“Stories centered around Black Women occupy an oppressive gaze that silences her voice. In these stories, the performance of her voice is used to the benefit of the protagonist and written in an “othered” form that is separate from her body. With the structure of the story being centered around Black Women, the writer is positioned to inform the audience how her body should or may perform to drive the plot and assist in completing the story. This storytelling style objectifies Black Women’s lives and presents her as a spectacle in constant response to her circumstances. She Chronicles focuses on Black Women centered stories that explore her livelihood from a holistic perspective.” – Nikki Skies
August 5, 2019
I woke up late this day. It’s not clear to me right now how it was revealed to me… I’m sure if I sat in mediation and thought about it things would come back. But, thinking about this day still make my nose sting. You know that sting that happens before your eyes water…
I woke to the news that Toni Morrison had passed. I was heartbroken. I felt like she left me, like she should’ve had someone call me to let me know she wasn’t feeling well. No, we didn’t have a relationship like that but… she had been with me all of my adult life and so I just thought… I guess I thought she would stay around like the books on my shelf. Am I making sense?
I had just been in contact with her production company this past summer for private screenings of her movie in Atlanta, “The Pieces I Am”. The movie that has the wings to change the process of writing just as her books change people as readers and thinkers. I had just bought her book, “The Source of Self-Regard” as my summer reading as I traveled. I…. cried. I just flat out cried. I, like the world, felt the energy shift. It went from powerful to immensely powerful with her transition.
On social media, I had seen several of my friends attend memorials and remembrances celebrating their artistic experiences with Morrison. I was speaking with a friend and expressed how I had not had the opportunity to mourn, laugh, share my love of Morrison in an intimate setting. She offered her studio space for “Tea with Toni”.
We got together and shared our favorite characters and passages from her books. I read from “Sula” and had time permitted, I would’ve shared my favorite pages from “Song of Solomon” when Milkman received his nickname. (that is some good writing!) It was so serene to be around other creatives who needed this space to discuss such an important literary figure, the Pulitzer Prize winner author, Toni Morrison. A genius wordsmith. The sole creator of language(s) for the preservation of humanity, communities and black women. She fearlessly showed the world our beauty. Shared with the orbits our sweetly spiced tongues.
Mother Toni, we see you smiling
we see those fingers pressed together for rhythmic snaps / grooving.
Thank you for everything and all!
the idea the African saw through the cracked wood of
the Henrietta Marie
the seed of the new woman
the ecstasy in the fire
the gospel after poetry venues
praised on sidewalks and parking lots
you are now a prophet amongst preachers
burdened with the beauty of the entire rose
pick the thorns or keep them
just stay in tact / you came prickly and prissy
with a rampant river under your feet
your commitment will be constantly tested
through people using revolution to work our personal
they’ll say you don’t fit the role / don’t look natural / ain’t ready to fight
you’re not committed to the destruction of the system
and they’re right
because you are a Creator / never forget that
You are a Creator
and you destroy the idea of death in order to live.
from the book, “Pocket Honey Wind & Hips”
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
More information on the author can be found at: pviljoen.wordpress.com