The Hands That Feed You.

 

“Hard hands knead dough, everybody needs bread.”

Unknown

She has shouldered this burden for years. Life had taken liberty with the course she dreamt out, veering her along a path molded by necessity. Her mornings lead her deeper into a world where the hammer and anvil speak louder than prayer.

Once upon a time she had silken palms, soft hands that busied themselves in acts of freedom. She would spend time lending life to canvas. Her fingers, tipped with magic, painted heaven into blanks sheets. Those very hands have changed, becoming shadows of their former selves, hardened souls dedicating themselves to prying sustenance from the toils of labor. They have become strangers to the paint and brush, her pallet of inks seem weightless in this new world. Having carried more than their fair share her fingertips barley recognize the easel. These strangers are lost to the rhythm of cold work, mimicking the coarseness of a granite wheels that marks time at the old mill. Lost in a colorless world, her palms remain numb to a tenderness she once knew.

Her eyes have been hostage to the low lights for too long. Its been 6 years since she began working at the mill, 6 years since seeing her spirit fade as the earth opened up to swallow her light. It seems as though she has lost touch with the world around her, I have found it harder to pieces together a semblance of my mother in those vacant stares. She is often vanishing beyond the window pane ,prospecting for hope. Though I wonder where she goes, I know the familiar song her memory play, she revisits a time when love was still in reach, Father was gone too soon.

My fathers passing saddled my mother with darkness, to carry on mother had took to working at the mill. To see a whisper of her shine through the shadows of that  building speaks volumes of her heart, a love forever lit, regardless of the odds she carries one.

Ill never know what a life without that pain would have offered her, I only know this version of things. I’m ashamed to admit that I allowed years to creep by before I took notice of the hands that fed me, the way they bartered their tenderness for my sustenance, the way they pieced together strength, the way the carried me away from ever wilting on my feet. Despite the falling of her kingdom she found the grace to raise a King. Those hands knead the hope that feeds my spirit. She is deserving of the world in return.

 

 

Naming Game


With only 7 weeks until we meet, I speak my thoughts to your future. Your mother and I are overflowing with gladness. Our sweet flower will finally find air, our legacy finally finds breath, soaking up a new world through eyes glowing with the muted knowledge of a creator that only babies know. That day can’t come any sooner.

A rose by any name will still smell as sweet. Yet here we are pealing the world apart to find the right words for our blessing. With the thousand words that have shaped your mothers world and mine, we are at odds trying to choose the perfect one for our perfect one. We have been sitting around, pulling at names from old books, turning back the hands of time and revisiting the strongest branches in our family trees, all in the hopes of  anointing your presence. There is power in a name.

I’ve been thinking about calling you Faith, a word that carries weight in my world as well as hers. Your mother and I have learned Faith in many forms, all of which have offered the same warmth, the same strength, the same patience that helped endure so much. Faith has been a lifeline unhindered by any boreders, race, language and culture have never been able stifle its reach. It was Faith that kept us so sold on love, we didn’t stop to take stock of the differences culture would make. It is Faith that keeps us resilient, aiding our journey into unison.

I’ve been thinking about calling you Hope. Everyday I hope to see you grow, not so fast that you learn to leave me, just enough to watch the making of an angel. I hope to one day hear you speak, to see you learn the power of language. I hope that over time my last name wont be an inconvenience to your tongue, that you won’t care for how bitter sweet your name sounds against the tonality of my fathers own. I hope that you will always see, seamlessly, these threads that your mother and I have spent years learning to weave together. The twines of two cultures that bound together will never let you fall too far from love, stray too far from grace, the will teach you that every things that makes you less like them, makes you more like us, and together we are strong. You will always be our little princess.

