Poem #13 (an afterthought)

i dreamed about you again
but this time you were a cloud
i admired for hours
fixed so solidly in the clear blue sky
you looked like a cotton ball
at first and i thought of all the ways
i’d hold you
between my fingers
stuffed into my ears
wrapped in plastic between my legs
i thought if i spun you
and turned you into thread
that i could wear you draped around my shoulders
tucked into my jeans
and you could be my favorite t-shirt
but i didn’t want to change you’so there i stood
feet glued to the ground
eyes fixed on your perfect irregular form
against a perfect blue sky
and i realized it didn’t matter
what package you came in
i’d still love you anyway

Poem #12

Why do they hate me?

I am still trying to figure out why they hate me so much
I know my hair is bold and nappy and will never straighten out
Without chemicals and heat
But why do I need it to?
it is thick and full and I have the privilege to style it however I want

I know my lips are full but they help me to speak
Words of love in every poem I write
I know my fingers are long but strong
They help me to hold onto all the dreams when I snatch them
Out of the clouds and serve them up on the plate for all humanity to see

I know my body is not the model size
But it has born three brown babies who have excelled
In school and in life
and so I love all the places where they made me thick
Left me adequately full
Full enough to teach them compassion
Full enough to be softhearted when so much of the world
Is bitter and irate

I am trying to understand why they hate me so much
Why the thought of me standing up for myself
Or even taking a knee would threaten some mysterious thing about
Who they are
Who they perceive themselves to be
Who they don’t want me to be in this world
But it is not up to them to decide

I have been planted by the waters of life
I am meant to live
I am meant to grow despite the knife they stick in my back
Despite the knee they place on my neck
I am meant to thrive
I am meant to breathe

I know my mind is brilliant and that my heart is pure
I know that I can collect butterflies when I send out the message
Of love
I pray that their worms of hate will never swallow it up
that my words will not return to me void
that they have power every time they are read
I do not know why they hate me so much
Perhaps it is because I am so beautiful within

Poem #11

city in the sky

somewhere beyond the stars
there is a place
way up beyond our sky
nothing but blank space
you know the space when you fly in between the clouds?
it’s a lot like that
i once thought i saw a whole city there
it wasn’t a flashing glance
i stared at it fully from end to end
it was absolutely amazing
and i wondered if i was the only one
who had seen it
if i was the only one who saw the bridge
that led to the gate
and it was beyond breathtaking
i wondered if they saw us go flying by
the way we watch airplanes from the ground
i wondered if they waved
and wondered why i didn’t even say hi

Poem #10

Awkward conversation

This is for the man who rang my phone at 11:57pm last Wednesday night.
You know who you are.
I picked up the phone expecting conversation,
something enlightening,
maybe some little story about your day,
maybe you’d ask about mine….I don’t know.
Instead it went more like….hello….. to which I responded ……hey what’s up?
and then silence for about 10 seconds.
In case you didn’t know,
10 seconds of silence is a long time of quiet at the beginning of a conversation.
So, me, already feeling the call of my pillow in the crook of my neck says sooooooo?
as if to remind him of his purpose for ringing my phone;
As if I need to spell out to this grown up why he even picked up the phone-
In case he forgot who he called or what he needed…….
Why he existed at all….whatever the reason was
Then he says-‘I just wanted to say hi.”

Now my brain explodes.
Now, I am in between the questions and the motives.
Now, I am searching for explanation that is not on his tongue not on his lips
probably not even on his heart –
But I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
So before I pounce I breathe.

I say “that’s nice” as if I am speaking to a child.
I say “is that all you wanted to say?”
leaving him the space to be himself,
Leaving him the room to move around,
To spread petals on the floor
To pull a book off the Shelf
give a news report
To tell me about his day
inquire about mine
ask me what I ate for dinner
I leave him room to step
To roam around
All this empty space
I am waiting for him to fill but there is only silence.
Deafening silence.

So many words unsaid and now I am growing irritated.
Irritated that he bothered to call
With nothing to say
With no story to tell
No interesting facts to share
Or wisdom to wield
And then he asks “are you getting ready for bed?”
To which I respond- “I’m already there.”
And I can hear him smile.

Now, I am questioning motives again.
I tell him ‘I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.’
I wait.
He says- “I wish I was there.”

