Mother May I

I have but a few pictures.

Memories of her voice.

My sister and I have no choice.

Past dark smiling silence.

Grand is the knowledge death gives us.

Running through Chester Park in Chester, PA, there’s this hill. Youth gets you to its peak very easily.

This certain day, I vividly remember a song because my Mother would sing it to me:

My name is Michael
I got a nickel
I got a nickel shiny and new
I’m going to buy you all kinds of candy
That’s what I’m gonna do!

I also heard it on Sesame Street (skit helped give me a vivid memory) or Electric Company.

Loved it because it had my name in it.

I’m but two.

Maybe three

Running with my Dad.

I hear another song Mom would sing.

I see my Mom off in the distance.

She was so beautiful.

Her eyes the skyward kind.

I want to wait for her.

I look down to see Japanese beetles falling off flowers like skydivers out of sight.

Buttercups to my chin.

I’m laughing.

Beautiful sunshine is my life.


A plane flies over.

I look up so quickly to see the sound [sic] I become dizzy.

What is better?

There is unmistakable happiness flowing through my soul.

This day is my first memory.

My clothes were light, bright on Black block party skin.


Philly cultured.

My Father, who was stationed in the US Embassy in Hamburg during Vietnam, is German engineering at its finest.

“Vamoose!” he would say whenever we kid like worked his nerves. There was always something solitary about his mood.

Was it the war?

Back to the hill.

We flew kites that day.

Got a kick out of my Father running like me.


You could hear the ground before him.

My arms flailing just to ensure this kite…yes with knotted rags attached…it was the paper kind…could grab the universal winds of change and soar to my parents are with me gleeful heights of mine.

If I only knew, I would have ran to my Mom and squeezed her until her soul melted into my heart…and also my mind…so her wisdom could guide me through the subsequent tumultuous struggles of time.

There are no regrets.

I was talking to a publicist the other day and said something I thought I’d never say. We were discussing my book before a conference call with a potential publisher, and I told her I have no regrets…even my Mom’s death.

Some might think that’s absurd.

The explanation is simple. Of course I wish my Mom were alive. I’d be with her this very second, but her death has given me life.

She lives through me.

She lives through my sister.

She lives through my niece.

She lives through my children.

I cry often for her.

I asks her to show me the way.

This is not about God.

I don’t go to her grave.

It’s bullshit.

She’s not there.

Flowers are dead.

Grass grows.

You must know every moment I’m not with my children and reality hits me, I weep because I feel they are alone.

I’m a parent who wants to give them human toughness in every nanosecond. A lesson in the past before the next blink’s future.

Mom’s soul.

My sister and niece are her and so is my daughter.

Every woman has her sadness. I know this because I see it everyday in my sis.

Midnight Train to Georgia…

Haphazard themes and dreams and frustrations and failed relationships and moments of inglorious solitude shifted me to this spot from then to now.

May 10th, 1988 a wonderful girl, Denika Clark…Deni as we called her…led me into a church. I don’t remember the sermon, just how beautiful she was. After the service, there was a call for anyone to be saved.

There was that voice I alluded to earlier. Without processing, I got out of my seat. 20 I was.

I spoke in tongues without knowing what was going on. It shocked the pastor.

Yeah, what the…

My Mother was gone but less than two months.

Denika’s smile and absolute purity floated me like  freshly baked pie smell  from a window sill.

She could sing too.

I wanted her parents to be my in-laws.

Her Mother reminded me of Suzette Charles.

Deni sung like her.

Kiss me in the rain.

She’s a pastor’s wife.

Spiritually gifted and sane.

My Mom has four great grandchildren.

They are all great.

Wish they’d known her soul.

I get angry when I see kids cussing at their Mothers.

I want to smack the shit out of them.

They just don’t understand. Do they?

Mother May I?

10 Responses to “Mother May I”

  1. Ron Glover says:

    I just want you to know that I read this. Other than that I have no words…

  2. Too much disrespect going on. It’s gotta stop. It feels like Moms are the last people we love and that’s even becoming tattered…

  3. Ron Glover says:

    I ride the bus with several women in their mid 50’s, some older and they go to work everyday at these hotels and talk about how they hate their jobs but they have to do it for their grown kids or grandkids that their raising. This lady just talked about how she helped pay for her 32 year old sons wedding and her and his wife barely speak.

    The stuff is heartbreaking.

  4. Very sad. If my Mom were alive she’d be the queen of the world in my eyes…a finger she wouldn’t lift.

  5. Ron Glover says:

    That’s how it should be.

    Sons need to be protectors of their mothers more than their own fathers.

  6. Miranda says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.

  7. CoachLok says:

    Amazing Michael. Lost my Mom way too young on a New Years Eve. She held my 28 yr old son for a mere 5 months. At least they had that time. My daughter was born on New Years Eve 2 yrs later. Didn’t erase the pain of the date – but gave it a new meaning. Peace.

  8. Desti says:

    Beautiful tribute to your mom. Your entire being is a reflection of who she was. As are your children. Good job Michael <3

  9. Thank you all. The fam gave me direction. My sister is now my biggest supporter and greatest critic. I neeeds that.

  10. […] Life is too short (something else I wrote of my Mom). Past failure can always be transformed into life sustaining success. […]