Kamille Kamala: My Conversation with Improv Poet Serene Bechir

Serene Bechir, Improv Poet
Serene Bechir, Improv Poet

Sadly, Improv Poet Serene Bechir passed away on September 6, 2016. To honor her contributions to the Second Life Community, The SL Parade has agreed to republish Kamille Kamala’s article that highlights Bechir’s work and persona.  Previously published in Kultivate Magazine on February 26, 2016, Kultivate Magazine Founder John Brianna (johannes1977) kindly gave The SL Parade an opportunity to share just how special Improv Poet Serene Bechir was to the SL Community.  To read this month’s issue of Kultivate Magazine, please click on the following link:  Kultivate Magazine’s September 2016 issue is now available!

I have known this poet for several years. And, I have to say that she is severely unique in that she can recite an improv poem that will woo the crowd and mesmerize them under her holy non sanctimonious verses. Her improv poems have had me at the edge of my seat hanging on each and every word that streamed from her conscious as it flowed out of her mouth, down her lap,  reaching the stage, and swinging upwards hitting the air waves penetrating the ears and minds of the chosen venue’s patronage.

writer-605764_960_720Serene Bechir, began writing poems as a teenager. She states that she was first introduced to poetry by her mom who read poems to her while growing up. This peaked her lifelong interest in the medium. She also started writing poems seriously in 1999. During a time in her life when she was dealing with chronic fatigue brought on by an illness.

It was around this time she that stumbled on an online chat program. This chat program was called Virtual Places. This place was a virtual haven for poets and she valued the friendship/camaraderie she felt from her interaction with the poets there. She valued it so much so, that she traveled to Burlington, Canada to meet with them. She wanted to see if she could read her poems aloud. And, this she did for the first time, gaining rave reviews. The chat program did not have voice, so this was truly a coveted challenge she sought out and has been reading aloud every since.

She rezzed her avatar in Second Life on June 7th, 2007. And, she has been deeply woven in the tapestry of poetry here in Second Life every since. I met her at my poetry venue the Lyrical Cafe some years back and we became instant friends. I have supported her by reading for her at venues when requested. And, she has been an avid supporter of the Lyrical over the years too.

Serene, has a self published book titled Virtual Places/Real Emotions. It is a collection of poems about her life, published in 2008. She has also had success in getting her poems published in real life, not to mention those poems in Second Life that have been used as well.

improvdefinitionWhen asked what made her get into improv poetry? She quickly exclaimed, “I was forced into it!” She went on to tell me that in the online poetry hub one of her peers performed a bad improv only to show her that it was nothing to be afraid of. He was the best poet in the room. He made himself the horrible example that she lived with in her head. He sacrificed himself, totally making a fool of himself only to get into a private IM with her saying, “Is THAT what you are so damn afraid of??” She says that because of him showing her that it was not the end of the world, she took on improv and has been doing it since.

I posed the question to her; What advice would you give the budding poet, the budding improv poet? she retorted, “Just do it! Do not worry about if it is right or wrong or good or bad; you can edit later. Some of mine just end up in the trash and that’s okay. If you can get one idea, one phrase, one image, you are farther along than you were before. To me, its almost a prayer, a meditation, and a way for me to learn and communicate.”

She told me a story about a young girl who was a cutter. Serene could not fathom why this girl did such a thing. Serene wanted to understand her, so she did an improv in which she saw things through the girls eyes. She says she still cant totally understand it, but the words flowed about the topic and they came from a place of love and empathy. The girl told Serene that the words meant something to her and they have been very close every since then.

“Poetry is a state of being to me” she explained to me. And, when I asked her who are the famous poets that inspired her and why. She said, “Alfred Noyes, he wrote The Highwayman. I suppose that was the first non nursery rhyme poem I ever heard and i like that it told a story. I also love the romantic poets; Shelly, Byron, Keats and of course, Poe. Maya Angelou, now that is an amazing woman!”

Not knowing how she would respond to the next question. I was peaked in interest before I gave it to her. I swallowed deeply and sat up with more intent when I asked, “How would you begin a poem?” She began an improv right in the middle of the interview!

