taken

Photo by Gui França on Unsplash
taken by Tremaine L. Loadholt

I am taken aback by her — by
who she is, what she does, and
how she moves about in
this world.

she is bold — passionate about
life and her surroundings, and
I stand on faltering feet,
wondering when I’ll be
able to l o o s e this confession
curdling my spirit.

I am eating my words
for dinner, submerging my
heart into overflowing waters,
stunted by fears that
tangle my tongue.

women need to come with
instruction manuals, and an
extra five dollars behind
their ears — I got tolls to
pay every time I lose
myself in one of them.

I get shy around her–nerves
tighten my stomach muscles,
and I play hide-n-seek with
my words. 
why am I like this?

does she notice?
will she say something?

and every day we 
shoot the shit like I
ain’t dreaming about cuffing
her to the base of my heart 
and whipping her hips
under my arms.

“I’m a sinner. I’m a saint.”

and I no longer feel
shame in this skin I’m in,
but this woman . . . 
this fine, Black woman,
skips and dashes,
slips and thrashes her
way into my mind more
than I realize, and I

am taken aback by her
again and again and
again.


*Track playing in the background: Sade, Is It a Crime?


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

I Have Learned to Celebrate Who I Am

An audio free verse poem

I Have Learned to Celebrate Who I Am

I am content in my skin — took
me some time to be able to
say this without flinching, but I
have finally arrived.

I love how my hips sway
uncontrollably to the sounds of
the music of my people.
I have fallen in love with
my sense of style, my overall
sassiness, and my lack of fear
regarding speaking my mind.

I am strong in my stature and
my thoughts and I am grateful
for my ancestors before me;
they did not think twice about
who they were and what they
offered this nation.

I am carved from unbreakable stone,
washed by overflowing healing waters,
and motivated by a tongue that can cut
you down to size if a debate is invited.

I am not an “Angry Black Woman,” I
simply get angry when you don’t
understand me or worse — you won’t
take the time to understand me.

I have centuries of pain loaded
onto my shoulders — the cross I bear
you will never be able to carry.
It is made for me and my strength.
I am walking the path designed for
where I have to go.

I have learned to celebrate who I am;
every facet, every curve, every minuscule
thought that crosses my mind — all of it.
And with this celebration of self, comes
celebration of my ancestry.

And there is a sense of pride in this
fact that can never be, won’t ever be
negated.


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

Carrying a “Male” Name

Musical Selection: Kanye West (& other Lyricists)|Monster

An audio-poetic rant

Comic Strips Tre. Photo by my cousin Alex; tweaked and enhanced by Tremaine L. Loadholt
Carrying a “Male” Name by Tremaine L. Loadholt

People have been “misgendering” me
before calling it out was a thing.

I carry a “male” name; one that typically
appears before I do.

I cannot tell you how many times
I have said, “But I am a woman,” or
“It’s actually Tree•Maine.”
If I had a dollar … You know the rest.

I’ve lived a life of correcting people
about who I am and how I exist
before I was old enough to vote.
Before I was old enough to
sort out who respected me vs. who
just wanted to enunciate two syllables
the way they wanted to.

There is no patience in
learning one’s name or the
person tasked with enduring it
until the grave embraces them;
not in this country.

Here is something I’ll share
for free; if a person asks you
to pronounce their name correctly,
do it.

If a person asks you to use
their nickname, do it. (Chances are,
they’re tired of correcting you.)

If you have assumed the person
is whatever gender you’ve envisioned
for them before meeting them
because you thought their name
will lend you someone else, 
“That is a YOU problem.”

Fix it.
Today.


**An earlier version of this piece appeared via ACG’s Instagram “stories.” Published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.


Explicit lyrics|content warning, “Monster.”

**I am NOT a Kanye West fan; Nicki Minaj & Jay Z’s verses are my favorites.

Coupling of a Different Kind

Photo by Mpho Maponyane on Unsplash
Coupling of a Different Kind

I’m the person who makes her feel better.
and it’s light and airy and innocent …
there are days that pummel her
into submission, and I sense them.
I am ready with a “Hey, are you okay?”
and the response is an honest one — 
one that lets me know, she’s holding 
on, too.
“I am trying to be.”

