See Me

Don’t just look at me.
Don’t look past me,
or through me.
Don’t hear my dialect
and judge it as ignorance.
You speak one language,
I speak at least two.
See me.
See the entire person that stands before you.
Don’t see the locs,
the head wrap,
the melanin,
the beard, the tunic,
and dismiss me as “other,”
or less than you.

This isn’t an egotistical demand.
It’s humanity’s expectation.
It’s every soul’s cry.
My presence here is normal.

Look past the hoodie,
the iced tea and the bag of candy,
the life-threatening cell phone
or wallet in my hand
that you believe has the potential
to shorten your days.

See my child in the back seat.
See my fiancée sitting beside me.
See me without requiring additional justification
of my worthiness.
I’m supposed to be here.
My child’s life, my husband, wife, or intended’s life
is equal in value to anyone’s life in your world.

See me, but don’t demand I fit into your limited mold.
I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
God broke the mold when he made me.
Therefore, I won’t play small for you.

And if you choose not to see me and mine,
I will not take accountability for your blindness.
It’s up to you to remove the scales from your eyes.
I can’t lead you to water if you dig your heels into the dirt,
and I certainly will not bring you water and force you to drink.
Because, the limited view
in which you choose to see people like me,
is how people will choose to see you.

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All of a sudden…

I actually had a good and productive Monday. (Most people don’t celebrate Mondays, which is kind of sad. The day is what you make it, but I digress…) Tuesday was a doozy. That’s the point when my week went to crap, and I’ve been trying to recover it ever since. All I can do is roll with the punches. Hopefully I’ll be fully up and running again in a few days. I’m determined to finish this #NaPaWriMo Challenge!

Spirit Song

Today is day 16 of NaPoWriPo! We’re just beyond half way through the Poem-A-Challenge! (This is not an easy task! But I must say, it’s loosened the creative muck a bit!) Today’s post was inspired by yesterday’s Daily Prompt word of the day: Song.

Only I can hear the song.
The melody tugs at my center,
and what looks like
madness to the outside world
has a beat
a rhythm
a range
a harmony.
Only I can hear the song,
and every kick,
arch of my back,
raise of my arms,
twist and twirl,
is my praise offering to God.

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Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

When Forcing the Words Just Won’t Do

On this day of rest
my soul was overloaded
with thoughts
with words
with emotions
that congealed at the end of my pen.
Nothing would flow
in a steady
organized direction.
Nothing desired to
fall
into
place.
So, I didn’t force the mood
out of its place.
I let it be.
Sometimes, that’s best.
Let it be,
and let the soul rest.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The Understanding

It was time for us to come to an understanding.
The conflict between us had been brewing for far too long.
It was time for us to have a face-to-face
and break down the wall between us.
We live in the same space,
sleep in the same bed,
but couldn’t even look each in the eye.
That ends today.
I’m disconnecting from the outside voices
that only wish to shame and condemn my form.
I’m disconnecting from the inner voice
that spouts and reinforces negativity.
I’m calling out the best of myself,
I’m going to appreciate and celebrate
every wrinkle, line and blemish.
Me, myself and I are going to come to an understanding
that loving each other first
is necessary
and a matter of survival and self-care.

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Flashback Friday: Poetry Edition Week 2

Today’s Flashback Friday Poem is called, She. It’s one of the poems featured in my book, Persistence of Vision. The poem was inspired by artwork of Clint Brown. The image on the original post (and below) is a part of a series called The Plague Drawings. Be sure to take a moment to view the entire series. It’s amazing!

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Image from The Plague Drawings, used with permission.

She

What began as exploratory curiosity
eventually led to a single rendezvous,
in a room hidden from
the light of day,
but quickly
turned into frequent assignations,
and innumerable stolen moments
of explosive passion and lust
only to abruptly end
with final breaths
of regret.

If She gave too much
he took more than his share
and demanded more still
to feed his ego’s insatiable
appetite for her tender flesh.
Shameless suppliant,
foolish guttersnipe!
She bathed him with amorous
words and lofty immemorial fantasies
of him being Her first and evermore immorato
and Her being The One his soul long for.
Yet, was not his soul,
but his loins alone
that longed for Her.

