Mary Mariah

Understanding Empowerment from a Lived Experience

Unconventionally and Unapologetically Black


Unspoken Loudness

I’m really having a hard time with this thing called race. It’s what’s supposed to bring me in but it keeps on keeping me out.

There are expectations unknown to me, unfamiliar to me, unnegotiated by me. Yet there they are. Unspoken loudness. And I’m paralyzed by the thickness of it all.

Everything I value is drowned out by a playbook I don’t have the tools to read.

Its simply an unreal reality.
Fuck Race

Is it imposter syndrome or is it an “I know how your ass operates” orientation?

[An essay I want to one day write.]


Gifted people need a place

To meet, mingle and converge.

To lick each other’s wounds

And celebrate each other’s victories.


The gifted cannot take their selves to the ordinary.

And not even to the brightest.

There, exists a two sided coin of what is

Moderately unconscious

Exceptionally unconscious

The ordinary and the brightest.

Both tethered to an unknowing.


The gifted knows all too well.

About that which cannot be seen or imagined

So they perceive in a way that is not recognized.

And no way to convey what is.

Their super powers often serving as a curse

More so than as a gift

Sitting in wonder

Surrounded by silence


Creativity a lifeline

More so than an expression.


And then,

By their daily awe

Escounsed by a daily suffering

They encounter themselves in another

Yet they don’t know it’s their own reflection

Because they have not yet learned

What it means to be the me that they are.



There is a licking of wounds

A celebration of victories

Because, there is something about the sound

Of muted words,

Of unaccessed-access,

Of imagination-unimagined.

They know there is

A pre-languaged impression of likeness

Jointly conscious yet jointly trapped

Jointly blissful yet jointly sorrowful.


The sitting

Of collective selves unknown

Feeling kinship in the ignorance

Of what is seen yet not understood

Gifted consciousness

Gifted suffering.

Gifted community.





Misplaced Anger

First, you don’t even know that you are angry.

Second, you don’t realize that your anger has nothing to do with me.

You are angry about the care you never received.

You’re simply looking for an outlet to project the pain that is deep within.

Sweet and Savory

My two lovers.

Representing generic place holders from my past

When the sweet and savory could only match my readiness of the time.

But 20 years later, my pallet has matured

Desiring a different intensity, I am now ordering from the adult menu

The sauce for the grown and sexy

No more 2 for mild… and apparently, no more 6 for medium

We’ve gone straight to a full on 10.

Causing a different kind of truth …a pleasure my taste buds don’t really know how to handle .

But I’ve recently learned that pleasure at that level ain’t really pleasure.

That the ten does me no good.

Yet this is not the aim or intention of showing up in this reflection.

No, in this space, I want to make room for a different lesson

A discovery about desire, passion and pleasure

All on the inside yet unfamiliar to my consciousness.

Until two lovers came knocking on my door

The grown up version

Unlocking that which had been locked deep within.


It’s a funny thing,

Those two lovers

One sweet

And one savory

Me wanting both

Just a little bit of the savory from the sweet

A little but of sweet from the savory

Yet neither could give me the other.


Yesterday, I sat across from one.

After 10 years of flavor

Was reminded of my sweet tooth

Of what I have been craving

But that sweetness was too rich

Too much sugar for my senses

So I sat there trying not to nibble

Because I wouldn’t be satisfied with just a taste… all while being over satisfied in ways I could not explain.

So I just sat there

In the chocolate factory

Basking in the aroma

And working really, really hard

To remember the sugar shock I was left with ten years ago

When the high didn’t prove to be steady.

That was the beauty of my visit

I had the insight that I didn’t have back then.

The sweet can’t be contained.

I know that now.

Yes, it can ooze through me like wet lava coursing over dry land

But it cannot provide nutrients in the landscape of me

Leaving me malnourished

Sending me into the arms of what felt like flavor.



I have never been so preserved

The outside me kept still in one place

Made the inside me come out and play

I couldn’t play in the sugar

Well, I did…

But I got sick

Paralyzed by the sticky sweetness of its elements.

No, savory offered the steadiness I felt I needed.

Sensible pleasure

Close your eyes and let the flavor slowly move through you kind of pleasure

Lean back and exhale because it feels right kind of pleasure

And although savory has a taste

Steady, measured, and purposeful

Sticky sickness a haunted thing of my past

There was still a pressing– not so secret– need for a rush.

