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.

Within This Pit of Poems

Within this pit of poems I am abandoned,

bereft of thought, and will.

The images that once assailed my senses

grow faint and blurry,

leeched of color and pleasure,

fading to sepia,

to black and white,

to black and void.

Once, they clamored for attention,

but now they only scratch at the walls,

more from reflex than any desire to flee.

I long to escape as well,

but here, among that which I also cast aside,

I realize there are storms in the world above me,

and blood and fire and stone

surround me on the surface.

And so I clear a space to curl in on myself,’

content to sigh and dream,

unfinished,

cast down,

and left to fade

in this pit of poems.

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.

Unblended 2

‘You’re pretty for—‘

a novelty, a one-night stand, a fling.

‘You’re pretty for—‘

a light skinned girl.

A ‘lovely little thing.’

So I’ll put feelings in your heart

I think that you will like,

and when you give your heart to me

I’ll take the match

and strike.

A Rising Wish

Don’t wish upon a falling star.

It comes back to the ground.

Your wish will go unrealized,

and never will be found.

Rise high upon your tippy-toes

and stick it in the sky,

where like the stars, it ever shines its light into your eye.

Yes, wish upon a rising wish

just as a kite flies high,

within skilled hands, sharp minds,

strong hearts.

And wish it til you die.

The Imperfect Art of Life

My life, this life…

a scattering of

impressionist-ic drips and smears

that never make the canvas.

My life, this life…

A vandalized mosaic

of broken tiles,

discolored and on display

in a ruined museum

where only unadmiring vermin amble,

sightless in the dark.

My life, this life…

An ugly black and white photo,

where the only things in the light and shadow

are predators and prey.

My life, this life…

Misfired pottery that leaks,

or perhaps a clumpy lump of clay

molded by broken fingers,

a child’s misshapen sculpture

used as an ‘ashtray’ in a house where

no one smokes.

My life, this life…

A rainbow’s broken, dissipating arc,

a defiant banner of hope and beauty

across a barren sky and a dying land.

This life, my life….

An imperfect work of art,

bright with colors, rife with rust

laced with cynical hope,

veiled in gossamer trust,

and glued with love as fragile as unpainted seashells

waiting to grow stronger

despite the odd feeling of

emptiness inside.

Muttered Rage

In the muddy, midden corners of its cage

my rage

mutters, stutters, hiccups, sobs,

and folds in on itself

like a

dying flower.

Hate and anger climb to the surface

with sharp spikes and strong ropes,

as I work to cut their ties with

love’s violent sword.

Darkness dots my spirit like lawn weeds

and whack-a-moles.

The decayed and rotting past seeks to

coddle me, cuddle me, clobber me,

and sing the listless lullaby that induces

paralyzing ennui masked as sleep.

At the end of this gauntlet stands Death,

coated with cold, and patient as river stones

waiting to to wreck me on sodden, craggy points that

will break my spirit like rotten boughs broken off

a vibrant, growing tree, and

scatter my flesh

like fish bait.

And nightly, as the sun wanes and the moon waxes,

I realize that after all this time,

the cage was never locked.