Saturday, September 11, 2010
POETRY: Honey Bun
I have a Great Aunt whose name is Edith Daughtery. Folks my age and older call her Aunt Sis. When Aunt Sis' grandson Ryan was born, she would call him Honey Bun, and so he started calling her Honey Bun in return. All of my younger brothers and sisters know Aunt Sis as Honey Bun.
This short woman with a giant's spirit still lives in the same house that is right next door to where the house she grew up in once stood. She still lives, in her mid-80s, by herself in Ronceverte, West Virginia. Ronceverte is the town where my family were slaves. My Dad travels from Charleston to Ronceverte to see her every other weekend, and this spitfire woman still works as a house cleaner, still runs the street like a fast teenage girl, and teaches the children's service at her church.
When I came out of the closet, she shrugged and said to tell her something that she didn't know.
I love my Aunt Sis, and I wrote this poem for her.
Sweet like honey
Hunched and laughing
Streams course along her
'bout blackberry brandy
Brewed up out back
'long side the white lightning
Fried chicken and chittlin's
Collards green like those hills
Just out the backdoor
The stone wombs
That sheltered Her
That child of 1709
According to the Bill of Sale
Across the Middle Passage
Implanted in those Hills
born from a coal mine
And mountain granite
Gave birth to a black bird
Sweet like fresh honey
We shall overcome
As she built a bonfire
To celebrate Brown v Board of Education
Said, "Don't know who burnt down the Negro school."
Hehehe she laughed
"But I do know they wasn't sending my children back."
Black bird said, "I am old and crazy as hell."
She'll not be with us much longer
Daughter of those hills has bone cancer
It doesn't matter cuz she's been to the mountain top
And took us with her
Honey Bun coating our tongues and spirits
With sweet strength
This Black Bird gon' sing a little bit longer
Stronger than those granite hills
Spill stories like rivers of honey
Sometimes bittersweet memories
Of mill slaves marched off to glory
Sweet like honey
She is all we could dream to be
Strong like those hills
Those Greenbrier hills that gave birth
to a blackbird
sweet like honey
sing us home.
-Brandon Lacy Campos
-New York, NY
-September 11, 2010