“Write it for the Rest of Us”

“To All Black Girls:
We finally see you.
We value you now.
Know you’re loved.
Know you’re beautiful.
Know you’re worth——”

To All Black Girls:
Shit that white people say:
We FINALLY see you.
We value you NOW.

Tell me, sister,
when you were carrying the burden of having too much melanin,
did it give you hope to know there was a future where we might see you as human?
Tell me,
sister,
did you know how many of your loved ones and your kin would have to die
before we finally stopped turning away our eyes?
Did you see the injustices of both sides and feel your worth growing?

To All Black Girls:
Sing me your song.
Tell me of the children you lost,
The culture you buried,
the hair you cut because it did not lay straight.
Remind me of the way your body was pillaged like a village,
and all of those who tried to defend you
were either hung up or burned at the stake.
Tell me about the times you saw a body
doused in gasoline AND swaying.
Tell me of the hatred of my own men.

Tell me they were blind then.
Tell me they did not devalue you because of the color of your skin.

To All Black Girls:
I am senses wide open .
I hear the hallelujahs rising instead of the wailing.
I see you raising your eyes to up above.
I’m listening to the swelling of your lungs.
I feel the movement of you linking arms and rising up.
Shouting along with you:
“I am here.
I am human.
I am enough.”

That should be enough.

And yet,
shit that white people say:
#alllivesmatter
when death after death was occurring,
and we refused to acknowledge unless it was a white baby found in a garbage bag, but we would have to face facts.
Footage of Ferguson was playing daily in the news
Chance of thundershowers mixed with a cry of “Hands Up; Don’t Shoot”.
If #alllivesmatter
why did we did not choose to raise our voice
until the riots were among us and we were fighting to join them,
white skin congregating with a blackness we exiled
because privilege is granted
due to name and a designated white womb.
We are constantly advancing ‘cause of of lack of pigment
and you are silenced though we brought you over to put you to use,
yet we are mad when you prosper and want to produce
change.

Us White People:
We hate it when things don’t stay the same.
When the tides shift and so does the power,
when we are deserving of all the bad titles.

To All Black Girls:
I am finally apologizing.

To All Black Girls:
Can you forgive me now?

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

I’m wrapping hell’s nine circles around me

like wedding rings,

like everlasting promises

to the misery I’m willing to marry

if only so they won’t have to feel pain again.

Ring one is for the moments when

her heart crushed into powder at the sight of him,

the bruises the size of baby fists on his neck and

how she had to hold it all in.

Ring two is for the slander shed against his name

and the way he locked himself away.

Ring three is for every time he questioned your decision,

that the love of human beings was not a good enough reason

to be a human being worthy of love.

Ring four is for all the scar tissue built up from the years

where she was worse for wear, but her voice was growing

to be the person she would put on every day, and know she could win.

That the sun shines in,

that some loves are binary,

drawn together no matter how star-crossed,

simply infinite.

Rings five through eight are for the ways I tried to save them

from themselves only to realize dragons smile

while delivering the pyre and don’t stay around to lick other’s wounds

as they let their scales harden again.

Ring nine…

I wear to flip.

Claddagh with death, with my own demise,

with selfless love and better-than-nothing’s kiss.

Ring nine I wear as a daily reminder I have settled for less.

I am marrying hell if only so that I may carry the burden

for those who have convinced me to stay a little longer,

and a breathe a little easier,

even when others have walked away.

I’m marrying hell

because what good is a Phoenix

if it can’t rejoice

in the fire and brimstone,

knowing there is always the promise of another day.

Violent Delights & Violent Ends

This is the follow through: the
me meeting you across
proverbial crowded room,
and not being able
to look away. Tony
and Maria,
West Side Story.

We are the aftermath: the
damage on the road following
the crash, never thinking that
could’ve led to this,
all due to holy palmer’s kiss.
Bill never warned me
of the risk.

But,
if I could

I’d go back and love you
first sight,
irrational,
because if there’s anything true
in the history books,
I know it’s that somewhere there’s a place
for us.

