The woman who feels everything,

knows the name of her pain,

the source of her gains

and certainly how to carry rain.

To see her too,

like the desert waiting,

or like a flower blooming,

for tomorrow praying,

but today dreaming

knowing what she feels is daring,

but grateful still for this wild blessings.

May I never forget what the moon, the stars and sun know.

From my son’s heart to mine.

The past few days, weeks and months have been full of wild blessings. Full with the knowledge too that that surest failure as Lucille Clifton, once noted, is the unattempted walk. My June and July was full of impossible journeys, one where the news of 2/3 of my attempts at walking, has landed me in space full of blessing that can only be described as wild. I still don’t know the outcomes but I wanted to take the time to thank the one who leads me. When he said that even if I pass through waters he would be with me, I believed him. Not even all the troubles I encountered overwhelmed me. Fire didn’t burn me and trials did not hurt me. It’s for this reason I say thank you for bringing me safe this far. As for tomorrow, I don’t know what it holds but for today, I agree with the moon, the stars and the sun.

Thankful for what the grass and my babies know too!

Throw away all you think about life. Throw it all. Then just live. Life is too short. I am realizing it more so these days. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Tell all those you love why you love them everyday and make them sick and sick of your love. I am in the mood of infecting my life with love and people that matter and these days, all I want you to know, is that I would do what makes me live out my best life. This is the moment I have been living for. The realization that I have been blessed for a very long time to live out my best life. The immense fragility of life, all its sweetness and sadness too, makes me what to turn up to a dark field to simply stare at the silver moon and everything bright the dark night has to offer. The raw cuts of life caught me off guards today and I have been numb and obedient to the moment.

I got news that knocked me off my feet today. I have been in a daze and just in awe of this thing called life. Poppa George has joined the ancestors club in a way that I never expected. I cried because I thought we had time. I remember when we spent time together. I’m still in a daze and it’s not even 24 hours later. I barely did anything today and if I did, lord knows my mind was everywhere and no where. George was more than a father to me. I considered him like a father. He took me under his wings when I was in college with his daugther. Took us always to the best diners and restaurant in Philly. Made me feel loved and respected and valued and showed me how a true gentleman should always treat a lady he loves and cherishes. I knew what love was in college because I saw it first from George. He was the perfect gentleman. A firefighter too who knew how to take care of all those he loved. I have been numb today because I never got to tell him just how much I loved and valued him. I never got to tell him that he was my idol too. I know he is smiling down from heaven but George just know I loved you and I know that God loved you more. We will always be there for the love of your life Ms Toni. This isn’t a goodbye. More like rest until we meet again. With all my love. Your Jules. I intend to live out life, with love, just as I know George would have wanted.

Rest In Peace George. Until we meet again.

To know love, bell hooks, once suggested that we must first surrender to it. Discover it. Choose it. Practice it. Respect it. Voice it. Listen to it. Nurture it. Admit to ourselves that we want to know love, be love, and dwell in it. I have spent the past week doing as bell hooks noted and loving every single moment I discovered love in the city of love. I have walked steps I once walked in love over 10 years ago. Touched faces and places long forgotten, all to rediscover for myself and my love, why our love matters. It’s the eve of our birth. I am still full and choosing and nurturing and listening to love with my Belle.

A mother’s love!

Pregnant, to be full of meaning, revealing, loaded, heavy, charged, abundant, hopeful, fruitful, productive, all of this and more defined the day I had today. From my dearest Ritamae to Bastille, Black Pharaoh at the Lourve to UNESCO, Onyinye to #27 rue Claude Tiller, the experience I had with Belle, took me to the core of my roots in Paris. I will never ever forget today. You have made me truly pregnant or full for tomorrow. (These words do not do enough justice to this day by the way. More to come soon).

At my first job after PhD!

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.