#This is Us – This is Me

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies…

~Erich Fromm

Last nights episode of This is Us hit me to the core. I have been a fan of the show since it’s inception, not only because the writing is so beautifully woven but I was particularly impressed at how perfectly they captured the personality and stressors of being a gifted black male in a white world. Randall reminds me so much of my own son and although I am not a white woman, as a sole parent, I can relate to her character as as a mother mostly raising her children on her own.

This episode brought back the deep sadness that I felt as the caretaker for my own mother. The hospice nurse coming to let us know that she had 48 hours left with us and the goodbyes we had to say as we stood sobbing by her side. It was the most heart wrenchingly beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced. At the age of 35, in my first trimester, carrying my first born in my womb I wished time would stop in that moment and raise her up just to see me through my pregnancy. I carried so much grief for so long afterwards, not just for myself but for my unborn child who would never know how it felt to have a loving, nurturing grandmother hug and kiss them. So of course my tears flowed during the goodbye scene, both affirming the end of this part of her journey and experiencing the writers vision of a soul’s transition from this life to the spirit world. I saw myself in the only daughter, the last one to say goodbye moments before she took her last breath. I saw my brothers, I saw my Godmother, her best friend letting her know it was okay to go and that she’d take over the nurturing.

I saw the sadness, the pain and the peace.

I saw the joy when Rebecca was finally reunited with her true love.

There was so much that reminded me of my own mother’s transition, yet what hit me the most was how Rebecca questioned if she had done enough as a mother. The what ifs that I often feel especially when my children are struggling with school and life. The questioning and guilt I feel when I leave them alone or with a caregiver because I just need some time away from all of the heavy responsibilities of giving and mothering. I adore my children and I wouldn’t have it any other way -well, maybe I would have a regular housekeeper! – raising them on my own, but I think society places such a burden on the custodial parent regardless of why the other parent is absent from parenting.

I am thankful that I have loved ones who remind me that I am a loving mother, and that I am doing the best I can with my children. I remind myself of how much I’ve sacrificed to provide for and support them. I think one thing the writer didn’t get right is that our loved ones continue to show up for us, care for us, help us and nurture us even after they transitioned. I’m sure I will do the same for my children and loved ones when I transition.

And because I have several decades of healthy life remaining in this lifetime, I am committed to incorporate #rest into my daily living so that I won’t have to wait until my transition to experience true rest.

Love,

Toni

bit.ly/tonilovemerch

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She’s here! 💞 “Toni’s Room” is now a poetry book!

She’s here! I did it Daddy! 💥The paperback version of “Toni’s Room is available for sale! 🤸🏿‍♀️💓 I dedicated my first poetry book to my children because they are my biggest fans. It is currently available as Kindle version and paperback on Amazon. I am planning a few local book signings and also have signed copies available to order on my website at 👉🏽bit.ly/tonilovemerch . Thank you all and especially my coach Gwenn Prinbeck for gently pushing me to uncover all that I am.
“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” ~ Brene’ Brown

Let’s Stay in touch!

Media, PA
For Inquiries and Promotions:
tonitalove2@gmail.com

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Who is Toni Love?

I was interviewed and featured by Connected Woman Magazine last year shortly after the release of my poetry EP titled The Restoration. My expectation was different than the outcome. I thought I would be talking more about myself as a writer and possibly my journey and experience producing my first body of work; I ended up exposing my life story and sharing my experience strength and hope to all of the women (and possibly men) in need of restoration!

Connected Woman Magazine was gracious enough to revive last year’s article and you can check it out for yourself. If you want to hear the CD, you can purchase a limited edition, autographed copy for $10 to celebrate the second anniversary of the release!

Connected Woman Graphic_Perseverence

I hope you take time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate over the holiday weekend and come out of it restored and ready!

Make today great and remember #loveistheanswer!

 

The Restoration CD

"Toni's CD is a lovely and intensely positive affair, taking her highly personal, even intimate poetry and setting it to soulful grooves and atmospheric arrangements. " - Robb McCall

$10.00

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Who Is Toni Love?

Have you had your heart broken and are afraid to love again? Do you feel like you give yourself to others and don’t know how to love yourself? Do you yearn for a surge of passion and romance in your life? Do you love good music and poetry? If you can say yes to any or all of these questions, then do yourself a favor and click the link below to order my debut EP titled “The Restoration”. I intertwine poetry with the brilliant music of Robb McCall to explore all of the above emotions and feelings. As you allow yourself to become immersed in the music and share in my journey, I am confident you will fall in love with love again!

You can purchase the entire EP with the bonus track or download the digital version by clicking the link below:

Order The Restoration on CD BABY.COM.

If you would like an autographed copy of the EP, or a Toni Love T-shirt, please visit my site by clicking here —-> Order Toni Love Music and Merchandise.

