Whiteness has ruined you
Ruined me too
I wanted to suppose but I know
It’s all I’ve known
Whiteness has ruined you
Ruined me too
I wanted to suppose but I know
It’s all I’ve known
Love churches, leave churches, ain’t perfect.
Need nurses. Don’t want hurses. No more curses.
Flaring up. Who care enough to tear it up?
Socialism and vocalism. Let’s share, enough!
You selfish. Don’t even know what wealth is!
Not til you don’t have it. U know what health is?!
Step kids feeling like they orphans.
Parentbuyerremorse daydreaming of abortions.
It’s sickening! I look to sky. Who listening?!
Same robe as Job (thunder rolls) I’m envisioning
Tickling leviathans commanding the shore to bend.
Fake smiles abound it seems they all pretend.
I don’t want it no more I’m looking forward to the end.
Peaceful. Gentle. Only question is when.
Trumpets and then I’ll be out of sight
Or surrounded by my love ones too tired to fight.
Is it right to have excess and claim you are blessed
When excess got you stressed home life is a mess?
Internal bleeding needing me to sit back.
With no kick back the end approaching I’m yelling get back.
This ain’t a sitcom my body is Vietnam.
Hard to stay calm when your body won’t stay warm.
The glory is at the end of the story.
So even through the trial,
I know that God is for me.
If you take that medicine
How you gon get thin?
Now I’m flared up
So much fatigue
Arthritic in my joints
I’d tell you how I’m feeling
But what’s the point
They talking bout my kidneys
Thinking what my kids need
Can’t hit that overdraft
I think that I budgeted
Forgot to do the math so now I’m
Now I’m flared up
I don’t write as often as I should.
Life bends in a peculiar and isolating manner at times.
Mountaintop moments are great but remind you that you cannot bring everyone with you.
Not everyone can relate.
It’s popular to call 2016 a disappointment.
It was a year full of challenges but I’ve had worse years.
Must be uncomfortable for the person who privately thinks this is the best year of their life.
As we get ready to start 2017, my prayer is for stillness. I don’t wanna feel scattered and whatever goals arise will require focus. So for now, God bless you, rest well and may 2017 draw you closer to God and the fullness of Christ’s love.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
I feel like I am finally exhaling. I am relieved.
I’m hurt. I think I’ve always been.
It first hit me when I was singing on the choir. The Children of Hope were a main attraction every Sunday. We stood in our robes, the pride of our parents’ eyes. One Sunday another child asked me, “Where’s your Dad?” I knew he wasn’t there but never thought about why.
I first spoke to my father on the phone at the age of five. I remember the conversation was brief; he told me not to take orders from any woman. Years later, I learned that our conversation was followed by my grandmother telling him about himself, “Yuh wutless!” she cried. I hope it’s not hereditary.
Every birthday, in spite of my mother’s best, oscillated between bubbling sadness and a fight against solemnity. Happiness was slippery. Accomplishments were punctuated by the absence.
Middle school taught me the importance of appearances. I learned to say my parents were separated even though they never married. I fashioned my father as a farmer, man of the people, whose agrarian will and political mind would usher in a new era in the postcolonial world.
In eighth grade he sent me fifty dollars a few times. Each time I felt rich and allowed myself to have pride. We would speak on the phone frequently, conversations ending abruptly when the credit ran out. I finally met him in person that summer, spending the whole day together, laughing with both parents, feeling complete.
I would not see him again until the summer I turned sixteen. I met so many people, good friends of his, who were surprised he had a son. I left Jamaica and was sure that this was going to be our new normal. Phone calls were frequent but still ended abruptly. He visited the next summer when I graduated high school. I realized the depth of my grandmother’s love when she behaved herself and sat next to him at my graduation dinner.
College would be another silent period in our relationship. He was always on my mind. Every accomplishment, any moment of success, filled with the reminder that he was not there.
