Why Some Southerners Are Still Mad

Landscape Palms 4 stones in Zen Rock Upright formation on beach AW.com 2021 postn Why Some Southerners are Still Mad

It is rarely as it seems. ~ photo by Alice walker 2020

 

Why Some Southerners Are Still Mad
©2021 by Alice Walker

You are still suffering
Because you believe
You lost
The love
Of
Black women.

Let that thought
Take you to the couch.

Knowing black women
As you do,
Even today,
Though many try to hide
What they are:
With wigs and bleach, makeup
And boniness,
Somewhere in that tangled
Rag of memory
All Southerners have,
You still hold onto your “Grandma”
Addie, your “auntie” June,
Your Frankie Mae.

It was their milk,
After all, that so often
Settled you; the food they cooked,
The energy that formed
Your parents’ and grandparents’
Even your great grandparents’
Bones;
Their scent that
Filled your world,
Redolent and mouth slobbering
As boiling collards;
As they held you
Against those earth colored
And unbelievably
Wondrous breasts.

The stupid War
(Which all wars are)
Took all of that
Away.

And you were taught
They never loved you
But only pretended
And that your “real” mama
Figure conscious
As Scarlett O’Hara
And never
Permitting herself to tan,
Unlike brown as taffy
Hattie Mae,
Was the only one
Who cared.

Go back. Unearth
Those longings
And fraught feelings
Of anger, loss,
Helplessness,
And pitiless
Abandonment.

These women
Who against all odds
Did love and care for you
Would want your freedom

Especially your freedom
To love not only in the past
But in the present

Would want you to discover
How you could again be close
To something precious
If long vanished.

And not continue
In this sad time
To seek love, blindly,
By destroying it.

***