Christmas Poem Videos, Script, and Download

Through a partnership with 4Thought Media, I have released two new Christmas poem videos: "Shine His Light" and "Unlikely Situations." These two are available for download at 4ThoughtMedia.com.

Below the Script for "Shine His Light" and "Unlikely Situations" is available for purchase as well. We had some broken links previously so if you have any trouble downloading this, please email info@amenabrown.com.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!




poem: for the girls at wellspring

started scribbling this poem after beginning a monthly writing session at the wellspring living victory program, a home for girls who have been victims of sex trafficking, exploitation, and abuse. you can check out more info and support the work of wellspring living here: http://www.wellspringliving.org.

for the girls at wellspring

these women
have seen more storms before the age of 16 than I have known in all my years
these girls were forced to be women
responsibility and sexuality and violation forced down their throats and in between their legs
they had no silver spoon
were never spoon fed anything except miniscule amounts of love

one writes
of a dark alley
watching the ravaging of another girl
wishing for superheroes or God to save her
another writes
of her proud Latina heritage
the rhythm of her people dancing in the consonants of her poetry
another writes
of anger pent up, folded, rolled and stuffed
that now must be opened up, examined and freed

I feel inadequate
what do I have to teach these women?
I am a student in their classroom of how to survive
how to not let life beat you down
how to crucify and resurrect

I write and talk with them
a few are bubbly attention-getters
some are quietly ruminating
some listen to and watch me but refuse to talk or scribble
some sleep through the entire session

this is no ordinary classroom
I work with who I can
whisper silent blessings and gratitude over those who albeit quiet are here and alive to tell of it

words and stories
sit in the stomachs of women like these
crawl up their windpipe
tire, fatigue and then rest in the throat
eventually, the weary words make it to the tongue, to ink
and this is the day I hope for these precious ones
a place to be free and unedited


poem: letter to the emcee

so it's national poetry month. figured i could at least post one poem before the month runs out. here's one of the newest ones i've written. i wrote this poem at a hip hop show while watching a wack emcee perform. goes to show that wackness can be its own form of inspiration. :)

letter to the emcee

i don't want your
wack rap lines
don't want your tired metaphors and limp analogies
sick of your false manhood and your oversexuality disguised as womanhood
do not want to see your button down unbuttoned three buttons down
do not prefer your short shorts and skirts
showing your breasts, thighs, chest, biceps, doesn't entice me
nor does it make your rhymes have skill
I don't care about your endorsements
about your mixtape download remix
your jesus piece doesn't matter to me
your rented cars and fronted g4 flights bore me
could care less about your record deal, your advance, the units you pushed, the gold platinum you sold
don't care about your crew, your set, your peeps, your hoes
don't want to hear about your sexual exploits
about your tongue's run in with bottles and cans
how much money has changed hands
how much tapping and banging and smashing
about your high class vacations and exclusive hotels
so what?
oh well
i. don't. care.

what i like
what i wanna see you do
is stand on the corner in your own hood
shove one hand into the pocket of your hoodie
place one hand on your chest
pull that hood over your head and ears
and listen to your heart
listen to the streets you came from
tell me a story i've never heard
tell me a story i've heard a thousand times and help me see it through new eyes
break out your spiral notebook
scrawl. scribble. write.
until your hand cramps up
until the sun comes up
until your lunch break is over
until your boss catches you
until all the words in your head rest
so you can catch shuteye for a few hours to wake up and do it all again

while you restock the shelves at walmart
after you put the kids to bed
while your math teacher lectures equations
unspool the lines wound in your head
hold them in your mouth until you can give them a place to play

i don't need you to be pretty or rich or sexy or gangsta or hood
i need you to be an artist
a master of ceremony
who finds the break beat
laying rhymes into it like so much mortar and brick
building verse and chorus with the technique of a sculptor

like your family's mouths depended on it
like the beat beats in your chest
like hip hop runs through your capillaries
give me music to listen to
prove to me that keep it real is no cliche
make fresh and dope and cool more meaningful than words marketing companies throw on ads and tshirts
tell me the hook so i can say it after you
so i can raise one hand in the air and keep it there

i'll be waiting for you
with an old set of headphones, a boombox and an mpc
for me
just be an emcee.


