I Will Be the Bearer of Awkward News

Musical Selection: Alex Isley|Wait

I own it and I won’t ever deny it.

Photo by Liz Martin via ReShot

A friend of mine sent a text message on New Year’s Eve stating Betty White had died. Suddenly, it felt as though a galaxy found its way into my body and exploded. I was not prepared for something as heavy as Betty’s death to sit on my chest and pierce its way into me. Granted, I hadn’t been feeling my best — having had a booster shot pumped into my bloodstream earlier that day. No one tells you the autoimmune or invisible illness with which you’ve been saddled will shape your life in a way you never planned. They don’t tell you that an overgrown virus once thought to be efficiently combated by two doses of the vaccine of your choice is now one they could not have predicted and instead of just one booster to further ensure your health — you will also need another.

Now, with the news of four different mass-produced pharmaceutical marketed vaccine visits lumped together on my vaccination card, I can’t breathe. What an odd day to die, I thought . . . And at ninety-nine, too. When I am given information I find hard to dissect, I start reading about it — I start researching from where did it originate? You cannot pinpoint a person’s death before it occurs. And why do I think I should be able to do it?

There is the possibility that knowing a friend of mine who recently pulled up a seat to the table of my heart contracting the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is pressing me harder than I thought it would. The next day — found out her toddler and mother are both positive as well. The same week — a cousin, then another, then another, and I just . . . am so fucking tired of it all. I want to scream, but no one will hear me. I want to lash out, but at whom?

I promised myself 2022 would be different.

The week before all this insanity, I toyed with the idea of emailing a friend, not friend — a love, not love, to begin the process of us. This sounds like a business transaction — a potentially lucrative investment, doesn’t it? I’d been sitting on what I would say for years now and instead of every word being lodged deep in my throat, they were slowly creeping upward — daily; I feel nauseated. If I love this person as much as I feel I do, why is this so hard? I’ve made mistakes before — thought what I was feeling was validated, confirmed, but it was not. I have spent many years trying to understand emotions — feelings — the intensity of it all. And I am better at it than I was before, but I still worry about loss.

And loss keeps me from moving forward. However, I will be the bearer of awkward news. I own it. I won’t ever deny it. I have played paragraphs in my head, formed them without blinking, and now, all I have to do is push them from the inside out — all I have to do is load them up, review them, and send them off. And as sorted as this all may sound, there are things that can go wrong during the process. It is not a carefully constructed assembly line. There is no one to test the structure or its faults before I engage in putting my heart on the line . . . I’ll just be out there bare-assed, waiting . . . waiting for a response.

I can take it, I tell myself.

Whatever happens after I do this, I can take it, is what I am telling myself. I have been tested — I’m tried. I’m true. But I am not battery-operated, so I will feel the magnitude of this — whatever the outcome. It will be a part of me for years to come. Once you have lent your true feelings to the ether, there is no going back — no 360 turns you can take to lasso what you sent back to its birthplace. It will be. It is. And you will have to deal with it in whatever shape or form it takes.

The moment came, and I typed my feelings onto the screen. He’s aware. He knows. Just as I am aware of his — I know. One of us has to be less scared — less threatened by what could be and just jump into what might be. I pick up the weight — secure it to my shoulders — settle it evenly on my back, and type as fast as I have been taught to. I don’t miss a beat. I am mindful of the verbiage used — it’s carefully selected. I breathe. I pace myself.

You’re doing it, I say. Holy shit, you’re doing it! And as I see myself taking these steps — diving into the deep end, I notice the dog is stirring. She will need a walk soon, and I won’t be able to overlook this. It builds anxiety within me. I’m anxious to be done, but I also still want to be careful — cautious of what I say. Once I am done composing and I send it, there is no turning back.


And as I watch my words carry themselves into the depths of an ancient email account — obtained during Gmail’s beta period, I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I shared a burden — unpacked the heaviest pieces of my baggage, and tossed them into the waste bin of life.

All that’s left to do now is wait.


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Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

I Am Speaking To the Shadows of Your Past Self

Musical Selection: Moonchild|Cure

A Prose Poem

Photo by R. Walker via ReShot

I know not to call you anymore. I know not to text. I let the thoughts of you wander in and caress my shoulders, but I do not engage. The holidays are here with their incessant come-hither vibes, and I am weary. I flit between loneliness and happiness and unsureness effortlessly.

