Elaiwe Speaks To His Mother

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

I read this at Basseyworld Live on Friday Night. It’s not a poem I usually perform. When I first wrote it, I got some “comments”. Long hair. Don’t care. This is the story I’m telling about a particular incident. Boogie was very sick a year or so ago. And I was worried because I wouldn’t be able to afford it if he had to be hospitalized. No insurance. No money. One night, when I was up with him and he was burning with fever, I started to wonder if having him was the right decision. I couldn’t take care of him. I put him to bed and tried to sleep but instead, this poem happened. I’m even MORE pro-choice now that I’ve had a child than I was before. This was my choice. One I’m honestly not sure I’d make again.  Motherhood is not easy. It’s not fun. It has it’s moments but sometimes I just want to sleep through those moments. It can be great but it’s also not great. You have to be around for all of that. I salute all those who choose and excell. I salute those who choose and struggle. I salute those who choose and never parent. There is strength in the ability to make the choice that’s right for you.

I edited it just to avoid some silliness but the sentiment still stands. If you know Boogie, you know this “sounds” like him.

Happy Mother’s Day!



Elaiwe speaks to his mother

you wanted to name me miracle
searched language and love song
for a word that felt easy and
beauty and sweet custard enough
to carry me midnight
and star filled
into this uncertain life

you believed in me
before my eyelids were formed
you been wide saucer gaze for decades
when will you believe in yourself

i remember you belly uncertain
when we grew together
remember your playful push
my kick back
moving towards the music of
your words
remember you poetry
and conversation
you sang Buckley
and Lauryn as hymn

you don’t sing anymore
laugh reluctantly
like the music of your joy
will shatter if it meets oxygen

i can’t help but take this personally

i hear you talk about this time before me
how you wish you had another moment to
make better choices
prepare a world that would hold me
but who would I be if you were ready?

not this laughter and starship boy
not this moonstone and rebel
cobbled trickster
not this dreamer
not this child who believes in miracles

you still think you chose me
think that I battled thick
stubborn mass of tangled cell
and blood
to be wished away now

why do you think it matters?
you carry midnight like
the sun be on worker’s strike
be easy

you claim 2005 as your “best year”
remember psych ward?
remember blue pills swallowed in tandem
the way your heart broke motor oil
on Brooklyn concrete
remember those unpaid bills
Remember Peter
how your brain stopped
and demanded you waste away
without him?
that was your time before me

Was not fairy tale
and Hollywood picture show
was lost girl directionless
was worry of a different kind
you can revise the history all you want
I remember you motionless
remember you dark of Brooklyn bedroom
willing your heart away

today, you worry that your life
is worthless
I take this personally
I have your face
how dare you tell me it’s not beautiful
I force feed you my laughter

Still you worry that you are not strong enough
to mother me properly
the scar that split you open
tells another story
tumor twice the size of my birth body
tells another story
have you forgotten
the nights we spent fused
and doubled over
pain a
lightening stroke against my spine
we were symphony then
crescendo of will
and grit

you wanted to call me miracle
what name will you answer to
if you don’t see the god I see in you

you claim this glass shelled nothing
this weak willed pitiful thing
i know you stronger
know you fighting against demons and
doctors to claim me

you gave me a universe of family
to call mine…

what do you think i will remember
when the decades unfold?
who owns the roof
or who gave me home?
the life you left
or the one you allowed for me?
i am not glass shelled

i am yours
muscled, thick cable of heart and spirit
i am yours

claim i stun your mornings with beauty
i would have no morning if not for you
tell me you know what you did
tell me you know

you pushed for me
and i am here
waging war against your doubt
the same spirit that kicked
your voice around
this crowded womb
pushing for you
fighting like you fought
I am you
at your best

you think you chose me?
today, I give you life.