There is a rift in my heart; it lays between myself and my home. I feel the longing for it, not knowing where it is exactly.
Florida, the land where I was born;
Swampy and damp,
Mosquitoes rising out of sandy hills
My mother was raised here; poor and motherless herself
In a greyhound bus
A servant to her father
Feeding the chickens
Sorrow in the soil pressed between her bare feet.
Virginia, the land where I was raised;
The history of very important men deciding how things should be
Pride in the forming of a nation that enslaves, oppresses, and takes land through lies, deception, and force. Revolution. Genocide. Civil War.
Put me in my place more times than I can count:
And also: art and theater and Edgar Allen Poe and childhood play in forests with magic
Where I came into myself
Got chewed up and spit out
But also loved
Saw what was possible for my life:
A country home
An artist’s studio
Powerful women living unapologetically among
The farmers and country boys
Who would force you if they could
So I learned to say NO
Loudly and often
And I learned to love the river
And paint myself with clay by grinding the colorful rocks
Resting on the river bottom
And I learned to love the land
Rolling endlessly, mists rising
Holding the secrets of its magic that you can only get to
down that holler
Through the raspberry brambles
In the abandoned church
Where an old man will show you how to hold a banjo and pluck its strings
A simple melody
With a million layers of meaning
And Oregon now
Birds of prey and twisted junipers
A land of migrants living freely and Natives on reservations
Gourmet Food, Beer and Ganga
Epic sunsets over rising volcanoes
White folks creating their utopia…keeping brown and black bodies in the shadows
And Brown and Black folks rising, raising their voices to heal the trauma of generations.
More twisting rivers, tumbling over lava beds, fed from alpine lakes
Hot springs, horses, acres and acres of alfalfa.
The lands of my ancestors also call:
Wales, Scotland, Germany, Italy
I do not know these lands.
But my blood remembers and yearns to return.
And I realize I am a nomad.
My home is me.
My home is my memories of boys I’ve loved
And meandering paths to swimming holes deep in the mountain
And a warm coffee shop that smells of roasting beans and tobacco
And circling around a maypole
And towering volcanoes
And a million tears for the places I’ve lost, for the longing in my heart for a place that is mine.
I am mine.
I am my home.
Wow. That’s a deeply felt journey and beautifully expressed sorrows. I love it and appreciate you revealing so much of your true self!
Would love to have a book of your essays and poems someday! I have a place of honor for books by poets! I’m stopped in my tracks every time I read this beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing.