“Retrospective” By Robin Chapppell

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

Don’t take me back there

To those cold nights when the sky fell on my head

The stars were thrown at me like sharp spurs

And I took the pain of every single one

Instead of red, I bled the color of a deep blue

The midnight one in the hundred color crayon box-

I would often show off for you like that

Pulling out the variety box in front of the entire class

Complete with the sharpener on the back…

Just for them all to realize exactly what they lacked

I gained more during those times with you

More than I ever knew could be realized

When I drowned in the midnight blue of the skies

A deceptive feeling of beauty between the ugly lines

I was crossed out as if I could ever be placed on a list

No access for me inside of a melancholy place like this

“Miss Karma” By Robin Chappell

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

She cradled the remainder of dignity you had left like a newborn

Delicacy is overrated and although her esteem has been debated

She waits until she finds better, leaping through an endless loophole

She could never deny what is right, remaining focused on the wrong

Sickening how no one acknowledges her in a bar full of broken hearts

Slobbering and slurring over what once was and how they’d fucked it up

She is thrown to the side in a denial of moments…right next to the throw up

For if they really had to accept her, no being could truly handle it

Descending upon the Earth in a fury with no face displaying her wrath

Nor could they swallow any of her tiny cut up pieces that create an entire picture

Photographs taken in black and white she perches between her lovely breasts-

Safer keeping

When she approaches you in both fury and calm, there will be no ounce of rest

Whispering all of the secrets you thought you kept-

and you swear to God they never left the depths of your breath

You prayed she’d never know

Yet, no one knows you better than she

Not in the birth of your dirty new mornings

The bottomless slums of your cheap filthy evenings

The most silent punishment to the highest degree

The upper echelon of crimes and sins committed

Settling in the bottom of the bottle in the middle of a spinning room…

And when it all shatters…all of the pieces glisten in boisterous relief

Just to return right back…and do it all again

“Queen” By Robin Chappell

Rise and shine Queen, the sun is ready for you, elated by all your glory.

The Earth bestowing more time upon you, intently listening to light of your story

Anxiously tasting the nectar of melanin, the sweetest morning honeydew

Dreams of perfection and moments in heaven where no man is ready for you

When you look to your reflection and bathe in your glow

Others wonder what is your secret—what could you profoundly know?

Which heels have you trudged the world’s ugliness through?

Before they broke down on you and your stiletto snapped in two

Rise and shine Queen! Your individuality is what awaits

Time to tame your wild tresses, and straighten your crown—give the whole world a taste

They savor the yellow warmth of your life’s joy and taste the sunsets unexpired

Others unmercifully stare when the lady in bold reds and blues ravishingly takes the room

A style which never expires nor is compromised by what society agrees

The change in you is envious but they never saw the nights you fell to your knees

No one was there when you defeated yourself or the tragic doubts many minds never bare

They didn’t know you rose with such courage—picked yourself up by your teeth

Beauty and grace so obvious, they’ll never find what lies beneath

Rise my Queen! They should know how unstoppable you can be

No mountains, or winds, anyone’s hand, no vast oceans or deep blue seas

Only you know all that you need and all that you need is you

Rise and shine my beautiful Queen! The sweetest morning honeydew

“Clock Tower” By Robin Chappell

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When the shiny brand new clock appeared in our small town, they were proud.

Seeking the chance to watch it be assembled piece by piece and sound by sound.

Who questions the essence of a clock tower when it’s purpose is so obvious?

No one, but me, felt as though this clock was something so unnecessarily ominous?

It loomed above us all, reaching out its steely hands in taunting and controlled aggression

Did nobody realize it was controlling our time? Our lives?…Our indiscretions?…

Each time the gong of the bell sounded every hour, they gave it praise and scattered

Descending upon it an unrelenting power that left their moments shattered

How could they not see this clock tower provides no purpose of good?

Thinning the face and the morals of doing what our people should and usually would

How could they not fear its face peering down above us in horrid judgement?

Counting the adulterers, liars, and swindlers, politicians and solicitors needing repent

When the clock strikes you, you naturally do what’s in your nature readily

Reflecting on the pros and cons of it all, but never too heavily

So here I am trying to convince them. Who am I to convince them not?

