i feel like i am
growing in to my beauty.
before, my skin was
confidence fading into cloudy horizon,
but bright morning has finally come
and when i smile,
i swear i can hear birds singing!
from all the yawning around me,
love of self
was a hard seed that just needed nurturing,
extra time soaking in the water of my tears
until sprouting occurred.
now it is flourishing,
deeply rooted like a tree,
arms stretched, strong enough
to hold the weight of the little children
i‘ll be responsible for
feeding reminders of their worth.
it’s as if i gave birth,
belly no longer swollen with doubt,
removal of morning sickness
to past, present and future experiences.
and i am
growing into my beauty,
hoping to be
an adult one day.
i remember the day when
one of my theatre teachers proclaimed
in a his usual loud, harsh yell of a voice:
“You’re all prostitutes!”
i took it as a joke,
cracked up about it
like the daily comics
but now it’s no longer funny
as i try to figure out
how to use my art
to make money.
am i selling my body?
maximizing my curves for that role of a vixen
or encouraging my unhealthy addictions
for “character research”
so that on that day
when i have to be vulgar and curse,
it’ll come out naturally like it’s been with me
am i offering blow jobs
in the form of words
accompanied by sweet smiles and mediocre verse?
do i even know my self worth?
i shudder at the thought of becoming a whore,
at throwing my talent out
for whatever it gets me
because i’ve seen so-called artists do so
and believe me,
one particular street poet,
seeing my afro and dark skin got me
by being conscious when he first met me,
spittin’ lines about the black man’s plight
and how America don’t really treat her citizens right
but after he caught my eye,
he would whisper to me poetry about sexual fantasies,
paint rhythmic pictures of what he wanted to do to my body
and how his tongue would make my hips dance
and ultimately tried to use his art
just to get in my pants.
i refuse to be a trick to an artist’s self-seeking antics
and can’t muster giving myself up
on a dirty squeaky mattress
or walk the streets at night
for the purpose of filling my veins
with fortune and fame.
so i’ll hang on tight to my goods
and respect what i do
and die before i can be labeled
when it comes to love,
there is simplicity.
in the past, i have made it so complicated
when really it’s arithmetic
like 1 times 3
rather than the square route of infinity.
it’s just that i’ve been taught
that things of worth are hard to earn,
so when love seem too easy,
i make the cruise-controlled vehicle turn
with mean words
and inconsiderate actions
and forget my simple math
and skip ahead to long division and fractions.
he’s just not that into me
i’m just not that into me.
i invest in the exterior,
keep up images and expectations,
but when it comes to treating my inside,
i’m deaf, dumb, and blind.
i am spiritually numb,
which back in the day would have bothered me
but recently more often than not
i shrug it off–i’m way too busy.
i stand on my feet and grind all day
and the thought of dropping to my knees
to close my eyes and pray
doesn’t hold much priority.
this kind of disturbs me.
my sister said to me that
i’m a precious gem
and i believed her
until i became a rhinestone
just to get next to him
and he pawned me in
for another stone
who knew her own value.
i want to be into me,
have the ability to live and speak freely,
not censoring myself and my identity
to suit those around me.
my life depends on it,
my mind depends on it,
my heart beats pulses of hope
that resonate and reverberate.
i gotta truly love me fully
before it’s too late.