if you gave me permission to kiss your heart,
not just the skin on your chest that protects it—
the pecs i’ve greeted with warm and greedy pecks
past the number if times deemed to be polite;
not just familiar and smooth brown skin,
but that deep and scary thing that lies within—
i’d first have to hide my embarrassing grin.
i’d tiptoe up to your beating red flesh nervously,
take note of your vulnerability
and marvel at the sight before me
and at how before this day, in blood,
i never saw beauty.
i’d check my breath and wipe my sweaty palms on my pants
before softly kissing it with parted lips and folded hands.
i would set up residence in all four of your chambers,
curl up and read the book of your soul,
highlight all the secrets you’re still afraid to tell me;
dog-ear the pages of your insecurities
French-kiss your pain and lick your wounds,
digest them to make them mine.
but they’re already mine.
you have unraveled the helixes of my DNA
and genetically altered and doubled us
into a four-strand cord impossible to break;
victimized my veins
and transformed them from kidnapped to kin;
taught me choreography to a rhythm once new
but now true.
the pulse of
he kisses me when my nose is snotty,
and doesn’t mind if his face gets wet.
when he’s thirsty, he drinks my tears,
exchanges sugar for salt.
he grabs my love handles
and tickles my stomach,
reminds me that i am not fat,
Once in a while, I will become engaged in a poetry conversation with a friend (usually initiated by me, lol). I LOVE when this happens because it keeps me on my toes and allows me to be inspired by other artists. I am currently in conversation with a talented brother of mine, Under_Score. I’m posting my most recent response to him, but you can check it out on his blog (in the comments section) by clicking here. Enjoy!
helplessly hoping that
the intangibility of nature
will make itself surface as real:
dead skin cells once invisible
appear, shed and reveal
where my eyes have landed,
and created futures imagined–
cool minty breath in summer heat
show water reflections of
still then shaking,
blowing in wind that hugs corners
and causes drafts through doorways
to the flame of my desire.
to be a hair follicle under the skin
of his shaved chin
would bring me close to him
as i sprout out
and get closer to his mouth
through a subtle kiss.
and what of rain?
cloudy skies to mask tears of mine
shed from heartbreak and love,
making my hair and heart curl up,
filling me so love never dries up,
just becomes a well for
and other life and such.
but always breeding,
a circle of life lived
and beyond my control.
in my heart i see
calm and hysteria kiss.
i now sometimes wonder where
the old me went.
did she die a miserable death
to match her painful existence?
or does she live in my chest,
keeping my heart beating
through reminders of what she used to be?
or maybe she still lives in me,
a skinny, emaciated girl
underneath the skin of a woman
who smiles even when she’s sleeping now.
her tears keep me hydrated
and her scars only make me more beautiful.
her pain i wear like a necklace of rememberance,
perfect pearls all unique. wherever she went,
i’m happy she’s not as present
when i look in the mirror,
glad that when i dance now,
she’s not stepping on my feet.
she kisses my feet now,
washes them with tears
and absorbs the fluid in her afro hair.
she serves me
and is near,
perhaps closer than i think she is.
i think she is me–
when i sleep,
i drool enough to keep a goldfish alive for the night.
one morning, i awoke
with my wet cheek attached to the bare chest
of my man holding me tight.
he opened his eyes and looked down,
then took one hand,
wiped the drool off,
kissed me on my forehead
and went back to sleep.
and i felt love.
am i too busy
for a kiss?
my lips love to run,
jump up and down in
articulation of words that
travel faster than i can
but now they’re thirsty for a drink
ice melted, slick, and cool,
you know how we do.
you know how we do:
innocent pecks turning into
freestyle cyphers of tongues,
cheeks, hands, necks.
but i still can’t figure out
who flows the best.
and what’s this burning in my chest?
it smells like longing,
i was kissing
new touch with an old face
but fresh feelings.
it’s funny–the old me
was too numb to even know
that these nerves existed,
that i could be myself in my own skin,
that you’d appreciate my blemishes;
that i can lay back and be silly
without false pretenses.
that i’m ok with being lonely forever
and the hurt i faced in the past
had me thinking that i would never
open arms again
or kiss lips again
or dare to wish again
but i see him again
and yesterday melts like ice cubes in the summer,
new experiences wash over me like water
and i kind of like
getting my feet wet.
wishing for a kiss like
new toys on Christmas
or mom deciding to do the dishes
or a canceled appointment with the dentist.
i’m innocent but womanish,
beaming like a child
yet unable to control the power and magic
that lies in my hips
and these lips
and they’re asking,
“Will you meet me sometime soon
in the place where the full moon
reflects in the corners of our eyes?
