A letter to all the poets I don’t speak to any more or why I drink so much…

You suck.
Not in a homophobic imaginary phallic kind of way
you suck the life and air out of everything
you are always coming and going
taking time
I should be spending on figuring out god
and what she needs from me with your incessant bullshit
being African isn’t beating a drum
the NAACP is an antiquated dinosaur
that does less good now than it ever did
I wouldn’t be caught dead working for them
and am of the loose opinion they should be burned to the ground
Vel Philips is still alive and you won’t even say her name in public
a hero of the women’s movement and civil rights legend
and poets in my city don’t clamor to meet her
every breath with words
of acknowledgement and appreciation
you should be ashamed of yourself as should I

bartender please less ice next time

I don’t want to argue with you about Jesus
the black church is a sacrilege to his memory
but so is Catholicism
you will not speak out
against either
out of fear or a desire to be liked
I hope you hate me half as much as I don’t think about you
I think about you enough to write this poem in single sitting
Dreadlocks do not make you deep, natural hair is not a political statement
Claudette Colvin is still alive but we don’t book her for speaking engagements
because she is so angry that she was ignored for so long
Bayard Rustin is a NATIONAL HERO and so was A. Philip Randolph
even though I am not an integrationist they worked really hard and faced rifle
and shame more often than any of you cowards including myself

bartender I said a double and this has far too much ice in it

why won’t you edit your got damn poems
if I have to hear you say the same thing four ways
four more times
I am going to rush the stage and spear you with my drink glass
singing before you go into a poem doesn’t make the poem better
it was supposed to set the mood but you sing horribly so stop it
stop repeating yourself
stop repeating yourself
stop repeating yourself
it doesn’t make the line more impactful
it is just annoying
hooks in poems are lazy
write like your life depends on it or stop writing
have at least one person you trust to edit your material
and stop trying to be universally adored
poets should make some people angry or they aren’t doing their job
poems don’t have to rhyme but rhyming is cool
abecedarian poems are useless and I refuse to participate
acrostic poems are generally a waste of time
but I have seen them done well
though I also refuse to participate
static poems that form the shape of oranges
octagons or crescent moons just annoy me
I get it you know how to use Microsoft Word
it was more a talent when we used type writers

WHAT THE FUCK IS TAKING THIS BARTENDER SO LONG WITH MY DRINK!

when we are out in public
I talk way to loud
I stagger and am prone to cursing
spit sometimes when I talk passionately
so sitting up front at the set is seldom a privilege
when I take the stage

there are many things
I don’t want to talk about with other people
especially not you
you are small minded and pretentious
long entirely too much for the limelight
are self indulgent and narcissistic beyond belief
misspelling words intentionally for effect has its place
eye get it
but eye wish you would stop it
it is hard enough to get the poetry community
at large to take us seriously
writing in dialect is cool, I suppose

I am starting to ramble
I may be drunk.
BARTENDER! BARTENDER! Another shot and then close my tab…

Look,
all I ask is for you to eat a giant bag of broken glass shards
and cut off your writing hand
I don’t want you to die in so much
as I wish you would shut the fuck up
hate is not in my vocabulary
but is in my vernacular
and I am prone to say things I don’t mean
I don’t mean to be mean but I mean really
I hate your stupid mouth whole and the things
that spill from it even if it is a poem
that is supposed to save the children

I am pretty sure I am drunk just forget I said anything
and do what you want… I am going home.
Could someone give me a ride?

