Complacency

He plops down onto a tattered couch. Dust rises as he settles onto the cushions, shifting his weight onto the remaining fluff and off the protrudingsprings seeking to stab his flesh. Reaching a grubby hand into his bowl of popcorn, he secures a handful of keernels and soggy, nearly stale puffs. He shovels the whole lot into his gaping jaw, a few falling as he chews open-mouthed. He leaves them where they land. Opportunity knocks on his window, and he ignores the sound. He’s mp friend to Doubt – or Ambition – having snubbed them both long ago. Quietly he sits, idly staring at the staic-filled screen of his television. Stillness reminded him once to befriend Contentment – a blind date that has led to a steady relationship. Once, he relentlessly persued Change, but she’d ignored his efforts. She was too fickle anyway, he’d decided. And so he remains, joined soon in embrace with Contentment to waste away the day.

written 09/18/13

a place called home

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If I were Dorothy, I’d click my heels and recite “there’s no place…”
But I’m Rachelle:
homeless, wandering, in search of something…
more.
I miss knowing
who I am and what I aspired to become.
There’s no map for directions
(I probably couldn’t navigate it, anyway)
There are days when I feel like stopping,
just sitting on a plot of earth
and watching the grass grow in tufts around me.
But I’m reminded of responsibilities
created in my explorations.
I wish God spoke louder,
tersely.
Decifering codes is not my talent.
Yet, I listen.
Sometimes I even close my eyes and will answers to come.
Is silence actually the reply?
I want to hold hands with wisdom.
Grasp tight to its finger and follow where it leads.
Like a child, I crave security.
A place for me to call home.

Colors.

They say that who you’re attracted to is a matter of personal preference. .. at least I think that’s what they say. But then I don’t know this they, I only know us. And I’m worried that we don’t seem to love us enough to be attracted to our own.

Don’t misunderstand, here. I’m not talking about disliking “our people.” But my kids – one with a foot out the door, one just walking in, and several waiting inside at windows – don’t seem to believe that blacker berries have sweeter juice; that darker flesh has deeper roots. Tupac, where are you?

You see, my kids only know the versus to Everyday People, but somehow the concepts conveyed within the lyrics were lost. They’re not colorblind. And all people, I’m realizing, in their understanding,  are not created equal.

Last night, my son said happily, “I only like white girls.” And while I can dismiss his proclamation as innocent because his current elementary crush is a sweet Caucasian girl, I think it’s more. My  older son had, moments before, shrugged off observations of a girl’s obvious interest in him because hubs described her as the ‘pretty dark-skinned girl with the braids’ – he said nonchalantly,  “I didn’t notice. I don’t date dark girls.”  And a few weeks ago my daughter declared that she’d only marry a “light skinned guy.”

I have failed.

Among my favorite novels is The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life by Wallace Thurman.  And in it, the family has adopted a mantra akin to ‘lighter and lighter with each generation,  the better we will be.’ I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t have the book accessible. I read the book in high school initially,  and I remember my stomach knotting over the concept that black was not beautiful or desirable and it certainly wasn’t safe or privileged.  Being black was a hereditary curse forever staining the potential of a person.

And in the wake of media outrage over police shootings and mistreatment of people of color, following obvious slants of legal rulings and punishments heavily weighed against persons of color, I suspect that curse is real. Ignorance is not bliss and I’ve seen absurd over generalizations about blacks’ propensity for endangering the public that call for something quite like genocide.

My children are not immune to this sterotyping. They know they’re judged before they speak, before they act.

And so, they are drawn to people presumably less targeted.

I really don’t care the color of my childrens’ future partners. I only wish for them to find abundant love, companionship, and understanding in their chosen confidants. But I’m bothered, no, I’m appalled that each is voicing a desire to narrow their selections superficially. Dark, light, or somewhere in between – there’s good and bad in each shade. Characters content isn’t worn on the skin.

Her song

Hap bir to you,” she croons
Smiling with delight at her song.
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It’s no one’s birthday today, yet
She happily shares her sweet serenade.
It’s one of the few things
We’ve come to expect from this
Our near-mute fifth little miniature fusion.
Comprehension has never been her problem,
But her philosophy, seemingly, is silence.
Perhaps, in her head, it’s golden.
I wonder what she’s left unsung.
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Inspired by Six Word Fridays, “sing”.

Grandma’s gift

Begin: When I was first married,
We didn’t have much money then.
I kept a corner store account
With the owner and paid weekly.
Counting coins was my daily task –
Stretching funds we didn’t yet have.

She recounted budgeting – house wife’s work.
Scrubbing and polishing ancient furnishings new.
Saving remnants of things children outgrew,
Creating new life of the scraps.
With pride, she managed her home.
Fixing meals and nourishing their souls,
She raised strong-minded boys and girls
With the ethic of work and
Smarts to move up from bottom.

Continue: You have to plan well –
Know what’s coming in and spent.
Nothing to waste, nothing cast aside.
And always, always build them up.

She closed her eyes then, remembering.
So often she was torn down.
But never stooped under the difficulty,
Nor accepted world’s value as worth.
No, she, this woman of virtue,
Was more than what they saw.
Poor in finance, certainly was true.
But the brilliance of her shined:
Appreciation of what was, understanding of
What was not, but could be.
Deceived by her skin, cast away:
the time when color determined all.
Lighter than most, but not white;
Her status set by historic Crow.
End: You take care of home –
Of that baby, and of you.

Sure, grandma, I dismissed her then.
Holding fast not to her advice,
But to what remains forever unsaid.
The legacy of grandma is pride.

Inspired by Six Word Fridays: SURE.

Mirror, mirror

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Shiny, it stands affixed before me
Staring in silence, watching the house
I draw closer, my image mimics
My reflection is weary, is tired
Lines feather out from drooping eyes
In corners, crooked path awaiting tears
Speckles of injury dot high cheeks
Chins hug one another, seek attention
Hair frizzies edge a creased forehead
I inhale, nostrils flaring with intake
This is me. This is me.
Fingers fumble to draws, pull handles
The familiar shuffle of compacts sounds
Colors beckon me to choose them
The foundation of today’s cover up
What mask shall I wear today?
No one wants the truth anymore
So I slather on the fake
Hide the history of disappointments well
cosmetically covering up each new hurt
And pretending all is just fine.
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Inspired by the Six Word Fridays meme.

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