The Day After New Year’s Day Is A Puddle of Regret And Lost Memories

rains falls–
beats the windows
like they stole
something
I walk the dog
in inclement weather boots
I’ve had for
eight years
we rush to
one side of the
neighborhood
then, to another
my head is a fireball
of indecisiveness
I want so much
yet I can’t remember
what those things are

a friend of mine
contracted this overgrown
virus that we’re all
so extremely tired of–
then, her mother,
her toddler . . .
same week, my cousin,
and another and another,
and . . . when will this
all end
I ask myself
the dog perches
on my lap
astonished by the
morning darkness
could this be an
oxymoron

the day after
new year’s day
is a puddle of regret
and lost memories
and I didn’t think
I’d wake up feeling
this way, but . . .
I woke up
didn’t I
I’m supposed to be
grateful–I better make
a short list
of the things I shouldn’t
have, yet I do
I better remember I’m
still here while
others took their
final bow earlier
in the week
I better get my
head in the game of
life and gear myself
up for the bullshit
that will surely come
so I can say
I made it through
this is my testimony
I made it through

Hell in a Handbasket, but There’s Still Time for Autumn

One of the last trees to still sport its autumn leaves. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

This nation, as I see it, is going to Hell in a handbasket. It will be carried by the same naysayers who believe the all-knowing and loving God is for their hypocritical ways and do not oppose their actions. The God you serve is not the God I serve. My God is more than likely weeping as he watches His children carry on like fools, senselessly taking the lives of others, running amok without fair cause, and denying human beings basic rights.

You are playing a flute that holds no sound, yet you want me to listen. Where is your melody? How does it benefit me? When will it actually do something worthwhile?

We elected a president who, when it all falls down, has sided with a judicial system that purposes a select few. He has said out of his mouth, to respect the system, to acknowledge what has been done peacefully. For real? Like, for real . . . real? Acknowledge a system that has NEVER worked in anyone of color’s favor? Acknowledge a system and respect it that could not bring forth a verdict that actually makes sense?

It is 2021, yet we are reliving days of Antebellum. There is no escaping this. This is what they want. And to get to where they intend to seek refuge, they will continue to whittle us down like pieces of wood.

I’m so tired of people making excuses for America. America has ALWAYS been this way. She isn’t changing. Her ways are not so distant from the 1800s–they’re only slightly different.

I walked through my neighborhood today, still seething in anger from an unjust system. I tried to remain calm. I tried to look to Jernee for some semblance of peace. But I found it . . . in the last leaves of autumn.


**I don’t intend to argue or go back and forth with anyone about my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I know what I’ve lived, witnessed, been forced to do, and experienced. Racism is still alive and well. I don’t need anyone to tell me what is and isn’t.

The Nature of Horrible Things

And how they still sneak up on you sixteen years later

a man looks down into an almost empty glass of beer
Photo by Jimmy jimmy via Pexels

We meet the afternoon chill in the air with our bodies tucked further into warm clothing. Jernee steps out before I do and I hear my neighbor briskly skip down the stairs. The faint scent of liquor speaks to me before he does. I nod — say “Good afternoon,” and attempt to mind my business by watching Jernee search for a proper spot in which to relieve herself. He is the type of person who does not understand personal space. He comes closer to us and, unlike Jernee with him, she growls under her breath. I step back from him — putting at least three more feet between us.

I recall the time and it’s just barely 1:45 p.m. He is home on his lunch break. He smiles. He sends his “Heyhowyadoin’” to me within seconds of stepping on the final stair. It’s all mumbled together — glued, yet I am fluent in slurred speech. I know this speech just like I know the smell. I know the smell. I know the smell. He has tried to hide it with Old Spice and two gulps of water but to no avail. I cock my head to the side and whisper to myself, this cat is drunk and is going back to work. Hell . . . naw.

He tells me his grandchildren have been staying with them. I know this. I speak to his wife — to their little ones. I see them as they come and go. They are beautiful mini models of their mother and father — his son and his son’s girlfriend’s children. He says as erratic as a functioning alcoholic can, “They get up at 4:30 in the morning sometimes, see. And you know, I don’t get up until 6:30 and that throws my day all off, you see?” I do see. I understand. One’s sleep is important.

He steps closer again. I step back. He holds up one hand and quickly says, “I ain’t gon’ keep ya. I know you gotta walk ya dog.” I thank him. He wanders off toward his car and away from us. His wife knocks on my door five nights later. She has a flier in her hand — an invitation to her church for some sort of celebration. It is the same church she drags him to on Sundays. And I understand — I get it. She is looking to God to save her husband. Just like I was looking to God to save my mother — to save me.

I don’t have the heart to tell her I do not do large gatherings — even if they’re outside. I do not do well in crowds nowadays and neither would I want to. I take her flier. I smile at her. I tell her to have a nice night and to be safe. She smiles back and thanks me.

I ran to the church for so many reasons in my early twenties. I ran even harder in my mid-thirties. So much of me wanted to heal my mother and so much of me needing healing of my own.


