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
your shoes are just as you left them:
grass caught in creases of the soles,
scent of foot sweat–
subtle, not overpowering;
inanimate objects imitate life
between these walls,
for my heart is just as you left it:
with one chamber heavier than the others;
unspoken words caught in creases of my soul,
future plans untied,
scent of body sweat caught in my bed–
subtle, not overpowering;
intimate objects imitate love
between these walls.
i always swore that
i was so freaking awesome–
well not always,
but for quite a while,
i’ve been some kind of wonderful
and then i met you
and you’re super fantastic
and when we’re together,
i’m über courageous
and when i say your name,
i’m uncontrollably smiling
and when you’re close enough to touch,
i’m shiveringly anxious
and now that we’ve bonded,
i’m so incredibly grateful.
our souls have matched
and i’m so peacefully excited
and even though i’m creative and carefree,
i’m growing exponentially mature
and i never expected such
because at one time,
my heart was indefinitely closed
but for your sweetness,
it cautiously opened
and now i’m wide open,
ready to receive all of the adjectives
you’re willing to add to my life
that i thought was so
until you came to show me
that interesting alone
is not enough.
regardless of how things might end up,
i’m thankful for now;
for my smile and the awakening
in my soul and body,
body and soul;
for jazz tones traveling up my spine
and dancing out of my mouth
through colorful, raucous laughter.
the world becomes pink and blue
as energy mingles together
in a soft purple violet
needing to be watered.
i feel frozen,
hard to do anything,
not justified in joy,
stuck in anxiety,
crying while running
because there is no time for stopping.
example of strength,
template for beauty,
example of generosity,
standard of selflessness,
feeling of family,
antidote for insanity
my soul is still connected
by an invisible umbilical cord
feeding me medication and hope
and faith and pain
and they course through my veins
as i try to maintain
with a smile on my face
but i’m losing some weight
and my mind can’t erase
how life shouldn’t be this way.
but what do i know?
i am a mere embryo
floating in a world outside of my control,
sharing the same heartbeat as the woman who birthed me,
questioning, wondering, still living,
that our loud cries make it up to God’s big ears
that can’t possibly be deaf.
man, how do i write about you without
writing about you?
i feel like poems are special,
and though i suspect you’re just that,
i’m not ready to admit that.
words are powerful and when they are teamed up
to make melodies that melt souls and water eyes
and wet tongues and underwear,
they can take over the world.
but i suppose if i had to succumb to anything,
it would be the pleasure of this feeling,
the curiosity that i’m keeling over with
like a cat drunk from exploration.
if anything should kill me,
let it be my quest to find out why my chest gets warm
from my heart jogging back and forth.
not feeling the burn yet,
just a little bead of sweat
starting in the middle of my forehead
and slowly falling to the top of my lips
and into my mouth as i smile
widely and honestly,
gently but guarded.
look at what you’ve started.
where would i be without love?
perhaps shivering naked in a closet,
never having experienced touch;
or sleeping on park benches hoping to get mugged
because violence is at least physical contact
and physical contact sometimes simulates
or at least emulates
where would i be?
mouth devoid of four-letter words
and heart symbols to connect others to me,
interactions without laughter,
days without passion,
existence without meaning,
living without being,
a heart that’s not beating,
a soul that’s not healing,
a mind without imagination,
exchange without compassion,
summer without sun,
winter without Christmas,
holidays with no family,
a brain without sanity,
bare bones and flesh without a body,
eyes without tears,
no fun in conquering fear…
how could i possibly live there?!
i will build a house of love even if
all i can afford is a cardboard box without a roof
and newspaper to stuff the holes in my shoes.
i will clothe myself in patience,
waiting for love despite
my wrinkles and creases in the wrong places,
chase it til it strikes me like lightning
and just as i’m dying,
my eyes will be shining and i’ll know
it was worth trying
because life without love is death
so as i take my last breath,
i’ll just float away to live in another land that is safe
and enter the gate for those who chose to take the risk
that always comes with love
and be home.
one day i’m gonna walk away from it all.
leave squeaky chair spinning in cubicle
and pictures on the wall
and expectations of success
and bill collector calls
and dreams that are too far to reach
and grab them as if all
was honoring me.
