~Summer’s Eve ~
I am a woman!
I am proud-
I am everything you want.
The adoring wife,
A beautiful mother,
A grandmother a granddaughter
A daughter, a sister,
A lover, the aunt.
Your enemy, your friend.
I am the working lady.
A widow left behind.
The Spawn of Adam's rib-
A mentor throughout this world.
A lady with class, sometimes a material girl.
A flower, and the sound of rain.
I am the color of the rainbow.
I am deeper than the sea.
I am the pink ribbon you wear.
I am delicate like snow.
The sun and the moon in your eyes.
A twister during dark skies.
The Daughter of Eve-
And, here is the only feeling I want to endorse.
In honor and appreciation to all the women of the world.
Happy Mother’s day!
*GRANDMA WAITS IN THE GARDEN*
Hi grandpa it's me again!
Your dentures sit in an open glass
Do you remember the tears grandma sang before she passed?
The way she looked into your eyes,
Moments before she said her goodbyes
Grandpa, I found a note from grandma, she doesn't want you to cry.
Hi grandpa, it’s me again!
The rocking chair is old and dusty
Do you remember the way grandma sat me on her lap?
Read many stories before I took a nap
How she enjoyed brushing my hair with her hands
Love the way she rocked me to sleep every night until I grew.
I stored your hearing aid away
Do you remember that special musical box in grandma's drawer?
I opened it last night, to watch the ballerina dance
I wish you could hear the tiny chimes grandma lived in
I hope you don’t mind, I’m keeping grandmothers favorite scarf.
I'm caressing grandma’s picture frame
Do you like the way she looked in that pretty sundress?
Grandpa, I miss the things grandmother did for you
I like the walking stick she handcrafted, the day your needed support
It kept you in balance every time we took long hikes in the woods.
Hello grandpa, it's me again!
Here I sit holding your hand
I have no more tears
Soon you will see grandma
Please tell her hi, and I know you will be there the day I die
Give grandma a kiss, and tell her I miss her
I carry my mother
like a rock in my pocket
that I just can’t seem to throw away
It serves me
it just weighs me down
When I first found it,
when I first picked it up
and started carrying it with me,
I thought it so beautiful –
I could look at it for hours
But, like my mother,
it never looked back at me,
never grew warm under my loving gaze
For the longest, I was blind to that,
Blind to anything but the beauty,
blind to the cold, hard,
beyond-remote nature of the rock,
of my mother,
I carry my mother,
a thought without weight
And she’s heavier
and she’s colder
than all the stones
By the time I recognized her
immutable, emotional unavailability,
I had run out of joy,
felt depleted of hope –
But I could not,
for the life of me,
stop seeking a beauty, a warmth,
inside her heart
Could not stop
that one day this stone,
deep inside my pocket,
Might just become
its own opposite –
Change from hard to fluid,
from cold to warm
But my rock, my hard burden,
will only turn to water
When my mother
Modest woman moderate woman
Your inner beauty strikes me
Like the tongue of noble eloquence
More than gold even refined gold
Or our purged fulgent silver.
Black woman proud woman
Your pride is not haughty
But a humble pride of eaglets;
Your black eyes are so glittering
As the eyes of our dark rivers
Filled with messages of peace
That banish the broody turmoil
From those panting hearts
Of your foreigned offsprings.
Gentle mother diligent mother
Your kindness kindles the fires
Of my heart –
Your dexterity dresses
The table of our ageless history
And the thought of your being
– Oh kind mother! –
Makes the most delicious menu
For my heart.
I remember your naked feet
Fast and fair as a pigeon’s limbs
Treading the invisible paths
Almost covered by shrubs
Small shrubs misted by the prime mist.
I remember the wood from the wood
The water from the water
And manifold items from jungle alleys
Borne by your delicate hands
And upon your soft black-haired head.
I remember the constant match
To markets and to farms
And your bright face smeared with
The ash dust
Making you more beautiful
Than any woman whose feet
Ever touched the naked earth.
I remember those burdens
Upon your cheerful kin-souls
And babies strapped to your backs
Babes full of unspoken words
To unborn others in patient wombs
Waiting in an endless turn –
Indeed, mother is dove!
A black dove and a dark huntress
A hunter’s gift from the maker?
