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Archive for the category “poetry”

Impromptu Poetry: Let’s Connect

A voice, eye-contact, a touch and a smile says so much more.
The intention in inflection is heard and clearly understood. No need to scroll back, analyze and then assume.
Touch me and I feel you.
No emojis necessary. No responses out of order.
1/3, 3/3, 2/3.
No room for misunderstanding when looking you directly in the eye.
No jumping to ill-informed conclusions based on too much insecurity and too few facts.
Pleasant pauses in person mean letting the conversation breathe and the intimacy build, while a pause during a text can mean he’s on to the next…
The ultimate mic drop is a kiss.
Let’s mutually decide to power down and unplug.
End this digital conversation and start another offline…
This is how we communicate better.
Let’s connect.

J’s Pre Wedding Poem

She said, “girl, that was a good poem.”
“I’m going to hire you when I get married.”
I say, why wait?
You see, the man who finds you, and woos you and proves he will care for you– that’s the kind of poetry that will write itself.
The look in his eyes when he looks into yours will be far more powerful than any thing my pen can write.
The deep meaning in his words, when he says, “I love you,” will tear the house down more than anything I could say in a punctuated phrase in a room full of people admiring God’s good work of placing you two together.
Your man is somewhere writing your poem right now, in deep thought and contemplation on how to properly prepare himself for a moment not yet known, yet necessary to his growth as a man– where he will ask and hope you’ll say yes.
And you will. You’ve waited, you’ve had messups and blunders, crooks and liars and you’ve learned my dear how to spot the fakes. He will be like no one else, and you’ll be glad for that. You’ll feel peace and butterflies in the pit of your stomach at the same time, and somehow they will co-exist in perfect harmony.
Girl, I’ma write your poem now, because I believe he’s writing his vows, building his life just right so you can fit in it perfectly. He does not know who he’s working so hard for, but he knows he has to. He knows he has to get it right.
Because you are beautifully blunt.
He’s going to grow to love that scowl, because he won’t see it as if he’s done something wrong, he’ll see it as an opportunity to correct himself.
He will appreciate your ability to argue, he’ll be glad to have a fierce advocate in you for himself, for your children.
I could write on about how you met and fell in love, but that is his story to write with you.
I could write on about how you will face this new life together.
But that is his story to write with you.
You say, “girl, string some words together for that special day.”
And I say, “why wait?”
You deserve a great love poem right now.

Impromptu Poetry: The Reunion/Southern Dream

In a simple hello, I felt a flutter.

It embarrassed me as I fidgeted a bit, regaining my composure.

Willing myself to force the flush of red from forming on my cheeks.

Stay cool, ice-cold.

A warm baritone, asking me how I’ve been, soothing and familiar.

I just want to fall into that sound. Wrap myself in your words and feel at home.

Damn your disarming, charming southern hospitality.

It’s been hard out here, in fact.

But instead, I reply with a smile, I’m good. I’ve been working my way up the food chain at work and now I’m in school.

Still humble, you are.

People milling about, trying to get your attention.

But you stay fixed on me. I thank you.

I don’t want to glamorize you. You have to do those things– those annoying, awful things that can tap dance on a nerve.

Because you are human. Because you are still a man.

But I love feeling kind of giddy and silly. I love the involuntary inflection change in my voice when speaking your name.

I love remembering what it’s like to crush. So if nothing else, you gave me that gift of feeling. I wouldn’t even have to ask you for anything else or feel shorted.

But I see your light and can feel it’s warmth. That’s a good thing. That’s as close to the IT feeling one can get.

You can be so big, so loud and bright and light up a stage.

But one-on-one you are not overpowering. You don’t interrupt or exert a need to be heard. You know how to navigate your spaces. You never, ever make yourself smaller, but you allow room for others to enter and take up their space too.

There’s something about visiting the south. Your senses open up and you want to overdose on everything. Sweet tea, food, warm weather and random acts of conversation. You want to slow down.

You want to dream of wearing a kaftan, sipping mint julep, listening to blues music and walking out to your wrap around porch.

