He notices the color of my toes
summertime pink, peach, and tangerine
the vibrancy growing with each passing month of the sun’s season
the black-brown of my hair and the blue behind my soul
all the different shades that I wear and I’m tickled pink with a stomach full of butterflies and
a mouthful of laughter that taste like, maybe, love?
He likes me thick like butter, salt, and pepper grits with fried ham steaks
I lay heavy on his stomach while he erupts inside me
I play mother nature and the hair of my bush is fluffy like cumulus and I let it hang down low
over his volcano ‘til our air catches fire
He listens for the words that excite me and fixes his mouth to pronounce them with conviction
and the smoothness of jazzy Harlem nights
He takes the time to understand what words mean to me because therein lies their power
And his over me
You same niggas don’t want ya daughters laid up all over town
is you same niggas draggin’ another man’s daughter round by her pretty lil lace choker
like a leash
defending your Queen child down to the ends of her ribbon-synched curls from boys’ prying eyes
with her mother’s blood on your hands and ya sneaks soiling her sheets
with another bitch’s soul smeared on the motherfucking bottom because you lacked the decency
to hop off another bitch’s frequency before you rode her waves
while she kissing your neck leaving her lipstick stamped on top of black ink that spells loyalty
that you don’t deserve
unmoved to verbs by the noun of the word yet
and I’ll still kiss both your faces on the lips and listen to your rhetoric, King
Even diamonds come flawed and some days come cloudy but still turn out to be gems
I have loved you for one thousand life times and often you forget our history
you forget that the world is against us and that I am the creator of your infantry
you are my arsenal and my fort
so I apologize for the truth with a closed mouth to swallow every syllable of the way I cursed you
because you got enough people talkin’, draggin’, chokin’ you with their fists and words
until you don’t have any left to say
and you’re not allowed to cry because it’s gay so your anger leaks into my womb when I try
to give you a lap full of lovin’ that makes another angry man child nine months later
I worry and pray and lament and cover you in the strongest part of my love like a shell built
to house your revival and for now
I’ll love you how you let me
Photo Credit: Unknown
So in between snacks, marathon Netflix-ing, and bouts of losing the remote in never-ending folds of comforter, a couple things hit me.
The first is realizing how much I needed this time away from people, places, and things. The world is changing outside my door. New neighbors moved in the house next to mine. In the morning I can hear them hammering nails to our shared wall and I imagine them hanging photos of a kiss on their wedding day or snaggle-toothed kids. But not cuter than my kids. I still have to do some level of adulting when my direct deposit hits such as paying bills and bank withdrawals. The kids come home with questions about things that they had no knowledge of the day before.
And here I am, hiding from the sun while I molt and change shells, quite literally, as I go from coconuts to kiwis hanging from the tree of my ribcage. It hurts like hell, but instead of feeling like I lost a piece of me I feel like I gained peace of mind, with the weight of two pounds of fatty tissue laying around in a Petri dish. I can’t believe women pay to have sacks of back pain inserted in them. I wasn’t willing to pay that price for beauty.
My world is changing in other ways, too—although at a slower pace than how quickly dawn seems to speed by to dusk outside my window.
When I was a senior in high school, I went to go see The Passion of the Christ. I scanned the other movie goers in my peripheral to see them crying throughout the film, abandoning their popcorn to go stale in their laps. It was so uncomfortable for me. I started to feel like the theater was a dark closet and I was looking at the film through a peephole in the door. The smell of popcorn was choking me now. Why wasn’t I crying? Why couldn’t I cry? Why wasn’t I like everyone else? Where was my passion?
For the past fifteen years I have tucked away a lot of pain and have even wondered if I deserved some of the happiness that I’ve received. I spent a lot of time swallowing lumps in my throat, throwing water on my face to blend away the tears, or even going the opposite extreme and forcing myself to cry and scream just to get it out of me if I happened to stumble upon a weekend with an empty house. I kept my problems shut up between my tongue and my cheek because—who wants to hear that shit? The feeling was cancerous and then I refused treatment. I cut off all the people and things that I loved. No more music hummed inside my veins, like fluorescent lights to shine on the dark corners of my mind. I intentionally starved my brain of words, books and poetry, that gave hard days a soft center for me to fall in to.
It was shitty to move about this world numb.
Seven months ago I got my passion back and it was like a glass of water to the face. It didn’t blend away my tears this time, though. For the first time in long while, I could taste the salt of my upset. My mascara ran and eyeshadow dripped down my face like rust. I was offended at the eruption of emotion and totally unprepared to have it drop on to me like that, cold and engulfing, burning my nose and eyes. The passion started to come out in parables that would heal others and make them cry at the rebirth of their passion. It bled out of me when the world had finally cut me open with its sharpness and I wrote about it in my own blood. Other creators spoke to me in songs and black ink divided by chapters. Blessed are those that can heal without physical touch or personal knowledge of the recipient for the healing.
It has killed me to not create for the past thirteen days as I heal, so soon after birthing inspiration given to me. I don’t want to miscarry any of the messages placed inside me because I know that a creator must take care to shield the flames of their art and not let time or other suffications extinguish its light. It’s a heavy burden to shoulder, the responsibility of being fruitful in your purpose. When you realize what your purpose is…
The passion chooses you and ignites itself. You’ll burn if you don’t control the fire.
You’ll go numb is you swallow it whole.
You’ll live if you learn to bend your love, longing, excitement, anger, hate and are able to wrangle it into your art to help you manage all the passions of life.
Photo Credit: Unknown
I took a creative writing course in middle school and I remember the teacher would always call my poems “rap”. I wanted her to get a fucking clue!! I knew that it wasn’t “rap” but I also knew my poetry wasn’t the haiku-iambicpentameter-raspberryberet-wearing Shakespeare stuff the other students did. The next year I found out that the name for my creations is slam poetry when The Twin Poets came to visit my school. I am forever inspired by their performance! I still have their book of poetry I bought…