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“taking a stand”

sometimes I love you is a flat out fucking lie
no two ways about it
there are nuptials exchanged between lovers
for all the wrong reasons
“I do’s” that mean absolutely nothing
to neither the bride nor bridegroom
& the chick that told me she never
“really” had an STD
might be the most ignorant twat
I have ever had the displeasure of conversing with
there are far too many liquor stores in the ghetto
and far too many store front churches as well
urban is a synonym for niggers
Milwaukee has far too many color themed parties
black, white, chocolate, salmon, hot pink, orange
the shit is starting to get silly

this has turned into another fucking list poem
I write far too many of those and I don’t know why…

most people I talk to are fairly ignorant
truthfully I don’t really enjoy the company of others
as much as I pretend to
I drink entirely too much
and curse when I should be praying
if God so loved the world
he gave his only begotten son to save it
for Christ sake
why does the world
seem so tragically worsening and everyone seems
to love less their brother and more their bank account everyday

you can not shop at walmart
and say you are against slavery
the Chinese workers making those Galaxy phones are slaves
it’s like Europe outlawing slavery but still buy cotton from the colonies

nikki menaj’s album cover
depicting Malcom X iconic photo
standing with a rifle in the window
with the words “looking ass nigga”
in bold font beside it
is irrelevant
her ass is humongous,
her music sucks & lil kim is pregnant
this too is irrelevant
but odd considering she has had her face
surgically altered
to resemble a Bull Terrier

Kanye west is a musical genius and a bit of an asshole
you can’t work your whole life to be enormously famous
have a baby by the world’s largest media slut
then cop an attitude about people snapping your picture

marijuana is a far less dangerous a drug than either alcohol or tobacco
capitalist that oppose the decimalization of cannabis
are full of shit
just think of all the industry
that would be created if we legalized weed

my ex wife is a whore
this has absolutely nothing to do with anything
I just wanted to say it aloud

Macklemore is full of shit
if he really feels like Kendrick deserved the Grammy
just give him the got-damn trophy

we live in a state that incarcerates more black men
in my age group then anywhere in the country
black male unemployment here is nearly 50%
and we will re-elect the same cock sucking politicians
this cycle as the last cycle
without holding anyone accountable but expect change
there is no such thing as the lesser of two evils
I wonder what Vel Philips or Father Goppi
would have to say about the sad state of our county
let alone the state of the state we are in

at this point the revolution will probably be televised
since 9-11 they have put up cameras everywhere
would they call me militant or a fool
if I said somewhere in Osama Bin Laden’s heart
he prayed to Allah when the towers fell
that at least four brothers would break out of jail
and give these colonizers and slave masters hell
like revolution
wasn’t anything more than a marketing tool
to sell dashikis
an excuses to build internment camps
for Muslims
whom’s only crime is hating the exact same
colonizers that stole billions
when the markets failed
on purpose
who ship manufacturing jobs
that used to feed poor families in America overseas
then spend their corporate earnings
to industrialize more prisons cells
well to many poets repeat themselves
I said
to many poets repeat themselves
& add the word pomegranate into poems
to seem more poetical
while the whole world goes to hell

I am no longer shocked
by anything
that happens to a black man in Florida
which I will hence forth refer to as
“North Cuba”
because I refuse to accept its legitimacy
as a part of the United States
let Castro deal
with them ignorant racist motherfuckers

I spend way too much time on facebook
my ex-wife is a whore
I may have already mentioned that
but it bares repeating

Samuel L Jackson looks nothing like Lawrence Fishburne
Chippy D, Lawrence Fishburne’s daughter,
that did those porno movies had a really pimply booty
this too is irrelevant

irregardless is not an actual word
but irregardless of that fact
I will continue to use it in conversations

on occasion the clouds whisper to the trees
under the moonlight she is stunning
one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed
was the sun rising over the ocean
I don’t know much about string theory
nor do I believe the Genesis story
in the bible
in fact I believe religion
separates humanity more often than it brings them together
but the burning orb of hydrogen fire in the sky
is proof enough for me that there is a god

gay marriage is not really my problem I am not gay

the hilarious shit is the hypocrisy
about homosexuality in the black church
because nearly every black church
I have ever been in
has a flamboyantly gay
choir director
besides the building fund
as a matter of fact
the general misappropriation of money
by the black church
is disgusting,
blatant & if Jesus ever does return
there is gonna be some questions
that are going to HAVE to be answered

there is an incredible amount of porn on the internet
trust me I looked

I am proud that a black female writer
Shonda Rhimes
has been given the opportunity
to write numerous network programs
all with compelling if unrealistic story lines
& Kerry Washintgton is an outstanding actress
but irregardless of your spin on the tale
Olivia Pope is a home wrecking whore

on a personal note
just call me black
not African American
Africa is a continent not a country
the indigenous people
didn’t even call it Africa
they called it Kimit
besides since slavery robbed me
of any real connection
to my historical heritage
let’s just say black and move on

