“Do not write poetry only for its music unless you wish to get lost in the song. Instead, see to it that life gives to life so that you are truly a deliverer, and not just a tool.”
Owner: Paul Saddler
Sex / Age: Girl, 6
Mama says my feet ain’t little girls feet. Say I shouldn’t be akin like no boy. But I likes running and the way my toes feel wiggling through the mud. I likes the gooey wetness, even the way the red dirt taste too. And I watch the little dusty balls go up in the air and cover up the cotton I was too short to reach anyways. So’s I likes running through the fields to see how high I’s get. One time I’s made it wheres I touched the sun. It wasn’t even hot either. It didn’t feel like nothing but air. I told mama the sun was tricking us.
“And how it do that?”
“Cuz mama, I touched it and it ain’t burn my finger none. It feels hot but it ain’ts really.”
Mama laughed but that’s only cuz she ain’t touched it. And the next day all of us had sticky skin, peeling and sweaty like creepy crawlers running down our backs and foreheads. The grown people say something bout a heat wave, but yesterday mama laughs so’s I know’d it was jest the sun.
Stella Mae, Age: 19
Words can’t explain my excitement. For the first time since befoe Mama died I was actually happy to finish the last of the chores. I think even Ole Marse Saddler noticed it. He commanded me to wipe that ugly smile offa my face. Said nobody’s ugly as me deserved to smile, but I didn’t care none. I’s jest couldn’t stop feelin good. I was ‘bout to leave this place.
Stella never did leave the Saddler Plantation as she intended. Find out why in Book #1 of this short story and discover what’s really between slavery and freedom.
I know I know it’s been a scarce week (or two) here on The PBS Blog. Truth is I began a number of projects years ago that are starting to show signs of fruit. I am completing my first short story series. In fact, Stella Book #1 Releases Next Week which will be promptly followed by additional parts taking me well into the summer and just in time to begin work on Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2 in the fall. Needless to say I expect to have a busy year (yaaasss). But the biggest project, the one I am super siked to be on the finishing end of is the audio for my Third Poetry Book Collection “Womanhood Don’t Begin in Menstrual Cycles”, which releases next month (March). But while I set out to organize my life offline, it led me to today’s post: Responsibilities.
This has nothing to do with projects or books, but life. As we go about our daily routines and the accomplishments of our goals there is a lot missing from the accountability end of this whirlwind of events and circumstances. We must keep in mind that we are responsible for everything we say, everything we do and everything that we write. There’s a quote that says ” We are what we write”, and what a profound truth. I speak and you listen and as a result of my speaking you in turn perceive. You may either accept or reject and that’s your business. I cannot be responsible for the way in which your eyes see, but I can be responsible for influencing what you see. In other words, our personal lives would be so much better if as individuals we took responsibility for who we are and what we are and those things that we influence, good or bad.
A young man dies on the street corner. He is 17 years old. By age 5 he can quote the rap lyric to every rap song known to man. His routine consists of school, TV, food and back again. Homework has been lost in-between. At age 10 he came into the house at whatever hour his youthful activities would warrant. By age 13 he was buying his own clothing and paying his mothers bills. By the age of 16 he was paying her rent altogether. At 17 years old a young man is gunned down on the street corner. The aftermath presents a distraught mother who cannot fathom the animal who would gun down her son. “He was a good boy”, she says. And while I would not doubt he just may have been a nice guy, what was he doing on the corner in the first place? What kind of activities led him there? And at what point does this mother take responsibility for the kind of behavior she approved the moment she accepted what she knew to be drug money? Or perhaps I trip over a rock and scar my face in the process. Oh and I was texting by the way so I wasn’t exactly looking up. I was not paying attention and as such I could not see what was in front of me. This is the kind of accountability in which I speak.
Healing can only come from personal accountability. I can never fix what is wrong with me if I cannot acknowledge my own imperfections. It is important to ask ourselves: “What is it about me that led to this? What is it about my heart that chose this?” Because only until we come fully into the understanding of our personal selves can we begin to make changes. Until then we will never progress in our lives. But once the process of personal accountability has begun, then we will begin to improve on those struggles we once thought were immovable. A bad situation is always a bad situation, but growth is optional. We choose to accept who we are and who we have become. We decide what aspects of our lives will change and which will remain based on our level of responsibility. When we are at fault we choose to accept or deny that fault. And when we have made a mistake we choose how that mistake will change us.