Was it the boots?

I went out to dinner last at a new Korean restaurant in town, Happy Teriyaki, followed by dancing to a popular local cover band, The Delta Knights. The drummer, Larry is a warmhearted large black man, who exudes calm, and has endless talent. He took a liking to Sam many years back on a summer’s day when we saw them play an outdoor venue. He gave me child rearing tips then, impressing upon me how important it would be for Sam to know his musical heritage as part of  his cultural background. Last night Larry was dutifully impressed by pictures of the boys that I thrust at him, nearly knocking over the drum set to do so, when we arrived minutes before the set began. Continue reading “Was it the boots?”

Hip Mama’s Hip Cover Child

Marcel is claiming some fame for himself.

My first (evil) thought: this is the invitation to his high school graduation party.

Order the magazine here, and 10% goes to Haiti.

I have written for this, my favorite magazine of all time, a few times before which is how the connection and the request came about.

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Tonight we went to share a meal with Eddie, and to celebrate Friday, and cover children, and my invitation to write for Mom’s of Hue (more details to follow) and my new post at Adoption Mosaic’s blog in the near future.  The best part was not the amazing pizza, or the woman who offered me a writing studio at a very reasonable price, or the fact that my children actually sat down and ate in a respectable joint that did not have a television set, a play table or a childrens menu or anything called “fast food.”

The best part was when Sam said after dinner; “Mom that was so fun. I love Eddie so much, and I really like having time with you and my brother. We are a great family. And, now we get to see Uncle. That is too cool isn’t it mom?”

Marcel screamed; “I really, really, really love everybody too!”

Talking Hands

A conversation with Sam in the car.

Mom: Can you tell me why you had a hard time listening in school today?

Sam: I was frustrated that I am the only person with my color skin at school.

Mom:  I don’t know what that is like Sam. But I can imagine it is hard at times. I wish it was different, and it will be next year. But that isn’t going to help you with your listening ears tomorrow.

Sam: We did hand prints. I don’t like having to find my color to make my skin with.

Mom Why not? Do they have the color you want to use?

Sam: Yes. I use all the colors.

Mom: That’s cool!

Sam: I know.

Mom: What does that have to do with listening do you think?

Sam: When (insert classmate’s name here) saw my hand print he said my color was stupid.

Mom: What did you do?

Sam: I told him he was more stupid then my painted hand.

Mom: Did that make you both feel better?

Sam: Mom, can I not answer that question?

Ancestors Unfold the Stories Untold*

Crows gathering by the hundreds
on barren trees
above break
the late afternoon silence
of this crisp January light.

Beneath them in a cave of cellular deep
a boy’s ancestors unfold, and

wake

whispering into him
the stories untold:

of his great great uncle and his rescue
from the orphanage’s walls, of
the star fruit drying.
Of his father’s birth leading
to his grandmother’s dying.

Oblivious the woman eats dinner,
lays back down
and sleeps.

The ancestors knead into him
the traits he will keep;

He will have my long fingers
and graceful hands

And our square finger tips,
said the man.

All but one on each hand.

Then our square jaw,
aquiesces the man.

Chanting into him the stories
he won’t remember:

Of the giant mechanized birds flying
over the islands, bringing brides
and promises rising.
Of the grieving brother left
lying in the sand denying.

Voices louder like the oil around the sizzling plantains frying.

Ancestors assigning traits he will keep:

the muscle mass on his thighs
green-brown lace in his eyes.

The hair they concede will be a surprise.

Words-words will come easy
the storytellers gathered agree.
Humor enough for days, they make him
devious, short tempered-
yet measured in ways.

Great grandfathers bickered
and aunties chimed in;
He’ll carry which songs?
Resemble whose kin?

A young man being determined-
a boy not yet wrapped
in the millions of years
of expectations that are

breathed in
beat in
smoothed
kissed and
and wished in

from his dark ancestor’s
and his light ancestor’s

skin.

Oblivious the mother woman now
rolls over
stretches and yawns.

Only half noticing the crows
cautiously calling to her- dawn dawn

dawn.

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*This poem written to honor the anniversary of what would have been Dixie Dale, my daughter’s birth (miscarriage at thirteen weeks) and believe it or not: the date of my son’s conception. Both dates attributed to January 12th, 2007. It is also the day the Maharishi broke his silence every year.  An auspicious day.  I am going to enter this poem in My Brown Baby’s yearly writing contest about “Something New”.