Monday, July 13, 2015

bourbon tinted sunrise

morning sweat
earned by dreams that carry the soundtrack
of the sizzle that 7th Avenue South has
when the summer sun hits it just right

carry an undertone
Himalayan pink salt and burnished vanilla
and bourbon born of honey and long whispers
around mountain tops

there's no burn present as the eyes open
which makes the thought of her
easy to taste but dangerous to drink deeply

without her giving you more

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

honor your wounds.

we tend to walk around these days under the impression that we're
being 'real' or being fully explanatory. when all it can be at times,
really, is another way of covering up. and make no mistake, we've all
done it at one point or another. a couple of recent interactions online
that i've had with folks have brought that point home. even the more
equipped among us to deal with this stuff will fall into the trap of
hiding your wounds instead of honoring them. you read that right.

honor your wounds.

if you've been reading this blog, you know that to a certain degree,
i've been sharing more about myself. not just the poetry and prose
that puts me and my thoughts in a rosy light. i'm at the point where
i have begun to view myself in totality. i'm not looking only at the
regrets, or the triumphs. i'm looking back over everything. to quote
Kanye West, 'everything i'm not made me everything i am.' and that
includes the scars.

honor your wounds.

the greatest fallacy one can entertain is that of believing that
their joys and successes can come without hardship or the deep
acknowledgment of it. people can't enjoy the mountaintop without
respecting the climb. no matter what it is. when i went through my
downward spiral, i was stuck in remembering the mistakes i made,
the words i cast out in anger and hurt and all of those things
said and done to me. and my own self-inflicted wounds. i focused
more on that, than anything else. i chose to obsess over them,
rather than take them for what they were: battle wounds. anyone
who is going to fight the good fight, and fight well to be well
and help others be well, is going to obtain quite a few of them.
honor those scars. respect the fact that you have them. and that
they've made you wise, even if you wish you were never in a position
to get them in the first place.

honor your wounds.

i'm not saying that one should dwell on their scars heavily - too
much of that, like anything, leads you away from the true purpose
of things. and it also blinds you to the power that you have to avoid
gaining more scars than you need to. for some of us, that's a difficult
thing to do. we've gotten too accustomed to playing up our cynicisms,
being snarky in the guise of 'truth telling'. making statements like
'f*** my life' when we really don't want that to happen. and all that
does is band us together on flimsy pretenses that melt away like
toppled ice cream cones on a summer sidewalk when things get real.
respect and understand how you got your scars, but never let them
have the power of negativity and impeding your progress and vision.

honor your wounds.

even if they hurt still. even if they keep you up at night. honor them,
then keep moving forward. because as horrid as they may be, as
hurtful as they may have been, they are now a part of you. they are,
as Rumi says, the portals to which light can enter more freely into
you. honor your wounds so that the light can burn away the anguish
and reluctance.

as always, thank you for reading and being attentive. until
the next time, walk good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

open hydrant

this is what
love can look like
in the frame of a New York summer;
bare shoulders and tender calves
that a sundress allows you to kiss,
air so warm and thick
like molasses with rock salt.
piragua carts and Mister Softee
add to the day's mixtape
out of souped up cars
as folks stew on sidewalks and street corners.
paper plates spotted with oil
from a slice
and that open hydrant
that keeps on flowing
just like young hearts do
waiting for that evening breeze.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

gentle kindling

let your fingers
be kindling
moist, brown and offering
to feed the inferno that spirals within
and if you somehow see fit
to give that inferno my name
may your fingers stoke the flame
and teach it to pronounce each syllable
to your liking
until we are with each other again

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

january 8th, 2014.

you know that old saying, 'things that go bump in
the night?'

on this night, it was the shadowy beckoning many of
us dread, that went bump at my bedside.

there's a few who know this story, the chosen few who
have by merit of their own character and their love and
care for me who know this story in full. i have made
mention of it here and there. it's wild to even say now,
but on this night of january 8th, 2014 around 2 A.M., i came
as close to death as i have ever been. it's surreal to
type the words out and look at them on a screen. but the
truth is the truth. thanks to the combination of a full
holiday season of food and drink, doing a lot of prepping
and other work, a ton of writing work and dealing with
shoveling for hours due to a massive snowstorm all while
sick, i was found to have dangerously high blood pressure
levels. stroke-level high. it had persisted from early
on in the week. i had actually stayed up all night to
get over the queasiness i felt. but when i took my own
pressure readings and saw it, i was shocked. i went to
my doctor bright and early the next morning. the look
on his face said it all. concern. he asked me about my
routine. then he put me on bedrest for the entirety of
the next week. so for those of you reading this who were
not able to contact me then, that's why.

