if i had boots that were big enough,
i would put them on,
walk through bright pink paint
and stomp on the earth
to leave my footprints.
i’d want the world to remember me
and maybe i’m obnoxious
for wanting to stain it with my favorite color,
but i don’t want to just be
another broke down wannabe artist
too afraid to start shit
and content with mediocrity.
i want to be a visionary
pushing up against obstacles
and daring opposition to conquer me;
i want to be too big for my britches,
for my heart to be so huge that
i bust out of the constraints of stitches;
i want people to forget my real name
and call me “The Dreamer”
with the middle name “Doer”
and the last name “Believer,”
one who used to be an underachiever
til she looked in the mirror
and saw who she really was.
i lost who i really was,
hypnotizing myself to be content with 9-5 consistency
of knowing how much my checks will be.
depending on direct deposit every two weeks
never matches the sensation of expressing the true me
through this art that consumes me.
who is me?
just a big heart,
tongue stuck in dry mouth,
words afraid to come out,
soul waiting to talk,
and feet too small to even walk.
i like the freedom that comes from changing my hair.
i went from afro
to short relaxed
to boy cut
in a span of three months
and wish that i had enough bravery
to change things outside of me
that had more impact
than outgrowth from my skin.
what if i could cut off unhappy situations
and let stress dye
black then part orange
then whatever color my next whim desires?
what if i put chemicals on my sadness
until they turned straight and burned like fire?
what if my life was hair?
would i take care of it
or spray products on it for a quick fix?
this oil sheen is actually
the job i meant to leave a year ago
and this pomade is the pay raise i was expecting
that never came.
this shea butter is the love that comes from my mother
and this comb is the tough pulling feeling
that comes from wanting to leave home.
and when i run my fingers through it,
there is love.
i relish at what grows out of me naturally,
choosing to be content in whatever state
i choose or am forced for it
regardless of how things might end up,
i’m thankful for now;
for my smile and the awakening
in my soul and body,
body and soul;
for jazz tones traveling up my spine
and dancing out of my mouth
through colorful, raucous laughter.
the world becomes pink and blue
as energy mingles together
in a soft purple violet
needing to be watered.
their fingers range in colors
like shades of lipstick at a M.A.C. counter
and each tried to count her tears
but fell asleep with puddles of misery
seeping in her ears
and when they awoke with matted hair
stuck to the sides of their faces,
they realized that memory doesn’t erase itself
but only is kind and rewinds for new days of reliving
that which women wish were forgotten.
you should see their fingers…
some blackened by lighter flames,
some blistered by working many days, and some so soft,
you’d think they never worked a day in their life.
they use their fingers in many ways,
to touch the skin on their own bodies
or to point them at thieves who tried to reprogram their use
to only hush their own concerns and stay folded and numb.
their fingers are beautiful
but afraid to reach out because reaching out
sometimes results in someone pushing in;
being nice sometimes results in violation
and sometimes tips of fingers get bitten so that they are ineffective
and can’t redial the police when necessary
or wave together at bystanders who could offer assistance.
their fingers sometimes get limp
but are able to dance late at night when sleep should dominate
and able to scratch and sniff good times
and magic erase tragedy and blur together evenly
so that fingers make up women survivors who learn to smile again
and band again and move again
and be again and be even more than
but whole persons, complete humans
ranging in shades to create
a beautiful prism of survivors
i glide past tree tops at eye level
and wonder if this
is the highest i’ll ever soar.
i always imagined myself closer to the sun
so that my rich hershey kiss skin
could toast like almonds
while still remaining sweet;
so for once i could feel the air
and rest my tired feet.
in my head when i lay down for bed,
my pillows transform into clouds
as i float away for hours
that only last for minutes.
i wake up with the desire to travel again,
rub my eyes and hope i’ll see the sky
surrounding me for more than
fleeting moments in window seats of trains,
looking out at tree tops
hoping that my time in the air
will be higher up in the atmosphere
and that it will stretch for longer
than a few train stops.
i want to float all around,
not just between here and there,
spending too much time underground
so my eyes sting from simple things
like the sun when skies are clear.
the green leaves seem too bright
because my eyes have gotten used to night.
i want white, yellow, orange and blue
to be comforting for my eyes to see
i want to talk to eagles when they land
and ask them if they remember me
and when they reply “yes,”
i want them to beg me to fly once more,
to join them in a place
where i don’t have to be confined
it’s hard to ignore
while i sit looking out of the window,
observing the world around me
that i am bigger than
all of the trees that surround me,
taller than everything
that tries so hard to ground me
and meant to elevate to wherever the wind goes.
so as i wonder if the train tracks are the highest
i’ll ever soar
i can confidently say, the answer is no
and that these wings of mine
will carry me to see so much more.
i forgot i was alive
until i got goosebumps.
i used to believe that my vitality was at its peak
when hot anger massaged my insides.
but summer has said farewell
and fall poisons my life.
when seasons change,
so do i.
sunshine slips away
and night outlives day.
how i get so much pleasure
from darkness now,
find such softness
parts of me fall off deep-rooted trees
before the leaves
as if we were racing…
“Who can grow the brightest, then die the quickest?”
(at least for now this is true).
however, even in my sunken,
i carry beautiful hues–
colors i never knew existed.
they tint my existence
through that which i exist for,
the craving in me i just can’t ignore.
i HAVE perform.
i need my art like Jimi needed his guitar
and i will play it every which way it allows me to,
turn it upside down and defy convention,
let it pour from all orifices of my body
beginning with my mouth.
i will open it so the blessings of God can spill out.
in case you didn’t know,
the beauty comes from He, not me.
me is a mess and He is complete.
through my work, He strengthens me.
and in His absence, He stretches me
to believe that what He
whispered to me faintly
one night as i wept
will elevate into a shout
that rings infinity decibels loud
so all around
will have to cover their ears.
my transformation is homeless,
but it will find its residence as i
float between lives,
i see beyond eyes,
i won’t need clocks
that it is my time.