The boat whistled its’ way through the waters and soon the screams of the women faded. The air was now filled with the constant yells of families sitting on roofs screaming for help. They approached Memorial Medical Center and Chris decided to seek refuge there. As he got closer, he could see through the lobby window hundreds of people camped inside. Every seat was occupied and people were sprawled out on the floor with blankets. Police were patrolling the doors. Chris knocked but the policemen just stood and shook their heads in the negative. Chris trudged through the water to the other side of the hospital and policemen were standing heavy guard at those doors too. He knew besides the sore bones and loose teeth, he had no serious injury and they were not going to let him in.
Chris double tied his bag of food and treaded through the water on his tippy toes. He began to reminisce on the summers growing up in New Orleans. His father worked as a mechanic in a neighborhood shop and in the summer Chris would help out by washing the cars once he was done. Afterwards, instead of joining his cousins down at the local swimming pool, he hung out with the neighborhood knuckle heads and smoked weed. Or they convinced one of the older drunks to buy them liquor. He was all of nine years old. With the water slapping up against his chest and occasionally splashing in his face, he wished he had taken those swimming lessons instead.
A few blocks from the hospital, Chris found himself pacing in the water side by side with a dog. The dog was a dark brown cocker spaniel probably looking for a dry place to rest his feet. From atop, the dog seemed to be relaxed. But he knew underneath he was probably paddling his legs wild as the devil! Chris remembered how easy it was to tread the dog paddle when he was younger so he picked his feet up to give it a try. He quickly dipped in the thick, murky waters and emerged panicked. He struggled to get his stance stable but soon regained his pace and continued down the street with the other stranded people.
A little ways down, Chris spotted the small boat and whistled to get their attention. They acknowledged him by waving. Other people began to whistle and try and make their way to the boat too so Chris picked up his pace. The eyes of the dog swimming nearby were showing signs of exhaustion. There was no telling how long the dog had been in the water. The dog let out a bark, then went under the water. Within seconds, his head reappeared and he began to bark in desperation. Chris was mindful to stay as far away from the dog as possible to avoid being bitten. The small boat reeved it’s engine as they waited for him. The dog’s bark now became aggressive as he continued to swim towards Chris. The men on the boat splashed water towards the dog to slow him down and distract his concentration on swimming.
“Come on man! Dat dog look mad or summin’!,” one of the men said.
Chris turned his head to witness the dog go under again. He started to run on his tip toes because he knew he would get sprayed with the dirty water when the dog came back up. He reached the boat and threw his bag of food aboard. He could feel the water spray on the back of his neck as the dog shook its’ head. The men reached down and pulled Chris on the boat.
“They wasn’t lettin’ nobody in down at the hospital huh?,” Gunner asked.
“Naw,” Chris simply replied.
The boat pulled away and the dog continued to swim behind it. His eyes were bulging as he barked pleas of help. There was nothing in sight for the dog to take refuge on. The dog’s shiny, brown coat disappeared under the water a third time, not to emerge again.
a snippet from the short story book, Mississippi Window Cracks.
I was planning a trip to the beach. Fortunately, Atlanta affords me the leisure of choosing between various Georgia Islands, or a few hours drive to Florida, South Carolina or the coast of Alabama. I decided to do a quick turn around trip to one of the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia. Distracted, I began to flip through Facebook and came across an article about Igbo Landing or Ebo landing.
“The Igbo Landing occurred when Igbo slaves who had taken control of their ship marched into the water and drowned at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia.
After surviving the rigours of the Middle Passage, the 75 Igbo slaves who were bought for labour on the plantations of John Couper and Thomas Spalding for 100 dollars each.
The slaves were chained and put aboard a small ship to be transported to their destinations. During this voyage, they took control of the ship and grounded it, drowning their captors in the process.”
(from the site pulse.ng)
I looked up St. Simons Island and discovered it was a mere 4.5 hours away and I could choose lodging on the island or in nearby Brunswick, Ga. There are so many stories to be told. So many lands to be visited and honored or memorialized, and as a writer I believe there are always new words to discover. New smells and newly uncovered ways to describe emotions. So I booked my lodging, fueled up the Buick, and hit the road.
When I left the executive management world a few years ago, my goal was simply to find ways to stay creative and keep a roof over my head. This decision also involved me changing my career path in what some might consider, late in the game. After years of making an insanely, wonderful large salary, I began writing on more of a full time basis and substitute teaching in the public school system.
I tell myself the low pay was balanced with the daily rewards of working with young people and seeing them hit a happy plateau when they believed in themselves like I did. I guess I would say my philosophy in teaching was meeting the students exactly where they were and showing them the end goal everyday. And for three years I did just that! I worked with intent and passion, sharing my love for language arts and literature with 3rd and 4th graders. My respect for teachers and administration grew immensely. These are different times our kids are living in! Their access to information (and the lack of information) through the internet is a double edge sword. But I definitely have to say a huge challenge we are facing is the placement of charter schools that do not match the need or function for their perspective communities.