But only as dessert

Because I know that my main dish has to be a meal.


Wanting to quench my thirst yet remain in the safety of the settled

I drill a well..

And discover there is no water.


This is the lesson of my two lovers

Too much of one or the other… not enough of both.

Forcing me to decide between the two.

But I can’t. So I don’t.

I took my over simulated self home to the safety I once knew

When sweet and savory were just joint companions of the mind

And not two separate outside choices.

So I’m just gon’ wait.

Until the just-right comes along.

Where unified pleasure

Makes its existence known

In real time.

Not too rich;

Not too salty.

Not too high;

Not too low.

A just right for my right.

Sweet and savory

Not a choice or a dilemma.

Joined with me from the outside,

I am waiting on you.

The Zero-Hour Work Week

Repost from a Facebook Rant…

Zero Hour Work Week
Photo Credit: Igor Golovnov (Flickr)

In thinking about some of my family members, I want to send a special prayer request to all people whose jobs have them on a zero-hour work week schedule — with no wages and no health benefits!! 
I am particularly talking about those in labor-oriented positions where they do not make enough to save for a rainy day like this (#CoronavirusPandemic).  We often think people should save for rainy days. I want to be clear … they (we) should! But, I also want to assert that in today’s job market, many people are working jobs that don’t allow them to even afford rent and live day-to-day.  So really, how in the hell can they save– I mean, save adequately?
I had a disturbing, and unwelcomed, conversation with someone who felt like student loans should not be forgiven because going to college is a choice– not a requirement.  Therefore, if it is a choice and not a requirement, no one should bail you out of a commitment you made to pay back the loans. 
As a person that does fall into the “individual responsibility” camp, I tolerated this conversation at a glance, as I understood it. But, when I asked the person about the necessity of college to get a decent wage or to even be more competitive in a job market that 1) does not require a degree but 2) does require certain *features (wink/ ya’ll know what I am talking about) for employability– then that person wanted to deny that such conditions exist.
I say all of this just to make clear that the job-market is not fair.  Let’s be prayerful (and supportive) of those who have been stuck in unfair markets– where EVERY DAY IS A RAINY DAY- and are not prepared for a zero-hour work week with no wages and no income.  Please and thank you.
My grandmother would often say “The chicken has come home to roost”– about bad deeds coming back to haunt the person(s) who did the deed.  This morning I am not thinking about the person who did not save. This morning, I am thinking about the society who tolerated an economic structure where people COULD NOT save.
I am afraid that over the next few months, the chicken will come home to roost and WE ALL will be paying for it!!

In Line

In Line
Photo Credit:  Flckr

In line

This thing called life

Another one bites the dust

All the good ones gone too soon

Time on earth


As those of us here

Waiting our turn

Hard to understand the movement

A figment in a finite moment

A flicker in an infinite eternity

A me before me

A me after I am gone

My mind wonders

And then ignores

Celebrating the known

In an unknown illusion

I’ve given up trying to write

The script for this side of heaven

Because I have no idea

Of the language used by the other side

Yet we all wait our turn

In line

Thinking of those who have crossed over

And wonder with great intrigue

About those who have just appeared

Where were they before they were here?

Where am I as a stand here and observe?

Tomorrow we will return to work

Write love letters

Pay our bills

Check our lipstick, pocketbooks and stockings

All while not pretending

Just in line

We are


My grief and response to Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s (Gigi) tragic death.


I have reached that point where I’ve realized that life is short.

That the Devine has given us a finite moment in an infinite space.

To carry out our pre-earthly contract

To both add value to the material world and work out our soul’s salvation for the non-material.

I often think about my assignment.

The thing I agreed to do.

When I sat at Her feet and boldly volunteered to that which was meant for me to prove.

Except the me that was there is not the me that is writing these words.

Its the me that sits deep within… watching, observing, collecting bits of the physical world.

To try as hard as I might

To understand what it means to be human

In the social world

Where power is the ultimate currency

And the body is its conduit.

We all have the divinely self living within

Housed in the human body suit

Wrestling between flesh and spirit

God and man

Love and chaos

Survival coveted

Spirit inspired

For the time that is ordained

To learn heavenly lessons that can only be perceived through the earthly mind.

Life is short but spirit isn’t.

Make the most of what is and be honorable to what you agreed to do.

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