J.P. Howard

Praise Poem For Venus Thrash, Double Reverse Etheree In Search of Venus Thrash: J.P. Howard

Praise Poem for Venus Thrash
(Rest in Power Sista Poet)
(3/30/69 to 6/19/21)

Venus, Goddess of Poetry
I can still hear your sexy voice
Poems sliding off your tongue
Words afire lighting us up
Lifting us up
Saying get the fuck up off your asses people!

Venus, beautiful black lesbian sista
You unapologetically flirted with everyone in the room
Straight women, dykes, gay men, damn girl, anybody who heard that soft deep sexiness of your voice was mesmerized
We all whispered in secret about our crushes on you

Venus you were so proud of your greatest accomplishment
Mama extraordinaire to Daniel, your only child!
I have never seen a Mama more devoted
For 13 years of your baby’s life
You showered him with love,
then set yourself free on Juneteenth

Venus with the swag, smooth cheekbones, and dimples for days
So fine in that fedora framing your face like a favorite portrait
When folks heard you read love poems
Each of us knew you were reading directly to us
Girl, you knew how to make a girl blush!

Truth teller
Activist poet
Forever friend
Lover of women and self

Thank you for the gift of friendship
I cherish our late night talks, and
grown woman giggles
You shared your sadness and your swag
Thank you for making me laugh out loud, especially at myself

My heart aches at losing you
Every night I watch videos of you performing your poetry
Close my eyes at the fire in your voice
Try to exhale, try to breathe
Try to hold onto you

Double Reverse Etheree in Search of Venus Thrash

Venus, sista poet, we call your name
Sistas sit in circles, share stories
We read your poems out loud, girl
We wish we had all your swag
We still crushin on you
Still blushin on you
With the dimples
Velvet voice
Make us

Us laugh
Make us wet
Make us listen
You still steal stages
Brilliance filling pages
Everybody got stories
You be the center of each one
I am trying to hold onto you
Hear you whisper, hug me, but not too tight

JP Howard is an educator, literary activist, curator and community builder. Her debut poetry collection, SAY/MIRROR (The Operating System), was a Lambda Literary finalist. She is also the author of bury your love poems here (Belladonna*) and co-editor of Sinister Wisdom Journal Black Lesbians--We Are the Revolution! JP’s chapbook length collection, Praise This Complicated Herstory: Legacy, Healing & Revolutionary Poems is forthcoming from Harlequin Creature. She was a featured author in Lambda Literary’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools program and is featured in the Lesbian Poet Trading Card Series (Headmistress Press). JP has received fellowships/grants from Cave Canem, VONA, Lambda Literary, and Brooklyn Arts Council. She curates Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon. Her poetry/essays have appeared in The Slowdown podcast, Academy of American Poets, Apogee Journal, and Split this Rock, amongst others. JP is a general Poetry Editor for Women's Studies Quarterly and Editor-At-Large of Mom Egg Review VOX online. http://www.jp-howard.com