The Goods

Photo by Yuri Manei via Pexels

A Rapid Rhyme (Audio)

He calls her up, one more time
for a memorable event
Blessing her with extras like
they do Jake cuz she’s got great rates
Put the money where it hides
tips her more than she desires

She doesn’t even count it anymore
lets it pile up like before
She’ll have enough for a new car
new house . . . new life
No more sticks
No more stones and absolutely
no more broken bones

He woos her with his lisp
showers her with special gifts
She pawns them at “The County Dime”
They pay her for her time
She leaves him empty-handed
Ole boy is whipped and stranded
She doesn’t even look back

Girl’s got moves to make
hijacks his heart and that’s the breaks
No one comes to his aid
this is what happens when everything
you want isn’t stamped “paid”
He searches for an exit

None can be found
None is at the ready
She keeps things nice and steady
Prepares herself for a new leaf
changes colors . . . changes beliefs
But still remains the same

The Great Has Been and The Ruined

Musical Selection: Queen|Another One Bites the Dust

An Audio Poem

Crack goes the whip and
every order or demand that
can break a camel’s back — 
thrown at us under a
noon day’s sun and just
like that, the fun . . . 
is done.

We’ve been asked to
pack our things, close
up shop, retire, put things
to bed and not wake up and
well, if you know us . . .
you know we’re not going
quietly.

Funny how money can shift
a mountain of growth
or how it can sharpen
the hardest edges especially
when the underdogs begin to
climb too high.

The Powers That Be say,
“Drag them back down,” 
and as we fall, they clap
and hoot and holler and
throw confetti in
the putrid air
juddering around their
safe spaces, laughing
at the marks we’ve made.

“It’s been a nice run,”
they’ll say. 
“You’ve done well, but
we have other plans
in mind and you’re not
in them,” and we knew
the hammer would come
down, it was only a
matter of time.
We were hanging on to
hope.

It’s hard to say goodbye
to family, to friends.
We’ve built a castle,
invited the village, and made
merry with thousands, and
now . . . that castle is
being demolished.

Here comes the wrecking ball.

These walls are being Jerichoed
right before us
and there is no time
for tears, we must gather
our pride, tuck it neatly
alongside our egos, and zip
the contents up . . .
Shut it down.

I wish there was another
way of saying and I don’t
want to go, but the great
has been and the ruined
are two different things and
I’m having trouble recognizing
which one we are.

Today is the first day
of not being angry or hurt
or sad because business
is business and when
business is business, words
do not matter.


This poem was written as a “swan song”/goodbye poem to our readers and writers at P.S. I Love You via Medium. The magazine will no longer be operative after June 30, 2021. I’ve been an editor there since last June and I’ve had so much fun doing what I love most.

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.