3s: The Suns We’re Seeking or My Brother and Me

ONE.

I recall the time I was helping my mother outside, there was a hose in hand, probably watering azaleas. Talking about nothing in particular. Probably trying to pry the past out of her. My parents never reveal a thing. You must have had to have been there to know something about them. So I ask my mom about the baby she had before my brother. She tells me he died at birth. Well really before birth. It was a still birth and she carried him to term, named him after my father and buried him. I gulp. She’s opening up, I think to myself. So I say to her I say it’d be nice to have an older brother, a brother older than my other brother, to keep him in line. And she smirks. Laughing subtly she says to me you probably wouldn’t be here if he was. I may have intended to say oh I could…you could have had three (like everybody else raising “middle” children). And she said no I’m pretty sure we agreed to have two. That agreement being between she and my father, not the rest of us or the Universe.

So I wasn’t meant to be. Or rather I obviously was meant to be…but unwanted? No. Yes. I get it. I was probably a teenager. I don’t have a timeline of personal moments with accurate ages because they’d prefer it if we didn’t have to talk about it. I assumed that people who don’t talk about things might also omit the deep seeded feelings they have about those very things. Save me sorrow and give me the idea that I wasn’t just left overs. I wasn’t the baby born girl, damn! a girl is such trouble and well, maybe. A girl. Or trouble. Maybe.

TWO.

We are Black. We are black. We are mixed. No denying this. One Drop Rule despite mom. No matter. That’s how the world sees you and treats you. They’ll be afraid of what you look like. He was afraid of what I’d look like. He was afraid of what I looked like. He was afraid.

Being this nice genetic split in two. Down the middle of mom and dad, we sat being told who we favored. We favored both of them in equal and odd measure. I sound like my mother and walk like my father. My brother stands like my mom and explains things slowly like my father. We all have pregnant pauses. Way past the due date.

Maybe due to the lack of direct discussions in race and ethnicity or the passing and colorism or outright internalized racism, we, my brother and me, created obnoxiously diverse groups of intersectional friends. Out of many came two. Each of us had two best friends growing up. Why? So ridiculous. Why not one, for either of us. Just a different combination. But no. We each had two friends we were closest with throughout elementary and high school. And we each sat in the middle.

Were we creating a sense of balance? Were we off-kilter? Was this the beginning of us not having an”other half”? Were we in thirds this whole time and didn’t know?

We’ve since shed these friends and friendship triads. And we are no closer to one another. As if a middle piece is missing. We can see each other across the divide. We wave. We say hi. Then goodbye.

THREE.

I have about one decent week out of each month. One week when I might feel a sense of normalcy. Three other weeks full of physical, emotional, and spiritual upheaval all contained in a five foot body. And the truth shoots out of my eyes. My brain can’t hide the roller coaster ride colliding with self control and logic. People see anger. My eyes blur. Who is in front of me if not myself? If you are my soul can’t you see this fight is for you, absolutely. It is not you I need to fight with, but the amassing of space and time between our memories.

I have about three days in me before I lose my shit. Three hours to decompress from a day that hit like a ton of bricks. Three more hours I could possibly work. Or wake up at the witching hour to see how much I hurt.

I have three names. The government makes me use two. I go by one. And that one name is the wind wrought branch on a tree with limbs that reach up more than they reach out. It is always the sun they’re seeking.

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Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?

Has anyone ever written anything for you
In all your darkest hours
Have you ever heard me sing
Listen to me now

-Stevie Nicks

When I was younger I used to write because I didn’t know how to speak. I didn’t know how to tell anybody anything worth listening to, or, even then, were they listening?

ᗯᖇITᗴᖇ

I am a prolific writer. When I was younger I used to think that meant you were a successful writer or you wrote well but I soon realized it just meant you wrote a lot. And then I thought, that was fine with me if I just wrote a lot for the rest of my life. Maybe amidst all that writing someone would read it and it would be good enough. Perhaps it would be published. Publishing means something like validation. Then again it doesn’t mean anything at all. If all I ever wanted to do was right I could do just that.

