Soul Search

why do you let them?

come and leave?

like them and

love you, too?

what is the reason

behind settling for

sticks and stones?

for dimming your glow?

how come half their heart

is good enough for all or

your soul?

you bend back and break

bones for themin your home–

and yet they are allowed to stay

and make a mess of you.

why do you let them?

by Alex Elle

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On Returning Home To Nana’s

a small hair sprouts

defying the odds

bursting through the surface

only to crinkle and bend

like palm trees in the wind

coconut oil eases the shaft

from root to ends

smooth, dipping my curls

into the Atlantic

becoming one with the island

and the wave

and the nappiness

of my kitchen

the way she might have as a child on family vacations

her thick black locs hang

like freedom

and nooses

and mangoes

strong and sweet as sugarcane

standing up

resisting gravity

and the box that bottles beauty

Blue In Green

i fell in love with my bestfriend

where the tall grass grows

in the shadows

that which we call friend

by any other name is as sweet

so we played hide and seek 

with our hearts

until the colors ran out of time

drowned in an awkward silence

i walk about my emotions

he ran

into my arms

warm

as the ground after a sand storm

bitter jazz

dripped from his cheek

as we speak of 

the first days spinning into ever

fades the call of the trumpet

for something new

not friendship but the best of us

hidden

like a foreign constellation

among galaxies

colliding

syncopating 

burning our music into existence

from humble beginnings

we danced

the world into a circle on its axis 

Hearts Weren’t Born Broken

broken winged

an eagle could not fly

so she dove down to earth

caught the pharoah’s eye

he liked the hurt bird

and without a word

ordered her taken care of

 

nights they’d watch

the moon unfurl

itself from the sky

his love healed her heart

but still she could not fly

 

deep in the darkness a coup

burnt his palace to the ground

and slaughtered his child

dethroned

he wandered

the desert alone

 

broken hearted

the king could not sing

so he laid

in the salt to die

 

above the cloud

he heard his eagle cry

with swift wings

she brings

a sack of water and gold

 

days went by

and the water went dry

fearing for her life

he left

while she slept

plunging into the depth

of the sun

he bargained his soul for her to be spared

 

where she lay in the sands

rose a lush mountain

she screamed to the heavens

abandoned

lonely

until her claws were stone

awaiting his return.

 

 

Again

mangle my name in your mouth

choke on each syllable

tangled

as the curls in my hair

thick

as the fated course we’re on

destiny is a four lettered word

that you can’t pronounce

Go home

repatriate yourself

swim in the bowels of the womb

that birthed you

and

make yourself new

learn a love, cut it up, bake it

into your grin

like cinnamon

blend

then

tell me

my name again

–A. Long

Slip In

slip in

dipping

like cold feet into 

a warm bath,

dripping

hip in

digging

the bathroom

bandit

dammit

the suds have stung

my eyes

& i couldn’t see

that all the while

he was leaving me

breathing

seething

causing waves

splash back

into salted water

aquatic graves

 –A. Long

 

Ode To Mom

more lovely than anyone

light on a dark road

backbone, best friend

rebel flower

they could all drown in a pond of our laughter

hereafter

teach me to be like you

straight to the chase

bold in the face

anointed

a woman who knows her place is wherever she chooses

hustler

no comparison

my aspiration to be

you know they say we look like you

and i accept that proudly

This Is How They Love You Back

This is how they love you back

I could stand here nakedly offering

him the key to my forever

He’d hesitate

 

This is how they love you back

say I am in love with love but

not the idea of your love just hers

or I could’ve sworn I heard a knocking on my heart

I just forgot to open the door

 

This is how they love you back

let me hold your hand here

before anyone sees

let me be me

because being an ass

is all I want to be

I don’t want the responsibility of your happiness

whatever you have to give though

I’ll take, gladly

 

This is how they love you back

I could suffocate on the waiting

 

This is how they love you back

This is how it feels

This is how it sounds

This is how it is

We burrow tears

bracing the leveesforgetnotheart1o1

against the flood gates so that they won’t break

and we struggle

deep in the trench of giving

we sweat

to find footing in the mud

 

This is how they love you back

all smiles and wide gaped laughter

 

This is how they love you back

without trusting or knowing

 

This is how they love you

This is how they love you

This is how it feels

This is how it sounds

and we hurt

holding onto nothing

but struggle

 

This is how we leave you just a little bit freer

This how we love us back

This is for the last time I found myself wanting

This is for the comparisons

and mood swings

the general dismissal of my things

the leavings

the I need to work on my own feelings

the fifteen missed messages

and unheard phone rings

 

This is how we love us back

apply pressure to the muscle

gently squeeze

don’t forget to breathe

this is how it feels

this is how it sounds

this is how it is

 

 

 

Madness

madness is

wearing your ex’s bracelet next to the current boyfriend’s on the same wrist while fighting with your new best friend about your old one

madness is

puberty and periods and prom

madness is

four kids at bed time

madness is

the new

madness is

that good good, the kind you stayed awake for

madness is

music

madness is

getting pissy drunk on a Tuesday in preparation for the weekend so you forget about the job you hate

and somehow

my madness is

love

pure, like hunger, and the stabbing reminder that you are