My grandfather was the Deacon of Zion Hope Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa Alabama

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I would spend my summers in the South as a child and I remember going to church every Sunday with my grandparents. My grandfather was the Deacon of Zion Hope Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa Alabama. My grandfather had a strong presence within the community. After church we would go home and my siblings and I would change out of our Sunday clothes. Not soon after arriving home the men of the congregation would come by and meet with my grandfather in the dining room to discuss who was in need and what each member could do to for the week to help their community. After the meeting my grandfather who also was a retired moonshiner and farmer told me and my brother to “gone down yonder to the shed and get me some empty boxes” I replied “grandpa where’s yonder” “ he looked at me and said “the shed baby”. After gathering about 40 boxes we went out into the house and enjoyed the Sunday dinner, chicken and dumplings that my grandmother had prepared before we went to church.

Early the next morning before the rooster crowed we went out into the fields and filled each box up with fresh fruits and vegetables. We loaded up the trunk, and the back seat of the car. The car smelled of sweet peaches, collard greens, onions and bell pepper. The pleasant and sweet aroma of fresh food filled my nostrils and made my belly growl. We drove down the dirt road and stopped at each house and placed a box on the porch.
There was one house that lingers in my memory til this day. The grey paint was worn and the three steps to the front of the porch needed repair. Only small chips of white paint remained on the wooden fence. There was one chicken plucking around in the yard, a used tire, and a rusty gasoline can lying sideways in the yard. That red flag with a blue X filled with white stars swaying in the wind seemed like the only thing that wasn’t in need of repair. I knew from watching roots recently that it was the confederate flag and in my six-year-old mind I’m thinking, why we here, and didn’t grandpa see roots. I was mad that I had to look at that flag especially now that I had an understanding of the meaning. My grandfather hopped out of the car grabbed a box of food and placed it on the porch. When he got back in the car I said “grandpa, why you give them food and they don’t even like us” he replied “baby, they need it”. It reminded me of what my grandmother had told me the night before at dinner “If somebody comes knocking on your door and they are hungry, feed them because you never know who it could be.”

A few days later even though it was hot outside it was raining non-stop and it felt as if the air and heat was smothering me. I got up from the swing on the porch and decided to go in the house and play office at my grandpa’s desk. I began looking through his books and noticed that he hadn’t collected rent since 1962. I grab the books and located my grandpa reading the newspaper at the kitchen table while drinking a cup of coffee. I take the books to him and lay them on the kitchen table and asked “did you know these receipts are 15 years old?” he replied “yes” I then tell him, “grandpa, we need to add up how much each person owes you and collect”. My grandfather looked at me with a smile on his face and said “baby, they family”.

Ancient wisdom reaches unimaginable paradigms…………

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Four owls align my driveway and they are sitting  on my manicured freshly cut lawn. Each owl sits the exact distance from one another to greet me as I return home.

I pull my grey range rover into the garage, shut the door, and walk onto my driveway and speak to those who seem to be awaiting my safe arrival

I look up and see an ocean of stars lighting the night and I’m inclined to say a prayer.

I remember when the owls were first born I watched them take there first attempt at flying across the open field.

Their home burrowed deep into the ground, protectors of the gates between the spirit world and the now

The next morning while sitting in my garage I open the door and gaze at the empty fields across the street from my home.

I open the glass french doors in the garage to allow the cool breeze to hit my skin and plop down into my lawn chair

Morning ritual!

As I’m sitting and enjoying my morning coffee I begin to contemplate and once again the question arises, “what is my purpose and why am I here”

A burrowing owl lands on the fence and looks me directly in the eye.

I’m amazed that its so close to me and not afraid as his glossy yellow eyes hold the secrets of the spirit world.

Messenger

A few minutes later, a second owl joins the other on the fence and begins hopping along the fence to make sure it’s in my view.

The phone rings and I rise to answer it, and as I’m walking away to fetch the phone I see a third owl join them.

When I return, the fourth owl lands and takes his position.

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I’ve known each one of them in a past life

I’m in a trance as I walk into my home crossing the threshold

My body lifts into the air and I float past the kitchen up the stairs and into my bedroom

Vague memories of the last few seconds is the only thing that exist in my chamber.

Gravitational pull leads to my understanding that the bearings 37.808 /-121.305 pulls me in between the two worlds.

