A son found his mother, slumped on the floor one night, stiff, unresponsive. He picked her up, thinking she slipped and fell, maybe from a heat stroke, a stressful day, and laid her gently on her bed. Not before he put a cool towel on her forehead and kissed her cheeks as he bade her good night.

The next morning, the son went to check on his mom. He found her just as he laid her, stiff, unresponsive, only this time, life became more urgent. Not his, but for a mother who lived and slumped, as if life never meant anything, as if all it seeks is to leave you stiff, and unresponsive too.

Stroke by stroke, each hour is a gift. Piercing through life, each moment fragile. Now son buries a mother, he first saw stiff, unresponsive. A mother departs, not as she came or lived, despite giving life to sons and daughters who still live.

I am wise enough to see that this mother could be anyone who forgets first to live. So with each passing day, I beg mothers anywhere, do what makes you smile. Cherish sunsets and long walks alone. Be friends with friends who make life glorious till the last call on a Friday evening. Laugh through ice creams and daffodils. Kiss foreheads of little ones and big ones you love. Live so life never finds you stiff and unresponsive.

Lucille Clifton always had the best images of black mothers. This is one of hers I love.

Love is always present, always with us. I see it clearly in Spring. Whenever Spring comes around, my mind and heart open up. Everything about this season pushes me to live my life to the fullest. To live in the moment too. And trees call me. With every way they sway, they move me. Naked or flourishing, they seduce me. With each falling leaves, they challenge me. Each falling branch, they guide me. And each root, uprooted, connect me back to the heart of the matter, my roots. We are still here, standing because love calls, we answer.

And when I speak of love, I speak of you. I speak of how you emptied yourself in me, one fine Friday evening and nine months later, we birthed a queen so powerful like the amazons of Dahomey, Queens of Nimo.

I speak of our boys, all three of them with beauty so numberless, wisdom so endless, that it can only be God.

When I speak of love, I hear stories of life along a place where crocodiles roams free, you a little boy, roaming free, yet trapped in a world that would rather silence you with brute force. I speak too of the ways you sailed through that life to this. Sailed through joy, sailed through sorrow, and still survived, connected to a higher glory.

See your love, is like an amazing grace, one that found my soul when I was so lost. Your love, is central to my flow, central to all I breakthrough to find my soul, like moments where I fall to the ground with my face to the ground. And when I stand, even though I tremble, your love is there, holding me steady, like a rock.

Your love is kindness, tenderness, everything in Corinthians, and eternal. Your love is like a tree by streams, with roots near water. Even on days without rain, your love keeps bearing fruits, keeps staying green, never running out, never running dry.

Your love, this love, will never be moved, not when it’s the very air I breathe. Your love, helped me birth Belles that are dreamers, boys that are artists, and theorists, and mind healers in a world where minds remain in disarray. Ours is a mesmerizing array of perfect love that drives out fear knowing that there is no fear in love. Your love, this love that birthed these words that I speak of, powerful, numberless, endless, glory, rock, eternal, this perfect love is you, God.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my forever rock, forever love, Zobam. This day means a lot as one of our earliest dates when we first met was on Valentine’s Day. He knows what to do when I weak and I the same for him that it truly can only be God. He is the foundation of that which defines us and I am forever in awe of all he is doing through you. You complete, give me something to think about always like Jill once noted. Plus you school me, move me, help me to be more than I could ever dream of. I am all that I am because you love me and I know that the plans he has for us are beyond words. Eyes have truly not seen them. Love you, my forever Chi, the one who literally was born to save me.

I am all about light. All about celebrating those who build and sustain it. Those unafraid to give a little light, to make their light shine too. Those prepared to do their part to dispel darkness, to become a voice for the voiceless, to love as love does, choosing love or fighting for justice like hell. I am all about those working to touch everyone with light. Those working to be like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We spend a lot of time praising people that are dead that we forget to celebrate all of us still alive. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally for celebrating Dr. Martin King Jr, for honoring his life’s work and legacy. I would also love to celebrate those alive working in his footsteps. We can do both.