Tᗴᗩᑕᕼᗴᖇ

So I became a teacher. I had thought of being a teacher when I was in high school because I had a savior complex, a need to be needed, because I wasn’t needed so much elsewhere. This is always been an issue within the relationships I have carried on. Offering far more of myself than what is reciprocated. I digress.

So I became a teacher to offer young people the opportunity to speak. I even thought it would give them the opportunity to dream. If they could speak of their ideas and their dreams then maybe they could manifest them and this is the goal. The goal is to live your dream.

I’ve had so many dreams over the years that I have forgotten almost all of them. They’ve become a muddle of comedy and tragedy and more tragedy and sorting out which is PTSD. Through all of this I’ve learned how to teach. And learning how to teach is a whole different business then improvising a teachable moment. Sometimes the teacher is the one learning the lesson whether or not the students realize.

ᗰIᖇᖇOᖇᔕ

My colleagues and students have been a reflection of the people in my former life. I am always reminded of who I have known, who I have been, and what may possibly come. I have no children of my own but I’ve helped rear 2,000 young people in the classes I’ve taught. Some graduated. Some died. Some had children. Some got married. Some went to college and got degrees. Some came back to visit to show me they became an EMT. Some ran away. Some were kidnapped. Some you only teach for a month. But they all reflect and at times the refracted light is blinding.

ᑭOᗴT

I am a poet. And like the many things I’ve been running from my entire life I didn’t want to admit it. It’s a different kind of writer or artist. It’s ambiguous. It’s earning a degree in something for which capitalism has no use.

I write like my life depends on it. Now I’ll consider writing because I love it and I need to and…why not.

I only have today. 📝

ᗪOᑎT ᑎᗴᗴᗪ Tᕼᗴ ᒪOᐯᗴ 🖤

I don’t need the love

you can’t give me anything

I don’t already have

/

can’t take away what’s not here

/

can’t forgive me

for everything

I did

in your past life

/

didn’t sit

as far back as I can

remember

/

the bus

or the train that drove

too deep into the heart

of what pains you

/

those memories

running your blood

like yo daddy

swinging from trees

with uncles who never came home

to sit and eat

with sisters and cousins

raped and betrayed

by nothing

they didn’t know about

already

/

I don’t need you

to tell me about the time

your parents stop talking to you

because

because you couldn’t handle it

could you

couldn’t conform

in

to

simple

single

box

/

neat and tidy

never hurt no one

as bad as they hurt you

when they didn’t show up

to your wedding

/

couldn’t wait till you could bury them

in their small and simple

/

you didn’t need the love

/

you didn’t need the love

unless it was the one

the lover gave

was far greater

and more exceptional

than the silences pervading

or glares

that don’t leave your memory

or mine

/

You don’t recall

but I was alive at that time

doesn’t your blood run through

like

rivers

fished in

sailed over

me

/

still you laugh

like I am as funny as

that time I fell into rosebushes

covered by the thorns in the crown of someone dead now

I made a mistake

and fell into the flowers you tended

with dedication

ruining the roses you were planning on setting

the table with

/

Well they grew back

we cut them down

stopped them from swinging

so that they could sit

and eat

with the family

that only talks about

what they know already

which doesn’t include me

so I decide to leave

because I know

/

I don’t need the love

you can’t give me anything

I don’t already have

Pᴏᴇᴍ ʙʏ ᴅ. ᴍᴏʀsᴇ/2003

47 Years

On August 19th my parents celebrated 47 years of marriage. I never recall their anniversary date for several reasons. 1) It’s on the 19th and 19 is just not a number that sparks joy (for me). 2) They would act like it was any other day like Saturday. 3) It’s at the end of August and with all the Leo’s I know and school starting, you have to get in line for the last bit of summer joy.

My parents did it right. And as cliche as possible. They are together for 47 years because they said they’d do it. They’re together to celebrate because neither has died and both chose one another over all others. I’m sure they are also proud that their children are not the same age as their anniversary.

But these 47 years are theirs and theirs alone. We do not celebrate. They do. They are the future. I am the past.

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