Sacrificial goat feeds thy hunger as I await patiently for her.

I’ve been with her since the beginning of time.

Far and few experience incantation.

Ancient wisdom reaches unimaginable paradigms.

As I watched my mother sleeping on the cold concrete floor in the garage…..

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As I watched my mother sleeping on the cold concrete floor in the garage, I gain a profound love and respect for her. She had made a bed for us on top of a table in the garage and I could see her frame from the tabletop. She had comforters stored in containers in the garage and she grabbed a sleeping bag. I was five years old and my daddy had just got paid. She was to proud to go her family again and sleep for the night for she didn’t want to be the topic of conversation among the family. See my father had come home drunk on payday and ready to fight. Predictability told me that at any moment I would be awoken to the sound of my mother and father cursing and tumbling. Some days my mama would whoop his ass and on other days he would get the best of her.

A few years had gone by and the same scene would play out every two weeks, payday. My daddy comes home drunk, accuses my mama of sleeping with some unknown man and they would begin fighting. The next morning he would wake up and forget everything that happened. My mother would cover up and pretend nothing happened.  In the back of my mind at a young age I thought fuck this, I will never be with a man that hits on me. My mother could have turned us all against my father but she didn’t. If we ever tried to talk bad about my daddy to her she would say “don’t get ya ass whooped, that’s still your daddy”.

My mother and fathers love was one that we would consider nowadays to be #complicated. My father was a great provider. The one demon that haunted our family was that every payday he would drink and fight with my mama. My mother’s mother died when she was three years old and her father was barely in her life.

When I was five I came home from my best friend Mindy’s house and her parents had just got a divorce. Divorces became a commonality in the late 70’s. I remember my mother and I were driving to the store and as we rode, I stood on the floor of the in the backseat of my parent’s orange opal and said “mama you know that you can divorce daddy” she looked at me with a look of surprise and told me to mind my own damn business.  It took a decade before she left for good.

Their is one particular payday that will never be erased from my mind. I was eight years old and this fight seemed louder and more violent than any other fight I had witnessed before. I heard my daddy yell “bitch”. I could hear the terror in my mother’s voice as she shouted “Noooooooo”. The sound of the shotgun rang in my ear like a cannon that had gone off on the battlefield in the middle of war.  I raised from under the covers and yelled “mama”, no answer. Adrenaline had my heart feeling as if it were pumping out of my chest. The short distance from my parents room seemed like a mile away. He had threatened to kill her for many years but never did it. The walls, my body, my feet seemed to be moving in slow motion and I couldn’t get to my mama fast enough. When I open my bedroom door, I see my daddy running down the hall and out the front door. I finally get to my mama and she was crawling and struggling on the floor. The phone was just a couple of feet from her reach. Flesh exposed, I could see the bone in her thigh, I froze, as she crawled leaving a red blood stain trail on the green carpet. My older sister grabbed the phone and dialed 911 just to find that the neighbors had already called.

Within minutes the ambulance arrives and begins working on my mother. My sister grabbed me and my brother  and holds us close as they ran my mother down the hall on a gurney to the awaiting ambulance.  A sense of overwhelming anxiety descends upon me as emotions and thoughts of “my mama is about to die” take over my eight year old frame. My heart was broken for the first time in my life.

My mother survived this ordeal and my daddy was back home in two weeks. He was good for about one year.

See back then unless your wife pressed charges you were free to go. It’s saddens me that as an adult two of my closest friends mothers didn’t survive.

In a blink of an eye it all burns down……

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In a blink of an eye, it all burns down….questions arise…why are we so comfortable with genocide?

Clash of the wine glasses breaks not a silent tear, casting judgement upon those we hold dear.

Insignificant differences passes on to the next like a game of tag played on a board of chess, turning our heads to the multiple crimes sub-consciously committed.

Un-foretold stories of a past, hidden in the shadows of the dark spirit that follows superficial ego..

Images repeatedly planted in your mind distracting you from the real meaning of this very moment.

Hemispheres shifting into altered directions, iridescent lights.

Yearning for our children to remember as they navigate to continents afar.

The ocean with the floor of snow cracked open with a roar, destroying all pathways to our family door…..

Harsh winters with beast of foreign origin suppressing memories we once adored.