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Mother

“Yet so many of the stories that I write, that we all write, are my mother’s stories. Only recently did I fully realize this: that through years of listening to my mother’s stories of her life, I have absorbed not only the stories themselves, but something of the manner in which she spoke, something of the urgency that involves the knowledge that her stories- like her life- must be recorded.”   Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.

After reading this essay, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, I thought of my own mother obviously, and her stories she told me and my siblings. I remember how much it irritated me, since it was the same stories I’ve heard from the womb. But now, as I reflect on the stories that I’ve written, I’m reminded of those times she’d sit with us, and tell us about her life, like we were her recorder, documenting those times that were missed. I can’t help but see my mother staring back at me from my pages.

All my life, I’ve tried not to be like her, my mother. I’ve avoided experiences I believed would lead to one of her tragic endings. How sadly ironic, that the stories I was trying to forget are the stories that I’ve been unconsciously writing, that I can’t ignore because they make up who I am.

Walker also spoke about the lengths her mother took to transform their, shabby, home into something special, unique and warm, and how this act was her mother’s way of expressing herself. It was a manifestation of her mother’s love: planting an ambitious garden. It was, also, a reflection of her mother’s artistic abilities. This has opened my eyes to my own mother’s ambitious gardening.

When I was a kid, I never considered what my mother did in our home as a manifestation of her artistic abilities, mainly because it wasn’t something people celebrated, valued or respected. It was taken for granted, and considered something that women are expected to do. There wasn’t anything special about keeping a home, and raising five children.  Now, as I’m older, I regret that I never recognized and appreciated my mother’s ambitious gardening.

She knew how to make, and keep things beautiful, my mother. Even when she didn’t have the correct tools, she invented her own tools, and her own style which made everything even more special. She had the eye.

I miss her so much. And words can’t bring her back.  Nothing can imagine her back, or how much I miss her, my mother (My Imaginary Margin).  Especially since she can no longer share in my revelations.  Selfish, yes. Even now, when she’s dead.

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped celebrating Christmas, especially since it was such a huge deal for my mother. She’d go the extra mile, staying up all hours of the night on Christmas Eve, redecorating with new curtains and bed sheets.  The smell of freshly painted steps, and polished furniture swelled throughout the house, giving an exciting sense of newness, of home.

And of course the food, the food that was made with my mother’s hands, seasoned with all her love: baked fish, chicken, and stewed pork, macaroni pie, ham, callaloo and beans, and avocado salad; gingerbread, sweet bread, fruit cake, carrot cake, punch de creme (a Caribbean punch made of cream) and sorrel (a Caribbean drink made from the buds of the sorrel plant that grows in the Caribbean) that is boiled with ginger, and then sweetened with sugar, or if you like wine or rum.  Hmm, yum. The cooking was insane.  As a child, the kitchen was a garden of wondrous smells and deliciousness.

Mother is my substance, whose love I suckle upon
absent of thought to what she is.
Mother is my substance, whose skin is young as mine
even as waters sweeping along oceans and rivers
glowing brownish illuminations as the sun.
Mother is my substance whose personality
I mistakenly guise as funny, and foreign to mine

I’ve noticed in fact, the tendencies to hold my head like mother
my rear end suddenly resembles the roundness of her bountiful rump
and I’ve recently discovered a colony of moles on my neck like mother’s.
My laugh has changed as well into her scandalous octaves
which made you join in with joyous glee
I am reminded everyday of her presence and her legacy.
My mother, my substance, my ambivalent substance.

Searching for The Douen in Spirit of Borges’ “Mutations”

I wrote this possibly in 2019 as a treatment for a video for one of my songs off of my record “Quarrel”. I still believe in the vision I had for this record as the many visceral landscapes have not been achieved. But anyway, here is a glimpse of what I envisioned for one of the songs: “The Sea”.,,

They are the children left – descendants of the human race, whom survived the nuclear blast – after the collapse of the global empire.

