Bursting (Poem)

BURSTING

Distractions
Lackadaisical laziness
Idleness
I can feel the disonance all around
—me

It’s all a diversion specifically intended
For me to ignore
And not speak about
How I feel
And how I’m feeling right now
Such as the seething anger I wake up
—to
Filling every crevasse of my heart
Almost every part of me
Is soaked in it
And right now
Between holding back the tears
And extinguishing my own pride
I am overcome with bitterness

The angry Black woman
That’s the stereotype
The label that no one wants
But especially a woman of color
Especially one who’s Black
I mean
Why on earth would she?
Who wants to labeled as the one
Who’s always contentious
Looking for a fight
And one with whom
You can never have a peaceable
—conversation with

But the more I think about it…
Is being Black
And being angry
Really so bad?

Let’s talk about it for a second
Let’s discuss why that is
That she IS…
Angry
Tormented by the stipulations
That she cannot show remorse
Or pain
The world will think she’s too weak
She cannot show
That she IS…
Upset
“You’re bitter.”
“You’ve got heart issues.”
“You’ve got daddy issues.”
“You’ve got drama for days…!”

MY GOD…would that not make you
Just a tad bit upset?
Would not those things not make you
Feel some type of way?
They are certainly not the sort of stuff
To put a smile on your face
This I can assure
It hurts
And it hurts even more
To have to paint an ugly, yet radiant,
Smile on our face

I have had
To paint
An ugly and yet beautiful
Smile on my face
I bottle it all inside
The rage brewing deep within me
The urge to go off
On someone
Who lacks compassion
And understanding

Like when you tell them,
“Oh, I know I’m African American,
But I’ve never felt like an African American,
You know?
I am treated and made to feel
Like a second-class citizen
In my own home.
In my own home I am a foreigner,
And though I cheer on
The stars and stripes
On olympic game day,
When it’s all over
The fact remains
That I will constantly be told
To go back to Africa where I came from
By people
Who don’t even know where they
—originated
Because they’ve been here so long
They think they were the REAL
Native Americans.
No…
I am an African American,
And yet…
I have never felt American enough.”

Or when you say things like,
“I know I’m Black,
But I don’t think my race agrees with me.
I’ve been labeled as other
By many of my own people
So many times
That I started cracking jokes
About this fair skin of mine.
Figured I’d beat them to the punch.
Might as well, right?
But then again,
I live in a country
Where someone thought
I HAD to be Mexican
Because how else could I have gotten
All those A’s in Spanish?”

And no…they weren’t Black…

And geeze…
Don’t ever tell them that you’ve
—wondered
What life would’ve been like
Had you been born a different pigment
Or ethnicity…

They never understand…
Except for those who do.

And they’re not always people of
—color
But Lord how I wish the numbers were
—larger

I’ll erase you and your culture
I’ll take away every trace of you
I’ll rewrite history
And I’ll make it seem
As though you never even existed
Because who said anything
About those chains?
I’ll get rid of your schools
The one’s historically built
To keep you out of ours

Just to protect
Our dirty, nasty little secret
I’ll eradicate everything that makes
—you
You
And then I’ll proceed
To to TELL you who you are

You are nothing
You are worthless
Black, gummy tar
Disposable
Worse than the black plague
You’re a plague and a disease
You’ve served your purpose
And you’ve been quite entertaining
But we don’t need you here
Anymore
Go back to your own country
Where you belong

Oh yes…
I most certainly want to tell those
—people,
“Sure.
You first.”

There is a lot of hurt in this body of mine
There is a lot of brokenness inside

I am literally being cut alive
Sharp pieces slicing and dicing
And you want to tell me
That THAT makes me…a statistical,
Typical
Overly common human being?
No, a stigma and an eyesore
While I bleed out internally
Because according to the curse of
—this skin of mine
I am not even human
I am a mistake to you…

Well,
That’s fine
If you feel that way
But
My Word says
That God created everything
In this earth
That is nothing more
Than a temporary residence for me
And He created me
To be EXACTLY
The way He made me
I am not a curse
I am beyond blessed
And I am a woman,
And I am Black,
And I am African American
And you know something…?

The more I think about it,
The more I’m fine with that

The things I have experienced
Living here
In the land of opportunities
Opportunities that my people
Still
Have to fight for
Just to maintain the right
To have them
Yes,
Those experiences have caused
Some resentment
However
They have made me strong
And in recognizing this
I can begin the process of healing
And letting go

I may feel like I’m not
“Really American”
And like this place I call home
Will never be my home
But then again
It was never my home anyway
This is not my final destination
My place is with my Lord and Savior
King Jesus
Who sits before the throne

Because even in the midst of the evil
That my eyes
And all the eyes before me
Have ever witnessed
We are still here
We are still breathing
Seasons come and they go
For a reason
And you believe in what you believe in

I will continue to hope
Because I am maybe Black and angry
An angry Black woman indeed
But I still have my faith
And the hope to know
And believe

Better things are coming
And with it
A better and powerful me

Get ready

 

(In)dependence

tired_tim-baker

Artwork “Tired” by Tim Baker

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 KJV)

We came crawling to the altar pleading, begging, God for help. A cry birthed from the desperation for change, tormented souls knowing that change was in order and we needed it ever so badly… So all that considered, why is it that we get so far in Christ and suddenly think we don’t need Him anymore? The flesh rises up, our pride gets in the way because we’ve been saved so long that it almost seems needless to go asking Him for help. Then again, why would we? We’re not that same weak, pitiful scrawl of existence that came to Him before. We’re stronger now; we can handle things all on our own.

