Surrender (Revised)

the lust-filled air summons us,
our hearts bent on breaking.
I have reached my limit for
raising hell and you
throw up a white flag.

surrendering never looked
so sexy.

this is what I tell myself
as I watch your body
cascade away from me . . .
you are a rhythm I fear
but I long for too.

could I be falling for the image
of you?

we lie awake
aware of the tempest between us
and life saddles us with
a harsh decision . . .

lean in or run away,
I choose to surrender.

A Cornered Gurl Has a New Look

ACG’s new logo. Created with Canva. Tremaine L. Loadholt

I had been meaning to switch up A Cornered Gurl’s look and feel for a few months now. I wanted something more permanent—something that spoke to who I am and what I have been experiencing of late. I am sure it’s no surprise to anyone reading. I am exhausted. Life is doing its best to sucker-punch me at every turn, but I live on. I fight on. There is still much more to be done. We are about to head into the year 2022, and we still have a raging pandemic at our heels. THERE IS STILL A PANDEMIC!!! When I look at those words, something in me crushes. My soul is in a constant state of unease. Why are we still here? How are we still here?

Several shifts in my mental state, my line of work, and my life overall led me to realize that the exploratory uses of artistic images from other incredible artists just aren’t enough for me. Sure, they all have given the site a fresh and sleek look with a great deal of appeal, but this new logo is me. It says it all. It gives you exactly who I am: “I am more than breath & bones. I am nectar in waiting.” And, it depicts an image of how I see myself these days with the woman created with digital line art. I am here—not here. I am living—not living. I am . . .

We are all struggling in some way of our own. Nothing about this situation has been easy. Loved ones are dead. Friends’ lives have been changed forever. Many of us are cabin fevered out, but it is for our own safety—our own health. But for how much longer? I am sick and tired. SICK AND TIRED! The audacity of the privileged or the ignorant or the arrogant or the people who have been “othered” a lot more because of this virus laughs heartily in our faces. We have the power to control this thing, however, we have chosen a different path.

A Cornered Gurl is my personal space in this humongous World Wide Web and if I cannot be comfortable anywhere else, I must be comfortable here. I have to be comfortable here. I am not ready to go or be anywhere else.

Peace and blessings

When Death Comes Like a Thief in the Night

I miss them. I do.

Photo by Lucxama Sylvain via Pexels

I woke up crying a couple of nights ago. My head was aching. My stomach had knots in it I could not reduce or massage away. Their voices rang in my head — each one of them begging me not to forget them. And how could I? I have not. I never will. When death comes, it enters like a thief in the night — snatching up your last breath. Death has one agenda; kill you. It will complete its task. When it’s time — your time, it will prevail.

You cannot fight it. If you do so, prepare to lose. And you will lose horribly.

As much as I wanted to silence them, it felt disrespectful not to let them speak — not to give them the floor. I had to step aside. It was time I stepped aside. I am sharing my beautiful friends; once here, no longer here, with all of you.


Marlene was a burst of sunshine — a blossom of hope and beauty. She had this infectious laugh that would seep into your bones and stay with you for years. I can still hear her laugh echoing in the corners of my mind. She had many talents — many gifts, but the two that drew people close to her were photography and writing.

Her Flickr page is still up. After all these years, it has survived. No one shut it down. I am both happy and sad about this. Why? Happy because people still get to see how incredibly talented she was. Sad because my friend will never create tons more of these beautiful images for the masses. My friend is no longer here . . . No longer here . . . My friend.

I reached out to her ex-husband when I found out. He was a friend of mine as well. But not as close to me as Marlene was. She was in the throes of a violent asthma attack in the middle of the night. She called him. He didn’t answer. She called 9–1–1. She died a few hours later. Her breathing would not stabilize. She took her last breath. She would never see thirty-five.

I can still hear her laugh echoing in the corners of my mind.