I have faith that you will learn to see the beauty in a world that seems forgotten here, a world that had enough magic to craft your grandmothers smile. She still holds that magic in her tongue, so listen when she sings the songs that have preserved that world for me. I’ve been fighting to hold to the murmuring beat of legacy, I’m always hoping you grow to know the things I have forgotten. I hold but a few relics from the culture that raised me, I wanted to gift them all to you, maybe you could have worn my mothers name.

Instead of naming you in readiness for the diaspora, embellishing your name with trinkets of Africa, I could ready you for this one life the best I can. Together we can sit back and name this world in the spirit of  compassion and freedom. There is power in a name, so my promise to you is that I will take care in naming this world with you, for you, so every avenue is a door to being the blessing you have been sent to be.That murmuring beat of grace was never fading fortitude but growing power. From your crowning moment you were destined to be the queen of our hearts. A rose by any name will still smell as sweet, so let’s nurture your Eden and feed your petals grace.

With Faith at heart and Hope at heart, I’ll see you when you get here. This world is ours to take.

 

 

 

Treason


He watched his miracle curdle in the grooves of his palm. To have and to hold had grown sour the moment he decided to hold onto his ill intentions. 

His lips, stained with sin, hung heavy and full of fear, he couldn’t help but sit soundless and still. The words he searched for dissolved into puddles of regret.  He had forgotten his senses, he had wondered for far too long and only wandered into his own nightmare. Sleepless will this mans mind grow with each day. A guilty man knows no rest lest his mind find justice.

It was behind a smile that his undoing sprouted wings. A smile, brandished so sweetly, walked into life holding the key to his misery. How was she to know she was a volatile tonic, prying open a mind wild with the perennial plague of unlived yesterdays. A hollow void of thoughts that when roused, seemed more than ready to unravel the bedrock of his conscience. She wasn’t conscious of the man behind the empty smile, all laughter and merriment, she was unaware of the dissolution of harmony.

An innocent taste of the possibilities seemed tangible in her words. She draped her cares loosely around her tongue, talking in tones that craved company into the thick night. He felt certain to be safe from the prying eyes of his sensibility. It was a night of secret escapes, played in the key of greed and strummed on the cobbled streets of a crumbling kingdom.

His climbing back into sense was not enough to fight off the stench of treason. It hung close to him, it followed him as he walked. When his stint with sin was spent, his face was a wasted shade of an oath he had taken at an alter, man and wife now strangers. Matrimony, once making kingdoms whole, when broken leaves holes in a frayed fabric of trust. Insecurity, fear , resentment, these are the relics of his twisted fantasy, the shackles that hold him prisoner to his guilt, the execution that hold his as ward over his purgatory.
Where do sinners go when they die?

When dreams are stolen, when trust is broken, when the blood of a promise runs thick, where does the jury convene? Maybe justice can settle the heart, for a guilty man knows no rest lest his mind finds justice.

 

 

On Remembering Life

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It’s started to sound impossibly vague.

“Act normal!”

A fatigued cape that hang low to the floor, collecting dust as he walked around. Weighed down by this cloak tailored by the men and women who had lost the spectrum of their childish enjoyment, eager to fight the cold of a world without play. It had become dangerous to shut his eyes and run free, to forget the turnstiles and painted borders. The threat of losing his footing and falling naked in all his humanness was very real.

“Act Normal!!” They said

He had started to wear his frown comfortably. It was no longer painful to his cheeks to keep them pinned to the scaffold of normalcy. It required no effort to appease his need for mischief when the little voices inside his heart regurgitated an age old song that accompanied his finest memories.  I’m sure he had forgotten how high his lips would leap as his hands would reach for the fruits that teased his gaze, beckoning him through the over hanging leaves, blades of sunlight gifting a spotlight to a hiding place in the tallest branches of his curiosity. It was in the throes of play that he learned the value of a strong hang shake. Now a mere shadow of that grip that kept him hoisted in the swaying branches of his youth, he reaches out his palm to his fellow man with practiced smiles, climbing deeper into the frost..