PoetryQuote2_zps5da800bb[we sit we talk she asks i answer
part of me remembers
not so long ago
i would have been afraid
afraid my answers were not right
not educated
not …. pleasing
now i know
my answers are my answers
they belong to me
what others think
well that part does not belong
is not a part of me
is not my problem to solve
my job in life
right here in this room
or out there
through those doors
is to be the truest me i can be
to speak from the heart
to speak with love and compassion
but also with truth
today we sit
and share
and i am
unafraid]

I have to tell you that I was floored with her response. I asked for her permission to use it in my article and she gave me full rights. Before I allowed her to go back to her busy poet life, I asked her one last question.
I wanted to know where we could find her performing and she said, “Wolfies Poetry Surf on Thursdays at 1pm, Circe’s Poet Sanctuary on Saturday’s at 6pm, and the Chelsea Hotel.

I expressed to her my gratitude for her time and for all of the wonderful jewels of information that she shared with me. In my opinion, not only was this my first interview with a poet for Windlight. But, this was a great interview because I actually scored a improv! If this is how things are beginning as a contributer, I really cant tell you how excited I am for the journey. Off, off and away!

Serene Bechir Improv Poet 2

Victory For All At The Black Tie Affair!

domestic violence 20
ReRe Sandalwood (left) and Treasure Xstar (right) recently planned The Black Tie Affair in honor of victims of Domestic Violence…

Yesterday, on Friday, April 1, 2016, three women showed the power of unity and perseverance by jointly presenting a Black Tie Affair dedicated to the victims of domestic violence.

DJ Bangz relaxes as she plays a cool combination of Neo-Soul and R&B...
DJ Bangz relaxes with a patron as she plays a cool combination of Neo-Soul and R&B…

This Black-Tie Affair happened at 6 PM SLT, and featured the joint efforts of Treasure Xstar, ReRe Sandalwood, and Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe. ƊJ ƁαηgƵ SαηɗαƖƜσσɗ (jeeneflo.carter) offered up her DJ expertise, playing a collective mix of neo-soul with a splash of music that encouraged all to get our groove on on the dance floor, while Kamille Kamala created the original flier that advertised this powerful and piognant gala.

Featuring a formal black and white setting, The Black Tie Affair was not only presented by a collective mix of women, but was also sponsored by their companies and nonprofits.  Treasure Xstar is the owner and proprietor of Brooklyn Co., while Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe fulfills duo roles as both owner and Domestic Violence Advocate at The Care and Hope Center.  Also, as many SL Parade readers know, ReRe Sandalwood is the online publication’s Founder and Editor-In-Chief, while Sandalwood’s sister, Kamille Kamala gracefully runs the Lyrical Cafe, while simutaneously writing for The SL Parade and for Windlight Magazine. To learn more about Kamille Kamala’s involvement in the latter, please click onto the following link:  Windlight Magazine Introduces Kamille Kamala.

Also, please take a look at the slideshow below to get a better idea of who helped in making this event a success:

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”20″ gal_title=”companies that sponsored DV Tie”]

Although The Black Tie Affair for Domestic Violence was originally created to pay homage to victims, the creation of this event offers a bittersweet story.  To better explain, Treasure Xstar and ReRe Sandalwood were originally line sisters affiliated with a local, SL-based Sorority.  Unfortunately, the sorority decided to abruptly sever the line, leaving the plans Xstar and Sandalwood already made for the Black Tie Affair for Domestic Violence in limbo.  While both ladies were frustrated with this outcome, both mutually decided to not only have this event anyway, but to have it on a yearly basis to commemorate the victims of Domestic Violence, as well as to reflect on their joint struggles during the pledging process (specifically as created by the intentionally unnamed sorority in question).

domestic violence 28Though the event’s location had to be changed at the last minute, Xstar, Sandalwood, and Mickalobe were able to create an atmosphere of sharing, dancing, and reflective fun.  Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe states, ” I always say…you never know the battles people are in in their real lives….So tread lightly with others.”

This statement is not only applicable to RL Domestic Violence victims, but to those in SL and beyond who are victims of cyberbullying, harassment, and emotional abuse. In light of this realization, Treasure Xstar, as well as Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe and ReRe Sandalwood, kindly request that all donations be sent to your local community shelters and domestic violence organizations.

