Black Woo M(aya) A(udre) N(atzake) by Lavinia Jackson

Black Woo M(aya) A(udre) N(atzake)


Let me start with an apology

I’ve gone from black girl magic

To grown woman glow

And almost forgot you

Aren’t my shadow.

You are my companion

My journey

My inspiration.

Black girl, I’m sorry I told you

Not to own your own beauty

To dress in ways that

Make you feel less of a yes

Because we failed to teach boys

That no is a complete sentence

A conviction of wealth

Beyond the collection of skin and curves

They see.


I’m sorry I forget to teach you

That self-defense is more than necessary

It’s sacred.

It’s phenomenal.

And, you, Black girl, are both.


Black girl, I’m sorry I never told you

Being bold may cost you

The rainbow,

The labels of womanhood

Just to be heard

Through filters

Like angry

Or victim

Or bitch.


This conundrum violates

Unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant past times

Somehow justi-lies

Choosing between prosperity

And a Ph.D

In a society that values

Our absence;


Of any kind

Isn’t supposed to validate

Isn’t supposed to educate,

Isn’t supposed to drive us insane.

And still I rise

Because poetry is not a luxury

For colored girls like me

Separated and educated

High yella and articulated

Second guessed and underestimated

Representing the dichotomy

Of living like black folks

In spaces where afterthought was

As much of an address as

My presence

See tokenism ain’t easy

Codeswitching is a means

To leadership

A narrow pass

Up and through the Caucus Mountains


Manipulating words

Until uniformity lost it’s mission

To a more inclusive history.

See black people speak

Again and again

From boarding school

To college degree

To the 1% who served

Pioneering is my prerequisite

Put my herstory in your medicine pouch

Nurse your wounds with my tears

And don’t apologize.

You ain’t sorry.

Black Girl.

Black Girl.

Black Girl.


Lavinia Jackson is an invested resident of Greensboro. During her 9 years here, she stayed active in the Poetry Community. She is one of the Founders of Sigma Theta Lambda Literary Sorority. She was a staff member of Late Night Lyrics. She has judged poetry slams.
Poetry has been her vehicle to reach the community. She taught the homeless and veterans to write again. She teaches children poetry. Her poetry has been a part of both local theater and dance productions. She co-facilitated the Visual Poetry Walk .She hosts Penmansip, an interactive workshop that sets the space for you to create.

Lavinia is working on her 2nd book and a spoken word CD.

2016-17 Community Champion
2016 Maya Angelou Literary Award
2015 Best Author
fb:harmonyonpurpose or Lavinia Jackson

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