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.

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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. 

Question

When the sincerity in her eyes
inquires a deeper response than
“I’m fine,”
when her gaze
shifts in a way
to implore of you:
“What’s wrong;” 
know that no soul
will ever care more. 

Understand, 
her gentle demands 
stems from a place 
her hands desire 
to realign your vertebrae of belief
in yourself,
for yourself. 

Acknowledge, 
that she has put her
personal battles on pause
to gird up and battle 
for your war. 
She’ll lend you her strength
in the form of untiring limbs
and an unselfish yet bruised heart 
in hopes of restoring 
the king in you. 

So be honest. 
Show her the chinks 
in your armor, 
the broken 
in your smile, 
the fissures 
in your laughter. 
Show her
that you bleed, 
prove 
that you’re human
and she will patch you
with a love 
you need not question,
a love 
just for you. 

Letter to My Unborn Daughter 

Dear love of mine, 

it has come to my attention 
that you’re stealing 
the beginnings
of your Mama’s poem, 
so let me start by saying this:
You’ll be all
and nothing like her. 

Your eyes
will never be baptized
into the pains that she has felt, 
when her pupils 
dilated to discover her worth
need not be assessed by men 
who only want to perform price checks
but are never committed to buy. 

I will deluge you with a love 
that appreciates your value daily,
so much so 
that you will never be bought. 
Every man will always be
an honest compliment shy, 
a touch of love too short, 
an insufficient fund away
to get you to stay. 

My dear, 
I have no intentions
of giving your hand away, 
but I’ve already composed this score 
for the occasion. 
I pray, 
the day that it comes
I will be less of the man I am today
and more of the man
you’ll need me to be. 
Lord knows, 
I’ve never been in a fight
a day in my life
but I will go to war for you. 
I will battle your demons. 
I will vanquish your foes. 
I will dismantle every man
that desires to treat you as some – 
word that I shouldn’t say. 

May he respect you 
long after he has earned your love. 
May he love you
long after he has earned your trust. 
May he trust you
as if he’s learned that he must 
because 
hearts don’t break around here. 
My darling, 
you won’t break when I’m near. 

So call me. 
Call me when you need me,
call me when you don’t. 
Call me when he forgets your birthday, 
you’ll already know that I won’t;
just
call me. 

Even though we’ve yet to meet,
at this point in my life
I’ve already loved you more
than any woman I’ve ever met. 
I have vowed 
to resurrect the best of myself
to give over to you
so you’ll always have faith 
in love. 

All I’ll need you to do
is breathe easy. 
Remember, 
that sometimes love will feel
like you’ve been shortchanged;
a part of you
will want to curl into a fist, 
you’ll wish 
that you’ve never met men. 
I’ll wish 
that they’ve never met you.  

You, 
with the dimpled smile
you borrowed from your mother. 
You, 
my unborn princess 
I vow to love like no other. 
You, 
will always be my sunshine,
my only sunshine. 

Connecting Flights

When her emotions
feel like they’ve been 
stranded at an airport
for half a lifetime
waiting for the next connecting flight, 
hold her hand
and don’t let go. 

She won’t need your words so, 
can them if you can
to the nearest bin
and deposit hope
into her lap
with a sincere smile. 

Let your eyes
voice reassurance that she
won’t be one of many
to compete for your attention;
may it express
that your itinerary maps a future
she can forget her past in, 
that you won’t abandon her 
for taking longer than most
in the security line. 

She’s
checking for explosives. 
Patting you down
for reasons you might detonate today,
or tomorrow. 
Understand, 
she may be used to seeing things
blow up in her face, 
but that doesn’t mean she likes it. 
No part of her
has adjusted to find beauty
in the flames. 

So when her touch
feels like it’s tired
of bracing for impact,
embrace her soul
and be gentle. 
Be patient. 

When the time is right, 
you’ll know. 
She’ll look back at you 
as if she’s found
all the pieces of herself
and you
have redeemed them
from the land of lost baggage claims. 

You won’t understand why, 
don’t ask. 
Let her love you
in the silence
of your heart’s connecting flights. 