Treasure Xstar was also kind enough to create a list of accredited websites that offer more information about domestic violence:

Treasure Xstar poses with her grandparents, Mrs. Cara W Glenfadden and Mr. Devlin Glenfadden
Treasure Xstar poses with her grandparents, Mrs. Cara W Glenfadden and Mr. Devlin Glenfadden

In addition to providing this information to patrons who attended the Black Tie Affair to Honor Domestic Violence Victims, Treasure Xstar’s Brooklyn Co. was also kind enough to pass out Domestic Violence ribbons and purple teddy bears to commemorate this gala occasion.  In addition, Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe gave out prizes to those that got a 90 percent or better on The Domestic Violence Quizzes that were passed.  Prizes included gift cards from TROMPE LOEIL , as well as from Damselfly, and Truth.  Mickalobe also gave out a rare Gacha home that was created by SOY as a prize.

Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe looks on as she awards patrons who completed The Domestic Violence Quiz...
Morgan Whitfield Mickalobe looks on as she awards patrons who completed The Domestic Violence Quiz…

ReRe Sandalwood’s nonprofit, The SL Parade provided dance balls, as well as champagne for all patrons.

In addition to planning a yearly Black Tie Affair as tribute to Domestic Violence victims, Sandalwood and Xstar are also planning an Old School Hip Hop Party.  The SL Parade, as well as ReRe Sandalwood and Treasure Xstar will be offering more information about the upcoming Old School Hip Hop Party event in a few days time.

Treasure Xstar and ReRe Sandalwood would like to thank everyone who supported, as well as participated in, this year’s Black Tie Affair Gala.  As a token of their appreciation, The SL Parade has agreed to publish all photos taken at this event!  Take a look:

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”21″ gal_title=”Black tie Affair”]

Kamille Kamala Writes A Poem About The Black River

african feet 2
…courtesy of http://getkidsoutsidenow.com/category/working-with-low-income-children/
spirit totem
…courtesy of http://soulsguidance.com/spirit-animal-totems/
black collage
…courtesy of http://blackpride.in/Leaders/collage-of-black-american-leaders/

One African male barefoot sunk down into the Virginian sand
With his shackled hands he stepped out of the ship
Called the White Lion, followed by those of his kind
And as their skin glistened in the Land of Liberty sun
The crowns of their heads looked like black cotton spun
While their eyes saw peculiar wonder at this new land
These 20 Negroid souls were the source of a young river
A very new river, their life force opens up to, the Black River
This Black river leaping with life, dread, uncertainty, and stark reality
That their ride was not for leisure, no pleasure involved
But they were the background for the slavery scene
And this was done back in late august of 1619
The bed of this river was deep and full of black misery
But, there was promise in the babbling brooks of uprisings
One, led by a slave named Jemmy in 1739 who executed
White owners and placed their heads on the front steps of stores
Until he was caught, captured, and killed
It was Nat Turner who was bursting with prophetic dreams
He rallied the rebels to set the demise in place for sixty whites
But in the end, he was hanged as his body rocked and spins
And a purse was made of his dissident skin
Ms. Tubman drove the train across over the river’s roughest surges
To safety’s abode, they called her feat the Underground Railroad
Although slowly, freedom finally embarked at the mountain’s crest
Shining the sovereignty light down on their upon their Negro faces
The Emancipation Proclamation made the declaration that,
“All persons held as slaves….are, and henceforward shall be free”
These were the words written by Lincoln in 1863
This Black River was robust and strong finding ways to flow
Flourish and farrow by giving birth to little streams
Black streams, black baby streams
And this was the secret in spite of various plans
To damn it up, despite all attempts to dry it up
Many years, many miles, many waves and many trials
Of this Black River that kept fluid and unbroken
Until out of one of those streams arose a sleek black panther
Who sprung out of the river and landed powerfully on all fours
He sought to end oppression of his people
He fought for equality in education and civil rights
He brought the revolutionary war cry
He thought he could end police brutality and criminality
But it was cointelpro that infiltrated this black man’s organization
Ceasing all efforts to build a nation within a nation
Although not in order of appearance
I must talk about two channels that were narrow and deep
They were opposites, but also a confluence
Two people who were life’s finest students
But one was educated in the Harlem streets
And the other in a quality American university
They both mark a place where two waterways joined
I am talking the Niger Martin and Nile Malcolm
While the Niger sought to end all atrocities peacefully
The Nile thought it was best to be a fearless militant eagerly
Uneasily, they both left this world too soon and too violently
Speedily, this river streams across spans of times
And times of times
Then, it gracefully keeps a current that builds a people strong
It allows the people to sing civil rights songs
It gives them the strength to fight back Jim Crow wrongs
And take it when they lost Black Wall Street
Keep fighting, keep fighting, and keep fighting
Until ghetto journalist in timberlands and jeans
Walked out of the city projects
With poetic rhymes and sick beats
Teaching the world that black men are king
When no matter what they tried,
THEY STILL BREATHING!
While this Black River is still running and moving
Fluently streaming right up to the White House
Dropping slave ancestor’s brood
And they aren’t staying in the guest house
No, this is the blood that built it
And this blood is now part of the continental quilt
Make room for that black face on the wall of all 43 other presidents
Make room for the gown that the first lady wore at the dance in the museums
So that we can keep this river turning
Keep it growing and flowing
This Black River
This Black River
This Black River!
Got many more miles
To go

