Beat You Like You Were Fred Waterford

There are times when the anger
is so deep I find myself reeling
in the emotions to keep from
jumping down the throats of
the people intent on believing this
nation isn’t racist anymore.

What world are you living in exactly?
Our bubbles can be safe places
but when one starts implying
trouble happens elsewhere and
everything is “fake news,” I call
in to question their ability to
be an actual human being.

It must feel good up there on
the pedestal of privilege.
It must feel real good.
You don’t have one care
in this world–no concern of
being attacked or harassed or
beaten like you were Fred Waterford
and hung on a wall for neighbors
to find while they’re mowing
their lawns.

Tell me, how can you call
a lynching on an oak tree suicide?
How?
This nation is designed to
mock and murder its minorites
and make sure the role of
“subordinate” stays that way.
“Here’s a small dish of manavelins
to hold you over until the next
batch of bullshit is released in
our favor. Stay tuned.”

America is built on the backs
of their oppressed and yet, America
acts like this fact is fiction.
“Sweep it under the rug.”
“Move that elephant out of the room.”
“Take history away from history.
This isn’t true!”
All the golden boys want their
golden girls to live in
an hour of disbelief.
This suits their blueprint.

But we are here to disrupt it
and shine light on what should
have been the focus centuries ago.
This nation is weeping; she cries
for her lost children; taken by the
hands of the blasphemers and
the pseudo-righteous.
She cries for her spirit is torn.
She cries because her soul is weak.

“Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil.”

I shall fear no evil.
But evil better damn sure
fear me.

The Fantasy of You Still Haunts Me

I slept seven hours and one half
from Friday night into Saturday morning
and would’ve slept even longer
had I not awakened to the
feeling of you lying next to me

I thought I’d outgrown fantasies
of you exchanging your current life
for one I can provide–
that I’d been rid of seeing you
when I don’t need to

“The world doesn’t need another
love poem”
but I’m beginning to not give
a fuck about the world
It’s much too busy breaking
character or running wild because
being unmasked is a form of freedom
and I am far too consumed with
keeping my tongue tied and
staying away from props that
send me into the past

How are the children
is the first question I would ask you
I miss them more than anything
I realized the other day that
three different birthdays over
two separate years have passed
and I haven’t been able to
catch their smiles

I hope you tell them good things
about me, that I had a purpose
in drifting away
That I was trying to save my heart
If you’re wondering . . .
It isn’t working
I saw a woman on North
Peace Haven the other day . . .
jogging
I glanced only but I’d know
your doppelgänger when I see her
and she was it

I damn near crashed my car
I spent thirty minutes trying to
talk you out of my head
Two hours later, you were gone
Until today . . . Until this morning
and I wonder if it’s because
I’m going to do something today
we spent time doing in Baltimore
that digs every memory of you
up and sticks them to my
soul

I am tired of wondering where
I stand in your world
even after I found the strength
to leave, your magnetic pull
senses me
I just want to wake up
in the morning
Shit, shave, and shower,
and show you the door

The problem is, though, I
keep opening it and you . . .
well, you always walk
right in and take over
my heart

The Lingering Effects of Parental Divorce

It Changes Everything

Big sky. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

He used to call me baby, that was his way, until . . . Until he had to leave. I was twelve. Twelve years old, wondering what I did wrong. No one could tell me. I wasn’t old enough to be in the middle of the conversations birthed between adults. And as a Southerner, you listen to your elders. You heed their advice.

So, I thought my light had faded — if Daddy wasn’t calling me baby anymore . . . Who else would? Who else should? Was I even still deserving of that term of endearment?

My mom had been piecing together our puzzled lives. We had become the church feature — the company billboard for broken homes. They wanted me to tell the boys. To let my brothers know our family had collapsed. But how could I? I was still trying to figure out who was going to call me baby — still trying to find the reason why he had to leave.

I had an inquisitive mind so naturally, I wanted to know what went wrong and if I was it—the wrong that suddenly swarmed our home . . . was I it?!

I turned to my mom as I so often did during times of distress to perhaps pull the truth out of her . . . “Mom, what did I do?”

In the funk of a lead-ridden home, my words were useless. They did not exist.

I did . . . I did.

I still lived amongst the shadows of decrees and halves—“You’ll get them on this weekend, I’ll get them on that weekend . . .” And so on and furthermore. We were split in two. Halves of a whole. Soon to be halves of a half. Quartered. We had been made into pieces — cracked instantly on direct impact. No one would put us back together again.

I wasn’t old enough to be in the middle of the conversations birthed between adults.


