at night as I gather my hair
my mothers watch me
unknown women who crossed waters
paper boats made from lost census records
taking planting raising moving
dark earth over and over
coaxing food from dust
feet and face unwashed
singing along with cicadas
my own mother is there
she who was never a mother
despite trying so many times
I gather her along with her mothers
they watch as my dark ocean is pulled together
a dark bowl of moving currents
and hidden tributaries
the stories are there but the language gone
at night I gather my hair
my mothers are there
whispering I'm sorry
Something is going to happen. Something is going to happen and you have to be ready for it. Something is going to happen and there might be nothing you can do about it, but you should know about it just the same. Something is going to happen and I would tell you if I knew what it was, really I would, but honestly I don’t know what it is either, I just know it’s coming. Something is going to happen that is going to change everything. Something is going to happen that will be felt by everyone, even if they don’t hear about it, they’ll just feel it, like when you know someone else is in the room with you, only more so. Something is going to happen and they’ll be talking about it for generations, I’m not even kidding. Something is going to happen and it’ll make some things clear and some things confusing and some things obsolete, but it’ll make some things more important and that’s the good thing. Something is going to happen and you should live every second of every hour of every day of your life preparing for it, training for it, getting ready for it. Something is going to happen and there is much more at stake than you originally thought. Something is going to happen and it might not make sense right now or eventually or maybe ever, but just because you can’t understand it now doesn’t mean that it will never come.
You just have to be ready.
Originally posted 17 May 2003
When we were kids, we would ride our bikes home from school, turn sharp into the driveway and jump off, legs still pumping. We’d run out behind the rows of identical suburban houses and crash into the scraggy strip of woods that lay there. We’d have a secret path that we imagined was once traveled by bootleggers. We’d run through the branches and stop dead when the trees ended, then drop to our knees and part the grasses like deer. We’d find our spot and press down a mat of plants and just lay there, looking at the sky. We’d stretch our thin small bodies as wide as we could, ribs pushing against skin, our lungs full to bursting, blood pushing through our veins so loud we could hear the sound the individual cells made as they rushed through our bodies. We’d lay there and sweat in the bright light, and feel the bugs and flecks of dirt and chaff stick to our arms and legs. We’d lay there, just watching sky, imagining we were where we wanted to be.
Note: This was published originally on the 28th of July 2003, by myself. I called it “Someone Else's Story”. I wrote it, as is the case with much of my old writing, during a time where I was heavily abused, and my coping mechanisms were to hide myself even deeper.
There's a lot of this in my old writing, this theme of not being where I wanted to be, not the person I knew I was, didn't have the life that would let me thrive. But all that's over now, and I do have the life I always wanted.
So I suppose the title still fits, doesn't it? It's someone else's story because I am where I wanted to be.
It feels a bit like robbing my own tomb, going over these old stories
like a pile of clothes that I think used to be mine,
but mine from a dream.
I'm finding sand in pockets from beaches I've never been
stains on lapels left by food that never was
diplomas tilted on walls with patterns I can't remember
holding lightly a name for someone I do not know