Mother is like a weaver-bird
Building a big foot-like nest
Filled with corn and warmth
A bundle of eagle-flight
Mother is dove
And the hunter calls her
The clan’s eternal dove.
Oh, mother loving woman
Gentle as our black horizon
To you we humbly come
From these far and lonely lands
Hoping to grace our love and beauty
Before that jealous grave
Makes her temporary feast.
See the woman.
See the face behind its age.
See the beauty of her form.
See the way her way becomes her.
See past her once taught skin, as it was
when it enflamed many a man.
See the way she holds her head;
the tilt of her neck, the ease
of her being.
See the strength that binds her jaw,
unrelenting in its flex.
See her hurt displayed, as shadows
fall like night upon the earth,
eager for rest and resolution -
for the one she could not save.
See her darkness. See it very well.
See it shatter like glass, glinting,
when she giggles like a girl.
See her shine.
As the shades of dark days rise,
See the years that grace her eyes,
like rays of her own sun
exponentially shining forth.
See forgiveness in her patient hands
as they weave memories with a touch.
See the breadth of her breasts,
for they have quenched her children’s hunger,
soothed their frantic cries,
and became the safe haven for her beloved.
See her empty, scarred abdomen –
round and perfect in its imperfections,
once holding the essence of all things;
carrying creation within –
see the divine home of God.
See the innocent baby,
the impetuous youth,
the voluptuous woman,
the devoted wife,
the selfless mother.
See the wisdom of the grandmother –
the epitome of every moment lived
for someone else, and the realization
of the circle.
Hear the acceptance in her sigh.
See the gifts she has given –
see the woman!
See the goddess!
The beginning and the end!
See the infinite that bares the name,
See her for all that she is and isn’t.
Smell her scent and know you are home.
Taste the strength of her words on your tongue.
Hear her experiences like your own.
To touch her soul is to touch perpetuity!
See her face in your mirror.
See the tears that fall proudly
upon the woman you’ve become,
and hope yet to become
when you have lived through all that has been
set before you –
tasted each woman’s tears as if they were your own.
When you enter that perfect union,
when you become,
when you come
you will see yourself in all things,
and your journey, will see you back
*Reposted for Chris's Get Your Rebel On, Contest! This was written with my Beautiful
Grandmother in mind. She saved my life in more ways than one. love you, Gran. This one's
for you. (and every woman, and woman lover, here)
In the drawer
Behind all the white t-shirts
Packed away in the corner where
It is safe, I keep you.
You are hidden
No one knows you're there,
I take you out to see your
Smiling yet depressed face.
I realize the trouble you went through
Just to make sure I live a better life
Than you did.
Here you hold your baby one last time
Before sending him off to a
Life without poverty.
He doesn't say goodbye because
He is so small and innocent.
You give him a little kiss and say
Goodbye my sweet child.
So I thank you
Sweet, sweet, lady.
I'll put you back
In that safe little place,
So that when the time comes
For me to meet you,
I will find you before
You find me.
It is thirty six years ago, and I am with her in the garden,
where July is a picnic of egg sandwiches, cress-stippled,
the fuzzy down of peaches, acid-yellow tang of lemonade.
Her fingers have the delicacy of dancers
as she deftly mixes paint on a palette blue as the sky -
blobs of acrylics bright as sweet shop candy.
Summer is a sizzling colour wheel, spinning in its heat hues -
cadmium orange, pyrrole red, gold ochre -
those fever flames that blaze across her page.
My small world is warmed by the sun in her smile.
Russian vine stitches a delicate doily over the shed roof.
The heat-glazed garden shimmers and buzzes.
There is a twilight world under sweet clusterings of lilacs:
a cool shock of shade, pendulous-legged black flies
hovering in the murky mauve.
China white stars of jasmine light my way.
Please keep me close. Let me stay.
It is twenty six years ago, a morning of mourning,
and the notes of the dead bells toll
as, mist-muffled, they roll
through November's sleet streets.
I close my eyes and the sun in her smile parts the clouds.
Sober-suited people crush and cluster in pews;
row upon row of perylene black, winter-pale faces titanium white.
Stained glass windows filter and warm the ash-grey light
until her coffin is a vibrant palette of rainbows.
