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.

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

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

with the austere father
that robbed you of weekends,
summer breaks,
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.
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.

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

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.


Dial Me Broken

Trust that my need
to speak with you today
is crucial,
that my need
to hear your voice
above the heavily
trafficked silence
is pivotal to my existence.
No email or text message
will do,
don’t two-way or page me
I refuse
to bookmark this demand.
I need you
to whisper reassurance
through the currents,
as if I were the wire
your voice, the insulation;
may it electrify my skin again.

Our heart’s chambers and secrets
have their beats relinquished,
hung in the pendulous mind
of my alcoholic grandfather clock;
still downing our future
in shot glasses,
chasing it with my hopes
not bitter enough to spew back,
simply waiting
to be fermented.

So kindle me,
watch me scintillate excuses
still beaming for forgiveness.
Hold me between your fingers
and I’ll fuel your addiction
between the lighter
and your lips.
Inhale me slowly,
savor me long within your chest
as if the fumes of my lies
were what you needed
to survive;
and I’ll dance
forever with this moment
as if it’ll last longer
than steam on mirrors.