Cleaning Out the Attic VIII

(This poem will be it for now until I come back from the holidays. This poem has no title as of yet, making it one of my untitled pieces. It is about pain and grieving; ironically I wrote it months prior to Sandy’s death. At the time I could only sympathize with the sorrow that comes with losing someone you care about, but not being able to relate to the process of having to work through the loss. After Sandy died, I found myself saying some of the very same things I wrote about being upset over in the poem. Through her death, God taught me empathy and at same brought this poem full circle for me.)

UNTITLED

As I watched a video
Done by one of my favorite poets today
I started thinking
About one of my friends
How I’d like to share it with her
And then I imagined
As it talked about a mother
Losing her son
How she would immediately stop
—watching it altogether
Say she was done
And never look at it again
And then I
Became angry

Angry about something
That’s only a hypothetical
It hasn’t even happened yet
But angry I became
Angry I was
Not just at this theoretical situation
But at people
Who possibly just like my friend
Are unwilling
To feel

“It hurts.”
“I don’t like this—it’s too sad.”
“I don’t like this—it makes me mad.”
“Why couldn’t this be a little more
Happier?”

Quickly
I found myself going from angry
To enraged
By people
And their decision not to feel
Anything
Until God reminded me
How I, too, choose not to feel
Anything
Friendships die off
Close relatives pass away
Things I held dear taken from me
And I become stoic
And stony
Over time

I say I love experiences
But I hate to experience
The good with the bad
And suddenly
I understand
That there is more to it
Than just choosing
Not to feel something
It’s about feeling it
And never wanting to ever feel it
—again

I pretend
As if I’m doing a freestyle
In front of all the poets
I hold in high regard
And I hear one tell me
As I grip tight to a mic,
“Just speak from the heart.”
The tears and emotions
Pushing through cracks in my
—demeanor
Like water forcing its way through a
—broken dam
I hear a chorus of
“It’s all right,”
And another,
“What do you feel?”

And suddenly
As I come back down to reality
I realize my ire is sparked by envy
Because the problem is that I feel too
—much
And all with great intensity
All at the same time
Even when I’m trying not to,
When I’m ready to just shut it all down
It all comes back up

I wish
That I could just turn it off
As easily as they do
I wish
I could just
Make it stop

But then
I hear that voice
The voice of the Lord
Whispering in my ear,
“Daughter,
What makes you think
It’s easy for them?
What honestly makes you believe
That you are the only one
Who feels everything?
What makes you think that they
—don’t experience
The same thing you do?

People hurt
Just like you do
Because you’re all human.
If someone you loved
Died,
If something you treasured
Went away,
And you didn’t feel a single emotion,
Then you truly never loved
Nor cared.
You have not loved nor cared
For anything or anybody
Until you go through loss
And mourning,
Until you agonize with them.
Can you go beyond your sympathy,
—Daughter,
And show some true compassion?

I allow you
To feel what you feel for a reason:
So you may be a help to those going
—through the same things,
To appreciate eternal paradise all the
—more
That you may be able to truly fellowship
—with My Son.
Daughter,
My precious, precious child,
If you had not felt pain
And heartache,
Sorrow and grief,
Or any kind of sadness on this earth
Then you would never want to leave
And here on this earth
Is not where I have destined you to
—be.
Your wings and robe cannot be earned
While you are still here
Feet planted on the ground.

While you are here,
However,
You will feel things,
You will experience things
And some of it will be painful
But not all of it bad.
Be a torch, a lamp,
Be My candle set upon a hilltop
Because even in the midst of the
—darkness,
You are a light
To so many people.
So Daughter,
Don’t be afraid
To tell them how you feel
Even if they never want to hear it.
Just know they will hear it
Because I reside in you
And I work through you
So that they might hear Me.

I am all they need to hear,
I am all they need to see.”

I return
To my previous thoughts
And I say
I am sorry

Truth is
We are all
Suffering
And some dealing
With weights too heavy
And griefs
Too great to bear
But just know
Your Father does care
And if everything was pleasant
You would never know heaven
Because you would rather stay
Here on this place that shall soon pass
—away
Than join Him in paradise
For all eternity

The pain reminds you
That there is always something better
The rain will come
But the sun does shine
After while
So learn to be grateful for it when it
—does

There is a time
And a season
For even this

Cleaning Out the Attic VII

(For part VII of the series, I started to post up a poem called “Quiet Musings II” only to find I hadn’t posted the first one yet. So, I’ll be sharing the first “Quiet Musings” with you today; it’s one of my more shorter pieces. I hope you all will continue to enjoy these unpublished works that I’m sharing, and know there are more to come.)

QUIET MUSINGS

(Sweet sighs)

Sometimes
I just want to take the beauty
That I find in the lines
I read
I see
And share it with someone
I desire to converse
About the awesomeness
Found in the depths
Of soliloquies and stanzas
And be able to know
They understand me
You know
Not just that occasional head nod
Followed by the “mm-hmm” for “that’s interesting”
I just want to know
That they’re genuinely interested
In going on a journey with me
A journey full of wonder
And exploring caverns of the unknown
Hidden in allegorical undertones
Things seen and seen again brand new
Because that work of art we glanced upon
Has now transformed itself
Into something quite unexpected
But surprisingly refreshing
Then turn to each other and both enjoy
This newfound discovery
That seemingly
Has discovered us
Someone who will give me a challenge
Encouraging growth in the spiritual
And the lyrical
Who’s writings are so incredible
That it pushes me to write almost everyday
Setting the bar up for myself higher and higher
Because their poetry is just that brilliant
And I vice versa
And suddenly
We reach peaks that lead
To being in leagues of our own
Even if it’s not Canon quality
We don’t care
We’re in the zone
And as long as Jesus is with us
Whatever new levels we encounter
The rest of the world can reject
But it’d be okay
Because we’d be home
I want that to be us