There are stories - lots of stories - anecdotes,
a crimson-backed journal she wrote,
a painting she painted, coffin-propped,
a poetry reading - one of her own -
Tapestry is a wondrous thing, in it the lovely colours sing. . .
Creamed rice-colour roses heap sweet
on her stone - a slate plate serving up a dead name -
and carnations splash cadmium scarlet
like blood throbbing from the gash of grief's raw wound.
It is now, and I am alone, taking a short cut home
through evening's rich palette.
Elegiac elms shed viridian tears,
and the sky is a burnt sienna explosion.
October's umber seeps into November's sepia tones.
My mind is coloured with her and then.
I hold a small cameo box that held
the colourful spill of her pills: kaleidoscope planets
orbiting my loneliness, spinning off into nothingness. . .
Dark figures fill the park: silhouettes, shadows
following me home; spirits stepped from her portraits,
faces pushed down into coat collars, crinkled with frowns.
Paint-pinned people in their primaries and pastels,
on canvas, under glass; stopped heartbeats of the past.
Trapped moments on paper and boards.
I close my eyes and see the sun in her smile,
recall how, since her passing, life has become a free fall,
a parapet leap without parachute.
And the smudged charcoal lines of memory
are beginning to blur, fading like her watercolours. . .
in memory of my grandmother
In the past, my country
cradled me within her womb,
but our roles reversed.
I held her in my arms,
felt her slip away.
I lost my country today.
Gave her up to synthetic medicine,
and pie-charts overseas.
They wrenched her from my arms,
took her from my loving arms
to poke, to prod and draw blood.
I prayed while watching attempts made
at her resuscitation,
as greedy hands held out pens,
prodding me to fill in the proper forms.
The world is on lithium,
the drug has defiled the last drop of clean water.
My country was on lithium,
for her, the vibrant colours turned into dull grays,
and in the end, her heart gave way
from having spent too many decades
trapped within a gilded cage.
She had an organ donor card -
her organs were sold off one-by-one
while she still clung onto life.
Her organs were removed,
replaced with waving flags
and roaring stadiums.
Men from every standing, race and creed,
groped Motherland's body
after causing her to bleed.
Many men had laid with her.
Oh, how they did.
At least some men showed decency,
graced her with meaningful caresses.
But they were far and few between -
between the rape, miscarriages and spoils.
Lithium is being slipped into my drink,
into my food, into the very air I breathe,
so daily I purge,
horrified by my country's overdose.
She looks decrepit, splayed out in the morgue,
a cardboard ticket hanging from a big toe
like an empty, whorish price tag.
I will have to give her a proper burial in my mind,
for they are going to have Mother embalmed,
encase her in a glass coffin,
and put her on display.
Our Mother passed away,
yet the land is here to stay.
I will walk across clear-cut ridges,
pass through neon-lit distractions
as a gypsy vagabond.
From now on, the territorial lines
mean nothing more to me than rules to follow.
The shell of this country remains,
Nationalism has turned empty-hollow.
I lost my country today.
Gave her up to synthetic medicine,
and pie-charts overseas.
I lost my country today,
held her in my arms,
watched her slip away,
felt her slip away.
April 30th, 2012
It will hurt like a tattoo guns sting
as the ink infiltrates your skin.
Your first love will be like a tattoo on your heart,
always remembering the blessings and pain he gave you.
Be with a person who fills you with fluttering hummingbirds
even after the first and second and tenth kiss
who drinks the nectar of your demons and sucks them lifeless.
There will be men who you think will carry you forever
but after so long of holding
your feet above the water
they will throw you down.
They will not reach out a hand to pick you back up.
They will turn cheek,
kissless and forgotton.
You will stand with dirt palms
and fall back into his inferno.
There will be loves like this,
who convince you to prick yourself with safety pins,
the ones who carry guns on their backs
but never shoot to protect,
only to hurt.
The ones who drink all the water,
leave you parched in the desert of his mistakes
telling you that they are your own.
The ones who shoot arrows in your lungs
and you lye bleeding
believing that the color of your blood is true love for him.
The hour hand will spin around the clock
too many times before you leave him.
It will hurt.
You thought it was true,
but after the death of it
you will realize you deserve someone so much sweeter
than a bitter apple.
Love the one who doesn’t cheat you blind,
but instead comes to you with truths in his wretched palms
and waits for you to
but never gives up and never stops wishing that the past could rewind
that he could change the things wrong that he did to you.
