i collect beliefs and put them inside glass jars, rubber sealed and sometimes placed in the sun. i shake them to see if they will blend. some converge, others diverge. all are creations living inside us, changing us, moving us to imagine the seemingly unimaginable. each belief remembers its birth, others remember birthing nations; others remember death. i collect them all. they live in the many corners of my home and mind, atop shelves, inside cabinets, under beds and pillows, between books, beside memories, inside fears, under joys. still others remain in the sun or in dark basements. they wait for us. they remain.
Having fun with filters today!
Do you have any favorite filters you’d like to share?
i sprinkle pieces of me at your feet, like rose petals, to soothe your soul from the unforgiving earth.
each piece is memory reborn, slipping into your world, melding with your memories, a thin silk thread connecting us in ways we may not feel until many tomorrows have come and gone.
One of my advisors a year ago encouraged me to write a memoir based on a writing prompt during one of our residency workshops. He was so enthralled by what I had written within the ten minutes given, he promptly shared his excitement with my previous advisor, who accosted me at our next workshop.
I have never thought about writing a memoir. Who the hell am I? I never imagined I had anything interesting to share. The writing prompt was meant to draw out a past memory, nothing more. But when he insisted that I consider the memoir after what I wrote, I began to toy with the idea.
Some of you have read the very short opening of my piece. The overall piece is now nearly 100 pages. For both those who have read the opening and those who have not, I’d be interested to know if you read what I’ve shared below (what I wrote during the workshop), would you be curious and want to read more?
Be honest. I have thick skin.
I was born beneath Cuba, across the waters of the West Indies on an island that lives and breathes Bob Marley. It was 1967. While papa, my grandfather, was mending the house he built with his bare hands, civil rights marches were happening in “foreign” the place the locals called America. As King, Jr. lay dead, murdered by the mindset of the majority, I learned to walk on hot stones. The light of a man went out. I was oblivious to this then. I lived in a place where electricity and running water and indoor plumbing didn’t reach us. The outhouse was dark at night. But my uncle would take me there sometimes. At other times the chimmy, as my grandmother called it, would be pulled out from under the bed, squatted over, then slid back filled with yellow waste that reminded us of our simple life.
I was small and grass blade thin but I remember the mangoes and jackfruit and star apples and ackee and ginepes and the flowers I used to make jewelry, little necklaces and bracelets, bright and red and beautiful. I want to remember the name of that flower, but time sends memories away to places we can’t find.
inside this brown skin is the divine existence of mysterious cosmic forces.
i am starseed.
I am not what you see or seek in the mirror. I am me, living inside my skin, carrying blood and bone through time.
My DNA has warned me that if I keep on with this nonsense about growing out my natural hair without locs, there will be hell to pay. I get death threat-like whispers from my cells that I need to restart my locs, or else.
This is a trying time, when the body actively participates in dictating aesthetics. And almost violently invading mind and soul to the point of unrest.
Like elephants, my cells’ memories are keen and strong. They want “their” locs back.
I no longer remember who I am, nor why I am. Inside this foreign skin I breathe. I inhale the world I’ve wished for in far away dreams and exhale the world I exist in, bedeviled by those who swim in blood red ego.
I am wanting yesterday, packed up to take with me into tomorrow. It is in that place ahead where I’ll find what I seek. I am wanting.
When all is said and done, we are all rendered mute.
Death does not care about our feelings nor opinions about our political leanings, religious beliefs, the latest fashion fails, even our existence. It is the great silencer. And one day it will silence our opinions and feelings, every thought.
All that will live on is an idea. Hope only for the greatest of our ideas to infect those who live on after us.
Burn with anger, woman. Your fire voice was temporarily extinguished with water, but you did not let it drown you. You turned everything that touched you to steam. The destroyers dissipated into the air, mixed in with the ancestors who lost their way and told un-truths about the place of woman. They now mourn their ignorance. They are gone, in form and thought, the ideas losing footing and the voices fading, with those few unenlightened left who are unable to grasp what is needed to survive the next great wave of time. They say there are 2,000 years in each season, and the patriarchy that has almost dried up mother’s milk is coming to an end.