Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Clock Prayer Poem: Flashback Inspired by #BWWriting

So inspired to be in the Black Women Writing Twitter conversation today hosted by @BitchMedia and @SafyHallanFarah.


I posted a couple excerpts of this poem. Here it is in it’s entirety. I wrote it several years ago, before I had my daughter.


Clock Prayer       

i resist the notion of biological clocks ticking

fillls my ears






like a race

my feet throb against asphalt

muscles burn beneath sweat slick skin

lungs gasping toward the deadline

my life this

frantic pressure to-do list


get over childhood shit find partner develop artistic career  do couples counseling

cut hip hop/spoken word album slow down have more fun finish hip hop theater show

do def poetry  finish MFA degree  take care of health  have more fun exercise more

spend more time with family  finish first novel finish second novel  slow down finish non-fiction book get day job make real money slow down  have more fun


over winter break

i crank out three hundred pages of new novel

grad school peers gasp at extreme output

don’t understand I race against

race against

race against

how black women artists

      oh, are you one of the dancers?

fight to keep up with

      sorry, we already have a chick on the bill

male peers with wives

      we liked your work a lot, but we just don’t think it has universal appeal…

male peers with girlfriends who dedicate themselves to their man’s career

      we’d love to have you perform, but we can’t pay you       

male peers with legions of female fans an army of free labor

      I just love his work  I have the biggest crush on him!

male favorites of women producers/presenters/directors/gatekeepers and

      his show proudly sponsored by…

backed by male-run institutions

      not now, but maybe we can book you during women’s history month

male peers get the hookup

      do you have a really sexy poem?

baby mamas in the bleachers raise their kids

as they dash

do you have a really sexy poem? something to, you know, really get the audience going?


black and female and femme  we run in a different lane

no groupies

no cheerleading squad

no corporate sponsorship

stitch our own running clothes

childless already a lap behind

exhausted but steady

we finally fall out

with babies in arms

soft brown next generation

pressed against nursing breasts

watch our male peers

swish past


blood pounds in my ears like ticking





in praise of Vasudhara*

one pair of hands pressed against my ovaries

on pair on the keyboard

one pair clasped tight in prayer

calling on Elegba^

calling on Oshun^

calling on Yemaya^

calling on the ancestors

ori mi wagbo ti wa^^

I sprint

for the (un)finished




*Vasudhara is a name for the Buddhist bodhisattva of abundance and fertility. She is considered to be the consort of Kuvera, the god of wealth.

Vasudhara is popular in Nepal, where she is a common household deity. She is usually represented with six arms. In the lower left hand she usually holds her characteristic symbol, the treasure vase. The hand above holds another distinguishing attribute, the ears of corn (Tib. ‘bru’I sne ma). The third left hand holds a book, the Prajnaparamita sutra.

The lower right hand is in the varada mudra of charity; the one above holds three precious wish-fulfilling jewels, while the upper hand makes a mudra of salutation. The right leg is pendent, and the foot is unsupported resting upon a vase.

^Elegba, Oshun & Yemaya are deities or Orisha, manifestations of God in the cosmology of the Yoruba of Nigeria. Elegba is the deity associated with the crossroads, chance, trickery, and destiny. Oshun is the deity associated with rivers, wealth, fertility, sexuality and creativity. Yemaya is the deity associated with motherhood, nurture and the ocean.

^^ori mi wagbo ti wa – a Yoruba incantation: I accept the divine destiny of my head [in Yoruba worldview, the soul is said to be in the head.]

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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Aya wins first place Independent Publisher Awards for UPTOWN THIEF, THE BOSS, THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS

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