How We Fall into Free


​No doubt you was born free,
that your spirit came 
to the universe free. 
Cuz you recognize and crave
the promise of freedom 
in the universe,
but quickly recognize 
the constant flurry of indicators
that you are not free. 

Your living is conditional,
a contract you never signed
to shave yourself small,
vet your life through
a sieve that protects
the ugly nature of things. 

The feared don’t get to be free. 

And they are so scared of you
because they know 
they have it coming. 

So you are told 
your life is theirs
for display and dissection
and one day you forget
it was a fairy tale
held dear by twisted scripture
and rotten hearts. 

And then one day
you decide to call bullshit
on the whole blasted racket
after spending 
a long, wistful afternoon 
in the mirror. 

A Rant: The Weight of Hate Ain’t Mine to Bear

Although I know that white people’s ignorance ain’t my problem, it invariably grows heavy on me. And I am beyond sick of it. I’m angry today. Just outdone.

Stop hating on folks from marginalized, colonized and oppressed populations who choose to express self love by simply being. By simply being who they are. By gathering without you to heal and revitalize, to be safe from observation, evaluation and fetishization. By standing out and not holding back.

How the fuck do you think we have survived this long?

image

Big hair, big hearts, language coded cool, souls so stunning we always remain connected to the Creator. Always.

When you resent virtual strangers for loving who they are, the problem lies with you, not them. You are literally put off by someone not diminishing themselves so you can remain comfortable. Really?

Fuck right off.

Dear Mama(s): Random Thoughts on the Most Complex Relationship Ever

Perhaps the most fascinating phenomenon of black mothering is the ability to impart an entire system of cultural norms, cruel realities, theology, and language with minimal communication and interaction.  I learned so much from my mother by observation: what she did not say, what was not done, where she did not engage. Black mothering is a riveting example of crisp, minimal response with maximum impact. Our history required that and now it is just how we roll.  While we are expressive, sometimes loud and other times just extra, the critical shit was straight to the point. Straight no chaser. Not subject to interpretation.

Just wanted to offer a note of thanks to those that mother (by birth, by commitment, or by destiny):

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Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Dear Mama(s),

I don’t care what you think you did wrong, you did right. Your life was complex and painful, and some stuff you just don’t want to discuss.  And I don’t need you to pick at your scabs to prove you love me, or explain why you are the way you are.

No one inspires fantastic fear and boundless joy like you.

No one is invited to compare your mothering to anyone else’s.

You do what you have to do when tears are stinging your eyes and you’re sick to your stomach with fear or regret.

Your body. I learned about holding power in my hips. Sometimes I was reckless with that.  You cussed me out, set me straight.  Every inch of you is texture and longing.  Thank you.

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Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Let that go because you grew a life; you built a human. And that is its own special brand of Black Power.

You are never ashy or musty.  So I am never ashy or musty. You’ve mastered code switching in the workplace.  You don’t muddle your mind thinking that assholes will suddenly transform into angels.  You are the ultimate creator of Club Unbothered.

The opportunities you created for me have spoiled me in some ways.  Sometimes I forget that reasoning with my children is not only ineffective but unnecessary.  I forget I am the law and require no rationale for my requests.  You remind me that my wrath is worthy to be unleashed.  Ass whoopins, sucking teeth, or a raised right eyebrow says more than any battery of well-intended questions aimed at “healthy” parenting. Thank you.

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Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Discipline is not about breaking spirits but sometimes that happened.  And when I woke up from my humiliation, my mind was right sized and the seeds of home training took root.  Thank you.

I have an internal compass, a gut truth that is unshakable. Even though I don’t always listen to it, thank you.

Forgive yourself decisions made out of desperation or fear. You had your reasons. I love you still.  Thank you.

Love,

BB

The Body

The Body

I arrived at myself
through a series of routines,
exercises really.

Mother.
Grandmother.
God.
White Man.
White Woman.
Black Man.
Baby.
Denial.
Death.
Body.

Not in that order.

The body persists in its lessons,
demands its demands
of me and the world,
to be more
than function and fantasy;

to be deeper
and cherished ,
canonized.

The world don’t love me right,
won’t do right by the body.
It made me forget the body was mine.

But while I wait
I worship myself
in the mirror,

Set an altar
every morning.

Write a promise of return
across my chest,
tag my toe with a strand of
my grandmother’s hair,
walk along an invisible jagged line
from my sister’s heart to mine.

Last Night I Prayed 

last night i prayed
from my disappointing pillow.
the prayer was the same:
clear mind.
cleaner heart.
health enough to walk and stand.
sense enough to be still sometimes.
and i saw your face
and then your smile.
and my spirit settled
into the peace that
the elders enjoy.