Leave the Gloves

When true love
formally introduces herself
it’ll feel like
a sparring match gone wrong.
She’ll be seasoned in MMA
and carry an unblemished record
in the UFC
and you?
You’ll be decorated
with hand-me-down gloves
from a family tree
that left you ill-prepared
to land a love tap,
and forget about defense. 

She’ll punch you
square in the face.
Laugh.
Ask if you’re okay,
then repeat.
You won’t find
any of this funny,
but she’s just trying
to knock your ex
out of your future conversations;
so if you lose any teeth today,
you won’t lose their wisdom tomorrow. 

She
will then jab you with a combo,
a multiplicity of questions
to question your masculinity.
You
will pretend to be unphased
until she has you in a choke hold asking:
“Who’s
your
Daddy?” 

Understand,
she’s not trying to offend,
she just
needs to make sure
you know who you are
before approaching the mat.
Far too many men
have desired to fill her in
with half-hearted efforts
in filling themselves.
Now that she’s whole
she’s searching for another mind
to color out of the lines with and,
is that you? 

She’s going to play dirty.
Land cheap shots
below the belt,
connect your jaw
with an uppercut
after the bell has rung but,
there’s no refs in love.
The rounds
are eternal and
she’s going to need you to fight;
and if you can’t stand
on your own two feet
in a sparring match then,
tap out now.
Letting go
is the least you can do.
Please,
leave the gloves
for someone who’s worthy. 

Advertisements

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. 

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. 

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…

She said…

She said,
she’s never been
held like this before but,
not verbally.

It was in the way her
hands glided up
and down,
gripping enticement.

The way her fingers
ghost walked
down the corridor of my spine,
flanked my sides,
continued the aerial assault
on my senses
with nothing pretentious.

I could tell,
even her shadow
wanted to be one with mine
with a union that cloned
our identities,
so seamlessly.

An amalgam
of mind
and flesh,
soul,
and breath,
heart
and chest;
a rhythm
we meshed
beautifully.

Somewhere
her inhibitions
lost their footing.
Her nails,
clawed for reasons
to let go,
found none
to drive her to safety
only satiety.

She converted my embrace
into home,
willingly placed herself
under house arrest
in my arms,
til she can trust
another’s touch
won’t leave her more judged
than justified,
more livid
than loved,
more broken
than she was found.

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.