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.

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.

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 fashing,

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…

Pushing Off

And so I set myself adrift

on a capricious sea,

prone to unpatterned winds and

uncharted currents.

The danger of being caught between

two symbiotic, warring gods

is less dangerous and painful

than what I leave behind.

Whether my new home will be a bright new shore,

or the briny ocean’s silted bed, is for them to say.

As I push off, there is no one there on shore to share a kiss,

and mourn and say farewell, no one to witness the wake I leave save for the

dull grey gulls, and the cirrus clouds suffused with color by the rising sun.

And yet I travel on with hope in my heart,

to fill the lonely days by a loving hearth,

as the cold of Time draws close, and

all I am and was called to be,

is complete.

I Want to Call You Beautiful

I want to call you beautiful.

I see the question in your eyes, like slow moving water

under thick ice,

just beneath the surface.

I cautiously tap the word with my mind, and it tumbles down

onto my tongue, waiting for me to say.

No idea as to how you’d react, what you think,

or what you will say

when I give the word to you.

I swallow it, leaving it unsaid, and stash it

with the thousand other times I wish I didn’t.

And whatever tears you might cry,

and whatever else may flutter your heart

if I did,

are trapped again in the the ice that returns

to your gaze.

Are we mad at my silence, or relieved?

I do know the question in your eyes will resurface,

and I might even be ready, at last.

I want to call you beautiful before

the moment

and me and you

have past.