 

Kamille Kamala Writes ‘Passion For Sale’ Poem

SEX_TraffickingChild sex trafficking is manufacturing
Of children for the sex trade
These kids are being sold and resold
From one pimp to another
There is a worldwide epidemic
A crime that takes place in every major city
And in even the most remote rural communities
Where commodities are unloaded
Out of dark and sleazy passenger vans
Onto unfriendly downtown city streets
As they slither through back page alleys
And into rooms lit with red lights and blood red misery
But you see this product is priceless
And they are unique in its own right
They each have fractured souls whose
Fractured bodies are hosting fractured heartsSex_Trafficking2_640
As they dwell on the discontented whore’s track
Make money honey
Just lay back
And take this ride on the heroin train
Hitting your arm real hard trying to pick a vein
See, they curb tricking
This is pimp’s heaven is any hoe’s hell
They making money cause they got passion for sale
An estimated revenue of over 87 million dollars daily
Promises of love marriage support and fat babies
Delivering only isolation abuse rape and slavery
Human trafficking of women is becoming quite ordinary
Even eleven year olds girls walking the track
Stacking them racks
For the gangstas and the playas
And the Daddy Macs
They call them their little girls
While they keep them on their mental knees
And they are cuffed and bond with mental chains
This is the oldest profession in history and the newest form of slaverysex Human-Trafficking
No fault, it’s just that life threw them into the hands of the unsavory
Characters that teach them to get pay for sexual favors
Nikki thought it was love when she fell for a man in his thirties
When she was still in high school
Until one day he chained her to the bed
And made money by letting men sleep with her for two years
Renee’s uncle started sleeping with her when she was ten
But after she got older he whisked her away with him
Taking her to the big city to see the big and bright lights
And on one night he told her he needed her to pay her way
And all she could see were silhouettes of men crowding her motel doorway
She took down 40 men in one night
Now Mary thought she had it good
When she met the man that told her he would take her from the hood
And this he did,
But where she ended up was three thousand miles from homesex-traffickingv04
Body used up and mind undid
She finally got the ticket to home
When he realized she was going to have a kid
The child set her free
And it tasted both sweet and bitterly
But Lisa a transgender woman was proud of her stamp on her back
That revealed the name of her pimp written in calligraphy
Along with his branded logo
Even though he allowed a man
To violently grab her around the neck
And sent her to her knees in the piled up snow
Knowing if she cried or complained
He would beat her with a bent clothes hanger lined with his sock
This to her was still love compared to what she got at home or on the block
These victims were someone’s sister daughter or mother
They play a prominent role in human traffickingSexTrafficking-in-North-Carolina
Because they are the product
This affects every country
And most victims are subjugated by someone of their own race
Conquered and dominated by someone they loved
Or knew from their community
There are signs everywhere around us
If you know someone that is not free to come and go as they like
Says that they owe a large debt to someone
Avoids eye contact
Looks unkempt or malnourished
If you see a woman at the strip mall
Who looks as if she is being dominated by some guy
Or if there are signs of physical abuse
Or visible bruises
Take action
Alert the police
Don’t let it pass you by
The chance
To unleash and unveil
The passion that is up for sale
Hashtag #endsextrafficking
Together we can be the new abolitionists

Sex-Trafficking

Kamille Kamala Writes “Another Hope”….

