Memories

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Nostalgia’s a nauseating

sickness

like four little girls

still trying to tear down the brick

painted on the sides

of their heads

Pocketbook scriptures still dangling

from underneath

their tongues

like a scorched covenant

under burned fingernails

still trying to get me to

remember

Truth be queasy

like first trimesters

be painful

like birth pains

I heard

a roll of thunder

and laughter more frightening

than decomposed bodies

at the bottom of bi-racial rivers

whispering

like the voice of Emmet

till when?

It asked me.

Before strings of voices erupted from some place

beyond the banks of the James River

from someplace before William Lynch’s arrival

somewhere marchin

stomping on my roots

somewhere printed on the back

of the forbidden fruit, I still

got between my teeth

a string of voices

sprung up

from the oppression

marching down the streets of Birmingham,

Chicago, Georgia, Mississippi, Harlem.

Willie Edwards,

James Chaney,

Michael Donald,

Michael Griffith,

Michael Brown,

Yusef Hawkins,

James Byrd Jr, and Trayvon Martin’s voices

sang hymns of “I told you so’s”

for my memories

like women giving birth

to still born children

Till when?

said Mr. Till.

Will you people continue to give birth

to death

still lying on the bed

of Martin’s dreams?

They sang with an authority

like rolling thunder

and butterflies in my stomach

like truth on top Moses mountain they sang

like earthquakes

cracking my memories into lynched question marks

they sang

like blood-thirsty whales behind slave ships

like ripping flesh

torn open

with Hebrew scriptures

in their veins

they sang

like diseases written into the sky

and prison chains

their voices roared

like a million I told you so’s they sang

like voices do

and they asked me a question

but their words

were few

Till when?

Screamed the segregated

Set-apart

and unequal lungs

of Emmett

Till when?

He sang.

Like the lyrics of Deuteronomy

carried up

Till when will Malcolm,

Booker T.

and Martin King

still dream

before

they wake up?

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Nostalgia

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I didn’t always drink coffee, but the first cup was so delicious, made with the expertise of a veteran coffee drinker some years back, that I incorporated caffeine into my daily schedule and like a feign sought to mimic it’s deliciousness. But this morning, as I poured the warm goodness and integrated it with Carmel Vanilla Cream, something unexpected happened. Ok so yes I was thinking about Blogging but not that. I was, however, brought back to those early days. Suddenly, I tasted of the past and images hurried to my thoughts like a wave of epiphany. With each sip it is as if I tasted of conversation and laughed at jokes once long faded away in memory. It reminded me of an article I read last week about scientist finally admitting that memory is stored in the DNA, and I do believe it’s true. Even if we cannot remember a moment, I believe we still live it in some way. Maybe we mimic the actions of what we can neither speak nor recall. Maybe something makes us laugh and we cannot explain why. Or perhaps there was an experience so traumatic that it disintegrated into our very skin, but is no longer accessible through the mind. Why is it that when we recall the past we include ourselves even if we had not lived it? “We were slaves” I say of my history, though I have never been anyone’s property and neither have I picked of anyone’s cotton. Could it be that this experience was genetically passed on to me? Indeed, I believe so. For who am I to be so arrogant as to believe I inherited my mother’s nose and not my ancestors ways? Their thoughts? Their promises?

Memory, like water it is an interesting thing. A substance that we use daily, that we cannot live without, and that we have even named and yet, we know nothing about it. For what is H2O really? I laugh at the boldness of man to think he has all the answers, and yet the things we use on a daily basis is still foreign to us. So, Nostalgia, the bringing forth of memory we either despise or long to experience again, perhaps it is much deeper than we think, and yet closer too.