Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When All Is Said And Done...

I know it feels like the world is over
Like your heart can't get no colder
And you're caving in from all of that weight on your shoulders
But I swear to you
There's more to life than this
There has to be
Because if there's no more left for you, that means there's no more left for me…
If you can't find the strength to do it for yourself
Do it for the souls that missed out and lives lost
Do it because you living will keep their memories alive the most
You have to shine
Have to be someone else's life line
Because God gives more to those that can hold it
And a blessing is only borrowed until you do the work to own it
So keep fighting
Keep trying
Keep pushing
Keep surviving
While the rest of the world is gasping for air, be the deep breath that revives it
Reach deep inside to the core of you
See what it is I see when I'm adoring you
When everyone else has given up I still see the joy in you
It's your smile that lasts way longer than your troubles do
You gotta believe you are the reason
You are the exception, the world is the test but you are the lesson
They say the good die young
God must be saving the rest then
Because He left us with a job to do and it's for greatness that we're destined
Jesus didn't know the price was paid until souls were saved
So in the name of souls that were laid
After condolences are paid and closing remarks are made
After everything is said and done
God knew there would be night, that's why He gave us the sun...

Monday, June 25, 2012


They forced me to give up my language,
And I did.
I couldn't understand them anyway.
They forced me to give up my food,
And I did.
The ground couldn't harvest my crops here anyway.
They forced me to give up my clothes,
And I did.
It was too damn cold here anyway.
They forced me to stop singing,
And I did.
I had nothing left to sing about anyway.
They forced me to give up my dance,
And I did.
They had already stolen my music anyway.

Then they forced me to give up my kids...
And I fought.
These are my damn kids anyway.
Then they forced me to give up my freedom,
I never will.
I never stopped fighting for it anyway.

And I'll keep fighting,
I'll keep fighting.
I will NEVER stop fighting.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Higher than Winged Birds

Cover me like morning dew on rose pedals
Bring high tide to new levels
Indulge me like chocolate covered sweet things
Let’s climb mountaintops, make bells ring
Be my whipped up on my ice cream
Make me want more
Make me scream
Make your name my favorite word
Make what we do my favorite verb
So when teacher asks what I learned
I’ll cry out: “how to fly higher than winged birds.”

If Only for a Moment

I found you once
While I was hiding in the shelter of solitude
But you were tucked deep in the darkest places
Unmasked, all of your many faces
Illuminated by all of your potential, I found you
In that moment, I vowed to never let you go
But truth be told
You’re the only thing that saved me
You made me a believer with all of your impossibility
Turned practical in the matter of instants
The reality that I could be the one that wins it
Even if just for a moment
What others would die for
Have killed for
I found spilling over
Ready to change the heart
Of an all un-expecting
Never regretting
Fragile yet invincible spirit
That spirit was me
In all of my destitute, you redeemed me
I had prayed for you
For salvation from the pain
To regain my consciousness
I was dying, you know?
Drowning in the realness of humanity
But you challenged me
To be greater
And to think deeper than even boundless dreamers
And I did
I held on tight
Even if only for a moment
And you were just right
Even if only to me
And I
Will never
Regret knowing the depth of your existence
Even now that I remain confined in the prison of your memory
In faint moments, those memories are all that I have
To remind me of your presence
To secure your existence
In those memories, I’m free again
Happy tears of a faded friend
Truth bends
And lies prevail
But reality is unyielding
Time and time again it proves your being
But if seeing is believing
You’ll be left lifeless in the minds of the brokenhearted
Because you can’t be seen
Only felt
And I found you
Planted in the perfect place
Perhaps waiting for a fading spirit
To have one sweet taste of life through you
You spared me
But you gave your time sparingly
Leaving way faster than you came
Now in faint moments I can barely remember your name
I’m terrified you won’t return to me
Yet I know you can’t be reserved for only me
My only hope is that your absence is caused
Not by a loss
But a short intermediary deficiency
Because you’re off blessing someone who isn’t me
And I’ll wait for you
Hoping that you are not the cousin to the moon
Here to bring deliverance
Then gone too soon
Only appearing in the darkest hour
Shining your light
But taking your power with you
I’m hoping
But still, if only for that moment
That your time is borrowed but not lent
It’ll be enough to give my spirit comfort
So, until we meet again…

