Dedication

i wrote a lil diddy

dedicated to daddy’s nickname

that i got tattooed 

when i was 22

it went like this: i am to soar, evermore, like the eagle above the clouds do 

then i wrapped my skin in wings so i’d always feel free, got a job and two degrees to support a writing habit, see

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So I…

nana died. sometimes daddy isnt here. sometimes i sit so still that i kind of want to be invisible. except Mommy always sees me. so i smile.

im pretty sure no one person should watch this much Buffy in one sitting when my Mom comes in. she peers at my sunken form on the couch. been in relatively the same spot since graduation. i cant afford college though i got in places. i cant hop off to see the world, but i can turn on the tv. im not good enough. i cant leave and move forward. i cant go back to high school. i cant-

enough, she says. she picks up my blanket, muttering in Spanish that you are who you are and you are where you are. then she unceremoniously dumps me on the floor of my future. so i get a job.

we fight about me cutting my hair. we fight about schools. we fight about the dishes and cleaning the bathroom. so i go away.

Ma calls. she’s hurting. she’s busy with the little ones. she’s angry. she needs help. she misses me. so i go home.

my Mother pushes me to write. to create. to paint. to be better. so i get a masters.

sometimes when life’s too stressful and there’s deadlines and i cant finish anything and i shouldnt be a writer and i suck compared to everyone else and im tired–

she hugs me and smiles. so i smile.

 

 

 

when he stopped writing her

the letter always bled for her for her eyes (brown as those old bottles in the medicine cabinet) bleeding words like teardrops yet without spilling onto the green tile floor those words always pure only staining the paper glossy black ink blood like muslin stuck to an old wound those words always strong yet blurred, obscure words only a scholar would find obscene

happy are those who die because they have returned to those first crumbs of dirt that fed us to that first hole to that soft black and smell of coal

-Pablo Picasso

–from “Medusa”

Dammit, Athena, take away my father’s gold. Send me away

to live with lepers. Give me a pimple or two.

But my face. To have men never again be able to gaze

at my face, growing stupid in anticipation

of that first touch, how can any woman live like that?

How will I be able to watch their warm bodies

turn to rock when their only sin was desiring me?

All they want is to see me sweat. They just want

to touch my face and run their fingers through my…

my hair

is it moving?

By Patricia Smith

The Floor

knees search for the carpet

amidst the tornado from the bed to the couch

we hit it hard

the mouth moves

the thigh sways

swimming in each other

until the door creaks open

To A Young Painter

To show the lab’ring bosom’s deep intent,

And thought in living characters to paint,
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Still, wond’rous youth! each noble path pursue,
On deathless glories fix thine ardent view:
Still may the painter’s and the poet’s fire
To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!
And may the charms of each seraphic theme
Conduct thy footsteps to immortal fame!
High to the blissful wonders of the skies
Elate thy soul, and raise thy wishful eyes.
–Phyllis Wheatley