All CDs, t-shirts and tickets ordered from my site will arrive with a hand written thank you note and autographed as you choose.

The Restoration is my gift to you. I believe we can do nothing without love first. I offer you a chance to release old love, rekindle your current love or to believe that the love you seek will become more than a dream. Get the love you desire today!

~ I thank you for the love! Toni

#loveistheanswer

 

 

Posted in Artists, Gifted and Talented, Health and wellness, Hope, Keeping the Love Alive, Life After 40, Local Artists, love, Original Poetry, Passion, Poem, Poetry, Recreating yourself, Relationships, Support Local Artists, Uncategorized, Writers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Original Poetry, Original Music – Toni Love CD “The Restoration”

Toni Love Limited Edition CD

Toni Love Limited Edition CD

My baby has finally arrived! I’m so excited to announce that my first ever poetry CD/EP is available for purchase. There are six tracks and one bonus track of my original poetry and original music produced by Robb McCall of RPX Productions. I am currently working on getting the tracks formatted and uploaded to CD Baby so that the EP can be purchased digitally but until then you can email me at: tonitalove2@gmail.com and I will send you a PayPal invoice for $15 which covers the total amount of the CD and postage. I have a limited number of these special edition copies and I will personally autograph it for anyone who orders a physical copy. I am also happy to deliver the CD to you personally if you are in the Philadelphia area. Once again, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my GoFundMe.com contributors, family and friends. I’ve shared some of the comments I’ve received about “The Restoration” below:

Dope!

Loved it and the music enhanced the words. I would like to purchase a copy to share also!

Don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing!

You made me believe in love again!

I need three more copies!

Captivating!

Blown away in the most literal sense of the word!

I am thrilled at the responses but I think you should get your own copy and form your own opinion 🙂

I truly appreciate your support and thank you in advance for the LOVE!

~Toni Love #loveistheanswer

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May 18th Moonstone Arts #livepoetry Zoom Link !

Hey I hope you’re coming out on May 18th to check me out. I’ll be reading from my book Toni’s Room along with these fabulous poets at Fergie’s pub. But if you cannot then click the link below to get all the information you need to register for the virtual zoom reading. I hope you can join either way, but if you come out, you can get on the open mic. ♥️All my love, Toni

#loveistheanswer

https://us8.campaign-archive.com/?e=__test_email__&u=424f917e249b50a5495a507ba&id=8a0f2fceed

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Save the date! May 18th





Live Poetry Event: Tonita Austin, Sibelan Forrester, Alison Lubar
Wednesday May 18, 2022 – 7pm
Fergie’s Pub
1214 Sansom Street and on zoom – Registration Required

Come out and hang with me in the City!

I’m excited to share my poetry for the first time at a Moonstone Arts Center event with these gifted poets! There will be an open mic and loads of fun and poetry ❤️. I will also have copies of my book “Toni’s Room” for sale and if you already have a copy and want it signed, please bring it with you. They make wonderful Mother’s day gifts.

I hope to see you on the 18th!

https://moonstoneartscenter.org/event/live-poetry-event-tonita-austin-sibelan-forrester-alison-lubar/May 18th Reading

#love #TonisRoomBookLaunch #tonilove #artishealing

#poetryreading #livepoetry #loveyourself #art #poetrycommunity #supportlocalartists #poetsofinstagram #poetry #indieartist #supportthearts #originalpoetry #poetrybook #author #blackactivist #soloparent #blackwomenwriters #phillypoet #supportblackbusiness #supportblackartists #blackartist #indieartist #loveistheanswer

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Bring a poem, bring a friend April 6th, 2022 to Mad Poets Society, 7pm!

Elevator available, open mic and refreshments afterwards.

Repost from the Mad Poets Society of PA newsletter:

Friends and fans of poetry! Our next First Wednesday poetry reading, at 7:00 p.m. on April 6, will feature two wonderful poets: Tonita Austin, aka Toni Love, and James Feichthaler!

The reading will take place in the Ballroom, *upstairs* at the Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Rd., Wallingford, PA. If anyone has questions or needs info about the CAC elevator, contact series host Sibelan Forrester at <sforres1@swarthmore.edu> or leave voicemail at (610) 328-8162.

Light refreshments will be served, and an Open Mic will follow the featured reading.

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TONIGHT! Poetic Memoir Intensive with #Ursula Rucker

This intensive word/ thought/ emotion, self-truth-culling, seeks to be a journey of healing, art, therapy, and authentic conversations about life that will result in the creation of individual works/excerpts of EPIC memoir poetry. Each student is invited to perform their created works at this live-streamed event.

Check out the live streamed event on the SIFT Media 215 You Tube Channel tonight, Sunday January 30th from 6-7:30 PM. It’s a creative masterpiece to heal your soul, with the finale by Ursula Rucker!

