The Visit (An Excerpt from Recovery)

Here’s another excerpt from the latest piece of fiction that I’m working on. It is lightly edited.

 

He could only stare when she opened the door. Gone was the glamorous woman he’d gotten to know. In its place was a shadow of that person. Of course, he’d seen her dressed down before but this was different. Even when she was dressed for work she still glowed, looked as if she was walking the runway. That was not the case today.

Her face carried the hollows he knew had haunted his months before. She’d lost weight. Aubrey wore a pair of navy blue striped silk pajamas, a white V-neck t-shirt and a gray robe. Her feet we bare and her hair was in a two braids circling her head. “This is not a good time, Ryan,” she said tiredly.

Before I could say anything in response, RJ Brock and Spock were all over her in a symphony of voices and barks. Then he saw Lucky slowly moving towards them in a pair of PJ Masks pajamas. As the crew ran towards him she stepped back and motioned me inside before turning to close the door. She started towards the kids but his hand caught one of hers.

“I brought some stuff that the kids wanted to bring for Lucky. They were sick when they heard about him being in the hospital,” he explained. Ryan still held the bag that the kids insisted was full of stuff Lucky had to have.

She looked back towards the kids who were moving towards the room Lucky had been in when they arrived. She motioned for Ryan to bring the bag and began walking towards the room. Ryan held it close to him and followed her.

“Seriously I don’t have time for whatever this is Ryan. I don’t feel like going through it. I just need to get back to my son. You know how that is, right?” she said.

“Yes, I get all of that but you had to know that I was going to show up as soon as I found out. Why didn’t you call me? Why are you trying to go through all of this alone?” he responded.

She plopped down on the yellow, gray and ivory Ikat sofa “I’m not alone. I have my parents and my crew. I didn’t call because…,” her voice trailed off as RJ jumped into her lap and gave her a hug. She ran her fingers through RJ’s curly ponytails before turning back to face him.

“You know that you can still count on me. Even when you don’t want to,” he told her.  He knew that his apology hadn’t meant much to her but he still wanted her to know that she could rely on him.  “You had to know that I would want to know and would want to check on you and Lucien once I’d heard,” he told her.

She just looked at him. Aubrey didn’t know how to even start the conversation. Or if she wanted to.

“Talk to me,” he said. He looked over at his daughter still curled in Aubrey’s lap and told her to go play. He waited while she glared at him before sliding on the floor to make her way to the boys on the other side of the room near the windows.

“The doctors want to keep testing for donors next week. My attorney and Max’s aunt have both told him but since he might be a carrier they just want to clear him. He hasn’t responded,” Aubrey told him.

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What Kind of Times Are These- Adrienne Rich

It seems as if every week, there is some new bit of news. That shakes us and shapes us. It may be something scary or horrifying or a reminder of just how much we are intrinsically linked as people. In a world that is changing with every blink of the eye it is essential to remember we should feel compelled to resist anything anyone that tries to divide us. 

Please enjoy this piece of resistance literature by Adrienne Rich. 

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted

who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled

this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,

our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,

its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods

meeting the unmarked strip of light—

ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:

I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you

anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these

to have you listen at all, it’s necessary

to talk about trees.

Still I Rise-Maya Angelou

When ​I was younger, I once read that artists bear the pain of humanity. I probably scoffed thinking that was a bit heavy. However, this weekend my heart does bear that pain. And it is very heavy. In light of the events that have taken place in Charlottesville it only seemed apropos to share the work of Maya Angelou. 

I hope we the people, who are human enough to see humanity in all our fellow people, continue to rise. 



You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

For the Consideration of Poets-Haki Madhubuti

When I first started college, I had no idea what my major would be. Now it seems so silly but I didn’t have a major until I took a Black Studies class in my second year. When that happened…it was like all the things that people describe when they have an epiphany. All of a sudden, I knew that I wanted to major in English and minor in African American Studies.

I know that my decision was rooted in the beauty that was the reading material for the class.  However, I also know that it was because the class combined two of my favorite subjects: English and History.

I’ve said many times here that poetry is rebellion. It is resistance and a call to arms. Poetry can be a perfectly formed arrow to aim instead of actual projectiles. This poem by Haki Madhubuti reminds us all of that. Although today is James Baldwin’s birthday, and he was critical of protest literature I am sharing a piece that, in my opinion, pays homage to him.

Enjoy!

black arts movement

where is the poetry of resistance, 
                     the poetry of honorable defiance 
unafraid of lies from career politicians and business men, 
not respectful of journalist who write 
official speak void of educated thought 
without double search or sub surface questions 
that war talk demands? 
where is the poetry of doubt and suspicion 
not in the service of the state, bishops and priests, 
not in the service of beautiful people and late night promises, 
not in the service of influence, incompetence and academic 
         clown talk?