And I let the words lay dormant a while.
I let them sit inside the crevice of the stream he planned-
Let them dangle on the line squirming for the life he thought they’d have.
I leave them there long enough to get cold;
Become awkward.
Long enough for him to deliberate, theorize, contemplate.
But all he says is -“did you hear me?”

As if I needed to hear the words again
Hear him confirm what I already believed
I say -“yes”.
Nothing else. Silence again.
I don’t need to respond.
There is nothing here that demands my reply.
This is the white noise that is left between two people
When there is nothing left to feel-
When silence changes the atmosphere
When all he wants is booty or warm body just for a night
Maybe he misses my French toast and eggs in the morning
Or the way he used to press himself into the outline of my body
When we slept
But I am not some shallow form
I am not some pit stop on your way to being alone
I am not your late night snack or early morning coffee
I am not that girl
And the silence speaks volumes and I hope it reminds you again
That this is not the place to come to hang your hat
Or fill your belly or read a book
You have other places for that
so I let him hang himself with the rope
he brought when he picked up the phone to call me.

He says-“I guess you’re tired” as if I need an excuse
As if I don’t hear his quiet plea
I say…”yeah, definitely so”. He says “ok, I will call you tomorrow “
But what he doesn’t know is
Tomorrow, I won’t even pick up the phone.

Poem #9

cottage blues

here i sit in this sweet little cottage
perfectly tucked away from the rest of the world
the lethargy will be evident by noon
from all the daytime meetings on zoom
so strange the firefly with his dull light
still wants to fly around the room
when the street is treelined on both sides
but he prefers the heat
inside my little room
and i don’t mind his company
as i make my morning porridge
he is the only one i will let in
without a mask

Poem #8

clown love

i loved you
crossed my fingers hoped to die
kind of love
brought you flowers and candy
made me physically sick kind of love
made my face up in the mirror with lipstick
wore my red heels cut my hair
kind of love for you
would have had a baby
crossed the desert sands
swim the oceans waves
skipped santa
gone blind kinda love for you

my brain is empty
my hat is on the floor
the butterflies are crabs now
the doves are eagles on the attack
this is where the sun goes black
and the tornado rages
so sell the tickets
open the circus tent
and send in the clowns

Poem #7

2020 -The Season of Sadness and Change

2020-This was the year for clear vision
that’s what we all said on January 1, 2020
this would be the year of change
and in many ways it has been.
a change so great none of us could imagine-
so many things we’ve never seen before
and hope to never see again
but history always repeats itself
and everyday people die
gasping for air
for breath
on ventilators and face down in the street
with necks on knees
it is too profound
too much hurt to bear
too hard to even think quietly about
much less to speak out loud
we will put it in the history books though
and what will we say?
2020 -the season of sadness and change

Poem #6

the perfect day

Saturday morning
i wake up early
it’s storming outside
you still asleep
i watch your chest rise and fall
rise and fall
i ease my feet out from under the sheet
place them on the floor
i stand at the window
watch the lightening flash
across the half-lit sky
hear the raindrops beat against the roof
something stirs inside me
i turn slowly from the window
walk back to the bottom of the bed
you are still lying fast asleep
i watch your chest rise and fall
rise and fall
i look at your muscles detailing your arms
admire your strong leg that is out
from under cover
stare at the fullness of your bottom lip and
something inside me stirs again
now i lay beside you
run my hand across your chest
softly say good morning underneath my breath
and know exactly what this is about to be
the perfect start to the perfect day

Poem #5

Under the Stars

sky wide open
stars up above
the blue-white wonder
of God’s awesome love
the sway of the river
as fish swim all around
the glory of earth and water abound
the touch of your hand
the glow on your face
this is the true gift
of God’s pure grace

Poem #4

memories of summertime

concrete sidewalks hold the memories
of us playing hopscotch and jumping rope
in the street
playing jacks in rotation on the porch
you sitting in your red t-shirt, tan shorts
eating an ice cream cone in the middle of july
leaning against the railing in my tank top,
cut-off jeans and flip-flops
watching the sky change from dawn to dusk

we were always friends
always so alive with promise
imagination and wonder
always so full of hopes and dreams

some days i think i would give anything to go
back there
to that easy time and place
when all we needed was .25 worth of candy in our pockets
and a freeze cup to make us happy
put a smile on our face

i think i’d give anything to go back
then i remember to be grateful
that i still have those memories
floating around my brain

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