i was slightly numb. it didn't fully hit me until my
sisters came by to see how i was. after their visit, i
went upstairs...and i broke down. bawling. straight up
uncontrollable sobbing. then, i looked at myself in the
bathroom mirror in silence. right there, i told myself
that i had to not only get well, but declare that i
WILL be well all the way around. for me, first. then for
my family and loved ones. because i realized then that i
was picking myself up on the fly, trying to give to others
and please others but i had slacked off on my own process
of self-care. i had actually subtracted from it by way of
stress, of being the one to get things done, by being the
one to be clear. at that point, i realized that being
well wasn't simply about saying i would be. it was, and is
a daily process. i had dealt with the deaths of loved ones,
some tragic. i had dealt with the hurts of unrequited and
confused love. i had dealt with the thousand and one cuts
of racism that i internalized for years in workplaces.
dealt with disappointments. being a disappointment to some.
and all of that, i thought i had cut out of me. but like
anything else in this universe, it can - and does grow

so from that point, i had to tell myself that i had to be
better about my diet, the crazy hours of eating, the high
amounts of stress and dealing with certain people's own
issues. that's why my contact with some folks has dwindled.
i had to distance myself from their toxicity through heavy
complaining, had to distance myself from their digital
posturing to hide their own issues, to distance myself from
their own gaslighting methods to make themselves whole. had
to distance myself from the overly self-centered. not naming
names, if said people read this. (i do invite them to get at
me to talk about it if they felt a way. no subtweeting or
passive-aggressiveness though, chill with that mess.) i
also had to be real with some of the folks who i cherish
about my connection with them. because i knew that i'd need
their support and not in a flaky sense. thankfully on the
whole, i've received so much love and blessings that it has
totally bolstered me. and i continue to. i've also sadly
had to let one or two people go who just didn't get it,
whether they wanted to or weren't able to. there was no real
malice in it.

i speak often about self-care because we are in a time where
selfies are popular, but self-care is less so. it involves
a lot of accountability. some hard truths. lessons that you
think you've learned, but come with new twists. sometimes,
you've gotta be an asshole. if only to hold your corner. i've
had to do that with a couple of people, and explain why after
the fact. i'm grateful they understood. i'm not writing this
to be in the position of sanctified poetic guru, even if i do
have the goatee for it. i'm just a Black man who is working
to make his excellence last and to do the best he can for
himself and his people. but i had to admit that i was my own
agent of sabotage.

over a year later, i see the difference. i've dropped a bit
of weight. i take the opportunity for long walks for clarity
and health. been better about the bonds with my people, even
in the strained moments. and i've been fairly cautious about
who i let in now. even the most well-intentioned can accidentally
poison your garden simply by being there too long enough with
their bullshit. all of the previous essays you may have read
on here, they have a purpose. there's so much that drains us,
erodes us before our time. and we have to fight it, if we are
to live and be well no matter the path we have to take to get
there. as scared as i was with that bump in the night, i'm
glad i heard it. I'M GLAD I HEARD IT. because it helped me to
get to this point now. and i know there's more sunrises and
sunsets to be thankful for where that bump in the night will
be a longer way off.

as always, thank you for reading. walk good, good people.

Monday, April 20, 2015

NaPoWriMo 1/30: Black lives and sakura dreams

like cherry blossoms
our lives are viewed, lauded
then forgotten and cast aside
decorations for the devious and decadent
and stolen
no matter the season

would that we could all have the protection
and reverence sakura trees enjoy
once they bloom
for the delight of the world
and be valued

but our bloodshed seems to delight more than the petals

Thursday, April 16, 2015

finding your own wave

greetings good people...halfway through National Poetry Month
and while i'd like to say i've been toiling away at the keyboard
or dutifully jotting down stuff in my journals, the truth of it
all is, i haven't. at least, not as much as i'd like to. and i'm
okay with it. why? in an era where everything and everyone is all
about maximizing productivity and creativity, i've found my own
point on that ocean and i'm letting it take me where i need to.

artists, and other people, often get pulled every which way. you
think it's of your own doing, but the reality of it is, there are
moments where you convince yourself that you're CHOOSING to go these
places rather than not realizing that you're simply resigning yourself
to go there because you didn't prepare your body & spirit for that
space where you could choose. think about it - you can always tell
who's doing something for reasons not their own. the crafty among
us, the devious - they know how to get people in this frame of mind
to move to their whim. some of these folks get by just on this alone.
and if you're caught up in their mix, you're tossed about from wave
to wave on the ocean of their ultimate indifference. now, i'm not
an expert, but i do know that THAT but once you
make the decided choice to build a process that helps you at least
get that space, you won't be prey to their whims or your own feelings
of being unable to find your own way.

finding your own wave may sound like some bookstore New Age truism
meant only for desktop knick-knacks, but think about it for a sec.
the feeling you get if you've ever been atop a wave out at the beach,
and the sky is brilliant with sunlight, to where you feel it sear
your skin gently. the breeze, nudging you slightly here and there.
the feeling of floating aimlessly, uncertainty sinking away as you
go calm. THAT feeling is power. knowing that even at the brink of
things moving away, you can swim where you need to before things
get really bad. but only if you have that space to recognize your
freedom. and sometimes, that freedom means that you don't have to
go where others want you to. hell, you don't have to GO, period.
now that doesn't mean that you exercise this as a way to hurt or
be a jerk. (unless that's just your personality, which makes me
question why you're checking this blog in the first place.) but it
is a way to maintain and cultivate all that you're meant to be.

i found my wave and it's been a remarkable thing for me to ride the
crest and see just how far i can really travel. i hope you'll be
doing the same if you're not already, and for those trying to get will.

until the next time...walk good.