Insurance Claim

Seldom
does she ask for favors
but when she does,
it is backed by an insurance called:
“If you can’t, don’t worry
I got it,”
and she does.

Understand, sacred texts
refer to her as “help meet,”
male egos transpose her flesh
into just meat,
but her womanhood
can’t subscribe to either.

Her ether,
is in the realm of leaders,
warriors,
and achievers.
Therefore, she has no time
for dreamers,
bickerers,
nor deceivers.

She’s constructed herself
with adamantine belief
you mistake for being
prudish,
stubborn and hard-nosed.
Truth is,
she’s heard enough of Judas,
seen enough of Brutus
to not superimpose
her own brutish
into her being,
savage into her seams.

She,
has hard-boiled eyes
that has never cracked
over the yoke she has borne
through the years,
so what makes you think
any part of you
is worth her tears?

Truth is,
she’s blueprint
for incompliant,
has a hard time being pliant
to your feeble frame of mind
so she can’t picture
being in need of you.

So if you can’t fathom
a woman composed
of less damsel than damnation,
less heaven than hell;
if you can’t imagine
a woman so whole,
holy becomes an understatement,
a religion you can’t sell;
if you can’t compute
a woman with enough
assurance in herself
that she doesn’t need to
buy your validation;
if you can’t,
don’t worry.
She’s got it.

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It’s Okay

You could hear it in her voice. 
Love,  
could still be detected 
in the undertones but
her tired
was seeping through her syllables,
her weary
leaking through her vowels.  

Drip.  
Drip.  
Dripping through the ceiling
of her patience, 
collecting
in a bucket brimming
with reasons to give up; 
she  
was a drop away from spill,
a touch away from splatter. 

Normally, 
she could summon enough magic
to levitate her smile 
above the skyscrapers of her burdens. 
Normally, 
she had a scripture 
tucked under her breath
to whisper consolation. 

Normally, 
she could pretend 
that spreading herself thin and
running on the exhaust 
of yesterday’s hope that today 
would be better, 
was enough pep
to get her through. 
Normally, 
she had more faith
at the end of her day
than day
at the end of her faith. 

Normally, 
she didn’t wish
to be normal. 
She accepted that life
was carving out her precious
to make room for everyone’s hurt
but hers it seemed. 
She understood
she was given a mountain
to show others it could be climbed, 
but some days
she doesn’t feel like climbing. 

Somedays
she doesn’t feel like hero. 
Somedays
she doesn’t want to be nominated
to be the emblem of strength. 
Somedays, 
she just needs
a moment to cry, 
just needs
a moment to breathe,
just needs
a moment to wallow 
in her vulnerabilities. 

Just give her a moment
to be human.

Please.

More Than an Address

Last month,
my heart beat itself
into my 29th lap at life,
14 years deep
in spilling ink
and I have yet
to address you.

You,
born to islanders for parents
that spoke a dialect of love
so broken,
it could be translated
into abuse
all too easily.

You,
with the mother
that chose to raise daughter
instead of son
for a sum of reasons
I still can’t calculate.

You,
with the austere father
that robbed you of weekends,
summer breaks,
sleep-ins,
and childhood days
to secure a man that knows
he, who cheats himself
from labor today,
saves himself the crumbs
for his daily bread tomorrow.

Last night,
the eyes of the woman I love
inquired for the inventory
to my damage.
Internally,
the barcode of my lashes
pitched a price too high
for my pride to break the bank.

But verbally,
I complied.
My reply:
“I never felt
like I was enough.”

At times,
parental love
felt rationed.
At times,
I envied the island
from whence they came
because the dialect
of the ocean’s love
was all encompassing and
I just wanted to be
loved that way.

How,
in a house with two kids
did I feel like the third option to love?
Why,
did I have to question
if blood was thicker than water?
When,
were you going to inform me
that I was something worth bragging about
well after the party was over,
well after church luncheon?

This,
may not be a confessional
but I needed you to be real with me.
Some twenty odd laps at life
still searching for approval
isn’t the idea formula for sanity,
or the blueprint
for constructing a man’s confidence.
Fourteen years of spilled ink
got me skilled to sink
in someone else’s moccasins,
when I just needed you to show me
how to walk in my own.

I needed to know
what home felt like,
needed to see
that it was more than walls,
more than ceiling.
I needed to know
it was comprised of feeling
more than longing,
of loving and belonging
to something more than an address
I used to call home.

I Am

They told me 
I was a vessel 
for the breath of God, 
that my body
is His temple;
and I wonder
if things have changed. 

Sometimes, 
I feel more like ruins 
than sanctuary. 
Somedays, 
I shatter into shards
searching for the sacred in me. 

Sometimes, 
the holy within
rides as far as my exhale. 
Somedays, 
I cause cramps 
in my Potter’s hands. 

They told me 
that I’m just human,
woven and spun
to become undone but
sanctuary
is the embrace encased
in non-judgment 
and love;
sacred
are the hands that carried
my heathen ruins
back to believing;
holy
is the breath that whispered:
“Try again
because you can,”
when hope felt crippled. 

Divine
are the words that told me
that I’m not just man, 
not just bone, 
not just breath,
not a heart
that beats to death.

We are,
you are,
I am…

Love unrealized, 
forgotten, 
reposing in a stupor
waiting to be ignited 
by hurt, 
betrayal, 
a series 
of unfortunate events
meant to remind us 
that I am, 
you are, 
we are 
love.