Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Africa Reflections 2

I had these moments of startling revelation. Numinous connections wove together in the most intricate of patterns in my mind. I could see myself in these African people. In their bright, brown eyes and sable skin. In their struggles and in their suffering, even though my life was so much easier. But we shared a history, of this place of beauty and terror. Oh, lovies. I was very much at home in Africa. So much was familiar that it hurt to experience deep in my bones my seemingly endless separation.

There was this little girl. In a red dress. Honey chile, let me tell you, sistahs love a red dress the whole world over. She didn't have many clothes. Maybe this was her only dress, but she took good care of it. This little dumplin' treasured it.
When I saw her I laughed. "Black girls and red," I thought, grinning to myself. "It's a universal longing." I And then this girl child conjured a poem I hadn't thought of in years. Who Look At Me, by the amazing, late June Jordan. This line came to me:

I cannot remember nor imagine pretty
people treat me
like a doublejointed stick



the tempering sweetness
of a little girl who wears
her first pair of earrings
and a red dress

Jumbo said women have it worst of all in Swaziland. The country is built on their backs, and it's the go-gos, the grandmothers keeping these children together on a whispered prayer and not much else. Women and girls are treated like chattel in Swaziland, and they endure unimaginable violations of body, soul and spirit, daily. Can you imagine the brutal paradox of such comeliness? A princess in a red dress, and a doublejointed stick, this darling little girl both these things. lovies. And all I can think, with my heart breaking, is "Isn't she lovely?"

I cry to think of what her life is like. And I had to leave her there.

Oh, my Jesus, pardon and mercy, by the merits of Your holy wounds.

piccha by Ty Samson, my godbaby!


heather said...

Now, come on. We white girls love our red dresses too.
Red makes a girl look good. And who can't smile in red?

Joni said...

That picture brought tears to my eyes. She is a lovely girl, stuck in a not-so-lovely world. My heart ached for her.

Thank you for sharing reflections with us...

D. Gudger said...

She's so striking! She captivates me.

Candy said...

She is absolutely beautiful. My heart aches for her and for all her sisters - all of our sisters. Black or white we all know pain, and red dresses. I can attest to that. And I am aware of how our pain here pales in comparison to their pain there. It makes me so angry that there are little girls all over the world and here at home living in such pain. It makes me long for home.

Esther said...

Dear Ms. Diva - It was so good to read you this morning... I'm ultra glad you're back safely and I can't wait to get all caught up on your blog writings. We'll talk soon! Love you - Fellow Ragamuffin Esther :)
PS Love your new Ash Wednesday photo!

Karen Deborah said...

I ordered your new book today. I've been cruising by looking for a new post. I enjoy your writing!