I let the tears flow upon finding out. I did not hide them — locked myself in my apartment, sulked, took time away from work, and buried my pain in the blank pages of my journal. It’s still there. I am afraid to read those words.


Zulie (Ricka) was a powerhouse of a woman. She was independent, a single mom, an artist, and one hell of a writer. We would spend hours chatting on AIM or MSN messenger or texting or talking on the phone. She was five years older than me and always seemed ten times stronger.

She had two handsome boys — eleven years apart. I enjoyed watching them grow, learning of their happy moments, and understanding her care in managing their down moments.

The culprit? The what-seemed-so-unfair demise? Cancer; metastasized from her breasts to her bones. She’d fought it and escaped its grip years prior. But it came back for her. And it attacked her, bled her dry, and left her young children without a mother.

She was five years older than me and always seemed ten times stronger.

I mourn her still. It doesn’t get any better. The pain just gets older. She would never see forty.


Nikki . . . Really, I don’t think there are any appropriate words to describe her. She was the last day of school before the summer break. A freshly made coconut icie. A feature film in the movie theater with a medium-size popcorn. She was lively and always ready to love you . . . If you needed to be loved.

But she could not best her demons. She tried her hardest, but past trauma invaded her head and her heart and on many occasions; I found myself (as many of our mutual friends did), pouring love and words of encouragement into her to get her to see just how much we wanted her to stay with us. Just how much we needed her to be around for us to further enjoy her incredible presence.

She was lively and always ready to love you . . . If you needed to be loved.

But she knew what she could and could not take. And stick around with us, she just could not do. She took her own life. She would not meet thirty-five.


I lost my first friend when I was just fourteen years old and entered my first year of high school. Jason, who met his demise by bullets meant for him, was only fifteen. We grew up in a neighborhood that either pulled you into its gruesome grips or pushed you away from it when it felt you wouldn’t/couldn’t survive it.

We’d known each other since before kindergarten. He was an unruly kid who was one of the first people I would ever know to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder before it became a term I would hear more and more. We clicked. I was “The Girl No One Could Mess With.” I had been protected (by him).

The life he shifted away to lead was one that frightened me and upset me. He was intelligent; brilliant, even. We would have word battles and cartoon-themed inspired conversations that turned into debates. He would sometimes walk me home from school before he dashed into the streets to do what Street-dashers did.

Another friend of ours, Nicole, found me in one of our high school hallways the day he died and looked at me with worry in her eyes. She pulled my hands into hers and said, “Jason, he’s gone, Tremaine.” And I don’t know if it was me who screamed or her, but I felt like my soul was going to jump outside of my body. I felt like the world had kicked me in my chest and dared me to breathe.

I know I told my mom because I remember her hugging me close to her and rocking me as I cried, but I don’t remember what I said. I don’t remember if I came straight home and told her or if I did my homework first because I was so hard on myself and disciplined. But I remember she had known.

Our next-door neighbor told her. News like that spread like wildfire. Everyone knew. I stood with that pain. I sat with that pain, slept with that pain. My first real boy friend. Not a boyfriend, but a friend who was a boy . . . had left me.

I can still see his smiling face or the sometimes sly smirk he would have plastered across his lips when he was up to something.

I felt like the world had kicked me in my chest and dared me to breathe.

That pain has grown with me for twenty-seven years and I hate it. We don’t chit-chat. We don’t share friendly words or have tea time. I spend most of my living days trying to continue to forget about it.

But it’s still here. That pain will never leave.


Who am I to silence these voices I hear? The ones of the people I loved, love. There is no past to love, correct? Once you’ve loved someone, deeply loved someone, love stays present. Doesn’t it? I have holes in my heart and I still have extremely bad days, but I move through hell as best as I can.

I move through this hell not trying to forget them — my beautiful friends, but simply trying to be rid of this damn pain.