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making Love to Music - RIP Whitney Houston

I wrote this piece in 2005. Whitney's death reminded me of how significant music has been in defining my relationship to love and relationships. Whitney's music was a major part of the soundtrack to my life for all of 27 years. So I'm dedicating this piece to her. Thank you for the mark that you've made on music and Black culture and love. RIP Whitney Houston

Making Love to Music
Since I was a little girl
My world revolved around music
I can still remember the sweet tunes
That taught me how not to lose
A man unless you’re on both knees fighting
Heard the voice of superwomen hidden behind the guise of sad love songs
And baby, baby pleases gone on too long

Mary had time on her hands since you went away
She was going down just to stop the pain
Almost lost my breath when Toni said you leaving made her stop breathing
Didn’t matter that you spent seven whole days lying, deceiving and cheating
She couldn’t bear any more walks in the park
Without you, she just couldn’t go on
An angel never got a chance to unbreak her heart
Before she was singing another sad love song

Mariah gave her all for just one night
But love never brought you home.
Guess she thought if she catered to you, she could make it alright.
But Destiny’s Child was wrong.

She broke down
Couldn’t find no ground
When you forgot about us
Because we belong together…

Lengthened my nights and darkened my days
Found myself scared to go home
Because broken hearts never find their way
Sweet country tunes
Soothed me to bed
As questions of how I would live without you swarmed through my head

You meant the world to me
You were my everything
I swear, the only thing that mattered, mattered to me

I was dangerously in love

I wondered how I would see without you
Because according to Toni, there’s no moon without you
There’s no meaning to life without you
Because Whitney taught me I have nothing if I don’t have you
So I’ll be saving all of my love for…you

And so I found myself dependant on you
Because something so real to my livelihood had to be true
And these thoughts became the soundtrack for everything I went through
Even though our loving put me though hell,
I had to hold on…because you were teaching me how to love myself

I fed off you like honey to a bee
And sooner or later my innocence was also drowned out by the sounds of baby, baby please…

Until Tina taught me love isn’t more than a second hand emotion
And I became convinced I didn’t need my heart because it would just get broken
And…so I became bitter

Like Keisha, I just wanted it to be over
But instead of sticking around and crying on your shoulder,
I should’ve cheated
Because you turned out NOT to be all the man that I needed
Now I’m all cried out over you

It’s just like Toni said, you weren’t man enough for me
Maybe it wasn’t really love after all
But I stuck my ground
I played hard ball!
So in the end, I did what I had to do
I mean, c’mon,
I learned from the best
I learned from you

Wondered why my heart had turned cold
When at first our love was all I had to show
But music had invaded my heart and captured my soul
Convinced that you were who made me whole
Then realized shortly after that I deserved more

Thanks to Keisha I was able to let it go
And Alicia let me know, at least it was a lesson learned
Brandy taught me that almost doesn’t count
Destiny’s Child showed me how to be independent
That’s what real survival is about
You were a bad habit that I had to break
Had to move on before you left with all that you could take
Whitney told me, “It’s not right, but it’s ok.”
And just when you said you loved me, and I began to doubt,
JoJo schooled me on how to tell you to get out!

Beyonce convinced me I was irreplaceable
So I gladly told you “to the left”
That’s when Tamia taught me how to finally choose me
Because I can love me best

And so looking back, it makes perfect sense
The evolution of my heart
While all of the time I thought that I had been making love to you,
I had been making love to music from the start…

Songs mentioned and/or quoted in this piece (In order):

