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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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…

Witness

We heard tears
tear at the seams of mercy,
plead for justice and found
unworthy,
weep between the interstice
of relentless fits,
burst from aching thirst
for vindication,
for emancipation
to drought his reign.
But only the illicitly explicit
ring doorbells here
to solicit fear near,
sear death into innocence,
and strangle dignity
to muteness;
before stitching blurred identities
and tucking the blanket of night
under soaked pillows.

He
spindles the vestige,
shadows of her former self
dealt no wealth of rights
‘til she craves what’s left.
All she knows
is to be collared,
cuffed, ironed,
creased,
and pocketed into holes
that will never
hold change.

She’s a hand-me,
fist-me,
punch-me,
kick-me-down patchwork;
spooled into remission
as if she were cancer,
wishing to expedite
the expedition
of these episodes untold
by any syllables,
solely audible
by bruises branded
by fistfuls-of-flesh,
fresh broken glass
and splintered wood her frame
was never meant to furnish.

We still flinch at touch
and wince at dusk,
clinging to rays
as if they’d last
‘til dawn.