Sometimes
I just a need friend
Who breathes and lives to write
Just as much as I do
Because to them
Writing is more than just a hobby
It’s more than scribbling down letters
Taking letters to form words and
Dibble dabbling in a little bit of wordplay
They see it as their craft
And they take their craft seriously
Someone who bubbles over
With excitement
When they write something new
And when they do
They’ll be quick to call me up
So I can hear their newest inspiration
From the Lord Himself
The same way that I do
When He opens my eyes to
Another dimension
There are times I find myself
Scrolling through the contacts in my phone
For that one who will listen
And give me constructive criticism
That critical feedback I need
Without sounding like a hater
Or constantly telling me
“I liked it!”
“That was really good!”
Even if their vocalization
Is limited
They still have enough to say,
“Wow…that’s powerful. I mean,
The way you twisted and turned—
It’s like watching figure skaters dance around
Signing their names on the ice.
Only you’re listening to it, you know?”
Or even,
“Well…you started strong,
But
You’re hiding.
You can’t be afraid to be transparent
And your rhyme scheme could use some work.”
They’ll tell me the truth
Even if it hurts
Because their honesty is sincere
To a fault
And I know they’re just trying to help
They’re not envious or anything
They want to see me grow
Just as badly as I want them to

Sometimes
Sometimes I long for a friend
Who’s just as passionate about this
As I am
And can introduce me to poets
I haven’t heard of before
Someone who’s not necessarily
A boyfriend
Or a close companion
But just an avid jotter
With notebooks for all their notebooks
Ridiculous I know
But it’s true
I am not writing this because I think
That I’m too advanced for those around me
But in fact
It’s the opposite
I need a willing soul who’ll push me
And inspire me
Even if they’re just aspiring
To be
It’s what I long for, it’s what I need

Sometimes
I just need a friend who’s a writer to the end

Sometimes
I just need a friend

Cleaning Out the Attic VI

(I wrote a one pager for One Page Fridays called “Hey Mr. (From Future Mrs.)” and then later expounded on it. So this is the extended version of the one page poem I originally wrote.)

HEY MR. (FROM FUTURE MRS.) [EXPOUNDED]

One song
That’s literally all it took
Was one song
About
Taking somebody home
And as it seeped its way into my membrane
Old memories, old thoughts
Became dusted off
As they resurfaced
From the gutter of a grave I buried them in

I stared down temptation
For so long
Before I finally went for it
Like a kid
Purposefully sitting in front of the cookie jar
And as they inch closer and closer
They keep lying to themselves
Saying they won’t touch it
They won’t dare reach in

After I fully gave in
Fantasy after fantasy
Imagining my husband
And what all he’ll do to me
Not thinking anything of it
Because it’s my husband I’m thinking of
And when I’m married
It’ll be okay to think of my husband that way

Only to hear God say,
“But you’re not married.
I’m your Husband.
I’m your Husband
Before your husband.
Your mind should be on Me.”

This morning
Reminded of yesterday’s sins
But I dibble dally
And plunge in headfirst
Once again
Time after time
I’m on a roll
And then it occurs to me
When I come out of the fog
And the sinful haze clears

What I fantasize about marriage most
Is being able to sleep with one man
As much as I want
Without being out of the will of God
So Jesus tells me,
“If that’s the only reason
You want to get married,
Then you’re not ready
To be married.
Marriage is a whole lot more than that.”

Yet deep down,
In my heart I’m okay with that
Even though I know
A marriage solely based on lust
And sex
Won’t last
Even if they’re brought together
By God Himself

My words recoil in my mind
(I want to have sex
As much as want
Without me being out of the will of God)
The Spirit shows me
How selfish that is
And I hear Jesus speak to me again,
Saying how that isn’t fair
To my future husband

“How would you feel if a man
Only married you for that exact reason?”
My honest answer
I wouldn’t mind it
I’d be okay with that, actually

The Lord then reminds me
Of all those guys I detested
Because all they wanted
Was to sleep with me
And then He posed the question,

“What’s the difference?”

At first
I couldn’t see it
How the two were alike
I mean
At least in the second scenario
I’m not living in sin, right?
So what’s the big deal?
He wants to get married
I want to get married
We both get married and it’s a win-win
We both know what we want
We both get what we want
And no one’s sinning against God

But that question never did go away…

“So you won’t talk to the one
Who only wants to sleep with you,
But you’ll marry the guy
Who only wants to sleep with?”
Before I can dismiss it,
He added,
“Don’t you think you deserve better than that?
Don’t you think you’re worth more than that?”

That opens a whole new doorway,
Which leads to more inquiries,

“You’ll marry a man
Who doesn’t marry you
Because he loves you,
But because he wants someone to play with;
A toy he can reach for whenever he gets an itch.
He doesn’t truly want to be with you—
He just desires you
And what you can possibly give him.
You’ll marry that man,
Rather than wait for the one
Who doesn’t just love your body
But he loves every little thing about you—
Including your flaws and bad habits.
Who loves your spirit, your heart and your mind.
A man who sees you as his best friend,
His wife,
Before picturing you naked.
A man who’s so focused on Me,
He makes the effort to be the man I called him to be
Just for you
Instead of making it his mission
To bed you down
By rushing to the honeymoon.
No,
That man will take his time
To get to know you,
To wait on Me
And the right season
But you say
You’d rather have the opposite
So I ask you again,
Daughter,
What is the difference?”

Up until that point
I had never saw it that way…
…and I suppose
I suppose I don’t value myself
Very much.

It took me 24 years
To see myself as a natural beauty
I don’t want it to take
24 more
Before I finally see the beauty
In being God’s daughter
A woman worth more than rubies

I’m cute
Down right attractive, if I say so myself
I look into the mirror
And I can see sexy
But I don’t see Jesus
I don’t see a woman of God
A woman on fire for Him
I only see physical
And I figure
Oh husband
That the only thing I can give you
Is myself
So that’s all I put on the table
That’s why I hope to be
You’re chocolate dipped
Honey kissed
Angelic ray of sunshine
I say I do mind the, “You’re pretty” compliments,
And that I rather have a man
Compliment me for my mind
And my talent,
But on the inside
As I take a peek inside
I’m beginning to see
I draw what I attract
And what I attract is a result
Of what I lack

True self worth in Christ
Understanding of what marriage really is
A spiritual mindset
A submissive heart for God
And a servant’s mentality
I am getting there
As far as with some of those things
But I’m nowhere close with most of them
A lot of them

No, not all of them. I’m making baby steps with one or two.

