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And The Lion Laid Down To Sleep

The Lion Laid Down to Sleep - Elegy for Uncle Red

He opened his mouth in that smoky smooth voice and made you feel like he was not miles away. His voice cut through the clutter to utter clarity in the situation. We sat at his feet and met him in the virtual and he was as real as real as any man could be.
He gave it straight and honest and without the fluff to cloud the truth. Many phone calls and hours of council and he was giving in wisdom. If you listened you learned and niece was daughter and nephew was son.
He never faked the funk and told it like it was so you could get on with the doing what you should be doing. The Lion's roar is the voice of reason, the pragmatic is what it is to help you find your way though the what ifs and the whys. No apologies in his realness, radical red self. He knew the what and didn’t bother too much with the why, just saw it clear and invited you to be bold.
His voice message, “well hello, I’m not available to take your call” was in that cool groove smooth mellow ain’t nothing going to bother me voice. I will be here for you daughter call me anytime, Get on with the living it is only one you have. Do you and don’t worry about the rest, yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is all you have, Mother Used to Say, he’d say and don’t look back He’d say  life is not a test keep living and grooving and how are the kids? I love you he’s day and I knew I would have coffee with him again and we talked over dinner in LA.
He dropped some pearls and talked me through and kept it like it was no excuses no worries no judgment just love. Listen and learn and let it  sink in he gave it straight and spoke to the heart and made you feel like you were all the world.
He was just a man fifth child first son and my mother loved her brother and he called his sister every day in the living giving to say, hey today I’m breathing today  lion laid down his pride standing around to love and touch and call. Let  it be he’d tell me to live and keep on and do what Mother said too cool for all that too smooth for this and that and he heard it all and gave it clear. He gave it straight if you could hear.
Aloysius Bumpty Red Uncle Brother Father Dad.
And the Lion Laid Down to Sleep.

by Tayé Foster Bradshaw (niece of his eldest sister)
July 8, 2014, spoken word piece for the St. Louis Memorial.performed on Saturday, July 12, 2013

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This isn't mine anymore

What?

This.

She stretched out her hands
the parcel neatly wrapped
brown paper
with a
red bow

What is this?

Take it, it is your's.

But

No, it is not mine to carry
Anymore

What do you mean?

I mean that I am giving it back
it was never mine
anyway

I don't understand

You never did.

I don't want it.

Take it.

No.

So she
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And turned
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The package was never her's to hold.
So she let it go.


Tayé Foster Bradshaw is the poet's nom de plumme. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis surrounded by her family, her books, her pens, and her lattes.

This poem is inspired by the lives and burdens of many women, particularly women of color, who are forced to carry the cares, thoughts, and expectations of others without regard to their own wants, needs, and health. This poem is a release.




Bridges by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

Walking
across time
Bringing me to you
or
you to me
over a way through-
tears and fears
to bring us to
the other side of possibility
probability
reality
reality
crossing
structures
through
over
under
hold on
don't look down
look down
walk on over
dance on over
wheels on over
over over over
water and roads and
all the modes that
bring
me
to
you
or





you
to
me
collectively
connected
collaborating
across
the great
wide
way


©2016. Tayé Foster Bradshaw Group, Antona Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Bridges used to scare me as a little girl. In the town where I grew up, in order to get from my neighborhood over to the swimming pool or summer activities, we walked. I was always fine until we reached the crest of the hill and that looming structure that connect roads-to-roads, over cars zooming beneath, promising me opportunity on the other side, if I just trusted the weight of my tiny skinny nine-year-old self against the wind blowing or the sun streaming over this manmade steal structure.  My l…

Black Mama Tears

It rained this afternoon

Loud claps of thunder

Almost couldn't see the rain

For my tears falling down

Black Mama Tears

too many

dying

in their sleep

on a run

at a store

too many

stopped

just walking

just working

just breathing

It rained today

And I couldn't see

for all the weeping

of

Black

Mamas.