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.

 

 

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

His Fathers Son

It was around that age

When young soldiers begin

To grab hold of the world around them

in hopes of moulding their wings,

That he was met with silence.

That echoes cackled,

Crackling against the walls

Of his mother’s house,

Whispering secrets that speak with

The knowledge of a world that

Lived Before the empty rooms and picture frames.

Before home was a safe space for two,

And he woukdnt think twice

about befriending the stranger half of his name.

You see

For Little man….

Father was “him”,

a string of tales told, then cut cold,

Once he was old enough to shoulder the hymns.

Hed follow the djinn

Into whirls of make believe

to prise the gospel of a ghost from the relics

That littered their home.

An old watch,

A broken guitar and

his mother’s broken smile.

She sang sweetness into a stale story of kinship.

Sip by sip

Offering peace

A lucid liquors of speach

To Blur the lines of a character

Long since removed from action

Too broken a fraction to make whole

Every story told

Seemed mightier than the man frozen behind the frames

Folded under her tongue was a name

She learned to handle with care.

She sang

A crooked verse.

She sang

To settle his soul.

Sang to settle his soles,

His feet,

Were teeth,

Chewing up ever mile of yarn she spun,

Pacing to piece together pictures

Of the world before the silence.

She sang to seal the silence.

Singing

Until the sliding scales of her fiction

Settled into soured notes

And silence choked her diction

A friction yoked her

victim to the boats we rock

When we venture out in search of new worlds

The sickness of a sea

Sewn into peaks and valleys

She would have gladly kept hidden.

But still,

He was always the last one dancing when the music stopped

Always the last one sipping at the bittersweet tonic,

Of a time gone by.

Not yet introduced to the weight of the morning after the fact.

His mother

mused in melodies fraught with confusion,

Tracing her notes with care to show his father was no illusion.

Yes his father always moving,

And its hard to pin down shooting stars,

Just to save him something to wish for.

The Cadences in her carry ons of this phantom faced kin,

We’re wild with dissonance,

clouding his innocence,

Sometimes

I think,

she thought

He was him.

Because

He has his eyes, they say,

He has his lies,

they say,

He has his,

spirit,

but there is nothing in it

Because he can’t remember his ways.

The man was a fugitive.

Always on the run.

Avoiding in laws, never involved in trials,

Slipping into the night seeking solace in gile,

he knew the exits well.

Exit wounds swelled with reasons for his

leaving and never knowing him well.

The cloak and dagger deviant, cut the holes in family ties.

He left a home that taught the bond that only family ties.

You see

For Little

Father was always “him”,

a string of tales, told, then cut cold,

When I was old enough to shoulder the hymns.

But

He will be always tied to his truth.

He is his father son,

And everyday I worry what that would means for him.

Because

He has MY eyes they say

But shouls he should have MY lies

They say he has MY spirit

But there is nothing in it

If I cannot show him the way.

I have paraded with patch work pride

So as to hide my broken half.

Walking the four corners

To fork honour

Into a mouth full of words I can share

With this budding king

Blood and kin of a fool

I wish I knew

How a jester can do just

To be a gesture of love and legacy.

He’s been looking for a father,

I have been looking for sense.

I have shattered so many memories

In his mother’s heart

Why would I wait and watch start

To paint his pride on they way I did.

Watch my seed twist into the crooked sun

Of his father fire

I am tired

Of watching broken men

Raising broken sons.

I am tired

I am broken

I am “Him”

Happy Mothers Day 

What is the highest form of expression for Mothers Day? I know that it’s very subjective, showing appreciation for a Mother, that special woman in your life, is bound to be a very personal gesture.

The run up to Mother’s Day rounds up the masses. I see them standing in those endless queues, swollen with satchels and hand fulls of scripted gifts. I can only imagine how the sale of Lindt chocolates, eccentrics bouquets of vibrant petals, and freshly stocked “You’re One in a Million” cards, rocket to seasonal highs. I see the material worth of “Mother” sought high and low from the cradle of commerce.

I envy them. While they panick to secure their gifts in time, I am lost. I’m lost for a that voice that can communicate the appreciation that she, my mother, truly deserves. I’m lost for the means to express the unuttered sorrys that pride has hidden from her.

I love her, I’m sorry for still being young past my time, I’m thankful for the guidance, support and love she has showed me and my brothers. Although I’m yet to find the vessel that will journey the whole of my hearts message to her, I will work so she can see it fully with time, feed it body so she may feel all she deserves to feel.

I Love You Mum,

Happy Mothers Day!

 

 

Writing 201, Assignment 6: Ballad – Mama, Papa (Heroes)

 

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The weekend served as a short break from the poetry assignments of Writing 201. I haven’t been contorting my imagination in new and interesting ways, and it turns out, I missed it. The week opens with a wonderful new prompt of Heroes. These could be, fictional, real, or even a semi non fictional exaggeration of our individual awesomeness. As much as I would have loved to create an action filled epic of me, as some dragon slaying hero, I had to dedicate my Ballad (Poetic Form of the day) to a couple of real heroes, My parents. The poetic device(s) for today, I cant even pronounce correctly are, Anaphora and Epistrophe. These refer to the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning and ending of multiple lines of verse, respectively. Im unsure as to how well my piece meets the criteria for a ballad, or the poetic devices for that matter, but I’m hoping it says what I hoped it to say. Enjoy!

 

A promise was made under shadows of youth,

“You’ll blossom, Your time will arrive.”

A promise that swam in the heart of the youth,

always knowing their time will arrive.

 

A mother so anxious, while father composed,

they were carving a future for men.

So young in there skin, with childish repose,

unaware where the future would end.

 

His boys would be men, they would carry his name

so he taught them the price of a dream.

He taught them to plough and plant what they need

“without effort you’ll stifle a dream”

 

He guided there steps over teetering paths,

always knowing the fall will arrive.

He tumbled before on his teetering path,

so he knows they will fall but survive.

 

The daughter-less queen, had a heart without end,

it was tender and tended to kin.

to her kings in there youth she taught love without end,

the daughter-less queen cautioned sin.

 

To a king there’s a queen, and the queen that she was,

she projected the traits to adore.

So when youth was undone and they courted at will,

it was genuine love at the door.

 

A promise was made under shadows of youth

“you’ll blossom, your time will arrive.”

A promise that swims in the depth of my heart,

always knowing that my time will arrive.

 

 

 

(c) Saili Katebe