I just want to be the perfect bride for you,
But all I can think about
Is how beautiful I want to look
The day we first meet
And how stunning,
How radiant,
How captivating I want to be
When I walk down the isle to meet you
And say our I do’s

Which is another part of the problem
Because when I think of you
I think of you like superman
How you can do everything
You’re Mr. Fix It
Mr. Composer
Mr. Romantic and Passionate Lover
Mr. Comedian,
Dancer, Singer, Poet,
Musician,
Martial Artist (black belt, by the way…
…the highest degree, of course)
Chef, Nice Smile, Nice Physic,
Smell Good, Look Good, Dress Well
I think of you
As my Mr. Everything
I think of you as my god
But you’re not God
And you’re not perfect
And I doubt you’ll even be
Half of those things
But you’ll be the man I need in my life

That should be enough for me,
But it isn’t

All I keep hearing
Replaying repeatedly on rewind
Is,
“Be specific! Gotta be specific!”
“If there’s something you want from God,
Tell Him and be specific!”
I know for sure
That I have prayed that you will be patient—
As in extremely patient
To have ministries in line with mine
Because I don’t just want to do poetry,
But songs too.
I prayed you’d be so in love with the Lord
That even I won’t get in your way
Jesus will always come first before me
I’m so selfish though,
That even as I write that
I now see I want to be number one
Above Jesus

That’s not a good thing…

I keep picturing this man I haven’t met
Nor seen
And I keep wondering
And pondering
What on earth you’ll be like
Only to think
What if you’re nothing at all
Like I had hoped for?
What if you’re nothing at all like the man
I had dreamed about?

I have so much work to do
More than I ever thought than before
As I examine this heart
I also come to notice
That I hope you’re praying for me,
But I have yet to pray for you

I haven’t even prayed that God keep you
And continue to help you grow and prosper
And flourish into the man He’s created you to be
Any time I pray for you
I pray that you’ll be the love of my life,
The man of my dreams
And everything I could hope for
Plus some
And beyond

It’s hilarious how even in my prayers
I only think about myself

Forgive me, God
I have a selfish heart
Shallow eyes
And a carnal way of thinking
But Lord,
If You could please remove this from me
Help me to change,
Help me to become the wife
That I need to be
Then I will understand
What marriage is
What it means

And Lord,
Let my husband be
Everything You’ve designed him for
Let him be confident in You
Teach him how to be more like You
And continue to guide him
In all Your ways
And God
I pray You will make me the wife he needs
And transform me
Into the mighty woman of God
You have empowered me to be
Let us both be there
For one another
Putting the other’s needs before our own
Teach us how to love one another
Prepare us for each other God
Show me there’s more to marriage
Than getting full access to the benefits
Help me to learn
And soak it in
That the benefits
Are not just consummation,
But being one body
In You
That the benefit
Is having You
And the bonus
Is being with each other
God
These things I desire so badly
I WANT to want to desire them
So desperately God
Please
Infuse me with Your spirit
Plant Your seed of life within me

My mind is so warped,
But only You have the key
So Lord
Teach me, please

I reach for a song
But You say to me
That a scripture will do more for me
Than any song ever will
Lord
I pray You lead me to one
Every day of my life
And even the days after
I finally meet this man You send

Jesus
You truly are
My best friend
Help me to comprehend
Friendship
And marriage
That I have more to offer
Than just my body,
My mind,
Or anything of myself
But that a relationship with You
Is greater than anything I could ever
Hope to give this man
Lord
Help me to see
You are bigger than my self
You are greater than even this

—-
Help me to move this mountain, Lord
Give me a Word to speak from my lips

And all I hear You say
Is,

“This, too, shall pass.”

Cleaning Out the Attic V

(The next poem in this series is called Siren Call. I read it for a poetry night I held for my church. I was supposed to record it but I never did. Maybe one day I will, but for now it’s here on the blog for anyone to read)

SIREN CALL

So what if you drown
He’ll pull you out again
Jesus saves
It’s what He always does
Don’t sweat it
You can’t run from this enticement
So forget it
I’ll never let you forget it
Come here,
Come and have a sweet dream
You can’t escape me
I’ll enter into your mind while you’re asleep
And I’ll call out to you again
You’ll slumber
But you’ll never have any peace

Don’t you want me?
What
You don’t like our little arrangement anymore?
When I found you
You were just some punk kid
Kicking at pebbles and small stones
It was because of me you grew up
I gave you a taste for the adult stuff
Now you act as if you’re satisfied
By having playdates with this God guy
Well playtime is for losers
And I play for keeps
You don’t get to have your fun
Then run away from me
You are my discovery
I own you—you’re mine!
You stupid little—

I’m, I’m sorry sweetheart
I just get so irritated when you’re gone for so long
I hate seeing you spend all your time
With Him
All because He says we can’t be together
That’s ridiculous!
So He gets to have you all to Himself
And we can’t even hang out
Once?
For someone who’s supposed to be so selfless
He sure doesn’t like to share
I mean,
You don’t ever miss me?
Not even a little?

Admit it
You know you do
I can tell
You know how I know?
Every time I call your name
Just a little bit louder
I see you itching to get away
You remember how much fun we had
All those lonely nights
You came looking for me
I’m the one you went in search of
I was the one whose face you sought after

So I was busy a couple—well, a few times
Here and there
To and fro
Whatever. Big deal
So what?
Part of you kind of likes the abuse
It gives you excitement
The unpredictability
The desperate waiting
Unstableness—you love all of that
You could never have a real relationship with Mister
Holy, Holy, Holy
King of Kings and all that crap
This be ye holy kick He’s got you on is whack
You know it and I know it—it’s true

So what’s up?
You can’t ignore me for long
You know you can’t
You are as predictable as the morning sun
It always comes up
And you’ll always come back to me
You are delighted by the sound of my songs
You’re just as twisted and demented as I am
We belong together
It’ll never work out with Him
With your little so-called Savior

I’ll tell you what
Come and be with me
And you can still see HIm as much as you want
We’ll just have our little thing on the side
He’ll never have to know
God will never have to know
It’ll be our little secret
Just between us
I promise

—-
Promises come cheap
When you’re dealing with the devil
He’ll get you to agree to one thing
Then flip the script on you
He lies
No matter how good he makes it sound,
And he does make it all sound
Very, very good,
At the end of the day
He is the predator
You are the prey
And you
Are just a snack on the buffet line
He has scarfed down hundreds of souls
Just like yours

