Love on a Platter

A musical poem

Photo by Matheus Henrin via Pexels

The phone rang and her voice
shimmied into my ear.
Every bone in my body
begged her to come,
Lay It Down On Me.

I wasn’t shy in my request.
A recent breakup made me the
rebound — implored her to
Guess Who Loves You More
and she didn’t hesitate.

My mind ached; the time we spent
was cut back, we became
Distant Lover (s) before we
could ever be friends.
Lovemaking was a pastime to
explore ‘Til The Cops Come
Knockin’
.

She’d never been thrown into
a world of wonder without
a ploy behind the scenes and
I had to Take My Time,
Do It Right
.

Deflowered at midnight in
a bed of pillowed trust,
her heart was the key to my
boarded up walls.
I looked at her and whispered,
“You’re So Beautiful.”

She hears me.
She hears me.
I bloom in the midst
of love on a platter.
Scandalous before a naked moon
She understands — decides to
Let Me In.

We sunflowered the days
and moonbeamed the nights . . .
Toujours perdrix— but just
enough for us.


Originally published in Intimately Intricate on Medium.

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.

Serenity (For Nala)

Nala, sleeping peacefully. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

You will always be unmatched.
No other dog will come into
this Auntie’s heart the way you did.
You wrecking-balled your way
through–adamant about what
was necessary for your comfort.

Jernee hooked herself onto you
and wouldn’t let go.
She had to be around you and
follow your every move.
The jealous one hated to share
my lap but when you visited,
that’s where you found rest.
She had to get over it.

You claimed my empty guestroom
as your own, spending countless
moments of solitude with its space.
I never had to search for you,
I knew that’s where you were.
“You will be missed” doesn’t
say enough. It cannot say
all that I need it to say.

How do I tell Jernee?
What will be her reaction the next
time we visit your Mommy?
Will the silence deafen her?
Will she look for traces of you,
ever-vigilant to find them?
I don’t want to know what
this world is without the care
and comfort of a dog.

I’m glad you held time as
long as you could.
Warrior-dog, sassy and sweet,
and a safe space.
Serenity rained from your paws,
and we quickly understood the
beauty of Boston Terriers.

Oh, Nala, I don’t want you to
let go of my heart, but
I’ll have to find peace knowing
the skies opened up to
welcome a fur angel.

Rest well, pretty girl.


**Last night, Wednesday, September 22, 2021, my best friend had to put Nala down. This sweet girl had been fighting her hardest for the last three years to continue living. However, she had a seizure and was rushed to the emergency vet. It was there, the decision was made to let this sweet baby go. Those of you who have followed me for years know both Nala and Jernee as Double Trouble and I am surely going to miss her. Words cannot express how much, they simply cannot. Thank you for reading.

If I Blink, He Disappears


I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
How did we not understand what
was right in front of us?

I have gray hair in places unthinkable — 
everything is aging and I’ve lost 
my way from him. I thought,
I couldn’t catch up to him — 
he wasn’t my speed. I ran
and ran and ran and kicked up 
dust in three different States, yet
we never saw eye to eye.

If I blink, he disappears. 
I want to hold on to the memories
of us for as long as my chest
heaves up and down and as far
as my legs will carry me, but time
is no longer of the essence.

Everything is aging.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
Our wrinkles tell the story of us
and the past lives we’ve lived.
He is still my fantasy unfulfilled,
my wants go unnoticed.
Should I tell him my heart 
still has space for him?

A friend of mine said she 
hopes one day I meet someone
because I’m such a great human. 
But am I, though? Is there something missing?
Something that could make me more?
I struggle with these questions — 
these questions of me and who
I was and who I should be.

If I blink, he disappears.
I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I do. I wonder if he knows this.
Should I tell him?


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.


Musical Selection: Luther Vandross|Better Love

YouTube