In the waking hours of a gloomy morning, Daniel finds himself searching for the hands of a wife who — just the night before, told him that she was leaving him for his older brother. It was during dinner at Giovanni’s, their favorite restaurant. The reason for such a celebration? Their 10th wedding anniversary.
He lies in bed, caressing the space next to him designated for his wife, his fingers running over the hollowed area of her body’s curves buried into the mattress. His brother Robert coyly mentioned the keys to keeping a woman satisfied to him millions of times before but Daniel found the sound of his older brother’s voice repugnant.
The moment a word flew from his mouth, Daniel would process every other word into the function of selective hearing then slowly tune his brother out. This was a practice he perfected years ago when they were just teenagers.
“Robert, though?! Any other man in my family the bitch could’ve had and I’d be okay. I’m sure, I would. But this numbnuts, Godforsaken, know-it-all, doted on, Teacher’s Pet of an asshole, Robert?! Why!?”
Funny that Daniel would mention, numbnuts as a description of his brother, for he was surely the one with numb nuts. Recently diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, Daniel has been battling the changes to his manhood and trying to relearn how to release pressure and relax when you’re married to a part-time nymphomaniac is an impossible feat, but he would do anything for Sarah.
He turns away from glancing at her side of the bed, rubs his chest lightly, and rolls out of the comfort he has known for the last hour and shuffles his way to the record player. Hall & Oates, the vinyl medicine of choice rests on the turntable. He gently picks up the needle, sets it down on the vinyl, and the crooning guitar riff of the opening melody for “Sarah Smile” fills the room. This, his morning ritual for the last two weeks.
“When this shit gets out, I’m gonna be the laughing stock of Seaside Drive. Robert?! I mean, Robert?!”
Daniel opens the blinds, yawns, places his right hand down his pajama bottoms and over his penis, and calmly says, “It’s just you and me, buddy.” The music coats every corner of the bedroom, drips from the ceiling fan, down to the floor, and bounces off the walls.
“Baby hair, with a woman’s eyes. I can feel you watching in the night.”
“Erectile Dysfunction occurs when a man can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.” As a woman who had a brief stint with a past lover who could not perform sexually, I witnessed someone all but shut down because he — we could not understand what was happening. A shift in his job that created more work, more responsibility, longer hours, and the same pay was just one of the many stressors weighing on him.
At the time, I was not as supportive as I should have, could have been. But, I learned to be. I had to. He needed that even if he did not vocalize it. Thank you for reading.
beaten into defeat,
worn and torn, his
body cannot go on.
he leans into himself,
gathers the strength to
breathe out a sigh, and
tucks his sullen demeanor
into his pockets.
two more shifts before
will he make it?
can he make it?
he doesn’t know, but
he will try.
that’s all that’s left
pregnant with emotion
she ran out on
no sorrow for the
w i c k e d
Black Is Bold
Living As A Bisexual Black Woman In The South
I had a friend, a long time ago, who read something of mine posted on another writing platform and ripped it to shreds. Another friend who saw the comment from that friend of ours sent me a text message that said, “You are not writing for the minds of those who cannot understand, Tre. You are writing for the cosmos, girl.” Since then, I have taken the last bit of her comment and applied it to my life. I am living for the cosmos.
What am I? Who am I? How do I fit into this world that oftentimes does not see me? Black can be offensive to those who are not used to being bold.
Let me break that down…
The very force in which we make ourselves known is too much for some to handle. When we get together and voice our opinions on things that matter, subjects that are for our personal gain (and rightfully so), the passion in which we express ourselves to some is too intense. We are intense. We are extreme. We have every right to stand tall, proud, and be forthcoming about who we are and what we give to a world that still benefits from seeing us ostracized.
Someone asked me recently who I am — how would I describe myself using only three words? I said, “Black, woman, and bisexual.” She then looked at me as if I had two heads, one viciously snapping at the other. I asked, “Should I expound?” And of course, I needed to. In the American South, I have three strikes against me before I open my mouth. I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. To be just one of these three descriptions in 2019 is a struggle, but to be all three? That is a welcome mat for homicide.
Some say, we are living in a forward-thinking age, but we are nowhere near a time that will lend us peace wherever we may roam. I am being reminded daily that I am beautiful. That I am designed just right. That every layer of skin and its tone is what I was meant to carry. This is my cross to bear — I have to search for these reminders. I have to dig. I have to create the space I need for comfort, it is not readily prepared or given to me. I have to take it.
I Am Black’s Beauty…
“i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry.” — Mahogany L. Browne
I dated a guy while in my twenties who said to me, “There’s nothing left for a man to give you, Tre.” I thought it to be the oddest, most ignorant thing for someone to say. The comment led to our first major argument. Do I not need love? Do I not need comfort? Am I not worthy of someone who can step in and just be what I need him or her to be when I need it? He tried to explain to me that his comment was solely to point out that I was independent, in constant survival-mode, stable, and did not need “help” from him. This was before my coming out days, but he knew of my sexuality — he knew who I truly was.
To say that we were “young and dumb,” would probably be apt, but we both knew what and who we wanted and it was not each other. He needed a woman who needed him and often showed it, made him “feel like a man.” I wanted a man who acknowledged my independence, stood by it, and still loved me without measuring what I could and could not do. It was best that we parted ways. That experience taught me that all that I am will not be accepted by everyone. All that I am will not be applauded by everyone.
Black is sweet. Black is love. Black is light. Black is struggling to make ends not only meet but stick together forever. Black is golden. Black is the blues and soul-saving poetry. Black is picking up the pieces, putting them in their rightful place, and moving on.
I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. And in the American South, I am still trying to push my voice out to a world that does not hear me, sometimes does not want to see me, and worst of all, will not understand me. “You listen to me and you listen to me well, the next time someone asks you if you are bisexual, you better damn well tell them who you are.” ©My Mom.
Black is the high road, the road less traveled, the road to all of your yellow brick roads. Black is new. Black is old. Black is learning to step aside and honor the ancestors’ calling upon us. Black is sincerity. Black is bold.
Every single day, I am paving a way for myself where in the past, I felt as though I could not. And in the South, I still feel that I cannot. I may not be what someone wants or expects of me. I may not have what someone needs or expects from me. I may be the very last thing you think about and can only provide a tiny space for in the corner of your weeping mind. But I know this —