We Are the Village

And we must protect it

Photo by Heather Wilson via ReShot

I live on the third floor of a building with old, young, and the in-between gathered up to call this place our home. A neighbor of mine, who lives on the first floor, has three children — all under the age of five. She has been blessed with two handsome little boys and a precocious little girl with big, bright gray-green eyes. I know all of them. I’ve watched the boys grow over the last two years and while the oldest has calmed down, the middle son is still hyperactive, escapes his mother’s grip, and makes the area in front and behind our building his hiding places.

I have seen her chase after him with the youngest bouncing gingerly on her hip and the oldest advancing toward her van, attempting to open it as if he has no patience for his younger brother’s shenanigans. I have watched her load them all into the vehicle on her own, with a lovely smile plastered across her face as I yell out, “Hey there! Y’all good?”

She always responds with, “Morning. Yes, ma’am. Have a great day.” She doesn’t ask for help, doesn’t look for it, but I am a part of this village, so I help when I see the seams tearing. She has my attention.

On a cold winter’s day, with snow falling down in thick, beautiful flakes, I was coming up the stairs leading to the front of our building to gain access to the street. My morning and afternoon walk with my dog is when I see her most. She had the youngest on her hip, had already strapped the oldest in his car seat, and was calling out to the middle son to direct his little body to where she and his siblings had been.

Undeterred and happy to dance around in the snow, running from one end of the length of our building to the other, I called to him — he ran to me. With Jernee scooped up and carefully placed in my left arm, I guided him toward his mom. He is not vocal — not by much. He utters a few words here and there but is still developing his voice in this world. His energy, though, is undeniably sound. My mother would venture to call him mischievous — not bad, but curious and willing to test the waters.


Their lives are orchestrated by her.

I used to say to myself when I saw her, “She has her hands full.” But I realized after more time looking out for all four of them when they’re outside and I am approaching — she will direct the oldest to get the youngest while she chases after the middle son, and does it all in stride.

This is a never-ending job, one she has perfected. You may read this and wonder, “Where is the father?” When they first moved in, it was her, the two boys, and her boyfriend (their father). This is a quiet space and his presence was certainly heard. Whatever their reasons, they split up, but he comes to get his children or she takes them to him like clockwork every other week.

They’re making it work.

At first, when the young man left, I noticed how hard it was for her. With only the boys to look after, she would have them up, fed, dressed, and ready to venture out for their day. As her belly began to mound, chasing after the two of them was not a task, I could tell, she wanted to endure.

As the eldest of seven, with five brothers and a younger sister, I know the exhaustion of running behind and attempting to catch toddlers. It’s not something I wanted to do much of when I was younger and I was just their sister. I cannot imagine attempting to gather the energy while with-child to corral two quick little ones to do what you need them to do.

She did it, though — day after day.

As time passed, I noticed a pattern — a design, or rather a life-plan for her as she raises her children. The oldest is now four and runs to me to say a quick “Hello” or to dote on my dog, Jernee. He is better at helping with the younger ones and has his “listening ears” on most days now. The middle son still carries on without a care in this world, but I can tell he is protective of his younger sister, who is walking now and getting into everything. She has a fear of dogs, so she waves shyly in my direction if Jernee is in tow. However, when I am alone, she races toward me to hug me at my knees.

She is instilling in her children proper manners, love, empathy, protection of one another, and endurance. This has all been orchestrated by her, and it is working. The beauty of watching its progress is not beyond me — I get to witness it daily upon my interactions with them.


This is my village, and I will protect it.

Being the unit that we are here in this building and in much of my neighborhood, we look out for each other. My neighbor, upon unloading the kids and groceries from the van one night, dropped her debit card and receipt onto the pavement leading up to our building. I spotted it that night while walking Jernee. I rapped at her door. The young man (the children’s father) answered as he was caring for them while she was away. I let him know where I found it and he gave it to her when she returned later that night.

Recently, she thought she’d dropped her keys on the ground after getting them all settled inside one night before a heavy snowfall. The next morning, with the iced-over inches of snow covering our breezeways and every inch of grass in front of our building, she stated to me, “I think I dropped my keys out here. This is going to be a mess to get through.”

Envisioning her out there trying to dig through the hardened snow with her gloves, overcoat, and body triple-layered in warm clothing, I said to her, “If you can’t find them, let me know.” I was racing to get back upstairs to start my workday, but all I could think about was her finding those keys.

That evening after work, I saw her coming toward the building and asked after the keys to which she responded, “Oh my goodness! They were in my purse the whole time!”

We laughed and I said to her, “Thank goodness, because I was going to come back down here with the shovel and we were just going to dig for them.” I have no doubt, if she could, she’d do the same for me.


The village is supposed to rise up and make sure everyone has what they need. It is supposed to provide care, comfort, love, and discipline (whenever necessary) to ensure each of us can endure. It is not within me to stand idly by when my neighbors need help — never has been. I hope to get to see two more years of these little ones growing up before I leave this apartment complex. And until then, this is my village — I must protect it.

Shouldn’t we all do the same?


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.

