Tag Archives: poem

Glass Cases

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We are the children of glass blowers.
Hands clasped together.
Knees touching the earth
That taught them how
To birth things that grow,
beat fruit, and give to others,
until they die.
Glass blowers whose wishes
to the Carpenter
that sits on high
become part and parcel promises,
pieces to glass cases
covering us in grace.

We pieces of wonder,
memories of times past
longing for tomorrow to come.
We be knick knack,
trophy,
admirable qualities draped
on mannequins.
We be fine china,
snapshots of happy and unsure,
things none has had
or that others have had but
no longer want.

We sit on thrones,
in tombs,
on cross wood,
in prisons.
The plate at the bottom
holds the names we are given
bur may or may not have earned.
It sits there until replaced
by numbers, a dash, and
remembrances rewritten
by guilt and could have beens.

When you see me
those are not bruises.
They are smudges
I pray the next caretaker
will Windex clean.
What’s here is priceless
but closed off.
They key is in my eyes.
Too many have fiddled
with my lock of a tongue
to never get close enough
to know the inner me.
Some have tried the smash
and grab,
but my mother has
unwavering faith.
She has prayed and cried
until the vision of me is
shatterproof,
bulletproof,
but doesn’t protect
from the trauma of seeing
the attempts come and go.

When your purpose and destiny,
worth and wisdom,
aptitude and ability,
Is on display.
You learn what gaze
Feels like.
You learn that gawkin
is a seductive
dance.
That sometimes presence
isn’t possibility,
it’s momentary possession.
Without the key
it’s just an exhibition.

You and me,
we know these glass cases.
These cursed gifts
of safe distance and deniability.
We know too many living rooms
we never considered home,
too many bedrooms
we never felt completely comfortable in.
We have felt trapped in hallways
where people seem to eager
to pass our pain by.
Know too well that shrines
can be adored or despised
but still left to dust or decay.

We be held on to
for others to enjoy.
We be window shopping fantasy.
We be one day I’ll be able
to get that.
We be look what I captured.
We be look.
Look at that.
Come here look at this.
Look now.
Look later.
Walk past and never look at all.

We be here.
Help up by divinity,
shielded by hope
for all the world
to see

Speaking for a Cure

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A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

Leaves turn and fall in autumn
We rake the ground clear
and wait for Mother Nature
to begin the process again
To restore the forest in what was there
But what happens when the trees stay bare
When a winter’s cold
Springs into a summer’s heat
When deficiency in your immune system
keeps the cycle from being complete
Each infection or complication
Takes it’s toll
T cell count lowered
until trees weaken
Decaying at the root
When they touch ground
With no one but their loved ones around
How does the pain sound
Is it jarring enough to face the truth
We need a cure
Support for those dedicated to an answer
Awareness raised
Initiatives backed
Stories heard
Until lives can be saved

A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

More than 1 million in the US affected
So many more around the world
Developing nations struggling
for necessary medications
Minority communities here juggling
the rise of new cases
I just see the faces
Heaven made amazing
that will be lost too soon
They are the reason we seek
Optimism held
Berlin, France, Mississipi
It’s the reason to be in these streets
Passion ignited
Courage to persevere and endure
Inspires our search for a cure
Antiretrovirals maintain
Vaccines and topical treatments
being sought to prevent
But those faces
They shed tears for a cure
So we push
we learn
we test
we examine
until we win
restoring the fading light
that make the smiles
on those faces shine bright

A dawn without the sun
A night without the moon
Is a day without the light
A life gone too soon
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it
With hope in the wind
Tomorrow in the skies
Til the cure is in our grasp
we keep our eyes on the prize
So I’m gone speak about it
So I’m gone spit about it

Piece submitted for the 2BeatHIV’s Innovation Challenge http://www.2beathiv.org

Video submission

Superheroes

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“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

My mother always told me I’d be a teacher

I ignored her as many young people do their parents

Set my sights on grander and more lucrative endeavors

So I proceeded to chase an illusion

Someone told me I should have

Spent time lending my talents

To a Tin Man of a system

Only to find myself the victim of heartless disloyalty

But along the way

Me and my pen

Came to terms with the marriage of purpose and blessing

Took a title, then accepted responsibility

And found ourselves in front of a classroom

 

When I called her and told her

I was promoted from artist-in-residence to a professor

My expectation

Was that I’d receive an “I told you so”

