Venus Sings by Reza Rites



Post 27, Write Here

#3amblackpoetry in July (August)
Post 27: Write Here
Post 27, 2020: Dichotomous Dictums

#3amblackpoetry in July? On August 1?! As I said in yesterday’s #3amblackpoetry in July post, a promise is a promise, and I promised myself I’d hit 30 posts and 30 days of writing activities in/for July. With this being 27, there are only 3 more left, and I’m not giving up just because publishing the remaining posts don’t align with Western, linear concepts of time. No matter how many instances I appear to comply, know that there is no external clock or calendar determining my destiny; I set, stop, and reset the stopwatch of my life. Now, call this cocky, call this bravado, or call it presumptuous, but I articulate this otherwise private belief because it mirrors my approach to writing, and reminds me of today’s prompt: “Write Here.”

I know that in previous posts I’ve urged and shared reminders to stop second-guessing oneself while in the middle of writing – or before even starting. But like the tips I share with other teachers and community organizers, I want to make sure I include not just the negative framing (don’t do this, stop doing this), but also the affirmative and action-centric framing (do this, try this, include this)? “Write here” is one solution or strategy of mine – and somewhat of a mantra. Where are you jotting your notes? They can be anywhere and everywhere, but they should be somewhere! Are you reacting to something or overflowing with some kind of sentiment? Is your cellphone with notes app handy so can you jot it down there, or can you compose an email draft? Yes, the brain is a powerful and often reliable place to store information, but somehow the fingertips are too!

However, I don’t just want to talk about process; I want to elaborate a little on the topic of content and idea generation. More specifically, I need you to stop erasing ideas and first sentences. I’m not saying don’t proofread or edit; what I am saying is that where something goes, how wide something reaches, and writing “The End” simply cannot happen without staying the course on an idea, word or sentence. 

For inspiration, consider a piece I wrote called “Badly Boujee,” the link for which is included as part of today’s post. Badly Boujee is now also a SONG with beats and engineering by Mike Delick, and lyrics AND VOCALS by me! It all started with the song “Bad and Boujee” and realizing how much I loved the syncopated and staccato-style rapping the performers (Migos and Lil Uzi Vert) display on the track. I mean listening even today, I dig it! One day, during a writing challenge like this, I tapped into my feelings of admiration and decided to write a poem that was partial tribute and partial (respectful) mimicry – embracing the dichotomous dictums that freed me up to not second-guess the presence or source of my zeal (commercial rappers sharing the same type of lyrical content that raises concern for many, as far as women, proximity to crime, etc.). I had no intentions of actually making it a song, but that’s not my point. There wouldn’t be a song, or poem to turn into a song, if I hadn’t tapped into what was inside, and said, “let me go ahead with this idea, and just write here.”

Happy writing y’all!

Badly Boujee

Bad and Boujee

#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

#3amblackpoetry in July
Post 26: Zest and Zeal
Post 26, 2020: Sedentary Sedition

A challenge is a challenge, but a promise is a promise. And a passion is a passion. Today’s #3amblackpoetry in July prompt, Zest and Zeal, is my reminder to you to embrace joy. If curating memes and sharing gifs are the things you love, openly enjoy the sedentary sedition. If dancing or hiking or yoga does it for you, make time for it. And if you’re writing, find your own way to the kingdom of zest and zeal. Maybe you get a thrill writing and completing drafts quickly, maybe you love writing outlines or character profiles, or maybe you love collaborating with photographers, artists or others during the process; make time for the step you love. A poem I want to share as part of today’s #3amblackpoetry in July post offers a brief meditation on the topic of what it might look like in the long run to include zest and zeal in your life – and to steal moments of sedentary sedition, from time to time, as well. Happy Writing!


#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

Yearning: #3amblackpoetry in July, Post 25

#3amblackpoetry in July
Post 25: Yearning
Post 25, 2020: Parasitic Paramours

by Reza Rites

Definition of yearn
1 : to long persistently, wistfully, or sadly

If there is one thing about writers, we yearn to be read. But I don’t want to talk about that. Instead, I want to reframe the notion of yearning, from one that is static and pregnant with woe, to one that, in fact, exists as a spectrum where feeling melancholy is only one small portion. The reason I suggest this change is because it brings together those who may be experiencing yearning in the form of healthy desire or obsessive longing for a parasitic paramour, with writers and those who may be yearning and tirelessly working toward a position, salary, home, business, etc. You know who else fits in when we think of yearning as a spectrum? Those who may be in crisis because they don’t feel a sense of yearning, or because they don’t know where to start. Below are a few examples of areas on the yearning spectrum that might come up for writers, as well as strategies for getting through.

  • A theme, character, or idea suddenly takes hold in our brain, but competing life demands or other outstanding writing projects may make us wonder – where am I even going to start? (Write the idea down, or record it, reread and relisten to it, and add to it over time until it makes sense and motivates you to start.)
  • What can I do to get someone’s attention? (Write, proofread, network)
  • What if nothing is inspiring me? (Make a list of 3 things to learn or teach yourself, go through the motions anyway, write about and chronicle the absence of yearning).
  • What do I do if I acquire, complete, or land the thing for which I was yearning? (keep going and try to widen your audience, refer to or write up a new list of things you’re ready to write about or want to learn about )
  • What if I don’t reach my goal, or I get rejected? (Try again, refer to your list of topics or things you want to learn about, or make a new list)

Today’s #3amblackpoetry in July post also includes a link to a YouTube video from April (National Poetry Month), from an interview I was invited to do on the online video show, Shine On! I think the full spectrum of my yearning was on display during the interview. Happy #3amblackpoetry in July.



