The scepter grows cold in the woman’s hand. Her forearm drops and the item dismantles onto the wooden floor. The panel of plywood coils up and the uniformity of the floor now needs remodeling. But all the more, she has made a statement. The pinnacle of her salvation made with one fist lifted and the other dropping the weapon that would be a protective barrier from foe to victor. She stands over him mustering the courage not to shovel the groove of steel up into his eyes for him to never be able to see the hurt from his own attrition. He’s being proctored for the very moment that made him a thug. Even now he puckers his lips upon the envelope of white skin has been plastered with a stamp of bigotry that cannot last forever. This type of act will expire and the menace of lyrical blood will accent the path of his next four years. He will trail the land that will not allow him to step backwards. He has won, so he thinks, but he cowers behind the lottery of unfinished business. The woman stands exemplary of a movement started by the mother Teresa’s and Rosa Parks’ of yesterday’s making sure that the oil for the lamp was plenty for those marching into the future. “Savage” she calls him and walks out with her boots tearing through the atrophied wood and bending it over his remnant body. She closes the door behind him with the key landing on his red tie. Her breath ascends in a gassy, visible cloud and her chest expands with the strength to move on.
School has always been a sanctuary for cranial involvement and an influx of that purpose to soften the challenge of growing up in the real world. It’s also been a location where a messenger unveils the spirit of His word in a setting where I’m already willing to listen. And much like the church, once outside, hopefully the classroom follows my verb to be a student of all facets of life.
Last Tuesday night, I went to a funeral. The better part of the valley lost a man who surrendered himself to give more than receive and we were all better for that. He never condensed my confidence over a stupid mistake and never let his pride trample his beauty to forgive. He always shook my hand and through that gesture, he affected me more than he’ll ever now know. He was a man that did for others and was recognized by an ensemble of guests who mourned on his behalf.
Our class slide show reads, “What is Cancer?” Scientifically, it makes sense, but it doesn’t make sense when it actually makes it hard for life to continue. And while the funeral can honor the man who lost a battle, the agent was foreign and unwilling to be benign in the process. It was dirty in its target, fast moving in its plan to replicate beyond the heart of his loved ones to stop it from happening.
And so that beloved man lost his life to cancer. He became brittle but love conducted beyond the evil experiment. When life looks at me, it doesn’t know me more than by the number of my cells designed by my genes; the scripture is a formula for my aging bones to find true density in what matters most. I can’t pull apart humility and try to ingrain it in my being, but I pray to replicate the good of His spirit by learning and listening to Him teach.
My heart is like lava. It’s a spiritual hot that makes evil flee, but the moment it cools, it hardens in the posterity of a permanent clause, “The End”.
It’s been in a season where I feel my heart cooling down and the hardening has burrowed my eyebrows downward towards a flicker of complaint as my eyes look for a fight.
It seemed to me that you were my birth place from as young as I can remember. But there was a past history- one that marked me a citizen of another nation- the phenotypes that registered light skin, black hair, and brown eyes. I was their’s and then I became your’s through my five senses, but never in document. Your neighbors on map were in possession of a soul that spent the early days of my family’s migration on the road as we canvassed 48 states in three months. I was in the back of the car mostly, sitting on my mom’s lap and they told me I was a quiet baby.
I grew up not knowing much and couldn’t remember if I spoke to more than two people in a day’s attempt to make it an adventure. Mark another page off the calendar. School was a pleasant upbringing- I harnessed the quilt of giving and taking there; I asked Marvin to be my best friend in kindergarten; that relationship didn’t last long. My dad helped me with my book reports. I was a translator of his anger because I couldn’t come up with a summary- he read with me and I fixed his grammar on the sheet that gave me trouble comprising sentences. I was a loud one through elementary school perhaps because there was not enough supportive voice around me.
I drew attention to middle school in Beverly Hills- still in your county but relevantly different in vibe and nurture. I remember masturbating for the first time and possibly made it an ongoing fascination because I was a boy still yet to be shipped my growth spurt. I was wild about holding girls’ hands and hoped to walk around school as part of girls’ talk. All the while I grew numb to my parents fighting at home and hated that I was so hungry what seemed like every 30 minutes. My mom never could get the pot off the stove in time- I was angry that I had to burn my tongue to eat away my starvation. I played 1-on-1 basketball with Mr. Toutant almost every day. He never could figure me out.
Life had a meaning and I didn’t know that I meant something to it.
To be continued…
When a verb is a word it loses its purpose to be.
I sit under the dormant street lights hearing the crackle of water diffuse from its source of higher concentration to the roof of my car. I know I should wake early tomorrow for work, but the seat of creativity flows through my capillaries. My fingers move and the fortuitous bounce of ideas row softly into the basket. Point after point, I smile at the scoreboard and sing the song of deliverance after a day decides to reset under sleepy eyes.
I wake up and I clench my abdomen through the cold of an unwritten morning. I slide past the door like mail coming in through a house. I sometimes hum the melody of the broken world and ride its discouragement until the hoof of my horse stops to gather its breath. It doesn’t want to move and understandably it wasn’t trained to wander past through green pastures and the plurality of ponds of water.
I often thought I could mimic the worship of a saint. I thought a preacher’s voice was my own if I amplified it loud enough. In the struggle of planning for age, it is a confounding nature to want to sit in biased conclusion that I have grown too old for the dreams of the young. I belong in a cohort of compatibility with a box yet unwrapped and prospectively want the study of opening that box to favor me.
But retrospectively, I was the case and He was the control. And when something as rare as a relationship is exposed, He became the verb for me to be.
It comes and dials worry into his soul. There’s a travel faster than the speed of light and he feels it revving up upon the four chambers of his heart. They work simultaneously to produce the action of a man who is frightened and wants to flee from the confounding pressures of the rainy sky. His mind is a basin dry from stories and laughter. Around its edge is the salty portions of unclaimed gratefulness, and a volunteering to understand that he lost someone he wanted to know a little deeper.
She sat in the marvel of the screen with intimate focus because the assignment was due. She was his type- the one unphased and the one who needed work to be done. She was an appropriate age- a student, he supposes under the conditions to become a more advanced Her. His heart beats for a reason and it speeds up when he does something that impresses upon that it’s time or else it’ll be too late.
Don’t let her walk away. There are too many terrains for the soul to forget its original birth. Weather compounds the need for love to work now or else he’ll sit in the dark and the cold will break the bones of the young one. He’ll only live once.
Politics is the saline to a structural thirst that makes my spine sit up straight- the ladder that shouldn’t get longer without us on it, but it nevertheless is the ladder that won’t be climbable if we don’t get on it. I’m trying to climb on mine and I determine that it needs to be anchored with the root of a heavenly foundation- the one that will keep me climbing because frankly, I’m on, and it hurts looking down. Perhaps reaching Heaven then, is the journey going back down and upon arrival, I’ll shake His hand with a grip that was made firm by climbing for so long, but with tears that I’m walking again on the terrain that knew me first.