Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Friday, February 5, 2016

What I Learned This Week: I Am Part of the Revolution

I guess, when I look at the history of the United States I have to admit that I am heartbroken. There is so much that is so wrong with this country, its history and its people. The death and destruction, but most of all, the hatred. The fear that has been born and fed from misunderstanding and self-righteousness. We take what we want, we give little, and demand more. Who does that?

So, reflecting on my own life, I have discovered, declared and decided that I am part of the revolution. I lift my voice on paper with pen and I say what needs to be said to the people that need to hear it. I speak words of encouragement and I take up arms in your defense. I want to walk blocks with a paper pinned to me that lets everyone know that I am woman, I am mother, I am wife, I am Black...I am African American....whose ancestors were not given a choice but simply a place and we continue to accept that place as our own as if that were the only place that we have.

We hold on to religion as if the only real hope that we have is in death and that our lives are simply the result of a sinful nature which we are hopeless to control. And, brothers and sisters, that is a lie.

I have decided to be a change. Even if it is for the sake of no one but those who share a roof with me. But it won't. It will be for the man who hates me before he knows my name. It is for him and her who decide my fate based on the way my hair doesn't lie flat against my scalp and despises me because I allow it, in all its glory to wind upon itself and stand at attention. It will be for the children who, in awe, reach out to my skin to see if, in fact it is a permanent state of being and whose mothers have insisted that they stay away from it lest they become a victim of the disease it carries. It will be for the old woman I listen to as she rambles on about her past and the one Black friend that she had growing up. How that little girl shaped all of Black America for her and in her mind, we are all made up of that one. A culture bound in limits.

As I type on computer keyboards and watch words come to life, I realize that I have become part of a renaissance that has lasted and tested time. A symbolic shift from an era of masters to masterpieces of me and you bound together. An artistic rambling of thought and temperament. Pen and ink, paint and keys, colors that rise to the surface like hot grease voices singing negro spirituals turned jazz sonatas with a blues back. This is the place where I dig my heels in and reminisce on times past and make promises to myself that the past will not be the future for my sons, or the sons of my sons and my daughters will not cry out in the dark of nights for the souls of forgotten boys.

A shot cries out as I throw away plastic guns. My sons will not be the victims of fear and hatred and so I teach them a lesson in the revolution. We must arm ourselves with knowledge and power. We must not be afraid to be who we were created to be and own our place on this planet. None can make you less, son. None can make you less. No one can make you anything unless you decide in your mind that the revolution is over and take the place that is thrown toward you.

Today, I have decided with the determination that my fingers pound on these keys that every breath that I take and every word that I write and every thought that goes through my mind must be for the building up. As I take my place on the battle line and the marching line, locking my arms with those who stand united with me. No longer will the shade of coffee in a cup divide and separate me from who I love. No longer will I stand idly by and watch the shift in the atmosphere as if I have no control over my own airspace.

I am part of the revolution. My job in it, is to impact your mind.

The Coffee Date

Standing in her living room I was oddly uncomfortable. The room was clean. Tidy, and reminiscent of the way model homes were decorated and eerily uninhabited. Those homes that possessed no soul. No rhythm or heartbeat. Without the echo of footsteps on wooden floors and the parade of laughing children on staircases.

She invited me to sit. I lowered my body in unison with my purse onto the brocade tapestry. And then, thinking twice about setting my purse on the sofa pulled it back into my lap. I glanced at my shoes near the front door, a longing in the eyelets peering at me. I wiggled my toes in stockinged feet grateful that I had the fore-notion to cover peeling polish and crooked knuckles.

Balancing the tiniest cup of coffee on a china saucer I watched a cube of sugar slowly dissolve. Who uses sugar cubes any more? She laughed and talked about nothing. My eyes dancing back and forth from her lips, moving up and down, a silly pucker and phony high-pitched baby voice, to the bare walls and coffee table. A candle that had never been lit and a vase of silk flowers.

She must do chores all day. I thought about my own home, stacks of books on shelves and tables and in corners. A fine layer of dust on the blinds and bits of thread and this or that screaming their existence against the dark colored carpet that I hated from the time that we moved in but had been too lazy to do anything about. My sewing machine, I remembered, had been left on the window seat in the kitchenette, out of its case, the spools of thread on their sides threatening to fall and unravel on the linoleum. My heavy ceramic coffee mug, on the table, a ring of sugary sweet caffeine drying inside, a line of it down the outside of the cup lending itself to a unique ellipse on a white paper napkin next to a novel, its pages dog eared and stained from reading and rereading pages that pulsed with their own life.

This home, with its dainty scent of rose petals and pine cleaners did not echo the open arms of her mistress. But she was proper. Far from the wild haired, open mouthed stare of my front room, not used for sitting in delicate conversation, loud music blaring, booty shaking and off-key singing, door slamming cadence. Frying bacon and dirty diapers and smokey burning the second time from the bottom of the stove where the berry pie boiled over. Dirty dishes left for later, when living stopped waiting for something brilliant to happen. Birds that ruffle feathers and dogs that shake loose hairs into the air as they lay in panels of light from curtain-less windows, proof of life when humans, doing human things are absent.

Interrupting her chatter, I asked, because I longed to see and hear the passion in her voice. I wanted to see her heart, raw and naked in the room. Spilling over in color-filled words onto the area rug. If she could just let her hair spill over her shoulders and dance with carefree abandon. Awakening sleeping beasts. Allowing her hands to touch and feel textures and temperatures as they explode in sparkling flashes of light. But she just kept on talking, everything in its place. Everything just so. Proper and in order.