This Month, This Mourning: A Birhday Tribute

By Kamaria Muntu
29 May 2012, GMT 22:59

Nana,

This mourning does not ebb.

For the number of those who put the well-being of others first, who sacrifice without complaint or return are becoming scare and nil.

All who have ever had a grand presence in their lives, someone without whom they may not have survived – understand what I’m feeling. For my grandmother Mae Elizabeth Kennedy had the grandest of hearts.

Wishing every good thing for every good person without envy or condition was as natural as her riotous laughter. And I am certain that other dreamers besides myself miss that spirit in people.

Like so many women of her generation, she was not given the opportunity to fulfill her path in the way of of outside work, scholarship or career activity…

But oh how she did love, like it was her sacred mission – her reason for being.

And because she was all that she was.

I am humbly alive and me.

Pokeno ~
for Mae Kennedy ©

Joy in true semblance take, in any
earnest play
… Goethe

Nana played Pokeno with real women
There was grand mystique in the Queens
kings, spades, jacks, hearts, diamonds,
and clubs
drawn on big square cards
and the plastic discs chips
in blues and reds, blacks and whites-
the shuffling and turning of cards-
the stacking and falling of colored discs-
and the call
“tray of diamonds…Pokeno!”
The women, the chicken, the china
the water and red punch in crystal cups
the strong hot coffee steamers chugging
upwind
the little taste of something forbidden
“gon and take it, it won’t hurt ya none”
The dead sons the battered daughters
The dark people’s plight
the mastectomies, the lost wombs
the refusals
“cause they experiment on Negroes in
that hospital”
The murdered sons, the lost weddings
the remains of asparagus spears
the dead daughters
the mousy winters
the hungry strangers
the peppermint candy for the knee highs
the fires
the water rising in the basement
the burnt offerings at the joker’s table-
the one who filled you with all the babies
The autographed picture of the Nat King
Cole Trio
the knick knack table
the talcum powdered sheets
while all that you cleave is advancing
sleep
beneath a sky of tin stars and brown
nipples
a house standing upright
a house on its brain
the December women jeweled with
sorority
doused with Emeraude
played on through

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