Tag Archives: poems

Dirty Window


An hour after I named my blessings
will, determination, and aint gone take but so much shit
I got up, opened my mind and the curtains
and sat with my pen looking out a dirty window
hoping for a muse
who could whisper purpose so eloquently
I saw a playground called
what big momma birthed
where 3 children played
like aint nobody profiling
like aint no sad songs on the tongues of
choirs dressed in shadows
like the sky been the only trusted blue
like the sun been spotlight
like that earth be stage
I saw those babies put on a show
with faces more animated than television
and smiles dancing between check bones
3 hearts, 2 bodies, 1 spirit
2 sets of footprints in the mud
and I knew a blessing was there
present where time ticks too fast
and yesterday can’t remember anyone’s phone numbers
and I prayed
prayed that insincerity would never wash my window clean
or I might lose my understanding of each beautiful smudge
might forget each dusty promise
each speck of why
that lets us know what tomorrow is worth
because this world makes us believe that a wash
is better than transformation but
I know only in the midst of darkness can you understand light
so only covered in dirt can your soul be cleansed
see these 2 young souls were playing free
with a friend teaching them to build with imagination
preparing them for when we tear this all apart
and I was thankful that guardians
come from up above with degrees in
engineering and innocence

I looked out a dirty window
and saw a couple holding hands
tears down his face
because what he held onto
couldn’t hold his heart together any longer
See he was tired
Tired of hoping strength would come tomorrow
Wishing he could shed the weight
of everything gone wrong before
The unwanted goodbyes that found
refuge in his gut feeling that the next
would be like that last
So he decided to workout
the hesitation he had been grappling with
Because faith without works
is a lonely affirmation that the dead of night
aint got no room for saints and sanctuaries,
only lies and lust
So as grace held his heart
and looked him in his eyes
He got down on one knee & asked
for the now and forever he planned 3 days ago
once he hung his worry on the star crossed love
God gave this lonely forgotten son
with only the blessed belief in his spirit
that the rock he moved along her finger
would resurrect the revelation
that happiness exists
As her tears joined his
I thanked the Lord for this miracle of sight because
It’s hard to see love when your blind to yourself
and he seemed to find the answer
in the reflection from the wet
along her cheeks
so cry y’all, cry

I was looking out a dirty window
and saw wings spread
saw the sun smile, the clouds blow kisses
and the wind clear the way
for a flight path to heaven
I saw eyes look towards me
and hands wave goodbye
felt joy deep and full
exhaled I miss you
holding fingertips to window panes
wishing to reach you once again
can’t we just talk for a moment
can’t you tell me what to put on this page
aint it supposed to get easier
aint the weather report supposed to love me
what I am supposed to do with these storms
Don’t just leave with me the words
I want you to read these stories to me
and put my insecurities to rest
so I can reach my dreams
see angels rise with the dawn
God’s arms welcome them
and it’s a wonder
to see his presence
where we need it most
in the midst of hard times,
where peace is waiting,
insight is available, and breakthrough is inevitable
I know it’s true now, tangible and within reach
but would have never been ready
to receive it
If I didn’t sit down
and look through my dirty window

Alchemy

the-alchemist

we are two alchemists
you and I
trying to purify, mature,
and perfect our lives
trying to turn dust
into wisdom
turn bruises
into rain forests
turn sidewalks
into flower beds

we managers of elixirs and emotions
paper and words
we blessed dreamers
adept at making miracles out of trash
ready to smile at those who believe
that we belong amongst the heap
we make breakthroughs
out of the roads less traveled,
pave trials and tribulations with asphalt,
and believe our destiny is
never the destination
but what we learn to bear
between the shoulders of the road

I have tried everything
to help you recognize
that there is glory in your presence
and not just your practice
that you can be seen for more
than what you do
and appreciated for more
than what you give
so now I sit amidst these sands
with elements in hand
trying to mix you a new horizon
and when dawn turns to dusk
I will paint the words of others
across the night sky
and hope that you read your belonging
in relative constellations

I have been reading the wonder in your smile
for some time now
held book clubs in recognition
of the amazing in God’s penmanship
I’ve given him a head’s up
for the good work
his nod back
is to the baseline of beauty
paced by the steps
you take into a room
style and grace perfectly placed
on beat
turning any floor
into a well versed runway

because of your past
you seem to think you are
disconnected from the dynamic
destiny colored your skin
not long after you were born
so I continue to think of ways
to remind you
that what you have dealt with
was never intended to be
your burden
it was intended to be affirmation
that you are so much more

