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Survival Skills

by Yetunde Bronson

I had a pretty disturbing revelation the other day: should this world as we all know it comes to a loud and violent end, and we are all left to fend for ourselves, without infrastructure or order, I would be dead within a few days because I have, like, zero survival skills.

This is the type of shit I think about late at night, Fam. Bear with me.

Seriously – I sat up one night and wrote down a list of my skills that could possibly come in handy should the eternal nightfall on our world.

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Whistling: Perhaps I could serve as a lookout for a roving band of thieves. Except I’m blind as a bat without my glasses, so…
  • Dancing: I’m thinking like in that setup Tina Turner had in Beyond the Thunderdome. Probably not likely, though.
  • Cook: Which is fine if someone has a working stove. Otherwise, I’m useless cuz I don’t know how to start a fire without matches.

I mean, outside of these, I have other, impressive skills that would be rendered utterly useless after the collapse of civilization. This really disturbed me, so I decided to do something about it – I went out and bought some seeds.

For some reason, I decided that out of all of the useful, post-apocalyptic survival skills, gardening would make the most sense for me. It sounded easy enough. I mean, ignore the fact that I have killed 80% of the plant life I have ever touched – a statistic that has been documented by my own mother, who, upon hearing my plans to start a balcony garden, leaned against the wall, weak with laughter. Keep in mind, my mother is horticulturally blessed by the Ancestors and the Holy Ghost. I have seen her cup a dead (not dying, Fam – dead) plant in her hand, blow on it and watch it shudder back to life. The shit is mind-boggling. So, yeah. I was in my chest when she laughed at me.

      “Well, everybody can’t be out here in these streets, resurrecting aloe vera plants and what not,” I said (in my head).

      Anyway, I brushed that off and got some seeds. And yeah, I made some mistakes with some of them –  planted them too early, watered them too little, crowded too many in the pot.

      But I learned. I asked around – co-workers, the exhausted but helpful woman at Stein’s Gardening Center, the nurse at the ER who apparently owns her own farm.

And I tried again. And now, I am seeing the fruits, or vegetables, of my labor.

So, when the zombie apocalypse begins,  and you find yourself in the Midwest, come holler at me. I’ll be the dreadlocked sister in the fatigues, trading tomatoes out of a truck.

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Deep Pockets

Image via @photosbyelldot_ (unsplash.com)

 

There comes a time in every girl-turned-woman’s life where promiscuity is a thing that simply must be had.  Looking for the outside to match the inside. Trying to ingest this idea of attaching monetary value to things passionate.  Things gifted.  Things anointed.  Deep pockets are, after all, the world’s oldest profession.  Yes, there comes a time in every girl-turned-woman’s life where all she knows is to turn away…or…invite you in.

And ask, “do I still feel the same?”

And think, “I bet he thinks this song (and dance) is about him.”

Careful, how you pro seed.

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Navel

It’s a weird feeling.  Yes, ‘weird’, for lack of a better word.  This disconnect that sometimes happens between mother and daughter. To know that she was indeed your first home.  But now.  You must be home.

A plot of land.

Four walls.

A roof.

A shore for the weary.

And a lighthouse for the lost.

You can’t help it.  The urge is inherent.  You will spend forever.  Trying to build a bridge.  And the construction is louder than the destruction.  And if it wasn’t for the flames, you could both get to buildin’.

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naive secrets

Poetry Lonnie Monka 

snow-soiled feet trailed between alcohol & drugs incubating that suburban winter-break assembly

of conversations forgotten upon being spoken

with golden strands fanning those shoulders

her untouchable frame stirred as the last one

awake & cleaning the house–alone–with me

somehow we snuck into the master-bedroom

stretching across some other family’s bedspread

where too long awake now dream-lost lips touched

hands & fingers caressing curves through clothing tongues trading a mosaic of unspoken secrets

till I awoke alone–smiling & never to see her again

& lightning struck in the storm of friends calling because she had died a sudden death

which precipitated void-driven conversation

& conversation after conversation after conversation all I could think was that I had kissed her

& never told a single soul what I then wanted to scream

 

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Do..or

The kitchen cabinets.

The bathroom upon entering

and exiting.

The dryer. And the washer.

The back door. Closed but unlocked.

Overnight.

Even once, the car door

after retrieving our sleeping baby.

Then there was that time

in the new house

when we christened it loudly.

The bedroom door –

a forgotten necessity.

And our first guest in the living room –

also forgotten.

Cheeks red; body a seated statue.

Maybe he thought we’d done it on purpose?

That’s what I would have thought.

Forgotten doors

left open

on purpose.

You always forgot to close the fucking door!

Always!

And I…I sat with my legs open

then. Still.

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Middle Aisles

How am I supposed to rid myself

Of this gnawing in my belly?

