roses&concrete became a representation of my internal healing & spiritual development. it was after I chose the name, inspired by my self-portrait sessions often featuring roses, that I discovered & read tupac’s poem the rose that grew from concrete.
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.
the vignette four skinny trees, in the novel The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, also speaks to the idea of the fertile ground of knowledge of ones history & ones self as a singularly powerful means of being. of existing. of keeping.
They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only one who understands them. Four skinny trees with skinny necks and pointy elbows like mine. Four who do not belong here but are here. Four raggedy excuses planted by the city. From our room we can hear them, but Nenny just sleeps and doesn’t appreciate these things.
Their strength is their secret. They send ferocious roots beneath the ground. They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger. This is how they keep.
Let one forget his reason for being, they’d all droop like tulips in a glass, each with their arms around the other. Keep, keep, keep, trees say when I sleep. They teach.
When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at trees. When there is nothing left to look at on this street. Four who grew despite concrete. Four who reach and do not forget to reach. Four whose only reason is to be and be.
roses&concrete centers Blackness as a site of inherent liberation to which we must return. it is my perpetual love letter to Black people, queer|trans|non-binary people & those with disabilities; my definition of a rose, neglected, yet audacious enough to blossom.