How do I start? How do I determine if the seed came before the flower or the flower before the seed? Perhaps the question is how do I begin. Perhaps the question is why should I begin. Perhaps the question is an expansive universe full of strange suns. Perhaps questions are both seed and flower.
“Did I start in the valley?” wonders the seed. “Or are my origins more rock than soil?”
How do we start? How do we determine if our pain came before the love, or the love before the pain? Perhaps the question is: how do we begin? Perhaps the question is: why should we begin? As it stands, beginnings transition into endings, as is the natural order.
But can words, convenient as they are, truly pronounce the beginning in its purest form? But can words, generous as they are, grant us reprieve from the frustration of inaccuracy? How useful is a metaphor with a shoddy bridge connecting the comparisons? The seed or the flower, the beginning or the end, the pain or the love, the answer or the question?
Is a man a flower? Are flowers black? Can petals remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?
Is a man a seed? Are seeds mere flowers? Can men remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?
Perhaps the question is when will I begin to focus my thoughts.
Perhaps the question is a matter of faith.
But in whom?
Chapter 9-Toddler Rahk
“Mama, where is the seedgiver?
Am I not given?”
“You are. And your father
gave all he could muster
before your roots
grew too thick for my womb”
“So where is the seedgiver, mama?”
“Dear Rahk, had I an answer
perhaps I would have carried you
on dry land
rather than a sea”
Rahk contemplated her words
while studying the power “to be”
I want to read Chapters 10-11.
Who strong enough to hold the ocean?
With all of its waves and womanizing slaps.
Whose hands and arms big enough to hold it all?
Not yours, JohnJohn. You’sa itty bitty little thing.
Your arms couldn’t comfort a puddle
Never-mind a tidal wave. Never-mind a tsunami.
You’d have to be a fool. A fool, I tell you!
to even hope for arms or hands or strength that big!
Is you a fool? Is you a fool or a sage?
If you’sa sage you won’t even ‘tempt to hold a puddle.
A puddle ain’t nothin but an ocean to littler beings.
I bet oceans are puddles to God.
Oceans just so big to us because we so small.
But even still, only a fool would think he could hold it all.
Only a fool, JohnJohn, and I tell you:
I hope that fool exists ‘cause I’m tired of waving
to absence, crashing on empty shores
just to flow back in the deep of myself.
JohnJohn, please tell me you’sa fool…
finding pieces of men
protruding from the earth
in a perverse cemetery
and intended smiles,
sentient statues that sneer
in passing with living eyes
and though half buried,
erect and expecting eager hands
to delve beneath the earth
for their pedestals
For Mrs. Davis-Williams (Previously entitled “Namings”)
that an author is the sum
of his own voices
that a child’s ramblings
that a young poet’s words
are testaments to wisdom
and I trusted your reading.
You were a librarian after all.
You, with that every-womam smile.
I was an honored book
uncertain of my pages.
Yet to trust the voices
narrating my story.
As I read adolescent poems
You read me.
Professed that an author is the sum
of his own voices.
I trusted your reading.
You were a librarian after all.
I, an honored book
yet to turn his own pages.
Yet to hear the voices
possessing my stories
Told me Angelou
was my mother
as I recited stories
that were not yet my own
You, with that every-woman smile,
read a collection of namings
Thank you for reading. I enjoy the revision process but it is also infuriating sometimes. Please help me out by commenting with the title of the poem you like the most. Thanks!
before the softness
of her petals
bouqueted her thoughts
Before her nature tamed suns
Before her pistil
pollenated a need to bloom
After a lover proclaimed,
on the final tug: “I love you not”
She hand washes towels and folds them tenderly, uses the most delicate detergents. Dries them in the breeze or in her lap, whichever’s warmest.
She cleans the dishes, scrubs the stove, vacuums the carpet, she folds the towels.
Her mother always said a wife is only as good as her ability to keep a home. Her ability to organize and fold. Her ability to nurture and nature and take care.
Her mother always told her that good wives don’t believe in divorce. That what God joined together, let no man.
And she’d always black out after that…she blacks out a lot nowadays. Since her vows. Let no man–
Til death, her mother said, and she died often–
When his mistress left him when his boss docked his pay when the white towels boasted brown stains.
So she makes sure to wash clothes, to fold the towels after scrubbing away the stains, after soaking her body in Epsom salts.
Her mother always told her a decent wife is only as good as her housework and a husband, decent or not, is only as good as his whims.