Dear Shango

owner of fire and me,

god of breaking hearts,

red and white you bleed,

all the while steadily leaking me,

saying I’m your favorite,

while others you keep,

I’m Oya to you,

lighting you are,

I’m struck again by

your  lightning rod,

struck repeatedly,

until no more,

all I could express

is Dear Shango.








Because this is just one of my all-time favorite poems. Even now. An oldie but goodie.

New World Nubian

Be transient with me,  

Son of St. Vincent and indigenous seed,

A hybrid blackness springing from the salt of the sea,

You belonged to the earth,

But now to me,

I’ll tell you Old World myths,

You tell me about



Fasten me with pre-Colombian hands,

 To shipwreck stories,

About America’s lands,

Recount resistance,

On Roatan’s sand,

Debunk mestizaje,

And its backwards strands.

I’ll appreciate your black subjectivity,

But in your hands,

You can reduce me to my exoticity.

Cuz I know you get the fullness of me

and I get the totality of you

my maroon son of the Caribbean sea.

Copyright © 2012 Nichelle Calhoun

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the balcony

a facial

the Moth in company


a push north on your nose

a June night under the stars

a June day in the cover of ocean



a silk robe


warm oil


us three


“I jig em'”


Ugandan dancers


other worlds of bliss and other worlds of sadness too

won’t discuss now




Junot Diaz

a cautionary tale

a ride from Tampa to Ocala



deep admiration

an Ashanti medallion in blue

southern states

African Diaspora




Nikki Giovanni







a funeral

a wedding plan

and the end of all things

at the hands of

Every Thing

little by little

whittled down







Love again,  and again.

Let there be no limit

To experiencing,

To giving,

Have the courage to be beautiful in love even when someone misconstrues the word and uses it wrongly.

Do not be afraid or refuse to be renewed in its spirit elsewhere.

Let no one injure your most beautiful human ability.

It is all too often betrayed by many.

But don’t let that be your concern for it is their tragic loss.

And it is a loss they may never truly appreciate or understand.

To love is to be sincere, to be compassionate, to be honest,  to be full, to be open, to be connected,   to be selfless,  to be incapable of being defined.

Love seeks to resolve chaos, not inflict. Love is both the medium and the destination.

So despite, love again and again.









Pull my hair in a bun,

And slip on my slim, cotton blue dress stolen from former daytime use.

I send a text or two to you when the night has tucked me in and laid me bare against my belly and my full thoughts.

I know I must prepare for the 5 am HIIT that is waiting to dent my day, and

Remind me that I am steel too, even right now.

I shed a tear. A round, full, untimely tear.

Lately, I have the ones that don’t even announce themselves. They just show up when I flashback to all the tremors.

But I now know it is because I infinitely love like that. When one seeks to demolish through deed or action, I will still be the solid structure ready to withstand.

But you tell me that the point is a true love wouldn’t put me in a storm or a tremor in the first place and suddenly, I am dry.

I am resolve.

I am rational.

I am well-lit.











this I bring to you.
this sweet simple thing.
an exchange of hurt for smiles.
an exchange of falsity for truth.
an exchange of pain for laughter.
an exchange of late nights for early mornings.
an exchange of dark secrets for translucent openness.
an exchange of hurtful words for loving ones.
an exchange of deceitful intimacy for the real, real thing.
this I bring to you he says.
because I recognize I am capable of nothing less and you are deserving of that and more.

Good night L.A.

Crisp air. Now night.

Day suspended.

You wipe my tears.

Say nothing.

You remind me of my light.

You see me struggle but tell me

everything is already alright.

I start to believe there is another way,

I see it over California mountains,  over your hand wiping random tears from my brown skin.

And now it is time to say goodnight,