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Alla My Stuff

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I read this poem by Ntozake Shange last week in class. Each time I reread it, it brings forth a different reality for me … a different part of my life … a different time when I’ve let someone run off with my stuff. My dreams, my drive, my heart … Unlike some of my peers, I was introduced to “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuff” as an adult – before the Tyler Perry movie – but still beyond my childhood. As I learn more about me and more about my heritage, I must also remember to actively reclaim my stuff.

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street
but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin
this is mine!
this aint yr stuff
now why don’t you put me back 
& let me hang out in my own 
self
somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff!
& didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin
i was late for my solo conversation
or two sizes too small for my own tacky shirts
what can anybody do wid somethin of no value on
a open market?
did you getta dime for my things?
hey man 
where are you goin wid alla my stuff?!
this is a woman’s trip & i need my stuff
to ohh & ahh abt
daddy I gotta mainline number
from my own shit
now wontchu put me back& let me play this duet
wit this silver ring in my nose
honest to god!
somebody almost run off wid alla my stuff!
& i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of it
the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs
this is mine
Ntozake things
that’s my name
now give me my stuff
i see ya hidin my laugh
& how I sit wif my legs open sometimes
to give my crotch some sunlight
& there goes my love my toes my chewed up finger nails
niggah
wif the curls in yr hair
mr. louisiana hot link
i want my stuff back
my rhytums & my voice
open my mouth
& let me talk ya outta
throwin my shit in the sewar
this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss
i gotta have to give to my choice
without you runnin off wit alla my shit
now you cant have me less i give me away
& i waz doin all that
til ya run off on a good thing
who is this you left me wit?
some simple bitch
widda bad attitude!
i wants my things
i want my arm wit the birth mark
& my leg wit the bike burns
i want my calloused feet & quik language back in my mouth
fried plantains
pineapple pear juice
sun-ra & joseph & jules
i want my own things
how i lived them
& give me my memories
how i waz when i waz there
you cant have them or do nothin wit them
stealin my shit from me
dont make it yrs
makes it STO…LEN
somebody almost run off wid alla my stuff!!
& i waz standin there
lookin at myself
the whole time & it waznt a spirit took my stuff
waz a man whose ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow
waz a man faster than my innocence
waz a lover
i made too much room for
almost run off wit alla my stuff
& i didnt know i’d give it up so quik
& the one runnin wit it
don’t know he got it
& i’m shoutin this is mine
& he dont know he got it/ 
my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year
did you know somebody almost got away wit me?
me in a plastic bag under their arm
me
danglin on a string of personal carelessness
i’m spattered wit mud & city rain
& no i didnt get a chance to take a douche
hey man!
this is not your prerogative
i gotta have me in my pocket
to get round like a good woman shd
& make the poem in the pot or the chicken in the dance
what i got to do
i gotta get my stuff to do it too
why dont ya find yr own things
& leave this package of me for my destiny
what ya got to get from me?
i’ll give it to ya
yeh i’ll give it to ya
round 5:00 in the winter
when the sky is blue-red
& Dew City is gettin pressed
if it’s really my stuff
ya gotta give it to me
if ya really want it
i’m the only one
can HANDLE it

 

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Soul Work

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Dr Katie Geneva Cannon

Of all the places I have lived and all the places I have traveled and all the people I have met, I don’t recall every having any one experience within such a short span of time as significant as this.

Over the course of the past seven (week) days I took an Ethics class with Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon. I was ambivalent about signing up for the course: 7 days, 9am until 3pm each day, 4 books and two homework assignments each day. But one of my classmates said, “Sabrina, you have to take this course.” To say that I am happy that I did would be an understatement.

Over the course of 7 days we did so much more than learn from the textbook (and it is my belief that the best classes extend themselves beyond book knowledge and researched information). We laughed, we cried, we shared, we supported, we affirmed, we challenged … we grew. I have never experienced my classmates in this way before. Even after endless class presentations, I have never heard their voices like this before. I have never been so profoundly changed by a single class and a single professor (over such a short period of time) ever before.

This morning as I prepared to write this blog, I started asking myself why is this the case? The one answer I can attest to with assurance is that I was ready … my heart, mind and soul were ripe for this experience.

What does that means? It means that 2013 was about change for me – difficult change, necessary change … transforming change. As the year progressed, more change occurred. 2014 started on the cusp of the acceptance of all that had occurred and the realization that there was more to come.

Yesterday I started recounting how many times I have sung the words to a gospel song : “Lord, I am available to you … my storage is empty and I am available to you” or recited “my body is a living sacrifice for you … use me as you will.” And how often I have gotten sidetracked, distracted or discouraged. It can be a lonely journey, so there are times when the sheer desire to fit in has overshadowed me following the work that I know I am gifted to do.

Last year was the beginning of all of that change and this year is but a continuation. When I arrived in Dr. Katie Cannon’s class, I’d cleared the way of a great deal of clutter – including my former job. I’d released the hold on several relationships and desires to keep people in my life who are not contributing to being the absolute best version of me. And my soul was ready to receive.

I received … much more than I ever imagine. I am forever transformed by and through this experience. I submit to my call. I walk forward in a new way. My choices are different. My life is different. I am different. I am thankful. I am moving forward to do the work my soul must have.

Forever grateful,

Sabrina

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View of Robbin Island from Table Mountain ~ Photo Taken During 2010 Visit to South Africa 

Today during my study break I went to see Mandela and it was just as emotionally charged as I thought it would be. As is usually the case with movies of this sort, my mind began to visit and revisit my own life. As I watched the film chronicle Mr. Mandela’s life, I thought about what would happen if I lived every day in my very own purpose? What things would I do differently? What activities would remain the same? Who would fall away from my circle? Who would I remain connected to?

As the film continued, I also recalled a conversation I had with a very good friend last week. During our visit, we chatted about a number of things, including marriage. It was during that time that she shared with me that a friend of hers recently expressed that her marriage is her ministry – that she believes she was created for that very purpose.

I’d never heard anyone state it as such, but as I listened I realized that I have several friends who I believe would say the same. Likewise, I have friends who I believe were created and gifted with the ministry of parenting in mind – this is what they do wholeheartedly and they are completely satisfied operating in this gift.

The movie continued and so did my thoughts. There have been times when I have looked to and spoken with the aforementioned friends and asked – or wondered – if they wanted more. Didn’t they have other dreams? Desires? Goals? Sometimes the answer was yes, often it was “no.” It wasn’t until tonight that I realized that this is perfectly okay. The world needs more people who operate in their gift(s), i.e. remain in their lane and find complete satisfaction doing so.

And all the same, the world needs those who are gifted with alternative, nontraditional gifts and life purposes to do just the same. At this season of my life and actually for quite some time, I have been unable to be satisfied with status quo – I have felt a longing and burning desire for something different. I have felt gifted to do something other than … This does not make my path better – or worse – than those who I mentioned, but it does make it my path: to be embraced, nurtured, pursued and sometimes endured.

It has taken me almost eighteen years to figure out why I feel different. Why I seem to always chase dreams. Why I can’t just be happy with a “normal life.” Tonight I embrace my gifts, I embrace my calling. Today I commit to operating in the fullness of my gifts and embracing others as they do the same.

 

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