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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.

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

Pink Moon

Tonight there is going to be a pink full moon. In preparation, these past couple nights the moon has been showing itself off with greatness. If you can, look up tonight.

Pink Moon

When I look up at you
amazed by your intensity
to vibrate and shine so unforgivingly
you are ineradicable for all whom
experience your many days and times away.
Quietly as your body moves around the earth
as I look up at you, slowly ruminating
breathing deeply for the root of purpose
the reason for having this life and what it
means; speaking becomes a form of silence
or a champion of howls like a werewolf
as you silhouette through the trees and
escape from the rooftops and high rise stories
Glorifying the sky with your magnitude.

Devastation

It was the warmest winter
It only snowed one day and it wasn’t a blizzard
like in past years. I guess climate change is
real but it won’t be really real until levees are
broken, diseases, viruses chases anyone and
everyone and the salvation of human life is on
the wealthy suffering from the same plaque.
Suddenly, the crisis is actual after all the dead
black and brown people surface with their
bodies to the rim of existence. Suddenly, we’re
all in it together when there’s no place to flee to.
Suddenly, we’re all human and needing the same
care in order to survive. Suddenly sudden isn’t
an after thought but proactive measures.

‪Lil BayBee TyGah: An Ode to my Cat

I have felt this before
a companion love, one
which makes you step out
yourself and have to care
for more than just you.

Remembering how it all began
hitherto, I stole a kitten
from a village of cats
because I wanted this
even as I didn’t wanna
be patient and see it through.

She is not mine anyways.

She is a spontaneous gift
who leaps across the floor
to the window where her gaze
of squirrels searching for acorns
gatherings of sparrows are a captivating display.

There is a game she likes to play where she
believes I’m chasing her and before she scurries away
she grunts what I assume is a tiny laugh of see
you can’t catch me, later.

She is a gift of 5:00am affection
as she licks my hands with her gravel tongue
and purrs and kneads the blankets until done.

Even as she is awful

she ruined my room!
All my small treasures
ripped and bitten to pieces.
Tiny immeasurable things now
that cannot be brought back

she is still beautifully kind.

Like when she decides:
I will kiss you now regardless!

I’ll kiss you right now!

Symbiosis

To be a black, non-binary, queer, immigrant is
to live many lives, as you see the world through a
multitude of lenses, encompassing a myriad of
lived experiences. The world is no longer fixed
in a box of a pair but an ever evolving
continuum of galaxies. Burning bright with
other ways of being. Burning bright with a
desire to live. Burning bright to explode as to
be seen and loved. Some days I resent
visibility, as countless of us didn’t make it, into
and out of, having to learn how to live through
this system of one or the other. But then I
won’t be there to feel their glorious splendor
as they shine so royal.

Rona Trip

At some point you have to re-up, and tomorrow I have to go outside for groceries and I’m really afraid. I feel like I’ll die if I step outside, like I will immediately have the virus. I know a lot of this is anxiety, but how careful can you be? I wrote about it of course. Hoping everyone is safe.

Rona Trip

Tomorrow, I’ll venture out of my home for
essentials. Normally this chore would just be a
labor of crowded spaces where you contort
your body to grab a bag of rice, cans of
beans, oil, meat, pasta sauce with spaghetti.
Now sharing any space leaves you wondering
scared how much feet did you leave between.
You feel like you would die if you step outside
greeting Spring’s air in the first place. Getting
close to another never felt more dangerous.
Social distancing is our Winter when we wish
and wonder about Summer as our time to
mingle free of layers, of separation, the time
when we shared apart.

Every Poem is an Existential Crisis

My younger brother has been visiting me in my dreams and it is both relieving and terrifying. I find relief knowing that he is still around but the fear present is a real terror. The experience has left me wondering if the reason he’s showed up is to warn me about something. He died unexpectedly, so did my mother, and they both have a presence in the dreams. My brother’s much more so. I wish I could translate my dreams.

Every Poem is an Existential Crisis

I wish I could translate my dreams from my
dreamscape, then maybe the fear won’t be as
transfix. Where lying still, I hear myself cry out
while in dual state: in the dream and waking
up from it: the terror that leads to worry about
impending doom once you’re aroused. Dreams
are important. They are messages missed
which you reflect on in meditative states.
Dreams are an experience into the other-side
of what you were exposed to in reality. Another
language to learn, another power to discover
and possess. While I know the imminent is
true, that dying is inevitable, I wonder how
much of my dreams are a harbinger of what I
already know but not quite recognized.