Tips on Attempting to Write a Poem Worthy of Your Mother For Her Funeral When they tell you to just write what’s in your heart they being the voices in your head ask them to be honest about if they plan to criticize you if the metaphors ain’t as pungent if they will grade your imagery on a curve when all your eyes can see is water when that water is ruining all the snapshots when your brain is intentional about deleting images of her most nurturing moments Your words will never be eulogy enough do not attempt to encapsulate every memory into this one moment you cannot do her justice this way there’s not enough room on the program for your heart to bleed out all the things she has ever meant to you consider a room full of family, friends and associates as a collective sea of mourners drawn together not of their own volition try not to let your grief-stricken language hold their emotions hostage any longer than necessary for two hours they will all be drowning with you but only one of the bodies in that room will leave entombed. Her Life (Kinda) Matters Black man talk to Black folks about Black man death give him megaphone microphone platform Black man talk to Black folks about Black woman death about Black woman ravaged body give him duct tape give him resistance Black man knows that every dead Black woman body don't make it to the morgue sometimes those bodies are forced to stay alive and watch the thieves of their livelihood do things like score touchdowns or preach sermons or sing songs or make movies or live in the room across the hall I will not check a gender box to determine the value of the stolen pulse I will not deal in equality solely when the deck is stacked in my favor. Ashes It was one of those nights when mom decided to blow caution to the wind Kool cigarette curled inside her arthritic finger sitting outside the house on the hand-made bench dad built a glorious spring night serving as the backdrop for what had to be the millionth time we cyphered I don’t remember the subject of our conversation I only remember her asking me if I had one of them Black ‘N’ Milds she learned of my smoking habit by happenstance in the same conversation she learned of the occasional illegal drink I would down at the Reggae club on those nights when I was exchanging the gospel of the pulpit for the gospel of the open mic I handed her a Black pulled one out for myself she took a slow drag complimented its flavor I lit the slender body of my cigar drew the nicotine through the plastic tip and between exhales we silently accepted a new truth Her little boy was becoming a man a survivor of a life that began hazy at best we were just beginning to make ashes of her overprotective nature just starting to spark a new relationship and with the flick of a lighter the light of my life flamed out.
February 9, 2016
Three Poems – Donney Rose