this thought came to me a little while
ago while having a conversation about
expectations this week...
maybe to some level, placing over-sized
expectations on people is akin to trying
to hang an unfinished moon in the sky.
it looks lovely, but there is no love for
the origins of it, and there's a bit of
restlessness and impatience wanting it to
be better. we do that to each other all
the time in one form or another. and it
causes a lot of pain. more than we need
to add on in the first place.
think about it. how many times have you
wanted someone to be a storybook romance,
or to remain an easygoing, cool person?
how many times have you done or said
something to that person because they
weren't being who you wanted them to be?
and doing this in spite of the fact that
people are who they are and change how
their life needs them to, not because of
your narcissistic whims? yeah. we have
all been there. and that in essence lies
at the heart of a lot of the sickness in
society. we act and think a certain way,
and while we have come to the conclusion
that people know better, they don't act
or demonstrate that they do. and while we
should accept that, more often than not
we don't. and that non-acceptance causes
a lot of issues.
lately i have come to one or two people
in my life and atoned for placing heavy
expectations on them. i did that to them
because i let myself lose sight of the
balance needed to view the best of people
without having myself do things and interact
with the expectation of reciprocity to
match or exceed my own interaction. it
takes a good deal to remember that balance.
you can get thrown off by the demons of
ego, lust, greed and others. that balance
being thrown off isn't because your intent
is dishonest or evil all the time. it's
because intent gets tossed aside like a
bit of dirty tissues because the demons
i just mentioned make you get too caught
up in yourself and what you want, at the
expense of that other person or other people.
so when i made my apologies, it was me
being aware that my behavior had changed
towards them and could have made them feel
a way about me that wasn't my intention.
we can't forget that people respond to
whatever we give them. and these responses
may differ but the genuine ones always can
we have to let people be, and we have to
let ourselves be grown enough to accept that.
it's silly to want people to be your everything
all at once when YOU may not even be your
own everything or are moving towards it.
doing that puts them in a prison. a prison
of artificial love and understanding, just
like putting aspartarme in coffee and calling
it sugar. what you don't realize is, you're
in that prison too. a warder is as much a
captive as the prisoner is, sometimes more
so. you don't get to enjoy the greatness
of people that way. and those actions of
heavy expectations are nothing more than a
mirror to your own being. so, i'll ask you
this: don't you have an appreciation for the
moon in all of its phases? don't you have a
great love for who you are and what you've
gone through to be at this point in your
life? if the answer to both questions is
yes, then release yourself from the burden
of placing such heavy burdens on others.
life is much lighter that way.
*inspired by a poem by Sylvia Plath, to all
the women with fire*
there are few poems
for the women who wield fire
as a weapon of crowning glory
over the ills set before them,
left for the women with hair
of volcanic red,
to match hells with no water.
bequeathed beacons burning away
everything imposed like a rocket piercing space,
removing all of those impurities
that cloak themselves in noble things
and like thieves before the crime
shed them briskly
to wage war upon bodies and spirits.
rising to eat men and myths
like so much oxygen,
suffocating the insufferable
leaving dry bones in their wake
whetting their palates with song
and love that is as free as a baby's laugh
or when truth shows up for dinner
who let fire flow as their crown
will live their own poetry
with unburdened hearts providing a sound.
i've wanted you
at the moment of overflow
filled past cool indifference
you thought would hold you back
resolve trembling slightly
like china cups and the breadth of
tender and sturdy shores
that are your hips.
wanted you coursing
past teeth that have gnawed
on shyness and fear
that chafes at your desire
like humidity does to an August night
and yes, i'd delight in that heat
you've been simmering with
since we last embraced
i've wanted you
to find your echoes in my blood
make them boudoir garments
as you made your way finally and fearlessly
to the bedchambers laid golden in me
i've wanted you
to declare your heart for me
boldly like fire within the first sip of java
but will you still feign sleep?
i sit waiting
but the conversation of a ceiling fan
to keep me cool
as you shower nearby
a weaker man
would be jealous
of the steady jazz made
with warm water as knowing fingers
and your body a nubile saxophone
i sit waiting
hearing cast off cat-calls
from old heads at the corner store
waiting for the creak of the door
the wafting scent of shea and lilac
the whisper of your hips beneath the towel
as you walk to the bed
hum Nina as you pick silk to slip into
and Harlem for a minute falls silent
a lonely flea market
framed in the bloodshot eyes
of a hustler who lost his gait
asking me for the time
leaning on a cane
listing like his ship sank
in a bottle of cognac
(i still checked my wallet after)
that makes the day swim under high sun,
could be nothing else
but the scent from your neck
rich with green grass vapors and orange pekoe
brought to boil with a stare.
as the afternoon sways
much like the latitude of your hips
full and fleshly like guanabana before first bite,
i picture your hands weaving with light
bringing out gentle words with sweat
that pales in sweetness next to a waiting smile.
been a while since i composed my thoughts in this
manner, so here goes:
one thing that's weighed on my mind for a bit is,
the idea of serving notice. not exactly like the
Bone Thugs & Harmony track, but just about. when
i say 'serving notice', i'm talking about letting
people know that they won't have the same weight
in your world like they used to. cutting them off
before they drain you.
