Coping Still

And if I had stayed,
I'm not entirely sure where I'd be coming
home to.
If your lap would become rest stop
for my head,
would your fingers travel through my hair
a map made by tangles, the way they did
the first night I kissed you?

Were we really like that once?

And if I had stayed,
would that home be welcoming?
Would I not miss you the way I do now,
except be physically closer?
Would you leave the sound of lasers and
boss levels to stay with me until I slept?

But I didn't stay.
And lately I miss you more than less.
But I don't regret leaving,
because in the process,
I reclaimed myself.

So I'll stay lonely.
And the questions can remain unanswered.
It hurts, but it's truly for the best.

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I brought us back together,

like dots needing to be
reconnected.
And I sat and watched the conversations ripple
across the table like
to each set of lips a piece of yarn
was attached and I was caught
playing telephone,
alone.
It’s like,
I come to reconvene
and by that I mean watch.
I arrive at a table and wait
for his eyes to meet mine
or someone’s arms to enclose around my shoulders
from behind and I
look at these people I have gathered
together again
and I wonder why
I call them my friends when every time I leave the diner
I know I could go a few months or years without seeing them.
Maybe, maybe we’d feel closer then.

Another Round for 4

We are ostracized by a table
half the size of the dining room
and I am looking at you
and you are laughing.

And I am watching you
and you don’t look at me;

and this is why I don’t believe you
when you say I’m ‘pretty’,
when you like ‘my personality’.

I see the way you’re smiling,
the way your eyes are glinting,
and maybe you’ve finally fooled me.

But in those moment, I swear
you look, you seem
genuinely happy.

And maybe that lessens the blow
of the lie:
that I know you never watch me
when I’m having a good time.

So the next time we are at a table
and this time, I’m at your side,
I’ll still cherish that smile,

But won’t confuse it for your validity
of my ‘pretty’
or ‘personality’.
No, without you,
without it, I’m still me,
and regardless,
I’ve been doing just fine.

A Different Type of Love Letter

You may not know
who my favorite slam poet is
and sometimes I forget
that adults were once kids.
So, forgive me this—

But when my mother
disagrees with me
it feels like I’m losing my religion.
Because I ended up rattled,
wondering what and where
and who to put my faith in
because according to my Bible,
judging others also counts a sin.

Because,
Mother,
you have promised me that
though I may be lonely,
I am never alone.
And I’m wondering how that’s true
when I’m left spilling ink
onto keys because you reject
the words I speak.
And it must be true,
because the voices in my head
won’t let up,
my head won’t keep up
above the tide that keeps pulling me under;
you say I am strong,
and keep making me weak.

Because,
Mother,
I am choosing to live differently.
Because acceptance
and love go hand-in-hand
and sometimes I wonder,
who are we letting define
Christianity.
And,
I have always strived for honesty,
so why is it when
I reveal that I have been
lost,
that I have been looking to be found
in their hands
and learned by their lips
that I just want to feel “wanted”
your automatic response
is “well, remember that
when you have sex with him”.
Mother,
Mama,
He didn’t get that far.

Or him.
Or him,
or him or him or him.
And trust me when I say
there were plenty opportunities,
when he had me on his bed,
or when he was on mine,
when he looked me in the eyes
Trust me,
Mama,
I was willingly to let them all
take me
But I was waiting to be taken in
instead of having skin
scalped back over skin,
reveal twisted and healing organ.

Heart,
know this,
do not be afraid to re-begin.
That love
is no competition.
That your mother
is the same woman
you have put your trust in.

Heart,
remember when
she was the only one
who reminded you to have
pride in
to fall in love with
yourself
before they even get a chance
to glance
in your direction.

And remember,
this may only be subjective.
Remember, you are the little girl,
with the a promise in her name.
Remember, you are the first child she raised.
Remember,
“God is my strength.”
Remember she taught you to be enough
on your own, and you don’t need anyone,
let alone “men”.
Remember, you are your own definition.
Remember each lesson.
Remember I’m still being taught
I’m just trying to learn
what real love
is.

