I also want to point out that these poems, just about all of them were written in text messages to the man I love, My Thing:
Just want to let you know that another poem from Shawsheen Memorial Broom Society
may be seen online, a portion of “Devil Mutant Child” as published in Plume
Thylias Moss from Devil Mutant Child as in Plume
A poem of hair.
(I am wearing the hat of my Thing, my favorite hat, by the way; he is the Pizazz in my life):
My mother, from the south in the 1930s grew up ashamed of color, of whatever drew attention to her societal unacceptability, her inferiority, lack of formal education, and all associated trappings: worse of all, her Africanized hair texture. How she suffered, her own siblings with lighter skin, calling her the “Little Black One” long before “black” had been reclaimed as a badge of pride. She worked as a maid, serving her superiors, and still having to honor these white women with the complexion and hair she still craves, often dressed in their cast-offs.
No matter what, her hair revealed she was the lowest, as she calls it, that to this day, she tries to eradicate by frying her hair and using all those skin lightening creams. None leave a permanent transformation which is what she really wants. Makes me cry every time, my own mother who never learned to reclaim these signs of identity as sources of pride.
She vowed her child would not suffer what she did, despised by paler ones with straighter, “better” hair, “good” hair, for that is what I have, direct inheritance from my pale, mixed race, father and his completely non-black father, an immigrant from India, half Caucasian —yes, she used that term about her own daughter, as I had what she lacked. Yes, she was jealous of me, used to hit me, in efforts to slap the superiority out of me, but I was too much like my father who refused to hit anything that should be loved. I understand what she saw in my father, but I do not know what he saw in her.
To her, the only writers worth anything were those who wrote books of the bible. She condemned me to hell, that Christian woman, every chance she got.
In this sense, she who knew nothing about facts of genetics, did her best to have a child who would not suffer these disgraces of inferiority as I would have the badge of respect and better treatment, decent treatment, simple respect: college educated with Good Hair.
She cannot love me.