And it isn’t even time for lunch

He found me at an early age
Trying to build sandcastles
And lured me into the icy blue
The light refracting off its many ripples
I told him I couldn’t swim
He told me

Baby
You want to come in
It’s nice and fine out here
Out here
There’s no need to swim
When you’re floating in this sea of bliss
Ecstasy and happiness
I’ll teach you how to build castles
Made of droplets and foam
And besides
By the time you master it
You’ll be so far down in these waters
Whether you can swim or not won’t be a factor
It’ll be the last thing on your mind

I almost drowned
And yet I found myself dying at a chance
Just to feel what drowning was like
All over again
the climatic surge
A rush that takes over
Intensifying the closer I neared death

Then one day
I decided
Maybe
Maybe I wasn’t quite so ready to die yet
And maybe
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all
And he hadn’t taught me how to build
A single castle out of water
He was all talk
I was becoming bored with this game
It was always disguised as something new
But in actuality
It was always the same
With the exact same result

Me struggling for my life

It was time for me to do something different
I was bored with his charade
I turned to fight against the tide
And right as I edged toward the coastline
He took his hands and gripped them
Tight around my neck
Pushing me downward
Forcing seawater into my lungs

Where are you going?
(His voice had lost its charm)
Where are you going, huh?
I didn’t tell you we were done
You want to learn how to build a castle out here
Now’s your chance
You can rest in it forever
I’ll watch your body bloat and rot

I’m going to kill you, you worthless idiot
I think I’ll do it slowly
So I can enjoy watching you die
(I attempted to scream, but)
What are you screaming for?
No one can hear you!
(His voice became demonic)
NO ONE—NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU
YOU’LL NEVER ESCAPE ME
SHUT UP OR I’LL RIP OUT YOUR VOCAL COR—

I blacked out

Evil had found me
And then left me
Washed up on the shore
Grasping to the last few threads of life
A Savior came to my rescue
God saved me in the nick of time
My clothes were tattered and torn
Debris everywhere
Surrounded by waste and garbage
I regretted
Every decision I ever made
That led to that moment
Yet I could still hear the devil’s melodies
Playing softly
In the distance

And I hated
That while I had nearly survived the ordeal
I still wanted to return

I looked up into the eyes of Jesus
His hand outstretched for mine
My tears falling down like raindrops
On a stormy day
He saw my pain
I was broken
And He healed and restored me

God’s love is profound
But I felt
That it wasn’t enough
To keep me from wandering back down
I was determined to stay bound
By those sins I thought held me hostage

And the cycle would repeat itself
All over again

But today
I realized something

It is the trick of the enemy
When I listen to him tell me

—-
You’ll never be free
You’re going to have to deal with this
For the rest of your life

—-
But I don’t have to deal with it
I don’t have to put up with anything
Because I am free
I’ll say that again
I AM FREE
I don’t have to put up with anything
My sins I no longer tolerate
Because I have been released from it all

Lust
Wrath
Perversion and wickedness
The feeling of loneliness
Incompetent
Is no longer who I am
I am the one
Who serves Great I Am
Praise God

Sin feels good
Yes, it does
But God is greater than a feeling
God’s eternity is better than fleeting
Flimsy, and fake
I hear the siren’s call
I feel the devil’s tug
And what I remind myself
Is what God told me years ago
When He first delivered me

This too shall pass

God told me that
As I sought deliverance
And the temptation was so great
That each time it hit me
It felt like a large, hard-hitting wave
Each time becoming bigger
And stronger

I felt so weak
I asked Him why
Of all the things I could struggle with
Why this one, Lord?
This is embarrassing
I don’t want this any longer

But then He eased my soul
As He said
There is a purpose to the Master Plan
Trust and believe that I am God
This too shall pass

Though the enemy may yell
And scream
Regardless of how loud he hollers
However seductive the vice may be
This too shall pass
I am not a slave
I am not obligated to live in his entrapment
I do not have to take the bait
I am saved and able to say

No
I will not go back
No
I will not do this again
No
I do not have to do what you say
I do not have to take every suggestion
You whisper into my ear
I don’t have to listen to a single word
No
I am not a victim
Nor am I your prey
I am a survivor
And I will survive this, too

I will ride my sailboat into the vast pacific
And I do not have to crash upon the rocks
Or die in a watery tomb

I will go wherever the Father takes me
This too shall pass

Keep it steady, hold on little sailor
For this too shall pass
You can make it
It will pass
And when the temptation subsides
You will see
That you were much stronger than you thought
That with God

You’re much stronger than you believe

Cleaning Out the Attic IV

(One of my more longer pieces, I wrote this after the death of the two policemen in New York. I was angered by the many things I was seeing over those few months and I decided to pen it all down. I’ve debated between recording a video for this, but for now I’ll just post it and whoever decides to read it will read it.)

SELF(LESS) PEOPLE

I’ve already said this
Once before
I will say it again

We don’t care
About other people’s problems
Until we FEEL like
The problem became ours
When really and truly
It was ours all along

It occurs to me
We as a society
Are selfish
We have become so self-absorbed
That unless important issues
Spill over into our backyards
We pay them no mind
For some of us
It doesn’t just have to spill over
It has to come in through the back door
And greet us in the living room
Before we are willing
To start paying attention

We are apathetic to the situation at hand

Even in my writing this
I am sure
There will be many
With blinders on
They see it, but don’t see it
They say they get it, but they don’t get it
These folks don’t even get the gist

Black Lives Matter
But that’s our problem
Right?
That’s an AFRICAN AMERICAN issue
Let’s let the Blacks deal with it
It’s what so many think
So many declaring
They’re tired of hearing our outcries
Little do they know
Some of us have been crying out
Everyday of our lives
It’s just more of us speaking up
—these days

No one cared about racial profiling
Until we weren’t the only ones
Being randomly selected for a traffic stop
Because they “looked suspicious”
No one cared until certain neighbors of ours
Had a harder time getting through airport
—security
Experiencing first hand
What it is to have people cringe at the sight
—of them
While throwing evil eyes
Not a second thought was given
Until some had the audacity
To try and enforce a law
That would give law enforcement the
—authority
To question one’s citizenship in this
—country
Imagine that
The good old US of A
With people being targeted
Based on their appearance

