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Keisha Merchant

My Lady, The Santerian Shawomyn Harris

  • Work in progress


    Keisha Merchant

    June 12, 2010


    Cultural Poverty

    One Chance

    Her hair sits on her head shares with her brain

    Her eyes look deeply intently as a spy

    Her breasts like apples forbidden in the garden

    Her vagina ravished as the harlot

    Her thighs marbled a stone prone to the cries she must bare

    Her skin amends, keeping the color blood "in"

    Her hips carrying heaven, earth, but steady she is ready

    Her ass the hour glass liberty she is free

    To be behind a garden embracing the environment her sister the tree

    As she stands right here, cleansing, cleaning, serving

    Invisible as a spirit, ghostly within a tease, at ease

    Male his tale; violently he has fail to embrace her identity

    Epistemology, Ideology, Methodology

    Stop Adam, at once, this very moment

    Shhhh, do not forget there is Eternity, Immortality, Infinity

    Is she, the power of equality, equity, sexuality, serenity

    To restore, birth, renew, explore, in a whisper her voice is waters, the storm and so much more

    She is complex but to Him simple at a glance using one moment, one single story

    Only if he knew her experience; One slim change

    The complexity of it all, Eve perfection buried in Pandora's Box locked for the abyss

    Facing the natural process of the evolution of the male's gaze

    Focus on one single kiss, his last chance to know her.

    There are some things I will never know--like the names of all the stars, or the history of Iceland, or the true story of My Ancestors as Lucinda Harris. What I do know is that stars eventually is eternal, Iceland has volcanoes, and Lucinda Harris came from West Africa--a descendent of Eve who evolved in Africa millions of years before the European slave trade, the Roman conquest, the Pharaohs' dynasties as Nefertiti---she is my story and this is her story, the black eternal ancestors of the Merchant Clan. The male gaze is not a perspective in this novella, but it is one of many standpoints used to demonstrate the construction of my identity. The fragmentation is my ancestry lineage through the Conquest and The Fall of Eve. It is within this hope that Africa's Dynasty is not forgotten, but her black heritage live through my own eyes of hope and desire to see prosperity and love rule in the hearts of my past, present and future environment. I am that black, dark skinned eco-feminist that shed only light through my eyes the fragmentation of hope that lives inside of me and my ghosts, my ancestry's believers of faith and love. The interwoven approach of my spiritual journey, the ghostly medium of the Holy Ghost and the chanting of the ancestors' blood, the armies of women, I must ride her struggle, and this is our legacy.

    Job 38

    The LORD Speaks

    1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:

    2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
    with words without knowledge?

    3 Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

    4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone-

    7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

    8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,

    9 when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,

    10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,

    11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt'?

    12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,

    13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?

    14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.

    15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.

    16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?

    17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

    18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.

    19 "What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?

    20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

    21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!

    22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,

    23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?

    24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
    or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

    25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,

    26 to water a land where no man lives,
    a desert with no one in it,

    27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?

    28 Does the rain have a father?
    Who fathers the drops of dew?

    29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

    30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?

    31 "Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades?
    Can you loose the cords of Orion?

    32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d]
    or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?

    33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God's [f] dominion over the earth?

    34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?

    35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?

    36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom
    or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?

    37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

    38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?

    39 "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions

    40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?Job 39

    1 "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

    2 Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?

    3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
    their labor pains are ended.

    4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
    they leave and do not return.

    5 "Who let the wild donkey go free?
    Who untied his ropes?

    6 I gave him the wasteland as his home,
    the salt flats as his habitat.

    7 He laughs at the commotion in the town;
    he does not hear a driver's shout.

    8 He ranges the hills for his pasture
    and searches for any green thing.

    9 "Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
    Will he stay by your manger at night?

    10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness?
    Will he till the valleys behind you?

    11 Will you rely on him for his great strength?
    Will you leave your heavy work to him?

    12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain
    and gather it to your threshing floor?