i’m gonna walk away,
maybe even run,
not caring if i break the heels on my black leather pumps
or get runs in itchy stockings that were never met to fit me.
i won’t answer phones politely,
won’t smile without meaning,
will cry when i feel like it
and speak the truth as if
life still depended on it.
i’m not happy.
i feel like walking,
jogging, or maybe even driving
til i run out of gas
and can no longer recognize the surroundings
outside of the glass
that separates me from reality.
one day i’m gonna walk instead of sit,
act instead of talk,
speak instead of staying quiet,
scream instead of staying silent,
stop living so publicly and
respect myself enough to be private.
tiptoes are all they see now
but in my soul
i am walking,
drowning but surviving,
heart faint but still thriving
and growing despite being
the uprooted plant that i am.
i don’t want to wait for “one day”
so maybe i’ll just
put one foot in front of the other today
and see what happens.
movement is innate
and i’m spiraling back to my own nature
and the essence of my humanity
crawling, crying, standing,
losing balance and falling
but taking that final leap
full of blank grief,
who cares about tomorrow?
it’s blank too
like the response to a question
that’s inappropriate and uncomfortable.
full of love, often too much.
i need some air
so my blank lungs can breathe here,
share the earth with blank eyes,
just like mine
in a world that is both blank and divine
and be full.
your eyes reveal as you look down at me
that with your shy politeness,
you could give me
my “yes” back.
my “no” has been ignored in the past,
pushed down so far that screams turned into gasps
and fight melted into surrender,
but for some reason,
i don’t feel like fighting when i see you.
i feel like saying “yes”
and enjoying the way it comes off of my tongue,
how the middle of it raises to the roof of my mouth
to make the “y” sound
and how i have to open my teeth
and let a piece of you in for the “e”
and how my “s” turns to a smile
when you’re around.
i may let you in and
the spark in my eye was born when i saw you
maybe one day i’ll whisper sweet somethings in your ear
i might be silly and imagining that a connection is even here
for you to even ask a question
that would require a positive affirmation
but just in case you do,
my breath, my mouth and my soul
will be ready.
where do i put all of this anger?
sometimes i hide it away in my heart
because it seems like the safest place,
but late at night,
it leaks out and keeps me awake.
so where can i put it?
maybe i can wrap it in metallic paper
and hand it off like a surprise gift to a stranger
and just as they’re saying “Thank you!”
i’ll say “See you later!”
and never have to see my soul’s bitterness
but even then,
i think karma would catch up to me.
like right now, i’m running
but when i get tired feet,
i’ll have to rest.
i love the outdoors so i’ll sit on a park bench
enjoying the sun,
look up to observe a seemingly friendly someone
walking toward me bearing
an attractive gift wrapped with a ribbon
that they claim is supposed to be
i’ll open it
and be shocked to see
one more time
that anger lives
and always finds
a way to come back
to my tumultuous life.
i want you to love me,
not in that agape unconditional love type way,
but that “please baby please baby please” type way,
that get on your knees and pray
that God answers and allows us
to cross paths again type way,
that you remember my birthday
without Facebook or Myspace type way.
i want to be the last thought on your mind before you sleep
and that hot, sexy dream that wakes you
to make you change your sheets.
i want you to love me,
to wanna meet my mama, my daddy,
my siblings, friends, teachers, coworkers, distant cousins,
neighbors, acquaintances and fellow students,
not so you can stalk me,
but possibly learn how to have an influence
on my life so that one day,
you’ll be in that repertoire of
people to meet.
i want you to love me past my body
and baby, i know it’s banging
and you want to bang me
but here’s a thought–
make love to my insecurities and fears;
thrust your love deep inside to make me cum so hard
that they shake and disappear.
make my soul and future curl so tight
that if this is wrong,
i don’t wanna be right
and if this is dark,
then God shouldn’t let there be light
and because you always make my day,
i never want it to be night.
i don’t even know who you are yet
but i want you to love me,
to confirm that love lasts and exists
outside of stories and movies.
show me the positive side of life
that accompanies love
and maybe you’ll reaffirm my faith
with the Lord above
if i can see right before my eyes
just what it is that He does
and be able once more in my life
to let go
and let love.
sometimes i have the urge to sell myself.
not on a dusty shelf
to be picked over during the holidays,
but to be on the market in such a way
that i take the time to explain the reasons why
someone should love me.
