is it me…or did the boys not really notice me
until i woke up one day
and had a big ol’ booty?
this booty redefined me,
took on a personality all her own,
had me thinkin i was grown
from all the words thrown at me
as a result of my popular anomaly.
once, a man “hee-hawed” as he walked behind me
until i used my small hands to cover up my “donkey”.
often called “phat” even though i was skinny
had me feeling like i was living a double life–
sexy on the outside, shy on the inside;
woman with curves that seduce and scream “Sex me!”
when really, i was just a little girl whispering:
“Protect me…Respect me…That’s not me.”
but this booty
has expanded to be more than just a distant relative.
i have grown to love her,
the sister i got from my Nigerian mother.
now both of us smile when necks turn to admire us
or when girls ask if we know any butt exercises
or when every pair of jeans we try on that fits our waist
can’t make it past all of this
because blessed we are
and forever we will be–
me, the young woman,
and my sister–
this goes out to
respectful gestures and silly conversation
and innocent flirtation
that tickles my smile and soul
words permeate the room reminding me of who
i am, the bare minimum
(or “essence” as i like to call it in artist-speak).
i feel like once again i am finding myself,
naked from being stripped
from falsehood of contrived personality
and feeling free from releasing
what is already in me.
this goes out to
attraction not yet acted upon,
fun without expectation,
feeling good all over without penetration,
for the exploration of friendship.
i appreciate these moments like
gifts on birthdays, like
compliments on my worst days, like
kool-aid when i’m thirsty
and to be truthful,
my throat was dry from crying over
those not worth shedding tears over,
but who had rolled the boulder
away from the cave of my emotions
and when i looked in,
my identity was missing
and all that was left
was the clothes i was last seen in.
so small and effortless,
and i feel like it’s Sunday.
this goes out to this one day
where i am left unable to compare
this experience to one that was bitter
and instead enjoy the bubbly
that i feel here here–
there are two sides of me
that live simultaneously
diametrically opposed to one another.
they live inside and they fight,
bruising each other with shuddering blows
and when i wake up in the morning,
between my blackened eyes and broken nose,
i don’t even know
which one will show her pretty or ugly face.
there’s the side of me who
enters parties and lights up the whole place
with bubbly personality;
but then there’s the quiet side
who sits in dark corners while others dance wildly
and chooses to talk to nobody
as she writes poetry.
which one is really me?
one is open and the other is closed off.
one enjoys life to the fullest
and the other is always pissed off.
i want desperately to remove the sleeves
of these confused parts of me
but i need them to keep out the cold.
the one on the left is short
and the one on the right is long
but the experience of feeling varying degrees of warmth
has made me strong.
i walk around lopsided and unbalanced,
harnessing and throwing away my talent,
treating my body as a temple
and an alley with empty liquor bottles and blunt roaches
until that day approaches
when the fact that
there are two me’s won’t have consequences
and i’ll be able to look in mirrors
and recognize the girl i see.
and i will marvel in the beauty
and complexity of she,
one human being with different facets
that all make up
at 24, i have lived
so many lives.
i feel like
most people start one way and still have a sense of who they
are or at least have maintained
a certain essence over time
but in my 24 years
I feel like
i have been 24 different people.
my stages and phases have controlled my identity,
making me more defined by my actions, so people don’t see
who i am as a human being.
who am i really?
a combination of all of my personalities
that no one seems to fully understand or embrace.
all these people live in me waiting to come out,
but i suppress them, making myself generic
when really i am so much bigger,
so much fuller,
so much more alive.
the pressure inside
is stretching me in ways i don’t like
so now i’m thinking i just might
let all these I’s out to roam free.
reached a point where i
don’t care if
people don’t like
me…it’s time to be
hang up the wrinkled shell of a person
i wanted others to think i was
and wear the real me–
*Written July 6, 2008*
i had a dream that God told me to paint humanity–
take my life and use it as an instrument
to capture all the colors of his children,
so i start this mission with me:
i explore the deepest blacks of my people,
the darkness of drum beats and culture coursing through my veins,
the brown of skin that is smooth and strong,
the purple of pride from my ancestors that in me remains,
the blue of depression, lost plans, loneliness, and failure,
the green of envy, peace, hunger for money, and nature,
the yellow of the consistent sun, joy, and energy,
the orange of the warmth that only comes from family,
the red of blood, passion, and rage,
the white of the oppressors who tried to kill my race.
my life is a paintbrush
searching the in-between hues of personalities,
the value of words,
the pigment of emotions,
dipping into the water of my tears
until everything becomes one color and runs together…
truth, lies, joy, sadness, laughter, confusion
all co-mingle in the bucket of my body
mixing with one another so that at times, i forget what i’m painting.
i realize that all of my colors are interconnected,
deriving from the same three primaries
while i’m a painter staring at a blank canvas
trying my hardest to determine
the formula of documenting and sharing,
of composing and communicating just what it is that makes