Dear Mother

Celebrating the greatness of those we have or have had the blessing to call “Mother”. What does Motherhood mean to you?

You are a balancing act

of both splendor and sacrifice.

With grace, you usher in life-

giving and giving,

running dry but giving still.

Do you consider the act of pillaging and taking what is rightly yours?

Sometimes. I am sure.

And yet, within the arc of your back you carry the world

effortlessly and with the understanding

of a world that divided itself

before it could allow your healing to take root.

Counting your dreams, you offer them up and

sing sweet melodies

that have raised up the very vultures

that appear at midday and midnight –

a perfectly timed destruction.

But mother,

I must still not understand and

somehow hope that we never will –

so we dream of whole selves that can fall

on occasion and

hand the bags to another

even for a short while.

Oh, Dear Mother.

Unseeing

Where does the dehumanization of men begin to ensure the perpetuation of the patriarchy and do we even see it?

I saw him.

But quickly turned away-

from the tears that appeared oddly placed.

Proportions of strength mingled with unspoken fears,

Unfathered promises,

that broke through the makeshift shield of boldness.

I might have seen him there.

Lingering between becoming and failure,

Halting memories of

childhoods lost in the fires of being

a stoic shadow of self

a notion of boldness unrealized.

I couldn’t have seen him,

balancing expectation with

the weight of unearned priviliges,

falling under,

whimpering,

and weak?

I never saw.

On Edges

Tracing the outlines of this edge,

I peruse the overlays of memories and

unfinished conversations over,

too many empty glasses-

numbness seeks response and yet,

the edge brings echos of safety,

carrying melancholy in a basket of

chronicles that pay tribute to the fallen

women that betrayed the path of freedom;

too soon and leaving many sisters

behind.

The edge beckons still,

mirroring dreams that picture the place where pain and ease

converse and

make love.

Then mirrors, then men

shadowed moonlight visions I heard

the familiar downpour

always a hollow, almost terrified

shower.

morphed for a thousand and one years of suppression

between rock and the softness

of one set free in an unknown yet shackled way.

i heard but never found the leaking source in time

to perhaps embrace in the way sadness marries hopelessness

giving birth to a single way

forward that at times

promises a thing like

peacefulness.

i was lost most times-

between

the vision and the slippery slopes.

It is now, somewhere between

a past unfinished and a new moon

that I saw the many men crouched, as though in

meditation.

their cries as a melody of shattered mirrors grappling for a reflection

a conclusion of self, a climax of revelations

laid waste but sprouting still

And then the gong-

And then the silence.

mirror became steel again

and all stood upright in a fortitifude that embroidered

silence

around pain.

grey

Listening now to the sound of the gong,

flowing through the membranes of loss,

of loss brought forward as a sacrifice to the gods,

to the gods of retribution who stand between the clear grey line of,

blackness meeting armed whiteness at the back of police vans,

of gunpowder and stolen voices– anchored unto the seams of the Atlantic,

of the Atlantic heavy with unborn child, clinging to the expanse of being and becoming,

of being and becoming in between the greyness of limitations that are both blinding as

they are obscure.

Listening now to the sound of the gong,

praying hope over the darkness of snatched nights, whispering mothers, walking over the edge,

over the edge of our dreams that lay beside us by day and haunt us as they lay beneath us, all too often.

All too often, do we find the greyness, unyielding,

but always

there

 

28 MORE Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball (2018)

Redefining blackness starts here.

Scott Woods Makes Lists

When I made the first of these lists back in 2016 I had no idea the places it would go: Libraries, schools and families all over the world continue to share it even now, and I am humbled by its reception. I’ve long threatened to do a sequel to that list, so here it is. Same old librarian, all new tricks. Same rules apply:

1) Titles that came out within the last ten years (or so).
2) A spread in the gender of the protagonists.
3) Shine light on typically ignored aspects of black life. Nothing against history, but we aren’t exactly hurting for books on slavery. We could do with some more books about fishing, owning pets, and generally any other hobby children have. (That said, this list caught a lot more history than the last one.)

The books are not ranked in any way. Creator(s) are noted: Author/Illustrator.

View original post 1,261 more words

Tell me, Lover

AM I easy to love when I drop,

stoop-

into the whispers?

AM I easy to love when i close the blackness and roll

between the shapes of was and is?

AM I easy to love when i choose the easier reflections against the

loud chants of “as The Man”?

AM I easy to love when its more about the open, the opening

and the blindness within?

Tell me, lover.

Kehinde

kennmackay-pair-of-yoruba-ibeji-figures-side

 

born of the illustrious ibeji, 

You have fallen between the two worlds.

Constructing a certain void that cushions reality-

taking the real from the unreal and creating

a melange of uncertainty,

of which you rest your mind

that once carried gourds of milk

to the ifa. 

Beautiful one, lagging behind the one-

Taiye –

who eagerly jets into the world.

Only to wish to return to the

womb and to re-begin the starting place

and to pause the finishing-

perhaps in order to erase

the chaos of being-

lifeless, life-filled, but yet

unformed, still.

But the metamorphosis,

is parallel in your eyes-

as you seek to delve deeper into the

thrusting waters of blank parchment, that sing:

bwerani, bwerani, bwerani kuno 

but yet, with one foot in

with the other unsure…unperturbed.

Kehinde, the lampost-

dimming with reflections of those forgotten

in the rebirth of timelessness.

 

pc: https://tfeanda.com/2015/09/02/tribal-art-fair/comment-page-1/

Letters to Ayoola (3)

Ayoola, ore mi,

A thousand oceans and broken telephone wires could not separate us. As I usually do, I have mused and mused over your last careful and cursive letter. Perhaps, I should have celebrated the coming of a new life by going through the traditional fanfare. Tears of joy. A congratulatory call. More tears. Anticipation. Rather, your impending birth has had me contemplating our beloved Orisha. I’ve thought about it often enough to say it: this new life must be floating somewhere between orun ati aye. Are you impatient? I cannot bear the anguish of waiting or more still, my absence.

Between soothing tears and building broken bridges, I have been praying for light. When the darkness engulfed my blindness I found it easier to shield my body. I enjoyed the invisibility and I would sometimes gracefully dance between the uneven shadows I found. My own was lost but there were many I found along the way. But I still prayed for the light. I prayed fervently and fearfully, knowing that my body- naked, shapeless and contorted would be seen- be unveiled-
to whom?
These questions, as do thoughts of how many tears paradise can carry, elude me daily. Where do we find the strength to build when stones so quickly turn to sand? Supposing I lost my footing, which I constantly do–which of the two worlds would accept my heavy, sinful bounty of a body? Ore mi, I am still falling: 

Ore mi, I am still falling: 

I don start again, abi? I know. All my love to Baba, at long last, some sense in the title. And to my beloved, yes, mine: whisper not only the beauty but also the pure evils and maladroits of our Great Care-Taker. If you won’t, I shall, and you know that is a promise

To more days of Sangria sweetness.

Yours,