Let’s fly above our possibilities, Lucille Clifton once said to my spirit, to which I responded, not just my possibilities, but how about flying above our abilities. Above my ambitions. Above their admissions. Above any ammunitions. And above their assumptions.

Then the spirit moved me and said you are onto something, keep flying above your possibilities.

To which I added, I will and I will fly even above any cancellations. Above any circulation. Above any clarification and above any coercion. I will fly above my cognition. Above any colonization. Above any condition above any competition, and above any confrontation. Then I will fly above their coalitions. Above their confusion. Above their connections. Above any constitution. Above any declaration. Above any deduction. Above any definitions. Even above any deliberations.

Lucille gently whispered, keep flying, mere mortals can’t keep up.

They shouldn’t because I will fly above their domination. Above their emotions. Above anything they envision. Above their expectations. Above their explanations. I am so prepared to fly above any federation. Above any fiction. Above any fixation. Above any friction. Above any generalizations. Above any generation too.

I am ready to fly above their globalizations. Above their glorification. Above their hallucinations. Above their hesitations. I am ready to fly above their humiliation too. Above their idolizations. Above their illusions. Above their imaginations. I am ready to go above their inaction. Above their inattention. Above their inconsiderations. Above their intentions. Above their interventions. Above their intimidations. Above their lamentations. Above their legions.

I am ready to fly above even their litigations. I mean I am ready to go above their malfunction. Above their manipulation. Above their marginalization. Above any micro aggressions. Above their misrepresentation.

Let them hear you, Lucille, shouted now. Show off your possibilities now.

I will and I will soar above any negation. Above any notion, tied to my oblivion. I will soar above any obligation. Above any opinion. Above any oppression. From above any opposition. Above their oration. Even above their organizations and above their overreactions.

I will soar above any perceptions you have. Above any permission you need. Above any petition to rise above my even my own positions. I will soar above any qualification. Above any questions. Above any rationalization of when I soared above your recognition.

Lucile said only high is high enough, keep flying.

I will and I will soar above any rebellion. Above any reflection of why I choose to rise above any restrictions. I will rise above rejections. Above revelations. Above any situation. Above their satisfaction. Above any speculations. Above their succession.

I will also soar above any summation. Above any tension. Above any tradition. Above any transformation. Above any translation of why I am above your transfixion.

For Lucille, I will fly above any underestimation to of when I flew above possibilities. Above any under representation too of why I flew above your undervaluation.

I will fly above any vilification. Above an vindication. Above any violation. Above any visualizations. Even above their vocations.

Now I am flying above their vision. Life is grand above their vision. I am soaring above their vision’s vision. Above my vision’s vision. Above any vision of what it means to fly above possibilities when impossible is above every vision.

P.s: This was a fun keep to write, to fly above possibilities and I love the way Lucille Clifton spoke to my spirit. Keep this one. It’s truly special. Lucille would be happy.

Lucile Clifton once shared, how our lives are a circular stair. It keeps turning through time. To know why, we circle the world and back, one year after the other, is to know light.

I am flooded by the brilliance of light. A majestic ray, that blooms, past the very speed of itself. The very speed of light. Something inside is open, and as present as the very air we breath. Something inside is on fire, it’s flames engulfing this air, I breathe. To know light, is to turn in circles. A never ending spiral of circles, that keeps turning and turning till no end. A spiral of light, that keeps shining and shining with no end. The reason I speak of light, is for you to see what happens when eyes are wide open. Depths too, are wide open. Brilliance is pouring in. Light is pouring out. I am becoming my wildest dreams. Seeing all this illumination within. Makes me look to the mountains above. The one who made heaven and earth. Helps me rise to a light above. I am like an eagle that soars, like an eagle that soars to the skies, an eagle that soars with words to the skies. And light is leading me all the way.

