Liberation

A Collaborative Effort With walkerjo lee|Music: Outkast–Liberation

smokemanhat
Courtesy of Erik Odiin via Unsplash

He comes —

sits real calm-like next
to Daddy, puffs out a heap of
smoke and says, “Gotta make a decision, Tony.
We bulldozing through this city block
with or without your consent.”

I watch Daddy’s eyes turn cold,
he can’t sit, can’t stand, he just
looks frozen in time. 

the man in the perfect hat

pats my Daddy’s leg once, then
lifts himself from our porch swing,
a trail of smoke follows him
down the block, connecting his
lies as it forms.

Daddy gives me a quick smile,
reassuring me.
he isn’t a big man, short and thin.
he looks like time swaying in
the breeze, waiting for a lifeboat
that’s never coming his way.

he tells me that the Big Wigs
are making us move, taking our
home from up under us.

“We got thirty days, Pumpkin.”
and, I don’t know where
we gonna go, but I hear my
Mom’s soul sigh
in the dead of night. 

if she was still alive,
she’d cut that man in the perfect hat
with her words and tell him
where he can stick his ideas.

A strip mall.
that’s what they’re building.
fifteen homes on our block
and three on the next will
be demolished in a matter of days. 

I sit and think of that smoke
and how it followed the man
in the perfect hat and I
wonder if it’s gonna come
back without him one day
and liberate us.

thirty days to go and no new home in view
wanting to stay knowing it’s time to leave
sights set on tomorrow

get a new home that fit our porch swing
a patch of dirt to grow bundles of greens
mom’s energy nearby
while i pick and pull from the stems

she keeps a watchful eye over me
while i soak and rinse in the kitchen sink
dandelions in the kitchen window
daddy’s head hangs over the daily news

we beat the thirty days

we walk at our pace
no new development looming near.

daddy gives me that quick smile
a sway in the breeze, he stands
on a sunday afternoon
a dream
memory of my mom, she stands beside us
in between

daddy washes his hands and opens the oven door
our home smells of roasting meat
that time, mom had me snapping fresh peas
our family, as whole as can be
before

home was home, our yard had a tree swing

lay mom to rest, our three turned into a two
all our memories stuffed into a one bedroom
daddy on the sofa

i have a door with a window view of a toxic factory

maybe, a strip mall in our place
won’t be so bad
mom would have the paper preparing for our new home.

i smile daddy’s quick smile, turn to the real estate section
we sit in the sun
i reassure him this time
dream big enough for us both

sure we won’t see the man with the perfect hat
gone before he returns
it is time and we will go

i know one strip mall where we won’t shop


Originally posted on Medium via A Cornered Gurl

The Journey

It Begins

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Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I am rehoming my life, my dog’s life, and all that I deem necessary and essential to us.

We Are Moving.

I had forgotten how taxing moving can be; the toll it takes on the mind, body, and soul, but daily, I am slowly being reminded of this. Almost five years of belongings are gradually being packed or discarded and with all of my keen selection in what goes, what will be donated, trashed, or simply given to family and friends, I do not feel more accomplished in this today than I did yesterday. The process feels neverending.

Jernee shadows me, snaps at my heels, and carefully paces from room to room as everything in her realm shifts. I try to keep our home-life ritualistic. Moving makes her frantic and me nervous and anxious. Needless to say, we are the perfect team when this form of change takes place. We are equal parts terrified and excited, yet eager to move on and get settled.

Amongst the items that I will give away are my washing machine and dryer. This dynamic duo will go to my Mother. She has been bugging me about a washer and dryer for years. I have heard her significant quips and hints in requesting her personal laundromat and soon, I will not have to be subjected to them any longer. Her birthday is coming up and in glorified Virgo fashion, she is ready to celebrate for the entire month of September.

Our new space comes equipped with a washer and dryer, therefore, the movers will not have to worry about lugging the set down steep flights of stairs. They will have enough in here to render them both thirsty and tired. I have offered to pay whomever my Mom selects to come to my place and pick up her gently used items. She has already gathered a small crew and this is music to my ears as I simply cannot worry about transporting things that are not coming with me. My lists of to-dos are entirely too long and I do not envision any additions to those lists.

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Packing|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

As I watch my big-enough-for Jernee and I space change, I am filled with sadness. We have spent close to five years making this place our home and the memories that we built here cannot be counted. The Powerhouse and Nala were here the other day. Along with them was the Powerhouse’s Ex. I always thought the two of them made a great couple. We laughed, we talked, and we caught up on years of missed conversations and my home was full of peace. I sat and watched them interact and I mentally logged every moment so that they will live on in the crevices of my aging mind.

I am taking these gifts with me.

My memories… They will shelter me if ever I feel ill at ease or fearful in our new place. As I write this, I am drying a load of clothes and the swoosh-thump-thwat-pssh of May’s Tag soothes me. I will remember these sounds and compare them to the new dryer’s specs and capabilities. Perhaps, it will comfort me when comforting is needed. I worry about Jernee in all of this. I can almost hear her barking at the movers, wondering to where our stuff is being hauled, watching me shuffle, move, and direct while she figures out her role. Things are slowing down a bit for us and soon, I will have time to breathe like the Lord intended.

We Are Moving…

And the journey awaiting us may or may not be what we expect, but we are ready for what lies ahead.

We have to be.


Originally published for The Weekly Knob prompt “washing machine” via Medium.