Huh…go figure…

We said Black Lives Matter
And a wave of people responded
By shouting
Shut up
All Lives Matter
Which is funny
Because my whole life
As an African American woman
I’ve been taught by society
Everyone’s life matters
Except mine

And that saying…
That saying—it irritates me
Because it has a double meaning
All Lives Matter
Including us, but excluding us
Simultaneously

All lives matter
Until it’s one of us
This has been our plight
For centuries
It’s been so long in fact
That most of us have gotten used to it
We mostly refuse it
And are unwilling to accept it
But were those of us
Who weren’t living in a fairytale
Surprised about those verdicts?
No, we weren’t.
We kind of expected it to happen
Just like it’s no surprise
When black men are being exonerated
Ten, twenty, thirty years later
After serving time in prison
For crimes they had not committed
One would think
We would be used to this stuff by now
But somehow
The shock is still just as sharp
And as painful
As it was the first time
And honestly many had become complacent
Yet certain events that have occurred
Were enough to shake the dead out of
—their graves

Some write it off as simply coincidence
I ask those people
How many times does a coincidence
Have to “coincidently” occur
Before that coincidence becomes a fact?
Because the fact is
All lives do matter
But the unwritten and understood part
Is that All Lives Matter…
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<…Except Those Who Are Black

And let’s be very honest for a moment
Not a lot of people
Care about Black people
Save for those brave few
Who are willing to listen
Sit down and talk
Then rise up
And stand with the rest of us against these
—injustices
Even if it means losing respect
From their own family and friends
Even if it means
Having to oppose some of the very ones
They chose to stand with
“They’re not Black.
How could they possibly understand?
Get lost—you’re not welcome on this
—team!”

No,
A non-African American
Will never fully grasp
What it is or what it means
To be African American
But
Just because they don’t look like us
Does not automatically disqualify them
For joining in the fight
We cannot presume
A person who’s not Black
Has not been immersed in our culture
Meaning
They grew up in a predominantly Black
—neighborhood,
May have several close friends who are
—Black,
A Black spouse and mixed children
Someone who’s pretty much been around
Black people all their life
And even if they haven’t
They were still very aware
Of the ignorant and unspeakable acts
Committed against our people

Some of them are also mistreated
Just for choosing not to side with intolerance

We should embrace them, not reject them

And while we’re still being honest,
Let’s open up another can of worms
Because a lot of people don’t care
—about Black people
But a lot of Black people don’t care
—about Black people
Either
And I’m not just referring to the
Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas

It’s true
Take a look at the news
White cop
Kills unarmed Black man
And we’re flooding the streets
White man
Kills Black man
We scream no justice, no peace
But Black man
Kills Black man
And
Nothing
Not a peep

Black man
Sells dope
Pushes in Black community
We make excuses
Say he’s just trying to make a hustle
Feed his family
All while we allow him to kill ours

Black man
Recruits Black kids
To rep a set, wear his colors
And throw some gang signs up
Convinces them jail time
Won’t be as bad for them
Because they’re a minor so they’ll
—get a lighter sentence
And we all know that’s not true because
—look at how many are tried as adults
Then those same Black men
Enforce a “no-snitching” policy
To do whatever damage they want
As they brainwash the same Black community
—they are terrorizing
Into letting them get away
Scott free
Because if anyone dares to report them
—to the police
Then that person is the enemy
Not them

Now how interesting is that?

We get angry when someone
Who doesn’t look like us
Takes the life
Of one of us
Show up in droves
But I ask
Where in the world were we
When African American children
Were becoming
And still are
The largest number of kids
Struggling with math and literacy?
Where were we
When the number of Black on Black
—crime
Became significantly higher
Than the hate crimes of the KKK?
Where were the protests,
Where were these rebels, revolutionaries
And newly become activists
When our community began to spiral
And quickly fall apart?
When we don’t know who we are
—anymore
Because we’re waiting for someone else
To tell us
Literally tell us
Because too many of us are reluctant to pick
—up a book
And read our own history for ourselves?

But I suppose…as angry as that makes me…
That’s all besides the point now, isn’t it?
Because the point is
A lot of us are finally beginning to be
More concerned about us
We’re here
Black people and non-Black alike
We’re here

Still
While people are showing up
Coming together
Too many come in ignorance
And that, my friend, is a disservice
To us all

But we’ll get to that in a moment…

It’s all very disturbing to me
How someone can refuse to see
Or hear my pain
Because it isn’t happening to them
Therefore it isn’t happening at all
How they can write me off
Say we’re all hurting
Or dealing with something
But that it’s been the best it ever has in years
For whom?
Why?
Because a few amendments were put
—in place?
I heard a poet say once
That a piece of paper did not abolish
Racism, discrimination or prejudice
So who exactly has it been the best for?
Because on my side of the line nothing has
—changed
Same game, new players
And every once in awhile
New rules
I don’t get it when they ignore it
Deny it all the daylong
Yet are slowly erasing us
From a history book
And erase, they might
But it still doesn’t make the truth
Any less true than what it is
Yes,
It baffles me how somebody can claim
Very tactfully
That each of our lives,
Regardless of race,
Are significant
Then turn right around in the same
—breath
And make my life feel insignificant
Do you know how much skill that takes?
What an art form that must be!

What an even greater art
For someone to practice hypocrisy
And not recognize themselves
As the biggest hypocrite there is
For one to live a life
Chalk full of double standards
Labeling oneself with a word
Born from ignorance
Transforming it into a degenerate form
Creating and branding a regressive
—populous of people
Then when someone with differing
—ethnicity
Calls them by the very label they placed
—on their head
That same one get belligerent
Insisting it’s only a term of endearment
When someone who looks like them
Uses it
Yes
It must have taken years to develop
An ability like that
How can they sit back
And not care about the laws
That their ancestors helped put in place
Being stripped away
Until it hits close to home
And even in that instance
They are concerned but only for an instant
Then it’s back to the same old, same old
They don’t have time for all that
Because Love and Hip Hop is on
Killing each other
Over tennis shoes and headphones
And they’ll still fight each other
And spend rent money to get it
Now what a skill THAT is

Both share the ability to be ignorant of their own ignorance

Black, Brown, White, Red, Yellow
We’re all one
We’re all equal
Save for when one of us has a problem
We reach out only to hear
“What does that have to do with me?”
And that goes across the board

I know I personally have been guilty
Of hearing the indignations
From those of similar conflicts
And thought to myself,
“And? So what?
Now you know how I feel.”