The lies that sit there

Will surely eat me from the inside out

The gut is a funny place

It does not like to be empty

Refusing to wait on the truths

That grow slowly in our gardens

Overly full of the easily accessible

Packaged lies

All up ‘n down

The middle aisles
I believe I’ll walk on. See what the end will be.

 

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Dawn

Clouds of unwavering doubt,
once casting her sky in muted tones of grey, had dissipated.
Relinquishing her dreams, leaving her open to brilliancy,
like a buried chest filled with treasures, when the sky opened
a golden light was cast; adorning her
with a glow, pulling out inspiration
like jewels, and shining her up
like a diamond.

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Daddy’s Toolbox

The one you’ve chosen to spend your life with is an engineer kind of dude.  He likes to build things. But baby, when he met you, you were already a stallion.  An edifice.  And so, he deconstructed you bit by bit…to see what in fact you were made of.  It’s the only way he knew how to love.  The problem is, he tired out.  Too lazy or too preoccupied to put you back together again.  So, here I am doing the work I did years ago.  Building you up…again…as only I know how.  As only I can.

A woman cannot fight a man.  She will never win.  He will hide parts of her in far off lands.  He will place pieces of her soul into glass bottles and drift you off to sea.  And in a fit of rage you can find him breaking the tools required for reconstruction.

This time you need to pay close attention.  I will not be here forever.  Putting a Queen back together is a lost art.  Grab my toolbox – top shelf, right corner.

 

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The Blood

She is born with a naturally occurring third eye, nestled within the softest place on earth.  If you do it right, it might just wink at you.  Waiting is a cycle.  Stillness is a cycle.  Regeneration and resurrection?  Both are cycles.  She wants no parts of your war – no parts of the blood you spill.  (She often twitches at the day men were allowed into labor rooms.)  The blood she spills is of living water; not of slain innocence and not of combat, campaign, or crusade.  Yes, pay close attention to whom God granted His living water.  It’s been said that it’s just too much.  Too crass, too saturated, too heavy.  Too brand new.  The blood.  Of cyclical possibilities with a scent of untouched earth waiting to be sown (or not).  Rain on the horizon.  Seeds taking root.  Her insides – the great outdoors.  It is her space and mine.  Immense pain and immense pleasure.  What of true life doesn’t birth both?  Charged with the permutation of unadulterated first breaths!  And we let them shame…tax…shun us for it.  A gift.  An offering.  A safe space that everyone has at least once been familiar with.  And we let them shame us for it?  A built in clock synced with the moon, ocean tides…with her who stands with me and for me.  And we let them shame us for it?  Born with everything we need.  To carry life.  And we let them shame us for it?  Phenomenal soil – watering itself from the inside out.  And we let them shame us for it?  Worth bleeding for.  And we let them shame us for…the blood.

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Of All Creation…

Today I want to create

Today I want white dresses

Painted in blood, in red dirt, in grass stains

In rays of sunshine

…Unwrinkled by the wind and wet heat

Today I want to create

Today I want seeds planted on the inside

(To be a walking ground; a foundation not phased by shifts)

Hands to my chest

So you may feel that the seeds beat too

(Just give ‘em some time)

Today I want to create

Today I want love dripping down my thighs

Until sticky

Until translucent turns flakey

Today I want my screams turned into song

My grip.  Turned into push.

My tears turned into oceans blue

No, into freshwater true

Can you swim?

Are you thirsty?

Would you like me to bathe you?

Today I want to create

Today I want to be loved

Into creation

…To loudly whisper love back into

You

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beti

Maa makes a salan for each son

because they like different things

 

but the beti needs to learn to make her own food

kyun ki uski age pe shaadi aur bachey hotey hain

 

larka jaan per be jaiy, jaise bi rai

maa ankh band karke osko kabi kuch boley gi nahi

 

beti aik galti kare

uski izzat zaban per aja ti hai

 

the sons can go out and party get a girl pregnant

but they’ll still be able to move on and find a good girl to marry

 

the girl stays out a bit later than 8 pm

might wear a t-shirt,

and the whole mohalla is calling her a slut, saying she’s no longer a virgin

 

truth is

we don’t love our girls as much as our sons

 

truth is

you have failed us girls

 

truth is

us girls are tired of walking on eggshells

of being thrown around, walked all over

and expected to have sabr

 

kehte hain betiyaan sab se bari rehmat hain

toh aaj hum ko kyun torey ho

 

Picture Credit: @thepakistanimarthastewart

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A dance in the dark

Now I find myself dancing
to the frantic beat of my heart
at the threshold of judgment
desperate for a figment of
something positive, warm
but realise that I’m shackled
by cynical negations, galore.
Here demons wear masks
of noblemen and kings
and brandish their swords
Continue reading A dance in the dark