Sometimes, all I need are the small reminders in life to let me know I’m still living and grateful to be alive. Sometimes . . . this is what I love most about living–the little things.
the normal we
will never come
A plea to the United States Justice system
As an older sister, one who is significantly ahead in years, I fear for the lives of my five brothers. That fear never dies. It lingers in the pit of my belly — boiling over into a never-ending pain. I worry about them; their well-being is a constant focus of mine. I pray, without ceasing, worry, and then pray some more.
I know, as a believer, I am not supposed to worry. Once I’ve given my cares over to my Lord and Savior, those worries are not my own. But tell that to my heart. Tell that to my questioning mind. Tell that to the constant survival strategies that pop up throughout every day as I think of ways to keep them safe from afar.
Our lives are meaningless to the ones meant to protect them.
There is a long list of dangerous encounters and acts of police brutality that layers itself in and around the United States of America. We are losing brothers, sisters, and valuable members of our crumbling nation. The louder we scream in protest for change, the more we are muzzled.
I cannot watch many of the videos that have circulated, leaving us with the vivid details of some of these acts, but I can read about them. I feel a sense of incredible loss when I do.
We depend on a system that claims to act upon evidence presented and provide a favorable outcome. One that is justified. One that states those responsible for these heinous crimes will be dealt with accordingly. However, the system is beyond broken.
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity and fairness, as well as the administration of the law, taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings and citizens, the right of all people and individuals to equal protection before the law . . . — ScienceDaily
For generations, there has been no justice for Black people and people of color. 2020 will be over in four months, and the United States of America is dealing with the same issues that quelled the love for our nation back in the 1950s-1960s. We are struggling to have our voices heard. We are fighting a forever-fight and we are growing tired.
This is the same fight and we’re outnumbered.
I think of everyday occurrences, events that my brothers take part in and I start my prayer with, “Dear God: cloak them in your love. Please keep them safe in their coming and going and let them find their way home when their day is done.”
I know they’re aware their sister has been praying for them since their births, but now I pray because it feels like there is nothing more to do. We march. We organize peacefully. We shout. We speak eloquently. We fight harder. And to no avail.
We are struggling to have our voices heard. We are fighting a forever-fight and we are growing tired.
This all feels like some god-awful dream that plays on a loop, and no matter how hard I try to break free from it, I’m shackled with nowhere else to go. I am being forced to watch the demise of my people and made to fear for the Black men and women in my life.
I want to believe their lives matter just as much.
I have to. Deep down, I know there’s a priceless value to human life. I want to feel like my brothers’ lives matter just as much as their white counterparts. I want to believe that when they set out on a journey around their neighborhoods for whatever reason, they too, will get a chance to go back home . . . alive and unharmed.
Given the history of various police forces across this nation since their inception, I fear more for my brothers’ lives than the actual protection of them, and that should not be.
How many more will America maim? How many more will we see hanged from trees by the hands of their evildoers, then labeled as suicide? How many more cases will the courts treat as meaningless, pulling their weight for the killers vs. the victims? Will we ever have justice?
I want to feel like my brothers’ lives matter just as much as their white counterparts.
There have been so many tears. So many cries for help, understanding, and for our voices to be heard and still . . . there are no impactful results of which to speak.
I hope that if ever there is an encounter soon with “the law” for any of them, they will be protected and served. That there will be no immediate or long-lasting harm. That their character is assessed and the situation for which an officer has stopped them, would not end in their deaths.
I have one plea, please let my brothers live.
She’s married to the idea of loss.
I sit with my tongue waiting to savor
the depth of her beauty.
I will pay for a good thing,
just like the $0.25 most fast food
restaurants charge for extra sauce.
They know we’ll want more.
Supply and demand . . .
Our culture thrives on greed
licking the last bits of this and that
for as long as we can.
We’re motivated by the sound of
our sins — how loud can we be
in the face of God as we mock him?
Boisterous, manipulative Homo sapiens.
We think we know everything there
is to know about life
and we know nothing at all.
The curtain falls behind us.
We hide under the covers
shifting from one form to the next.
I’ll be her grapevine in the middle
of a dirt road,
rumors spreading like wildfire.
She will come to me
before I ask after her.
That’s her way.
She appears when I disappear.
Punctual but untimely . . .
I have gathered all my confessions
for the pastor to review.
On his pulpit, he’ll stand
and applaud me for my efforts.
She’ll take pictures.
Memories of my coming out.
I will tell her my life
isn’t up for sale but if she’s
humane, I’m willing to let
her spend time on me.
But she’s married to the idea of loss . . .
And I’m already gone.
Originally published via Medium.
Firstly, I would be amiss if I did not state how honored I was to be asked to review this wondrous work by Devika Mathur. From what I have come to know of the writer, she is steadfast in her talent, dives into the raw and gritty surfaces of her feelings, and has no trouble sharing them with the world. With a style not akin to many writers I have read, Devika expresses herself with poetically sound language and a definite strength in her prose.
The aptly titled debut book, Crimson Skins, begins with “Olive Skin” which is a surefire opener, with power-packed phrases such as “My mother has a concave slippery mouth, untouchable with the slick tunes of time” and “She stitches her concrete bun as a belt of Ganges.”
The first section of poetry gets even better as the writer continues to deeply express herself using a style I like to call “raw surrealism.” “A fixation” is a good example of this. Two lines I found myself reading multiple times because I loved them that much are: “I have seen the postcards of vintage ink our lotus bodies sinking like air” and “You step on to my body, peeling layers of SCARS.” She is no stranger to poignant line breaks and metaphorical stanzas. Many of her poems, from what I have learned, are meant to be absorbed slowly–savored. It would not be wise to rush through them. And really, why would you want to?
“A swan of longing” is another favorite poem of mine. Devika uses a few nature images in this piece, however, the raw and gritty feel is still alive. “Climb up my knuckles, rest on the mount of flaky skin” says so much while not using many words. It’s succinct and compact yet still sends a punch straight to the gut. Another line that held my attention is, “Sew and move up. Climb to my cheekbones, now”–the imagery is intense and active. Reading it took me to another place, one where I would not mind venturing to more often.
Crimson Skins has a variety of work any reader will enjoy. The book isn’t basic and will be able to go the extra mile for years to come. I will be so bold as to say many of the pieces featured in it has the staying power of words by a few greats such as Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Virginia Woolf. It ends just as it began, with an intense piece of writing showcasing the writer’s talent.
“The art of silence” is placed exactly where it needs to be–the best for last. “Quietness, comes to me like sex, wild hum in the lost arid air” caught me off guard and I doubled-back to make sure I read the opening line correctly. I did and it is perfect in every way. The ending lines are as follows: “Cities often collapse while searching another one, and here is my tombstone, polished gold grave, beneath twigs of moth.” I read those lines and I know what poetry is. I feel what poetry is. I will remember what poetry is.
Crimson Skins comes as no shocker to me with its high caliber of writing and a plethora of poems and prose to choose from on which to connect. Devika Mathur shows that she is no novice to the world of writing. I look forward to its debut in June of 2020 and will be one of the first to purchase my copy. If you are a lover of poetry and writing that seeps into your skin and rattles your bones, then you should too.
I will be purchasing the Kindle version before the weekend is out, however, I also am going to purchase the paperback version when it is available too. I had the grand opportunity of diving into this work of art prior to its publication and I assure you, it’s worth every accolade it will amass within the first few weeks. Let’s support a fellow WordPress writer, shall we?