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.
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
“It’s okay. It was a good dream.
Good dreams get to end.”
I am not African-American
there’s no dash needed
a native spook who sat by the door
listening for opportunity,
devout in my non
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
never mix up your right foot with your left.
By Dr. Seuss
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
Fuck’em my shit is self evident
If ever you are in the room with those
Lost in the reverie of poetry
And struggling to guide their thoughts, they close
Their seeking eyes to help them better see;
If ever you have watched a poet’s face
Composing line within a world inside
No other soul can witness nor divide;
Then you are not alone in wond’ring, “Where,
While all their flesh and blood on Earth remains,
Do poets take their thoughts before they bare
Them back transformed? Where is a poem’s domain?”
This verse will not reveal from whence it came,
And poets–they write poems to explain.
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?
Men hold fast to so many things,
Or at least I can’t imagine many of them knowing what it feels like to have a dream
Hold you back
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!
Behind these great walls
painted ladies frame the fences
watch them crumble
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
loving all the way down
beneath the wreckage
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…
is it moving?
By Patricia Smith
give me definition
make me a label
something that molds to fit
call me a feminist
stereotype me into neatness
like men’s beards and pubic hairs
Go ahead and tell me exactly who I am
what womanhood I carry
who I should desire to marry, if at all
Look me up and down
until you figure me out
smooth out my rough edges with conviction
Tell the masses you have unlocked the answer
untangle the morass of lies
from those who despise
the vibe off of my vehement pride
whittle some feeble
words that encompass me
hold me in bondage
paint me into a corner
then apply turpentine
to erase every line
that gave me form
because I am without one, like
molecule or matter or breeze
jacoa beans dipped in steam
I am the slip
and putty and change up
in your bloodstream
on the concrete after the rally
And you have yet
And you have yet
And you have yet
to call me by my name
because you know I will answer