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!
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