Cultivate It: Spoken Word Ode–From Sons to Mothers

For this occasion, the blessed holiday that is Mother’s Day, some of the men of The Left Side Poets came together to put into words their love for their mothers. The Left Side Poets met in the spring of 2008 at Hampton University.

Hope you enjoy it. And if you do, be on the lookout for their first book, The Left Side Poets Present: Strange Fruit, which drops in the fall.

I, Her Son
By The Left Side Poets featuring Ronald Clark, Terry Odis, Tolani Oyefule and Martin Tucker

Art by Dominique Roberson

Her womb fostered my growth in its infancy
protecting my innocence
she was the first person to love me.
This is that, scaredy-cat ride home
where anguish hacks through my curls
I took that beating like the best of mice
with no hole in the wall to zip up my jaw
I needed you.
My back to the wall she reaches me
talks through cellular frequency
though I’ve never been afraid before, never like this.
No, not like this.
Held me in her arms,
lying down the foundation for my strength
she is the reason I made it to manhood
I just couldn’t disappoint.
Her eyes follow me,
taking in her own doing
she sculpted me in a cloak of her values.
I cry, her voice brings peace to me
my silence ceases, she beckons me
to move forward.
In return I give my word,
that I will stay.
Stay the man that she created
Stay the bold and caring soul
Stay the child with endless passion
with resolve as yet untold.
I needed to
sift through these blessed eskimo kisses
that fit the description of medicinal schism
from yesterday
sandbox amnesia.
She, the kindest complexion
utter peace begets her face.
Even when my world is broken,
and I, strangled in my place.
This mother’s day,
I have the privilege of seeing
four generations of mothers.
The oldest of which, doesn’t speak,
but I’m convinced, that God has hidden his smile behind her eyes
she’s my great-grandmother.
Her daughter, my grandmother,
is the strongest woman I’ve ever met.
I’m convinced that God has dipped her in resilience
because everything life throws at her has been devoured
without her flinching.
She’s eaten cancer for breakfast
a brain tumor for lunch
and bad knees for dinner –
she’s having Satan for a midnight snack.
My sister, at five-feet even
bears the weight of the world on her shoulders
with a baby on her hip
now tell atlas to do that.
I can’t wait to find a woman as strong as you
so I can make her a strong mother too.
Then there’s my mother
who uses her heart and soul as ingredients in all of her meals.
She fills more than just bellies, she mends spirits
I guess that’s why they call it soul food.
I stay on her mind,
as she does on mine
tissue in her hand, hours before a tear drops
she is God’s manifestation of his love.
A woman who shoulders loads Samson wouldn’t try
parts seas of despair with Moses’ rod
her hugs melt away layers of insecurities.
She is always there to listen
although I doubt and may not see,
she is steadfast in her offer
faultless belief in me.
I wanna raise daughters like you
the four of you together are more beautiful than
a month of sunrises that I pray I am able to behold again.
Gracefully entering the different phases of life,
as you age, I return the favor
of your protection,
healing wounds with reciprocation
and yet,
when the call for love is made
and request given for one
I will answer resolutely
Her, a goddess
I, her son.


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