He said your skin is so chocolate, like really chocolate, damn girl
He said, “what are you doing afterwards?”
He said, “let go out the back way, it’s faster”
He said, “I hate it when people always trying to appropriate our culture, they wanna take short cuts with out having to deal with all of it ”
He said, “I hate being rude to women”
He said, “what kind of men have you hanging around”
He said, “I like the ways that ass looks”
He said, “your body is just so african, do you work out or something?”
He said, “I’ll put you onto this set, it’s so good you’ve got to hear, I think you’ll like it”
He said, “You’re just so damn chocolate, like an African queen”
He said, “always stay black”
and then I never heard from him again.
-A. A. Eke
My great grandmother was a farmer
She was a medicine woman
She was brave.
My grandmother never spoke English
She was not literate
She raised her children through a war.
My mother is a broken women
She holds both magic and rage
She never shows love.
I would like to think that I am good with words
But I keep everything inside
I feel empty sometimes.
How many days does it take to heal?
I don’t know.
Maybe 100 days 100 nights? Or
Maybe I need 40 days in the dessert?
I honestly don’t know.
So you don’t know when you’ll be ready?
I don’t know.
I’m in winter now.
Maybe when spring comes.
Maybe seeing the flowers and trees open up
Will give me the courage to bloom.
I teach you to be brave
I hope you are never ashamed to be broken
To raise your fist in the air and scream your pain
Allow your heartbreak to be heard
Never suffer in silence
Never keep your story silent
I hope you speak,
You were never meant to be alone.
These dreams felt like a baptism
Conscious stirs pulled me deeper and deeper into submerge
The pressure from being underwater intertwined with being weightless
It was like nothing I could ever imagine or describe
It was alchemy
Breaking into new ground and understanding
Breaking bread and creating common spaces for the self and the soul
Feeling interconnected and yet untouchable, all at the same time
It was a holy contradiction
Tears flow seamlessly into the water;
I didn’t know where one begins and the other ends
Fear flowed into curiosity and then into fantasy
Welcome to the matrix
Welcome to the mystery
The ocean has a way of doing that
I’m scared to have daughters
and he’s scared to have sons.
What’s stopping us?
Memories of unwanted taunting;
“Midnight, asphalt, ugly…”
beatings, strange men in the night…
his flashbacks and my nightmares.
How can we create a family with the burden of so much fear?
How are we to move forward?
So, a little backstory on this poem. Anyways, lately I have been mulling over the topics of black women, desirability and love. Or even more specifically, the lack of desirability many black women (particularly dark skinned women) experience in their lives (romantic or other). This thought, I’ve had for the longest time, but I do feel was propelled by a scene from “Being Mary Jane”, where Mary Jane speaks during Lisa’s eulogy. I was moved while watching this. There is just something so stark and ground shifting about those who tell the truth and do so unapologetically.
Needless to say, the way she was able to frame why her friend, who was an accomplished student, doctor, etc., was led to kill herself got me thinking about the ways many Black women experience (or don’t) love and attraction. And more importantly, I’ve been contemplating what does this lack of love do to us internally? More to come on this topic…
I think she died of heartache.
Unrequited love, longing, loneliness;
the desperation that comes from never being seen.
The apathy that comes from just one too many rejections.
as if her suffering didn’t matter.
I believe it was those things that killed her.
To simply call it suicide, would be too easy.
It would be anything but the truth.
A soft song playing in the mid morning.
automated tunes with an oscillating beat,
played to the string of a whispering voice.
Books stacked, showcasing spines;
the blend of colors and titles create an accidental mosaic of color, brilliance, and age.
I don’t want my parents’ love.
Until next time…