Prayer For My Son

Photo Credit: Marietjie Henning

Now I lay him down to sleep

Ancestors hear my soul speak

My guidance he seeks from birth til grown

Love and light surround him away from home

Guide his spirit down his destined path

May all enemies feel my motherly wrath

Enough Is Enough

Emotions are very high right now. After just witnessing Ahmaud Arbery and Sean Reed, here we are again with George Floyd. I have to ask, when is enough enough. How much more blood has to be spilled for America to get that our lives matter? Will America ever get it? At this point I don’t care if they ever fully get it. Just know that my life, my children’s lives, and all people of colors lives matter. We will not continue to be hunted and laid down for the world to see as an intimidation tactic.

Intimidation can no longer work, fear can no longer flow through our veins at the sight of someone considered better than us or legally able to take a life, and we cannot continue to move peacefully. We are going through the same motions moth after month; angry, protest, pray, and forgive. When does the action come? When do we stand up for our lives? Too much blood has been spilled and I refuse to see anymore spilt only to go silent after an arrest. An arrest does not mean a conviction. People get arrested every day and still do no jailtime. I am not satisfied with just an arrest.

I need to see action. Anyone can share, hashtag, and complain. That only goes so far, and history shows that that distance is not far enough. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Pamela Turner, Korryn Gaines, Emmett Till, George Stinney, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, and now George Floyd. All the times where our distance was never enough for proper justice. 

Once again, my mind is tired and my heart is broken. Everyone loves the culture, but don’t love the people the culture comes from. We have become a trend for the world to embrace when it’s cool, but silent when the harsh reality is put on display. Where is the people that love the culture now? Where are the people of privilege that shout, “We are all equal?” For those who are silent, you either don’t see a problem, you don’t care, or you’re too afraid of losing your privilege to speak out. Therefore, you are part of the problem. 

In a world full of Martin Luther King, Jr’s, I see sprinkles of Malcolm X as more and more people awaken to say enough is enough. That makes me proud, that gives me hope that although there are people that still wish to bury us, there are even more sprouting out the ground from the strong roots they come from. It’s ok to be Martin. The world needs balance, but even Martin said in the end, “I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house.”

Enough is enough people.

I Can’t Breathe Again

I CANT BREATHE

Those haunting words touch my ears again

The vision of him on the ground with a knee in his neck won’t leave my mind

Looking at it I find myself screaming just as I did in Eric Garner

WHAT DID HE DO?

DON’T YOU HEAR HIM?

HE CAN’T BREATHE!

GET OFF OF HIM!

HE’S NOT MOVING!

YOU KILLED HIM!

Another life gone from unnecessary force

How was he a threat when it’s 4 against 1?

How was he a threat when he’s pinned on the ground begging for air?

Air that he can’t possibly get

Now he becomes another hashtag

Another vision of injustice

Another vision embedded in our memories to play on repeat every time we hear his name

The process will always be the same

I see his face over and over again

I hear his words over and over again

And my throat tightens over and over again

I can’t breathe again

Note: Rest in power George Floyd

Her Father

She looks at him with eyes of admiration

Her father

The man that could do no wrong

Her father

The man who even though he’s tired, finds time to listen to her exciting tales

Her father

The man who makes sure she has nothing to be afraid of

Her father

The man who holds her close with every asthma treatment

Her father

The man who picks her up and dances to the sound of Luther Vandross in the middle of the living room

Her father

The blueprint to what to accept in a man when her time comes to select a husband

Her father

The man who will walk her down the aisle and face one of the toughest tasks, entrusting her to another

Her father

The man who will also take the time on that day to remind her that even though he is entrusting her to someone else

She will always have a home with

Her father

I Thought I Told You

I saw this photo in a writing group and it encouraged people to tell a story about the picture so here it goes…

I told you I didn’t love you,

At least I thought I did.

They say actions speak louder than words

And my actions SCREAMED at you.

We talked less, we touched less, and

Making love has become nonexistent.

I thought you understood what that meant.

You asked me why I didn’t say I was unhappy,

But how can you hear it when most of my time is spent next to him.

He gets the touches, he gets the talks, and when we make love it the most beautiful experience in the world.

Now I know all of this sounds like an excuse

Especially when I’ve been so vocal about my feelings

Truth is I’m a coward

Too scared of how deeply and quickly I fell in love with you

So now I’ve convinced myself that I really don’t love you

I’ve convinced myself that those actions screaming at you were my true feeling when in reality I’m just running

Please don’t blame yourself for any of this, you honestly did nothing wrong.

My way of loving was damaged long ago.

As I leave you for him take comfort in one thing

Just like I hurt you is how I’ll hurt him.

Letter From Mother Earth

Photo By: Kai (My 6 year old daughter)

My children, it has been a long time

I see you have forgotten about me

Forgotten where you came from

I have blessed you with so much, but still you take

Take for granted all you have received

The clean waters; you turn dirty

The tall trees; you trade for paper

The precious animals; you slaughter for sport

Do you not know the innocent lives you are taking?

Those clean waters is home to many

Those trees give oxygen

Those animals such as the mother rabbit who you caught one day while she gathered food for her babies; she was a life worth living.

I have watched you and become broken with each passing day

Have you not noticed the change in me?

Since when is it common for winter to feel like summer?

I guess it does not matter

Even in the midst of a pandemic you still ignore the warnings.

You have ignored the warnings and one of the most important lessons.

Just as I have blessed you,

I can take it all away.