Real Housewives of Hip
House Nigga
Atlanta
Baksetball Slaves
is some truly ignorant shit
that I can’t really judge
because truthfully I have never watched it
but I did see Pumpkin spit in New York’s face
on flavor of love with my grandmother
which kinda makes me a hypocrite or an asshole

you decide

this poem is getting a little long
please support your local artist
we need the money

in closing
my ex wife is a whore
just so we are clear
she moved to Vegas
and you don’t move to Vegas to sell bibles
unless you sell the bible and give the pussy away for free…

stand-up-for-self

“sneaking”

we got roaches in our apartment
my momma cleans
with bleach, tilex and puts boric acid down
my sister cried last night
said they tease her about her clothes

“didn’t you wear that last week”

momma works, now
we let ourselves in
shoes in the closet
take off our good clothes
and start our homework
45 minutes or so till she gets home
there is bologna
bread on top of the fridge

“put the twisty tie back on the loaf”

or deal with momma when she gets home
tired and not in the mood for our foolishness
walking back and forth from our bus stop
we have been warned not to talk to “them boys”
standing around doing nothing

“they ain’t up to no good”

momma tells us
they look like the boys on the videos
momma would kill us for watching
sneaking
stole a tee shirt
from the hair store
for my sister to wear to school
snuck it under my jacket
and just walked out
right past “them boys”
walked quick home
you should have seen my sister’s
eyes when she saw it
never asked where it came from
but rushed it on under her hoodie
before momma could see
wore it to school and smiled
and laughed
kissed me
right in front of everyone
in the hallway when we passed
it felt good to see her so happy
I still pushed her off me,
my friends could see
but my eyes gave away
my love and she stole away
back with her friends

2 weeks passed until
I tried my luck again
grabbed a dress this time
the Asian man behind the counter
saw the bulge in my jacket
grabbed me & called the police
they called my mother
the shame in her eyes wore on me
like a concrete collar
the beating
leaving work because I was a thief
hurt me far more than it hurt her
but her eyes
made my heart heavy
my sister came in my room
wiped my face
kissed me
and consoled me with her eyes

“get out of that room he is still on punishment”

it was a month of solitude
a whole month
straight home call when I get in
and go to my room
my sister would bring me a sandwich
and caring eyes
it was 4 days before I would
sneak
out and watch TV
till right before momma would get home

it was a pay week
shopping at the dollar store
socks, a few tee shirts
value village
for a pair of “lightly” worn jeans
and 3 movies from the DVD man
our stamps had just came
so we got a big box of Krave cereal
jolly ranchers for my sister
gummy worms for me
sneaking
a box of now-a-laters
for when momma passed out
and we were alone watching
the rest of our bootleg entertainment
we sat in the car while momma
went into the liquor store
a bottle of “grown up juice”
and “them boys” staring at my momma
with their hungry eyes
the car wouldn’t start
one of “them boys”
Terrence
helped her get the car going
he came by later
we passed out the now-a-laters early
there would be no sleeping
sneaking
they went up stairs
he left hours later
gave me a $5 bill
called me “lil man”
that wasn’t my name
he wouldn’t be back

later that month
Terrance saw me
asked me if I had 50cents
on my way home from school
I didn’t respond
he said something
to the other “lil boys”
standing around doing nothing
they laughed
full of rage I kept walking
my sister eyes full of tears
we quickened our pace
to cross the street, shamed
sneaking
across the street
my sister was crushed by a car
the plastic gave in to her body
her body just gave in

