Reflecting

I skimmed past her preface;
dined over her table of contents
held covert to the casual customers,
who sought to buy her
for the same price the media
would have them believe she’s worth:
an eyeful of pleasure,
stitched lips,
bound hands,
and shackled intellect,
but her barcode of eyelashes
would ring up for so much more.

I bookmarked her appendix,
as she relayed her first chapter
of Genesis to me
I witnessed her creation.
Man’s rib
woven into the pages of her being
to declare her as his equal;
and yet, somehow
hers remind me of
the ribs of the slave ship
she painted with her
broken, bleeding dreams,
her own Sistine ceiling;
that brought her here,
to the land of the free
home of the slaves.
Her soul was the anchor
that never left port,
where she aborted her childhood
only to give birth
to a phantom of a life
she’d die to have.

And here she sits before me,
wearing her self-esteem
over her eyes,
transparent
as the contacts that betray her;
and her dignity
couldn’t skirt her legs any shorter
as she sacrifices her calves
to be grazed upon.

And I wish I could tell her
to refuse the cocktail of lies
the media branded within her eyelids,
or whisper in her ear
and hope that she hears
her ancestral blood still flowing
in her nostalgic thoughts
of home and remembers
that she once reigned as queen
in His story,
now long forgotten…

Aphemia

My eyelids were startled awake
by these artificial lights
they tend to ignite
without “informed consent,”
to interrupt my daydreams.
How dare they
staccato my visions to
check my “vital signs.”
My rhythm’s fine,
aligned with syncopated
common time fuming
from the jazz bar
you just barged yourself into;
and now you introduce yourself?
How typical…

Wishing to
transform these bulbs
into the floor’s essence
to give more meaning to their name
I size up this newbie;
hoping to relay the message.
She glared back,
as if my message needed postage
to be received,
as if it were a cryptex replica,
that can only be deciphered
by projecting a riddle
onto her optic disks.
Well, you can keep your two-cents
in that barking meter mouth of yours.
I don’t need to hear your opinion
of what you “think” I’m saying
and I hope,
the verdict of your senses
are expeditious in expiring.
As they ferment on your tongue
you can choke on your PhD,
and every other acronym
that adds another zero
to your pride and…
I hope you do good today,
sweetheart .
You remind me of my own
that rarely comes to visit and
I’m sorry, I just
don’t know how to show gratitude.

I attempted
to point at the switch,
and she seemed to understand
if only for a moment.
My heart raced
as her hand
reached for the wall,
then overshot the target
for my sweater;
how considerate.
I pointed lower,
she reached for my wheelchair;
lower still
and she reached for my shoes.
Yes, of course I want to put them on,
before my socks preferably.
She must’ve sensed my frustration,
it was mirrored in her eyes
and her tears seemed to go unnoticed,
apparently for some time.

What has become of me?
How come they don’t understand?
She left sobbing,
hit the light switch
and I was alone again;
searching for my soul
in darkness,
speechless.

Underestimated (Inspired by Dystonia Victim)

He didn’t want to,
but the white suits,
ironed-down collars
with laminated name tags
said it was for his best,
and who were we;
two menial jobs
minimum waged,
a random diploma
an excerpt off a stereotype
made too hype,
to argue?

He was still Hot-wheels
and Crayola fingers;
a vacillating temper,
a dimpled smile,
a wet bed on some mornings
and on some nights
my shirt, a lullaby
and a gentle rock
was all it took;
and how could he possibly
know what’s best for him?

So we held him down,
pulled his legs straight,
had him face the lights
and whispered opioid-lies
to his pain
as we stifled ours.
“It’ll all be over soon,”
someone said as the med
shelled out of the syringe
and into the stems of his being.
His fragile body
was a lost battle,
and we hoped
this was the last war
to be fought.

He’s now five,
and still a dimpled smile
brimming with laughter.
He has no memories of that day
and yet we still ache
for forgiveness.
His frame becomes
more contorted daily,
his posture seemingly broken,
his limbs forever flexed
and still,
he smiles,
as if eyes
weren’t magnetized
to criticize him,
as if words
mumbled under breath
were futile,
as if his twisted contour
made him impregnable
to their despise,
he smiled,
as if he knew
what was best for him…

Again

It’d be nice to know
if you’re still lullabied to sleep.
Nice to know
if the stars still make you feel
small;
to know if
the moon still smiles over you
and if
your nocturnal ceiling
is as deep,
dark,
and starless as mine.

It’d be nice to know
if the sun still fuses with your soul
to make your smile
implode brighter;
if you still
spread its warmth
with every embrace
of heavy hearts
to make lighter the pain
that has left its scars
again.

