Sometimes my fellow poetry bloggers will write something so thought-provoking or inspiring, that I can’t help but respond in poetry. One poet I admire, Malcolm James Furst, did so yesterday (see my About section) and caused me to write the poem you see below. I’ve decided to call it “All of Me”:
if i could be half on stage
what i am on page,
i am not sure if i would have the need
you see, the true me is so scary,
a sight not to be looked at with unprotected eyes,
like Moses staring at God for the first time;
so instead of revealing my true self in person,
and in that writing,
there is so much room and space to be me
that my honesty starts dancing
without caring who’s looking.
i get into a groove
to an ever-changing beat in my own head–
i move in free verses still i start sweatin,
til my permed hair starts thickening
or my afro starts shrinking
or my weave starts frizzing;
til the winding of my waist becomes dizzying;
til i’m the last one on the floor
and lights are being turned out
and janitors start mopping around my feet
and even the wetness of the soapy water inspires me.
and all that is left is poetry.
and all of me.
beauty meets tears
and invites them to a dance with steps
only memorized by the magnificent.
if this is history,
then i wonder what tomorrow will feel like.
if this is reality,
then how peaceful will my dreams be
when i close my eyes tonight?
if this is joy,
then i cannot wait to experience love.
the thought of it gives me goosebumps and fear
because my heart is already swollen
it beats louder than ever.
i am alive again.
i didn’t even know i was sleepwalking
until now i have experienced
the emotion, the struggle, the achievements
and all that could happen
by just believing.
overwhelmed i am
so blessed i am
here i am
i thought God was absent
so i could only imagine
how great would His presence would feel like.
we are fake lovers,
spinning on a broken record
that’s our jam
that causes us to dance
when we jump out of our crazy,
lonely lives to listen
to each other breathe into phone receivers
and wish for more.
we had more, baby.
we were Bonnie and Clyde
speeding down a highway
where reality chased
and there was no damn way
we were stepping on the brakes.
we were the Red Sea before
Moses lifted his staff to separate,
but now we live on two different sides–
there is dry land in between the wetness
that once lived in laughter that birthed tears
and bodies that danced in sheets without any cares
in the world but which one of us
will cum first.
“us” had come to an end
with no satisfaction
and now i wish i could wrap back then
in saran wrap or a silk napkin
and save the memories for when i am hungry.
i would eat them crumb by crumb for every night
i have to sleep alone with no one
or watch romantic movies
and end up sentimental and crying
or ponder the reasons
why love always seems to be dying
and dine on the times
when you and me were “we” thriving.
our love was alive like
Lazarus after Jesus wept
and we took steps
on a spiraling staircase that never seemed to end
until we tried to climb to future heights
and fell down to hell.
now shit is fire and i think you’re a liar
but even though you burned me
you’re still the best i’ve seen
with my near-sighted eyes
and i wish i could feel once more what we had.
and i wish we didn’t move so fast
from strangers to lovers to soul mates
to exes to strangers
to this phase
of sporadic late night phone calls
and empty promises
and reminiscing of good night kissing
instead of hanging up with uncertainty
of when we’ll speak again.
i miss my friend.
even though it’s cold outside,
i crave spring-time love.
not out of necessity,
but the pure, simple complexity:
energy rushing through the beats in my chest
and spreading to an extra sway in my hips
and curve in my smile
and spark in my eye.
even though my skin is now dry,
i feel like sticky pre-summer nights that never end,
where the sky stays the same foggy blue for hours
and midnight conversations buzz
and enlighten in my ears
i wish it could be spring all year…
the beginning of flings and i don’t even care
if they disappear by Labor Day.
but i guess if it weren’t for barren winters
and handsome smiles without words to follow
and today communication that results in
i wouldn’t care about the weather.
i want to be seasoned with rain that’s fun to run through
and kisses of potential and hands held for first times
and dances without music.
i’m counting down months until my next season change
and hoping it comes sooner
than when the weather man claims
cuz it might be winter outside of my window
but it can still be warm in my heart.
wind can chill me in climates where i have to wear my coat
but sunshine can fill my throat
and sing the most beautiful songs
(even if they are off-key).
i feel like a spring-time love,
not out of necessity but pure luxury,
boredom, entitlement, fulfillment
energy rush through me
and change this weather like fall leaves
and leave me satisfied
as summer tip-toes with holes in her socks while
temperatures are increasing
so that like a bear hibernating,
i would have stocked up on enough love
to carry me over to days when the sun
stays up late because even she can’t resist the temptation
of the rush that comes
Hi everyone! Here is another video of me performing. This is my poem, “Exotic Beauty” (click here to read the poem) at an event in Washington, D.C. I did last week called “Women, Words, and Power!” (done in association with The Essential Theatre). I was one of nine female spoken word artists who performed.
