In the photo above, taken during Freedom Summer, my mother is sitting in a chair, next to the young lady in the white headband. She was 13, 14 years old that summer. This was taken ten days before she and her sister weren’t allowed to get library cards because they were Black. The photo is from when Pete Seeger came through Hattiesburg and played at the Palmers Crossing Community Center.
Pete Seeger has always quietly felt like a handful of water that was poured into my mother’s dried hands, which she carried around with her through life. Just a little bit of water but water from she got from a good man. When we were kids she would pour some of that water into mine and my sister’s outstretched hands, playing his records after dinner, teaching them to us at breakfast. And not just her. In the morning before classes, the whole school would sing his words. All these years that water has traveled with me, quietly inside. That water spilling today makes my heart bend. For him and the goodness he spread, for me and my sister sharing his songs on long car rides of our childhood, for my mother thirsty in the south with a strengthening heart so many years back, for all the folks he touched by seeking out the good in people and using music to fight for it. Fare thee well Pete Seeger. I’m sure that similar to what you once sung, it’s not the leaving that’s grieving you, but all the ones who love you left behind.
photo courtesy of the University of Southern Mississippi
➜ Shake the Dust
This is pretty funny, pretty cool, and made me smile prettily
This is for the little brothers
For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy,
For the kid who’s always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers,
Shake the dust.
This is for the hard men who want love,
but know it won’t come.
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to and then are never spoken to.
Continues to the end of the poem here
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I very much like this poem
Our Imaginary Childhood by Sara Watson
There were eleven of us altogether: Winnie, River, Mary Jane, Dahlia, Honey, Ruby, Sofie, Izzy, Kid, Jack, and me. We slept in a pile like puppies. Each night we dreamed the same dream, wherein one of us declares her love for the others. In the morning, nobody could quite remember just who had said just what. Our parents spent whole days in bed. We brought them aspirins and glasses of water, buttered toast cut on the diagonal. They loved us but they had headaches. What we learned from them was this: to never be sorry for anything.
Via PANK. Read from from Ms Watson there. Photo by Kevin Russ.