Daydreams or…Mini Vacations of the mind

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
I carried this flower throughout the first hour of my shift at work
It was cumbersome as only one hand could stock

Messages Image(1163073376).jpegBut…
This once vital and youthful inflorescence
Deserved a final romp through the Co op grounds

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
My determination of being present in the moment
Was disrupted by the fragile flower in my hand
And I thought, ‘Oh my, you are dying’
And then I thought, ‘I am too’
But…
Your life lived was way shorter than my life living

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
You started as a seedling, plucked when mature                   IMG_1951
Roots guillotined leaving sap to seep
Thrusted into cold, cold and so cold water
Transported from one state to another in a cardboard box
Bunched up tightly in a bucket with others from your tribe
No room to droop, only to stand tall and upright
But…
You survived the journey

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
Unloaded from a cool truck in the daylight hours
Of a hot, hot and so hot NYC morning
You and the others made your way into the Co op
Where unpacked by produce workers
You were put on display on top of a wooden pallet
Above your head the sticker price of $1.25 per stem
But…
Still standing strong, almost defiant, your blossoms raised high

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
So your journey towards dying continues
For the next day when I returned to work
The bucket was half empty and not half full
And to be honest I couldn’t tell from the wilted flowers who.
Stayed behind for another day of sale
If you were gone or not
Because you all do look alike anyway
But…
My mind stayed in that moment of the day before
Of knowing that all
Must die in some way IMG_1949

AF…or Can’t Stand Losing You

I LOVE Chardonnay
Lox and cream cheese
Chinese take out
Sashimi
Salt and vinegar potato chips

I LOVE Cabernet
Noodles and meatballs
BBQ take out
Pizza
Pringles sour cream and chives

I LOVE Bourbon
French Fries
Chicken wings
French Fries
Chicken Wings

A cantankerous relationship we had
Through laughter, boredom and tears
Funerals, celebrations, observations and fears
I was there for you
You, here for me

My heart, loved both of you hard
But the spirit of grapes and fermented grain
Had me in regret and perpetual shame
As they never did love
LOVE, me for me

We carried on for many years
Met in the evenings and late afternoons
Then early morn before flowers bloomed IMG_1904.jpg
Love turned to hate
HATE, turned to dust

Said goodbye to you on the 1st of the month
Weeks amounted as days dissolved
And yet I held unto my resolve
No longer together we
WE, are not together

I am alone now as I’ve always been
As I was when I was with you
Though I believed it untrue
IMG_1909 copy.jpgFor how, could I be
Be, lonely, when we were

Alphabet Soup…Sans the Noodles

A is for…
Africa
The Gold Coast, Bright of Benin and the Bight of Biafra
where my ancestors were abducted
brought to the Caribbean
as property to work
on sugar cane, coffee and banana plantations

B is for
Brooklyn
the place I came forth
from the comfort of mom’s womb
during a major snow-stormimages-1

C is for
Catholic School
my father insisted
we go to instead of
the public school across the street
where kids all the shades of brown
attended

D is for
Divorce,
did not happen
when Dad moved back to Jamaica
and mom stayed in the States

E is for
Elena
the first part of my name which translates to
Helen in English

F is for
Fairy tales
Snow white, sleeping beauty, cinderella
wow, a man would rescue me
from all the evil in the world
if I were white

G is for
Gynecologist
years to find
one who was like me
and did not treat
my body
as an oddity

images

H is for
Honduras
where my mother’s Jamaican grandparents
migrated for work
long after slavery

I is for
Identity
Honduras, Jamaica, Scotland, Ireland, India and lastly
America
not the north or the south
but where it’s supposed to be united
but is not

J is for
Jamaica
the country of my father’s and siblings’ birth

K is for
Knowing
coming of age
as an Afro-Caribbean

L is for
Lies
black hair, black skin
big lips, big butts
excludes us from
straight hair
anorexia
Botox
butt lifts
Girdles, lipo
hell no
And…
Black don’t crack

