i am root in rock
my throat tilted towards sky
throbbing with thirst
small and heavy rain
rain that bullies and breaks apart
rain that trickles in the creases
of your elbows
rain that pounds your skin raw
any rain at all
this room is shrinking
chains grow around my ankles
glass lights shine obstinately
sad substitutes for the sun
making live leaves
that pine for eternal sleep
it is getting harder to breathe
less than 24 hours
before my father was laid to rest
under a pine tree
his life a kaleidoscope of humiliation
dentist disguised as dairy queen server
in the land of dead dreams
where he learned to destroy
i was married off.
i couldn't even eat the cake
my skirt barely fit.
and my father's humiliation became
i don't know how to convey the loneliness that is single motherhood.
where it begins and where it ends, for example.
or whether it is a symptom or root of late modernity.
what are its form and character.
what it takes from you while compelling you to give
of every fiber in your body.
sometimes even more is demanded.
do we have an analysis of loneliness inside our politics? inside our organizing?
i know we have a language around "social isolation",
the "alienation that is produced by colonial and capitalist relations of power"...
i know we have potent, immediate, accurate accounts of oppression
within/across the multiple dimensions of our lives...
but how do we understand
the production of
loneliness? or love?
can we even talk about it?
and please don't misunderstand me.
i am not requesting sympathy.
i am trying to understand my experience.
and part of that is saying this out loud to you,
to have that direct transference of sound waves
from my vocal chords to your ear drums.
because i cannot understand
what i am going through
as an indicator of suffering
in someone else's
and the livin is easy
fish are jumpin
and the cotton is high
oh your daddy's rich
and your ma is good lookin
so hush little baby
don't you cry
as an infant
and a five-year-old
is a total fusion
i am root in rock
planted here by the hands of history
and the mimic of agency
watching the river flow by
arms caught in stone crevices
i am unable to reach
make a cup with my palms
i cry, beg, plead, scream
seduce, pray, offer sacrifices
but i cannot beckon
that river to change its course
so i learned to make do with the
that is simultaneously
paul was less than a week old when he got diagnosed with acute jaundice
if we had caught it a couple hours later
i would have buried my son
and my dad in the same year
we couldn't find his father anywhere
not then not after
when he learned to walk
to caress my face
"Mama, I love you, I love you more than counting stars."
not when i lost my hair
not when my heart cracked
like a shell
under the onslaught
of a hammer
and to this day i don't understand
what goes through a father's head
when he decides to walk away
i looked for different stories everywhere
stories of survivors turned warriors
and slaves turned liberators
i sought for comfort
and for company
in the arms of audre
became my battleground
i could not find weight in the world or in the lives of those i loved
so i sought it out in words
research, discuss, debate, relate
as i trade body parts
sometimes for employment too
because poverty is not as easily exorcised
the wind began to splinter my face
and some days it was all i had
to access basic necessities
i could not move
so i repositioned myself
so i turned my head
and cast my gaze
beyond the river
if i had to describe motherhood i'd say it includes at the least the following:
-manic confusion and oh, so many contradictions
-willing and invisible labor
-lots of multitasking
-knowing how stretch a dollar
-a constant state of being interrupted (while working, eating, thinking, conversing, making love)
-a constant process of de-bordering between self and other
-a quest for self-determination inside a dynamic of unequal dependency
do these things have a place in the communities we are building?
and my love
i don't know how to raise you to be free
on colonized ground
i don't know how to give you a home
when my soul has not met Belonging
i don't know how to offer you safety
when my heart does not know
how to trust
i can only try
this is me trying