comme je suis

as I am

Me, chilling in Anchorage, Alaska, Summer of 2019, at Alexainie’s place. I was pretty damn happy and it shows.

An Audio Poem

I am aging in a way that brings
peace to my spirit.
It’s something I’ve been struggling
to gain for over a decade
and now, I’m familiar with how
to attain it and even more importantly,
how to keep it.

It is the month of love and everyone
is fumbling over their confessions,
careful not to spill more than
their fair share of beans
and I find myself uninterested in
their daily goings-on.
I am moving through this life
with my feet planted firmly
on the ground and every move I
design before me is planned
and calculated. I am my
own defense.

The hurdles I jumped led me to
this smooth path and although there
were holes in my soles over time,
I wear better shoes.
I am more prepared, more . . .
knowledgeable about what I want
and what I aim to get.

Each year, I think about you
and how it was hard for you
to see me for who I was
and love me for that too.
I now recognize that I was
eager to find fault in the way
I loved because it was too
much for you — it was too
bold for you and I spent
years attempting to cut out
half of the person that
made me happy simply to
satisfy you.

What kind of hell was I living in
that made me believe I was in
heaven?
I would not dare seek your counsel,
opinion, or thoughts on the matter,
you would only make me
wary and even more apprehensive.

I am finding peace in the
swell of the clouds and the
gusty landings of the wind.
I stand in a circle of forgiveness
which includes all versions
of me; past and present.
I tell them you didn’t need me.
I tell them you couldn’t love me.
I tell them we know better now.

I am who I am and to be
loved for that is the only
kind of love I envision.
If anyone interested holds something
different on their tongues,
I . . . We don’t want it.



Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

Force: The Reckoning


For Marley K


An Audio Poem

Black people need more voices
willing to shout at the darkness
of every sky moving in to
silence us without our knowledge.

We should rally around those
who spit-shine their A-Game and
ready themselves for battle — 
Queens and Kings walking on
coal, tipped a mere 10% for
their undying efforts.

One such woman uses her gift
of gab to stab many who have
offended us in the front because
to do so in their backs would
be an act of cowardice.

She is bold and unrelenting,
she has goals that surpass whatever
you think you can dream up,
and she’s unafraid to clap back.

Think you’re cold enough to
waltz in a ring with her when
the topics of racism, social injustice,
and racial divide are on the table?
I’d love to see you try your hand
at pulling up a seat. 
I’m betting you. will. lose.

It’s this way for her because
she loves her people.
She goes to war for her people.
She will die for her people.
Draped in every day armor
because the South is a constant
battlefield, this life will
never end — black people cannot
escape it.

Freeing ourselves is an 
ongoing agenda with nonstop
weekly itineraries to keep
us safe.
They say we aren’t shackled
but they’re still holding
the chains.

She sees it and calls it out.
For her, covering up
who you really are,
only makes coming after you
easier.


Marley K. is like the passionate Auntie you know not to cross but who will go to war for you if she has to. And when you come for her, you better be ready. Originally published at Medium.

Getting to Know Me (An Audio Poem)

Community art: Different Women. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

2019 MTV Awards Musical Performance by Missy Elliott

Getting to Know Me

An Audio Poem

My kid sister probes me
for information. She needs to
know more about me.
Our upbringing was an odd one.
I’m more of a mother-figure to her
than a big sister; with 19 years
separating us, she “ma’ams” me
rather than “Ooh, girl” or 
“Child, pleases” me and it just seems weird.

She urges me to open up, to share,
but I’m not really the type to complain
more than I need to or
give more of me than I should.
I’ve learned who to shed skin
with and who not to and this isn’t
to say that my sister isn’t to
be trusted, no, that’s not it.
I’m just . . . careful now.

I want to vent sometimes to her,
I want her to hear me when I’m
in distress, yet there’s this overwhelming
feeling to protect her too
even if it’s from me.
She assures me she’s old
enough to digest what I
dole out but I’m hesitant.

I’ve lived a far different life
and my demons tend to follow
me along my sacred paths and
my sister is still growing,
still learning. I don’t want her
to know the me that drives
people away. I’m still working
on that me.
I need her around.

I’d hate for her to be one more
person I find myself chasing
after; another heart to grip.
People want you to strip
bare, stand naked before them,
but many of them aren’t ready
for the curves and folds and
two-toned skin. They just want
to see more of you even if
more of you isn’t beautiful.

It’s one more thing they can
hang over your head, dangle like
a dagger, cut you to the quick.
I’m trying. I swear, I am.
I ask her to be patient with me,
to understand — I have a way
and my way is comforting.
I can’t be rushed.

She understands.
Thank God in heaven.
She understands.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

This Skin: The Depth of Our Essence

Image for post
Art Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash

An Audio Poem

I stretch out my hands to my lover,
my life — he lifts his wandering eyes 
up at me, happy to catch my silhouette
still as the nightlife.
This now is a scary place
to be — we linger on each other’s 
tongues, hopeful to create passion
in the pique of all pain.

I know he doesn’t really see me — 
he looks past this skin, calls me
his caramel, hot-mama, Georgia-Peach
elite. I am his Upper Echelon under
the covers, undercover — hidden 
from view. 
We keep secrets nestled in the grooves
of our aging skin, collecting them
as we meet another year.

I tell him I’d live in his curls if I could — 
a universe of wonder for hair.
He smiles. He loves a good
compliment. His full lips
measure the amount of stress 
I’ve stored in my collarbone. 
By his hands, relief appears. 
I pay him in orgasms.

When we go out, our hands 
are at our sides, we stand close
but far — close but away from the 
scent of each other’s breath. 
We feign tolerance of the 
stares that follow us. 
I nod and smile — nod and smile,
keep my composure.

He tells me the people in this 
neighborhood don’t see color and 
I worry even more. How can they
know me if they don’t see me?
I fiddle with my newly broken fingernail
and ignore what he says just 
for a moment.

We pass time by walking two blocks — 
white picket fences fill my eyes.
Election signs for the Elephant 
are markers for miles.
“They don’t see color, huh?”
He is silent. He pulls me closer,
latches on to my hand, and 
quickens his pace.

I keep step — keep time, my swollen
heart beats faster as we exit
this territory.
The depth of our essence — this skin
will not protect us, not even 
from the colorblind.

I lay in his thoughts — stir myself 
deeper as a mixture of lust, love, and
curiosity. He plucks his brain
for a better view of this world.
There is none.

It saddens him to realize this.
I hug him close to me — I knew
what he didn’t. 
I prepared myself for it
before we left the house.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

the gifted boy and loves past

A Rapid Rhyme

boy in black jacket holding camera
Photo by Zahra Amiri via Unsplash

A Rapid Rhyme Audio Poem

The gifted boy chose his chore,
an invitation to toy with others
who bore the pain
from life’s insane paths

a kid big on master plans
he demands the same treatment
& has no fans
in his misty eyes,
he holds the cries
of loves past

too many to name,
none of them would last


Originally published via Twitter as an experiment. This is the last Rapid Rhyme poem I will do for a while. I have had so much fun doing these! Thanks again Peter for the inspiration!