From me…or Hang on

August 3, 2019 -5:23AM 

“I think we all struggle with that unreasonable guilt, E***a, and it is unreasonable, isn’t it? Certainly, my Dad who loved me so well my entire life would want me to live whole and free, right? Of course, he would. It’s just all part of this gut-wrenching process we all have to suffer through. Be thankful for those sparks. Fan them into flame. Live that life to honor your loved one but more so for yourself and the world who needs your particular gifts.”

-Response to a post I wrote on a grief board

Grief amidst a worldwide pandemic mixed in with addiction is not pretty in any colour. 

But the body and mind can longer accept alcoholic as self-medication to make the world seem right. Grief chased down with bourbon needs to rise up and be dealt with. 

So, I …

Hang on for a day
The past is acknowledged, the future not ruminated on. The present? Front, Center and Back.  Because that is all that matters.

Hang on for another day
“An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature”-Big Book
Finished the twelfth steps, now what? 

Hang on
The desire to run, do a gym work out, bang on the piano or even write has faded for Anger and Hangovers no longer fuel, mi alma (soul). 

Hang on for yet another day
Sobriety dulled my creativity or rather my creativity refuses to emerge through a clear thinking alma (soul).

Photo by EMC

Hang on for a day
I have yet to print out those medical records, afraid of what may be revealed, afraid I’ll gain more truths into my inadequacies fueled by alcohol into how I was not there for you-figuratively.

Still hanging on
Have not attempted to finish my piece on “One year without you” for one year has now turned into three years without you.

August 30, 2019 -12:10PM 

Hang tight-you will fly once your wings unfold. You will find a place either in this realm or another where you are loved & appreciated for being just you with all your quirky talents, flowing forth like glitter. Be Strong!”

                                                                         -Note from me to me

Intertwined…or No Drink

Isolated and the deaths of my felines, a brother and sister, two days apart was the ‘woke’ to my consumption of alcohol. What went from drinking after 5pm morphed into drinking at 10am. Half bottle of vino to full bottle. Full bottle thrown in as a chaser for bourbon. 

Bourbon and wine intertwined.

Sobriety literally began as one day at a time. One day drinking, one day not drinking, repeat for two weeks. Get the wine from around the corner, then go four blocks over for the bourbon. Next day wine from two blocks up to bourbon two down and four over. Then repeat every day, seven days a week.  “Silly rabbit…!” Buying one day reserves instead of a grate and handle make me a control drinker.

Bourbon and wine intertwined.

July 1st, 2020 arrived and no drink that day. Or the next, or the next. Reached out for help on week three of no drink. Completed a ninety day program of no drink. Met others who no drink and others who gave up and drank falling off the continuum of no drink.

Bourbon and wine no longer intertwined.

Three months, six months and now 9 months free. A mind not terribly wasted in a hangover pool brings hope to the present.  On occasion I’ll jaunt down memory lane in my mind to remember all the gains with no drink. The future is not for me to see. Hoping no drink will follow me.

Bourbon and wine no longer intertwined.

The glasses made to hold wine sit on the top, top, shelf of the kitchen cabinet. Shapes, colours, pieces of artwork not to be tossed. The bourbon glasses now hold plants swimming in water, toothbrushes and pastes of the human and greyhound kind.

Remnants of what once and is no longer. 

Faith…or Fate

Faith moves mountains
You often said when despair embraced me

Fate moves mountains
I often said as control is in another’s hand

Faith moves mountains
Through troubling times optimism was your shield

Fate moves mountains
Through troubling times alcohol was mine

Faith moves mountains
You believed in a God that would nurture and care

Fate moves mountains
I believed in a God that was cruel and malicious

Faith moves mountains
You rarely shed tears and if you did
they fell with a purpose

Fate moves mountains
I cried everyday 
angry tears driven by self-pity 

Faith moves mountains
Cancer came back for you
this time it latched on 
You cried once in the hospital
and I knew you knew
hope fought

Fate moves mountains
Cancer came back for you
I couldn’t pry it loose 
I cried as much as I drank
and you knew I knew
hope lost

*** It’s been three years since you drew breath. You were in my life for 54 years. I guess I’ll be mourning till the day I join you. I cry mostly mornings, when another day begins, without wine or bourbon. During the days I’ll smile as memories, come in and out, out and in. Looking forward to more smiles and fuzzy feelings when memories hit instead of pain and tears.

I love you mom, my mom.

Las Estaciones De Mi Alma…(The seasons of my soul)

Invierno (Winter)
Mi Alma duerme 

My soul sleeps
For winter
Happy in the cold 
Warm in the body
Embraced at night with furs that live
Wrapped in a sheet with feathers dead
Bring comfort to a comatose mind

La Primavera (Spring)
Mi alma baila

My soul dances
For the air is tinged
With energy and rebirth
Resetting my soul to sync
Within nature at its most
Obvious time

Artwork: Marvin Piqué

El Verano (Summer)
Mi alma se sienta con el sol

My soul sits with the sun
Moving in slow mo’
Jiggly with passion
Humid, Heat, Hotness
Because she can

El Otoño (Fall)
Mi alma duele con recuerdos de Perdida

My soul hurts with memories of loss
Diá de Muertos
The altar once filled with marigolds and 
Bits of food, pictures of the elders 
Sits in a cardboard box in the closet
Because I cannot, love cannot
Add you to them

Wood and paper come from trees
Heart and lungs rule the body
Loss and love nailed in the alma
Scars deeply 

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.