Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trained in the ways of men

Trained in the ways of men
I do not belong here
that is why my walls have no names
and my face is only slightly more recognizable than my voice
in my grandmother's house i would be considered a secret God did not have time to know
in my mother's house her daughter that she did not have the courage to know
in the south we are taught children are to be seen and not heard
women are to be tucked neatly into skirts with legs crossed and frying pans for hands
spines strong enough to support broken black boys
in our homes we are taught to love our black men til the death of us because this world will only love them to theirs
so we breast feed them til our chest wither and they continue suckin til they draw blood
i watched my grandmother die for my brother
i am watching my mother die for my younger one now
and prayign that my sister does not follow suit
but we believe so deeply that boys will be boys that we have forgotten to make men
and wonder why there are more black males with drug charges than degrees
i believe we got confused by what malcolm meant by any means neccasary
i'm sure he was not refferring to stealing or drug sales or suicide
rather to hard work and protection
to men being men and im not sayign his philosphy was perfect but
black mothers if u never let ur sons hands go they will never be more than little black boys hopping from nipple to nipple
holding up corners in fear they may miss something other than their education
when will your backs finally get tired enough to break
my grandmother always said my big brother would be the death of her
i assume that is why i got the news of her death through a phone call at the scene of a totalled car my drunken brother was riding in
why my uncle and I never shared a sober birthday til i was 16
why the only thing that reminds me of my grandfather is liquor and cancer
and why my mother is always back crooked bent over to make sure my little brother does not fall on his manhood and be forced to taste dirt
because we raise cycles
we raise black boys and black women to take care of them
then lecture our women for accepting these "aint ish" men into their lives
but how can we teach them what they deserve when all we have to offer is broken
when when we've nevr showed them what complete looks like
never taught them that fathers do not babysit, they take care of their children
that a man should offer more than a source of income to be consindered "good"
because a woman can not be both putty and spine
both back bone and flexibility
black women do not have too much attitude
we have too much strength
because our mothers were too busy cradling black boys to remember to teach us to keep our spines mallable
soft to touch and easy to move
we were never credled hands, we were always balled fist
ready to strike at the sign of danger
too busy fighting to recognize our own struggle
my mother pulled bread from stones
making sure we never knew struggle til we were old enough to understand it
she stood manless
while cousins and uncles made talk of being male figures
tall shadows passing in the wind
now she bends
in attempts to hold up men
that never veer too far from her womb
©, 2012, Tiffany "Spokenheart" Shack