I hear them in quiet moments.
These women with their mourning songs-
So hauntingly beautiful,
So hollow and wide
but always reaching my spirit in it’s darkest depths.
I sometimes call out to them to stop.
Knowing however, that I want nothing of the sort.
These women whose wails have created more life
and pleasure than can be comprehended.
They carry their mourning songs sewn and wrapped across their hearts.
These women with calloused hands that have cultivated and uprooted their hopes
and have faithfully watered the ego’s of pot-bellied husbands.
These mourning Women with their distant looks
and forgotten stories.
I have seen them many times before
in mirrors of the past and echos of the future
I shut my eyes and try to paint a lighter reflection-
one that demands less of my being.
She appears again, silent at first
And then her mourning song begins.
And they keep telling me: my Black is beautiful.
As though this new revelation should surprise me.
Shock me, into
appreciating my existence, and to be grateful for my borrowed space.
How do they know I do not bow to my temple of blackness daily?
and pay homage often to the struggles whitened out in history texts?
They encourage me to accept my wide heavy hips and thick thighs.
They speak in weak tones of expression of inner beauty and imitations of color blindness,
Who are these that dictate what my reflections should sing?
Those who trap my stories in a box
Those who describe me as one thing.
One beautiful Black thing.
Why should i be defined, aligned and understood?
they teach me to know myself, while
always fearing i will recognize the lies behind their borrowed truths
and hand-woven sermons
Having produced an image of me that they find palatable and comfortable,
they clip my wings and demand i soar.
The unapologetic existence has proved to be an art that is rarely celebrated.
In fact the very idea has been crucified more often than embraced.
But what are the rules you might ask?
What makes your existence unapologetic and my own an awkward copy that begs acceptance from all?
Well, that is just it.
The one who lives unapologetic is just that.
She is wary of prophets and motherhood.
He is making love to his gay lover on 24th street.
She is Meriam Ibrahim who was sentenced to death for loving a Christian man.
He is taking pictures instead of going to Law school.
To exist unapologetic-ally is to fore go the world. To admit and to surrender to who you were and are.
And to do so without apology and with a smile.