For instance
I observed how a few
Were nonchalant
Or had nothing to say
In regards to Trayvon Martin
Ferguson
And Eric Garner
But when two NYPD officers
One Asian, one Hispanic or Latino
Were killed while doing their job
Who had no idea that day would be
Their last day on earth
Suddenly
They felt compelled to give rants
And speeches of their own
I guess it makes a difference
When it’s one of your own

My feeling is this
If you’re going to be for something
Be for something
But don’t say you “feel me”
Just because you like my
Quote unquote
Food, music, fashion and culture
But don’t really like my people
Don’t do that
What happened to those officers is tragic
It sorrows me even more
To hear a mass of people chanting,
“We want dead cops!”

But it also saddens me
That Trayvon was gunned down
Because he wore a hoodie
I often wonder
Would Eric still be with his kids
If he hadn’t resisted arrest
I acknowledge what Mike did was wrong
He shouldn’t have strong-armed that man
Of the convenience store he stole from
But it doesn’t justify
Shooting him multiple times
It’s horrible
That a man used them as a cover
For his rampage on NYPD
After shooting his girlfriend
Then taking his own life

People are angry
And afraid
Everywhere

If you were a policeman
And you had a target on your back
Would you really hesitate
To shoot first and ask questions later?
Especially when you know
That someone is willing to take your life
No questions asked?
But your fellow officers weren’t even given
—a chance to defend themselves
Could you honestly say you wouldn’t
—be nervous
When you are very aware
Everyone sees you as the bad guy
Because you wear a uniform just like that
—other guy,
When your badge becomes a scarlet letter
All because of bad cops
Who, unfortunately, are still on the force?

Even still,
If the melanin you were born with
Gives you a scarlet letter of your own
Would you not also be upset and afraid?
You can’t tell me
That you wouldn’t find it pathetic
To have to pass down the same lessons
Your parents had passed on to them:
>>>When the officer stops you
>>>Keep your hands on the steering wheel
>>>Don’t speak unless spoken to
>>>Don’t move unless directed
>>>Move carefully, but not too slow nor too quick
>>>And if you’re lucky
>>>You can go on with life and pretend
>>>As though none of it ever happened
You do everything you were taught
And you’re still met with opposition
Wouldn’t you be angry, too
If every time you try to bring these issues up
You’re told to be quiet
And to get over it?

If you can sit there
And deny either one of these
You’re a bold faced liar

One person’s problem
Is everybody’s problem
This is not just a
Black issue
Or White issue
Brown, Red, or Yellow issue
This is a PEOPLE issue
Whether directly or indirectly
We’re all affected by it somehow
Someway
And in life everybody gets a turn
So just because it’s not your today
Doesn’t mean it won’t be you crying out
—for justice
Tomorrow

Hate begets hate
It doesn’t change anything
It just makes things worse
And wanting a person to pretend
Like nothing is wrong
And stop with all the race talks
So they don’t make the rest
Uncomfortable
Is equally as tragic

However, I will say this

If you are going to protest
Protest with a purpose
These things you are protesting about
Are important
But they are much bigger than you
This is not about photo ops
Or having a feel-good moment
A pat yourself on the back high five chance
To say you did something
“Radical”
So don’t get out there
Seeking your 15 minutes of fame
And prancing about for a couple of minutes
Just so you can call up folks afterwards
Telling them to tune in to channel such
—and such
Hoping they’ll spot you in the crowd
It has nothing at all to do
With being seen just be seen

Protesting with a purpose
Creates change
Things change for the better
That’s suppose to be the point after all of this
People get educated
And become well-informed about their
—local government, state laws,
This country and how it all works
They actively engage into a fight
That’s been going on for a very long time
And fight the smart way
Because rock beats scissors
But pen beats sword
Protesting draws attention but it does
—not make a pen move
Rioting and tearing stuff up
Only makes a lawmaker say,
“See. I told you—I rest my case.”

It also means recognizing
The fight is never over
But it is only the beginning
Because Martin Luther King
Was only one of many
Who got us over one more hurdle
But there are still several more to go
Racism and its siblings
Do not just disappear over night
This is an on-going battle
And a never ending process
Because as long as ignorance exists
It’s children will always be near

If you can fight behind
Girlfriends, boyfriends,
Street blocks, family names,
Money owed from a card game,
If you can fight
Behind some of the most petty
And irrelevant things
Then what is stopping you
From fighting for something that is
—actually important?

And to you
My non-African American
Brothers and sisters
Neighbors and friends
If you say
That ALL lives matter
Then what is stopping you
From joining in the fight
Of protecting Black lives?

The truth is
We are selfish
And ignorant
Violence and chaos
Ensuing all about us
And we don’t care
Didn’t care
Like we should have
Because we said not me, not my problem

And again,
I will remind you
Everybody gets a turn
If we continue with that same
Mentality
Then one day
It will be your turn
But there will be none left to defend you
Because you were too busy
Worrying about yourselves
So when that time comes
You will seek aid, but there will be none

Because there will be no one left to aid you

There will be no one left

I look out today
As I do most days
As I have done for most of my life
And I think to myself

Who among us will take a stand?
Who among us is left?

Cleaning Out the Attic III

(Believe it or not, I was hesitant to share this because 1: I felt it was too lengthy and 2: feared the backlash I would get. It’s funny, because I’m usually the first to encourage a poet to speak their mind in their poetry, “They don’t have to like it. Write what God told you to write.” So, here’s today’s poem—a poem on words.)

LEXICON

I’ll be honest
I don’t quite remember
When precisely was the first time I swore
But I do recall
How it felt
To shoot out an endless stream
Of invisible bullets
And watch them penetrate straight through
Into somebody’s heart

To see their eyes widen
Their pupils filled with shock
Pain
And not very often, but sometimes
A slight touch of embarrassment

And in the fiery heat of my rage
I would do a Mortal Kombat
And finish them
With rapid fire

It always felt good in the beginning
Until after the dust settled
And I was forced to stare at the aftermath
Guilt and shame would crawl up
From deep down inside of me
But I’d shove them down with my pride

Didn’t I tell you to back off?” I’d ask rhetorically,
“Didn’t I?”

