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I’ve always liked Jill Scott. Pardon the terrible, terrible music cliche, but the woman marches to the beat of her own drum. She puts her personal life, including a recent divorce, out there in her songs. She talks A LOT on stage, if her live album is any indication. She goes into these long, sort of random spoken-word pieces, and tells adults in the audience to send their kids away because this is “for grown folks.” And that was just the early years.

Sometimes, Scott gets lumped in with other neo-soul singers, like Erykah Badu. But, that’s not fair. She’s definitely not as wacky as Badu, who inspired this memorable passage in a Texas Monthly profile:

I had already learned something that morning about waiting for Badu. She had been in her home studio until five in the morning, so we had started our interview almost two hours late. Badu admits that her own conception of the temporal rarely coincides with the one used by people who wear watches. Now, holding her daughter, she talked, again in her own way, about time. “The last ten years have been like a circle,” she said, “going back to Chinese astrology. I got my record deal in 1996, which was the Year of the Pig, and my first album came out in 1997. I was born in 1971, which was also the Year of the Pig. And 2007 will be the Year of the Pig again. I know this year will be special.”

(Sorry, I read the story over a year and a half ago, and I still remembered that, and felt a strong desire to share it.)

Back to Scott. When her Who Is Jill Scott? CD came out in 2000, I borrowed it from a friend and listened to it for a long time. I’ve been less enamored with her recent cds, but I’m always interested in knowing what she’s up to. She’s coming to the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday, and then she heads off to Africa to do more filming on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The movie has been in the news a lot, especially when director Anthony Minghella passed away in March.

But, I’ve seen little about Scott’s “first-ever” “earthy, personal and tell-it-like-it-is” book of poetry, as the book jacket calls it.

Included in this book, I expected to see quite a few verses on overcoming loss, hope, body image, city life in Philadelphia (Jill’s hometown), and love, love, love. Scott loves love. That’s for sure.

What I did not expect to see was this small poem, as well as a few others surprises:

I pushed and
I grunted and
I labored and
I squeezed and
You splashed and
I cleaned and
I stood and
I flushed
I don’t even think of you now

The title: “Potty Trained”

Photo by Simba Madziva