zombies...

if you knew how many of us walking among you

are shells of grainy brown skin

parts discarded burned scarred keloided

shadowboxing white coats

to live

maybe you would be bold - unafraid in pursuit of ecstasy

clearing the spaces where spirit weeps

opening your heart to wonder

we who are bereft of organs and bloody parts 

want you to live

to taste freedom

to nourish a loving soul

finding beauty in what is left of the messy brown bag

amen.

 

Peter Cottontail.

Last month saw me frantically searching for a picture of me with the Easter Bunny. In an effort to revisit happier days I try to participate in the mind-bending exercise known as #tbt. The Easter romp remains one of my favorite pictures. I’m at my mischievous best, cheesing, while ignoring the bunny-human — having a grand time.

The story behind the picture, as with most images of the time, tells a darker tale. Two brown girls - mother and daughter practicing respectability. 

Back in the day, we were partners in crime rollicking thru the streets of Manhattan. We held up picket signs marching in front of Blumstein’s on 125, ate at Horn and Hardart, Woolworth’s and other lunch counters throughout the city. Acts of commerce (or lack thereof) in solidarity with our brethren in the deep south.

Mom shopped at B. Altman, Gimbels and her beloved Macy’s. We browsed, tried on clothes/shoes/jewels for the culture. We were quite the sight strolling thru Herald Square with matching gloves/pocketbooks and shopping bags.

Macy’s always our last stop. We visited every spring to catch their flower show. The first floor fragrant with blossoms crowded to capacity with families taking pleasure in their beauty. Off to the corner socialites were milling around the Easter Bunny.

My mother did not celebrate holidays and was not impressed with the commotion surrounding Peter Cottontail. The "ladies" sent a clerk over with a note saying I could not take a picture with P.C. — let’s just say Macy’s fell silent.

Mom marched right up to the Bunny telling me to sit down and smile. The Bunny may have been terrified, but I was happy to partner with her in this act of civil disobedience.

We retrieved the picture and rode in silence back to the hamlet of Harlem. She never spoke of it and I began to think my memories of happier times were not real. Then one spring day she slid the picture of me and Peter C. into my hands and smiled.

Another caper for the books.