Biography of Femi Folami
Born in the fifties at a time when America was in the midst of it's jim crow era and segregation was at its peak, Femi Folami-Browne was born to parents deeply affected from incidences that occured in the rural south. Her parents, though were brave enough to pull up stakes and move to Miami to help in Henry's Flagler's folly of creating a tropical paradise from the murky swamp land he purchased.
He parents first jobs in Miami were as caretakers of a hotel owned by wealthy Jews who trusted her parents with the run of the Sea N' Sun. Her first and only friends for the first five years of her life were day workers hired by her parents and transient guests from all over the world who wanted a glimpse of the brave new world called Miami Beach.
Femi vicariously experienced the brutality of both urban and rural America through the traumatic stories of her parents and tales from relatives who had to 'run'. She also engaged her deep sense of empathy from meeting friends from the Phillipines, Germany and the North who vacationed at the motel that was her home. It was this combination of experiences that shored her spirit and from which rose a well of hope and faith in a brighter future.
When it was time for formal schooling, segregation reared its ugly head and prevented her parents from enrolling her in Treasure Isle Elementary the closest to her motel/home. Instead the Jewish benfactors of her parents chose to put a down payment on a home in Miami sub-division being populated by the black working class.
Her father was truly grateful.
The town was called Brown-sub and later became Brownsville. It was there that after knowing almost no other black people, she was introduced to othe black children who would taunt her and call her names. It was there she developed a thick skin, a careless attitude and a strong dislike of school, if not learning.
It was at Northwestern High School though that her sensitivity to social issues was formed. It was there at sixteen years of age that she joined the The Theatre of Afro Arts as a founding member and was so mature for her age that she was inadvertently invited to be on the Board of Directors. When the founder, Wendelle Narcisse learned her age, he and his wife Eddie became her mentor and the author credits them for helping shape her artistic bent.
Though writing at home was a hobby, it was at the Theatre of Afro Arts that nurtured her and gave her black role models to emulate. Her first poems were published in a literary journal that she edited called 'Iyalode'. It was the same year that he got her first byline in the Miami Herald as a staff writer. Writing has been her passion ever since.
Years later, she would travel to Africa and amass a collection of plays, lyrics, hundred poems that till today have not been published and ripen waiting to be enjoyed. The poems in this e-book collection are from the earliest of her work...excerpted from the manuscript waiting for a loving editor and tentatively titled
'For Those Who Love'. Poetry loving people...introducing the work of Femi Folami.
Femi Folami Poems
Animism And Cosmic Order
The snake and the snow goose spoke. And we, crouched low under the big birch tree and made peace with frog and the turtle.
My Mind Speaks In My Aloness
I. We can come together,
So simple then to ask that all that would be
Reach into memory, remember unions, unspoiled, unbroken... dry those cleansing crystals,
Aminatu cries when she makes love, while Abena whispers. And I sit watching, waiting. I think the sky is falling,
And I blew you a kiss, sent it sailing, sent it soaring on the winds of Oya, to keep you safe, make you warm.
She chanted holy words, my momma did. And me, listening all the while from the inside,
in the beginning, i saw the light so i embraced the darkness and
And I blew you a kiss,
sent it sailing, sent it soaring
on the winds of Oya, to keep
you safe, make you warm.
And I knew that goodbye,
was a beginning, just beginning..
of a new life you see, of a new life for me,
and I labored and laughed at my impudence.
Wondering where did it come from?