by Kristi B. Merriweather


Out of Motherland Africa1,
ripped from my people
into the iron-heavy chains,
stifling my motions,
I look at the sea, the dark threatening waters
to carry us on an endless, wicked journey,
       I heard my weeping mother yell to me,

Out of slavery,
Lord knows the scars and horrors of my hands,
body, mind, & soul been through
I've forgotten my language, my home,
my hopes, my culture or even where
my family are.
Yet, as I watch my people heading for the
cities of the North or the farms of the South, no
money, no food, no clear guidance.
               Somewhere I heard my mother
               whisper to me,

Out of Jim Crow2,
with all its burning crosses and
burnt promises,
facing the stony faces of those that wear the
badge of law and order,
holding the nightsticks that have
senselessly beat
thousands of my people while we sang
"We shall overcome"3 and
trying to keep believing that.
Raise your Black Power fist
Say Right on, Black is beautiful.
Don't know why my head is hurting, some
kind of image is trying
to fight its way into it,
               It's screaming my mother's voice
              and eyes saying,

Out of the burning riots of LA,5
Through the red smoke of anger finally
I stand motionless to see the images finally
flashing before my eyes,
The drug dealers gaining control, the bullets
flying toward our people by
our own brothers,
the punch of the rap lyrics attacking the
dignity of sisters,
poverty, unwanted pregnancies, AIDS,7
clarence and anita8
               Suddenly, I saw the image of my mother
               Signing to me,

Out of the cosmos,9
Out of Africa,
Stationed here in America,
The Black Deaf Woman,
challenging and transforming systems
shattering restricting definitions
until she becomes in-defin-able,
timeless, progressive, creative,
and unstoppable.

     Don't you remember?