How

How can I make our love more like Saturday mornings after too much wine?
More like Tuesday quickies at 6 am, cuz fuck it- I’d rather be late to work
More like forehead kisses goodbye
Like intertwined fingers and flirtatious eyes
Like evenings watching the stars in your lap
Like massaging your shoulders until you fall asleep
Like watching you react to every bite of dinner
Like you always being my dessert

How can I make our love sweeter, simpler-
The feeling of chasing fireflies on summer nights
Of falling asleep outside
Of a very first kiss-
With you?

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Again & Again

We make the promise
Again-
You go that way,
I’ll go this way.
Still, you keep coming back to me.

You smell of other women’s perfume,
Of rotting corpses:
The half eaten lives
You promise me
Again & Again

You give me anxiety-
My nails scratch away at my skin
Leaving red rashes in their wake-
In your wake.

I’m tired of circling this planet
Only to find you
Only to love you
To fear you
To hate you-
Again & Again.

Sons Borne

I know that men are not trained to be gentle
You take pride in your rough hands- that you work hard
That your mother doesn’t have to work anymore.

But you don’t listen when she tells you how lonely she feels
Behind her white picket fences
Spending her days trapped on the porch swing you built

She doesn’t want to exist solely for you–
Not if you won’t sit beside her every day.
Her love has long died and she is still here
For you.
Waiting for your okay to fade into the black of the night
To rebuild her own world
But all you can hear is that she’s bored-that her life is boring.

Have you ever sat with your grandmother-let her spill to you the great scandals of her life?Your grandfather had to climb Mt. Olympus to get her attention-
She used to smoke in public and wear fitted pants and she never got her nails done
And what a sight she was to behold- your mother’s mother-
You,  her legacy.

Sometimes you brag about paying your sisters rent
Being the man she can rely on- being strong
But she won’t admit her belly’s growing until you ask her directly
Won’t volunteer the delicate nature of her heart’s desire- the fragile situation she’s gotten herself in-loving a man too much like fire
Being burned.
Don’t let shame or anger darken your face when at last she must confess- she’s moving back home,  dropping out of school,  having a baby boy.

Men are not trained to be gentle,  my love
But that is no excuse.
The world does not belong to you- you are not the God around whom we must revolve.
Do not assume that it is only you- working,  stressing,  praying,  overcoming.
It was borne in your bones- inherited like the color of your eyes,  the texture of your hair.
You must learn to give credit where it is due.
There is no one who can make themselves.

Pt.2

When you were little you sat on the toilet in the good bathroom
And mom braided your hair.
It’s weird,  being black of a white mother
Like being raised by a tiger rather than a lioness
And as many times as it frustrated you
That day,  when you were late because Mom drew criss-crossed braids across your scalp
Reinforced your identity as best she could.
And that boy,  that day,  he told you you had the best hair in the whole school.

Mango skin

The smell in the kitchen: plantains caramelizing in the pan.

Whispers of sugary starch browning in coconut oil

This is an experience that,  growing up,  you could only share with the people in your home.

The sweetest sugar cane water filling your mouth in the summertime.

The drip of mango juice down your face.

You learn to keep those flavors right at the tip of your tongue.

Daddy taught you to eat the skin

And you take life that way-bitter with the juice.

Taste

I have not been able to post anything here for a while. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger and I’ve tried to play it cute and not share it. But fuck it, I’m angry. Here’s one of the things I’ve written:

 

TASTE

Tell me: what does forgiveness taste like?

Does it taste like ice cream, pistachio flavor?

Is it salty on the way down your throat?

Does it taste like blood, bled from your lips?

I do not know forgiveness.

 

I have watched brown skin, my own, melt into pavements, into grass

I have screamed out in fury, wrecked my own home to release my anger

Who will call the hounds out?

The fields are burning. The fields are burning. I am only listening to God’s word.

 

there are contradictions painted into the fabric of your flag.

How are we morally inept and yet you expect us to dispense our forgiveness

Fox news says we have forgotten MLK, what if we are remembering Brother X instead?

We have been taught in your schools to pledge our sanities over,

to promise our bodies to her

To chase after the noble Martin.

Keep us in line, we’re dangerous.

 

My dreams are dripping red.

I see disfigurement of bodies in your eyes.

I see swinging bodies in your branches, odes to your family tree

No one cares if you were there,

somehow you all live blaming only your ancestry

But you stand on our backs.

You dig in your heels.

You tells us we’re invisible like you mean it as a compliment.

 

Just because we have been quiet does not mean we are handing out forgiveness

We have been waiting for a final decision.

We have been counting our bodies, weighing our options.

It is not a threat. It is karma.

Every one must feel the burn when it comes for them.

We are nearing a conclusion.

 

What will you do when we give up on your flag?

How disloyal will you tell us we are when we burn your Liberty Lady in your streets?

We do not start these fires, we do not even fan them.

We have struggled so hard to love you,

To love you like we need it as much as you do.

 

What does forgiveness taste like?

Does it smell of carcasses rotting beyond the skyline of your beautiful seas?

Does it float goodwill only in one direction.

Don’t worry I will not ask you to forgive me.

I do not know forgiveness.

But I know hate.

And one can only push it deep into their stomach for so long.