Because,
Mother,
Though I have given up on religion,
I am still praying.

Because,
Mother,
when I’m telling you
I’ve been lost,
I want you to tell me,
regardless of church,
regardless of tradition,
at the end of the day,
it is me you will
always
have faith in.

Us: The Complexity

“Come Together” was playing on the radio

and you turned the dial.

I should have turned to look at your profile then,

though I’ve dreamt of it previously to the point

where I didn’t know the difference between memory, reality, and fantasy.

And it’s weird to me,

that I can’t remember exactly what you look like when you’re away,

but when I see you everything still falls into place.

So, so easily.

And the irony is, I can’t make you into the person I want you to be.

I know this now,

I’ve told myself over and over and it’s

better this way, I can only assume.

And I don’t really want you this way,

that is pretty much true.

I can’t make you make me

mixed CDs

and listen to music from the 80s and prior,

sing along with me to Motown.

I can’t make you dance with me,

admire me.

I can’t make you memorize me.

The way I’ve memorized you.

I can’t make you fall,

the way I did.

So, so hard.

But I can

make you smile still.

I can make you roll your eyes and laugh.

Sometimes hysterically.

I can make you want to fall asleep,

by trailing my fingers over your hand,

and you don’t tell me to shut up when I sing in your car.

So,

maybe it should not bother me when you don’t know it’s

Journey playing on the radio.

Maybe I should not find delight in the fact that I impress you

when I know what you’ve switched the radio to.

Yet you switch it to an R&B station and expect me not to dance with my hands.

I shouldn’t care that this annoys you.

But I don’t want to annoy you.

I’m scared you’ll tire of me again.

Though you say I don’t bore you.

I was just…”incomparable”;

too costly because you wouldn’t let me pay for a single meal.

I should apologize for wanting you in my life again.

Consistently,

at that.

That I want my best friend back.

I could lie and easily tell them I’m over you.

We both know that’s not true.

And yet,

there are things that I would one day want from you,

that you have given away

or cannot find means to compensate.

Because you turned the radio

when “Come Together” played,

and even though I am not a huge Beatles fan,

I have enough respect to let a classic play.

“I can turn you into poetry,

but I cannot make you love me.”

Trust me, when I say,

that whatever this is

is honestly okay.

And I’m not making up pretenses,

because being with you,

is good enough for me

for today.

Generation Gap

People change in the blink of an eye,

and you gotta accept that.

Fact of my life:

suck it up,

and deal.

I’m speaking to myself here.

But I look at the kids around me,

and honestly,

I want to be anywhere

but here with them.

I don’t want to succumb

to the chemicals that makes up their blend.

I don’t want to fall into this trap

they call trend,

and I don’t want to be known as one of their gen—

eration.

Wasted youth of the nation.

They ask us to inspire,

to change the world

with a flip of a tassel,

and a stark piece of paper.

They forget kids drain out whatever they don’t want to hear;

regardless if they need to.

Those are the kids other kids are taught to be like:

those are the kids other kids think are cool.

And I’m never going to feel like an adult with them around;

or maybe all I’ll feel like is an adult with them around.

A mom;

a constant nurturing figure

holding their hair back as they expel all previous content

into some unknown person’s toilet,

or getting high off of whatever is being passed on in the line,

they don’t really care enough to decline,

all they think about are themselves and what will be

“Mine”

Selfish aggravation.

Sexual temptation.

Ah, here we are.

Engulf yourselves in degradation.

But don’t expect indignation,

rather you hate the irritation that burns behind the eyes of those 

who are looking at you like you’re headed straight for damnation.

But yet,

you’re still saying, “To hell with it.”

This,

You,

are not my generation.

And if you are,

I was born some way,

some time,

some place

else. 

Far, far away

from this altercation.