Category: Ramblings

When Kids Die

 

 

This work is not my own, but written by a Father Oracle, Langston Hughes (1902-1967). In keeping with the theme of this month, I thought this fitting. Let us be reminded that life is precious–and black children are entitled to know and see theirs are just as precious as anyone else’s.

Thank you.

JBH.

 When Kids Die

This is for the kids who die,

Black and white,

For kids will die certainly.

The old and rich will live on awhile,

As always,

Eating blood and gold,

Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi

Organizing sharecroppers

Kids will die in the streets of Chicago

Organizing workers

Kids will die in the orange groves of California

Telling others to get together

Whites and Filipinos,

Negroes and Mexicans,

All kinds of kids will die

Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment

And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned

Who pen editorials in the papers,

And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names

White and black,

Who make surveys and write books

Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,

And the sleazy courts,

And the bribe-reaching police,

And the blood-loving generals,

And the money-loving preachers

Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,

Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets

To frighten the people—

For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—

And the old and rich don’t want the people

To taste the iron of the kids who die,

Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,

To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—

Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you

Except in our hearts

Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp

Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,

Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht

But the day will come—

You are sure yourselves that it is coming—

When the marching feet of the masses

Will raise for you a living monument of love,

And joy, and laughter,

And black hands and white hands clasped as one,

And a song that reaches the sky—

The song of the life triumphant

Through the kids who die.

-Langston Hughes

 

[Google images]

Dear Martin

Dear Dr. King:

How marvelous it is to know and read of you! How wonderful it is to know your compassion lead you to action and how your wife has supported you. I wish to thank you for your life and service. I’m sure those two words are rarely heard, and never heard enough. On behalf of those whom benefit from history and hindsight, once more, thank you.

In the fifty years since your passing from living to ancestry and then to legacy, there is still so much to be done, Martin. There are strides, stutter-steps and fighting for every inch of ground we as a people have. There are policies and laws in place now that weren’t fifty years ago, yet there are places in this nation where my almost seventy year old mother would still be called a ‘colored girl.’ There is still so much work laid, yet so much work to do, which at the weight of it all–sometimes threaten to crush my soul, spirit and heart.

As this new movement, this strive to be ‘woke’, has been something akin to what I am sure you, Coretta and all of SNCC and the NAACP saw. There has been a unity emerging which is needed and necessary, yet there is a thread, once pulled reveals motives, hearts, agendas and intentions. It is sometimes such lonely work, Martin. Such lonely work.

What I have decided to, Martin, perhaps what you considered:  work my niche. I have found my niche to be organizing, support, mentoring, refuge and education. I have found that the work, this work of the gospel and social justice, will always be ongoing. The mission field is too wide a swath to tackle alone! I am learning it will not be perfect, I will not be perfect in learning, but there is a restlessness in me which makes me want to keep going. I have to keep going.

Martin, Dr. King, I understand more what Margaret Mitchell meant when she said, “Respectability is the punishment for the wild.” For all the fires I caused and walked away from, I now must start and kindle to others.

I want to thank you for not giving up. I thank you for showing what a possible path to freedom looked like. I thank you for your grace, fierceness, courage and boldness. I don’t believe to change the world as a person of color you have to be ‘the good negro’–and I have always rejected that depiction of you. I know now, to change the world as a person of color you have to know the game you’re playing and play it better.

I’m deciding to play it better.

In Hope, Fight and Faith,

Pastor Jennifer P. Harris, Spirit of Life Church-St. Louis

1808-This Doesn’t Happen In Wakanda

(Remember, 1808 means this is NSFW.)

I spoke about this story when I first heard about it before Christmas. Click here for that initial tea. See this link for this low-grade fuckery out of Hartford University.

I cannot say what is in another woman’s heart, or their faith, but a girl that put my toothbrush in her ass needs to take an L. I in no way can advocate for her on any level. Help me be better Jesus, because I can’t and don’t ask me to!

Chennell “Jazzy” Rowe went to the sentencing hearing of a broad that wiped menstrual blood on her things and spit in her lotion and put her toothbrush in her ass. The Lord says to forgive, but you ain’t gotta do this here! I can’t do it bruh. I can’t do it!

The problem I have with this is the constant assault on black women. The barrage we are subjected to simply for being melaninated! This silly clear trollop said she did these things to her after she found out Jazzy put a video of her snoring on social media.

Aight. 😒

Even with that being so, this shit is uncalled for. There are different ways to handle a nasty b!tc#. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri bruh, Idda handed out an ass-whuppin once I found out, since we one-uppin!

I am proud of Jazzy’s poise. And restraint. I am over how black women are treated and expected to hold to his Mammie expectation that everything done to us by those white folk that don’t know no better just needs to be forgiven!

I’m not advocating vengeance, but fairness. Do I think this is hate crime? I do actually. If the girl was that mad about a roommate, she could have found another one. Point blank.

Miss me with she didn’t know, wasn’t aware and didn’t mean it. When you set your mind to put something I put in my mouth, in your ass, you aim to get all you got coming to you once I find out. Slap ya mammie, because she just as trifling and could teach you no better.

He Called Me A Storm…

He told me I was a storm.

He told me my eyes always gave that away. He said  there was depth to me he found intriguing and sensual and irresistible. With that, in 2003, my 22 year-old-self was all his. *Alejandro told me this exact quote,

Being from Florida, I weathered many a hurricane. I know a storm when I see one.”