He learned to walk in fine shoes, toes pined together in leather points, a world away from the freedom of the earth on the soles of his feet. The neck that crafted the songs that lit up the night and mirrored the campfire, had now been tied down by the perfect knot, ready to walk into the empty rooms filled with hollow promises, muted by time. “This is the making of a man,” they told him. He swallowed this medicine as he lashed another layer of normalcy over his shoulders, hiding a horror story of loss beneath the sharp lapel of his double breasted jacket.

Parchments marked by learned men gave him permission to impose his knowledge on the world, now they know he knows.Before he had earned their approval, his words were open to criticism and disbelief. What has been lived and not written was counterfeit in worth to them, they needed proof.

His Grandfathers grey hairs and speckled eyes warmed themselves over the fire as he talked about the worlds he remembered. He didn’t fill his tattered bag with papers to persuade his attention, father time had written enough in the groves in his cheeks to speak volumes, the hardened skin on his palms were always reminder enough that he wrestled his own truth on his pilgrimage into wisdom. The sun sets he had seen  colored his life with hate, with love, with pain, with joy. Even as his mind failed him, his heart was the last to sing this mans song.

Sometimes he’d gift him with yams tilled from the pocket of earth he had nursed for years. They would eat together as his grandfather walked him through stories he had heard as a boy, stories he had lived as a man and the songs her knew that banished the rain. They were the motifs that returned to him time and time again, as compass points, guiding him while he wondered out of the wily maze of childhood.

His grandfather has passed away a few summers back, now the stories that lit those fires are only conjured into the air sparingly. Returning to the land of the living after the sky light was low and the taste of life returned to his mouth once the sterile air of fiscal responsibility lost the power to numb his tongue. His eyes would tear at the punchlines of old jokes that were the sweet nut fleshed out by anecdotes of the campfire. These memories were survived through quiet moments, the power of prayer allowed him to play pretend that man who nurtured his imagination was willing him forward into the fray.

He wondered what the man by campfire would make of this polished world. With no time for fire song, cold hearts are draping themselves in currency to stave off winter. When so much is changing, maybe he will understand. Maybe he would see the sense in bartering the things he had, for the life he had made.

He heard the echoes of the fire inside his longing for his teacher. He knew that his time to teach would come, and the parchments mounted on his walls, vouched for by learned men, would take a back seat to the story that father time will write into his flesh. The music in his heart and the color of his truth would be the fuel for budding flames. He would have to wrestle with his own truth on his pilgrimage into wisdom, till his pocket of this world and feed another hungry heart its fill of laughter and song. Write the notes that would steer their feet through the maze.

All roads will hopefully lead to home.

 

I Call Him Brother 

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Raised under the same roof we each earned our names, though I have always called him brother. Children of the sun, sprung from what cultured raised, carved bold under the gold pip of Africa’s scepter. The fiery flesh of that mighty watcher  colored us with grace, showered our shoulder with the warmth needed to see family in unfamiliar faces.

“I am because we are,” Ubuntu was sold to us, and value was offered in. Ubuntu was sewn in us with a power of greater kings, threaded into our souls in the taut threads of culture. We were thirsty, young tongues lapping up the streams of what was learned before us. We heard the drums of dreams from the bosom of the bearded men and the tongue of queens who wrapped there crowns around there heads would sing up the sense to stave off evil spirits. Under the same sun we each earned our names, though I have always called him Brother!

My brothers stubborn features refused to forget the blessings of home. Although the cold days and frosty nights of a new world made horse a voice that has forgotten the rhythms of home, his crown remains thick with the coils of a tightly knit family. I’ve never had to ask if Ubuntu remains known to him, his actions have always reminded me that home is never far from his graces. His tongue may be forgetful but the estuaries of his heart echo with the roar of the mighty rivers that nourished our mothers brothers. There is enough of him in us to always learn a new picture of home.

One day he asked me, “Whose brother am I?”

