#BlackLivesMatter

South African poet Willie Kgositsile posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution.

“When the moment hatches in time’s womb there will be no art talk,” he wrote. “The only poem you will hear will be the spearpoint pivoted in the punctured marrow of the villain….Therefore we are the last poets of the world.”

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Fathers From Around the World

My heartfelt thanks to Holistic Wayfarer (on A Holistic Journey)and the amazing writers with whom I share this space to pay tribute to our fathers.

Happy Father’s Day to dads … past, present and future.

A Holistic Journey

When I was not yet three years old, John Richard and Grace Elizabeth Ingram adopted me from an orphanage in southwest London. When I was four, a stroke left Dad paralysed down his left side; he died when I was 18.

I can still hear the cranky squeaks of your wheelchair. And the clicking of the calipers attached to your legs below the knee. There was the incessant wheezing from the asthma that later attended the paralysis. Your body was your burden. Your light relief was watching the BBC news and “being tickled pink,” as you liked to say, by the old classic British comedies. Dad’s Army. The Good Life. Rising Damp. As a child I longed to pick you up and carry you on my back. Far and away from your wheelchair and back to the fleeting memory I had of you as my able-bodied dad…

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Tribute to my father

When I was not yet three years old, John Richard and Grace Elizabeth Ingram adopted me from an orphanage in southwest London. At the time, my dad was the minister of a thriving church and I was the fourth (and youngest) adopted kid in my family. My heritage is of African descent and my adoptive parents are Caucasian. When I was four, a stroke left my father paralysed down his left side; he died when I was 18.

Due to the stroke, it was difficult for dad to speak so we spent countless hours communicating by playing games of dominoes. Dad would rest his paralysed arm on his card table and play a ferocious game of dominoes with his “good arm.” Invariably he won. Ironically, my dad’s nickname for me was “Topsy.” Even if I didn’t win against him at dominoes he expected me to come top of the class in all my school subjects. I did my best not to let him down.

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If I quiet the voices in my head I can still hear the cranky squeaks of his wheelchair. The clicking made by the calipers that were attached to his
legs below the knee. The incessant wheeze from the asthma that attended the paralysis. His body was his burden.

As a child there were times when I longed to pick him up and carry him on my back. Far and away from his wheelchair and back to the fleeting memory I had of him as my able-bodied dad. Now that I’m an adult, I believe there are no accidents. My dad is my role model and I have found my dream job improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Thank you dad! Happy Father’s Day.

Why I Don’t Diet – An Ode to My Father

I encourage you all to read this extraordinary account. There is something here for everyone. Peace and blessings, Michele

More Cabaret

Tiffany Kell headshotMy father died three weeks ago. He was in hospice, with all the pharmacological and technological assistance available to keep him comfortable and pain-free, but it was still, as deaths go, not a good one.

I had flown in hours after I’d heard about his fall. He was in late-stage heart and renal failure, and this fall was the beginning of the end. When I arrived, a nurse popped into the room to check on him. “Are you in pain?” she asked. “Just a little,” my dad said, joking through his wincing.

It didn’t have to end like this.

My father was born larger than life, to a family of larger than life people. DNA sequencing showed we are almost entirely Viking stock, no great surprise given the height and breadth of our bodies.

When my father turned 20, he was over 6’2 and 300lbs. His feats of athleticism echoed…

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The Perpetual Game


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Stones, lichen, decay, rebirth — as a child, I used to practise my tennis shots up against a wall similar to the one in the photograph. The trick of playing a good shot was not to let the ball bounce against the sharp points of the stones.

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You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.
Albert Einstein

The Nomad Commentaries

Commentary No. 1

“Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil. – Frederick Douglass. 

Commentary No. 2

I wander away from the screen

Tear holes in the routine.

For a brief moment, I have time on my hands.

Where do I begin?

I will hold your eyes, see me.

You watch as I read the songlines on your palms, caress your forks in the road.

You can breathe in, but not out again

If you so choose.

Where is your heart’s compass? Where’s your heart’s Due North?

