Many times we begin and start, a new day, a school year, time again. Many times, we were bitter, sad, joyful, glad again. That this time, this year, this day, ends, just as we prayed it would, is the bittersweet, joyful thing, I hope greets you this time, this year, this day again and again.

My heart still bleeds for Uvalde. But I am thankful for today, this time. Hug those you love.

I have been numb since last night. Trying to make sense of unrecognizable children, parents giving DNA samples, the horror within grounds that are supposed to teach and not kill will keep you numb. I am still at loss of words even as I try to make sense of what happened in Uvalde with words. We were just here last week. Just here asking anyone who come to this space if for a second to keep Buffalo in mind. Keep track of empty promises. Keep even how we collectively make sense of lives gone so soon. To think some of the graves are not even cold, keeps me numb. Some of the dead from before warned us about this failed state we call ‘We the people.’ This isn’t is about we or the people or the rights you think belong to you because you live in this moment, this phase we call life. I have seen chickens die, in thoughtful ways than the children at Uvalde. I have seen birds live and die with dignity than 4th graders and their teachers in Uvalde. I have even seen ants be treated with compassion, worms too with love, than children who lived and died as children, our greatest treasures because of our failure to act.

This is more than a fight for life. Guns and people are killing people with guns. The sum of us had it right. We have been socialized into becoming a society where shooting in schools is normal. The same goes for shooting at the grocery store, shooting at a church, shooting at a movie, even shooting of our neighbors simply because we have the right to bear arms. Our systems of rights, the one focused on guns, is the beginning of our downfall as a people. We can never be for and with people, if we believe in rights to kill people. That’s what we do everyday when we do nothing.

We did nothing ten years ago after Sandy Hook. We did nothing 10 days ago after Buffalo. We cannot in good faith do nothing after Uvalde. 19 parents will go home once again without a chance to say goodnight to their children. So pardon me, but I am angry that we live like this. Angry because I live in a system that continues to allow this to happen. Angry because we are traumatized and retraumatized everything another shooting occurs. Angry because empty promises are not enough. Angry for our children who deserve the right to be children and not face school drills focused on mass shooting. Angry as a mother, a teacher, a human being for the way we continue to treat human lives worse than dogs. We cannot shut up and accept this. We have a right to fight for we the people. Otherwise the next shooter will come along. He or she will bear those guns again and we will find ourselves here once more, numb to what we keep allowing. Uvalde could have been prevented. Buffalo too and certainly Sandy Hook.

I want to breathe free and live and not die by guns that I do not bear. I deserve that right too. To not bear arms, and still live. We have ignored this hidden wound for so long that maggots are now coming out of the carnage we brought on ourselves. The pain inflicted by guns is real. Ask any of the parents in Uvalde right now. Ask anyone in Buffalo. Ask those in Sandy Hook. Ask those in Columbine too. Truth and healing is what we all need right now. And the truth is, we are a failed state if we continue to live by guns. Otherwise what kind of country allows children to die in a senseless way. What kind of country allows people to die at grocery stores too. We the people or we the guns!

What I know is, guns are bad. They have always been bad. Always been the downfall of life. And the time to act against guns is now. Enough is beyond enough. My heart is broken. It palpitates everything another shooting occurs like today. The realization that nowhere is safe sinks deeply in my soul. Not when schools are not safe. 21 dead again. Not when grocery stores are not safe. 10 dead before. Not when churches are not safe. 9 dead before that. Nowhere is safe when guns remain all we know, all we cling too, like Jesus dying on a cross. Even he lived and died not by guns, not by senseless death, and certainly not by those who cling to inhumanity for humanity sake. This isn’t a gathering of words for the sake of words. No words will do when people continue to meet their graves in senseless ways. Just brace for impact or when these guns come knocking at your door. Even your prayers won’t do. Unless we collectively act against guns.

Memories like from this weekend, sink deeply into my soul. Good people are rare. Good food too. A belly full of laughter from boys cheerful with their joy, is forever etched in my memory. Black boy joy surrounded by grey elephants is truly magical. I am walking into this week full of thanks for being among people so good, boys so delightful too, for whom memories of doing together will forever linger.

‘So there are no models. Create from scratch. Checkout everything for health or disease. Know then that revolution begins with self, in the self. You make false starts because of the models you use. Ask questions instead. Everything is incompatible with those that believe in we the people. Reject the opinions of those who love to explain us to us. Reject all notions of roles not committed to us. We got time. Mouth won’t do it. Neither would haste, urgency or stretch-out-now insistence. Not when a revolution, so needed for us is here.’

That’s what Toni Bambara said in Black Woman. It’s my mood for the rest of the year.

I write at a crossroads of a life that has known pain, felt anger, cherished joy, and carried the idea of sustaining anything as urgent. I write too from a place of commitment, a mind that has known what it means to transform and be transformed, all while identifying and defining what life means to me. I have never taken the path others take. I have never done things only to regret them later. I have lived as though life could end tomorrow. I have dreamed as if dreaming was air, living, lying awake, on a bed of green grass as soft blue skies and clouds glide by. I have done these things and still I choose to write. These days, writing is all I know. So I write for connections between and among women, the most feared, the least understood, those tender, sharp and unafraid with eyes startling and ready to transform. Truly I write for the most transformative being that ever existed. I write so she lives, whether as a woman by herself, a sister, a friend or a mother. Today I write to myself and all the women we celebrate.

