They End

Bolted upright I ask aloud to a sleeping room

“Is this a dream”

The timbre of my voice weighs down my ears, letting

me know that it’s not

Instinctively I feel for the dip.

Cool. Empty

Tiredness shoves me back into the pillow as if to say,

“Yes it always was but you knew that already”

I pray for answers that won’t come from simply having been asked

I used to pray loudly

out in a pasture where no one but ghosts could witness

now everything’s silent mutterings as I lull myself back

to restlessness

“It’s okay. It was a good dream.

Good dreams get to end.”

 

The Pursuit Of

we real cool

we beat slow

mellow flow hold

the fluidity at a

decibel of a syllable

go

vent

we street meat

in the belly

we brew steady heavy

live accents &

accidents

 

No Dash Needed

I am not   African-American

there’s no dash needed

if anything

I am

a native spook who sat by the door

listening for opportunity,

devout in my non

ever

shifting

identifty

making lemonade.

I am

I am mine & mine only

I am mine & mine only

I am mine & mine only

I am mine & mine only

I am mine & mine only

I am mines & mines only

I am mine & mine only

I am mine & mine only

I am mines & mines only

I am mine & mine only

It’s okay, I won’t let you

fall again.

She held her close

this little piece of herself.

 

Self Evident

It’s not so much the truth that bothers

Truths like lies

can sometimes shift

so whether they’re spat or whispered

they’ll always unfold

It’s the lying that kicks up the brick dust

The you can lie to them, we all do it

We’re all a them to someone

Where honesty hung off the tongue ready to dive

there’s only omission

a clean unwillingness

to break down and be an outright liar

Cowardly, feverish, but ready

my truth will lay in wait in trenches of jowls

Let the world have it

when necessary

when commanded

until then

Fuck’em my shit is self evident

The Hughes

Do men dream in the same way that women do?

Do they cradle a dream to their chest, minding its head as if it’s fragile neck would snap?

Do black men dream big?

Do brown?

Men hold fast to so many things,

But dreams?

Or at least I can’t imagine many of them knowing what it feels like to have a dream

Hold you back

To say,

I will never leave you

No matter how hard the future gets

That we will make it through and survive this thing called life,

Together.

So, deferred, what is it that becomes of them? They build or preach or teach. Men may accept a lesser reality, a shallow dream that isn’t sweet enough to satisfy anyone. A sliver at a time they accept the life they have come to live, and, every once in awhile, learn to silence the hope that builds up in their chest

-excerpt poem from my book in progress called  ‘A Man Deferred’. Let us know what you think!

Stand Off

Behind these great walls

we tumble

painted ladies frame the fences

watch them crumble

their faces

cracked open by time

the wind, breathing in and out

bright bricks fall

they hit us hard

we don’t dodge the drops

we stand steady

yelling each other’s names

numb

loving all the way down

beneath the wreckage

and bone

-A. Long

Manifest Destiny

The headphones drown out the cries of the hungry as the train rages on like a metallic dragon. She is pretty. The homeless chick. Her voice booms even with the music turned up in my ears, leading me to believe she is well practiced in this art.

Come, Time

Come,

time to put away childish things

emotions strewn about the floor

pick em up

shove em into your toy chest

let them rest away

where those who won’t break them

will scoop them up to play

by A. Long

Going Back

I am going back to her

to compare battle scars and sip

double dipped hot chocolate

To rekindle her light

I’m going back to her

yellow princess dresses

black boots, made for stomping

when she was all kinky tresses

To her questions, wonder, and guesses

To when she loved without  prejudice

before any man had come between us