—-
Other than my big sister
I have not been in a fight
When I was younger
I tried to swing and deck her real good
But I was too small and too slow
I think that is where it all started
Because I realized I didn’t have the stamina
To go to fisticuffs

My word usage however
Was quite strong

I knew it was wrong
To talk that way
That’s not how I was  raised
But I did it
Because I got to be good at it
And those words seemed to do the job better
Than any punch or jab I could have ever thrown

I used those words as a shield
Call it a defense mechanism
My earliest memory being fourth grade
I was still stumbling around when I got to sixth
But by the time I got to junior high
I was a force to be reckoned with

Call me a walking grenade

It was never my intention to hurt anyone
Or inflict the same trauma upon them
I carried it with me everyday
A hurting that kept growing with fierce intensity
I just wanted them to let me suffer in peace
I was already unhappy
I didn’t need any help in that department
Miserable by the thought of having to be me

Yet still
They kept showing up
So I kept knocking them down
Until I couldn’t knock them down anymore
Because they were the walking dead
They had already heard those words before
Thousands of times
Plus a thousand more
Desensitized
By those who were supposed to love them
But called them everything but their name so much
They thought it was their name

So who was I
To try and crush their spirit
When they had dresser drawers
Overflowing with shell casings
At home

One glance at those crumbling smiles
And somehow
I knew I was about to be outdone
“You think that’s something?
Here,
Let me show you what real agony is.”

Which was convenient
Because I began to believe
That I was the biggest and baddest thing around
The original gunslinger
Completely untouchable
Til I got shot down
So I dragged myself into the nearest, darkest cave
And stayed there

And if anyone was foolish enough
To venture too close
Or get too bold
I’d load up a clip
Set my tongue to annihilate and let it rip

—-
There’s more than one way to skin a cat

The English language
Has so many words to choose from
You could delicately insult someone
And have them thinking it was a compliment
As you walk off laughing
Imagining how their face will look
When they figure it out on the way home

I experimented with different rounds
I found out
I didn’t have to use a dump truck
Full of expletives and curses
All I had to do was be patient
Study down my opponent
Take my time
Waiting days
Weeks on end if I had to
Slowly uncover all their insecurities
That they tried
To bury and hide
But there was no pit deep enough
No place secret enough
They couldn’t keep it from me
Then
When the time was right
With great precision and tactics
I’d proceed to tell them things
That even those who hurt them
A million times over
Had missed
Hitting spots they didn’t think I could hit
I’d make sure
That every time they saw my face
They would never forget

I didn’t miss
Not once
I always hit my target
I could tell
Because they weren’t ever the same
They hardly ever saw it coming
And even when they did
It was simply too late to do anything about it

Again
It was not my intention to harm anyone
I just didn’t want to hurt any longer

And since I was still tending to injuries
Several years in the making
I couldn’t have them thinking I wasn’t tough
Yes, I was crippled by people emotionally
But I couldn’t let them think they could step to me
And just say
Or do
Whatever they pleased

I’m nobody’s punching bag
I’m not a punk
It ain’t goin’ down like that
Naw homie, not like that
Got me messed up
These were my thoughts

I used those words as a last resort
When I had nothing to say
When I was robbed of my words
Because I couldn’t think of anything
And yeah I could write

But what was I gonna do
Sit down while someone was ragging on me
And say,
“Hold on a sec while I scribble down this angry letter,”
Then hand it to them and watch
As they tore it up to shreds?

That actually did happen once
I wrote a letter as a response
And I watched as it became confetti
Before my very eyes
I did it again much later on a second time
And then I laid that idea to rest altogether

—-
I got older
And it wasn’t until I accepted Christ
That I finally was willing to hear Him out
Felt the tapping
On my shoulder
As He spoke, saying

“What is it that you feel you have to prove?
What exactly is it that you’re trying to do?
What is your objective?
That’s not why I gave you this gift to use.
I gave you a gift
To heal every broken person just like you
And draw them all
Unto Me.

You know better than anyone
How it feels
To have a bruise that won’t fade,
A nagging sting that won’t go away,
You know,
And yet,
You do it all the same.

You do not have to be this way.
Come
And let Me give you better things to say.
Come
And together
We can change the world
One letter, one word
At a time.”

At the time
It was not until then
I began to understand
God was there
From the time I fired off
My first sawed-off
From before my beginning
He was right there
For every step of my steps

But I ignored Him
Because I wrote Jesus off as my conscious
And who really listens to that,
Right?

But there I was
After I had given Him my life
Reaching up
Outpouring myself
With stained eyes
Cheeks wet with remorse
As I recollected
About the destruction I had left in my wake

I was a wanted woman
Destined for the gallows
But He chose to pardon me instead

“Write daughter,
Allow Me to use you
And show the world
How I can take ugly things
And make them beautiful.”

God
Can take ugly things
And make
Them
Beautiful
He can make
Them
Beautiful
So beautiful

That when people see the beauty in those lines
In those rhymes
They won’t believe it
They would’ve had to seen it
Been there themselves
Before they can process through their mind
That the majestic splendor
Standing before them
Was nothing more than a piece of junk
Floating about in a landfill
Buried deep in the most disgusting,
Awful pile of garbage

The aroma alone unbearable
And yet
Christ bore it all for me
Embracing me
Mending me
Cleaning me up

I had a horrible mouth
I made sailors look like choirboys
And don’t get me wrong
I still have slip ups
From time to time

But still
I choose to use my gifts
To give back life
And cause the deceased I ran into
To rise

Truthfully
I look around, I listen and hear
And I suspect
I would not be incorrect
To assume I’m the only one
I’m not the only one hiding behind small-minded words

Some are still using them for a shield
Trying to come off as Billy Bad
But toughness is not defined
By one’s ability not to cry
On the contrary
It is crying
Then getting up, pressing on
While continuing to walk resolute
Head held high
There are also those
Who can’t be caught
Grasping at straws
So they pick the ones up
Laying there
On the ground
Because they’re the easiest to reach
Therefore they’re the easiest to use

They have not been taught
A better way
And when in the heat of battle
It is simple
You go
By what you know

Cleaning Out the Attic II

(The following poem is one I wrote for a church event. The theme was “community” so that is where this piece is coming from. What I find amazing is that it was written last year, but it is still relevant to what’s going on today.)

