my tongue has been bit
for so long that when i speak,
my own voice scares me.
at this point,
i can’t afford
to not live and just die.
i’ve invested too many late nights,
diversified the portfolio of my life
and made many deposits
in wells of joy and accomplishment.
i don’t care about the low economy and foreclosure.
i wish someone would tell me
that my life is not valuable enough to appreciate
if you knew how often i am on the brink of falling
and not being saved;
or if you knew of how often i have dreamt
of sleeping in my grave,
you too would be celebrating
the years i walk here.
i travel barefoot and dirt from cracks and pebbles
stick in my soul,
making my journey more treacherous,
but still i go,
trekking though life as if i were on a hike
through mountains of personal discovery.
maybe at the snow-covered peaks,
i’ll discover me–
me that i can only see
in between daylight and night.
i am only evident in the beauty of twilight
because despite my armor of control,
i got holes in me like fishnet stockings:
pretty on the outside but they let the cold in.
appear like one that is unified from far away,
but up close you can see
that my knees and ankles are ashy.
style can only take me but so far
and so can life,
but either way i hope that i’ll wake up each day
and have another chance to withdraw from the bank of yesterday
and invest the lessons and blessings
in accounts of tomorrow that will grow
i kinda miss him
but i don’t know why.
i still desire
the one who broke my heart,
hoping that he kept the misplaced pieces
in case he ran into me again.
maybe he hid me in his wallet
next to a year-old condom
or in the bottom drawer
under his socks with holes in them.
i certainly live in memories
that hold such crucial portions of me,
but it’s physically impossible to reach
into another person’s fantasies.
even if i had the opportunity
to sneak up on him while he sleeps,
i couldn’t enter the territory of his dreams–
so parts of my soul are held hostage by a man
who i barely even know anymore.
and now when i laugh,
it’s hard to ignore
that certain tones and melodies are missing–
it’s the difference between a keyboard and a grand piano.
how much better is the original than a hip-hop sample?
i have dwindled into a preview
when i used to be director’s commentary.
if i could stand on a platform and speak
to girls who remind me of me
the day before i gave me away,
i’d warn them not to.
i’d encourage them to hold on tight to their hearts
like the handlebars of a bike
on their first day without training wheels;
to stick to their sanity
as if they had crazy glue on their fingers
and couldn’t remove them until they absolutely knew
that the love they imagined
i would drill into their heads to grip those hearts
like old white women do their purses
as young black men walk past them on streets,
to take precaution because
i don’t want them to be like me,
searching for themselves in situations
that no longer exist,
wearing tanktops but
still finding their hearts on their wrists,
saying to themselves,
“i never thought it would be like this”
and shaking their heads when they realize that it is
and that there’s no turning back,
just searching for that
piece of them that they gave away,
discovering a few moments too late
that they’ll need their whole selves again one day.
some scholars wrote long ago
that there’s no such thing as an original thought.
i hate to agree with this sentiment
but as i look around me i discover
identical clones lying constantly by denying resemblance to one another.
i see black people
with hair in braids, weaves, and locks,
i see a multitude of the generation defined by hip-hop,
blindly bobbing their heads to BS such as “Lollipop”
and refusing to get any information
from any source other than
a rapper’s sound bite, the radio, or Fox.
i feel funny pointing fingers to tell the truth,
sitting here claiming that there’s been destruction of our youth
because i too have been infiltrated,
spoon-fed lies to control my militant mind turning to mush,
signing away my life to join the army of the uninformed,
claiming to be original but at the same time feeling torn cuz
even my natural hair ain’t original if that’s how i was born cuz
i am by no means the first to claim to be conscious
while being an active consumer of the same objects
that have been used to oppress
not just blacks, but all people.
searching for answers i run toward the nearest steeple,
fall to my knees praying to God to provide
and He whispers in my ear and commands me to realize
that both my positive and negative actions are first birthed in my own mind
and if i really want change, it’s up to me to decide
what i accept.
today i accept
because regardless of what scholars say, there has to be,
there should be,
at least i hope there could be
a way to make change,
rub the chicken grease and sunflower seeds off of my tainted brain,
eliminate the tick tock of my CP time watch
and turn down the bass so my stereo system in the trunk stops
drowning out my knowledge,
numbing my creativity,
and allowing the media to define what i am to be,
what i should be,
or at least what i could be.
today is the day that i break free!