I know that place.
I live in that place more than
I care to admit,
that place is a place where
we find ourselves lost and
wandering aimlessly through
time and actions, and if anyone
is available to save us, we’ll
run straight to them.

she doesn’t need saving, though.
she needs a listener.
I listen. 
I crack jokes.
I talk about the things in life
that make no sense and we agree
as we work and she monitors
my time on calls and I shift
from one aspect of work to another.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” I say. how we can
struggle together and open up
long enough to let the other in?
she agrees. we can chat for
hours about things that crush us.

I know where she’s been. 
I know how I got through it,
how I am getting through it, and
we’re both walking different paths,
but it feels like our destinations
aren’t too far from one another.
I offer her a ride.

“Since we’re headed in the same direction.”

there was a wall there — there was.
I have always had a knack for chipping
away at them and sliding through 
undetected, and before you know it,
one’s bare before me — their past becoming
one with mine.

it is an amazing thing to see someone
walk away from themselves, pull up
a seat next to another ailing heart,
and release like there will be no tomorrow.
she’s so beautiful when she’s fragile.
she’s even more so when she’s strong.

the hard exterior comes through
on days when patients have gotten
their full fill of long hold times and
the glitches of shoddy software can 
eat through the cores of our patience.
I can see her falter — lose her sense of peace.

And I step in — “Are you going to make it?”

a simple question returns a simple answer.
and we move on from that place
that can turn into darkness if
I do not send enough light, but I do.
and she waits for it.

and even when my darkest days
salsa right before me, I can 
remove my stilettos, slip my
gown over my head, sling my 
jewelry across the room, and
invite her to get naked with me.

and there in the most silent
of silences, we stand — free 
of inhibitions, wary no more, 
aware that whatever else may come,
we have the tools to
conquer it.


Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium.

I Think of You Often, but Even More Now

An audio lamentation

Photo by Tess WB on Unsplash
I Think of You Often, but Even More Now

I think of you often, but even 
more now, and maybe it’s because
it’s Autumn — the season when I’m
at my loneliest.
I hate the term, “deceased.”
I am still trying on the best way
to tell people about you in the 
past tense.

How can I?
Why would I even want to?
It’s a necessary evil, though.
“My late cousin …”
“My cousin who died 
earlier this year.”

I hate all of these ways
of saying you’re no longer 
here with us, and none of them
will make me miss
you any less.
So, what’s the point?

October had already been
a struggle-month for me.
I am urging myself to see
it as a month of celebration — you
were born during this month;
a gift to this world full of
nonsense and hatred.

However, as it is, these feelings
King Kong me, often out of 
nowhere, and it takes everything
I have in me to get back to
some semblance of normal.

I tell people, “I am good.”
Because I will be, eventually.
I hate filling their ears with my
off-and-on depression and 
medically diagnosed “adjustment disorder.”
I am a bag lady, carrying these 
things with me, unable to unpack — not
right now. Not just yet.

But I am trying.

At every turn of every day,
I see your smiling face.
I hear the joyfulness of your laughter.
I remember your meaningful embrace.

I always felt loved.
I always knew love existed through you.

I never had to question it.

And as time continues on 
in the way it typically does,
I feel like I’m being Mister’d into
becoming Celie who lost Nettie,
and the pain of the loss
rears its ugly head when
I least expect it.

I tick off another month of
therapy, another week of working
overtime, and another day of
just getting by.

Oh, I think of you often, but
even more now. 
Happy Birthday, Chrissy.
I say it to the air around me.
I whisper it to the clouds.
I swirl it around my tongue, and
blow it away from me as 
quickly as I can.

Happy Birthday, Chrissy.


*Author’s Note: Chrissy’s birthday is on October 12, 2022. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t think about her. She will forever be in my heart — often on my mind — and deeply rooted within my thoughts. I miss her. I truly miss her.

Thank you for reading — for listening. Peace.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium, on Sunday, October 09, 2022.