Window Displays

Let’s pretend we’re lovers.
I want to be running through the moonlight with both yours hand around one of my mine,
speed of light crashing into the diner,
but nobody looks up when the door chimes.

I want to move to the booth in the corner,
where our fingers entwine over the table
and our legs tangle beneath.
I want to hide behind a menu like Sandy and Danny,
but I know I’m the one secret you can’t keep.

So when we sip our milkshakes from separate straws,
you’ll move yours close to mine.
You’ll watch the way my lips move in steady rhythm,
and we’ll lose track of time.

And when we leave that diner,
we’ll say it was our first date.
We’ll walk slow to your car,
your coat on my shoulders,
and I’ll tell you I want to stay.

Let’s slip into your backseat
like kids who know better,
but crave touch just the same.
I never thought this would be the way
I’d kiss you, love,
but I swear you can hear my heart race.

Let’s pretend we’re lovers, babe.
Even if it’s for a day,
I want to dress up, act real cute,
hold hands while we cross the street
and have you smile at me,
come on,
let’s play.

This is How I Love You

And this is how our hearts beat:
Calypso,
pull me under Gulf of Mexico;
Staccato pulses and rum fueled rhythm.

And this is how the blood rushes:
Classical,
Mozart smiling &
Vivaldi clapping &
Beethoven begging for crescendo.

This is how our fists curl:
Thunder,
roll me over, lightning weaver,
shadows reflecting fear over both
the hills & the valleys:
hurricane & tremors.

But this, this is how time stops:
Soft,
rain water,
lips meeting lips 
like drops kissing tin
roofs—-
I am a fortress you always 
break me down.

When You Come to Worship

Peel me back,
let the choirs clean the dust from my lungs
if only so I can exhale a 
hallelujah.

Turn my body into hymnal and run your fingers free form over the notes.
I want to be more than a crescendo.

Make sure the light reflects the stain glass rainbows on my pages.
Make sure I am held like lamb,
but revered as lion.

Hear the choir sing:
“Kingdom come,
kingdom come.”

Let your mind roll under the pews like lovesick children.
Let your knees crack the prayer bench.
Let my tongue be your altar,
and I will gently
throw you down.

An echoing aria,
Holy Ghost, God, and Son.
Hail Mary when she recites the only abiding truth written for the likes of us:
we
are more than than holy,
we
are the life blood.

Monsoon Season

This is how it happens:
It is two AM,
and we are texting,
and you are begging,
letting me fall asleep with the word
“Please” tattooed against the inside
of my eyelids until my breathing is in sync with
pleading
and Justin Timberlake’s voice slices through the dark
and I bolt up, hearing you saying “Hello?”

Tonight,
you will find yourself in a mass of bodies,
sharing sweat and skin and lips
with girls who don’t even know your last name.
With girls who don’t know the same way
your mouth wraps around a bottle,
or how it twisted with grief in the early fall;
when the outward wailing
failed to match the hurricane in your lungs
as the tornado ripped your spine
to shreds,
only to have the blood
flash flood through your body
all practically in silence,
all not drowning out the sound of your misery.

This is how it happens:
“First rule of Fight Club:
don’t talk about Fight Club.”
I have never laughed so much at three AM
on the phone with some boy
who is begging me to be a warm body in his bed.
And I am whining and you are sighing,
because there is no
“logical reason”
I am not in my car, driving to you,
as the minutes roll toward four,
instead of my body rolling toward you,
because I am only beautiful as ball of
sweat and skin and lips.

Tonight,
don’t drive unless you’re sober.
Tonight let your eyes reflect the lights
of a dying shore side,
grasping whoever’s hand is naive
and whose palm is not sweaty.
Do not lose yourself to the bankruptcy,
but rather to each delectable instance.
Do not lose yourself to the sound of the sea
because it echoes those nights
where you were six bottles in,
fifty sobs out,
spine broken,
lungs soaked,
and soul drowning.

And I won’t lose myself when you don’t respond
and it’s once again two AM,
but my phone’s not ringing.