national poetry month: overwrought rails

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so, it’s National Poetry Month. admittedly, while i’ve been writing
poems, it hasn’t been every day as in the past. i’ve had to deal with
growing work piles, a quickie health situation that meant an ER
visit out of precaution and other stuff. but over the past couple of
days, i’ve found that the words were waiting for me. waiting to
step forth into the sunlight. so, here’s one entry. to those taking
part in the festivities, may your pen flow as free as your heart.

8/30

copper and iron
knit electricity above
a doctor once told me to think of
the heart as a railway junction
words that skip rope from a far off room
as i try to sleep
connected to a monitor
that speaks in medical morse code
a woman next to me
cries out the “Our Father”
as nurses try to comfort her
my eyes flicker
and see another train disruption
on the battered TV above
and i think of those words again
and also
some old myth
of dictators making trains run on time
while sowing death and doubt
maybe what’s wrong with us all
is that we tend to forget
trains don’t always run on time
and hearts do earn their cracks and splits
just like overwrought rails

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the floorboards’ chatter

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when there are quiet moments
floorboards
are the interpreters
for the heart’s voice we clothe from the world
save for a few

i think of you
or rather, think of being with you
barefoot and swaying in each other’s arms
wearing t-shirts, the golden apple glow of autumn
and no regrets

the floorboards
creaking slightly beneath us, sighing
as another story writes itself in gentle steps
from rug to rug and from easy smile to easy smile
they hold fast and give

much like i imagine
we would
and so i hear my own floorboards
echo this hidden talk from my heart
as i grab coffee and write what i have yet to say

to you

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.

Reclaiming What It Is to Be Carefree And Black. For Me.

Photo Nov 26, 3 17 52 PMHello all you happy people…

It’s been a minute since the last posting here…that’s mainly due to the
fact that I needed to detox and recharge a bit. Given that there are only
24 days left in this year, it’s a prime time for me to do so. I wanted to
take some time to offer up a few words on what I’ve taken time to work
on.

You’re probably wondering about the picture above. That was taken this
past Thanksgiving, as I was on the beach with an old friend and a mentor in writing & spirituality while vacationing with family in Atlantic City.
To give you a quick backstory, my family decided that instead of dealing with trying to figure out who’s cooking and who’s bringing what to a dinner, it would be easier for us to all get away. I welcomed the idea – for
me, Atlantic City is more than just a gambling spot. And since it was supposed to be warm, that was a plus. So off we went, beating a mad rush
of traffic on the highway to hit AC as the sun set. My friend and I made plans to meet up on that Thursday to celebrate my birthday finally(since
we hadn’t been able to meet in October). I got up early that morning, showered and dressed all before 9:30 and went downstairs.

The casino floor is different in the morning. Scattered about were those
just getting in from all points across the country, stragglers from the bouts of late night revelry complete with the accessories of sunglasses and shoes in their hand and those old-time gamblers. From that point on, as I
sipped my coffee I knew it would be a good day ahead. The relative calm was soothing. Time didn’t stop, but it slowed down enough to give me a chance to actually soak up all of the surroundings.

The highlight of course, was the beach. The weather turned out to be better than I expected – 62 degrees. My friend and I walked out onto the
velvet-like sand, and in another bit of luck, made use of one of her jackets
(like me, she had slightly overdressed thinking it would be cold out) as a
blanket to sit on. From that point on, we talked. We laughed. We prayed
for healing, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones and friends and
our community as well as the world. It wasn’t only the sun washing over
us that afternoon, it was a feeling of serenity. Unfiltered, unbridled. Now
I know that to one or two of you, this may come off as something New Age-y and corny. Which would prompt you to crack a joke. But before you
do, let me ask you this: when was the last time YOU felt like that? Or allowed yourself to feel like that? Because that day, the idea of what the holiday is supposed to be grew dramatically. It wasn’t about food. It wasn’t about having a day off from work, or getting bent and watching sports. Looking out at the ocean and the constant music of the waves coming in, reminded me that underneath all of the rush that is created by the way life is being conducted that the life that is within us can be stifled.
Underappreciated. In the name of almost anything except our own freedom. I felt carefree. And that energy has stuck with me since then.

It is powerful, revolutionary to be a person of color and have a carefree
element to your spirit. Being Black in America almost demands that you
lay your carefree air on the altar to be sacrificed just so you can do what you have to do unfettered for a time. Or so the powers that be want you to think. I mean, look at the common phrase that comes to mind: “they can’t let us have NOTHIN’.” This is why I don’t mind folks, my folks, expressing
themselves. That celebration of those moments we can be carefree is so
damn necessary. Even more so now. That’s what I gave thanks for – I had
finally gotten to that place again. It had been returning in pieces, stripped away from bad work experiences, rocky relationships, frayed bonds. But this moment in the sun, was a blessing.

Being carefree as a Black man, to me, doesn’t mean being irresponsible or not accountable. In fact, it’s taking pride in knowing that I’m doing what I need to do that bolsters it. It means doing right by people. It means holding up my own personal code of honor that is good intention but most importantly, better action. It means not beating myself up if I stumble, and knowing that I can stumble but that I can also get back up and move forward. It means less overthinking, and more acceptance of self. And the richness that brings. This will be different for each and every one of us. But it’s important to reclaim that.

If you’ve read this far, I hope that the remaining part of this year sees that
you are reclaiming that carefree part of your spirit. I hope that you are making it a point to sit in the serenity you’ve earned to this point and be thankful for it. I hope that you take the time to be thankful every day for what has gotten to you, in small breaths and loud statements.

Until the next time, thanks for reading and walk good.

the silver key

you might just laugh at me
but i think back
to the necklace you wore
as we shared laughter and beer
while the Saturday sun slipped beneath the West Side slowly
i think about it now
that silver key
that pointed towards the idyllic temple of your heart
built with orchids cinnamon sunbeams and tears
for now
i’ll sit outside these gates
and watch light dance upon your face
waiting for the day you present me with that key
and that day
will feel like the morning flights of birds within me.