Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lady in the Perimeter 1

After her seasons have come and gone, it will be her sereneness that he remembers most, that ease with which she greets every single occurrence after more than ninety-five years of having lived. And for each weekly visit, the vision of the doors opening into a stately display of the woman magnificently assembled in her rooms will be panoramic in his memory. She has had to be a survivalist, for certain, probably more as the branches slow their sway in the garden behind her wall than at any other period she has seen. She is often found floating deep in a state of musing, or hovering like a sunflower over the pages of a book, or resting her colorfully wrapped head on the tall polished headboard, in league with the greatest black matriarchs of the two centuries within which she has existed.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Special Hearing

A hospital bed held the man now, and baby blue flannel covered his limbs. His face was drawn into a deeper brown than the rest of him, and shadows made a half-circle over the skin under his eyes. They were the kind of heavy shadows that the sunlight could not stretch far enough through the window bars to reach. He was overcome, with sickness, with emotion, with the struggle to form once easy words into full sentences, and with a mind full of burdens no other soul could access.

This was some woman’s son, well into his fifties now. He seemed distant, isolated from the reality of his situation. The nurses fluttered in and out of the room, unbothered. They whisked past the officers posted at the door, securing any sentiment they may have held, under white latex gloves. A young advocate sat close to the edge of a chair, not far from the bed. He leaned in close to decipher the strained whispers from his detained elder, contemplating a defense. It was like struggling to catch a breeze from the backside a rock. The elder said that he had spent most of his manhood inside of a prison. He had embarked on a career that was the easiest for him to reach, one that entailed the small-time trade of weapons and street-wide narcotics that he personally tested. He was still dealing with the professional hazards and all the other perils that he inherited by circumstance. And he had found himself in this position again. He shook his head.

Somewhere outside of the room, a group of officials was loitering on the glossy hallway floors, becoming inpatient about the length of time this entire affair was taking. Inside, the younger of the two men was feeling quite helpless. The man in front of him reminded him of an uncle. He tried to read on the elder’s face any awareness of his impending demise. If the man knew that the sickness would take him, he did not show it. He only spoke about his family. His sons in Florida, who did not know what had happened to him, and who, he mused, would likely not care to know. A sister he had once been very close to; a younger brother that had just died. The elder would soon join those that had gone before him. The advocate and the nurses exchanged the knowledge in their glances. The advocate sighed as he looked over at the painted white bars that made a wall in front of the hospital windows. He observed the elder’s roommate reading the comics in the other bed, as if he were the only person in the room. An official suddenly appeared at the door and inquired if the two men were finally prepared. The advocate nodded. He wondered in which facility the elder would eventually die. He breathed hard, gathered the papers on his lap, and readied himself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Passion in the Everglades 1

We come together at the singular space and instant ordered by the one true God, whatever that may be. We thought love a likely enough candidate and worshipped it. Our patterns crisscrossed like intersecting railways, one leading northeast and the other northwest, or southwest and southeast or up or down. We assessed each other that way, in every possible direction, fusing glances in the mirror while the others driveled on in the room. We were touching knees and thighs, fingers and knees, arms and shoulders, shoulders and thighs all for the feel of the thing that cannot be tangibly felt. We could convene here or anywhere in the universe, known and unknown, blocking out the traffic roaring down the boulevard just outside the building. Our two spirits, those spirits, spiraled around each other in an upward tornado, oblivious to everything but themselves – through all the mists they projected; unconstrained!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Meshell Unchained

Black woman, play your guitar. Someone slanted back in perfect pitcher poise, with a leg hoisted at the mark and pelted towards you, the gift. The hurler watches you from a great distance; watches it fluttering from antiquity, skipping through the realms like a stone bouncing across the surface of a lake. Your heart is in the song. Play your guitar. Send your lusciousness out like silky bubbles just blown; mystify them. You sing, like a chanteuse in a sequin robe, with flowers pinned just above your ear, quivering under that solitary indigo light. But you do it your way, as debonair as a boxer that has mastered the use of a musical instrument. You sway aggressively in a black dress shirt. You are fragile too, guiding the neck and fretboard like a wand or a conductor’s baton, smirking underneath your strawberry red glasses, knowing what you know. You render the crowd immobile with each tug of the string. You moan, floating atop the baseline like froth over ale, summoning from the depths the sounds that have come from a line of once captive women, now free – but none more boundless than you center stage. Goddamnit, black woman, play your guitar.

Friday, April 20, 2012

On the Loss of My Beloved Big Brother: I Write In The Name Of Kwame Osei Carter!

My Beloved Brother, I think about you every single day. I feel your presence all around me. I talk to you in my dreams. I think about us often as children, imagining what our future lives would have been like. And life was so beautiful with you in it; my oldest and closest friend; my big brother. I learned so much from you. You are a true gift. I can't describe how much I miss you, your counsel and guidance, your wisdom, your company, your kindness and your love. I am extremely grateful for the time that the universe allowed us together. Your life has blessed me immeasurably - your spirit blesses me still. In quiet moments, I remember some experience we have shared and smile. I thank The Creator for sharing you with us. I thank The Creator for you. I am so thanfkul for you, so thankful for you, Kwame...so thankful.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On the Loss of My Beloved Big Brother

I knelt down by the make-shift alter today, the one that the women built in the place where you died. There were three unlit candles standing quietly in the platter, sharing the creamy gold color that burgeoning sunlight holds. I spoke to you. I am so thankful to you. I meditated alone and without fear, there in the place you died.

It is my birthday again, and this is a sort of milestone; an age I wanted to reach but thought I would never see; you left instead. Our Granny held my face and kissed it, saying a blessing for this event that now falls on the actual day of the week I arrived. You would have appreciated that fact. How could I have survived without your counsel, your friendship, your protection? I am so thankful to you. I am so thankful for you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

On the Loss of My Beloved Big Brother

I feel you so constantly since your transformation, hovering around me; sharing with me, from your place behind the screens, all the tangible experiences of my continuation – smiling with me at an inside joke, hearing the phrases I speak into my still rooms, and seeing all the things I know. Even now, when we come close to the point where the globe will have made its full orbit, and arrived at that place, that portal through which you relieved yourself of life by your own hands, I can still quickly be reduced to tears. Some memory brings it on, or a song that I have known you to love, or the thought of something that you confided you yearned for but, alas, were never destined to have. There is no way for me to reconcile your loss.

As children we might have suspected that something compelling was upon us. While we talked and studied the overhead sequins from our veranda rails, we were so connected. We would later discern the way of the Divine; delicate and undetectable, like individual strands of hair, but part of the larger design still. Twenty years will come in just this same way and go, and I will be stunned to have survived it without your company; to not have succumbed to my initial instincts to follow you into the next realm – that is, if the universe even allows such longevity. For your leaving has convinced me that our time is as fragile as daylight, ready to be claimed by the slightest shadow, but unpredictable overall. Just look at our Grandmother, who, we were once both certain would light our way into the next world. She has lived three of your lifetimes and now doubles her prayers for you by the bed.