You want to dream of slow dancing with a lover behind you, cradling you and kissing your neck, smelling your scent, willing your memory to cement it permanently into your brain.

You want to dream of sundrenched kitchens, smelling of good things like window-cooled pies and fried fish.

I want to close my eyes and feel you because you feel like home, you feel like soul music, Motown, Philadelphia funk. Bass lines reverberating in your bones. Energy. Life. Passion. You feel like clean skin on fresh cotton dried to perfection, hanging on a clothes line.

You feel like old school, you feel like stomps of praise on wooden boards, dust rising, cries of Hallelujah in the air, dabbing sweat with an old embroidered hankie.

I want to dance and holla with ushers circled around me.

I want to be a little bit country with no shame and no shoes on my feet, feeling the Earth beneath, baffled how I could feel so high, grounded by your spirit, your ID, your who-you-are.

I want to lay under a ceiling fan and let it circulate moist air of a hot, southern day that bends your will and requires you forgo the labor of the day, forcing you to lay. To rest.

You make me want to rest.

I trust that I can rest with you.

Because there is a confidence. A manliness in you, marked by experience and disappointment, triumph and testimony, humility, lessons learned, battles lost, yet a resilience and a sweet, sweet dignity that humbles those in your presence. Your transparency illuminates.

Real recognizes real.

I guess that’s why we always got along.

I want to play blues, jazz and gospel and sway like an Alvin Ailey dancer. You rocka my soul. I’m inspired to be better, to be sweeter and kinder, to be vulnerable and gentle. Abraham’s bosom has nothing on your embrace.

You sweet, southern man. Maturity and age looks so good on you. I hope you see the light in me.

I hope you see the music.

It’s rich with bright color, sometimes painted with remnants of pain, a little broken in some places. But there’s good there nestled in the gaps and the cracks.

See the light in me and feel my warmth. I’ve grown too.

If only now, I could have another chance to grow with you.

 

Untitled Love Poem #325

The purest kinds of love are the ones that most don’t understand but spend lifetimes trying to figure out and define.
Love has to be figured out.
I say no.
Love has to be lived.
Love has to have some tears shed on it’s behalf.
Love has to be fought for.
Love can be felt. Love must be felt.
But love also has to be maintained and nurtured.
Love is discovery.
Love is compromise when compromise looks like it is the least desirable option.
Love is allowing one’s self to see with new eyes and to keep growing.
Love allows room to grow. After all love is patient.
Love is realizing how far you’ve come and the celebration of the strength it took to get there. Together.
Love is an agreement spoken and unspoken to stay, to support, to give, to listen, to laugh, to not judge, but if by chance you do judge, you will forgive and be forgiven. After all love is kind and keeps no record of wrong.
Love can be staying up all night talking about absolutely nothing.
Or standing still together not saying a word.
It’s a hand to hold at a time you needed it most but was too ashamed to ask but you hoped that they just knew you needed them. And they did.
It’s words of truth.
It’s a soul’s light that reflects off of you that illuminates an entire room, twice as bright.
It’s sacred secrets shared.
It’s feeling like you are at home and you are safe.
It’s a glimpse of Heaven on Earth manifested in man.
It’s a powerful force that humbles you.
Love will order your steps.
Real love does not have to be loud and boastful but its presence will not be ignored.
You will respect love.

If you love without fear, you will feel divinity.
I don’t need anyone to tell me how to love and especially how to love you, I know how to do that myself. I trust myself. I trust you.
And to love you as deeply as I do, it doesn’t require anyone to understand the particulars of how we love specifically.

It simply requires us two.