I would not see him until I got married and I have not seen him since. Life moments have brought us together. We had a good run of phone calls after I nearly died. He called a couple times after my son was born. I had a lot of hope that my own fatherhood would make us closer, give us something else to talk about. Admittedly, becoming a father has made me angry. A younger me made excuses for him but now his negligence is unbelievable. I look at my son and think, “How could anyone not do this?” How could anyone feel the weight of responsibility and not press in? The thoughts spill my rage.
I don’t like to think about this often, much less talk about it. I worry that no matter how right I am, my silence is unforgiving. So I pray. “Lord, I’m hurting. I think I’ve always been.”
Had a chance to write something for Wendy McCaig’s blog. Here’s a taste:
Enough work has already been done to make every claim of ignorance ring hollow. When I talk about the plight of black people in this country and receive a shocked response, I know I am speaking to someone exercising their privilege. Their ignorance takes me back to my first year in seminary when I first discovered how white supremacy is a religion unto itself. I remember standing in the bookstore, furious because books that talked about me and my experience in this country were not required for core courses. One could matriculate and graduate from my institution and never encounter the black experience much less contemplate their complicity in white supremacy. My rage was in the reduction. I loved myself enough to know I could never be an elective.
Wanted to apologize for last night.
You came in to do your job
And my elder only saw your youth.
“You’re a doctor?!” she exclaimed,
“I thought you were a nurse!”
Subsequent conversation was unpleasant.
I was not offended but understood
Your grasps for authority.
My elder could not see
How her question accused you.
Fulfilling for a moment your fears
Of being an impostor.
And I’ve felt it.
Like no matter what I do,
Take me to Oslo,
And my aunt will always see me as six.
Take me to Richmond,
I’ll give you a speech
And they’ll still ask if I am from Africa.
The horror of being lowered.
You being a nurse is like me being a janitor or some thing.
But I’ve learned so much from custodians.
Lunch ladies and the least of these.
These people, my people
Respectable carrying receptacles.
Walked so we could run away.
I should probably be doing something else (like work) but longhair….
I laugh when my students hear my instruction and protest. “So does everyone understand? Are there any questions?”
“This sounds like work!”
They (the infamous secret government that controls us all) say that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. I have found truth in that. A cornerstone of my theology and worldview is that God intends for us to enjoy life.
Life is to be enjoyed. Truly. And when you are locked into what you’re supposed to be doing THEN you get that fulfillment which allows you to never work a day in your life.
But as Bob says, “the harder the battle, the sweeter Jah victory”.
I have a tough time teaching Steinbeck. I get why Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are American classics. I would even entertain a notion that Steinbeck wrote with a prophetic voice in his time. But when my ninth graders call him boring, I can’t disagree. I remember being so bored by Grapes of Wrath that I wrote my final paper on the half I’d read. I even ended it with something cheeky like “who knows if they’ll ever make it to California?”
My English teacher was a good sport and said it was certainly an A paper but as I’d only read half the book she could only give me half the points.
As bored as we are, a bigger issue to me is our study justifying their misogyny. Our book discussions always had somebody calling Curley’s wife a thot or students being incapable of seeing her perspective.
During a discussion where we confronted the issue, another teacher blamed rap for the misogynistic views.
That annoyed me though.
Misogyny is older than the Bible. Rap didn’t start it but it carries on tradition (like country music, movies and general society)
Sometimes the mountain seems insurmountable and I hear temptation tell me to look elsewhere. There has to be somewhere where my gifts and talents are appreciated. I can do so much more with a greater platform, it says.
But I am content in this stage because I recognize the journey and little interest in forcing fate before God’s time.
I get frustrated but then I look back.
I remember the hospital bed (it got better).
Leaving Trinity (it got better).
Living with my in laws (it got better).
Returning to Richmond (it got better).
So now, no matter the obstacles, difficulties and certitude that evil wants to destroy you, I can be reassured that the One who got me out of the hospital, kept my Beloved and I, and blessed us with the lil fella has not forsaken us and has no plans to.
As Paul shared in 2 Corinthians:
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Enjoy the day my friends. Tell any doubt or insecurities, “Quiet, nuh!”
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