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 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,


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!

Slip In

slip in


like cold feet into 

a warm bath,


hip in


the bathroom



the suds have stung

my eyes

& i couldn’t see

that all the while

he was leaving me



causing waves

splash back

into salted water

aquatic graves

 –A. Long


Past The Moons

he dreamed of a place
past the moons
and cuckolds of his heart
where he and his lady could bask
in the warped rhapsody of their love
a story told an untold times
mounted against him
So he waited
strangled by principle
he waited for the revolution
to scream aloud with his bloody fist
in the air, in the name of all he held dear
for the sins to be unearthed
to labor for his children
and die a warrior
He waited for danger
to kill and spite his country
a gladiator in another time with another her
If only she were aware of the way he’d
bare knuckled three armed guards outside
her bedroom window
or how he stayed up all night
tending the fires so that she’d never know cold
or loneliness
but it never came
It passed him over in every century
a philosopher a teacher an artist
a woman an apprentice a poet
a lawyer a father a nurse
a dancer a devil a leader and a criminal
all couldn’t break character
not even for an instant did he
dispel a silent oath for anarchy
He perished unfulfilled and unsung
for generations
wondering what he had done
why visions of valor never came to be
why he needed the fight
why he dreamed of this
lady’s beauty
every night

Hood Dreams And Tar Beaches

He reeks of cookie dough and alien paranoia, wipes his astronaut dreams on a snot crusted superman shirt as his eyes climb every star. He counts them as day slowly releases it’s grip and turns to night. “1,672…1,673…”. He used his fingers to mark his space in space and counted until his eyes were red and sore. Unable to focus anymore he drifted into sleep, dreaming of a cold shapeless desert filled with planetary wonders on top his tar beach.

The next day began with his mother’s knocks on the door to the rooftop, telling him to get ready for school. He rolled out of his lawn chair and raced down the stairs. Shower, dressed, and breakfast. He raced down a few more flights, out of the double doors, then ten blocks down to his elementary school. When his mom hugged him good-bye, there were always stars in her eyes that dripped down her cheek. Those hugs were for every teacher that would report back that her son was nothing more than a dreamer. He needed reality. Great feats and stars were beyond his grasp.

The angle of the tall, red, brown brick school building reminded him of communication towers on Mars. He was a spaceman, outfitted with a suit and gear to find his friends among the aliens. To the control homeroom before the bell rings, and he shrinks back into his regular clothes. He takes a seat at his desk and tries his best to listen to what the teacher says, but she was a creature with a ruler that didn’t believe in him. Year after year they would be there theses creature features pitted against him. He would laser blast them. He was invincible; with each of his counted stars he built a shield against their bitter remarks, stereotypical and cynical laughter.

Then came high school and those afternoons into the nights were no longer spent on his tar beach. He hung out with his friends in the streets, movies, parties. Sometimes smoke filled the nights because he no longer gazed at the sky. One by one they faltered into the sea of daunting maturity like sunset, drowning those hood boy dreams. He was at the edge overlooking his friends. The Dancer, the Artists, the Basketball star…the stars…

And there she was, his mother, sitting across from him. It had been a long time since he actually looked at her, or hugged her the way he used to. Her star drops, her wasted tears rippled through the gulf that had formed between them to reflect his night sky before morphing back into the kitchen table. He couldn’t bare her disappointment, so he strapped on his boots and reached for the moon, graduating at the top of his class. He returned to the roof, but this time, instead of counting his stars he held them in the palm of his hand.

Dream Sequence

I slipped off the couch into my dreams last night. I met a strange man who told me I was going to die. Hesitant, feeling death’s chill rattle my teeth, I mustered a ‘But why as a reply’. Before he could answer, the ground beneath me began to crumble. And I tumble, over the ledge as he shouted at me ‘Unless.’ Wait as my entire life was to disintegrate. My arms and feet flailed in haste as I tried to make sense of my fate. I thought I was meant to do great things or is the future as grim as it seems. The reaper was unclear in his shouts, honestly, my fear of falling, drowned him out.splatter-comics-grim-reaper-small-59374 I can see the ever closing ground now.

The word started to come into focus as I silently licked the air of my demise. It never occurred to me that I should’ve cried for my friends, family, people who loved me. Instead, I thought of swaying into the edge of this cliff side and just ending this. ‘Unless’, resonated through my suicidal thoughts. He must’ve meant it as a sign of hope. Will I live until I am gray and old? How long will it take for my mom to cope? I cannot fly but my spirit floats, maybe I can suspend my impending doom if I can solve this riddle soon.

Unless you change your indifferent ways, there is no hope for us. That’s a heavy load to place on one person. Must I lead this revolution? A cause needs to be inspired first. These words will give birth to the thought that will move people to action, but they need more than a reciprocation of ignorance and violence, or they will tear this place apart. And, bloodshed will no longer be on freedom’s head but rained in the name of revenge on the innocent, the guilty, and indifferent.

Control has to pull in the reins. Set fire to their hearts, then ferment the flames.