MAKING GARDENS OUT OF CESSPOOLS

Eve,
Eve
What are you doing, Eve?

Just my personal thoughts
On what God
Might have thought
The day Eve listened to the serpent
And ate of forbidden fruit

And Adam,
I wonder what went through his mind
As he stood there watching Eve
He partaking as they devoured
From the very tree
God told them not to touch

And then what they must have said
To themselves
After it was over
After it was all
Said
And done

It’s not enough
It’s never enough for us, is it?

God gave them an entire garden
Filled with plenty of things to eat
With exception to one tree
And yet
We find ourselves unhappy
Until we have it all
Including the things God said
Are off limits

It all brings me to another point

When we see our brothers
And sisters in Christ
Falling away to the temptations of sin
And other things
Why don’t we ever reach out to them?

Too often
We find ourselves saying

Not my problem

Kids shooting up kids
Not my problem
Young girls having multiple abortions
And twice as many sexual partners
Not my problem
Bills going sky high
Crime rate
On the rise
Cities on the brink of destruction
Gangs taking over
Like it’s another world war revolution
People fleeing into boarders
Because there’s no peace in their country

And all the while
Not my problem, not my problem

But when the problem becomes our problem
And the beginning
Of what leads to major issues
Arises
And comes knocking on the door
Staring us down in our faces
We become reactive
When we should have been pro-active
Arguing about
Pro-life or pro-choice
But saints
Last I checked we are supposed to be
Pro-action
All this praying
And we are still nestled comfortably
In our houses
Including myself

Perhaps
It would help
To enter into a classroom
And see what a teacher has to go through these days
No real authority
Just a whole lot of children
And a whole lot of calamities ahead
Miguel and Deshawn have to pass a test
But they can’t even tell you what they just read

Yet again
I hear the whispers
Not my problem, not my problem

Are we no longer our brother’s keeper?
What has happened to us?
Have we all fallen for the lie,
As did I,
That this—
This is all a part of God’s will?
The end is near
So it’s every man for themselves, is that right?
I just wanted to be clear
Just wanted to make sure I understood you

They said
It’s take a village to raise a child
We have more than enough people here
To make ten villages
Yet still
Children are treated like castaways
I don’t care if that kid ends up becoming
Another statistic
It’s what he was meant to be anyway
Long as it’s not my child
What’s the point?
It’s not as if they value anything these days
Let them struggle!
Let them drown!
One less thing to worry about

As if you were all that concerned
Because they were never
YOUR problem
In the first place,
Right?

Have you ever looked at a mugshot
And pondered about that person’s childhood?
How they grew up,
What their life was like,
And how on earth they got there?

I have

Then I think about all those kids I wrote off
When I subbed for them
When I brushed by them in passing
Before then
I thought
Lord,
My child will not be like this
I refuse!
I know because I’ll raise my child right

Assuming that their parent
Or parents
Were not doing
The best they could

I assumed that

And now after all that pondering
I’m not so sure
What to think
Anymore
But as for my name
Being on the list of people
Who gave up on those kids
Well
It has not been completely removed

I wonder
Have you ever
Saw a homeless man
Or woman
And became curious about their life?
I couldn’t possibly fathom
What it would mean
To never know
What a warm bed and a hot meal
Is like
To never experience
The enjoyment of basic necessities
Such as
Brushing your teeth
Combing and washing your hair
Taking a shower
Wearing clean clothes
And being able
To wash the ones you dirtied up

I saw a woman walking
And another with a male companion
And I asked myself
Do you suppose that they were always homeless?
I wonder what led to them ending up here
Sleeping under overpasses
And panhandling for change?

Do you think
They will ever get to have
A home of their own
Or will it always be this way?

I wonder if they’ve eaten anything today?

I do a lot of thinking
And pondering as you can tell
But I have yet to reach into my pocket
Or a cupboard
And give them some assistance

We pat ourselves on the back
On Thanksgiving and Christmas
When we donate to the food drives
We clap for ourselves
When we gather up and give away
But people eat more than twice a year
I’m not saying you should make it your ministry
But
God did say
The poor you will have with you always
So
Where is your generosity then?
Where is your generosity
When mothers are sleeping on the street
With their young children
Because the shelter was too full
And couldn’t afford to take anymore in?

I could ask you many things
But I’d have to ask myself the same questions

A house divided against itself
Cannot stand

If we are a body
A community of foot soldiers for the Lord
The we ought to be shaking
And moving this place
Yet nothing is being done
Everyone wants to be
Left alone
I don’t have time
To bother with other people’s problems, we say,
I’ve got my own

And that seems to be
The biggest problem of all
It’s never our problem
Until we believe it became ours
When really and truly
It was ours all along

We pray the same prayers
And sing the same songs
But change won’t come
Until we take up our crosses
Until we are ready
To bear arms in the Lord
And fight for what’s right
And take back what was given to us
Our children
Our peace
Our lives
Our sanctuaries
Our salvation
Our homes
Our people
All our people

Community
Coming together as one
But if we remain divided
We shall all fall
And burn with the rest of them
Blood is on all of our hands
And we will be held accountable for that
Don’t think that you won’t

Don’t you dare make that mistake

It’s time to take up our cross, church
And walk

God spoke the world into existence
Where there was nothing but void
And darkness
He brought forth light

Surely,
Surely you must believe
That the same God
Who created all of this
Is more than capable
Of turning this cesspool of wayward strangers
Into a beautiful garden
Of choice people
Made for His glory?

Let me remind you
He is more than able
And though Satan wrecks havoc
God’s desire
Is not to see His children perish
In the fire
What He desires
Is a garden
Of flowers
Radiant and exquisite
In holy-filled beauty
From inside-out

He gave us the tools
Said go
One plants
One waters
And I will increase

But there will be no increase
If our will to hope
For a better tomorrow
Has ceased

Do not fear
For God is with you
Now go
And do the work that God has given you
Do the work, o’ ye children
Go
And do the work, carry out the mission

See how God will fulfill the vision