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A stranger’s muse.

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One Parisian morning, as I sat peacefully minding my business… facing my front… I received a gentle tap on my shoulder.
“C’est moi?” “Oui”.
I was shocked and flattered. Never, to my knowledge, have I been the subject of an Artist’s craft.

– a stranger’s muse.

Makhala Kirwan

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M is for mother.

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For you, mom, on Mother’s Day

🌹✨

What qualities makeup a mother?
The glue that holds ones family together.
Her children’s biggest fan.
And though her beauty blends so gracefully when in her presence, I guess you could call her a natural.
Good at what she does, that is…

Matilda.
Mom of 4, yet mother to many.

As any other would do, she would wipe away my tears,
Brush my hair til it was nice and Sleek, provide for me, housed me and fed me food that’d bless my pallet.
But where most would stop, she continued to teach me.
She taught me to be bold, and not only to stand out but to be outstanding.
Telling me, “Aim to be the best at what you do, MAC
Allowed me to Chanel my best qualities and show the world what I have to offer whilst still in my prime.
And hearing positive affirmations from you would make me blush.
When I took the wrong tone, you wouldn’t hesitate to be my corrector.
Training up her child in the way she should go, that when she grew old she would not depart from it.

And go I went.

But even though I’m away from home, we couldn’t be any closer. Speaking to you is the highlight of my day. And if not for the way you raised me, my time away from home wouldn’t lash so long.
You said from your lips, what I do at home would stick with me when away… setting the foundation of any strong young woman.
Powdered me with love, never concealed me from facing the world on my own accord. With your eyes, you’d shadow me. Never fully leaving me but from a distance, watching me glow into a independent young lady. And if I were to fall, you’d be there so I Maybelline on you. There’s nothing more that I, as your daughter, could ask of you. Much like the gloss I’m wearing, you’ve allowed me to shine, and for that, I thank you.

Maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to mirror what great a mother you have been to me, to a child of my own.

MUA“, I love you xxx

 

– if you haven’t quite caught on by now, the theme of this piece was MAKEUP

“My Hair Is Nappy”

‬‪Written by Makhala Kirwan.‬
Inspired by Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker The Berry.

‪You hate me don’t you?‬
‪And I think I know why:

‪My hair is nappy.‬
‪My nose is rounded wide.‬
‪My lips are full and I speak my mind.‬
‪You believe we are not of the same kind.‬

‪My body moves so effortlessly ‬
‪Energy flows through me to the beat.‬
‪It amazes you how my people don’t have two left feet.‬

‪I scream and I holler when things don’t go my way.‬
‪It shocks you that I’d have so much to say.‬

‪Brown – not black – is the colour of my skin.‬
‪And the magic in my pigmentation is bursting out from in.‬

‪My food is well seasoned.‬
‪My music is cultured,‬
‪Yet they blame rap and hip hop for reasons why men turn to vultures.‬

‪On occasion, if any, your people would call ours “Pretty…”‬
‪”…For a Black Girl”, you’d add‬,
‪As though I’d need such pity.‬

‪After 400 [plus] years of whips and chains,‬
‪We were given back our freedom, yet things have not changed.‬

‪No more “massa”, “picanini” or things of that kind.‬
‪But it’s clear amongst our lifestyle that we’re still slaves of the mind.‬

‪We too are educated and can articulate,‬
‪Yet you still insist that you cannot relate.‬
‪The air we breathe is the same in our lungs.‬
‪Two eyes, ten toes, one liver, one tongue.‬

‪The God I serve has said we are the same.‬
‪And I hate to repeat myself, but I must ask again….‬

‪Why do you hate me?‬
‪Please… I would like to know why.‬
‪Is it because my hair is nappy,‬
‪And my nose is round and wide?‬

‪Maybe one day I’ll wake up, and we’ll all be free.‬
‪Maybe one day I’ll wake up and every nation will see.‬
‪Maybe one day I’ll wake up and death will no longer be.
‪Maybe one day you’ll realise, that we’re the same, you and me.

Better Late Than Never: Happy New Year, People!

I know, I know… It’s been exactly 225 days since my last post.

Some write’s block, huh?

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I could provide you with a million and one excuses as to why that is, but instead, I’ll fill you in on a little something I’ve been experiencing these past few months, in my next post.

I’d just like to thank you all for sticking with me on my not so smooth journey, and wish you a Happy New Year, though we are already 21 days deep. Forgive me. But as we so often hear, “it’s better late than never”, right?

2017

Wow, I really didn’t see this coming! Well, of course I saw it coming, but the speed at which this new year hit me was quite astonishing, really. It’s as if I was enjoying my summer getaway, lounging on the quite beaches of Antigua one minute, and all of a sudden, distant relatives were crawling out of the woodworks to eat all the Christmas turkey and hand out embarrassing photos around the dinner table once again.

 

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Time surely does fly.

This year has already proven an interesting one for me thus far, and I’m excited to see where the rest of it will take me (kicking and screaming, I’m sure).

With so much death, poverty and disaster, I’m just grateful to enter into a new year with health, strength and optimism… So hang in there, people – the stories ahead will be something you’ll surely not wish to miss!

Once again, happy new year! I wish you nothing but joy, peace and prosperity!