M is for
McCalla (McCullough)
the name of the two Scottish brothers who migrated to Jamaica
and purchased the
ancestors who were stolen from Africa
to work as property
on their sugar cane, coffee and banana plantations
while producing picaninnies to be sold
as property

N is for
Nigger
the name I was called at the all-white
Catholic School
my father insisted I and my siblings
attend

O is for
Ovaries
that decided at the age of
27 to call it quitsimages-2

P is for
Parents
Margarita Walsh (McCalla) May 24th, 1927-October 7th, 2018 (Honduras, Scotland, India)
Noel Emmanuel Walsh May 10th, 1921- May 9th, 2010 (Jamaica, Ireland)

Q is for
Questioning
the world
not settling for
what the Catholic School taught
and yes
Catherine the Great
had a thing
for animals

R is for
Real Estate
mom and dad
bought a house
and became landlords
so, no one could ever
refuse to rent to us

S is for
Sisters
who resented the
burden I was
to their freedom

T is for
Tolerance
for other stories
other celebrations
other holidays
fireworks
that represent nothing
to the house
that slaves
built

U is for
Understanding
what my parents
went through
to provide
for me

W is for
Walsh
he last name of the Irish man who
impregnated my father’s motherand left
my father
with just the
last name. Unknown

X is for
Xenophobia
born and raised in this county I didn’t ask to be born in
I am still a foreigner, an abnormality
because xenophobia allows
those with privilege and power to
hate us because we look different

Y is for
Yearning
for my parents
who accepted
me
as I was

Z is for
Zero
tolerance for
treatment as a sub-human
woman of colour
4th class citizen
bottom of the barrel
Not my circus
Not my monkeys
Not your nanny
Not your cleaning woman

The Way We Were…Revised.

The way we are is no longer

as it has become the way we were.   13239981_10209784571076766_1160742976535298713_n

One day here next day not

the way we were was ever changing.

Changing in unexpectable ways

until it became the way I am.

Here today and gone tomorrow.

Fleeting bits of reality we wish didn’t exist but are here to stay.

Nowhere to run to, nowhere go to

we struggled to swim in what was then

only now the struggle to swim does not have you.

We swam in waters familiar, trusted and predictable.   10399703_1208262172476_2654700_n

the way we were then was in the present

and not the past as it is now.

October 7, 2018

will never be just another day,

another October,

another year,

for it was the day,

the way we were

ceased to be

and the way I am

continues

without you.

Statues or…Being Black in America

“Imagine being Jewish, walking around a public park, seeing a statue of Hitler, and someone proudly saying, “my great-great-grandfather was a Nazi, and we should respect our history!’ Of course, that doesn’t happen, because it’s INSANE!

 Now, imagine how a Black person feels seeing confederate monuments in America”.
—Sarah Guilford

Sheltered living in NYC, as the only statue getting complaints is Christopher Columbus.

Statues don’t bother me.   IMG_1861

Nigger is a mischievous word which presently means
something different than it did in the past
based on who says it and to whom
The first time I was called nigger was what it meant in the past
in catholic school so long ago
during that Channel 7 series premiere of Alex Haley’s book “Roots”

Statues don’t bother me.

Took a long time to forgive Alex Haley
as it did to shake off the nicknames of Kizzy and Kunte Kente
Got revenge though.
Converted to an Episcopalian (Catholic light without the constant guilt or repentance)

Statues don’t bother me.   IMG_1859

I remember attending a photographer’s party in San Francisco
The only person of colour snacking on lox and cream cheese
Whoopi Goldberg was the Hollywood flavour of the month back then
and can’t count how many people said I looked like her while laughing
Snacking on lox with cream cheese while being black

Statues don’t bother me.

I went home angry
and festered in being compared frequently to looking like Whoopi
since I moved to San Fran
Why Whoopi?
In NYC I was compared to Halle Berry at the swimming club
where I swam laps while being the only person of colour

Statues don’t bother me. IMG_1858

Had to reassess my opinion on Ms. Goldberg
and what beauty represents
Did some research
Can’t say enough about
the perseverance she possessed
to get to where she’s at
in the entertainment world
Respect of the highest
Adoration at her legacy
and I was never a fan of Halle Berry!

