The kitchen cabinets.
The bathroom upon entering
The dryer. And the washer.
The back door. Closed but unlocked.
Even once, the car door
after retrieving our sleeping baby.
Then there was that time
in the new house
when we christened it loudly.
The bedroom door –
a forgotten necessity.
And our first guest in the living room –
Cheeks red; body a seated statue.
Maybe he thought we’d done it on purpose?
That’s what I would have thought.
You always forgot to close the fucking door!
And I…I sat with my legs open
How am I supposed to rid myself
Of this gnawing in my belly?
The lies that sit there
Will surely eat me from the inside out
The gut is a funny place
It does not like to be empty
Refusing to wait on the truths
That grow slowly in our gardens
Overly full of the easily accessible
All up ‘n down
I believe I’ll walk on. See what the end will be.
The one you’ve chosen to spend your life with is an engineer kind of dude. He likes to build things. But baby, when he met you, you were already a stallion. An edifice. And so, he deconstructed you bit by bit…to see what in fact you were made of. It’s the only way he knew how to love. The problem is, he tired out. Too lazy or too preoccupied to put you back together again. So, here I am doing the work I did years ago. Building you up…again…as only I know how. As only I can.
A woman cannot fight a man. She will never win. He will hide parts of her in far off lands. He will place pieces of her soul into glass bottles and drift you off to sea. And in a fit of rage you can find him breaking the tools required for reconstruction.
This time you need to pay close attention. I will not be here forever. Putting a Queen back together is a lost art. Grab my toolbox – top shelf, right corner.
She is born with a naturally occurring third eye, nestled within the softest place on earth. If you do it right, it might just wink at you. Waiting is a cycle. Stillness is a cycle. Regeneration and resurrection? Both are cycles. She wants no parts of your war – no parts of the blood you spill. (She often twitches at the day men were allowed into labor rooms.) The blood she spills is of living water; not of slain innocence and not of combat, campaign, or crusade. Yes, pay close attention to whom God granted His living water. It’s been said that it’s just too much. Too crass, too saturated, too heavy. Too brand new. The blood. Of cyclical possibilities with a scent of untouched earth waiting to be sown (or not). Rain on the horizon. Seeds taking root. Her insides – the great outdoors. It is her space and mine. Immense pain and immense pleasure. What of true life doesn’t birth both? Charged with the permutation of unadulterated first breaths! And we let them shame…tax…shun us for it. A gift. An offering. A safe space that everyone has at least once been familiar with. And we let them shame us for it? A built in clock synced with the moon, ocean tides…with her who stands with me and for me. And we let them shame us for it? Born with everything we need. To carry life. And we let them shame us for it? Phenomenal soil – watering itself from the inside out. And we let them shame us for it? Worth bleeding for. And we let them shame us for…the blood.
The next one…
He will be a fortress
And I, a skyscraping castle
A cathedral with roots
A temple with wings
We ain’t buildin’ shit…
…but a bridge
Today I want to create
Today I want white dresses
Painted in blood, in red dirt, in grass stains
In rays of sunshine
…Unwrinkled by the wind and wet heat
Today I want to create
Today I want seeds planted on the inside
(To be a walking ground; a foundation not phased by shifts)
Hands to my chest
So you may feel that the seeds beat too
(Just give ‘em some time)
Today I want to create
Today I want love dripping down my thighs
Until translucent turns flakey
Today I want my screams turned into song
My grip. Turned into push.
My tears turned into oceans blue
No, into freshwater true
Can you swim?
Are you thirsty?
Would you like me to bathe you?
Today I want to create
Today I want to be loved
…To loudly whisper love back into
She lie on the bed; belly down and naked from head to toe. An ear to the mattress. And an ear to the wind from an open window. Her backside adorned with earned stripes – lightening strikes, winding Redwood roots, umbilical cords etched to her hips. And to his eyes. He dared not guess if the sun was setting or rising. But he knew…that it’s rays were finally learning how to illuminate themselves. Continue reading Rest and Shine
You can not love yourself
And apologize for who you are
True love stands up in the guts
Of wrong and right
Allure and repugnance
Flawed and flawless
Blessed and cursed
Love forces them, to not kiss and make-up,
But fuck each other…
Just when I thought he couldn’t go any lower, his vengeance out-dreamt me. And he got gutter… I don’t know why I was so surprised. It should have been obvious… The way he ate my pussy, made me think my insides were sugar roads leading to oil wells of eternal life – mines of gold. Who could stop digging?
Do not be afraid to come undone. All of your ancestors await you at your dawn. Even the ones who didn’t wish to be there. Each cell. Waiting for you to open. To fall. To become raw… So that you may feel. Supported. My love… You are so supported. Your undoing is your salvation. There’s a roof made of rain and sunshine. Floors of solid gold. The walls never strangle. Doors are never closed. Some remove their shoes at the threshold. But never mind them… You! You must come completely. Undone. Of you… They require more – a more clothed in nothing. Nothing. At all. Hang your fear on shoulders that tote wings. Lay your burdens in laps likened to crimson tides. Rest your bloodied soles on lashed and leathered backs that have mended themselves. Spread your aching body across the Atlantic. They have been waiting to make a bridge. Out of you. Come. And be made. Whole.
Mama says, “When you are really tired, you won’t have to tell anyone.
You will stop proclaiming it from mountaintops,
or rallying around your tiredness in the village square.
Naw, baby! When you are really tired…in all your blackness
and sexiness and woman-ness, the world will feel it – a guttural
cry from it’s core will rise up! All words coming together until there are none.
(Have you ever heard a woman’s holler
when the news hits her lactating breasts that there will be no child to feed?
Lost to the auction block or while clawing its way through the vaginal canal?)
It is a sound that you can hear even in your sleep –
a sound that tattoos itself onto windpipes.
The essence of you as a Black. Woman. with the gall to be tired will halt
the earth on its axis. And everyone…everyone will hold their breath if only
for a moment. And they will know. So, naw baby…you ain’t tired just yet.
The earth is still spinning.
And you are still talking.”
He thought I’d fail at the monologue. Thought I’d clam up, forget words. Thought perhaps I’d run off the stage, humiliated before even stating the first line. He forgot. That back in the day, when the two of us sang duets complete with two-part harmonies and eight extremities that kept the same rhythmic time… I was composer of both parts. Of all parts. Mine and his. And when he failed to show or was too late to even attempt to appease the crowd, first I was a little panicky. Then resentful. And finally inspired. My gift and my curse – to do the work of two with (somewhat apparent) ease. So, it was I who stopped the show. First, to make room for grace… Maybe he was just late? Then to make room for a standing ovation… In his absence. What made him think…hope I would fail at the monologue? They’re just duets between you and and an absent someone. And…well…shit…after all, practice makes perfect. Practice. Had plenty of that! One day. I pray. To be free enough to live my own definition of free. Free enough. To depend on a true duet. But for now, the grace period has come and gone. The show must go on. Mano-a-Monologue.