The nuclear blast destroyed all infrastructure and further poisoned all natural resources, leaving the land and the sea barren.

Affected by the toxic radiation, many living beings died immediately… Those beings whom adapted to the poison, became radioactive mutants, passing this gene onto their offsprings. 

The life expectancy of anything became almost impossible to predict. As after birth, most beings experienced accelerated growth spurts. Aging exponentially in minutes, a baby can become an adult in a week, and if it survived the environment, dies of old age within a month. 

The remaining scientists developed a vaccine which blocked the growth spurts, but they were incapable of completely reversing the mutant gene which affected aging. So the life expectancy for any human is eighteen years, if that. They also were incapable of treating individual mutations; as the gene affected each human differently.

The human survivors live in the deep tunnels of once major hubs, creating underground shanty towns; or they populated caves until the rising tide flooded these temporary cities. The ever rising tide has drowned entire islands. The survivors have returned to an ancient practice of nomadism.

The survivors (ages seven to fifteen):

Gus – because of their mutation they can only communicate through sounds. Their best octaves are those of seagulls: shrieking a soaring through the permanently blood orange sky – which rains acid – and their violent cawing when irritated. They are also twelve feet tall (and still growing), with almost elastic like limbs.

Beau – because of their mutation they absorb matter, and when agitated they become an enormous glowing mass of blue atomic energy. Their vibrations is a magnitude! Electrifying all the relics that they and their siblings find broken. They believe they were once the ruler of the sea: The Blue Whale.

Pen – because of their mutation, they have gill like openings around their neck making breathing the already toxic air difficult. Their hands and feet are webbed and flipper like… They are oval shaped, making walking and running difficult. So on days the children have to run from the acid rain or rising tide, Pen’s siblings take turns carrying them on their backs. Pen believes they could swim as gracefully as a penguin in the Sea.

Elie (offspring of Beau) – because of their mutation their skin can easily create static. They can burn everything, so they cannot wear regular clothing. Because of their mutation they are capable of creating fire, and help keep them and others alive. They believe that in the sea they are an electric eel.

Buccoo – because of their mutation they change color and shape: expressing their urgent emotion in color, and mimicking their environment. Their most impressive and tranquil mimicry is changing into a tree… They recently discovered that their branches (their extended reach) had the ability to create buds which blossoms with various blooms of color. The children read about “Trees” on a tablet they restored. Buccoo believes that in the sea, they can become an entire reef where all can inhabit!

Scenes:

The children are performing a dance battle. Gus break dances at the start of the music. The musical instruments are from the relics, objects of the old world, which the children have collected and recreated to make sounds. When they are not scavenging for better shelter and food, the children perfect their instruments and dance moves. 

With their elastic like neck, Gus interchangeably shrieks up to the blood orange sky, as their dance gracefully soars like a seagull. They end with an infinity pose, while crying their best seagull. 

It is an invitation, as Beau takes Gus’s energy and magnetically recreates their shadow. While Pen’s webbed feet and hands pulsates vibes and sustains this interaction, both Gus and Beau dance like the image frames from the broken cell phones (relics) they restored. 

Needing each other, the children look at each other with an understanding. As they perform the synchronized group part for the dance.

There is an old folk tale which the children discovered on one of the relics. An old folk tale completely possessing them. It was the tale of a mysterious seacreature, called The Douen. 

As it was told, The Douen lured children to the sea. This folk tale of The Douen was older than any of the worlds the children learnt of, as the tale was used as a cautionary example to scare children from venturing into the sea or else The Douen will have you for all of eternity! 

The children were not frighten by The Douen. In fact, they wanted to find this mysterious sea creature, as none of them had ever experienced a “beach”… The sea of the old world was not what they’ve lived with. The children can all swim, but they all could never swim enough to survive the rising tide! 

After they all proclaimed their different stories of encountering The Douen, the children went to sleep searching for The Douen.