Impromptu Poetry– Monogamy

A hand to hold.
An inside joke.
Your scent embedded in my memory.
Knowing where to put my lips when we kiss. My top lip under your top lip, my bottom under yours first.
Sometimes wanting to say, “damn, I wish you didn’t know me so well,” but never really meaning it.
Being relieved you know me too well, because it makes you know better, when others don’t.
Accountability.
You lovingly force me to do better because when I’m too lazy to do it for me, you give me enough strength to do it for us.
A warm cuddle on the couch on a cold winters night.
A playful pat on the flank.
A soft kiss that starts out so innocently, but evolves into something sexy and grown and exciting and rapturous.
You still excite me.
It’s a freedom in our love making. A joy in knowing I trust you completely.
That you will keep me safe. You’ll protect my body, my heart, my sanity, my health. You will honor the covenant between us.
Fidelity is a choice. But one we will choose to choose over and over again, not just because it’s morally right, or we can brag about our discipline, but because above all else, we would never want to hurt one another. Inflicting that kind of pain on one we love most is a two-pronged sword. We will in fact harm ourselves in the process.
Our love and respect keep us alive. We are tethered to one another.
We are one.

Three Poems for One

The Shopaholic’s Prayer

Clothes, shoes and bags.

I find great jo in well-stitched rags.

Cotton, silk, poly blend.

Lycra, spandex you are my friend.

On days I’m bored or looking for peace

I roam the racks and find release.

Some smoke or gamble or even drink

Some ponder in solitude to think and think.

I make my way to the dressing room door

The limit, 8 items?

There’s room for one more!

I search and wiggle into each outfit

Until I know this one is it!

I strut and I smile a great, big smile.

When I debut this look, I’ll sashay down the aisle.

I don’t spend much, in that regard I mustn’t fail.

Practically every item I buy

Is always on sale.

And when the adrenaline leaves and I’m feeling woozy.

This day is not done yet,

I’ma buy me a smoothie!

A wayward poet’s poem prayer

I did not go to church today.

For that I’m truly sorry.

I could blame my period or turning the clocks ahead.

Being too lazy to get up from my bed.

But can I still give you praise from my humble house?

Can I use my Sunday morning to praise you with my pen?

It’s one of the finest gifts you’ve given me.

It’s my favorite thing within.

When I write I feel closest to you.

It’s like you are speaking through me.

The words flow and flow.

And I write and I write.

You know this is the real me.

Today I did not gather the strength

to sit amongst your beautiful children in a pew.

But Father God, I hope it’s no offense.

You must know I love you.

I fell quite short today.

No fancy dress or elaborate hat.

Just sweats, a pen and paper.

Please accept my poem

in the offering plate today.

Thought I Found a Man

I thought I found a man.

He had all the parts.

Or so I thought.

He had long arms to hold me.

A wide smile to make me melt.

Eyes like pools of light to brighten my world.

Surely I had found a man.

Strong two legs to hold his frame.

A job, his own home.

He had a name.

hands and a chest on which I’d rest.

Surely I found a man.

He said the right things for a while.

And then I noticed that wasn’t a smile.

The light in his eyes were slowly fading.

Who is he?

This is not the man I’m dating.

So I looked at myself.

Surely it was me.

Same eyes, same nose, same hair.

Same breasts, same lips, same but legs and all the rest.

So why has he changed?

No longer like the start?

I thought I found I man.

But I found one with no heart.

Advocate for Indulging In Your ONE Bad Day

I’d been feeling like crap lately. Mentally. Which manifests itself in the physical making you feel drained, achy and just tired.

I feel much better now, thanks.

I spent my entire day off Friday, someplace between my bed and my couch. Unshowered, I went in and out of sleep, occasionally peering at the ratchet daytime television.

When the voices of angry babies mothers and fathers awaiting DNA tests grew too loud and way too chaotic, I turned it off and returned to my own thoughts.

I wanted my mother. Her mental illness often prevents us from having a real conversation for any long period of time and so I cried for myself and the helplessness surrounding me and that situation, that I normally do a great job of ignoring and pushing past.

I could not stop the tears, nor did I stop myself. I heaved. I coughed. I cried til headache. Til emotional muscle failure. I needed that cleanse. I needed to stare down that monster.

It was ok that I missed my mother. It was ok to allow myself to miss my mother and mourn the more mentally stable mother I lost at the age of 16.It was ok that I missed her nurturing. It was ok that I was angry that while as thankful as I was for the mother figures in my life who saved me, nurtured me and helped me along my journey to and through womanhood, I still desired and needed the woman who gave me life, was still yet living, but at the same time a flesh and blood ghost.

