“I’ll show you what I know!”

Palette pushes against an unseen power

that neglects, rejects, scorns youth

“I’ll show you what I can do, anyway!”

Silenced by a lack of opportunity, emotions frame perception

assaults a wall in distress, mixing media’s imagination

“I’ll show you something you can’t  ignore!”

Shower on vibrant images of experiences, bold, defiant

tapping  the conscience of the viewer

“This is where and how we live!”

Metropolitan whiz kids graffiti as mutiny

the power of the pen telling tales well into millennium

“Hey, world are you listening?”

Continue reading “Graffiti Speaking”

Tanka Challenge

©2017 E.R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Children quick dance steps 

brisk hop over hot clothes line

chant alphabet,  rhyme

daring flips inside hot whips

wonderland between turned twine

Check out amazing jump rope skills!

February: Affirming a Smart Legacy

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew to prove that African Americans and African Carribeans have a history, a relevance, and have unleashed countless contributions to their adoptive societies. A great collector of historical documents. Established the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.
Soldiering, spying, and slave resistance in a time without technology. A wonder.

In our early history there was no Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn;

Facebook was church.

Social media was all religions and therein movements grew; after decades became televised.

Tweets; kept everyone off the city bus one year.

Instant Message; was the Jim Crow signs in our neighborhoods.

Ping back by reminding everybody; “What preacher said Sunday?”


LinkedIn was a community barber; or hair salon.

eHarmony was socials, bible study, and family picnics.

What is now thought of as soft, old, corny; schooled the toughest and most tenacious fighters.

Call it dull and nerdy; call it any acronym you choose; but bulld a bright future with the memory of it.

Remember the time when Facebook Friends were right next to one another; marching.

FaceTime was marriage, family; Loving yet not always legal.

Writing missions and directives on quilts; texting.

Beating out rebellion on drums;  code for that tech savvy.

Singing spirituals:  memorizing, devising.

We’ve always been Smart, way before electricity;                                                                remember our legacy.

Civil rights activist battled for voter registration, social justice, the end to segregation in higher education.
Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to follow Jim Crow rules. Resistance begins a boycott to teach city bus companies some manners.

Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare

Image shows Oshun and gifts attributed to her.

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Yellow for my mother; she wears it in her hair,

wound in lusterus coils

Golden woven silk is draped on cinnamon skin so bare,

and richly oiled

Seated beneath the waterfall legs outstretched on an ancient crocodile,

she teases


Peacock feathered fan in hand she smiles at what she knows, and

 what she pleases

Yellow glows, the buzzing bees, her messengers,

dancing on the sweetest blooms sipping nectar


Amber the honey, an elixir,

taste it first if you respect her

Gold the bangles forged by Ogun,

making music of her hands and feet

Flaxen sails of faithful ships,

 La Caridad blesses her fleet

Give us fresh water, Yalodde Yeyé Kari! Yeyeo! Omoriyeyeo,

that we may be refreshed

Five yellow sunflowers, a pumpkin, a yam,

to repay our debt

Mama Yeye with golden jeweled mirror in hand,

to take in her elegance

Preparing to party, saffron hued perfume sweetens air,

Gatherers praise her eloquence

Young devotee in initiation dress.

 Mama Yeye,

Smile on me, send me your gifts, and love

Mother is known for her charity, and defense of us,

from above


Continue reading “Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare”

Seeking to be A Perfect 10

Seeking to be A Perfect Ten

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

A question came up in the comments for my article The Aesthetic of A Full Figured Woman; that had to be answered.  A reader wanted to see more inclusion in the dance area of my piece.  Immediately I began researching, really because all women would like to be seen as a perfect Ten; a “dime piece”.  I fully support this.  So began the search for positive images of plus sized women of all creeds and racial identity.  I put Meghan Trainor on for focus. Yes, her beats are fabulous!  Today Better When I’m Dancin’, is blasting on my mind.  I wanted to see current campaigns for positive esteem targeted to the plus sized lady.  Current meaning 2000 and forward, so no Baby Got Back, here.  Excuse you Sir Mix-a-Lot.