The Douen discovers their dreamings and visits their blood orange sky that rains acid. The Douen invites them into its ocean where the children became what they are:

<This is at the climax of the song, nearing the end where the guitar explodes alongside the piano’s garden forming flowers>

Bucco transformed into a reef garden, with ever growing green vegetation, while Elie sporadically electrifies this hiddenness, while Beau gloriously spews blue through their vibrating magnitudes, while Pen swirls, somersaults gracefully through the currents, while Gus keenly looks from above, gently walking barefoot, as they squeal a joy unimaginable.

The Sea

Lil BayBee TyGah

About three months ago, I rescued a kitten. I had seen it around my apartment building; sometimes running into the busy streets. I decided to take it in for my four year old niece, because she has been asking her parents for a furry companion. So much so, she created an imaginary companion called, Rufus the dog. Since that day I brought the kitten into my life, I’ve fallen in love with it. I call it Lil BayBee TyGah. My attachment has grown so, that I was inspired to write a poem which I plan to turn into a song for my future second album.

I’ve felt this before
even before I stole a kitten
from a village of cats

going back further
than my time in this
neighborhood

I wanted this even
as I didn’t wanna
wanna be patient.

You’re not mine anyways
You’re a gift
that I keep around.

That evening of sardines
with another one
older, but course enough
to see nonsense
hard enough to ignore
being hungry

The look it gave
knowing it was alone…

So yeah, I stole a kitten
from its family.

I cannot imagine anything
without you being by my side
like when you sense
the smell of me deeper
deeper than anything
anyone, anything!

Even as she is awful.
She ruined my room!
All my small treasures
ripped and bitten to pieces.
Tiny things now things
that cannot bring that back.

She is so beautifully kind
Like I hate it when she decides:

I will kiss you now
regardless!

Regardless!
I’ll kiss you right now!

I wanted this even as I don’t wanna
Wanna be patient.
The kitten isn’t mine anyways

She is a gift!

She looks up at me
Up sideways
With amazing eyes
Sideways
gateways of honesty
asking, but not really,
What is wrong?

When We See Each Other Episode 24

When We See Each Other Episode 24

On episode 24 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the amazing singer-songwriter Katie Kuffel. We talked about her latest album, “Alligator,” which dropped in March. The album itself is very nostalgic, dreamy, expansive, mysterious, haunting at times in the sense of casting spells. “Alligator” is available on all streaming platforms (and bandcamp), so put it on your playlist!!!

We also talked about how “Alligator” is different from her previous works, being queer in the music industry, how does identity influence her work, and how one of the tracks (1999) deals with inter-generational trauma. Check the chat out HERE.

Also, also, please rate and review the show at Apple podcast. It goes a long way.

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of BIPOC/queer/Trans/non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from spoken word to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 23

When We See Each Other Episode 23

On episode 23 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other (WWSEO), I chatted with queer singer-songwriter, dancer, filmmaker and just a phenomenal artist, An Only Child.

I caught myself fantasizing about being a modern dancer while listening to his music, and I really enjoyed talking with him, and learning about his process. Check the interview out HERE, and also his album “Prepare The Body,” which is available on all streaming platforms and Bandcamp.

Also, share and subscribe to this podcast where ever you listen to podcasts. Rate and review WWSEO at Apple podcast. It helps with the algorithms!

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of BIPOC/queer/Trans/non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from spoken word to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 22

When We See Each Other Episode 22

On episode 22 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with Syrian-African American indie pop artist Shenna, and found out that she briefly studied at my alma mater, Howard University, the Black Harvard.

We talked about her single, “Try Another Taste,” why it’s so catchy and just a serious dose of serotonin! We even called out some of the pros and cons of living in NYC. Listen to the episode HERE.

Also, share and subscribe to this podcast where ever you listen to podcasts. Rate and review WWSEO at Apple podcast. It helps with the algorithms!

