Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves


in the 6th month of 2016…
June 19, 2016, 6:01 pm
Filed under: family, love

greetings.

things have once again been quiet around these parts, but I am writing and creating and living out in the world.  i didn’t want this month to end without at least one post…

I just got off the phone with mum and rev (my stepdad), the two souls primarily responsible for all of the fathering i have receive throughout the years. earlier this year I lost a father figure, so I’m feeling reflective and grateful in this moment. I thanked my parents for their hard work and I shared this poem that I wrote for rev over the phone.  it was well received. enjoy.

 

first father’s day
© 2016 by margaux delotte-bennett

I know the exact day that
you became my father

this was a big moment
because I had already known you
for years

I had lost the one who fathered me
when I was 2
not because of a physical death
but a relationship
withered and weary
eliciting tears before resting in peace
but that is another poem
for another time

I vividly remember the day you became
my father

not because
you loved our mother
and cherished our dog

you had already married
and moved in
and made our home
yours

you became my father
because when you had come to visit me with mum

that summer in DC
it was particularly hectic
another transgender woman had been murdered
those still homeless since Reagan closed the state institutions
were particularly aggressive
frighteningly hungry
and DC was it’s hot and sticky summer self

we drove by a crime scene
a man was dead and lying on the ground
I remember the echoing clack
of you automatically shutting all of the doors
swerving ever so slightly to the left
so less could be seen out of our
tightly closed windows

and I thought
oh
so this is what it means
to be the daughter
of a man



In Her Honor: ECAC and Maria Gomez
April 10, 2014, 7:22 pm
Filed under: DC life, family, women

 

MGomez group ernest quimby photo

 

I had the honor of meeting, interviewing and writing a poem about Mrs. Maria Gomez, the founder, president and CEO of Mary’s Center in DC.  To learn more about their great work, please click here.

Mrs. Gomez was being recognized by the Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECAC) for her contribution to the community during their In Her Honor awards ceremony.  Each honoree was linked with a local poet to create a tribute in her honor.  I really enjoyed writing this piece and I hope you enjoy it too!

 

In Her Honor – Maria Gomez Tribute
© 2014 by margaux delotte-bennett

The world in which we live
is sometimes broken
people finding themselves needing to flee
to save their own lives
and those of their children

and as we run
we must decide what to take along
what is worth remembering
what must be forgotten
finely balancing what is and what shall be

Maria and her mother
came to this city in flight from their native Colombia
running from those that saw
rural literacy as a subversive act
choosing mothering as a solemn declaration
that there is still hope
deciding that dreams do not need to be buried
like husbands and fathers

Maria remembers her mother working
from 6am-10pm
hours that probably mirrored her own
when Mary’s Center was founded in 1988
in the small basement clinic
where the group of health workers
committed themselves to
“saving lives and strengthening communities,
one family at a time.”

and what does that really mean in a city
fighting a blooming crack epidemic
teenage mothers carrying the results of
rape and trauma in their wombs
veterans and asylum seeker coming in droves
with PTSD, HIV and simple desires
to just feel free

it means that Maria Gomez
nurse
public health proponent
nonprofit founder
mother
wife
had no choice but to stand in her power
in the midst of the muck
like her advocate mother
and her mother before that

wise woman who knew that
being a nurse (and not a doctor)
would allow her to conquer the world
because she would have more time
opportunity
and humility
with much less debt

it means that the care Maria provided
would go beyond
bandages and charts
because for her it was not
just about “doing”
but creating a holistically healthy environment
where healthcare, education and family support
are promoted and celebrated

and not just in the housing projects she frequented as a
visiting nurse with the DC Department of Health
or in the rent controlled apartments
dark and dank with aging clients
but in a community
of ‘nosy’ neighbors
and healing addicts
chosen brothers and sisters
to replace those she never had

collectively committed to looking back
into the painful past
and wrapping the keys to success
into the hands, hearts and minds
of their children

little ones living in a capital city
a new Columbia
where adults can’t read
generations of families still live in shelters and
the poor are blamed for their destiny

sadly, some of those that made it
find it too hard to lift as they climb

but not Mrs. Maria Gomez
thankfully she chose to follow her calling
and our city is happier and healthier
because she did.

MGomez solo teri gentry photo



poem of the week: a naming poem for Naia
December 4, 2012, 10:04 am
Filed under: DC life, family

A Naming Poem for Naia‏
© 2012 by margaux delotte-bennett

 

we carry our names
like a second skin
also tinted by our ancestry
origin
kin

who we are
and may grow to be
is often molded
by this collection of letters and sounds briefly
released back into the sky
as those we love
catch our eye and call us
by our names

my hope
is that our names
help to fill up the darkened corners of at least one soul
drip like a whispered prayer
from at least two lips
fulfill the promises of at least three hearts
those of my creators and me

Baby Naia
here at this ceremony for your naming
we gather to join our visions
and our dreams
as we wait patiently to see

welcome dear little one
it is your turn
to be



poem of the week: afterbirth
August 7, 2012, 10:24 pm
Filed under: DC life, family, women

 

one of the many projects i hope to someday realize is a collections of pieces about teen pregnancy and teen parenting from my perspective as an educator and from the perspectives of the teens themselves. all it has right now is a title and some conceptual notes.

