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when the trumpets cried, it
sounded more like a riot
pouring from my stomach.

more like a revolution;
marching down my forearms,

more like spring kicking winter’s teeth in
because it layed a hand on May’s baby sister April,

Your name, sung brass or otherwise,
has always echoed off of things like the

june days you spend all winter waiting
for — sweet and sticky and suffocating in

all of the ways that make you
gasp for one more breath,
and use it to ask for more.

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She told me to check my shoes and coat
at her bank when i arrived;
promised that if i only
waited —
watered myself;
waisted by
her current —
she had a boat
coming for me.

but when the undertow
smiled wonderland;
I realized that she
was not the kind of river
you asked "why?"

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Freewrite[s] (3.25.14)


It feels like I’ve spent
every morning since I learned
how to bleed or
cry or
or whatever this thing we do with pens is best described as;

watching the place where land meets sky
as if the dawn I slept through and missed might
backspin if I ask nice enough,
might sunrise one more time;
just for me,
just for you —
might mercy mercy my hands,
show things how they used to and
show me love like the first breath you take
after feeling your lungs cry Mother Mary when
your kick-off lame ducks and it takes too long to find the horizon —

if I am the sun, submerged,
then you are the sky I see:
prayerful for another chance to breathe you,
kicking twilight into last night
and spending my day in your arms —

you are a dream worth fighting away the dark to chase.


I can never remember the song,
only hearing it
I can never remember the words,
only the hair that grew and stood straight along my spinal column when they landed in my ears,
if you hold me when I dream at night
you’ll feel the goosebumps come and go,
my lalaland is more of a merry-go-round:
surrounded by circus clowns and yeti,
and cops,
and white people standing their ground
and tyler perry
and other shit that niggas like me tend to fear, and
wedged between Madea and Zimmerman and Krusty is a speaker
playing our song,
and for 3 seconds of every orbit I make through my nightmare —
around our planet —
I can hear only the words to a tune that I know if I could remember to tell you
would keep you here forever,

so if you want to know why I wake up in cold sweats every night
and I tell you that “it’s fine,”
and promise you “it’s fine.”
I just need you to remember that I’m doing battle
with all the things that scare me, hoping that
every night, in 3 second increments,
I’m learning the thing that will teach me to sing
in a key that opens locks
on doors you had forgotten.
could open and
release millions of paper planes
chased by enough wind to carry them across the

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The cat bumped an encyclopedia and it fell to the ground, cover first.

The CLAP as twenty-thousand words kissed the hardwood sounded like a gun-shot, and we both turned bullet.

She dropped to the ground and had fired three toward the bookshelf before she hit the floor.

We’ll get a new cat this week.

We’ve gone through three during Obama’s terms-to-date. She leads on the scoreboard, 2-1, but honestly it’s because I just plain missed last time.

And no matter how many funerals we wake, each morning she smiles like sunrise.

PRTSD in love. NMH
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One of the rarest sights in America is a black person who doesn’t suffer from post-racial traumatic stress disorder (PRTSD). Our whip, and hose, and rope, and bite-mark-scars have grown over. Black don’t crack, and we believe in Shea butter. Our memories have not re-built so cleanly. A cultural topography covered in fault-lines and abandoned homes. We are refugees in our own country. We are a walking messy-bundles of nerves. A ticking time-bomb.

We have seen terrible things, and done terrible things, and been treated like terrible things, and learned to call ourselves terrible things just to try to somehow make terrible things something that we could find love in inside of our homes.

We have become so used to gunfire. But no one quite knows how to react. They tell us, every day, that the bullets aren’t real. But everybody has watched someone fall dead after one hit them in the stomach. We’ve held people as they bled out. How do you combat an enemy who claims not to be fighting you?

1) coil, strike — v. a refusal to cower in the face of incessant danger of stray-and-well-aimed bullets, often characterized by bullet proof vests, disregard for authorities we did not appoint, and a high murder rate. celebrate those risen before their time. A response marked by a quick reaction time. Sometimes inappropriately forceful. High-risk of mistaking falling plates, and books, and doors slamming, and balloons popping at celebrations for gun-shots and reacting instinctively. Stray bullets are likely.

2) cover, pray — v. hide in the bathtub. teach your children to do the same. wait until the bullets stop flying. cry for the dead. cry again that your tears didn’t bring your brother back. your son back. your daughter back. Reconsider option 1, where at least you didn’t die with your eyes closed.

everybody loves the sunshine. we just all have different ways of ensuring that we get to dance again.