Saturday, December 16, 2017

hurthistory (rough draft)

My grandmother tells me a story of my great-grandfather
Tells me he was one of the first black men in my hometown
To own a house and a car
And how he used his history of hurt to drive him forward and secure a legacy

My grandfather tells me a story of my great-grandmother
Who loved her husband so fiercely
That she died three months after he did
Feeling that she had given all the love that she could in this world
Her history of hurt layered within a mortal and binding love

If I told them that I had their blood
Mingling their heritage into my veins
Would they be proud of the histories they made
And the lives their legacies set into motion?

Would they offer me an old spiritual to sing
Through my own history of hurt?

To get me through

   A twelve hour shift
   Cracked and labored hands
   A rolled ankle

To get me through

   A racist president
   A rigged economy
   A bad drinking habit

To get me through

   Men who cannot love me
   Me when I cannot recognize myself in the mirror
   Mirrors when they burn my image into their eyes

To get me through

   Manic episodes of running for hours at a time in search of a new body to live in

My father's thirsty ghosts reach for drinks on the shelves of the ribs he gave me...
Their phantom fingers drop tips in my diaphragm for my trouble
And they whisper his sins, flowing his history of hurt
Through plasmic ears, hoping that I'm listening and learning.

My mother's tired ghosts search for spare change and late notices in my lungs
They pull out food stamp letters and job applications underneath my liver
The whole time whispering her history of hurt, her litany of lives wrapped up in cycles of struggle

There is a history of hurt holding me at bay
From loving myself and other people