Matter of fact, this was one of his nicknames for me:  Hurricane.

Why? He called me a force of nature.

Furious.

Strong.

Beautiful.

Leaving nothing untouched after I’m noticed.

Effects long lasting after I’m gone.

In the years which have followed, I’ve thought about this, what it means to be a storm, and  how I embody this. I took notice of the young men that showed interest in me, after Alejandro, as well whom I showed interest in. I noticed how these potential suitors and paramours spoke to me, treated me, and when they couldn’t keep pace, I coined the phrase, “Don’t chase what you can’t catch.”

I still stay that, and even told it to my current husband. I still remember him staring at me like I was slightly off-kilter. But, I am slightly off-kilter.

Storms are powerful, beautiful and needed. They display this power, raw and unyielding having a charge to the very  air in  the existence indeed shows why people chase them.

There’s a mystic nature to storms; how this power channels things around their forming–it details, its direction, strength and ones preparedness.

Alejandro spoke to that…even in my new 22-year-old broken heartedness, I heard him.

Even thinking about it now, I grin. It spoke strength back into me from a place of utter despair, depression and self-doubt. His presence in my life pulled me back together, his voice was anchor when the words I had so easily written before didn’t come back as I commanded so then.

For him to see that in me, among  that space of believing I was beautiful or brilliant, with every door I threw up (and lock he picked), wall I built (which he walked around), let me know indeed I was worth all good things, including love.

In the now 15 years I have known of his heart beating somewhere in the wide world, I smile when it storms. I know that he thinks of me on those days–just as I think of him when the sky is clear. Why? His eyes are blue.

Thank you, *Alejandro.

*-Not his real name. If you want to know more, see Able Unshakeable.

All The Black Women Named Charlotte

When I was growing up, I wondered by my grandmother had named my mother Bessie. There was no other woman I knew named, Bessie. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that name was short for Elizabeth. The only other Elizabeth I knew not in a Sweet Valley High book, was Queen Elizabeth II. My mother said that was whom she was named after. She believes it, so why not let her have it?

However, with the women my mother’s age the names I heard often where Esther, Estella, Dorothy, Elizabeth and Charlotte.

Charlotte.

My adopted mother’s name is Charlotte.

I always thought the name sounded–hard. I think it was mean sounding because of the hard Ch that started that name. But there are few women I knew with that name who were mean.

It was this year that I found out why that name had the toughness that it did. It’s regal. Charlotte, Charlottesville,— the very name Charlotte–is after the British monarch Queen Sophia Charlotte, wife of King George III. And she was what was called a Moor, we would just call her black.

Yes, black.

With all I knew, I considered myself to be well read until now. I literally found this out as concrete fact over the weekend! I had heard the historic rumors of her existence, but didn’t want to get my hopes up with research. But indeed this was fact! She was beautiful, multilingual, an abolitionist–and she discovered Morzart! Moreover, she was one of his early sponsors!

As I sat listening to News One, I absorbed this information in smooth waves. I searched Google for images of her. I needed to know what likeness there was of her. In seeing her, being able to associate name and face, I thought I would be able to further validate my own ambition. I wanted proof to be an ambitious, beautiful black woman was hereditary, not fluke. I needed the lingering parts of me settled about that. There was depiction of her I found where she looks like me or my mother when she was younger.

Names indeed have influence, prestige and lineage. Names let you hold you head up a little taller, especially if you know there’s a history behind them! Make no mistake, because you have the name you do, you already get to establish history and prowess with it. Need I remind you of  *Quvenzhane Wallis?

Nikki Giovanni said,”If the black woman wasn’t made, she would have to be invented.” So accurate. It indeed is marvelous to be young, gifted and black.

*She the actress in the movie Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and most recently, Annie. She is an author, and actress whom was the youngest nominated for an Academy Award. There is a quote that is ascribed to the pronunciation of her name that the author, says requires one have ‘full use of the tongue.’  That article  was in response to a Annie press interview Ms. Wallis did where the interviewer was having an issue saying her name, and wanted to shorten it. Quvenzhane said, “No, you can call me Quvenzhane.”

Being Doc’s Girl


It’s my father’s 69th birthday.
I have been without him almost 20 years. Some years are better than others to deal with the grief, but there are years where I strain to remember him.

With all the people whom knew me and know who my father is, I will ever be ‘Doc’s Oldest Girl.’ I reconcile that with some degree of unease, remembering the big shadow he casts 19 years after his death.

There is this odd synergy that happens to you when you lose a parent. There is a portion of you that is irredeemable and interred. Questions are unanswered and misunderstanding grudges after this piece of you is gone.

I don’t mourn him as that 17-year old hurt girl anymore, I mourn the loss of the relationship. I wasn’t able to reap what happens after childhood is over, and that used to paralyze me. It took years to accept that I would make no new memories or reparations with and for my time being a surly, jaded, 17-year old girl.

I could only think of what I had lost…

Now, I think about what I have and have gained. How odd to say, right? But even now, this long after his death, I am still gaining things. The most powerful of these are ambition, sense of self, and capacity for forgiveness.

I can recognize people as people and accept their limitations and humanity. This is invaluable. I have learned how important life is, reconciliation is, and how love is a power and muscle.

Do I miss my Dad? Of course. And I know what it is to mourn, be angry, and be melancholy when a pillar in your life is missing.

From that mourning, I can see the stages of mourning in others and offer compassion. From that compassion, I can make the world a little better while loving a little harder.