 

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Yours truly,

Makhala  (oh so very late) Kirwan xoxo

Home: The Dominica I Know

Like most mornings, I started off my day listening to some Shakka. I hit shuffle, and after two or three songs, my favourite began to play: “Sooner Or Later”. Incredible, phenomenal, exceptional – these words don’t quite describe Shakka’s work. Check it out:

Anyway, enough doting. The track had me thinking of my “motherland” (not so much Africa,but literally, my mother’s place of birth) – Dominica. After further research I discovered that this very song was actually written with Dominica in mind. As it turns out, this same singer, song writer and producer – like me, is Dominican. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it led me to writing this piece, dedicated to you, Dominica: my home away from home.

Now just to clarify, when I say Dominica, I speak of the Commonwealth of Dominica and not the Dominican Republic. They are two completely different countries and aren’t at all related to each other other than the fact that they’re both located within the same region (the West Indies):

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Before any friends or relatives reading decide to jump the gun and correctly point out that I was not born in Dominica, here, let me…. I, Makhala Kirwan, was born to parents Matilda and Peter Kirwan [see attachment below] – sister of Kadiff Kirwan, Earlan Kirwan, Vallis Weeks and Royden Lewis…. in New York, USA. To add further confusion, I was raised here in England. With that being true, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that I’ve always considered myself Dominican and think of Dominica as my homeland.

*Cue the cliche*

They say home is where the heart is. I agree. Though I am ‘only’ first generation Dominican, not once have I thought of myself as less-than any other ‘real’ Dominican. It’s true. Say what you want but both indirectly and directly, the country has made me who I am today. It’s in how I speak and speak to others, it’s in the culture and sound, my friendships and bonds. I was blessed to have been raised in a Dominican household with the nation’s culture and values instilled in me from a young age.I take pride in that.

I have come across so many people who know little to nothing about the country. From what I’ve gathered, unless you, your family or friends are from Dominica, you know nothing of Dominica. I guess I can see why; it’s not as commercialised as the other islands (Jamaica being one of the long standing examples) and I think it’s safe to say Dominica is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean.

Though there is an element of truth to that, Dominica is still a place I will always love. I mean, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea – I’ll grant you that. If you’re looking for a country full of entertainment with a busy Parisian/ New York/ London nightlife – Dominica is not the place for you. If you’re looking for an island which is easily accessible with plenty of convenient modes of transport – Dominica is not the place for you. If you’re looking for a place with mass tourism and overcrowded beaches – again – Dominica is not the place for you. But what you will find, is something much more.

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There certainly is a level of peace and quietness to the island, but “boring” is not a word I would personally use to describe it, it’s just at a different pace. Where I live (here in England), there is always something to do and some event to find yourself at. The bars are always open, the malls close late and there’s a cinema positioned every few miles from your local city center. Each time I visit Dominica, on the other hand, I find myself enjoying the little things which the Commonwealth has to offer:

  • The ripe Julie Mangos falling gracefully through the trees
  • The smell of roasted breadfruit
  • The unclouded skies
  • The warm, fresh air
  • The clear river water
  • The sandy beaches
  • The aesthetically pleasing nature
  • The tourist attractions (boat trips, whale watching, snorkeling)
  • The sound of dominoes being slammed against the table
  • The energy and rhythm in the Dominican accent
  • The bouyon music playing at a disturbingly loud volume from across the street
  • The awkward encounters with free roaming chickens and goats
  • The humor of jokes spoken in creole
  • The wisdom in my grandmother’s voice

I’ve never felt more comfortable and at peace with myself than when in Dominica. But don’t get me wrong – there is a social scene on the island – you just need to know where to look. There are festivals and parties aplenty. Carnivals and fetes galore. Take a hike and admire God’s creation – you’ll soon see why they call Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean.

Dominica may not be the place for you. But it’s the place for me. It’s home. Where’s yours?

 

Makhala Kirwan

Edmay’s Story

DEDICATED TO YOU, GRANDMA🌸

This is my grandmother,
Edmay is her name.
Some call her Babay,
Her “claim to fame”.

I thought I’d share a story,
With a little rhyme.
We start in 1924,
With a Once Upon A Time.

She came into the world,
Wide-eyed and rosy-cheeked.
Never did we know
That one day she would meet….

The man who would give me
Uncle’s Mark and Sento,
After many hours in labour
She bravely spent though.

Somewhere along the way,
Grandad Harold she married.
And shortly after that,
10 more children she carried.

Felina, Isaline, Titus too.
Sarah, Philemon and Hyacinth, who knew?
Vincent, Matilda and Adam the ‘beast’,
And little old Abel….
The last (but not least).

Never could we have known
We would have such a huge clan.
But that was a part of
My God’s special plan.

12 children, 28 grandkids
And 30 [plus] greats.
Through Him alone she managed
So many things on her plate.

Here ends the story,
And what I wanted to say,
Was “I love you dear Grandma,
And Happy Mother’s Day.”

❤️

Alternate Names For Black Boys

By Danez Smith

1.   smoke above the burning bush
2.   archnemesis of summer night
3.   first son of soil
4.   coal awaiting spark & wind
5.   guilty until proven dead
6.   oil heavy starlight
7.   monster until proven ghost
8.   gone
9.   phoenix who forgets to un-ash
10. going, going, gone
11. gods of shovels & black veils
12. what once passed for kindling
13. fireworks at dawn
14. brilliant, shadow hued coral
15. (I thought to leave this blank
       but who am I to name us nothing?)
16. prayer who learned to bite & sprint
17. a mother’s joy & clutched breath