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Mama Tayé's Elder's Prayers

Over the course of a few weeks, in the beforemath and aftermath of the tragic, senseless murder of unarmed Ferguson teen, Michael Brown, I began to call upon the elders the ancestors the ancients in our moments of grief, anger, and disbelief that this repeated fifty-year cycle in St. Louis played out on the body of this eighteen year old innocent.  In so doing, I wrote these prayers, chants, utterances to the United Front and share them here to give honor to all the innocent blood shed at the end of hatred's weapon:

Sharing One:
May this Friday, this day rise up and greet you in peace and purpose. May you capture hold of the reason we are all connected here in this time and this place using this technology to make this change in this day. Let the spirit of the elders surround and guide you, let their strength encourage you, and let their sacrifice humble you. May you walk in connected universal love with your brothers and sisters, whether we are milky vanilla or creamy espresso, whether our hair flows in waves or reaches for the sky in tight spirals, may we remember and honor the ancestors that paved the way for us to be here in this time and this place in this land that we are the unique tribe. May you look out with direction and guide those younger than you. May you find your voice and use it positively. May you see differently, speak differently, and think differently about your brothers and sisters across the diaspora, across this land we embody, and across the bloodlines that infuse our existence. May you honor the great within each of us and may your strive for the best in this United Front. Asé. Mama Tayé, National Leader, Chief Mama, Teacher and Poet in Residence.

Sharing Two:
May we pause and give reverence to our Great Creator and honor the universal presence that fills our collective selves as people of the earth, the sun, and the sand, people who are proudly black and coming back to embrace the divine connection we share.
May we never forget the lives that were lost and hold their memory high and remind each other not to let complacency fill us and have their lives be in vain.
May we hear the call of their spilled blood to demand justice and personhood for the ones who remain to carry on with hope and in hearing the clarion call of the sons and daughters of the streets.
May we who are older humble ourselves and put aside our pride to listen to the young who are living a life very different than what we experienced. Let us hear what they are saying and take direction from the courage they have shown in the face of bullets, tear gas, weaponry, and dogs. Let us know the young have the courage to lead.
May the ones who are young humble themselves and listen to the strategic wisdom and lived history of the elders who are able to fill in the gaps and guide them on a path into a better future. Let them honor our struggle and our efforts and may they also forgive us for letting our guards down while evil rose up in gear meant for a battle field.
May we, the collective people whose skin has been touched by the sun, remember that in this thread that ties us together, we, the 13%, are all that we can truly depend on in this earth, guided by the Holy Divine and the drum beats that make our souls dance. Let us learn to hear and answer the call to truly take care of our future.
May we pause in this weekend of labor's rest to take a moment to breathe and know that many among us will never be able to inhale among those who want to otherize. Let us enjoy time with family and friends and still look for opportunities to circulate among ourselves those precious few resources needed to build our land.
May we share together, laugh together, love together, and grown together.
Asé, an elder's prayer by Mama Tayé

Sharing Three:
sun streams through the welcoming of fall with our children's minds eager and willing to learn, trusting that we, the parents and elders, will guide them through their journey. Let us take this time to nourish their soul and tell them of their greatness that exists beyond a cotton field or master's whip. Let us remind them and each other of the kings and queens, the inventors of math and science, the literary works that are as ancient as the sand. Let us extol the ancestor's works so these children know their blood reaches to the very first existence of time and that it is this greatness that causes others to fear. Let us stand with them and for them and behind them as they show us their course and tenacity as the young have led the march in Ferguson, facing down tanks and guns and sheer hate for their sunkissed skin. Let us hold on and lean on and link on together for our few are great and our great are many. As we journey into the sunset of this Friday night and face a weekend of possibility impacting with our refusal to spend where we are not welcome, let us remember that we stand on the shoulders of greatness and lift up the spirits of our purpose. Asé.

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The Burden

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
dropped
it
right
where
she stood.

And turned
and walked away.

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.




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.

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…