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things we carry, chapter 2: autopilot

this is when you attempt to feel the world around you, but cannot
this is when you attempt to douse your nervous system in extra stimulants, but nothing

and there you sit
so many things to be done, you’re thinking
so many orders to give and many more to receive
so many things to say and things to hear
so many items to cross off
so there you sit

unbothered and numb
numb and unbothered

not even the dark roast and quickening heart beat gets you up

you have managed to move your body just enough
just enough to get you right here

so
you don’t move at all

fuck it
we’ll try this again tomorrow

midtown

holding off from; giving permission to: a poem

 i am quitting that which i have yet to start
and apportioning time to nothing
i am abandoning things i have not committed to
and signing up to not participate
this is the game i play alone
suspending myself in air, barely hoping respite
awaiting the time i’m given the nod to continue
as if anyone is waiting for me
i am figuring out my unhappy
without thinking about it at all
i am whispering through a crowded room
while everyone is looking the other way
i am winding up the clock to watch it tick down
living within its minutes aimlessly
i am elsewhere and nowhere, someone and everyone
and everything’s nothing in between
i am doing this all over…

 

nola
as inspired by Lorraine Hansberry

  1. the unending African vs African-American debate, and the assumption that the former are inherently a better people (and not merely because of continental pride)
  2. melancholy
  3. silly, lazy men
  4. the idea that black women do not or cannot support each other
  5. the fact that people actually live boring lives but pretend not to
  6. respectability politics, especially as perpetuated by the marginalised
  7. the “what about me?”, #alllivesmatter narrative: fuck feelings attempting to dictate self-love
  8. the currency of sex
  9. writing paralysis due to fear
  10. erasure
  11. typing in every individual work experience after uploading my resume on your website
  12. racism and sexism

The Yoruba Orishas

Way back in February for Black History Month, I completed a blog study on the Yoruba orishas, as depicted by Atlanta-based photographer James C. Lewis at Noire3000 Studios. In the event you missed it, please take some time to educate yourself.

The orisha (also spelled orisa, orichá; or orixá in Latin America) are spirits believed to reflect one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba religion. The orishas have made their way from West Africa throughout the so-called New World via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Yoruba religion itself is housed specifically in present-day southwestern Nigeria, as well as the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo. This area is commonly known as Yorubaland. However, the diverse traditions that make up Yoruba religion can be found all over the African diaspora, influencing belief systems such as Santería (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic), Umbanda (Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay), Loa/Vodou (Haiti and the U.S.), Oyotunji (the U.S.), Trinidad Orisha (Trinidad and Tobago) and Candomblé (Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay).

Appreciation for the orishas has finally caught on! Recently, I caught wind that there is a short film out there in the ether: an African superhero movie, as produced by written, directed as produced by Nigerian filmmaker Nosa Igbinedion. According to Igbinedion, he made the short film in order to prove that there is a market out there for sci-fi based on African characters and storylines. Yes! The whole 12 minute film is below. Now that it’s lunch break….

The orishas I featured for my online study are as follows. If you click on the orishas tag at the end of this post, it’ll take you straight to the appropriate place. Ciao!

aganju orishababaluaye orishaErinle Orisha
esu OrishaIbeji OrishaOba Orisha
obatala Orishaogun Orishaoko orisha
olokun Orishaolorun Orishaori Orisha
orunmila Orishaosanyin Orishaosoosi Orisha
osun Orishaosumare Orishaoya Orisha
sango Orishayemoja Orisha
palm trees

not here | haiku

hey it’s udee’s phone
is it me you’re looking for
well, leave a message

another selfie | a poem

so i’m sittin right here
in this dope ride
preparing for my journey
face beat to #dagawds
lipstick on fleek
it’s bout to be a parry
but who do i see?
this really fine brotha
scoping me and my posse
i glance his way
and flash a smile
you ain’t want none this, homie!
he rolls his glass down
and starts to holla
umm, can’t he see i’m busy?
i put up my finger
just hol’ on young buck!
you gettin in the way of this pretty!
the light turns green
the music’s on blast
i know i run this city
my girls singing loud
they really turnin up
listen, we ain’t ordinary!
i rev my engine
take off into the night
leaving these basics dusty
cos we over here
in my sick sick ride
bout to take another selfie
crack of dawn
I just figured that you would want to see me again
That you would be just as electric with excitement
That you would sigh with every train stop
That every old man and pregnant woman would exasperate you
That with every turn of the car, your heart would rattle in your chest

So I waited at our usual spot, ordered your favourite coffee, even
That I assumed you would arrive, fingers flooded with flowers
That I thought we would murmur into a long embrace, as I stroke your hair
That we would stare into each other’s questioning eyes
That passersby would become envious of how tightly you gripped me

And as the sun began to dip, alongside expectation
And as voicemail pitches began to rise with concerned frustration
And as dawning pity set across my waiter’s face
And as your coffee cooled its flavour
I remembered

I remembered how many afternoons like this I have spent
That I fooled myself into thinking
That I conjured your face in the sea of grey faces
That I even tried to make this real
That I lied to myself that the train you never took

Would ever bring you again to me

palm tree

Saint Lady, a poem

she laughed in the contra-alto melancholy of Sade
even and measured in wild rhythms, her allure was the spice and honey of which dreams are made
every woman’s most primal desire, every man’s most hushed secret
she lived her life in sweeping whites and blood-stained reds
gap-toothed and dewy-skinned, she bathed her curls daily in jasmine water
her thighs were home to the most straight-backed of generals
she was the reason why wives slept uncomfortably at night
her ears the refuge of said wives by mid-morning
she taught them to tuck lavender oils behind their ears
to sip lemon-water upon waking
she was madam to no one, the community’s untouchable treasure
little children followed her in the marketplace
she danced among them with pineapple caught between her teeth
sharing what she owned with all who asked
she was never in want and never in need and never lacking and never for anyone
so when her hair grew from raven black to a foggy quiet grey
when the tight smoothness of her cheeks relaxed
when her skin started to emanate jasmine on its own accord
her male callers and female companions prepared their homes
they gathered orchids and water lilies and roses
they prepared stories and taught their unborn Cofán songs
they lined the perimeter of her mossy home with gerberas and ginger
they rubbed the fingers that comforted them nightly with coconut oil
as she laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed until their eyes lifted and danced
melancholy hushing into celebration

Cry, Baby | prose

Big girls don’t cry.
She cried at work today. Big, saltine tears that heated her cheeks and embarrassed her. She grasped at her dignity, and even it turned from her. The overwhelm of it made her stoop and here she was – bubbling, feeling, silly. Tongue treading lightly in her mouth – dry and moist and numb. The rising heat in her cheeks surprised her, the warm water unable to be dammed up any longer by lower eyelids. She became a wreck no sooner than she began the acknowledgement. But oh the embarrassment of aiming to be great and realising you are not the perfection of Mt Olympus! Her body did not shake, her fingers did not fail to clutch her Kleenex tight. She was defeated and only her brown eyes told the story; mascara failing to proof them. Her emotions betrayed her with uncompassion. What the fuck! Her apologies were prolific, her shame even greater and her tears the truest icing. So she breathed at work today. She took a breath amidst eyes the rawest red and she remembered her humanity. This was her only flipping comfort.