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:: XIII. Grams

Every day, as it simply is, is BLACK HISTORY. Despite the denial, the uproar, the imitation, duplication, and appropriation, WE, as BLACK people, were designed in the image of God Himself. Brown. Or as Will Smith so eloquently rapped it, “Color of the mountains. Colossal as the earth." We are embedded with a GREATNESS our lighter, brighter, whiter counterparts shall never know. Nor was it meant for them to know - reasons as to why they hate to love us / love to hate us. Reasons as to why they want to be us without TRULY being us. They want the GREATNESS minus the burdens that come with being GREAT. It isn't a job for the weak of heart, mind, body, or soul. The burden of GREATNESS is for the strong. The fighter. The SURVIVOR. That which we are: survivors. Sparing the details of our beautiful and painful history, just know we have survived and continue to survive. We live. Even despite. We grow. Even despite. We Are. Even despite. Hate it or love it. Just know, that we are, and with no apology.

It is at this point, in which I transition to highlighting, a young black female poet. Jamaican (the ethnicity of my own family) and Nigerian, Yrsa Haley-Ward, is a writer, a poet. Using her words to sculpt the human experience, we travel through themes like self-awareness, love, family, and mental health, to simply name a few. We dive. We jump. We squeeze through crevices. Discover. And sit in awe of the mystery of life. We are left to wonder about the how and the why and the what now? Always becoming. Never, if ever, stagnant. But nonetheless, a journey worth partaking. And, steadfast to her word, we are taken on one unique journey of life, love and self-discovery, within her piece titled, "Sthandwa" sami.

In the early hours of this morning it was far too hot for anyone to sleep. You told me I was strange and kissed me sunk your teeth into my soft bottom lip twice. So hard I thought you drew blood.

I keep getting the scary feeling that if you look at me for long enough you may see that I have a thousand fears just like your mother who never really wanted you to leave meanwhile mina I am catching up on the sleep that we missed and waiting patiently to feel normal again.

my thoughts about you are frightening but precise I can see the house on the hill where we make our own vegetables out back and drink warm wine out of jam jars and sing songs in the kitchen until the sun comes up wena you make me feel like myself again.

Myself before I knew any solid reasons to be afraid Last night you give me the space to dream bigger than the single bed and brighter than the morning you laughed in your sleep and I cried in mine and this afternoon we might be tired because the sun is fierce today and too much happened between midnight and now But bhabha you are terrifying and brilliant so I am the kind of woman who is already teaching my body to miss yours without craving. I am the type of woman who is teaching my heart to miss yours without failing. And I am quite sure that you will find this unnecessary but I am already searching for a place to run to and hide when you say, “Uthando lwami. I’m ready. Are you?” You know that I would gladly drive with you to the other side of the world with only the clothes I am wearing and the loose change and empty peanut shells in my purse. kodwa every time you leave the room I worry. and think that perhaps I have imagined you. or maybe you have imagined me.

Emotional, real, and full of the secrets that stir within many of us, Yrsa, paints a masterpiece of sharing one's self with another (full of her own self-doubts), while also sharing herself with us. I suppose, in this very instant, sharing truly is caring. So, to keep this going, do just that: share. With others. Here. There. Any and everywhere. I am sure there is a soul in need of this message. As for yourself, share with you. Read. Re-read. And read some more. Until your mind is content. Enjoy. As always.

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