The Final Hour

coming & going

what does one do when the words run out
when they don’t flow as easily
can’t get stuck in your throat if you can’t imagine them to begin with

what happens when you’ve suppressed your feelings for so long you can’t find them anymore
if a tear falls and you ignore it, are you really crying?

what happens when the words come back
a rush, a hurricane and they just won’t stop and you don’t know what to do and you can’t breathe

what happens when you don’t let the feelings come back
what if you don’t want them to?

Hour 11

friends

my friends are godsent
heaven made
full of stardust and sunlight
truly otherworldly

their strength is better than the best wifi connection
their love is warmer than an overheated iphone
this support stronger than the u.s. backing israel

my friends are earth shakers
home makers
i am so lucky to have this village
so lucky to have this chosen family

Hour 10

procrastination

moonbeams bouncing off brown skin
brown coffee sits on my bedside table
the kind of hush that you can only find after 2am
you, resting peacefully
the consistent rise & fall of your chest
your delicate snores
a reminder of your presence
a reminder of this love
me, typing quickly
regretting my procrastination as the hours fly by
closer and closer to my deadline

outside the window i see fog kissing the grass
boundary between land and sky temporarily erased
if only it were that damn easy to break down borders

i take a sip of coffee
the warmth runs down my throat
i smile to myself and continue typing
soon i’ll be done with this paper and wrapped in the warmth of you

Hour 9

children of blood and bone
with too much magic coursing through their veins
children with brown skin and murdered parents
trying to change a world they were never wanted in

Hour 6

apply liberally

last night my friend asked me if i had explored the area that i’m staying in this summer
Emory University
Druid Hills
surrounded by white, liberal domesticity
i said yes
explained the trauma of last june that happened down the street from where i’m living now

perfectly landscaped lawns
colorful flowers carefully arranged
only for their neighbors consumption
don’t look too suspicious walking through their neighborhood
don’t look too Black
don’t look too poor
too other
if you stop long enough you won’t smell roses
but you can smell the stench left from the murder of indigenous people

the irony of a ‘black lives matter’ yard sign in a gated community
we know you hunt us here
irony of a “no hate welcome here” sign paired with an american flag
like it’s not american borders & american ice agents that are separating (re:murdering) families
like it’s not america funneling money into the israeli state

i should’ve said
what is their to familiarize myself with
i should’ve said
they don’t want me here anyway

Hour 5

sometimes it feels like i live in a memory
feels like i’ve done this before
hurt like this, loved like this, laughed like this
it’s like deja vu
but somehow it’s still new
somehow i still don’t know what to do

Hour 4

an ode to my body

i say a prayer to my skin every morning
a ritual of water, lotion, & lavender essential oil
candles lit
hymns flowing around me
recognition of my divinity
taking inventory of the terrain
the varying hues of brown
eczema scars (meaning delicate)
stretch marks (meaning growth) 
uneven tan lines (meaning sun kissed)
hair everywhere society tells me it shouldn’t be (meaning fuck you)

i said a prayer to my
body this morning
when i shaved my head
when i let go of my small curls
let go of my larger worries

this isn’t a love/hate relationship
these bones can’t afford to harbor anymore hate
but love isn’t always easy
in love there are still apologies
still insecurities
in love there is still harm
but most importantly there is always softness
always care

Hour 3

I AM (2019)

i am still growing
i hear my mothers advice with every step i take
i smell jasmine incense & a cup of earl grey tea
i see that maybe things have to get worst before they get better
(please say things get better)
i want to be more honest, to be more loud
i am still afraid
i pretend that i am okay more often than i’d like to admit
i feel overwhelmed & anxious more often than not
i touch myself and learn my body without the hands of a lover
i worry about my little brother and the person he’ll become
i cry often and unapologetically
i am sometimes unkind & selfish
i am still healing
i understand that not all love can last
i say that everything is a social construct
i am always dreaming
i try to live my politics out loud
i hope it’s enough
i am still healing, still growing, still afraid, still dreaming
i am still here
—–
I wrote my first “I Am” poem in 2017. I have done various versions of this prompt since then,during icebreakers and introductions, but I wanted to see how it would be different to sit down a write a full piece in 2019 to document where & who I am right now.  Here  is the  prompt  that  I used  to get  started:

Hour 2

Missing Womanhood

i don’t know how you can miss something that you didn’t want
how you can miss something that was assigned to you
to reinforce the same gender binary that was forced on your ancestors
forced on indigenous folx
i don’t know how you can miss something that doesn’t exist
a social construct
a performance art piece
a series of taught expectations & behaviors
how can you miss something that was never for you
never for your blackness
never for your queerness
maybe you miss the comfort
maybe you miss not having to explain the dip of your hips & the curve of your breasts
the ease of a body that is easy for assumption
easy for consumption
you know that you don’t miss the tightness of your throat when you have to correct your pronouns
they & them
don’t miss the drop in your gut when you have to explain your identity
Black, queer, non-binary, femme
but womanhood never fit you
you never wanted it to
so you’re not looking for it anymore
not aspiring to it anymore
it was never mine to have
never mine to miss
Written in response to the Winter Tangerine prompt below:

Hour 1

Summer Bucket List (2019)

cry more in public
meaning: open your eyes and see more, hear more, be more (honest)
they help water the cracks in your heart
or maybe an ocean is more fitting to describe this heart that is always flowing
maybe the flowers are in your soul
tend to the garden that is always growing
never stop crying in public
or in private or with friends or with family or with partners or with enemies
not that you have enemies but if you did, these tears would find them
these tears are wholly you
holy to you
something about the freedom to feel
the freedom to mourn
feelings, people, moments
the freedom to be
the libra in you –sun moon & venus- need the balance of this release
need the balance of this peace
stop holding it all in
you’re bursting at the seams and no one can get it in
no one can see you if you can’t see yourself
no one will want to