resolve in the face of chaos.

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2016 is almost at an end.

typing those words, would seem for many to be associated with a
sigh of relief. this year has been an absolute roller-coaster. tragedy
and shock and bigotry and loss reverberated throughout the year
and seemed unceasing. i had heard about how leap years bring about
more catastrophe and turmoil. never really put stock into it until
this year.

on a personal level, i went through a series of moments where
that rang true. a period where stress and anxiety caused a bad health
flare-up. dealing with racism in a subversive sense and overtly
due to a poem on this blog. inconsistent work flow. dealing with
people who i thought were cool but turned out to be only out for
themselves. family members going through it.

but that cloud lifted. and the remainder of this year turned out to
be tremendous. i got to leave one trying work situation and enter
into working relationships with awesome publications and sites.
i pitched a lot more, and got good feedback and encouragement.
i got to bear witness to the National Museum of African American
History and Culture. i got to see one of my sisters honored for her
work in the community. i got to volunteer over Thanksgiving. and
connect with great souls.

with that said, if you’re thinking that this post is going to be all
about New Year’s resolutions, you’re only partially correct.

i’m writing about resolve. in its main definitions whether used
as a noun or verb, it is meant to be a decisive course of action. a
firm state of mind. and as we exit this tumultuous year and go into
a year of uncertainty, it is what is needed to go into the year to
be bolder than before. to be more aggressive in holding onto what
has been fought for, to maintain what is needed for our lives and
those of others and those after us. resolve.

see, resolutions around this time have been denigrated to cute and
buzz-worthy topic lists or fillers for newscasts or bandied-about
social media topics. bump all of that.

this is a time where you take stock of everything, then re-calibrate
and gain new focus. now more than ever, as the masks have come
off of those in close proximity to us, we need to commit to having
greater resolve. how? have greater resolve in calling out others for
their insensitivity, especially as it scales up to outright racism, sexism
and other isms of hate and ignorance. even if these others are your
neighbors, or family. have greater resolve in valuing those who are
there for you. have greater resolve in checking your own missteps
and don’t prolong beating yourself up over them. have greater
resolve in not just standing by in certain times. have greater resolve
in exerting kindness. have greater resolve in saying no when you
need to, to whoever you need to. have greater resolve in letting go
of people and situations who do not consistently value you or only
seek to take from you without redamancy. have greater resolve to
not position yourself above whatever truth you’re trying to bring
about. have greater resolve to seek joy, and celebrate your joy and
that of those you’re close to. have greater resolve to call out bullshit
even if you feel that clamminess of fear well up in you. even if it is
from your close loved ones. have greater resolve to continue to define
who you are. have greater resolve to fight however you need to in
whatever fashion seems best. have greater resolve not to shame others
for doing what you’re afraid to.

let’s face it, we’re at a moment where every action in the previous
paragraph and others not mentioned is going to be needed. given that
the nation has elected someone who is inherently unfit for the office
of leading this country, given that there’s a rising tide of hateful
bile strewn across the ‘Net and directed at women, people of color,
LGBTQIA and others, it’s imperative that resolve be a highly active
word in your vocabulary. i realize that by stating this i’m one voice.
but one voice, planted in resolve, can do so much. look at all of the
lives that went to the other side this year alone, the famous and the
more impactful close to us that aren’t celebrities. look at what they
did. resolve. it’s powerful. it’s meaningful. it’s necessary.

if you’ve read this far, i do resolve to write more on here. to be that
radical hope and change that’s needed again. and i hope that you
will be too.

thanks for reading. walk good.

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FLASH SALE ON ALL BOOKS!!

Hey there good folks, I know many are taking this day to relax,
let the food and emotions digest from yesterday. But I want those
of you to know that right until next Tuesday, November 29th, there
is a sale on ALL my books of poetry.

That’s right, three titles all for sale. Need another copy for gifts to
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If you’ve already honored me by purchasing one of these books,
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possibly make a purchase for the holiday gifting season!!