    13 "The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
    but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

    14 She lays her eggs on the ground
    and lets them warm in the sand,

    15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
    that some wild animal may trample them.

    16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
    she cares not that her labor was in vain,

    17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
    or give her a share of good sense.

    18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
    she laughs at horse and rider.

    19 "Do you give the horse his strength
    or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

    20 Do you make him leap like a locust,
    striking terror with his proud snorting?

    21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,
    and charges into the fray.

    22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
    he does not shy away from the sword.

    23 The quiver rattles against his side,
    along with the flashing spear and lance.

    24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground;
    he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

    25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, 'Aha!'
    He catches the scent of battle from afar,
    the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

    26 "Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
    and spread his wings toward the south?

    27 Does the eagle soar at your command
    and build his nest on high?

    28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
    a rocky crag is his stronghold.

    29 From there he seeks out his food;
    his eyes detect it from afar.

    30 His young ones feast on blood,
    and where the slain are, there is he."

    Job 40

    1 The LORD said to Job:

    2 "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!"

    3 Then Job answered the LORD :

    4 "I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.

    5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
    twice, but I will say no more."

    6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

    7 "Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

    8 "Would you discredit my justice?
    Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

    9 Do you have an arm like God's,
    and can your voice thunder like his?

    10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
    and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

    11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
    look at every proud man and bring him low,

    12 look at every proud man and humble him,
    crush the wicked where they stand.

    13 Bury them all in the dust together;
    shroud their faces in the grave.

    14 Then I myself will admit to you
    that your own right hand can save you.

    15 "Look at the behemoth, [a]
    which I made along with you
    and which feeds on grass like an ox.

    16 What strength he has in his loins,
    what power in the muscles of his belly!

    17 His tail [b] sways like a cedar;
    the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

    18 His bones are tubes of bronze,
    his limbs like rods of iron.

    19 He ranks first among the works of God,
    yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

    20 The hills bring him their produce,
    and all the wild animals play nearby.

    21 Under the lotus plants he lies,
    hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

    22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow;
    the poplars by the stream surround him.

    23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed;
    he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

    24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes, [c]
    or trap him and pierce his nose?

    Job 41

    1 "Can you pull in the leviathan [a] with a fishhook
    or tie down his tongue with a rope?

    2 Can you put a cord through his nose
    or pierce his jaw with a hook?

    3 Will he keep begging you for mercy?
    Will he speak to you with gentle words?

    4 Will he make an agreement with you
    for you to take him as your slave for life?

    5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird
    or put him on a leash for your girls?

    6 Will traders barter for him?
    Will they divide him up among the merchants?

    7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons
    or his head with fishing spears?

    8 If you lay a hand on him,
    you will remember the struggle and never do it again!

    9 Any hope of subduing him is false;
    the mere sight of him is overpowering.

    10 No one is fierce enough to rouse him.
    Who then is able to stand against me?

    11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
    Everything under heaven belongs to me.

    12 "I will not fail to speak of his limbs,
    his strength and his graceful form.

    13 Who can strip off his outer coat?
    Who would approach him with a bridle?

    14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth,
    ringed about with his fearsome teeth?

    15 His back has [b] rows of shields
    tightly sealed together;

    16 each is so close to the next
    that no air can pass between.

    17 They are joined fast to one another;
    they cling together and cannot be parted.

    18 His snorting throws out flashes of light;
    his eyes are like the rays of dawn.

    19 Firebrands stream from his mouth;
    sparks of fire shoot out.

    20 Smoke pours from his nostrils
    as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.

    21 His breath sets coals ablaze,
    and flames dart from his mouth.

    22 Strength resides in his neck;
    dismay goes before him.

    23 The folds of his flesh are tightly joined;
    they are firm and immovable.

    24 His chest is hard as rock,
    hard as a lower millstone.

    25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified;
    they retreat before his thrashing.

