Dancer

This one is intriguing.

She dances with an

abandoned modesty,

a contradiction, I know,

but beauty is her weapon,

and movement is her knowledge,

and I sit before both,

a reed in a hurricane wind,

helpless to stop watching,

unwilling to break the spell.

And with her graceful hands

and swaying hips,

she pulls all reason from me.

And I dream of silken sheets and quiet fires,

the taming of torrid, roaring passions,

and the banking heat of embers

cooling with small, shy smiles

by the light

of the

morning sun.

These Long, Slow, Lovely Sunsets

These long, slow, lovely sunsets

are bittersweet to see.

They mark the passing of time,

the ending of things once held dear,

the seasons,

the deceptively rapid maturing

of children,

as the present day

is stamped by the last rays

into the book of the past.

I watch, and grieve, and rejoice,

and wonder how many more

I have.

But I will also

treasure those

I’ve been blessed to see,

and remember,

knowing that at least

the long, slow, lovely sunsets

will never outshine

the love we leave behind,

when our own light,

now extinguished,

is rekindled

in another place,

to rise anew,

and start again.

 

Words Like Water

Words

gather, build up, swell, and rise

to spill from the mind,

flow through the fingers,

and spill out of  pens, pencils, and keyboards

caught up in currents

of concentration

and creativity.

Words,

free falling in a

joyous cascade of

imagination,

wild and swift as

horses thundering past.

 

Words,

smooth and silent

as owl wings

cleaving

the cold midnight air,

hunting for

just the right one,

plump with meaning,

searching with

keen bright eyes

full of

otherworldly intellect.

 

Words

channeled like water,

fleeting as an eddy,

powerful as tides,

flowing, rushed, and moving

at the

glorious sunrise,

rippling, dappled, and calm

in the

bittersweet sunset.

 

Words

for seeds of fading hope,

and fragile sprouts of love,

sown

in random rows

of longing need,

are poured down

from the poet’s well,

and for a moment

thirst no more,

and grow

a little stronger.

A Story Told in Song

From the savanna,

the deserts,

the grasslands,

the veldt,

and the jungle,

 

The music played.

 

From the empires,

the gold and diamond mines,

and the pyramids,

The music played.

 

From the ivory tusks,

the red clay,

the ebony wood,

and the skins of war drums,

 

The music played.

 

On the ship,

In the cabins,

In ‘massa’s house,

In the whipping sheds,

and the cotton and tobacco fields,

 

The music played.

 

And at sunset,

Heads lowered over

Unmarked graves of

Old men and

Innocent children,

 

The music played.

 

From the Underground Railroad

through the rise of Pullman Porters,

 

The music played.

 

Through Jim Crow,

chain gangs,

and Sunday morning services,

 

The music played.

 

Through hard times

and celebrations,

and through vibrant

ululations,

and our rising expectations,

 

The music played.

 

In the Deep South,

through the screams

and cries wrought

by night riders

and cross burnings,

 

The music played.

 

Over the sound

of barking dogs

and high pressure hoses,

 

The music played.

 

Through Malcolm and Dr. Huey Newton,

and Martin and Jesse,

and Barack Obama,

 

The music played.

 

Through the first black…(insert pioneer name here)

 

The music…(still playing)

 

We must teach the songs

that kept the voices lifted

though hearts were heavy,

 

Kept the flames of joyous spirits

and the love of hearts

lit,

though our dreams of freedom were

constantly extinguished.

 

Kept hope alive through our best

writers, artists, and orators,

Proud Black Men

and Beautiful Black Women

united in one purpose:

Us.

 

The music played, and plays still…

 

And it will play on

as long as we remember.

 

And if

we

teach it well,

long after

we’re gone.

My Distracting Muse

“Hello, ‘writer.’

Her voice was so sultry, even her insults excited me.

“Arabelle. It’s been a long time.

She turned the chair around and sat facing me, legs crossed, her dress holding on to hips that promised the fruits of her hours of research.

My face heated at the thoughts I thought.

She sighed. “So predictable. Are you even looking at how infrequently you’ve written this year?”

“I just did. That’s why I’m writing now.”

She sat on the edge of the bed, looking at me.

“You are too easily distracted.”

My eyes traveled against my will. “It would help if you…”

“I’ll help you.” She got up, walked over to me, and lifted my chin on her finger so I would look at her eyes, but I didn’t quite make it, and she grabbed my chin and tilted my neck until I was finally looking at her eyes.

“They’re up here.”

I pulled away and snapped back. “I was actually writing until you showed up!”

“Drivel.”

“It’s a start. I can make it not drivel.”

“I suppose.”

“You’re not helping, Arabelle. Go away.”

“Are you sure?”

“You get mad when I pay attention to you, and then when I ask you to leave me so I can work, you ask me “Are you sure”  

“Yes, I’m sure. Go. Away. Arabelle.”

“Can I at least read what you’re writing?”
“You already said it was drivel. Weren’t you watching from…wherever it is your kind dwells?”

It was her turn to blush. “Not really.”

I sighed. “Here.” I moved away from the screen.

She read it, a warmth emanating from her closeness, the whisper of fabric against her body. I pushed my chair further away, and she put her hand on the armrest.

I let her finish, and she turned to me, smiling. “I like it. Considering how few and far between you’ve worked, this is okay.”

“Glad you approve. Now, will you go away?”

“How about if I stay in the background?”

I shrugged. “Suit yourself, Muse. Clearly, you’ve got nothing better to do today.”

She sat on the edge of the bed again, humming.

“That’s not ‘in the background.’

“It’s the best I can do.”

“No, it’s not, and I don’t know why you’re here trying to distract me, but it’s not going to work.”

She smiled enigmatically, and began to swing her right leg as it crossed over her left.

Muses, man…

 

Cupid’s Arrow

How tenderly, how tenderly

the arrow cleaves the heart.

I fall into the pit of love

and play a thankless part.

For Cupid’s arrow’s savage barb

can only go one way.

To pull it tears the heart apart

and turns it to decay.

“O pierce me not, black arrow!

Not tomorrow, nor today.

I’ll use my shield to knock aside

what arrows come my way.

And with a lethal dagger thrown

and knifing through the air,

I’ll cut your wings, cursed cherubim,

to see if you fight fair.

So go your way, and fly above me,

staying sight unseen.

I look no more for one to love me,

staying as I’ve been.”

And in the gathering darkness

winged Cupid takes his leave.

And as the raindrops dry my tears,

it’s at love’s grave I’ll grieve.

 

*Dark Cupid by hipolilo*