Teach Me How To Remember The Forgotten

“I have mastered the art of supplanting sadness with stories”

Dedicated to my mother, Grace Georgeanne MacKay:

I forgive you. I hope you forgive me too.


I am the 5th born – daughter of immigrants

Black, White, Spanish, Native

Raised without a father by a motherless mother who came to this country carrying the sands of Jamaica in her pocket


Mother once told me

a story of Jamaica

her Beloved

how as a youth

she climbed a coconut tree

in search of a piece of paradise

and in her pursuit, she climbed

thinking only of the soon to be realized


cracking open the green shell

slowly sipping the sweet nectar

as the pulpy flesh of the coco

melted on her tongue


In America, she made us a home

where I spent my days

Seeking a poem to give wings to the flightless birds crowding the cage of a heart I’ve made


In sickness, melancholia, desperation to hold on

Lupus, ever the fickle fiend, stole my heart the day she finally let go

Forgive me


I taste the sour of my mother’s sorrow on my words



Holidays are hard

I don’t have the ideal family for


I lost my mother

Only to find her in empty kitchen cabinets

Hole ridden socks

Tattered comforters


In what’s missing

I am the island 

That once belonged to a continent

Displaced by a schism

I am odd and out of place


And perplexed

I want all of the wants

Needing everything but


By the simple things

A good morning text

A check in call

A smile 

From a stranger on the subway


As I sit here on this bed

that once birthed Nuyorican beauties

into this world

but now carries the weight of their plight

on her shoulders

I feel that she is


worn out

from making love

and bearing the brunt of

broken hearted bodies

thrusting their anger into her –

wearing down her springs

and her fluff is only fluffy

in pockets

there are holes where

heads and thighs lay

imprinted into her flesh


She has soaked up

my tears

more times than I would

like to remember

and only she could mute

my sobs

as she pressed gently against my face


rocking with me

shaking with me

until she lulled me to sleep

She knows I love too much

stiffens up

late at night as I write

or think

or love

or breathe


making me uncomfortable

as if to say:

“Leave well enough alone”

But I was never one

to take too kindly

to polite suggestion.


I sit here as mage, muse, maker,

mentor for too many ideas and too little direction.

An anchorless vessel, a many branched tree, taken in every direction

stretched out towards the sun;

basking in the light in our words, its warmth enveloping me, sustaining me

Feels something like home

trapped in memories of happier times

Feeling too much, all at once

Desperate for an escape 

to find the sweet spot between the 12s

Dress myself up in fancy phrases

Drown my sorrows in old fashioned ways

No need for subtitles when imbibing with spirits

I have mastered the art of supplanting sadness with stories

Weaving trauma into silken veil

The eternal plight of women who have learned to run with wolves;

Oracles perceived as emotional refuse

with a cool glass of liquid forgetting

So, if you ever walk into a bar, you’ll find me

becoming the home I so desperately need


What Do You Think?

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