By: LaMeka Howard
Poetry is the birthplace of B.Arlene’s writing. She’s been writing her entire life and completed her first collection when she was in middle school. Her poems encompass her creativity, her thoughts, her environment, and her ideas. Sometimes she is misunderstood, so she uses her words to express to the world the meaning of her experiences and the definition of her life. These are her treasures, hidden moments not revealed to the public; what she has seen, then written, and now shared with the world to hear. She’s an introvert offstage, but quite the opposite on stage, and the audience loves her.
B.Arlene, walking confidently on the stage, at her local town’s lounge, and heads toward the microphone. She takes both of her hands to position the microphone to her liking, and takes a deep breath, and looks out to the audience. She starts speaking her spoken word, and the audience raise their hands to the air and snap their fingers as they agree with her message. The energy she projects captures their emotional state and brings them closer to her words and to her. She expresses each word with power and looks at her audience with compassion. Applauses and loud cheers don’t electrify her spirit; it’s the silence, the looks, and the facial expressions that resonates with her. Her character, her voice, and her positivity illuminates truth behind her story, so her audience can feel what she felt when she wrote it. She wants to channel effective energy that will make you think, that will make you understand, and that will bring you into her world. That’s B.Arlene. She’s a radiant woman and mother from Columbus, Ohio. She was born from an educated home with her mother, father, and siblings.
From childhood until now, she described herself as an introvert: quiet, poised and with a sound mind. She removes herself from drama and finds comfort with writing. During high school, while attending Marion-Franklin High School, she experienced disparities amongst her peers. Due to her boldness, confidence, and hidden treasures, some peers thought she was pompous. She was neither included in a clique, circle, nor crowd. She thought that one person was enough to manage---herself. She enjoyed the solitude and the comfort of being mostly by herself.
When faced with obstacles she remembers the strength of her mother. Her mother was not only a mother to her household, but a mother to the community of students in high school, a community of people in her neighborhood, and a community to people in her church. She is an educator, disciplinary, guidance counselor, and teacher, and transferred her gifts to her children. B.Arlene was not selfish of having to share her mother; however, she was quite grateful and blessed to have a mother that is loving and kind to her family and to the people within her community. She mostly admires her mother on how she handles circumstances. It taught her peace, kindness, respect, compassion, and love. Her mother hasn’t changed, and still holds the crown of independence. That is her queen. When she was a teenager, she remembered her parents getting a divorced, and nothing changed in the family other than her mother and her father’s separation. Her home was still a home.
After graduating from the 11th grade, at 16 years of age, she matriculated to Wright State University (WSU). While attending WSU she participated in a group titled, Way With Words (WWW). WWW was a welcoming group that pushed her in to her calling: poetry. They wanted more of B.Arlene and she gave them 100% of her. She gave what she thought would have been impossible to do: being a poet. Some of B.Arlene’s favorite poets are Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonja Sanchez. Observing their work and studying their flow, has led her to opportunities to speak at conferences, and shows across the country. Overall, college broadened her horizon to pursue her dreams.
While attending WSU, B.Arlene married, and had two beautiful daughters: Noelle (10) and Nariah (8). Her first dedication was family. She was one with her husband, but that one became her identity. She lost herself and became the mirror of her marriage. She didn’t think her life would become this way, but in that moment she realized that becoming one didn’t mean she would lose herself, but gaining herself through the vision they had for one another. After careful consideration, she and her husband divorced. Through this challenging time of her life, she began writing again. It was the flood gates of words to heal her pain. Her words covered her.
Since her divorce, she and her children have been doing wonderfully. Her children admire their mother and do their best to walk in her footsteps. In her bedroom B.Arlene has a chalkboard, posted with her vision, her expectations, and her to do list. It’s a time of reflection to not only remember what her plan is, but to teach herself and her daughters what to expect in the future. Once a week her daughters will check her list and then advise their mother, “It’s time to update.” They are her automatic update reminders. They have mother and daughter conversations, and she encourages her daughters to persevere, and to have them share their thoughts with her. B Arlene encourages mothers to, “Have open and honest conversations with your children.” She protects her daughters, shares her thoughts with them, and vice versa. Part of the plan that is written on her chalkboard is attending shows to perform poems.
B.Arlene not only presents on stage, but she shares her poems on social media. She posts voice-carryover presentations, videos of her performances, and images of her work on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her talent doesn’t stop there, she published two chapbooks. Chapbooks are shorter poetic books. Her first, titled Testimonies of a Broken Heart, focused on some of the hardships of her life; While, she describes her second book, titled Clapbacks & Conversations, as feeling liberated, herself, and an uncensored truth. Both of her books are available for purchase on Amazon.
Here are some performances to note about B.Arlene appearance:
· Columbus’ King Art Center celebrating Black History Month
· Mothers Appreciation Brunch at Urban Oasis Center
· Poetry Night in America at the Brownstone in Cincinnati, Ohio
· The Ness Open Mic Experience in Columbus, Ohio
· Photograph published in WusGood Magazine
· Broken English 101 an Underground Academy event in Cleveland Ohio
· Guest blogger for thecultureshock.org
· Speak Expressions in Cincinnati
· Pamlico Writers Conference and Literary Contest
· Afrodeliciouz in Columbus, Ohio
· That What I Like Open Mic Experience at Taste Restaurant in Dayton, Ohio
· Free Love in Columbus, Ohio
· Black Poets Speak Out at the Independence festival in Columbus, Ohio
· SPEAK Your Piece Open Mic in Detroit, Michigan
· S.W.A.T Open Mic in Columbus, Ohio
· The Color of Summer at the Columbus Museum of Art, in Columbus, Ohio
· Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Ohio
· The Colored Section with Onyx Productions in Columbus, Ohio.
Her work is not unnoticed, and it’s ringing continuously. She envelopes us with her talent as she sets the stage for entertainment. Her voice is memorable and her skills are unmatchable. Her poetry transforms lives, captivates minds, changes souls, and creates life. She is not Poetic Justice….she is B.Arlene. Definitely follow her work as she continues to showcase her words with poetry.