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Friday, November 18, 2022


by Akua Lezli Hope

AI-assisted images by the poet.

First lady Michelle Obama considered wearing her hair in braids while living in the White House. But then she thought of the American people. —The Washington Post, November 17, 2022

U.K. Tells Schools They Can’t Ban Afro Hairstyles. School rules about what styles are allowed that mostly affect Black and mixed-race children are likely to be illegal, a government rights commission said. —The New York Times, October 27, 2022

Almost half of Black and mixed-race women have experienced race-based hair discrimination at school, according to a new study. Of these, more than half (57 per cent) say they continue to deal with hair-related trauma today. —Independent (UK), October 7, 2022

Medusa was the serpent-goddess of the Libyan Amazons, representing "female wisdom". (Sanskrit medhas, Greek metis, Egyptian met or Maat ).  She was the Destroyer aspect of the Triple Goddess. Called Neith in Egypt, Ath-enna or Athene in North Africa.  Her inscription at Sais called her "mother of all the gods, whom she bore before childbirth existed." —Barbara G. Walker, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

You think god cursed me, 
that this morphing nimbus petrifies beholders
when it is only your eyes seeing snakes 
and being struck by a beauty you cannot decipher 
These S&Z curved electric antennae 
are defense against the gray arts, 
channeling, channeling ancestral energies 
an armor of creation’s forcefield and being 
Remove your transgressive hands 
or feel the casual, stinging shrapnel
from misbelief shattering against truth

Author's Note: I ache for the children who have been abused for their hair styles. I had a corporate career and wore my hair in what is now called protective natural styles, along with my suit, pumps and—a tie from 1979, until I retired in the 21st century. Here it is another century and the same old stupidity.

Akua Lezli Hope is a creator and wisdom seeker who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music,  sculpture, and peace.  A paraplegic, third-generation New Yorker, her honors include the NEA, two NYFAs, NYSCA, SFPA, Elgin, & Best of the Net, Rhysling & Pushcart Prize nominations.