Time shifted — we all grew up and out of our old selves. When I was nineteen years old, another girl was born. This one, you know very well. When she was sixteen, I realized, you had more years with her. You don’t forget her age. She doesn’t have to remind you. You’ve been to every recital, every honors night school function, and every church-affiliated soirée. I’ve often thought, it is better this way. She gives you purpose. She doesn’t question why you left — she doesn’t have to.

She could turn a corner and find you right there — waiting . . . waiting to hug her. Waiting to hold her. You had been the pillar in her dreams — strong enough for her to lean on — safe enough for her to discard her fears. I wish I had that. That . . . security and assurance. I dream of it to this day but it is not within my reach. That ship has long since sailed — I stand at the dock battered by the untimely waves.

I wandered far away, lost myself in the clouds above my head, searching for the years before the when that stultified my efforts in loving you and scattered all of us away from what was concrete. Nothing has been what I hoped it would be. Growing up without you—salty taste lingers in my mouth, a hint of envy . . . A bit of jealousy.

She had the traditional family unit— nuclear . . . Functional.

I’ve often thought, it is better this way. She gives you purpose. She doesn’t question why you left — she doesn’t have to.


The funny thing is, I say I am grown — I am mature. But truth be known, I still can’t talk about this without breaking down into a tear-consumed toddler who isn’t getting what she wants. And this, I am told, is normal or expected. Divorce. Divorce. Divorce squirms all up in my bones. I twirl the words on my tongue and the tears fall. They fall . . . I wonder if it does the same thing to you—it does not. It cannot.

And maybe, that’s why we’re estranged. That’s why we’re still holding on. No . . . That’s why I’m still holding on to pain and the moment you’ll once again call me baby.


©2016 & 2021 Tremaine L. Loadholt

This essay originally began as a narrative poem that had been published in In Two Minds on April 24, 2016. Its revision is now hosted at Age of Empathy via Medium. Thank you for reading.

The Great Has Been and The Ruined

Musical Selection: Queen|Another One Bites the Dust

An Audio Poem

Crack goes the whip and
every order or demand that
can break a camel’s back — 
thrown at us under a
noon day’s sun and just
like that, the fun . . . 
is done.

We’ve been asked to
pack our things, close
up shop, retire, put things
to bed and not wake up and
well, if you know us . . .
you know we’re not going
quietly.

Funny how money can shift
a mountain of growth
or how it can sharpen
the hardest edges especially
when the underdogs begin to
climb too high.

The Powers That Be say,
“Drag them back down,” 
and as we fall, they clap
and hoot and holler and
throw confetti in
the putrid air
juddering around their
safe spaces, laughing
at the marks we’ve made.

“It’s been a nice run,”
they’ll say. 
“You’ve done well, but
we have other plans
in mind and you’re not
in them,” and we knew
the hammer would come
down, it was only a
matter of time.
We were hanging on to
hope.

It’s hard to say goodbye
to family, to friends.
We’ve built a castle,
invited the village, and made
merry with thousands, and
now . . . that castle is
being demolished.

Here comes the wrecking ball.

These walls are being Jerichoed
right before us
and there is no time
for tears, we must gather
our pride, tuck it neatly
alongside our egos, and zip
the contents up . . .
Shut it down.

I wish there was another
way of saying and I don’t
want to go, but the great
has been and the ruined
are two different things and
I’m having trouble recognizing
which one we are.

Today is the first day
of not being angry or hurt
or sad because business
is business and when
business is business, words
do not matter.


This poem was written as a “swan song”/goodbye poem to our readers and writers at P.S. I Love You via Medium. The magazine will no longer be operative after June 30, 2021. I’ve been an editor there since last June and I’ve had so much fun doing what I love most.

I’m Running Again

Another shot of my best friend’s plant therapy room. I’ve fallen in love with this room. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I don’t mean to–I didn’t
mean to but I know
when I’m not wanted
and I get my running shoes
put them on, tie them
up tight, and I start
running.

You’ve seen it before.
We’ve lived through this
phase of mine because you
have Casper in your blood.
Two ghosts does not a
live person make.

I love you too much to
let you see me crumbling
more because of you, so
what’s the best thing to do?
I can’t live on my feet
and die on my back at
the same time.

Pick one.
Which one do
you want?

You come in like
blooms on a plant
and disappear sooner
than later, taking more
pieces of me to
devour–to ravage.
I will never make
your sun shine.

This is what you
tell yourself without
knowing truly what I
can do.
I keep my running
shoes at the door,
ready and waiting.

Because when you come
around, old ways
stir up inside me and I . . .
set my eyes on
fleeing the scene
before you can
break my heart again.