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.

Letters to Ayoola

Ayoola,

I was filled with so much joy when I saw your handwriting (that cursive script I could never master) on the envelope that was left on the doorstep of my apartment. As I read each word –I felt the peace, the joy and the love fill my soul. You’re happy and my heart could not rejoice with you more. Baba sounds like a wonderful man: everything that you waited and prayed so dutifully for. In short, your letter has brought sunshine and smiles to my spirit. Ose, Ore Mi Atata

I’ve been praying more and working harder. I know you’ll smile at this and say “Less work and more prayer!” I am trying to strike the balance but there is the common saying “God helps those who help themselves”? So I suppose I am testing the hypothesis.  

It seems, however, the more I have tried to organize and categorize all the various facets, the more out of control everything has gotten. I was thinking the other day what a beautiful feeling free-fall must be–letting go completely. But more truthfully Ayoola, the more in-control I have set out to be, the more out of touch I have become accustomed to feeling.  So, I’ve been building barricades that will ward off any unexpected pitfalls in April.

So, I’ve been building barricades. You first saw them and tore them down but I have rebuilt them to be much more solid and encompassing than before. It was an unconscious decision. Unpacking insecurities is so cliche and I have never been very good at articulating  my emotions. So these barricades have worked to ward off those who want to see beyond the smile and laughter. The barricades have made me an island but I realize this may only last for a fleeting moment. When love leaves and resentment comes to nestle in the corners. 

I am just somewhere between floating and dodging peace. Yet it is all I long for these days: Serenity knocking as opposed to the jostling bodies and loud sirens. So I’ve been thinking maybe the barricades must come down? but how?

Ore mi, I know you’ll probably read this saying or thinking, “you don start again oo” and you are probably right…But I long to see your cursive again so please fill me in on all the details of passionate Baba and the unrelenting pot-bellied Oga-CEO.

Stay well,

 

 

 

Paradox Unraveled

I know she often thinks of the beauty of death.

As she lays down her weary body

That once swayed gracefully from side to side

That once paid homage to the goddess of vitality.

But she is now weary and withdrawn-

Withdrawn from the world and withdrawn from herself

Unable to recognize the reflection of the ghost before her

She weeps quietly,

Inwardly

It is the inward pain that has devoured her

It came silently but knowingly

Knowing the destruction it would cause and the

Disarray that would be the final result

And as she lays down her weary body

I want to reach out and pull her

Close to me

Close to something

Living-

Because life is what she has lost

Because life is what she has used to barter

Because life is what she deserves to have.

But she is weary now

Weary of living.

The art of unliving

Of always giving of herself

Is one she has perfected

Thus, she no longer knows

What it means to live whole

And not,

as a sacrifice.

As she lays down her weary body

Her eyes grow distant and wide

Searching for her home above the heavens,

her place among the stars.

Perhaps, this is really living

She has found peace in this paradox

Of being dead to find life

I want to reach out and pull her

Close to me

But there is futility embroidered around this effort

She has found something-

Something much more potent than life itself

The mourning Women

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.

The African Dream

When they painted the African narrative

They did not anticipate growth.

Or perhaps they prayed against it?

The beauty of the African dream,

the black dream in the white mind

is that it never comes true.

It must remain blurry and murky before it can be realized.

For it is upon the pot-bellied rulers that they discuss

“the New Africa”

the “Rebirth”.

The beauty of the African dream-

must be found in the impoverished infant

suckling a dried and withered breast

of a smiling corpse

The beauty of the African dream

is the illiterate woman,

toiling the fields,

for crops that will never yield.

Of the dirty children playing under the

Amarula tree.

The beauty of the African dream

is found in the colonized ideology fed to the locals

in the disguise of the Saints and Mother Mary.

That is the only narrative the white mind

can swallow with his morning tea.