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.
is there room for honesty?
maybe in a poem.
apartments don’t exist
and clutter has a chance to breathe.
normally compartmentalized minds
finally get time to spread out,
lay down and just be.
maybe poems have room for honesty,
living rooms for me to confess my shyness and sexuality,
dining rooms for verbal gluttony
and plush couches for me to sit and talk
about what’s bothering me.
poems have room for honesty–
bedrooms for me to whisper my innermost thoughts
when i can’t sleep
and basements that coax out
the parts of me nobody sees.
since poems have room for honesty,
will you pack a suitcase
and come stay with me?
there is space for all of our
and not only that–
there is a kitchen where you and i
can cook new possibilities.
poems have room
and hopefully one day
the rest of the world will catch on,
receive one another with open arms,
tearing their clothes of judgment
til we are all naked and free–
til we all have room
at a dinner for my job,
after 4 glasses of Pinot Noir,
i wonder in my tipsy honesty
what exactly it is that is stopping me
from cutting out the unnecessary and pursuing my dreams.
what is it that keeps me pretending
to be happy where i am?
waiter, put another drink in this girl’s hand
as she stands in the place she never thought she would be
too afraid to run after what she wants
because of insecurity.
numbness and buzzes are easy to achieve
through the laughter and smiles and stability
but my real future and true desires
keep calling me.
i am by no means perfect.
if i wanted to be fair i would
write out a list of my flaws
and hand it to all who wish to get involved
in any shape or fashion
i want to guard my heart but
feel i should be straight up–
stop eager and expecting souls
from getting their hopes up,
shrink their enthusiasm
so it can’t change to disappointment
as they wait for phones to ring
and emails to be answered
and schedules to clear up
and get disappointed
like a teenager waiting up
for Santa Claus.
i wear a costume of love,
the cape of the concerned
and my powers are proving to be ineffective.
i want to care
but i am stretched in so many ways
that my strength is diluted.
my mind is polluted
with thoughts of me and what i need
and when i see how many times i have hurt others,
my eyes bleed.
i apply the hydrogen peroxide of pride
and keep it moving;
regret leaves me stuck on dance floors
but i keep on grooving,
two-stepping toward a brighter tomorrow.
maybe next week, i’ll be able to balance my life
and the hearts i have borrowed
and forgotten to return
like old library books
whose fees are increasing.
i feel the urgency caused by time decreasing
and life depleting
and relationships screaming for attention.
i write notes to confess to them:
the individuals i have hurt
and those who haven’t felt it yet
and somehow when they are read,
the ones who truly care
love me no less.
maybe there is hope.
i sometimes find myself moved by
the misery of others
and in these slivers of time,
i now wonder
if my emotion is birthed from true sympathy
for what they are experiencing
or the fear that their tragedy
will happen to me.
an honest answer is like a kiss
and as someone who likes to lock lips, i can’t resist.
if you ask whether my tears and sadness
sometimes come from selfishness,
the answer is
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