40 minutes
it took the ambulance to make the scene
she was already silent
the lights flashing
all the strange faces
eyes I had never seen before
the drunk driver sat on the curb head in his hands
my mother arrived
screaming, cursing and more screams
the sounds
snuck
their way into my heart
I didn’t cry, I didn’t move, I couldn’t breathe
a marionette for months and years after
sneaking
in and out of life
watching the block grow more crowded
with more
“lil boys” doing nothing all day

momma never really
looked me in my eyes anymore
sneaking
me kisses from time to time
more stops to the liquor store
more alone in the car
no DVD’s
alone in my room was no longer a punishment
sneaking
away to the quiet corners was easier now
drawing pictures of my sisters eyes
snuck
colored pencils from art class and construction paper
sneaking
deeper into myself
alone and more alone

I turned 15 last weekend
snuck
some of momma liquor
her lifeless body
sneaking
sleep on the couch,
I wouldn’t carry her to bed tonight
wouldn’t argue with her heavy bones
up the stairs
pass the piles of clothes
wouldn’t wash the stack of dishes
would just
sneak
my “grown up juice”
it felt good to not feel
for a little while
slept hard
momma must have slept harder
I missed my bus
she had to go to work
was too late to take me to class

“just stay home don’t answer the door or
sneak
out the house”

must have been a hour after she left
I grabbed a hammer
and headed toward
the “lil boys”
on the corner doing nothing
walked up to Terrance
and hit him so hard
I heard his blood crack
he didn’t move for a long time
the judge called it assault with a deadly weapon
momma didn’t show up to court
became a ward of the state that Thursday
snuck
me to a foster home
there weren’t any roaches
and the lady was nice
enough to cook
us meals on time every night
she never yelled my name
never drank herself to sleep
when we did talk it was about chores
meetings with Ms. Jackson
my probation officer
or discussions about my grades
the tutor talked to fast
wasn’t very good at cursive writing
knew most of my multiplication tables
and could read
loved to draw but she said Ms. Jackson
wanted me to work on my “basic skills”
drawing wasn’t important
snuck
and drew anyway
charcoal, dark greenish yellow, and brown
drawings of our house
and roaches
I could always remember the roaches
and the smell of bleach
would be 18 soon
would have to find a place
and a job
maybe the community college
a GED or a trade
Ms. Jackson suggested
snuck
away 2 weeks before my birthday
was hungry
running from all the police cars
sleeping underneath the bridge
in the park with the man
the would pass me liquor
or share some of their
chips maybe a kind eye
or ideas about shelters
hadn’t drawn anything in what felt
like years
couldn’t ask my new friends for pencils
had a hard enough time getting chips
or the rest of their food

“you gon have to pitch in soon”

snuck
out that day to where the buses
rushed people to their work or school
where ever they went that made them look
so happy
happy about what?
then he smiled at me
his new suit
briefcase and hand full of pens
and two colored pencils
I didn’t even look
didn’t
sneak
I just started hitting him
kicking him
stomping him
there was so much blood
the man was a CEO of some start up
a internet company with a promising future
had graduated the top of his class
was on his way home
had left his car parked
because he had been celebrating
a profit margin & some word I didn’t understand
was drinking & did want to drive
home drunk and hurt someone
I plead guilty
the judge
said I had a history of violence
gave me 6 years

the first thing I remember
when I got to the grown up jail
they gave me a bologna sandwich
I wept well into the night…

overdrunk

helpless against the ice colored frost
he played tambourine with brandy
falling between stumbles
leaping at the chance
to dislocate
but rendered vulnerable
against his own vanity