there's some people who you'll be cool with. and
for them, cool equals 'we're going to be in this
same head, no change, and you can't change.' and
that's a trap, because people grow. they grow out
of things as easily as they grow into them. yet
we can't comprehend that for some reason. that same
principle applies to people. there's one or two
people who you used to roll everywhere with. down
homies. but they may have been a bit TOO down.
they might have a need to get sloppy drunk at damn
near everything. they might get too wild to the
point of being potential 'Maury' candidates. and
you may find yourself wanting to do new things.
or you have different hours on your job and can't
rock like that anymore. the real down folks will
understand and let you cook. the ones who'll ask
you to burn the midnight oil and your kitchen in
the process. THOSE are the ones you gotta serve
notice to. this also applies to love interests and
crushes. you know the ones, those that like you
just to cover their self-esteem or make you a
placeholder until someone else comes along. and
this even goes for those casual acquaintances who
wanna claim a lifelong bond but don't pick up
their part of the check and see what happens or
some other trifling moment.
i say this because, you have to treat yourself
and your life the best way possible as we get on
in years. my past has had its share of these types,
as i'm sure yours has. and this is a lesson that
one has to learn and enact without any real ego.
that's the difference. one can be honest without
being a straight up dick. but there are those who
are just about avenging themselves to the point
that they will be that. and the message you're
trying to convey gets lost in that. when you're
ready to serve notice to someone, they should
have an idea why this is going down. they should
understand this isn't an easy decision. they also
should know that you're doing this for you, but
you hope they can learn and move forward. now,
there's those that just will cut someone off. i
say, do your thing. if that situation has become
drastic to the point where someone was looking at
silver cuffs, lost a bundle, or something worse?
then by all means, do that with deliberate speed.
anything else, use your judgment. because it's
not about being the bigger or better person, it's
because the elimination of stress will allow you
to have bigger and better situations. and isn't
that what we all strive for in life?
i wish your hugs
were more like
fine threaded fisherman's nets
instead of broken bamboo cages
if only because
i'm fearful that every loving thought
that sings your name in the clear morning
will see fit to fly off
leaving me empty
at the mention of your name.
soft core during
hard hours found past midnight
set within perriwinkle television lighting
when afternoon light catches her
moving like old flip comic books
i loved when i was small.
i swear her hips
were born to rival an upright bass
and lay me low
crossing the room,
and if i keep quiet
i can hear her breathing
along my heartstrings.
as tour buses roll through
the veins of the boogie-down
just how much
these people paid
to see bogeymen in hoodies and Timberlands?
would their snapshots
be on shared cloud services of disdain
would they clamor
for souvenirs in the form
of weather-beaten wooden rosaries,
EBT cards and Yankees fitted caps?
would they be scoping out
for new adventures in what they'd call
when we all got sick enough
to view the streets of the downtrodden
as a vacation;
it's bad enough
there's areas where folks make their homes
treated like lab experiments
there is the search
to love you past adjectives
at bent angles in pauses pregnant
that we fight
from coming to full term
with small talk and coffee.
a need that lives
to see the morning
you stop using social glyphs
to hide what you want to say to me
and the hurt
you still cradle
gifted by past lovers.
we get up
like tags on walls
kaleidoscope krylon voices
but never put our feelings
for one another on display
waiting for walls bigger
than unspoken fears.
as shackles around ankles
spotted with years,
and her muslin coat
matches the arms of the Hudson
two blocks ahead.
her hair is now daylight's cotton
framing a face once besotted with smiles
this is how one walks
when goodbye is the final word,
but she still comes here
amidst car horns and traffic.
this tangled iron garden
that resembles what time has made
of her heart
is where she goes for peace
and a lunch with the sun.
she sits among gladiolas
lets gold seep into the lines her skin bears
stretches her arms, palms outward
and with a laugh
lets time she's lost come back to take rust
away from her in this tangled iron garden.
have left me cold stones
with two in the morning tears,
asking me to dine with you
my mind's teeth are still sore
from the kick unseen.
must be the last days
a pair of broken shears
meant to cut away your misery must feel,
the reluctant crackle
one finds in campfires
and corner store cigarettes
that sudden snap between us.
is the merlot of minutes
made of seedless grapes
and stolen kisses,
yet nothing else
will help me deliver these stones
i only hope old happiness renewed
becomes the aftertaste.
next time a poverty pimp says
'power to the people!',
ask them how much their light bill is.
they've ever had to walk 2 miles
to a supermarket,
or play other hunger games like
'do i eat or do my children eat?'
when one of them says
'power to the people!'
ask them about computers
being sent overseas
but very few found in schools
once you get past Whitlock Avenue.
ask them why
they cut their check
on the broken bones
and broken bonds of your blocks,
covering your eyes with slogans
so you can't see those poor souls
who truly are there to help.
when a poverty pimp
who cares more about their tab
and how fly they look protesting
in designer jeans tells you,
'power to the people'...
there are those
bearing within them
palaces of the mind
besotted with grit and disrepair
walls rubbed raw
because the afternoon sunlight of others
can be cruel
as it is kind
they run memories
on injured projection screens
but fear melts them
like flames and celluloid
so all that is left is a maddening whirr
that translates into ordinary pain
that makes everyone villains
who look to enter their spirit
and find a seat to stay
the price of admission
is knowing how to collect their broken windowpanes
and piece them together
it is letting your words and deeds
add lasting coats to cover the bruises
of their pageantry soiled by those who left
the price of admission
to these ruined palaces of the heart someone owns
is of course, love.