I’m Going Down by Mary. J Blige
Breathe Again by Toni Braxton
Seven Whole Days by Toni Braxton
There’s No Me Without You by Toni Braxton
How Could An Angel Break My Heart by Toni Braxton
Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton
Another Sad Love Song by Toni Braxton
My All by Mariah Carey
Love Should’ve Brought You Home Last Night by Toni Braxton
Cater to You by Destiny’s Child
Breakdown by Mariah Carey
Don’t Forget About Us by Mariah Carey
We Belong Together by Mariah Carey
Where Do Broken Hearts Go by Whitney Houston
How Do I Live Without You by Leanne Rhymes
You Mean The World To Me by Toni Braxton
Dangerously In Love by Destiny’s Child
There’s No Me Without You by Toni Braxton
I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston
Saving All Love For You by Whitney Houston
What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner
I Just Want It To Be Over by Keisha Cole
I Should’ve Cheated by Keisha Cole
All The Man That I Need by Whitney Houston
All Cried Out by Lisa Lisa and Colt Jam (Original)/All Cried Out by Allure and 112 (Remake)
Man Enough for Me by Toni Braxton
Lesson Learned by Alicia Keys
Almost Doesn’t Count by Brandy
Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child
Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Bad Habit by Destiny’s Child
It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay by Whitney Houston
Leave (Get Out) by JoJo
Girl by Destiny’s Child
Irreplaceable by Beyonce
Me by Tamia

"I hope life treats you kind and I hope you have all you dreamed of. And I wish you joy and happiness but above all this I wish you love." Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love You)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ex Sex

Just moments ago the world looked different
Now late night tears and lonely fears got me wishing that we didn't
Want you out of my head
Reoccurring visions instead
Of you hugging, loving and kissing me in this bed
Memories of way back when

I placed my bet
You had me thinking I was winning...
But the loss I dread
Is far greater than this prison
It’s called living
Without you
It’s the hell I’ll endure
When you’re not here anymore
And I fall victim to weak inquisition
Of what I’m still living for

For the last time
Because the last time
I said had to be the last time
And then I took you back again
One last time

Maybe we’re better off as just friends
Because every time we try
This do or die kinda love
I get trapped
In tryna prove that I’m Mrs. Right kinda love
So I take you back
And in a moment the marvel of our love outweighs fact
And experience
Or maybe it’s just the fear in us

But all I feel
And all that’s real
Are our hot bodies pressed tight
Reassuring words “it’ll be alright”
Me on top
Your tongue on my spot
Scratches on skin
The taste of your sin
So I give in
You win
You inside
Lost my pride
I guess I can take you back one more time

Yet again, regretful thoughts
Wishing I could forget you thoughts
Because I fucked up again
Sister, lover, or friend
I gave you the power to choose
And guess what?
I lose

I find myself right back at the start
But perhaps the worst part
Is that you might as well not pack
I know that you’ll be back
And I’ll still be here waiting
For that ex sex
The best sex

And everything to come next…

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Please don’t take them
When you erase them
It’s like losing pieces of my existence
Memories get trapped in the prisons of our minds
They escape with time
And since there’s no rewind
No way to go back
We lose them
For life
But not forever
I know memories must exist somewhere
When we forget
They take on wings like birds
And fly high above heads and grave sites
Bodies of the dead
But warm thoughts give them movement
Keep them vibrant in our hearts
So that we never lose them

So I value “we will always remember” t-shirts
And “rest in peace” buttons
Of passed parents, friends, babies, spouses, aunt’s uncles and cousins…
Posters, pictures and teddy bears tied to street signs
Illuminated by dull street lights
Reminding us to never forget them
And even when the rain has washed them away
We’ll remember
Even after the casket has closed
And the words of poems written on loose sheets have faded
Even after the obituary pages lie dusty on the bottom of keep sake boxes
Or after we’ve finally decided to toss them

Because it becomes harder to hold on
Than to let go
When it’s not as easy to hold tight to memories anymore

So after we’ve ID’ed bodies
Way after sewn up bullet wounds and goodbyes
Replace texts of “I’ll see you soon…”
Road trips, petty arguments and play fights
Nights spent angry over who was wrong or right
We’ll remember which moments to treasure
And which to forget
Which pieces to hold onto
And what we regret
Will hold no significance
Life is a bet
And unless we’re willing to throw all of our chips in
All we’ll have to pass down to our children is fear and lament

But I want for our children to know
That we’ve placed them on fertile soil to grow
You will always be a part of that foundation
Future generations will know you through us
Through the dreams that you’ve passed down to us
Your memory will be bound to us

Through our stories
We’ll give life to you
Like windows to your spirit
Our children will be able to look through to your existence

And I’ll do everything I have to do
Because this is what it means to remember you

And I will ALWAYS remember you


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Was There...

