In the Beginning
I slept in a crib until I grew out of it.
My older sister slept in her own room.
Mine was the living room, the room
that my nana trained us to call a “parlor.”
I would send myself to dream
seeing flecks of brain chemical colors
that mimicked the wallpaper
in my sleepy head, as it rested on the pillow
just underneath a picture of cats on a fence.
I hated school. If I was a Viking,
every grade would’ve been razed.
I didn’t like wearing new pants for
the first day. They came from the
“irregular” store, every item a mark-down.
How that starchy, un-broken-in fabric made me itch.
I learned to learn on my own.
My young mind was a chalk board
full of the cartography of a world that forgot
Every time I fell asleep, I was wide awake
and my soul grew like a giant. When I awoke,
I came back to a sicker body, forgotten
in a world that yawned when it spoke.
That’s why I turned to the drums:
That kept me awake.
I was often sick. But my illness
waited for me in “the future.”
Doctors, with thumbs in their mouths,
goo-goo-ga-ga-ing like suicidal baby dolls.
Drumming and words were my healing.
The unerasable spray paint.
The balm for my spirit.