i am so far from perfection that it scares me,
but my soul makes up for it.
i can be difficult to deal with at times,
but my smile makes up for it.
occasionally, i’m beyond reckless,
but my heart makes up for it.
i ask a lot,
but my love makes up for it.
there are plenty of other women out there,
but i make up for it,
so much so
that i shouldn’t have to sell my treasure,
yell like an auctioneer for the highest bidder
because truth be told,
there is no dollar amount high enough
to satisfy the desire that lies inside of me.
inside i am rich, exotic,
and last but not least
sometimes i let these qualities spill out of my body
and cover the shy nakedness i walk around with,
hoping that someone will see
that i’m no longer streaking
and uncontrollably grab hold of me.
but i’m learning
to hold on to myself,
to use my heart as a gate rather than an open door,
one that can only be unlocked with a special key
that is not for sale,
but destined to one day
and fit perfectly.
i feel like fighting but all i got
is fingers for writing.
they move to formulate melodic phrases,
but when it comes to making fists
and swinging on enemies,
they are loose branches on an uprooted tree.
how can individual fingers be soldiers?
i know my middle ones are as i raise them in the air
whenever the feeling hits me.
but what about the pinky?
can this extremity that can’t do anything on it’s own
make a difference in this war?
can my opposable thumbs oppose the force
that attempts to squeeze me in?
can the finger for my ring
bring about the independence
i have been waiting for impatiently?
i don’t think these wishes are for me
because i write stories
but still haven’t found the characters or plot to set me free.
i am still imprisoned by ideas that are afraid to leave
the comfy living room of my imagination
for fear of cold cemented floors
and no doors to open.
me and my fingers keep hoping
for better days, for hours when fighting
won’t dominate our desires
because the water to put out the fire
burning my chest will be abundant
so my soul will finally be at rest.
i live a life of close calls,
wondering if the line that connects me to this world
will one day get cut off.
i am a cat who falls far distances
but always lands on her feet.
each time my soles touch the ground,
something in my soul feels incomplete
and i can’t help but ask God,
“Why in the world did you save me?”
others in same situations or those less severe
had lives that ended too quickly,
became blurbs on the evening news,
so why am i still here?
i tear up to think of how careless i was and still am–
waking up in the nick of time as my car crosses the median,
doing 360s on I-95 during rush hour and surviving to breathe again,
learning i’m HIV-negative instead of positive again and again.
it doesn’t make sense
but my sight only rests on now and yesterday,
not knowing what the future holds for me.
i only know of lessons hard learned
and times i’ve been burned by mistakes
and ponder just what situation it will finally take
for my close-call life to be cut from God’s phone line
and what exactly will happen on that day
when this life is no longer mine.
sometimes i can’t surpass the thought
that i am incomplete,
that there is something
wrong with me
because as much as i desperately need
and want certain things
in my life i am left with my hands empty.
my mind is full but my soul is hungry,
panhandling for fulfillment,
writing signs for help,
and sleeping in the cold with no avail.
i pray for the day when i won’t fail
to appreciate my personality and life,
when i won’t look as my imperfections as
additions to the list of issues i need to fix,
but that i will embrace them,
wear them proudly
and love them as much as
i want someone to love me.
at what point does
the healing come?
my scars don’t ever seal,
they just build
and incarcerate emotions
what is really going on with me.
if you look closely
at my eyes, you’ll see
that something has disappeared,
that i’m not really here,
emptiness behind my stare.
but no one really wants to look anymore.
people get tired of wakes of sadness,
they get weary
of the unhealed.
so my eyes stand alone
while knives stab at my torso,
driven through my flesh
by invisible assassins so i don’t even know
which way to look
to shield myself.
i just want to smile again
and mean it but
i feel low like
my ribcage surrounding my heart is
squeezing and sucking
all the life out of me.
at what point does life become
what is the yielding point to give up?
the only thing keeping me here is curiosity
because i have not gone through all this
just to rob myself and not see
if there even is one.
it feels like my life is ending,
but maybe it’s just begun,
like this is day number one
and i have a whole new sequence of years to live,
that i have a clear
mind free of confusion
and a healthy
heart where hurt does not exist yet
and a soul unburdened by