She didn’t let me down

Then lifted me up

In prayer

To the God that kept her son from harm’s way

Helped him find his way

Gave him gifts

Taught him how to use them

Then allowed him to teach others

 

I remember the smile I heard through the phone

I carry it with me to campus

Show it off to the students who enter my class

I am shepherd to the extraordinary

Who haven’t been helped to understand

The power they possess

My job is to teach them how to use their talents

Harness their uncanny abilities

And oh my do they have superpowers

 

A young man from southern California

Who had his heart ripped out by betrayal

So he replaced it with burning desire to succeed

Covered in resentment like a suit of armor

And I have to show him that what’s possible

Is in stark contrast to what he’s been told

 

A beautiful young woman in tight ripped jeans

Who only sees the world in shades of grey

Telekenetic, willing objectivity into well crafted essays

With elder siblings who try to murder her self esteem

I tell her that like a phoenix

She will be reborn even stronger

 

I have learned that invisibility

Is the ability to be in a room and be ignored

There is a girl in the back of my classroom

Not unseen

I know that she is there

I let her know

The force field of apathy she puts up

Will not keep me from showing her

That she is fantastic

 

I teach composition and rhetoric

Creative writing

Alchemy

If you believe that learning to work the elements of craft

Can alter what matters

Think and you can write

Listen and you can learn

Read and you can react

Aptitude is a desire

Let me show you how to harness hard work

 

Javonte was trying to claw his way out of the streets

Adamantium mentality said don’t ever be broke

So he stuck to his ways instead of the books

Until he was struck

I keep expecting him to wake up

Because I believe in quick healing factors

 

The freshman cheerleader

Whose desire to fit in

Has her adopting the bad habits

Of the people she comes in contact with

Keeps going rogue from my class

I want to convince her it is her potential

That is untouchable

 

The kid they all call strange that wants to be a doctor

I help hone his eloquence so he can cast spells

On those who might doubt his promise

The football player ashamed of his brilliant analytical mind

Because he is more celebrated for his hulking presence on the field

The NY native who is so absent he’s a ghost

Who randomly straddles desk chair like a motorcycle

Trying to navigate the parallel dimensions

Of the hell at home and the responsibility of school

 

I know people with superpowers

I marvel at the possibilities

Some change into costume before leaving their room

Some can’t mask who they were born to be

Mutants don’t get to have an alter ego

The nerds, cool kids, and jocks

They come to me for answers

I try to help them uncover the secrets

To finding them on their own

I never expected to be here

But I couldn’t imagine not being here

Using my ability to read and influence minds

To school these gifted youngsters

 

I called my mother to tell her I was a professor

My expectation

Was that she would give me an “I Told you so”

She didn’t let me down

Then lifted up my purpose
When she asked “Do you enjoy what you do?”

I replied

Mom, I get to train superheroes

 

Signs – A new poem

WarningSigns

Signs

She said she enjoyed suspense
Looked me in my eye
Smiled
It took every thing in me not to run
Because hesitation
Is often a respectful and compassionate billboard
Letting you know that what you need
Might be waiting at the next exit
But I don’t heed warnings well
I’m not too good with signs

Like the one
Neon lit between her lips
Juke joint juxtaposed
With the temptation on the tip of his tongue
He made her want to discover the poet inside her
But the time between inspiration and insatiable
Can come and go so quick

That by the time she realized
The truth of the poet inside her
They’d both lied
Her still laying
With tears in her eyes
Him with new conquests in his eyes
I wished I had known before I booked him
For the show

I understand though
Optimism can become desert deceit
When you’ve become parched
Since the last wet taste
Dehydrated
Facing decisions like segregated designations
Marriage like bright light over horizon
Indulgence like dark degradation
Seems like white only and colored only
Water fountains

Hallucinations can happen
When Road Closed
Look like Rest Stop Ahead
Have you crash test dummy desperately
Diving into accidental embraces

I’m no better
Show me a danger zone

And I see an area under construction
An optimistic land developer
Who’s been an indecisive bulldozer for too long
Never knowing whether to dig or bury
I’ve got a hard hat and a lunch box
Because it’s a long days work being this beautifully broken
Fenced into construction sites
With lovers wearing orange vests and steel toe boots
Then wondering why all I have are stories
of things falling apart