The truths and horrors of why the lawyers and the mayor really wanted that damned clock

It looms above us in judgement, it knows every sin that we do

The clock is the one who told me. Who am I not to tell you?…

“Montgomery’s Black Face” By Robin Chappell

African-Americans currently populate 60% of Montgomery, Alabama, the heart of the civil rights movement. 28.5% own their own business and more than 85% are living in poverty…something is missing.”

Photo Credits: Robin Chappell (Downtown Montgomery)

When riding around through the city of Montgomery I would like you to notice something. Whether it’s dining, nightlife, or shopping, take a moment to look around and to reflect on how much Black culture that you see and hear of daily, maybe even weekly. The type you don’t have to search for, hear about from another Black person, or go on a specific Facebook page to find information surrounding it. How many businesses can you think of that are easily accessible and well known if you choose to shop at a Black owned business on a whim for something as simple as groceries? If we, as African-Americans chose to go on strike and shop ONLY BLACK in our city…how effective do you believe it would be? Keeping in mind that it would mean, protesting all that is not Black owned or created, which would mean transportation, food, attire, and even down to the importance of your cell phone. We would be homeless, without a car, and without many basic necessities we depend on, but are distributed only through White businesses.

I believe it to be a redundant contradiction that we choose to live in a city where change and the freedom to be great as an African-American should be the most embraced, but appears to be practically nonexistent. The culture and the determination should be loud and saturate the streets of Montgomery, not only for it’s citizens, but for those who visit a location known for it’s deep history in the Black culture. Instead we battle the uncontrollable plight of gentrification when it comes to housing and the placement of Black businesses in the region.

“Unforgettable”
Photo Credits: Robin Chappell, Downtown Montgomery

The impact of revenue generated when we “Buy Black” would not only help build a city that deserves to be truly recognized for Black culture and business, but one that possesses the majority of that culture. The answers have been in front of us for decades and continue to remain apparent when it comes to supporting our own, it just isn’t being done.

The worst observation I’ve come to notice since moving to Montgomery is the abundance of complaints, sabotage, and crime against one another pitted against the lack of knowledge, support and humility we have given each other to succeed as a team. I am ready to stop the constant jealousy and hate we have toward each other that has only ruined blessings and opportunities we need to create. When one of us achieves success in owning a steady flowing business, it’s always disappointing to ask that in individual how they created that path, what steps they took, and what they plan to do with those steps to create a foundation of anything. We rarely give the real answers which could help our people become equally or more successful than we are and instead have been selfishly basking in that information without spreading it to others. This will always be our downfall.

Poverty in Montgomery, AL By Race and Ethnicity (2017)
Photo Credits: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/montgomery-al/

There has been a constant struggle within us when it comes to providing genuine support. As an author, I have received questions surrounding discounts for my books and even receiving a book completely free…only from Black people…MY people. Being completely unaware of how much sweat, tears, and sleepless nights go into chasing your dreams is one thing; but to look one of your own people in the face in an attempt to low ball their ability to carryout that mission is an insult. It is what I would like to focus my attention on eliminating in 2020.

My vision is to highlight and promote each Black owned business, beginning with the city of Montgomery, and then journeying to other Civil Rights locations in Alabama; such as Selma, Tuskegee, and Huntsville. Reputable Black owned businesses have been serving our community for as many as 10-20 years, operating mainly under regular clientele and word of mouth. What if we could boost their reputations by not only spreading the word to those who may not have experienced their services before, but also ensure anyone who visits and tours the city of Montgomery has more access to them and their information?

The truth is that I discovered the longest running businesses are owned by those we would see as our grandparents, middle-aged aunts and uncles, and what I also call “social media apethists”. They have absolutely no interest in social media and barely know where to start when it comes to using it as a tool for promotion of their business to the masses. They sometimes simply don’t feel they need it, and most of the time they don’t; but what about those that do? Magazines such as Gump Town Magazine and In City Mag are great literary sources in Montgomery, AL that provide information on many Black owned business in the area, including those in Prattville, Wetumpa, and Millbrook. There are Facebook pages, websites, and flyers, but it’s 2020 and we deserve an app that truly celebrates us by highlighting the experience that was gained when visiting their establishment. Several years ago there were articles that ranked Montgomery, AL as number two for having the most Black owned businesses in the nation. If we still hold the title, why do things seem a little too silent around here?

