Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bay Rum, Vicks Vapour Rub, Phensic - My Mother: Her Scents & Secrets

No, Mama
is the woman lying there
beneath that unrepentant earth

Her boned knuckles clutched around 
the off-white King James Version Bible
we buried with her with

because it was her favourite book.

Although it had pages that were falling out;
it had many verses underlined 

and I felt the words that she read to comfort her
during hard times, ALIVE,
might aid her as she ventured into the unknown.

It was that same Bible that fed her Faith
and prayers which she tried to leave with us
as she died without leaving a will,
What would have been the point?
There was nothing to be divided up
or shared anyway!

She lived and farmed on 'family plots'
of land
handed down
from generation to generation

We also buried her with her glasses
'Cause she could never read properly without them
And to this day I am still aghast
That her best friend,
Aunt Dor [Doris] insisted that we gave HER
the glasses
As where 'Amy was going she naah go need dem!'

I barely held my peace
When some years later,
My brother Dave
told me that Aunt Dor
who was older than my mother
is now blind
But refuses to die.

MOMS make the world seem a better place
Less frightening somehow
They are tangible.. visible confirmation
of the 'medium' via which we entered this world
Ceremonial goddesses 

whose 'templed' bodies 
'hosts' our second most important rite of passage.

I remember clearly 

that my mom's bosom always held icy mint sweeties
Unless they were in her black bag 

hung on a nail behind her bedroom door

And she ALWAYS had a safety pin or two 
in the folds of her clothes somewhere
In case something needed mending 

and no needle and thread were nearby
And a hair pin pan that also held hairnets

And a bed head that was her personal pharmacy
Her main remedies: Bay Rum and Phensic and Vicks Vapour Rub

She used to make Cornmeal pudding:
"Fire a top, Fire a Bottom, Hallelujah inna middle"
And Plaintain porridge
ANd blue draws also called tie-a-leaf.
Remembering and Missing my mom: Amy Downer. 
P.S. My mother died with secrets But I DIDN"T tell them here as promised.
When writing about the dead and especially some one as your mother

One wants to be careful what secrets you tell.

I have been struggling for months with HOW to write about my mother
I am getting there
I hope to write that blog post by the end of this week.

My Big Sis Precious at My Mom's Grave in Belfont, St. James
Jamaica in March 2012.