Everything ceases the moment you discover Langston Hughes. Jacqueline Woodson shared this in her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. I have been dreaming and Langston Hughes is my keeper. He helps you become intentional with words. To him they matter and can be fire within, setting a world ablaze when used with precision. He was skillful at this, hence why I keep dreaming, of words, of joy, of timeless things I can do, because I dared to dream. ‘Hold on to your dream,’ he once wrote, ‘for if they die, life becomes like a broken-winged bird, unable to fly.’ I am holding on to them and because of Mr Hughes, I am prepared to fly. See my take on his powerful poem ‘Dreams.’

Let your dreams be like the glowing moon. Impossible to reach, but still, hold on to your dreams.

Let your journey be as golden like sunsets at dawn. Impossible to describe, your journey full of gold.

Let your joy be like countless circles of light. Impossible to count, your circles full of joy.

Let your questions be as endless like rivers without end. Impossible to debate, your questions that flow.

Let your voice be loud for justice and peace. Impossible to silence, your voice so loud.

Let your soul be full of grace. Impossible to break, a graceful soul like you.

‘Bear in mind, that death is a drum,’ notes Langston Hughes in his poetry entitled ‘Drum.’ To him, it beats forever, until we answer it’s call. The call is not for the dead, but those living. Death is a drum calling those living to come. I can hear it’s pulsating beat. It thuds louder on days like today. Emotions are high. Hearts are broken. Everything seems surreal. As the drum keeps beating. She lies in state. We look in a daze. This is truly not a dream. And the drum keeps beating. Mama is crying. No mother should bear this loss. Still the drum keeps beating. We feel helpless. Hopeless too. For a life gone so soon. Yet the drum keeps beating. Death is truly a drum. Calling those living to come. Come as you are. For life itself is nothing, nowhere. Cancer too, may have won this round. As the drum keeps beating. We look for signals. There is none. So we watch. As they start to lower her down. The drum beats louder now. We watch till the last call. The last sands fall. As we all heed the call. Of a drum that keeps beating. We are breathless. Speechless too. There is no air. All seems lost, even time, and a day. Still, the drum keeps beating. We beat Angie’s drum, louder today, keeping Langston in mind. Beating this drum forever. As we too now bear in mind, that death is indeed a drum.

This post is a short one. I had to support because she captivated my attention that fine January 20th day. Amanda Gorman and her poetry, her aura, her words, spoken so effortlessly, so eloquently, made me long for days and times where minds are free and words are like opium for the soul. Fierce and free is the message she gave to me that day, as a path towards climbing my own hills. One that I know I would surely emerge victorious because history has it’s eyes on me. Keep remembering the hill we climb and get your own copy of this inaugural poem for the country if you can. You will be supporting a bright young woman who is truly on her way to author a new chapter of what it means to be young, gifted and black, fierce but truly free.

I couldn’t sleep. Reimagining innovative spaces for engagement for minority youth kept me up. The past week, we hit a different space with my daughter. It’s that space every parent dreads but know it’s inevitable. The friendship zone. I remember being in this space when I first moved to the US and kids can be tough to themselves and each other for no reason other than coming from a place of hurt. And when hurt meets light, I tell her all the time, it cannot be hidden. They will try, but you are light. And for her and other black children, my thoughts kept me up. Future orientation matters according to research, alongside religiosity and of course parental support. But if we are to truly bring change, then children like my daughter need to live out this quote often attributed to Chinua Achebe: ‘Until the lions write their own history, the tale of the hunt will only glorify the hunter.’ For my daughter, and other black children, I am prepared to carve out spaces for lions.