This isn’t something I am all too eager to talk about. I just sit with it from time to time whenever moments of despair and intense pain about losing these beautiful people hit me. I still tear up immediately upon mentioning any of their names. It isn’t easier. It is just older — the pain, that is.


Originally published on Medium.

So, You’re Thinking About the Last Time You Kissed Someone

And if it hadn’t been for that one commercial, you probably would’ve forgotten it.

The words “Heart Breaker” are painted in white on a jean jacket or jean pants.
Photo by Michelle Cella via Redshot

Have you seen the “First Kiss” Hershey’s Kisses commercial? You know the one with “Eric” mentioning all the positive aspects about the kiss while “Lisa” shares the negative aspects about it? Yeah, that one. The first time I saw that commercial I thought to myself, “What is this business? I hope they’re not an actual couple.” But then I thought, “Hmm, when was my last kiss?”

I mention my last kiss because I clearly remember my first one. I was thirteen, in my last year of junior high, and gearing myself up for high school in just a few months. My boyfriend was a tall, heavy, beautiful black young man, who was originally from Florida and played football for our school.

He would go on to be scouted for a high school other than the one I was expected to attend and make quite the name for himself.


We dated for three years. He got a head-start on cheating on young women well before his late teens and our breakup was disastrous. His mother adored me and I loved her. I hated that her son and I ended the way we did. But we grew to respect each other enough to be cordial as we got older.

He even asked me out again, which was quickly shut down before he could mumble any other words. I had my fill, and I wanted no more of him.

But our first kiss, although hurried and done in a sneaky way, was also extremely memorable. His lips were full and had just the right amount of moisture. There wasn’t a lot of tongue — just enough to be coaxed into a soft lulling — eyes temporarily closed, heart racing.

We pulled away from each other and smiled. Then we held hands. We were official.

I am certain that for as long as I live, I will remember that kiss. It taught me many things about love and lust and being lost all at the same time.

Have you thought about the last time you kissed someone? If you did, where did it lead you? Hopefully, you didn’t scramble down the rabbit hole as I did.


My last kiss . . . When had it occurred and with whom was it? This was my struggle topic. But the more I saw that commercial, the more my memory bank deposited blips of its happening into my view. I believe I blocked it out because he is married now — happily married.

For some odd reason, I have it in my spirit that I am not supposed to think about things that brought me joy if the person with whom that joy had been shared is married to someone else.

Is it wrong? Does it mean I lack respect for what he has gained? Am I allowed to reminisce and not fall for those memories once again? Can I?

One thing I loved most about our relationship was kissing and his hugs. He gave “come-to-me-bear-hugs” and I would lose myself in his embrace. He would also do the forehead kiss, then lift my face to his — my lips to his, and I would melt for him.

We didn’t last. We couldn’t last. But we remain friends.

When he sent me the invite to his wedding (to view it online, because, you know, a global pandemic), I was excited. I pondered about what to get the soon-to-be-married couple. I decided on matching aprons, a book about lasting love, and his and her “married to” bracelets. I beamed looking at the photo of the two of them and nodded my approval.

He deserved this — to be happy — to find his match. I tell anyone willing to listen that we had a great thing. It just wasn’t the right thing. Our schedules never meshed. He worked odd hours, and I had a job that required a lot of me and my time.

It was only fitting for him to reconnect with someone from his high school days, fall in love with her once again, propose, and the rest is history. His being happy makes me happy.

But his was the last kiss I had — the last real kiss. My ex after him never drummed up enough sensual intensity within me to move us from dating to intimacy. I just couldn’t connect with him in that way, and eventually, we called it quits. It was well overdue.


But that commercial . . . That damn commercial. If they did not produce it, would I still have that last kiss memory buried deep inside my mind? And now that it has returned, what am I to do with it?

I think one day soon, I will hoist it back to the lone corners of my mind only to be conjured up once again when “the last kiss” is up for discussion.

It has a home. Maybe it will end up there again for safekeeping.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.