Lovers Quarrels

I see the wall you start to build,

so I build mine.

I see anger and pain in your eyes,

and so I fill my own,

but yours leaks down your face,

and mine does not,

for I am the better warrior.

And whereas your pain is fresh and new,

whenever inflicted,

my wounds have long scarred over,

and the pain within is dulled beyond sensing.

You quickly clutch your handful of quarrels,

and I slowly gather mine,

and we dip them in the poisons

of our tongues, and memories,

place them in our quivers of rage,

and loose.

They are barbed and painful

these quarrels,

meant to shatter and break,

meant to defeat the love that yet might

burn in the heart,

and smother it.

We try our best to find new flesh to pierce,

but we have only hit the old marks again,

rebuilt the chasm, and destroyed the bridge.

The peace of our home is in pieces.

The security of our love is set aflame.

The silence of our emotions is a dry wind.

And the quarrels are exhausted.

We retreat within the walls,

and pull them out, one by one, ruminating over each,

wondering why we still share the same space,

and little else.

It is a war we’ll never win,

a victory denied,

a constant obstacle of overcoming,

frenetically undermined.

So, my former darling,

we raise our white flags

into the light of a setting sun,

as you go your way,

and I go mine.

Dust on the Gold

Cursed be the one who plucked this rock

of captured sun and moon

from the river’s silt, and called it

gold,

good and worthy of pursuit.

Cursed be the demon jester

that blinded me and spun me round

until I believed it.

Given over to my desire,

abandoned by all who cared for me,

I dove deep, and dug deeper still,

until I gained all I desired,

then stole from other men.

In this hell-hallowed hovel,

now covered in ice and snow,

surrounded by dulled senses

and barren woods,

my status symbols decayed and decrepit,

daily mocking my misspent youth,

the wind howls outside and

echoes the cries of my soul’s solitude.

The hearth is lit, but the logs are thin.

And all around, the hissing of white snowfall

heralds the cold blackness of the grave.

Before I die,

I sit before the meager fire,

and take the dregs of my life,

and the ashes of future dreams,

and polish away

the dust on the gold.

Sidewalk Sanity

The pulse of the pavement,

the beat of the street,

the big city’s rhythm,

the rhythm of feet.

The flow of the traffic,

the heat of the air,

charged with high energy,

love, hope, and care.

The current of bodies

at high tide and ebb,

caught up in the music’s

incredible web.

The calm of the evening,

the settling down,

the balm of the neon lights

painting the town.

And candlelit dinners,

and laughter in bars,

and you and me,

intimate under the stars.

Tomorrow is Saturday.

Give it my best.

We’ll break from the rhythm

and stay in, and rest.

The warmth of your body’s

my blanket to keep.

You’re loved and protected,

and so am I.

Sleep.

The Sound of Your Soul

Your words now:

harsh, dry, sere…

searing.

These words, O poet,

do not want to reach out and touch you,

they do not want to connect with anyone.

They want to

slam and slay the broken spirit,

and rip the weary soul apart.

These words, ultimately triumphant

over your largesse and ennui,

burn and swat

at you like roasting,

wind-driven

desert sand

until you crack and shatter,

and they are free to heal your mind

and bind your brokeness,

to start anew.

My Black is not a Burden

My Black is not a burden

And I am not a beast.

I’m sealed inside the cosmos

and seated at the feast.

My Black is for rejoicing

in all my history.

My Black is for enhancing

the hint of mystery

that lies around creation,

the story of mankind.

The Black man’s contributions

improvement to the mind.

My Black is not a burden,

and I am not a ‘thing.’

My ancestors are smiling.

Can you not hear them sing?

I am a force of nature,

grown rooted in the soil,

and rolled by grassland breezes,

and mountain thunder’s roil.

You brought us here for labor,

then told us we were free.

But seems free Black’s a burden,

a load you didn’t see.

My Black is not a burden,

though some would make it so.

And facing all the evil,

we fight and thrive and grow.

My Black is not a burden.

I’ll hold my Queen and smile,

and we will raise Black children,

and we’ll be here awhile.

My Black is not a burden,

no matter what you say.

We’ll keep on moving forward,

and go about our way.

My Black is not a burden.

You’ve told yourself a lie.

We’ll keep on moving upward,

and integrate the sky.

My. Black. Is. Not. A. Burden.

When You Finally Begin to Understand

When you finally begin to understand

that your image of me

is not my reflection,

we will have truth between us.

When you finally begin to understand

alleviating your fear of me

is not my responsibility,

we can have an honest conversation.

When you finally begin to understand

you are not, in fact, supreme over anything,

(least of all me,)

we can go forward and farther

together

than we can apart.

When you finally begin to understand

you have no power over me,

(and stop trying to assert it),

we can work side by side in peace to

our mutual satisfaction.

Until then, sit quietly, and out of the way,

and watch me move forward and up,

and over your obstacles,

and around your barriers,

and through you, if need be,

until

you finally begin to understand.

Body of Work

When you begin to understand

it all dissipates, becomes obscure,

forgotten, and lost to time,

you see the fragile futility of

creating anything.

Monuments fall into ivy covered ruin,

icons die ignominious deaths,

shelves get dusty,

pages yellow,

pottery cracks,

sculptures corrode,

and painting fades.

Dances fall out of fashion,

and the classic is

reimagined and reworked

until it’s redefined

to new and undeserving critics.

Your legacy work, of all you ever were,

will be interred or scattered.

The body of work decomposes,

a rotting testament

to the vagaries and auguries

human attraction.

Until one day…

Drain

The words grow strained and rusty now.

They’re murky and unclear.

Is there no need for writing now?

I’ll read them, if you’d hear.

So much to read, so little time.

The shelves of shelves are full.

We need to know our better selves,

the tug becomes a pull.

The words are circling the drain,

no washing them away.

Our better selves do not exist.

Let’s finish out the day.

Safe Are You from Love

Safe are you from love, dear heart,

and safe are you from light,

the soft light of the candles that will make her ‘yes’

so bright.

Safe are you from loving touch

and warm embrace and smile.

Safe because with passing time

you harden all the while.

Safe are you from smiling eyes,

and soft and soothing talk.

Safe are you from kisses,

and the long, romantic walk.

Retreat from love hereafter, heart.

Your scars, at last, have healed.

Seek not new love, nor happiness.

Stay lonely.

Silent.

Sealed.