multi-media artist. family documentarian.
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Family

Family.

I have been documenting my family in Texas since 2008. Below are some are some recent photographs, along with a poem I wrote dedicated to my family (and potential Black American experiences, broadly).

 

In the mourning breaks

 

In the mourning breaks

I searched for blues –

forgetting tears ain’t blue

not clear as day, either

 

along the way

I came to think

a blue smoke trails black

not dark as night, either

 

our blues weren’t blue

or colored

 

are steps, sways, claps, and taps

our spirits laughing

 

In the mourning breaks

we play some

Dominoes

Prince

Spades

Maze

 

we retell some

history, only the funny

we know yellow circles shine against blue

 

we retell some

stories, about those gone

like

 

how Bertha let all the kids comb her hair

or, how she sang and danced with a broom

in the kitchen

or,

 

how Glen was our Prince impersonator

or, how he shooed us

out the kitchen

because, his cakes would fall

 

how I remember Pam cooking fried chicken and spaghetti,

because, she lived in the “country”

where everything was from scratch

a whole other type of loving

 

how Gladys used olive oil to anoint

but, in her spaghetti?

don't remember

 

In the mourning breaks

we think about some,

history, the missing

who didn’t plan on leaving

 

we forget some,

history, the painful

we prefer roses, not too red

 

we wander some,

imagination, the picture-less

like Mamie and Radie

still

spreading your seeds

fruits and flowers

some bitter some sweet

some bloomed some blooming

still

all looking for your face

                                    who gave us the cheekbones?

all listening for your voice

                                    who has your laugh?

 

In the mourning breaks

blue came

and went

drifted into a white

brown-tinged, skinned

and pinks

inching back to

deep red, blood like

thick like

 

but, the dust cleared

ashes emerged

blew

into the sky

 

waiting to return

but, mourning

ain’t

can’t

break

 

us.

(poem written in 2018 in conjunction with the exhibition, Mourning Breaks)