    26 The sword that reaches him has no effect,
    nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.

    27 Iron he treats like straw
    and bronze like rotten wood.

    28 Arrows do not make him flee;
    slingstones are like chaff to him.

    29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw;
    he laughs at the rattling of the lance.

    30 His undersides are jagged potsherds,
    leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.

    31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
    and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.

    32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake;
    one would think the deep had white hair.

    33 Nothing on earth is his equal—
    a creature without fear.34 He looks down on all that are haughty;
    he is king over all that are proud." Job 42


    1 Then Job replied to the LORD :

    2 "I know that you can do all things;
    no plan of yours can be thwarted.

    3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

    4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.'

    5 My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.

    6 Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes."

    Job's and his response, but my response is this:

    Then I replied to the Lord:

    I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

    You asked, "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?" Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know, my male counterpart says, but I say Lord, I knew all of this since the beginning of my birth. I knew this when I cleaned your house. I knew this when I birthed your children. I knew this when I washed your hair. I knew all of these wonderful things.

    You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. I say, Lord, I have seen you since the day my eyes were born. I have seen you from the day you carried me through the deserts. I have seen you since you created my feet, hands, and breathe. I have seen you from the beginning of time until now. Therefore my son despises himself, repented in dusts and ashes, but I have imagined and in my figment of my imaginations we are one. My ancestors have served you well. I have served you well. I will not repent because you have loved me, and I have loved you. My repentance would be in vain because I have answered you well. You know me, and I know you. You already know that I have washed your feet. I have carried your cross. I have asked you to cover me. I have asked you to create me. I have asked you to unify with me. Therefore, you are me and I am you. I can do all things because we are one. No plans of ours can be thwarted.

    It is within this lifetime that I must face the ultimate fantasy of who is me? I must face the reality of my pilgrimage of death and the afterlife according to my blood lineage. It must be one step into the afterlife, the resurrection of the Son, the God that is called Salvation, savior of the lost souls. It is within this ghostly experience must I enchant my experience of femininity that I must create this episode within me, the chapter of the marriage of the infinity with my soul and our legacy, the Merchant Clan.


    The Egyptian Book of the Dead

    1240 BC


    Translated by E.A. Wallis Budge

    BOOK 6

    Hail, thou god Aniu! Hail, thou god Pehreri, who dwellest in thy hall, the Great God. Grant thou that my soul may come to me from any place wherein it may be. Even if it would tarry, let my soul be brought unto me from any place wherein it may be. Thou findest the Eye of Horus standing by thee like unto those beings who resemble Osiris, who never lie down in death. Let not the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, lie down dead among those who lie in Anu, the land wherein [souls] are joined to their bodies in thousands. Let me have possession of my Ba-soul and of my Spirit-soul, and let my word be truth with it (the Ba-soul) in every place wherein it may be. Observe then, O ye guardians of Heaven, my soul [wherever it may be]. Even if it would tarry, cause thou my Ba-soul to see my body. Thou shalt find the Eye of Horus standing by thee like [the Watchers].

    Hail, ye gods who tow along the boat of the Lord of Millions of Years, who bring it over the sky of the Tuat, who make it to journey over Nent, who make Ba-souls to enter into their Spirit-bodies, whose hands hold the steering poles and guide it straight, who grasp tightly your paddles, destroy ye the Enemy; thus shall the Boat rejoice, and the Great God shall travel on his way in peace. Moreover, grant ye that the Ba-soul of the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth before the gods, may come forth with your navel cords in the eastern part of the sky, and that it may follow Ra to the place where he was yesterday, and may set in peace, in peace in Amentet. May it gaze upon its earthly body, may it take up its abode and it's Spirit-body, and may it neither perish nor be destroyed forever and forever.

    It is within this hope that this Novella has been written to enchant and call on the God of Salvation, the Ghostly guardians to embark on this one mission of hope that my ancestors will be resurrected as their lovers awaken them up from the grave into my own temple, the church I carry within this wretched body, man has said in his cultural poverty that it is just a moment, but for my lineage this one moment is all we got to engrave eternity on our bosoms. It is our tattooing that marks us and keeps us in this wretched temple, but for us, it is our eternal home, heavenly abode.