Worth a Welcome 

My presence
seems to have the power
to abracadabra her cheeks
into levitating
several stories high
above her worst days.
I’m
her natural botox
outside the box;
negativity
not included.  

I, pixie dust
the concern on her brow
to accelerate from
zero to gone and she
still won’t admit
I’m the cause of all this but,
I kinda like it that way. 

Her eyes
flirt more honestly
than her lips would permit but,
at least I know
what her soul looks like
without the filters. 

On occasion,
she invites me
through her optical windows;
helps me climb
over her pane and trusts
that I won’t tear out the floorboards
that keep her human like:
her unbroken belief
that a man’s hands
were created for more than
breaking,
more than bashing,
bruising,
blasting
in and out
of a woman’s heart,
although the evidence
for this myth of a man is lacking. 

You see she’s
trusted others before
who’ve polished their
devilish pitchforks
into silverware;
thrusted her trust
onto some cutting board
to dice and mince her love
until she could no longer
discern her reflection. 

I don’t have to tell you
she’s been misused
when her best smile
looks like a hand-me-down
from abuse. 

And that’s exactly why
her faith in me
scares me,
abruptly erupts my core
with how sure she is
that I’m not composed of failure,
that I’m not the man
to fail her. 

So I stand quick
to hail her,
not for the struggles
she has suffered,
not for the battles
she has braved,
not for the whips
she has weathered
but for the belief
that she has saved…
for someone like me.

Someone
who could barely juggle
the suggestions from
right shoulder angel
and left shoulder demon.
I still
have no idea
what you see in me… 

But for what it’s worth
I’ll love you like
the last man standing
to prove your myth of a man to be true. 

P.S:

When she looks at you
through her exit wounds,
give her a reason
as to why you’re worth a welcome,
it’ll look a lot like
why you deserve to stay. 

Next Crush

When she 
pretends to fall off 
the monkeybars, 
fabricates this scene
of disparity
to host your intro
as her hero, 
only to broadcast
that you have the cooties 
to every child present
after helping her up…

When he
writes you love letters so sweet
that your heart starts to
beat in Maple
and pulse in syrup, 
only for him to deny
that you aren’t his French vanilla
in the company
of “masculinity…” 

When she looks at you, 
eyes you down 
with disdain, 
disapproval leaking 
from the ceiling 
of her tolerance 
while you think 
you’re on the cusp of giving 
the world’s best 
best man’s speech… 

When he conveniently 
“forgets”
to introduce you 
as his better half
to his “she’s just a friend,” 
laughs it off 
in dismissive fashion 
as if your feelings 
were rations it’d be irrational 
to throw a war over…

When she sobers up 
after drunk texting you
her heart’s confessions
only to chalk it up
to a cup too many,
a will too weak… 

When honest conversations 
cease to arrest their attention.

When your weekend 
starts to feel like 
a merry-go-round of clubs
you’ve already seen enough of. 

When you find yourself questioning
why are you even here? 
What do you love about him
that keeps you around? 
What do you admire about her
that fuels your fire
to try to make things work? 

Step One: Self-assess. 
Never sit for a meal
where you’ve set the table, 
prepped the appetizers, 
main course AND dessert 
yet still expected 
to clean up after. 

Step Two: Re-evaluate. 
If this
wasn’t what you signed up for? 
Then do yourself a favor
and leave. 

Step Three: 
It really is that simple. 

Step Four:
Never stay
with someone who wants more
but is allergic to doing more. 

Step Five:
Remember, 
what made you feel alive. 
Remember, 
what about them sparked your flame. 
Remember, 
why he made you feel invincible. 
Remember, 
why you would go to war for her. 

Remember. 

Remember who you are,
that you’re priceless, 
worth going to war for, 
invincible, 
more than a flicker 
of flame dancing in rain. 
You are power, 
you are youth, 
you are beauty, 
you are truth. 

You. 
You are love so
drink
up. 
Get your heart
so drunk with yourself
that you get cited 
with a DUI while sober. 

Get your heart
beating itself in disbelief
for taking this long
to find you. 

Get your heart
unbroken enough
to breakdance
in front of your next crush and
may your next crush
be no other
than you.