I can handle my liquor

a false answer
to an unasked question
home time
my crumbled cigar wrapper
slow swaying stagger
of humiliation
“it is always the last drink
that gets you”
he says
stinking of distillery
irresponsibility & taxi cab ride
home
sleep
regret
piecing together false memories
and conversations that may or may not have…
never mind that now
our over drunk hero
needs a costume change
into night clothes and bed sheets
though I suppose
he won’t take anything off
waking in the disheveled sunrise
searching for lost things

keys,
check…

money,
check…

no bruises,
check…

we should consider a meeting
or maybe a meal
larger than cup cakes and chicken drumettes
maybe next time
my dehydrated confused disoriented friend
you have calls to make
a few apologizes I presume
but who knows what happened
last night
you don’t that’s for sure

you should really slow down on the drinking, sir
she says with obvious condescension in her voice.

his response inaudible inarticulate & unimportant
for him the night is over
home
he makes it to the coach
sleeps soundly
and when he is awaken by the bells
chiming in his head
the contents of his belly
struggling to stay stationary
he decides he will stop drinking
for the 4th time this year

I can quit anytime I want too
he says lying,
these are minor indignities
to his selfish existence
there is no happy ending
unless liver disease
bloating bellies
and incontinence
are your idea of happy
he knows where this is going
sees the locomotive
ahead of him on the tracks speeding
brandishing sunlight
in its headlamps
he surrenders to his fate
drinks water
Gatorade
and says a thank you
to God again
for his safe landing
however many of them he has left…

“you would think?”

his words never seemed enough
she listens to his breathing
the sapphire of his heart music
their love
is a warm jacket, a comfy chair
a warm plate of freshly cooked dinner

“three simple words”
but can’t remember the last time
he said them

but her tire flattened
2 miles out of the city
he traveled to her side
to fix it

when her father fell ill
he washed her work clothes
cooked
never talked about
sick or sadness
not once
she needed that
he gave it to her

she often would soothe his nightmares
with forehead kisses
wipe his sweat with the palms of her hands
and hold him
till the fear subsided and he could go back to bed again

broken
means no longer whole
broken, is the past participle
of break
which means
to separate something into pieces
escape
as in, to make a “break” for the door,

they know these words well enough
they have fallen for others
been break then broken

before their entanglement
they were glass shards
shattered smartphone screens
she knows the cowardice of a roaming cock
he knows the selfishness
of taking more than your fair share
and lashing out at the top of his lungs

they found each other in the rubble
lost, shattered and in ruins
put back together the puzzle of their wounds
kept promises like band aids
conversations like sutures
making love like learning how to walk again
then run
soon they were racing toward nuptials

“I do’s”

in due time
tonight they just lay
fixed fitted interlaced patiently
imperfect pieces unbroken
together deep into the night
you would swear destiny was real.

 LOVE DAY

“for girls turning circles”

she fancied her Barbies
combed their hair
and Ken always agreed
when the drop top sports car
rode up to Barbies summer cottage
she picked the destination

Ken never argued, 
never drank too much
never crinkled his nose at her suppositions
he politely tucked in his ascot
and went along for the ride.

for all the little girl grown women 
waiting for white horses with Princes 
fairy god mothers
with magic wands 
and chariots that pumpkin at the appointed hour

dry your tears 
wipe your naivety
before you come in the living room
the carpet is filthy 
the curtains stink of broken promises

I know what you were fairy tale on the donkey
we know how the song ended  
how clean the writers closed
every episodes of Family Matters 
but the Winslow’s were never real  
the Cosby Show
was shot on a sound stage 
the “power of love”  
sometimes is just a candle 
lit in the window waiting
romance comes in short breaths
pedestals are for trophies

not lovers

frailty is human 
mistakes are common
and all is fair in love and war
keep fighting
but waiting for Mr. Perfect
may take longer than you expected
kissing frogs will only get you warts
and sometimes it is all your fault

I am sorry Barbie, 
Ken is working overtime this weekend
can’t go to the beach house
he will be late for dinner
and though he loves you deeply
he has a hard time expressing his feelings
maybe you could pour you a glass of wine
and take a nap or watch another episode of “Scandal” 
I am sure that will help… 

or maybe not, who’s to say… 

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