But that’s just it…we CAN’T. We can’t handle it by ourselves, we never could. It’s what got us to such a lowly state in the first place. We were never strong enough; it was always Him, always Jesus, bearing and shouldering all the weight from all the burdens we placed on ourselves…

And when He reaches out to try and take it away, we dare to snarl at Him like wild dogs. Insisting that He stay back.

Because…because we can’t stand to be reminded we’re not the mighty superhero with the cape. We’re not the ones in control, but yet we have the choice.

So why not choose freedom?

Continue reading

New Year, New Poem

ekg-flatline

SHALLOW BREATHS

I said I loved writing so much
That to tell me to stop doing it
Was as if to order me
To stop breathing altogether

I stopped breathing

I stopped doing everything
For quite awhile, in fact
But the pain that comes from
—the loss of life
Keeps bringing me back

I want to continue
So consider this my second try
At many first attempts
To take in oxygen

Inhale
Exhale
Let it all out
Then take it all back in
Again

What do you do, I asked God,
When your book’s not selling?
God,
What do I do
When the book won’t sell
And it seems as if
Everything I write
Goes unread
And I am told
To remember the real reason
For why I write to begin with

This passion seems to be dead
Because I used to be all self-righteous

“I do it all for the art! The craft!”

No, in reality, you really did it
For the money

“I do it for the love of it!”

Nah bruh,
You really did it for the money though

And when the money doesn’t seem
To be coming in
The passion dies
Because your heart wasn’t where
It was supposed to be
In the first place
So…Lord,
What do I do?
What do I do with all of this?

I thought it was to show people
—up
To prove to them that I could make it
I believed it was to pursue this
Unrelenting, endless drive
To show that I was so talented
I could make bankrolls
On top of bankrolls
Doing precisely what I loved to do
I thought it was to see my published
—works of art
Be played out across movie screens
Become a television series
All while sitting pretty for cameos
And interviews
Signings…

And other ridiculously useless garbage

I was dealing with my own pain
And I couldn’t write about it
I was seeing and experiencing
So many things
And could not find the energy
Nor the strength
To put it all down on paper
One time
Total function of my hands
But I turned into a paraplegic

Although to be honest
I think I became happy
With being miserable
I was starting to enjoy
All that misery and grief
Eating away at me
Eating me alive
Corroding me from the inside
Slowly
Like an acid

My sadness, my pain and my tears
They became my new passion

Then
I got another one of those
Reminders

She had just lost her grandfather
And I felt all the things
I had been keeping to myself
Begin to bubble up inside

I was reminded
Of a little girl’s desire
Before she even thought to dream

All she ever wanted
Was to be heard
Writing books
Performing for mass audiences
Reciting pieces, that yes, she had
—written herself

All those things didn’t matter
She just needed someone to listen

And what was most important
Was that she wanted other people
—to know

She was listening, too

Time goes on
And several years have passed since then
And as those emotions
Bubbled over
I began to recall
The real reason
For why anyone does this
Why it is that I do what I do

To sympathize with broken hearts
To lend my empathy
And an ear to those
Who feel as though their lives have
—been shattered
To lend a shoulder
And a hand
When there is no one to comfort
—them
To remind them all and all of those
—that I am there
When they feel
As if they don’t have a friend
As if…they are all alone

Because I remember those things
And I know it all too well

To give them hope
When they begin to think
That life simply is just not
Worth living
And to know
That I will never
Ever
Get tired of listening
Even
When I’m tired of listening
Because
I’ve been there

I think it is also
The primary reason
For why I listen so much
And talk so little
People need to know and feel
That they are heard
And be assured they are loved

And that is what Jesus
Has been trying to show me
All along

30-something odd letter poems later
Hundreds of works down the road
And finally
I’m starting to get it now
It’s all beginning to clear up

Focus on the hearts
Listen with your ears
And jot it all down
With that Almighty Pen
Let God flow through you
He’ll always show you
Where to start

I am hurting right now
But I still have a mission ahead of me
I posed the question to myself
Jacqueline
Suppose you had stopped breathing
Way back then
Imagine all the people
You wrote those letter poems to
Who wouldn’t have received
A single word
From the Lord
Imagine all the lives you wouldn’t
—have been able
To touch
Because you stopped focusing
On what was most important
What then?
What do you think would’ve
—happen?

I felt my heart sink
I need a reminder for myself
So I re-read the piece I sent
Two actually
The one I wrote for that young lady
And another I had written
Two years ago for someone else
And as I read them
The tears welled up once more

As I asked myself,
Do you think if people knew
How many tears I poured into this
How many drops were spilled
As I wrote and toiled on some of
—these poems…
Do you think that would make them
—buy the book?
Would they even bother to listen?

In that instant
God reminded me
He had listened
And He was always listening

I may not ever get to experience
What it’s like to be a rich man on earth
But by God
I do declare
I will be a rich woman in heaven
There my Father has many riches
And He will share all the spoils with me
And all those things
That I just thought I needed
Will be the very stuff I walk on
Right under my feet

God listens
And He sees me
He hears me
Even when nobody else does
And I cannot tell you how many times
Jesus has instructed me
To be patient and hold down the line
“Daughter, you’ll be fine.”

(Taking a breath now…)
(This stuff becomes easier,
The more you do it)

It’s almost as if
I never stopped

I am so sorry, everyone
I’m listening now

Please,
Tell me your concerns

And I will share with you
The Word
That God has for you

 

sukuyomi-vari_change-wind

Artist Unknown