Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Take us back (draft 2)

It was the moaning mostly
The whispered guttural moan that escaped pursed lips and
Sunday pink lipstick

That groan from underneath belly that granted the go ahead to
Say it sista!
Preach pastah!

Hallelujah shouts from peppermint breath
Knocked cracked leather black pumps
Holding swollen ankles on wooden floors
Closed eyes and tears falling slow

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more

I remember you, Grandmama
We honor you, Auntie
The organ keys you made sing
Tambourines you reached for and brought down from nowhere

Negro women who could out walk a lie on broken toes
Courageous women who got a prayer through
Breathing a breath
Deeper than the last

Jesus keep me near thy cross
Pass me not, oh gentle savior
We've come from these women
Spread noses, wide feet
Carry the world shoulders like theirs
Lest we forget and think we carried ourselves

Gonna lay down my burdens down by, down by the riverside

These are our mothers
With backwoods grammar and perfect memory

This little light of mine, this little light of mine

We need you now, Grandmama
Our fine homes are poison without your wrinkled fingers
Folded for breakfast prayer

There was something about your Jesus
Your John Kennedy, Martin Luther, Mahalia Jackson
Glued to dusty wood mantle over stale candy and crystal glass bowl

Your God who had the whole world in His hands, in Her hands
Was too big to argue love, death, resurrection

Hold to God's unchanging hands

Big Mama we call on You now
Forgive us please our education
Our money
Our everything we think we know
Too good for your pork chop
Your hymn book
Your hot comb

Put your feet in our laps
Great warriors
Let us massage your boiled blood and blistered backs
We are listening, queens
All the time we heard your songs
But could not hear at the same time

Let witch hazel leak between your fingers
Rub our temples
Sing your songs again
We are wiser now
Those spirituals we ignored
Sing them to us again
See mother?
See?

Our arms are not smooth like before
We have our own battle wounds now
We can hear you now
Sing with you now

Take us back
Take us back
To the place we first remembered

1 comment:

  1. blessed will be the ears who hear you speak this!

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