Your Poem From Me Request #1

The Giving Cause: Aging in a World of Uncertainties

Photo by Marco Del Pozzo via ReShot

As each year piles on–
Clinging to my skin,
Barnacles of the modern world,
I find myself staring death
In his face.

I walk into another year,
Carrying my past–lugging
Around decades of old
Habits and eons of new pain.
I fear the embrace of
The inevitable–the end of change.

I am supposed to move forward
In life, grateful for breath;
Thankful for air, but the demons
Overcrowd my thoughts, and the
Finality of life’s end is my
Own personal horror.

I open my mouth to scream–
Nothing escapes.
This is where I live now–
On the corner of the aged,
And up the street
From the dying.

I knock on the door of
The present, and no one
Answers.


Thank you to Matt Snyder for allowing me to gift a poem to you. It has been my pleasure.

To learn more about the Your Poem From Me: The Giving Cause, click here. Let me write a poem for you. I can give it life.

Mindful Musings

ACG Newsletter #1

Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash 

Hello, beautiful people! It is a new month and a lovely new day and we are moving right along here in ACG. There have been a few changes and will be a few more throughout the year. I will share a couple of those changes with you at the end of this letter. Thus far, the year has been great here for our small community. We are nearing the 1200th mark for followers and we are also making our way extremely close to the 200th mark for contributors. A Cornered Gurl is growing and this pleases me greatly. I wish I could express how happy it makes me to be able to work with an amazing group of people, grow with them, and be able to encourage one another regarding our craft.

We kicked off 2020 the right way with an awesome challenge focused on an invigorating and solid poetic form: the nonet with a theme of “Nonet the Night.” The challenge took off swimmingly and I was happy to see so many people try their hand at it. Here are a few of those entries:

Mary Keating

Rachel B. Baxter

Marta Mozolewska

You can view the rest of those responses by checking out our “Community” tab.

We just ended the first Young Minds of Medium challenge for this year and as always, the young ones brought that fire, people. This past month’s theme was What Is Your Favorite Song & How Does It Inspire You? Music is an instant connector — it pulls us together more than it tears us apart. Every submission met the requirements and they were a joy to review and publish so as to share with all of you. Here are a few of those responses:

Niharika Gursahani

Nour

Ameaka

Anto Rin

You can read the rest of those responses by clicking on our “Young Minds” tab.

Due to ACG’s steady growth, I find it important to work on ways to be able to get our contributors’ voices out to the masses. Yes, Medium is one avenue and I also mention and feature writers via the ACG website, however, social media is a demanding force and many people flock to one of the big three in order to get their gossip, good reads, and fellowship fix. I have selected Twitter for A Cornered Gurl and we are now heading out of the dark ages and into a source of ever-evolving light. You can connect with and follow us at A Cornered Gurl. We hope to see you there.

ACG has been up and running as an all-inclusive writer publication for one year and almost two months and nearly up for three years prior to making that change on January 5, 2019. With this in mind, I have decided to make it a point to publish a literary magazine each Spring which will be comprised of ten-fourteen selected writers’ work, included a few of my own as well. This Spring’s issue is nearly done and is entitled: QUINTESSENCE: A Literary Magazine of Featured Medium Writers. I look forward to sharing its essence with each of you when it is complete.

A Cornered Gurl has welcomed a few new contributors this past month and at the beginning of this year. Please help me give them a proper welcome: Simran Sawant, Abdullah I. Shawaf, Sylph Hemery, and nan fischer.

And now, a little music, yes? Cameo: Back and Forth

As always, thank you for your mind, time, and eyes. We appreciate your presence here.

Peace and blessings.

A Cornered Gurl Guidelines.

SMITTEN: Available Now!

Me, holding my copies of SMITTEN.

SMITTEN: This Is What Love Looks Like . . . is available now via all major book outlets. I purchased my copies via Amazon.

With entries from 120 contributors, this anthology brings to life what love really looks like for women who love women. Two of my poems: “Embrace” and “The Unbelievable” are amongst the many shared here.

Get your copy and help support this masterpiece that will not only shed a little light on the LGBTQ community, but give you an idea of what it feels like to truly love/admire/care for/and honor a woman while being a woman.

Peace and blessings, beautiful people.

Authors of SMITTEN Speak: Tremaine Loadholt

Be on the lookout for this amazing anthology including work by women who love women; we are SMITTEN.

Thank you to the Editors and managing writers, and anyone else who has helped to create this masterpiece and bringing it to life/light.

TheFeatheredSleep

Tre L. Loadholt is a Writer/Editor located in Southeast US. She has been published in several literary journals, anthologies, and print magazines. She has also published three poetry books; Pinwheels and Hula Hoops, Dusting for Fingerprints, and A New Kind of Down. Her work can be found at https://acorneredgurl.com and https://medium.com/a-cornered-gurl.

How does poetry and identifying as lesbian/bi come together for you?  

Poetry and being a bisexual woman come together for me just as a melody would to poignant lyrics for the soul. One does not exist without the other. Poetry is my love language–in most cases, it’s how I express myself. Thus, being poetical while being bisexual is a constant in-sync process, it is a truth that will more than likely be a lifelong fact.

How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing?

I do not like to use the…

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