Meghan Trainor is a winner in the Defy Size category; so here you have an homage to her video All About That Bass by choreographer Katrina on YouTube.  Love this because various forms of full are showcased.  It is well known that while Booty is having its moment in the media, it is usually attached to a tiny waist and a pack of abs. Shout out to Joe Jonas and his group DNCE’s Toothbrush video featuring plus sized model and fashion designer Ashley Graham, as his lover.  In an interview  Graham stated,

“People have wanted to see more curvy girls, and now there are big-name photographers shooting curvy girls. Magazines are saying, ‘We don’t really care that there is a plus size model in the magazine and as a matter of fact we’re not even going to talk about it, we’re just going to talk about the fact that’s she’s actually just a model!’ And the modelling agency IMG took on five plus-size models and they didn’t know how it would turn out, they were just excited to have diversity on their board. It’s people like that in this industry—who are willing to take a chance—who are going to keep this movement going.”

Graham has a fashion line of lingerie for the fuller figure.  Hopeful that the image of a love interest, in media, is shifting.  Sexy, desirable, a vixen, an action hero, needs to be promoted in most sizes.  Awaiting that feature film with a confident, damn it all, full figured woman, being fought for by two highly qualified handsome men.  Bridget Jones Diary, really doesn’t meet the confident.  The main character always seemed surprised by male interest.  This girl I’m talking about has loads of boyfriends to choose from.  Hoping Shonda Rhimes, producer, screenwriter, author; will make my dreams come true.

Bishamber Das, winner of the Miss India Europe competition, is Britain’s first plus sized model.  Searched her Facebook page and discovered this quote, that is very telling for most women.

Lovely model Bishamber Das.

Growing Up I Always Believed I Was Never Worthy Of Love, My Community And Media Always Reminded Me That A Woman Like Me Was Fat, Ugly And Not ‘Marriage Material’ For Any Man. The Saddest Part Is I Started To Believe It, Every Time A Guy Would Compliment Me I’d Think He Was Doing It To Make Fun Of Me. Years Went By Different Experiences Came And Went, To Be Honest I Started To Hate Men, Had Trust In No One. It Was Only Till I Realised That The Only Thing That Mattered Was Me.


Located a list showing a visual history of the full figured woman in art.  Loved Chuck Miller, especially his piece Seated Nude.  The model is so relaxed, confident, strong.


Julia Zhukova an artist nick named the Dancing Brush offers beautiful works of women of all sizes.

On The Yellow Carpet (2014) oil painting by Juliya Zhukova.


Fashionistas come in all shapes, we know this.  Plus-size clothing giant Lane Bryant started a campaign #ImNoAngel, to help all women redefine themselves.  A finger to the Victoria Secret models with wings on runways.  I should say I am a huge fan of the Victoria Secret models especially Tyra Banks.  Banks has suffered many a shaming in the media, when her size fluctuates.  Singaporean storeowners/fashion bloggers Priscilla Boh and Kayde Ling are empowering Asian women with their I Am campaign.  Ling told writer Erin Fisher in a 2015 interview,

“Being Asian with conservative upbringing, Singaporean plus-size girls often lack body positivity and confidence of their physical appearance. These ladies who suffer from low self-esteem end up hiding and being afraid to show their true self and beauty. The purpose of this project is to encourage the girls to accept and love themselves for who they are.”

These ads set to black and white like the Lane Bryant campaign. I am all about positive affirmations.  Empowerment is important, currently our little girls are bombarded with what media thinks they should be everyday.  We have to make this a conversation.  No one’s future is written in stone; or designed based on how one is crafted.

Being a perfect Ten like Bo Derek; has been the goal for many. There are those who undergo in-depth plastic surgery to become Barbie.  Slim women.  There is a problem when we’re taking beauty tips from dolls and fantasy characters.  When do we as women celebrate self?  Celebrate women being their best selves.  Comment on the confident, clever, curvy women you know; list their accomplishments.  How have they shattered the media world’s conceptions? Looking forward to your shares; new additions to a positive campaign.

Continue reading “Seeking to be A Perfect 10”