Forgiveness Bound: Parent’s Finally Understand

I was in the kitchen talking to a new volunteer. A sweet family from Texas actually, all the way in Australia. My mom had been sending me messages to my phone and when I checked again I was smiling. Let me paint her for you.

My Mom is a 50 year old angel. I mean this. She has the moods of a human but the sweetness of an angel. She loves to laugh, watch westerns. I run.  The other day my friend tried to get me to watch a western and I thought no thank you my mom has been trying for years, and by the way yuck. It actually turned out to be a good movie.

My Dad is a 53 year old play boy. He just goes with the flow does his own thing. He used to date a lot.

They met in high school. My dad was a class clown. (I was voted class clown in school also by the way). My dad has jokes for days. When I came out of the closet, which didn’t take long at all I wasn’t afraid to say I was queer, I didn’t think it was all that taboo although my family was very christian I never felt an interest in being afraid of my sexuality. My dad wasn’t mad but he had jokes for days which culminated in him showing up at my high school graduation with his girl friend at the time and yelling as I walked across the stage: “Go Dick!” “That’s My Son Up There!” If you know me you know that I am very much into my own world and as I was walking across the stage I hardly paid any attention to what was happening. I think I was more concerned with the mere fact that I didn’t get the memo that we were not supposed to be wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes to a formal affair. I was also concerned that my cap might not stay on my big fro. So as my dad was yelling, “Go Dick!” and his girlfriend was probably crying laughing next to him and applauding I simply thought it was a normal thing, got my diploma, and made it, thankfully, to my seat with my graduation cap still attached.

I hope that painted a picture of my parents for you. My mom, as I stated before, sent me a message earlier that she had a nice breakfast with my dad and that he had her laughing so hard her side hurt. She said he was kind to her and that this morning he told her he loved her. I was thinking oh geesh Mom, how cute.

They met in high school, they married really young, they had twins that didn’t make it and then me and my sister came along. They divorced after I was born. There is one thing about my parents which I appreciate and I use all of the time. It doesn’t matter what you did, you can and always will be loved. I have known for years that my dad would call my mom to check up on me and give tid bits of information on my sister. My mom and I lived in California, my sister lived in Texas where my dad was. He would call to see where in the world I was relying on my mom to know. She would call him to find out any information on Clarissa if she couldn’t reach her. There is something about having children together that will do that to two people I think. They talk far more now than ever since we are not little anymore, they talk more than when we were teenagers. The conversation is mostly still about their kids but it has finally started to lean in towards each other since we are independent.

So today my dad told my mom he loves her and my Mom sent me a message about it. Word on the street is when my dad saw my mom for breakfast he was beaming (well, that’s what Clarissa said and if you read my last post you know Clarissa is eccentric and has a joke for everything) apparently she weaseled her way into a free breakfast and of course had her opinion on the whole thing. I can just imagine it now, my mom and dad sitting there having a chat and Clarissa looking at them out of the corner of her eyes, and leaning in to interrupt the good moment for the butter 🙂 . My mom said she gave my dad relationship advice,now I know we have come a long way.

I am 28 now and my parents still call me their baby. It stems from a union they had and still in someway have.  I am now quite a grownup and independent in my own right but I admit, there is still something about your parents getting along and forgiving and loving each other that makes me smile and happy inside. I think Clarissa is happy too, she has jokes for days.

Phenomenally Phenomenal Woman: Eloquent History on the Journey to Language Learning

My sister Clarissa was one of my favorite orators in our drama club. She was hilarious during practice. We would all laugh as she joked around or did some funny gesture. The teacher sometimes didn’t like it because we tended to join in with Clarissa and her antics.I loved it.

At first I wasn’t even in the drama club. I just showed up to watch the performances. This was no normal club. All of us were black children and we did traditional black poetry; Langston, Maya, Countie. I loved Langston. Eventually Clarissa’s hilarious actions had me joining in on the fun with everyone else and the next thing I knew I had memorized something and was performing it for everyone.

I went to a famous historic black school. I mean old, it was the original Yates school before Yates became a school. Before the Civil Rights Era it was called James D. Ryan School for Coloreds. There was a worn out plaque in the entrance someone had tried to scratch out. I took a picture in front of it once, smiling and pointing with my friend Nicole. Our school was slightly modern but in the 3rd ward neighborhood there was certain things black children learned and did by way of tradition. How to Step, How to Orate, How to Debate, How to Sing a Gospel Song like you Deserved to Be On Stage, and How to Pray. All the keys to eloquence.

