Shulamite

There are things in my mind that no one except I can see. Those things, demons, grotesque that taunt me. I hear them coming closer, but I’ll fuck them up. They want to destroy me. I, so ashamed of my age, only a drunk and you there in your profession and you have this tone to your voice. I let you in my home. I am offended. Look at me a Black woman, you must think, reduced to this just a drunk, that’s what I say. I have missed out on so many things. Alcohol is not the problem. I am the problem. I have great grand babies I have not met. And my son who died would have been almost 40, yes. The one who lives doesn’t know how I am here. I had an aunt who raised Pothos plants, and the vines would grow across the top of her windows. Yes, those are it. Look at those leaves, simply beautiful and mottled just like me. I should get one. They are sturdy, they could put up with me. I look down a lot, don’t I? Oh now, I’ve started crying like a fool. I’m old, I weep sporadically. You asked if I had drink today. Can you smell the alcohol? Let me excuse myself, I’ll be right back, have you seen my matches? Why are you here? You’re a lovely little thing and I am little too, but I belong to those who dwell by the back alley. The state grants me this nice room and they’ve not yet plucked the thorns from my soul buried into to me deeply by these streets. Are you the thorn plucker? Be careful how you weed this sickness from me. I might not be able to stop bleeding. I will be fine. Your eyes are a strange color. You wouldn’t be the devil coming to take me? I resent your calm and your character, your understatement, and your concern for me. Do I speak like you thought I would? Are you surprised at my poise? Of course, you’re not. You are one who knows better. Alas, I don’t feel like a statistic with you. Have you guessed that I too have read Baldwin and Joyce? And here we are together with those demons of mine in the corners. I can see through the pieces of my heart at the pit of my belly that your heart is breaking for me. You do not see a Black woman at all do you? You, in your profession and your sterile words and your tone, you see me, don’t you? My daddy used to call me Jasper, his baby girl with ashy feet.

America today

America today i don’t want to fight it’s the birth of the dream that you are a torch in the dark

America today i want to make peace and not scream silently in my face in the morning while i brush my teeth

America today i gift you my childhood memories of strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone and slides and swings

America do you remember the fire works show and the flowers in my mother’s hair and my daddy drinking Michelob with his buddies

America when i sobbed at the age of nine over a missing teddy bear Carol and Alice and Lucy and Ethel made me smile

America i will forever love the apple pie and today i will set aside the agent orange sickness that killed my friends’ pas’

America lets celebrate those dreams and the tamales in the street that taste so good to me served with a whopping side of immigrant brown eyed love

America today the news won’t bother me let’s just sit on the front porch and watch the parade

America today i won’t worry about the mess i made of my life or fight with the powers that be

America today i want to celebrate what i have the lessons i have gleaned and the instances you’ve reached out and made me feel free

Daniels and lions

i like to see the people in the park under strawberry moon
in Pershing Square a silent film extraordinaire
they sift through refuse cans filled with Starbucks cups and the ever elusive recyclable water bottle
they work through their children’s play dates daddies selling crystal meth to pay a debt to a society that castrated them at birth
or take for instance the widowed diabetic arthritic hunched over Latina grandmother selling chips and Gatorade while watching her grandchildren who were orphaned at an early age because the sweatshop took their mother at 50 cents an hour to pay to pay to pay
the cloister of the lost waifs from mid west America find themselves now staring at the sun crusted over in sweat and cum fentanyl albatross around their neck wishing they had listened to momma
we are here together alone toiling exposed perfectly harmoniously in despair survival but standing
we are here clinging with bare hand to eternal waking time
we are Daniels and lions all

there are

there are new cracks on the pavement caused by time strain and cheap materials there are old expressions on faces caused by time strain and indifference there are old buildings with new structural injuries caused by burning crack pipes violence and human defecation there are new leaders with bad intentions fueled by greed narcissism and ignorance