Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beulah, full of grace.

My aunt is light on her feet, more of a floating spirit than human. The single thing anchoring her is a dark stone medallion with the Virgin Mary, the one where she is all Chicana in a star studded robe, hands at chest-center looking like she just finished the sun salutation yoga pose. She was in the side room and appeared to me while scanning the last version of the New York times. We end up talking about working, and not working, and employment and what the procedure was like when she first left Trinidad to come here. One had to call in, and apply over the phone. "Now they want to see everything on paper" she says.

She is a number of shades lighter than I am with naturally straight hair, but has a story about 'us black people' having to find work here in the 1970s. She explains in her simple linen white shirt and loose mint green pants that on the trains, white people would not ever sit next to blacks, and she muses on how much she has seen the world change in front of her. By now her eyes are more alive than I have ever seen, but her mouth moves with a certain composure, she is fully engaged in the memory of the thing and tells me that God is leveling the world.

She says that people are intermarrying, living in the same communities together, certain animals are becoming extinct, certain animals are coming into existence, some plants are growing smaller while smaller plants are growing larger. She is explaining that an equilibrium is being established in the world. Not that I had expected  any marxist theology from the meagre bodied woman in a chemotherapy suite, but she says all these things with a collection and wisdom in her voice that I cannot doubt.

She mentions that the name 'Beddoe' that we came from was a well-known family name in Trinidad, that we were all related. She says that now it's like the name has been married out of us. We have enough girl children to show for it all. She used to paint things, beautiful things. She also wants to teach me graphology because she thinks the art is about to die. She says that God is coming soon, and floats back into the file room.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

how to spot a socouyant

                               still have dirt under your nails
                                                          from unearthing me,
                                                                     pulled me by arms from the ground,
                                                 told me bear fruit and flame,
                                    that the words will come at night,
                                                              shed her coarse skin on my limbs,
                                      how this might scald me,
                                                                 how to gut the charcoal from the wound
                                                                                             sketch the story down.
                                                              how to bed roots between stones,
                                  look how my feet are soiled now 
                         I have been walking,
             just like you taught me.
                                       branching out and growing
                                         turning leaves over trying to find you below one
                                                                               you and your stubble fingers,
                                                           their silver-black lining 
                                                                                      and the run in your feet.
She will visit you one night.
 burn her language into your chest
 bitemark my name onto your skin,
the forest does not forget the footsteps men have buried in it
you will remember,
but by then I will be ground and gone.