Ask me if I can memory a blueprint of love working
I’ll answer
What examples do I have of building to completion,
Joyous occupancy, effective and efficient maintenance
Death and divorce has robbed me of a semblance
Of certainty that it’s possible
So I’m making it up as I go along
Plans are just pages of passionate principles
But no context
It’s all imagination
Ingenuity
Dammit I’m drawing this shit in crayon

Life is just a School Zone
Full of lessons
A roadway full of decisions
and speed limits
A lot with instructions
to Park in Designated Spaces Only
I’ve paid a lot of fines
Learned a lot from my experiences

But I’m gone be ok
God granted the peace
that likes to dress up as patience
and play trick or treat with elitists and enigmas
It’s just a matter of reading the signs
Closed
Out for lunch
Private
They’re just all defense mechanisms
Just steps along the path to being comfortable
Open 24hrs A Day

That’s why I’m good at doing this work
Service entrance above my apartment door
Where the exit sign should be
Means I signed up when I step out
To face the day
Even though my choice got me asking questions
Like why me
When them others got diamond encrusted
Out of Order pieces
Wood carved Out for Repairs medallions
We Reserve the Right to Refuse tshirts
And Try Back Later four finger rings

But I tried to turn my back on my calling
God taped a kick me sense of responsibility
to my back
Now I bear the weight of the world
Between my shoulder blades
And spend my days
With life’s foot in my ass
Trust me, I got the message

See there’s no turning back
Once the door has closed behind you
Your vision, beliefs, and sense of purpose
Waiting on the other side
Every day in the world is a meeting
With the primary stockholders of all that you are
They knew the best course of action was going public
Too late to say you aint ready
When it plainly said
Authorized personnel only

I just answer the call
I’ve tried to manipulate my destiny
Ignorant
That a gated community
Can quickly become a prison yard
That when the hands of the clock
Begin to believe they dictate the time
It will be too late
When they realize they are outnumbered

She said she enjoyed suspense
I’m looking for what’s suspended in her eyes
Then let the moment pass by
With no reply
Because hesitation
Is often a respectful and compassionate billboard
Letting you know that what you need
Might be waiting at the next exit
But I don’t heed warnings well
And I’m not too good with signs

Forgetting the Pain in 6 Steps

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I gave my poetry students this prompt as a opening freewrite. I decided to take it on as a prompt myself. I feel that we are often inundated with models of recognition and awareness, but what happens after that? How do you move on? What does the day after look like? These were my thoughts as I took on this prompt.

1.
Flood the lost colony of your skin in soap and water
Ignore the screams of follicles
Prayers by pores will go ignored
Draw a new nation with fluffy cotton towel
Make it an aberration
Frame it in the mirror
Play music
Celebrate
Claim it empire
Mark this moment in history on the pages of your smile

2.
Draw roses on the sidewalk in chalk
With smiley face in the middle
Call it abstract impressionism
Believe in the possibility
That you can reach the otherside of struggle
With a smile on your face
And wisdom in full bloom
Take pictures of them
Post them
Call them selfies

3. 
Draw names on pieces of paper
Make them all the people who’ve hurt you
Ball the pieces up
Throw them into plastic trash can
Pour kerosene in it
Set it on fire
Dance
Then watch the trash can melt
Remind yourself this could have been you
This is the value of exorcism

4.
Forgive yourself 

5. 
Buy legos
Set aside 2 hours
Bake cookies
Pour a glass of wine
Play music
Then spend the time learning
To put the pieces back together
With sharpie 
Label each block
Career, hope, goals, pride, friendships, faith
Practice the variations
Use super glue

6.
Cry
Scream
Laugh
Laugh again
In that order
Record it all on your phone
Call yourself documentarian
Watch it to remember you are human
Fallable
Take pride in the happy ending
Then know that you can overcome
Anything

Hold On You (The response)

40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

I love this song by Ashley Mar Shell. It features my brother Kaze as the leading man. The guest verse is my man Jozeemo. I really respect Ashley’s talent and her grind. Jozee made a joke about me doing a remix. Ashley said she was down with it. I said I should write something in response to the song. It stayed on my mind for a minute. I finally put something down. Maybe it will turn into an alternate version. Check out my response
Hold on You (Dasan Ahanu response)