The Artist's Dance

*I originally wrote this article for CatalystSpace.com and thought I'd repost it here.

When was the last time you danced? – Cee-lo Green

A couple of years ago I took dance lessons, learned a dance that requires you to simultaneously count steps, feel the music, and follow your partner. Found myself thinking less about the steps as my feet intuitively learned what to do. Then, life got busy. I was too tired, too preoccupied with knocking off my to do list to make time for dancing. By the time I tried the dance again, my feet were clueless, slow going like a child’s brain struggling to remember vocabulary words on the first day of school after a summer spent with water slides and ice cream cones.

The artistic journey is like this for many of us. We wrote, painted, danced, sang, played, until we were spent. Then, responsibility got the best of us. We “grew up” became “responsible.” Too busy for dancing.

Your desire to artistically dance will not go away. The Creator of creativity put it there. The question is will you come back to the dance floor. Will you endure the process of your feet clumsily rediscovering what to do?

All artists fear the same thing. Whether it’s a canvas, page, sheet music, or a blinking cursor, we detest the blank. It’s the time when all these creepy, negative voices start peeling out of the darkness like dancers from the Thriller music video taunting you with all of the reasons why no one is ever going to read, listen to, watch, care about whatever it is you're doing. Sometimes in the humdrum of life, jobs, responsibility, we shy away from being artists, because it forces us to reckon with what we’re not doing with the gifts God gave us.

As much as you fear failing and having no audience but your mom who thinks everything you make is amazing, you want the journey, the stumble, to feel the fear blowing hard against your skin. You want to lean into it and do what’s in your heart. The following are some guideposts to help get those creepy Thriller dancers with their negativity, put in their proper place so you can get your art to dancing again.

Cultivate a Creative Place.
Despite the propaganda pushed by many artists, inspiration is not a spontaneous, effortless experience. Creativity is akin to discipline, a muscle that must be worked and stretched to prevent atrophy. Train your creative brain to know when and how to open up and be creative. I can find a creative space anywhere as long as I have pen, page, and John Coltrane. What are your tools of the trade? Where can you go consistently and often to find your creative place?

Giving way to the art inside you will require solitude. Even Jesus had a place where he withdrew to be with God, alone. Prayer and creativity coexist. In the same way that you can find a solitary place to connect with your Creator, acclimating your soul to opening up to him, you can learn the rhythm of creativity straight from the Creator. Find a place to connect with God and bring your instrument of choice.

Hone your craft. When Solomon was getting ready to build the temple he didn’t just call for people who were passionate about what they did, he called for master artisans (2 Chronicles 2:5-7).

Stay connected with the arts scene.
In the book of Acts when Paul was making his case to the people of Athens about how near God was to them, about how they lived, moved, and could find their being in him, he quoted one of their poets. This is an excellent example of why it’s important to know “the poets” or influential voices in the culture where you are living life and sharing Jesus. The only way Paul was able to quote their poets was to listen to them.

Stay current with your arts scene through social networking, blogging, and checking out artistic events in your local city. Try engaging with art that is opposite of the genre you normally work in.

Shine is not a bling reference, nor is this about creating buzz for yourself. This is about shining a Jesus light, the kind of light that never goes out. In a room full of lamps, more light doesn’t so much matter. In a place with only shadow, light rescues. God wants art to introduce all of us to him, in whatever way he chooses to do this.

I love how Paul says it here, “Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night…” (Phillippians 2:14-16, The Message)

How can you engage more with people who may not believe like you? With other artists and creative people?

At some point this week, find your solitary place and grab a pen, paintbrush, instrument, or piece of choreography. Yes you’ll be clumsy at first. You’ll stumble around until you find your way, but eventually you’ll dance again.

Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. – Paul (Galatians 6:5)