Statues don’t bother me. IMG_1864

On a camping trip in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains
I refused to visit a plantation that was turned into a museum
not run by blacks
But my camping buddy wanted to partake in the tour
I stayed on the tour bus
sitting in the middle
the only person of colour
that at one time would have been sent me to
the back

 

Statues don’t bother me.                                 

My buddy returned from the tour
visibly upset
I did not offer compassion
Was I compelled to?
NO
He is white
I am not

Statues don’t bother me.  

And they never will for the pain of being black in America left its mark from birth. The confederate flag and those so called statues are a reminder of what was and what still is. Dismantling the statues, chopping of their heads, defacing them with graffiti will never erase what they stood for and what they remind us of now.

The statues should not be discarded but placed in a museum because we should never erase the symbols of our past but remember…where we’ve come from.

IMG_1860

A Vent…

I am far stronger than most

not invincible…

and don’t subscribe to that bullshit

Helen Reddy song of being

I am Woman

‘Womens Rights’ only pertains to white women.

I am not…

your nanny

housecleaner

babysitter

janitor.

I own a home

you would give anything to own.

But…

you don’t.

My home comes from my uneducated Caribbean parents

who believed in their self-worth,

believed in raising their children

in a place where a landlord could not evict them.

I don’t need to preach about who I am and.   IMG_1773

justify my right to breathe the same air as you do.

Just stay the fuck out of my way

keep your pity party to yourselves and…

LET ME BE!

I am a woman of colour

respect or leave from my sight.

My Mother’s Day…

Golden brown hands with fingers like branches on a Dogwood tree
Nails trimmed with a faded dark red manicure

I often held your hands with its naturally etched road map of 91 years
The roadmap which exposed the journey of your hands long before they changed my IMG_2847diapers

Your hands were always soft and smelled of lotion
Lotion I forgot to rub on your hands as you lay dying at home

Those beautiful hands also had the medals of small burn marks from the cooking you did
When the oil decided to rebel after water touched it surface

Your hands made the best food, the best tea, the Bestest, best ever BLT
Your hands grabbed onto mine when we walked through icy streets to do grocery shopping

Your hands also gave me the finger, when I got on your nerves
I miss your hands so much as much as I miss you

I have only pictures of those hands that once held me and made the world less scary

In The Time of Coronavirus…

Resigning after working 3 years at a job I thought I would retire from. Moved up the ladder every year but alas, through internal transitions, resignations and new hires, I hit the glass ceiling of the most uncomfortable kind. The glass is thick and stunts my growth.

My wings are clipped like a bird trying to fly as its’ owner tries to bend self-determination into submission. I would like to blame this on the time of Coronavirus, but no, it was happening long before.images.jpeg

So, I’ll be unemployed like millions right now trying to survive financially in financial uncertainty. My unemployment is of my choosing, for at times it is better to be sane than having anxiety control your life and taking meds to undo the control. Those who are unemployed due to business closures in the time of the Coronavirus had no choice.

It makes me laugh at times how I planned to do some soul (alma) searching after the resignation to find my new path in life but, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. In the time of Coronavirus with isolation and working remote from home, I have plenty of time for alma (soul) searching.    

Unknown.png

Daily routines, like the gym, trotting in Prospect Park, taking long walks with Katie (greyhound) no longer exists. Instead the routines are replaced by unhealthy eating, Doritos, Chardonnay and…BACON!!!

If we make it through this, I will reap the rewards of gaining unwanted pounds of fat. This I will blame on the time of Coronavirus.

As there is always positives in negatives, I picked up my knitting needles, got frustration and picked up my crochet needle. I am reading while eating, watching CNN as if I own stock and breaking up daily cat fights.

As the Game of Thrones, cat style has yet to be resolved. I wonder which of my four cat owners will sit on the throne?

Unknown-1.jpeg

Is it okay to go just a bit crazy in the time of the Coronavirus?

