You Remembered

by Latorial Faison

for Ms. Juanita Staunton

More than twenty years ago
I was young, bold, courageous
dreamed of being strong . . . like you
mother, woman,  queen, goddess
praised, proud, revered, strengthened by
brokenness, struggle, joy, pain
siphoned hope from smiles and songs.

Your words were candle lighting
brightening up our dark days
with laughter lining new moons
God’s own sun, rising, setting
shining on daughters, lifting
up sons, beckoning hope for
little ones who carry your
blood, name, and memory forth.

Deep inside the gray matter
tucked away beneath quilted
prayers, heirlooms, moments, loved
ones, times lost, buried within
are patches bearing witness.

You treasured pieces of me
in gracefully retired hands
saved me in your beautiful
mind, summoned me from across
more than miles, blessed me, called me
by name, you remembered me.

It was like . . . calling to say
“Hello” . . . to ask “How are you?”
to express that nothing could
say “I love you”. . . not like this.

Copyrighted April 7, 2014 Latorial Faison

An excerpt from "I Am Woman"
by Latorial Faison

. . . You can find me
in the Motherland
covered in war paints
and ceremonial clay
in the heat
of ancient civilization
blackened by the light of day
showing off my rarest jewels
sitting beneath a crown
at the right hand of power
calming egos down . . . 
Click HERE to get the book and read the entire poem.

The Poem

Nearly one hundred, sixty-three years after Sojourner Truth delivered her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, poet, author, educator, and military spouse of LTC Carl J. Faison,  delivered her "I Am Woman" poem on Yongsan Army Base in South Korea at a Women’s History Month event on March 22, 2014.

Faison’s poem historically and lyrically captures the essence and plight of women of all races in America. She poignantly highlights the feats of women in history.  Like Sojourner Truth's 1851 speech, the poem celebrates womanhood, honors achievements by women, and brings to memory those who have individually and collectively paved the way for all women today. I AM WOMAN is a testament of strength and courage toward a more unified and appreciated womanhood.

Click HERE to get the book and read the entire poem.

Mama Home?

“Mama Home?”

I don’t want to lose sight of
the strong woman who was you
the pride you took in being hard working,
forever helping, not wasting a piece of food
anything homemade or handed down
how you kept a clean house
and ran a tight ship

how 4 o’clock felt like a new day
because you were home
talking to your inner circle about outer circles
cooking baked chicken, fried fish,
fruit cobbler or some other to-die-for dish
listening to you was like watching
Esther Rolle movie episodes, good times

like reading Hurston’s dialect-filled
oral histories, stories, and rhymes
you were a southern, female, blackness
that got real proper when strangers called
I hear you in new ringtones that ring like
old phones, in soft voices like your friend
Emma Lou’s asking, saying “Mama Home?”

I see you sitting there
half opened, half read Tidewater News
or Virginian Pilot in your tired hands
watching the 6 o’clock news
catching a nod or two
as 11 o’clock news watches you
in your favorite rocking chair

Copyrighted November 18, 2013 Latorial D. Faison

The Way You Were

The Way You Were

You were a light
a star most brilliant
through the night
the journey incomplete
without loving
all around you
it was the way
your soul laughed
the way you dealt each card
played your hand
with pride
reached strongly
into frail pockets
to save
it was the way you were
never broken
but made whole

Copyrighted © November 12, 2013


Ode to a Matriarch 
-for Mrs. Earline Greene Griffin Wells, Mrs. Shirley Lee Turner Williams, 
and Ms. Cathalee Turner Johnson-

Swift and vibrant like the surprise of wind
Removing doubt and proceeding in
So wise, so sure, so confidently at ease
In your defining way, life’s fears relieved
Embracing this life in every season
With care and regard for passion and reason
Unafraid, outspoken, ever so sure
Intelligently leading with strength so pure
Rendering to loved ones the best of you
In love, in spirit, and service too
No greater love, no greater heart
Than that of thou, true matriarch
How grateful that in cherished time
Life joined our hearts, this hope to find
This hope that binds and leads us on
This hope now come to lead thee home

Copyrighted 2013 Latorial D. Faison

A Poem for Mama

for Mrs. Shirley Lee Turner Williams

On my mind
for you were there
for me
never forgetting
that life
the love
the lessons taught
the joy of 
Sunday meals
late night talks
and country folk 
mishaps and 
how you prayed 
for me to be
somebody's woman
late to bed
early to rise
your hands
hard at labor
kneading dough
turning wheels
cooking meals
for eating
for teaching
for me

A Dream Planted

A Dream Planted 

for the Rev. Dr. Lillie Adkins Faison

Little fair one
beyond the brink
of two country roads 
that crossed

With gathered strength 
you grew
not forgetting old dirt roads
or yielding fields
you once knew

Eyes wide open
you believed
what imaginings gave way to
in self-portraits 
and God’s eyes

Painting tapestries
of dreams
with colorful words and
worlds handed down

Embracing truth
predestined fruit
the totality of dreams
a few times 

It began with you
at the hands of you
the hands of those hands
that planted you

Never mind all the ways
roses grow or spray
keep standing
most useful
most beautiful
in full bloom

Copyrighted May 2012 Latorial D. Faison