To me, celebrating those doing his work today, neutralizes all those who would rather quote his words and not take a mile in his footsteps. I’ll rather we uplift those that are doing what is powerful, creative, within themselves and their communities to ensure justice for all in a non-threatening way. Our times on earth are limited. A friend reminded me of this recently in her musings for her blog. Why not then spend time honoring those reaching for the power within themselves and the work they choose to do, to be like Dr. King. It’s from this reservoir of goodwill for today’s heros that my daughter thought to write about a local hero in Saint Louis. Someone with a strong love ethic for everyone that calls this place home. She told me she wanted to focus on public health and she was inspired by a woman that looked like her, styled her hair like her, wore clothes like her and seemed to be speaking up all the time about ways to end the pandemic. She was inspired by the light in Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis.

The first draft of the book my daughter made.

My daughter wanted to write about her and why she thought she was walking in the footsteps of Dr. King. So we did. She did her own research. Wrote about why Mati was a public health warrior and what it takes to become a warrior. She wrote, illustrated and published her book for the project. I was floored. Not only is Mati doing the impossible however it may seem to end the pandemic in Saint Louis, that people as young as my daughter are watching and noting too how she embraces the spirit of Dr. King made me proud. We should all be like children. Sometimes it would seem as if they are truly the eyes of God for all of us here on earth. By Mati’s own actions and words and as seen from the lens of a child, she is a hero worth celebrating today. Something I imagine Dr. King Jr. would be elated that somewhere, somehow, there are people like Mati doing their part to follow a dream, however impossible it may seem. This is the legacy of Dr. King worth spreading. I am inspired.

Final draft.

Words call us, we go. A blurry thought, uncertain notes, hopelessly we stroll until meaning becomes clear, becomes us. Today we sat patiently trying to wait for words to come. It took a while. Children were crying. Hearts were weary but souls were full from a reunion a pandemic almost denied. We waited for the words to come, to express how we felt for we where thankful, full of thanks for a day that kept giving, spilling into another day that continues to give. Then the word ‘serious’ leapt across our mind. We questioned its intent, waited even for the discontent. ‘Serious’ what are we supposed to do with you. Then we remembered, being together is a serious matter. Being with family even in the middle of a pandemic is serious. The terrible stories we could have told are blunted because we did together seriously. So as we settle in, as we bask in the glory of yesterday, the majesty of today, and the hope for tomorrow, we know that together will always remain serious for us. Thanksgiving with people like us is a serious matter and we intend to keep it so.

Love is the closest thing to heaven on earth. It’s the closet thing to what we all deserve, what we all dream to have. To love, be loved, and die loved. It’s the light we all need when surrounded by so much darkness. To light, be lit, and die with light. To let our light flow as we want it before we become dust to dust, ashes to ashes, keeps me focused on love. And this love will break all we know. Our hope, our beliefs, even our faith that tomorrow will be so much better than today. Love knows all things. Surpasses all things too. But love, breaks all things. It hard to write too because to love and be loved is like a willingness to break and be broken. I am thinking particularly of my children. I know they say there will be tough days but the past two months of caring for them fully have broken me down. Tears have rolled down my eyes and I too have asked myself whatever possessed me to have so many of them. Love remains the answer. Dreaming too.

Then there is work. My fourth love that seeks to be first. It constantly breaks my heart with every twists and turns, every attempts from others to dim my light for fear it may outshine theirs. In these moments I’m realizing that even love with work is only as great as the dreams that can be realized. The more beautiful the dreams, the greater the love. We focus too much on work as defined by others that we forget to dream. Rather than waste time with those who choose to dim the dreams, dim your light, it’s best to surround yourself with those who prefer to help you realize them, help you dream. We need more dreamers at work. For what we value for work, can only flourish and shine when it’s built on love, when it’s built on dreams.