Will you stand so close that our breath takes rides
on the same wavelength,
surfing and crashing
until we stop fasting from touching
and surrender to this feeling of something
not yet needing
but past the point of clean;
somewhere in between
like and want?”
but what are wants but
persistent whispers of the subconscious
with hot breath on our necks
and words of nonsense?
i will listen til they makes sense
or until the sound gets too intense–
whichever comes first.
hopefully i can tell the difference.
hardened as i may try to be,
i can’t run away from the fact
that i am in fact,
i am strong without a doubt,
able to do whatever i set my mind to,
but inside i am soft as tissue,
sensitive like scarred skin,
delicate as seraphim and cherubim
and spend my energy cherishing
everyone around me.
sometimes the weather gets cloudy
and i forget my anatomy,
think i have pecs instead of breasts,
a mustache above my lips,
and a voice deep and rich as chocolate.
but i am not this basic idea or definition.
i am the kiss on your forehead when your confidence is missing.
i am the gentle touch when trouble gets to be too much
and the loving ear that will always be there.
i am the mirror on the wall that tells you all,
the pep in your step to take you from one success to the next.
i am a woman,
mother of creation,
removed from your rib so that your stomach is a little empty
so that when you get hungry, you’ll know that you need me.
i am the appetizer, main course, and dessert,
the one that you love but still tend to hurt,
the one who loves you but still likes to search
for herself outside of your help.
i am not the same as you.
we complement each other like orange and blue,
like honey and dew,
sweet and tickling.
oh, what a feeling
to stop pretending
and start claiming
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.
God, please make me skinny.
remember when i was little girl
and i had long limbs like Twiggy?
well now i got a big ol’ booty, wide hips and overpowering titties
and i just wanna be skinny.
remember when i was younger
and i had long limbs like Twiggy?
and i asked you for some sexy, my period and titties?
well i take that back–
just make me skinny
so i can walk without the guilt of curves,
the memories built in to the angles of my hips
that remember hands that sat there and lips that kissed
and arms that grabbed and hearts that beat as one
and the fun i used to have watching my womanhood blossom.
now i wish i could be a little girl again,
pre-pubescent so i can start over again
with the knowledge of today wrapped around my head
like bandages to control the bleeding
from lies i’ve been fed
like “growing up is fun”
and “you should try everything at least once.”
God, please be kind and rewind
and remember the time
when i had long limbs like Twiggy
and make me skinny.
i have a secret, but don’t tell nobody.
i want you to…
maybe it was the spark in your eye
or the fact that night was crawling upon us,
tickling the side of my neck,
but as i glanced at you,
i wished i could be honest
and reach over and speak to you
with my lip language
to find out if you were fluent.
but maybe you know more than me.
open up your classroom and i’ll be your student,
the one who knows everything and nothing
at the same time.
i will be first in line
to register for your class and sit in the front
every Monday thru Friday
and pass notes with drawn hearts connecting
your name and my name
and raise my hand always
so you can look my way.
i have a secret, but don’t tell nobody.
those who know me well know
that i don’t like to be controlled
or told what to do,
but i want you to…
do with me what you wish to
as long as i get to…
connect my sense of touch
with the mental satisfaction you’ve thus
provided so far because
you’ve pulled my desire like a shoe string
and i’m secretly hoping
that the next time i see you,
you’ll see through
what my eyes try to hide
and honor me for just one time
and promise that this secret
will be yours and mine
and our lips combined
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
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
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!
the kiss space
is a warm one.
code orange with uncertainty of when
the temperature will cool;
the questioning of
if this feeling is being experienced
only by you.
magnets pull in the form of lips and hearts,
testing the charge from afar
as imaginations interact
and whisper into one another’s ears.
the kiss space
is its own atmosphere,
planets spinning in unique orbits of feelings
with suns of lust and moons of attraction.
galaxies form with the possibility of action.
but when the desiring parties get scared and don’t try,
solar systems die–
they disappear just as quickly as they came,
dry up without a trace like summer rain,
burn the brain because
a missed opportunity remains
where a kiss never takes place
and all that’s left is
an empty space.
