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. 

Do it For You

You decided
to break my heart 
before we met. 
I decided
to love you still
with the pieces left. 

You said
you needed to do things
for you, 
for your happiness. 
I agreed. 
I too, 
needed confirmation 
that your smile wasn’t residual
to the afterthoughts of him. 

You made it clear
that a friendship
was what you needed,
one where trust
wouldn’t be ceded. 
I obliged
to hold your heart
til it hop scotched 
into a notch of love
it could be itself around. 

You, 
sounded more
bothered than okay, 
more flustered than
nothing’s wrong, 
more agitated than
you’re fine
but maybe, 
maybe I shouldn’t 
want to talk about it either. 

I’m not a knight
but a bleeder,
not a hero
but a seeker of
what more could I do
to help you forget him? 

What enchantments can I use
short of black magic
to pry your thoughts loose
from leeching on to him? 
How often must I remind you
that your soul
is far too beautiful
to keep cracking
over his faults?
How long
will you remain victim
to his vault 
of emotional assault? 

Please,
come back to me. 
I need you to remember
who you are,
need you to remember
that love is a promise
you made to yourself first,
need you to remember 
your worth 
will always be more valuable
than his barcodes
of depreciation. 

I beg of you, 
before he shackles 
the rest of your existence
to the rust of things you once were, 
to picture frames
of smiles you once knew;
I implore you 
to find yourself
in your scars, 
heal yourself
past the wounds, 
and love yourself
for you. 

Move

Move. 

Contrary 
to your exclusive beliefs 
she doesn’t want to be 
a couple dressed in secrets,
clandestine companions
furtively in fashion
with all things pretty privy. 

Move.

She’s told you
on countless occasions 
to make your manifestations of love 
a little more obvious like:
you can at LEAST
change your FB status 
to taken now. 
I mean it’s only been… 

Move. 

Remember that convo
where her eyes 
uncapped the vials of her tears, 
poured them into your lap
in hopes of saturating 
some part of you
to squeeze into action?
Why does she always
have to plead 
for you to… 

Move. 

Oh, you said
you’re waiting for the right time? 
Seven years post intros,
five years of exclusivity,
three years of officially
making it verbally official,
and all that falls under
“still dating?”  
I wonder
if she know this? 

[Move]
She thought
you were building
something together. 
[Move..]
You must’ve thought
her patience was eternal. 
[MOVE…]
She thought
you were different.

Watched you flirt 
with commitment
to so many other things
other than her, 
that now she questions
why her shadow vows
to even stay.

She wasn’t 
holding out for perfection,
clearly. 
She didn’t beg you
to rescue her,
didn’t ask
if you’d buy her the moon
when your account
boasts of craters bigger
than that found upon it.
She didn’t even take
Beyoncé’s advice 
to force you to put a ring on it and yet, 
she was good to you. 

All she asks now is that you

Move… 

Fall in Love

She
made me promise
to hold true to my word
five minutes to one a.m,
four hours to the end
of my circadian rhythm,
three parted heart emojis later
on a night her mind seeks to savor 
something to salvage
from watching her team lose.

I was told:
“Every time you don’t win, 
a part of you loses.”
Loses fight, 
lose grit. 
Loses heart, 
lose grip
on hoping against the odds,
that she’s someone
worth
loving. 

She’s hoping 
that someone will put
a check in the win column
next to her name;
that her heart
won’t be the last pick
in the rough draft
to better relationships;
that her soul
will stop feeling caught
between encounters with third base
when she desperately
just wants
to make
it
home.  

Check if you like me,
leave blank if you don’t. 
She slid this note to her crush;
his mouth said that he can’t, 
his eyes said that they won’t. 
She is so done
with rejection, 
so done
with losing. 

Fast forward
to her last relationship
and she’s not taking an L
for no one. 

This beautiful, 
mermaid princess 
would rather swim alone
then drown in complacency, 
uncertainty
and a shipwreck
of good intentions.

She now lives
in the ocean
of self-acceptance, 
basks in waves
of self love. 

