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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.

Windex: I Don’t Know What to Say…?

This started as a poem from a list of things to get for a new apartment, that was exploring one of the cleaning items which I forgot: a bathroom mirror…

When I was

When I was a little kid, I use to stay up late at night and stare for hours up at the stars, and it had nothing to do with me wanting to be an astronaut. In hindsight, the reason I was and still am fascinated with space is that, it felt like a real escape. So maybe space was my heaven to an extent heaven is in the clouds, or listening to the steelpan orchestra in the then village/neighborhood I lived in, or riding my bike in circles when the moon possessed me?

When I was a teenager, I did the same thing, except I started writing short sad bad poems and stories… I could tell that my parents were concerned of my trajectory, they honestly tried… Like, at one point I said I wanted to be a vet, because I loved animals as a kid, and like Antonio from Encanto, I seriously believed I could of talk to animals. I remember taking out the worms from one of our dogs’ paws because it was infected, and being on constant alert for a pup who was sick and we had to nurse back to life, but only to die from a stupid accident. But I quickly learned through watching a being survive, while they were close to death, and they die from a nonsensical death, that made me realize, I can’t stomach being a vet.

My dad bought me a Singer sewing machine, and my mom enrolled me into an apprenticeship with a seamstress. I failed! I failed because, I guess I’m not really good at measuring people or anything? I have tried and it was like me being inaccurate about my own body and other people’s bodies. This is so many of many examples, If you ever say one last shitty word of “unskilled” workers 🤬🤬🤬

At least in my mirror of myself and understanding of my needs, wants and which makes me fulfilled, the only thing I was clearly good and was once skilled at was drumming, playing/writing music, writing poems, short stories/and my novel regardless of whomever thought it was good or not. Those were the areas I felt most alive and excelled in a sense of my sense of self beyond, what I was told by educators and people close to me: that I am a dunce. It is the reason I’m so protective of my nibling’s education, even though I know their parents, my siblings, are involved with who is teaching them. And I’m also invested with the people who they are interested in…. excellence which equals growth and equity, which understands everyone and are satisfying to me and for you!

The Dance of The Birds

It is true that the atmosphere benefits

From breathing, like the lungs of trees

cascading an air of a breeze while housing

when housing the live living of an ordinary sweet chirps from a Sparrow recognizing the end of a day’s work and gossip about existence… Or is it a Northern Cardinal, whom sang me nothing, but shown me their red flame of a Mohawk resisting any response or release of what I know as I watch and admire the dance of the birds…

Why “Radical Acceptance” Does Not Work.

I wrote this way back in possibly 2013… Basically before I came out as non-binary.

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” — Zora Neale Hurston

In the fall of last year, I began attending a small women’s group as part of my medical treatment. The group has been a tremendous support system for me in the sense of connecting with other women of color who suffer from mental illnesses, as well as having a safe space where I can speak freely. The prominent goal of the group is to teach coping skills under the psychological methodology of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is facilitated by a Doctor who specializes in DBT.

I have experienced great discomfort aligning my thoughts around one of DBT’s major units, Radical Acceptance.

According to the modules for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Radical Acceptance is defined as a skill:

“One of the four options you have for any problem is Radical Acceptance. Radical acceptance is about accepting of life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is.”  (Linehan, 1993)

For my existence, radical acceptance just does not work in a practical way. It seems to be most suitably applicable when dealing with nature and events which are out of the hands of human control.

Linehan’s findings, facts, thought, seem to be constructed on and for a particular group of people. This nullifies her argument that is this practice/skill as a “standard.” How can this skill be a standard, when its principles were not intended for a larger population who are affected in a variety of aggravated degrees beyond simply, “letting it go,” “accepting the moment?” Redundant nonsense is what I call this standard skill. Redundant nonsense, since its ideal is already commonly accepted and used by people who are forced into dichotomies: human versus subhuman, victim versus predator. These are not out of human control. The use of radical acceptance at this level supports the already sickening pathology for sickness!

On a very basic level, the concept/philosophy of radical acceptance works. I know if I go outside in zero degree weather without a coat, I will freeze to death. I accept my inability to control the weather, and I adapt to whatever the weather presents each day: I wear a coat when it is really cold. I wear nothing when it is really hot. It is clear I know what radical acceptance is; and on this level, I have been practicing its principle for a very long time.

However, it is foolish (at best, redundant) for my life’s existence to adopt its principle beyond the basic level of what definitely cannot be controlled. For example, I am genderqueer non-binary. Some days I am a man, and some, I am a woman, and then there are days I am both. There are even days when I am neither a man nor a woman. It has taken some time for this form of self love and acceptance to exist, especially when there is so much outside of my personal being which pervasively says my existence is not welcomed.

Another aspect of who I am, which blatantly does not fit into the pegs of society, is my race. Just one example: a friend was trying to explain to me why the word nigger is just a word, and how he can use it. He – a white man – possibly believes that because he is married to a person of color, this somehow makes him black even though he can opt out of being black when it gets tricky (survival).

All of these squares intersect with each other, overlapping in varying degrees of how safe is it…?! I am constantly weighing this question of safety. 

The reason I believe adopting radical acceptance beyond the basic is foolish, is that, I have been radically accepting the ignorance of classist, racist, sexist, homophobic bigots for all of my life. From a very young age, I have been made very aware; I cannot change anyone. This philosophy then purports a banal repetitive knowledge. 

The most personal of any experience where I radically accepted the moment: when an important family member referred to my acceptance of myself as genderqueer as shame to the family. I radically accepted I could not change this family member, and I decided to not have any contact with them as a way of protecting myself from their inability to accept me. I live with the pain of this decision, because that was the last conversation I had with that important family member before they unexpectedly died.

I have also radically accepted being verbally and physically attacked by strangers and people in authority, just because they were confused. Yes, I have turned the other cheek, been the bigger person when being called a cunt, nigger, bulldagger, bitch, whore, dyke.

I have and continue to radically accept this is something that will happen as a part of my reality, and I must understand that this person, these people, are acting out of something else which has nothing to do with me. At the same time, it is an incredibly dangerous moment of vulnerability, when you are aware that this person is, most times, in a position of power, and they can really hurt you. 

There are countless moments where I radically accepted what was unfolding, because in all of them, I was not in a position to do anything else. Whether it was going to the bathroom and your presence appears threatening for whatever stupid reason, and that person decides to hurt you. Or where your supervisor recognizes they can get away with treating you badly because your position not only outside in the world at large is seen as less, but at the workplace as well. Or, even in your love relationship, where your partner, after biting a piece of your lip off, says to the threat of reporting them to the police, “No one will believe you, because I am white and a lawyer.” You say nothing because you radically accepted it. Because it is true. This is your reality.

What is most recognizable, but subliminally rendered in the silent meaning for radical acceptance, is what everyone says: “Stop being a victim.” I have never seen or heard, “Stop being a predator.” Well, of course not, why would anyone not want to be the predator? How about we start there first before we decide it is ok to radically accept being treated like shit.

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.