It’s hard work
when this man’s world
puts so much effort in trying to
remind you rib
rather than value you magic
but you are so deserving beloved
so here I sit
with will and determination
hoping each additive
blends perfectly
like how your eyes, lips,
courage, resilience
insight, and compassion
blend perfectly

I chose these sands
to craft this revelation
because it is here that my tears
and desire for your happiness
can turn this into a paradise
of glass
where you will never stop
being reminded of
the wonder you are
for it seems my eyes
have not been enough

we are two alchemists
you and I
trying to purify, mature,
and perfect our lives
trying to turn wind
into affirmation
turn mistakes
into water falls
turn parking lots
into embraces

but what good is this ability
if all I can do
is watch this world
make you question
how powerful
of a blessing
you’ve become

“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the dessert, ‘one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’” – Paulo Coelho, “The Alchemist”

New book excerpt…

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So I am working on my next book of poetry. It is a book about dating and relationships. It follows my experiences starting in late 2007 when I had to face the end of a long term relationship and the horrors of returning to the dating world. I did what I often do when I am trying to make sense of emotions or thoughts, I wrote. So this is a collection of the poems I wrote along the way, edited of course (You don’t need to see the original versions of some of these). I decided to also include retellings of various experience in my own words and from my own perspective. Hey, it’s my book. So it will include tongue in cheek recollections and introspective reflections on my experiences. It will also include my hope to one day write a happy ending to this whole thing. But that will be another book.

This excerpt is what started it all. I posted an anectdote with one of the poems a long time ago. The response was good. One of my friends, a poet and writer named Mike Simms, told me he wanted to see more of that. The lightbulb went off then. Since then I have been planning this next project. This year I am determined to finish the manuscript.

I am not ready to announce the title of the book yet.

Here you go…

Book Excerpt (draft)

Love is a funny thing. We all know that, we’ve experienced it, and some of us have had the shit smacked outta us by it. The emotion is eternal and universal, but also subjective. It comes to us in various forms based on where we are in our lives. It is a chameleon, a shape shifter, Mystique from Xmen. Anybody notice that she’s called mystique, able to become anything, and she’s blue? Talk about subtle irony. Any one guy who has gotten the blues from a woman who appeared to be everything you imagined knows what I mean, but I digress. See, I was smacked by love in sunny Los Angeles, CA.

Poets…poets…poets. What more do I need to say? I became head over heels over one. Had seen her in New Mexico and 2 years later there she was in Texas. I, for the first time, put myself out there at one of these festival thingies I attend every year. Now I hadn’t done this before and probably won’t do it ever again (it’s like Hedonism at some of these thingies), but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. There was intrigue, watching eyes, secret rendezvouses (I don’t know the plural of this word), and suspense (wasn’t she dating him, are they chilling, what’s going on, I wanted some of that, etc.). We walked, talked, drank frappuccinos, and made plans for our future (actually just later that night…this isn’t a Hugh Grant movie). She confessed her quirks, insecurities, and hangups (to see if I’d run). I said no problem (cuz I’m crazy and L.A. issues aint got nuttin on NC issues) and fell even more into whatever that was I was inflicted with at the time (gas). It was like Romeo & Juliet, West Coast vs East Coast, a train vs Hancock…see a theme forming here? When I got back to NC after the festival thingie I was on cloud 9. We talked on the phone, emailed, and sent each other poems. I asked what she needed from me and the answer was a little challenging. She said, “bring your behind to L.A. so we can see if this thing is real.” Yeah, see the way my bank account work…Ugh, I guess I better start counting pennies and calling favors.

MESSAGE! Don’t fly across the country to see if something is real. Don’t relocate, sell organs, cause yourself physical harm, or harm puppies or small children to see if something is real. Somebody needs to confirm the realness before reservations are made. I should have asked for fax verification.

Instead I said ok. I booked a flight, packed my bags, and flew off for a semi secret week in L.A. (of course no poets were informed of this whole thing…EGADS that would be a catastrophe). I arrived at the airport and was welcomed by the cutest face, the most engaging eyes, and the charmingnest smile ever (no, I am not done making up words). The devil is the Tom Vila of temptation. I was the happiest most oblivious guy in the world.

vrvrhvyrwyrrrvyhrrwyrrrr (fast forward) to 2 days later and I was miserable. After having the fabric of my humanity tested and the whole of my being questioned, I was told I was too nice, too romantic, too understanding, and too damn good (mind you I flew across the country to find this out. Coulda brotha have gotten a Hallmark card instead?). I’ve never been tested like that ever (other than the GRE. That’s it! She was like the GRE. Breakthrough!). So I go from being attacked to being treated to a sightseeing adventure of L.A. (every place there were no poets). It was like a schizophrenic National Lampoon vacation. It was like MMA in the octagon…FIGHT, break for an excursion, FIGHT, break for an excursion. Ugh, but at least the excursions were fun.

