Death Still Comes

Silvestri Matteo|Unsplash

For: Toni Morrison

I don’t think there’s a word
for what I’m feeling. 
when you write and you’re black
and a woman and you lose
another beam of light that
gave you hope and taught you through
words how to bust out of
your skin:
no excuses, no looking back, no pulling
away from your core 
you fade . . .

bits of you break off,
float into the air, 
and paint the sky with sadness. 
I want to be able to
say how moved, enriched, and
motivated I was as someone who
followed her words. 
I don’t know how to do that
knowing that death still comes
even when you feel you
have so much more to learn. 
you have so much more to witness.

but the day ends after twenty-four hours
and a new one begins. 
that’s the constant of life. 
I will remember bluest eyes, 
beloved memories, Sula’s hips, 
passion-filled dreams, a home
away from home, and how to
love. 
I will remember
the gifts laid before me,
one million times ten — words
that blend in with my skin
and kiss the world.

I will remember
why I picked up 
a pen.


©2019 Tremaine L. Loadholt. All Rights Reserved/Originally published on Medium

What Happens When We Don’t Say Goodbye?

A Tribute Audio Poem

This is how I will remember you:

silly, silly boy
chasing tail
laughing mouth, eyes full 
of summer.

the girl you caught,
you gave your child — 
left your name
and nothing else.

how can death take you so soon?
the mystery. the madness.
the way you are now a 
Facebook memory
for those still scrolling through
lost days they will never get back.

This is how I will remember you:

giddy, quick hands
storming legs, breaking through
a crowd, lips coated in
bubblegum cigarette powder,
begging for a kiss.

you never uttered a mean 
word to me, only those of love
and I brushed you off because
we were kids and running
around a field or in a hot
gym or lifting weights occupied 
my time.

you persisted and I said “Yes!”
the messages flood my phone,
and I want to stop the
influx of sad faces and weeping words — 
I want your death to disappear,
but the Reaper works overtime.

This is how I will remember you:

dancing down the aisle on
graduation day,
Sunday shoes shined, my face
on your wingtips,
a blue gown draped over your
broad shoulders.

pearl teeth poking through
your lips, your hands flailing
in the humid air.
us. them. we . . . 
children, no longer children
headed into a world 
that promised to 
swallow us whole.

you are not dead,
not today. 
I remember you alive.


Originally published via Medium.

Death by Preparation H

Flash Fiction

John and Lenny stand outside the church drawing in on the butts of their cigarettes lamenting and gossiping about their friend Parker’s death. How does a fifty-five-year-old man manage to make his wife poison him? The two of them shoot the shit, unfazed by the crowd thickening in the pews for the viewing. The church bells ring and the small choir begins their rendition of ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ They ignore the cues to be seated.

“You heard what happened to him, right?”

“No, I haven’t, just that he was in the hospital for three days before he died. You know what happened?”

“She’d been poisoning him . . . Preparation H in the cake icing every weekend for two years.”

“He did love cake.”

“He did . . . That’s a bad way to go, though. A hemorrhoid cream death. How do you explain that to your kids?”

“You think they’re gonna tell’em? The family?”

“I sure as hell hope not. I wouldn’t want my kids knowing I died a hemorrhoid cream death. Jesus! I ain’t going to the funeral. It’s sure to be a nesting ground for the media. Half the neighborhood’s here and it’s just the viewing.”

“Are you gonna send flowers to his family?”

“Think I’ll send them an edible arrangement and have Edith bake them a pie.”

“Good. I thought you were gonna say ‘cake’. So glad you didn’t.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure they don’t want any cake any time soon. Damn. Just, damn. Word on the street is that Janie caught him cheating with Elaine. Elaine of all people, Lenny! Can you believe that?”

“Well, Elaine could bake a mean cake. Wait a minute . . . Do we really know if it was Janie and not Elaine who’d been poisoning him?”

“Aw hell, man. Let’s go inside before folks get to questioning what we’re doing.”

“God. That’s still such a bad way to go.”

The two friends stroll inside the building, each of them finding their own wives, and seating themselves quietly. Neither of them mentions the words ‘cake’ or ‘Preparation H’ ever again.


Here lies Parker T. Overton. Loyal Husband. Loving Father. Faithful Servant of the Lord. June 12, 1964 — July 12, 2019. Death by Preparation H.


Originally published via The Weekly Knob on Medium.

lettre d’amour

musical selection: anita baker|giving you the best that I got

lettre d’amour

fiction


“Save my baby!” I am shouting. I tell the doctors to save you, let me die. They will never know how I planned for your arrival, the gift of you to this world is much more than I can give it. “Save my baby!” I am shouting again. They hear me. There are tubes everywhere. I place my hands on my bloody stomach. I feel you. You are alive. You are kicking frantically, aware that it is time. I will die today. I will die today and this is my love letter to you.

You are the single most important thing to me in this strange world. I claimed your fingers. I already know your feet. You are perfect — my blessing. I used to pray for your father’s presence, for him to spend time learning you as much as I have. It is up to you now. I love you more than the open sea, salty to its taste, but refreshing on a hot summer’s day. I love you more than the lying lover trying to persuade his faithful mate to take him back. I love you more than… this last breath.

Ahh…
Flat___________

The lights go out, I can’t hear the doctors. I can’t see them. I only see you. I only see you — crying in front of shattered glass, windy trees, and the roar of the truck as it collides with us. I am dead.

You are alive.
They saved you.
You are here.

This is my love letter to you. This is my love letter to you. This is my love letter to you.

Zuri, you are my life’s greatest work.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

Sharp: Part IV

Back to Where Home Is

Budding Blossoms. Early Spring. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Robbie slugs away from their home, blade dripping blood, legs shiftless and without care. He will bury the child’s head in a toxic heap, far away from the townspeople. It’s where the others are. It is where he is thought to be from–garbage. The tale of his emergence is a strange, sad one. It is said among the gossipy that his Mom delivered him in an alley, tore him from her womb, and threw him in the nearest dumpster.

She was not quite human, but not quite monster, either. She was this strange in-between thing and fearful of passing down her likeness to her offspring, she rid herself of it. The city trash collectors came the next day. One, a father of two girls, heard the wails of a shivering baby. He ordered his partner to help him search through the pounds of garbage, finally landing on Robbie. They stood flabbergasted, exhausted from a day’s work, but also scared to death. What was this thing? They wrapped Robbie in a soft towel kept in the truck’s bed, and transported him to the nearest convent.

Let the nuns deal with him, they thought. 

Those who truly fear God are said to have ways of exposing evil and exorcizing it. After months of exorcisms and numerous Doctor’s house-calls, the sisters believed that Robbie should be sheltered, kept away from humanity, for they knew that others would fear him. From the very first time he walked, they took him to the local park and explained to him that his place was among nature. From dirt he arose, back to dirt, he would go.

And with fresh blood on his hands, Robbie hurried to his place of safety, away from the summoning calls of the neighborhood children, away from all that was normal.

From dirt, he arose, back to dirt, he would go.


Parts I, II, & III


*This concludes the Sharp series. Thank you for reading.