10704229_575252045920085_8969539950517039218_oKamille Kamala is a spiritually centered, politically conscious person.  Because these two traits act as a humble anchor to the fantastic person she is, Kamille is able to successfully run the Lyrical Lounge, a lounge that specializes in providing a voice for all kinds of writers, specifically poets.  Be mindful that she has successfully ran this lounge since 2009…a huge feat in the SL community.  Kamille has also hosted an array of symposiums, including the Women 2 Women Symposium, a symposium that stimulates discussion on women’s rights and health-related issues.  A valuable member of the SL and RL Community, Kamille works effortlessly to insure that the arts are not ignored by members of the SL Community…

(Another Hope)police_brutality_rally

Another day, another dollar

Another cop murdering innocent blacks

And it makes me want to holler

Another bound, another loose

Another Found hanging ON another Noose

Just another Negro kid’s face ONpolice-brutality-pic2

Another evening news

Another shot in his back

As he lay for hours on another street

Another psychological attack

AND

Another defeat

Another fatally shot 14 times by police for disturbing the peace

Another elderly woman punched in the faceasap-asia.org women-oppressed

By MI-LI-TA-RIZED police

UN-Leashed

Another I CANT BREATHEfrom the atlantic.com website

And from this earth, another leaves

 

Another choke-hold illegally

Another leniency needlessly

Another NOT charged

Calls for Another nationwide march

And another plea for justice yet we witness

Another take part

In its misuse

And collectively we are tired and disgusted

Because we been oppressed since RootsIndianBlackSaturday4

Instead it’s another confrontation

With another BB gun in Walmart

Just construct -ing more and more black frustration in our spirits and in our hearts

Black men faces used as targets in another shooting range

Yet we still asking for change

On another day and in another year

And yet all we getting are tone deaf ears

Another unarmed soul

Another case put on investigative hold

Police-brutality2
From writing.wikinut.com

Another black truth UN-told

And there we go with another one tased

Another black red and green flag raised

Another head slammed on pavement

And they keeping us in mental enslavement

bad_news_by medi belortaja
Drawn by Medi Belortaja, as seen in http://www.toonpool.com

With these false police reports

And these fork tongued news anchors

Telling their mass media lies

Covering up the blood stained concrete images

Created with another black body as it lies

Staring into space are another set of lifeless black eyes

In another dimly lit stairwell

By another accidental gun discharge

On JUST another day

We are screaming Black Lives Matter

But to them we are screaming Black Lives Chatterdvwhenlovehurtspix131122

And this we don’t need

We don’t need to bleed no more

Not another drip

We don’t need

Another Dontre Hamilton

Another Eric Garner

Another John Crawford III

Another Michael Brown Jr

Another Ezell Ford

Another Dante Parkerhope

Another Tanisha Anderson

Another Tamir Rice

Another Jerame Reid

And NOT another Sandra Bland

And this aint our promised land

And I say fuck the Klan and their confederate flag front man

A confrontation immediately following a rally hosted by The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at the Lee county courthouse in Tupelo, Mississippi on Saturday, October 20th, 2007. The protest was against illegal immigration and local sex offenders, and supported putting prayers back in school. The rally included several Klan groups, including the Brotherhood of the Klans, Georgia Knightriders, Bayou Knights, MKA and the International Knights. The last time the Klan made any major appearance in Tupelo was in the 1970's. The Klan marched down Main Street with the United States National Guard protecting citizens on either side.
A confrontation immediately following a rally hosted by The Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at the Lee county courthouse in Tupelo, Mississippi on Saturday, October 20th, 2007. (Taken from http://flashbak.com/the-klu-klux-klan-in-the-21st-century-uncensored-photos-of-an-american-secret-38169/e.)

But what we need is another hope

Because the one we been carrying, well its broke

And to be loosed from the rope of racism around our necks

And get them DAMN police in check

We need not to be plagued by brutality

Because of our racial sect

Dare we ask for equality from our inequitable country?

And yes we belong here

We are the only involuntary immigrant nationalityIndianBlackSaturday4

And we aint going nowhere!

In another one of your dreams and on another night

See we need a strong team, to BRING a fierce fight

To stand for justice

And to stand up for

ALL our

HUMAN

RIGHTS

Kamille