RIP Whitney Houston

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

RIP Whitney Houston


I have a series of poems about famous women who have “broken” in the public eye. The first poem was for Britney Spears, then Phyllis Hyman and the last was for Lauryn Hill. The third poem, was more of a triumphant trumpet for Whitney Houston,  woman who came back from broken.  I remember being in tears watching her on Good Morning America. She didn’t sound the same. She didn’t look the same but she was alive and I found so much strength in that.

RIP Whitney. Your voice was a praise song.


WIP: Not Built To Break (A Praise Song For Whitney Houston)

While watching Oprah interview her, all I could think was, “Wow. We should all be counted out and left for dead… then rise and reclaim what’s lost.” No we don’t look the same or sound the same or act the same but how could we possibly? With adversity comes change. What matters is the fact that the you continue to breathe and live and move and stand and crawl… whatever.

This is a work in progress. I wrote it in like 15 minutes while watching the DVR’d second interview today. Will clean it up as time goes on… or not.

What a powerful reminder to keep going.

Love someone and mean it,


They said it was over
Gave you permission to curl into yourself and drift
they mourned your legacy
your life
your voice
they turned you into dust

for years you were whispered about
counted out
the butt of jokes and prayer circles

tell them, whitney
tell them
you were not built to break
tell them that they
make martyrs of people too soon
throw still sweet scented bouquet onto funeral pyre
lament what they could have been
cry for the broken bones caused by leaping off of pedestals
the wings caked in mud
and self loathing

weakened but undefeated
tell them that you are still here
show them that you would gladly
trade your voice
for your life
you don’t need the pity
the aching disappointment that
the voice is no longer there

remind them that you are still here
mourn what you were
praise where you are

so what if your voice is no longer
this delicate crystal shelled trinket
neither is your life
own your rough edged growl
own the way your notes bounce in smaller range octaves
own the way you stand like the worst is behind you
sing like you were promised a thousand more tomorrows

this is your testimony to strength
that is what your song is now
teach them about perseverance
teach them about resilience
wrap a song around hearts that wish to die

praise the thing that still beats
and bleeds
and bruises

and teach them about pressing on
teach them about dragging yourself out of bed
about lifting yourself from the fog and smoke
about leaving the things that kill your spirit
about how it’s never too late to start loving the
best and worst about you

tell them it’s never too late to heal
and press forward
tell them, Whitney
tell them you weren’t built to break

You have been through hell back
own the scars
own the hoarse and cracked
lament nothing
tell them that any sound from this body
is a joyful noise
it is a living noise
it is a healing noise
tell them, Whitney
then tell them again
and again
and again

tell them so they know that you will
that you did
that you live
that you are here
and with us
tell them so they know that the end
is never the end
that the truth is that no matter how many times we fall
the body still has the strength for one more stand
for one more attempt at morning