The Writing Artist- Tamara G Saliva
Today's writing artist spotlight is on poet and painter Tamara G Saliva. Tamara is the author of the book Blue Vein Pages and a poetry CD titled Letters to Diane. She has made a yearly commitment to fundraise and donate 900 notebooks to young kids as a motivation to write and express themselves in a world where they feel they aren't being heard. Having shared the abuse she endured growing up in her book, she is passionate about helping the youth free and reclaim their voices. Tamara also explores cultural and spiritual themes through her visual art, displaying them as elements close to her spirit. Her paintings range from a mix of tribal shapes in movement with Native and Yoruban themes to portraits of those who are dear to her. You can follow Tamara at http://tamaragsaliva.wix.com/tamaragsaliva#!saliva-art-work/c1i8n where you can also purchase her work and donate to help her project of providing writing journals to kids in New York City schools. Below I give you one of Tamara's poems.
I come from a place where erections were reflections of love.
Where we kept closets full of secret wardrobes
and hid bruises from those on the outside looking in.
I come from a place where abusive dialects determined self-worth,
where free-be’s came with a price and friendships came with oral fixations.
Where certain neighbors came to visit and with them brought physical dictations.
I was taught how to weigh flesh,
so I began to charge by the pound.
I come from a place where the stain of wounded childhood
marked my skin before these tattoos, a place made cozy for self-mutilation.
I come from a place where the bottom falls out the way the sun comes up,
where lil girls become women before the rise of the next full moon, a place where birth control comes by way of abortion.
Where mother is another word for pimp and step-father is another term for boyfriend.
Where grandparents blame you for the abuse you endured. Never seek you because you remind them of the shame they spawned.
I come from shattered dreams, and faulty foundations.
They built me on broken hearts,
lost souls and misguided spirits.
So I packed my bag of side effects,
uprooted myself and left this place called home.
I began my reconstruction.
Room by room I removed the decaying anger
that spread through my support beams.
I've gutted this place restored the understructure
and dug deep within the center of my darkness,
I found the light of me.
It was there beneath the excavation of fungal rage,
where it barely crackled and had only been reduced to embers.
I built a room for forgiveness and made a room for prayer.
Turned those smoking remnants into a burst of flames
found the sound of each crackle so that my voice reaches its pop.
Brick by brick I rebuilt new walls,
sheets made of rock and resilience,
nailed them into the frames of survival and still,
I'm a work in progress.
© Tamara G. Saliva
~ Nia Andino ~