Thanks for checking this site out, and have a great weekend!!

the standing eight count

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the eyes
can’t make the lines sharp
you feel your blood trying to speak certain words
that you can’t at the moment
a frantic conversation that makes your heart
an interpreter who’s about to lose their sense of speech

the blow
comes to your abdomen
frenzied but deliberate; the skin snaps
you gasp and find your legs have become blades of grass
in the midst of a sudden breeze
and it is all you can do to not fall

that was the dark hours of Tuesday
that was the hours of government gone reality show
that was the uppercut
they waited for for eight years
and so we are here
bruised battered and listing

the standing eight count
is the time where one either fights like hell
or sleeps and comes out of the other side
not the same – maybe never
the standing eight count
is blood for the ravenous

the standing eight count
is where the only refuge
is the corner or through your opponent
and it is where one has to say
to tyranny, bigotry, and all of the other demons
“you can’t hit for shit.”

a line through fire

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drawing a line
is like taking broken bits of your past
and pushing them together
molding like a child does hardscrabble clay
hoping you’ll finally be that vessel
to hold the waters you will need

drawing that line
is like seeing safety
through billow clouds of smoke
feeling fire lick your skin and scrape with pain
as you escape through a window aflame
fueled by combustible anger and regrets like rags in a corner

drawing a line
is like setting that fire
hoping you have enough in you
to leave the flames
and let time snuff things out
leaving what isn’t needed among the ashes

breathing after a hard rain

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when i breathe
during the time of the hard and heavy clouds
the cracks
spiderwebs of tears silent and stifled
bitter words and glances
spring up along the skin
straining, hurting to fly forth
breathing
during a hard rain
brings forth all pain borrowed and earned

breathing during a hard rain
taking time to glue pieces back together
to let some pieces stay adrift
thinking maybe you’ll see them last before you pass on
it isn’t like summer camp
where popsicle sticks seemed to be the strongest thing
in the world
homes fall, families splinter
and you are are all specks of sand on malicious winds

breathing during a hard rain
until you return to yourself
on a drumbeat that tapers off within your ears
but crowds out the doubts and regrets
that persist like morphine drips
the petrichor tells you, “enough”
the rainbow sign tells you, you are more than enough
and the spiderweb ceases to hurt for now
and you

you journey on.

 

youth of thirteen

*note – this was written upon hearing of the murder of
Tyree King, of Columbus, Ohio which took place last night.

 

beer swillers
who invoke the name of football Jesus
tithing with assorted barbecue
and pray to a flat screen

those who cry patriotism
like trivia answers to game show hosts
who can’t hear them
do not give one care to why Black mothers tend to scream

they tell you racism is done
because they can quote your dead leaders to you
wondering why we march
why we speak out loud and yell – what does it mean?

we turn to you
eyes weary from mourning heart weary from evenings
where we bite cop bullets for fitting a description
mirroring systemic evil unseen

and ask:

what use is standing to pointlessly cherish a flag
when you use that flag
to insist we don’t belong – though we do, more than you
to even slaughter a youth of thirteen?

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

Labor Day ’16 Sale!!!

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What’s happening readers?

I’m here to announce that there’s now currently a sale
going on in my webstore for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
From now until September 6th, ALL of my books are on
sale for $4 dollars. That’s right, four bucks. No codes are
necessary. For those of you who haven’t purchased any of
my books previously, this is your chance to grab them at
a good rate. For those who have, this is a great way to get
a gift of words for your loved ones. As always, if you spread
the word and/or make a purchase it is greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much!!!

 

 

second cough at 6:47 a.m.

the air hangs heavy
taut
waiting perhaps for rain just like
any other fool with dry grass
these are hours
that wait for you at the bathroom mirror
wait for you to stare

what was that saying about the abyss and
staring?

the heaviness of the air
around your worries eases a bit
you know that there will only be more
but you know that there will be coffee
and the hours that don’t expect much of you
will nod with quiet approval as you move through minutes
and so another day you think you cannot get through

sits on a curb in the rearview mirror of your later dreams