So I cried.

I gathered up enough strength to put on a ratty sweater, some fake uggs and a hat and go to the grocery store to pick up a large slice of cake and some ice cream. I looked a mess and dared someone to even look at me sideways.

I returned to quarantine.

The next day, I stayed in the house for a great while, but I was determined to finally get out. I’m glad I did, because the weather was gorgeous. I really let one beautiful day just pass me by. The previous night after compulsively buying Hip Hop Abs, and patiently, slowly giving my information to the chipper customer service person determined to read all of the add ons verbatim, I added yet another fitness DVD my growing collection of workout DVDs that went ignored for the last week. I also purchased a cheap ticket to attend a theatrical performance of Howard drama students at the old alma mater.

Not sure how Hip Hop Abs will work out, they will be express mailed thanks to my friend, but the cheap theater ticket, certainly was the best impulse buy of Friday night.

Little did I know how watching those students and remembering my own dreams while at HU, and listening to the words of Langston Hughes be so well performed with such passion and pride would help to knock me out of my funk on Saturday night.

I thought about my dreams and hopes. I thought about the things I loved and still love.

And on Sunday, while I didn’t make it to church (darn daylight savings), I wrote three poems and I delved into a book I had stopped reading, Makeda, by Randall Robinson.

I hadn’t been this enthralled since reading “The Human Stain” and “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Those are among my absolute favorites.

The timing and my mind was right to finally get into the book. And I think it’s quite brilliant. When I first started reading it, unfocused and too busy, I thought the prose was lofty and hard to relate to. I had to adjust my antenna. I’m glad I picked it back up. There were moments I just wanted to highlight passages and print them out as reminders. It spoke to me in a new way, loud and clear.

I found myself nodding. The main character wants to be a writer. He has a sense of justice.  He feels like an outsider. He’s filled with imagination and spirit. He’s drawn to “strange” people– the kind of folks most people have difficulty understanding, but he gets them. He doesn’t judge. He leans on the intuitive other worldly wisdom of his blind grandmother, who has a gift to see more than most. He went to a Historically Black College.

I exchanged messages with a dear friend nearly all day, with all of my random rants and all. I felt love and acceptance.

The crazy thing about feeling so much over this entire weekend was while I spent all of Friday in serious, debilitating emotional pain, I felt it, and I did the things I needed to do to pull myself out.

I prayed. I wrote. I read and saw something inspiring. I did talk to friends, even when I didn’t feel like it.

I took a shower. (That helps a lot)

It’s odd when your hurt or feelings of pain are familiar, like menstrual cramps. Like cramps, you know what remedies you need to make the pain subside. You know the kind of cramps you can keep doing your daily tasks to, and you know the kind where you need to be drugged up and home in the fetal position.

I actually needed an entire day to be catatonic, wallow in my pain, live with it, stare it down, cry and let it out. If it went into a second, and third and fourth day, then that’s another matter altogether. One friend asked if I needed to go back to therapy. I don’t think I need to at this time, but if my state didn’t improve, I knew I wouldn’t be against it.

Today’s song. “Get it Together,” by the prolific India.Arie

Impromptu Poetry: As the Smoke Unfurled

As the smoke unfurled,

I found myself laughing. Smiling.

We talked about love, we talked about sex, we talked art and argued politics. We talked about the things in between.

What was left?

You said I was uptight.

I said you were too unserious, and what a pity. What a mighty man you could be.

All that mattered to you was the moment.

All that mattered to me was the future and being ready to meet it.

As the smoke unfurled you showed me how to slow down.

You slowed me down.

Slow down, just listen to the music.

The smoke surrounding me, you told me to just breathe slow, listen to my heartbeat.

And soon, you couldn’t tell me that sound wasn’t one in the same.

In sync with yours.

You taught me to play poker, the kind for clothes.

I was a quick study.

You were down to your socks and a smile.

I, in a bra and some jeans.

You may have lost on purpose.

You had a tendency to never show me your hand.

Our time was short. Intense.

As the smoke unfurled, we’d sit and let the music play and intertwine with the funky fog. I hated the smell, I liked you and the feeling more.