I ache in several places. Many I can disclose. Others, I cannot. You would know if you saw a certain look windmill past my eyes. You would catch it quicker than a hare racing a tortoise. Always eager. Always waiting . . . passionately. At least, you knew what I needed most and when I needed it.

I have not had my needs met in a number of months that exceed this God-forsaken virus’ inception, and I miss you. I miss what used to be us sneaking in quickies before the children rose from their beds. And there’s no one I can tell. There’s no one who would listen. So, I talk to the air. It can keep a secret.

Being with you was my imagination’s way of reminding me I can go overboard and well . . . I need a lifeboat now. I can say it without feeling ashamed. I am speaking to the shadows of your past self, and they tell me in faint whispers, “You must move on. You must break free.” Get me there, I say to myself — just get me there . . . wherever there is. But . . .

I am stuck. Still planted in the same spot you left me, and try as I might, I can’t lift myself to freedom.

I have smiling faces around me — cluttered in love, googly-eyeing one another, and I am envious. I don’t want to be. No one wants to hear about a person wallowing in their loneliness — spreading self-pity. It’s contagious, and there are no vaccines against it. So, I spend time alone. It seems fitting. No one questions it.

The dog paws at the tears that fall from my eyes. She’s used to this habit of sulking — these seasonal blues. And really, I wish she wasn’t. I wish I wasn’t.

You’re probably wrapped in love’s cure-all right now — shit-talking your husband playfully — preparing to chant positively for another new year. I hope you’re at peace. You always were. I guess, you always will be . . .

Especially without me.

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Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium.

Ode to a Man Who Once Called Me a “Porcelain Doll”

Photo by Andrea Joseph via ReShot

years ago, when I was still
wading in closeted waters, a man
I loved wrote a poem for me.
he had always been kind–never
uttered a word of disrespect in
my direction and I swam in
every word of his as if they
were Heaven’s bath.
his poem, entitled, “porcelain doll,”
stuck to my bones and
hasn’t pulled its gluey residue
away from me, and I
hold on to his words–they
calm me when times shuck
the peacefulness from my mind.

we still communicate. I doubt
we’ll ever break free of each
other–friends, almost lovers,
back to friends, almost lovers . . .
it’s a cycle that has its own
tune and I can hum it in
seven different languages.
I’m still working on my
Swahili, but German and French
have made a solid return.
every time I see a text message
from him bubble to my
phone, a child of a different decade
ushers in her presence.
he still makes me feel like
living is the best gift from God.

and it is a Tango’d web which
I’ve found myself dancing on,
and these days–I do not wear
the best shoes for the job.
here is a man so far away from
me, so far away from my presence,
but near in others . . . what will
change? what can change?
he is someone for who I’d relocate–
shift life goals, and pack up
all my things once more.
yet, here we are . . .
afraid to take the plunge.

the years pile on, aging us
both in ways often hard to
discern–is today a good day
to broach the subject? will tomorrow be?
the dog doesn’t know his face,
hasn’t heard his voice, but
I recall every image of him
shared with me and still have to
beat his voice out of my ears
during the witching hours.
could sleep be better alongside
his body entwined with mine?

this man, for whom I carry
both pain and joy–settles in
the thickness of my breasts,
caresses my aura. the Chakras
of my body align with the presence
of the Holy Spirt, and I am
devout in this form of worship.
I won’t label myself . . .
I won’t mock my growth . . .
but long ago, years before, when
I was still wading in closeted waters,
he wrote a poem for me.
I was his “porcelain doll.”

If I Went Missing, Would You Look For Me?

“African Americans remain missing four times longer than White Americans”

I have been watching the HBO docuseries Black and Missing, which follows two sisters-in-law, Natalie and Derrica Wilson, founders of the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., as they lend or give voices to the families and friends of missing persons of color. Black and Missing is “the four-part documentary series, by multiple Emmy® winner Geeta Gandbhir and award-winning documentarian, journalist, author and activist Soledad O’Brien.” That there even has to be a foundation to draw awareness to the numbers of missing persons who go unnoticed, underappreciated, or acknowledged should be enough to cause one’s stomach to turn.

