Black and Blue

by Cheeraz Gormon

  

This poem started in the middle of itself

Like so many of us do

Rushed into me like rhythm

You know, the kind you learn early from mother’s hums

and dance routines

 

Momma’s humming again

Accompanied by a back-and-forth rocking motion

Like she’s having a concert with her emotions

Her mood is the color of night settling into itself

 

Black and blue

All over a lover who decided to imprint love across her face

Eyes braille, raised and hard to the touch

 

And I hear little girls speaking about the devil beating his wife

When the sun in shining and the rain is coming down

Like this is something to be remembered for generations

 

From great-grands to breast sprouting before season in this unnatural land

Where she learns early ‘to use what she got, to get what she wants’

Passed down to her from women who heard the song

and used the lyrics as filler for their self esteem

 

Rollin’ on the river

She was black and blue once too

 

And I got conflicting feelings about Miles for what he did to Cicely

 

A love supreme

Showed her how to love with a hard shell

and a razor somewhere on her person

just in case a muthafucka tried to trip

 

Black and blue

Rings around eyes

 

But this ain’t Saturn

 

These are colors born from silence

And women who tell themselves somehow they deserved

the taps that drained their very souls

 

Try the new woman on tap

Drink up before there’s nothing left

 

Women and girls dance in this man’s world

Between ‘anytime, any place’ and ‘did he just take it?’

 

Where does a woman go to find peace?

 

Is solace found haphazardly?

 

Like finding that seasoning you were looking for months ago

on a shelf it should’ve been on in the first place,

but you know where it is now

and that’s good enough

but it’s also old news

 

Black and blue

 

We don’t have to suffer the same fate

Black

Black

Black woman

Black girl

 

We don’t have to be the training ground

for misplaced anger masking itself as manhood

 

Blue girls

Criticized for rolling our eyes

Curling our lips

 

With words ready on our tongues,

Waiting for the hammer to drop

 

We don’t have to be Black and Blue all the time

 

Can’t we just be?

 

We want to just be.

 

Yes, tears look sad but are they really

I heard a woman once cured herself with her tears

Cried the sickness right on out of herself

onto some nearby pillowcase

She later dreamt on

 

And I’m having dreams of women and girls singing in the sunlight

Minus the glasses shading their eyes

Some humming

All dancing on solid ground

To the beat of healthy hearts

 

Girl, you hear that

The silence is no longer a sad hiding place

where insomnia stricken souls go to dry heave their pain

Because somebody left directions on the Sun,

‘On How To Reflect Differently’

 

 

from In the midst of lovin

Selected Poems and Writings of Cheeraz Gorman

© 2014

Couresy of the artist

Produced as part of our ongoing exchanges with collaborators in St Louis, USA.