It was a habit I was never really fond of, but for whatever reason with you it was kind of sexy.

With you, I got to be the bad girl I knew I always was, deep, deep down.

Your lips were rich with my secret.

When the smoke left my lungs, stung them with the burn, I was someone else, yet so familiar.

Exhale.

Free.

Exhale.

Another me.

You saw that other me I refused to show.

You saw that other me I refused to know.

You made me do it.

Nah, I went willingly.

I wanted you to take your art more seriously.

You showed me I didn’t take fun seriously enough.

I miss you now when I hear certain songs play or smell that smell in the air. Sometimes I even get a craving.

I think it’s more you than the smoke and the connection I’ve made between the two.

The sensory memory is insane, like smelling an old sweatshirt or cologne or shampoo, but when I smell the ooh wee, it reminds me of you.

Our paths have diverged.

Fates forever changed.

I went for the sure thing, and that ruined me in the end.

When the morning would come and the smoke would clear, I was back to my old, uptight self.

I was again impatient, you weren’t what I thought you were supposed to be and as usual, you were doing it on your own damn schedule.

We’ll never return to those hot sticky, smoke-filled nights, with scattered playing cards on the floor. Our games left unfinished, but somehow we both managed to win.

I’d like to think I helped you grow. I sure hope you haven’t lost your light.

Because when I see smoke unfurl at night,

I remember I still have mine.

 

Impromptu Poetry: Infinite Thoughts, Light and Darkness

Lost in thought.

Falling, falling, flailing.

One thought populates thousands more.

More questions asked.

None answered.

Then for a moment, I drift.

Drift away to someplace better.

I’m bathed in yellow sunlight, chasing an imaginary lover through a field of bright light. The smell of fresh linens hanging on a clothes line.

Sade’s “Kiss of Life” absorbs the air.

His kisses linger like Sade’s breathless, effortless, lilt.

I’m dancing. I’m free. My body is a flame.

Suddenly, I’m falling again, like that Twilight Zone intro, falling into darkness, with wild objects floating past my head, getting that feeling you get when an elevator drops a little to fast for your liking.

This world, this thought is not like the other.

I’m a prisoner.

My soul is in a vice grip, being slowly tightened.

I can see a light way above my head.

A tiny dot.

As if I’m placed in a box, by some evil giant who kept me as a pet and poked a hole in my box. My only source of light and air.

I am stuck, yet I hate having the knowledge that there is something indeed on the other side. Then maybe I could peacefully just live in the box, without a worry.

It is only a box and not a wall. I could even poke a big enough hole to escape, but instead of just a giant looking at me, I’d be exposed to the grander world I know exists, but the giant holding me hostage too.

I snap out of that dream and I see my family. I see loved ones I’ve lost. I remember how hard they worked and what they valued most.

“Love Never Fails” is what is written on the tombstone shared by my slumbering grandparents.

“Love Never Fails”

God is love.

“God Can Do Anything But Fail” says a sign in the church I grew up in.

God is love. Love Never Fails. God Never Fails.

God is in me. Love is in me. If those things never fail, and those things are inside of me, failure must be man-made and man-made things can be broken.

What do I choose to believe?

I want to go back to the sunlight dream, but sunlight always has it’s time and must pass into darkness to return again. Vibrant. A reminder, light and life return after darkness. It shall return. It must return.

Even my nightmares and dreams take their turns with me, one reminding me of the power of the other and how both are essential to each others existence.

I can’t stay permanently in the sunlight dream, and I can’t permanently stay in the giant-guarded prison either.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

 

Impromptu Poetry: You Sir Are Dangerous

You sir, are dangerous.

You are the pretty amber glow of a scalding hot stove top begging to be touched.

The desire to swim after eating.

A half-full box of Cracker Jacks, hurled over the fence despite warning signs advising not to feed the animals.

You are the urge to walk under ladders and step on every sidewalk crack on the way home, mother’s back be damned.

You are desert before dinner.

You are a violated curfew worth getting an epic ass whuppin for.

You sir, are dangerous.

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