We have something special for you today. “Yes, God heard, I know He heard.” is a word and sound project inspired by the life and work of North Carolinian visionary artist, Annie Hooper. At the time of her death, Annie had created over 5,000 sculptures depicting Bible stories throughout her home. She made them out of mud, sticks, and seashells. She lived in Buxton. Words by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips, with sound by Sam Leidig.
Yes, God heard, I know He heard.
For D.B., W.B.
and Annie Hooper (1897-1986)
Mama & Sister speak:
I can see it clear as day that mama cow pushing just as hard as she could, pushing out that baby. and honey let me tell you that thing was coming out bass ackwards. and i wont nothing but a youngin then seeing that behind the house. it won’t our cow but it was our field daddy was working. that mama cow had wondered over behind our house after them huneysuckle blossoms i sucked. that was back in alabama and before margaret lost her thumb out when we was out cutting wood. cj cut it off and i was the littlest but i was standing there and i saw it— how that light came down from the sun and through the leaves, it was fall, the Lord made it shine golden. and i saw it clear as day– like you know i told you i was born with a veil over my eyes—
lika veil? lika real veil, mama? a scarf?
no lika cull, honey
i saw it then as a jelly membrane, some thin wet taffy, translucent, pink, pretty pink milkglass
that day margaret’s finger come off, when i was standing there, right after it happened i looked up, and that veil come offa my eyes and i rubbed them and scales came out—
LIKE SAUL LIKE SAUL!!
And the Lord told me then— i heard his voice just like a thousand oceans crashing it said, “Pickup your sister’s finger and put it back on Babychild.”
Mama is an angel she was borned ona dirt floor.
And I did pick it up, it had rolled off the log and down into the moss. and it didn’t scare me or nothing and i just looked over my shoulder then and i saw the angel wings—“Yes,” the Lord said, “I am with you. I want you to listen to me, you’re my Specialchild. you can heal all the nations.”
I saw in my mind then the whole world spinning, the clouds were moving fast like a puff of wind , i heard the eagles flying inside it, and the dolphins jumping waves. i had never heard dolphins before they said EEEEE EEEEEE MARGARET, Margaret she was screaming and i’d put her finger back on. i looked and that’s what i’d done. Margaret justa squalling.
I can’t tell Mama about this
boy cause i already let him
inside my playhouse and i
done seen him come down
the biggest slide and when he
gets to the bottom let me tell
ya, he growls.
We’re at the dinner table
eating and i can hear the ol
possum trapped under the
house just a scratchin. He’s
about to starve.
And then Bubba stops
smacking his pork chop—he
aint never missed one and
then just like the Devil he
looks up and says, “Mama
tell that damn dead baby of
yours to stop kicking me in
the head at night. Coming
inta my bedroom, can’t stand
it beating me up Mama.”
And mama starts crying
cause her 1st baby came out
with all its insides twisted up
and she warmed bricks by the
fire and wrapped them in
swaddling clothes to put
round her baby at night
to keep him warm but she still
had to bury him. come up
with a name for it— i don’t know.
Mama says she don’t know
why God didn’t come to her then
so for she could save her baby.
Her 1st borned baby.
After Aunt Margaret’s thumb the
Lord didn’t come to Mama again till
she came up here to live on Daddy’s farm.
One night they was sleeping and the Lord
woke her up and she sat up and look there
it was writ right cross the doorframe in
shining golden letters, it said, “Babychild
Make My Angels.”
I could be worse off that’s what I tell Mama
I know I’m not right.
I still love yall. I love all yall. I love everyone.
I know I drink more drinks than I ought to.
I’m gonna do better in the new year.
At morning time and the birds outside are telling me to wake up and drive to town and get a drink but i go outside and see the truck
Daddy got me for he died and i see him so skinny like a skeleton with his bones poking through and his knees bent up in the bed where he was dying and i fed him scrambled eggs then with a spoon. opened his mouth lika lil baby bird.
But I drive to town and get my Co-cola and everyone looks at me I’M ALRIGHT I SAY. I’M ALRIGHT.
I tell and tell but they don’t know about the dancing baby that kicks me in the head at night.
I get home and drive the lawnmower into the ditch. I change clothes 3 times. I get in the bathtub and let it run over Lord just run over. The hall becomes a river I walk on. Pretend it’s Galilee.
Take my heart Lord and throw it out, throw it way out.
Sister speaks again:
All the angels Mama’s made are in our living room and theys all little and standing there on the floor together so many you can’t hardly move and Mama goes in there and lays down in em. She says she can feel all their little hands raised, reaching and pulling at her all at the same time.
I watch Mama do it, looks like she’s falling into a giant hydrangea bush, blue angel robes on Mama like petals. She smiles and says the wings flutter under her so nice.
“How Sweet is the Lord”
she calls it and calls it and me and Bubba can hear her all the way outside the house. we stay out there til night and Bubba shines the spotlight ore the cotton. and the deer lift their heads, turn their ears when they hear mama singing.
Yes Lord I hear you.
Have Thine own way Lord
have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting yielded and still
you’re alright you’re alright you’ll stop
shaking soon just have to listen to the Lord
cause He has that quiet still voice comes to you
in the dark or light, mostly me night
i’m under a blanket of stars
i’mma turn over one day
and disappear under it just
roll to my side and fall into heaven
Daddy’s clothes, i usta hang them on the line.
i had friends all the way in town. the butcher is there
he fucks my baby behind the barn more fingers more fingers another mouth I hear them all at once graveangelssexgraveangels sex.
I’m sorry I can’t help it.
He just takes me out of here.
I want to get out.
I made breakfast for everyone and Mama smelled sour,
that grin that scares me. Tell her please wash off.
Please, Bubba, don’t eat so fast, putting his elbows on the table. Everything rattles, stuffing his face like a dog.
QVC sells fancy glasses. Mama don’t believe in nice things. Collects sticks and shells before sunrise, stays out there all morning. Won’t let me cut my hair since Daddy died.
He liked Dolly Parton and i do too. Watch her on the computer at school sometimes. —
She had a dream. Dream Dead Daddy. I
Daddy alive in a hotel, nice sheets, and real big TV.
Daddy watching the weather wigglin his toes.
The tides. The moon makes the waves.
What will happen tomorrow?
I want something good.