Family Owned

Part IV: Listening to the Birds

Mockingbird|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Buddy’s presence left a foul taste in Starla’s mouth. Who was he to come around barking orders after being missing-in-action for four days? Being the middle child has its advantages, but being the woman middle child does not. Their father left the business to them, however, he listed Buddy as the primary overseer.

Buddy, the only one out of the three of them who was the most irresponsible — if he had his way, he’d relieve himself of his duties, but he felt the old man’s spirit would toss and turn in its grave if he did. Starla had enough of his arrogance and lack of dependability.

“Who does he think he is? Those mushrooms don’t look bad at all. Like I said, I think they give the place a bit of character. What do you think, Chloe?”

Chloe is too busy focusing on the mockingbird that flew above them at that moment and settled on the roof of the B & B. She listens to it as it mocks the other birds around them — its melody much more hypnotic.

“I like a bit of character. They look good now, Auntie Star, but what’ll we do when they start turning that ungodly brown and growing bigger than normal, then breaking off into mushy pieces?”

The kid had a point. Those mushrooms did wonders for the aesthetic appeal of the lawn now, but what about later?

What comes along with their aging?

“You know what, Chloe? You’ve got a point. We better have your daddy pull them up as soon as he comes by today. I’ll schedule an additional lawn treatment with Stephan next week — see if there’s anything we can do about them.”

“I didn’t mean to just get rid of them. I only want to know, what would we do then? Remember when that cancer started eating away at mommy’s lungs and daddy couldn’t care for her anymore? He brought someone to care for her directly to her. Those last few months were an improvement because someone who was trained cared enough to make them so. Can’t we find a way to treat them when they age?”

Starla finds herself at a loss for words. Her niece, this fifteen-year-old still struggling with grief, is sharing her wisdom. She knows not what to do but she knows what they shouldn’t do. Starla has an idea that’ll solve their Buddy-the-perfectionist problems.

The mockingbird sings its tune louder. Its beak trembling with every tone. They sit and they listen. They sit and they grow.

Together.

“Chloe, I do believe I’ve got an idea about those mushrooms but I won’t pursue it this weekend. Nope. We’ll start fresh on them Monday morning. You and me. How you feel about that?”

Chloe leans into the melody of the birdsong, taps her feet lightly on the wooden deck, and smiles at her aunt with inquiring eyes.

“I’d like that, Aunt Star. I really would.”


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

Part I, Part II, and Part III

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Featured Audio Poem of the Week

Wild Flower, or The Wild One as I like to call her, has been on Medium for four years and ever since she appeared, she has been making waves. A familiar face from my days as Editor of This Glorious Mess, I was incredibly happy to have her contribute to A Cornered Gurl as well. She answered the call to “Sound Off” with an audio poem and it is truly incredible. I have been amazed by her growth and transformation into this beast of a writer and I hope I am around long enough to see her continue to evolve.

I won’t dote on her any longer . . . Here’s the piece in question, They Call Me Chaos.


Photo by Miguel Salgado on Unsplash

They Call Me Chaos

An audio poem

They call me chaos,
a complete contradiction
to myself.
Pages of disarray, defined as
a little too abstruse
obscured views, built on foundations
not quite ready to hold
my heavy.

Yes, I feel the weight
of the world beneath me.
I carry your loss
as much as my own.
My throne has not yet
come to me.

I am queen somewhere,
but this life and I
are not yet aligned
to build the bridges required
to save us all
from the inevitable
f a l l
we are facing.

Still, I will hold my arms wide,
tie myself to the core of the problem.
I will stretch each limb to the rim
of your hurt, and hold it
for as long as required.
I will not let go
until I am wise enough
to find the solution.

Yes, they call me chaos,
they say my dreams are
unattainable.

I am a box of worms because the
can they locked me in
could not contain me.

Pandora showed me the way
and in my world,
we speak what we feel,
we use art and poetry
to shield the bigots away.
We hold hands and
embrace each other
through languages
that don’t divide us.

Come and find us,
everyone eats at this table
and not a single shot is fired.

