0.14 | The Cost | Delise Vann

To portray two sides at the same time;

an array of love with a mix of rage, a dash of shame, and a pint of bitterness.

Hate you for accepting my frustration. Love you for bending to my will.

Why must you be so fragile?

Yet, I cannot live without you. Who else would accept my violent love?

Do I remember the first time I struck you,

the first time I laid eyes on you,

made love to you all those decades ago?

Has it  instead melded into my graying memory?

Sepia dreams  do I remember more vividly instead,

Passionate romances, complacent betrayal

My lack of power and inability to change

and express the outrage in my heart

towards the bitter injustice of my time.

My weak flesh.

My woman my queen, you gave me power,

gave me someone to order around, as I was ordered around.

And as broken as our family became because of my drunken pride,

truly you have absorbed all the destruction reserved for me.

Instead, now you are in disrepair.

Can I accept my role in the aid to your decrypt state?

I dreamed of you as you were before

strong

vibrant

clear witted

absorbing the suns rays, creating a warm haven, comforting, embracing your  honey brown colored folds…..scent of clover on your hands… after scent of bleach and blood…

Awakening to the sound of gritted teeth.

and the ever ringing tones; echoes of bombs long since passed,

after affects of a  war in which I refused to fight.

Bedroom dark. Bed cold.

Your indentation still remains, your scent barely so,

Reserve for the closet where your dresses faded with the dirt and grime of time still hang.

Her mind collapsed and yet mine will not leave me, nor my body.

I wish she were as she once was…

My Marion.


I wrote this about my grandmother and grandfather, they were young Black Americans, met in Evanston, IL. Fell in love or close to it, married till death do us parted and broken.

I love them, now only my grandfather is alive and despite all his past mistakes and flaws,  I’m glad I have him in my life. Born in 1923, he  has lived through so much, survived the 30’s depression, WWII, segregation and being second class in his own country. He still does things his way stubborn and prideful. “I pay the cost to be the boss.”  He never said how high the cost was though, all this time, I see now though, that it was quite high.

I have a chance to do anything with my life that he didn’t have. From his mistakes, I’ve learned not to repeat his and he’s helped me become a better man for it.

And sometimes, if I’m lucky, my grandmother comes to me in dreams, looking like she did  when she was young, full of life and we dance together arm in arm to some swinging Big Band  tune till twilight passes and dawn comes and I wake up knowing I’m loved.

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