Happy Mother’s Day

Four times, have I known pain. Child birth would bring pain so unbearable that you scream from the deepest depths of your soul. Four times have I screamed. To hold lives so complex, with smiles all for me. The piercing cries of restless children that test all you know. Especially at night, in middle of a deep sleep that forces you to stroll aimlessly for their needs. I always smile when today comes along. Not for the love I see in my girl and my boys, my better me, but for the journey we get to take. Nothing sets me so high than a reminder of all we have been through. The journey we still take through tears and dreary darkness. Those to Andy’s frozen custard for pleasure in a cup and spoon. These things, this rush of beauty and pain are the heart of motherhood for me. We knew there would be pain. The beginning was full of it. We knew pain will continue. Today still has some, lurking to uncover unknown and hidden spaces. We have tried to be strong. Tried to be our best selves so they too stand and be strong on their own. We have laughed and we have cried. We have laid down in mourning for an angel, and a bird we named Sky. They know good things never last. Like blue birds named Sky. They know too that we are in this moment together. A unique group we are. With birds and lilly magnolias. Grass so green, skies so blue that all we can do is lie down and let life be. We are living together for this moment. The skies paint an everlasting blue color. We look at each other, hoping this moment lasts forever.

Rain falls from the skies to the earth. Falls down to rivers and lakes, to flowers and trees all from skies open and free. Today I am free. I stand, not afraid to be me. To see the rain that have fallen for the past 8 years, where nothing seemed to stop all in my soul. To feel like flowers do. Tulips and daffodils, Japanese Cherry and lily magnolias. Rain with soul fall over all these like water over rivers not troubled, not alone. The directions I have taken to get here. Nights full of sleeping less, and yet still full of rest. The children I had birthed through this. The love and support of a fearless crocodile of the jungle will never do, when all you know is rain. My mind wants to speak. Joy wants to flow. A little girl dreamed and lived out her wildest dreams just as she dreamed it would be. I am close to becoming my dream. Close to swinging through to the other side where dreams become reality, yet mindful that we never stop dreaming. The falling rain, gentle streams, crocodiles and flowers are all the strength, I need to begin again like when colors of a rainbow meet. To see I own even my silence, with all the blessings, with eyes still on the prize, is the rain I need to keep falling endlessly.

Art from my daughter.

My day seemed random at first. International festival. Second grade kids. Talk about being born and raised in Nigeria. Simple. Until it began. There were all sorts of questions from minds curious about places far from home. I took it all in. Mesmerized faces eager to sail from this place to one I call home. We talked about the people, the places and things they will see. We shared 6 fun facts, like did you know the green in the flag stands for natural wealth and the white for peace and unity, something they all nodded we need right now. Especially the peace, one of them noted. I smiled. We need to begin with children.

Their walls were full of letters for the week. Pictures full of reasons for how to be second graders and more. I escaped through their eyes for a moment. Moved as we sailed from this place to another. I saw their love for my home. Smiled as they imagined how we could have so many people and so many languages when all they knew was one.

I imagine this must be what they say when minds and hearts come together as one. Questions of why you are you come to mind. Love for you rush through eyes eager to meet you just as you are. Their eyes tell stories of acceptance. Minds shares words of gratitude for times spent together, learning, knowing, meeting, sailing together from this place to one I call home.

I never thought our meeting would be so important. My narrow understanding of second grade, of minds eager to see, and know people, things and places far always. I now see for myself why these eyes and minds, so breathtaking, so authentic, so open, and unfettered, these minds of second grade boys and girls, must be celebrated always. They have buried their eyes into my soul. A treasure of happiness, resides deeply now. I never thought they would leave such an impression, but this maybe the start of something revolutionary, for this woman, fearless and free.

I see that second graders are rare beings. I see they love the world as it is, beyond themselves for themselves. I see they endlessly begin, where the words you speak end. Everything about them like the world is big enough for you and I. I see too that we should all escape from our world to theirs often. Memories of our day now sink into my soul that I just may focus more, on the stories, the places, the people, all the possible range of things that would keep this going on forever. Thank you to these second graders and all the kids I met today for being so open, so unfettered, as our minds sailed together from this to that. Diversity and inclusion need not begin only with grownups. Not when children hold the key.

Someone shared this on my twitter feed today. A letter from Kurt Vonnegut, about advice with life. To him, ‘practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.’

I am in the process of becoming.

In the process too of making my soul grow.

I keep practicing poetry writing.

Keep telling stories too.

Not for any fame or fortune, but to live in the moment.

As all the words within me linger on till eternity.

Kurt Vonnegut also noted that we should practice a six-line poetry about anything but rhymed. The sentences above are my attempt at writing six lines. I hope you find your way of becoming

The letter below.

It’s hard to imagine what I’ll do if I ever see my son on the cross. See him nailed for doing nothing. Watch him to carry a cross for others people’s sins. Watch him choose death in the cross so they live. The sheer strength of Mary is all I keep thinking about on days I like strength with my own. Days I want to lock myself up and pretend that I am alone. Then I remember Mary. Remember her grace. Remember her solitude. Remember that she did so much more than I could ever imagine as a mother.

Whether we like it or not, Mary, like words are all we need. They are great when weak. Stand through the times like night. Invisible but belong to those open in all directions to wilderness or distant landscapes. These words I write remind me of the grace I see from shadows that fall like on days when skies are blues, trees bristle with the wind as birds sing their songs, like on the first of May. We came together to give thanks, came one by one to offer roses to Mary on this first day of May. She makes us know that we can live freely because her son carried all that was against us, straight up to the cross. I am living just as free because she loves me.

Happy first of May also know as the first of Mary, the Mother of Jesus month.
Happy Mary Month.