We bear arms. We bear burdens. We even bear grudges. Rarely in these days of avarice and excess, do we bare our souls. But on Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Southfield Public Library, poet Ber-henda Williams did just that as she shared selections from her first book, Memoirs of the Human Experience and Everything In Between, Volume 1.
Resplendent in white, she nearly floated to the microphone as DJ Andre Royster appropriately spun a tune from Soul II Soul. With no hesitation, she looked the audience squarely in the eyes and cooed, “Papi, can I get next to you?”
The next half-hour was an intimate journey into the heart of a woman. And the near capacity audience responded with sighs, smiles and nods of agreement.
She delved into loneliness and isolation in “Enter the Room of Silence.” She proclaimed her writer’s manifesto in “Why I Write” and she paid homage to her personal she-ro, Alice P. Harvey, in “Catwoman.”
But Williams was at her best when she delved deep into her own unique human experience with the gorgeous “Wash My Hair.” This piece examined her relationship with her father in contrast and comparison to her spiritual identity. In four short stanzas, she let the audience into the tender places.
And if “Wash My Hair” showed her at her literary best, “Memoirs of a Drama Queen” showed her performance chops to their best advantage. While performing this poem, she sparkled.
Ber-henda means “bear hearted protector” and on Thursday night, the audience at the Southfield Public Library entrusted their hearts to her. True to her name, she watched over each one while simultaneously inserting a little piece of herself.
Memoirs of the Human Experience and Everything In Between, Volume 1 is Ber-henda William’s first book. It is a collection of poetry, essays and reflections. Visit her website at www.ber-hendawilliams.com to purchase your copy of the book or to experience her next appearance.