"There's a train, hidden somewhere within my body. It is full of people, of stories, sorrow, joy, creation, and destruction. This train has no regular schedule, it comes and goes as it pleases. But I've begun to recognise the sounds and the signs of it coming near. And in those moments, if I don't write, I will never get to meet those stories. I won't know their names or where they've come from. If I don't write, it's as though they never existed."
I don't know what sparks it. But there's this feeling I get, it's when I know a story or a poem is coming. Sometimes I catch it in its entirety, but often I just get fragments of it, recollections of a dream, just enough to piece it together.
But quite often, the pieces don't fit. And I'm stuck with the leftovers.
That is what these are. The leftovers.
Inside of me lives a large black woman
She longs for freedom from the slavery of the South,
That wet heat, and her oppressive owners
In the rooms of my body there is
A constant struggle and a great choir
Singing to walls a song of hope
Waiting for them to crash
Within the rubble,
Next to my ribs is a clock maker,
Each night he wines these clocks inside of my chest
Twists the key in their backs
And rests his eyes for the evening
And just like a wasp
Isn’t all made of stinger
I’m not all hatchet
I have found that some
Rules, are meant to be broken
My Grandfather was raised on a farm
His hands were hardened by the breaking of soil
His words by the passing of years
There are deep callously that live inside his fists
They have been there since I was a child
And just as old is the dirt under his nails
Though he was a generous man,
His hands were never open.
It seemed every part of him was
Waiting for a fight
Waiting for a long winter
For the rains to be spars
For the land to be hard
For the harvest to be lacking
My grandmother played the violin
She knew only one song,
But each day there were new verses.
They grew from the same dirt her husband toiled in
Beauty and frustration
What strange bedfellows they were
The Song my Grandmother carried with her,
It was in the stitching of her clothes
It was the way the floor creaked in harmony beneath her
The moonlight that kissed her face that evening,
It was so beautiful.
The oceans the sky had been hiding were suddenly revealed
And I could hear the gentle crashing of waves
The reprise of undeterred love
The faithfulness of the shore,
I could hear how the moon stretched the waters
Making room for the tides
All this was held simply in the quietness of her song.
In the fruit that she left cut on the table
I could hear this all by the way she said I love you.