cradled all things she revolver gentle —
the kindle and bellow and above and below and scratches and bites and exhale-from-the-bottom-of-your-loves…
all of the ways I wanted to tell her
crawling over each other,
scratching and fighting for alpha like
crab-bullets in gun barrels
wanting to be the first one to
jump chamber and priority air mail
itself to her, addressed to center mass
and carve our names
in the bark.
I was never great at drawing hearts
That looked loveable
So I circled us in a target.
I think some people know every day that they are growing up that they are going to be what they are growing into. Some have the luxury of really just walking down the road to the market and coming back with milk. Most days I pity them… Until it’s one of those specific days when I feel extra spun around and don’t know which way is up or down, and don’t know what direction to write in let alone what to write about, or that I should be writing more my name and the date on the top of a blank page I don’t know why I stole, or how to spell my name, or what the date is…. Then I really envy people who are doing what they always knew they’d be doing.
All I ever really knew was that it wasn’t going to be me — writing. And then I woke up one day and I was 16, in a creative writing class during my junior year in high school, and the poetry section started. My teacher, Robin Moten, showed us “Slam Nation” and I got to watch Saul Williams and Beau Sia and Jessica Care Moore and muMs da Schemer represent the Nuyorican Cafe / NYC at the National Poetry Slam. Taylor Mali and is “Like Lily, Like Wilson’ poem. Saul’s Pickininey Children and Aunt Jemimah and Uncle Ben shooting at them. I was hooked. It was like a light switch got turned on. Mostly on Saul, and most of my early writing really reflects that point of inspiration. Young writing (still problematic), and more attempts at wordplay than attempts at meaning, some times (and still).
But I knew that I was saying something. I knew that it was important — if only for me.
I won the poetry contest/slam we had in that class. And the one the next class had (they invited me back). A few slams and some wins here and there, and a lot of stages and mics have helped me grow into who I am. As did a long break from mics and stages, which happened after I decided that I was winning or doing well in slams because I was a better performer than a writer (the opposite is now true, and performing isn’t as fun as it used to be — but I’m trying to get back).
I spent the next decade or so often living, sometimes writing about it, and trying to figure out how to write more and more and more for _me_ while not being more and more and more open to the world. It’s been exhausting, and incredible, and hopefully I’m just getting started.
I worked security for an anime and cosplay convention in downtown Detroit a few weeks ago. It was a wild ass experience for me. I think I saw 5-7 Ash Ketchum’s and fiddylevum Missy’s. There were Pikachu costumes people had purchased prefab, and homegrown costume versions of many other PokeDex entries.
It made me wonder a lot about whether or not people who do this are dressing up or dressing down… These people were having more fun than I can remember ever having (which might be a indicator of my own pathology and personal hurdles and stuff), but for most of the convention I couldn’t tell *exactly how* these con-goers were enjoying themselves in this weird-real-world-alternate-reality. That is to say, I couldn’t tell if putting their costumes on gave them the separation, or it was that this was actually them, and after however many months or years since their last opportunity to do this, they were finally taking their costumes _off_.
From a security place, it was a nightmare… A bunch of people dressed up like characters that I either 1) can’t readily describe to my colleagues in the case of an incident, or 2) who have the same exact outfit as seven other people in your general area. [_Try telling someone on the other side of a convention center to be on the look out for one of the Lara Croft’s — the one who ISN’T pulling the costume off…_ See how good you feel about yourself, or how well they understand you…]
Anyway. These aren’t the answers you were looking for.
I was a Generation I pokemon player, and don’t know anything beyond about 150, in any honesty. I gravitated toward Psychic or Ice because they felt so unreasonably strong.
It feels like the years have
collected like rocks at the bottom of a lake along
the bottom of my stomach, and
along the soles of my feet;
I no longer float in the water,
dirty dishes in a kitchen, sinking;
I can walk, along the bottom of your pool
Time has passed since
a past named she smiled sly
and walked out of my room,
and down the stairs,
and out the door
white-toothed rapids passing under bridges should have
seasoned and sealed me watertight,
but I look at my hands and wonder whether weather’s worn more away
from my palms than was there to begin with…
Doppler radar map pictures of storms named
after women disappointed in how delicate their moniker’s made
are tattooed along my brow ridge —
homages to homes swept away.
I’m still here on my knees
asking God to direct salve through meta carpal tunnels
and into these tasks, goals that pool and puddle
keep dripping through the holes
well-intended tornadoes and torrential rains have
landslid right through me.
She says she wants to be caught;
that she’s tired of running faster than
the men chasing her with nets and rings.
I asked, what have you been training for?
Why have you spent your entire life
photosynthesizing and blossoming and
uprooting yourself into such beautiful freedom,
if getting caught and plowed and
planted was your end game all along
because to see her running — to see her in bloom
is to learn why we should never thumb our noses at roses or
toward heaven, and why we should scream and cry the sky for joy
that we were given legs
and not wings.
and yet i’ve never been her even for a day of my life;
I’ve never been a Monarch,
so I can’t tell her that she should not reminisce over cocoon
faith drip down cheeks,
watched tears grow shoulders
and learn how to carry
along with their sadness
trace amounts of make-up
that spread across the surface
of the pool she was filling.
Couldn’t tell if my voice helped,
or just sounded like my father,
but just kept the count
and promised myself I would find
a way to put each drop back behind her eyes
where my soul belonged.
I poured myself thirsty —
missed every glass on the table…
the promises and to-do-betters
I’d piggybanked into my mirror;
watched all of the me I had
been saving up tumble grace across the table’s face
and stain it’s silhouette on the floor
like it already knew it was a memory,
like a moat around a castle with a strong bluff
in place of a defensive strategy
like the tears than turn track star at cheekbone starting lines
when they hear footstep starter pistols ring out and be okay, be okay someone’s coming around the corner
and it’s time to act like yesterday can’t be tomorrowed
because you can’t afford to lose another afternoon
explaining that you’re fine
without admitting the only way you know how to name better.