Dearest family and friends,

The term “bittersweet” has never held more significance for me than in this very moment. I am honored to say that I have been a member of Reflect and Strengthen for the past 10 amazing years of organizing, sisterhood, consensus decisions making, equity, and restorative justice, addressing root causes of oppression, leadership development, anti-racism work, love, celebrating life, and change making. For 8 of those years I was a staff person with the organization. December 31, 2011 officially marked the close of my staff position and membership with R&S. I am grateful to the organization that helped mold me into the woman that I am today.

I became a member of Reflect and Strengthen in 2001. I was there for the first ever R&S play: ‘Tabula Rasa and All That Yin Yang’ and then years later, for our second full theater production: ‘Spill Life: Confessions of a Butterfly’. I was there when the city told us that a “little girl’s group” was not worth supporting. I was there to help nurture R&S’ growth from a “baby organization” into a vital part of community organizing in the city of Boston.

I was there when R&S underwent a furlough, threatening the future of the organization. What might have seemed like our lowest point to the rest of the world was actually the time of our greatest learning, growth, and strength. We fought for the organization that had transformed the lives of so many working class young women across the city of Boston…and we won! We didn’t just survive; we managed to raise more money for one fiscal year than ever before in the history of the organization. Not only did we prove our resiliency, but our members and our community stepped up in miraculous ways. They cooked for group, they babysat our kids, they had house party fundraisers, they told their friends to donate to R&S instead of giving them birthday gifts, and they gave their last monies to ensure the longevity of R&S. It became glaringly apparent that R&S was not only worth fighting for because of pride or because it was important to staff and members; R&S was worth fighting for because of the great impact that it has made on the entire city of Boston.

Because of the hard work of my sisters and community, I was there to watch members and their children grow up in R&S, leaving with the seeds that R&S implanted in them, that they continue to spread throughout their communities. From generation to generation those seeds continue to grow, blooming inside of all of us. I was there to witness the ripple effect of positive energy, love, and accountability first hang, a blessing that I pray I have done the work to pass onto future members, staff, board members and supporters of the organization.

I was there to help nurture the only all women’s collective in the city of Boston. It is imperative that women’s rights remain at the center of conversations, along with conversations about race, class, gender and queerness, and all of the ways that it is our duty to fight all forms of oppression. Through Reflect and Strengthen I learned how to live out the notion that if only some of us are free, then none of us are free.

As I write this, it’s reinforcing what I already knew. There are no words that can fully express just how much Reflect and Strengthen means to me. Reflect and Strengthen is the most dynamic group of women that I have ever seen, known, or been a part of. The echo of the impact that R&S has had on Boston will continue to sound throughout the streets for generations to come and I thank God that I can say that I was there to be a part of it. Through my membership and staff position with R&S I learned work and life skills that have benefitted me in every single area of my life. My role with R&S is different, but never-ending. I now get the opportunity to share in R&S through the role of a strong supporter and sustainer. I am incredibly proud to take on that role and look forward to watching R&S evolve into the next phase of its existence. R&S taught me how to love myself, how to believe in myself and in the capacity of my people to be greater than our potential suggests and far more than the world expects of us. Reflect and Strengthen has far exceeded the underestimation of “a little girl’s group” and has proved what incredible power women have to change the world.

Reflect and Strengthen has taught me that transition is about celebrating the journey from one phase of life to the next. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve befriended and the gems I will now take with me as I transition into the next period of my life. I am excited to announce that I will be moving to Oakland, California as the newest member of the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) team!

Thank you to everyone that has loved me through it all. I am forever indebted to you…

P.S. I can no longer be reached at my Yahoo or Reflect and Strengthen email accounts. Please email me at: with personal matters only. For all R&S related matters, please contact Mallory Hanora directly ( or contact any of the members of our staff team at 617.442.2355. You can also feel free to visit our website at: for more info about our work and programs.

Please feel free to visit the Burns institute website at: and the CJNY website at: for more information about the Community Justice Network for Youth and the work that I’ll be doing in the next phase of my movement work.

In Peace, Love, and Solidarity,

Roselyn Berry