#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

#3amblackpoetry in July, Post 24

#3amblackpoetry in July
Post 24: Winsome Whirlwinds
Post 24, 2020: Lilting Liberation

by Reza Rites

A few years ago, in 2017, a ten year old child saved my life. It wasn’t that she performed CPR or called 911; it’s that I was struggling after leaving a job that had put me through hell – and a constant barrage of meanness, disdain, and sabotage. I was in a temporary summer position, and it was in a much more emotionally safe and joyful institution. In front of the mask, I could teach and interact with my particular group of “older” students and co-counselors, I could follow the arrival, dismissal and lunch scheduling, I could do everything…but that hour we had everyday of unstructured time with all the kids in the program. Recess, as they called it (though it was summer time) was slowly killing me inside.

I know now that I was still reeling from what was then my most recently exited job. I was inundated with scenarios and questions about what could have happened differently, and where I might have failed, and how I was going to survive such a cruel world. This went on for a few days until a sweet cherub with a winsome lisp asked, “Do you want to see how I go behind the trees over there?” I was not sure if she was talking to me, but I am sensitive when it comes to kids who may need adult attention, so I hopped to it and answered, “Sure!” with ease.

But the thing is, she had made it easy. And she had made me feel easy to love, trust, and lead. Before her camp session was up, she gifted me beads, marbles, rocks and other hand-selected collectibles, helped me understand the Ground is Lava game, and gave me refuge from the monsters in my head. So why am I thinking about her and how does this relate to writing? Well recently I had a similar experience of feeling affirmed and excited, and once again it was a young girl who inspired it. But this time I’m talking about fourteen year old Zaila Avant-garde, who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8, 2021. When I saw one of the online videos from that event, and saw the evolution of her reaction reach the jump and spin, while she proudly grinned, then reached for confetti falling by her side in celebration of her, I not only felt excited for Zaila, I also felt a reconnection with my own love of words, which is why my poetry prompts appear the way they do. Photography, memories, smells, questions, themes: all of these things can be used to inspire writing. At its most basic level, though, writing happens when one word is placed in front of another, in front of another, in front of another….The notion that I can help, simply by loving words, not only myself but others, on this journey – simply by loving words – feels like a privilege. It also feels like a great way to honor my pint-sized hero.

Do you want to see how you can use these words to enrich your writing? Happy #3amblackpoetry in July.

#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

#3amblackpoetry in July
Post 22: Veritable Vicissitude
Post 22, 2020: Transmutative Tidal Waves

We can set alarm clocks and strictly follow expiration dates, but anyone who has ever hit PM instead of AM, or who has unfortunately experienced the woes of food-borne illnesses, knows that some things are out of our hands. That is because no one is perfect, and because so much about life is out of our control even when we walk a tight, straight line. Writing, on the other hand, is quite different from that, especially if you’re dabbling in poetry. The end of the poem is an area I often labor around, and that is because, in particular, I like including some kind of vicissitude in the reading experience. That is to say, I love throwing in a plot twist, denouement, or curveball at the end of a poem – and any piece of writing, really. When done correctly, readers and consumers end up feeling like they were hit with transmutative tidal waves, a veritable homerun, but in the literary world. Accompanying today’s post is a link to a poem from 3 AM IS THE NEW BLACK regular contributor, Dakota Castro, and one from me, Reza Rites – both in audio formats, and both of which deliver some type of poetic vicissitude. I hope you enjoy, though I caution you: the turn at the end of the Superheroes and Villains piece becomes a bit vulgar/explicit. Happy #3amblackpoetry in July.



On Superheroes and Villains (EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)

I Can Do The Work



#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

#3amblackpoetry in July
Post 21: Utilitarian Umbrage
Post 21, 2020: Melodramatic Misanthropy

How do you say you’re going to continue killing planet Earth without saying you’re going to continue killing planet Earth? When I consider today’s #3amblackpoetry / National Poetry Month prompts from 2021 and 2020 – “Utilitarian Umbrage” and “Melodramatic Misanthropy” – I think about these billionaires going into space, and how much of a statement toward their workers and humanity they’ve made with their capricious pursuits. I also think about those advocating for and passing policies permitting spikes to be built to reduce access to outdoor spaces for those living without homes, instead of spikes in funding to support the construction and widening of affordable housing, and I think of those privatizing and monetizing water instead of making sure that water is clean and drinkable in places like Flint, Michigan, Providence, RI, and Native/Indigenous Reservations all across the country.

These selfish resource-hoarders are fooling no one, and neither is the media. No matter how upbeat the stories were regarding Branson and Bezos’ space exploration, there is still a widening network that has pledged to fight against greed and the march of the privileged. I recently spent some time updating my personal Soundcloud page, including two poems that speak to this type of resistance and confrontation to and with misanthropes and hegemonic systems: 1) Tree Roots (shared in written form earlier this week); and 2) Something About Erasure. Happy listening and happy #3amblackpoetry in July.

Tree Roots


#3AmBlackPoetry #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryInJuly #ChristmasInJuly #RezaRites #3AmBlack #Poetry #AmbitiousBlackFeminist #photography #DigitalArt #collage #CollageArt #CarefreeBlackGirl #BlackGirlMagic #BlackWriters #AfroFuturism #BlackWomenWriters #BlackWritersMatter #WomenWritersOfIG

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