I drank because I couldn’t get my mother to stop drinking and doing drugs. I drank because I was afraid of coming out. I drank because I was going through a series of harsh breakups and couldn’t find the answers why. I moved out of the townhouse my best friend and I shared. I left. I gave no reason — only a 30-day notice and paid my half of the utilities and mortgage for the next two months, or was it just the following month? That detail is foggy.

She faced me the day I told her with tears in her eyes, asking me to please talk to her. And I couldn’t. Here was a woman who would cause me to stop drinking. It would occur several months after I moved out. The night I knew I wouldn’t drink anymore, my best friend and I had attended a work-related party at a small pub near her place. Her colleagues — her comfort zone. I am told I had too much to drink. I am told, on the way home, she had to pull over to the side of the road so I could vomit. I am told she had to help me up the stairs, get me into some pajamas of hers, then help me to the toilet so I could vomit some more.

I awakened the next morning in her bed and could not remember what had happened and why I was there and not at home. She was sound asleep, but her expression had seeped in worry. I got up to use the bathroom, and this caused her to stir. I asked her what happened, and she told me. She calmly said, “I was not going to take you home where I could not keep an eye on you. You were pretty fucked up, Tre.” And that was my “A-ha!” moment.

When a person loves you enough to ensure your safety in your inebriated state — when they care enough to make sure you’re not sleeping in the clothes you upchucked in the night before — when they clean you up, change your clothes, and guide you to their bed so you can sleep; there is nothing else that can match that. Cold turkey is what they call it, yes? I stopped drinking.

I could not imagine what she must’ve been feeling to do all of that for me and not completely cuss me out, as I had done so many times with my mom. She cared about my life — she showed me. I don’t think no one ever had before then or I had forgotten it if they did.


A year and one half later, I brought Jernee home. I was determined to shield myself from the past evils that attempted to drag me down with them. I needed this four-legged creature to keep me safe — to give me joy. I had something to do when I awakened — something to train, to feed, to nourish . . . to love. I had a feeling of purpose again just barely two years before — I felt I hadn’t, and I did not want to go on.

So when I see my neighbor and he is running away from whatever demons chasing him — I understand. I may not know the cause. I may not know exactly what’s beating him day in and day out and pulling him toward drowning his sorrows in tempting liquor mid-day. I don’t even know why he feels the need to talk to me — to step into my space, but I can listen.

Had it not been for my best friend, I would’ve been following the paths of my maternal great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunts, aunts, and uncles — my mother. I understand because I can still see the bottles of Hennessy and Tanqueray and Old English my mom kept stored in her home. I can smell each one of them while they’re still locked in their casings. I can see her struggling to piece back together a broken home — a dysfunctional family — unruly boys.

I see myself trying to find a way out. I hear my best friend’s voice . . .“You were pretty fucked up, Tre.” And I understand.


*No one’s shit smells like roses and honey, baby. Everyone has a stench.©My late maternal grandmother.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.

spent

a lamentation

the work comes — it goes
every call is torture to the bones.
we communicate with vigor, yet
with ease. 
patients want to know 
listeners can schedule their appointments
and offer empathy too.

a doctor’s office landed in
my teammate’s queue — their issue
crept in without cause.
a 3-month-old showing symptoms
of a virus meant for adults and the elders
in the early stages, but really
did they know who it 
would attack and who it
would leave alone?

when we start scanning babies
with machinery doling out
radiation because their lungs
are about to collapse, the world
is truly at its end.
I shout at the screen housing 
messaging tools and the software
we need to scan through 
thousands of accounts.

it doesn’t shout back.

I can tell my days are beginning
to blend — Monday is Friday.
Tuesday is Thursday. 
I don’t know what weekends are anymore.
and the lovers of this world continue
on, sampling pain in
little festive bags — afraid to share
their happiness.

who will appreciate it?

“I am spent,” I say this to 
my mom as she breathes on the
receiving end of the call.
she’s breathing . . . breathing. 
how often have we taken this for granted?
breathing . . .
she hears me — pauses for effect.
she tells me she is afraid to
go outside and I understand.

I understand.

I spend many of my days
arguing with God — telling him how
I really feel. he knows. I know he knows.
but, I tell him anyway.
I want to wade through waters
less choppy and with each
passing moment, the hardness comes
and my face has bruises I
no longer hide.

“I am spent,” I say to anyone
who will listen.

I am almost at my end.


Originally published in my new publication soliloque via Medium.

Feeling the Feelings

A Lamentation

Have we always been so
bad at being human or
did we arrive at this point
over time? 
Is inhumanity ingrained
in our souls and passed
down to generations after us?

We’re flailing about in time
knocking down common sense
and running over logic.
I’ve had my share of selfish
people and my stomach is full
of disdain for my brethren
who’d rather skip rules
and toe a harsher line.

One day, the spirit of togetherness
will envelop us and mark us
with its care.
But first, we must crawl out
of our shells and move closer
toward acceptance of others.

On my dying day,
I want to be remembered
as a task manager who
managed to love everyone
but right now, I am nowhere
close to that.

I hope I still have time left.
I want to still have time left.
Please let me have more time.


Originally published via Medium.