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…

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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.

The Right of Way

Just in case
my tongue speaks in thunder
and my words
fall harsh like hail.

Just in case
my consonants
seem constant in
constraining your confidence.

Just in case
my vowels seem self endowed
to foul the respect
unannounced in yours.

Accept my umbrella of apologies
until these lips I’ve learned to scale.
Forgive me,
for pillaging the sacred
in your thoughts,
the sacrament
upon your lips,
the wisdom in your words.

I’ll improve upon silence.
Compose an opus
to open the forest of my pride,
where its roots run deep
and branches reach
just as wide.

Be the first to admit
that if a man
thinks to interrupt
the flux of a woman’s thoughts
in her absence that he’s
still wrong.

So speak what’s on your mind
and I’ll mind what I speak.
They say that conversation
is a two way street,
and I’m sitting at a red light.
I believe,
the right of way
is yours.

His Eye is On The Sparrow

When you discover
that every tear shed
will not purge you
of his memories;
that every fallen drop
isn’t equivalent
to the distance
he falls away from you;
that your
rain-forest eyes won’t reset
to detect a love
better felt than seen.

When you unearth the value
in your coarsest traits,
disassociate his appraisal of you
with his attention.
Your self-worth
has always been
independent
of his last name.

When you realize
your loyalty,
your commitment,
your efforts to
“stay the course”
while he detours
to another’s arms were all
to strengthen your knees
to kneel amidst the rocks
and find God
in the hardest of places.

When you realize
that every sip
of his rejection
is followed by the aftertaste
of finding yourself,
it’ll still taste bitter,
you’ll still want to chase it
with a gallon of whys.

It still won’t make you feel
any less used,
your time
no less wasted,
your love
no less abused.

But you
will love yourself better.
You’ll discover
that tears can indeed be for joy.
You’ll unearth
the precious,
the beautiful,
the richest
of jewels in you.

Most importantly,
you’ll flourish in his absence
when you’re alone
in His presence,
for His eyes
are always
on the sparrow.

Only Human

She has a switchblade
for a tongue on left days;
converts it into a
substitute for creamer
on right days
both
served ripe without reserve.

She’s been cursed
with a heart to love deeply
those who can’t;
blessed
to forgive deeper
those who won’t.

She’s been dressed
in more distress
than she can rehearse
how to heal in front of you.

She’s smiling
while her soul
continues to limp
on crutches.
Her ribcage
couldn’t protect her heart
from feeling so empty,
so exposed,
so vulnerable to trust
foreign hands not to fold
under the pressure
of a genuine friendship.

It’s not that she’s mean,
or sour,
nor any of its synonyms
for that matter but,
sometimes,
she too bleeds.
Sometimes,
she chooses to show her calluses
from trying so hard
to gain your acceptance,
your attention,
your love.

Sometimes,
she’s more human
than hero.
Sometimes,
salvation is masked
in surrender.
Maybe she too
forgets how to fly

I Pray

I’ve been praying for you,
not like
the erratic inquiries
from ill prepared students
that float to AC ducts,
brewing inside of classrooms
preceding a
POP quiz,
rising like bargaining chips
wrapped in,
“Our Father,
which art in heaven,
I promise
to pass by the church
if you deliver me
from the valley
of these questions”
kind of prayers.

No, more like:
I can’t.
I won’t let you go
lest you bless me
with your presence
kind of prayers;
because until now
I’ve never been fixated
on the internal revenue
of a soul.
I figured,
everyone had a price
but you couldn’t be sold
by a “dashing smile,
a chiseled chest,
an obese wallet.”
No,
I was drawn
to your independent dependence
on your Source of strength.

Honestly,
I’ve prayed
not to make you perfect
for me,
but to make me sufficient
in being your needs
and efficient
to satiate your desires.
I want to be converted
to your wishlist,
ever changing
through the decades
though it may be,
so I’ll always check off
on your requirements,
no matter which lifetime
we find ourselves in.

I prayed,
for the wisdom
to listen
to your fears,
your insecurities,
your worries;
then prayed for the knowledge
of how to prepare my hands
to fix what they can,
and bridge over the impossibilities
with You.

I prayed,
for the courage
to stand up for you
when you can’t;
the spine
to stand beside you
as my equal;
but more importantly
to bend my knees
to lift you up
when I’ve done all I can;
to know the difference
between failure
and surrender,
and may I never
be composed of the former.

They told me:
“Don’t touch,
what you can’t buy.”
So when I ask for your hand
you’ll already know my intentions.
I’m thinking long-term,
something akin
to eternity.

I’m hoping
you’ll say yes.
I’m praying
that our future
is synonymous
to His will
but if not,
may I be granted grace
to love
and honor you from afar,
and to not wish ill will
upon your lover.

May he love you
deep into your marrow.
May he kiss you
as if atonement
was only found
on the altar of your lips.
May he hold you
as his lifeline,
as if letting go
was a fate far worse
than damnation.

May he cherish
the bad inside jokes you keep,
bookmarked
for his smile.

May he adore
the doors you’ve closed
to the attention
of other men,
to solely crave
his affection.

May he inspire you
to whisper with God
before exchanging
shouts with the world.

May he know
that you could’ve had better,

Yet she chose you
in the solitude
of her closet,
on the road home
with dense
and drenched traffic,
in prayer meetings,
in study halls,
in church pews
and bathroom stalls.

She chose you,
pleaded
with origami fingers folded,
upon calloused knees
as mine were for her but,
she chose you
to be an answer
to her prayers,
for a love
you probably bargained
with heaven
to receive but once.

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.