Posted in Addiction, Artists, Gifted and Talented, Grief, Health and wellness, Hope, Local Artists, Loss, Original Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry in the Park – Come on out and enjoy some music poetry and #phillyjawns ❤

Greetings! If you’re in the neighborhood and enjoy being outdoors, please join us: Sunday, September 19 – 11:00am at Sankofa Farm in Bartram Gardens “Mother Tongue” is the final program in the series that celebrations the fortifying roots of Black Art.  The cob oven, called “The Furrow” is both a work of art and a symbol of divine womanhood, was created by Philly Jawn and award-winning multidisciplinary artist, Misty Sol.  Inspired by Toni Morrison’s book, Paradise, the oven will be lit, and fruits will be available in this gathering in remembrance of indigenous peoples and all our multicultural / multi-ethnic ancestors who made use of the land to feed loved ones.  Bring your young people, too, to express their craft-making creativity, to dance, to sing, and to introduce themselves on the open mic.  Also featuring Karen Smith and Ursula Rucker.  All are welcome! Wednesday, September 22 – Autumn Equinox at The Woodlands Philly Jawns–Aziza Kebe, Lois Moses, Kia Knight, Sherry Wilson Butler–will be performing “That Blackness: In Tribute to Nina Simone” as part of the Weez The Peoples (Karen Smith & Donna Dorman) set of the Ars Nova Workshop’s Autumn Equinox Festival.  The full schedule is below, with the Weez The People’s performance time scheduled from 6:15pm to 7:15pm.  (Philly Jawns will close the Weez portion of show at 7:00pm).  Please register in advance, don’t forget to bring a lawn chair, and don’t worry about dusk–the space will be lit and so will the stage.   Also featuring Philly Jawn, Toni Love, one of Philly’s favorite jazz vocalists, V. Shayne Frederick, and a few other Philly superstars! https://www.arsnovaworkshop.org/programs/new-grass-odean-pope-immanuel-wilkins-chad-taylor-trio-autumn-equinox-celebration-2021/ Performance Times  5:00 – 6:00 PM Spirits Up 6:15 – 7:15 PM Weez The Peoples 7:30 – 8:45 PM Odean Pope/Immanuel Wilkins/Chad Taylor Hope to see you ! ____________________  Powell-Wright http://www.phillyjawns2020.com Editor/Curator, Philly Jawns: For Women Revisited Lead Strategist, SistahWrites! Founder/Performer, For Women Collective Recipient, Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant Recipient, Pollination Project Grant Recipient, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Art & Travel Grant Founding Member/Performer, In The Company of Poets Guest Performer: Sistahs Laying Down Hands 

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Toni Love featuring at the PA Mad Poet Society virtual reading TONIGHT. Don’t go mad, write poetry! ❤

Reposted:

MAD POETS SOCIETY . Join us tonight for the next Livin’ on Luck reading at 7 pm! We will feature Pat Kelly, Toni Love, and Francesco Pasqualino. Open mic will follow hosted by Brooke Palma. To register, use the link below. See you there! Registration Link: https://wcupa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0udu-srzkrH9MkU0-RXt2oPzi1gB9giaND?fbclid=IwAR0S58sEyLeH2zARcRshO0mkZv0lSfzBDaXuLypAu1WDa0QYqKQLZzxsDIQ Pat Kelly is a writer from Harrisburg. He writes poetry and fiction that explores the dark fringes of humanity and its impact on time and memory. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry, Buried Litanies, which is both a means of personal therapy and a voice to his repressed experiences with childhood sexual abuse.

Tonita Austin also known as “Toni Love” is a gifted poet, singer, activist, and writer born in West Philadelphia. While attending Columbia University, Tonita was a student of Amiri Baraka and performed in Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls” as the Lady in Orange. Her writing is influenced by both experiences. She is a contributor to the anthology The Black Body and featured poet in the 2018 and 2020 Winter/Fall edition of the Philadelphia Arts and Urban Literary magazine. The Restoration EP is her first published recording; Toni’s Room is her first published book. Toni currently resides in Media,PA

Francesco Pasqualino is a restauranteur and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Francesco has supported many artistic groups including The International Poetry Forum, The Hillman Center for Performing Arts, and The Mad Poets Society, He has had the honor of studying with Ted Kooser and Mary Karr. His writing appears in Voices in Italian Americana, Mad Poets Review, Main Street Rag, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You’ll find his culinary insights on Attenzione! A Writer’s Journal on his restaurant’s website, pasqualinos.com. He has also shared his family recipes as an invited guest on WQED public television. Mad Poets Society · P.O. Box 1248 · Media, Pa 19063 · USA

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It’s National Poetry Month!

Not only is this a poet’s favourite time of year because poets are summoned to perform and share their work. But it is also a wonderous time for those who love poetry because you can pretty much find poetry anywhere during this national poetry month. A poem in your pocket Can be found scattered amongst stores in your community and you’ll find poetry online and social media so It’s a wonder full time to just get filled up on poetry.

