Published in  
InBreak Residency
 on  
March 24, 2021

The Weight of Remembering

GOD of the generational story, fill hearts and minds with new tales, bridging gaps where wounds fester.

Oh, the pain of remembering. As we passed the halfway point of the Inbreak Residency, I was confronted with the challenge of remembering. Verbalizing racial trauma, with the added stress of “high-performance tendencies” and subsequent burn-out, has been quite difficult for me. As I have been confronting these traumas and how they take presence in my body and energy, I find myself wanting to escape to a space of simplicity and peace.  

As Inbreak artist, Andrew Nemr, posed, “Are we meant to metabolize hundreds of years of history?” While it is important to understand and properly address our generational histories, the vastness of untruth and gravity of dehumanizing actions cannot be fully comprehended in our present state of being.

The sins of humanity are many. I think of how Jesus bore the sin of the world on the cross. How he was not only rejected by humanity, but by the Father himself. How he endured physically and spiritually the weight of all evil, past, present, and future. He had to not only remember, but to live through it.

With this in mind, my poem, “Cyclical” leads to the question of “how long?” How long must I cycle into forgetfulness, numbness, and picked scab wounds? When will I get real relief from the chronic pain of remembering? I do not yet know, but scripture says the earth groans in labor pains until Christ’s return. God invites us to cast our burdens at his feet so we can enter green pastures.


Cyclical

a poem by Naomi Stewart


Past the halfway        Past the half-full

Half-empty

Pour over my bitter coffee skin

Beauty in the breaking

Richness in your first sip

Taste on your lips and listen 

to me


I’m spotlit on a platform, like an open mic

Or self-made slave auction 

My body aches either way

As my stifled exhale restricts my alto voice 

Whips 

And shower steam no longer loosens me

Thinking of the noose 

No wonder I still have neck pain


Sometimes I’m paralyzed and my breath forgets

My body forgets

Mind numb and aimless

Evaporating and I wonder if this is it

My existence

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InBreak Residency Graphic: Dea Studios invites artists of any discipline, writers, and preachers to participate in the InBreak Residency, a collaborative virtual process exploring art, race, and faith.