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of BIPOC/queer/Trans/non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from spoken word to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 21

When We See Each Other Episode 21

On episode 21 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other (WWSEO), I chatted with singer/songwriter Mel Fine. We talked about their anthem “In Between,” coming out as non-binary, speaking your unapologetic truth, and more. Listen to the episode HERE.

Also, share and subscribe to this podcast where ever you listen to podcasts. Rate and review WWSEO at Apple podcast. It helps with the algorithms!

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of BIPOC, queer, Trans, non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from spoken word to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk, etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 20

When We See Each Other Episode 20

On episode 20 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other (WWSEO), I chatted with Minnesota Trans rapper Sci-Fi. We talked about Trans visibility in the hip hop scene, her creative process, her new single “Bloom”, which is available on all streaming platforms, and she blessed us with some bars. You definitely need to check her out! Her flow is so smooth and rich. You can listen to the episode HERE.

Also, share and subscribe to this podcast where ever you listen to podcasts. Rate and review WWSEO at Apple podcast. It helps with the algorithms!

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of BIPOC, queer, Trans, non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from spoken word to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk, etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 19

When We See Each Other Episode 19

On episode 19 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the singer/songwriter behind the viral bop “Earth is Ghetto, I Want to Leave,” Aliah Sheffield. We talked about what inspired the song, how it became an internet sensation, and most importantly, which drink is evil, tequila or whiskey? Lol. You can listen to the episode HERE.

Make sure to check out Aliah’s Youtube channel for more of her music right here!

Also, share this episode with a friend, and rate/review this podcast at Apple podcast.

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of Black, queer, Trans, non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a broad range of genres, stretching from poetry to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk, etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

Night Life

Night Life

I know I’ve been mostly posting about my podcast… I’m trying to change that, and write more poetry and stories. Unfortunately, the muse hasn’t been visiting me as often as I’d like, but the other night I was staring up at the moon, and it was so glorious that it inspired me to take this picture. I also wrote a short micro poem.

The boisterous winter windswept
it has its reasons, and I have mine
standing still to watch the Moon shape
itself in some many clouds, as the gravity
of everything spirals out all our debris in a dance.

When We See Each Other Episode 18

When We See Each Other Episode 18

On episode 18 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I had a great chat with singer/songwriter, and my good friend, Mackenzie Shivers.

We talked about her upcoming album Rejection Letter, how women aren’t allowed to be angry, bringing children into a world that at most times seems incredibly toxic, and the process of being a creative. Basically, we touched on all the things!

I also played two singles from the album: “Martha’s Vineyard,” which was released in January, and “Afraid,” which dropped last Thursday. Both singles are available on all streaming platforms, and also Bandcamp.

You can listen to the episode HERE.

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of Black, queer, Trans, non-binary musicians/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time.

The pod gathers from a board range of genres, stretching from poetry to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk, etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

Please rate and review this podcast at Apple podcast!

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 17: Medicine for Melancholy

When We See Each Other Episode 17: Medicine for Melancholy

On this episode of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I talked with poet and performance artist Stephen Jackman-Torkoff from the queer musical collective The Queer Songbook Orchestra. The Queer Songbook Orchestra is a 13-piece chamber pop ensemble based in Toronto that focuses on surfacing queer narratives in pop music. They released “Medicine for Melancholy” with Bonjay in November of last year. Check out the video for the track HERE.

It was a pleasure talking with Stephen, and they also read one of their poems, “Magic.” My favorite line was, “Be the flower you wish to grow in the world.” They also informed us on what exactly is miracle poop, lol. Listen to the interview HERE.

When We See Each Other is a bi-weekly podcast centering the work of Black, queer, trans, non-binary musician/artists, and also friend musicians I’ve known for some time. The pod gathers from a board range of genres, stretching from poetry to indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk, etc. The show is sort of a mixed bag, where artists are interviewed on their creative process, and how identity influences their work.

