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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.

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.

 

Episode 5 of When We See Each Other

On the latest episode of BRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interviewed Witch Prophet, a soul artists from Toronto, about their album, ‘DNA Activation,’ as well as their experience in the music industry as a Black and queer artist. ‘DNA Activation’ is a rich blend of R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz and African vibes, that draws on Witch Prophet’s Ethiopian/Eritrean ancestry and heritage. You can check out the interview HERE.

 

When We See Each Other Episode 4

On this episode of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interviewed Black queer, gender-nonconforming femme, soul music artist NYALLAH. We chatted about their debut album, Reflections, and how much it is a look back at the past and journeying into a healing future. We also talked about their experience in the indie music scene as a Black queer, GNC, femme. Check it out HERE or anywhere you get your podcasts!

 

When We See Each Other Episode 3

On this week’s of BTRtoday‘s When We See Each Other, I interview Black trans artist Anjimile. His album, Giver Taker, is scheduled to be released on September 18th, under the record label Father/Daugther Records. His gorgeous single, Maker which delves into gender/Trans identity and coming out, is so generous in sound and movement that you must listen, and mark the date for the rest of the album! It’s definitely going to be memorable! Also on this episode, there is music from R&B rising star TruVonne, and the contemplative track by composer Shannon Sea. You can listen to the interview and entire episode HERE!

When We See Each Other Episode 2: Getting My Feet Wet

Hey there, the second episode of my podcast, “When We See Each Other” went live Wednesday on Break Through Radio (BTRtoday). The episode features music from Kin4Life, Delila Black and Mackenzie Shivers. Check it out HERE!

Portrait: Facial Recognition

A face in a square box, while my life has always been nonlinear in design to capture me in a pose. The lighting will have to render me in all essence that includes lines below my chin, possessing the means of my neck. My hair is wild and tightly coiled, a definition of my set ablaze heart. My forehead creased with question marks. My eyes as glorious as of a late afternoon’s sun glowing in the panorama. My ears piqued with sound, restless around my oval universe, seeking new varieties and variables. My nose broad and brimming my smile across my cheekful geometry. My thick layered cake lips blowing a kiss to the world.

My Podcast: When We See Each Other

Hello, I have some really great news! Recently, I was asked to do a podcast for Break Through Radio (BTR). The show will air every other Wednesday and feature Black, queer, trans, non-binary artists, in the hopes of sharing and exposing their work. You can listen to the first episode HERE.

A Gift For Radical Existence

My Black Joy is witnessing my nieces and nephews, my niblings, be alive. Thriving as the future, and me watch them and celebrate enough that their teenage, young adulthood makes them embarrass of my shout-out. Like, yeah aunty, yeah uncle, I hear you. Black joy is watching them cut up. Is that the phrase? Am I getting it wrong? When you are so right with your mashups, and your new language for something as old in its expression. Black Love is being a witness to their parent’s’ commitment, my siblings, which brought and nurtured the young in this world when Blackness is seen as dangerous.

Today and always
I am forever seeing you
out at large, a gift.

Explosions In The Sky

So this is a response to all the fireworks happening in the New York area and else where.

 

Explosions In The Sky

The sky lights up with the sound of Boom
resonating through the walls. Like thunder it
exists as a reminder of disaster, a Boom Boom
Boom so you know who is in charge. Like a
frighten dog, like a frighten cat, we escape
under the bed. We take to cover and bury our
heads into our arms. Hide our bodies and our
love ones from the terror of what the sky is
suppose to mean now. Safe? It is a word we
dream about and fight hard to attain. Safe? It
is a word that cares nothing about who is
outside facing the elements which was
created. We are looked as dangerous while
our bodies, an esse, are the most vulnerable.

Near Night

 

Spent the evening watching fireflies
that’s what I did because it meant
observing the nature of quiet while
being restless with nerves by
all that has happened and
all that can still can…
I watched those lightning bugs ignite
pulses of pronounced intensity
shortly appear to shortly disappear
vanishing as the transition occurs
dusk is their majestic moment
where such leaping guts sparkle
intermittently, they beam a breath
of fire in the nigh night.

I Wanted to Lookup at The Moon

The weather exists outside your own intentions. The rain comes with its clouds regardless of your want to lookup at the moon, to receive and see its splendid aura. Especially at a time where I have to lookout for threat rather than beauty. The beauty in the sounds of joyous glee. The beauty in seeing the miraculousness of things of living a life. When I watch for the next killing, the next mourning in a hashtag. Am I next? Am I next if I step outside and demand my space as a human being? Will I be next because my fight/flight/freeze mode is at a vigilance, so my actions are seen as a danger, while you have been so dangerous to me!

Ignited moon gaze
ricocheting in waves of
Us, Oh the glory

BLACK

We’re at the same juncture where Black people are met with the same struggle, one which seems to never end. We’re still fighting for our lives to matter. We still can’t breathe as the knees of oppression bends into our necks, killing us. We’ve peacefully marched, we’ve walked with our anger boiling beneath our rich and beautiful skin, but yet this ugly history of us being beaten down, being hosed down still continues today. A reflection of us standing up against the fences, the faces of an established denial of my place in the world, where I dream as much as you do. I wish to sing my troubles. But it is the same tune. What else is there for us to say out loud, write down and shout, We shall over come… Should I tell the next generation it’s up to them now, to carry this anger, this despair, this anxiety of living outside, while I can’t even escape it myself? My life is ordinary like the songs of any bird-call voicing an incandescent sound, but because of the hatred of my existence I am martyred for my race, for my color: Black!

