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My Lady J Story...

My mama named me Janine Nash - and she was a talented writer/poet and gestated her gift to both my sister and me. I have been writing for as long as I can remember; my first memory being a 6th grade class assignment. I had to write about America (wish I could find THAT content) and won the opportunity to perform the piece live which was my baptism by fire as a performer. Since I am a born introvert, performing takes me completely out of my comfort zone, but I have since made my peace with what I have been tasked to do. Performing in nightclubs from the age of 15 (yep) while my mother thought I was at choir rehearsal, allowed me to shake my introverted ways while on stage.

Next came journaling and from there writing lyrics for the various bands I was in during and post high school. It all began with “Cosmic Energy”, then “Fresh”, “The Groove Society” and finally my own band, “Shades of J.” I later got married and had my son, divorced and went into semi-retirement. Don Manor, a friend since elementary was the driving force behind pulling me out of retirement and together, over the years, we performed throughout the United States from hole-in-the-wall clubs to local grocery stores in the produce section! I have been on festival stages, opening up for some of the most renowned jazz musicians and soul singers and have performed at corner coffee shops and biergartens with a cup to collect coins. 

I have performed as a singer, but I can’t sing. Welp, I can carry a tune, but when I think about “singers”, I think of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight… and I am real enough to know that is not my calling! I finally fell into my purpose at an open mic poetry event. It was in that moment, I corrected my path. I still sing, but I now know my lane is poetry and don’t drive too far outside of those lines.


I decided to go with the pen name "Libra" because I was born a Libra and the balance this sun sign represents is who I am at the core. I am now stepping into my next life stage as an author and will use all that has prepared me for this moment!

Image by Wayne Lee-Sing

Summer on Innes

on this island i came to be

born of oak trees and faith

a chorus of children's laughter

bathed in harmony

singing through unlocked doors

from freshly cut emerald grass

and cotton ball skies

a reprise of the day before


tangerine rays trumpet

through Venetian blinds

with Miles Davis vibes

imagination prescribes the fun

and transient liberty places its bets

on when streetlights will shimmer

their looming threats


skinned knees reflect

the smell of sweaty play

as they make their way

to the corner store

where rumbling tummies

are filled with gooey delights

leaving room for tonight's menu

in Houdini's kitchen

where mama makes ways from none


when the time comes

our names are summoned

in southern religion and love on her tongue

the bet is paid off and the day is done

but these kaleidoscope memories

will forever live on

~libra~ 2022

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