I ate at a Vegan restaurant for the first time. I got to check out some community stuff. I was even taken to my first bonfire. I was scared at first I would burned at the stake, but that would have only compassionately ended my misery.

So there I am on the beach trying to find serenity and promising myself to never fall for this one again. We should be snuggled up on this beach. Nah, that would just be choke holds and arm bars. Alas, what is a man to do when the woman he is head over heels for is treating him like an exchange student she is hosting? I decided to try and make something good come out of it. I tuned out the chitchat behind me (what was she talking aboot?), pulled out pen and pad, and composed this poem.

Dear Sunset

Don’t close your eyes yet baby
I still believe in miracles
I find one each morning you wake
I aint ready to let this one go yet

Don’t take your last breath
Because the beauty of your horizon
Is why I still have faith
Why I still think I can escape
Find freedom as far away
As the hope I had
When you smiled

Don’t say goodbye
Leaving me standing alone
As in the dark as when you told me
I didn’t know you
Just familiar with
Like easy Saturday mornings
Lazy afternoons

Tears well like waves behind my eyes
The shores of my cheeks
Is where pride sits
Denial sits
Shallow confidence sits
I’m fighting the pain waiting
To tidal these sand bags
I stacked by not sleeping well without you

I call you at dawn
Find you now at dusk
As fed up with today as ever
But don’t make me say
Goodnight baby

I’m sorry
Beached here
With a whale of an attitude
Chest full of heartache
Wading through the tears
My vision of us surfs on
I’m trying to find the right thing to say to you
Set fire to my insecurities
Let love bonfire dance drunkenly
Around the blaze

Don’t leave me baby
You’re the reason I believe in possibly
Like it’s possible you get more amazing
Each time I see you

Take me with you
Let’s say good riddance
To everything that keeps us apart
Set our doubts sail
Christen it God’s work
Wave goodbye to hesitation
Let the sinking feeling we won’t work
Become a titanic thing of the past

I want to sky dive
Jump off the highest
Mountain of a molehill
To see if I fall to my demise
Of fall into the warmth of your embrace
But instead I’m on this shoreline
Trying to reach you

Whisper your wishes to me
I don’t want God to hear
I’ll fill him in
With my nighttime prayers
So he’ll know why I need you back again
Baby I’m listening even if I look far away
That’s because I know you’ll be there soon
I want to know where to find you

Be us baby
Because I can’t be us without u
Otherwise there’d be this consonant loneliness
I really couldn’t deal with

Dear sunset
I want to see your smile rise again
When I arrive
Let me bask in doing what makes you happy
Because it makes me feel alive

I don’t want you to go
Because all I’ll be left with
Is what I don’t know
Every truth I didn’t let go
Every emotion I didn’t let show

See without you
It’s face my fears of darkness
Or indulge in artificial light
Trying to convince me
That the shadows they cast
Is them helping me put the dark past
Behind me

I can’t do it
When I know you’re still there
You just found the other side of me
I fail to acknowledge
So I howl at the moon
Ravenous but resistant
To every temptation it tries to feed me
I want breakfast
In you eyes

I dream that you are waiting
For me to find my new day
Wishing for my willingness to fight for my morning
Ignore predictions of storm clouds
Or overcast baggage
I want to make your dreams come true
All I ask is that you
Be there baby
I’ll meet you in the morning

This…(breathe)…person told me if nothing else I would get some great poetry out of our experience (people who say that have 8 toes and eat lightning bugs, don’t trust them). Unfortunately she was right. I changed my flight to leave earlier, packed my bags, and embarked on one of the most embarrassing plane rides back to North Carolina. The flight attendant keep checking on me like she was tending to a wounded puppy. Did I look that pitiful? As I languished in my pain I wrote this poem.

Lost in L.A.

I can’t stand to love you
As fear and loathing rises like hair on skin
It scares and disgusts me to care for you
I’m horrified to fall and it sickens me to lose
So I hold and push you at the same time
This is a narcissistic nihilism
Where I don’t want to believe in anything but us
But I don’t believe we will exist
It’s tearing me apart and it’s holding me together
And I don’t know if I know what I don’t know anymore
Am I crazy?