handsome white guy
with the nice smile and brown eyes–
oh how you surprised me
when you told me
you liked my my body.
you explained to me how you’d
never been with a black girl sexually
and asked if you could get down with me
and i was like…
you want me
not for me
but what i represent:
so after our conversation
(which ended abruptly after your sexual solicitation),
i wondered what would have become of our relations
if i would have succumbed to your fantasy
and thought for a moment that it’d be kind of fun to become
what it is you want of me.
i am your exotic beauty.
my eyes are precious stones for you to appraise
with the magnifying glass of your mind.
lose yourself in the kinks of my hair
as you try to count the innumerable strands.
then take your hands
and trace the contours of my cheekbones,
moving inward to the peak of my nose
and down to the lusciousness of my lips.
close your eyes and wish for an exotic kiss
from yours truly,
your exotic beauty.
tickle my brown skin softly with the tips of your fingers,
grazing my flesh slowly and allowing your touch to linger
on the abundance of my breasts, the wideness
of my hips, the roundness
of my behind, the thickness
of my thighs
and experience the fullness of my foreignness.
just stop and stare for a while until i
get uncomfortable because i have never been looked at
never been put on display
in such a way.
i’m used to being an around-the-way girl
and to you, i am something special,
someone to be desired and pursued secretly,
an exotic beauty.
request dances from me
and i’ll sashay my sexy silhouette your way
and spread my smile and my legs with flexibility.
take me, love me,
touch me, see me,
i am yours–an exotic beauty.
i am no longer human, but property,
a resident in your world of fantasy
that you carefully consider making a reality
just so you can really see how it would be
to conquer me.
my blackness is dangerous and exciting,
scary yet inviting you to
request a piece of my dark meat,
to be honest with me about your curiosity
to the point that in your effort to confess,
you devalue me–
simplifying my existence to mere ideas and notions
and taking for granted that i am a woman,
i have a brain,
i have intelligent thoughts and words to relay
and that my body is not the defining factor
but to you,
i am only
an exotic beauty.
if i inhale deeply enough,
i wonder if i could convince
the scent of you to
live in my system forever.
whenever we are near one another,
i make sure i am connected with
my body so i don’t miss a breath
and a chance of holding you
from each inhale and exhale to the next.
at times i worry because the truth is,
we have nothing in common.
but i sense that if we kiss,
we will have so much in common.
daily life is so commonplace
and my intuition tells me that
if we can stand face to face
and feel each other’s hearts beat,
we can turn in this bleak
existence and exchange it for the
take a chance,
take my hand
and let’s prove our doubts wrong.
let’s hold on
to the present moment,
not contemplating the nearly impossible future.
for a few fleeting minutes, just picture
don’t wonder how
we’re gonna work out or if
we’re gonna make it.
i can’t take it when you’re away.
stay here, let me pull on your eyes
and make ringlets of O’s with the smoke
of words i am afraid to say.
let me cloud my lungs with aborted displays
and risk terminal cancer for
refusing to honor my connection
if i inhale deeply enough,
one day i might be brave enough,
to explain the extent to which i wish
to hold you hostage inside of me.
but until then,
i’ll just keep my distance
*Written June 30, 2008*
i remember rain,
summer shower at dusk.
there were feet running,
people trying to get out of the downpour for cover.
but i stood out in the rain searching for love,
hoping the drops on my head
would translate into love in my heart,
that the water would quench the yearning.
but the more it rained, the more i was thirsty, the more i felt lost.
a monsoon is what i wanted.
i wanted the rain to wash away my past
but instead it took over my future.
now i can’t stand the smell.
summer rain on warm sidewalks and i want to run for cover.
i feel like i got washed away too
like somehow along with my makeup and wet kisses and my pearl earring,
my mind ran out of my ears and into the storm drain.
i just wanted love
or at least the feeling.
false love turned to shivers,
leisure to running, moaning to screaming,
fun to anger, passion to fear.
i lost myself…
and all the time i thought i knew me
but all i knew was the wind,
the wind blowing past covering me with what i thought i wanted.
it wasn’t love.
it was just a storm.
i mistook the sound of thunder for my heartbeat.
i mistook my fear for the wind
and when the winds calmed, i shivered and could not stop.
now i shiver even when it’s not raining.