Thursday, September 29, 2011

low grade depression

wolves at the door
arrested into a routine of tiny failures nobody notices but me
just enough to terrify
me after all, not safe
after days, not saved
not well, after all

sometimes i think i'm kidding but i seriously do not believe i will ever be happy and it will be strange to be asked over and over again how did this happen to you you were gonna turn that corner didn't you

i could call on someone but i am resolved
to only be what i can make of myself
be it wolf meat if it be

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Artist As A Young Man (Jalen's Poem)

I AM...

I am creative
I wonder about the creator
I hear the world
I see family and friends
I want a good life
I am creative

I pretend to fall asleep to stay up
I feel happy
I need to not fall on my face
I worry about school
I cry about pain
I am creative

I understand the world
I believe in nothing
I dream about fun times
I try to be good in school
I hope I become a BMX rider
I am still creative

Jalen, September 2011
Poem written from prompts (I am, I need, I hope, etc) given my Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Poem for Jalen Fall 2010

A Poem for Jalen

I wonder if yesterday
When the walls tore to thunders and underneath skin
Ghouls ghosts and monsters lurked
If it was all a primer for the silk-sheeted handle
Of the palm of the world
Where you and I sit today

Was the terrible—forever breathless—tumble
And the crying, was it all, just a way to make us
Recognize that the handle of the palm of the world
Would not let us fall any further

Is dark the coming light
Is half full glass the only drink
Is the might of the world right
Is this luck, are we lucky

I wonder if all our yesterdays
Held us up like parachutes
Slightly high above the chaos long enough to land us
In the dead smack middle
Of the palm of the world
Where you and I sit today

May we dwell in this heart together
You and I in the palm of the world

September 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

the 21st century discovers the new negro

the negro is never new
he shudders at red lights impatient
tramples hymns anthems and anthologies
requires synthetic cell complex
industrial contraption to contain him
the negro is never free
his status is never quo

jacobins in 1500 were south american
in 1700 they were haitian
the negro is never french
ask hegel or any algerian

misnomers for the negro abound
“modern” is most apt
for naming the creation in perpetuity
of the fear of contamination
the negro is never pure
of meaning

the literature of voice
the captivity of freedom
the sex of death and violence of love
the martial dance of every man in every woman
the negro is never woman

for deep communion with a god who hates him
the negro alone has seen the promise land
thus the negro is never

the negro’s improbability--
what the twentieth century called “improvisation”--
cannot be digitized
the negro is not innocent until proven
the negro would be art
were art more discerning
the negro is not interrupted
he simply takes a long time to swallow

the negro does not change the world
when he is president
the world changes itself before the unflappable negro
ever on his hustle
leaves the building
(the negro’s gon get right back though)

the negro most likely
got another negro to build those pyramids
while he busied inventing hip-hop
all the negro’s ever been
sea cotton sugar or steel
is a man
the negro is a legend in disbelief

Monday, June 07, 2010

i worry history

can't settle this fight any more than a bridge can forget its shores

destined nations are always compromised in their original promiscuity

it should be totally fine to say mulata in the twenty-first century

nigga however, is a twentieth century hurricane

we have grooved maps of feeling exhausted

circumnavigating our barbed wire brains

but forget it

have another drink dance one other time

just because the first end was prematurely announced doesn't mean history never dies

legitimacy does not worry history

i worry history

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Manica Poem Series #1

it is difficult to talk to our mothers about their mothers

on the anniversaries of deaths

of screaming matches with daughters

fights with sisters

questions about stolen babies


she said that he said while she stood there holding his perfectly pressed suit

I like you too much to let you go

on my arm today and hate that you are there

not that I hate you there but the air tonight

just calls me and i can float

away from this life we made that i hate

not you

rather than weigh me down just wait in tonight

she said she meticulously pulled at the seams of her dress

made especially for this first outing after the second baby born barely after the first one

twice she had taken the seamstress to the three o'clock matinee

to sketch Elizabeth Taylor's dress

bubble skirted boatnecked wasted time

cinching her not post-baby enough bulging stomach

that now went wedding white on the inside

with dread

in the same way that he had spoken

with neat and small cuts

she tried to pass the night

disappearing the dress in vain

with scissors

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dear Jalen In Parallel Universe

March 2009

Dear Jalen,

A few days ago a friend of mine found out she was pregnant. The past few days I've been going through those motions with her, the finding out, the freaking out, the being happy, the being overwhelmed, the being thrilled... She has another child and we've been reveling on how the amazement doesn't fade, it simply returns. It's almost like having known what it all is, knowing for a fact that it is real makes it more, not less amazing.

You are having a lot of trouble at school. It could be so many things. It could be that life's troubles have caught up with you the way they have caught up with me. We're going through a extremely stressful time with your dad but it seems we always do, more or less.

It makes teary to see you struggle--my struggling I take in stride although these past six to eight months I admit, I'm fading fast. I have been struggling harder and, because I am worried about too many things, I can't really sleep. It's incredible how debilitating that can be over time...

I wish I controlled things more and I wish I were perfect and by just my being so, your world was perfect too. I know that you know how much I love you, and I know that you know how much I try. But in life sometimes trying doesn't cut it and things get out of hand. You've been so resilient you know, and right now, you still are--just school's a mess for you and I am really sorry. The only guarantee I have is not a when but a how: some kind of way. I'm going to fix it some kind of way. Promise.

The thing about kids is none of us grown ups really deserve you. The blessing that you guys are, the sheer human perfection of your being is so disproportionate to the petty world we grown ups make--it's amazing yall even show up for us. But you do, and your hearts shine that big light and you let out those big laughs like rainshower on our collective blues. Thank god for you kids, man.

My friend being pregnant reminded me of how you and I started our little story, going now on almost 9 years. You were kind of a fantastic occurence: fully surreal and real at the same time. You were the thing I had no idea how to do and the thing I never spent a day wondering how to do. You just were. And we just were. So it was in the beginning, so it is today.

This letter is just me inventing a parallel universe where I can forego my maternal responsibilities and speak to you frankly in a way that I cannot in real life, because in real life, you're too young for the drama. Maybe there is a place in the universe where the energy if not the specific content of this message reaches your soul and lets you know, hey, this too shall pass. I want you to really really know it will get better, and get strong from this knowing. Like a science-fiction dream vision thing that you wake up from feeling like a superhero. Like Peter Parker waking up from that first spider bite.

Love you,