Of course you can go on Amazon to grab a copy of my Poetry book “Toni’s Room; a poetic journey to restoration” If you order from my website you’ll get an autographed copy and while supplies last, a free copy of my poetry CD titled “The Restoration”.

Stay tuned and come back and check out the space from time to time I will publish some poems that Are not included in my book or on this site. Love words, love writing, love expression, love one another, love poetry!

Love,

Toni

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Finally Over

Original poetry from my book “Toni’s Room”

Photo Credit: Cheyenne Gil Photography

Finally Over


When I lost you
I found myself
Oh but it hurt
It pained for so long
Thinking of how foolish I had been
To believe in you
But my hurt turned into poetry
And dance
And I wrote
And danced
Until I filled up the emptiness in side of me
The void that set inside my soul when you were no longer there
Poetry about you and for myself
Flowed from my fingertips like golden run at carnival time in Trinidad
I loved until I stopped hurting
And found not only myself
But someone to love me for real
And yes I admit there were times I wished that he were you
Until constant caresses and truthful signs
Showed me that true love accepts me for what I am
Oh yes
It is finally over
Real love has rescued my weary soul
And you are but a faded memory
Because I am no longer afraid to receive the love
That I have been given

(c) Toni Love

Give yourself the gift of poetry on #Valentinesday

Available on Amazon.com or click below to order directly from me!

Purchase Autographed Copy

Thank you in advance for the love ❤ Stay well!

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Reposting Ariel Gore: A letter on Motherhood, poetry and relationships. All power to Joy!

“In Recollections of My Life as a Woman, the poet Diane di Prima tells of a night at Allen Ginsberg’s place in New York. She’d gotten a friend to babysit her young daughter and headed over to Ginsberg’s apartment because Jack Kerouac and Philip Whalen were in town for “one of those nights with lots of important intense talk about writing you don’t remember later.”

Well, Diane had promised her babysitter that she’d be back at 11:30 that night, and 11:30 starts rolling around, so Diane bids her farewells. “Whereupon, Kerouac raised himself up on one elbow on the linoleum and announced in a stentorian voice: ‘DI PRIMA, UNLESS YOU FORGET ABOUT YOUR BABYSITTER, YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO BE A WRITER.’”

How do you like that?

Kerouac just props himself up with one arm and drunkenly slaps us with the great fear we all share. He embodies the archetype of the selfish, self-destructive male artist, and he announces that unless we, too, are willing to be irresponsible to our relationships, we’ll never quite measure up.

“I considered this carefully, then and later,” Di Prima writes, “and allowed that at least part of me thought he was right. But nevertheless I got up and went home.”

Three cheers for di Prima!

“I’d given my word to my friend,” she explains, “and I would keep it. Maybe I was never going to be a writer, but I had to risk it. That was the risk that was hidden (like a Chinese puzzle) inside the other risk of: can I be a single mom and be a poet?”

A serious question, that one. Serious not only for moms but for all of us. Can we be present in our relationships and still do the work we feel called to do? It’s like my friend Lynn says: “A woman has to make a real effort not to dissolve into everything that needs her.” Our relationships need us, but we don’t want to dissolve. We refuse to dissolve, but we choose also to be responsible to our relationships. We’re tired of the drunk guy on the linoleum telling us we can’t do both. Women have always done both.

Looking back, di Prima recognizes what is true: Had she opted to stay that night, “there would be no poems. That is, the person who would have left a friend hanging who had done her a favor, also wouldn’t have stuck through thick and thin to the business of making poems. It is the same discipline throughout.”

The same discipline.

And discipline, like motherhood, is good for the soul. Poetry is good for the soul. Responsibility to all our dysfunctional relationships is good for the soul. The archetype of the selfish male artist tells us that we can’t manage all these things at once, that we can’t be simultaneously responsible to children, babysitters, self, and art, that we have to sacrifice, to abandon – but we know that’s a lie.

As I write this, Kerouac has been in his grave for nearly forty years. Diane di Prima is down in San Francisco, mother of five children, author of thirty-five books of poetry and several memoirs, powerhouse, and twenty-first-century radical.

We don’t need children to be happy, but motherhood has taught me this: to experience joy, we have to be able to honestly experience darkness, too. In responsibility to relationship, we build bodies of memory and life experience that we can be proud of. Motherhood has taught me that the opposite of happiness isn’t struggle. It isn’t even depression. The opposite of happiness is fear and obedience.

In Revolutionary Letters, di Prima writes, “Be strong. We have the right to make the universe we dream. No need to fear ‘science’ groveling apology for things as they are, ALL POWER TO JOY, which will remake the world.”

Three cheers for di Prima, for motherhood, for the courage to make the universe we dream.”

  • Ariel Gore, Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness
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