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.

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In a Burning Room 

Trust. 
I built her once. 

Cemented into her foundation 
was time well spent, 
patience, 
bloody knees well bent 
upon pavements
to plead my case
for a love that lied latent
for you. 

I prayed
for my emotions
not to be preyed upon. 
Prayed, 
for my heart’s strings
not to be played upon, 
for some
altar of a heart
I could be saved upon but,
I was wrong. 

Altars are made of stone
not to build faith upon. 
So how could I expect yours
to hold mine dear 
like a sacred song
full of promise,
full of truth.

If I’m honest, 
and I were you, 
I would’ve called it quits
from “Hello, 
how are you?” 
“I’m…?  
not interested, 
but thank you.” 

Truth is 
you would’ve still had me at
hell no, 
but at least
I could blame myself
for wanting to be the pyromaniac
trying to light
the nothingness between us,
for trying to be the flame
your wick of attention
would never give a flicker of notice. 

I guess
what I’m trying to say is:
there’d be no museum
of betrayed memories to walk through
if you 
had any appreciation
for the art of honesty. 

I hung portraits 
of my intentions
as tokens 
of every act towards you
so you’d already know
the inspiration
behind every stroke. 

Little did I know 
you had me painting
masterful illusions of our future;
permitted me to sell
these fanciful delusions
to those who only wished the best for us. 

Little did I know, 
the only image I ever sold
was solely of me
slow dancing
in a burning room. 

Scars Deep

She says she
loves a sleeveful
of tattoos and I?
I’m currently
newborn bare,
an unadulterated canvas to ink.
But these scars
pigment my truths
more permanently. 

For instance,
I drew lessons
from when hurricane Andrew
drew blood from my knee.
Taught me
that severed fence poles
and knee caps
will never agree.
Taught my Dad and sister
that stories of nails through feet
should be reserved for the Gospel;
their story of redemption
was sponsored by:
tetanus shots.
You know
the type that leaves you with scars
for no reason? 😉😉

For instance,
the deja vu twins
that freeze tagged my forearm
from when I told the nurse
the oldest twin
is proof positive for TB.
She looked at me
in disbelief;
ordered me another round of shots
and I looked at her in
disbelief like:
“Oh boo boo, what is you doin?”
She taught me
to stand by your no
the first time;
that if someone
is going to stain you with a memory
make sure the price
isn’t set to your regret. 

For instance,
when I opened the door,
allowed you entrance
to my vulnerabilities,
permitted you to touch
everything
knowing good and well
you were never planning to buy,
it shouldn’t have come to me as a surprise
when I watched you fumble
with my emotions.
Your I love yous
always sounded jittery.
My name,
never felt safe
on your lips.
My love,
unwisely trusted your hands
to handle with care
the parts of me that
would’ve never broken. 

I may not be inked
with anything meaningful,
but trust when I say
I’m scarred where it matters,
in a place where memories of you
could never be effaced…

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… 

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”

When She Called Me Her Rose 

She called me her rose.
I blushed,
red as warning signs
to cease activity
but my smile
was rebellious to heed;
her heart,
a precarious beat
skipping capriciously
into rhythms that rhymed
with all things broken.
At the very least
the end of us would be
a harmonized tragedy.

Trust,
it is not that my soul
has ceased to be enamored
by the fragrance of your affection,
the virtues in your spine
I pine to hold,
the truth on your lips
I resign to sip,
the modesty of your hips
to my eyes you’ve sold,
but I can’t help but fold
when our hands,
in origami-like embrace,
still cause my pulse to race
in a ghost lap of promises
and intentions,
you trust these feeble hands
not to break.

Trust,
it is not
my lack of confidence in you
but rather in me.
Tell me,
how do you trust
a heart to nurture love
when it’s soil
has only experienced the toils
of failure,
disloyalty and abandonment?

Truth is,
I’m more prepared
to watch you stop tilling,
drop the plow,
run out of the rain
into the comfort
of someone else’s arms
where I’ll witness you flourish,
in the hands of a man
that has noticed
every cut,
scrape,
or wound
for a thorn
is masked by the beauty
of its roses.

On Our Last Date

On our last date,
I was force-fed
disappointment
and choked
on your apathy.

As I watched your attention
unreluctantly
get kidnapped
within your pupils;
no one flinched
or batted an eye
as if they all knew:
no one searches
for lost cases.

Unprepared to brace this,
we sat face to face
and yet,
were the furthest apart
in attendance.
Proximity,
became a luxury
priced too high
for your eyes to buy.

I reached for your hand.
You pulled away as if
Anthrax was on my fingertips;
after being dipped
into disloyalty,
they might as well have been.

“Are we done here?!?”

The miasma of the question,
thick in the air lingering
heavy and low
poised to strike
at any answer I could offer.

Your eyes
were glazed with questions
that made your mascara run,
and I couldn’t summon
an unselfish enough reason
to justify you staying.

“Was it worth it?”

The question
left me more blank
than the waiter’s gaze,
more empty
than his tip jar.
By far,
she left me
with the fairest self-estimate
my ego ever alluded to.

On our last date,
I force-fed myself excuses,
chocked on my lies
and no one flinched,
or batted an eye.