It’d be nice to know
if you can still be found
within the dips of your voice,
the ghost of your breath,
or hidden ‘neath your fingertips
still pulsing in its depth,
in a memory played backwards
where your last wave,
was my first high
in years…

It’d be nice to know
that you still care,
but alas,
confusion settles in my marrow
and hope is due
to more tomorrows
than I can skeleton within sorrow
to follow the reversed footsteps
still galloping into the yesterdays
where we met
eye to eye.

*sighs*

It’d just be nice
to know you again…
So, hello.
Your name again is?

Broken Home

We worked at the same place,
or at least
held the same position.
I clocked in a day late,
got lost in the transition,
of picking up our daughters
from softball and gymnastics.
Was it your turn or mine?
I know I promised I’d be on time
but perfection requires practice,
right?
Maybe it’s somethin’ about the schedule,
but I’m tired of making excuses.
*sighs*
We’re just
not as well oiled
compared to our yesteryears,
or maybe
Life’s wristwatch is set on the wrong day.
(Always did prefer the quartz over digital)

Perhaps,
fate’s train had for us,
different destinations.
Mine headed west to set,
yours headed east to rise
and I calculated
that at some noon,
some midnight
we would’ve met,
in a moment between blinked seconds.
But your eyes were
always closed,
back towards me,
head rested on a stranger’s shoulder,
always asleep.

My life raced passed
these solid slabs of antiquity,
raised in the promising suits of perfection,
yet made corruptible by every season.
Spring bombarded them
with photons of felicity,
but we ignored the dents it left behind then.
Summer reigned ‘neath sorrowful skies,
corroding the sharp edges,
but we were defiant to its rule,
did not heed its forecast.
Autumn engulfed them,
attempted to make them
one of itself as it proclaimed,
“Gloom shall befall you!”
But we should’ve listened to Winter,
as it clothed these edifices in purity,
encasing them in cold death,
we stood frozen in its grip,
bound in eternal,
crestfallen matrimony.

Still my nose pressed
against these subway windows,
with worthless hopes
cast into a wishing fountain
long ago;
and when these trains
finally did meet
or at least cross paths;
and for that millisecond
that our presence were in sync,
I grasped your hand,
held it.
Did not let go,
kept it
close to my soul,
embedded
so deep within that
your closed hand became my heart.
Fingers opened,
and closed.
Opened,
and closed.
Grabbing my love that is still
opened
and closed
for you,
to you…
As your fingers bleed times of softest touches,
caressing the deepest scars into wishes.
Wishing that I would’ve met you
lifetimes ago to avoid these scars,
or maybe wishing that you would
never become one upon my heart.

So I’m standing here
at your doorstep,
greeted with an air of oddity.
I’m out of place,
not like our tilted,
framed marriage photo in the living room
that left wondering visitors with sore necks;
not like the orange lilies
of yesterdays resting atop the toaster,
love forsaken despite being your favorites.
No.
I’m standing outside the door of a stranger.
Standing outside,
with a tray of honest promises
and a concrete mix of hope,
prepared to fix
what I’ve broken.
Outside the door,
of a marriage in need of saving,
a soul with forgotten cravings,
lonely roads in need of paving,
outside,
of a broken home.

Gone Are the Days, When I Knew You Better

I was ready for the change,
or so I thought.
They said it would come,
said it was caused by your
hormones and that
I just needed to be
understanding and supportive,
and I was.

The moment you came out
after two hours in the restroom,
I knew that rest
would become as obsolete
as this night.
Your dimples punctuated your smile
you told me to sit;
slid your tendrilous fingers
between the slit
of my button downs
kissed,
then licked
the dip of my heartbeats and
two words later left us
panting,
sweating,
clenching sound between teeth
with our bodies left weak,
pulsating ‘neath sheets
and loving you more
than a heart unbroken,
more than the day
you existed as a wish
upon scars.

Your girth grew to birth two
your mammaries accommodated
your hips accentuated
and I’m positive that your lips
turned French on me
you became très jolie
and what kind of man would I be
to leave you now?

Then it started.
Your emotions
were like tumbleweed,
I became dyslexic
to your body language,
so febrile from your temper
that the embers of our love
only glowed with regrets.

When did you stop seeing me,
and I you?
Since when did making life together
mean living life apart?
Please, just let me know
if you’re still in there,
that the days I knew you better
will give birth to you
once more.

Refund

We were a people once considered
less than human
by the less humane of us;
“children of a lesser god.”

Poverty plucked us ripe
to rotten
beneath our oppressor’s
sanguinary consciences,
but we refused to wither,
refused to wilt
in the heat of their hatred
so we waited;
for the finishing touch
of leather and chains
to immortalize not our names
but our reign
as not mere survivors,
but they that thrived
higher than the cotton clouds
we dreamed to pick.

We dreamed to lick
the flavor of feeling
something more
than scars peeling,
and we did.

In exchange for a noose
we bid our necks,
for a memento of hope
hung loose to locket;
bait our souls
for justice to bite,
exchanged our pains
for change to pocket
and finally
refunded with life.