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It can take time for messages to come ashore.

It can take time for the vowels to sail forth past the ego:

The consonants seem to take even longer. God knows

Why…

It takes injury for this mesmerist to rein in her consciousness:

To peel the old paint on her story.

Only through art can I languish and pretend not to exist.

Hold 1

Commentary No. 3

Writing brought by abstract painting to the paper.

Commentary No. 4

With a slow burning heart 
I drive to the pharmacy with my guitar all the hours of the 24.

Fame is a drug on prescription all the hours of the 24.

After a lifetime of searching I found my biological father on Facebook. My shadow self is battling to hold onto me. She’s cutting my clothes to smithereens.

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Commentary No. 5

One day I will write about inner peace.

Growing in seedpods.

Nurtured in short bursts of poetry.

Seagulls hover over me

Waiting for yesterday’s bread.

Let the NOW be of use to you angel, seer, believer,

Friend, ally, I love you.

Iroquoi Nation

How do we reconcile our unconscious desires?

Our labyrinth.

How do we fly above ourselves to

highlight, to minimize, to free

ourselves from the loop of assumptions,

groove of greed.

Juice of injustice.

Commentary No. 6

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An Englishman rolls down his car window to shout the word nigger at me.

A white colleague calls me a cross between a dog and a slave.

How do I reconcile this information?

Do I laugh it off? Do I take myself less seriously?

Transcend my pride

Ego

Injury

Humiliation

My feeling of total wipeout.

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With unconditional love…

“I love you, please forgive me, I’m sorry, thank you.”

Commentary No. 7

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Here I write in the house I was conceived in. If I am mistaken, I go about it quietly, fastidious as I am in matters of delicacy. My great great grand-mother Alice (the ancestor with the long tail) never tired of telling me that forgetfulness is for the mind with pinhole capacity.

“How are you my darling apparition?” I say giving Alice an impromptu kiss. A line coruscates her forehead. She waits. She frowns. She tumbles into the other world.

After an interval, Alice re-appears as a shimmering blur. Her blurred outline manifests a balance beam and she hops up onto the four-inch wide platform and strikes a pose in the dark recess of our wooden house: empowering the occupants to set sail to the New World.

Whether our family reaches its destination depends upon the wellbeing of our slaves.

This man has polio

Commentary No. 8

In Sierra Leone, West Africa, everything is broken 
in pieces strewn apart.

My ancestors’ medals 
that were pinned to their chests
 are now buried in the family archives.

Today in our Freetown neighborhood, it’s aching with rain. I’m waiting for my sister to finish up her meeting 
with the Director of Reparations.

In the ether her words comingle,

bare her soul like an abstract painting.

I wish I had the perfect umbrella for her; but I don’t.

In Sierra Leone we’re all in the waiting room.

The Peace

Commentary No. 9

Limbo only meant to be temporary, not held in this position, in this way for all my life.

Commentary No. 10

The Nomad Commentaries — Artist’s Statement.

In attempting to document my personal experience, I found myself in an autobiographical dilemma. I was yet to become socially aware and still had to become politically conscious of the black diaspora which informed my artistic roots. But when I came to articulate this journey, I realized the Eurocentric linear narrative formula could never adequately explain what I was feeling, and I searched for an art form to combine the diaphanous threads of my lost indigenous peoples, my Eurocentric scholastic disciplines and my vivid childhood as a child of the punk era: a child of The Clash and The Sex Pistols and the clash of cultures.

My early training as a dancer gave me the courage to investigate and discover that it is vital to find a common universality, a non-linear language. The following years were immersed in transcribing what I felt to be messages from my ancient past: layers of identity blurring boundaries and stirring my cellular memory. It took several years before my instincts led to me to produce documentaries as a catalyst for positive social change.

Furthermore, by employing text, video and mixed media and floating together photographic, painted and digital images, I discovered how to connect the fragments of my mixed African-European identity and begin the journey of reaching outside of myself to communicate messages of faith, healing, oneness and love.