My teachers would put me in play after play. My family and my teachers would make me dress up to go to Museums to orate a speech or a poem. My friends and I would make up dances and step it out in front of the school. My Uncle would make us kids sing like we knew what we was doing at church. The frilly socks, the super done up hair, and the attitude to boot. Those were the funny, black traditions a young child was taught in the historically black neighborhood I grew up in and at the historically black school I went to.

Oratory competitions was my thang!

I think it helped me to be the person I am today. These powerful poems and the awareness of black history, it helped me along the way. It gave me a foundation of what I believed in, what I thought was fair, how I wanted to see the world, how I wanted to be treated.

I will make a grammar mistake like anyone can do. But when I really mean business, I can get my point across. I love to remember and perform poetry. My own now a days.

Even when I went to my first year of college I spent what money the school I was working at gave me for free books on Langston Hughes poetry. I loved a new poetry book from San Francisco’s Marcus Books which catered to black authors. I would sit in my living room remembering by heart Langston’s poetry and performing for myself since no one was around

Sometimes when the children were good in my class room, I taught visual and expressive arts in the historically black neighborhood of Bay View at an elementary school, I would perform for them. They ate it up, they loved it. One of my favorite poems I will never forget by Langston was called Suicides Note, it simply goes: The calm cool face of the River asked me for a kiss.

Not only because it was easy to remember, simply a sentence, but he brought the River to life and maintained that the River wanted him. The spirits in it’s depths wanted him and he kissed the River.

I don’t think I told the children what the name of the Poem was. 🙂

Our drama club, the one I was at first a spectator in at school, had only a few girls. Priscilla, Clarissa’s and I childhood friend was a helpful ringleader of the foolishness we drummed up. After drama club we would go to my grandmother’s porch and make up dance steps with the radio blaring and our ice cream melting and my bag of hot chips all over my fingers. Our drama club also had about one or two guys. I forgot his name for now but I know we had no since of what managomy or jelousy was. We used to practice kissing him and I tell you I only did it once and I don’t think I kissed another boy for a while after that because I thought it was so gross.

The girls remembered one poem in particular. I don’t think we could truly eloquently put into words why we all personally thought this poem was important to remember but we just did and kept it to ourselves. The poem was Maya Angleou’s Phenomenal Woman. We blared it, our hands on our hips as we performed it, walking sassy across the stage. I Am a Woman Pheno-na-ma-na-ly! Phenomenal Woman That’s Me!

My sister was really good at this poem. We didn’t laugh when she performed it, we watched. I think our drama teacher was calmer when she performed it. She certainly didn’t have an annoyed look on her face when she did. Another favorite of ours was Fire by Langston Hughes, the guy we kissed performed this one so well. Like he was about to get smote. His hands in the air over his head, a pleading in his loud clear voice. Begging and unbelieving that he could be burned by fire in hell.

However Phenomenal Woman, I will always remember that poem. How important it was for me. How important it is for me. I think I once shared it with the children of my art class. In front of all of those beautiful black boys and girls in my class. My voice ringing out: I am a Woman!

Now I am learning French. My tutor told me to do things I would normally do in French if I would like to become better at speaking. I love to read poetry. I love to read Alice, Tony, Tananarive, Octavia, Langston. I love to read. I love to read more than I would like to see a movie or video. So I pulled up this poem for you. A reminder for us all. No matter your race, age, or beliefs. No matter if you are a woman or a man or a transgender person. I think this poem has something to teach us all. I think this poem matters even to feminist and womanist (some might not like the note on high heels). It is a triumphant cry with defining verses opening doors or perception and the bare bones truth.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

And because I would like to get better and make myself and my tutor smile 🙂

Femme Phénoménale

PAR MAYA ANGELOU

Merveille de jolies femmes là toute mon secret. Je ne suis pas mignon ou construit pour adapter la taille de mannequin, mais quand je commence à leur dire :

Ils pensent que je suis dire des mensonges. Je le dis, C’est dans la portée de mes bras, La durée de mes hanches, l’enjambée de ma démarche, la courbure de mes lèvres. Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

c’est moi.