I’m Not Afraid To Need Him

I was raised to be this strong black woman

I didn’t need anyone for anything

Especially a man

I could do it all on my own

That’s what growing up in my household taught me

That’s how I went through life

Until I met him

His entrance into my world was as beautiful as a forehead kiss on a warm summer night under a full moon surrounded by twinkling stars

He broke down walls I didn’t even know I had in place

And showed me endless possibilities of what could be

From him I learned that everybody needs somebody

Everybody needs something

Nothing can be done off the strength of one person

Beauty is within and everyone must love themselves

But loving someone else shifts the meaning of love all together

I wasn’t ashamed to say that for the first time I needed someone

I needed him like I needed air

I needed him like I was stuck in the middle of the desert and he was my last drop of water

I NEED HIM

This need does not make me weak

It doesn’t take away my independency

It has evolved me 

I am still that strong black woman that I was raised to be

But now I am better just off of the strength of him

Does my Skin Color Overshadow My Concerns?

***Trigger Warning: Please be advised, this post may be difficult for those that have experienced child-loss, difficult delivery, or lost a loved one during child birth***

While much of the world watches how things are going to play out with the Ahmaud Arbery case, another topic weighs heavily on my mind. Our black women are still out here suffering and many do not know that something that brings us great joy can also end us due to the fact that our concerns are not being listened to. I’m speaking on childbirth. Did you know that black women are three to four times as likely to die during childbirth than any other race? This issue has been going on for years and many seem to overlook it.

Many will ask why I single out black women as an importance. My answer is simple, I am a black woman and the numbers show the need for a greater concern. That does not diminish the deaths of any other race, but I can’t speak on any other race. I will support anyone who does, but once again I do not have experience as a different race. I know what it is like being a black woman, giving birth, almost dying due to not being listened to, and I now have a voice to speak on it at the time.

Roeder, A. (2018, December 21). America is Failing its Black Mothers. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/america-is-failing-its-black-mothers/

I remember in my second pregnancy; I was told I had partial placenta previa. For those of you who do not know, this is when the placenta either partially or completely covers the cervix. I found this out when I started to experience pains early on that didn’t feel like growing pains. It took many trips to the doctor informing them that something was wrong before they finally listened to my concerns and discovered that was the cause. Moving on in my pregnancy, the pain seemed to get worse with each day, but I started dreading going to the doctor because with each visit my concern fell on deaf ears. Finally, two weeks before I delivered, I made three trips to the doctor still with nothing being done. 

At 26 weeks, I gave up and just started to try to move as less as possible. That’s pretty hard when you have a toddler and a husband in the military, but I tried. I remember going to sleep one night and waking up in excruciating pain. I quietly went to the bathroom so that I wouldn’t disturb my husband who had to be up early. Attempting to use the bathroom I realized that I needed help. As I called for my husband the most severe pain shot through me, and blood filled the toilet. Immediately I thought my baby was gone. With the aid of my family I was able to get back to the bed to wait on the ambulance. By the time they got there, that too was soaked in blood. 

At the hospital it was revealed that I had a placenta abruption which led to me going into preterm labor. My child survived but had to be sent an hour away to a NICU. I on the other hand suffered severe blood loss. All this time and I can’t help but to wonder if something could’ve been done earlier if I had just been listened too when I expressed something was wrong. How many countless others have experienced the same experience that didn’t survive to tell the tale? Serena Williams and Beyonce were one of the lucky ones that had the status and finances to make doctors listen to them and give them extra care, but what about the ones that do not. Judge Hatchett’s daughter in law, Kira Johnson passed away after childbirth. Despite expressing concern numerous times and being ignored, she succumbed to internal bleeding that probably could’ve been stopped if someone had just taken the time to listen.  

Now there are many things that effect black mothers and put them at risk. Poor healthcare, lack of insurance, lack of knowledge is among those things. But what about the issue that is simply beyond our control? What about the many that are victims of someone else’s negligence or failure to take them seriously? Who will be their voice? How do we fix this issue? 

Rabin, R. C. (2019, May 7). Huge Racial Disparities Found in Deaths Linked to Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/07/health/pregnancy-deaths-.html

Physical Touch

Most people associate physical touch as sexual.

It doesn’t have to be,

There’s levels to it.

Some levels we don’t experience until we find the right one.

My spirit knew I was ready when he entered my life.

His introduction was everything I needed. 

You should’ve seen how he’d stare into my eyes before tapping me on my right cheek producing a smile.

The way we’d walk down the street and he’d casually bump into me to throw me off balance.

In the midst of a deep conversation or for no reason at all,

He would hold my hand and a calmness would come over me.

My heart melted into a pool of bliss each time he’d wrap me in his arms,

And just hold me for hours saying nothing. 

No words were needed,

The comfort of being secure in his arms was enough.

In my moments with him, I received what I needed from physical touch.

1932 Love

Savoy Ballroom in Harlem

You gave me that 1932 love

That love that brought you to my house and you asked my mother and fathers permission to court me

That love where you dressed up in your finest threads

I dressed up in my best dress that came just below the knee to give the right amount of modesty

Then we cruised down the street in your fancy car

I’d look over at you and you’d glance at me,

Both caught up in promises of forever

Making it to our destination, the soulful rhythm hitting our ears just outside the door

Guiding us to the middle of the dance floor,

Just stomping at the Savoy.

Oh did we swing the night away

That night led to many other nights

We would be like our parents

Having that love that wasn’t afraid to be put on display

Seeing them sneak kisses in the kitchen, mama blushing from daddy’s compliment,

And that united front they had.

They were the blueprint for us leading up to this day

Seeing you unapologetically cry as I walk down the aisle on daddy’s arm.

My God, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than that moment.

That moment will forever be embedded in my memory

For that moment was the deepest display of love you have shown for me.

Your gratitude of being blessed with a love like ours.

A love many will seek

That 1932 love.