My dear, 
you need not these hands 
to make you whole, 
need not a poem 
to reconstruct your confidence, 
need not a man
to help you heal. 

If “I love you” 
no longer sounds holy
from his lips,
if “you’re beautiful” 
seems laced 
with insincerity, 
then fall in love
with the way
you whisper them to yourself.
Fall in love
with your insecurities, 
fall in love
with all the reasons
they said you weren’t enough, 
fall in love
with you. 

You Owe it to Yourself

Let’s go. 

Doesn’t matter the place. 
We can wrestle over details later. 
For right now, 
do yourself a favor and 
ride out on out of here, 
to your favorite hide out
miles south of fear
or northbound
to a little town
to disappear
so I could repeat 
our meet and greet. 

I’ll reintroduce myself
as your cowboy, 
your eyes
will blink themselves
into my sunrise
so you’ll always know that home
is a faceful of sunset
and a smile full of my pride. 

I’ll lick the postage 
you stamp the seal of approval. 
Let’s work
on the removal of you
from the mundane. 

We’ll saddle
your imagination, 
book inspiration
into your now to take flight
upon planes of existence
that knows no resistance
to your determination. 

You, 
you need to know 
that you’re free;
that the weight of your obligations
are proportionate 
to how much you tip your scale;
that your excuses
only feel like handcuffs
til you decide
you’ve had enough. 

I need you to know
that you don’t have to go
anywhere life may lead; 
your heart
doesn’t have to kiss the floor 
every time it trips 
over something handsome;
that your dreams
don’t need to learn French
to consult more ceilings. 

I need you to know, 
you owe no soul apologies, 
reasons for being:
late, 
early, 
on time
on your days off. 

Off days
will feel like
they’re on time
to being early;
your being
will always be late
for no reason
but when your soul, 
throws a manhunt for apologies
to betray itself,
I need you to know
you owe it to yourself
to never let go
of you. 

LOL 

Three letters long
was your reply.
The idea acronym
for when you catch
a case of the funnies and,
you were laughing out loud
all over again.

It’s not that I don’t love
your episodes of jubilance
to be authored by me.
I’d gladly sponsor
every moment
your lips part open
to release an ocean of felicity but,
your waves of elation
are no longer exclusively mine
to love and cherish.

Your reply
inundated me with questions
that I’m ill-prepared to accept like:
Does he at least
have his associates
in making you laugh
like I did?
What octaves
can he make you reach
without tickling/cheating
it out of you?
Show me his diploma
in humor
and I bet
I could spot the watermark
from your local flea market.

But to all of these you’ll tell me:
“He’s a good man.”

You see you left me questioning
where did I go wrong.
If I can still provide you
an inkling of joy
to pen into your day,
when did that stop being enough.

I realize
that I’m the butt of the joke
in this predicament.
One day
I’ll laugh out loud about this
but today,
your last laugh will be with him and
to that I say:
“May you laugh hard,
and laugh long,
just remember me when you do.
#lol”

Eden of a Mind

She asked:
“Where’s your favorite place?”

My sass
would reply in sarcasm,
my wit
would dismiss
the question altogether,
my humor
would reference something
short on laughs
by Amy Schumer,
but my honesty
teetered upon my tongue;
my lungs,
rehearsed a song unsung
and I remembered
that I was there.

I was,
dusting memories
off the dendrites
that held dwindling images of us
a quarter to never was
and half past never will be,
before arthritic hands of time
cropped you out
of my frame of mind.

I remembered,
we finished more
than each other’s sentences.
We were verses,
that flowed
into the echoes
of our heartbeats.

I remembered,
my favorite place
wasn’t a bus fare away,
an Uber of convenience,
a plane to catch
a subway to miss
or a ferry to board.

I remembered,
your thoughts
were the holiest of grounds
I’ve ever walked,
and surely,
the cathedral of your mind
I’ve always preferred
unlocked.

My favorite place,
is an Eden of a mind
I’m no longer welcomed to;
a mind I used to crave
even now I wish to say
that I seldom do.