Category Archives: My writing

Sweet Revenant, for Norma, a poem by Maura Alia Badji

Sweet Revenant,  for Norma

In French heels, you were film
noir to the neighborhood’s two-reel
matinee. Sloe-eyed and languorous
your gaze said I’m not here to stay.
Years-gone, yours was the voice, husky
and moist, I tried on in night clubs,

poet haunts. Confident your muse could lend
siren-sleek accents, glimmers of poise
to quirky choices, I stutter-stepped my way
home. Hopefully chic in black dresses,
I side-swiped heart quakes, courted

disaster, certain my map of your insolent
laughter would save the day. More than once,
I swore I caught your slim, crepe de chined
form leaning languid at my door. Face half-turned
from porch-light, I breathed your dreamy whisper–
Buona seda, faccia bedda. Sleep, sleep tight.

~Maura Alia Badji

 

Poet: Maura Alia Badji’s poems and essays have appeared in Barely South Review, Cobalt, ArtVoice Buffalo, Switched-on Gutenberg, Exhibition, convolvulus, Spillway, teenytiny, Signals, The Buffalo Times, and The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. Her themes include multiracial identity and families, female ancestors, social justice, female sexuality, and the discovery and creation of mythos. Maura has been a contributing writer for The Buffalo Times, Soul Music of The World, and LivingSocial.com; she has guest-blogged for NOLAFemmes, Eat.Drink.Memory, and piquant. Her blog is The Moxie Bee http://www.themoxiebee.com

She is a member of The Watering Hole collective, an online community for poets of color ( https://twhpoetry.wordpress.com/) and is grateful for the excellent online classes, and mutual support of ‪#‎tribe‬ she has found there.

Maura earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of WA, Seattle, where she was an Editorial Assistant to Coleen J. McElroy at The Seattle Review. Maura was a Tutor/Advocate for migrant children from the Caribbean and Mexico, and taught ESL night classes to migrant workers in Ulster/Dutchess Counties. She taught Early Childhood Special Education for a decade in the Mid-Hudson Valley of NY, Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia. She is a certified massage therapist and a Reiki practitioner.

A NY State native, she lives and dreams in the Seven Cities region of Virginia with her son, Ibrahim. She is working on returning to the Mid-Hudson Valley.

Photos: Wanderlust, Front
Wanderlust, Back

Photographer: Kristin Fouquet, New Orleans, LAhttp://www.fouquet.cc/kristin/LeSalon.html

Model: Ingrid Lucia, New Orleans, LA
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ingrid-lucia-mn0000090010

Wanderlust
Wanderlust, front by Kristen Fouquet
Maura Alia Badji
Wanderlust, Back; by Kristin Fouquet

In The House of the Riddle Mother, poem

mother

In The House of the Riddle Mother

I.

My mother kisses me
goodbye through friendly
plastic. She is melting
halfway down broken stairs
when I remember to shout
“Show me your real skin!”

II.

At the labor clinic I wait
in line to birth my baby,
My mother befriends a homeless
woman in the waiting room.
I am strong, she tells me,
while this woman has nothing.
I’ll be fine, she says.

Shrieks of my birth pains
bring Ayezan, the Haitian midwife.
She tells me her real name is Ayinde;
I remember to breathe.
Two rooms down, my mother
comforts a stranger.

III.

Two weeks overdue, my daughter
enters the world wrapped
in a pearly membrane stretched
across her face like a veil,
her Great-Grandmother’s

gift: a caul, a calling
to second sight, sailors’ charm
against drowning. Sicilian charm
against the malocchio,

a key to dreams.
I name her Sophia Marina,
wise woman of the sea.

–Maura Alia Badji

This poem was based on a dream I had following a miscarriage when I was six months pregnant in 1995. It was the fourth time I’d lost a baby. The numbered sections in the poem correspond to different scenes from the dream. The title is from the book of the same name by Clarissa Pinkola Estes; a copy of the book appeared in the dream.

My life seemed a particularly puzzling landscape at that time. My mother was living across the country from me. Her reaction to the news seemed bizarre at the time; she confessed she was relieved because I had been ill and she was worried I might die My husband at the time was not supportive during my pregnancy and was less so after the miscarriage; he responded to that event by getting a vasectomy.

The dream, while odd, gave me a quiet hope that perhaps one day I would indeed become a mother. At the time I thought that might come about through adoption. The day after I returned from the hospital I won a poetry prize from a writer’s conference I’d just attended. That news, along with the dream, seemed like a sign of my creative life going on and I took hold of my writing with both hands, publishing, doing readings, and getting into a graduate writing program.

Four years later I took part in a non-denominational ritual performed by a female priest and rabbi together with a Buddhist nun and a Muslim holy woman. Gathered together with over fifty other women, I named the baby I lost at six months Sophia Marina.

Eight years later, divorced and remarried, much to my surprise I gave birth to a son, Ibrahim Sean, named for two of his uncles. He was born with a partial caul. His father, a West African marabout, dancer/drummer and I are not together any longer. As I tell Ibrahim, some things in life have their own schedule and reason. I wouldn’t change anything that happened before his birth because each step brought me to him and made me his mother.

Have you ever received support and information in your dreams that helped you move on from a difficult period in your life or gave you comfort in some way? Have scenes from your dreams directly appeared in your writing or art work?

