I am afraid to walk my dog

I am afraid to walk my dog
our black bodies are magnets
Our race and breed categorized as dangerous
we are a double threat
with our broad grins
and curious eyes
always sniffing out
some new blessing
until we are accosted
white hands on my chest
pushing me back
white people standing all around me, silent
and I have to reign myself in
I am not allowed to react
to this violent provocation
because they will label justification
irrational, they will blame the race and the breed
my friend will protect me if I show my fear
if I feel ill at ease
if whiteness attacks
I must relax
It attacks so much
we cross the street
a white man yells, “Hey sis, keep him away from me
if he comes for me I’m coming for him”
I shout across, “I’m not your sis”
My dog barks and I praise him, and shout again at the man and pull myself away
a white woman’s dog attacks mine,
She screams at me to leave the park
A public place where dogs come to play
and get in fights. all. the time
White people standing all around me, silent
another white man kicks my dog,
he left open the gate
my dog ran in and he kicked him away
because that’s what white men do to feel strong
they kick and they beat and they justify
I screamed at this large white man
I asked him if it made him feel good, kicking a dog
if it made him feel proud
he told me to leave, go back where I came from
in this public place
white people standing all around me, silent
We walk down the street, white women jump away
remember, we are just going about our day
doing what we love to do
enjoying nature’s gifts
soaking up the sun, or running in the rain
the story is always the same
they’re threatened by our presence
they’re threatened when we push back
I get up early, push my sweet pup off the bed
and take him outside, because there are less people
Fewer dangers, pretend that I am a morning person
That popping up is what I really want to do
We love rest
We love ease
I contort our routine around my fear

In which a Poet meets a typewriter

Complexity// an attractive word

sexy. nuanced. containing a variety of things

how does one contemplate an echo?

if we kissed//would you remember in 20 years?

fondly//sweetly? would a smile hug your lips?

as I hugged your mouth? would you lean into me?

what makes a thing romantic?

what makes a cloud or gesture or song romantic?

how do we diffuse jealousy?

our love is ephemeral// only exists in dreams

and moments we create together when we share the same breath && space && daringly tender hopes && fears // what does it mean to be hopeful//

how do we contend with fear?? & longing && v tangible boxes & barriers &&

how do we write mindlessly when the mind is full?

endlessly// rhythmically full of thought and idea and clarity of purpose//if only for an instant fleeting

impression lasting and seeking another moment of wisdom or truth or strength of mission and sovereign dream

everything you hand me feels like home

i hold it in my hand // palm open // as i hold you

mostly in moment && memory && magic

like the mountains i look at as i type

tiny meager mighty things

How do we hear what speaks in echoes?

if we hush our breath

can we hear the ancestors dance?

is that my ancestor’s skirt rustling in the wind?

who but the gods can tell

with their journals full of secrets

like Laplace and his demon

chronicling memories of the past

creating infinite space for future dreams

Isis

sits scrawling lazily

tiny meager mighty things

Icarus

spreads their wings and shoots

directly into the sun

on earth we call it lightning

as their wings fall from the clouds

feathers scatter then burn

before ever reaching ground

Thinning fabric

We broke up the other day, I’m trying to pretend not to notice

Truth to tell we were never really together

I try to recall the times you’ve broken my heart

I’ve let them fade into the fabric of our story

Fabric worn thin by my worrying hands retracing patterns again and again

Trying to commit us to memory

I glance at your piece of our cloth, you’ve cut out bits of us, leaving patches in our truth

I wonder if you remember what it looked like before you erased us

Does your mind recall how beautiful we were?

Threads woven together bright and dark, hazy and shining

Like sun breaking through clouds after a raging storm

These days, you see only the storm, can only take in the chaos

Should your fingers try to retrace us, they’d find holes held together by trivial pieces of our memory

I still see us, breaking boldly through clouds

Weaving our story together with threads of tenderness, laughter and pain

How could you cut us apart?

I’ve kept my piece intact; fingers retrace our history at times lovingly, at times mournful

Feeling always where we’ve thinned out

Our fabric is worn, the time has come to put us away

Tracing patterns once more I fold us up and place us in my dresser, next to old faded sweatshirts of love gone by

What you choose to do with your fabric, I have no say

For my part, I’ll keep mine hidden and safe

Neatly folded and forgotten as we carry on the aimless game we play

We broke up the other day and today, the sun is hidden away

Skies are dark, dreary and grey, contented to stay that way

When Dragons don’t Text Back

‘Would you rather be a dragon or a unicorn?’

I repeat the question my sweetfriend asked the night before

‘Oh. That’s a good question!’

‘Well?’

‘Dragon. Definitely dragon.’

I text my friend too much. Sometimes she responds. Sometimes she doesn’t.

I know she loves me.

