Rise and Fall of My Beloved
by Utanu Maa
Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a collection of poetry and prose about resilience—about the experience of stigma and rejection, disease and suffering, love and care, loss and grief—and also a testimony of gratitude, forgiveness and togetherness. Each of its three parts is a journey through life's struggles, pain and loss, all of which require an inner force to overcome, build, rebuild, succeed and heal: resilience. It expresses an undercurrent to an imposed destiny or stigma.
Based on the life experience of my late brother, Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a tribute to mankind's resilience to overcome adversities. The book takes readers from his vulnerable childhood as a neglected orphan set to die, through a childhood in which he was bullied, to his rise as an accomplished engineer, and sadly to his fall as a dying patient of HIV/AIDS. Each poem depicts the essence of unconditional love and care, the dignity of dying of AIDS, forgiveness, and family bond. This book is a manifesto of my brother's exceptional resilience, the best memory of him that will live forever. It is an invitation, an inspiration, a reflection that, when mankind encounters struggles, disease, pain, death, loss, grief, we have to grieve and heal, and rebuild.
I fondly remember my beloved brother:
Together we dined and shared the same meal.
Together in the living room, we conversed or rested.
Together we shared the same snacks presented in a bowl
Where we both dug for fresh roasted peanuts, yams,
Boiled sweet cassava, and the most exquisite tropical fruits.
Zola enjoyed crunchy papaya.
I fondly remember my beloved brother.
I never missed these moments to tell him
How much I loved him with a tender kiss on his cheek,
Holding his hands, or stroking his back.
Delighted and shy, he smiled sweetly at me.
Shy, because Zola never said his love in words.
No man or woman ever mentioned love to a loved one.
Love, here in his country, is powerful in acts, not in words
Because it may seem fake if only vocalized without action.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I am Utanu MAA. I live in Toronto and work as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, where I studied French Literature and Law before migrating to Canada in 1991, and thereafter studied Fashion Marketing, Paralegal and Law (1year) programs. In 2004, I was a recipient of a prize for the Poetry contest organized by Canada Heritage during the celebration of the Francophonie. "Couleur d'une langue" (The Color of a language), my unpublished poem about the diversity and different accents that give rhythm and power to a language to become an umbrella of one identity. "Rise and Fall of My Beloved" is also my own journey into unconditional love and care, and the resilience to deal with pain, loss, grief, to grieve, heal and continue with life after my brother's death.
Connect with Utanu Maa:
BARNES & NOBLE
The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.