These were bitter seeds, they grew sour on my tongue as I watched him question his blessings. As I watch him question his world I am forced to swallow his truth.

“Whose brother am i?” he asked.

My Brother was lost.

You see it seems to some that he wears a counterfeit crown. Because their pictures of his brothers are painted by men, finite and foolish, they draw borders around love and leave him wanting for a home. They don’t know there is a brush whose strokes paint wonders into a mans heart, words are worth too little to count who is kin to your kind. Be kind to your kin lest your mind swim with waste as you allow tall walls to stifle the flow of a love that runs deep. Brother, they have mistaken prison bars for castle gates, yoked their eyes to there tongue, they have forgotten the warmth that recognizes family in unfamiliar faces, pay them no mind.

I am because we are. Their mothers brother might never have looked like us, every part of their soul shares our spirit. Raised under the same sky each of us must earn our own name, though I would always call them brother.

 

There Is Something Out There

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There was an invitation into a new world lingering in the midst of her thoughts. Hidden pieces of new beginnings were showing themselves whenever she peaked through the cracks in her patience. There were clues scattered across the maps on her bedroom wall, maps on her bedroom floor showed her she could have the whole world at her feet. Somewhere outside the clean cut edges of her perfect life an adventure was calling out her name. The tall walls that staved off want grew into shades of grey that teased her wanting curiosity, a prison of propriety.

At first the fear took her by surprise, it unsettled her palate, she couldn’t swallow the notion of breaking the status quo. Before the outbreak of wanderlust, there was never a good enough reason to distrust the comforts she had come to know. Fine dining and freedom to spend, vacationing in the summer, five star retreats to hidden corners of the country. The world was gift wrapped for her personal consumption, yet every bite of the tailored dream failed to feed her appetite for living.

Away from the sequined dream, maybe she could drape herself in memories. She could trade the tapered heels, made for pedicured toes, for broad roads that didn’t fight her toes for comfort. The souls of her feet could feel the virgin trails of tomorrow that couldn’t care less for the latest shade of acceptance she’d painted on. She could learn that there is  plenty of room for her curious feet to stretch themselves out into undiscovered pieces of paradise. Maybe, just maybe,  she wouldn’t have to starve her spirit to squeeze into each seasons picture of beauty. Maybe she could eat her fill and feel no shame in feeding her heart.

Folding pieces of her life into her carry on luggage was an exercise in strength. Peeling through  the contents of her chest of drawers was a stark reminder of the world she was leaving behind. Leafing through her closet, weeding out outfit after outfit that would never feel at home away from the runways of her old life was enough to shake her ease. Weighing up time spent building this old life to the immediacy of its disappearance was enough to lead her to question the decision.

“What will they say?” She thought “They will call me crazy.”

She folded her last fabric of worry away and hoisted her enthusiasm onto her shoulders. She waved her way into her new adventure eager to learn her preferred shades of paradise. The world stretches itself wide enough to show her new ways to wear the emotions she thought she knew, new ways to wear her smile and new ways to fill the walk in closets of her mind with experiences tailored to her, no one size fits all when no mannequin can match the shape of your comfort. The set menus of luxury are gone now, she has the power to tailor her dining experience, feeding her heart and nourishing that organs that sprout the fruits of her truest intention. She was foolish to have doubted the calls to adventure.

 

The truth is that no dream, watered down by the trickling whispers of the crowd, will touch your lips with the sweetness once heavy in its touch. Once the notion ripens at the branches of your heart, sample its flesh unashamedly and allow your tongue to speak honestly of the sweetness there. You’ve pinned your smiles on the sleeves of others for long enough, how often will a round of applause be the sole reason your see fit to smile. You have enough living inside your heart to live twice over before waking up to a life spent. Don’t hurry to raise walls that slight the sight of sunsets and call it safety. Quiet resentment isn’t an acquired taste, flavour your soul accordingly.

Are you ready for your call adventure?

 

Blissful Nomad