sound off

Photo by Noah Buscher via Unsplash

An Audio Poem for Ezinne Ukoha

they don’t expect you to
sound off . . .
your version of one . . . two
three . . . four
isn’t what they thought
counting would be.
you shout from the rooftops
of every dilapidated building,
saying what the world
wants all of us to deny.

“no justice. no peace.”
you do not rest in the throes
of ignorance, you carry a lightning bolt
solid enough to pierce through
the toughest skin
and light’em up.
from your lips come
the fruits of our labor —
an homage to an undying fight.

strength is you.
on a screen amongst millions, you
let your words fly,
uncertain if they can still
reach someone.

they do.
they can.
they will.
I am a follower,
a faithful reader too.

you are touching me.

if you ever feel like the
world is sitting on your shoulders
happy to be around weighing you down,
know that you’ve lifted hundreds up
and we would stand
at attention if it meant your words
could conjure up the next
uprising.

the love you have for
your people — for those oppressed
and shot down, unfortunate
and dismayed jumps out
of every offering
you have to give and we
could pay our tithes with
the amount of truth you
share and still have plenty
left over to help others.

you are the navy by yourself.

and many hate to see your
fleets coming, but you
attack at will.
you’re ready.
you aim.
and, you fire
hitting the target
every single time.

if passion had a partner,
it’d be you.
you are scaling bumpy
terrain yet you manage
to keep your breaths steady.
I pity the trolls.
they don’t have a chance —
you sass them educationally
with just the right amount
of hot sauce and butter . . .

you burn’em up.

the moment you refuse
to sound off is the moment
the world will miss
one of its gifts who
has been trying to save it
for decades.

rise up, Ezinne,
don’t ever let them
catch you falling.


*Author’s Note: I have been reading Ezinne for at least four years now and with each read, I can still feel the presence of her undying will to use her words to express/fight for/and push towards justice. Originally published in P.S. I Love You via Medium.

November 21, 2016, my first poem for Ezinne:

unruly

Christian Gertenbach via Unsplash

An Audio Micropoem

she presses her whole
body upon my heart —
I feel the heaviness of
her grief, the shame that
piles itself in one
place like a mass of
unruly clothes.

I am waiting to
fold her.


Originally published via Medium.

*This piece is a small introduction for a set of published works that I have unlocked on Medium so they can be read by every user and not just paid subscribers.

Hidden

For Every Black Man Waiting To Be Loved

Jurien Huggins via Unsplash

Hidden: An Audio Poem

she tricked you into thinking
you weren’t noticed — your smile
didn’t meet her in the middle,
yet I see you.

I watch as you struggle to exist
in a world bent on keeping you
hidden behind its sullen corners,
you are not what they expect

when they envision greatness.

I come to you, arms outstretched,
urging you to know my ways . . .
I want to calm your seas,
let me be your peace.

the caves for men aren’t designed
to home the wildest creatures,
we have to make our way —
we are not the boxing kind.

wrappers and bows.
garland and lights.
presentation is everything and
we put on a show.

come, dance in my direction.

I yearn to watch the little boy
emerge with his face aching
for the sunlight.
I know he’s there.

let me watch you
enchant this world around us,
give me the hope of a new season —
the flesh of a beating heart.

you haven’t allowed yourself
this kind of love in
nearly a lifetime, yet here I am . . .
flaunting it for you to touch.

I will not hide you, no . . .
not when something as beautiful
as you should be placed on the
front row of city buses.

no hesitations
no second thoughts
no reconsiderations

necessary.


Originally published on Medium.

The Moon is Envious

An Audio Poem

Adrianne Walujo via Mixkit.co

The Moon is Envious

you have more than questions that
need answers — you want to know
if the sun still shines on you, if the
jeans we purchased last year line
your curves without showing too much
and I stand there in front of
a seeking mirror watching you
watch yourself turn into this other
woman.

I trip on my tongue, forever lost
in finding the words that match
the situation. I want to write something instead,
but you are looking at me as I
fumble with my words in the air,
my lips — stuck in a temporary pause,
I utter, “I don’t know how to
tell you that nothing needs changing.”

I immediately get that this is
not the best response and again I
go searching for the right words while
you stare at this other woman
watching you watch her. The mirror
doesn’t change.

silence crowds the room — I part my
way back to you and offer another
response, one that could be better
than the last.
“Every pound is in its rightful place.
Even the moon is envious of you.
it wants to know why such a beautiful being
hides in the dark when she should be
outside lighting up the night.”

I’m no charmer, but you smile.
and my world shifts back into a safe space
because if you’re smiling — then everything’s
all right.
I watch you twirl around, pat your hip
with a quick slap, and flex your
heeled toes. You change your attire.
You model another outfit and
I flop my flimsy body down
on the bed. I am your audience.

the mirror invites you back . . .
you’ve wrapped your body
in a long, black dress. your naked shoulders
sing a somber tune.
slumped in front of this other woman,
you begin sizing up the inches of your waist.
I flit between clapping and throwing confetti.
my heart asks for an encore,
my tongue knows not to form the words.

still, you stand there. waiting for the other
woman to make you feel better
and I know that my words, applause,
confetti, charm, love, and analogies
carry no weight.

you are too busy attempting
to shed pounds — and the only
thing the other woman wants
you to do is notice that
she’s beautiful enough
to cause an envious moon.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this is a piece behind Medium’s paywall.


*“Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to this world, and get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans!” — America Ferrera (Cosmo for Latinas in 2012)

the culling

musical selection|Me’Shell Ndegeocello: fool of me

micropoetry, 5 parts|audio poem

Egon Schiele from Nudes Series1918|Wikicommons


I tore you from my heart
watched as you floated into space
the culling begins . . .

you took with you moments of passion,
pleasure, and pain and looked back
at nothing — nothing could remain.

the beauty of us once a small sin
turned into confessions to our other lovers
we had secrets that needed secrets.

I am just a number to you
a piece of flesh molded into your want —
I would never be a need.

as I wash away your scent
I remember the day I morphed into your plaything
it’s etched in me — my skin swallows it.

Originally published on Medium.