Ancestor Messages in Our Dreams with Antranette Doe

Ancestor Messages in Our Dreams

Among the maternal branches of my family tree is a cluster of women, myself among them, who emerged from their mothers’ wombs with two notable gifts: a caul, a thin membrane that is part of the amniotic sac, stretched across their faces like a veil, and the gift of second sight. This second gift most often expressed itself in prophetic dreams and the ability to “visit” with family members who had passed on.

ANCESTORS1



Sometimes these visits occurred within dreams, through lucid dreaming, waking dream states, or as my mother would often put it, “Your great-grandmother sat on my bed last night.” For me it was a gift that took some getting used to; it scared me as a child, but I came to see it for the treasure it was by the time I was a young woman. Ancestors4

Let me be clear: you do not need to have been born with a caul to have prophetic dreams or receive visits or messages from your ancestors. I believe these are gifts that can be sought out and nurtured. When I began to receive messages and visits from ancestors I did not recognize I subsequently began purposeful research of the practice of reaching out to and communicating with one’s ancestors.

ancestors2



  Happily my research led me to Antranette Doe’s personal and Ancestry group pages where I’ve benefitted from her video posts, research, and personal experiences. Antranette is a Psychic-Medium, Spiritual Counselor, and Social Worker, BASW based in Philadelphia, PA. She also hosts a Ancestral Pathways Facebook group. Before I share one of her videos on Ancestor Messages in Dreams, I’d like to let her tell you about herself: ‘Hello! A bit about me, my spiritual abilities are Divinely given passed down to me by my Ancestors and our Creator. I am a natural born Medium. I offer several spiritual readings, from Ancestor, Womb Healing, Angel, Love life, Past life, After-life, Spiritual Growth, and even Group readings, healing Circles and Workshops! I am a Healer through Channeling messages and calling in Energy, Divine Healing Light from Creation and Word Power. I pride myself on being a Wife, Mama and Social Worker. My work experience in the human service field for over past decade has equipped me with the know how to deliver social services to individuals, families and groups. I am very much dedicated and committed to empowering dear Souls to live a fully expressed and healed life this time around! I am so honored to connect in Spirit with You!”  

  ancestors3jpg

Connect with Antranette Doe: 

Twitter: @antranettedoe

Facebook: Live Divinely with Antranette 

Web site: Live Divinely 

Connect with Maura Alia Badji:

Twitter: @MoxieB

Facebook: The Moxie Bee Fan Page

Let Nidra, Hindu Goddess of Sleep, Cure Your Insomnia

Let Nidra, Goddess of Sleep, Cure Your Insomnia

urmila

 

While researching the world of dreams I began to wonder, “Who are the gods and goddesses of sleep around the world?”  There are many; the first I happened upon was Nidra, the Hindu goddess of sleep.   Some sources refer to her as the female counterpart to Brahma, the Hindu creation deva who slept (consciously) between the creation of worlds.

brahma_002

Yoga nidra is “yogic sleep”, a state of deep sleep during which one remains conscious.   It differs from lucid dreaming in that in lucid dreaming the sleeper remains aware of only the dream world.  Yoga nidra is thought to bring about the deepest level of relaxation possible while the sleeper is able to maintain full consciousness.   Practicing yogis report being able to experience this state during meditation.   Yoga Nidra meditation is often taught to those experiencing insomnia and anxiety; it has also been used with success to treat veterans of war who suffer post traumatic stress disorder.

I’m not a yoga expert; I’ve casually studied and practiced yoga over the years since being introduced to it during my Hudson Valley childhood.   While practicing yoga on Bainbridge Island, WA in the mid-90s, I experienced a state of yoga Nidra many times at the end of class during corpse pose; I was in a deep state of relaxed sleep, immobile but completely aware and able to hear my teacher speaking and my classmates breathing.

NIDRASLEEP

Currently, I’ve found yoga Nidra musical mantras available on Youtube to be helpful with insomnia.    I’m sharing one of my favorites here: https://youtu.be/wnROVocfoho from the Mystical Valley Channel.

NIDRA1

 

I’m happy to be on this *dream journey with all of you.

Sweet dreams. ~Maura

*This is also my second post for my dream residency at Ione’s 21st Annual Dream Festival

Dream Wisdom

I’ve kicked off my Dream Residency for Ione’s 21st Annual Dream Festival with a passage from “Coming Home to Myself: Reflections on Nurturing a Woman’s Body & Soul” by Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick (Conari Press, 1998) that reflects on the wisdom we can receive from our dreams.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in self-nurturing and reflection, especially women.

COMINGHOMETOMYSELF

Accompanying the passage is a piece of artwork I created from an image I received in a dream.  I believe we can all receive wisdom and insight from our dreams if we pay attention.

by Maura Alia Badji (watercolor and ink on watercolor paper)
by Maura Alia Badji (watercolor and ink on watercolor paper)

Please stop by the Dream Festival Facebook page to participate, share, or comment.  Click the link above or right here. 

My residency runs until October 18th; I will be sharing dream-related poetry, art, music, inspiration, and dreams.  I look forward to hearing from you there.

As always, comments on the blog are welcome.

–Maura Alia Badji

 

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