http://www.blackmainstreet.net/montgomery-ranks-number-two-usa-black-businesses/

The apps surrounding Black owned businesses and accessing their information, including finding their locations have already been released and become successful in helping “Buy Black” but I find it to a certain extent. Once a business is logged into the app, it even incorporates GPS to assist in directing you to a Black owned business, as well as giving a notification when it’s nearby. Black owned businesses are at your fingertips and categorized by their fields and specialties on several free downloadable apps, such Official Black Wall Street, WeBuyBlack.com, and Afroworld.

So, I decided to give them a try and see just how many businesses would pop up in Montgomery, Alabama; since categories such as hair, MUA, lawn and maintenance, and restaurants are included. Each search result produced “NO RESULTS” for Montgomery and in order for Black owned businesses to be included, they would have to visit the website themselves and enter their information to be featured. There is a $50 one time fee to join and enter your business, which seems fair for the upkeep and cost to run the app while helping promote businesses. The website WeBuyBlack is actually for those who would like to earn revenue in selling Black owned products. For $30 it helps you set up a vendor account and earn commission with your own online store selling specific products where 10% is earned by WeBuyBlack and 90% is given to the seller. Not bad.

I’m all for sites promoting Black owned businesses, but this year what I would like to put my primary focus and energy into specifically is the promotion and awareness of Black owned business in the city of Montgomery and how we can become better in creating more revenue in our communities to help eliminate poverty and provide better support for our neighborhoods and our schools. Through my non-profit Harmonious Grace, Inc, I would like to start with creating a website and a book that is similar to a “Green Book”. A Green Book, also known as The Negro Motorist Green Book, like the movie, it was a written record of business that are Black owned or Black “friendly” during the time of Jim Crow laws and segregation. Although we are no longer battling segregation or Jim Crow, we still battle the silence of how amazing doing business with African-Americans can feel! I would like to create a website and eventually an app that provides information and locations about reputable Black owned business in Montgomery, the difference being that I will personally interview each business, enter their information and ensure that most if not all reputable Black owned businesses operating in Montgomery are featured. These businesses should be easily accessible and found on ANY website promoting Black owned business and revenue without having to do all of the work they are unaware they need to do in the first place.

We are a city who’s streets bear the struggle and the fight for us to be treated equal, vote, and even receive the right to sit and eat where we please as human beings. Black History Month is slowly approaching and I’m sure there will be the dozens of programs promoting positive Black history, parades, business expos, and future plans for African-Americans to have a better presence in Montgomery. I’d like to be one of those not only speaking of change, but making that change happen for the better. My journey will begin with touring the city of Montgomery during the next several months to interview Black owned businesses about their history, the reason they started, how long they’ve been in business and what their plans are for the future. This information will then be compiled to a website focusing on Montgomery and generating more revenue where it should be, in the Black Community. Following my project, I am will be working hard to ensure all businesses will be accessible through an app that is free to download and directs all tourist and residents to Black owned businesses throughout the city. There are entirely too many that are not included on websites or highlighted by social media.

If you know of any Black owned businesses that have provided great services or products to your life and deserve to be feature, please send them to my direct email at robic19@gmail.com or comment directly beneath this post. I plan to interview each business, no matter the location in Montgomery or the service! Thank you for your help and your continued support for all that I strive to do! It’s now time that we strive together.

Changing our momentum one crown at a time.”

“Flawed Love” Robin Chappell

Sunshine and rainbows?

Isn’t that what they say love can’t always be everyday?

The sunshine you’ve instilled in me effortlessly breaks through our anger

Rainbows are the everlasting promise to patiently calm our nerves

I am not perfect and neither are you but we are deeply in love

So I never look for it when it comes to you

It’s the reason I feel so blessed with no recollection of stress

Beaming from the unconditional love of every action you do

Kissing my lips covered in the early mornings of my breath

Caressing my body tenderly when you feel it’s in need of rest

Before I have to ask, you’ve already conquered the task

Spoiling me and plastering smiles on my face without one drop of cash

I am not perfect and neither are you but we are deeply in love

I don’t have to look for it when it comes to you