Death Be Not Proud or…Get busy living or get busy dying

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

Picture2

You can live, take in air, eat, go to the bathroom, physically healthy on the outside and dying inside of a broken heart too weak to fight depression

When you die, you die, no air, no food, at times a final bathroom break, sick on the outside all while the heart fights desperately to live on the insidePicture3

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

Living is a struggle, learning and navigating through a ‘new normal’ one did not ask to have. I want the old normal where stuff happened the way it should, predictable and expected

Dying is a struggle, learning and navigating through a final stage of life you did not ask to have. Death had no right to disrupt all that was normal, true and kind

It’s so easy to live and so easy to diemom 2

Life is a given.

We live our lives day to day, hour to hour, not thinking once about what it means to live. We take life for granted until we realize it’s gone

Death is a given.

For after the life we’ve taken for granted is gone the aftershocks of raw emotions will be unpredictable, coarse, sneeringly painful and at times forgetful until you wake up in the morning and realize death is not bringing back the one it took recently or those in the past. Your mom, tobias and pi patel are never coming back

It’s not so easy to live when the ones you so loved have died

Death be not proud Picture1.png

 

Three little birds or…Signs from Heaven Above

The last two weeks have brought water from my eyes. At times behind closed doors and while walking down the middle of a crowded street.

Because of…

Sparrows.

Native to NYC as rats are to the subway as pigeons are to rooftops as hawks are to Ppark as racoons are to Cpark as squirrels are to the ‘hood,

Sparrows rule NYC.

Little dictators who at times remind me of the honey badger when competing with pigeons for bread crumbs.

Mom loved birds, particularly cardinals, blue jays and cockatiels which she had as pets. She kept bird feeders in the backyard filled with seed that attracted every animal imaginable as well as providing seeds for seedlings erupting in the ground below.

 Mom loved birds and I miss her.

The last two weeks with July 4th approaching brought unease and depression.

But,

Three little birds brought awareness.

Situation one…giphy.gif

happened in front of a church during a work-related training. I was feeding a sparrow crumbs from a bagel and thought it strange how the bird would pick up a crumb, fly away, return and repeat the process. It finally dawned on me that the mom bird was actually bringing food to her nest. What an incredible workout her wings endured as she flew across the street, near the opening of a roof to feed her young.

Talk about free food delivery.

Situation two…

During a training run in Ppark, spotted a sparrow I thought was in distress. Not sure what was going on or if interference was required. My run slowed as I approached the tree filled area. This smaller than normal sparrow was trying to fly and at first it looked as if it was cray-cray as I was or directionally challenged as I am. The beautiful being flew down then up, down then up, down then up, down and up then finally, flew in a straight line to another tree across the pathway. 200w.gif

Guess the youngin’ ain’t coming home anytime soon.

(” Fly robin fly. Up, up to the sky” and yes it was a sparrow I saw and not a robin but I like the song)

 

Situation three…

Katie (the greyt) and I strolled up Lincoln Place, a route we normally follow, one block over from our crib. The song of high-pitched bleeps grabbed my attention as it was harsh on the ears. Of course the sound did not bother Katie’s as her nose was to the ground leading her mind. On a low branch in a Ginko tree sat a nest comprised of twigs and NYC’s finest collection of plastics and weeds-yeah bird, for keeping it real and with some serious improving! Three hungry open beaks protruded from the top of the nest. I was in awe.!IMG_0909

A city slicker seeing an actual bird’s nest for the first time!! As I was staring and Katie sniffing the ground beneath our feet, I heard a squawk from a near-by tree and turned to see Mama glaring at me with the biggest black eyes for miles and…she wasn’t no sparrow. But she wasn’t no crow. We exchanged mutual glares and I went on my way because I          remember Alfred Hitchcock’s movie!

Three little birds… 

 I’d like to believe my mom was sending some signs:  eat properly, leave the safety of the nest and explore,  and a home is what you make it to be worts and all.

She always told me to take care of myself and I know she loved me deeply, defensively, and unconditionally.

Thank you mom and I love you round the world and back!

 

 

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