I can’t breathe through your knee
is echoed into a verse that initiates
actual change, that stays,
long enough for the world
to see the wounds it has created.
Providing a bandage
big enough to wrap our hearts
around the start of
something different.

There you have it,
come along for the ride
or turn your stride
away from me.
I will be somewhere else,
writing it out
and taking on the world
as I see it.

They call me chaos
and for as long as I can remember
I have been searching for a way to say
this is me and I am proud of it.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Audio Poem of the Week

Jennifer Patino is not only a most recent contributor to A Cornered Gurl via Medium, but she is also someone I have been reading on WordPress for years. Her most recent blog/website is Thistle Thoughts and the world of poetry, spoken word, essays, and her thoughts and reflections come to life there.

Recently, I put out a call for audio poems to be submitted to A Cornered Gurl for our Feature of the Week and approached Jennifer to take on the challenge. She did so. Not only did she hit us with her words, she gut-punched us with the reading of them.

A Native American, “enrolled Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe,” Jennifer speaks about her people, their fight to survive, what has and continues to be taken away from them, and the move toward the betterment of our nation and our hearts.

I give you, You Wanna Talk, and I hope you feel it as much as we do.


You Wanna Talk?

Photo by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash

Audio Poem

I’m petrified into silence,
mute disbelief, my grief
holds my tongue, my words
buried inside me

You wanna talk oppression? It’s
almost an obsession, how you
feel you have to prove you suffer
more than the weak

You wanna talk fear? When I
wake, feeling like I was born
for the slab and may arrive early
because you “can’t breathe” through a mask?

I can list many, my dear, who literally
could not breathe, while being murdered by
police brutality, who
could not breathe in gas chambers,
who are no longer breathing,
brothers, mothers, significant others

You wanna talk sin, or attacks on religion?
My people could practice again in 1978, remember
it was taken away? No, you don’t
You can’t

I can’t speak for all, only me,
a voice from your sacrificial altar,
a daughter being led to slaughter
for your economy

for your frogskins, your chameleon colored money
You wanna talk hardship?
You can’t work on a ventilator
Your bank doesn’t matter
when you’re deceased

I watch infections increase, and
I cry for every family I watch
injustice happening in the streets,
and I contemplate destiny

I think of all these martyrs, I try
and remember, their names, their faces
I want them to be
more than just a hashtagged tragedy
I want, no, I need
to remember

You wanna talk flags?
I wave a white one too
It says “I surrender”


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Redacted (An Experiment)

Europeana via Unsplash

An Audio Poem

They tell me, erasing one’s
bloodline is not something
they can do, however, I’m
censored and erased without permission
and I wonder,

“Is it what I’m saying or how
I’m saying it?”

And I sit and watch the people
of the world gather amongst
themselves to finally show us
their vocal sides of life.
I guess being silent came
at a heavy price and not everyone
can carry a cross.

Not everyone’s built for burdens
thrown upon their shoulders at
a moment’s notice.

I’ve found my cross to bear is mine
and mine alone — I carry it knowing
this life is not my last.

Many are learning about Tulsa, Rosewood,
Atlanta, and Wilmington
and they think they know the struggles
of a people who have done nothing but
fight for basic rights to
claim the fight from us.

Yes, we need your voices.
We need you to understand that
this — this being black and fighting
is a thing that has been a thing and
now with new eyes placed upon
fresh faces, millions see what should
have been seen centuries ago.

Removed from history books, our stories
were buried in places where cobwebs
hide and tethered papers have been
forbidden to see the light of day.

You tear down a few statues, remove
racist blips from comedic performances,
change the names of products drenched in hate,
and feel as though this should . . .

Shut. Us. Up.

Oh, ye’ of little faith, we are only
growing stronger and the fight that
will come after this will be one
spoken about years beyond the depth
and breadth of the color of one’s skin.

Now, redact that.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

A Cornered Gurl has a new look . . .

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A Cornered Gurl via Medium has a new look & we are happy to share it with you. Many of our writers felt compelled to write about their thoughts on racism, thus “Raising Our Voices #BLM a promotional feature is now on our homepage.

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