The thought of doing something provocative, innovative, for black youth, minority youth, kept me up. And reading too. What if all children, black ones in particular knew they were light, not some days but all the time? What if I created something that could mirror my love for this light, maybe as storytelling or even poetry into positive health outcomes for young people’s lives. I want to keep this here so my brain can start imagining. We don’t do enough dreaming, enough understanding of ways kids themselves can be light? So what if we don’t speak about the problems, but about solutions. What if we give lions the opportunity to begin to claim their rightful place in history and tell their stories their way? What if we let black youth rise up and live up to their highest potentials? Rise up and be the light they were destined to be. The odds against black lives are enormous. The research on the negative effects too are overwhelming. Reading through existing literature yesterday kept me up. And enough is enough. I’m hungry and ready for a new generation of research that speaks to children’s light, speaks to their voice, speaks to their bravery and resilience despite all the hurdles they face. If we are going to intervene, so that my children and your children live in Martin Luther King’s dream, not a perfect utopia, but one full of light, then I’m all in. So I ask what will it take for us to create a platform for brave voices. One laced in the past, but for the future. One standing on the shoulders of the greatest giants, Morrison, Achebe, Lorde, and Angelou or my dear friend Ritamae. One that builds on Amanda Gorman’s light, if only we are brave enough to see it. I am. And for black youth, I am prepared to climb these hills so you know that you are light, you are loved, you are blessed and we are rooting for you. Keep being light. Be brave too and don’t stay hidden.

I was looking through my photos and these images came up. They inspired today’s post.

Ethereally lost in the world of words, Pinke Gordon Lane was a poet’s poet. She once said, her ideas, her reality, filled her with a drunken desire. I am learning about this desire with writing. Pinke was a master at writing poetry her way. She had a way with words that could make you feel drunk. She also wrote for herself, the kind of poetry she wanted to hear herself. Take for example one of her poem’s entitled ‘A quiet poem’ where she spoke of things often not quiet among blacks people, like pain. But rather than delving deeply into the pain, Pinke used words instead, like a soothing balm, to quiet the mind, the origin of pain. But it’s her poem, ‘To a woman poet I know,’ that I want to share to you all in praise of International Woman’s Day.

Pinke Gordon Lane

I deliberately choose to write my blog now, not because I didn’t have anything to say like the cliched Happy Woman’s Day, but because I wanted my words to move me as well. I am drawn to Pinke and her words because she first wrote for herself, the poem, or in my case, the stories, I have always wanted to read. If only more black women scholars wrote this book and I was given opportunities to understand as only we sisters know to speak, what to do when the devil knocked at my door. That my mind would wander is what Pinke’s poem states. It would wander but fall into it and wait for the truth. That my voice would not save me, is another thing Pinke stated. That I maybe lost, standing on the edge, even surrounded by terrible darkness as we help ourselves to make sense of where we find ourselves in academia. A space in need of light was the gift she offered. That and the need to dispel any personal and private hell black, lovely and lost women may be experiencing. Even when our voice cries our, with the silent air, dissolving us, our essence, our being, Pinke reminded me that my beauty and strength, my very existence, were all destined from the begin. She may have been writing to a woman poet. But Pinke was speaking to my soul. Keep knowing the beauty and strength of you. Pinke would want that.

He cannot find his tape. We awakened to tears. He wants to fix something. A book in pieces, he says, between tears. But he cannot find his tape. So he cries. He starts his morning some days like this, crying. Today it’s for a tape. Other days a piece of crayon or a book, even a favorite toy. Little obsessions like this can lead to a day full of meltdowns. All his mind knows is that something is missing. Like a train out of its tracks. Everything stops. No amount of comforting even pleading can reset his mind back to its track until that thing is found. We begin today with a tape. It’s only 6am. But such is the life of a kid on the spectrum.

That we have been helping him get by, past the tapes, past the obsessions, past his tears, past his inability to stop them, is no small task too. We acknowledge. He cries. We give hugs to quiet the noise, he cries some more. We are stern, unyielding. Still he cries. His brain and mind is in control. So we look for the thing preoccupying his mind. He cries further. The tears are strong, unmanageable at times. Some may see cries for attention. Three people are looking for the tape. He knows we care. He sees it in our eyes. He mutters in between the tears, with his hands on his head, a desire to stop the tears, to quiet the inner noise, his brain seems to relish. To know him, his frustrations, his obsessions, his tears, even his inability to stop them, is to know love..