Love the one who feeds your heart warm apple pie,
who cries in front of your children,
who drives them to school and hugs them when they get home.
Be with someone who doesn’t ask for you to change
but instead loves your mistakes
cradles them within his fabric lungs
breathes them in with a grin.
Love is an interesting thing.
You will be thrown out of a moving car to the side of the road.
Some will come running back to you.
Don’t jump back in the front seat,
until you find someone who buckles the seat belt for you.
Drives five under the speed limit,
takes things slowly and waits for you to be ready to accelerate.
I am here for you.
Remember me, the one who loved you first,
the one who will never stop loving you.
Come to me after he breaks up with you.
You can cry on my shoulder,
and ill wipe your tears with my sleeve.
Find a love who loves you the way
that your father and I love you,
the way that your grandmother loves you.
Find a love who already considers you family.
Who meets you
and looks into your ocean eyes
and drowns peacefully into your heart.
When I was a child I only ever wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be able to compete with the boys
and when I foot raced them at recess I won every time.
They called me ‘She Hulk’ because of my muscular frame
and from the way I only ever wore soccer t-shirts and sweat pants.
After that nickname was implanted into my brain like a growing weed,
I’ve only ever wanted to be feminine.
I started wearing skirts and dresses
and in middle school they shrieked at the site of my makeup and done up hair.
But that weed inside of my mind only grew, and grew, and grew
until I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part anorexic and two parts lonely,
because I thought that the definition of feminine began with the word frail.
No one ever realizes how greatly words affect us,
how a simple nickname can turn a pretty girl into a skeleton.
I stood at five foot two weighing seventy nine pounds,
so cold and frozen,
yet I still considered myself a ‘She Hulk.’
You could see my ribcage through my t-shirt
and my spinal cord protruded loudly through my weathered skin,
as if somehow my bones were dirty knives
just trying to cut through the flesh of judgment.
As I grew older I became the girl that was never enough.
Not good enough to speak poetry.
Not good enough to lay paint on a canvas.
Not good enough.
Not tall enough.
Not big enough boobs for them.
Not primped to perfection.
Not undeniably straight.
Not smart enough.
Not dumb enough.
Not ditsy enough.
Not cool enough or fun enough.
And I began to believe, too, that I wasn’t enough.
I never told my mother that I had been in madly in love with a girl.
I never told anyone about the night we first kissed
because I was too vulnerable for the judgment.
And parents always justify saying that ‘kids will be kids’
But when we are kids our brains are still growing
and the smallest of seeds that get planted will one day bloom
into one giant regret,
will one day affect the choices that we make,
will one day influence us about the clothes that we wear,
will one day shape us into the person who we thought we would never be.
I only ever wanted to be strong,
and as a child I thought strength was only about being able
to lift a bar stool above your head.
I thought that strength was only about being able
to beat the boys in bare foot running races.
I was told that strength was something only
a man could have.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that strength
isn’t about muscle at all,
but it’s about weakness,
and the ability to overcome the social anxiousness.
It’s about carrying around a lifetime of baggage
on your broken back
because the ones that kicked you when you were down
are going to be the ones that were ultimately wrong.
I thought that the definition of woman
began with the word disappointment.
And I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part freedom
and two parts Sailor Jerry
because every girl needs a stiff drink once and awhile.
We are not disappointments.
We will never be the ones who gave up on hope.
We will never be the ones who gave up on each other,
or our mothers.
We will always be enough;
enough for the ones who shunned us
enough for the ones that cursed us
enough for the ones the hurt us
and destroyed us
and beat us when we were covered in bruises.
But you see, bruises fade
and the scars of our flesh are only stories
things we have overcame
and there are things out there that we will overcome.
When I was a child, I only ever wanted to be strong.
I hid my vulnerability.
I hid the parts of me that were true.
I never told my mother about my girlfriend
because I was afraid she wouldn’t understand,
kind of like all those people who never understood
just how much words effect us.
I can’t say that I can beat the boys at foot races anymore,
because, well, I smoke cigarettes now.
And I can’t say that the nickname of my childhood didn’t affect me.
But I take that name now and embrace it.
Because I am strong.
I am the ‘she hulk’.
I am a mixed drink cocktail
with three parts greatful.