… this was going to by my year…
i looked into those eyes
the ones that couldn’t
see me and asked
how much I would need
for a refill.
I’ve chased you for years;
blood hounding back and forth:
barking memories down the throats
of bottles who just wanted
to be my friend.
I’ve written books of confessions and revelations,
drunk and sloppy as me,
on dive bar napkins
iron-tied them to my torso like my chest was a billboard
and they were prison tattoos or
underground railroad directions,
a vandal’s shackled attempts at a dream
that might escape me back to alive
scribbled fast as my hands and
fingers could run
margin to margin
with pens I borrowed and
didn’t return to the
waitresses I asked “how do you spell that?”
but didn’t ever call
on the nights that I wouldn’t
have even remembered
were it not for the ink stains on my jeans
from pens that exploded when I washed them in high tide,
and the staple marks
on my chest that I
claim as amateur suture scars
while trying to convince my
company to move away from the mirror
so I don’t have to see you
every time I look at myself
looking at her.
She loved me enough to fill
three hours of a day
in a life full of sunsets
moments we lost track of while
we were too busy making tally marks
on each other’s backs, naming the fire-brush strokes
that painted the bottom of our sky;
we were forever,
if only for five minutes;
counting the smiles running out of us
pit bulls after mailmen and we never
latched our front yard gates —
she made it exciting to feel tongues and
hot breath chasing the backs of teeth,
the gates of our mouths
if only for that five minute forever were
we marvelled at
the world above us
wondering things like: “what
if we caught fire ourselves,” and
all of the other else that we only
ever learned to remember
when we parse our pasts, binary
into boxes of:
or not (0).
I get excited when master
and I see the asphalt flowing
under your feet.
I’ve spent my whole life
from heel to toe.
praying we never get
too old for us.
Is it only
that bipedal push you follow,
that causes you to chainpull me,
over myself constantly
into your new past
and into my next adventure?
miles of watching your soul
spin on axle
inside jokes we never laugh about
even though we know we could
too caught up in journey to worry about punchlines;
when I know
these brakes are for love
as my stomach crosses my balance
and my sole catches me before
these spokes spill out
across a tongue I’ve never
told you I had.
I wonder if you
will love my voice,
or if my grip is all you can hear.
“We walked quietly;
tulip-toed a ‘we’
like we dared not wake the dead.
like our mouths were thunder,
like our tongues were gale forced,
constantly checking our sixes like smartphones
on bad first dates
for all of the
other names and numbers
that wouldn’t unfollow our future;
Neither of us willing to be the first one to ask:
“could you fall in love during a zombie apocalypse?”—Freewrite 9.4.13
“Her lips crashed to mine
like all of the things that
slalom down slippery slopes;
too fast to see
the clothes on the woulda
anything other than
our periphery.”—Freewrite 8.29.13
“And when it all,
all falls down
past where your hands
stop gracing your thighs,
the concrete will find itself grateful;
holding up the gift you left it
like your happiness was its whole world,
as if it were grace falling
from your tear ducts and
blooming roses from roadbeds.”—Freewrite 8.27.13
She looked down and smiled one of those
I-will-always-love-you-and-they-will-try-to-take-this-from-you-but-I-will-not-let-them-these-lips-and-teeth-become-weapons-when-you-cry kind of smiles
at a daughter who clutched her mama’s waist,
as if she understood molecular
even when she should have been
clueless beyond pigtails
and how she wished
she could press her hair straight
like her hero.
I don't even know what to ask, specifically. You just seem like an interesting person. What's something you find interesting about yourself?
I think a lot about differentiation and the whys baked into it.
I honestly wouldn’t know that I was different, and maybe interesting within that, if I didn’t disagree with people so consistently. Even when I want to agree. I just don’t.
I’m also a walking self-contradiction… I want to eat donuts and date fit women. I judge people ruthlessly and then judge myself for doing it. I hate most of the things that I write, but don’t know how to stop.
I want to be my best, but don’t always know if I can get there, and subsequent to that thought sequence, I get depressed and eat oreos and then go to the gym.
The only times I really feel good are when someone is smiling at me, touchkisslovin, while I’m at the gym, while eating and before I feel guilty, or just after I write and before I re-read a post or poem.
Which is why the things I post are freewrites. Because I need an editor. Because whenever I sit down to self-edit, I just write something new.
A showcase for Poets new to Tumblr. If you have been part of the community for a month or less, please feel free to submit your writing for more exposure. We will be tracking the tags new poets society and newpoetssociety. If you have questions about the community please feel free to ask. Thank you and welcome home.
Your words. They make me want to cry. Tears of joy. Of laughter. Tears of memories packed way down, swallowed, pushed back. DEEP. You make me remember feelings I've prayed to forget. I wish you would stop. Sometimes. Other times, I imagine carrying your words in the palms of my hands before you write them, so I can have them to myself before you share them with the world. Just for a little while. You are amazing. That is all.
Bless you. I’m just trying to be honest. Thank you for reading.
“I still carry the hotel room key from
a night a can’t forget.
Safe skeleton tucked;
closeted in my wallet:
buried behind a billfold,
that somewhere a locked door
is keyed to my past and
hinged and waiting to swing open
into a room with
lights on.”—Freewrite 8.23.13
“You were worth the ask
Whether rules were worth keeping
Or setting on fire —
I roasted myself on the spit; spun
Wondering whether you
Would learn to love barbecue
Or just loved watching my burn.”—Freewrite 8.22.13