Black is the beauty
of the night forever and ever
Black is what brings light

Missing

Summer nights when the air is perfumed with
barbecue and peppered with a gamut of
sounds blasting from windows and speeding cars.
The chatter of get togethers with the
occasional scandalous uproar of laughter.
Summer nights that sizzles with heat
even after the sun sets, mosquitoes mark us in
our sluttish outfits. We cool off while smelling
like the sweltering outside which dreams and
longs for a breeze to soothe the thickness of
the atmosphere. We use to gather with our
homemade delicacies given as an offering, a
ritual of the time welcoming a blaze of
fireflies saying good evening.

To Get Through the Current and Stand on Slippery Rocks

To survive is gonna mean more than just
weathering today as you scrape together
leftovers and create a spontaneous meal to
feed the hunger inside our hearts. It will mean
a new way of breathing, as your lungs can no
longer take the pressure of the air of the past.
It would mean your kidneys cannot renew your
blood like it use to. It would mean your heart
can no longer function as simply a tool but a
bearer of all that is alive and living. The air
which trees transport will be differently
received, reciprocated as we wear a mask
now. I am terrified as I am piqued with
curiosity of where does this passage take us.

Platonic Love

In real life, I can count my friends on one hand
and tell you stories of us being together, like it
was yesterday, we did that thing which was so
funny to us, or we went through a rough patch
where we disagreed with each other, but some
how found ourselves back to laughing like old
times sake, and wondering when we’d meet up
again. Like a current, there’s a sweet love
running deep of many years and it shows, with
this responsibility of a connection. Intimacies
at the level where you say, you tell each other
the hard truth which needs to be heard. You
show up even while it’s heavy to be there
because this is your friend, your family.

Weekend Blood

Remembering the weekend blood pulsate
throughout my body, throbbing excitement
an emancipation from the hard work week.
Friday, meant you celebrated however you are
in whichever minuscule way of greeting how
labor felt and won a time to rest in jubilation.
The energy in the streets whether when
it’s frigidly cold, you yet emerge in fire
the electric, electric of being free for two days.
It still meant working these chores around
your home, as Sunday signified the blues
return of another Monday. You were free to be
as you became and can imagine leaving
this frenzy of just two days.

Isolation

On Saturday, I participated in a virtual writing Salon, and it was very enlightening and inspiring. It definitely was thoughtful food for the soul, and I can’t wait for next month’s Salon. We were given writing prompts, and one of them was to write a Haibun, a prose/haiku poem. Here, I make my attempt, as I write about social distancing, and the mental toll it has on us.

Isolation

Alone in my room, there I am sitting on the unmade bed. With my phone in hand, I scroll through what seems to be the universe of information. Like satellites, thoughts scattered across social caves. I watch cat videos, even as I observe my own. Each thing she does is more spectacular, so I document and label it. I watch the latest dance craze, that makes me young enough in my heart to want to share in the spirit of a challenge. I just watch, and watch, lurching in between rooms where you collect your loneliness and project it through the screen. A quiet longing, a hunger for connection, for touch, for community, for communal sharing. Because, we are social beings. Alone is it’s own force of meditation. You become use to listening to your river of thoughts. You time travel and revisit moments only to reflect them back as what you should of, could of. Alone becomes a sequenced pattern you follow. But this “alone” is different, as I wake up every day worrying about, well, will I make it to the other side? The other side everyone is dreaming, desiring? As the first thing you’d do when it’s over? Many say they’ll flock to shows, swarming them to capacity. To never again take for granted this freedom. In the meantime, you hang on by hanging out through a screen of online get togethers. Let’s meet again a week from today, even as we can’t tell how long this will last. Who knows for sure? Tomorrow you might be stricken.

Set apart on this
journey to the other side
where we laugh and dance

 

 

Concatenation

While out at sea, we said goodbye to another day
as the now bronze gold sun meets mountainsides
reflecting a journey in its open waves, calmly
lapping ripples across the wide blue ocean’s surface.

If I could walk on water
I would tell you about
leaving the sun nearing evening
of all the mountains climbing stratosphere
shapes of the sky reaching the earth.

No, I am not religious, unless you consider
my praxis, which orbits around the faith in forming
a collecting of words, rhythm in a rhyme and a space
of sounds coming together.

I am practicing with enormous spirit to call it a worship
of a denomination – a place where miracles occur
and faith in each other’s real participation of reciprocity happens.

I’m calling it now as I write to you.
I’m calling it now as I sing to you.

To manifest in songs of celebration.
To manifest in words of praise.
Let them persevere to comfort our days.

Choice

So, I FaceTimed with an old friend, and we sort of had our very own writing session. We both wrote for an hour or so, based off a prompt. My prompt was, Where in your life are you willing to make a choice? This is what came out of it:

Choice

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
All of me from the top of my head
to the bottom of my feet

I will love my tattooed hands and long arms
helping me to freely write and play

I will love my globular head
holding my mind and thoughts
my gracious face which expresses my deepest wishes

I will love this magnificent body
It is the vessel which carries my soul

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
with all my past mistakes, as life is a journey
we can only live and learn

These mistakes were made to teach
new lessons about the world

Today I will make the choice of choosing me
which means I must love myself
which means I must forgive myself
which means I must find comfort
in the multitudes of selves that is me

I choose me
I choose me
as there is only one me in the world