She believed his lies
of the time being too soon
and his desire to know
Her deepest thoughts
and emotions before
he could present Her as his
crowned jewel
until
She saw him in the arms of another
who did not love him as well as She.
But he courted her
and presented her to all he knew
and flaunted her
as though she were new to the world,
but she wasn’t worthy,
there was no way
she knew how to speak to his soul
as She had done
in their clandestine encounters.

Could She be so easily replaced?

Truth settled in Her heart
and shattered its walls.
He was never Hers
and never intended to be.
So, She went back to their hiding place
and cried over the cessation
of his attention
and welcomed Quietus
as if it were Her next
romantic pursuit
and clung to it
wishing it was he
taking her to rest.

Lines

I call them tiger stripes,
battle scars,
a badge of honor.
Their tendrils reach around my waist,
across my back,
down my hips,
and over my belly. like vines.
Each line reminds me of
the life I once carried within me.
Each stria reminds me
of every meal I could not hold down,
and every kick and punch
my ribs and bladder endured.
The single dark stripe
that trails down the center of my belly
reminds of the times I wondered when labor would begin.
The ripples that remain, like accordion folds in my flesh,
remind me of the day you finally arrived.
I look at these stretch marks
and recall faithfully massaging cocoa butter into my belly,
attempting to erase any visible evidence of the experience.
But the flesh insists upon memorializing the event.
I’m no longer ashamed of these scars.
I’m reminded that not every woman has been blessed to receive them.
Maturity has taught me how to wear these welts
like a string of diamonds around my waist.

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Thing of Beauty

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They think I’m all looks and no brains.
Nothing but air there.
They believe pain cannot penetrate a pleasant aesthetic.
It hurts to the bone.
They think I’m promiscuous.
I have discriminating tastes.
While his looks will get him a promotion and a raise,
my looks are considered too distracting and dangerous.
I have to hide my body to control his roaming eye.
They’re drawn to my curves and lines.
They only want a trophy, until the next shiny thing walks by.
In all of this, I’m not suffering because of good looks.
But being admired for one’s looks sometimes feels like a burden.
Beauty fades with time.
Everyone wants to be appreciated for the fullness of their character.
Nobody wants to be forced into hiding.

The Day Got Away

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I woke at 5.
There was no light in the sky.
So, the snooze button I did slap.
I slept ’til 6:10.
The alarm buzzed again,
and I gave it the evil eye.
I dozed off once more,
then awoke mid-snore
to find it was 10:45.
For goodness sake!
I was way past late!
The boss would have my hide!
I can’t call out sick.
The boss was hip to that trick.
It’s already 11:25!
Hi-dee-hi! Hi-dee-ho!
To the salt mines I go!
I made it at 1:29!
I slipped into my seat,
on little cat’s feet,
but the boss spotted my advance.
He played things quite cool,
until 4:52,
then asked we could have a talk.
I said, “Sure, my good man!”
Thinking he was a fan,
until he pointed to the clock.
No hope left for me,
I knew there would be
no offer of partnership.
Instead, I received
relief from responsibilities,
a box, and a little pink slip.

Who Needs A Poet?

Who needs a poet?
Who needs those brooding types
who question and examine
every aspect of life,
turning emotions over like flapjacks on the griddle
and searching for the perfect words
to describe feelings so eloquently
as to make one shed a tear?
Why do we need these people
who mourn and celebrate love obsessively,
who question how the moon and stars are hung,
or scream and holler passionately
about the confounded ways of the world?
Can’t we do without them?
Why do the fancy ones exist?
The ones who
want to set their words to drum beats and syncopated rhythms
that make your heart race and have you clinging to the edge of your seat,
or the ones who recite their verses
over smooth, silky jazz rhythms…
I don’t understand.
Who needs them?
Why are they here?

And when did I become one of them?

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Photo credit: Jörg Schubert