She makes me feel safe, absorbs my madness and spits out rational thought in her sleep

We talk about sex, fuckery, and the magic of extra biscuits

I am learning this is what friends do

Practicing the art of leaning into my sexuality isn’t a joke

Especially since I tend to extremes, abstinence or Lilith on fleek

These are my settings

Fate and the Universe have sent me on a side-quest to balance

My friend is my inspiration, guide, and also the dragon who lives in old, dark caves fucking with nearby villagers

Weary traveler, exhausted from my quest, I approach the village

Naturally, recognizing my warrior status, the villagers solicit me for assistance

I oblige

Slowly I trek up the mountain to the cave where the dragon sleeps

My approach wakes her. I find her to be perfectly lovely, if a bit surly

She explains that the villagers often climb through her caves and interrupt her sleep

To ward them off, occasionally, she takes to burning one or twelve of them to a crisp

She says they taste wonderful with salt. I laugh

This is how our friendship begins, the warrior and the dragon

I came to slay, but stayed to play

Anyway, I’m texting my friend

We are talking about sex and trips and food that makes us come

I eat a canna-chocolate and write one last message before sleep pulls me under

Typing it, I am glad for her, her fiery mouth and her ancient wisdom

The text is word vomit in the form of late night poetic mania

I know she will not respond, I send it anyway

When she reads it I know she’ll think I’m ridiculous,

Smiling to myself, I think of where we began

Ridiculous, isn’t that what dragons think of man?

Misdirection

My mind hides things from me, serves me up doses of misdirection, with hits of delusion, leaving me cloudy, confused, lost and distracted, certain in my uncertainty

Im trying to say, I forgot how you make me feel, and when I say forgot, I mean blocked with all the strength my Warrior’s heart could muster

You got in when the gate was down and you don’t know what it looks like when I am hurt and hiding

I don’t want to be hurt and hiding

This me, listens to Be. while I write to you this poem, this confession or protestation of my affinity for the swag in your step and the God in your eyes

Fear comes in, guardian at the gate come looking for you, wondering what the fuck you are doing inside these walls

You just smile

I’m afraid to look at you, afraid I will see you and remember that feeling that I get when you put your arm on the back of my chair and all I can do is stare at my hand

or my phone or whatever is in front of me and pray to whatever god is listening that the words to come out my mouth are funny or charming or a healthy balance of the two

I’d like to let you stay, your presence is comforting

See, it’s your your smile and the way emotions flash across your face, some stay longer than others and I like to watch them

I like to watch you and I don’t know if that is normal or weird or a healthy balance of the two

but its true

Shadow Dancer 

I don’t know why I think you are hearing me

Working out the rhythms in my silences, and downbeats

Are you listening when I pick up the tempo?

I am dancing a salsa over here and am left with the shadow of a partner

All I have are illusions

I whisper sweet nothings into your dark, ephemeral ear

Tell you my secrets while my body moves to the music

The song is our heartbeats pounding out different rhythms

It complicates the beat

I can’t tell if it is beautiful

My feet keep moving, keep stepping

The sun is almost set and the moon is sleeping in

Darkness falls and your shadow fades

I am left with just me, the night, and the sound of my solitary heart beating

The sound of my feet dancing, stepping out a furious rhythm

Lilac

For a long time I equated being good with being silent

I was told to hold contradictions in my mouth

speak up but stay silent

speak up when you have something to say, but don’t say the truth

don’t speak your fear

speak so you can be heard:

I have a rage inside me which has yet to find its limit

it crawls up my back, claws out my eyes and spills from my mouth

I war with everyone around me

words ripping//eyes tearing the way through my day

I dropped a bottle of perfume

My grandmother gave it to me when I was a child

it smells strong like lilac and it stained the tapestry

I can’t help the smell

and the bottle I kept safe for years is now gone

like the woman who gave it to me

and is that a sign or just a bottle or a combination of the two

a reminder from the ancestors not to forget them, telling me,

sometimes bottles break

when what’s inside needs to be let out

Skimming the surface

books-1655783_1920.jpg

I feel seen by your eyes; this frightens me

A bead of sweat drips down your face. I stare, enthralled. I find myself contemplating its flavor.

Your mouth has got me shook. I cant. Stop. Staring.

I peek inside your mind and find it lined with shelves, littered with papers and books, some left open and forgotten. I imagine you skim through them from time to time. But only when necessary

I want to be there when you get out of the shower to smooth your skin with shea butter while your body is still steaming, and hot, and wet

Sometimes, I imagine you’re stretched out beside me. We lay on cool green grass below a tall sprawling tree, sheltered from the blazing sun

you know how when you’re reading and you realize your mind has wandered? Well, my mind wanders to you

I fantasize about loving you. For this, I blame you and I blame Audre. In no particular order.

If I’m right, you think of me slightly less than I think of you, this both draws me back and drives me forward

List for me the following:

your favorite book

your favorite poem

your favorite song

I want to search for you in their words

The next time we are alone, I will not tell you how I feel

I write around you, not about you. I tell myself skimming over you is easier than diving in.