morning leagues of memory

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there comes the moment
where i find myself writing
not as myself

there is the sensation
of writing like an uncle
tucked away in a cabin berth
steaming through darkened aquamarine

there are the mornings
where i smell the first cut of a mango
mornings of soft gold and pungent red soil
draped with hibiscus flowers and greetings from neighbors

there’s the days
of stationary paper and cold bottles of pop
writing to keep away a bewilderment
to keep away questions of being far from home

there are these mornings
where i do not write as myself
but as those who lived before me
and each word stretches the bridge

between us so that i remember

Being A “Love” Poet: Words On Why Before Valentines Day

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We all know that Valentine’s Day is Sunday. I wanted to write
about it, but not in the way that you would possibly expect.

You see, a good chunk of my poetry is love poetry, or has love
at its core. Even when detailing hard facts of reality like police
brutality and mental health. So much so that in some ways, there
are those that reduce me to one solitary dimension as a poet and
as a person. I’ve grown accustomed to that perception. It doesn’t
irritate me (much) anymore because I believe more in love being
the core than anything else. I fought to believe it, in it. Fought to
walk in it and write about it.

I say that because I was, and still am fortunate to have been raised
in an environment of love. Love that meant protection, being
there for each other. Grace when you made mistakes. Love with
the firmness to guide. Love in the owning up to mistakes and
committing to do better, to be better. Growing up as a shy, chubby
Black child who was trying to navigate the world like everyone
else as he grew to be a man, I needed that. There were times
where it was all I had when I felt the sting from those tense moments
in the family. When I went through the losses of relatives and
friends one after the other in the course of two years. When I
went through the razor blade tortures racism presented in minor
and major ways. When I went through a brief bout of being
depressed. Even now, love is the buttress that I have – the light
that my eyes and heart fix upon in dark moments. The hardships
I have endured made me earn my faith and belief in the power
love brings. Do I knock what others need to get by? No. I just
choose this because I’ve found that it is the least draining route
to take even though it can pose the most challenges.

So, how does Valentines Day factor in? Well, as much as some
may disagree we all like to be liked in some form or fashion.
And in these times, social media heightens that element. Folks
and companies create strategies for “likes”. Ponder that. So
when Sunday comes along, there’s money and attention to
be gained. As for me, I’ll joke about it but I’m fortunate to
have a great deal of family and friends who love me. I’ve been
fortunate to have been loved by a few women, fiercely and
gracefully. I don’t use the day to obsess over who’s taking me
to dinner or buying me a gift or who’ll choose me to have intimacy
with. Love is bigger than that.

There’s a few folks I know who are all “boo, hiss” about the
day itself. One or two of them have suffered pain because of it,
and I’m not one to discount that. There is an overt commercialism
that does permeate the day. Instead of being irate over it, I choose
to make it a point to celebrate love every day. I choose to think
about my aunts and uncles and other relatives who enjoyed and
still enjoy lengthy marriages of romance and realism. I choose to
think about the love some of my friends have being parents or
in the process of being parents. I choose to think about the love
and kindness in the eyes of elders I meet along the way. I choose
to think about the love shown by those who volunteer their time
to help others. I choose to think about the love shown by those
fighting for justice and freedom for all, no matter how. And most
importantly, I choose to honor the revolution of loving myself
and all of the steps it took for me to get there.

So, will I always write with love? You’re damn right I will.

Thanks for reading, and as always, walk good.