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Mama Tayé's Elder's Prayer - Offering Eleven, Day One Hundred

Mama Tayé's Elder's Prayer - Offering Eleven, Sharing Day One Hundred
In the dawning of this new day as frost dusts our morning window with the crisp bite of winter's cold kiss in the air, as the calendar turned to day one hundred that one son's blood still screams out from the street and activists still scream out through hoarse voice, we pause, we pause for a moment.
Calling on the ancestors,our great ones, our spirit one, our creator, in this moment of realizing we, the many we of us, have been fighting an exhausting fight for 100 days, we call for our strength to journey one. We are resilient, even tired, but tenacious and determined and buoyed to keep striving for a people left without answers. In the psychological game of announcing no announcing, while hate gathers guns and anonymous pulls off hoods, we still hear the cry of this son left face down for four hours. Avenge me, remember me, change for me.
When the least of these traveled to the halls of the greatest of these and demanded that black lives matter and stood in silent solidarity, they put the world on notice. The people are awake from their slumber and are throwing off the shackles of their fake brands and fake names and fake hair to hold strong to the greatness of our heritage. Voices have been found and in being found, are sounding out in sopranos and baritones, straight and gay, married and single, young and old, parent and child, let the voices mingle together to sing this chorus that not this time.
It will never be the same again and we say good, let it never be the same again. Put the businesses on notices that there will be on lines at the door on the day the first nation was slaughtered for pilgrims lost on a shore, there will be no trinkets to hypnotize the people to rush your doors and forget you refuse to hire and pay, refuse to invest, sat back and watched for years then want to remember you need that trillion dollar base. Never again.
The fear of the ones who promoted hate ringing from the airways and rushing petrified to buy a gun fail to know that 100 days of unarmed activists are not the ones they should fear. When will they know that the boys in blue are the boys in hoods and their actions have been years of fear of being a minority in a country they stole and built on backs on labor they stole. The people are awake.
Looking into the white frost sky and seeing beyond the clouds, feeling the spirit's soul embrace in this movement divinely ordained and set in motion years before the war cry was penned and millennial au was born, let us hold on to the ancestor's strength. Let us honor those who fought this fight 400 years ago, 200 years ago, 50 years ago, 101 days ago, we link together for the long arch of justice to reach into every nook and cranny of every nook and cranny where our people exist.
Seek knowledge and use it to move forward in strong voices, be strategic in actions against an enemy itching to slaughter sons and daughters more. Stand together, share together, survive together.
We remember the students who sat in and the entrepreneurs who refused to give in, even as a rope and a tree met were his fate, we remember his sacrifice to share the pictures today, to teach today that this fight is not a new one and it is one that must continue. We must not forget the dark end of the alley where the sisters walked past lewd men while pictures now celebrate what a non-melinated one is capitalizing on. We keep the memories of the ones who had to wash others clothes because they had to feed a family even as they dreamed of their own line, we keep the memories of cheated farmers and raw hands, of intellectuals teaching in one-room school hours because ivory towers were too ivory for ebony's entrance. We remember.
This is a journey, let us take this journey together one step at a time, in hands kept warm and screens telling the story, we keep going. Striving on, connecting on, Standing in the face of systems breaking down so we prepare to build our own. Each teach one moving forward one step at a time in Geneva and Ferguson, we take our stories and tell the world. Using the tools set before us to be people of promise.
One hundred days and we reach up and out, cry-out in heart rendered souls, how long, not long? We cry out and lose our chains, we stand united and love one another to a new day.
Mama Tayé


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The Burden

This isn't mine anymore



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

What is this?

Take it, it is your's.


No, it is not mine to carry

What do you mean?

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

I don't understand

You never did.

I don't want it.

Take it.


So she
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


in their sleep

on a run

at a store

too many


just walking

just working

just breathing

It rained today

And I couldn't see

for all the weeping




Bridges by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

across time
Bringing me to you
you to me
over a way through-
tears and fears
to bring us to
the other side of possibility
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

the great

©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…