Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Lost and Found
(For my children, Robert and Esther)
I want my god back, my soul requires it.
I lost him somewhere between my Catholic grade school “let’s beat up the nigger” days and the high school guidance counselor telling me I’d make a good butler.
I lost god when my New Year’s Eve hangover was ushering in 1973 with the news that my hero, Roberto Clemente, had died in Puerto Rico trying to bring help to earthquake victims.
I lost god but I know where to find him.
I want my people back, my heart demands it.
I lost them somewhere between feeling odd and out of place my first day of registration at an all black college then later having a corporate customer marvel at my being so articulate.
I lost them when I heard my Achilles snap so loud like a car backfire on the basketball court and I couldn’t bang under the boards or glide to open space and rain jumpers anymore.
I lost my people but I know where to find them.
I want my history back, my family needs it.
I lost it when my fist crashed into my father’s face knocking him down and out of my life.
I lost it when the furious heart beating in my chest was so loud after my aunt called to say my mother had died that I couldn’t hear her words over the roar of the blood in the vessels in my ears.
I lost it when I passed, but unlike my uncles, aunts, and older cousins who did it to put bread on the table, I did it passively, sitting quite and still after someone entered a sales presentation, looked around and said, “Sure glad there aren’t any niggers here!”
I lost my history but I know where to find it.
Where will I find my god?
I find him when Robert takes my hand in front of his friends, when he kisses me and says, “I love you dada!”
Where will I find my people?
I find them bouncing on my bed in the morning, pleading with me to get up.
Sometimes when I search for my history I sit in front of my computer, the page blank, cursor blinking. I feel Esther’s arms pressed against me like a heat pack on a damaged muscle and I feel my blood flow.