This whole thing started in 1991, and I don't know if it was in the spring or the fall to be honest with you, but most likely it was the fall. A lovely ebony goddess from Chicago named Nicole Honeywood needed something to do for the talent part of the Miss Black Penn State competition, and I offered to pen something for her. I had seen her before rehearsing in 1990 for Nommo, which was a Black student run arts group featuring dance and acting and was actually smitten with her at that very minute. The funny thing is that she didn't know it, and most of the folks who [thought they] knew me really didn't know that I was shy when it came to the ladies. I just had the off chance to run into her one day and in our discussion, I told her to give me a day or two to come up with something.
So, I put pen to paper and for a guy who hadn't written a poem since I was about seven years old, I reached inside and let some emotions flow. The funny thing is that the competition itself was run by the Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which me and many of the members were good friends. At no point during the rehearsals for this production, did they even joke with me about me writing it, or say anything at all. So when it came time for her to perform this piece, Rob Cooke had a little fun with the announcement. As many Black students knew me by my moniker "Black Zach" which Jamil Bey gave to me as a result of my political leanings and convictions, people first thought that she would be reading something akin to what you would hear from the Black Panthers or Malcolm X. So, I wound up slumping down in my seat during her recitation.
Surprisingly, it was a hit and then I was looked at in two different ways. Guys wanted me to write things for them that they could give to women, and women looked at me surprised that this was a part of me. I would get pretty much the surprise when I released my book, because many people never realized that I had the deeply emotional or romantic side to me.
Anyway, with the piece going over very well, I started writing more pieces which were the emotions that I was feeling at that time in my life. I also did turn around and produce a poster with the poem on it, which also featured another classmate of mine who modeled for it, Leslie Wood. It wasn't the best piece of work that I put together because of the size and the lack of enough contrast between the text and the background, but I got it done. I actually subsequently redid the poster several years later.
succulent as the first dew drops off of an African violet during the rainy season.
and feisty as a dab of cinnamon as it set upon your palate, quenching
your hunger, desire and thirst.
as tantalizing as an infinite labyrinth carved of the souls of our ancestors.
The Black Woman.
From the south in the homeland of the Bantu,
to those living in the metropolitan areas of America.
From those beautiful blue-black skinned goddesses roaming the desertside in Bedouin fashions,
to the saints in the Caribbean & Latin America pounding out Calypso beats.
Starting with Queen Mother rage, Isis, the goddess of fertility,
through the lineage of queens of BlackKind like Nefertari, Cleopatra, Makeda and Nzinga,
along the lines of great rulers deemed Candace,
to great warriors reminiscent of the amazons like Parks, Sanchez, Davis and Chesimard.
Coming to fruition with my mothers and my sisters,
the present day queens of the physical plane.
The producers of the Black race as well as all mankind,
giver of life to ancient kingdoms and civilizations such as Timeria, Cush, Kemet and Nubia,
progenitors of kings such as Solomon, David, Chaka, Menelik II and Mansa Mussa,
mother of Heru, Moses, King and Shabazz.
Respect me not because I am your mother, sister, companion and friend,
Respect me not because I have carried your seed and breathed life unto you,
Respect me not because I am the other half of life quintessential,
Respect me for me, and all that I encompass,
my essence is unsurpassed by anything living or dead.
Only I can make you whole,
the moon to your sun.
When you look into the deepest cavities of your heart and the confines of your soul,
I am the answer and treasure which you seek.
Black Man, you seek everything and everything is me.
The Black Woman.