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.
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
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.
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.