Je rentre dans une chambre Tout aussi cool que vous s’il vous plaît et à un homme, Les boursiers debout ou Tomber à genoux. Puis ils pullulent autour de moi, Une ruche d’abeilles. Je le dis, C’est le feu dans mes yeux, et le flash de mes dents, le swing dans ma taille, et la joie dans mes pieds.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Les hommes eux-mêmes sont demandent ce qu’ils voient en moi. Ils essaient tant de choses Mais ils ne peuvent pas toucher Mon mystère intérieur. Quand j’essaye de leur montrer, ils disent qu’ils n’est pas visible. Je le dis, C’est dans l’arc de mon dos, le soleil de mon sourire, Le trajet de mes seins, La grâce de mon style.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Maintenant vous comprenez Juste pourquoi ma tête n’est pas courbée. Je ne pas crier ou sauter sur Ou dois parler vrai fort. Quand vous me voyez en passant, Il devrait vous rendre fiers. Je le dis, C’est en cliquant sur mes talons, la courbe de mes cheveux, la paume de ma main, le besoin de mes soins. Parce que je suis une femme Phénoménal.

 Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

 

Merci.

Alright ahhh!

Wow let me begin with…this year I felt yes I must go to Africa. I have been to South East Asia and all of these beautiful places with its residual African resemblances and yet my feet hadn’t touch the soils of Africa. I remember in Oakland there was an African centered woman who made clothes in the Lower Bottoms, I used to phone her and ride my bike to her home with lentils I intended to cook for her. She had a special place in the hearts of young black women who would visit her.  She reminded me of my aunts, you went over to her house, she had a rule everybody cleans up. I found myself doing the dishes, sweeping, and helping sort out fabric. My favorite part was if we all spent the night like a mother hen she read us stories. Can you imagine us early twenty something year olds lying everywhere heads resting on their palms looking up to a woman reading passages from books she wouldn’t let you borrow nor bend.

She used to say you want to go to Africa, all you got to do is confirm it and you will go. She was right, this year I decided two things were for certain I was going to see Hornby again and I was going to go to Africa.

Went to Hornby, thats another story. Now, I’m in Africa.

image

Whats happening

I love to blog. I just haven’t come to it for a while. I am on this Island where there is so much beauty. so many stories. people say this Island is very powerful with its petroglyphs and at times fast moving tides. I have been engulfed in art and dedicated to it. devoted to it. loving it. cooking, cleaning, creating, crafting. coloring, painting, cutting, gluing. I awake every morning at 5:20 am. my dear friend sometimes stirs by the sound of the alarm. so long as I am not doing too much she is fine. my tent is decorated with shawls I have collected. my altar is set up in a perfect place. I have been dreaming by a grandmother tree.

It begins like this, I wake up and lay there for ten minutes just to orient myself. then I grab either my dream journal if I remember or my journal in which I write three pages. doesnt matter what but I am writing. then I sit up and close my eyes while staying awake for an hour. I think of nothing or I do mental exercises. meditation.

then I might grab my computer and for one hour with out stopping, no bathroom break to call my own. I write for an hour. and let it just come. some of it is personal. sometimes its a story. if its a story I pray it be medicine. Then I leave where I dream after prayer and shower. then I walk to this place called the boat house where I have been working diligently on what some may call an elaborate doll house looking structure. it is indeed a large house. it has two roofs. trim. a small door. windows that you can’t see through. I finished the inside a few days ago. now its all about the outside of it. No matter what this is what I have been working on. then I might travel to clean for extra cash. look at the sea and thank her. look at the trees and thank them. I can breathe here the air is clean I feel. not too many cars. the people are kind, funny, nice, sharing their tales and art. people love to stick art where it can go. there might be a show here or there. I eat simple food for the sake of my health. peanut butter is a treat. I think if not for eggs I have returned to being a vegan but there are sweet crepes that i can only have with a bit of honey on it. but it is sooo good. there is new music I have been collecting from a guy named Jeff who is hilarious.

So that is where I have been. I think I have been touched by art. It has shown up to help me through the days and I have decided to dedicate myself to it in gratitude and also because I am interested in it. I have been in pursuing the muse. and getting over and loving my ego. I have learned that to get over it is a great thing. and also that it comes to the rescue to make sure you know when somethings not right. so what if its just an unfairity but it is better to flush it out than to ignore it. Oh dear. I thank you Hornby. A song recently written speaks about parables and proverbs.

let go, relax, and love love love
and go live on an island

It won’t be Hornby but it will be Hawaii. I have decided that I who love the Earth, Water, Air, and Fire would appreciate sea, trees, and volcano near by. The natives of Hornby speak that Hornby is a powerful land. The people would leave during the winter and the shamans would stay. for vision.That is that for now.