Welcome, Tureeda Mikell!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired over the past twelve months. Some of them, like the one we’re pleased to present today, came to us by way of Nomadic Press. Read more about our plans to welcome Nomadic Press titles to Black Lawrence Press here. Today we bring you Tureeda Mikell, whose forthcoming book The Body: Oracle of Memory will be published later this year. 

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our June Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies), anthology proposals, and translations from German. 



The Author

Tureeda Ture Ade Mikell, Story Medicine Woman, author, activist for holism, called ‘word magician,’ is an award-winning poet, published nationally and internationally. Qigong Healer, workshop leader, storyteller, lyricist, performance artist, founder of The Tree of Life Foundation H.L.P. , advocate for youth and adults. Published over 70 student anthologies with CA Poets in the Schools since 1989.  Performed in schools, libraries and universities, Google, Genentech, Aspire, Lawrence Hall, and Golden Gate Academy of Sciences, Randall, Oakland, and De Young Museums. Was featured spoken word artist at SOAN [Soul of a Nation] Exhibit, and the American Academy of Poets, Fire Thieves, at the De Young, and Museum of the African Diaspora, (MoAD) Lit-Quake Afrofuturism. Featured storyteller for the 55 Year Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, National Association of Black Storytellers, featured poet storyteller celebrating Octavia Butler’s 70th birthday, and Eth-Noh-Tec Nu Wa Delegate storyteller in Beijing, China in collaboration with the University of Beijing.  Recent publications of her work can be found in, Black Fire This Time (Willow Press, 2022), Revolutionary Poets BrigadeSecond Stutter (City Lights, 2022) Common Ground (Pease Press, 2022) and many more.

Her full length collection, Synchronicity, The Oracle of Sun Medicine, was released in 2020, and nominated for the California Book Award. She is also co-curator of the Patrice Lumumba Anthology, released in 2021 by Nomadic Press, both now at Black Lawrence Press.

2023 has presented Tureeda to, Filoli, Stories in Bloom, Atherton, Stanford University, Poets by the Bay, Berkeley Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley, San Jose Poetry Center, Beautiful Black Books (BBB) interviewed by Tshaka Campbell, Santa Clara Poet Laureate, San Jose Museum of Art Invitational, curated by Poet Laureate Tshaka Campbell, Yerba Buena Gardens for the Arts, San Francisco Intersection for the Arts, S.F. Belmont Poetry Center, Belmont, and more…




On Writing The Body: Oracle of Memory

Tureeda Mikell’s 2nd full length collection, The Body: Oracle of Memory, is a fast forward rerun rewind bio-magnetic sense reactor, or as my ancestor put it, “You have eyes all over your body your mind isn’t even aware of. This book is for those who know a bit about the Twilight Zone!

Mikell writes…

My past lives as a nurse and an investigative news reporter have taught me to record what is seen in the patient and in society. This is a report in prose. Experiences I have documented and told needed a home to invite people in to share their otherworldly experience as I did in my previous book that was well received in spite of the C19 shutdown that altered its proper release. Recollections presented themselves before thoughts could surface and demanded a hearing in this collection, The Body: Oracle of Memory.


Selections from The Body: Oracle of Memory


Cream Cheese
I really wanted cream cheese that day
But had to learn a lesson
On sensory suppression in the late ’70s
I walked into a store towards the back
Where the cream cheese was stacked
Open the refrigerator door
Picked up the cream cheese
But my hand put it back
I thought my senses had cracked
Picked up my cream cheese again
And again
My hand put it back!
Miss-educated by the
Psycho-religious who defecate
Body backbone snake
Tree of knowledge is sin!  
I picked up my cream cheese again  
Bought it
Brought it home
Opened foil wrapper and find
Green …



The Lamp
Where did it begin?
In 1977, the year of the Snake
When Van Allen belts formed
Balls of light that burned in colors
I can’t describe like
Close encounters of the 3rd kind?
Perhaps it was the time
I tried to find the right church
Where thoughts and visions from
Scripture preachers preached
My third eye clarified
Through patterns of geometry
Was it while a nurse
Caring for patients
Feeling their medications
On my body justifying it through
Molecular isomers
Mirroring molecules.
Was it then I knew?
I know I stand on both sides
Of the Living Tree
Where the seen and unseen
Watch over me.
You tell me what you think.
One afternoon walking from
The kitchen to the living room
Front door pulls me like a magnet
and I am unable to move.
I could not have told you
A mysterious will
forced me to stand still.
When a voice whispered,
It’s a sin to see this way.
Yet there I stood at the door
Where myth, logic, and lore
Tell the story from body’s memory  
Turning eyes right, engaging the
Sight of a wall lamp left of the door.
Ancient scriptures long before
The bible spoke of a lamp
But this lamp was without a bulb.
New to this nest I had no need of it
Yet there I stood gazing at this lamp
Without a bulb!
Is this a test in met-a-physic…?



Remember Childhood
… We walk toward the third class
Body twitches and jerks as though
an invisible electrode is jolting facial muscles,
arms, chest, and cramps makes folds of my stomach.

 Arriving, no one seems to notice my physical drama.
No one looks, stares, or tries glance away as though
concealing something strange is happening with me

After introductions,
I can hear her story but can’t really
Hear her.
I’m in a slow motion movie somewhere
on a set I can’t identify causing
Chest pains to swell like tides rushing in and out
pushing against skin walls feeling taut tight about to split
as fluid seeps up out of my eyes like
a dam about to break and carry me away.
What’s wrong with you?
What’s wrong? I ask myself
While class continues
I tip-toe toward the teacher and whisper

I’ll be right back

Waters crashing forcefully against windows
Washing me into another time zone
I’m swirling in the hull of a ship
In the middle of an ocean where nausea descends
I step quickly from the classroom into
A vacant corridor running to faculty restroom door
Fumble for keys, shaking, I open and see it’s empty
Thankful no one is there to judge me
A tsunami breaches the child facing a mirror
What’s wrong?    What is wrong with you?
When murmur speaks,

Your dreams of a future were cut short
At the age, she recognized her ambition
You thought you were going to die!

Flood waters shut down
The child leaves
A proud woman returns
Scrutinizing her body’s interior worth.
I severed that past, didn’t I? …