But I am glad the organization exists. I am glad these Black women exist.

Their task is often defeating and exhausting, yet Natalie and Derrica Wilson make it their business to put in this type of work. They are the faces of an organization that cares about and will help fight to bring missing people of color home or design a way to get closure for the families left to ponder about and grieve their disappearances.

“African Americans remain missing four times longer than White Americans.” — Natalie Wilson

When you see that number before you, how does it make you feel? What builds in your system — in your soul — knowing African Americans can go on missing four times longer than White Americans? How does it shape you? We can go over many scenarios and we can hash out what the reasons could be, but one thing is clear — we have to fight so much harder to have our voices heard and engage with the media and public servants at higher rates just to get even a morsel of coverage for each person of color who goes missing.

The following trailer is just a snippet of what the duo is doing — has done. It’s an introduction to their efforts and how far they will go until actual change occurs.

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The women — who they are and what they do.

Black And Missing pulls back the curtain to explore how systemic behaviors and attitudes stem from centuries of deeply rooted racism. The series also exposes the stark disparity in the media coverage of white and black missing persons. — Black and Missing

Derrica Wilson is a former law enforcement officer who climbed the ranks and worked as a deputy sheriff and also became the first African American female officer to work for the City of Falls Church Police Department in Falls Church, Virginia. Her experience as a public safety officer, recruiter, and background administrator has given her the tools she needs to interact with the public, assist in city-wide searches and canvassing of neighborhoods, and reach out to various police officers and detectives for assistance.

She is the Co-Founder and CEO of the organization and operates it with her sister-in-law, Natalie Wilson, since its inception in 2008.

Natalie Wilson has a background in public relations and devotes her time to interviewing families, maintaining pertinent outreach, and connecting families with various media outlets for the appropriate coverage for their missing family members. Her son had been wrongfully jailed based on a false report by a police officer and served nearly two years before his release. Natalie is no stranger to injustice and gives her expertise in any way she can to further catapult the organization in the right direction.

She is the Co-Founder and COO of Black and Missing Foundation, Inc.

Having these two Black women at the forefront of an organization that exhausts all of its resources to seek the recovery of hundreds of missing persons of color makes it easier to sleep at night. They are fighting to keep families’ voices alive. They are the center point of hope and undying faith. With their help, many families and friends have connected with their loved ones or have been given closure to open or cold cases that should have continued to be worked.


I could be one of these missing persons of color — my nieces, my nephews, any of my loved ones.

As a Black, bisexual, single woman living in the South, I have pondered about my death at the hands of another, or if I were kidnapped or taken into violent custody — who would look for me . . . Would I have any avengers? Would my family and friends be able to communicate effectively with the media to ensure my story is told? How long would the authorities search for me before they “give up” or “call it a day”? Would I even be important enough to them to conduct an adequate search?

Taking it a step further, suppose I was on the outside looking in and one of my nieces, nephews, or younger or older cousins goes missing — what then? I know myself and my ways . . . I would pull at every resource within my reach to pursue getting efficient assistance. I would lose my voice shouting throughout their neighborhoods. I would use up every cent in my bank account, creating and printing flyers, trying to get television interviews and media coverage.

There is no doubt I would endure many sleepless nights. No doubt.

And is this not how it should be? But would it not be best for the authorities to have these tasks unloaded on them as one would think — a missing person — should be recovered by those employed to protect and serve?


I felt their pain.

The families in this docuseries were open enough to share their stories — their pain. Listening to them shifted something within me. My heart ached. I felt tears streaming down my face and could not stop them. I wanted to single-handedly reach out to all of them and embrace them for what they have endured and all the pain that is ahead for them, too. But you cannot hug away worry. You cannot hug away the depths of pain. There is no antidote to reverse the various emotions many of them are feeling because of their significant losses.

However, with the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. at the ready, there is light at the end of the tunnel for people of color. Derrica and Natalie Wilson make it their business to serve their community and help families lasso in resolutions.


It is not a safe world out there for dozens of people — for anyone, really. And times are getting much harder. To think about the possibilities of being neglected and forgotten if I were to go missing is another sliver of anxiety I do not need — do not want. But it is there, settling in the darkest spaces of my mind, and I cannot ignore it.

If I went missing, would you look for me?


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.