    We are part of the Ashanti tribe. "Ye ko bias aberewa" "We are going to consult the old woman" The woman is the custodian of all knowledge and treasures of the community. She is the final decisive factor in all the activities. The Merchant Clan has many members, but royalty is one of them. Women domination is the order of all knowledge and finally their Creator is the Supreme Being and salvation of their souls. It is within this Novella; the ghosts bring her anointing oil, and lift the spirits of those who hear her words of the enchantment of her kingdom and resurrections in the life, present moment.

    No one can prove or disprove the chanting of the Holy Ghost, her moans and groans can only be heard by her daughters, her royal begotten daughters. Her legions and her elect daughters are my lineage. She calls me, and I must respond to her ghostly presence, but for now, she is only a figment of my imagination. Until the dawn sets, the day breaks, the dead rises, her life resides in my temple and hidden in my heart.

    My Egyptian roots had to be included for some it is so far fetch that such a black girl is in the lineage of King David, Solomon, Jesus, and now the mother Africa, Egypt. She is within the blood lineage of Eve and Adam, but in the single thread of royalty, her hidden identity has rest in the shoulders of secrecy and denial. In this lineage of the ancient, can such a girl come from such giants of the past, the women who were silence and sent to her deathbed to rest? Is she nothing more than dirt, or has she risen to live on as guardians of this daughter we call, baby girl. It is only through this Novella, she has surfaced, her ancient mothers have surfaced, and her heavenly mothers have surfaced to tell their story through her as a medium that creative words can suggest the power of the tongue of the spoken word. She is nothing more than an experience if a male shares her story, but a woman; it is the inspiration of God.

    Chapter 1

    "Her hair sits on her head shares with her brain."

    As I gaze into the newspaper, I read Lucinda Harris died at 120. In the Obituary, I gathered chards of her experience. I put down the paper glancing at my chai tea, realizing that she is part of my own experience, my ancestors, she is one of them.

    I fumble around looking for a picture of her, but I only found a picture of her daughter Carrie Harris, my great grandmother. I decided to go to the bathroom to compare my features with her daughter's features. I notice our hair is much like each other. As I look into the mirror I fell into a trance. Staring and combing my hair, I began to see her through my eyes. Her ghostly figure came through the mirror. I saw the Holy Ghost with her as she came to my bathroom to speak to me. I began to see her through my eyes as a silhouette around me.

    As she stares back at me, combing my hair, she calls me baby girl, just like her daughter had done when I was a small girl. Adara, Hebrew, "exalted, praised, or noble, she would call me, baby girl, Adara. I wanted to know why she appeared now. I started slowly put on my scarf to start the day. I couldn't be late for work. As I began to put on my purple scarf I realize as I was wrapping my hair, she came forward and touched me. I felt her touch. It was a gentle touch. She took my hands, took my scarf, and made her way toward my hair. The purple is that love and represents royalty. T he royalty lost from the slave trade. I fell to my knees for prayer because I knew at that moment I had been visited by my great ancestors. They had come to my bathroom. I cried because I knew I was in the presence of royalty.

    She took off my scarf. She stroked my hair, my crown of life. She is called, Sophia. She is all wisdom, knowledge, power, glory and understanding. She is eternal life. She is the tree of life that Eve was seeking for in the Garden of Eden. It was Eve's heart desire to taste her love, but she went up the wrong tree of knowledge. Her bite was the wrong fruit, but Sophia was the woman she had been praying for to come and teach her. Sophia kept stroking my hair. I froze in her hands. I felt the warmth and strong strokes of her hands touching the strands of my hair.