The small of your back feels like home
No wonder my hands feel so comfortable there
Pulling you closer
Let my embrace make you forget the questions
Kisses like magic
Get lost in the illusion
I got a suggestion
Let’s start undressing
I got a few more tricks up my sleeve
 
I know a good thing when I feel it next to me
It’s why I’m racing home to you
Ain’t no other options
It’s affirmation when I’m alone with you
It’s an easy choice
Can’t you see the conviction in my eyes
Hear the addiction in my voice
 
Hold on
This a long ride
We in this together
I haven’t forgotten that
My grind is for a future we can both share
I’m out there so that we can be where we both want to be
My absence doesn’t mean a thing
It’s just another way for your daydreams to keep starring me
But I promise
I will never be the reason for your nightmares
It’s gone be a celebration when we win
You know
White dresss, black tux
Family and friends right there
 
Until then I’ll be right here
Between the giggles and the moans
I know I spend my days writing these eloquent riddles
But that’s paper thin
At night
I’m trying to keep the mood light
Sucking the big toe and playing with the middle
It’s so simple
 
My muse
You’re the inspiration for my hustle
The vision that pushes my pen
The reason I’m out on the road
Makes it better when I come home again
Wetter when I come home again
Extra special when I….
A moment to recover and baby it’s on again
 
See lady I’m in touch with the soul of you
God broke the mold with you
Don’t get it confused
I’m intoxicated by the whole of you
See I prayed to have somebody like you
Got a dawn’s answer over a horizon
I think the sun stole from you
Like legends of old
It told of you
See I knew you’d be here
Because this is destiny
You couldn’t stop it
That’s God that got hold of you
It’s love that’s got control of you
I can’t take the credit
But I’ll respect, honor, and cherish the blessing
Let this pen write this ode to you

Unthinkable

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Remember that Alicia Keys song that had everyone wanting to take the leap and give love a shot? You know, the one that made people want to do the unthinkable? I do. The idea of that song stuck with me for while. For me, it wasn’t about being willing to take that chance with a new someone. It was about being willing to let go of a previous breakup without losing the ability to still do the unthinkable. So here is my three verse song.

Unthinkable

I’m at this wedding and I’m walking through the vestibule
Truly convinced that I would be the best for you
Wondering what the answer is, tell me what is left to do
Are there any options, for giving you a better view
You said he had your heart, you weren’t giving up the rest of you
If I can’t have the whole you, then part of you will never do
So I’m watching happiness walking down the aisle
Draped in all white as she advances toward a smile
Joy is on her face and love is in his eyes
The moment overwhelms her as she starts to cry
Could that’ve ever been you walking to a happy me
Draped in God’s blessing and promising eternity
All I ever wanted was to love you unconditionally
Ignore the type of pessimist this world has conditioned me
I don’t want the single life I just want a single night
And I don’t need a stage, a notebook, or a single mic
To paint the perfect picture of the way this life’s supposed to be
I can Andy Warhol a vision of monogamy
Frame it in the context of “this is what she’s made of me”
And hang it on my smile waiting for the world to see

I battle with myself my feelings aren’t positive
My heart knows you’re a fighter but my mind wants to argue it
I’m thinking of the answer that you didn’t want to be
My heart saw a blessing but my eyes saw you leave
Considering the nights that you had me on my knees
Asking for your happiness while praying for reprieve
I know heartache is ancient and I should’ve read the Sanskrit
Testifying love, but you just ignored the transcript
I tried to seek conviction, devotion was acquitted
I charged you made me love you, but you said you never did it
So now I got to figure that we got a different destiny
I can’t try it again; you’re immune to double jeopardy

So I see success thinking how you’re living now
I wish for the best, as ridiculous as it sounds
Waiting for the day when you’re walking through the door
With someone who brought a look that I’ve never seen before
My heart will tug a little and my eyes will start to water
I’ll order a drink to put my thoughts back in order
Sip my courage slowly til I’m called to the stage
Recite my insecurities and never look your way
In the midst of handclaps when I know nobody hears
I’ll send a little thank you up to God’s ears
Not for getting through it without falling apart
But for the fact that you found someone to give your heart
For everything that we shared, the lessons you instilled
For knowing that I loved you, and that I love you still
I wont regret the risk, how else you gonna win
I’ll remind myself of that every time I use a pen
Being open to the means will justify the end
And I know that I’ll do the unthinkable again