Please rate and review this podcast at Apple podcast, Tune-In, anywhere you listen to podcast!

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 16

When We See Each Other Episode 16

On episode 16 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, we had the first interview for twenty twenty-one with the queer Haitian country artist, DeLila Black. DeLila now lives in the UK, and she had a lot to say about tokenism, and what it means to be Black and queer in the country music scene. Check out our chat HERE or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Also, please rate and review this podcast HERE.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episodes 13 & 14: End of Year Wrap-Up!

When We See Each Other Episodes 13 & 14: End of Year Wrap-Up!

On BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other episodes 13 & 14, I wrap-up the podcast’s first end of year ‘best ofs’. On episode 13, I looked back on my favorite moments from the interviews with the eight artists invited on the show. Listen HERE! And on episode 14, I play all of the amazing music by these artists. Listen HERE!

2020 was a really difficult year, with many changes and loss, but I’m so grateful to have this podcast. Talking with the various artists was eye opening and truly a gift. I can’t wait to continue on this path in twenty-one, bringing new artists on the pod, as we discuss and explore their creative processes, and how identity shapes their craft.

Rate and review this podcast HERE!

This podcast is produced by Stereo Active Media.

See you on the other side!

When We See Each Other Episode 12

When We See Each Other Episode 12

On episode 12 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I talked with UK Black feminist punk rock trio Big Joanie. We chatted about everything, from their creative process, being signed to the epic label Kill Rock Stars, to what books they are reading. Also, two members of the band are writing their own books! Listen to the interview HERE.

Please rate and review this podcast at Apple Podcast!

When We See Each Other Episode 11

When We See Each Other Episode 11

On episode 11 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the queer indie folk duo Tender Creature, and played a couple tracks from their album “An Offering“, which is available on all platforms. You can listen to interview HERE.

Please rate and review this podcast at Apple Podcast!

When We See Each Other Episode 10

When We See Each Other Episode 10

On episode 10 of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the politically conscious rapper, Billy Dean Thomas. We talked about everything, from the elections to what book they are currently reading. Billy Dean just recently dropped their album, For Better or Worse, which is available everywhere. I highly recommend checking it out! It was a real pleasure talking with Billy Dean, and listening back to the convo gave me hope for the future. You can check out the interview HERE.

When We See Each Other Episode 9

On episode 9 of BTRtoday’s When We See Each Other, I chatted with the multi-genre duo The Black Creatures from Kansas City. We talked about all the things: their latest album, Wild Echoes, gender identity, race, current books they’re reading…! Check it out! This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.

When We See Each Other Episode 7

On this week’s episode of BTRtoday’s When We See Each Other, I interviewed Blxck Cxsper, artist and founder of the Black Trans record label Trans Trenderz. We talked about the music industry and how Trans Trenderz is providing space for Black Trans artist. Check it out HERE.

BayBee TyGah and Me: An Ode for My Cat!

We are separated now.

Our communal bond severed into a mince of galaxies collecting into dust from a distance away.

I am grateful that you are still alive, even as our separation is a sort of a death.

Memories of seeing you leap into yourself and have the zoomies, and loving each moment of it. I am here in which ether points of being available are a reciprocity. Where I can no longer depend on you for the support you brought from the comfort of your tiger striped fur.

I sigh in a longing sense to not only feel your purring rhythm, which comforted me as I gently pet the wild part, the most visceral part, which you allowed, “Yes you may touch me.”

I keep thinking your crawl will bring us right back into this room of a heart where you’re used to, you will pounce onto the bed with a look of, “This is mine!”

I’m not sure what joy I brought to your life other than you ruled my universe.

When We See Each Other Episode 6

On this episode of BTRtoday’s When We See Each Other, I recap with some music from Anjimile, NYALLAH, Witch Prophet, and I also played new music from Bethany Thomas, Spring Silver, Jay Americana and Shelz. You can listen HERE.

This podcast is produced by Stereoactive Media.