 

afterbirth: reflections on teen pregnancy

 

I chose the title afterbirth because it is: beautiful, messy, pungent, essential, necessary, nutrient rich, repulsive (to some) and enticing (to some).

and so the dream begins…

 

afterbirth
© 2012 by margaux delotte-bennett

“you ain’t got no kids?” she asks.

they always ask.
my admission gets the side eye before the
world weary look returns.
she always looks tired beyond her years.
numbly anticipating whatever may be coming next.

a daughter in kindergarten.
baby boy in diapers.
a little girl on the way.

she would look at the other girls in her hood
thinking and sometimes say
“It doesn’t have to be this way.”
but then she sleepily followed along the path
now hers
soon to be theirs too
if they continue to believe that
hope is a form of birth control.

don’t get me wrong.
she is fly.
her kids are clean and well fed.
but she is not well read
and is still unable to finish her GED,
“I just keep getting tripped up on that damn math. That’s all. That’s it.”

we sometimes sit eye to eye
and try to figure out how we got here.
black girl teacher without any kids
black girl student with, about to be, 3
it was not just my degrees that saved me.
that would be too easy.
this is something that a Mensa group may need to break down
and help us comprehend
compute
because  despite all the money and attention in the end
cycles have yet to be broken.

things that don’t need to be, are.
her government issued stroller.
her second hand clothes.
her faded tattoo of a rose
on her neck
no longer smelling so sweet.
she has had to retreat behind that numb look
just to make it through today;
to boldly face next week.



poem of the week: black history
April 24, 2012, 11:55 am
Filed under: family, self reflection

this is a piece I started in February and did not get around to finishing. there is some research I need and want to do to deepen this narrative. There was some apprehension about going to this dark place, but I have learned that we need to lean into our fears and open wide our mouths until the truth drips out.

 

black history
(c) 2012 by margaux delotte-bennett

knowing that my people’s people are from the idyllic isle of Jamaica does not erase that there is an auction block somewhere in my past

I want to know the height and depth
wood grain and color of this pedestal
used to showcase the wares that would eventually become me

broad shoulders
strong back
long and sturdy legs

how did dripping sweat and spilled breast milk mark the wood made smooth by chain clad, shuffling feet?

can wood also absorb the moans/ fear escaping throats/ eyes that narrowly avoided strangulation and hot pokers?

against my will there is an auction block in my past
Jamaicans don’t talk about at what price paradise was bought
or why I have a French and/or Spanish last name
or why my grandma’s red hair and freckles are repeated on varied faces throughout the island

I know that finally owning myself requires that my past does not define me
but forgotten or not
the wood block remembers
and still
splinters my heart



poem of the week: reaching back
July 20, 2011, 11:24 pm
Filed under: family, performance

 

i have had the honor of being commissioned to write 2 pieces in my poetic life. One for the wonderful Button Farm run by the Menare Foundation and one for it’s founder’s 2011 Fringe show. Tony is performing this Sunday and I will be in the audience. If you would like to join me, the information about the show can be found here.

the interesting thing is that this pieces pretty much wrote itself. i let it come through me, but once i started, it had a direction and tone all it’s own. Tony actually ends his play with my words. that’s kinda hot!

 

Reaching Back
© 2011 by margaux delotte-bennett

reaching back
reaching back
through blood and stories
DNA and time
holding fast to the little I know
that keeps slipping through my fingers

holding fast
walking slowly
progressive steps that lead to
seconds dripping
through cracks
fissures between the reality of
what black is and ain’t
the true essence of manhood
the roots of family trees that sometimes choke new growth
providing too much shade or
shame

lives running on parallel paths to a freedom unknown
lives swimming through the murky understanding of purpose and place
lives joined
through bloodlines
thick with red dirt
okra
washboards turned into mouthpieces for song
steeped with longing
hungry for grace

I want nothing more than to hold you
your face
your heart
your hand
my heart
my face
my hands no longer tied to where you have been
but to where
we both are going

 

 



poem of the week: soon to be titled…
June 1, 2011, 12:37 am
Filed under: family, self reflection

my herstory is just that
stories that feature her and her and her
and seldom he
the men being so free
that they often seem wholly absent
from my narrative filled with blood rich wombs
dripping with life
and possibility

there is no bashing here
just a realization
that when i try to envision my forefathers
i see holes
empty space
1-2 poignant stories in the
place of hundreds featuring
she surviving
she striving
she succeeding at raising seeds
that were positioned to excel
before they swelled into life force hungry
for more than what was in store

drip, drop, clot
blood lines running deep
she blood females wanting to jump higher
be seen
make their mark in the hearts of all
no time to stall and complain about lack

she blood males
prone to slack and contemplate
what could be
what if
taking time to sift through the stories
to find the he tinted gems
buff them up
spit, polish, shine
never mind there is only 1 or 2
diamonds are precious because
there are few

i wonder about the seed that may choose to
come through me
can this blood rich
she filled
moon guided womb
create a space for a
she blood male to truly shine?

i’m anxious to find out
but it seems i’m running out of time…