Lack of Sugar

Musical Selection: Annie Lennox|Walking on Broken Glass


An Experiment

Simple Pleasures|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

cover me in your scented breath,
mythical creature, deem me worthy.

my heart is a cave. land-dwellers are welcome,
there is room for burying one’s soul.

deep in the belly of its darkness, find your imperfections,
find your excuses and fears.

here, in this fading fantasy, let me lure you.
the kettle will hiss, the tea will steep.

I will show you how easy it is to love . . .
isn’t that what you came here for?

to love me, then leave?

cover me in your scented breath,
mythical creature, deem me worthy.

make me bitter.

“Our Father, Who Art In…”

I will never claim another

Gift Habeshaw | Unsplash

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. — Ephesians, 6:4, NLT


The way my father looks at me is as if he is looking at the world in every color, tone, measurement, and description all at once. He takes me in — processes me, and tries to understand my words while I am speaking. He hears me. It is a blessed feeling to allow someone to dissect what you are saying when at times, those words have proven difficult to express. Given my father’s background and his marriage to the church as an elder and minister, listening is one of the things he does best. Coming out to my father was not as hard as I envisioned it would be. As a matter of fact, it was quite easy. He knew I had something to share, he had known for years — thus, he pressed forward with opening the door to our conversation about who I, his daughter, was. I touch on this just a bit in “Unconditional.”

Listen to me, baby. You are my child. I don’t care about anything else. I love you for who you are, you hear me? That will never change. Never.”

I could never have selected another man in this world to be half of what makes me whole. It would be pointless and an impossible feat. My father was made just for me at a time when roaming the streets, hanging out with his friends, and catching up on homework should have been the only things on his mind. To be a teenager, trying to bring a female mini-version of himself up in a crazy world, I am sure, was the last thing he wanted. But he did it and in his own way. I had enough years with my father in our home to know what I should know about life and understand what I should about right versus wrong.

You can come to me. I hope you’ll always remember that. I love you.”

He fathered the way he knew how. He stumbled. He struggled. He made a ton of mistakes. But one thing he did not fail at doing is loving me. It took me nearly fourteen years after my parents’ divorce to realize that fact. Today, I can call my father up and we can chit-chat about whatever, like whatever is the best thing since jelly on toastWe can hoot, holler, boast, brag, and commend each other freely without that awkward silence that used to layer itself around us.

I no longer have to wonder what my dad will say or do about his oldest daughter being bisexual. I no longer have to shelter, hide, or deny myself happiness thinking I will be shunned from the spirit of the messenger. After all, I am his child.”

I am grateful for a father who openly loves me and dotes on me around his peers regardless of how many of them misinterpret the Bible. He has not struck me down — with words nor his fists. He tries to guide me in his own way and sometimes it may come off a bit preachy (that’s a given), he notices the coldness before I can even utter a word and simplifies and coats his words with love so as to not break my heart. There were years when I did not mention him, would not mention him. He was there, but not there. Not to me. Divorce can cloud a teenager’s mind and when step-parents are introduced, it can do even more.

I think back now to many of the hurtful things I said — how I allowed myself to let my tongue walk all over him without apologizing for my crassness. My father, knowing who I was at my core, gave me the space to vent and be free with my words in my growing up years without causing me to shrink. One thing he would say often was, “When you are older, you will know all that I did for you, how hard I tried.” I did not recognize the importance of that then. Oh, but I do now.

I am equal parts Michael and equal parts Angela and with the two of them buried deep inside my veins, I am one person. I finally understand why I ached for so many years when I thought of, interacted with, and tried to hold on to a bond with my father — stubbornness. The older I get, the better I am becoming at understanding who he is simply because he has always tried to understand who I am. My eyes are no longer closed.


To my father, who never has to change . . . thank you for everything past, present, and whatever there is to come. I will never claim another.


Originally published in Our Human Family via Medium.

savoir-faire

An Audio Poem

After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself|Edgar Degas

I think it was your knowledge
of everything grim yet hopeful
and all things political that
lured me to you.
I could be even more honest and
say that your poetry captivated me
from the moment I saw you
among a host of others, those who
did not strike the first blow.

You–you had an air about you
that said, “I bite, but gently,” and
I am stubborn and attracted to
what can both harm and love me
at the same time.
Is it any wonder that I’d fall
for such an enigma?
For such a mysterious creature
not yet sure of herself either?

But your savoir-faire precedes you,
I shook hands with it,
before I laid eyes on you.

spread

Nude Woman Holding a Cup|Léon Spilliaert – 1910

yesterday, right before the moon
began to smile,
I left you.
I gathered our memories,
tossed them into an old
file box, and neatly placed it
on the top shelf of my
coat closet.

I won’t think of the way
you would spread your
legs wide, an invitation for
an eager grin and two
busy hands–those days are
long gone now.

how you hovered over
me, breath–the scent of lilac
and clover, plus fresh mint.
you were my sunshine,
a bright light that lit up
my heart for seventeen years.

today, I remember yesterday
and all of the yesterdays before
it, and I light a match,
flick it into the box where
our sacred past resides,
and watch it
burn.

I spread the ashes
over my feet
and walk away changed.

I loved a woman once…

Audio Prose

Odilon Redon|Angelica on the Rock–1904

And, I thought that perhaps, she loved me too. We find out the strangest things when we confess–when we reveal our feelings to others. What seemed to be a connection built from words and learning the backgrounds of our lives’ pasts was just… two people sharing a oneness and the similarities that surrounded us were not meant to be taken and held up to a promising light. There would be no romance, no spinning of the times, no eruptions of heart-throbbing, pulsing love-making, and nothing else that would classify in the realm of labels, a relationship.

Communication, I was always told, is key and when I communicated to her my feelings, that proved to be my doom. It was not the only time, for I am a knower of rejection. It has laid up with me, it sometimes has a home when I do not seek its company. Yes, it was not the only time, but it was the last and it hurt like hell. I still see her in my dreams, hear her voice, know her words. When you love a Writer, you know that they have the power to build you up or tear you down, and they do not do it as a courtesy to you, in your face, it comes in their work. And you, being a Writer yourself, you do it too.

I loved a woman once…

And, she taught me that it is not always best to share one’s feelings, that the tides have various shifts and changes and if you are not careful, you will be swept up with the seashells and gritty sand. I do not know what it is like to turn off my heart. I wish I did. There are days where I wish I did not know her voice, did not know how common words such as “caress” and “safety” sounded as they rolled away from her tongue. We take things along with us from the hurt places. Unknowingly, sometimes we keep them and when they see fit, they raise up at the wrong moment, reminding you of just how sharp that pain was.

I loved a woman once…

And I have written fifteen poems about her, only sharing two of them when asked, and reminded of just how close I am to dying an early death in the game of love. She would have no remorse, and why should she? The line had been drawn and I watch where it lies, mindful not to cross it. What have I learned? That the heart wants what it wants yet the mind has to remind it that sometimes, it cannot have what it wants… And sometimes, without its knowledge, it is for the best.

I loved a woman once…

And she loved me enough to not love me back.