My father died in February. Around the 22nd or so. I purposely misplaced the obituary and forgot the date. It was the year 2008 or 2009. It was such a blur but I know I was living in Atlanta at the time.
He was my biggest fan but I didn’t know. He was consistent with inconsistency. Or maybe it’s “we” were consistent with inconsistency. But usually the child is allowed to blame the parent so I said “he”. We weren’t consistent like the hurricanes that you expect every year. We were more like tornadoes in the south. It can happen but it would be a surprise. Except we never made the news. Not together at least. So that was the weather of our relationship.
I called in December, around the holidays cause that’s what you’re supposed to do. His girlfriend answered and told me he was dying. They had given him a few months to live. He told me he was dying a few years before that, so I kind of didn’t believe her. I can’t remember where he was or why she answered the phone. But then he picked up and said, “hello”.
Continue reading the memories in February
Saturday afternoon truth
told by thick brown hands,
stories of survival and struggle until both
sound like all the names of the black mamas in the neighborhood
Hymns and laughter
imparted in between sections of greased scalps
that smell like coconut or yesterday’s frying oil
Here, little girls get to disappear
feel their mother’s heart beat
as her fingertips massage away her little girl worries
not turning the jump rope fast enough
getting picked last during recess for dodge ball
on the floor between her mother’s legs
the little girl’s father appears in a new light
fresh and foul
like discounted gizzards
she learns why to save
why the pulled out back seat of her grandfather’s Cadillac is a
treasure in the garage
safe Saturday rituals become
sanctified Sunday religion
and all this from sitting in between her mother’s legs
getting her hair
She say for her family
she do what she can
when in reality it be for her
man / who wants a mother like her son
so she wipe both they asses and then her tears cause it be from the same shit
Too tired more/more tired than her mother who taught her how to stay
who lived and died the same way
the palm reader etched on her palm
now that she know/she can remain calm
when he come to bed smelling like fuck nut
and dried saliva.
He’ll say it’s all in her head
so she have nightmares of
forever being a fool.
from the book,
Copies available here
40 Words of Wisdom Every Parent Needs to Give Their Child
For the holidays my girls bought me a few things but the BEST was a coupon book they made for me.
They’re growing into their own little people so they give me a hard time with wanting to cuddle and hug and kiss on them. With that, they made me a coupon book so I can cash in on some time and I won’t get a fight from them.
Just one of those things that warms your heart 💖💜
You pick the words today… I’m speechless.
This art is from my amazing friend, Sage Gallon.
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