I paint self-portraits on your eyelids
So I can see my reflection when your eyes are closed
So I stare at you when you sleep
And I imagine that your vision of me is why you’re so peaceful
I try to caress you till our hearts beat in syncopation
So it feels like we are one
Because each pace fits in each pause, a long steady rhythm
That I accent with kisses like high hats
As you snore Billie Holliday

Dammit I can’t stand to love you this much
To feel tame under your touch
To run wild from your influence
I say bestiality becomes you
Late at night trying to hold me under the full moons glow
When you realize I’ve spent many moons
Tearing apart the hearts of angels
A ravenous wolf happy to kiss a woman
With her tongue dipped in silver
I want you to slay me

Give me life
So that at midnight we can entomb ourselves between the sheets
And rise again in the morning
Let our nights be our Passover
Are you my Judas or my Peter?
Will you betray me or denounce me
I say you’re my John the Baptist
With me through and through
Your happiness scriptures my significance
And my commitment worships you faithfully
But my insecurities hide from your judgment
I don’t know why you’re here

I often joke that I am your two-way mirror
I see you and you see you
So of course I seem as wonderful as you actually are
My glorious rebel
I could die with you on the battlefield
But if I couldn’t have you in the meantime
I wouldn’t have the manifesto
That fuels my will to fight on the frontlines

They tell us to lay our burdens down
See graves are the only things
That never get tired of holding you
So I dig through the dirt I’ve done
And in my heart I want to bury you there
But it’s hard to hold this in
So as this rose grows through the concrete
I let my tears nurture your impact
I can’t take feeling this way
But I can’t help caring this much

So often relationships are similes
Ours is a metaphor
I find refuge here
But a sanctuary is a home for the heart hell has its sights on
So I pole dance for the devil
Trying to grapple a pillar of strength
I can’t live this way
But I can’t die not loving you

This is my dialectical diatribe
My ballad of balance
Where I blindly weight why I can’t wait to hold you
Against why I can’t hold the weight of having you
Why I can’t remember before you and I can’t picture after you
I can’t stand to love you this much
But I couldn’t stand to not love you at all

I have been kissing the nape of your neck
For a week now
Your touch hasn’t become softer
Your words haven’t become more understanding
I’m waiting to be committed
Proving my insanity with my dedication
Repeating the same affectionate ignorance
Expecting the result to change
Only it’s become monotonous
Instead of monogamous

I just want to hate you
Love the idea of forgetting you
Only I forget to hate you
Love the idea of holding you
This air guitar romance
Where I pretend
That we make beautiful music together
You are an apparition
Imagined when the devil slipped
A hallucinogen into my loneliness
I just want to come down off this high
Want this plane to touch down on NC ground
Want your voice to become an unfamiliar sound
How could I have fallen so deeply
For someone willing to watch me drown
Yet I hold you in my heart
Drip you from this pen
Writing memos to my heart
To never be this foolish again

L.A. sucks. Not really, but I held on to that belief until I was able to return to LA and regain my dignity. Now me and LA cool.

I knew going into this that she had just left a relationship that formed when I first met her in New Mexico and lasted until I saw her again in Texas. It was intense, encompassing, and challenging. She was in one of those places we find ourselves in where your mind is telling you that maybe you should try something different (Sound familiar?). I was the different, someone she would have never otherwise been involved with. I was someone she admittedly said she would eat alive. I was someone she hoped would be the balance of peace and turmoil.

I was struggling through a relationship that had been going on for years. We had moved into the break up and get back together later because it’s too comfortable, safe, easy, etc. phase (we did that twice) only to eventually give up. I was looking for that grand romance to whisk me away to happiness (I was tricked into believing dysfunction leads to happiness. You know, the plot of every romantic movie).

We artists, especially poets, seek to see so we can write. Often we see what we seek where it’s not. Hey, shit happens. It’s the lesson that moves us forward. So now I tip my glass of punch, take it to the head, and rejoice in the wisdom of my experiences.

I was taught that you will find what you’re looking for unless you change what you are looking for. Those looking for change will find the same (only in a different shell). Those who change the way they look will find out even more about themselves.

Yep, I’m that deep. That was bottom of the ocean right dere!

One piece of advice,  be careful of those festival thingies. They can get you in trouble!

But wait, there is more!

So a few years later I’m sitting at my computer on a Sunday afternoon perusing facebook…