Small with Crisp Curly Hair

By | 1 February 2019

My hair defines me.
My land, my country is held in my hair that grows, and holds me
I touch my hair. It is fuzzy, soft and enjoyable to play with
I have hidden treasures in my hair.
Once, I carried a strong wooden comb, it sat cradled in my hair
I felt a sense of being safe
I combed my hair with it, and built up my Afro
I have tried to tame my hair by plying it with foreign poisonousness chemicals
but to no avail, my hair rebelled
fell to the ground in huge lumps
new short tight fuzzy hair grew in its place.
I tried to put heat to my hair with a hot iron
but again, when interacted with water my hair positioned itself
back to its natural state.
I have tied it, bound it, twirled and plaited it
wrapped a scarf around it, placed a flower in it
and still it creeps out and reveals itself.
My hair was on show when I was young
a teacher in primary school stood over me one day with a pencil in her hand
she searched among my fuzzy hair.
My hair took the brunt of hate
called dirty and smelly.
Hated. It was uncontrollable.
Hard to deal with,
Could not be tamed.
Yet, my hair knows me, and I am starting to know my hair.
My hair connects me to my father,
my grandmother, my cousins, my family.
I don’t want my hair tamed
I don’t want my hair controlled.
I look at my grandma and see her hair deeply rooted in her background
She is beautiful.
I look at my grandma and see her
the backbone of my grandma, the smile of my grandma
the eyes of my grandma, the hands of my grandma
and most of all the beautiful, shiny, clear skin of my grandma
See her hair deeply rooted in her background
She is beautiful.
And now, I call to you all.
Who speaks? Who listens? Who hears?
In this here place, Baby Suggs in Toni Morrison’s Beloved says:
We flesh, flesh that weeps, laughs, flesh that dances on bare feet
in sand on Indigenous lands
Love it, love your feet.
Love your legs as they carry your beautiful body that you think is unloved and despised.
They out there can’t love you, you must love you.
Love your skin, love your neck that have held chains, unshackle yourselves.
Don’t let your neck be their tool for death.
Straighten up your neck, face them.
Love your hands.
Raise them up.
Kiss them.
Touch others with them.
Stroke your face.
Love your face, because they have tried to change us.
Love your mouth, and hear what comes forth.
Love your hair.
Most of all … love your beating heart.
Take in air.
For each time you breathe is a political statement.
For we have survived.
Occupy and enjoy.

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