I’ll warn you that the video quality isn’t great, but hey… 🙂 Enjoy!
naked as the day i was born,
i am alone.
there is no one to touch and play
and most times when i’m clothed i say
that this is ok.
but as i lay in my cotton sheets in the buff,
i know that my solitary existence is not enough.
i feel like doing a dance,
not one i can do all by myself.
with this choreography,
i’ll need a little help.
when i put my feet down here
and my knees out there,
you groove your movement
to make sure the dance floor is clear.
then we will find the tempo and key
of our soundtrack.
i believe it begins
in the falling and rising
of the small of my back,
the beat can be found in the rocking of my hips
and the melody lives in the curve of my lips.
our ballroom dancing is like none other
because it a dance that occurs in no other place
than my idle imagination.
others do this dance,
but not me.
i move alone and trust nobody
to two step with me.
my nudity is no longer a performance
but a mode of relaxation,
devoid of the sensation
of movement penetration.
i have dancing shoes in my closet but
won’t put them on.
hopefully by the time i do,
they’ll be playing my song.
i live vicariously through her
without the burdens I carry.
as she moves her limbs
in bare skin,
as the day she was born
matured to a point where she’s
soul months away
from being confidence years old
in a world where age has no
is her expression,
but what is mine?
what sequence of bodily actions
can i do to be free like you?
what motions will carry me
to a place
where I can be vulnerable,
without the fear that now relentlessly pursues
each time i stand nude?
until I find that land,
i’ll just watch and pretend
that her dance
is coming from me
as I sit and live
we are the zombies.
we come alive at night.
we are invisible men and women during the day,
but as darkness falls, we get carried away.
we come out dressed in our best,
hoping to locate the missing piece of our puzzle of unrest.
we are zombies
searching for fun,
reaching for fulfillment,
doing the thriller dance on the floor,
allowing our bodies and minds to explore
“Will you come home with me?”
“Will you buy me a drink?”
“Will you remember me and call tomorrow?”
hopefully this drink will drown out my sorrow.
hopefully these clothes will make me look less hollow.
hopefully with my dark shades in this dark place,
no one will be able to see my face
to know that i am a zombie.
i am the walking deceased,
bobbing my head to bass beats,
sweating in the stiff stench of body heat,
trying incessantly to find me.
i look in each corner,
squinting my eyes and searching hard,
trying to discover humanity but all i see is a graveyard
with the risen dead all around.
i’m searching for the sun
but all i see is clouds.
i start running to recover the rest of myself
but i slip on spilled drinks on the ground.
i’m trying to speak and hear my own voice
but it’s drowned out by the sound
of bodies shuffling feet and grinding, rubbing for the feel of romance,
of hip-hop melodies and a DJ yelling loud tellin me to raise my hands
and a population of people participating in each empty-headed, mindless dance
til the point that i can’t stand the fact that
i left home as a human being
and now i’m a zombie.
i feel like i can write this pain away—
i can’t speak it away,
but somehow the idea of
words on a page
and letters on a screen
transfer my screams and frustration
i wonder if i can move this pain away—
not in a box, but jostle the anguish out
as i shake my buttocks,
as my hips rock,
maybe the crookedness of this orbit could stop
and then mysteriously align
with this time,
with this mind,
as i wind and wind,
dancing to the rhythm of my soul,
not worrying about control,
just lettin’ the sweat roll.
my body can tell the pain to go.
i wonder if i could pray this pain away—
ask God, beseech Him, rather
to give me a day better than my latter,
provide a ladder
for me to climb from the mud and dirt,
wipe off my scraped knees and walk free,
discover what really is my destiny,
discover the He in me
instead of putting the me in He.
i think i’ll just wait this pain away—
get splinters in my butt cheeks
and tan lines while sitting in the heat,
blisters on my feet,
bags under my eyes,
a migraine from staring at the sky waiting for the sun to rise
darkness will transform
not just to day–this transformation will be out of the norm:
out of the
brokenness of my spirit
out of the song of my life
out of the thankfulness for my strife
the beauty that is
He intertwined with the new me.
i feel like i set myself up
like i get my hopes up
for a specific person only to be let
by standards they didn’t even know
my heart is tattooed on my wrists
so that with every exchange,
a new person gets a glance and
no matter how often i try to
wear long sleeves
to hide the tops of my hands,
the ink is inevitably seen.
i’m not sayin i wanna walk around
without a heart or
be a cold woman
but i feel like i don’t know how to
manage this organ i’ve been given.
it dances to its own rhythm,
shuffling and sliding
about 70 steps a minute,
grooving faster than seconds
so it’s no surprise
that no matter how hard i try
to keep up, i fall behind.
this muscle that is the only the size
of two fists
is swifter than all of my logic
and limbs combined.
it provides me with lies
and with each new beat it
neglects to teach
me how to beat
it pumps blood to my arteries
but is still the part of me
that i resent.
i wish i could hold my heart in contempt
for refusing to be honest with my mind,
setting me up with false expectations and trust
and making me crazy whenever i sense
the slightest hint of love.
but for whatever reason,
i still love this heart i have
because when what is in front of me
it speaks to me and tells me
that it is built with the capacity
to expand to other beings
so despite the hurt of my feelings,
my heart is the only route
to get to the true feelings
*Written June 19, 2008*
we don’t have to stand or fight,
just live it up,
smoke it up,
drink it up,
sex it up,
but don’t forget to
wrap it up,
rap it up,
two step and snap it up,
tote gats and lock it up,
sell snow white on the block it up,
serve time it up,
booty pop it up,
become young moms and pops it up,
change the world it up,
teach the young boys and girls it up,
take the shackles off our feet it up,
classrooms instead of the street it up cuz