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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Men Don’t Cry

We have dismantled
our lacrimal apparatuses,
exfoliated expressions of affection
to skeleton stoicism,
exorcised the sentient
from our innateness
and replaced it
with the petrified lies
our facade has become.

This exoskeleton of invincibility
still has vulnerabilities,
invisible to the naivety
we’re programmed to dismiss but
we are no gods or supermen,
no heroes or titans
merely men fed flaws
to be coldblooded,
but we bleed to thaw the rugged,
ruthless,
thoughtless,
crudeness
only to be stuffed with the steroids
of a beguiling media
that has left us
as fetuses muscling
through the median
of the meaning of manhood.

Yet she asks me
to be sensitive,
and I would
if I could but
the sensitivity in me
was aborted during childhood,
adopted by a fear of feeling
and raised to ricochet
rays of emotions
as if I were anaphylactic
to synapse the syntax
of her request.

So I’m three words shy
of a strike out,
the nth inning
of this relationship
before she becomes
a home-run-away from me.
Apologies and excuses
is all I’ve ever managed to dugout,
when all she ever wanted
was a touchdown of my time.