    I could not leave her presence. It was so paralyzing that I just touched my cheek to her calves and kissed her shins. I felt with my hands the hair on her legs and cried. I knew in my hear heart that the marks on her legs were the cuts that scraped her legs when she plowed in the fields with my slave great great grandmamma. It was cotton that she had to harvest with my ancestors. I knew that her delicate and soft legs had transformed in a life time to the old rugged cross.

    She did not say a word. She let her hair down. She had such long black hair down to her back. The hair was like a mane from a horse. She had hair like a goat, the texture. Her hair was so coarse. She took her hands and stroked her hair then she stroked mine. She kept stroking my hair and hers, but I was too mesmerized to move from her hands. I let her continue to stroke my hair. She spoke to me through her hands, told the story how she taught Mary to stroke her hair on the feet of her Son, she made it clear that her hair was her crown, and her crown was glorious. It was not about the vanity of beauty, but the mercy and forgiveness of beauty that made it glorious. It was the power that she was using through her presence; the beauty was the shell of the fruits of the spirit. Her ability to wage war with her hair, the power of her loins, in her majestic being, the wisdom, knowledge, and her presence, that was understanding. She was not allowed to speak because her words would kill, and I would fall dead if I heard her voice. She was powerful that her hair was eternal, and that grand spoke more words then millions of armies and hosts of all creation, could not speak as this one strand of hair.

    I let her continue to teach me as she stroked my hair. The phone rang it was my mother leaving a message asking where was I? I wanted to answer the phone call, but I wasn't for sure if she would still be in my bathroom, so I let the answer machine take the call. I could not walk away from such royalty. I knew my mother would want me to stay. She is a believer. In that old time religion, her mother's taught her well. They did not speak of her, but their presence bore the markings of her. They did not wear visible tattoos, but the eternal tattoos of her markings, told of her story on their braids.

    I closed my eyes and began to dream while she stroked my hair, but I knew that she would leave when she was done. I praised My Creator and God for her. My lady, she came that day to teach me how to love my hair that Santeria Harris, fought for my life, and now my life is part of her blood vein. I realize that she came to teach me how to love stroking my hair taking the time out to intently and intimately notice the colors, strength and grain of my own hair was the first lessons of eternity. The paradise was to learn how to scout, and before I could conquer the men of all ages, the forests and the creatures in those eternal forests. I must first learn to scout my own strands, the hair shafts were many, and these were the first lessons of eternal living.

    I knew she was trying to share how important my hair was on my head, sharing the space with my brain, and how this was a significant war lesson to live in wisdom. I would become a Santeria as she elected. It was that Shawomyn that would breathe into my shafts, the intimacy that her lips touched my head; I felt the stars combine as one just to mark my head. I could only worship my Creator, the God of Salvation, the Son on the Cross, the Galician Trio I knew that the mythology of Greece could not touch these three. It was within this present moment of today whispered under my breath I do not have time to learn how to be a grim weeper of the lost. I had to honor my parents before I could walk in my calling. It was the order of the Santeria ways. I knew eternity could not waste another day for my maturity, but today was the day, I had to learn humanity's favorite story. It was Colonization and Dehumanization of my own culture; It was depressing that I could say to my heart that I left her standing in my doorway. I realize this moment was not scheduled on my vacation day, this was the moment I was supposed to be in school, and yet I am day dreaming again. Sophia began to chat with my Santeria Harris ancestor. She was not dead, how could she possibly live through such whisper. It was them that were announcing the day I must stroke the hair of many. Her braids were telling me the eternal stories of slaves and the slave trades that had taught them how to be part of the eternal rite passage into the afterlife. She was not upset because she knew I had much to learn. She was caught up to the seventh heaven. S he took me by the hands and lead me to the olive tree in the center of the garden, and made me take my hair and hug her with my head. She told me that this is my sister, and I should learn her culture. She told me to respect her as an elder, and I should not cut down her trees. I was very hurt because I knew she knew that I was part of a culture and society that clear cut, and cut trees daily for the sake of colonization.