As I think of all the detours in life,
I am reminded that some of us are hurting,
struggling and stressed out
and God wants to remind all of us that our struggles
did not claim His promises for us
We may have some lingering emotional pain
and in other ways be bruised, but we are not ruined
We just need to be freed from any perceived faults
We need to be strengthened and restored
We need to be mended
and God is still in the mending business.
Some may say “Girl I don’t need mending, I’m good”
But the reality is things fall apart and when they do,
we start to question the essence of who we are
We are fearfully and wonderfully made women
We are the ones who were created from man because
we were necessary for carrying out God’s plan
We were given the spiritual insight to mother
the King of Kings, yet at times we’ve gotten
paralyzed by earthly things; and
some of these things severely rocked, and shifted us
and every time, the ‘Mender’ came and lifted us
because like the sun, moon and stars,
when He looked at us for the first time,
He said “That’s my best work by far”
God looked at Woman and He was pleased.
But even with His approval, sometimes,
the vibrations of our issues and traumas
bring us to our knees; afraid to move in any direction
But from a biblical recollection, we are pre-wired with
a spirit not intended to hold’s fear’s place
On the cross, He already set the pace for
dominating in life’s race, so, we must part ways with the
frays of those thought patterns that tend to leave us saddened.
When it comes to our spouses and children and
jobs and churches; we worry about being enough
and get trapped in the cuffs of “I need to do more”
or “What else can I do”
Women before us say the work of our gender is never through
We need mending!
Some of our history includes betrayal by someone who appeared
loving, but deemed us fitting for the splitting of our spirit,
as they denounced our value through acts of violence that
reversed our innocence; sent shock waves into our system
with every blow, until domestic violence became our daily show
and we no longer took time to enjoy the view…
Newfound positions as ‘Cover Girls’ with just the
right shades to camouflage our brokenness
We need mending!
Some of us had a foster brother or another
who took advantage of his vantage to, access
the bedroom where little girl memories are created—
elated was the perpetrator’s feelings each time they left
Now into adulthood, emotions swept, because those on whom
we relied—denied that the experience was more than
a fake story—now we accept their sentencing, or we,
keep pushing forward while burying the bones of
their infractions in fractions of our minds
We need mending!
We need the one-of-a-kind Savior whose
mercy on us never passes and His grace is open
wide to remove bandages and exchange beauty for ashes…
not needing any cashes because Jesus’ blood
dripped down until it was as round as the highest valued coin
He loves us from His loins, so know that the validity of
our pain and anguish are not in question
The ultimate sacrifice was made so that we could
move beyond tragedies and partake in divine function.
Some of us have lost jobs, cried through divorce and buried
our parents or children—
Bearing these crosses, made this world much more difficult to live in
Then there are women who are younger who have watched
the weeds of depression rearrange their emotional gardens,
hardened by the need to ease the tumultuous friction
Evil got us walking around like cutters
Taking painful memories and re-opening old wounds
while filling our minds with clutter,
feeling even lower as we realize that surviving can be
worse than the act—pack of angels the Father timely sends
to ensure we don’t end what He started
No matter how bad it seems,
His love for us cannot be departed and
He always knows when and how we need mending!
He will Make Everything Not Destroy us
even though it seems to deplete us
He will Mince Evils Needing Dismantling
He will Maintain Efforts to Needlepoint our Destiny
He will keep Mapping the Entrance to New Dreams
previously left dormant
He will Meticulously Endorse Noteworthy Declarations of
our forgiveness and favor for future foundations
After every problem, every issue, every crisis, every confusion,
every “why come,” every “What do I do,” every “How did this
happen,” every heartache and every tear…He, will, mend!
Women are intricate instruments intended to redefine this world;
and as we are impearled by His mending, we will meet the very
best version of ourselves and become, the greatest blessing.
Get ready to receive your mending!
Duania Hall aka “The Owner”, is known for owning the stage when sharing her poetry. She also previously hosted the poetry venue Speak Out Loud in Inglewood, CA. Duania is Woman of God, mother of two, Social Worker who creates and facilitates empowerment and poetry workshops for youth and adults, from all walks of life. Duania believes everyone has the capacity to create change and her motto is “when we create, we change the game”. Look out for her next poetry book, More than Words, set for release later this year. Duania can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my career(s) was being in executive retail management. It was incredible money but A LOT of work. Once I left that job, a part of my missed the none stop hustle and bustle of things so I created this character, Grace, to fill the void. (clever huh?) If you enjoy comedy, short stories and shopping- get a copy of “Grace in Retail – The Bonus“. Here’s Grace in action…