I have been dreaming lately of a new kind of work, dreaming of raising the possibilities of work built on love. Not just one that reflects what I currently do, but one willing and committed to transforming work beyond what I do, even if it breaks me down. I have also surrounded myself with dreamers, a rare group of people willing to transform all we know about the work we do. We are in love, this group and I. I expect one day that our love too will break us. Yet we choose to dream. For that is the hallmark of what it takes to love, be loved and die loved. Also what it takes to light, be lit and die lighting our paths, our own way. We choose to dream so our love, our destiny can unfold. For we know that even with this work, even with the willingness to be broken, there are fragments of paradise, fragments of light pushing through that refuse to be hidden. We are pushing through these dreams knowing we are loved. Knowing too that we maybe broken. Yet we keep dreaming. Keep dreaming with those who choose love.

P.s this keep was inspired by Ben Okri’s A Time for New Dreams, my muse these dreaming days.

I waited a day to write this. I waited to see if anyone would remember. I searched Google. The local news in Birmingham didn’t forget. It was the 58th anniversary. 58 years of flowers that could have bloomed, yet cut too soon, gone too soon. The youngest among them, Carole Denise McNair, only 11 at the time of the bombing would have turned 69 this year. Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson, all 14 at the time, would have been 72. There lives were cut short because of hate. And 58 years later, only 3 sites, 2 of them, local news sites remembered. These are times when words don’t come. Yet for the sake of history, these are times when words are all we have, since their story, their history, are cut from books that should have their stories. We still live in times of hate, where lives so fragile, are cut so soon, with so many gone too soon, that we fail to remember where the sun set to soon. Yet their memories, even their stories of flying and sailing away to soon, to a place, to love that replaced hate, something so unfamiliar to date, is the keep I choose to remember in this space. Their lives may have been short, their deaths even quick, but none of that was in vain, Toni Morrison wrote in her book ‘Remember.’ I agree. I so agree.

From Toni Morrison’s Book ‘Remember.’

They were on the floor. All three brothers, head to head. Sister was in the room with her piano teacher Ms. Neva mastering the twinkling star, wondering what it was. I looked at the boys wondering why the floor. They rolled around and around, laughing and smiling away. Shining brightly too like rare diamonds on the ground. They twisted and turned, and twisted some more, oblivious to the dirt all around them, oblivious to the sounds of my pleas too. The ground was all they wanted. Getting up from it was all I wanted.

So I tried to pull them up from the ground, one by one. They all went back to the ground after each successful attempt. I kept pulling them away, trying not to lose my temper or my mind. I was afraid of the ground, afraid they would hurt themselves, afraid that they too would hurt the ground. The carpet was light brown. They are children, boys too. I hate dirt on carpets, on lightly colored ones, or any colorless one. They love dirt, big or bright, dark or small. Any that will make you curse under your breath. It’s the reason why we have no carpets in our home. We just removed the beige ones that came with the home we bought. The carpet lasted 20 years or so prior to our ownership. With us, my boys and their love for red volcanic experiments or any colorful merriment, it lasted 2 days.

Carpets aside, we are still in a pandemic. If you believe the virus is airborne, then chances are that no child should lay on the ground. Yet, my boys adored the ground. Laid on it too, like it was the finest of cottons. After my pleas to get up fell on deaf ears, I paused and looked at them, looked at the ground too with intent. I took in the moment, took in the laughter, took in the love fully on display. No wonder they were oblivious to my pleas. In life, we will pass through dirt, we may be on the ground too with dirt. Diamonds are all the time. But still, we can shine brightly even in the middle of all the dirt around us.

My boys taught me that, rolling and laughing on the ground. They call it black boy joy. I call it love. To see it on full display among boys oblivious to the dirt around them, oblivious to the ground, oblivious to the world, is breathtakingly magical. We need more love. Here, they are oblivious to the world. Here, they have defeated the world. Here, they have rolled away the ground. Here, they choose to listen to their laughter, listen to joyful sound. Here, they returned back to dirt, return back to earth. Here, they uncovered the beginning of knowledge. Here they use it to teach the power of love, the power of being loved. Here, they love, love and love, loves them too. Here, they love being together, laughing together too, even on the ground with dirt all around. Here, they love those around them, each other and that is all that matters. I will cherish this keep.