Ritamae Hyde, a Belizean poet wrote a poem about a Mother’s love. In it she shared how a mother’s love cannot be confined to beautiful words or abstract expressions. But her love is and remains one of the purest form of human expressions to be felt on this earth. This love she writes about so eloquently portrays what lies silent, under, between, hidden, beneath, and invisible for mothers, and other mothers who mother a child on the spectrum. With torn and crying hearts, we look for tapes. Amidst a desire to quell his inner noise, our insecurities, we turn the room upside down. We hold, we hug, we plead, we pray, still the brain wins. We hide our tears, our crying hearts wishes to spill. Only thing left then, since we have been here before, in times of labor, in time of unbearable pain, is the purest form of expression, one we felt in the beginning, one we still feel even in this moment, is love.

A mother’s love by Ritamae Hyde.

Through the tears, we love. Through the missing tapes or crayons or books, we love. Through the inability to stop, we love. That is the purest form of expression Ritamae writes about, one we want to share that all children on the spectrum need. Whether in the beginning or the end of a meltdown, for a missing tape or anything else, give love as only you can. Keep this mother’s love for children on the spectrum.

From her book of poetry ‘Mahogany Whispers.’

‘For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it. ‘ These words by Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet from her poem, ‘The hills we climb’ was a delight to hear during yesterday’s inauguration. Amanda herself was simply mesmerizing. She dazzled us with words and performance that was not only divine but truly reflected the best in being a poet. From the beginning these words ‘When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?,’ made me realize how lucky future generations will feel to hear the gift of words from Amanda. She is sterling, significant for our times and a bright ray of hope for a future full of impediments. In an interview with CNN, she noted that when she gets nervous during her recitals, she says these words to herself ‘I am the daughter of black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chain and changed the world. They call me.’ Imagine reciting this to oneself on a daily basis and when nervous. I am and remain in awe of her gift that all I can say is keep Amanda Gorman in mind. She is truly one to watch.

Amanda Gorman

For poetry yesterday as part of homeschooling, we read the poetry of Margaret Esse Danner, especially her poem “This African Worm.’ Every week my daughter picks out a poem she likes and we spend sometime reading the poem, studying the poet, while trying to make sense of the lessons learnt from the poem. Margaret Esse Danner was a prolific poet, born in Kentucky but grew up in Chicago. She was the first African American assistant editor at Poetry magazine. Her poetry often engages African artwork and culture.

Margaret Esse Danner

Her ‘This African Worm’ resonates with ongoing struggles in our society today often faced by people everywhere. No matter where you are, the struggles are the same. Whether it’s a fight for justice or equality, whether it’s a fight to end hunger or poverty, no matter whether in Africa or North America, we all experience the same strife. Even to my daughter Lotanna, if you are a worm for now, that’s not good. We keep our heads low, as we make sense of the burden we are experiencing. We crawl and wait as Ms. Danner’s poem suggested. Until a time comes when things change, when things start to shift. Though we may crawl today, though our heads maybe low today, but there is hope in the wait. There is hope even as we take little steps or crawl like worms while making sense of our journey. That in the end, is the essence of life. That one day, one day, things will truly get better for people everywhere.

Margaret Esse Danner’s ‘This is an African Worm.’

This hope was evident in a comment shared by Margaret Esse Danner in an essay we found about her online at the University of Chicago library for a book entitled Black Poets in America in 1975-she wrote, “As for my poetry: I believe that my dharma is to prove that the Force of Good takes precedence over the force for evil in mankind. To the extent that my poetry adheres to this purpose it will endure.”

Your poetry endures today Ms. Danner and a new generation, my daughter’s generation in particular, will use your words for good. Until then, I’ll keep waiting.

Lotanna reading ‘This is an African Worm’ by Margaret Esse Danner.