Journey Through The Years: Tiger

Building on with another week of these interpretations. I bring to you….. the tiger.

Very little has yet to happen without a touch of encouragement on my part. Allow me to show you how. We have laughed together for too long, you  may have forgotten the gold in these stripes.

In spite of these walls we are likely to obtain heaven. I have heaped my paws with treasure, I can assure you that no measure of salt can dull the taste of victory. Fortune favours me, might and speed are but seeds to what my frame can make true, I can promise a piece of my luck if you are willing to take my side on this hunt. Follow my lead and lean your flanks into this venture.

I have seen enough of the bitter otherness that betrays so many in the heat of war. I believe an understanding has made itself known to me, by name and now by taste. I let no morsel of a moment avoid my tongue, what the hunt provides I shall always relish. The hunt was everything we needed it to be, it sharpened the fire that flickers in our coats to consume defeat. It offered a serving of fear so that we can steer clear of its effects. Locked in a race against tomorrow, how could a shy claw possibly pierce that curtain that dances between mediocrity and greatness. With too many names for the varying shades of cowardice, I pray by my yellow Lilly that they may never stain this hide of mine.

B.N.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

On Remembering Life

african-hands-around-fire

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.

 

Mi Princesa 

 

Dear Carla

I promised to be home soon, but now this home soothes nothing without you in it, I don’t know what’s keeping me here.

I came close to finding hope but there is no hope inside these tall glasses. It’s ironic, I thought they’d help me find my spirit. In times of grief these bitter spills make me less likely to stand up but more likely to stand myself. Your mother lost patience with my hatred for me a long time ago. I blamed myself for you leaving the way you did, I knew she did too. Her leaving was all she could do to keep herself from helping me finish my wicked work.

I was only gone for a minute, but I guess a whole life time can pass you by in a minute. Trying to make it right I have found myself writing again, sadly these ink blots are only crude maps of heaven, you’d have to tell me what it’s really like someday. The scattered lines on tattered sheets are all plotting my route to find you. I could read you all the new stories I’m writing just for you. Isabella and the shrew get to go on many more adventures, there all here in my notebook.

Your mother is safe with Abuela, she prays for you everyday. I know there are parts of you that are stained all over her hands and it’s hurting her, she has trouble letting you go. You had her smile, so you’re always on her lips, her eyes cry out the truest shade of you, I see more of you in her every day. My niña, please come home.

Baxter misses you too. He is happy that I don’t yell at him for sleeping on your bed anymore. I’ve found it easier to lay in it with him instead, he seems to like your stories just as much as you did. If you promise to come home I promise I won’t be mad anymore. Let’s draw our own Jurassic park into these hallway walls. I don’t like these new monsters I’m dealing with, they have teeth that eat away at my sleep. They don’t fade away easily, no matter how hard I rub at them. I’ve tried soaking them in something stronger than these bottles but they are always able to find me when I wake up.

If uncle Richie hadn’t called for that favour, and I hadn’t been quick to leave, my “I’ll be back in a minute” would never have meant you’d leave me forever. I still see your face looking up at me from the water. They were your eye but I knew you weren’t there. Your mother found us on the floor, I was holding you, robbed of my precious voice, my Princesa was now a story I’ve been repeating to empty room.

I’m Sorry!

Carlita, you’ll always be Papa’s little Angel. Watch over your mother and Abuela. I promise to see you soon.

Love

Papa

Jump 

There is no one there to catch me, but I would love to learn to fly. My eyes, playing along the loose edges of certainty, cliff faces and curbs, I’m courting a potent notion with intentions of taking flight. A featherless free fall that could grant a taste of freedom. 

Leap!

How fine I’d feel, untethered from any holding onto earth. I have no desire to be held captive by these footprints beneath my feet. I’ll make my mark then leap, liberated in glorious flight until gravity decides otherwise. She is the stubborn voice intent on foiling any escape.

I Leap anyway!

 I can’t begin to count the takes offs that didn’t make, the break ups she couldn’t take, you see gravity is a crude lover who just won’t take “No” for an answer. She pulls at me with every leap, I feel her begging for my decent. I’ve  learned to time my leave from her, I heave myself from ever knowing her and count the feet until we meet again. It’s a tiresome dance that I endure until my legs have spent there strength, there is no excuse to settle for the prisons of stale foot prints. 

Leap!

Inside these lofty bounds I see the power of possibility. My heart flutters around my chest, intoxicated with pure adrenaline. The never knowing has grown addictive, it has nurtured a readiness to fail. Now  I always look and leap, this way I can see her embraces coming. I never know the tangibility of a dream until the leap confirms it’s fullness. I could speculate and spectate but that’s is how mysterys stand untested. 

So I Leap!

At my footings edge there lies a world of questions only bravery can answer. There are no new answers to these in the well worn tracks of comfort. I constantly test my courtship with certainty at the edges of reason, leaping into the haze to confirm the mystery of my possibilities. 

Life is too short to settle for the prisons of stale foot prints. 

Leap