Black Short Stories : Trauma - An AutoBiography in 3 Parts (Part 1)

Discussion in 'Short Stories - Authors - Writing' started by river, May 14, 2004.

  1. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    A mother begins a cycle
    Of which she is not the beginning,
    But a recipient and a vessel
    Of eternities past and present.


    Not until I was grown, nearly in my thirties, did I consider the possibility that my mother had a world of her own that was parallel to mine in its experience of femininity and emotion. Before that she was only a part of my world; sentient, yet objectified, nurturing, yet unapproachable and incapable of understanding the nebulous realities of my experience. True, I had been given a few glimpses of her experience, but unlike history books, where the stories are experienced like fiction in a child's mind--fascinating in their distant unreality, the life of parents is a horror beyond consideration. The world before one is born is like the world after one is dead--oblivious and indifferent to the child's existence and fully capable of getting along without it. But there are those glimpses of my mother's life that are entwined with mine so that I cannot tell my story without telling some of hers.

    One of the things that kept me from seeing the woman behind those glimpses of female experience is that they were always a part of some lesson I had to learn. And always about boys. I should have had tears in my eyes hearing about how she was kicked in the stomach when she was pregnant with me, but there was an object lesson to be learned about boys and I did not want to learn it. She would never say who kicked her, but I think I know. She escaped the abusiveness of my father by jumping out of a cab in the middle of the street. There she was alone and strong, Bad, Bold and Beautiful Girl.

    I feel myself in her body
    Floating, not walking,
    With rhythmic poise
    My hands find the gestures that are hers.
    As a child I thought her wise,
    Beautiful and strong,
    And the vision I had then
    Is the way that I feel now.


    Why are you crying? Margaret asked my mother. She hadn't wanted a woman boarder and maybe this was why. Or maybe there were other things men did and didn't do.
    But this young woman of twenty years age came to her Victorian row house in NorthWest D.C. with no where else to go. What could she do? Lord knows what this child has been through that she had to come here, alone and kind of sorrowful. People who haven't been through much are always in the here and now, but the object of this girl's eyes wasn't always the thing she seemed to be looking at, and the purpose of her hands wasn't always the thing she seemed to be doing. So what could she have been through?

    I miss my baby.
    Crying over some man? Girl, don't even start. Crying over a man, humph. He ought to be crying over you.
    No, you misunderstand. I mean my baby--my little girl.
    Ohh Lord. A baby. You've got a baby? A little girl? Margaret rolled her eyes and thought, more women in this world. More women in my house. I didn't want this. Well, don't sit around crying. Go get her.

    That was the beginning of my stay with Margaret and DeeDee who became my godparents. That stay was at times sweet, at times violent and always full of huge, nebulous people.
    Margaret would tell me how my father would come around wanting to see me. He was proud and angry--full of truth. That's my daughter. But she wouldn't let him so he threatened to burn her house down. Margaret didn't know Bailey but Bailey didn't know Margaret and her house is standing to this day.

    You hear what that bastud said? With raised eyebrows and slitted eyes to anyone and everyone who was listening. He's going to burn my house down. I'd like to see you try ir. And I know one thing, you burn my house, you sure as hell won't burn nothing else.
    DeeDee'd fecklessly call his wife to reason and passivity. Noow, Baby Doooooll.
    Naw, this niggah wants to burn my house down. Go on. I dare you. In fact, I'll get the matches. You going to burn my house down? I will get the matches.
    That's not the way a woman is supposed to react to such a horrific threat--not in 1965, but that was Margaret. She kept a loaded pistol with a white pearl handle in her purse. When a mugger stuck a gun in her car window at a traffic light she rolled the window up on his arm and drove to the police station with him doing his best to keep up with the car.
    And she gave me glimpse s of her childhood.

    Ev'rybody knows Margaret's mama married a White man.
    Well, at least they were married, ya bastud.

    Her mother kept a bowl of peaches stacked in a pyramid on a table. Margaret took one bite out of each peach and put them back in the pyramid with the bitten part turned in so you couldn't tell what she had done. When her mother saw it, Margaret found out what a peach tree switch is all about.

    She loved my mother and fought for her as much as she fought with her. My mother worked as a waitress at a coffee shop. One day she was sick and her boss threatened to fire her if she didn't show up. Margaret got on the phone and told him what he could do with his sorry a**ed job.

    Margaret just loved anybody who could sing and my mother has a beautiful voice. I remember when she used to sing to me.

    There were ten in the bed and the little one said,
    Roll over, roll over.
    So they all rolled over and one fell out.
    . . .
    There was one in the bed and the little one said,
    Good night. Sleep tight.

    I would stand up in my crib and we'd play patty cake. She smiled so wonderfully that when she left I would look at the lightbulb burning on the ceiling and the lightbulb was like the embodiment of her smile. Her smile did not remind me of the light. The light reminded me of her smile. Call this a pre-lingual abstraction, if you will. Babies talk and know what they are talking about. A baby has a name for everything in its world until the huge ones supplant that world with what things are really called. Then comes confusion, self-doubt and forgetfulness. Is goo-goo universal? Do all babies call that thingamajig a ga-ga? A child's first necessary pain is the crumbling Tower of Babel--humankind's natural language.

    There are pictures of Margaret, a beautiful woman with coiffed blonde hair, fine bones and big sultry eyes, at the cabaret to hear my mother sing. Her voice fills a room and gives you the courage to delve in those parts of your heart you've always feared to go. When she sings about lost love it is with the decisive strength of a woman who has faced her truths and survived.

    There is just no use in continuing
    For I'm not your puppet on a string
    You just can't tell me how to live
    Or how much love I must give
    At first I thought our love was real
    But like a wagon with no wheels
    We just can't make it down the road of love
    You know we lost all we ever dreamed of
    But now the time has come and we must say good bye
    There's just no love for you and I
    I said the time has come and we must say good bye
    It's over. It's all over boy
    And we must say--we must say goodbye.
    It's all over boy
    Ohh we must say good bye
    You just gonna keep on making me cry
    --1967
     
  2. watzinaname

    watzinaname Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Leave it to me to say this, smh, but I think I'm the first to reply to this piece because it leaves us too filled up with emotions to be able to respond. I mean, the first part brought me to tears-- the experience was so awful, the second, speaking of the boldness of Margaret had me rollin with laughter, and then you went on to dig even deeper...
    I have read many poets on this board, I haven't to be honest, read many of the short stories. But something told me to read this one. River you are beyond talented, not sure what to call that, but, that's my 1.5 cents(inflation).
     
  3. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Keep talking! That's what I want to see--some emotions and more than one
     
  4. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    deeply felt this story wow !!
    the sadness the upbeat and all
     
  5. watzinaname

    watzinaname Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I want some more river....where is part 2?
     
  6. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Coming soon. I haven't been back here in a long time. Thanks for bringing me back.
     
  7. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    this piece is emotion evoking...
    i agree with watz...can we get a part II...
    the poems added the right touch to this....word
    one love
    khasm
     
  8. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    whoaaaaaaaaaaa! this was outstanding pt.2 please!!!!!!
     
  9. sarcasm4eva

    sarcasm4eva Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    this was tyte. i had to read the 1st paragraph twice, so much emotion. i'm speechless. i agree w/the rest of the fam.........bring pt.2 on! much love:)
     
  10. MzBlkAngel

    MzBlkAngel Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    this was great wow
    very touching or emotional
    i dont know the words...lol
    goin to part 2
    i also enjoyed the poems to
    i dont get over here to much
    but glad i read this one
     
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